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Kentucky Wildcats Saturday Quickies: Jordan Brand Classic Edition

News and commentary from around the Big Blue Internet. Bat Cats win series opener at Texas A&M, series resumes today. Softball defeats Arkansas in first game, series resumes today. Tennis reaches semifinals of SEC tournament. More.

Jonathan Daniel

If you didn't see the filthy, incredible behind-the-back pass by Karl-Anthony Towns Jr. in the Jordan Brand Classic last night, stop what you are doing and watch it.

Tweet of the Morning

This is a tweet by J.K. Britt, a 3-star defensive back out of Newnan, Georgia. He has offers from Ole Miss, N.C. State, Tennessee, Clemson, and Virginia Tech.

Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
Kentucky basketball
  • A surprisingly good article from a rather obscure North Carolina daily. The author is almost completely fair to Calipari despite being in the center of Tar Heel country, and uses a fascinating and completely apt simile to begin his piece. Here's a tiny taste, but you should read the whole thing, it's short and painless:

    Calipari has revolutionized college basketball by recruiting untested freshmen and taking them deep into the NCAA tournament - including a championship in 2012. He acknowledges his ability to make the system work, sending his stars to NBA fame and fortune, but says he doesn’t like it. Given a choice, he said, he’d prefer to coach players throughout four-year college careers.

    Maybe Calipari is just saying, "I can beat you either way."

    I guarantee, he'd love the chance to try. Who wouldn't in his shoes?

  • Remember the piece Keith wrote about René Cornette? The local Harlan paper finally gets on the case, and has more about her and her family.

  • John Calipari surprised at the return of Willie Cauley-Stein:

    "He basically said, 'Coach, I'm in no hurry to leave. I love going to school. I'm going to be really close to my degree. I still have to grow as a player. And we left something on the table there that I'd like to try and get,' " said Calipari, whose team lost in the NCAA title game earlier this month. "That's a good answer for me if you want to come back. If you say you think it would be easier to come back, I say, 'You need to go.' "

    I love hearing Wille say things like that. In your face, Kentucky haters. Chew on that.

  • Mark Story makes an interesting, if unfortunate point:

    Still, there has been one clearly lamentable facet of the "one-and-done" era in Kentucky basketball - the fact that players who stay at Kentucky beyond their first year are somehow stigmatized as not up to par. There's something perverse about a dynamic in which the people who are in your program the longest are diminished.

    Truly, that is lamentable, and I think, wrong. I do agree that can be the perception. When we say, "Player X needs another year," are we really saying that he's not good enough? Yes, but only for the moment, and I think Kentucky fans get this. It isn't a stigma, it's a judgment of player development, which is surely fair game.

    But some others clearly do not see it this way, especially foes of Calipari or Kentucky, and what he has done here. I think this just highlights the moral bankruptcy of people like that, who are quick to stigmatize players in order to push their anti-whatever agenda.

  • Chad Ford thinks the Harrison twins are now leaning toward another year at UK. Hat tip: Sam Henson:

  • Remember the man who badly injured his back at Rupp Arena trying to keep his wife from falling? Coach Cal paid him a visit recently.

  • SI's Brian Hamilton ranked four of Kentucky's NCAA Tournament games as among the best ten games played in the tournament this season. He calls UK's victory over Wichita State perhaps the "... most momentous round of 32 games ever..." I think that's right.

Other Kentucky sports
College football
College basketball
  • Breaking up wasn't hard for Frank Haith to do.

    When Missouri hired Haith three years ago after a failed bid to pluck Matt Painter from Purdue, many Tigers fans didn't exactly embrace the move. They launched phone and email campaigns urging the school's board of curators not to approve Haith's contract, noting his 43-69 record in ACC play at Miami and his one NCAA tournament berth since 2004.

    Sounds familiar. A place closer to us than Mizzou, I think, and just a bit south of here ...

  • NBA commish Adam Silver wants NCAA input on higher age limit. It is theoretically possible, but I think unlikely, that NBA top management and the NCAA could combine to put enough pressure on the NBA Players Association to get a higher age limit done.

    "One thing that we also agree on is that historically what you've heard is that the age issue is one that needs to be negotiated almost in isolation between the NBA and its union." Silver said. "What Dr. Emmert, and I agree on is that the NCAA needs to have a seat at the table, as well, for those discussions."

    The one-and-done issue has grown increasingly polarizing. Many college coaches and administrators don't like the rule, but the NBA is also not fond of it, though for entirely differently reasons. The NBA is paying first-round picks guaranteed millions, and with that kind of investment, teams want more chances to evaluate players. The more they can scout players, the more confident they believe they are in making significant decisions in the draft.

    You know, to me it's far from clear what "... a seat at the table ..." means. The NCAA would be seen by the players, I think, as an impediment to a deal. Most players come away from their NCAA experience with a negative, jilted view of the rules and how they are applied. So exactly how the NCAA being present helps is not clear to me.

  • Mike Krzyzewski promotes Jeff Capel to associate head coach and Jon Scheyer to assistant.

  • Another article on raising the age limit. Perhaps this is becoming a media cause célèbre. If so, riding herd on it ought to become easier, and perhaps public pressure will achieve a critical mass. Here's still another piece by Rob Dauster of NBC sports saying that the age limit is a "Top priority." More, please.

  • Frank Haith notified Missouri of his leave-taking by text message. I would never, ever do that, but then, I am old. This is what I would call a "modern" way to break up.

    I guess he could have just tweeted his resignation to all and sundry, or used Facebook.

  • Bill Connelly at Rock M Nation tries to read the tea leaves and divine Missouri's next head basketball coach.

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