Sidelines with John Clay

Damien Harris doesn’t like UK fan comparing him to Kevin Durant, and more Big Blue Links

Madison Southern star Damien Harris tries on an Alabama hat after committing to the Crimson Tide on Jan. 9, 2015.
Madison Southern star Damien Harris tries on an Alabama hat after committing to the Crimson Tide on Jan. 9, 2015. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

Damien Harris fires back at UK fan who compares him to Kevin Durant. SEC Country reports that the Alabama sophomore running back and former Madison Southern star tweeted criticism of Durant after the NBA star announced he would sign with the Golden State Warriors. A UK fan knocked Harris, who fired back on Twitter.

Trey Lyles plays well in Summer League. Jody Genessy of the Desert News reports, “From the beginning of the Utah Jazz’s first summer league game, Trey Lyles looked like he’d been there, done that. Lyles got in a shooting groove early on and led the summer Jazz in scoring and rebounding in the team’s opener at Vivint Arena. While most of his teammates struggled to find a comfort level in a 90-69 loss to the Spurs, it showed that the big man had logged a good chunk of NBA time as a rookie.”

Joel Justus is temporarily replacing UK assistant. The Kentucky staff member has been filling in since John Robic’s father passed away in April. University spokesman confirmed that the setup is only temporary and that there is a timetable for Robic to return.

Georgia running back Sony Michel broke his forearm. Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph reports, “Georgia now has another running back dealing with a significant injury. Sony Michel sustained a broken left forearm Sunday and underwent successful surgery Monday, the program announced. Michel is expected to make a full recovery. Georgia stated the injury occurred during an accident. His surgery took place at Athens Regional Medical Center to repair what the program called a fracture.”

Clemson’s recruiting ability should worry SEC coaches. Dave Hooker of Gridiron Now writes, “Clemson doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, giving all the SEC schools – not just South Carolina – another recruiting rival. The Tigers reminded the SEC of that when it landed the state of Tennessee’s top prospect, wide receiver Tee Higgins from Oak Ridge (Tenn.) High. At one time, Higgins seemed bound for Tennessee, whose campus is about a 30-minute drive from his hometown. Now he’s planning on donning another shade of orange.”

Stefan Moody signs to play overseas. Daniel Pauling of the Clarion-Ledger reports, “Former Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody will continue his basketball career with Trabzonspor of the Turkish Super League, the school announced. Moody averaged 23.6 points and 34.6 minutes last season, shooting 40.9 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from 3-point range. Despite playing just two seasons, he ranks third in program history in free-throw shooting percentage (85.7 percent), sixth in career scoring average (19.9 points) and 3-pointers made (181) and 19th in career points (1,294).”

Five-star wide receiver snubs Tennessee for Clemson. Chris Thomas of the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports, “Five-star wide receiver Tee Higgins delivered some early fireworks on Monday when the rising senior from Oak Ridge High School committed to Clemson over previously announced leader Tennessee. Higgins, a one-time Vols commitment, announced his decision in a Bleacher Report video posted on his Twitter account. The video began with Higgins at a cookout with friends and family and ended with Clemson-colored orange and purple fireworks in the sky.”

Alabama quarterback is engaged to a pro surfer. Kelly Poe of reports, “Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett is engaged to professional surfer Maddie Peterson, the couple shared on social media Monday. Barnett, a former five-star recruit and redshirt quarterback from Corona, California, captioned a photo of the couple with ‘Ready for life with the soon to be Mrs.’”

Kevin Durant faced a difficult decision and made the right one, says Jerry Brewer of the Washington Post. “For so long, Durant has accepted the ridiculous burden of stardom in American professional sports, acting the so-called right way and saying the so-called right things, following the vanilla manual step by step in order to be liked and to stave off controversy. He tucked away any complexity to his personality, offering only hints that he isn’t some long-limbed choir boy during a few moments of frustration. He was the perfect small-market franchise player — the humble, anti-LeBron James, some dubbed him breathlessly — and now there’s this: On Independence Day, one of the most sought-after free agents in NBA history just expressed how free he really is.”

Willie Cauley-Stein out to show there’s more to his game. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes, “Under new coach Dave Joerger, Cauley-Stein will get a chance to show the diversity of his game with the Kings’ summer league team, which opens Friday against the Toronto Raptors in Las Vegas. The Kings began two-a-day minicamp practices for summer league Monday at their practice facility.”

Aaron Harrison welcomes new role, higher expectations. He told The Hive, “My frustration is that it's not anybody else's fault but mine," Harrison told At The Hive. "I'm not supposed to show this much frustration. I've been working on that a lot. I think I'm more upset with myself than my teammates.”

The Warriors are shooting for the stars. Zach Lowe of ESPN writes, “Shooting and age. They make this monstrous new superteam, this juggernaut that just decapitated its biggest long-term threat in the West, unlike any that came before. Shooting makes every fit easier, because great shooters do damage even when they don't have the ball. This isn't the 2011 Miami Heat, with two ball-dominant wings who couldn't spread the floor when the other guy took his turn.”

Durant made his announcement in the Players’ Tribune.

Dark cloud hangs over the Thunder. Chris Mannix of Yahoo writes, “Sam Presti faced reporters on Monday, and for a man who just had his title-contending team fall apart like a Jenga tower, the Thunder general manager was remarkably cool. He praised Kevin Durant – the now ex-Oklahoma City superstar who will be taking his talents to Oakland in the fall – and thanked him for his years of service. He reminded the room of the presence of Russell Westbrook and rattled off the names of the collection of young players there to support him. The Thunder would not be reactionary, Presti said, but they would move on.”

Louisville 2016 football schedule

Sept. 1 Charlotte

Sept. 9 @Syracuse

Sept. 17 Florida State

Sept. 24 @Marshall

Sept. 31 @Clemson

Oct. 14 Duke

Oct. 22 North Carolina State

Oct. 29 @Virginia

Nov. 5 @Boston College

Nov. 12 Wake Forest

Nov. 17 @Houston

Nov. 26 Kentucky

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