Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
July 28th, 2015

Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day

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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 Shriners Hosp Lex


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#9 Drake Jackson


Okay. Football buzz is at an all time high now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#8 I AM BBN


and even more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#7 Chet Lemond


Well when you put it like that……….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#6 Devin Booker


College sounds nice right about now, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5 JimmyFromPippaPasses


Jimmy brings up a solid point. Stoops is showing up Cal a little this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4 BackdoorSlider


Ten years from your kid will find this post and be so mad at you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3 Bweet Da Dee™


Aw come on. That isn’t very nice. It’s true, but not very nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 The Caleb Sanders


Can someone please tell me what “Yahtzee wrist” is?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 James Hudson III ™


You tease. Welcome to BBN!

 

@Hessler_KSR


Kentucky’s Most Important Positions? Wide Receiver and Cornerback

As football season continues to inch closer and closer (38 days!) the summer debates begin to heat up. Today’s topic? Which position is most important for teams to be successful. That’s what was brought up when Coach Stoops was talking to Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com and here’s what the head man had to say”

“There are two groups,” Stoops told ESPN. “I think we need to continue to develop at wide receiver and have that youth that I was just talking about play to the level that I expect them to. I feel like there’s good talent there, and a lot of the talent is going to be sophomores. If they have the growth I expect, that will be key.

“And if I could piggyback — and I’ve made no bones about it — we need to continue to play better in the secondary, in particular at corner. Part of that is finding guys that can cover one-on-one. That’s where we need to continue to recruit and continue to develop players. We have to be able to hold up outside.”

The wideouts are a crucial cog in the air-raid offense and Patrick Towles  finally has some legit depth to target.  Ryan Timmons has ranked as the first or second leading receiver in his first two seasons in Lexington in spite of crucial drops and nagging injuries. Garrett Johnson, Dorian Baker, and Blake Bone all enter their sophomore year after each showing flashes of the spectacular during year one. Jeff Badet returns from a freak tennis ball to the eye injury and Alex Montgomery is back from a torn ACL. And you can’t forget new targets like Thaddeus Snodgrass or Jabari Greenwood that have the potential to make a major impact.

Bottom line, Kentucky hasn’t had a receiver total over 600 yards for the year since Randall Cobb and Chris Matthews were on campus back in 2010. Now you have six guys that have a legitimate shot at eclipsing that mark. The offense is going to depend on their ability to make plays so its no wonder Stoops considers them c0-headliners this season. I think with our personnel that shouldn’t be a problem.

The secondary kind of is what it is. While the offense should be much improved the defense is likely to take a step back from last year.  The cornerbacks were lucky last season that they had Bud Dupree and Za’Darius rushing opposing quarterbacks and taking the pressure off of them. This year they won’t have that luxury. There is talent all over the defensive side of the ball but there should be plenty of growing pains for guys like  Jaleel Hytchye and Jared Tucker.

The best part about all those guys I just named? There’s not one senior among them. That means these guys Stoops calls most-important will be back for next season and beyond.

[ESPN: Most important position: Kentucky Wildcats]


Remember when…

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KSR looked like this?

Click on that to blow it up and take a trip down memory lane. Be sure to appreciate the babyfaced Matt Jones sandwiched between Jim Tirey (no idea who that person is) and Rob Gidel at the top.

#StartedFromTheBottom


Meet The Yahtzees

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When Mark Stoops woke up yesterday morning, he had zero committed players in his 2017 recruiting class. When he goes to bed tonight, he will have four.

In less than 24 hours from Monday to Tuesday evening, Stoops and his staff added a top 20 quarterback and three of the 20 best juniors in the state of Ohio. Today alone he landed three four-star prospects, the same number of four-stars Joker Phillips signed in his three years as a head coach at Kentucky.

That’s real, people. Phillips signed three four-star players in three years. Mark Stoops picked up verbal commitments from three on Tuesday.

