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Posts from Monday, June 29

Junior forward Patrick Patterson is one of three first-round selections Jeff Goodman predicts UK will have in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Junior forward Patrick Patterson is one of three first-round selections Jeff Goodman predicts UK will have in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Cats loaded with first-round picks (as if you didn’t already know)

Posted at 8:22 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

 

If you’re a UK fan, this type of stuff never gets old.

 

The Cats have three 2010 first-round picks on this year’s team, including the top overall pick, according to an early mock draft done by Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com.

 

Goodman has freshman guard John Wall going No. 1 overall, followed by freshman center DeMarcus Cousins at No. 13 and junior forward Patrick Patterson at No. 18.

 

And that’s just next year’s draft. Imagine how many players totally on next year’s team will eventually get a good look in a future NBA Draft. I think we’ll see Darius Miller, Daniel Orton and Eric Bledsoe on future mock drafts sometime in the future.

 

It goes without saying, this team is loaded.

 

Here’s what Goodman has to say about Wall, Cousins and Patterson:

 

1. John Wall, 6-3 ½, 193, PG, Fr., Kentucky: He's super-athletic, extremely quick and is big and strong. Maybe a bigger version of Derrick Rose and should be the top pick in next year's draft.


 

 

 

13. DeMarcus Cousins, 6-10, 245, C, Fr., Kentucky: He's got some crazy in him on the court, but he is big, strong and athletic. Big guys like this are hard to find.

 

18. Patrick Patterson, 6-8, 225, PF, Jr., Kentucky: Not sure if he improved his draft stock by returning. In fact, with all the big guys, my take is he would have gone higher this year.

 

 

The Cal profiles keep rolling in

Posted at 6:01 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

Before I leave for the day (by the way, sorry for the lack of update – had a meeting and was working on a side project), wanted to drop a couple of links for you loyal readers and followers.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has the latest profile on head coach John Calipari worth reading. One of the better features I’ve read on Calipari since he’s been here (disregard the misspelling of one Billy “Gillespie”). The story talks about how Cal is living his dream while remembering his roots. I recommend clicking over for those of you who can’t get enough of Coach Cal.

Also, according to the comical but always informative guys over at Kentucky Sports Radio, former Kentucky guard Ramel Bradley has signed with French Pro A team JDA Dijon this week.  Bradley averaged 15 a game for Croatia last year (24 per game in Euro Challenge), according to KSR. Best of luck “Smooth.”

 

Horn: SEC best conference in the country

Posted at 1:31 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

Some quick notes and quotes to wrap up the rest of the Southeastern Coaches Teleconference:

  • The consensus among the coaches is that the league is going to be remarkably improved. In fact, South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn said the SEC will be the best conference in the country next season. 
  • Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings didn’t go as far as Horn did, but he did say the league will be considerably better. “(Last year) was just a year where a lot of people were caught in major years of transition, us being one of them,” Stallings said. “We just had a year where a lot of our programs we’re young, but I think you’ll see the exact opposite of that this year. With guys like (Patrick) Patterson and Tyler Smith and (Jarvis) Varnado and Devan Downey and all those guys coming back, I think you’ll just the opposite this year. We’ll have experienced teams that will raise the quality of our league and it will show come tournament time.”
  • Stallings said he had little doubt that UK head coach John Calipari would be successful at UK. “John has had success every place he’s been,” Stallings said. "To think that he would not have success at Kentucky would be foolish. I think the perception of our league has suffered at times when Kentucky has been down. I think from that standpoint, the higher ups would tell you that it’s good for Kentucky to be good, but I don’t particularly want Kentucky to be good. We have enough good teams in our league already.”
  • Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury said it’s pretty obvious of the impact Calipari has already had on the league. “It’s very obvious recruiting wise,” Stansbury said. “He’s got the best in the class in the country coming in with Patterson coming back. With the rest of that team coming back, I haven’t looked at any polls or anything, but I’ll be surprised if they’re not No. 1, 2 or 3 in the country. Calipari has done a great job everywhere he’s been and it’s pretty obvious he’s going to do a great job there.”
  • Stansbury said the SEC is very dependent on UK being good. “I think that’s very obvious,” Stansbury said. “The perception in the SEC is if Kentucky and Florida is not as good as they normally are the league is down. Well I don’t know if that’s true or not, but if they would have been like they normally are, we would have had five teams in the NCAA Tournament and a question wouldn’t have been asked. I think when you have a program like Kentucky, the tradition they have and the standards they’ve set and the national championships they’ve won … I think it’s very obvious when they’re up where everybody wants them to be competing for national championships, the perception of them helps our league.”

