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May 20th, 2019

Kentucky no longer in the running for RJ Hampton

@CourtsideFilms

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Kentucky is no longer in the running for RJ Hampton. John Martin of 92.9 ESPN in Memphis is reporting that the five-star guard is down to Memphis, Kansas, and Texas Tech and cut the Cats from his list because “Kentucky’s backcourt is set.”

While Hampton is an exciting prospect and we’ve heard that those around him actually prefer Kentucky to other schools on his list, between Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, Tyrese Maxey, and Johnny Juzang, the Wildcats’ backcourt is simply too loaded for the scenario to make sense.

Kansas leads Hampton’s Crystal Ball with 81% of the predictions.


KSR Shop: Conley Bottom relief tees

Our friends at Conley Bottom Resort are dealing with the aftermath of a devastating fire this morning. We had to find a way to help. 100% of the net proceeds of this t-shirt will go directly to our friends in their time of need.

[KSR Shop: Conley Bottom tee]


“The Twilight Zone” (2019): Episode Eight Review

Gennifer Goodwin in “Point of Origin.”

The majority of The Twilight Zone’s  episodes have dealt with hot-button political topics in 2019 ­– police brutality, Donald Trump’s presidency, toxic masculinity, etc. – and have made taken very clear stances on them. Which is fine. Great, even. All art is political and is a response to its cultural environment, sometimes as a direct allegory or sometimes a subtle allusion. I want television that is about 2019, especially since 2019 is a trainwreck and I could use all of the help I can get making sense of the world.

But The Twilight Zone isn’t cutting it. Even the strongest episodes lie “Replay” and “Not All Men” boil down to annoyingly simple theses: “Police brutality is bad,” in the case of “Replay”; and “toxic masculinity is bad and men should fight against it” in the case of “Not All Men.” I concur. I even concur with the messages of the bad episodes. Yes, “The Wunderkind,” I agree that Donald Trump is a petulant child. Yes, “A Traveler,” I think fake news is a problem. I am down with all of these sentiments, but they aren’t teaching me anything. I haven’t learned anything from any of the series’ episodes so far.

On the most recent episode of The Funkhouser Situation, Chris and Lee discussed who the best late-night hosts currently working are. Chris praised John Oliver for a few reasons, but the chief among them is that Chris always learns something after an episode of Oliver’s show “Last Week Tonight.” Oliver spend twenty minutes of the show’s thirty minute run-time doing a deep-dive into some current issue of national debate (the first season’s episode on standardized testing stands out as one of the show’s highlights for me) and comes down to some conclusion, usually calling his audience to action by having them troll whatever government organization he is covering. As a liberal, he takes generally leftist stances on the topics at hand; as a liberal, I am inclined to agree with what he says. But by presenting his stances using incredibly strong journalism and research, Oliver ensures that his audience – those who side with him and those who don’t – have a more holistic, nuanced understanding of the episode’s subject.

Zabryna Guevera in “Point of Origin.”

The Twilight Zone is not an informative comedy show, sure. But fiction has just as much, if not more, potential to shed light on the complexities of an issue. The Twilight Zone has flubbed so hard on providing any insight into any of its political issues because it opts to take the most milquetoast stance it can. It feels so safe to simply say X thing is bad without delving into any underlying aspects of X thing.

The show’s eighth episode “Point of Origin” is perhaps the most vanilla of this season. It follows Eve Martin (Gennifer Goodwin), a rich white lady who is detained by the U.S. government alongside her Guatemalan maid Anna Fuentes (Zabryna Guevera). Eve is treated just like many the undocumented immigrants  she is kept with: she is separated from her children, given inadequate food and living arrangements, and the only explanation she receives as to why she is being held is that her presence in the U.S. is a “matter of national security.”

In the most Twilight Zone 2019 plot development yet – because every episode of this damn show has to involve some lame space shit – Eve learns that she is suspected of being a (gasp) alien from another dimension. When she was a child, the people of her dimension immigrated to her current dimension in hope of finding a better life. By coming in, Eve and her alien-cohort have spoiled the once great genetic pool of this dimension. Therefore she must be detained.

