Big Blue Nation Linkapalooza: Independence Day Edition

Happy 4th of July (via John-Morgan)

Today is Independence Day, an annual celebration of America's declaration of independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776. The introduction is perhaps the most famous piece of the Declaration, but I find the conclusion is, by far, my favorite part of that document.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Following these words were the signatures of 56 people, that of Continental Congress president John Hancock of Massachusetts the first, and by far the most prominent visually.

The Declaration of Independence both inspires and reminds us that our independence is not free. That is embodied in my favorite Independence Day quote, usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin (although that is somewhat in doubt) on July 4th, 1776, during the signing ceremony:

We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

Hanging together is something that has kept America free for 236 years, despite our vast differences. May it remain so for another 236 years at least.

Finally, let us remember, at this point, our men and women of the U.S. armed forces, who protect our freedom and, through the sacrifice of time with their families and their precious blood, keep the Tree of Liberty healthy, and eternally in bloom.

Here are your links:

Anthony Davis’ ankle injury not that bad, will attend Team USA camp // ProBasketballTalk

The initial reports did not sound good, but sometimes injuries are not as bad as they first appear.

This is good news indeed.

Gordon Verbally Agrees to Maximum Salary Offer with Suns // Bright Side Of The Sun

What will the Hornets do? Anthony Davis wants to know, I'm sure.

Free Agency Rumors Roundup, Day 3: Durant Declares Harden Won't Enter FA, Roger Mason, Daniel Orton // Welcome to Loud City

Big Daddy headed home to Oklahoma City?

Worst SEC Commercial Ever Made? Thanks Aggies // Saturday Down South

I actually find this hilarious, particularly the absurdity of a young TAMU coed uttering the Gamecock's cheer. Watch past the end for an Anthony Davis reference.

SEC East: Eye on the running game // Saturday Down South

You no doubt expect another "Kentucky will suck" article. You might be surprised.

Take Two: Most successful new neighbor - College Basketball Nation Blog // ESPN

Very Different Paths Connect Top Prospects Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers to the Hornets // Rush The Court

There wasn’t a better mix of complementary talents in the 2012 draft, and there couldn’t be a better fit than the Hornets for both players. While Davis and Rivers may have been competing for the top spot in their high school class and then in college as the top overall rookies, they must now get used to new roles as NBA teammates. While Davis is a skinny, late bloomer and Rivers is the cocky NBA prodigy, no one can question either player’s work ethic or passion for the game.

I think New Orleans might have had one of the best drafts in recent history with these two guys.

Were Cody Zeller and James Michael McAdoo smart to return to school? // CollegeBasketballTalk

In the five days since Thursday’s NBA Draft, perhaps the biggest talking point has been the fall of Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones.

The consensus seems to be that the two cost themselves a great deal of money by returning to school. Considered by many to be locks for the lottery — if not the top five — after their freshmen campaigns, the two players returned to school and had, frankly, incredibly similar seasons. The result of those seasons combined with injury concerns that leaked out prior to the draft were that Sully fell to the 21st pick and PJ3 dropped all the way to 28th.

We won't know for a while. I think McAdoo was smart, not so sure about Zeller. - Toughest calls in new Rivals150

Who is No. 1?

Currently, Jabari Parker sits in the top spot and the 6-foot-8 swingman from Chicago (Ill.) Simeon certainly has an impressive body of work. Then again, so do the top two competitors for that first spot. Former No. 1 prospect Andrew Harrison has been outstanding this spring and is coming off another impressive performance at the NBPA Top 100 Camp. But, the 6-foot-5 point guard isn't the only Texan in the race for No. 1 as 6-foot-9 forward Julius Randle has made a strong case for the top spot as well.


HUNTER: Calipari’s got it figured out // News and Tribune

Wrapping up, if I were a UK fan, I wouldn't like having a new team every single year, but I would enjoy winning and Coach Cal has had good guys (minus one or two) representing UK while they were there. I will put John Wall, Doron Lamb, Anthony Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist and others up against anyone when it comes to being role models on behavior on and off the court.

Slowly, but surely, they are coming around.

Nerlens Noel could face 2013 NBA draft top pick in December game against Baylor // vaughtsviews

This should provide an interesting backdrop for what should be a true media circus of a weekend.

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