As expected, UK has just announced that James Young will forgo his sophomore season and →
By Matt Jones on ©8:00 pm
pic by Getty Images
The NBA Playoffs are just beginning on Saturday and I am actually excited. There are a number of solid matchups and this year we will see more UK guys in the playoffs than in recent years, including the first appearances by guys like John Wall, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Patrick Patterson. But next year, Anthony Davis and Darius Miller are headed to Louisville for a preseason game that you probably would like to see. The Pelicans are playing the Heat in the Yum Center and the chance to see Davis, Miller and Lebron is certainly worth your time. Tickets actually GO ON SALE TOMORROW as part of a pre-sale code that is for basketball fans in the area. You can buy tickets tomorrow at the link below, using the code “NBAYUM” from 10 am to 10 pm. The seating chart is below the link and the best tickets are available now. So go ahead and get them and go see Lebron, Anthony and the boys and bring some blue to the Yum Center:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©7:00 pm
Lorde’s hit song “Royals” has gotten the parody treatment from just about everyone, including a group of Kentucky fans and Fake Barney. A Florida fan decided to give it a shot too, even shooting some of the scenes inside The Swamp. You’ll have to see it to believe it. I’m not sure I can ever look at Gatorade the same way.
Fake Barney FTW:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©6:30 pm
Our pals at KyWildcatsTV have done an excellent job bringing us the sights and sounds of spring practice so far, and today, they released the video with defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh on the mic. Enjoy.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©6:00 pm
Rajon Rondo sat out last night’s game against the Washington Wizards with a strained hamstring, but he did find an unique way to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. To honor the one-year anniversary of the bombing, Rondo wore a custom pair of shoes printed with the date and “Boston Strong” embroidered on the tongue, and the victims’ initials printed on the body of the shoe. He said he’ll donate the kicks to One Fund, a charity designed to help the victims.
Good on ya, Rajon.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©5:30 pm
One of the things Cal prides himself and the program on is the number of players who leave early, but return to finish their degrees. Although he didn’t play under Cal, Jodie Meeks is one of those players. According to Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell, Meeks is on track to graduate from UK in May after working towards his degree during offseasons.
Meeks is now a free agent, but told Trudell he hopes he’ll be back in LA next season: ”I’m not sure. I want to be back. I loved playing here. We’ll see how the draft and free agency goes.” Meeks was one of the few bright spots for the Lakers this season, averaging a career-best 15.6 points per game, almost double his average last season.
Keep making us proud, Jodie.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©5:00 pm
The 2014 recruiting class was the first in which John Calipari didn’t land most of the elite players he went after. Don’t get me wrong, the players he did sign are excellent, but several of the superstar prospects like Emmanuel Mudiay, Stanley Johnson, and Jahlil Okafor all decided to take their services elsewhere. During the McDonald’s All-American game a few weeks ago, USA Today’s Jason Jordan went around and asked some of the players what their second choice school was. For once, many of them said Kentucky. Here’s a breakdown:
Rashad Vaughn (UNLV): Iowa State
Devin Booker (Kentucky): Missouri
James Blackmon (Indiana): Kentucky (Think he regrets choosing the Hoosiers now?)
Kelly Oubre (Kansas): Kentucky
Stanley Johnson (Arizona): Kentucky
Emmanuel Mudiay (SMU): Kentucky
Mudiay’s comments were the most interesting to me. He said that during Cal’s in-home visit, he and his family liked what he had to say so much that he was ready to commit on the spot. His brother advised him to wait, and during Larry Brown’s visit, the legendary coach “talked way better than Cal did.”
Well, Cal does consider him a mentor.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:30 pm
Things just got a little more interesting on the SEC basketball coaching carousel. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman is reporting that Missouri’s Frank Haith is in talks with Tulsa to become their new head coach.
Last season, the Tigers had the talent to make the tournament but underachieved all year, putting heat on Haith after his third season in Columbia. Haith has also had to deal with problems off the court, dismissing Louisville transfer Zach Price after a teammate filed an order of protection against him. Price was suspended indefinitely from Missouri on April 3 after being arrested on suspicion of domestic assault and assault.
Now, which is the better job: Tennessee or Missouri? I say Missouri.
