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May 25th, 2015

Memorial Day’s Monday News and Views

Dinner for three at Red State

Hey there, guys. Drew here, winding down from a long Memorial Day that included a terrible round of golf and eating the entire menu at Red State BBQ. Shout-out to Mrs. Tyler for monitoring the website all day and leaving me with this here night post. By the looks of things around the newswire, I think it’s going to be pretty tough to fill this out with anything exciting. It seems there was absolutely nothing happening around UK and on the internet today, but unlike the Golden State Warriors, KSR is #nodaysoff. Now to the goods…


Jamal Murray to decide by June.

According to David Ebner of something called the Globe and Mail, Jamal Murray has taken the necessary steps to graduate high school a year early in case he decides to play college basketball next season. If that’s his move, Murray will sign a financial aid agreement with Kentucky or Oregon and skip his senior season of high school. That decision will come “by June,” Ebner reports:

Murray is likely to decide by June. High school players typically decide by the national letter-of-intent deadline, which this year was set for May 20 – but Murray has rushed to complete additional schoolwork so he can play college hoops this fall, instead of the planned 2016. To do so, he would bypass the letter-of-intent deadline and sign a letter of financial aid at some later point. [The Globe and Mail]

The addition of Murray would give UK the No. 1 recruiting class and the best backcourt in college basketball. I’m 100 percent in favor of that.

UK assistants got pay raises.

Kenny Payne is likely the highest paid assistant in college basketball (I can’t imagine anyone else making more) after signing a new three-year deal that will pay him an average of $700,000 annually through the 2017-18 season. John Robic also got a raise in his new one-year deal worth $415,000, while Tony Barbee will make $375,000 in his first season as an assistant.

Dinner’s on Kenny this week.

Coach Cal gave a scholarship offer to Class of 2018 star.

Jaedon LeDee, the No. 2 player in the 2018 class, recently received a scholarship offer from UK. Calipari rarely offers young prospects, so he must see something special in the 6-foot-7 guard from Houston. LeDee told Chris Fisher, “I had that ‘wow’ moment.”

LeDee is a big fan of Kentucky and he likes the idea of playing for the school that produced John Wall. He also told Fisher his favorite player is James Young and he loves the fan base.

Sounds like this is a name we should get used to hearing.

These kids on a Hong Kong skyscraper are beyond crazy.

Nope. No Way. Not happening. I want no part of that.

Really struggling for news here.

I mean, there’s nothing.

Here’s a picture of Devin Booker, Dakari Johnson and Karl Towns training in California.

You’re welcome, ladies.

UK Baseball’s season is over.

The NCAA Tournament field was released today and the Cats failed to make the cut, ending the 2015 season. Losing on the first day of the SEC Tournament did not help UK’s chances of receiving an at-large bid.


That’s all I have tonight. We’ll be back at it tomorrow on our regular schedule. Happy Memorial Day, everybody.

New deals for Payne, Robic and Barbee

John Calipari isn’t the only member of the UK basketball staff with a new contract this summer. All three assistants inked new deals and Jon Hale over at The Cats Pause discovered the numbers.

Leading the way is Kenny Payne and his new three-year deal worth $2.1 million. Coach Payne will earn $650,000 this coming season, then $700,000 in 2016-17 and $750,000 in 2017-18. His old deal was set to expire next summer at $500,000 annually.

John Robic also received a nice raise. His new contract is for one year at $415,000. Robic was set to make $380,000 in 2015-16 before locking down the new salary.

Lastly, Tony Barbee’s first season as an assistant will pay him $375,000.

Kenny Payne? More like Kenny PAID! (Nailed it.)

Terrence Jones and The Rockets Look To Avoid The Sweep

Any hopes of the Houston Rockets reaching the NBA Finals at this point are slim to none. Only three times in the history of the NBA has a team down 3-0 rallied to force a game seven. In all three instances they still lost the series. Saturday’s blowout home loss to the Golden State Warriors ended the Western conference finals for all intents and purposes. Now the only question is whether or not Terrence Jones and the Rockets can avoid getting swept.

In Game 3, Jones came off the bench to score 6 points and nab 5 rebounds. He posted an abysmal +/- of -20 in his twenty minutes of action and after the game was questioned about the Rocket’s effort. Here’s what the 3rd year vet had to say

“I mean, I don’t know,” Jones said about what happened to the Rockets in a 115-80 home loss to the Warriors. “I’m not a guy that gives a lot of excuses or gives a lot of reasons why effort wasn’t there. I believe effort is something that you give at all times, and we just didn’t last night.”

Houston is going to need all the effort they can muster if they are going to dodge the broom. Game 4 is currently underway on ESPN.

The Top 12: Ranking UK’s Opponents


Summer months leading up to football season can be best described as a double root canal with the excruciating sounds of Florida-Georgia Line playing on continual loop. Patience is a virtue or so I’ve read.  Obviously I’ve not quite grasped that concept. Now, on to the schedule.  The highly dangerous Ragin Cajuns open the season with arch-rival Louisville wrapping it up on Thanksgiving weekend.  Between those two are a bevy of teams with varying levels of difficulty. Here’s how I rank UK opponents 1-12:

1. Auburn-QB Jeremy Johnson could compete with Boom Williams and Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter for the 2015 SEC Break-out Player of the Year. Gus Malzahn’s offense can at times score at will while new DC Will Muschamp didn’t exactly win over the hearts and minds of Gator Nation, he successfully coordinated defenses prior to his tumultuous time in Gainesville. The Tigers also will give a look into Kentucky’s future.  Its roster is built for speed more so than power, similar trend for Recruiting Coordinator Vince Marrow.

2. Georgia-The Dawgs. All that talent. SEC’s annual “what could have been” team has reloaded with a new crop of 5 star recruits.  QB competition lingered with hint of possible incoming transfer but unlikely. Georgia has the best OL in the league, Nick Chubb plus 3-4 All American back up RB’s. UGA could either run the table to Atlanta or under-achieve at 8-4.

3. Missouri-Week 8, Mizzou will be discussed for being an East contender, a division it’s won in consecutive years. Gary Pinkel has quietly out-coached his peers and developed a DL factory that will continue to produce and travel several future NFL defensive linemen to Commonwealth Stadium. With little offensive flash, opposing fans often nap then look up at the scoreboard and be down 14 going into the fourth quarter.

4. Tennessee-In college football terms, all those pimple faced freshmen have grown into adolescents.  If QB Josh Dobbs on the field play can match his academic excellence, the Vols will be back in the hunt. Playing Tennessee Week 8 is a change to a long history of late season match-ups and losses.  Perhaps date variation will yield different result.

5. Mississippi State-Pre-season SEC Player of the Year Dak Prescott is back. See what I did there?  At least I didn’t go, “Dak is Back”.  Couple that with an aggressive, talented receiving corps and the Dogs will be a pass-heavy team with great consideration on Prescott’s shoulders.  Graduation hit the offensive line and defensive depth, hard.  Junior DT Chris Jones entered 2014 as an All American but was 2nd team on Dog depth chart.

6. Louisville-Clint Hurtt’s 20 plus recruits are now in the NFL. Cardinals are plugging the dam with transfers, a risky proposal. But these transfers can flat out play. With seemingly 74 QB’s on its roster settling on a starter will be priority one going into opener against Auburn. 

7. South Carolina-Sadly, this seems to be the beginning to the end of the Spurrier era. The Ole Ball Coach revolutionized the SEC in 1990 but last year his team just didn’t look right. Gamecocks struggled to maintain leads, threw untimely interceptions, and appeared defensively unprepared. Uncertainty at QB will lead to Spurrier frustration.  Game two in Columbia will define both teams.

8. Florida-Gators are no longer the scariest reptiles in the south. Astonishingly, 8 UF players were drafted off an under-achieving team that was one blown play clock penalty away from losing to the Cats in Gainesville. Consistent conference theme applies, questionably quarterback play with its offensive line in dire straits having a limited number of scholarship players on its roster.  Florida does have the best CB in football, Vernon Hargreaves III.  Mr. Barnhart, you might want to grease up the goal posts for this one.

9. Louisiana Lafayette-Scary, scary opener. This won’t be the last time you’ll hear this from me. ULL can (did not say will) beat Kentucky in the opener. Will that happen, that’s for a later discussion. Four consecutive 9-4 seasons including bowl wins fuel the Ragin Cajuns into Commonwealth Stadium.  Expect 30 carries from Sunbelt Player of the Year Elijah McGuire and a physical, athletic, and angry team. 

10. Vanderbilt-Problematic quarterback play prompted its first year offensive coordinator to not get a second season. The 14 Dores started three different quarterbacks while going 0-8 in the SEC. Defense also was an issue, leading Head Coach Derek Mason to take over play calling duties, a role he excelled at while at Stanford.  Supposedly this move provided a spark. Summary, James Franklin is one heck of a football coach.

11. EKU-In what may be the most anticipated game of the year, the Colonels make the 20 minute drive to Lexington. I fully expect Dean Hood and Mark Stoops to control their respective teams as pre-game prep talks will not be necessary.  At this juncture of the season, expect to see Stoops implement personnel moves as rookies and redshirts could supplant veterans at certain positions. I highly respect EKU.  The university has provided many eastern Kentucky athletes and students an opportunity. I know some of its coaches, many alumni, as well as current and former players. So don’t take this personally.  Lines have been drawn in the sand, neutrality thrown out of the window as what was once was a feel good game of keeping money in the state has transitioned to a grudge match that’s been brewing for 30 years.

12. Charlotte-The 49’ers first year in Division 1 or whatever college football’s highest division is now labeled could be a tough stretch. I do feel the University has properly built its program. By not rushing, administration has calculated the move which has not been the norm in some football newcomers.

This is a pre-pre-season list.  Before hitting send I just read where Steve Spurrier said that South Carolina will most likely not accept a QB transfer.  As news blotters are also now filling, a lot can happen during the summer.  We’ll dive into W/L’s at a later time. 

Note-I failed to mention that when ranking teams I put zero, none, zilch, absolutely no credence in team or conference bowl records.  Think through this, gauging teenager’s performance following an all-expense paid vacation in an exhibition game is not exactly the most scientific manner to evaluate. 

Where Are They Now: Joe Crawford



Joe Crawford, a McDonald’s All-American, flipped his commitment from the University of Michigan to Kentucky to join an elite recruiting class that included Ramel Bradley, Randolph Morris and Rajon Rondo.

During his four years as a Wildcat (2004-08), Crawford scored a total of 1438 points, which puts him 20th overall in Kentucky basketball scoring history. He scored is 1000th point on Dec. 1, 2007 in a game against North Carolina. He averaged 11.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game for his college basketball career. Crawford was named to the All-SEC Second Team for the 2007-08 season.

In the 2008 NBA Draft, Crawford was drafted 58th overall in the 2nd round by the Los Angeles Lakers. Crawford played in all three exhibitions games for the Lakers before being waived by the team. Crawford was sent to the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the NBA D-League team for the Lakers before being called up by the New York Knicks.


In March of 2009, Crawford signed a 10-day contract with the Knicks before signing with the team for the rest of the season in April. As a Knick, Crawford played in a total of two games, scoring only nine points. The Knicks waived Crawford in October. The following season, Crawford signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Sacramento Kings. The team later released Crawford before the season started,

In 2010, Crawford was then forced to take his basketball talents overseas where he played in China. Crawford joined his former Kentucky teammate, Randolph Morris, and signed with the Beijing Ducks. Crawford played in 16 games, averaged 14.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. After one season, Crawford left China to play in Israel for the Maccabi Rishon LeZion for the 2011-12 season. Crawford led Maccabi Rishon with 19.3 points per game.

Despite new opportunities arising for Crawford, a knee injuring would keep him sidelines for a few months. During this time, Crawford began a project to raise awareness of the international basketball community. Crawford wanted to teach kids about the opportunities outside of the US. Crawford and his brother, Jordan Crawford who played in the NBA, started the International Hoops Expo. The event included camps for college and high school players to help expose them to an international market.



On January 18, 2015 the Erie BayHawks of the NBA D-League acquired Crawford, where he currently plays today. Crawford averaged 5.7 points this season in the 18 games he played in. This team also includes former Louisville player, Peyton Siva and Stephen Curry’s brother, Seth Curry.








Picture of the weekend: John Short and Ryan Lemond

Two great Americans.

Taken by Dave Wickstrom at the opening of the Beep Baseball Park in Frankfort this weekend.

How your favorite Cats are spending Memorial Day Weekend

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While the rest of us are waiting for the clouds to part to start up the grill, some of your favorite Cats are spending Memorial Day weekend in a much more spectacular fashion.

Here’s a quick roundup, starting with Patrick Towles, who is in St. Lucia. Before posing for that pic with his boys, he hung out with some of the local kids:

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Skal Labissiere took one step closer to his future at UK by graduating from Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis:

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As we mentioned earlier, Trey Lyles was in Cleveland for the Cavs/Hawks game, where he hung out with Johnny Football:

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UK punter Landon Foster and offensive lineman Zach West spray painted the UK logo on the John Lennon Wall in Prague:

IMG_2596 IMG_2589

John Calipari is reading some new books:

And former Cat Kyle Wiltjer hung out with his lady friend in Coeur D Alene, Idaho:

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How did you spend the holiday weekend?

Why Tate Leavitt may be UK’s most important football recruit right now


By now you’ve heard all about Kash Daniel, the four-star linebacker from Paintsville who is high on Kentucky’s wish list for 2016; however, there’s another name you need to know: Tate Leavitt.

Leavitt is a 6’6′ 298 lbs. JuCo offensive tackle who visited Kentucky last weekend. The Ohio native has offers from Alabama, Illinois, West Virginia, Louisville and Kentucky. He stopped by UK’s campus on Sunday the 17th at the end of a series of visits to Louisville, Texas Tech, TCU, and Missouri. Leavitt told Scout’s Derek Young that his visit to Lexington, albeit short, went very well and–shocker–he loved the staff’s ties to Ohio:

“Them recruiting Ohio more and more is a big thing,” he shared. “That’s their pitch to me. They have nearly 40 guys from Ohio on their roster. We eat, sleep, and breathe football in Ohio and their staff understands that and can relate to it well. Their coaching staff has a lot of ties to Ohio. I love Coach Stoops and Coach Marrow. There’s a big connection between them and I. They take pride in taking care of Ohio guys.”

Leavitt said he’s also in contact with Courtney Love, the inside linebacker that transferred to UK from Nebraska, and said he thinks UK’s program is “on the rise”:

“Kentucky is definitely on the rise. It isn’t expected, but those that pay attention to college football know that they are. It looks like they’re going to turn things around. It was my best visit, along with Missouri.”

If the look on Vince Marrow’s face isn’t indication enough, we’re hearing Leavitt may be Kentucky’s top priority right now. He plans to take a few more visits to Alabama and West Virginia and release a list in the coming weeks. He’ll graduate from Hutchinson (KS) Community College in December.

Watch him work:

Jamal Murray likely to decide “by June”


Are you ready for your daily Jamal Murray update? According to Canadian news site The Globe and Mail, the five-star shooting guard is hoping to make his decision “by June”:

Murray is likely to decide by June. High school players typically decide by the national letter-of-intent deadline, which this year was set for May 20 – but Murray has rushed to complete additional schoolwork so he can play college hoops this fall, instead of the planned 2016. To do so, he would bypass the letter-of-intent deadline and sign a letter of financial aid at some later point.

Murray wrapped up a lengthy visit to Lexington late last week. On Friday, he told Adam Zagoria said he hoped to make a decision within two months, so hopefully the slightly shortened timetable is good news for the Cats. The Globe and Mail reports that Murray has also been contacted by Duke, and over the weekend, his father told Jeff Borzello that Oregon, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, and UConn are also in the mix.

Wouldn’t it be nice if “by June” meant by June 1 and not June 30?

[The Globe and Mail]


UK Baseball doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament

(Chet White, UK Athletics)

(Chet White, UK Athletics)

And now, for some unfortunate news: the NCAA Baseball Tournament field was released a few minutes ago, and Kentucky did not make the cut. The news is expected; Kentucky lost to Auburn in the opening round of the SEC Baseball Tournament last week and only had an outside shot at an at-large bid.

To make matters a little worse, Louisville DID make the field. The Cards will play Morehead State Friday at 6 p.m. Go Eagles.

Trey Lyles was at the Cavs/Hawks game last night

Last night’s Cavaliers/Hawks was pretty crazy. Lebron James fought through a shooting slump and injuries to score 37 points and push Cleveland to the 114-111 overtime win, and Trey Lyles was there to see it all in person. Check out this picture of Lyles at The Q in what seems to be an excellent seat.

Lyles is currently projected to go anywhere from 9th to 20th in the latest mock drafts, and is getting pretty creative with his predraft workouts. A few weeks back, we shared a video of him doing hot yoga with Montrezl Harrell, and last week, the Bleacher Report posted a video of him boxing. Unfortunately, we can’t embed it here, but click the pic or the link below to check it out:

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Keep it up, Trey.

[Bleacher Report]

Happy Memorial Day!


Good morning, friends, and happy Memorial Day. Let’s take this opportunity to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The great Jon Scott compiled this list of UK basketball players who were killed in the line of duty: Howard Kinne, James King, James Goforth, Melvin Brewer, Kenneth England, and Walter Johnson. Check out his site for a complete listing of Kentucky players who have served in the military.

Appropriately, the Kentucky National Guard will unveil the monument above today in Frankfort, a labor of love seven years in the making. Shoutout to our own Freddie Maggard for his hard work on the project.

Because of the holiday, there is no new show this morning, but if you still need a KSR fix, we’ve got a great rerun lined up for you. Have no fear; Matt and Ryan will be back tomorrow.

And don’t worry: I’ll be here all day to bring you the latest UK sports news. It’ll be a slow day, but let’s have some fun with it, okay?

Wendy’s KSR Top Ten Tweets of the Weekend

We’re kicking up the heat with 5 layers of spice on our new Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken sandwich. It’s our classic spicy chicken breast topped with fresh, diced jalapeños, ghost pepper sauce, Colby pepper jack cheese all on a red jalapeno bun. It’s too hot to last, so try one today!

You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top Ten Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtopten. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:

#10 Lil Joe B. Hall

Maybe I shouldn’t laugh at this, but I did.





#9 Jake Clemons

That’s an excellent way to start a flight.





#8 Kentucky Josh

This happens to me all the time.





#7 Emily Brown

The kindness of the #BBN never fails





#6 Sammy Stickler

Speaking of Woo…





#5 Lukasz Obrzut

That had to be a really big box.





#4 Megan

That’s always the best.





#3 Not Jerry Tipton

It must be magic.





#2 Matt Watson






#1 Creany Tom

But I bet you brought some scissors to cut some nets, right Tom?


May 24th, 2015

Mitch Kupchak confirms Julius Randle has “recovered completely”



Dan Duangdao of Lakers Nation has some good news for the Lakers and great news for Kentucky fans. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said this morning on Bleacher Report Radio, that “it looks like Julis Randle has recovered completely.” From here, Randle will participate in the Summer League in Las Vegas to improve his game and prepare for the upcoming season.

[Full story via Lakers Nation can be found here]

Bookie gives UK a 1 point edge over UL in VERY early line

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

According to Rick Bozich of WDRB in Louisville, a former oddsmaker is giving Kentucky a one point edge in their November 28th matchup against Louisville. Chris Andrews, of, also projected the line for the rest of Kentucky’s games this season. He lists the Cats as favorites in five contests (Louisville, Louisiana, Vanderbilt, Eastern Kentucky, and Charlotte) and predicts that UK should win 5.9 games.

A lot will change in the six months between now and the game, but it’s cool to see where things stand at the present moment. 104 days.