Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
July 30th, 2014

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: What would you like to see in the QB battle for the future?

Kentucky is in a somewhat unique position of having 3 guys who seem to have a legitimate chance to be the starting QB this season.  Drew Barker the highly touted freshman, Patrick Towles the highly touted guy who has waited his turn, and Reese Phillips the scrappy undervalued guy.  Max Smith seems like an unlikely option as he recovers from his injury and with 3 capable players ahead of him.

Some would argue that it’s great for Kentucky to have several options at the most important position.  I would agree to an extent.  It gives UK more chances that one of those guys will be a game changer.  But the problem that Mark Stoops has is that all 3 guys are still young.  All 3 guys have 3 or more years left in the program, meaning that it’s unlikely a dual-QB system would be a 1-year solution.  When you look at all the scenarios that could happen this year, you see that the QB situation at UK will not be a smooth one over the next couple years, even if 1 guy steps up and grabs hold of the job.

Both Towles and Barker came to UK to be the future of the program.  And in Barker’s case, he came in under the current head coach to be the starting foundation of the program.  But what if Patrick Towles is really good this year?  You can’t play 2 QB’s just because if 1 is clearly better than the other.  But then where does that leave Barker?  He’s not going to wait around for 2 additional years to see if Towles play declines or he gets injured.  And let’s not forget that Barker was instrumental in getting some of the other recruits to come to Kentucky.

What if neither guy is exceptional this year and we see a split QB system for 2014?  OK, maybe Mark Stoops figures out a way to make that work this year, but you can’t keep that system in place for 3 straight seasons.  And you especially can’t do it with 2 guys with similar playing styles.  In some cases, having a mobile QB and dropback QB can work.  But rarely does it work with 2 quarterbacks with the same style.  So if neither guy separates himself from the other, then we are back here in 2015.

And then you have Reese Phillips, who seems to have the most solid game of the 3.  He might not stand out amongst the 3 guys but he might be the most steady.  And that could be something Neal Brown is looking for this year.  What if Phillips has any kind of impact this year?  Then you have 2 highly rated QB’s passed up by a lower rated guy.  And then once again, you have a QB problem in 2015.  Phillips is truly the wildcard in this entire situation.

When I look at it, the most simple solution I can see is giving Drew Barker the reigns right now.  He is a Stoops recruit and if he excels this year, then he can be the guy for the rest of his time in Lexington.  That would stink for Patrick Towles, but he still has a couple years to play at another school.  The problem is that it is unlikely that if Barker is given the reigns that he doesn’t struggle at times.  Which would bring us right back to Towles or Phillips.

It is very unlikely that any of these 3 guys is significantly better than the other 2 because if that was the case, why not go ahead and name that guy the starter now?  So the more likely scenario is these guys will battle it out during the fall and throughout the season.  And then we will enter the offseason with 2 (or 3) QB’s once again with aspirations for the starting job in 2015.  The question I have for you is this: IS THIS A GOOD THING?  If we have QB battles each of the next 2 or 3 offseasons, is that good for the program?  Or would you rather see one guy separate from the pack and wish the other 2 well at other opportunities?


KSR’s Top 10 Tweets of the Day

Darrell Bird Catspause

Darrell Bird Catspause

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

 

 

#10 Deadspin

Well, THAT shouldn’t be a violation or anything.

 

 

 

 

#9 Dorian Hendrix

Okay. Now I am pumped. Sign me up. Let’s do this.

 

 

 

 

#8 Drew Franklin ☝

It all makes sense now.

 

 

 

 

#7 tyler w

You’re such a good friend.

 

 

 

 

#6 Matt Cantrell

Well, you’re sticking with the same routine, so that has to be good for the mojo.

 

 

 

 

#5 Jon Hood

Ouch. Tell us how you really feel, Jon.

 

 

 

 

#4 jared lorenzen

Ouch, Lorenzen. Ouch.

 

 

 

 

#3 Jeremy J. Mo Moses

You definitely put your expectations way too low.

