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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / February 22.
  • Calipari Making a Run at Cory Joseph

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    **Click the Video Player at right for my interviews with Tom Konchalski, where he talks New York and New Jersey high school playoffs and recruiting**

    CALIPARI MAKING A RUN AT CORY JOSEPH

    Just when you thought recruiting of the high-level senior guards had settled down comes the news that Kentucky coach John Calipari is making a run at Cory Joseph.

    Calipari was in Las Vegas Monday to scout the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Joseph, a senior McDonald’s All-American at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep who had previously cut his list to Villanova, UConn, Texas, UNLV and Minnesota.

    “He was out here Monday. He came to practice,” said Findlay coach Michael Peck, coach of the defending national champions.

    Peck said Calipari did not explicity offer a scholarship, but he assumed that’s what the coach had in mind.

    “I’m assuming this time of the year him coming out personally was a pretty clear indication, I think that’s the case,” Peck said.

    Joseph could not be immediately reached for comment, but Peck said he doesn’t think Joseph has altered his list of five schools.

    “I don’t think he’s opening up [his recruitment] but that’s not 100 percent,” Peck said. “You kind of feel honored to have a head coach of Cal’s caliber to come out at this time of the year to make a special tirp for that purpsoe but I think  Cory was impressed and felt flattered.”

    Peck believes Joseph will choose from his orginal five but said anything is possible in recruiting.

    “Cory hasn’t done anything in terms of adding anybody to the list of five,” Peck said. “I spoke with him the other day. We end our regular season this weekend at home. He’s going to use March as his month to really isolate and spend some time thinking about his options and hopefully by the first part of April he’ll have a good idea about what he’s gonna do.”

    Still, Peck didn’t rule out that Joseph would consider Kentucky, which is also involved with guards Brandon Knight, Josh Selby and Doron Lamb.

    “You and I both know we’ve seen crazier things happen with kids,” Peck said. “Could that happen? Absolutely. Could a 16 seed beat a 1 seed? I don’t know and I dont’ know if I expect that.”

    Calipari likes long and athletic guards and will need at least one to replace John Wall, the likely No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, and possibly two if fellow frosh Eric Bledsoe goes to the NBA.

    Could his sudden interest in Joseph reveal an indication that he’s not as confident about getting some combination of Knight, Lamb and Selby?

    “I just think at this time of the year they’ve probably looked at it and he probably looks at thier roster and sees there’s a good chance that there’s a few guys that are going to leave next year.

    “Like the fans and the the staff, they’ve enjoyed the success and they want to continue that success year in and year out. Everybody knows you need players.”

    Findlay has two games this weekend before wrapping up the season at the ESPN Rise National Invitational April 1-3.

    (Photo courtesy Memphis Commercial Appeal)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • Did CJ actually take an official visit to UNLV? or unofficial.
      Other schools are calling.

      So, Josh is close to making his decision?
      Kansass is not looking good..

      • Where exactly does it say Selby is close to a decision and how would that not look good for Kansas?

    • Jessie you’re so blind to anything outside of Kentucky. Try commenting and responding like a national basketball fan, instead of a fan of your own school. If u did that then you would know, KU and Zona lead for Selby with KU probably out front. If anything this story makes it seem like Selby’s not going to UK, and if that’s the case, then it’s probably KU who he’s gonna pick!!!! You’re greatly mistaken.

      • Actually you’re greatly mistaken; Jessie is a ‘zona wildcat fan.

    • Jessie really posts idiotic comments. His/her own AZ fan base wishes he would fall off the map. Its obvious he has no basketball intellect whatsoever.

      He/she obviously fears Kansas. lol

    • I am a U of A fan, and even I am embarrased of Jessie. Clearly Selby has Arizona and Kansas as his favorites (both are well established programs, usually with great point guards), but you can never count Calipari out. I heard somewhere that he is decent at recruiting!

    • Kentucky going after Joseph it is clear that Selby and Lamb are going elsewhere. (Kansas or Arizona)

    • Jessie, you are an effing tool. I think it actually looks good for KU and unfortunately, your Wildcats. How this can not be seen by you as a Knight to Florida, Selby to KU and Lamb to UA scenario is beyond me. I know you’re a total homer, but get a clue.

    • you are forgetting that Cal did land the #1 and #3 point guards in the country and DOES play them together. And you realize it WOULD be possible to play Selby Knight and Lamb TOGETHER in UK’s system. Im in no way saying that we are going to land all three cuz we’re not. Probably wont land even two. And we would be lucky to land one. But you Arizona fans are crazy to think that your getting the #1 recruiting class in America.

