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September 14th, 2014

Dakari Johnson says to expect a lot more dunks from him this season

Dakari Johnson looks like a totally different player this season. Over the weekend, John Calipari said that Dakari is down to 8% body fat, which he attributes to a summer of hard work with Rock Oliver and team nutritionist Monica Fowler. “I feel like I changed my body and I feel more comfortable now,” Dakari said. “I run the floor much better, I feel like I’m more mobile, I can move around better.” What can we expect from a slimmed down Dakari this season? “A lot more dunks,” Dakari said. “It’s going to help my game a lot more on the offense and defensive ends.”

Ryan also asked Dakari about his mom, Makini Campbell, who was a familiar sight in the stands last season and walking to and from the arena in the Bahamas. With her Kentucky basketball #44 “MOMMY” jersey, Makini is easy to spot, but if you don’t see her, you’ll hear her. Makini, a former college basketball player herself, regularly yells out tips to her son during games. “She is intense, she used to play college basketball, so she really takes that to heart,” Dakari laughed. “During the game, I’m always looking for my mom, so she’ll try to give me tips.”

No tips here. Not even on your dancing.

dakaridance


With Boom and Dorian Baker out, expect more JoJo and Javess

jojo-kempjavess-blue

On today’s SEC Coaches’ Teleconference, Mark Stoops didn’t sound too worried about not having Boom Williams and Dorian Baker this week. Stoops said that at running back, he’ll stick with Braylon Heard and JoJo Kemp, with JoJo specifically being in the mix early on. “JoJo did a really good job at the end of the game, kind of salting that game away and getting some direct snaps and really having some great runs. We’ll try to get him in the mix right from the start,” Stoops said. “We’ll just have to spread it around a little bit.”

At wide receiver? Expect a healthy Javess Blue to step up once again. “Javess is back to full strength, he’s getting his wind back up underneath him, his legs underneath him and he’s healthy, so Javess will have to carry a big part of that load. With Dorian out, Rashad Cunningham will have to step up and do some big things for us as well.”

With the distractions behind them, Stoops said his team is ready to roll against South Carolina. “We’ll have our hands full, we’re excited to play and it will be a great atmosphere in Commonwealth this weekend, so our kids are up for the challenge and it’s been a great week of preparation so far.”

Pack Commonwealth. Beat Spurrier.


KSR Outtakes: When Ryan asked Marcus Lee about the time he felt him up

#RyanFail


Vince Marrow says get your dice ready…

Dowell Twins, come on down?


Steve Spurrier says QB Dylan Thompson will play on Saturday

Steve Spurrier just wrapped up his time on the SEC Coaches’ Teleconference this morning, and said starting QB Dylan Thompson practice yesterday and will be able to go against Kentucky this weekend. Thompson sprained his neck during South Carolina’s loss to Missouri this past weekend. So far this season, he’s 109-179 for 1,359 yards, 12 touchdowns, and three interceptions.

Once again, Spurrier played nice and complimented Mark Stoops and his staff on the job they’ve done so far. In fact, he said Kentucky is “very capable of beating every team they play” this season. Whoa. What’s next, Spurrier starts wearing shirts on the beach??


Isaiah Briscoe was “very, very impressed” by Kentucky

Isaiah Briscoe is back in New Jersey after his official visit to Kentucky, which his EYBL coach Jimmy Salmon told Adam Zagoria left him “very, very impressed.” Briscoe visited both UConn and UK this past weekend, and Salmon said that while the “intimacy” of UConn appeals to him, he was wowed by “the machine” that is Kentucky basketball.

We finally have confirmation that Briscoe picked up a scholarship offer during his trip, and before he headed to Kentucky, Briscoe said that he would be comfortable not being “the man” at Kentucky if it helps him get to the NBA.“I might not be the man [at Kentucky], but I will shine,” Briscoe told ZagsBlog, “and the spotlight don’t gotta be all on me and I don’t need all the pressure on me. At the end of the day if we win, everybody’s going to reach their ultimate goal, which is to go to the NBA.”

