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November 24th, 2014

Former Cats take over the league leaderboard

leagueleaders1124

While the current Cats are dominating college basketball, it’s nice to know that the former Cats are doing pretty well for themselves in the NBA. Four different former Cats lead the league in statistical categories: Rajon Rondo in assists; DeMarcus Cousins in rebounds; Anthony Davis in blocks; and John Wall in steals. Davis even leads the NBA in player efficiency rating (PER) at 35.9, the only tarter in the league with a PER higher than 28. Phew. The Sporting News’ Sean Deveney argues that makes Davis the clear frontrunner for MVP:

We are only a month into the season, but already, Davis has established himself as an All-Star shoo-in — and, though it is obviously early in the year, it is not too early to consider Davis the easy front-runner in the NBA’s MVP race.

Keep cleaning up, boys.

[Sporting News]


The Harrison Twins and Karl Towns named to the Oscar Robertson Watch List

Congrats to the Harrison Twins and Karl Towns, who were named to the early-season watch list for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, given annually to the best player in college basketball by the US Basketball Writers Association. UK accounted for three of the SEC’s five players on the list, which also included LSU’s Jordan Mickey and Arkansas’ Bobby Portis.

Oscar Robertson Trophy Watch List
Ron Baker, Wichita State
Branden Dawson, Michigan State
Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
Aaron Harrison, Kentucky
Andrew Harrison, Kentucky
Stanley Johnson, Arizona
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Caris LeVert, Michigan
Jordan Mickey, LSU
Larry Nance Jr., Wyoming
Georges Niang, Iowa State
Jahlil Okafor, Duke
Marcus Paige, North Carolina
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
Terran Petteway, Nebraska
Bobby Portis, Arkansas
Angel Rodriquez, Miami
Juwan Staten, West Virginia
Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky
Fred VanVleet, Wichita State
Justise Winslow, Duke
Delon Wright, Utah

Meanwhile, the Cats were shut out of the weekly SEC awards, with Alabama’s Levi Randolph taking home SEC Player of the Week and Vanderbilt’s Wade Baldwin IV taking home SEC Freshman of the Week.

Wade Baldwin IV is almost more of a Vandy name than Patton Robinette.


KSR will be live at Fan Outfitters in Hamburg tomorrow

Got plans tomorrow morning? Get an early start on the Thanksgiving holiday by coming to Fan Outfitters in Hamburg Pavilion from 10 a.m. to noon to hear Matt and Ryan talk Cats, turkey, and whatever else comes to mind.

No word on if they’ll have 100 lbs. coats in stock.


Kentucky opens as a 31-point favorite over UT-Arlington

After beating Montana State by 58 points, the Cats are a 31-point favorite over UT-Arlington. UK beat the Mavericks 105-76 last season. This year, UT-Arlington has already played two of UK’s previous opponents, beating Grand Canyon 66-64 and losing to Buffalo 74-68. Something tells me they won’t score nearly that many points tomorrow night.


Dorian Baker says he tore his LCL

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 2.44.46 PM

Earlier today, Mark Stoops announced that Dorian Baker injured his knee in practice last week and will be out the rest of the season. Stoops didn’t give specifics other than Baker will need surgery, but today, Baker posted on Instagram that he has torn his lateral collateral ligament (LCL).

According to ye olde internets, the LCL supports the outer side of the knee and is responsible for the elasticity of the knee when it bows out or rotates. It’s the least likely knee ligament to be sprained because most LCL injuries are caused by a blow to the inside of the knee, and that area usually is shielded by the opposite leg. We don’t know the severity of Baker’s tear, but the recovery time can take anywhere from 3-9 months.

Get well soon, Dorian.


Stoops confident losing streak won’t hurt recruiting

Darrell Bird | CatsPause.com

Darrell Bird | CatsPause.com

After starting the season out 5-1, the Cats lost five straight, which has pretty much killed all of the momentum headed into the season finale against Louisville. Has the losing streak affected recruiting? Earlier today, Mark Stoops said not at all.

“No, not at all. I feel very good about where we’re at and where we’re going recruiting,” Stoops told reporters. When asked, he said he doesn’t believe the losing streak has put doubts in his current players’ heads either. “No, I don’t worry about that one bit. We have a good group of players that enjoy playing here and have really worked hard and done the right things. I think you could ask them, I think they have full trust in what we’re doing. So I don’t worry about that at all on the recruiting front.”