      • By you Arizona fans, do you mean JessieWildcat?

        Yeah, we Arizona fans don’t associate ourselves with him, so get a clue! Not one person besides JessieWildcat said we would have the #1 recruiting class.

        And if you think Selby, Knight, and Lamb are gonna play together you’re crazy! Both Selby and Knight are one and dones and they both want to be the superstar for their team to up their draft status the following year, why compete against each other on the same team? Ain’t gonna happen.

        I think Knight stays in Florida, Selby goes to Kansas, and Lamb goes to Arizona.

    • Cal will pick who he wants and leave the table scraps for the peasants to fight over . This is how it should be for the best coach in basketball .

      • I can’t wait until Calipari gets Kentucky into NCAA trouble then bolts to another school, just like he did to UMass and Memphis.

        Congrats, you have the slimiest coach in America.

        Sure, you will have short term success, but not long term.

        • ^^^THIS^^^

        • And I cant wait for ‘zona fans to quit claiming this amazing streak of 25 tournament appearances. ’99 was vacated by the NCAA. If Cal’s don’t count, Lute’s don’t count! By the way, didn’t your school just put themselves on probation recently? I know, I know, your going to start explaining the circumstances… well sorry, if your going to start throwing stones, you might want to get out of that glass house your standing in!

    • I will guarantee you that WHEN Selby visits UK next weekend, and Caliapri tells him I want you to lead my team next year, he will go to UK. All you KU homers are forgetting that UConn is in great position with Josh as well. I just don’t see how Florida would get Knight with Walker and Boynton there, and no legit talent around them. Miami would actually make more sense. I still think Kentucky gets Knight.

      • Miami and UK are better for Knight, because he would be able to start next year for sure. I am very excited for the chips to start falling. I can not wait for Selby’s visit next Saturday. If he was impressed by Kansas’s fans…wait until he walks into Rupp on senior day against rival Florida. Kansas has the edge IMO, but it could even out next week.

    • Cal is having success with 2 point guards this year because he has a big frontline . Going after multiple PG’s again may be indictitive that Cousins will stay . He’s a lottery pick physically but still in the 8th grade emotionally .

      • Money ALWAYS wins the battle. Unless a player comes from an extremely wealthy family, otherwise there is too much pressure and temptation to leave early and take the money with guaranteed contracts.

        Do you think Cousins goal in life was to play at Kentucky or go to the NBA? The NBA of course! He followed Cal to Kentucky, so why wouldn’t he leave if he know he was a Top 10 player?

        Sorry, but Wall and Cousins are gone for sure, maybe even Bledsoe.

    • AZ,

      Is it TRUE?

      After your breaking news of CJ, SELF rushed to contact CJ ,again.
      The first wasn’t so good. CJ didn’t even put Kansass on his top 5.

      Like a little puppy.

      Self’s recruiting approach…follow the big dog. Follow Cali actions.

      LOL

    • PS-

      Bledsoe is not even close to NBA quality.
      Another year at UK, for sure.

      Even the advisor-coach can tell you this.

    • Poor Jessie is mad because #1 KANSAS has Jeff Withey and UW has Abdul Gaddy. Keep crying and hating on #1 KANSAS, nobody cares. Stand in line. LOL

      Will poor jessie be sad and bitter again when Terrence Jones signs with UW?

      I am in the Pacific Northwest, and I know these things. Terrence has been tearing up the competition in these parts. I am sure Jones would rather play with the quickest and best backcourt in the PAC10, and alongside highly touted recruit Kanter.

    • What are you talking about, dude?

      1. Abdul Gaddy sucks and was BIG TIME overrated.
      2. Jeff Withey is the biggest mama’s boy in the NCAA.
      3. Who cares where TJ goes – they’re not recruiting him.
      4. I don’t really follow the Pac10 – who has the quickest and best backcourt, Cal?
      5. From what I understand, Kanter isn’t committed anywhere and will NEVER play college basketball. There’s a reason he has been to like 3 high schools this season year and has committed and decommitted to several schools. He has also played pro ball in Europe. He’s going to be ineligible.

      Please enlighten us since you’re in the Northwest and know stuff.

      By the way, Bledsoe is definitely NBA caliber but would be smart to come back for one more year in which he wouldn’t be overshadowed by his more talented teammates. He would be late 1st round this year but possibly lotto material next year. From what I’ve heard, Calipari was in LV checking out Joseph’s teammates primarily.

