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By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky basketball signee Marcus Lee is a two-sport standout and the second sport is volleyball where he had numerous Division I scholarship offers as well.
“I am hoping to be a McDonald’s All-American in volleyball, too. I started basketball about age 7 and then volleyball maybe six years ago. I am pretty sure I am better in basketball, but I love volleyball, too,” Lee said. “Basketball and volleyball go hand in hand for me. Volleyball really helps me with jumping and timing for basketball and basketball keeps me together and ready for volleyball. They go well together.”
He’s a prolific shot blocker in basketball, something he attributes to playing volleyball.
“Volleyball helps my timing and helps me know how to keep my arm away from their arm. It teaches me the basics of my footwork that basketball kind of skips over. It shows me all the basic stuff that works for basketball that basketball sometimes forgets,” he said.
Fourth, he has an off-court personality made for Kentucky basketball.
“I definitely enjoy all interactions with fans. I would go on Twitter sometimes, especially during games, and I will be all into it and I will tweet and go back and forth with fans and absolutely love it,” he said. “I am starting to get used to media interviews more and more and know there will be a lot at Kentucky. I am kind of new to all the big media and all that unlike the other players (at the McDonald’s All-American Game). I am getting used to it and starting to love it. I like to talk, so getting with fans and media is something I like and should enjoy at Kentucky.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Marcus Lee is a dynamic basketball player — that’s why he played in the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic along with five other future Wildcats. However, he’s an interesting personality away from basketball, too.
First, he has an interest in graphic art.
“I have always loved kind of messing around with technology and drawing art. I like to look on the computer and create the interior of a house. When I am on my phone, I am thinking they should have done this better and I will write little notes about how they could do it better,” said Lee. “If I had time, I would probably go to my brother’s work — he works at Apple — and see if I could sit down and talk to them about their Apple products.”
He plans to major in business and then wants to “come back and get my Masters in technology” for future business ventures.
“My first thought is to get my education. That is always my first goal and has been drilled into my head since I was probably one. I think when I was born it was like, ‘You need to get your education.’ That’s my first goal. If the opportunity is given to me (to play in the NBA), I will speak to my family and we would come to a quick decision,” Lee said.
“But my mom, my dad, my brothers, everybody drilled education into my head. They all were just like you didn’t have a choice and it was great that I didn’t have a choice but to be great in education.”
Second, that emphasis on education comes despite being placed in special education in second grade because he had dyslexia and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that can be characterized by either significant difficulties of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two. Symptoms normally emerge before seven years of age and led to Lee being placed in a special education class.
“School is extremely hard, especially with dyslexia and ADHD. I started off in special ed. Being in a regular class and going into special ed in second grade was really hard for me, especially when other kids saw me going into the class. I would wait and go in last so no one would see me,” Lee said. “Knowing that I had to work 20 times harder just to be even with everybody else showed me that I had to work 1,000 times harder to be at level with or above everybody else, so that has always helped me with my drive to be the best in basketball. I learned early to take on challenges.”
He said the most frustrating/painful part of being in special education was not knowing why he couldn’t learn.
“It was extremely hard. Some days I would go home and was like, ‘Why can’t I figure this out?’ Or you are in class and don’t understand what is happening, so you just go into shutdown mode and you are like, ‘I don’t understand why everybody else understands but I don’t.’ It kind of taught me how to not shut down as much and just keep working hard and keep trying to figure it out,” Lee said. “Then I got help (from teachers) and they taught me tricks and ways to get over my problem. I love them for helping me like that. It changed my life dramatically.”
Next: Lee’s other sport and personality made for UK.
By LARRY VAUGHT
If there is anything point guard Emmanuel Mudiay can’t do well, Dallas Prime Prep Academy coach Ray Forsett has not seen it.
“He is just a special player. He can do it all from getting to the rim to shooting the ball. He’s electrifying,” said Forsett. “You’ve got to see him play to appreciate all the special things he can do. He could go to Kentucky, Baylor, Arizona or about anywhere else because of the type player he is.
“He can do it all. He can get teammates involved. Being 6-4, it lets him do it all at point guard. He loves to make those special plays. He always keeps his teammates involved. We’ve challenged him to be an even better leader, and he is.”
