After a jarring loss to UCLA and four long days of reflection, Kentucky bounced back →
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It sounds like Barry Rohrssen will be heading to Kentucky to fill Orlando Antigua’s spot.
— Matthew Steinbrink (@MattSteinbrink) April 13, 2014
Via a retweet by Adam Zagoria, Barry Rohrssen may be heading to Kentucky to fill in as UK’s new assistant. Keep in mind, this is not confirmed or official. Rohrssen was a former head coach at Manhattan (2006-2011), and currently is an assistant at Pitt.
For the second consecutive night, the Wildcats (23-12, 7-7 SEC) had a late game offensive explosion but this time, it was enough for the win as the Cats evened up the series heading into tomorrow afternoon’s 1pm rubber match. UK exploded for a combined 12 runs and 11 hits in the fifth and sixth innings. Left-hander Dylan Dwyer earned the win in his first career SEC start.
With both teams combining for three hits apiece through the first four and a half innings, the Cats finally ended the offensive drought with two-outs in the fifth. Max Kuhn earned UK’s first base hit in three innings with a blooper that fell in between the second baseman and right fielder. A.J. Reed then drove the first pitch he saw over the right-centerfield wall for his NCAA leading 14th home run of the season. Reed has hit a homer in five consecutive SEC games. After a single by Micheal Thomas, Ka’ai Tom roped a double down the rightfield line to make it 3-0.
The Cats would score nine more in the sixth thanks to a bevy of solid hits and several defensive miscues by Missouri. Storm Wilson led off the inning with double into the rightfield corner and scored on a single to right by Thomas Bernal and two errors. Bernal, who took third on the errors, scored on a Matt Reida single. Nine-hole hitter JaVon Shelby attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt but the throw attempting to get the lead runner and second hit off the heel of the shortstop’s glove and bounced into right, which allowed Reida and Shelby to advance to second and third. After an Austin Cousino strikeout for the first out of the inning, Max Kuhn (a career high 4-for-4 on the night) drove in both runners on his 10th double of the season down the leftfield line. With firstbase open, the Tigers wisely decided to intentionally walk Reed but it did not matter as the next four Wildcat batters would reach, bowing the game wide open.
In-between, 2013 Gold Glove award winner Austin Cousino, despite an 0-5 night at the plate, showed off his defensive prowess in the top of the sixth as he threw a dart to Micheal Thomas from centerfield to gun down a Tiger at the plate on a two out single and preserve the shutout. Dwyer called the catch “the biggest play of the night.”
Dwyer pitched very well in his first career SEC start in place of injured Chandler Shepherd. The sophomore (5-1, 3.76ERA) worked six and a third inning shutout innings, scattering six hits and striking out three while walking one on 107 pitches. “He got us out of a couple of jams where they could have scored first but didn’t”, head coach Gary Henderson said after the game. “I’m really proud of him, a solid effort. He’s really grown up.” Relievers Logan Salow and Zach Strecker worked the last two and two-third innings to preserve the shutout.
The Cats and Tigers will face off in the series rubber match tomorrow afternoon at 1pm with Andrew Nelson taking the mound for the Cats. Once again the game will be broadcast on CWKYT in Lexington and Fox Sports South.
If the Harrison twins leave, it seems likely that Kentucky would look to add a graduate transfer to the fold next year. While Bryce Dejean-Jones has received the lion’s share of the attention thus far, other names are sure to pop up. Could one such name be that of K.C. Ross-Miller?
Probably not, but wouldn’t it be ironic? After averaging 8 points and 3 assists as a redshirt sophomore at New Mexico State, Ross-Miller will transfer and be eligible to play immediately. Ross-Miller shot 39% from beyond the arc and 44% from the field last season. For those that don’t remember, Ross-Miller was committed to play for Kentucky under Billy Gillispie. More recently, Ross-Miller is known for starting an all-out brawl last month after throwing the ball at his opponent.
The Cats could be in need of some bodies next season. Does Ross-Miller have the talent to play at UK? Or was he another whacky experiment of the Billy Gillispie era?
By Jonathan Schuette on ©April 12th, 2014 @ 8:30pm
As KSR’s own Connor Link reported earlier, some of our NBA Cats had themselves quite the night on Friday evening. Out of the bunch, Eric Bledsoe had the brightest when he dropped 30 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals on the league leading San Antonio Spurs. Luckily, some video of Bledsoe’s performance has finally surfaced and you can see the highlights for yourself.
I miss this guy.
By Jonathan Schuette on ©April 12th, 2014 @ 7:00pm
Given the weather and the fact that Keeneland was absolutely humming today, you’re probably exhausted and need to recharge your batteries. If that’s the case, tune your TV to ESPN2 to see Karl Towns and Trey Lyles take on the USA in the annual Nike Hoop Summit. Feel free to use the comment section as the game thread.
