Alumni Game to Feature Non-UK Pros?


Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The annual UK alumni game will feature a twist this year when it tips off on August 24 at Rupp Arena. Instead of Kentucky alumni taking on Kentucky alumni, this year’s event will pit a team of former Wildcats taking on non-Wildcats. The Lexington Herald-Leader writes:

"“Does this mean friend-of-the-program LeBron James could be making an appearance in Rupp Arena? What about Dirk Nowitzki, who was seen wearing a “Succeed and Proceed” T-shirt last April? No doubt Kentucky Coach John Calipari has the connections to pull in all manner of talent, but would he risk constructing a team that could beat his own UK guys?These are among the questions UK followers will be asking, and these are the type of gimmicks that have made Calipari a successful showman, but fans might not receive all the answers until game night.”"

Malik Newman is, it would appear, a recruit NO ONE has a good read on. One week Kentucky is the favorite to land the number one shooting guard in the Class of 2015. The next, Connecticut is favored to sign Newman in a package deal with Diamond Stone. This week, the flavor of the week is Mississippi State. Ben Roberts writes:

"“247Sports national analyst Jerry Meyer recently changed his “Crystal Ball” prediction on Malik Newman to Mississippi State, going with the home-state school over some of the national powers that have been pursuing him.…Newman’s father is Horatio Webster, a former Mississippi State basketball standout.Newman attended the Final Four in April and was there to see Kentucky defeat Wisconsin. He told the Herald-Leader last week that he was not pulling for either team, despite the fact that UK has been recruiting him hard for more than a year. He added that he was rooting for Mississippi State throughout the season.”"

Several of Kentucky’s top recruiting targets were in action at the Nike Peach Jam this past weekend. And, it would appear that many of them did not have the best weekend in South Carolina. Thad Novak writes:

"“The 2014 Nike Peach Jam was one of the premier recruiting events of the offseason, and where there are great college hoops recruits, there’s Kentucky basketball. Many of Big Blue’s highest-priority prospects in both the 2015 and 2016 classes were on display in South Carolina as Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) wrapped up its season.Not all of those ballyhooed youngsters lived up to their hype over the weekend, though. Here’s a look at the Peach Jam performances of the high school stars who are most prominent on Kentucky’s radar”"

Not too long ago, Larry Brown’s SMU Mustangs appeared to be a program on the rise. SMU finished third in their inaugural season in the AAC, which ended in a loss to Minnesota in the NIT Championship. Brown signed one of the top point guards in the country and the team was expected to compete for an AAC title this season. But not even a week after Emmanuel Mundiay announced he was headed overseas, SMU’s top recruit from the Class of 2015 has decommitted. Jeff Eisenberg writes:

"“Matt McQuaid, one of the class of 2015’s best shooters, has backed out of his May commitment to SMU and reopened his recruitment, Evan Daniels of first reported. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Duncanville, Texas is rated’s No. 87 recruit and holds offers from Creighton, Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas and Baylor, among others.If the departure of Mudiay was a blow to SMU’s chances of ascending to college basketball’s upper echelon this season, the loss of McQuaid could hurt the Mustangs just as much in the longterm. Recruiting analysts have raved about McQuaid’s catch-and-shoot prowess this spring and summer and have noted that he is making progress adding a dribble-drive dimension to his repertoire.”"

Professional leagues in this country have, for the most part, done a decent job at catching and disciplining users of HGH and other performance-enhancing drugs. But use among teenagers is rising. TheAssociated Press writes:

"“Experimentation with human growth hormones by America’s teens more than doubled in the past year, as more young people looked to drugs to boost their athletic performance and improve their looks, according to a new, large-scale national survey.In a confidential 2013 survey of 3,705 high school students, being released Wednesday by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 11 percent reported using synthetic HGH at least once — up from about 5 percent in the four preceding annual surveys. Teen use of steroids increased from 5 percent to 7 percent over the same period, the survey found.”"