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April 19th, 2015

Coach Cal is Meeting with Cheick Diallo Tonight

Photo Under Armour/Kelly Klein

Photo Under Armour/Kelly Klein

According to Andrew Slater of 247 Sports, Calipari and Kenny Payne will be up in Centereach, NY this evening to meet with five star power forward Cheick Diallo. In case you missed it, Diallo was named the MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Co-MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic where he dropped 26 points and 11 rebounds in 20 minutes. He also has offers from St. John’s, Iowa State, Kansas, and Pitt.

 


NBA Cats: Day 1 Playoff Recap

USA Today | Tom Szczerbowski

USA Today | Tom Szczerbowski

The NBA Playoffs are full of former Cats.  The funny thing is, all of them played yesterday.  James Young’s Celtics take on the Cavs at 3:00, but I doubt he will be getting too much PT.  A rainy Sunday without the Cats might be rough, but they sure were smooth on Saturday.

Wizards 93 –  Raptors 86

Coach Cal took Drake’s seats to watch John Wall and Zard Nation steal Game 1 in overtime on the road in Toronto.  Wall didn’t have his best shooting day, going 5-18 from the field and missing a game-winner as time expired in regulation, but he flirted with a triple-double with 10 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds.  Patrick Patterson had a decent day, getting 10 points and grabbing 5 boards for former Cat Dwane Casey.  If you were wondering, Chuck Hayes did not play.

Bulls 103 – Bucks 91

My main man Nazr Muhammad didn’t get any PT, but his Bulls got the Dub.

Warriors 106  –  Pelicans 99

Anthony Davis was pretty average for three quarters, until Anthony Davis decided to start being Anthony Davis.  His 20 4th quarter points are a career-high in a quarter.  He finished with 35 points, 7 boards, and 4 blocks.  If you don’t know, now ya know.  But if ya wanna know more about his awesome playoff debut, scroll down to the story a linked from USA Today.

Rockets 118  –  Mavericks 108 

Karen Warren | Houston Chronicle

Jones bowls over Rajon Rondo to get to the basket for the layup.  (Karen Warren | Houston Chronicle)

The Real T. Jones had a REALLY good night for the Rockets, helping Houston win Round 1 of the Battle for Texas.  In 34 minutes, Jones had 19 points, second only to James Harden’s 24.  He earned many from the charity stripe, going 7-11, while scooping 9 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists.  Rajon Rondo didn’t play up to par, only handing out 5 assists and failing to grab a rebound, areas he usually dominates during the playoffs.  Rondo scored 15 points on 7-16 shooting.


Za’Darius Smith to the Packers?

@Packers

@Packers

Even though anything before the draft is simply speculation, the Green Bay Packers apparently love former Cats.  Today they Tweeted out the above video made by the official website, chronicling Z’s rise to stardom.

Big Z is currently projected to go in the 3rd or 4th round in next week’s draft.  If the Pack don’t snatch him up, the Carolina Panthers seem pretty interested too.


Time is Running Out to Renew Your Football Season Tickets

@Josh4re5t

@Josh4re5t

Take it from me: you don’t wanna miss out on this football season.

After spending a Spring watching the Cats do work, the BBN has to be prepared for the most exciting season we’ve seen in years.  You can go to a bar or watch comfortably from your couch, but I promise you it won’t be as beautiful as the football within the walls of the New Commonwealth Stadium.  I’m geeking just thinking about it.

So don’t wait, renew your season tickets before Wednesday, April 22nd.

With eight home games, the only thing that worries me about New Commonwealth is that I’m afraid Patrick Towles might break the Air Raid Sirens.


USA Today: The Warriors are Scared of Anthony Davis

Marcio Jose Sanchez | AP

Marcio Jose Sanchez | AP

In his first playoff appearance, Anthony Davis has the tall task of knocking out the one-seeded Golden State Warriors.  They aren’t just your typical one-seed, they’re historically great.  The good news: so is Anthony Davis.

We remember the Naismith POY; we remember the National Championship win and Final Four MOP; we remember the gold medal in London.  Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut might not be so familiar with his past.  After getting yappy through the first three quarters were Davis was held in check, the Warriors paid a price for the jaw-jerking, almost costing them the game.