 

 

 

 

#2 Clare Maggie

I agree. Ladies of KSR need to do something about this so we can get some lady friendly advertisers.

 

 

 

 

#1 Aaron Huff

He’s going to make you a rich man, Aaron.

@Sealey_KSR


This Kid Mixing Concrete On A Volcano In Nicaragua While Wearing A UK T-Shirt’s Wednesday News and Views

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It’s only Day 2 of Mrs. Tyler’s vacation and I’m already a little spent, so we’re going to bypass the introductory couple of paragraphs in the night post about someone’s birthday, retirement, or the last good movie I saw. Tonight I’m just giving away the News and Views honors to a kid whose name I don’t know, solely because he was spotted on a volcano in Nicaragua in a Kentucky t-shirt.

Some friends of mine recently traveled to Nicaragua on a mission trip to build houses and deliver shoes to children in the Third World country. While taking time off to hike and sightsee, they befriended the young boy who was mixing concrete in Kentucky blue. As you can see, they taught him how to throw up the three-goggle like a true Cats fan. I guess you can say he “gets it.”

Moving on…

*****

We read great quotes from John Calipari on Tuesday.

First, John Rothstein shared a lengthy Q&A session with Coach Cal on CBSSports.com. It included interesting stuff from Cal about shunning the Cavs — he said the main reason he stuck around was to stay loyal to the returning players — and that he is still unsure how he will use his team’s depth to his advantage next season. It also included what he believes is the hardest part about his job at UK: “The pace of this. I see my picture five years ago from that press conference and I’ve aged 10 years since then. Minimum. All I know is there’s a reason that I look the way I do now and five years ago I didn’t look this way.”

Then, Mike DeCourcy over at Sporting News shared an article with similar quotes and one in particular stood out among the rest. Cal told him, “If I came back after (the NBA Draft deadline) and left … tough move. If it was your son, how would you feel? ‘That rat, we could have left, why didn’t he tell us?’”

That’s “solely” the reason he turned down NBA offers.

Read DeCourcy’s piece here.

You need to hear Jon Rothstein’s report from Kentucky basketball practice.

Rothstein called in to Kentucky Sports Radio on Tuesday to give a report on what he saw at UK’s Monday afternoon practice. The CBSSports personality told Matt, “The size at every position is staggering and the depth for the upcoming year will be unequivocally better than any depth John Calipari has had since he’s been the head coach at Kentucky.”

He also gave analysis of each of the new guys (sans the injured Trey Lyles), saying Devin Booker is shooting better than anyone on the floor and teams will not be able to zone Kentucky when he is in the game. That, plus great things about Tyler Ulis’ court vision and Karl Towns’ ability to stretch the floor. Take a second to listen to it.

Calipari compared his current roster situation (it being stacked) to Rick Pitino’s ’96 team.

Also from DeCourcy:

When Rick Pitino dealt with this sort of overcrowding with Kentucky’s 1995-96 “Untouchables” team, players as gifted as Ron Mercer (the No. 3 pick in the 1997 NBA Draft) and Derek Anderson (the No. 13 pick in ’97 even with a damaged knee) did not average even 20 minutes per game. Only three guys on that team did, and no one played 30. Wing Allen Edwards was at the back end of the rotation, getting 9 minutes per game. The stacked roster led UK to redshirt forward Jared Prickett after five games.

Calipari told these Wildcats there will be similar sacrifices and significant demands. He intends to install a list of several “non-negotiables” — actions that will lead to a player being automatically removed from a game.

James Young met with the media, said he’s not a fan of the overwhelming expectations at Kentucky.

Young encourages the 2014-15 group to tune out any and all 40-0 talk entering the season. “Don’t listen to it at all,” he said. “We kind of listened to it last year, and it kind of got to us. We had an up-and-down season. So really just leave the media stuff alone and just stay focused.”

He also confirmed he is cleared to start playing again after suffering a concussion in a car accident before the draft.

Oh, and after researching the Celtics, he learned Larry Bird was really good.

