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Solid Performances from All 3 Cats at the FIBA World Cup

Photo: FIBA

The USA is bringing home the bronze medal from this year’s FIBA U19 World Cup, in large part to some solid performances on the part of two up and coming Wildcats:

Not to be forgotten, Tai Wynyard put up some serious numbers himself. He finished the tournament with three straight double-doubles including today’s 17 points and 10 rebound performance in a win against Egypt:

A full rundown of the Cats’ performances in each game can be found right here.

@JayWinkKSR


Tom Hanks’ Good Morning Wake-Up Post

Tom Hanks’ Good Morning Wake-Up Post

Today’s wake-up post goes out to one of the greatest actors to ever live, Tom Hanks. Hanks turns 61 today. Hanks has won two Best Actor in Forrest Gump and Philadelphia. The California native has starred in multiple classic movies like Cast Away, The DaVinci Code, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story and Drew Franklin’s personal favorite Forrest Gump. Happy Birthday to Tom Hanks. Now onto the news you need to know to start the day.

1.Team USA falls to Canada

The John Calipari led U19 Team USA fell to Canada 99-87. The team could not find a way to stop RJ Barrett who scored 38 points while also pulling down 13 rebounds. PJ Washington led the way for Team USA scoring 17 points and having 11 rebounds. This is obviously a very disappointing outcome for the team. Calipari took the fall for the performance saying, “R.J. (Barrett) had it going. I told the team after the game, I needed to try some different things – go zone, trap pick and roll, trap him. I kind of rode it because I thought we would figure out something, and that is my mistake. That’s not these kids’ mistake.”

Team USA will play the Bronze Medal match today at noon against Spain.

2. Isaac Humphries released by Wizards

Yesterday, Isaac Humphries was released by the Washington Wizards. Sadly, Humphries was never given the opportunity to play Summer League basketball. While he has the chance to be picked up by another team, it is expected that he will head back to Australia to begin his professional career there.

3. NBA Summer League Results from yesterday

Here are the results from NBA Summer League games from yesterday.

Name Team Points Rebounds Assists
Bam Adebayo Heat 18 10 0
Mychal Mulder Raptors DNP- Coaches Decision
Alex Poythress 76ers 12 0 0
Isaiah Briscoe 76ers 0 0 0
Aaron Harrison 76ers 13 4 1

4. NBA Summer League continues today

Hawks at Pelicans- 4pm

Suns at Mavs- 4:30pm

Bucks at Nets- 6pm

Timberwolves at Nuggets- 6:30pm

Jazz at Clippers- 8pm

Trail Blazers at Celtics- 8:30pm

Grizzlies at Kings- 10pm

76ers at Spurs- 10:30pm

5. Martin Truex Jr. wins Quaker State 400

Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Martin Truex Jr. won yesterday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway in dominating fashion. The #78 Chevrolet led 152 of 274 laps to win the pinnacle event in Sparta. I wasn’t able to attend this year’s race, but it seemed like while the weather was hot, it turned into a nice evening for the race.

6. Something might be brewing in Bowling Green

If you haven’t been following what has been going down with the WKU Basketball team, here is a quick recap. Earlier this week, it was announced that Sophomore guard Damari Parris would transfer. This leaves the Tops with zero returning scholarship players. It was later discovered the Parris’ transfer was because his scholarship was not renewed. Soon after the transfer was reporting, it was announced that assistant coach Shammond Williams would resign immediately. Following all of this came a report yesterday that another assistant coach, Chris Cheeks would be resigning as well. While this report has not been confirmed, it would not play well for Rick Stansbury in his second year in Bowling Green.

When Hilltopper fans thought the worst had passed, our good friend Jeff Goodman reported that Mitchell Robinson, a top-10 player in the class of 2017, was looking to get out of his letter of intent. Luckily, Goodman pulled back on his report after Robinson’s mother discounted it. Overall, this situation is interesting.

7. James Harden signs massive extension

NBA MVP finalist James Harden signed a massive contract extension yesterday. The deal will guarantee him $228 million through the 2022-23 season. Harden is without a doubt one of the best players in the NBA, but some critics are wondering whether any player should be worth THAT much money.

8. KSR Guest Hosts continue tomorrow

While Matt is still on vacation, the guest hosts continue with:

Monday, July 10: Cameron Mills and Lee K. Howard
Tuesday, July 11: Avery Williamson
Wednesday, July 12: Mark Titus and Tate Frazier
Thursday, July 13: The Sklar Brothers
Friday, July 14: Laura Rutledge

9. Holiday’s of the Day

If you have read my wake-up posts before, you know I like to mention the “holidays of the day.” Like I always say, I do not make these up, but do find them rather comical.

  • National Don’t Put all your Eggs in One Omelet
  • National Sugar Cookie Day
  • National Barn Day

10. Other Birthdays

Other than Tom Hanks, the following people are also celebrating birthdays today.

Starting with Kentucky Wildcats

  • Mark Stoops- 50
  • Carlos Toomer- 45
  • Scotty Baesler- 76
  • Leo Brewer- would be 128

Other celebrities

  • OJ Simpson- 70
  • Mitchell Musso- 26
  • Jack White- 42
  • Kevin O’Leary- 63

There is your news for the day! Please follow me on Twitter @GormleyKSR.


USA Can’t Contain R.J. Barrett, Falls to Canada 99-87

USA Can’t Contain R.J. Barrett, Falls to Canada 99-87

FIBA

Team USA had no answer for R.J. Barrett.  The No. 1 player in the 2019 class, the Canadian sensation scored 38 points to lead Canada to a 99-87 and keep John Calipari’s squad out of the World Cup Gold Medal Game.

Barrett was a man among boys.  No American could stop the 6’6″ swingman from getting to the rim. Barrett made 50 percent of his shots and got to the free throw line early and often (12/15 FT).  He also had 13 rebounds and 5 assists.

The only thing that could slow him down was foul trouble.  Canada had an 11-point lead when fouled out with three minutes left, but it wasn’t enough time for the Americans to mount a comeback.

Offensively, USA struggled to score against Canada’s zone defense.  P.J. Washington and Hamidou Diallo worked the lane well in the middle of the zone, but failed to finish tough, contested baskets and left too many points off the scoreboard. The two Wildcats combined to make only 6 of 25 shots.   

Team USA left even more points at the free throw line.  The Americans made only 25-of-43 free throws (58.1 percent).

Washington still led Team USA in scoring with a 17-points, and added 11 rebounds for a double-double.  Diallo finished with 8 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.

While the Americans struggled to get momentum at the beginning of the second half, they looked to Diallo to provide a spark on defense.  He created some turnovers, but not enough without fouling, forcing him to sit for much of the third quarter.

When Diallo returned to the game, he did not provide much during crunch time.  Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony chalked it up to inexperience.  “Hamidou Diallo bricking free throws, running into brick walls for charges, heaving up tough shots. Lacks big game experience in a major way.”

Team USA’s Stats 

Team USA will play Spain tomorrow at noon for the bronze medal.  More to come from Cairo.


First Impressions of UK’s Basketball Future

Calipari and Kenny Payne watch uncommitted P.J. Washington (25) at the Peach Jam.

Every year around this time The Peach Jam, Nike’s National Championship, provides the BBN with a sneak peek of the possible players with a future in Lexington.

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my first trip to the tournament.  My initial takeaways on the future Wildcats were semi-newsworthy at the time, but in hindsight they are much more interesting.

Knox vs. Diallo

The second game I saw at the Peach Jam was an action-packed showdown between two future Kentucky stars.  Now they are friends and teammates.  A year ago they were throwing each other to the ground.

“Going for the dunk in the fast break, Diallo took out Knox.  Knox’s head hit the wooden bleachers and Diallo got hit with an intentional…Probably wasn’t intentional, but Diallo showed no mercy (almost got the block) so the refs will give him none.”

Reading between the lines of my 140 character Tweets, I became a big fan of Diallo on that play.  In many AAU settings, most players will easily surrender a transition bucket to the opposing team’s best player, but Diallo isn’t like most players.  He went for the block, and when he didn’t get it, he made sure Knox was going to earn those points from the free throw line.

I was impressed with Diallo after that play, but questioned his shooting form on every jump shot he took. Knox on the other hand was the total package.

“Of all the SFs I’ve seen in this talented SF class, Knox is the most physically impressive. Not a bad 3-point shot either.”

He had all of the tools — a smooth shot, exceptional ball handling, a weapon in transition — and he was physically gifted well beyond his peers.  To be fair, Jarred Vanderbilt was in a walking boot and did not play, but Knox still had it all.  He came up big in the biggest moments too.

“Knox just made a poster to go up 4 with .35 to play.  If that’s the dagger, it’s one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen.”

I don’t recall the specific play to describe it, because it was not the dagger.

“Diallo’s defense kept his team in the game. Not enough to win, but he did all the little things. Knox was annoyed every time they matched up.”

Two minutes later, Diallo did enough for his team to win.

“Then a guy hits a fadeaway three to tie it at the buzzer. I spoke too soon.”

“A guy” was named Hamidou Diallo.  I could not see who it was because every person in the audience was standing when he let the deep, contested game-tying three fly.

Hami kept the team on his back and carried the NY Rens to an overtime victory over Knox’s E1T1.

P.J. Washington vs. Marvin Bagley

The first game I watched at the Peach Jam did not feature as much drama, but there was still some awesomeness to be seen thanks to P.J. Washington.

“PJ Washington with a tough finish at the rim, an And 1 over 6’11” #NotTooShabby”

Upon further investigation, I discovered that 6’11” guy was Marvin Bagley, the No. 1 player in the 2018 class.  A center with guard skills, some think he’s the best recruit in a decade.  He receives that tag because his skills are incomparable to any player his size.

“Bagley, the #1 player in 18, just had a nice top in transition.  A 6’11” athlete that I can find no immediate comparison for.”

Bagley hasn’t given much away in his recruitment, but the Kentucky Wildcats are currently his Crystal Ball leader at 50 percent, just ahead of Duke, UCLA, USC and Arizona.  A West Coast kid, getting him across the country may be difficult, but if anyone can do it, Calipari can.  I’ll have updates on Bagley from the Peach Jam next week.

Quade Green vs. P.J. Washington

Green with Greg Anthony following a quarterfinal Peach Jam win via @AdamZagoria

Quade Green was the person I knew the least entering the event.  Leaving the event he was one of my favorite players.

Nobody was more clutch than Quade.  His PSA Cardinals teammate, Mo Bamba, received all the attention, but Green stole the show at the end of games.  He penetrated to finish with contact near the rim, or created space with a step-back.  At the highest level in the semifinals against Washington’s Team Penny, PSA couldn’t win without him.

“Team Penny is up 17 now in the first half. The difference? Quade Green isn’t playing like himself tonight”

32 minutes later…

“Green has come back to life and it’s a one point game”

29 minutes later…

“PSA wins thanks to Green’s second half heroics. Came from 18 down for the win”

Next weekend I’ll get a first look at guys that could become Wildcats in the 2018-19 season at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina.  Who knows, maybe Cameron Reddish could be the next P.J. Washington…


Cameron Reddish on Team USA loss: “It’s just basketball. It happens.”

USA Basketball

Yesterday PJ Washington said that they had underestimated Germany, but tonight it appeared Team USA was not even close to prepared for the kind of match Canada brought.

From the first quarter Canada’s tough zone defense took the U.S. team by surprise. Cameron Reddish said it would tough to adjust to the different defense and slow pace. “Well it was a lot different for us,” Reddish said.  “To get out and run thats where we really strive, so I mean overall it was difficult.”

The Canadian team was, as predicted, led by the No.1 prospect of the 2019 class, RJ Barrett. Today’s match reinforced his ability to make shots all over the floor. Even amid a tumble, Barrett showed great body control managing to get the ball into the basket, as he fell to the floor. Reddish was the first man put on Barrett  in the first quarter, and he admitted he was caught off guard by the small forward’s skills.

“We didn’t really know he was a capable shooter like that. He got going and it’s hard to stop after you get going.”

The game was tied up 42-42 in the second quarter just before halftime, when Louis King fouled Barrett and set him up for three free throw shots. He, unsurprisingly, nailed all three, giving Canada the lead at the half. Coach Calipari still believed his team would turn things around after halftime.

“He was trying to give us life in the locker room. He was telling us we could still win this game. There’s a lot of time left and we believed it,” said Reddish, with a solemn face.

Things did not improve after the half, and the U.S team could not regain the lead they had grown accustomed to. Canada beat Team USA 99-87. Reddish said their opponents hit a lot of tough shots and that his team didn’t get a lot of the calls go their way, but overall they gave it their best.

Like all great losses, there is always a lesson to be learned. Reddish said after this game he thinks the key is to start strong, “We gotta fight from the beginning. We can’t be lackadaisical.”

Even though Team USA’s road to a championship is over, they still have to shake off tonight’s devastating loss and play against Spain tomorrow.

“We’re just gunna put it in the past and move on,” said Reddish with a half-hearted shrug, “I mean it’s just basketball, it happens, so we’re just gunna try and do our best and get the bronze tomorrow.”

Attah-boy.


Washington Wizards Waive Isaac Humphries

It looks like Isaac Humphries will be heading home to Australia sooner than expected.

Earlier today the Washington Wizards released the former Kentucky forward.  According to Fox Sports Australia basketball writer Olgun Oluc, Humphries will not play NBA Summer League basketball this year.

Humphries opted to turn pro and sign an agent after he averaged 2.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game in his second season at Kentucky.  Many scoffed at his decision, but he did enough during his two years at Kentucky to kickstart a long professional career in his home country.

Godspeed, Isaac.


John Calipari Takes Blame for Team USA Loss to Canada

USA Basketball

After R.J. Barrett’s unstoppable 38 point-performance against Team USA, John Calipari shouldered the blame for failing to make defensive adjustments.

“R.J. (Barrett) had it going. I told the team after the game, I needed to try some different things – go zone, trap pick and roll, trap him,” Calipari said in a postgame statement.  “I kind of rode it because I thought we would figure out something, and that is my mistake. That’s not these kids’ mistake.”

The Americans shot just 33 percent, but Calipari believes they did enough offensively to win.  They just couldn’t stop the Canadians from scoring.

“We got 30 offensive rebounds. We scored enough points to win. But then it came down to some breakdowns defensively.”

Calipari is never happy after a loss, but he did not have sour grapes.

“The reality was, one kid really went crazy, and then the rest of their kids did what they did,” Calipari said. “Hats off to them. Congratulate Canada, they deserved to win the game.”


What Went Wrong for Team USA in Loss to Canada

For those who didn’t see America’s 99-87 loss to Canada, you may be wondering, “How in the hell did Cal’s team lose to a hockey country?”  Here’s how:

Washington, Diallo Weren’t at Their Best

On paper, a 17-point 13-rebound game is great, but P.J. Washington was not at his best today.  The UK small forward received rave reviews at the beginning of the tournament by displaying exceptional versatility.  Today he had the finesse to get through Canada’s 2-3 zone, but could not fight through to finish contested shots near the rim.

Hamidou Diallo was out of sorts.  He could not buy a bucket (2/11).  He could draw contact and get to the free throw line, but he couldn’t hit those either (4/8).  He tried to contribute on the defensive end, but instead of steals, he got fouls.

Everybody plays bad games from time-to-time.  It’s awfully hard for this team to win when two of their best players aren’t at their best.

 

Inexperience

The U19 teams are usually composed for college freshmen who have a year of experience.  Auburn’s Austin Wiley was the most consistent American on the floor, finishing with 13 points and 17 rebounds.  However, he is one of just a few with big game experience.

On more than one occasion, the Americans were given golden opportunities they could never take advantage of.  They fought back to tie the ball game right before half, until Louis King fouled R.J. Barrett on a three.  Instead of capturing momentum out of the halftime locker room, they surrendered it to the Canadians.  With seven minutes to play, Canada’s two best players went to the bench with four fouls.  Nobody stepped up to take control of the game, and the inexperienced group let their final comeback opportunity go to waste.

Free Throws

What separates John Calipari’s great teams from his good ones is all at the free throw line.  This team does not receive “great” status.  They were aggressive enough to get to the line, but couldn’t finish.  Team USA made 25/43 free throws, good for just 58 percent.  Even worse, throughout the entire tournament Diallo and Washington have shot a combined 32 of 62 from the charity stripe.

Cal Didn’t Talk After the Game

The first coach to lose a game for Team USA since 2011, to an outsider it’s not a good look to skip the press conference.  In fact, it’s just more ammunition for Calipari critics.  That ammunition does not have any context.

Team USA has not held a postgame press conference in Cairo.  Our correspondent Sofie Tapia has only been able to get quotes after persuading Team USA’s PR person for exclusive access.  People love to hear from Cal after losses because it rarely happens.  It did not happen today because it hasn’t happened all week.

R.J. Barrett was AMAZING

At the end of the day, the Americans had to be at their best to beat R.J. Barrett.  I don’t care how great their defense was, Barrett was in a zone and could not be stopped.  You’ve seen it happen before: Jodie Meeks did it to Tennessee, Malik Monk did it this year against North Carolina, Kevin Durant did it in the NBA Finals, and Jamal Murray did it to Team USA in the PanAm games.

R.J. Barrett is the No. 1 player in the 2019 class.  If he reclassifies to the 2018 class, he might be the best player in 2018 too.  All you can do is respect the kid’s greatness and hope he eventually is playing for John Calipari, rather than against him.


Watching John Calipari Run could be a Sport

Watching John Calipari Run could be a Sport

John Calipari is more than a coach on the sidelines, he’s an entertainer.  He shouts, stomps and flails his hands like few others, creating an atmosphere that can often be described as hilarious, regardless of what’s happening in between the lines.  Turns out, he’s even more entertaining in between the lines.

During Team USA shoot-arounds, the coaches take turns trying to beat the players in a half-court shootout.  After Danny Manning hit one under-handed from half-court, Calipari could not contain his emotions.  He paraded around the court like the leader of a marching band.

Calipari’s awkward Dad swag is officially on a hundred thousand trillion.  Wow.


Watch Team USA take on Canada in the World Cup Semifinals

It’s the Yankees vs. the Mounties for a spot in the FIBA World Cup Final.

After losing in three straight World Cup quarterfinals, the Canadians upset France 73-67 behind a powerhouse performance from R.J. Barrett, the No. 1 player in the 2019 recruiting class.  Team USA has cruised to 20-point victories throughout the tournament, but they’ll have their hands full.

The game begins at 2:30 and can be seen right here on Watch ESPN.

Unfortunately, I do not think something like this will happen today.

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Tai Wynyard gets another Double-Double at the FIBA World Cup

FIBA

Another day, another double-double for Kentucky’s Tai Wynyard at the FIBA World Cup in Cairo.

For the second consecutive day, Wynyard recorded a double-double.  Yesterday he had 17 (8-11 FGs) points and 13 rebounds.  Today’s stat-line was similar: 15 points (6-10 FGs) and 13 rebounds.  Today’s game is much worse, not because Wynyard had two less points, but because New Zealand lost 74-70 to Puerto Rico.

New Zealand didn’t win a ton of games at the tournament, but I think it’s safe to say Tai proved he can contribute next year after averaging 13.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in six games.  Cal’s 2017-18 Cats have a lot of length and versatility, but little size and strength inside.  Wynyard can be an imposing force in the post that gobbles up rebounds to get the Cats running in transition.


Hamidou Diallo’s Greatest Defensive Test

@FIBA

We’ve seen him dunk.  We’ve seen him score.  Will we see Hamidou Diallo’s acclaimed perimeter defense shut down one of the world’s best scorers?

When Diallo first committed to Kentucky, fans drooled over his seemingly endless dunk-filled highlight reels.  Then UK fans marveled at his length.  The final piece of the puzzle was Diallo’s defense.  He was tagged as, “best perimeter defender since DeAndre Liggins,” without much to reinforce this belief.  Today he gets a chance to prove it.

Leading Team Canada is the FIBA World Cup’s second-leading scorer and the No. 1 player in the 2019 class, R.J. Barrett.  A prospect that plays prep school ball for Montverde Academy, he is averaging 19 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.  Yesterday he went crazy and dropped 27 on France.

A 6’6″ swingman, his game is similar to Diallo’s.  Barrett is not the best perimeter shooter (23.1 percent for the tournament) but he is one of the best at finishing near the rim.

Some coaches might use a bigger defender, like P.J. Washington or Cameron Reddish, to use their physicality to keep Barrett out of the paint.  I do not foresee that happening today.  John Calipari wants to test Diallo like he has not been tested in years.  If Diallo passes that test, the BBN will know he’s the full package, prepared to lead Kentucky in 2018.


Saturday’s Top 10: Moving Sucks

Yesterday the fiancee and I moved into our first home.  Being a homeowner is an amazing, life-changing event and I cannot wait to have my own office, my own backyard and a fireplace…but right now everything sucks.

My clothes will not go into the house for another week.  The fridge will not be here until Sunday.  There are paint buckets everywhere.  To make matters worse, we forgot to call the water company, and guess who’s closed on the weekends?  The water company.  The only thing going for me is that work will keep me away from the insanity for the next week.  Speaking of…

KSR Road Trip

Starting tomorrow begins a week-long extravaganza throughout the South for three of your favorite KSR bloggers.  Tomorrow night Freddie Maggard and I will arrive in Hoover, Alabama for four days of SEC Media Days coverage.  There will be posts on each team, podcasts, pictures and commentary from your favorite talking heads.

Following UK’s appearance on Wednesday, I will depart for the Peach Jam to check in on UK’s Nike EYBL recruits.  A few hours away in Spartanburg, South Carolina Jack Pilgrim will check out the best of the best on the adidas circuit.  Upon returning on Sunday, I get a “treat yo self” with the season seven premiere of Game of Thrones.

Another Victory for Team USA

It was a close quarterfinal game for Team USA, and they still won by 22.  P.J. Washington and Hamidou Diallo did little damage on the stat sheet, and they still won by 22.  Another SEC star, Auburn’s Austin Wiley, scored 19 points from the post to lead the Americans.  If you missed the game, you can see all of the necessary highlights in nine minutes.

Sorrey Canada

After upsetting France, the Canadians are bringing their maple syrup and Molson to the semifinals of the FIBA World Cup.  Normally, I’d spend this entire paragraph/day finding new ways to make bad jokes about Canada, but as Rakim would say, they ain’t no joke.  Leading the way for the Canadians is R.J. Barrett, the consensus No. 1 player in the 2019 class.  It’s not the first time P.J. Washington has played against Barrett.

“I mean he’s a great player. He’s a young guy, lefty, he can shoot it, he can get to the rack, he’s a great player,” said Washington about Barrett, adding, “I feel like if we just play our game we will be alright.”

The action starts at 2:30 ET and will be streamed right here on KSR.

Tai Wynyard in Action

After securing a double-double (17 points, 13 rebounds) and a victory over Mali, Tai’s New Zealand team is taking on Puerto Rico right now.  Watch all the action unfold below.

 

De’Aaron Fox’s Fantastic Summer League Debut

The former Kentucky point guard did not disappoint the fans in Las Vegas.  His Kings did not win, falling to a Kentucky-less Phoenix Suns lineup 89-85, but he was still one of the day’s best performers.  Fox finished with 18 points (7-16 FG), 5 steals, 4 assists and 3 rebounds.

With time running out in the third quarter, Fox went coast-to-coast, threw Derrick Jones in the spin cycle and finished high off the glass.

That was my favorite Fox highlight of the night, but this Kentucky connection to Skal Labissiere off a steal was a close second.

This one was pretty good too.

Lonzo Ball had an Excellent Debut…NOT!

I don’t cheer against Lonzo Ball because of his dad.  I cheer against Lonzo Ball because he went to UCLA and people actually think he’s better than De’Aaron Fox, even though Fox destroyed him twice.

Seeing Summer League action for the first time, Fox outdid Lonzo, again.  Ball shot 2-of-15 FG from the floor.  Eleven of those attempts were threes; he only made one and finished with 5 points.  Fox had 6 points after the first quarter.  “Sorry, not sorry Magic,” is something I wish De’Aaron said after the game.

Summer League Scores from Other Cats

Playing alongside Fox, Skal Labissiere had 10 points (4-9), 2 blocks, a steal, an assist and a rebound.  Their Kentucky teammate Dominique Hawkins did not leave the bench.  In James Young’s first game for New Orleans, he got in a little foul trouble but still played okay.  In a loss to the Raptors, Young shot 2-of-5 from three to finish with 12 points and a pair of steals.  Young opened the game guarding Mychal Mulder.  Yes, Mulder started for the Raptors.  The shooting guard missed two three-point attempts but finished with 6 points in 17 minutes.

The top UK performer not-named-Fox was Archie Goodwin.  Playing for the Brooklyn Nets, Archie had 14 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist to lead Brooklyn to a three-point victory.

Today’s Summer League Schedule

There are games all afternoon on almost every ESPN network; four of them feature former Wildcats.

  • 6:00: Washington (Isaac Humphries) vs. Memphis on ESPNU
  • 6:30: Raptors (Mychal Mulder) vs. Timberwolves on ESPN3
  • 8:00: Miami (Bam Adebayo) vs. San Antonio on ESPNU
  • 10:30: Philadelphia (Poythress, Briscoe, Aaron Harrison) vs. Golden State on ESPN

Quaker State 400 at the Kentucky Speedway

It’s the Speedway’s biggest day of the year.  The weekend in Sparta got off to a rough start.  Highway closures on I-71 made traffic miserable Thursday, and the rainy weather has not been cooperative.  If you can’t make it to Sparta, the race airs at 7:30 on NBC Sports Network.

Big Z’s New Ink

Za’Darius’ UK tat received an impressive upgrade.  I doubt there’s a better tattoo in the Big Blue Nation.

@TheRealZSmith


Team USA to face Canada and No.1 prospect RJ Barrett

Today was a day of upsets at the FIBA World Cup Championships. The favored Lithuanian team got beat 73-68 by Italy and the Canadian team beat France 73-67. Canada has failed to reach the Semi-Finals for the last four FIBA U19 tournaments. Today they overcame the odds with the aid of No. 1 overall prospect for the 2019 class, small forward RJ Barrett.

Barrett is known for his athleticism, body range and ability to score from anywhere. He finished the today’s game with 27 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

P.J. Washington, also a five-star recruit, and Barrett both played at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Missouri January of this year.

“I mean he’s a great player. He’s a young guy, lefty, he can shoot it, he can get to the rack, he’s a great player,” said Washington about Barrett, adding, “I feel like if we just play our game we will be alright.”

Unlike Washington, who has already signed his allegiance to Kentucky, Barrett is still a free agent; however he does have some ties to Big Blue Nation through his friendship with former Wildcat Jamal Murray.

As the No. 1 prospect you know Coach Calipari has been keeping an eye on Barrett.

“I watched him a couple times here and Roy Rana does a great job with him. He switches defense they’ll go two three zone, they’ll go 2-2-1 they’ll do all kinds of crazy stuff to really slow the game down, make your team think,” he said

Calipari isn’t underestimating the Canadian team, and says that Barrett isn’t their only asset.

“They’ve got good players, they’ve got good players and RJ is one of them but they’ve got other good guys that can really play and shoot.”


Photo: Ahmed Shedeed

Calipari on USA v Germany: “We needed to be challenged”

Photo: Ahmed Shedeed

Today Team USA showed the first signs of real pressure since beginning the FIBA World Cup Tournament. They took on Germany for the quarterfinal game, ending the first quarter with a 6-point lead.

Germany had been ranked second for their long distance shooting (39 percent), which became evident why after the first half. German shooting guard #10 Ferdinand Zylka, was the star player of his team and gave Team USA trouble from the 3 point line in the first half of the game.

“Well in the first half #10 had 13 points and we just said, ‘Guys are you not watching?’ so in the second half we did not give him a three until late and we kind of backed off him, we just tried to make him bounce,” said Coach Calipari.

Team USA entered the second half with only a two point lead over Germany, however the first unit of players in the second half turned the game around, with Carson Edwards leading the pack. The star players of the last game didn’t perform as well, but Calipari said he loved that different people were helping them win, singling out both Edwards and Pritchard Payton.

“They got us a lead and they, you know, stretched out the game, which is what they should do,” said Calipari.

In these final championship games Calipari explained the pressure they felt in the first half was normal,

“Every team is gunna play us in the first half and be excited and be focused and their gunna execute, our job is to keep coming at em’ and try to wear em’ down,” adding, “we needed to be challenged a little bit.”

Tomorrow Team USA faces Canada.