Controversy has once again found Kentucky head coach John Calipari, as the young Wildcats lost on the road at South Carolina on Saturday and Calipari was ejected in the second half.
The loss was deemed “rock bottom” by a few national writers and on Monday, the head coach decided to place the blame on himself after not speaking to the media on Saturday.
Calipari responded to members of the media and the Courier-Journal‘s Kyle Tucker has many of the quotes, including Cal placing the blame on himself for Kentucky’s recent struggles:
“And again, look, my team, we’re talented enough to do what we want. We could beat anybody in the country, but we’ve also proven we can lose to anybody in the country. So it is on us right now, and basically it’s on me. I don’t put this on 18, 19-year-old kids. They don’t know. You think they know why they’re going through what they’re going through? Most cases they don’t. It’s our job and my job as the head coach to figure out what we have to do, how we have to do it, to get them to play as well as they can possibly play.”
Also interesting was Calipari talking about his teaching methods and how it applies to Kentucky’s confidence levels. Kentucky seemed to have things figured out a few weeks ago, but Calipari is potentially going back to the drawing board.
“But let me say this: I will be whoever I have to be, because this isn’t about me. This is about this team. And I’ve gotta get them more confident and figure out what do they need me to be. A cheerleader? What do they need me to be at this point? And that’s how I’ve always coached. It’s never changed. If I have to be tough, I’m tough. If I have to be easy, I’m easy. But again, it was only a few weeks ago that’s what we talked about. So as we go forward, the whole point of us is: How do we get our defensive confidence? How do we get our offensive confidence? Well we just had it 10 days ago, two weeks ago. How did that change? What did we do different? How did we think different? That’s what we’re going through now.”
So is Kentucky seeking its identity — again — as we get into March? That appears to be the case as there seems to be more questions than answers surrounding the Wildcats right now. Kentucky is one of the most talented teams in the country, but they are running out of time to figure things out as we get closer to the SEC Tournament and March Madness.
There are plenty of more enlightening comments from Calipari from today and they can be read in-full here and here.
Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.
The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.
“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.
“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”
A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?
Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.
Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.
The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.
According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.
John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.
The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.
Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.
Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.
Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.
Michigan added to an already strong Class of 2018 recruiting haul on Friday night as four-star forward Ignas Brazdeikis pledged to the Wolverines on Twitter.
The 6-foot-8 Canadian was one of the premier scorers in the Nike EYBL this past spring and summer playing with CIA Bounce as Brazdeikis averaged 21.1 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the floor. Well-rounded outside of his scoring, Brazdeikis also put up 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while also showing a workable jumper that was 26 percent from three-point range.
With the job that Michigan head coach John Beilein has done developing forwards, most recently with the rapid improvement of players like D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner, it’ll be fascinating to see how Brazdeikis will look at the college level after some time on campus. Beilein’s offense is favorable for skilled forwards with a penchant for scoring and Brazdeikis could end up being a tremendous fit for the Wolverines.
Brazdeikis becomes the fourth member of Michigan’s Class of 2018 recruiting haul as he joins four-star forward Brandon Johns, four-star guard David Dejulius and three-star forward Taylor Currie.