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UK releases more details on Big Blue Madness Campout

UK releases more details on Big Blue Madness Campout

Big Blue Madness Campout starts one week from today, which means the grounds around Memorial Coliseum will be filled with tents as fans wait to get tickets to the first big basketball event of the season. This morning, UK released more details on campout, which begins Wednesday morning at 5 a.m. and ends Friday, September 28 at 10 p.m., when tickets will be distributed. This year’s campout will be restricted to the following areas:

  • The southeastern portion of the main entrance of Memorial Coliseum
  • Along the east side of Memorial Coliseum and the Joe Craft Center
  • Along the east entrance of the main entry way of the Craft Center
  • A designated section of the College View Lot (between Wildcat Coal Lodge and Rose Street)

Here’s a map of where you can and cannot camp. Last year, fans were allowed to camp in the parking lot in front of the Joe Craft Center, but this year, that is no longer the case:

Fans are asked not to line up earlier than 5 a.m. on Wednesday, September 27. Advanced setups and pre-staging will not be permitted. The rush across Avenue of Champions has gotten crazy in years past, so UK is asking campers to “be courteous to their fellow Wildcat fans” and warns that “campers displaying unsafe/disorderly conduct risk being removed from the line.”

As always, tickets to Madness are free and can be obtained on Ticketmaster starting at 10 p.m. on the 29th. For those fans that camp out, a limited number of control cards will be issued on the 29th at 2 p.m. Fans will receive a maximum of two tickets per control card Friday night. No more than four control cards will be distributed to each tent. Fans with control cards are encouraged to start lining up for Friday night’s ticket distribution by 8:30 p.m. All fans must be present to obtain their control cards and only one control card per person will be accepted at distribution.

Because of the limited space, UK is once again encouraging fans to get their tickets online. In fact, UK says that once the grounds around Memorial reach capacity, they’ll stop distributing control cards.

As in years past, UK will have plenty of events for campers, including music, food, a photo booth, the “Tent City Live” show, and the ever-popular pizza handout. For more details, check out UKAthletics.com.

 


Today on KSR, powered by Lextran: The Florida game approaches, McDonald’s All-American Game moves to Atlanta

A message from our friends at Lextran:

Heading to the game? Hop on the Lextran football shuttle to Kroger Field! Lextran operates shuttle service during every UK home football game from downtown and campus. The service begins three hours prior to kick-off and runs for 30 minutes after the start of the game. Shuttle will pick back up at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Pay $1 each way onboard the bus. Please have exact change! Further details can be found at www.lextran.com!


The Florida game is officially SOLD OUT

At 5 p.m. yesterday, Mitch Barnhart shared the good news: Saturday will be Kentucky’s first sellout since the Thursday night Auburn game in 2015. With a packed house and arguably the best chance to break Florida’s 30-year winning streak in some time, Kroger Field will be nuts.

The team wore the chrome helmets in practice yesterday, the latest indication they wear them on Saturday night:

Mark Stoops will take his turn on the SEC Coaches Teleconfernece

With his team 3-0, I expect an upbeat but focused Stoops on the conference call this afternoon. Nick Roush will be listening in to bring you updates. Speculation continues that the nine suspended Florida players won’t play due to their involvement in a credit card fraud investigation, so surely someone will ask Jim McElwain about it. Check the site around lunch for a recap.

Defensive coordinator Matt House will address reporters later this afternoon. Last night, Eddie Gran, Benny Snell, and Stephen Johnson took their turns at the podium, and if you missed their comments, enjoy the recaps from Nick below:

Stephen Johnson and Benny Snell Explain their Viral Moments vs. South Carolina

Eddie Gran wants to get Sihiem King more Involved

The CBS Sports Network crew likes the Cats

Get on board, Brian Jones.

ICYMI, the 2018 football schedule was released

Sept. 1                          CENTRAL MICHIGAN

Sept. 8                          at Florida

Sept. 15                        MURRAY STATE

Sept. 22                        MISSISSIPPI STATE

Sept. 29                        SOUTH CAROLINA

Oct. 6                            at Texas A&M

Oct. 13                          Open Date

Oct. 20                          VANDERBILT

Oct. 27                          at Missouri

Nov. 3                           GEORGIA

Nov. 10                         at Tennessee

Nov. 17                         MIDDLE TENNESSEE

Nov. 24                         at Louisville

Pencil me in for that trip to College Station on October 6. I’ve only driven by Kyle Field on a trip to cover a basketball game at Reed Arena a few years back and I can’t wait to see a game there.

The McDonald’s All-American Game is moving to Atlanta

After seven years in Chicago, the famous high school all-star game is moving to Atlanta. The event is scheduled for March 28, 2018 at Philips Arena. Rosters won’t be announced for a while, but they’re guaranteed to include most, if not all, of UK’s targets, including Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Immanuel Quickley. Can anybody stop Zion from winning the dunk contest?

Speaking of Zion, a reminder that he’ll be on campus this weekend for his official visit. Something tells me he’ll be front and center to watch John Wall enter the Hall of Fame on Friday night.

