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By Ally Tucker on ©March 04th, 2014 @ 11:55pm
John Calipari spent most of his press conference drawing laughs from the crowd of media, but he took a serious and sincere tone when asked about his two seniors: Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson. “They are two of the most loved players, maybe other than Darius, that I’ve coached here.” Calipari had nothing but glowing remarks to make about both of the home-state seniors, who each hit a 3-pointer on their first shot attempts of the game.
“They are both going to have great careers because of what they’ve done here.”
Calipari then went on about Jon Hood’s journey as a Wildcat, and how much he has changed and grown over the past 5 years. “Jon Hood, this kid. I’d like to be around him all day. Those first 2 years were so hard and so tough on him. Now, he has fun playing. He has fun coming in every day. He says he’s the best he’s ever been as a player. We’ve benefitted from having both of them here.”
By Ally Tucker on ©March 04th, 2014 @ 11:40pm
Part of the chatter that began circulating this week amidst the ‘Cal leaving’ rumors was talk of John Calipari having hip problems that he’s been dealing with all season. Calipari was asked about these issues in his post-game news conference. Calipari stated that, “It’s been bothering me, but I have no excuse. I’m just a negative guy.”
Calipari, who was on fire the entire press conference, then added a joke referring to Alan Cutler chasing Billy Gillispie a few years ago when he was fired. “Let’s put it this way… if Alan (Cutler) chased me down right now, he would probably catch me.”
By Ally Tucker on ©March 04th, 2014 @ 11:26pm
The press conference started with a bout of humor when Tony Neely, a PR spokesman for UK said that John Robic would be conducting the post-game news conference. A loud muffle came from the crowd of media, in disbelief that John Calipari would skip out on another post-game conference. Then Neely joked, “I’m just kidding.” That wasn’t the end of the humor.
John Calipari came roaring back to the critics and the media in his post-game press conference tonight. Cal was firing on all cylinders, cracking jokes and speaking with a little bite in his voice. When asked about whether or not he’s thought about the story line of stopping Florida from going 18-0 in the SEC, Calipari shot back, “I’m just trying to figure out if I’m coming back next year or not.”
Calipari said that he walked into his office yesterday and his secretary asked him if he was really leaving. “They’ve got me on PTI and Around the Horn. They’re already doing a 30 for 30 on me leaving.”
By Ally Tucker on ©March 04th, 2014 @ 11:25pm
Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson met each other with an embrace at half court during the senior night festivities.
After the last two games, a win is a win, right? The Cats didn’t look great–in fact, in the first half, they looked terrible–but they loosened up in the second and powered past Alabama by a final score of 55-48, avoiding the first three-game losing streak in the Calipari era.
Julius Randle led all scorers with 12 points and 11 rebounds, followed by James Young and Dakari Johnson with nine each. Ally is live from Rupp and will have more postgame stuff for you in just a moment. For now, enjoy James Young’s new hairdo. And by James, I mean Wanda Sykes:
In recent years, Jon Hood has always been the first player to come out for warm-ups. Enjoy this picture of Hood warming up one last time on the Rupp Arena floor with his father, Brian.
Share your predictions for tonight’s game in the comments section. Live blog starts in 20 minutes.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 04th, 2014 @ 8:00pm
In his fifth year as Alabama’s head coach, Anthony Grant has a 98-69 record, taking the Crimson Tide to one NCAA tournament and two NITs. Back in 2009, Grant was considered a home-run hire, exactly the type of young, energetic coach that Alabama needed to make their program relevant. There has been progress over the past five years, but way too slow and gradual for Alabama fans’ liking.
Alabama comes into Rupp tonight with a 12-17 record, and Grant is one of many coaches in the SEC on the hot seat. Former Alabama coach and Kentucky athletics director CM Newton told the Birmingham Tip-off Club last week that Grant deserves more time to “get it right”:
“We’re all instant gratification, we all want the hurry-up fix. If we leave this guy alone, Anthony Grant, leave him alone for a couple years, he’ll get it right. He’s a damn good coach. He knows what it takes to win. If I were his AD, I would leave him alone simply because I can put my head on my pillow each night and go to sleep knowing he isn’t going to cheat and he’ll have good discipline in his program.”
