By Drew Franklin on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 2:50pm
Tuesday has been a rough day for John Calipari, considering he lost one of his top recruiting targets, a player he has pursued for two years, in James Wiseman. Calipari seemed dejected throughout his afternoon press conference, and the topic of Wiseman was unavoidable, even if the five-star prospect wasn’t mentioned by name.
“We don’t get every kid,” Cal said to start the Q&A. “We get the ones we are supposed to get. It just kinda plays out that way and it always has. It’s not changed my approach to this.”
However, he does wonder if times are changing and kids these days want to hear things will be easy, which has never been his message at Kentucky.
“I gotta be able to sleep at night, knowing that I’m being honest and not embellishing. I’m not saying that against anybody else. Everybody recruits the way they recruit. But you’ve got good programs and good coaches and that’s why we don’t get everybody we recruit. We’re not the only ones out there trying to get good players and trying to help kids.”
When asked about Kentucky’s standing with the elite big men of the class, now that Wiseman is out of the fold, Cal told reporters, “We still have some guys there. It’s funny how it always plays out. The staff’s working at it. There are things that happen, things where, all of the sudden something changed — What happened there? It’s how recruiting is.”
He then said, “Me, personally… I’m overrated as a recruiter. I just try to tell them this is how it is and it’s hard. I want to under-sell and over-deliver.”
By Nick Roush on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 2:45pm
Wandale Robinson has picked up his first postseason honor.
The Louisville Quarterback Club has selected Robinson as the 2018 Paul Hornung Award Winner. Given to the top prep player in the state, Robinson is the tenth Kentucky Wildcat to win the award in its 26-year history.
“It definitely means a lot to win this award,” Robinson told Larry Vaught. “I know the history about the award and how the Louisville Quarterback Club gives it to a guy in state in honor of Mr. Hornung, who was a great player.”
It’s the first of many postseason honors coming Robinson’s way. After accumulating 3,112 all-purpose yards and 47 total touchdowns in 11 games, first team all-state honors and a Mr. Football selection are imminent.
Before Robinson enrolls at UK this spring, he’ll play his final prep football game in San Antonio at the All-American Bowl on January 5.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 2:10pm
By Drew Franklin on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 1:40pm
Like many of you, I was a little confused by James Wiseman’s stuffed unicorn he used as a prop to announce his commitment to Memphis. If we’re being open and honest here, it was a little weird, right? But whatever. The kid likes colorful unicorns, good for him, I thought. Who am I to judge?
Turns out, Wiseman is part of the “Unicorn Fam,” a trio of highly-touted basketball recruits, which also includes 2020 prospects RJ Hampton and Jalen Green. They earned the nickname because they’re considered basketball unicorns, given how special and unique they are at their positions, I presume. Maybe you knew that already. I did not.
Memphis really embraced Wiseman’s connection to unicorns, seen here in a photo Wiseman shared during his official visit last month:
If there is one positive takeaway from Wiseman’s disappointing announcement, it’s that we don’t have to pretend the unicorn thing is cool. It doesn’t make up for losing him to Penny Hardaway and Memphis after Kentucky was the presumed leader for more than a year, by any means, because that really sucked and the fan base is panicking right now.
But I really would’ve struggled to pump the unicorn hype machine if he had picked the Cats.
By TJ Walker on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 12:45pm
It’s official. The Cats have missed out on five-star center James Wiseman as he picked the Memphis Tigers over John Calipari and Kentucky. When UK landed Kahlil Whitney and Dontaie Allen in August it was clear that Kentucky would be fine in the backcourt and on the wing for 2019-2020, but would then turn its attention to the bigs.
Since those commitments in August it’s been nothing but bad news for the Cats on the recruiting trail and it’s time to worry about how UK fills out the frontcourt in 2019-2020.
