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January 26th, 2015

Could Coach Cal Be Coach Of The Year?

Despite the many, many accomplishments Coach Calipari has notched during his time in Lexington being named Coach of the Year hasn’t been one of them. Perhaps this is the year that the best coach in the game is finally recognized for the work he has be doing this season. At least Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports seems to think that could be the case as he included Coach Cal on his rankings for COTY. Here’s what Jeff had to say:

5. John Calipari, Kentucky

If the common complaint about including Calipari as a coach of the year candidate is that he has more talent to work with than any of his peers, allow me to poke holes in that. First, one of the primary responsibilities of a college coach is to stockpile talent via recruiting, so Calipari should get credit for having nine McDonald’s All-Americans at his disposal rather than being penalized for it. Second, it’s a challenge to keep that many guys with NBA aspirations happy but so far Calipari seems to be successfully managing the egos on his team. Top-ranked Kentucky is 19-0 and has shown no signs of animosity between the players either on or off the floor. The Wildcats are winning because their impressive collection of long, athletic big men has gobbled up offensive boards and made it very tough on opposing teams to score in the paint.

[Yahoo Sports: Ranking the leading contenders for national coach of the year]

Not that the award matters in the long run. Here are the last 5 Naismith Coach of the Year winners and their finish in the season compared to Kentucky’s

Year Coach Team Lost Kentucky’s Finish
2009–10 Jim Boeheim Syracuse Sweet 16 Elite 8
2010–11 Steve Fisher San Diego State Sweet 16 Final Four
2011–12 Bill Self Kansas Runner-Up National Champs
2012–13 Jim Larrañaga Miami (FL) Sweet 16 NIT
2013–14 Gregg Marshall Wichita State Sweet 16 Final Four

On second thought, you can keep your awards. Cal is doing just fine without them.


Calipari on Karl: “He must master five feet and in”

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to John Calipari on the sidelines lately, you’ve noticed he’s been pretty hard on Karl Towns. Karl has struggled with the physical nature of conference play, to the point that you might even say he’s in an SEC slump. “I’ve been kind of tough on him,” Cal said on his radio show tonight. “I love him. He’s one of the best kids of all time, but I told him, ‘You can’t talk your way out, you can’t nice your way out. You’re gonna do this. You’re gonna be our threat in there.'”

To make that happen, Cal said that the staff is focusing on getting Karl to master “five feet and in.”:

He’s gotta master five feet and in before we do anything else. You know why? For him. I’m cheating him if I accept him saying ‘I can’t play in there, just let me shoot jumpers.’ Well, then I’m cheating him. That’s not why I came to Kentucky. He must master five feet and in. He must sit down, he must play lower, he must fight with his hips, he must use angles better. All of the things that he’s capable of doing, we’re demanding. We’re not accepting anything other than that.”

Cal did say that he’s proud of Karl for his improvement on pick-and-roll defense. “For him to be the big man he wants to be at the next level, he must play pick-and-roll defense,” Cal said. “If you cannot play pick-and-roll defense, you’ll be in pick-and roll defense every play of every game that you’re in. That’s why he’s getting better. We never accept it.”

You got this, Karl.


KSR shirts in Ladies’ styles now available at KentuckyBranded.com!

ksr_ladies

HEY LADIES! Like the KSR shirts but want some in a more flattering cut? You’re in luck. Now in stock at KentuckyBranded.com: KSR shirts in several ladies’ styles. Don’t sacrifice fashion to show your KSR pride in these great tees, which range in size from small to x-large.

Free shipping with orders over $40!

The KSR Ladies Collection at KentuckyBranded.com


Kentucky on pace for college basketball’s best defense in 15 years

Today in wonderful and pleasing statistics: Kentucky is currently allowing 77.2 points per 100 possessions. If that holds up, it would be the best for any defense in college basketball in at least the last 15 seasons.

Cheers to that.


“SEC Now” will broadcast from Rupp on Saturday afternoon

Like this but not quite.

