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January 22nd, 2017

Congrats to Jacob Tamme on another trip to the Super Bowl!

(Image via @UKStoopsTroops)

Congrats to former UK great Jacob Tamme who is heading back to the Super Bowl after his Atlanta Falcons team beat the Green Bay Packers 44-21. Tamme is making his third Super Bowl trip with three different organizations. Unfortunately he has been out since November after having season-ending shoulder surgery but he still has another chance at a ring. Of course the Falcons’ win also means that Randall Cobb’s season ends in the NFC Championship game. Cobb finished with six receptions for 84 yards.

The AFC Championship is on now between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. Could yet another former Cat join Tamme in the Super Bowl? Bud Dupree has that chance. One guy who hopes the Steelers will be facing the Falcons in the Super Bowl? This guy:

Regardless, here’s to hoping for a great game from Bud Dupree. Go former Cats!


Kentucky Women win back-and-forth road game

Screen Shot 2017-01-22 at 5.52.08 PMIn an exciting matchup, UK Hoops defeated Auburn 64-60 on the road, therefore extending their winning streak to four straight SEC games.

After a tip-off delay due to a tornado warning in the Auburn area, the Cats responded to the Tigers’ quick four points with a 7-0 run. Turnovers were an issue for Kentucky early, giving up six in the first quarter alone. Maci Morris and Taylor Murray were both on the mark from the beginning, scoring six points each in the first ten minutes of action. The Cats led 19-14 at the end of the first.

At the start of the game, Kentucky’s offensive skills gave them the lead, as they went 8-13 from the field in the first quarter. By the end of the half, however, Auburn’s defense improved, forcing the Cats’ field goal percentage to drop from 61.5 percent in the first quarter to 28.9 percent in the second. Still, Kentucky went into the locker room leading 29-26.

After halftime, UK seemed lost, allowing a 10-0 Auburn run while giving up five quick turnovers and shooting just 1-4 from the field. Coach Matthew Mitchell received a technical foul. Finally, Makayla Epps hit a three to give the Cats some much-needed momentum.

The rest of the quarter was a battle. At one point, the Cats trailed by seven. By the end of the quarter, however, they were within one point (44-45).

“Our word today is poise,” Epps said after the game. “Coach just kept telling us to keep our poise. I told everyone to stay positive and keep going, and we did.”

The team clearly kept this in mind during the hard-fought fourth quarter. Morris led the team, as she ended her night with 18 points and a career-high nine rebounds. She hit four baskets behind the arc and added one block and one steal. Epps was right behind her with 17 points, while Murray added 14 and Evelyn Akhator scored seven.

“I’m so proud of our team,” Mitchell said. “I’m as proud of this win as I am any win we’ve had in a long, long time.”


UK Hoops will return to action in Lexington on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. to take on Ole Miss.

Twitter: @MaggieDavisKSR


Razorback fan takes ad out of local Arkansas paper in an effort to oust Bret Bielema and Mike Anderson

ArkansasOnline.com

ArkansasOnline.com

In yet another saga of bizarre happenings in the world of SEC sports, this guy from Arkansas wants football coach Bret Bielema and basketball coach Mike Anderson gone, effective immediately.

A die-hard Razorback fan has apparently had enough of the “lack of competitiveness” of Arkansas athletics, and is demanding change… through a local newspaper ad.

He directed all fans to email Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to put a stop to the program’s “never ending spending that permeates throughout the athletics department.”

Arkansas pays Athletic Director Jeff Long, Bielema and Anderson roughly $8 million combined a year.

Check out the ad below:

Oh, Razorbacks… Never change.


Trae Young’s father calls out local media in Oklahoma, says son can’t play at OU

Trae Young (left) and Quade Green (right) compete against each other at Nike Peach Jam | HoopSeen.com

Trae Young at Nike Peach Jam | HoopSeen.com

Though UK’s 2017 Recruiting Class is already loaded with five 5-star guys, they’re looking to close it out with a few more talented prospects left on the board.

