Here we are, folks: the Final Four. I honestly don’t understand how some foods got →
Basketball Season Coverage
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 29th, 2016 @ 2:00pm
If you listened to today’s show, you heard not one, but two surprise guests call in. John Calipari and Kaylee Hartung called in to talk about last night’s Celebrity Softball Game, which raised over $300,000 for Louisiana flood relief. Hartung, a Louisiana native, was in Baton Rouge to cover the devastation last week for ESPN and said Calipari’s fundraising efforts really hit close to home.
“It touched my heart. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, my entire family is there,” Kaylee said. “It just means a lot that folks want to help because so much help is needed. It’s hard for any photo or video to truly put into perspective what 60,000 homes devastated really means.”
Kaylee also gave Matt some grief for not only throwing her out, but not inviting her to his birthday party Saturday night. Listen to her call halfway through hour one:
John Calipari surprised Matt in the second hour and agreed that the softball game definitely exceeded expectations.
“I walked in to my house and my wife knew I didn’t want to do it and they talked me into this,” Cal said. “When I walked into the door last night, she said, ‘You’re nuts. That was the funnest time. I enjoyed it the entire time I was there and so did everybody else. I looked around at the crowd and everybody was enjoying watching it and being there.”
Cal also weighed in on the debate over whether or not Ryan Lemond’s hit was fair or foul, saying it was definitely FAIR.
“He smashed it!” Cal said. “Ryan, he’s like a good little athlete. I was stunned. I looked at him, and I was like, ‘why did we invite this guy?’ All of a sudden, I see him hit the ball, I was like, ‘BAM!'”
Check out Calipari’s call in hour 2:
And for good measure, here’s footage of Matt running, which made him the butt of several jokes this morning:
— Chet Lemond (@ChetLemond) August 29, 2016
— Chet Lemond (@ChetLemond) August 29, 2016
(Now is probably a good time to say that I love my job and Matt’s a wonderful boss.)
I found myself with some downtime this weekend, so I checked out one of the hits of the summer: HBO’s The Night Of. Even though the eight-part miniseries wrapped up last night, I’m only three episodes in and totally hooked. Based on the BBC drama Criminal Justice, The Night Of tells the story of Nasir “Naz” Khan and a night out gone terribly wrong. Long story short, Naz, a Pakistani-American college student, goes out on the town with the best intentions and ends up picking up Andrea, aka moody sexy lady, in his dad’s cab, and well, makes a bunch of terrible decisions. Without spoiling it, Naz ends up in jail with no recollection of the crime, and the rest of the series (so far) deals with the fight to get him freed. Interestingly, the late James Gandolfini is listed as an executive producer, and during the planning stages of bringing the BBC version to HBO, was set to play John Stone, the attorney that ends up representing Naz. John Turturro plays that role now and does it well, but it’s interesting to wonder what the great Gandolfini would have done with the part. Sadly, we’ll never know.
With the clock slowly ticking down to college football, I have a feeling I’ll roll though the rest of The Night Of pretty quickly this week. Be a friend and please don’t spoil it, okay?
Now, let’s go over this week’s agenda…
Karl Towns dominated the Coach Cal Charity Softball Classic
Last night, former Cats and local celebrities gathered at Whitaker Bank Ballpark for Coach Cal’s Celebrity Softball Classic, the culmination of the Calipari Fantasy Camp. I wasn’t able to be in Lexington for it, but judging by all the reports on social media, Karl Towns was the star, winning the Home Run Derby and leading his team to an 18-12 win over Calipari’s squad. Here’s one of several big hits from the Rookie of the Year, who played baseball growing up:
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) August 29, 2016
As for the real reason behind the weekend, the Calipari Foundation raised over $1.5 million that will be presented to 14 different organizations. Sunday’s softball game alone raised more than $300,000 for Louisiana flood relief, a number that will soon increase through a partnership with Papa John’s.
