Newman, Bragg, Diallo, Maker playing in Ky. event

 Posted by at 4:33 PM on September 17, 2014  No Responses »
Sep 172014
Malik Newman (in blue) will play in two events in Kentucky this season. Photo: Kelly Kline/Under Armour

Malik Newman (in blue) will play in two events in Kentucky this season.
Photo: Kelly Kline/Under Armour

The Mississippi high school team that features top University of Kentucky basketball recruit Malik Newman is allowed to participate in two out-of-state events this season.
Newman’s coach decided to play both of them in the Bluegrass State.

Callaway High School will be one of the featured teams in both the Marshall County Hoopfest in December and the McCracken County Festival of Hoops in January.

The final schedule for the Marshall County event was obtained Wednesday by the Herald-Leader, and it includes several of UK’s top recruiting targets.

Callaway will face Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) on Friday, Dec. 5 and Orangeville Prep (Canada) on Saturday, Dec. 6. Those two games will pit Newman against high-flying UK recruit Derrick Jones and 7-footer Thon Maker, who is ranked by as the No. 1 player in the class of 2016.

Top UK targets Cheick Diallo, Carlton Bragg will also play in the Hoop Fest, in addition to perennial national powers Oak Hill (Va.), Huntington Prep (W.Va.) La Lumiere (Ind.) and Arlington Country Day (Fla.).

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Sep 092014


Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski posted a story Tuesday morning outlining UK Coach John Calipari’s latest big idea: A two-day, on-campus scouting combine for NBA executives to evaluate the Wildcats.

Wojnarowski notes that the combine, which will be held next month, can also be seen as “a chance for Calipari to impress a throng of top high school recruits.”

One NBA executive joked to Yahoo: “We’re just there as B-roll for his recruiting videos.”

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Quick look: Recruiting impact of UK Alumni Game

 Posted by at 11:02 AM on August 13, 2014  No Responses »
Aug 132014
Devin Booker

Devin Booker

UK announced Wednesday morning that the Alumni Charity Game scheduled for later this month has been cancelled.

The event, which Coach John Calipari started in 2012, has brought many of UK’s former stars now playing in the NBA back to Lexington over the past couple of years. It’s also been an effective recruiting tool.

Julius Randle, Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis and Charles Matthews all visited Kentucky for the Alumni Game and later committed to the Wildcats. Randle met several NBA players and Drake — one of his favorite rappers — at the event. Booker and Ulis, who were already friends, used official visits to see UK on Alumni Game weekend last year. Matthews, who is UK’s only commitment for 2015, also made his first trip to Lexington for last year’s event.

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Aug 112014
Sporting News yearbook

Sporting News yearbook

A Sporting News-affiliated Twitter account teased the publication’s preseason yearbook cover Monday morning, and the magazine has Kentucky ranked No. 2 behind Arizona.

Arizona’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is on the cover.

Zona and UK are followed by Wisconsin, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Louisville, Virginia, Florida and Wichita State.

Andrew and Aaron Harrison are featured on one of the regional covers.

Aug 072014
Tyler Ulis

Tyler Ulis

I returned from vacation just in time to catch UK basketball practice Thursday afternoon, the fourth day that workouts have been open to the local media.

UK asked reporters not to get too specific about what we saw. Here are some general opinions and observations:

Everything I watched Tyler Ulis do against high school and AAU competition last year, he did against elite-level college competition Thursday. The little guy rarely makes a bad pass, rarely puts himself in the wrong spot, rarely makes mistakes in general.

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Jun 272014

Lexington Christian guard Brad Calipari — the son of UK Coach John Calipari — announced Friday morning that he will transfer to a prep school in Massachusetts and move to the class of 2016.

Calipari, who had been in the class of 2015, missed most of last season with a serious knee injury. He is on the Kentucky Travelers’ Nike EYBL roster but has been unable to compete this spring and summer as he continues to recover from knee surgery.

He is leaving LCA for The MacDuffie School in Granby, Mass., a suburb of Springfield, Mass.

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Apr 262014

UK still had not confirmed the addition of assistant coach Barry “Slice” Rohrssen on Saturday, but that’s not keeping him from recruiting on the Wildcats’ behalf.

