Basketball Season Coverage
By Sam Gormley on ©May 26th, 2018 @ 1:00pm
During his previous nine seasons at Kentucky, John Calipari has had a lot of teams loaded with talent. Countless McDonalds All-Americans, five-stars and even the occasional four-star have all made their impact on the Blue and White.
A lot of players have made impacts on their team that were unprecedented, but is there a player that was more unappreciated than Julius Mays?
Mays was a graduate transfer for Cal from Wright State. In his one year in Dayton, Mays averaged 14.1 points a game. This came after spending two years at NC State.
After losing pretty much everything off of the 2012 National Championship team, Calipari had to get creative. He of course had his recruiting class that featured Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin, Willie Cauley-Stein and headlined by Nerlens Noel. He also had NC State transfer Ryan Harrow waiting in the wings to take over the starting point guard spot from Marquis Teague.
The thing that the team really needed was experience and scoring. Julius Mays brought both of those things to the table. Did his game blow you away? No, but his leadership on the court did.
We all know how that season ended up. I do not need to go into details on that, but I am curious as to how much worse it would have been without Julius Mays. Other than Nerlens, I think that Mays was the most important player on the team.
I think back to what was, at the time, the most important game of the season for the Cats. College Gameday was in town for a mid-February game against Missouri. Kentucky needed a win in the worst kind of way. They had struggled following the injury to Nerlens Noel.
Mays turned in a masterful performance by scoring a season-high 24 points to lead Kentucky to a 90-83 Overtime win over the Tigers. He played 44 of a possible 45 minutes.
Like I said, his stats would never blow you away, but it was the leadership that for the most part helped keep the team together. Yes, I know they didn’t make the tournament, but they were still on the bubble up until Selection Sunday. Julius deserves a lot of thanks for that. In my opinion, he doesn’t get nearly the respect he deserves.
How I remember Julius Mays at Kentucky is simple. I think it is best described through two pictures:
This picture is Mays carrying Archie Goodwin off the floor after Goodwin got hurt during the Morehead State game. While the injury wasn’t serious, you can tell what the relatiomship was between the freshman and senior.
Then there is this picture. On Senior Night, Mays with his mom and daughter. It is one of my favorite senior night pictures. Such a small moment, but with so much meaning.
Julius Mays is the most under-appreciated player of the Calipari era. There are definitely others, but I think Mays leads the way.
It is a busy day for birthdays of former Kentucky basketball players. While some may have come before your time, there are still some big names of more recent years. Please share any specific memories you have of these specific players in the comments.
Carl “Hoot” Combs played two years for Kentucky basketball from 1939-1941. A native of Hazard, Kentucky, Combs also was a member of the Kentucky football team. He was Honorable Mention All-SEC in basketball and played running back and defensive back for Ab Kirwan and the football team.
Following his playing career, Combs served with the Army’s 1st Armored Division in North Africa and Italy during World War II. When he returned from war, the former Cat became the Public Address announcer for the final 10 years at Memorial Coliseum.
Combs passed away at the age of 89 on February 24th, 2007.
Mr. Basketball 1966 Mike Casey would have been 70 years old today. The member of both the state of Kentucky Hall of Fame and the UK Hall of Fame played three years on the hardwood.
Casey was a graduate of Shelby County High School in Simpsonville. During his Kentucky career, he was named first-team All-SEC during all three of his playing years. Over his four years in Lexington, Casey averaged 18.1 points per game.
Before Casey’s junior season, he was in a car accident, in which he suffered a broken leg, which forced him to miss the entire 1969-70 season.
He passed away on April 8th, 2009 at the age of 60.
Today would also have been Ed Davender’s 52nd birthday. Arguably one of the most underrated players in the history of Kentucky basketball, Davender averaged nearly 13 points and 4 assists a game during his time in Lexington.
The Brooklyn, NY native ranks near the top of many of Kentucky’s statistical rankings. One of the most impressive though is that he took more free throws than any other guard in UK history. His 554 free throw attempts rank fourth in history with only Kenny Walker, Dan Issel and Cotton Nash attempting more.
