Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
July 28th, 2014

Kentucky Football Is Rediscovering Its Swagger

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Hal Mumme Commands His Raid: It just doesn’t get much cooler than this. 

Not much time has passed since November 3, 2012 but the Kentucky football program we knew then, isn’t the team we know now.  On the day that will live in infamy, Drew Franklin, Matt Jones and I recruited a couple hundred fans (so close to half the stadium) to join Patrick in Section 206 where I led cheers to distract as many people possible from what was happening on the field.  Soaked in water and embarrassed, there wasn’t a soul that left the stadium feeling good.

With the flip of a coin from Joker to Stoops, Kentucky football has found its long-lost swagger.  A team with a chip on their shoulder has a fan-base hungrier than ever.  Before they earn it on the field, the Cats are bringing sexy back, off the field.

1.  Three words: Super Bowl Commercial.

2.  The Kickoff Playoff; a genius concoction.  At a time when we know too much about our basketball team, people that don’t get to interact with them everyday after practice, like myself, don’t get to experience the personalities of our football players.  The Kickoff Playoff is opening a door to fan and player interaction in a positive way like never before.  It’s not just knowing what Bud Dupree’s favorite song is, it’s watching the players interact with each other and fans on Twitter as they lobby for their own choice.  When the final song is selected, it will not only be the players’ choice, but the fans’ choice, uniting Commonwealth Stadium for an electric atmosphere.

3.  Blue on the Front, Boom on the Back.   Last year’s best all-purpose back will be bring the Big Blue Boom in 2014.  It’s a very literal Boom; UK made it official with ‘B. Williams’ on the #18 jersey Randall Cobb made famous.

@boom_that_guy

@boom_that_guy

4.  People outside of Kentucky like what they see.  To make a little extra dough during the summer, I often find myself working behind the bar of a high end bourbon establishment.  Bourbon Trailers often stop in to take a gander at our selection to make sure they’ve tasted and seen as much bourbon as possible on their trip.  Last week, a couple from Arkansas came in searching for a bottle of Pappy, but that wasn’t the one that REALLY caught their eye.  In the company of beautiful Special Edition Maker’s Mark bottles of Rupp’s Runts, John Calipari, The Unforgettables, and Secretariat, the couple wanted a closer look of the Mark Stoops Maker’s Mark bottle.  Stoops’ name is a revered one that is turning into a feared one on the recruiting trail that college football fans cannot ignore.    

Head coach Mark Stoops will be on 2014 Keeneland/Maker's Mark bottle.

5.  Recruiting losses used to look like this. 

Ball_State_3 warblogle com

Now they look like this: 

brown commits

 6.  Live Gun Shows from Josh Clemons every Saturday. 

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7.  The final piece of the puzzle: New CWS.  

interior_bowl

Changing off the field culture is one thing, but changing on-field performance is where the real fun is.

#33Days


Where UK Stands w/ 2015 Basketball Targets

 

Much has been made of the 2015 recruiting class.  Most “experts” say that there is no real star outside of LSU commit Ben Simmons.  Also, Coach Calipari has offered many more scholarships this year than in the past for a couple of reasons; first off we will need to bring in a pretty big class after presumably losing around 5 guys, and secondly with no clear cut stars left in the class it is harder to distinguish a list of top targets.  There have been rumblings of even more negative recruiting going on against Kentucky than normal and some have wondered if getting top players like the Harrison twins to return, on top of a good 2014 recruiting class, has scared away some of the top 2015 recruits.  However, despite the skepticism that surrounds the ‘Cats developing 2015 recruiting class, I think Coach Cal has a better handle on the class than he is getting credit for.  

Top 2015 target Malik Newman

Top 2015 target Malik Newman

I generally try to take the 247Sports Crystal Ball ratings with a grain of salt because the predictions being made are just an educated guess at best.  Some of the scouts and recruiting analysts have good sources and may have a good feel for what a prospect will do, but others are simply either guessing or piggy-backing off what others do.  If we look at the Crystal Ball Predictions, as of this morning, Kentucky would land the #3, #4, and #16 prospects in the 247Sports Composite Rankings.  Also, the ‘Cats are tied for the top spot with three other recruits, so just landing one of those would round out another excellent recruiting class.

