John Calipari

Kentucky’s four new McDonald’s All-Americans arrive on campus

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Kentucky’s four new McDonald’s All-Americans have arrived on campus as Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyler Ulis all took to social media to announce their arrivals in Lexington, according to Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal.

All four class of 2014 freshmen will begin classes and workouts with the team this summer and it means head coach John Calipari can get his new pieces acclimated a little more quickly for next season’s potential championship run.

As Jones notes in the story, the Harrison twins and James Young didn’t arrive until August of last summer and it might have affected their timing and development slightly in the beginning of the season.

Now, Calipari can get Ulis and Booker adjusted to running with the second team and being valuable backups in the backcourt this season while Lyles and Towns can work with the talented group of Kentucky big men that will be without Willie Cauley-Stein this summer as he recovers from offseason surgery on his ankle.

The freshmen will also get more time with the team before Kentucky’s international exhibition trip in August, which looks like it will be in the Bahamas. The trip will give the freshmen minutes in exhibition games this summer and also allows for additional practice time leading up to the trip.

The narrative won’t be the same surrounding this year’s Kentucky freshmen and all four members of the 2014 class showing up on campus early points to how low key this group of players is off-the-floor compared to the 2013 class.

While the 2013 class was littered with dominant, type-A personalities and ball-dominant players who were always involved in the one-and-done talk, this 2014 group of freshmen shouldn’t have nearly as much hype or difficulty sharing the ball.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.