By now you’ve heard about BBNmeetup.com, the new dating website for Kentucky fans. The online →
By Freddie Maggard on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 4:00pm
On Saturday, America will be celebrating its Independence. On the same day in Paintsville, locals and media will gather to watch 4-star LB Kash Daniel pick up a baseball cap. The recruiting hat-trick is not one of my favorite things in the world. But, I understand youthful enthusiasm and its significance. Daniel’s final three choices are Kentucky, Louisville, and South Carolina.
Accomplished, highly skilled, mountain athletes take on a larger than life persona. There is a strong sense of Appalachian pride when one of their own is nationally recognized. Daniel’s meteoric rise and US Army All American Bowl selection are worthy of such praise. He’s indeed made us proud. Yes I used us. I’m from that area.
Question of the day remains, which hat will he pick up? In June, I posted that I felt he was leaning towards South Carolina. Upon his return from an unofficial visit to Columbia, he quickly changed his commitment date. In addition to the time change, he cancelled a visit to Florida and indicated that he’d made up his mind. All that could have been interpreted two different ways. Either he was all in with Spurrier, or perhaps validation for Kentucky. Louisville has been the least discussed of the three options. For Cat fans, his silence about their in-state rival is unnerving. Is he really considering the Cardinals? Bobby Petrino beating Mark Stoops for a mountain kid would be a major coup.
I don’t actually own a crystal ball. Can’t say I’ve ever seen one. But on America’s patriotic holiday I think Kash Daniel’s declaration will be one of blue, not garnet or red. He’s a Wildcat.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 3:24pm
I’ll admit, I don’t read the Kentucky Kernel very often, and after reading the article sent to me this afternoon, I realize why. On Wednesday, columnist Joshua Huff wrote a piece entitled “Calipari would be wise to leave UK” in which he argues that fans’ hysteria over the various NBA rumors surrounding Cal is reason enough for him to get out of town. In fact, Huff pretty much opens the door and tries to push Cal through it.
This outcry and panic about Calipari possibly leaving for the NBA is ridiculous. So much so that no matter how much future success he enjoys, the minute he leaves — or “bolts,” as UK fans will say — he’s going to be ridiculed and thrown under the bus.
I doubt fans will line up along the road as he heads to the airport with signs wishing him well. He might as well fly out of Louisville; surely they’ll be happy to see him go.
First of all, yes, the day Calipari leaves will be upsetting, but I doubt fans will “ridicule him” and “throw him under the bus.” In fact, I would imagine that fans WOULD line the streets to wish him well. I do like that Louisville joke, though.
Coaching at UK goes in two different directions: Success leads to greater opportunities (the NBA), and failure leads coaches down paths traveled by the likes of Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie.
Some fans may have had their issues with Tubby, but I don’t think anyone would label a coach that won a national championship a “failure.”
There’s more of that over at the Kernel if you want it. Or not.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 3:00pm
Earlier today, the UGA Men’s Basketball Twitter account sent out the picture above to promote the program, which is all fine and good, except…well, it’s not, really. Georgia is bragging that their game against Kentucky on March 3rd in Athens was the third most watched game in the SEC, bringing in 2.8 million viewers. Yes…because it was against Kentucky.
Mark Fox has done a good job with the Georgia program, but why stoop to this blatant grab of the Cats’ coattails? The main reason people watched that game was because they wanted to see if Kentucky could survive its last true road test. It was a great game, don’t get me wrong; in fact, it was the first time I truly believed the Cats could lose, but let’s keep some perspective, okay?
Speaking of that game, let’s watch some highlights because it was awesome:
By C.M. Tomlin on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 2:00pm
Tired of dating sites which don’t disclose a potential mate’s fandom? Boo! Annoyed by relationships which progress well until you realize your significant other graduated from someplace like Furman? Yuk! Unable to shed your crippling addiction to University of Kentucky sports and maintain what many medical professionals call a “psychologically healthy and sexually normalized adult relationship with another human being?” For you, the time is now!
With Big Blue Matchup, you’ll:
–Meet other UK fans across the state for friendship and possibly more!
–Find sports enthusiasts just like you seeking a connection with a possible mate!
–Stop scaring your friends and family with creepy letters to Blockbuster Entertainment Award-nominated actress Ashley Judd full of eyes you cut out of magazines!
