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Basketball Season Coverage

The College Basketball Offseason is Halfway Over

Not much of a story per se, but a fun fact nonetheless that was pointed out earlier today by the CBS College Basketball Crew:

That sure gets the juices flowing, doesn’t it? Here are a few standout moments from last season to whet your appetite for the next.

It’s all downhill from here, folks.

@JayWinkKSR


When it comes to the De’Aaron Fox vs. Lonzo Ball rivalry, Julius Randle is #TeamLonzo

(Kathy Kmonicek / Associated Press)

Former Wildcat guard De’Aaron Fox and media sensation Lonzo Ball are the NBA’s latest and greatest player rivalry, and the entire basketball world is taking sides.

In an interview with the media before his Skills Camp in Lexington this afternoon, former Kentucky big man Julius Randle said he’s all aboard the Lonzo hype train.

My point guard is Lonzo. I’m excited to play with him, excited to build chemistry throughout the season,” Randle said. “He makes everybody better. He’s a great player. He obviously can score, but he makes the game a lot easier for everybody. He makes the game very simple and I think the way he plays is contagious.

Just because Randle is #TeamLonzo, however, doesn’t mean he doesn’t support the former Wildcat.

“Obviously De’Aaron’s a great player,” Randle said. “I loved him through the whole season and the whole draft process. Obviously De’Aaron is gonna have a great career. He’s gonna be an excellent player.

I have a feeling this Fox vs. Ball rivalry is just getting started.


Will Wenyen Gabriel have a Breakout Year?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you saw that picture a few weeks ago of Wenyen Gabriel’s body transformation. That picture has been my personal #fitspo for the summer.

It’s clear Gabriel has been working hard this summer and everyone’s favorite College Basketball reporter thinks his hard work will pay off this year.

I don’t know about you but, sometimes last season I tended to forget about Gabriel. I’m hoping that this year he’ll have more games like he did against LSU last year.

We’ve got about 100 days until we find out!


WATCH: John Calipari does the Drive-By Dunk Challenge

WATCH: John Calipari does the Drive-By Dunk Challenge

First Anthony Davis, now John Calipari. It’s official: everyone is doing the Drive-By Dunk Challenge.

After a long day of recruiting, Calipari got in on the latest internet craze, stopping at a fan’s house, jumping out of the car, and dunking on their basketball hoop. The clip is classic Cal, right down to the humblebrag caption:

“HELLO!”


Sacha Killeya-Jones invited to try out for Great Britain’s FIBA EuroBasket Team

Turns out another Kentucky Wildcat is headed overseas for the chance to compete in an international tournament.

Sophomore big man Sacha Killeya-Jones has been invited to Great Britain’s training camp for the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket Tournament. Sacha, who is eligible for the team because his mother was born in Britain, is one of 24 players invited to training camp; the roster will eventually be cut to twelve finalists.

Don’t worry; this should have no effect on his role as a Kentucky Wildcat. In fact, going up against grown men in training camp can only be a positive for Sacha, who appeared in only 15 games last season. In addition to a game against Greece on Aug. 18, Britain will also play in two tournaments in Greece and Poland, as well as one friendly in Tel Aviv against Israel. From there, the squad will head to Istanbul for FIBA EuroBasket 2017, where it will face Belgium, Turkey, Latvia, Serbia and Russia in Group D, starting on September 1.

Could Sacha become the only player to play for two U.K.s?


@KentuckyMBB

Just looking at these pictures of the basketball and football team working out makes me tired

Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

Your 2017-18 University of Kentucky Wildcats have been hard at work this summer, and UK just released a photo gallery by the wonderful Chet White to show fans how they’ve embraced the grind. Check out a few of the 39 pictures yourself, and then take a breather; just looking at them made me tired.

Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

The football team wants to show off their work too:

@clocklyn33

@clocklyn33

Feel free to weigh in on which team looks more fit in the comments.


“Meet the Wildcats” series begins with Jemarl Baker

The 2017-18 basketball season will be here before we know it. Every year CoachCal.com profiles the new players so fans can learn about each one.

