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Aaron Torres’ Take

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E47: Live from the NBA Combine with Reid Forgrave

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast is back, as Aaron welcomes in CBS Sports’ Reid Forgrave — fresh off a trip to the NBA Draft Combine. The two nerd out on NBA Draft talk for 45 minutes, including big names, risers and fallers and what the future of some players who have declared without agents. But first, Aaron is riding solo today as Nick Coffey is off, and he runs through some of the biggest across college and pro basketball, including:
Reactions to the NBA Draft CombineAaron shares his thoughts from the NBA Draft Combine, including the incredible rise of Villanova’s Donte DiVencenzio. Is it even fair to call DiVencenzio a “draft sleeper” anymore? Also, how will Villanova be impacted in the 2018-2019 college basketball season if DiVencenzio decides to stay in the draft?
The Future of PJ Washington: Aaron also looks at the future of current Kentucky Wildcat PJ Washington. He explains why there is one unexpected element of this draft that no one is talking about, which could lead Washington to staying in the draft. Aaron also touches on what Kentucky will look like if Washington decides to return versus going pro?
A Surprising West Coast College Basketball StorylineAaron discusses a West Coast recruiting story line that no one is talking about, and how one surprising program could be emerging as a power in the Pac-12.
Next up, CBS’s Reid Forgrave joins the show. Reid was in Chicago for the draft combine and the pair discuss a number of topics including:
Michael Porter’s HealthPorter was the buzz of the Combine, but what is the latest on the health of his back? Also, if if Porter’s back is healthy how high can he go?
The Depth of this Draft? Aaron and Reid debate just how “deep” this draft truly is. Aaron explains why he thinks there are four prospects that are head-and-shoulders above the rest, while Reid believes the pool is a bit deeper. Also, why NBA people are falling in love with Mo Bambhttp://kentuckysportsradio.com/wp-content/podcast/Torres-47.mp3a and just how good is Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson?
Finally, the future of PJ WashingtonAaron gets Reid’s take on the futures of both DiVencenzio and PJ Washington. What are the upsides and downsides to Washington returning to Kentucky? Also, did Kevin Knox ever seriously returning to school for antoher season?
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Sponsorship Note:

Sign on to sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast by June 15th to take advantage of a special discount. Contact ksrads@kentuckysportsradio.com to learn more.


The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast: Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni

A new episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast is here, as Dan D’Antoni, Marshall’s head coach and the brother of Rockets’ coach Dan D’Antoni is today’s guest.
Before D’Antoni joins the show however, Aaron welcomes in his good friend Nick Coffey of 790 KRD in Louisville. The pair discuss:
Rick Pitino’s Romeo Langford CommentsThe guys chat about Rick Pitino’s latest non-interview that turned into an interview, this one on Romeo Langford. Nick discusses how Pitino’s comments about Langford came about and the guys explain why Langford and his family didn’t do anything wrong in the process. They also wonder: When will Rick Pitino actually stock giving these interviews?
Vegas, Baby! In light of Monday’s news, the guys discuss the possibility of the Final Four coming to Vegas. How soon can it happen and what would it actually be like? Also, after finding out that Kentucky will play two games in Vegas in 2019, Aaron wonders, does John Calipari have a death wish for his fans?
Next up, Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni joins the show, to give us some background on his wild ride through coaching. It starts with…
How D’Antoni got to MarshallD’Antoni’s journey began as an assistant at Marshall before he went to the high schools ranks and then joined his brother in the NBA. He also explains how Marshall pushed to get his brother as head coach, and how he “came in second” yet again.
D’Antoni’s Time in the NBAD’Antoni talks about he and his brother revolutionized the NBA, when he served as an assistant with his brother in Phoenix. He talks about how their system came to be, and whether he feels like the Suns were robbed of a championship while in Phoenix.
The Western Conference Finals: D’Antoni takes us behind the scenes as his brother prepares for Game 3. He explains how the two spoke about adjustments prior to Game 2, and how a call from Mike ruined his morning.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Sponsorship Note:

Sign on to sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast by May 31st to take advantage of a special discount. Contact ksrads@kentuckysportsradio.com to learn more.