Could tonight be Anthony Grant’s last trip to Rupp as Alabama’s head coach? If so, I really will miss those starched shirts.
Tonight, we will say goodbye to Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson, two born and bred Kentucky boys who have given their all for the Cats in the past five years. Before Sundy Best has us all looking for the Kleenex with “My Old Kentucky Home” tonight, let’s look back at the top ten moments of Jarrod Polson’s career:
The fangirls: The minute Jarrod stepped on campus, the ladies of UK swooned. Jarrod’s boy band good looks wooed the women of the BBN, and became a running joke around the team. Vandy fans even chanted “Justin Bieber” at Jarrod back in 2011, which really, is only okay when we do it, right?
“SHOOOOOOOT!”: Because he was a walk-on and just so adorable, Jarrod became the new recipient of the “SHOOOOOT” chant the BBN traditionally bestows upon human victory cigars. It was fun at first, but over the years, Jarrod has proved he is much more than just a benchwarmer, and after four years in Cal’s system, he’s become an essential tool in training younger players and steadying the ship when need be.
White Boy Academy: Back in 2011, Kyle Wiltjer started making videos of the team, many of which featured his buddy Jarrod Polson. This blossomed into the “White Boy Academy,” whose hits include “WBA Hits New York,” “WBA Final Four Winners,” and my personal favorite, the 2011 WBA Christmas Special.
I miss stuff like this.
The dunk in the 2011 Blue/White game: Jarrod Polson doesn’t dunk often, but when he does, it brings Rupp Arena to its feet.
The magic dunk: When Jarrod isn’t dunking in real life, he does so with creative editing via apps like Vine.
The Maryland game: When did people stop yelling “shoooot!” at Jarrod? When he stepped up and saved the day for the Cats vs. Maryland. Ryan Harrow had the flu, so Jarrod rose to the challenge, putting up 10 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, and 0 turnovers while making several key plays down the stretch. His performance was so impressive that Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said the junior–whom he hadn’t heard of before the game–was the difference for Kentucky.
His dancing: As if he need to push the boy band thing even further.
This picture: Thanks, Jon Hood.
The Belmont game, Vandy game, Mississippi State game, etc. etc.: In his senior season, Jarrod has turned into the team’s eighth man, making an impact in too many games to list. At times, he is Kentucky’s most reliable point guard, and a constant model to which Cal can point Andrew Harrison and Dominique Hawkins, the latter of which may follow in Jarrod’s footsteps as a veteran Calipari guard.
Jersey retirement: In January, West Jessamine High School retired Jarrod Polson’s jersey, with the entire Kentucky team and coaching staff in attendance. It was a big moment for Jarrod, whom Cal uses as an example for his younger players of how far hard work can get you in life.
Thanks for the memories, Jarrod.
By Courtney Hessler on ©March 04th, 2014 @ 6:45pm
Jon Hood is the last player from Calipari’s first year as the head coach at Kentucky to go, and it’s a little sad to think about.
Jon Hood quietly committed to Kentucky in 2008, but it did not come out that he had committed until two weeks later. Before he was named Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball, before he knew he would be playing for John Calipari, before he even hit his senior year, Hood knew Kentucky was the school for him.
In high school, Hood was a highly recruited athlete by Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Georgia, but when all was said and done, Kentucky won the fight. Looking back at how those schools have done in the past five years, I think we can all agree he made the right choice. Although much of his time has been spent on the bench, Hood has had more experience in the past five years than most have in a lifetime.
