Kentucky Looking for Impact Freshmen


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Heading into the season, Kentucky’s football coaches will, undoubtedly, look for the upperclassman to step up. But, which freshmen have the potential to make a name for themselves this year? Jennifer Smith writes:

"“Last week before one of his many meet and greets, UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown offered a look into his thinking on some of the newcomers that could help the Cats’ offense right away and others he hopes to give a little more time.…Expect one if not both of the long receivers Dorian Baker (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) and Blake Bone (6-5, 198) to see playing time right away, too. ‘At least one of them needs to step up and play,’ the offensive coordinator said.”"

Who will be Kentucky’s most improved player this upcoming season? There are certainly plenty of candidates. Thad Novak writes:

"“The rising sophomores provide more promising candidates for major offseason evolution. Dominique Hawkins, who served largely as a defensive caddy for a struggling Andrew Harrison, is well aware that he needs to become more of a scorer to expand his role in the backcourt. However, valuable though Hawkins was a year ago—and likely though he is to raise his game—he lacks the exceptional physical tools of the roster’s many McDonald’s All-Americans, meaning that his ceiling isn’t quite as high.”"

When the college basketball season tips off in November, it’s like there will be no consensus first team All-American. Gary Parrish writes:

"“Which underlined something I’ve been thinking about for a while — specifically how there probably won’t be a single consensus preseason All-American in college basketball. There are no freshmen entering with the hype of a Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Julius Randle. Most of the remaining accomplished players from last season exhausted their eligibility (Doug McDermott, Shabazz Napier, Russ Smith) or left school to chase millions (Nick Stauskas, T.J. Warren, Kyle Anderson). In fact, for only the second time since 2003, not even one first-, second- or third-team Associated Press All-American is back in college.”"

Derrick Rose’s return to basketball continued on Wednesday at Team USA camp. And John Calipari was there to watch. Nick Friedell writes:

"“Calipari agrees with his former star. He believes a lot of the basketball world forgot just how good Rose can be when he’s healthy.‘Out of sight, out of mind sometimes, yeah,’ Calipari said. ‘But you see his explosiveness and his quick twitch to balls and his ability to block shots. Like, ‘How did he get there?’ That’s what he is. I said today to a guy sitting next to me, ‘If he gets a ball stolen from him, I promise you he’s pinning [the ball] down on the other backboard.’ He gets so angry at that. He runs down and [jumps off] 2 feet. He’s going on the top of the square [on the backboard], knocking that away. And I’ve seen it when he played for me.’”"

North Carolina has come under fire as of late for some questionable academic standards for its athletes. But the school has announced it is inviting former athletes to come back to school to complete their coursework. No word whether or not these former athletes will actually have to attend class in order to graduate. The Associated Press writes:

"“Chancellor Carol Folt said the ‘Complete Carolina’ program will be available for athletes who were in good academic standing when they left. Athletes would receive scholarships or financial support in line with their initial time at UNC, though at current-day costs for attendance.The program will start the readmission process for the former athletes, whether they left early to enter a professional sports league or for personal reasons. It would then provide academic and career counseling along the way.The athletic department will fund the program, which Folt called ‘a pledge for their lives.’”"