What happened with Wiseman:
During his time at Kentucky, John Calipari has never recruited a player harder than James Wiseman. Karl-Anthony Towns and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were recruited in a similar fashion. UK first reached out to Wiseman in 2016 and offered him a few months later in 2017. For a 2019 player that was an incredibly early offer for Kentucky standards. After the offer the Cats watched Wiseman any chance they could during the AAU period, UK traveled to watch Wiseman represent Team USA in Argentina and there were a handful of in-home visits and the Tennessee native visited UK a couple times.
The Cats did what they needed to do in this recruitment, but once Memphis hired his AAU/high school coach, Penny Hardaway, it was clear that Wiseman was no longer a lock for UK.
But Calipari and UK’s staff didn’t give up and started recruiting Wiseman even harder. They reached out and landed a commitment from Wiseman’s AAU teammate and friend, D.J. Jeffries. Jeffries would later decommit because he felt he wasn’t receiving enough attention, but the Cats didn’t feel that would hurt them with Wiseman.
For most of the summer it still seemed like the Cats were the team to beat, or at least that’s how people close to the program felt. I believe the cracks started to grow when Wiseman announced he would be staying in Memphis for his senior year instead of attending a prep school. Had Wiseman left Memphis I think he ends up at Kentucky.
But that wasn’t it. Wiseman’s initial plan was to be one of the last 2019 players to commit and announce in the spring. This still pointed towards him picking Kentucky. It was unlikely that Wiseman would commit early to UK and then play his senior season in Memphis with upset Tiger fans harassing him for months. Also, the thought process was if he were to pick Memphis he would want to commit early to help Memphis’ recruiting efforts with other 2019 players.
So, when Wiseman changed his plans from an April or May decision to December or January it became worrisome for Kentucky, and once he announced on Monday that he would be committing on Tuesday it became clear that he wasn’t going to end up at UK.
But the Tigers had momentum for the last month or two. It may have been better had the Cats not received the first official visit way back in early September because Kentucky lost momentum later that month and Memphis never looked back.
I wouldn’t expect Wiseman (or Penny) to trash talk Kentucky. The Cats did everything they could besides hire his former AAU/HS coach. And that’s not a knock at Memphis. Part of the reason they hired Penny was to land Memphis and other great recruits in the area and he delivered. It’s a major blow for Kentucky, but UK did what they needed to do in this recruitment but they were beaten by previous relationships/location. It stinks but it happens, and it’s extra crappy for UK because the Cats put so many eggs in the Wiseman basket and are running out of options for bigs in 2019.
But not all hope is lost:
So, where does UK go from here? Here are the remain big targets in 2019 and the latest with each.
Vernon Carey Jr.: Carey Jr. announced he will be cutting his list to three sometime this week. Michigan State and Duke seem like locks to be two of the three, but can the Cats beat out the hometown Miami Hurricanes or North Carolina to be the final team? If UK does make Carey Jr.’s final three they will battle to the end to land a commitment, but they are behind Duke and MSU at this point. Obviously if the Cats don’t make the final three that will be another crushing blow.
Isaiah Stewart: There hasn’t been much buzz lately between UK and Stewart. After Stewart visited Kentucky the scuttlebutt from the visit had UK as the favorite, but things changed a week or 10 days later. Stewart’s dad seemed to favor UK, but those around him preferred other options. Stewart has officially visited UK, Washington, Syracuse and Michigan State, and will take his final official visit to Duke this weekend. He’s hoping to make his decision shortly after this weekend. The Cats don’t appear to be in a good position here.
Matthew Hurt: Hurt is in no rush and hasn’t taken any official visits. The plan is for UK to bring him in for an official in January (tentatively the Kansas game). I’ve been told UK is in a good position, but if Hurt doesn’t plan on committing until March or April, being in a good position four or five months prior doesn’t mean too much as we learned with Wiseman and Carey. Kentucky will likely make Hurt their top target in 2019.
