Kentucky is one game away from clinching its first bowl berth since 2010 and this →
By Drew Franklin on ©October 30th, 2014 @ 10:35am
If you see Devin Booker skydiving, buying a lottery ticket or giving blood today, it’s because he can. He’s 18 now. The freshman shooting guard is the third member of the UK basketball team to celebrate a birthday this week, meaning Mrs. Ellen is running out of brownie batter and Cal has to tweet about it:
One of the youngest players in the country turns 18 today. Happy birthday, @DevinBook!!! Hope you're enjoying those brownies from Mrs. Cal.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) October 30, 2014
So if you run in to Devin at the fireworks store or at the bank opening his own checking account today, be sure to tell him Happy Birthday. Next week, he gets to vote.
Happy Birthday, Devin!
By Drew Franklin on ©October 30th, 2014 @ 9:55am
And who are you kidding? You’ll do whatever those lovely ladies tell you to do. Same here. Guilty.
On today’s show, Matt and Ryan look ahead to Saturday’s game in Columbia while covering all of the Cats in the NBA nuggets from Wednesday night. The theme of the show: #BeatMizzou.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
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By Bryan the Intern on ©October 30th, 2014 @ 9:15am
After listening to yesterday’s KSR, I think I was most interested in the conversation about Rupp Arena and if it was an elite venue for the top college basketball program in the country. I think very few people would disagree that the building itself needs a serious upgrade. But for the time being, that is what we have. What frustrates me as a fan who doesn’t get to go to many games is the inconsistent nature of the passion from the fans in attendance, especially those in the lower bowl. Those folks have often been referred to as the Blue Hairs and I know many of them read this blog. So for this upcoming season, which could be one of the best in school history, I am writing an impassioned plea to those Blue Hairs.
Dear Blue Hairs,
How are you octogenarians doing? That’s good to hear. First of all, I hope you are just as excited as I am for another UK basketball season. I bet during your weekly bridge games and bowling leagues, you just can’t wait to see Dominique Hawkins tear it up. But over the last few years, I have noticed a gap developing between people like you, “the greatest generation”, and people like me, “the greatestest generation”. And it’s too bad, because it revolves around something we can agree on, and that’s our love of UK basketball.
You see, in a way, people of my age bracket are jealous of you. You all have developed wealth over your years, and you use that wealth to donate to the program and take the greatest seats at Rupp. And frankly, you deserve it. You essentially make the program run with the money you put in. And as a reward, you get the best seat in the house to watch the greatest program in the country. Except, it seems like you all don’t act like it’s the greatest program in the country. Let me give you a comparison you might understand: Kentucky is like Abraham Lincoln, something truly great and special and a leader in the college basketball world like Lincoln was to America. You all cheer for the program like it was Martin Van Buren.
Maybe back in the 1940’s and 50’s, you showed support for your team by a couple soft claps of the hands and stern nod of the head in approval. Well, guess what? This is NOT the 1940’s and 50’s, this is the 21st century. And in the 21st century, we have what you might call a “louder” approach to cheering. And god forbid, it might even involve you getting out of your cushioned seat to stand during your team’s good play. It might involve continuing to cheer during timeouts and before games, and it might involve standing for upwards of three consecutive minutes or more.
Now, I know what you will say: I bought the seat and I don’t have to do anything.
Well, you are technically correct. You did spend your own money and thus you have a right to participate in the game in whatever way you feel necessary. Except for this fact: people in your position have the ability to affect games. Literally effect the play of the opponent. Literally have a hand in helping your beloved UK to wins. And yet, through laziness, you choose to actually decrease your Cats chance to win. Because in a close game, noise can have a direct effect on the other team, whether it be during free throws or end of game possessions. The low income guy in Section 303, Row Z, is going to have a hard time being heard. You would not have that problem. But clearly, the behavior at Rupp should be the same as a library. Because that is what the arena sounds like most of the game
And let me point out another lovely piece of technology you may just be getting used to: it’s called a television. There is also this cool little invention named cable television. And do you know the people that show up on those broadcasts? That would be YOU! And frankly, all too often, I watch the broadcast and think to myself “looks like a boring atmosphere to me.” Bet if they showed the upper sections, my opinion would change.
And yet, you choose to sit on your rears.
If I was you, I would feel EMBARRASSED that despite having the largest college basketball arena in America, and the most passionate fanbase in America, Rupp is not considered the greatest homecourt advantage in America. And that rests 100% on you. Your inability to give 2 hours of effort cheering on your Cats makes everybody, including the coaches, players, and other fans look bad. How must the players feel that after a good play, they look into the crowd and see you still in the seats.
How can you call yourself a true fan of the program when you have the opportunity to have a greater impact on the game than any other fan, and you throw away that opportunity away? Because part of having a great program is having a great home court advantage. You prevent that from happening. How does that sit with you? It takes more than money to proclaim yourself a fan. Do you even know where the word “fan” comes from? It comes from the word “fanatic”. Fanatic meaning having an extreme enthusiasm for a cause. You all seem to have as much enthusiasm as I do over the McRib being back at McDonalds.