Briscoe’s visits to UConn and UK gave him “a lot to think about,” and he has visits lined up to Missouri on October 11 and St. John’s on October 17. St. John’s is still considered the favorite in Briscoe’s Crystal Ball, but Kentucky has narrowed the gap to 38%/32%.

[ZagsBlog]


Alex Poythress says being around the young guys makes him feel 30 years old

Not since Julius Mays has Kentucky had a true core veteran on the team, but this year’s group has two in juniors Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein. Alex told Ryan Lemond that at times, being around all the young guys on the team makes him feel like he’s 30 years old. “You know when you get older than most of them, you look at it as just an old, 30-year-old person,” Poythress said, looking around the gym like a wizened vet. “But it’s all good. That’s just part of being here. We’re just trying to lead the team the best we can.”

Poythress was UK’s leading scorer in the Bahamas, averaging 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. All offseason, Cal talked about how much Alex has improved, and Alex told Ryan that he’s been working in the gym late at nights in hopes of taking over the three spot in one of Cal’s platoons this season. “I’m in the gym at night shooting, working on my game, dribbling, just doing what I can to get that spot,” Alex said. After an impressive turn in the Bahamas, how good does Poythress think the Cats can be this season? “I think we’re going to be real good, the chemistry’s there. We’ve still got some areas to work on, but I feel like we can do that,” Alex said.  “That was a great starting point in team bonding, finding out what people can do.”

Alex, I know it may seem like it, but 30 isn’t THAT old. Right??


Everything that Calipari said that we couldn’t tell you until now (Wednesday Show Thread)

cal-dealwithit

Happy UK Basketball preview day! On today’s show, Matt and Ryan will discuss all of the things that John Calipari said during his preseason roundtable that we couldn’t discuss until now. Tune in to hear Cal be swaggy, as well as the guys’ thoughts on Saturday’s game against South Carolina and more.

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

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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How Does This Not Excite You For 2015 Defense?

Yesterday, I put up the offensive players who have contributed a stat in any way, shape, or form at this point this season to highlight just how many of those guys will be returning next season (and beyond).  It is really amazing to think just how experienced next year’s team could be.  But many people asked about the defensive side of the ball.  Well, I would argue it is not quite as noticeable on defense as 3 of the 4 UK defensive linemen will be gone for sure and that can be a young group next year.  But the linebacker and secondary will remain largely in tact and guys like Jason Hatcher have shown great potential on the line.

Every guy listed has contributed in at least 1 statistical category.  I know there is maybe a player or two that have played and have not accumulated any stats, but those players are likely not key members as of yet.  Seniors have been marked out.   

DEFENSIVE LINE
Zadarius Smith (Senior): 4 starts, 23 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Bud Dupree (Senior): 4 starts, 17 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks
Mike Douglas (Senior): 4 starts, 10 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.0 sacks
Melvin Lewis (Junior): 4 starts, 9 tackles, 2 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Jason Hatcher (Sophomore): 2 starts, 12 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks
Reggie Meant (RS-Sophomore): 6 tackles, 2 TFL, 2.0 sacks
Farrington Huguenin (Junior): 4 tackles
Matt Elam (Freshman): 1 start, 2 tackles
Corey Johnson (Junior): 2 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Jabari Johnson (Junior): 2 tackles
Christian Coleman (Senior): 2 tackles
RETURNING IN 2015: 42% of tackles, 59% of TFL, 60% of sacks

LINEBACKER
Josh Forrest (RS-Junior): 4 starts, 26 tackles, 3 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Khalid Henderson (Junior): 4 starts, 24 tackles
Ryan Flannigan (Junior): 15 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Daron Blaylock (Junior): 3 tackles
Travaughn Paschal (Senior): 3 tackles
Tyler Brause (Senior): 2 tackles
RETURNING IN 2015: 93% of tackles, 100% of TFL, 100% of sacks

