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Kentucky Wildcats: Morning Quickies - Kyle Wiltjer Edition

News and commentary from around the Big Blue Internet. Kyle Wiltjer is likely transferring from Kentucky. Football 2014 recruit Darius McDonald has no scholarship offer from UK, likely preferred walk-on. Former UK football great Calvin Bird dies. More.


Kyle Wiltjer's announcement that he would be exploring the option of transferring to another school has predictably produced some doom and gloom from the media, who despite the success of 2010-2012 are still focused on the experience factor. Here's an example from Seth Davis:

While there is always a chance that this is more right than wrong, I'm not buying it. Darius Miller wasn't the reason Kentucky won in 2012, although he did help quite a lot with his size, flexibility and the fact of Kentucky's thin bench. Wiltjer, though, is not nearly the kind of multi-position, multi-dimensional player that Miller was, and 2013's depth is not significantly hurt by Wiltjer's transfer. It will just give some players, like Marcus Lee, more opportunity to develop.

Speaking of that, some people continue to hold out hope Wiltjer will wind up staying. It could happen, but ... it won't.

Tweet of the Morning:

Take from that what you will, but what you should be taking away is that the staff is comfortable losing Wiltjer from next year's team. It's a blow, but my feeling is that they don't see it as nearly as significant as some imagine.

Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
  • How things change over time. Interesting chart by Eric Crawford about how Internet search interest in Mark Stoops and Bobby Petrino have changed since Stoops' hire. Dramatic.

    I think, more than anything, this is reflective of the power of the big Blue Nation.

  • Big Ten coaches, now including Michigan St.'s Mark Dantonio, continue to play down the SEC at every available opportunity and poo-poo the idea that Kentucky's recruiting success in football is hurting them.

    Keep whistling past the graveyard, boys. Has anyone but me noticed the roaring silence of ex-SEC coach Urban Meyer?

  • Unranked running back Darius McDonald apparently doesn't have an offer from Kentucky. Seems he will be a preferred walk-on if he comes. [Via Hank]

  • Can you imagine if ESPN's Edward Aschoff is right about Kentucky's strength being the defensive line? I don't know whether to celebrate or cower in fear.

    There is very little doubt that our receiver corps is a weakness, if only from a sheer lack of numbers. I think the secondary may be better than people think, we have some nice pieces there.

  • 2013-14 has a distinct 2011-12 vibe to it. That's just what I want to hear.

  • Former UK player Derek Abney on Kentucky's recruiting. [Hank]

  • So sorry to hear that former UK football great Calvin Bird has died. Hank says that Bird was his boyhood hero. [Via Hank]

  • We'll be/are recruiting Stone Mountain's Stephenson. [Hank]

  • Well, Cardinals, we have some good news and some bad news. [Hank]

  • Georgia's top defensive linemen (photos) - impressive. [Hank]

Kentucky basketball
  • Coach Calipari expects all the 2013 recruits to reach campus soon. Five out of the eight are already there.

  • reports on the SEC summer teleconference, including remarks made by Calipari. I would personally love to see LSU basketball return to respectability, and Johnny O'Bryant's notable improvement is a good sign.

  • Heh. Coach Cal is a national treasure.

  • Consider:

    I probably – I’ve been thinking a little bit – I compare this team more to our team my first year (at UK) than I compare them to the 2012 team. I mean, this will be probably a team that won’t be a great, great execution team because there’s so many new guys like our first team, yet a team that can physically can do things – athletically, physically, skill-wise – that can do things to beat teams even though they’re not the greatest execution team."

    There's one important addendum that needs mentioning; unlike 2010, this team can shoot.

  • ESPN's Eamonn Brennan says that the apparent transfer of Wiltjer is being handled in an unusual way:

    It's hard to overstate how unusual this is. In college sports, transfers are almost always handled as 100 percent closed-door affairs. That is especially true of a player's initial decision to transfer. The scramble of recruitment that ensues after that first decision is made is frequently open to the public, not unlike a high school recruitment. But that doesn't happen until the player has absolutely decided to leave, and the school he's leaving has issued its perfunctory statement wishing the player the best of luck with his future.

    This is not that. It's strange, and it comes with its fair share of questions. Why announce before Wiltjer leaves, in case he comes back? Is there any reason to parse these statements for subtext indicating some perceived difference in the likelihood of his return? Just how small is that chance, anyway?

    Pretty small, I'd say. Brennan's right, this is an unusual approach, but then, so is John Calipari's entire approach to the game. I think this is just a method to soften the blow, and I think it worked.

  • I think Matt Jones gets it right.

  • Willie Cauley-Stein is at the 2013 Nike Big Man Skills Academy

  • Nerlens Noel still favored to be #1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft

Links posts
College football
College basketball
  • SEC coaches are irked by the possibility that the league office will force them to toughen their schedules:

    Several Southeastern Conference coaches acknowledged that they did not like the league office getting involved in schedule-making. But after the SEC set an unwanted record by receiving only three NCAA Tournament bids in March, the coaches know they're not in a position to argue.

    Frank Martin is right that South Carolina was part of the problem last year. This year, I think they have a team that can compete, but last year, they were frankly the equivalent of a Division II team, and not a very good one, either.

  • Florida still hasn't gotten incoming top recruit Chris Walker eligible to play, plus Scotty Wilbekin is on indefinite suspension. More on Walker's situation here. You have to feel for the kid a bit, I hope he does get eligible.

  • Sorry to hear about Luke Hancock's dad passing away after a long battle with cancer. Our prayers go out to the family.

  • Where does Louisville rank in NBA Draft production? Not particularly high, but they may improve a bit this year and next.

Other sports news