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February 11th, 2016

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.

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.

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]

If the NCAA Tournament Started Today…


Hello, friends. Here we are, in February, with the ultimate wrap-up of the 2015-16 basketball season upon us. As we all know, next month begins the true trek to our next hopeful National Championship, it’s time to start keeping our eyes on the prize. But what would the situation be if the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament started today? We boiled down some hard facts to find out what we could look forward to.

Villanova, Iowa, UNC and Oklahoma would likely pull the one seeds.
There’s been a lot of parity in this year’s field, but these four teams have maintained the solid records to prove A team like Kansas or, to a lesser extent Xavier, might pull off one of these top seeds but should the tournament start today, these four would be most likely.

Kentucky would probably be a four or five seed in the Southern Region.
This would send them to either Oklahoma City, Denver or St. Louis, the latter being the easiest drive for Kentucky fans.

UK would likely not have many fans attending the games.
If the game were to be held in St. Louis today, we would have no prior notice to arrange travel, which means only fans within driving distance from St. Louis could make it to the games and, even at that, the fact that the NCAA Tournament was suddenly announced today would make it hard to find tickets. Oklahoma City or Denver, for in-state Kentucky fans, would depend upon flight times this morning to those cities, and buying a ticket at the last second is always very pricey.

Alex Poythress would miss the first two weeks of the NCAA Tournament.
Per Cal’s announcement this week, two weeks out for Poythress would make him again ineligible for the first two weeks of the NCAA Tournament, only rejoining the team should the Wildcats make it to a Final Four in Houston.

Many people would miss important events.
A sudden shift in time to March 17 would cause people to miss important dates in their lives. People who were to be married in late February were not able to get married as the date did not technically exist in this version of our universe. People who purchased tickets to Blake Shelton’s YUM Center concert next Friday would not be compensated for the money they lost when the event never occurred. If you had a dentist appointment in early March, you’d have to reschedule because your appointment never happened.

Our economic infrastructure would reach a state of panic.
The unpredicted removal a full thirty-five days of the financial quarter would toss the business world into total chaos, not to mention what the event would do to the NASDAQ. Also, every single person in the world will miss payment on anything due during the time between February 11 and March 17, creating a need for the government to step in as a mediator between individuals, corporations and credit companies.

Bears would wake up from hibernation too late.
Bears have adapted their internal rhythms to coincide with the cold months, where food shortages often occur. Harsh winters often kill off a percentage of animals like deer and elk, leading the bears to feast on their carcasses when they wake in late February. Shortening the winter by a month would allow more animals to remain alive, shorting the bears this food when they waken – which, given that they are asleep during the time change, will probably now be early April.

Bears, suffering from a lack of food, would turn their sites on other prey.
While our human brains would undoubtedly find it confusing to wake up today and have it suddenly be March 17, for a bear to wake up at arguably the end of spring would be difficult for the bear to comprehend. Add to this the fact that food will be more scarce and bears will naturally turn to other sources for food, possibly humans, creating a dangerous environment.

Children would be going to school until July and the government would have to add a month to the calendar.
With snow days, many Kentucky children are already looking at an early June dismissal. With the complete disappearance of an entire month of the school calendar, classes will extend into the summer. The government, in addition to rescheduling debates creating a committee for bear control, will have to add a “thirteenth month” to the calendar, which means that New Year’s Eve would not be on December 31 but instead on the last day of this new invented month, which doesn’t have a name or a number of days yet.

You wouldn’t have to spend any money on Valentine’s Day.
Hey, at least there’s a silver lining to February 14 never having occurred in 2016. Unfortunately, the Vermont Teddy Bear company has gone out of business anyway as nearly all of its corporate board members were eaten by confused bears at an off-site ropes course training event. All previously-placed orders will be refunded.

Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray make Naismith Trophy Midseason List

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Congratulations to Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray, who were named to the midseason watch list for the Naismith Trophy, given annually to the best player in college basketball.

Ulis is currently averaging 16.2 points and 6.4 assists per game and has scored 20 or more points in nine of his last 13 games. Murray is currently averaging 18.5 points per game, good enough for fourth in the SEC and fifth nationally among freshmen. Here’s an interesting tidbit from UK: if the season ended today, Murray would finish with the highest scoring average in the John Calipari era at Kentucky. Brandon Knight, in 2010-11, ended the season at 17.3 points per game.

Here’s the entire watch list from @NaismithTrophy:

The winner will be announced on Monday, April 4.

What Valentine’s Day gift do Kentuckians google more than any other state?

Valentine’s Day is Sunday, which means if you don’t have a dinner reservation yet, stop what you’re doing and make one right now. If you don’t have a present for your special someone yet, the folks at Estately are here to help with this interesting graphic of which Valentine’s Day presents each state googles more than any other state. What was Kentucky’s? Couples tattoos. Interesting.

That’s slightly more classy than Tennessee’s most searched for item, cheap sex toys, but nowhere near as classy as Washington’s bearskin rug. Also, of course South Carolinians google matching outfits for Valentine’s Day. With palmettos on them, I’m sure.

Jamal Murray now the top Kentucky prospect in latest Draft Express mock draft

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Skal Labissiere’s draft stock has been a hot topic this season, and in the latest Draft Express mock draft, Skal is no longer the top Kentucky prospect. That spot now belongs to Jamal Murray, who comes in at #8 in Draft Express’ 2016 mock draft; however, Skal is still in the top ten, which is further proof that despite low numbers, he could still be drafted high based on potential.

Isaiah Briscoe and Tyler Ulis also made the mock draft, projected to go in the second round:

#8: Jamal Murray
#10: Skal Labissiere
#32: Isaiah Briscoe
#51: Tyler Ulis

Meanwhile, if you really want to peer in the crystal ball, three of UK’s 2016 signees made Draft Express’ latest 2017 mock draft:

#4: De’Aaron Fox
#8: Bam Adebayo
#15: Malik Monk

This morning, Bam posted this pic on Instagram, and you cannot convince me he’s only 18 years old:

"Believe In Yourself, Turn Adversity Into Ambition"🖐🏾 #WeMatter💂🏾 #GAMEDAY

A photo posted by Mr.Productivity🍀🏀 (@bam2.0) on

As JT would say, that’s one G.A.M.

Four years ago today, we Occupied Memorial

Normally, Facebook’s “Memories” feature only shares really unflattering pictures of me from years past, but this morning, it reminded me that four years ago, we occupied Memorial. That’s right, on February 11, 2012, back when I was blogging for KSR part time in addition to my full-time job, I was one of about 500 UK fans that crashed “College GameDay” at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym before UK’s game against the ‘Dores that night. Looking back, it’s one of my favorite things I’ve done for KSR.

KSR and the Nashville UK Alumni Association worked together to plan the siege, meeting at 7 a.m. at the McDonald’s across the street from Memorial Gym to share some free sausage biscuits and swap strategy. Upon entrance to the gym, everyone in blue was ushered up to the third level of seating by Vandy officials, who also confiscated several signs from Kentucky fans. It was clear Vandy knew about our plan, and their tone in dealing with us was hostile to say the least; however, they were docile in comparison to Digger Phelps, who took the mic and lectured UK fans before the taping began:

That video ended up going viral, showing up on Deadspin and several other national sites. You’re welcome, Digger!

Fortunately, Digger’s righteousness didn’t extend to the rest of the “College GameDay” crew, and our group in the third level finally got on camera during the show:

As did former KSR College writers Ally Tucker, Tara Bilby, and Laura Leigh Rossoll, who managed to infiltrate the Vandy student section:

That day also gave us Helmet Guy and a 69-63 win over the Commodores. In a season full of great memories, it still ranks up there as one of the best.