Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
August 4th, 2015

Are you reading this? Be glad you don’t have AT&T

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If you’re reading this, you’re one of the lucky cell phone or internet customers that does not have AT&T. AT&T’s wireless service has been down in Louisville, Lexington, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and other area cities for several hours, and many of AT&T internet customers are experiencing problems as well.

Verizon is also down in areas of Kentucky and Indiana. Rumor has it the issue was caused by a server problem in Alabama or Kentucky or a fiber was cut somewhere in Western Kentucky.

ATT released this statement on the outage: “In regards to an updated media statement for your use… some customers across parts of the Southeast are experiencing wireline and wireless service issues.  Engineers have pinpointed a hardware-related issue and are working to restore service as quickly as possible. We apologize for this inconvenience.”

Can you hear me now? No? Hello? Bueller?


Saturday Down South predicts 5-7 for the Cats

towles zimbio

Saturday Down South is rolling out its game-by-game predictions for the teams of the Southeastern Conference and Kentucky’s hit the internet today. The popular SEC website projects a 5-7 season for the Cats, with wins in its final three games to get there. That includes a win over Louisville in the finale.

Here’s the summary:

The Lowdown: If the Wildcats can win one of the four games they’re not supposed to this season against Florida, Mizzou, Auburn or Tennessee, this team will go bowling with the necessary win total. It’s an uphill climb for Kentucky whose schedule only takes a breather following a road trip to Georgia in November. Unlike last season when the Wildcats started 5-1, the first half of the year this fall could result in four losses.

I think Kentucky is going to be much improved in 2015, but a five-win season is still a likely scenario. I have them winning six and going to the first bowl since Birmingham in 2010.

Check out each game prediction over at SDS.


Why do we need to know when an athlete’s dad is arrested?

(h/t Bleacher Report)

Scrolling through twitter today I saw a tweet an ex-KSR-er sent out that inspired my post for today. (Thanks Austin). The tweet was referring to a Bleacher Report article about D’Angelo Russell’s father being arrested last week for marijuana possession and how ridiculous it was to be considered newsworthy.

I have to say, I agree.

Every incident is its own situation, but I can’t help but to think that negative  family issues should be left alone. This is just the incident that aroused my interest on the day I have a post. There are several other examples of this happening; like Jimbo Fisher’ separation or OJ Mayo’s father’s many arrests (off the top of my head). Don’t even get me starting on media thinking we care about a player’s sexual orientation.

Why is this information needed? I don’t think any sports fan has gained anything from knowing this information.  What it comes down to is how it affects the program or athlete on the court directly. These examples for sure don’t have any effects.

Was the 2012 Petrino motorcycle crash newsworthy information? Of course, since he had hired his girlfriend to work for the Arkansas Athletic program.

Puff Daddy being arrested after the UCLA alteration would be another good example. Although he is not directly involved with UCLA’s program, he brought the program into his issues with the strength and conditioning coach.

If it doesn’t affect the program or its players and coaches on the field, then I say leave it alone.

@Hessler_KSR


Grantland: “The Call of Coach Cal”

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty

John Calipari recently said his 2016 recruiting class at Kentucky could potentially be his best to date. It’s a bold statement from a guy who isn’t projected to land any of the top five prospects, but that’s what makes Calipari brilliant. The brief, offhand remark on an ESPN podcast was the “Call of Coach Cal,” writes Danny Chau of Grantland.com:

“He knows we’re listening, and, more importantly, he knows his targets are listening. It doesn’t take a true detective to discover that, with Coach Cal, everything is recruiting. And he has his reasons for campaigning early.”

Chau believes it was a calculated move to draw the attention of the top recruits. Duke is taking over UK’s recruiting throne, so Cal got back in the headlines, as only he can do.

As it stands, Calipari is facing an uphill battle, and maybe he knows it. Maybe the quick podcast shout-out was a subliminal siren song, a passive-aggressive “SCOREBOARD” shout.

Read it all here on Grantland.com.

 


Franklin County Sheriff wants drug dealers to rat on each other

Well this is an interesting play. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging drug dealers to rat on their competition by submitting information to the police.

“We offer a free service to help you eliminate your drug competition,” the flyer reads.

