Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky Basketball Media Day is here; more Big Blue Links

Seniors Mychal Mulder (11), Dominique Hawkins (25) and Derek Willis (35) during the University of Kentucky's men's basketball photo day held in Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, September 15, 2016.
Seniors Mychal Mulder (11), Dominique Hawkins (25) and Derek Willis (35) during the University of Kentucky's men's basketball photo day held in Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, September 15, 2016. Lexington Herald-Leader

MBig Blue Links for Thursday:

▪ Get ready. It’s UK Basketball Media Day. At 1 p.m., John Calipari speaks to the media. At 2 p.m., we get to talk to the players. Be prepared for a Twitter storm, plenty of videos and more from the activities at Memorial Coliseum.

And then there’s Big Blue Madness on Friday night at Rupp Arena.

Here’s a video:

Here’s a tweet:

Here’s a podcast on UK basketball recruiting:

▪ John Petty has set a date for his UK visit. Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader reports that the 6-foot-5 prospect from Huntsville, Ala. won’t be at Big Blue Madness because of a scheduling conflict.

“Instead, Petty will take his official visit to Kentucky on the weekend of Oct. 28, his high school coach, Jack Doss, told the Herald-Leader on Wednesday. “

▪ UK women’s basketball will have plenty of recruits at Big Blue Madness. Again, Ben Roberts reports that Matthew Mitchell expects to have two dozen prospects at Rupp Arena on Friday.

“Three of those visitors are from the class of 2017 and will be in Lexington for their official visits this weekend, three more are nationally ranked, in-state prospects from the class of 2018, and 10 others have UK scholarship offers.”

▪ Michigan State basketball gets a new court design.

▪ Tai Wynyard brings a Polynesian flavor to Kentucky. Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader documents Wynyard’s journey to UK, where he was redshirted last year.

“Tai Wynyard’s ancestors came from east Polynesia to New Zealand sometime in the late 13th century. They became the indigenous people of New Zealand known as the Maori, a word that means normal or natural (as opposed to deities or spirits). In relative isolation, the Maori developed their own language, mythology, crafts and performing arts. “

Features on other UK players:

▪ Bam Adebayo

▪ Isaiah Briscoe

▪ Brad Calpari

▪ De’Aaron Fox

▪ Jonny David

▪ Wenyen Gabriel

▪ Dominique Hawkins

▪ Dillon Pulliam

▪ Isaac Humphries

▪ Mychal Mulder

▪ Sacha Killeya-Jones

▪ Malik Monk

▪ Derek Willis

▪ As for UK football, Stephen Johnson says he won’t let tough day stick to him. Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader reports that the Kentucky quarterback, who struggled throwing the ball in the 17-10 win over Vanderbilt last week, promises to move on.

“I’ve had some games where things weren’t going my way,” Johnson said. “You always have to come back and you can’t let it sit around and, I don’t know the word, but you really can’t just sit on that one game. You have to move on. You have to progress and work on it in practice to get better.”

▪ I wrote on former UK wide receiver and offensive coordinator Neal Brown, who in his second year as a head coach has Troy off to a 4-1 start. Brown says building leaders has been the key.

“At Kentucky, Mark really emphasized that and Jason Cummins really played a role in that,” Brown said of UK’s head of impact leadership. “We’ve hired Horizon Performance, Jason Cummins’ company, here. He’s really helped us implement some leadership training.”

▪ UK baseball coach Nick Mingione talked to the media on Tuesday.

▪ The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that former UK baseball coach John Cohen will be the new athletics director at Mississippi State succeeding former UK associate athletics director Scott Stricklin, who left Starkville to take the AD job at Florida.

Mississippi State president Mark Keenum released a statement denying a decision had been made.

“I announced on Sept. 26 that a nationwide search was underway to choose Mississippi State University’s next Director of Athletics,” Keenum said. “In that announcement, I outlined the process we would observe in which we would engage an executive search firm to help guide the effort and that we would seek substantive input from MSU stakeholders during the search. We are following that plan.”

Cohen has been the head baseball coach at Mississippi State the past eight years, compiling a 284-203-1 record. He was the head coach at Kentucky from 2004 through 2008, posting a record of 175-112-1 with a SEC title in 2006.

▪ Quentin Snider scored 27 points in Louisville basketball’s Red-White Scrimmage on Wednesday. U of L’s athletics website reports that the White beat the Red 105-102.

“Quentin Snider led the White team with 27 points and three assists, which was good enough to lead all scorers for the game. The Red team’s top scorer was newcomer Tony Hicks with 26 points. The Red team’s Donovan Mitchell led both sides in assists with seven and added 22 points of his own. The White team’s Jaylen Johnson was the top rebounder in the game as he pulled down 20 boards and added 21 points.”

▪ Roy Williams has changed his opinion on Colin Kaepernick-inspired protests. Andrew Carter of the Charlotte Observer reports that at North Carolina’s basketball media day, Williams said he had softened his stance on the 49ers quarterback, who started a movement of players kneeling in protest to the national anthem.

“He wasn’t saying this was a bad country,” Williams said. “He said we’ve got not just one particular problem, but one particular problem he was taking a stance on, and I think he’s correct. So I told that to the team.”

▪ Nick Chubb is looking like himself again. Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph writes on the Georgia running back who tore his ACL last season but is rounding back into form this season. Chubb suffered a sprained ankle in 45-14 loss at Ole Miss but has steadily improved since.

“Chubb ran the ball 16 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns against the Gamecocks, which broke a streak of four games played without 100 on the ground,” writes Chubb.

“While he won’t say it, he’ll surely want to begin a new streak of games with 100 yards. Dating back to his first-ever start against Missouri in 2014, Chubb ran for 100 yards in 13 consecutive games. The Bulldogs are 12-3 in games the past three years when Chubb broke the 100-yard barrier.”

Kentucky plays host to Georgia on Nov. 5.

▪ As we approach Saturday’s Tennessee-Alabama game, Knoxville News-Sentinel columnist John Adams talks about how Bama coach Nick Saban handles the press.

▪ Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo lists his 25 most intriguing non-league college basketball games of the 2016-17 season. Kentucky makes five appearances on Jeff’s list.

“6. Kentucky vs. Michigan State, Nov. 15 (New York): Two of the nation’s most decorated freshman classes face off when the Spartans and Wildcats meet at the Champions Classic in New York. Michigan State is 3-2 in Champions Classic games so far and defeated Kentucky in 2013 in the previous meeting between the two programs.”

SEC football this weekend

Friday, Oct. 14

10:15 - Mississippi State at BYU (ESPN)

Saturday, Oct. 15

12:00 - Vanderbilt at Georgia (SEC)

3:30 - Alabama at Tennessee (CBS)

4:00 - Missouri at Florida (SEC)

7:00 - Ole Miss at Arkansas (ESPN)

7:30 - Southern Miss at LSU (SEC)

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