UPDATE: Multiple outlets are reporting that Haith has accepted the job at Tulsa.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:51 pm
A few days ago, ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford said that the Harrison Twins have been talking to agents about their draft stock but didn’t like the feedback they were getting. Today, he tweets that the feedback is pushing them to consider coming back to UK, with a decision coming on Tuesday or Wednesday:
Harrison twins were strongly leaning toward draft. Now they are considering returning to UK after NBA feedback. Should decide on Tues/Wed
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) April 17, 2014
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:08 pm
As expected, UK has just announced that James Young will forgo his sophomore season and enter the NBA Draft. From the press release, here are James’ remarks:
“My time at Kentucky has been special to me, something I’ll always treasure, but I feel that I’m ready to take the next step to the NBA,” Young said. “I’ve learned more this year, on and off the court, about life from Coach Cal and the staff and appreciate all of their guidance and support. I can’t say enough about my teammates; the journey helped us build a bond that we will always share for the rest of our lives. I would like to thank the best fans in the country, the Big Blue Nation, and I hope you guys will continue to support me as I move on. I will always bleed blue. Succeed and Proceed!”
Coach Cal says he’s excited for James, and thankful for his effort:
“I’m excited for James and his family and the decision he’s come to,” head coach John Calipari said. “From day one, the NBA people who came to our practices in the preseason raved about him. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him all season, investing himself in his brothers for the betterment of the team, and I think we all saw the end result in the tournament and Final Four. Whatever team drafts James is not only getting a superb athlete, they are getting the ultimate teammate.”
Best of luck to James. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.
By C.M. Tomlin on ©2:00 pm
This week Cal took to the road to promote his new book Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out, and he left no stone unturned in getting the word out. As he continues to promote his book and talk about his signature coaching style, we’ve collated some of his sound bites from those interviews below.
Morning Joe (MSNBC):
“It starts with recruiting. I tell [players] You’re not taking thirty shots if you come here, because you’re going to have other players who are just as good as you. The most anyone takes historically for my teams is thirteen, fourteen shots….I can’t promise you’re gonna start, how many minutes you’re going to get, all those things. But I’ve started something like thirty freshman in my time, or more now, and it all starts with recruiting.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©1:00 pm
One interesting story from John Calipari’s press conference that didn’t really fit in my recap has to do with a fund Cal said he and his wife tried to start for their former players’ kids. Cal said they wanted to put together a fund to help his former players pay for their children’s educations, but the NCAA shot it down because it would be an extra benefit:
“I presented this to the NCAA, my wife and I. We want to start a fund. We’ll fund it, we’ll put the money in. That every player that’s ever played for me, whether they be at Mass, Memphis, or Kentucky, can request a grant for their children’s education. And that fund would peel off money for that reason. And when I stop coaching 25 years later, the money that’s left in that fund would be split between Memphis, Massachusetts, and Kentucky.
What was the response? ‘It’s an extra benefit.’ My wife and I sat there and said, ‘we’ve been thinking about this for five years, this is what we want to do. So, why can’t we put $5 or $10 million in an account that peels out money that all those players that have played for me? ‘Because you’ll use it in recruiting. And you’ll have an advantage.’ Well, I won’t if 50 other coaches do the same thing. Now, if 50 of us do it, we can afford it. I’m not the only guy that’s done well and am blessed. Well, 50 of us do it. ‘That’s bad.’”
For Cal, that’s yet another “common sense problem” the NCAA has right now, and one of the reasons it’s a crumbling institution. Kids’ education? Come on now…
By T.Walters on ©12:30 pm
Posted in Main
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By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©11:45 am
John Calipari met with his favorite media friends this morning to recap his national book tour and the Cats’ season. Cal was about thirty minutes late because he was “under the weather,” (and who can blame him?) but took questions for about thirty minutes. Here’s the stuff we haven’t already heard in the past few days:
Cal had a really good day yesterday
Yesterday, Cal did a few morning shows, had lunch with Bill Clinton, and ended the day watching his former players Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Chris Douglas-Roberts play in Charlotte. He was also able to visit with Derrick Rose, who is recovering from an injury but is still traveling with the team. “It was a good day,” Cal said.
For Cal, a big highlight of the day was the two-hour lunch with President Bill Clinton. Cal said he asked Clinton “What would you do if you were in my shoes coaching Division 1 basketball right now?,” and although he didn’t share it with reporters, Cal said the former President’s response was pretty predictable. “You could almost predict his answer because he’s always been about people.” Players first = people first.
Cal doesn’t know what the players will do
The question of the moment is which players will stay and which players will go to the NBA. Cal said he has “no idea” what the players will do, but he has talked to about 19 GMs to gather information for them. He said he’s talked to all of the players, some while they were still in Dallas, and talked to the NBA folks again yesterday to get updates. Cal said he’s being careful to give that information directly to the parents so it doesn’t get distorted along the way. “I don’t want there to be any filter,” Cal said. “Happy, sad, angry, that’s it.”
Cal was “stunned” Willie decided to come back
Like many of us, Calipari said he was “stunned” by Willie Cauley-Stein’s decision to come back to school, and said he wasn’t even considering that option for him. In fact, when he sat down with Willie to talk about his decision, he reflected on how much the talented 7-footer has grown since he’s known him. “Willie, you know when I went to your high school the first time, you had a tennis racket in your hand. The second time I went to your high school, you were playing whiffle ball. And the third time I went to your high school, you were playing kickball. I never saw you with a basketball. I saw you play two football games, where I had a 7′ cornerback/wide receiver.” Wait, Willie played wide receiver??
Cal said Willie told him this when he informed him of his decision to come back: “You know coach, I’m in no hurry to leave. I love going to school, I’m going to be closer to my degree, I still have to grow a player, and we left something on the table there that I’d like to try again.”
Cal confirmed that Willie had ankle surgery
As first reported by KSR, Cal confirmed that Willie had ankle surgery by “the best doctor in the world,” and said he’s got a month or so of recovery.
Still no final decision on the summer trip
Cal confirmed that the team will take a summer trip, but said he hasn’t decided where. ”We’ll probably do something in the summer, but I haven’t made a total decision of what it will be. It’ll probably be something with the World Games.” That means the players will be going up against NBA guys, or as Cal put it, “get beat up by NBA guys.” Returning players, a month of practice in the summer, AND going against NBA competition? That puts the Cats well ahead of the curve once the season starts.
Cal’s hip surgery is scheduled for May 2nd
Cal said he’s scheduled his hip surgery for May 2nd in Lexington, and he’ll take about a month off to recover. Thank God.
“You’re old, you’re grumpy, go away.”
Cal spent the majority of the press conference rehashing his speech about how the NCAA needs to change some things. We’ve heard that A LOT the past few days, so I’ll spare you a full recap, but he did have a good quote in response to those who believe players should go to the league directly out of high school:
“The guys who say let them go out of high school, they don’t want to coach against them. It’s as simple as that,” Cal said. ”You’re old. You’re grumpy. Go away.”
He hasn’t hired an assistant yet
Despite rumblings to the contrary, Cal said he hasn’t hired an assistant coach yet. ”I haven’t had time. There’s no one I’ve sat down and said, ‘I want you to do this.’ But I will. I haven’t gone through the process. I’ve called some people up. I have work to do.”
First, rest up a little, Coach.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©10:50 am
While the rest of us were watching Twitter for the latest updates on the players’ decisions, Archie Goodwin made them eat they feet in Sacramento, scoring 29 points in the Suns’ 104-99 win over the Kings. It was a career-high for Archie, who started the second half and scored 12 of those 29 points in the fourth quarter. The highlight? This ridiculous dunk:
Side note: Drew Franklin, currently on his California adventure, was in the stands. Does this make Drew Archie’s good luck charm?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:55 am
Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Thursday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Today, Matt and Ryan will discuss the ongoing draft decisions by UK’s players, Jalen Whitlow’s transfer, and any news that comes out of John Calipari’s 10:30 a.m. press conference (which will most likely be about his book).
Also, if you missed the news last night, Governor Steve Beshear, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Senate President Robert Stivers, and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray have all agreed to come on KSR in a few weeks to debate the Rupp Arena funding issue, so I’m sure they’ll touch upon that as well.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
– Harrison Twins in Orlando?