The “Meet the Wildcats” series begins with Jemarl Baker, the four-star shooting guard out of California.

Photo by UK Athletics

Baker discusses his high school basketball career, flying under the recruiting radar, decommiting from California and even calls this Kentucky squad “a super team”.

To read Baker’s story click here, or you can listen below on Soundcloud.

Baker also kicks off the “Horse with the Cats” series with Rex Chapman. Before watching, who you got?

 


Zion Williamson has another big game

It seems like every night we bring you a new reason as to why we want Zion Williamson to be wearing Blue and White in 2018. Tonight was no exception, where he, again, put together more highlight reel plays.

Williamson finished the game by scoring 37 points and pulling down 7 rebounds in his team’s loss to Each 1 Teach 1. There is no doubt that Williamson is someone I want to see throwing dunks down at Rupp Arena.

Zion Williamson
Forward | 6-7 | 220 lbs.
Spartanburg, SC | Spartanburg
AAU: SC Supreme
★★★★★
ESPN No. 2 | 2 PF Top247 No. 1 | 1 SF
Rivals No. 2 | 1 SF Scout No. 2 | 2 PF

The metal siding around Rupp Arena is finally going away

The metal siding around Rupp Arena is finally going away

Hate that ugly metal siding around Rupp Arena? Good news: it’s going away.

Today, plans were unveiled to renovate and expand the Lexington Convention Center, which includes some big changes to Rupp Arena. A new glass or transparent entrance to Rupp will be built, which will free it from the metal siding. From the Herald-Leader:

The 2014 designs included expanding the second tier of Rupp Arena and installing a new glass outer wall. Under the plans unveiled Thursday, the top of Rupp Arena would still be visible. The current metal siding would be removed and it would get a new exterior covering. The glass or transparent covering would only go up a little more than half way. The plan would still “free Rupp Arena” so people can see it from Main Street. Currently, Rupp is only visible from High Street.

In addition, the Lexington Center hopes to replace the benches in the upper bowl of Rupp with chair backs, which will require the removal of some seats at the very top. As was announced back in December, Rupp will get four new hospitality suites, one exclusively for UK’s use. The estimated cost of the entire project is $265 million and construction is set to begin in January, with an estimated completion date of December 2020. As has been discussed ad nauseam, the Lexington Center Corporation will sell naming rights to the convention center, but NOT to Rupp.

Rupp already looks like a new arena on the inside thanks to the new ribbon boards and center-hung scoreboard. Now, it sounds like the outside is finally catching up to the times. Hallelujah.

For more details, head on over to the Herald-Leader.

UPDATE: Here are renderings of the new Rupp Arena entrance.

Photo via EOP

Photo via EOP

And “The Gorge”:

Photo via EOP


Thursday’s Top 10: John Calipari goes to Washington

Thursday’s Top 10: John Calipari goes to Washington

Where in the world is John Calipari? Washington D.C., apparently. This morning, Cal took a Twitter video from a hotel lobby, telling fans he’s headed to the Capitol to do some “special things”:

What are those special things? One of them is watching his friend Kelly Knight Craft be confirmed as the US Ambassador to Canada:

Congrats, Kelly. I’m sure Cal will post plenty more from his trip to Washington, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s today’s Top 10.

1. Last night, Cal was in Philadelphia

This is another big recruiting weekend and Cal started things off in Philadelphia at the UAA All-American Camp, where he watched 2018 big men Moses Brown and Naz Reid and 2019 stars Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine. Cal has yet to extend an offer to Brown, but could soon should things not go well with UK’s primary target at center, Bol Bol.

2. Naz Reid says he wants to take an official visit to Kentucky

Adam Zagoria spoke to Reid last night, and even though the 6’9″ power forward doesn’t have an offer from Kentucky yet, he said he’s been in touch with Tony Barbee and hopes to land one soon. He also wants to visit Lexington.

“They just definitely want me to be the best version of me,” Reid said of the Kentucky coaching staff. “If I can keep that consistent 110 [percent] battle effort, then the sky’s the limit.”

Want more recruiting talk? Check out Nick’s extensive update from last night.

3. I can’t stop watching this video of Jonny David playing “Basketball Hero”

You know Guitar Hero? This is Basketball Hero with Jonny David.

A post shared by Kentucky Men's Basketball (@kentuckymbb) on

Back at home, the current team is hard at work in summer workouts, and I can’t stop watching this video of Jonny David playing with the “Basketball Hero” machine last night (nicknamed so because it’s like Guitar Hero). It’s oddly fascinating.

4. More #HorseWithTheCats is on the way

Yesterday, Rex Chapman squared off against PJ Washington and Quade Green for the latest installment of the #HorseWithTheCats series. KyWildcatsTV should release the final versions of the videos soon, but here’s a sneak peek from @KentuckyMBB:

5. The new deal between UofL and the Yum Center will be announced today

Last night, we first got word of a new deal between the University of Louisville and the Yum Center, which should apparently loosen the stronghold the university has over the arena’s finances. Under the amended lease, UofL will pay the arena authority $2.5 million each year for debt payments. Most interestingly, the deal was apparently made behind Tom Jurich’s back in what is being called a “shift in power” from the athletics department to the president’s office. As you might imagine, that didn’t go over well:

Right now, the UofL Athletics Association is learning about the deal, which will then go to the Board of Trustees for approval. Should it pass, the arena authority will announce all of the details to the public. In the meantime, feel free to laugh at this:

6. Details on Rajon Rondo’s deal with the Pelicans

Word that Rondo is headed to the Pelicans broke last week, but yesterday, Shams Charania reported that Rondo’s one-year deal is worth $3.3 million. With DeMarcus Cousins set to be an unrestricted free agent next summer, this is a make it or break it year for the Pels. Will Rondo help or hurt?

7. I love this interview with UK’s 13-year-old football recruit

Over the weekend, you may have seen the picture of the 13-year-old 6-6 350 lbs. football recruit at one of UK’s camps. KSTV caught up with him, and it turns out he’s probably the most likable 13-year-old ever.

Speaking of KSTV, major congrats to TJ Beisner and his son, Tyler. Tyler, a wide receiver at North Oldham High School, just got an offer to walk on at UK in 2018. Simply awesome. If you don’t know Tyler’s story, I suggest you take some time and read this today.

8. The Open begins

The British Open (aka The Open) begins today at the Royal Birkdale and action is already underway. You can watch live on the Golf Channel and see all of the tee times here, but the only thing you really need to know is Kent Bulle tees off at 10:54 a.m. alongside Haotong Li and Haydn McCullen. His cheering section is ready:

Go get ’em, Kent!

9. Interested in sponsoring one of KSR’s UK Football photo galleries?

KSR’s 2017 UK Football Photo Gallery packages are now on sale. We have mini season, full season, and title sponsorship options. Don’t miss your chance to have your business featured alongside the work of our award-winning photographer, Dr. Michael Huang. Email ksrads@kentuckysportsradio.com for more package info.

10. Today on KSR: Matthew Mitchell

Cue up the Kelly Clarkson! One of our favorite guest hosts takes over the mics in one hour.


UofL reaches new deal with the Yum Center through “shift in power”

For years, the University of Louisville has benefitted from a cushy deal with the KFC Yum Center, which continues to spiral more and more into debt. Is an end finally in sight?

Wave 3 is reporting that tomorrow afternoon, UofL and the Louisville Arena Authority (which manages the Yum Center) will announce an amendment to UofL’s lease as the arena’s primary tenant. We won’t know the full details of the new deal until then, but Wave 3’s sources say UofL will have to pay $2.5 million “in cash and other givebacks” to the arena each year and that the move represents a “shift in power from the athletics department to the president’s office,” to the point that athletics director Tom Jurich may not even know all of the details himself at this point.

How lopsided has UofL’s lease with the arena become? Check out this graphic from Joe Sonka, which shows how their profits have soared since they made the deal with the Yum Center in 2010:

Meanwhile, the arena is critically in debt, to the point that officials warned that it may default on its bonds as early as 2020. In December, Jurich threatened that UofL would leave the arena should they be forced to restructure their deal.

