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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.”