(Photo © Kim Klement) For about five minutes, it looked possible. Kentucky came to life →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©10:30 am
Hey, let’s talk about football because that’s not totally depressing. Spring practice starts in eight days, and free tickets are now available for the Spring Game, which is set for Saturday, April 26 at 3:30 p.m.
The season ticket holder presale began this morning at 9 a.m. on Ticketmaster. I don’t know the presale code, but I’m not going to stop you all from sharing it in the comments section. UK students can also start picking their free tickets this morning at the Joe Craft Center ticket office (two tickets per ID).
Remaining tickets will be available to the general public through the same Ticketmaster channels beginning Wednesday, March 19 at 9 a.m. Tickets still available on game day (April 26) may be picked up free of charge at the stadium, based on availability.
Remember, because of construction at Commonwealth Stadium, seating in the south lower and south upper level sidelines will not be available. Capacity for the Spring Game will be approximately 42,500, which means we won’t be able to break last year’s record of 50,831.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:55 am
Good morning, friends. Happy Monday. Today, Matt and Drew return to the studio after nine days on the road before heading to Asheville on the last leg of the Fox Sports road trip. There’s a lot to go over, including Kentucky’s loss to Florida, the women’s team’s crushing loss in the SEC Championship, and whether or not the Cats can make any noise in the postseason.
They’ll also be giving away TWO SEC TOURNAMENT TICKET BOOKS from GuyontheCornerTickets.com, a $600 value. Tune in to hear how you can win and come party with the BBN in Catlanta.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
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By Bryan the Intern on ©9:00 am
#14. (LW: 14) Mississippi State (13-18, 3-15, RPI: 246)
This Week: Lost at Georgia by 21, Lost to South Carolina by 12
-Somebody shoot this season in the head already and put the Bulldogs out of their misery. 14 straight losses.
#13. (LW: 13) South Carolina (12-19, 5-13, RPI: 154)
This Week: Lost to Florida by 26, Won at Mississippi State by 12
-Win in Starkville keeps them out of the cellar for the year. Frank Martin debacle the only highlight.
#12. (LW:12) Auburn (14-15, 6-12, RPI: 159)
This Week: Lost at Tennesse by 28, Beat Texas A&M by 5
-Tempted to move them up but just can’t. Maybe an upset-minded team in Atlanta though.
#11. (LW: 9) Vanderbilt (15-15, 7-11, RPI: 110)
This Week: Lost to LSU by 6, Lost at Ole Miss by 3
-After an impressive stretch in the middle of the year, a complete collapse at the end. Stallings has work to do.
#10. (LW: 9) Texas A&M (17-14, 8-10, RPI: 151)
This Week: Lost at Missouri by 1, Lost to Auburn by 5
-At this point, all the teams suck pretty evenly. But they went 0-2 this week, so they drop.
#9. (LW: 11) Alabama (13-18, 7-11, RPI: 116)
This Week: Lost at Kentucky by 7, Beat Arkansas by 25
-Only move up because the teams ahead of them sucked so hard this week. Still a down year.
#8. (LW: 7) Ole Miss (18-13, 9-9, RPI: 90)
This Week: Lost at Arkansas by 30, Beat Vanderbilt by 3
-Have fun in the NIT Marshall Henderson. We won’t miss you.
#7. (LW: 8) LSU (18-12, 9-9, RPI: 73)
This Week: Won at Vanderbilt by 6, Lost to Georgia by 8
-Much like Arkansas, a complete waste of good enough talent to make the big dance.
#6. (LW: 6) Missouri (19-10, 9-9, RPI: 56)
This Week: Beat Texas A&M by 1, Lost at Tennessee by 27
-Played in Knoxville like their NCAA Tournament lives were not on the line. What we call Haith-ing.
