Part two in an eight part series previewing the 2014 Kentucky Football Wildcats. Cats hope →
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If there is one thing I am certain of, people dressing up in costumes like this are definitely weird on the awesome or weird scale. But hey. At least you get that awesome Easter Basket with all the candy you can want for putting up with the creepiness of the Bunny. Wait….what? We are too old for Easter baskets? Well…..that stinks.
On to today’s news and views.
Fan gets a tattoo
What will you do to keep the mojo going for the Cats? Because this guy sacrificed a perfectly good calf for the cause. I salute your dedication, sir.
Marquis Teague and the Nets beat Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes (Toronto) in a very strange game. The shot clock messed up in the third quarter and it had to be counted down manually. At the end of the 1st quarter, Memphis is slightly behind OKC, but there is plenty of time to make it up.
Sunday has a schedule full of cats. Here is the schedule:
SUNDAY, APRIL 20
1:00 p.m., TNT: (8) Dallas Mavericks vs. (1) San Antonio Spurs
3:30 p.m., ABC: (2) Miami Heat vs. (7) Charlotte Bobcats (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist)
7 p.m., TNT, CSNC: (5) Washington Wizards (John Wall) vs. (4) Chicago Bulls (Nazr Mohammed)
9:30 p.m., TNT: (5) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (4) Houston Rockets (Terrence Jones)
Spring Game Update
University of Kentucky wants to make sure there is no unneeded confusion this weekend for the spring game, so they set up a website for fans to use as an answer to any questions they might have about changes made at the stadium. Go to http://www.ukathletics.com/fbgameday/ for more information.
Louisville fans are still sad
Louisville’s new deal with adidas apparently isn’t good enough for them. There has been negativity coming from the fan base since they only have the third biggest deal when it comes to apparel. Their argument of why they should make more than Notre Dame and Michigan is that they have Bobby Petrino and they sell the 25th most in apparel in college sports.
Cats still indecisive
And it is slowly driving me crazy.
Adam Silver REALLY wants to increase the age limit
We keep hearing about it, but maybe that’s because Silver keeps talking about it. The new NBA commissioner is now saying that changing the league’s age limit is now a top priority. ESPN did a poll in which every state in the nation was in agreement that the age limit should be raised. WE will have to wait until the summer to see though.
Coach Cal visited with man injured in Rupp Arena
Coach Cal took time out of his busy book tour to stop by and see Dick Gregory, the UK fan who hurt his back and was paralyzed while keeping his wife from falling down the stairs at Rupp Arena. It is nice to see that Mr. Gregory hasn’t been forgotten over time and that Cal still appreciates him.
Reading through comments on this story on twitter one fan brought up the point that without the Rupp renovations, Rupp arena cannot create a safer environment for the visitors who come to events. Although injuries do not happen often in Rupp to fans, one injured fan like Mr. Gregory is one too many.
Last week, news broke that Louisville football would be welcoming Josh Harvey-Clemons into the fold. Harvey-Clemons, an ultra-talented safety, was dismissed from Georgia by Mark Richt after multiple violations of team rules. These violations reportedly stemmed from Harvey-Clemons’ use of drugs. This, of course, led to Kentucky fans resorting to many of their favorite standbys in regards to the morality of the Louisville football team. Admittedly, these attacks on the character of the Louisville football program are merited if one takes issue with a college program accepting troubled pasts. Harvey-Clemons joins a long-line of players—and coaches—leaving their former roles in a less than wholesome manner. Bobby Petrino, Michael Dyer, Clint Hurtt, and Willie Williams, to name a few, each arrived at Louisville boasting extreme talent in their craft, but tainted with multiple ethical issues.
Clearly, taking these types of players is evidence of a win at all costs type of attitude. There is no other way to spin this. It’s not about giving second chances. These second chances wouldn’t be given if it weren’t for the potential payoff that these players provide. But is it actually unacceptable in the eyes of the BBN? What if Kentucky football were to add Dorial Green-Beckham, the wide-receiver phenom who was dismissed from Missouri last week? And what about Devonta Pollard, a former five star basketball star that could be a formidable addition to the backcourt if the Harrison’s decide to depart for the NBA?
