Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky football news, basketball recruits; more Big Blue Links

Trevor Terry of Long Beach catches a touchdown pass in the Southern Miss spring game Saturday in Hattiesburg. Kentucky plays at Southern Miss in the 2017 season opener.
Trevor Terry of Long Beach catches a touchdown pass in the Southern Miss spring game Saturday in Hattiesburg. Kentucky plays at Southern Miss in the 2017 season opener. McClatchy/Biloxi Sun-Herald

Big Blue Links for Sunday:

Southern Miss, Kentucky’s opening opponent in 2017, held its spring game on Saturday, reports Patrick Magee of the Biloxi Sun Herald. “The Southern Miss spring came to a close with no clear No. 1 at quarterback, but redshirt junior Kwadra Griggs may have a slight leg up on sophomore Keon Howard if Saturday’s spring game is any indication. “

Kevin Knox’s father breaks down recruiting pitches, reports Alec Lewis for the Kansas City Star. “Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton and Kentucky’s John Calipari visited Tuesday, while North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Missouri’s Cuonzo Martin and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski spent time with the family Wednesday. “

Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford live up to the hype, reports Eric Bossi of Rivals. “Adidas put its best foot forward on the first night of April’s two evaluation periods matching up 2018’s No. 2 player Zion Williamson of SC Supreme with the No. 3 player in the class Romeo Langford of Twenty Two Vision. The duo didn’t disappoint a crowd that lined up outside of the Game On Sports venue an hour and a half before tip-off.”

Naz Reid is impressing basketball coaches, writes Adam Zagoria. “At 6 feet, 10 inches and with a chiseled frame, Naz Reid looks the part of a future professional basketball player. The Sports U and Roselle Catholic big man has lived up to his potential in the first live period of April, with Division 1 coaches raving about his basketball IQ and diverse skillset while playing at Basketball City on the Under Armor Association circuit.”

UK basketball is two decisions away from an unbelievable front line, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “Chad Ford, ESPN’s analyst of NBA drafts, can envision next season’s Kentucky team featuring a big man tandem of Bam Adebayo and Mohamed Bamba.”

Competition for football recruits in Kentucky about to turn red-hot, reports Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. “This moment in history is likely to become the best time ever to be an aspiring major-college football player in Kentucky. Simultaneously, the next few years could become an unusually challenging time to be an in-state recruiter for the commonwealth’s three Football Bowl Subdivision schools — Kentucky, Louisville and, especially, Western Kentucky. “

Kentucky baseball plays LSU on Sunday after Friday’s split, reports Josh Sullivan of the Herald-Leader. “Powered by career days at the plate from a pair of Cats, the No. 10 Kentucky baseball team knocked off No. 8 LSU 12-5 on Friday in the first game of a doubleheader at Cliff Hagan Stadium. “

The CATSPY Awards are Monday night, reports Guy Ramsey of UK Athletics. “The 15th annual CATSPY Awards, celebrating the 2016-17 athletics year at the University of Kentucky, will be held Monday, April 24 in Memorial Coliseum. The awards ceremony begins at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited.”

Andrew Harrison’s block helps Memphis win, reports Chris Fisher of 247Sports. “Former Wildcat and Memphis Grizzlies guard Andrew Harrison only scored seven points but made one of the biggest plays of the game Sunday night in the Western Conference Playoffs. With San Antonio leading by two in overtime, Harrison chased down Patty Mills from behind and pinned his shot to the glass, leading to the game-tying basket by Marc Gasol at the other end.”

Dominique Hawkins visits students in hometown, reports Keith Taylor of KyForward. “Dominique Hawkins returned to his hometown Friday. The University of Kentucky senior guard and Madison Central graduate visited four Madison County schools — Kit Carson, Kingston, Daniel Boone and Madison Middle — as part of the #KyBoysTour along with classmate Derek Willis.”

Shocky Jacques-Louis says he bonded with UK, reports Corey Bender of Scout. “Shocky Jacques-Louis labeled Kentucky as the leader when speaking with Scout roughly two weeks ago, and is now officially a part of their recruiting class after dishing out his commitment on Friday.”

Everything is at stake for Louisville basketball with the NCAA, writes Rick Bozich of WDRB. “Daniel Tosh is a comedian revered because he’ll say anything for a laugh. What he said during his show at the KFC Yum! Center Wednesday night was exactly what you’d expect a world-class wise guy to say. Wearing a University of Louisville basketball jersey on stage, Tosh thanked everybody for their hospitality – especially the hookers waiting backstage.”

The NCAA is choosing pragmatism over principle, writes Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal. “Mark Emmert is reluctant to make a stand while the ground keeps shifting beneath his feet. The NCAA president said Thursday that North Carolina had done “the absolute minimum” to regain the right to stage championships in revising its controversial “bathroom bill” known as HB2, but Emmert showed little appetite for a sustained battle over similar laws he regards as discriminatory.”

Mariya Moore is transferring from Louisville’s women basketball, reports Danielle Lerner of the Courier-Journal. “Louisville junior forward Mariya Moore will transfer from the program, coach Jeff Walz confirmed to the Courier-Journal on Saturday.”

Former Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd is headed to Baylor, reports Kevin Ryan of 247Sports. “Hurd was on pace to become the Vols’ all-time leading rusher last season before he quit the team in the middle of the 2016 season. He is not a graduate transfer, so Hurd will have to sit out the 2017 season and will be eligible to play for the Bears in 2018. He will have just one year of eligibility at Baylor.”

