Kentucky Talk Ep. 3

Welcome everyone to the third episode of Kentucky Talk.

In this episode I talk about:

  • Kentucky’s loss to Alabama
  • Jalen Hurts possibly transferring and considering Kentucky
  • Anthony Davis rumors

You can listen on iTunes and don’t forget to subscribe to the Kentucky Talk podcast feed. You can also listen on Stitcher.

Hope you all enjoy. Go Cats.

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I believe the blow out by Duke will be the best thing that happens to this team all year

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Kentucky was able to get the 87-74 win over Winthrop yesterday.  They looked great on offense shooting almost 57% from the field and 38% from behind-the-arc. 

Ever since the second half of the SIU game, Kentucky has looked like the team we saw this past summer in the Bahamas where they looked like world-beaters.

Now, I know we’re only through five games and it’s still very early, but I have a feeling that the beatdown by Duke may be the best thing that will happen to Kentucky this whole season.

After the Bahamas, we all thought we had another 2015 team, or at least I did.  I think Kentucky played very good in the Bahamas, but I also think the opponents they faced didn’t play anywhere close to their full potential.

“we weren’t prepared physically or mentally as I thought we would be, and that’s on me”

“Did we get arrogant, all of us, me included? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.”

“Like I told them, we’ve gotta get five guys that will fight like heck and leave them in and play themas long as they can play. Find those five that will fight together and play together and leave them in. And the rest of you will sub when they need abreak.”

Those were some of the quotes from Cal after the Duke loss.

The reason I say it will be the best thing that happens to Kentucky all season is because this team will be built from the ground up.  Cal will force them to be disciplined and focused always on the court, which can be difficult for these freshman at times.

Today and for the past few games, other than three-point defense, this team has looked alert defensively and very confident on the offensive end.  Two things we saw in the Bahamas but didn’t see against Duke and SIU.

Take a look at some of the stats:

Scoring
Total Points 430 391
Points Per Game 86.0 78.2
Scoring Margin 7.8
Shooting
FG: Made-Attempted 143-289 142-304
FG: Percentage .495 .467
FG: Per Game 28.6 28.4
3PT: Made-Attempted 26-76 56-127
3PT: Percentage .342 .441
3PT: Per Game 5.2 11.2
FT: Made-Attempted 118-154 51-72
FT: Percentage .766 .708
FT: Per Game 23.6 10.2
Rebounding
Total 210 116
Per Game 42.0 23.2
Margin 18.8
Assists
Total 78 73
Per Game 15.6 14.6
Turnovers
Total 77 69
Per Game 15.4 13.8
Margin -1.6
Assist/Turnover Ratio 1.0 1.1
Points Off Turnovers 19.4 19.2
Steals
Total 32 28
Per Game 6.4 5.6
Blocks
Total 28 11
Per Game 5.6 2.2

Go Cats.

It’s sad, but I am aggravated that Kentucky didn’t get James Wiseman today. Here’s why.

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Today wasn’t a great day to be a Kentucky fan and if I am being honest, I am a little aggravated. As we all know James Wiseman committed to Penny Hardaway and Memphis.  I am aggravated about a few things but they all center around Wiseman’s decision. 

It’s sad that I am aggravated that an 18-year-old didn’t decide to play one year of college basketball at the school I am a fan of.  Don’t get me wrong, I hope he does well, but I am a little bitter that the second-best recruit in the nation will not be suiting up in a Kentucky uniform.

When I saw the news that Wiseman was making his decision today, I knew it was Memphis and there was nothing, absolutely nothing to say otherwise

John Calipari started recruiting James Wiseman in the late part of 2016.  He even made two trips overseas to watch Wiseman play and watched him every chance he could in AAU and high school.

At his pre-Winthrop presser today, Calipari said that “he was overrated as a recruiter.”

“We don’t get every kid, we get the ones we’re supposed toget.  It just kinda plays out that wayand it always has.  It’s not changed my approach to this.” Calipari said.

“I gotta be able to sleep at night, knowing that I’m being honest and not embellishing. I’m not saying that against anybody else.  Everybody recruits the way they recruit. But you’ve got good programs and good coaches and that’s why we don’t get everybody we recruit. We’re not the only ones out there trying to get good players and trying to help kids.”

We’ve all heard Cal take shots at certain schools, mainly Duke.  It has been said by Cal that the Duke recruiting pitch is that “you will be the face of the program” and Cal doesn’t say that.  He tells you that it “it will be tough” and “you have to earn everything here.”

I am good with that. I don’t think we should lie to these guys about what it’s like here or what role they’ll play.  As Cal said, he’s gotta be able to sleep at night.

