Big Blue Nation Linkapalooza: Signing Day Edition

Will it be Shabazz Muhammad? Nerlens Noel? Both? Neither? Stay tuned.

Today is the first day of the late signing period, which goes from now until May 19th. Tonight, we are expecting two announcements that will go a long way toward determining the shape of next year's Kentucky basketball team; that of Nerlens Noel, a 6'11" F/C, and Shabazz Muhammad, a 6'6" wing.

In today's Linkapalooza, we'll have insight into who might go where, plus many links on the firing of Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bobby Petrino last night, along with the usual lot of odds and ends relevant to the Big Blue Nation. So without further ado:


Tonight’s the Night for Shabazz & Nerlens | ZagsBlog.com

I have long thought that Shabazz will pick UCLA and Noel Kentucky, but we’ll find out for sure tonight.

Well, that seems to be the consensus now. Here is a tweet from one of ESPN's recruiting experts:

We'll know in about 9 hours or so.


Bobby Petrino ultimately left Arkansas Razorbacks with no choice but to fire him - Andy Staples - SI.com

In statements Thursday and Tuesday, Petrino, who is married with four children, acknowledged an inappropriate relationship with mystery passenger Dorrell. Long's review discovered that the relationship began long before Petrino hired Dorrell. Long also discovered that the job search -- which included two other finalists -- was "shorter than our normal affirmative action hiring process." In other words, Petrino used a truncated search to hire his mistress to a job for which she may not have been the most qualified applicant.

Had Arkansas kept Petrino, it would have turned the other 158 applicants into plaintiffs. Attorneys would have descended on Fayetteville screaming Sue Pig Woooooie!

Heh. Ouch. But very true. Petrino violated the University of Arkansas' hiring procedures, and that would have been lawsuit worthy in today's society.


OUT OF HIBERNATION AND BACK ON WATCH // Every Day Should Be Saturday

From LSUFreek. You know it will be good, and trust me, it is.


Column - Huggins happy to see friend win first title // The Daily Athenaeum - West Virginia University

Interesting read. Very fair to both Huggins and Calipari.


Sprints is Long But Filled With Scandal (Gasp!)Today // 04.10.12 - Team Speed Kills

Wow. The stuff about Meyer is ... surprising, to me at least.


Release of NCAA violations a great day at Baylor -- and he's not kidding // CBSSports.com

The NCAA examined Scott Drew's program from every angle for years. Not months. Years. And unless there's more to come -- and sources told CBSSports.com that there isn't more to come -- the NCAA didn't find an agent funneling a prospect to the program (as was found at Connecticut under Jim Calhoun) or a fraudulent SAT score (as was found at Memphis under John Calipari) or a compromised drug policy (as was found at Syracuse under Jim Boeheim).

I guess I'll let the Calipari shot go since he included several others. This is good news for Drew, and I'm glad to see the pernicious rumors about his recruiting practices are apparently unsubstantiated.


College football briefs: Ex-Wildcat McCutchan hired as Morehead assistant // Kentucky.com

Matt McCutchan, a former offensive lineman at Kentucky, has been hired as an assistant coach at Morehead State. He will coach MSU's offensive linemen.

Congratulations, Matt!


Media ban will be a magnet for Louisville football // U of L Card Game

The word from Charlie Strong’s office is that the local media is banned for the remainder of the University of Louisville football’s spring practice sessions.

I hope this blows up in Strong's face. I consider it absolutely juvenile, almost Petrino-wothy.


Andy Katz's Daily Word: Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari shares his day-to-day highlights since winning title // ESPN

Friday: "I flew to Los Angeles for the Wooden Award and ran into [former Wildcat and current Sacramento King] DeMarcus Cousins. I then caught the last quarter of the Houston Rockets-Lakers game and saw [former UK forward] Patrick Patterson and [former UMass center] Marcus Camby. That evening I had dinner with [former UK guard] Eric Bledsoe. Oh, and we also went to the Wooden Award [for Anthony Davis].''

I love how Calipari keeps in touch with his NBA guys. That has got to inspire recruits to no end.


The Herald-Sun // Plumlee s NBA decision ‘agonizing’

But Perky Plumlee said today’s NCAA deadline won’t have any impact on [Duke's] Mason [Plumlee].

"That date is meaningless to us," Perky Plumlee said. "Mason’s got a very difficult decision to make. The fact that the NBA and NCAA got their rules crossed up, that’s not our fault. It’s not our responsibility. As far as I’m concerned, he has until the 29th to make his decision. He has my blessing to take all the time he needs.

So if you hear anyone tell you that Calipari is thumbing his nose at the NCAA, just remember this one.


Alex Poythress' game is about more than numbers // The Tennessean

How good is Alex Poythress? Pretty good:

"I think he jumped from the free-throw line over two of our players and barely missed the dunk," Weldon said. "It was unbelievable. It was crazy. It seemed like he was in the air forever. He kind of glides."

Northeast (28-3) was ranked fifth in the final Class AAA poll, but the Eagles’ season ended in the Region 5-AAA quarterfinals with a 68-51 loss to Mt. Juliet.


Florida International players walk out in support of Isiah Thomas

The firing of Thomas isn't going over well at FIU.


Bobby Petrino's Police Report Tells Us A Lot About His Character // SB Nation Atlanta

It's not just that Bobby Petrino is a liar. It's that he lies until, literally, there's nothing else to do but tell the truth. When being deceitful, he tells the truth only when there is no other option. And even with a broken neck and ribs, through pain most couldn't imagine, he managed to coordinate a scheme to protect his lies that was, quite honestly, brilliant. If his offense was as focused as his bullshit, he'd be the John Wooden of football.

Greatest quote about Petrino, ever.


