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When it’s my turn to scribble out the KSR night post, I typically find a slightly relevant celebrity birthday and say something nice about them based off a few facts I Googled hours before. This is largely because I don’t keep up with modern pop-culture. However, tonight’s celebrity is someone who I’ve kept up with for quite some time. Understandably, you may not know tonight’s celebrity because he and his co-hosts are only broadcast on American television through BBC America, but he’s someone who you should take the time to watch if you’re ever given the chance.
Jeremy Clarkson, born April 11, 1960 in Doncaster, England, is one of the three hosts of the wildly popular British television show, Top Gear. Since 1988, Clarkson has been the host of the program and due to his knowledge, persona, and general tomfoolery, the show has flourished unlike any in history. As an example, in 2009, a British organization gave Top Gear the honor of “Show of the Decade,” finishing ahead of programs like Doctor Who. And from personal experience, I can tell you Clarkson and his two co-hosts were very deserving of the honor bestowed upon them. I can’t even recall how many bootleg episodes of Top Gear I watched on my computer as a teenager as I was lost in the humor and pure entertainment of it all. So here’s to you Mr. Clarkson, may your 54th be everything you want and please give your job to me once you retire because you seriously have the coolest job on Earth.
On to today’s news:
Alex Poythress is still undecided on entering the NBA Draft.
Earlier, Alex Poythress’ father sat down with The Times-Georgian to discuss what he and his son will be talking about in the upcoming weeks. No decision has been made yet due to how far the Cats advanced in the tournament, but here’s what he had to say on the matter.
Each year we sit down and go through an evaluation process for it. Since they made it a little bit further this year, we’re actually going to start that process this week. We’ll just sit down and weigh all the pluses and minuses, try to get information from the coaches and from the other people involved to see where he’s projected to go in the draft or how teams feel about him,” Antoine Poythress said. “We have until the 15th or 17th of this month, so it’s not a lot of time. We’ll probably go to the deadline and figure out what he wants to do. It’s a pretty stressful process of trying to make a decision in such a short amount of time.
The “Tweak” will finally be revealed on Monday.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past month, you’ve undoubtedly heard and grown sick of the infamous “Tweak” that Calipari implemented before the SEC Tournament. As earlier reported, Cal will be embarking upon a media tour, beginning with “CBS This Morning,” to promote his new book Players First. The Tweak will be reveled on Monday when he appears on the show.
Card Fans were talkin’ gas about a football recruit.
Three Star OG Luke Hiers took visits to both Louisville and Kentucky this week and enjoyed his stay on both campuses according to a report from InsidetheVille.com’s Mike Hughes. However, during that interview, Hiers stated that it’d be hard for another school to overtake Kentucky because of the academic support system they have in place for athletes. Some Card fans didn’t take too kindly to this. Below are some of the Louisville fans’ comments.
“He needs all the academic help he can get if Ky is his top choice. No mention of potential wins or football tradition. I say let him go there. I wouldn’t spend another minute on this guy.”
“Don’t know what he means by academic supports, our athletes tear it up in class. 100 years of losing and they keep thinking they will be the ones to turn it around. lol”
“What the hell are these kids drinking to go to UK? Also how the hell is Fat Stoops getting such highly rated players and he hasn’t even won an SEC game?”
Hiers later heard about the comments via Twitter. You stay you, Cards fans.
Tennessee and Missouri lost key players today, but for drastically different reasons.
Tennessee forward, Jarnell Stokes, decided to enter the NBA Draft today after discussing the move with his family, friends, and coaches. He averaged 15 points and over 10 rebounds per contest this season and felt like he was ready for the next level. While Stokes left on his own authority, Missouri Wide Reviever, Dorial Green-Beckham was forced out of his respective program for an entire different set of reasons. According to allegations Green-Beckham forced his way into an apartment where he then pushed a female down a set of stairs. Coach Gary Pinkel sent DGB packing today with no word on his future at this time.
Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson will be touring the region to meet and greet fans.
Polson and Hood will be traveling around the region to greet the fans who adored them during their time as Cats. The locations can be viewed below.