He has seen the NIT, Elite Eight, Final Four and is a National Championship player. He has traveled all across the world playing with the Cats. Not including this year, he has played with 17 NBA draft picks, but let’s not understate that in any way. Hood has played with and practiced with 13 first-rounders, two No. 1 overall selections, five top-five picks and eight lottery picks. He has touched the lives of many children and families across the Commonwealth. Most importantly, he has been a leader to all of the players who have graced the Kentucky bench over the past 5 years. At the age of 22, the grandpa of the Kentucky roster has acted as the old and wise elder and supported his friends through the good times (2012 Championship team) and the bad (2013 NIT team).
With Hood’s departure Kentucky also loses the last link to the Billy Gillispie era as the program moves on from the past and looks to what the future has to offer.
Now that his UK basketball playing career is coming to an end, all we can do is look back and thank him for his time with UK and be grateful for the contributions that he has bestowed upon us. Jon Hood might not have started every game at his career at Kentucky or been the most popular, but his involvement with the Kentucky program means just as much to the university as John Wall or Anthony Davis ever did.
The only question that remains is who will take over his important role as a Kentucky Wildcat?
Tune in to 630 WLAP in Lexington at 6:30 p.m. for the KSR pregame show with Ryan Lemond. While Matt and Drew are on their Fox Sports roadtrip, Ryan Lemond is manning the ship, and will be broadcasting live from the Rupp Arena food court alongside Dan Reiffer and Jared Prickett. 98.1 The Bull will carry the second half-hour of the show, beginning at 7 p.m., or listen online at WLAP.com.
Stick around for the Texas Roadhouse Countdown to Tip-Off Pregame Show on the IMG Network with Oscar Combs and Ryan Lemond. A list of affiliates around the state can be found here or you can listen online here.
Congratulations to Corey Peters, who signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons this afternoon. Peters injured his right Achilles this past December, but prior to that, started 15 games that season, setting a career high with five sacks and 48 tackles. In his four seasons in the NFL, he’s started 53 of 56 games, and in 2011, was named the Falcons’ Walter Payton Man of the Year.
Take off that Snuggie and treat yo’ self to a nice dinner, Corey.
By C.M. Tomlin on ©March 04th, 2014 @ 5:00pm
If you’re like me (and I’m operating here on the assumption that you are, in fact, exactly like me), you’re a Wes Anderson fan. You’re the type of person who has grown to hate the word “twee” when used by his critical detractors and you struggle almost weekly with a constant mental re-ordering and re-shuffling of his films from most favorite to least favorite (Should it go “Rushmore then Bottle Rocket?” Or should it go “Rushmore then Life Aquatic then Bottle Rocket? And WHERE DOES MOONRISE KINGDOM GO?”). Rest assured, the latter is a Sisyphean task which will surely lead to your eventual insanity. Personally, though Rushmore is one of my all-time favorite movies and one I will and have watch mere isolated minutes of just to get a fix, my favorite Wes Anderson entry has to be The Royal Tenenbaums. For the uninitiated, Tenenbaums is essentially the eccentric saga of a family of geniuses, each suffering with his or her own particular burden. And it is quintessential Wes Anderson.
If you’ve seen The Royal Tenenbaums I don’t have to extol its virtues any further. If you haven’t seen it, you now have the opportunity to avoid public shaming at the next intellectual film-lovers’ social luncheon you attend by catching a special presentation of it at Cincinnati’s The Esquire Theater on March 6 at 7:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the Esquire or in advance at MovieTickets.com and the evening will feature the chance to win passes to an advance (for the Midwest) screening of Anderson’s latest The Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s sure to be a great time.
- Pretty methodical offense.
- Play “small ball” a lot with 4 guards and no true center.
- Not a good rebounding team; give up a lot a lot of 2nd chance points.
- Really heavily on their perimeter players for offensive production.
#12 PG Trevor Releford: 6’0’’ 190 SR
As a junior Trevor was named to the All-SEC 1st Team and SEC All-Defensive Team. In his senior season he has picked up where he left off with another very strong campaign. Trevor averages 18.8 points, while shooting 40% from the 3-point line (67/168). He is just an all-around talented offensive player who is extremely efficient; he shoots over 50% from the field and is also shooting 87% from the free throw line. He also averages 2.25 steals per game so the Kentucky guards will need really protect the ball.