SECONDARY
Fred Tiller (Junior): 4 starts, 21 tackles, 1 INT
AJ Stamps (Junior): 4 starts, 20 tackles, 2 INT
Cody Quinn (Junior): 4 starts, 12 tackles
Blake McClain (Sophomore): 3 starts, 10 tackles
Ashley Lowery (Senior): 3 starts, 16 tackes, 1 INT
JD Harmon (RS-Sophomore): 17 tackles
Nate Willis (Senior): 5 tackles, 1 INT
Glen Faulkner (Junior): 5 tackles
Kendall Randolph (Freshman): 5 tackles
Marcus McWilson (Sophomore): 2 tackles, 1 INT
Eric Dixon (Senior): 2 tackles
Keron Wakefield (Freshman): 1 tackle
RETURNING IN 2015: 80% of tackles, 67% of INT’s


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 daniel tosh

Aw. Don’t hit a man while he’s down.

 

 

 

 

#9 Larry Wells 7⃣0⃣

It gets a lot harder from here. Trust me. Four semesters and I still don’t have it down.

 

 

 

 

#8 Brad Snider

Don’t encourage him, Brad.

 

 

 

 

#7 Joshua Krok

It’s hard to see each other after a workout breakup. Especially if they don’t tell you.

 

 

 

 

#6 Color Me Mind

Close enough.

 

 

 

 

#5 John Wall

This picture has major meme potential.

 

 

 

 

#4 Cory Lovelace

What hip surgery?

 

 

 

 

#3 Megan Calipari

Sounds like a desperate dog to learn how to change the channel like that.

 

 

 

 

#2 Dennis Spain

So true.

 

 

 

 

#1 OMGMattyG

Matt does it in the calmest way possible, though. When scientists find out the world is going to end I want to find out from him.

@Sealey_KSR


15 Things To Know From John Calipari’s Preseason Roundtable

roundtable

In early September, John Calipari invited a select number of media members to his preseason Q&A roundtable, and because we’re good at sitting at tables, Kentucky Sports Radio pulled up a couple seats at the discussion. The interview was embargoed until October 1, hidden from all of the basketball-hungry members of Big Blue Nation. But guess what, my friends? Today is October 1, therefore we can share Calipari’s words with the world.

Below you will find KSR’s rundown of 15 important topics from the hour-long discussion at Cal’s table.

Enjoy, Cats fans.

*****

1.) They will platoon.

Get ready, America. College basketball is about to meet its first platoon system of basketball. A fury of elite talent, subbing in and out in groups of five, running the opposition to death for 40 minutes. It has been attempted before, but not under John Calipari’s ‘Players First’ formula. This will be a new and vigorous attack, one that will be challenging to execute but overwhelming to whoever stands in its way.

Darrell Bird | CatsPause.com

Darrell Bird | CatsPause.com

“It’s never been done when the players have benefitted,” Cal explained to us, sitting inside a the second floor conference room in the Joe Craft Center. “It’s been done where the program benefitted and the coaches benefitted, but it’s never been done where players benefitted. That’s the challenge we’ll have. I think that, if you can get two groups that are balanced, yet good enough, we can do it. We have some time. We have to see. I’d like to play that way because it includes 10 guys, and really it includes all 12 because even the two that are left – you’re in the rotation if someone gets hurt or, if a guard’s not playing well, you’re in. If a big’s not playing well, you’re in. So everybody’s into the rotation.”

At the Wildcat Tipoff Luncheon in Louisville earlier this week, Calipari told fans he will run with two teams of five, plus one guard and one big man substitute to make 12 total contributors. That’s a lot of time to be shared, but he insists the players are all on board.

“The players bought into it,” he said. “They liked it. They all thought it was terrific. The biggest thing will be the clutter that will circle, which, the clutter of the ego and all the other things, but we have a couple things we’re going to do that will make it clear, you know, how they’re playing. One thing I would say is, does Michael Jordan really have to be out there 32 minutes to show you he can play? Or Lebron or Anthony? The question is, the clutter of the ego, you know, you have to sit back and say there’s two things: I want to win a championship and I want to be drafted in the highest position I can be. Can that all happen in the a platoon? Yes, it can, but it’ll be a challenge. No one’s ever done it. I’ll say it again: People have done it but not where the players benefitted.”