Saturday, 11:00 — 12:30 at Cardboard Heroes in the Fayette Mall (Lexington)
Saturday, 4:00 — 5:30 at Cardboard Heroes in the Florence Mall (Florence)
Saturday, 7:30 — 8:30 at Cardboard Heroes inside the Mall at Fairfield Commons (Dayton, OH)
Sunday, 3:00 — 4:00 at North Laurel High School (London)
Sunday, 5:30-6:30pm at Daddy Yo’s Frozen Yogurt (Berea)
A five run offensive explosion for UK in the bottom of the seventh that turned a three run deficit into a 7-5 lead appeared to give the Cats control of the game. That is, until the Tigers rallied right back in the top of the eighth with a three run blast over the left-centerfield wall for to take the opening game of the series 8-7.
Trailing 5-2 entering the 7th, nine-hole hitter JaVon Shelby legged out a single to lead off the inning and advanced to second as Austin Cousino reached on an error. After a walk to Max Kuhn, A.J. Reed chopped a bouncer that hit off the top of the first baseman’s glove and rolled into rightfield to score two runs. Back to back RBI singles by Micheal Thomas and Ka’ai Tom gave the Cats the lead and a pinch hit sacrifice fly by Storm Wilson capped off the five run inning.
Despite striking out a career high ten batters, Reed struggled thought the game giving up five runs (four earned) and nine hits on 118 pitches. Reed left in line for the win after the rally in the 7th but ended up with his second no-decision of the year.
Whatever Reed lacked on the mound, he made up for and then some at the plate as he went three for five with four RBI and fell a triple shy of the cycle. His leadoff home run in the fourth, his 13th of the season, tied him for the NCAA lead.
We are now officially living in the first weekend of the post college basketball spring. Depressing, I know. While there may not much of the sport that we love there are a lot of interesting storylines in development for this upcoming summer. Here are my picks for the top 5 to watch:
5. NBA Cats Make a Playoff Push
With just four games remaining in the NBA season it’s looking like some former UK players will be impacting the playoffs in a major way. In the eastern conference Chuck Hayes and Patrick Patterson could make a run as the east’s three seed with an upset of the reeling Pacers. To do that they would need to take down MKG and the Bobcats.Wall, Teague, and Nazr will all make a push to dethrone the Heat as well. In the west Eric Bledsoe and Archie Goodwin are on the 7th seeded Suns, but Terrence Jones and the Rockets will be the team to watch as they will likely face the aging Spurs in the second round. Our NBA Cats will be all over the playoffs for the first time since Cal’s arrival.
4. Cal’s Hip Surgery
Once Cal is finished with his upcoming book tour he will go under the knife for the second time to replace his bum hip which hindered him all season. So what does that mean for our beloved coach? Summer is prime recruiting time with the AAU circuit going and Cal is usually a staple at events like the Peach Jam. Cal will likely need several weeks to rest, rehab, and recover following the surgery which means the assistants will need to pick up the slack. Hard to do when an assistant needs to be hired, which reminds me..
3. Who will be the new assistant?
With the departure of Coach O to USF Kenny Payne will likely take over the majority of recruiting duties but the question still remains about who will be Antigua’s replacement. One likely candidate is Tony Barbee, the former Auburn head coach and Cal assistant, who is newly unemployed. However, Barbee landed only 2 four-star players during his four years and one transferred while the other was dismissed. Granted, Auburn is a different place than Kentucky but still not a great track record. Lots of names are being kicked around out there so this will be interesting to see play out over the coming months.
2. Who Will Stay Who Will Go?
This one is just about the top story every year and this year the choices are about as clear as mud. This storyline will surely be filled with some twists and turns and will impact my top storyline:
1. Last Minute Recruiting
If the Harrison twins and Jame Young go pro then the Cats will need some help on the perimeter and fast. Jay Hochstetler wrote about some of the potential replacements last night. [If the Twins Leave, Where Will UK Look?] Perhaps, Kentucky will find a 5th year guy who can make an Marcu Kane like impact next season. Perhaps they won’t need to.
Even without basketball this summer looks to be one filled with a bunch of drama. What storyline are you most looking forward to seeing play out?
If you’re at all like me – and by the very nature of being a UK fan, you probably are – you find yourself trying to figure out what to do now that basketball season is over. Football is starting to pick up, and with Mark Stoops running things, that is going to be worth paying attention to – but there are no games right now and Fall seems a long way off. Don’t try to get me in to baseball, either, that sport is more boring than the traditional Wisconsin Offense. (I’m told if you actually know what’s going on from a strategy perspective baseball is fun, so I will be the first to admit that’s on me. But it’s on me, and I don’t care enough.)