    • Actually Kentucky is recruiting Jones and they’re probably near the top of his list.

    • Newsflash: if Lake Clifton keeps winning in the playoffs Selby will miss the UK visit. Ouch.

      Jessie, again your posts make no sense. Are you a 12-yr-old? FYI Zona looks great tonight vs. Cal.

      I’d love to see UA vs. UNC in the National Championship game…of the NIT.

    • Joseph looks like the next Marcus Williams for UConn, but I enjoy reading the UA and KU posts. Anyway, UConn will get Joseph, Selby, or Knight to play alongside future NBA Star Kemba Walker next year

    • So Kanter has to sit out 3-6 games. Wooptie dooo!! And Terrence Jones is UW bound up I-5 to play for Lorenzo Romar and get guaranteed playing time with the departure of QP. I am not a Husky fan, but UW is looking tough next year.

      The pac 10 is weak anyway and the only reason they get one team in the tourney this year is because of the automatic bid. Then its one and done in Spokane.

    • 1. Abdul Gaddy sucks and was BIG TIME overrated.
      2. Jeff Withey is the biggest mama’s boy in the NCAA.
      3. Who cares where TJ goes – they’re not recruiting him.

      Izzy would not make such foolish statements had they been able to secure any recruits. Typical though. lol

      Oh, and that mama’s boy is part of the #1 team in the nation, as they just clinched their 6th. straight big 12 title. The big 12/pac10 challenge is a joke! The pac will never ever win it, I would rather see more competition in a big 12/big east challenge.

    • Sorry, I thought that Jessie Wildcat was an Arizona fan. I’ve heard Kentucky, Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma and UCLA for Jones.

    • kemba walker is gonna bolt after this year. I would bet money on that.

    • Foolish statements? Which statements are you referring to?

      I’ve seen Gaddy play several times both in high school and college and I’ve been completely underwhelmed. Wasn’t he a top 5 PG recruit and top 20 overall recruit? He’s not quick, not athletic, can’t shoot, doesn’t rebound well for his size or take care of the ball (1.4:1 a/t ratio) and he has been in perpetual foul trouble. He looked absolutely lost in the McDonald’s AA game. I’m glad we didn’t recruit him.

      As for Withey, he’s pretty much a bench warmer for the #1 team in the nation. He hasn’t played more than 12 minutes in any game this year, not even in blowouts. Everybody here in San Diego knows the story of the Withey family – and it ain’t pretty. The lack of playing time is going to cause major problems for Coach Self. I hope Self knows what he’s gotten himself into.

      As for our 2009 recruiting class, last time I checked it was top 10 in the country in a down year. We’ve got Kyrie Irving, Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton coming in next season. It looks promising that we’ll end up getting Austin Rivers in 2011 and we’re heavily involved with a whole slew of other 4 and 5 star underclassmen. If I were you, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over our recruiting class – worry about your own. Or maybe you were refering to Arizona’s class? I doubt it because their new coach signed like 4 or 5 excellent recruits in about three weeks time. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t their class turn out to be much better than it was originally supposed to be? Top 10 or 15 in the country, maybe? Certainly better than UW.

      While I’m an ACC guy, I can attest to the fact that the Pac 10 is definitely NOT a joke. Living in So Cal, I love watching the Pac 10 style of play. IMHO, it’s the next best thing to watching the ACC. The P10 is custom made for putting players into the NBA and the conference has been doing so at a record pace. Some of the kids are so good, I wish they would stick around a little longer so I could watch them play. The conference has sent as many players to the first round of the NBA draft over the past 3 years as the Big East and Big 12 combined!!! The Pac 10 has also lost more underclassmen to the NBA draft in the past two years than the ACC, Big Ten and SEC combined. I can’t understand why any kid would want to play there :).

      And why is it that you don’t think the Pac 10 will ever win the P10/B12 Challenge? Are you senile? The Pac 10 won the inaugural challenge rather easily in 2007. In 2008, the Pac Ten had a down year by its lofty standards and still managed to end up with a tie. The majority of the P10’s wins that year were by double digits including Arizona’s 17 pt thrashing of KU, Washington’s 18 pt win over OSU and Stanford’s 55 point humiliation of Texas Tech. A very good Oklahoma team barely survived 73-72 in Norman against a very average USC team. Same thing was true for good Texas A&M and Texas teams at home against mediocre Arizona and UCLA. Sorry, but I think that the Pac Ten is going to dominate this battle again when it recovers from its mass NBA exodus in a year or two. The Big 12 would definitely be better off playing against the Big East though, I agree.

      And you say that KU has won 6 straight big 12 title? Very impressive! Sounds like they could use a little competition within their own conference. As for out of conference, home games against Fort Hays St, Hofstra, Pittsburg St, Central Arkansas, Oakland, Tennessee State, Alcorn State, Radford, Belmont don’t really impress me. If you want to make sure you’re tourney tested, you have to play against teams that have a shot at making the tournament. You also need to play some quality non-conference road games.

      As for Kanter, he will be ineligible both academically and athletically. His situation is much worse than you think, possibly worse than that of Renardo Sidney. If he does go find a way into school, I doubt it will be at a reputable school like UW. I do hope that TJ stays on the West Coast, although I don’t really care which school he chooses. Maybe he’ll go to Oregon and save Ernie Kent’s job. You say that UW is looking tough next year but look at how mediocre they have been all season in an absolutely terrible Pac 10. Do you really think that losing an established, senior leader like QP and replacing him with TJ is going to make Washington a better team? I’m not so sure about that. Wasn’t Washington #15 in the preseason AP poll and the favorite to win the conference this year? What happened? Now, maybe if you had a decent point guard and an inside game……

      • izzy,

        you are slow. keep your insular opinions to yourself unless you want me to ruin your day with facts.

        that is all.

        • please ruin my day with facts. i would love to hear them. maybe you can teach me something.

          would you like me to teach YOU how to form sentences? see wonedad23 type. see wonedad23 spew nonsense. shat is all.

          I’m Out.

    • Izzy, I’m not too worried about Jeff Withey. Bill Self obviously knew what he was getting himself into. No individual is ever bigger than the program at KU. If it doesn’t work out for him next the Jayhawks have plenty of depth.

      As for weak competition, you’re trying to be clever and list the cupcakes on KU’s schedule (and every school has them). You failed to mention that the Jayhawks also played Memphis, UCLA, Michigan, Cal, Tenn, etc. It’s tough to fault the Jayhawks for other teams being down this year.

      As for no competition in the Big 12, you do realize that the conference has the #1 RPI, right? The conference is looking at 6, maybe 7 teams in the tournament. You are absolutely right when you say “If you want to make sure you’re tourney tested, you have to play against teams that have a shot at making the tournament.” The Jayhawks have. They will play K-State & MIzzou at least twice, and Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, and Okie State at least once.

    • RockChalkWoody, don’t read too much into my tongue in cheek comments about KU. I actually have a lot of respect for Kansas and I’m well aware that they play a very tough schedule. I also know that schedules are made years in advance and you can never predict which schools are going to be having down years. This year several top programs are having horrible years. And while it’s true that KU plays a lot of cupcakes, they’ve beaten them by an average of 40+ points. It was actually fearthephog25 that implied that Kansas played an easy schedule – they have dominated their conference for six years straight!!!! I was just having fun ridiculing his ignorance. I actually feel kinda sorry for the poor bastard.

      Honestly, I believe that the Big 12 is the toughest conference this season. The only conference that might have an argument would be the Big East. You’re right – better than 50% of the conference will likely get NCAA bids this year (KU, KSU, UT, TAMU, Missouri and OSU).

      I’m not at all joking about Withey though. He is a cancer and his family is disruptive – you’ll see. I truly hope that I’m wrong and they have turned over a new leaf but I highly doubt it. If he sticks around at KU, he’ll be a nice back-up to someone. Every program needs 4 year players to keep their stars’ seats warm 🙂

      • Izzy, I hope you’re wrong about Withey but I’m not overly concerned. Bill Self is a pretty solid coach & Thomas Robinson and the Twins will be just fine next year with or without Withey (sorry, I couldn’t wait to type that).

        I think the Big 12 definitely gets six teams in (seven if OSU beats my Jayhawks tomorrow).

        • Agreed, KU will be fine either way. Big 12 probably gets 6 but could get 7 if the stars align correctly.

    • IZZY

      Just pray your blue devils make it to the sweet 16, or unc’s down year would mean nothing for you guys. Im sure they will be blowing up the boards and you guys may go into hiding like they have. You know they are waiting for you guys to fail right? Dookie never seems to fair well in March. And I thank you guys for giving them a defeat or two as #1 KANSAS gets ready to pass them in all time wins. And why was dook playing Tulsa so late in the season for? lol

      Will Kyrie transfer like all the other dook players as of late? lol

      Don’t worry about who you recruit, try to focus on keeping them!!!

      ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK

      • Fearthephog,

        Just pray your jayhawks make it to the sweet 16, or oklahoma’s down year would mean nothing for you guys. Im sure they will be blowing up the boards and you guys may go into hiding like they have. You know they are waiting for you guys to fail right? Does that sound familiar? As bad as UNC has been this season, their RPI is still better than your rival Oklahoma’s.

        As far as transfers go, who exactly are you referring to? Are you familiar with the names David Padgett, Quintrell Thomas, Tyrone Appleton, Micah Downs, C.J. Giles, Moulaye Niang and Omar Wilkes? I’m sure I missed a few others, but you get the picture. lol. Every program has transfers and I would say that we’ve had an average number of kids leave in the past few years. The only substantial recruit to leave has been Elliot Williams and he did so for family reasons. Give the kid a break. The rest of the kids (King, Czyz, Boykins, Boateng) were afraid of competition and/or homesick. None of them were likely to have ever seen the court. I’m fine with them leaving because you have to earn playing time at a top 10 program. Let’s hope that Seth Curry is good enough to earn some. I guarantee you that Kyrie Irving isn’t going anywhere other than the NBA when he leaves Duke. Where do you think Sherron Collins will be playing next season? D-League at best IMHO. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an excellent college player but he’s late 1st round or 2nd round material. All signs point to Irving being a lottery pick as soon as next year.

        UNC’s down year already means nothing to me. It’s actually better for the conference when UNC is good so the conference is a little bit down right now and that’s fine. As I’m sure you know, college basketball is somewhat cyclical. I don’t worry about other teams or their problems. I don’t know if UNC fans are waiting for us to fail and, frankly, I don’t care. Again, why are YOU worrying about something that’s not your problem? If my teams fails it will be my problem, albeit a very small one in the grand scheme of the universe. One thing I can promise: No matter what happens, I will NEVER go into hiding. Why miss out on all the fun I’m having on the message boards? I can have the same fun whether my team wins the national championship or finishes last in the ACC. It’s no big deal because basketball is nothing more than entertainment to me.

        BTW, your last opponent’s RPI (OU) is 104, Tulsa’s is 71. What are you doing playing such a pansy so late in the season? 🙂 Honestly, I have no idea why we’re playing Tulsa so late in the season because I have no input in making the schedule. If they had asked me I would have told them that I don’t care one way or the other. Here’s what the Associated Press has to say about it though:

        “Krzyzewski wanted to schedule a late-season non-conference game against a quality opponent to help prepare Duke (23-4) for the NCAA tournament.”

        • you can talk about who your getting and how good they are and all that but when it all comes down to it you are still gonna be on the backburner of 2 teams, Kansas, and Kentucky…look forward to seeing self and cal battle in the final four for a while because thats where all the top recruits want to go…Self is probably gonna win the battle for the NC this year, but once Calipari gets a team with ALL players that he wants, he will get his national championship….everybody is playing for 3rd place

    • With

    • all this comment about the toughness of various conferences isn’t it interesting that the Sec has won 7 out of the last 20 NC’s . Cal will be in the final 4 again this year and no fluke shot falling from the rafters will deny Ky. their place in history . Aldrich will get embarrassed by Ky’s big men …… a fat non jumping white guy with no shot , no moves….he’s a star because he’s 7 feet and white. Ku’s fat guard against John Wall…rofl ……. nothing needs to be said . Hell is coming at you pukes just like I predicted last summer.

      • Is that UK-Tenn game over yet? (snickers)

        • Yeah its over …how’d you guys do at Tenn? …..oh by the way …..is the KU / OK St. game over ? ………. ( steroid snicker)

    • IZZY

      QUIT CRYING WOLF. LMAO!!
      I HAVE A BOX OF KLEENEX FOR YOU.

      OKLAHOMA IS NOT OUR RIVAL AND WE ALREADY BEAT THEM THIS YEAR. WHO ARE YOU REFERRING TO? LOL ROOKIE!!

      DON’T HATE BECAUSE YOU ARE FAR FROM GREAT, LEARN TO APPRICIATE.

    • I’m glad I entertain you. Your takes are getting weaker and weaker though. I guess you’re out of ammunition.

      I’m out.

    • LOL See ya!!

      izzy does it!! haha

      Don’t forget to pray you make it to the sweet 16, or your season means nothing. Again…..