Sidelines with John Clay

Links: More on Kentucky and NBA Draft; Ole Miss sweeps UK baseball

Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis works out at the NBA Draft Combine this past week in Chicago
Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis works out at the NBA Draft Combine this past week in Chicago Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Sunday:

Jamal Murray No. 6 on this list of Top 30 NBA Draft prospects, from Scott Howard-Cooper of “The latest installment of the recent Canadian influx into the NBA is the 2016 version of D’Angelo Russell, lacking great athleticism while projecting as a versatile guard with good size and natural instincts as a passer but also the scoring ability to play off the ball. Murray is more shooting guard than point guard, though.”

Ole Miss sweeps UK baseball, reports Daniel Pauling of the Clarion-Ledger. “Catcher Henri Lartigue does the same thing every time he comes to the plate: check the signals from his coaches, stare at his bat, take a deep breath and look at the left-field foul pole for a moment before settling in. The routine reminds him it’s just one more at-bat.”

John Calipari-Mike Krzyzewski have a rivalry going, says my column. “It popped up again this past week. Duke vs. Kentucky. Or is it Kentucky vs. Duke? Doesn’t matter, although specifically the college basketball rivalry has morphed into the coaches as combatants. That being the case, John Calipari is not one to let sleeping dogs lie. Marques Bolden, are you listening? “

The 2016 season could be pivotal for Mark Stoops, Bobby Petrino and Jeff Brohm, writes Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. “If your college football enjoyment is spiced by seeing head coaches challenged, the 2016 season in Kentucky should provide rewarding drama. All three of the commonwealth’s FBS head men — Kentucky’s Mark Stoops, Louisville’s Bobby Petrino and Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm — enter 2016 facing different yet potentially defining challenges. “

Eddie Gran is head coaching material, writes Randy Capps of Saturday Down South. “Gran was directing high powered offenses at Cincinnati for the past few seasons before taking the offensive coordinator job in Lexington. He’s also coached running backs at three other SEC schools (Ole Miss, Auburn and Tennessee). Gran was already garnering attention for jobs at some smaller schools, and if he can help Kentucky reach the postseason this season, it will only help his chances of getting a top job somewhere down the line.”

Brandon Ingram is ahead of Ben Simmons in The Vertical’s Mock Draft, reports Jonathon Givony. “Philadelphia will look long and hard here at Ingram and Ben Simmons to determine who the best long-term prospect in this draft class might be. Ingram is clearly the better fit in terms of what the team needs on the wing. He’s also a better fit alongside last year’s No. 3 pick Jahlil Okafor, who desperately needs shooters around him, and Dario Saric, who is somewhat of a European version of Simmons.”

UK women finish third in SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, reports UKAA. “The Kentucky women’s team finished third behind Arkansas and Texas A&M at the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships for the second year in a row on Saturday at Alabama’s Sam Bailey Stadium. Arkansas won with 126.75 points. Texas A&M edged Kentucky 82-80 for second place. Tennessee was fourth with 76 points, and LSU was fifth with 75. In 2015 Kentucky earned 99 points, its best finish since 1982 (third) when eight teams were in the league. UK’s best SEC outdoor finish was second place in 1981, the first year the meet was held.”

Exhibition at UK serves as salve for Asbury’s wounded souls, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “For Asbury Coach Will Shouse and his family, the exhibition game at Kentucky next fall serves two seemingly contradictory purposes. It’s a dream come true for Shouse, who is a lifelong UK fan. And it’s a much needed and much appreciated respite from heartache. Shouse and his wife, Whitney, adopted a baby boy, Ray Hudson. He died on Dec. 10, having lived four months and two days. “

Marcus Lee is realistic but hopeful, reports Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal. “I definitely understand the (NBA Development League) may be an option, and that’s a normal step for a lot of people,” Lee said Friday at the pre-draft scouting combine in Chicago. “Our Harrison twins started in the D-League, and now they’re doing well in the NBA. Dakari (Johnson) is thriving in the D-League, and he’ll come up soon, too. So I see it as another step, and it’s totally fine and normal.”

Can Skal Labissiere save his lottery spot? asks Rick Bozich of WDRB. “Skal Labissiere will be asked The Question hundreds of ways from today until the NBA Draft on June 23. This is the most direct version: How does Labissiere’s 6.6-point scoring average and 3.1 rebounding average translate into a guaranteed million-dollar contract and spot in the first round.”

Kansas lands big-man transfer, reports Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star. “Evan Maxwell, a 6-foot-10 center who played last season at Liberty University, will be transferring to Kansas next season, according to Maxwell, who visited KU earlier this week, averaged 10 points and 4.8 rebounds as a sophomore last season. He also was considering Baylor, Virginia Tech and Cincinnati. “

Transfers turning into NCAA free agent market, writes Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald. “More than 700 players are transferring this spring from the 351 Division I men’s programs around the country. That’s an average of two per team. Roughly 40 percent of them are switching schools in their first two years. Seventy-five of them have graduated and are changing schools for their final year of eligibility, a growing movement that has decimated some mid-major rosters. “

Tyler Ulis points to Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas as inspiration, reports Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. “Kentucky point guard Tyler Ulis officially measured in at 5 feet 8¾ inches at the NBA Combine, a height that generally not associated with being a first-round draft pick. But Ulis has gained some hope watching Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, who made his first All-Star team this season at 5-9.”

Auburn paying new defensive coordinator $1.1 million per year, reports Michael Niziolke of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. “Auburn released contract details for its five new assistant coaches Friday afternoon. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele received a slight bump in pay jumping from LSU to the program’s SEC West rival. Steele’s will earn $1.1 million per year in his new three-year deal with Auburn. The contract has a base salary of $250,000 with the defensive assistant earning $425,000 for personal endorsements and $425,000 for media appearances. “

Butch Jones thinks Jalen Hurd is a Heisman candidate, reports Mike Organ of the Tennessean. “Hurd for the Heisman. It has a nice ring to it if you’re Butch Jones. Jones, in Franklin this past week with the Big Orange Caravan, pumped up former Beech running back Jalen Hurd in what sounded a lot like the early stages of a Heisman Trophy campaign.”

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