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What impact does losing five-star center N’Faly Dante to Oregon have on Cats?

EJ Montgomery (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky fans have been hoping that both Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery would be vastly better players for the Wildcats this season.

Now they really have to hope that is true after five-star center N’Faly Dante picked Oregon over UK today after reclassifying to the 2019 class as he had been widely expected to do.

John Calipari had N’Faly on campus for an official visit in June and it was no secret the UK staff was doing everything possible to get him to bolster this season’s team. Many close to the UK staff felt N’Faly was going to pick the Cats even though most national recruiting analysts had favored Oregon to get the 7-footer for quite some time.

It was another miss for Calipari for the 2019-20 season when it comes to big. It started when perhaps the No. 1 player in the class, James Wiseman, picked Memphis over Kentucky. Isaiah Stewart opted for Washington over Kentucky even though high school teammate Keion Brooks Jr. picked UK. Virginia Tech transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. , the nation’s top grad transfer, flirted with Kentucky but opted for SEC rival Florida over the Cats.

Kentucky did get Bucknell grad transfer Nate Sestina to join the program but that still leaves Calipari with one less big than he wanted and could help push him to where he plays a smaller, more versatile lineup next season with the abundance of perimeter players he has.

But there’s no need for panic. Montgomery was a McDonald’s All-American and top 15 player nationally in his recruiting class. Many thought he would have been a  high second-round draft if he had kept his name in the NBA draft. Look for dramatic improvement in his production with no PJ Washington and Reid Travis to play behind this year.

Richards is another McDonald’s All-Americans. He’s yet to meet the lofty expectations that Calipari continues to want from him. Don’t forget he did start 37 games his freshman year and now he will be playing his third year at Kentucky. Numerous schools would love to have him.

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  1. Non what so ever and now Mike and Catmandoo think the world has ended

    1. On another note Cal has be hinted that he will play small this season with the loaded front court we got. This team will be playing an fast

    2. It will be fun watching you, Hornet, and the Pup squirm and try and defend Cal’s track record with the Bigs in 2019…yes he is 0-9 and that is shocking and almost laughable…..almost. Dana Altman is just another coach that now owns Cal. How many more will there be? We are coming to the point where Cal won’t even be able to finish second behind some of these others. Cal continues to slip and slide when it comes to bringing in the beef and developing once he does. You Rah, Rahs might want to start considering whom the next coach at UK will be.

      1. * Comment not worth saving

        1. Wah, Wah!

      2. Signing bigs are important, right on, but doing so does not guarantee a national championship, ask Coach K. Him and the Duke blue devils didn’t get any further than UK did last season in the “big dance.” Even with what some of the national talking heads said was the greatest big man to ever suit up. Apparently they never payed to much attention to the play of UK’s Anthony Davis.

  2. Too many cooks in the kitchen type handlers on this kid…not to diminish his talent, but I think we end up better without him. The added minutes our 3 other bigs get will benefit us more later in the year. Look around, the sky isn’t falling.

  3. Can you say BILLY DONOVAN???

    1. UK don’t need Dante. As for Donovan, he is a good coach, but he needs to win about another 250 more games, at the college level, in order too catch up with Calipari. Calipari has a higher winning percentage than Billy as a college coach, that is fact. The last Florida team Donovan coached at Florida, before he went to the NBA, was a disaster. They finished with a 16-17 record as I recall. By that time he was getting tired of the college game and bolted for the NBA, for the millions I might add. He is on record saying he does not want to return to the college game, but it could happen I suppose. He ain’t exactly set the world on fire coaching in the pro ranks either, and is under the gun with the Thunder front office. But I will cut him some slack there. IMO, he will probably wind up as an NBA assistant very soon if he don’t start producing some NBA championships, at least a better playoff record.

      Let’s see, nineteen years at Florida and Donovan won only two NC’s.? That ain’t so hot under your standard is it Dukemandoo. Under that scenario, Calipari is right on schedule ain’t he? The only reason Donovan won two NC’s back to back is the team of Noah, Harford, Humphrey, Brewer, and Green came back . If some of Cal’s stars had come back, let’s say the 2011-12 team, UK would probably have 3 or 4 NC’s by now. You are all wet as usual.

  4. The word is out. If you are an elite big and want to get better, don’t go to UK. Calipari’s offense is geared to guards and wings….and that doesn’t win championships nor produce No. 1 draft picks. Rah Rah Rah!!!