Mudiay has definite interest in Kentucky. He says Calipari is a “great guy and great coach” and likes the “good job” he has done with point guards such as Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose, John Wall, Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague. He has another highly touted point guard, Andrew Harrison, coming to UK for next season.
Mudiay, regarded as one of the top five overall players in the 2014 recruiting class, said he also likes that Calipari “can win championships and worries about his program” by bringing in all the best talent he can.”
Arizona, Louisville, North Carolina, St. John’s, SMU, Texas, Kansas, Baylor and Oklahoma State are some of the teams recruiting Mudiay along with Kentucky.
He’ll be at the Marshall County Hoop Fest Dec. 6-7 — ironically UK will be in Dallas then playing Baylor on Dec. 6 — and will return to Kentucky again in January to play in a showcase at McCracken County.
“I thought it would be a great experience because competing against the best teams is always great,” Forsett said. “I took a team to Marshall County a couple of years ago and it was a great experience, great crowd. Everybody should experience that environment once. We are happy to be coming to Kentucky for two great events.
“I think you have to have been at Marshall County to know how great that event is and I am sure it will be crazy at McCracken County with that being a new event (in January). It’s going to be a great experience for our kids. We’ll throw our hat out there and see what we do.”
Last year UK recruiting targets Andrew and Aaron Harrison along with Andrew Wiggins all played in the Marshall County Hoop Fest. All signed numerous autographs and posed for countless pictures — mainly with UK fans.
“Emmanuel loves fans. He will have a good time with it. We all will. It will be a great experience for him and all our kids,” Forsett said. “Emmanuel is fine with the attention. He just loves to play.”
Mudiay plans to go through the summer and fall at least before making a college decision.
“He’ll just see how things unfold and how it plays out,” Forsett said. “He has definite interest in Kentucky. If you are a top player, you have got to have interest in Kentucky. But he has interest in a lot of top programs. It’s about finding the great fit for him. He is a high level kid. He’ll just ask God for help making the right decision and who he is comfortable with is where he’ll know he needs to be.
“This is my third year with him. We have a good relationship and he is a great kid. He has matured a lot. He still has a ways to go, but there is no questioning his basketball skills. He’s special.”
The team also has another big-time prospect in 6-9 junior Elijah Thomas.
“He is a little Zack Randolph. That is his game,” Forsett said. “He is a special kid, too. He will love the attention and crowds in Kentucky. He will have a good time. He is being recruited by a lot of schools.”
That’s because he can score with either hand and is good at getting teammates involved. He has scholarship offers from Baylor, California, Connecticut, Houston, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Massachusetts, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M.
Prime Prep also has another rising star in 6-5 guard Terrance Ferguson.
“He was a stud as a freshman,” Forsett said. “A lot of schools are recruiting him early and the fans will enjoy watching him play, too.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
What do you think John Calipari learned over the course of last season? Here’s what he said:
“First of all, you have to have more than eight scholarship players. You may ask why I did that. Because I was trying to protect players in the program. What you learn is, you can’t protect players. You can’t protect them from competition. You bring in your group and the guys that understand competition brings out the best, they strive and they get better. They don’t have to play 30 minutes a game to reach their dreams. And so why I did it – if I had it to do over again, we would’ve had a couple more players. By not having a couple more players, guys were put in positions you have to play, and it’s hard to change guys when they’re in that mode.
“My wife and I talked about it, I don’t have any regrets where I gave guys more than one chance to make it and it hurt our team. Like, ‘Why did you leave this guy there? Why didn’t you just tell him, ‘Beat it. You’re not going to be good enough. We’re going to put you here.’ Because it’s about each individual player. And I can tell you that guys got the full season to prove themselves and do what they were gonna do, and you know what? I told my staff, ‘If I’m going to err, it’s going to be on the side of a player.’ Now, I know that’s, ‘Well, the program’s got to go and this kid’s got to go!’ That’s all good. But if it were your son, what would you want me to do? So if I’m going to err, it’ll be on the side of a player, which at times hurts the program. Now, it’s now how we’ve all been brought up to do this. It’s how I do it. And so, there were some things that went on that I should have changed this and this, but I was giving guys that opportunity. And Ellen and I said it: You can live without regrets. It may have hurt you for a season; what’s it doing to you? Nothing. But that young man had every chance to do what he was supposed to to change, to do it. If he didn’t, if he wasn’t willing or wasn’t able, now we know and we move on. But he got that full shot.