–Discover more to treausure in life than that mannequin found behind the department store, dressed up, painted with a face and lovingly referred to as beloved Kentucky sports newscaster Dick Gabriel!
–Get to know other True Blue fans for possible love and definite awkward, fumbling physical affection!
And, as always, Big Blue Matchup guarantees that at no time will you be matched with currently incarcerated ex-Wildcat Ed Davender!
How does it work?
At Big Blue Matchup, you’ll fill out an elaborate questionnaire designed by special algorithm to match you with the UK fan of your dreams. Questions like:
♦ During UK’s 2005 loss to South Carolina, do you think that Patrick Spark’s failure to lock down shooting guard Tarance Kinsey’s long-range three-point shooting directly or indirectly led to the team’s 73-61 loss?
♦ Bobby Perry: moustache or no-moustache?
♦ Would you rather have Rodney Dent’s dominance in the paint or LeRon Ellis’ poise off the court?
♦ Do you want to show up at South Carolina shooting guard Tarance Kinsey’s home and just “scare him a little” as retribution for the 2005 loss?
These and other questions will help Big Blue Matchup to determine the personality type with which you are most conducive and help make the perfect connection. Imagine a new world of sitting quietly, watching old UK basketball games on YouTube, making ham-fisted attempts to talk about other topics and comfortably just going back to watching old UK basketball games on YouTube. And you have our promise: You will not at any time be matched with current prison detainee Ed Davender!
See what our happy couples are saying!
“Sarah stumbled into my life like a young Rob Lock but posted up in my heart like a late college-career Mark Pope. I love her more than anything, and I know in my heart she’ll never Derrick Jasper me.”
“Meeting Jean was the best thing that ever happened to me. With her I can listen to football on the radio, attend basketball games, take part in University of Kentucky events and tailgate on Saturday morning. I haven’t even looked at the dry cleaning girl through my binoculars in months, and I probably won’t even murder her now!”
“At first, Big Blue Matchup paired me with former UK point guard Ed Davender. But I called them and they said there had been a mistake and matched me up with someone else. They really do stand by their word!”
Get started with Big Blue Matchup today and start finding the new love of your life. You’re sure to find that special someone After all, now you have all of Kentucky at your fingertips!*
*Excluding Ed Davender.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 1:15pm
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is one of my all-time favorite Cats for many reasons, but a main one is how he’s opened up about his speech problems. MKG has battled a stutter his whole life and finally made a breakthrough during his time at UK by working with speech pathologist Meg Shake at the CATS center.
Today, MKG is giving back to children who suffer from the same problems by attending the National Stuttering Association Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. He posted this great picture of him and some of the kids on Twitter this morning.
Earlier this year, Lee Jenkins profiled MKG for Sports Illustrated and interviewed Shake about her work with Michael. The article has stuck with me since, and it’s only appropriate to share an excerpt:
The Final Four was challenging because of unwanted media queries about his speech, but by then it was obvious that the therapy’s purpose went far beyond any press conference. Sound bites are significant in the social media age — if a player clanks a 10-footer at the buzzer, the public demands an explanation and revolts when it too falls short — but the interviews were just an excuse. “This was for when he gives his wedding vows,” Shake says, “and when he gets his honorary degree from UK, and when he goes to his grandchildren’s graduation. It was for a more fluent future.”
Read the rest of Jenkins’ excellent piece here. Keep up the good work, MKG.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 12:30pm
We all know how proud Jamal Murray is of his Canadian heritage (the Canadian flag cape he wore during his announcement was a pretty big indicator). Now, he’ll get a chance to represent his country in the Pan American Games, which will be held in Toronto later this month. This morning, Murray was one of 16 players named to the roster for the Canadian National Team Training Camp, which will take place July 12-17. The final roster for the Pan American Games will be set before July 18 and the Canadians will open play on July 21 vs. Argentina.
Also on the training camp roster? Former Cat Kyle Wiltjer, who can give Murray an idea of what to expect in Lexington; NBA players Anthony Bennett, Sim Bhullar, and Andrew Nicholson. Still no word on whether Murray will come to Lexington before the training camp or wait until it’s over to start his career as a Cat.