The players whose NBA Combine performance could impact college basketball next season

While most of the sports world has spent the last few days focused on the NBA playoffs and Rick Pitino’s latest non-interview (which of course turned into an interview), the reality is that this was a massive week in terms of putting together the puzzle that is the NBA Draft. On Tuesday night we learned the NBA Draft lottery order (the Phoenix Suns are on the clock) and Wednesday marked the first of three days of the NBA Combine.

That’s right starting yesterday, some 70-odd draft hopefuls descended upon Chicago for – to throw out a terribly overused cliché – the biggest job interview of their lives. For the best players (think Duke’s Marvin Bagley or Texas’ Mo Bamba) the trip to Chicago is only for the basics; to meet with NBA personnel and do a couple of one-on-one interviews. For others whose draft stock is more up in the air, they’ll be in Chicago to pretty much do everything, from interviews and measurements to five-on-five play.

With the combine underway, it also means that by the end of the weekend, we should also start to have a clearer picture of who will stay in the NBA Draft and who will stay out. Obviously the combine isn’t a be-all, end-all for players, but it could be the final push they need to stay in the draft or the final push they need to know they’re not ready. So with that said, what players have the most to gain and lose?

More importantly, how will it impact college basketball next year? It’s time to take a look.

But before we get started, a few caveats. One, we are only looking at players who’ve declared without an agent and who could – at least in theory – return to college hoops. Therefore we won’t be talking about some of the more randomly interesting prospects (say like Kansas’ Billy Preston) if they have no chance returning to college. We’re also going to skip those like Jarred Vanderbilt who elected to pass on the Combine altogether as well.

But for these players, a big week in the NBA Draft Combine could swing things one way or the other. Here are seven interesting players:

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The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E45: Todd Fuhrman on Sports Gambling

It’s one of biggest pieces of news to hit the sporting world this year – the Supreme Court will now allow sports gambling in every state. So what does it mean? On the latest episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, Aaron takes a deep dive with former Caesars Palace bookmaker and gambling insider Todd Furhman. But first, Aaron is joined by Nick Coffey where they discuss the following:

Monday’s Gambling AnnouncementWhy Monday’s news isn’t exactly what it seems, and why it doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to bet on games in your state immediately. Also, Nick questions why some are so convinced that state-by-state gambling is bad news.
NBA PlayoffsWith a slow time in the college hoops world, the guys discuss a little NBA Playoffs. Are the Warriors too good for the rest of the NBA? And is Draymond Green the least likable athlete of the last couple decades? Aaron and Nick try to find someone more hate-able than Draymond.
College Hoops News and NotesWhat to make of Sacha Killeya-Jones’ move to NC State and did we learn anything from Pat Forde’s interview with Chris Mack?
Next up, Vegas Insider Todd Furhman joins the show to break down Monday’s ruling. He and Aaron discuss:
Misconceptions About the Supreme Court RulingWhy it won’t be as easy to gamble as you think and why it really will be decided state-to-state. Also, if you’re a business owner, how do you get sports gambling in your establishment?
Why so much still has to be sorted outHow online gambling will be legislated on a state-by-state basis, and why placing bets isn’t as easy as simply driving to whatever state allows legalized gambling. Also, why you might be able to bet on certain sports some places but not others.
What are the next steps? When will gambling come to states besides Nevada? When will it come to your state?

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Sponsorship Note:

Sign on to sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast by May 31st to take advantage of a special discount. Contact ksrads@kentuckysportsradio.com to learn more.


Getting to know next year’s opponent: The Utah Utes

Getting to know next year’s opponent: The Utah Utes

It’s the moment America has been waiting for…

Ok, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But if you’ll remember, a few weeks ago John Calipari announced that Kentucky was preparing to share details about a couple games at “destination locations.” And on Tuesday the first piece of that puzzle started to crystalize.

That’s because according to KSR’s Matt Jones, Kentucky has agreed to a two-game series with Utah starting next season. The first game will be played at Rupp Arena during the 2018-2019 campaign and the following game will be played in… are you ready for this… Vegas in the 2019-2020 season. That’s right, Vegas baby!

