Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
July 6th, 2015

The Kentucky Horse Park will no longer have white fences

It’s a bit of a slow news day, so forgive me for digressing from UK sports news for a minute. Nothing makes me feel more at home than driving into Lexington from the Bluegrass Parkway and seeing the iconic white fences at Calumet. The fences are as part of the region as bluegrass, bourbon, and basketball.

So, when I heard that the white fences at the Kentucky Horse Park were getting a paint job, I was honestly a little bummed. The park is painting the fences black because apparently the white fence paint costs about three times as much as the black fence paint and requires painting twice as often. They expect to save $50,000 by making the change.

I’m all about saving some money, but that will take some getting used to.


Jonathan Isaac commits to Florida State

It’s going to be a big week for 2016 recruiting, and things aren’t exactly off to a great start for John Calipari and the Cats. Five-star small forward Jonathan Isaac just committed to Florida State over Kentucky and a slew of other schools.

247 Sports considers Isaac the best small forward in the class, and he was a big target for the Cats, who will now turn their sights to Jayson Tatum, considered a Duke lean, and Miles Bridges at small forward. Both will play at the Peach Jam later this week.

EKU players involved in bar brawl have been reinstated

Here’s some news that will spice up the EKU/UK game in October: EKU officials just announced they have reinstated Colton Scurry and Patrick Graffree, the two football players involved in the Richmond bar fight with Drew Barker, Dorian Baker, and Tymere Dubose. Here’s the release from EKU:

After allowing the legal process and the Eastern Kentucky University student judicial process to run their course, student-athletes Colton Scurry and Patrick Graffree have been fully reinstated to the football team. Scurry and Graffree have met all university, athletic department and team requirements.

Scurry and Graffree were suspended back in April and during their investigation, police determined Scurry was the “primary aggressor” in the bar fight. If you’ve seen the surveillance tape of Graffree sucker punching Drew Barker, I think you will agree he was the primary aggressor in that incident as well.

Surely this news has made it to the UK locker room. October 3 will be fun.


Kentucky leads the nation in total attendance

Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics

Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics

Did you attend a UK basketball game in Rupp Arena this year? If so, pat yourself on the back, because you helped the Cats win another total home attendance title. 447,874 fans went to UK’s games at Rupp this past season, the most of any program in the country. Syracuse had the second most, at 429,378, followed by Louisville, with 406,338.

Kentucky led the nation in overall attendance as well, with 845,594 fans watching the Cats play at home, on the road, and in neutral sites. Because of course.

Syracuse actually edged Kentucky in average home attendance 23,854 to 23,572, but we’ll overlook that because the total attendance numbers are way more impressive, right?


Boom Williams named to the Paul Hornung list

boom ukstoopstroops

Ready for some good news on a Monday morning? Sophomore running back Boom Williams is one of 44 players on the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the most versatile player in college football.

Last season, Boom did it all for the Cats, leading the team in rushing at 486 yards and five touchdowns to go along with 17 catches for 162 yards and one touchdown receiving. He also led the team in kick returns with 19 for 511 yards, an average of 26.9 yards per return.

Here’s the entire watch list:

  • Ishmael Adams, UCLA
  • Budda Baker, Washington
  • V’Angelo Bentley, Illinois
  • Rashon Ceaser, Louisiana Monroe
  • Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
  • Trevor Davis, California
  • Matt Dayes, N.C. State
  • Cameron Echols-Luper, TCU
  • DeVon Edwards, Duke
  • Tyler Ervin, San Jose State
  • Leonard Fournette, LSU
  • Autrey Golden, UTEP
  • Jamal Golden, Georgia Tech
  • Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
  • Janarion Grant, Rutgers
  • Carlos Harris, North Texas
  • Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech
  • Myles Jack, UCLA
  • Adoree’ Jackson, USC
  • Corey Jones, Toledo
  • Isaiah Jones, East Carolina
  • William Likely, Maryland
  • T.J. Logan, North Carolina
  • Byron Marshall, Oregon
  • Jalin Marshall, Ohio State
  • Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
  • Elijah McGuire, Louisiana Lafayette
  • Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia
  • Ronnie Moore, Bowling Green
  • Teldrick Morgan, New Mexico State
  • Charles Nelson, Oregon
  • Speedy Noil, Texas A&M
  • Daz’Mond Patterson, Ohio
  • De’Mornay Pierson-El, Nebraska
  • James Quick, Louisville
  • Alex Ross, Oklahoma
  • R.J. Shelton, Michigan State
  • Ryan Switzer, North Carolina
  • Jahad Thomas, Temple
  • Jaylen Walton, Ole Miss
  • Shane Williams- Rhodes, Boise State
  • Stanley Williams, Kentucky
  • Myles Willis, Boston College
  • Dontre Wilson, Ohio State

