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Saturday’s Top 10: Monk vs. Arkansas and Hamidou Diallo

Via USA Basketball and Getty Images.

Via USA Basketball and Getty Images.

It’s a busy day in the Bluegrass, but you’ll have to wait awhile for the action.  The nation’s No. 1 shooting guard Hamidou Diallo will (hopefully) choose Kentucky over five others this after noon at 5:00.  Later on the SEC Network at 8:30, Kentucky tips off against Arkansas, the school spurned by Malik Monk.  There’s plenty to talk about so let’s not waste any time.

Last Minute Scoop on Diallo

There is none.  The general consensus remained the same overnight: Kentucky is the favorite for Diallo who’s expected to enroll for the spring semester.  Since there’s no news to share, I’ll share my two-sense three-sense on Diallo’s game for the final time.

1. For a shooting guard, he doesn’t shoot well.  Think Archie Goodwin, but better.  The first time I watched him play, I dogged his shot nonstop, until he shut me up with a game-tying fadeaway three at the buzzer to force overtime.  He dominated overtime and his team won at the Peach Jam. Diallo is a dog.

2. Diallo dunks like Monk.  The explosion and ferocity are strangely similar.  If Diallo indeed comes early, I’d love to see the two take part in a dunk contest.

3. New York, New York.  New York natives do not mess around, and Diallo is no exception.

If Diallo joins the team midyear it will not be unprecedented, just ask Tai Wynyard.  However, there’s no denying this recruiting process is stranger than what we’re used to.  Come back around 4:45 for all the coverage you need from Diallo’s commitment.

How Will Monk Handle his Home State School

He’s going to shoot it, shoot it some more, and never stop until the final horn sounds.  “Feast or famine” is one way to put it.  Coach Cal is trying to keep him calm between the ears.

“When he gets too hyped he’s not at his best,” Calipari said yesterday.  “I thought when he gets too hyped he doesn’t shoot it as well, mind starts racing a little bit. He’s not, you know, the calm, athletic, attack player he needs to be when he’s at his best. He and I will talk about it before the game, but right now it hasn’t been discussed.”

When Calipari players take on teams with hometown ties, it usually goes pretty well.  You’ll see what I’m talking about in a post later today.

Arkansas and UK have the Same Record

Each team enters the game 12-2, but the Razorbacks’ competition has not been close to the caliber of Kentucky’s.  Arkansas’ signature win was a 3-point victory over the under-achieving Texas Longhorns in Houston, although they did something Indiana couldn’t do: beat Ft. Wayne.  Arkansas lost their SEC opener against Florida and received a thorough 14-point beatdown at Minnesota.

The Last SEC Loss at Rupp was to Arkansas

The Cats have won 20 consecutive SEC games at Rupp Arena since falling to the Razorbacks in overtime 71-67 back in 2014.  In UK’s last eight meetings with the Razorbacks, the series is split.

By the Numbers

Kudos to Arkansas’ graphic department for this one.


Early Enrollees Arrive to Campus

Over the next two days, high school seniors will not return for one final semester of  high school.  Instead, they’ll enroll at Kentucky and begin their SEC football careers.  Experiencing spring practice is an advantage that propelled many to early playing time, most notably Kash Daniel from ’16.  By the end of the week we’ll have an exact list; here’s a rough draft/guesstimation:

  • Linebacker Jamin Davis
  • Cornerback Cedrick Dort
  • Running back Bryant Koback
  • Wide receiver Clevan Thomas
  • Quarterback Danny Clark (maybe Walker Wood too)
  • JUCO safety Lonnie Johnson
  • JUCO defensive tackle Phil Hoskins

Bowden can (Basket)ball

Lynn Bowden is my favorite uncommitted Kentucky football prospect.  The 4-star Youngstown athlete is a freak on the football field, pulling off stuff you thought was only possible in video games.  Turns out, he’s pretty good at basketball too.  A few highlights from a 30-point performance:

Have you downloaded the KSR app?

If you’re still waiting, you’re missing out, quite literally.  Last night we gave away a free pair of tickets to tonight’s game on the app.  Don’t let another opportunity go by, get it on iTunes or Google Play now.

Atlanta’s Channel 2 Severe Weather Team Keeps it ðŸ’¯

That’s not an attempt to use hip lingo.  ðŸ’¯ is the approximate number of reporters on the street covering two inches of snow.

h/t to John Boel

h/t to John Boel

But wait, THERE’S MORE!

h/t Darren

h/t Darren “D-money” Rovell

Today’s Sports Schedule

  • Noon: No. 18 Butler at Georgetown on Fox
  • 1:00: TCU at No. 7 West Virginia on ESPNU
  • 1:30: Texas A&M at South Carolina on CBS
  • 2:00: No. 21 Virginia Tech at No. 12 Florida State on ESPN
  • 3:15: Maryland at Michigan on ESPN2
  • 5:00: Illinois at No. 25 Indiana on ESPNU
  • 5:15: Tennessee at No. 24 Florida on ESPN2
  • 8:00: NC State at No. 14 North Carolina on ESPN

Check out the complete hoops schedule here.  After basketball, we get a special treat:


There’s a bad one at 4:35 on ESPN when the Raiders travel to take on the Texans.  Just before the UK game tips off, the Lions kickoff in Seattle against the Seahawks on NBC.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

19 responses to “Saturday’s Top 10: Monk vs. Arkansas and Hamidou Diallo”

  1. madarchitect

    What in the world is your 3-sense? I would give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are using voice recognition to type, but I have no idea how you would strike through the previous word…

    1. GCombs92

      That’s bothering me too, but I didn’t think my two cents was worth the time.

