Nike’s EYBL Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina is the hottest spot in basketball →
By Drew Franklin on ©1:30 pm
Your University of Kentucky Wildcats fell into the “Better… But It May Not Show In The Win Column” category in Athlon Sports’ feature on college football’s most improved teams. UK is one of five schools in the second tier of improved teams and it’s “trending in the right direction,” the author writes.
It’s going to take coach Mark Stoops a few years to build Kentucky’s roster into one that can consistently compete for bowl games in the SEC. However, the Wildcats are trending in the right direction. Kentucky signed the No. 22 class in 2014, an improvement after inking the No. 34 recruiting haul in ’13. Those two totals are the best two classes the Wildcats have brought in over the last five years, and all signs point to another standout group coming to Lexington in 2015. With the improvement in talent, it should start to show on the field for Stoops. Kentucky went 2-10 in Stoops’ debut but lost two SEC games by a touchdown or less. Finding a quarterback is the top priority for coordinator Neal Brown, and Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips and touted freshman Drew Barker will all contend for time in the fall. The talent at the skill positions has improved, and Nebraska transfer Braylon Heard should team with Jojo Kemp to form an effective one-two punch in the backfield. Stoops’ specialty is on defense, and that’s an area of focus this offseason after allowing 6.8 yards per play in SEC games. Kentucky should be able to win three of its non-conference matchups and could steal a win in conference play this year.
Florida also gets some love from Athlon because the Gators “can’t be any worse.”
Read the entire list here.
By Drew Franklin on ©1:00 pm
Maker’s Mark put Tom Jurich on a bottle because… I don’t know why Maker’s Mark put Tom Jurich on a bottle
By Drew Franklin on ©12:30 pm
Much like his basketball team does every time it plays UK, Tom Jurich got waxed this morning. The Louisville AD dipped his new commemorative Maker’s Mark bottle in black wax to celebrate its release. Bottles will go on sale later this week and proceeds will go to aid in fundraising for a new academic center at Louisville.
If you’re interested in purchasing a bottle, you need to reevaluate your life.
By Drew Franklin on ©12:00 pm
Emmanuel Mudiay, Kentucky’s top point guard target in the 2014 class, picked SMU over the Cats and Kansas, but it is the People’s Republic of China that wins his services in the end. ESPN is reporting Mudiay signed a one-year deal worth $1.2 million to play professional basketball in the land of canned air and orange chicken.
Mudiay insists his decision to chase the money over college is to provide for his mother, but it is believed he is running from the NCAA. There were concerns with his eligibility and he was worried, one source told ESPN.
What we thought was Calipari’s worst loss in recruiting since coming to UK proved to be a blessing. Had Mudiay committed to UK, like everyone expected, BBN wouldn’t have four years of Tyler Ulis to look forward to.
By Drew Franklin on ©11:15 am
Eric Lindsey over at CoachCal.com attended UK’s 90-minute practice yesterday and he has a lengthy report for you on the website this morning. Lindsey has several notes and observations, almost all positive, including individual specifics on all of the guys.
Have a small taste in this exciting excerpt about Alex Poythress:
The last guy I expected to lead off with just because he’s been around for two years is Alex Poythress, but I think his effort and his improvement merit that. We all know how athletic he is and the type of plays he can make, but he looked lighter on his feet than I’ve ever seen him. He seemed to glide through the air on Monday, a fascinating thing to watch for someone with his body frame. I have no idea how that will translate on to the court in October and November because, as I just said, we’ve seen bits and pieces of that in his first two years, but I do see a more confident player than the one I’ve seen the last two seasons. He’s never going to be a vocal guy, but when I saw him, on one particular play, race from the top of the key, sky over Karl-Anthony Towns and Marcus Lee in the paint, grab the offensive rebound, and bank the ball back in the basket in traffic, it gave me the feeling that we’re going to see a much-improved Alex Poythress this year.
