Kentucky Wildcats: The 2014 Class is taking shape while Louisville Cardinal fans lead UK fans in views

Nov 8, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Willie Cauley-Stein (15) and NC-Asheville Bulldogs center D.J. Cunningham (33) battle for a rebound in the first half at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 8, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Willie Cauley-Stein (15) and NC-Asheville Bulldogs center D.J. Cunningham (33) battle for a rebound in the first half at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Though the sting of UK’s first loss of the very young basketball season is still present, it’s never too early to see what impact, if any, this loss has on current commitments and future recruits. In short, not much at all but Steve Jones of the Courier Journal interviewed the #18 prospect in the 2014 class to get his take on that game and how his game will help the 2014 squad. Below are the highlights. Here is the full interview.

What was the main reason Kentucky was the right fit for you?

I believe a lot of things go into it. First, Coach Calipari, what he’s done in the history of the program with guards similar to me like Brandon Knight, you know guards that can shoot. I’d like to be that. And I want to go in with people I know. Obviously I’ve played against Trey (Lyles). I’ve seen Karl (Towns) play in at the NBA Players camp, and me and Tyler (Ulis) have been on teams together for a couple years at camps. So there is a lot that played into it, and it was a well-thought out process, and I’m glad that it’s over.

Aaron Harrison and James Young, those guys are projected to go pro after this year. Do you see a lot of opportunities for yourself next year?

Yeah, I feel like if they go I can start, but either way, I feel like I have to earn my starting position, so I’m not saying I want it to be absolutely clear, but I have a feeling that some of those players will go to the NBA draft obviously.

What do you think about the four guys who are committed right now, including you?

I feel that we’re going to be a really special class. I think they have us as the No. 1 class, and I think we have big expectations to live up, and I think we’ll do it.

Stanley Johnson is now going to sign on Friday. Was that a surprise to you?

I actually have been thinking he would sign early. Everybody had been saying he was going to say late. Right now I have no clue where he’s going. I hope he ends up playing with us. I feel like he would fit right in with us. I mean, everyone can see what spot we are missing that’s left in this class, and Stan would walk right into that. But at the end of the day, it’s his decision. He’s one of my brothers, so whatever decision he makes, we’re still going to be good friends.

If you guys were to get Stan, how good do you think your class could be and your team could be next year?

I think we would be really good. I think we’d have each position kind of set out, and we’d just go in kind of like what Kentucky is doing now with the five freshman players. I believe we could do big things.

Did you get to see UK-Michigan State game last night?

I actually had my own game, but I did record it and I watched it like midnight. I feel asleep on it, but I’ll go back and watch it. From what I’ve seen, I felt like Michigan State was just more experienced. That’s the third game in (for Kentucky), and once they all get on the same page, that team is going to be dangerous.

Speaking of that class, these commits aren’t just paying lip service to the process, as they’ve decided when they are putting, or have already put, pen to paper to make it official.

It appears that all four of UK’s commitments for the Class of 2014 will be signed by the end of the week.

Tyler Ulis’ father and his high school coach both told the Herald-Leader that Ulis plans to sign with Kentucky around 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.

Karl Towns is planning to sign with the Cats at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Trey Lyles’ high school coach told the Herald-Leader that he would sign with Kentucky at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

That leaves Devin Booker, who tweeted Wednesday morning that he plans to sign his national letter of intent Friday.

UK is not expected to release any information on any of the players until all four have signed with the school. That means John Calipari is unlikely to comment on any of his signees until Friday, at the earliest. ranks UK’s four-man class as the best in the country going into the signing period.

To the surprise of no one, the UK-Michigan state game was ESPN’s second most viewed non-conference game ever. EVER. Also much to the surprise of no one, Louisville was the leader in keeping track of what they aspire to be. Cute.

ESPN’s coverage of No. 2 Michigan State defeating No. 1 Kentucky 78-74 on Tuesday is the network’s second most-viewed, non-conference men’s college basketball game. The first telecast of the marquee State Farm Champions Classic doubleheader – which also saw No. 5 Kansas upend No. 4 Duke 94-83 – averaged 4,002,000 viewers and a 2.6 HH US rating. ESPN’s most-viewed game – also a matchup of the top two teams with No. 2 Tennessee defeating No. 1 Memphis 66-62 on February 23, 2008 – averaged 5,281,000 viewers and a 3.2 HH US rating. Additional highlights:

Kansas vs. Duke also garnered a large audience, averaging 2,977,000 viewers and a 2.1 HH US rating.
The two games averaged a combined 3,509,000 viewers and a 2.4 HH US rating, making it the most-viewed and highest rated Champions Classic, surpassing 2,504,000 viewers and a 1.6 HH US rating in 2012 and 2,514,000 viewers and 1.7 HH US rating in 2011.

ESPN recently announced it will continue to televise the neutral site Champions Classic with Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State for three additional years. The early season event has matched four of the winningest programs against each other since 2011. The doubleheader will be played in Indianapolis (2014), Chicago (2015) and New York City (2016) with venues to be determined.
Champions Classic Top 10 Metered Markets
Seven metered markets were among the top 10 highest rated for both games of the Champions Classic doubleheader: Louisville, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Greensboro, Greenville, Kansas City and Raleigh-Durham.

Louisville led all markets for coverage of Michigan State’s win over Kentucky with a 20.3 rating followed by Detroit (8.6)

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo had nothing but kind words for the Kentucky Wildcats in the victory Tuesday night.

And in what is always an interesting aspect of either a victory or defeat is how opposing media viewed the game and we have that here with MSU beat writer Joe Rexrode, columnists Graham Couch and Drew Sharp.

Tags: Baskeetball Kentucky Wildcats

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