Davender passed away two years ago after suffering a heart attack. He was 49. Jerry Tipton wrote a fantastic obituary about Davender. In it, you will find quotations from Joe B. Hall, Rex Chapman and others that knew him. You can find that by clicking here.
After serving in the United State Navy, James Jordan attended the University of North Carolina. After two years in Chapel Hill, he transferred to Kentucky to finish out his career. Jordan is the only player in the history of both programs to play for both teams.
A member of the 1948 National Championship team, Jordan scored 124 points over his career. After graduating, Jordan attended law school where he gained a law degree and practiced law for the next 35 years.
James Jordan passed away in 1999, but his obituary says that he was an avid golfer and follower of College Basketball until the day he died. Today he would have been 93.
Former Kentucky basketball player Deward Compton turns 97 today. Compton only played two years for Kentucky; scoring only 26 points in 10 games. He went on to transfer to Louisville where he averaged over 10 points in his senior season. He was then drafted by Philadelphia in the 1948 NBA Draft.
Former Cat, “Razor” Ramon Harris turns 30 years old today. To this day, Harris remains to be the only player to ever play for Kentucky basketball that was from Alaska. Don’t quote me, but my guess is it is a safe bet to guess he is the only one in the entire athletic department to ever be from Alaska.
Harris played for three different coaches during his time in Lexington. Over his three and a half years, the Alaska native averaged 3.4 points and 2.8 rebounds a game.
After Kentucky, Harris has continued to play professional basketball in the G League, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico and currently in Greece.
This season in Greece, he is averaging 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds for Kolossos H Hotels basketball.
That is all of your birthdays for today, May 26th, 2018. A special thank you to Big Blue History for stats and pictures. If you have never checked out their site, you have to. They have gone through and created a true encyclopedia for Kentucky basketball. It is fascinating for stats nerds like myself. You can check out the website by clicking here.
Remember to leave any specific memories of these players in the comments below or let me know on Twitter @GormleyKSR.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 25th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
This morning’s news that the new renovations to Rupp Arena will reduce capacity from 23,500 to 20,500 has been met with mixed reaction from fans; here’s why it’s actually good for Kentucky basketball.
Kentucky only sold out two games last year
Last year, Kentucky averaged 21,875 fans at home games, a seven percent drop from the previous season and by far the lowest in the Calipari era. This is due to a lot of factors — one-and-done fatigue, late game times, a lack of marquee home opponents — but there’s no denying that attendance is down at games nationwide, an epidemic we’ve covered ad nauseam on this site. As HD TVs get bigger, better, and cheaper and the SEC doesn’t allow everyone to drink at games, that trend isn’t going to end anytime soon. According to official figures (which are always inflated), Kentucky only sold out TWO games last season (Louisville and Florida), and attendance only eclipsed the 23,000 mark five times. Attendance didn’t even meet the new capacity of 20,500 for five games. Empty seats have become a common sight at Rupp, and fewer seats means fewer empty seats, which is a good thing.
One possible casualty of the diminished capacity? Bragging rights. The loss of seats will drop Rupp Arena from the second largest arena in college basketball to the sixth, meaning fans will need to fill the building each game to keep the program No. 1 in average home attendance, a title Kentucky’s won 20 of the last 23 years.
The upper level gets a much-needed upgrade
All seats located along the sidelines in sections 211-217 and 228-234 will be upgraded from bleachers to chairback seating. Anyone who’s watched a game from the upper level of Rupp Arena will agree that this is long overdue. The bleachers in the upper level are painful for even the spryest of backs and elbow room is non-existent. Everyone likes to complain about how UK only rewards rich fans through its renovations, but this upgrade is for the program’s most loyal supporters.
Ticket prices are NOT going up
Another common misconception online is that UK is raising ticket prices to pay for the renovations. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Ticket prices will remain the same, and if you want access to the new club areas, you’ll be able to purchase a separate package, which is the only way around the SEC’s no-alcohol at games policy.
Most of the seats will probably come from the student section
The 3,000 lost seats will come from a mixture of students, staff, and single-game tickets, not season tickets. How UK will divvy that up isn’t finalized yet, but I would bet money that most of the seats will come from students, who have failed to fill their allotment the past several seasons; at the risk of getting into another debate about student tickets, this is totally fair. We’ve said for years that if students don’t use those seats, they’ll lose them, and it looks like that’s about to happen for the greater good.