“I’m tired of it. We’re tired of all the rhetoric. If they don’t want us, just tell us. We’ll leave. I’d love to build one on the silo site.”

By taking Jurich out of the equation, it looks like the arena — and the city of Louisville — may have finally found a solution.

[WAVE 3]


ESPN picks Pitino over Calipari as head coach of college basketball dream team

ESPN’s stirring the pot today with a controversial selection that should get everyone in the Bluegrass talking. Myron Medcalf picked his “perfect college basketball team” for the upcoming season, and not only did he not select any Kentucky players, he chose Louisville’s Rick Pitino over John Calipari as the head coach. Don’t worry, he’s not totally insane; Medcalf chose Cal to be an assistant coach, along with Michigan’s John Beilein and Villanova’s Jay Wright.

Why Pitino over Cal? Medcalf argues Pitino would best “manage egos and build a variety of personalities into a motivated and competitive vessel.” Funny, seems to me that Calipari does that better than any coach in the sport and he’s got practically a new roster every year.

Even though Cal and Pitino hate each other, Medcalf believes they’d be the “perfect coaching combination.”

“Yes, Calipari under Pitino,” Medcalf writes. “Could you imagine? We can. The two would comprise the perfect coaching combination. Pitino’s defensive strategy with Calipari’s fluid offensive approach would make this group a monster against any opposing all-star cast.”

Talk about a pair of egos to manage. Click on the link below to see the 10 players Medcalf selected for his dream team. Spoiler: there are only three freshman, and none of them are going to Kentucky. See that, Kevin Knox? That’s what we call bulletin board material.

[ESPN]


Who belongs on the Mount Rushmore of John Calipari haters?

Who belongs on the Mount Rushmore of John Calipari haters?

The news that John Wall will be in the UK Athletics Hall of Fame stirred up some of John Calipari’s critics online, notably John Feinstein. Feinstein has been a longtime Calipari and Kentucky hater, and upon hearing the news of Wall’s honor, brought up a bet he made with Calipari when Wall went to the NBA back in 2010. Calipari bet Feinstein that Wall would graduate from Kentucky within ten years, which Feinstein just felt the need to mention yesterday on Twitter. When asked by a fan if I considered the tweet trolling, I said that the timing absolutely suggested it. For that, Feinstein blocked me, confirming his status as one of the biggest Cal haters ever.

The interaction got me thinking: if we were to make a Mt. Rushmore of Calipari haters, who would be on it? It’s summer and we’ve got nothing better to talk about, so let’s break down ten contenders, starting with Feinstein.

The Contenders

John Feinstein

Feinstein doesn’t just hate Cal, he hates Kentucky. The Duke graduate has criticized the Cats for years, going back to his days covering the 1978 Duke team that lost to UK in the NCAA Championship. He’s called Adolph Rupp a racist, accused the program of cheating numerous times, and blasted UK fans for their reaction when Rick Pitino took the job at Louisville. When Calipari came to Kentucky, it was the perfect storm for Feinstein, who has seized every opportunity to criticize both ever since.


Bobby Knight

How does Knight loathe Calipari? Let me count the ways:

  • In December 2009, Knight blasted Calipari during a speech at the Indiana Hall of Fame, blaming Calipari for the lack of integrity in college basketball: “You see we’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he’s still coaching. I really don’t understand that.”
  • In April 2011, he accused all five starters on UK’s 2009-10 of not attending spring classes. (He was later forced to apologize by ESPN)
  • In March 2015, he refused to go on “Pardon the Interruption” to discuss the probability of Kentucky going 40-0.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but yes, Knight really, really hates Cal.


Pat Forde

If the fact that Forde bought an entire bar a round of drinks when UK lost to West Virginia in 2010 wasn’t indication enough that hates Cal, his article about how Cal made his bed and needed to lie in it after the 2014 loss at South Carolina should be. Thankfully, that season turned out to be a pretty good story, so I’m sure Cal slept just fine.


Dan Shaughnessy

The Boston Globe columnist has hated on Calipari for years, calling him everything from a “snake oil salesman” to a “glorified AAU bag man” and analogizing him to Bill Cosby. When UMass announced they were retiring Calipari’s jersey in 2015, Shaughnessy blasted the school, calling for them to “vacate” the decision and referring to Cal as “college basketball’s all-time bag man.”


Jeff Goodman

Goodman’s disdain for Calipari and Kentucky is no secret. In 2012, Goodman even accused Cal of trying to get him fired from one of his reporting jobs. Since then, Goodman’s jabs have been more subtle, but there’s no denying true hate runs underneath.


Rick Pitino

Pitino actually helped Calipari get the UMass job, but the relationship turned frosty once Cal took the job at UK and started beating Rick every year. Both deny it publicly, but it’s clear the rivalry between the two is just as heated as the rivalry between the two teams.


John Chaney

A lot of people may hate Calipari, but only one has actually tried to kill him (that we know of).


Dana O’Neil

Once part of the ESPN triumvirate of Calipari hate, O’Neil has backed off in recent years; however, when Cal came to Kentucky, there’s no denying she was one of those who leapt at the chance to talk about the negatives but disappeared when there were positives. Along with…


Pete Thamel

Who can forget Thamel’s quests to take down Eric Bledsoe, Enes Kanter, and Nerlens Noel? Definitely not DeMarcus Cousins, who confronted Thamel about his Bledsoe hit piece at a Derby party several years back. Thamel’s thirst for Calipari dirt was unparalleled from 2009-2012, to the point that his colleagues in the media called him out for going too far.


Jim Calhoun

I’m not sure what offends Calhoun more about Calipari: that he keeps winning or that he can’t pronounce “clam chowda” like a true New Englander.

 

Who do you think belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of Calipari haters? I weighed in with my four picks in the graphic at the top of the post, but I’m giving you the final word. Vote for four below and I’ll share the final results tomorrow morning:


Tuesday’s Top 10: Blue got into the Grand Canyon

Good morning, friends, and shoutout to this Kentucky fan for repping the Cats at the Grand Canyon. The only way that picture could get more American is if it also included John Short and a bald eagle. This Top 10’s for you, sir.

1. UK Football landed a big transfer last night

@Goaldyn

USC offensive lineman EJ Price visited Kentucky this weekend and liked it so much he decided he wanted to stay. Yesterday evening, the 6-6, 325 lbs. Price committed to Kentucky. He was the 9th best offensive tackle in the 2016 class per 247 Sports and initially chose USC over the likes of Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, and, Notre Dame. After three games at Southern Cal, he decided to transfer to be closer to home. Now, he’ll play his college ball for Mark Stoops and company after sitting out for a season. He’s ready:

For more on Price, check out Nick’s post from last night.

2. John Wall and Randall Cobb are going to the Hall of Fame

Yesterday, DeWayne Peevy broke the news on KSR that John Wall and Randall Cobb are part of the 2017 UK Athletics Hall of Fame class, which also includes Collin Cowgill (baseball), Ralph Hacker (broadcaster), Sherry Hoover Bordner (cross country/indoor track/outdoor track), and Sarah Rumely (volleyball).

The group will be inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend, Sept. 22-23, in conjunction with the football home game vs. Florida. A big weekend just got bigger.

3. This year’s Alumni Game could be the best yet

Peevy also teased that he’s working on getting the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets to play an All-UK dream team in this year’s Alumni Charity Game, which takes place on August 25 at Rupp Arena. If that happens (a big IF), it would be incredible. Ticket info for the game will be released later this week.

4. The team is finally all together in Lexington

During his interview with Peevy, Calipari said the team would probably go through its first practice either last night or today. In typical Cal form, he went on and on about how this will be his greatest challenge as a coach yet.