Best of luck to Murray as he attempts to make the team. If he does, we should all get Canadian flag capes to support him.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 11:30am
We’ve all known about Patrick Towles’ love for Harry Potter for a while now. (Last summer, I wrote an entire article about how Towles may be the ultimate Potter fan.) The rest of the media’s catching on and today, Patrick Towles is on the cover of this season’s Cats Pause Yearbook wearing a Gryffindor scarf, Harry Potter glasses, and the trademark lightning scar. Yes, really.
Darrell Bird interviewed Towles about his HP addiction, which he says continues to this day, especially during the movie marathons on ABC Family.
Towles’ Harry Potter obsession dates back to adolescence when he first started reading the books with his sister. He can remember waiting at Barnes & Noble for the later books to be released and attending midnight premieres of the movies dressed up like his favorite characters. His room still features several of the movie posters hanging on the wall, and Towles observes an annual celebration of Potter’s birthday on July 31.
As someone who dressed up as Hermoine to go to the movie premieres during college, I’m raising a mug of butterbeer in your honor, Patrick. To read more of Bird’s piece about Patrick’s HP addiction, click here.
Also listen to this super nerdy conversation Patrick and I had about HP at Media Day last year:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 11:00am
During the NBA Playoffs, JR Smith was the subject of about a million Vines when he rolled into The Q on a “Phunkee Duck,” a Segway-like device without the handlebars:
Pretty cool, right? As you might expect, the Phunkee Duck took off with pro athletes, including John Wall, who posted this video of himself dancing on one yesterday:
A video posted by johnwall (@johnwall) on
Wesley Woodyard also has one, which you can see in this video that for some reason I can’t embed.
On its website, the creators describe the PhunkeeDuck as “the next step in the evolution of transportation.” How much does it cost? $1,500. Just a drop in the bucket for a guy like John Wall, right?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 10:00am
Who’s the latest Cat on the move? According to a report from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, it may be Tayshaun Prince. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Chris Haynes cites sources that say the Cavaliers have reached out to Tayshaun in an effort to bring in more depth on the wing, but a deal may not come until some other negotiations have fallen into place.
Last season, Tayshaun played for the Memphis Grizzlies, the Boston Celtics, and the Detroit Pistons, averaging 7.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 46% from behind the arc. Not too shabby for a 35-year-old veteran.
One more ‘ship with LeBron? Someone just be sure to tell this guy:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 9:45am
Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Friday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Today, Matt and Drew are live from the Holiday Inn in Hopkinsville (2910 Fort Campbell Blvd) to preview a big weekend for the Cats and America. Odds are most of you are enjoying the day off since the 4th is on a Saturday this year, so if you’re in the area, come on out to say hello, enjoy the show, and register from GuyOnTheCornerTickets.com.
**POLL QUESTION OF THE DAY**
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
Here’s an updated list of tour stops. We’re still finalizing a few, so be sure to check back as the week goes on.
July 3: Hopkinsville – Holiday Inn
July 6: Morganfield – Southern States
July 7: Grayson – Simply The Best Bar & Grill
July 8: Pikeville – Bank 253
July 9: Williamson – Appalachian Wireless at South Side Mall
July 10: KY Speedway
July 13: Cynthiana – Cynthiana County Club
July 14: Whitley City – McCreary County Public Library
July 15: London – Sleep Outfitters
July 16-17: TBD
July 20: Whitesburg – Pine Mountain Grill
July 21: Manchester – Clay County Middle School
July 22: Somerset – Sleep Outfitters
July 23: Harlan – Core Fitness
July 24: Fort Wright – Dickmann’s Sports Bar
July 27: Campbellsville – Mr. Gatti’s
July 28: Owensboro – Don Moore GM Center
July 29: Benton – Kennedy’s Fan Shop
July 30: Paducah – Buffalo Wild Wings
July 31: Fancy Farm
August 3: Bowling Green – Chaney’s Dairy Barn
August 4: McKee – Old Courthouse Community Room
August 5: Glasgow – Papa John’s
August 6: Jamestown – Lawless-Smith True Value and Appliance Center (Russell Springs)
August 7: Monticello – Conley Bottom Resort
August 10: Frankfort – Governor’s Mansion
August 11: Maysville – Laurel Oaks Golf Course
August 12: Danville – Sun Tropic Outdoors
August 13: Lexington – All Sports at Fayette Mall
August 14: Louisville
GuyOnTheCornerTickets.com is giving away UK basketball and football tickets at every tour stop this summer. That’s 33 chances to win, and all you have to do is come out to listen to your favorite radio show. That’s so easy even Ryan Lemond could do it!