One of the final remaining elite recruits on UK’s radar? 5-star guard Trae Young out of Oklahoma.

Most believe the final list for Young is Kansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, but a recent tweet seems to indicate otherwise.

According to Young’s father, Oklahoma is likely not an option for his son…

The tweet has since been deleted.

The article in question criticized Young’s high school team, saying they weren’t capable of competing for the state title if things continue the way they are now. Here are just a few quotes from the story:

So, it’s unclear if the Timberwolves are going back to the state tourney. However, it’s abundantly clear they won’t sniff it if they make their home anywhere near the same time zone and zip code they found themselves in against the Pioneers late Friday night.

A state tourney team? It seems like it should be. It still has state’s most dangerous player and a supporting cast that’s plenty strong enough to get there. But not like this. Never again like this. There’s an old basketball cliche: play hard, play smart, play together. Maybe the T-Wolves could start there.

You can read the full story here.

Most recruiting experts believe Kansas is the favorite for Young right now, especially with Quade Green signing on the dotted line with Kentucky. This news likely leaves just the Wildcats and the Jayhawks for his services.

The question has to be asked… What in the world would Ray Young think of Jerry Tipton if Trae went to Kentucky?


Mohamed Bamba visits American Pharoah on official visit to UK

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On official visits at most schools, most recruits spend time looking at facilities, mingling with the coaching staff and possible future teammates, and watching practice. They get pampered and told how valuable they’d be to each team, why they’d be the “perfect fit,” etc.

But Kentucky is not like “most schools.”

What does 5-star center Mohamed Bamba do on his official visit to Kentucky?

He visits the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, of course.

Bamba was in attendance against Kentucky’s big victory last night against South Carolina, where he sat right behind the UK bench to take it all in.

247 Sports’ Chris Fisher caught a few snapshots of Bamba’s Instagram feed throughout his time on campus.

Come on down, big fella.


Former Cats Prepare for NFL Conference Championships

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Are you ready for some football!? 

Welcome to Championship Sunday! The NFL’s best four teams are about to kickoff, playing to earn their spot in Super Bowl 51. Fortunately for the BBN, both games will feature former Wildcats.

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The first match-up will be the NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers & the Atlanta Falcons. Randall Cobb has been a man on a mission during the 2017 playoffs, as he looks to continue his success against the Falcons’ defense. Cobb has 12 catches for 178 yards and three touchdowns so far this postseason. He had an amazing game against the Giants two weeks ago, where he caught all three touchdowns, one of which on a crazy “hail mary” pass.

Earlier this week, Falcons’ safety Ricardo Allen praised Cobb for his abilities on the field:

“He can do it all. He can get in the backfield. He was an ex-quarterback, so he can do double passes. He can play running back. He can play slot. He can play inside; he can play outside. He’s a screen guy. Just looking at him a little bit on TV, he kind of reminds me a little bit of Antonio Brown. He’s a good route-runner with good hands and a good intermediate guy. But he can also take you deep. He’s a short and deep-ball threat. He’s probably one of the best wide receivers Poole will go against this whole year.

While Allen mentioned rookie cornerback Brian Poole would be covering Cobb, it now looks like that task will move to Jalen Collins. With the Packers’ Jordy Nelson out with injured ribs, Cobb becomes their number one receiver. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on #18 today.

Unfortunately, on the other side of the field, Jacob Tamme will be sitting on the Falcons’ sidelines. Tamme suffered a season-ending shoulder injury back in November, after being a contributing player in Matt Ryan’s passing game.

The NFC Championship begins at 3:05 pm ET, with live coverage of the game on FOX.

The AFC Championship game will immediately follow the NFC’s. In this hard-nosed match-up, we have the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the New England Patriots. Much like Cobb, Bud Dupree has emerged as a major contributor for his team in the postseason. So far, Dupree has 10 combined tackles and one-half sack in the playoffs, but it’s his pressure on the QB that’s been crucial.

Who could forget that vicious hit on Matt Moore of the Miami Dolphins? Even though it was ruled illegal, it’s this style of play that gains attention around the league. Believe me, Tom Brady knows who wears #48 in black & yellow.

