Big Blue Links for Friday:
John Pelphrey joining staff at Alabama, reports ESPN. The former Kentucky star served two stints as an assistant coach at Florida as well as being a head coach at South Alabama and Arkansas. He did television work last season before accepting Avery Johnson’s offer to join the staff in Tuscaloosa.
Will kick in the pants keep Chris Westry on task? asks Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “After that big season, Westry was singled out again, by the Southeastern Conference coaches, who named him to the league’s All-Freshman Team, one of many postseason honors for the 6-foot-4 corner from Orange Park, Fla.”
Nike Hoop Summit practice observations, from Jerry Meyer of 247Sports. “Kentucky signee Wenyen Gabriel is going to have his biggest impact for the Wildcats on the defensive end and as an offensive rebounder. Yes, he has a good offensive skill set, bet he is an upper level multi-positional defender and plays with an elite motor which makes him a terror on the offensive glass.”
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Tyler Ulis may be one of the grittiest players in the NBA Draft, writes Sam Vecenie of CBS Sports. “Simply put, there might not be a tougher player in this draft class than Ulis. He plays as hard as any player in the country on both ends, coaches his team on the floor, and gets right in opponents’ face to pester them defensively. I’m not sure any statement encapsulates that as much as this tweet does, courtesy of Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.”
Bryce Drew courted Vanderbilt first, reports Adam Sparks of the Tennessean. “Eddie Fogler, who served as Vanderbilt’s consultant in the coaching search, said a third party contacted him on Drew’s behalf to show interest in the job after Kevin Stallings left to become Pittsburgh’s coach and before Valparaiso finished its NIT run. Drew simply couldn’t let the chance at coaching the Commodores pass him by.”
Who needs a Final Four the most in 2017? asks Mary Story of the Herald-Leader. “Now, all four of our state’s marquee college hoops coaches — John Calipari and Rick Pitino, Matthew Mitchell and Jeff Walz — will enter the 2016-17 season with substantial need to make a deep NCAA Tournament run.”
John L. Smith is looking to rebuild Kentucky State, reports John Lewis of WDRB. “(I) don’t need a job necessarily,” Smith said. “You need a job if you can make a difference. If you can make a difference to the school, make a difference to the kids, and make a difference to the state of Kentucky.”
Georgia Tech is targeting Josh Pastner, reports Jeff Goodman of ESPN. “One source said Georgia Tech could finalize a deal with Pastner on Friday. Pastner, 38, took over after John Calipari left seven years ago and has taken the Tigers to the NCAA tournament four times in his tenure. However, Memphis has not played in the postseason the past two years. “
Kirby Smart selling special teams duties at Georgia, reports Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph. “During a recent special teams meeting, head coach Kirby Smart posted a picture of a past Alabama punt play for his players to look at. Seemingly a routine thing to do during a meeting quickly became a statement Smart was trying to convey. Smart highlighted that four of those Crimson Tide contributors on that punt team, in the photo he showed, went on to become first-round picks.”