“I had a meeting, I just told them this will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, which means it will be the hardest thing they’ve ever done. The most inexperienced team I’ve ever coached, which means maybe the most inexperienced team ever to try to do something unique and special. And if you think it’s going to be easy, there’s a magic wand, you’re in the wrong room. It’s going to be hard, everybody’s going to have to be about each other even though they’re responsible for themselves. You’ve got to be about each other or this thing doesn’t get done. Great meeting, I’m going to have a workout with them tonight or tomorrow.”

We’ll bring you scuttlebutt when it comes out.

5. If you haven’t yet, go back and listen to yesterday’s podcast

If you couldn’t tell by all the content it produced, Peevy’s turn in the hosting chair was a hit. Go back and check it out to hear his interviews with Calipari, Randall Cobb, and several more behind-the-scenes stories, including Cal’s reaction to his first ever practice at Kentucky. Spoiler: he was overwhelmed, to say the least.

6. Speaking of podcasts…

We’ve got two new ones for you this morning: Kentucky Thrones Radio with Nick and TJ Walker, and the Depth Chart Podcast with Freddie Maggard. I’m counting on KTR to get me through a humid, hot run today, so let’s hope Nick and TJ don’t spend too much time talking about that disgusting Samwell poop-shoveling montage.

7. This LSU defensive lineman totally looks like a fat Harrison Twin

Photo by Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country

Shoutout to Kyle Tucker, who first pointed out that LSU defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence totally resembles a fat Aaron Harrison. Or Andrew. Either way, can someone check on one of the two to make sure they didn’t gain 100 lbs. overnight?

8. This Texas Tech defensive back had fun with the media at Big 12 Media Days

@YahooDrSaturday

Media Days can be an exhausting process for players, coaches, and reporters, but Texas Tech defensive back Jah’Shawn Johnson had some fun with it by making Media Day Bingo in anticipation of the questions he’d receive. As someone who has asked a lot of predictable questions at these things, I think he nailed it.

9. This golden retriever is a good dog

Today in “Good Dogs,” a golden retriever noticed a fawn drowning in the Long Island Sound, so he jumped in and saved it:

Thankfully, both Storm and the fawn are okay. Storm deserves all the treats today.

10. Who will host today’s KSR?

UK Baseball coach Nick Mingione was scheduled to host this morning’s show but had to cancel due to a family emergency. Who will fill in for him? I’d tell you, but what’s the fun in that? Tune in an hour from now to find out.


Alumni Game may feature All-Kentucky NBA team vs. Warriors or Rockets

Photo by Dr. Michael Huang

It’s been the debate of the Calipari Era: could a team of former Kentucky players take down an NBA super team like the Golden State Warriors? If the folks at UK have their way, we might find out next month.

This morning on KSR, Deputy Director of Athletics DeWayne Peevy said he wants this year’s Alumni Game to feature an all-star UK team and an NBA super team, ala the Golden State Warriors or the Houston Rockets.

“Everybody talks about this All-Kentucky basketball team,” Peevy said. “I’d like to invite one of these so-called NBA super teams to play against us. Whether it’s the Warriors, the Rockets, all these people who are putting these teams together, come play us, an All-Kentucky team, at Rupp Arena on August 25 for charity. Let’s do it.”

In fact, Peevy said he’s already reached out to some of the NBA’s biggest stars to see if they’re interested.

“I’ve got a few feelers out. I’m talking to James Harden (Rockets) and Kevin Durant (Warriors). Bring your team — I don’t care if they combine themselves, they’re not taking down Big Blue Nation.”

Later in the show, Calipari called in and said that while he’s skeptical that Peevy could pull the idea off, he loves it.

“I already put in a call to [Kevin] Durant and [James] Harden,” Peevy told Cal. “I may need you to call Lebron [James]. They might have to all come together to beat us.”

The Alumni Game will take place Friday, August 25 at Rupp Arena. Tickets should go on sale later this week. In the meantime, have fun debating whether a team featuring John Wall, Anthony Davis, Karl Towns, DeMarcus Cousins, and Devin Booker (or any combination of your liking) could take down the Warriors, Rockets, or Cavs. I say yes.