Meanwhile, Damien Harris had this reaction to the news Dorian Baker will be out the rest of the season with a knee injury:

Emojipedia (yes, there is such a thing) describes that as the “weary face.” Weary because he’s sad about his future teammate’s injury, amirite??


UK giving out individual player posters at each home game starting Sunday

Did you love this poster that was distributed at Big Blue Madness? Then you’ll love to hear that UK will distribute individual versions featuring each player at each home game, starting with freshman Devin Booker’s poster for the Providence game on Sunday. The first 5,000 fans at Rupp Arena for each game will receive one poster for free.

Here’s the schedule:

Providence – Devin Booker (Nov. 30)
Texas – Trey Lyles (Dec. 5)
Eastern Kentucky – Karl-Anthony Towns (Dec. 7)
Columbia – Tyler Ulis (Dec. 10)
North Carolina – Alex Poythress (Dec. 13)
Ole Miss – Aaron Harrison (Jan. 6)
Missouri – Andrew Harrison (Jan. 13)
Vanderbilt – Willie Cauley-Stein (Jan. 20)
Alabama – Dakari Johnson (Jan. 31)
Georgia – Marcus Lee (Feb. 3)
South Carolina – Derek Willis (Feb. 14)
Auburn – Dominique Hawkins (Feb. 21)
Arkansas – EJ Floreal (Feb. 28)
Florida – Sam Malone, Tod Lanter and Brian Long (Senior Day, March 7)

Posters will be distributed in the main concourse at Rupp Arena. Doors open 90 minutes prior to tipoff and fans are encouraged to arrive early and proceed to the table where posters are being distributed after entering the arena.


Watch Mark Stoops preview Louisville

Transcript after the jump.

(more…)


It’s a good thing there was a Bye Week, and other takeaways from Stoops’ Press Conference

Mark Zerof/USA Today

Mark Zerof/USA Today

–  Tyler has kept you well-informed of the injury situation, but it should be said again: this team REALLY needed a break.  “You can’t help but feel better,” Stoops said.  “It was nice to have one day off.”

Even so, a week might not have been enough.  Dorian Baker is done for the year, Kyle Meadows probably is too, Towles’ ankle is tweaked, and those are just the people we know about.  The ‘banged up’ qualification probably applies to more than not.  Hopefully the Bye Week gave them enough mental rest to overcome the physical pains for just one more week.

–  Get Reggie Rattled.  When it was announced the Reggie Bonnafon would be Louisville’s starting QB for the final two games of the season, UK fans became optimistic that the defensive line could rattle the true freshman in a big game.  That changed last week when a composed Bonnafon went to Notre Dame Stadium and threw for 180 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 35 yards and two scores.  “I’ve been impressed.  [He’s] very cool.  He’s just been very poised back there, making good decisions.”

–  About the play-actions.  Stoops may have only briefly mentioned Petrino’s play-action passes, but it was enough for me to exhale.  There isn’t one thing that could disappoint me more than if the Cats gave up a deep ball to Devante Parker off a play-action on the first play of the game.  They did it against Florida State.  Petrino did it at WKU against the Cats and I can name at least a handful of personal memories from Petrino’s last tour at Louisville, with Urrutia’s stiffarm against Miami the most memorable.

The bad news: the corners were pretty banged up after Tennessee.  It also doesn’t help that stopping the run will be the #1 priority this week on defense, making them even more susceptible to the play-action.  “Any offense that has the balance that can run and pass, they put you in that situation where they can get him (Parker) in some one-on-ones because they can run the ball.”

Stoops is going to add some wrinkles to apply additional pressure on Parker in underneath coverage, but if UK’s corners are stuck in one-on-ones I do not like our chances.

–  Patrick Towles could enter the NCAA record books, for the wrong reason.  If you haven’t been paying attention, Louisville has the best defensive back in America.  Gerod Holliman has recorded 13 interceptions this season, one shy of tying an NCAA record that has stood since 1968.  To give the stat some perspective, 17 UK players have caught passes this season: Holliman has more catches on defense than half of them do on offense.  To make things even more difficult, he isn’t a corner you can throw away from, he plays centerfield of the defense as safety, “The other safety, #2, is just as good.  He doesn’t have the numbers, but very good football players, both of them.”

