What Kentucky SF Kahlil Whitney Could Be Part 2 (Exclusive Interview)

Part two of two long form on Kahlil Whitney (for part one, featuring interviews with coaches and teammates, go here)

Kentucky freshman small forward Kahlil Whitney has elite role models, both on and off the court. He models his game after another man who is 6’6″, Toronto Raptors SF Kawhi Leonard, a two time NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP and three time NBA All-Star.

Leonard is in the conversation for greatest current basketball player on the planet right now, with most people ascribing that status to LeBron James, who Whitney describes as one of his “favorite people.”

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What Kentucky SF Kahlil Whitney Could Be Part 1 (Words of Teammates, Coaches)

Part one of two long form on Kahlil Whitney (part two exclusive interview coming Thursday)

John Calipari, head coach of the #17 Kentucky Wildcats said that the guy who cheered hardest for their signature win over arch-rival and then #3 Louisville was freshman forward Kahlil Whitney.

“I looked over because I wanted to see the bench, and he went nuts,” said Calipari. “He was so happy, and he only played two minutes. It shows what kind of kid he is. Now we’ve got to get him to break through with us still winning, but he’s getting closer.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo a Big Inspiration to Blossoming Kentucky C Nick Richards

Perhaps this is Nick Richards truly “taking the leap” now? In #17 Kentucky’s 71-59 win over Missouri today, the SEC opener for both teams, the Kingston, Jamaica (by way of Hillside, New Jersey) native and Patrick School alum was 7-10 shooting, with 17 points and 8 rebounds in the first half.

Although he fouled out with 3:51 to go, the junior center finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds in 29 minutes played. It was his sixth double double this season, giving him seven for his career. In his first 74 career games, he had one double double. Now he has six in 13 games this season.

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#17 Kentucky Wildcats Get SEC Play Started Right with Win Over Missouri

We’re five days into the new year, so it’s a time for fresh starts. Perfectly embodying this motif is the tip off of the Southeastern Conference season which saw the #17 Kentucky Wildcats defeat the Missouri Tigers 71-59.  As expected, Kentucky entered SEC play as the heavy favorite to win the league, but the other teams won’t be intimated by the blue blood program from the blue grass state.

“There are so many veteran teams,” said Kentucky Assistant Coach Tony Barbee, “veteran coaches in this league that when teams go on the road, they’re not intimidated by, say, our arena or our atmosphere or our tradition because they come here every year, as opposed to non-conference play.”

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#17 Kentucky Wildcats vs Mizzou Tigers Preview, Prediction

The South Eastern Conference opener for the #17 Kentucky Wildcats is going to be a sneaky tough match-up. As has been well-documented, UK’s achilles heel this season has been three point shooting, and now they’re going up against what is arguably the best defensive team in the SEC, the Missouri Tigers, colloquially known as Mizzou.

Of the 351 teams in Division I, the Cats entered the 71-65 loss to then #5 Ohio State averaging just 4.2 3-pt makes per game (347th), 15.3 3-pt attempts per game (341st), averaging 27.5% from 3-pt range (332nd). They did of course shoot 7-23 (30.4%) from 3 in that loss, and then 7-15 (46.7%) in the OT win over arch-rival and then #3 Louisville.

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Kahlil Whitney Has the Potential to Help Take #19 Kentucky Higher

Perhaps yesterday’s dramatic overtime win, 78-70, over arch-rival and #3 team in the nation Louisville is exactly what the #19 Kentucky Wildcats need to kickstart their season. It’s very rare for UK to have three losses (Evansville, Utah and Ohio State) by Christmas, but here we are.

They narrowly avoided a fourth, and that should give them a lot of confidence and momentum heading into the SEC opener on Saturday, at home against Mizzou. Now the question remains, what will it take to get Kahlil Whitney going? UK coach John Calipari has said that in order for UK to be all that they can be, Kahlil Whitney needs to be all that he can be. 

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Kentucky Guard Tyrese Maxey Has High NBA Draft Lottery Stock

Like any freshman, Tyrese Maxey is going to have his ups and downs. As the leader in minutes played and second leading scorer on #9 Kentucky, the Wildcats will sometimes see their fortunes rise and fall along with Maxey. In his very first collegiate game, Maxey put himself on the national map in the Champions Classic in New York, scoring 26 points the day after his 19th birthday on then #1 Michigan State.

Averaging 13.1 points per game (just behind Nick Richards’ team leading 14) through the first eight games of the 2019-20 season, the combo guard was recently named to the Oscar Robertson Trophy (national player of the year) preseason watch list.

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Nate Sestina Adds to Serious Injury Woes for #9 Kentucky Wildcats

The shocking upset at the hands of unranked Evansville might be the headline story of this young Kentucky Wildcats basketball season. When the now #9 but then #1 Wildcats went down it made as much waves nationally as just about any college hoops story since season tip-off.

For those much closer to and/or inside the Kentucky Wildcats program however, the REAL story is injuries. Nate Sestina, a Bucknell graduate transfer wing who fills an important role and adds depth at a position where it’s greatly needed, is the latest UK player to get hurt. Sestina suffered a left wrist fracture that will keep him out for a little less than a month. 

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#9 Kentucky Will Have to Rely on their Defense Until Offense Clicks

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Every season brings a ton of turnover at Kentucky; they’re “young” every single year of the John Calipari era. Every spring sees a group of highly talented NBA draft early entrants depart Lexington, replaced by an incoming group of 5-star recruits, a new set of McDonald’s All-Americans.

Naturally, it takes time for the new group to gel and pick up the system. Quite often the defense is ahead of the offense, and it might not be until January or February that the offensive end of the floor really gets into a flow. This looks like one of those years, and who knows it may take even longer than usual this season.

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John Calipari Pupils Have Earned Over $2.2 Billion in the NBA

john calipari

John Calipari has succeeded, at an extremely high level, in the National Basketball Association. What an odd sentence to describe a coach whose record in the NBA was an only 72-112, right? Well, it’s not what Calipari did while leading the New Jersey Nets (1996-1999) or his stint as a Philadelphia 76ers assistant (2000) that matters in this context.

It’s the fact that Calipari-coached players have been signed to more than $2.2 billion in NBA contracts. That’s billion with a B and $1.9 billion of that came from the University of Kentucky alone. That’s more than the GDP of the nation of Belize. In fact, Kentucky led the nation with 29 former players present on NBA opening day rosters.

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ESPN College Gameday: How it Went From Transcendent to Unwatchable

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Republishing from 9-16-17

To pinpoint what’s so wrong with ESPN College Gameday in 2017, there are a couple different places from which you can start. You can begin with ESPN’s horrible bungling of the Jemele Hill and Robert Lee situations, and go from there. The same principle, that of “let’s try to never hurt anyone’s feelings ever, no matter what the cost, because hurt feelings means upset sponsors” applies across the board.

ESPN should have never apologized for what Jemele Hill said about Donald Trump.

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Coach Cal Makes Colorful Comments on SEC Allowing Alcohol Sales

john calipari

With apologies to German rockers The Scorpions, the ‘Winds of Change’ are blowing socially in college sports right now; quite strongly.

Additional states have legalized sports gambling, more states are in process and then you have even more states that are working on the getting the wheels in motion on that. Then you have the movement to allow liquor sales at college sporting events that sweeping the nation. Like sports wagering, like you can do with Pinnacle welcome bonus, this movement is a run away freight train, with no indication of slowing down right now.

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