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July 27th, 2015

Bill Murray rocks out to Kentucky native Chris Stapleton

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Rare is the moment when my Nashville and Kentucky worlds intersect, but this video going around Music City has a Bluegrass connection. This morning, country/folk/rock musician and Kentucky native Chris Stapleton posted this video of Bill Murray rocking out and singing along to his song “Fire Away” at his June 12 concert in South Carolina:

#billmurraymonday

Posted by Chris Stapleton on Monday, July 27, 2015

The always cool Murray is a cult hero these days, especially among the hipster sect (I’ve seen at least three cars with Bill Murray bumper stickers in my neighborhood lately), so seeing him geek out over music is kind of awesome. Especially when that music is made by a Kentuckian. (Chris was born in Lexington, but raised in Paintsville.)

Here’s the performance that got Murray rolling:


8 Leftovers from the UK Football Women’s Clinic

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It’s been a football-heavy few days on the site, but after Matt, Drew, and I all got to be around the coaches and players at different functions this weekend, can you blame us? The excitement around the program is contagious right now, and forty days away from the opener, the start of the season is finally in sight.

I already gave you some quick hitters from the Women’s Clinic on Saturday, but here are some notes that are still floating around my head…

DJ Eliot is now an entertainer

When he first arrived at Kentucky, Eliot came off as kind of a shy guy who didn’t seem very comfortable talking in front of big groups. What a difference two years makes. We’ve noticed how good Eliot has been on KSR in various guest hosting duties, and he was a total ham at the Women’s Clinic, keeping the women laughing and engaged the entire time. He also had the second best line of the day when he said “God gave us 10 rules, the NCAA gave us 500 pages.” (The best line goes to Chad Scott, who said “Ladies, we’re going bowling,” and dropped the mic.)

He’ll be here all season, folks.

Shannon Dawson has never run the Wildcat offense

The South Carolina win was a popular topic at the clinic, and when a fan asked if we can expect to see the Wildcat package with JoJo more this season, Shannon Dawson admitted he’s never run the Wildcat before.

“I’ve never ran the Wildcat, don’t know much about it to be honest with you,” Dawson said to the crowd’s panicked disbelief. “It’s not something I’m against running, I just don’t know much about it. I’ll do anything for a first down.”

There you go. Much better. Cheers all around.

Fullback Will Thomas Collins’ nickname is “Taco Meat”

Vince Marrow said a little bit about each of the tight ends and fullbacks he coaches, and shared the story behind junior fullback Will Collins’ nickname, “Taco Meat.” At last year’s Bourbon and Cigars event, Collins’ uncle came up to Marrow and told him how Will ate an entire fridge full of ground beef, like several pounds, in one day, ruining his uncle’s plans to make spaghetti sauce. Hence, he is now “Taco Meat.”

Marrow says he’s expecting big things from Taco Meat, along with defensive tackle Jacob Hyde, who will moonlight as fullback at times this season. “Wait ’til you see this joker line up in the back field at fullback,” Marrow laughed. “6’2″ 330 lbs. and he clears guys out.”

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Walking out onto the field for the first time will take your breath away

We’ve all seen the new press box and suite levels in pictures, but seeing them in person for the first time is remarkable. We got to go through the players’ old tunnel onto the field and the transformation is stunning, the new press box towering over the field in imposing fashion. The structure gives Commonwealth a much more intimidating feel, especially since it faces the visitor’s sideline. Commonwealth Stadium has never been a very striking stadium, but this is a striking feature that finally puts it it on the same level as other stadiums in the SEC. The structure’s height and side panels will also help keep crowd noise inside, so hopefully we’ll not only see a difference this fall, we’ll hear it too.

Rene Cornette’s got speed

I was looking at the videos on my phone this afternoon and noticed Rene Cornette — of “Succeed and Proceed” fame — blazing by in this drill:

While the rest of the ladies jogged by, Rene was out there trying to get a scholarship. 

Chantel Stoops says LSU fans threw beer and spat on her and fellow coaches’ wives

A fan asked which program’s fans are the most hostile to the wives and families when they travel, and although Chantel Stoops said she and her fellow wives haven’t encountered any bad behavior from opposing fans during their time at UK, when her husband was an assistant at another school, LSU fans threw beer on them, spit on them, and screamed obscenities at them throughout the game. Chantel didn’t say which school Mark was working for at the time, but considering she said they got clobbered by the Tigers, I’m going to guess it was Arizona, who lost to LSU 45-3 in Baton Rouge in 2006, when Stoops served as the Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Backs coach. Stay classy, Tiger fans.