The latest sign Kentucky basketball is the only story in the sport right now: “SEC Now,” the SEC Network’s news and information studio show, will broadcast live from Rupp Arena on Saturday afternoon before the Alabama game.

Host Dari Nowkhah will be joined by analysts Dane Bradshaw and Darrin Horn on the baseline of Rupp Arena beginning at 2 p.m. to preview Kentucky’s game against Alabama and provide highlights and analysis of the rest of the day’s conference games. They’ll also stick around after the conclusion of UK/Alabama to recap all the action.

Cool.


Kim Anderson calls Devin Booker’s shooting “pretty salty”

This morning, Devin Booker won SEC Freshman of the Week for the third straight week, a testament to his blazing hot shooting from the outside. Over the past nine games, Booker is 22-33 from behind the arc, causing Missouri head coach Kim Anderson to label him “pretty salty” in today’s SEC Coaches Teleconference.

“He’s playing way too good,” Anderson laughed. “He’s shooting the ball well, and for a freshman is really mature. You think about it, he’s shooting 50 percent from three. That’s pretty salty.”

Salty, smooth, hot, whatever you want to call it, the BBN likes it. John Calipari said that while he’s pleased with Booker’s play, especially his defense, he wants to see him drive the lane more often. “I want to see him attack the basket better,” Cal said on today’s teleconference. “Right now when he attacks the basket, he doesn’t avoid people. He’s still flailing a little bit. I don’t want him to just be a catch-and-shoot player. I want him to be an offensive threat.”

This gets better?


Malik Newman’s dad calls what Calipari’s doing “special”

Malik Newman remains one of Kentucky’s top prospects for the 2015 class, and yesterday, his father, Horatio Webster, called into the Sunday Morning Sports Talk show on 630 AM to talk about his son’s recruitment. Webster told Mark Buerger and Larry Vaught that with the number of players on the roster, this year’s Kentucky team “could’ve been a disaster,” but John Calipari’s use of the platoon system has instead made it something special:

“It’s special what Coach Cal is doing down there because [to keep] almost a McDonald’s All-American team together and all of them gel as one, that takes a special coach to do that,” Webster said. “In order to keep everybody happy and keep a smile on everybody’s face. That team could’ve went any way, it could’ve been a disaster or it could turn out like it is now. And you have to give Coach Cal and his staff all the credit for  that. I don’t know how he did it, I don’t know how he do it, but that’s why he gets paid the big bucks.”

Newman is considering Kentucky, Kansas, NC State, Ole Miss, and others, and plans to visit Kentucky soon. He got his first taste of the Big Blue Nation at the Marshall County Hoops Fest in December. “The fans–I really can’t describe it, but it was unbelievable. You looked, they reacted to everything Malik did. I don’t know if that was part of the recruiting plan, I don’t know if y’all sent out a memo before we got there, but whatever the case may be, whatever Malik did, they reacted to in an excited way. It was fun. He really enjoyed it.”

Webster says Malik won’t announce until late April, and he has no clue where he’ll end up. “No idea” Webster said. “I was talking to him two nights ago and I said, ‘Malik, April is approaching really fast, so you need to be doing something and he just looked at me and smiled and said, ‘OK.’ I can’t get anything out of him.”

If Devin Booker ends up going to the NBA, could we end up trading one Mississippi shooting guard for another?

[WLAP]


2015 SAG Awards Recap + Winners

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian

 

Award season continued last night at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, when Hollywood’s elite paid tribute to the year’s best work in both television and film. It may not be as widely acclaimed as the Oscars or as fun as the Golden Globes, but the SAG-AFTRA Awards is the night when the actors’ union honors their own.

Those familiar with the award show know it always opens with actors reciting an anecdote about the beginning of their career and ending with the famous line, “I am an actor.” Well this year, Zach Galifianakis started the night on a lighthearted note by simply questioning, “I am an actor?” Well Zach, according to Birdman’s win for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, you are indeed an award-winning actor now. The full cast of A-listers, including Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, and Edward Norton, beat out Boyhood for the top honor of the night. The rest of the film awards seemed to agree with the Critics Choice and Golden Globes with Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), J.K Simmons (Whiplash), Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) and Julianne Moore (Still Alice) accepting acting wins.

Many TV awards, though, were surprising. Netflix’s Orange is the New Black ended Modern Family’s long streak as the best comedy ensemble cast. New SAG member Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black) won the first award of the night for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, beating out heavy hitters Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Julie Bowen, Edie Falco, and Amy Poehler. Viola Davis won over a whopping six contenders for Female Actor in a Drama Series for her (not- even-finished-with-the-first-season) How to Get Away With Murder. That woman knows how to act and give an acceptance speech.

Take a look below at all the winners and tune into Funkhouser on Hollywood’s biggest night, The Academy Awards, on February 22!

Theatrical Motion Pictures

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

“Birdman” (*WINNER*)

“Boyhood”

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

“The Imitation Game”

“The Theory of Everything”

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Steve Carell- “Foxcatcher”

Benedict Cumberbatch- “The Imitation Game”

Jake Gyllenhaal- “Nightcrawler”

Michael Keaton- “Birdman”

Eddie Redmayne- “The Theory of Everything”- (*WINNER*)

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Jennifer Aniston- “Cake”

Felicity Jones- “The Theory of Everything”

Julianne Moore- “Still Alice” (*WINNER*)

Rosamond Pike- “Gone Girl”

Reese Witherspoon- “Wild”

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Robert Duvall- “The Judge”

Ethan Hawke- “Boyhood”

Edward Norton- “Birdman”

Mark Ruffalo- “Foxcatcher”

J.K. Simmons- “Whiplash”- (*WINNER*)

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette- “Boyhood” (*WINNER*)

Kiera Knightley- “The Imitation Game”

Emma Stone- “Birdman”

Meryl Streep- “Into the Woods”

Naomi Watts- “St. Vincent”

 

Television

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

“Boardwalk Empire”

“Downton Abbey”- (*WINNER*)

“Game of Thrones”

“Homeland”

“House of Cards”

 

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

“The Big Bang Theory”

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

“Modern Family”

“Orange is the New Black”- (*WINNER*)

“Veep”

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Steve Buscemi- “Boardwalk Empire”

Peter Dinklage- “Game of Thrones”

Woody Harrelson- “True Detective”

Matthew McConaughey- “True Detective”

Kevin Spacey- “House of Cards”- (*WINNER*)

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Claire Danes- “Homeland”

Viola Davis- “How to Get Away with Murder” (*WINNER*)

Julianna Marguiles- “The Good Wife”

Tatiana Maslany- “Orphan Black”

Maggie Smith- “Downton Abbey”

Robin Wright- “House of Cards”

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Ty Burrell- “Modern Family”

Louis C.K.- “Louie”

William H. Macy- “Shameless”- (*WINNER*)

Jim Parsons- “The Big Bang Theory”

Eric Stonestreet- “Modern Family”

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Uzo Aduba- “Orange is the New Black” – (*WINNER*)

Julie Bowen- “Modern Family”

Edie Falco- “Nurse Jackie”

Julia Louis- Dreyfus- “Veep”

Amy Poehler- “Parks and Recreation”

 

Outstanding Performace by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Adrian Brody- “Houdini”

Benedict Cumberbatch- “Sherlock: His Last Vow”

Richard Jenkins- “Olive Kitteridge”

Mark Ruffalo- “The Normal Heart”- (*WINNER*)

Billy Bob Thorton- “Fargo”

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Ellen Burstyn- “Flowers in the Attic”

Maggie Gyllenhaal- “The Honorable Woman”

Frances McDormand- “Oliver Kitteridge”- (*WINNER*)

Julia Roberts- “The Normal Heart”

Cicely Tyson- “The Trip to Bountiful”


Bracket Racket: Lundari and Palm have four SEC teams making the dance

It’s Monday, and the Cats haven’t lost yet, so they’re still the overall #1-seed in the latest mock brackets making the rounds this morning. Joe Lunardi projects four SEC teams to make the tournament: Kentucky (1), Arkansas (7), Georgia (9), and LSU (9).

Not surprisingly, Lunardi has Louisville in Kentucky’s bracket once again as the 4-seed:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 9.35.36 AM

CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm also has the Cards in Kentucky’s bracket as the 4-seed:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 9.40.02 AM

Palm also has four SEC teams making the dance: Kentucky (1), Arkansas (6), Georgia (7), and LSU (7). Alabama and Texas A&M are in his first four out, along with my alma mater, Davidson.

Which bracket do you prefer? I’ll take Palm’s, please. No desire to face a team like Notre Dame.


L1COurPoliceBlotter

Thanks to KSR reader Steve for this screenshot of Wave 3’s website today, which includes not one, not two, not three, but FOUR stories about UofL players in trouble with the law. We joke about Louisville’s criminal tendencies a lot, but this screenshot kind of puts it into perspective.

Also, I really want to know what those 8 “Clueless” secrets are.


For the first time this season, UK unanimous #1 in the Coaches Poll

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 12.25.21 PM

It’s hard to believe, but for the first time this season, Kentucky is the unanimous #1 team in the country in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. That’s right, no votes for Virginia. None for Duke. We even made a believer out of Wofford’s coach.


Calipari advocates summer practice/exhibition games

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Given the impact it’s had on his team, you can’t blame John Calipari for wanting another trip to the Bahamas. When asked what changes he wants to see in college basketball on today’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, Cal advocated 10 days of practice in late summer with exhibition games each year, not just every four years as the current rules allow. Cal likened the practice period to spring practice in football.

College basketball should own August. Should own it,” Cal said, mentioning the television coverage UK’s trip received on ESPNU and the SEC Network. “Then why don’t we have, like football, spring football, 10 day or 12 days of practice in the summer that you can play exhibition games. Teams from Europe can play you, or if you want to take a trip you’ve got time to take a trip and go do what we did in the Bahamas.”

Cal said the idea, like many of his suggestions for the NCAA, is common sense. “That Bahamas trip we took was huge for this team,” Cal said. “Why should we have an advantage? If you don’t choose to take a trip, practice 10 or 12 days. Now, you’re not going to kill your kids but you know, ‘Hey, I don’t want to fall behind.’ Let’s all every year — if you want to take a foreign trip two out of four years do it, but every year you should be able to practice 10 days. And if a foreign team wants to come over — Greece wants to come over — and play 12 of our teams, why not? Then come over and play. Televise it. Who cares? I think those are things that we can do that don’t change what we’re trying to do, just continue to grow our sport.”

Or, we can go to Greece. Let’s do that.


John Feinstein still voting for Virginia over Kentucky in the AP poll

Kentucky’s still #1 in the latest AP poll, but you probably expected that; however, even after they almost lost to Virginia Tech yesterday, Virginia is still getting a first-place vote. From who? John Feinstein of course. Feinstein was the only media member to vote the Cavaliers over the Cats in this week’s poll, further proving that he just flat out hates Kentucky. Also logic.

Here’s the entire poll for your amusement:

1. Kentucky (64)
2. Virginia (1)
3. Gonzaga
4. Duke
5. Wisconsin
6. Arizona
7. Villanova
8. Notre Dame
9. Kansas
10. Louisville
11. Utah
12. Wichita State
13. North Carolina
14. VCU
15. Iowa State
16. Maryland
17. West Virginia
18. UNI
19. Texas
20. Baylor
21. Georgetown
22. Indiana
23. Miami (Fl.)
24. Oklahoma
25. Butler


Calipari defends the SEC in today’s teleconference

(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

John Calipari has had it with people calling the SEC weak. We’ve got to all – every coach and any media that’s watching – we’ve got to stop it,” Cal said of the criticism of the league during today’s SEC Coaches Teleconference. “This league, top to bottom right now, you can lose any road game, it doesn’t mean you’re not a good team.”

“This league right now is solid. Just because we’re really good doesn’t mean the league’s not good,” Cal added, trotting out the “everyone’s Super Bowl” line. “There’s not one game we’ll walk into that the other team’s not ready.” Cal said he’s encouraging his team to view the crazy road environments “more as an honor” than anything, and wants them to “go in there and prove it was worth the fans coming.” So far, so good.

Meanwhile, Trey Lyles was back with the blue platoon on Saturday, which Cal said is because Dominique Hawkins missed a lot of practice last week due to injury. With Dominique back, he says he expects things to return to normal. So, mystery solved.


Monday Morning Patronage

The 'de Medici family.  Famous Patrons of the Arts.

The ‘de Medici family. Famous Patrons of the Arts.

Patronage–giving money to artists in order to help them finish their works–has seen a “Renaissance” in the recent past.  With the advent of Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others, more and more projects in a variety of arts, technology, and everything in between have been able to become a reality.  So this morning, in between bits of my lung flying out of my mouth as I lounge around with the flu, I thought I would share some of  my favorite pop-culture projects with you, my dear reader.

Note:  Funkhouser does not formally endorse any of these projects, we are only attempting to  explore some of the most exciting frontiers for pop-culture that are out there.  


MOVIES

Demonoid 1970

This really nifty project from director Alaric Rocha is part of a larger “documentary” about a lost Mexican filmmaker from the 1960s-70s, Juan F. Moctezuma II.  Demonoid (1970) is one of the films purportedly made by this filmmaker and is about “a group of friends on a harmless camping trip where one of them is horrifyingly possessed by the Aztec demon, Itzpapáltol.  In order to save themselves, not to mention the world, the friends must perform the new fire ceremony, an ancient Aztec ritual requiring nothing less than human sacrifice.”  Sounds like a winner to me!

Perks include apparel, a bottle of home-brewed beer from the cast (in Chicago only), a copy of the film, and–at $5000–a role in the film where you will be killed and get to film a death scene!  Que bueno!


TELEVISION

Star Trek Continues 2015

Click link to view the project page!

Click the photo to view the project page!

Picking up where Star Trek: The Original Series has left off, Star Trek Continues has been making some truly fantastic episodes that really capture the look and spirit of the Kirk/Spock/McCoy era of Star Trek.  Perks include scripts, downloads of the episodes, signed photographs of the actors, and–at the $2500 level–Lou Ferrigno’s screen used mustache extensions from a previous episode!  How cool!


MUSIC

Lexington Historical Society Colonial Singers CD

Click the photo to view the project!

Click the photo to view the project!

A group of old-timers, dressed in colonial regalia, singing colonial era drinking songs, at a tavern in Lexington, MA???  I was in the day I first breathed this free air that George Washington so cordially bestowed on us and our progeny!  It’s like a mixture between playing Assassin’s Creed III, drinking cider in an Irish pub, and visiting your drunk grandmother once a year.  Best line in the video? —>”We can see what we drink by the light of the weed!” (Note: For Tobacco Use Only).

Perks include a copy of the CD, a copy of the CD and a hand-made tea towel, a copy of the CD and a large, engraved, pewter mug, and last but not least, a personal concert for you and yours (as long as you live within 30 miles of Lexington, MA.).


GAMES

Exploding Kittens

Click the picture to view this project!

Click the photo to view the project!

A card game from a couple of game designers, Elan Lee and Shane Small, and Matthew Inman, creator of the webcomic The Oatmeal, that revolves around defusing exploding kittens.  It looks like great fun for everyone and even includes an R-Rated version.  Perks include copies of the game and the R-Rated version.  If you’ve ever read the Oatmeal, no doubt you know a little about the hilarity to expect from this game!