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March 30th, 2015

Who did “The Carlton” better: Jorts or Frank Kaminsky?

During yesterday’s games, CBS played a hilarious clip of Frank Kaminsky doing The Carlton dance, which reminded me of when Josh Harrellson busted it out at the 2010 Big Blue Madness. That, of course, made me want to poll the masses.

Who did The Carlton better: Jorts or Frank the Tank?

Better than Jorts at 2010 Big Blue Madness?

Frank’s form may be cleaner, but Jorts’ expression wins me over.


Where Are They Now: Ramel Bradley

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Ramel Bradley came to Kentucky with a talented group of All-Americans including Rajon Rondo, Joe Crawford and Randolph Morris. Bradley played for Kentucky from 2004 until 2008 under Tubby Smith for three seasons and Billy Gillespie for one. In his 128 games as a Wildcat, Bradley scored a total of 1326 points, which ranks him 28th overall in Kentucky’s all-time scoring history. Bradley was named to the First-Team All-SEC in 2008.

Bradley’s favorite memory from his time at Kentucky comes from his Senior Day defeat over Florida.

After we got the win, embracing the fact that it was going to be my last game in Rupp Arena (was emotional),” Bradley said. “Taking one more look at all the fans cheering and holding up the ‘Roc’ sign.”

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After graduating from the University of Kentucky in 2008, Bradley went underrated in the NBA Draft that summer. However, he was invited by the New Jersey Nets to play in the NBA Summer League because they liked his efforts he gave in his workouts and other camps he participated in. The Nets did not sign him for the following season.

Bradley decided to take his basketball talents overseas and signed with Cedevita Zagreb in Croatia. During his one season in Zagreb, he averaged 15.1 points and 2.4 assists.

In June of 2009, Bradley signed with a JDA Dijon, a French Pro-A Team. Bradley played the entire season for Dijon averaging 12 points, 3.7 assists and 2.7 rebounds.

In 2010, Bradley left for Israel to sign with Maccabi Ashdod. In his eighteenth game with the team, he injured his knee and missed the rest of season due to season ending surgery.

Bradley played in Israel for the next two seasons with Hapoel Jerusalem (2011-12) and Berak Netanya (2012-13) where he became very fond of the Middle East.

“It’s a great feeling walking outside, Israeli kids run up to me and know my name ‘Bradley! Bradley!’” he said. “I’m recognized almost everywhere I go, we’re living our N.B.A. life overseas.”

While playing for Netanya, Bradley volunteered for Netanya Hoops for Kids that organized a retreat for children in a southern city of Israel.

“It was also very humbling knowing that I could help these kids, put a smile on their faces, and keep them happy through ball. It shows it’s not about where you’re from but making the most of the time that you have in the moment.”

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Bradley then headed to Turkey where he signed with Turk Telekom. He continued to play in Turkey the following season for Yesilgiresun Belediye where he continues to play today. Bradley averages 19.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game as one of the starting five. Yesilgiresun currently sits in 8th place in the Turkish Second Basketball League with a record of 15-12.

Bradley continues to keep a close on the Kentucky basketball team as seen through his Twitter page. He still remains good friends with former teammate, Joe Crawford.

Ramel “Smooth” Bradley always had a deep love for music, so here one of his songs he produced back in 2010. Not too bad Ramel.

My favorite Ramel Bradley memory comes from when I went to a UK Hoops game against Tennessee back during the Candace Parker days. Ramel was at the game and he signed my shirt and I thought that was the coolest thing in the world as a middle schooler. I still remember the exact shirt he signed and what his signature looks like.

 


Notes and Quotes from Monday’s Spring Practice

Today’s practice started like Monday’s for most people…slow.  But once the Cats got going, Mark Stoops was pleased with their groove.  Here’s just a little bit of the scoop shared with the media this morning.

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People cannot stop talking about Jacob Hyde at the fullback position.  I can’t lie, it’s entertaining to watch the 330-pounder line up in the backfield, but I am much more concerned about what happens after the ball is snapped.  Saturday I was surprised.

The first two times Hyde lined up behind the center in their Jumbo package, they called pass plays.  The play-actions worked perfectly, with one resulting in a touchdown to tight end C.J. Conrad.  “It’s important,” Dawson said.  “To be able to throw the ball out of those heavy sets well, because it can’t be a deal where they see him coming in the game and you’re running it every time.  Hell, I can defend that if that’s the case.”  

Last year, that was Jojo Kemp in the Wildcat.  Dawson wants to ensure that his offense is as difficult to plan for as possible.  So far, he’s doing a good job of keeping his boss off balance on the defensive side of the ball.

“To me putting the ball in play different places to different people are the most important thing.  Handing it, throwing it underneath, throwing it in this area, throwing it in that area, being able to attack different areas with different people. In the scrimmage – I’d have to go back and see – one of the extreme positives in my opinion was a lot of people touched the ball.  A lot.  And when that’s the case, typically defensively it’s tough, because they can’t – they don’t know where the ball’s going.

The next step in misdirection: getting the big fella at fullback to catch a pass.  But Hyde still has some time before he’ll be working on his hands with the jug machine, “Like milk jugs machine?  I think he’s on that one.”

Notes and Injury Update

–  Blake Bone is better, but needs to get more physical.  Somebody who has no problem with that is Garrett Johnson.  Juice is one of the few guys playing inside and outside receiver.  He’s been filling Timmons’ spot in the slot as he sits out this Spring.  The beautiful thing about the slot in Dawson’s offense is the deeper routes, “Oh that’s fun,” Johnson said.  “Anything deep, I’m all for it.  I get to showcase my speed, something I only got to do a little last year.”

–  Drake Jackson is becoming a permanent fixture around Spring Practice this week.  One can only assume (it’s against NCAA rules to speak to recruits while they visit campus) the nation’s best center in the Class of 2016 is using his Spring Break to shmooze with visiting recruits.  If I was a gambler, I’d say he played a big part in the two Yahtzees! from this weekend.

–  Today Patrick Towles commented on the added luxury of depth at the wide receiver, making it more fun for him to spread the wealth.  Unfortunately, he might be left with one less at receiver.  Stoops said today that complications in Alex Montgomery’s surgically-repaired knee will likely keep him out for the rest of Spring Practice.  Stoops expects a full recovery, but they refuse to chance it when they don’t have to.

The linebacker position has been pretty thin this Spring, with a couple of the guys getting banged up after Saturday’s scrimmage.  However, Stoops did say that early enrollee Jordan Jones has been exceptional when called upon, with Nico Firios and Kobie Walker taking lumps in practice.


Malik Newman’s still waiting to see which UK guards leave for the pros

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LSU and Kentucky are two of the perceived frontrunners for combo guard Malik Newman, and today, Newman told Khadrice Rollins at the McDonald’s All-American festivities that although LSU is making a push, whether or not Kentucky’s guards leave for the NBA will play a major role in his decision. As it should.

As a reminder, April 26 is the early entrant deadline for the 2015 draft. Here’s where the Cats are in the latest mock from Draft Express:

1. Karl Towns
6. Willie Cauley-Stein
17. Devin Booker
19. Trey Lyles
39. Dakari Johnson
53. Andrew Harrison

If Kentucky wins the title, I expect all of the Cats will receive a major bump in draft stock, hopefully enough to get Aaron on the board. Until then, fans and recruits just have to sit and wait.


Coach K really doesn’t want to compare Karl Towns and Jahlil Okafor

I can already tell that a popular storyline this week will be Karl Towns vs. Jahlil Okafor. The two freshmen are projected to go first and second in all the major mock drafts, with Towns recently gaining momentum for his performances in Kentucky’s postseason run. If Kentucky and Duke advance to the final, the Towns vs. Okafor debate will dominate the conversation, and this morning, Mike Krzywerkwj;kdjc implied he’s already tired of it.

Coach K and a reporter had an awkward interaction in which the reporter first said he wasn’t going to ask Coach K to compare Towns and Okafor, and then ended up asking him anyways. It was weird. Here’s the transcript:

Q. Mike, Karl-Anthony Towns seems to be captivating a lot of imaginations. Some suggest he’s the best freshman big man in your sport. I’m not asking you to compare him and Okafor.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Thank you.

Q. You’ve seen enough to be pretty sure it’s your guy.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you are asking me that then (laughter)? What you just said you asked, though.

Q. You’re right.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: What I would tell you is, I don’t watch Kentucky very much because we haven’t played them. You all watch these other teams more than we do, or more than I do. I try to watch the teams that we’re going to play against. I know our league. I really try to know the teams we just played, Utah and Gonzaga. But I’m not watching Kentucky like I would if we were going to play them. I know Towns. We recruited him. He played for the Dominican team. He’s a great player, great young man, beautiful family. He’s going to be a terrific pro. Where he stands in comparison to anybody, who knows. The people who do that are the people who are called professionals who are going to draft. But he’s going to be a terrific player. Based on what I’ve seen of him as a youngster, what I know of his character, then the little bit that I’ve watched Kentucky play, he’s terrific.

He really is. And he should be the number one pick over Okafor. Karl’s struggled from time to time, but I don’t think he’s ever done this:


Kentucky now has 2/3 odds to win the title

Our friends at Bovada have released their updated odds on the National Championship, and the Cats are 2/3 favorite, followed by Duke at 3/1, Wisconsin at 4/1 and Michigan State at 8/1.

Karl Towns is also the favorite to win NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player with 3/1 odds, followed closely by Willie Cauley-Stein at 4/1. Aaron Harrison follows a pair of Dukies at 7/1.


Apparently the Knicks don’t think Karl Towns’ butt is big enough for them

Photo by Matt Hernandez

Photo by Matt Hernandez

Karl Towns has taken over the #1 spot in several major mock drafts, but according to this article by The New York Post, if the Knicks get the first pick, they may not take Towns because his butt isn’t big enough. No, this isn’t a Ryan Lemond joke, it’s a legit quote from Charley Rosen, one of Phil Jackson’s friends.

They need a center with a big butt to hold space,’’ Rosen told The Post. “They didn’t have anybody like that. It takes away a major portion of what you can do with the triangle because then it really becomes just a perimeter offense.’’

After watching Towns in the NCAA Tournament, Rosen says, “Towns is not a big enough body. He’d never get that position in the NBA. He doesn’t have enough power or core strength. He wouldn’t be able to set up one dribble away from the basket. He’s not a kind of center you need in the triangle. He’s not physically that type of center, but he’s athletic and does other things. Look how far out (Lou) Amundson, (Jason) Smith and (Andrea) Bargnani get pushed out when they post up, well out of the box.’’

After watching Karl put the Cats on his back on Saturday night, I’m not sure how anyone wouldn’t want him on their team. Karl had a career-high 25 points and was a perfect 8-8 from the floor in the second half. At 6’11”, 250 lbs., he seems plenty capable of holding his own in the post.

As for the butt comment, don’t the Knicks know that Karl’s teammates used to call him “Karl Kardashian”? Albeit for completely different reasons (Andrew says Karl earned the nickname for his tendency to overreact to things), but Phil Jackson doesn’t need to know that.

[NY Post]


Report: Rick Barnes in at Tennessee

That didn’t take long. After being fired from Texas this past weekend, Rick Barnes is reportedly in at Tennessee. Sources tell 247 Sports’ Jerry Meyers that the Vols and Barnes should have “an agreement in principle by the end of tonight.”

Good move for Tennessee and for Barnes, who won’t even have to change his wardrobe.

[247 Sports]


UK Fans of the Day Want to Look at Our Opponent

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I am all for respecting your opponent. Wisconsin is experienced, solid on defense and can run as efficient an offense as any team in the country. Yes, they are a bit of throwback in terms of style, but not as much as you may think. They play slowly in terms of pace, but a lot of that is because of how they guard on defense. In short, they are a team your grandfather would like, but without being the kind of team that you would hate…and they are really good.

But their best player, Frank the Tank, does do this. I can’t tell if its awesome or awful…but I do love it:

A guy that dances like that simply cannot beat Willie Cauley-Stein…I refuse to believe it


KentuckyOne Health Anywhere Care wants the rest of Calipari’s comments from the FF Teleconference

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John Calipari spoke for twenty minutes on today’s Final Four coaches teleconference, and for once, he actually doled out some new material. Here are a few of Cal’s most important quotes…

On Aaron and Andrew Harrison turning it up in the month of March…

“The biggest thing is you cannot be afraid to miss the game-winning shot. It’s not that you want to make it, it’s that you’re not afraid to miss it. You’re not afraid to make a play and it go wrong. You have to have amnesia, you’ve gotta be willing to risk and those two have it. They both have it.”

Cal compared the Harrison’s heroics to Brandon Knight in 2011 and John Wall in 2010. “They’ve gotta be put in those positions and be told it’s okay to miss.”

On Karl Towns’ tendency to foul

“Most cases you’re fouling when you’re out of position. Instead of playing the guy before he catches it, you’re trying to play him after he catches it or after he cuts. Karl has a tendency, as all freshmen do, to stop playing during the game and get screened,” Cal said. “That’s freshmen. Hopefully, the excitement, the focus, is going to be to where we’re playing people before they catch the ball.”

On watching game tape

Last week, the national media picked up on the fact that the Cats don’t watch a lot of game tape. John Robic prepares an 8-minute reel for everyone to see, but other than that, they won’t be staying up late pouring over the Badgers’ old games. In fact, Cal says he told the team not to watch Wisconsin throughout the tournament.

“Now, they may have watched Wisconsin play, they may have watched an NCAA Tournament game. I don’t know. I tell them don’t watch the games, but they don’t listen to me ever, so I imagine they’ve seen them. Our team played them a year ago, so they have an idea how good they were and are now.”

In fact, Cal says he’s not watching any tape either. “I’m starting to get overloaded with it to be honest with you, and then I stop. I don’t need to watch ten game tapes. We all start losing our minds. ‘I gotta prepare! I gotta work harder than the other guy!’ Stop it, just stop it.”

On how Frank Kaminsky has improved from last year

“He looks stronger, he’s working angles better, he’s a really confident perimeter shooter, he’s passing–because he gets doubled teamed so much–he’s passing better.”

This lead to a lengthy diatribe on how Cal likes to see players improve over time. “I imagine Bo has had a ball watching him go from three minutes a game to last season to where he is now,” Cal said. “That’s how we coaches are. It’s not just a guy–even for me. Having a player come in with all this reputation, whether it’s an Anthony Davis or a John or a Demarcus. It’s where are they at the end of the year. What kind of improvement have they made? What have we taught them?”

On Trey Lyles

“Two things happened: he didn’t play in the summer because he had an injury and then he got sick in teh middle of the season, was out three weeks. But his progress as a player has been phenomenal. I’ve said all along he’s been the x-factor for us. At the next level, he’s going to be a four, and he’s going to be a four that spreads the court. We’re training him as a three, which means he’s guarding guards at 6’10”, that he’s being guarded by smaller players, which means he’s being thrown in the post some.”

“He is a finisher, he likes to think he’s a playmaker, which drives me absolutely crazy because his playmaking is turnover making, but when you talk about finishing around the basket, when you talk one-dribble pull ups on the run, you talk about being able to avoid and finish near the rim, making free throws, making pressure free throws, he’s our x-factor, he’s the one guy that can separate our team.”

I love Trey, but I have to agree with Cal on this one. He tried too hard to be a playmaker on Saturday and it just about killed us.


Calipari says Wisconsin may be a better offensive team than Notre Dame

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

John Calipari had a lot of praise for Wisconsin n today’s Final Four teleconference, telling reporters that they may be an even better team offensively that Notre Dame.

“They’re outstanding. We just played a great offensive team in Notre Dame, and this team rivals and maybe surpasses (them) because they can isolate you in the post, they shoot the three the same as Notre Dame does, they have that one guy that’s a big guy, not a guard–their guards are good, too–in Frank that can just go get his own. But Dekker has proved he can do the game. They’re really good there.”

