Nike’s EYBL Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina is the hottest spot in basketball →
By Matt Jones on ©7:30 pm
If you have been around these parts for awhile, you know that KSR’s favorite writer is not Pat Forde. Beginning with the hiring of John Calipari at Kentucky, Forde has used every opportunity to come after the UK coach, a trend that resulted not only in numerous rants about UK’s mistake in the initial hire, but many follow-up shots in Calipari’s direction. His rants became so personal and unprofessional, that during his tenure at ESPN, he was forbidden to write about Kentucky or Calipari except in the most general terms (a fact he has never publicly acknowledged but one that is true). After a year of his nonsense, I wrote this blog post about Forde’s past, bringing to light what most people in the industry knew but would never say, mainly that Forde’s has an extremely checkered past himself, including two “ethics” suspensions. One of those suspensions was due to releasing private information to the NCAA (for unknown, likely personal reasons when the pre-Jurich regime was in Louisville), and the other for a personal reason that related to his coverage of a UL team. After writing that article, Forde contacted my employer (Clear Channel) and refused to ever appear on a Clear Channel radio program in Louisville again…a stance he held for a couple of years until he got tired of not having his voice heard in his home area.
I write all of that as a background to say that we have never been a Pat Forde fan in the KSR Compound. Whether it was his decision to buy the media in St Louis a round of drinks as they watched Calipari lose to West Virginia in 2010 (a fact he admitted on a Louisville radio show, but explained by saying it was “his turn”) or his decision to “cover” the Karen Sypher trial by writing articles “investigating” his drinking buddy’s antics, he has always struck me as the worst of modern media….biased in all regards, full of hatred towards those he doesn’t like while taking up for his friends, all while couching his viewpoints as being “objective” journalism. So while my lack of respect for Forde goes way back, I must admit that even I was surprised to read his latest article today, a fluff piece for Bobby Petrino that is explained by the phrase in its title, “The Path to Redemption.” (In order to discuss this article, I am violating my general rule about not linking or promoting such national articles, but in this case it is necessary in order to make my overall point…plus you ought to read it just to laugh).
The article discusses how poor Bobby Petrino, the oppressed soul who has now left four jobs in under 10 years, either for greener pastures (UL, Falcons, WKU) or because he was having an affair with a subordinate that led to a sketchy motorcycle accident/amazing neck brace photo, has now become a new man. How has he become this new man? Well by caddying for his daughter as she plays golf across the country of course. Forde writes,
For a football obsessive, taking time away from an all-consuming job does not come easily. But caddying for Katie is an avocation that means a lot to a man who put his family and himself through an embarrassing public ordeal when he was fired at Arkansas for having an affair with a woman he hired onto his staff. It has been a means to connect with one of his four children, and to show the entire family – and everyone else – that he’s not the same guy who wrecked a Harley and derailed his career on one disastrous April day in 2012.
Rebuilding that trust will take time. But those closest to Petrino believe what they are seeing so far.
Forde seems to believe that because he is pushing around a golf cart for his daughter, Petrino must be a new man that has changed his ways and is ready to be a model citizen. But wait you say…in the same article Forde noted that he has done this the past three years and this isn’t a new action by Bobby the Neckbrace. So the same Bobby that abandoned Western after one year (which by the way never gets brought up when discussing how he is no longer a “drifter”…but I digress), also caddied for his daughter. I guess that can’t be what is “new and improved,” So if not, what shows Bobby to be a new man? Forde explains:
Last month he started the Petrino Family Foundation and made a $1 million gift that will go to Kosair Children’s Hospital, a scholarship for Louisville students and the school’s marching band – and the foundation is being run by daughter Kelsey. Petrino has been more of a team player within the Cardinals athletic department, attending several baseball games during the school’s run to the College World Series. And Monday he talked about becoming more attentive to his players beyond the football field, saying he related some of his personal travails to the team during meetings.
One million dollars? That is a very nice gesture actually. One could argue that paying money isn’t exactly “doing” anything, but we should never blast someone for charity, especially in helping those in need. But his decision to give money to the Children’s Hospital is not a new one. He actually gave a large sum of money to the same hospital in 2007, even honoring the pledge after he left. Now don’t get me wrong. That was a great thing by Petrino then and it is noble that he did it before and will do it again. But considering the fact that he gave money while in the midst of “Old Nasty Bobby”, how does giving money now show he is different? In fact, when Pat Forde took his strongest shots at Bobby Petrino, it was right after he made his first payment to the Louisville hospital in 2007. That didn’t stop Forde then, so it wouldn’t be proof of a changed man now would it? And as for the other “proof”, is it really that he attended a few baseball games (that are steps from his office) and “talked” about being more attentive to his players? Well, I guess Forde’s standard of change must be quite low.
