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January 15th, 2017

2017 McDonald’s All-American rosters announced

all-american-games-logo

The 2017 McDonald’s All-American selection show just aired on ESPNU, and a total of 4 future Cats were included. Quade Green, Nick Richards, PJ Washington, and Jarred Vanderbilt were all selected. All four future Cats will play for the East squad. Not to mention the Cats’ chance to add Mo Bamba who is also on the East team. Take a look at their lineup below.

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And here’s a look at the West roster.

FullSizeRender

This was before the announcement tonight, so Kentucky’s number is actually 20 now. Even so, WOW. That is an incredible statistic. What Coach Cal has done for UK recruiting in his time in Lexington is really unbelievable.

Schools with more than one participant include Kentucky with 4, Duke with 2, and UCLA with 2.

On the current roster, the Cats have five former McDonald’s All-Americans in Isaiah Briscoe, Bam Adebayo, Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, and Sacha Killeya-Jones. Not going to say that all of the guys for UK will be as good as these guys next year, but I’m not not saying it. This season hasn’t even finished yet and I’m already getting pumped for next year. #KentuckyBasketballProblems

Here’s the announcement from the Kentucky Men’s Basketball Instagram account. You’ll notice no mention of Jarred Vanderbilt because he hasn’t sent in signed papers to UK yet. But, no worries there, UK has four future guys in the game.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Kentucky Cheerleading wins 22nd National Championship

 

Photo: UK Athletics

Photo: UK Athletics

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but your University of Kentucky Cheerleading squad just took home yet another National Championship. That’s 22 total national championships for the Cats, the most of any school in the country. An unprecedented winning culture in Lexington for these cheerleaders.

Here’s a small look at their routine from earlier tonight.

The crowd knew they were witnessing the best squad in the country and the Cats had the venue rocking.

It really doesn’t get better than this. Go Cats!!!

And also a special shoutout to the UK Dance Team that took home 2nd place overall in the Hip Hop competition and 4th place overall in the Pom competition. All Cats Everything!

Way to go UKDT!!!! 2nd in Hip Hop and 4th in Pom!! #ukdt #udanationals #decidetorise

A photo posted by UK Dance Team (@ukdanceteam) on

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Bud Dupree making plays for the Steelers

 

Photo:247Sports

Photo:247Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs are just starting the second half of the final playoff game of the weekend, and the Steelers are up 12-7 at this point. Former Cat Bud Dupree is a part of a very athletic Steelers’ defense and he has already been making things happen tonight.

Dupree has only two tackles through half of the game, but he also has a QB hit that led to an interception for Pittsburgh. Take a look at the big play for Dupree below.

Dupree also made a nice play on a quick screen pass, getting the deflection.

And in case you missed it earlier, our own Haley Simpson did a short write up on how Bud Dupree’s teammate refers to him as a different species for his athleticism on the field. Give it a read here.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Randall Cobb is moving on in the playoffs!

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For all of you who have been living under a rock for the past few hours, the Green Bay Packers and the Dalls Cowboys just put on a show in the first of two NFL playoff games. Green Bay ran out to a 21-3 lead before Dallas battled back to tie the game twice within the last four minutes. Dallas kicked a field goal with 35 seconds left to tie the game, but those 35 seconds were entirely too much time to write Aaron Rodgers off.

Rodgers led the Packers into field goal range despite running into a 3rd down and 20+ yards to go on the wrong side of the 50 yard line. The following play was one of the most clutch throw and catch plays I’ve ever seen. Check it out below.

The following play was a 51-yard field goal attempt by Mason Crosby that looked like it would miss wide-left, but straightened out and stayed between the uprights, remiscent of Austin Macginnis’ kick against Florida a few years back. You can compare the two yourself.

As for former Cat Randall Cobb, he finished with 7 catches for 62 yards. Those stats include this catch along the sideline as he barely keeps himself in-bounds.

The Packers move on to the next round of the playoffs to take on the Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and the Atlanta Falcons.

In the second game of the night, the Steelers are currently taking on the Chiefs in Kansas City. Bud Dupree and company are looking to advance to take on the Patriots in the next round of the playoffs.

Go former Cats. Win rings.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Future Cat Quade Green wins MVP at Hoophall Classic

Photo: ZagsBlog

Photo: ZagsBlog

Many top level prospects in the class of 2017 took part in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Hoophall Classic, including Kentucky commit Quade Green. Green had a huge game for Neumann Goretti, going for 30 points and 10 assists in a 72-69 victory over Greensboro Day School in North Carolina. The Hoophall Classic gives out an MVP award for every game, and Green took home the award following his performance, which included this nifty little crossover.