It was all a little overwhelming as the Yahtzees came in, so let’s recap what transpired over the last 24 hours. Meet your current 2017 football recruiting class…

 

*****

MAC JONES

Pro-Style Quarterback
Class of 2017

6’2″, 175 lbs.
Jacksonville, Florida (The Bolles School)

247 Composite: 504 | 27 PS-QB
Top247: 382 | 17 PS-QB
Rivals:
ESPN:
Scout:

Committed to Kentucky 7/27/2015

 

Jones got the ball rolling with a commitment Monday afternoon, Kentucky’s first of the 2017 class. The Jacksonville, Florida native picked the Wildcats over an offer from East Carolina and early interest from several other schools.

Considered a pro-style quarterback by 247Sports, Jones has the technique and accuracy to potentially be the man one day in Lexington. And if his Twitter is any indication, he has his sights set on being the next Tim Couch. The youngster has already shared at least two photos of the UK great, despite the fact he’s too young to have seen Couch throw a pass.

Maggard’s Take: Technically sound quarterback with a lightening quick release. Mac has already taken up the torch by leading the Class of 17’s recruiting efforts. His influence has led to three commitments. Shannon Dawson has recruited a particular type of QB. Mac Jones perfectly fits that mold. As I watched his film, I also saw a fiery competitor. Mac isn’t backing down to pass rushers or while motivating teammates. I like that.

*****

RUSS YEAST

Athlete
Class of 2017

5’11″, 175 lbs.
Fremont, Ohio (Fremont Ross)

247 Composite: 392 | 64 WR
Top247: 207 | 33 WR
Rivals:
ESPN:
Scout:

Committed to Kentucky 7/28/2015

 

He goes by ‘Russ’ but UK football fans know him as Craig Yeast II, the son of the program’s all-time leading receiver, Craig Yeast. The younger Yeast shows promise at the wide receiver position and hopes to be the contributor his dad was at Kentucky.

Yeast was the first to pick UK, his first offer, on Tuesday’s wild afternoon of Yahtzees. He predicted today’s triple-threat of commitments earlier this month:

Maggard’s Take: I like Yeast’s game. He’s an old school athlete that seems to sincerely love football. Russ is not only a legacy player. Yeast is an extremely well coached, accomplished, and diverse athlete that can play on either side of the football. If I’m correct on my assessment, he can actually play both offense and defense much like Charles Woodson did years back. On top of being an elite athlete with ties to the university, Russ is a significant pickup for Mark Stoops. Kid can absolutely play the game.

*****

warren

MICHAEL WARREN

Running Back
Class of 2017

5’10″, 185 lbs.
Toledo, Ohio (Central Catholic)

247 Composite: 102 | 9 RB
Top247: 115 | 13 RB
Rivals:
ESPN:
Scout:

Committed to Kentucky 7/28/2015

 

Not long after Yeast announced his commitment to UK, Michael Warren, another four-star offensive weapon out of Ohio, joined the club. Warren is one of the top running backs in the entire class and a HUGE pickup by Vince Marrow. He also opened the door for his high school teammate, another four-star talent, to commit to Big Blue. (Scroll down.)

Maggard’s Take: Elite football player that when it’s all said and done, may be Kentucky’s highest rated signee under Mark Stoops. Vince Marrow will have to go to the mattresses to keep him in Blue. For the young’uns, that’s a Godfather reference that means there will be an intense fight for Warren’s services. Michael’s eventual offer list will be college football’s Top 25. I can’t stress just how important it will be to keep Warren committed.

*****

JAMES HUDSON

Defensive End
Class of 2017

6’5″, 260 lbs.
Toledo, Ohio (Central Catholic)

247 Composite: 338 | 5 SDE
Top247: 141 | 5 SDE
Rivals:
ESPN:
Scout:

Committed to Kentucky 7/28/2015

 

The third commitment of the day and fourth in 24 hours was James Hudson, the aforementioned high school teammate of Michael Warren at Central Catholic in Toledo. He had offers from West Virginia, Toledo and Iowa at the time of his announcement, with interest from the home state Buckeyes.

Though he’s listed as a defensive end, Hudson could make the switch to offense when he arrives on campus. He can play either side of the line with SEC caliber size.

Maggard’s Take: Another Vince to the mattresses player. Expect a fight for the 6’5 271 pounder. Explosive off the line of scrimmage, Hudson will report to college at well over 300 pounds. Shows high level athleticism for his size. Will be a perfect fit at either defensive tackle or situational strong-side defensive end based upon scheme. Next level, elite talent with optimal size and movement. Like his teammate Michael Warren, James’ tape is Nickel. Don’t need to go past 5 plays to see just how special this defender is and can be.


There may not be wifi, but UK claims cell service will be better at CWS this fall

Over the weekend, we found out that stadium-wide wifi is NOT one of the new perks at Commonwealth Stadium this fall. Wifi access will only be available for fans in premium seating areas (around 2,000 fans) and those in the press box. The news has caused a bit of a stir this week, and in response, UK posted an update in which they say they do anticipate better cell service in the stadium thanks to new cell towers in the area:

AT&T is in the process of once again enhancing its service surrounding The New CWS and the impact is expected to be noticeable with the permanent installation of cell towers. Verizon is also improving its service with a temporary enhancement. And beginning with the 2016 season, AT&T and Verizon will merge onto the same system.

Well, that’s good for AT&T and Verizon users, I guess. Sprint and T-Mobile, I guess you’re out of luck.

[BBN First]


Is the Rupp upgrade a blessing or a waste

Rupp Arena Banners
Maybe it’s just me looking at the glass half empty but while trying to decide what to write about today the Rupp upgrade was the only thing that came to mind. Sorry. I am sure by now you are sick of hearing about it.

While I was excited like many of you to hear of the upgrades, part of me was disappointed.

It seems like just yesterday we were excited at the possibility for a complete overhaul of the arena. It was beautiful, remember? The fan experience and overall appearance of the arena would rival any new arena in the country (or state), but the plan was shot down moderately quickly due to poor decisions by its advocates.

Let me say I am excited for the new renovations (RIP Big Bertha), especially the painting (and cleaning) of those ducts. However, it seems like a small victory compared to last year’s expectations. Since I am not a resident of the commonwealth, I can’t help but to wonder if these upgrades are going to be a waste anyways.

If the Rupp renovation was brought up last year it is soon to be brought up again soon for the 30+ year old building, hopefully with a better proposal, once the dust settles. What if it is approved before these upgrades become obsolete? Will millions of dollars of perfectly good electronics be thrown out in five years to make way for a full Rupp renovation?

In my mind the renovation will happen within the next decade. Is it a waste to make these upgrades now with a full revamp on its way? Who knows. I think I will just try to void these thoughts and enjoy being able to tweet from the game. After all, you have to take what you can get when it is offered, right?

@Hessler_KSR


ANOTHER YAHTZEE! 4-star DE James Hudson II commits to Kentucky

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?

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.


The Sporting News did a profile of Tod Lanter

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.

[The Sporting News]


Lakers trainer Gary Vitti says he’s retiring because of Julius Randle’s injury

randle

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.

[Los Angeles Times]


Yahtzee #2 of the day! 4-star 2017 RB Mike Warren commits to Kentucky

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:

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 3.00.02 PM

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?


Calipari thinks the 2016 recruiting class could be one of his best ever

swaggycal2[1]

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.


Sleep Outfitters’ Tuesday Recruiting Roundup

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*****

 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:

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:

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.

[ZagsBlog]

 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.

[ESPN Insider]

 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.

[USATodayHSS]

 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.


2017 QB commit Mac Jones: Freddie’s Take

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.


Lloyd Tubman headed to Junior College

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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.

[247 Sports]


Seth Davis’ Rex Chapman profile is now online

@AnalyzedSports

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.