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“Chasing Perfection”, Calipari Best “When The Gun Is To My Head”

John-calipari-smiling-relaxedHe may have lost the nation’s No. 1 recruit to Kansas but Kentucky coach John Calipari isn’t backing down on high expections for next year’s team.  One day after Andrew Wiggins announced he won’t be joining the consensus No. 1 recruiting class at Kentucky, Calipari indicated he”s pretty pleased about the ones he did get and is expecting great things in return.


‘We’re chasing perfection. We’re chasing greatness. We’re chasing things that have never been done in the history of our game.’ What I like about that, people say, ‘Pressure!’ Man, pressure brings out the best. ‘You’re gonna be fired if you don’t get this done! You’re not going to make it if you don’t get this done!’ Wakes you up earlier in the morning. I don’t mind a little pressure. I’ve had it my whole career.

“I’ve had the gun to my head for 20-something years. And you know what? I’m at my best when the gun is to my head versus, ‘OK, I’m good, I can kick back.’ I’m not as good. And you know what? Players are the same. Now, I’m not sitting there saying, ‘If we lose a game, it’s not a successful season.’ No. But you’re chasing greatness. What’s wrong with that? ‘Well, we want to talk moment to moment and we’re not putting that on the kids.’ Well, we are. Any pressure on these kids when they come here? It’s on us. Now, it won’t be on us that’s the forefront thing we’re talking about, but there’ll be things out there that they’ll see.”


Calipari describes  incoming freshman Julius Randle as “ an alpha beast who will drive the team,” and says returning center Willie Cauley-Stein  ”has a chance to be one of the better players that I’ve ever coached.”

College basketball hasn’t seen an undefeated team since Indiana in 1976.



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SEC Recruiting Headlines

recruiting-headlines-gfx1. Star basketball prospect Andrew Wiggins will announce his decision on Tuesday. Update: He chooses Kansas over Kentucky, Florida State and North Carolina.

2. Which team has the most to gain by landing Wiggins? Jeff Borzello examines.

3. Clemson quarterback commitment Deshaun Watson discusses his recent offer from Alabama.

4. Two Florida signees have already enrolled in classes to get an early start on summer workouts.

5. Florida continues to receive attention for its creative social media efforts in recruiting.

6. Tight end Jeb Blazevich discussed why he committed to Georgia’s 2014 class.

7. Kentucky scored a big recruiting win with the commitment from quarterback Drew Barker.

8. Clemson is battling several SEC schools and others for wide receiver Trey Quinn from Lake Charles, La.

How about an Andrew Wiggins highlight video?

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SEC Headlines 5/13/2013

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1. The case of Georgia offensive lineman Kolton Houston is becoming a national story.

2. High expectations have arrived quickly at Texas A&M. Kevin Sumlin better be ready, writes Barrett Sallee.

3. Alabama’s current dynasty is the fourth best of the AP era, according to Braden Gall. Here are the top 25.

4. From Athlon Sports: Will LSU or Texas A&M finisher higher in the SEC West?

5. Tennessee’s recent hires show the importance of “familiarity and trust” for the program.

6. Georgia safety Tray Matthews is one of ten early enrollees to watch this fall.

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7. Here’s an early projection for the upcoming SEC basketball season. (Andrew Wiggins’ decision pending)

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8. “The sky’s the limit” for Cam Newton with the Carolina Panthers, according to offensive coordinator coach Mike Shula.

9. Former Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker is trying to embrace a leadership role with the San Diego Chargers.

10. Former SEC players Sam Montgomery and D.J. Swearinger are reunited in Houston after playing together in high school.

11. Tyler Bray is happy to have a shot with Kansas City after making “a lot of mistakes” during his time at Tennessee.


12. What if there were an NFL team made up of former Alabama and LSU players? Let’s look.

13. Let this be a lesson to other young players: former NFL WR Titus Young was arrested for the third time in a week.

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SEC Headlines 5/12/2013

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1. What if the SEC and the rest of the power conferences only played each other?  ”If the big boys played only the big boys…it would send dominoes falling in every direction.”

2. Former Penn State quarterback Steven Bench will visit Mississippi State on May 20 and 21.

3. Georgia suspended offensive lineman Kolton Houston speaks publicly about steroids. NCAA should make ”a special case for me.”

