It’s been a football-heavy few days on the site, but after Matt, Drew, and I →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 5:36pm
What is in the water today? James Hudson II, a four-star defensive end from Toledo, Ohio, just committed to Kentucky, becoming the third player in the 2017 class to do so today and the fourth since yesterday afternoon.
The 6’5″ 260 lbs. Hudson is teammates with 4-star RB Michael Warren, who committed a few hours ago. He’s considered the 5th best strong-side defensive end in the country and the 7th best prospect in the state of Ohio. Is this real life?
— James Hudson III ™ (@__BallisLife2) July 28, 2015
Hudson held offers from Iowa, Kentucky, Toledo, and West Virginia, along with interest from Ohio State. He and Warren camped at Ohio State last weekend, and Hudson visited UK on June 7.
Three four-star recruits in one day? That’s the same number Joker Phillips had his entire three-year tenure at Kentucky. WOW.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 5:30pm
We’re all big Tod Lanter fans around here, so when I saw that The Sporting News’ CJ Holmes (a walk-on at Auburn from 2012-2014) did a profile of Lanter, I knew I had to share it with you guys. Lanter gave Holmes a bunch of behind-the-scenes stories about his time at Kentucky, confirming that he was brought on to give Alex Poythress an extra push in practice.
“(The coaches) wanted someone that could focus solely on harassing Alex defensively during practice,” Lanter said. “They lacked the depth to assign someone specifically to be physical and consistently keep a body on him.”
Lanter was such a late addition that his shoe order from Nike wasn’t even in by the time Blue/White game rolled around and no one knew who he was. After sinking the free throws to give Blue the win, Lanter said he had 5,000 new Twitter followers and 800 missed text messages. Wow.
There are plenty of more great anecdotes like that one, so click on over to The Sporting News to check it out.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 4:45pm
One of the big storylines for Kentucky fans heading into this NBA season is Julius Randle’s return to the court. Randle injured his leg in a freak accident in his first game with the Los Angeles Lakers last year, and is poised for a big comeback after an impressive showing in the Summer League.
Interestingly, longtime Lakers trainer Gary Vitti says it was Randle’s injury that made him decide to retire after this coming season. Vitti told The Los Angeles Times’ Mike Bresnahan that he blames himself for Randle’s injury even though doctors insist nothing was missed prior to Randle’s debut:
“When somebody gets hurt, I blame myself. That’s the Laker way — you’ve got a problem, you go in the bathroom, you look in the mirror, you start with that person,” Vitti said. “The one that really affected me and maybe even affected this decision [to retire] was Julius Randle. All of his doctors and his surgeon are saying that nothing was missed, but the guy goes out there and breaks his leg the first game [last season]. That one really bothered me.”
Here’s to a healthy 2015-2016 season.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 4:08pm
What a day, folks. Hours after Russ Yeast committed, another major 2017 player has rolled the dice. Four-star running back Mike Warren just committed to Kentucky, announcing the news via Twitter:
The 5’10” 185 lbs. Warren held offers from UK, Iowa, and Toledo, but Louisville and Ohio State are also showing major interest, with the Buckeyes holding a 100% lead in his Crystal Ball at the time of commitment. He’s considered the 9th best running back in the 2017 class and the 3rd best player in the state of Ohio by 247 Sports Composite. That’s HUGE, folks.
Warren told me that Lexington’s proximity to his hometown of Toledo, Ohio played a major factor. “I think Kentucky is the best fit for me right now as a running back and it’s close to my hometown,” he said. He said he’s also close with Russ Yeast, who committed hours earlier.
Mac Jones, Russ Yeast, Mike Warren…who’s next?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 3:50pm
John Calipari was a guest on Seth Greenberg’s podcast that was released today and after listening to it, the man definitely had his swagger back. Greenberg, Andy Katz, and Cal tackled a number of topics, including Jamal Murray, this year’s team, rule changes, and NBA rumors, but his most exciting remarks came when he talked about the 2016 recruiting class.
“This year’s recruiting class that we’re in the middle of right now, could be one of our best ever. The kids that I’m seeing that we’re involved with that I feel really good about, this could be our best class ever, and that’s a pretty scary statement coming from who we’ve been able to recruit over the last 25 years.”
Everyone’s been talking about how loaded the 2016 class is, and hearing Cal’s confidence about UK’s chances with the guys he likes makes me feel a whole lot better.
Also swag-inducing: Cal’s comments about Jamal Murray.