    1. UK has all the bigs they need right now, plus outstanding talent and experience at guard and forward. This could be Calipari’s best team yet. I expect UK to be a real terror in 2019-20. Could be No. 2 for Calipari and No. 9 for the UK Wildcats. Then dude…… you will be toast on this site.

  5. Mike, I don’t defend Cal I support him regardless weather I agree or don’t agree with him. You and Catmandoo can cry all you want it doesn’t mean a damn thing to me.

    1. Cats79, we got these two on record here, keep your powder dry my friend. Their day is coming. Calipari will prove once again why he is a HOF’er. When he does these two yappers will try and climb back on the band wagon. Just wait and watch.

  6. Pup, you are also on record. When Donovan becomes our next coach, it will be time for you to Rah Rah for Lousyville. You have said too many negative things about Billy to be a Rah Rah for him when he gets here. Until then, I am content to make you miserable. If you believe what you say about Calipari, you wouldn’t pay any attention to my posts or Mike’s. On the contrary, you are Captain Rah Rah and you have to refrute every negative post out of fear that others will join me in calling for a new coach. Everyone here knows what you are and they also know what Calipari is becoming…a good guy who is an average coach that can’t win national titles anymore….he is one and DONE.
    Oh, I almost forgot…Rah Rah Rah.

    1. Yeah you are right, it is you and Mike all alone. Who else agrees with your nonsense on this site, name another. If Donovan ever did become the head coach at UK, he would be under constant attack by you two mental giants after every game, win or lose. You two wouldn’t change. Also he would be done in about two years too, according to you two. Especially if he failed to win a NC, or lost out on a top recruit. You are full of it Catman. By the way, did you really play for UK, what is your real name? Would we recognize it?

      For now, let us real fans enjoy a moment of silence…..SHOOOO! Listen…..Lifetime Contract!! Whooope!!! And while I am at it, thanks for the title of Captain Rah Rah, I like it. That is nice to be known as such. I am Captain Rah Rah folks, you heard it on VV’s first by the Catmandoo. I watch UK rise in every sport and fulfill my destiny. Finally, if fate has it that Billy Donovan is hired eventually by UK, I would support him, why? Because I am Captain Rah Rah.

      1. Pup, that would be like you. Bad mouth Billy Donovan saying he is no good and then stick your nose up his butt when he becomes the next coach at UK. You are just a mouthy Rah Rah that most of BBN is sick of hearing. Calipari will move on in 2022 and you will be exposed for the know nothing that you are. You are a blight on the reputation of BBN and should leave when Calipari leaves. Good riddance.

        1. Well let’s see Catman, let’s look at this logically. I support current UK players and coaches in UK’s basketball program, and players and coaches in UK’s football program, especially when they are performing well, like now, at this point in UK sports history. On the other hand, all you do is complain about everything involving UK sports. I have not said anything about Donovan that isn’t true. So, according to Mr. Know it all Catmandoo, I’m a blight on the reputation of BBN. Really?

          Are you well? Listen, are you handicapped in anyway? Look, take a deep breath and relax, UK will be ok with or without Dante, and I don’t want to cause you any undo stress by pointing out the fallacy of your thought patterns. But that said, do you know who you are messing with? You are messing with Captain Rah Rah, and I have friends in high places dude.

      2. He is frozen at the mouth Hornet1 when that subject comes up, he surely is. He must have a bona fide reason, for I have tried unsuccessfully to lift his true handle on this No. 1 UK “FAN” site. We would probably give him his due should he reveal his true identity, and we swell with pride. A real Wildcat needs respect. By the way, I played for the Cincinnati Bengals, but I will stick to my handle, LarryPup, hope you understand.

        Too switch subjects here, If I may. if Calipari ever does leave UK sometime during the next 25 years, the next coach will not be good enough for these two sports giants, just be prepared for that. The Mikester and Catmandoo I refer too. Why, even Billy D, the man who turned UK down already, when he expressed no interest in the job, imagine that? These twins of like thoughts and hopes, have put themselves on a lonely Island, partially exiled by us all, I might add. In conclusion, and as expectations go, Calipari may not win a NC in 2019-20, but 9 is coming soon, and these two pilgrims have eliminated any possibility of getting back on the Big Blue Train. It pains me to have to say it, but as Captain Rah Rah, I have a duty to my constituents, the loyal fans of the BBN. As we say so much with great vigor, On On UK!!!!

  7. Hey Catman, you might be on to something when it comes to Coach Cals replacement, however I think you have the wrong Florida coach. Mike White would be my choice over Donovan at this stage of the game.

    1. Good call…he would definitely be on my short list..life after Cal…change will be good for all!!…Pup and Hornet would be on suicide watch though.

      1. Woe!! Mike, you mean you don’t agree with your soul buddy Catmandoo, who thinks BD already has the job locked up. Man I can’t imagine that! The guy on suicide watch when Cal RETIRES, and BD is not hired, will be Catmandoo. He is way out on that limb. I thought you and him were in lock step. Don’t you two talk on the phone and plan your talking points?

        You know, it is interesting to see Catmandoo and you (it rhymes)…. pop off on this site, and down John Calipari, after all this man has done for Kentucky basketball in 10 seasons. Very petty IMO. Apparently the brain trusts at UCLA didn’t agree with you two geniuses about his fading star status. They offered him a reported $48 mil to be their head coach.

        Lifetime UK contract boys. He is here at UK until he retires from college basketball, and I don’t think he really wants an NBA job. He has already done that gig, and even turned some down offers of late, if rumors are true. Also, $9.2 mil a year ain’t bad where he is at. But I guess money could talk on the NBA side. That would be the only way he leaves UK. As for his recruiting, he has many years ahead at UK to prove you two yappers dead wrong.

        1. Wonder how many of Cal’s peers at the top have gone 0-9 on their target list?..My..how the mighty of fallen, Catmandoo’s projection of 2022 departure looking pretty good isn’t it?

    2. Mike is a good coach and is getting better every year. If Donovan retires or dies before 2022, White would be a good man to talk to. Florida has a better chance of winning it all this year than we do. If that happens, white will stay at Florida.

  8. While I’m not done with Coach Cal by a long shot, I’m always looking at options after he decides he’s had enough..has nothing but my total respect for what he has accomplished at Kentucky.

    1. Agree with you on all of that also with exception of mostly all misses with bigs last couple of years. Can’t imagine his ego having to cope with that either. Obviously there are some cart riders on coaching staff as well.

      1. What a suck up comment Mike. But hey it is a nice change of pace for you, nice. That said, I can’t let you try and weasel your way back on the band wagon just yet though. You have trashed Calipari on this site time and time again, saying he can’t coach, can’t recruit, is not a good X and O coach, on and on. As Captain Rah Rah, you will have to earn a spot on the Rah Rah team. One little suck up comment will not do it. Did you check with Catamndoo before you posted that?

        1. You do have to carry everything to the extreme don’t you? You continue to expose your insecurity. I have complimented Cal over the long haul more than I have criticized. The positives are: 1, He is a tireless worker and great recruiter cept the Bigs last couple of years. 2, He is a great ambassador for the university and basketball in general. 3. He seems like a very nice guy with a great family. 4. He is a good X and O coach but not a great one IMHO..many pundits a lot smarter than me have said same over the years. 5. OND fatigue has taken some toll on me over the years. I am more concerned with additional banners than I am augmenting family incomes and fortunes. 6. He does seem to have more than his share of brain cramps at critical times during games. He really is an under achiever for the quality and quantity of recruits he has brought in, and I do not have confidence that he will produce # 9.

            • Cats79 on August 14, 2019 at 8:19 pm

            Mike I understand your point and a good point about Cals coaching ablitys at game time critical points. That why I support him regardless what happens just got to move on. I’ve Coach K and Roy say same thing wish they have done differently. Mike the point I’m saying it’s easier saying what we could have done that what Cal should have done at the spur of moment.

          1. Mike, Captain Rah Rah here. You started your above post off well, you really did, with a list of Calipari’s positives. I think if one reads your list, the positives outweigh the negatives. But, as usual, you didn’t finish well. I just can’t let you back on the band wagon or on the Rah Rah team. You will have to do better. If Cal does win No. 9 soon, where will you hide?

  9. All I’m gonna say you don’t have a big man to win championship. Duke proof that point last year.

  10. I will say this coach Cal and coach k of. Duke will have there shining moments before they will retire.

  11. It’s been a hoot to read all the comments from the best Cats fans ever, so lets just put the hammer down, the pedal to the metal and watch our latest addition of Cats kick everyone’s ass-Go Cats!

  12. Pup is really a better and easier target than Cal.

  13. Mike you are right but Pup is just a Rah Rah. It’s kinda hard to get much satisfaction from punking a Know Nothing.

    1. Catmandoo you are back, hey tough guy, tell us your real name.

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