Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
December 18th, 2014

Thursday Night News and Views

Shoutout to these fine folks for repping the Cats in the middle of enemy territory. Stay strong over the next week and a half, my friends.

After virtually no news all week, we’ve been slammed by an avalanche of it for the past 24 hours. Let’s get rolling so I can go catch up on Serial.

Mark Stoops came on KSR and was excellent

Stoops spent an entire hour in studio with the guys in what may have been his best KSR appearance yet. Because the hire isn’t official yet, Stoops wasn’t allowed to call Shannon Dawson UK’s new offensive coordinator just yet, but he did his best to describe him in an abstract manner. For instance, when Matt asked Stoops what he thought of West Virginia’s offense (again, can’t mention names), Stoops couldn’t help but laugh. “I have great respect for that offense. Dana and their offensive coordinator and coaches, they do a great job. It’s the style that’s hard to defend,” Stoops said, praising West Virginia’s balanced attack. “I don’t care if you emphasize pass, run, or whatever, you’ve gotta be able to do both. That’s the bottom line. To succeed in the SEC, you’ve gotta have some balance.”

Stoops says this hire will show he is all in on the Air Raid system

Hiring Dawson, a Mumme Air Raid disciple, is a clear sign that Stoops is sticking with the Air Raid, a philosophy some people questioned his loyalty to during the search for a new OC. “I wholeheartedly believe in that system,” Stoops said. “I think you need to be a little bit different, a little unique here. I think the people like that. I think we need to win games. Ultimately, I’m here to win games.”

It doesn’t hurt that all of UK’s players, coaches, and schemes are already Air Raid. “I didn’t want to take a step back by bringing someone in and completely changing our style,” Stoops said.

As of now, there will not be a Spring Game

The one bit of breaking news Stoops did share was that as of now, there will not be a Spring Game due to construction at Commonwealth Stadium. “We probably won’t have a Spring Game this year,” Stoops said, mentioning how Texas A&M didn’t have one this past year because of construction at Kyle Field; however, the decision isn’t final yet. “I don’t know what we’ll do, we’ll see.”

For a complete rundown of Stoops’ appearance on KSR, scroll down to Drew’s recap earlier, or listen below:

Stoops and his wife held a farewell dinner for UK’s seniors

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 6.44.55 PM

I hope they took it easy on the plumbing this time.

Craig Naivar is leaving UK for Houston

The backwards hat wearing coach will take a position on the Houston coaching staff, leaving Mark Stoops to hire his third offensive coordinator in three seasons. Naivar told that the job at Houston was “an opportunity I couldn’t say no to,” but he is confident that Stoops and company are about to turn the corner. “Mark has got a great thing going, this thing is about to go through the roof with the direction he’s got recruiting wise,” Naivar said.

Don’t pass the Kleenex.

Switching gears to basketball…

Alex Poythress probably won’t make the trip to Chicago

John Calipari had two media opportunities today, and during both, gave us an update on Alex Poythress. Cal said that Alex is “doing as well as can be expected,” and is about ten days out from surgery (they have to wait for the swelling to go down before operating). Poythress will probably stay home instead of going to Chicago with the team, and Cal said he was in a “great frame of mind” about his recovery, which he can use to work on his jumper, motor, and other skills. Will Alex come back to school? Cal said he would love to have a senior Alex Poythress, but “if it’s in his best interest to put his name in the draft, I would support it and help it along and do that. He’s going to do what’s right for him.”

Ulis’ healing wrap (@AlexRisen)

Tyler Ulis had a wrap around his right leg, but he’s fine

After going down with leg cramps in the North Carolina game, it was a little alarming to see Tyler Ulis with a leg wrap during the media opp today, but don’t freak out. It’s no big thing. “Just precautionary,” Tyler told reporters. “I’m trying to get warm before practice so I put a heat pack on before so I don’t go out there tight.”

Calipari said that Ulis suffers from a condition similar to tendonitis, and needs to focus on taking care of himself. “It’s like when you go in an NBA locker room. Every one of them, I think 75 percent of the NBA has tendonitis so you can figure out how to play with it or don’t play,” Cal said.

Cal said Willie has “taken on a different persona”

When asked if this team could be one of the all-time greats, Calipari said his players must first fully commit to putting in the extra time like Willie Cauley-Stein has in the past month.

“What I really like is Willie has taken on a different persona. I sat him down about a month ago and said, ‘Why don’t you want to be the number one pick in the draft?’ He asked me what I meant. ‘Well it’s obvious you don’t want to be the number one pick. Why wouldn’t you? You have this team around you. All you have to do is perform and improve and improve in a couple areas and you’re on the page.’ He said, ‘I do want to.’ Then do more. Come into practice longer. Come in here at night. Spend more time at this – the sport. He has been.”

Calipari didn’t ride on a plane until he was 20 years old

In news that won’t surprise you, Calipari was kind of all over the place in his presser today, turning a question about whether or not he cheered for UCLA growing up into an anecdote about his childhood outside Pittsburgh. “UCLA, they were like faraway lands. I mean, I didn’t even go on vacation until I was 19, and that was to Maryland. Maryland,” Calipari repeated for emphasis. “We drove to the Maryland shore. I was not on an airplane until I was 20. So when you start talking UCLA, ‘Where in the world? Is that in our country?’”

Yes. Yes, it is.

Derryck Thornton will visit on January 12 for the Missouri game

The 2016 point guard is looking at UK, Duke, Louisville, Arizona, UCLA, Michigan, and Miami. Pitino’s after him pretty hard and is encouraging him to reclassify to 2015, which makes me hope he stays in 2016 and picks the Cats even more.

Thoughts out to Louisville’s Dancing Guy

This was posted on social media today:


For serious. Get well soon.

KSR will be live from Chicago in the morning

Matt will do tomorrow’s show live from the Windy City. I’m sitting this trip out, so please send me tons of pictures of you all having fun all over Chicago to make me feel jealous included.

“We Ask You Wednesdays Thursday” Vol. 26




The off-season is over, but the folks here at KSR love getting your input on things… relevant and bizarre. We have to get a little creative around here sometimes.Earlier this summer I started a weekly series called “We Ask You Wednesdays,” that brought in some great responses from many readers via Twitter. Most of you all, All of you all, Everyone but my Mom and Dad,Some of you all probably hate it, but it’s either this or I’ll post another Trey Lyles mix tape.

Each week, the question will change and we will hit on a variety of topics, mostly UK-related… but you never know. Each week the best responses will make it on to the website.  This week’s twenty sixth volume of the “We Ask You Wednesday” allowed Kentucky fans to answer the following question via Twitter in 140 characters or less: FINALS ARE JUST ABOUT FINISHED (OR CLOSE TO FINISHED) FOR MOST… SO LET’S TAKE A MOMENT TO GRADE THE KENTUCKY BASKETBALL TEAM. WHICH PLAYER WOULD YOU GIVE THE HIGHEST GRADE AND WHY?





What’s funny is that as balanced as we thought this team would be… (and to be fair, they are)… Willie Cauley-Stein was BY FAR the most popular answer…

And it wasn’t even remotely close…  For every 1 answer of someone else, there were 5 for WCS….


I like the way you put that…


I’ve heard that…


The point guards got a little love as well.

Alex is definitely the MVP in all of our hearts. 

He needs the extra credit to make up for that lay-up. #NeverForget

I would have to agree. Up until the Willie break-out game against Kansas, Dakari had been the most consistent numbers wise…

Weird but probably true that the 3 point streak has been the biggest drama of the season so far

I’ll be honest…he’s so nice, he probably would. 

Tomlin, I wish you were my spirit animal. I’m not cool enough, but I do wish that you were. 

Interesting logic, but Ulis has been spectacular at times. 

I can’t really argue with that one. Then he kind of disappeared….

Who hung from the Rafters though? 



There’s a familiar name on ESPN’s Top 10 point guard list…

…and it’s a former Cat, not a current Cat. ESPN’s Myron Medcalf ranked Ryan Harrow 9th on his list of college basketball’s Top 10 point guards:

9. Ryan Harrow, Georgia State

Ron Hunter’s squad could run through the Sun Belt again. Harrow, a transfer from Kentucky, is having a monster year for the Panthers (19.9 PPG, 5.9 APG, 40 percent on 3s). Harrow & Co. could be dangerous in March.

Apparently, Jay Williams and Seth Greenberg agreed, including Harrow in their pool of top point guards during halftime of tonight’s Duke/UConn game:


#ThrowbackThursday: Shannon Dawson

Hair Raid?

KSR answers your FAQs about Shannon Dawson

It’s been about 24 hours since we learned that Shannon Dawson will be UK’s new offensive coordinator, but for many of us, he’s still a mystery. To help us get better acquainted with our new OC, I spent the day getting to know Dawson via Google. Here’s a brief profile, along with some of your frequently asked questions.


Age: 37
Hometown: Clinton, Louisiana
Alma Mater: Wingate, Class of 2001

Coaching Career

2013: West Virginia (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2012: West Virginia (offensive coordinator/receivers)
2011: West Virginia (inside receivers)
2008-10: Stephen F. Austin (offensive coordinator)
2006-07: Millsaps (offensive coordinator)
2005: New Mexico State (graduate assistant/offense)
2004: Southeastern Louisiana (running backs)
2003: Southeastern Louisiana (offensive quality control)
2002: Wingate (wide receivers)

He’s a guy and his name is Shannon?

Yes, and I’m a girl and my name is Tyler. It’s 2014, get over it.

How did he learn the Air Raid?

Dawson coached under Hal Mumme for three seasons at New Mexico State and Southeastern Louisiana, where he learned the Air Raid system, which he took to Millsaps and Stephen F. Austin before joining the West Virginia staff. At Stephen F. Austin, Dawson had the #1 passing offense, the #4 scoring offense, and the #6 total offense in the FCS. In 2011, Dana Holgorsen hired him as the receivers coach at West Virginia, where he eventually became offensive coordinator.

So, he ran his Air Raid at West Virginia?

Not exactly. Dana Holgorsen is also an Air Raid disciple under Mike Leach and Hal Mumme, and has his own version that Dawson helped run. Dawson helped boost the West Virginia offense to ninth nationally in passing (314.6 yards), 11th in total offense (502.1 yards), 38th in scoring (33.2) and 44th in rushing (187.5). The Mountaineers’ run-to-pass ratio this season was 52%/48%. Under Dawson and Holgorsen, quarterback Clint Trickett passed for 3,285 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Between Dawson and Holgorsen, who called the plays?

Great question. West Virginia beat writer Patrick Southern came on the show today to tell us about Dawson and he said Holgorsen called the plays while Dawson read defenses up in the press box. While Dawson undoubtedly had a hand in whatever the offense did, ultimately, the unit was Holgorsen’s.

Dawson was once asked the difference between his philosophy and Holgorsen’s, and he responded “Dana’s a lot more conservative than I am.” For example, at Stephen F. Austin, Dawson’s offense once threw the ball 89 times in one game. UK only threw the ball 29 times vs. Louisville. Shew-wee. Since then, he’s warmed up to the run game enough to implement a balanced attack at West Virginia, and he’ll have a whole stable of running backs to use in his new role. At Kentucky, Dawson will finally have complete control over the offense, and after years of splitting decisions with Holgorsen, I’m sure he’s ready to let loose.

Are we sure he’s not Tony Vanetti’s twin?

He really does look like him, doesn’t he? Especially in this picture:

So, how is he different than Neal Brown?

We’ve heard Dawson’s offense is very similar to Brown’s, but plays will be called even faster. With SEVERAL Air Raid pieces in place, Dawson can jump in with both feet. Some other people have suggested Dawson will use a more vertical passing attack than Brown with a simpler running game.

What about recruiting?

Dawson is considered a good recruiter, and has commitments from two pro-style QBs at West Virigina, one being David Sills, a four-star. Dawson and Holgorsen are obviously very close, so it’s not clear whether or not Dawson will attempt to bring his commitments with him, but that’s something to keep an eye on.

What’s he like off the field?

Apparently, he’s hilarious and cusses a lot, which means he’ll fit right in with the KSR crew.

Anything really random about him?

He favorited this photo on Twitter:

So I guess he likes cats, which is good because he is one now.

Welcome aboard, coach.

Campus Report: Kentucky

This week’s Campus Report looks ahead to Saturday’s game against UCLA and predicts big things from Willie Cauley-Stein. Check ‘er out.

Rajon Rondo will be traded to the Mavericks

Rajon Rondo

After years of speculation, it looks like Rajon Rondo is finally being traded. According to ESPN, the Boston Celtics have agreed to trade Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks for Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, and Jameer Nelson, along with a future first-and second-round draft pick.

Rondo and Dirk on the same team???


Stop what you’re doing and listen to Chester’s call to Mark Stoops

That losing streak is gonna end. It’s gonna end in the new Commonwealth Stadium.

BBN was on Humans of New York today

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 4.27.30 PM

Several of you have sent us this screenshot from the popular website Humans of New York, a photoblog featuring portraits and interviews with people on the streets of NYC. Four years ago, Brandon Stanton set out with the mission to photograph and interview 10,000 New Yorkers. The blog has over 11 million followers on social media, so I’d say it’s pretty popular.

Stanton is about 6,000 portraits in to his quest, and I’m shocked it took so long to find a Kentucky fan.

Trey Lyles and the Harrisons will share Alex’s minutes

The biggest question after Alex Poythress’ injury has been whether or not John Calipari will stick to the platoons using Derek Willis or Dominique Hawkins or go back to being a normal team. As we expected, Cal said on today’s CBS Sports Teleconference that his team will still “platoon,” even though they’ll only use nine guys…which doesn’t really make it a platoon, but whatever. As for Alex’s minutes, Cal said that Trey Lyles and the Harrison Twins will split them.

“Well, what we’ve done is we’re still platooning. And what I’m doing is we’ll platoon nine, and we’re going to have time to see if Derek Willis or Dom Hawkins deserve to be in the rotation of 10. I’m not going to take minutes away from any player just to platoon. That’s not the idea. We were platooning for one reason: to try to take care of 10 players. I’ve never done it before, may never do it again, but right now it’s what’s best for these players.

So when I went to nine, I told either Andrew, Aaron or Trey, ‘Whichever one of you is playing the best will stay in.’ And then whoever’s playing the second best, if that guy needs a sub, he’ll go in. So play well and you’ll play more. So we reward the guys that are playing well and give them some extra minutes.”

Can someone get a “Platoon or bust” sticker for Calipari to put on his Vespa for Christmas?

Cal called this the “tallest bad defensive rebounding team in the history of the game”

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

We’ve all been struggling to find things to nitpick with this team, but John Calipari had no problem finding several in his press conference today. “We’re the 13th best defensive rebounding team out of 14 in our league. Really? The tallest bad defensive rebounding team in the history of the game,” Cal said. “There are things that I look at right now and I’m like, ‘Come on.’”

Cal was particularly hard on his guards. “Our guards right now, we may have the worst group of rebounding guards in the country, too. So we’re doing stuff to hold them accountable,” Cal said, mentioning drills the group will do from now through the end of “Camp Cal,” which starts after the Louisville game.

On the flip side, Steve Alford called UK “the best rebounding team–hands down–in the country” during the CBS Sports Classic teleconference earlier this afternoon. Who’s right? While Kentucky is tied for 23rd nationally in total rebounds per game with 41.1, they are tied for 81st in defensive rebounds per game, with 25.9. Ouch. (Fun fact: guess who’s also 81st? Duke.)

Always good to have something to work on, I guess.

Louisville’s Akoy Agau is transferring to pursue a future in basketball

Louisville’s Akoy Agau is leaving the program, according to multiple people who have the unfortunate job of covering Louisville athletics on a daily basis. The sophomore’s reasoning for leaving is unclear, however, common sense tells KSR he is going somewhere else because he would like to play the game for a living after college.

Agau is the guy who once said, “I personally feel like our fans are more mature [than Kentucky’s].”

He was averaging 3.7 minutes per game this season.

Dana Holgorson confirms Dawson’s hire with a parting statement

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen released a statement today regarding the departure of Shannon Dawson, his offensive coordinator. Holgorsen has known Dawson for years; he was his quarterback and wide receiver coach at Wingate when Dawson played both positions in 1999.

“I want to congratulate Shannon Dawson on becoming the offensive coordinator at Kentucky,” Holgorsen said. “Shannon has been a friend of mine for many years and over these last four years at WVU, he has been an outstanding member of our staff. I wish him nothing but the best in his coaching career. He has a great future ahead.”

“I couldn’t be happier for him. I’ve known Shannon for a long time and trust him as much as any coach that I’ve ever been with.”

Dawson will be formally announced as UK’s new offensive coordinator tomorrow.



Good news, Cats fans!

We knocked off all shipping costs in The KSR Shop today and today only. Spend $30 or more on any merchandise and you’ll receive free shipping on the entire order.

Buy stocking stuffers, hats, shirts, accessories or any of our many UK products and the order will arrive at your front door without any additional costs. But it must be ordered today because the deal is gone tomorrow.

Get to it!


Craig Naivar is leaving Kentucky for Houston

According to a report from our friends over at The Cats Pause, UK special teams and safeties coach Craig Naivar is leaving Kentucky for a job at Houston. Naivar leaves Lexington after one season with the Wildcats and some forgettable moments on the sideline with Coach Stoops.

Don’t everyone cry at once, please.