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Basketball Season Coverage

WATCH: John Calipari wants YOU to come to the Alumni Game

WATCH: John Calipari wants YOU to come to the Alumni Game

As more and more of his former players arrive on campus for Friday’s Alumni Game, John Calipari took to Twitter this afternoon to encourage fans to buy tickets, reminding his followers that all proceeds go to charity.

“Let me just tell you, we have a bunch of our guys coming back, excited to be back in town. This is their family. This is their home. This is where they want to be, and we need you there with them. Again, the money we raise is going straight to charity. We’re giving checks away that night.”

A quick check of Ticketmaster shows that plenty of tickets are still available, including $25 lower level seats and $5 upper level seats. NBA rules prohibit UK from releasing the names of the NBA guys participating, but through social media, we can connect some of the dots ourselves.

Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, and Darius Miller are already in town to train with the Pelicans, and many more familiar faces are expected to join them as the week goes on. And while the main draw is obviously the NBA Alumni Game, something tells me the Legends Game right before it at 7 p.m. may be more entertaining.

See you Friday night?


Coaches’ pick for best team in college basketball might surprise you

Coaches’ pick for best team in college basketball might surprise you

Duke is the unanimous preseason No. 1 team if you ask the media, but what about the coaches? CBS Sports is back with their annual “Candid Coaches” series, and 40% of the coaches polled said they believe Arizona will be the best team in the country this season. Michigan State came in second at 28%, followed by Duke and Kansas tied at 9% and Louisville in fifth with 6%. Wichita State, Villanova, and Kentucky all received votes.

Could this be the year Sean Miller finally gets Arizona past the Elite Eight? Protected by the cloak of anonymity, several coaches said yes.

“One, I think Sean Miller is a hell of a coach,” one coach said. “They return their backcourt, which I think sometimes gets overlooked in terms of the importance of a good backcourt. They obviously sign (DeAndre) Ayton. Ristic is coming back, the big kid that started for them. I think they added the right pieces. I think they were really tough last year. If they consistently shoot the ball from the perimeter I think they’re the best team in the country.”

Coaches loving on Michigan State is no surprise, nor is the hype surrounding Duke after the addition of Bagley; however, one coach who picked Louisville just couldn’t get over how good the Cardinals could have been had Donovan Mitchell returned to school.

“Imagine how good they’d be if Donovan Mitchell returned. They have tremendous length. Defensively, they’re going to be impossible to score on. They have really good experience, so they ‘ll have different ways that will really mess with you. They’ll have some talent on the wing that can score. If they would’ve had Donovan, I think they could’ve … I know they can’t go undefeated, but I think it would’ve a unanimous preseason No. 1. Their strength will be in the pack. I think that it’s very difficult for teams at Kentucky and Louisville to have alphas because the head coaches are so much of that.”

John Calipari is the master of getting players to sacrifice their egos for the betterment of the squad, so if that’s what the guy is trying to say, then yes, I agree.

[CBS Sports]


Today on KSR: Regrouping after Dorian Baker’s injury

Today on KSR: Regrouping after Dorian Baker’s injury

Good morning, everyone. All we all over the eclipse yet? Good. Shoutout to these Kentucky and KSR fans in Costa Rica. Now that we’re all sufficiently jealous of your pura vida, let’s move on to today’s agenda.

Dorian Baker undergoes surgery

After suffering an ankle injury during Saturday’s scrimmage, senior wideout Dorian Baker will undergo surgery today at the UK Chandler Medical Center. Yesterday, UK sent out a press release saying that Baker suffered a fracture-dislocation in his left ankle and will miss significant time and possibly the entire 2017 season. Mark Stoops also released these remarks:

“We’re very disappointed for Dorian, as he had a good offseason and was helping lead our receivers during preseason camp; however, we are hopeful for a full recovery and look forward to his eventual return to the field.”

Last night, Baker took to Twitter to thank everyone for their support:

The offense regroups

What now? Eddie Gran and the offense will address reporters after practice today, and with Baker out, Kayaune Ross, Tavin Richardson, and Josh Ali are all expected to get more snaps. Check the site after lunch for a full recap.

New episode of “Kentucky Thrones Radio”

Nick and TJ Walker were up bright and early yesterday to recap Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones, so if you’re not over the episode yet, refresh your KSR feed to check it out.

Eclipse Traffic Horror Story of the Day

That easily belongs to Ryan, Drew, Chris Tomlin, and Daniel, who were among the thousands stranded in Eclipse traffic yesterday. It took the group almost nine hours to make a trip that normally takes three. Apparently the junction near Elizabethtown was one of the main causes of all the issues, and, insanely, Matt managed to avoid the major pile up because he left 15 minutes earlier than they did. Something tells me we’ll hear plenty about this in about an hour.