By Bryan the Intern on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 8:59am
Every Friday this summer I am giving you a chance to basically take over this post. As you saw on the radio show yesterday, fans have some of the best stories. And frankly, fans are what make this program so great. It’s not Calipari or the players, it’s you. So I want to hear your best stories. Send me the story you always tell people at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post the best of the best here on Fridays. Today, a double feature:
In 1999, my dad, Keith Reed, caught wind of someone selling a 1998 UK Championship ring. It turns out that the ring belonged to Allen Edwards and was stolen from the Wildcat Lodge. Dad bought the ring for $600 and called the UK Athletic Office to figure out how to get it back to Allen (who by this time had graduated). Dad was put in touch with Asst. Coach Mike Sutton, and he returned the ring to UK. He received a nice note from Tubby Smith and from Allen Edwards afterwards.
In September, when my dad died, I was going through some of his things, and I found his notes from the transaction and the FedEx receipt. I looked-up Allen Edwards, who was coaching at Wyoming, and emailed to ask if he could take a picture of the ring for me because Dad never bothered to even photograph it. (I want to tell my 4 year-old the story when he gets a little older.) Allen called me to thank me, again, for Dad’s gesture and promised to take a picture next time he went home to visit his mom, who has his mementos for safe-keeping.
Kaelin from Lebannon
I’ll keep my story short and sweet. My favorite UK basketball story took place on November 28, 1990. I was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and had been training in the desert at Camp All American near Dahran, Saudi Arabia since early August, waiting for the rest of the coalition to form in order to kick Saddam Hussein’s invading army out of Kuwait. It was just after Thanksgiving, and we were all thinking of home. Being a Harlan County native and a UK grad, I grew up loving the Cats, but on active duty in America’s premier strategic rapid reaction force, opportunities to see them in action were few and far between. On this particular night, UK was playing the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Armed Forces Network had picked up the game to broadcast to us in theater. The tip took place around 0200 my time, but I was wide awake and listening. Laying in my hooch listening to Cawood and Ralph call a 75 – 71 Kentucky victory was heaven sent. For two hours, I was back home, forgetting where I was and what I would be doing in a few short months, enjoying the Cats bringing home a victory. I’ll never forget it.
Col. Todd Obradovich
By Drew Franklin on ©July 03rd, 2015 @ 8:00am
This video is the saddest thing you’ll see all day. I couldn’t get through it. I threw in the towel after I heard America became independent when it defeated the South, the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1984, and we declared our independence from the country of California.
Be better, America.
If you didn’t know those answers, keep it to yourself. Keep it to yourself and look it up before you do anything else this morning.
Kash Daniel announces tomorrow.
He told the Herald-Leader, “This place will ignite on fire if I choose to go where everybody’s wanting me to go.”
Plenty more Kash talk throughout the day.
Julius Randle dunks on guy, asks, “What was he thinking?”
Listen closely. Also, what was he thinking?
Tiger playing well at the Greenbrier.
After hitting 14 greens and needing only 25 putts in yesterday’s opening round, eyes will be on Tiger Woods at Day 2 of the Greenbrier Classic. Woods’ 4-under-par was good enough for 12th place yesterday and he’ll look to improve on that score as fans continue to wonder if he’ll ever truly be ‘back.’
Woods tees off at 1:10 pm this afternoon. I’ll be following my PGA Tour app religiously while tailgating for the USMNT in Nashville.
Keep an eye on my good buddy Kent Bulle at the PGA’s Dakota Dunes tournament in Canada, too. I’ve got a feeling he’s going low today. Vamanos El Toro!
Anyone in Nashville tonight?
Tweet me or something. Let’s go.
The Knicks and Thunder competing for Enes Kanter.
Re-signing Enes Kanter is a priority for Oklahoma City this offseason, but the Phil Jackson has contacted the former Cat about a move to New York City. Talks will pick up today, and OKC is expected to match whatever the Knicks offer.
Rajon Rondo is also still in the middle of NBA free agency. The most recent report is Los Angeles reached out to him about becoming a Laker. He will also meet with the Kings today.
