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Thursday notes and links

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Things around here are getting so slow that I thought I'd provide a few additional links and stories to Wednesday's weekly links. Here they are:

- ESPN blogger Eamonn Brennan was at last weekend's Nike Skills Camps in Chicago and came away impressed with Kentucky basketball signees Anthony Davis and Marquis Teague. You'll have to read Brennan's full notes of the camp on ESPN.com, but here is what he said about two of UK's future stars:

Kentucky freshman Marquis Teague has been hailed as the latest in Kentucky coach John Calipari's long list of successful freshman point guards, a legacy that includes Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and, most recently, Brandon Knight. There's no reason to think Teague can't live up to that billing. During Saturday's full court five-on-five session -- in which guards from the Deron Williams Skills Academy played with forwards from the Amar'e Stoudamire camp -- Teague sliced and diced opposing defenders, found his way into the lane with relative ease, and showcased an intuitive understanding of the various ways to attack off a ball screen. One play in particular stood out: About 30 feet from the hoop in the corner of the court -- picture where Duke ran its spread high-screen sets for Kyrie Irving and Nolan Smith this season -- Teague got a screen from fellow Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis. The guard split the two defenders, took off toward the rim, saw help arrive and dished a nifty little bounce pass to Davis, who crashed toward the basket and finished with a ferocious dunk. The play was as impression a piece of team basketball as I saw all weekend, and Teague deserved the credit for its creation.

Speaking of Davis, well, it's not hard to see why college recruiting services (including our own) have named him the best prospect in the class. Nor is it difficult to see why pro scouts are already drooling. To use a once-banished draft term, Davis is incredibly long. He's also very athletic. That combination allows him to rise above other tall and athletic defenders to snatch rebounds, challenge shots and finish at the rim. But there's also a reason Davis didn't become a highly touted prospect until this year: He's still pretty soft. That's not really a knock -- we're talking about a 6-foot-10 college freshman with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, after all -- but it is something that could hamper Davis' production in his first full season as a college hoopster. Davis has the height to play center at the college level -- with Terrence Jones back in the fold, it seems likely that's where Kentucky will opt to play him -- but can he stand toe-to-toe with big, physical upperclassmen? Won't Festus Ezeli, to name one example, be able to impose his will on this kid through strength and positioning? For that reason, it's easy to see a few growing pains for Davis, who might draw a lot of comparisons to Baylor's Perry Jones: Both are insanely talented, versatile, athletic stretch forwards who don't quite have the frame to bang in the low block. Jones struggled somewhat during his first season in Waco and decided to return for a second. Could Davis do the same?

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- Jennifer Smith from the Lexington Herald-Leader caught up with some of Kentucky football's undrafted free agents who are unable to sign with any NFL teams because of the ongoing lockout. Here is a small excerpt:

Thanks to the NFL lockout -- which is now nearing its fourth month -- there are hundreds of rookies like Matthews who are undrafted and in limbo, waiting to see whether they'll get a shot to live out their dreams and make a team.

"I've been looking forward to playing in the NFL since I was a little kid watching Jerry Rice play," Matthews said last week. "Every day, I've just tried to do something to get myself better so I can play at the next level."

Matthews and many of his former UK teammates are doing everything they can to prepare for their opportunity to make a roster when the lockout finally comes to an end, whenever that might be.

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- Jason King of Yahoo! Sports tabs Kentucky sophomore as one of the best 3-point shooters in the country:

Doron Lamb, Kentucky, sophomore - Lamb flew under the radar a bit in Lexington last season, when he was often overshadowed by Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight. Still, his contributions to the Wildcats' Final Four squad were immeasurable. He averaged 1.8 3-pionters per game and shot 47.8 percent from long distance. His stats should soar in 2011-12.

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- ESPN thinks tailback Josh Clemons could make an immediate impact as a freshman for the UK football team:

Josh Clemons, RB: Raymond Sanders might have left spring as the starting running back for the Wildcats, but Kentucky is still looking for help at the position. Clemons will get a chance to get in the backfield rotation after rushing for more than 2,000 and have 25 touchdowns during his senior year of high school.

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- We're not quite sure if Matthew Mitchell is joking about this or not, but Larry Vaught is reporting that Matthew Mitchell and his wife, Jenna, are naming their child after Victoria Dunlap:

I loved Victoria as a person. She and I became very close. (My wife) Jenna and I are naming our child, Saylor Rose, and the Rose is Victoria's middle name. We just want to remember how important she was to us. She was just like a family member," Mitchell said.

 

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