Pick-Up Game Snap of the Day

Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, and Darius Miller brought the entire Pelicans squad to town to train ahead of Friday’s Alumni Game, which means pickup games will be going down all week. We can’t be there (until Friday at least), so until then, we will live vicariously through the players’ SnapChats. Oh to be a fly on those walls…

Summer Tour Stop of the Day: Kentucky State Fair

Today, the gang will be at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, where you can potentially see Ryan Lemond in a UK basketball jersey and short shorts. If that doesn’t strike your fancy, catch the gang on the last few stops of the 2017 summer tour:

  • Tue 8/22 –Louisville – KY State Fair
  • Wed 8/23 – Northern KY – Dickman’s
  • Thu 8/24 – Mt. Sterling – Mann Chrysler
  • Fri 8/25 – Louisville – KSR Golf Scramble @ Oxmoor Country Club

UK officially announces the rosters for the Legends Game

If you listened to Friday’s show, you already know the rosters for the Legends Game, but UK went ahead and announced them this morning. Check out the Blue Team (picked by Matt and Shannon) and the White Team (picked by Ryan and Drew):

The Legends Game will precede the NBA Alumni Game Friday night. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the Rupp Arena box office, online at Ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. All proceeds from the game will go to charity.

According to the poll we ran on Friday, most of you think Ryan and Drew’s team will win:

NBA rules prohibit UK from announcing which players will participate in the main event at 8 p.m., but from the looks of it on social media, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and all your favorites will be there. 


Today on KSR: Total Eclipse of the Site

Today on KSR: Total Eclipse of the Site

Well, guys, we made it. After months of anticipation, the total solar eclipse is finally upon us. Around 1:30 p.m. CT/2:30 p.m. ET this afternoon, the moon will slide in front of the sun, completely covering it up for up to two minutes and forty seconds in some communities, such as Hopkinsville.

If you’re like me, you’re over the eclipse hype, but it is a big deal. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire United States was 1918, and a total eclipse hasn’t been visible from anywhere in the mainland United States since 1979. The path of totality is 67 miles wide and goes through 14 states, starting in Oregon and ending in Charleston, South Carolina. Here’s a map of the path in Kentucky, along with totality times:

While totality will only last a few minutes for those in the path, the eclipse will actually take almost three hours. The moon will start to move in front of the sun around 1 p.m. ET and finally leave it around 4 p.m. ET. WEAR YOUR ECLIPSE GLASSES while staring at the sun during this time. If you’re in the path, you can take them off during totality.

The weather looks pretty promising

Fortunately, it seems the clouds will stay away for the most part in Kentucky and Tennessee.

I have eclipse glasses, but are they real?

Because some people suck, a big batch of fake eclipse glasses were sold. How do you know if yours are real? Real ones have a designated ISO 12312-2 icon and the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on them. Legit eclipse glasses are meant to block out all but the very brightest light, aka the sun or something comparably bright like a bright light bulb or LED flashlight. If you can see anything other than that, DON’T WEAR THEM DURING THE ECLIPSE.

I don’t have eclipse glasses. What do I do?

Grab a cereal box and follow these instructions:

Can I take a picture of the eclipse with my phone?

Yes, just don’t point your phone at the sun for too long or it could damage the image sensor. If you’re really worried about it, you can make your own solar filter for your phone; definitely use one for a nice camera. And again, never look at the partially eclipsed sun without eclipse glasses on!

I have a feeling that eclipse photos are going to be like firework photos: everyone takes them thinking they’re awesome and they all kind of suck. I’m sure I’ll post one on Instagram regardless.

The site will also be dark for a bit

Nashville’s in the path, so I’m going to take a break to go watch this historic event at a friend’s house. Nobody break anything while I’m gone.

This footage of the eclipse in 1979 is cool

Please stop talking about the eclipse. What else is going on?

Honestly, not a ton. There’s no football availability today, but word may leak out about the severity of Dorian Baker’s ankle injury. If you were offline this weekend, the senior wide receiver suffered a “substantial” injury to his ankle that we’re hearing could keep him out the entire season. Obviously, that’s a huge blow to Kentucky’s receiving corps, which is now in “next man up” mode. Like Landon Young in the wake of Cole Mosier’s injury last week, I expect Kayaune Ross to receive a lot of attention tomorrow when the offense addresses the media.

In other news, with class starting this week, the basketball players are back on campus. Additionally, former Cats will converge on Lexington later this week for the Alumni Game on Friday night. According to his Snapchat, Anthony Davis is already here:

The guys are in Hopkinsville for the festivities

At two minutes and forty seconds, Hopkinsville will have one of the longest totalities in the country. In turn, the KSR crew arrived in Hoptown last night to witness all the excitement. Over 200,000 people are expected to descend upon Hopkinsville, so if you’re there and looking for a way to pass the time, come on out to Main Street Tavern to watch the show.


UK Basketball Recruiting Rewind: Nerlens Noel

UK Basketball Recruiting Rewind: Nerlens Noel

It’s time for another Recruiting Rewind. Want more? Reminisce with me as we look back on the recruitments of John Wall and Terrence Jones.


It’s a funny thing when a big letdown is followed up by a massive victory. Karma, it would seem, is a fan of college basketball recruiting, at least in the case of the BBN and Nerlens Noel.

While The Brow is undoubtedly the most iconic physical feature a Calipari player has had, the Flat-top wasn’t too far behind. And while following in the footsteps of a once-in-a-generation player and a national championship team is no easy task, Nerlens gave it all of the mental strength he had, but in the end, it was his body that crumpled under the weight.

The Recruitment

After the success of Anthony Davis at UK, the market value for tall, lanky shot blockers was at an all-time high. So naturally, when a 6’11” phenom with a flat-top fade comes on the scene, college coaches were salivating.

The Tilton Academy star entertained offers from the likes of Kansas and North Carolina, but would go on to visit Syracuse, Georgetown, and Kentucky.

The Commitment

Before Noel would announce his decision, there was another matter of business to attend to.

Shabazz Muhammad.

The 2012 recruiting gauntlet was dominated by Noel and Muhammad, both of whom were considering Kentucky and both of whom were going to commit on the same night. Was a package deal in the cards?

Not on this night. After Shabazz committed to UCLA, fans started to entertain the idea that maybe Cal wouldn’t snag either of the top two players in the nation.

But fortunately, the big man came through with one of the slickest college commitments of all time.

Now that’s how you promote not only yourself, but your future school.

The Performance

Noel played in 24 games, averaging nearly a double-double per game, with 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds. He was the anchor of the 2012-2013 team, which only made his eventual injury all the more devastating. Without Nerlens, the team struggled to find a rhythm to ride out the rest of the season.

A premature exit in the NIT ended Cal’s most lackluster year at Kentucky.

“Robert Morris” exists as a painful joke in the Bluegrass.

And a healthy Nerlens Noel is now one of the biggest “what if ” scenarios in UK history.

@JayWinkKSR


Three New Names Added to the Alumni Game Guest List

The rosters for the UK Legends Game were set yesterday on Kentucky Sports Radio.  The list of names is impressive, but that’s just the undercard.

NBA rules prohibit UK from announcing who will play in the main event, but thanks to Twitter and a few sources, we’ve got a good picture of who will playing Friday night.  Trey Lyles, Darius Miller and Eric Bledsoe will play in the Alumni Charity Game.  All three said on Twitter they’re excited to return to Rupp.  Here’s who we know will be joining them:

  • Derek Anderson
  • Keith Bogans
  • Rex Chapman
  • Joe Crawford
  • Tony Delk
  • Jamaal Magloire
  • Antoine Walker
  • Terrence Jones

The game will not be televised.  The only place you can see it is in the Rup Arena stands.  Tickets start at just $5 and you can buy them here.


Today on KSR: Last Saturday Without College Football

The longest major sports drought of the year is almost over.  Next week the college football season gets an early kickoff on the West Coast.  Two weeks from today, your Kentucky Wildcats will open the season in Hattiesburg against Southern Miss.  Game prep begins soon, but first, a scrimmage.

UK Football’s Second Scrimmage

Today is arguably the most important day of preseason training camp.  The intensity increases in the second scrimmage as players compete for positions.  How they perform today will determine where they fall on the depth chart.

There are a few position groups where today’s scrimmage matters more.  There should be some clarity in the crowded wide receiver room.  Can Matt Elam play up into the No. 2 spot behind Naquez Pringle, or will Jacob Hyde and Quinton Bohanna earn the right to split reps with Mr. Pringle?   Steve Clinkscale and will learn who he can trust to play safety while Mike Edwards is the nickel.

The first scrimmage provided mostly negative reviews, defined by red zone turnovers and a significant injury.  Can the Cats stay healthy and protect the ball in scrimmage No. 2?  We’ll find out today around 1:30.

High School Football is Back

Even though we are still waiting for college football, it’s officially football time in the Bluegrass.  Kentucky high schools started their season last night.  It was chalky for the most part, but there were still a few nail-biters.

  • Louisville Central 7, Manual 0
  • Perry County Central 64, McCreary Central 58 (3OT)
  • Nicholas County 38, Bellevue 36 (OT)
  • Campbell County 27, Dixie Heights 23
  • Scott County 56, North Bullitt 19
  • CAL 28, South Oldham 14
  • Bell County 42, Middlesboro 21
  • Knox Central 27, Letcher County Central 20
  • St. X 35, Cathedral (In.) 28
  • DeSales 37, Ballard 22
  • Lafayette 28, Bryan Station 0
  • Tates Creek 48, Henry Clay 0

One of those Tates Creek touchdowns came from Lamar Thomas’ son.

If you couldn’t get to the games, there’s about a dozen left on this week’s schedule.  See who’s playing in Saturday bowl games and find the rest of the scores form around the state here.

What in the World?

Meanwhile in Georgia high school football, they’re wasting no time to get to trickery.  This attempt to trick the defense to jump offsides is one of the strangest plays ever ran in the history of football.

Who’s Going to Win the UK Legends Game?

That is a rhetorical question.  The correct answer is Ryan and Drew’s team.  It will not even be close.  In fact, this matchup is so lopsided, David Stern is being accused of freezing the envelopes.

Matt/Shannon Ryan/Drew
Heshimu Evans Julius Mays
Cliff Hawkins Jarrod Polson
Shagari Alleyne Bobby Perry
Andre Riddick Perry Stevenson
Jon Hood Ravi Moss (via trade)
Jeff Sheppard Marquis Estill
Dale Brown Lukasz Orbzut
Kyle Macy Jared Prickett
Kenny Walker Jared Carter
Goose Givens Kevin Grevey
COACH: Chip Rupp COACH: Joe B. Hall

Yet shockingly, there are still a few hundred people who believe Matt and Shannon’s team will win.  I don’t get it.  Correct them by voting here and don’t forget to get your tickets for next week’s game here.

Former Cats Back in the Bluegrass

Ahead of next weekend’s alumni game, former players are returning to town and hosting meet and greets with fans.  The first is about to begin.  Dakari Johnson and Dominique Hawkins will be signing autographs at All Sports today from 11:00 a.m. to noon.  If the notice is too late, Keith Bogans will be at All Sports this Thursday from 6:00-7:30.

End Summer the Right Way

As we count down to the start of football season, we must start saying goodbye to summer. There are plenty of appropriate activities available to properly enjoy the final Saturday of summer.

You could head to your favorite Kentucky lake, or argue about which one is best in the comment section.  In Hopkinsville, it’s never too early to start preparing for the Eclipse.  For a more low-key Saturday, you can experience the Woodland Art Fair in Lexington.  If you see Kindsey Bernhard working a booth, tell her “Sup.”  In Louisville, the State Fair is underway.  If you can’t enjoy fried food, award-winning agriculture and exceptional people-watching, you might need to reevaluate your standards for fun.  Unfortunately, I can’t be there because I will be taking a ride on the Moon Taxi at the Iroquois Amphitheater to say so long to the summer of 2017.

School has already started for most, but you can still enjoy one final weekend of summer.  Don’t waste it.


UK Basketball Recruiting Rewind: Terrence Jones

It’s time for another Recruiting Rewind, and this time, we look back on one of the more convoluted recruitments of Coach Cal’s tenure at UK: Terrence Jones.

Most college commitments are pretty cut and dry. The kid sets a date, decides a few days before, then announces it to the world with complete certainty. The saga that Terrence Jones went through, however, was pretty much everything but cut and dry.

The Recruitment

In a class topped off by Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, and one flat-earther Kyrie Irving, it would’ve been easy to dismiss a lot of players outside the top 5 of the 2010 recruiting rankings.

But T-Jones did his best to stand out.

At the high school level, Jones was athletic enough to dominate at pretty much every position on the court. His skillset was worthy of a player with the right to choose between Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA, Washington and Kentucky.

By commitment time, the race would pretty much come down to UK, with Cal about to have 5 players drafted in the 1st round, or Washington, where Jones could stay close to home and join his high school teammate Terrence Ross.

The Commitment

Ah, a twist!

I’ve personally never seen a commit less confident in their own choice. The Seattle Times’ Percy Allen knew Jones wasn’t exactly euphoric after his decision:

The news conference is over, but the drama may just be starting.

Almost everyone has left the Jefferson High gymnasium, however, Terrence Jones is huddled with his parents in the corner of the gymnasium and folks are keeping their distance. Seems like a major pow-wow.

I spoke to Jones and I can tell this recruiting stuff hasn’t been fun for him. On what is supposed to be a joyous occasion, he sighed heavily and said he was happy that it was over.

Unlike Terrence Ross, who was decked out in Husky purple and said he made his choice a month ago, Jones didn’t know where he was going until the moment he picked the UW hat.

[Seattle Times]

From there, Jones was still in talks with Coach Cal, and based on an interview Calipari did with Seattle’s 95.5 The Fan, Terrence immediately regretted choosing the Huskies:

Well, we thought that he was coming with us and when he said ‘Washington’ we were like ‘what just happened?’ That was the first thing. Then he called about an hour later and said ‘Cal, I made a mistake. I don’t know what I was doing.’ That is when the thing went like ‘You what?’ So we talked to him and said that we are going to do whatever you want. I am holding your scholarship.”

[ESPN]

It’s a good thing Cal left the door open, as Jones would flip the script and commit to the Wildcats just 3 weeks later.

The Performance

Jones’ freshman year at UK saw him average 15.7 points and 8.8 boards per game. He was named the SEC Rookie of the Year, and was a 1st Team All-SEC selection in 2011.

His sophomore year saw his statistical performance drop, averaging only 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Of course, with the additions of AD and MKG, Terrence no longer had to be the only dominant forward on the floor at times for Kentucky.

Jones’ and Doron Lambs’ decisions to stay at Kentucky for their sophomore seasons bolstered the maturity of the 2012 squad. Many fans cite this maturity as the missing link in Calipari’s teams since then.

Of course, we know what their leadership did for this team.

@JayWinkKSR


Three former Cats in town for autograph signings

Three former Cats in town for autograph signings

Former Kentucky players are beginning to arrive in Lexington for next weekend’s Alumni Game, and many are expected to do autograph signings while in town. Dakari Johnson and Dominique Hawkins will get things started with a signing tomorrow from 11 a.m. to noon at All Sports in Fayette Mall:

On Thursday, Keith Bogans will also be at All Sports at Fayette Mall from 6 – 7:30 p.m. to sign autographs and hang out with fans:

If one of you doesn’t take this picture for Bogans to sign, you’re not doing it right:

 


The rosters for the UK Legends Game are set

The rosters for the UK Legends Game are set

Thanks to the KSR crew, the rosters for the UK Legends Game are set. This morning, the gang broke up into two teams, Matt and Shannon vs. Ryan and Drew, to draft their ideal squads for next Friday’s showdown of former UK greats. The game will precede the main event, the NBA Alumni Game, at 7 p.m. at Rupp Arena.

Here are the draft results, including a blockbuster trade by Ryan and Drew for Ravi Moss:

Pick Team Player
1 Matt/Shannon Heshimu Evans
2 Ryan/Drew Julius Mays
3 Matt/Shannon Cliff Hawkins
4 Ryan/Drew Jarrod Polson
5 Ryan/Drew Ravi Moss — TRADE
6 Ryan/Drew Bobby Perry
7 Matt/Shannon Shagari Alleyne
8 Ryan/Drew Perry Stevenson
9 Matt/Shannon Andre Riddick
10 Matt/Shannon Jon Hood
11 Matt/Shannon Jeff Shepherd
12 Ryan/Drew Marquis Estill
13 Matt/Shannon Dale Brown
14 Ryan/Drew Lukasz Orbzut
15 Matt/Shannon Kyle Macy
16 Ryan/Drew Joe B. Hall (Coach)
17 Matt/Shannon Kenny Walker
18 Ryan/Drew Jared Prickett
19 Matt/Shannon Goose Givens
20 Ryan/Drew Jared Carter
21 Ryan/Drew Kevin Grevey
22 Matt/Shannon Chip Rupp (Coach)

And the final rosters:

Matt/Shannon Ryan/Drew
Heshimu Evans Julius Mays
Cliff Hawkins Jarrod Polson
Shagari Alleyne Bobby Perry
Andre Riddick Perry Stevenson
Jon Hood Ravi Moss (via trade)
Jeff Sheppard Marquis Estill
Dale Brown Lukasz Orbzut
Kyle Macy Jared Prickett
Kenny Walker Jared Carter
Goose Givens Kevin Grevey
COACH: Chip Rupp COACH: Joe B. Hall

Who will win? VOTE below:


And then enjoy today’s podcast on your drive home from work:


Today on KSR: Drafting the Legends Game (for real)

Today on KSR: Drafting the Legends Game (for real)

It’s Friday, and just the mere mention of that probably made some of you throw up your hands in joy like that fan up there. Here’s what you can expect from the world of UK Sports before you take off for the weekend.

We’ll hear from the football team

The football team got a well-deserved break from the media yesterday, but select players will be back in front of the mics today. TE Greg Hart, CB Zy’Aire Hughes, LB Courtney Love, CB Kendall Randolph, WR Tavin Richardson and OG Logan Stenberg are all scheduled to speak to reporters around lunchtime, so check back this afternoon for a full rundown. I’m most excited to hear from Stenberg, whom Denzil Ware called that “Big Dude with a Ponytail” on Wednesday:

The radio crew will draft the Legends Game teams (for real)

Yesterday, Drew and I did a mock draft of the players participating in the Legends Game and UK liked it so much that they’re letting us do it for real on the radio. Yet another reason to tune into today’s show, right? Here’s the list of players the guys will choose from:

Honestly, I think my Blue Team from yesterday will be hard to top. I was happy to see that over 60% of you agreed, picking my squad to beat Drew’s:

UK Legends Game: Mock Draft

Drew was so bitter over the poll results that he wrote a whole post about it last night, so let’s hope he drafts a better team today.

Council votes unanimously to relocate Confederate statues in Lexington

Mayor Jim Gray’s quest to relocate two Confederate statues in Cheapside Park took another step forward last night when the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council unanimously approved the resolution. Now, it will be presented to the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission, who must approve it before any action is taken.

Earlier this week, reports came out that a white nationalist group was planning a rally in Lexington to protest the removal of the statues, but yesterday, Lexington Police said, thus far, there has been no indication that such a protest will take place:

Freakishly Tan Calipari is back

@UKCoachCalipari

August means two things: endless first day of school pictures on Facebook and Calipari getting his tan on. Fresh off a family vacation, Calipari showed up at a corporate event in Vegas yesterday looking like Magda from There’s Something About Mary. Usually Tan Calipari is also Swaggy Calipari, so you won’t hear me complaining.

“They’re all grown up” Moment of the Day

the bros

A post shared by Malik Monk (@ahmad_monk) on

Last night, Malik Monk shared this picture from the Panini NBA Rookie photo shoot, and I’ll be honest, it made me a little nostalgic for last year’s squad. I know we’ve got a great new group to look forward to, but the run Monk, Bam, Fox, and the Cats made in March was such a sweet surprise. And now they’re millionaires…

Happy birthday, Ryan Lemond!

Our favorite KSR sidekick/real estate agent turns the ripe age of 51 today, but after partying in Madisonville last night, he may feel a whole lot older. Tune into the show to check on his condition.

Summer Tour Stop of the Day: Madisonville

The gang is at Watermark Toyota in Drew Franklin’s hometown to draft the Legends Game and get you ready for the weekend.


KSR readers are sleeping on my UK Legends team

I’m appalled by the response to our UK Legends Game mock draft that went up on the site earlier today. As pretend general manager of the White team, I drafted what I believe is a solid squad for the upcoming game in Rupp Arena next week, but the results of the poll suggest otherwise as many of you sided with Tyler’s team in a head-to-head.