“So those were some things (I learned). But I’ll tell you again: Can you imagine if all four of the guys put their name in the draft (and) we would’ve have had four first-rounders? Do you know what that means? This is about the players. This is about them getting better. Can you imagine that? Now you can say why however you want to say why, but that’s a fact. The guys coming back should have come back. The guys that put their name in the draft, I’m going to do everything I can to help them. We’re not changing how we do that.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Count Florida junior forward Will Yeguete as one who expects big things from Kentucky sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein next season.
“I think he did a good job defensively this year. He was a factor. He was blocking shots, tipping the balls. I think he did a really good job overall,” said Yeguete. “The first time we played them, he didn’t really play that much and do anything to impact the game because (Nerlens) Noel was playing all the time. The next time he was starting and played more minutes and was a big factor in the game. I was impressed.
“He is really athletic. I think his timing is great. Blocking shots at the right time. He knows when to jump. He has size and when the guards are coming inside, he is really aggressive and defensively was just there. When you have a 7-footer in the lane, he will impact your shot and did a good job doing that every time I saw him play.”
Yeguete also appreciates Cauley-Stein’s demeanor on the court.
“I think he plays the game the right way. He had a little foul trouble against us, but when he came back in he was ready to go. He doesn’t say anything. He just plays the right way. I love the way he plays,” the Florida junior said. “He was only a freshman, so his offense is a work in process. He affects the game more defensively than offensively right now. They had a lot of scorers on their team and I think his coach would want him to be the defensive presence that they need without Noel and not worry about offense. I think he did a good job at that, but I know his offense will be a lot better by next year because you can tell he’s a hard worker.”
Yeguete had no idea Cauley-Stein was an all-state receiver in high school.
“That is funny. He must be really fast. That would be fun to watch him on the football field,” Yeguete said. “But he was good in basketball, too. Both he and Noel are good shot blockers. I don’t know if you can compare them. You saw Noel play more games, but they both change the game a lot and he (Cauley-Stein) could really be special next year.”
Kentucky teammate Alex Poythress tends to agree about that.
“Willie has done incredible from the day he got here. He has just got better every day,” Poythress said. “I ain’t never seen a 7-footer that moves like him, jumps like him. He is strong, He is just incredible out there. He has been great friend and great teammate. And you know next year, based on how he improved this year, that he could just be dominant.”
Practice competition was almost non-existent at Kentucky last season. That will change for John Calipari’s team next season thanks to eight new players.
Would the coach expect there could even be some practice skirmishes when tempers maybe flare?
“I’ve had that in teams. The thing is, when they walk off the court it’s got to end right there. I’ve had teams that laugh about it when practice is over, a hard screen and somebody comes up pushing and shoving and has to be broken up. Yeah, there is a competitive spirit,” Calipari said.
“What it does is, I think, it will drag us to where we’re trying to go. I’m going to tell you, two years ago we did not have a bad practice, not one. That led us to building a swagger and confidence level that we knew we could win every game we played, let’s just be at our best and if we weren’t and somebody got us, fine, next game.”
Here is what ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla and ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford said Wednesday when asked about Kentucky freshman Archie Goodwin and his NBA potential.
FRASCHILLA: Well, first of all, I can't wait to start talking to you about next season's Kentucky Wildcats, but we'll save that for another day. If Chad doesn't want to start, I'll start. I watched a lot of film of Archie Goodwin. I think that given this draft, he's a developmental player. If I'm not mistaken, he'll be one of the two youngest players in this draft. He does a lot of things well for a young player. He's athletic, terrific end to end quickness. Gets into the lane at will. There is one and he's actually a willing passer at 6'4", 6'5".
The problem with him right now, as you know and you saw this is he has a way below average jump shot, so that's going to scare a lot of people off. I think he's a kid that has really good value for a team that's looking for a developmental player, kind of like Lance Stephenson a couple years ago, not equating the off the court stuff at all. But this is a kid that's very much in the developmental stage of his career, but he has NBA athleticism. The jumpshot is the major red flag in this overall game, along with the fact that he's a very inexperienced young player.