And here’s one of his 10 assists on the oop. I’m going to go ahead and say that pass will work real nicely to Mo Bamba next year. Fingers crossed.

Speaking of Mo Bamba, there was no shortage of quotes from Green on helping to recruit Bamba to Lexington. Bamba has now officially cut his list down to four (UK, Duke, Michigan, and Texas). According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog, Green is always making sure Kentucky is on the mind of Mo Bamba.

I walked right into their practice and said ‘BBN.’ I just gave him a smirk and just left

Bamba told Zagoria that Green has been relentless in his recruiting, even “following him around campus”. And can you blame Green? Take every chance you can to get another solid player on the team. Green had this to say about Bamba’s abilities.

He brings the length for the big men and the pick-and-rolls he got length so the guard can bounce out. I can get back and guard my man and he’s a shot-deflector and he changes shots.

Along with one other guy, Mo Bamba has been the prospect that I’ve wanted the Cats to secure since this class started getting national attention. I think he has huge upside, and who would turn down a consensus top-5 player in the class?

As for the guys who are already currently committed to John Calipari, Green alluded that they all keep in touch often and are using Hamidou Diallo to gauge how Lexington will be when they all arrive.

Oh, everybody using Hami as a spy. Me, Jarred [Vanderbilt], Nick [Richards], P.J. [Washington], we all in group chats and we all asking Hami, ‘What’s this, what’s that?

Green went on to say that Diallo has said he loves UK so far, which is a great sign for people who want him to skip out on the draft this summer.

Either way, gotta love the feeling that the future class is already seeming to gel as a cohesive group. And as for you, Mo Bamba, come on down.

One other thing to keep an eye out for is the McDonald’s All-American rosters being announced later tonight. We’ll have them up on KSR whenever they become available.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Steelers teammate on Bud Dupree: A “different species”

 

USA Today

USA Today

Bud Dupree will be playing tonight for a chance to play in the AFC Championship game next weekend, but people around Pittsburgh are still talking about his hit on Dolphins QB Matt Moore, last weekend for which he was fined 18k.

This week, a reporter asked teammate Ryan Shazier what makes Dupress so successful, his response was that Dupree is a “different species”, according to Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora.

“People underestimate his closing speed,” Shazier said via Steelers.com. “There are a lot of guys on this team who are a lot faster than they look on film. When you just see him in person, it’s ridiculous. The only way to know how fast Bud is pretty much playing with him or going to the Combine and playing with him.”

“He’s a species man. He’s a huge person. Fast, guy who is really blessed with the talents and all the things he’s able to do.”

As I said earlier, I’m a big fan of the Cowboys and would love nothing less than to see a Cowboys vs. Steelers Super Bowl.

To read the rest of the story, click here.


Comparing the 2014 and 2017 football recruiting classes

Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 2.15.08 PM

With the addition of Lynn Bowden to the 2017 recruiting class yesterday, Kentucky’s class is now listed in the Top 25 of every major website.

Joe Mussatto of SEC Country compared the 2014 class, the best in program history from Stoops second year at UK, and 2017 class to figure out which one was really the best.

The class of 2014 brought Kentucky six four-star recruits, the top ones being Drew Barker, Matt Elam and Darius West. However, it was several others who contributed the most, according to Mussatto:

“Boom Williams, who declared for the NFL Draft, was the No. 5 prospect in the class and was a 1,000-yard rusher in his junior season. He averaged more than 6.5 yards per carry in his three seasons with the Wildcats and found the end zone 20 times. Kentucky had no more dynamic playmaker than Williams.

Safety Mike Edwards and linebacker Denzil Ware have developed into two of Kentucky’s best defenders. Both were top-10 commitments of the 2014 class. Edwards was second on the team with 100 tackles and intercepted Lamar Jackson twice in the regular-season finale against Louisville. Ware was Kentucky’s fourth-leading tackler and was second on the team in sacks and tackles for loss.”

Overall, the 2014 class was ranked No. 22 and tenth in the SEC by 247Sports and then No. 18 and ninth in the SEC by Rivals.

From the class of 2017 Kentucky has four five-star recruits coming in, the top ones being Lynn Bowden, JaVonte Richardson and Joshua Paschal. Ranked N0. 21 and ninth in the SEC by 247 Sports and No. 17 and eighth in the SEC by Rivals. Time will tell with this class, just as it did with the 2014 class but here’s what Mussatto had to say about it:

Bowden projects as a slot receiver and he will join incoming No. 2 prospect JaVonte Richardson in the pass catching corps. The Cats are loading up on playmakers and 4-star wide receiver prospect Danny Davis (Springfield, Ohio) remains a top target.