It is clear however that Bobby has made quite an impression on Pat in order for him to write such a glowing piece. This is especially true when you contrast today’s article with what Forde wrote about him just a few years ago. In 2007, he wrote an article that he called one of the meanest of his career in which he named Petrino the “disingenuous drifter” and mocked Arkansas fans for thinking he would care about them at all. Forde then wrote,
The disingenuous drifter doesn’t love you or any other fan base. He doesn’t love any school or any NFL franchise. He loves himself, his playbook and his bank account.
That’s it. Don’t expect it to change.
Bobby Petrino will return your embrace, Hog fans. But while he’s hugging you he’ll be looking over your shoulder, scanning the terrain for his next hook-up.
Even in a profession rife with dishonest posturing, Petrino is singularly mercenary. Loyalty, allegiance, commitment and honesty are foreign concepts to him. It must be a sad existence.
Harsh words right? When Petrino was hired back in January, those words came back in Forde’s face as he now had to deal with the fact that his Daddy Jurich had hired a man that he once had annihilated (probably at his behest, since he had left Louisville before…but I digress). In the internet age, these words did not disappear, so how did Forde deal with them? Well he acknowledged them, but left open the possibility for change saying,
For now, those words are cheap. It will be all about actions for Bobby Petrino. He’s tasked with laying one brick of credibility on top of another in what will be a long and painstaking effort to rebuild his demolished reputation.
But the future must be a significant break from the past for Bobby Petrino, and he has to prove it with deeds that back up his words.
At the time, we commended Forde for holding Petrino to task and asking some difficult questions. While one could ask whether Pat would have given the same benefit of the doubt to Petrino had UK hired him the year before (hint…he would not have), it was at least on the surface, a line in the sand. Show us Bobby, then we will believe it. And now here we are seven months later and Forde is all-in on the “Bobby the Prodigal Son” narrative. After a few months caddying, some money, a day at the old ballgame and some kind words to his players, Bobby is a new man. Stand up and rejoice, the new Bobby Petrino has graced us with his presence! And Forde, a man who is so narrow-minded in his hatred of John Calipari that he famously gave up on him as a coach and wrote the “made your own bed” column right before UK engineered one of the most amazing turnarounds and tournament runs in college basketball history, is now back on the Petrino bandwagon, forgetting the words that once dissected the coach so sharply in the past. What is the difference? Only one, he is back with Daddy Jurich, Forde’s friend and purveyor of scoops.
Has Bobby Petrino “changed”? I don’t know, maybe. I tend to be the type of person who is forgiving to a fault, giving people multiple chances and trying to make it a point to do my best to judge their actions and not them as a person. I don’t know Bobby Petrino so I can’t say whether he is a good man or not or to what extent he has changed, if at all. And honestly, it doesn’t matter. I learned long ago that we don’t really even “know” the people that we deal with every day in our lives, much less a public figure that we only encounter at press conferences or on game day. Spending time trying to judge whether a coach or administrator is a “good person”, “classy” or the like is a waste of time. You spend your days deluding yourself in to thinking you know which people are good and which are bad, and I will just assume that as with virtually everyone, there is a little bit of both. At the same time Petrino was awful to his co-workers, abandoned all his teams and was cheating on his spouse, he was giving money to a hospital that was thousands of miles away from him, with few paying attention. Almost one is all good or all bad, no matter our society’s desire to put everyone into such an easy to digest box. Time will tell if Petrino was a hire worth the risk for UL, but one thing that is undisputed is that UL is one of the very few schools with such a low moral threshold that they would have ever even considered taking the chance.
But ultimately this isn’t really about Bobby Petrino. Had Petrino gone to another school, I have zero doubt that not only would Forde not have forgiven him, he would have bludgeoned the man again. He only loves you Bobby because Tom told him to, not because of your inherent goodness. The reality is clear. The National college sports columnist for Yahoo is a biased Jurich-man who will do whatever he can to make his friend look good. If that means taking up for a coach who has an embarrassing sex scandal and never at any point bring it up or criticize him, he will do it. If that means blasting the basketball coach down the road at every juncture in order to make Jurich’s coach/program look better, he will do it. And if that means eating his words, throwing away his self-respect and looking like a hypocrite by praising a man that he once considered to be one of the worst in coaching, well it looks like Pat will do that as well. Anything for Daddy Jurich and his UL barhopping buddies.