FORD: I agree with Fran on that. I just add, he's having a rough go right now with NBA teams, partly because the expectations were so high for him out of high school, and that so many of the freshman have been successful and Calipari has had this ability to get the most out of these guys. I think that's been a huge feather in Calipari's cap. So when it didn't happen with Archie, I think a lot of NBA scouts put that back on the player and said if Calipari can't get the best out of you, and it didn't feel like he developed much as a player from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, how does that bode for your NBA future playing in the D League or playing on an NBA team?
And I think that is the big question mark, not athletically, but the questions about will he develop as a player when they just didn't really see it happen at Kentucky this year?
FRASCHILLA: I talked to more teams and we're seeing this too, Jeremy Lamb, who was a terrific college player spent much of the year in the D League. Archie Goodwin is one of those guys that I can almost guarantee you where and when he gets taken, is going to probably spend a lot of his time playing in the D League in the next year or two, just because a team can work with him, give him minutes.
Chad, I don't know about you, but it seems like the D League is becoming much more of an opportunity for the teams to utilize their young players and develop them.
FORD: Exactly, I agree, and I think that's where he'll go. His potential suggests still he should be a mid to late first round pick. I think the question mark is: Will he take that time; will he have the right attitude; will he be willing to be coached; and will he work on his weaknesses? No one knows the answer to those questions, and by the way, he's a young player, as Fran pointed out and players can mature and get a better work ethic or what have you, but there are those questions right now about him and his lack of development at Kentucky. If he can't develop there, will it make any difference whether he's in the D League or not?
By LARRY VAUGHT
Even though Kentucky coach John Calipari insisted Wednesday that he was “not hearing” the talk about his team being a lock to win next year’s national championship, he said he could “imagine” the talk is out there.
Apparently he’s the only one that doesn’t know for sure the talk is out there even if the Wildcats didn’t get Andrew Wiggins Tuesday.
“It’s probably because people are really rooting for us to do well. So that’s probably part of the reason. They want us to do so well, they’re putting that out there to help us build this team right,” joker Calipari.
Then, he turned serious to try and downplay those expectations for his team that will have eight new players join five returning players off last season’s NIT team.
“I don’t buy into any of that. I mean, if anybody thinks this is easy, we got a lot of coaches right now that have taken players that are the elite players and it hasn’t worked out,” Calipari said. “What we do here is hard. It’s not the normal thing that goes on. Do I like it? No. Do I wish kids would stay for two or three years? Absolutely.
“I’m still trying to do things to get that rule changed so that at least we encourage them to stay two years by doing things that make it possible for them to stay two years or three. If they stay two with the summer, they’re close to being graduated. They’ll be a little year (away from graduating).”
That led Calipari to tout his team’s 3.4 grade-average during the spring semester that had 12 players with a B average. He reminded everyone again that all 25 players who have gone through his program at UK have either graduated or gone to the NBA.
“We call it the success rate here. It’s a different situation. We’re not working on a 25-year-old model here. It’s different. It makes people mad when you talk about it. Oh, because, ‘You’re not about academics! You don’t care, you’re a basketball factory!’ We had a 3.4 GPA. We’ve had 10 players graduate. We’ve had two players come back. We have two more players coming back to finish up,” Calipari said. “You’re at Kentucky, you’re held to a different standard. Things that go on at other campuses can’t go on here. Just can’t.”
Calipari has hinted he would like to coach a team that goes 40-0 and wins the national title. If UK had landed Wiggins, that would have been the expectation for next season. Even without Wiggins, many wonder if this team could do it. Two years ago UK went 38-2 with Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leading the way.
Calipari knows there will be stories about his team “chasing perfection, chasing greatness” next season.
“We’re chasing things that have never been done in the history of our game. What I like about that, people say, ‘Pressure!’ Man, pressure brings out the best,” he said. “‘You’re going to be fired if you don’t get this done! You’re not going to make it if you don’t get this done!’ Wakes you up earlier in the morning. I don’t mind a little pressure. I’ve had it my whole career. I’ve had the gun to my head for 20-something years. And you know what? I’m at my best when the gun is to my head versus, ‘OK, I’m good, I can kick back.’ I’m not as good. And you know what? Players are the same.
“Now, I’m not sitting there saying, ‘If we lose a game, it’s not a successful season.’ No. But you’re chasing greatness. What’s wrong with that? ‘Well, we want to talk moment to moment and we’re not putting that on the kids.’ Well, we are. Any pressure on these kids when they come here? It’s on us. Now it won’t be on us that’s the forefront thing we’re talking about, but there’ll be things out there that they’ll see.”
