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Is Coach Cal going to bring back this year’s freshmen?


The irony was almost too much to bear.

Kentucky, who had made their way up to John Calipari’s hometown of Moon, PA, for the NIT, got knocked out in the first round by Robert Morris. It was a one-and-done performance in the tournament no one pays attention to that could end up keeping this year’s recruiting class from being one-and-done players headed to the NBA.

Or at least that’s what Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein were saying after the 59-57 loss.

“I don’t know if it’s a question whether I’m going (to the NBA) or not,” Goodwin said. “I don’t think I’m ready to go. It’s no reason why I think any of our guys should really leave. We should come back next year. … If any of us were saying we think we should leave, then we’d all be delusional. None of us need to leave.”

“Yeah, I do,” Poythress said, when asked if he thinks he’s coming back. “I don’t think I’m ready (for the NBA).”

But here’s the thing: it’s not so much whether or not they are ready for the NBA as it is that UK is ready for them to head to the next level. Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin are both being projected as mid-first round picks in the 2013 draft. They may be able to sneak into the back end of the lottery this year. Willie Cauley-Stein is projected as a top ten pick in 2014, but after the way he played after Nerlens Noel’s injury, it’s not difficult to imagine that an NBA team would be willing to use a guaranteed contract on him.

And if they do come back, where are they going to get their minutes from?

Kentucky’s recruiting class, as of this moment, includes both the Harrison twins, James Younger, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee. There’s a chance that it could also include either Andrew Wiggins or Julius Randle, maybe both. And while it’s starting to seem unlikely, Aaron Gordon might even be thrown into the mix.

Coach Cal doesn’t need depth. In 2010-2011, the seventh-man — Eloy Vargas — averaged 7.7 minutes. In 2011-2012, the seventh-man — Kyle Wiltjer — averaged 11.6 minutes. This season, the eighth-man — Jarrod Polson — averaged 13.8 minutes, and that had much more to do with Cal not trusting Ryan Harrow than it did wanted to play Polson that much.

Cal is going to bring in those five (or six or seven) recruits while also having Wiltjer return for his junior season. Throw Poythress, Goodwin and Cauley-Stein in the mix, and all of a sudden there is too much talent.

Is he going to risk the happiness and the sanity of his team for a group of freshmen that he said “hijacked” the program? Guys that he said he was forced to accept the unacceptable from?

I’ll believe it when the NBA Draft’s early-entry deadline passes and those three have yet to declare.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Florida freshman will miss the season with stress fracture

GAINESVILLE, FL - JANUARY 19: Head coach Mike White of the Florida Gators gestures during the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on January 19, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Florida freshman forward Dontay Bassett is out for the season with a stress fracture, according to a release from the school.

Bassett will require surgery in his right foot and his projected recovery time will be four-to-six months. The injury will force Bassett to redshirt the 2016-17 season.

A three-star recruit coming out of Oldsmar Christian in Florida, the 6-foot-9 forward wasn’t expected to be a big contributor during his first year with the Gators, but his loss does hurt some of the team’s frontcourt depth. With John Egbunu, Devin Robinson, Justin Leon and Kevarrius Hayes all returning, the Gators should have plenty of players to use in the frontcourt this season without Bassett.

Once Bassett is healthy and able to play next season he showed good athleticism and an ability to hit the glass hard while he was in high school. Bassett should be able to join Florida’s rotation as an energy defender and rebounder right away.

Iowa State lands four-star Class of 2017 guard Lindell Wigginton

GREENVILLE, SC- July 9, 2016:  adidas Gauntlet Finale at Upward Stars Center (Jeff Hinds/adidas)
GREENVILLE, SC- July 7, 2016:  adidas Gauntlet Finale at Upward Stars Center (Jeff Hinds/adidas)
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Iowa State has its point guard of the future as four-star Class of 2017 prospect Lindell Wigginton pledged to the Cyclones on Friday.

The 6-foot-1 Wigginton is regarded as the No. 40 overall prospect on as the Canadian has spent the last few seasons at powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. With an ability to play both guard spots and defend a few spots, Wigginton is a valuable addition to head coach Steve Prohm’s ballclub as Wigginton could help replace Monte Morris after he exhausts his eligibility.

Wigginton is going to need to improve his consistency on his perimeter jumper, but he’s a good pull-up scorer who can make plays for himself or others off the bounce. Iowa State’s Class of 2017 recruiting haul now includes Wigginton, four-star wing Terrence Lewis and three-star guard Darius McNeill.

This commitment is huge for Prohm as Wigginton is the most highly-regarded recruit that he has landed with the Cyclones. With Prohm’s point guard history with guys like Isaiah Canaan at Murray State and Monte Morris now with Iowa State, Prohm did a nice job of finding his next young guard to mold for the future.

Davidson star Jack Gibbs to miss a few weeks with shoulder injury

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11:  Jack Gibbs #12 of the Davidson Wildcats celebrates a basket against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies during the Quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament at the Barclays Center on March 11, 2016 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Davidson senior guard Jack Gibbs is one of the most under-the-radar players in college basketball as he will be among the nation’s leading offensive threats this season if he’s healthy.

But health is going to be a question for the 6-foot-1 guard as Gibbs is dealing with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for 2-to-3 weeks, according to head coach Bob McKillop. McKillop told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that tests came back negative for Gibbs and he’s expected to be back for the Wildcats’ season-opener. The injury for Gibbs occurred during Thursday’s Davidson practice.

As a junior, Gibbs averaged 23.5 points, 4.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game as he became one of the nation’s premier offensive players.  Gibbs is going to be a huge key for Davidson this season as he needs to be healthy in order for the Wildcats to make it back to the NCAA tournament.


VIDEO: Dennis Smith Jr. electrifies N.C. State fans at team’s scrimmage

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N.C. State freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. excited fans with some absurd plays at the team’s Primetime with the Pack event last night.

The highly-touted, five-star prospect is the most electric prospect to come to the Wolfpack in years and Smith had the crowd buzzing with some highlight-reel dunks during the team’s 20-minute scrimmage.

Smith made one teammate look silly by putting it between his legs and throwing down a vicious dunk during one play while he also threw an alley-oop to himself to finish another break.

(h/t: Ball is Life)

VIDEO: Kentucky freshman Malik Monk throws down vicious dunks during scrimmage

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15:  West Team MVP Malik Monk (L) (Bentonville, AR) in action during the 15th iteration of the Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center on April 15, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Jordan Brand )
(Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Jordan Brand )
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Kentucky freshman guard Malik Monk is going to be one of the newcomers to keep an eye on this season as the 6-foot-3 Arkansas native is an explosive scorer who packs vicious athleticism.

Monk showed Big Blue Nation some of what they can expect to see during Friday night’s Blue/White Scrimmage as he unleashed a ferocious dunk in some traffic and also had another good dunk in transition. While Monk has great lift off the floor, he also isn’t afraid to cock the ball back and put some authority on his dunks. He’s going to be a ton of fun to watch this season.