Make no mistake. Even though most of the starters from the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team will be returning in 2014-15, nothing will be given to them. They will still have to re-earn their starting jobs and the center position battle will be perhaps the best battle of the summer and early fall. Karl Towns Jr will join the battle of returning players and this should be the best competition at the center in the nation.
Kentucky: Dakari Johnson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marcus Lee versus Karl Towns Jr.: Yes, there are veterans — three of them — returning against the young pup. Calipari could figure out how to play all four of them at some point during a game. Johnson, Cauley-Stein and Lee all had their moments in which they shined. Johnson has the best chance to be in the low post, Cauley-Stein can be the top shot-blocker and Lee is a bit of an X factor among the group. Now, enter the newcomer. Towns can do a bit of everything, but he doesn’t need to be the primary option. That’s key for him and rare for a high-profile Kentucky player. This isn’t even mentioning Trey Lyles and Alex Poythress, who are more positioned to play smaller forward positions next to the bigs. This team is loaded.
It should be obvious by now that John Calipari is not walking through that door for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Julius Randle just may be. The Cavs may have had their hopes set on Calipari, but Randle is a very real possibility and he has talked with the Cavs in anticipation of the draft.
“I met with Cleveland,” Randle said at the 2014 NBA Draft Combine. “It went really well. They have a great relationship with my coaching staff as well. It was a good interview for me.”
Randle said Calipari never told him what he could expect from the Cavs.
“Coach never talked to me about any specific team,” said the 6-foot-9 Randle, who averaged 15 points and 10.4 rebounds in his one season at Kentucky. “We always just talked about me being ready for the next level and what I could do to be ready when I get there.”
Calipari has a long list of first-round draft picks, including No. 1s in Derrick Rose, John Wall and Anthony Davis. But Randle says he doesn’t use that in any recruiting pitch.
“He’s straight up when he recruits you that it’s going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but he’ll get you to where you want to get but he’s not promising you anything,” Randle said. “You’re going to have to work for what you want.”
Why are Calipari’s players so NBA-ready?
“Coach at the end of the day is going to do what’s right for you,” Randle said. “He’s going to have your back. He’s going to put you in the right situations to where you can shine.”
After a couple of rough games in China with the Sports Reach tour, Dominique Hawkins finally had a huge game. Hawkins scored 27 points on 10-15 shooting as the Sports Reach team earned a 87-75 win over Lithuania. Hawkins also grabbed 5 boards and 2 assists. It’s good to see Hawkins finally break out and have a solid game.
Sports Reach got another win yesterday, this time over Jiniang 95-81. Hawkins scored 6 points and 8 rebounds and shot 1-7 from the field.