Cal could stick to the norm and play an eight-man rotation, but that’s only benefitting the seven or eight guys who see the floor. He doesn’t see jealousy or resentment in this group, so that’s not the issue with doing that, but why leave some guys out when everyone can sit at the table at eat?

It ain’t no fun unless all the homies get some.

2.) There will be situational platoons.

If Kentucky is going to platoon as Cal says they will, they’re going to need to be prepared for certain situations. The five-in, five-out method is fun when UK is rolling, but what about the unforeseen circumstance when the other team is playing better? Don’t worry. Cal plans to create several variations of the five-man platoon to adapt to the moment.

“Well we’ll have to practice that,” he said, when asked about possible rotations. “So you gotta have – and we talked about it as a group – I said you’ve gotta have a team that, say someone is really hurting us in a zone and we just say ‘Okay we’re putting our best shooting team in,’ so we’re mixing it up then. Then you practice that way. It’s not like you just did it in that game. What about a team, we get down and we’re just playing bad and we want a catch-up team in there? What would that catch up team be? Because you’ve gotta both defend and score. What would a team look like if you just wanted to be a great defensive team? Would it be Willie, Marcus Lee and another big and two guards who are all guarding? What would that team be? What if you needed a pressing team, who would your best pressing team be and that may be your catch-up team. So all of that stuff will be decided as we practice. I don’t even know what the groupings would be.”

I think we can all agree that Aaron Harrison needs to be in the “Down By Two With The Ball And 20 Seconds Left” group. Put him in any group that is in in the closing minutes of a game.

3.) He hired a new stats guy to record advanced statistics for players and scouts.

Joel Justus was hired as the new director of men’s basketball analytics, a position that seems fairly insignificant until you hear what Calipari is up to with the numbers. With so many players expected to share the floor, and the ball, Justus’ job will be to convert the players’ stats in 20 minutes to what it would be if they were on another team as a star player, seeing 30-plus minutes of action.

Calipari said, “I liked the fact that the numbers were really good for 20 minutes (in the Bahamas), and then we’ll do some things so people will know what their numbers relate to if they play 34 minutes. So you have a team full of guys playing 20, what would that relate to if they were playing 34 minutes? Basically it’s all about efficiency and they would have that stat sheet.”

The Wildcats will be rated individually at 34-minute performances, though it’s unlikely anyone will actually play 34 minutes per game. They will receive adjusted stat sheets after each game to see their efficiency the way it would be anywhere else.

“The numbers that are good for us are for the players to see what they’re accomplishing, in my mind. It’s good for everyone else to see what those numbers say, but the reality of it is, we can all watch a game and, if you have any feel for the game at all, you can say he played a great game even if the numbers say he played ok. Yeah, but those numbers don’t take into account – we’ve got things we’ll do that are nonnegotiable; there is no analytic that can do it; they don’t have one invented. But if I’m going to two-platoon, the numbers will matter and the efficiency numbers.”

The hope is to keep the players happy with their stats while reminding NBA scouts what each player would look like if they weren’t on arguably the deepest roster college basketball has ever seen.

4.) This team is very close off the court.

bball-guys

@tulis3

We saw firsthand in the Bahamas how close the players are off the court. Whether it was sitting by the pool, throwing a football on the beach or watching fans lose money at the roulette table, the players always seemed to be together in big groups and having a good time. The cliques changed throughout the week too, which suggests each player is cool with hanging out with any of his teammates. No one isolated themselves from the pack and it was all smiles and cutting up from what we saw, and we were around them a lot.

Will that camaraderie carry over to the court?

Calipari believes so.

“Oh yeah, absolutely,” he said. “You know, the best NBA teams, that’s what happens is they go on the road and that’s what they do. They’ll go out to a movie, they go out to dinner, and they’ll go to mass — the best NBA teams. The bad teams, everybody breaks up and goes their own way and gets on the road and you don’t see the guy until the game starts. The good ones don’t. They know they have to be together and be about each other and this is what we’re doing. So yeah, that will help.”