While most of Game 1 supported the argument that this will be a one-sided series, Davis’ 20-point fourth quarter was enough to remind Kerr & Co. that he’s not the kind of talent you want to antagonize. Davis, who was contained by Warriors forwardDraymond Green through three quarters (15 points on 6-of-13 shooting and one rebound) of his playoff debut as the Warriors led by as many 25 points, woke up in the kind of way that the Warriors simply don’t want to see.

USA Today Sports’ Sam Amick said Steve Kerr is doing everything he can to keep his frontline from poking the unibrowed dragon.

Davis’ late surge was exactly the kind of thing Kerr is trying to avoid, and his don’t-wake-the-sleeping-giant approach has clearly made its way throughout his locker room.

Unless Draymond Green wants to be on a poster, I think it’d be in his best interest to keep quiet.

Game 2 is tomorrow at 10:30 on TNT.

USA Today: Warriors are scared of Anthony Davis, and that’s good


Nigel the Parrot’s Sunday Morning Links

Long gone: African grey parrot Nigel, pictured, had been without his British owner for four years and had picked up Spanish instead

Meet Nigel, an African grey parrot who called California home until he mysterious flew away in 2010.  Before he left, the parrot mimicked his owner’s British accent.  It was a long journey home, but after four years he has been reunited with his owner Darren Chick.  Unfortunately he lost his British accent, but he did find the time to pick a new language — Spanish.

Get out your brooms!  The BatCats swept Tennessee over the weekend.  Ka’ai Tom deserves credit, but he can thank me for getting things started off on the right foot Thursday when I consistently let Rocky Top’s centerfielder, Brody, know why he was going to lose (spoiler: it’s because he played for that awful, terrible school).

It is going to be a sad day when Jon Stewart hangs up The Daily Show mic.  Regardless of your beliefs, he’s changed the way news is viewed and helped a generation become more aware of what in the hell is going on around the world.  From the Guardian, Jon Stewart: Why I quit The Daily Show.

A Cubs fan made a smooth move by catching a foul ball with her cup of beer.  Instead of spilling her beer, she just chugged it like a champ.  

People are still butt-hurt over Britt McHenry’s tow truck rant, especially at ESPN, with some hoping she’ll get the proverbial ax.  Why this is still a story, I’ll never know.  I just hope there aren’t cameras at UK Parking.  Those people are the absolute worst.  I can’t condemn her actions because I’ve probably shared similar words with the worst people on Earth.  The only difference is that her salary can afford to pay the ticket/tow, whereas UK Parking siphons whatever money you haven’t spent on tuition, books and beer to fund their evil empire.

Steph Curry proved that Anthony Davis is in fact a human being.


April 18th, 2015

Saturday Night News and Views

wheres-waldo

Forget ‘Where’s Waldo?’ Kentucky’s new favorite game has become ‘Where’s Coach Cal?’ Cal has been out and about going here, there, and yonder trying to fill the holes left in next year’s team by the mass exodus of seven players to the NBA draft. Yesterday, Cal was in North Carolina; today he was in the Great White North. Where to next, Cal? Any speculation, BBN?

Mike Thorne, Jr. committed to Illinois.
Thorne, a 6’11” 270 lb grad transfer, who was on Kentucky’s radar to fill the void WCS and KAT will leave behind has decided to finish out his college career at Illinois. Speaking of recruiting news…

Cal met with Brandon Ingram last night, Jamal Murray today.
Kentucky met with five star SF Brandon Ingram last night and Nike Hoop Summit star Jamal Murray today. As of right now Murray, a 6’4” combo guard is in the 2016 class, but a reclassification could be possible. We shall see…

Kentucky has offered Mychal Mulder.
According to Sonny Bairos of CanadianBallers.com, Coach Cal has offered Mychal Mulder, a 6’4″ JUCO shooting guard out of Vincennes Junior College. Mulder averaged 15.7 ppg and 6.9 rpg last season and will have two years of eligibility to work with. He also has offers from Wichita State, Mizzou, Creighton, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, and Indiana.

Skal Labissiere speaks French with Cheick Diallo.
Our favorite Haitian is trying his best to get Cheick Diallo to come to Kentucky. The two were roommates at the Nike Hoop Summit and according to this piece by Adam Zagoria, Skal is recruiting him in French, which Diallo appreciates, “I’ve known Skal a long time. It’s not even now. Ever since I came here [from Mali] I know Skal. Nike Hoop Summit, was the same roommate so we always talking French.” How quickly can a person become fluent in French? Asking for Cal.

NBA Cats balled out today.
Every game of today’s NBA playoffs included at least one former Cat. John Wall’s Wizards defeated Chuck Hayes & Patrick Patterson’s Raptors in overtime, 93-86 with Coach Cal in attendance (in Drake’s seats). Golden State beat Anthony Davis’ Pelicans, 106-99, in AD’s playoff debut. But….

According to ESPN, those 35 points are tied for the 5th most in a playoff debut over the last 40 years. This also happened….

He’s a beast I tell you!

Kentucky softball team beats South Carolina…. and then South Carolina beats Kentucky.
It’s been a long day for the Kentucky softball team. After beating South Carolina, 2-0, to even the series earlier today, the Cats couldn’t get it done in the second game of the double header. After eleven innings, the Gamecocks take down the Cats, 7-6. Kentucky’s next game will be against the Dirty Cards in Lexington on Tuesday at 6pm. #BeatLouisville

Cats sweep the Vols!
Can’t help but be a little excited that the baseball Cats swept the Lowdown, Dirty Snitches this afternoon with a 5-3 win. This is the first time in three years that the Wildcats have swept a SEC series and the first time they have swept Tennessee in program history. Trey Huntsman has the full recap of that here if you want to take a look.

Churchill Downs has banned selfie sticks.
Yes, that’s right. Churchill Downs has banned selfie sticks for the Derby next month. While they do encourage people to take selfies, they have banned the selfie sticks for the safety of others and for the horses. The ban will continue after the Derby and apply whenever live racing is happening.

Willie as a cowboy is the best thing you’ll see all day.

Willie Cauley-Stein and his cowboy hat made an appearance at the UK Rodeo Team’s Cowboy Up for a Cure this evening. Cowboy Up for a Cure is really cool event that the UK Rodeo Team throws to raise funds for kids battling different forms of pediatric cancer. To find out more about it or to donate, head over here.

Updated list of autograph signing tours:
WCS:
April 21st- Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass, Simpsonville, 6-8pm
April 22nd- Wildcat Wearhouse, Owensboro, 6-7:30pm
April 23rd- Wildcat Wearhouse, Hazard, 6-7:30pm
April 24th- Wildcats & More, Dry Ridge, 6-8pm
April 25th- Wildcat Wearhouse, Fayette Mall, Lexington, 6-7:30pm
April 26th- Towne Mall, Elizabethtown, 2-3:30pm
April 27th- Sheppard’s Fan Shop, London, 5:30-7:30pm
April 28th- Barleycorns, Cold Spring, 6-8:30pm
April 29th- Sports Den, Somerset, 5-6:30pm

Harrison Twins:
April 19th- Tin Roof, Louisville, 5-6:30pm
April 20th- Simpsonville Outlet Mall, Simpsonville 6-7:30pm
April 21st- The Kentucky Shop, Florence, TBA
April 22nd- Sleep Outfitters, Somerset, 6-7:30pm

If you want to get Devin Booker and Karl’s autograph, time is running out.
Devin Booker’s final appearance will be tomorrow at the Elizabethtown Mall, 2-3:30. KAT is also making his final appearance this weekend in Dry Ridge at Wildcats & More, tomorrow 4-5:30.
You still have a few chances to see Dakari and Trey. They will be at Barleycorns in Cold Spring, Ky noon-1:30 tomorrow and Wildcats Sports Apparel in Nicholasville on Tuesday, 6-7:30.

 
That’s it for me tonight. Roush and I will be around tomorrow to see y’all through to Monday.
Sleep tight, BBN.

 

@JC_KSR


Watch Thon Maker and Skal Labissiere go head-to-head

Bummed out over Mike Thorne not coming to Kentucky to eat some space next season? Maybe this video of Skal and potential Cat Thon Maker battling it out will help ease your roster woes. A lot of people have been praising Labissiere’s sweet stroke and now you can see it in action thanks to a rad edit by the folks over at CityLeagueHoops.

Watch the big men work.


Skal and Diallo making a French Connection

Coach Cal may have not made an appearance at the Jordan Brand Classic last night but he still had three top recruiters on the scene. According to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog Skal Labissiere, Charles Matthews, and Isaiah Brisco were all pushing for the Mali native to join them in Lexington next season. Skal was even doing so in Cheick’s native tongue of French. Here’s a bit from Zagsblog and Isaiah’s response to learning a second language.

English is not Diallo’s first language, and he appreciates speaking French with Labissiere.