 

Cal’s first SEC Coaches Teleconference

Posted at 12:03 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

Men’s basketball head coach John Calipari participated in his first Southeastern Conference Coaches Teleconference on Monday and, as usual, he had plenty to say. Like we did during the regular season, we’ll have a complete rundown of what Calipari had to say.

I’ll also have a few comments from some of the other SEC coaches following this post in just a little bit.

  • Head coach John Calipari participated in his first SEC Coaches Teleconference on Monday.


    Calipari talked about the first days on the job: “We’re going on 90 days, which I think the only more important days than those first 90 when you take over a program are those game days. Those first 90 are vital that you get off running and really do so many things. One of them is learning and I’m learning as quickly as I possibly can.”
  • Calipari said he’s had to learn about the campus, the SEC, the facilities, the schedule, etc. He said he’s also used the first 90 days to touch as many people as he can. He said he wants to set the tone inside and outside the program of what is acceptable and what isn’t. “They’ve been hectic and exciting,” Calipari said of the first three months.
  • One of the biggest things he’s learned so far is that “the fans are raving fans, in a good way.” He spoke about his Twitter account and said he imagines that they’ll have one million followers by the beginning of the season.
  • People have told Calipari to slow down, but he’s not planning on doing that anytime soon. “People say, ‘Slow down,’ but this is how we do things.” Calipari said he went into Louisville just to meet people because he wants as many people as he can underneath the UK tent.
  • He said the “roster stuff is still playing out.” Calipari said they have 12 scholarship players right now. He said he believes most of them have cleared academically through the NCAA Clearinghouse. He said they’re still waiting on Jon Hood’s transcript to come through and one more player has late paperwork to turn in. “At the end of the day it’s about the kids,” Calipari said. “You try to be honest about who is going to play and where you see them fitting in. You try to do your best to do the right thing for the kids.”
  • Calipari raved about Darius Miller: “I had six workouts with Darius and I’m going to tell you, I was excited about him as anyone on the team. The way we’re going to play the dribble-drive motion, the wide-open style – he has a knack for getting balls in the basket. He’s a good athlete, not a great, great athlete, but he’s a very good athlete and he can shoot runners. He scores the ball well enough from the perimeter that you have to guard him. He’s good enough with the ball and has a feel when he’s playing fast.”
  • With Miller, it all comes down to confidence, Calipari said. Calipari is hoping that the experience with the under-19 national team will build some confidence in his ability to do those things. “I think he’s a terrific basketball player,” Calipari said. “He had to work for the tryout. Early on, when you’re playing one style and then you go into that environment, which is a lot like pickup (ball), he struggled a little bit at times. Then at the end the tryout he kicked it in and did better. What I’m hoping is we come back and I’ve got a much more confident player. I will tell you before he left for tryouts, the kid was doing two-a-days. I’d be in the office 11 o’clock at night and he’d turn on the lights. I could see the lights on and look out and it was him. He’d be out there shooting and going hard. I think this has lit a fire, which I love to see in players.”
  • Calipari was asked how the freshmen have adjusted to their first few weeks on campus. He said Daniel Orton was on campus the first four weeks of summer classes, and he said the other four freshmen just got here. “They’re like four brothers, which is what I love,” Calipari said. “Eric (Bledsoe) and John (Wall) do everything together. The guys on the team love Jon Hood and DeMarcus (Cousins) is like a big teddy bear. They’ve all go to grow up. They’re a little bit immature and all those things, but I love what they come with. They all come with an attitude of let’s try to win all the games.”
  • He said there is a lot growing going on (said John Wall was excited the other day when he got an A on his math test) and he credited the NCAA for that for allowing kids to come in early and enroll in summer school. He maintained his stance that he doesn’t believe there should be summer recruiting. He used the word “abolished.” He would rather be on campus paying attention to the kids that are here and need it.
  • Cal said he can’t imagine how UK would possibly be better without Jodie Meeks, but he said he was happy for him and could understand why he chose to leave for the NBA. For UK, he said it gives Miller, Darnell Dodson, DeAndre Liggins, Ramon Harris and Hood more opportunities. He said playing Wall and Bledsoe is now “a distinct possibility.”
  • Cal listed some of the teams he’s playing, which included North Carolina, Louisville, Indiana, Connecticut and Stanford or Virginia. With the other opponents, he said they were very, very conscious of their strength. He said they only scheduled one opponent that was in the 250 RPI range or above.
  • He said he is really big on neutral games. He said he’s talked to Kansas about playing in St. Louis, to Memphis about playing in Nashville, to Ohio State about playing in Louisville and Cincinnati. He’s also talking with some major teams about doing an event in New York City or Atlanta.

