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July 4th, 2015

Coach Calipari: “Don’t be afraid to be different”

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It might be a holiday, but we all know Cal never stops. Coach Calipari took some time out of his busy holiday (and the SEC takeover) to send some words of wisdom to his fans.

 

“Two things come to mind for me as I walk this boardwalk: One, don’t be afraid to be different, don’t be afraid to look different, dress different, or think different, but also allow others to do the same. You have that freedom in this country and it is protected.”

 

Cal goes on to say this helps you create a shield against ‘all attacks and naysayers’. Basically this is what he was trying to say:

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Read the rest of what Cal has to say in the article here. 

 

@Hessler_KSR


From the KSR vault: How Kash Daniel went from Eastern Kentucky boy to red-hot recruit

**Ed note: I wrote this profile of Kash two months ago. Now that he’s a Cat, it seems appropriate to share again.**

The past ten days have been the craziest of Kash Daniel’s life. Two weeks ago, the 6’3″ 230 lbs. linebacker from Paintsville only held offers from Austin Peay, Ball State, Charlotte, Marshall, and Troy. After a breakout performance at the Rivals Camp in Charlotte in which he was ranked the sixth best defensive performer, major offers began pouring in, starting with Kentucky on April 27.

“Being a kid from Kentucky, it felt really good,” Kash said of receiving a scholarship offer from Mark Stoops. “You grew up watching Kentucky football, and to get an offer from Coach Stoops and that staff really means a lot. From the way that the program’s headed, it’s such a really high honor for me.”

The next day, Louisville offered. A few days after that, South Carolina and Purdue. Tomorrow, Ohio State is coming to town to watch him practice. That’s pretty huge for Paintsville, a small town nestled in the foothills of Eastern Kentucky.

“The whole community knows about it because it’s pretty exciting. It’s not every day you get the defending National Champions coming to a small town like Paintsville,” Kash said. Kash works at a car wash during the summer, and said his old boss texted him when he heard the news.

“He randomly texted me the other day and said, ‘I heard Ohio State’s coming to practice.’ If he knows about it, the entire town of Paintsville knows about it, and if the entire town of Paintsville knows about it, then all of Eastern Kentucky knows about it.”

“Being from Eastern Kentucky, you kind of get looked down on because of where you’re from.”

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Eastern Kentucky isn’t just where Kash is from, it’s who he is, and one of the first things he mentioned when we spoke. Kash doesn’t just want to be a football player, he wants to be a trailblazer for his region, which is why Stoops’ focus on in-state talent hits home.

“It shows there are kids in Kentucky that can play as well. I’m the only kid from Eastern Kentucky that’s got a Division I offer. I’m the only kid in Eastern Kentucky that’s been ranked by Rivals. Being from Eastern Kentucky, you kind of get looked down on because of where you’re from. The big thing for me is to show people it doesn’t matter where you come from, what school you go to, if you can play, they’ll find you.”

Kash claims he wasn’t really a fan of any team growing up, but went to a few UK games every year with his family. Although Kash also speaks highly of Louisville, the fact that Kentucky was the first major program to give him an offer is not lost on him.

“I’m the first kid from Paintsville High School to hold an offer from Kentucky since 1987. The last guy to do that was by the name of Joey Couch, and he ended up being an all-SEC lineman. It’s a really high honor for me,” Kash said.

Kash’s latest visit to Kentucky came during spring practice, and although he didn’t express any preference between the Cats and the Cards right now, he left Lexington impressed.

“I was really exciting to watch because they were all fired up. Even thought it was spring practice, it was like they were getting ready to play someone like Alabama or something. Really high intensity, they were really excited to play. Even thought it was just a practice scrimmage, you could feel the excitement that was there. That’s good to know the players were excited about it. It was a really good experience.”

