Don't forget: Hoops takes on #1 seed UConn in a rematch of last year for a berth in the women's Final Four. We will cover that as always.
Tweet of the Morning:
I just want everyone to know I AM NOT TRANSFERRING. The thought never crossed my mind. I love Coach Cal and the staff, UK, and the BBN..— Kyle Wiltjer (@kwiltj) April 1, 2013
This summer, I'm going to work hard to come back next season better and stronger to help my team fight for #9!— Kyle Wiltjer (@kwiltj) April 1, 2013
Okay, those of you predicting Wiltjer's transfer can stop now. Glad we got that straight. Via Ky Cat Stats.
Rivals 4 Star (5.9) QB D.J. Giilins from Jacksonville, FL has de-committed from Texas Tech. Rivals and Scout say he doesn’t have an offer from UK, but 247 Sports says he was offered on December 12th. ESPN shows an offer. Gillins says he has a UK offer. Whether he does or doesn’t, he’s planning on attending the UK Spring Game. Read about it here. (Hank)
This is a recent SBNation article on the aforementioned Gillins.
UK had an unofficial visitor yesterday. He’s not been rated. Ohio high schools don’t have spring practice. My IE had problems with the video, so you might want to use Mozilla. (Hank)
"We need the Big Blue Nation to come out in force at LP Field," Stoops said. "We’re looking forward to the season opener and having the Wildcat fans behind us. Let’s give our team home-field advantage in Nashville."
I have a feeling he is going to get his wish.
"Andrew’s athleticism is very rare," Nash said. "He’s tall, has long arms, he’s extremely quick and agile, he can take that six-foot-seven frame and move it like he’s 5-7, with great control. He’s so explosive, his ability to move in any direction, to jump and to control his body while he jumps — with quickness, explosiveness and power. He’s a rare set of size, co-ordination and explosiveness."
This is right. But at the same time, he’s not the kind of player that demands the ball. He plays most often in the team concept, and that is an intangible who’s value is hard to measure, mainly because of its subjective nature.
"The BBN is alive and well in Huntington and the Tri-state area. I think even non-Kentucky fans would enjoy seeing Andrew at Kentucky because it will make it easy to follow him in college. Canada is his home but I think he has enjoyed his time in Huntington. I hope being close to his second home will be a plus in the Kentucky column," the source said.
So do I, but we really can’t know for sure. There are negatives, such as sharing a lot of minutes and shots, but that didn’t seem to phase Anthony Davis or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
- Do you get the impression he's excited by the idea? I do. Via KSR.
There were promising moments where Harrow’s quickness, penetration and scoring ability had Calipari suggesting he could be one of the nation’s best point guards. Offsetting those performances were erratic efforts that typified Kentucky’s guard play all season and led the coach to question their mental toughness.
This is exactly right. Harrow had good moments and bad, but in the end, his season could not be considered a good one. I think he could have eventually become a solid player, but this move is probably best for everyone.
One thing is near certain in my opinion – if his father’s condition hadn't provided him a way out, he would have stayed, and I believe that Calipari would not have pulled his scholarship. You can’t be "all about the player" and do that to a guy you brought on board.
When Marquis Teague was deciding whether he would declare for the NBA draft or stay back another year his brother, Jeff Teague, advised Marquis to stay back another year to "hone" his basketball skills.
I think that was good advice, but I understand why Marquis went.
James Young’s coach John Pleasant was on WLAP this morning to talk to Larry Vaught about his player. A few worry warts have wondered how so many talented players can combine to be happy and functional on one roster next season at Kentucky. According to Pleasant, that shouldn’t be a problem with Young.
"He’ll be the perfect teammate. He can play 20 minutes and score 6 points and be happy. He just wants to win."
Congrats to both of them.
Other UK sports
Ugh. Softball is starting to flail a bit.
Huge series win for Kentucky over the highly ranked Dawgs.
- UK Hoops Meets Top-Seeded UConn in Elite Eight // UKAthletics.com
Here’s the latest regarding the Miami scandal. You’ll notice the absence of Clint Hurtt in the motion. (Hank)
According to the report, Smith could also be a candidate at New Mexico if the Lobos do not hire interim head coach Craig Neal. New Mexico is left without a permanent coach for the time being after Steve Alford left for UCLA on Saturday.
You’ve all heard this. Just a little more detail.
I’ll bet that Final Four trophy cheered him up quite a bit.
