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Calipari’s Latest UK Class Thinks They Can Win A Title, Too

During John Calipari’s remarkable three-year run at Kentucky, we have praised him repeatedly for his ability to take the blue chip stars off of high school teams and quickly create in them a team-first mentality and work ethic.

He draws praise because that’s just not an easy thing to do.  Which means sooner or later it’s likely that UK’s coach will land a group that doesn’t believe in unity or doesn’t understand the work it takes to earn a title.

And his current group of all-star signees are already talking about titles and success.



Alex Poythress:  “You’re following in the footsteps.  They’re setting the standard high, so you’ve got big shoes to fill.  And I feel that we can fill them.”

Nerlens Noel:  “Just the success (UK has) had with younger players going out there and winning a national championship, that’s not easy with five or six freshmen.  Just seeing what they did with that, and what Coach Calipari dos is real successful, and I think I can go there with Archie (Goodwin) and Alex and Willie (Cauley) and be successful the same way they were.”

Archie Goodwin:  “We’re going to be able to work together.  I know we are because (Noel is) a team player and I’m a team player and Willie’s a team player.  There are going to be a lot of amazing things that happen.”


For now, the smart money is on Calipari to turn this crew into another Elite Eight or better squad.  But eventually, the odds are he’ll sign one or more players who aren’t team-first guys.  Chemistry is important.  This year’s UK team had it.  An eighth championship banner was captured.

But whether the next wave will have that chemistry remains to be seen.  (And before any Cat fans email to point out that Goodwin said they were all team players, have you ever known anyone to say, “I’m a me-first” player?)

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Kentucky Lands Basketball Prospect Cauley

Center Willie Cauley from Olathe (Kan.) Northwest High School has committed to Kentucky, according to Rivals.com.

Cauley have his commitment to Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari on Sunday night, according to Eric Bossi of Rivals.

Cauley, who’s ranked the No. 6 center in the nation by Rivals, is the second player to commit to Kentucky for the class of 2012. Cauley joins Little Rock, Ark., guard Archie Goodwin, who’s considered the nation’s No. 2 shooting guard by Rivals.

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Photo Of Pelphrey With Recruits Could Be Final Nail In Coffin

You haven’t made the NCAA Tournament in three years.  Attendance is dwindling.  Some fans are placing ads in newspapers to voice their displeasure with you.  Your squad dropped its last two games to blow a shot at a bye in the SEC Tournament.

If you’re John Pelphrey facing a must-win game against Tennessee tonight, could things be any worse?

Yes.

Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com has posted a photo of Pelphrey smiling beside junior recruits Trey Smith and Archie Goodwin at an off-campus event.

The photo appears to violate NCAA Bylaw 13.1.1.1 which states that coaches can’t make off-campus contact with prospects (or their relatives or guardians) until after July 1st heading into that recruit’s senior year.

Smith told CBSSports.com that his mother took the picture.  “My mom was like, ‘Hey, go get a picture.’  So we snapped a picture.” 

And added to Pelphrey’s misery in doing so.

“As with any potential compliance issue, the institution will gather information and review to determine where a violation has occurred,” said an Arkansas statement this morning.  “If, after a thorough review of the facts, it is determined a violation has occurred, the University of Arkansas will take appropriate action in reporting the information consistent with all established procedures.”

Bottom line: We’re talking about what would have — in pre-internet days — been called a secondary violation.  A quick snapshot of a coach and two players. 

In today’s world, that’s enough to land you in the headlines of a major, national website.

Oh, well.  At least Pelphrey didn’t lie about it.

But it can’t be good for his chances of surviving.


UPDATE — Jerry Tipton of The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Pelphrey said yesterday that “it takes time” to build a program.  “We’re doing it the right way,” the coach said.  “We have tremendous kids in the program. … We’ve got something we can build on.”

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