I write this plea in hopes to light a fire under your butts. Either way, take this message to heart: you have the ability to have more than just a financial impact on this program. You have the ability to make this nation know that Rupp Arena is more than just a 22,000 seat opera house. You have the ability to make opponents need ear plugs to play at Rupp. YOU HAVE THE ABILITY AND YOU HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY. Stop letting down the fanbase. And if you can’t accept that responsibility, then get your butts out of the good seats, stay home and watch on TV, and let the REAL fans show you what cheering is all about!
By Courtney Sealey on ©October 30th, 2014 @ 8:30am
It’s time again for KSR’s Top Tweets of the Day. We will focus most of our attention on Kentucky sports-centric tweets but, as usual, there are no limits to our madness. You can participate by using hashtags such as #BBN #KSR #KSRTop10 or just by simply tweeting @KYsportsradio.
#10 SundayNight Football
— SundayNight Football (@SNFonNBC) October 29, 2014
Who needs College Gameday when you have Sunday Night Football?
@KySportsRadio Matt jones will not rest until the national anthem is gone. Some where john short shed a single tear
— jacrosse (@jacrosse13) October 29, 2014
This is a terrible time for America Patriotism.
#8 Eli Brown
Like i am done with Spanish man!! We just started this Quarter and already had like 3 quiz and a test and I fail everyone of them 🙉😡😔
— Eli Brown (@32_brown) October 30, 2014
Don’t feel bad. Spanish is enough to make a college student go crazy. Trust me. I know.
#7 austin asher
— austin asher (@augers72) October 29, 2014
He has a point…. also in honor of this tweet:
#6 Thaddeus Snodgrass
So my teacher has us come to class just to tell us it's cancelled what is life!?
— Thaddeus Snodgrass (@ThadSnod1) October 29, 2014
Better late than never, right?
#5 Amanda Lemond
— Amanda Lemond (@mandylemond) October 29, 2014
Sounds like someone is going to be grounded.
@KySportsRadio here's one–I think the cats should bring back the denim jerseys for this season, all great bball teams have denim.
— Monkeydog (@BlueIronBros) October 29, 2014
You go back and crawl into the hole you crawled out of.
#3 Patrick Towles
Currently having trouble finding Quidditch Robes for a 6'5" wizard
— Patrick Towles (@patty_ice14) October 29, 2014
Did you try Diagon Alley?
#2 Kenny Matney
@KySportsRadio Topix is the trailer park of the internet.
— Kenny Matney (@kcmatney) October 29, 2014
Too bad a tornado can’t take it out.
#1 Bart Hammer
— Bart Hammer (@Hamm3rTime03) October 29, 2014
I know this is old, but it still makes me laugh when I see it.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 29th, 2014 @ 10:42pm
I’m now convinced you people will take a UK flag anywhere. Nothing is off limits. Bottom of the ocean, hanging out of a flying Black Hawk, on the Breaking Bad set, wrapped around a dead body (I can’t share that one)… The Cats flag has really been everywhere in the world. Keep it up, please. Send ‘em over.
So how are we tonight? Me? After spending the entire day listening to Garth Brooks, I’ve been better. I’m studying up on Garth’s “Ultimate Hits” for Friday night’s concert in Rupp Arena and I can’t say I’m well-versed in his music. Not yet at least. (But “The Dance” is my jam.) I’m committed to the 10:30 show Halloween night so I suppose my costume is Someone Who Cares About Country Music. We’ll see how it turns out.
Enough with the small talk, let’s chat sports. Wednesday gave us a full slate of NBA action, Mark Stoops on the telephone and a lot more…
Mark Stoops believes it’s too early for the bowl game talk.
On Wednesday’s SEC teleconference, Mark Stoops shrugged off the notion that he is having to manage the locker room talk of a potential bowl berth. He told reporters, “I just feel like it’s too early in the season, and we always took the approach of after one trying to get two and so on and so forth. Obviously getting to five, I think we all know the importance for our program to get to a minimum of six, but I try to stay away from that because I want to focus from week to week and I want our team focused on the week-to-week preparation.”
Yeah, but Coach, you’re one win away from a bowl game in your second season. C’mon, bro… Talk about it! Big Blue Nation is craving a postseason for the first time since 2010! And if you’re sitting on five, it’s okay to talk about winning six, right? So let’s do this!
No one on Kentucky’s roster has ever won on the road.
Bud Dupree is tired of sad and quiet flights home from road trips and Mark Stoops has addressed it with his players. Stoops said, “I have talked to them about it, just the toughness and the mentality that it takes to go on the road and beat quality teams. Nobody’s going to give you anything and it’s a real challenge. We have to have a tough mentality about us and create energy within our program and our team and go out there and compete at a high level and compete with the same tenacity that we do at home.”
