Just a friendly reminder that Big Blue Madness is right around 100 days away and that will officially kick off the 2013-14 basketball campaign in earnest. And the recruits are taking notice. Last week, we told you about Stanley Johnson and Emmanuel Mudiay attending BBM. Now, it appears that SG Devin Booker is making plans as well for Lexington. It appears that Booker is coming to BBM because of Stanley Johnson. Ironically enough, Johnson just set his five official visits and UK is solidly in the mix, and Duke is not.
With that decision, the Duke Blue Devils end up on the outside looking in, although Duke had yet to officially offer. The 6-foot-7, 226-pound Johnson had previously stated he would choose between Duke and Kansas for the fifth and final spot.
Kentucky, Florida, Oregon and Arizona get his other four visits while local programs UCLA and USC will get official unofficial visits.
“Yes, that’s what I’m going to do,” he said last month in a video interview with Fox. “I’m going to take unofficial officials to USC and UCLA for sure. Then I want to take five officials to the schools out of state.”
Johnson is the lone 2014 small forward with a Kentucky offer and he told the Courier-Journal at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas he was honored to be in that position.
“That means to me they really want me and what they’re saying if valid,” he said. “Coach [John] Calipari is one of the most honest coaches I’ve talked to so far, and he’s shown it. That’s big for me. A lot of coaches say it, but they don’t show it. Having me being the only small forward Kentucky has offered is a big deal.
Johnson said he expects several other top players at Big Blue Madness, with 2014 point guard Emmanuel Mudiay already saying he will come.
“A lot of guys are going,” Johnson told the Courier-Jouranl. “I heard me and Emmanuel Mudiay, and (Alabama shooting guard) Devin Booker just told me this weekend he wants to come with me, so it’s going to be packed. I’m excited because I want to see them at their best. I think that’s the best weekend for basketball up there and to see the school also. I’m excited to go up there and see the campus life when basketball is going to be big.”
Yes, we know John Calipari looks relaxed in his pretty blue pastel shirt here, but he is hard at work putting together the 2014 class. Stanley Johnson seems to be one of the main targets, and adding bigman (and one of the best names ever) Goodluck Okonoboh to the mix seems to be a priority as well.
An athletic and tough 6-foot-10 center, Okonoboh checks in at a surprisingly lean 213 pounds. However, he plays much stronger than that and wasn’t backing down from anybody on Saturday. During two-on-two big man drills, he was all over the place, helping to block shots, blocking shots straight up and scoring with power around the rim.
“I think that’s just my competitive nature,” Okonoboh told Rivals.com “I think it was LeBron who said it yesterday that somebody scoring on you was kind of like taking your manhood. So I look at it like that. ”
Unlike a lot of big men who want to talk about improving their faceup games, Okonoboh is more concerned with his low-post game.
“My low-post game, my offensive game is coming along,” Okonoboh said about what he’s been working on. “I feel like my faceup is way ahead of my back-to-the-basket game, and I need to catch that up. With my faceup game, I can use my quickness to go by other big guys.”
Okonoboh was reluctant to list schools when asked who is coming at him the hardest. He showed Rivals.com his phone that is being flooded with text messages, and he said his father and coaches are handling his recruitment. He mentioned Kentucky, Duke, Indiana, Cincinnati and Connecticut among those recruiting him. He has not set visits and doesn’t seem to be in a rush to end his recruitment.
With the news that Dwight Howard will be a Houston Rocket, Terrence Jones becomes one of the favorites to be the “Next Cat to get a NBA ring”. As of now, Jones is still toiling in the summer league games and has not ascended to the level of stardom of a Howard yet, but he is getting there. Jones had a huge game in the summer league yesterday as he had 24 points and 12 rebounds. Doron Lamb nailed three treys hand had 13 points in the Magic’s game. Daniel Orton, yes, Daniel Orton, played big as well. Orton had 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks for Oklahoma City. DeAndre Liggins also saw action and had two points and three rebounds.
It is just the summer league, but it’s always good to see the newer NBA Cats showing their potential.