But, the loss of Wiseman has been a growing trend in the past years, starting with the loss of Jahlil Okafor all the way back in 2014, up until now.

If you’re wondering what other options are out there for UK, TJ Walker of Kentucky Sports Radio wrote a post all about that.  You can read that here.

John Calipari said one of the reasons he came to Kentucky was because he could recruit “the best of the best” and he has, then today he says he’s overrated as a recruiter. I would bet that if Kentucky doesn’t get a solid big man in this class, they make a change with the staff, because it isn’t a coincidence that since Orlando Antigua left, Kentucky hasn’t been getting the best recruits.

If Calipari is going to continue this one-and-done stuff, then he must win these recruiting battles.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Kentucky ends up in Vernon Carey Jr’s top three, but if they aren’t then maybe we start worrying. 

I am aggravated mostly because John Calipari recruited Wiseman very hard and Kentucky was the leader for nearly his whole recruitment, then Memphis hired Penny Hardaway and they get him.  I don’t think that you should be able to do that.  We’ve seen it with Ben Simmons and LSU.  It’s an easy way to get a recruit, and I think you only do it if you know you won’t be able to get a guy going head-to-head with the other schools.

I think it’s safe to say Calipari has lost “his touch” when it comes to recruiting, and nowadays, if you’re running the one-and-done and not getting the best of the best, then you’re in trouble.

Don’t get me wrong though, I am not saying Cal needs to be let go or he can’t coach or anything like that.  I just think Kentucky is starting to slide in recruiting and something needs to be done.

Go Cats.���-

Kentucky gets their first win of the season against SIU, 71-59

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That wasn’t the prettiest win in the world, but after a very rough first half, Kentucky was able to rally in the second half and beat Southern Illinois, 71-59.

I saw more of the same team we saw against Duke Tuesday night.  Kentucky came out with no energy and some of the most careless basketball I’ve seen in the Calipari era.  The team needed a spark and got it toward the end of the first half, leading 31-28 at halftime.

The second half was a different story.  They looked more energized and looked like they were hungry for the win.  I’d say that had a little bit to do with the ten point deficit they faced early in the second half.  Immanuel Quickely and Keldon Johnson came alive in the second half scoring 15 points each, leading the team.  Quade Green scored 14 points and EJ Montgomery scored 10 points.  Nick Richards grabbed 19 rebounds, which is a record that ties Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and I never would’ve guessed that.

The good news is we saw this team actually play well tonight.  I was really worried after they came out tonight looking as bad as they did Tuesday night, and I honestly thought this was going to be a very rough season.

The thing that hurt Kentucky the most was turnovers as they had 13 in 13 minutes and through 2 half’s and 13 minutes of play, they had committed 27 turnovers.  They had 19 tonight.

What worries me about this team is they don’t have a go-to scorer or playmaker.  Now maybe we found that tonight in Immanuel Quickley or Keldon Johnson, but there isn’t one consistent player.  We’re only through two games so far and maybe someone separates themselves from the others, but as of right now I don’t see that.

This team is talented and will hit a stride at some point this year.  Will it be like last year where they hit it late in the year or will they find their way early? If you want to be good early, you have to find three guys that can be good consistently and play long periods of time.  Keep in mind, Tyler Herro, Ashton Hagans, and PJ Washington haven’t given us anything so far this year.

We’re only through two games and I’m not panicking yet.  Kentucky looked good in the second half which gave us something to get excited about, but will that translate to the rest of the season?  We’ll have to wait and see.

Tonight was the hardest game Kentucky will play until Seton Hall in New York.

The Cats are back in action on Wednesday at 9 PM against North Dakota.

The football team thought plays tomorrow, and right now that’s all I’m worried about.  Kentucky got the win tonight, now let’s go kick UT’s ass tomorrow.

Go Cats.

If Kentucky basketball is out of the spotlight, it won’t be for long

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With Duke winning the recruiting battle of 2018, it looks like they have put themselves in the spotlight for this season, but not for long.

Pictured above is five-star Jaden McDaniels, a 6-10, 185 pound power-forward who is ranked in the top five of the 2019 class and ranked no. 1 at his position.

McDaniels has offers from Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, and Duke.  He is making his official visit this weekend to Lexington and would be a huge get for the Cats as it would give them a very talented big man for the 2019 class.

Kentucky already has commitments from Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney, and Dontai Allen.

The Cats are still in the hunt for top ranked recruit James Wiseman (things aren’t looking great for the Cats) and third ranked recruit, Vernon Carey Jr.

