Ever since Dakari Johnson made John Calipari’s 2013 class an even half dozen, there has been rampant speculation that Andrew Wiggins was now headed to Florida State. The theory is plausible – there simply may not be enough basketballs to go around for the top rated player in high school basketball to make an impact. Same theory goes for Julius Randle. You can bet that rival coaches and recruiters are jumping on the “There is no room for you at Kentucky” theory and running with it.
Thing is, it seems like Wiggins and Randle are not buying it as both are keeping Kentucky on their list and are still planning on making their visit. The biggest rumor out there is that Wiggins is definitely a FSU lean, but Wiggin’s coach, Rob Fulford says that is not the case:
“That’s not coming from Andrew,” Fulford told Roberts. “He still doesn’t talk about it. Anyone that puts anything out right now — that’s pure speculation. Andrew, he doesn’t communicate with anybody. It’s not like he’s told Kentucky or anyone else, ‘I’m leaning toward Florida State.’ He doesn’t communicate like that.”
The D-1 assistant, who is recruiting at least one of th“That’s not coming from Andrew,” Fulford told Roberts. “He still doesn’t talk about it. Anyone that puts anything out right now — that’s pure speculation. Andrew, he doesn’t communicate with anybody. It’s not like he’s told Kentucky or anyone else, ‘I’m leaning toward Florida State.’ He doesn’t communicate like that.”e Wiggins/Randle duo, agreed that those players are so good, they aren’t worried about what players are already committed to Kentucky or Kansas or Florida or whomever.
“Those guys are going to find their way no matter what, wherever they go to school,” the coach said. “They’re going to find their way. So I don’t think those guys, because they’re at such a high level, are even worried about who’s there.
“No, I think they’re going to know that there’s a natural fit, there’s going to be an opportunity for them to show their skills and play at a high level. I think that’s important to them. But I don’t think they’re worried about, OK, they got this guy back. Florida’s got good players. Kentucky’s got good players. Kansas has got good players. They all got good players.”
As we told you yesterday, John Calipari has been telling UK fans to not call the 2013 class “the best ever” and warned about placing such pressure on the incoming class. Well, it seems that some national pundits have taken offense at this and ESPN’s Myron Medcalf says that John Calipari can’t have it both ways:
Calipari can’t have it both ways. The hype is an inherent component in the culture of college basketball in the 21st Century. Kentucky knows that. Calipari knows that.
He knew that when he pursued multiple kids who are projected lottery picks in 2014.
Pressure should be expected. Labels such as “greatest ever” speak to the anticipation that’s sparked whenever a college basketball program attracts multiple five-star talents. It’s the norm for Calipari.
His essay on his next class, however, conveys a foolish sense of naivety about the origins of the buzz, and it shifts blame.
If you don’t want the hype, then sign average kids.
And I can’t ignore the humor in the description of Kentucky’s next (potential) stars as “kids.” They’re always “kids” when the drama and expectations arrive. Until then, they’re simply “prospects” and “recruits.”
The bottom line is that Calipari knows better. This isn’t anything new.
Calling the 2013 assembly “the greatest ever” isn’t a crazy notion. The idea that an immense amount of hoopla shouldn’t precede its arrival, however, might be.
Now that Ryan Harrow is producing as the preseason hype expected, the focus now turns to Alex Poythress. Calipari has been working with the talented freshman on a “one on one” basis and Larry Vaught tells us that Poythress’s quiet personality does not mean that he lacks passion on the court:
He’s an intelligent, caring player who is not selfish or me-oriented. If anything, he may try to please others too often. Calipari has recently been putting him through individual workouts and says Poythress not only has been receptive to the workouts, but has improved.
“Can you bring something out of a kid that’s not in there? I’ve never settled for that for any young man I’ve ever coached because in my mind, he doesn’t believe it’s in there, and I’ve got to convince him it is,” Calipari said after Wednesday’s win over Eastern Michigan when Poythress had 16 points and five rebounds. “So I told them, I’m not only building their confidence. You know who else’s confidence I’m building? My confidence in them.
“Two days with Alex, I decide to start him (against Eastern¿Michigan). He was good enough that I looked at him and said I’ve got to start this kid. He’s that good. So he built my confidence in him, and I helped build his confidence. But I even told him, what did I do? I didn’t do anything. You did it. But I’m going to tell you, he’s halfway home. Half the way there to where we need him. So it’s still going to be weeks away. Maybe a month away. If he makes it, I’m okay if it’s a month away.”