Everyone say a little something for Puerto Rico

The island is currently being slammed by Hurricane Maria. Most of my husband’s family is from Puerto Rico, including my father-in-law, who lives on the island half the year. Thankfully, he’s in Tennessee right now, but it’s scary to think what he could go back to once the storm passes.

While you’re at it, say a little something for Mexico City as well. The images coming out after yesterday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake are horrible. Mother Nature, are you trying to tell us something?

I’m on day three of eating clean and all I can think about is cheese

Someone please tell me it gets better. Also, why the hell am I doing this during football season?

Radio in an hour.

 


Documentary on Cordia High School and Rodrick Rhodes streaming now

Documentary on Cordia High School and Rodrick Rhodes streaming now

Remember us telling you about “Us Against The World,” Uproxx’s documentary series about Rodrick Rhodes and the Cordia High School basketball team? All ten episodes of the docuseries dropped today on Watchable.com and are free to stream.

The documentary tells the story of how Rhodes rebuilt the Cordia High School program with transfers from across the country, which created tension with rival programs in Eastern Kentucky and led to racist acts and hate-mongering. In May 2016, Rhodes was removed as coach after the program was slapped with several KHSAA sanctions for violations ranging from recruiting to providing illegal benefits to players. Earlier that year, Cordia won its first ever All “A” Basketball Championship.

In the opening scene of the first episode, Rhodes recalls a conversation he had with former teammate Jeff Sheppard about taking the job back in 2011 and Sheppard’s initial concerns about the reception Rhodes would receive in Eastern Kentucky. Sheppard eventually reasoned that people would accept Rhodes because he was “blue,” aka a former Kentucky player, but in the documentary, Rhodes said that he found out his friend was right to be worried.

“To be honest with you, I think that wore off. The blue wore off,” Rhodes said.  

All ten episodes are available now for free on Watchable. Drew Franklin will have a review of the series for you tomorrow.


Kentucky Basketball’s Pro Day to be held in Rupp Arena; televised on SEC Network

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

Kentucky’s annual Pro Day will be held on October 8, and for the fourth year in a row, it will be televised on the SEC Network. In years past, the event has been held at the Joe Craft Center, but this year, UK is moving it to Rupp Arena. Sean Farnham and Seth Greenberg will be on hand to call the action for the SEC Network from 7-9 p.m.

All 30 NBA teams are invited to watch the team go through a combine-like practice, which will include various agility and shooting drills in addition to 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 scrimmaging. Given the number of athletes on this year’s roster and how little we know about the freshman class, this will be a great sneak peek less than a week before Big Blue Madness.

Meanwhile, Louisville’s Pro Day is scheduled for October 7, but will likely only be broadcast on Cinemax After Dark or a pay-per-view channel.


Blue/White Game Tickets go on sale Monday

Blue/White Game Tickets go on sale Monday

We’re all focused on football, but basketball is right around the corner. UK just announced that tickets for the Blue-White Game go on sale September 25 at 5 p.m. ET. The game is scheduled for October 20 at 7 p.m. in Rupp Arena and will be televised by the SEC Network.

On Monday at 5 p.m., tickets will be available online through Ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000. Based on availability after Monday evening’s on-sale, tickets will also be available beginning Tuesday through the Rupp Arena Box Office (859.233.3535) between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The cost of the tickets will be $10 (lower level) and $5 (200 level). All public seating is reserved.

Beginning Sept. 26 at 9 a.m., UK students may claim up to two free eRUPPtion Zone tickets for the Blue-White Game, while supplies last. Student tickets must be claimed in person at the Joe Craft Center ticket office with a valid UK student ID.

As a reminder, Big Blue Madness Campout starts a week from tomorrow. For more details on that, click the link below:

Big Blue Madness Campout dates set

 


Today on KSR: Chrome domes for Florida?

Today on KSR: Chrome domes for Florida?

What do you think Derrick Baity, Matt Elam, and Lynn Bowden were discussing right here? Baity’s game-sealing interception? Elam batting down Jake Bentley’s passes? The latest episode of Bachelor in Paradise? I’ll let you leave your best guess in the comments while I roll on to today’s agenda.

Excitement continues to build for the Florida game

After Saturday’s big win over South Carolina, excitement is ratcheting up again for another shot at Florida. As we are all painfully aware, the Gators have won 30 straight vs. the Cats, but Kentucky is riding a huge wave of momentum and Florida hasn’t exactly looked like world beaters so far this season. Last night, word broke that the suspended Florida players could be facing felony charges for credit card fraud, which would normally suggest they won’t play, but I’ve been to this rodeo enough times to rule them out. One thing is for certain: Kroger Field will be rocking.

As of 8 p.m. last night, only 1,500 tickets (250 lower level) and 300 student tickets were available, and it sounds like the student tickets are now sold out. If you’re even entertaining the idea of going, I suggest you call the UK Ticket office (800-928-CATS) or get on UKFootballTix.com right now to secure your seats.

Banners are even popping up on campus

@KyleGregory2

If any students are reading this and thinking about making a banner of your own, here’s my humble plea: please be clever. No hurricane jokes. No incest jokes. We’re not South Carolina.

Are the Cats going to wear chrome helmets?

@cameronrduke

This picture from Drew Barker’s Instagram story suggests it.

This tweet from Finebaum will get you going

For more on SJ’s appearance on Finebaum, click here.

I’m just now seeing this video from Saturday night

And it might be my favorite UK Football thing ever. Love Benny.

John Calipari’s handing out more 2019 offers

After hosting Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson on Friday and Saturday, John Calipari traveled to New Jersey on Sunday to see 2019 stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis. Both are top five players in the 2019 class and both got scholarship offers on the visit.

Calipari has handed out four scholarship offers in the past week in the 2019 class:

  • James Wiseman, PF
  • D.J. Jeffries, SF
  • Bryan Antoine, G
  • Scottie Lewis, SG

On Wednesday, he’ll go see Vernon Carey, considered by three of the four major recruiting services to be the top player in the 2019 class (James Wiseman is ranked #1 in the other). I think you can count on Carey getting an offer. Meanwhile, in 2018 recruiting, Zion Williamson is scheduled to take his official visit to Kentucky this weekend, and with John Wall being inducted into the UK Hall of Fame and the Florida game going down, we’re being told UK is pulling out all the stops to impress the superstar.

UK Basketball opened the doors to photographers yesterday

Our own Dr. Mike helped USA Today’s Mark Zerof out on the photoshoot, and while we can’t share all of the pictures yet, this one of Brad Calipari kissing a basketball is too good to keep under wraps:

Should we have Ryan Lemond replicate it? No? Too soon. For outtakes from the shoot, check out Jack’s post from last night. This seems like a really fun group.

WATCH: UK Men’s Basketball has a blast at Photo Day

Radio in an hour…


UK Basketball inspires brain cancer survivor to help others Sparkle Bright

UK Basketball inspires brain cancer survivor to help others Sparkle Bright

Even without her signature blue mohawk, Ashley Lyles is impossible to miss. Decked out in neon and glitter, her energy radiates through Rupp Arena as she makes the rounds to visit her “UK family” at the John Calipari Fantasy Experience. Watching her now, it’s hard to believe that almost two years ago, doctors only gave her five months to live.

In December 2015, Lyles, then age 35, was diagnosed with Grade IV Glioblastoma, an incurable and aggressive form of brain cancer. With the odds stacked against her, she persevered thanks to an unwavering positive attitude and the support of her friends, family, and UK Basketball. Now, she’s made it her life’s mission to help others through the Sparkle Bright Foundation.


Like many of us, Lyles measures her life by UK Basketball. Born and raised in Marshall County, she can’t remember a time she didn’t follow the Cats. In 1992 at age 11, she remembers crying on her parents’ floor after Christian Laettner hit the shot. When it came time for college, she only applied to two schools: UK and Transylvania, the latter strictly a fallback plan. At UK, she went to every game she could, including the postseason. After moving to Chicago for law school, she still followed the Cats, traveling as far as Maui, New Orleans, New York, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Miami, and Nashville to see them play. Next year’s SEC Tournament will be her 10th straight, the first being the one at the Georgia Dome when the tornado hit. Simply put, if the Cats were playing somewhere and Lyles was able to get there, she did.

That’s why it’s not surprising that the story of Lyles’ brain cancer started with a UK game. In November 2015, she and her family went to Miami for the UK/South Florida game just before Thanksgiving, stopping in Orlando first to visit with family. That’s when the headaches started. Over the next month, they just got worse. Lyles continued on with her life as an insurance litigation attorney in Chicago, but the pounding persisted; being that it was Christmastime, she joked the headaches were like having “The Little Drummer Boy” stuck in her head. Others started to notice her behavior. At a company Christmas party, her friends and coworkers grew concerned when Lyles appeared loopy and disoriented even though she hadn’t been drinking. The next day, she contemplated going to New York to see Ohio State/Kentucky in the CBS Sports Classic, but her headaches kept her at home. After watching the game and barely being able to recall what happened afterwards, she finally gave in and went to the hospital the next morning.

“I packed myself a bag and thought, ‘I’m going to go get a $10,000 Tylenol,'” Lyles laughed. “Right before I went, my gut told me something was wrong, like God was telling me, ‘Ashley, something’s wrong and it’s bad, but it’s all going to be okay.’ It’s eerie that I had this peace from the vey beginning. Something’s wrong but it’s going to be fine.”

Doctors at the hospital gave her a routine checkup and sent her home with a “migraine cocktail,” which Lyles said didn’t even take her pain from a ten to a nine. She went back in and they performed a CT scan and an MRI.

“Then, they came in and said, ‘You need to call your family.'”

Lyles’ parents came to Chicago and two days later, they performed surgery. After removing the tumor, their worst fears were confirmed; it was glioblastoma, a rare and deadly form of brain cancer most common in elderly men (John McCain was diagnosed with it this summer). Life expectancy was five months.

Kim Parks, Lyles’ close friend and co-founder of Sparkle Bright, was in the room with Ashley and her family when they found out the news, and said that her reaction is a testament to what makes her so special.

