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By LARRY VAUGHT

Apparently Southeastern Conference opponents are not quite ready to concede the 2014 conference title to coach John Calipari’s team much less accepting that Kentucky should be the odds-on favorite to win the national title.

South Carolina signee Sindarius Thornwell played in the Derby Classic Festival in Louisville last month. He had 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting, four rebounds, two assists and one steal in 16 minutes. He also made it clear that while he respected Kentucky, he didn’t fear Calipari’s team or No. 1 recruiting class.

“I just wanted to have fun, too, with all the guys in Louisville,” said Thornwell. “The future against Kentucky, I don’t know yet.”

Don’t know. Kentucky has the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class that includes six McDonald’s All-Americans, two all-state players from Kentucky and three experienced returning players.

“That is crazy to have six McDonald’s guy. But they still have to play,” Thornwell said. “They still got to come in and play every game. I wish them all the best. I am friends with them and wish them the best, but I am going to go at them. Every time we play, I am going right after them. I won’t back down. We are going to compete.”

No brag. No threat. Just an honest answer from a player who knows Julius Randle, Aaron and Andrew Harrison, James Young, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee.

If anything, all the hype about UK being No. 1 going into next season and the clear favorite to win the national title only motivates the South Carolina signee — and likely will do the same for other opposing players.

“Of course it does. We are coming to upset. I am saying that now. We are coming in to beat Kentucky,” Thornwell said.  “We are not riding their coat tails. We are coming in to win.

“We are not going to let the hype get to us. We are just going to use it as motivation. Hopefully we are going to try and get everybody to hype us one day when we turn South Carolina around.”

32 Responses to South Carolina basketball signee Thornwell: “We are coming in to beat Kentucky”

  • cmpop77 says:

    The clear favorite. I think a couple other teams my have something to say about that.

  • Pat Francis says:

    When was south carolina ever relevant…. Trust me wild thornberry Kentucky is gonna run through the SEC…each kid is league material I know they have to come together but Julius randle has the intangibles his motor is outrageous it’s gonna take him until about December he will start dominating the game but they aren’t going undefeated also when the game gets close we have DAKARI Johnson in the post to get buckets

  • LindaS says:

    I remember when SC beat us a couple years ago. BCG era. I want to know what he has been drinking to even think that this year. DUH!

  • Larry Pup says:

    I wouldn’t expect him to say anything different. This UK team will have to bring it every game. These new UK stars will have to out play their opponents. No team they face is gonna quit. Every team, especially in the sec, will be out to beat them. You can feel the storm approaching. UK will get their opponent’s best game. That’s the way it is. I have seen what a No’1 class is capable of not doing this past season. I say let other players and schools talk, our boys must be ready to live up to all this hype and back it up with outstanding play on the court. I believe they will indeed.

  • Anonymous says:

    Well since the SEC is a football conference. Hopefully Kentucky will get relevant in that. Enjoy your championships because the sanctions are coming.

  • MikeF says:

    Well said Larry Pup, here is an early indicator of what life will be like for this years team. I like this kids spirit and competitive nature, Frank Martin needs more like him. This needs to be bulletin board fodder. The early season schedule affords a few opportunities for this team to get beat. Make no mistake, this team will not blow everybody away by 20 or 30 points, and, if they think that, that is another great reason it won’t happen. The four biggest advantages this years team has over last years is 1) better outside shooters with the Harrisons, Young, and Willis. 2) Dakari Johnson has a very soft touch inside and can score on a consistent basis like Cousins 3) a more agressive inside presence ( Randle ) and 4) better perimeter defense across the whole front. I just hope we don’t have any kids that really bucks Calipari like Liggins did the first 10 games in his first year, but, if that is what it takes to get a kid “on board”….so be it! Go Big Blue.

  • Neil says:

    UK is the clear favorite but you are right, there are several teams that are very talented including UofL as a repeat. Having said that, UK can go undefeated, if they gel because the talent is off the charts.

