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September 14th, 2014

Calipari and crew met with Doc Rivers today

After seeing Stephen Zimmerman and Derryck Thornton in Vegas yesterday, John Calipari and his staff met with Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers staff this morning to talk about whatever coaching staffs talk about together. Cal posted this update on social media earlier today:

The staff and I met with Doc Rivers and his staff this morning to pick his brain about some things and talk about the challenges we will face this season. We really got a lot out of the meeting. Doc has an all-star staff. Thanks to Doc, Armond, Brendan, Lawrence, Woody and Sam.

Cool. Once Cal was back in Lexington, he filmed this video of Tyler Ulis running really fast during a Combine drill:

As Ryan Lemond would say, look at that little waterbug go!

Your daily reminder that Willie Cauley-Stein is really tall…


…or maybe that lady is just extremely short.

Jets sign John Conner to a one-year deal

Noah K. Murray/ The Star-Ledger

Congrats to John Conner, who just signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets. The New York Giants cut Conner in August, but Tommy Bohanon’s broken collarbone will give Conner another chance with the team that drafted him. Before playing with the Giants last season, Conner played with the Jets from 2010-2012 and also played with the Bengals in 2012.

It’s a happy reunion, as Conner was one of Rex Ryan’s favorites during his time in New York. In fact, Ryan was the one who gave Conner the nickname “The Terminator” for his toughness on the field and you know, the movie.

Congrats to a very under-appreciated former Cat.

Oddsmaker says Kentucky would be favored over Louisville now

[UK Athletics/Robert Burge]

It wasn’t long ago that Louisville was considered a major favorite in November’s matchup against Kentucky. At the Golden Nugget, the Cards were favored by a whopping 15 points. A month into the season, the Cats are 3-1 and the Cards 4-1, but both teams seemed to be moving in opposite directions in momentum. Kentucky almost upset Florida and got their first conference win in two years last week over Vandy, while Louisville lost to Virginia and barely beat Wake Forest.

A big tip of the ole hat to Courier-Journal columnist Adam Himmelsbach, who contacted Aaron Kessler, the sportsbook supervisor at the Golden Nugget Casino, to see what the odds would be if Kentucky and Louisville played each other now. Kessler said Kentucky, previously a 15-point dog to the Cards, would now be favored by two or two and a half points

“Now, I’d definitely see Kentucky favored, regardless of where they played,” Kessler said. “With the game at Louisville, right now it’d probably be Kentucky favored by two or two and a half.”

Coming off a bye week potentially with a bowl bid on the line, #WhyNot?


Forecast looking downright chilly for Saturday night

Don’t forget your booties on Saturday because it’s going to be cold out there at Commonwealth Stadium. Saturday night’s forecast says temperatures will be in the 40′s around kickoff and dip into the upper 30′s for the overnight low. Brr! Concession crews, start stocking up on those hot chocolate packets now.

Will the nip in the air favor the Cats over the Gamecocks? It certainly can’t hurt. Either way, it’s perfect chili weather. I can smell the farts in the press box now.

MKG’s shooting form finally back to normal

Good news! After a two-year hiatus to crazy town, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s shooting form is back to normal. Check out this video the Hornets posted on Instagram today. Now, compare it to these pictures of MKG’s form last season:

Looks like all that hard work this summer is paying off.

Dakari Johnson says to expect a lot more dunks from him this season

Dakari Johnson looks like a totally different player this season. Over the weekend, John Calipari said that Dakari is down to 8% body fat, which he attributes to a summer of hard work with Rock Oliver and team nutritionist Monica Fowler. “I feel like I changed my body and I feel more comfortable now,” Dakari said. “I run the floor much better, I feel like I’m more mobile, I can move around better.” What can we expect from a slimmed down Dakari this season? “A lot more dunks,” Dakari said. “It’s going to help my game a lot more on the offense and defensive ends.”