So what is there to do? The natural next step seems to be investing in an NBA team, right? According to the major talking heads, the regular season has been pretty boring – but we’re just about past that now, and they playoffs are fixing to start. With that, I want to find a team to start caring about. Maybe you can join me, maybe you can help me decide, or maybe you can leave angry messages about my disrespect of baseball in the comment section. All I know is that we’re doing this post, whether you like it or not.
Before we get to specific teams, I think there are a couple requirements we should iron out.
1.) Whomever we pick can’t be a front runner. This rules out the Heat, Thunder, arguably the Pacers and Spurs (though I really admire both of those systems). Let’s face it, we already have the best team in college basketball to root for, who wants to always pull for the favorite? Let’s make things interesting by picking someone we can be surprised about when they win, not relieved. Think more 2014/2011 Cats, less 2012.
2.) That said, they shouldn’t be a bottom feeder either. As not-fun as it is to root for a team that is too much a lock for a championship, it’s equally not fun to root for a team that has NO SHOT at a championship. So that rules out the Cavaliers, Knicks, Hawks, Magic, Timberwolves, Nuggets, and the Jazz. Leaving out a few more questionable teams due to Kentucky ties, which brings us to…
3.) Ideally there will be some type of local tie. The reason Kentucky fans have trouble finding a team in the pros to root for often comes down to a combination of “no local team” meets “the closest teams suck”. But now with so many UK players in the pro’s, the teams don’t have to be local to have local ties. So teams with a prominent Kentucky player? Raptors, Bobcats, Bucks, Wizards, Pistons, Celtics, Grizzlies, 76ers, Rockets, Suns, Pelicans, Kings and Lakers.
4.) That’s it! Let’s do a quick run down on each team in regards to the three previous points and see who’s left standing at the end.
Philadelphia 76ers – The 76ers are probably the most intriguing of the bunch, simply because their future is so uncertain. They accumulated approximately 100 draft picks (like the Suns) over a season of tanking. They have one of the UK fan favorites in Nerlens Noel and a young core of players that could be dangerous in a few years. That said, they are absolutely dreadful right now. The sixers would be a long term investment – wait until the draft settles before you buy your Noel jersey’s.
Charlotte Bobcats – The Bobcats could be a fun team to take. MKG hasn’t had the strongest of sophomore seasons (see: Davis, Anthony), but he is a solid contributor and sets the tone for one of the top defenses in the league. They made it to the playoffs this year thanks to a putrid Eastern conference and the aforementioned defense, but with how shaky an owner MJ is, throwing your allegiances behind the Bobcats seems risky. Had they taken Noel last year in the draft, things would be different… that said, they are about to revert to the Hornets, so they’ve got that going for them.
Milwaukee Bucks – I’m sorry Brandon Knight. You were awesome. The Bucks are not. If it weren’t for Knight, they would fall squarely in to the ‘bottom feeder’ category. That said, the Bucks have the highest chance at landing Andrew Wiggins right now… so who knows. They are a team to watch, but I wouldn’t invest much emotionally in to them.
Boston Celtics – An interesting choice. Many UK fans never warmed to Rajon Rondo, the same way it is rumored many of his team mates in Boston never have. For the longest time though, Rondo was the best UK alum in the NBA, and at the very least the most exciting to watch. There is a very real possibility that Julius Randle ends up in Boston (and a longer shot that WCS goes to the Celtics with Brooklyn’s pick), combined with Rondo and a coach to root for, Green could become a second favorite color in Kentucky. Or they could finally pull the trigger on all the rumored Rondo trades, draft Dante Exum and Montrezl Harrell, and the Celtics would be just another team.
Sacramento Kings – The team I have always wanted to love. It goes without saying that Boogie is one of THE favorites for Kentucky fans. Unfortunately that organization just feels too disorganized to ever really pull it together. If it were up to me, the Kings would trade Boogie to Washington to get the band back together with John Wall. You know you want Nene and Otto Porter Sacramento, don’t tell me you don’t.
Los Angeles Lakers – I live in Los Angeles now. I love Jodie Meeks. Steve Nash is awesome, and Kobe Bryant once put up 81 points in game. Also awesome. I just can not get myself to root for the Lakers. Maybe it’s because all of the things I just listed.
