Most Recent Posts
- Kentucky senior Jon Hood named to SEC Community Service Team
- Future Cats Trey Lyles, Karl Towns, Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis all will paly in Jordan Brand All-American Game
- John Calipari hopes “cooler heads” come together to change one-and-done to two-and-done
- Kentucky fourth No. 1 preseason team to drop totally out of AP top 25
- John Calipari says Cats have to be scrappier, play more physical and share the ball a lot better
- Kentucky QB Patrick Towles will work out with QB guru George Whitfield over spring break
- John Calipari says great players make 2-on-1 look simple and UK “makes those look harder”
- John Calipari: “… just keep making that pass. Make it 22 times”
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Senior Jon Hood was selected to the 16th annual Southeastern Conference Community Service Team it was announced by the league office on Monday. It is the first such honor of the Madisonville, Ky., native’s career.
In a continuing effort to recognize the accomplishments of student-athletes beyond the field of competition, the SEC once again highlighted a Community Service Team for men’s basketball for the 2013-14 season.
Hood has given countless hours for the community since his arrival at Kentucky. He constantly spends spare time visiting children at the UK Children’s Hospital and befriends children in need or who have terminal illnesses.
The senior guard has volunteered for God’s Pantry multiple times, volunteered for Hoops for Haiti. He’s spent time with Samaritan’s Feet and as a Campton Elementary school volunteer. During his time in Lexington, he has helped work clothing drives and the Hurricane Sandy Telethon with other teammates. Furthermore, he’s a mainstay at UK men’s basketball camps serving as a counselor and mentor to young players.
This marks the 16th year for the SEC Community Service Team for men’s basketball as well as for women’s basketball. All 21 league-sponsored sports have had a Community Service Team since 2004.
Hood is a 2013 graduate of the University of Kentucky and is on track to complete a second degree this May. He’s appeared in more than 60 games in his career and was a member of the 2012 National Championship squad.
The Jordan Brand All-American Game will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 18. In 2013, the event was headlined by Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, who shared co-MVP honors.
The rosters for both teams:
Grayson Allen, SG, 6-foot-4, Providence Christian School (Riverview, Fla.), signed with Duke
Joel Berry, PG, 6-1, Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.), signed with North Carolina
James Blackmon, Jr., SG, 6-3, Marion H.S. (Marion, Ind.), signed with Indiana
Justin Jackson, WG, 6-7, Homeschool Christian Youth Association (Spring, Texas), signed with North Carolina
Tyus Jones, PG, 6-1, Apple Valley Senior H.S.. (Apple Valley, Minn.), signed with Duke
Trey Lyles, PF, 6-9, Arsenal Technical H.S. (Indianapolis), signed with Kentucky
Jahlil Okafor, C, 6-11, Whitney Young Magnet H.S. (Chicago), signed with Duke
Kelly Oubre, WF, 6-7, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), signed with Kansas
L.J. Peak, SG, 6-4, Gaffney Senior H.S. (Gaffney, S.C.), signed with Georgetown
Karl Towns, C, 6-11, St. Joseph H.S. (Metuchen, N.J.), signed with Kentucky
Reid Travis, PF, 6-7, De La Salle H.S. (Minneapolis), signed with Stanford
Rashad Vaughn, SG, 6-5, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), signed with UNLV
Isaiah Whitehead, SG, 6-4, Abraham Lincoln H.S. (Brooklyn, N.Y.), signed with Seton Hall
Shaqquan Aaron, WG, 6-7, Rainier Beach H.S. (Seattle), signed with Louisville
Cliff Alexander, C, 6-9, Curie Metropolitan H.S. (Chicago), signed with Kansas
Devin Booker, SG, 6-5, Moss Point H.S. (Moss Point, Miss.), signed with Kentucky
Kameron Chatman, WG, 6-7, Columbia Christian School (Portland, Ore.), signed with Michigan
Daniel Hamilton, WG, 6-7, St. John Bosco H.S. (Bellflower, Calif.), signed with Connecticut
Stanley Johnson, WG, 6-6, Mater Dei H.S. (Santa Ana, Calif.), signed with Arizona
Chris McCullough, PF, 6-9, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), signed with Syracuse
Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, 6-4, Prime Prep (Dallas), signed with SMU
Theo Pinson, WG, 6-6, Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.), signed with North Carolina
D’Angelo Russell, SG, 6-4, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), signed with Ohio State
Myles Turner, C, 7-0, Trinity H.S. (Euless, Texas), undecided
Tyler Ulis, PG, 5-9, Marian Catholic H.S. (Chicago Heights), signed with Kentucky
Justise Winslow, WF, 6-6, St. John’s School (Houston), signed with Duke
By LARRY VAUGHT
Once again on the SEC coaches teleconference today, Kentucky coach John Calipari was asked how the one-and-done rule had changed college basketball. His first three years at UK, Kentucky fans thought Calipari had the one-and-done deal figured out. Now after the last two seasons, some are not so sure any more.
