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I'll be honest, a month ago, I had no idea who Mychal Mulder was. A month ago, all we were concerned about was Kentucky holding off Notre Dame to advance to the Final Four. If we're honest with ourselves, most of us probably expected that a month later, seven players would have declared for the draft with shiny National Championship rings on their fingers.
Seven players did declare, albeit ringless, and the two and a half weeks since Indianapolis has been a hard crash to Earth for a program so close to kissing the sun. It's easy to focus on all the recruits John Calipari has missed on recently: Malik Newman, Brandon Ingram, now Cheick Diallo; but for now, let's focus on the player he got that he really needed this afternoon: Mychal Mulder.
At first glance, admit it, you were skeptical about Mulder. A JuCo?! At Kentucky?! Upon further review, Mulder is so much more: a sharpshooter who values his team over everything. As a 46% three-point shooter, Mulder will be a much-needed outside threat for a team desperately seeking balance. To really get a measure of Mulder, let's hear about the past few weeks from his perspective.
“It was a tough decision for me. A lot of great people recruited me, a lot of things to really weigh the past couple of weeks. I just thought at the end of the day, Kentucky, playing there was probably my best chance of continuing my career after college," Mulder said. "(Calipari) told me there is an opportunity there for me and it’s my choice to grab it. That’s all I ever wanted. I don't want any promises of minutes or shots, I just want an opportunity."
JuCoRecruiting.com's Brad Winton told the Herald-Leader's Ben Roberts
Mulder is "the missing piece" Kentucky's been looking for in terms of shooting and is a "heckuva great kid" to boot. "No issues, no baggage, none of that stuff," Winton said. “Off the court, he’s going to do whatever they ask him to, for sure. He’ll be a good guy in practice, and he’ll be good as far as leading other guys, too.”
After a few weeks of misses, this is one hit the team badly needed. Especially since...
Cheick Diallo committed to Kansas
...minutes after Mulder committed to Kentucky. Coincidence? I think not. Apparently Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Briscoe, and Charles Matthews all tried to recruit Diallo over the past few weeks to no avail. And while having another long, athletic, bouncy power forward on the roster would be nice, we already have a few of those. In terms of "needs" for next season, Diallo wasn't essential, except maybe for momentum.
The ball is now in Jaylen Brown's court
This team could still use a big wing, and the second best wing in the class is still on the table in Jaylen Brown. Yesterday, Brown "trimmed" his list from eight to five: Kentucky, Kansas, California, Michigan, and North Carolina. The latest buzz has surrounded Michigan, but with Brown, no one really knows except him. He hasn't given a timetable for his announcement, although as the last uncommitted McDonald's All-American, you have to think he'll wrap this up soon.
A new name emerges: Shaun Kirk
This morning, word broke that Kentucky offered Shaun Kirk, a three-star combo forward from North Carolina. Yesterday, Kirk committed to NC State, and that night, he got a call from John Calipari extending a scholarship offer. As you might imagine, that's caused him to rethink a few things. The timing of the offer suggests Cal gave it in case he missed on Diallo and Brown, and I think that's the case; however, he was athletic enough to catch Calipari's eye this past weekend in Indianapolis.
Kirk is reportedly torn between keeping his word to NC State (he did not sign papers) or joining the most elite program in college basketball. I respect his loyalties to NC State, but to me, this is a no-brainer.
If that weren't enough...
Sterling Gibbs, a big-time grad transfer, is now available
This afternoon, another option popped up on the radar: Seton Hall combo guard Sterling Gibbs. Gibbs, who began his college career at Texas, is a graduate transfer and will be able to play immediately at whichever school he chooses. Last season, he averaged 16.3 points, 3.8 assists and was named Second Team All-Big East.
So far, we don't know if there's interest from either side, but it's something to keep an eye on over the next few days.
In good news, Louisville could be in major trouble soon
According to Insider Louisville
, the state auditor is considering launching an investigation into the UofL Foundation after recent reports revealed millions of dollars in deferred compensation payments for some of the university's top employees. AKA really shady stuff. If the audit goes through, imagine what other shady stuff they might find...
Terrence Jones overcomes rough first half to help the Rockets advance
Jones didn't start the Rockets' game vs. the Mavericks well, racking up three fouls in the first 11 minutes, but he bounced back in the second half, finishing with 15 points and 5 rebounds to help the Rockets move to Round 2 of the playoffs. Here's one of two back-to-back dunks by the Real T. Jones that sealed the win:
The Rockets will play the winner of the Spurs and the Clippers in the next round.
2016 SF Miles Bridges now has a UK offer
Bridges turned Cal's head at the EYBL event in Lexington with a 37-point, 14-rebound performance in his final game. That was enough for Cal to call Bridges tonight and give him a scholarship offer. Bridges is down to Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa State, and North Carolina, and expects to make a decision after this summer.
There's a new court at Memorial
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And if you look closely, you can see that the sidelines are checkered. I am a huge fan.
Marcus Lee, Alex Poythress and Tyler Ulis will talk to the media tomorrow
Presumably to remind us all that the sky's not falling. Even if the Cats miss on Brown, we've still got a pretty great team with talent, experience, and leadership. Right, Sam Malone?
The fact that Sam Malone calls Tyler Ulis "Gary Coleman" just made my night.