#20 G Levi Randolph: 6’5’’ 205 JR
Levi has burst onto the scene in the last couple of games. He scored a career high 33 points off of the bench against Missouri and then got back into the starting lineup in their last game and went for 24 points and 9 rebounds. Levi is averaging 9.6 points and 3.8 rebounds on the year. He is a good 3-point shooter, 30/84 from beyond the arc, and is an overall aggressive offensive player.
#21 G Rodney Cooper: 6’6’’ 215 JR
Nearly half of Cooper’s shots come from beyond the 3-point arc, but he is shooting just 28.4% on 3’s. He leads the Crimson Tide in rebounding with 5 per game and also scores 7.8 points per game. A very good offensive rebounder.
#11 F Shannon Hale: 6’8’’ 220 FR
Shannon averages 8.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. He will step away and shoot some 3’s (34.2% on the season), but is also capable of scoring around the basket. Shannon is a young, talented player capable of having a huge game; he went for 27 points and 9 rebounds recently @ Ole Miss.
#10 F Jimmie Taylor: 6’10’’ 240 FR
The biggest player in the Alabama starting lineup, Jimmie is playing only 16 minutes per game. He averages just 2.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Not an offensive minded player, but he is a decent defender and averages over 1 block per game.
#32 G Retin Obasohan: 6’1’’ 205 RS SO
Retin has started the majority of games for the Crimson Tide, but with the strong play of Levi Randolph I think he will get the start tonight. Retin averages 9.7 points per game and will score primarily from attacking the basket off of the dribble. He does a very good job of drawing fouls and getting to the line where he is shooting 68%. Very good defender. Even though he may come off of the bench, he will probably play close to 30 minutes.
#4 C Carl Engstrom: 7’1’’ 265 JR
To put it simply, Carl Engstrom is huge. However, he plays just over 10 minutes per game and isn’t really much of a factor. Alabama plays “small ball” a lot so big guys like Carl and Jimmie Taylor don’t get a ton of minutes.
#0 G Algie Key: 6’4’’ 195 JR
A backup guard/wing player for Alabama, Algie is exclusively a driver. He is fairly aggressive with the ball and will look to score off the dribble by attacking the rim.
- Alabama’s players have quite a bit of freedom offensively. That doesn’t mean that they will take crazy shots or sprint the ball up the court every time, but each of their guys has the freedom to drive to the basket or create his own shot in the offense.
- Obviously Trevor Releford is the primary offensive weapon, but Retin Obasohan and Levi Randolph are good perimeter players as well. Also, freshman Shannon Hale is a player to watch. He can stretch the floor to the perimeter or score down low.
- As a team, the Crimson Tide are scoring 68.4 points on 44.5% shooting from the field. They don’t take a ton of 3’s and shoot just 33.7% from beyond the arc.
- Alabama is a hard-working group of guys who will get after it on the defensive end. They aren’t a lockdown defensive team by any means, but they do a pretty good job on that end of the floor.
- They will force teams to turn the ball over some with their aggressive play and active hands. Releford, the SEC’s leader in steals, and Obasohan, combine for 4.2 steals per game.
- The Crimson Tide are giving up 67.9 points per game and holding opponents to 42.2% shooting from the field. As we touched on already, Alabama is not a good rebounding team and have been outrebounded by their opponents on the season.
