Most Recent Posts
- Swiss Cat – Vacation notes and photos from Larry from his trip to Switzerland.
- Kentucky softball team earns 40th win to tie school record for most wins in a season
- Calipari says Cats will press more, foul more, bump and grind, hip-check next season
- Caldwell County sophomore Elijah Sindelar special QB but also has big-time baseball options
- Stoops believes he has special understanding of high school coaches
- Video: UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown talks about working with head coach Mark Stoops
- Dallas Prime Prep will bring marquee players Mudiay, Thomas, Ferguson to Marshall County Hoop Fest
- Father had biggest impact on Mark Stoops’ coaching career and life
By LARRY VAUGHT
The basketball season still doesn’t start for another month, but it’s just about time to start the Kentucky basketball blitz on Vaught’s Views.
Starting Thursday you will be able to read the preseason thoughts and insights of new UK coach John Calipari as well as those of his players.
You will read how Calipari wants to put the swagger back into Kentucky basketball and have a chance to get to know more about highly-touted freshman DeMarcus Cousins. There will be terrific insights from Patrick Patterson, who should be one of the nation’s premier players this year. Those insights will include his thoughts on time he spent training in California with UK freshman Daniel Orton this summer.
You will read how Orton still misses his mother, who passed away during his senior season. You will find out that freshman point guard Eric Bledsoe believes he can be a big-time contributor at Kentucky as well.
Remember seniors Ramon Harris and Perry Stevenson, two returning starters? Find out how they feel about all the attention on UK’s new players and so little being made of their past contributions at Kentucky.
There will be more with Darius Miller, perhaps UK’s most improved and intriguing players this season. And there will be a lot more insights from Calipari.
And that’s just what is coming the next two or three days. After that, there will be more features with UK Media Day approaching Oct. 15, Big Blue Madness Oct. 16 and SEC Media Day Oct. 22.
Web master Gary Moyers will be adding stories Thursday based on readership and demand. So let us know what you think of the stories and how many new ones you want to see Thursday and Friday. If you ask, Moyers will make sure we deliver.
And no, I have not forgot it is still football season. There will be complete coverage of Kentucky’s game with Alabama here Saturday during and after the game.
But for the next two days, get set for your Big Blue Basketball Blitz compliments of Vaught’s Views.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Steve Ortmayer is not the least bit surprised that former Boyle County and University of Kentucky standout Jacob Tamme seems to have found a home with the Indianapolis Colts.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Jacob was very fundamental player. He was a drill, fundamental player. Despite the fact that sometimes he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t look like the smoothest guy in the world executing what he does, he knows what to do fundamentally and thatÃ‚Â has really helped him,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Ortmayer, UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tight end and special teams coach.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think he can last a long time in the league. Jacob is playing a position where once you last a year and then a second year, you are more valuable to them than young guys coming in because of the experience you have and what you know.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Tamme is in his second season with the Colts and Ortmayer, a former NFL coach, has seen enough to convince him he likely will be there a long time.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ I think he is smart enough to look beyond the small picture and see the big picture of what he can do for them and go out and get that part done. It may not be apparent. They may not need him just to catch the ball They may need him to do other things, too,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ortmayer said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In other words, I know one thing that Jacob has done since he has been in Indianapolis is that he has become a NFL caliber long snapper. He was not here. He has become one there. That gives him one more avenue, one more reason for them to keep him.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ortmayer says TammeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s confidence in his own ability enables him to be a productive player, too.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has tremendous confidence in himself. He has great confidence in the throwing game. He just believes that you really canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t throw a pass that he canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go get. That has served him well,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ortmayer said.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“We had unbelievable confidence in Tamme when he was here. We just felt if we could get it close to him, he would make plays.Ã¢â‚¬Â
What about this year? Can KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tight ends come close to doing the things Tamme did for three years?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are a little different mold. They are a little stronger blockers. They have worked very hard at the techniques of line play. The position will play better than it did last year, no question. This position has to give us tremendous consistency and give us the ability to make the possession catches that are needed like Jacob always did,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ortmayer said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Rod Strickland was an all-American player at DePaul and went on to score over 14,000 points and hand out almost 8,000 assists while playing in 1,094 NBA games.