4. Does new Kentucky coach Mark Stoops deserve a first-year pass?

5. What Stoops and the other new coaches in the SEC have accomplished this spring.

6. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn had to chase down Dameyune Craig twice before hiring him. Now Craig’s recruiting efforts are paying big dividends for the Tigers. (Another recruit committed Sunday morning.)

7. Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson on his linebacking corps: ”My linebacker depth chart in total is very fluid right now.”

8. If an NFL team was made up of only Alabama and LSU players – how good would it be?

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9. With Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae back but Trae Golden gone, what’s the future look like at Tennessee?

10. The future at Kentucky could be altered on Tuesday.  That’s when super prospect Andrew Wiggins could reportedly make his decision.

11. Here’s one area where Kentucky and Louisville could work together for the benefit of both.


12. Jon Solomon: “It’s estimated that more than half of viewers’ monthly cable TV costs are due to sports programming.”


13. Les Miles’ son throws a no-hitter. Second no-hitter of the season for Manny Miles.

14. Les can watch his son play but former Georgia coach Vince Dooley couldn’t watch son Derek play high school football back in the 1980′s- it was against NCAA rules at the time.

15. Happy Mother’s Day!  Bear Bryant: “Have You Called Your Mama Today?” (H/T Tony Barnhart)

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Wow Headlines 5/12/2013

Former Penn State quarterback Steven Bench to visit Missisippi State on May 20 and 21
Kentucky safety Ashely Lowery released from hospital nearly a week after car wreck
Co-Chair of the Kyle Field redevelopment committee says one goal of revamped Texas A&M stadium will be intimidation
New study finds largest discrepancies between teaching salaries and football coaching salaries are in the SEC
Unofficial tally shows Missouri and Florida with most player arrests among SEC teams since 2010
Georgia assistant basketball coach Kwanza Johnson leaving for similar job at TCU
Petition by Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith to find out if his bank account was illegally accessed denied by judge
Nation’s No. 1 basketball recruit, Andrew Wiggins, could reportedly make his decision on Tuesday…
Kentucky one of four schools Wiggins is considering
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SEC Recruiting Headlines 5/8/2013

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1. Linebacker Tre’ Williams says he is headed to Auburn. He made the announcement just moments ago. Along with Auburn, Williams had strongly considered Alabama.  His other finalists were Florida and Ole Miss.  The Mobile, Alabama prospect is considered one of the nation’s top inside linebacker prospects and had taken multiple visits to both Auburn and Alabama.

2. Four-star defensive back  Jamoral Graham has committed to Mississippi State.  Here’s how Newton County (MS) coach Jackie Williamson described it.  “I think he came to the realization that he was comfortable at Mississippi State. He felt really comfortable with (safeties coach) Tony Hughes and felt like he was a guy that he could play for.” Graham is Mississippi State’s second verbal commitment in the class of 2014.

3. Alabama coach Nick Saban thinks so highly of Calera, Alabama prospect Ronnie Clark, he called him from the NFL draft.  Projected to play free safety and quarterback this fall, Clark is expected to choose between Alabama and Auburn but he’s drawing attention from programs and coaches all over the country, including Vanderbilt coach James Franklin.  ”Coach Franklin is a good guy,” Clark said. “Real good guy. I believe they are going to turn the program around at Vanderbilt.”

4. Auburn’s top five defensive line recruiting targets include Da’Shawn Hand.  The Virginia lineman visited Auburn last weekend.

5. Razorbacks expected to get visit from top-1oo prospect  - safety Steven Parker from Oklahoma.

6. Linebacker Sharieff Rhaheed is an LSU commitment.  Arkansas linebackers coach Randy Shannon visited his school on Monday.

7. Broadarius Hamm is a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman from Georgia and wears a size 18 shoe.  He’s 15 years old and is reportedly drawing interest from the home-state Bulldogs.

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8. Top prospect Andrew Wiggins could reportedly make his decision soon. Kentucky is one of four schools still in the mix for the Huntington Prep star. Louisville is not one of the four schools Wiggins is weighing, but it’s the one his host mom at Huntington Prep prefers. “If it was my choice, I’d say he should go to Louisville...I love Coach Pitino’s program.”

