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Basketball Season Coverage

Ulis and Briscoe working hard, taking photos in the gym

Ulis and Briscoe working hard, taking photos in the gym


Isaiah Briscoe tweeted a couple shirtless photos from his workout this morning, saying he is “205 and feeling great.”

Tyler Ulis, also shirtless, was Briscoe’s photographer for the shoot. The two have been inseparable since Briscoe arrived on campus earlier this summer.

Yesterday Briscoe said his body is looking much better, thanks to UK strength coach Rob Harris, but he still has work to do. Word out of the Joe Craft Center is he and Ulis are pushing each other everyday, when they’re not rapping in the car.

(Mally Mal  #BBN #BeSpecial)

Ulis and Murray already bonding


One thing people point to when referencing the success of last year’s team is how they bonded in the Cats’ Summer trip. This year the entire team wasn’t even together until last night when Jamal Murray made his first appearance at Kentucky as a Wildcat.

No worries, though. It seems like Murray is fitting in just fine if you look at Tyler Ulis’ instagram account.

(Mally Mal  #BBN #BeSpecial)

Mally Mal #BBN #BeSpecial

Looks like Ulis is letting him know where he stands on his favorite country.  Go Cats!


Cal and Towns talk upcoming season and alumni charity game


Coach Calipari and former Wildcat Karl-Anthony Towns spoke with the media today at ProCamps to talk the upcoming season and this year’s alumni game vs. North Carolina.

Towns is happy to be back in Kentucky to help out as a counselor at ProCamps, saying “It’s good to be home.” He made mention of one of Cal’s new Cats, Jamal Murray, calling him a “smooth operator” while Cal noted they’ve got a special player in him. Towns also had the chance to play against UK recruit Skal Labissiere yesterday and complimented his abilities but also noted, “there’s a reason I’m a pro and he’s a rookie.” Coach Calipari joked around with Towns about his pro-status, saying he has to go through Towns’ “people” to get in touch (but anything to chat with Karlito, right?).

Both Cal and Towns skated around the topic of potential UK big man, Isaac Humphries, saying the Cats hope to add one or two more players this year. This leads Cal’s biggest question in the offseason to be not how many people will play, but how they will play as a team, especially with potential new additions.

Calipari was also eager to discuss the upcoming UK Alumni Charity Game vs. North Carolina and the special honor they will be giving to the late Dean Smith. But in classic swaggy Cal form, he didn’t shy away from making stabs at the competition. “You can imagine if it’s North Carolina’s players against our players, one, they’d lose,” he said.

Photo by @gwayne_11

Jamal Murray and big man Issac Humphries are on campus

Photo by @gwayne_11

Photo by @gwayne_11

Jamal Murray has been the story of college basketball this summer with his stellar play in the Pan American games for Team Canada. In fact, Murray’s performances in the Pan Am Games were good enough to put him in contention for the Canadian National Team that will compete in the FIBA Americas Championship from August 31-September 12. Yesterday, we informed you that John Calipari had spoken to The Sporting News‘ Mike DeCourcy and that he’s given Canadian Basketball officials a “drop-dead” date in which Murray has to be on UK’s campus. Well how about this piece of news for your Friday evening? Jamal Murray is currently on campus along with big man, Issac Humphries, for a weekend visit.

Humphries is a class of 2016 7-foot Australian center who has been playing at La Lumiere School in La Porta, Indiana. He currently holds offers from Kansas, Arizona and Illinois. According to 247 sports, he is ranked 52nd nationally and is the No. 4 center in the 2016 class. Humpries is reportedly thinking about reclassifying and possibly joining Kentucky this fall. As our own Matt Jones said on twitter, “Big men like Isaac Humphries are a true mystery and can be a big addition IF they join the program.”

This is not the first time that John Calipari has seen Humphries either, since he watched him play in Indiana in January. Stay tuned to KSR for more on Murray and Humphries.

So, this video of the basketball team working out is awesome

So, this video of the basketball team working out is awesome

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 2.44.36 PM

Time for a basketball fix. Our friends at KyWildcatsTV snuck into the weight room to check in on the basketball team’s strength and conditioning workouts, and shot a pretty awesome 30-second video of the guys running, lifting, and throwing medicine balls around. That sounds boring, but it’s actually kind of awesome:

The best part? Isaiah Briscoe throwing chalk in the air ala LeBron. GIF of the Day, hands down:


Raise your hand if you’ve seen Devin Booker on his scooter this week

…Because I’m starting to think that’s the only way he gets around now. Devin is in town along with the rest of UK’s 2015 Draft Class to help out with John Calipari’s ProCamps, and pardon him if he wants to look really cool doing it:

Can you imagine having Devin’s life right now?

The UK/North Carolina Alumni Game on Sept. 13 is official; tickets on sale Aug. 14

Almost a month ago, KSR told you that an Alumni game between UK pros and UNC pros was in the works. This morning, UK made it official, announcing that the Alumni Game will take place at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, September 13 and tickets will go on sale August 14 at 10 a.m. Tickets range from $5 (upper level) to $100 (premium lower level). Here’s the blurb from UK:

Set to tip off Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. ET, the game will feature UK players either currently or formerly playing professionally against North Carolina players either currently or formerly playing professionally. The Big Blue Nation will have an opportunity to enjoy some of the top talent to don the Blue and White against other elite talent. Per NBA rules, the University of Kentucky cannot confirm individual players participating in the exhibition game.

Our friend Les Johns points out that the release is careful to say “North Carolina players,” not UNC players, so the team may include players from other schools in the Tarheel state.

It’s okay, I’d be scared too, Tarheels.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 03:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats looks on during practice for the NCAA Men's Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 3, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

If Calipari coaches until he’s 73…

Earlier this week, John Calipari told ESPN Radio, “I think I’m going to coach until I’m 72. Maybe 73.”

Of course, he wasn’t completely serious, but let’s say he was for the sake of discussion. What would life be like with a 73-year-old Calipari still roaming the UK sideline?

Let’s do the math: Cal is currently 56. That’d be 17 more years to reach 73. We’ll call it 2032.

I’ll make my predictions and you leave your own in the comments section…


He will be college basketball’s all-time winningest coach.

Maybe. Coach K currently holds the record with 1,018 wins and we don’t know how much he has left in the tank. If Calipari were to coach another 17 years at Kentucky, with his current pace of 31.6 wins per season, he would retire with 1,120 wins. It’ll be close.

Big Blue Nation will hear “You people are crazy” 1,560,785 times.

That, and…

— “Gold standard.”

— “It’s a process.”

— “We can’t hide you here.”

— “I like my team.”

— “Changing families.”

— “Orange Leaf.”

UK will contend with UCLA for the most titles.

Calipari has one championship in six seasons in Lexington, so simple math tells me he’s on pace to have three over the next 18 years. That will tie UCLA for the NCAA record, assuming UCLA doesn’t add another one. (And it won’t.)

Kentucky will have the most Final Four appearances and it won’t be close.

UK currently trails North Carolina by one Final Four and Cal seems to make it every year these days. By the time he calls it quits in 2032, Kentucky should have a strong lead on the field.

LeBron James Jr. will play for Kentucky.

“The King In Waiting” was hanging out in Calipari’s office last summer. Cal watched him in the fourth grade national championship in Lexington and then invited him and his old man over to the Joe Craft Center to try on rings.

Bronny James will step on campus in 2023 as the No. 1 player in his class. He’s got good basketball genes, you know.

Drake will be a season ticket holder.

And not long after, Drake will release “Best I Ever Had Pt. 2,” a tribute song to Rupp Arena ice cream.

Pat Forde will jump off a bridge.

While John Calipari makes his bed and lies in it, probably.

Everyone in the state of Kentucky will have his autograph.

I think we’re already getting pretty close. By the year 2032, Cal will have signed every basketball, book, poster, t-shirt and baby in the entire state.

A fourth of the NBA will be former Wildcats.

Including eight No. 1 draft picks and Nazr Mohammed playing his 34th NBA season.

Train will perform at at least one Big Blue Madness.

Also, Cal will introduce the rock band at its reunion tour stop in Pittsburgh. Together they will celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Hey, Soul Sister” reaching No. 3 on the Billboard charts.

He will be 26-1 against Rick Pitino.

After promising to coach until he beats Calipari at Kentucky, Rick Pitino will lose his 26th game in the rivalry. He will accept defeat and retire in the postgame press conference.


STILL COOKING: Ohio’s ‘Mom’s Restaurant’ thriving in new locale

STILL COOKING: Ohio’s ‘Mom’s Restaurant’ thriving in new locale


FRANKLIN, Ohio – It all started 40 years ago, when Hilda Ratliff was a newly divorced mother of two.