 

College World Series rakes in record TV numbers

Posted at 11:35 a.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

The 2009 College World Series was the most viewed and highest rated CWS in ESPN and ESPN2 history, including the best-of–three championship series between Southeastern Conference foe Louisiana State and Texas.

Overall, ESPN averaged 1,450,000 households, 1,928,000 viewers and a 1.5 rating throughout the CWS.

ESPN’s three championship series telecasts averaged 2,059,000 households, 2,762,000 total viewers and a 2.1 rating, making it the most viewed and highest rated series finale since the tournament expanded to the best-of-three format in 2003. The championship series produced three of ESPN’s top-four most viewed NCAA CWS telecasts ever.

 

UK hires new dance coach

Posted at 11:15 a.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

Former UK cheerleader and Pom Squad member Dawn Duncan Walters has been hired as UK’s dance team coach, effective July 1.

Walters was a member of the Dance Cat team her freshman year before joing the cheerleading team for the remainder of her collegiate career. She was a part of UK's first two Universal Cheerleaders Association national titles in 1985 and 1987.

Walters continued her career with the Wildcats coaching the UK Danzers, a student organization, for eight years. Under Walters, the UK Danzers captured the 1995 National Dance Alliance Collegiate national championship.

The dance team is coming off a seventh-place finish at the 2009 College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championships.

A bio of Walters is available here.  

 

Morning coffee

 

Posted at 10:27 a.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

 

UK highlight: Eventually the two could be locked in a heated quarterback battle, but for now, freshman quarterbacks Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski are inseparable, according to a story by Brett Dawson of the Louisville Courier-Journal.

 

Dawson reports that the freshman duo has done everything together, whether that is going to practice together, studying playbooks and film reviews, or attending class with one another.

 

Not a whole lot of opinion I can take out of a feature like this (good story though), other than say it's great to see the two working together instead of against each other. Inevitably, they're going to be locked in a quarterback battle for either the backup role or the starter's spot, but at this point they need to be focusing on improving and getting used to the system rather than going against one another.

 

And as far as the starting quarterback spot goes, fans should hope both of these guys push Mike Hartline for the job. That's not saying Hartline should or won't be the top signal caller, but the only way the Cats are going to get better under center this year is if UK makes some significant improvement at the quarterback position. Competition fosters improvement.

 

SEC highlight: This story comes from a couple of days ago, but I found it interesting that Alabama football wants its 21 vacated wins back and has taken the first step toward appealing the ruling by the NCAA.

 

The university will also contest penalties vacation the individual records of 15 athletes in men's tennis and men's and women's track.

 

To be honest, I'm not really sure what the reasoning is behind this. We all know that the vacated wins basically mean nothing. Sure, there are 21 less victories in the win column, but it hardly takes away from the success of the past or penalizes the future state of the program for its wrongdoings. In hindsight, it was a slap on the wrist for a violation that could have been more severe given the past violations.

 

Alabama has said it won't appeal other sanctions, most notably the three years probation for football and 15 other sports.  

Bonus SEC highlight: The Big 12 is on the verge of surpassing the Southeastern Conference? Yeah, you’re probably thinking the same thing I am. Check out this story in the Dallas Morning News that says the Big 12 is ready to surpass the SEC.

 

National highlight: When Landon Donovan fired a goal into the back of net in the first half Sunday, it seemed like the United States was well on its way to making history for the second time in a week. Unfortunately, that didn't happen as Brazil fought back for three goals in the second half, defeating the U.S. 3-2 in the FIFA Confederations Cup finals. .

 

In a way, the game validated the upset of Spain. It proved that American soccer is indeed on the rise and that we, as a nation, should take pride in the world's greatest game and look forward to the World Cup next year. I can't argue with that.

 

At the same time, it was as big of a letdown for me as it was validation. I'm a firm believer that there is no consolation in a loss, so why should Sunday be any different? The U.S. had a two-goal lead and let the win go right through their legs.

 

I don't care how strong Brazil is, when you play not to lose, you generally do. Instead of attacking and pushing the issue - exactly what got the Americans into the finals - the U.S. caved in and tried to hold on. No matter what sport you're talking about, that strategy almost never works.

 

I'm not trying to be harsh on the national team or the sport. I love soccer - it's all I did as a child. For one, I'm extremely excited for the World Cup and this last week has restored my faith in American soccer. But I won't sugarcoat it when I say that the U.S. choked and let the biggest moment in our nation's soccer history slip past it. Here's hoping they learn from it.

 

 

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