I am a biased homer who wants UK to win and am unabashed in my favoritism to all things Blue. I knew long ago that Pat Forde was essentially the same thing for UL, so long as Tom Jurich was running the Athletic Department. He has always been a wolf UL blogger in sheep Yahoo objective clothing, albeit one with great hair and the latest in stylish, hipster glasses. But today I also found out something I didn’t know, that Pat Forde is also a sellout, willing to take any stance depending on the situation. Bobby Petrino has gone from the “disingenuous drifter” who lived a “sad existence” to a new, changed man on a “Path to Redemption”…and all it took was one hire by his friend and pushing a golf bag around with his daughter a few days. Not a bad trade-off I guess. Hey Pat, remember what it was like to be a real objective journalist with self-respect, integrity and tremendous talent? Naw, we don’t either.
By Andrew Cassady on ©7:00 pm
The summer of Bud continues as Mr. Dupree finally made his appearance on Saturday Down South’s top 100 SEC players of 2014. SDS has been counting down the Southeast’s best all summer long and it’s been a waiting game to see where our best player would land. Here’s a bit of what they had to say about Bud:
The second and more dominant Kentucky pass rusher in the Top 100, Dupree teams up with Za’Darius Smith to generate the most talented set of bookends the Wildcats have had in the last decade, leaders on what assistant D.J. Eliot hopes is a potent defense this fall. Dupree is Kentucky’s most valuable player defensively, a multi-position tackler in relentless pursuit of the football who can stand up at outside linebacker or be unleashed at the snap from a traditional three-point stance.
[Read what else SDS had to say about Bud and his NFL future: No. 37 Alvin Dupree, Kentucky]
Bud Dupree recorded 6 sacks last season but with another off season under Stoops I bet he’ll be shedding more blockers and getting to the QB. Bud is exactly the type of player you want on the end of your line when you have to face off with running backs like Todd Gurley, Mike Davis, and Terrence Magee this season.Hopefully Bud, Z, and the rest of a line can put a stop to the 100+ yard rushers we allowed 6 times last season.
For the past three seasons Bud has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise poor era. This year he deserves the success and accolades for all the hard work he’s put in while at Kentucky. If Kentucky can find a way to win 5 or 6 you know a big reason will be the play of Bud Dupree.
By Courtney Sealey on ©6:00 pm
Reports have been released today from sources stating that Emmanuel Mudiay has opted out of playing college basketball and has instead signed a one-year deal worth more than $1 million. Mudiay had previously committed to play at SMU, over Kentucky and Kansas, however changed his mind for a reason which isn’t entirely known by the public. Some think it has to do with financial problems at home, while others believe it had to do with academic eligibility issues due to his two years spent at Prime Prep.
While rumors of academic eligibility have come into question, it is hard to believe he would not have been declared eligible before the season started. Prime Prep alums Jordan Mickey and Karviar Shephard both were able to enroll and were cleared academically after getting a waiver through the eligibility center.At the same time, lots of players have had had family issues, but have still decided to attend college and wait for the money.
When I first heard this news, I thought he made a stupid decision. However, after thinking about it, lI was surprised this hasn’t become a trend over the years since the NBA started the age rule. When you think about it, in the mind of a high school senior, the pros would definitely outweigh the cons of playing overseas.
While it would be hard to adapt to a new country and culture in such a short time with no family around, you would also be bringing in almost $20k a week (That number makes me depressed) and have all the freedom a kid could ask for. Not to mention no more ‘pop quizzes’ or the stress that comes with school. Best of all, you wouldn’t have the NCAA breathing down your neck every decision you make.
Seems like a solid deal. So why hasn’t this become more of a trend among American born players? While we are on the subject, can we expect more of this if the NBA increases the rule to having to play two years of college before you are eligible for the draft?
No. Because no one does basketball quite like they do in colleges across America.
Players who head directly overseas after high school are just thrown into the ‘bullpen’, with only training they received in high school. Like the NBA, there is little chance for ‘practice’ and proper training, other than what you learn in games.
The future college basketball stars are smart enough to know this.
Playing a year of division one basketball prepares players for the NBA far better than playing overseas. College basketball has some of the best up-and-coming players in the world, with the best competition and plenty of practice time to learn everything they need to know before going to the NBA.