“Ashley said, ‘Is it cancer?’ Her mom, pretty much at a whisper, said, ‘It’s what they thought it was.’ Ashley choked back a tear and the next thing out of her mouth was, ‘Dad, find a Chanel store because I’m getting myself a bag.’ It was pretty funny.”

Lyles was determined to focus on the positives.

“Stats will say, only 4.7% will make it five years,” Lyles said. “There’s a 97% chance it will come back. Well, there’s a 3% chance it won’t. People ask me, ‘How do you live [knowing that]?’ Well, heck, I could get struck by lightning, I could get hit by a bus. You can’t live in fear. I decided early on that you have to look for the positive because you’re not going to make it through if you don’t.”

From there, Lyles started six weeks of intense treatment during which she had chemo every day and radiation five times a week. It was a grueling time, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Lyles admitted to succumbing to “pity parties” every now and then; however, for the most part, she was positive, which helped those around her stay strong.

“She was the most positive of us all,” Parks said. “She was keeping us sane. She was keeping us from being sad. Being around her actually made things easier because she never got down, she never felt sorry for herself. She just felt, “Well, God had a reason for me and I’m going to beat it. I’ve never been one to be the norm so why start now?'”

When Lyles’ hair started to fall out due to the radiation, she even turned that into positive, leaping on the chance to show off her love for the Cats. She and Parks went to see Drew the Barber, whom they met through their friend Nazr Mohammed in Chicago. After he cut her hair off to give make wigs for cancer patients, Lyles handed Drew a picture of Nerlens Noel’s hair the day he committed to UK and asked him to replicate it.

“The tumor was on the right side, so there was part on my left side that I didn’t lose. We shaved everything except a ‘UK.'”

Somehow, John Calipari heard about Lyles’ diagnosis in December and sent a tweet out asking Kentucky fans to pray for as she headed into surgery. In February, the team sent her a special message and vowed to win the South Carolina game for her, which they did in spectacular fashion. When her treatments were over in March, she was invited to watch the team practice at the Joe Craft Center, and Parks said the effect it had, especially on Lyles’ father, Phil, was remarkable.

“They let the three of us come in, me, Ashley, and her dad, and Ashley and her dad just had smiles on their faces,” Parks recalled. “I hadn’t seen her dad smile I don’t think, since it had all happened. I had seen Ashley smile, but not her dad. She wasn’t sick anymore that day.”

Watching the players embrace Ashley was a special moment for Parks.

“The players’ reaction to her — because it’s clear that she’s going through something, she has no hair — every player jumped up to go see her. Every one of them. Every single one was giving her hugs. It was just so sweet to see how these 18-year-old kids are jumping up to go say hi to her and talk to her.

“For all of them to be genuine about it — there wasn’t any faking it. They weren’t prepped for this. They were just immediately so warm and inviting. We walked out of there on cloud nine. Everyone was so happy. It was fun. It was finally a day that she got to feel normal.”

Buoyed by the visit, Lyles dyed the UK logo on her head blue and followed the Cats to the SEC Tournament in Nashville and the NCAA Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. Once the season was over, she refocused on her life after cancer. It hasn’t been easy. Although she is tumor-free, Lyles suffers from short term memory loss and easily gets disoriented. She’s still not released to go back to work, so she’s filling her time with her new venture: the Sparkle Bright Foundation, a non-profit organization she and Parks founded to help others with suffering from brain cancer and brain tumors. Their goal is to provide answers to questions that Lyles found herself asking in the months following her surgery and to also ease the burden on patients and their families.

“Brain tumors and brain cancer are so complicated and there isn’t the money there like there is with other types of cancer,” Lyles said. “So, we started to think, why don’t we do something for brain tumor patients? There’s the Make a Wish Foundation, which is [for patients] 18 and under. There’s the Dream Foundation for adults, but you have to be very, very terminal. What’s something we can do to give people positive light, something to look forward to, somewhere to put all these resources, to get people in touch with what they need?”

Sparkle Bright was born, and in February, was approved as a 501(c)3 organization. Donations are tax-deductible and all money raised goes towards “Sparkles,” or acts of kindness for brain cancer and brain tumor patients. A Sparkle can be something as small as paying for the patient’s parking at the hospital or a fun experience to boost their spirits (such as a UK Basketball game), or even a trip. Anyone can nominate someone to be a Sparkle, including themselves. Nominees must be 18 years or older, live in the continental US, and have a brain tumor (to avoid fraud, the organization requires verification from a doctor). You can make donations online at SparkleBright.org.

The organization’s first two Sparkles were both Kentucky residents. Sadly, one nominee, Zach Summers, passed away earlier this month, but Sparkle Bright was able to pay for the funeral expenses and they hope to start a college fund for his four-year-old daughter, Hadley.

“The person that just passed away, he was able to do a lot of things, but by the time we were introduced, it was too far advanced,” Parks said. “When the requests came in, it was really more for the family, but they had asked that we help with funeral costs and, to the extent possible, he has a very young daughter, we are going to get a college fund started. She’s still really young, so we’ve got time. It won’t happen overnight, but hopefully over time, we can get a 529 plan or some form of vehicle to contribute annually. We’ve at least helped cover the funeral costs. Their family, that was keeping them up at night. It was at least one burden we could take off of them.”