UK 2015 commit Charles Matthews

UK 2015 commit Charles Matthews

As the Malik Newman/Diamond Stone package deal rumors start to die down I continue to feel more and more confident we will land the standout guard from Mississippi.  Kentucky also appears to be in a very good position for dynamic perimeter player Jaylen Brown and we are locked in a battle with Louisville for electric scorer Antonio Blakeney.  If Coach Calipari can land those three prospects, along with commit Charles Matthews, UK will once again have a top recruiting class and the backcourt will be set for the next couple of years.  

When it comes to post players in the 2015 class, that is where UK is locked in some big time recruiting battles.  Power Forward Carlton Bragg, the #9 prospect in the class, has his Crystal Ball split three ways between Kentucky, Kansas, and Ohio State.  Another Power Forward, Cheick Diallo, is split evenly between Kentucky and Kansas as well.  Top ranked Center Diamond Stone has Kentucky, UCONN, and Wisconsin all within a few percentage points and Doral Moore’s Crystal Ball shows UK trailing Illinois by just a slight margin.  If Coach Calipari can simply get a commitment from one of those four post players it will round out one of the top two recruiting classes in the country.  

While Kentucky only has one commitment right now, the “experts”, based on Crystal Ball ratings, have UK in a pretty good spot for a number of top prospects.  With all of the good post players that Coach Cal has right now, and assuming that a few return next season, it isn’t as important to land all of the top post targets as it is to get guys like Malik Newman, Antonio Blakeney, and Jaylen Brown.  

I can absolutely admit to being spoiled when it comes to recruiting success as a Kentucky fan.  I count on Coach Calipari to bring in the very best players every year and have simply come to expect a #1 class.  While this 2015 class may not have the marquee players and is developing a little more slowly, the ‘Cats are still in a good position to land a handful of the top prospects.  

Brandon Ramsey

@Coach_BRamsey


Listen to Neal Brown’s interview with KSR

UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown called in to Kentucky Sports Radio radio this morning to discuss the upcoming season. Listen in as we hear from the Danville native during the Danville tour stop, exactly one week before he and the Wildcats began fall camp.

Or listen to today’s entire podcast below. Now in one piece!


Mitch Barnhart on “Wah Wah” Jones

The most accomplished athlete in the history of the University of Kentucky passed away yesterday when Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones died at the age of 88 in Lexington. Today, UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart released a statement about the beloved Wildcat:

“The word ‘legend’ is used frequently in our society but it is truly fitting when considering Wah Wah Jones. Wah Wah holds a legendary place in the athletic history of our state as a three-sport star at Harlan High School and the University of Kentucky. Wah Wah was a central figure during a golden era of Wildcat athletics, noted for his outstanding performances and his versatility. Our condolences and prayers go out to his family and he will be remembered fondly by the Big Blue Nation.”

I’ll have more on Wah Wah’s legacy later tonight. Feel free to share your favorite Wah Wah stories below.


Vote in the semifinals of UK’s Kickoff Playoff today

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Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck” can advance to the final round of the Kickoff Playoff with a win over Braylon Heard and Three 6 Mafia’s “Who Run It” today. Bud Dupree’s song is in the semifinals after defeating Steven Borden and “Scatta” in Round 1.

Head over to the BBN First website to place your vote. And remember, any time you begin to feel buck, it should immediately be followed with a knuck. Don’t be that person who gets buck without knucking. It’s not a good look.

Vote here.


Antonio Blakeney trims list, Kentucky still in the mix

One of Coach Cal’s favorite targets in the 2015 basketball recruiting class narrowed his list to seven schools today and UK made the cut. Antonio Blakeney, the third-ranked shooting guard in the 247Composite rankings, says he is down to Florida State, Louisville, Missouri, Kentucky, Oregon, LSU and South Carolina.

With all due respect to those schools, that’s an ideal bunch for Kentucky to go up against.

Go Cats.


Neal Brown expects his offense to be much better this season

Neal Brown was a guest on Kentucky Sports Radio radio in his hometown of Danville this morning to catch us up to speed on the last free Monday before fall camp. Of course, the quarterback situation is the question weighing on fans’ minds, and though he couldn’t hint at a starter, he did say redshirting Drew Barker will be an option IF he isn’t in contention for that starting spot. (That’s a big IF, folks.) Brown did not say whether or not Barker is showing signs of a guy who can compete, but he answered Matt’s hypothetical of will they consider a redshirt IF Barker isn’t QB1. Yes, it’s an option.

Brown also told KSR to expect to see more of what his offenses did at Texas Tech and Troy. After an abysmal first season, Brown believes his team will be much improved on his side of the ball. He said last year’s receiving corps was the worst he’s ever had to work with in football as they began the year without a single player who had caught a touchdown pass at UK. Javess Blue and Ryan Timmons will lead that group, Brown believes.

When UK isn’t firing the pigskin in the Air Raid, the running game has the potential to shine. Brown called his running backs the deepest and strongest position on the team, and the backfield will have a better offensive line to run behind. The line lost one guy from last year, Kevin Mitchell, and the returners are bigger and stronger across the board. He’s also excited to add his redshirt freshmen to the mix.

We’ll have the entire interview on the site a little later today.


Melissa reporting “Dominique Hawkins is nice”

Breaking news from Kentucky Sports Radio’s live broadcast in Danville this morning:

According to Melissa, a show caller, Dominique Hawkins is nice. Melissa called in to the show to tell the guys she met the UK sophomore point guard and he is a nice young man.

KSR can confirm Melissa’s report. Dominique is very nice.


Julius Randle, Coach Cal, and the 2014-15 Wildcats

@UKCoachCalipari

Julius Randle is in Lexington to help out with 2014 Kroger John Calipari ProCamp (Cal has so many camps this summer) and he took some time out of his busy schedule of being the Lakers’ future for a photo op with Cal, the team and some campers.

As Kyle Tucker pointed out on the Twitter device, that’s 10 McDonald’s All-Americans in one photo, maybe more if some of the younger kids pay attention this week and work hard.

Randle was bouncing around Lexington over the weekend, too.


Tickets to the alumni game officially on sale this morning

UK’s annual Alumni Charity Game will take place on August 24 at 6 pm ET, and tickets went on sale to the general public this morning. Now all fans, not just those with the presale code, can purchase tickets to the game. It opened up this morning at 10:00 am.

All seats are reserved and priced at $101 (premium lower level), $31 (lower level), and $16 for premium upper level. Tickets can be purchased at the Rupp Arena box office, online at Ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster Outlet or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. There is an eight-ticket limit per person. All orders will have additional fees attached. All proceeds from the game will go to charity.

The format of this year’s game will be a team of UK pros versus a team of non-UK pros.

Get to it.


KSR is at Bluegrass Community Bank in Danville (Monday Show Thread)

The KSR Tour begins its final stretch this week in Danville, home of one Tyler Thompson. Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond are at Bluegrass Community Bank to kick off the last week of the journey.

The guys have lots to talk about today, but with Ryan getting pulled over AGAIN on his way to the show, his driving will be the hottest topic. You’ll want to listen.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

KSR Affiliate List

WBGN (1340am): Bowling Green
WAIN (93.9fm): Columbia
WHIR (1230am): Danville
WCLU (1490am): Glasgow
WGOH (1370am): Grayson
WHOP (95.3fm): Hopkinsville
WJKY (1060am): Jamestown
WLAP (630am): Lexington
WFTG (1400am): London
WKJK (1080am): Louisville
WFMW (730am): Madisonville
WXXL (1450am): Manchester
WFTM (1240am): Maysville
WKYM (101.7fm): Monticello
WMSK (1550am): Morganfield
WLME (102.7fm):Owensboro
WKYH (600am): Paintsville
WLSI (900am) Pikeville
WPRT (960am): Prestonsburg
WSFC (1240am): Somerset
WTCW (920am): Whitesburg
WBTH (1400am): Williamson

On Delay (ALL TIMES LISTED EASTERN)…

WVHI (1330am): Evansville, IN, 5-7pm
WMTL (870am): Leitchfield, 11am-1pm
WLBQ (1570am): Morgantown, 3-5pm
WRIL (106.3fm): Middlesboro, Thur 8-10pm
WPAD (1560am): Paducah, 11-1pm
WHAY (98.3fm): Whitley City, 2-4pm


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Can Close Games Make or Break a Coach?

What makes the difference between a good coach and a bad coach?  Is it motivation?  Is it recruiting?  Is it the ability to make in-game adjustments?  It’s probably a little bit of everything wrapped into one.  But, sometimes it’s just luck.  And as we have seen over the years, often times the ball bounces your way in close games, and sometimes it doesn’t.  Look at how 2 guys did in close games, those decided by 7 points or less, during their time at Kentucky.  And keep this thought in your mind: If Joker Phillips just gets 2 or 3 of those losses to bounce his way, would he still be the coach at Kentucky?  And if Rich Brooks didn’t catch the breaks to get 15 wins by 7 points or less, including 3 in each of his last 4 years, would he have lasted as long at Kentucky as he did?

I only point this out to highlight how precarious a head coach in college football can have it.  Mark Stoops can do everything right, put the right players on the field, and still lose the majority of games inside 7 points, and he is suddenly out of a job.  Here’s to hoping Stoops has success like Brooks, at least in his latter years, in close games and not Phillips.

MARK STOOPS (0-2)
2013 (0-2)
Lost to South Carolina by 7, Lost to Mississippi State by 6

JOKER PHILLIPS (3-6)
2012 (0-2)
Lost to Western Kentucky by 1 (OT), Lost to Georgia by 7

2011 (1-1)
Beat Tennessee by 3
Lost to Louisville by 7

2010 (2-3)
Beat Louisville by 7, Beat South Carolina by 3
Lost to Ole Miss by 7, Lost to Auburn by 3, Lost to Mississippi State by 7
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RICH BROOKS (15-16)
2009 (3-3)
Beat Louisville by 4, Beat Auburn by 7, Beat Georgia by 7
Lost to South Carolina by 2, Lost to Mississippi State by 7, Lost to Tennessee by 6 (OT)

2008 (3-4)
Beat MTSU by 6, Beat Arkansas by 1, Beat Mississippi State by 1
Lost to Alabama by 3, Lost to South Carolina by 7, Lost to Georgia by 4, Lost to Vanderbilt by 7

2007 (3-1)
Beat Louisville by 6, Beat LSU by 6, Beat Vanderbilt by 7
Lost to Tennessee by 2

2006 (3-2)
Beat Mississippi State by 3, Beat Georgia by 4, Beat La-Monroe by 2
Lost to South Carolina by 7, Lost to Tennessee by 5

2005 (2-2)
Beat Mississippi State by 6, Beat Vandy by 5
Lost to Louisville by 7, Lost to Ole Miss by 6

2004 (1-2)
Beat Vanderbilt by 1
Lost to South Carolina by 5, Lost to Tennessee by 6

2003 (0-2)
Lost to Florida by 3, Lost to South Carolina by 6


KSR’s Top 10 Tweets of the Weekend

Darrell Bird Catspause

Darrell Bird Catspause

It’s time again for KSR’s Top Tweets of the Weekend. You can participate by using hashtags such as #BBN #KSR #KSRTop10 or just by simply tweeting @KYsportsradio. We will focus most of our attention on Kentucky sports-centric tweets but, as usual, there are no limits to our madness.

 

#10 Scott Phillips

They just weren’t ready to let him go.

 

 

 

#9 -Drew Barker-

Now for the next challenge: finding a phone charger.

 

 

 

 

#8 Zack Hill

You all look like BFF’s. Can you get me an autograph?

 

 

 

 

#7 Jade ✨

Trust me, I’ve tried. It’s not that easy, sadly.

 

 

 

 

#6 Patrick Patterson

I don’t know from personal experience, but I can imagine it is the worst.

 

 

 

 

#5 Kenji (Ken-jee)

This is why you should keep a girl with skinny long arms around you at all times.

 

 

 

 

#4 Kyle Wiltjer

Wiltjer and Coach O
Weirder things have happened. Actually, no. No they haven’t.

 

 

 

 

#3 Chris from Paducah

Sign me up. Hopefully 90% of it will just be the camera on Ryan.

 

 

 

 

#2 Ira D. Combs

That is enough to drive a man crazy.
(P.S- Not bad for just your second tweet, Ira.)

 

 

 

 

#1 Brandon Boyd

It’s the Cinderella policy. You have to be in by a certain time or your car turns into a pumpkin.

 

#KSRtop10


Wah Wah Jones’s Monday News and Views

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UK lost one of its legends early this morning as Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones passed away at the age of 88. The Harlan County native’s life reads like a storybook example of what makes Kentucky sports great. He grew up in deep Eastern Kentucky, where he was a baseball, basketball and football star at a time that the best athletes played all three. He went to the state Basketball Tournament four times, helping Harlan win the title in 1944. While at UK, he had a legendary career like none other, playing football and basketball at a high level, earning All American honors in the process. He was part of one of the greatest teams in UK Basketball history, the “Fabulous Five” of 1948 that not only won the NCAA title, but were then made part of the US Olympic Team that won the Gold Medal in 1948. His athletic exploits are legendary and he was called by John Calipari today, “perhaps the greatest athlete in UK history.” He was also one of our last remaining links to the golden years of UK Athletics, as he played for both Adolph Rupp and Bear Bryant in Lexington. I met Wah Wah on a couple of occasions later in life, and he couldn’t have been more gracious, telling me stories about games he played against Middlesboro during his high school years. He was also part of one of the more special events I have ever attended at Rupp, when he and Anthony Davis were honored with their gold medals in 2012, a symbol of the great living tradition of Kentucky basketball. Wah Wah Jones in the epitome of the Big Blue Nation tradition and KSR’s prayers and thoughts go out to his family and friends.