Doron Lamb named to Golden State’s summer league roster.
EAT D LAMB!!!!
Watch Roger Federer embarrass American Sam Querrey at Wimbledon.
Oh my. That’s filthy.
Magic Mike XXL opens today.
That in no way affects my day, but Jared Lorenzen appears to be pretty pumped about it.
— jared lorenzen (@JaredLorenzen22) July 1, 2015
Anyone got a Hollywood connection to get Jared in a Magic Mike XXL audition? The man’s got moves.
We’re at the Holiday Inn in Hopkinsville today.
See you there, Western Kentucky!!!
By Drew Franklin on ©July 02nd, 2015 @ 11:00pm
By now you’ve heard about BBNmeetup.com, the new dating website for Kentucky fans. The online dating service will go live on July 15th, but it opened today for users to begin creating their profiles.
While creating mine earlier this afternoon, which will surely get me at least half of a date, a glitch in the system gave me a sneak peek at some of my competition in the Man Seeking Woman category. And let me tell you, there are several recognizable faces looking for love around Big Blue Nation. I copied some of the profiles to share with you here on KSR tonight so you know what you’re up against when the matchmaking begins in two weeks…
Occupation: Country Music Star
Wants Kids: No
Favorite UK Player: I’m a Willie Cauley-Stein man
Favorite UK Moment: When Kentucky Joe sang to Aaron Harrison outside the Craft Center
The Perfect Date Is: Kentucky Joe singing to his lady
About Me: I work for Kentucky Sports Radio with Matt Jones.
Occupation: Professional Basketball Player
Wants Kids: No
Favorite UK Player: Doron Lamb
Favorite UK Moment: 2012 National Championship
The Perfect Date Is: Eat with D. Lamb
About Me: Ladies if you not bringing anything to the table then I can’t talk to you then Period. I don’t have time for girls to be acting me for stuff and u can’t help me. You can’t have no car live with your mom and no money that crazy ladies. I can’t talk to a girl like that im sorry. That a turn off when a girl wear to much makeup.
Occupation: ESPN Basketball Insider
Wants Kids: No
Smokes: Other reporters in scoop
Favorite UK Player: Not Andrew Harrison
Favorite UK Moment: Losing to Wisconsin in the Final Four
The Perfect Date Is: Sitting around a box of wine in a candlelit room, critiquing Andrew Harrison and John Calipari. Preferably with Bill Self at the Peach Jam.
About Me: Sources tell me things.
Occupation: College Basketball Coach
Wants Kids: No
Smokes: When I’m drunk
Favorite UK Player: Mark Coury
Favorite UK Moment: Winning the Cancun Challenge, sleeping with college chicks
The Perfect Date Is: Merrick Inn
About Me: I once coached at the University of Kentucky. Now I am at Ranger Junior College in Texas. Whatever you’ve heard about me, it’s probably true. Sorry for partying.
Occupation: Kroger Courtesy Clerk
Wants Kids: No
Favorite UK Player: Dan Issel because he scored 53 points against Mississippi on February 7 in 1970 and then he scored 51 points on February 21, 1970.
Favorite UK Moment: Meeting Jack Givens at the KSR pregame show
The Perfect Date Is: Smashburger
About Me: I’m a conservative and my Kroger schedule is 5-10 on Saturday and 3-6 on Sunday.
Wants Kids: No
Favorite UK Player: Billy Idol
Favorite UK Moment: Second half TV timeouts
The Perfect Date Is: Toss and turn and feel all right
About Me: Moves like Jagger
Occupation: Yahoo! Sports Writer, Habitual Calipari Hater
Wants Kids: No
Drinks: When Kentucky loses
Smokes: When Kentucky loses
Favorite UK Player: None of them
Favorite UK Moment: Every one of Calipari’s losses
The Perfect Date Is: Hanging out with Rick Pitino
About Me: DTF
By Courtney Hessler on ©July 02nd, 2015 @ 10:30pm
Summer’s here and so is the perfect summer salad—Wendy’s Strawberry Fields Chicken Salad. Made with hand-sliced strawberries and crisp Romaine chopped right in our kitchens. All topped with warm, freshly grilled chicken. It’s only here for summer and it’s only at Wendy’s. At participating Wendy’s for a limited time
You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:
@josephschroer Might need you for a short video. Message us if interested.