And it upsets me. I thought you all knew basketball.

My White team would run the Blue team out of Rupp. Not only do I think we’d win, I think we’d win by double digits.

BLUE TEAM

WHITE TEAM

Cliff Hawkins Jarrod Polson
Jeff Sheppard Julius Mays
Heshimu Evans Ravi Moss
Perry Stevenson Bobby Perry
Shagari Alleyne Andre Riddick
Marquis Estill Jon Hood
Lukasz Obrzut Jared Prickett
Goose Givens Jared Carter
Kyle Macy Kenny Walker
Dale Brown Kevin Grevey

I think too many people are focusing on past achievements and not taking into consideration the youth I have on my team. Take a look at the starting backcourts. With all due respect to Cliff Hawkins and Jeff Sheppard, two of my favorites to ever suit up for the Cats, Jarrod Polson and Julius Mays will destroy them at this stage of their lives. Hawkins and Sheppard are 35 and 42 years old, while Polson and Mays are only 26 and 27 and not too far removed from their playing careers. If we’re comparing these guys in their primes, yeah, the Blue backcourt is the better of the two. But not today.

Moving on to the frontcourt, I think the Ravi Moss/Bobby Perry combo is a great set of forwards because they’re both still in good shape and their games age well. They are pickup game nightmares. No. 1 overall pick Heshimu Evans is a tough matchup, but I like my guys to lock in on him and slow him down, forcing someone else to do the work. As for Perry Stevenson and Shagari Alleyne, I have no idea what they bring to the table. I do know Andre Riddick was still playing professionally up until a couple of years ago (unbelievable, right?), so we’ll call that a wash.

Then there’s the bench, where I have a 26-year-old national champion as my sixth man. Again, the youth I’m rolling out there is almost unfair. We can sub him for Riddick and go small ball, and this game is over immediately. Tyler bragged about her multiple seven-footers, but they won’t make five trips up the court at their age. If they play more than two minutes at a time, they’ll foul out because whatever quickness they once had is long gone.

So to all of you saying the Blue team will win this game, let’s get it set up and I’ll put money down against all of you. I’ll give you however many points you want too. I’m a huge fan of every single player on the Blue team, but it’s 2017. Polson might go for 40 against those guys.

WHITE TEAM LETS GO.


IG: @evargas30

Eloy Vargas wins another championship

IG: @evargas30

Eloy Vargas just got another championship to add to his trophy shelf. Last night, Metros de Santiago took home the LBN Championship, Eloy’s second title with the team in the Dominican Republic’s top basketball league. Eloy is the starting center for the squad and averaged 11.5 points and 7.4 rebounds this season. Also a member of the 2012 Kentucky National Championship team, he clearly knows a thing or two about winning titles.

As you might imagine, the scene in the arena when the buzzer sounded was wild:

Otra visual de los ultimos segundos del juego! METROS Campeones 2017 5ta🏆 Envianos tus videos por DM!

A post shared by Metros De Santiago (@metrosdesantiagolnb) on

Eloy didn’t hesitate to show off his moves during the postgame celebration:

Que empiece la celebración 🤣🎉🤣🎉🤣🎉🤣🎉 @evargas30

A post shared by Metros De Santiago (@metrosdesantiagolnb) on

Congrats, Eloy.


UK Legends Game: Mock Draft

UK Legends Game: Mock Draft

In looking ahead to the UK Legends Game next week in Rupp Arena, we thought it would be fun to hold a mock draft of the 20 confirmed participants for the game.

We were each assigned to a team (Tyler picking for Blue, Drew picking for White) and a coin flip determined the first overall pick, which went to Tyler and the Blue team. Selections were then rotated back and forth from there.

Read each pick (1-20) and then place your vote for the better team at the bottom of the page.

 

Blue Team, you are on the clock…

 


1. Heshimu Evans, Blue Team

Tyler: Heshimu Evans may be 42 years old, but he was still playing professional ball as recently as 2013, which is more than 98% of the players on this list can say.


2. Julius Mays, White Team

Drew: I have no idea what Julius Mays is doing these days. I originally thought he was playing pro ball somewhere; turns out, he is not. I’ll still gamble on the fact he is in good shape though, considering he is only three years removed from retirement. Plus he shot 39.5 percent from three-point range in Rupp Arena, and the long-ball will decide this game.


3. Cliff Hawkins, Blue Team

Tyler: A good team needs a good point guard, and Hawkins is my favorite of the bunch. As far as I can tell, his playing career ended overseas in 2012; here’s hoping he can still ball.


4. Ravi Moss, White Team

Drew: I’m getting away with robbery here picking up Moss at No. 4 in the draft. I would’ve considered him at No. 1 overall had the ping-pong balls bounced my way, and you’re telling me he slipped to fourth? What a steal! MVP candidate right here.


5. Shagari Alleyne, Blue Team

Tyler: Shagari is in his 30s now, but he’s still 7-feet tall and thanks to his salsa career, his footwork is better than ever:


6. Jarrod Polson, White Team

Drew: We’re handing the keys over to Polson as our staring point guard. As was the case with Moss, I see this as a steal given the position in the draft. Polson was the top PG on our big board and we got him. Last time I saw him (Fayette Mall food court, couple months ago) he looked to be just as game-ready as he was during the 2014 Final Four run.


7. Perry Stevenson, Blue Team

Tyler: If only to see him flex those bones again.


8. Bobby Perry, White Team

Drew: Our front office was worried about Perry’s focus and commitment to basketball, but we’re taking a chance here despite him spending way too much time on the golf course these days. If we can get him to put the sand wedge down, we think he’s in good shape for 32 and can still play both forward positions.


9. Jeff Sheppard, Blue Team

Tyler: Crap, I really need another guard. I’ll take Jeff Sheppard, because even at 42, I bet he’s still a pretty good shooter.


10. Andre Riddick, White Team

Drew: SLEEPER PICK! If you’re a casual fan, yeah, you’re thinking Riddick is old and out of shape because it’s been over two decades since he left UK. But do a little research and you’ll find Riddick played professionally up until a couple years ago and he is the ULEB Cup’s all-time leader for rebounds, steals and blocks.

And he’s down to throw hands if any of the opposing legends want to mix it up like Rasheed did back in ’95.


11. Marquis Estill, Blue Team

Tyler: The 6’9″ Estill still holds the Kentucky record for field goal shooting percentage (60%). I’ll take that any day.


12. Jon Hood, White Team

Drew: Hoody still available at No. 12? No brainer here. He has title experience and he’s only been married a couple weeks so he probably hasn’t let himself go yet. He could be the Draymond Green of this draft.


13. Lukasz Obrzut, Blue Team

Tyler: Woo, just remember it was me that drafted you and not Drew.


[White Team offers remaining four picks for rights to Lukasz Obrzut.]

[Trade declined.] 

[White Team offers remaining four picks and cash considerations for rights to Lukasz Obrzut.]

[Trade declined.] 

[Drew texts Obrzut, begs him to pull a Kobe and refuse to play for Blue Team. White Team then offers remaining four picks plus first picks in 2018, 2019 and 2020 UK legends drafts for rights to Lukasz Obrzut.]

[Trade declined.] 

(First reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski)


14. Jared Prickett, White Team

Drew: We now have the CEO of the KBA, which means we have our own practice facility. It doesn’t hurt that he was an All-NCAA Regional and All-SEC Tournament selection, as well as one of the best rebounders in school history.


15. Goose Givens, Blue Team

Tyler: Goose is the youngest looking 60-year-old I’ve ever seen, and my team of giants needs some more scoring.


16. Jared Carter, White Team

Drew: Carter is our counter to Shagari Alleyne and Lukasz Obrzut. Our only concern is we now have three Jared/Jarrods on the team.


17. Kyle Macy, Blue Team

Tyler: I’m really digging the 60-year-olds on my squad. Did you see Macy’s moves in the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships last month?


18. Kenny Walker, White Team

Drew: I don’t see any Slam Dunk champions on the other team.


19. Dale Brown, Blue Team

Tyler: Dale Brown may be approaching 50, but I bet the head coach at Eminence still has some moves.


20. Kevin Grevey, White Team

Drew: Remember, Isaiah Thomas was the last pick in the 2011 NBA draft and he was a finalist for the MVP award this past season.


Which is the better team?


BLUE TEAM

WHITE TEAM

Cliff Hawkins Jarrod Polson
Jeff Sheppard Julius Mays
Heshimu Evans Ravi Moss
Perry Stevenson Bobby Perry
Shagari Alleyne Andre Riddick
Marquis Estill Jon Hood
Lukasz Obrzut Jared Prickett
Goose Givens Jared Carter
Kyle Macy Kenny Walker
Dale Brown Kevin Grevey



Kentucky in the Top 5 of latest ESPN Preseason Poll

Marvin Bagley heading to Duke makes the Blue Devils the definitive preseason No. 1 team in the country, but what about everyone else? ESPN’s Myron Medcalf just released his “Way-Too-Early Top 25” and Kentucky made the top five, behind Duke, Arizona, Kansas, and Michigan State. Medcalf said that while the Cats are loaded with talent, he has two major concerns: shooting and leadership.

“The class Calipari put together resembles his past assemblies. They’re young, gifted and athletic. But he must overcome a pair of significant questions with this group. Can the Wildcats shoot?”

“The other question for Kentucky: Who will lead this squad? Calipari’s best teams featured elite veterans. He had Willie Cauley-Stein on the 38-1 squad in 2014-15. He had Darius Miller on the 2012 national championship squad. Based on experience, Calipari’s 2017-18 group looks like the team that failed to make the NCAA tournament the year after that title run. But this season doesn’t come with an abundance of guarantees. Question marks decorate this entire top-25 list.”

Both valid concerns, although I worry more about the latter than the former. Even last year’s team had veterans. Here’s where Medcalf ranked Kentucky’s opponents this season:

3. Kansas
6. Louisville
7. Florida
8. West Virginia
14. UCLA
23. Missouri

Check out his thoughts on each over at the Worldwide Leader.

[ESPN]


Jarred Vanderbilt opens up about his mysterious ankle injury

One of the most frequently asked questions this summer has been, “What’s up with Jarred Vanderbilt’s ankle?”. Vanderbilt injured the ankle during the Jordan Brand Classic back in April, but the extent of that injury was never really disclosed, leading to an avalanche of speculation amongst Kentucky fans. John Calipari assured fans that Vanderbilt’s ankle is fine a few weeks ago, but today, Vanderbilt is opening up about it for the first time in the latest installment of CoachCal.com’s “Meet the Wildcats” series.

“When I hurt my ankle (during the Jordan Brand Classic), I think the timing actually was good,” Vanderbilt said. “You don’t want nothing like that happening, but I think the timing was good when it happened. That was the last event so I was able to rest after, get ready for summer, get ready for the season. But it wasn’t really that bad of an injury. It was all pretty good. We were just playing it cautious. I didn’t have any other events left, so I just got rested, tried to get 100 percent and just prepared for the next level.”

Vanderbilt insists he’s back to 100% and “good to go” for this season, which is great news when you read his comments about teaming up with fellow forwards Kevin Knox and PJ Washington. You’ll have to head to CoachCal.com to read those, but he uses the word “dynasty,” which gets me very excited.

Meet the Wildcats: Vanderbilt’s ‘inner dog,’ leadership readies him for rookie season

Vanderbilt’s ankle and jumper look just fine in his “Horse with the Cats” showdown with Josh Hopkins:

 


Today on KSR: Another Yahtzee on the way?

Today on KSR: Another Yahtzee on the way?

Good morning, friends. Can you believe we’re only 16 days from Kentucky football? It can’t come soon enough. Sadly, there’s no football availability today, but we’ve still got plenty of news from the gridiron.

Will Kentucky get another Yahtzee?

The 2018 class got a major boost last night in the form of four-star cornerback Stanley Garner, who chose Kentucky over Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Louisville, and other ridiculously high-profile programs. Today, more good news could be on the way from the state of Florida in the form of three-star cornerback Jamari Brown. The Pompano Beach native is considered the 63rd best cornerback in the 2018 class and will choose between Kentucky, Auburn, and Temple this morning. The Cats currently lead his Crystal Ball, and should he pick Kentucky, he’ll be the 18th member of UK’s 2018 class, which already includes four players from the state of Florida. Eddie Gran’s doing work, y’all.

Drew and I unveil our 2017 UK Legends Game Mock Draft

Yesterday, we received an updated list of former UK players participating in the Legends game that will precede the main UK Alumni Game next Friday night, and for kicks and giggles, Drew and I did a draft to make two squads. Who did I choose with the first pick? You’ll have to wait until this afternoon to find out.

UNC continues to meet with the NCAA Infractions Committee

Just down the road from me here in Nashville, UNC basketball coach Roy Williams, football coach Larry Fedora, athletic director Bubba Cunningham, women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell, university officials, and their lawyers are meeting with the NCAA Infractions Committee for the second straight day. This will be UNC’s chance to make their case in front of the committee, which isn’t expected to hand down a punishment for several months. That makes @DaggumRoy a must-follow this week:

Jon Rothstein Tweet of the Day

It think most of us already expected Cal to use Knox as a third guard just because he can, but I’d be lying if I said that didn’t get me excited to see this team play. Stay hungry and humble, Jon.

Cool Eclipse News of the Day

I’m burnt out on most of the Eclipse stuff, but I do think it’s cool that Bonnie Tyler will sing her hit song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” during the actual Eclipse on Monday. Royal Caribbean’s Total Eclipse Cruise will be positioned in the path of totality and Tyler will perform the hit for guests just as the moon travels across the sun. In a nice blending of generations, she will be backed up by DNCE, the pop-rock band helmed by Joe Jonas and made famous by their obnoxiously-addictive 2015 hit “Cake by the Ocean.” But that’s not the song I want stuck in my head today. This is:

Summer Tour Stop of the Day: Benton

Come on out to CFSB Bank on West 5th Street to enjoy the show.


Drake wears full Kentucky uniform while working out at UCLA

UK’s biggest superfan has rocked Kentucky blue for several years now, and he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

In a workout at UCLA with Ben Simmons today, Grammy award-winning artist Drake wore some pretty sweet UK shorts.

Here’s an on-court video of the artist sporting a full UK uniform:

Unfortunately, there was no footage of him putting up any shots, but hopefully it was better than the last time he played basketball in UK gear…

Drake is also reportedly friends with Kentucky recruit Zion Williamson, so that can’t hurt either.

Go Cats.


RJ Barrett cuts final list to five, Kentucky included

RJ Barrett cuts final list to five, Kentucky included

@Cdn_Ballers

The No. 1 player in the class of 2018 just cut his list to five, and the Kentucky Wildcats were included.

RJ Barrett, a 6’7 small forward out of Canada, recently reclassified to 2018 from 2019, and nearly all recruiting services list him as one of the top two players in the nation.

After seeing Kentucky’s recent success with Canadian prospects, it’s no surprise the Wildcats are one of the top schools on his list.

247 Sports’ Crystal Ball currently has UK in third, but most recruiting experts believe Kentucky is in fantastic position to land the five-star forward.

Watch him drop 38 points and 13 rebounds on Calipari’s Team USA squad in Egypt:

Bring him on home, Coach Cal.