Most Recent Posts
- Stoops: UK-Louisville future games “up to our administration” but “not interested” in 9 SEC games
- UK football coach Mark Stoops understands obstacles, challenges at UK but “we’re going to play to win”
- Former UK great Jeff Sheppard excited about recruiting class, but says fans should remember players are young
- Kentucky fans even took time to throw up the “3 goggles” in the Alps
- Signee Marcus Lee says Kentucky “will refuse to lose next year”
- Even UK football coach Mark Stoops did not expect this much fan support at Kentucky
- Video: UK softball coach Rachel Lawson previews the Super Regional clash against Arizona State
- ESPN.com’s Jason King seems to have logical rankings going into next season
By LARRY VAUGHT
Indianapolis Arsenal Tech has been invited to play in the 2013 Marshall County Hoop Fest in Benton and coach Jason Delaney hopes he can work out a scheduling conflict so his team — and Kentucky recruiting target Trey Lyles — can play in the annual event.
“We would be honored to play. We just have to make sure our schedule works out,” said Delaney. “We have got to see if who we are already scheduled to play will move our game.
“We would like to play there. The event has such great talent and we want to challenge ourselves against the best in the United States. We don’t want to back off from anybody. It would be an honor to play there because I’ve heard nothing but good things about the event.”
Another plus for Delaney is that Indiana teams cannot travel more than 300 miles across the state line to play, and that limits scheduling opportunities for his team.
“We can’t travel across the U.S. like some teams can,” Delaney said. “The Marshall County Hoop Fest is close enough that we can play a great team, and that’s what we want.”
Chicago Curie and center Cliff Alexander, another top five prospect in the 2014 recruiting class and a UK target, has already been invited to return to the tournament. Last week Tech beat Curie in the matchup of top five national junior players.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Coach Jason Delaney says one thing helps separate 6-10, 245-pound forward Trey Lyles from many other athletically gifted players.
“He is really a good kid, good character, very good student — around a 3.8 GPA,” said Delaney, the coach at Indianapolis Arsenal Tech. “His basketball IQ is what separates him from a lot of guys. Some guys are more athletic, but he’s got guard skills in a big man body. He has good post moves as well. He has a phenomenal work ethic. The kid stays an hour after practice or will go home and go to the gym. He’s really worked on adding muscle and he’s more aggressive this year. He can take contact and finish.”
Lyles is ranked among the top five players in the 2014 recruiting class and is regarded as the No. 1 power forward — UK commit Karl Towns Jr. is a top five player also but is considered a center even though he has plenty of perimeter skills. He had 24 points and 14 rebounds in a 73-51 win over Curie (Chicago) last week when Curie center Cliff Alexander, another top five player and UK 2014 target, had 18 points.
Delaney says Lyles’ father always worked on the “little details” of basketball with him.
“Not just shooting, but footwork and things like that,” Delaney said. “He is well rounded. He can shoot the ball, but he can do a lot more. He leads our team in scoring, assists, rebounds and blocked shots. Last year he led us in rebounds, scoring and blocked shots and was second in assists. I’ve never had a kid that can do quite all the things he can. He’s so unselfish. He does not take all the shots. He’s constantly looking for teammates.”
Lyles committed to Indiana before he played his first high school game, but decommitted in the fall. Kentucky is one of the schools on his new list and he attended Big Blue Madness in October with his father and Delaney.
“He is a strong willed kid. At first all the recruiting stuff affected him. All those folks that loved you (when he was committed to Indiana) and now they cannot stand you,” Delaney said. “He’s done a great job not focusing on recruiting but on this season. We lost a heartbreaker on a last-second shot in the state tournament last year and these kids were in the gym the next day and have been there since then.
“All our guys, including Trey, are focused on this season. They are not allowing recruiting to get in the way. They all really like each other and enjoy playing together.”
Delaney said Lyles has even helped teammates with recruiting since he had committed to Indiana earlier and understood more about the recruiting process.
“He can give them advice. They voted him team captain and look up to him a lot,” Delaney said.
Lyles has seemed to have his choices down to Kentucky and North Carolina and there has been speculation he might verbally commit soon, a story his father recently denied by saying his son would not make a college choice until next year. Lyles has been scheduled to be at the Kentucky game at Louisville Dec. 29 as well as UK-Texas A&M game in Rupp Arena Jan. 12.