Jaden McDaniels: McDaniels’ recruitment is as quiet as you can get, but he has taken his five official visits. He’s considering UK, Washington, UCLA, Texas and San Diego State. Supposedly the father prefers UK or Washington, but those close to McDaniels are pushing SDSU, where his brother currently plays. McDaniels said he grew up as a Kentucky fan so we’ll see if UK can get back on track with the Washington native.
Keion Brooks: Brooks seems to be an Indiana lean, but the Cats have built a good relationship with Brooks and his father. Brooks, along with McDaniels, would be more of a wing option than a serious frontcourt piece, but Calipari may have to be creative with how he runs his team next season. It seems like the emphasis will be on offense, so Brooks would be a nice addition.
Kentucky desperately needs to land at least two of the players listed above and if UK can do that then the Cats will be loaded with talent for 2019-2020, although there will still be questions on how everything fits. There will be plenty of time to figure that out and Calipari will have to get creative.
If UK lands zero or one of the players above there is a contingency plan. Here are some of UK’s options:
- 2020 player reclassifies: I don’t love this option because I’m not sure if there’s a player in the class of 2020 that could make the jump and be the big UK would need for 2019-2020. Kentucky has offered Scottie Barnes, N’Faly Dante and Jalen Johnson in 2020. Barnes and Johnson are wings, not bigs, although Barnes could possibly play some four. Dante is a true big and physically looks college ready, but he would need plenty of scoring help on the frontcourt. Kenny Payne is the lead recruiter for Dante.
- Grad-transfer: Kentucky will look to go the Reid Travis route and get a grad-transfer big for the second straight season. I’m told UK is already gathering a list of possible grad-transfer bigs and regardless what happens in 2019, UK will strongly look to add a grad-transfer. My guess is that UK will look to fill a specific need with a grad-transfer, so possibly an elite rebounder or shot blocker. UK will try to fill a hole with a grad-transfer.
- Surprise returnee: Reid Travis is gone. P.J. Washington will leave. But there’s no guarantee that E.J. Montgomery or Nick Richards will bolt out of Lexington this year. If UK only brings in one, or zero bigs, I’m guessing UK may tell Richards/Montgomery that coming back could be in their best interest. My guess is Montgomery ultimately leaves, but he’s currently not wowing NBA executives. If Richards leaves it seems like he will be bolting just to start making a money regardless if it’s NBA, G-League or overseas. Cant’ blame that decision if that happens, but he’s a player that could benefit from another year of college.
- Anthony Edwards: Evan Daniels of 247 Sports broke the news on Tuesday that the five-star shooting guard would be moving to the class of 2019. He’s now the No. 1 player in the 2019 class, but the bad news for UK is that he’s a shooting guard. It’s unclear where UK stands in this recruitment, but if the Cats landed Edwards it would be a clear indication that the Cats would be playing some serious small ball for 2019-2020.
- John Calipari leaves: I don’t think this happens, but with all the recruiting misses and Brad Calipari sitting out this upcoming season, does John Calipari have other plans after this year? I’d be shocked if that happens, but there’s no denying it’s been a strange few months.
Wiseman going to Memphis will sting for UK and Calipari’s staff, but there are other options.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 12:43pm
To no one’s surprise, James Wiseman has committed to Memphis.
The top big man in the 2019 class picked the Tigers over Kentucky, Kansas, Vanderbilt, and Florida State. Kentucky and John Calipari were once longtime favorites in the recruitment, but when Penny Hardaway took the job at Memphis, the pull to play for his former high school and EYBL coach was too much for Wiseman to resist.
With Wiseman out of the picture, Kentucky will focus on other options like Vernon Carey, Isaiah Stewart, Matthew Hurt, Jaden McDaniels, and Keion Brooks. Carey is set to narrow his list this week; it would be really, really great if the Cats made the cut.
TJ Walker will have more on the repercussions of Wiseman’s decision in a few.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 11:50am
Move aside, James Wiseman; there’s a new No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class. According to Evan Daniels, five-star guard Anthony Edwards has reclassified from 2020 to 2019, and yes, he’s considering Kentucky.