– Jalen Whitlow transferring
– The Rupp Arena debate
– Tucker Max and John Calipari???
– Much more…
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By Bryan the Intern on ©9:00 am
I do this list once or twice a year and always find new additions to put in the mix. When you’ve played basketball as long as Kentucky has, some odd things have happened. Here are some of the odder that I’ve come across, ranked by oddness in my opinion:
1. The UK head coach who had the worst winning percentage: Basil Hayden, who had a 18.7% win percentage at Kentucky. He also has his jersey retired.
2. 6 times an opposing player has scored 50 or more points against UK and all 6 were either Pete Maravich or Austin Carr.
3. Tony Delk actually ranks in the Top 40 for career BLOCKS at UK. Rex Chapman is in the Top 50. (Of course, blocks didn’t become an official stat until 1985)
4. Brandon Knight scored more points in his 1 UK season than Forest Sale, Phil Grawemeyer, Cliff Barker, Gayle Rose, Layton Rouse, and Basil Hayden did in their careers. Those 6 players all have retired jerseys.
5. Kentucky is 14-0 in games played in the city of Memphis but has never played the University of Memphis in that city. They have played Ole Miss 6 times in that city though.
6. Before scoring 41 points in the NCAA title game in 1978, Jack Givens had scored over 30 points ONCE in his other 122 UK games.
7. It took Dan Issel 8 less games to score 94 more points than Jodie Meeks on the single season scoring list
8. Adolph Rupp only had 1 undefeated team and that team did not win the national title (1954).
9. 15 times a UK player has been chosen as SEC Tournament MVP. Only Travis Ford was selected twice.
10. Despite his recruiting reputation, Rick Pitino did not have a single Mcdonald’s All-American in 5 of his 8 classes.
11. Only 1 UK player has ever lived past the age of 100: Basil Hayden.
12. UK has played games over its history in 9 Kentucky cities. But it has never played a game in Richmond (EKU), Murray (Murray State), or Morehead (Morehead State) and only 1 time in Bowling Green (WKU).
13. Tubby Smith never won fewer than 22 games in his 10 seasons. Rupp won less than 22 games 6 times since 1960. Hall did it 5 times in 13 years. Sutton did it 2 times in 4 years. Pitino did it 1 time in 8 years. Gillispie did it 2 times in 2 years. Calipari has done it 1 time in 4 years.
14. Joe B. Hall played at Kentucky for 1 season. He played in 3 games and never scored a point.
15. 11 of the 20 NBA titles Kentucky alums have won came with the Boston Celtics.
16. Half of Kentucky’s Top 20 all-time scorers only played 3 years at the school.
17. The players who rank #102 (Lou Tsioropoulos), #105 (Ken Rollins), #111 (John DeMoisey), #115 (Forest Sale), #116 (Phil Grawemeyer), #118 (Cliff Barker), #160 (Gayle Rose), #179 (Carey Spicer), #187 (Layton Rouse), and #191 (Basil Hayden) on the career scoring list all have their jerseys retired.
18. Saul Smith had a 1.59 assist to turnover ratio at Kentucky. That is actually a better ratio than Cliff Hawkins, Ed Davender, and Ramel Bradley.
19. Kentucky has had 3 head coaches who graduated from the University of Illinois: George Buckheit (44 wins), Clarence Applegran (13 wins), and John Mauer (40 wins). UK has had only 4 head coaches who graduated from the University of Kentucky.
20. The player who came closest to breaking the 1,000 point barrier but didn’t was Jared Prickett, with 998 points. James Lee finished with 996 points.
21. If Rod Rhodes had played in 1996, and scored his career scoring average that season (12.2 ppg), he would have finished as the school’s 11th all-time leading scorer.
22. Despite the NIT being the elite basketball tournament in the 1940′s and 1950′s, Kentucky only won that title 1 time, in 1946. They won 4 NCAA titles in that same 20-year span.
23. There are 16 states that Kentucky has never had a player from. They are Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nebraksa, North Dakota, Minnesota, South Carolina, Delaware, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
24. Only 2 former Kentucky players have won multiple NBA titles: Lou Tsioropoulos and Frank Ramsey
25. UK has only had 2 players serve in the military since 1970: Charles Hurt and Carlos Toomer