— BBNmeetup.com (@BBNmeetup) July 2, 2015
NO. NO. NO. NO. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? DON’T ENCOURAGE HIM.
#9 James Martin
— James Martin (@TheConverseBlog) July 2, 2015
#8 Nik Stauskas
— Nik Stauskas (@NStauskas11) July 2, 2015
This can’t be Boogie. He is just a thug. Right?
A house in my neighborhood has a Wisconsin flag flying from their flag pole in their front yard… I'll light that sucker where it is #BBN
— Kaylaaa♥️ (@Amanda_Les90750) July 2, 2015
I would encourage this, but apparently you CAN get arrested for taking down a flag. Oh what the heck. Go for it.
#6 Hagan Fee
— Hagan Fee (@HaganAFee) July 2, 2015
Hopefully they’re at least done by the time it’s our turn.
#5 Josh house
@KySportsRadio on periscope may be the closest thing to the Marshall County Hoopfest podcast as we'll get.
— Josh house (@Sierrainthemist) July 2, 2015
Static/bad connection and all.
#4 Just Being Frank
— Just Being Frank (@UKCat56) July 2, 2015
I can’t even deal with this right now. That’s a nice cat, tho.
#3 Arash Markazi
The Lakers in free agency. pic.twitter.com/O19lTYsgyW
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 2, 2015
I’ve never see anything explained so clearly before.
#2 Mark Titus
Happy Tom Crean Buyout Day!!!
— Mark Titus (@clubtrillion) July 2, 2015
Yesterday was a great day! Only a year to go!
#1 Ray J. Vaske
— Ray J. Vaske (@outRAGEous02) July 2, 2015
I kinda feel like the future of BBN lies on Ray’s family.
By Ryan Clark on ©July 02nd, 2015 @ 9:30pm
In 2003, LeBron James took his talents to the NBA. UK’s Keith Bogans was also a part of that draft. And so was I.
A journalist always remembers how his stories begin.
From The Washington Post, 2003:
After Prep Work, James Is Chosen One
By Ryan Clark
Washington Post Staff Writer
NEW YORK, June 26 – Hand it to LeBron James for stealing the spotlight in his first moments as an NBA player.
While the 2003 NBA Draft was expected to take on an international flavor, and did so with a record 20 foreign players taken mostly in the latter half, James commanded immediate attention.
And he didn’t even need a court to do it.
James, as expected, was selected No. 1 by the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, and the 6-foot-8, 240-pound 18-year-old came dressed for the occasion. He sauntered to the stage to shake Commissioner David Stern’s hand in a white suit, save a touch of black on the shoes.
White shirt. White tie. White jacket and pants.
“It wasn’t like I was wondering where I was going,” James said. “I’m still excited. The dream has finally come and the hard work had paid off.”
I still love how that story began. I love that I got a chance to write it, and I love that the 2003 draft, which also featured players like Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, can at least be in the argument as the best of all-time.
I was technically just an intern, fresh off graduating from Western Kentucky University. But I’d spent more than five years in school, mostly because I interned at some of the largest newspapers in the country. Baltimore. Atlanta. Orlando. I’d been lots of places and covered a lot of sports. I was more than just a young sportswriter.
But covering the draft was different – and it was an experience I’ll never forget. I remember sitting down to write and looking to my left – next to me, Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News was typing away. I had to laugh at that. Me, the intern, next to one of the loudest guys on ESPN. Of course, before I left for New York, Michael Wilbon (of PTI fame) and Rachel Nichols, who were both then writers at the paper, told me that if I needed any help I should just give them a call.
I was, indeed, in rare air. It was all very surreal.
But of course, I had a job to do, and it was so much fun covering the cocky, young, talented LeBron as he officially introduced himself to the NBA. In truth, I’ve been a fan ever since. I feel like I was there when it all began.
But there’s another reason why I loved being a part of that draft. It was much more insignificant in the whole scheme of things. Still, as the night wore on, I felt a little sense of pride when the Orlando Magic used the 43rd pick to choose UK’s Keith Bogans.
I remember I stopped typing when I heard his name announced. Way to go, Keith, I thought.