Matt Elam is a frequent guest at the Stoops’ house

On Friday, Mark Stoops told a story about how he and Matt Elam hung out until 1:30 a.m. one night watching an MMA fight, and when asked for additional anecdotes about players hanging out at the Stoops’ house, Chantel Stoops said Matt Elam comes over pretty often to hang out in the pool with them and the kids. “He just gets a little lonely,” Chantel said. “We’re always very open to that.”

This video is my favorite from the event

Rene’s sprint was great, but this tackle by Beth is a classic:

Can someone make sure all the linebackers see this?

Coming up on Wednesday: An in-depth feature on Erik Korem and the new training facility. I got to speak to Korem at the Clinic and was blown away by what he had to say about the facility and the impact his high-performance program is having on the players. Stay tuned…


Where Are They Now: Dermontti Dawson

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

The Lexington native graduated from Bryan Station High School and was all-state athlete in both track & field athlete (discuss and shot put) and football. Dermontti Dawson decided to stay home and accepted a scholarship from the University of Kentucky.

Dawson played center and guard at Kentucky from 1984-87 under Coach Jerry Claiborne. In his first year at Kentucky, Dawson was a member of the 1984 Kentucky squad that went 9-3, including a win over Wisconsin in the Hall of Fame Bowl. Dawson was selected to the All-Southeastern Conference second team as a senior. During his time as a Wildcat, Dawson blocked for three top rushers in Kentucky history- Mark Higgs, George Adams and Marc Logan. Dawson graduated from the College of Education at the University of Kentucky in 1987.

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Dawson in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft. Dawson played his entire 13 seasons in the NFL for the Steelers (1988-2000). Dawson became the starting center in 1989 and played in 170 consecutive games before an injury sidelined him in 1999, which ranks second in Steelers history. During his career as a Steeler, Pittsburgh led the NFL in rushing twice in 1994 and 1997.

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Dawson played in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1993-99) and was named first-team All-Pro for six straight years (1993-98). Dawson was named Co-AFC Offensive Lineman of Year by the NFL Players Association in 1993 and NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1996. Dawson was also named to the NFL’s Team of the Decade for the 1990s. Dawson started in three AFC Championship games and in Super Bowl XXX against the Dallas Cowboys in 1996. Dawson retired as a Pittsburgh Steeler in 2000.

Following his retirement, Dawson returned to Lexington and served on the UK Board of Trustees and the UK Athletics Board. Dawson has also put on multiple football camps for youths at Robert Morris University.

Dawson became the 45th player or coach to have his jersey retired at Kentucky. The number 57 jersey was retired on Sept. 1 in the 2001 season opening game against Louisville.

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Dawson was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012 in a class that included Curtis Martin, Cortez Kennedy, Chris Doleman, Willie Roaf and Jack Butler. Dawson chose his former high school football coach , Steve Parker, to serve as his presenter at his induction. Dawson became the third Hall of Famer born in Kentucky, and second from the University of Kentucky.

“It’s usually receivers, quarterbacks, all the skill guys that get the most visibility. The only time you hear our names is if we get a holding call. You really have to do something special, and hopefully I did something special enough to deserve this honor.”

Dawson also tried a little bit of coaching. Dawson served as an intern in the Steelers scouting departing in 2009 and as a intern coach with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010. The Hall of Famer currently resides in San Diego working as the Executive VP Sales of Prime Time West, Inc., a promotional products company.

 

Steelers.com posted an article last week on Dawson and how he redefined the center position. It is definitely a must read.


 

 


ESPN Insider: “Kentucky will dominate the NBA more than UCLA ever did”

Bradford Doolittle (what a name) over at ESPN crunched some numbers and determined the UK alums in the NBA will dominate the game more than any one school before them, UCLA included. Doolittle took the win shares of the current Cats in the league and found that their production is not only the best in the game today, they’re among the best of all time, and only growing stronger.

Kentucky’s win share totals the past two NBA seasons rank in the top 11 in league history. Next season projects even higher and will likely surpass UCLA’s record of 71.3 in 1976-77. Doolittle projects an absurd 90.3 from the Wildcats in 2015-16.

“Given that the influx of Kentucky players isn’t likely to stop anytime soon, and so many of the ones already in the NBA are on the upswing, it’s safe to say that the Wildcats have embarked on a domination of the league that might not rival the UCLA dynasty in duration, but it certainly will in quality. This is historical stuff,” he writes.

Read the entire article here on ESPN Insider.

Click here if you don’t understand win shares.