New Orleans Pelicans – If you want a potential contender lead by a former Kentucky player, this might be the one to watch. The Pelican’s made a few dumb moves in the off season, opting to play for the playoffs this year, trading away draft picks (and Noel), but still not being competitive enough in the West to pull it off, but to their credit they were hampered with injuries. That said, Anthony Davis played like a future MVP, if the Pelicans can stay healthy and surround him with at least one more all star, we could be looking at the next big thing after KD and LeBron have their run. That and ‘Pelicans’ is actually a pretty cool mascot, when you think about it.
Detroit Pistons – I would imagine of all NBA teams, the Pistons have the most crossover fans with Kentucky fans. Tayshaun played an integral role in their title run, and continued to star on that team for years. They traded him, had Brandon Knight for a bit but traded him, and now have Jorts on their roster. A great team to want to root for, but they are kind of stuck in no man’s land right now. Not bad enough to get a franchise player in the lottery (unless they luck out), not good enough to make the playoffs.
Toronto Raptors – Second to the Rockets, the team with the best chance to go far in the playoffs this year. They also have PPat, who jumped around the league for a while before finally finding a place to call home in Toronto. He has been an integral part to this years Raps. Add a little Chuck Hayes to that while we’re at it. That said, this Raptors team came as a surprise to many, with Kyle Lowry turning in an amazing season. That said, the Raptors are justifiably wary about resigning a 27 year old Lowry to a big money contract… and some other team most likely won’t be. If he stays with the Raps, they could be fun to watch for the next few years, but it’s hard to see them taking the leap to the championship level.
Houston Rockets – A dark horse team to win the title over the next few years. Terrence Jones has become one of the x factors for the Rockets. If you can get past cheering for Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons, Jones will likely be involved in any playoff success the Rockets have. He dropped 33 on the Lakers a few nights ago, and is averaging 12 points and just shy of 7 rebounds in about 28 minutes per game. If you want a team that has a chance to win it all, and win it all right now? Houston is your team.
Phoenix Suns – The Suns have been a shock to most NBA fans. They are currently fighting to make the playoffs in the West, and this was a team that most picked to be right at the bottom of the standings with the Sixers. They have a number of draft picks right now – and in at least one mock draft are in the range to nab James Young. With Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic leading a fast paced, two headed monster on offense, Young could be an exciting addition. The Suns, like the Sixers, have a lot riding on making the right picks or trades this draft. But if they do, they could become a contender in the west in a few years.
Washington Wizards – My personal favorite. John Wall, the guy that brought cool back to Kentucky, teaming up with another SEC player in Bradley Beal to lead the back court for the Wizards. Unfortunately I just don’t like most of the other players as a casual fan. Had they taken Noel last year instead of Otto Porter things would be different, but with only one pick in this years draft, despite finally making it back to the playoffs, the Wizards have a ways to go before they can challenge the top teams in the East. Or maybe they just need to bring Kevin Durant back home…
With apologies to Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague on the Magic and Nets respectively, those are the teams to look at if you want a Kentucky player contributing in the near future. (Detroit squeaks in, because even without huge minutes from Jorts, they have a Kentucky history.)
So what’s that leave? Rockets if you want a winner soon, Suns if you want exciting basketball with a chance to blow up via the draft, Pelicans if you want to get on the A-Train before it leaves the station, the Wizards for when they find a way to acquire Boogie, or the 76ers assuming you trust management.
I’m going with the Suns – who you got?
Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson are hitting the road to meet the fans, sign a few basketballs and kiss a few babies. You can catch them at any of their upcoming stops, listed below:
Saturday, 11:00 – 12:30 at Cardboard Heroes in the Fayette Mall (Lexington)
Saturday, 4:00 – 5:30 at Cardboard Heroes in the Florence Mall (Florence)
Saturday, 7:30 – 8:30 at Cardboard Heroes inside the Mall at Fairfield Commons (Dayton, OH)
Sunday, 3:00 – 4:00 at North Laurel High School (London)
Sunday, 5:30-6:30pm at Daddy Yo’s Frozen Yogurt (Berea)
Hood and Polson will also be hosting KSR’s favorite Derby party, Ferdinand’s Ball. For tickets and details click here. You should go.
Xavier forward Justin Martin is free to move about the country for his final season of college basketball. Martin will graduate from Xavier this May and will seek a transfer out for his final year of eligibility.
Kentucky could use a good wing next season, and that’s exactly what Martin offers. He’s listed at 6-6, 205-pounds and he averaged 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for the Musketeers in 2013-14.
It worked with Julius Mays; why not try it out again?