Anthony Davis talked to NBA TV after Tuesday’s USA Basketball practice.

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With Love bowing out of camp, Davis is now the most experienced player behind Durant in the program and its best post presence. He is a lock to make the final roster and will almost certainly be included in the starting five.

Hopefully DeMarcus Cousins, who is playing well in Las Vegas, joins Davis in the USA frontcourt. Cousins said in an interview that he is “there to work.”

Don’t forget: Football players begin camp on Monday.

This year the guys will have their hands full with classwork during the first week of camp. This is the first year practice has gotten underway before summer school ends, so they’ll be putting the pads on early before going to school.

Can’t wait to get some updates from the team, the new guys especially.

We have a Patrick Sparks sighting.

@CoachTJbball sent us this photo of the former Wildcat from Central City. I have no idea what the HSM Summer League is but I think Sparks is still going strong in Slovakia. Correct me if I’m wrong.

KSR will be in Maysville on Wednesday.

Only three stops remain in the KSR summer tour, meaning you have only three more chances to win UK basketball tickets or a spot in the Bahamas drawing. Matt and Ryan will be at Mann Chrysler in Maysville for a live broadcast of Wednesday’s show and they would love to see you. Get there early and you may find yourself in the “Best Seats In The House.”

Go Cats.


Will Florida’s losses be Kentucky’s Gain?

There’s something rotten in the city of Gainesville. After stealing away George Brown Jr from the Cats on Friday, two would-be Gators decided to pass on Florida and re-open their recruiting. That marks the fourth decommit in ten days for Florida and if things don’t go well this season things could get much worse. In regards to the players leaving George Brown spoke with Chad Wilson of the radio show Gridiron Studs and had this to say:

“Some people are just waiting to see what the offense looks like this year the first few games, I think we’ll be getting some big-time commitments pretty soon. That’s pretty much it with the new offensive coordinator, they just want to see how the offense works. If it goes well, we’ll have some pretty big commits coming in pretty soon.”

If it doesn’t go well? Things could be falling apart pretty quick in Florida and perhaps George Brown could be back on the market. Vince Marrow certainly doesn’t think it’s a done deal as he tweeted this after Brown’s commitment to the Gators last week:

 

All those decommits have dropped Florida down to 41st in 247sports’ composite rankings which is a few spots behind Wake Forest. Meanwhile the Cats are holding strong at 21st.  If Florida has another bad season this year then Kentucky targets could be back on the board.

Next signing day where to you thing George Brown will end up?


UCLA looks ready for Jaylen Brown’s visit

With Jaylen Brown set to visit one week from today, UCLA is really going out of its way to show him how washed up its basketball program is these days. Pauley Pavilion, where the Bruins play their home games, is currently submerged after a huge water main break earlier this evening. The court is likely ruined, much like Brown’s NBA potential if he commits.


2014 Kentucky Position by Position Preview: Quarterbacks

 

Part one in an eight part series previewing the 2014 Kentucky Football Wildcats.

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Barring something unforeseen, neither of the gentlemen pictured above will start at quarterback.

 

We’ve almost made it, Cat fans.  We’ve successfully navigated through the doldrums of the Kentucky sports calendar, and now stand at the precipice of football season.  Fall camp is less than a week away, and year two of the Mark Stoops Kentucky rejuvenation project hits Commonwealth Stadium in just one month.  Here to greet this glorious time of year is the annual Kentucky Sports Radio position by position preview, an eight part series breaking down each position group on the Wildcat roster. We know you are anxious to hear about the punters, but we’re saving that preview to the end to allow the tension to build.  Instead, we’ll start with quarterbacks.