“Kentucky is just a great school and a great program with a great fan base and stuff like that,” he told Daniels.
Edwards says he has offers from Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan State and North Carolina. He averaged 21 points and 6.1 rebounds on the Under Armour circuit last summer. He usurped Wiseman as the top player in the 2019 class in 247 Sports’ rankings, which Brian Snow said wasn’t even a debate.
Edwards has the ability to pull up from 25 feet and be a weapon shooting, he can attack off the rim and take advantage of smaller or slower defenders, and then also he is a good passer when the opportunity presents itself.
What is somewhat surprising about Edwards is how explosive he is as an athlete. Edwards has a thick frame that makes you think he is going to only be average as an athlete, but that is definitely not the case. He finishes well above the rim, can move his feet on defense, and has a dynamic first step.
Quite simply the scoring ability, and potential in every other aspect of the game, combined with the high motor he brings basically every time he is out on the court, makes Edwards the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2019.
Sounds like the ideal Calipari guard to me. Watch him work:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 11:30am
Who loves Florida in January? The Big Blue Nation, that’s who. Kentucky’s latest bowl projections continue to be sunny with an extra dose of Vitamin C. Here’s where the national media believes the Cats will spend the postseason:
ESPN: Citrus Bowl vs. Northwestern OR Outback Bowl vs. Penn State
CBS Sports: Citrus Bowl vs. Northwestern
The Sporting News: Citrus Bowl vs. Northwestern
Sports Illustrated: Outback Bowl vs. Michigan State
Stewart Mandel: Citrus Bowl vs. Penn State
Brett McMurphy: Fiesta Bowl vs. UCF
SBNation: Citrus Bowl vs. Wisconsin
Nick Roush will be by a little later with an in-depth breakdown of Kentucky’s bowl scenarios, including what could happen if the Cats lose to the Cards on Saturday. But that’s not going to happen, right?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 10:52am
After serving more than 30 years in prison, Tom Payne is about to be a free man.
According to LEX18, Payne, the first African-American to play basketball for the University of Kentucky, has been granted parole after serving three decades for multiple sexual assaults. Payne has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and hopes his story can be an inspiration to others trying to get their life back on track.
“I want to show that a man can be redeemed,” Payne told the parole board in 2016. “A man can come out of here and live a decent life.”
His request then was denied, but now, he’s got a chance at freedom. As Nancy Cox shared, it was an emotional moment at the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange:
— Nancy Cox (@NancyCoxLex18) November 20, 2018
— Nancy Cox (@NancyCoxLex18) November 20, 2018
By Aaron Torres on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 10:30am
I’m just going to throw it out there: I really do believe that “Feast Week” – the week leading up and through Thanksgiving – really is one of the best weeks on the entire college basketball calendar. I know everyone loves the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament (because who doesn’t love betting on obscure schools you’ve never heard of) but “Feast Week” really is basically just as good, without half the hype.
Seriously, think about it. What’s better than wall-to-wall basketball, from noon until well after midnight, Monday-Friday? Nothing. Well, except maybe for wall-to-wall basketball, from noon until well after midnight, Monday-Friday… after half-assing your work week Monday-Wednesday, then taking off the back end of the week to gorge on too much food and adult beverages for four straight days. Forget Fourth of July. I never feel more American than I do during Thanksgiving week. And I’m sure you feel the same.
So with the games underway, what do you need to know heading into the most underrated week of the college basketball calendar? From Maui to New York, Atlantis to Orlando, here is your guide to everything you need to watch for this weekend.
Maui Invitational (Monday-Wednesday)
Teams to Watch: Umm, all of them, but mostly Duke, Gonzaga, Auburn, Arizona, Xavier
As you know this tournament already tipped off Monday – but that’s OK. This is always one of the pre-eminent tournaments of Feast Week so even though we’re entering Day 2, it’s only appropriate to start here. Especially since an already incredible tournament got more incredible-er this year. That’s because, as you’ve probably heard by now, Chaminade isn’t playing in the Maui Invitational this year.
