Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
July 2nd, 2015

Antonio Blakeney predicts NCAA title for LSU

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Antonio Blakeney and his fellow LSU basketball freshmen met with the Baton Rouge media for the first time yesterday, and Blakeney did not shy away from making the boldest of predictions for his first season. He told reporters, “I think we’re going to win the national championship.”

Once a Louisville commit, Blakeney flipped his decision in January to join the nation’s top recruit, Ben Simmons, in the Tigers’ recruiting class. Simmons reportedly held his own against James Harden and Anthony Davis in a Nike camp last week, so it’s not all that crazy to think LSU will be very good.

But a title? LSU’s been to only one Final Four in the last 30 years, and never played in the championship game. Hell, Shaquille O’Neal and Chris Jackson couldn’t even get LSU there.

Good luck to Blakeney, though. I admire the confidence. We’ll see you next season.


Chad Ford Says What We’ve All Been Thinking

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Chad Ford was on the Grantland Sports Podcast with Ryen Russillo when he said what everyone in the country has been thinking the last seven years. If he had a son he would send him to Kentucky to play for Coach Cal.

Here’s the exact quote from Ford:

“If I had a kid, who was a good basketball player, who could make his team, I’d send him to John Calipari because he prepares these kids for the pros. He did Karl-Anthony Towns a huge favor by telling him, ‘don’t play on the perimeter, I’m going to teach you how to play in the post. I’m going to live through it.’ He did a great thing with Willie Cauley-Stein. I think he did great stuff with Devin Booker. He helps these kids get drafted and I’m a Calipari fan for that reason. From a draft perspective, I love him.”

Just further proof that it’s mind boggling when these top recruits pick a school like, I don’t know, UNLV over Kentucky. Calipari is the best at getting these guys ready for the NBA, which is the end goal for those top guys each year.

Russillo had kind words to say about the program as well, saying:

“These Kentucky guys, it was no joke. None of it was fake. They all talked about each other. They were all invested in each other. The minutes thing, which I would think as young kids would have driven a lot of people crazy. They genuinely seem to really like each other.”

Hearing that about the guys, which we saw all last year reminded me how much I miss them already. It’s a great podcast and you can catch it over at Grantland.com


The Most Important Player on the 2015-16 Basketball Team Is…..

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While everyone is beyond excited – and rightfully so – about the Jamal Murray commitment along with the star-studded incoming freshman class, the most important player to Kentucky’s success this season continues to quietly work on his game.

Not Tyler Ulis, who is undoubtedly a fan-favorite due to his diminutive size and constant hustle. Not Marcus Lee, the high-energy player who always seems to bring a smile to his teammates face. But, the senior Alex Poythress – who is the most important player on Kentucky’s roster this season.

There are a couple of reasons why Poythress is the most important player, but there are two main reasons.

The first is the versatility Alex brings to the table, with the ability to play three positions, especially if the game does go to true small ball. As we’ve discussed on this site before, the Wildcats can mimic the Golden State Warriors, with Poythress filling the role of Draymond Green. He’s an exceptional defender that can switch onto a guard while also playing in the post. Offensively he’s a decent enough shooter from the outside that he can draw a bigger defender away from the rim while still grabbing the rebounds Kentucky needs him to get.

The second is the fact he’s the biggest question mark on the team solely because of his injury. Despite the majority of guys in the rotation never playing a game in Rupp Arena before, we have a general idea what to expect. Poythress could be the key to what Calipari calls a ‘crazy season’ again. If he comes back healthy and looks the way he did during the 2014 NCAA Tournament and to start last season, Kentucky will be the favorite to win the national title again. However, if he is sluggish and takes a step back due to injury, Kentucky will have to rely on an already depleted frontcourt line and will resemble more of the 2010-11 team, who scrapped their way to a Final Four.

If you think someone else will be more important to the team this year, let us know in the comment section.


The All-Rick Pitino Team

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It’s the offseason right now, which usually means news is slow and allows us to have some fun with what we post and ideas we have. To be honest, it’s probably the last slow news week of the year with plenty happening starting this weekend. So, the past couple of weeks we’ve taken a trip down memory lane and looked at the All-Coach Cal Coached Team and All-Tubby Smith Coached Team, which brought up extremely fond memories and great debate about who should start at what position. So why not take a look back even more? What about the John Calipari of Kentucky before John Calipari came to Kentucky?

Who would make up the All-Rick Pitino Team?

Think of it like the All-NBA team, so there has to be a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center. This time you can’t cheat and put a point guard at Kentucky into the shooting guard role – I’m looking at everyone who tried to beat the system with Brandon Knight at shooting guard before. Also, since Nazr Mohammed was on the All-Tubby Smith Team he isn’t eligible for the All-Rick Pitino Team. You also can’t just take a bunch of guards and one post player and play like the Golden State Warriors, which wouldn’t be a bad idea. Going through the rosters and coming up with my choices, there were a couple no-brainers with Mashburn at the power forward and Delk at the point guard. However, you had to get tricky with what you wanted on the wing. The other noticeable finding was the lack of a great center, especially with Mohammed off the books. During the national title run, the starters were Walter McCarty and Antoine Walker.

This takes into consideration only the time they played college basketball. Don’t try to think about how they transitioned into the NBA or how long they played in college.

Point Guard: Tony Delk

Shooting Guard: Derek Anderson

Small Forward: Antoine Walker

Power Forward: Jamal Mashburn

Center: Andre Riddick 

What does everyone think? Agree, disagree, let your voice be heard. What’s your All-Rick Pitino team?

@uklefty22

 


Melvin Lewis will be featured in the “Beyond the Field” initiative at SEC Media Days

Get ready to hear a lot more about senior defensive tackle Melvin Lewis. This afternoon, it was announced that Lewis will be UK’s representative in the league’s new “Beyond the Field: Stories of the SEC” initiative at SEC Media Days in a few weeks. The series will feature student-athletes from each school with compelling stories outside their athletic endeavors.

Here’s a little bit of Lewis’ story:

Kentucky – Melvin Lewis (Senior, Defensive Tackle) grew up in Compton, California, and earning a college degree would have been a challenging goal without the opportunity presented by an athletics scholarship. After two years at Fullerton College, he signed with Kentucky and has completed his bachelor’s degree in community and leadership development. His dream job, other than the NFL, is “doing anything to help my community.”

I can’t wait to talk to Melvin and find out more. Media Days start a week from Monday, and I’ll be down there from Tuesday to Thursday to bring you all the happenings from Hoover. (“Happenings” meaning news, whiny media folk, and anything else worth Periscoping.)


More details on UK’s July 4th SEC Network Takeover

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Yesterday, we shared the programming schedule for UK’s SEC Network Takeover on July 4th, and today, the university released a more detailed schedule to help you figure out what to record and what not to record while you’re out and about on Independence Day:

  • Kentucky vs. Kansas (Nov. 11, 2011): In this early-season contest, freshman stars Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a coming-out party on the national stage at Madison Square Garden in a preview of the eventual 2012 National Championship game.
  • Kentucky vs. Tennessee (Sept. 26, 2012): Behind unbelievable defense and brilliant offensive execution, the UK volleyball team achieved a feat it had not completed since 1995. Juniors Whitney Billings and Alexandra Morgan combined for 19 kills without committing a single error in one of the more dominating performances in program history.
  • Kentucky vs. Arkansas (Feb. 20, 2015): Sparked by a season-high vault score, the Kentucky gymnastics team rallied from behind on the final rotation to topple No. 14 Arkansas.
  • Kentucky vs. Florida (Oct. 19, 2014): Fourth-ranked Florida with a high-powered offense met a determined UK soccer team ready to deliver head coach Jon Lipsitz a signature victory. Behind goals scored within 17 minutes of each other, Lipsitz and the Wildcats secured their first victory over a top-five opponent in program history.
  • Kentucky vs. Mississippi State (March 14, 2010): First there was the ‘Call Me’ game, and then there was ‘The Put-back.’ In one of the more exhilarating SEC Tournament Championship games in league history, DeMarcus Cousins forced overtime against the Bulldogs with a put-back shot as time expired in regulation to steal all of the momentum and set the stage for a Wildcat victory in overtime.
  • Kentucky vs. South Carolina (March 16, 2012): Trailing by a run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, junior catcher Luke Maile crushed a two-run, walk-off home run to centerfield to lift No. 16 Kentucky to a series-opening 4-3 win over No. 2 South Carolina. It was the start to a series-sweep over the second-ranked Gamecocks and one of the most exciting series victories in program history.
  • Big Blue InterNATIONal: Kentucky Volleyball to China: A documentary-style video showcases a two-week trip to China, where the team combined competition and culture into an once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Wildcats visited five cities, played seven matches against some of the elite Chinese professional teams and went on an educational journey along the way.
  • Big Blue (P)Review: Eleven two-minute hits with Kentucky’s head coaches will allow fans to relive the 2014-15 season and look ahead to 2015-16.
  • Kentucky vs. LSU (May 9, 2014): The 2014 softball season was a season of firsts which included a memorable run to its first-ever Women’s College World Series. But, the magic began with an improbable run to the SEC Championship game highlighted by an exciting victory over LSU in the semifinals. Tied 2-2, in the top of the ninth the Wildcats executed a two-run, two-out rally to fuel the magic.
  • Kentucky vs. South Carolina (March 1, 2015): Second-ranked and SEC Champion South Carolina arrived in Memorial Coliseum on March 1, 2015 ready to spoil Senior Day festivities for the Wildcats. But, 20 forced turnovers and 22 second-half points from Jen O’Neill and Makayla Epps helped the Wildcats celebrate in a BIG way.
  • Kentucky vs. Kansas (Nov. 18, 2014): Some will say the party began the day the Harrisons announced their return for their sophomore seasons. Some will say the party began in the Bahamas. But, everyone joined the party when Kentucky met Kansas in the Champions Classic in the third game of the season in 2014-15. That’s when everyone realized what ‘Let’s Ball’ really meant.
  • Kentucky vs. Louisville (Sept. 15, 2007): Where were you the night ‘Stevie Got Loose?’ In an epic showdown between instate rivals which was capped by a finish for the ages, the Kentucky-Louisville game was the start of something special that made the entire Big Blue Nation believers in 2007.
  • Kentucky vs. South Carolina (Oct. 4, 2014): A blackout. Chrome helmets. Nifty dance moves. And one unforgettable victory. Jojo Kemp scored three touchdowns, while Bud Dupree picked off a pass and ran it back for a touchdown to help lead the Wildcats to the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in Kentucky history and the biggest win thus far in the Mark Stoops era.
  • Kentucky vs. Louisville (Dec. 27, 2014): In the final non-conference game of the season for the historic 2014-15 Wildcats, UK traveled to Louisville in a top-five matchup just days after Christmas. Both teams entered the game undefeated. Only one emerged unscathed.

John Calipari and Mark Stoops will serve as hosts, popping in from time to time and taking over the @SECNetwork Twitter account. Get ready to see a lot of #positionless and #AllIn hashtags.


Sleep Outfitters’ Thursday Recruiting Roundup

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Today, we’re starting a new feature on KSR with some help from our friends at Sleep Outfitters. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we’ll bring you the latest recruiting news for both basketball and football. Let’s start with the oblong ball…

FOOTBALL

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Obviously, the biggest recruiting news this week centers around 4-star inside linebacker Kash Daniel, who will announce his decision on July 4th like a great American. The announcement is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Paintsville High School, and the three hats on the table will be Kentucky, South Carolina, and Louisville. (If you’ve seen the picture of the hats, it’s pretty clear the Louisville gas station hat has no chance.)

All signs continue to point in Kentucky’s direction to the point that if Kash picks South Carolina or Louisville, it will be the biggest troll move in UK football recruiting history. I have it on good account that WON’T happen and the Cats are in great shape.

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Craig Yeast’s son goes by the name of Russ and looks ready to follow in his dad’s footsteps at Kentucky. The 2017 athlete/wide receiver has offers from Kentucky, Indiana, Louisville, Maryland, and Iowa to go along with interest from Notre Dame, Tennessee, Michigan, and Florida State. Earlier this week, he told CatsPause he enjoyed his visits to UK and Notre Dame the most, going as far to say he’s come very close to committing to the Cats.

“Every visit I take to Kentucky is an opportunity for me to see if that’s a place for me to see if I would like to play. I have been there a few times and I have came very close to committing but I realized that it is not time for that so I am going to back off of that.”

[CatsPause]

If the Cats keep trending upward, it’s only a matter of time until he’s on board.

BASKETBALL

 

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Alkins picked up an offer from Kentucky in May, and the Cats’ interest in the 6’5″ shooting guard has ramped up considerably in the past few months. ZagsBlog is reporting that Kentucky will watch Alkins and his AAU team over the next three weeks in events in Georgia, Long Island, and Vegas. This dunk he threw down ten days ago should tell you why the Cats are so interested:

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Simmons participated in the Steph Curry Select Camp this week and talked to Evan Daniels about his game and recruitment. I can’t embed the video here, but he mentioned Kentucky A LOT. Kentucky was the first school he mentioned when Evan asked which head coaches had visited him, the visits he’s taken, the visits he still wants to take, and the schools who have prioritized him recently.

Kentucky has been the favorite for Kobi for a while now, and although he hasn’t given a time frame for his decision, he says he’s thinking more and more about it every day.

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Kentucky may not be considered the favorite for the number one player in 2016, but I had to include him because he’s tearing it up in the U19 World Championships in Greece this week. Yesterday, Giles scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in USA’s 93-45 win over Argentina, his second straight double-double of the tournament. In USA’s four wins, he’s averaged a team-high 14.5 points and 9.2 rebounds, looking every bit the best player in his class. For that reason, he remains one of Cal’s top priorities.

While most analysts think Giles will stay in-state and go to either UNC, Duke, or Wake Forest, Kentucky could sell him on immediate playing time assuming Skal Labissiere (and/or Marcus Lee) heads to the 2016 Draft.


The Best of the Worst Rupp Arena Trip Advisor Reviews

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I love Rupp, you love Rupp, we all love Rupp. When it’s rocking, there’s an electricity in the air that’s hard to beat; however, I think we can all admit that Rupp needs some updates. Like our favorite old dive bar, Rupp has its charm, but when you go to the nice new BW3s down the street, you can’t help but long for their big HDTVs, nice bathrooms, and stools that don’t wobble. Hopefully, upgrades are on the way in the form of new ribbon boards and a center-hung video scoreboard, but until then, we have to love Rupp, warts and all.

In that spirit, shoutout to KSR superfan Matthew Mahone for tipping me off on the treasure trove that is the Rupp Arena Trip Advisor review page. As you might expect, most of the reviews are positive because everyone loves Rupp and the CAYTS, but there were a few negative reviews that are too good not to share. Here are my favorites:

This Butler fan blamed Rupp for their loss to Marquette in the 2013 NCAA Tournament

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As Kentucky fans, we’ve all been there when it comes to depression over a loss irrationally taking over our lives and logic, but blaming Rupp for Butler losing is a junior-high move.

This UK Alum Architect doesn’t just have problems with Rupp

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If you’re such a proud alum, why slam your own school? Talk about “a lack of meaningful life skill values.” Good luck with that, buddy.

Rupp apparently closes for floor waxing in the summer

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Good to know.

“The natives were restless”

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Since Rupp doesn’t serve booze during games, I’m guessing this was during a concert. Either way, “no better,” middle aged folks.

Louisville fan is “at a total lost” as to why Rupp Arena isn’t nicer

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After spending a weekend in the Yum Center last March, I kind of agree with him/her.

“Just fill the structure with bats”

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Technically, I think UK’s 49-point win over Missouri in January counted as a “game to the death,” but this review takes the cake.


Go behind-the-scenes of Karl’s first week with the Timberwolves

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Karl Towns is currently tearing up the greens at Bethpage Black, but when he gets off the course, he’ll be treated to this great behind-the-scenes video from his Minnesota Timberwolves about his first week with the franchise.

Timberwolves play-by-play announcer Dave Benz interviews Karl about the stress of the draft (Karl says he was just glad he didn’t trip on stage), the opportunity to be mentored by Kevin Garnett, and what he brings to the team (versatility, giving Wiggins more space).

I could watch the first twelve seconds on loop.


For some reason, I find this video of Will Gardner describing the new UofL uniforms hilarious

It’s been a week since Louisville unveiled their awful new adidas “Uncaged” uniforms, but for some reason, I’m just now seeing this video of Louisville QB Will Gardner giving his reaction. I came across it this morning and find it absolutely hilarious:

“Uh, these uniforms feel good, it’s uh a loose fit and they’re uh a lot more comfortable, you’ve got a little more room in the pants and um…”

“The cardinal is different but I think it’s going to be a big attraction, uh, for a lot of fans, bring a lot of attention. It’s different than what is normally done here at the University of Louisvillle, you normally see the generic like with the mouth open and all, but this is a realistic cardinal bird, so it’s gonna be different.”

“Underneath, you have a full red bird like the full the claws and everything and a red L set in the middle of it, so it’s really neat to see the full bird and the L there together.”

Never change, Louisville. Never change.


Could Enes Kanter be headed to the Big Apple?

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The NBA free agency period rolls on today, and the latest rumor may put a former Cat in the Big Apple. The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola is reporting that the New York Knicks are considering making an offer to Enes Kanter, currently a restricted free agent with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Yesterday, the Thunder met with Enes to discuss putting together a new deal–rumored to be near max contract figures–but it’s not final yet. They better hurry if they want to keep him in OKC…

Stay tuned. I’m sure this will all change in about an hour.


SDS calls Boom Williams the SEC’s best kept secret

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We’re nearing that point in the summer where all the blogs start releasing their college football previews. Saturday Down South’s previews are already in full swing, and earlier this week, Jon Cooper posted an article calling UK running back Boom Williams “the SEC’s best kept secret”:

Although Williams would be categorized more as a scat back who can make people miss, his first step is what sets him apart. The fastest first step in college football I’ve ever witnessed was Percy Harvin. Harvin could get to top speed in a hurry; so can Williams. He finds the hole aided by great vision, and in a second, he’s gone.

Cooper kept the love flowing yesterday when he predicted Boom will be one of ten 1,000-yard rushers in the SEC this season. If so, Boom would be UK’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Rafael Little in 2007. In fact, in the history of the program, UK has only had six players rush for 1,000+ yards: Sonny Collins (twice), George Adams, Mark Higgs, Moe Williams, Artose Pinner, and Little (twice).

Here comes the Boom. Let’s get ready with some highlights:


Rajon Rondo to the Kings might actually happen

Rajon Rondo is still on the market, but according to some recent reports, not for long. Yesterday, ESPN reported that the Sacramento Kings requested a meeting with Rondo and last night, the Kings traded Carl Landry, Nik Stauskas, and Jason Thompson to the Philadelphia 76ers to free up some cap room to go after Rondo, Wesley Matthews, and Monta Ellis.

The interest is reportedly mutual, with SI’s Chris Mannix reporting that Rondo wants $10 million for a one-year contract after a rocky year in Boston and Dallas; however, is Sacramento the right fit? The Kings are already a dumpster fire, and adding Rondo would likely only fan the flames. Rondo is a notoriously difficult teammate, George Karl a notoriously difficult coach, and DeMarcus Cousins a notoriously big personality. Get Karl out of the picture and it gets a little easier, but could Rondo and Cousins coexist? That could either be amazing or awful. At the very least, entertaining.


KSR is live at Final Finish in Morgantown (Thursday Show Thread)

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Thursday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio! Today, Matt and Drew are at Final Finish (382 Gardner Lane Road) in Morgantown for stop #7 of the KSR Summer Tour.

Today, the guys will be telling stories about their favorite interactions with UK players, always an entertaining topic. Come on out to say hello, enjoy story time, and register to win tickets from GuyOnTheCornerTickets.com.

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

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

Here’s an updated list of tour stops. We’re still finalizing a few, so be sure to check back as the week goes on.

July 2: Morgantown – Final Finish
July 3: Hopkinsville – Holiday Inn

July 6: Morganfield – Southern States
July 7: Grayson – Simply The Best Bar & Grill
July 8: Pikeville – Bank 253
July 9: Williamson – Appalachian Wireless at South Side Mall
July 10: KY Speedway

July 13: Cynthiana – Cynthiana County Club
July 14: Whitley City – McCreary County Public Library
July 15: London – Sleep Outfitters
July 16-17: TBD

July 20: Whitesburg – Pine Mountain Grill
July 21: Manchester – Clay County Middle School
July 22: Somerset – Sleep Outfitters
July 23: Harlan – Core Fitness
July 24: Fort Wright – Dickmann’s Sports Bar

July 27: Campbellsville – Mr. Gatti’s
July 28: Owensboro – Don Moore GM Center
July 29: Benton – Kennedy’s Fan Shop
July 30: Paducah – Buffalo Wild Wings
July 31: Fancy Farm

August 3: Bowling Green – Chaney’s Dairy Barn
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

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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!


KSR visors are now available on KentuckyBranded.com

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The new KSR visors have been the hottest product so far on the KSR Summer Tour. Dress like the rest of the KSR crew and pick one up at KentuckyBranded.com.

Available in white and royal blue, the visor is perfect for a round of golf, a UK game, or just hanging out with your friends. If you’re not able to pick one up at one of our KSR Summer Tour stops, click the link below.

Hurry, they won’t last long!

New KSR visors at KentuckyBranded.com