Here’s his answer:
“Well, I’ve said for years it should be two years. If you’re going to let them go out of high school then let them go whenever. The baseball rule won’t work in this environment because there’s no minor-league stuff, so my belief is it should be two years.,” Calipari said. “And if the NBA and the Players Association, who would make that decision, come together and say, ‘OK, you take a year off their rookie contract.’ Instead of having four years, make them three years. Make them stay in school an extra year.
“And then you get with the NCAA and say, ‘Hey, how do you take better care of these kids? How do you pay for their insurance so they don’t have to pay themselves? How do you do the stipends and all the other things?’ It may be they have the opportunity for every one of the kids on our team to get a loan if they choose to – to be able to do stuff to make them normal college students, yet also understand they’re unique in what we’re trying to get them to do.’
“So there are things that can happen. What’s happened with the one-year rule is I don’t think it’s good for high-school players who – the top 150 players all think they’re going to leave in a year. I think it’s hard on the college players because by the end of the year this isn’t five, eight years ago. They’re all on the Internet — all the things going — I think it’s a tough deal. So hopefully cooler heads come together between the NBA and the Players Association, and if that happens, the NCAA does their part to make sure that this all works.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
On today’s SEC coaches teleconference, Kentucky coach John Calipari was asked what one thing his team needs to improve most. Enjoy his answer:
“Well, there’s two things. I can’t give you (one thing). There’s a lot of different things, but the two things in the bigger picture: You got to sustain your defensive effort. You got to be scrappier. In other words, we all got to be playing the ball. We all got to do it for the entire shot clock. We all got to have discipline because at the end of the day we are a defensive team that’s a good offensive post-up team,” he said.
“And then on offense we just got to share the ball more. Very simple stuff to talk about, but we got four days to really ingrain let’s get back to these things that we have done at different points of the year that we now say, ‘Let’s do it for 40 minutes.’ If you do, you will have a ball playing. Scrappy as heck, diving, crashing.
“We’re going to be more physical in practice. The games have gotten more and more physical. Hands up and be physical. Put your hands up in the air on a drive and be physical. Put your hands up in the air in the post and be physical. We’re going four days of that. The teams that have played that way have had a big advantage.
“So we’re going back to that, but the flip side of it is, look, we got to share the ball. We got to share the ball to create good shots for each other. I said it: We got the game to six (at Florida) and we took two of the worst shots with people open that I could have told you throughout the year the last game. So those are the couple things that we’re zeroed in on.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
George Whitfield Jr. is known as a “quarterback guru” and has worked with Andrew Luck and Cam Newton, both former No. 1 picks in the NFL draft. He’s been working with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, another potential No. 1 pick, recently.
Soon he’ll be spending a week with Kentucky sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles, too, to help him work on his game before UK starts spring practice March 28. Towles is going to spend his upcoming spring break in California working with Whitfield and renew a relationship that started when Towles, then a quarterback at Highlands High School, met him at an Elite 11 camp in Los Angeles.
“Andrew Luck and Cam Newton swear by him. He is their guy and he’s working with a lot of guys now getting them ready for their Pro Day,” said Terry Towles, Patrick’s father. “He’s agreed to take Patrick on during spring break and Patrick is really excited. They had a good relationship before and Patrick knows it is time to get moving before spring football starts.”
Towles has already been working out some on his own with Donnie Walker, who has worked with current California offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. Walker conducts clinics in the same offense that UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown played in and now uses with his own tweaks.
“Patrick just wants to go out with Whitfield and have an extra eye look at him and see if he notices anything or has any suggestions,” Terry Towles said. “It will be good for him to get in a real good workout before spring practice starts. He’s throwing about three days a week now, but there’s not a whole lot the (UK) coaches can do. People don’t realize how little time the coaches are actually allowed to spend with them. The strength coach can be there, but the offensive coaches are there for spring practice and then again Aug. 1.
“If you are not out there working and doing a little extra, it’s hard to improve, and Patrick wants to get better. That’s why he has been doing some extra work with Donnie Walker, too. He (Walker) understands the Kentucky offense and has a really good grasp of it and can just point out things to Patrick.”
Towles was the premier player in UK’s 2012 recruiting class under then coach Joker Phillips. He was Kentucky’s Mr. Football and led Highlands to three straight state titles with a 44-1 record. He threw for 3,820 yards and 42 touchdowns with just one interception as a senior and threw for 7,429 yards and 73 scores in his career while also rushing for 1,718 yards and 38 scores. He was ranked as one of the top-10 pro-style quarterbacks in the country by Rivals.com and 24/7 Sports.
He played in five games in 2012 and completed 19 of 40 passes for 233 yards and a score. His first appearance against Mississippi State he led UK to a 71-yard scoring drive capped by a 32-yard touchdown pass, but he hurt his ankle in the win and was limited the rest of the season. Last year he was redshirted.
Towles goes into spring practice battling for playing time with Jalen Whitlow, Maxwell Smith, Reese Phillips and Drew Barker.
“The offseason has gone pretty good. He’s done a lot of agility and strength stuff and has done well,” Terry Towles said. “He just wants to be as ready as possible.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
It’s not hard for Kentucky coach John Calipari to explain why Florida is No. 1 — and at the same time point out what has been wrong with his team way too often this year.
“They play off of one another,” Calipari said of the Gators after they beat UK Saturday. “The best play of the game was Scott (Wilbekin) threw it to one of the bigs and the big threw it back to him and he scored. That’s just two guys knowing each other, playing for each other. For me, that was the best play of the game.
“That’s the kind of stuff we’re not getting right now. The great ones make a two-on-one look simple. We kind of make those look harder.
“But I’ll say this: We’re better. We got hit in the mouth, a bunch of adversity, and the guys went in the locker room and came out and tried – and really tried to play and gave themselves a chance. Didn’t have enough to finish the game, especially against a team that good. You can’t spot a team 24 points, in their building, No. 1 team on Senior Night, and think you’re going to win. How about this? And we had a chance to, which is crazy.”
While Julius Randle was strong inside during UK’s short second half rally at Florida Saturday, coach John Calipari was more impressed with something else — a pass.
“He was good getting it to the rim, but he also made that pass for the 3 You know what I mean? Well, just keep making that pass. Make it 22 times. Just keep passing that ball right there,” Calipari said to emphasize how much passing could help this team.
“We still – they went zone and we held the ball, which we haven’t done all year. We reverted. Like, we were: catch it and bounce and catch it and hold it, look around then throw. It’s all – we come in and out at times. Like I said, we have the ability, we have the skill, we have the size, we have length. We have all the stuff you need to do this. Now we just got to do it. It’s time. Let’s do it.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Give Julius Randle credit for at least having a brutally honest sense of urgency, something this team has often lacked, after Saturday’s loss at Florida when asked how important the SEC tourney will be for UK.