Yet when his NBA career ended, he had no problem starting at a non-coaching position on John Calipari’s staff at Memphis.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have any second thoughts at all because I knew I wanted to be a basketball coach. Everybody doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t start at the top. Rarely do you start at the top. There is a process and I had to go through it. If I could have left the NBA and got an executive job somewhere in basketball or head coaching job in NBA, who wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want that. But that is not the reality of the situation. You have to get in where you fit in,” Strickland, now an assistant at Kentucky, said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The only opportunity given to me was Memphis. I thought that was a great opportunity to get in basketball and see if I had what it takes to be in this. The best thing that happened to me was going to Memphis and starting from the bottom. I learned from the best and best coaching staff. I worked my way into this.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When you come out of the NBA Ã¢â‚¬â€ and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care what anybody says Ã¢â‚¬â€ you are used to a certain way of living. You come into coaching and I am checking classes, going to pick up people and doing different things. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not the easiest transition, but I was able to be with someone that would let me go through it. I could have gone somewhere else and it might have been harder. Coach understood and let me work my way up.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Nothing makes him happier than being around basketball.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Basketball has always been there for me from as far as I know,” he said. “I remember watching my brothers play and I wanted to be like my brothers. So when they played basketball, I did. I remember shooting underhanded and my brother teaching me how to shoot. I remember going and watching them.
“I remember being 9 or 10 and playing with older guys and throwing a behind the back pass every time down the court. That was my forte. They thought it was slick that this little kid could throw behind the back passes. If you could get those guys the ball, you would be on the court and I wanted to be on the court with my brothers. They played all the time. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to be on the sideline watching.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Strickland knows talented players don’t always make great coaches. However, he thinks he can be successful and an asset to Calipari and Kentucky.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just have a certain knowledge of the game that I like to share. Just having been through it as a player and competing and knowing what it takes to win and working to get to where you want to get. Just being a part of the game, I can see it and help them see it,” he said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Maybe IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll never see Kentucky beat Florida or Tennessee in football again in my lifetime. Maybe IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll never seen Kentucky win another basketball championship even though thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot more reasons to be optimistic now with John Calipari on the bench.
However, I no longer have to wonder about what it would be like to ride a zipline because I finally can cross that off my personal bucket list. I got a thrill a minute Tuesday in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., on the Wahoo Ziplines
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to explain exactly the exhilaration and fear one can feel at the same time while riding any of the six ziplines anywhere from 40 to 280 feet high at speeds that sometimes exceed 40 miles per hour.
I was slightly encouraged before my wife and I started our adventure when owner Sterling Webb and marketing director Rock Hayes informed us that the youngest rider had been 4 years old and the oldest 90. They even recently had a blind woman ride that Webb said Ã¢â‚¬Å“had everyone crying because she was so thrilled.Ã¢â‚¬Â Hayes said his 15-year-old daughter had ridden 40 times and enjoys spinning and flipping backwards during the ride. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You can do what you want. A lot of people run and jump off the platforms to take off,Ã¢â‚¬Â Hayes said.
I was also surprised by the number of return visitors the attraction which is only a few miles outside Pigeon Forge has had since opening about 14 months ago.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But the most surprising thing is how many women we have come. They enjoy it and then come back with their husbands or boyfriends,Ã¢â‚¬Â Webb, who got the idea for the zipline when traveling and seeing how successful others in various countries were, said.
Wahoo Ziplines is the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s biggest zipline with over two miles of cable through the magnificent scenery. WebbÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 80-year-old father took his first ride a few hours before we did.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I never really envisioned this become so big so quick,Ã¢â‚¬Â Webb, who invested $870,000 in the project not counting the land purchase, said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are really busy in the summer. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had a visitor from South Africa. We have had a NFL player (Jamaal Lewis). We have all kinds of people here.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ziplining is the fastest growing sport in America. Not many people have done it yet, but it is a great adventure.Ã¢â‚¬Â
It is that.
Our two guides, Brandon and Ionel, were terrific. They made sure all our equipment was adjusted perfectly and gave us needed safety tips. Then they started our 90-minute adventure.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll admit I was nervous as I watched my wife Ã¢â‚¬â€ she asked to go before me Ã¢â‚¬â€ sail through the air toward the next platform. Then it was my turn. I have gone parasailing before, but this was totally different. Flying down that zipline was invigorating. I went backwards the first time and had no idea how to correct it. Thank goodness Ionel was able to stop me.
The more we did, the easier it got. Or maybe it was just that my nerves calmed down. Others in our group were just as apprehensive while some were far braver and could hang upside down immediately. Eventually I was able to hang upside down, but I kept my hands on the rope rather than totally fly free.
I did have a little trouble jumping to take off once and bumped by butt on the platform. But that was a minor inconvenience Ã¢â‚¬â€ and totally my fault Ã¢â‚¬â€ that did nothing to take away from this experience.
