John Calipari opens up Kentucky facilities to former Wildcats locked out

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John Calipari’s recruiting abilities seem to border on the magical. He’s pulled in three of the last four Rookies of the Year, and his current class features what is likely the top pick (Anthony Davis), along with what could be at least two other lottery selections in 2012. In short, it’s completely absurd what kind of talent he pulls. Whether it’s a result of, or a consequence therein, Calipari also has quite a bit of pro basketball celebrities rifling through the halls of Lexington. LeBron James is notoriously close to the program through Calipari’s friend William Wesley. Jay-Z through the same network. In short, Calipari has heavily leaned on pro connections either as perks in recruiting or simple benefits to UK players.

And now there will be even more pros hanging about. Calipari took to Twitter to say that he had invited all former Wildcat players to use the UK facilities during the lockout. He also offered to help them get set up for classes should they want to finish degrees.

Now, obviously UK will have to be careful with pro players “invited” by Calipari interacting with any recruits. Then again, considering what Calipari is already laden with as far as a reputation, hard to see anything hurting him at this point. On the flip side, though, this could be a beneficial thing. Getting DeMarcus Cousins into a regular workout schedule with his good friend John Wall will provide him with structure. The concerns about Cousins have never been about off-court transgressions, but there have been worries about his conditioning. Working with Wall and Eric Bledsoe might prevent that. And hey, if Rondo shows, he and DMC can have a glaring contest. They should broadcast that if it happens.

 

(HT: IamaGm.com)

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.