And some Boom highlights for good measure:

Aaron Harrison “sure looks like a keeper” after impressive weekend


If we learned anything about Aaron Harrison during his career at Kentucky, it was not to count him out. Aaron was the only Kentucky player who declared for the draft to not hear his name called a few weeks back, but he’s already making teams regret passing on him, turning in a pair of impressive performances for the Charlotte Hornets this weekend. Aaron scored 10 and 16 points on Saturday and Sunday respectively and nearly brought the Hornets back from a 19-point deficit against his brother Andrew and the Memphis Grizzlies. It was enough to make Hornets beat writer Rick Bonnell call Aaron a keeper:

Aaron Harrison sure looks like a keeper based on what he has done so far at the Orlando summer league.

Harrison, a 6-6 guard out of Kentucky, went undrafted last month. The Charlotte Hornets added him to their summer-league roster and based on his performance in the first two games, plenty of teams missed by not selecting Harrison among the draft’s 60 picks.

Teammate Frank Kaminsky told Bonnell he’s already a fan.

“He’s been able to get to the rim, get some shots off ball screens or kick it back to me,” Kaminsky said. “I like playing with people who like playing off screens. He’s definitely one of them.”

Aaron and the Hornets will be back in action Tuesday and Wednesday in the Summer League. Hopefully he’ll give us more reasons to post articles like this one.

[Undrafted Aaron Harrison making an impression with Charlotte Hornets]

KSR is at the Southern States in Morganfield (Monday Show Thread)

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Monday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Today, Matt and Drew are at the Southern States in Morganfield (2746 Us Hwy 60 East) to recap a busy July 4th weekend, which included a commitment from Kash Daniel, the US Women’s National Team’s thrilling win over Japan, Dakari and the Harrison Twins in the Summer League, and 2016 recruits in the FIBA World Cup. Also, probably some July 4th shenanigans.

If you’re in the area, come on out to say hello to the guys and register for the chance to win tickets from


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 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

gotc-ksr 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: Your Completely Ridiculous, Hypothetical SEC East Champion Scenario

Every year before the football season begins, no matter how bad the UK team appears to be, I come up with a scenario where UK can win their first ever SEC East Championship and advance to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game.  Most years it’s truly insane stuff.  This year though, I get this weird feeling that the scenario below is not that far-fetched.  It would only require UK to win TWO SEC road games, one of which is Vanderbilt.  It allows them losses to South Carolina, Auburn, and Mississippi State.  It basically boils down to if they can pull off a huge upset AT GEORGIA.  But considering over the last decade it seems UK plays better against Georgia than anybody else in the SEC, I tend to think that is not a crazy thought.  So below is the 2015 SEC East Champions Hypothetical Situation:

Week 2
Kentucky loses at South Carolina
Georgia wins at Vanderbilt

Week 3
Kentucky beats Florida
Georgia beats South Carolina

Week 4
Kentucky beats Missouri
Florida beats Tennessee
Ole Miss beats Vanderbilt

Week 5
Ole Miss wins at Florida
Alabama wins at Georgia
Missouri beats South Carolina
Tennessee beats Arkansas

Week 6
Missouri beats Florida
LSU wins at South Carolina
Tennessee beats Georgia

Week 7
Auburn wins at Kentucky
Georgia beats Missouri
LSU beats Florida
South Carolina beats Vanderbilt

Week 8
Mississippi State beat Kentucky
Alabama beats Tennessee
Vanderbilt beats Missouri

Week 9
Kentucky beats Tennessee
Texas A&M beats South Carolina
Georgia beats Florida

Week 10
Kentucky wins at Georgia
Missouri beats Mississippi State
Florida beats Vanderbilt
South Carolina wins at Tennessee

Week 11
Kentucky wins at Vanderbilt
Auburn beats Georgia
South Carolina beats Florida

Week 12
Missouri beats Tennessee
Texas A&M wins at Vanderbilt

Week 13
Arkansas beats Missouri
Tennessee beats Vanderbilt

Kentucky: 5-3
Georgia: 4-4
Missouri: 4-4
South Carolina: 4-4
Tennessee: 3-5
Florida: 2-6
Vanderbilt: 1-7