Tip-off is slated for 7 pm and the over/under for Kentucky fans in the crowd is set at 15.
Earlier today, incoming Kentucky recruit, Tyler Ulis, posted an awesome picture of him being guarded by Andrew Harrison back when they were both in the AAU circuit. According to Ulis on Twitter, he was well below 5 feet tall when this picture was taken several years ago.
Big Blue degrees of separation?
Incoming Kentucky recruit, Karl Towns, is currently prepping for tonight’s Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon. The above posterization is fairly strong evidence that things are going pretty well for Mr. Towns this week. Also, I didn’t find the post-dunk reaction from the crowd to be satisfactory, so I’ll use this gif to express what the crowd should’ve been doing after that monster slam.
If you gave me two words to describe today’s weather, they’d be “absolutely perfect.” Apparently, Alex Poythress and the Harrison twins agree as they’re rubbing elbows with some of Lexington’s finest people out at Keeneland today. These Cats have many hard decisions ahead of them regarding their careers, so it’s good to see they’re taking in some of the finest sights that Kentucky has to offer for them today.
By Ally Tucker on ©April 12th, 2014 @ 2:30pm
Depending on the decisions made by the current Kentucky players over the course of the next week or so regarding the NBA draft, Kentucky might wind up looking to add a 5th year senior or two to next year’s roster. With a slew of transfers happening across the country this time of year, a few potential names of 5th year seniors have popped onto the scene. Guard Bryce Dejean-Jones (technically a junior, but on pace to graduate so he will attend school next year as a graduate student) and forward Justin Martin seem to be two of the initial frontrunners to at least be considered by Kentucky. Let’s learn a little more about these two players, shall we?
Current team: UNLV
Ranking coming out of high school: (97th best player in the class according to Rivals)
Other schools who offered: USC (where he originally committed and played 1 season), Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, UNLV, Washington State
Stats from USC/UNLV:
Freshman year at USC: Played in 18 of team’s 34 games (starting the first 10). Averaged 7.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Shot 34.5% from 3-point range, playing 20.6 minutes per game.
Sophomore year: Redshirt
Junior year at UNLV: Started 29 of 35 games, averaging 10.3 ppg. Scored in double figures in 18 games.
Senior year at UNLV: Led the team in scoring, averaging 13.6 ppg. Averaged 27.4 minutes per game, 3.7 rebounds per game and had 97 assists on the season. Shot 32.3% from 3-point range.
What they’re saying about Dejean-Jones: Dejean-Jones ran into a few behavior issues while at UNLV, including a suspension for the regular season finale against Wyoming for a violation of team rules. Reportedly Dejean-Jones was yelling at teammates following the conference tournament loss this season.
From RunRebs.com: “His shot selection was a major weakness… The long 2-pointer especially proved to be his kryptonite. On defense, Dejean-Jones usually brought good effort, and he was effective in limiting opposing wing players off the dribble. In fact, defense was probably the most valuable aspect of his game in 2013-2014.”
“His attitude was troublesome all year. His poor body language during games, bad decorum on the bench, etc.”
“Whichever team lands Dejean-Jones next year will be getting an ultra-talented player. But he’ll need to be coached hard in order to reach his potential.”
What he’s saying: Dejean-Jones has made it clear that he would like to find a program that has proven success with meshing transfers with established stars. He also wants to go to a school where he can have a great chance to play in the NCAA tournament. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about Iowa State,” Dejean-Jones said. “What Kane did was impressive. I saw him on TV every game he played in the NCAA tournament.” Dejean-Jones currently holds two offers, one from Iowa State and one from Arizona State.
On his final game suspension at UNLV: “I don’t even understand all of what happened. I just had to part ways with them. It’s just time for me to take another step in my life.”
Video proof of Dejean-Jones’ skill:
Current team: Xavier
Ranking coming out of high school: (86th ranked player in the class according to Rivals)
Other schools who offered: Cincinnati, Dayton, Louisville, Miami (Fla), Valparaiso
Stats from Xavier:
Freshman year: Mainly played as a reserve off the bench as a freshman, with his season high in scoring a 12 point output in December. Mainly contributed through rebounding in 10+ minutes per game.
Sophomore year: Averaged 7.9 ppg, 4.7 rebounds per game, including a 12-rebound spree against Tennessee.
Junior year: Scored in double figures in 18 games, including a 19 point/16 rebound game against Creighton. Averaged 14.2 ppg and 5.9 rpg. in Big East play. Averaged 11.7 ppg, and 5.2 rpg for the season.
What they’re saying about Martin:
From the Cincinnati Enquirer: “Martin was an x-factor in Xavier’s success. When he clicked, the team thrived.”
Jeff Borzello: “Expect a long line for Xavier’s Justin Martin.”
