My first Derby story is unlike many first Derby stories. Nearing the first Saturday in →
Basketball Season Coverage
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 02nd, 2016 @ 4:00pm
For people of a certain age (30ish and under?), “Space Jam” will forever hold a special place in our hearts. The 1996 hit staring the Looney Toons, Michael Jordan, and other NBA stars was a cult hit that still resonates with kids today, which is probably why today’s news that the sequel is one step closer to happening is so huge. After years of rumors, the Hollywood Reporter finally confirmed that LeBron James will star in Space Jam 2, which will be directed by Fast & Furious and Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin, who is working on a script with screenwriters Andrew Dodge and Alfredo Botello.
It could be a few more years before Space Jam 2 finally hits theaters, but several NBA stars already want to be involved, including Blake Griffin and Isaiah Thomas. Which NBA Cats do you think have the best chance of making the movie?
Anthony Davis is practically a Monstar already with that brow and reach, right?
- Rondo as a villain
- Boogie because Boogie
- Karl Towns because it would be wrong to make a cartoon about basketball and not include him
- Tyler Ulis as the new Muggsy Bogues
- The entire 2014-2015 because they were Monstars
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 02nd, 2016 @ 12:00pm
[WARNING: This post contains mild spoilers from last night’s “Game of Thrones.” YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.]
“Game of Thrones” is probably the most popular show on television right now, and, in turn, HBO has added a live talk show, “After the Thones,” that airs afterwards on HBOGo. “After the Thrones” is hosted by Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan and executive produced by Bill Simmons, and on today’s show, John Calipari got a shoutout. Huh?
Here’s the setup…
(Spoilers after the jump) (more…)
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 02nd, 2016 @ 11:00am
I was already a big fan of UK’s 2016 recruiting class, but they went up another notch in my book when De’Aaron Fox, Sacha Killeya-Jones, Bam Adebayo, and Malik Monk posed with L’s down at the McDonald’s All-American Game in March. That picture went viral, and it turns out that the Louisville coaching staff noticed it as well. According to this pic from Mike Rutherford, the picture now hangs in the UofL weight room.
I guess when you’ve lost eight of the last nine and your program is mired in scandal, you’ll take any motivation you can get.
(If you’re looking for some laughs, check out this Louisville message board thread about the picture. Goodness me.)
I started this post last night with an entirely different subject, and then I watched “Game of Thrones.” We praise this show a lot on this site, and last night’s episode is a perfect example of why. I wouldn’t dare spoil it for you guys, but I’ll just say that, so far, season six has more than made up for a lackluster season five. In only two episodes, there’s been enough action and intrigue to make me forget about all the time Khaleesi spent wandering around the desert in past seasons. I mean, my gosh. I won’t say more. I can’t say more, except, if you haven’t seen it yet, stop what you’re doing and log on to HBOGo. If you don’t subscribe, beg your friends or parents for a log in.
Now, let me lead you through today’s agenda because I do two things: I drink and I know things. (Sort of.)
Marques Bolden is “definitely close” to a decision
Ah, the non-update of all non-updates. Over the weekend, Marques Bolden played in the Ball is Life All-American Game, and told reporters he is “definitely close” to a decision. How close? “I’m making a decision real soon,” he vowed.
Okay. On Friday, hopes flared in the Big Blue Nation when a few Duke writers changed their picks to Kentucky on Bolden’s 247 Sports Crystal Ball, but they’ve changed those back after all the hoopla. Adam Rowe, a noted Duke insider, even had a little fun with BBN, switching his pick to Central Connecticut:
Rowe’s pick is now “foggy.”
Calipari is still feeling good
Cal went to New York this weekend to visit family and his friend Howard Garfinkel, who is currently in the hospital. At the end of last week, he gave fans plenty to talk about by releasing two workout videos in which he talked about staying at Kentucky another 20 years, the state of the program, and how he has to get back into shape. The videos were pure Swaggy Cal, and last night, you could tell he was still feeling good when he sent out this tweet:
We saw this flying into Lex. We flew around the other side of and it was touching Rupp. Could there be a meaning? pic.twitter.com/yUhrdmyKDk
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) May 1, 2016
You know, when Calipari flew over the rainbow yesterday, it reminded me of the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Isaiah Briscoe, Alex Poythress, and Marcus Lee are alternates for the NBA Combine
As expected, Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere, and Tyler Ulis all received invitations to the NBA Combine, which will take place May 11-15 in Chicago. Isaiah Briscoe, Alex Poythress, and Marcus Lee did not receive invitations, but are listed as alternates, which, if you’re Briscoe or Lee, should be pretty telling about your chances of being drafted; however, there’s still a chance some players will drop out of the combine or a specific team will take interest in them. Briscoe and Lee have until May 25 to withdraw their names from the draft to retain their eligibility and return to UK.
Patrick Patterson helped the Raptors advance
Last night, the Toronto Raptors beat the Indiana Pacers 89-84 to advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs, thanks in part to a big third quarter from Patrick Patterson, who finished with 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Patterson had three threes, and one of them was enough to get Drake out of his seat to give him a three goggle:
The Raptors will play the Heat on Tuesday night.
The half marathon went well
Despite the rain and weather delays, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Nashville went well on Saturday. I finished in 2:12, not a bad time for my first half, although I wanted to get closer to 2:00. Soggy socks and the last three miles of the course were killer, but now I’ve got a goal for next time. Shoutout to all the UK fans on the course, seeing you guys definitely gave me a lift!
KSR in an hour
Time to recap the weekend and look forward to the Oaks and the Derby later this week. You ready?
By Matt Jones on ©May 01st, 2016 @ 8:28pm
Because of all the chatter around the decision of the NCAA to not mention UNC Basketball and Football in its own most recent set of Allegations against the Tar Heels, another potentially important policy by the organization seems to have been looked overlooked. Last week the NCAA announced that it has passed an anti-discrimination provision for the awarding of NCAA Championship sites, requiring that states that seek to host its events “must demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.” The decision comes on the heels of the passing of HB 2 in North Carolina, a bill that restricts the ability of local entities to provide anti-discrimination provisions in their communities on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill has caused a great deal of controversy around the state with businesses, musical artists and the NBA threatening or sustaining boycotts of the state. The NCAA’s announcement provides that if North Carolina or other states, have such legislation in place starting next year, the NCAA will consider either not rewarding or pulling its championships away in those locations.
What does this all mean? Well on the surface it seems to mean that unless North Carolina changes its law, the NCAA will not allow any NCAA Tournament sites in North Carolina. That of course is huge. Over the course of the past 20 years, it has been a rare year when either the first and second rounds or occasionally the Regional itself, have not been played in North Carolina. With Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh picked as possible sites, the best North Carolina and Duke teams have been almost assured of essentially two home games on their way to the Final Four. This has undoubtedly had a positive impact and the high attendance at these locations is part of the reason for their assignment as hosts. If the state of North Carolina does not change its law this summer (the NCAA gave a July 1 deadline), beginning in 2017, such sites may no longer be allowed as hosts. That is a big deal.
Regardless of what you think about the legislation or the boycotts (feel free to debate in the comments section, although you can be assured that you are unlikely to change anyone’s mind in the process…rare is the person who has a belief on an issue and then changes that strongly held notion because of an anonymous comment on a blog), one thing is clear…they are having an impact. And while the economic longterm effect is still to be determined, from a strictly basketball standpoint HB 2 will have a negative impact on two of the biggest college basketball programs under the new NCAA policy. Will that be enough to change the law in a basketball obsessed state such as North Carolina (or keep such laws from being passed in oh say, Kentucky)? That remains to be seen.
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©May 01st, 2016 @ 5:00pm
Even though Sacha Killeya-Jones played basketball when he was younger, didn’t like it. Killeya-Jones played football up until his sophomore year until he realized he was too tall and skinny to be a quarterback.
“Every chance I had, I was going to the gym. I always really wanted to go to the NFL, but I was like, ‘If I can’t play football, then the next best thing is basketball.’ It’s really done a lot for me. They say working hard can take you places and basketball has taken me across the world,” Killeya-Jones.
After Killeya-Jones began taking his basketball career serious, he received an offer from Houston Baptist University, a D-I school in Texas. By the beginning of his junior season, Killeya-Jones had received offers from Georgetown and Virginia and that’s when he knew he had serious D-I talent.
Killeya-Jones decided to transfer to Virginia Episcopal School for his junior year, which allowed him to step into the spotlight even more. At VES he was able to play a national schedule, including trips to Kentucky and North Carolina.
