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BBL: John Wall is a Wizard in front of the home folks

Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

(AP photo)

(AP photo)

Big Blue Links for Wednesday:

Michael Lee of the Washington Post: “Wall was like a cyclone on the floor, whirling all over and doing everything in his power to will the Wizards to their first win of the season. He finished with a team-high 29 points, 13 assists and 9 steals, but the Wizards wouldn’t have been able to pull out a 116-115 victory on Tuesday without reserve Cartier Martin nailing a desperation three-pointer to force the extra frame, or Andray Blatche overcoming some missed shots and fumbled plays to step to the foul line and hit the decisive free throws with 7.1 seconds remaining.”

Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post: “By the time the Wizards become a threat to make or advance in the playoffs, most of the players who were Wall’s teammates Tuesday night, in his home regular season debut for the team that made him the overall No. 1 pick in the draft, will be long gone. That’s the necessary reality of the NBA. Check the difference in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ team photo from LeBron’s rookie season to his sixth, or the Bulls’ team photo from Michael Jordan’s first year to when the Bulls became a contender.”

Mike Lynch of is the first player in NBA history to have at least 29 points, 13 assists and nine steals in a single game. He’s the fourth player in NBA history to have at least 20 points and 10 assists in his home debut. Only one NBA rookie has ever had more than Wall’s nine steals in a game (steals have been an official stat since 1973-74). That was Ron Harper back in 1986-87.”

Chip Cosby of the Herald-Leader: “The play called for Hartline to throw a post route to Matthews in the end zone, but Matthews misinterpreted the call and broke his route off, allowing Johnthan Banks an easy interception at the MSU 1-yard line that iced the game. Afterward, both Hartline and Coach Joker Phillips acknowledged that Matthews blew the call. That was just part of what was a disastrous night for the 6-foot-6 senior receiver. He spent the first quarter on the sideline for an unspecified violation of team rules. Matthews didn’t elaborate on what got him suspended.”

(Hat tip DC Sports Bog.)

My column for Wednesday: “At present, it’s good. Or has a chance to be good. It boasts Brandon Knight. It claims Darius Miller. It has Terrence Jones. It has a more mature swingman in DeAndre Liggins and a promising freshman in Doron Lamb. But it has just enough holes to produce apprehension. The most troubling hole is in the middle. Even with the 6-foot-11 Kanter, Kentucky is not the biggest team. Minus the Turkish terror, the Cats are significantly smallish. John Calipari started four guards in the 97-66 win over the Pikeville College Bears. He has his reasons.”

Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader: “During Kentucky’s 97-66 exhibition victory over Pikeville College on Monday, freshman point guard Brandon Knight continued to be arguably the brightest of the bright spots. But that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the trial-and-error learning process that all players experience this time of year. UK Coach John Calipari suggested that Knight needed to put his take-charge approach into a team concept, especially because of the position he plays.”

Ken Howlett of A Sea of Blue: “Because, after all, how good this edition of the Wildcats can be will be determined by what the NCAA, in all their delayed “wisdom,” decides on the Enes Kanter eligibility issue. So muddy is the water, that UK coach John Calipari (in November!) is surely struggling with how to best prepare his players for the season. Should he coach as if Kanter won’t be playing with the ‘Cats, or should he prepare his team as if Kanter will gain his eligibility at some point in the season? Or is there some happy marriage of the two possibilities that allows Calipari to competently prepare his team without having the benefit of knowing if the best teenage center in the world will be wearing “Kentucky” across his rather broad chest?”

Eric Lindsey of Cat Scratches: “Imagine a soccer offense similar to a no-huddle, four-wideout football team (sounds kind of like the Oregon football team, huh?). That’s what Jon Lipsitz is trying to implement in his second year at the helm of the women’s soccer program. “We are gunslingers and that’s our attitude,” Lipsitz said. “We throw everybody in the attack. We take every risk possible. Let’s be honest. Soccer can, at times, be a little mundane and a little boring. I love the game but I’m willing to say that. We don’t want it to be. We want it to be exciting. We want the crowd to love what they see. We want to try fancy moves and take risks.”

Larry Vaught of the Danville Advocate-Messenger: “He continues to hear from some of the nation’s top football programs, including Oregon and three in the Southeastern Conference, as well as a slew of recruiting analysts and media members. He’s been selected to play in one of the nation’s elite high school all-star games – the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio Jan. 8 on NBC-TV – and recently set a school record with 32 tackles against East Jessamine. Yet Boyle County senior Lamar Dawson has not wavered on his final seven schools and continues to insist winning a state championship remains his top priority. Boyle, which has a 25-game winning streak and has won 38 of 39 games the last three years, opens the playoffs Friday by hosting Bourbon County.”



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