US Women’s National Team’s Monday Morning Wakeup


On this 4th of July weekend most of the country was captivated by the US Women’s National Team, who destroyed Japan 5-2 to take the World Cup title and bring it back to the good old USA for the first time since 1999. The Women’s Team dominated the Cup defensively and had the offense kick in just in time in the Finals to make the victory a rather easy one and allow for celebration all over the United States. There aren’t enough times in our country when women’s sports are highlighted, but when they do and people can rally around them, it is always a great moment. The 1999 team’s World Cup victory may have been one of the signature moments ever in women’s sports and while this one didn’t seem to quite be on that level in terms of cultural significance, it was nevertheless a huge that garnered big ratings throughout the country. Congrats to the team and I hope everyone celebrated winning it all on our nation’s birthday weekend. What could be more patriotic…:

What to look for in the day ahead:

2016 Recruiting Heats Up

This week marks the start of the key stretch of summer recruiting for high school basketball stars as the July period hits its massive crescendo. The Peach Jam strikes at the end of the week and for John Calipari, his massive travel schedule all around the nation begins. UK is looking at an odd situation in 2016. The class is absolutely loaded, with a ton of top talent but the elite of the elite don’t necessarily have Kentucky as their top choice. The three best players in my view (Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Josh Jackson) all played this week for Team USA in the Under-19 World Championships and they were a force to watch. They were the leaders (along with Jalen Brunson who will play this year at Villanova) for the team winning the Gold and they showcased why the could end up one day being all top 5 Draft picks. Unfortunately, Giles will probably stay in his home state (North Carolina with Duke or UNC), Tatum seems to favor Duke and Jackson likes Kansas/Arizona. UK is on all three, but none seem to be favoring the Cats and thus Calipari will have to strike with others in the deep class. He has offered 12-15 kids so far and over the next two weeks, we should get some more indications of just who out of that group will be the most likely future Wildcats to come to Lexington.


If you don’t yet have the KSR iPhone App, get it, because it is probably the best thing we have done. We send out alerts on it to your phone (only for big things) and the app allows you to visit the site in ways you never have seen. We have more features coming this fall, and you can already listen to all the Podcasts by one click of the button. So just do it…download it and if you have an Android phone, trade it in for an iPhone…its worth it.

Kash Daniel picks the Cats

So Kentucky straight Kash homie on Saturday in the shortest Signing ceremony in the history of recruiting. It was over in 4 minutes and Kash picked UK and we were all happy. He also talked a little UL trash right after it (which I loved) and cemented his place with the Wildcats in what should be one of the best classes we have seen in our lifetimes. The class is ranked 13 on Rivals and if they get JUCO OL Tate Leavitt, could move into the Top 10. Either way, there are so many players committed that if they are kept together, the staff will only have a few small holes to fill, a great spot to be in this early in the process. Kudos to Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow, the Coordinators and Assistants for a job well done.


The news late Friday of Aetna’s purchase of Humana made me slightly nervous. As you can see from the chart above, Humana is our biggest company in the state and the worry about the 12,000 jobs leaving the city of Louisville is one that has been discussed throughout the city over the weekend. Early indications are that some of the business will stay and government officials say they are cautiously optimistic…but one thing that is obvious in such situations is that you never know at this stage how things will go when a new company takes over. We just have to hope that one of our state’s best corporate citizens can still remain a key part of the community.

NBA Summer League

I wrote last night about watching Andrew, Aaron and Dakari this weekend in their first NBA Summer League games so I won’t go over that ground again (just scroll down and take a look), but all those guys are back in action over the next two days. They each are playing big minutes for their team and in Aaron’s case, he moved aside the starting PG and is now at that position for the Charlotte Hornets. Even though the other UK guys (and Julius Randle and James Young) will take the court later in the week, the three players with the most at stake are playing crucial games right now…they may be some of the most important they will have and I am hoping they continue the solid level of performance we have seen thus far.


Before you get your week off to a start, check out these two articles on KSR done by the Hopkinsville paper and writer Chris Jung. The first is a good description of the KSR Tour stop in Hopkinsville and goes into some detail about what you could expect if you came to one…and the other is a Q and A with me in which the writer asked me my thoughts on Rick Pitino, Pat Forde, Kyle Tucker and a ton more. Both are worth checking out if you are a KSR fan.

