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February 11th, 2016

From the Craft to the Nutter Center: 3 Potential Basketball to Football Player Evaluations

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today


Throughout history, a faction of fan speculation has fixated on which basketball Cats have the athletic ability and attitude to play football in the Southeastern Conference. At the time this post was emailed to the KSR editorial staff, I could not confirm, but had heard rumors that a member of 2014’s 38-1 team played high school football. I don’t think media has mentioned this before and wanted to rival Scoop Lemond by breaking the news.

Prior to projection, physicality differences in the two sports have to be taken into consideration. There is a distinct variance in a contact sport (basketball) and football’s violent collision nature. Willingness and acceptance of on the field ferocity are not easily tolerated or welcomed. In the early stages of the Unforgettables, the vast majority of that team was infatuated with football. A small minority of football Cats felt as if they could play hoops on a collegiate level. Friendly arguments ensued. While playing Spurrier’s first Florida Gator team, John Pelphrey, Sean Woods, and others were on the sidelines with a safe view of the day’s festivities. After the first offensive series, I came off the field with a bloody nose with a slightly bent facemask. I asked Pel and fellas if they still wanted to trade places? They politely declined and looked at me with a sympathetic stare reminiscent of a Mike Tyson opponent’s Cut Doctor.

That being said, based solely on Tuesday’s Rupp Arena’s assignment, I saw three current Kentucky basketball players that possess the prerequisite attitude and physical traits to play SEC football: Tyler Ulis, Isiah Briscoe, and Dominique Hawkins.


Tyler Ulis may be smallish in stature but makes up for it with a jaguar’s heart. With weight gain, Ulis would be a nice addition to Mark Stoops’ team as a slot receiver and special team’s returner. Transferrable athletic attributes include explosive bursts, hip flexibility, rapid change of direction, and instinct. Straight line speed estimation is in the 4.4 to 4.5 range. In order for an effective transition, Ulis would have to play at 170-180 pounds.


Dominique Hawkins has the frame and athletic capacity of a lock-down cornerback. With lateral and vertical movement fluid, Hawkins is explosive from stop to start which converts to breaking on an attempted pass as well as reacting to up field rushing tackle. Dom’s upper body is structured to put on additional strength and weight which leads to positional diversity. At 200 pounds, he could easily play the Safety/Nickel position. Hawkins actually played football in high school as his movement from the Craft Center to Nutter would be the most seamless.


A 230-pound Isiah Briscoe equates to a prototypical Safety/Linebacker hybrid. Similar to Ulis, Briscoe’s pit bull mentality is perfect for an edge pass rusher with the additional skill to also cover down-field pass catchers. Relentless in effort and with required training, of the three I could foresee Briscoe having the highest ceiling. Reasons for this assumptions derive from his on-court defense and understanding of angles and leverage while driving to the basket. On several occasions, Briscoe dipped his shoulder to distort his body to elude defenders. This move is exactly what is taught to outside linebackers while rushing the quarterback. As repeated often on this site, can never have too many pass rushers.


Kentucky Basketball legend Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones was an All American for Adolph Rupp. My homeboy was also a football All-American for Coach Bear Bryant. Can or will there ever be another UK football/basketball player? Most likely no. However, the NFL currently features former basketball players across several rosters. Tight End is the most common position.

Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day


We’ve partnered with Wendy’s for the Pic & Roll at Rupp Sweepstake! Visit a participating Wendy’s in the Lexington, KY area, take a pic with the in-store Pic & Roll At Rupp sign, and post to Instagram or Twitter using #WendysRuppVIP for your chance to win!
– – – – – – –
Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of Kentucky, 18 years of age & older. Sweepstakes begins at 9:00:00 am EST on February 5, 2016, and ends at 11:59:59 pm EST on March 7, 2016. Void where prohibited. For full prize details, go to

You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:

#10 Tennessee Titans

We miss this former Cat Avery day.



#9 Jamey Schilling

This is amazing.



#8 Billy Big Blue

Please no.



#7 Lil Joe B. Hall

Why did Louisville have to ruin ceilings for us?



#6 marcus shanks

SPA312: Civilization of Spain, Barker Hall Room 303



#5 Tyler Burton

I totally agree.



#4 Walsh is Happy

Our defense is going to look fantastic.



#3 tom m

Surprisingly no.



#2 PapaDorton

That is Matt’s “am I getting fired for that comment” face.



#1 Corey Smith

Please do not ruin bath tubs for us also, Louisville.




When Having NBA All-Stars Comes in Handy…

Jeff Gross | Getty Images

Jeff Gross | Getty Images

This weekend Anthony Davis will play in his third All-Star game.  The BBN will be proud, but more importantly, the best basketball recruits in America will know that Davis, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were Kentucky kids.

DeAndre Ayton, the #1 Junior in America, is one of the most amazing basketball players I’ve ever seen.  The dynamic 7-footer is still playing catch-up from surgery that took him away from his sophomore season, so he’s a little behind in the recruiting process, still not speaking with coaches.  The schools he’s paid attention to are the ones that have produced the best players.

“I don’t get on the phone with anyone. I don’t have any of their numbers. I’m going to visit soon. I just like those schools because I like the players that have come out of those programs.  With Anthony Davis at Kentucky, to be honest, that’s the dude of the future of the NBA. I really try to replicate my game after him.”

This is music to my ears.  Seriously, this kid is the Real Deal Holyfield.  Just imagine, a 7-footer that can also play like a guard.  Don’t imagine it, watch him do work and appreciate his awesomeness.


On this date in 1989…

kennyskywalker hair

Kenny “Sky” Walker won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

The only former Wildcat to ever win All-Star Weekend’s Saturday night spectacle, Walker defeated former Champion Spud Webb and Clyde “The Glide” Drexler in Houston to take home the title.  Luckily, Walker didn’t have to take the crown from back-to-back winner Michael Jordan.

If you’ve never seen the show he put on, it’s amazing to see how agile the big man was in the air.

I wonder if there’s another Wildcat out there that could do what Walker did 27 years ago.  Maybe John Wall…What do YOU think?

How a Fall Saved One UK Gymnast’s Life


It’s been almost a year since UK gymnast Shelby Hilton’s career came to an end with a fall during her floor routine.  The fall isn’t what stopped her, it’s what they found later at the hospital.  Since discovering cancer in her brain, she’s not only fought it back, but she remains on track to graduate this December.

WKYT’s Lee K. Howard tells her inspiring story.  WARNING: It’s a tear-jerker.

The Big Blue Road Trip: Phoenix


We drove out to the middle of the desert to watch the Georgia game with the Cats fans of Phoenix, Arizona. The drive in was long (Texas is entirely too big) but the scenery was totally different than anything we had seen before and that made the 17-hour drive easier. The desert is cool, guys.



We met the Phoenix Alumni Club at a sports grill called Blue 32. It was actually the first time the club had met at this location and we didn’t really know what to expect from the management there. They ended up being very accommodating, though, and let us hang up flags and banners, as well as take over the bar area.


There were about thirty-forty fans that showed up to watch the game. Phoenix is 1,790 miles away from Lexington, but this group was just as passionate as any. We had guys standing on chairs singing the fight song and leading Cats cheers.


Phoenix was great and now we are heading all the way west to California, where we’ll be for a couple games.


Keep up with us on Twitter!


Stamps and Forrest are Heading to the NFL Combine

David Stephenson | AP

David Stephenson | AP

Kentucky will be represented by two exiting Seniors in the NFL Combine.  Linebacker Josh Forrest and safety A.J. Stamps will run through the traditional drills in Indianapolis February 23-29.  Despite a strong showing at the East-West Shrine Bowl, C.J. Johnson did not receive an invitation.

After a decent Senior Bowl performance, Forrest is projected to be 7th-round pick.  The others will have to work their way into the draft at the combine, or at Kentucky’s Pro Day, which has been scheduled for March 4 according to Jen Smith of the Herald-Leader.

You can watch all of the combine on the NFL Network, and see a full list of participants here.

J.B. Holmes Has Great First Round at Pebble Beach


I’m an absolute sucker for golf and will be the first to admit that. So, with everyone talking about basketball, golf has quietly started out on the west coast – including a helluva final round before the Super Bowl. This week the PGA is doing a Pro-Am at Pebble Beach and our guy J.B. Holmes is off to a great start.

Holmes shot -6 during the first round as one of the first guys finished. When he finished the round he was in a tie for third, just two shots behind the leader. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise as Holmes is one of the favorites to win this event, even with names like Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson in the field. Charlie Kane, an expert picker at went as far to predict Holmes would win this event.


Cats are a 4-Seed in Joe Lunardi’s Latest Bracketology

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 6.39.34 PM

The Cats are opening the tournament in Denver against the Mocs of Chattanooga in Joe Lunardi’s updated Bracketology.

The bad news — being in a bracket with Oklahoma, Maryland, and the lengthy Purdue as a 5-seed is about as tough as it gets.  The good news — Kentucky’s positioning in the SEC let’s them control their destiny, allowing for plenty of upward mobility in the last month of the season.

I’m still searching, but I can’t seem to find Louisville in this bracket.  Maybe they’ll make next week’s?

DeMarcus Cousins plays a car dealer looking for love in new commercial

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 2.49.54 PM

As if we needed further proof that Boogie is the best, I present his latest commercial for Chase Chevrolet in Sacramento. DeMarcus plays “Ima Cousins,” a finance director who’s also looking for love:

What will Boogie get into this weekend at the NBA All-Star Game? I can’t wait to find out.