Other notable impressions from Lindsey:
– Tyler Ulis will be a fan favorite
– The twins and Dakari are in better shape
– Devin Booker is doing just fine
– Cal is still preaching, “Play fast, think slow.”
Read the entire practice report here.
By Drew Franklin on ©10:30 am
UK needs your help picking a song for kickoff in the football season opener and you can do your part in the selection process by voting in the first matchup of the music bracket this morning. It’s Bud Dupree versus Steven Borden in the first showdown of the Kickoff Playoff and it’s up to you to decide whose song of choice will advance to the next round.
Dupree nominated Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck,” a timeless classic that encourages listeners to knuck, if they are indeed buck. Borden, on the other hand, would like to hear Skrillex’s “Scatta.”
Head over to the BBNFirst website to hear the songs and place your vote. Mine goes to Bud in this one because that Scatta song makes my head hurt.
By Drew Franklin on ©9:55 am
Morning, KSR readers and listeners. Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond are on the road again today, this time hitting the mean streets of Morganfield. The guys are at Verlies Restaurant at 101 W. Main Street and they’d love to see you. Stop by to hear the show and enter your name in the drawing for UK basketball tickets or a shot at the trip to the Bahamas.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
KSR Affiliate List
WBGN (1340am): Bowling Green
WAIN (93.9fm): Columbia
WHIR (1230am): Danville
WCLU (1490am): Glasgow
WGOH (1370am): Grayson
WHOP (95.3fm): Hopkinsville
WJKY (1060am): Jamestown
WLAP (630am): Lexington
WFTG (1400am): London
WKJK (1080am): Louisville
WFMW (730am): Madisonville
WXXL (1450am): Manchester
WFTM (1240am): Maysville
WKYM (101.7fm): Monticello
WMSK (1550am): Morganfield
WKYH (600am): Paintsville
WLSI (900am) Pikeville
WPRT (960am): Prestonsburg
WSFC (1240am): Somerset
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WBTH (1400am): Williamson
On Delay (ALL TIMES LISTED EASTERN)…
WVHI (1330am): Evansville, IN, 5-7pm
WMTL (870am): Leitchfield, 11am-1pm
WLBQ (1570am): Morgantown, 3-5pm
WRIL (106.3fm): Middlesboro, Thur 8-10pm
WPAD (1560am): Paducah, 11-1pm
WHAY (98.3fm): Whitley City, 2-4pm
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:30 am
Drew Barker is one of three quarterbacks competing for the starting job, and last night, he and freshman wide receiver Dorian Baker posted this video of some red zone work they’ve been doing lately.
Looks like Baker got both feet in on that one-handed catch. Not too bad…
By Bryan the Intern on ©9:00 am
What’s funny when trying to evaluate what is most important for this Kentucky football team is which position units have to perform for this season to be an improvement. On the offensive side of the ball, Kentucky has some positives and potential. But there are also some big question marks as well. I breakdown the pros and cons for each of the 4 units on offense and I want to know which unit you think is the most key this season:
Pros: Kentucky has 3 legitimate options it seems at this position, which usually can make or break a team. So if you are a Kentucky fan, you might feel good about the fact that if 1 guy isn’t getting it done, you can easily go to another. It seems that the 3 guys, as told by Neal Brown, have different styles and strengths. So there is a little flexibility here.
Cons: Having multiple QB’s doesn’t always mean good things. It often means none of them are great or one would be the sure fire starter. Nonetheless, UK is very inexperienced at QB this year, with only Patrick Towles having played in a game. And the problem is if Kentucky doesn’t get consistent play at this position, it allows opposing defenses to target the running game.
Pros: On paper, this is probably UK’s best offensive unit. Braylon Heard and Jo Jo Kemp are legitimate SEC backs. Kemp got tons of experience last year and Heard is a Nebraska transfer. But even beyond them, UK has Josh Clemons there coming off injury after a successful freshman season in 2012.
