Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
April 25th, 2015

Upper Deck Screws up Bud Dupree Card

CDUJnQFWgAEldkD.jpg-large

I will freely admit. I didn’t know that Upper Deck even still made cards. But they do and since they do, one would think they would do it well. Not this time. The Upper Deck NFL Draft card for Bud Dupree is actually Jalen Whitlow. As you can see, the card shows a player diving for the end zone (which maybe should have been a clue for Upper Deck since Dupree is a Defensive player and likely has dove with the ball only a couple of times ever) and the player is wearing #8. Everyone knows that Dupree was #2 with the Big Blue and the player shown is Jalen Whitlow. Dupree himself noticed the mistake and tweeted it out, likely slightly miffed. Getting a chance to see yourself on a card is pretty awesome…unless the player that is presumably you is actually someone altogether different.

I had the same reaction when my first Kentucky radio card showed a picture of Dick Gabriel.

UPDATE: A couple of you have pointed out that it may be #2 on the card as well, as Whitlow also wore #2. That makes sense and would help explain (a little) the Upper Deck goof. But it is still a goof.


More from the Scene at EYBL

As stated earlier, the EYBL event at KBA is the place to be this weekend if you want to watch some hoops. We know Calipari and staff are there as well as Tom Izzo, Billy Donovan and Roy Williams among other coaches. Joining the coaches are some former (still hurts saying that) Cats catching the action:

Cauley-Stein wasn’t just a spectator last night as he turned into Coach WCS:

Please stay away from his car, ladies:

Someone’s gotta convince Harry Giles that Kentucky is a better state than North Carolina, right?

Tatum bounces back from a slow start, but falls in OT according to Chris Fisher:

Keep an eye on this name, BBN:

Not sure Coach Cal ever sleeps. Also, Azubuike is no relation to Kelenna:

Just a reminder if you want to go catch any games this weekend, they are only allowing 300 fans in at a time. It will be a one-in, one-out type of deal, so get there early and be prepared to wait in line.


Updates from Nike EYBL Event – Day 2

malik-monk

We’ve been talking a lot about the Nike EYBL event taking place at the KBA this weekend. Well, this morning it seems like we found a star in Malik Monk. The Courier-Journal’s Kyle Tucker was there and calls Monk the most exciting player in the class of 2016, with Calipari and Kenny Payne glued to watching him score 39 points this morning.

Monk is an explosive scorer and seemingly has range from anywhere inside the gym. He shot 6-for-8 from behind the line while also showing off his athleticism by finishing at the rim in a variety of ways.

Monk is high on Kentucky’s list as evidence of Calipari leaving Indianapolis this morning just to get back to Lexington to see him in person. Monk’s brother played basketball and football at Arkansas, which many people believe will be the only other school in contention to land Monk.

 

jaysontatum

Jayson Tatum is taking the floor around 12:30, which we’re sure Calipari and crew will be watching. More importantly the biggest game of the day comes at 6:30 when Tatum squares off against Monk. If you want to follow along, Chris Fisher is providing live updates on the 247Sports site which can check out right here.

It’s been a somewhat quiet day for Tatum in front of Calipari so far. He might be holding off for tonight’s big game against Monk.

Kyle Tucker at the Courier-Journal also has a great piece breaking down who Kentucky will be watching this weekend.

Stay tuned for more from the EYBL event right here on KSR.


Gunnar Hoak Competing at Rivals Challenge

(H/T @RowlandRivals)

(H/T @RowlandRivals)

The Rivals Quarterback Challenge presented by Under Armour stopped in Cincinnati today and future Kentucky quarterback Gunnar Hoak competed in the event. The quarterbacks competing in the event will be asked to demonstrate their skills in accuracy, velocity, ability to throw on the run and downfield vision.

The Rivals Camp Series takes place in four cities, with the winners advancing to the finals in Baltimore during the Rivals 100 Five-Star Challenge from June 5-7.

It’s safe to say Kentucky should be just fine at the quarterback position in the future.


Mychal Mulder On Campus

(H/T northpolehoops.com)

(H/T northpolehoops.com)

With Malik Newman signing with Mississippi State, all eyes are on junior college transfer Mychal Mulder, who is visiting Kentucky this weekend. Mulder, is a 6’4″ guard from Vincennes University and would provide Kentucky the wing scoring that the Wildcats are used to having.

Larry Vaught talked to Mulder’s coach at Vincennes, who said he expects the recruiting of Mulder to come to a head very quickly and doesn’t expect it to go on for long. Mulder, who was barely recruited coming out of Ontario in high school turned into an All-American at the junior college level.