With that, a few notes from the weekend:

The basketball team begins practice for the Bahamas in full force on Monday, getting 10 days of practices in which to get ready for the trip to the island. The excitement around the basketball facility is palpable, as everyone realizes just what a special season this can be. The plan in the Bahamas, at least for the first couple of games, is likely to be to play two separate five man teams an equal amount of the game. That may change for the latter games, but this will give all ten of the main players a chance to get full work and showcase themselves. That means big things for Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins and Marcus Lee, who will likely get extended periods on the court and be able to get into their groove and contribute. The playing time may switch afterwards as they try different rotations but this “two team” concept should be very entertaining to watch for the early games. All of the games will be at 1 pm, the first three on ESPNU, the second three on the new SEC Network and all of them on radio. We will be doing KSR LIVE from the Bahamas, Ryan will host an extra 30 minutes of the show and then there will be a half hour IMG show leading into the game….all of which means if you are at work, you can listen to UK basketball on the radio from 10 am to 3:30 pm for an entire week in August. That’s pretty cool.

Julius Randle was in town this weekend…and everyone sent us pictures. Here were my three favorites, the first because of what is happening in the background, the second because it was very cool to get Couch and Julius together in a pic and the third because it made me laugh:

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— In the basketball recruiting world, we learned again that Jaylen Brown is really damn good. He played on ESPNU on Sunday and I was once again amazed at his talent. He is so graceful on the court, can get to the rim against anyone and is literally perfect for the Calipari system. Everyone continues to seem negative about Kentucky’s chances but I still don’t buy it. UCLA, Kansas and his home state Georgia schools will be tough, but I know he is target #1 for Calipari and until I hear something different, I still think UK has a very good shot. Either the way, the kid can ball and watching him is a pleasure.

We also have confirmation that Stephen Zimmerman is coming to Big Blue Madness…great get by Kentucky to have him in the building on what will be a huge recruiting weekend.

— The “Coaches for the Kids” event was this weekend and while it was “off the record” (meaning we can’t tell any juicy gossip), one thing was clear (and repeatable)…this football staff is amped up for the season. Every conversation with these guys from Mark Stoops to the Graduate Assistants reveals the same thing…they believe the team is going to be much better and they can’t wait to show it. Last year was a humbling season for everyone involved and while the learning curve was going to always be steep, it ended up being much steeper than people thought. But there are now athletes in the program of another level, and it is about time to see some positive steps. We keep hearing great things about two guys…Patrick Towles and Ryan Timmons…two Kentucky kids who will play a huge role in this offense and the season. I can’t wait to see them get started. The team officially reports next Sunday, with practice beginning Monday. Get ready…

The Women’s clinic was this weekend…our own Brennan English was there and has a great report below…the star was of course Zadarius, who is here with KSR Radio Super Fan Marsha Poe

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— Finally, a short note on football recruiting. Yes, Kentucky lost out on George Brown and CJ Conrad (who is committed to UK) went to the Ohio State Friday Night Lights event (but didn’t yet get an offer). But I am hearing some rumblings of good news coming very shortly that could have us all very happy before we depart for the Bahamas. “Bermuda, Bahamas, come on pretty Mama…Key Largo, Montego, Baby Why Don’t We Go Yahtzee?” (Reading that back, that is really awful…but its been a long weekend and I am going with it either way).

The West side of the state treated us great with massive crowds and unbelievable energy. We only have five stops left on the tour….DANVILLE, NORTHERN KY, MAYSVILLE, LEXINGTON and LOUISVILLE. Mark Stoops and Slice Rohrrsen will join us at the Lexington stop and Neal Brown is going to be on with us during the Danville stop (his home town). Northern Kentucky should be great at Dickmann’s and Louisville is where someone wins a trip to the Bahamas. Should be a great week.

We are now just a little over a month away from this time of year

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Josh Clemons must work out

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Watch him show off his guns in the latest ‘Change The Game’ clip from Kentucky Wildcats TV.