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Basketball Season Coverage

KSR Emoji Index: June 29

KSR Emoji Index: June 29


During the season, I introduced the KSR Emoji Index, a breakdown of the month’s most interesting topics in emojis, the most popular language with kids and women over 40. While news may be slower in the summer, there are a handful of stories that have kept us talking over the past few weeks, so I dusted off the old emoji keyboard and got to work.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The mess at UofL


Just when you thought things were a little too quiet on Floyd Street, here comes Governor Matt Bevin to shake things up. When Bevin initially announced he was disbanding the UofL Board of Trustees and President James Ramsey was resigning, it seemed like reform was coming to an institution that desperately needed it; however, in the weeks since, it’s clear the situation is much more complicated than that. Ramsey offered his resignation, but there was no timeline for it, and Bevin cannot remove him as President of the UofL Foundation, the true center of corruption. Today, Bevin appointed ten new board members, and those board members could refuse Ramsey’s resignation. In fact, Ramsey released a statement today saying he looks forward to working with the new board, so who knows.

While it seems things at UofL may end up staying as corrupt as ever, keep in mind that the NCAA Notice of Allegations is expected to drop at some point in the near future, so there are plenty of popcorn moments on the horizon.


😂 Freshmen sharing SnapChat scoop


UK keeps a pretty tight leash on its players when it comes to media opportunities, so it can be hard to get to know their personalities off the court; well, not so with this group of freshmen. More than any group we’ve seen before, the 2016 class is sharing their experiences at UK on social media, particularly SnapChat. I follow all of them, and, I know people joke about millennials never putting down their phones, but man, it’s true with this group. Some quick observations from a month or so of watching:

  • They share pictures of their early morning workouts (with time stamp) almost every day
  • De’Aaron Fox does not like to wear a shirt
  • Late night H-O-R-S-E in the Joe Craft Center seems common
  • They really like to take videos of themselves lip syncing
  • Doron Lamb would be proud of how many pictures they take of Brad Calipari sleeping
  • Wenyen Gabriel loves filming the woman who works the registration desk at the Lodge, and her reactions are hilarious
  • Tai Wynyard rolls with the rest of the freshmen

One final observation: this group is really funny. Who knows if they will live up to the hype on the court, but so far, they’re exceeding my expectations off of it.


🍿 Calipari vs. Pitino


What would the offseason be without some passive aggressive jabs between John Calipari and Rick Pitino? Cal ruffled Rick’s feathers on Mike Lupica’s podcast a few weeks back when he said coaches should be aware of what happens with their players (and assistant coaches) on campus. A few days later, Cal claimed those comments were not directed at Rick, but Rick had already jabbed back, telling Cal in the most polite, passive aggressive way possible to “keep my name out yo mouth.”

I love Cal, but you’re not going to convince me that he wasn’t referencing Rick there. Here’s hoping the two cross paths at next week’s Peach Jam, because the sports world needs more of them sparring.


😳 Kentucky at the NBA Draft


I had a blast at the NBA Draft last week, but after all was said and done, I’m not sure Kentucky’s players would say the same thing, particularly Skal Labissiere. The consensus was that Skal was going 11th, but he slid all the way to 28th, a move that had everyone in the building anxious. Someone who was in the area around Cal that night said Cal was beyond frustrated with how things went for Skal, who now joins the most dysfunctional team in the league in Sacramento. Sure, he has three fellow former Cats on the roster right now, but there were so many better scenarios for Skal, who will have to fight for playing time and maintain confidence in a loaded frontcourt. And while it’s heartwarming to see Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker reunite in Phoenix, the Suns backcourt is also very crowded (although there are rumblings Eric Bledsoe or Brandon Knight could get traded).

And now, it’s your turn to chime in…

Isaiah Briscoe is assuming Tyler Ulis' role in early practices (UK Athletics).

The First Practice Report of the 2016-17 Season

Isaiah Briscoe is assuming Tyler Ulis' role in early practices (UK Athletics).

Isaiah Briscoe is assuming Tyler Ulis’ role in early practices (UK Athletics).

The wait is over.  The first official practice report for your 2016-17 Wildcats is here.

On yesterday’s edition of Kentucky Sports Radio, Matt filled you in on what he’s hearing around the Joe Craft Center.  Tonight has released a report from Tuesday’s practice, the first official two-hour session of the year.  Metz Camfield has a few bullet points that stand out above the rest.

—  Perimeter defense will not be a problem.  The guards are already showing they can guard.

—   “There seemed to be a different approach to how Coach Cal did a few things…Think about it: Coach Cal is the king of the dribble-drive, but he’s doing stuff where you can’t even dribble it.”

—  Isaiah Briscoe has assumed the role as team leader.  With plenty of talented incoming guards, Isaiah’s intangibles need to shine for this team to reach its potential.  He’s handling this responsibility well.  “He looked perfectly comfortable and in control throughout the entire practice.”

—  “Malik Monk can really get down the floor in a hurry and generally shot the ball well.”  The proof:

—  DeAndre Liggins practiced with the team.  If those guards want to prove they can be elite defenders, the back-to-back D-League Defensive Player of the Year is an exceptional example.

—  Can Isaac Humphries take the next step?  Without a ton of depth in the interior, Kentucky needs to see the Texas A&M version of Humphries on a consistent basis.  He’s taken that first step by getting into better shape.  Along with a leaner physique, Metz said Humphries and Wenyen Gabriel had a few back-and-forth battles in the post.  Gabriel used his speed to beat him a few times, but Humphries didn’t need to rely on his muscle to win, displaying athleticism we didn’t always see during his freshman campaign.

Read the entire Practice Report, it will be time well spent.

UK Fans of the Day want to see a couple UK Basketball Videos

First up is Malik Monk.  After we caught wind of this dunk in early pick-up games…

…the men’s basketball Twitter account decided to take matters into their own hands.  For our first glimpse inside practice, they went Juvenile, going slow motion for a smooth finish at the rim.

Our final Kentucky basketball video of the evening is brought to you by Enes Kanter.  It’s not really a basketball video, but he plays basketball so it still counts.  Most NBA superstars spend their offseason vacationing on banana boats or playing international competition.  Enes is too busy with science for any of that nonsense.

Charles Matthews says he lost his swagger at UK

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

“I lost my swagger. But I’m going to get it back.”

That’s what Charles Matthews had to say to The Chicago Tribune about his decision to transfer to Michigan from Kentucky.

In a new story on the Chicago native and his move to the Big Ten, Matthews told the Tribune, “I need to be an impact player and have an opportunity to produce like one. I want the ball in big situations. I loved Kentucky and I loved the system we played. I didn’t want to transfer. Coach Cal didn’t want me to leave. But I needed a role change.”

Matthews played in all 36 games as a freshman but never emerged as a consistent contributor, averaging only 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. He sees Michigan as a place that will allow him to have the ball in his hands, not the utility-man role he fell into in Lexington. He likes the Wolverines’ history with developing guards, he says.

One could argue Kentucky has a pretty good record with guards, too; but that’s besides the fact now that the door has closed on Matthews’ time as a Wildcat.

Good luck to him in Ann Arbor as he looks for that swagger. Hope he doesn’t end up regretting the move.

[The Chicago Tribune | St. Rita grad Charles Matthews looking to get swagger back]

New UofL board member wants Rick Pitino gone, according to tweets

New UofL board member wants Rick Pitino gone, according to tweets


One of the University of Louisville’s 10 new board members aired out his thoughts on Rick Pitino on Twitter back in February and it seems he is not a big fan of the university’s head basketball coach.

Douglas Cobb of Prospect, a former CEO at Louisville-based tech firm, Appriss, asked how Pitino survives the latest scandal and believes Pitino is responsible, regardless of what Pitino actually knew:

He believes Pitino should bear the responsibility and resign:

Pitino trashes the Louisville basketball brand, Cobb tweeted:

He believes Pitino, Tom Jurich and President Ramsey left the responsibility to the kids:

He really wants a new coach:

In fact, his allegiance to UofL athletics seems pretty negative all over his Twitter:

Cobb might be the most negative person on Twitter. ALL of his tweets seem to be complaining about something.

And what does his appointment to the board say about the future of Rick and UofL?

ESPN names song that defines Kentucky basketball

The college basketball writing staff over at ESPN named the song that defines each of the 25 teams in its top 25 for next season, and Kentucky’s is from Beyonce’s visual album, Lemonade, released earlier this year.

C.L. Brown assigned Beyonce’s “Sorry” to the 2016-17 Kentucky Wildcats.

He explains why:

3. Kentucky Wildcats: “Sorry,” Beyoncé (2016)

Two reasons to pick this song. First, the Kentucky fan base, also known as Big Blue Nation, swarms after naysayers just like Beyonce’s legion of fans known as the Beyhive. Just try to say something bad about BBN. We dare you. Second, John Calipari has an unapologetic style, and he’s not changing anytime soon. If any team personifies the line, “middle fingers up, put them hands high,” it would be the Wildcats. — C.L. Brown

The video, which features Serena Williams, can be seen/heard below. The lyrics can get a little NSFW in the beginning:



Karl Towns will host a “Rookie of the Year” Camp at UK in August


Karl Towns has had quite a busy summer so far, but that’s not stopping him from making plans to host a camp in his old Kentucky home. Today, UK announced that Karl and John Calipari are teaming up to host the “Rookie of the Year Camp” on August 3 in Lexington.

The camp is open to boys and girls ages 7-17, and will touch on all aspects of the game, including passing, shooting, dribbling, defense and additional skill work. According to UK, Towns will personally work and interact with each and every camper. (Knowing Karl, this is definitely true.)

If you’re interested, you can find more information and register here. You better hurry, because I have a feeling this one will sell out fast.

Alex Poythress will play for the Orlando Magic in the NBA Summer League


Good news for one of our favorites: Alex Poythress will play for the Orlando Magic Blue squad in the NBA Summer League in Orlando. Poythress, who went undrafted last week, is one of six college players invited to join the squad for the one-week, 25-game event, which begins on Sunday. If he performs well, Poythress could land a free agent contract with the Magic or another team.

Also of note on the Orlando Magic Blue roster: UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman, once a UK target; and Mississippi State’s Gavin Ware. Here’s their schedule, with 24 of the 25 games airing live on NBATV:

Saturday, July 2, 1:00 p.m.: Orlando Blue @ Indiana
Monday, July 4, 3:00 p.m.: Orlando Blue @ Detroit
Tuesday, July 5, 1:00 p.m.: Orlando Blue @ Miami
Thursday, July 7, 1:00 p.m.: Dallas @ Orlando Blue
Friday, July 8: Championship rounds

Best of luck, Alex. You got this.

Moving expenses may have prevented Pat Summitt from becoming UK’s women’s basketball coach

After her passing this morning, the sports world is reflecting on the life and career of Pat Summitt. Summitt was the head coach at Tennessee for 38 seasons, leading the Lady Vols to eight national championships, 18 Final Fours, and 16 SEC Championships. Summitt started her career at Tennessee in 1974 at the age of 22, but as the Herald-Leader’s Mark Story wrote yesterday, there was a time in which she considered taking the women’s basketball coaching job at Kentucky. Kentucky reached out to Summitt in 1976, and, as an avid Adolph Rupp and Kentucky men’s basketball fan, she listened.

“At that time, I had no way of knowing what the (financial) commitment to (women’s basketball) would be here,” Summitt said of Tennessee. “And, because it was Kentucky, I thought that job had a lot of potential.”

Alas, the course of women’s basketball history turned over $100.

“If my memory is right, I was making $8,900 at Tennessee,” Summitt said in 1998. “Kentucky was offering $9,000. I didn’t think I could afford to move for $100.”

Looking back, there have been some interesting near-misses with famous coaches in UK Athletics history, but this may take the cake.

Could we not have shilled out a few extra hundred dollars to help Pat move to the Bluegrass??

[Lexington Herald-Leader]


Pat Summitt’s Tuesday Morning Wakeup

Today, the world woke up to the difficult news that Pat Summit passed away early this morning after a difficult battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Summitt was an absolute legend in the sport of women’s college basketball, leading the University of Tennessee to eight national titles and 1,098 wins, the most by any Division 1 basketball coach, male or female. With Summitt at the helm, the Lady Vols made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including 18 Final Fours. More importantly, she helped lay the foundation for women’s college basketball. When she became head coach at Tennessee in 1974 at the age of 22, the NCAA didn’t even recognize the sport; Summitt put women’s basketball on the map, blazing the trail just as John Wooden did for men’s basketball at UCLA. At the beginning of her career, she made $250/month and drove the team van herself; by the end of her career, her salary was $1.25 million/year. What a woman.

In 2011, Summitt announced she’d been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s Type, but refused to let the disease win, attacking it with the same competitiveness she did her opponents. She coached one more season at Tennessee before stepping down, leading the Lady Vols to their 16th SEC Championship under her reign. From there, she retired to face her greatest foe.