“Every game is important for us. We’ve got to get this thing. We don’t know what we’ve got to do but we’ve got to get going. Every game’s important to build our confidence and chemistry. As guys in the locker room we all still believe, but there’s a point where, you know, we have to put it into action and I still think we will,” Randle said.
Why does he believe that?
“Because of, like, the spurts we went on in the second half just shows how good we can really be on both ends of the floor. It’s encouraging because, we both know – the coaches and the players know – that we can do it, but we just have to do it all the time. We can’t do it when our backs (are) up against the wall. We’ve got to play like that all the time,” Randle said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Coach Craig Brownson is not sure either Aaron or Andrew Harrison fully appreciated how difficult it might be to play for John Calipari or how large the spotlight was at Kentucky.
“I think they are glad they have been through it, but I think it has been hard. You can always know something is coming but until you step into the spotlight or just the environment of Kentucky basketball, you can’t know,” Brownson said. “What we got at Marshall County (for the Hoop Fest their senior year), they get every day. I think they knew what they were getting into, but you can’t understand it until you are in it.”
He says the twins’ father, Aaron Sr., has “handled it well” this season.
“I see his dad a lot because their cousin still plays for me,” Brownson said. “They are his sons. Any kind of criticism … just like me, I feel they are third and fourth sons to me so it bugs you when you hear and see that about kids you love and care about. You know they have a good heart and are doing the right things.
“So I am sure it has been hard on him at times, but he’s also realistic and understands that’s part of the deal when you play basketball at Kentucky. I believe they know that, too. They knew they were getting into a spotlight. That’s what you play for.”
Brownson says he’s heard “no NBA talk” from the family and hopes he doesn’t.
“I think it is more the media than them talking about the NBA. I hope they don’t spend time on that. We always talked back when they were with us about controlling what you can control. They can’t control the media and everybody’s perceptions of them. Just focus on what you do best and improving,” the coach said. “That’s all they can really worry about. Hopefully they are not paying attention to that stuff and I don’t think they are because they have enough to worry about to just win games the way they want to.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
For Kentucky freshman James Young, today’s game against No. 1 Florida is just “another game” on the schedule.
“We’re just going to take it game by game and just try to keep winning every day,” Young said Friday. “It’s to show we can play with everybody and compete with everybody. We get this win, it’ll be a good win for us.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to keep Florida from going unbeaten in SEC play?
“That’d be nice. But like I said, it’s just going to be another game. We’re going to come here with a lot of energy, a lot of fun, execute the whole game, not just one half,” Young said. “Just play with unleashed offense is what Coach says. Go out there and have fun with it and we’re doing a lot better with that in practice. We just got to turn that into game and have more fun with it.”
Here’s more of what Young said Friday:
On what the team learned from game one against Florida that will help with game two …
“It just shows that we can compete with anybody. We came out with a lot of energy, we had a lot of fun out there and I think it shows we can compete with anybody.”
On team feeling like they have nothing to lose …
“We just see it as another game. I know its their Senior Night and it’s probably a big game to them, but we just going to come out there and play our game, hopefully come out with a win.”
On going back and looking at his video from a down shooting night against Alabama …
“I looked at the video and I just kept leaning back a little bit too much and just kicking my leg out. I came to the gym a little bit later and worked on my shot a little bit so it should be good.”
On him feeling like he’s falling back when he’s shooting …
“Yeah, I tend to do it a lot and kick my leg out and Coach has been getting on me a little about that and just getting up extra shots to work on my form.”
On the focus of practice since game against Alabama …
“Just having a lot of energy, having fun with the game. You got to love playing basketball and that’s what we do. Really just having fun.”