One trait Cal admires in Wisconsin is their ability to defend without fouling. Cal said he likes to think his team does the same. “They don’t foul. Bo and I talked about it, you can play tough, hard-nosed, even physical defense without fouling on every play, every player. That’s what he teaches. That’s what we teach. We want you to be aggressive, we want you to be physical, just don’t foul.”

See, you’re not the only one that’s been annoyed by all the fouls lately.

“They do what they’re supposed to do, they give you a tough look and they rebound the ball. They’re outstanding,” Cal said of the Badgers. “This will be a really hard game for our team, and we know that. Bo’s doing what he’s done with every team. He’s made them a cohesive offense and defensive unit.”

 


Karl Towns named Second Team All-American by the AP

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Congratulations to Karl Towns, who named Second Team All-American by the Associated Press this afternoon.

As mentioned earlier, Willie Cauley-Stein received First Team honors. Former Cat and current Gonzaga Bulldog Kyle Wiltjer also got Third Team honors.

Cats.


Calipari raves about the BBN on the Final Four teleconference

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari said A LOT on today’s Final Four teleconference, and I’ll have a complete wrap-up here in a bit, but this comment stuck out to me the most. Cal was asked what he’s learned about the Big Blue Nation in his six years at Kentucky and what he believes sparked the intense fanaticism in the state. Something tells me you’ll like his answer.

“Coach Rupp,” Cal said, mentioning his conversations with Rupp’s son Herky, grandson, and great-grandson Frederick, who is friends with Brad Calipari. “There were things that he did back then that brought so much pride to this state. He wasn’t afraid to play anybody, they got on trains and played in New York and Chicago. He played anyone, anywhere, anytime back then. He was a student of the game, and it started right there. And then Coach Hall. And then Coach Pitino. And then Tubby. They take so much pride.”

Cal says the one thing he’s learned about the BBN is that they don’t need a national championship ever year, they just need to feel significant. “I’ve been here now six years. They haven’t like, ‘you’ve gotta win it now!’ No. They’d like you to win it now and they’ll be depressed if you don’t, but they want to be in the conversation,” Cal said. “They want in the conversation in recruiting, they want in the conversation when you’re talking one of the best teams, but if they thought you should win it every year, we’d have 125 national titles. It doesn’t happen and they know that.”

When asked, Cal pinpointed two moments that he was floored by the BBN. “You walk in to our arena at home and the upper deck in the corners is filled 40 minutes before the game. ‘Are you crazy? Why are you here right now?’ The radio show has 8 or 9,000 people that stay after. Our radio show would rank in the top-30 in attendance of games.

The other thing is you go on road, they’re chanting and you’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, they’ve taken over the arena.’ Like, they do that,” Cal said. “I don’t know how they get tickets. They know not to wear blue when they’re trying to wear red or orange, they wear another color. They figure out ways of getting in and they don’t tell because it’s a secret. No one knows.”

And you guys better not tell if you want the BBN to take over Indy.


Willie named First-Team All-American by the AP

Chet White | UK Athletics

Chet White | UK Athletics

Well, that didn’t take long. Congratulations to Willie Cauley-Stein on being named First-Team All-American by the Associated Press. The honor makes Willie a consensus First-Team All-American, a huge, huge accomplishment.

Here’s the complete AP First Team:

Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Jahlil Okafor, Duke
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State

Earlier this morning, Willie and Karl Towns picked up First- and Second-Team All-American honors from the NABC. Well-deserved.


Don’t forget: The McDonald’s All-American game is Wednesday

IG: zaaay_

It may be easy to overlook with all the excitement leading up to the Final Four this week, but the McDonald’s All-American Game is Wednesday in Chicago. UK signee Isaiah Briscoe is participating in the event along with several of the Cats’ top targets, including Jaylen Brown, Thomas Bryant, Cheick Diallo, Brandon Ingram, Malik Newman, Caleb Swanigan and Stephen Zimmerman. At this point, it doesn’t look like any of UK’s recruits will make their decisions this week.

Tonight is the skills competition, the three-point shootout and the slam dunk contest. All three events will be televised on ESPN2 starting at 7 p.m. We’ll have the highlights for you once they’re up.