If you want to scalp tickets, you’ll still be able to
Fewer tickets could lead to a price increase on third-party sites and I can see how that might upset the average fan; however, with attendance continuing to plummet at games nationwide, tickets will still be there for the taking, and for a little extra money, your chances of watching the Cats from a comfortable seat (and maybe even with club area access) are way better than they were before.
Rupp Arena is one of the best venues in college basketball, but it’s time to catch up with the times. Change isn’t always bad.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©May 25th, 2018 @ 8:00pm
P.J. Washington has been consistent with how he’s approaching the upcoming NBA Draft. If he doesn’t have a first-round guarantee, he plans on coming back to Kentucky. Simple as that. He had an impressive freshman season, but odds are he’s not going to get that guarantee. Returning for another season as a Wildcat is his best option.
Washington has NBA potential and a ton of it. He showcased his skills in 37 games in a Kentucky uniform last season and while he experienced plenty of ups and downs (just like all freshman do), he needs Kentucky more than he needs the NBA, at least for one more season.
Now I’ll start by stating that I am a believer in the concept that spending one year with an NBA team can do more for young basketball players, specifically 19 and 20-year olds, than two or three seasons in college. However, that logic really only applies to players such as Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who are guaranteed first round picks and likely lottery selections. Knox and SGA have NBA ready talent, even if they aren’t remotely close to being polished players. Washington, if he decides to stay in the draft, doesn’t have an aspect to his game that screams “NBA ready”. He would likely earn some guaranteed money if he went in the second round, but it wouldn’t be worth sitting in the G League for a season or two when he can be one of Kentucky’s best two or three players before the first exhibition game. But he’s shown more than enough potential that he can one day bring that NBA readiness to the table, which is where one more season at Kentucky comes into play.
Washington averaged 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in 27.4 minutes per game last year. There were stretches during the season where he was without-a-doubt Kentucky’s best player and other stretches where he felt nonexistent. His game greatly evolved over the course of the season and by the time the NCAA Tournament came around, fans knew exactly what Washington was going to bring to the table on every given night. He was the inside bruiser who could punish opponents in the paint with pure strength but also pop out and hit a mid-range jump shot if he needed to. He went to the free throw line 208 times, more than any other Kentucky player and 33 more times than the next closest Wildcat (SGA). He may not have been the most efficient at the line (60.6 percent on the season) and even earned himself the nickname “Mr. One-for-two”, but it never deterred him from fighting down low.
His ability to get to the line is actually one of the major factors to his game that would make him an enticing second-round pick for this year’s draft. He finished in the 99.5 percentile in regards to his 80.5 percent free throw rate (which is the number of free throw attempts per field goal attempt), despite being undersized. He measured at six-foot-eight, 223 pounds in the NBA combine, which is smaller than usual for someone who will play the four in the NBA, but long arms, great basketball instincts in the paint, and NBA small-ball will benefit him more in the current NBA landscape than it would have 10 or even five years ago. If he can add a bit more muscle to his already impressive frame, he can be a brute in the paint. He’s incredibly quick off the floor and hardly seems phased by contact. If anything, he encourages it.
What Washington especially needs to improve upon is his perimeter scoring. He flashed his ability to knock down threes a tiny bit during the beginning of the season (going 4-17 from deep through the first 20 games) but regressed in that area as the season went on (he attempted only four threes the next 17 games going 1-4). He has a smooth – and surprisingly quick – stroke but lacks the consistency to be a realistic threat. On its own, big men being able to knock down triples at an effective rate will get them drafted high in the order. It’s arguably the most necessary component to running a spaced offense in the modern NBA. If Washington hadn’t abandoned the three (even though it was what was best for the team in hindsight) and boosted his percentages to the mid-thirties, he’d be a much more valuable prospect in this year’s draft. Coming back and improving on that will cause his stock to soar.
Washington is a great high-energy player who can handle his own on the block, but the ability to be a multi-layer offensive weapon is key for an undersized big at the next level. Shooting 66 percent at the rim last season was impressive, but shooting a lowly 34.5 percent on all other two-point attempts is disconcerting. Coming back to Kentucky would allow him to put in an entire offseason’s worth of work into his jump shot and add that extra dimension to his offensive game that he desperately needs.
Another year at Kentucky would also give him a chance to expand his potential as a ball-handler. He didn’t do much of taking the ball up or dribbling in the open court last season, but in the few glimpses we did see, it was clear that he is more than capable. He has the opportunity to morph into a Draymond Green prototype player, one who plays big despite being undersized and can also bring the ball up, resulting in other bigs having to chase him around the court. Kentucky will have plenty of ball handlers next season so the need for him to do so may be unnecessary, but Washington should at the very least be encouraged to turn and go after pulling down defensive rebounds. He’s quick and strong enough to take the ball end-to-end, especially if he has a clear mismatch.
Washington is going to be a valuable NBA player one day, there is no doubt in my mind about that. He has a rather unique skill set and a monster frame, his basketball abilities just need to catch up to him first. If he can become a more impactful ball handler and legitimate outside scoring threat, he might be looking at being more than just a first-round pick in next year’s draft. Coming back to Kentucky would ensure another loaded roster and he would be one of the featured stars. Washington ended his freshman season at Kentucky on a sour note against Kansas State, if he comes back for one more season he could be one of the most dominant and versatile big men in all of college basketball.
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
By Drew Franklin on ©May 25th, 2018 @ 2:14pm
You won’t see the two major additions to Rupp Arena until the 2019-20 season, but there is one new change that will impact how you enjoy the game this upcoming season.
For the very first time, UK and its media partner, JMI Sports, will have complete control of the video boards in Rupp Arena. It’s a change many fans won’t even notice, but it’s a dig deal for UK and JMI.
In years past UK was locked into a split media agreement with Rupp Arena, which meant it shared screen time and needed to get all things cleared through Rupp. But beginning this year, UK will be completely free to do as it pleases with all arena audio and video.
This will likely mean no more ads for upcoming monster truck shows and Dierks Bentley concerts, and more videos to promote Kentucky basketball and UK athletics as a whole. It could also mean you’ll see new sponsors, hear new music and whatever else UK decides to change up now that it’s in control. Overall, the in-game video, audio and even the lighting will be much more flexible and in sync, which should make the experience even better.
It’s like getting the aux cord when you’re in an Uber, but imagine 20,000+ people in the backseat.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 25th, 2018 @ 11:00am
Rupp Arena as we know it will soon be gone. In a short year from now, the upper level will see a major renovation with chair-back seating throughout the two sideline sides, and there will be four brand new club areas for those fans interested in adding a little more luxury to their game day experience.
It is a major makeover of college basketball’s greatest arena and you can learn everything there is to know about the project by reading this thorough rundown of what’s to come.
If your seats are in the lower level, you will not be affected.
For those of you with prime real estate in the lower bowl, most of this is not for you. You should continue reading about some minor changes to your game day, but your seats are not in jeopardy in any way.
If your seats are in the upper level, you should pay attention.
Because you’re probably going to have to move.
The upper-level sideline seats are getting chair-backs.
All seats located along the sidelines in the upper level will be upgraded from bleachers to comfortable chair-back seating. This includes any and all seats in sections 211-217 and 228-234. These are not bleacher-back seats like in Kroger Field; they will be stadium chair-back seats.
The end zones will not change.
The installment of the new seating will not occur until after the upcoming season.
Construction is set for Spring of 2019. You get one more year of bleachers, so your butts should cherish every moment with the metal they’ve sat on for decades.
Rupp Arena’s max capacity will decrease.
With the new seating comes a decline in the number of seats throughout the arena. The chair-backs will be wider than the current bleacher spots, therefore the total number of seats will drop. There is only so much room in the arena and the expansion will unfortunately take up more space per fan.
The estimated capacity will be more like 20,500.
This number is not final, only a rough estimate. If accurate, Rupp Arena will still be the sixth-largest arena and still capable of winning college basketball attendance awards.
UK projects around a 3,000 drop in seating.
There are more specifics to work out.
The specifics of the actual seat size and a diagram of the new upper level are currently unavailable as those two things are still TBD.
Season ticket holders will pick their new seats.
As was the case with the Kroger Field reshuffle, fans with the most K-Fund points will be given the first opportunity to select their new seats. However, UK listened and learned from the Kroger Field reshuffle and will make a better effort to keep fans together.
One of the things they learned is that many fans only know each other from sitting together at games and they’re unable to contact each other, so they’re working to accommodate those people in the seat reassignment process.
IMPORTANT: No season ticket holders will be displaced due to the renovation.
Season ticket holders, you have priority. You will likely have to move, but your attendance at games will not be taken away from you with the reduction in capacity. The reduction will be made up for in other areas: students, staff, single-game tickets, etc. (although how it’s divided has not been decided.)
Ticket pricing is not connected to the renovation and will not change.
So that’s nice.
There will eventually be four new club levels.
Imagine the Woodford Reserve Club at Kroger Field. The goal is four new areas similar to that.
Two of the four club areas will be available to the public for the 2019-20 season.
A third will be open but not to the public. It will replace what is now the President’s Room, where UK entertains its VIP guests.
A third public club area (the fourth and final club area) will be available for the 2020-21 season.
This will be the largest of the four and will be off by itself.
Estimated club capacity is 3,000 to 4,000.
That is across all four clubs.
The club areas will be built onto the back of Rupp Arena.
The new space is an addition onto the lower/Jefferson Street side of the arena (opposite the Hyatt and Triangle Park).
John Calipari is losing his VIP parking spot.
In fact, all parking in the Manchester lot will be impacted.
The club levels will not have a view of the court.
Consider it a nice pregame and postgame hangout, although you’re more than welcome to go during the game if you don’t mind watching the action on TV.
But you can drink!
Club packages will include food and non-alcoholic beverages, and booze will be available for purchase for all you party animals.
The club level will not be attached to any seats.
Any and all season ticket holders can purchase a club spot, although priority will be given based on K-Fund points.
Pricing, amenities and club design are all still TBD.
The hope is to have a sneak peek in place at Big Blue Madness this fall.
There will be no arena suites.
If you were hoping to one day watch the Cats from a comfortable seat in a suite, well, too bad.
Construction on the clubs will begin this July.
You will see a lot of work being done in the very near future, but you will not see any major changes to your Rupp Arena experience until the 2019-20 season. (Other than a big mess on that one side, of course.)
I think that covers all there is to know at this time. If you have any more questions or want to read a little more than what I gave you, visit the Rupp renovation’s site at UKAthletics.com/RuppRenovation.
Last week, Bret Bearup passed away suddenly at the age of 56. The former Kentucky Basketball player was an unforgettable character with a voracious thirst for knowledge, which is why it’s no surprise that tributes continue to come out from those who knew him. This morning, Seth Davis posted his own remembrance of Bearup on The Athletic, and it’s well worth a few minutes of your time.
Here’s an excerpt:
When word spread of Bearup’s sudden death by coronary on May 16 at the age of 56, he was identified in news reports by the top line in his résumé: former Kentucky basketball player. That barely begins to describe the road he traveled. He truly was larger than life, with an outsized personality that matched his massive physique, and an infinite web of relationships that were as diverse as his reading interests. “A lot of times we as athletes get stereotyped,” says 7-foot-1 center Sam Bowie, Bearup’s teammate at Kentucky. “But Bret Bearup wasn’t just the smartest, most intellectual athlete I’ve ever been around. He was one of the smartest, most intellectual humans.”
As Davis writes, Bearup’s remains will be cremated today and, next month, scattered in the Snake River that runs through Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. Fittingly, his family has asked that donations in his honor be made to Shelteringbooks.org, a charity that provides adult and children’s books for homeless shelters across the United States.
Brad Calipari is gearing up for another European vacation. After taking his talents to Croatia last summer, Brad is about to embark on an eight-day tour with Global Sports Academy through Belgium, Germany and Holland.
Brad’s squad includes ten college players from eight different schools and will be coached by Bucknell assistant Joe Meehan. The Global Sports Academy team will play five games against professional teams from the region, including Cologne and Leverkusen in Germany and Leuven. The first game is tomorrow.