If you get a chance to try it, you will like it as well. Go to http://www.wahoozip.com for more information. You can also call 865-453-7301 to make reservations Ã¢â‚¬â€ and reservations are suggested during busy times because of the demand.
So while this bit of fun didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t erase UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 41-7 loss to Florida last week, it sure did give me a couple of hours of memories IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll always cherish and I bet it would do the same for you.
By LARRY VAUGHT
David Ridley, a Kentucky native, now lives in Jacksonville, Fla., but he remains a Kentucky basketball fan. So is his son, Luke, a freshman at Providence High School and teammate of recent UK commit Stacey Poole.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Stacey is a dandy. He can jump out of the gym,Ã¢â‚¬Â said David Ridley. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sometimes some players get together for a dunking contest and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot of fun to watch.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are Wildcat fans, but even with that said itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s obvious Stacey has a lot of talent. Basketball is not real big here, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a big-time player. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fun to watch play and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a great, great kid. He has a great father that is involved in all parts of AAU, too. Stacey can slash and score and he can really, really jump. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an explosive player that can take it up and throw it down on about anybody. When you watch him play, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty electric.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Luke Ridley has known Poole since late in the summer when Poole transferred to Providence for his senior season. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think he is a great player and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely earned every right to be considered among the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top 100 players,Ã¢â‚¬Â the high school freshman said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Not only can he drive, but he can pull up and score or rise up and dunk over you. If he gets wide open one on one, he just throws it down with power. He goes hard. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very, very explosive.
Poole has impressed Luke Ridley with his defense, too.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is a tenacious defense. His tenacity is crazy. When he gets down to guard, there is no getting by him. It did suprrise me a little bit how hard he plays on defense. He gets after it more than I expected someone that good would. He has that extra gear almost that he can kick it into when he has to and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll do that on defense as well as offense,Ã¢â‚¬Â Luke Ridley said.
Perhaps John Calipari should give Luke Ridley, who dreams of playing for UK, an assist for PooleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commitment.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He wears his Kentucky Nike T-shirt and Calipari T-shirt all the time. Maybe he had an influence on Stacey,Ã¢â‚¬Â David Ridley laughed and said.
Luke Ridley is already thinking ahead to seeing Poole play at UK. His grandfather, Doug Ridley, lives in Paducah. His other grandfather, Joe Brandel, lives in Jacksonville now but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a former UK football player.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think we will definitley come see him play for the Big Blue and visit my grandpa at the same time. That will be a great trip,Ã¢â‚¬Â Luke Ridley said.
But what would he tell UK fans is the best thing about going to have Stacey Poole playing for Kentucky?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Not only will he be good, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll work hard in the classrom. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be a perfect fit for the offense coach Calipari wants to run,Ã¢â‚¬Â Luke Ridley said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think Stacey is a major pickup for John Calipari and everybody will eventually see that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
John Calipari’s reach continues to amaze me.
Now we know that flamboyant pro golfer John Daly counts Calipari as a close friend based on what Daly told Winchester Sun sports editor Keith Taylor Sunday after he played a celebrity match with former UK golfer J.B. Holmes.
“I think in three years, Kentucky will win a national championship,” Daly told Taylor.Ã‚Â “I’ll bet on it, that’s for sure.”
Considering the problems Daly has had, he probably shouldn’t bet on anything. But it still is a plus when a national figure like Daly counts Calipari as a friend. He’s no LeBron James, but Daly still is a big name and obviously knows Calipari well.
“He’s a hell of a recruiter and he’s a good player’s coach,” Daly told Taylor. “It’s not about liking a coach, it’s about respecting him. Every player who has played for coach Cal respects him and they work their butts off.Ã‚Â He gets the best out of them, not just on the court, but in school, too.”
Again, Daly did say “in school, too.” The Cal critics bash him for a lot of things, but his friends continue to paint a different picture of the new UK coach. Soon we’ll know exactly who is right, but somehow one has to believe that Calipari’s friends have to believe what they are telling us.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Tight end Ross Bogue got to enjoy his touchdown catch against No. 1 Florida, the defending national champion, for what he estimated was Ã¢â‚¬Å“about two seconds.Ã¢â‚¬Â ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how long it took him last week to remember that made the score still 31-6.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kind of hard to get real excited when you are getting beat like that. Obviously, I was thrilled to catch a touchdown pass, especially against the No.1 team, but I was so upset over the way we were playing,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Bogue.
