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April 21st, 2015

Ashley Judd has an urgent spiritual message for Duke fans

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Over on Ashley Judd’s Facebook page, she shared a video from a bookstore in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where she spent Monday afternoon gazing at wildflowers and going to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, probably. Ashley felt the need to upload the urgent message when she found a book called “Daily Devotionals For Die Hard Fans: Duke Blue Devils.” The message couldn’t wait, apparently.

An urgent spiritual message for Duke fans.

Posted by Ashley Judd on Monday, April 20, 2015

Up next for Ashley: Dollywood!


Karl Towns is No. 1 in Chad Ford’s new mock draft

Athlon Sports

Athlon Sports

Chad Ford released a new mock draft today and Karl Towns is his No. 1 pick, going to the Minnesota Timberwolves to team with Andrew Wiggins and several other young talents.

Ford is among the many draft experts who have Towns over Okafor in the draft, which would be Kentucky’s third top pick under John Calipari. UK had zero No. 1 picks prior to Cal’s arrival in Lexington; three will tie Duke for the record for most by a school.

Shortly after Towns hears his name called, Ford predicts Willie Cauley-Stein will go sixth overall to the Sacramento Kings. Boogie and Willie in one frontcourt? Yes please. (Assuming Boogie sticks around.)

On down, Ford projects Trey Lyles and Devin Booker to go No. 16 to Boston and 17 to Milwaukee, respectively, before Dakari Johnson becomes the fifth Wildcat in the first round at No. 27 to the Lakers, joining former UK classmate Julius Randle.

Check out the entire ESPN mock draft here.


Derryck Thornton commits to Duke, reclassifies to 2015

One-time Kentucky target Derryck Thornton will be a Duke Blue Devil and he will skip his senior year of high school to speed up that process. Thornton committed to Duke today and will jump to the 2015 class, where Scout.com ranks him as the No. 1 point guard. ESPN has him as the No. 3 point guard and No. 17 player overall.

Duke is also in the lead for five-star small forward Brandon Ingram, another UK target, and Coach K already has signatures from five-star center Chase Jeter and five-star shooting guard Luke Kennard. Needless to say, Kryswkeskwiski has gone full Calipari.

We’ll see them in Chicago on November 17.


Video of the Commonwealth Stadium grass removal

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Crews began removing the Bermuda grass from Commonwealth Stadium yesterday to replace it with a new synthetic turf for the upcoming season and the Kentucky Wildcats TV crew stopped by with a camera this morning for a closer look at the removal process.

Check it out as bulldozers dig up the old grass to make way for the new surface in the new CWS:


Newman’s Friday announcement will stream live online

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Malik Newman will announce his college decision this Friday at 1:00 pm in a closed press conference from somewhere (not his high school) in Mississippi. The Clarion-Ledger has an invite to attend and will exclusively stream the announcement on its website. We will have a running diary and a link to the stream here on KSR, so make sure you’re free that afternoon.

247 Sports’ Jerry Meyer predicts Mississippi State for the five-star guard. I’m not sure Newman could make a worse decision if that’s the case, but whatever. His life, not mine.

Please pick Kentucky.


ESPN Recruiting predicts the future for Brown, Diallo, Ingram and Newman

As basketball recruiting winds down for the 2015 high school class, the experts at ESPN RecruitingNation predicted the future for the four uncommitted top ten prospects. Of those four — Jaylen Brown, Cheick Diallo, Brandon Ingram and Malik Newman — ESPN predicts one, Malik Newman, will end up at Kentucky.

Malik Newman, SG

Kentucky

Newman will not take a single official visit before making his decision, but it seems that Kentucky and Mississippi State are the leaders. Newman could go to Lexington and get plenty of minutes, but Mississippi State is his father’s alma mater and new head coach Ben Howland knows how important it is to close the deal. [ESPN]

ESPN predicts Cheick Diallo will follow Slice Rohrrsen and Matt Abdelmassih to St. John’s. UK will also lose out on Ingram and Brown.

One of four? We’ll take it.


Cheick Diallo and Malik Newman to announce soon

Kentucky’s top two targets in what’s left of the 2015 recruiting class will soon announce their college decisions, possibly this week.

The first is Cheick Diallo, who met with John Calipari last night. Shortly after the visit, Diallo tweeted a thank you message to everyone involved in his recruitment, suggesting he is shutting things down. If that’s the case, Cal got the last word with the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic MVP.

Then down in Mississippi, Malik Newman has a press conference tentatively scheduled for Friday at noon, according to Adam Zagoria. It will likely be Mississippi State or Kentucky for Newman, though he’s also considering LSU, Kansas, Ole Miss and NC State.

 

This is a big week as Diallo and Newman are Cal’s best chances to add to the current class. UK is believed to be in the top two for both prospects, but could easily go 0-for-2.


Reds manager dropped 77 F-bombs last night

Bryan Price is ******* fed up with the ******* media coverage around his ******* baseball team. Price went the **** off last night on reporters who have been ******* tweeting roster news Price would like to keep the **** in house. He wants to know how the ******* Reds benefit from some stuff getting out. It’s not the media’s job to ******* report every ******* thing about the Reds, he says. He’s really ******* pissed off about it, too.

Listen to the ******* audio from Price below. He says **** 77 times in six ******* minutes.

As much I ******* love the meltdown, Price couldn’t be any more wrong about this. It’s not the media’s ******* job to help the Reds win baseball games. The ******* reporters are around to report every ******* thing they can to the fans. Deal with it, Price. It’s 2015, everyone wants all the ******* information they can get, and Twitter is king.

**** he was mad.


Basketball recruiting and a new QB commit for UK (Tuesday Show Thread)

Morning, everybody. On today’s show, Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond will discuss John Calipari’s targets in the 2015, including a new name in the mix. Kentucky also has a new quarterback commit with an awesome name.

Let’s talk about it.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The Moment You’d Take Back in the Cal Era

John+Calipari+Deandre+Liggins+NCAA+Basketball+x6DVpfGthpkl

We’ve now completed probably the best 6-year run to start a tenure in college basketball history.  It’s been almost perfect.  4 Final Fours in 6 years and a 5th team who lost in the Elite 8.  The players have been personable and polite.  The games have been epic.  The history of UK basketball has been enhanced more in these 6 years than in the 15 years before it.  But it doesn’t mean there haven’t been some missteps.  I wonder what the one moment (shot/game/comment/recruiting loss/etc) you would like to take back would be.  There are some obvious candidates for me:

-Christian Watford shot to beat the 2012 team
-Nerlens Noel injury
-Sam Dekker 3-pointer in this year’s Final Four

But for me, and this might be a minority opinion, the moment I would take back is Deandre Liggins’ missed 3-pointer at the end of the UCONN game in the 2011 Final Four.  Here’s why:

-He hits that shot and UK almost certainly wins that game.  UCONN would have had 4 seconds to go the length of the court to win.  Very unlikely.

-UK would have smashed Butler in the championship game.  Say what you want but the 2011 title is the one that slipped away the most in my opinion.

-The legacy of Liggins and Josh Harrellson and Brandon Knight would have been enhanced so much more than it has been.

If that shot goes down, Calipari has 2 titles now (back to back) and these tough losses in 2014 and 2015 are maybe lessened just a little bit.  But I more wanted it for the guys on that team.  A team who went through as much turmoil as the 2014 team did but persevered and rode the back of Brandon Knight all the way to a Final Four.  With a win and the title that would have gone with it, there is an argument to be made that the 2011 team would have been Calipari’s favorite team to the fans.  Yes, even over the 2012 squad.  Titles completely change how people remember teams.  That 2011 team will never be remembered as a “great” team because they didn’t win the title.  They will be remembered as a scrappy bunch who overachieved in the NCAA Tournament.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  They hung a banner at Rupp Arena for crying out loud.  But if that one shot by Liggins had fallen, how that would have changed everything for those guys.

That’s my pick, what is yours?  If you could change one moment in this 6 year run, what would it be?


Wendy’s KSR Top Ten Tweets of the Day

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Wendy’s Fresh-Made Salads offer healthy fast food choices, fresh toppings, and the choice to select from nutritious options for healthy living.
___________________________________________________________________ You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top Ten Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtopten. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:

#10 Jamie Reagan

He’s famous now.

 

 

 

 

#9 Cody G.

Yeah. It has got a lot quieter lately.

 

 

 

 

#8 christopher williams

Sold.

 

 

 

 

#7 Cindy

Good. Keep on doing that, Cindy.

 

 

 

 

#6 Thomas T

The headband never stops.

 

 

 

 

#5 Jake Clemons

You’ll need a magnifying glass for that.

 

 

 

 

 

#4 Devin

dang it, Dakari.

 

 

 

 

 

#3 christopher williams

This is a very good point.

 

 

 

 

 

#2 Chet Miller

I need to see this soon.

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Dan Bodner

This is a great representation.

@Sealey_KSR


April 20th, 2015

Monday Night News and Views

Floyd Mayweather is less than two weeks away from the biggest fight of his career and he invited a former Wildcat to watch him work out in Las Vegas today.

Julius Randle, who attended Mayweather’s last fight in Vegas, was a spectator in the gym for Mayweather’s Monday training session. He posted a photo with the champ on Instagram earlier tonight, showing the height difference in the two professional athletes.

During an appearance on SportsNation last week, Randle was asked to pick Mayweather or Pacquiao in the Derby night main event, and he picked Mayweather to remain unbeaten. He then set a new record on the show’s punching bag machine:

Can we say Julius is now a member of The Money Team?

 

Coach Cal turns to another option in the post.

Add Ebuka Izundu to the short list of names on what’s left of John Calipari’s 2015 recruiting board. A former Charlotte commit, Izundu was granted a release when the 49ers’ head coaching duties changed hands this offseason. He had recently narrowed his final list to Tennessee, Cincinnati, Miami, Connecticut and Charlotte, but you can throw Kentucky in the mix now that Calipari plans to meet with him in Atlanta next weekend.

Inzundu is the No. 22 power forward in the class according to 247 Sports, but he is unranked by Rivals and ESPN Recruiting. He is No. 231 overall in the 247 Composite Rankings.

For you fans wanting more four-year players, here ya go. It’s too bad we’re in need of an immediate contributor right now.

Looking at you, Cheick…

Cal will visit Jayson Tatum tomorrow.

Tatum, ESPN’s No. 1 player in the 2016 class, has long been a priority for the Cats. He will open his doors for Calipari tomorrow in St. Louis for an in-home visit.

He recently cut his list to St. Louis, Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke. Kentucky was the first to offer him, long, long ago.

Cal will also visit Malik Monk tomorrow.

A short private flight away in Arkansas, Malik Monk will also host Cal for an in-home visit. Monk is another top five player in the 2016 class.

Stop what you’re doing and vote for Anthony Davis to win the NBA’s Community Assist Award.

Davis is up for the season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award and he could use your help in the fan voting. To give him a vote, simply use #NBACommunityAssist and #AnthonyDavis on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook this week and use it as many times as you’d like. Fan voting accounts for 50 percent of the decision and you can vote as many times as your little heart desires, this week and this week only.

#NBACommunityAssist #AnthonyDavis

Rest in peace, Commonwealth Stadium grass.

Crews began removing the grass from Commonwealth Stadium on Monday, seen below in this photo from the renovation’s live cam.

cws

The stadium will soon add a synthetic surface for the Cats to beat Florida, Tennessee and Louisville on next season. The Bermuda grass currently being removed has been in place since 2005, making it older than half of Devin Booker’s fan base.

Did you catch Bernadette Locke’s SEC Storied?

Because I didn’t. I forgot. Whoops.

If you’re like me, you can catch it again at these times over the next 24 hours on the SEC Network: 1:00 am, 1:30 am, 8:00 am, 9:30 am and 11:30 pm.

A young girl wrote a letter to Dakari Johnson and it’s awesome.

Young Ava Mahone is going to meet her favorite player tomorrow and she wrote this letter to give to him at his signing:

@mmahone75

“At least you beat the Cardinals, right?”

Ava gets it.

Anthony Davis vs. Steph Curry and the Warriors right now.

For my money, that’s about as good as NBA basketball gets. Anthony Davis is a future MVP, Steph Curry is this season’s MVP, and Golden State as a team is basketball porn. Throw in the best crowd in the league and this is must-see TV.

Time for me to log off and enjoy it.

Buh bye now.


Anthony Davis Vs The Golden State Warriors: Game 2

Via BlueManHoop

If you’re going to watch Anthony Davis in the playoffs you had better take advantage now because the Pelicans may not be sticking around much longer. Tyreke Evans went down with a deep knee bruise and is now day-to-day. Quincy Pondexter can’t do anything against Steph Curry (who can?) as the potential MVP went of for a team-high 34 points. Klay Thompson against Eric Gordon isn’t even a debate. Yes, the Warriors seem to have the advantage at just about every position except, that is, for the one occupied by Mr. Anthony Davis.

The Pelicans were down by 16 when the 4th quarter began and that’s when they did the only thing they could. Get the ball to AD and get out of the way. Davis responded by scoring 20 points on 7-10 shooting and wiith nine seconds to go the lead had been cut to an unfathomable 4 points, 99-103. Keep in mind that Ant was doing all that while being guarded by two men likely to join him on the NBA’s all defensive team in Andrew Bogut and Draymon Green. It’s about as impressive as you can get.

So in tonight’s second game the Pelicans will look to get even in the only way they have a chance, by getting Anthony some more touches around the basket. Tonight, it’s going to be Anthony Davis against the Golden State Warriors and the results should be nothing short of amazing.  Ant got them to the playoffs ahead of schedule and now we can all sit back and watch the former Cat grow into one of the NBA’s elite players.

Watch the brow get buckets before Game 2 tips off at 10:30 on TNT:


A Saturday with Karl Towns at Hillbilly Days

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This past weekend was my first completely free weekend in as long as I can remember (going way back before football season) so I woke up early Saturday morning with options as to how I would spend my day.

The first option, the one with the most peer pressure involved, was to throw on a suit and go out to Keeneland. I had several friends in town and they had a big tailgate planned, so it was tempting. But nah. Not this time. With a trip to Las Vegas coming up in a few days, the last thing I needed to do was waste money on gambling and drinking and gambling and drinking. I’ll sit this one out for the greater cause, I thought.

The second option was to book a tee time and enjoy the first gorgeous Saturday of the year at the golf course. But all of my friends were going to Keeneland, so that one was out.

Then I remembered: Hillbilly Days.

Lesssssssggggggggooooooooo!!!!

Because I’m addicted to leaving Lexington, a long Saturday morning drive to Pikeville seemed like the logical decision. A little over two hours on the Mountain Parkway? I got that. Walking around Hillbilly Days by myself? It’ll probably get lonely, but on the positive side, no witnesses to judge me for how many deep fried Oreos I devour. So I hit the road alone.

I planned out my day along the way. First I would stop by Karl Towns’ signing at Deskins Motors, then head over to catch Dakari Johnson and Trey Lyles at Appalachian Wireless. After taking some pictures of their appearances, I would head downtown for the parade and all the other sights and sounds and cholesterol of Hillbilly Days. Perfect plan. Flawless. Let’s do this…

*****

11:00 am: I arrive at Deskins Motors to watch the madness of Towns’ signing and he had opened the doors early to get the massive line moving. Here’s a look at Big Blue Eastern Kentucky Nation waiting to see the future No. 1 pick…

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11:07 am: Once inside, I realize I have nothing to do but stand there. I don’t know what I expected to happen, but there wasn’t much for me to do but stay out of the way. I lean up against the glass window, pretending to have a purpose, and offer my help to the guys putting on the event. They tell me to hang out. Okay. Done. Hanging out is one of my skills.

11:10 am: Karl Towns is the nicest human being in the entire world and I’m amazed by how he treats every fan that comes through the line.

11:11 am: Scratch that. Karl Towns is tied for the title of Nicest Human Being in the World. His father, Karl Sr., who is accompanying Karl on his tour, is equally nice. They were genuinely appreciative of the fan support and they were patient with everyone who came through the line, no matter how long they wanted to talk about the shot clock violation or Karlito. There was no rush to get people in and out.

11:20 am: My favorite fan of the day shows up in his Karl Towns jersey:

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Why is he my favorite? Because he brought Karl a mini bag of M&Ms as a gift.

And because Karl signed his belly…

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11:30 am: A woman walks in and all she wants is a big hug…

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Karl obliges. Karl Sr. also gets a hug. At this point, Karl Sr. is getting as much attention as Karl. Fans love to thank him for raising such a kind young man. (And a baller.) He could do his own tour of the state.

11:35 am: Okay, it’s time to head over to see Dakari and Trey. But I can’t. I’m having too much fun watching Karl and his dad interact with their fans. There’s no way Dakari and Trey are having this much fun (no offense, guys) and I’ve gotten comfortable against my glass window. I decide to ride it out at Deskins for the entire day.

11:45 am: I make the mistake of offering to take a photo for a family so they could all be in it. Karl Sr. had been playing the role of cameraman, but I offered my help so he could stay seated. Big. Mistake.

11:47 am: “DREW! They need a picture.” – Karl Sr.

11:48 am: “DREW! HEY DREW! You’re slacking, man. These nice people need a picture.” – Karl Sr.

11:48:30 am: “DREW! Get off your phone. You’re killing me. Picture time.” – Karl Sr.

11:49 am: “DREW! Get over here!” – Karl

11:49:30 am: “DREW!” – Karl and Karl Sr.

11:50 am: I am officially the volunteer photographer at the Karl Towns Signing at Deskins Motors. Any chance of leaving early, gone. Any chance of walking away from the table, not happening. They now have my full attention because Karl Sr. is a big man with a deep voice and I’m terrified of what might happen if I don’t offer to take a picture for every single fan.

12:05 pm: MaKayla couldn’t make it to the signing so Karl holds a “Hey MaKayla, have fun at prom” sign…

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12:10 pm: A young fan named Bella brought Karl some fan art:

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12:20 pm: I ask Karl if we can go back to the Bahamas this fall. He tells me he’ll be busy around that time this year. I ask for floor seats to one of his games next season, preferably with the Knicks, instead. He laughs, like I was kidding. I was not kidding. The Garden, Karl. I want to sit courtside in the Garden.

12:45 pm: I’ve now taken 500 pictures on 500 different phones.

1:00 pm: Undoubtedly the funniest moment of the day: a sweet lady hands me a phone I’ve never seen before and asks if I can find the camera. I look at Karl and his dad, clueless; they also have no idea what kind of phone I’m holding, or if it has a camera.

“Is this the 7?” I ask.

A minute or four later, I finally find what I think is the camera. She poses with Karl, I press a button, and the phone makes an explosion sound. I jump back and fumble the phone (or whatever apparatus I’m holding) as Karl and his dad fall over laughing. I tell her the picture looks good (I didn’t see a picture) and then take one with my own phone for good measure:

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But really. What is this?

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1:05 pm: Karl and his dad are still laughing at how I handled the situation. She was super nice, though, despite me mocking her phone and. Karl made up for my poor attempt at photography by telling her she looks “stunning.”

There’s a good chance she doesn’t have a photo on that phone. Or a camera.

1:15 pm: They start wrapping things up at the signing so my unexpected part-time photography job is done for the day. I thank Karl and his dad for letting me hang out and, as payment for my services, I ask Karl to sign a photo of us playing one-on-one in the Craft Center.

He wrote, “Easy block!” when I clearly broke his ankles. See for yourself. He’s jumping as I’m about to drive left in flip-flops. Photo don’t lie, Karl.

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It’s the first autograph I’ve gotten in six years covering Kentucky basketball, but when you have a photo with the soon-to-be No. 1 pick, you have to break your own no-autograph rule.

Thanks again, Karl.

Goodbye, glass window.

1:30 pm: I arrive in downtown Pikeville, only to find parking is a nightmare and I don’t know anything about anything in Pikeville. It’s only my second time in the “City That Moves Mountains” — I’m from the other side of the state — and I’m intimidated by the massive Hillbilly Days scene, honestly. Considering I have no one with me to enjoy the action, I decide to drive back to Lexington without spending more than 10 minutes downtown. No deep fried Oreos. No deep fried honey buns. No parade. No risking my life on the rickety carnival rides. I never even got to take off my shirt.

But I’ll be back next year and I’m doing it right. No wimping out next time. As for 2015, it was just a long day with the incredibly kind Karl Towns, his equally kind father, and some of BBN’s finest from Eastern Kentucky.

And that’s how you do a spontaneous Saturday in April in Pikeville.


Kentucky reaches out to three-star center

With the missed opportunity to add Stephen Zimmerman or Mike Thorne, and a roster in need of another big body, John Calipari has now reached out to yet another former Charlotte 49er. This time it’s Ebuka Izundu, a high school senior who was released from his scholarship to Charlotte due to the school’s coaching change. Izundu had planned to decide between Tennessee, Cincinnati, Miami, Connecticut and Charlotte, but a recent phone call from Calipari may have him holding off on that announcement. Cal plans to watch him play in Atlanta this coming weekend.

Ranked No. 231 in the 2015 class by the 247 Composite rankings, Izundu doesn’t come with the same appeal as a Cheick Diallo or Thon Maker, UK’s only two other frontcourt options. But interest is high in the 6-foot-10 center, according to Aureice McCain, Izundu’s high school coach.

“Kentucky said they’re really, really interested,” McCain told the Charlotte Observer. “They wanted to see how things pan out with some other guys, too. They can’t believe he’s been under the radar this long.”

I won’t pretend to know a single thing about this kid’s game, but I do know Kentucky is getting desperate for help inside for Skal Labissiere, Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress.

We’ll keep an eye on this one, while praying for Diallo.