#Brothers

5.) They’re on a mission.

After getting a small taste of the glory a season ago, UK is hungry to return to the big stage.

“They want to win,” he said of his veteran players. “They know they need each other because they went through it last year, where you start and you’re more into your own stuff and all of the sudden you look and it’s not going real good, and then you start worrying about everyone else and your stuff gets better.”

This year they can skip the “buying-in process” we’re accustomed to dealing with every fall. They’re already “in.” They’re on a mission and they don’t need any more motivation.

6.) They’re playing pickup games on their own.

Follow any of the players on social media and you know this group lives in the gym, often getting together for late night games and shoot-arounds when only infomercials can be found on television. Crazy thing is, no one is making them do it. They all love to abuse that all-access key card to the Craft Center.

“These guys, they play pickup five, six nights a week. That’s important,” Calipari said. “We’re not doing it; they’re doing it themselves and they all like to compete and play, which is a big deal. I’ve been on teams here that we had to call to get them to play pickup.”

Remember the Breakfast Club? From what it sounds like, this is the Breakast-Lunch-Dinner Club.

7.) The pickup games have strict rules.

The coaches may not be around for the night sessions in the Joe Craft Center, but they’re still making an impact on the pickup games. Managers are present to enforce rules Calipari put in place to create new habits and one of those rules is everyone has to cross halfcourt in five seconds or it is a turnover. That requires the players to push the tempo so they’re already playing at a fast pace when practice begins this month.

“After you get it up there, I really don’t care what you do, it’s pickup,” he explained. “I just want you to get up there, try to create that habit: on a miss or a make, the ball goes.”

Cal said he tells his guards to peg a teammate in the back of the head with the ball if they’re not looking to catch the ball when it’s being pushed up the court.

“He’ll start looking at you.”

8.) He did not teach any defense before the Bahamas.

It’s hard to believe after watching UK go 5-1 against professionals in the Bahamas, but they haven’t worked on anything defensively and won’t until fall practice. He simply told the guys to ‘pick up and play’ in the full court.

“Pick up and play your man.” he told them before the six-game preseason event. “If somebody leaves, then try to rotate a little bit and figure it out on the run. We told them to force down pick and rolls; we did not teach them how to do it. We didn’t teach it. We just said if the guy tries to pick and roll, force him down the side. So by doing none of that, we ended up 40 percent holding those teams, 28 from three, plus whatever rebounding. We were not a bad defensive team and we taught nothing.”

UK Athletics

9.) He was surprised to see everyone return.

Calipari said Willie Cauley-Stein, a player he thought would enter the draft, was the first to announce his return. Cal congratulated Willie on a great year when the team returned from Dallas, fully expecting the big man to leave after two seasons. The rest went like this:

“The next day he said, ‘I want to come back.’ And I went, ‘What? Why do you want to come back?’ He told me and I said okay, which then I thought, now Alex will come back because he and Alex are really close. I didn’t think the twins would come back. The only reason Dakari had explored, when I grabbed Dakari I said, ‘Do you want me to look into your NBA stuff’ and he said no. I said okay. I asked Marcus Lee, he said no. I said okay. But when I was getting feedback, a couple teams threw Dakari’s name in, and so I told him he may want to reevaluate. Now I think emotionally and every other way he wasn’t ready, but if someone’s going to draft you, you gotta think about it. So that is how it played out.”

He thought the twins would be encouraged to leave, and then he realized they didn’t want to go. He was on a plane when they called to tell him they’re staying.

10.) Everyone benefits by returning, but it’s harder than ever before.

“They all could use more time,” Cal said, when asked about the benefit for a returning player. “Every one of the kids could’ve stayed and benefitted. I would’ve benefitted more than they would’ve benefitted, but they would’ve benefitted. Some of them needed to stick around to learn how to work, basically be professional at your sports. The guys that stayed now, it’s greatly benefitted them. Could they have gone? Yeah. Would Willie have gotten drafted? Yeah. Would the twins have been drafted? Yes. Would Alex have been drafted? They’d all have been drafted. Dakari would’ve been drafted. Now would they have all been drafted in the lottery or down in the high teens? No. A few of them would’ve been in the second round. But they’d all been drafted. My only recommendation to guys is if you put your name in the draft, I’ll do everything I can to get you in the first round. If you stay, don’t come back thinking this is going to be easy. This will be harder than it was ever for you here.”

