Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky basketball recruiting and DeMarcus Cousins updates, plus more Big Blue Links

USA’s DeMarcus Cousins, right, breaks away from the Nigeria’s Ike Diogu during an exhibition basketball game Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, in Houston.
USA’s DeMarcus Cousins, right, breaks away from the Nigeria’s Ike Diogu during an exhibition basketball game Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, in Houston. Associated Press

Back from vacation, Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

Kentucky basketball in good shape for four recruits. Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader reports, “ national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels spoke to the Herald-Leader on Monday afternoon about four prospects he thinks UK is in a strong spot to ultimately land for 2017, and why fans who follow recruiting might have to wait a little bit longer in this cycle to figure out which high school players are most likely to be the Wildcats of the future.”

DeMarcus Cousins scores 10 points in final Olympic tune-up. Brian Mahoney of the AP reports, “Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points and former University of Kentucky standout DeMarcus Cousins added 10 points and five rebounds as the U.S. Olympic basketball team wrapped up its unbeaten exhibition tour with a 110-66 victory over Nigeria on Monday night. Cousins averaged 12.8 points and 10 rebounds for a U.S. team that went 5-0 during its easy pre-Olympic schedule.”

Will Kentucky have the third-best offense in the SEC East? Kyle Tucker of SEC Country thinks so. “If this seems high for UK, consider: The Cats finished third or better in the East last season in scoring, passing, rushing, total offense and plays of 20-plus yards. They return four of five starting linemen, their top four rushers and every receiver who caught a pass of any significance in 2015. Add to that new coordinator Eddie Gran and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw, whose Cincinnati offense last fall ranked sixth nationally in total and passing yards.”

Mark Stoops says UK in good shape for the future. “We only lose eight players off this roster for next year and we have a great junior class and a great sophomore class and we believe in this freshman class as well,” the head coach said on Thursday. “That bodes well for us in the future. We only lose eight guys. We feel very good about where we’re at the next couple of years.”

Butch Jones says Tennessee understands expectations. Dustin Dopirak of the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports, “Butch Jones first pointed out at the end of spring practice that his team would be at a disadvantage in the preseason. Because the summer session at Tennessee ends on Aug. 9 and the fall semester begins on Aug. 17, the Vols only have seven days of “camp,” the word coaches use to refer to the period when there are no classes and the NCAA allows them to hold two practices a day. In contrast, the Vols had 12 days of camp in 2015 when the summer session ended on Aug. 6 and the fall semester began on Aug. 19.”

Top storylines as Louisville football opens fall camp. Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal reports, “The top story of bowl practice and the top story of spring practice will now become the top story of fall practice as sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson gets another month to enhance his understanding of coach Bobby Petrino’s offense. Last year’s fall camp was all about who would emerge as the winner of a crowded quarterback competition. In 2016, there is no debate.”

Will Muschamp turns the page from his Florida days. David Cloninger of The State writes, “It will be a popular theme this year and throughout his tenure. Will Muschamp has patiently answered every question about what went wrong at Florida, and what he’ll do to correct it at South Carolina. As the time approaches to show what he’s learned and will do different, he can’t promise the results will be grand right away. South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp previews the quarterback competition going into 2016 preseason practice.”

Georgia’s offensive line is still sorting things out. Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph reports, “It doesn’t look like Greg Pyke will make another move unless he absolutely has to. Georgia’s starting offensive line remains in flux as the coaching staff begins to figure out which players it wants in the starting lineup. Pyke, Isaiah Wynn and Brandon Kublanow are guaranteed to start. Heading into August, Kublanow, Georgia’s starting center, was the only one set at a position.”

John Chavis warned Les Miles at LSU. Ross Dellenger of The Advocate reports, “Portions of depositions from Miles, athletic director Joe Alleva and other LSU administrators were available in new filings made last week in 19th Judicial Court in East Baton Rouge Parish. They’re the latest entries in a 17-month-old wrangling over the coach’s $400,000 buyout, which the school claims he owes.”

SEC football openers for each team

Alabama - Sept. 3 vs. USC in Arlington

Arkansas - Sept. 3 vs. Louisiana Tech

Auburn - Sept. 3 vs. Clemson

Florida - Sept. 3 vs. UMass

Georgia - Sept. 3 vs. North Carolina in Atlanta

Kentucky - Sept. 3 vs. Southern Miss

LSU - Sept. 3 vs. Wisconsin in Green Bay

Ole Miss - Sept. 5 vs. Florida State in Orlando

Miss State - Sept. 3 vs. South Alabama

Missouri - Sept. 3 at West Virginia

South Carolina - Sept. 1 at Vanderbilt

Tennessee - Sept. 1 vs. Appalachian State

Texas A&M - Sept. 3 vs. UCLA

Vanderbilt - Sept. 1 vs. South Carolina

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