In Kentucky’s two road games this season, the Cats fought and clawed to almost win a three-overtime thriller in one, and really crapped the bed in the other. “We’ll see how we respond this week,” Stoops said of a third attempt.
Missouri hasn’t played well at home, so this may be the week Bud gets to celebrate on the flight back to Lexington with his teammates. (Prediction: It will be the week.)
Julius Randle had season-ending surgery on his fractured tibia.
The Lakers announced on Wednesday they expect Randle to miss his entire rookie season with the fractured tibia he suffered last night in the closing minutes of his debut. As someone who stayed up and watched it live, let me tell you, it was hard to watch. To see guys like Kobe Bryant and Carlos Boozer trying to keep Randle calm as he was loaded onto the stretcher was heartbreaking. The injury wasn’t known at the time, but it was clear by Randle’s face and the look on Kobe’s that it was a significant one that would keep him out for awhile.
As for the hope of chasing that Rookie of the Year award next season, NBA.com’s David Aldridge believes Randle will not be considered a rookie in 2015-16 because he played an NBA game, albeit one. However, Aldridge wouldn’t be surprised if there was a special dispensation given by the league because the situation is so unique. But that doesn’t matter right now; all that matters is keeping Randle’s spirits up so he can bounce back better than ever. Kobe said, “We’re all here. We’ll help him through this.”
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist looked like the No. 2 overall pick for the Hornets.
MKG had himself a game with 17 points and eight rebounds in Charlotte’s 108-106 win over Milwaukee. Everyone’s favorite former Cat capped off a big slam dunk by throwing his mouthpiece at the referee:
He also knocked down jumpers, which had everyone in Charlotte confused by the new MKG.
Across the way, Brandon Knight fell two rebounds shy of a triple-double. Knight tallied 22 points, 13 assists and one board in the loss to lead Milwaukee in all three categories.
Baseball ended Wednesday night.
The last day of baseball should be a national holiday. I suggest we exchange gifts and go to parades and hang out with loved ones and all that stuff. It’s one of the best days of the year.
(Note: The game is still in progress so we don’t have a winner yet, but my understanding is it is impossible to have another game after tonight.)
Can we talk about the Boardwalk Empire finale yet or are some of you still catching up?
I hate spoilers so I won’t touch it but I need to talk about it with someone, anyone. I’m a little disappointed. Somebody call me or something so we can chat.
Trey Lyles is No. 88 in ESPN’s Top 100 College Basketball Players.
ESPN is counting down the 100 best players in college basketball this season and Trey Lyles found himself at No. 88 when the top 100 through 80 were released today. Lyles is No. 25 on ESPN’s Top 100 NBA Draft prospects, so maybe the two list-makers should meet up in the breakroom and get on the same page.
Here’s what they had to say about Lyles at No. 88:
No. 88: Trey Lyles, Freshman, Forward, Kentucky | Score: 6.30
Named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 2014, Lyles took his stretch-4 skills to Kentucky. The 6-foot-10 freshman is coming off an undisclosed “medical procedure” on his left leg that kept him sidelined during the Wildcats’ Bahamas trip in August. [ESPN]
Louisville’s Chris Jones is No. 80.
DO NOT put Russell Westbrook in the microwave.
How many shots per game are we predicting for Russ with Kevin Durant out of the lineup? 40? 50?
CoachCal.com wonders: Where is Julius Mays?
The answer can be found here. If you don’t want to click that, he retired from basketball after 10 months overseas. It’s a good read, though, so you should check it out. Lots of good stuff on Uncle Julius.
Go Cats, everybody.
By Ally Tucker on ©October 29th, 2014 @ 9:30pm
The off-season is technically over, but the folks here at KSR love getting your input on things… relevant and bizarre. We have to get a little creative around here sometimes.Earlier this summer I started a weekly series called “We Ask You Wednesdays,” that brought in some great responses from many readers via Twitter.
Most of you all, All of you all, Everyone but my Mom and Dad,Some of you all probably hate it, but it’s either this or I’ll post another Trey Lyles mix tape.
Each week, the question will change and we will hit on a variety of topics, mostly UK-related… but you never know. Each week the best responses will make it on to the website. This week’s ninth volume of the “We Ask You Wednesday” allowed Kentucky fans to answer the following question via Twitter in 140 characters or less: WHAT IS THE CRAZIEST THING YOU’VE DONE IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO WATCH A UK GAME (BASKETBALL OR FOOTBALL)?
I’m the most sorry about #1.
@AllyTuckerKSR 1. I went to the city of Louisville. 2. Drove 15 hours to Houston- 2011 FF 3. Faked sick during practice round in college.
— Aaron Flener (@AFlenerKSR) October 29, 2014
He sounds like a keeper….