This could be a huge class for Kentucky and could give them the edge they need going into 2020.  Things could also fall apart and Kentucky could be without a significant big man in the 2019 season.

Check out some highlight of McDaniels:

 

 

John Calipari says the team was “playing for themselves” against Duke

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John Calipari met with the media today to discuss Kentucky’s upcoming game against Southern Illinois and mostly to talk about the ugly loss to the Duke Blue Devils Tuesday night.

We’ve seen in a lot since John Calipari has been here, young freshman trying to do it all by themselves in the spotlight and play selfish.  Cal says the team played to “get theirs” Tuesday night.

“We were out there, instead of playing for each other, they were trying to get theirs.”  He also said a friend called him and said that the it looked like they were “playing with their hair on fire.”

Cal told them, “We gotta get five guys who will fight like heck and leave them in and play them as long as they can.  Find those five who will fight together and play together and leave them in and then the rest of you will sub in when they need a break.”

Calipari also said the guys acting like it was high school, “We took bad shots.  Guys were acting like it was high school.  Then we got down and they say ‘I gotta get mine now.’ What? You don’t play that way at Kentucky.”

We’ve seen this before with young teams full of freshman.  This team is in good hands though with three sophomores and a grad-transfer.

They have seven games until they travel to New York to face Seton Hall, then they come home to play Utah, and then head to Chicago for the showdown with North Carolina on December 22nd.

Winning those games will make it easier to forget about the Duke game and we’ll also see if they have learned from it.

Go Cats.

 

 

 

Kentucky vs. Duke: What the hell happened last night?

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Last night was not fun, at all.  We all had to sit through the living hell that was Kentucky vs. Duke.  For those of you who went to bed and didn’t have to live it, you’re lucky.  But, for those of us, like me, that watched most of the game, this one really stung and I don’t know what to think.

I predicted many things but a blowout of 30+ points by Duke wasn’t something I saw coming at all.  Let’s face it, Kentucky is good but Duke is just elite, and probably the best team this year.

It’s funny because fans and analysts have been saying for years that you need experience and can’t win a title with freshman.  Well, that myth was debunked last night after a Duke team full of freshman basically ran a Kentucky team, with experience, off the floor.  Now don’t get me wrong, Kentucky has its fair share of youth, but they also have three sophomores and a grad-transfer who are supposed to play big roles.

That gets us to the part of this post where we get down to business and look at what went wrong for the Cats last night.

The experienced guys didn’t show up

Quade Green, Nick Richards, PJ Washington, and Reid Travis were all supposed to play big roles this year and Reid Travis was maybe even going to be the best player.  He played great, but the other three didn’t show up.

Washington, Green, and Richards combined for 9 points, 3 assists, 5 rebounds, and went a combined 3/12 from the floor.  That cannot happen.

Kentucky didn’t make an effort to get Travis the ball in the first 5-7 minutes of the game and he still had 22 points and 7 rebounds.

Turnovers

With a decent amount of experience you would think turnovers would be the least of this teams worries.  Wrong.

Kentucky turned the ball over fifteen times whereas Duke turned it over only four times.

The turnovers last night were mostly lazy passes and guys not paying attention to where the opposing players were when they passed.

Shooting

Whoever scores the most point wins the game.  Kentucky didn’t even come close.

The Cats went 26-59 from the floor (44%) whereas Duke went 43-79 (54%).

Kentucky was getting open shots but just couldn’t hit them.

Defense

In my opinion, this was the worst thing all night.  We all saw it against Transy and IUP where our guards were letting their guards beat them going to the basket and our bigs weren’t blocking the shot and allowing easy buckets.

Last night was more of that.  Barrett, Reddish, Jones, and even Williamson were taking Kentucky’s guards and forwards to the basket all night and were getting easy buckets.

John Calipari has had poor defensive teams, but I don’t ever remember one looking as bad as they did last night.

Energy and effort

I don’t know how you don’t get excited for Duke on a stage as been as the Champions Classic, but Kentucky looked asleep from the beginning.

Duke was beating them to 50/50 balls, Kentucky’s defenders looked asleep all night, and offensively they just lacked a competitive edge which isn’t something I’ve seen a lot with teams with as much talent as this one.

Moving forward

Kentucky makes a quick turnaround and faces Southern Illinois Friday night.  I would expect to see a totally different basketball team and a blowout.

I’m not panicking yet because it’s early November, but if we see this stuff lingering throughout the season it might be a rough year.   I doubt that happens though.  I believe they’ll get it together.

You know Cal has to be pissed after getting run off the floor by Duke.

Go Cats.