Friday, June 15, 2012
The next step at Kentucky, Florida, Vandy
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Vanderbilt's John Jenkins, Kentucky's Doron Lamb and Florida's Erving Walker were all part of a Boston Celtics workout Thursday and shared some thoughts on their former teams in the SEC:
• Jenkins was at Vandy's workout Wednesday in Nashville and left with the impression that the Commodores are hardly gutted after losing him, Jeffery Taylor and Festus Ezeli.
"They know they lost a lot but they can't have any slippage,'' Jenkins said. "I was highly impressed with what the bodies look like. There was good talking, showing leadership.''
Jenkins said Rod Odom and Kyle Fuller were leading the workouts in much the same fashion that he and his fellow upperclassmen had done previously.
"That's important to me because I'm the one that put my arm around them when they came up,'' Jenkins said. "They understand what has to be done. I was highly impressed by the workout.''
Jenkins said he expects Odom and Fuller to do the same with incoming freshmen A.J. Astroth, Kevin Bright and Sheldon Jeter.
But the Dores will almost certainly take a step back without the shooting of Jenkins and Taylor, Taylor's defense, and the inside scoring of Ezeli.
• Lamb said Vanderbilt and Florida were the two SEC teams that pushed the Wildcats the most during his two years in Lexington.
"They got us in that game,'' Lamb said of the SEC title game. "But we won the national championship. Those were the two toughest teams for us. We had a lot of hard games, but those were the main games we got up for.''
• Lamb didn't bite on whether Kentucky is now missing a shooter like himself, which is what Anthony Davis said about next season's Wildcats. Still, Lamb expects UK to be in the thick of the title chase again.
• Jenkins and Lamb guarded each other quite a bit in the Celtics workout. Jenkins' strength is catch-and-shoot. Lamb is much more of a combo guard. Jenkins had trouble getting past Lamb, but that may not mean as much since a team would be drafting Jenkins as a pure shooting guard while Lamb could play both guard positions. Both players are likely to be drafted somewhere in the 20s.
• Jenkins is heading back to Denver (20th pick) for a second workout and may visit Cleveland (24th pick) a second time. Boston picks at 21 and 22.
• As for Walker, he said the Gators should be the favorite in the SEC next season over Kentucky and Missouri.
"They've still got Kenny Boynton, Patric Young, Erik Murphy, and I expect big things out of Mike Rosario,'' Walker said. "Mike got down a bit with me and Kenny being there and Brad [Beal] coming in. But he practiced hard and competed with us and will be a great scorer. They'll be right there to make a run at the Final Four.''
• Walker said losing in the Elite Eight and missing the Final Four two years in a row was hard to digest.
"We gave up late leads two years in a row,'' said Walker of the Gators losing in consecutive regional final games to Butler (2011) and Louisville (2012). "It sucks. We could have done more. I always wanted to see what it would feel like. We would have definitely given Kentucky a run since we got closer and closer.''
Kentucky beat Florida three times last season, twice during the regular season and once in the SEC tournament.
"They blew us out the first time, but it was closer at home and then right there in the SEC tournament,'' Walker said. "We had a great run.''
• Walker is unlikely to get drafted, but still competes extremely hard, especially on the defensive end.
• I'll be surprised if Boston keeps both 21 and 22, but the Celtics need to make sure there is a palatable trade. This is a huge summer for Boston's two 2011 draft picks, Purdue's E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, who didn't get a chance to play much as rookies.
• Charlotte is entertaining offers for the No. 2 pick and would look to move down for multiple picks. But the Bobcats do like their options at No. 2 if they keep the pick, according to a source.
• Houston is unlikely to keep both 14 and 16, according to a source, but the Rockets don't fret at the prospect of retaining both.
• Utah would like to get into the first round if possible, according to a source.
• At 17th, Dallas could check out of the first round for the right price, said a source.
• The most interesting debate in the top five is where Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will land. The certainties, at least at this juncture according to team sources, are Anthony Davis to New Orleans and Bradley Beal and/or Harrison Barnes staying in the top four. That means either Robinson or Kidd-Gilchrist could slide out of the top four to Sacramento at No. 5 or below.