You can admit it. It’s OK to start getting excited about Big Blue Madness. John Calipari will bring the number one ranked team in the country and arguably the best recruiting class all time into Rupp Arena to a jam-packed Rupp Arena. Big Blue Madness is the type of event that turns grown men into their inner eight year old and well, makes quite the impression on the recruits attending. In his blog on USA Today, Emmanuel Mudiay talkaed a bit about BBM and some of his fellow recruits. He tries to downplay it, but you can tell that Emmanuel is really excited about BBM.
Most of you may already know that I’ve decided to go visit Kentucky for Big Blue Madness. I’m definitely excited about that. My Twitter has been blowing up with their fans hitting me up. I think they even have a countdown and everything so I know it’s gonna be really fun.
I think Stanley (Johnson) and Devin (Booker) are gonna be visiting that same weekend so it’ll be good to hang out with them.
I’ve also been talking to my boy Myles Turner lately about maybe teaming up in college. We’re from the same area and we both want to win right away so it makes sense. Myles is a great player, but people just didn’t know about him. Now they’re seeing how good he really is.
Some people can be Hollywood and not really work hard, but Myles isn’t like that at all. He goes hard and I like that because I want someone to go hard with me training and getting better. Nothing is set in stone or anything like that. We’re not as sure as Tyus (Jones) and Jahlil (Okafor) are right now, but we’re definitely starting to talk about it more and more. It could happen.
I had been talking to Jalen Lindsey about teaming up too, but he surprised me with the commitment. I’m happy for him though.
When I cut my list down I do know that Kansas will make the cut. They’ve got great coaching over there and that’s what I’m basing my decision on. Some people pick schools for the name, but not me. I want to learn as much as possible.
Kentucky will also be on the list. I’m already going there for Big Blue Madness.
Notice that the calendar still says July so that means it’s “create a controversy” month. This time, former UK great Jeff Sheppard came under fire for some comments he made in which he said he is not a fan of the one and done culture at UK. Kyle Tucker talks a bit about the firestorm that ensued from Shep’s comments.
Sheppard said it was more fun to watch players progress through their careers at Kentucky, but those days are over. “And I don’t like it,” he said. “I don’t think the Kentucky fan overall likes it. We’ve had to accept it, and it’s working, because we’re winning. We’re winning national championships – or at least one. And so it’s the way that it is.” He praised Calipari’s success in his remarks to the crowd, calling his four-year run “remarkable,” but added, “I personally think maybe there’s a little bit too much emphasis on celebrating first-round draft picks. I’d rather be celebrating national championships.”
Then this eyebrow-raiser from Sheppard, who played for Rick Pitino and was Most Outstanding Player at the 1998 Final Four: “As crazy as it sounds, I can walk into the University of Louisville’s basketball office and feel more comfortable there because Coach Pitino’s there. When a player plays for a coach, there’s a very special bond there. So when I go to Kentucky, I didn’t play (for) Coach Calipari – and as a matter of fact, I played against him. … (Calipari’s UMass team) beat us in early in the ’96 season and he and Coach Pitino are still rivals, so for me, he’s … he’s the enemy. He’s not the enemy, but that’s how it (feels).”
First off, I’m not going to bash Sheppard for his words much like I did not bash Sean Woods for his comments last year. This guys are UK royalty and I think it’s interesting their views on the program now. It’s a totally different game from when Sheppard and Woods played and these guys are not paid to keep up with the game and changes. And once again, no one likes the one and done rule except for the players. It is interesting that Calipari has kept up with the changes in college basketball and he had a Final Four team in both the 1990′s and 2010′s. It speaks more to me about how Cal has kept up with the game and stayed on top of the game, rather than let the game pass him by like other storied coaches had (Bobby Knight, anyone?).
As for the Pitino comments …. Shepp won a title with Pitino. I would expect him to remain loyal.
In case you have not heard them, here are Sheppard’s comments.
Archie Goodwin has been one of the big surprises of the NBA Summer League and is looking every bit the part of the first round draft pick he was. Even John Calipari took notice last night and wondered if perhaps, he was holding Goodwin back.
Wow, @A1Laflare10 has 16 points at halftime of this NBA Summer League championship. I must have been holding him back.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) July 23, 2013
Just imagine if Goodwin had come back to UK and the fans could watch him progress, right Jeff Sheppard? Kidding. But Goodwin may have looked something like this.