Anatomy of a KSR Tour Stop

Q and A with Matt Jones

We go this week to these 5 places with the KSR Radio Tour. Come see us:

Monday: Morganfield Southern States
Tuesday: Grayson Simply the Best Restaurant
Wednesday: Pikeville Bank 523
Thursday: Williamson Appalachian Wireless in the Williamson Mall
Friday: Kentucky Speedway

July 5th, 2015

Kash Daniel commitment completes “clean sweep”

If you haven’t heard by now, Kentucky football’s latest Yahtzee came yesterday afternoon when four-star linebacker Kash Daniel picked Kentucky over Louisville and South Carolina. Now that Daniel has committed, Kentucky officially has the top three recruits out of the state. The other two being four-star offensive linemen Drake Jackson and Landon Young.

The Courier-Journal’s Kyle Tucker spoke to JC Shurburtt, a national recruiting analyst for 247Sports about what Daniel can bring to Kentucky along with Jackson and Young.

“It’s huge to have three guys that are Army Bowl guys this year, and to get them all, it’s gigantic. Every recruit in the country watches that and they’re going to be hearing ‘Kentucky, Kentucky, Kentucky’ over and over again during the broadcast.”

“I think the guy can go to Kentucky and be the leading tackler for the Wildcats three years. Just tough as nails, knows the game, is extremely talented and has a good upside. When you’re trying to play football in the SEC, you can never have too many guys like this.”

Read the full article here.

The #BBN can watch Kash Daniel, Landon Young, and Drake Jackson in the U.S. Army All-American game January 9 on NBC.

Watching Andrew, Aaron and Dakari


I am a sucker for the NBA Summer League and have been for the past couple of years. It comes at that time of the year when nothing else important is on television sports-wise (I love watching the Tour de France, but more for its nap-inducing qualities and the announcers’ voices). This year KSR will be making a trek to the Vegas Summer League, but play has already begun in Orlando, with a few teams kicking off their play. Thus, I spent a few hours this weekend watching the games involving the UK guys and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed them. It turns out that the Orlando league includes the three players from UK in the most precarious position (Andrew, Aaron and Dakari), and since it is likely you spent the weekend oding something besides watching Summer League basketball, I decided to give you a review of what you missed:

Andrew Harrison:

Of the three, Andrew looked the most NBA-ready and based solely on what I saw in Orlando, the most likely to make the team. The Memphis Grizzlies had Andrew in their starting lineup and played him a ton of minutes, although surprisingly most of it was at the Shooting Guard position. This may have been due to the fact that the Grizzlies also have Russ Smith and his height requires him to play the point, but regardless Andrew spent most of his two games at the two guard. He played both games consistently and his stats reflected it. Andrew had 10 points in the first game, 9 in the second, but most importantly fit into the flow of the play well. He attacked the basket when it was available, made a number of good passes, was serviceable on defense and limited his turnovers while averaging around 24 of the 40 minutes a game. His team plays up tempo (at least in the Summer League) and that served him well, allowing him lanes to attack and he did a great job making decisions both games as to when to go to the rim and when to pass. I divide Summer League players into two categories…those that look like they belong in the NBA (about 20% of them) and those that don’t (the rest). Andrew was in the first group and seems likely to me to find a way onto the roster.

Aaron Harrison

It was a tale of two games for me for Aaron Harrison as my opinion changed dramatically between Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday Aaron scored 10 points, and started strong. But then as the game went on, he seemed a bit out of sorts, lost on defense and never totally in the game flow. Part of this was due to his team, as Frank Kaminsky was dominant for most of the game (he was the best player I saw over the two days worth of games…much to my surprise actually) and PJ Hairston shot the ball constantly (and poorly) thus dominating most of the action. However whatever concerns I might have had on Day One dissipated on day 2, was Aaron was great in the game against his brother for the Charlotte Hornets. He had 16 points, 8 assists, started the game at Point Guard (on Day One, he came off the bench playing Shooting Guard) and truly found his rhythm. He shot the ball poorly from outside both days (he only made one three pointer, calling to mind Jay Bilas’s Draft Day comments that Aaron is a shooter who isn’t making shots), but he attacked the rim perfectly and totally dominated Russ Smith (who guarded him) on the offensive end. Reporters who cover the Hornets were tweeting about how Aaron looked like he belonged in preseason camp and he was probably the story of Day Two. It was a much needed good performance from a kid who wants to shake off the disappointment of Draft night. Through two days, Aaron seems to be on track to take the next step.