He remembers one year when he was coaching at Massachusetts and a player talked about going undefeated. The team’s first game that year was against Kentucky. The schedule also included Maryland, Florida, Wake Forest (with Tim Duncan), Syracuse, North Carolina State, Southern Cal and Louisville.
“They said it. ‘Let’s go undefeated.’ I didn’t say it. I looked at the guy: ‘What, do you need drug tested? What are you talking about? We play Kentucky the first game. They’re the No. 1 team in the country.’ Well, you want them in a mentality that they can win every game. It’s hard to. It’s never been done in the modern era,” Calipari said.
Never done, but whether he likes it or not, UK fans are going to be talking about his team doing just that even with Michigan State, North Carolina, Baylor, Louisville, Florida and others on next year’s schedule.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari said he gave freshman Archie Goodwin ” the information, what was out there, what we were told” before Goodwin put his name into the NBA draft.
“We sat down and talked to him and he came back and said he wanted to put his name in the draft and we said, ‘Great, let’s go for it,’” Calipari said Wednesday. ” I’m not going to sit here and give you everything I said or my opinion because I don’t think it’s fair but they get everything they need and whatever decision they make – I’ve been on the phone right now with probably five or six NBA teams about Archie.
“You think about it, basically, if you draft him he’s 18 years old. You’re getting a high school player, the old days when the high school player could come out, that’s what you’re getting. You may have players in that draft that are four years older than him. Think about what I’m saying, three years older than him.
“The whole point with him is where do you project him? Would it have been better for him and maybe for us if I had played him at point at the start of the year? Maybe, but at his age they’re going to have a chance to mold him as a wing guard, point guard, whatever they want him to be. Workouts will be important for him but I think he’ll be fine because if you have a good attitude and you truly have a huge work capacity like a Brandon Knight you’re going to be fine. There may be bumps in the road but you will be fine. Someone will take him in a good position and he’ll be fine.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
If Kentucky coach John Calipari is right, last year’s NIT season was “the beginnings of success” for the upcoming season for the Wildcats.
“What we’re about to undertake has never been done before. Trying to put teams together like this, where you’re talking a big number of players, whether it be the Lakers, the Miami Heat, it takes time,” said Calipari during his summer press conference Wednesday. “There’s a learning curve. There’s a galvanizing process that we have to go through. And you know what, we’re going to have to be patient.
“When you looked at our numbers from last year, our defensive numbers, our shot-blocking numbers, our offensive percentages, you would say we should have won more games. But we weren’t as skilled as we needed to be, especially at crunch time. We weren’t as skilled. We weren’t as physically dominating as my teams in the past. This team should be.
Calipari said his coaching staff will have a two-day retreat next week to figure out what each incoming and returning player needs.
“We had Michael Gilchrist. Michael needed something from us that was different than what Anthony Davis needed from us. Than what Marquis Teague needed us in a different way. Terrence Jones needed something different than Doron Lamb needed. Or Darius Miller – ‘be more aggressive!’ Every one of those kids needed us in different ways.”
Calipari has eight freshmen, including six McDonald’s All-Americans, coming on board to go with his returning players. He calls it a “talented crew” that will still need to be coached.
“Each individual player needs coached. They need direction. They need to be taught the level of commitment. The intensity. The will to win has to come out. The alpha males that we didn’t have a year ago, I think we have, those guys have to do that. They can lead, but they have to lead us in the way they need to be led,” the UK coach said. “Michael Gilchrist, how did he lead us? Breakfast club. What did he do in practice? Was unbelievable in his work ethic. What did that mean. Two years ago, we did not have one bad practice. Not one. Last year, we had about five good practices. That I would say in my mind, over the years, would be the kind of practices I felt comfortable with.”
Calipari offered his analysis of each returning player as well as the newcomers:
Sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein.
Calipari: “Willie Cauley has a chance to be one of the better players that I’ve ever coached. Is not delusional at all. Understood how far he had come. Understood how far he needed to go. Understood he could have been a first-round draft pick. He knew. But he came back anyway. Because he wasn’t delusional.”
Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer.
Calipari: “Body’s got to change. Sixth man of the year has to get better. Physically. We all know what his skill set is. He has to take his defense and all those areas of his game to another level, which I think he will. My hope is he makes the national team, the Canadian national team, and then takes his game to another level.”