@AllyTuckerKSR When I got out my fiancé said he had got us tickets 3 days later to our first Rupp game. We still went. Thank you pain meds.
— Courtney Sealey (@Sealey_KSR) October 29, 2014
Let me just say that after reading your responses, UK fans do NOT make great employees November-April…
@AllyTuckerKSR I quit my job in order to go to the 2012 Final Four.
— Chris Futrell (@CVFutrell) October 29, 2014
My biggest question is still what does the 3 stand for in BW3’s since it’s Buffalo Wild Wings?
@AllyTuckerKSR We left 80 degrees and the beach Saturday to drive 4 hours to a BWW to make sure the Cats game was on!
— Jana Sturm (@MommaSturmy) October 29, 2014
Even Ryan Lemond thinks that is poor driving…
When I first read this, I just thought… wow, it took you from April to September to get to that funeral?
@allytuckerksr In 2011, I drove 18 hours to Houston in Apr, & then attended a UK FB game in Sept before I drove home to my g-ma’s visitation
— Erin Waggoner (@erinwaggoner) October 29, 2014
Morgan Newton would not have skipped the ACT for a UK football game….
Now I’m curious….
@AllyTuckerKSR I’m sorry, that’s classified.
— Al’Darius Courington (@alcourington) October 29, 2014
If you have a wedding during any UK sporting event, you should just assume this will be happening. Or have a big screen with the game on…
I’m on board with this. If I have a funeral during a UK event, I want everyone there watching together. It’s what I would do….
@AllyTuckerKSR we stopped my great uncle’s funeral because Cats were playing in the NCAA tourney, it’s what he would of done for us.
— The Commonwealth Kid (@KidCommonwealth) October 29, 2014
The struggles of not having ESPNU are never-ending. I finally made the plunge. Worth every penny and the random free landline phone.
Why do none of your friends have cars?
— Alex Bruno (@BrunDoggyDog) October 29, 2014
R.I.P. Drew Log?
Enduring that kind of stuff on the road is always so sweet when Kentucky wins…
— Miss Cobble (@Miss_Cobble) October 29, 2014
I like the picture.
— Melissa Trouton (@jords9599) October 29, 2014
And listened to Matt’s musical choices. That’s saying something.
Back story: Nick, myself and Kristen Geil are all attending the same wedding Saturday mid-Kentucky game. Ugh.
@AllyTuckerKSR Whatever we’re going to have to do Saturday to watch the 2nd Half of the Mizzou game
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) October 29, 2014
You haven’t lived until you’ve done the sneak headphones for a UK-game at some point in your life. Mine? Failed a math test in high school because I was listening to a UK March Madness game stealthily in my hoodie.
Whoever that section’s Blue Coat Usher was, he was certainly NOT “Usher of the Day.”
@AllyTuckerKSR Back in the day, I used to sneak in through the back entrance to Rupp Arena.
— Michael Voss (@michaeldvoss) October 29, 2014
I hope you stumbled upon the foam party first.
That’s actually impressive.
— J.C. Ausmus (@JC_KSR) October 29, 2014
Once again….weddings during UK games = just expect this type of behavior.
BEST ANSWER OF THE WEEK:
The guy who writes the Bachelor thing for KSR? That would be awful….
— Corey J (@cjuk33) October 29, 2014
By Drew Franklin on ©October 29th, 2014 @ 9:15pm
By Drew Franklin on ©October 29th, 2014 @ 8:00pm
Kentucky is one game away from clinching its first bowl berth since 2010 and this is the week they’re going to do it. After Wednesday’s practice, Bud Dupree told reporters he and his teammates are anxious to get that sixth win to relieve the pressure of chasing it. In order to do so, Dupree, a senior, will have to win his first career road game. There’s a stat for ya.
Quarterback Patrick Towles is confident the Wildcats will escape Columbia with a W. He said, “We expect to win.”
And win, they will. This is the week UK punches its ticket to the postseason, wherever that may be. Let me tell you why in this week’s edition of “Why Kentucky Will Win.”
Because Maty Mauk struggles to throw TDs in the SEC.
Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk has 16 touchdown tosses on the season, but only two of those came against league competition. Before last week, when he threw two against Vanderbilt, Mauk had zero TD passes and five interceptions in his three games against the SEC. He padded his stats early in the year with 14 against South Dakota State, Toledo, Central Florida and Indiana.
UK’s defense ranks 15th nationally in passing yards allowed, fifth in interceptions and 10th in passing efficiency defense.
Because Dorial Green-Beckham isn’t walking through that door.
The former Tiger receiver who torched Kentucky for four touchdowns last season is now an Oklahoma Sooner after a string of trouble at Mizzou. Arguably the best wide receiver in college football, DGB’s presence will not be missed on Kentucky’s end.
Because Missouri hasn’t played well at home.