And while that’s disappointing to people who love tradition, the reality is that it’s made Maui a better tournament overall. For starters, while we love the nostalgia of Chaminade, the reality is that they haven’t been all that good in this event. They’re just 8-92 overall since its inception and haven’t won an opening round game since 2012.
So while we lose to the chance to see a major upset, the reality is that it probably wasn’t going to happen anyway. And without Chaminade, it also gives us more good games featuring more good teams – and honestly, who are we to complain about getting more good teams? That’d be like complaining about your grandma serving you too much pecan pie for dessert on Thursday night. What kind of monster would do such a thing?
Therefore forgive me for stepping all over the little guy in favor of a field that will now go down as the most loaded in the history of the Maui Invitational. By now you know the field features three Top 10 teams (Duke, Auburn and Gonzaga), another perennial power (Arizona), and a loser’s bracket that starting today features a bunch of clubs that might just be good enough to make the NCAA Tournament. When the “worst” teams in the field are Iowa State, Xavier, Illinois and San Diego State, you know you’ve got yourself a heck of a field.
Looking ahead the one storyline here worth watching is whether anyone can beat Duke. With the way that both Auburn and Gonzaga played on Monday (which would best be described as “sloppy”) it’s not looking good.
Instead just stick around to watch good basketball, even if we probably know what the end result will be. Also stick around to watch Zion Williamson and see if he breaks a backboard before the end of this tournament. And because Bill Walton is calling these games and honestly, you never know what you’re going to get from that dude.
Bill Walton just dropped the phrase "I prefer to breed year-round" during this Illinois-Gonzaga game. I could give you the context, but honestly, does it really matter??
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) November 20, 2018
NIT Tip-Off (Wednesday and Friday)
Teams to Watch: Kansas, Tennessee, Louisville and Marquette
While Maui has the deepest field, the two-day, four-team NIT Tip-Off is the only one where every team playing will probably end up in the NCAA Tournament. The “worst” team here might be Marquette – which was picked to finish second in the Big East. Louisville, which is “down” as they’ve been in a while is still probably a tourney team with a new coach. So yeah, there will be plenty of intrigue too.
So again, there is plenty to watch here.
In terms of storylines, there are two things that interest me the most, and ironically, neither of them involves Kansas. At this point, we know who the Jayhawks are: A deep, loaded, talented team who – regardless of how they may, umm, “recruit” their players – is still a national title contender and Final Four threat. I’m not sure we’ll learn all that much about the Jayhawks that we don’t already know.
Instead, what I want to see at the Barclays Center on Wednesday and Friday is two-fold. First, I just want to see what Louisville looks like under Chris Mack. I’m a believer in Mack and truly think this squad can surprise some folks in the ACC. Still, it won’t be easy opening with a loaded Tennessee team that is currently ranked in the Top 10 nationally.
Speaking of Tennessee, that’s the other thing I’m interested in here: How good are the Vols this year? We know they were phenomenal a season ago, but as I’ve said all off-season, on a roster full of veterans with limited upside, is it possible this team has already peaked? Unlike a young squad like Duke, Kentucky, Villanova, Arizona or whoever that you know will get better, haven’t we already kind of seen the “best” that Tennessee is going to get?
We’ll find out, but I’ll add this: Even if the Vols have peaked they’re still a darn good team. And I wouldn’t complain if we got a Tennessee-Kansas final on Friday night at Barclays Center, a game that could have an Elite Eight feel to it.
By Bryan the Intern on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 10:00am
Overall, not the best defensive performance for the Cats but some big stops at the end and turnovers still provided some big moments for the Cats. While the yardage stats were not so great, the D was still crucial is the win on Saturday. A breakdown of the defensive stats from Saturday:
Run: 15 rushes, 145 yards (1 fumble recovery)
Pass: 14-17, 110 yards, 1 INT, 1 sack
Combined Season Stats
Run: 166 rushes, 899 yards, 3 TD (3 fumble recovery)
Pass: 66-125, 706 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT (10 sacks)
Recap: MTSU gashed the UK defense all game, both through the air and on the ground game. The rush defense had been so good all season on 1st down that it was surprising to see the Blue Raiders get chunk yardage like they did. Hopefully this is just an anamoly and not something that could lead to an upset on Saturday.
Run: 9 rushes, 53 yards
Pass: 10-10, 111 yards, 2 TD, 3 sacks
Combined Season Stats
Run: 118 rushes, 572 yards, 4 TD (2 fumble recovery)
Pass: 54-85, 576 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT, (10 sacks, 2 fumble recovery)
Recap: The worst 2nd down performance of the year. Obviously any QB that goes 10 for 10 and throws 2 TD’s did whatever they wanted. But UK also gave up almost 6 yards a carry as well.
3rd Down and Long (6 yards or more)
Run: 4 rushes, 14 yards (converted 0 of 4)
Pass: 3-3, 38 yards (converted 2 of 3)
Overall Season Statistics
Run: 19 rushes, 178 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble recovery (converted 6 of 19)
Pass: 39-64, 454 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 4 sacks (converted 17 of 68)
Recap: A couple rushes were QB scrambles but overall UK was solid here. Stockstill played really well and hit two nice passes for conversions but overall the UK defense stood strong here.
3rd Down and Short (5 yards or less)
Run: 3 rushes, 4 yards (converted 1 of 3)
Pass: 1-1, 4 yards, 1 sack (converted 1 of 2)
Overall Season Statistics
Run: 34 rushes, 95 yards, 1 TD (converted 20 of 34)
Pass: 23-34, 252 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 4 sacks (converted 22 of 38)
Recap: UK was stout here, stuffing the Blue Raiders twice on 3rd and 1 and also sacking Stockstill once as well. Those are soul crushing stops for a team trying to make a comeback. This has been a great situation for the Cats and have led to many big stops.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 9:55am
Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Tuesday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Today, Matt, Drew, and Ryan will preview James Wiseman’s decision and what it will mean for John Calipari and Kentucky if he picks Memphis, the Governor’s Cup, tomorrow’s basketball game, and much, much more.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (859) 300-3264.
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By Nick Roush on ©November 20th, 2018 @ 9:00am
The No. 1 player in America will announce his college decision today. What once looked like a sure thing for John Calipari, now appears to be a dreaded day around the BBN.
Coach Cal was one of the first to go all in on the versatile seven-footer. From the beginning, Kentucky was the team to beat for Wiseman. Then his AAU coach, Penny Hardaway, became the Memphis head basketball coach. Slowly but surely, Hardaway stole Kentucky’s momentum. When Wiseman unexpectedly revealed his decision date, the writing was on the wall.
Wiseman will make his decision on SportsCenter today at noon. If he doesn’t pick his hometown school, it will be a complete shock. Where Kentucky goes without Wiseman is a tough question to answer.
Carey Top Three?
Kentucky’s other elite option in the post, Vernon Carey Jr., will soon cut his list of potential suitors to three. Duke and Michigan State are expected to make the cut, but who will be third? Maybe not Kentucky; North Carolina and his hometown school of Miami are also in the mix. If the Cats are out of the picture with Carey too, it could be a long, cold winter on the recruiting trail.
What. A. Game.
The Monday Night Football matchup between the Rams and the Chiefs lived up to the hype. The highest-scoring game in Monday Night Football history, the teams combined for 105 points, 1,001 yards and ten passing touchdowns. The back-and-forth affair even included three wild defensive touchdowns. My personal favorite was this ball from Pat Mahomes that traveled about 60 yards through the air.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) November 20, 2018
Two late interceptions from Mahomes ultimately doomed the Chiefs in the shootout, falling 54-51 in a potential Super Bowl Preview. Enjoy the insanity again by rewatching 16 minutes of electric highlights.
Final Governor’s Cup Prep
The Thanksgiving schedule makes things a little wonky around the UK football practice facility. Instead of spacing out the media availability, we’ll hear from Eddie Gran, Matt House and select players after this afternoon’s practice. It will be the final time we’ll talk to the team before they
kick Louisville’s ass take the field at Cardinal Stadium Saturday.
New College Football Playoff Rankings
After placing seventeenth last week, Kentucky should slightly rise in the CFB Playoff Rankings tonight. Where they fall will impact the potential to reach a New Year’s Six bowl. If they are a few spots from the Top 12, it will only take a few losses in the final two weekends of the college football season for Kentucky to rise back into contention for a New Year’s Six game.
Josh Allen Awards Season
Kentucky’s star pass rusher is up for pretty much every national defensive award, many of which have never been won by a Kentucky Wildcat.
- Nagurski Finalist
- Bednarik Finalist
- Butkus Finalist
- Walter Camp Semifinalist
- Lott Quarterfinalist
Give Allen all the awards. All of them. Oh, and listen to this week’s edition of the KSR Football Podcast.
Top Golf Neighbors, Still Mad
The Hurstbourne curmudgeons refuse to give up. A handful of neighbors spoke to the media after filing a lawsuit, and like everything in this process, it’s completely ridiculous.
Residents address why they moved forward with lawsuit pic.twitter.com/8UWVLGzL4c
— Caitlin Bowling (@CaitlinBowling) November 19, 2018
Holiday tournaments are giving us basketball during the day, and a top ten matchup between Duke and Auburn. Aaron Torres previews all of the action on this week’s podcast. Today’s schedule:
- 2:30: Xavier vs. San Diego State on ESPN2
- 4:30: Iowa State vs. Illinois
- 5:00: Cal vs. Temple on ESPNU
- 7:30: St. John’s vs. VCU on ESPN2
- 8:00: #8 Auburn vs. #1 Duke on ESPN
- 9:30: Texas Tech vs. Nebraska on ESPN2
- 10:00: Arizona vs. #3 Gonzaga on ESPN
- 11:30: Texas A&M vs. Washington
Single-Game Basketball Tickets on Sale
Starting at 5:00 p.m. this afternoon, tickets to every SEC game and the Kansas game be available online at Ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. There are also eRupption Zone tickets available to the general public for tomorrow and Friday’s game at Rupp. Student section tickets are only $15 and will be sold at the Rupp Arena box office two hours prior to tip-off.
By TJ Walker on ©November 19th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Good afternoon, folks. This post has been edited a couple times today with the news this morning. If you missed it, James Wiseman will announce his college decision on Tuesday at noon on ESPN and Vernon Carey Jr., will cut his list to three at some point this week. It’s going to be a busy week, so let’s get to the notes.
I posted what I’ve heard on Wiseman in another post and weighed the pros and cons of Kentucky’s chances. You can read that HERE. I have no current update from that post and what I was going to post today before the news is how strangely quiet UK has been over the last week, and really the last few weeks. A quiet confidence? Probably wishful thinking as I’m not sure Wiseman’s family has broken any news to UK (positive or negative). Someone did bring up another hypothetical that I didn’t put in the post above, maybe Wiseman is committing to UK tomorrow to give Penny plenty of time to look for other targets, but that seems unlikely. Wiseman plays former UK commit DJ Jeffries later Tuesday evening. If that were the case Memphis’ staff wouldn’t have been pumping their chest for the last month. I had one 2019 recruit tell me Wiseman is going to Memphis, but he said it’s “an educated guess.”
I’ll be watching tomorrow but I’m not expecting any surprises.
The best I have on Carey’s final three is that someone close to UK told me “anyone’s guess” which isn’t the bode of confidence UK fans were looking for in the recruiting world. I feel confident that Carey Jr. ends up at Michigan State or Duke (like most analysts). UK, UNC or Miami will get the last spot on that list, but folks on the AAU scene seem to believe that it would take something surprising for any of those three schools to overtake Carey’s top two.
I’m not ready to give up on UK’s chances of making the final three, but I haven’t heard anything to indicate it’s a lock. I’ll be anxiously awaiting like everyone else and it also seems like UK’s staff will be in the dark.
So, what’s next:
If Wiseman picks Memphis and Carey eliminates the Cats it’s going to be a blow and there’s no denying momentum is low for UK. However, no inside information, but Calipari will figure something out. Here are some options: UK still has other forward targets in 2019, we’ve been told that a grad-transfer is possible, keep an eye out on someone possibly reclassifying and I would almost guarantee that new names will emerge in 2019 and someone will decommit at some point in the next six months. A coach will get fired or something will happen.
But even though I believe UK will have viable bodies for next season this has still be a shocking development with bigs in 2019. Landing Wiseman, Carey or Stewart seemed like a must and there’s very little reason to believe any of the three will end up at UK. I would have never guessed that a couple months ago and always thought it was more likely that UK would end up with two of those players instead of none. I still think UK is the team to beat with Hurt, but as we’ve learn with the players above, being in the lead or near the lead months before a commitment doesn’t mean much (or anything). Hurt still hasn’t taken an official visit.
The troubling part is that UK wasn’t outworked in the Wiseman/Carey recruitments, especially Wiseman. Some schools have been recruiting Carey longer, but once UK started they’ve been recruiting him as hard as anyone. And while the Carey recruitment isn’t over it appears those two just weren’t buying what UK was selling. I’m guessing folks close to UK are as confused as you are as to what went wrong.
But UK will get bodies for next season. I’m not completely sold on E.J. Montgomery and Nick Richards leaving after this season. My guess as of today is that Montgomery will go, but he currently doesn’t have NBA teams salivating in what will be a loaded draft.
He officially visited UCLA over the weekend and that was his last official. He’s checked out his final five: Washington, UK, Texas, San Diego State and UCLA. How quiet the family has kept this recruitment has been pretty amazing. For nearly every official visit the media didn’t find out about the visit until a few days before. So, I have no idea when he plans on making a final decision or if he maybe will surprise everyone and sign in the next few days.
My guess is he won’t, but I’m not sure.
The only new piece of info/scuttlebutt I heard (from the AAU side of things) is that the dad likes UK/Washington, but others close to McDaniels would like to see him go to San Diego State where his brother currently stars. His brother is likely heading to the NBA Draft after this season, so it’s unlikely you’d see the two play together, but there seems to be a sense of keeping the McDaniels pipeline alive at SDSU. That same person also didn’t seem to love UK’s chances because McDaniels is a quiet kid and the lights may be too bright at Kentucky. I can confirm that McDaniels is a quiet kid but that’s the first I’ve heard that it could hurt UK’s chances.
We did report the near fight between McDaniels and UK commit Kahlil Whitney over the summer. I have zero inside info (as a matter of fact someone close to Whitney said there’s no truth to it) but I did wonder if Whitney refused to sign because UK is heavy with McDaniels. I doubt that to be the case, but if you’re looking for conspiracies there you go. I’d be completely shocked if Whitney didn’t end up at UK regardless of who Kentucky brings in at the wing or forward position.
And sadly that’s all I have for this week. I wish there was more but people have been mostly quiet during the signing period and I’m guessing UK’s taking a wait-and-see approach with how things shake out this week, but if the worst case scenario happens I’d be a little surprised if they didn’t try and reach out to some new names. If the Cats could land Hurt and another wing/forward, they would be fine for 2019-2020. You would still need a bruising center (grad-transfer) or Nick Richards to return, but a frontcourt like that would be serviceable enough to make a Final Four and compete for title. But the margin for error is razor thin.