“Don’t come back here if you think this is the easiest thing you can do,” he added. “Don’t do it. You go in the draft and I’ll help you get in the first round.”

This year is the perfect example of it being harder in a sophomore season. There is more depth and more pressure from new guys to retain a starting role from the year before. Nothing is handed over to a veteran.

11.) This freshman class is more advanced, in better shape, and able to play looser.

When asked what this group of freshmen has that last year’s freshmen did not, Calipari told us, “I would say, on a whole, they’re probably in better condition. But I could say that because of the Bahamas trip. They’re probably a little more advanced with how we’re going to play. They’re probably going to be able to play looser because they know it’s not going to be on them.”

Yeah, that Bahamas trip and additional summer work helped. The returning veterans, too.

“Now all of the sudden, you’ve got a team of guys that played in the championship game,” he continued. “And now you’re coming back and watching and learning. If you can compete with them, you start building your own confidence. This guy, I can compete with this guy. It’s a good thing.”

No more relying on the newbies to perform right away. They have more wiggle room for mistakes and less pressure weighing them down.

12.) Sophomore Harrison twins have new bodies and better attitudes, and that’s still not enough.

Regarding his returning backcourt, Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Calipari said, “They’re in better shape; they’re better equipped to deal with stuff; they’re still growing right now; you still have to coach and guide them; they still have some habits that they fall back to when it gets crazy and nutty; but they’re great kids, they’re both great kids; they’re both in the best shape they’ve been but I’m telling them it’s not good enough. They have to get to another level. And then it’s, we have guys that can really compete with them and that’s making them even better.”

And to the Harrison haters, stand down.

“Playing the way we’re playing is going to help both of them. When people see there athletic ability… You know people are saying they’re not real athletic. Compared to what? Me? What are you talking about?”

13.) Willie Cauley-Stein is becoming a star and would’ve changed last year’s results.

“Willie was so good the other day, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Cal raved over his junior big man. “And then we all forgot that we would’ve won — now think about what we would’ve done with Willie playing. I mean, it would’ve been different, even the endings of game wouldn’t have been where they were. Willie was a shot blocker, a guy that could change the game on both ends, and so now you see him and you’re like, ‘Whoa.’”

Keep in mind, Willie may be this team’s best player and he wasn’t around to win five of six games against professional teams in August.

So how will adding him to the mix affect the logjam at center?

“Willie is playing like he’s a three. Like, we throw it ahead and he’s in the open court, crossing, throwing balls out, and I’m like, ‘Holy geez.’”

Willie at the three?! Holy geez is right.

14.) If you think Tyler Ulis will be here for four years, Calipari doesn’t have time for you.

Calipari won’t accept Ulis or any of the fans settling for him being a four-year player at Kentucky. Despite Ulis’ undersized frame, he has the potential to jump to the NBA like everyone else, Cal says.

“I told him when he came here, ‘If you don’t plan on being an NBA player, don’t come here.’ I don’t want to see you. You’re not coming here. And don’t let me hear all these people say, ‘Well, he finally got a four-year point guard.’ I don’t want to hear that crap either. I think that’s when he said, ‘Well, I’m coming then.’”

15.) He’s not worried about being “the most talked about team in 20 years.”

During the Big Blue Bahamas trip, Jay Bilas told the Wildcats they will be talked about more than any team in the country, maybe any team over the last 20 years.

Calipari, your thoughts?

“It doesn’t worry me,” he said. “Is it possible? It’s Kentucky. Anything is possible here.”

Anything, huh?

