Florida Gators: John Calipari

SEC's lunch links

March, 5, 2014
The "10-second rule" has been the hot topic in college football this offseason, and the debate raged on Tuesday with Nick Saban speaking out on the issue. As we all await Thursday’s vote, see what else is going on in the SEC with today’s lunch links.
Trey LylesCourtesy David Dixon/tnl1.comNo. 4 recruit Trey Lyles trimmed his list to Kentucky, Louisville, Florida and Butler this week, but it could come down to a battle between John Calipari and Rick Pitino.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Trey Lyles cut his final college list to four earlier this week down here at the Peach Jam, and the onetime Indiana commit kept the dream alive when both Louisville and Kentucky remained in the hunt.

Lyles is a stud, ranked No. 4 in the ESPN 100. Think a 6-foot-9, 250-pound version of Tim Duncan. Not overly athletic, but super skilled and with an extremely high IQ. The senior power forward out of Arsenal Tech in Indianapolis can score with both hands in the paint, has terrific touch around the basket, can bury shots from midrange, and can even step out beyond the arc and drain shots from deep.

No. 1 point guard Tyus Jones and No. 1 overall Jahlil Okafor have soaked up the majority of the headlines in the 2014 class thanks to their talents and their willingness to play together in college, but Lyles could have as much of a winning impact as anyone in this entire group. He’s a versatile scorer who can rebound, pass and help lead a team. He’s more than capable of being a double-double guy as a freshman in college thanks to his rebounding instincts.

Florida and Butler also made the cut in Lyles’ final four, but this one could very well come down to a Battle of the Bluegrass. In fact, many of those close to this recruitment feel it will ultimately be John Calipari vs. Rick Pitino.

Biggest threat to Kentucky's No. 1 class 

November, 21, 2012

Kentucky’s dominance of the recruiting landscape has never been greater than it is right now, and for good reason. John Calipari’s won his first national championship last year, stars Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were taken with the first two picks of last year’s NBA Draft and the team has achieved unprecedented television exposure, giving college basketball’s greatest salesman a whole lot of new material to sell recruits on.

The Wildcats are so far ahead of everyone else in their 2013 recruiting class that our coverage of the early signing period has essentially removed them from the discussion, comparing Kentucky’s current recruiting class only to some of the best in history and, today, rating every other class in the country, after Kentucky.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Looks like Patric Young’s right ankle is doing just fine.

Florida’s sophomore center showed no sign of the nagging injury that has plagued him since the middle of January against Kentucky on Sunday. That’s one bit of good news for the Gators, as they head into this week’s Southeastern Conference Tournament on a three-game losing streak.

Young scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds in UF’s 74-59 loss to top-ranked Kentucky in front of 12,113 at the O’Connell Center. It was the most points he’s ever scored in an SEC game and just four points shy of his career-high 25 against Arizona on Dec. 7. Young went 10-for-15 from the field and took the ball right at UK’s formidable frontcourt of Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones.

"Patric Young was a beast," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "Patric Young plays like that they’re fine in postseason. They’re fine.

"Patric, whatever you had for breakfast this morning, eat it [again], because he dominated us. He was really, really good."

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Top-ranked Kentucky’s 74-59 victory over Florida wasn’t about going 16-0 in the Southeastern Conference.

[+] EnlargeAnthony Davis
Kim Klement/US PresswireKentucky forward Anthony Davis reacts after he made a 3-pointer in the second half of a 74-59 win against Florida.
It wasn’t about setting a school record for the most regular-season victories.

Or solidifying its claim to the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

All those things are important, but UK coach John Calipari made Sunday’s game about something else: pride.

"I told them prior to the game, 'Look, bottom line is if we lose we’re still No. 1 seed [in the Southeastern Conference tournament]. It doesn’t change our seeding. It doesn’t do anything, but it’s about pride. And I know you guys want to win. Just play to win and if they beat us, they beat us,’ ” Calipari said. "That was the message prior to the game: Just go have pride and play."

Considering how the Wildcats (30-1, 16-0) dominated the 13th-ranked Gators (22-9, 10-6), it’s hard to imagine how well they would have played had there really been something on the line. Kentucky outscored Florida 40-28 in the paint, blocked nine shots, held the Gators to 38.2 percent shooting, and turned the ball over just six times.

Anthony Davis nearly had a triple-double -- 22 points, 12 rebounds, and six blocks -- and Terrence Jones had 19 points, four rebounds and three blocks to help Kentucky win its 22nd game in a row and become the third UK team to post a 16-0 conference record (1996 and 2003)

"That’s as good as we played all year," Calipari said.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Some quick initial thoughts after No. 1 Kentucky dismantled No. 7 Florida 78-58 on Tuesday night at Rupp Arena, where UK is now 48-0 under John Calipari:

Overview: Florida is the most talented team Kentucky has played in several weeks, but the Gators were simply outmatched in just about every phase of this one. The Wildcats played stifling defense, holding one of the nation's highest-scoring and best-shooting teams to just 35 percent from the field and 6-of-27 on 3-pointers (the six makes were a season-low). Meanwhile, they got to the rim nearly at will and hit 9-of-15 3s (a season-high 60 percent) themselves to bust the game wide open in the second half. Yep, this is the No. 1 team in the country.

Turning point: After trailing 38-26 at the half, Florida scored two quick buckets to get back within eight points. John Calipari called timeout 58 seconds into the half, and his team responded with a quick 11-0 run to seize momentum by the throat. Marquis Teague and Darius Miller hit 3-pointers during the run, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist capped it with a pretty spin move for a layup and a foul.

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McElwain discusses new Florida football
SEC Network's Greg McElory and Booger McFarland sit down to discuss the future of Florida football with head coach Jim McElwain.