Appropriately, the organization’s name also has a connection to UK Basketball. Lyles has always joked that glitter is her favorite color and that she was “meant to sparkle,” but the nickname really took on a life of its own at the 2016 John Calipari Fantasy Camp. Lyles — sporting a bright pink mohawk — attended as the guest of Parks, and when a performer at one of the dinners asked for volunteers to come on stage, she immediately raised her hand. When asked, she said her name was “Sparkles.”

“They get to her and she said, ‘You can call me Sparkles,'” Parks recalled. “The crowd is loving it, they’re cracking up. She’s having a blast with it. The next day, we saw Karl [Towns] at the celebrity softball game and he saw her and he screamed, ‘Sparkles, what are you doing?’ It put a huge smile on her face. We’ve run into Karl a handful of other times and he remembers her immediately.”

Lyles has gotten even closer to the UK Basketball family over the past year. She met Ellen Calipari at the UK Basketball Women’s Clinic last fall and the coach’s wife immediately took her under her wing, inviting her to sit with her at games. Parks invited Lyles to come with her to the 2017 NBA Draft as part of a package she won at the Calipari Fantasy Camp and said that when Calipari came in to the suite to say hello to everyone, he made a beeline for Lyles.

“We were at the Draft and Cal walks in and everyone wants to talk to him. He’s walking around taking pictures with people and he sees Ashely across the suite and he says, ‘Come here! I’ve gotta get a picture and send this to Ellen.'”

Parks isn’t surprised that the UK Basketball family has adopted Lyles.

“You’re never sad when you’re around her. She just has a way of lighting up a room and she always has. People just gravitate to her.”

The support from her UK Basketball family has made Lyles even more determined to help others. On Thursday, Sparkle Bright will hold “Sparkle Pong,” a charity ping-pong tournament at Killerspin House in Chicago. All proceeds will help fulfill Sparkle requests. Lyles knows firsthand how even the smallest act of kindness can give someone the extra push they need to keep fighting.

“It gives me something to look forward to,” Lyles said when asked what UK Basketball means to her. “I live for basketball. I keep up with recruiting, the draft, the players in the NBA. I just look forward to it because along my travels, I’ve met so many great people. UK Basketball is my Sparkle.”

To learn more about the Sparkle Bright Foundation or to donate, visit sparklebright.org or the organization’s Facebook page. For details on Thursday’s Sparkle Pong event, please click here


WATCH: UK Men’s Basketball has a blast at Photo Day

WATCH: UK Men’s Basketball has a blast at Photo Day

Today was UK Men’s Basketball Photo Day, and KSR was there to grab some footage and pictures at the event.

Check it out:

We’ll have more from UK Photo Day in the coming days, so check back later!


UK Men’s Basketball team delivers lunch at Picadome Elementary for God’s Pantry

UK Men’s Basketball team delivers lunch at Picadome Elementary for God’s Pantry

This afternoon, the Wildcats delivered packed lunches and participated in physical activities with students at Picadome Elementary School as a part of the UK Athletics’ God’s Pantry program.

Kevin Knox, Wenyen Gabriel, Hamidou Diallo, Jarred Vanderbilt, Jemarl Baker, Tai Wynyard, and Jonny David were the seven Wildcats participating in the event.

The team played “Duck, Duck, Goose,” competed in relay races, ran a full-court game, and showed off some impressive dunks for the kids.

Watch some of KSR’s highlights from today’s incredible event:

Beyond Picadome Elementary, the team also went to Cassidy and Lansdowne Elementary throughout the day to deliver lunches.

According to a release by UK Athletics, this event is just one of several the entire athletic department will be participating in throughout the year for God’s Pantry.

This is the eighth consecutive year that UK Athletics has partnered with God’s Pantry of Lexington to help pack and distribute food-filled grocery bags to kids across Fayette County. By the end of the 2017-18 school year, 5,700 lunches will be delivered.

As part of the program, UK Athletics packs 160 bags each week. Each team and staff at UK Athletics participates in the outreach program. The men’s basketball team will deliver lunches to Cassidy, Lansdowne and Picadome elementary schools throughout the day Friday.

Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel spoke to the media following the event on the fun they had, personal experiences from their childhood, and the impact they hope they made on the kids in attendance.

Keep making us proud, guys.


Rick Pitino lies again, says seven high school players went straight to pros while he was at UK

Yesterday, Drew outlined some of Rick Pitino’s biggest lies over the years, and not even 24 hours later, we have another to add to this list. While discussing the one-and-done rule during an appearance on SportsCenter this morning, Pitino said seven high school basketball players told him they were coming to Kentucky only to go straight to the pros.

“When I was at Kentucky, I had seven high school basketball players told me they were coming and instead went to the pros out of high school,” Pitino said.

If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound right, you are correct. Only three high schoolers went straight to the NBA during Pitino’s career at Kentucky: Kevin Garnett (1995), Kobe Bryant (1996), and Jermaine O’Neal (1996). Three is not even half of seven, but by Pitino math, I guess it adds up. (Update: I forgot about Tracy McGrady in 1997, so you can add him to the list. Regardless, four is not seven.)

