SEC M5: 10.08.12 EditionPosted by Brian Joyce on October 8th, 2012
- Residing under the national and local spotlight is a way of life for the national champion Kentucky Wildcats and coach John Calipari. But as if interest in the Cats wasn’t high enough already, a new ESPN series, titled All-Access Kentucky, will go in depth on the Big Blue’s preparation for the 2012-13 season. “With many new players on the Wildcats this year, there is enormous interest surrounding this team,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive vice president of programming and acquisitions. “All-Access Kentucky gives us an opportunity to deliver something entertaining and unique that helps bring fans closer to a sport they love.” The series will air in 30-minute segments beginning on October 17.
- Is Kentucky the only SEC school that cares about basketball season? It seems as though everyone outside of Lexington is still paying attention to some other sport. Blasphemy. Meanwhile, Calipari gave each of a pair of walk-ons, Sam Malone and Brian Long, a scholarship for the upcoming year. While they may not have contributed much on the court, both achieved grade point averages well above 3.0 during last year. Both are excited their determination paid off. “It shows you’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to continue to keep working hard,” Long said. “And you’ve got to be successful on the floor and off the floor and in school. There’s a lot of factors, but it all pays off if you work hard.”
- Vanderbilt is starting to turn one eye towards the hardwood, as Anchor of Gold examines a new-look Commodores team. Contrary to the last several years when the ‘Dores had a dominant center down low, Vanderbilt may now have to play small ball to put its best team on the court. Vandy lost its top six scorers from a year ago, and only returns three players standing above 6’9″. While their strength may be in the backcourt, the Commodores can’t ignore their weaknesses in rebounding and low post play. Junior Rod Odom and sophomore Josh Henderson will have to combine for well more than the pedestrian rebounding numbers they managed last season.
- If you happened to live under a rock last week, you may have missed the huge announcement that the biggest package deal ever in college basketball recruiting made their collegiate choice on Thursday. If you live anywhere else in the world, you already knew that. The Harrison twins, Aaron and Andrew Harrison of Houston, Texas, chose to play for the SEC’s Kentucky Wildcats over the Maryland Terrapins. Andrew, one half of the future starting backcourt for Calipari’s Wildcats said, “Coach Calipari presented a challenge for us … he would push us every day. We just want to be better players.” With these couple of huge commitments for UK, and with Calipari positioned well for other top prospects in the class, the 2013 class is setting up to be one of Cal’s best since arriving in Lexington, and that’s saying something.
- While Calipari continues to put his Wildcats in contention for the number one recruiting spot, he’ll have to beat out Florida coach Billy Donovan to do it. Donovan’s Gators currently sit atop the 2013 rankings, and he is feeling pretty good about hosting one of the top players in the class. Power forward and Plano, Texas, native, Julius Randle made a visit to Gainesville this past weekend. “He’s excited about (the visit),” said Chris Mayberry, Randle’s high school coach. “He went to Kentucky a couple of weeks ago, so this will be his second official visit.” Donovan has already loaded up for next season with Chris Walker (the #8 prospect), Kasey Hill (the #6 prospect), Damontre Harris (a transfer from South Carolina), and Dorian Finney-Smith (a transfer from Virginia Tech).