Kentucky Wildcats Morning Headlines: Karl-Anthony Towns has big shoes to fill

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Good morning Big Blue Nation, and welcome to Monday. Today in our Kentucky Wildcats Morning Headlines, we talk about “Cal the Humanitarian”. Karl Towns’ shoes, and look to football with news on Patrick Towles and Damien Harris’s recruitment.

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With school in session pretty much everywhere, the folks at Sports Illustrated thought it was time to look at the top 25 college basketball freshmen and see how they would fit in with their new teams.  Kentucky had three players in the top 25 in Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles, and Tyler Ulis.  Probably the most interesting players for me are Towns and Ulis.  We have recently learned that only five players under six feet tall have earned scholarships at Kentucky since 1970.  However, we also learn that Towns’ shoes are historical in UK lore for a different reason.


While earning frontcourt minutes amid multiple waves of NBA talent won’t be easy, there’s reason to believe Towns will get plenty of early run. He is not a shot-blocking specialist like Cauley-Stein or a freak athlete like Lee or a superb post scorer like Lyles. Rather, Towns is the rare seven-footer with legit perimeter skills. Great court vision, solid distribution and a serviceable mid-range jump shot are all part of his repertoire. And Towns may not even be done growing yet, with Yahoo Sports reporting in April that a doctor told Towns he may have reach 7-3. (No incoming freshman has required the UK equipment staff to order larger shoes than Towns’ size 20s.) It will be interesting to see how Calipari elects to use Towns next season. Pairing his passing ability and scoring with Cauley-Stein’s rim protection will give opponents fits.



Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari gets a lot of credit of being a great coach and recruiter, but he does a lot for the community as well. The UK Alumni game was cancelled but it is pretty notable that Cal was able to still raise over a million dollars for charity with his fantasy camp this weekend. Perhaps instead of “Cal the Magician”, he has earned the title of “Cal the Humanitarian” as well?


On Sunday, near the conclusion of his third annual John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience, Calipari announced approximately $1 million would be going to 23 different charities and organizations this year (full list to the right). The funds were generated solely on the back of the fantasy experience.

“Every one of (the fantasy campers) are here to win, (but) they know the bigger picture of why we’re doing this is it generates money for charity,” Calipari said Sunday. “If you add up the checks, which some of you may do, I think it’s $890,000. With matching funds it’s over a million dollars again. … There were (23) groups that benefited by this experience, by these players and by an auction last night that was outrageous. And everybody got involved. To whatever level people could get involved they did because they knew that’s what this was about: generating money for charity. I’m really proud of this experience for campers.”



Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

And we all know that Calipari is a funny guy, but should we now call him “Cal the Comedian”? I don’t know how many jokes he will be telling, but the Calipari Foundation will be bringing a comedy show to Rupp Arena – all for charity of course.


John Calipari and the Calipari Foundation have joined with Global Sports Aid Network and Samaritan’s Feet for a benefit effort entitled “Comedy Mania” to be held at Rupp Arena in Lexington on Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Billed as a “night of fun for the whole family,” the event will feature comedian Bill Engvall from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and Dancing with the Stars, along with actor/comedian Sinbad.

The inaugural “Comedy Mania” will be held Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Rupp Arena.

“I’m really honored and excited to be a part of this event,” Engvall said. “There is nothing more rewarding than helping people in need.”

Other performers include comedians Henry Cho and Mark Christopher Lawrence. Illusionist Curt Anderson will perform several mind-boggling tricks, including an attempt to escape from a straight jacket while hanging from the rafters of Rupp Arena. The event will be co-hosted by Ted DiBiase, a WWE Hall of Fame wrestler, and Calipari.


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