“I think his focus will get back on recruiting after the season. He’ll take his visits and do things then,” Delaney said. “He really wants to have team success and his father has done a good job not letting him get caught up in the recruiting process.”
Delaney said Kentucky “has been really great” and that coach John Calipari and his staff have always had “encouraging words” for him.
“When they come in as the coaches at Kentucky, you listen to what they say,” Delaney said. “Recently we came off a hard loss (60-59 to Brebeuf Jesuit Prep) and Calipari’s message was control what we can control and then we went out and beat a really good team (Indianapolis Cathedral).
“You can learn a lot from coach Cal. I appreciated what he did. He did not have to come in and say anything to us about the loss. Kentucky is one of the big players in his recruiting. As a coach and recruit, you’ve got to look at the success they have had getting guys ready for the NBA. It’s hard to not be impressed by what Kentucky and Calipari have done.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Give Kentucky coach John Calipari for never seeming to take a break when it comes to recruiting.
He could already have the No. 1 recruiting class for 2013 even if he doesn’t sign Andrew Wiggins — and I still think he will get the Huntington (W.Va.) Prep standout.
Kentucky already has a huge 2014 commitment in 7-foot Karl Towns, who was the No. 1 player in the class of 2015 before he reclassified to 2014. He’s ranked No. 3 in the 2014 class.
But last week Calipari was back out visiting 2014 point guard Tyus Jones — he could run the point if Andrew Harrison turns out to be a one-and-done player as many expect. He also went to see 6-9 forward Trey Lyles, who could help fill the void if signees James Young and Marcus Lee are both one-and-done players along with Wiggins if he joins UK.
Kentucky is one of eight teams Jones, who is the top ranked 2014 prospect by some, has on a list that also includes Ohio State and Michigan State. Duke, Baylor, Kansas, North Carolina and Minnesota are also there. Jones has indicated he’ll definitely visit UK and Kansas.
The 6-9 Lyles made a verbal commitment to Indiana before he ever played a high school game. He decommitted from Indiana earlier this fall and some recruiting analysts have considered UK one of the favorites to land him.
Several UK sources have indicated that Kentucky may not only be the favorite, but that Lyles could join Towns and give his verbal commitment to UK soon. That could give Calipari two top 2014 recruits by mid-December of their junior years and position him again to have a No. 1 recruiting class.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Howard Kelsey, executive vice-president of Canada basketball, has known Kentucky sophomore Kyle Wiltjer from the time he was born because he was on the 1984 Canadian Olympic team with Greg Wiltjer that lost the bronze medal game by three points.
“We have been best friends and I have always known Kyle,” Kelsey, who watched the Canadian players work out last week, said. “His progression from his seventh grade year to 11th grade was unreal. I had a picture of him when he was just a young kid and then he walks in as an 11th-grader at 6-9 and shooting the ball deep. He’s special. He was the best shooting big man from the outside. He has very unique skills to offer, as Kentucky fans know. There are very few 6-11 players who can shoot as deep and well as he can.”
One concern about the UK freshman last year was that he didn’t have the strength to bang inside with older, stronger Southeastern Conference players.
“He has definitely gained weight,” Wiltjer’s father said. “He’s hovering around 240 pounds now. You can physically see the wider shoulders and he can still put on more weight, but he is stronger. I have been in the gym a little pushing on him a little bit and I can definitely tell he is stronger. And his shot is as accurate as ever. He’s ready for a big year.”
Kelsey said Wiltjer had no problems holding his own physically at the workouts despite playing against older players.
“Physically, he was fine, and he was playing against numerous NBA players,” Kelsey said. “He held up fine and looks to me like he just continues to get stronger. Naturally any kid 18 or 19 has some growing and maturing to do, but it’s clear he is getting stronger. He’s showing more tenacity on defense, too. He has a will to play solid defense.”
Kelsey said the competition Wiltjer faced in the workouts can only make him better, too.
“It definitely helps him. Playing against better physical specimens makes anybody get better,” Kelsey said. “There were some bona fide NBA players that are men he was going against, and doing fine. We are projecting our talent for 2016 and he did fine from my perspective.”
Other young players at the workouts included 609 Trey Lyles, a top 2013 recruit, and Anthony Bennett, who picked UNLV over Kentucky and Florida this year. Highly-touted Andrew Wiggins, a junior at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep and a big-time UK target, was invited but could not participate.