–  At the end of the day, it’s either win or go home for the Cats.  Despite the obstacles that lie ahead and everything that’s at stake in this game, Stoops is confident his team’s effort will not be lacking, “I think we all know what we’re playing for.  They know that.  There’s no point in hiding it from them.” 


UK still #1 in both polls

Photo by Darrell Bird, 247Sports

Photo by Darrell Bird, 247Sports

In news that will surprise no one, the Cat are on top of the polls once again this week, slowly stealing first place votes from just about every other team. In the AP poll, UK had 62 of the 65 first place votes, and 29 of the 32 first place votes in the USA Today Coaches poll:

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 12.10.01 PM

Go Cats.


4-star Vandy commit will take an official visit to Kentucky

Good news in football recruiting: 4-star linebacker Josh Smith told Rivals’ Woody Womack that he’s planning to take an official visit to Kentucky sometime soon. The Murfreesboro, Tennessee native is considered the 7th best inside linebacker and the 283rd overall player in the 2015 class and committed to Vanderbilt back in July, but has now decided to take official visits to Kentucky and Ole Miss, along with one to Vanderbilt in January.

“Everything’s going well with Vanderbilt, still sticking strong,” Smith said of his commitment to Vandy. Smith’s brother plays for the Commodores, which could make flipping him especially difficult; however, getting him on campus can’t hurt, especially if it happens on December 13, a huge recruiting weekend in which almost all of UK’s current commits and top targets are set to take their officials.

Come on down and let Vince Marrow entertain you.

[Rivals]


So, about Patrick Towles’ ankle…

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Patrick Towles sprained his ankle during the loss at Tennessee, but was able to come back in. Today, Mark Stoops hinted that Patrick’s still not at 100%, and the staff is anxious to see how he performs in practice this afternoon. “We’ll see how he is today. Hopefully he’ll be out there full strength today,” Stoops said. “I’d just like to see him really put it all on the line this week and go play. Really be the leader he’s shown at times.”

A rough slide of SEC losses caused morale to dip considerably, but that can all change with a win over the Cards. Stoops called the opportunity to beat Louisville and become bowl eligible a “beautiful thing” and he expects his team to be ready for it. “I think we all know what we’re playing for. They know that. There’s no point in hiding from it,” Stoops said. “I think a win this weekend would mean an awful lot to these players. I think they deserve it, and that’s what I’ve said to them.”

Nick Roush will be by with more notes here in a bit. #BeatLouisville.


Dorian Baker injured his knee last week, needs surgery

Andy Lyon/Getty

Andy Lyon/Getty

Unfortunate news for one of Kentucky’s most promising wide receivers: Mark Stoops told reporters that freshman Dorian Baker injured a knee in practice last week and will need surgery. He’ll be out for the rest of the season.


Watch Mark Stoops preview Louisville on WatchESPN

StoopsMediaDay

Mark Stoops is in the Wildcat Den for his weekly Kentucky football press conference. Tune in via WatchESPN to hear his comments about UK’s final chance to become bowl eligible against Louisville this weekend.

If you can’t access WatchESPN or are too busy at work to sneak away, Nick Roush will be by with a rundown of Stoops comments later this afternoon and our friends at Kentucky Wildcats TV will have the entire video online for your viewing pleasure.


No Dorian Baker on the #BeatLouisville depth chart

With bowl eligibility on the line, it’s time to go balls to the walls against the Cards this weekend. Here’s the latest depth chart heading into Saturday’s huge rivalry showdown…

Offense

Tight end
85 Steven Borden, 6-3, 246, Sr-1L
80 Ronnie Shields, 6-5, 254, Sr-3L

Left tackle

77 Darrian Miller, 6-5, 292, Sr-3L
76 Teven Eatmon-Nared, 6-7, 339, Sr-2L

Left guard
75 Zach West, 6-4, 318, Jr-2L
68 Nick Haynes, 6-5, 319, Fr-RS

Center
72 Jon Toth, 6-5, 301, So-1L
57 Zach Myers, 6-3, 287, So-Sq

Right guard
69 Ramsey Meyers, 6-5, 300, Fr-RS
74 Cole Mosier, 6-6, 348, Fr-RS

Right tackle
70 Jordan Swindle, 6-7, 306, Jr-2L
73 Kyle Meadows, 6-5, 294, Fr-RS

Wide receiver
9 Demarco Robinson, 5-10, 158, Sr-3L
6 Blake Bone, 6-5, 198, Fr-HS

Wide receiver
87 Joey Herrick, 6-1, 197, Jr-1L
1 Ryan Timmons, 5-10, 195, So-1L

Wide receiver
8 Javess Blue, 6-0, 191, Sr-1L

Wide receiver
19 Garrett Johnson, 5-11, 176, Fr-HS
81 Rashad Cunningham, 6-4, 225, Jr-1L