The senior tight end didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mince words when he looked back on the 41-7 loss and contemplated what was coming against No. 3 Alabama this week.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We played intimidated against Florida. We talked all week about coming out strong and hitting them in the mouth and we did not do that at all,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Bogue. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We knew exactly what was coming. But we came out hesitant and watching. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s never a confidence builder when you start out (on offense) with two penalties. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that against a team like Florida, or Alabama.Ã¢â‚¬Â
So can UK actually now still believe it can beat Alabama after being manhandled by Florida?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to be more physical and not be hesitant. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a reality check anytime you play a SEC team and we know Alabama is one of the best defenses in the nation,Ã¢â‚¬Â Bogue said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We still believe we can win. We were embarrassed against Florida. No question about that. We played awful on offense.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach Brooks can say what he wants about it being his fault, but we knew Florida was a great team just like we know how great a team Alabama is. We canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t blame the way we played on coach Brooks. He canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come out and play.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s frustrating what we did against Florida. It was like last year when they blitzed us. But we still didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come out and hit people. We have to do that against Alabama right from the start.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It may have looked like we were intimidated against Florida by the way we played. But that was not us. We now have a chance to show we are better than that and I truly believe that is what we will do.”
Senior defensive end Corey Peters thinks Kentucky has one advantage going against Alabama that it didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have against Florida.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We do match up better against Alabama even though they are a great team, too. They line up and hit you in the mouth every play. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what we want to do. They play into our strength. We can line up and play physical with them. They wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get us on our heels with schemes like Florida did. They are good, but they just go with basic stuff and we can more than compete with that,Ã¢â‚¬Â Peters said.
But can UK compete with Alabama? ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy to want to believe that, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to believe that after watching the first quarter last week.
What do you think? Let me know how you feel and whether the real UK fans like you are still on the Big Blue bandwagon. Submit your comments and letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s see what the general feeling is about the Cats going into this game.
By LARRY VAUGHT
We have finally hit 1,500 Twitter followers of vaughtsviews.com.
All I can say is thanks to all of you who have taken the time to register and follow the Kentucky football and basketball information that I try to post here daily.
Believe me, I never thought the site would become so popular Ã¢â‚¬â€ our best day was over 18,000 hits and now 5,000 or more daily hits are common. And I never dreamed over 1,500 folks would take the time to follow me on Twitter.
Jennifer Brock, Don Gabbard, Corey Francis, Frank Ford and Michele Foley registered almost simultaneously and I have a special treat for all five because any of them could have been the 1,500th follower. I just need each of them to send me their mailing address at email@example.com and I will make good on my promise to send them something special.
The comments to many of the posts here have been outstanding as well. I feel that gives added perspective to my blog Ã¢â‚¬â€ even when folks disagree. I like diverse opinions and different ideas.
And I have also got several story ideas and/or tips thanks to vaughtsviews.com readers. Never hesitate to let me know when you have ideas and/or questions.
I want this site to be reader friendly, informative and diverse. I want to know what you want.
But thanks again for coming back here and thanks for helping my Twitter clan grow. After all, the more the numbers grow, the more the loyal advertisers here will benefit and the more I will be able to do.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky recruiting coordinator Chuck Smith knows the Wildcats have not been able to persuade some highly-regarded recruits to choose UK this fall. However, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not worried about how UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recruiting is going considering the Wildcats do have nine commitments.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I feel things are going pretty good overall. We havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t got everybody that we wanted, but we have got a lot of guys that we have wanted,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Smith. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think you never ever get everybody you want. That comes with the territory a little bit. At this point, I feel like we have a very, very solid group that has committed that we are really high on. We have some more slots to fill and still want some guys and we are working our tail ends off to get them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kentucky has finished second for several high-profile recruits recently. Smith understands why that could leave the perception UK is not finishing the recruiting process with some players, but he says it is important to also remember one other things.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you think about it, we finished first on 10 other guys. We are not going to finish first on everybody. I know the guys we really want that I take it personally when I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sway them to see Kentucky as I see it because it is a great place to play football,Ã¢â‚¬Â Smith, a former UK linebacker, said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have a lot to offer and I want them to see that and sometimes when they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t and choose somewhere else it kind of makes you sick to your stomach as a coach because you really wanted to make it happen and it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happen. But I understand that is part of the business and you have to move on.Ã¢â‚¬Â
So does Joker Phillips, UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head coach of the offense and a former recruiting coordinator.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I learned from Jerry Claiborne a long time ago not to worry about the ones you lose. Worry the ones you are getting are the right ones. We feel like the ones who are committed to us are the right ones. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nothing to be alarmed over,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Phillips.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We went after the same level (of player) every year. We got in on more this year. We were on them longer. We are always going to try and get better players than what weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got. We feel like we have the right commitments with the ones we have. We are not worried or discouraged at all, Phillips said.