Here are some more highlights from the event from our pals at KyWildcatsTV:
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) August 29, 2016
It’s Game Week
Football is oh so close, and today, we finally get on the regular season schedule. At noon, Mark Stoops will host his first weekly press conference of the season. Check back around lunch for all the video, notes, and quotes from Stoops you can handle, along with the new depth chart, which we should get our hands on in a few hours.
It’s almost here, guys.
Freddie’s new podcast debuts
Freddie — who you can currently hear on The Leach Report’s Monday Morning Quarterback — is everywhere this week, and later today, will debut his new podcast, entitled “The Depth Chart Podcast.” Each week, Freddie will interview a beat writer for UK’s opponent, and today, he’ll start with Hattiesburg American’s Jason Munz, who covers Southern Miss. I can’t think of a better way to prepare for Saturday.
The finals of the Tailgate Food Bracket are finally here
It’s been a long road, but Wings and Fried Chicken have advanced to the finals of KSR’s Tailgate Food Bracket. Later today, I’ll set up the polls and bring you our panel’s opinions on the poultry vs. poultry matchup.
The KSR Golf Scramble is this afternoon
After today’s show, the guys will hit the links at Oxmoor Country Club for KSR’s second annual golf scramble. It’s completely sold out, but don’t worry, I’m sure there will be plenty of stories to share on tomorrow’s show.
First things first. Tune in an hour from now to hear stories from the weekend, including this controversial hit by Ryan Lemond, which was ruled foul, but upon further review, looks pretty fair to me:
By Brett Bibbins on ©August 28th, 2016 @ 11:00pm
After some pretty heavy rain pushed back the start of the Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic, the skies cleared and opened up for a fun night for a great cause. Team Karl Towns, including Matt Jones, beat Team John Calipari, including Ryan Lemond, by the score of 18-12.
The game was an awesome event to get some former Cats from several sports together with celebrities from all over the country to raise money for an extremely deserving cause.
The Kentucky Men’s Basketball social media accounts made sure everyone remembered what this night was all about.
A photo posted by Kentucky Men's Basketball (@kentuckymbb) on
Tonight is all for charity! Tickets go to the relief fund, but the Cal Foundation has raised for others. pic.twitter.com/csnAA5MSY4
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 28, 2016
I really don’t think I ever feel more pride in being both a UK fan and a UK alum than when events like this take place. Coach Cal and company, bravo.
Added bonus to tonight’s game, it gave Matt the chance to get some solid face-time with ESPN reporter Kaylee Hartung. Good for you Matt! Thanks for capturing the romance in the air Ryan!
— Ryan Lemond (@ryanlemond) August 28, 2016
Another year of Calipari’s Fantasy Camp Experience has come and gone and just like last year, I’m in awe. Not entirely because of what I get to do and experience, but because of what the participants are experiencing. The participants literally pay my tuition to be UK players for a weekend, and just like Jack said on Friday, boy do they get it.
So I’ve spent the better part of my weekend following, let’s be honest, middle-aged men around the Joe Craft Center. Tony Barbee *tried* to coach them to a victory (which didn’t happen) and Isaac Humphries and Bam Adebayo acted the part of managers. Now, I can finally decompress the weekend:
Calipari raised over $1 million for charity
The best part about Calipari’s camp is that all the proceeds always go to charity, allowing dreams to come true for a worthy cause. The auction alone at last night’s banquet raised $300k and then participant fees combined for over $1 million. This doesn’t include the proceeds from the softball game tonight and the text-givers, all of those proceeds will go to benefit the flood relief in Baton Rouge.
Marcus Lee came back and that speaks to so many levels
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 27, 2016
I expected to see Karl Towns and MKG, but when I was standing in the lobby of Joe Craft on Friday morning, the last person I expected to see was Marcus Lee. I always made the assumption that the transfer was amicable, but it was still a shock to me and the rest of the KSR crew when he walked through the front doors.
But really, the fact that he came back shows how much Calipari invests and cares about his players and the level of the program. If Calipari didn’t care about Lee or blew him off after he decided to transfer, there would be no way that he would come back to Lexington just to hand out water to camp participants.
Bam likes Jimmy Dean sausage?