In reality, while going overseas would be the easiest decision, the best decision would be to stay in the US and learn proper basketball by the best coaches the world has to offer. While many think the kids coming out of high school are immature, I believe it is a pretty mature decision to not follow the money and stay around to learn basketball the correct way.
Could you imagine a Kentucky team if all the nation’s best players went to play overseas? That would make for some pretty boring basketball. We should be thankful there isn’t a trend of this and hope that Mudiay doesn’t start one.
By Drew Franklin on ©5:00 pm
Kentucky has been in good standing with George Brown Jr. for a long time now, but a recent change to his Twitter account has many UK football fans worried in the days before his announcement this Friday.
Coming off his recent visit to Gainesville, Brown began following several Florida football accounts, from former players to assistant coaches and beat writers. Almost one-third of the 91 accounts he follows appear to be Gator-related (by my very unofficial count), making me wonder if we’ll be receiving bad news when he announces.
Or maybe I’m just paranoid and need to get outside for some sunshine. Following recruits on the internet tends to make us all a little crazy from time to time. Kentucky leads with 88 percent of the vote in his Crystal Ball predictions, so maybe I should direct my attention away from his Twitter page and toward that.
I guess we’ll know for sure in a few days.
By Drew Franklin on ©4:00 pm
LSU’s Trey Lealaimatafao is likely out for the year after suffering a gruesome injury in the team’s weight room yesterday. The freshman defensive tackle was upset over an argument with his girlfriend and took it out on a glass window between the weight room and indoor practice facility. According to NOLA.com, the glass “tore through” his bicep, leaving the bone exposed for all to see. (Excuse me while I vomit.) Initial reports said he was facing a possible arm amputation, but that has since been retracted.
There is a lesson in this for all of you young men out there: Don’t punch glass. And don’t let a female get you down, especially if you’re a freshman in college. There are too many fish in the sea.
By Drew Franklin on ©3:08 pm
The shooting guard and small forward positions in Boston are getting crowded, making it even tougher on James Young to work his way up the rotation. The Celtics re-signed starting shooting guard Avery Bradley last week and, today, added free agent Evan Turner, the No. 2 overall pick in 2010. To make matters worse for Young, Marcus Smart, the C’s first pick in this year’s draft, is expected to see significant time at the 2-guard spot as well. Brad Stevens tried him there in the summer league and plans to continue using him off the ball.
Young won’t have any more luck at small forward, where Turner and Jeff Green will see most of the minutes. 13-year veteran Gerald Wallace, the team’s second-highest paid player, will also be in the mix.
There is also the option of trading Young in a deal for Kevin Love, although there are several other teams competing in the Love Sweepstakes. Boston believes it is still in the mix to pull the big man away from Minnesota and the former Cat would look good with Jared Sullinger in a trade.
But no matter where or how he is used, Young will have to put in a lot of work if he hopes to see significant time on the court in his rookie season. Missing the summer league certainly didn’t help his chances, either.
By Drew Franklin on ©2:21 pm
After stealing the spotlight in a game against Cheick Diallo and Thomas Bryant at the Peach Jam, Caleb Swanigan picked up an offer from Kentucky and landed an in-studio interview with a Fort Wayne news station. 247Sports’ fifth-ranked center sat down with WANE yesterday to discuss his recruitment and the development of his game this summer.
Swanigan, who hit two buzzer-beating threes to force two overtimes against the loaded Team Scan, called himself “the best rebounder in the country.” See for yourself in the video below:
We’ll have a full profile of Swanigan on the website tomorrow.
By Drew Franklin on ©1:30 pm
Your University of Kentucky Wildcats fell into the “Better… But It May Not Show In The Win Column” category in Athlon Sports’ feature on college football’s most improved teams. UK is one of five schools in the second tier of improved teams and it’s “trending in the right direction,” the author writes.
It’s going to take coach Mark Stoops a few years to build Kentucky’s roster into one that can consistently compete for bowl games in the SEC. However, the Wildcats are trending in the right direction. Kentucky signed the No. 22 class in 2014, an improvement after inking the No. 34 recruiting haul in ’13. Those two totals are the best two classes the Wildcats have brought in over the last five years, and all signs point to another standout group coming to Lexington in 2015. With the improvement in talent, it should start to show on the field for Stoops. Kentucky went 2-10 in Stoops’ debut but lost two SEC games by a touchdown or less. Finding a quarterback is the top priority for coordinator Neal Brown, and Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips and touted freshman Drew Barker will all contend for time in the fall. The talent at the skill positions has improved, and Nebraska transfer Braylon Heard should team with Jojo Kemp to form an effective one-two punch in the backfield. Stoops’ specialty is on defense, and that’s an area of focus this offseason after allowing 6.8 yards per play in SEC games. Kentucky should be able to win three of its non-conference matchups and could steal a win in conference play this year.
