The Depth Chart Podcast returns with Freddie’s favorite college football analyst, the SEC Network’s Cole →
Basketball Season Coverage
In case you were worried it was just a dream, the NBA just approved the Kings/Pelicans trade that will send DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans. The Pelicans shared the news with this picture of Boogie in his new jersey minutes ago:
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 20, 2017
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 20, 2017
We are all King Cake Baby right now:
If you’re like me and trying to find a time to go see the Pelicans play, here’s the rest of their schedule:
Kenny Payne: “Dominique Hawkins shouldn’t take second fiddle to any player on this team because he’s just as good”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 20th, 2017 @ 3:01pm
For four years, Dominique Hawkins has been a solid role player for Kentucky, giving the Cats a steady hand off the bench and defensive intensity when the team needs it the most. How fitting is it that in his final year, the home state boy is becoming Kentucky’s crutch? This season, Hawkins is averaging 17.6 minutes per game, an eight minute increase from last year, and on Saturday, he followed up a season-high 10 points vs. Tennessee with nine points in a crucial game at Georgia. Dominique is playing the best basketball of his life, and today, Kenny Payne couldn’t stop praising him.
“I can’t begin to tell you how happy we are all with Dominique as coaches,” Payne said. “Dominique Hawkins brings a little something different, more energy at times, defensive toughness at times. Lately, he’s been our best on-ball defender. He deserves this and he shouldn’t take second fiddle to any player on this team because he’s just as good. He’s playing that way.”
Everyone raves about De’Aaron Fox (as they should), but did you know that Hawkins has the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team at 4.3? This season, Dom (whom Calipari dubbed “Old Reliable” after the Tennessee win) has 52 assists after combining for 39 assists in his first three seasons. In interviews today, he said that although he’s had big moments during his career at Kentucky, he knows his role this season is his most important.
“It’s definitely been worth it for me,” Dom said of his time at Kentucky. “I’ve definitely seen myself being a part of big situations my freshman, sophomore, and junior years, but I feel like this is the biggest role I’ve taken in my four years.”
Dom isn’t the only senior doing work; Derek Willis and Mychal Mulder are also playing well right now, averaging a combined 16.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. The 16.9 points per game from the seniors is the best in the John Calipari era. How awesome is that for a team whose youth the national media won’t stop fixating on? Payne attributed the seniors’ success to one thing: confidence.
“Same goes for Mychal Mulder, Derek Willis,” Payne said of the seniors’ contributions. “Derek Willis had 12 rebounds in the last game. He can do that anytime he wants. What is preventing him from playing that way? It’s all mental. That’s all it is.”
Everyone likes to talk about Kentucky’s freshmen, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they won’t accomplish anything this season without their seniors.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 20th, 2017 @ 2:30pm
ESPN NBA Draft guru Chad Ford released his latest first round Mock Draft last week, and there was a notable omission: Bam Adebayo. Bam has been slipping in mock drafts all season, and while his stats are pretty solid (12.7 points, 7.1 rebounds), they’re not exactly what everyone expected from the five-star when he came to Lexington. Kyle Tucker had Ford on the latest episode of his podcast to explain why he left Bam off his latest mock, and Ford said that based on the feedback he’s getting from scouts, Bam might be better off coming back to Kentucky for his sophomore year:
“I just don’t know any scouts that really love this guy and feel like he’s really in conversation to be a lottery pick, given the depth of this draft,” Ford said. “And that to me should be a signal for him, because he certainly has the physical tools to be an NBA player, but he might want to come back for a year.”
Wow. Obviously, a lot can change, especially if Kentucky makes a deep postseason run, but can you imagine if Bam came back? That would make an already impressive 2017-18 front court absolutely terrifying.
Lots of great stuff from Ford about Bam here, so go check out Kyle’s article in full.
John Calipari did this morning’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, so associate head coach Kenny Payne is handling today’s pre-Missouri media opp. Tune in via the live stream below or check the site in just a bit for a full recap:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 20th, 2017 @ 1:45pm
Missouri is 7-19 this season, 2-12 in conference, but after hearing John Calipari talk about the Tigers on today’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, you’d think they were the Golden State Warriors. Calipari said that after watching tape of Missouri, he’s convinced they’re a “dangerous team,” and the Cats can’t afford to look past tomorrow night’s trip to Columbia.
“I know what their record is, so I expected to see something different when I started watching tape,” Cal said. “I fully expect that they’re going to come to play. You know what they do? They shoot the ball better than you give them credit for. You’re like, okay, what do they do, they shoot. They’re dangerous because they can make perimeter shots.”
As we’ve seen time and time again this season, even the worst SEC teams turn into the best version of themselves vs. Kentucky, which Calipari loves to point out to his guys.
“A lot of times, we play teams that have house money. And they’re letting it go and making shots and plays they haven’t all year because it’s house money. We’re going into a game, it’s a dangerous game. I just said, they had Alabama. I can’t believe they lost the game to Alabama and they went to Texas A&M and had them beat. It was a one-point game with a minute to go and they beat Vanderbilt, who’s beating everybody now. They beat Vanderbilt by 20! So, this team, if we walk in there and act like they’re not — we’ve gotta worry about us.”
Speaking of us, Calipari said he’s encouraged by his team’s progress.
“We’re consistently trying to figure things out, I know that. Watched some tape with the team and showed them some things that were good and some of the stuff that wasn’t good and where we have to improve and we’re using every day to get better. We’re one of those teams with an enormous upside, even now. There are times I think we’ve figured it out and sometimes I look and I think we haven’t. Look, I forget year to year, my wife tells me all the time, you just forget how it was. This is what it is for us. Now, at some point, we’re going to have to, you’ve gotta go on that run where you’re really starting to play better and you’re really starting to move it and you’re really starting to mesh. We haven’t quite hit that run yet.”
Tomorrow sounds like a great time to start.
Colin Cowherd says UK fans bragging about All-Star weekend is “pathetic,” program’s history in NBA “embarrassing”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 20th, 2017 @ 12:59pm
Oh, hey, look, Colin Cowherd’s saying stupid stuff about Kentucky players in the NBA again. After claiming that UK players in the NBA are “underwhelming” and “immature” on Friday, Cowherd aimed his fire at Kentucky fans and the program’s history to open his show today. After Kentucky players took over All-Star weekend and dominated the headlines, Cowherd said that any fan that brags about how a former player did in an all-star game is “pathetic.”
“You’re all jazzed up this weekend because you really did well in an all-star game. That’s pathetic. Can you imagine an Notre Dame fan or a USC or an Alabama football fan saying, did you hear our guy won a skills competition at the Pro Bowl? That’d be embarrassing. Your fanaticism for this weekend’s All-Star Game is embarrassing.”
After an odd comparison between the All-Star game and Adam Sandler movies, Cowherd came back to his point.
“If you’re bragging about an NBA All-Star weekend, you’re the NFL fan bragging about the Pro Bowl. You’re pathetic.”
Cowherd must have enjoyed the attention from the BBN over the weekend so much that he went a step further, calling Kentucky’s history of putting players in the NBA before the Calipari era “embarrassing.”
“If you took out Calipari, your history is embarrassing. Calipari has made it captivating because of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis. I think Anthony Davis is — and by the way, Karl-Anthony Towns, that’s a Kentucky kid, I think eventually, he’ll be something too. But if you take Calipari out of the all-time Kentucky equation, it’s embarrassing when you compare it to the all-time great teams.”
I think Rajon Rondo, Tayshaun Prince, Antoine Walker, Walter McCarty, Ron Mercer, Tony Delk, Derek Anderson, Jamal Mashburn, Rex Chapman, Dan Issel, and Pat Riley might have something to say about that “embarrassing” history. Duke reference coming in 3…2…1…
“And Duke maybe doesn’t have a time of all-time greats, but they don’t give me head cases. They don’t give me busts,” Cowherd continued. “Kentucky underwhelms me, gives me head cases, gives me busts. Quit blaming the messenger. Look in the mirror.”
I don’t have the full clip of Cowherd’s comments yet, but here’s a portion of it (excuse me typing in the background).
UPDATE: Here’s the clip from Twitter…
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) February 20, 2017
The latest AP Poll is out, and your University of Kentucky Wildcats are continuing their steady climb, moving up two spots to number eleven. The top three remains unchanged: 1) Gonzaga, 2) Villanova, and 3) Kansas. Here’s the entire poll for your viewing pleasure:
|AP Top 25|
Others receiving votes: VCU 39, Northwestern 25, Iowa State 22, South Carolina 12, USC 10, Dayton 9, Middle Tennessee 8, Oklahoma State 7, Minnesota 5, Monmouth 2, Miami 2, Virginia Tech 1, Vermont 1, Michigan 1
The Coaches Poll should be released a little later.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 20th, 2017 @ 10:48am
Everyone’s talking about the DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans trade, including John Calipari. Calipari’s making the rounds on the sports show circuit this morning to discuss DeMarcus joining Anthony Davis in New Orleans, and squelched any speculation that he will leave Kentucky to go to New Orleans to coach his former stars.
“Not happening,” Calipari said on The Dan Patrick Show. “I’d rather be in the situation that I’m in to be help, to be a mentor, whatever they need me to be.”
Later on, the two talked about Calipari getting fired from the Nets, which is when Patrick asked if Kentucky would ever fire him.
“If I try to stay too long, yeah. That, I can promise, won’t happen,” Cal said. “I don’t want to die in the seat.”
Calipari then went on his regular stump speech about how he loves his current position, which allows him to help families, etc. etc.
“I’ve got a position where it’s more than just basketball,” Cal said. “What moves me now at my age is we’re creating hope for people and kids.”
Calipari also went on SportsCenter, where he discussed what a Boogie/Brow frontcourt will look like.
“The thought of it, that they’re so different yet they’re big, they’re talented, and they’re skilled,” Cal said. “The biggest thing is both of them want to win.”
While we’re all excited, Calipari did point out that it will take some time for DeMarcus and Anthony to form chemistry on the court.
“Everybody’s gotta calm down because it will take them time to get to know one another and try to figure out how to play off one another and how they promote each other. That may take some time.”
Yeah, yeah. Still excited.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 20th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Good morning, friends, and to those in the banking industry, happy President’s Day. While these days, the holiday has become synonymous with mattress sales (what up, Sleep Outfitters!) and school breaks, the majority of us are at our computers per usual, just trying to get through another Monday morning. Thankfully, there’s plenty going on in the world of UK sports to distract us, such as last night’s monumental late breaking news that…
1. DeMarcus Cousins has been traded to New Orleans
In case you’re like me and woke up to that news, well, what a way to wake up. What started as rumors at the beginning of All-Star Weekend turned into reality late last night when Boogie and Omri Casspi were traded to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, New Orleans’ 2017 first round pick and the Sixers’ 2017 second round pick. No one has ever accused the Kings’ front office of being smart, but that was a really, really dumb trade. Sure, it was probably best that they parted ways with Boogie, but that’s what they got?! Ha!
No wonder the Pelicans are feeling so good this morning:
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 20, 2017
2. Boogie’s reaction to the news was priceless
How happy is DeMarcus to get out of Sacramento? Check out his reaction to finding out the news last night during interviews:
DeMarcus Cousins reaction after he finds out he was traded. pic.twitter.com/gqM1mTvwPY
— NBA Inside Stuff (@NBAInside_Stuff) February 20, 2017
New Orleans is already one of my favorite cities in America, and now that they’ve got Boogie, Anthony, and Terrence Jones? Thank goodness I have friends who live there because I’m going to visit all the time.
3. Calipari and Kenny Payne were also at the All-Star Game
Of course John Calipari was in New Orleans last night to see Anthony, DeMarcus, and John Wall play in the All-Star Game. Before the main event, he, Brad, and Kenny Payne posed with Anthony’s family, who had to be proud because…
4. Anthony was named MVP
Davis took home MVP honors after setting an All-Star single-game scoring record of 52 points in addition to 10 rebounds. Davis broke Wilt Chamberlain’s previous scoring record of 42 points set in 1962 in leading the Western Conference to a 192-182 victory over the Eastern Conference. Davis was 26 for 39 from the field, and had an astounding 18 dunks.
Watch all of his highlights below:
5. Don’t forget, Jamal Murray was named MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge
Making All-Star Weekend even sweeter for Kentucky was Jamal Murray’s performance in the Rising Stars Challenge Friday night, which earned him MVP honors. Murray put up a game-high 36 points and 11 assists in just 20 minutes. Murray scored 27 second-half points and made a ridiculous nine 3-pointers. In a game that also featured Devin Booker, Karl Towns, and Trey Lyles, Murray shined.
I mean, really, what a weekend for Kentucky basketball, and we haven’t even gotten to what happened with the current team yet.
6. The Cats found a way to win at Georgia
I was in Marshall County watching PJ Washington on Saturday night, but I did watch the replay of Kentucky’s win over Georgia and I’ll say this: a win is a win is a win. When I saw Yante Maten went down, I thought the game was in the bag for Kentucky, but the Cats didn’t look alive or fight until De’Aaron Fox turned it on the last eight minutes. There are plenty of positives from the win — Dominique’s continued good play, Derek’s 12 rebounds, Mychal Mulder’s resurgence — and no matter how much some want to nitpick, I’m just going to accept the win and move on. Looking at the schedule, the road game at Georgia was arguably the toughest task left in the regular season, so instead of worrying about Isaiah Briscoe, I’m going to take solace in the fact that Kentucky found a way to win a game they would have lost a month ago.
7. How bad is Missouri?
Well, horrible, but after a 13-game losing streak, the Tigers rallied for their first conference win at Texas A&M a few weeks back, and then topped it off with a home win vs. Vandy on February 11. With that momentum, they took Alabama to the wire last week before getting routed by Tennessee in Knoxville this weekend:
Needless to say, Kentucky should take care of business tomorrow night in Columbia. One thing is for certain…
8. The crowd will be larger than this:
As you can see in the picture above, Missouri fans have reacted just about as you’d imagine to their basketball team thus far this season, but three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and crappy SEC teams packing their arenas for Kentucky.
9. Calipari will be on the SEC Teleconference at 11:35 a.m.
John Calipari and his fellow SEC coaches will take turns talking about their team on this week’s SEC Coaches Teleconference. If this week’s appearance is anything like Cal’s last one, that means I get to hear him talk about his team while huffing and puffing on the elliptical. Since the Cats are on the road tomorrow, this will be Calipari’s only media availability today, so check the site around lunch for a recap of his comments.
10. Tony Barbee, Kenny Payne, or Joel Justus will address the media at 2 p.m.
Calipari’s doing the SEC call, so he’s handing the Missouri preview presser to one of his assistants. Kenny Payne, Tony Barbee, Joel Justus…who will it be?! I know the suspicion is just killing you, so check the site around 2 p.m. for a live stream or shortly thereafter for a recap.
Radio in an hour…
By Haley Simpson on ©February 19th, 2017 @ 10:00pm
This time of year we’re usually wondering if Kentucky is going to have enough room for all of its guards and not its forwards, but this year it’s the latter.
Kentucky already has commitments from PJ Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt, but Cal is still waiting on Kennedy Meeks-look-alike Kevin Knox to announce his commitment. Washington, however, believes there’s plenty of room for the forward in Lexington, according to the Herald Leader’s Ben Roberts:
Washington said he isn’t concerned with how other recruits might affect his own playing time. He just wants the best players at UK.
“I know we’re going to play great together,” he said. “Coach Cal is good with good players, and he’s going to find the right system for all of us to do good things on the court.”
Knox is considering Kentucky, Duke and Florida State. The 6-9 forward also just took his official visit to North Carolina.
We’ll see what happens in the next couple months, but hey, the more the merrier? Am I right?
While all of us obviously remember Darius Miller for his pivotal role in helping the 2011-2012 Kentucky Wildcats win their 8th National Championship, what most of you all don’t know is that he’s been keeping up his winning ways for Brose Bamberg in Germany.
— easyCredit BBL (@easyCreditBBL) February 19, 2017
This weekend, Miller’s team won the 2017 EasyCredit BBL Cup with a 74-71 victory over FC Bayern München. And get this, Miller won the 2012 National Championship in Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans and this 2017 German Cup victory came in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin. Someone get Darius a sponsorship deal!
Miller has been one of the better contributors for his German squad this season. He leads the team in scoring at 11.8 points per game, to go along with 2.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He’s also shooting the ball extremely well, hitting 41% of his threes on the year and 90% of his free throws.
— easyCredit BBL (@easyCreditBBL) February 19, 2017
Gotta love seeing the former Cats succeed all over the world. Darius Miller is one of the all-time fan favorites at UK and in the state of Kentucky, as he won a high school state championship, a college national title, a German league championship in 2016 when his team took home the Basketball Bundesliga crown, and now a German Cup championship. Let’s not forget that Miller was Mr.Basketball in the state of Kentucky in 2008, SEC Tournament MVP in 2012, and was the BBL Finals MVP the year his his team won the German league championship. #KentuckyProud
Start off your Sunday morning with highlights from Kentucky’s tough 82-77 victory over the Bulldogs.
It wasn’t easy, but the Wildcats came home with another SEC win on the road. Georgia fans hoped to see their team finally get that ever-eluding key victory, but Fox’s late game heroics was enough to keep Kentucky on top.
How about Dominique Hawkins with the steal and score?
By Drew Franklin on ©February 18th, 2017 @ 10:45pm
Whew, what a game.
It was a little closer than Big Blue Nation had hoped, but in the end, your University of Kentucky Wildcats escaped Athens with an 82-77 win in a game that saw 13 ties and 15 leads changes.
Like you, I’m a little gassed from yelling at my television, but let’s use what little energy we have left to run through some takeaways from the big SEC road win…
1. The Rule of 71 failed.
Georgia was the first to 71 points after J.J. Frazier made a three-pointer to reach the 71 plateau and put the Bulldogs ahead by two. But the Rule of 71 would not hold true tonight as the Cats still pulled off the win in the end.
Kentucky also won without getting a single point from Isaac Humphries for only the second time this season.
2. J.J. Frazier was unstoppable.
The Kentucky defense couldn’t do anything about J.J. Frazier and it was so frustrating to watch. JUST MAKE SOMEONE ELSE BEAT YOU!!!!
Georgia ran the same offense over and over and over again in the second half — ball screens to get a mismatch — and Frazier scored at will to the tune of a season-high 36 points, one shy of his career best mark.
Frazier was hot, but at some point you have to swarm him and make someone else do some scoring.
3. De’Aaron Fox was Mr. Clutch down the stretch.
Fox’s play was disappointing through the first 25-30 minutes of the game and the he took over in crunch time, scoring 10 points in the final two minutes and hitting six straight free throws in the last 44 seconds to close it out.
Fox said afterward, “I can step up in big moments.”
Yeah, we saw that.
4. Bam Adebayo also made big plays in the end.
Two plays in particular stand out: the block of Pape Diatta’s shot in a tie game with 33 seconds to play and the hustle to secure the long offensive rebound after a Kentucky missed shot with a little over a minute to go, which led to a tie game with the second chance bucket.
Adebayo also hit three clutch free throws and finished with 13 points and eight rebounds in 36 hard minutes.
5. You have to feel bad for Mark Fox and his Bulldogs.
Georgia has played two very tight games against Kentucky and had both of them won, plus an overtime loss at Florida, a one-point loss at Texas A&M (because the clock got stuck) and a two-point loss at South Carolina. They could’ve won any and all of those with just a couple different bounces of the ball, but instead they went 0-5 in those tight contests that could’ve really helped the NCAA tournament resume.
Unfortunately Georgia will likely miss out on the tournament now and that has to suck. They played so well in big games, just couldn’t finish.
6. Prayers up for Yante Manten.
Georgia’s star forward went down with a knee injury in the very beginning of the game and didn’t return. Hopefully it doesn’t keep him out too long and on into the summer when he is projected as a second-round pick in the draft.
Also, big pat on the back to Manten’s teammates for playing so well after he went out. You gotta wonder what the score would’ve been had he not suffered the injury.
7. Kentucky’s three seniors had good games.
Big night for the three seniors as they combined for 25 points off the bench and a whole lot more in other aspects of the game, including a CAREER-HIGH 12 REBOUNDS BY WILLIS. Derek did exactly what Kentucky needs from him outside of his shooting contributions and it’s time to consider moving him into the starting lineup.
Then of course Dominique Hawkins continued his streak of solid play by doing all the things Old Reliable gives you each night.
And how about my boy Mychal Mulder? I’ve been saying it all year: he needs more clock. Tonight he had nine points on three treys with two rebounds. Maybe I’m alone here but I wouldn’t mind seeing him take some of Isaiah Briscoe’s minutes when the situation calls for some shooting.
Coach Cal said on the postgame show, “I love what I saw from Dom and Mychal… And Derek did good.”
8. Malik Monk was cold from outside but made some key plays.
It looked to be one of those awful nights for Monk until he came up big late in the game and on the foul line. Monk finished 9-for-11 for the charity stripe with only three made field goals on 11 shots, and it was enough.
He got robbed of a big rebound when Kentucky was called for a cheap blocking out foul, too.
Speaking of bad calls….
9. WHERE WAS THE FOUL HERE!!!!!!!!
Had Kentucky lost that game, we were all taking a KSR field trip to the SEC basketball offices.
10. Moving forward…
It’s simple: learn to guard the high pick-and-roll. If not, that’ll be what kills this team in the end.
But for now let’s celebrate a hard-fought win in a tough environment against a very good team and a very good guard in J.J. Frazier.
Get back to Lexington with that W and put it behind us.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 18th, 2017 @ 9:53pm
John Calipari used his postgame press conference to go on a long rant in support of Georgia head coach Mark Fox for the job he has done with the Bulldogs throughout so many close, heartbreaking games.
The rant then turned to Mark Gottfried, who was fired from NC State earlier this week, as Calipari said, “We’re firing coaches in midseason… Are you shitting me?”
He concluded it with, “FAKE NEWS!!!! I’m just kidding.”
By Drew Franklin on ©February 18th, 2017 @ 9:37pm
De’Aaron Fox and Derek Willis were available to the media after tonight’s win and Kentucky Sports Radio was there with a camera to capture it all.
Have a listen/watch as Fox and Willis explain how their performances contributed to their team’s narrow win.