#5. (LW: 4) Arkansas (20-10, 10-8, RPI: 53)
This Week: Beat Ole Miss by 30, Lost at Alabama by 25
-Mike Anderson should have been able to get this team to the NCAA Tournament, not gonna happen
#4. (LW: 3) Georgia (18-12, 12-6, RPI: 70)
This Week: Beat Mississippi State by 21, Won at LSU by 8
-I know Donovan will get COY but Mark Fox did more with less and deserves part of that award
#3. (LW: 2) Kentucky (22-9, 12-6, RPI: 19)
This Week: Beat Alabama by 7, Lost at Florida by 19
-Were #2 every week this season but have to face facts, this team is no longer playing like the 2nd best team in the league
#2. (LW: 5) Tennessee (20-11, 11-7, RPI: 46)
This Week: Won at Auburn by 28, Beat Missouri by 27
-If Florida doesn’t win SEC Tournament, the Vols will. Playing fantastic defense last 2 weeks.
#1. (LW: 1) Florida (29-2, 18-0, RPI: 2)
This Week: Won at South Carolina by 26, Beat Kentucky by 19
-Looking to become winningiest single SEC team with 2 wins in Atlanta
It’s time again for KSR’s Top Tweets of the day. You can participate by using hashtags such as #BBN #KSR #KSRTop10 or just by simply tweeting @KYsportsradio. We will focus most of our attention on Kentucky sports-centric tweets but, as usual, there are no limits to our madness.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 9, 2014
To quote Matt Jones: “Tony Romo wearing Duke gear confirms my hypothesis that he is the worst”.
Tom Crean just pulled a Shooter McGavin, has grabbed Michigan's ladder and taken off through the parking lot…
— LostLettermen.com (@LostLettermen) March 9, 2014
I wonder if he follows Shooter’s breakfast routine too.
#8 Not Jerry Tipton
Congrats to Florida for being the first team to go through the SEC undefeated in 58 years! Not including Kentucky, who's done it 3 times.
— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) March 8, 2014
Chomp on that one, gators.
#7 Oscar Combs
Cats don't care. I'm done! Players overrated. I'm done! This team sucks. I'm done! Coaches can't coach. I'm done! And now, I'm done lying.
— Oscar Combs (@wildcatnews) March 9, 2014
Oscar is more done than an average white girl.
#6 Brad Calipari
Anyone tryin to come over
— Brad Calipari (@The_bcal25) March 8, 2014
When father is away the children will play.
#5 Chris Bailey
— Chris Bailey (@Kentuckyweather) March 8, 2014
See? Every cloud has a silver lining.
#4 Mark Krebs Jr.
Throw me a freakin bone here. pic.twitter.com/NwhZgRvXfF
— Mark Krebs Jr. (@MarkKrebsJr) March 9, 2014
Mark would make an excellent Seth Green replacement. The resemblance is uncanny.
#3 Bryan Juarez
— Bryan Juarez (@B__Juarez) March 8, 2014
Punch up, not down. Right?
#2 Trey Lyles
Team success is more important than individual success!!!
— Trey Lyles (@TreyMambaLyles) March 9, 2014
I already like where the kid’s head is at. Seems kind of weird to see a one-and-done talk like this though, right Rick?
— YELLINGWILDCAT (@YellingWildcat) March 9, 2014
Seems legit. I like Kentucky’s odds in this bracket, but I am worried about the Championship round.
By Ally Tucker on ©10:30 pm
Another classic Julius Randle face (Photo © Kim Klement)
Well, out of all the weekends in Kentucky basketball history– this was certainly one of them (*Drew Franklin voice). Kentucky’s 22-9 regular season puttered across the finish line yesterday with a blow out loss to the #1 ranked Florida Gators on the road. Kentucky suffered its second largest margin of defeat in the John Calipari era, falling to Florida by 19 points. The lofty expectations for this team at the start of the season have quietly disappeared over the past month. When it’s all said and done though, judgment time has finally come. Kentucky will start its post-season bid in the SEC tournament on Friday night against the winner of Alabama and LSU. Talk is cheap at this point, and Kentucky will be in control of how they put the ink on the page to end this story. Let’s take a look at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from the weekend.