Mizzou is 1-4 against the spread at home this season with two losses, against Indiana and Georgia. The Tigers were a 23-point favorite last week against Vanderbilt and won by only 10. They’re currently a 6.5-point favorite against Kentucky.
Because this ended up being fake.
It was rumored Mizzou would attempt a ‘Stripe-Out’ for the UK game (seen above) but it ended up being a concept created by a fan for fun. Had Mizzou actually pulled that off, there’s no doubt the Tigers would’ve won. They would deserve to win if the athletic department coordinated that awesomeness.
Because Gary Pinkel may or may not be drunk.
Because Missouri’s receivers coach was the Kentucky receivers coach in 2012.
Pat Washington, in his second season at Missouri, left Lexington as the Joker Phillips dynasty crumbled. Washington coached the wide receivers for Joker in 2012, a year that UK ranked 102nd in passing, nationally.
Because Missouri’s offense isn’t good.
The Tigers average 331 yards per game, the eighth-worst output in all of college football. 116 other teams are better, with only Michigan, Central Florida, South Florida, Kent State, Florida International, Eastern Michigan and Texas-San Antonio falling behind Mizzou.
This is me right now…
By Nick Roush on ©October 29th, 2014 @ 6:59pm
– The Cats aren’t putting the “Fun” in fundamentals this week. It’s no fun losing, especially when most of it comes down to basic problems. Fundamentals have been preached week in and week out, but they’re becoming particularly picky this week, taking their teachings one step further, “(Even) If your shoe strings aren’t tied a fundamental way,” Bud Dupree said today.
Yesterday, Neal Brown mentioned that the offensive linemen were leaning too much. Something you wouldn’t normally think is an enormous problem. Where you noticed the enormous problem was the defense’s tackling. Some of the mistakes were simple execution errors, like failing to wrap the guy up until he’s on the ground or a teammates piles on. Some of them were more mental, “The first person that makes the tackle can’t strip the ball,” said Dupree.
The little brain farts add up. DJ Eliot has added more hitting and tackling to this week’s work in team drills in addition to their normal routine.
– With four games to go, getting win #6 is creating a little anxiety on the team, Bud Dupree said today. The win would lift a weight off their shoulders, but Bud’s reasons for getting to #6 are not selfish:
“It would mean a whole lot for the program, for the state and for the coaches. It would mean a lot for the team just to give back to the coaches and all of the hard work they’ve put into it trying to turn this program around. The University invested a lot of money into the football program this year. And we’ve just got to show them that we really are working hard.”
– Bud doesn’t pay too much attention to the accolades. Today Mel Kiper’s first round big board placed Dupree at #21 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. Bud might take a peek on Twitter, but he’s waiting to worry about himself until after season, “It’s all about my team and not about me.” Bud’s also only a few sacks away from owning the UK sack record, but even that claim would not mean as much as a bowl game.
– The Cats haven’t won on the road in a LONG time. It can sometimes be brutal to watch, but for the players, the worst part might be the somber plane ride home. Bud is hoping this week’s hour plane trip back to Lexington will be the most cheerful flight he’s been on.
– When looking ahead to the future, many people pay attention to the success of the true freshmen on this year’s team but forget about the talent that is busting their butts in the weight room during a redshirt season.
Melvin Lewis has been forceful in the middle following his redshirt season. He would not be the same player without it, “That redshirt year for me worked out in my favor. A lot of guys either get better during their redshirt year or get worse. I truly believe I got better because of that redshirt year. I give all the credit to that redshirt year. All that success I’m having is because of that redshirt year.”
By Wilder Treadway on ©October 29th, 2014 @ 6:00pm
Guess who’s back? Back again? If you guessed Hayley and I then…YEAH you’re right! There aren’t many things in life that would motivate me to get up at 6:30 in the morning on a brisk fall day in late October, but luckily for you, UK Hoops Media Day is one of them. It was great to walk back into the hallowed halls of the Memorial Coliseum media room and listen to good ole Coach Matthew Mitchell preview the upcoming season for his Kentucky women’s basketball team. Now the casual reader may not know, but Mitchell has built UK into one of the top women’s basketball programs in the nation. Here’s a few stats for you: in the last five seasons Kentucky has made a school record five straight NCAA Tournament appearances, made three straight Sweet 16 appearances, finished in the Elite 8 three times, won 77.8% of their games, compiled a 91.5% record at Memorial Coliseum, been ranked in the AP Poll for 84 straight weeks, defeated 26 ranked teams and boasted four SEC Player of the Year award winners…not too shabby if you ask me.
Now that I’ve caught you up to speed, let’s move on to this season. The Wildcats are ranked in the top 15/10 of various preseason polls floating around the web, but many people aren’t sure how this version of the UK Hoops team is going to pan out after the loss of four seniors (Samarie Walker, DeNesha Stallworth, Kastine Evans, Bernisha Pinkett). In terms of experience, this is probably one of Coach Mitchell’s most balanced teams of all time, with five upperclassmen and six underclassmen. The Cats were picked to finish fourth in the SEC by the media, after South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas A&M. It should be another ultra-competitive journey through conference play, as the SEC time and time again sends the most schools of any conference to the Big Dance. Mitchell seemed cautiously optimistic about his team this morning, but didn’t want to show too many of his cards just yet. Let’s get onto the main points from his press conference..
1. Return to 40 Minutes of Dread: Last season featured various health issues and for the first time in his tenure at Kentucky, Mitchell was forced to stray away from his patented “40 Minutes of Dread” style of defense. He didn’t have the depth of players nor did he have the speed to execute it at a high level, and UK even featured zone in a few games, something rarely seen done by the Wildcats. This year, expect a return of the old. Coach Mitchell and his players preached the entire morning about their ultimate goal of “being the fastest team in America.” “We’re working on it really hard right now. We’re trying to be an up tempo and pressure defense, and it just takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of work, takes a lot of reps, but I think that one thing that we have going for us is we have some mobility in the frontcourt, which is very important. You need to have bigs that will hustle and will work and can actually move, and we have that. We don’t know exactly where to go right now, but we’ll get there. But I think that this will be a very good pressure defensive team, and we’re working hard at that right now,” said Coach Mitchell. Up tempo, in your face defense is what made Kentucky into the program it is today, and if most teams can’t beat it, why stop?
With the influx of freshman post players Alyssa Rice and Alexis Jennings, Mitchell seemed optimistic that they’d have an immediate impact and the Cats will rely on them heavily to score points down low. With that being said, the transition from high school to college is one of leaps and bounds, especially in a program so physically demanding like UK and the style of play Kentucky demands. “You’ve got to push them along so they will do what they need to do and also have the patience to allow them to grow into their roles. They stand out and look good, and we’ll be depending on them this year, and I think by the time we really become a team, I think they’ll be a big part of what we’re doing,” Mitchell said.
2. No Concrete Post-Season Goals: Flashback to UK Hoops Media Day this time one year ago. Coach Mitchell drilled home one point and one point only to the media: this team wants a Final Four berth and to get that we need a number one seed. These ultimate goals were lauded by the players and coaches all season as motivation for success, but not all went to plan. The Cats struggled with injuries and consistency issues, all but written off after just a few weeks into conference play. “We had some adversity hit there in the middle of the season, and I think that that particular team didn’t handle that real well. We lost a couple games during the conference, and it really did something to our psyche, and I think it hurt them, trying to think about being a No. 1 seed and all of that that I had really pushed and put in front of them.”
After some would say a possible let-down finish to the UK Hoops squad last season as the Cats fell in the Sweet 16, Mitchell is changing things up this season. Gone are the concrete, vocalized goals of championships, Final Fours and number one seeds (not to say those aren’t still lingering on the minds of everyone). This season Mitchell has one primary goal and that is: to play your best. “I think right now for this particular team, what’s very, very important is that they just try to become their best every day. I have an idea of what that could be. I think that could be really, really good and one of the top teams in the country, but I’m not talking to them a lot about results right now. I’m trying to get them to be excellent in their character. That’s really, really a fantastic opportunity to be your best…If we have success in our schedule, we’ll be a very high seed in the NCAA Tournament.”
Speaking of the schedule…
3. Be at Rupp Arena on November 17th: Coach Mitchell all but guaranteed another sellout at Rupp Arena for UK Hoops’ annual “Pack the House” game this season against Baylor. Last year, the Cats set the single-game attendance record for a women’s basketball game with 23,706 in Rupp Arena, and we can do it all over again on November 17th. Read it yourself…
The answer to selling out Rupp (Arena) again is yes. We will sell out Rupp. There’s no question about it. The Big Blue Nation will rally and we will sell out Rupp. Did everybody hear me? We will sell out Rupp. Put this on the news tonight: We will sell out Rupp. And in order to sell out Rupp, you have to go out and buy your tickets, so everybody go out and buy your tickets, so I won’t look bad. They may put this in the newspaper, that I promised that we would sell out Rupp, and if we don’t, I’ll look bad, so no one wants me to look bad I don’t think if you’re a Kentucky fan. So let’s sell out Rupp for the Baylor game.
To make sure Coach Mitchell doesn’t look bad, buy your tickets now at www.ukhooopstix.com or call 859-257-1818. Great game, great environment and #BeatBaylor. Plus I know all of you want to see the Bear’s crazy Coach Mulkey in person.
Kentucky opens their season next Thursday night in their one and only exhibition game against the Pikeville Bears. It’s free for everyone so stop by Memorial Coliseum at 7 and check out what is sure to be the beginning of another action packed season for UK Hoops.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 29th, 2014 @ 5:30pm
A photo posted by @realjamesyoung on
Last night, Anthony Davis, Darius Miller, Terrence Jones, and Julius Randle represented Kentucky on NBA’s opening night, and tonight, 16 former Cats will keep things rolling, including James Young and Nerlens Noel, who will make their NBA debuts.