Of course with this scheduling announcement, it’s led to a number of different questions from Big Blue Nation today, with most of them focused on the same few themes: Is it too early to request time off from work? What hotel should I stay at? Is there any way I can fake my own death so my girlfriend doesn’t find out about this trip to Vegas?

Admittedly, I don’t have answers to most of those questions, but the one thing I can help you with is information on the latest opponent on Kentucky’s schedule. As KSR’s resident national college basketball analyst and (frankly) one of the few people anywhere outside Utah who actually watched the Utes last year, I can tell you a bit of what to expect when the Utes arrive at Rupp Arena next year.

Here’s what you need to know about the 2019 schedule’s newest opponent, Utah.

As a program they’ve actually be better than most people realize

Think of Utah as the West Coast version of say, Miami basketball. You don’t think of either school as a “power” or to be blunt, you probably don’t think much about either school at all. Yet each has had surprisingly success over the last couple years.

(Just to finish out the analogy, Miami has made three straight NCAA Tournaments – and no, I definitely didn’t know that until I typed it)

When it comes to Utah, did you know that the Utes have finished with at least 20 wins in five straight seasons, and finished in the Top 4 of the Pac-12 in each of the last four years? That’s something that only Arizona – and not UCLA, USC or Oregon – can claim.

The Utes have also made two NCAA Tournaments during that stretch, including a run to the 2015 Sweet 16, so they’re no strangers to postseason basketball or overall tournament success.
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The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E44: NBA Draft with Michael Scotto

It’s an NBA Draft heavy episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, as Aaron welcomes on draft expert Michael Scotto of The Athletic to the show. Michael wrote a captivating piece last week on the draft evaluations of Jarred Vanderbilt, P.J. Washington and others and he joins Aaron to talk about it.
But first, Aaron welcomes his buddy Nick Coffey, as the two discuss:
Tyrese Maxey’s CommitmentThere’s a new member of Big Blue Nation, as Tyrese Maxey has committed to Kentucky. It also raises the question: Did John Calipari “re-gain” his recruiting touch? Or did he never lose it at all?
Draft TalkAaron and Nick take a deep dive into some draft decisions, including the fickle future of P.J. Washington at Kentucky. Why are some players in such a rush to leave, especially when in one season they can rapidly improve their draft stock?
Is Nevada – yes, Nevada – about to get a McDonald’s All-American? Aaron gives the inside scoop on Jordan Brown, the only McDonald’s All-American who hasn’t committed yet, and why he believes he’ll sign with Nevada. Aaron and Nick also explain the history of their love for Nevada coach Eric Musselman
Next up, Aaron welcomes NBA Draft expert Michael Scotto to the show, to talk all things NBA Draft. The pair break down a number of topics, including:
How do NBA people evaluate this draft? How deep is it? How good many elite players are there? Also, what do NBA people think about 200+ college players declaring for the pros?
Evaluating Kentucky Wildcats and othersScotto shares what he’s heard about P.J. Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, Donte DiVencenzio and others, as we get set for the Combine next week.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Sponsorship Note:

Sign on to sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast by May 31st to take advantage of a special discount. Contact ksrads@kentuckysportsradio.com to learn more.


Shame on anyone for ever questioning John Calipari’s recruiting touch

Photo by UK Athletics

On Wednesday, Kentucky basketball got another big-time basketball commitment.

If that sounds like a sentence that I simply copied and pasted from a previous article, well, it’s not far off. Over the last few weeks, Kentucky locking in a big-time commitment has seemingly become a weekly occurrence, no different than calling your mom every Sunday just to check in and say hello.

In this case, the player was Tyrese Maxey, a big, powerful, 6’4 guard, widely considered to be the second best point guard in the class of 2019. For those who follow recruiting, you also know that the only point guard ranked ahead of Maxey in the 2019 rankings is Ashton Hagans, who is also committed to Kentucky (although he’ll probably re-classify to the class of 2018). The Wildcats also have a third, five-star recruit in 2019 (D.J. Jeffries), and when you couple all that with a late spring commitment of E.J. Montgomery, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that John Calipari is on one of the hottest recruiting runs of his time at Kentucky.