Sheriff Pat Melton told WKYT, “We’ve got our community engaged. People are looking at it. They’re talking about it. And you know, if we can get a good tip and get a good drug dealer off the streets, all the more.”

If you’re selling drugs in or around Franklin County and would like to turn your biggest rival in to increase your market, here’s the form you need to complete and submit:

It seems silly, but someone will do it.


Sundy Best will headline the grand reopening of Commonwealth Stadium

sundy-best

Sundy Best will headline the pregame concert in the parking lot of Commonwealth Stadium, taking the stage after Matthew Mitchell and the Go Big Blue Band. Coach Mitchell teased the concert on this morning’s KSR radio show and now we know who will share his stage.

Mitchell and the Go Big Blue Band will go on at 3:00 pm in the lot adjacent to Gate 1. Sundy Best will take over at 4:00 pm, pausing for the Cat Walk at around 4:45 pm.

Inside the stadium, a choir composed of singers from each of Kentucky’s 120 counties will perform the national anthem. The game ball will be delivered by the United States Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights.

It’s almost here!


Sleep Outfitters’ Tuesday Recruiting Roundup

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It’s Tuesday afternoon! Let’s talk recruiting!

  Harry Giles updated his USA Today blog.

The No. 1 prospect in the ESPN100 updated his blog over at USA Today High School Sports today. Giles writes about the decision to transfer to Oak Hill for his senior season and what it’s like being home after a long, exhausting summer on the AAU circuit.

Not much Kentucky stuff in there, although he did write, “Coach Cal is cool.” Giles also said he doesn’t plan to cut his list again before the final announcement.

  Several UK targets were on display on ESPNU last night.

In case you missed it, many familiar faces were on national television last night in the adidas Nations Global event.

Rawle Alkins was the star of the show, scoring a game-high 26 points in the title game and taking home MVP honors.

Other UK targets at the event include:

Kobi Simmons: 19 points, six assists
Markelle Fultz: 16 points, six rebounds, four assists
Edrice Adebayo: 10 points, eight rebounds
Udoka Azuibuike: 11 points, five rebounds
Jarrett Allen: Four points, eight rebounds
Wenyen Gabriel: 16 points, 13 rebounds
Gary Trent Jr. (2017): 24 points, five rebounds
Dennis Smith Jr.: DNP

  Miles Bridges took an unofficial visit to Michigan yesterday.

Bridges took a quick look at nearby Ann Arbor before he moves off to West Virginia for his senior season of basketball at Huntington Prep. The five-star forward is also very interested in Michigan State and Kentucky; he will visit Lexington for Big Blue Madness in October.

  Will Kentucky get involved with Owensboro’s Eli Wright?

It’s not looking like that’s the case. Wright, who is not hearing from the UK staff, will take an official visit to Florida tomorrow. The Apollo guard is the No. 20 shooting guard in the 247Sports Composite for the 2016 class.

Any other year and I think Calipari considers in-state prospect, but 2016 is too loaded with guards and they’re all considering Kentucky. That’s too bad; he shined against UK target Markelle Fultz in an AAU game last month.

  Florida defensive end names Kentucky in his top schools.

UK is among the top schools on Jachai Polite’s list, along with Florida, Miami, South Carolina and Tennessee. The three-star end out of Daytona Beach seems to favor the Gators, but it doesn’t hurt to hear the Wildcats mentioned in the mix.

At 6-3, 250, Polite is the No. 29 strongside defensive end in the 247Sports rankings.

  Terrell Hall decommitted from Ohio State.

You may remember him as the defensive end Tommy Mainord was texting after he announced his commitment to the Buckeyes late last month:

mainord-text

Now Alabama is the presumed favorite for the elite defensive end.

On a related note, tweeting/posting/sharing a text message is one of the worst things someone can do. That’s dirty. Text conversations belong in the trust tree.

  New UK commit Boogie Watson told the coaches last Friday.

In an interview with Rivals.com, Watson told Justin Rowland he committed to the UK coaching staff last Friday. A two-star linebacker, Watson could be a huge steal if he maximizes the potential the staff sees in him.

Now go buy a mattress from Sleep Outfitters.


A rookie’s life, from fight song singers to dish washers

College football is a total different game and experience from what I went through decades ago. That’s probably a good thing. With camp starting this week, I thought I’d share my horrifying and perhaps funny fall camp experiences.

Way back when, freshmen would report to camp a week earlier than the veterans. The purpose was to acclimate rookies to campus and teach the youngsters proper practice procedures. Upon arrival, freshmen bonded. Today, twitter and unofficial visits strengthen pre-Wildcat bonds.

After two days or so, our class was tight. We learned how to practice and even established basic playbook knowledge. By day four, we started to think we were pretty cool. A certain strut could be seen as we began to self-recognize as college football players. On day five, our lives would change.

Day five started out the same as the previous four. Early wakeup, a couple of practices as well as other mundane camp activities. Then it was time for dinner. Unknowing to us, the varsity had reported and had eaten their evening meal prior to us entering the dining facility. We were strategically lined up and prepared to march into the Donovan Dining Hall. None of us had a clue what was about to happen.

We walked through the doors and there were 80 grown men (varsity) sitting in the middle dining tables. They appeared to be anxiously and angrily awaiting our arrival. As we walked the thirty feet to get our food, the old dudes then began beating their forks on their plates. The closer we got to the hamburgers, the louder they got. I can still remember the sound. At this point I’d rate my nervous factor around 100 or so. I didn’t want to make eye contact. You never want to make eye contact.

Once we clumsily retrieved our food, we were only allowed to sit in the outer tables. Never in the middle. Those seats were reserved for veterans. When the last pimple faced rookie was seated, the fun started. Seniors would single out players and “request” them to stand up and sing either their high school or UK fight song. A misspoken or forgotten word would bring on an onslaught of heckling. To this day, I can still remember the DeSales fight song. Not because I went to school at DeSales, but from listening to Jerry Bell proudly recite his boisterous rendition on a nightly basis.

Following thirty minutes of the worst singing you could possibly imagine, rookies were then “asked” to carry upperclassmen’s trays to the dish cleaning area. This went on until the end of fall camp. Then, and only then, was it safe to eat in the middle tables. I now look back and laugh about this rite of passage. What was a nerve wracking experience has morphed into a fond and funny memory.

At the Greater Louisville UK Alumni Luncheon, I sat at a table with several has-beens. Those same cats were the ones that singled me out to sing years back. They must have either thought I was a cocky punk that needed a dose of humility or they were just huge fans of the Cumberland High School fight song. Regardless, to this day, we remain lifelong teammates. I don’t miss the games. I sure as heck don’t miss practices. I do miss my friends. Yes, even the ones that made me sing.

Camp traditions or rites of passage exercises are now obsolete. Probably a good thing. It was all in good fun. Quick, can you sing your high school fight song? Do you know all the words to “On on U of K?” I can and I do. Fall camp is here. Football is here.


Willie Cauley-Stein surprises 11-year-old Toby Foster with a visit

Yesterday, I shared the story of Toby Foster, an 11-year-old UK fan suffering from mitochondrial disease, a progressive, incurable metabolic disorder which causes a deficit in life sustaining energy. Toby’s story should be familiar to you by now. This summer, a large blood clot has moved to Toby’s brain, making life pretty difficult for him and his family. He has a lot of restrictions, but was able to serve as Andrew Harrison’s assistant on Sunday at the Calipari ProCamp in Cincinnati, albeit in a wheelchair.

Toby was originally supposed to go to the ProCamp on Saturday during Willie Cauley-Stein’s session, but was too ill. One of Willie’s friends works the ProCamps and told Willie about Toby and how he was Toby’s favorite player. Unbeknownst to Toby, Willie decided he wanted to pay him a visit before he headed back to California this week. Toby’s mother, Amy, was in on the surprise, and last night, Willie showed up at their door. Here’s the story of the visit in Amy’s words and pictures:

Toby, Willie, and Willie’s friend Jamie

Willie stayed for well over an hour. I baked brownies–Willie likes the middle ones! We hung out in the play room, talking like he’s NOT a top draft pick, NBA star. Willie’s a fan of the playroom. :) The boys (Toby and Willie) decided that Wille’s more Batman, and Toby’s more Captain America, so they would make a great team. They were going to play video games, but we never stopped talking long enough for that. Willie is a great kid! He and Toby really hit it off.

Then Toby showed Willie his room. Willie was quite impressed with Toby’s Star Wars room! He was taking pictures. It was adorable. Toby showed Willie the picture of him he keeps by his bed to remind himself to stay strong. Willie was so touched that he asked to take a picture of it. What a sweetheart.

He’s such a good-hearted, regular guy. He gave us his number so he and Toby could stay in touch. They’ve already been texting each other. Shortly after Willie left, Toby was due for a shot. He was on such a high he didn’t even feel it! He is now walking through the house, breathing deeply, saying “I’m breathing in Willie’s cloud of awesomeness before it’s gone.” What a character.

Amy said that as soon as Toby’s travel restrictions are lifted, they’re going to go see Willie play in Sacramento. She also wrote me to tell me more about the visit, and said she touched by how genuinely interested Willie was in Toby’s story. Here’s part of her message:

Toby told him about how he uses cool band-aids after his belly needles, and arm shots, pretending they’re tattoos. Willie laughed about that with Toby, but then asked about his condition (mitochondrial disease) and weekly treatments, and all the needles. This 7-foot man covered in tats, couldn’t believe Toby’s strength, and all he endures with mitochondrial disease.

Especially now, with the new, giant, and dangerous blood clot, and how that has made life even more difficult and scary, Toby has so many restrictions. He’s not allowed to play contact sports, rough house, ride a roller coaster, or jump on the trampoline in his backyard. Toby always required rest and accommodation to participate in certain activities because of the energy crisis in his body. But now, things that took little energy like bumper cars and go-carts are even out, because he’s on such a high dose of medication for the clot. The risk of internal bleeding takes lots away. Willie said that learning about what Toby goes through puts things in perspective, and that it was an honor to get to spend time with him. Willie’s genuine compassion is palpable.

They also talked about the amazing, fly- through-the-air dunk in Florida. Yeah, you know the one. The “Am I really seeing this? No way!” game-changing dunk. Toby told him about the note I wrote him with the picture of that dunk. Toby keeps it taped by his bed to remind him of his strength, and that anything is possible. I loved when Willie said, “Someone else took the wheel on that one.” Amen, Willie. We know the Someone. Later, Toby showed Willie it by his bed. Toby told Willie, “You’ve gotten me through some rough times when mito was gettin’ the best of me. That made me feel stronger.” Willie was so touched that he asked to take a picture of it.

What a night! With a heart filled with as much kindness as he is tall, Willie came into our home, and forever changed the world of a boy fighting a very big battle. What an amazing young man. Toby has made quite a friend in Willie! He’s even got his number so he can stay in touch with Willie. Willie is a hero for reasons that far exceed his incredible basketball talent. I love that his stage is growing. Willie’s the kind of player that when their kids look up to him, moms can be happy with their choice in heroes.

To learn more about Toby and his fight, visit TeamTobyRocks.com@TeamTobyRocks or Amy’s Facebook page.


Matthew Mitchell and his band to perform outside CWS

Before Kentucky takes the field in the 2015 season opener, fans will be treated to a special music act in the parking lot by Matthew Mitchell and the Go Big Blue Band. Mitchell called in to KSR this morning to announce he will front a band for the first time in 15 years before the grand opening of the New Commonwealth Stadium on September 5th.

Mitchell’s band will open for a bigger band to be named later today. He said the headliners are professionals, but he would not say they are better.

More details to come later today.


Ulis and Briscoe working hard, taking photos in the gym

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Isaiah Briscoe tweeted a couple shirtless photos from his workout this morning, saying he is “205 and feeling great.”

Tyler Ulis, also shirtless, was Briscoe’s photographer for the shoot. The two have been inseparable since Briscoe arrived on campus earlier this summer.

Yesterday Briscoe said his body is looking much better, thanks to UK strength coach Rob Harris, but he still has work to do. Word out of the Joe Craft Center is he and Ulis are pushing each other everyday, when they’re not rapping in the car.


Auburn players react to new Auburn uniforms that look exactly like the old Auburn uniforms

Auburn will wear brand new uniforms this upcoming football season and the players got their first look at the new gear in a team meeting yesterday.

I don’t follow Auburn’s fashion all that closely, but I don’t see anything different in the new look. Am I missing something?

I guess we’ll get a closer glance when the Tigers come to Commonwealth Stadium for a Thursday nighter under the lights on October 15.


Gunnar Hoak to enroll in January

Gunnar Hoak, Kentucky’s lone quarterback commitment in the 2016 recruiting class, plans to graduate high school early and enroll at UK in January. Hoak told the Herald-Leader he is taking online classes to speed up the process so he will be on campus and ready for spring ball next year.

That extra semester goes a long way in player development. Good to see Hoak, and others, taking the opportunity to get a jump start on their college football careers.

 


KSR hits McKee today (Tuesday Show Thread)

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The Kentucky Sports Radio statewide radio tour rolls into McKee in Jackson County this morning for today’s live broadcast. Stop by if you’re in the area or tune in to hear the guys discuss the news of the day and whatever else pops up.

They’re at the Old Courthouse. (Not the new one.)

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

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

Here’s an updated list of tour stops:

August 4: McKee – Old Courthouse Community Room
August 5: Glasgow – Papa John’s
August 6: Jamestown – Lawless-Smith True Value and Appliance Center (Russell Springs)
August 7: Monticello – Conley Bottom Resort

August 10: Frankfort – Governor’s Mansion
August 11: Maysville – Laurel Oaks Golf Course
August 12: Danville – Sun Tropic Outdoors
August 13: Lexington – All Sports at Fayette Mall
August 14: Louisville

gotc-ksr

GuyOnTheCornerTickets.com is giving away UK basketball and football tickets at every tour stop this summer. That’s 33 chances to win, and all you have to do is come out to listen to your favorite radio show. That’s so easy even Ryan Lemond could do it!


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Upsets in the SEC and UK’s Role in That

Joe Robbins/Getty

Joe Robbins/Getty

Everybody knows that playing an SEC football schedule is an absolute grind.  Unless you name is Alabama, you are going to be an underdog multiple times throughout the season.  And at Kentucky, you will be the underdog in most of your games.  This year, despite having Mark Stoops best team, UK will likely need an upset or two to become bowl eligible or reach 7 wins.  But just how often do upsets occur in the SEC?  I broke down the numbers.  Based on the final spread of games, here are the number of upsets (by spread) in each of the last 5 SEC conference seasons and which teams pulled off those upsets.

2010: 11 (LSU-2, South Carolina-2, Arkansas-2, Auburn-1, Mississippi St-1, Florida-1, Kentucky-1, Vanderbilt-1)

2011: 7 (Auburn-2, Kentucky-2, LSU-1, Tennessee-1, Vanderbilt-1)

2012: 10 (Florida-3, Vanderbilt-2, Arkansas-1, Ole Miss-1, Texas A&M-1, Georgia-1, Missouri-1)

2013: 12 (Auburn-3, Vanderbilt-3, Missouri-2, Ole Miss-1, Mississippi St-1, Tennessee-1, South Carolina-1)

2014: 22 (Missouri-5, Ole Miss-3, Arkansas-2, Texas A&M-2, Mississippi St-2, Florida-2, South Carolina-2, LSU-1, Auburn-1, Tennessee-1, Kentucky-1)

TOTALS
Missouri- 8
Auburn- 7
Vanderbilt- 7
Florida- 6
South Carolina- 5
Arkansas- 5
Ole Miss- 5
LSU- 4
Mississippi St- 4
Kentucky- 4
Tennessee- 3
Texas A&M- 3
Georgia- 1
Alabama- 0 (have not been an underdog in an SEC game since 2010)

There are a couple of interesting things to note here.  First, last year was an INSANE year in SEC football.  22 upsets equaled the amount of the previous 2 years combined and is 10 more than any other year on this list.  Missouri nearly became bowl eligible off upsets alone.  Meaning that being the underdog consistently doesn’t necessarily mean bad things.  The Tigers proved that last year.

But Kentucky hasn’t really gotten too much into the upset parade.  Last year, we had the South Carolina game.  Only a total of 4 upsets in the last 5 years, while 7 of our conference partners have at least 5 and many of them had far fewer chances at upsets.  Kentucky will likely be the underdog in 5-7 SEC games this year.  For them to reach 6, 7, 8 wins, the upsets will have to be a part of that plan.

Most SEC teams have accomplished this in the last 5 years, Kentucky largely hasn’t.  If Mark Stoops wants this program to take the next step (a la Missouri) take a look at how the team performs as underdog as a good barometer.