Jon Hood discusses the UK freshmen and Kevin Wilson is getting people to pay attention to Indiana football.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – It's the most wonderful time of the year – basketball, baseball, football, swimming:
*Jon Hood arrived at the University of Kentucky more than three years ago with John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton. That's correct, four guys who would be seniors this season but are starting their third seasons in the NBA.
Hood has also played with Brandon Knight, Anthony Davis and others who arrived with five-star credentials at UK. Now Hood is teammates with the latest greatest freshmen John Calipari has recruited.
Who better than Hood to discuss how these freshmen – Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein – have looked measured against the three groups that preceded them?
"They're really good," Hood said. "And I know that's the thing that has been the same way for the past three years, the past four years. But they're really good."
As good as Wall-Cousins-Bledsoe or Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?
"You've got to see for yourself," Hood said. "I'm not one to compare guys. You'll have to sit down and watch them yourself."
How quickly did they impress you?
"Very quickly," he said. "Right away, really. They play the game the right way, they're really competitive and they're hard-nosed. They play really hard."
How about a capsule description of each player?
Noel? "Block shots. He's a high-energy guy. He just goes after it. He's a force inside."
Cauley-Stein? "Athlete. I mean, big-time athlete. 400-(meter) runner in high school. Run, jump, catch. Do all the little things."
Goodwin? "Athlete. Quick jump. He'll quick jump you and then dunk on you. Scorer, too."
Poythress? "Athlete. Sometimes a bull in a china shop. He's just got to calm down, understand and get to know everything."
No mention of a shooter, Jon. Is there a shooter in the group?
"Alex thinks he's a shooter," Hood said. "Nerlens thinks he's a shooter. Willie thinks he's a shooter. Of the four, it's probably Archie."
*Kentucky made nearly 38 percent of its three-point shots last season. That ranked 37th in the nation. That's my question about the Wildcats: Who's going to make perimeter shots?
Ditto for Louisville. The Cards shot less than 32 percent from the three-point line last season, which ranked 246th nationally. And Chris Smith, the team's three-point guy (67 of 168, 39.9 percent) isn't walking through that door.
Shooting should not be an issue for Tom Crean at Indiana. The Hoosiers ranked second nationally (to Northern Colorado) in three-point shooting last season, making better than 43 percent. Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford, Will Sheehey, Maurice Creek, Austin Etherington and Derek Elston can all deliver from the magic line.
*After Indiana hung 49 points on Ohio State Saturday in Memorial Stadium, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer gathered his assistants and his players to talk about it.
Apparently they weren't the only ones trying to figure out what's going on in Bloomington. A pair of four-star defensive recruits from Indianapolis have now de-committed from other Big Ten schools with word percolating that they're likely to land at IU as part of Kevin Wilson's program.
First up was David Kenney III of Pike High School, who had been committed to Iowa. That was jarring, but hardly outrageous. Kenney's father, David, a former Butler assistant, joined Wilson's staff last summer.
The news from Monday night was jarring. Darius Latham, a monstrous defensive lineman from North Central High School, de-committed from Wisconsin. Speculation is growing that Latham will come to IU to play football and basketball.
Latham, who is 6 feet 5 and 291 pounds, is ranked as the state's sixth best prospect by Rivals.com. Kenney is No. 7. He has offers from Florida, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Michigan as well as Louisville and Kentucky.
*Indiana needs defensive linemen. And linebackers. And pieces in the secondary. The Hoosiers rank first in the Big Ten in passing offense and second in total offense. They're third in scoring. In back-to-back weeks, IU has scored the season high against Michigan State (27) and Ohio State (49).
But the Hoosiers (2-4) have lost four straight. Not a shocker when a team ranks last in the Big Ten in scoring, total and rushing defense. No wonder Wilson shrugged off a question about the way his team rallied against Ohio State last Saturday.
"We need to play better, not battle back," Wilson said.
*John Akers, editor and publisher of Basketball Times, has sent the pre-season edition of his magazine to the printer. I asked him to share his Top 10: