Over the past few weeks, the Cats going to the pros have been circling the →
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©April 26th, 2015 @ 12:30pm
Sources informed LEX 18 that former Kentucky center Mike Phillips has died. The sourced told LEX 18 that Phillips died from an accidental fall on Saturday in is home in Madisonville, Kentucky.
Joe B. Hall, Phillips’ former coach commented on the tragedy.
“Oh, that’s terrible news. He was a pillar of strength. Very hard working. He and Rick Robey were the original Twin Towers.”
Phillips was a key part of the 1978 National Championship team. He averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds during his career at Kentucky.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Phillips’ family and friends.
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©April 26th, 2015 @ 12:00pm
Much respect between these two future NBA MVPs.
Despite the sweep by the Golden State Warriors, there are bright days ahead for Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. Davis scored 36 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots in the 109-98 loss.
However, Davis left his mark on his first NBA playoffs by becoming the first player in 40 years to average more than 30 points and 10 rebounds a game in his first playoff series. The only other players to average to do this in their first four playoff games were Wilt Chamberlain with the 76ers in 1960, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with the Bucks in 1970 and Bob McAdoo with Buffalo in 1974.
Golden State head coach, Steve Kerr, had nothing but praise for the future MVP.
“I said I am really glad not to have to against you anymore (this season),” Kerr said. “He is an amazing player and he causes problems at both ends, all over the floor. Defensively, he was fantastic jumping out on Step (Curry). Not many big guys can do that, really jump out on Steph and bother him on the screen-and-rolls, so we dealt with that the whole series. The guy will be the MVP within the next few years, I think.”
Warriors guard and potential MVP, Stephen Curry, simply describes Davis:
“He’s a bad boy,” Stephen Curry said.
Davis, in his third year in the NBA, needed this playoff experience to improve his game in the off-season. Now that Davis has played in his first playoff series, he will return as fourth-year veteran knowing exactly what to expect. Even though the Pelicans got swept, these games will prove very important to the Pelicans team next season.
“In the NBA playoffs you’ve got to beat a team four times, and that’s very tough to do,” Davis said. “You’re going against guys that know you inside and out, and you’ve got to try to produce every night.”
In conclusion, the Pelicans are going to be just fine as long as Anthony Davis is on their team.
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©April 26th, 2015 @ 11:00am
This post might be a little hard to read for some, I know it was hard to write.
When John Calipari was in Indianapolis on Friday, he told a group of high school basketball coaches that he thought his team would finish the season undefeated and find a way to beat Wisconsin.
“You know, it never entered my mind that we were going to lose,” Calipari told The Associated Press as he walked out of the high school gym. “When we were up four with five minutes to go, I thought it was over. Even when Wisconsin made that run, I thought we’d figure it out. We never, in my time at Kentucky, we just don’t lose that game.”
Calipari opens up about the game and the season in an article from The Associated Press. Reading the article might help in the continuing healing process a lot of you are still encountering.
Good morning KSR fans. Hope you had a fun and exciting Saturday. Now it’s time to relax with me on your Sunday morning. Let’s start with some must read links.
— With the NFL Draft only four days away, Bud Dupree’s name has been mentioned a lot in the past week leading up to the draft. Right now Dupree is projected to go No. 8 overall to the Atlanta Falcons in Mel Kiper’s mock draft. The Falcoholic compares Dupree to the Kansas City Chiefs’ Dontari Poe and states Dupree could be one of the best in the league.
— Sadly the Golden State Warriors completed the sweep on the New Orleans Pelicans and Anthony Davis. Before Davis’ final game this season, he told The New York Times that he plans to develop a three-point shot. Could you imagine if AD could sink 3s? Game over.
— A UAB football player wore his helmet to the graduation ceremony. Derek Slaughter refused to shake the school’s president’s hand as he walked across the stage. The school’s president, Ray Watts, oversaw the decision to get ride of the football program last December.
— Wesley Matthews of Toronto wore an ‘Iron Man’ mask to game three against the Memphis Grizzlies. Matthews has been sidelined with a season ending injury, but they didn’t stop him from sporting the mask. Matthews received the nickname ‘Iron Man’ after playing with injuries.
— This video will make you smile for the rest of the day. Devon Still’s daughter, Leah Still, scored a touchdown in Temple’s spring game on Saturday. The Bengals’ defensive tackle and his daughter were special guests at the Cherry and White game, and even conducted the coin toss.
By Nick Roush on ©April 25th, 2015 @ 10:30pm
The last Saturday in April wasn’t the most eventful in the world of Big Blue News, but something happened that we should all be excited for….THERE’S LESS THAN A WEEK TIL DERBY. While some of y’all might not be as enthused as I, today officially kicks off the best week of the year. This year’s wonderful tradition gets an added bonus with the biggest boxing match of my lifetime concluding May 2nd with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao slugging it out.
One thing you may not know about the the last Saturday in April, is the annual tradition of the Great Balloon Race and Mini-Marathon. While I applaud all of those on my timeline that achieved the wonderful accomplishment of running for a long, long, long, long, long time, the biggest winners are the Kathleen crew. Determined to make the race more enjoyable for the runners, each year they wake up at 3:00 am (I have a 3:19 Snapchat to confirm) to consume beverages before high fiving as many runners as possible as they start their race near Iroquois Park. For the last three years I’ve tried to play my part in aiding the runners, but it’s a task too tall for even the tallest to conquer.
On behalf of the heroes of the half-marathon (and full marathon), thanks Kathleen crew. The race wouldn’t be the same without you.
Now onto the more serious side of news….
Lexington went Nuts for the EYBL
It wasn’t just the coaches recruiting and the crazy fans; Marcus Lee, Tyler Ulis, Alex Poythress and Devin Booker were on hand to enjoy the elite basketball at KBA.
The Cats were there to watch 2016’s Malik Monk do work. Monk was the showstopper of today’s tournament, but unfortunately the highlight game of the night between Monk and Jayson Tatum didn’t produce terrific results. But at the end of the day, the play on the court wasn’t as cool as the play off the court. Even Julius Randle was there. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.
For updates from throughout the day, scroll on down to see all of the good work from Ryan Clark and Bobby Reagan.
Mychal Mulder was on Campus and Could Commit Soon
While there’s no new info on Mulder’s status, everyone expects a decision shortly after the trip. Keep close to KSR tomorrow because we might have to play a game of Yahtzee!
Sorry, wrong sport.
If I didn’t mention the Earthquake in Nepal I’d be a Terrible Person
Like many of you, I woke up this morning with multiple alerts from CNN on the tragic earthquake that shook Nepal near the capital, Kathmandu. The 7.8 magnitude quake has taken the lives of more than 1,800. My remorseful mind was immediately reminded of the CBS report from earlier this week regarding man-made U.S. earthquakes, warning of an impending disaster at home.
Please keep those affected in your prayers.
Upper Deck Didn’t Do Their Research
This Thursday Bud Dupree will become UK’s first First Round Draft Pick since Dwayne Robertson in 2003. Bud’s gonna make a ton of money, but he’s still getting less respect than Rodney Dangerfield.
Bud’s Upper Deck Rookie Card has the image of another #2, Jalen Whitlow.
Bud plays defense and rarely dives into the end zone. In fact, the only touchdown I can recall him having, he wore all-black and chrome helmets as he waltzed into the end zone for the game-winner against South Carolina.
Shame, shame Upper Deck.
The BatCats hold on to take Game 2 against the Gators of Florida
After winning Game 1 of the 3-game weekend series, the BatCats were in control, up 7-3 entering the bottom of the 9th. Then the proverbial ish hit the fan. With two outs and the bases loaded, Florida had a 2-run single, followed by another single that cut the lead to 7-6. With runners on second and third, the Gators went for the squeeze, but Logan Salow got an out to get the Dub.
UK goes for the sweep in the Swamp over the #6 Gators tomorrow at 12:30.
Ohio Valley Wrestling at the Chow Wagon is Amazing
But not as amazing as the time Drew Franklin is having in Vegas. I’d post pictures, but I don’t think any of them are appropriate for the site. Just check his Twitter and Snap Story and I’m sure you’ll stay entertained.
By Ryan Clark on ©April 25th, 2015 @ 9:45pm
Some notes as we continue to watch UK players in the NBA playoffs …
PELICANS UPDATE: Anthony Davis is doing his part to keep the Pelicans in their first round matchup versus Golden State, scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds. Unfortunately, for this season, it may not be enough as New Orleans trails 67-54 at the half. A loss would end their season. Still, the experience and strides the Pelicans have made this year will go far in making them a force in seasons to come.
EYBL UPDATE: Mailk Monk vs. Jayson Tatum became, as the Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts called it, “a free-throw shooting contest.” Monk scored 19 points while Tatum scored 20. Neither shot well from the field (Monk was 3-13 while Tatum was 4-13) but each missed just one free throw, going 25-27 combined. Monk’s Arkansas Wings team beat Tatum and the St. Louis Eagles, 78-69.
Of course, none of this will make any difference. The pair are still two of the highest regarded prospects in the land, and UK would love to have either. Or both. We would always love both.
DEVON/LEAH STILL UPDATE: Remember the Stills? He’s the father, the one who plays for the Bengals as a backup so he can afford medical care for his daughter, who was suffering from cancer? Check this out: She’s in remission, together they helped flip the coin at Temple’s Spring Game, and then she scored a touchdown. You have to see it.
Nick Roush will be by later with a full recap from the day…
Go Big Blue!
By Ryan Clark on ©April 25th, 2015 @ 8:08pm
Big Happy 31st Birthday to Andre Woodson, the former UK quarterback who beat No. 9 Louisville and No. 1 LSU in the same season and won back-to-back bowl games for the Cats.
Andre did a lot while he was a Wildcat, but what he may be most famous for is completely transforming himself into one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC. His 2007 campaign is one of the finest we’ve ever seen. His teams beat the aforementioned top 10 squads, as well as Florida State in the team’s second straight Music City Bowl victory.
Watch a GREAT CSTV story on Woodson talking about his transformation:
Here’s Woodson finding Stevie when he got loose (with the Tom Leach call):
And here’s a bit longer video of highlights from LSU. It’s hard to not watch all of these:
– Julius Randle reportedly showed up tonight in Lexington for the KBA EYBL. How cool is that? Other folks reportedly there included new EKU assistant Michael Bradley, Scott Padgett, Marcus Lee, Alex Poythress, Devin Booker, Willie Cauley Stein, Kenny Payne, Tony Barbee, Richard Pitino, Billy Donovan, and Tom Izzo.
– At the EYBL, the C-J’s Kyle Tucker called the first half of the Mailk Monk (2/9 FG) and Jayson Tatum (1/6) showdown “ragged,” while others say the defense was good, forcing tough shots from the stars. Both players had nine points at the half.
– IU’s Yogi Farell will decide tomorrow whether he’s staying in school or going to the NBA, the Indy Star says. Should he stay, IU could be very good. Should he go? The second round of the draft awaits, and with it no guaranteed roster spot or money.
Go Big Blue!
By Ryan Clark on ©April 25th, 2015 @ 6:28pm
Ben Simmons, Antonio Blakeney and Brandon Sampson to LSU. Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Briscoe and Charles Matthews to the Cats. Mailk Newman to Mississippi State. P.J. Dozier to South Carolina. Tyler Davis, D.J. Hogg and Elijah Thomas to Texas A&M.
That’s 11 of the top 50 players in the country per ESPN, and all are headed to SEC schools. And get this – Florida, a place that traditionally gets its share of McDonald’s All-Americans – isn’t one of those schools.
It’s no secret that in 2013 SEC commish Mike Slive told his athletic directors he wanted to upgrade the conference’s basketball image.
Yes, Florida and UK have made undefeated runs through the league in the past two years, but look for that upgrade in talent to start next season. In the 247 Sports Top Basketball rankings for 2015, Kentucky still holds the No. 1 ranking, followed by LSU. Texas A&M is sixth, while Auburn is No. 16 and (there you have them) Florida is No. 17.
And this is really just the beginning.
Why? New coaches provide another upgrade, which will equal even more talent. You’re already seeing what Bruce Pearl can do at Auburn – one season translated to a top 20 recruiting class. Frank Martin landed a top 20 talent for the Gamecocks. Be prepared for Tennessee to make a similar leap. New coach Rick Barnes, after 16 seasons at Texas, has never been accused of being the best X’s and O’s coach in the world, but he always gets talent – and the thinking here is he will continue to do so in Knoxville.
Avery Johnson may not have a ton of college credibility, but he will play his NBA experience to the tilt trying to keep those talented Alabama players at home. And he will gets his share – but can he win? It’ll be interesting to watch. And Ben Howland (really? Ben Howland?) has already made his mark in landing Newman.
Along with Calipari, and (I will ask the question here) if Billy Donovan stays in Gainesville, the SEC has some of its most recognized coaches in years. Both Howland and Barnes have made the Final Four, and Pearl knocked on the door with the Vols. On paper, these names are big upgrades, the wildcard being Johnson.
All of this has to make the conference even more attractive to elite recruits, so many of whom come from the South. Get ready for more ballers, SEC fans. And it all starts with more high-profile coaches.
In minutes, the hottest matchup of the KBA EYBL will start, especially as far as Kentucky is concerned – Jayson Tatum vs. Malik Monk. They tip at 6:30 p.m. and it’s safe to say a large contingent of recruiters – with UK leading the way – will be there to watch.
We’ll let you know what happens.
And in other recruiting news, Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader is saying Kentucky is already recruiting top 3 2017 player Troy Brown. Remember that name.
For now, here’s more on Malik Monk’s performance earlier in the day from The Courier-Journal:
— C-J Sports staff (@sports_cj) April 25, 2015
By Spencer Howle on ©April 25th, 2015 @ 6:00pm
The No. 5 Florida Gators (32-11, 12-7) were blanked for the first time this season as Kentucky (24-16, 9-9) opened the three-game series in Gainesville with a 3-0 victory. The pitching staff, led by Zack Brown, was superb in game one, but the Cats can now solidify themselves as a serious threat in game two.
Today’s game is set for a 7 p.m. first pitch at McKethan Stadium and here is everything you need to know about the matchup:
- UK came into the weekend ranked fourth in the SEC Eastern Division standings and 3.5 games back from first place. With a 9-9 overall conference record and a 4-3 division record, the Cats are still in fourth place after knocking off Florida. However, with the the top four teams in the East all playing each this weekend, UK can improve its standing with another win or two (no easy task).
- Offensively, Kentucky and Florida have an identical .301 team batting average, which is near the top of the SEC team statistical rankings. The Gators boast much more power with 44 home runs on the season, while the Cats have just 19. Both teams have given up their fair share of homers, as Florida and Kentucky rank 13th and 14th, respectively, in the SEC with 32 and 37 home runs allowed.
- Defensively, the two teams are polar opposites. Florida ranks first in the SEC with a .985 fielding percentage and just 25 errors, while Kentucky ranks next to last with a .965 percentage and 56 errors.
- The game features some of the top sluggers in the SEC. UK’s Ka’ai Tom and Kyle Barrett and Florida’s Josh Tobias all rank in the top 10 in the conference in batting average, hitting .383, .368, and .359, respectively. In the RBI category, Tom (44) is joined by Gators JJ Shwarz (47) and Harrison Bader (43) in the top three of the SEC.
- The tentative pitching matchup should be pretty even. UK will send junior righty Dustin Beggs to the mound, while Florida will start sophomore righty Dane Dunning. On the season, Beggs has a 5-2 record and a 2.78 ERA opposed to Dunning who is 4-1 with a 3.02 ERA.
- You can catch all the action on SEC Network+, available via WatchESPN. Should be a good one so tune in.
By Matt Jones on ©April 25th, 2015 @ 5:05pm
I will freely admit. I didn’t know that Upper Deck even still made cards. But they do and since they do, one would think they would do it well. Not this time. The Upper Deck NFL Draft card for Bud Dupree is actually Jalen Whitlow. As you can see, the card shows a player diving for the end zone (which maybe should have been a clue for Upper Deck since Dupree is a Defensive player and likely has dove with the ball only a couple of times ever) and the player is wearing #8. Everyone knows that Dupree was #2 with the Big Blue and the player shown is Jalen Whitlow. Dupree himself noticed the mistake and tweeted it out, likely slightly miffed. Getting a chance to see yourself on a card is pretty awesome…unless the player that is presumably you is actually someone altogether different.
I had the same reaction when my first Kentucky radio card showed a picture of Dick Gabriel.
UPDATE: A couple of you have pointed out that it may be #2 on the card as well, as Whitlow also wore #2. That makes sense and would help explain (a little) the Upper Deck goof. But it is still a goof.
By Ryan Clark on ©April 25th, 2015 @ 4:36pm
— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KATis32) April 25, 2015
And another tidbit for your Saturday afternoon:
Paul Coro says the Suns believe in a “bright future” for Eric Bledsoe, who knows where he needs to improve. http://bit.ly/1ORHMHF
More from the EYBL later this afternoon!
Go Big Blue!
By Bobby Reagan on ©April 25th, 2015 @ 3:00pm
As stated earlier, the EYBL event at KBA is the place to be this weekend if you want to watch some hoops. We know Calipari and staff are there as well as Tom Izzo, Billy Donovan and Roy Williams among other coaches. Joining the coaches are some former (still hurts saying that) Cats catching the action:
— Bradley McKee (@Bradley_Cn2) April 25, 2015
Cauley-Stein wasn’t just a spectator last night as he turned into Coach WCS:
— Regina Lexi Rickert (@acrphoto) April 25, 2015
Please stay away from his car, ladies:
Devin Booker back at KBA, watching Family, E1T1 game
— Steve Jones (@SteveJones_CJ) April 25, 2015
Someone’s gotta convince Harry Giles that Kentucky is a better state than North Carolina, right?
Big crowd, LOTTA future NBA big guys in this one. No. 1 in 2016 Harry Giles (6-10) vs. three 5-star bigs. pic.twitter.com/qJcgCVuRas
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) April 25, 2015
Tatum bounces back from a slow start, but falls in OT according to Chris Fisher:
Jayson Tatum hit 11 of 17 shots and finished with 25 points in a 70-69 loss to Alabama Challenge.
— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) April 25, 2015
Keep an eye on this name, BBN:
UK assistant Kenny Payne also has an eye on Miles Bridges, who said recently he thinks he's close to an offer from the Cats.
— Ben Roberts (@NextCats) April 25, 2015
Not sure Coach Cal ever sleeps. Also, Azubuike is no relation to Kelenna:
John Calipari in the stands for this game between Harry Giles and Udoka Azubuike. Coaches area is pretty crowded.
— Ben Roberts (@NextCats) April 25, 2015
Just a reminder if you want to go catch any games this weekend, they are only allowing 300 fans in at a time. It will be a one-in, one-out type of deal, so get there early and be prepared to wait in line.
By Bobby Reagan on ©April 25th, 2015 @ 2:00pm
We’ve been talking a lot about the Nike EYBL event taking place at the KBA this weekend. Well, this morning it seems like we found a star in Malik Monk. The Courier-Journal’s Kyle Tucker was there and calls Monk the most exciting player in the class of 2016, with Calipari and Kenny Payne glued to watching him score 39 points this morning.
There cannot be a more exciting player in the 2016 class than Monk. Does it all. Calipari and Payne glued to this game.
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) April 25, 2015
Monk is an explosive scorer and seemingly has range from anywhere inside the gym. He shot 6-for-8 from behind the line while also showing off his athleticism by finishing at the rim in a variety of ways.
Malik Monk just finished off a ridiculous reverse bank shot layup between defenders. Next possession: Corner three. UK coaches watching.
— Ben Roberts (@NextCats) April 25, 2015
Monk is high on Kentucky’s list as evidence of Calipari leaving Indianapolis this morning just to get back to Lexington to see him in person. Monk’s brother played basketball and football at Arkansas, which many people believe will be the only other school in contention to land Monk.
My old pal Tom Izzo hanging with Calipari for Malik Monk's game here in Lex. Cal was in Indy two hours ago. That's … not possible.
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) April 25, 2015
Jayson Tatum is taking the floor around 12:30, which we’re sure Calipari and crew will be watching. More importantly the biggest game of the day comes at 6:30 when Tatum squares off against Monk. If you want to follow along, Chris Fisher is providing live updates on the 247Sports site which can check out right here.
John Calipari and Kenny Payne finishing out this OT game with Jayson Tatum. … Harry Giles vs. Udoka Azubuike is next.
— Ben Roberts (@NextCats) April 25, 2015
It’s been a somewhat quiet day for Tatum in front of Calipari so far. He might be holding off for tonight’s big game against Monk.
Kyle Tucker at the Courier-Journal also has a great piece breaking down who Kentucky will be watching this weekend.
Stay tuned for more from the EYBL event right here on KSR.
By Bobby Reagan on ©April 25th, 2015 @ 1:00pm
The Rivals Quarterback Challenge presented by Under Armour stopped in Cincinnati today and future Kentucky quarterback Gunnar Hoak competed in the event. The quarterbacks competing in the event will be asked to demonstrate their skills in accuracy, velocity, ability to throw on the run and downfield vision.
The Rivals Camp Series takes place in four cities, with the winners advancing to the finals in Baltimore during the Rivals 100 Five-Star Challenge from June 5-7.
It’s safe to say Kentucky should be just fine at the quarterback position in the future.
— Woody Wommack (@RivalsWoody) April 25, 2015
By Bobby Reagan on ©April 25th, 2015 @ 12:00pm
New player page: SG Mychal Mulder could be the next Wildcat. He'll be in town this weekend. (Bio info, video, etc) http://t.co/mXkd2yeuVD
— Ben Roberts (@NextCats) April 24, 2015
With Malik Newman signing with Mississippi State, all eyes are on junior college transfer Mychal Mulder, who is visiting Kentucky this weekend. Mulder, is a 6’4″ guard from Vincennes University and would provide Kentucky the wing scoring that the Wildcats are used to having.
Larry Vaught talked to Mulder’s coach at Vincennes, who said he expects the recruiting of Mulder to come to a head very quickly and doesn’t expect it to go on for long. Mulder, who was barely recruited coming out of Ontario in high school turned into an All-American at the junior college level.
This past season Mulder shot 44 percent from deep, something that will be much needed with the loss of Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker. Other schools recruiting Mulder includes Creighton, Wichita State, Minnesota, Indiana and Louisville.
Come on down, Mychal. Lexington is wonderful year round.