An Opposing Coach’s Scouting Report on Isaiah Briscoe

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With the way John Calipari recruits at Kentucky there seems to always be one big recruit who becomes overlooked because of the other names joining him in Lexington. This year it very well could be Isaiah Briscoe who was a McDonald’s All-American but seems to have been forgotten about because of the signings of Jamal Murray and Skal Labissiere.

So, what do we know about Briscoe outside the fact he’s from New Jersey and is a heckuva talent. I caught up over the weekend with a local high school basketball coach from New Jersey who coached against Briscoe the last couple of years.

I asked him for a scouting report as an opposing coach on Briscoe’s game. The following is his response:

“He wants to be the man. All the time. As an opposing coach you don’t want the ball in his hands, especially in full court and you need to be physical with him. He likes making hard shots to be the man so try to stop him 12-15 feet out and don’t let him throw the lob to the rim. Make him shoot the runner instead. While he can get cocky and frustrated at times, he thrives off the attention. Most importantly, he controls the game offensively.”

The two biggest parts I took away from his scouting report was how he excels at throwing the lob to the rim and how he wants to be the man all the time. Both of those things will make him great at Kentucky. Obviously, we know how much Calipari loves to throw the lob and having another guard able to make that pass will make life easy for Marcus Lee, Alex Poythress and Skal.

Sure, some people might see wanting to be the man as a negative, but when playing basketball at Kentucky you need to have that mindset. You need to want to show up other fans and not be afraid of the moment. It also tells me that when Kentucky needs to get a bucket late in the game, look for Briscoe to get the ball in his hands. He wants to be in the moment, which every team needs to have.

@uklefty22


2017 QB commits to Kentucky

Mark Stoops picked up his first commitment in the 2017 class today when Mac Jones, a three-star quarterback from Jacksonville, announced he will be a Wildcat.

Jones is the No. 20 pro-style quarterback in the 247 Composite Rankings.

Yahtzee.


Full details on the Rupp Arena upgrades

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By now you’ve probably heard the Lexington Center Corporation Board of Directors unanimously approved $15 million in technology upgrades this morning, but do you know the specifics? If not, take a second to read the entire press release to learn the details.

*****

Rupp Arena will receive a $15 million dollar technology overhaul that includes a new center-hung video, audio and scoreboard array, wireless internet for fans and patrons and major roof structure improvements so the arena can attract more concerts and major events, it was announced today by Bill Owen, Lexington Center CEO and President.

The Lexington Center Corporation Board of Directors voted unanimously in favor at its monthly meeting on July 27 to approve the technology improvement plan. The upgrades will be rolled out over an 18 month period beginning immediately and executed in phases so arena programming will face no interruptions. The board of directors authorized installation of LED ribbon boards on the upper arena fascia at its May meeting at a cost of $800,000 provided by Rupp’s media partner, Learfield Sports. The ribbon board will be installed and functional for the upcoming UK basketball season. The press box on the east side upper arena to match the one on the west side and authorized at the May board meeting will be installed following the 2015-16 UK season.

Other improvements will include the installation of new venue video production equipment bringing the venue video system to an HD level and replacing the four corner LED screens with HD state of the art screens in a 16X9 aspect ratio. This will be completed during December between UK games so fans will experience the upgrades as they occur. The LED courtside scorer’s table display will be replaced some time during the upcoming season.

Other improvements scheduled over the next 12 months include replacing the video display in the Rupp Arena lobby and the exterior LED Marquis signs that hang on the Hyatt Regency hotel at Broadway and W. Vine and Broadway and High St.

The center-hung audio/video scoreboard will be installed during the summer of 2016 and completed in time for the 2016-17 UK Men’s basketball season. Upgraded Wi-Fi will also be installed before the 2016-17 season as well as improvements to the roof’s steel support structure. Upgrades to the roof structure are needed as concerts and other productions have increasingly gotten larger and heavier. In order to continue to attract major concert and family show productions it is necessary to increase the show load capacity for hanging production equipment.

Additionally, the sports lighting used for basketball games will be replaced with LED fixtures which are far more energy efficient. Also, the HVAC ducts and structural support towers, currently red in color, will be cleaned and repainted a different color.

The $15 million improvements will be financed through the sale of Lexington Center bonds which will be conducted in early 2016. The bonds will not require guarantee of Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.

*****

NO MORE RED HVAC DUCTS!!!!!


Jamal Murray moves up 2016 mock draft

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After blowing up with Team Canada in last week’s Pan Am Games, Murray moved up DraftExpress.com’s 2016 mock draft board. Jonathon Givony updated the projections over the weekend and Murray climbed to No. 6 from No. 16.

Skal Labissiere is still the projected No. 1 overall pick, according to Draft Express.

Here are all of the Cats:

1. Skal Labissiere
6. Jamal Murray
19. Isaiah Briscoe
30. Marcus Lee
57. Alex Poythress

[DraftExpress.com]

Watch Murray’s Pan Am highlights from UKBasketballLive.com:


UK Fans of the Day in Tokyo Want Monday Afternoon Notes

@maycevinson

@maycevinson

Say hello to these Cats fans in front of the Amida Buddha in Kōtoku-in temple. Now read these afternoon notes…

— This morning the Lexington Center Corp board voted unanimously to approve $15 million in technology upgrades to Rupp Arena. The first of those upgrades will be the new ribbon boards around the second tier, which will be installed in time for the upcoming season. The new center-hung scoreboard and arena-wide WiFi won’t be in until the 2016-17 season, according to the Herald-Leader. That means we’ll get one more run with Big Bertha hanging over midcourt.

— Evan Daniels of Malone’s and Scout.com fame chatted with Harry Giles following Giles’ busy run through July basketball and Kentucky was among the topics of discussion. Giles told Daniels, “Coach Calipari, he has a new staff, but I’m cool with all of them too, just like I was with the other ones. He’s a great dude. He wants the best for you. He has that one goal for you to help you be the best player you can be. He’s trying to get you there.”

The No. 1 player in Scout’s 2016 rankings, Giles plans to visit his top schools in September and make his decision before beginning his senior season of high school basketball. He insists Jayson Tatum’s commitment to Duke will not keep him from making the best decision for himself.

Read the entire interview here.

— Get the dice ready for another Yahtzee Wednesday night. UK is in very good position to land Kobe Smith, the three-star defensive tackle out of Georgia. He is also considering Miami and N.C. State, a school he committed to in May before decommitting while on Kentucky’s campus earlier this month.

— Check out this aerial look at the New CWS:

Can’t. Wait.

Vote for UK’s Kendra Harrison to win the Bowerman Trophy. Harrison is the first Bowerman finalist in UK Track & Field history. She has two NCAA individual championships and 15 All-American selections. She’s also the third-fastest collegian ever in the 100M and 400M hurdles. Vote here.

“These contracts, there’s signatures all over them.” The highlight of last night’s True Detective. Don’t all contracts have signatures on them? Good episode though. It’s all finally coming together.

— My good friend and future Masters champion Kent Bulle tees off in the Kentucky Open tomorrow morning with former KSR writer Aaron Flener on the bag. I will be the third member of the team, serving as the hype man from outside the ropes. We expect a strong three days at Keene Trace in Lexington and an afterparty with the trophy Thursday night. Vamanos El Toro!

— Former UK football star Terry Samuels, now an Allstate agent in Louisville, will donate 200 backpacks full of school supplies to kids in the community. Samuels singlehandedly purchased the backpacks and essential school supplies to fill them. He said if it weren’t for people stepping up to provide for him when he was a child, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

The giveaway will be held at Samuels’ agency, 6501 Shepherdsville Road, Suite 119, this Saturday from August 1 from 9:00 am -1:00 pm. For more information or to offer donations in contribution of this event, you can contact Samuel or his staff at 502-805-1525.


This new video will get you hyped up for football season

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Kentucky Wildcats TV unveiled a new video at last Friday’s UK Football Luncheon at the Hyatt in Lexington. With highlights from last season and shots from inside the new stadium, it will get you hype as we count down till opening kickoff 2015.

40 days…

 


Kobe Smith to announce Wednesday night

Kentucky is in great position to land a commitment from Kobe Smith when he announces his decision Wednesday night. The three-star defensive tackle decommitted from N.C. State while in Lexington earlier this month, but named the Wolfpack in his three final schools, along with Miami.

Considering a re-commitment to N.C. State is very unlikely, it comes down to UK and the U in the end. We’re hearing very good things about Mark Stoops’ chances in landing the massive defensive lineman out of Georgia.

At 6-foot -4, 300 pounds, Smith is the No. 44 defensive tackle in the 247Sports’ Composite Rankings.

Can we get a Yahtzee?


Board approves new Rupp Arena upgrades

@paulmhooper

@paulmhooper

Good news! The Lexington Center Corp. board approved upgrades to Rupp Arena in a meeting this morning, including a brand new center-hung scoreboard. It’s a two-year upgrade plan at an estimated $15 million, according to the Herald-Leader.

