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- 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
- UK coach John Calipari has no regrets about giving certain players more than one chance last year even when it hurt the team
- Florida forward Will Yeguete likes Cauley-Stein’s athleticism and way he plays the game
- UK coach John Calipari believes team’s competitive spirit “will drag us to where we’re trying to go”
- ESPN analysts Fran Franschilla and Chad Ford predict Archie Goodwin to be “developmental player” next season
- Mark Stoops: “We’ll be ready” for opening game with Western Kentucky
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?
Vaught’s note: It seems like there are more early preseason college basketball polls than ever before this year. However, one of the best I’ve seen comes from ESPN.com’s Jason King. Here is the analysis of his top three picks — Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan State. Of course, UK plays both Louisville and Michigan State. Enjoy his commentary.
1. Kentucky Wildcats: Could the Wildcats really go from first-round NIT losers to NCAA champions? Absolutely. Kentucky’s 2013 recruiting class is already being hailed as the best in college basketball history. The haul includes four players (Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Julius Randle and James Young) ranked among the nation’s top 10 prospects by ESPN.com. The cherry on top could be No. 1 overall recruit Wiggins, who is still trying to decide between Kentucky, Kansas, Florida State and North Carolina. Even without Wiggins, this may be the most talented college basketball team ever assembled. But will it jell? Even though injuries and chemistry issues ruined his most recent team, John Calipari has proved to be excellent at coaching players who plan to spend only a year or two in college. He’s great at getting them to play defense and share the ball. It will help that some of Kentucky’s key players in 2012-13 (Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer) will return to provide veteran leadership, which is something the program sorely lacked last season.
2. Louisville Cardinals: Rick Pitino’s squad will be favored to make a third straight Final Four appearance. Point guard Peyton Siva was the only senior on last season’s roster. His leadership will be tough to replace, but Louisville signed two point guards (juco transfer Chris Jones and high school star Terry Rozier) who should more than make up for Siva’s absence. Louisville received a huge boost when Siva’s backcourt mate, Russ Smith, decided to return for his senior season. Smith, who averaged 18.7 points last season, is a big-time scorer who needs to improve his decision-making. Center Gorgui Dieng left school early for the NBA draft, but forwards Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear are poised for breakthrough seasons along with Montrezl Harrell and Final Four MVP Luke Hancock. The Cardinals will be good enough to challenge Kentucky for the NCAA title.
3. Michigan State Spartans: Derrick Nix (9.9 points, 6.6 rebounds) was the only senior on the Spartans’ roster, so Michigan State should be the slight favorite to win the Big Ten next season over Ohio State. Tom Izzo scored huge victories by getting shooting guard Gary Harris and forward Adreian Payne to return for another season. Both were beginning to blossom at the end of last season. Harris will have a chance to form one of the top backcourts in America along with point guard Keith Appling. The twosome combined to average 26.3 points in 2012-13. Even with the loss of Nix, Michigan State — as always — will be one of the country’s most physical teams in the paint, with players such as Branden Dawson, who could really take off as junior. Izzo’s team was good this season — but a year from now, it could be special.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Since Bruce Pearl has been out of coaching only two years, the former Tennessee coach recruited and/or watched many of the current Cats play in high school.
“I remember (point guard) Ryan Harrow in AAU. I know what a terrific scorer he is and know he needs to be aggressive offensively,” Pearl said. “That’s who he is and always has been. He does not have to be molded in John Calipari’s point guard mold. Yes, he needs to be a leader and play unselfish. But he needs to score to be effective. That gets the rest of his game going.”
Freshman guard Archie Goodwin came to Pearl’s camp at Tennessee.
“I was one of the first to offer Archie (a scholarship). I love him,” Pearl said. “He’s absolutely a great scorer. Great prospect. Great kid. He’s way too hard on himself. But I knew it would be hard for Archie to be the best offensive player on the team and hard on Kentucky if he was the guy they were counting on to be the best offensive player on the team night in, night out.
“I loved Archie Goodwin. He called me after games. He was so hard on himself. I spent most of my time trying to get him to stop being so hard on himself, and he loved to be coached. He wanted to be coached. He wanted the input. I knew after watching him play it was only a matter of time before my phone would ring and it would be him. It must be great to coach him.”
He watched freshman Alex Poythress of Clarksville, Tenn., and calls him a “rare specimen” much like Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, UK starts last year who went one-two in the NBA draft, were during Kentucky’s national championship season.
“But he grew up in Clarksville. He did not play the same level of competition that some players have,” Pearl said. “He has a ways to go. That does not mean he’s behind. It means he’s a fantastic freshman but his game is not as mature as what Kentucky is used to seeing. Kidd-Gilchrist as a high school freshman was dominating the AAU circuit. As a sophomore, he was a man among boys. That’s not the case with Alex. Too much is being asked of him.”
Pearl credits Calipari with a “great find in Willie Cauley-Stein who may wind up the best pro” on the roster. He’s also been impressed with freshman Nerlens Noel.
“He’s a terrific defender. He’s improved offensively. He’s showed great character,” Pearl said. “I like his body language. Like his energy level. Like the fact he likes to defend and block and change shots and rebound. He is probably behind offensively in the post, but he is scoring with his back to the basket some. I think he is on track to be a really great player.”
Today, New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis will debut in a new commercial as part of the NBA on ESPN RV marketing campaign. In the spot, Davis is joined by ESPN commentator Mike Breen and Hornets’ mascot Hugo, who loses a fellow member of his insect family on the RV’s windshield.
Davis was the first overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft. Earlier this year, he led the Kentucky Wildcats to the NCAA Championship, where he earned recognition as Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament. Davis’ accolades include National Player of the Year by the AP, Naismith College and Sporting News, the Oscar Robertson Trophy, the Adolph Rupp Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award. Davis also earned a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics with Team USA.
Additional spots in the NBA on ESPN RV marketing campaign will be released throughout the season.
The Hornets host the Philadelphia 76ers today at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Kentucky will open its season on ESPNâ€ˆin what could be the teamâ€™s biggest game of the year when UKâ€ˆplays at Louisville on Sept. 2.
The game was originally slated for Sept. 1, but has been moved to a 3:30 p.m. Sunday kickoff for ESPN. This will be the seventh time the game has been played on a Sunday â€” 2002 through 2006 and 2008.
This will be the third meeting between coaches Joker Phillips of Kentucky and Charlie Strong of Louisville. Kentucky won in 2010, but last year Strongâ€™s Cardinals upset UKâ€ˆin Commonwealth Stadium and started a Kentucky skid that ended with the Wildcats finishing the season only 5-7 and missing a bowl bid.
This year Louisville returns more players and will have the home-field advantage and should go into the game as a favorite. Kentucky salvaged some respectability for its 2011 season with a season-ending win over Tennessee, but for the Cats to get back to bowl eligibility beating Louisville is almost a must. Lose this game and the negative feelings that overwhelmed the program at times last year could return as many UK fans remain unhappy with how the team has progressed since Phillips took over.
It doesnâ€™t help that UKâ€™s tumultuous offseason continues to have player defections. Defensive back Daylen Hall was putting off the team for unspecified reasons and linebacker Ridge Wilson, UKâ€™s most experienced returning player at that position, was booted off the team after a drug arrest. Both players are from Louisville.
Now three more players are gone.
Linebacker Tim Patterson, the top in-state prospect in the 2010 recruiting class, is transferring. Kentucky had to beat Louisville to sign the Louisville Central star and then let him grayshirt and arrive on campus a semester late because of a knee injury. He had yet to play in a game after being redshirted last season.
Linebacker Justin Henderson of South Carolina, who played in four games as a redshirt freshman, is also transferring. Like Patterson, he was slated for backup duty at best in 2012.
Defensive end Nermin Delic has been dismissed for a violation of team rules. He looked like he could be a future star as a true freshman, but then he left UKâ€ˆfor a semester before returning in January. Phillips said before spring practice started that Delic had some work to do to convince coaches and teammates he was serious about being on the team again.
â€œHeâ€™s a guy that left right when we were all excited about him. He has to show us, his teammates, that heâ€™s committed to really wanting to be here. He has to do it in the offseason. Canâ€™t do it during the season. You have to do it now,â€ Phillips said in March.
Obviously, Delic didnâ€™t come close to doing that and Phillips has sent him packing like he did Hall and Wilson as UKâ€ˆmoves toward the conclusion of spring practice April 21 with the Blue-White Game.
Henderson,â€ˆPatterson and Delic had not been big contributors for UKâ€ˆyet. But thatâ€™s now six defensive players in the past few months that are gone from a team that is short on experience and depth on defense â€” not exactly the best scenario to have going into a must-win season-opening game on ESPN that likely will set the tone for UKâ€™s season.
* * *
Starting times for UKâ€™s other 11 games have not been set. Kent State (Sept. 8) and Western Kentucky (Sept. 15), both home games, will have starting times finalized in the weeks ahead. The Southeastern Conference will set starting times for UKâ€™s other nine games.
ESPN analysts Stephen Bardo, Jay Bilas, Hubert Davis, Sean Farnham and Fran Fraschilla all pick Kentucky and Ohio State to make the national championship game and all five have Kentucky winning the national title. ESPN will begin its coverage live on site in New Orleansâ€™ Jackson Square on Thursday.
Here is what the analysts had to say about each team playing in the Final Four.
Bardo: Kentucky continues to raise its level of play despite its lack of experience. Their commitment to defense virtually ensures a national title.
Bilas: The Cats are young, Ã¼ber-talented, and unselfish. This is the nation’s best and most powerful team, and has dominated the tournament.
Davis:Â Kentucky is the best team in the country, playing their best on both ends of the floor at the right time.
Farnham: What stood out after the game was just how little this team celebrated a trip to New Orleans which only points to the larger goal and the business-like approach Coach Cal has led by this season.
