Kentucky Wildcat Men’s Basketball Phenoms, Nerlens Noel’s NBA Draft Video, a Cautionary Tale and Boogie’s Top 10


Jan 15, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel (3) reacts after hitting a shot during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers in the second half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 75-65. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA Draft still months away, June 27th to be precise, the odds on favorites to be awarded the #1 Overall Pick via the Lottery would be willing to trade it or for it. Kentucky’s own Nerlens Noel is still considered the #1 pick despite still rehabbing a torn ACL but neither the Orlando Magic or the New Orleans Hornets need him. Yes it would be pretty cool to have Noel and Davis playing together but it’s not a likely scenario.  Here’s what Adam Zagoria posted:

The Orlando Magic and New Orleans Hornets would both strongly consider trading the rights to the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, according to SheridanHoops.com.

“Sources around the NBA have told SheridanHoops that if the Orlando Magic or New Orleans Hornets win the lottery, they both would be strongly inclined to trade the pick to whichever fellow lottery team wants to pay the most for the right to draft Nerlens Noel.

“The caveat for Orlando is that it does not want to lose out on Ben McLemore of Kansas, whom it covets the most, or Trey Burke/Victor Oladipo as a fallback. And it’s not that the Magic don’t like Noel. Rather, they don’t need him, already in possession of a top-tier NBA center on a rookie contract in two-year veteran Nikola Vucevic. Same with the Hornets and Anthony Davis.

“The 2013 NBA draft lacks elite prospects of years past such as Davis, Kyrie Irving or Blake Griffin, clear top picks regardless of who won the lottery. This year, Noel is the player atop the majority of draft boards but not quite on the same level as those other sure things.”
Mathematically, the Magic have the best chance — 25 percent — of securing the No. 1 overall pick in the June 27 NBA Draft. The Draft lottery is May 21.

According to the SheridanHoops Mock Draft, the Magic will take McLemore with the No. 1 overall pick, with the Charlotte Bobcats taking Noel at No. 2.

And speaking of Noel, take a gander at his 2013 NBA Draft Souting Video

 

In an all too familiar tale, former Kentucky Wildcat phenom Dwight Anderson sat down with Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald Leader for an interview that will blow your mind. Often I wonder how someone with any world at their fingertips can squander the opportunity but Dwight, dubbed the “Andrew Wiggins of 1978″ did just that.

Like a shooting star flashing through the night sky. Dwight Anderson shone brightly and briefly as a University of Kentucky player. And then he was gone.”The Blur,” as he was known, is a fitting epitaph as well as nickname.A UK star for less than two seasons (plenty long enough to tantalize fans with possibilities), Anderson came to Lexington Thursday hoping to make a more lasting impression. Now sober for four years and five months, he wants to be a cautionary tale. He and a publicist, personal assistant and business advisor are marketing Dwight Anderson’s life story.”Even the bad side,” he said. “The 25 years of using chemicals.”Anderson’s chemicals of choice were cocaine and cognac, an alliteration that led to near obliteration.”Brought me down 100 percent,” he said of an athletic arc that went from the nation’s No. 1 high school prospect to cameo NBA career. “I didn’t want to play. I wanted to get a paycheck and go to the party.”

A Second Round draft pick of the Washington Bullets in 1982, he never saw the court for them.

What came next made playing for the Dayton Wings seem exhilarating. Anderson became homeless. He hustled for drug money in pickup games (he noted a $1,000 payoff winning a one-on-one game). He got good at “casing” — the word he used — when fast-food restaurants took out the garbage, and so learned the times to get the best scraps.

It is popularly believed that Anderson’s descent began at UK, where he averaged 13.3 points as a star freshman in 1978-79. By Christmas of 1979, he had transferred to Southern California. When asked about the drug use while playing for the Wildcats, he said, “None. None.”I want to clear something up with that myth. I didn’t start using drugs till I went to California.”Anderson denied the accepted story that his departure from UK resulted from getting caught using drugs with then-teammates Sam Bowie and Dirk Minniefield. Not true, he said. He was home in Dayton at the time.”The only reason I left Kentucky, and this is straight from my heart, was (assistant coach) Leonard Hamilton and (head coach) Joe B. Hall didn’t see eye to eye,” he said. “And Hamilton asked me to leave. And I left.”Hamilton chose Southern California as his new team, Anderson said.Anderson said he still doesn’t know why Hamilton asked him to leave. He added that he intended to ask Hall that question Friday morning when he goes on the former coach’s radio show.Ironically, Minniefield, a recovering addict as well as a former UK teammate, helped Anderson stop using drugs. Minniefield was one of the counselors who worked with Anderson at the Lucas facility. Another former high school star of the same era, Isiah Thomas, helped pay for the treatment, Anderson said.”Basically, I found out what really was my problem,” he said. “If you know anything about this, I am my biggest problem, especially when it’s concerning drugs. I know I cannot do it.”

March 2, 2013; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Jarrod Polson (5) dribbles the ball during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena. Arkansas defeated Kentucky 73-60. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Contrary to popular rhetoric, John Calipari does indeed have players graduate and this May will see three such people receive their diploma. On May 5th Jarrod Polson, Jon Hood and Twany Beckham will have some huge decisions to make. Here is what they had to say:

Beckham, who grew up in Louisville, will graduate with a degree in communication and a 3.4 grade point average. Beckham spent two years at Mississippi State before transferring to UK for his final two years of school.

“My experience at UK has been great,” Beckham said. “I just want to thank all the coaches, especially Coach Cal (Calipari), for giving me the opportunity to come here.”

Moving closer to home allowed him to spend more time with his mom and brothers, with whom he is very close. They gave him the push he needed to succeed not only on the court, but in the classroom as well.

