Kentucky Left out of Preseason Top 25 Poll That Includes 10 SEC Teams

What else is new?

Kentucky is once again left out of the preseason top 25 poll. Even after their first 10 win season since the 70’s, even after beating Penn State in the Citrus Bowl, even after Mark Stoops has proven time and time again that he can transform 2-star recruits in top 100 draft picks. Despite all that, it is understandable. Especially with losing Josh Allen, Benny Snell, CJ Conrad and the entire secondary to the NFL.

The part that hurts the most to a born and raised Kentucky fan and alumnus is that there are 10 SEC teams in the top 25 and Kentucky is not one of them. Take a look.

Alabama, Georgia and LSU being in the top 5 is somehow less surprising than Kentucky not being ranked at all. Then there is Florida, Auburn and Texas A&M at 8, 9 and 11. Not completely ridiculous, but all of them are about 5 spots too high. If last year was an indication of anything, it is that these teams will continue to be overrated and have inflated rankings.

Tennessee is ranked 15. 15!?!? How? This team finished 5-7 last year. Apparently winning a bowl game is more detrimental to next year’s ranking than not making one at all. Their recruiting class is not even in top 25 according to ESPN. My only guess for this bogus ranking is that they are returning every player at every position and they are all going to be upperclassman. Because, after all, they were the only SEC school to not have a single player drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft.

But, I digress.

Mississippi State at 16 make sense, they are always solid defensively. South Carolina at 18 is a bit of a stretch. Jake Bentley (more like Jake Kia) is entirely overrated and will be unranked as soon as they lose to Kentucky for the 6th straight season. Missouri at 19 makes sense. They may have lost Drew Lock to the draft, but they reloaded by securing the best QB transfer in Kelly Bryant.

But no Kentucky to be found. Like I said before, it makes sense because of the significant losses on defense, and losing important pieces like Benny Snell and CJ Conrad. But if Mark Stoops has proven one thing during his time at UK, it is that he can take 2-star nobodies and make them into Heisman hopefuls… at least for a couple weeks. I’m not saying that Kentucky should be ranked either. I am a Kentucky homer through and through, but I like to think I am at least a little rational. All I am saying is that if 10 of the 14 teams in the SEC are ranked in the preseason poll, maybe a team that had a 10-3 record should be one of them. And most of all, if Tennessee is ranked, Kentucky sure as hell should be too.

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UCLA Actually Thought John Calipari Was Genuinely Interested in Head Coaching Job

This is adorable.

A team from the Pac 12 that didn’t even make the NIT last season really thought they had a chance to rip John Calipari away from his dream job. According to Kentucky Sports Radio, UCLA thought that Coach Cal’s interest in their head coaching job was completely genuine.

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Calipari even had contract negotiations with UCLA. The LA Times reported:

“Among them were a contract that would pay Calipari $45 million over six seasons, a $1.7-million pool for assistant coaches, eight new staff positions, private planes for the use of the team and its coaches, and a monthly catered meal for Calipari’s staff and players. Negotiations progressed to the point that (UCLA’s senior associate athletic director Josh) Rebholz reached out to donors, seeking money to help cover all the new expenditures that Calipari’s hiring would entail, according to people familiar with Calipari’s requests.”

Calipari just trolled an entire university. He asked for less that what he was getting at Kentucky with less team perks and UCLA still could not do it even with the help of donors. Then immediately signed a lifetime deal at Kentucky that pays him $9.2 million a year.

This is exactly what is meant by the phrase “Swaggy Cal”. Make a mockery of the only other school with more national titles all while leveraging the most lucrative deal in NCAA Basketball history. Oh, and leaving UCLA with Mick Cronin.

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Good Morning from Josh Allen, the Newest Member of the Sacksonville Defense

Kentucky’s own Josh Allen was taken seventh overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars last night in the 2019 NFL Draft. For those of you keeping score at home, yes, this is the second year in a row that the seventh overall pick was used on a guy named Josh Allen. Kennedy/Lincoln level stuff.

Allen, who started out as a 2-star recruit experiment, ended up being the best defensive player Kentucky has ever seen. Mark Stoops is proving to be a great developer of talent as fellow 2-star Benny Snell expects to be picked as well.

While we are sad to see Josh Allen leave Lexington, we can sleep soundly knowing we can now what him on Sundays for years to come. But until then, let us look back fondly on the highlights of the best linebacker in the country and newest edition to the Sacksonville defense.

Best of luck, Josh.

Calipari To Visit Kerry Blackshear Jr, Looking to Recruit Experience through Grad Transfers

John Calipari reportedly plans to have an in-house visit with Virginia Tech Grad Transfer, Kerry Blackshear.

Blackshear is the top rated grad transfer on this year’s market according to ESPN. However, there is no guarantee that he will be playing college basketball again this year. He has declared for the NBA Draft and has until May 29th to make his decision.

Surely, a year under Calipari at Kentucky would strengthen anyone’s draft stock. And a commitment from Blackshear on top of the signing Nate Sestina from Bucknell would make the Wildcat front court one of the best in the nation.

John Calipari is the best recruiter college basketball has ever seen. No calls, no texts, no emails, when he wants a player he flies private to their house and tells them to their face. He shows each recruit that they are a priority and never an afterthought. So far, it has has been working pretty well with 4 Final Fours, but only one title.

Turns out relying on 18 years olds doesn’t always turn out too well. Kentucky needs experience, but the top recruits that Calipari attracts never stay for more that a couple years. Hard to develop leaders in just one season. So how is the master recruiter going to get the experience he needs? That’s right, recruit it… through grad transfers.

EJ Montgomery Enters NBA Draft

Kentucky Freshman EJ Montgomery has announced that he will test the waters of the NBA Draft. Taking advantage of the pre-draft evaluation process, Montgomery hopes to rise through the ranks to secure a first round pick. If that were to happen, EJ would forgo his Sophomore year to stay in the draft.

In an emotional Instagram post, EJ wrote:

Coach John Calipari raves about the Freshman, saying that he improved tremendously throughout the season. He has also said that he will support whatever decision he makes.

Coach Cal is known for getting his players in the NBA. Whether based on stardom like Anthony Davis or John Wall, or shear potential alone like Skal Labissiere and Daniel Orton. EJ would definitely be more on the potential side, but returning for his Sophomore season is definitely an option. Staying for a second year has proven beneficial for Kentucky bigs like Terrence Jones and PJ Washington.

Montgomery has until May 29 to decide whether or not he will remain in the NBA Draft.

Josh Allen Among 23 Prospects Confirmed to Attend NFL Draft

Josh Allen is the highest rated prospect out of Kentucky since Bud Dupree. Mel Kiper even has him in his top 3 best available and is listed as the second best Edge Rusher behind Ohio State’s Nick Bosa.

As of right now, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have Allen going 2nd overall to the San Francisco 49ers. This would make Josh Allen the highest drafted player out of Kentucky since Tim Couch was taken by first overall by the Browns in 1999.

It is every football player’s dream to be drafted in the NFL, much less, be rated so highly that they are invited to the draft itself. Few invitations are given and 23 have been accepted. These are the players that are confirmed to be in attendance on Thursday, April 25.

Of the many schools represented, only two are sending three players. As expected, they are Alabama and Oklahoma. Two other schools will be sending two players. LSU then Iowa is sending two tight ends, of course. The SEC leads all conferences by sending 11 players.

Kentucky Offers “No Hot Seat Ever” Contract to John Calipari

Death. Taxes. John Calipari on the hot seat. Year in and year out, Kentucky and Calipari has one of the best recruiting classes. And every year that Coach Cal doesn’t take that team to the championship, we get the same boring take: is John Calipari on the hot seat?

Absolutely not. But, hey. Gotta fill air time with no Zion or LeBron until next October.

from Heavy.com

With how bad of a coach the media makes Calipari out to be, it’s strange that there are respected programs that want him to be their head coach. According to Seth Davis of the Athletic, UCLA has offered Coach Cal a 6-year, $48million contract.

In response to UCLA’s interest, it has been reported by Bleacher Report and the Athletic that Kentucky has offered John Calipari a lifetime contract. Cal already makes $9.2million a year and that is only going to go up with tenure. The offer also reportedly has a clause that will allow him to stay with the team after he retires as a paid ambassador.

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USAToday

So, what does this mean? To me, it says Kentucky will get a top 5 recruiting class until God says so. I assume most of the “paid ambassador” work will be recruiting. Next, it takes John Calipari off the hot seat for good. Not that he ever was, Kentucky would never fire him (case and point), but the media loves to say that. This offer will surely get them to stop saying that right?

No. They’ll say it again in June when Kentucky doesn’t have a lottery pick.