Kentucky Wildcats

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Kentucky’s Vanderbilt avoids surgery, but Baker has knee scoped

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Jarred Vanderbilt will be returning for Kentucky sooner than expected.

The 6-foot-9 McDonald’s All-American will not undergo surgery on his foot as previously expected and instead will begin conditioning with an eye on returning to the court, John Calipari said after the Wildcats’ exhibition win Monday over Morehead State, according to SEC Country.

Vanderbilt suffered the injury late last month, and surgery was expected to keep him sidelined until January.

“Jarred’s on his way back, so America gotta be scared right now,” point guard Quade Green said of Vanderbilt. “I call him the next Lamar Odom. I know that’s big expectations for him, but he really plays just like Lamar Odom. He rebounds, can score any way he wants, he can shoot a little bit.

“His shot’s gotten a lot better, too. He can dribble, he can defend. He’s a guy who can do everything.”

Calipari, though, wasn’t full of only positive developments for Big Blue Nation. Freshman guard Jemarl Baker had his knee scoped and will miss three months. The four-star guard committed to Kentucky this past spring and was expected to bolster the Wildcats’ shooting.

“We’re not as bad as everybody says shooting the ball,” Calipari said. “I’m with them every day.”

Vanderbilt does not have a targeted return date, but Kentucky plans to have him workout with assistant coach Kenny Payne before joining the team at practice again.

The Wildcats open the season Nov. 10, against Utah Valley.

John Wall to be inducted into Kentucky Hall of Fame

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A one-and-done is on a one-way trip to the University of Kentucky Hall of Fame.

Kentucky announced on Monday that John Wall, the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, will be inducted in the same class as current Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb.

“He set the tone of where college basketball was going — not just Kentucky,” head coach John Calipari said on Twitter on Monday morning.

Wall averaged 16.6 points, 6.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game in his 37-game career with the Wildcats, which ended in the Elite Eight. He would be named as a first-team All-American by the Associated Press.

The 6-foot-4 floor general was part of Calipari’s first recruiting class at Kentucky. Wall and fellow freshmen, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe went on to become first round selections in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Wall’s seven-year career has been spent with the Washington Wizards, making four All-Star appearances.

Kentucky planning charity game between alumni and NBA stars

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During his time at Kentucky, head coach John Calipari has coached 32 players who went on to be NBA draft picks.

So, what would a Calipari-era Kentucky alumni team look like?

That’s something Kentucky Deputy Director of Athletics DeWayne Peevy is trying to figure out. Peevy, in an interview with Kentucky Sports Radio on Monday afternoon, discussed his plans to have a UK alumni team square off against NBA superstars in a charity game.

“What I’d like to do … everybody talks about this all-Kentucky basketball team,” Peevy said. “That’s all we’ve been hearing about. I mean, I’m getting Google alerts all day about what the all-Kentucky basketball team looks like. I’d like to do that and invite one of these so-called, ‘NBA super teams’ to play against us, whether it’s the Warriors, the Rockets, you know, all these people putting these teams together, come play us.”

“I got a few feelers out, I’m talking to James Harden and Kevin Durant,” Peevy added. “Bring a team. I don’t even care if they combine themselves. They’re not taking down the Big Blue Nation.”

Peevy said that this game is set for Friday, August 25. It’s fitting, a day before the Floyd Mayweather-Connor McGregor megafight in Las Vegas, Peevy is speaking like a boxing promoter.

This won’t be the first time Kentucky has hosted a big-time charity event. In 2015, days after Calipari was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a Kentucky alumni team defeated a North Carolina alumni team, 122-115, as fundraising from the game reached $1.5 million.

John Calipari reaches out about Knicks’ vacant president job

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With another marquee NBA job vacant, John Calipari’s name has reportedly been linked to it.

According to Ian Begley of ESPN, the Kentucky head coach has reached out to the New York Knicks “through intermediaries” and has expressed interest in the vacant presidency job after the franchise mutually cut ties with Phil Jackson earlier this week.

Days before free agency is set to begin, Begley reports that the Knicks do not have any interest in Calipari at the moment.

Presumably, Calipari would not only want control over the team but would be the head coach as well.

Calipari is under contract with Kentucky through the 2024 season. He signed a two-year extension in March, making $7.75 million this season and $8 million the next year.

The Hall of Fame coach had been linked to previous vacancies in the past, most notably in 2014 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He reportedly had deep talks with the franchise but eventually signed a seven-year extension to remain at Kentucky. It was later reported by various outlets that Cleveland had offered him a 10-year deal ranging from $60-80 million.

Calipari had a brief tenure in the NBA prior, spending two-plus seasons with the New Jersey Nets before being fired during the 1998-99 season.

You’d expect if Calipari would make the jump, it’d be to a franchise that has the pieces to win right away, instead of stepping into a shaky situation, like the one in New York, thus avoiding another failed stint in the association.

Either way, we’ve continued the streak of summers that Calipari has been linked to NBA vacancies.

UPDATE: Calipari has responded, reiterating that he is the head coach of the University of Kentucky. He’s currently in Egypt with USA Basketball U19 team, where two of his future Wildcats, Hamido Diallo and P.J. Washington, started in this afternoon’s exhibition win over France.

De’Aaron Fox’s 39-point game was to ‘shut LaVar up’

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In one of the best individual performances of the college basketball season, Kentucky freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox scored 39 points in the Wildcats’ 86-75 Sweet 16 victory over UCLA and his counterpart for that evening, Lonzo Ball.

Even though Ball had picked up a win earlier that season at Kentucky, it was the second time Fox had gotten the better of his fellow floor general.

The second meeting had three months of build up, as Ball went on have an All-American season while his father, LaVar, became a media sensation with his outlandish comments. Fox went on to have a notable season as well but that was in the shadow of the Balls’ frequent radio and television appearances.

In an interview with Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated, Fox revealed that the patriarch of the Ball household helped inspire his incredible tournament performance.

“Kill mode all the time,” is how Fox described his mindset before the UCLA game in March. “Shut Lavar Ball up,” is how he explains it a few months later.

In addition to his 39 points, he had three boards, four assists (to one turnover) and two steals. His defense also helped limit Ball to 10 points, off 4-of-10 shooting and 1-of-6 from three and eight assists (to four turnovers).

Of course, Fox was mainly motivated by the chance to avenge an earlier a loss — one in which Lonzo shushed the Rupp Arena fans — earn a spot in the Elite Eight and bolster his draft stock against a projected top-2 pick. The comment he made to SI is harmless, especially when you look at LaVar’s well-documented claims and personal attacks. If anything, this could be laying the groundworks for a one-on-one rivalry at the next level with Lonzo, especially if they wind up in the same division, as some are currently predicting.

Ball, a Southern California native, is expected to go No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers. Fox the first lead guard after Markelle Fultz and Ball to be selected. DraftExpress.com currently has him going to the Sacramento Kings with the No. 5 overall pick.

John Calipari reaches out to cop in Scalise shooting

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It was an incredibly tragic morning in Virginia and across the United State on Wednesday as a gunman opened fire on a baseball practice of Republican congressmen preparing for Thursday’s Congressional Baseball Game, an event that raises money for charity.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three other people were wounded while the gunman was shot by police and later died.

Later Wednesday, Kentucky coach John Calipari reached out to one of the two Capitol Police officers whom President Trump credited for saving “many lives” with their actions Wednesday morning.

Calipari relayed the info through a series of tweets, one of which states he invited David Bailey to a game and commended him, as well as the other officer, Crystal Griner, for their actions.