Killeya-Jones became Kentucky’s first commit in the class of 2016, picking the Cats over Virginia, Cal, Florida, Connecticut, Georgetown, Wake Forest, and North Carolina
When asked what he looks forward to at Kentucky, Killeya-Jones said, “to playing with the best, being coached by the best and going out every day to fight and get better. I really want to learn how to be professional, how to carry yourself, the work ethic and just every little bit that goes into being a pro. I think they can really teach me that.”
To read the full interview with The News & Advance, click here.
Jamal Murray posted a video of himself showing off his crazy handles yesterday. Looks like Murray is putting in some work before the NBA combine. The Combine will take place May 11-15 in Chicago.
— Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) May 1, 2016
ESPN’s Chad Ford has project Murray going as early as the third pick to the Boston Celtics. Other projections have him going fifth or sixth overall.
With handles and a shooting ability like Murray has, any team will regret passing on the Blue Arrow.
By Nick Roush on ©April 30th, 2016 @ 6:30pm
As we await to hear the fait of Isaiah Briscoe’s NBA Draft Combine invitation, another Wildcat has been added to the alternate list. Alex Poythress joins fellow forward Marcus Lee as alternates to participate in the combine.
It’s easy to immediately react negatively, but it makes sense. NBA executives vote on who they want to see in Chicago. They’ve seen more than three years of basketball from these two, and two “Cal Combines.”
It isn’t great news for anybody to be left off the invite list, but it doesn’t doom their NBA future. After all, Josh Richardson wasn’t invited to last year’s combine but he was still drafted 40th overall and is averaging 30 minutes a game in the playoffs for the Heat.
We’d been waiting all day to hear the news and now it’s confirmed: Isaiah Briscoe did NOT receive an invitation to the NBA Combine and is listed as an alternate. This news does nothing but increase Briscoe’s chances of returning to play for Kentucky in the fall. Marcus Lee is the third Wildcat on the alternate list.
The invitations for the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago have been sent out. Reports are slowly rolling in for who NBA executives want to see workout May 11-16.
Skal Labissiere has received a combine invitation but Marcus Lee is only listed as an alternate, according to Jeff Goodman. Even though Goodman’s a snake, I think we can take his word for it.
Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray will certainly receive invitations, leaving Isaiah Briscoe as the mystery man. Considering guys like Yogi Ferrell and Fred VanFleet weren’t invited, Briscoe’s chances to be in Chicago do not look promising.
Lee’s future was uncertain before. Now, it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s next.
Earlier this week Chad Ford jumped our favorite Haitian (sorry Wyclef) up five spots to #11 in his mock draft. Why? Well the biggest reason has been the emergence of Myles Turner on the Indiana Pacers and their playoff run. Here’s a bit of what Ford wrote about our former center:
It’s tough to know where exactly to slot Labissiere, but with Myles Turner playing a big role in the playoffs after scouts feared he’d take years to develop, teams might be less risk averse to select him than in years past.
Turner was once a Kentucky recruit but after he selected Texas and fell into obscurity under Rick Barnes. Now he and the Pacers are on the verge of taking the second seeded Raptors to game seven. So why is that impacting Skal’s draft stock? Well it turns out the big men have a lot in common.
A High School Superstar
Coming out of high school, both players were ranked near the top of their class. Myles Turner was the sixth ranked player in his class and the third best Center behind Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns. Skal was the second best player in the class against a weaker crop of big men. The similarities don’t end there, just check out the overall summary from Turner’s NBADraft.net profile:
“[He’s] is a very intriguing prospect due to his length, offensive foundation, and defined NBA position … At just 18 years of age, he has plenty of room to grow, and a very high ceiling … A lot of his early shortcomings, are things that can be ironed out or improved upon with experience and physical maturation … The biggest hump for him will be adjusting to the size and strength of NBA players … The fact he has such a good jump shot, and the length to help make up for defensive mistakes will aid in his transition … Not really an NBA ready guy, how well he’s able to adjust and how much he grows as a player will determine whether he’s a star or a role player, but he already has a fantastic foundation for an NBA stretch 4 at just 18 years of age …”
Seems like most of that you could copy and paste over for Skal. However, for both of the big men those skills did not materialize on the college level.
A Disappointing One-and-Done
Earlier this week Mike DeCourcy of the sporting news wrote a post titled “Myles Turner ‘was born for’ NBA, not NCAA, and is showing it in playoffs“ In Turner’s one season at Texas his stats were wildly inconsistent. In his fifth collegiate game Myles scored 25 points in 25 minutes. In his final NCAA tournament game against Butler he scored just 2 points in 16 minutes. As the season went in Turner went from focal point of the Longhorns’ offense to struggling to get into the game for extended minutes. DeCourcy summed it up
It wasn’t that Turner appeared disinterested when he played at Texas. He didn’t play with confidence or aggression. He is much too bright not to have understood what Texas wanted from him. He seemed to want to be playing a different game and, in the end, that turned out to be true.