Georgia State returns four starters next season, including coach Ron Hunter’s son, R.J., who led the team in scoring at 17 points a game, and the addition of Kentucky transfer guard Ryan Harrow will only make the Panthers more effective next season. Georgia State (15-16, 10-8 in the CAA) will join the Sun Belt next season. Harrow will likely receive a waiver to play immediately because of his ill father.
Indeed. Looks like Georgia St. will be a threat to win the Sun Belt, and Harrow could accomplish there what he couldn’t accomplish at UK – help take a team to the NCAA Tournament.
That would be ironic.
Now that Steve Alford is ensconced in Westwood as head basketball coach at UCLA, the obvious question is: Who will be the next coach there?
Alford will probably do a fine job. He’s an outstanding coach. But I think everyone knows that’s not enough.
I don’t think Alford is big enough for this job. Just sayin’.
Florida just got smacked around. They didn’t locate Michigan’s shooters, didn’t win the hustle stats, and once again, didn’t get to the Final Four.
- Twitter tells the story of Kevin Ware’s injury // CollegeBasketballTalk
Rick Pitino said that when Kevin Ware fell to the floor right in front of the Louisville bench with 6:33 to go in the first half, "I went to help him up and I saw his leg. I literally almost threw up."
It was a gruesome injury, no doubt about it. I wish I could unsee that.
"I thought the game started out way too physical, way too physical," said Mulkey. "I thought that all three of [the referees], if they go past this round of officiating, it will be sad for the game."
Well, she’s going to get fined for that. I didn’t see the game, but the officiating in the women’s tournament has been abysmal. I don’t think that’s really why they lost, though. Louisville made 16-25 in threes, and that’s really tough to overcome. At one point, they were 15-20.
Can we please stop lamenting the demise of the Big East? Please?
How long the recovery process will be for Ware is unknown at this stage.
But according to Dr. Frederick Azar, a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and chief of staff at Cambell Clinic in Memphis, recovery can take anywhere from three to six months provided there are no complications.
That sounds right. There are a lot of factors that go into the recovery, and this was a compound fracture, a very serious bone break. But in athletics terms, it is likely, but not certain, that he will completely recover.
In some ways, Ware’s injury is less severe than Noel’s. Joints are almost always more impactful on athletic ability than fractures, although that’s by no means universally true. Sam Bowie is one example of where it’s not.
I do believe Ware will be fine and return 100%, and I suspect he’ll be ready for next year, although this is a setback that he’ll feel.
Then Ware called from the hospital, while his teammates were celebrating on the court at Lucas Oil Stadium. He was about to go into a two-hour surgery to have a rod inserted into his leg, and then close up the wound.
And what was the first thing Ware said?
“Calm down, mom. I’m OK.”
Lisa figured her son was sedated. But she had been distraught, and Ware’s words did have a calming effect. What a son: to call and worry about her, and not himself?
I can’t imagine his mother’s emotions, her shock and fear. Thank God she didn’t suffer some kind of health issue from the reaction.
Other sports news
I didn’t think I would be surprised at how advanced he was since I saw his father, Michael Gilchrist play at Camden for Clarence Turner back with Milt Wagner and Billy Thompson — and he was a very talented forward on a super team — but honestly, I was.
This young Kidd-Gilchrist was certainly a physical talent, but my first lasting impression from that Saturday in Elizabeth was how smart of a player he was. He really knew how to play the game.
Michael picked up the nuances of the college game very quickly, and apparently, that aptitude has translated over to the professional ranks.
Much ado about very little.
That first one went about 13.5 feet, and the second one, about 14.5. He’s getting closer.
Nobody can top the ugliness of Chuck Hayes free throws, but there is something really awesome about a guy who shoots it with good form and airballs 2 ain a row.
I asked Raptors coach Dwane Casey what has caused Wall’s improvement. Here’s his answer in full.
"His jump shot has really gotten my attention. When he’s knocking that down, knocking threes down, he’s almost impossible to guard because of his speed. That sets everything up. Now, if you come out on him for his jump shot that he’s making, he goes by you. He’s developed it. I understand he’s been working with a shooting coach that’s really helped his game. When he gets it to where it’s automatic, that makes him tough to guard."
Read the whole thing. John Wall is becoming what we all suspected he could become.
Note: Dwane Casey – now there’s a blast from the past.
* April fool!