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Adolph Rupp’s title teams and other UK greats to be honored

UK Athletics announced its plans to honor 14 of its best teams during the 2017-18 athletics season. The 14 teams were selected by a newly formed reunion committee established to honor elite teams of the past.

Adolph Rupp’s four championship teams (1948, ’49, ’51, ‘58) will get a reunion in Rupp Arena, as well as a reunion for the 1978 men’s basketball team. Rich Brooks’ three teams that brought three straight bowl wins to the football program will also be honored in Commonwealth Stadium during the UK football season, which we told you about earlier this month.

Here’s the full list of teams to be honored:

  • 1978 men’s basketball team – Captured UK’s fifth men’s basketball national championship as well as the SEC regular-season title
  • Adolph Rupp’s national championship teams (1948, ’49, ’51, ‘58) – Kentucky’s first four men’s basketball national champions also combined for four regular-season SEC championships and two SEC Tournament crowns
  • 2006-08 football teams – Won three straight bowl games for the first time in school history
  • 1988 baseball team – Came within one win of becoming the only team in school history to advance to the College World Series
  • 1987 and ’88 volleyball teams – Captured the program’s two most recent SEC regular-season and tournament titles
  • 1988 men’s tennis team – Advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships, tied for the best finish in school history
  • 1986 and 1988 women’s golf teams – Finished fifth at the NCAA Championships in 1986, the best finish in school history, and 10th in 1988

Dates for each reunion are still TBD, and many teams will be honored together due to roster crossover and shared accomplishments.


10 Things to Know About Team USA’s Run in the FIBA World Cup

10 Things to Know About Team USA’s Run in the FIBA World Cup

This afternoon, John Calipari and the U19 National Team arrived in Cairo, Egypt for the FIBA World Cup; what should they expect over the next two weeks? I’ve never been to Egypt, but I do have a computer with internet access, so I spent my day researching the ancient land and the event. Here’s what the team can look forward to, both on and off the basketball court.

1. It’s gonna be really, really hot

Over the next two weeks, temperatures in Cairo are expected to get as high as 107 degrees. Every day will be pretty much the same: sunny and hot with absolutely no chance of precipitation. It’s like they’re in the desert or something.

But, you know, it’s a dry heat.

2. The Egyptian president has taken over security of the event

A major concern leading up to the FIBA World Cup has been security. Over the past several months, terrorist attacks have wreaked havoc across Egypt; however, it’s important to note that Cairo has remained safe, with most of the attacks happening outside the city in rural areas. FIBA is so concerned about safety that Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has personally stepped in to oversee security for the event. In a recent teleconference, Calipari said he has received several assurances from USA Basketball, specifically General Martin Dempsey, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that proper precautions will be in place.

“Well, I think whether you’re in the NBA or the Olympics, traveling around the world has changed a whole lot. USA Basketball had recognized that having General (Martin E.) Dempsey become the new chairman of USA Basketball at this time for this trip was kind of helpful. He’s able to call the ambassador of Egypt, and he and I have had a bunch of calls because, again, I feel that I’m going to be responsible for 12 kids and their parents and I want to be sure where are we on all this. All I can tell you is, at this point, there are two levels within the USA Basketball security that we’ll have. The president of Egypt is involved in this, and the arena and the hotel. The hotel is where the Pope stayed. Let me just say this, I was very curious of how we’re going to do this, and at this point I’m very comfortable that this team will be in a good position when we travel and go over there to play.”

According to the Washington Post, the US team will receive the same level of security that NBA All-Stars have on Olympic squads, with even more staff on the ground and greater intelligence shared. So, it’s very, very doubtful that the team will be able to roam the streets of Cairo on their own, which is a good thing because…

3. Crossing the street looks terrifying

Crossing the street in any major city can be a daunting task, but in Cairo, it can be a death wish. No joke, when I looked up Cairo travel tips, there was a whole section on how to cross the street. According to the Daily Telegraph, you should only cross the street in Cairo if you are “supremely confident” because to Egyptians, “more than a breath of air between cars is a wasted space.”

So, Calipari, use that Vince McMahon swagger when venturing out onto the streets of Cairo to get your Dunkin’ Donuts (there are actually two locations in the city). You’ll need it.

4. The local food looks amazing

I’m a big fan of Mediterranean food, and while I’m sure the team will eat most of their meals in the hotel, here’s hoping they’re able to sample at least some of the local cuisine because it looks amazing. Typical Egyptian dishes you can find in Cairo:

  • Koshary — A dish made of rice, macaroni, and lentils and topped with chickpeas, onion, and a special tomato-vinegar sauce.
  • Ful Mudamas — A breakfast dish made of fava beans cooked in spices (typically salt, pepper, cumin, and olive oil) and served with loaves of pita or French bread
  • Mahshi — Grape leaves stuffed with spiced rice and cooked in a tomato based sauce
  • Fiteer Baladi — Egyptian pizza made of layers upon layers of filo dough. Can be ordered sweet (with honey, syrup, and/or powdered sugar) or savory (with meat, vegetables, and/or cheese)
  • Falafel — Deep-fried mixture of herbs and beans
  • Kabab — Skewers of seasoned beef cooked over coals; Kofta: Minced beef or lamb with spices rolled onto skewers and cooked over coals

And now I’m hungry.

5. Tomorrow, they’ll go see the pyramids

USA’s first game isn’t until Saturday vs. Iran, so until then, they’ll let their bodies acclimate to the time change, rest, practice, and yes, sightsee. Before scrimmaging Lithuania tomorrow night, the team will go check out the pyramids in Giza, which is about a half hour from their hotel, depending on traffic. Once there, they’ll tour the pyramids and the Sphinx, and, hopefully, for the sake of photo opps, take a camel ride. How much does a camel ride in Giza cost? For a short ride with the right haggler, around $25 each; well worth it for a once in a lifetime experience. Romeo Langford can’t wait.

“The main thing I want to see over in Egypt during my downtime is the pyramids,” Langford wrote in his recent USA Today High School Sports blog. “I remember when I was in the sixth grade I did a project about the Pyramids of Giza; it’ll be crazy to be able to just see them now.”

I started my own Egypt club in elementary school (super nerd!), so I would say the same.

6. The US will be going for a repeat

The US took home the gold in the 2015 FIBA World Cup in Heraklion, Greece. With a team featuring Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Jalen Brunson, Josh Jackson, Caleb Swanigan, and Thomas Welsh, the US beat out Croatia for the title, so this year they’ll be going for a repeat. To do that, they’ll have to fend off 15 teams:

  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Lithuania
  • Mali
  • New Zealand
  • Puerto Rico
  • Spain

7. Yes, that means they could face Tai Wynyard

Wynyard is playing for New Zealand, but because the two teams are in separate groups, they won’t face off until Friday, July 7 at the earliest.

8. Who is in USA’s group?

I’m glad you asked. The US is in Group D, which also features Angola, Iran, and Italy. Here’s their schedule for group play:

  • Saturday, July 1: USA vs. Iran, 11:30 AM ET
  • Sunday, July 2: USA vs. Angola, 12:15 PM ET
  • Tuesday, July 4: USA vs. Italy, 10:30 AM ET

From there, the round of 16 begins. All games will be streamed on YouTube, and we’ll make it even easier for you to watch by embedding the games on this very website (if possible).

9. This is where they’ll play those games

That’s Hall 1 of the Cairo Stadium Indoor Halls Complex, which seats 16,000 people. Games will also be played in Hall 2, which is considerably smaller with a capacity of 2,100:

A far cry from Rupp Arena, but it’ll get the job done. In fact, they seem to be making themselves right at home:

That’s Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie, by the way. Speaking of Okogie, if you’re still wondering why Bol Bol didn’t make the cut, according to Dick Weiss, the US could only take one naturalized citizen with them to the FIBA World Cup and the committee chose Okogie, a rising sophomore born in Lagos, Nigeria, over the 17-year-old Bol Bol, born in Sudan. So, again, not a big deal that Bol Bol didn’t make the cut.

10. KSR actually has a correspondent in Cairo

How seriously is KSR taking the FIBA World Cup? We actually have a correspondent in Cairo. Former UK broadcasting grad Sofie Tapia lives in Cairo and will be covering the event for us. How’s that for some big J journalism?


