Posted on: July 29, 2009 3:18 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2009 3:19 pm

Kenny Boynton disagrees with how I ranked UK

I ranked Kentucky No. 2 in the CBSSports.com preseason Top 25 (and one) .

Florida freshman Kenny Boynton has taken issue with this decision.

“To tell you the truth, I’ve thought about it and on paper they look good, but I think we match up with them," Boynton is quoted at SlamOnline.com . "I think we have a better team. It’s going to be a real good game when we play, but I don’t think they’re as good as everyone says they are.”

Naturally, that quote has led to a poll question on the Kentucky message board .

The question: Is Kenny Boynton now (the) most hated Gator ever?

Additionally, there is a thread that began late last night that is (as I type) already approaching 100 responses.

Meantime, Florida fans are focused on football.

I can't imagine they care at all.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: July 22, 2009 11:53 pm

Selby's first game since decommitment draws crowd

LAS VEGAS -- Josh Selby came out dunking.

And then he dunked again.

And then again.

And it became pretty clear pretty quickly why his decommitment from Tennessee is considered a big deal in recruiting circles. Simply put, the 6-foot-3 point guard is a special talent -- just a unique combination of size, strength, speed and toughness, all of which made Bill Self (Kansas), John Calipari (Kentucky), Jim Calhoun (Connecticut), Billy Donovan (Florida), Josh Pastner (Memphis) and Rick Stansbury (Mississippi State) drive to a small high school auxiliary gym in the middle of a painfully hot July afternoon.

They were each there Wednesday (as were assistants from Louisville and Tennessee). What they witnessed was Selby's initial game since reopening his recruitment, and it was a dominant performance against an obviously overmatched team on the first day of the Adidas Super 64 -- one of four major summer tournaments being held this week in Las Vegas.

Selby spoke about his decommitment after the win.

He said it wasn't his decision as much as it was a "family decision."

"We just want to make sure that Tennessee is the right fit," Selby said. "It might not be."

Selby said Calipari, Calhoun, Self and Ohio State's Thad Matta have each called his mother, Maeshon Witherspoon, since word of his decommitment surfaced Sunday. Still, the consensus top 10 national recruit described himself as "wide-open" and declined to offer a list of potential destinations, although it should be noted that multiple industry sources have labeled Kentucky the leader.


The main reason, it seems, is because Witherspoon acknowledged to CBSSports.com that she met with Calipari's close friend William Wesley during the LeBron James Skills Academy earlier this month, roughly two weeks before Selby decommitted from Tennessee. In fairness, Witherspoon has downplayed the significance of the meeting and insisted that it had nothing to do with the decommitment. But most coaches familiar with the business of recruiting are skeptical that this is all just a big coincidence. And then there's Tennessee assistant Tony Jones, who supplied a vague but telling quote to the Knoxville News Sentinel .

"I'm not going to comment on any specific player, because I am not allowed to do that," Jones told the paper. "I'll just say something smells right now."

On Wednesday, Selby was asked specifically about Wesley.

His response?

"I've never met him," Selby said. "I don't know who he is."
Posted on: July 22, 2009 3:25 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2009 3:28 pm

Selby's decommitment is the talk of Vegas, so far

LAS VEGAS -- Whether I was at the Villa 7 Consortium at the Venetian on Tuesday night or a gym around town this morning, pretty much all any coach wants to talk about is Josh Selby's decommitment from Tennessee and the circumstances surrounding it. As I reported Sunday , Selby ended a 10-month commitment to the Vols this weekend -- less than two weeks after attending the Nike-funded LeBron James Skills Academy and King City Classic, where his mother told me she met with basketball powerbroker William Wesley .

As you probably know, Wesley -- more commonly referred to as "Worldwide Wes" or "Fresh Wes" or simply "Wes" -- has long been unofficially tied to Nike Basketball and certain prospects, most notably Dajuan Wagner, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, all of whom played for John Calipari at Memphis.

Now Calipari is at Kentucky.

And industry sources believe UK is the new leader for Selby.

And, well, you know.

