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University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
September 14th, 2014

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:

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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:

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Add Antonio Blakeney to the Big Blue Madness guest list

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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

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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]


Calipari had “another great visit” with Stephen Zimmerman today

@VegasBballMom

@VegasBballMom

John Calipari was in Vegas today to see Stephen Zimmerman and Derryck Thornton. Zimmerman’s mother posted this picture of the two with the caption “Another great visit with @UKCoachCalipari and Coach Slice today. #Blessed.” Zimmerman is down to UNLV, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA. UNLV and Arizona currently lead his Crystal Ball.

Calipari visited Zimmerman a little over two weeks ago, and the 2015 big man is expected at Big Blue Madness on October 17. Calipari’s made a big push for Zimmerman lately. Will “another great visit” help pry him away from the West Coast?


10-year-old UK fan with mitochondrial disease writes Calipari to make sure his mother enjoys the Women’s Clinic

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At the Women’s Clinic on Sunday, I was given a stack of letters addressed to John Calipari from 10-year-old Toby Foster, who is fighting mitochondrial disease, a progressive, incurable metabolic disorder which causes a deficit in life sustaining energy. Toby and his mother, Amy, are huge UK fans, and Toby wrote Coach Cal to tell him to make sure his mom had a good time at the Women’s Clinic. Here’s the letter, which will tug at your heartstrings:

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Dear Mr. Coach Calipari,

My name is Toby, and I LOVE UK Basketball. I get that from my mom! I am so excited for my mom to get to be there today. My mom doesn’t ever do anything for herself. I have mitochondrial disease, so she is always at the hospital with me, taking care of me, and putting me first. But, if you ask her, she will act like it’s no big deal.

We watch all the games together. We have to watch online from the hospital though. Can you believe not all of the UK games are on TV in Cincinnati? Lots of nurses have become UK fans because of me! Go Big Blue!

I really wanted to come to your camp last summer. Going to summer camp to meet you and the players was a no-go because of my mito. But, if I could have, I would have been there!

I’m your biggest fan. UK can ball, but what makes me proud to be a UK fan is how the team acts. I see the things you do to help others that make God proud. That makes me look up to you, and the team. Someday, I would love to meet you and the guys. For now, please make sure my mom has a great day, because she doesn’t get out much!

Your Most Gigantic, Enormous, Huge Fan,

Toby

I contacted Toby’s mother Amy, and she told me a little about mitochondrial disease. She said Toby struggles with multiple symptoms because his body does not have the energy for appropriate organ function. There is no cure, and it will continue to worsen over time, and it is often fatal for children. Amy said she won’t give up until she finds a cure. “Toby is the most amazing kid. With all his struggles, he remains brave, and filled with hope and faith,” Amy wrote. “Toby is incredibly generous as well. Much of the little energy he has is spent doing for others.” Toby is so devoted to helping others that he won the local Kohls Cares for Kids award for his philanthropic work.

Part of what keeps Toby going is his love for the Cats. Toby made Cal and the players another card with pictures of him representing the Cats at a game in Rupp in 2012 and in the hospital:

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As for Amy, she said she had an amazing time at the Clinic on Sunday. “I’m a huge UK fan, so being in the presence of UK greatness was epic! I loved hearing about Cal’s players’ first approach, and the new platoon system, right from him.” And as Toby predicted, some time with her girlfriends and UK basketball was just what she needed. “It was fun to be amongst so many other women fans. And the time with my girlfriends was therapeutic! Toby’s right, I don’t get out much.” Like most of the women at the Clinic, Amy got a basketball signed by all the coaches and players, and she said bringing it home to Toby was a highlight. “It was wonderful to get to take Toby home a basketball signed by the team and coaches,” Amy said. “He was freaking out when I gave it to him.”

A small token for an incredible kid. To learn more about Toby and his fight, visit @TeamTobyRocks or Amy’s Facebook page.

