Part two in an eight part series previewing the 2014 Kentucky Football Wildcats. Cats hope →
By Caleb Epley on ©10:45 pm
It hasn’t been the greatest summer for Hollywood. The box office is down about 20% from this time last year, and while there have been a few exceptions (X-men: Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of Apes) most of the big winners financially have been pretty mediocre/bad movies (Amazing Spider Man 2, Maleficent, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Lucy). Marvel Studios, usually a big player in the summer-movie scene, released its only film of the season yesterday in Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie was a considerable gamble for the studio, but after watching it, I’d have to say that it is one of the most pleasantly surprising films of the summer.
The first Marvel movie without a well-established hero (most of these characters have only been around since 2008), the film features a group of criminals who team up to prevent a powerful space orb from landing into the hands of Ronan, the genocidal-alien-bad-guy. Many of the movie’s funniest moments come from the human member of the group, Starlord (played by Chris Pratt), who was abducted by aliens as a child in 1988. This allows him to spew a variety of hilarious pop-cultural references ranging from Kevin Bacon to The Maltese Falcon, and gives the film a cool soundtrack featuring classic hits like “I Want You Back” by the Jackson Five and “Escape” by Rupert Holmes. Guardians is self-aware, the characters are great (particularly Groot, the humanoid tree voiced by Vin Diesel) and is a worthwhile trip to the movies in a summer that hasn’t featured so many.
On to the news:
Tony Barbee joins UK’s Staff
The University officially announced today that Tony Barbee will be joining the staff as “special assistant to the head coach.” Barbee played for Calipari at UMass, was an assistant at Memphis, and was the head coach at UTepp and Auburn, before being fired by the latter this March. He takes the place of Rod Strickland, who left to coach at the University of South Florida earlier this year. Glad to have you, coach.
Stoops speaks at final pre-season luncheon
Coach Stoops spoke about the team today for the final time during “talking season” at the annual Kentucky Football Kickoff Luncheon in Lexington. Stoops believes the squad is “much improved,” especially physically:
“You hear me talk about it all the time: recruit, recruit, recruit — and develop. We can’t just bring talented players into our program and stop there. We have to develop them in all areas of their lives. This team is much improved. Really, I think you’re going to see the biggest dividends in the physical improvement.”
We’re looking forward to seeing those results. Practice starts Monday.
Coach K comments on Demarcus Cousins
Several people have reported that Mason Plumlee is likely to make the Team USA roster over Demarcus Cousins. The two played tonight in a scrimmage (still occurring at the time of this post) that will hopefully make an impression on the staff. Coack K did have this to say about Demarcus:
“In DeMarcus’ case, the style we play lends itself to what Anthony does or even what Plumlee is doing,” Krzyzewski said. “DeMarcus’ game is different, so he has an adjustment to make and he’s trying to make it. He’s been attentive and [he’s] tried – diving on the floor for loose balls. They all have to adapt and it’s a different way of playing defense – ‘how do you play defense with all these athletes, and how do you help out?’ We [will] have to see in games – these exhibition games – how that will wash out. We haven’t made a decision and we won’t for a while, but we will definitely take a long look at the bigs.”
Is he setting us up for the let-down? No official decision has been made yet, but if Coach K decides to screw over Boogie.. look out.
Antoine Walker will be at the annual alumni game
The 3-time NBA All-Star, and former NCAA/ NBA champion Antoine Walker announced that he will be returning to Lexington for this year’s alumni game via Twitter:
This year’s contest will feature several former Cats against several former non-Cats. More details will be released soon, but if the past few years have been any indication, it will be a fun event and a great chance to see several of our former Wildcats in action.
Finally, KSR would like to send well-wishes to Aaron Jackson (pictured below), who is currently in UK’s ICU fighting a rare blood disease. Aaron is a huge Kentucky fan, and was able to get Jodie Meeks to help him participate in “the cold water challenge” a couple of months ago. Sending our thoughts and prayers your way, big guy.
By Andrew Cassady on ©9:30 pm
Want yet another reason to be optimistic about this upcoming football season? Good, cause I’m gonna give you one. Last season Kentucky was tasked with facing the preseason ranked #1 Alabama, #5 Georgia, #7 South Carolina, #9 Louisville, and #10 Florida (injury plagued). With Vandy left just outside. The Cats went 2-10 last year as you know but things could be looking up for the upcoming season. Here’s how the coaches ranked the teams for this fall:
1. Florida State (56 first place votes)
3. Oklahoma (3)
4. Oregon (1)
6. Ohio State (1)
8. Michigan State
9. South Carolina (1)
17. Notre Dame
18. Arizona State
19. Ole Miss
20. Texas A&M
21. Kansas State
23. North Carolina
Kentucky will take only take on #9 South Carolina (which a lone, likely visored, insane coach thinks is better than FSU), #12 Georgia. and #13 LSU from this season. That’s not bad considering the murderers row the Cats had to deal with last season. Plus, they will get USC and Georgia at home which is always nice when you have to play a ranked team. Perhaps they will be the first major upset of the Stoops era.
If only this year we had next year’s team because the schedule is primed for a team to make some major moves in the SEC east. How do you think Kentucky will fare against these three ranked teams?
By Drew Franklin on ©9:09 pm
By John Dubya on ©8:30 pm
Roses are red, your eyes are big blue and I’m just a white guy that’s lookin’ for you. m4w
Seen you up at the mall this morning at the KSR Show. We were both wearing the same “Time for 9″ t-shirt in different colors. You had the gray one, tell me what color mine was so I know it’s you. You’ll remember, we had a conversation about it. About halfway through the show you caught my eyes. I was staring at you with my mouth open. Sorry if this freaked you out. I have sinus issues and my mouth is open most of the time. Anyway, you said “hey, nice shirt.” I was so dumbstruck by your glow that I don’t even recall my response but I’m fairly certain it was something like, “hey, nice ass.” I hope that’s not what I said but I’ve been known to say it and you didn’t talk to me after that so I’m just connecting the dots here. I’m not a pervert, I just got caught up in the heat. It was hot with passion in there, I know you felt it too. You had some visible sweat under your armpit and I dig that. You came with a man and some children, was that your family, or like your brother and his kids or something? We have the same sense of humor. I noticed we both laugh at Ryan but don’t quite connect with the subtlety of Drew. I think I could make you laugh, if you like laughing. My uncle’s boss has 4 lower level season tickets. I usually get to go to one game a year. You could come with me. We’d wear our matching Time for 9 tees, cheer our hearts out and talk about our dreams for 40-0. We’d share an ice cream cone, stand up the whole time and tell those old fogies to go home if they can’t see, we’re watchin a ballgame here! lol Then we’d giggle about it all the way back to my house where I could cook you some biscuits and gravy and we’ll make love in my garage on my replica of Cawood’s Court. I also got a trampoline out back if you need to bring your kids. I’d nudge you in the middle of the night and whisper something sweet in your ear like, “Poythress needs to start hitting that baseline J if he wants to keep Marcus Lee on the bench.” This would be like our 4th or 5th date. Our first date could be something low key, like a hibachi and/or the Red Mile. Point is, I’m ready for 9, you’re ready for 9, show me yours I’ll show you mine.
One more week….
Since Mark Stoops’ first season ended with a 27-14 loss to Tennessee, there’s been a contract extension, an assistant coaching change, a stadium renovation reveal and another near Spring Game sellout. None of those are exciting as the recruiting class Stoops signed. With six four-star* commits, the Top 25 national ranking is the best in school history.
The 2014 Class is bringing playmakers, but most importantly, they’re bringing depth. Last year it was difficult to judge them simply because they didn’t have enough experienced players at important positions. Some will make an immediate impact (especially the JUCOs), but unfortunately the biggest names in the recruiting class will likely not see much action this Fall. Drew Barker and Matt Elam are bringing some buzz to campus, but they aren’t John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. Depth and maturity play a much bigger role in football, so let me temper some high expectations for a moment on some of Stoops’ 4-star players.
The craziest recruitment of a football player that Kentucky fans have ever experienced, Matt Elam’s choice to stay home over playing at Alabama cemented Stoops’ status as an elite recruiter. As good as Elam is, it’s no secret that he needs to lose some weight and improve on his fundamentals. In just a few short months on campus, he’s already lost 35 pounds and has stayed close to Za’Darius Smith’s side to learn the tricks off the trade. The changes are a great first step, but there’s still a long way to go.
Elam is also in the middle of a very deep defensive line depth chart. Defensive tackles Melvin Lewis and Regie Meant showed dramatic improvements during their redshirt season and Mike Douglas is poised to have a breakout Senior year. Jimmy Brumbaugh runs a static two-deep substitution pattern, leaving only one vacant spot to be filled at DT. Letting Elam redshirt this year isn’t out of the question. If he can improve as much as Meant and Lewis did, the long-term investment would be rewarding.
Drew has done all of the right steps to have a horse in the quarterback race: arriving early on campus, displaying leadership qualities in and outside of the locker room while holding his own in the Spring Game in front of a large crowd. At the end of the day, he still has to beat out two guys that have been on a college campus for two years. Unless he’s head and shoulders above the rest, keeping Drew on the sidelines isn’t a bad idea.
Ware is the highest ranked defensive end Stoops has convinced to come to Lexington, but there’s two GIANT obstacles in the way: Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith. No matter how well Ware adjusts to the college game, he isn’t taking any playing time away from the two Senior studs. Jason Hatcher will surely be in the mix a lot, leaving little room for another defensive end to get significant clock.
Stanley “Boom” Williams
Boom Williams might be the best “homerun” back on this year’s team, but the little guy (5’8, 190 lbs.) will have to bring a ton of Boom to find his way onto the field this Fall. The running back position is the deepest position on offense with two power backs (Clemons and Horton) and two speedsters (Kemp and Heard) splitting snaps. Boom’s best chance at seeing the field is in a Ryan Timmons-type role as a slot WR/RB (but can you take that many touches away from Timmons?). Last week Boom’s high school coach acknowledged that he has a long way to go, but is confident he’ll leave significant mark in Lexington before his collegiate career comes to a conclusion.
* – 247 Composite Score, of course
By Courtney Sealey on ©7:00 pm
With nine McDonald’s All-Americans (and a Willie Cauley-Stein) on their roster there are many arguments as to what the strengths of this year’s team will be. The team has talent, speed, brains and several other aspects that will help them on the court. However, there is one thing that will bring them their biggest advantage. Size.
Former LSU coach, Trent Johnson, said it best in a 2010 interview about 7-foot 2 Andrew Del Piero – A LSU basketball player who walked on to the team after being ‘discovered’ at band practice playing the sousaphone – “You can’t teach height.” Even the most talented of players have been held back by their height. Fortunately Kentucky will not have to worry about that this year, both in the paint and in the backcourt. With three players along towering over 7 feet tall, Kentucky already has the upper hand in size alone.
Last year, Kentucky’s big weakness was defense and they finished ranking in 41st in the country in the Ken Pomeroy defensive rankings. Another year with defense like that would lessen the Cats’ chances at a title. However, Kentucky’s defense should improve with the height advantage they have this year. Length and height will pose defensive advantages when it comes to rebounds, blocks and turnovers.
Not only do you have three players towering at 7’0” tall, you also have Alex Poythress at 6’8”, Marcus Lee at 6’0”, and Trey Lyles at 6’10. You also have the Harrison twins in the backcourt towering at 6’6”. There are several different arguments for who the starting line-up should include. However, there is a guarantee of whoever Cal puts on the court to start, it will be scary.
By Drew Franklin on ©6:00 pm
When Team USA scrimmages tonight at 9:00 pm EST on ESPN, DeMarcus Cousins has the opportunity to prove to America he deserves a spot on the final roster for the FIBA World Cup. With all of this talk of Mason Plumlee likely to get picked over him, Boogie can throw more fuel on the debate by standing out in tonight’s game. He can put the pressure on Coach K to do the right thing when everyone gets to see how he stacks up with Plumlee, not just the handful of coaches who have been watching behind closed doors in Vegas.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was the first to suggest Coach K is considering Plumlee over Cousins, last night on Twitter. However, Krysxzeswksiwski said it will still be some time before any roster is final.
Krysewskiwskixvytski said this to News10′s Sean Cunningham yesterday:
“In DeMarcus’ case, the style we play lends itself to what Anthony [Davis], or even what [Mason] Plumlee does and a little bit of [Andre] Drummond. DeMarcus’ game is different, so he an adjustment to make and he’s trying to make it. Also, as he grows, we have to look and see if there is something we can do to bring more out of his game. We’re going to take a good look at our bigs.”
“He’s been attentive and [he’s] tried – diving on the floor for loose balls. They all have to adapt and it’s a different way of playing defense – ‘how do you play defense with all these athletes, and how do you help out?’ We [will] have to see in games – these exhibition games – how that will wash out. We haven’t made a decision and we won’t for a while, but we will definitely take a long look at the bigs.”
Show ‘em what you got tonight, Big Fella.
By Drew Franklin on ©5:15 pm
60-inch box jump? That ain’t no thing for B. Knight.
I would break all of the bones if I attempted this.
By Drew Franklin on ©4:46 pm
It’s hard to believe, I know, but it’s true. The NFL season is right around the corner and our friends at DraftKings.com are already offering some online fantasy action for KSR readers and listeners.
The new NFL $100K Play-Action Contest is live and ready for you to join with a guaranteed $100,000 prize pool. First place (me) will take home a cool $10,000 with the other top 11,499 players earning some form of payment for their success.
The contest is for the first week of games, beginning Sunday, September 7th at 1:00 EST. The draft lobby is open now so you can go ahead and select your team — eight players and one team defense.
And as always, first time depositors receive a 100% bonus up to $600.
Get to it!
By Drew Franklin on ©4:04 pm
We’re getting lots of questions, comments and complaints regarding the whereabouts of today’s podcast so I’ll give a quick update to ease the situation before some of you start storming the radio station with bats, Molotov cocktails and ear buds.
Because Shannon The Dude, Maria and pretty much everyone involved with the show was actually at today’s show, and it’s a Friday, we’re a little behind in getting it uploaded to the 1080 website. Matt is in touch with people who know people who know people who can do it, so we’re hoping it appears online shortly.
Sorry for the inconvenience. We know how bad you want to hear Ryan Lemond frog gig a Pitino-signed basketball. We want you to hear it and we have our fingers crossed for you.
By Drew Franklin on ©3:17 pm
We’re starting to see some names of former players who will be participating in the alumni game at the end of the month and the one that was just confirmed has me shimmying all over the office.
Antoine Walker, maybe my favorite Cat from that era, announced on Twitter he will be in Lexington during the Fantasy Camp/Alumni Game weekend. ‘Toine was here two years ago and he was a hit at camp and in the game. (You may remember Boogie playfully taunting him with his own dance move.)
He says he is looking forward to seeing everyone again this year:
— Antoine Walker (@WalkerAntoine8) August 1, 2014
Derek Anderson and Randolph Morris also said publicly they will participate and I’ve been told Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and James Young are planning to play.
Hopefully Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall are too busy at the FIBA World Cup. We’ll call that an excused absence.
By Drew Franklin on ©3:00 pm
Christie Horan, a captain on last year’s UK dance team, is a finalist to become a Wizards Girl for the upcoming 2014-15 NBA season and she would really appreciate your support in making that dream come true. (And we can never have too much #BBN in Washington.)
The good people in charge of selecting the squad saved a spot on the team for a ‘Fan Favorite,’ going to the dancer with the most online votes leading up to Monday night’s Finals Audition Showcase. That is where you come in, Cats fans. You can lend Christie a hand in the tryout process by simply giving her a vote and, hopefully, raising her vote count above the others so she is awarded that coveted ‘Fan Favorite’ spot.
To vote for Christie, all you have to do is send out a tweet with the hashtag #CHRISTIEforWG on the Twitter device. That’s easy enough, right? Put whatever message you’d like in the tweet, just be sure it includes #CHRISTIEforWG in it somewhere. Tweet about your dinner or your favorite episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo if that tickles your fancy; just end it with #CHRISTIEforWG and she’ll get credit. That’s all it takes and I know she will represent us well with John Wall in D.C. next season.
By Drew Franklin on ©2:00 pm
Mark Stoops delivered some news regarding the receiving corps at his luncheon today. Two of his projected starters, sophomores Alexander Montgomery and Jeff Badet, are still recovering from injury entering Monday’s camp.
Montgomery, who caught two touchdown passes last season, will not be ready to go on Monday. He’s still easing back from a torn ACL, an injury he suffered while celebrating a touchdown in the eighth game of the 2013 season.
Badet will practice but he will be limited until later in the fall. The third-leading receiver from a year ago broke his leg in spring practice.
This is an opportunity for the new guys to take advantage of the extra reps with the first team.
By Chris Fisher on ©1:45 pm
John Calipari filled the last remaining spot on his basketball staff at Kentucky Friday when the school named former Auburn coach Tony Barbee as special assistant to the head coach.
But interestingly, on the Jalen and Jacoby podcast July 25, ESPN analyst and former NBA player Jalen Rose would neither confirm nor deny rumors that he was contacted by Kentucky to fill one of those vacancies.
“There are a few college coaches that I would consider working for,” Rose said. “John Calipari is one of them.”
For more, visit CatsPause.com [FREE]
By Drew Franklin on ©1:30 pm
Fall camp begins next week and UK head coach Mark Stoops is asking his players to do one thing before they get to work: “Submit.”
“Submit to the process,” he asks his guys. That means give football your undivided attention throughout camp. Turn everything off. No distractions. Focus on improving as a player. Focus on improving as a team. Submit to football.
Stoops spoke at the annual Kentucky Football Kickoff Luncheon in Lexington today and he echoed a lot of what he said yesterday on Kentucky Sports Radio and during his media tour last week. Today’s event marked the end of “Talkin’ Season” and now he’s ready to get work.
They report early Monday morning. Real early.