We all know the story about Keith Bogans. Came to UK as a McDonald’s All-American. Tough as nails. Reliable three-point shooter. Great defender. Became a great leader. Stayed four years and led UK to an undefeated SEC run. Sprained his ankle and lost to DWade in the 2003 Elite Eight. Finished his college career as an All-American and became UK’s all-time scoring leader at guard.
I never would have thought that in 2015 Bogans would still be earning an NBA paycheck. Yet it’s true. Whether Keith ever dons another NBA jersey. He’s still getting paid, in part because he was added to the blockbuster trade that Brooklyn made to land Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in 2013. Keith was given a gift of several million dollars just so he could make the trade work.
Shouldn’t we all be so lucky?
But before Bogans became trade fodder, he was exactly what he was in college: a hard-nosed, defensive stopper who could shoot the three and help lead a team. He became a fixture in the league, which is something we cannot say for his long-ago and much ballyhooed high school teammate Joe Forte, who went to North Carolina. In fact, when Bogans entered the league in 2003, Forte was completing his last of two total seasons in the NBA. He now plays for a team in Tel Aviv.
Fans tend to forget that just four years ago, Bogans was the backcourt mate of league MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and Bogans started at shooting guard for all 98 of the team’s regular season and playoff games.
So, we pose the question: Is Keith Bogans the most overachieving NBA Wildcat?
First, I suppose we should look at those UK players who have gone to the league. A quick visit to Jon Scott’s website gives us the answer:
Obviously, I won’t go over the whole list. If you want, go and check it out for yourself.
But I do think we need some parameters when talking about the topic. I mean, I can hear some people now: Keith Bogans was a high school and college All-American. He should have played 12 years in the NBA.
Good argument. I get it. Still, something about the plucky Bogans makes me include him on this list. After all, college achievement does not equal NBA success. So then, perhaps we should think about where the player was drafted – or, even if he was drafted at all.
It makes sense that we should then think about longevity and success of the NBA career, especially relative to the expectations we had for that player.
Lastly, we should include what I would call the intangibles – was the player expected to do well, but then exceeded those expectations? Was there something the player had to overcome to reach this dream?
That said, I’ll invite you to look at the list of Kentucky pro players. But there were a couple of things that stood out to me:
- I’m not going to reward one season of play, so the cup of coffee that Reggie Hanson and Wayne Turner had don’t count for much.
- A lot of our most revered players did not have great professional careers. (Jack Givens, Kenny Walker, Winston Bennett, etc.)
- If I haven’t heard of you, you probably didn’t do a whole lot.
So here’s my list of most overachieving NBA Wildcat players.
5. Scott Padgett – I cannot believe this guy spent parts of nine seasons in the league. I remember when Rick Pitino recruited Padgett out of St. X high in Louisville, and I thought: Are you kidding? What are we going to do with this guy?
Turns out we were going to win. A lot. And after bowing out in the Elite Eight to Michigan State in 1999, the 6-9, 240-pound Padgett was drafted in the first round by Utah. He started in nine games as a rookie and by his fourth season, he was a regular in the rotation, averaging 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
He’d then go to New Jersey, then Houston as a backup, and then Memphis before going to Spain before retirement.
It just proves that if you’re big and you can shoot, you’ve got a spot in the NBA.
4. Keith Bogans – See above. I know he was an All-American. But he was a second round pick who not only made a team, he was still a starter on a playoff squad a decade later. He overcame a lot of people who said he couldn’t make it. Kudos to KeithBo.
3. Mark Pope – This is an incredible story. After transferring from Washington and helping UK win the 1996 national championship, Pope became the fourth player drafted off that Cats squad – the 52nd pick, in the second round, to Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers.
Pope, a 6-10, 235-pound center, spent a year overseas before joining the team the next season. He then played two years before being cut. He went overseas again for a year before coming back to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he then started 45 games.
You read it right – he was a starter in the NBA. He averaged 2.4 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
After two years Pope moved on to Denver, and after two more seasons there, he was cut. His NBA career was over.
But it doesn’t make it any less amazing.
2. Nazr Mohammed – Probably the most unreal transformation from a player we UK fans have ever seen. The only thing that keeps Nazr from being No. 1 is he had the body. He was, at his trimmest, 6-10, 250-plus pounds. He had soft hands and feet. He was made to play in the NBA.
And that’s why, out of all the stars who came from the 1996 champs (Tony Delk, Ron Mercer, Derek Anderson, Antoine Walker, Walter McCarty, Pope, Jeff Sheppard, etc.) Nazr is the one who is still playing in the NBA. This year he played for Chicago, his eighth NBA squad.
He’s averaged 5.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game as a professional, and in 2005, he started every playoff game, averaging more than seven points per for the eventual world champion San Antonio Spurs.
1. Chuck Hayes – This one, to me, makes perfect sense. Chuck wasn’t big enough. He wasn’t fast enough. He couldn’t shoot.
But he could rebound. And he had a heart as big as Secretariat. And he just wins, baby.
Yes, he was California’s “Mr. Basketball.” Yes, he led Kentucky to some of its most successful regular seasons in its history, though his senior year ended in disappointing fashion (again) to Michigan State in the Elite Eight. But he went undrafted in the 2005 NBA Draft.
Instead, he went to the Developmental League, where the 6-6, 240-pound forward became a star, leading the DL in rebounding with a 12.2 per game average. Then, in January 2006, when half the Rockets team seemed to be on the disabled list, Hayes was called up for a 10-day contract.
He would never go back to the D-League.
In his second game, he posted a double-double in a win over Chicago, and by the end of his 10-day deal, the Rockets signed him to the squad for the rest of the season. He became known for his defense, and after the season, Houston picked up his contract option for the next year.
Finally – officially – Chuck was a pro. He started most of the games for the Rockets in 2006-07, became a fan favorite, and even signed a shoe deal in China worth a reported $5 million. Life was good for Chuck Hayes.
The success story continued, as Hayes signed a 4-year, $8 million contract with the Rockets, and in 2009-10, he became a co-captain of the team. It was then the 6-foot-6 player filled in at center for the injured Yao Ming. Hayes held his own.
In 2011, Hayes signed with a four-year deal with the Sacramento Kings worth $22.4 million. Two years later he was dealt to the Raptors, where he still plays with former Cat Patrick Patterson.
That’s nine seasons and millions of dollars. Not bad for a guy who was never drafted.
Eric Bledsoe – I guess living in the shadow of John Wall wasn’t that bad, was it, EBled? Who’s our next NBA All-Star from UK? It should be this guy, who grew up on dirt floors – and sometimes had no house at all – in Alabama. He came to UK, quick and athletic but undersized, not expected to be a one-and-done, and he has fought to be one of the biggest surprises in the league. Selected 18th overall in the first round by Oklahoma City in 2010, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Bledsoe balled in 2015 to the tune of 17 points, six assists and five rebounds per game. Did anyone expect this kid to be this good?
Patrick Patterson – I know. McDonald’s All-American. Comes to UK. He may have single-handedly kept everything together during the whole Gillispie fiasco. But Patterson decides to stay for a season with Cal to work on his outside game. Well, look now – PPatt, all 6-foot-9, 235 pounds of him, is a full-blown three-point shooter. Drafted 14th overall by Houston in 2010, he shot 41 percent from behind the arc last season, and he made nearly two threes per game for a Raptor playoff team that needed what he provided. He’s also become a fan favorite, and with career averages of eight points and nearly five rebounds per game, he should stay in the league for a while.
Jorts Harrellson – Why didn’t this guy make the top five? He just didn’t do it for that long. I know he’s in the Phoenix camp right now, but I’m not sure Jorts will ever be back in the league. Still, even if he’s not, his two-plus NBA seasons were an amazement. He came to UK as a transfer under Gillispie, stayed under Cal, became a surprise starter, led his senior year team to the Final Four, and then – the surprise of all surprises – he got drafted by New Orleans with the 45th pick in 2011. Josh played his first season with the Knicks, and started four games, before bouncing to Miami for just six games the following season. He then played in Puerto Rico and China, before catching on with the Pistons in 2013-14. Last season, he was back in Puerto Rico and China. Over his NBA career he’s averaged 3.5 points and three rebounds per game.
So … Keith Bogans? Jorts? Nazr? Chuck Hayes? Which UK player do you think has overachieved the most in the NBA? Leave your comments below and let us know. Or email me at email@example.com or hit me up on Twitter: @rhinoKSR or my website: ForRyanOutLoud.com and maybe I’ll share them.
Go Big Blue!