Sidelines with John Clay

Trey Lyles, James Young are summer stars, plus more Big Blue Links

James Young of the Boston Celtics defends Trey Lyles of the Utah Jazz in an NBA Summer League game in Salt Lake City on July 5, 2016. Both Young and Lyles played at the University of Kentucky.
James Young of the Boston Celtics defends Trey Lyles of the Utah Jazz in an NBA Summer League game in Salt Lake City on July 5, 2016. Both Young and Lyles played at the University of Kentucky. Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Wednesday:

Trey Lyles and James Young star in Utah Summer League. Hunter Kim of the Salt Lake Tribune reports that Lyles, the former Kentucky forward, scored 26 points in a losing cause and Young, starter on the 2014 national runner-up team, scored 17 in a winning one as Boston beat Utah 89-82.

Calipari compares Tai Wynyard to Steven Adams. Ben Stanley of The Spinoff reports, “Speaking exclusively to The Spinoff on the eve of the NBA Draft late last month, Calipari preached patience and perspective on Wynyard’s talents. However, the college super-coach admitted that he had seen enough in the young centre to remind him of New Zealand’s finest-ever basketball export, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Steven Adams.”

New 2018 rankings has UK prospects high. Ben Roberts reports in Next Cats, “Three of UK’s top basketball targets in the class of 2018 are now ranked 1-2-3 in the recruiting rankings. Scout made some changes to its 2018 rankings Tuesday morning, with West Coast forward Marvin Bagley staying in the No. 1 spot, followed by Indiana shooting guard Romeo Langford, who moved up one spot to No. 2 overall, and Pennsylvania wing Cameron Reddish, who moved up three spots to No. 3 overall.”

Rick Pitino says Louisville loaded with caring personalities. From his blog, “Every year I’ve been in this business, I find something different and unusual. The past two years have been quite unique, almost surreal. How so? In this day and age of over-recognition of one’s self, it’s so refreshing to witness the behavior of this current group of Cardinals. Damion and Trey were good leaders of how caring teammates act.”

Biggest storylines for college hoops recruiting’s biggest month. Jeff Borzello of ESPN reports, “Who is at the top of Duke and Kentucky’s boards? The recruiting pecking order over the last three years has been Duke and Kentucky, and then everyone else several levels below. That doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon, and Krzyzewski and Calipari both enter the 2017 recruiting cycle needing potentially big classes to replace what is likely going to be a long list of early entries in the NBA draft. Duke has been working on three players longer than most: Carter, Bamba and No. 1 shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. (No. 9).”

Tyler Ulis getting paid like a first-round pick. The H-L reports, “A report by Paul Coro in the Arizona Republic says the Phoenix Suns will sign Ulis to a contract that will look much like that of a late first-round pick. The report said Ulis will receive about $1 million per year for two years, with both years guaranteed. Ulis was selected by Phoenix with the 34th pick in the June 23 draft — the fourth pick of the second round. “

Big things on horizon for WKU hoops, says Chad Bishop of WBKO in Bowling Green. “What in the world just happened? (that’s the censored version of that question) The Western Kentucky basketball world was turned upside down Wednesday when a young man by the name of Mitchell Robinson made it known that his intention is to become a Hilltopper in 2017. This was not your run-of-the-mill, ho-hum commitment. This was much bigger.”

Mark Stoops on hot seat rankings, according to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. “The school has improved the facilities. Damn, Stoops’ boss, Mitch Barnhart, was even AD of the year in 2015. Now it’s time for the football coach to step up in his fourth season. Kentucky is coming off consecutive 5-7 seasons, and the Wildcats are 12-24 under Stoops.”

Kyle Shurmur named starting quarterback at Vanderbilt. Adam Sparks of the Tennessean reports that Vandy coach Derek Mason said, “I want to just say this: We have a clear-cut one and a clear-cut two. Kyle Shurmur is my clear-cut starter.”

Duke broadcaster Bob Harris to retire. Ben Pope of the Raleigh News and Observer reports, “Bob Harris, the play-by-play radio announcer of Duke football and men’s basketball since 1976, will retire following the 2016-17 basketball season, the university announced Tuesday. Harris enters the coming school year having called 459 consecutive Duke football games, the last 35 years alongside analyst Wes Chesson.”