    2. Megan

      Yeah, that made no cents to me. It’s a mistake indicative of someone who doesn’t read, who doesn’t see things in print. They grow up misinterpreting what they hear, like “old wives’ tales” and “take it for granite” or “‘scuse me while I kiss this guy.”

      There’s a word for mishearing things like that: mondegreen. And an interesting story to go with it, if you care to look it up (The Death of Lady Mondegreen).

    3. runningunnin.454

      I got it….it all made scents to me.

    4. Blue Jesus

      I believe it’s one of those new-fangled turns of phrase that can be lumped in with pre-Madonna and fast paste.

    5. madarchitect

      after noon

  2. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

    I hope we get him, but this “a shooting guard who can’t shoot” thing has gotten kind of old. Is it just me, or do we go through this every other year or moe (with inconsistent shooting guards)? Why is that? Is it because the athletic guards who are recruited for the dribble drive usually can’t shoot because they’ve spent so much time slashing to the rim in high school? I know there have been exceptions like Murray and Lamb. But look even at Booker. He went stone cold late in the season and it’s partly why we lost to Wisky and almost lost to Notre Dame.

    I’m not trying to be negative, but every time we recruit a guard who can’t shoot I think of WVU in 2010, UCONN in 2011, UCONN in 2014, and other tourney games we lost because we couldn’t hit 3’s, free throws, or both.

    1. runningunnin.454

      True, the whole point is to put it in the basket.

    2. Megan

      I with you on this. Does Cal have any say in the matter?

      And if we get Diallo, does that weaken our chances at landing Knox or some other guard who can shoot?

    3. smahurin

      There is no best way to construct a team. Great shooters are awesome, but oftentimes a great shooting recruit generally isn’t as athletic and therefore either isn’t as dangerous off the bounce and/or isn’t a great defender. A great athlete recruit oftentimes isn’t a consistent shooter, but obviously usually is better off the bounce and at defense.

      While Cal is one of the two best recruiters in the game and often gets who he wants, he still doesn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing with absolute certainty who he gets. He’s going to recruit the best talents he can, and find a way to mold that into a successful basketball team.

      Athletic teams that can’t shoot have deficiencies just like great shooting teams without athletes. You bring up 2010. Great athletes, but couldn’t shoot. Still a tremendous team that had a chance to win a title. 2011 was the opposite. We had a ton of great shooters but nobody who could break down a team off the dribble. Knight/lamb/miller and to a lesser extent liggins is the best shooting team cal has had. But shooting can run hot and cold and we ran into a game in which we just missed shots. We still made a final 4 and came within a few buckets of likely winning a national title. You can be successful a great many ways in basketball and there isn’t a single template for winning.

      Think Duke in 2012 and 2014. Both teams were great shooting teams that lacked athletes. They missed shots in their opening NCAA games, and didn’t have the athletes to defend/drive and lost to lehigh and mercer in the first round.

      We’ll recruit at a high level, and take what kids we get and mold them into the best team possible. That may mean different playstyles each and every year. But Cal has been successful doing that, and I think it’s a smarter approach than passing on better talents to get kids that fit some predefined system and try to fit square pegs in round holes because a coaching staff is too stubborn to understand their personel. I trust Cal will make it work.

    4. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      Points well taken, smahurin & Nick.

    5. DelrayCat

      What is the common denominator of the guys you mentioned? FRESHMEN.
      How many freshmen in the ENTIRE COUNTRY come into college lighting it up??
      Maybe 3-4 nationally and we have one of them this year.

  3. runningunnin.454

    SEVERE Weather Team…..Ha Ha Ha Ha.

    1. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      Go easy Nick and 454, we don’t have snow plows in the deep south! Where I live they don’t even keep road salt (only sand). ATL prolly does though.

    2. runningunnin.454

      Know what you mean; I was in Birmingham for a couple of years. Mostly in Dec and Jan, we wore short sleeve shirts, maybe a light windbreaker.
      One day it snowed 2 inches; they didn’t know how to drive, and were sliding around like Daffy Duck.

    3. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      I live in Montgomery and we get even less snow than Bham! It’s cold out now and is supposed to be 20 tonight. Didn’t get any snow or ice yesterday or but Bham got plenty apparently.