Speaking of Tom Brady, the Texans were able to pressure the elite QB into making mistakes last week. The Steelers’ 3-4 defense hope to continue that pressure. Dupree has been watching the tape, trying to learn how he can rattle the Patriots’ QB in similar fashion:

“We watched it, but they’re probably prepared for that so we probably have to take different angles,” Dupree said. “They’re too good a team to let something like that repeat. They do a lot of great things to systematically try to prevent him from being touched. You got to man-up and win your 1-on-1’s.”

The AFC Championship is set to kickoff at 6:40 pm ET, live on CBS.

Good luck to our former Cats!


Tweets from UK Baseball & Softball Fan Day

@UKSoftball


DeMarcus Cousins Scores 42, Gets Terrible Foul Called

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There’s one thing for sure in Sacramento. DeMarcus Cousins is a beast!

The All-Star center continues to dominate inside the NBA paint, as he scored 42 points to go along with 14 rebounds last night. His performance, however, was once again overshadowed by a bogus foul. This time, only 10 seconds remained in the game, with the Kings and Bulls tied at 99 points.

Cousins would trail the Bulls’ Dwayne Wade on a fast break dunk, of which Wade missed and was barely nudged by Cousins on his way down. As usual, the referee blew the whistle, insisting that Boogie had caused Wade to miss with a pushing foul. You be the judge:

Instead of showing his anger and emotions on the court, DeMarcus has decided to try a new approach. Sarcasm.

“I think they made the absolute right call,” said Cousins. “Incredible job by the referee crew tonight. I don’t have a complaint in the world. I think they should get more recognition on how well they ref these games. I don’t think they get the credit they deserve. So kudos to them and I applaud them.”

Following a review of the play, Cousins approached the head referee for an explanation. Boogie was told that the review was a clock issue, and that the foul wasn’t looked at.

“When they went to review it, they said they didn’t see it. They were just checking for the clock, I don’t really understand how that’s possible. Like I said, they made the right call, so it’s all good.”

Regardless of the referees’ biased calls, DeMarcus Cousins continues to be one of the best centers in the NBA. On his way to yet another NBA All-Star game, it’s only a matter of time before Cousins finds a home on a winning team. Whether that’s with the Kings or somewhere else, there’s no doubt the future is still bright for this former Wildcat.


Malik Monk Sets Another School Record

 

 

With all of the freshmen that’s played in the John Calipari era, it’s hard to believe that one has never scored 24+ points in a big SEC game. Last night, Malik Monk put his name in the school’s record books again.

This time, it’s for Monk’s 27 points against #24 South Carolina, making him the highest scoring Freshman against a top-25 SEC opponent in school history.

With De’Aaron Fox going out of the game, it definitely changed how the offense operated. Monk credited teammate Isaiah Briscoe for helping him to get his shots, even when it meant sacrificing Briscoe’s opportunities:

“He gave up his scoring abilities to get me the ball. That’s a great leader because he didn’t have to do that. He’s a great teammate.”

What did Monk say about not having De’Aaron Fox on the court?

“The game changed a lot, because he changes the game as soon as he comes in and as soon as he comes out. We had to adjust real fast and hopefully he’s well. Fox is a leader and brings energy. We’ve never had to really play without him, so without him we had to figure out what to do.”

Luckily, Dominique Hawkins was there to pick up the slack, helping Kentucky to stay ahead of South Carolina:

“Dom always steps up. Whenever we need something, that’s who we count on, so he’s great to have on the team.”

There’s a good possibility that Monk could break his own record again, as long as other top SEC teams are nationally ranked.


Sunday Top 10: Kentucky beats South Carolina, and everything else you need to know

Screen Shot 2017-01-22 at 1.05.56 AMLast night, the Kentucky Wildcats defeated No. 24 South Carolina 85-69, successfully claiming their rightful place as number one in the SEC. The victory came in front of a season-high 24,389 fans. There will be plenty of coverage as the day goes on, but for now, here are 10 things to read while you wake up this morning.