Still, with the Maxey news, it also may finally put to rest one of the stupidest narratives in sports, one that had gained traction in recent years. That narrative: That John Calipari had “lost” his recruiting touch, and has now suddenly “regained” it. That simply isn’t true, and along with asking “Is LeBron James clutch” might have been the dumbest storyline found anywhere in sports these last few years.

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The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E43: Immanuel Quickley

Future Kentucky Wildcat Immanuel Quickley is the guest on the latest edition of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, as he gets set to head to Lexington in just a few weeks from now. But first, Aaron and Nick Coffey spin around the world of college basketball, discussing a number of topics.
Wendell Carter’s MomAaron goes bonkers talking about Wendell Carter’s mom, and her comparison of college sports to slavery. Aaron explains why they’re not only wrong, but why she is the last person that should ever say them. Also, why do people who actively choose to part of the NCAA process only go on to complain about it.
Former Louisville coach is HiredThe guys dive into the surprising decision by LaSalle to hire former Louisville assistant Kenny Johnson. Johnson was fired on Rick Pitino’s staff, and is the first coach from a program fired in the wake of the FBI probe to get re-hired. Does LaSalle know something we don’t?
Tyrese MaxeyAaron has a very brief update on Tyrese Maxey and what he’s hearing in the lead-up to Wednesday’s announcement.
Next up, Aaron welcomes future Kentucky Wildcat Immanuel Quickley onto the show. The Baltimore guard will arrive at Kentucky in June, and discussed the following with Aaron.
Quickley’s Relationship with John CalipariHow did it start? What sold him on Kentucky over other schools? And does he have any funny stories about Coach Cal from their time together in Egypt as part of the Team USA club?
Advice from Allen Iverson: Fresh off a trip to Allen Iverson’s All-Star game in Philadelphia, Quickley explains what he learned from the legend.
Does he have a problem with all the guards Kentucky is recruiting? Quickley and Aaron discuss UK’s recruiting strategy, and if it bothers him to see a bunch of other guards joining him in Lexington.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Sponsorship Note:

Sign on to sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast by May 31st to take advantage of a special discount. Contact ksrads@kentuckysportsradio.com to learn more.


Wendell Carter’s mom’s comments comparing NCAA to slavery off-base, out of line

Wendell Carter’s mom’s comments comparing NCAA to slavery off-base, out of line

There’s no doubt that the last few weeks having been trying times for the sport of college basketball and those of us who love it. Back on April 25th the “Rice Commission,” an independent group that was put in charge of evaluating college basketball and calling for changes, released its results. And no matter how realistic some of those changes were, the simple fact remains that change, in some form or another, is coming to college sports.

Still the hit parade on the NCAA hasn’t stopped since then, with more and more people continuing to call out the governing body of college athletics. The latest to do so? Kylia Carter, the mother of Wendell Carter, who just completed a one-and-done season as a basketball player at Duke.

Mrs. Carter (who in full-disclosure, I interviewed a few years ago and really enjoyed chatting with) spoke on Monday morning, and – to be blunt – made some shocking comments on the state of college athletics as a whole.

Here is her full quote, with the last line in particular standing out:

“When you remove all the bling and the bells and the sneakers and all that, you’ve paid for a child to come to your school to do what you wanted them to do for you, for free. And you made a lot of money when he did that, and you’ve got all these rules in place that say he cannot share in any of that. The only other time when labor does not get paid but yet someone else gets profits and the labor is black and the profit is white, is in slavery.”

Ummm, wow. I mean, I get that the NCAA is a flawed, imperfect entity. Most are. But to compare it to slavery? Are we sure that’s the analogy we want to use here?

For starters, let’s get a few facts right out in the open, the most basic of which is this: No one forced Wendell Carter to go to Duke, or for Mrs. Carter to send her son there. As we all know, the one-and-done rule is an NBA rule and not a college one, meaning that no player is forced to go to college, they are just not allowed into the NBA until a certain point. Her son had no tangible obligation to go to Duke, and if it were simply about being compensated for his talent, there were plenty of options for him. He could have gone and played in the G-League, or gone overseas and easily gotten a contract for a couple hundred thousand dollars. At 18-years-old, he could have made more money in one year than most of the entire world’s population.

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