1) UK Hoops make it to the SEC tournament championship, falling just short by 1-point to Tennessee
The UK Hoops team came up just short this weekend on a bit of a redemption tour in the women’s SEC tournament. The 12th ranked Cats reached the championship game against Tennessee by virtue of a win over the top seed, and top-5 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks. Kentucky fell just short, dropping a heartbreaker to Tennessee by 1-point. The weekend was successful for Kentucky though, and likely provided just the right kind of momentum Matthew Mitchell’s squad needed heading into the NCAA tournament. Kentucky started the season on a high, beating a number of top ranked teams including Louisville and Baylor. Mitchell’s squad hit a major downward spiral mid-season, but climbed its way back into contention over the past few weeks. This weekend’s deep run in the SEC tournament capped off a major turnaround for a team hoping to capitalize on home court advantage to start the NCAA tournament. Good luck to the Cats as they await their NCAA tournament seeding.
2) Former Cats in the NBA balled out today
A host of former Kentucky Wildcats in the NBA made headlines today/tonight with dazzling performances. Anthony Davis led the way with 32 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 6 blocks. Davis becomes the first player 20 or younger with 30 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocks in a single game since Shaq in 1992-1993.
Jodie Meeks had a career night for the lowly Lakers, pouring in 42 points on 6-11 shooting from behind the arc.
DeMarcus Cousins had an impressive double-double for the Kings, finishing with 28 points and 20 rebounds.
Rajon Rondo may have had the crazy stat line of all, dishing out a stunning 18 assists with ZERO turnovers. Can he come give our Kentucky team a few passing lessons?
3) The 16-0 run
Kentucky found a way to mount a scoring surge– ignited by the best 5 minutes of defense Kentucky has played in a while– that led to a 16-0 run against the #1 team in the country. A 16-0 run against any team is impressive, but especially against a team with as stingy of a defense as Florida’s. Kentucky wasn’t able to sustain the momentum, but the 5 minute stretch gave Kentucky a chance to pull within striking distance. For an offense that has looked awfully shaky lately, it was a brief beacon of light and hopefully something Kentucky can study on tape and take something from…
4) Dakari Johnson’s offense and energy
There weren’t a ton of bright spots in Saturday’s game, but Dakari Johnson provided a few encouraging moments. Johnson’s energy off the bench was inspiring, and no player on the team seems to bring more fire to the court than Johnson these days. Calipari was so impressed by his performance that he admitted after the game that Dakari needs to (and will from now on) be starting. Calipari said he is the only guy out there “having fun.” Dakari has shown a knack for finishing with his back to the basket lately, and gives Kentucky a decent go-to option in the post when the offense has stalled.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. Kentucky wasn’t great on Saturday by any stretch of the imagination, but that Florida team is good. The Gators are firing on all cylinders right now, and have the necessary pieces to make a Final 4 run or more. Florida’s defense is unrelenting. Florida has 3-point shooting threats, and post players who can score in the paint. Florida also has a veteran guard in Scottie Wilbekin who knows how to pull the strings to get his team going. Wilbekin always seems to make the right play when the Gators need it the most. For two games now this season against Kentucky, Wilbekin has been the guy who quieted Kentucky’s run and essentially ended any hopes of an upset bid.
1) The First Half
I don’t think we need to break this down too much. The defense was bad. The offense was nearly non-existent aside from James Young. The effort was hit or miss. The energy was lacking. Overall, it was frustrating.
2) Kentucky’s SEC tournament draw
Well, this could go many ways actually. Some might say Kentucky got a good draw. Some might disagree. Kentucky managed to avoid Tennessee and Florida (two of the hottest teams in the SEC right now), but found itself with a potential first game of the tourney against an LSU team that seems to have Kentucky’s number. There’s no sugar-coating it… LSU is a bad match up for Kentucky. If the theory holds though that it’s really difficult to beat a team 3 times in a row, maybe Kentucky will figure it out this time around.
3) Kentucky’s offense and Kentucky’s free throws
Kentucky’s offense, other than a 5-minute stretch, struggled mightily on Saturday. Granted, some of that was due to Florida’s impressive defense. But Kentucky didn’t look in sync for much of the game. Kentucky had 14 turnovers, but it felt like even more than that. Kentucky was 15-25 from the line for another head-scratching free throw performance.
4) Patrick Patterson’s injury
A big round of well wishes from the Big Blue Nation for Patrick Patterson, who will miss 7-10 days with a sprained right elbow.
1) Kentucky’s shot selection in crucial moments
This wasn’t the first game that Kentucky failed to seize an opportunity by putting together multiple possessions in a row that ended with bad shot selection. The Florida game was no different. When Kentucky pulled within 6, the next few possessions were bad. Really bad. Calipari called the shots “throws,” hardly able to contain his disgust in the post-game interviews. Kentucky forced two early shots in the shot clock that allowed Florida a couple of easy baskets. And by then, a game seemingly within reach, completely got away from the Cats.
2) The psyche… of everyone
I’m not sure where the team’s psyche stands right now. I’m not sure where Big Blue Nation’s psyche stands right now. I’m not sure where my psyche stands right now. There was something very telling in Julius Randle’s post-game quote, “We’ve got to get this thing going. We don’t know what we’ve got to do, but we’ve got to get it going.”
His words had a sense of desperation to them… Like a team that sees the finish line coming way too fast. Time has all but run out for this Kentucky team to “figure it out.” The SEC tournament COULD provide a chance for Kentucky to put together a little run, or to find something within themselves to push for a positive ending to this up and down season. This season has been disappointing for everyone involved. And I mean everyone. I think Cal thought this team was going to be the team to get #9… or at least have a really legitimate shot at doing so. The fans were practically foaming at the mouth when Big Blue Madness rolled around. The players talked about championship dreams. The national media pumped some air into the balloon of expectation as well. Everyone saw this going differently. Whether or not Kentucky was ever going to win a national championship with this group or not, I don’t think anyone saw things going THIS way.
As Aaron Harrison said… this team still has a chance to write a different ending, a good ending, for this story. But can it happen?
(Via Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
As kids, we would call “do over” when something didn’t work out the way we expected. The postseason is hopefully a “do over” for the Kentucky basketball team. Of course, it’ll take more than saying it to make it happen.
A veteran-laden team like Florida exposes Kentucky’s defensive lapses better than most opponents. The best example of that came after the Cats cut a 21-point halftime lead to six with 12 minutes remaining. Scottie Wilbekin swished a dagger of a three-point shot when the Cats misplayed a pick-and-roll situation (a play that was a key element of the scouting report but which UK defenders struggled to execute frequently).
But defense has never been this team’s strong suit at any point this season. However, until the last two-and-a-half weeks of the season, the Wildcats ranked in or just outside the nation’s top 10 in offensive efficiency. So I looked at arguably the best stretch of the season for UK, threes games during the holiday break in which the Cats handled two conference champions and then blew out an SEC foe.
Against Belmont, Louisville (the only ranked team UK has beaten) and Mississippi State, Kentucky averaged 84 points per game and averaged getting 47 points per game in the paint. In those three contests, UK shot 59 percent on attempts inside the three-point line, averaged only 10 turnovers per game and outscored their opponents by an average of nine points a night on second-chance points.
One of the few positives out of the thumping at Florida on Saturday was the offensive performance in the second half. UK shot 54 percent from the field, including 58 percent on two-point shots. They had only three turnovers (with four assists), outscored Florida by five on second-chance points and 28-18 on points-in-the-paint. You’ll notice that those numbers match up quite well with that late December-early January stretch.
Until Julius Randle came alive late in the first half, Kentucky was slogging through yet another sub-30 percent first half of shooting. When you miss as many shots as the Cats have been missing, you look tentative, timid or whatever other word one wants to use.
Kentucky’s best hope for having some fun in March is to keep playing offense the way it did in the second half against the Gators, while hopefully coming to a better understanding of time-and-score situations, to know the difference good shots and bad shots. At least twice after cutting that lead to six and putting some pressure on the Gators, UK players took a shot six seconds into a possession. And there were at least four scoreless possessions when a UK player drew a crowd of defenders, only to force a bad shot rather than finding teammates who were open and should have been visible.
Dakari Johnson’s low post scoring is something to build on, as is getting Randle an opportunity to work in space more often (taking and making a few jumpers would do wonders for him in that area). During that highly-productive stretch we referenced earlier, Alex Poythress averaged nine points per game and it would be nice to see him get back to dunking as many balls as possible (he has only one during this late-season offensive slide).
–listen to Tom each weekday morning at 9:06am eastern on “The Leach Report” radio network
–check out tomleachky.com for more of Tom’s coverage of the Cats and follow Tom on Twitter @tomleachky and @leachreport + via Facebook for “The Leach Report”
By Ally Tucker on ©9:01 pm
With the major conference tournament starting this week and the NCAA tournament just around the corner, the best month in college basketball has begun. With all of the action going on around the country, it can be tough to keep up. Here’s a breakdown of the major conference tournament brackets (with the exception of the Big 10, which still has games in play) as well as the most recent “Bubble Watch” from Joe Lunardi.
By Kory Henry on ©8:30 pm
The Toronto Raptors will be without Patrick Patterson for the next 7-10 days, as the former Wildcat has suffered a sprained right elbow. A Raptors spokesman made the announcement just hours before they tip-off with the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight. Toronto’s coach, Dwane Casey, mentioned that Patterson’s arm had been bothering for a couple of weeks now. He aggravated it again during their 99-87 victory over his former team, the Sacramento Kings. After Patterson agreed to have it evaluated, management decided to give him some time off to let it heal. “Only thing is rest that’s going to heal it and that’s unfortunate for us,” Casey said.
Losing Patterson will hurt the Raptors, as their depth at the forward position simply isn’t there. With the playoff race heating up, the Raptors need to get every win that they can to improve their seed. Since acquiring Pat Pat on Dec. 9th, they have taken off behind his strong play as their 6th man. As a Raptor, Patterson is averaging 9.7 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game, playing about 24 minutes a night. In his absence, Toronto will have to rely on fellow reserve, Tyler Hansbrough, whose averages are barely half of Patterson’s. While Patterson’s stats aren’t the best, his help mainly comes from his defensive tenacity. “We still have guys that we can go to, but Pat just brings a different dynamic from all the other bigs on the team,” says teammate, John Salmons. He gets his teammates working harder, especially the other reserves when they replace the starters. Add on a 44% shooting average from the three-point line, and that makes him a big contributor for Toronto.
We wish you well Patrick, hope to see you back on the court soon!
By Kory Henry on ©7:00 pm
Today, Jodie Meeks woke up feeling it. He knew he had to bring his A-game, as his Los Angeles Lakers were hosting Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jodie lead the Lakers to a 114-110 victory, scoring an amazing 42 points. He made 11 of 18 shots from the field for 61.1 %, and nailed 6 of 11 three point shots for a killer 54.5 %. From the charity stripe, Meeks was perfect, cashing in all 14 of 14 free throw attempts.
It was the most points he had scored in a single game since the historic 54 point-game he put up against Tennessee in 2009. I remember that day all too well, and watching part of his game today reminded me of one of the better days for Kentucky basketball. To round out the game, Meeks also had 4 steals and 2 rebounds. On the year, he is averaging 14.8 points per game, a career high so far.
In the NBA, scoring over 40 points is a huge deal, especially while playing for the LA Lakers. Normally kids yell “Kobe” as they shoot their fade-aways. Tonight, a few of them may be yelling “Jodie” after his stellar performance.
By Wilder Treadway on ©6:26 pm
In a performance for the ages, the 12th ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team fell just short of their first SEC Tournament Championship in 32 years, losing to the 6th ranked Tennessee Volunteers 71-70. “We have a team heading into the NCAA Tournament, and I think we’ve accomplished that. A lot of people thought we were dead in the water but we’re not, we’re ready to roll. I’m glad I’m coaching Kentucky.”
About midway through the second half, after Kentucky had maintained a single-digit lead for the majority of the game…the tides turned. Double technicals were called on the Cats and the Vols TWICE and the refs completely changed not only the momentum, but the entire flow of the game. Here’s what Coach Mitchell had to say about it…
“Changed it a lot. 11 for Tennessee (Cierra Burdick) was starting that activity in the game. If you don’t get control of that, and you have competitive players in the game…it’s not the first time it’s happened with that player. I noticed it early on. It’s a loud arena, it’s a tough game, I guess they didn’t see it. It just boiled over into what it was and now you’re getting into who said what first. It should be stopped in the beginning of that activity, and it was not. I was very disappointed in how that affected the game and I think it could have been stopped. It certainly got Samarie upset and I think DeNesha tried to have composure. That’s not what I want to see in the SEC Championship game.”
Despite the disappointing, gut wrenching loss, the season is young for the Kentucky Wildcats. After a dismantled and disjointed conference season left many scratching their heads about the future of this UK Hoops team, these past three days in Duluth, Georgia were everything we as Cats fans expected to see and more. “I’m proud to coach em, I wouldn’t trade locker rooms right now with anyone in the country. Everyone had us in the coffin and throwin’ dirt on us after we left Gainesville (Cats were 5-5 at the time in the SEC), but now we have a team. It’s a great great feeling to be coaching Kentucky right now. That’s a bunch of players out there who are very upset, very down.
Stallworth had a monstrous game inside against the Tennessee bigs. The senior scored 21 points with five rebounds against one of the most illustrious front-courts in the nation. She, and the rest of the team, were teary eyed following the loss but had a positive outlook on the finish. In the past when the Cats lost in the SEC Championship (so tired of it) UK just laid and egg and did not perform up to par. This year, that was not the case, the team knows they played extremely well and unified, and one single point is all that separates them from happiness.
Up next? The NCAA Tournament. Selection for the Big Dance is not till next Monday, so the Cats have some time to think about this one, digest it, and move on. UK is hosting the first and second rounds in Memorial Coliseum, so that’s a plus, and when asked what seed he expects to get, Mitchell quipped “someone told me they had us at a 4-seed and I think that’s a joke…but it’s not up to me.”
More on the matter tomorrow but I need time to breathe and Hayley and I have to get back home. Peace n’ blessings.
In case you missed it Thursday, an NCAA panel has approved changes to the “targeting” rule. If you remember, almost every bang-bang play like the one above – which resulted in an ejection for UK’s Eric Dixon – was an immediate flag and 15 yard penalty. After throwing the flag, the replay official would review the play and deem whether the player in violation lead with the helmet or not. If the player did lead with his helmet, he would be ejected/disqualified for the next two halves to be played, which in Dixon’s case, was the 2nd half of the Vandy game and first half against Georgia. What confused everyone was the way the rule could be overturned. If the official felt that the play was not in violation of the rule, the player would not be ejected, however, the 15-yard penalty would still stand.
Finally someone in the NCAA committee has come to their senses and realized how stupid that sounds. Now if a “targeting” violation is overturned, the player will remain in the game and there will be no 15-yard penalty. 15-yards could be the difference between a defensive stand or a field goal for the opposing team. Knowing that the NCAA allowed teams to have an extra 15-yards for no reason is crazy. One such instance occurred during the South Carolina vs. UCF game. Gamecock Brison Williams had a good, head up – shoulder first hit on UCF’s Jeff Godfrey. The play resulted in a “targeting” personal foul, giving UCF a free 15-yards, even after the play was overturned upon review. It was almost as if the NCAA was penalizing the defense for a delay of game. At least they fixed it before next season. It really didn’t make any sense at all, but now defenses won’t have to worry about losing field position as long as they remember to not lead with the helmet.
Its a big basketball afternoon for the Cats as the women are locked in a battle with Tennessee (up 5 with 5 to go as I write this) and Jodie Meeks is off to a career game with the Lakers. He has 36 points with four minutes to go in the third quarter. Between Jodie and the UK Hoops team, you should have some basketball joy (finally) this afternoon.
By Kory Henry on ©4:00 pm
Saturday Down South, a site devoted to SEC football, is currently ranking the SEC’s potential instant impact freshmen by ranking them from No. 31 down to No. 1, all month long. Kentucky’s newest face of the program, Drew Barker, made the list at No. 23. Barker is definitely expected to compete for UK’s starting job at quarterback, especially given that he’s been with the team since January. SDS lists Barker as the 119th best high school prospect of this class, which is based on 247sports.com’s rankings. The following is the full rundown for their 23rd potential instant impact newcomer, Drew Barker.
THE SKINNY: Six of the 14 SEC schools wanted Barker, and South Carolina nearly got him. But he decided to stay home and try to build something special at Kentucky, and his presence as a top national QB and top in-state product helped in recruiting. Barker threw for 2,700 yards and 33 touchdowns last fall and rushed for nearly 900 yards and 9 TDs.
WHERE HE’LL MAKE AN IMPACT: Barker was on campus in January and will be a part of spring drills this year, and Maxwell Smith–who has taken a lot of snaps at QB the past few years at Kentucky–is injured and will miss valuable time. The competition seems to be wide open for the QB position, and let’s face it: This is Stoops’ chosen guy. Don’t be surprised if he’s starting this fall.
BARKER TELLS SDS: “At the end of the day I sat down and thought what would it be like if I went to South Carolina and I looked over to UK and they are doing great thinks and I can think, ‘Oh man, I really missed out on that.’ The vibe is just completely different. They’ve upped everything and went to new paths people didn’t think Kentucky football can go to.”
COACH SAYS: “A guy who’s very important to us and this program because he’s one of the best players in the state and we all know how important it is lock down your own state and to start the recruiting within your state.” — Kentucky coach Mark Stoops
Also making the list was Kentucky’s newest defensive lineman, Cory Johnson. Johnson was named the No. 26 newcomer just a few days ago. Why does SDS think he’ll make an immediate impact? “Johnson will be an immediate impact guy, thanks to his explosive “burst” as defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot put it. He’s a big guy with all kinds of athleticism, which is exactly what a defensive coach like Mark Stoops wants.” – Saturday Down South
When the 2013 Kentucky recruiting class was put together, some wondered aloud whether it was the greatest ever assembled in the history of college basketball:
Six 5-star prospects, including the top-rated point guard, shooting guard, power forward and center.
247Sports national basketball recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer says that at least on paper, it very well may have been.
“When I talked about the Kentucky class, my point was that on paper, when you look at the numbers, I don’t think anyone had brought in a class ranked as high as these guys,” Meyer said.
But as we all know, paper doesn’t play, as the Wildcats closed the regular season with an 84-65 loss at top-ranked Florida Saturday, ending the year at 22-9, 12-6 in the SEC.
Following in the footsteps of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, we’ve all seen what freshmen at Kentucky are capable of. That track record, particularly for Big Blue Nation, has skewed the idea and warped the vision of what a typical college freshman is supposed to look like.
That dynamic has definitely exacerbated the gap between expectation and reality but as Meyer points out, not all 5-star prospects are created equal.
“We’re finding out that the 2013 class is not as strong as we thought it was,” Meyer said. “But it’s all relative to the competition.”
Even still, at least individually, this latest bumper crop of Kentucky freshmen have each had their moments but the label of greatest recruiting class ever hasn’t translated to much collective success on the court this season.
For more on the individual seasons of Kentucky’s freshmen, visit CatsPause.com
Tod Lanter just posted this cool photo of the former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. If you remember, she recently visited with Coach Calipari and the UK men’s basketball team. Not sure what kind of device took this picture, but it must have been an oldie. #TooBlurry
You think you don’t know what Condoleezza Rice looks like until she strolls in your locker room… http://t.co/9pSglKEif8
— Tod Lanter (@tod_lanterIII) March 9, 2014