For me, part of the pleasure I take from cheering for a team is the belief that I’m cheering for good people, ready to seize the opportunity they have been given. I understand that collegiate sports have changed. College athletics are a lucrative business and the more you win the more money you make. I also understand that college athletes are human—none of them will be angels, especially at 18-22 years old. A line has to be drawn somewhere, however. I, for one, would have an extremely hard time rooting for Bobby Petrino to win games for my school. I also wouldn’t relish the chance to cheer for multiple players who have been discarded by their previous institutions for serious legal issues. I also see the flipside of the coin. Why should I, as a fan, care about anything but winning? If Dorial Gree-Beckham will help Kentucky win football games, would it be so terrible if I wanted him to play for Kentucky?
I truly don’t know the answer to these questions. Some Kentucky fans pined for Bobby Petrino. Many of those same Kentucky fans probably bashed Louisville for hiring him. Which is it? Do you care about the moral indiscretions in Kentucky players and coaches pasts?
An argument often made in defense of highly-projected players who decide to go “one-and-done” is that they run the risk of decreasing their draft stocks by returning to college. Injuries, fluctuating talent, and a larger sample size to critique one’s game are all concerns that a player must consider when deciding to forego the draft. What follows is a list of all of the projected lottery picks (that I could find) who chose to return to school in the past five years. I compared their projections* with where they were actually drafted (or projected to be drafted this season) in an attempt to determine how often these players’ draft stocks are hurt when they decide to come back to college.
Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky)
2013 Draft Projection: Lottery – Mid First Round
2014 Draft Projection: Lottery – Mid First Round
Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)
2013 Draft Projection: Lottery
2014 Draft Projection: Lottery
Isaiah Austin (Baylor)
2013 Draft Projection: Lottery – Mid First
2014 Draft Projection: Mid-First Round
Cody Zeller (Indiana)
2012 Draft Projection: Lottery
2013 Draft: 4th Pick, 1st Round
Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
2011 Projection: Top Five
2012 Draft: 21st Pick, 1st Round
Perry Jones (Baylor)
2011 Projection: Top Five – Lottery
2012 Draft: 28th Pick, 1st Round
Terrence Jones (Kentucky)
2011 Projection: Lottery
2012 Draft: 18th Pick, 1st Round
Harrison Barnes (North Carolina)
2011 Projection: Lottery
2012 Draft: 7th Pick, 1st Round
John Henson (North Carolina)
2011 Projection: Lottery – Mid First
2012 Draft: 14th Pick, 1st Round
Greg Monroe (Georgetown)
2009 Projection: Top Five
2010 Draft: 7th Pick, 1st Round
Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest)
2009 Projection: Lottery
2010 Draft: 8th Pick, 1st Round
Cole Aldrich (Kansas)
2009 Projection: Lottery
2010 Draft: 11th Pick, 1st round
Patrick Patterson (Kentucky)
2009 Projection: Lottery – Mid-First
2010 Draft: 14th Pick, 1st Round
Players whose stocks were HURT: Isaiah Austin, Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones, Terrence Jones, Greg Monroe
Players whose stocks were HELPED: Cody Zeller
Players who weren’t really affected: Cauley-Stein, Marcus Smart, Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Al-Farouq Aminu, Cole Aldrich, Patrick Patterson
What did we learn? Most of the projected lottery picks who came back didn’t see much of a change in their draft stocks. Even three of the players who were “hurt” (Terrence Jones, Isaiah Austin, and Greg Monroe) didn’t fall significantly; they could have gone in the same spot had they chosen to enter early due to random decisions by the teams. The only player who worked his way up from the lottery to the top five is Cody Zeller, but that was partly due to the Bobcats being the Bobcats.
On the other hand, Perry Jones III and Jared Sullinger were hurt significantly by their decisions to forego the draft. Injuries played a role in both of these player’s falls, but they almost certainly would have been drafted higher had they entered a year earlier. In the end, it’s hard to draw any conclusions from five year’s worth of data. And obviously, projections aren’t a surefire indicator of where a player will go in the draft. But the falls of Jones and Sullinger (along with the relative lack of change among the other prospects) provides at least a little ammo for those who are pro early-entry.
The University of Kentucky baseball team beat Texas A&M today, 11-4, claiming the series. They will go for the sweep tomorrow.
Kentucky’s final tally was 11 runs on 17 hits, with only one error. Dylan Dwyer was awarded his fifth win, working 6.2 innings and surrendering5 hits. He pitched a high number of balls with 110.
The win was a team effort. Reed was 4-for-6 from home plate and had a homerun with 4 RBI’s. Kuhn was on his heels with a HR and 2 RBIs. Thomas, Tom, Bernal, Wilson and Shelby all each had a RBI.
A.J Reed has been most impressive on the team lately. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound left-handed pitcher/1st base player, Reed is also currently 15th in NCAA in home runs per game. He is just one of seven players in NCAA Division I who have hit a home run and earned the in on the mound in the same game. He has earned a countless number of awards in the season.
The Wildcats climb back above .500 in the SEC and look to move to 2 games when they go to the sweep tomorrow.
By Miss J.C. Ausmus on ©7:06 pm
Audrey Harrison finished her college career yesterday at the NCAA Championships with an 18th place finish on the balance beam. She was the first Championships qualifier for Kentucky since 2010 and only the 11th in program history. Audrey scored a solid 9.8 on her last routine as a Wildcat, which tied her for 18th out of 45. Her 9.8 is one of the highest beam scores at the NCAA Championships in UK history. The legendary Jenny Hansen who won eight national titles, three straight All-Around titles (the only person ever to do so), and a thirteen time All-American, is the only person to ever score higher. Needless to say, Audrey is in great company in the UK record books and had an amazing career as a Wildcat. We wish her all the best.
Only a short two weeks have passed since the completion of the basketball season, yet it seems like it has been an eternity of waiting for the players to announce their decisions for the fans. Sadly, we still have a week to go before the deadline to declare for the draft.
What seems like an eternity for fans feels like a mere few hours for the players. The short time they have to make their decisions is not an easy one spent. It’s obvious they are not taking this decision lightly. While a lot of NBA prospects announced right away they would be declaring for the draft, many of UK’s NBA prospects have taken their time to make the decision, some even have gone home to visit their families to talk it over.
All this waiting has turned out to be a bigger tease than us having to wait for Matt Elam to make his college decision. Especially with tweets like this which make it seem like they might be leaning to coming back.
Congrats to my brother @James63Young .. You deserve all that's coming your way
— Julius Randle (@J30_RANDLE) April 18, 2014
One thing we must remember is that we cannot look at the decisions these players make in a negative light, even though the decisions might affect Kentucky. Coach Cal runs a program that focuses on putting players first and we should do the same.
This is just all part of the process of ‘Succeed and Proceed’, as painful as it might be.
— Lee (@DraftCats) April 19, 2014
In case you missed it: When WCS was making his decision a fan tweeted him and said if you come back I will get your face tattooed on my body. I am not saying this is the reason he came back, but we all know how much Willie loves a well colored picture…even if it is on someones body.
The fan kept his promise and Willie Cauley-Stein has officially joined the Mt. Rushmore of Michael Gray’s body. He joins the ranks of some of the greatest people in history including Abraham Lincoln and two of the characters from Lost.
Here is the final product. You saw it here first folks.
I am kinda upset there isn’t a coloring book in the tattoo….but it’s still pretty cool nonetheless. Michael (@Therealmjeezy on twitter) got his work done by Nate Corder at Quality Custom Tattoos in Somerset, Ky. and I hear he is open to do it again anyone wants to send the twins promises to do the same.
Awesome or Weird?
With the Harrison twins still deciding whether or not they will enter the NBA draft, UK’s back-court situation next season is still up in the air. If the twins do depart, the team will be a bit thin at guard and may look to add an experienced transfer (a la Julius Mays) to provide depth and leadership.
A strong candidate emerged earlier this week in Byron Wesley. The 6’5” guard announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring from USC and plans to complete his undergraduate degree this summer. Wesley averaged 17.8 points and 6.4 rebounds this season, shooting 47.6% from the field and 33.8% from 3 the point line.
Having attended USC in 2012-13, I was able to watch him several times in person. Wesley is primarily a slasher who is active on the defensive end, but he honestly wasn’t exceptional under Kevin O’Neill’s putrid system. However, he looks to have turned things up this year, and his skill set would work well with Calipari’s offense. Wesley will be eligible to play next season (assuming he earns his degree) and is currently receiving interest from Indiana and Michigan.
Watch him do work in a 31 point performance earlier this year:
It’s time again for the best Football event in the spring. UK football has generated a lot of excitement lately and it’s time for us to finally see what they have been up to. Things might be a little different than last year though since there is a ton of constructions happening at Commonwealth Stadium. .
Have no fear! UK Athletics is promising to make your experience a lot less painful.UK Athletics has created a website to answer all questions regarding tickets, traffic, seating and a lot more.
They also remind fans that there are lots of other events going on during what they have dubbed “Big Blue Weekend 2014” with this:
Check out the information here.
Louisville just signed a new 5-year $39 million branding contract extension with Adidas this week, making their contract the third largest agreement between sports apparel companies and Division one programs behind only Notre Dame’s new Under Armour deal and Michigan’s sustaining bond with Adidas.
Here’s a rundown per year:
Notre Dame – $9 million (Under Armour)
Michigan – $8.2 million (Adidas)
Louisville – $7.8 million (adidas)
UCLA – $7.7 million (adidas)
Kansas – $6.1 million (adidas)
Adidas will pay Louisville $7.8 million dollars per year and will cover uniforms, footwear and accessories for all of U of L’s sports teams in addition to advertising, equipment room expansion and video technology. Adidas has even graciously agreed to partner to create scholarships and an internship program for 20 U of L students working in the athletic department.
But yet. It isn’t enough apparently.
There have been complaints coming from the Louisville camp since behind Michigan in the rankings. Michigan currently has a contract clause that says they must remain the highest paid by Adidas. There are several arguments used of why UL is better than Michigan. The first being that they are 25th in total merchandise sales. However, Michigan was number 4 last year.
The second argument is Bobby Petrino. When Petrino was at Arkansas they received a brand new (and awesome) Nike deal in which Petrino was heavily involved in. Louisville fans are arguing Petrino’s presence at UL is enough to make them more worthy now.
Sigh. I can’t.
Think you’re the only one excited for the Spring Game this year? Actually you probably don’t think that. I mean, the chances of only one person being excited about something, no matter what it is, seem pretty small. So we accept that you’re not the only one excited for the Blue & White game, but the point is that it’s important to know who else is excited for it: football players. And not just our football players, but high school football players. The ones who are thinking about coming to Lexington and helping us climb the SEC ladder. Those guys.
And if you enjoy having Top 25 classes under Mark Stoops, like we all do, it’s important that you know the impact a rabid fanbase can have. Especially in April. According to some of Stoops’ biggest recruits, the Blue-White game was their first chance at seeing how crazy UK fans can be, contrary to popular belief. For some, like Army All-American Drew Barker, it even swayed their recruitment in our favor.
For others, like Mikel Horton, it was a glimpse into a raucous Commonwealth Stadium that was enough to inspire both humility and passion.
So don’t take these sorts of exhibitions for granted. We know how important Big Blue Madness is for basketball recruits, so we can go out of our way to make sure these football players have the same sort of experience. It clearly matters. Plus the weather next week looks absolutely, ridiculously terrific. Like, 71 and sunny. As in, “No need to pack pants, people.” It should be a great time.
By Ben Ward on ©2:15 pm
Six months. We’re about six months away from Big Blue Madness and from the start of the 2014-2015 college basketball season. Regardless of who specifically returns for the Cats, I think pretty much everyone feels comfortable that UK will have enough returning pieces to legitimately contend again next season.
However, the Cats won’t be alone on the contending front. In case you haven’t noticed the school that’s coached by America’s most famous rat will have a pretty good squad. As will that team that Kentucky hit that big shot to beat in the Final Four. Remember them? Needless to say, Kentucky won’t be alone atop the rankings next season and hanging another banner in Rupp will be no easy task (it never is). Let’s take a look around the country to find the best four non-Kentucky teams in the country for next season.
Duke: Coach K is ruining college basketball. Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood decided to leave the classroom for the cash and that’s bad enough in itself, but to add to it Duke has four of the top-22 recruits in the nation coming in, including expected “One-And-Done’s” Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor.
See how stupid that sounds? But let’s get down to the basketball. Duke’s biggest issue this season was its inability to defend (they ranked 116th in Adj. Defensive Efficiency), and that should improve but how much the will improve is the question. Jabari Parker certainly wasn’t renowned for his defense, but the Blue Devils were a better defensive unit with him on the floor (presumably due to his ability to his the glass). The thing that should improve Duke’s defense most is that with Okafor coming in they now have a legitimate post presence on both sides of the ball, something that they didn’t have last season. Another reason for what should be a stronger Blue Devil defense is that incoming freshman athlete Justise Winslow is known for his strong on-ball defense. In fact, Winslow’s strengths on ESPN’s scouting report almost entirely revolve around his defense. But here’s the sentence that gets me: “He will not hesitate to take a charge from any position.”