Alabama threw the ball around during its A-Day spring game, reports Michael Casagrande of the Birmingham News. “Both Tua Tagovailoa and returning starter Jalen Hurts threw for more than 300 yards on a pass-happy A-Day. Just as Hurts announced his Alabama arrival a year ago in this game, Tagovailoa had a fast start in the spring game.”

Alabama is loaded with talent but not elite yet, writes Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News. “The University of Alabama football program has accomplished so much in a decade under Nick Saban that the Crimson Tide head coach sometimes encounters a frustrating problem.”

Tua Tagovailoa has skills, says Duane Rankin of the Montgomery Advertiser. “Jalen Hurts’ status as Alabama’s starting quarterback didn’t change after Saturday’s A-Day game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Tua Tagovailoa just made the competition worth discussing with the way he performed.”

Rhiannon Potkey of the Knoxville News-Sentinel has five observations from Tennessee’s Orange and White Game. “The phones began screeching with the alert in the middle of Quinten Dormady’s news conference. A flash flood warning had been issued for the area, but the Tennessee junior quarterback wasn’t flustered by the outside noise. He kept right on answering the questions being tossed his way much like he’s handled the quarterback competition this spring.”

Tennessee’s quarterback competition answer is here, writes Joe Rexrode of the Tennessean. “I went to Tennessee’s spring football game Saturday, and I know what Butch Jones is going to do at quarterback next season.”

Tennessee must win four quarters, not two, says Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “The second half got rained out. That might have been the best ending possible for Tennessee’s Orange and White football game at Neyland Stadium Saturday afternoon. Especially for the scoreboard operator, given that the halftime total under coach Butch Jones’ Modified Neyland Scoring System was already 44-29 in favor of the White.”

Kirby Smart was pleased with Georgia coming out of spring football, reports Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph. “It didn’t seem like much for Jake Fromm, even if the game situation was quite serious. Facing a fourth-and-12 with less than two minutes to go in the annual G-Day spring game, Fromm looked at his primary read and launched a pass down the right sideline. “

A Georgia football signee was arrested late Saturday in Athens, reports Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald. “D’Antne Demery, an offensive lineman from Brunswick High School, was being held still after 6 a.m. in the Clarke County Jail, according to the jail’s online booking report. “No bail family violence,” was listed under a section labeled bond remarks. The arresting agency is listed as Athens-Clarke County police.”

Georgia Tech, which beat Kentucky in the TaxSlayer Bowl, held its spring game on Saturday, reports Ken Sugiura of the AJC. “No one appeared to suffer serious injury and the evening was pleasant. For those reasons, Georgia Tech’s spring game Friday night went into the books as a success.”

LSU safety Grant Delpit could be a rising star, reports Ross Dellenger of The Advocate. “Four months ago, Grant Delpit was in high school. On Saturday night, he started at safety in LSU’s spring game.”

LSU quarterback Danny Etling has taken a step back, says Glenn Guilbeau of the Shreveport Times. “One thing was perfectly clear after the game. Danny Etling is not as strong a No. 1 quarterback as he was before the game as he struggled to a 4-for-11 night for 53 yards and an interception.”

LSU’s defense sent a message, writes Ron Higgins of “You could see it on defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s face before the start of LSU’s mobile spring game that changed locales after the first half because of inclement weather. Aranda was not smiling.”

South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium as a red velvet wedding cake, via The State.

What Garrison Brooks commitment means to North Carolina, from Andrew Carter of the Charlotte Observer. “North Carolina’s frontcourt situation remains in flux while Tony Bradley continues to weigh whether he’ll enter the NBA draft, but the Tar Heels added some depth – and some size – on Friday night when they secured a commitment from Garrison Brooks, a 6-10, 230-pound power forward from Auburn, Ala. “

Missouri basketball is after a transfer guard, reports Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “As Cuonzo Martin’s Missouri basketball staff waits on top recruiting targets Kevin Knox II and Jeremiah Tilmon, a new name has emerged as a backcourt option for the Tigers. Canisius College guard Kassius Robertson plans to take a recruiting visit to Mizzou next weekend, and other national outlets reported. The 6-3 Robertson plans to visit Missouri and Georgia Tech.”

Mississippi State’s catcher was arrested on a DUI charge, reports Will Sammon of the Clarion-Ledger. “Mississippi State catcher Elih Marrero was arrested Saturday on charges of driving under the influence and no insurance, according to the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office.”

New records show North Carolina was billed by football players’ lawyers, reports Dan Kane of the Raleigh News and Observer. “Newly released records show three attorneys billed UNC-Chapel Hill for representing football players the SBI had sought to interview as part of a criminal investigation into what turned out to be hundreds of bogus classes and independent studies. “

Aaron Hernandez was the seedy underbelly and Tim Tebow the smiling face of Urban Meyer’s time at Florida, writes Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel. “One of Aaron Hernandez’s first official acts as a freshman football player for the Florida Gators was to sucker punch an employee at a Gainesville bar so hard that he ruptured the poor guy’s ear drum.”

Albert, the Florida Gators mascot, saves child from baseball beaning, writes Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald. “In the midst of a low-scoring midweek baseball game, the University of Florida’s mascot made the highlight reel when he saved a young fan from a foul ball. “

The Tim Tebow experiment is working, kind of, writes Derrek Asberry of the Charleston Post and Courier. “At first glance, Tebow’s .208 batting average and double-digit strikeouts are lackluster to say the least. But his two homers were the most on the team going into the weekend, and his nine RBI are the third most.”

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