“It’s tough because basketball, especially at the University of Kentucky, requires a lot,” he said. “You just have to stay focused. You have to put the same time that you put into basketball into the classroom if you really want to be successful.”

Beckham said that he prides himself on being a good student.

“It wasn’t easy,” Hood said. “The first two years, I had a hard time with managing my time, as far as schoolwork and separating it from basketball.”

The Madisonville native will be graduating with a degree in community and leadership development. Hood points to amazing support from his family, friends and coaches for his continual drive toward success.

“Everyone supports you in basketball all over the state, but they also support you in the classroom and as a person,” Hood said. “People here in the [UK athletics department], media relations department, coaches, fans … want to see you succeed.”

It was this support, along with summer school and previous credits that allowed Polson, a Nicholasville native, to graduate with a degree in finance in just three years. Polson joins Beckham on the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

“I am very honored to be able to graduate in three years,” Polson said.

While Hood and Polson still have a year of athletic eligibility left, Beckham is finishing his college career as a finalist for the 2013 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award and a national champion on the hardwood. Beckham hopes to go to Los Angeles and enter the entertainment business, but won’t forget the impact that UK had on him.

“Just coming to UK humbled me a lot, and I feel like I grew up,” Beckham said. “It made me sit back and look at things from a whole different perspective and just enjoy life and the college experience. Being at UK, I’ve gotten to meet some really great people and have some really great teammates.”

And now a very, very succinct breakdown of what the ESPN/SEC Network deal means to fans across the country.

ESPN and the SEC announced their 20-year SEC Network deal, which will provide you “an unparalleled fan experience of top SEC content.” We’re hoping “SECSPN” will catch on. Cutting through the requisite buzzwords and BS, here’s a simple breakdown.

What does this mean for the SEC?

“Unprecedented revenue.” At least until the Big Ten renegotiates its outdated first-tier rights deal in 2017. The conference took the “large guaranteed payout from ESPN” option instead of the “ownership option.” Given the unstable cable climate, limiting their liability may prove shrewd.

What does this mean for you, college sports fan?

First, a realization that everything you want to watch on this network you already had access to. Then, a protracted negotiation process in which both ESPN and your television provider leverage you and claim to be acting for your best interest. (insert dismissive wanking motion here) Then, you have a dollar added to your cable bill. Then, when your sports viewing is no longer subsidized by every household in America, a substantial but not prohibitive monthly fee as part of an ESPN package.

What does this change?

The SEC is now in the television business. Teams are no longer scheduling games. They are producing inventory for a network. ESPN will have a lot of input. A nine-game conference schedule should go through over head coach opposition. We may also see an end to the front-loading. Every team taking its SEC-iesta against the Southern Conference the penultimate weekend won’t fly. The conference may also put more effort into basketball. Better non-conference schedules. Teams other than Florida and Kentucky caring. That sort of thing.

A couple more things before I let you go. Former Baylor star Britney Griner has signed a deal to play for the Chinese team Zhejiang during the WNBA offseason. It’s not all that uncommon considering Maya Moore does that same thing on the same team but it’s never widely reported. Here’s a bit about it.

The WCBA season runs from October through February, like nearly every other international women’s league—all the better to attract top talent during the WNBA offseason. Play around with the list here, and you’ll be hard pressed to find an American who doesn’t go overseas for the winter. For now, WNBA paychecks simply aren’t big enough for players to choose an actual offseason over a second job in Europe or China.
For whatever reason (more fan interest, obscenely rich owners), women’s teams in other parts of the world can and do pay more. Maya Moore, the WNBA’s top draft pick in 2011, made $47,000 her rookie year in Minnesota. When she signed with China’s Shanxi team, she received, in her words, “significantly more than double” her WNBA contract. Griner’s Zhejiang contract isn’t public, but she’s the biggest star in years and Zhejiang is desperate for a winner, so figure she’s getting even more than Moore.
Moore’s team won a WCBA title last season, beating Zhejiang in the finals. So Zhejiang is reloading with Griner at center, replacing the Tulsa Shock’s Elizabeth Cambage. Cambage had planned not to return to the WNBA this year, to focus full-time on her Chinese career—but that seems up in the air now. Brittney Griner, just wrecking shit wherever she goes.

Former UK volleyball star Stephanie Klefot has been chosen to train with the U.S. national team.

Former UK two-time volleyball All-American Stephanie Klefot has been selected to train with the United States National Team in Anaheim, Calif., beginning on Monday.

Stephanie Klefot. (KyForward file photo)
“I’m very excited to train with some of the best volleyball talent in the world,” Klefot said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to even be given this opportunity. I hope to represent Kentucky and the program coach (Craig) Skinner has developed as best as possible.”

Klefot wrapped up her stellar four-year career this fall after after becoming the only player in program history to appear in three Sweet 16s during her tenure. The Louisville, Ky., native secured a record-breaking three consecutive Southeastern Conference Libero of the Year accolades.

With more than 1,900 career digs she capped her career ranking second all-time in UK history in that category. She played in more than 485 sets and appeared in the NCAA Tournament in all four seasons in the Blue and White.

Team USA coach Karch Kiraly selected Klefot to join the squad for an extended training session, after a tryout in February. The National team is coming off a silver medal performance at the 2012 Olympics, and Kiraly has been tapped to lead the team into the 2016 Games in Rio De Janeiro.

The Red, White and Blue are slated to participate in the FIBA Volleyball World Grand Prix in 2013 in Japan later this year. Team USA will look to defend its 2012 title.

Since I’ve blown the 5For all to hell, let’s wax nostalgic for just another minute and relive DeMarcus Cousins Top 10 moments from the 2012-2013 NBA season. Enjoy.

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