"That kid was committed to Tennessee for almost a year, then he goes to a Nike event, the mom talks with Wes, the kid decommits from an 'Adidas' school, and now he's looking at Kentucky," said one high-major coach, noting the timeline of the developments as well as UT's apparel contract with Adidas. "Come on, man. That's messed up. I mean, that's just messed up."

It's funny.

Bruce Pearl has spent his four years at Tennessee rubbing a good portion of the coaching community the wrong way, and yet across the board people appear sympathetic toward him and the rest of UT 's staff in light of Selby's decommitment. Regardless of what's real and what isn't, seemingly everybody in the coaching profession believes Wesley influenced Selby's decision, and Selby's mother publicly acknowledging she met with Wesley before her son decommitted has only enhanced that perception.

Either way, it's the talk of Vegas, I assure you.

And it'll be interesting to see which coaches are at El Dorado High today at 5:20 p.m. ET when Selby plays his opening game with the Baltimore Assault in the Adidas Super 64. I'm unfamiliar with the Assault's roster and the team they're playing (Team Credo). But one college coach told me Selby will be the only high-major prospect on the court, meaning any high-major coach in the building will be in the building to see Selby.

I'll let you know what I see when I see it.
Posted on: July 19, 2009 4:06 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2009 4:14 pm

Selby's mom discusses decommitment

So which schools are now in play for former Tennessee recruit Josh Selby?

"We're just going to get together as a family and figure it out," Selby's mother, Maeshon Witherspoon, told CBSSports.com by phone on Sunday. "Right now we don't even know. We haven't compiled a list or anything."

Still, industry sources told CBSSports.com two schools that will almost certainly be involved are Kentucky and Oregon -- both of which have obvious connections to William Wesley, a major person of influence in the sport. Wesley (more commonly known as "Worldwide Wes" or simply as "Wes") has a close and very public relationship with Kentucky coach John Calipari, Oregon assistant Kenny Payne, and Nike Basketball.

Kentucky and Oregon are both Nike schools.

Tennessee is an Adidas school.

When asked, Witherspoon acknowledged meeting Wesley at the LeBron James Skills Academy/King City Classic events in Akron/Cleveland earlier this month. But she discounted the significance of that encounter and emphasized that this is merely a case of her son committing too early.

Selby, a consensus top 10 national recruit in the Class of 2010, committed to UT last September.

"I met Wes, but we really didn't talk; that's not a connection like everybody thinks," Witherspoon said. "It's just that we only looked at one other school before we committed to Tennessee, and it was Louisville. It was a fast decision because we were so overwhelmed with the atmosphere at Tennessee [during a visit for the UT-Florida football game], and we just want to make sure it's right. Tennessee is still an option. It's up to Tennessee if they still want to recruit him. But on our list, Tennessee is still an option."

There is speculation that Memphis might also be involved because Selby's cousins -- Will and Antonio Barton -- have committed to the Tigers, but sources told CBSSports.com that the relationship between the cousins isn't as strong as most believe. In fact, Selby didn't even really know the Bartons until they were around 9 years-old, one source said. Another source added that if it wasn't for basketball there would be little-to-no relationship between the cousins because the connection is on Selby's father's side, and Selby has been primarily raised by his mother.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: July 9, 2009 7:40 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2009 7:42 pm

Is Gilchrist really a lock for Kentucky?

CLEVELAND -- One of the things I gathered from my three days at the LeBron James Skills Academy and King City Classic is that Class of 2011 star Michael Gilchrist doesn't appear to be getting the kind of attention from college coaches that's typical of a top-ranked prospect.

The reason is simple: Everybody thinks he's a lock for Kentucky.

"I should be fired if I waste one cent recruiting that kid," said one high-major coach who apparently knows his boundaries. "[Gilchrist] is going to play for [John Calipari]. It's done. Trust me. He's playing for Cal. If you recruit him, you're wasting your time."

This perception is based on Gilchrist's relationship with Calipari confidant and basketball powerbroker William Wesley , plus a newspaper article two summers ago that quoted Gilchrist talking about how he planned to play for Calipari. Far as anybody can tell, nothing has changed even though Gilchrist has never publicly committed in a traditional way to Calipari at Memphis or Calipari at Kentucky, and that's why Gilchrist's phone isn't constantly bombarded by most of the elite programs.