Rick did tell the truth when he said he’s still searching for his first one-and-done player.

“I don’t mind it,” Pitino said of the one-and-done rule. “I’m looking for my first one and done. I’ve had top 10 picks, top 20 picks. I’m waiting. I don’t mind it. John Calipari and Coach K have mastered it, certainly. It’s tough to play with freshmen. They have so much to learn on the defensive end.”

Pitino also said that in the next two years, he believes the NBA will change the rule back to letting high school players go directly to the league.

“By the way, I think that rule is going to change back to that. I think high school players are going to be able to go pro again. I think the commissioner is probably going to do it within two years.”

So, by Pitino math, that will probably happen in five years, not two.


WATCH: John Calipari, Jarred Vanderbilt, and the Harrison Twins visit Harvey victims

WATCH: John Calipari, Jarred Vanderbilt, and the Harrison Twins visit Harvey victims

Last weekend, John Calipari and Jarred Vanderbilt traveled to Houston, where they met up with the Harrison twins and their families to deliver aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Vanderbilt and the Harrison twins are Houston natives, and being able to join Calipari at an American Red Cross shelter to give back to their hometown obviously meant a lot.

“It feels great to come back to the city I was raised in,” Vanderbilt said. “Just to see the sun back shining in my city is a great feeling.”

This morning, KyWildcatsTV released a behind-the-scenes video of the visit, which shows Cal and Vanderbilt interacting with volunteers:

On September 3, Calipari and the team partnered with WKYT and Joe and Kelly Craft to raise over $1 million for disaster relief in the “Teaming up for Texas” telethon. That’s incredible, but Calipari told volunteers it was important for him to come Houston to deliver the aid in person.

“It’s such honorable work, and I imagine you feel good every night you go home,” Calipari said. “Like, you’re exhausted, but you’re helping. We’re just here kind of watching and looking, and trying to take stuff back to Kentucky to say your money was well invested, and we believe that in all the events we’ve done with American Red Cross. It’s about you people.”

Cool stuff. For more on the visit, check out CoachCal.com.

Calipari, Vanderbilt, Harrisons see Houston in ‘recovery mode’

 


Today on KSR: An SEC showdown in Columbia and official visits in Lexington

Good morning, friends, and congratulations on making it to Friday. We’ve got a big, big weekend coming up, so let’s go ahead and get right to it.

All eyes towards South Carolina

It’s very easy to be pessimistic about tomorrow’s game at South Carolina. Not only is Jordan Jones out, the atmosphere in Columbia will be absolutely nuts, and the Cats haven’t exactly inspired a lot of confidence in their first two games; however, Kentucky DOES have a three-year winning streak on its side, and how many times can we say that? Here’s hoping that gives the Cats the mental edge on Saturday.

The Gamecocks are a 6.5-point favorite

I expected South Carolina to become an even bigger favorite once the news that Jordan Jones is out spread, but it the spread hasn’t budged in the last few days.

Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson begin their official visits

This is a huge weekend for football, but it’s also a huge weekend for basketball recruiting. Five-star prospects Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson are on their official visits to Lexington this weekend, which means our ears will be pressed to the ground to listen for rumblings. Quickley, who got to town last night, is the recruit most likely to commit to Kentucky first, and a good visit could result in an announcement in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, Kentucky was late to the game for Keldon Johnson, but has made up ground and could surge ahead.

ICYMI last night, Aaron Torres had an excellent feature on Quickley that explains why he’s the perfect player to build the 2018 class around:

As Immanuel Quickley prepares for his official visit we talk to the people who know him best

Other recruiting notes: Calipari offered two 2019 prospects yesterday: five-star PF James Wiseman from Memphis and five-star SF D.J. Jeffries from Olive Branch, MS. Then, he stopped by the set of the new Uncle Drew movie in Atlanta because why not?

The man never stops, does he?

This picture of Wenyen Gabriel is intense

REVEN9E🔵#UpWay

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Gabriel shared this picture from UK’s picture day and I’m a little terrified. Huge fan of the #REVEN9E hashtag though. Check out more pictures from the photoshoot below:

Meet the bigs. #EmbraceFamily

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Meet the guards. #EmbraceFamily

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Who else suffered through Bengals/Texans?

As a lifelong Kentucky fan, I’ve seen some bad football, but last night’s game between the Bengals and the Texans may take the cake. I tuned in because I had some fantasy guys playing, but it didn’t take me long to switch the channel. Judging by my Twitter feed, a lot of you suffered through the entire thing. How long before the Bengals give up on Andy Dalton and hand the reins to AJ McCarron?

It’s Matt Jones Day in Middlesboro

Middlesboro’s celebration of their native son started last night with a concert by the O’Connor Band, and continues this morning with the radio show at the downtown concert stage. If you’re in the area, come on out and enjoy the fun.


As Immanuel Quickley prepares for his official visit we talk to the people who know him best

For anyone who follows Kentucky basketball (which is pretty much anyone reading this website) it’s no secret that this weekend is massive for the future of the Wildcats. That’s because over the next three days Kentucky will host Immanuel Quickley, one of the top-ranked point guards in all of high school basketball on an official visit to campus. The Wildcats don’t have any players committed for the 2018 class to date – something that isn’t unusual for UK this time of year – meaning that the result of this weekend could have reverberations for this program in the short-term and long-term as well.

Obviously, most Kentucky fans are plenty familiar with Quickley by now, as the first player in the 2018 class to receiver a Kentucky scholarship offer, and also as someone who played for John Calipari on the Team USA U-19 team in Egypt this summer. But while ‘Cats fans have known of Quickley for some time now, many don’t know much about him. Which is why I decided to call up some people who do, to ask a couple simple questions: Who is Immanuel Quickley? And how would he fit in at Kentucky if he decides to commit?

Let’s start with the “who.” And when it comes to Immanuel Quickley, those who know him best can think of only one way to describe him.

“Immanuel Quickley is just different,” Jide Sodipo, the Director of Quickley’s AAU program, Team BBC said. “It’s tough to explain. I tell other coaches ‘you’ve just got to see it for yourself.’”
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Calipari is on the set of the “Uncle Drew” movie because sure why not

Calipari is on the set of the “Uncle Drew” movie because sure why not

Remember all those “Uncle Drew” Pepsi commercials starring Kyrie Irving? Lionsgate is making an entire movie based on them, and John Calipari stopped by the set in Atlanta tonight:

The man himself, Uncle Drew.

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If you’re unfamiliar with the commercials (do you even YouTube, bro?), Irving plays Uncle Drew, a old man who schools others in pickup games at Rucker Park. LilRel Howery (“Get Out”) Nick Kroll (“The League”), and Erica Ash (“Survivor’s Remorse”) will star alongside him in the film version, and several former NBA and WNBA players will make cameos, including Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, Reggie Miller, and Lisa Leslie:

While you may not think this is very cool, high school basketball players will, which is exactly the point.


Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

LOOK: Behind-the-scenes pictures from UK Basketball Photo Day

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

Earlier this week, the Kentucky basketball team gathered at the Joe Craft Center for picture day, and this afternoon, UK was kind enough to post some behind-the-scenes pics from photographers Elliott Hess and Quinn Foster. There are some very impressive shots of the new squad, includ—OH MY GOD LOOK AT HOW BIG JARRED VANDERBILT’S ARMS ARE:

Photo by Elliott Hess | UK Athletics

Photo by Elliott Hess | UK Athletics

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

I realize he’s flexing in the top two, but my word, those things look like ham hocks.

Check out the entire gallery over at UK Athletics, and some more pictures below via Instagram.

You'll see the finished product later, but first a little #BTS. Swipe ➡️

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Quentin Grimes includes Kentucky in final four

According to Adam Zagoria, five-star guard Quentin Grimes has cut his list to four schools, and Kentucky is included. 

Grimes has been rumored to be a heavy Kansas lean, but Kentucky has reportedly made a major push in his recruitment.

Evan Daniels of Scout.com recently reported that Grimes has cancelled his visit to Kansas at the Late Night in the Phog to officially visit Kentucky on September 29th.

In an interview with Eric Bossi of Rivals.com, Grimes said that the UK coaching staff has “turned it up over the last month.”

Kentucky: “Coach (JohnCalipari feels he can help me reach my dreams and he feels that I’m definitely one of the best guards in the country. He thinks that I could come in there with the other players and that he can help me get better. Their practices stand out because of all the other five-star players you go against and that you have to get better because of the competition. They can help me reach my goals. I think how strong they have come on is unique. Coach (KennyPaine and Coach Cal have been really turning it up and that’s stood out to me. They’ve turned it up over the last month for sure.”

As far as other factors in his recruitment, Grimes says that his relationship with the coaching staff will be the biggest factor in his recruitment.

But he’s not in any rush to make a decision.

“I’m not rushing to make any decision. Whenever the timing is right I will do it,” said Grimes. “Waiting is an option. If I go take my visits and feel like I need to take unofficials and see them again I could do that. I’m not in a rush.

“Definitely the relationship with the coaches, I feel like that’s the most important thing. I’m going to have to be the coach on the court so I have to have a relationship with him because he’s expecting a lot and you have to be on the same page.”

Could UK manage to finish with a ridiculous guard class of Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, and Quentin Grimes?


Kentucky Basketball NBA Pro Day set for October 8

Kentucky Basketball NBA Pro Day set for October 8

Calipari pro day

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Each year, John Calipari invites NBA personnel to the Joe Craft Center to watch his team go through combine testing and practice. According to Evan Daniels, this year’s Pro Day will take place on October 8. NBA teams are also invited to stay and watch the team practice on October 9. A refresher at the prospects they’ll be checking out:

Will Hamidou Diallo top his 44.5″ max vertical from the NBA Draft Combine back in May?

This will be Kentucky’s fourth Pro Day, the first taking place before the 2014-15 season. Since then, other programs have followed suit, including Duke last year and now, Louisville. The Cards will host their first ever Pro Day this fall, begging the question, if Rick Pitino holds a Pro Day and nobody comes, did it really happen?

[Scout]


Photo via UK Athletics

Kentucky Basketball Hall of Famer Billy Ray Lickert passes away

Photo via UK Athletics

Some sad news to pass along from the UK Basketball family: Billy Ray Lickert, member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame and the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame, passed away today at the age of 78.

Lickert, a three-year letter winner (1959-61) under Adolph Rupp, became the 12th player in program history to amass 1,000 career points. He averaged 14.7 points per game over three seasons, earning All-SEC third-team honors in 1959, second-team recognition in 1960 and first-team honors in 1961. Lickert was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010 and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the fifth round of the 1961 NBA Draft.

“Billy Ray Lickert was a Wildcat in the truest sense,” UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart said in a release from UK. “He lived the dream that so many people in our state share in wearing the Blue and White and our program and university are better for it. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”

In 1957, Lickert led Lafayette High School to the state title and won Kentucky Mr. Basketball. Recently, he told his friend Oscar Combs that he grew up dreaming of playing for the Cats.

“I was a Wildcat,” Lickert told Combs in the “Conversations with Oscar Combs” podcast. “Every kid back in those days, you had aspirations of being able to play for Kentucky. That’s what everybody – all my friends – then wanted to do.”

For more on Lickert’s life and legacy, listen to his conversation with Oscar Combs below. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family in this difficult time.


Game times/TV info added to Kentucky Basketball’s 2017-18 Schedule

Game times/TV info added to Kentucky Basketball’s 2017-18 Schedule

Break out your calendar because the SEC just released game times and broadcast information for the 2017-18 basketball season.

Not surprisingly, every single regular season game Kentucky will play this season will be aired on national television. Also not surprising: by my count, seven games will start at 9 p.m. or later, so stock up on coffee.

One major item of note: Kentucky’s conference opener vs. Georgia in Rupp Arena on December 31 will start at 6 p.m. on ESPN. That leaves you plenty of time to go watch the ball drop later that night.

Here’s the 2017-18 schedule, with a few tip times still up in the air:

Date Opponent Time TV
Oct. 13 Big Blue Madness 7 p.m. SEC Network
Oct. 20 Blue-White Game 7 p.m. SEC Network
Oct. 27 Thomas More College (exhibition) 7 p.m. SEC Network
Nov. 3 Centre College (exhibition) 7 p.m. SEC Network
Nov. 10 Utah Valley TBA TBA
Nov. 12 Vermont 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Nov. 14 vs. Kansas (State Farm Champions Classic) 9:30 p.m. ESPN
Nov. 17 ETSU (Adolph Rupp Classic) TBA TBA
Nov. 20 Troy (Adolph Rupp Classic) TBA TBA
Nov. 22 Fort Wayne (Adolph Rupp Classic) TBA TBA
Nov. 26 UIC (Adolph Rupp Classic) TBA TBA
Dec. 2 Harvard 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Dec. 9 vs. Monmouth (Citi Hoops Classic) TBA TBA
Dec. 16 Virginia Tech 2 p.m. ESPN2
Dec. 23 vs. UCLA (CBS Sports Classic) 4 p.m. CBS
Dec. 29 Louisville 1 p.m. CBS
Dec. 31 Georgia 6 p.m. ESPN
Jan. 3 at LSU 8:30 p.m. SEC Network
Jan. 6 at Tennessee 9 p.m. SEC Network
Jan. 9 Texas A&M 7 p.m. ESPN
Jan. 13 at Vanderbilt 4 p.m. ESPN
Jan. 16 at South Carolina 9 p.m. ESPN
Jan. 20 Florida 8:15 p.m. ESPN
Jan. 23 Mississippi State 9 p.m. ESPN
Jan. 27 at West Virginia (Big 12/SEC Challenge) 4:30/7 p.m. ESPN
Jan. 30 Vanderbilt 9 p.m. ESPN
Feb. 3 at Missouri 2 p.m. CBS
Feb. 6 Tennessee 7 p.m. ESPN
Feb. 10 at Texas A&M 4/6/8 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2
Feb. 14 at Auburn 9 p.m. ESPN2
Feb. 17 Alabama 2 p.m. CBS
Feb. 20 at Arkansas 9 p.m. ESPN
Feb. 24 Missouri 6/8 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2
Feb. 27 Ole Miss 7 p.m. ESPN2
March 3 at Florida Noon CBS
March 7-11 SEC Tournament TBA SEC Network/ESPN

For a prettier, printable version, click through the jump:

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Game time set for Kentucky vs. UCLA in New Orleans

Game time set for Kentucky vs. UCLA in New Orleans

Kentucky will play UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic in New Orleans on Saturday, December 23, and now we finally have a game time.

According to the New Orleans Advocate, the Cats and the Bruins will tip off at 3 p.m. Central Time at the Smoothie King Center. Ohio State and North Carolina will be the first game of the double-header, tipping off at 12:30 p.m. CT. Both games, naturally, will be on CBS.

The fact that this game is so close to Christmas kind of stinks, but if you really want to, you can fly out of New Orleans after the game to make it home by Christmas Eve. Or, you can stay in Nola and party with a bunch of Kentucky fans and take your chances at the airport the next morning, like me.

Tickets for the game are still available on Ticketmaster.