So if ya wanna know what Bamboo Adebayo brought to camp with him this morning pic.twitter.com/PvYNVILEKs
— Haley Simpson (@haleysimpKSR) August 27, 2016
After Kindsey and I arrived for our games yesterday morning and I finally woke up (9 a.m. on a Saturday morning after the first week of class is a struggle), I noticed that there were two packages of Jimmy Dean pre-cooked sausages sitting beside me on the bench. According to Isaac it was “that fatty Bam’s”. I guess he’s got to get those gains somehow?
*Bamboo was an auto-correct typo but I think we could make this a thing.
We’re going to be good this year, like really good
While I can’t say much about yesterday’s scrimmage, I can say this. It. Was. Awesome. While there are still plenty of kinks to work out for a team that just got together at the beginning of the summer, they work really well together on the court. We all know what to expect from Briscoe and Willis and even are fairly familiar with Bam, Fox, and Monk. But I look for good things to come from Wenyen, Isaac, and Sacha Killeya-Jones as well.
Nick Roush could make a run at SportsCenter
— Haley Simpson (@haleysimpKSR) August 27, 2016
Kind of… ProCamps needed some help yesterday running “CatsCenter”, the camp’s version of SportsCenter and our very own Nick Roush stepped up to the plate and gave it his best. Knowing absolutely nothing about the game that had just happened, he took a quick look at a stats sheet and gave one of the best post-game press conferences the camp had seen all weekend. It’s just a start, but maybe KSR could have the next SportsCenter anchor on their hands.
The new KSR interns are really cool
You all have seen some new names floating around the site over the last couple of weeks, and I had the privilege of working with most of them this weekend. Because we are a blog, the KSR crew doesn’t get together often so this is the only way that we see each other unless we do it ourselves. We have all followed each other on Twitter for quite some time, but it was awesome to get to meet all of them in person. And let me say this, they’re some cool peeps, y’all. So be nice to them when you see them on the site, and give them a follow on the tweeter.
Well, that’s a wrap on Fantasy Camp 2K16. Peace out until next year✌️
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 27th, 2016 @ 8:30pm
Day two of John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience was filled with fun and excitement, a few tough injuries by campers, and some crazy back and forth games, but none of it compares to the (roughly) 45 minute UK basketball scrimmage we were all treated to after lunch. As I awkwardly stood up to snap a few photos of the five on five exhibition, someone on the loudspeaker asked for no video or photography, so sorry, no can-do on any videos of the action.
Because I would very much appreciate coming back to this wonderful event next year, the most I’ll be able to give you guys based on the scrimmage and overall feel on the court are these emoji and gif hints.
Karl Anthony-Towns: (Seriously, it’s impossible to not miss this kid. And in case you forgot, he’s really freaking good.)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: (He didn’t play, just chilled on the sideline next to Coach Cal. It’s really great seeing him back on campus, though.)
(Both of them)
Hopefully these hints help tide you over until we get some real practice reports and videos in the next month or so. If you weren’t excited for basketball season before, you most certainly should be now.
In two weeks Virginia Tech and Tennessee will play football in front of 160,000 fans at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Battle at Bristol will break all college football attendance records.
It leads me to think, “Could Kentucky every do something like this?” In football, the answer is no. Even in the rivalry against Louisville, you wouldn’t be able to find enough people to go, or the proper venue (even though it would be pretty cool to watch a football game at Churchill Downs).
In basketball, the answer is yes. In fact, they’ve done something like this before. In 2003, the Cats beat Michigan State 79-73 in the “Basketbowl” at Detroit’s Ford Field. With 78,129 fans in attendance, it still holds the record for college basketball attendance.
At the time, it was the most to ever watch a basketball game live, but the 2010 All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium passed the mark with 108,713 in attendance. If you hate that all Final Fours are played in domes, you can blame the Basketbowl.
However, I think we can take it one step further. Now each season opens with the Armed Forces Classic, playing games on aircraft carriers or in military air hangers. Kentucky find a happy medium by playing a basketball game at an outdoor football stadium. Or better yet, they could host Big Blue Madness at Commonwealth Stadium. Am I crazy to think this would work?
