Most of the 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team will arrive in Lexington this week but at the end of this month, we will finally learn the NBA fate of the players that bid adieu to Lexington this year. The NBA Draft, on June 26, looms large for Julius Randle and James Young. Randle has a busy week with three workouts planned and those teams will definitely be seeing a trimmer, leaner Randle.
Toward that end, Randle is working out near his Dallas area home three times a day, his mother, Carolyn Kyles, said.
“He’s dropped about 20 pounds,” she said. “He’s eating right. He’s eating healthy.”
A presumption would be that a slimmer, fitter Randle anticipates the need to play more on the perimeter at the NBA level.
Randle has workouts scheduled this week with Orlando, Philadelphia and Boston. He also has a workout scheduled for the Los Angeles Lakers on June 17.
Kyles dismissed the various mock drafts as “everybody expressing their constitutional right to have their own opinion.
“At the end of the day, they don’t have a clue about what the GMs are thinking.”
The UK coaching tree just got a bit larger recently as Scott Padgett was tabbed to take over as the new head coach at Samford.
Samford announced the departure of head basketball coach Bernie Seltzer on Friday and promoted former Kentucky and NBA player Scott Padgett to replace him.
Seltzer was 24-41 and had 14 players transfer from the program during his two seasons. Samford didn’t say whether he was fired or resigned.
Padgett had been a Samford assistant since 2012 after stints with Manhattan College and the Wildcats.
The 37-year-old Padgett was a first-round NBA draft pick by the Utah Jazz in 1999, 28th overall. He played eight seasons with four teams.
The two-time All-Southeastern Conference forward helped the Wildcats win the 1998 national championship.
Padgett promised a pressing style of play similar to the systems he played in under Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith at Kentucky.
SEC Football gets closer by the day, but there seems to be renewed optimism concerning the state of SEC Basketball. It may not just be a two team race between Kentucky and Florida as a few other SEC teams are tabbed as breakout teams for 2014-15. ESPN named several teams that should break out this year and Arkansas was mentioned prominently.
This season’s Razorbacks should improve thanks to a combination of experience and depth. They return six of their top seven leading scorers, headlined by 6-5 guard Rashad Madden (12.7 points per game). Anderson’s teams always play hard, but to apply consistent pressure on its opponents offensively and defensively they needed bodies. Arkansas now has the depth and experience to take it to the next level.
The Razorbacks led the SEC in both steals (8.4 per game) and scoring (80.1 points) last season, but one of the underappreciated aspects of Anderson’s teams is their unselfishness and willingness to share the ball. They averaged a league-best 15.3 assists per contest last season. Arkansas has two players who can take over a game in Bobby Portis (12.3 points and 6.8 rebounds a game) and Michael Qualls (11.6 points, 4.5 rebounds) as well as leading scorer Madden, Alandise Harris and developing shot-blocker Moses Kingsley.
Not only can the Razorbacks make the tournament, but I feel their style will give them a chance to make a run past the first weekend.
LSU was also given the nod and Georgia was listed as getting honorable mention. So three SEC teams were singled out among the ten, which can only be good for the stature of the SEC and UK’s RPI, right? Let’s hope so.