During last year’s tour in Croatia, Brad averaged 14.3 points, 6.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. Over his two years at Kentucky, he’s appeared in 26 games, scored 11 points, including three threes. Like last year, I’m sure he’ll enjoy playing in front of a crowd that doesn’t yell “SHOOT” at him every time he touches the ball.
Congratulations are in order for Isaiah Briscoe, whose BC Kalev/Cramo squad just won their tenth Estonian championship, beating Tartu 99-83.
I don’t speak Estonian, so the game recap is a bit difficult to understand, but this video of the team singing “We Are The Champions” is priceless:
As is this picture of Briscoe posing with the trophy and what appears to be some kind of individual award:
Google Translate suggests Briscoe scored 20 points and the victory party will be held at Mack’s BBQ in Tartu. The final line of the game recap is something:
“WE ARE THERMAL ESTONIAN MASTERS! WAITING FOR ALL FATHERS AND SUPERIORS ONLY AROUND THE TARTU MAANTEE MACK BAR-B-QUES!”
Congrats, Zay. Mack’s BBQ about to be lit!
By Aaron Torres on ©May 24th, 2018 @ 3:30pm
If you’ve followed my work here at KSR or other places over the last year, you know that there might not be a bigger SEC basketball honk than I am. Now to be clear, I never intended it to be this way. But it all started at this time last year, when I made a seemingly harmless comment about how I thought the SEC would be vastly improved in basketball in 2018, and how I believed that half the league (at least seven teams) would make the 2018 NCAA Tournament. It was an opinion that was largely laughed out of the room by virtually every prominent national media member (seriously, you can read their responses here).
Of course, like most things related to college basketball I was once again right. The SEC had what was unquestionably the best basketball season in recent conference history, with a record eight teams making the NCAA Tournament and six winning at least one NCAA Tournament game. Add in the fact that even the “bad” teams picked up marquee out of conference wins (LSU beat eventual Final Four club Michigan, last-place Vanderbilt beat tourney team TCU) and it’s clear that basketball in this conference has never been as healthy as it was last year. And the good news is, it shouldn’t slow down heading into next season either. While some teams will fall, the league as a whole will be strong at the top. Virtually every preseason poll has at least five SEC teams (Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State) somewhere in their Top 25. Things might not quite hit their 2018 levels a season from now. But it will be pretty darn close.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 24th, 2018 @ 1:00pm
This morning, Kentucky announced it will play Kansas in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge at Rupp Arena on January 26, 2019, giving us a clearer picture of what is shaping up to be an absolutely loaded 2018-19 schedule.
Here’s the schedule as we know it:
|Bahamas National Team (Foreign Exhibition)
Paradise Island, Bahamas | The Atlantis
Wednesday, August 8
|San Lorenzo de Almagra (Foreign Exhibition)
Paradise Island, Bahamas | The Atlantis
Thursday, August 9
|Mega Bemax (Foreign Exhibition)
Paradise Island, Bahamas | The Atlantis
Saturday, August 11
|Team Toronto (Foreign Exhibition)
Paradise Island, Bahamas | The Atlantis
Sunday, August 12
|Big Blue Madness
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
|Kentucky vs. Duke
Indianapolis, IN | Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Tuesday, November 6
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Wednesday, November 28
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Saturday, December 1
|Kentucky vs. Seton Hall
New York, NY | Madison Square Garden
Citi Hoops Classic
Saturday, December 8
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Saturday, December 15
|Kentucky vs. North Carolina
Chicago, IL | United Center
CBS Sports Classic
Saturday, December 22
|Kentucky @ Louisville
Louisville, KY | KFC Yum! Center
|Kentucky vs. Kansas
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
SEC/Big 12 Challenge
Saturday, January 26
We’ll bring you more games as we know them.
When will we know whether PJ Washington is staying in the draft or returning to Kentucky? His father just confirmed to Jon Rothstein that PJ will announce his decision on May 30, the NCAA’s eligibility deadline. Players have until 11:59 p.m. that night to make their intentions known. Finally, something more concrete than the comments section of an Instagram post.
At the NBA Draft Combine last week, PJ told reporters that unless he’s given a first-round guarantee (a tricky concept), he will return to college. Right now, he’s only listed in one major mock draft, and that’s in the second round. The latest Sports Illustrated mock draft has him going to Minnesota with the 48th pick. So far, he’s met with or worked out for the Utah Jazz (picks 21 and 52), the Los Angeles Clippers (picks 12, 13), Brooklyn Nets (picks 29, 40, 45), and Boston Celtics (pick 27). Tomorrow, he’ll work out for the Timberwolves (picks 20 and 48).
For more on PJ’s dilemma, read Aaron Torres’ post from earlier this week. And no, there’s still no word on when Jarred Vanderbilt and Weynen Gabriel, who are also testing the waters, will announce their decisions.
Kentucky will get another shot at Kansas in Rupp Arena this upcoming season in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, UK announced Thursday morning.
The fourth-ranked Cats hosted the second-ranked Jayhawks in the 2016-17 edition of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. ESPN College Gameday was in town for that one, as was Michael Buffer, but UK lost on its own floor, 79-73.
The entire schedule looks like this:
Alabama at Baylor
Arkansas at Texas Tech
Florida at TCU
Texas at Georgia
Kansas at Kentucky
Iowa State at Ole Miss
South Carolina at Oklahoma State
West Virginia at Tennessee
Kansas State at Texas A&M
Vanderbilt at Oklahoma
All games will be played Saturday, January 26.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 23rd, 2018 @ 3:30pm
It’s been over six months since the FBI rocked the sports world with its report about bribery in college basketball, but it turns out the investigation itself may be compromised. Sports Illustrated is reporting that the lead FBI operative in the probe is under fire for allegedly misusing federal funds, putting the prosecution’s case at risk.
The agent, Joe DeAngelo, went undercover a real estate magnate interested in investing in Christian Dawkins’ sports agency, giving Dawkins money to funnel to college coaches to lure stars to their services. Dawkins took the bait, and because he used government money, was guilty of a federal crime; however, DeAngelo messed up too, allegedly using federal money on gambling, food, and beverages before and after his interactions with Dawkins in Vegas. He was pulled off the case and now, the lawyers for James Gatto, the Adidas executive also accused of felony wire fraud and money laundering, are trying to use DeAngelo’s misconduct to derail the prosecution’s case.
What a mess. With criminal cases set to go to trial this fall, the only thing that’s really come out of the FBI probe so far was Louisville firing Rick Pitino, and after this report, you know he won’t be able to keep his mouth shut. Hand over the popcorn.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 23rd, 2018 @ 2:44pm
Last week, the men’s basketball program was one of six Kentucky teams to be recognized by the NCAA for their high Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores; turns out that score was a perfect 1,000. This is the fifth consecutive year UK Basketball has posted a perfect single-year score and the third straight year the four-year composite has been perfect as well.
The NCAA just released the APR scores for all sports and 18 of the 20 UK team scores exceeded the national average and, for the first time in school history, every team scored at least 971. The APR marks are a four-year composite, covering the 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, measuring academic eligibility, retention and graduation. The 2016-17 school year’s scores were the ones just released, meaning De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo, and Malik Monk’s squad helped the basketball program keep it 1,000.
“Our whole mindset is preparing our kids for the rest of their lives,” John Calipari said via press release last week. “It’s about taking that next step to what they are going to do once they leave Kentucky. For some kids that’s playing professional basketball. For others it’s outside of basketball. Whatever they decide to do – whatever their ‘genius’ is in – it’s our job to make sure they’re prepared when they leave here. With 18 players who have graduated over the last nine years, I believe we’ve done that. Our kids are committed to learning and take care of business in the classroom. We teach growth in all areas. It’s well documented what our players learn about giving back that they carry with them for the rest of their lives. If they decide to pursue their genius and play professional basketball, they know they have lifetime scholarships so they can come back and finish their degree. Whether they leave early or stay here, they’re in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate. Michael Stone and the CATS staff do a wonderful job of making sure our kids are lifelong learners.”
Remember, Calipari will collect a $50,000 bonus for his program’s high APR score, the only bonus in his current contract.
Meanwhile, the 2016 football team scored a 971, its highest mark in the 14 years the APR has been around, and a significant increase from the 2015 team’s score of 958.
Well done, everyone.