John Calipari is working double time these days as he is working on the 2014 class and extending offers for the 2015 class. And it appears that Calipari is headed back into the state of Alabama for the latter. We all know Calipari has had success in Alabama with DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe. 2015′s Danjel Purifoy could be the next great name from the state as he says he has an offer from Kentucky.
Standing at a lanky 6-foot-6, Purifoy has received offers from Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, and UAB. Kentucky has been a school that Purifoy has wanted to play at for a long time.
“It would be real good,” Purifoy took SNY.tv. “I have been wanting to play there since I was a kid.”
He will take the rest of his visits in the fall, but has already taken unofficial visits to three schools already.
“I have already visited Alabama, UAB and Auburn,” Purifoy said.
One of the best slashers in the class of 2015, many people see Purifoy as a player whose stock will rise once he develops his shot as his career in high school goes on. Purifoy is a player who can crash the glass and get any shot in the lane that he wants, but is working to extend his range out beyond the 3-point arc.
Speaking of DeMarcus Cousins, he will be meeting with the Kings soon to discuss a maximum contract. Boogie has often been the cover boy for what is wrong with the NBA by some pundits, but there are some that argue he should be the face of the Kings and get that max contract.
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has defaulted on most every standard of athletic professionalism in his three-year NBA career. He clashed with two coaches — one a regrettable, ill-fitting hire (Paul Westphal), the other promoted because of his bond with Cousins (Keith Smart) — and survived both of their firings. His body language is horrendous and tends to irk referees (Cousins led the NBA in technical fouls last season) as much as it does casual fans. He’s been suspended by his team and the NBA and allowed his frustrations on the court to boil over into postgame confrontations with teammates and broadcasters.
Still, this is the player tabbed as being the face of the Kings, and for good reason. Cousins, who turns 23 in August, may be petulant at times, but few players have the skill to do what he does, and even fewer are capable of matching his production. There’s room here for Sacramento to be concerned without overreacting, and to address the problem without disregard for such a prodigious talent.
Whatever Kentucky does this season on the basketball court this year, it will be without the above group of players. Such turnover is a constant in the Calipari era and it has become a way of life. As we had on the site yesterday, Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin, and Julius Mays returned to Lexington and met with the press. But when you are Kentucky, this story does not stay in Lexington. NBC’s Rob Dauster picked up on the story and had some thoughts on the trios comments and expressed some concerns on this years team.
But more importantly, this touches on the major concerns I have for Kentucky heading into next season. (Well, some of the major concerns, as rumors like this keep popping up.) Right now, looking at Chad Ford’s top 100 draft prospects leading into the 2014 draft, seven of the top 31 players are Kentucky Wildcats, with an eighth (Marcus Lee) popping up in the 70s. Draft Express is currently projecting five Wildcats to go in the first round in 2014, and that’s operating under the assumption that James Young and Dakari Johnson aren’t going to be in the 2014 draft.
Simply put: Kentucky is going to have first round draft picks — plural — coming off of the bench next season. They are going to have role players with one eye on the lottery. Coach Cal is going to have to convince those kids to embrace the role that he brought them in to play, or the team is going to once again struggle with chemistry issues.
I’ve long said that what made the 2012 Kentucky team special wasn’t the fact that they had six players drafted or that they had the top two picks in the 2012 draft. What made that team great was that their two best players and the two highest-rated NBA prospects — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis — were role players. They were awesome, but MKG was a junkyard dog, a glue-guy that defended and rebounded and provided all the hustle plays while Anthony Davis was a defensive presence that owned the paint and gave Kentucky’s guards an outlet to throw lobs.
How often do you see that in a team?
I do agree with Dauster that 2012 was a very special year that will be hard to replicate, but if there is a coach that will guide a brand new team into contention every year, it is Calipari. I’m also not going to go “Chicken Little” on the Harrisons and James Young not being academically eligible … yet … but the calendar still says July. In the end, I’m still going to take UK’s roster and talent over anyone’s else.