“I’ve known Skal a long time,” he said. “It’s not even now. Ever since I came here [from Mali] I know Skal. Nike Hoop Summit, was the same roommate so we always talking French.”

Isaiah Briscoe, who nearly brought the East to the win en route to 22 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, doesn’t speak French, but would love to have Diallo join him at Kentucky.

“I would like for Cheick to come to Kentucky, I mean that would be good,” Briscoe said. “Skal, Cheick, me, Charles [Matthews] I think that’s a good class.”

Will he work on his French a little?

“Not happening,” Briscoe joked.

[Zagsblog: Kentucky Signees Recruiting Diallo to Lexington]

Diallo is meeting with St. John’s Chris Mullin and our old assistant Slice today and Coach Cal will be paying him a visit later this week. Could Coach Cal bring this French Connection to campus next season after they’ve been dominating all the all-star games? I certainly hope so.

Oui Oui.


Previewing Tonight’s NBA Action

Milwaukee @ Chicago; 6 p.m. on ESPN

Via CBSChicago

Of player taken in the 1998 NBA Draft only four remain on an NBA roster: Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Paul Peirce, and Nazr Mohammed. That’s not a bad list to be  part of for Kentucky’s 17 year vet. Still, this looks like this playoff run could be Nazr’s last. The veteran has been used seldom this season as he provides some backup minutes for Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol.

His team today will take on the Milwaukee Bucks who are in the playoffs in-part to Brandon Knight winning a bunch of games before the trade deadline. The Bucks are young and fun to watch but ever since they dealt BK I haven’t kept up with them at all. Chicago won the season series 3-1 and with Derrick Rose finally back in the playoffs I don’t see them losing this series. Bulls in 6.

Dallas @ Houston

Last year the Rockets dropped their opening two games of their playoff series at home to the TrailBlazers and were never able to recover. This year the law firm of Harden, Howard, and Jones are going to make sure that doesn’t happen against their in-state rivals from Dallas. After missing much of the year with various injuries Terrence Jones has played well when healthy. He’s averaging 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2 blocks on a team that doesn’t need him to do a whole lot. After being dominated by LaMarcus Aldridge last season, I think Jones has a breakout series this year.

For Rajon Rondo and the Mavs it’s one last chance to figure things out. Dallas had the association’s best offense before Rondo was acquired and since then have had chemistry issues putting the pieces in place. He’s back in the playoffs for the first time since 2012 so maybe that will inspire the all-star point guard to bring back the stellar play he displayed back in those Celtics runs. Now a break for Dirk rapping.

Houston won the regular season 3-1 and I think they take a tough series in 7 games.

Which former Cats will you be pulling for?


Where in the world is John Calipari?

Yesterday kicked off the spring open recruiting period that lasts until the 22nd and Coach Cal took full advantage by traveling to North Carolina to visit Brandon Ingram. Since then all has been quiet on the John Calipari front. Where is Cal right now? The answer is way up north.

Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal spoke with the Coach of Orangeville Prep, Larry Blunt, where teammates Thon Maker and Jamal Murray attend school about the possibility of a visit from Cal this weekend. I think there is a strong possibility that visit could be going on right now.

“I can neither confirm nor deny” that Calipari will visit this weekend, Orangeville coach Larry Blunt said with a laugh. “Those guys have tried to put plans together to meet with (Murray’s) family and the young man. They’ve been up a few times and hopefully they’ll be up again soon.

Orangeville prep is located on the outskirts of Toronto, where John Wall is taking on Patrick Patterson today in the playoffs. As Kaan mentioned earlier, Coach Cal just so happened to be in attendance for that game.

Where will Cal pop up next? We here at KSR will keep following the clues to keep you up to date. For more info on Jamal and Thon, check out Kyle Tucker’s article. It’s got some good tidbits on if Murray will reclassify, Thon playing overseas, and more.

[Courier-Journal: UK’s Calipari Courting Canadian Teammates]

 


Kentucky Finishes Sweep of Tennessee

Kentucky jumped to fourth in the SEC East this weekend. (Photo by UK Athletics)

Kentucky jumped to fourth in the SEC East this weekend. (Photo by UK Athletics)

For the first time since 2012, Kentucky completed a sweep of an SEC series. Following wins on Thursday and Friday, the Cats (22-16, 8-9) wrapped up the series sweep of Tennessee (15-20, 5-13) with a 5-3 win on Saturday. Ka’ai Tom was three for four at the plate with three RBIs to lead the Cats to their eighth SEC win on the year.