Florida also gets some love from Athlon because the Gators “can’t be any worse.”
Read the entire list here.
By Drew Franklin on ©1:00 pm
Maker’s Mark put Tom Jurich on a bottle because… I don’t know why Maker’s Mark put Tom Jurich on a bottle
By Drew Franklin on ©12:30 pm
Much like his basketball team does every time it plays UK, Tom Jurich got waxed this morning. The Louisville AD dipped his new commemorative Maker’s Mark bottle in black wax to celebrate its release. Bottles will go on sale later this week and proceeds will go to aid in fundraising for a new academic center at Louisville.
If you’re interested in purchasing a bottle, you need to reevaluate your life.
By Drew Franklin on ©12:00 pm
Emmanuel Mudiay, Kentucky’s top point guard target in the 2014 class, picked SMU over the Cats and Kansas, but it is the People’s Republic of China that wins his services in the end. ESPN is reporting Mudiay signed a one-year deal worth $1.2 million to play professional basketball in the land of canned air and orange chicken.
Mudiay insists his decision to chase the money over college is to provide for his mother, but it is believed he is running from the NCAA. There were concerns with his eligibility and he was worried, one source told ESPN.
What we thought was Calipari’s worst loss in recruiting since coming to UK proved to be a blessing. Had Mudiay committed to UK, like everyone expected, BBN wouldn’t have four years of Tyler Ulis to look forward to.
By Drew Franklin on ©11:15 am
Eric Lindsey over at CoachCal.com attended UK’s 90-minute practice yesterday and he has a lengthy report for you on the website this morning. Lindsey has several notes and observations, almost all positive, including individual specifics on all of the guys.
Have a small taste in this exciting excerpt about Alex Poythress:
The last guy I expected to lead off with just because he’s been around for two years is Alex Poythress, but I think his effort and his improvement merit that. We all know how athletic he is and the type of plays he can make, but he looked lighter on his feet than I’ve ever seen him. He seemed to glide through the air on Monday, a fascinating thing to watch for someone with his body frame. I have no idea how that will translate on to the court in October and November because, as I just said, we’ve seen bits and pieces of that in his first two years, but I do see a more confident player than the one I’ve seen the last two seasons. He’s never going to be a vocal guy, but when I saw him, on one particular play, race from the top of the key, sky over Karl-Anthony Towns and Marcus Lee in the paint, grab the offensive rebound, and bank the ball back in the basket in traffic, it gave me the feeling that we’re going to see a much-improved Alex Poythress this year.
Other notable impressions from Lindsey:
– Tyler Ulis will be a fan favorite
– The twins and Dakari are in better shape
– Devin Booker is doing just fine
– Cal is still preaching, “Play fast, think slow.”
Read the entire practice report here.
By Drew Franklin on ©10:30 am
UK needs your help picking a song for kickoff in the football season opener and you can do your part in the selection process by voting in the first matchup of the music bracket this morning. It’s Bud Dupree versus Steven Borden in the first showdown of the Kickoff Playoff and it’s up to you to decide whose song of choice will advance to the next round.
Dupree nominated Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck,” a timeless classic that encourages listeners to knuck, if they are indeed buck. Borden, on the other hand, would like to hear Skrillex’s “Scatta.”
Head over to the BBNFirst website to hear the songs and place your vote. Mine goes to Bud in this one because that Scatta song makes my head hurt.
By Drew Franklin on ©9:55 am
Morning, KSR readers and listeners. Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond are on the road again today, this time hitting the mean streets of Morganfield. The guys are at Verlies Restaurant at 101 W. Main Street and they’d love to see you. Stop by to hear the show and enter your name in the drawing for UK basketball tickets or a shot at the trip to the Bahamas.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
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By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:30 am
Drew Barker is one of three quarterbacks competing for the starting job, and last night, he and freshman wide receiver Dorian Baker posted this video of some red zone work they’ve been doing lately.
Looks like Baker got both feet in on that one-handed catch. Not too bad…