  • Juan4UK says:

    I say that this past year may prove to be a great positive for Cal now that it is over. That is the alternative that Cal will be able to point to for players that don’t want to buy in early. The ones that may be stubborn or immature (which is actually normal at that age). This past season will always be that reminder Cal needs to point to. A great teaching tool for him.

  • Anonymous says:

    SC swept a highly ranked UK team about 8 or 10 years ago. The last game being UK Senior Night.
    40 & 0 talk is just that.
    4 or 5 losses will be fine if we peak in March.
    Gators will be the team to beat in the SEC.

  • Larry Pup says:

    You are probably a UL fan who has no place else to vent except a UK site. UL should have sanctioned Pitino for screwing around. Jurich for not doing so is gutless. That is sad to see, but is common practice in our day and time. I since some jealousy in your remark Anonymous. No, you enjoy your championship. See you at Rupp in Dec. hot shot.

  • Larry Pup says:

    That was not meant for you Anonymous. I tagged the wrong Anonymous. My remarks are for Anonymous who posted at 9:17 am on May 2. A typical cocky UL fan I suppose. My mistake.

  • Karen Sprinkle says:

    Of course the players on the teams UK face next year aren’t going to roll over. Bring their best game, and let the best team win. I do agree that this is the type of player Frank Martin needs. I think he released a number of players at the end of this season.

  • RheaBaker says:

    So nice that you know so much since you hide behind an anonymous sign. Why don’t you put up your name & post all your inside information about why the sanctions are coming. After that, you can send it to the NCAA to get the sanctions rolling. That would make you a hero to all of your loserville friends. But since you don’t have the guts to do that I’m figuring all of your inside information is like most UK haters. It comes from ENVY, not facts!!!!!!

  • RheaBaker says:

    And by the way, UK is on the way to being relevant in football too. Coach Stoops just needs a couple of years to get a better game plan & the players he needs to execute it in place. I guess when that happens you will be on here talking about when the football sanctions will be coming. As Larry Pup said, these 2 posts are aimed @ the dummy who posted 5/2 9:17am.

  • jeff ada says:

    Gotta love internet tough guy talk loud say nothing im going to be anonymous what a joke I am a die hard UK fan and sc beat us in 2009 cals first yr in sc but Mr Frank martins is a outstanding coach UK SHOULD WIN AGAINST THEM NO WALK IN THE PARK THOUGH

  • kyfanboss says:

    I’m a big blue fan from the Rupp days. Bashing UK or any other team on here is childish. KY had a bad year, so we made the opposing fans happy. This year hopefully we will do our talking on the basketball court. Where the real statements mean something. GO BIG BLUE!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Larry Pup – I knew where directing your statement ( and agree ). No harm, no foul pards.
    Anom 2

  • Love SEC F-Ball says:

    My reply button is not working either – Thought it was my computer but maybe we need Gary’s help????

  • Love SEC F-Ball says:

    Here is my test reply – thanks1

  • Love SEC F-Ball says:

    Gary these last two messages were sent by my “reply button”.
    Problem must be on my end??

  • fred says:

    hey anonymous big mouth, thats all i hear from you cry baby, cal haters. sanctions get over him dude pull for your team, the one your not proud of since your anonyomous.get a life.find you a team you can be proud of. wear the school logo on your shirt. stop hating . cry baby

  • UKfanKathy says:

    You can’t blame the SC kid from talking this type trash. Just let he and his team put their big mouths into action and we’ll see who is eating what come game time. And for “Anonymous”, these type people are just not worth acknowledging their existence. They are always good for a laugh. We’ll see who’s laughing last in Louseyville!

    • larryvaught says:

      I believe Thornwell was just being honest when I talked to him. Remember, he said he liked all those guys coming to uk

  • Al Johnson says:

    You only wish “sanctions are coming.” The cold hard truth is Kentucky is coming. Get your clownish team ready!

  • WAYNE A says:

    Sanctions???? Anonymous,you sound like a jealous,sore loser.Coach Cal. has never been found of any wrong doing at any school he has coached.I think your crystal ball has cracks in it.Eat your heart out.

  • Toicat says:

    Thornwell is just speaking as a competitor. I would expect no less from him, hell he’s just being honest. But, (and this is a big butt,) the Cats have a lot of incoming talent for him to compete with. Should Andrew Wiggins join the squad….well you know where my thought process is heading…, Go Cat’s Go Number Nine would be devine !

  • Mark says:

    Sanctions? Anonymous, Coach Cal has been under a microscope since he came to Kentucky. We don’t have to do anything special to get top players to come to Kentucky. We have a record that no one can touch before Cal got here. Cal has a record of getting players NBA ready. We are everyone’s super bowl. They all come to beat us. We were never expected to do that well last year. We had very little leadership and lost our number 1 NBA draft pic to a torn ACL. This year, will be different. We have guys that will bang up inside. As a matter of fact, they can play as hard as they want. There is enough depth to bring plenty in off the bench. As Vital said, we have the number one team in the country in our starting 5. The next 5 make a top 20 team in the country. As far as Wiggins goes, he can either play for the next National Championship team, or he can get beat by the next National Championship Team. If he wants the best chance at getting his ring before going pro, He will make the right decision.

    • Toicat says:

      Hey Mark !

      I agree with most of your comments (along with Dick Vital’s) about the depth and talent level for the Cat’s next season. But…..I recall last year hearing way too much about how the NCAA Championship was going to either Duke or Indiana. On paper, I had to agree that both of those teams seemed to be LOADED with experience and talent. Stay with me here. Even though next season Kentucky will have a simply amazing class of players coming back and coming into the program, last year taught me something about another couple of overlooked factors….maturity and chemistry. Without them, a team will just flounder. NCAA basketball is far different than anything these young men have had to deal with. I get scared when I read comments about how they might go undefeated. Even if Wiggins comes on board, that’s a tall order. Plus the pressure of the media and fans expectations would only become a distraction. All I am saying is I hope that after last season, everyone gets their act together and plays as a team. UK quickly became a laughing stock only midway into the SEC games last season, and I hope that it serves as a long lasting lesson. No leadership + lack of chemistry = 1st round loss in NIT. So, I’ll settle for a 30-4 season if the Cat’s can cut down the nets in Texas Stadium !

      Lastly, I believe that Andrew Wiggins is an amazing player…NBA caliber for certain. He is a game changer no matter where he goes. For selfish reasons, I hope that he chooses UK, but I have this suspicion that it will be North Carolina.

  • Mark says:

    Hi Toicat,
    I would have to agree with everything you said. The undefeated season is a dream. Not sure it is realistic but I will say, if we get past Michigan St. it is possible. Also, if Wiggins goes to NC, he will play against us this year. Something to think about, our point guard this year is for real. The twins are the real deal. You can’t have that chemistry without that. I am not sure Ryan pulled that off very well and even if he had good games, he was inconsistant. That reflected how our team played. With Harrison, he will make everyone look better. It is much easier to make the play, when you have someone like him setting it up. It will be a different year. I read today that Wiggins girl friend is going to college in Indiana. Notre Dame, we are the closest school to her if that is part of his decision. We shall find out in about another week.

  • KYIA says:

    I would like to also agree with what you said But add my view points: the second string might be what last years team was expected to be with maturity. Aaron is almost as good as Andrew at point , Young maybe a better shooter than Aaron and Johnson will be better than WCS so I would make this my second string AaHarrison, Polson, Lee, Poythress, WCS other wise Polson would be the backup if Andrew got hurt and Willies free throws would have to improve to min 70% to start him also WCS and Poythress have formed a bond that will make this team competitive against the starters but still a team as a group also think this team would be in the top 10 against other teams and still have Wiljer if his defense has improved, Willis if he is as good as proclaimed , and Harkins to rotate or motivate. However this is all contingent on Wiggins coming aboard. GO BIG BLUE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • KYIA says:

    Wiggins girlfriend is a Junior to be a senior at St Joseph Catholic School in Huntington WV so he will only be about a 2hr drive away.

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