Middle school ties with in-state guys

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Kash Daniel, Drake Jackson (6th, 7th from the left) and the rest of the Kentucky All-Star team in eighth grade

A lot of the buzz around the Kentucky program stems from a strong 2016 recruiting class, which includes top in-state prospects Drake Jackson, the top center in the country from Woodford County; Zy’Aire Hughes, a three-star athlete from McCracken County; Landon Young, a four-star offensive tackle from Lafayette; and Davonte Robinson, a three-star cornerback from Henry Clay. Kash is very familiar with the first two, going back to when they played on an all-star team back in eighth grade. Kash calls Drake, the leader of the 2016 recruiting class, his “old buddy.”

“I’ve known him since we were in middle school, played on some all-star teams together. Drake’s a great player and Zy’Aire Hughes, I’ve played with him too, Landon Young, I’ve gotten to know him over the years on recruiting trips and stuff like that,” Kash said. “I’m pretty close to all of them. Most of those guys are in-state guys, and most of the in-state guys I’ve played with, so we’ve got a really good relationship.”

In fact, Kash said he talks to Drake probably three times a week now. “Ever since Kentucky offered, he’s been calling me, you know, texting me, trying to get me to commit as early as possible,” Kash said. “He’s like, “man, it’s gonna be just like eighth grade on the all-star team. You, me, Zy’Aire, add Landon in to the mix, we’ve got a chance to do something special here.”

Drake Jackson’s sales pitch

I talked to Drake about Kash, and he couldn’t hide the excitement in his voice. “Kash is my boy. I like that guy a lot.” Drake’s sales pitch has four key points:

  1. The chance to represent your state;
  2. Stoops’ record of developing defensive talent;
  3. Erik Korem’s high-performance training program; and
  4. The chance to play in the SEC in your own backyard.

“For Kash, he’s an in-state kid. I know his mom is a big UK fan. What I say to Kash, I say ‘Kash, listen. You and I, we’ve played together, we know what it’s like to play in Kentucky, represent the state of Kentucky. You want to go play where you’re going to be known. You play at Kentucky, you’re the hometown hero,” Drake said. “You know what it’s like to represent the state, there’s nothing better. I’m not even playing there yet and I feel like I’m representing the state. You’re not that far away, you can come back home after a game, say hi to your mom and dad, you can come home every now and then and watch your old high school team play.”

Drake is already pointing to the 2015 NFL Draft as proof Stoops can develop defensive talent. “You want to look at this past draft, Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith. Now, they’re different players than Kash is, but Bud was a projected linebacker, so is Kash, so you’ve got to look at how Coach Stoops and Coach Eliot have been able to develop these type of players, especially guys who are in the front seven. That’s big for Kash. Kash is a linebacker. Coach Stoops is really good with defensive backs and linebackers, as is Coach Eliot. That’s a big pitch.”

Erik Korem’s high-performance training program is another major selling point. “Kash is huge, he’s like a freak athlete. When he gets to UK, the weight program they have is so good. Kash will be freaking jumping over buildings by then,” Drake said. “I told Kash ‘you’re strong, but they’re going to take you to a whole other level.'”

Finally, Drake circled back to the point that’s already pulled in several in-state prospects. “You’re such a stud you’ll get immediate playing time here for sure,” Drake told Kash. “You’re playing on a big stage but you’re doing it at home. You get to play in the SEC in your backyard. There’s no comparison to that.”

Taking his time to do it right

Kash admitted that the past two weeks have been “overwhelming,” and if Ohio State likes what they see tomorrow, it’s going to get even crazier. “I think if Ohio State offers me, that would be a really high honor for me, and this thing will bust wide open. If a great program like Ohio State believes in you, then everyone in the SEC, ACC, they’ll be like, ‘okay who is this kid?'”

Although an offer from the defending National Champions would be hard to turn down, Kash said he’s determined to take his time to go through the entire recruiting process.

“I’ve got five official visits and I talked to my dad about this, every school wants me to commit as soon as possible, but it’s pretty overwhelming as a 17-year-old to make the decision right on the spot, so I’m going to take time with me and my family to take those five official visits to make my decision. Once those visits are over, I’ll have and idea of where I want to be.”

If there’s anyone who knows what Kash is going through right now, it’s Drake. “Kash is going to get big offers, and if he’s smart, he’s going to take his time and make sure he makes the right decision. That’s what I did. I probably could have committed to UK when they offer me right after my sophomore football season, but you’ve gotta be smart. If you have an opportunity to get offers like Ohio State and all those other schools, you only get recruited once,” Drake said.

That being said, don’t think for one second that Drake’s throwing in the white towel. “I said, ‘listen Kash, I want you in blue now, but I totally respect you going out taking visits because you want to. You want offers from South Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky, all these big schools. I want Kash in blue, but I also want him to have fun with the rest of the recruiting process.”

Trading cartoons for wind sprints

Kash and his father

Kash and his father

For now, Kash is just grateful to see all of his hard work coming to fruition. “You can tell the community of Painstville, they’re really proud of me and what I’ve done,” Kash said. “They all know how hard I’ve worked over the years, the hard work and stuff I’ve put in outside of practice. I’ll be on the floor doing 200, 300 pushups a night during TV commercials.”

That work ethic goes back to his childhood. “When I was a little kid, my dad’s was really hard on me. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because I know what he’s trying to do now, he just wanted me to have the best opportunity to be the best player I can be. So at twelve years old, when kids are waking up at 10 a.m. on a Saturday and watching cartoons and having breakfast made for them, I got up at 7 a.m. and started running wind sprints with my dad and having to make my own breakfast and after that, we’d watch college football.”

Kash’s father was a professional bass fisherman but gave up the job when Kash was born so he wouldn’t have to be on the road so much. As you might imagine, he’s a pretty proud man right now. “He really is,” Kash said. “It’s more of a pride thing for him because he’s put a lot of work too for this to happen for me. I can’t thank him enough.”


Kash is a Cat

 

@HLpreps

On Saturday, Kentucky beat out South Carolina to secure Kash Daniel’s verbal pledge. I’m not so certain that UK was always his first choice, but regardless, the Paintsville native will be a Cat. If last year taught us anything, it’s not over until the LOI is faxed to the Nutter Center. Don’t panic, the likelihood of an in-state player flipping is slim to none.

So what does Kash Daniel to UK mean? He is a welcomed and necessary addition to the linebacker corps. Going into 2015, inside linebacker starters will be seniors Josh Forrest and Ryan Flannigan. Senior Khalid Henderson joins redshirt freshmen Nico Firios and Dorian Hendrix as reserves. I’m not fully convinced that the back-up trio can provide quality depth. Hendrix and Firios will have one year to persuade DJ Eliot that they are long term solutions. Jordan Jones impressed in high school but his limited body of college work prevents analysis. Courtney Love is a proven entity. But when will he be able to contribute? With several linebacker question marks, Kash Daniel’s commitment was imperative.

Disclosure, I played mountain, Class A football. I don’t buy the theory that competition level should factor in the decision to offer or not to offer a scholarship. Either a kid can play or he can’t. I think Daniel can play. However, due to the schedule Kash will face, projecting his immediate college impact will be difficult. From what I’ve watched on film, and by having a working knowledge of his geographical lineage, I wouldn’t bet against Kash Daniel.


Mark Stoops welcomes Kash Daniel to BBN

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Mark Stoops is excited to add Kash Daniel to his 2016 recruiting class. Moments after Daniel announced his commitment to the University of Kentucky, Stoops took a break from his 4th of July festivities for a YAHTZEE tweet:

Go Cats.


Kash Daniel commits to KENTUCKY

kash-daniel-uk

Paintsville’s Kash Daniel picked Kentucky this afternoon in a ceremony at his school. He is Mark Stoops’ third All-American commitment from the state in the 2016 class.

YAHTZEE!!!!


Kash Daniel announcement LIVE STREAM



Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Courtesy of our friends at Around Paintsville


KSR’s Annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest/Kash Daniel Announcement Preview LIVE BLOG

Live Blog KSR’s Annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest/Kash Daniel Announcement Preview LIVE BLOG
 


Drake Jackson will be in Paintsville

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This has to be a good sign, right? Right.

 

 

Join us at 1 for the announcement.

@Hessler_KSR


Tai Wynyard says goodbye to social media distractions

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Tai Wynyard left us in the middle of the night. On social media that is. Wynyard made the post around 4:30 a.m. our time early this morning.

 

 

Social media is a habit hard to break, but these kids are stepping up to do what it takes to get rid of the distractions.

Last month Kentucky fans said goodbye to Skal as he made his final social media post with a farewell to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for eight weeks. ICYMI or forgot, here is how he made the break:

 

"The Offseason" is about to be great. I was made for this…#Greatness

A photo posted by Skal Labissiere (@skallywally) on

 

 

It’s great to get rid of the distractions. The players aren’t forced to do this, they make the choice on their own and I think it shows dedication to the sport and program. At the same time, it is also unfortunate the players feel a need to leave when positive tweets are outweighed by the negative.

@Hessler_KSR

 


Fourth of July Morning Links

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Happy Fourth of July, everyone. Like Drew said, it’s going to be a busy one with the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Live Blog at noon and the Kash pick at one. So make sure to stick around for a festive holiday at KSR.

First. Here are some links to start off your day:

 

–          KSTV caught up with Sam Malone last week at the BBN Legends camp in Somerset. Here is  a video of what Malone has been doing since his career with the Cats ended.

 

–          UK swimmer Christina Bechtel will make her USA Swimming National Team debut this week at the World Games in Gwangju, South Korea. This marks the first international competition for the five-time All-American.  Bechtel will compete in the 50 and 100-meter butterfly at the World University Games. Her personal best in the 50 is 26.72, while she posted a 59.05 in the 100 butterfly.

 

–          KSR made a Holiday tour stop in Hopkinsville and the local media did a nice report of it. My favorite part is the picture which looks like Drew is really mad at Matt.

 

–          I didn’t even want to post this Tim Sullivan column, but I guess it’s best you see it now rather than in the middle of when you are grilling. I just saved a few steaks. You’re welcome. Maybe it’s just me that doesn’t get it?

 

–          Cal and Coach Stoops are both ‘taking over’ the SEC Network twitter and will be twitting from here all day.  Better yet, follow along with ‘Kash Watch’ here.

 

@Hessler_KSR 

 


Happy 4th of July!!!!

Great Americans, good morning!!!

Today is a HUGE day, and not just because it’s our Independence Day. Sure, signing that document some 239 years ago was pretty important, but Kash Daniel will announce his college decision later this afternoon and I would argue that’s of equal importance, assuming he picks Kentucky.

Daniel’s announcement is scheduled for 1:00 pm and we’ll have plenty of coverage here on the website for you UK football fans. I canceled a trip to Lake Barkley to make sure everything goes swimmingly here on KSR. I won’t be in the best of moods if things don’t go the way we anticipate.

Let’s also not forget today is the UK takeover on the SEC Network. The complete schedule is as follows:

Mark Stoops and John Calipari will serve as hosts on the SEC Network throughout the day to add to your viewing experience.

And if that’s not enough for you, Dakari Johnson and the Harrison twins Andrew will make their NBA Summer League debuts today. First up, Aaron against Dakari and Marquis Teague at 3:00, followed by Andrew at 5:00. All games can be streamed through the Summer League Live online service for a one-time fee of $14.99. Well worth it, in my opinion.

Plus, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Live Blog!

Happy Fourth!!!


July 3rd, 2015

Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day

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Summer’s here and so is the perfect summer salad—Wendy’s Strawberry Fields Chicken Salad. Made with hand-sliced strawberries and crisp Romaine chopped right in our kitchens. All topped with warm, freshly grilled chicken. It’s only here for summer and it’s only at Wendy’s. At participating Wendy’s for a limited time


You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:

#10 Justin Sizemore


Canadian Football isn’t that bad. We need to embrace Canada more as Kentucky fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#9 Seth Wolf


I want a shirt that says “long time, first time”. I’ll let the reader interpret it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#8 Kige Ramsey


You told them, Kige.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#7 Lily Anderson


It’s always a good day when you make friends this way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#6 Brandon Metts


Forget his behind-the-scenes Kentucky book. I want this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5 Tuckasee


Ouch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4 Harrison Spires


All of them are dirty if you think hard enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3 Wildcat Statue


This is the hardest question I have ever had to think about. Also, who would be Voldemort?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 Ben Goldey


Accurate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Matthew Mahone


Dear lord, please let this not be the case.

 

@Hessler_KSR


From their old Kentucky home to Commonwealth Stadium, Part Four: The road to Tim Couch Pass

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As a UK fan, I have three all-time favorite players: Derrick Ramsey, Bill Ransdell, and Tim Couch. With these fellow has-beens, K-Club conversations can be awkward. During alumni functions, I’m torn between asking about their families and requesting an autograph.

Generationally separated, I hold the quarterback trio in high regard. Growing up in the 70’s, Derrick Ramsey was my first sports hero. For two seasons, I literally scored his autograph after every home game. I would fist fight coal camp kids to be number 12 in sand-lot football games. Bill Ransdell is arguably the toughest Wildcat to ever tattoo a Power K on his calf. How tough? Legend has it that Dollar Bill played against Clemson with a broken jaw and a punctured lung. And won. Then, along came Tim Couch.

Not since Harlan’s Wah Wah Jones had a mountain athlete generated such buzz. From London to Pikeville, the Leslie County star captured the region’s headlines and imagination. As a quarterback, Couch revolutionized the position by breaking nearly every state and national passing record. On the basketball court, he averaged over 30 points a game. The legend of The Deuce stood taller than the mountains he called home. On any given fall Friday, it was common to see a Bowden in the Hyden Hardee’s drive-thru. Phil Fulmer earned a ton of frequent driver points from his recurrent trips down the road that is now appropriately named Tim Couch Pass. At the time, Bill Curry’s seat was hot. A year later and an irrational Couch option play into the boundary, his toasty seat exited the Nutter Center. Here are Tim’s words on why he chose to stay home and sign with the University of Kentucky.

Q: You were offered my several traditional football powers. Which teams made the final cut?

Couch: I was fortunate enough to be recruited by numerous schools and heavily considered several of them: Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and Ohio State. Initially I verbally committed to Tennessee and ended up backing out on the last minute and signed with Kentucky.

Q: At that time, the Cats were struggling. With all those options, why did you sign with Kentucky?

Couch: I signed with Kentucky mainly because it was my home state school. My dad really pushed me to come to Kentucky. He was a huge Kentucky fan and a big part of me playing here was because I wanted to do that for him.

Q: Going into Stoop’s third year, tell us your thoughts on Kentucky Football in 2015.

Couch: I think the football program is at an all-time high right now. It’s been tremendous to watch Coach Stoops and his staff change the culture of this program in such a short period time. It’s not resulting in a ton of wins on the field as of yet, but those are soon to come. The commitment the University has made to the football program with the upgrades in our facilities and with the stadium and the level that Coach Stoops and his staff has been recruiting at, it will eventually result in wins on the field. The future of Kentucky football is going to be very exciting to watch. I don’t think there could be a better fit for this program right now then Coach Stoops.

Q: You are a Kentucky legend and provided the BBN with so many great memories. What is your personal favorite?

Couch: I think my best UK memory would have to be our victory over Alabama in 1997. I was fortunate enough to throw Craig Yeast the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime to beat Alabama. Our fans rushed the field and tore the goalposts down. It was one of those moments that you live for as a college quarterback.

Imagine if Tim Couch would have turned his back on his home state and signed with Tennessee. The legend of Tim’s Kentucky escape would be mentioned in the same lore as Bear Bryant’s cigarette lighter. I’m glad he stayed home.


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from this Week

50 points to Gryffindor for this fantastic photo that will adorn the cover of this year's Cats' Pause football yearbook.

50 points to Gryffindor for this fantastic photo that will adorn the cover of this year’s Cats’ Pause football yearbook.

The Good

–  Kash Daniel will announce his commitment to Kentucky tomorrow.  I shouldn’t count my chickens before they hatch, but when Kash says that his primary recruiter and friend, Drake Jackson, “Could sell a Bible to an atheist,” I’m confident Kash will be a Cat.

–  Anthony Davis  signed a deal for $1 million-billion-faffilion-kazillion $145 million dollars to kick off NBA free agency with a bang.  He’s just one of many former Cats getting rich this offseason.  Along with the six draft picks, Brandon Knight signed a 5-year $70 million dollar deal with the Suns, there are rumors Enes Kanter could be cashing in with the Knicks, and Rajon Rondo could be joining Boogie and Willie in Sacramento.

–  Kentucky fans worried about finding a compatible date now have a solution.  BBNMeetup.com is here to help Willie Cauley-Stein men meet up with their Big Blue Fan in the Morning.  #BBNMeetUpDotCom was a hit, but not as nearly as successful as UofLHookups.com.

Embedded image permalink

–  We’re only two days through the Greenbriar Classic, but there’s already been enough good news for four bullet points.

1.  Governor Steve Beshear was paired with Tiger Woods in Pro-Am, shooting -9 on the day.

2.  Governor Beshear must’ve had some good pointers, because Tiger responded by shooting an opening round 66.  After an abysmal U.S. Open and rumors swirling about an affair with Jason Dufner’s ex-wife, Tiger showed us he’s still got it.

3.  Louisville native and St. X grad, Justin Thomas, finished his first round with an ace.  It was Thomas’ first EVER during competition, and he was awarded $25,000 to give to a charity of his choice.  Thomas’s ace was the second of the day.  The first gave all the fans on the 18th grandstand a $100-bill, Thomas’ gave them $500 more.  I do not feel sorry for the Country Club.

4.  Shaq was a terrible free throw shooter during his playing days, but that’s all changed in retirement.  Better late than never.

Shaq’s free throw percentage is improving.

Posted by PGA TOUR on Wednesday, July 1, 2015

 

The Bad

–  The poor Lakers and Knicks just aren’t getting ANY better during NBA free agency.  Greg Monroe picked MILWAUKEE over the traditional powers because the Bucks were more playoff ready.  Chew on that one for awhile.

–  Raffy Nadal doesn’t have much left in the tank.  He lost to Bob Marley’s German dreadlocked doppelganger, Dustin Brown.  But I guess you can’t blame him, this look is pretty intimidating.

BPI | Rex Shutterstock

BPI | Rex Shutterstock

–  Last Saturday I had my five year high school reunion.  My reunion was much better than this awkward middle school reunion in a Miami courthouse.  When the judge asks if the alleged burglar when to Nautilus middle school, the orange-clad inmate burst into tears.

–  Episode 2 of True Detective took a page out of Game of Thrones book.  I guess I can’t be THAT mad, but (Spoiler!) why must HBO insist on killing off main characters?

The Ugly

The women’s World Cup Semi-Finals had two of the biggest blunders in professional sports history.  Which was worse: the German missed PK, or England’s own goal in stoppage time?

Via USA Today | FTW

Via Vice Sports


Rondo signs with the Kings

rondo

Apparently Sacramento wants to compete with Phoenix for the BBN’s loyalty. Rajon Rondo will reportedly be signing a one-year deal with the Kings worth up to $10 million.

 

Rondo joins Boogie and Willie Cauley-Stein in Sac-town – which should be a really fun mixture of personalities.