On a normal day she’d walk two houses down to the local restaurant for a cup of coffee.

One day she arrived, and, in a sense, she never left.

It turned out the owner needed help, so Hilda started getting other people coffee. And, when the business became too difficult, the owner of the restaurant sold everything to Hilda for $1,500.

Cups. Plates. Everything.

Hilda became owner of Mom’s Restaurant.

Now in its 40th year, Mom’s Restaurant has changed locations, but its people – and the food – have never been better.



Hilda Ratliff was raised near Hazard, Ky., and it didn’t take long before she wished to spread her wings.

Growing up she’d hoe corn and pick strawberries. And after graduating high school, she received $82 in cash for the achievement.

“It was more money than I’d ever seen in my life,” she says. “So I took my $82, my luggage – which was two grocery bags – and I left. I swore I’d never hoe corn or pick strawberries or wash dishes ever again.”

She headed north, and settled in Red Lion, Ohio, about 40 minutes northeast of Cincinnati. She married and had two children.

Of course, she kept her Kentucky influences close by.

Hanging above the fireplace at home was a 16-inch by 20-inch picture of Cawood Ledford.

After a while, Hilda decided to bring that picture into the restaurant.

“I just needed a better spot for it,” she says. “So I brought it in.”

Other UK fans started to bring in pictures and gifts, too, and slowly the restaurant became an oasis for Big Blue fans in Ohio and Northern Kentucky, completely decorated in UK memorabilia.

But why UK?

“I’ve always been a fan, and UK basketball is everything in Kentucky,” she says. “I always say I’m American by the grace of God but Kentuckian by birth.”



Due to local construction, after 37 years, Mom’s Restaurant moved from its first location in nearby Red Lion to its current location on Ohio 123, next to the BP gas station in Franklin. That was three years ago.

Now Hilda, 74, and her 100-seat restaurant are still cookin’.

Besides the UK memorabilia, a customer will notice the 1,000 mugs lining the walls. They harken back to the beginning, Hilda says, when local police would hang their mugs up and use them upon return. Customers can do the same thing today.

Former Bengal and Kentucky great Doug Pelfrey actually owns the gas station/convenience store/restaurant complex and will show up from time to time. Celebrities like Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Joe B. Hall have also visited.

“I had my picture taken with Joe B.,” Hilda says. “But I was in Florida when Dale Sr. stopped by. But I was a Mark Martin fan anyway,” she laughs.

Fans of the restaurant say you have to go with the scratch-made breakfast – eggs and meat and biscuits like, well, Mom used to make. And sometimes (during the NCAA Tournament, for instance), Hilda will offer her signature gravy, but with bright blue food coloring, another tribute to UK.

Others will point out you can’t go wrong with the massive double cheeseburgers, crinkle-cut french fries and dessert pies. But be warned: Mom’s only accepts cash.

It seems like there’s really only one drawback, Hilda says.

“Back when I left Kentucky, I said I would never do any more dishes,” she says, laughing. “Now all I seem to do is wash those biscuit skillets.

“But I love it, and I love UK. You should come by and visit some time.”



Ever been to Mom’s? Are there other awesome Big Blue hangouts like this across the state and country? Leave your comments below and let us know. Or email me at or hit me up on Twitter: @rhinoKSR or my website: and maybe I’ll share them.


John Calipari becomes $1.6 million richer tomorrow


Friday’s payday for a lot of folks, but I don’t think any of us will cash a check like the one John Calipari will. Tomorrow, Cal gets his $1.6 million retention bonus for the 2014-2015 season, the first of many in his latest contract. Here’s how much Cal will get if he stays on each season from now through 2020-2021:

  • July 31, 2015: $1.6 million
  • July 31, 2016: $2.1 million
  • July 31, 2017: $2.25 million
  • July 31, 2018: $2.55 million
  • July 31, 2019: $2.6 million
  • July 31, 2020: $2.6 million
  • July 31: 2021: $2.6 million

That’s a lot of dinero. With Cal giving his most promising remarks yet about retiring at UK yesterday to Seth Greenberg, July 31st might become his favorite day of the year.

The Big Lead has three Cats in their Top 50 College Basketball Players for this season


Next season is looking more and more exciting, due in part to Jamal Murray’s explosive performances in the Pan Am Games. The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre ranked the Top 50 college basketball players heading into next season, and three Cats made the list:

2. Skal Labissiere, F/C, Kentucky – Doesn’t quite enter college with the post skills of Jahlil Okafor, but he’s got more range on his jumper. He looks like a more offensive-minded Karl-Anthony Towns.

3. Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky – If you watched any of the Pan-Am Games, you know this kid became a star. Is this a bit knee-jerk? Perhaps. We do this list last month … he’s probably not in the Top 20. Murray is from Canada, and he lit up anyone who tried to check him this month. He’ll have a bigger impact in Lexington than Devin Booker did last year. And Booker was a lottery pick.

38. Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky – Played a pivotal reserve role last year (shooting 42 percent on 3-pointers), but now will have to fight off incoming studs Isaiah Briscoe and Jamal Murray.

Who was #1? Ben Simmons at LSU. Isaiah Briscoe made the “Just Missed” list.

Keep sleeping on Alex Poythress. He’ll make you regret it.

[The Big Lead]

Calipari says there’s a “drop dead” date Jamal Murray has to be on campus


The story of the summer in college basketball has to be Jamal Murray. We knew the mysterious Murray was good after he dropped 30 in the Nike Hoop Summit, but I don’t think anybody thought he was this good. Murray’s performances in the Pan Am Games were good enough to put him in contention for the Canadian National Team that will compete in the FIBA Americas Championship from August 31-September 12.

The only problem? At some point, he has to get to Kentucky. John Calipari told The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy that he’s given Canadian Basketball officials a “drop-dead” date in which Murray has to be on UK’s campus if he wants to be eligible this season.

“We’ll see if there’s any way he can do both, because that’s what I want,” Calipari said. “The kid absolutely wants to play for the national team, and we want that. But the NCAA has really clear guidelines on this.

Murray’s father told Kyle Tucker the family is still trying to figure out what to do, whether it be skip the tournament completely, or play in part of it then arrive at Kentucky by the date given by the NCAA. Either way, he reassured fans Murray will get to campus.

“He’s going to Kentucky,” Roger Murray said. “That’s not the issue. The issue is just if we want to miss two weeks of school. We’re just trying to see how much time he’s going to miss, and if it’s too much, if he should just go to school and not worry about it. From what I’ve gathered, he has to (physically) be in class. So we’re just trying to see how much school he could miss and still play in the tournament.”

What a problem to have, right?

Coach Cal stopped by Steelers camp today

Cover your eyes, Bengals fans.

John Calipari stopped by Steelers training camp while in Pittsburgh today to check on his favorite NFL team. He took a second to pose with a fellow Wildcat during the break in the action.

Former Louisville defensive back William Gay got a photo with Cal, too.

Put that L down. introduces Charles Matthews

It’s that time of the year, Cats fans, when introduces us to the fresh faces in the basketball program. Today it’s incoming freshman Charles Matthews who was profiled in the summer series, and it appears he’s taking over the “artsy” title Willie Cauley-Stein left behind.

“I like art because people get to express themselves,” Matthews told “If you look at a lot of artists, everybody has their own style, their own sense of culture, and all of their art represents them in some ways.”

Matthews won’t be picking up Willie’s sidewalk chalk, but he is a fan of a street artist in his hometown of Chicago. He also enjoys watching Martin (shout-out to Doron Lamb) and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, plus eating steak and listening to Drake. (R.I.P. Meek Mill #BackToBack)

Read more about UK’s first commitment from the 2015 recruiting class in his “Meet The Wildcat” feature on

The Sporting News did a profile of Tod Lanter

We’re all big Tod Lanter fans around here, so when I saw that The Sporting News’ CJ Holmes (a walk-on at Auburn from 2012-2014) did a profile of Lanter, I knew I had to share it with you guys. Lanter gave Holmes a bunch of behind-the-scenes stories about his time at Kentucky, confirming that he was brought on to give Alex Poythress an extra push in practice.

“(The coaches) wanted someone that could focus solely on harassing Alex defensively during practice,” Lanter said. “They lacked the depth to assign someone specifically to be physical and consistently keep a body on him.”

Lanter was such a late addition that his shoe order from Nike wasn’t even in by the time Blue/White game rolled around and no one knew who he was. After sinking the free throws to give Blue the win, Lanter said he had 5,000 new Twitter followers and 800 missed text messages. Wow.

There are plenty of more great anecdotes like that one, so click on over to The Sporting News to check it out.

[The Sporting News]