Sidelines with John Clay

Links: Isaiah Briscoe’s NBA chances; LaVar Ball being LaVar Ball

A tearful Isaiah Briscoe pleads with photographers to stop taking his photo after Kentucky’s loss to North Carolina 75-73 in the South Regional final on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at FedExForum in Memphis.
A tearful Isaiah Briscoe pleads with photographers to stop taking his photo after Kentucky’s loss to North Carolina 75-73 in the South Regional final on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at FedExForum in Memphis. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Friday:

ESPN draft analyst says Isaiah Briscoe is better but not ready for NBA, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “It’s an uphill battle for him,” Chad Ford said of Briscoe’s draft profile. “I actually think he’d be much better off staying at Kentucky. Not necessarily because he’ll improve his draft stock, but because he’ll have a chance to come back and win a national championship, and get a great college degree, and play two years of really high-level basketball under John Calipari.”

The 2017-18 season will be seen as the return of the Big Man, reports C.L. Brown of “Enough of this small-ball stuff. The depth of talented bigs in the Class of 2017 might lead teams to revert to a time when scoring in the post mattered and offensive strategies focused on working from the inside out. Starting with Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton, who is ranked No. 2 in the ESPN 100, and Duke’s Wendell Carter (No. 3), high-percentage shots will be back in fashion next season. Centers Mohamed Bamba (No. 5) and Brandon McCoy (No. 6), both still undecided, are about to make some team’s signing class special.”

Duke’s Luke Kennard rises all the way to the NBA, reports Jessika Morgan of the Raleigh News and Observer. “At one point during Luke Kennard’s freshman season at Duke, coach Mike Krzyzewski said the 6-6, 202-pound guard needed to do better. But after working tirelessly in the offseason, Kennard still hadn’t secured a starting spot in a 2016-17 lineup highlighted by five-star freshmen, one of the top recruiting classes in the nation. He wouldn’t remain in the background for long. Because Kennard rose. “

LaVar Ball blames “white guys” for UCLA’s NCAA Tournament exit, reports Clay Fowler of the Orange County Register. “Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow,” LaVar Ball said. “I told Lonzo - ‘One of these games you might need to go for 30 or 40 points.’ It turned out the that was the one game. Then once they get to the Elite 8, they’re right there.”

Seven Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana and Western Kentucky recruits to play in Derby Classic, reports Rick Bozich of WDRB. “The Kentucky recruit is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a 6-5 guard from Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Tenn. The Indiana recruit is Justin Smith, a 6-7 forward from Stevenson High School in suburban Chicago. Smith is expected to meet with new Indiana coach Archie Miller Thursday night to discuss his future with the Hoosiers. Smith signed with IU when Tom Crean was the Hoosiers’ coach. He has not requested a release from his letter of intent.”

Rough seas of smooth sailing for Alabama basketball? asks Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News. “There is no smooth sailing when it comes to managing a college basketball roster these days. Avery Johnson knows that, and knew it before this weekend. His University of Alabama men’s basketball team didn’t capsize with the news of a third transfer, shooting guard Ar’Mond Davis. There was just a little choppiness on the seas and, like any good admiral, the Little General will have to set a course around it.”

Can Tennessee win big with a freshman quarterback? asks Mike Strange of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Let’s say Jarrett Guarantano starts a couple games in 2017. Heck, just for kicks, let’s say he starts all of them.There are a couple of historical notes that might be instructive. Tennessee’s history with freshman quarterbacks has been sparse. Starting a freshman at the game’s most crucial position isn’t ideal and almost always involves taking some lumps.”

It’s a whole new world for Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason, reports Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph. “It’s night and day for Jacob Eason. A year ago at this time, Eason was slowly adjusting to a college offense. He admitted to having issues with the simplest things, such as remembering which direction to turn on a given handoff. But after winning the starting job and starting 12 of Georgia’s 13 games, Eason said a lot has changed in his game for the better.”

Tim Tebow homers in his Columbia debut, reports Lou Bezjak of The State. “Tim Tebow knows how to make a debut. The former Heisman Trophy winner hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat for the Columbia Fireflies on Thursday in a 14-7 win against the Augusta GreenJackets at Spirit Communications Park.”

LSU’s Jamal Adams, son of former UK star George Adams, wants to make NFL history, reports Trey Labat of the Shreveport Times. “Sean Taylor, Eric Berry, Kenny Easley, Eric Turner and Bennie Blades. Those are the only safeties in the last 40 years of the NFL to be drafted in the first five overall picks. After Wednesday, they might have some company. Former LSU safety Jamal Adams solidified his status as one of the premier players in this year’s draft class at LSU’s Pro Day, blazing a 4.33 40-yard dash that all but confirms he will be one of the first five names called in Philadelphia later this month.”

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