Ryan also asked Dakari about his mom, Makini Campbell, who was a familiar sight in the stands last season and walking to and from the arena in the Bahamas. With her Kentucky basketball #44 “MOMMY” jersey, Makini is easy to spot, but if you don’t see her, you’ll hear her. Makini, a former college basketball player herself, regularly yells out tips to her son during games. “She is intense, she used to play college basketball, so she really takes that to heart,” Dakari laughed. “During the game, I’m always looking for my mom, so she’ll try to give me tips.”

No tips here. Not even on your dancing.


With Boom and Dorian Baker out, expect more JoJo and Javess


On today’s SEC Coaches’ Teleconference, Mark Stoops didn’t sound too worried about not having Boom Williams and Dorian Baker this week. Stoops said that at running back, he’ll stick with Braylon Heard and JoJo Kemp, with JoJo specifically being in the mix early on. “JoJo did a really good job at the end of the game, kind of salting that game away and getting some direct snaps and really having some great runs. We’ll try to get him in the mix right from the start,” Stoops said. “We’ll just have to spread it around a little bit.”

At wide receiver? Expect a healthy Javess Blue to step up once again. “Javess is back to full strength, he’s getting his wind back up underneath him, his legs underneath him and he’s healthy, so Javess will have to carry a big part of that load. With Dorian out, Rashad Cunningham will have to step up and do some big things for us as well.”

With the distractions behind them, Stoops said his team is ready to roll against South Carolina. “We’ll have our hands full, we’re excited to play and it will be a great atmosphere in Commonwealth this weekend, so our kids are up for the challenge and it’s been a great week of preparation so far.”

Pack Commonwealth. Beat Spurrier.

KSR Outtakes: When Ryan asked Marcus Lee about the time he felt him up


Vince Marrow says get your dice ready…

Dowell Twins, come on down?

Steve Spurrier says QB Dylan Thompson will play on Saturday

Steve Spurrier just wrapped up his time on the SEC Coaches’ Teleconference this morning, and said starting QB Dylan Thompson practice yesterday and will be able to go against Kentucky this weekend. Thompson sprained his neck during South Carolina’s loss to Missouri this past weekend. So far this season, he’s 109-179 for 1,359 yards, 12 touchdowns, and three interceptions.

Once again, Spurrier played nice and complimented Mark Stoops and his staff on the job they’ve done so far. In fact, he said Kentucky is “very capable of beating every team they play” this season. Whoa. What’s next, Spurrier starts wearing shirts on the beach??

Isaiah Briscoe was “very, very impressed” by Kentucky

Isaiah Briscoe is back in New Jersey after his official visit to Kentucky, which his EYBL coach Jimmy Salmon told Adam Zagoria left him “very, very impressed.” Briscoe visited both UConn and UK this past weekend, and Salmon said that while the “intimacy” of UConn appeals to him, he was wowed by “the machine” that is Kentucky basketball.

We finally have confirmation that Briscoe picked up a scholarship offer during his trip, and before he headed to Kentucky, Briscoe said that he would be comfortable not being “the man” at Kentucky if it helps him get to the NBA.“I might not be the man [at Kentucky], but I will shine,” Briscoe told ZagsBlog, “and the spotlight don’t gotta be all on me and I don’t need all the pressure on me. At the end of the day if we win, everybody’s going to reach their ultimate goal, which is to go to the NBA.”

Briscoe’s visits to UConn and UK gave him “a lot to think about,” and he has visits lined up to Missouri on October 11 and St. John’s on October 17. St. John’s is still considered the favorite in Briscoe’s Crystal Ball, but Kentucky has narrowed the gap to 38%/32%.


Alex Poythress says being around the young guys makes him feel 30 years old

Not since Julius Mays has Kentucky had a true core veteran on the team, but this year’s group has two in juniors Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein. Alex told Ryan Lemond that at times, being around all the young guys on the team makes him feel like he’s 30 years old. “You know when you get older than most of them, you look at it as just an old, 30-year-old person,” Poythress said, looking around the gym like a wizened vet. “But it’s all good. That’s just part of being here. We’re just trying to lead the team the best we can.”