Here’s the schedule, with all games on NBA League Pass or various regional sports channels:
7 p.m.: Milwaukee Bucks (Brandon Knight) vs. Charlotte Hornets (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist)
7 p.m.: Philadelphia 76ers (Nerlens Noel) vs. Indiana Pacers
7:30 p.m.: Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics (Rajon Rondo, James Young)
7:30 p.m.: Atlanta Hawks vs. Toronto Raptors (Patrick Patterson, Chuck Hayes)
7:30 p.m.: Washington Wizards (John Wall) vs. Miami Heat
8 p.m.: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies (Tayshaun Prince)
8 p.m.: Chicago Bulls (Nazr Mohammed) vs. New York Knicks
8 p.m.: Detroit Pistons (Jodie Meeks) vs. Denver Nuggets
9 p.m.: Houston Rockets (Terrence Jones) vs. Utah Jazz (Enes Kanter)
10 p.m.: Los Angeles Lakers (Julius Randle–out) vs. Phoenix Suns (Eric Bledsoe, Archie Goodwin)
10 p.m.: Golden State Warriors vs. Sacramento Kings (DeMarcus Cousins)
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 29th, 2014 @ 5:00pm
A popular debate among fans and pundits is what school deserves the title of the best college basketball program of all time. Everyone has an opinion, and there have been several articles written on the subject, but today, Fansided.com has one that ranks Kentucky #1 based on cold hard facts.
Fansided ranked the 75 best college basketball programs of all time using a weighted point system. Before we get into what Daniel D. Zillmer wrote about the Cats, let’s examine the system they used:
Here’s the top five:
1. Kentucky Wildcats: 932 Points
2. Kansas Jayhawks: 858 Points
3. UCLA Bruins: 782 Points
4. North Carolina Tar Heels: 742 Points
5. Duke Blue Devils: 560 Points
And a few of Zillmer’s comments on the Cats:
I guess they deserve to be called BIG Blue Nation after all as no college basketball program has been more consistently great than they have been all-time. Enjoy the title Wildcats fans, but beware, the Jayhawks aren’t far behind and the Bruins and Tar Heels could make a run at the No. 1 spot sometime, too. But for now enjoy it as you’re the No. 1 college basketball program of all-time and going to be the No. 1 ranked team when the 2014/15 season tips off. Not bad BBN, not bad.
Read more at Fansided.com.
By Hayley Minogue on ©October 29th, 2014 @ 4:35pm
FINALLY! It’s basketball in the Bluegrass ladies and gentlemen, and I honestly can’t remember a time that I was this happy at 6:57 A.M. The UK Hoops team presented their annual Media Day and invited all the fine, intuitive reporters of Kentucky (plus Wilder and I), for a morning of fake eggs and great quotes. The 2014-2015 media guides were distributed upon arrival, and as you will soon read, there was no shortage of hilariousness. After a few words from Coach Matthew Mitchell, it was time for us to head to the gym for some player interviews and practice observation.
We were lucky enough to get to talk to all our favorites, as well as a couple of the newcomers. Below are my favorite quotes from each of the Hoopers, as well as my favorite fun fact about them from the media guide.
Jennifer O’Neil-Guard- Senior
Jenn O’Neil is returning for her final season as a Wildcat, and had some kind words to offer about junior Ivana Jakubcova and the possibility of her taking a redshirt for this season.
“If she redshirts, it’d be great in my opinion. She’ll get a year to see how things are, the way [Coach Mitchell] wants them, it’s about seeing what he wants in order to be able to play really…When I got hurt, at first, I was like, ‘Why me?’ and then, as time went on, I was like, ‘You know what? This is a blessing.’ I had time off, I had time to think, my body got time to heal fully, I didn’t play or anything like that. So yeah, I’m gonna be there for her, because she’s my teammate and I’ve been through it, so I think it’d be easier for her to talk to me about it or share stories about it. I honestly think it’s gonna be a blessing. It’s hard at first, but when you realize you have no control over what happened, you can’t make it heal, you have to take the time and learn and just accept it for what it is.”
Best Media Guide Fact: Something most people don’t know about her is she has to put on deodorant before she goes to sleep.
Janee Thompson has made tremendous strides, on and off the court, in her maturation and determination since her first year at Kentucky. Thompson started all but three games last season, and plans to continue to show her leadership throughout this coming season.
“I just think we are kinda missing some leadership from some people that graduated, and that was kinda a role that I wanted to fill. I tried to step up and fill that void and leadership. I do feel like more of a leader…I think I’ve gotten a lot stronger and a lot tougher mentally. We go through a lot, the way we play is hard. You have to be mentally tough to go through that 40 minutes everyday.”