Defensive end is another position group that sticks out. Three of the top-8 commits in the class are defensive ends, led by 4-star Joshua Paschal (Olney, Md.). Three-star prospects Alex King (Mason, Ohio) and Jordan Wright (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) are the other two.”

National signing day is just a little more than two weeks away, meaning the staff will be spending the time keeping the recruits they have settled with Kentucky. February 1st will tell the tale of which class is the better.

To read the rest of Joe’s post, click here.


Five Takeaways from today’s Hoops victory

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

The Lady Wildcats capped off a successful weekend for Kentucky athletics with an easy 82-61 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs. UK Hoops moves to 12-6 on the season and 3-2 in the SEC. You can read Haley’s game recap here. The game was broadcast on the SEC network, but if you missed it, here are five leftovers.

1. Evelyn Akhator had a game

Akhator paced the Wildcats for much of the game, and finished the night with another double-double. Her 24 points and 16 rebounds earned the senior her 10th double-double of the season and her 23rd at UK. Even more impressive, she secured the double-double with over a minute left in the first half.

Today’s game rivaled Akhator’s performance against Alabama last week, where she scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

“She put on a real display of skill,” Matthew Mitchell said after the game. “She had some good reads, good shots and good plays. Her teammates really worked to get her the ball.”

2. The first half was arguably the best of the season

Kentucky came out ready to play, starting the game with six quick points for Akhator and a three-pointer by Makayla Epps to put the Wildcats ahead 9-0. The Cats ended the first quarter on a 10-0 run, and Kentucky led 23-4 at the break. The rest of the first half was more of the same: UK went into the locker room shooting 58.6 percent of their field goals and 44.4 percent of their three-pointers, while holding the Bulldogs to 21.4 percent from the floor and no shots from behind the arc.

3. UK capitalized off Georgia mistakes

The Cats showed aggression today, forcing 12 Bulldog turnovers and converting those mistakes into 24 points. Additionally, Kentucky out-rebounded Georgia on both ends of the court: UK had a 26-19 defensive rebound advantage and a 12-9 offensive rebound advantage. On the season, the Bulldogs have been limiting opponents to 59.2 points per game – Kentucky’s 82 points obviously obliterated that.

4. Jessica Hardin is still unavailable

After a concussion in the Duke game, Jessica Hardin is still not back on the court for the Wildcats. Today’s game marked the fifth game played without the senior guard. Makayla Epps took a knee to the head during the fourth quarter, and she did not speak at the post-game press conference as she was being examined by the doctor. Still, the senior ended the night with 13 points and six assists.

5. The Alumni Game was a success 

Any win is a great win, but it’s even sweeter when so many former players are in the house. For today’s game, over 30 Cats were in Memorial to cheer on the Wildcats, with members ranging from the 1973 team all the way up to crowd-favorite Victoria Dunlap from the class of 2011.

@KentuckyWBB

@KentuckyWBB

“We had a great crowd today, [and] I was so excited we played well on Alumni day,” Mitchell said. “This city has been so supportive, all of Big Blue Nation has been so supportive.”


While Kentucky’s next two games are away, the BBN can continue this support here in Lexington next week, when the Wildcats take on Ole Miss at home on Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.

Twitter: @MaggieDavisKSR


Women show no mercy to Bulldogs, win 82-61

 

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

In a battle of Cats vs. Dogs, Kentucky came out victorious over Georgia 82-61 led by senior center Evelyn Akhator yet again.

After a career night with 29 points and 15 rebounds on Thursday at Auburn, Akhator came back just as a strong getting her 23rd career double-double with 24 points and 16 rebounds.

The senior came to fight scoring six of Kentucky’s first points in a 9-0 run that opened up the game. From there, Akhator continued to ball, getting her double-double with about four minutes left in the game. While her numbers were high, she was also incredibly efficient making 10 of 15 field goals.

Akhator wasn’t the only Cats to put up some numbers, senior Makayla Epps had a quiet 13 points and six assists. Sophomore Taylor Murray on the other hand had 14 points and three assists.

For the fifth game in a row, Jessica Hardin did not dress as she is following concussion protocol after a nasty hit against Duke on Dec. 29.

Epps also received a hit in the head today with just over four minutes remaining in the game. The senior did not return to the game.

