Sidelines with John Clay

Arizona basketball challenging UK-Duke recruiting rivalry and more links

Kentucky baseball head coach Nick Mingione argues with the umpire during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA Regional at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky on Sunday June 4, 2017. Kentucky travels to Louisville to play the Cardinals in the NCAA Super Regional starting Friday, June 9, 2017.
Kentucky baseball head coach Nick Mingione argues with the umpire during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA Regional at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky on Sunday June 4, 2017. Kentucky travels to Louisville to play the Cardinals in the NCAA Super Regional starting Friday, June 9, 2017. Lexington Herald-Leader

Links for Thursday:

Kentucky baseball reaching the super regional fulfills dream of Keith Madison, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “This is going to be the best postseason matchup in college baseball in the history of the state of Kentucky,” said Madison, who plans to attend the UK-Louisville matchup. “I wish every baseball fan in the state could be there and see this because it’s going to be high drama.”

Is interest in UK baseball here to stay? asks Jon Hale of the Courier-Journal. “First-year Kentucky baseball coach Nick Mingione likes to tell the story of the 2006 NCAA Tournament regional at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Mingione, then an assistant, watched fans line up in temporary bleachers down the left-field line and he dreamed of what the program could become.”

Arizona isn’t too far behind the UK-Duke recruiting rivalry, says Matt Norlander of CBS Sports. “Here's the wrinkle. It seems like the rest of college basketball is playing for third in recruiting. In reality, it's fourth. Because Duke and Kentucky's recruiting prowess isn't a planet apart from every other program. When discussing national recruiting in college basketball, there are two dynamics in play: 1) Calipari vs. K, 2) Sean Miller coming to join them.”

Enes Kanter’s father reportedly released from Turkish custody, says AP. “Media reports say the father of NBA basketball player Enes Kanter has been released from police custody in Turkey, where he was detained as part of an investigation into alleged links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The private Dogan news agency said university professor Mehmet Kanter was released Wednesday after five days in custody on condition that he regularly report to a police station.”

Will fixing one-and-done work for the players? asks Jerry Brewer of the Washington Post. “There isn’t an issue in sports that activates paternalism, patronizing ideas and outright self-righteousness quite like the NBA age limit. Everyone has an opinion about what’s wrong. Everyone claims to want to protect the game and the players. Few will admit that most of the suggested solutions are flawed and fundamentally unfair to the very people they want to help.”

Fear of flying hasn’t grounded Donovan Mitchell’s ambitions, reports Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. “Donovan Mitchell is listed at 6-foot-3, but if you see him on an airplane he’d gladly give up some leg room for a cramped window seat. That’s because Mitchell does not like to fly and when he’s on a plane, he likes to be next to the window to see exactly what is going on outside. So if there’s a downside to the NBA draft for Mitchell, it’s getting to his pre-draft workouts.”

Jenni Carlson of the Oklahoman says Lincoln Riley is the right man to lead Oklahoma football. “Lincoln Riley looked down the long table, past the two men who are his current bosses and at the man who is suddenly his former boss. As the new head football coach at Oklahoma gave thanks to those who have given him the greatest opportunity of his career, he stopped short when he got to Bob Stoops.”

Mississippi State coach faces old team in super regional against LSU, writes Scott Rabalais of The Advocate. “Just another coach. That’s how LSU players say they’re going to think about former hitting coach Andy Cannizaro this week when he shows up for the Baton Rouge super regional in his tight-fitting maroon uniform.”

Tennessee names Arkansas assistant as baseball coach, reports Phil Kaplan of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Tony Vitello, an Arkansas assistant coach, has accepted the challenge of bringing Tennessee baseball back to SEC and national relevance. UT announced Wednesday that Vitello has accepted the job that Dave Serrano left last month after six failed tries at getting the Vols to the NCAA tournament.”

Missouri basketball’s returning players happy about transition, reports Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star. “Fans aren’t the only ones excited about Missouri men’s basketball’s offseason about-face. The Tigers’ faithful is understandably excited about former California coach Cuonzo Martin’s hiring and the recruits he’s brought in, starting with the consensus top 2017 prospect Michael Porter Jr.

Georgia will go hard after quarterback who de-committed from Penn State, reports Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph. “Georgia needed this kind of break when it came to recruiting the quarterback position. Ideally, the Bulldogs will land two quarterbacks in the recruiting class of 2018. For the longest time, however, it seemed Georgia would miss on one of the truly elite prospects.”

Kevin Durant takes over Game 3 of NBA Finals, reports Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Kevin Durant did not hesitate in the least. He did not wonder if it was his team or Stephen Curry’s team, Oakland’s team or San Francisco’s team. In that moment Wednesday night, with the outcome twisting in doubt and 20,562 fanatical Cavs fans growing more and more nervous with each dribble he took, the Warriors absolutely were Durant’s team.”

Kyrie Irving’s heroics can’t keep Cavaliers from a sweep, reports Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “The Cleveland Cavaliers had the Kyrie Irving from last year's NBA Finals, the one that not even Klay Thompson could contain for three quarters. It was the Irving Cleveland needed to keep up with the loaded Golden State Warriors, believing his scoring outbursts would have the same haymaker effect as last year.”

Game 5 is all that matters for Penguins and Predators, writes Joe Rexrode of the Tennessean. “The biggest mistake a fan could make right now, other than buying a counterfeit ticket for Sunday’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, is expecting Thursday’s Game 5 to be a continuation of the Predators’ momentum.”

Beating the Cardinals is becoming routine for the Reds, reports C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I don’t think we look at them as anything special, just like anybody else,” said Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, who is among the longest tenured players on the team. “We come in and we think, as a team, that if we play our game, we have a chance to win.”

Irish War Cry the morning line favorite for the Belmont, reports Alicia Wincze Hughes of the Blood-horse. “Three weeks ago trainer Graham Motion's plan for Irish War Cry was to have the son of Curlin ready for a summer campaign. On June 7, after some reflection on the part of his connections and some circumstance adversely impacting others, Isabelle de Tomaso's homebred colt was officially tagged as the sophomore with the biggest target on his back for the final leg of the Triple Crown.”

NCAA Baseball Super Regionals

Vanderbilt at Oregon State

Cal State-Fullerton at Long Beach State

Sam Houston State at Florida State

Mississippi State at LSU

Davidson at Texas A&M

Kentucky at Louisville

Missouri State at TCU

Wake Forest at Florida

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