9. 2014 prospect Trey Lyles. “I have six top schools: UCLA, Butler, Florida, Kentucky, Duke and Louisville and all of those schools are ones that I’m really looking at.”

10. The final scholarship at Ole Miss will go to Jerron Martin.  The Maryland point guard committed after taking an official visit to Ole Miss last weekend. He used the social media network Vine to make the announcement.

11. The New Orleans Times Picayune ranks the top 16 2014 prospects in the state.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 5/2/2013

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1. The NCAA has suspended new rules that would have allowed unlimited electronic communication between college coaches and recruits.

2.Is Alabama vs. Georgia the top recruiting rivalry in the country?

3. Alabama has offered 2014 linebacking prospect Nyles Morgan.  The 6-2, 220 pound prospect has 31 other offers.

4. Lousiana running back Leonard Fournette is considered by many to be the top prospect in the country but right now he’s focused on track. “I’m leaving the recruiting stuff up to my parents right now. And I won’t focus on football until track season’s over.”

5. Kyle Allen is rated as the No. 5 quarterback prospect in the country in the class of 2014.  Texas A&M is after the Scottsdale, Arizona product.  ”Right now, the schools recruiting me the hardest that I’m feeling the most are probably UCLA, ASU, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.”

6. The Aggies have offered a trio of prospects from New Orleans -  linebacker Arthur McGinnis, wide receiver Tyron Billy-Johnson and athlete Deshawn Capers-Smith. The teammates are 2015 prospects.

7. Offensive lineman Bill Weber is getting attention from several schools including Arkansas and Missouri.  The Coppell, Texas lineman attended the Razorbacks spring game with teammate and defensive end Solomon Thomas.  He came away impressed with the knowledge exhibited by Arkansas fans.  ”The fans know their stuff.”

8. Nashville wide receiver Thomas Richard became Missouri’s sixth commitment over the weekend. Heres how his high school coach described him. “As far as ball skills go, Missouri’s getting as good as they can get in the 2014 class. I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of really good receivers, and he’s going to be up there with the top of them when his time’s up at Missouri.”

9. ESPN’s Chris Low: “Over the last three years (2010-12), nobody in the SEC has signed more ESPN 150 prospects offensively than Auburn.”

10. Alabama signee Reuben Foster on what opposing fanbases were telling him - “They told me, ‘I hope you tear your ACL,’ “

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11. LSU’s incoming class rated the 9th best by ESPN, 10th best by Rivals. Here is ESPN’s final 2013 ranking of recruits.

12. Kentucky is one of four schools still chasing top prospect Andrew Wiggins.  Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News says he’s worth the wait. “On the day Wiggins steps on an NBA court, and that’ll happen sooner rather than later, he’ll become one of the greatest athletes ever to play in the league.”

13. 2014 basketball prospect Emmanuel Mudiay on an in-home visit by Kentucky coach John Calipari:  ”He does a good job with his point guards, and that’s a big part that I really look into.”

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 4/18/2013

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1. Louisiana running back Leonard Fournette is widely considered the nation’s top running back prospect.  ESPN calls him the top player in the country, ranking him No. 1 in their top 150 list put out today.  ”To me, Louisiana has the best talent,” Fournette told  ”To have that many guys ranked like that, that’s really a blessing. There’s great competition (in Louisiana) because they want something that you want, too. They want to play, they want to grind, they want to be successful, they want to be the No. 1. So, at the same time, it makes both of you better.”  Among the schools Fournette is considering are LSU, Alabama, Florida State, USC and Texas.

2. Three Alabama commitments made the ESPN list.

3. Rising junior running back Nicholas Brossette from Louisiana has longstanding offers from Alabama and LSU. Ole Miss, Texas A&M and UCLA have also offered.  He’s expected to be on hand at Saturday’s LSU spring game. Tiger Stadium is less than a mile from his high school.  He’s also expected to visit Alabama soon.

4. Cameron Robinson is considered the top offensive line prospect in the country.  He told Thursday he’s not sure if he will visit Alabama or LSU this Saturday. The West Monroe, Louisiana prospect says the two schools are way out front in his recruitment.

4. Here’s a list of visitors for Saturday’s spring game at Arkansas. Razorbacks are recruiting teammates Solomon Thomas and Bill Weber from Coppell, Texas.

