Sidelines with John Clay

A rough 24 hours for Kentucky fans, plus links

Kentucky's Diallo shows off shooting skills

UK freshman Hamidou Diallo made six straight jumpers during this stretch of the Wildcats' NCAA Tournament practice in Memphis on Thursday. He won't be playing Friday night, but he gave UK fans a small taste of what could be coming next season.
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UK freshman Hamidou Diallo made six straight jumpers during this stretch of the Wildcats' NCAA Tournament practice in Memphis on Thursday. He won't be playing Friday night, but he gave UK fans a small taste of what could be coming next season.

It was a rough 24 hours for Big Blue Nation, starting with Sunday night’s news that Hamidou Diallo, yet to play game for the men’s basketball team, will at least test the NBA draft waters.

That was followed by Monday morning’s report that Bam Adebayo will hire an agent, meaning the sophomore-to-be center will not be a sophomore at UK but will keep his name in the NBA draft.

Finally, on Monday afternoon, quarterback Jarren Williams, who had committed to UK, announced that he was re-opening his recruiting process. Not coincidentally, Williams just received an offer from Alabama. Kentucky football fans remember all too well that Mac Jones did the same exact thing last year, de-committing from UK after a Bama offer and ending up with the Crimson Tide.

As I wrote Monday, I think Diallo is doing a smart thing by going through the evaluation process. My guess remains that the 6-foot-5 guard from Brooklyn will not hire an agent and will return to UK for what would be his redshirt freshman season in 2017-18.

My Herald-Leader colleague Mark Story writes that if Diallo does move on to the NBA now, he would hardly be the first “none-and-done” player in Kentucky basketball history.

As for Adebayo, surely the Kentucky faithful hoped that the North Carolina native would return to school after his draft stock took a dive this season. Some mock drafts had Adebayo falling out of the first round. Either Adebayo is getting positive feedback or he just thinks he’s ready to make the jump.

As for Jarren Williams, well, when Alabama calls, ... UK coach Mark Stoops lost Madison Southern running back Damien Harris to the Tide. He lost Lafayette offensive tackle Jedrick Wills to the Tide. Itt’s hard enough keeping in-state recruits away from Nick Saban much less out of-state recruits.

Williams is from Lawrenceville, Ga., and was UK’s first football commitment for 2018. The good news is that along with senior Stephen Johnson, Stoops has junior Drew Barker, redshirt freshman Gunnar Hoak and true freshman Danny Clark at quarterback.

On to more positive news: UK baseball is now No. 5 in the College Baseball RPI and No. 10 in the latest Baseball America poll. The Cats, 12-6 in the conference, own a two-game lead over Florida in the SEC East after taking two of three from LSU over the weekend.

After hosting Xavier on Wednesday, Nick Mingione’s team travels to South Carolina (9-9) for a three-game set this weekend. The Gamecocks’ path toward a successful post-season run has changed, writes Matt Connolly of The State.

Now some links:

▪ UK held its Catspy Awards program Tuesday night at Memorial Coliseum. Jared Peck of the Herald-Leader has the details.

▪ Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated reports on Adebayo’s agent choice.

▪ Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde writes that John Calipari has a massive rebuilding job to do.

▪ WDRB’s Rick Bozich asks what was in it for Kentucky if Diallo leaves?

▪ Gary Parrish of CBS Sports says that Calipari will have his youngest team ever, and it will still be good.

▪ Meanwhile, Pittsburgh graduate transfer Cameron Johnson will visit UK on Wednesday, reports Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader.

▪ Joel Berry, Tony Bradley and Theo Pinson of North Carolina are all putting their names into the NBA Draft, reports Andrew Carter of the Charlotte Observer. None of the three have hired an agent, however.

▪ Meanwhile, Louisville forward Jaylen Johnson has hired an agent and will remain in the draft, reports the AP. Johnson averaged eight points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season for the Cards, who lost to Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

▪ Michael Porter Jr.’s younger brother Jontay could end up with his sibling and his father, an assistant coach, at Missouri, reports Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A 6-9 forward, Porter is ranked 23rd in the class of 2018.

▪ Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph has three takeaways from Georgia football’s spring practice.

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