Good morning, Big Blue Nation. We’ve had some really fun times this summer. From the NBA Draft, to the NBA Summer League, to the USA U19 practices and games, it’s been a good time to be a UK fan.
But all that came to a halt yesterday as Team USA fell to Canada 99-87 in the semifinals in Egypt behind a monster effort from Canada’s R.J. Barrett, who led all scorers with 38 points.
The USA led in the second quarter but that disappeared after Canada went on an 11-1 run. The Americans would cut the lead, tie the game, take the lead again, but Canada always had an answer, and that answer, more often than not, was Barrett.
PJ Washington again shined for America as he scored 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Hamidou Diallo was mostly ineffective as he battled foul trouble for the entire game. His absence down the stretch was noticeable as he was unable to guard Barrett.
John Calipari took the blame for the loss, saying that he should have mixed things up defensively to stop Barrett. He also stated that he continued to go with what they were doing because he thought they would figure it out eventually. Kentucky fans have heard that before.
In the end, this is a bad loss for John Calipari.
Calipari, fair or not, has earned the reputation over his career as the guy that has the talent to win, gets to the big game, and then loses the big game. Calipari has a title and we have all watched him win games that he shouldn’t. But 2012 is getting further away and the loss in 2014 Finals and the 2015 Final Four are still looming large.
The good news is that Team USA has a chance to save some face as they will take on Spain for the Bronze medal today at noon.
Even more good news is that Calipari is still the coach at Kentucky and will yet again have a stacked team full of young players that we are all itching to see play. Kevin Knox is a guy that really could have been a factor for Team USA yesterday. Luckily we get to see him play again soon enough.
What does this mean for Cal’s future as coaching USA basketball? That’s yet to be seen. Without the likes of Knox, Michael Porter, Jr., Marvin Bagley, and some of the other top prospects, this version wasn’t viewed as being as stacked as previous teams. That’s not making excuses, that’s a reality.
And of course the Cal haters (Louisville fans, IU fans, Jeff Goodman, etc...) were out in force. Thus...
Tweet of the Day
Some Americans hate John Calipari so much that they were apparently cheering for another country today. Pretty sad really.— Anthony Wireman (@awireman) July 8, 2017
People are dumb.
Shai declined to be on that Canadian team. Imagine if he would have made it? A lot of talent up North. https://t.co/zETnMFrflu— James Streble (@Round_Daddy) July 8, 2017
There’s a lot of talent coming out of Canada right now. Yes, I copied my own tweet. Deal with it.
Calipari shouldn’t take all the blame for the loss | Yahoo!- Jeff Eisenberg echoes my statements about the talent that didn’t compete (including guys like Markelle Fultz and Jayson Tatum) and adds that chemistry was also an issue as these guys have only played together for a few weeks. And a commitment from guys like Immanuel Quickley, Romeo Langford, and Cameron Reddish would lessen the sting.
Tai Wynyard shines in loss | CoachCal.com- It wasn’t a great day for U19 Wildcats as New Zealand fell to Puerto Rico. Tai Wynayrd posted another double-double and very near averaged double digit points and rebounds in the tournament.
UK has its own special 'Mr. Kentucky' in Tom Kalinowski | Lexington Herald Leader
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USA Today is out with its annual review of college athletics revenue. UK basketball recruiting. Jarren Williams impresses.
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In most cases, our projections are much different than the Vegas lines
Top draft pick Markelle Fultz sprains ankle | ESPN- Fans of the Sixers held their breath last night as Fultz went down in a summer league game and had to be helped off of the court. It was just an ankle sprain. The Sixers haven’t had the best of luck when it comes to healthy top draft picks.
Lonzo Ball bounces back | CBS- After a dreadful NBA debut Friday night, Ball recorded a triple double against the Celtics.
Star or system guy? Judging Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, more - NFL.com
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True Blood star dies at 39 | Yahoo!- Nelsan Ellis, better known as True Blood’s Lafayette, passed away at an early age yesterday. My wife watched the show so I have seen the bulk of the episodes. I didn’t care for the show, but Ellis’ character was a highlight of the show.