Fraschilla: The beauty of having â€œsix startersâ€ is that John Calipari can beat any team in the country without two or three of them playing at their best. He has managed great talent expertly this season.
Bardo: This may be Rick Pitino’s finest coaching job. His team has been injury plagued all season yet he has them peaking at the right time.
Bilas: Rick Pitino’s team can press and play a tough matchup zone that gets steals and deflections.Â Peyton Siva is a lightning quick point guard that can change the game with his speed.
Davis:Â Peyton Siva is one of the best point guards in the country with his ability to defend, penetrate, distribute and now, the 12/15-foot jump shot.
Farnham: Rick Pitino’s team can win this game in the 60s, but if it gets into the high 70s, I feel it plays into Kentuckyâ€™s favor. Peyton Siva has to shoot the ball at a better clip than he has as of late; in the last three games, heâ€™s shot just 32% from the field.
Fraschilla: This Cardinals team success is all about defending. Whether itâ€™s man-to-man, matchup zone or full-court pressure, Rick Pitino has pushed all the right buttons in NCAA play this season.
Bardo: After a late bump in the road, the Buckeyes are playing through Sullinger more and having success. Deshaun Thomas has been the best player in the tournament thus far.
Bilas: The Buckeyes are outstanding defensively, and have the best low post scorer in Jared Sullinger, on-ball defender in Aaron Craft, and the tourney’s top scorer in Deshaun Thomas.Â Ohio State is talented and tough.
Davis: Jared Sullinger is starting to dominate the low block, and with the consistent pay of Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft, the Buckeyes have an excellent chance of winning a national championship.
Farnham: Sullinger’s impact was clear on Saturday when he was limited by foul trouble in the first half against Syracuse. Defensively, the Buckeyesâ€™ focus – as it is for so many opponents of Kansas – should be to limit points in transition and secondary break offense.
Fraschilla: Deshaun Thomas will be an X factor in the Kansas game. He has NBA scoring ability from both inside and out. Who guards him will be Bill Selfâ€™s biggest dilemma.
Bardo: The Jayhawks have been the most consistent team not named Kentucky. Their versatility on offense makes them hard to game plan against.
Bilas: The Jayhawks can really guard you, and do a great job getting the ball inside for high percentage shots for Thomas Robinson. Tyshawn Taylor is having a great year, and needs to be great again for KU to win.
Davis: Kansas has one of the best players in the country in Thomas Robinson who has dominated the power forward position in college basketball all year.
Farnham: The key for success for the Jayhawks in New Orleans rests on the shoulders of Tyshawn Taylor. He can win you games, and throughout most of the Big 12, he did. But he has also been that guard that has mental lapses taking bad shots or gets careless with his passes giving life and easy looks to opponents.
Fraschilla: This time, patience is a virtue at Kansas. While this Jayhawk team is certainly talented, four of Bill Selfâ€™s five starters began their careers on the bench. They have all improved dramatically.
NOTE : The original video was made private sometime late Monday afternoon and can no longer be found on Youtube.com. However, a search revealed this version, uploaded by tytythompson84.
By LARRY VAUGHT
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas compiles his own weekly college basketball ratings and once again he has Kentucky No. 1 as the major polls also should have later today.
Here is the analysis Bilas provided to justify why he has coach John Calipari’s team No. 1 this week:
“A team that struggled on the road a year ago, and lost its biggest road test this season by virtue of an improbable shot by Christian Watford, Kentucky is solidly in the top spot for yet another week. The Wildcats and Michigan State are currently the only teams in the country with both a top-10 ranked offense and defense. On the road, Kentucky plays at a slower pace, and hasn’t fared as well in transition as it does at Rupp. Kentucky is shooting around 30 percent in transition on the road, and scoring half the amount of points in the open court. But last season’s road woes paid off with a Final Four berth. This team is growing”
As we posted last week on Front Row, the second-ranked Kentucky Wildcats used ESPNÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new gymÃ‚Â as a practice facilityÃ‚Â Friday.
The Bristol, Conn. campus played temporary home to the Wildcats before they played two games in nearby Uncasville, Conn. in the Naismith Hall Of Fame Tip-Off Classic.
On Sunday the young Wildcats Ã¢â‚¬â€ they start three freshmen and two sophs Ã¢â‚¬â€ rallied to beatÃ‚Â feistyÃ‚Â Old Dominion 62-52.
On Saturday, Kentucky beat Penn State 85-47.
In the video above, Wildcats head coach John Calipari spoke to Front RowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s David Scott before the Friday practice.
Calipari reminisced about how much ESPN has helped frame his rise through the basketball coaching ranks: At one point, a cable television subscription trumped purchasing furniture.
We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a problem recently, but his storytelling is always entertaining.
EditorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s note:Ã‚Â Front RowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s David Scott spent the past two years serving as John CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s social media and business manager at UK and has a relationship with Coach Calipari dating back to their days at UMass in the 1990s. David co-authored CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s book,Ã‚Â Bounce Back, released in 2009.