17 days until it all begins at Big Blue Madness…


UK Fans of the Day Want Tuesday Night Notes

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What? It’s been a while since we’ve had some male fans of the day. Kudos to these three dads and their sons for manning the front row of the end zone for many years. I bet they’d like some notes to tide them over until KSR’s recap of Cal’s preseason roundtable hits the web at midnight. Let’s get with it…

The four freshmen are facing disorderly conduct charges for the pellet gun incident

It’s been almost two days since the pellet gun incident took place on UK’s campus, and I’m still incredibly disappointed in freshmen Boom Williams, Drew Barker, Dorian Baker, and Tymere Dubose. On Tuesday, Fayette County Attorney Larry Roberts told the Herald-Leader that his office is processing misdemeanor charges of second-degree disorderly conduct against the four freshmen. Mark Stoops addressed the media after Tuesday’s practice and said he’s very disappointed in Williams, Barker, Baker, and Dubose, but understands that these are “good kids who used poor judgment that made a mistake.” He said that all four are “remorseful” and are being held accountable. Yesterday, the players met with local authorities, and the school is fully cooperating in the investigation.

So, how big of a distraction is this?

Stoops admitted that the incident has been a distraction so far this week. “I know the players felt bad because it took away from a big victory and big preparation. Because there was obviously, I think there were a lot of people disappointed yesterday,” Stoops said. “I think it did take away from the energy a little bit. Guys were bummed out, because they know we’re growing, they know we’re doing a lot of good things. And these are good kids. They made a mistake.”

Regardless, Stoops said the team is moving full speed ahead to get ready for South Carolina. “It took away a little bit, but it’s no excuse for any of our preparation or how we play or anything like that. So we’ll go play well.”

Steve Spurrier said nice things about Kentucky

STOP THE PRESSES! Steve Spurrier said some somewhat nice things about the Kentucky football program during his press conference on Tuesday. Spurrier said Kentucky is “a pretty good team” in that “they don’t look like some of their teams from 10 to 15 years ago.” Spurrier went as far to call UK’s defense “very fast and athletic,” and the team “good-looking” overall. What?? Where is smuggy Spurrier? Our friend Jennifer Palumbo points out that Stoops and Spurrier are actually friends, to the point that they even vacation together. Plus, it’s not like Spurrier has a ton to brag about these days with a 3-2 record. Especially these bathing suit trunks:

spurriertrunks

John Calipari saw Stephen Zimmerman and Derryck Thornton

Cal fueled up the jet and headed out west on Tuesday to see 2015 big man Stephen Zimmerman and 2016 point guard Derryck Thornton in Las Vegas. This is Cal’s second visit to see Zimmerman and Thornton in a little over two weeks, and both will be at Big Blue Madness in October. UK has picked up a lot of momentum in Zimmerman’s recruitment lately, and today’s visit suggests Cal’s putting on the full court press in advance of his official visit next month. Meanwhile, Thornton is the only point guard in the 2016 class UK has offered so far.

Zimmerman’s mother posted this picture of her son and Cal on Tuesday night:

Antonio Blakeney will visit for Big Blue Madness

Former UofL commit Antonio Blakeney told CatsPause.com’s Chris Fisher that he will take an unofficial visit to Kentucky for Big Blue Madness on October 17. Blakeney is looking at Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, South Carolina, North Carolina, and NC State, and told Fisher that he’ll take an official visit to Kentucky as well later this fall. UK currently leads in his Crystal Ball with 40% of the predictions, followed by LSU with 28%.

So far, the BBM guest list looks like this…

2015: Antonio Blakeney, Carlton Bragg, Jaylen Brown, Henry Ellenson, Brandon Ingram, Charles Matthews, Stephen Zimmerman

2016: Tyus Battle, Derryck Thornton

The woman in this BuzzFeed video is wearing a UK shirt

If you’re married, you’ll probably be a fan of BuzzFeed’s “Weird Things Couple.” I definitely am, especially after finding out the wife is a UK fan. Or, at least she likes wearing UK shirts. Raise your hand if you and your significant other have had the discussion about replacing the toilet paper roll. Thought so.

