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Saturday Quickies: New Calipari Recruiting Strategy Edition

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John Calipari is making some surprising moves that we normally wouldn’t see him make.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Jacksonville Photo by Matt Marriott/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Happy Saturday, Big Blue Nation. I hope this Saturday finds you and your families healthy and safe,

With the latest addition of former Rhode Island player Jacob Toppin, it’s clear that John Calipari is stepping out of his comfort zone during this final recruiting season. Normally we see Cal go after the best of the best in high school along with high end graduate transfers.

Jacob Toppin and Davion Mintz don’t fit that mold. While Toppin is viewed as a long term project, Mintz is a grad transfer but not as high end as Reid Travis or Nate Sestina. His immediate impact isn’t as assured as that of the previous two players I mentioned.

While this is unorthodox for Cal, many fans have been asking for players like Toppin and Mintz for a long time. Mintz is a veteran guard that can, ideally, lead a team until freshman Devin Askew comes along.

And Toppin is a long term project that may not even play this season. And if he does play this season, he’s not expected to be ready to go. This isn’t a traditional John Calipari recruit.

Is Calipari already adjusting to what he’s predicting will happen if the new G-League deals for high school seniors is a hit? Or is the landscape of recruiting that dry right now where he feels like he HAS to take Toppin?

And let’s not forget Matt Haarms. That would make two grad transfers for UK in one season if he does come to Kentucky. That’s something we have never seen from John Calipari, someone who once lamented the grad transfer rule.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this team gels next season.

Tweets of the Day

Lynn Bowden is going to make an NFL team very happy.

Quickies

Bill Clinton to join John Calipari | WDRB- Cal has been doing his “Coffee with Cal Series” as a way to reach out and entertain those stuck at home due to COVID-19. His next guest is a former president.

Good and bad news in basketball recruiting | Lexington Herald Leader- The main story here is the recruitment of 2021 big man Paolo Banchero. He is a top three recruit in the class and many believe that Calipari has been pushing him to reclassify for the 2020 class. Banchero has been adamant that he will stick in 2021. That looks to be the case. But if Calipari would be able to pull off a magic trick late, the outlook for the 2020 season would be Final Four.

UK in a league of it’s own with roster turnover | Courier-Journal- With this season’s mass exodus, many Kentucky fans acted shocked. This type of thing isn’t new at UK and fans should know that, most of the time, things end up fine.

Lynn Bowden open to position trading in NFL | Cats Pause- The standout star of the 2019 season is a multi talented weapon that will give an NFL team an immediate boost. Lynn Bowden doesn’t want to be boxed in as just a return man or wide receiver. He wants to do it all.

Former Louisville player flagged in drug test | CBS- Many NFL Draft analysts believe that Mekhi Becton is the best tackle prospect in the draft. But now the projected top ten draft pick has to convince teams that his failed drug test isn’t a big deal.

NBA to withhold player checks on May 15 | ESPN-This development could have players pushing for the NBA to finish the season in some fashion. There has been building optimism that the league will start at some point this summer.

So much for that optimism... | Sports Illustrated- Adam Silver threw a bucket of cold water on any optimism about a basketball season in a conference call on Friday. His tone was somber and he declined to make any claims one way or the other.

College basketball’s demise is not imminent | Sporting News- The deal with Jalen Green to the G-League has been a major talking point this week. While I don’t believe the hyperbole of “college basketball is coming to an end”, I do believe it will have a negative impact on the sport if this deal with Jalen Green is successful.