Quarterback
14 Patrick Towles, 6-5, 238, So-1L
12 Reese Phillips, 6-2, 218, Fr-RS

Fullback

39 D.J. Warren, 6-0, 251, Sr-3L
10 Jeff Witthuhn, 6-3, 246, So-Sq

Running back
5 Braylon Heard, 5-11, 189, Jr-Tr
18 Stanley “Boom” Williams, 5-9, 200, Fr-HS
4 Mikel Horton 6-1, 230, Fr-HS
3 Jojo Kemp, 5-10, 194, So-1L

Defense

Defensive end
94 Za’Darius Smith, 6-6, 263, Sr-1L
91 Farrington Huguenin, 6-4, 275, Jr-2L

Defensive tackle
90 Melvin Lewis, 6-4, 320, Jr-JC
69 Matt Elam, 6-7, 375, Fr-HS

Defensive tackle

50 Mike Douglas, 6-4, 288, Sr-3L
67 Cory “C.J.” Johnson, 6-3, 299, Jr-JC or 96 Regie Meant, 6-4, 286, Fr-RS

Defensive end/Linebacker
6 Jason Hatcher, 6-3, 242, So-1L
47 Jabari Johnson, 6-1, 276, Jr-1L

Defensive end/Linebacker
2 Alvin “Bud” Dupree, 6-4, 264, Sr-3L
41 TraVaughn Paschal, 6-4, 257, Sr-2L

Middle linebacker
45 Josh Forrest, 6-3, 236, Jr-2L
41 TraVaughn Paschal, 6-4, 257, Sr-2L

Weak-side linebacker
33 Ryan Flannigan, 6-2, 225, Jr-JC
22 Khalid Henderson, 6-1, 228, Jr-2L

Nickelback
24 Blake McClain, 5-11, 194, So-1L
29 Kendall Randolph, 6-0, 168, Fr-HS

Cornerback
3 Fred Tiller, 6-0, 170, Jr-2L
11 J.D. Harmon, 6-2, 201, So-1L

Safety
5 Ashely Lowery, 6-1, 220, Sr-3L
15 Marcus McWilson, 6-0, 210, So-1L

Safety
1 A.J. Stamps, 6-0, 199, Jr-JC
28 Eric Dixon, 5-11, 193, Sr-3L

Cornerback
16 Cody Quinn, 5-10, 172, Jr-2L
21 Nate Willis, 6-0, 168, Sr-1L

Special teams

Long snapper
59 Kelly Mason, 6-3, 223, Jr-2L
56 Matt Howard, 5-10, 208, Fr-RS

Holder
13 Jared Leet, 6-3, 196, Jr-2L
12 Reese Phillips, 6-2, 218, Fr-RS

Kicker
99 Austin MacGinnis, 5-10, 168, Fr-RS
95 Miles Butler, 5-9, 160, Fr-HS

Punter
9 Landon Foster, 6-1, 198, Jr-2L
93 Bryan Kirshe, 6-0, 155, Fr-HS

Kickoff returner

18 Stanley “Boom” Williams, 5-9, 200, Fr-HS or 11 J.D. Harmon, 6-2, 201, So-1L or 5 Braylon Heard, 5-11, 189, Jr-Tr or 9 Demarco Robinson, 5-10, 158, Sr-3L

Punt returner
9 Demarco Robinson, 5-10, 158, Sr-3L
1 Ryan Timmons, 5-10, 195, So-1L

Of note:

  • No Dorian Baker
  • Steven Borden is listed as the starting tight end after returning to action vs. Tennessee
  • Joey Herrick is listed ahead of Ryan Timmons at wide receiver
  • Braylon Heard is your starting running back.

We’ll hear more from Mark Stoops at noon.