1. Kentucky survived without Fox, Briscoe

Two of UK’s most consistent scorers both contributed far less than normal, combining for just six points. All six came from Fox during his eight minutes of action, meaning Briscoe ended the night with a goose egg next to his name. On the season, these two guards have been averaging a combined 21.9 points per game.

While Fox went out with what is (hopefully) a minor injury, Briscoe just had a bad night. Sometimes shooters struggle, and shots simply don’t fall. But what’s arguably worse than scoring zero points? Briscoe’s poor performance was not limited to scoring. In 29 minutes, he had seven turnovers, just four assists, and only three rebounds. All inexcusable from the sophomore.

Calipari agreed.

“Malik [later clarified to mean Isaiah Briscoe] has had back-to-back, you know, kind of bust kind of games,” Calipari said after the game. “I mean, he’s better than this.”

Agreed.

On the bright side, let’s not forget Malik Monk had another monster night, scoring 27 points. Bam Adebayo also contributed 18 points, while Wenyen Gabriel added 11.

2. Back to Fox’s injury…

As of last night, we didn’t know much about the extent of De’Aaron Fox’s ankle injury. After the game, Coach Cal didn’t have a lot of answers either, saying “I don’t know” quite a bit, while adding “they said there’s no swelling.” While no swelling is a good sign, the BBN will likely be holding their breath until there’s a statement released that officially clears Fox. We’ll keep you updated.

3. Seniors, Kentucky-natives, stepped up

With one key player out and another one struggling, more pressure fell on Kentucky’s bench. Thankfully, Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis were both up to the task. Willis contributed 12 points and seven rebounds, while Hawkins added five points and seven assists. Although these are decent numbers, they become more impressive when you consider the timing of the plays. Hawkins played as the point guard, coming to the rescue for injured Fox and struggling Briscoe. His cool nature and senior experience calmed the Wildcats whose rhythm was disturbed by the line-up changes. Willis only hit one three-point basket last night, but the shot came after USC had cut the lead to three. And that dunk…

4. RIP Sedee Keita

AKA the South Carolina player murdered last night when Willis ruthlessly dunked all over him. I’m sure you’ve seen the video like, a million times. But would it really hurt to watch it again?

I’ll let you make your own assumptions about SKJ’s reaction.

5. The number of fouls was… better

Last night, 42 fouls were called. Compared to the 52 fouls called during the Mississippi State game, 42 seems far more reasonable, and is slightly more on-par with other games (in other conferences) from last night. In the UofL vs. FSU game, 45 fouls were called; in the No. 14 Arizona vs No. 3 UCLA upset, 35 fouls were called. In No.1 Villanova’s game against Providence, 28 fouls were called. Use that information as you will…

6. Kirstin Maldonado crushed the national anthem

The Grammy Award-winning singer started the night off on a great foot when she performed the national anthem. The Texas native is the lead vocalist for the a cappella group Pentatonix, who won the third season of The Sing Off. If you missed it (or even if you didn’t), take a look here, courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV.

7. Speaking of entertainment…

In my personal opinion, there is no other halftime performance at Rupp more enjoyable than the Firecrackers’ annual showcase. While I’m far from a jump-roping expert, their performances are consistently flawless, and last night’s was no exception. Seriously, I don’t understand how they do what they do. Also, special shoutout to the girl wearing a boot on her ankle and still jumping rope. That takes talent.

8. UK Hoops back in action

The Lady Wildcats will be facing off against the Auburn Tigers today at 3 p.m. Kentucky, 4-2 in the SEC, looks to continue their three-game winning streak against the unranked Tigers (4-2). Most recently, UK defeated LSU 55-42 in Baton Rouge. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network, so be sure to tune in.

9. Deal of a lifetime

Since you’ll already be heading to Raising Cane’s today for your Buy One, Get One free chicken combo, be sure to take part in their latest giveaway.

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10. Conference Championships are TONIGHT

Tune into Fox at 3:05 to watch Randall Cobb and the Green Bay Packers take on the Atlanta Falcons. The Steelers vs. the Patriots are set to kick off at 6:40 on CBS. Who ya got?


