Blackshear Down to 3, Florida Out

It seems like every day now there comes a new update about Kerry Blackshear and his future. Well today, the news is, according to Chris Dortch, Blackshear is down to three schools: Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas A&M. These three schools are all in the SEC and there are two better known basketball schools while A&M offers a system Blackshear knows but to me, it’s very confusing.

The last is very confusing to me if we’re being honest. A&M is a great school, don’t get me wrong, but the truth of the matter is that coaching staff has failed Kerry. He spent years with Buzz and his team, but here we are and he withdrew from the NBA draft due to not having the necessary skillset or even the recognition. Tennessee is Tennessee. Kerry apparently loved his visit and Rick Barnes has built such a great program and a true contender (in the SEC) in Knoxville. But there is still one thing that stands out to me…Kentucky is the only school that fits what he wants.

Blackshear is visiting Kentucky on Tuesday, it was first reported by Jake Weingarten and confirmed essentially everywhere but Kentucky and Blackshear’s camp. This is his second visit with Kentucky and it makes sense that it’d be his last. Kerry wants to win. Kentucky offers the best chance at doing that. With Hagans, Maxey, and Quickley up top, you aren’t going to find better guards to be paired with. Sure he’ll have to fight with Sestina, EJ, and Nick but at the same time it gives him a challenge and allows him to work on his game every day. Plus, no other school has Kenny Payne or Calipari. Plus, news came out a few days ago that Anthony Davis is one of three big men in the league to average 20 points and over 10 rebounds since the 2013 NBA season. The other two? Demarcus Cousins and Karl Anthony Towns. Kentucky has success with bigs and Kerry is just next in line.

I think it’s Tennessee or Kentucky. At Tennessee he would be “the guy” because they lost essentially everyone. He’d be a great fit with national exposure, but at the same time they stand no chance at winning anything. At Kentucky he’d have to fight, his minutes would be reduced from Va Tech, but at the same time he has the best chance at improving his all around game and winning a title. My pick is remaining the same, it’ll be Kentucky. We could find out as early as Wednesday morning if you ask me. Kerry will be a Wildcat in due time.

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Best of the Calipari Era, #2 Ohio State Gets Knighted

Since 2009, John Calipari has been at the helm of the most prestigious program in College Basketball. Throughout his time at Kentucky there have been so many moments that capture our hearts and stay in our memory forever. I’m continuing a series over the next two days that will rank what I believe to be the top 5 moments of the Calipari Era. Friday I had our #5 moment with Aaron Harrison and the 2014 Final Four run, Saturday I had our #4 moment with Boogie Cousins in the SEC final, #3 was the best team ever assembled that never won but finished 38-1, and now #2…Brandon Knight sinking Ohio State.

This is one of my favorite moments of Kentucky Basketball history. The season that started off so poorly when Enes was denied eligibility, UCONN demolishing us in Maui, a disappointing loss at North Carolina, and a 10-6 SEC record but was quickly turned around thanks to Josh Harrellson, Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, and Doron Lamb. A moment inside the moment is when Jorts owned Louisville in the first ever Battle for the Bluegrass in the Yum! Center and that was just glorious.

But this spot belongs to Brandon Knight and his heroics. First off, this team was built for March. It was Calipari’s first “be patient” team with Kentucky and he set the bar high. Coming in as a four seed, the Cats barely moved past Princeton (again thanks to Knight) then had to beat the team that eliminated them in 2010…West Virginia. The matchup with Ohio State was supposed to be a slide through for the Buckeyes, yet Kentucky fought every single second and then the beauty happened. As Ohio State just tied it up, Kentucky dribbles down and you hear “he’ll wait till about 8 seconds” and sure enough he did. Knight pulls up on Craft and sinks in. No celebration and then Craft passes it to Buford who then bricks a three and Harrellson taps it as hard as possible. What a game, what a team, what a season. You can relive it here.

Now this team went on to beat North Carolina in the Elite 8 but ultimately lost to UCONN again in the Final Four. The team returned Jones and Lamb along with Miller to run it back. This team was the first Calipari team that wasn’t the best but found their way. It set the tone for the Calipari Era and it’s a moment I’ll never forget. Come back tomorrow morning for my favorite moment in the Calipari Era. Feel free to tweet me your top 5 @soft7juice and like us on Facebook @Soft7Sports for more Kentucky content.

Kerry Blackshear Latest

For the last few weeks, Kerry Blackshear has stolen the nation spotlight with his looming decision. After a visit to Florida and Arkansas, Kerry visited Tennessee this weekend and according to sources “he loved it.” Being from Knoxville, it is a great city and there’s tons of fun to be had, but that gaudy orange has to sway him away. With that being said, Tennessee has a realistic chance of landing Blackshear.

Coming off arguably their greatest back to back seasons, Tennessee’s lineup is sparse. With Williams, Schofield, Alexander, and Bone all leaving this gives Blackshear a perfect opportunity to play for a decent coach and an okay program while gaining some national exposure. Tennessee has a ton to prove next season and adding Blackshear would help a ton. But realistically, I find it hard for him to go there. Kerry wants to win a title and Tennessee (no offense) has virtually a 0% chance to do so. They aren’t even the best team in the state with Memphis finally restoring their program with Penny. For me, it’s either Florida or Kentucky and my stance my change depending on what transpires the next two days.

Kerry is done with the process. He wants to “wrap it up” because he’s worn out with it. People have said he will have one more visit and it’s between Kentucky, Memphis, and Gonzaga as the final visit. Now, Kentucky should get this. But if not don’t worry, Calipari has already done an in-home visit before he even decided to come back to college. I would be wary if he doesn’t though mainly because Memphis has all the momentum in the world with Penny and him going there would be amazing. Evan Daniels says it’s Kentucky and rumor has it it’ll be on Tuesday.

Another thing that helps Kentucky, his AAU coach had some comments on how Kentucky helps gain exposure and how the NBA workout they do prior to the season showcases a ton of talent and allows them to get more exposure. He also says the guard play will help Kerry due to their skill with the pick and roll…the way NBA offense is trending. He did mention a concern, especially with his minutes being reduced due to Richards, Montgomery, and Sestina but again said Kerry wants to win and will do what it takes.

My prediction remains the same…Kentucky. Kentucky gives him the chance to improve daily, gain national exposure, and most importantly, win a title. He can be apart of a huge tradition and always be associated with Kentucky and their success. It also helps that ESPN have Kentucky a free recruitment pitch today saying that Anthony Davis is one of three big men in the league to average 20 points and over 10 rebounds since the 2013 NBA season. The other two? Demarcus Cousins and Karl Anthony Towns. Kentucky has success with bigs and Kerry is just next in line. My guess is we’ll know by next Monday. Let’s go Cats.

The Best of the Calipari Era, #3

Since 2009, John Calipari has been at the helm of the most prestigious program in College Basketball. Throughout his time at Kentucky there have been so many moments that capture our hearts and stay in our memory forever. I’m continuing a series over the next four days that will rank what I believe to be the top 5 moments of the Calipari Era. Friday I had our #5 moment with Aaron Harrison and the 2014 Final Four run, Saturday I had our #4 moment with Boogie Cousins in the SEC final and today we’ll continue with #3…38-1.

In the Calipari Era, there have been many amazing teams but there was no greater than the 2014-2015 squad. For the first time in the Calipari Era, they had players return like WCS, the Harrison Twins, Poythress, and Marcus Lee. Not only did they return, but they added the top recruiting class with Karl Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis, and Trey Lyles all of which are in the NBA now. This team was beautiful. They did a pre-season tournament in the Bahamas where Jay Bilas jokingly said “this may be your only loss so learn from it” and they did just that. They destroyed the #5 ranked Kansas by 32 points, UCLA by 39 (including a 41-7 lead at half), an 8-point win at #4 Louisville, and just ran their way through the SEC. “31-0 but we ain’t done yet.”

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Then the NCAA tournament came. Kentucky destroyed Hampton, Cincinnati, and West Virginia but it caught up to them against Notre Dame where they need some last minute magic to make the Final Four. They got it done and it set up a rematch against Wisconsin in the Final Four where the infamous shot clock incident occurred. I’m still not over it and neither is KAT who has spoken on the matter before. Kentucky could have been and should have been the first ever 40-0 team after they would have obliterated Duke in the Finals.

You can relive some of the moments here, but this team was just special. They were so fun to watch and they were one of those teams that just clicked from the beginning. They platooned and did not get the playing time they wanted, but they sacrificed for one goal…winning. They bought into Calipari’s method and it was truly special. If they had won, it’d easily be the #1 moment but I think there are still better.

Come back tomorrow morning for my 2nd favorite moment in the Calipari Era. Feel free to tweet me your top 5 @soft7juice and like us on Facebook @Soft7Sports for more Kentucky content.

Remembering the Best Calipari Moments, #4

Since 2009, John Calipari has been at the helm of the most prestigious program in College Basketball. Throughout his time at Kentucky there have been so many moments that capture our hearts and stay in our memory forever. I’m continuing a series over the next four days that will rank what I believe to be the top 5 moments of the Calipari Era. Yesterday I had our #5 moment with Aaron Harrison and the 2014 Final Four run and today we’ll continue with #4…Demarcus “Boogie” Cousins saving the SEC Title in 2010.

2010 was quite the year for Kentucky Basketball as the entire program flipped upside down with John Calipari. Shortly after his announcement as head coach, Demarcus Cousins uncommitted and committed, John Wall joined him along with Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton. After starting the season 19-0 along with earning the program’s 2000th victory, the team finished 35-3 including 14-2 in the SEC. In Calipari’s first year, he earned the overall #1 seed in the NCAA tournament and honestly he should have won that year but they could unreasonably cold against Huggie Bear and West Virginia. It set the tone for the years that followed, showing Kentucky Basketball is back.

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The moment that ranks in my top 5 was the SEC title game against Mississippi State. Throughout the year, Mississippi State had talked shit to the Cats and especially Demarcus Cousins when they found his phone number and called him hundred of thousands of times before the game in Starkville which Kentucky won 81-75 and the famous “call me” moment from Cousins was there. They met again in the SEC final and it came down to a missed free throw, missed 3, then a miraculous tap in by Boogie as time expired. The best part about this was the team ran around like they won and piled on Demarcus. Once they calmed, they won the game in OT and it is a memory that is forever sketched in Kentucky history.

This moment is top 5 because it showed the young love at Kentucky and how the program flipped. Cousins became a fan favorite and their buffoonery at the end of regulation just made this team more lovable. Check out the entire video:

Come back tomorrow morning for my 3rd favorite moment in the Calipari Era. Feel free to tweet me your top 5 @soft7juice and like us on Facebook @Soft7Sports for more Kentucky content.

Best of the Calipari Era, #5

Since 2009, John Calipari has been at the helm of the most prestigious program in College Basketball. Throughout his time at Kentucky there have been so many moments that capture our hearts and stay in our memory forever. I’m starting a series over the next five days that will rank what I believe to be the top 5 moments of the Calipari Era and today we’ll start with #5…Aaron Harrison and the 2014 NCAA run.

Perhaps one of the best recruiting classes John Calipari has ever had was in 2014 when Aaron and Andrew Harrison, Julius Randle, James Young, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Derek Willis, and Dominique Hawkins all came to Lexington in hopes of bringing #9, two years after the 2012 team brought home the glory. The year was disappointing to say the least. They lost every big game including Michigan State, Baylor, and North Carolina to begin the season. SEC play was just as rough when Kentucky posted 12-6 record where they also lost every big game including twice against Florida and then a third time in the SEC finals. The worst loss came against South Carolina when Calipari got ejected early and that is where the famous postgame interview from Aaron Harrison came into play.

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“It’s going to be a great story” and that it was. Kentucky was shocked to receive a 8 seed in the MidWest region and of course their path was hard including their 2nd round match up against the undefeated Wichita State Shockers. Arguably one of the greatest games played in that tournament, a back a forth match that saw Kentucky win 78-76 and their following matchup is where the magic began. After trailing Louisville for most of the game, Aaron drills a corner three with 39.4 seconds remaining to take the lead against the Cards and they never recovered. Kentucky rolled 74-69 thanks to Harrison but that wasn’t even the best.

The following game against Michigan is where Harrison stole the show. With the game tied 72-72 and 5 seconds remaining and drilled a three to put the Cats up three and thus the famous shoulder shrug was made. But the magic did not stop there. The Final Four, the team that was not supposed to be there, was trailing Wisconsin in the final seconds and Andrew Harrison drove the lane and almost threw the ball away, but instead he recovers and finds his brother who is heavily contested and he says “shoot, shoot” and Aaron does just that and sinks the Badger’s hearts as Kentucky advances. While they lost to UCONN in the Championship, this run is forever remembered due to their fight and their ability to push through every obstacle that season. As Harrison said, “it’s going to be a great story” and that is exactly what is was.

Relive the moments here. Come back for number 4 tomorrow morning. Also, follow us on Twitter @soft7sports.

Kerry Blackshear Update, Calipari Inks Deal

As we continue to wait for Kerry Blackshear to commit for next season, a new team as emerged…Memphis. According to Kevin McPherson from Arkansas, Blackshear has expressed interest in joining the Tigers and it makes sense due to the news that came yesterday. Kerry wanting to win a title more than “being the man” fits in with Penny and the Tigers in more than one way, but personally I feel like it is a long shot.

If Blackshear decides to visit Memphis, it’d probably be this weekend after his visit in Knoxville and before his visit in Lexington. Memphis is an interesting case due to having DJ Jeffries, Precious AchiuwaIf, and James Wiseman but honestly Blackshear would fit in and he would be the veteran that Memphis is missing. Now, Memphis is nowhere near a title contender…yet. At best they’ll be an overrated Indiana and hang a Sweet 16 banner, but if Penny can prove himself this season then they’ll be back in the Final Four in a few years. But to think that they’ll be top 5 and “beat their 38-2 record” like most of them are saying is just preposterous.

As for Kerry, I’ve said this time and time again…it’s down to Kentucky, Virginia Tech, and Florida. I still believe that and him visiting Memphis is a smart move but ultimately I still believe he will be a Wildcat. The reporting claiming he wants a deep run and does not care about being the main guy just screams Kentucky to me. He could easily be the PJ of this years team and has his best chance at winning at title in Blue. Regardless, we’ll know by next week where Kerry intends to play.

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In other news, Swaggy Cal just inked his lifetime deal. Well, 10 years 86 million dollars but this will take him to his retirement or he’ll resign. The next two seasons he will make $8 million, then followed by 8.5 million the next four, then 9 million the last four. After the 2023-2024 season, Calipari has the option to step down as coach and become “Special Assistant to the Athletic Director/University Representative.” Cal won’t be going anywhere and personally think he will bring at least one more title to the Bluegrass. But what better time than this season?