In the immediate aftermath of Kentucky’s loss to UConn in the national title game, there were some questions asked with regard to the future of the program. Of course there was the issue of figuring out which players would enter the NBA Draft (Julius Randle and James Young) and who would return to Lexington for another season (everyone else with eligibility remaining). But there was also the matter of determining whether or not head coach John Calipari would entertain thoughts of moving on as well.
One “theory” floating around was that Calipari, who has led Kentucky to one national title and three Final Four appearances during his tenure, would coach a Cleveland Cavaliers team that would hopefully feature LeBron James. James eventually made the decision to return to Cleveland, but in a story written by Kyle Tucker of the Louisville Courier-Journal none of that mattered to Calipari.
Even if he’d known that James would be returning to Cleveland, Calipari says he still would have signed the seven-year contract extension he agreed to back in June because of his commitment to the players who decided to return to school.
“They came back because it was good for them and their careers and they knew they needed more developing and coaching. That was by me. That’s what they wanted,” Calipari told the paper in an interview Sunday morning in the Bahamas. “So that made it a tough deal to say, ‘I’m just going to leave these guys here.’ With who? It may be somebody I don’t know that wouldn’t do the things for them that they needed to do.
“Now, obviously coaching at Kentucky is special. It is unique and special. But this, for me, becomes about these kids. I have no desire, nor am I out looking for (jobs). I got the job. I got the job. What would move me to stay was these kids need me here. That’s what I’m doing. At the end of the day, that was what (kept him at UK). It wasn’t money.”
Will the NBA question linger every offseason for Calipari? Who knows, and that could depend upon the possibility of landing with a franchise that has an elite player on board. As noted, there was no way for anyone to know in the months that led up to Calipari signing his extension that LeBron would return to his home state. And coaching a loaded team considered by many to be the early favorite to win the national title isn’t a bad deal either.
Notre Dame shot over 70 percent on 21 3-point shot attempts.
It wasn’t enough.
Tenth-ranked Florida State became the first ACC team to defeat the Fighting Irish with a 83-80 win Wednesday night in Tallahassee.
Johnathan Isaac had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Seminoles, who moved into a tie for the ACC lead along with Notre Dame and North Carolina, which all sport 5-1 league records. The ‘Noles shot 50 percent from the floor and had 39 points off their bench.
The Fighting Irish made 15 of 21 3-point shots on the night, getting six from Matt Farrell and five apiece from VJ Beachem and Steve Vasturia
Florida State continues the ACC gauntlet with a home test against Louisville on Saturday while the Irish have Syracuse in South Bend on Saturday.
The suspension that Arizona guard Allonzo Trier is currently serving is due to positive test for performance-enhancing drugs during the preseason, sources told NBC Sports.
Trier has missed the first 18 games of the season.
According to ESPN, who first reported the news, Trier has been cleared by the NCAA after an appeal, but he cannot suit up for the Wildcats until the drug is completely out of his system.
There is no timetable for his return, but the door is open for a return.
As a freshman last season, Trier averaged 14.8 points and shot 36.4 percent from three. He was Arizona’s best isolation scorer and their leading returning scorer.
Without Trier, Arizona has looked like a Pac-12 title contender. They are 16-2 on the season and undefeated in league play heading into their games at the LA schools this weekend.
In a battle of undefeated SEC programs, Frank Martin’s club came out on top.
Sindarius Thornwell finished with 20 points and six boards and Chris Silva added 11 points as No. 24 South Carolina landed a come-from-behind, 57-53 win over No. 19 Florida in Columbia on Wednesday night.
With the win, the Gamecocks remain undefeated in the SEC and just a half-game behind Kentucky atop the conference standings.
It was the first conference loss for Florida, who is among a handful of teams that have the look and computer numbers of a tournament team but who have yet to put together the wins they need to back that up.
Indiana’s tumultuous season may have encountered some more adversity.
Hoosiers sophomore forward OG Anunoby left Wednesday’s game against Penn State after going down clutching his right knee in the first half.
The incident came at the end of the first half, and Anunoby did not start the second half with the Hoosiers.
The 6-foot-8 Anunoby is averaging 11.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 56.5 percent from the floor. He’s considered a potential lottery pick in June’s NBA draft.
Indiana was already without forward Juwan Morgan against the Nittany Lions due to a foot injury.
The Hoosiers, who opened the season ranked 11th in the AP poll, are currently 12-6 overall and 2-3 in the Big Ten, with losses in four of their last six games.
St. John’s has officially cut ties with Zach Brown.
Brown, a top-50 recruit, was released from his National Letter of Intent with the school Wednesday, just days after he was arrested for theft in Florida.
“It was a mutual decision to release Zach from his national letter of intent,” St. John’s coach Chris Mullin said in a statement released by the school. “We wish him the best of luck.”
Brown was arrested after allegedly reaching into a cash register and stealing money from it earlier this month. He was charged with a misdemeanor.
The arrest only adds to the list of issues for Brown as he was charged with a felony of credit card and robbery in May 2016. He was also dismissed from a school in Connecticut not long after enrolling after allegedly getting into a fight.
At one time, Brown was a top-10 recruit in 2017 and committed to UConn, but his off the court issues has resulted in the diminishing on-court opportunities available to him.