This past season Mulder shot 44 percent from deep, something that will be much needed with the loss of Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker. Other schools recruiting Mulder includes Creighton, Wichita State, Minnesota, Indiana and Louisville.

Come on down, Mychal. Lexington is wonderful year round.


The Transformation of John Wall

This was said five years ago about John Wall by holier than thou Colin Cowherd:

“J-Wow’s 30-second yo-dog-I’m-the-man, out-of-control-style told me all I need to know,” Cowherd said back in 2010 regarding Wall’s egregious violation of the NBA’s sacred pregame ceremony. “Not a sharp guy, all about him.”

You gleaned all that from a dance? Yo dog, you’re the man!”

Five years later everyone who is a John Wall fan would kindly like Cowherd to shut up. Even as of last week Cowherd was still talking about he knows what Wall is as he somewhat struggled in Game 1 against the Raptors despite battling through a shoulder injury. Well, Colin, I also know what John Wall is as a player. He’s one of the best players, no, check that, one of the best players in the NBA right now.

If you disagree, here’s a little snippet of what John Wall has done in the last week during the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Now, this shouldn’t surprise anyone from Kentucky as Wall was a star from the moment he stepped onto the court at Rupp Arena during the 2009-10 season. His personality was contagious as he became a fan favorite and still is beloved throughout the Commonwealth.

(Photo: John Wall, USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo: John Wall, USA TODAY Sports)

It’s not a coincidence that Wall turned the Wizards around quickly after being drafted No. 1 overall in the 2010 NBA Draft. In the first three years of Wall’s career, the Wizards lost more games than everyone in the league not named the Charlotte Bobcats or Cleveland Cavaliers sans LeBron James. Wall now has the Wizards on the brink of sweeping the Raptors and in the second round of the NBA Playoffs for the second straight year.

(Photo: Brad Mills, USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo: Brad Mills, USA TODAY Sports)

The biggest area of improvement for Wall has been his in-between game, something that many pundits believed would never come for Wall. He’s obviously an uber-athletic guard that can finish at the rim, but he shot nearly 50 percent from the midrange this season.

His passing has been fantastic as well, despite the fact many people see him as a scoring point guard. Wall finished second in the league in assists, averaging 10 per game, just .2 behind Chris Paul for the league lead.

Not bad for a guy who didn’t ‘possess leadership.’

 


UK Softball Game Start Time Moved

Per UK athletics the softball game today against Georgia has been moved from 3 p.m. to 1 p.m. The change in time is due to the inclement weather that is expected across the state today, as officials believe if the game starts at 1, the game will be done before the storm comes. Kentucky is looking to even up the series after losing 3-0 last night to the Bulldogs. It’s the last home series of the year for Kentucky, so make sure to get out to John Cropp Stadium and support them against Georgia.


Saturday Morning Links

colin-cowherd-sportsnation

Saturday Morning Links brought to you by Colin Cowherd’s smug face, which I can only assume he made while watching John Wall dismantle the Toronto Raptors in a playoff game, again. Seriously, how has this guy not changed his mind on Wall?

– Speaking of one of Kentucky’s favorite sons, Wall had himself a night in leading the Wizards to a 3-0 lead over the Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. Eric Freeman at Yahoo says Wall has proven he’s the best player in the series, no questions asked.

– There’s plenty of talent in Lexington right now thanks to the Nike EYBL event at KBA. Only 300 fans will be allowed into the event at a time so there’s not overflow, especially with a large contingent of coaches in the arena. Kentucky targets playing in the event include Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Malik Monk and Udoka Azubuike.

Ben Roberts had plenty of good things to say after watching Udoka Azubuike – no relation to Kelenna – at the Nike EYBL event. Azubuike is a 6’11”, 265 pound prospect, who showed a ton of strength in attacking the rim last night, almost looking as if he was going to snap one in half.

– NFL.com is reporting Bud Dupree will workout for the Washington Redskins, who hold the No. 5 pick. Dupree’s stock has been soaring over the last couple of the weeks and if this report is true, the thought that Dupree could go No. 5 is unbelievable. The workout will take place in Macon, Ga., just outside Dupree’s hometown.

– Kentucky baseball picked up a 5-0 win win at No. 5 Florida thanks to Zack Brown and his seven innings of shutout pitching. Every person in Kentucky’s lineup recorded a win as the Bat Cats moved to 24-16 on the year and 9-9 in SEC play. 

