UK prospects declare for 2012 draft during April vacation

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UK prospects declare for 2012 draft during April vacation

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

LEXINGTON, KY -- Kentucky prospects Marquis Teague, Mike Gilchrist, Anthony Davis and Kyle Wiltjer are heading to the NBA. All are five-star prospects and three rank in the top 10 in the country. The school announced Wednesday all four high schoolers -- future Wildcats -- have declared for the 2012 draft.

"The time to declare just seemed right," said Teague. "I don't have much homework right now because of April vacation."

The news came just hours after freshmen Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and junior DeAndre Liggins threw their names into this year's draft. None have signed agents, so they can return to school next fall if they change their mind by May 8.

That will never happen; this is Kentucky.

SI.com projects Jones and Knight as mid-to-high first-round picks. Liggins, a defensive specialist, could go in the first round.

The trio helped the Wildcats to their first Final Four appearance in 13 years this spring. It was an effort that some fans are calling "a tease."

"All season long coach has been tutoring me on the fine points of being a point guard," Knight said, "in the NBA."

Calipari encouraged all three players to test their prospects but added he would "would love the opportunity to continue to coach them again next season."

Nobody who has ever had contact with or has read anything about Calipari believes that.

Freshman guard Doron Lamb will come back next fall. Lamb commented that he hopes the incoming freshman class next season will help ease his loneliness. As for the fact that the four recruits have already declared for the 2012 draft: "I just try not to think about it," the less talented Lamb said before running out of the room.

The guard's return is a bright spot for he program. His status marks an increase in returning players after only one year. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton all left for the pros last year after just one season on campus. So, yeah, one guy back is better than zero.

Hall of Fame coach Bobby Knight criticized Kentucky for promoting the "one-and-done" culture over the weekend. He released an apology via ESPN on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he described himself as "totally bullshit."

From a new statement: "This 'one-and-dones' stuff is out of control. I made it personal to Kentucky and its players the other day for a reason and everybody jumped on my ass. Well, look who's right after all. If you think I'm apologizing again, you're out of your goddamn mind. Somebody find me a chair. Or Neil Reed."

Top 10 prospect Anthony Davis exploded onto the national scene during the spring of his junior year. The 6'10", 22 lb power forward garnered immediate interest from Ohio State and Syracuse, but both teams randomly fell off the map after July's evaluation period.

Calipari and his assistants were seen dressed in all black at practically every game Davis played during the summer. They carried large sacks of money, as well as swords and crossbows.

The unlawful and painful recruiting effort paid off in August when Davis committed to Kentucky. Early reports suggested that Davis "felt really bad" about the bloodshed and "didn't want anyone else to get hurt" on his behalf.

Insinuations and rumors of recruiting violations were reported by the Chicago press, but nothing was proven. In a completely coincidental event, writer Michael O'Brien's body was recently found in The Chicago River.

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Celtics-Magic preview: Orlando's poor offense gives C's chance to bounce back

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Celtics-Magic preview: Orlando's poor offense gives C's chance to bounce back

Talk about your basketball extremes.

After losing a 107-106 heartbreaker to Houston and their high-powered offense on Monday, the Boston Celtics will be in for a very different -- and less successful -- foe tonight in the Orlando Magic.

The Magic beat Washington 124-116 on Tuesday night despite John Wall’s 52-point effort, but have been one of the NBA’s most offensively challenged teams this season.

Orlando ranks near the bottom in scoring (29th, 94.6 points per game), field goal percentage (28th, .426) and Pace (24th, 96.71) this season.

But Frank Vogel’s crew has been a defensive force thus far in the East even if their record might suggest otherwise.

They rank among the league’s best in several defensive categories such as scoring defense (4th, 98.0 points per game allowed); opponent 3-point percentage (3rd, 33.0 percent), opponent 3-point attempts (4th, 23.6) in addition to allowing a league-low 8.0 made 3's per game.

That will be a stark contrast from the let-it-fly-all-night style Boston had to contend with against the high-scoring Rockets on Monday.

But this set of games is exactly why Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made of point of trying to put together a roster that was heavy on athleticism and versatility both in the frontcourt as well as on the perimeter.

Against Houston, Tyler Zeller recorded his first DNP-CD (Did not play -- coaches decision) of the season which made sense considering Houston basically plays void of a traditional center.

Orlando, that’s a different story.

Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic now coming off the bench form a physical triumvirate of big men that can cause lots of problems for a Celtics team that will look to attack the paint often.

When it comes to scoring in the restricted area, the Magic allow opponents to shoot 57.6 percent which ranks seventh in the league. They rank highly when it comes to defending mid-range shots (5-10th, 38.3 percent), corner 3's (6th, 34.5 percent) and above-the-break 3's (8th, 33.8 percent) as well.

And while they have had their issues offensively this season, their recent run of success has been in part aided by a much-improved offensive showing. In their last five games, they are shooting 48.5 percent from the field which ranks fifth in the NBA in that span. For the season, the Magic rank 28th while connecting on 42.6 percent of their shots.

Orlando’s improved shooting with a defense that’s stingy as ever, will make this a tough game for Boston to come away with a victory.

Just as the Magic seek to continue their successful ways, the Celtics come into this game with something to prove as well.

While the missed lay-ups by Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas in the final minute of Monday’s 107-106 loss certainly were factors in the game’s outcome, there were a series of miscommunications earlier in the quarter that fueled Houston’s late surge.

Following the game, Isaiah Thomas pointed out how he called out a play that Jonas Jerebko interpreted as another play the Celtics called.

The miscommunication led to a turnover and subsequent lay-up which in hindsight looms huge considering the margin of victory was just one point.

“The two play calls sound alike,” Thomas told reporters afterwards. “In the heat of battle, I have to do a better job of making sure everybody knows what play we’re running. He (Jerebko) handed the ball back to me when the play wasn’t to hand the ball back to me. That was one of the turnovers that was the key.

Thomas added, “It’s not his fault. As a group, as a point guard, I have to do a better job of letting my guys know what play we’re running. Those little things, especially on the road, those make you lose games. But that wasn’t the play that made us lose. I’m not putting this on Jonas at all.”

Indeed, this team’s success as well as their struggles are the collective efforts of all their core players, Thomas included.

And for them to get back on track, it won’t be one or two players that will make it happen.

It’ll be a team effort, the kind that will allow Boston to find success against different teams no matter how extremely different their styles of play may be.