Rohrssen was spotted in Sacramento on Friday night wearing a UK hat at the first stop of the Nike EYBL circuit, which includes many of the top AAU teams in the country and several UK recruiting targets. Coach John Calipari was also there Friday.

Rohrssen was an assistant coach at Pittsburgh last season. Pitt Coach Jamie Dixon announced earlier this week that Rohrssen is no longer on his coaching staff. Calipari was spotted showing Rohrssen around Lexington on Thursday, and it’s been known for more than a week that he has been chosen as the replacement for former UK assistant Orlando Antigua.

MORE: Evan Daniels talks about Rohrssen and recruiting

Apr 252014

The announcement that Andrew and Aaron Harrison will remain at Kentucky for their sophomore seasons means more high expectations for the Wildcats.

Next season’s roster — as it stands now — will include nine McDonald’s All-Americans, plus Willie Cauley-Stein, Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis. UK will return three starters and four key reserves from this past season’s run to the national championship game.

UK basketball scholarship players, 2014-15 season
Player Pos Ht Wt Class ’13-14 stats
Willie Cauley-Stein F 7-0 244 Junior 6.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.9 bpg
Alex Poythress F 6-8 239 Junior 5.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Aaron Harrison G 6-6 218 Sophomore 13.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Andrew Harrison G 6-6 215 Sophomore 10.9 ppg, 4.0 apg
Dominique Hawkins G 6-0 193 Sophomore 0.8 ppg, 0.7 rpg
Dakari Johnson C 7-0 265 Sophomore 5.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Marcus Lee F 6-9 215 Sophomore 2.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Derek Willis F 6-9 205 Sophomore 1.1 ppg, 0.6 rpg
Devin Booker G 6-6 205 Freshman
Trey Lyles F 6-10 240 Freshman
Karl-Anthony Towns F/C 7-0 250 Freshman
Tyler Ulis G 5-9 150 Freshman

Note: Next season’s roster is also expected to include seniors Tod Lanter, Brian Long and Sam Malone, and sophomore E.J. Floreal. All were walk-ons in 2013-14.

Apr 152014
Barry Rohrssen

Barry Rohrssen

Pittsburgh assistant Barry “Slice” Rohrssen will replace Orlando Antigua on John Calipari’s coaching staff, according to a report by on Tuesday.

A UK spokesman told the Herald-Leader that the assistant coach opening will be posted until Friday and there are no immediate plans to make any announcement related to the vacancy.

If Rohrssen joins UK’s coaching staff, don’t expect Calipari’s success on the recruiting trail to slow down anytime soon.

The Brooklyn native is known as a formidable recruiter himself, with extensive ties to the New York City area. He was an assistant at Pittsburgh from 1999-2006 before taking the head coaching job at Manhattan, where he spent five seasons. After one year in the Portland Trail Blazers’ organization, Rohrssen returned to Pitt last season.

It’s his time with the Panthers that stamped Rohrssen as one of the country’s top recruiters.

“He has a strong reputation — especially in the Northeast — as a guy who can really recruit and a guy who really builds strong relationships,” said analyst Evan Daniels. “He has a history of reeling in some pretty good players at Pittsburgh.”

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Apr 082014


Several Kentucky players are projected as possible NBA Draft picks in June, and there will almost certainly be underclassmen that make that jump to the pros.

After Monday night’s loss to UConn in the national title game, Coach John Calipari spoke about the process that he’ll go through with those players

“Well, I’ll sit down with each young man individually, probably have their family either with us or on a speaker phone and get them information and say, ‘If I can help you with anything, let me know. Tell me what you want to do, what do I need to do to help you?’

“I kind of stay out of the decision making. I just get them information. So we’ll see. I have no idea because I haven’t talked to them and none of us have talked about that. We were playing to win the national championship. But now that the season’s over, it is about the players. It’s no longer about the program. It’s no longer about the team. It’s about each individual player on this team now. They sacrificed. They surrendered to each other now, for our team and our program and our school.

“Season’s over. Now it’s about them. And we’ll sit down with each of them and they will make decisions for themselves.”