Dakari Johnson

Dakari only played one game over the last two days and it was starting at Center for the Oklahoma City thunder team. He was solid, 7 points and 11 Rebounds, and if you watched the game, you saw a lot of what he did at Kentucky. He took up space down low, played solid defense and rebounded well when the ball was in his area. He struggled quite a bit on the pick and roll, and really had difficulty the couple of times he had to guard Kaminsky. However he was solid and looked to be in good shape after the Draft. He fared better than the other former Cat on the Thunder, Marquis Teague (who didn’t play and wasn’t even wearing the same shorts as the rest of the team) and the fact that he started was a good sign. But the best player on his team was Mitch McGary and Dakari simply blended in with a good performance. I have no idea what his future holds and I want to see him play a couple of more games…but if you believe his likely role in the NBA is a long-term backup Center in the league, he did nothing to suggest that couldn’t be achieved through his first game in the Summer League.

All three players have a number of more games and will each have to make more strides to make their teams. But for all three, especially Aaron, the weekend seems to have been a success, which is very good news.

USA WINS THE WORLD CUP! USWNT earns their third star



The USA Women’s National Team pulled a UK-UCLAesque beating on Japan’s national team today to become World Cup champions for the third time in USWNT history with a score of 5-2. Carli Lloyd made history when she became the only American to score a hat trick in the World Cup, doing so in just sixteen minutes. Her first two came in minutes 3′ and 5′ and then her third came at minute 16 from midfield after Lauren Holiday’s goal in minute 14.



The last time that USA played in the World Cup Finals was in 2011 against Japan in extra-time, making tonight’s victory that much sweeter. The other two USAWNT World Cup titles come from 1999 against China and 1991 against Norway.

As if Carli Lloyd’s hat-trick wasn’t historic enough, the USA is also the first time to win three World Cup titles and tonight’s match-up was also the highest scoring in World Cup Finals history.


What Politicians Can Learn at the Poker Table


Alas, ’twas not to be…again.  After an extraordinary run of luck in my maiden, bucket-list-sealing jaunt through the 2012 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas (read about it here), the next three annual attempts to relive my glory have fallen far, far short.  This year’s journey began promising, but when I found myself at around 12:30 AM holding the second best starting hand in the game – two kings – I quickly was reminded that it is indeed the very worst hand when you run into a pair of aces.

Oh well…it was all for a good cause.  Seriously.  And I learned again that my prior profession (politics) and my current passion (poker) have a lot more than just bluffing in common. If last week’s WSOP Little One for One Drop tournament was any indication, politicians of all suits could learn a stack about moral leadership from the pros at the green felt.

One of the most popular competitions at the 46th Annual World Series of Poker (behind of course the celebrated Main Event, which lunges toward its final table of nine this weekend), Little One for One Drop is one part cut-throat competition, the other, charity fundraiser. Eleven percent of all event proceeds benefit One Drop, a nonprofit created in 2007 by Cirque du Soleil founder (and high-stakes poker player) Guy Laliberté with the mission of providing clean water accessibility to some of the globe’s most arid and polluted regions.

The event buy-ins, plus a coordinated WSOP effort to urge all of its winners to donate at least 1 percent of their earnings to One Drop, net the charity more than $7 million every year. Moreover, says Alexandre Meunier, One Drop’s director for philanthropic development, the widely publicized tournaments and the high-profile volunteer efforts of poker pros help “bring public attention to the global scarcity of water, [encouraging] people to go to their political leaders and demand change.”

The marriage of political advocacy and poker wouldn’t surprise close observers of both; indeed, the two zero-sum games are really two sides of the same chip. As esteemed political prognosticator and poker savant Nate Silver told me, “politics and poker share the feature of being both very prosaic and very poetic”: Building your chip stack by grinding with careful mathematical calculations is akin to developing a sound get-out-the-vote effort through micro-targeted polling and door-to-door canvassing; riding an electric run of great cards and lucky flops is as thrilling as being uplifted by a gifted political orator. Of course, Silver—who poetically surged to near the top of the of the leaderboard on Day 1 of the 2013 Little One event, only to meet a prosaic bustout on Day 2—concedes that poker is the “more refreshing” of the two contests: “It’s pure, undistilled competition, with no intrigue, no B.S.”

There’s also no disputing that the two games require similar skill sets. A career in politics could in fact prepare someone quite well for a life at the poker table. Consider:

• Serving up fiery, red-meat orations at partisan rallies or stump-speaking amid hostile, heckling crowds at open events can help a poker player perfect the art of projecting confidence… or alternatively, vulnerability… and shape a poker face to confuse opponents as to the strength of any particular hand.

• Retail campaigning—the hand-shaking, back-slapping, and baby-kissing—enabling someone to observe, listen to, and really understand people, can be employed powerfully in a game in which you have to read the strength of your opponents’ hands by their facial expressions and body language.

• Late-night, smoke-filled, back-room, legislative negotiations—tests of endurance and concentration—provide invaluable practice for sitting long hours at tables with adversaries who’d say or do anything to provoke you or otherwise knock you off your calculated strategy.

• Waiting out filibuster blockades, partisan stall tactics, and special-interest foot-dragging—to win even the smallest of policy victories—can equip anyone with the resolve to withstand days of numbing boredom at the poker table, and to resist all temptations to take risky gambits that could send the player to the rail.

But what’s perhaps more clear from observing the World Series of Poker is how much today’s politicians could learn from the celebrated card game.

Poker legend T.J. Cloutier, whose book Championship No Limit and Pot Limit Hold ’Em taught a generation how to play the game (including this recovering politician), believes that many politicians could pick up a lot about adversity—and how to transcend it—at the card table: “Poker players have to deal with a lot of difficult, high-pressure situations, just like politicians,” Cloutier remarks. “But the most successful poker champions are able to shrug off bad beats. That’s not something you see too often in politics.”

Jim Fannin, a mental-performance coach who’s counseled many of the best poker players in the world (as well as hundreds of sports stars and Fortune 500 CEOs), says his core poker advice is equally applicable in the arena: “Politicians are too easily swayed, too easily influenced by special interests and lobbyists… there’s just way too much cluttering their minds. I’d advise them [like my poker clients] to clear their mind of everything, and let intuition take over. Intuition has real-time information that the conscious mind does not process. When you do what your intuition tells you is right for your constituents, your country… your political success will be uncanny.”

And perhaps the best tricks come from The Magician himself,  Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari, who took home $18 million in 2012’s inaugural Big One for One Drop tournament. Esfandiari told me that he revels in the camaraderie among the most talented professionals, who leave their battles at the table, in contrast to the politics as usual in hyper-partisan Washington: “Unlike most politicians, we’re not always putting our personal interests above the people in the world… We just get good things done.”

Could the World Series of Poker emerge as a personal-grudge-drained model for post-partisan politics? Perhaps not. But if a few more politicos took the mental strategies and compassionate approach modeled by the world’s leading card sharps, the promise of clean-water accessibility promoted by One Drop could be just the tip of our melting icebergs.

A version of this essay appeared previously at The Daily Beast.

Get ready for football season at the Kick-Off Luncheon

If you’re a UK Alumni or friend join Mark Stoops, Shannon Dawson, D.J. Eliot and the Greater Louisville UK Alumni Club for the 2015 Kentucky Kickoff Luncheon on July 31 in Louisville at the Galt House.

For those that want to go, tickets for UK Alumni Association members are $50 dollars and non-members are $55. Tables for 10 are also available for $500 and you can get a joint sponsorship for the Kick0ff and Tipoff luncheons for $1500 which includes tables at both events.

If you want to preview of the new highlight video, hear the coaches talk about the upcoming season or ask those hard-hitting questions on this season that you’ve been dying to ask since the Louisville game ended last November, RSVP by July 22. You can do so by calling 800-269-ALUM (2586) or going to

If you want to learn more about the event that really sets the football season in motion email John Ryan and Steve Rush at

September fifth is right around the corner Cat fans, hold tight.

(Image via @ukstoopstroops)

(Image via @ukstoopstroops)

Aaron shines, but Andrew wins in NBA Summer League matchup



For the first time in their pro careers, the Twins faced off in their second summer league game of the season. While the Grizzlies won 79-75 and Andrew had nine points and grabbed six rebounds, Aaron was the one who shined today. Aaron started at point and had 16 points, lead the team in assists with eight and had four rebounds.

After the game NBA TV interviewed the Twins and Andrew admitted that they wanted to silence the haters.

Watch the full interview and highlights from the game: