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Athlon Sports ranks Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals 1-2 in college basketball

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Let the bickering begin.

Athlon Sports College Basketball, which is due to hit newsstands in October, has Kentucky and Louisville as the top two teams in all of college hoops. Here is a spoiler though. In the end, Athlon has the good guys winning.

 

Kentucky and Louisville are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in Athlon’s pre-season Top 25. The magazine’s “Bracket Breakdown” page predicts the Cats toppling the Cards in the title game for their ninth national championship.

Duke is ranked No. 3, followed by Michigan State and Kansas. Two other pre-season publications — Lindy’s and Blue Ribbon — recently ranked the Spartans at No. 1 with UK at No. 2.

Athlon describes this Kentucky team as, “among the most talented the sport has ever seen.”

UK freshman Julius Randle is listed as one of five first-team All-Americans (U of L senior Russ Smith also made the cut). Another UK freshman, Andrew Harrison, is on the second team.

 

 

FireShot Screen Capture #018 - 'Photo by treymamba41' - instagram_com_p_ensJ6ZKjX1

As Jason told us last night, Trey Lyles has narrowed his list of schools to Kentucky and Louisville. And let the bickering begin.

Lyles will visit BBM on October 18 and he is expected to be a Spring decision. Whomever gets Lyles will get one of the most versatile big men in the class.

 

“It definitely made (a decision) tougher,” Lyles told the Indy Star of the home visits. “The programs both offer a lot and the coaches both talked kind of the same way about how they want to use me – as a stretch ’4′ who can go on the perimeter. They both kind of talked the same way and definitely have a lot behind them with putting guys in the NBA and winning national championships.”

His father previously told SNY.tv Trey would sign in the spring.

Whoever lands Lyles will be getting a special player, a Canadian who could potentially be as good or better than recent Canadian lottery picks Anthony Bennett (No. 1 in 2013) and Tristan Thompson (No. 4 in 2012).

“Trey is kind of a unique player because he is borderline 6-11 and 255 pounds, but he’s a point forward,” his dad previously told SNY.tv. “There’s not many guys that size that can bring all those things to the table… he can play 1 through 5.”

 

 

As we know, Kentucky basketball practice has started and Marcus Lee is one of the names that is starting to stand out early. Here is part of the practice report on Coach Cal.com.

 

OK, on to some individual observations. The first one goes to the guys I was most impressed with. In fact, let me just say I was a bit stunned. I know Marcus Lee was a McDonald’s All-American. I know he was one of the best players in high school last season. But wow, he is an athletic freak. He does some things that make you shake your head in disbelief. I know Anthony Davis was here two years ago and made some plays that were hard to believe, and I’m not necessarily comparing Lee to Davis, but the kid possesses some athletic traits that very few people have. He jumps like a pogo stick, runs like a deer, and, despite how thin he is at this moment, throws down dunks with authority.

Among Lee’s many jaw-dropping highlights: He took off from the beyond the free-throw line, took two giant steps (it would have taken me two leaps to make his one step) and tomahawked a dunk so hard that his lower body essentially buckled when he landed. Later, he caught the ball above the square – not just the rim – with one hand and slammed it home effortlessly. On the very next possession, he blocked a shot from Derek Willis, who stands at 6-foot-9, as if he was sitting on a ladder near the rim, caught the ball and threw it straight down. And finally, my favorite, late in practice he caught a lob pass so high and so off target that I was certain it was going to hit the side of the backboard. Wrong. Lee not only caught it, he somehow cocked it back and threw it in the basket without even touching the rim. In other words, he was so high up and has such a ridiculous reach that he was able to throw it in downward and into the basket.’

 

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