Kentucky turned to spot starter Andrew Nelson to take the mound on Saturday. Nelson started earlier this week against WKU, going three innings and allowing one run. He continued his success this week by throwing 4.1 one-run innings against Tennessee. Nelson struck out three and allowed three hits to give the Cats an early presence on the mound. Kentucky has needed a spot starter like Nelson to step up in the third spot of the rotation following Kyle Cody’s recent struggles.

While Nelson was mowing down Tennessee’s batting order, Kentucky’s offense jumped out to an early lead. Back-to-back doubles by Evan White and Ka’ai Tom helped to give Kentucky a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The double was Tom’s 12th on the season and his 40th RBI.

Following an unearned run by Tennessee in the second inning, Kentucky loaded the bases for Dorian Hairston in the third. Hairston roped a single to right field that scored Evan White and gave Kentucky a 2-1 lead through three innings. 

Nelson continued to cruise with a 2-1 lead heading into the fifth inning. Gary Henderson went to the bullpen after Nelson allowed a man to reach in the fifth. Zach Logue came on to pitch for the second straight game after picking up the save in last night’s 3-1 win. Logue would come in with an opportunity to collect the win, and that’s what he would do. Allowing two hits and no runs over 2.2 innings, Logue won his second game of the year.

Kentucky’s big inning came in the fifth. Kyle Barrett led the inning off with a double and advanced to third on a White groundout. Tom came to the plate against Tennessee’s Kyle Serrano with Barrett on third and one out. On a 3-2 pitch, Tom knocked his third home run of the year over the field wall near the football practice facility. This was Tom’s 42nd RBI on the year and his second extra-base hit of the game. JaVon Shelby followed Tom’s home run by hitting one of his own to left field. It was the first time Kentucky had hit back-to-back home runs since A.J Reed and Cameron Flynn in 2012. 

The three-run inning would give Kentucky a much-needed 5-1 lead late in the game. Following Logue’s outing, Logan Salow came in with one out in the eighth and the bases loaded. Salow got a strike out and a fly out to end the jam and maintain a 5-1 lead. Henderson would keep Salow on the mound headed to the ninth, but he would be forced to make a quick change after Salow allowed a single and a double. Closer Spencer Jack took the mound, needing only two outs to complete the sweep. A sacrifice fly would cut the lead to three, but it put Tennessee down to their last out. Tennessee’s Jordan Rodgers singled to score another run, but Jack would shut the door following Rodgers’ RBI. Kentucky finished off the sweep with a 5-3 win over Tennessee.

This was Kentucky’s first sweep since 2012 against Alabama and their first sweep over Tennessee in school history. The three wins propelled Kentucky to fourth in the SEC East with a conference record of 8-9. The Cats take on Xavier on Tuesday and will travel to Florida next weekend to take on the red-hot Gators.

@TreyHuntsmanKSR

 


Anthony Davis’ special connection with Pelicans coach Monty Williams

Anthony Davis has risen to all-star status in the NBA already in just a span of 3 years of being in the league. His connection with Pelican’s head coach Monty Williams is a main reason why he has been able to achieve the success he has. The video above shows the coach and player’s cohesive connection on and off the court, and their ability to push one another in their different roles to get better. Clearly it has worked.

The eighth-seeded Pelicans play the Warriors away today on ABC at 3:30 ET, don’t miss out on watching Davis in his first-ever playoff appearance. However, I don’t know how much of a chance the Pelicans stand against Steph Curry’s Warriors in an arena that will be bouncing off the walls. Oakland loves their basketball.


Calipari in Toronto for the playoffs

Getty Images

Getty Images

Coach Cal is in attendance at the Wizards-Raptors game to check out some of his former Cats. Word on the street is he and Kenny Payne are sitting in Drake’s personal courtside seats. Cal, you’re the man.

I’m hearing there is also a possibility he drops in on Jamal Murray and Thon Maker, both Canadian natives, while he is up in the Great White North.

@kaansoloKSR


Mike Thorne Jr. commits to Illinois

thorne

Well that was short lived. According to Jon Rothstein our possible replacement for Cauley-Stein and Towns, Mike Thorne Jr., just committed to Illinois. The 270 pound big man could have done some real damage down low for the Cats next season, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’ve got faith in Cal.

And the search continues…

@kaansoloKSR