@uklefty22

 


April 24th, 2015

Brown Leads Kentucky in Win Over #5 Florida

Zack Brown set the tempo for another exciting series. (Photo by UK Athletics)

Zack Brown set the tempo for another exciting series. (Photo by UK Athletics)

Zack Brown dominated once again, and Kentucky opened a three-game series with a 3-0 win against #5 Florida. The shutout victory was Kentucky’s fifth straight win, giving the Cats a 24-16 (9-9) record on the season. Brown, backed by Dorian Hairston’s two RBIs, pitched seven shutout innings to earn his fourth win on the year.

Facing off against the leaders in the SEC East, Kentucky grabbed the lead early. JaVon Shelby led the second inning off with a triple, and Dorian Hairston drove him in on an RBI groundout to give UK a 1-0 lead. Kyle Barrett and Evan White hit singles with two outs in the third to put runners on for Ka’ai Tom. With an RBI single to left, Tom gave Kentucky a 2-0 lead in the third. 

As Brown finished up his start on the mound, Kentucky’s offense gave their bullpen some insurance. Hairston collected his second RBI on the day with an eighth inning single to score White. All three of Kentucky’s runs were allowed by Florida starter Logan Shore.

Brown kept the Gators’ offense at bay by firing seven shutout innings and striking out six. Following Brown’s incredible start, Kentucky turned to Zach Strecker in the eighth inning. With a 3-0 lead, Strecker sat down the Gators in the eighth and sent the Cats to ninth. 

Three outs away from a win in the Swamp, things got a bit interesting. Strecker retired the first two batters of the ninth before walking Jeremy Vasquez. Gary Henderson went back to his bullpen to bring in closer Spencer Jack. Henderson would be forced to make yet another pitching change when Jack walked the only batter he faced. Logan Salow emerged from the bullpen and struck out Taylor Lane to end the game. 

Brown has propelled himself into the category of top weekend starters in the SEC. Following 7.1 shutout innings against Tennessee last week, Brown fired seven shutout innings against Florida. The sophomore struck out six and allowed only five hits against one of the top hitting teams in the nation. The dominant start lowered Brown’s ERA on the season to 2.81 in 11 games and a team-leading 67.1 innings. Brown has a scoreless streak of 15.1 innings over his last three games. 

Combining with Brown, the Kentucky bullpen helped to shut down one of the best offensive attacks in the nation. Player of the Year candidates Harrison Bader and JJ Schwarz combined to go one-for-seven at the plate with three strikeouts. The Gators left ten men on base and struck out nine times.

The Cats and Gators will continue their series tomorrow night at 7 p.m and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Catch both games on SEC Network+ and follow our recaps here.

 

@TreyHuntsmanKSR

 

 


Friday Night News and Views

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 2.51.46 PM

If you don’t read these News and Views, we’ll send the Ole Ball Coach to hunt you down. Two tickets to the gun show everyone!

The KBA is the Place to be Right Now

The Nike EYBL even is taking place right now at the KBA in Lexington and of course there are plenty of coaches and Kentucky players in attendance. Kenny Payne, Marcus Lee, Alex Poythress and Tyler Ulis were all on hand to see Malik Monk play tonight. Monk is one of the best scorers in the class of 2016 and everyone believes it will come down to either Kentucky or Arkansas for his decision.

Malik Newman Picked Mississippi State

Malik Newman, a top prospect in the class of 2015 picked Mississippi State over Kentucky and Kansas today. Yep, in basketball. Now, Newman is from Mississippi, so it makes sense and is a great get for new head coach Ben Howland. Best of luck to Newman except when he plays the blue and white.

John Calipari, Julius Mays

John Calipari is Next-Level Thinking

No matter what happens the rest of the time Calipari is in Lexington no one can ever say Calipari wasn’t creative or willing to try new things out. His latest adventure? Something called Ceeks, which according to their website is “the first smart audio headphone.” Calipari said he wants to use virtual reality headsets during games and practices to give fans and recruits an inside view of the Kentucky program. Of course Calipari thinks of that.

Chris Walker is Leaving Florida for the NBA

I guess it’s news? Chris Walker has declared for the NBA Draft. In other words I’m also declaring for the NBA Draft. You heard it first, KSR readers. Bobby Reagan declares for the NBA Draft, because if Chris Walker can so can I.

Rockets and Mavericks Game 3 was a Thriller – But No Rondo

The Mavericks and head coach Rick Carlisle were true to their words as Rajon Rondo was not in a Dallas jersey for tonight’s Game 3, which was a 130-128 win for the Rockets. Former Kentucky star Terrence Jones had 12 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes for Houston while adopted son Dirk Nowitzki had 34 points in a losing effort.

We’ll be back at it starting at 10 tomorrow morning.

@uklefty22

 


Where Does Rajon Rondo Go From Here?