THE CANDIDATES:

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Patrick Towles  6-5, 238 So. Ft. Thomas, KY (Highlands)

Towles made a strong impression in the Spring after appearing to be the odd man out in 2013, when he was beaten out by both Max Smith and Jalen Whitlow.  Towles redshirted in 2013, and rededicated himself to the fundamentals, in part through the employment of private quarterback coaches in the off-season.  This work appears to have paid off. Towles was named the starting quarterback for the Spring Game, and appears to be the leader in the clubhouse for the position going into Fall camp.  Of the likely candidates for the job, Towles is the only player with collegiate playing experience, though that initial foray into college football was largely forgettable, having completed 19 of 40 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown as a true freshman in 2012.   Towles has always possessed the physical tools, as indicated by his stellar high school career.  Towles went 38-1 as a starter for the powerful Highland Bluebirds, including three consecutive state titles.  He compiled 7400 passing yards and 73 passing touchdowns as well as 1700 rushing yards and 38 rushing touchdowns in a high school career that culminated with the Mr. Football Award in 2011.

phillips

Reese Phillips 6-2, 218 Fr.-RS Signal Mountain, TN

Despite being far and away the least heralded of the contenders for the Kentucky quarterback position, Phillips nearly worked his way onto the field as a true freshman in 2013.  Having graduated high school a semester early, Phillips immediately impressed coaches with his cool demeanor and accuracy in the Spring of 2013. As injuries mounted at the position last Fall, coaches seriously considered throwing Phillips into the fire, but decided it was in the best interest of Phillips and the program to preserve his redshirt season.  Phillips was twice named all state in the volunteer state, before escaping over the wall designed to keep out all of the haters and snitches. Phillips will go into Fall camp competing with Towles and Barker for the starting job.

barker

Drew Barker 6-3, 216 Fr.-HS Burlington, KY (Conner)

Barker gave himself a legitimate shot at the starting quarterback position by enrolling in January so that he could participate in the conditioning program and compete in Spring Practice.  Undoubtedly one of Mark Stoops’ biggest achievements to date as the Wildcat coach was the signing of Barker, an Elite 11 quarterback and four star prospect.  As a three year starter at Conner, Barker threw for over 6000 yards and 62 touchdowns, and rushed for over 3900 yards and 51 touchdowns.

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Maxwell Smith 6-4, 238 Jr. Granada Hills, CA

Smith’s status is up in the air following off-season shoulder surgery.  However, he is throwing at this point, and has been told by coaches he will have the opportunity to compete if healthy.  “If healthy” is a significant qualification for Smith, who has actually been quite capable in those rare moments that he has been able to avoid injury.  Smith has played in 21 games in his Kentucky career, starting 11.  In that game action, he has thrown for over 3000 yards and 21 touchdowns compared to just 9 interceptions. Unfortunately, his best football took place early in his Kentucky career, as witnessed by his 2011 Freshman All SEC designation, before a multitude of injuries hampered his effectiveness.

OUTLOOK:

Unfortunately, I do not think that Maxwell Smith is a viable option at this point.  If fully healthy, I truly believe that Smith has ideal tools to be an excellent option in the Air Raid Offense.  Having said that, by the end of last season, it appeared his arm was held to his torso by bailing twine.  And though he admirably fought through it without complaint, and without much help from his supporting cast I might add, it seems too much to ask for him to overtake three talented, and healthy, quarterbacks in the Fall.

The resulting three man race is difficult to call with any real certainty, as there is a valid argument to be made for each candidate. Each brings something unique to the table.  If you combined the three together, you’d get former ‘Cat Jared Lorenzen. (I kid, Jared. Don’t hurt me.)  If you combined the three in something other than mass, the resulting player would be something pretty special. Towles possesses all of the measurable qualities.  With his 6-5 height and broad shoulders, he looks like an NFL quarterback.  He also has the strongest arm of the candidates.  Phillips has the accuracy that Neal Brown craves. Brown has stated many times that accuracy is the single most important characteristic for a quarterback to possess in his version of the Air Raid.  Barker has that certain air of leadership and star power that Kentucky has not enjoyed at the most important of positions since the days of Tim Couch.  Because the technology necessary to combine these players to form one megaback will likely not be available by the August 30 opener, Stoops will have to make the call.

