Calipari Busy Recruiting

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky coach John Calipari isn't wasting
any time trying to fill the massive holes in his roster after
freshmen All-Americans John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins opted to
leave for the NBA.
Calipari spent Thursday in Virginia and North Carolina. He will
split time this weekend between the West Coast and New York City in
efforts to restock a team decimated by early defections to the
Wall, the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, and
Cousins, the SEC Freshman of the Year, were among five Wildcats who
declared for the NBA Draft on Wednesday. The quintet also includes
junior forward Patrick Patterson, freshman center Daniel Orton and
freshman guard Eric Bledsoe.
The group combined for 57.7 points a game and comprised the
backbone of a team that went 35-3 and won the SEC regular-season
and conference tournament titles before falling to West Virginia in
the NCAA regional finals.
Calipari bristled at the notion that inexperience cost Kentucky
- which started three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior - a shot
at the title. He pointed out that only Wall and Patterson were
considered surefire NBA picks when the season began while Cousins,
Bledsoe and Orton played their way into the draft.
"I'm going to keep recruiting the best players I can find," he
said in an audio post on
He'll have to do it again to keep the Wildcats competitive, a
task he'll eagerly tackle every year if it means he can produce
NBA-level talent.
The Wildcats will bring in seven or eight freshmen next fall,
including forward Stacey Poole Jr. and center Enes Kanter. Kentucky
is also in the mix for high-profile guard Brandon Knight. Though
it's unlikely he'll face a scenario next year where four freshman
jump to the NBA, he won't try to keep underclassmen on campus if he
believes they have a legitimate shot at competing at the next
"If they have a chance to leave, I will encourage them like I
did these five," Calipari said. "I will encourage them to do it.
I'm not going to try and convince them, but I will help them be
more prepared."
Calipari took a brief break from recruiting on Friday morning to
sign 1,200 commemorative bottles of Maker's Mark bourbon at
Keeneland Race Course. The special bottles are covered in blue wax
and feature a white silhouette of Calipari's face.
There were 24,000 bottles made, and additional orders for empty
bottles are being accepted. Proceeds will benefit the UK Symphony
Orchestra and the School of Music's outreach program.
"I'm in the middle of recruiting, I know people would like me
to sign bottles for five hours," Calipari said in between
signatures. "But for people to wait outside from three in the
morning, then it's like 'OK, let me spend a couple hours here, sign
some bottles and do the thing they need me to do."
What the fans would like him to do is find a way to duplicate
the success he enjoyed in his first year at one of the most
demanding jobs in the country. He says he's trying.
"Let's keep the bar raised," he said.

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  • by aballa Location: lexington on Apr 16, 2010 at 03:32 AM
    Big Brandon knight coming to the CATS, all we need is some players to stay longer than one year! I think as long as we have something to build on we're golden. Starting over every year is going to be tough we know we can get the talent and win games.
  • by Scott Location: Ashland on Apr 14, 2010 at 12:30 PM
    He better be recruiting because we have no players left! GO BIG BLUE!!!!!!!!!!
  • by kygirl Location: virginia on Apr 12, 2010 at 07:31 AM
    Jeremy, you make some good points.Haven't heard about Dodson either, but if he stays, he will definitely need to improve his defense!As for Liggins, he has definitely improved and he will be okay if Patterson stays but Liggins needs that leader on the floor to keep him reined in or else he tends to play out of control(as he did in the past seasons).I hope Coach gets a couple of the good recruits that are left.In all fairness to Hood,his shooting seemed terrible this year, however, he was only put in so sparodically, it would be difficult for any shooter to get into the flow of the game and be comfortable with their shot under those circumstances. But what Hood & others need to know...they will need to earn that playing time & confidence from Coach throughout the practice season.I honestly believe if a player proves they can shoot consistently.....any coach will play them!
  • by Jonathan Location: Nicholasville on Apr 10, 2010 at 07:58 PM
    Cals been looking in to geting paulsen from west jessamine to come to uk he has already been practicing with the cats
  • by kungfu Location: Ky on Apr 10, 2010 at 05:05 PM
    i agree Jeremy they need major help and i believe Cal will deliver again. the final 5 as i called them could beat a lot of teams but not contend.i haven't heard about dodson. i honestly think only miller liggins and hood will be here.harrelson has just been there,no contribution. dodson,your right hes too up and down.Cal has his work cut out for him but i have faith he will do it! GO BIG BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by Jeremy Location: Pike on Apr 10, 2010 at 07:18 AM
    Kungfu, I normally agree with your posts. I expected more out of Miller this year and I still believe he has the tools to make it to the NBA. After all, all it takes is athletic ability to make the NBA these days. He shows flashes, but has to come more consistent. I have heard Dodson isn't even there anymore. That's just a rumor I keep hearing. I am not sure he is anything more than a streak shooter that is hot one game and ice cold the next with poor ball handling and defense. I would have liked to have seen more from Harrelson and Hood this year. They didn't get much opportunity. Supposedly Hood can shoot, I just haven't seen much of him. We could have used a shooter against WVU, so I question why he wasn't out there if he really can shoot. I do like how far Liggins has come and I am really excited about what he might be able to do next year. The guys you mention will DEFINITELY need help from those Calipari is after. Actively watching the recruiting trail. GO CATS!
  • by kungfu Location: Ky on Apr 9, 2010 at 05:47 PM
    i am confident UK can win with miller,dodson,harrelson,hood,and liggins! they can be called The Final Five! Coach Cal will bring in the talent and UK will win!!! GO BIG BLUE!!!!!!!!!
  • by Wendy Location: Lexington on Apr 9, 2010 at 05:46 PM
    I wish them all the best and hope incoming guys will stand up to their memory GO CATS!!!!


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