Keys to the Game
- At some point you have stop pointing to certain aspects of a game and just go out and execute. I feel like Kentucky is at that point after back-to-back disappointing losses. Against Alabama it isn’t about guarding a ball screen a certain way, there isn’t a certain “key matchup”, it will just come down to Kentucky executing and being the better team like they should be.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 04th, 2014 @ 4:15pm
Although the Calipari staying/going debate has taken over today, tonight is Senior Night, and it’s time to turn our thoughts to Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson. The two Kentucky boys will play their last game in Rupp Arena tonight, a thought which has John Calipari feeling sentimental. Cal posted this on Twitter moments ago:
#BBN, let me just say how proud I am of our two seniors, Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson. Jon has become like a coach for us. He knows what he’s doing and he’s able to help our younger players understand what we’re trying to do. And let me add this: Jon has never been a better player. He’s confident and has fun. No player in college basketball has ever played with more NBA players than him.
Jarrod came to us as a walk-on and ended up being a scholarship player his entire time here. He always has a smile on his face. I still remember back to the Maryland game last year when Jarrod came in out of nowhere and helped us win that game. Both are great kids who have helped this program immensely and have benefited by it. That’s how it should to be. Can’t wait for those two to start tonight and go out there and have some fun. Make sure you get to Rupp Arena early to honor them.
Still no word on whether or not Jarrod’s mother, Chrisi, will sing the national anthem tonight. #OhSayCanChrisi
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 04th, 2014 @ 3:30pm
A clean-shaven Rick Pitino met with the Louisville media today, and weighed in on the topic of the day: whether or not John Calipari will leave Kentucky. Rick says he doesn’t see Calipari leaving Kentucky…ever:
“I don’t think he’s ever leaving Kentucky, that’s my opinion. I don’t think he’s ever leaving because I think he feels in his mind he has the best job in college basketball. I don’t see…where’s he gonna go? He’s not gonna be a Wall Street trader. So, where’s he going?”
When a reporter mentioned the NBA, Rick said Cal “knows the pressure of the NBA,” and even gave his nemesis some praise: “I give him an A as a teacher, an A as a recruiter, an A as a preparer. It’s tough to do what he does. It’s tough, it really is. It’s very, very difficult coaching new groups each year.”
In fact, Rick doesn’t think Kentucky can get any better than Calipari:
“I think he’s excellent. I don’t think Kentucky can get any better than John Calipari. I’m objective, he’s not a close friend, we’re friendly. How are you going to get better than him or what he does? He’s great at what he does. Are they having a great year? No, but you wouldn’t want to play them at tournament time, with that size, and that ability, and his coaching. So, I’m a big believer in the way he teaches and the way he recruits.”
Rick saying Cal’s staying forever? Well, now I’m really worried.
On the heels of a disastrous 2012-13 season that ended with an NIT loss, Kentucky coach John Calipari was said to have returned humbled and with renewed vigor, ready to claim vengeance on the college basketball world.
To that end, Calipari brought in what some hailed as the greatest recruiting class in the history of mankind: six 5-star prospects, including the top-rated point guard, shooting guard, power forward and center in the country. Some said as many as seven first round NBA Draft picks.
Twenty-nine games later not much has changed.
The 2012-2013 team’s problems were well documented: heart and effort were repeatedly brought into question, there was a lack of chemistry, the roster seemed mismatched and never quite gelled. After a rocky start, Nerlens Noel was lost for the season with a knee injury Feb. 12 and the Wildcats limped to a first-round NIT exit at Robert Morris.
The disappointment of 2013 was labeled as an aberration. A fluke. But instead, even with a completely new cast of characters, it’s been more of the same this season.
It’s not like Calipari has suddenly and inexplicably forgotten how to coach. It’s hard to argue against his success at startups like UMass and Memphis before finally stepping behind the velvet rope at Kentucky. Three schools, three Final Fours, a national championship and a career 77 percent win percentage.
It’s not his coaching, it may be his system that needs a reboot. Maybe it’s time to power down, power up.
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It’s been a big day so far here in my Twitter bubble, as the lineup from Kentucky’s biggest music festival was announced this blistering Tuesday AM.
Snagging the recently reunited Outkast, who are headlining such huge festivals as Coachella and Firefly, is undoubtedly the biggest news; bringing Andre 3000 and Co. to Louisville is absolutely sensational and speaks volumes to the direction in which Forecastle is moving (the right one…)
Some of the acts I’m most excited for–obviously the headliners, including Outkast, Beck, The Replacements, and Jack White (are The Raconteurs/Dead Weather/White Stripes going to make an appearance as well?)