The best case scenario appears to be for Towles to win the job.  He is the most experienced, in his third year in the program, and appears to have reached the point in which his preparation and devotion to the craft have equaled his raw ability. Towles has the arm strength to make all of the throws necessary for opponents to have to cover the entire field, as evidenced by the 15 yard outs he zipped routinely in the Spring Game.  Towles’ emergence will have the added benefit of allowing Barker to redshirt.  Though fans are understandably excited about Barker, and many will be impatient to see him on the field, success at the highest level of Division One football as a true freshman quarterback is a rarity.  (Like a Louisville fan with a job.) Allowing Barker a year to get stronger and perfect his understanding of the offense would be a tremendous luxury.  It would also grant another year for Stoops, Marrow and company to fill the offense with weapons for his disposal once he is ready to take over the position, whenever that may be. Phillips would appear to be an ideal backup.  Brown stated that he was both the most accurate passer and most consistent performer over the Spring, though his ceiling may not quite reach the peak level of either Barker or Towles.  These qualities will serve Phillips well as a dependable backup to Towles in 2014.

 

 

 


The Most UL Shirt Ever?

BtvPhFFCMAAz6FC

sent in by a fan on Twitter

I would have to say yes


Kevin Durant calls Anthony Davis the “next in line”

“I know how good he’s going to be,” Durant said of Davis after today’s USA Basketball practice. “I know how good he is now, but I know how good he’s going to be. He’s an MVP-caliber player. So he’s next. He’s next in line – a guy that has grown so much in just a year. I’m excited to see what he does from here. He’s definitely on pace.”

Davis, who is almost a lock to make the team, said Durant’s comments push him to work even harder.

Maybe someone should push him toward a haircut.


Cousins says he’s in Vegas to work

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With day one complete of Team USA basketball training, Cousins is feeling good about his chances to stay on the roster.

“I think I’m a lot more prepared this season, and like I said, I came here to work. We’re getting after it every day here. We have to learn the system and prepare fast. Once you get out here and the pace picks up and you have to defend on this end, it’s tough, It will get better as the week goes on.”

According to Steven Wilson, a writer for the Kings, Cousins made an apparent impact on the team by diving for ball, defending the guards, hustling down court and boxing out for rebounds. It isn’t all work for Cousins, however. He also gets to play with his Kentucky friend, Anthony Davis.

After the practice session was over, Cousins stayed behind with Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, Gordon Hayward and Stephen Curry to see whose shot was the best. Cousins finished third, but told Wilson he was happy with the outcome by saying “Im not going to take it as a negative thing, I’m just going to take it as I’m the third best shooter in the gym.”

You can read the full interview, and watch video interviews from Davis and Cousins, here.

@Sealey_KSR


As Good a Video as You Will Ever See: 2013-2014 Cats

This one is pretty awesome. The 2013-2014 season in review…complete with music, highlights and a Chester call for the ages. Check it out…you will love it from UKCatFan8


UofL hired a DJ for its weight room because UofL can’t do anything without hiring a DJ

weight-room-dj

Louisville offensive coordinator Garrick McGee tweeted a picture of DJ Q’s setup in Louisville’s locker room for today’s workout. Coach McGee said, “It’s gonna get crazy in the weight room this evening.”

DJ Q is known for getting it crazy, no doubt. You may have seen his last two performances: “Summer Jump-Off” at Las Margaritas in Radcliff, Ky (featuring the Coke Boys); and at Horseshoe Casino (Deck 2) last month.

It’s gonna get sooooo crazy up in there.

Can UofL do anything without a DJ???


Jaylen Brown still plans to visit Kentucky and decide early

Our good friend Evan Daniels over at Scout.com recapped the July recruiting storylines on his website today and Evan’s report confirms what we’ve heard all summer: Jaylen Brown will decide early.

Brown’s AAU coach, Ryan Falker, told Evan, “He’ll definitely decide in the first period.”

