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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Julius Randle Edition

News and commentary from around the Big Blue Internet. John Calipari talks about the basketball program. Softball has 12 academic All-Americans. More.

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Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

An interesting piece today on Julius Randle, wondering if he has the skills to make an impact given that he was primarily a post scorer at Kentucky.

What the author fails to understand about Randle’s time here is that UK faced a zone and/or pack-line man-to-man defense every single game, defenses which the NBA doesn’t utilize nearly as much, or in the same way. NBA players spread the floor a lot more, providing more isolation opportunities, areas in which Randle will excel. He is a dynamic ballhandler for a man his size, and has an elite quickness to size ratio. NBA 3’s are going to be overpowered by Randle’s strength, and 4’s won’t be able to handle his quickness.  He's an excellent passer for his position.  He’s going to be more of a slasher and facilitator in the NBA rather than a scorer or a stretch-4.

If Kentucky had been a lethal 3-point shooting team last year, Randle would have had the ball much more in space to take guys off the bounce. We just didn’t have the right personnel mix to utilize him to the best of his ability, and had to put him in the post where he could do a lot of damage with his size, strength, and quickness.  He will be a totally different player in the NBA.

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Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
Kentucky basketball
  • Jerry Tipton points out that every time both recent times Kentucky has returned players with NCAA Tournament finals final four experience, Kentucky has won the championship the following year.  He points out that also happened in 1998.

  • Derek Willis says Kentucky is well-equipped to handle zones this season. I think he’s right about that, although the games in the Bahamas suggested that 3-point shooting is not where it needs to be. The good news? It’s October.

  • Tickets for UK-UCLA game go on sale Friday. That should be a good one. UCLA is talented this year.

  • The oddsmakers have Kentucky well ahead of second favorite, the Duke Blue Devils.

    Kentucky, which opened at 12-to-1 odds, surpassed Arizona as the tournament favorite upon the Harrison twins’ announcement that they were returning to school, and John Calipari’s Wildcats now sit at a short 3-to-1 to win the title, less than half the price of second favorite Duke (7-to-1).

    3-1 is a really short price. Not much value there from a betting standpoint. If this were a horse race, I’d probably take the 7-1 horse.

  • Consider:

    "It’s (the platoon system) never been done where the players have benefited," Calipari said. "It’s been done where the program benefited and coaches benefited, but it’s never been done where players benefited. That’s the challenge that we’ll have. I think that if you can get two groups that are balanced yet good enough, we can do it."

    I think so, too.

  • Coach Cal’s media round table:

    I think this was something we’ve all kind of minimized or forgotten:

    "I can’t believe Willie. When I watch Willie, Willie was so good the other day, I’m like, oh my gosh. And then we all forgot that we would’ve won (if he didn’t get hurt). The thing that we forgot, what would we have done with Willie playing? I mean, it would have been different. Even the endings of games wouldn’t have been where they were. I mean, Willie was a dominant - Willie was a shot blocker, a guy that could change the game on both ends. And so now you see him and you’re like, whoa. But the bottom line is somebody has gotta to be able to dominate the game for spurts."

    We never say it, but I think there is little doubt we win the UConn game with Willie on the floor. I think it’s great that we don’t dwell on that, but it’s okay to be reminded of it every now and then, kind of like the Keith Bogans injury during the time of the Suffocats.

  • Life’s been good for Aaron Harrison after last season’s heroics.

  • Stephen Zimmerman has another "great visit" with Coach Cal.

Other Kentucky sports
College football
  • Michigan president March Shlissel released a statement expressing disappointment in how the athletics program handled Shane Morris during the Michigan-Minnesota game. I think this statement is exactly right in tone and substance, and I think a thorough review is warranted.
College basketball
Other sports news
  • Rex Chapman has begun a substance-abuse program in Louisville:

    Chapman, who will be 47 Sunday, is determined to break a reliance on suboxone, a medication prescribed to help patients stop using opioid-based pain medication.

    Chapman suffered multiple knee, ankle and thumb injuries over his 12-season, 666-game NBA career. He never played an entire 82-game schedule and retired from the Phoenix Suns, his fourth pro team, in 2000.

    Admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it. Getting help is the second. He has other problems in the criminal matter, of course, but one step at a time.

  • Michael Phelps ≈ Rex Chapman?

  • Has Mark Price fixed Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s shot? He says "It’s going in a lot more." That’s a good sign.

Other news