Today in the Morning Rumble, LSU is trying to capitalize on a future NBA Draft selection, the preseason National Championship odds are out in Las Vegas, Jay Huff is headed to Virginia and St. John's continues to show their national prowess during the spring season.
To start, John Calipari recently spoke to 3,000 business executives at Rupp Arena after receiving a humanitarian award and he talked about how the ultimate goal of last season was not to win a National Title but to get eight players drafted this summer.
This is the ultimate recruiting ploy for Kentucky. Calipari knows he lost out on multiple top 100 talents during the spring period. He knows Duke is beating the Wildcats at their own game and the one way to make up for it is to ditch the platoon system (which he has done) and continue to speak about how developing NBA talents is what he wants to achieve most in his coaching career.
Meanwhile, Ben Simmons hasn't even stepped foot on LSU's campus yet and the Tigers program is already trying to make money off his likeness. The LSU Athletic Department announced Wednesday that their campaign for the upcoming season will focus solely on Simmons: '25 is coming.'
This is clearly not fair. Yes, Simmons gave LSU full go with this and it's a business to try to capitalize on a potential top three pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, but have we ever seen a program be so open about a campaign similar to this? Now the school is going to make thousands of dollars and the center piece to that money won't receive a single penny.
It's never too early for predictions or odds in Las Vegas. Maryland, Kentucky and North Carolina hold the highest odds (7-1) to win the National Championship next season. Kansas holds the second highest odds at 12-1 while the Big East is well represented on the list with Villanova (20-1), and Butler (50-1).
While UNC fans enjoy their preseason love from multiple media outlets, the guys in the locker room are enjoying their offseason experience as well. Brice Johnson, who is among multiple returnees for the Tar Heels, has a great prank for both Marcus Paige and Joel Berry II. I'm sure the writers at Sporting News are getting a kick out of this one too.
If all you Big East junkies out there want to learn more about Villanova's incoming freshman point guard Jalen Brunson, Sports Illustrated has a terrific feature article focused on the 5-star guard.
It doesn't just give insight on how and why Brunson committed to Villanova, but there is some great stuff about the impact Rick Brunson, his dad, has had on the young point guard.
Switching gears to recruiting, most teams are just finishing up their 2015 class (including the Johnnies) but Virginia has already landed its fourth player for 2016. Jay Huff, who was also considering Duke, committed to Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers on Thursday.
The 6'10" native of North Carolina, Huff, can step out and shoot and plays a similar game to former Blue Devils star Ryan Kelly. He is a perfect fit for Bennett's offensive and defensive systems and they will expect big things come 2016.
On the track, four St. John's athletes, Pariis Garcia, Stephanie Van Pelt, Izzy Batt-Doyle and Nyla Woods, qualified for the NCAA East Regional Thursday morning. The preliminary championship competitions will be held May 28-30 in Jacksonville with the qualifiers out of the region advancing to the Division I Championships in Oregon on June 10-13.
Finally, the St. John's baseball team extended their winning streak to 13 games Thursday while moving themselves into the winner's bracket of the Big East Championship. They defeated Georgetown 2-1 and will continue their run to a title on Friday night at 8 pm ET against Seton Hall or Creighton.