Kentucky won the battle in the paint out rebounding the Bulldogs 38-28, outscoring them in the paint 36-26 and only allowing four second chance points compared to the Cats 16 . The Cats shot a solid 52 percent from the field and 44 percent from behind the arch.

Now at 12-6 on the season, Kentucky moves to 3-2 in conference play and will likely move up to seventh in the SEC.

The Cats will be back in action on Thursday Jan. 19 at LSU which will tip off at 8 p.m. on SEC Network +.


Watch former Cats in the NFL playoffs tonight

Mitch Stringer - USA Today/Joe Robins - Getty Images

Mitch Stringer – USA Today/Joe Robins – Getty Images

It’s been a good week for some former basketball Cats and now its time for some former football Cats to do their thing in tonight’s NFC and AFC divisional games.

First at 4:40 p.m. on FOX, Randall Cobb and the Green Bay Packers will be taking on my boys from Dallas. As much as I love Cobb and Aaron Rogers, I’ve been a Cowboys fan since birth and I want nothing more than some revenge from 2015s NFC divisional game.

Following that at 8:20 p.m. on NBC, watch Bud Dupree and the Steelers annihilate the Kansas City Chiefs in the last AFC divisional round.


Wenyen made some history last night

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Wenyen Gabriel was the surprising X-factor in last night’s game playing 29 minutes. In those 29 minutes Gabriel scored six points and grabbed 16 rebounds, the most in any SEC matchup by a player in the Calipari Era.

Gabriel opened up yesterday’s game with a three-pointer and his 29 minutes were the most he’s played all season. After the game, Calipari had nothing but praise for the freshman, in few little words.

“Woo,” Calipari said, “Wow.”

Not many people can leave Calipari speechless, but apparently 16 rebounds does the trick.


SDS: The One Position Kentucky needs to Improve On

secondary

Our friends at Saturday Down South, have given each SEC team which position, on the field or on the sidelines that they must improve this offseason. For Kentucky? They feel the Cats must improve upon their secondary, especially with the losses of Marcus McWilson and Blake McClain.

The Wildcats aren’t losing a lot, but safety Marcus McWilson and nickel back Blake McClain are two valuable pieces on the way out. Coach Mark Stoops engineered a breakthrough season in Lexington last fall, leading the Wildcats to their first bowl game since 2010. If the Cats are to go bowling in back-to-back years, they’ll need Stoops to work his magic again with a secondary.

What do you think? Does Kentucky need to improve its’ secondary more than any other position? Let me know on Twitter @GormleyKSR or in the comment section below. Also, be sure check out the remainder of the article from SDS.

One position — on the field or sideline — each SEC team to improve most during offseason

 


Report: Aaron Harrison to the D-League

Courtesy: CleatGeeks

Courtesy: CleatGeeks

Rick Bonnell, the beat writer for the Charlotte Hornets, is reporting that Aaron Harrison will be reassigned to the Greensboro Swarm of the NBA D-League.

He was released from the team on January 3rd. Harrison has played in 26 career NBA games, averaging 0.7 ppg in those contests. Here is to hoping that the former Cat will be able to get back to the NBA really soon.


BBNBA: Wall, Booker and Davis all have Big Games

Booker, Wall, Davis

The former Kentucky stars all had massive games last night. Here are their stats:

bbnba-wall

John Wall, Washington Wizards (109-93 win over 76ers)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
 30 9-17 3-4 4-5 2 5 7 7 2 0 3 1 +16 25

Wall helped lead the Wizards to a win which stopped a 3-game winning streak for Nerlens Noel’s Philadelphia 76ers.

bbnba-book

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (108-105 win over Spurs)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
 37  12-22 3-5 12-12 2 0 2 2 0 0 3 4 +10 39

Booker’s 39 points tied a new career high for the second year Sun. He was coming off a game in which he scored 39 as well, with 29 of those coming in the 4th quarter. Booker joins LeBron James as the only player with 4 or more 38 point games at the age of Booker (20 years, 76 days)

bbnba-davis

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (107-99 loss to Bulls)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
 39 14-23 0-0 8-10 3 11 14 2 1 3 3 3 -1 36

Davis returned after missing the previous game with a hip injury.

@GormleyKSR


Former Players under Cal have made $1.2 billion

@chuckgeveden

@chuckgeveden

This was an interesting graphic that was displayed during yesterday’s win over Auburn. In Calipari’s career, his players have made $1.2 billion. His current Kentucky players on NBA rosters are making $172 million combined just this season. As the graphic mentions, his $1.2 billion combined is worth more than the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise. ESPN continues to give the Cats more recruiting tools to use. We are looking at you Mo Bamba.