What he’s saying: “I have decided to use my 5th year at another school. I sincerely thank Xavier and the Xavier fans/community for the support and opportunity! It has been an experience of a lifetime to even play division I basketball. I will always be a Musketeer and will always love Xavier.”
By Ally Tucker on ©April 12th, 2014 @ 1:45pm
The weeks following the NCAA tournament, along with the AAU summer circuit are some of the most important stretches for college basketball recruiting. John Calipari has all but locked up the 2014 class, with the potential to possibly add a late 5th year senior addition depending on which current Kentucky players leave for the NBA draft. Now, the 2015 class is the prize. And a fruitful prize it may be. The 2015 class is loaded with potential stars, and Kentucky has made serious inroads with most of the top 10 players in the class. Charles Matthews, Kentucky’s lone 2015 commit so far, is a top-15 ranked shooting guard. Kentucky lost to Duke in a battle for another strong guard in Luke Kennard, but plenty of strong players are still left on the table. Kentucky looks to be in contention for the #1 player in the class, Malik Newman, as well as the following other top 10 players: Ivan Rabb (#2), Stephen Zimmerman (#4), Skal Labissiere (#6), Elijah Thomas (#9), and Carlton Bragg (#10).
The 2015 class becomes particularly important for Calipari and Kentucky because of the potential rule change in the NBA that would require players to stay in college for 2 years before entering into the NBA draft. The rule change seems to be up for serious discussion, and the 2015 class would be the first group to have to stay 2 years. If Calipari can sign a star-studded class, and keep them on campus for 2 years, imagine the possibilities (think about the John Wall class, or Anthony Davis’ class, or this year’s freshmen being in college for 2 years… that’s what it could be like).
As important as the 2015 class is for Calipari, he has an even more crucial recruit he must solidify first… his new assistant coach. Replacing Orlando Antigua, arguably the best recruiting assistant coach in the nation, will be no easy task. Antigua was THE GUY at Kentucky when it came to organizing the recruiting process, knowing which players Kentucky needed to target, making initial contact and forming relationships, etc. Antigua essentially was the guy to tee up the recruiting situation for Calipari to come in and close the deal. Kenny Payne will pick up some of the slack, but John Robic is not Cal’s recruiting guy. Robic takes care of the tactical X’s and O’s stuff, and Payne helps with recruiting but is also the key big man developer on the staff. Antigua was the man with the plan when it came to recruiting, and a big reason why Kentucky is in such great position with so many of the 2015 top prospects.
Whoever Calipari brings in will have to make maintaining those relationships and inroads with the 2015 class a top priority. Calipari has to find an assistant coach who can be the point man for recruiting and who has the charisma and personality that a guy like Antigua had. Antigua was one of the best in the business, and at a school like Kentucky where bringing in top flight talent each year is the fuel needed to make the program work, finding someone else who can be one of the best in the business at locking up the top talent is crucial.
The good news is that Calipari should have his pick of the litter when it comes to assistant coaches who want to join up with Kentucky, especially those who pride themselves on making a name by recruiting. At Kentucky, you will have a chance to walk into any high school gym or living room in the country and attract the attention of the best players in the country.
So instead of keeping track of how many 5-stars we land this summer, or how many 5-stars we offer… the most important thing to keep an eye on will be which assistant coach John Calipari brings on to the staff this spring/summer.
From the looks of Twitter, Kevin Ware will be joining former Kentucky point guard Ryan Harrow at Georgia State next fall. Ware is transferring from Louisville following a horrific injury last year and a season this year in which he saw limited action. Harrow has found instant success at Georgia State, averaging 17.8 ppg, starting in all 34 games.
By Ally Tucker on ©April 12th, 2014 @ 12:35pm
Mark Stoops started off his media engagement today after the closed spring football scrimmage by saying it was “Definitely the best we’ve played this spring.”
Despite the reports that Drew Barker had an impressive day, along with Patrick Towles– Stoops says it is “still a 4-man battle at quarterback.” Neal Brown said Barker did not appear to be a high school senior with the way he played today. While Kentucky has depth and options at the quarterback position, Stoops admitted that due to injuries the wide receiver position is thin at the moment. According to reports, both T.V. Williams and Demarco Robinson caught touchdown passes today.
As Mark Stoops said on KSR earlier this week, the linebacker position is a concern for Kentucky. Josh Forrest did some good things today for Kentucky at the middle linebacker spot and might look to improve on his playing time from last season. Stoops seems to think that Forrest has the most upside at the position.
At least one spectator in attendance for Kentucky’s closed scrimmage today left feeling very positive. Check out this tweet from former UK quarterback Andre Woodson:
By Ally Tucker on ©April 12th, 2014 @ 12:10pm
The rumblings coming out of Kentucky’s closed spring scrimmage today are that freshman QB Drew Barker had a big day. According to Ben Roberts, Barker threw a 45-yard touchdown on the run during the scrimmage today. More to come later as the media meets with the coaches…