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5. LSU has added a seven footer from Australia to its incoming class.  Darcy Malone from Canberra Australia is the sixth member of Johnny Jones class.  ”Darcy will be an impactful player at LSU for years to come.”

6. Auburn now has six members of its incoming class.  The latest signee -  power forward Matthew Atewe from Massachusetts.. Atewe’s signing puts Auburn one over the scholarship limit of 13. On Wednesday, small forward Dion Wade became the Tigers fifth commitment for coach Tony Barbee.

7. Kentucky is one of four schools in the race to land Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 prospect in the country. The Sporting News handicaps the race.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 2/27/2013

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1. Ole Miss has offered more than 70 prospects on ESPN’s class of 2014 watch list as the Rebels ride the momentum of a breakthrough signing class earlier this year.  Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze: “Already, we’ve had four or five of the nation’s top 100 kids on campus, and we hope to have more soon.”

2. With offers already from LSU and Alabama, the recruiting of 14-year old Dylan Moses is generating plenty of buzz. The AP’s Jim Litke is not a fan – “It sounds like brainwashing to me.”  You can read the MrSEC viewpoint here.

3. What’s happened to other middle school athlete phenoms who were offered early scholarships?  Jon Solomon goes exploring for some answers.

4. Along with Texas Tech, Auburn offered Mobile, Alabama lineman Josh Casher this week.  Auburn wants him to play center – a position he’s never played but Casher’s high school coach thinks he’ll do just fine.  ”I think he has a chance to be a great lineman in college — an All-SEC or All-ACC performer.” Casher says Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Alabama (which has yet to offer) as his favorites.

5. Nassau (New York) Community College lineman Chad Mavety has received an offer from Alabama.  Crimson Tide face competition from Ohio State – Urban Meyer is recruiting Mavety personally – and Syracuse.  Mavety, a New Jersey native, has called Syracuse his “dream school.”

6. Florida high school principal Bob Jones on defensive end and Kentucky 2014 commitment Denzel Ware: “He is as good as the three players I coached who went to the NFL. He is a legit four-star player with size, speed and strength. I think UK is looking at him as an outside linebacker, and he can play that spot.”

7. The 2014 wide receiver class at South Carolina has the potential to be one of the best in the country.

8. 2014 quarterback prospect Jarrod Heard is a Texas commitment but Texas A&M is reportedly pursuing him.  His high school coach thinks he’ll stick with the Longhorns - “I don’t see him de-committing from Texas.”

9. Alpharetta, Georgia quarterback Josh Dobbs, part of the 2013 class at Tennessee, won the Franklin D. Watkins Memorial Award Saturday night in Los Angeles, which recognizes the “premiere African-American male scholar athlete.”

10. Robbie Andreu thinks six members of Florida’s 2013 class can have an immediate impact – four freshmen and two transfers.

11. Greenwood, Arkansas quarterback Jabe Burgess just wrapped up a visit with the Razorbacks.  He came away impressed with new coach Bret Bielema. “I loved what he had to say and I loved the direction he’s leading the program. He makes you feel at ease while you’re talking to him.”

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12. For the first time since 2010, Kentucky will have a signee play in the 40th annual Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic.  Derek Willis will play in the game scheduled for April 19th in Louisville’s Freedom Hall.

13. The nation’s No. 1 prep player is visiting Kentucky.  Huntington Prep’s Andrew Wiggins is scheduled to be on hand tonight at Rupp Arena when UK hosts Mississippi State.  His high school coach tells the Lexington Herald-Leader, ”I know it’s probably not the greatest game in the world for Kentucky. But he was at the Carolina game last year, so he’s seen the atmosphere when it’s at its highest.”

Check out Wiggins highlight video below.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines – 2/12/13

1. Georgia got a little creative with its recruitment of Savannah, Ga., DE Milan Richard.

2. Florida cornerback signee Vernon Hargreaves III could make an early impact.

3. Which Ole Miss signee could make a quick impact this fall? Here are a few possibilities.

4. A Tennessee kicker commitment is considering a preferred walk-on offer from Ohio State.

5. Tennessee coach Butch Jones will face challenges in recruiting, writes David Climer.

6. Checkout this feature on hoops phenom Andrew Wiggins, known as “The Canadian Jordan.”

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