In 61 minutes, we can finally talk about Cal’s preseason roundtable

At midnight tonight, the local media is allowed to start releasing the basketball previews that were recorded a month ago. We have A TON of great stuff for you guys, starting with a recap of Coach Cal’s preseason roundtable from a few weeks ago. Cal’s been swagging it up lately, so you definitely want to make a cup of coffee or set an alarm to check out his comments about the upcoming season. Or, you can just spin around in your chair for the next hour:

swaggycal2


Add Antonio Blakeney to the Big Blue Madness guest list

blakeney-cal

Fifteen days after decommitting from Louisville and five days after hosting John Calipari and Kenny Payne, Antonio Blakeney is ready to visit Kentucky. Blakeney told CatsPause.com that he’s planning on take an unofficial visit to UK for Big Blue Madness on October 17. He will also take an official visit to UK on a later date.

The Louisville fans already trolling our site must be pissed


Best-Case, Worst-Case For South Carolina

Kentucky has momentum and they’re still in contention for the SEC east. South Carolina just dropped their second home game of the season and haven’t looked like the team we thought they’d be coming into the season. As such ESPN named this Saturday’s game the most intriguing in the SEC:

Intriguing matchup: South Carolina at Kentucky
While the West division deserves all the attention it’s going to get on Saturday, the East is quietly trying to sort itself out. Upstart Kentucky finally removed a very large monkey off its back by beating Vanderbilt and snapping a 17-game conference losing streak. In order to earn respect, the Wildcats’ next task is to score an upset. Kentucky and its fans will be fired up for this home game, and the Gamecocks are ripe for the picking after blowing a 20-7 lead in the fourth quarter against division-leading Missouri. [ESPN: At A Glance SEC Week 6]

The game certainly will tell us much about the outlook for the rest of the season. Win and maybe the Cats find a way to claw for the SEC east crown. Get blown out and attention begins to turn to the hardwood until next spring. Here are my picks for the best and worst ways this Saturday could play out:

Best Case Scenario: Steve Spurrier With This Look On His Face

Via SaurdayDownSouth

Kentucky has been looking for a signature win under coach Stoops and they finally deliver one with an upset of the ol’ ball coach. Last year Kentucky fought back from being down 21-0 to nearly pull off the W before falling 35-28. This year they take an early lead on a Towles to Timmons pass and never look back as the Gamecock’s shaky defense can’t keep them in the game.

Kentucky’s defense is impressive once again as they continue to disrupt opposing QBs and get to Dylan Thompson several times in the second half. The Cats move to a tie atop of the SEC east the next week following a Missouri loss to Ole Miss. The team is just two wins away from being bowl eligible.

Worst-Case Scenario: Mike Davis Runs Wild

Kentucky takes the field with high hopes but they are quickly dashed as Mike Davis manages to rip off run after run. Like Florida’s Matt Jones did earlier this season, Davis is able to average over 5 yards per carry as the Gamecocks keep their defense off the field with a grind it out game.

Kentucky is unfocused following this weeks events and the loss of Boom and Baker is evident. The bevy of recruits on campus leave the stadium unfulfilled after a week of major anticipation. With big blue madness looming the football team begins to lose attention and the stadium is just over half full for the UL-M game. The Cats will need to win two of their toughest six to end the season in a bowl.

 

So those are my wild scenarios for the best and worst cases we could see this Saturday. How about yours?Do you think things will be more good than bad or are we in for a long Saturday under the lights of Commonwealth?


Rex Chapman enters rehab

Rex

According to WDRB, Rex Chapman began a 28-day substance-abuse treatment program at The Brook Hospital in Louisville on Monday. A source close to the situation told WDRB that Chapman “is determined break a reliance on suboxone, a medication prescribed to help patients stop using opioid-based pain medication.”

On September 19, Rex was arrested for shoplifting $14,000 worth of merchandise from the Apple Store in Scottsdale, Arizona and selling the items at a pawn shop. He faces nine felony counts of organized retail theft and five felony counts of trafficking in stolen property.

Here’s hoping he gets the help that he needs.

[WDRB]