Duke Blue Devil coaches use their win over Kentucky Wildcats as a recruiting tool

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Nov 13, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel (3) and Duke Blue Devils forward Ryan Kelly (34) go for a loose ball during the second half of the 2012 Champions Classic at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

First Kentucky fans have had to live with “the shot” as being part of college basketball lore and stands as a day of infamy for most Wildcat fans. UPS took the shot a step further with their logistics ad campaign and aired it in virtually every commercial break during the NCAA Tournament. Now apparently, Duke coaches are using the Blue Devil’s win over Kentucky as part of their recruiting campaign. Jahlil Okafor, the top center in the 2014 class has a recruiting blog for USA Today and he revealed this in his latest entry:

 

Same thing with Duke; when they beat Kentucky I got a bunch of texts from their staff saying they hoped that I watched their game and that they were just checking in on me. I thought that was really cool because they were probably still in the locker room after the game and they’re taking the time to text or call me. It just shows that they’re making me a priority and I can’t lie that definitely makes me feel good.

 

Let the Dookies enjoy their win for now.  They beat Kentucky and Louisville yes, but both teams were not at full strength.  Just hope Okafor is watching the NCAA Tournament.  That is when it really matters.

 

Photo credit: Timothy D Easley, Lexington Herald Leader
http://www.kentucky.com/2012/11/26/2422251/troutman-not-willis-star-of-bullitt.html

If you are headed to the Marshall County Hoopfest this weekend to see Andrew Wiggins, don’t plan on seeing Kentucky commit Derek Willis play. Willis was ejected from last night’s game versus Lafayette and now has to face a mandatory two game suspension. According to Willis and his coach, this has been a growing problem:

 

Midway through the third quarter, Willis got a technical when he complained about getting called for an illegal pick. He then chirped again to an official, and got the second “T” and the heave-ho.

“It’s frustrating,” Willis said. “I’m getting tired of it. It’s been going on for two years, and I guess it’s not going to change. I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

Barr didn’t condone Willis’ action — “He’s being immature and not handling the situation very well” — but the Chargers coach understood his big man’s frustration.

“I see it boiling over from last year,” Barr said. “(Derek) comes out in the first three minutes of the game and his mouth was bleeding. He’s taking the same stuff he took last year.

“I see a young man 17 years old that’s tired of getting beat up and pushed in the back.

 

Nov 23, 2012; Lexington , KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari coaches his team against the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated LIU Brooklyn 104-75. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

At this point of this season, the Kentucky Wildcats are still John Calipari’s team and he does not like that. He wants his team to empower themselves and take control of the team and make it THEIR team:

“It’s still my team,” Calipari said after Kentucky’s offensive-efficient-but-defensive-lacking win over LIU Brooklyn on Friday. “I want it to be their team. This is going to take longer than last year. May take as long as two years ago to get these guys to really understand what they had to do. But I like my team.”

Calipari has often talked of his teams being unleashed; that moment when the players understand what it means to play for your teammates, understand the offense and become a defense-first team.

To this point, the Cats have been good, ranking 12th in the nation in points per game and first in field-goal percentage, but unleashed they are not.

Proof: The Cats trailed by six to Morehead State midway through the second half and were behind winless LIU Brooklyn late into the first half.

“It’s where we are,” Calipari said. “But we’re talking about a team that is so young that this is the growing pains of a young team.”

 

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