Billy Donovan could be in play by 2017. Rick Bozich of WDRB writes, “The Thunder without Durant and Westbrook aren’t the Thunder that Donovan left Florida to coach. They’re the Bucks or the Nuggets. The only time a job like that is better than a five-star college basketball job is payday. It’s silly to think Oklahoma City can stuff its roster with two of the 10 best players in the league again. “

My column on Kevin Durant to the Warriors. “I don’t blame Kevin Durant for what he did on July 4, announcing his independence from Oklahoma City and signing on with the mighty Warriors, the 2015 NBA champs who lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games this year. Durant is entitled to do and go where he wants. That’s the way the system works. Durant is taking advantage of a system that once was stacked heavily in the owners’ favor. More power to KD. I’m still rooting against the Warriors. “

Kevin Durant a cop-out, says Michael Rosenberg of “It’s true that Kevin Durant can do whatever he wants with his career and his life. But this is also true: We don’t have to care, or even watch. As long as we do, we’re entitled to opinions about what he does, and I think his move to the Golden State Warriors stinks. It is a competitive cop-out, worse than saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” because Durant could have beaten the Warriors, and he joined ’em anyway. “

Even with Kevin Durant, the Warriors probably won’t win 73 games, says “FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO player projections expect Durant’s play to fall off just the slightest bit — it’s actually dropped his “category” from “MVP Candidate” to “All-Star.” At age 28 next season, Durant will be at the age where some players begin a gradual decline, and CARMELO is still worried about his 2014-15 campaign, when he missed most of the season because of injury.”

What could go wrong with Durant and the Warriors? Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports World writes, “This is the danger for the superteams. They are expected to win big and easy. This is especially true of these Warriors because this whole thing SEEMS like it should work. Durant is going to Golden State because he wants to win. The Warriors’ stars recruited Durant and seem eager to give up their own spotlights for him. There’s a whole lot of talk about strength in numbers and unselfishness and so … IT SHOULD WORK. “

Jerry West is helping create a Warriors dynasty. Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times writes, “The horrified reaction from Southland basketball fans to Monday’s announcement that Kevin Durant was joining the Golden State Warriors was not about his destination, but his transportation. He was supposedly talked into it by Jerry West? Are you kidding me? “

Georgia gets first 5-star commit for 2017. Jason Butt of Macon Telegraph reports, “Tuesday morning, five-star defensive end/outside linebacker Robert Beal announced that he has committed to play football at Georgia. Beal’s decision came with an entertaining video, published courtesy of the website Bleacher Report. Beal is regarded as the nation’s No. 2 weakside defensive end, according to, and is ranked 30th overall. “

South Carolina in the mix for Naji Marshall, reports The State. “He told me he liked South Carolina a lot,” said Marshall’s coach Brendan O’Connell. “He’s been to about six schools and he’s got four of five he likes. He enjoyed Pitt a lot, liked Xavier a lot, and Maryland has always been a school he’s liked a lot. I don’t know how he did it but he hit Pitt and South Carolina on the same day. All he said was he liked it a lot. We have the relationship with Bruce (Shingler). I don’t know the head coach.”

Adam Duvall is the Louisville Power Hitter, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “More than 70 major leaguers have been born in Louisville, Ky., the home of the bat company synonymous with slugging. The two players with the most career home runs are Jay Buhner and Dan Uggla, but Buhner went to high school in Texas and Uggla in Tennessee. Neither was known as the Louisville Slugger. Adam Duvall, the power-hitting left fielder for the Cincinnati Reds, could carry the title well. Alas, legal issues spoil all the fun.”

Morehead’s Stacy Silver on and off the court. Mark Maloney reports, “If there is one word to describe Stacy Silver’s time at Morehead State it is this: joy. A joy to be a libero (defensive specialist) for the Eagles’ volleyball team. A joy to be headed into her final semester before receiving a degree in exercise science. “

The ACC had an extraordinary 2015-16, says David Teel of the Daily Press. “traordinary anguish on college sports’ grandest stages didn’t prevent the ACC from an extraordinary 2015-16. North Carolina (men’s and women’s lacrosse), Syracuse (field hockey and men’s cross country) and Virginia (men’s tennis) combined to give the league five NCAA team championships for the third consecutive year. Only the Pacific 12 Conference, with 10, won more.”

Eastern Kentucky 2016 football schedule

  • Sept. 3 @Purdue
  • Sept. 8 Pikeville
  • Sept. 17 @Ball State
  • Oct. 1 Tennessee Tech
  • Oct. 8 SE Missouri State
  • Oct. 15 @Tennessee State
  • Oct. 22 Jacksonville State
  • Oct. 29 @Tennessee-Martin
  • Nov. 5 Murray State
  • Nov. 12 @Austin Peay
  • Nov. 19 Eastern Illinois
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