It's not because he isn't talented enough.

Or smart enough.

Or good enough on a personal level.

He is all of those things, and I can't imagine there's a single school that wouldn't love Michael Gilchrist on its roster. It's just that coaches are hesitant to invest time and money into recruiting the gifted wing only to watch him sign with Kentucky in November 2010. That's the dilemma. But it should be noted that Gilchrist, his family and his high school coach are making an effort to convince schools that Gilchrist is open to being recruited by anybody and everybody. Whether it works remains to be seen.

"You talk to his mom, talk to him, they both tell me he's not automatically going to Kentucky," said Kevin Boyle, who coaches Gilchrist at St. Patrick's High in New Jersey.  "They say there is no guarantee that he's going to Kentucky, that he's pretty wide-open. So the mom is putting that out there, and I'm putting that out there, and hopefully more people will respond ... because he probably hasn't gotten a number of phone calls that you'd expect for a guy of his level."
Posted on: July 1, 2009 6:16 am
Edited on: July 1, 2009 6:25 am

The Henry family could use some PR classes

Just to recap ...

The week started with Carl Henry telling the Kansas City Star that his older son, C.J. Henry, is just as good as future Kansas teammate Sherron Collins even though C.J. hasn't played organized basketball in four years and despite the fact that he has never been considered an elite prospect. Carl added that both his sons plan to be one-and-done prospects and hinted that the reason Xavier isn't already at Kansas is because he doesn't want to go to class. Then the proud papa told a Kansas City radio station Tuesday that both his sons -- C.J. Henry and McDonald's All-American Xavier Henry -- might actually choose to enroll at Kentucky instead of Kansas because that's what Xavier wanted to do all along. But by late Tuesdya Xavier was text-messaging folks that he really is going to enroll at Kansas, cross his heart and hope to die.

Unreal, right?

In fairness, there's still a decent chance this all ends well for the Henry family.

But it sure as hell isn't off to a great start.

(Either way, I'm back to vacation .)
Posted on: June 30, 2009 7:01 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2009 7:05 pm

Stephenson & Henry aren't respecting my vacation

Lance Stephenson is committed to Cincinnati .

Xavier Henry might go to Kentucky (instead of Kansas).

I'm still on vacation ... but it doesn't really feel like it today.

Click here to follow Gary Parrish on Twitter.
Posted on: June 27, 2009 7:24 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2009 7:53 pm

Former UK player Pilgrim to visit Memphis

Former Kentucky student Matt Pilgrim is expected to visit Memphis Sunday and could announce a transfer to the C-USA school in the next week, a source close to Pilgrim told CBSSports.com on Saturday.

An initial attempt to reach Pilgrim for comment was unsuccessful.

This development is interesting because Pilgrim transferred from Hampton to Kentucky after the 2007-08 season, sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules and was expected to play for the Wildcats in 2009-10. But that all changed when John Calipari left Memphis for Kentucky, oversigned and thus needed to move players out of the program to allow his six incoming freshmen to enroll.

One of the players moved out was Pilgrim.

He did not want to leave.

And that's one of the reasons why a source close to Pilgrim told CBSSports.com that Calipari is working with new Memphis coach Josh Pastner to make this likely transition go as smoothly as possible. According to a source close to Pilgrim, Calipari and Pastner have been in contact, and Calipari has told Pastner he will not only release Pilgrim to Memphis, but that he will back Pilgrim's expected request of a waiver that, if granted, would allow Pilgrim to play for the Tigers this season.

Under normal circumstances, Pilgrim would have to sit out another year before becoming eligible in 2010-11. But the hope is that the NCAA recognizes that Pilgrim is only transferring for a second time because he was nudged out of Kentucky. In other words, Pilgrim had no say in the matter. And a source close to Pilgrim said there is precedent for the NCAA to grant a waiver under these circumstances.

Pilgrim's connection to Memphis is through Tiger assistant Glynn Cyprien.

Cyprien spent the past two years on Billy Gillispie's staff at UK.

He worked in practices with Pilgrim all last season.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com