NBA: Boston Celtics at Detroit Pistons

There’s been plenty of unique – yeah, let’s call them unique – players through the years at Kentucky. There’s been numerous personalities that we as fans have loved, gotten frustrated with or flat out didn’t like. However, the one person who may have made people feel all three ways is none other than Rajon Rondo.

Well, that has stuck with Rondo during his NBA career as well, even as the starting point guard on an NBA title team with the Boston Celtics. Now, Rondo is going to have to find his third team in a year as Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said Rondo will never suit up in a Mavericks jersey again.

That video was from earlier in the year, but yeah, you get the idea of Rondo and Carlisle’s relationship. They make Louisville fans and Matt Jones look like best friends. Rondo played just 34 seconds in the second half during Dallas’ loss in Game 2 against the Rockets. In those 34 seconds he picked up two personal fouls and a technical.

So, the question is, what happens now to a guy who was once regarded as ‘next’ when talking about point guards. He’s not longer regarded a top-10 point guard, let alone a top-5 point guard as he gets ready to hit free agency this summer. Well, here are three destinations to keep an eye on if you want to follow a former Wildcat in the NBA.

Los Angeles Lakers

It’s been long rumored that Rondo will end up in a Lakers jersey as Kobe has been recruiting him for quite some time. This would be fun for Kentucky fans – those that like Rondo that is – as Julius Randle would have another Wildcat finding him in the open floor.

New York Knicks

Could two more Kentucky players end up as teammates if Karl-Anthony Towns is drafted by his hometown Knicks and Rondo joins him in the Big Apple? It’s certainly possible as rumors swirled earlier in the year that Rondo would be a popular target for the Knicks in free agency. After all, they won’t have a ton of cap space thanks to the Carmelo deal, but Rondo should come at a discounted rate thanks to his recent actions.

Houston Rockets

I’m starting to notice a trend here. There’s a lot of former Kentucky players in the NBA. If Rondo goes to the Rockets, he’ll be teaming up with another big personality at Kentucky in Terrence Jones. Now, Jones is obviously more beloved by Big Blue Nation -not saying Rondo isn’t, but that 2012 title team will live in Kentucky lore – but he was known to throw a temper tantrum or two during his time in Kentucky.

Whatever happens to Rondo, we wish him the best of luck as he tries to prove to everyone that he still is the talented point guard many thought he was just a couple of years ago.


Kenny Payne, Alex, Tyler, Marcus, and Devin are all at KBA tonight

@UKBIGBLUENATION

The KBA is the place to be tonight as the Nike EYBL event rolls on. Kenny Payne, Alex Poythress, Tyler Ulis, and Marcus Lee are all on hand to watch Malik Monk play tonight. Monk is one of the top prospects in the 2016 class, and John Calipari visited him on Tuesday. Looks like they’re making recruiting a team effort tonight.

Devin Booker is also in attendance, although not pictured. He’s probably in the parking lot trying to make sure no more girls lick his car.


8 Notes from a fun night in Bowling Green with Karl, Trey, and Dakari

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.04.46 AM

Over the past few weeks, the Cats going to the pros have been circling the state to meet fans and sign autographs. When Drew Franklin kept sending me pictures from Karl Towns’s signing in Pikeville last Saturday, I was green with envy and prayed for a Bowling Green appearance.

Lo and behold, a few days later, BBN Legends announced that Karl, Trey Lyles, and Dakari Johnson were coming to Bowling Green to meet fans and throw out the first pitch at a BG Hot Rods game. That’s an hour from my house! I cleared my plans for Thursday night and got ready for a road trip to Bowling Green. Here are my notes from a great night at the ballpark.

The Bowling Green Ballpark is really nice

I haven’t been to a lot of ballparks, but I was pleasantly surprised by how nice Bowling Green’s is. There was a decent crowd for “Thirsty Thursday,” with a huge line for Karl, Trey, and Dakari’s autograph signing. After paying $7 for a ticket, I walked in and surveyed the scene. After talking to one of the organizers, I found out the guys were upstairs in the Corvette Club for a VIP signing. They were nice enough to take me up to there, and I must admit, it was really nice, if bars in minor league baseball stadiums are your thing. There were only about twenty fans in the room when I went up, and I could tell the guys appreciated having their own space to hang out in before the festivities.

Karl had a brand new Knicks hat on

The Knicks have the second best chance at winning the draft lottery and given his choice of headwear, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Karl, a New York area native, hopes they have the #1 pick. I hope so too–can you imagine a better person to rebuild an historic franchise around than Karl?

This video is reason #4,205,299 I’ll miss these guys

The guys got to warm up a bit before taking the mound and watching them do that was more entertaining than the first pitches themselves. What goofballs.

If you thought Karl would have the best pitch, you were wrong.

Given his baseball background, I figured Karl would have the best first pitch of the three players, but I was wrong. Dakari was the only player to get the ball over the plate, while Karl and Trey’s bounced:

As he tweeted later, Dakari’s got a  arm.

If you thought that first pitch came frighteningly close to my head, you were right

Okay, it wasn’t that close, but when Karl’s ball bounced off the plate and flew towards me, I have no shame in saying I ducked. I didn’t realize how awkward it looked until I saw KSTV’s video of it:

Karl was so happy to be back on a baseball diamond

Outside of the movie “Major League,” I know very little about baseball. Karl Towns does. Karl played baseball growing up and was thrilled to be back on a diamond. While Karl was excited to throw the first pitch, he said he really wanted to hit the ball and gave me a five-minute education on the different bats he’s used. Karl told me all about the BBCOR regulations that discontinued the use of bats that would put another 40 feet on the ball and how he prefers a wooden bat (“I love the pine tar,” he said wistfully). Thanks to him, I now know more about baseball bats than I ever could have imagined.

Karl told me that his goal was to get his pitch to the plate in one try–to Willie Cauley-Stein’s three–and technically, he did that; however, Karl the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied, and before going up to sign autographs, threw a couple in the bullpen:

Now that’s a strike.

Watching the players interact with fans was awesome

I’ve seen these guys in a number of settings now–on the court, in the locker room, with the media, in the Bahamas–but it was refreshing to see them just interact with fans for a few hours. Each player was gracious and polite, smiling and signing but not hurrying anyone along. The line was LONG, but kudos to the BBN Legends staff for keeping things rolling. Of course, the best was seeing the players with the kids, and watching all three interact with the young boy pictured above was awesome.

If you haven’t yet, I really recommend coming out to the signings (here’s an updated list). If anything…

I got some closure

TylerKarl

I’ve been honest with you guys about how depressed I’ve been about the loss. I hate that the last image I had of this team was a sad one, but going to see Karl, Trey, and Dakari last night allowed me to have a proper goodbye. Instead of remembering the players’ sad faces after the game, I’ll remember the happy ones I saw in Bowling Green, players and fans alike. Instead of looking back at the loss, I can look forward to these kids’ futures, which are so incredibly bright.

The bond between player and fan is notoriously strong at Kentucky, but sometimes, it feels like the guys are in a crystal fishbowl, held at arm’s length from the fan base. At events like last night’s, that barrier is down and fans and players can finally get the up-close interaction that makes this program so special. Instead of tweeting the players or calling into radio shows, we can thank them in person for an amazing season and see the impact it has–because it does have an impact. In this day and age, we so rarely do things in person, which makes it that much more raw and powerful when we do. A team like this deserves a proper goodbye, and only with a proper goodbye can you achieve closure.


Skal Labissiere talks about next season

skalcrop

Skal Labissiere was moved to the top of Rivals’ recruiting rankings this week after strong showings on the All-Star Circuit. Believe it or not, Skal will be UK’s first Rivals #1 player since John Wall in 2009. In an interview with NBADraft.net, Skal said he’s looking forward to getting to UK and working with Rock Oliver and his staff, listing “getting bigger and stronger” as his top priority moving forward.

“Once I do that it’s going to take me to another level and that’s one of the reasons why I can’t wait to get to Kentucky,” Skal said. “That’s the main thing for me right now, running the floor better, and being more aggressive.”

In fact, Skal said John Calipari’s record of developing players physically and mentally for the pros is the reason he committed to Kentucky.

“Coach Cal, he’s done a really good job with the players he gets. Some people say that the kids are pros before they get there, that might be true but I really think that he does a really good job at developing them and giving them that mindset. Coach Cal said that you don’t need to just come here, it’s your decision if you want to get better, it’s the right program for you, but if you think you’re going to get distracted by other things, this is not the right program. We could relate to each other when he came to my house to talk to me so I like his mindset, he’s going to push me every day and that’s what I want.”

Coming in as the number one recruit in his class could put a lot of pressure on a player, but Skal says he’s not feeling it.

“Not really, we are just going to use what we have as far as the recruits coming in and the guys that are there who stayed. So, I think we are still going to be pretty good next year and it’s just going to be on us. I don’t feel pressure because I know that we are all going to work to try to make a run in the tournament next year, so I don’t feel pressure at all.”

Watch Skal go one-on-one with Thon Maker at the Nike Hoop Summit:

[NBADraft.net]