Sophomore Alex Poythress.
Calipari: “Alex Poythress learned a lot about himself and where he’s going to have to take everything to be the player that he wants to be. Now, let me say that, with that being said, he would have been in the first round had he put his name in the draft. He knew he wasn’t ready. And again, he was being pushed by some corners to put his name in the draft, but he knew. Again, wasn’t delusional. He knew, I have to change. I have to take this to another level. If he does, and the competition brings out the best in him, it is scary how good he can be. He’s not close to where he needs to be.
Seniors Jon Hood, Jarrod Polson.
Calipari: “Jon Hood, by the end of the year, for the first time had a breakthrough. And I was excited for him. He was one of those guys who played, he had fun playing, he didn’t feel the weight of the world on him, he didn’t have anything to prove. He went out to play. And Jarrod Polson ended up being one of our better guards at the end of the year.”
Freshman Aaron Harrison.
Calipari: “Big guard, can score the ball, should be and will be and is expected to be and will be demanded to be a lock-down defender. With his size, with his athleticism, one we can play a big zone. Two, we should be able to press because we’re going to be so big with our guard play and whoever we put up there. But it will start with Aaron. We know what he can do scoring the ball, but we want him to other to do other things and again, help define his game.”
Freshman Andrew Harrison.
Calipari: “My hope is by the end of the year, he’s just like some of the other point guards we’ve had. You look at him and say, hey he can do things that other point guards can’t do at his size, his scoring ability. And both of them are terrific drivers, which kind of tells you that we’re going to go back to a lot more dribble-drive. I’ve talked to a couple of my friends. We’re talking about dribble-drive into pick-and-roll, pick-and-roll, into dribble-drive, because of the team.”
Freshman Dominique Hawkins.
Calipari: “A young man from in state that just kind of blew me away with his will to win, his temperament on the court, his demeanor in helping his team win a championship. You always want to coach guys who understand. By winning a state championship and being down 16 two games, it shows what a tough mentality. And with what I just went through, I wanted a tough point guard. I wanted one more tough, physical – how ‘bout this – not just fighting, physical tough, how bout mentally tough? How about not break down? How about, ‘I’m bringing it and I’m not afraid to be 16 down and it has no effect on me?’ That’s what I saw in Dominique and why we recruited him.’
Freshman Dakari Johnson.
Calipari: “I watched him two summers ago folks, and I’m going to tell you, he had a knee issue and I looked at him and said, ‘I’m not so sure.’ Then I watched him a little bit later, and I said ‘Wait a minute.’ Then I watched him later in the season, could not believe it. The line of improvement for Dakari is like that. He’s a kid that will get up at six in the morning and work out. He’s a great student. He does all the things, and he wants to be better. He was on a team that there were times he wasn’t getting the ball. Never said one thing, ran that court, posted up. When he did get it, he did good things. He’s got great skills and his seven-foot tall.”
Freshman Marcus Lee.
Calipari: “Averaged a triple-double for the season. Like 11 blocks, like 15 rebounds and 18 points. Pogo stick, active, high energy, 6-10, 6-11, long armed. Another player who, again, wanted to be here. These kids all wanted to be here. They wanted the challenge of this, and they wanted to do it together. So when you look at Marcus Lee, you say he could have gone somewhere … He didn’t want to go. He wanted to come here and take on this challenge.”
Freshman Julius Randle.
Calipari: “Truly a hard worker who can play multiple positions, who can play inside and out. He’s a beast. He’s an alpha beast who will drive the team. Has a little bit of Micheal (Kidd-Gilchrist) in him, in a different way. In my mind, there are good players out there, he’s as good as any of them.”
Freshman Derek Willis.
Calipari: “Derek Willis, 6-9, 6-10, long, skilled big man from the state. Again, where his game goes … He wanted the challenge of this. ‘I want to go every day against players this good to see how I can be.’ Isn’t that the greatest part of this? I mean it’s not, ‘Well, I want to go here so I can be the guy and the only man. I want to go here and be challenged. How good can I be? And the only way I’m going to find it out is to go against the best. I’m going to go against the best every day.’ Well, he’s got a chance of really being good and being special.”
Freshman James Young.
Calipari: “Gives you that 6-7 wing who flat can shoot the ball.”