For Skal his lone season featured the same bouts of inconsistency. Bookending the season against NJIT and LSU, Skal looked sensational. He scored in a variety of ways and got it done on both ends of the floor. However, as Cal tried to push him to adapt his game Labissiere appeared to lose confidence and never find his role on the floor. He really looked to be playing a different game.
In Turner’s first NBA season he’s already making a bigger impact than he ever had at Texas. He’s averaging 10.6 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks so far in the playoffs and is proving to be one of the steals of last year’s draft. When people try to say that Skal “isn’t ready” for the NBA, Myles Turner is the case for why he has to go. Skal may not have the same level of success that Turner had during his first year but turning down the association could cost him millions and lower his draft stock further. If Turner would have returned to Texas for a second year it is likely his stock would have dropped further as new coach Shaka Smart figured out how to utilize him in his system.
As Myles Turner has proven, sometimes life is all about fit and it may be the case that Skal is better suited for the open spacing of the NBA.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 29th, 2016 @ 11:00pm
Yesterday, John Calipari broke the Big Blue internet when he released a video of himself working out and talking about staying at Kentucky for another 20 years. In the past, Calipari has hinted at retiring at Kentucky, but watching him sweat and bob on the elliptical while fantasizing about how many draft picks, championships, and All-Stars he would accumulate over the next twenty years is the most concrete statement we’ve had yet.
“I gotta get my body right. Can I coach to my mid-70’s? Maybe. And what would that mean if I’m at Kentucky for another 20 [years]? What would that mean? Championships, draft picks, #1, lotteries. No doubt, I would have 12 guys in the NBA All-Star game. No doubt. What about wins? So, let’s see if I can get in that type of shape so when I’m 75 I’m still doing this stuff.”
So, what would happen if Calipari stayed at Kentucky another 20 years, until 2036? I’m glad you asked…
🏆 2-3 more NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
So far, Calipari has one national championship at Kentucky, and if you do the math, that would mean he’ll get 2-3 more titles over the next twenty years. Considering the number of near misses in past years, this number could be MUCH higher.
3-4 National Championships TOTAL during Cal’s career at Kentucky, bringing Kentucky’s total to 10-11
Calipari has been to 4 Final Fours over the past seven seasons for a 0.57 per year average. Using that average, Kentucky is on pace to go to 11-12 more Final Fours over the next 20 years.
15-16 Final Fours TOTAL during Cal’s career at Kentucky, bringing Kentucky’s total to 28-29
🏀 620 more WINS
Calipari has amassed 217 wins at Kentucky so far, which averages out to 31 per season. Using that average, he’ll get 620 more wins at Kentucky over the next 20 years.
837 wins TOTAL during Cal’s career at Kentucky, bringing Kentucky’s total to 2,827 and Calipari’s career total to 1,282
During the Calipari era, 25 players have been drafted, a sterling average of 4.17 per year. Using that average, 83-84 more Kentucky players will be drafted in the next 20 years.
108-109 draft picks TOTAL during Cal’s career at Kentucky, bringing the total number of players drafted in Calipari’s career to 117-118 and the total in Kentucky basketball history to 201-201.
💰💰 43-44 more LOTTERY PICKS
During the Calipari era, 13 players have been drafted in the lottery, an average of 2.17 per year. Using that average, 43-44 more Kentucky players will be lottery picks in the next 20 years.
56-57 lottery picks TOTAL during Calipari’s career at Kentucky, bringing the total number of lottery picks in Calipari’s career to 60-61.
☝️10 more #1 DRAFT PICKS
Three Kentucky players have been drafted first during the Calipari era (John Wall, Anthony Davis, Karl Towns). At this rate, Calipari will have ten more #1 draft picks over the next 20 years.
13 #1 draft picks TOTAL during Calipari’s career at Kentucky, bringing the total number in his career and Kentucky basketball history to 14.
Last year, three Kentucky players were named NBA All-Stars: John Wall, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins. At that rate (which, given the talent UK has produced in the past seven years, is very conservative), at least 10 more players will be named NBA All-Stars. AT LEAST.
13 NBA All-Stars TOTAL during Calipari’s career at Kentucky, which eclipses his goal of 12.
Now, get in shape so this can happen, coach.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 29th, 2016 @ 9:00pm
After the Detroit Red Wings announced yesterday that their new arena would be named “Little Caesar’s Arena,” The Sporting News’ Colleen Thomas made a list of the worst stadium/arena names in sports. Not surprisingly, both of Louisville’s major sports venues made the list, the KFC Yum! Center and Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
“The KFC Yum! Center sounds more like a mall food court than a sports facility. Sorry, Louisville,” Thomas wrote, adding after Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium’s entry, “First, the KFC Yum! Center, now this? The University of Louisville got the brunt of the bad names.”
Also on the list:
- The Phoenix Suns’ Talking Stick Resort Arena
- The Phoenix Coyotes’ Jobing.com Arena
- University of Akron’s InfoCision Stadium
- Boise State’s Taco Bell Arena (obviously, Drew Franklin disagrees with this)
If Rupp ever gets renovated or a new arena is built, I know naming rights are inevitable, but for now, let’s just be thankful for what we’ve got.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 29th, 2016 @ 6:30pm
There have been tons of great pictures to come out of the players’ autograph signings in recent weeks, but this one of young Gavin and his bow checking to make sure Jamal Murray was the same guy in the poster may take the cake.
If you would like to have your own Gavin moment with Jamal, here’s where he’ll signing autographs this weekend:
|Friday, April 29||5:30 – 7 PM||Wildcat Wearhouse||Somerset|
|Friday, April 29||7 – 8:30 PM CT||Wildcat Wearhouse||Glasgow|
|Saturday, April 30||12 – 2 PM||Towne Mall||Elizabethtown|
|Saturday, April 30||4 – 6 PM||Simpsonville Outlet Mall||Simpsonville|
|Sunday, May 1||2 – 4 PM||The Kentucky Shop||Florence|
And as for Tyler Ulis…
|Friday, April 29||6 – 8 PM||Bevins Motors||Georgetown|
|Monday, May 2||6 – 8 PM||Holy Family School||Ashland|
It is with a heavy heart that I pass along this news: after suffering a massive heart attack on Tuesday, former UK great Ed Davender passed away last night at the age of 49. According to the Herald-Leader, Davender was kept on life support at UK Hospital until his mother, Juanita, could come be by his side.
Davender played at UK from 1984-1988 and ranks 11th on the all-time career scoring list with 1,637 points and eighth on the career assists list with 436. He came to Kentucky from Brooklyn, New York as a McDonald’s All-American, and started as a freshman for Joe B. Hall. Eddie Sutton coached him his final three years at Kentucky, during which he also led the Cats in free-throw accuracy. Davender is considered by many to be one of the most underrated players in UK history, sometimes forgotten in the shadow of his more famous teammates, Kenny Walker and Rex Chapman.
Sadly, Davender was known for scandal in recent years. In 2010, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for his participation in a UK basketball ticket scam that caused victims to lose tens of thousands of dollars. His public defender Denny Shepperd told the Herald-Leader that Davender pledged in court to “pay every penny” of what he owed.
As Kentucky fans, we will remember Davender most for his success on the court, and it’s no coincidence that his name came up more than once this season while we watched another great point guard play. Tyler Ulis reminds many of Davender, and the backcourt duo of Ulis and Murray will go down alongside Davender and Rex Chapman as the most successful in UK Basketball history.
Davender’s funeral will be held in Lexington, but arrangements are still being made.
Rest in peace, Wildcat.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 29th, 2016 @ 3:31pm
As promised, John Calipari posted another workout video this afternoon, this one of him lifting weights. How swaggy was Cal this time? He claimed he was going to bench 270 lbs. three times, delivering this warning to viewers:
“Do not try it at home. Middle aged men, please don’t do it. Look at me and be jealous. I get that a lot.”
It looked like he was doing it, and then, of course, the camera panned out and you could see Joel Justus and Isaiah Briscoe holding the ends of the bar. Oh, Cal, you so silly!
Calipari goes on to tell viewers that over the next few weeks, he plans to release more videos about the state of the program and his vision of where things go from here. More Cal videos? Yes, please, especially with swaggy, sweaty hair:
Also of note: Calipari says Dakari Johnson will be back on campus this summer to work on his degree. Welcome back, Dakari!