Tuesday’s Top 10: Knox Shocks, The Real MVP and PMT on KSR

USA Basketball

Happy June 27, KSR Nation.  Known by many as Djibouti’s Independence Day,at KSR we refer to today as “The day after Mrs. Tyler’s birthday.”  While she celebrates her 23rd birthday, I’ll be taking care of you this morning.

1. Cal Impressed with Kevin Knox

Even though Knox’s hamstring will prevent him from making the trip to Egypt, John Calipari saw enough to know Knox is a special player.

“Kevin looks terrific. Kevin, he was the best player — one of the best. There were three or four guys that stood out and he was one of them. There were times where I just shook my head and said, ‘Wow.’”

Calipari did not pick favorites.  This is what he had to say about P.J. Washington and Hamidou Diallo.

2. What’s Going On?

Calipari’s conference call had an unconventional start.  Do you have any idea what’s happening?

3. From High School Straight Into the Pros?

During summertime conference calls, reporters are obligated to ask Calipari if he would change the one-and-done system.  It’d be a bigger shock if the question wasn’t asked.  He gave a long answer.  I won’t bore you with the answer in its entirety, but he’d be fine with it if the money was right for the kids, even though he believes the gap year in college helps them grow immensely.

4. Something for Sneakerheads

Team USA gets the best of the best.  Throw out your Duke-bias and appreciate the Kyries they’ll be rocking in Egypt.

USA Basketball

5. NBA Honors for Two Cats

Two former Wildcats received second team All-NBA honors yesterday.  Jamal Murray was named to the All-Rookie second team.  The Denver Nugget finished the season strong and earned Rising Star MVP honors at All-Star Weekend after a slow start to his NBA career.  Anthony Davis was picked to the All-Defensive second team, joining Tayshaun Prince (2005-08) and Rajon Rondo (2009-12) as multiple-time defensive team members from the University of Kentucky.

6. The Real MVP

The NBA had their first ever awards show last night, because if there’s something this world needs, it’s another awards show.  It had a few good moments.  The best exchange was between Bill Russell and Shaq, David Robinson, Alonzo Mourning, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Dikembe Mutombo.

Three former Wildcats were nominated for awards that I believe were created just for the show; all left empty-handed.  The NBA handed out awards for Rookie of the Year (Malcolm Brogdon), Defensive Player of the Year (Draymond Green), Sixth Man of the Year (Eric Gordon), Coach of the Year (Mike D’Antoni) and Most Valuable Player, Russell Westbrook.

Sorry Brodie, but Bill Russell was The Real MVP last night.

7. The Ball Family joined RAW

The Ball family took over WWE’s Monday Night RAW and social media last night.  LaVar Ball was where he was meant to be: in a wrestling ring, on a microphone, surrounded by boos.

I’m not going to lie, I’m starting to embrace the heel after last night’s shenanigans.

8. GLOW is Five Hours of Great TV

Unlike most, I’m not a big binge-watcher.  The Office and seasons one and two of House of Cards are the only things that have made me spend hours at a time locked onto my television screen.  Sunday I added a knew show to that exclusive club, Netflix’s GLOW.

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are fun.  Surrounding the start of women’s wrestling in the 1980s, it puts a washed-up director in charge of a bunch of third rate actresses who are trying to make it big.  Each 30-minute episode has a few good laughs.  There’s sex, drugs and rock and roll, but the best part is seeing them develop their skills and wrestling personas step-by-step.  I’ve only got three episodes left to kill time before the return of Game of Thrones on July 16.

9. James Harrison is Nuts

Have you ever tried playing doubles in sand?  It sucks.  James Harrison takes sand volleyball a step further by playing with a medicine ball.

10. It’s Pardon My Take day on KSR

For many, it’s just another day of KSR guest hosts during Matt’s vacation.  For me, it’s the equivalent of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann taking a day off SportsCenter in 1996 to fill in for my boss.  It’s even better than that, because Big Cat and PFT Commenter’s show will feature interviews with Malik Monk and Mark Stoops.  You can listen here starting at 10:00 a.m.


Calipari predicts this team will be “fast and disruptive”

One final batch of leftovers from this morning’s SEC Coaches Teleconference. After fighting with his seat belt, John Calipari started things off with the humblebrag of all humblebrags when he asked which team moderator Craig Pinkerton wanted him to talk about, Kentucky or the U19 National Squad.

“On my team coming up this season or the team I’m now coaching? Which one are we talking about?”

When Pinkerton replied Kentucky, Cal launched into a brief description of the squad, which he’ll remind you one more time IS THE YOUNGEST IN THE HISTORY OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL.

“We’re going to be really young. Really, really the most inexperienced team that I’ve coached. So, that’s going to be interesting to deal with. I love the length, I love the group of guys, I love that they all want to win. When you talk to them, that’s what they talk about. It’s always fun when you get a group like that. That is fun. I’m looking forward to it.”

“We’ll see. I still don’t know how they’re going to play. I’d imagine we’ll be fast and disruptive, but how we’ll do that, I have no idea.”

Chuckle at Calipari’s humblebrag below:

 


“There’s no athletic department in the country right now that people look at with more disgust than UofL”

Dan Wolken did an excellent job on today’s show, and between kitchen gadget reviews and interviews with Fran Fraschilla and Scott Roussel, he went on a lengthy rant about the University of Louisville. Wolken — who covers college football and basketball for USA Today — let it all out about UofL’s embarrassing string of scandals, the most recent of which will strip them of their 2013 NCAA Championship.

“Louisville, you look ridiculous, as a school, as a community that is rallying behind Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich after everything that has happened. The process may not be perfect but for the NCAA to finally stand up and say your athletic department has been a craven example of what not to do in college sports, that ‘this is not what it’s supposed to be about,’ I have absolutely no problem with that.”

“The volume of scandals and issues that have hit that school in the last ten years is nothing short of a national embarrassment,” Wolken continued. “Isn’t it time for a big cleanse? Just give the program an enema. Force it all out and start over. You’re in the ACC now. Louisville’s a good place. It’s established a level of success and competence and it’s got a good fanbase. It’s time to start over. Get rid of Jurich, get rid of Pitino, and start over. I think you would feel a lot better about yourself as a program and as a community to leave this crap behind. From a national perspective, I live in Atlanta, I get all over the country. There’s no athletic department in the country right now that people look at with more disgust than the University of Louisville.”

He’s not wrong. To hear his entire rant, listen to the podcast below around the 8:40 mark, or subscribe to our NEW iTunes KSR radio feed.

 


Calipari: “I will be shouting from mountain tops” if NBA lets high schoolers go directly to D-League

Calipari: “I will be shouting from mountain tops” if NBA lets high schoolers go directly to D-League

It’s been eleven years since the NBA instituted the “one-and-done” rule, and John Calipari is still being asked about it. On this morning’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, Cal was asked about the possibility of the NBA switching from the one-and-done rule to letting high schoolers go directly to the D-League (I refuse to call it the G-League), and, well, it’s safe to say he’s not a fan.

“You’re talking about a 17-year-old leaving his bed in his home with his mother who is waking him up and walking into a man’s world right now. Or, you go to college and you get a gap year. Maybe you stay two years. So, whatever we do, I’ll be on record if we’re trying to get kids to go the D-League and if it’s a baseball rule and we give $20 million contracts right out of high school and the NBA thinks they can deal with that, I’m good. I’m fine. If they’re trying to get kids in high school to go to the D-League, I will be shouting from mountain tops, saying, what is this going to do to a generation of kids who say, alright, I’m going to do this. You get one or two years to make it and now you’re out, without any opportunities. Who’s taking care of those kids now?”

Cal preached the value of the one-and-done rule, which he says forced kids to focus on their academics enough to make it at least one year in college. Cal was skeptical at the time, but admitted today it’s one of the few things the NCAA has gotten right.

“So, what the NCAA did was challenge kids to do well. If you really want to do this and go to college and have a gap year and prepare, or maybe stay in school two or three or four years, you’ve got to get your academics up to these standards. Well, I thought it would shut people out. Very rarely do I speak highly of the NCAA, but in this case, what it did was it challenged a generation of kids to do better academically, to be on point, to get themselves where they need to go. The NCAA reported this year we had the highest graduation rate in men’s basketball for African Americans. Ever. Ever.”

Wait for it, wait for it…you know it’s coming!

“So, my kids all finish the term. I don’t know where they got this, ‘They don’t go to school,’ that’s all — look, it’s kind of like fake news, if you say it enough, it becomes what’s real. It’s not real. My kids have lifetime scholarships.”

The same reporter asked a follow up question about the one-and-done rule, which led to this classic exchange.

Reporter: “Do you think the one-and-done rule has been good for college basketball?”

Calipari: “Have I think it’s been what?”

Reporter: “Has it been good for college basketball or has it hurt college basketball?”

Calipari: “It depends on your perspective — Excuse me?”

Reporter: “When you see all the freshmen that were drafted in the first round?”

Calipari: “Say that again what you just said? I thought you said, is it good or bad for college basketball. What do you mean?”

Reporter: “When you see all the freshmen that were drafted in the first round, has it been good or bad?”

Calipari: “Well, I think it’s been good for those kids, what do you think?”

LOL. Listen to that awkward exchange below.

 


Photo: USA Basketball

Calipari on Kevin Knox: “There were times I just shook my head and said, ‘Wow'”

Photo: USA Basketball

How impressive was Kevin Knox at Team USA Training Camp before he tweaked his hamstring? At one point, all John Calipari could do was shake his head and say, “Wow.” On this morning’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, Cal was asked about Knox, and had nothing but praise for his versatile small forward.

“Kevin looks terrific. Kevin, he was the best player — one of the best. There were three or four guys that stood out and he was one of them. There were times where I just shook my head and said, ‘Wow.'”

Unfortunately, Knox won’t make the trip to Egypt, but Cal said he is looking forward to coaching PJ Washington and Hamidou Diallo for the next few weeks.

“PJ is playing really well. Hami, I’m really excited. I wish Kevin still would have made the trip. You look at it and say, it’s not worth it. Go back, get yourself healthy. What’s going to happen with Hami and PJ, I get a chance to be with them for three weeks and they get a chance to be with me. I get a chance to watch them closely, learn more about them so I can do a better job of coaching them. And they know what my expectations are and it’s going to be a little bit easier road.”

“But again, the three or four days I spent with Kevin were great. He’s going to be terrific, boy, he is really good.”

Yes, he is:

More from Calipari’s bizarre teleconference appearance in just a little bit…


Monday’s Top 10: Calipari wedding swagger edition

Monday’s Top 10: Calipari wedding swagger edition

Howdy, folks, and welcome to a new week. It was a huge weekend for the Calipari family, which convened on Newport, Rhode Island to celebrate Megan’s marriage. More pictures and videos should trickle out throughout the day, but it might be hard to top this one from Saturday. With the Calipari swagger in mind, let’s tackle today’s top 10.

1. ICYMI, here’s where every Cat ended up following the NBA Draft

  • De’Aaron Fox: Sacramento Kings (5th pick)
  • Malik Monk: Charlotte Hornets (11th pick)
  • Bam Adebayo: Miami Heat (14th pick)
  • Isaiah Briscoe: Philadelphia 76ers Summer League
  • Isaac Humphries: Washington Wizards Summer League
  • Derek Willis: Detroit Pistons Summer League
  • Dominique Hawkins: Sacramento Kings Summer League

The Summer Leagues rev up this Saturday, starting with the Orlando League (July 1-6), followed by Utah (July 3-6), and Las Vegas (July 7-17).

2. Bam Adebayo seems to be settling into South Beach just fine

South Beach I'm Home @jabariashe

A post shared by Bam Adebayo (@bam1of1) on

Is there an opening at Miami Sports Radio?

3. Calipari on SEC Coaches Teleconference

John Calipari will take a break from post-wedding festivities this morning to hop on the SEC Coaches Summer Teleconference. I’ll be listening in to bring you all of Cal’s comments as he sums up the NBA Draft, Team USA, and whatever else his heart desires.

4. Team USA prepares to leave for Egypt

Training Camp for Calipari’s U19 National Team wrapped up yesterday in Colorado Springs, and NBA scouts and media were allowed in to watch practice. I think you’ll like this tweet from Fran Fraschilla:

Been saying it for a while now, but PJ Washington will be a fan favorite this fall. He, Hamidou Diallo, and the rest of Team USA leave for Egypt today to prepare for the FIBA World Cup, which begins on Saturday in Cairo.

5. Immanuel Quickley closing in on a decision

If you missed the post directly below this one, Immanuel Quickley, one of Calipari’s primary 2018 targets, says he’s nearing a decision. The five-star point guard is down to Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland, and Miami and says he wants to announce his decision before his senior season. Kentucky’s the overwhelming favorite.

6. Erin Calipari keeps trolling her brother and I love it

The wittiest Calipari couldn’t help but give her brother a little grief this weekend, mimicking his trademark Instagram poses with one of her own:

Trying to take instagram photos like @brad.calipari. I think I nailed it

A post shared by Erin Siciliano Calipari (@theerincalipari) on

For comparison:

Brad and bougie 😂

A post shared by Brad Calipari (@brad.calipari) on

Put on a hoodie Erin, and you nailed it.

7. Stephen Johnson spent the weekend at the Manning Passing Academy

Great weekend at the Manning Passing Academy

A post shared by Stephen Johnson (@stephen_h_j) on

Everyone’s favorite quarterback spent the weekend in Thibodaux, Louisiana helping out at the Manning Passing Academy. Johnson has proven to be a wonderful role model in his year at Kentucky, and I’m sure he shared his message with his campers.

8. Jordan Spieth is good at golf

The angle of the celebration at the 1:09 mark just gave Aaron Flener all sorts of #CaddyGoals.

9. Have you subscribed to the new KSR radio show podcast feed?

iHeart is making our lives a little difficult by killing our old podcast feed for the radio show, so do yourself a favor and subscribe to the new feed now. That way you don’t miss a moment of the awesome guest host schedule we’ve got lined up, which starts with…

10. Dan Wolken kicks off five weeks of guest hosts

Matt Jones is starting his five-week European vacation in Budapest, which means our five weeks of guest hosts has begun. USA Today’s Dan Wolken will kick things off with today’s show, which is sure to include some quality college basketball talk and tidbits about John Calipari, whom Wolken covered during his Memphis days. Here’s the rest of this week’s guest host schedule:

June 26: Dan Woken of USA Today
June 27: Pardon My Take
June 28: Evan Daniels
June 29: Aaron Torres
June 30: Jennifer Palumbo and Mrs. Tyler Thompson

Today’s my birthday, but because I love you guys so much (and Drew has the day off), I’m going to spend it bringing you UK Sports news in the most ridiculous manner possible. Let’s have some fun.


VIDEO: 2018 five-star PG Immanuel Quickley will make decision before senior year

John Calipari may be close to landing his first prospect in the upcoming 2018 recruiting class, and it’s a good one.

Five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley cut his list down to four schools, and Kentucky is seen as the overwhelming favorite.

While in Colorado preparing for the U19 games in Egypt, Quickley was interviewed by the Herald-Leader where he gave reporters insight into his recruitment, including news that he plans to be making a decision soon.

In the video, Quickley talks about what he expects from competition in Egypt, whether or not Calipari has an advantage in his recruitment by coaching the USA U19 team, and when he plans on making a decision, among other news.

Watch the interview below:

Thanks to the Herald-Leader for the interview and footage.


Michael Rapaport: “I’d check to see if I still have my wallet on me after shaking hands with John Calipari.”

Not really, but somewhat “famous” actor Michael Rapaport decided to throw a jab at Coach Calipari following his appearance on set during the NBA Draft on Thursday night, and it’s about as funny as you’d expect.

Known as a die-hard Knicks fan (that explains a lot), Rapaport said he’d have to check if he still had his wallet on him if he ever shook hands with Cal.

Ha.

Here’s the tweet he sent out the night of the NBA Draft:

To make matters worse, he finishes the tweet by telling kids to “Go to St. Johns” rather than the University of Kentucky.

Let’s take a look at the current NBA players that played at St. Johns:

  • Metta World Peace
  • Maurice Harkless

And… That’s all.

Just taking a quick scroll through his IMDB, Rapaport’s hit roles as “Bartender” in Sully and “Animation Voice” in Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life show how much weight his comments carry in the world of sports. I guess his role in a few Celebrity Challenges during NBA All-Star Weekend mean… something.

I guess it’s a good thing he’ll never have to worry about shaking hands with Calipari.

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR


Courtesy: Big Blue History

Happy Birthday to Brandon Stockton

Courtesy: Big Blue History

Happy Birthday to former Cat, Brandon Stockton! The former Cat turns 33 today. Stockton was a 5’9 guard from Glasgow and the winner of Mr. Basketball in 2002. In his four years as a Cat, Stockton scored 120 points and had 46 rebounds. His career high for points came in his senior season when he scored 9 points in a 40 point win over Ole Miss.

In 2013, Aaron Flener put together a “Where Are They Now” with Stockton. You can check that out here.

Last year, WBKO in Bowling Green put together a post on Stockton and what he has been up to since he left Kentucky, you can check that out here.

This is what Stockton calls one of his most memorable moments as a Cat. It is hard to argue how cool this moment is:

 


Barry Williams | UK Athletics

Pros and Cons for Each UK Lottery Selection

Barry Williams | UK Athletics

Thursday night’s NBA Draft went surprisingly well for the Kentucky Wildcats.  Once considered a fringe first rounder, Bam Adebayo leaped up the draft board and into the lottery at No. 14, giving John Calipari his 17th lottery selection in eight years at Kentucky.

Now that the bright lights from the draft have dimmed, the former Wildcats are tasked to help rebuild three different franchises.  Will they turn their team into playoff contenders, or struggle through a rebuild?  Here’s how each player fares at their new destination.

De’Aaron Fox 

Pros

The Kings had a good draft.  It’s a sentence I never expected to type.  The team that used to build around DeMarcus Cousins by drafting more centers actually drafted well.  Vlade Divac invested in blue bloods, teaming Fox up with Harry Giles, National Player of the Year Frank Mason III, and Fox’s former AAU teammate Justin Jackson.

If Giles can return to form following his injuries, the former projected No. 1 overall pick is the steal of the draft.  Jackson and Mason are shooters that can help spread the floor for Fox, but only time will tell if they can live up to the hype.

—  Kentucky connections.  Only Phoenix has more Kentucky players on one team than Sacramento.  If nothing else, lobs from Fox to Cauley-Stein will frequently make the SportsCenter Top Plays.

—  No pressure.  There is no pressure to win early.  At all.  Zero pressure.  If there’s no pressure to win, you can play like you have nothing to lose every single night.

Cons

Horribly run franchise.   The Kings are competing with the Knicks for “NBA’s worst run franchise.”  Their decisions consistently make no sense for even the common idiot.  It’s a place where players’ careers go to die.  Hopefully Fox doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

—  Western Conference.  Winning is hard for the Sacramento Kings.  It’s even harder when you’re playing in the powerful Western Conference that just got a whole lot tougher following the Timberwolves’ acquisition of Jimmy Butler.

Malik Monk

Pros

—  Michael Jordan.  If there’s one person Monk can learn from it’s Michael Jordan.  A clutch scorer that was born to get buckets, Monk has the Jordan quality.  Hopefully, MJ can help him harness that ability to become an all-star.

—  Kentucky fans will be frequent flyers.  Charlotte isn’t too far from Lexington and they already have one Wildcat on the roster, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

—  The uniforms are dope.  Seriously, is there anything cooler than the Hornets’ teal?  I don’t think so.

—  They’re not the bad.  Malik Monk could be the missing piece to the Hornets’ puzzle.  Kemba Walker is as close to being an all-star without officially earning the title “all-star.”  Monk can play off Walker to spot up from three, and open up the lanes for Walker to create scoring opportunities.

When healthy, MKG can guard the other team’s best player well.  Inside, they have the best Zeller and now Dwight Howard.  Even though Dwight is a castaway, if he can return into just a shell of what he used to be with the Magic, the Hornets could easily make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

Cons

— Kemba dominates the ball.  You take the positive with the negative.  Kemba can draw defenders to leave Monk open, but he can also keep the ball in his hands and take all of the shots.  He’s not known to be a selfish player, but Monk must get buckets in order to be effective, the biggest knock on his game entering the draft.

Will he get immediate playing time?  There’s no guarantees for Monk in Charlottes’ starting lineup.  Nicolas Batum is a proven long-range shooter that will not quickly be surpassed.  Monk will get minutes, but he must learn how to contribute without having his hands on the ball.

Bam Adebayo

Pros

Gets to play with Hassan Whiteside.  Bam doesn’t have to bang on the inside; the Heat have Hassan Whiteside.  Bam’s athleticism will allow him to get easy buckets by running the floor and playing off the pick-and-roll.  If his new jump shot is all that it’s cracked up to be, Whiteside is a proven example of development throughout an organization.  Miami is a great place to cultivate his talent and take him to the next level.

—  He’s in Miami.  Even though I trashed Fake Barney for his takes on the OTT, there’s no denying it’d be pretty dope to be a professional athlete in the city where the heat is on, all night, on the beach till the break of dawn.

—  They were a game away from the playoffs this year.  The Heat’s midseason turnaround ended just short of the eight-seed in the Eastern Conference.  They won their final game, but victories by Chicago and Indiana in the last game of the season ended Miami’s run.  Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters are formidable wings that can return the Heat to the playoffs.  With the help of Adebayo, all they need is for Justice Winslow to figure out his shot.

Cons

—  What are the Heat after D-Wade?  The franchise’s signature player left a year ago and the rest of the world is unsure of their identity.  Chris Bosh’s health concerns have sidelined him indefinitely, leaving no remaining pieces to LeBron’s big three.  However, the void provides Adebayo an opportunity to become a star on a team that’s searching for a new identity.

—  How much more gas does Pat Riley have in the tank?  Riley is not the type of guy who can leave the game of basketball and have a life outside of the sport, but he’s been doing this a very long time.  Who knows much longer he can perform at en elite level.


The 2017 Draft is Over, Time for 2018 Mock Drafts

USA Basketball

Just when you thought Mock Draft SZN was over, your favorite NBA draft analysts have already compiled estimates for the 2018 draft.  Unlike Bracketology, this actually can be useful.  Let these mock drafts paint a picture of where prospects stand entering their first season at Kentucky.

Draft Express

14. Hamidou Diallo
22.  Nick Richards

Few entities have more mock draft credibility than Draft Express (I believe Givony nailed the first 11 picks), but I don’t understand how they could put more stock in Lonnie Walker than Diallo.  Walker is great, but I do not foresee him taking significant steps forward at Miami, especially compared to Diallo who’s already been given the “first one in, last one out” tag by John Calipari.

CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish

11.  Hamidou Diallo to Philly
13. Kevin Knox to Dallas
19. Nick Richards to Memphis
22. Jarred Vanderbilt to Houston

Nobody is more bullish on SEC talent than Parrish, who features eight from the conference in his first round.

CBS Sports’ Reid Forgrave

7. Kevin Knox to Philly
11.  Hamidou Diallo to Phoenix
13. Nick Richards to Milwaukee

Forgrave likes Knox’s versatility and that his father played in the NFL.

Bleacher Report

12. Hamidou Diallo
24. Nick Richards

No. 24 is the lowest Richards falls on any early draft boards.

NBADraft.net

10. Jarred Vanderbilt to New Orleans
11. Nick Richards to Charlotte
13. Hamidou Diallo to Denver
14. Kevin Knox to Miami

Four lottery picks?  Not too shabby.

It’s hard to gather anything significant from a prognostication that’s a year away, but there’s one thing you should keep an eye on: nobody knows which forwards will stay or go.  Knox, Vanderbilt and Washington are all versatile athletes that will play in the NBA, but how soon that happens will be determined by their play this season at Kentucky.


Hawkins will play in the NBA Summer League for the Kings

Dominique Hawkins has found an NBA Summer League home.

Hawkins’ high school coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. told The Courier-Journal the former Wildcat guard has reached a deal to play with the Sacramento Kings in the Las Vegas Summer League from July 7-17.  A destination for many Wildcats, Hawkins could team up with former teammates De’Aaron Fox and Skal Labissiere in Vegas.

He’s the fourth undrafted former Wildcat to sign a Summer League deal, joining Isaiah Briscoe (76ers), Isaac Humphries (Wizards) and Derek Willis (Pistons).


KYWildcatsTV was at the draft and made a sick video

@NBADraft

KYWildcatsTV is not taking a break this summer and were at the NBA Draft last night and of course cranked out another awesome video to recap the amazing day.

I just can’t get enough of this. Dreams came true last night.

 

On an unrelated note: I’m ready for some lit pre-game hype videos for football.