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Joel Justus knows G-League homework a must for UK coaches now

Cade Cunningham, left, and Terrence Clarke took visits to UK at the same time.

By LARRY VAUGHT

With speculation now that Cade Cunningham could join Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd and Dashien Nix in the G-League next year — and maybe even Jonathan Kuminga — it reminded me of some things that Kentucky assistant coach Joel Justus shared before the season was halted by COVID-19.

That’s when speculation was still going on about who might or might not join the G-League. At one time UK recruited both Green and Todd while Nix made no secret of his desire to have a UK offer before he signed with UCLA. Todd signed with Michigan. Of course, both later went ahead and signed six-figure deals with the G-League. Green signed directly with the G-League without picking a college.

“You’re going to see guys who will take advantage of it (G-League). When you’re in our profession, you’ve gotta do you homework,” Justus said. “You’ve got to do your research to see the information that’s out there. ”

Remember there was speculation at one time that UK signee Terrence Clarke was close to taking the G-League money and not coming to UK. Never mind that Clarke quickly refuted that. The story still made national headlines.

“All of the guys who are coming here are going to have that opportunity at some points. It’s our job as coaches and assistant coaches to do the research,” Justus said.  “If you go back into the fall and you take a look at our steps of who we selected and who we ended up signing, there were other guys that we kind of backed away from.”

Cunningham signed with Oklahoma State, not UK. However, the Cowboys recently were banned from the 2021 NCAA Tournament — if there is one. Cunningham has the blessing of Oklahoma State to transfer and would likely be eligible at another school next year. Or he could also take a lucrative G-League offer.

There’s really not been any hints yet from Cunningham about what he’s going to do but I just can’t see him picking UK for various reasons. Just seems taking the G-League money in a year where he still doesn’t know if there even will be college basketball is a more logical choice. Then again in our world today, nothing is normal and maybe he’ll opt to stay in college. Even then, I just don’t see that choice being UK.

1 comment

  1. I don’t see him coming to UK either Larry if he decides to transfer.

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