Cons: You have to think early in the season defenses will attempt to stop the UK running attack above all else and test the QB’s. So either through gameplan or talent, these backs will have a lot of pressure to perform when defenses are after them. Also, we really don’t know what Heard is going to give just yet and Kemp hasn’t yet been given the ball 20 times in a game so there is a question on if he can handle that kind of load?
Pros: A lot of returners in this unit for Kentucky. Javess Blue and Ryan Timmons can be big time playmakers and their could be some production from the incoming freshman too. Drops dipped significantly last year. A bunch of speed at this position too. Depth shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Cons: Can somebody get them the ball in the right place consistently? And if not, can they still make plays because that is what great wideouts do. Who is going to be that deep threat for the Cats this year? Also, if Kentucky begins using multiple QB’s, will there be a different rhythm between each guy and the wideouts.
Pros: You return 4 starters off a line. Those 4 guys started 43 of a possible 48 games last year. Plus the 3 most important starters on the line (2 tackles and center) all return.
Cons: In the SEC, you have to have depth on the line. Mostly because it’s very difficult to get through a season without injury. But even more because you can’t have serious drop-offs on the line when you put the subs in. Kentucky doesn’t have a ton of experience in the reserves so will some guys still up on the 2nd team and provide depth?
We will focus most of our attention on relevant Kentucky sports-centric tweets but, as per usual, there are no limits to our madness. You, the KSR fans, can also participate in our top-10 tweet countdown by using hashtags such as #BBN #KSR #KSRTopTen, or by tweeting @KySportsRadio.
#10 Ryan Lemond
— Ryan Lemond (@ryanlemond) July 21, 2014
He’s real people.
#9 Mark Stoops
The original ESPN sign. pic.twitter.com/7p0YppTd9V
— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) July 21, 2014
But why wasn’t he in Louisville with Petrino!??!! #%(*&^#%
#8 Colby McKee
@MADDAWG_G u ain't never seen nothin like KY girls… COME TO BBN
— colby (@Colby_McKee8) July 22, 2014
So….. every school ever says this right? (yes)
#7 Mrs. Tyler Thompson
You know who’s still excited to talk trash about a game four months in advance? Bobby Petrino!
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) July 21, 2014
Derty dert dert!!
#6 Brad Calipari
“@UKCoachCalipari: Boy is it nice to have returning players. I havent had that in five years. They understand what we're trying to do” 5 lol
— Brad Calipari (@The_bcal25) July 21, 2014
#5 James Poff
— james poff (@jpizzle859) July 22, 2014
Lil Wayne is all over these top tweets.
#4 Brad Jeffries
— Brad Jeffries (@THEDIRTMCGIRT) July 22, 2014
#2 Jordan Bowman
Well with TennesseeSportsRadio going under it makes what @KySportsRadio has been able to build that much more impressive.
— Jordan Bowman (@SOXinTN) July 21, 2014
Compliments are fun.
#1 Aaron Slone
@Damien_D1Harris be a hero and stay at southern for a 5th year
— Ace (@AaronSlone) July 22, 2014
Come be a hero for the Eagles.
By Ally Tucker on ©11:00 pm
I would like to make some amendments to this chart. The biggest challenges on Facebook right now are as follows:
1) The Cold Water Challenge (64%)
2) The “Beautiful” Challenge (29%)
3) The “Grown A** Woman” Challenge (7%)
4) Wanting to punch everyone who participates (100%)
I don’t know if you’ve taken notice of the current “challenge” trend on Facebook, but I sure have. If you’ve read some of the things I’ve written for KSR before, you surely know that I have a Hate/Hate relationship with Facebook. Why do I still have one, you might ask? I ask myself that question every single day. Probably so I can know if your baby is the size of a coconut or a blueberry this week. What would I do without such vital information? Anyway, I digress… Facebook’s latest craze involves people “challenging” their friends to do something. I’ll be honest… I wanted to watch another Cold Water Challenge video about as much as I wanted to watch your Youth Group’s Harlem Shake video, but I bit my tongue because hey… at least that was for a good cause and money was going to charity (or so you say… some of you I don’t trust… I’m looking at you, everyone I went to high school with). But it’s gotten out of control. Now people are challenging each other to “post 5 pictures of yourself that make you feel beautiful.” Just so we are all clear here… people DO understand that there’s really nothing challenging about something like that, right? Posting your favorite selfies where the light happens to hit you and you look way better than normal doesn’t really classify as a challenge. At least not in my books. And if such things are particularly challenging in your mind… let me suggest that you try something a little more difficult. Sudoku? Tying your shoes? Running a mile? Remembering to Instagram all of the food you ate today? Deciphering one of Tom Crean or Frank Martin’s tweets?
I’m just trying to save the world from being annoying on Facebook. It might be my one mission in life. Don’t do it, people. Don’t succumb to the challenges that aren’t really challenges. And while you’re at it, STILLLLL no one cares to hear about your political views. Rant over, for now…
I challenge you to read tonight’s news and views without being mean in the comment section…
Cal is talking… and we are all listening
As Tyler Thompson likes to say, Swaggy Cal is back. And I think we are all enjoying the juicy tidbits he’s been throwing our way this week. Calipari got our heart rates up on Sunday night when he tweeted out a picture of the team together after finding them playing when he returned from all of his travels. He continues to rave about how much this team enjoys working and playing, and how now they are starting to enjoy working and playing together. Make no mistake about it… Cal is excited. And when Cal is excited… we are excited. Today he threw out another tidbit of information highlighting the luxury of having some veteran players returning for the first time in a long time.
“Boy is it nice to have returning players. I haven’t had that in five years. They understand what we’re trying to do.”
Cal went on to reveal that he will be giving the Big Blue nation a full practice report (the first official one of the summer) on CoachCal.com tomorrow. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. TELL US MORE!
Cal gets the attention of the recruits with his star-studded weekend
One of the top recruits in the class of 2015, 5-star Jaylen Brown, admitted to being impressed by the fact that John Calipari was at the ESPY’s one night, and then immediately hopped on a flight to make it to his early morning game the next day. Hate on the stuff like Calipari hanging out with Drake as much as you want, but these recruits notice this kind of stuff. And they think it’s cool. I could be wrong, but I doubt that Mark Fox and Bill Self are rubbing elbows with big named stars. It’s getting the recruits’ attention. And if you didn’t believe it from Brown’s comments, then Stephen Zimmerman’s comments (another top 2015 recruit) about how he saw Cal on TV at the ESPYs and texted him to see if he would respond should solidify the fact that these guys are taking note of the buzz around Cal. Swaggy Cal is on the loose.
Mark Stoops was literally everywhere today on ESPN
While Calipari spent the weekend on the run back and forth between LA, Lexington and Augusta….Mark Stoops hit the flights today on his way to ESPN for the “carwash” routine. Stoops was a part of a myriad of different shows, taping some segments that aired today and others that will air later in the week. Not all of the SEC coaches went through the car wash, but Stoops has his program buzzing right now with a level of recruiting the SEC hasn’t seen from Kentucky. Keep an eye out for some quotes and stories as the week goes on.
But he will not be at the Governor’s Cup Luncheon….
Stoops was a lot of places today, but he will NOT be attending the Governor’s Cup Luncheon on Wednesday. While the news just hit the mainstream flow today, apparently Stoops let those in charge know of his decision months ago. With the game no longer at the front end of the season, UK’s Tony Neely said it “didn’t add up” to Stoops to attend. Stoops will likely be spending the time working with his team in preparation for the more immediate future. However, Stoops will keep his speaking engagement at the Rotary Club for Thursday in place.
In about 3 days, no one will really care that Mark Stoops didn’t attend this luncheon that is now taking place months and months in advance to the actual big game. But for now, it gives people something to rant about in the summer.
Never trust people with two first names… or Package Deals in college basketball recruiting
A few weeks ago it seemed as if a Malik Newman/Diamond Stone package deal was quite possibly still on the table. Although package deals rarely hold true in the end, the two top recruits in 2015 seemed committed to the idea early. Now, the package deal seems a lot less “certain.” Diamond Stone plans to announce his decision on National Signing Day in November, and according to Newman’s twitter, he won’t be ready to necessarily make that same commitment, and it might not be to the same school. Stone had also hedged his bets on the package deal this weekend. When asked about the deal, he said “50/50.”
Diamond Stone appears to be UCONN’s to lose at this point, and Kentucky seemed to be in more favorable position for Newman when comparing the two. The news could be positive for Kentucky who will likely remain in the picture for Newman regardless of Stone’s decision.
George Brown watch until Friday
Kentucky’s 3-star OL target George Brown had a great visit in Lexington this weekend and seemed well on the verge of pulling the trigger for the Cats when he decides on Friday. Florida jumped in for one last ditch recruiting pitch and got Brown on campus today. It looks like Brown had a good visit with the Gators as well and now will have to make a decision that will likely come down to Kentucky and Florida. Brown is also considering Alabama, Georgia, and LSU but the Cats and Gators look to be the favorites. Hopefully Florida didn’t sway Brown too much, as he seemed almost a surefire bet for Kentucky after this weekend.
Damien Harris says he will trim to 5 on August 1st, and make his final decision on December 13th
Speaking of top recruits, the #1 running back in the class of 2015 from the state of Kentucky announced via Twitter that he has a more clear cut time table for his decision making process. Harris says he will narrow his list of schools to 5 on August 1st. Kentucky seems all but certain to make the final cut. Harris also said that he will make his final decision on December 13th. Mark your calendars.
By Matt Jones on ©10:22 pm
By Matt Jones on ©10:17 pm
Some good news (from my perspective) on the UK basketball front from Scout.com. The website is reporting that 2015 Big man Caleb Swanigan received an offer from Kentucky today, a big development for the star player. Swanigan had a GREAT Peach Jam and was one of my favorite players during the event. He played against Cheick Diallo and had the better of the matchup and it was that performance that may have pushed Calipari over the top. Michigan State has been the considered leader and Indiana/Louisville are also involved. But with Kentucky in the picture, things may change for a guy with lots of talent and a frame that is ready to compete right away in major college basketball.
By Ally Tucker on ©9:59 pm
Kentucky’s top in-state target in the class of 2015, #1 rated running back Damien Harris, tweeted that he will be making his final decision on December 13th. Before he makes that decision though, Harris will trim his list to 5 on August 1st. Kentucky figures to make the final cut for Harris and he seems to still be very high on the Cats.
Go Cats. Yahtzee? Please?
By Andrew Cassady on ©9:30 pm
Sometimes lost in the shuffle of returning starters like the Harrisons and WCS or exciting newcomers like Karl Towns and Tyler Ulis is Marcus Lee. Lee spent most of his freshman year fighting for playing time as he developed his game but it could be his sophomore year that he breaks out. ESPN agrees and today they named him an under-the-radar sophomore to watch. Here’s what the worldwide leader had to say:
Marcus Lee, forward, Kentucky. Lee showed how effective he could be with his 10-point, eight-rebound performance in just 15 minutes in the Elite Eight game against Michigan. But his toughest competition is arguably the Wildcats’ crowded frontcourt. It’s hard to envision how he’ll get enough playing time to stand out.
Kentucky opponents from Louisville and North Carolina also make the list but I think it’s Marcus Lee who could be the break out star of the list. With Lyle’s summer injury Lee will likely get a lot of playing time in the Bahamas and the early season. Perhaps he can work his way into solid rotation minutes. He certainly looks like he’s been putting on some summer muscle and might be able to hold his own against the physical 4s of the SEC. If he shows up each game like he did against Michigan there’s no way he can stay on the bench.
Relive Marcus’ finest hour with the incredible call by Tom Leach: