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Morning Newspaper for April 22nd, 2009


John Wall, Xavier and CJ -- oh my!

The big news this morning are UK website reports, reports and more reports that the Henrys have decided to matriculate to the Kansas Jayhawks, alma mater of their parents and comfortably close to home.

Straitpinkie handicaps UK's chances with John Wall an Xavier Henry, and rates UK's chances at Wall better than their chances with Henry.  I said from the beginning that Henry was likely to wind up at KU, but I have waffled on that lately.  Right now, I get the impression from reports around the Big Blue Nation that Kansas is the more probable destination.  But I still have doubts.

The way I see it, Memphis is probably the best place for the Henrys.  Pastner is not likely to deviate tremendously from Calipari's dribble-drive motion system, and Heaven knows that they will get tons of playing time in Memphis as well as make that team good enough for a fairly easy invite into the tournament.  At UK or Kansas, CJ is very likely not going to be able to play at all (an NCAA appeal will almost surely be denied for CJ), and Xavier will have to compete for playing time with the likes of Jodie Meeks at UK and a bevy of talented guards and wing players at Kansas.  No doubt Xavier would get lots of clock at KU, but not nearly as much as he will at Memphis or even UK in all probability.  Exposure-wise, UK may be a bit better due to the new ESPN deal with the SEC, but UK is much farther from home than either of the others.

As for Wall, who knows?  If competing for a national championship is really of overarching importance, I think UNC would be the obvious choice -- they return a core of very good players, all of whom have at least one year in the Roy Williams system, where as much of UK's talent will be freshmen.  Duke is in a situation somewhat similar to UK as far as a national championship is concerned.

But if all Wall wants is to show off his skills as an NBA player, Kentucky is probably the best place to be.  Calipari's system has more personal freedom than either Williams or Krzyzewski, and Wall would wind up with the ball much more at UK than at UNC, where he would be battling a sophomore Larry Drew who got a lot of time this past year, and some of Wall's "people" don't like Roy Williams.  In Krzyzewski's system, the ball handling duties are shared and the point guard's role is much more of a facilitator than a creator.  So it really depends on what is more important to Wall -- being close to home, a deep run in March or exposure and a system friendly to his skill set.  Tough call, especially considering he also has other important agenda points that we don't know about.

Now, for the news.

Kentucky Basketball News

  • John Calipari is a home-run hire (doh!) is number one on Jason King's list of round-trippers for this year, just above Sean Miller, Tony Bennett, Matt Driscoll and Ken Boone.  Isiah Thomas leads the head scratchers.  Josh Pastner and Anthony Grant, among others, are placed on hold.  I think Grant was a great hire, and Pastner a solid one.
  • UK recruiting a game of rediscovery.  John Clay tells fans concerned about one-and-done players to get over it -- it is a modern reality.
  • Jerry Tipton says there is some debate about how DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton will fit together.  Some pundits say good, other say not.  As Jerry says, it is a good problem to have.
  • Luke Winn says that Calipari's change of address has changed a lot of players' plans.
  • Calipari makes the journey to Ames, Iowa to see Harrison Barnes play, along with Bill Self, Jeff Capel and, apparently, Ole Roy.  Chris Fisher thinks Calipari may have some catch-up work to do.
  • [UPDATE 1]  Carl Henry says there is a 70-100% chance Xavier and CJ will be attending Kansas, according to Jerry Tipton's blog.  The loathsome troll Jeff Goodman says so as well.
  • [UPDATE 1]  Chris Fisher of Kentucky Ink says he has been told that Patrick Patterson will only remain in the draft if he is a lottery pick.
  • [UPDATE 1]  John Clay says Bruce Pearl is talking smack, and indeed he is.  Good.

Kentucky Football News

  • Rich Brooks isn't one of Rivals' top 30 football coaches, but he is fourth on the list of "others."  At least he got mentioned in the same article.  Who would have thought that five years ago?
  • Where are they now? 
  • Blue/White game set for Saturday.
  • Tim Masthay's Combine results.  Looks good to me.
  • Larry Vaught thinks there will be a record crowd at the Blue/White game.  I think he's right, weather permitting.
  • Chip Cosby says Micah Johnson, Trevard Lindley and Jeremy Jarmon won't regret their decision to return rather than enter the NFL draft.
  • Ten things we love about Wildcat football.

Other Kentucky Sports News

  • Kentucky baseball gets on a bit of a roll.
  • Rich Brooks throws out the first pitch today in the Bat Cats game with Evansville.

NCAA Sports News

  • It's good to be an SEC football program.
  • Rush the Court has lots of links around college basketball.
  • [UPDATE 1]  Daniel Miller, 6'10"/240# center released from his letter of intent by Georgia.
  • [UPDATE 1] The Loathsome Troll Jeff Goodman also reports that May 8th will be the deadline for deciding whether to stay in the draft next year.  I actually would have favored May 15th, but I largely agree with the shortening of the process.

Other News of Interest

  • Deadspin:  Rick Pitino extortion drama "one long vacation to creepytown."  Indeed.
  • Karen Sypher's mother speaks out in defense of her daughter.
  • [UPDATE 1]  UK Trustees fill the gap from state budget cuts
  • [UPDATE 1] Gary Parrish says all parties in the Pitino debacle will be stained, and "an apologetic Karen Sypher is not waking through that door."  Trial in the media and/or the court of public opinion is inevitable for public figures -- that's just part of American life.