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Basketball Season Coverage

The freshmen show off their new look

The freshmen show off their new look

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Karl Towns, Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis and Trey Lyles were all in uniform today for a shoot, and they shared some photos with their fans on social media. Soon we’ll be seeing them play basketball in the new look — like, very, very soon. Two and a half weeks soon.

Looking good, gentlemen.

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MUST-SEE VIDEO: UK basketball’s strength and conditioning program

MUST-SEE VIDEO: UK basketball’s strength and conditioning program

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Throughout the summer, we’ve seen glimpses of UK basketball’s summer conditioning program, which has included underwater treadmills and hot yoga. Now, CoachCal.com’s Chad Hobson is taking us behind-the-scenes of Rock Oliver’s strength and conditioning program, and the video is really awesome. We can’t embed it here, but click the pic or this link to check it out.

Oliver describes the workouts the players are doing, and why they don’t do plyometrics or any skill-specific work. “We don’t do anything [skill-specific]. Our guys love to play. What’s more specific than playing the game?” Rock says. “I’ve got pros on my team. They’re doing plyometics every time they play.”

Rock singled out Dakari Johnson for how hard he’s working on his conditioning and nutrition, and said he’s dropped from 271 lbs. to 255 lbs. so far.

Also new to the regimen: pool running, which Marcus Lee says is “the hardest thing I’ve ever done”; and hot yoga, which Randall Cobb suggested to Rock. As someone who has sweated buckets in hot yoga before, I can say I have a new admiration for the team now.

The video is fascinating, so stop what you’re doing and go watch.


Louisville named the third unhappiest city in America

Here’s some news that won’t be surprising to us: in a recent study, Louisville was named the third unhappiest city in America. The US National Bureau of Economic Research surveyed people who live in cities with a population of more than 1 million as of 2010 about their satisfaction with life, and Louisville came in third, behind New York and Pittsburgh. Here’s the top ten:

1. New York, NY
2. Pittsburgh, PA
3. Louisville, KY
4. Milwaukee, WI
5. Detroit, MI
6. Indianapolis, IN
7. St. Louis, MO
8. Las Vegas, NV
9. Buffalo, NY
10. Philadelphia, PA

Finally, proof that it’s depressing living in Calipari’s shadow. Maybe that explains all the Crown Royal.

[TheBlaze]


UK basketball one of 8 BCS programs to earn a 3.0 GPA or higher

UK basketball one of 8 BCS programs to earn a 3.0 GPA or higher

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For the second season in a row, UK Basketball was honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches for team academic excellence. UK was one of eight BCS programs with a cumulative team grade-point average of 3.0 or better for the 2013-2014 season. The Cats posted a 3.11 cumulative GPA, making it six out of seven semesters UK’s team has had a GPA of 3.0 or better.

Tod Lanter, Sam Malone and Jarrod Polson were named to the NABC Honors Court, and Malone was the recipient of the Elite 89 award at the 2014 Final Four, which honors the student athlete with the highest cumulative GPA participating in the Final Four. Nine Cats made various SEC honor rolls this season, including Dominique Hawkins, Dakari Johnson, Lanter, Marcus Lee, Brian Long, Malone, Polson, Alex Poythress and Derek Willis.


Alumni Game tickets go on sale Monday, July 28

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UK’s annual Alumni Charity Game will take place on August 24 at 6 p.m. ET, and this morning, UK announced that tickets will go on sale Monday, July 28 at 10 a.m. ET.

All seats are reserved and priced at $101 (premium lower level), $31 (lower level), and $16 for premium upper level. Tickets can be purchased at the Rupp Arena box office, online at Ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster Outlet or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. There is an eight-ticket limit per person. All orders will have additional fees attached. All proceeds from the game will go to charity.

For the first time ever, the game will feature a team of UK pros vs. a team of non-UK pros, making the matchup possibilities endless. We’ve heard that some former Louisville players may participate, along with some former Florida players…let’s hear your ideal lineups in the comments.


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Which Coach Stays Longer with a Win?

If and buts can often make for more interesting conversation than the actual reality of sports, so today I thought about some ifs and buts with 3 of UK’s legendary head coaches.  Each of these coaches had a crippling loss late in his career at Kentucky and I wonder which of them would have possibly stayed longer at Kentucky if they had won those games.  And as a little bonus, the full games are posted as well.

JOE B. HALL

1984: Loses to Georgetown in Final Four
1985: Retires

Hall’s 1984 team might have been just as good as the 1978 national title team.  They had a legend in Kenny Walker, a healthy Sam Bowie and Mel Turpin, great guard play, etc etc.  And for a half against Georgetown, it looked like the Cats were on their way to title #6 at that time.  Then a 3-33 shooting half doomed the Cats and they were gone.  Had they won, they would have played a Houston team they had already beaten that year.  You have to wonder if Hall wins a title in 1984 if he retires then OR if he gets some extra motivation and stays around for another 5 years.

RICK PITINO

1997: Loses to Arizona in national title game
1997: Leaves UK for Boston Celtics

This might be a stretch but who knows?  I could see Pitino going through the run in 1997 and then falling oh so short and deciding it’s just too tough anymore.  Maybe if he wins in 1997, he sees himself as a modern day John Wooden.  I don’t know if the Celtics offer would have still been too much to turn down, but back to back national titles sounds a lot better than back to back title games.

TUBBY SMITH

2005: Lose to Michigan State in 2OT in Elite 8
2007: Leaves for Minnesota

I think this is the most slam dunk of the 3.  If Smith was able to get UK back to the Final Four in 2005, I have no question in my mind that the fanbase would have been more patient with him during the struggles the next 2 years.  That doesn’t mean the heat wouldn’t have been on after 2007, but I don’t think the calls to fire Tubby would have been there.  Now, would Tubby still have gotten tired of the job after 2007, we don’t know.  But a Final Four in 2005 certainly would have given Smith a refresh from the pressure he was under from the fans.  Alas, UK couldn’t get rebounds and Smith was gone.

 


Mudiay’s decision surprisingly an unpopular one among his peers

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Reports have been released today from sources stating that Emmanuel Mudiay has opted out of playing college basketball and has instead signed a one-year deal worth more than $1 million. Mudiay had previously committed to play at SMU, over Kentucky and Kansas, however changed his mind for a reason which isn’t entirely known by the public. Some think it has to do with financial problems at home, while others believe it had to do with academic eligibility issues due to his two years spent at Prime Prep.

While rumors of academic eligibility have come into question, it is hard to believe he would not have been declared eligible before the season started. Prime Prep alums Jordan Mickey and Karviar Shephard both were able to enroll and were cleared academically after getting a waiver through the eligibility center.At the same time, lots of players have had had family issues, but have still decided to attend college and wait for the money.

When I first heard this news, I thought he made a stupid decision. However, after thinking about it, lI was surprised this hasn’t become a trend over the years since the NBA started the age rule. When you think about it, in the mind of a high school senior, the pros would definitely outweigh the cons of playing overseas.

While it would be hard to adapt to a new country and culture in such a short time with no family around, you would also be bringing in almost $20k a week (That number makes me depressed) and have all the freedom a kid could ask for. Not to mention no more ‘pop quizzes’ or the stress that comes with school. Best of all, you wouldn’t have the NCAA breathing down your neck every decision you make.

Seems like a solid deal. So why hasn’t this become more of a trend among American born players? While we are on the subject, can we expect more of this if the NBA increases the rule to having to play two years of college before you are eligible for the draft?

No. Because no one does basketball quite like they do in colleges across America.

Players who head directly overseas after high school are just thrown into the ‘bullpen’, with only training they received in high school. Like the NBA, there is little chance for ‘practice’ and proper training, other than what you learn in games.

The future college basketball stars are smart enough to know this.

Playing a year of division one basketball prepares players for the NBA far better than playing overseas. College basketball has some of the best up-and-coming players in the world, with the best competition and plenty of practice time to learn everything they need to know before going to the NBA.

In reality, while going overseas would be the easiest decision, the best decision would be to stay in the US and learn proper basketball by the best coaches the world has to offer. While many think the kids coming out of high school are immature, I believe it is a pretty mature decision to not follow the money and stay around to learn basketball the correct way.

Could you imagine a Kentucky team if all the nation’s best players went to play overseas? That would make for some pretty boring basketball. We should be thankful there isn’t a trend of this and hope that Mudiay doesn’t start one.

@Sealey_KSR


Mudiay signs one-year deal in China worth $1.2 million

Mudiay signs one-year deal in China worth $1.2 million

mudiay

Emmanuel Mudiay, Kentucky’s top point guard target in the 2014 class, picked SMU over the Cats and Kansas, but it is the People’s Republic of China that wins his services in the end. ESPN is reporting Mudiay signed a one-year deal worth $1.2 million to play professional basketball in the land of canned air and orange chicken.

Mudiay insists his decision to chase the money over college is to provide for his mother, but it is believed he is running from the NCAA. There were concerns with his eligibility and he was worried, one source told ESPN.

What we thought was Calipari’s worst loss in recruiting since coming to UK proved to be a blessing. Had Mudiay committed to UK, like everyone expected, BBN wouldn’t have four years of Tyler Ulis to look forward to.


CoachCal.com’s new practice report will get you excited for basketball

Eric Lindsey over at CoachCal.com attended UK’s 90-minute practice yesterday and he has a lengthy report for you on the website this morning. Lindsey has several notes and observations, almost all positive, including individual specifics on all of the guys.

Have a small taste in this exciting excerpt about Alex Poythress:

The last guy I expected to lead off with just because he’s been around for two years is Alex Poythress, but I think his effort and his improvement merit that. We all know how athletic he is and the type of plays he can make, but he looked lighter on his feet than I’ve ever seen him. He seemed to glide through the air on Monday, a fascinating thing to watch for someone with his body frame. I have no idea how that will translate on to the court in October and November because, as I just said, we’ve seen bits and pieces of that in his first two years, but I do see a more confident player than the one I’ve seen the last two seasons. He’s never going to be a vocal guy, but when I saw him, on one particular play, race from the top of the key, sky over Karl-Anthony Towns and Marcus Lee in the paint, grab the offensive rebound, and bank the ball back in the basket in traffic, it gave me the feeling that we’re going to see a much-improved Alex Poythress this year.

Other notable impressions from Lindsey:

– Tyler Ulis will be a fan favorite

– The twins and Dakari are in better shape

– Devin Booker is doing just fine

– Cal is still preaching, “Play fast, think slow.”

Read the entire practice report here.


Marcus Lee Named an Under-the-radar Sophomore To Watch

Image Via Zimbio

Sometimes lost in the shuffle of returning starters like the Harrisons and WCS or exciting newcomers like Karl Towns and Tyler Ulis is Marcus Lee. Lee spent most of his freshman year fighting for playing time as he developed his game but it could be his sophomore year that he breaks out. ESPN agrees and today they named him an under-the-radar sophomore to watch. Here’s what the worldwide leader had to say:

Marcus Lee, forward, Kentucky. Lee showed how effective he could be with his 10-point, eight-rebound performance in just 15 minutes in the Elite Eight game against Michigan. But his toughest competition is arguably the Wildcats’ crowded frontcourt. It’s hard to envision how he’ll get enough playing time to stand out.

Kentucky opponents from Louisville and North Carolina also make the list but I think it’s Marcus Lee who could be the break out star of the list. With Lyle’s summer injury Lee will likely get a lot of playing time in the Bahamas and the early season. Perhaps he can work his way into solid  rotation minutes. He certainly looks like he’s been putting on some summer muscle and might be able to hold his own against the physical 4s of the SEC. If he shows up each game like he did against Michigan there’s no way he can stay on the bench.

Relive Marcus’ finest hour with the incredible call by Tom Leach:

[ESPN: Under-the-radar sophomores to watch]


Swaggy Cal is Swaggy

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John Calipari is a happy man right now. Cal is back from his big recruiting trip and working with his team. He posted this update on social media a little bit ago:

“Boy is it nice to have returning players. I haven’t had that in five years. They understand what we’re trying to do.”

Cal says he’ll have a practice report up on CoachCal.com later today or tomorrow. Boy is it nice to have Swaggy Cal back.


The Most Ridiculous Facebook Comments about Cal’s Picture with Hillary Clinton

The Most Ridiculous Facebook Comments about Cal’s Picture with Hillary Clinton

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If you haven’t seen the picture of John Calipari with Hillary Clinton at the Starkey Hearing Gala over the weekend, well, you’re probably the only one. Cal posted the picture of himself with the former First Lady and Secretary of State with the caption “Got to meet Hillary Clinton. She looked great! Really exciting stuff!”, and immediately, it went viral. So far, the picture has almost 8,000 likes on Facebook, 2,000 likes on Instagram, and thousands of Facebook comments.

It probably won’t surprise you that most of those Facebook comments (like 99.99%) don’t favor Hillary that much, and in turn, Cal got a lot of heat for posting the picture himself. I spent my morning mucking through all of the comments to bring you this most ridiculous. Get ready.

Let’s start with the ones that were actually nice…

A lot of people were happy Hillary was wearing a blue dress:

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Some people were shocked that she was actually wearing a dress:

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This person thinks Hillary looks really hot:

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This person was really upset that Cal commented on Hillary’s looks in general:

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These people lost respect for Cal for posting the picture:

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This person would rather see Cal with Pitino:

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Some people were just straight up mean:

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Of course, there was a random Monica Lewinsky fan in the house:

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This guy would rather see Cal’s poop than this picture:

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These people are no longer Kentucky fans because of the picture:

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Because of the picture, this guy thinks Cal needs to go to Cleveland:

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All because of one picture. Read the rest of the comments for yourself here.


The Most Anticipated Match-ups In 2014

In just 1 month and ten days Kentucky will kick off the fall sports season against UT-Martin and bring abound an end to this never ending summer. Anticipation for football and basketball are at a recent high as we wait to see the new recruits play and finish what was started last season. To do that the Cats are going to face down some top tier opponents and in order to win they will likely need to win these match-ups. Here are my most anticipated match-ups to watch in 2014:

Dak Prescott Vs Bud Dupree

Image Via CBS

Mississippi State, October 25th

The two members of the preseason All-SEC second team will meet on October 25th with much on the line. Kentucky will need to take down Mississippi State at home if they are going to win 5 or 6 games. The Bulldogs are looking to climb the ranks of the SEC West and can’t afford a loss to UK if they are going to do so. Kentucky got close on the road in Starkville last season but Prescott’s 268 yards with 2 touchdowns and another caught TD was too much to overcome. Bud and Za’darius will need to keep Prescott out of rhythm on offense to put the Cats in position to win. It should be a fun game of Cat and mouse to watch in late December.

Myles Turner Vs Karl-Anthony Towns

Texas, December 5th

Kentucky hosts the Longhorns on December 5th as a part of the Big 12-SEC challenge and the match-up on everyone’s mind will be the battle between Myles Turner and Karl-Anthony Towns. In just a few short weeks we will all get to see exactly what KAT will bring to the college game and what sort of force he will be alongside two more seven footers. Myles Turner ranked just behind Karl in 7th according to 247sports.com’s composite rankings so you know he’ll be wanting to showcase his ability in this game. Kentucky won’t play many centers that will be able to hold their own in the frontcourt but Myles certainly looks to be one of the few.

Montrezl Harrell Vs Trey Lyles

Image Via Zimbio

Louisville, December 27th

Last season Montrezl Harrell was held to 10.5 ppg in two games against the Cats which was a below his season average of 14. A big reason for that was the play of Julius Randle and his ability to get Harrell into foul trouble. Harrell’s five fouls in the sweet sixteen helped spur the Cats on to the 5 point win.  Now though there is no Julius Randle in blue and it’ll be up to Trey Lyles to contain Louisville’s star player. Can he match the physicality of Motrezl? That’s a question that will need to be answered in the early games of the season before we move on to top competition. Perhaps the stronger Marcus Lee will be able to hold his own. Time will tell.

 

What match-ups are you most excited about seeing this year?

 


Image via MaxPreps

Calipari loses out on one 5-star recruit, but has his eye on another

Image via MaxPreps

Allonzo Trier | Image via MaxPreps

 

Even transcendent recruiting guru John Calipari can’t convince every 5-star high school basketball prospect to come to Kentucky– especially when the player’s father was just hired as an assistant coach at Calipari’s former stomping grounds.

 

Though it has been speculated for over a week now, 6’8″ class of 2016 small forward Dedric Lawson made it official today by committing to the Memphis Tigers. Lawson, who is the No. 1 SF in 247Sports’ 2016 composite rankings, left a scholarship offer from the Wildcats on the table to follow his father to the University of Memphis. Tigers head coach Josh Pastner recently hired Dedric’s father, Keelon Lawson, to give his team a recruiting edge over the competition. After advancing to the EYBL Peach Jam Finals, Dedric told reporters today, “With [my father] being on staff, there’s no other college I would rather go to.” Dedric’s older brother, KJ Lawson, has been committed to the Tigers’ class of 2015 for almost a year now. There are also two younger Lawson brothers who will make their way into elite recruiting circles over the next few seasons.

 

However, as the old adage goes, when one door closes, another door opens. According to 247Sports’ Chris Fisher, John Calipari now has his sights set on class of 2015 shooting guard Allonzo Trier of Rockville, MD.

 

“‘Coach Calipari texted me as soon as USA Trials cuts were made and he told me congratulations,’ Trier said. ‘He was talking about how good I’ve been playing this summer. He just said to keep it up. He said he’s been following me and he’ll continue to follow me.

“‘Everybody knows how they’re great with guards,’ Trier said. ‘They have a lot of guys that go one-and-done, high lottery picks. They let their guards play and use their ability.’”

 

Trier, at 6’4″ and 185 lb., is listed as the No. 2 shooting guard in 247Sports’ 2015 composite rankings. Though he is currently not leaning toward any college in particular, Trier has also gained interest from Louisville, Arizona, Kansas, and several other big name programs.

 

96 Conclusion Logo

 

(H/t Chris Fisher: [LINK])

 

@Condre3000_KSR


Lloyd Tubman is clearly benefitting from the UK strength program

Erik Korem has been making headlines this summer with his innovative and forward-thinking strength and conditioning program at Kentucky. We’ve seen pictures of some of the guys and how they have transformed over the summer. The picture above comes from Larry Vaught via Grover Sales, who says that UK freshman defensive lineman Lloyd Tubman has put on 15 lbs. this summer. They say that Kentucky’s team is starting to look more “SEC” physically. Um, check.