In addition, Forecastle can look forward to seeing other big names from indie rock, bluegrass, and blues: Ray Lamontagne, Band of Horses, Sun Kil Moon, Twenty One Pilots, Local Natives, Trampled by Turtles, The Black Lips, Nickel Creek, Spoon, Gary Clark Jr., Lord Huron, Jenny Lewis, and Jason Isbell. And past Forecastle-er-er–the soul/funk act Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. And on and on and on.
It’s an impressive slate to say the least.
But what’s most noteworthy about the big names, or really, all of the names, in the announced lineup?
A) The lack of any jam band presence–or presents–the colloquial KSR commenters prefer
B) The lack of much dance music presence
C) The lack of Jim James and MMJ presence
D) Presents. Where are my gifts Forecastle Fest??!!
OK, fine, maybe C isn’t necessary. Louisville area residents have had ample opportunity to see Jim and My Morning Jacket over the years. But I’m selfish. I can never get enough.
But A and B did catch me off guard a bit; the lineup is unique/surprising given Forecastle’s history with jam bands, I would have anticipated Umphrey’s McGee (a past headliner,) Tea Leaf Green, Gov’t Mule–someone outside of the most recent jam band headliners of Widespread Panic and String Cheese Incident.
I am admittedly more surprised by the lack of a headlining DJ, given current climate of mainstream music, (though not necessarily top-40 mainstream music) in 2014. Last year’s electronic acts consisted of Purity Ring, Boys Noize, Datsik, Griz, and Baauer–not necessarily households names outside of the Harlem Shake (UGH,) but big. Flume is likely the most popular electronic artist in the 2014 lineup (or at least my personal favorite,) especially if you’ve heard of Hype Machine. You haven’t? How lame…
Chrome Sparks, Tourist, and Claude VonStroke are some of the other electronic artists that will be playing Forecastle.
Well-known veterans on the festival circuit such as Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, and Girl Talk have played Forecastle in the past; no one is in the same vein as these guys will be making an appearance come July in Louisville.
With less EDM, and less String Cheese, expect to see fewer molly poppin’ tank frat bros and tripping hippies on the Waterfront this year. I anticipate a lot of beards, flannel, and suspenders despite the likely 90+ temperatures. Seriously, Robert Plant may have met his untimely demise at last year’s festival, if not for Mother Nature’s rainy rescue.
I’m each demographic’s stereotype at any given time. Keeps
my enemies the general populace, naw, I’ll stick with enemies–on their toes.
Despite the minority of pop and dance music in the lineup, 3 of my favorites are on this side of things–Flume, Charli XCX, and St. Lucia come to mind as inevitably fun, upbeat, can’t miss shows of the fest. Especially Flume. Blogs love Flume. It sounds a whole lot like phlegm, but I swear it’s not that. And Kim Kardashian is not a hobbit. Well, at least she never told me she was…
So while I may be bummed to miss out on my three Js–jam bands, Jim James, and dJs (that one was a stretch) I’m still very excited for Forecastle, if not only for its climbing notoriety on the music scene.
Weekend passes go on sale Friday, March 7th at Noon EST. Support the Commonwealth and good music (also, supposedly, charity?
And good news for Mayor Greg Fischer and Company, the economic impact of Forecastle Fest 2013 is estimated to stand around $14 million.
That’s not chump change, even for Derby City.
See ya there Kentucky.
Or at Firefly. Or Bonnaroo. Or Lolla. Wherever I end up aside from Louisville.
Get at me on Twitter with your thoughts on the Forecastle lineup, and this summer’s best festivals. Mainly though, if you want to discuss how Forecastle is pronounced “Fox-ill.” Mind. Blown.
And check out what Twitter had to say this morning below. It was all aflutter.