Does that sound familiar? Does it sound rhetoric you have heard before, say, from advocates for stronger border control? Does it sound like points you have heard made by someone with extreme governmental authority? Huh? Does it? Of course it does, because we’re not the fucking morons the show thinks we are.  We get it. The U.S. government is treating undocumented immigrants like trash, and those with racial and financial privilege like Eve are complicit by being willfully unaware of immigrants’ experiences. We have heard it all before in more succinct and intelligent ways.

The writers of “The Twilight Zone” bashing its audience over the head with The Thematic Hammer.

The heavy-handedness not only makes for poor storytelling, but it makes the episode’s audience unclear. If “Point of Origin” is trying to make border-hawk conservatives change their attitudes toward immigration, they are failing. Eve, her family, and friends are treated with active disdain by the episode.  Anna has been with the Eve’s family for over ten years, but Eve cannot name any of Anna’s children, nor does she know that Anna is from Guatemala and not Mexico (likely, Eve doesn’t know the difference between the two). Eve and her friends remark about how illegal immigrants should know the risks of crossing the border; they are, after all, breaking the law, so they argue. If the show wants to connect conservative audiences to Eve, making Eve one of the more repulsive characters the show has dealt with will not accomplish that. Viewers can point to Eve’s repeated self-centeredness and say “She’s nothing like me!” because her behavior is so extreme that no one would be willing to identify themselves with her. Even fucking Green Book, for all of the massive racial issues it had, was more deliberate in targeting its older white audience to teach them a lesson on race.

And maybe she shouldn’t be sympathetic. People who hold such disdain for illegal immigrants based on their race probably aren’t deserving of loving depictions onscreen. However, if The Twilight Zone wants to make a case to conservatives that they are perpetuating the torture of thousands of humans, making the lead of the character a snooty aristocrat may not be the best approach. Showing how a middle-class person, who seemingly does good for their community through school programs or whatever, is capable of great evil through their oppression of immigrants would do much more to swing the tides. As “Point of Origin” stands, though, it seems the writers are more interested in appeasing their liberal viewership by feeding safe and unsubtle truths to them.

Stories like “Point of Origin” should be told. We should have more fictional shows with the massive platform of The Twilight Zone highlighting the incredible harm that the U.S. is causing immigrants who are simply looking for a better life. And perhaps I am being cynical. Maybe a white middle-class mother watched this episode and was genuinely moved by it. I hope that is the case. But this episode and many others in the series seem so thin in their depiction of progressive causes; they highlight the issue but give very little in the way of cause or solution. We don’t walk away from “Point of Origin” knowing how racial and nationalist bias forms, or how we can combat. We simply learn it is bad. I suppose for some people that is a step, but for a show as politically self-serious as The Twilight Zone, we should expect more than an already well-trodden diagnosis of social ills.


Enes Kanter sleeps with a panic button next to his bed

(Photo via Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers)

Today is Enes Kanter’s 27th birthday, but because of the ongoing threats from Turkish president Reccip Tayyip Erdogan, the former Cat and current Portland Trail Blazer has to sleep with a panic button next to his bed.

By now, you should be familiar with Kanter’s contentious relationship with Erdogan, who wants him dead or imprisoned because he supports Fethullah Gulen, a cleric blamed for a failed coup back in 2016. Last year, a Turkish court indicted Kanter on terrorism charges and Erdogan had Interpol put him on “red notice,” which prohibits him from traveling safely outside of the United States. Add in death threats that come in regularly and life is stressful, to say the least. Kanter told ESPN the Magazine’s Tim Keown that after hearing his story during a meeting in February, the FBI gave him a panic button.

And he told them, as an addendum to a question that wasn’t asked, that he has no plans to stop his outspoken defiance against the leader of his home country.

“I have a voice,” he says, “and I’m trying to use it to be the voice for all the innocent people who don’t have one.”

He says the agents listened and wrote down Kanter’s words and asked a few more questions. Not once did they ask if he was taking the threats seriously, and before they left, they installed a device next to his bed. “If you’re uncomfortable with anything, just push that button,” they told him. “If you hear something you don’t like or have a reason to believe there’s a threat, push the button and someone will be here within minutes.”

On top of all this, the Trail Blazers are playing Golden State the Western Conference finals and Kanter’s fasting for Ramadan, which means no food or drink — even water — from sunrise to sunset.

Even if the Trail Blazers get swept tonight, I hope Enes eats all of the cake once the sun goes down. He deserves it.

[ESPN]


Neither Maximum Security nor Country House will run in the Belmont

Yesterday, Maximum Security’s co-owner Gary West offered $5 million to War of Will, Long Range Toddy, Country House, and Bodexpress for a rematch of the Kentucky Derby, but it won’t happen at the Belmont.

West said Maximum Security, who was disqualified from the Derby and skipped the Preakness, will not run in the Belmont Stakes on June 8. Country House, who was declared the winner of the Derby, won’t run either due to a cough he developed after the race. War of Will, who won the Preakness on Saturday, will run. Still no word on Bodexpress, who became a social media phenomenon after throwing his jockey at the start of the Preakness and finishing the race on his own.

So, it won’t be at the Belmont, but this rematch needs to happen. It’s been a rough year for horse racing, so the sport could use it.

[Herald-Leader]


KSR Show Thread 5/20: Lexington Golf Scramble

Today’s show is coming to you live from the University Club in Lexington ahead of this afternoon’s golf scramble and Ryan’s Putt for Prison. Tune in to hear the gang preview a big day, which also includes five-star Juston Rogers’ announcement.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (772) 774-5254.

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KSR Shop: 2 For $32 Memorial Day t-shirt sale!

The KSR Shop and Kentucky Branded are here to get you ready for the Memorial Day weekend. Stock up on great new designs with a variety of Kentucky and USA pride designs. To celebrate, you can head to ShopKSR.com to take advantage of a 2 for $32 t-shirt sale. Sale runs through Wednesday.

[KSR Shop: Memorial Day sale]


Today on KSR, presented by Silent Guard

A message from our sponsor: 

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We’ve got quite a busy Monday ahead of us, culminating with Ryan’s Putt for Prison sponsored by the fantastic folks at Silent Guard, so let’s get to it.

Five-star OL Justin Rogers announces his college decision at 4:30 p.m.

While Ryan’s putts are on everyone’s mind, the biggest UK Sports news of the day centers around five-star offensive lineman Justin Rogers, who will announce his college decision at 4 p.m. The 6’3″ 314 lbs. Oak Park, Michigan native is considered the best offensive guard in the country by Rivals and 247 Sports and is down to Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, and Tennessee.

Kentucky’s had the momentum in his recruitment for a while, but Alabama made a late push; will Stoops and company be able to hang on and land the program’s highest-ranked recruit since Micah Johnson? If so, current Cats and fellow Michigan natives Marquan McCall, Tyler Markray, and DeAndre Square also deserve some credit:

Right now, Kentucky holds the lead in Rogers’ 247 Sports Crystal Ball with 59% of the predictions. We’ll have full coverage of the decision all day leading up to 4:30 p.m.

We’re still waiting to hear about Jaden McDaniels

If you were offline this weekend, don’t worry; you didn’t miss much with the Jaden McDaniels’ saga. We’re still waiting to hear what the five-star forward will do, but it’s looking more and more like he’s heading to Washington, with Evan Daniels switching his pick to the Huskies on Saturday. McDaniels’ high school coach told Adam Zagoria that they’ll discuss the decision this week, so hopefully an end is in sight. Or not. Probably not.

ICYMI, UK Softball advanced to the Super Regional

The Hittin’ Kittens will take on Washington in the Super Regionals in Seattle this weekend. Dates, times, and TV information are still TBD.

Frank Vogel will be introduced as the Lakers’ head coach

It’s not every day a former UK Basketball manager is named the head coach of one of the most storied franchises in sports. This afternoon, Frank Vogel, who served as a manager under Rick Pitino from 1995-96, will be formally introduced as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Jerry Tipton chronicled Vogel’s journey — including his appearance on David Letterman’s stupid human tricks segment as an eighth-grader — over at the Herald-Leader.

Game of Thrones is over

And don’t worry, I don’t spoil it. It was fine. For my own sake, I may just pretend the series ended with Jamie knighting Brienne in episode two and call it a day. In other HBO news, maybe Aaron Paul can save Westworld after a horrible second season?

Ryan’s Putt for Prison will be live on LEX18 at 7:30 p.m.

The event we’ve all been waiting for goes down tonight at 7:30 p.m. after the KSR Golf Scramble at The University Club in Lexington. Hey Kentucky! will broadcast Ryan’s five putts from five feet live on LEX18 starting at 7:30 p.m. If you’re not in the viewing area, LEX18 will live stream it on their website here. For each putt Ryan makes, he’ll get $1,000 and for each putt he misses, he spends two days in KSJail, complete with a potty:

You probably don’t got this, Ryan, but think of all the wings and beer you’ll consume.


Major fire damages Conley Bottom Marina on Lake Cumberland

Conley Bottom Resort on Lake Cumberland has been one of our favorite KSR Summer Tour stops over the years, which is why this morning’s news that a fire destroyed a large part of the marina is so upsetting. Overnight, a fire started in the marina’s restaurant and quickly spread, destroying the building that housed the restaurant, store, and office and damaging the main dock and several boats.

From LEX18:

Our hearts go out to the folks at Conley Bottom.

[LEX18]

UPDATE: Here are some more pictures of the damage at Conley Bottom from Matt Wood on Facebook:

Posted by Matt Wood on Monday, May 20, 2019

Unbelievably, the marina still plans to operate this weekend for rentals.

Despite our loss, we are anticipating doing all rentals for the weekend. If you have any LODGING reservations in 2019…

Posted by Conley Bottom Resort on Monday, May 20, 2019


May 19th, 2019

Five-star Justin Rogers to announce commitment Monday

@AllAmerican52JR

Five-Star offensive lineman Justin Rogers will announce his commitment tomorrow afternoon a 4pm at his high school. The Oak Park, Michigan native has long thought to be a Kentucky lean, but over the past two weeks, Alabama has entered the fold to possibly throw a wrench in the recruitment of the prospect.

A member of the class of 2020, Rogers is the No. 1 player in the state of Michigan and the No. 1 offensive guard in the entire country. Currently, 24/7 Crystal Ball has him as 59% Kentucky with Tennessee, Ohio State and Georgia filling out the remaining percentages.

It is hard to know the impact Alabama coming at him late will have on the prospect. He is coming off of official visits at Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee over the past month, but hasn’t made a trip to Tuscaloosa.

For each prospect that 24/7 Sports rates, they give a specific rating/prediction on what their career will turn out to be. For example, they call recent Kentucky commit John Young a “Power Five Starter.” Rogers’ prediction is even better. The site says he is already a projected second round NFL pick. That fact alone should excite Kentucky fans.

It’s no secret what a player of Rogers’ caliber could do to the Kentucky program. When I heard a five-star guard is possibly committing to Kentucky, I never would have thought it would be on the gridiron. That, though, is starting to change. Stoops and company have changed the game in Lexington and if he can get one five-star, who says he can’t get another?

We’ll have an update on Rogers’ commitment once he makes his official announcement Monday afternoon. Stay tuned.


Watch UK commit John Young go to work at “The Opening”

John Young is doing plenty of work for Mark Stoops on the online recruiting trail, but he’s also keeping up his end of the bargain on the football field. The four-star Kentucky commit spent the day in Nashville, participating in “The Opening,” a national football camp that makes regional stops across the country.

The offensive tackle is listed as the No. 4 prospect from the Commonwealth and the No. 30 OT in the nation for the class of 2020, according to 24/7 Sports’ final rankings. Based on these videos, it’s easy to see why.

Young is currently listed at 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds. He currently attends the Christian Academy of Louisville, but soon enough, he’ll be a Wildcat.


Rhyne Howard named to USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team

UK Athletics

Rhyne Howard continues her domination. After spending a weekend of tryouts in Colorado, the Kentucky freshman has qualified for the 2019 USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team. She’s one of just 12 players from across the nation selected to participate, and she’ll be traveling around the globe to prepare and compete.

After leaving the trials, held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, she’ll have some time at home before heading to Tokyo, Japan in early July for a scrimmage against the Japanese team. Then, she’ll spend several days in Bangkok, Thailand in mid-July to compete for the country’s eighth gold medal.

There were 30 women competing for a spot on the team, and the final 12-player roster includes some of the top talent in the nation, including 10 returning gold medals (including Howard) and two NCAA Champions. Selections were made by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by George Washington University head coach Jennifer Rizzotti.

via USAB

This summer won’t be the first Howard spends competing on the international stage. She spent last summer in Mexico, helping the U18 team to a 5-0 gold-medal run, earning MVP honors along the way.

This year, she’s the only current SEC player to make the cut. Here’s the rest of the roster:

Francesca Belibi (Regis H.S./Centennial, Colo.); Aliyah Boston (Worcester Academy, Mass./St. Thomas, USVI); Cameron Brink (Southridge H.S./Beaverton, Ore.); Paige Bueckers (Hopkins H.S./St. Louis Park, Minn.); Caitlin Clark (Dowling Catholic H.S./West Des Moines, Iowa); Queen Egbo (Baylor/Houston, Texas); Naz Hillmon-Baker(Michigan/Cleveland, Ohio); Rhyne Howard (Kentucky/Cleveland, Tenn.); Jordan Nixon (Notre Dame/New York, N.Y.); NaLyssa Smith (Baylor/Converse, Texas); Celeste Taylor (Long Island Lutheran/Valley Stream, N.Y.); and Hailey Van Lith (Cashmere H.S./Wenatchee, Wash.).

Howard is the real deal, and she’s representing Matthew Mitchell and the UK women’s basketball team on the international stage (again). It’s going to be fun watching her skills continue to develop over the next three seasons.


Wesley Woodyard hosts free football camp (and talks some smack)

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Wesley Woodyard may still be a Wildcat at heart, but that doesn’t stop him from talking smack about some fellow former Kentucky boys. Or, at least about Benny Snell.

Woodyard, now a linebacker for the Tennessee Titans, spent some time back at his old stomping grounds this weekend. 

On Saturday, he hosted a golf scramble to raise money for his foundation – the 16Ways Foundation, which is focused on helping kids reach their full potential through education, physical activity and mentorship. Then, he spent his Sunday downtown at the Charles Young Center, where he put on a free youth football camp. Fellow Cat Keenan Burton and current Titans teammate Jurrell Casey also volunteered their time and talents at the camp.

The UK Hall of Famer also used the opportunity to catch up with reporters about the current state of Kentucky football. After one of the most successful seasons (and NFL Draft nights) in UK football history, Woodyard is excited to face-off against some fellow Cats in the league.

“I’ll see a couple of those guys. You know, Lonnie Johnson [and the Texans], I’ll see those guys twice a year,” Woodyard told WTVQ’s Austin Miller. “I’m pretty excited about that.”

Woodyard also hopes he’ll suit up against Benny Snell and the Steelers eventually – he’ll have a special message waiting for him.

“Of course, man, one day maybe I’ll get a chance to see Benny in the A gap or the B gap. And I’m going to say ‘Snell Yeah’ on top of him,” Woodyard laughed. 

To learn more about Woodyard’s foundation or to donate to his cause, click here


@MaggieDavisKSR