Our thoughts go out to Pat’s family, friends, and colleagues, including Matthew Mitchell, who began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant at Tennessee under Summitt in 2000. Not only has college basketball lost a legend, the world has lost one of its classiest individuals.

Her spirit summed up in one quote:


On a morning in which we also lost NFL coaching legend Buddy Ryan, there’s no easy way to segue from this, but we’re going to try…

UK got a commitment from a 3-star WR last night

Hollywood, Florida native Josh Ali committed to the Cats last night, becoming the tenth commitment in Kentucky’s 2017 class. Ali is considered the 70th best athlete in his class by 247 Sports Composite, and also holds offers from schools like Louisville, Iowa, Illinois, West Virginia and North Carolina State.

Long way until Signing Day, but welcome to the fam, Josh.

ICYMI, John Robic gave us some great scoop on this year’s team

Robic filled in for John Calipari on yesterday’s SEC Summer Teleconference, and gave fans plenty of encouraging quotes about next year’s group, specifically the freshmen.

“I think it’s a hungry group that is really, really getting along very well right now, which is really encouraging to see so early,” Robic said. “They’re a great group of young men that are really, really talented — very, very athletic. We have really good size with this group that is in here right now. You can really tell a difference in the size of our team with the addition of the freshmen class. What it’s done is made the workouts and the practices much more competitive, especially near the rim.”

Yes please.

Skal Labissiere’s new dog is pretty adorable

Lots of life changes happening for the newest Sacramento King, including getting a dog. Meet Dash, Skal’s new puppy. Dash is a Pomsky, a cross between a Siberian Husky and a Pomeranian, a breed Skal said he picked because they are “good looking, smart, and easy to train.”

Lots of Cats in Sacramento, and now, lots of Cats with dogs. Here’s hoping Willie Cauley-Stein invites Skal and Dash over to play with his pups, Benji and Brodie.

How about Iceland?

Iceland pulled off one of the biggest upsets in European football history yesterday, beating England 2-1 to advance to the Euro quarterfinals. Most people are focusing on England’s embarrassing collapse, but how about Iceland, a country of 330,000 that’s undefeated in its first major international tournament? On Friday, they’ll play France, and I’d argue most of the world will be on their side.

It’s been a depressing morning, so let’s listen to Icelandic commentator Gudmundur Benediktsson’s calls from the game, starting with their second goal:

And after the score was final:

Where in Kentucky is KSR?

That’s the question everyone is asking this morning. Yesterday, Matt and Ryan kicked off this year’s summer tour in Danville, and today, they’re surprising another town in the Bluegrass with an appearance. Need a hint? The town is less than an hour from Louisville and does NOT have a KSR affiliate.

Let’s hear those guesses…

It’s time to wish Dominique Hawkins a Happy Birthday

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

That’s right.  It’s D-Hawk’s 22nd Birthday.  It feels like just yesterday he was Madison Central’s Mr. Basketball, winning the Sweet 16 to earn a scholarship offer to UK.  Now he’s a 22 year old senior.  Where has the time gone?

During those four years, he’s exceeded the expectations many set for the instate star.  Arriving with the infamous 40-0 hyped Class of 2013, few outside of Central Kentucky thought he’d see minutes as a freshmen.  Yet there he was, shutting down Russ Smith in the Sweet 16.  His defensive efforts helped the Cats advance to an improbable National Championship birth.

He’s showed steady improvement since then, reaching a climax against Louisville last December.  None of his 13 points were bigger than the three-pointer with 2:43 left that extended Kentucky’s lead to five.

Enjoy your day, Dominique; dance the night away.

Matt Jones calls Clay Travis’ claims that Calipari pays players “irresponsible,” “shameful”

Last week, Clay Travis made headlines when he went on “Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly” and claimed John Calipari pays his players. This afternoon, Bo Mattingly asked our own Matt Jones to come on his show and respond to Clay’s comments, and Matt obliged. As you would expect, Matt ripped Clay a new one for his accusations, calling him the “Donald Trump of sports radio”:

“He says things solely, solely to get attention, and it worked,” Matt said. “He’s like, in my opinion, the Donald Trump of sports radio; just say something, throw it out there, act like people have to listen to it, then deal with it. I think it’s ridiculous.”

Matt then broke down why, as a national media member with a huge following, it was extremely irresponsible for Clay to state that Calipari pays players as a fact rather than an opinion.

“He came out and said, ‘Calipari pays players.’ And that’s as irresponsible for somebody who has a national platform to say as anything. And he’s smarter than that, and he knows he’s smarter than that, and he does it anyway, and I’m amazed that Fox Sports 1 lets him get away with it. I think it actually is shameful for them. They know better and he knows better.”

“It’s one thing to say — Skip Bayless may say, ‘I don’t think LeBron is,’ whatever. That’s an opinion. [Clay] is stating a fact that’s not a fact. He’s saying, ‘Calipari paid players.’ That’s not an opinion, that’s a right or wrong answer. It’s not ‘who’s the best’ — ‘LeBron is the best’ is an opinion. He is stating false facts and I don’t understand how people let him get away with it.”

Good stuff, so check out the complete interview below:

Jamal Murray has 12/1 odds of winning Rookie of the Year

NBA: NBA Draft

Before Draft Night, John Calipari predicted that Jamal Murray will lead all NBA rookies in scoring. There’s a difference between being the leading scorer amongst rookies and being voted Rookie of the Year, of course, but right now, Murray — who went seventh to the Denver Nuggets — has the fifth best odds of earning the ROY honor at 12/1.

The rest of the current odds from Bovada:

  • Ben Simmons, Philadelphia: +325
  • Buddy Hield, New Orleans: +550
  • Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles: +650
  • Kris Dunn, Minnesota: +750
  • Denzel Valentine, Chicago: +1200
  • Jamal Murray, Denver: +1200
  • Joel Embiid, Philadelphia: +1400
  • Wade Baldwin, Memphis: +1600
  • Marquese Chriss, Phoenix: +1600
  • Thon Maker, Milwaukee: +1600
  • Taurean Prince, Atlanta: +1600

It’s worth pointing out that Jaylen Brown, who was drafted third by the Boston Celtics, currently has 20/1 odds. Still not sure what the Celtics were up to there.

Isaiah Briscoe doing a “really, really good job of leading this group”

Isaiah Briscoe doing a “really, really good job of leading this group”


One more nugget from today’s SEC summer teleconference before we move on. The biggest question surrounding this year’s team is leadership, but John Robic told reporters that, so far, Isaiah Briscoe has taken the lead in summer workouts. 

“I think right now, Isaiah Briscoe’s done a really, really good job of leading this group. They’ve been doing a lot of early morning workouts. You can see that, with a year under his belt, that he’s really shown a leadership role,” Robic said.

After going through the NBA Draft evaluation process and deciding to return to school, Briscoe was the obvious frontrunner for team leader, and Robic said going through that process has helped motivate the rising sophomore.

“I would think so. I think that’s a natural reaction. He went through the process and gained a lot of valuable information, and that’s what the rule is there for and I think he fully took advantage of it, and is working on the things they told him he need to work on. He’s striving for that.”

I was also pleased to hear Robic say the senior class has stepped up as well, particularly Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis.

“The group of seniors has done well also, with Dominique, Derek, Mychal Mulder having a little bit of experience there, especially with Derek and Dom, who have been through it for three years. It’s a nice blend. I think those guys right now are showing the younger guys the way and the way we like it done here and they way that the players, what they want to get out of it as well.”

Speaking of early workouts, judging by the freshmen’s Snapchat stories, it looks like the team put in another one this morning.

IMG_1069 IMG_1070

Robic says the freshmen are hungry, big, and competitive

Photo by Matt Hernandez

Photo by Matt Hernandez

John Robic’s appearance on the SEC Summer Teleconference also included some good scoop on this year’s squad, specifically the freshman class. Robic said all 15 players have been on campus for about three weeks, and their early arrival is already reaping benefits.

“Workouts have been going great. Guys have been in the gym,” Robic said. “I think it’s a hungry group that is really, really getting along very well right now, which is really encouraging to see so early.”

Last year’s team struggled to score around the rim at times, but Robic said that won’t be a problem for this group, which has been especially competitive in workouts and practices.

“They’re a great group of young men that are really, really talented — very, very athletic. We have really good size with this group that is in here right now. You can really tell a difference in the size of our team with the addition of the freshmen class. What it’s done is made the workouts and the practices much more competitive, especially near the rim. I think it’s going to help us become — again, another staple of what we have — a really good defensive team because of how long we are, and we’ll be able to challenge a lot more things at the rim. You have good speed, really good skill. It’s a fun group to watch so far.”

Is it November yet??