God I hate Duke.
Wisconsin: The Badgers had themselves an interesting season. They began red-hot, winning their first 16 games including wins over future number-1 seeds Florida and Virginia. They then cooled off and proceeded to lose 5 of their next 6 games before returning to early season form and making a run to the Final Four.
Next season they look to only get better as they return everyone except for guard Ben Brust. Most importantly, that means the return of the two-headed monster that is Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. The matchup issues that those two present alone are enough to warrant a high Wisconsin ranking, but with Traevon Jackson, Josh Gasser and Nigel Hayes also returning with Final Four experience you’d be hard-pressed to find a more “sure pick” next season than the Badgers.
Arizona: Good-bye Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson, hello Stanley Johnson. Arizona’s chances were crippled last season when Brandon Ashley went down with a broken leg but amazingly they still were one of the best teams in the country without him. But now he’s back as well as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (look for RHJ to make a big leap next year), Kaleb Tarczewski, Gabe York and TJ McConnell. The improvements of the returners, as well as the impact of the newcomers, should make this team very similar to the one that preceded it. If Arizona is able to improve its ability to score the ball (which is something that Stanley Johnson should help with immensely), then there is no reason the Wildcats can’t get Sean Miller to his first Final Four next season.
Kansas: As Jon Rothstein would say, “Death. Taxes. Bill Self.” (or Bo Ryan, but that conversation is neither here nor there). Kansas looks to have another Big 12 title contender next season as they have a solid core of returners to mix with another top-notch recruiting class. Naadir Tharpe is back to run the point, Wayne Selden and Kelly Oubre will have the wing’s locked down, and Cliff Alexander and Perry Ellis look to man the post.
Kansas’ biggest flaw next season looks to be depth, as their best two bench players will most likely be Jamari Traylor and Frank Mason. This issue can be fixed majorly, as Kansas remains in the mix for incoming stud Myles Turner. If Turner decides to hop on board with the Jayhawks then they would potentially have a case for preseason number 1.
Who else do you think will be a contender next year?
The face of hope.
While Mark Emmert is mostly content to be verbally abused on Twitter, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is now stepping up to say that changing the league’s age limit from 19 to 20 is now a “top priority.”
Silver’s zeal in getting this done will likely be one of the dominating stories of this basketball offseason, because while it won’t take effect for this year’s recruiting class (Karl Towns, Jr. will still be safe to go to the NBA after next year), it could be around as early as 2016. For college hoops fans, this has the potential to change the face of the sport. So how are folks handling the news that this is a serious topic of discussion? About like you’d expect: mostly okay, but with lots of drama from the people that stir up that sort of thing.
Skip Bayless was vehemently opposed to the proposition on ESPN’s “First Take,” saying “This is America,” and that the rule is “unconstitutional.” I’m not quite sure he knows that “The right to hoop” isn’t exactly in our first ten amendments. Yes, he was probably talking about Title VII, but does that provision say that employers can’t require “two years’ experience” for positions when seeking candidates? Does that mean it’s unconstitutional for a job opening to require a college degree? Mandating a postponement in your chosen professional career is IN NO WAY unconstitutional if the professionals who regulate that career believe it’s necessary for the good of all involved. Then again, Skip might just be playing the troll. Buuuut I doubt it.
Former coach Avery Johnson is in support of the rule, and would even implement a higher limit of 3 years in college, like the NFL does. He also supported Calipari in saying that “[A]nytime a player can spend three years under Tom Izzo, Coach Cal, Larry Brown, you’re gonna get a player that’s much more NBA-ready. … They know what it takes to get a guy NBA-ready.”
What does your average viewer want? SportsNation answered that question pretty easily:
Regardless of what the talking heads and basketball fans think, this really is in the hands of Silver and the National Basketball Players Association. The NCAA wants it, the NBA owners’ majority wants it, and Adam Silver wants it. The power to negotiate is now within the NBPA, and we’ll see if the NBA and others can offer up enough incentives to get the rule changed.