Getting Past the Distractions in Today’s Practice Notes

-  South Carolina’s defense isn’t as bad as we think.  With all eyes on South Carolina to start the season, their defense allowed Texas A&M to score 52 points against them on their home turf.  They’ve slowly recovered since, but their young secondary has had a tough time against some of the best offenses in the country.  “They’re getting better.  They’re young, very similar to what we are at wideout.  They’re playing some true freshman back there and I think they has some growing pains early, but I thought they played solid against some really good players.”

T.J. Surratt will create some chaos in the interior line and their superstar true sophomore linebacker, Skai Moore, will make plays all over the field.

-  The suspensions will NOT affect the offensive game plan.  The timing of a suspension is never good, but at least Neal Brown knew they would be without Baker and Boom before solidifying his game plan.  They had planned some extra packages to get Boom the ball this week, but they’ll have to be set aside for now.

-  Figuring out the running backs.  Brown was pleased with how involved the running backs were in the passing game last week, using pre-snap motions to get them in space.  The toughest part is figuring out who gets the most snaps.  So far Braylon Heard has been the most consistent, but Brown isn’t ready to limit the other backs’ roles, “For the most part, our guys are pretty versatile at running back,” Brown said.  “We’ve got a pretty good feel for what each guy’s talents are and what they’re best at, at this point.  From a game-planning perspective, we kind of devise things we think they’ll do well and get them in for those things.”

-  Jojo is carrying his 4th quarter momentum into this week.  After letting his mouth get him into trouble before Florida, Jojo had to earn his playing time in practice.  Last week things weren’t clicking until the 4th quarter.  The coaches asked him to bring that energy and intensity to practice and it has paid off,  “He had a good practice today.  I was pleased with him.  His confidence level is going to be higher too because of the way he performed at the end of the game too.  I was really proud of him.  This speaks to him maturing.  He was great on the sidelines the whole game.  He kind of waited his turn, we got caught up with him and he produced.”

-  Neal Brown’s quote of the day:

“We did some good things against Vandy.  I think much (fuss) has been about Patrick.  If he plays bad and completes 23 of 30 every game, we’ll be alright.

-  Ryan Timmons’ hand is in a cast…but you shouldn’t be worried about it.  After spraining his wrist in the Swamp, the cast has been a precautionary measure that has come a part of his routine, removing his hardware prior to the game.  The greatest injury worry is at left guard.  Zach West and Cole Mosier were both forced out last week, but West practiced today and Mosier will likely practice tomorrow.  Blake Bone has also been ‘banged up’ this week, but shouldn’t miss a beat on Saturday.


UK wants you and 62,902 others to sing Saturday’s national anthem

Following Marlana VanHoose is no easy task, but if all 62,000-plus seats in Commonwealth Stadium are full, and we work together, I think we can hold our own.

That is the plan for Saturday as UK is putting the pregame singing duties in the vocal cords of Big Blue Nation. Dr. Everett McCorvey will lead the crowd in the national anthem before Kentucky hosts South Carolina, just as we did last basketball season in Rupp Arena before the Louisville game.

If you haven’t already purchased your tickets, do so now at UKFootballTix.com. Use promo code BEATSC to score some upper-level reserved seats for $25.

See you there and Go Cats.


Noel excited to get back on court after 20 months

 

Photo by Chris Reynolds, CoachCal.com

Photo by Chris Reynolds, CoachCal.com

Nerlens Noel is ready to get back on the court and start his NBA journey after 20 months away from basketball, according to the 76ers. Yesterday at media day Noel shows his excitement and joy to be able to finally start playing compeitive basketball after being injuried against Florida. While the injury might have kept him off the court competiviely, Noel used his recovery time to step back and work on other things to help his game get better, such as basketball education/knowledge, his outside game and specifically his jump shot, which we didn’t see at all during his time at Kentucky.

“I bring the most on the defensive end of the floor. I’m able to affect passes as well as shots. I can also start fast breaks, getting the rebound and then quickly getting the ball to [Michael Carter-Williams] or Tony [Wroten]. At Kentucky, I didn’t shoot one jump shot, so it was important for me to get in the gym and start shooting jumpers and shooting them with confidence. This confidence will definitely translate into the season. When I get in a groove and start hitting two or three in a row I think it’s really going to take me some places.” 

While Noel expects to have a big role for the 76ers alongside center Henry Sims, he also has a big job off the court as well by helping new teammate Joel Embiid as he goes through a similar track Noel did in his rehabilitation after a foot surgery.

You can read his quotes about his struggles sitting on the bench for a year and how he plans to help Embiid learn lessons Noel wishes he would have learned sooner here.

@Sealey_KSR


Stoops: “We have good kids who used poor judgment”

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Mark Stoops is currently meeting with the media to discuss the shooting incident on Sunday and the one-game suspensions for Dorian Baker, Tymere Dubose, Drew Barker, and Boom Williams. Stoops said “we have good kids who used poor judgment,” and the players realize they made a mistake. “They’re remorseful, they realize they’re wrong.” He added that when you’re dealing with 115 college kids, you have to expect some immature moments. Stoops said he and the team are cooperating with the authorities and he’s unsure if the players will face further punishment.

How has this affected the team heading into a huge game against South Carolina? “The players felt bad because it took away from a big victory and big preparation,” Stoops said. He added that Baker, Barker, Williams, and Dubose will practice this week, but have been removed from the game plan and will only play on the scout team. How is the rest of the team? Stoops said they had an okay practice and were bummed out by the news, but aren’t using it as an excuse to not be ready for South Carolina.

Stoops wasn’t scheduled to meet with the media today, so kudos to him for coming out to address the situation and getting as far ahead of it as possible. Nick will be by in a little bit with more practice notes.


The four suspended freshmen face disorderly conduct charges

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According to multiple media reports out of Lexington, the four UK freshmen involved in Sunday night’s air-gun incident on campus face disorderly conduct charges. Fayette County Attorney Larry Roberts told the Herald-Leader his office filed misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct on Tuesday. Roberts recommended second-degree disorderly conduct as an appropriate punishment in his discussions with UK.

The misdemeanor, plus the embarrassment and the one-game suspension, seems fair enough.


Who are you and what have you done with Steve Spurrier?

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Hold up. Something’s wrong here. Steve Spurrier met with the media during Kentucky week and he was very complimentary of the Wildcats, not the Spurrier we’ve known for the last two decades. This is the time of the year we get a good, degrading comment from the Ol’ Ball Coach. Instead we got a guy who sees a good football team ahead. Who are you? Where am I? Is time a flat circle?

“Kentucky Wildcats, uh, Kentucky Wildcats are a pretty good team,” said Spurrier to lead off his press conference. “They don’t look like some of their teams 10, 15 years ago. They are very fast and athletic. I think their defense is actually nationally ranked in most all categories. They’re a good looking team.”

He continued, “They play tough, smart, well-coached, and they’ll certainly be a big challenge as we go into Commonwealth Stadium to play Kentucky this year.”

“It should be a heck of a game.”

Is this a mind trick? I’m lost. I don’t trust him. Why is Spurrier being nice? Spurrier’s never nice. He loves to throw barbs at UK. Is this real life?

Watch his full comments here.


DraftKings is giving away $1,000,000 to one lucky winner this weekend

That’s right, football fans.

ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

KSR and DraftKings are back together with another Fantasy Football contest this weekend with a $2,200,000 prize pool, the biggest of its kind. First place will cash out with a cool one million dollars while the top 15,500 contestants will be paid out in some form.

To sign up, visit the contest page here and begin drafting your team. The format is the same as it has been: $50,000 to select eight offensive players (1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex) and one team defense. It is $27 to enter and all first time depositors will receive a 100 percent bonus up to $600.

If I were you, I wouldn’t draft Charlie Whitehurst of my beloved Tennessee Titans. I wouldn’t draft any Titan, for that matter.

Good luck.

[KSR and DraftKings: ONE MILLION DOLLAR CONTEST]


This weekend’s guest list is loaded with talent

This weekend’s night game against South Carolina provides another huge opportunity for Kentucky on the recruiting trail. Stoops and his staff plan to host several four- and five-star prospects, among others, for the 7:30 pm game in Commonwealth Stadium. Below you will find a list of some of those names with several others expected to join in on the fun in Lexington.

Fans must pack CWS to show these kids that Big Blue Nation is in full support of the program.

*****

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Damien Harris

Harris took in Kentucky’s SEC win over Vanderbilt over the weekend and he plans to be back this coming Saturday to check out the Commonwealth Stadium atmosphere under the lights. It will be Harris’ tenth visit to UK and he still plans to take his official trip to Lexington for the October 25 game against Mississippi State.

The nation’s No. 1 running back tweeted, “Great win, great visit #BBN #ChangeTheGame” after visiting this past Saturday.

David and Andrew Dowell

The Dowell twins, a four-star safety and four-star running back, have received heavy interest from Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow in September. The two Kentucky coaches traveled to Ohio to watch the twins play during Kentucky’s bye week and now they’ll get them on campus for a visit, according to Rivals.com’s Justin Rowland. Rowland’s sources believe the Dowells will be in Lexington for the blackout.

David and Andrew play high school ball with current UK commit Alex Stump.

George Brown

Once believed to be a UK lean, three-star offensive lineman George Brown chose the Florida Gators over Kentucky in a ceremony from his Cincinnati high school back in June. However, Brown will take another look at UK this weekend for the South Carolina game.

The day he committed to Florida, a source very close to Brown’s recruitment told me, “This is far from over.”

Kengera Daniel 

A three-star defensive end out of North Carolina, Kengera Daniel will take his official visit to Kentucky this weekend. He sent out a tweet earlier today to confirm the trip to Lexington.

UK currently leads with 83 percent of his Crystal Ball predictions, ahead of Florida State, Wake Forest and Alabama.

Ahmad Wagner

Six-foot-seven Iowa basketball commit Ahmad Wagner picked up a scholarship offer from UK last Friday to play wide receiver, and the staff is trying to get him on campus this weekend. When asked about his interest in switching to football, Wagner recently said, “That remains to be seen.”

He was a high school teammate of Dorian Hendrix.

Rahshaun Smith

Fresh off a visit to Penn State, five-star defensive end Rahshaun Smith will be in Commonwealth Stadium this weekend, per 247Sports.com’s Chris Fisher. Smith told him, “I think this weekend I’ll be at Kentucky for the South Carolina game.”

Smith is the No. 51 overall player and third-ranked weakside defensive end in the 2015 class in the Top247 Composite rankings.

Zerrick Cooper and Jordan Griffin

According to 247Sports.com’s Josh Edwards, Zerrick Cooper, the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 class, will visit UK on Saturday. He will be joined by his high school teammate, four-star cornerback Jordan Griffin. The duo from Georgia also visited over the summer.

George Asafo-Adjei

Current UK commit George Asafo-Adjei will visit Lexington on Saturday. The offensive lineman from Ohio picked the Cats over Florida, Louisville and West Virginia, among others, on June 23.

Jordan Jones

Like Asafo-Adjei, three-star outside linebacker Jones is already committed to Kentucky but will make the trip to see his future squad take on the Gamecocks.

Zy’Aire Hughes

A third UK commit, 2016 quarterback Zy’Aire Hughes of Paducah, also plans to visit.

 

Beat South Carolina.


School Shooting at Fern Creek

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Image from WHAS TV live stream

There has been a shooting at Fern Creek High School in Louisville. At least one victim has been taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and the school is now on lock down. As you can see from the picture above, students have been taken outside the building, but as of yet, there has been no identification or capture of the shooter. The only information we have beyond that is from this young man who tweeted us inside the school:

More as it comes….