Kentucky has 10 verbal commitments even though Tennessee defensive lineman Tim McAdoo is only a Ã¢â‚¬Å“soft verbalÃ¢â‚¬Â and certainly has hinted he could de-commit. That could be almost half of UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2010 recruiting class, or maybe more if a couple of players who signed earlier with the Wildcats but didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t qualify academically then do get eligible.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“One thing we used to do was take chances on grade guys. Now we are not taking chances on grade guys,Ã¢â‚¬Â Phillips said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You get guys that are qualified now. It used to be that we would take a chance on good players who may not be here academically. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to do that now. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to fight those battles any more. Maybe late (in the recruiting process), but early you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take a guy who is not qualified. We have moved past that.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Before we had a lot of commitments, but how many made it here. Some would de-commit, some would never make it here. Some that did, it was because nobody else would take a chance on them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Phillips says UK still needs defensive linemen, more offensive linemen, one or two running backs, a defensive back and at least one tight end in its 2010 recruiting class.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We just have to find athletes we can plug in places,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Chip Stroud, the 27-year-old assistant coach at Providence High School in Jacksonville, Fla., describes himself as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“basketball nut.Ã¢â‚¬Â Since he had friends who also went to the University of Kentucky, he knew the passion UK fans have for basketball and wanted to make sure one of his players Ã¢â‚¬â€ Stacey Poole Ã¢â‚¬â€ would not be overwhelmed by the Big Blue hysteria.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I told him, Ã¢â‚¬ËœThese guys bleed blue and it is their lifeblood. Are you sure that is what you want?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â Stroud said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But he loved Kentucky and is really excited about it. He liked everything about it and I think it will be a great place for him.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The 6-5, 180-pound Poole announced last week he would sign with the Wildcats in November. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s another four-star recruit for coach John Calipari.
Some might wonder why Poole has changed schools for his senior season. Stroud says thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an easy explanation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been here since about July, but we played against him every summer at his previous school,Ã¢â‚¬Â Stroud said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re familiar with his game, and we know heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a great kid as well. Overall, this is a good situation for him and us.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There was a coaching change at his previous school. His previous school also got rated as a Ã¢â‚¬ËœFÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ school. Our coach is very well known and guys who want to get better athletically and academically come to play for him. Patrick Young, a 6-9 kid who is going to Florida, did the same thing for his senior year to get the coaching and overall atmosphere here,Ã¢â‚¬Â Stroud said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There was nothing negative about the transfer here. Academics at his previous school were down and his coach left. We have kids graduate here and then college is easy academically. I am not saying heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ‚Â a 4.0 (grade-pointa average) student, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s working hard toward that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He apparently worked hard to make a name for himself during the summer, too. He played well at the NBA Camp and the Reebok All-America Camp. He averaged 15.8 points per game at the NBA camp. The only player who scored more was point guard Josh Selby, another Calipari recruiting target.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is just super athletic. He does things that only guys that play at Kentucky, North Carolin and Duke can do. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very athletic in the open court. He plays hard. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a great defender. He gets his offense by getting to the hole,Ã¢â‚¬Â Stroud said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He can score outside, too, if needed. That is his biggest weakness, if he has one. His 3-point shot needs work, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the total package in every other spot. He has spent time on his shooting and has improved. He can do just about everything and even his 3-point shooting is not what I would call a major weakness. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just not the best part of his game.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Program he came from they just preached be more athletic and not have teo play as hard, providence is school where never blessed super athletic kid. we streess defense. he leraning to play hard every possession.
today is he our hardest working player, no. but see steps he not same player was three weeks ago. He wants to be good.Ã¢â‚¬Â
And what kind of person is he off the court?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is a yes sir, no sir type of kid. Kids at providence love him. I teach at the middle school. He comes by and is really good with kids. When they found out he was going to Kentucky, they all wanted to talk to him,Ã¢â‚¬Â Stroud said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very polite. I have not seen him be rude to any teachers or disrespectful to anyone, and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think I ever will. I have seen nothing but good things with his attitude and behavior. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why I say he really is a great kid.Ã¢â‚¬Â