Best Media Guide Fact: Janee Thompson is the “Team’s Sneakerhead,” and owns over 100 pairs of shoes. In a very exclusive interview, she told KSR that her “go to” is the “Retro Jordan 6’s.. in any color.”
Linnae Harper got playing time in all 35 of Kentucky’s games, showing off her true freshman skills. Last season, there seemed to be times where Harper would get down on herself during the games after a bad shot or turnover. She told us those times of low confidence are over.
“This year, with Coach Mitchell and my teammates, they’ve been encouraging me everyday in practice and helping to find ways to help me become a better player. I think defensively and offensively I’ve become a different player and I’m more aggressive and I think that’s going to be a big contribution to the team this year.”
Best Media Guide Fact: While it is important to note that her favorite dessert is sweet potato pie, “Nae Nae” also had something to say about Janee’s claim to the “Sneakerhead” title. “I think that’s a tough one. She has a lot of shoes, different styles, but I also have a lot of shoes. So, I don’t know about her being the Sneakerhead.” There’s only one way to settle this….
For those of you that don’t follow the Hoops closely, yes, this is Anthony Epps’ daughter. But she is far from living in her father’s shadow. Epps, who Wilder and I dubbed “Buckets” during her amazing SEC Tournament play, is one of the most clutch players on the team. She always comes off the bench and makes the key shots the team needs to send them over their competition. At Big Blue Madness, Epps walked out to “Stuntin Like My Daddy,” and said the decision didn’t take much thought.
“Whenever I came either my junior year or my senior year to watch Big Blue Madness, they had their own introduction songs and I was like, ‘You know, that’s extremely nice! What would I ever come out to?’ and then I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s not even a question! I would come out to ‘Stuntin Like My Daddy.’ The day before Big Blue Madness, we ran through it. Just to hear it… I was like, so excited.”
Best Media Guide Fact: People would be shocked to know she has a small teddy bear collection. EXTRA: Epps helped us uncover the hard hitting facts about who the Sneakerhead really is. She said, “Janee is definitely the team Sneakerhead. At first, I thought it was Linnae. I went in her room when we first got here as freshmen, and I was like, ‘Wow you got a lot of shoes’ and she was like, ‘No I don’t, go in Janee’s room…’ [Janee] had shoe boxes along the wall, underneath the bed, in the closet… I was like, ‘That’s crazy!’ There you have it folks. Mystery solved.
Bria Goss, from her first year at Kentucky, has been the perfect Wildcat. She is a strong, yet supportive leader, fantastic student, and responsible young woman. She will surely be successful in her post college endeavors, and said that being able to represent UK for the SEC Media Day jumpstarted her post college goals. Goss is a communications major who hopes to get into broadcasting.
“I made some new connections, made some new friends, just got the feel and the atmosphere, I had a really good time… I talked to Kara Lawson a few times, and that’s someone I grew up watching and she’s one of the best sports analysts now. Also, Maria Taylor. She’s helped me, I asked her a few questions, she was real nice and real open. She really made me feel comfortable.”
Best Media Guide Fact: Dream Job is to have her own TV Show. I mean, I’d watch!
Alexis Jennings and Alyssa Rice-Forward/Center and Center-Freshmen
We had the pleasure of meeting these two talented ladies this afternoon, and I believe they are going to do great things for this team. Both are high energy, high motivation, and will likely be looked at to contribute heavily. Rice said the adjustment from high school to college has been intense.
“It has been a big adjustment because you are going so fast and college is a big speed change because everything moves much faster. Just being able to put what we’re learning on top of speeding it up to such a fast pace has it’s challenges, but I think we’re doing well with acclimating.” Both ladies also agreed that Big Blue Madness has been their favorite part of being a freshman so far.
Best Media Guide Fact: Alexis- Guilty pleasure is country music. Alyssa- Favorite word is salty.
It’s already been a sports heavy day, but now I’m off to work with ESPNU Campus Connection! ESPNU is here to cover the Volleyball game tonight at 8, and has graciously opened their doors behind and in front of the cameras to students in the journalism program for some shadowing. Make sure to watch tonight at 8!!!! #BBN
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 29th, 2014 @ 4:20pm
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 29th, 2014 @ 3:53pm
According to Lakers beat writer Mike Bresnahan, Julius Randle’s surgery on his fractured right tibia this morning was successful, and although he’s expected to make a full recovery, Randle will not return this season.
All day, there has been an outpouring of support for Randle in the NBA community. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said the news broke his heart. “That broke my heart, it really did,” Rivers said. “I have a son in the NBA, and that was my first thought. Man, to have a rookie, your first game, and the team leaves that night to go on the road, and you’re just sitting in the hospital by yourself, honestly, that really tugged at me.”
Clippers star Chris Paul agreed. “You could tell he was sort of in shock, and for him to be as talented as he is, for your opening game of your NBA career, for that to happen, I hate it for him.”
We love you, Julius.