While the campers take a lunch break, the players are putting in work. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist put up some shots with Cal in his ear.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 27, 2016
After knocking down some shots, the Kidd grabbed a seat on the bench while Karl helped split up teams for some pickup. It’s just some pickup, but it’s still pretty freaking awesome. As much as I want to break the rules and give you video from the game, rules are rules.
Kentucky’s next point guard is more like Kentucky’s last All-American center than you’d think.
During Willie Cauley-Stein’s three years on campus, we saw more hairstyles from the skilled center than you can fit into an Instagram layout. You never knew what you were going to get when you saw him take the court. After spending two days at the Joe Craft Center, the same can apply to De’Aaron Fox.
Yesterday, he was almost unrecognizable. Hidden beneath this bunch of braids, it took us more than an hour before we realized it was De’Aaron.
It didn’t take long before the braids were gone.
I think we can all agree that the change was for the best. Who knows what we’ll see next from Fox? Maybe blonde?
The 1996 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their NCAA title down in Miami this weekend. They’ve had frozen cocktails, they’ve played golf, they’ve been on a boat and at some point they will light these ’96 cigars:
Looks like a fun time, but why is Ron Mercer wearing red pants?
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 26th, 2016 @ 8:30pm
Alright guys, I’ll be honest. When I was asked to be one of KSR’s journalists for the John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience, I was expecting to watch a bunch of grown men recreate the Along Came Polly “Let it rain!” scene.
Needless to say, I was wrong. These guys are pretty good.
Sure, they may have a few extra miles on the odometer, but I saw some stuff out there that I couldn’t do if I tried. There’s some legitimate talent out there, and most of that talent that would light me up on the floor.
Here are just a few of my notes from my experience today:
NFL Hall of Fame WR Chris Carter is the best player on the floor, according to Chris Carter.
Carter was, as expected, one of the main story lines heading into the event, given the guy goes down in history as one of the best receivers to play the game of football. In basketball, however, his age showed today.
Carter made his presence known, but not as the freak athlete you might expect him to be. Every chance he got, he found a way to talk trash and make an attempt to get in the head of his opponents. He wasn’t the best scorer, but was fairly consistent on the defensive side of the ball and rebounded fairly well for a guy that used to make opposing corners look silly. Was he good? Yeah, I’ll give him that. But he didn’t dominate like I expected him to. We’ll see how he does tomorrow.
Coaches are VICIOUS.
Man, Tony Barbee and John Robic were tenacious on the sidelines today. Whether it was getting their players to hustle up and down the court, calling out specific plays, or arguing over a foul call, they certainly put on their “head coach hats” today, and I think the players really enjoyed it. They paid to live the life of a UK player this weekend, and they certainly got it on that end.
UK basketball players were great sports for the campers
Nearly every UK player/Fantasy Camp manager out there at one point or another grabbed water for the players, towels, wiped up the floors, etc. Bam Adebayo got on his hands and knees to wipe sweat off the floor a few times, which was fairly amusing to see.
Not only were the UK guys great on clean-up duty, but they were the biggest cheerleaders I’ve ever seen for their respective assigned teams. Mychal Mulder and Malik Monk went crazy for every made basket, especially on a few pull up threes. De’Aaron Fox and Derek Willis jumped off the bench, screaming and jumping up and down when a player sunk a Rondo-esque fake behind the back layup attempt.
The guys on the actual UK basketball team may have been having more fun than the Fantasy Experience participants.
Speaking of Malik Monk, his attire today was something to marvel, as well. His camouflage shirt and hat combo stood out among his peers.
We have an early MVP favorite
Daryl Towe on the Ambrosia Treatment Center squad was the best player on the floor, and it wasn’t even close (Sorry, Chris Carter.) He was an athletic specimen, physical presence on the defensive side of the ball, and pretty much scored when he wanted to. He got a little trigger happy there for a while, but I guess you have the ability to do that when you drop a smooth 41 points in your Fantasy Camp debut. After day one, he’s the early MVP favorite.