Basketball- How you do it matters // Springfield News-Leader

Is John Calipari a winner? No. There’s a difference between winning and being a winner.

Are you, dear author of this piece, a loser? Yes, and that needs no equivocation.


Kentucky personifies dominance // The Daily Times

The difference between the Wildcats and all the other young, talented teams that came before them was the way they played. Even if they weren't quite so talented, they might have won the national championship.

Now this is insightful, and probably right.


IU basketball's Cody Zeller, Christian Watford to return next season // fox59.com

Indiana will be tough next year, but unless they lose the "my way or the highway" 'tude, their chance at revenge against UK will slide right by.


Calipari to showcase NCAA trophy on state tour // Kentucky.com

Wildcat basketball fans will have another opportunity to celebrate Kentucky’s 2012 National Championship Thursday through Saturday when the UK men’s basketball staff takes the championship trophy on tour.

Read on to find out the details.


Bobby Petrino is fired at Arkansas // The Boston Globe

"He made the decision, a conscious decision, to mislead the public on Tuesday, and in doing so negatively and adversely affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas and our football program,’’ Long said, choking up at one point as he discussed telling players that their coach was gone. "In short, Coach Petrino engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff, both before and after the motorcycle accident.’’

Anyone who reads this space knows what I think of Petrino. Arkansas is well rid of this ... person.


Louisville baseball upsets Kentucky 12-0 // The Courier-Journal

"We didn’t do anything up to our standards," coach Gary Henderson said. "Nothing as well as we have been doing."

Ugh. I'd say not.


Gymnastics Finishes Season Ranked 25th Nationally // Kentucky Wildcats Official Athletic Site

This is the third-consecutive top-25 final ranking for Kentucky. UK finished 25th last season and 21st in 2010. The ranking makes first-year head coach Tim Garrison the first head coach in school history to lead his team to a top-25 final ranking in his first season, according to records kept since 1996.

Congratulations to the Gym Cats!


Army Ranger celebrates UK win in style // Kentucky.com

First Lt. Army Ranger Thomas Saylor of Lexington, currently stationed in Alaska but deployed to Afghanistan, watched the University of Kentucky win its eighth national championship despite a nine-hour time difference, and then celebrated by draping himself in a UK flag.

Heh. We've seen one of our own do something similar here at A Sea of Blue.


Wildcats NCAA championship trophy headed to Louisville // Business First

The University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball staff will bring the team's NCAA championship trophy to Louisville as part of a statewide tour.

I've already seen it in person.


Players get shafted on NCAA's draft rule // ReviewJournal.com

The truth: Coaches -- specifically, ones from the Atlantic Coast Conference, who spearheaded the proposal for this early deadline -- grew tired of not owning a tighter grasp on what their roster might look like the following season, tired of losing a star player or more in the summer, tired of having to fill major holes they didn't anticipate, tired of fighting others for those last uncommitted players who most often aren't nearly as good as those leaving.

Truth, forsooth. This rule is designed to help coaches who don't recruit that well.


In defense of the one and done // The Daily Free Press

Championship victory aside, when did John Calipari’s ability to send his players to the NBA become something to be vilified for? This goes for college coaches in general, whether it be Calipari, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams or Jim Boeheim. At a certain point, there was a stigma attached to recruiting players who are no more than a year or two away from leaving to the NBA. It was as if having those players on one’s roster became an endorsement of dropping out of college in general. As Rhoden said, "If there were easily identifiable multibillion-dollar profits to be made by producing talented science, math and English prodigies from poor and largely black and brown neighborhoods, the John Caliparis of the world would be popping up in classrooms across America with innovative ways to get students to produce."

This is exactly how I feel about our players. I am glad they get to be instant millionaires, they are good kids and are deserving of it based on their hard work and athletic ability.


Arkansas' Long does right by school as Petrino does wrong by everyone // CBSSports.com

He lied to Long, he lied to Arkansas fans, he lied and lied and lied. Just as he did when he was at Louisville and as he did when he was with the Atlanta Falcons. Just as he seems to do every time he opens his mouth -- until he's finally cornered and has to admit the truth.

I have nothing to add.


Wiedmer: Will Cats' door keep revolving? // timesfreepress.com

For all the talk of how the one-and-doners are ruining the game, it would be hard to find a more disciplined, determined, unselfish bunch than Cal's national champs. They may have mostly been freshmen and sophomores, but they played with the poise and purpose of seniors.

Mark Wiedmer often writes great columns, and this is another one of them. He should have a national gig. Probably would if he weren't so fair.


Decision day for top-ranked duo // Jody Demling – Recruiting

We'll have coverage of the decisions of Noel and Muhammad, even though I'll be rocking the Blue Man Group tonight (if this cold doesn't kill me before then). A2D2, BigSkyCat, and jc25.


Next Day Thoughts On Bobby Petrino's Helicopter Ride To San Clemente // Arkansas Expats

I would like to echo Stephen's thoughts below. I had not thought much of Long until now. I saw him as a corporate suit more concerned with revenue streams and branding than what the Razorbacks actually mean to us. But to make another presidential analogy, Long deserves a chapter in Profiles in Courage. He upheld the law and fairness over possible wins and revenue. That type of action is too rare in our day and age.

Excellent read by an excellent Arkansas blog. It's tough to lose a coach who wins as much as Petrino did, and no mater my opinion of him, his success was undeniable.


Coaches, media already missing NCAA tourney czar // CollegeBasketballTalk

For the first time in more than a decade, the NCAA tournament will have a new czar. And it’s not sitting well with various college basketball writers and coaches.

This has been a big backstory in the media for several days now. I'm not convinced it's such a big deal. One NCAA bureaucrat gets replaced by another? That's news?


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