Kentucky Wildcats

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

AP Photo/Mark Duncan
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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.

 

Calipari says TV pushing for 20-game league schedules, imperiling premier non-conference games

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College basketball’s non-conference portion of the season has drawn considerable criticism in recent years. Too few on-campus games between heavyweights and too many cupcakes populating the schedule, is the typical refrain.

What marquee matchups the months of November and December do bring could be imperiled by major conferences transitioning to 20-game league schedules and television networks are to blame, according to Kentucky coach John Calipari.

“They need more inventory for their own network so you just play more league games and then you have more inventory for your network to put on,” Calipari said on a teleconference Tuesday, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Hopefully in our case in this league (the Southeastern Conference) we stay where we are and if we don’t, we’ll make it work.”

The argument Calipari makes is that the two extra league games will come at the expense of high-major opponents in the non-con, rather than the buy-games that make up the bulk of many teams’ schedules.

“I think teams can use those last two games to put their own schedule together,” Calipari said. “If you need a tougher game, if you have a rivalry game, if you need an easier game, if your team needs a team they can beat or a team they’re challenged by, if they need a road game, you can do it with those two games.”

Calipari probably isn’t wrong here, in some regard. Coaches are likely to be less aggressive with their scheduling with two additional games against high-major competition built into the schedule. Coaches, on the whole, are risk averse, and putting more games that are in doubt – or at least considerably more difficult than scheduling a couple of SWAC teams – isn’t something they’ll be inclined to do, most likely.

There are a couple of curious points here, though. First off, the bulk of non-conference scheduling is awful and boring. Subtracting two games from programs’ scheduling discretion probably isn’t going to cost the sport a ton of non-conference matchups, anyway. Sure, there may be fewer of them, but the ACC and, potentially, the Big Ten adding two more league games should offset that on the whole. To the point about TV, that seems like an odd finger to point given that some of the best non-conference matchups year-in and year-out are facilitated by TV networks.

Putting another two games on the league schedule also insures an extra game at home against high-major opponents, something that some programs don’t offer at all in their non-conference schedules.

While putting an extra two conference games on the schedule may have some unintended consequences, on the whole it’s providing college basketball with more high-level games on campus. Hard to argue against that.