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Big Blue Links: Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere invited to NBA Draft

NBA draft prospects Jaylen Brown, Skal Labissiere, Jamal Murray and Brandon Ingram talk before the start of the NBA basketball draft lottery, Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in New York. Labissiere and Murray have been invited to the NBA Draft on Thursday.
NBA draft prospects Jaylen Brown, Skal Labissiere, Jamal Murray and Brandon Ingram talk before the start of the NBA basketball draft lottery, Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in New York. Labissiere and Murray have been invited to the NBA Draft on Thursday. Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Sunday:

Mississippi State agrees to terms with Gary Henderson to be new pitching coach, reports Michael Bonner of the Clarion-Ledger. “A week that began with changes on John Cohen’s staff ended with a few more. Mississippi State announced it agreed to terms with former Kentucky coach Gary Henderson to become the program’s pitching coach on Saturday. It also announced the promotion of Will Coggin to assistant coach.”

Recent decommitments have turned up the heat on Kentucky football, says my column. “That (Craig Yeast’s) son would publicly de-commit from his father’s alma mater raised a red flag with regards to the Big Blue and offered continuing confirmation of an unavoidable truth: Mark Stoops needs to win games.

Tennessee football recruiting has a monster Saturday, reports Mike Griffith of SEC Country. “Tennessee has vaulted into the nation’s top 10 in the 2017 team recruiting rankings after Saturday’s impressive haul of prospects. Coach Butch Jones and the Vols held one of their so-called “Orange Carpet” recruiting events on Saturday, and eight prospects in attendance responded with verbal commitments. Seven of those prospects are in the 2017 class, which explains Tennessee’s jump from No. 22 to No. 7 in the 247Sports composite team rankings.”

It has been a busy month for one UK basketball recruit, reports Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “The past couple of weeks have been a patriotic whirlwind of basketball for Hamidou Diallo, one of the top high school recruits in the country. It started on June 2 — National Gun Violence Awareness Day — when Diallo and a handful of teammates from the New York Rens basketball club visited the White House to meet with staff and be recognized for their “Wear Orange” anti-gun violence campaign. “

UK played big role in Cleveland’s last pro sports championship, writes Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. “On Dec. 27, 1964, in the NFL championship game, the Jim Brown-led Cleveland Browns roared away from a scoreless halftime tie to beat Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts 27-0. Cleveland’s coach was Blanton Collier — then only three years removed from being let go by the University of Kentucky.”

What is the real cost of selling beer at college games? asks Josh Kendall of The State. “Some college athletics officials believe, or at least are making the argument, that having beer available in general admission areas at college sports events will cut down on binge drinking before game. (Beer has long been sold and/or available in premium seating areas at college athletics events, including at the University of South Carolina.) LSU athletics director Joe Alleva, the loudest voice in support of a change to the SEC bylaw which prevents alcohol sales in general seating areas, also admits that an added revenue stream is part of the equation.”

Ex-Cats say NBA Draft is a knockout experience, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “Former Kentucky star Rex Chapman’s NBA Draft experience included a heavyweight championship fight. The night before the 1988 draft, the league took Chapman and such likely picks that year as Danny Manning and Rik Smits to watch Mike Tyson fight Michael Spinks. “

Isaiah Briscoe believes John Calipari is trusting him more, writes Larry Vaught of Vaught’s Views. “Everyone has their own experience. So, mine is different from Tyler’s (Ulis). Tyler’s is different from Jamal’s (Murray), mine will be different form the freshman this year. So, everyone has their own experience with Cal,” Briscoe said.

Matt Insell optimistic despite challenges at Ole Miss, reports Parrish Alford of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal. “Between shots, he got a text message from a recruit asking him to explain the story she’d seen that said Ole Miss women’s basketball would receive a postseason ban. Insell immediately replied that the team had already served its postseason ban, self-imposed by the school for the 2012-13 season soon after the administration had learned of the academic fraud scandal involving staff members of former coach Adrian Wiggins.”

Bill Battle finds what he’s looking for in former UK assistant Greg Goff, reports Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News. “Greg Goff was the first candidate University of Alabama Director of Athletics Bill Battle interviewed for his vacant baseball head coaching position. Of the three finalists interviewed in person for the job — Goff, Tulane’s David Pierce and East Carolina’s Cliff Godwin — Goff, from Louisiana Tech, won out because of the qualities that stood out to Battle. Namely energy and passion.”

Rick Barnes’ faith changed his approach, reports Grant Ramey of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “I’ve made a lot of bad mistakes where I got so wrapped up in this, for all the wrong reasons,” Barnes told the News Sentinel in March. “I realize some people aren’t going to see it through my eyes. I’ve seen it through the eyes of being a selfish coach, being a coach who was prideful in this and that. But now I realize that there’s such a bigger picture for these young guys.”

Josh Forrest is moving up with the Rams, reports Lindsey Thiry of the Los Angeles Times. “Glance across the field and it’s easy to spot Los Angeles Rams rookie Josh Forrest among the linebackers. The 6-foot-3 Forrest, a sixth-round draft pick out of the University of Kentucky, peers over most of the other players at his position, but stands eye to eye with veteran Akeem Ayers.”

NBA Draft Invitees

Wade Baldwin, Vanderbilt

Dragan Bender, Maccabi Tel Aviv

Jaylen Brown, Cal

Marquese Chriss, Washington

Deyonta Davis, Michigan State

Kris Dunn, Providence

Henry Ellenson, Marquette

Buddy Hield, Oklahoma

Brandon Ingram, Duke

Skal Labissiere, Kentucky

Jamal Murray, Kentucky

Jakob Poeltl, Utah

Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga

Ben Simmons, LSU

Source: Yahoo

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