Poythress was UK’s leading scorer in the Bahamas, averaging 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. All offseason, Cal talked about how much Alex has improved, and Alex told Ryan that he’s been working in the gym late at nights in hopes of taking over the three spot in one of Cal’s platoons this season. “I’m in the gym at night shooting, working on my game, dribbling, just doing what I can to get that spot,” Alex said. After an impressive turn in the Bahamas, how good does Poythress think the Cats can be this season? “I think we’re going to be real good, the chemistry’s there. We’ve still got some areas to work on, but I feel like we can do that,” Alex said.  “That was a great starting point in team bonding, finding out what people can do.”

Alex, I know it may seem like it, but 30 isn’t THAT old. Right??

Everything that Calipari said that we couldn’t tell you until now (Wednesday Show Thread)


Happy UK Basketball preview day! On today’s show, Matt and Ryan will discuss all of the things that John Calipari said during his preseason roundtable that we couldn’t discuss until now. Tune in to hear Cal be swaggy, as well as the guys’ thoughts on Saturday’s game against South Carolina and more.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How Does This Not Excite You For 2015 Defense?

Yesterday, I put up the offensive players who have contributed a stat in any way, shape, or form at this point this season to highlight just how many of those guys will be returning next season (and beyond).  It is really amazing to think just how experienced next year’s team could be.  But many people asked about the defensive side of the ball.  Well, I would argue it is not quite as noticeable on defense as 3 of the 4 UK defensive linemen will be gone for sure and that can be a young group next year.  But the linebacker and secondary will remain largely in tact and guys like Jason Hatcher have shown great potential on the line.

Every guy listed has contributed in at least 1 statistical category.  I know there is maybe a player or two that have played and have not accumulated any stats, but those players are likely not key members as of yet.  Seniors have been marked out.   

Zadarius Smith (Senior): 4 starts, 23 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Bud Dupree (Senior): 4 starts, 17 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks
Mike Douglas (Senior): 4 starts, 10 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.0 sacks
Melvin Lewis (Junior): 4 starts, 9 tackles, 2 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Jason Hatcher (Sophomore): 2 starts, 12 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks
Reggie Meant (RS-Sophomore): 6 tackles, 2 TFL, 2.0 sacks
Farrington Huguenin (Junior): 4 tackles
Matt Elam (Freshman): 1 start, 2 tackles
Corey Johnson (Junior): 2 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Jabari Johnson (Junior): 2 tackles
Christian Coleman (Senior): 2 tackles
RETURNING IN 2015: 42% of tackles, 59% of TFL, 60% of sacks

Josh Forrest (RS-Junior): 4 starts, 26 tackles, 3 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Khalid Henderson (Junior): 4 starts, 24 tackles
Ryan Flannigan (Junior): 15 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Daron Blaylock (Junior): 3 tackles
Travaughn Paschal (Senior): 3 tackles
Tyler Brause (Senior): 2 tackles
RETURNING IN 2015: 93% of tackles, 100% of TFL, 100% of sacks

Fred Tiller (Junior): 4 starts, 21 tackles, 1 INT
AJ Stamps (Junior): 4 starts, 20 tackles, 2 INT
Cody Quinn (Junior): 4 starts, 12 tackles
Blake McClain (Sophomore): 3 starts, 10 tackles
Ashley Lowery (Senior): 3 starts, 16 tackes, 1 INT
JD Harmon (RS-Sophomore): 17 tackles
Nate Willis (Senior): 5 tackles, 1 INT
Glen Faulkner (Junior): 5 tackles
Kendall Randolph (Freshman): 5 tackles
Marcus McWilson (Sophomore): 2 tackles, 1 INT
Eric Dixon (Senior): 2 tackles
Keron Wakefield (Freshman): 1 tackle
RETURNING IN 2015: 80% of tackles, 67% of INT’s