Big Blue Buckets: 20% OFF at the KSR Shop!

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Kentucky moved to 7-0 in conference play with the win over South Carolina. You know what that means, when the ‘Cats win, you win! Head to ShopKSR.com to receive 20% OFF your entire purchase! 

Come to the KSR Shop now for all your UK and KSR gear. Check out our fleece pants, KSR hats, UK jackets, polo shirts, and sweatshirts. The KSR long sleeve t-shirts and State Pride apparel are popular selections as well. Hurry before this day after the game special deal ends. All you have to do is head to ShopKSR.com now and enter promo code BBB.

 

[Big Blue Buckets: 20% OFF at the KSR Shop!]

 


January 21st, 2017

RECAP: De’Aaron Fox went down with an injury, but Kentucky still beat the nation’s number one defense by 16

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The final score doesn’t reflect it, but there were times in this game that it seemed Kentucky was in serious danger. De’Aaron Fox turned his ankle about eight minutes in and had to go to the locker room, only to return in a boot and crutches. Without Fox at the helm, Kentucky had a bit of a go to pieces, letting South Carolina narrow the lead to three. Thankfully, a host of role players stepped up and propelled Kentucky to an 85-69 win over the Gamecocks, which is pretty encouraging when you consider the Cats played without their star point guard for 32 minutes and still beat the most efficient defense in the country by 16.

Let’s break it down, starting with De’Aaron Fox’s injury…

How long will Fox be out?

At first, it didn’t seem like Fox’s injury was too bad. He turned his ankle and went to the bench to switch to high tops, and after coming back in for a moment, went to the locker room. He returned later on crutches wearing a boot, but seemed in good spirits. How long will he be out?

“I think it might’ve been a stinger, I don’t know. But something hit his ankle,” Cal said after the game. “He is in a boot but they said there is no swelling, so I don’t know.”

Hopefully, Fox is back by the Kansas game, because without him, Kentucky looked a bit rudderless. After Briscoe struggled at point, Calipari turned to Dominique Hawkins, who filled in ably, scoring five points and dishing out a game-high seven assists to only two turnovers. With Mychal Mulder also out due to an illness, Dominique more than answered the call.

“Dom was terrific,” Cal said. “Kenny Payne just said, ‘Put Dom at point’ because Dom plays point every day in practice against De’Aaron Fox. Every day. So Dom looked fine. Again, Dom had seven assist and only two turn(overs) and one was late when none of the other guys could get open for him, so he did fine.”

Simply put, Dom was stellar, and if Fox is going to be out for multiple games, Kentucky will need more of that because…

Isaiah Briscoe had zero points

The most surprising stat line of the night belonged to Isaiah Briscoe, who had zero points, SEVEN turnovers, and only four assists. Calipari and Briscoe yelled at each other throughout the game, and when South Carolina narrowed the lead to five at the start of the second half, Calipari called a timeout to yap at Briscoe some more.

“I just told him, ‘You’ve got one minute to get it going or you’re out and I’ll go without you because you’re not doing this.’ ‘I’m okay, I’m okay.’ ‘Alright you’ve got one minute if you’re okay to play then I’m going without you.’ Then I put Dom at point guard and he played like he didn’t have every second on his shoulder. And he started making plays and coming up with balls.”

Cal was clearly frustrated with Briscoe, and came back to his performance later on.

“He had no points today. Come on. He backs into points. He had nothing today. That’s okay. We still won and he was happy as heck in there, but there’s a concern for him. Now it’s like, come on, I know I’m better than this. The kid had seven turnovers. What? Seven turnovers. And he’s not the kind of kid that does that. Not the kind of player.”

Frank Martin agreed that Briscoe running the point made Kentucky more vulnerable.

“With Briscoe, I think what hurt him too was he moved to point guard in the second half and he wasn’t off the ball, where he’s more in attack mode, but he made plays for them,” Martin said. “Seems to me he’s the backbone of that basketball team. He’s the guy that makes everyone go.”

Derek had the dunk of the night

Shoutout to the seniors for their leadership tonight. Like Dom, Derek Willis also stepped up, scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds; those may not sound like flashy numbers, but Derek made some crucial plays tonight, including a huge three when South Carolina cut the lead to three in the first half and a massive dunk in the second half that got everyone in the arena on their feet.

Can we get a replay of the bench’s reaction, please?

Same, Sacha. Same.

Wenyen Gabriel turned in his third straight impressive performance

For the third game in a row, Wenyen looked like a different player, putting up 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, a block, a steal, and no turnovers in 27 minutes. Wenyen was 3-8 from the three-point line, and although his shot fell off in the second half and he had a few “freshmen moments,” he did all the stuff that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet as well. With he and Derek playing this well, the four spot suddenly went from Kentucky’s weakest position to a pretty sound one. Cal agreed.

“I thought that Derek and Wenyen, again, they’re just giving us so much now. 23 points, 12 rebounds at that position. Making threes, making open shots. Rebounding balls. They had 23 points combined, 12 rebounds out of that position.”

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Malik and Bam led the team in scoring

It says a lot about Malik Monk that he scored 27 points and I’m just now getting to him in the recap. He and Bam led the team in scoring with 27 and 18 a piece, and Calipari implied that he wants Bam to be more demanding in the post to get more touches from his guards.

“I told Bam after the game, you’re too nice. I said I would strangle a couple of these guys that aren’t throwing you the ball. If I was you, I would. You’re so nice, you don’t say anything. And we’re throwing him the ball, but it’s like it’s forced. It shouldn’t be forced, he’s that good. I even said, is he selfish? They said, no, he’s not selfish. Well, then throw him the ball. And if he’s double teamed he gives it back to you.”

When Bam’s 5-6 from the floor, it’s hard to argue with that.

How about that prediction, Seth Davis?

I don’t like to shove crow down people’s throats, but we have to give Seth Davis a little grief tonight. Yesterday, Davis predicted that Kentucky would lose to South Carolina and only score 61 points. Predictably, Kentucky surpassed that mark with almost thirteen minutes left in the game. Granted, South Carolina wasn’t firing on cylinders. Not only were they without starting guard PJ Dozier, the flu bug apparently was going around, making the nation’s number one defense look even weaker. Yet, it’s also worth pointing out that Kentucky was without De’Aaron Fox for 32 minutes, Mychal Mulder the entire game, got zero points from Briscoe, and still beat the second best team in the league by sixteen. Not a bad night in the least.

Finally, congrats to Mitch Barnhart on the birth of his new grandson

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UK’s athletic director welcomed a new grandson into his family tonight, Reece Mitchell Willoughby. This is the second child for Mitch’s daughter Kirby and her husband McKenzie, and big brother Cooper looks especially proud in this picture. In a true sign that he’s a Kentucky fan, Reece was considerate enough to wait until halftime to come into the world. Also, I’m pretty sure that’s the beginning stages of a three goggle.


Watch all of the highlights from the big win

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Relive all of the excitement from today’s big win over South Carolina. As always, thank you to the good people at Kentucky Wildcats TV for the highlight reel. They’re the best in the business.


De’Aaron Fox in walking boot, status TBD

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Kentucky lost De’Aaron Fox to a right ankle injury in the first half and his absence was very noticeable on the offensive end.

After the game, John Calipari said the extent of the injury and Fox’s longterm status are still uncertain.

“He is in a boot but they said there is no swelling, so I don’t know,” were Cal’s exact words.

Say the injury is a significant one (and Lord please don’t let that be the case), don’t get too excited for a Hamidou Diallo sighting. Diallo has impressed in the handful of practices he has been a part of, Cal said, but, “he is not in the mix.”

Get better, De’Aaron — preferably before January 28.


Watch Derek Willis absolutely posterize a defender

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I don’t know what that South Carolina player said about Bullitt County, but he learned his lesson the hard way.

Rest in peace.