We may or may not have witnessed Tayshaun Prince’s clone today.
Fantasy camp veteran Jacob Yunker unleashed his inner Tayshaun Prince, hitting 5 threes in the final game of the day. Our own Matt Jones was quick to jump out on the floor and yell “DON’T LEAVE HIM OPEN!!!” after every made bucket. If it weren’t for Daryl Towe’s unbelievable scoring output, Yunker would’ve won MVP in the last game. He’s even #21, for crying out loud.
Isaac Humphries’ favorite food is broccoli, apparently.
KSR’s Haley Simpson asked the 7-footer out of Australia what his go-to snack is, and apparently he really likes broccoli. So there’s that.
The UK basketball team is going to be fun to watch
I can’t give out specifics, but even in the light shoot arounds I saw throughout the day, the UK players were extremely impressive. I always knew Bam Adebayo was a grown man, but he looks even bigger in person than I expected. Isaac Humphries looks like he has cut a ton of weight and bulked up with muscle. Both Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox are a bit taller than I expected. Wenyen Gabriel is putting on some much-needed muscle. I’ve already said too much. That’s all you get.
I’ll be back tomorrow to cover CatsCenter, the UK-version of SportsCenter for these athletes, and to check out some more competitive game action.
Happy #NationalDogDay, everyone!
By Drew Franklin on ©August 26th, 2016 @ 2:35pm
John Calipari had some high praise for Bam Adebayo yesterday when meeting with the media in Lexington to discuss a variety of topics. In talking about his new freshmen, Calipari called Adebayo a beast with skills who will follow a similar development path to that of Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The full quote:
“He’s begun working out right now, and he was doing conditioning and all that but he’s getting on the court more. Look, my prediction will be kind of like Karl and even Anthony, and some of these guys that other players were more highly thought of. When you start hitting late January and February, you’re gonna say, ‘Oh my goodness.’ Because he’s a beast with skills. Greatest kid. I mean, he’s a great teammate aside from that. He’s unselfish in all kinds of ways, but he’s a beast who can play basketball. And he wants to win.
Adam Zagoria of sNY.tv then caught up with Adebayo’s high school coach, Brandon Clifford, to get his take on Calipari’s comments, to which Clifford said, “I think Bam should feel honored to be mentioned alongside those guys before he’s played a game at Kentucky. That being said, I’ve always felt like he was a special player that could potentially get himself in the conversation for the No. 1 pick someday.
“He’s an unbelievable talent. He will have to grow and adjust like all freshmen, but I certainly think being at UK will bring out the best in him. Just as it did for Davis and Towns. I’m definitely not going to disagree with Coach Calipari because, like him, I’ve been in the gym with the kid for extended periods of time. He’s a different kind of cat.”
Marcus Lee is back in Lexington with his old team today. The former Wildcat was spotted walking around the Joe Craft Center wearing his 2016 SEC Tournament Champions t-shirt over his new California sweatpants.
But don’t start thinking wild thoughts about a change of heart. Lee is helping out with Calipari’s fantasy camp while in town for a friendly visit. He’s not coming back to suit up for the Cats. He still gone.
By Drew Franklin on ©August 26th, 2016 @ 10:16am
Bam Adebayo is the last man up in CoachCal.com’s Meet The Wildcats series and let’s go ahead skip all the fluff and get right to the point here. He listens to Katy Perry. Yes, Katy Perry. When asked about his favorite music, Adebayo was quick to drop the Katy Perry bomb during his interview with the website.
“I mean, they just see a big dude that’s 6-10 and they think he’s listening to all the hip-hop and stuff like that,” he said. “I just listen to my Katy Perry.”
Adebayo said he likes her music because she is always happy and perky in her songs. “I like to be happy. Might as well listen to happy music.”
He talks a lot about basketball, too. The best quote? “If I’m averaging five points and we’re like the team with Devin Booker and them that went 38-0, I have no problem.”
Read/watch more on CoachCal.com.
I’m with you, Bam. Big Katy Perry guy here.
The No.19 player in the ESPN Top 100 for the class of 2017, Lonnie Walker, cut his list down to five schools today. Syracuse, Villanova, Arizona, Miami and Kentucky made the final list for the 6’4″ shooting guard out of Reading, Pennsylvania. Walker announced his final five in a short video on Twitter, with help from Bleacher Report.
My official top fivehttps://t.co/hnfaJ46BIh
— G.C.M (@lonniewalker_4) August 25, 2016
It seems like more and more of these high school athletes are announcing lists and decisions with cool videos like these. Walker is the fourth best shooting guard and the best player overall from the state of Pennsylvania in the class of 2017, according to ESPN, so he would be a good addition to the recruiting class if Coach Cal can real him in. Take a look at some of his highlights below:
Walker has been vocal about wanting to choose a school before his senior basketball season starts so that he can relax for his final year, so look for a decision to be looming in the next couple of months.
By Drew Franklin on ©August 25th, 2016 @ 4:09pm
On his Thursday morning guest appearance on KSR, John Calipari was asked about the recent comments made by Rick Pitino and some of the former players about the absence of a 1996 title team reunion in Lexington. Pitino said UK will give a lot of excuses, but the team isn’t being honored because of him and the distraction it would cause. There has been a small outcry from the public, too
To that, Calipari said he didn’t know anything about it until recently when some of the former players called him to say they are fine with it. Cal then went on to say he is a “gather” and welcomes back any and all former Wildcats, whenever and for whatever reason they want to come back.
His full response:
I hadn’t heard anything about it, okay. And then yesterday or the day before, someone mentioned something to me and I go — the only reason I knew is because a bunch of those players were calling me and saying, ‘Look man we’re fine. Wherever this is coming from, it ain’t coming from us.’
So, you know when you think about — and you know me and the fans out there that know me — I’m a gather, I don’t keep anyone away. Nazr (Mohammed) brought the Oklahoma City team here for four days a couple years ago if you remember; he brought the whole team here. Tayshaun was in our gym yesterday. I hired Wayne Turner. I hired Tony Delk. I hired Scott Padgett. I hired Marquis (Estill). Those guys never played for me. They didn’t play for me, but I hired them.”
“Whether it’s Kenny “Sky” Walker or whether it’s Sam Bowie or whether it’s Mike Pratt, they’re all welcome here. The only thing I would say — the university is going through a process to try to figure out how you honor teams. How do you do it? When do you do it? They need to get a process and it has nothing to do with me. I think the players that called me wanted me to know — I never knew about any of this and I don’t think there is an issue with any of us and our kids.
To be fair, the university honored the 1996 team with new championship rings three years ago. Cal hinted that he actually bought the rings when he asked KSR, “Did the school buy the rings? Or did I buy the rings? What would you guess? Did the school buy them or did Cal buy them? What would your guess be? … I like to try to take credit for just about everything.”
He then went on to say the Kentucky basketball program is much bigger than him, which is why he has an open door policy for anyone who made it what it is today:
This is not about me. This program was started by Adolph Rupp. The rest of us just kind of borrowed the seat for a while. What I’ve chosen to do is be a gatherer and make sure they all know they’re welcome. If we haven’t and my staff hasn’t been in touch with these guys as much as we should, then that’s on me. But there’s no intent here because we care about all of them. I hired a bunch of them. They never played for me. It’s all good. Our fans shouldn’t worry about it.
Lastly, Cal used a new Cal-ism while explaining that he doesn’t listen to any of the negative talk about him out there, whether it be from Pitino or anyone else:
If you respond to every barking dog, you ain’t getting home. Just keep walking; march on. I ain’t listening to all this. Listen, I don’t listen to radio. I’ve never listened to you on radio, and I don’t care what you say or what you do. Matter fact, there was a time you used to kill me. Why am I listening to it? I don’t even watch the TV. A newspaper? You know the only time I see newspapers is when I drive over them in the morning. I don’t care about newspapers.
If you’re listening to every barking dog, you’re never getting home. I don’t listen to any of them. You bark on while I march on.
“You bark on while I march on.” Love it.
Listen to the entire clip from the show: