By Nick Roush on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Before Kentucky closes Kroger Field for the season against Middle Tennessee State, enjoy a few Friday afternoon football recruiting nuggets.
Wandale — At the top of UK’s recruiting guest list is the Cats’ top recruit in the 2019 class. Derrick Terry reports that Wandale Robinson will make the short drive from Frankfort to watch Kentucky take on Middle Tennessee State. It will be the last time Robinson isn’t wearing a uniform at Kroger Field.
An Offer to a Commit? Nine times out of ten, you offer a person before they commit. That’s not the case with Micah White. Last month the 6’5″ Milton, Georgia wide receiver committed to UK as a preferred walk-on. The Cats are keeping him in the fold by offering him a scholarship, a wise move to make at a position of need.
— Micah White (@MicahW_3) October 18, 2018
Underclassmen in Town — Unlike a few previous weekends, it’s a little bit harder to find recruits that will be on campus this weekend. The noon kickoff makes it difficult, but a few are still making the trip.
Terian Williams II is only a freshman, but the Georgia quarterback/athlete already has offers from Tennessee and Howard. Junior defensive end Tilor Harris plans on making the trip from Missouri. Alex Parades, a senior offensive guard from Illinois, is expected to take an unofficial as well.
UK Offers LSU Commit — Looking to shore up the secondary with the final spots in Kentucky’s 2019 recruiting class, the Cats offered a high profile cornerback from Alabama. One-time Auburn commit and current LSU commit, Cordale Flott, picked up the offer earlier this week.
Signing Day is Almost Here — We are only 33 days away from the beginning of the early football signing period. Once the regular season ends, we’ll be dropping plenty of knowledge on the Cats’ upcoming recruiting class. Prepare accordingly. It’ll be here before you know it.
By Savannah Patton on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 10:30pm
The one and only Big Mick is a meaty masterpiece in its own right. Composed of two quarter-pound patties* of never-fresh, frozen, mostly beef raised close to the processing plant. Only McDowell’s has the frosted beef and processed cheese to give you a major reason for the afternoon trip to the secret bathroom only you and Debra know about on the 9th floor that is under construction.
You can be a part of McDowell’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day.
If you are interested in sponsoring KSR’s Top 10 Tweets, please contact us at Via Email.
— Begster (@Begley1983) November 16, 2018
#9 Horace Robinson
— Horace Robinson (@leftrobin) November 16, 2018
#8 Brian Hamilton
@KySportsRadio Was tha Diamond Dallas Page that just called? Sounded like him
— Brian Hamilton (@VanFinkelstein) November 16, 2018
I thought the same thing!
I loved me some Roy Clark! He will be missed.
— Lee (@leeweglarz) November 16, 2018
#6 Rick Long
— Rick Long (@ricklongky) November 16, 2018
Living the dream!!!!
#5 Ron Holder
I thought you were going to say Patrick Mahomes is like @ryanlemond because of their similar hair styles
— Ron Holder (@rockinronh) November 16, 2018
#4 Ben Osenbaugh
— Ben Osenbaugh (@Frozenbaugh) November 16, 2018
Now my mouth is watering!!!
— Andy Wade (@AndyWade77) November 16, 2018
#2 Derek Petrey
— Derek Petrey (@Derek8Petrey) November 16, 2018
I’m gonna miss him!
#1 Prof. Donna J.
— Prof. Donna J. (@DJF1010) November 16, 2018
I’m not crying, you’re crying.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 10:00pm
Coming in as a four-star recruit last season, expectations were relatively low for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at the start of his Kentucky career.
Before long, SGA was the team’s key player on both ends of the floor, working his way from multiple seasons in Lexington to NBA Draft lottery conversation. He finished the year averaging 14.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game, easily Kentucky’s most consistent player throughout.
Drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 11 overall, the former Wildcat is once again turning heads in the NBA, working his way up the totem pole as the team’s lead point guard.
Lou Williams, a two-time Sixth Man of the Year recipient and 13-year veteran, had extremely high praise for his newest teammate, saying SGA’s time at Kentucky expedited the maturation process. The first-year jitters just aren’t there for the 6-foot-6 guard, who is averaging 10 points, 3.4 rebounds, and three assists per game.
“A lot of times in big moments, younger guys might have some anxiety, might start rushing things,” Williams said. “But at the same time, Shai went to Kentucky. He’s a very mature kid. It shows on the basketball floor.”
Take a look at the interview below:
#Clippers Lou Williams (@TeamLou23) on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (@shaiglalex) – “A lot of times in big moments, younger guys might have some anxiety, might start rushing things, but at the same time, Shai went to Kentucky. He’s a very mature kid. It shows on the basketball floor.” pic.twitter.com/iuQAzl4gG5
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) November 16, 2018
According to Robert Flom of SB Nation, 93.9 percent of Gilgeous-Alexander’s two-point field goals have been unassisted and 47 percent of his points come in the paint.
And he’s dominating on defense, as well. When he’s on the floor, the Clippers have a 102 Defensive Rating, good for best in the NBA. He’s also averaging 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per 100 possessions.
Since becoming a starter, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 14.8 points (52.4 percent shooting), 4.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. He’s also adding 1.5 blocks and one steal to go with just 2.3 turnovers per contest. In those four games, the Clippers are 3-1 with wins over Milwaukee and Golden State.
SGA’s Rookie of the Year campaign is officially underway.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
Tomorrow afternoon, the Big Blue Nation will have to say goodbye to some pretty special Kentucky Wildcats.
16 players will play their final home game in a Kentucky uniform against Middle Tennessee State, featuring Josh Allen, George Asafo-Adjei, Derrick Baity, Dorian Baker, David Bouvier, Miles Butler, CJ Conrad, Tymere Dubose, Mike Edwards, Lonnie Johnson, Jordan Jones, Adrian Middleton, Bunchy Stallings, Darius West, Chris Westry, and Tristan Yeomans. There’s also a great chance Benny Snell puts his name in the NFL Draft at the conclusion of this season.
A few of those Wildcats wanted to give a special shoutout to the BBN about their time in Lexington and just how much they want the stands full tomorrow.
Check out what Baker, Johnson, Allen, and Conrad said about their final game at Kroger Field:
— Scotty 2 Hotty (@The1stTheory) November 17, 2018
In case you missed it earlier, the official Kentucky football account also released a tribute video to their seniors, thanking them for their time in Lexington:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) November 15, 2018
Get out there tomorrow and show your support, BBN. These guys deserve it.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 8:30pm
After an up and down start to the Kentucky basketball season, we’re about to find out just how hard the Wildcats are able to grind throughout the next week or so.
They’ll start with an evening matchup on Sunday against VMI, followed by Winthrop on Wednesday and Tennessee State next Friday. Three games in six days is tough, no matter the level of competition.
To prepare for that grind, the Kentucky players and coaches have ramped things up in practice to build the endurance necessary to get the job done each outing.
“It all starts in practice, trying to go at each other,” freshman guard Immanuel Quickley said this afternoon. “Going hard each and every day. Not taking any team for granted, because any team can come out (on any given night) and beat you.”
There was a noticeable uptick in intensity on both ends of the floor from the first two games of the season to Kentucky’s matchup on Wednesday night with North Dakota. Quickley said the coaches preached execution on the little things over the last week in practice, and that led to things clicking for the team.
“We had a lot more energy, a lot more effort,” he said. “Credit to the coaches for getting us prepared, practice was harder this last week or so. It all started with practice. … People were diving on the floor, taking charges, stuff like that. Little stuff that I think will help us get wins throughout the year.”
There has been an emphasis on fighting from start to finish each possession, not loosening up regardless of the situation.
“Most of the practices have been focused on defense,” said freshman center EJ Montgomery. “We’re really trying to get better on defense every day. We’re going at it very hard. The intensity, fighting through the whole shot clock, never giving up, and competing.”
Quickley understands the team is talented offensively, but when the defense is there, they’re tough to beat. The 6-foot-3 point guard said individually, he has become a polished defender since he first arrived in Lexington.
“The offense is going to come, but I think my defense is really coming along since I got here. You know, pressing the ball full court, talking on defense, being alert, active, trying to get deflections.”
Kentucky head coach John Calipari has been a huge part of that development, and it has helped Quickley become a more complete player.
“He’s just trying to help me be an overall better point guard. Getting the ball out of my hands early, all the coaches are trying to get me to talk a lot, something I’m still working on. Defense. Really just everything to become an overall better player.”
Montgomery said the intensity in the frontcourt against the other star Wildcat big men has been crucial to his development, as well.
“I learned a lot, those guys really compete. There are a lot of physical guys, they show that physicality on the court. I’m just trying to grow and learn every day from them. … I just want to do anything on the court to help my team win. Whatever coach needs me to do, I’m going to go out there and do that.”
Watch both videos with Quickley and Montgomery below:
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 7:00pm
One big-name free agent coach is officially off the board.
According to a report by Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, former LSU coach Les Miles is finalizing a deal to become the next head coach at Kansas.
NEWS: #Kansas is finalizing plans on a deal with former #LSU coach Les Miles, multiple sources have told @SInow. Barring a last-minute change, The Hat might just be back.https://t.co/s9dveH4O3o#kufball
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) November 16, 2018
Per Dellenger, the deal could become official as early as this weekend. Neither Kansas athletic director Jeff Long nor Miles confirmed the news, but if it goes through as expected, it’d be quite the culture change for Kansas football.
In his last 16 seasons as head coach, Miles has won 141 games, four more victories than the entire Kansas football program has won in its last 33 years.
Miles was once seen as a candidate for the vacant coaching position at Louisville, but all signs are pointing to Purdue’s Jeff Brohm taking the job at the end of this season.
Enjoy… whatever there is to do in Kansas, Les.
By TJ Walker on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 5:30pm
Keion Brooks’ last official visit to Michigan State this weekend has been cancelled, per Rivals’ Eric Bossi. Rumors have circulated that Michigan State was the ones to cancel the visit, but regardless of why the visit was cancelled, it appears Brooks will be deciding in the coming weeks. Brooks’ father said the visit to Michigan State may be made at a later date.
The five-star Indiana native playing his high school basketball at La Lumiere isn’t expected to sign in the next few days, but if he is done with official visits a commitment may not be far off. He has officially visited UK, Indiana, UNC and UCLA, but is also considering Purdue and MSU. Brooks’ spoke with Bossi about his finalists and had nice things to say about the Cats.
He said that Calipari gave him the normal “it isn’t easy” pitch, but the UK head coach went into more detail about the roster turnover that happens annually in Lexington.
“On my official, (Calipari) sat me down and he kind of went through each player at my position and what he thought they did well and what he thought they needed to work on and if he thought they would be able to be drafted and go on to the next level next year. So as we were going through that, I was able to get a good feel for next year and how many minutes I would be able to come in and play.”
Brooks is asked about all his finalists and it’s a fun read. Check out the entire article HERE.
Brooks told Bossi he plans to decide in a couple weeks or a month. Indiana seems like the team to beat, but I do think UK is currently running second. Don’t count out Kentucky’s chances in this recruitment.
By TJ Walker on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 5:00pm
If you’ve been following Drew Franklin on Twitter (and if you’re not, why?) then you know he’s contemplating a lifelong and serious decision: which NBA team should receive his allegiance?
No, this isn’t just a “be a fan of this team for the season.” The Madisonville native (now residing in Lexington) is looking for his “forever” NBA team and has been mulling over this decision over for weeks.
I'm getting closer to making my decision on an NBA team. I'll talk it over with my family one last time and then announce my Top 5 soon.
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) November 14, 2018
Yesterday Franklin gave us an update, and the update was that he was having a tough time finalizing his final list of five NBA teams.
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) November 16, 2018
But Woj and Shams can sit this one out, because Franklin’s coworkers have the scoop.
A source close to Drew Franklin has told KSR that the 6-foot-2, 210-pound (just spitballing on the height and size) blogger is down to these six teams:
New York Knicks
I reached out to those close to Drew to get more insight on his decision.
“I want to say he hates the Celtics but I’m not positive,” KSR Editor-in-Chief Tyler Thompson said. “Gotta do the Warriors for Boogie.”
Thompson was unaware that the Warriors had already been cut by the 33-year-old former Tennis Channel employee. DeMarcus Cousins, one of Franklin’s favorite players, signed a one-year, $5.3 million dollar contract with the Warriors in July.
Coworker Jack Pilgrim is a lifelong fan of Boston sports teams, so he’s hoping Franklin shocks the world and picks the Celtics.
“Stability, stars, up-and-coming talent,” Pilgrim said to KSR. “Coaching, history, everything you could possibly look for in a franchise is there. When the Golden State Warriors breakup this offseason, Boston’s 10-year dynasty will begin. Jump on the bandwagon while you can, applications are accepted for a limited time only.”
Pilgrim never sent KSR actual Celtics’ applications because we’re pretty sure they don’t really exist.
Football beat writer Nick Roush is proud of his fellow football podcaster on narrowing down his list to six.
“It’s been a long process filled with plenty of ups and downs,” Roush said. “But throughout it all I remained confident that Drew could reach this point. As he cuts his list I couldn’t be more proud. Regardless of where he chooses the KSR Football Podcast will always be his No. 1 fans.”
Roush then went into a long rant about how UK football fans’ frustrations are shortsighted, but I had to hang up on him because my goodness that kid is long-winded.
My source on the matter didn’t mention Franklin’s favorite, as he’s supposedly torn between the teams listed above, but a final decision is expected in the coming weeks.
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) November 15, 2018
The Crystal Ball currently has the Timberwolves as the favorite and Franklin’s sentimental birthday post to Karl-Anthony Towns had picks flooding in last night. But watch out for the Knicks as a sleeper team. Franklin loves New York City, pizza and Kevin Knox.
Drew, sorry your own cut was scooped. Maybe you’ll be able to make your final decision on your own time. Jokes really on me because this ended up taking about an hour.
By TJ Walker on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
Tyrese Maxey can’t get enough of the checkerboard, and who can blame him? The Kentucky signee’s high school season has started and below is a short highlight video of Maxey doing Maxey things. He can score from anywhere on the floor, he gets teammates involved, has great athleticism and is a lockdown defender. But you don’t need to hear it from me, John Calipari said as much when Maxey faxed in his LOI on Wednesday.
“Tyrese has unbelievable competitive spirit,” Calipari said in a release. “I love Tyrese’s basketball savvy. He has an elite ability to score the ball, yet he creates shots for his teammates, he defends and he rebounds. In all the time I’ve watched him play, rarely does he make the wrong play. He may not make every shot, but he almost always make the right play. You can tell that he’s a coach’s son. Physically he is going to be able compete with the best in the country.”
UK fans are going to love this kid, and if you care about this sorta thing, he really, really wanted to be a Cat. There was no drama in his recruitment and he committed to Kentucky early on in the process. Plus, he likes checkerboards so he’s probably a pretty cool kid all around.
— SLAM HS Hoops (@SLAM_HS) November 16, 2018
— Overtime (@overtime) November 15, 2018
— Overtime (@overtime) November 15, 2018
By TJ Walker on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 3:30pm
UK has received Dontaie Allen’s Letter of Intent, officially making him a Kentucky Wildcat.
The 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing committed to the Cats on Aug. 2nd and joins Tyrese Maxey as the two players to have sent in their LOIs. Kahlil Whitney is the other 2019 target committed to UK, but his mom told KSR he won’t sign in the fall period.
Allen is considered one of the best players in Kentucky and picked the Cats over offers from Louisville, Clemson, Florida, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Purdue, and Xavier.
“Dontaie is one of Kentucky’s finest,” John Calipari said in a release from UK Athletics. “I love Dontaie’s ability to score the ball in different ways. He’s got a lot of skills with the ball in his hands and athleticism to play above the rim. I’m always excited anytime there’s a player from our state who can come in and help this program and have an impact. Dontaie does all that for us.”
He’s the first Kentuckian to sign an LOI with UK since Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis in 2013.
“As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a UK fan,” Allen said in the release. “The walls in my room are painted UK blue with pictures of Rupp Arena hanging with hopes and dreams of someday playing there. So many great players have come through the University of Kentucky. Being born and raised in this great state, this has been a dream of mine.
“Competing against elite level players reminds me of what my parents always told me: ‘Steel sharpens steel.’ I carry that with me. Having the opportunity to play for a Hall of Fame Coach in Coach Cal at an elite program like Kentucky in front of the best fans in the world, the Big Blue Nation, I’m just blessed and very thankful. Big Blue dreams do come true.”
If you remember, Kentucky watched Allen this summer and he blew up on the AAU circuit. When the Cats brought Allen in for an unofficial visit and offered him a scholarship in person Allen surprised everyone, including his family, when he committed on the spot.
Many UK fans will follow Allen’s senior season at Pendleton County and if it’s anything like his junior campaign it will be special. Last season he averaged 31.8 points, 11.4 rebounds while shooting 39.6 percent from deep.
Welcome to the Big Blue Nation, Dontaie.
— Jonathan Dunn (@jdunnlex18) November 16, 2018
By TJ Walker on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 3:00pm
The mystery surrounding Jemarl Baker continues. We didn’t see the shooting guard last season and it’s been more of the same this year. The redshirt freshman guard from Menifee, Calif., hasn’t entered a game and that doesn’t seem like it will change on Sunday when the Cats host VMI.
Tony Barbee gave us an ambiguous update on Friday.
“He’s in-and-out of practice right, so it’s hit or miss with Jemarl,” Barbee said.
Forget Sunday, the quotes we’ve been given the last few days makes me think we won’t see Baker for an extended period of time.John Calipari was even more pessimistic after Wednesday’s win over North Dakota.
“He hadn’t been on the practice floor, at all,” Calipari said. “I think he shot around yesterday and the day before but he has not practiced at all since (the Blue/White scrimmage).”
UK Athletics has told the media it’s soreness in his knee, which is vague but concerning given he missed the entire 2017-2018 season with a knee injury.
Baker wasn’t someone that was expected to get a great deal of playing time this season so it won’t hurt UK’s longterm expectations if he’s sidelined again, but most Kentucky fans are anxious to see what he can bring to the table. We know he can shoot, but we want to see it in live action.
Get well soon, Jemarl.
Here’s Tony Barbee’s complete Q&A, per UK Athletics:
By Brent Wainscott on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 1:30pm
On Saturday, there will be a plethora of talented seniors playing at Kroger Field for the last time. From the senior-loaded defense that has been nothing short of amazing all year, Baby Gronk and two talented offensive linemen: Bunchy Stallings and George Asafo-Adjei. While at times the offensive line may go unnoticed, you can’t understate what these two have done on the offensive line.
When Bunchy and Big George came to Kentucky, they came on a single belief; that they and their classmates could turn a bottom feeder, pedestrian 5-7 Kentucky team into a legitimate contender. Bunchy and Big George have been a crucial part of ushering in the new era of Kentucky football.
“I’m a big faith person,” said Asafo-Adjei. “God doesn’t help those who don’t help themselves, so we gotta help our selves get to that next level. We’ve been doing that, so the results have shown up.”
In their first year in Lexington, Kentucky started the season 4-1, only to drop six of their last seven games and miss a bowl game in 2015. Now the Big Blue Wall is an integral part of leading Benny Snell to three straight 1,000-yard seasons.
These two men have been at the forefront of the new Kentucky Football, so when I asked Bunchy if four years ago he thought the program could be elevated to what it is today, this is what he had to say:
“Honestly, I thought it would’ve come a lot faster. But at the same time, we knew it would take time. That’s why I chose Kentucky because I felt it. I believed in the chance that we could be good. We’ve tried to change the culture these last few years.”
Bunchy Stallings also took some time to reflect on the growth he and his teammates has as people here at UK.
“The many experiences I’ve got to take on while being here. I can’t ask for anything better. Going to Ethiopia, having that opportunity. Just being looked up to as a leader on the team, actually seeing myself progress over the years. Seeing my teammates, maybe ones with the same spitting image of my freshman or sophomore year, seeing them turn into a better man, a better person.”
Bunchy also said he hopes this class left a legacy of a team that has fight. He thinks the resiliency has played a big part in seeing his senior classmates mature over their time at Kentucky.
These two have played a part in some of Kentucky’s most significant victories in recent memory:
- Mississippi State in 2016
- Louisville in 2016
- Tennesse in 2017
- Mississippi State ion 2018
- NEVER losing to South Carolina
- Leading the way for Three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season…
and of course, ending the 31-year-long drought to Florida, where Bunchy did this:
Bunchy Stallings with the enormous pancake block. (2018) pic.twitter.com/5cJ9adFZP1
— KY Clips (@KY_Clips) September 9, 2018
A big tip of the cap to these two for laying such a strong foundation for the Big Blue Wall.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 16th, 2018 @ 12:34pm
Kentucky plays Middle Tennessee State tomorrow, and believe it or not, the Cats are the third SEC team on the Blue Raiders’ schedule this year. MTSU lost to Vanderbilt 35-7 to start the season and to Georgia 49-7 two weeks later. Kentucky also played both of those teams, so let’s compare how the Cats and the Blue Raiders fared vs. their familiar foes.
|Points||Passing Yards||Rushing Yards||Vandy Points||Vandy Passing Yards||Vandy Rushing Yards|
Obviously, Kentucky’s lack of a passing game sticks out here, as does the rush defense, which held the Commodores to only 68 yards. The MTSU vs. Vandy game was a weird one, delayed almost half an hour by lightning, but the Blue Raiders fought hard in the first half, holding Vandy to 89 yards after giving up 58 on the opening drive. MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill had 178 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
|Points||Passing Yards||Rushing Yards||Georgia Points||Georgia Passing Yards||Georgia Rushing Yards|
Georgia handled both teams easily, and most of MTSU’s rushing yards came after the Bulldogs were up big. Make of it what you will that the Blue Raiders were able to hold the Bulldogs to fewer rushing yards than the Cats were, but Georgia wanted to make a statement vs. Kentucky. And they did.
MTSU’s lone score came on a 41-yard pass from Stockstill to Patrick Smith, who finished the day with nine catches for 77 yards:
Moral of the story: while Stockstill can burn you on some big plays, MTSU’s rush defense is weak, meaning Benny Snell and AJ Rose should have a field day. Time for the Kentucky offense to get back on track.