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Men's Basketball

Former Wildcat Supports John Calipari Not Guaranteeing NIL to Players, “It Prepares You for Life”

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IAMGN Photo Network/Mark Cornelius

Since the NCAA approved guidelines to allow student-athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) in the summer of 2021, Kentucky has fallen behind, at least in the transfer portal. In the two years since, Kentucky has only brought in one transfer, that being Antonio Reeves last season.

Of course that is not for the lack of trying. This offseason alone, the Wildcats have missed out on transfers, Hunter Dickinson (Kansas) and Keshad Johnson (Arizona), who Kentucky wanted and brought in for a visit, but reportedly chose other programs due to John Calipari’s NIL stance.

What is that stance? As he has echoed in the past, Calipari is not going to guarantee money – nor playing time/role – as the Kentucky brand speaks for itself. While people have the right to disagree with that philosophy, it is the reality.

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When developing players for the NBA, a part of that is preparing them to fight for what they want. Only with their play will they earn money and playing time. Not only does Calipari’s philosophy prepare players for the next level, as former Wildcat Twany Beckham put it, it “prepares you for life”.

“Ask former athletes if life outside of hoops guarantees them anything,” Beckham said. “Ain’t nobody going to give you sh*t when your playing days are over! Prepare the athlete now!”

With that being said, there are reports that Calipari is adjusting his NIL stance slightly and forming “The La Familia Club” collective, which is an annual investment by boosters and NBA alum that will start with the upcoming 2023-24 roster.

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Men's Basketball

Kentucky Basketball Has “Pure Hoopers That Love the Game” According to Former Kentucky Guard

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Tyler Ulis coaching Robert Dillingham during GLOBL Jam.
UK Athletics | Chet White

In recent seasons, Kentucky has struggled to find players to make plays when they need it most. That hasn’t always been the case, some examples of players that had the ability to make a play to secure a win include: Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and John Wall among others.

Well speaking of some of the players I just mentioned, former Kentucky guard and current student assistant Tyler Ulis recently joined the Sources Say podcast and talked about how great this team can be this upcoming year.

Ulis calls this year’s team “pure hoopers”.

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“They’re basketball players. Hoopers. Pure hoopers, all of them. And they love the game,” Ulis said. “How me and Devin (Booker) were in the gym, me and Zay (Briscoe), me and Jamal (Murray), that’s what these guys are doing. They all want to get better — scared to fail, scared not to make it. That’s what shows they want to be great.”

As what defines a pure hooper, according to Ulis. “Anyone can make a play, anyone can get in the lane, anyone can knock a shot down,” Ulis said. “We have so many options and so much depth, it’s hard not to have fun with this team.”

With the new roster and additions to the coaching staff, the goal is for Kentucky to make a deep run into the NCAA Tournament this year. As for Ulis, he is excited to see what this year’s team can do.

“I can’t say it enough: I’m extremely excited to see how this goes. We’re deep with a lot of players, and they’re skilled.”

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Men's Basketball

Texas Women’s Basketball Takes A Shot at Kentucky Basketball

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entucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari reacts in the first half against the Providence Friars at Greensboro Coliseum.
© John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week the Kentucky basketball team caught an unexpected shot. From who? The Texas women’s basketball team. On Tuesday, the Longhorns’ social media team tweeted a video of Drake, a professed Kentucky fan, coming to visit campus and the team.

However the caption is what caught people’s attention, “we don’t have to go to Drake’s house… he comes to ours,” Clearly trying to throw a shot at Kentucky for visiting Drake’s Toronto mansion back in July, during the team’s trip to Canada for GLOBL Jam.

It didn’t take long for the Big Blue Nation to respond, as just 12 minutes later the Tweet’s caption was edited to say “thanks for stopping by🤘”.

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That being said, let’s not act like Drake made a specific trip just to visit the Texas Longhorns, he was in Austin for a stop in his music tour. Not to mention that Drake has attended multiple Kentucky games and events.

Texas will soon be in the SEC, and maybe Drake will be there in Kentucky gear to set the record straight.

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BB Recruiting

Top Kentucky Target Tre Johnson Pushes Decision Date To Spring

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UK Athletics

One of the top players in the class of 2024, Tre Johnson recently made the move to Link Academy in search of high-level competition on a big stage, which is a reason he says is why he will wait until the Spring before making a decision.

The top five guard possesses all of the scoring tools, and is a player that Kentucky really wants. He still has a few visits to take, with Alabama and Arkansas visits coming soon, plus another visit to Kansas, and another visit to Baylor. Johnson previously visited Kentucky back in late January.

Johnson has a final list of Kentucky, Baylor, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, and pro options. The Wildcats are rumored to be a top-three option long with Baylor and Texas. This delay may give Kentucky a better chance. With that said, he is not in a big rush to decide, as he is more focused on getting acclimated to his new home at Link Academy, as well as improving as a player.

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Tre Johnson is one of the best pure scorers in all of high school basketball, and is certainly being prioritized by multiple top schools. Current intel suggests that Baylor and Kentucky are the top contenders, but with him pushing back his decision, there is more time to tell.

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