NCAA Football Heading Toward Different Replay System


The NCAA Football Rules Committee voted on Thursday to let conferences experiment with a command center type of replay. The thought of this is to let a collaboration of people take a look at the replay as opposed to just one specific person. The replay official at the stadium will still make the final call, but will receive input from others before coming to that decision.

As typical with college football, this is because of the SEC. While many might think the disaster at the end of the Miami-Duke game is the reason for more people to look at this, the SEC actually demanded collaborative replay in its proposal to the rules committee. Expect the SEC to be the first conference to experiment with this change in replay system next year.

On top of that switch, there’s the possibility refs can review the targeting penalty, even if one isn’t called. If there seems to be an egregious missed call it looks like the refs will have a chance to correct their mistake, leading to an ejection.

Kentucky and Tyler Ulis Fly Up Luke Winn’s Power Rankings

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Luke Winn of does a fantastic job with his power rankings, which come out every Thursday. He breaks down his top-16 teams with some sort of advanced stat regarding a player, play or comparison. Well, after falling all the way to 31 a week ago, Kentucky flew up Winn’s board to No. 16.

The reason why? Well, besides blowouts it’s because of Tyler Ulis. Winn gives out that in SEC play Ulis has a 134.2 ORtg per KenPom and a 4:1 assist to turnover ratio with nearly 25% usage. Winn goes on to say outside of Denzel Valentine he doesn’t think there’s a point guard in the country having a better year and has made his way back into All-American talk.

Personally, I think Ulis is having an under appreciated year because Kentucky has been floating around the No. 20 rankings for a long time. On top of that heading into the year all we heard about from the point guard spot was Kris Dunn and Melo Trimble. This season by Ulis will be appreciated more after the fact, similar to Brandon Knight – especially by those that aren’t fans of Kentucky.

Devin Booker will replace Nerlens Noel in the Rising Stars Challenge


Nerlens Noel is unable to participate in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge because of a knee injury, but I have a feeling you’ll like his replacement.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Devin Booker will fill in for Noel in the game between the league’s best rookies and second-year players, a wise choice because Booker is ballin’ these days and he’s already in Toronto for the 3-point Contest Saturday night. He’ll join Karl Towns on Team USA as they take on Trey Lyles and Team World.

The game will broadcast live at 9 p.m. ET Friday on TNT.

Hornets announce Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has a torn labrum

Some players just can’t catch a break. Seven games after returning from a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist injured the same shoulder in last night’s game vs. the Pacers. Sadly, the Hornets just announced that an MRI revealed that MKG tore his labrum yet again. 

It’s the second time in five months MKG has suffered that particular injury, the first coming in October during a preseason exhibition. Last night, Pacers center Ian Mahinmi fell on top of MKG under the basket, pinning his arm to the court:

There’s no timetable for his return, but it’s doubtful he’ll be back this season. The news is especially cruel when you consider that MKG was playing really well over the last seven games, scoring a season-high 20 points off 7-14 shooting against the Bulls on Monday. Since his return, the Hornets are 5-2 and flirting with playoff contention.

The Charlotte-Observer’s Rick Bonnell says MKG could either opt for season-ending surgery or rehabbing the labrum, the latter of which would make him more prone to future injury. The Hornets will re-evaluate him after the All-Star break.

Get well soon, MKG.

[The Charlotte-Observer]

Complex Magazine did an oral history of Drake’s airball at Big Blue Madness

Drake’s airball at the 2014 Big Blue Madness may have been a lowlight for him, but it was definitely the highlight of night. The airball was such a viral moment that Complex Magazine’s Eric Koreen did an entire oral history of it, talking to a panel made up of former UK players Patrick Patterson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles, Devin Booker, Tod Lanter, and Sam Malone; media, including our own Matt Jones; and for some reason, comedian Kevin Hart.

Cauley-Stein: I started laughing a little bit but then after he airballed, I was like, “Get this guy off the court. Give him the mic. Give him the mic.”

Kevin Hart, comedian: Drake SUCKS! Shot an airball in front of a thousand people.

Lyles: It was pretty funny. I was laughing.

Our pal Bomani Jones also chimed in:

Bomani Jones: I’m fascinated by the idea that this guy is No. 1 in the rap game. There have always been rules for a guy like Drake. It’s just odd that he is the guy. It’s very interesting that the No. 1 rapper isn’t really that cool. That was the least cool thing he possibly could have done—go out there and shoot an airball…It is another part of the tapestry that is Drake.

Entertaining stuff over at Complex, so check it out.

[The Oral History of Drake’s Airball]