Kentucky currently leads with 40 percent of Brown’s Crystal Ball predictions, slightly ahead of UCLA’s 32 percent. But Brown recently told a UCLA beat reporter “there may be some truth” to the rumors he is leaning toward becoming a Bruin. Of course, he may same the same thing about Kentucky if asked by a UK beat reporter, so read into that however you’d like.

Regardless of his current leader(s), Brown will visit UCLA next week and has plans to check out Kentucky and Kansas before coming to a decision.

For more on Brown and the July recruiting period, check out Evan’s wrap-up here.


KSR Fans of the Day Want Afternoon Notes and Today’s Podcast

The Kentucky Sports Radio crew enjoyed its first trip to Northern Kentucky for Tuesday morning’s show, live from Dickmann’s. As you can see, Dickmann’s has a staff that is second to none. They are very, um, very photogenic. And smokin’ hot.

As for the show, it included great interviews with Jeff Piecoro and Jon Rothstein, plus entertaining play-by-play commentary from Matt and Shannon The Dude as Ryan Lemond tried to run his way through the arm wrestling gauntlet. He even took down two women at once, something we never thought we’d say about Ryan.

Listen to both hours of the show below:

And if you’re in a hurry to hear Rothstein’s interview about Monday’s UK basketball practice, it can be heard here:

Other small and tidbits from the first part of the day:

– Following up what he said to Rothstein during their Q&A session, John Calipari told Mike DeCourcy the sole reason he turned down NBA offers was because of the players coming back. “If I came back after the date and left … tough move,” he said. “If it was your son, how would you feel? ‘That rat, we could have left, why didn’t he tell us?’”

Read more: “Kentucky’s high-class problem: Loaded roster forces Calipari to be creative”

– USA Basketball announced its 12-man U17 roster from the 33-man tryout and nine of the 12 have offers to play at UK. They are Ivan Rabb, Malik Newman, Diamond Stone, Henry Ellenson, and Caleb Swanigan of the 2015 class, plus Jayson Tatum, Tyus Battle, VJ King and Harry Giles of the 2016 class. Malik Monk, one of the hottest names in the July recruiting period, did not make the squad.

– The Denver Broncos put a microphone on former UK star Danny Trevathan during Monday’s practice. Listen to Trevathan get Mic’d Up here. It sure would be nice to have a guy like Trevathan at linebacker in Lexington this upcoming season. Or anyone close to his ability, for that matter.

– Hey, Lexington… Julius Randle will be signing autographs at Wildcat Wearhouse in Fayette Mall tonight from 7 to 8 pm. Stop by and see him before he heads off to Los Angeles to get ready to start his rookie season.

That’ll do it for now. More throughout the day.

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1/3 of the Tripod outside Wrigley #BBN


More from Rothstein’s UK visit: A Q&A with John Calipari

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We’re going to have to put Jon Rothstein on the payroll if he continues to churn out exclusive content at the rate he has over the past 24 hours. This morning, Rothstein followed up his KSR interview with a Q&A session with John Calipari for CBSSports.com. It is very wordy, so I’ll share with you an excerpt before sending you on your way to take it all in yourself.

Here, check out this little bit about whether or not the returning players impacting his decision to turn down the NBA:

It had to do with me getting them more prepared. So now you have four kids who said they need us and me to prepare them for the rest of their lives. If I came back after that and left, it’s a tough move. That was solely the reason. Now people are saying that I’ll never leave here. You know what, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll be in this position every year. I’ll be happy as hell if that happens, because that means my team comes back. And then when you have guys say that I’m going to leave, my thing is, ‘If you were offered X amount of dollars, would you leave?’ And I stayed.

Cal also talks in length about the title game; the rivalry with Louisville; expectations for the Harrison twins; this year’s depth across the board; and the hardest part about coaching at Kentucky. Check it out.

John Calipari Q&A: Not about UK program; ‘It’s about the player’


Aerial footage of the Commonwealth Stadium renovation progress

You’ve briefly seen the work when passing by on Nicholasville Road, now see it from the sky in this video from Bell Engineering. It was recorded a couple of weeks ago so progress is even further along today.