The plan also includes Wi-Fi, additional video screens and ribbon boards around the second tier of the arena. The new screens will provide more advertising opportunities to increase revenue that will eventually cover the installation costs.

RIP Big Bertha.


Kobi Simmons named his top six schools last night

While you and I were watching True Detective last night, Kobi Simmons was busy announcing his top six schools. The five-star combo guard is now down to Kentucky, Arizona, Georgia, Xavier, North Carolina and Ohio State, he announced on Instagram:

My Top 6 😼! Blessed 🙏🏼

A photo posted by Kobi Simmons (@kobi_simmons2) on

Following the new list’s release, Jerry Meyer at 247 changed his pick from UK to Ohio State. UK has long been the presumed favorite, so it’s interesting to see Meyer’s Sunday night flip. Throw that in with Calipari spending a lot more time around Dennis Smith Jr. and maybe Simmons isn’t the lock we once believed.


KSR is at Gatti’s in Campbellsville (Monday Show Thread)

KSR listeners in the Campbellsville area, get out to Gatti’s Pizza on Broadway for a live broadcast of this morning’s show. Matt and Ryan are in town for two hours of Kentucky Sports Radio radio and they’d love to have you out while they talk about Jamal Murray, Saturday night with Mark Stoops and much more.

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

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

Here’s an updated list of tour stops:

July 27: Campbellsville – Gatti’s Pizza
July 28: Owensboro – Don Moore GM Center
July 29: Benton – Kennedy’s Fan Shop
July 30: Paducah – Buffalo Wild Wings and IMAC Regeneration of Paducah
July 31: Fancy Farm

August 3: Bowling Green – Chaney’s Dairy Barn
August 4: McKee – Old Courthouse Community Room
August 5: Glasgow – Papa John’s
August 6: Jamestown – Lawless-Smith True Value and Appliance Center (Russell Springs)
August 7: Monticello – Conley Bottom Resort

August 10: Frankfort – Governor’s Mansion
August 11: Maysville – Laurel Oaks Golf Course
August 12: Danville – Sun Tropic Outdoors
August 13: Lexington – All Sports at Fayette Mall
August 14: Louisville

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GuyOnTheCornerTickets.com is giving away UK basketball and football tickets at every tour stop this summer. That’s 33 chances to win, and all you have to do is come out to listen to your favorite radio show. That’s so easy even Ryan Lemond could do it!


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Has UK Worn Out Opponents Under Stoops?

"I'm coming for you Nicky!" (Garry Jones / AP)

Mark Stoops being a defensive guy, I am sure he would say that he wants UK to punish opponents.  He wants to wear the other team down.  And while the scoreboard is the ultimate indicator of that, there is also another stat you can look at to see just how difficult it is to play a team.  I went through the schedules of the first 2 years and charted how each opponent did in the week following playing UK.  Teams that had a bye week were not counted.  Admittedly, some of this is schedule-based but a lot of it is not.

We want teams to have to lick their wounds after playing UK.  And if teams are not able to recover it a good indicator of that.  You will see improvement from year 1 to year 2 for Mark Stoops but not nearly the record I think we’d like to see.  I expect to see an even better showing in this statistic this year:

2014
UT-Martin: Lost at Central Arkansas 26-24
Ohio: Lost at Marshall 44-14
Florida: Lost at Alabama 42-21
Vanderbilt: Lost at Georgia 44-17
South Carolina: Won vs Furman 41-10
UL-Monroe: BYE WEEK
LSU: Won vs. Ole Miss 10-7
Mississippi St: Won vs Arkansas 17-10
Missouri: Won at Texas A&M 34-27
Georgia: Won vs. Auburn 34-7
Tennessee: Lost vs. Missouri 29-21
Louisville: END OF SEASON

*Opponents were 5-5 in the week following UK game and 3-7 against the spread.

2013
Western Kentucky: Lost at Tennessee 52-20
Miami (OH): BYE WEEK
Louisville: Won vs. FIU 72-0
Florida: Won vs. Arkansas 30-10
South Carolina: Won at Arkansas 52-7
Alabama: Won vs. Arkansas 52-0
Mississippi St: Lost at South Carolina 34-16
Alabama St: Lost vs. Southern 31-28
Missouri: BYE WEEK
Vanderbilt: Won at Tennessee 14-10
Georgia: Won at Georgia Tech 41-34
Tennessee: END OF SEASON

*Opponents were 6-3 in the week following UK game and 5-4 against the spread.