“To do what he did at age 18 against Team USA, basically keep his team in it and win,” Cal said. “I think he’ll come in and be able to score for us. You watch that game, gotta put the ball in his hands. We knew he was good. There were things that we learned about him. …I’m excited about it.”
“Looking at this incoming class, this could be a crazy one for us. The class that we have the team that we have, I’m excited about it,” Cal said. “I think we have at least five guys, maybe six that will have an opportunity to put their name in next year’s draft.”
Another interesting nugget: Cal’s comments about retirement and the possibility of his son walking on at UK.
“First of all, my wife has already told me if he decides to come, ‘you’re not leaving,’ so that would mean I’m here five more years. If I’m here five more years, why not stay ’til 70, why not sign a new contract and I’ll be 70 when I leave. Seems like everyone coaches until 70, I was thinking 60, but maybe I’ll coach until 72, maybe 73,” Cal said. “If he comes and he wants to walk on, to be able to spend four years with my son and the ups and downs of this? The only thing is he likes to talk back, you can’t do that when you’re playing for me.”
Hmm. Listen to the entire podcast below. Cal’s segment starts around the 4:30 mark.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 3:00pm
Save big for one more week with these deals from our friends at Sleep Outfitters! Twin sets as low as $199. Sealey Pillowtops with gel foam for $499 plus a FREE HDTV! The offer is almost up, so hurry!
In case you missed it earlier today, 2017 3-star ATH Russ Yeast committed to Kentucky, another huge get from the staff. Russ is, of course, the son of Craig Yeast, and friends with QB Mac Jones, who committed to UK yesterday. Mac is hyped about Russ’ commitment, tweeting that fans should get used to hearing “Jones to Yeast,” along with this picture:
— Mac Jones (@macjones2017) July 28, 2015
Works for me.
Three players to keep an eye on, all 2017 running backs: Mike Warren; Mohamed Ibrahim, who will visit Kentucky on Friday; and Kurt Taylor. I’m not an emoji expert, but this tweet from Ibrahim after Mac Jones’ commitment yesterday seems pretty promising:
— ⚫GlorifiedMoe⚫ (@Callmeemoe__) July 27, 2015
We’re hearing one of those players may commit THIS AFTERNOON, so stay tuned…
Harry Giles calls John Calipari a “great dude”
Giles broke down the five schools on his list (Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Kansas) recently to SNY.tv, and called John Calipari a “great dude”:
“Coach Cal, great dude, man. I have a great relationship with him. I’ve known him since my freshman year. He developed a lot of players at Memphis and Kentucky, so I can relate to that. Kentucky’s a great place, a great program, so you can never go wrong going there.”
It’s never wise to put too much stock into these types of comments, but based on how Giles waxes on about Duke, calling Coach K and his program “legendary” and saying how “you can never go wrong staying at home,” I think it’s safe to say the Blue Devils are still his leader.
Jeff Goodman calls Giles the best player in the past twelve years besides Anthony Davis
How important is Giles? Jeff Goodman says he’s the best player in the past dozen years besides Anthony Davis:
“I’ll take Giles over every top-ranked player in the past dozen years — except for Anthony Davis. Giles has the entire package. He has size, athleticism, speed, power, skill and also all of the intangibles.”
Ugh. Please don’t go to Duke.
Dennis Smith, Jr. says he was “shocked” by UK’s offer
Calipari watched Smith A LOT last weekend, and if Kobi Simmons doesn’t commit soon, Smith may beat him to it. In his latest blog for USA Today’s High School Sports site, the top point guard admitted he was “shocked” when John Calipari offered him a scholarship:
The latest offer was from Kentucky and, I’ll be honest, it was surprising. I was shocked by it because Coach Cal had watched me a couple of times before then; he watched me with my man John Wall in Atlanta at adidas and had another coach watch me at Myrtle Beach and the offer came.
I was definitely excited to get the offer for sure. It doesn’t matter that they’re just offering me now; they’re a team I’m considering as much as anyone.
Coach Cal mostly talks with me and my dad on three-way and we’re building our relationship pretty fast. It’s been cool.
Smith is down to six schools: Kentucky, Duke, Louisville, NC State, Wake Forest, and North Carolina. He says there’s still a “great chance” of a package deal with him, Jayson Tatum, and Harry Giles, which means all three would be Dukies, and no one wants that.
Speaking of Simmons and Smith…
247 Sports’ Jerry Meyer flipped his Crystal Ball pick for Simmons from Kentucky to Ohio State Sunday night. Read into that what you will.
By Freddie Maggard on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 2:00pm
Shannon Dawson’s recent quarterback selections have distinct commonalities. Both Gunnar Hoak and Mac Jones are technically proficient passers with advanced fundamentals. Neither will drop your jaw with arm strength or freakish athletic ability, both of which are vastly overrated traits for a quarterback. In an earlier post, I differentiated between a thrower and a passer. Hoak and Jones are passers. That’s a good thing.
Mac Jones’ sophomore film showed an extremely quick release. At 6’2″ 178 pounds, physical maturation will occur over time. With two more years of high school football remaining, Jones will report to Lexington at or around 200 pounds. Mac’s advanced footwork and technique showed definite signs of prior and proper fundamental instruction. Also, his tape highlighted efficient production against elite Florida competition. In the passing game, Mac compensated for his lack of developed strength with anticipation and accuracy. Much like Gunnar Hoak, he maturely threw his receivers open. This means that he saw an opening in the defensive coverage and threw the football to the exact location where his receivers could make the catch.
Shannon Dawson has made an evaluation statement with Gunnar Hoak and Mac Jones. Kentucky’s offensive coordinator’s preference lies in passers with progressive technique, anticipation, and accuracy. Add all those assets together, and the often misused “it” factor is defined. As I posted earlier, having a cannon for an arm is highly overrated. That is, unless you’re participating in a Punt, Pass, and Kick competition. As I drove to work yesterday morning, I heard former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy rate arm strength as his fifth most important quarterback attribute. McElroy is a brilliant football analyst. When he talks, I listen. I strongly agreed. Furthermore, both Jones and Hoak have an advanced sense or understanding of the quarterback position, a trait that can only be displayed on the football field in a live, 11-on-11 scenario. I can’t properly evaluate QBs during 7-on-7 games. The element of contact and pass rush can significantly alter the process.
As I predicted with Gunnar Hoak, Mac Jones’ offer sheet will significantly grow. In the Class of 16, Hoak is the glue that holds the offensive skill position players intact. In that nature, Jones could possibly mimic Hoak and become the catalyst for a monstrous 2017 class. With one year of separation between the two, timing sets up perfectly for each to have their own turn running the Dawson Air Raid. Mac Jones is a solid, and recently typical Kentucky commit. I’ll explain. We’ve seen Marrow and company offer other positional players before the major powers do so. Following a commitment to UK, select prospect’s recruiting status seems to blossom. Kentucky’s staff is being credited for its recruiting prowess. I say evaluation is actually its strength. Shannon Dawson has brought his own evaluation perspective to Lexington. He knows exactly what he’s looking for in his quarterbacks of the future. I think he’s found two perfect fits for his system.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 1:30pm
Many of you have been asking what the situation is with Lloyd Tubman, the former UK defensive end who was suspended from the team indefinitely after a rape accusation last October. In February, a grand jury decided not to indict Tubman on the charge after hearing evidence and he will face no further chargers, but his future at Kentucky remained uncertain.
Now, 247 Sports’ Josh Edwards is reporting that Tubman will play at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas this fall. He told Edwards he’s open to returning to UK next year, and thanked fans for their support.
“The fans were very supportive. The BBN was very great and very supportive through that and I appreciate that. When things came out, the public takes it the wrong way based on what it says on TV and just takes it and tumbles out of proportion. It’s growing a personal image. When the case was going on, I didn’t get any negative response from anybody or anything so I really do appreciate that.”
Best of luck to Lloyd at Trinity Valley.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 1:00pm
Last week, Seth Davis’ profile of Rex Chapman for Sports Illustrated hit the newsstands, and now, it’s finally online. Davis profiles Chapman’s 15-year addiction to prescription pain killers and how that led him on a shoplifting spree which ended in his arrest in September.
Rex has since entered rehab and is opening up about his struggles, first to Matt and the KSR audience back at the Final Four in April, and now to Davis. Interestingly, Chapman admits that a lot of his problems began when people criticized him for dating an African American girl while he was at UK.
Chapman was also troubled by the backlash he endured for spending so much time with his high school girlfriend, an African-American woman who was enrolled at Kentucky. Chapman recalls coming back to his car after a game to find “n—– lover” keyed into his door. Even worse were the meetings Chapman says he had with members of the Kentucky coaching staff and athletic administration, who tried to dissuade him from interracial dating. “It wore on me,” he says. “It was hateful.” Eddie Sutton, the Wildcats’ coach then, says, “I don’t remember that happening. It was a long time ago, but I just don’t remember that.”
What about “the tweet”? It’s only referenced once as a side note when Davis mentions how Rex did the teamcast for UK this past April. (If you remember, Chapman apologized for the tweet on KSR the day of the Wisconsin game.)
For now, it’s just nice to hear that Rex is healthy and doing well. Check out the entire piece at SI.com.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 12:20pm
We knew good news was coming, but this Yahtzee is extra special. Russ Yeast, son of UK legend Craig Yeast, just committed to Kentucky. The 2017 three-star athlete from Fremont, Ohio had offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, Maryland, Washington State, and others, but decided to follow in his father’s footsteps at Kentucky.
Russ is considered the 33rd best wide receiver in the 2017 class and the 11th best player from the state of Ohio by 247 Sports, making him a huge, huge get for Mark Stoops and staff. He’s considered a four-star prospect by ESPN.
Here’s his tweet announcing his commitment:
— Russ Yeast (@russ_yeast03) July 28, 2015
This is Kentucky 2nd commitment in less than 24 hours, and we’re hearing more is on the way this week. Until then, enjoy Russ Yeast’s highlights:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 12:00pm
NFL training camps start this week, and while Bud Dupree is groomed as a starter in Pittsburgh, his fellow former Cat Za’Darius Smith is impressing people down in Baltimore as well. Sports Illustrated’s Doug Farrar named Big Z one of twelve underrated rookies that could surprise people during training camp over the next month:
The Ravens lost Pernell McPhee to the Bears in free agency, which robbed them of their best backup edge rusher and multi-gap disruptor. McPhee would rush the passer from just about everywhere, and John Harbaugh was clear that Smith is slotted in as McPhee’s replacement.
“He had the physicality, the heavy hands, the high motor,” Harbaugh said in May. ” He has pass rush ability even maybe more so than we saw from Pernell coming out. He has hips, and he can get around blocks. If he develops like Pernell did, we’re going to have something.”
Get ’em, Big Z.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 11:00am
Got plans tonight? Former UK tennis players Eric Quigley and Tom Jomby are both playing in the Kentucky Bank Challenge at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex on UK’s campus. Starting at 7 p.m. ET, Quigley will play France’s Enzo Couacaud, and after that, Jomby will play Brazil’s Guilherme Clezar. Both matches are on court one.
If you just can’t wait until tonight, Jomby and Mark Ein will play doubles against Russian duo Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse around 11:30 p.m. this morning. Not only is Jomby an excellent tennis player and former Wildcat, he’s also a former KSR student intern, so put on your KSR gear and go out and support him. Yes, yelling “BTI sucks” is appropriate.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 10:33am
…so says Justin Rowland. We’re also hearing that another commitment, potentially in the 2017 class, is imminent.
Who is it? 2016 defensive tackle Kobe Smith is set to announce his decision tomorrow night, so unless he’s jumping the gun, I doubt it’s him.
Leave your guesses in the comments. And get those dice ready.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 10:00am
It’s clear that John Calipari has changed his recruiting strategy. Cal is handing out more offers than ever before in the 2016 and 2017 classes, including three this past weekend (De’Aaron Fox, Edrice Adebayo, Wenyen Gabriel). 2016 guard Markelle Fultz got his offer from Kentucky earlier this month and has quickly become the favorite in his recruitment, with recruiting guru Jerry Meyer going as far to say he would be “shocked” if Fultz didn’t commit to the Cats.
“I feel pretty strong,” Meyer told the Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts. “From what I hear and what I know, I would kind of be shocked if he doesn’t end up at Kentucky.”
At 6’4″ 170 lbs., Fultz exploded onto the scene during the July evaluation period, and although he’s already considered the third best shooting guard and seventh overall prospect in a stacked 2016 class by 247 Sports, that ranking could go even higher.
Fultz also has a YouTube series about his recruitment entitled “This is My Life.” Here’s the latest episode if you’ve got 38 minutes to spare:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 9:45am
Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Tuesday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio, which is coming to you live from the Don Moore GM Center (3232 Villa Point) in Owensboro. If you’re in the area, come on out to hear the show and to register to win tickets to a UK basketball or football game from GuyOnTheCornerTickets.com.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
Here’s an updated list of tour stops:
July 29: Benton – Kennedy’s Fan Shop
July 30: Paducah – Buffalo Wild Wings and IMAC Regeneration of Paducah
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
GuyOnTheCornerTickets.com 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!