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Basketball Season Coverage

Monday’s Top 10: Happy Thirth of July

Monday’s Top 10: Happy Thirth of July

Good morning, friends, and happy Thirth of July, aka one of the most underrated days of the year. Whether you’re at work, taking the day off, or in Spain like that Cat fan up there, I’ll be here to entertain you for the next nine hours. Let’s have some fun.

1. Team USA looks unstoppable in the FIBA World Cup so far

After a shaky start in Game 1, Team USA found its footing and has dominated the FIBA World Cup. On Saturday, Calipari’s crew blew past Iran 108-48, and yesterday, beat Angola 109-68. Here are the stats for Hamidou Diallo, PJ Washington, and UK’s recruits:

vs. Iran vs. Angola
Hamidou Diallo 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals
PJ Washington 13 points, 4 rebounds 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
Immanuel Quickley 6 points, 2 rebounds 12 points, 2 assists, 2 turnovers
Cameron Reddish 14 points, 4 assists 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists

Romeo Langford had five points vs. Iran on Saturday, but is dealing with back spasms and hasn’t played since. He’s day to day.

2. The highlight so far is this dunk by Hamidou Diallo

My goodness. Can’t wait to see that in Rupp this fall. Team USA has the day off, but will play Italy tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.

3. Tai Wynyard’s been playing great as well

Through two games with New Zealand, Wynyard has 34 points and 11 rebounds. After barely seeing Wynyard during his time at Kentucky, it’s been fun to watch him dominate for his home country. On Saturday, he had 16 points in the fourth quarter alone:

I tried my best to watch Team USA and New Zealand’s games this weekend via the FIBA World Cup live stream, but the fact that there’s no commentary really threw me for a loop. Of course, you can still hear Calipari screaming and stomping.

4. Check out our photo gallery from Cairo

Our Cairo correspondent Sofie Tapia is doing a great job for us, so be sure to check out her photos in our Facebook gallery:

KSR's Cairo correspondent Sofie Tapia snapped these pictures in the first half before asked to leave for not having the right credential. She fought the law, but the law won.

Posted by Kentucky Sports Radio on Saturday, July 1, 2017

5. The NBA Summer League continues

Derek Willis (Detroit Pistons) , Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), and Dakari Johnson (Oklahoma City Thunder) started their runs in the NBA Summer League this weekend. Dakari had 18 points for the Thunder on Saturday, while Bam had a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat yesterday. Willis turned in 8 points, 3 assists, and 1 rebound in the Piston’s win over the Knicks.

The Utah Summer League also begins today, meaning  you’ll get to see a trio of Cats play for the Philadelphia 76ers. Here’s today’s schedule, with all games airing on NBATV:

  • 1:00 PM: New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (Dakari Johnson)
  • 5:00 PM: Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat (Bam Adebayo)
  • 7:00 PM: Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers (Alex Poythress, Aaron Harrison, Isaiah Briscoe)

6. Malik Monk signs with the Hornets

Monk may be sitting out the Summer League with a sprained ankle, but last night, he made it official with the Charlotte Hornets, signing a four-year, $15.72 million contract. Monk will make approximately $2.9 million during his rookie year.

In other NBA news, Jodie Meeks signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the Washington Wizards, meaning we’ll finally get to see him team up with John Wall…even if it’s eight years too late.

7. For some reason, this poll exists and Kentucky is losing

I trust you all will fix that.

8. The 2018 class gained a tight end

On Friday morning, Vince Marrow teased the BBN that a Yahtzee could be on the way, and on Saturday morning, it came in the form of 6’7″ 230 lbs. tight end Keaton Upshaw. Upshaw is a three-star prospect out of Lima, Ohio, and chose the Cats over Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Purdue and others. He’s the 14th member of the 2018 class, the sixth from the state of Ohio. Welcome aboard, Keaton.

9. Jarren Williams impressing at The Opening

Kentucky’s future quarterback is making some major noise at The Opening in Oregon, throwing three touchdowns in the 7-on-7 scrimmage last night. I’ll have highlights from him in just a bit, but for now, enjoy this picture of Williams and highly coveted wide receiver Blue Smith:

Bring your boy to Lexington, Jarren.

10. No new KSR today

iHeart employees are enjoying a long July 4th weekend, so tune in to hear a “Best of KSR” replay at 10 a.m. Or, go back and catch up on last week’s shows featuring Dan Wolken, Pardon My Take, Evan Daniels, Aaron Torres, Jennifer Palumbo and myself. All the shows are available on our new iTunes podcast feed.

Shannon the Dude is making the most of his comp days in New York City, spending this morning outside the Today Show:


You have got to see this dunk by Hamidou Diallo


Hamidou Diallo scored 15 points in the United State’s 109-68 win over Angola this afternoon.

Two of those points came from this incredible windmill dunk.

We all know that Diallo is very athletic, but wow. I cannot wait to see him do that in a Kentucky uniform.

Check out all the highlights from the USA’s win over Angola below.

Reddish and Diallo on Building Team USA


Coach Calipari pointed out in an interview yesterday that his team USA has only been together seven days. Not a lot of time to build up much teamwork, but the boys are still trying.

“I mean first it was difficult it took us a little while to build, we’re still building as you can see on the court.  I mean we’re still trying to learn each other’s habits and stuff like that, but for the most part its been a good adjustment,” said Hamidou Diallo.

Diallo has shown leadership for Team USA with impressive scoring performances and nasty plays. Sitting nonchalantly in a chair sipping a juice box, he explained humbly that a great team comes through sacrifice and building.

“Some people have to sacrifice, I mean I know I have to sacrifice things.  I’ve been playing with a bunch of great players so we’re just all trying to learn about each other, build chemistry, and prepare for those big games when they come.”

Cameron Reddish said that having a group of star players is not a bad thing when it comes to their teamwork.

“I mean everybody on the team is good so you don’t have to be selfish.  You don’t have to do any of that.  You just go out there play the game have fun; overall it’s just a lot of fun.”

Hamidou Diallo’s Personal Connection to Egypt

USA Basketball

Team USA has been playing hard, but they still got a chance to see some Egyptian sights before the tournament began. By now you should have seen the posts of Coach Calipari and Team USA on their camels in Egypt. Cameron Reddish informed us that there was no actual riding and that they, “Kind of just got on and got off quickly because we were nervous about it.”

Hamidou Diallo said for him seeing the sights was especially cool for him on a personal level.

“It’s been real cool, I mean we went to see the pyramids and that was a great experience I mean just seeing the culture and things like that.  I’m Muslim so I know the culture, so for the guys to see the culture it’s been real cool.”

Diallo said if he had more time he would explore the Muslim culture of the country more, “I would really love to go see that and to be apart of that if I could but right now I just can’t.”

Kevin Knox attacked on Twitter after announcing Kentucky commitment

Photo: USA Basketball

When Kevin Knox announced his commitment to Kentucky on Twitter, fans from his other top schools attacked him on Twitter.

Of the thousand comments of under Knox’s tweet that he was heading to Kentucky, many claimed he received payments for his decision, others hoped he would be injured or would fail.

“One minute they’re saying come to my school and the next minute they’re saying … they hate you,” Knox told The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

Knox’s mother, who monitored the negative attention her son received on social media, said one person went too far and tweeted that he wish Knox would die.

It was kind of really hard to read because not only were they negative, but you had death threats and people wishing harm to your child,” she said. “It’s very disheartening because you realize people are really selfish and mean.”

Michelle Knox is a social worker who works with at-risk children and says she sees the effects of cyber-bullying can have on children.

“Kids who are not strong mentally, that stuff can really affect them,” she said. “It’s harsh things like that, that are ridiculous.”

Knox’s parents have used this as a learning experience for their son. They told him to “make the decision that makes God proud and your parents proud” and know what will make everyone else happy.

So yet again, here is your reminder to NOT tweet things at recruits after they don’t pick Kentucky unless it is something nice.

[Beloved as college basketball recruits, attacked on social media when they pick a school]

Team USA Getting in the Zone


Once again team USA wiped out their competition with a 109-68 win against Angola. During the game the players seemed to dominate with ease, holding the lead throughout. There was no question of who the clear winner would be entering halftime.

Hamidou Diallo held the team high score in their first game against Iran with 17 points along with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. He continued his performance into today’s game against Angola with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists. Diallo put on a fierce performance that included both three point play and dunks.

When asked if it was hard not to get lazy when they reach such massive leads, Diallo explained that their focus went beyond one game. “We’re focused on the game that we’re playing but we’re trying to prepare for when the challenges really come,” he said, “we’re just trying to play for the long run thinking about what steps we have to take to win a gold medal, that’s how we think.”

If the first two games have been any indication, Diallo and the rest of the team have nothing to worry about.

Team USA cruises passed Angola

Team USA cruises passed Angola


On a Sunday evening in Cairo, John Calipari’s Team USA cruised to a 109-68 victory over Angola. Today’s win is on the heels of Team USA’s 108-48 win over Iran a day ago. Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie was the leading scorer for the national team by scoring 17 points. Auburn’s Austin Wiley was extremely impressive for Team USA by scoring 16 while also pulling down 16 rebounds. Wiley can really play and I am sure Bruce Pearl is extremely excited to have him in blue and orange this coming season. Wildcats Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington scored 15 and 11 respectively. 

Here is your complete look at the stats:

Team USA will have the day off tomorrow before taking on Italy at 10am on the 4th of July. Check back later with more from the day in Cairo.

Tai Wynyard’s New Zealand team falls to France

Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington aren’t the only two Cats representing their home country in Egypt. Tai Wynyard is representing his home country of New Zealand. Today, Wynyard’s team fell to France 80-69. While his team squandered a lead at the half, Wynyard played very well. The Kentucky big man scored 12 points while pulling down 5 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists.

Today’s performance follows up a massive one from Wynyard yesterday. He scored 22 points, with 14 of them coming in the 4th quarter in a win over Korea.

If you’re curious, Calipari and company would only be able to play against Wynyard in the bracket portion of the championship.


Watch Team USA take on Angola in the FIBA World Cup


Team USA is waiting to tip off their second game of the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in Cairo. Today, Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington lead the way for Team USA in a showdown with Angola. Angola lost their opener to Italy by a final tally of 70-66. They are led by Silvio Sousa, a 6’9 Power Forward. In yesterday’s loss to Italy, Sousa scored 18 points while also pulling down 18 rebounds.

Today’s game starts at 12:15EST.  You can watch all the action below and see live stats here.

Stay tuned for postgame coverage from Cairo Stadium following the game.  Until then, check out highlights from Team USA’s first win of the tournament.


Diallo Leads Team USA in Scoring (again) After Americans Shake Off Slow

Diallo Leads Team USA in Scoring (again) After Americans Shake Off Slow

USA Basketball

It was an ugly start, but Team USA’s first game at the FIBA U19 World Cup ended beautifully.  The Americans defeated Iran 108-48 with Kentucky Wildcats leading the way.

Even though they played two friendlies in Egypt prior to their opening game of the tournament, Team USA looked lost to start the game.  There were turnovers, whistles and bricks everywhere.  For most of the first quarter it was a 4-0 game.  I don’t know what John Calipari said, but things changed once the team emerged from the locker room at halftime.

Hamidou Diallo and P.J. Washington had seven points in the first 2:30 of the second half and the Americans were off and running.  Diallo had a team-high 17 points and 4 rebounds, with almost all of it coming in the second half.  Washington added 13 points and 4 rebounds.  One of the two has led Team USA in scoring every time the team has kept stats.

Even though Diallo led the team in scoring, the best player on the floor for Team USA was Cameron Reddish, a top target for John Calipari in the 2018 class.  A 6’8″ power forward, he spent a lot of time on the perimeter as a wing.  It worked well.  Reddish had 14 points and didn’t miss a three-pointer, sinking all three attempts.  Immanuel Quickley added 6 points, Romeo Langford had 5 and Louis King scored 9 points.

More to come from Cairo.

Coach Calipari keeps an Eye on All his Players


Coach Calipari is like a proud father to all of his players, even when he isn’t coaching them, and Team USA isn’t the only FIBA team with his boys.

UK player Tai Wynyard is playing for New Zealand in the tournament, and is off to a great start. Calipari wasn’t too busy to check in on his other UK player.

Said Calipari smiling, “I saw his game today but he got in foul trouble so I left at half time, but he had 22 points in the second half.  He played well and they won so I was happy for him.”

Wynyard went on to score 16 points in the final quarter and brought a win for his New Zealand team with 88 to 81 over Korea. The overall physicality he showed this game makes him one to watch for the Wildcat’s 2017-18 roster.

Wynyard returns to the court when New Zealand takes on France tomorrow morning at 9:30 ET.  Team USA will play Angola tomorrow at 12:15 ET.  Links to Live Streams of all the games can be found here.

Coach Calipari Confident in Team USA

Coach Calipari Confident in Team USA

Calipari with Romeo Langford

The first FIBA tournament game was a grand sweep with a 108-48 win over Iran. This is not Coach Calipari’s first time on the international stage, and he is even more confident than before.

“You know I coached the Dominican Republic national team so I’ve gone through this but I didn’t have one of the better teams.  Now I do, so hopefully it will be fine.”

Calipari said his strategy for coaching this team will be to play hard, disrupt defensively and share the ball.

Team USA is made up of some Big Blue recruits, players, and prospective players along mixed with players from other schools. When asked about his tactic on teamwork strategy he said laughing, “the team has only been together seven days so theres not a whole lot of stuff you can do.”

Calipari isn’t worried that they will come together, stating confidently, “They are good guys and they are trying.”

Coach Cal, Please Take a Seat

Coach Cal, Please Take a Seat

The USA team pulled out a massive win today under the enthusiastic guidance of Coach Calipari. The boys held the lead over Iran the entirety of the game, accompanied by the Calipari sideline dance of dramatic arm waves and shouts.

Big Blue Nation has come to know and love his signature style of coaching, but today one of the FIBA referees gestured that Calipari please remember to stay behind the line. He promptly sat down, and managed to contain himself. Restraint was short lived and he proceeded to wave, stomp and shout the team to a 60-point victory.

Unfortunately, Calipari was not available after the game for the typical postgame press conference.  The big stage Calipari normally commands was taken over by the World Cup’s Opening Ceremony.

Check Out Photos from Cairo

KSR’s Cairo correspondent Sofia Tapia was prepared to shoot photos courtside for Team USA’s opening game at the FIBA U19 World Cup. Unfortunately, a blogger-who-shall-not-be-named forgot to also request a photo credential (my bad, BBN).

Here are a dozen or so pics she was able to snap before the enforcer had to kick KSR out of the photo area.

Six Observations from Team USA’s First Victory at the FIBA World Cup

Six Observations from Team USA’s First Victory at the FIBA World Cup

1. A Brutal Beginning

Normally I wouldn’t lead with the same point in two posts, but it was so bad I must beat this horse to death.  It was reminiscent of a rec league game between five year olds.  Neither team could even possess the ball.  It looked less like basketball and more like a game of hot potato with whistles.  I don’t know what was wrong with the Americans, but I’m glad it did not last for long.

2. Hamidou Diallo’s Bounce is Incredible

While the ball was bouncing everywhere, creating pure chaos to start the game, I was transfixed upon Hamidou Diallo.  Even though he was the primary culprit behind the situation — getting a fingertip on the ball to poke it around and extend the loose ball mayhem — watching Diallo explode through the air for loose balls was captivating.

Known for his ability to finish fascinating dunks (he had a few), his athletic ability is impressive even without the ball in his hands.  This Iranian shot never had a chance.

3. Cameron Reddish is Really, Really Good

He did not lead the team in scoring, thanks to a few impressive spurts from Diallo and P.J. Washington, but Reddish was the most consistent player on the floor for Team USA.  The 6’8″ small forward spend more time as a guard on the wing than in the paint.  He was patient when leading the offense with the ball in his hands and he was money from three in catch-and-shoot situations (3-for-3 from 3).

Reddish is considered the No. 5 player in the 2018 class and the second-best small forward behind Zion Williamson.  Zion can out-dunk anybody, but I have a hard time believing he can out-play Reddish.

4. A Chance to Hear Cal Coach

During most early non-conference games at Rupp Arena, during down time you’ll hear John Calipari scream, “GO! GO! GO!” following a defensive rebound.  You hear Cal call for his players to push the ball and so much more during the FIBA online broadcasts.  The arena is pretty empty and there are no announcers.  The only thing you can hear are whistles, squeaky shoes and Calipari’s screams.

5. Washington Does Work in the Middle

Limited in the first half due to foul trouble, Washington was excellent in the second half.  He’s a big body that will surprise you.  A few times on the perimeter he took an opponent off the dribble and finished at the rim; once it looked like he wouldn’t make it, but still finished with a powerful posterizing dunk.

Where Washington is at his best is in the middle of the floor.  When teams try to test the Wildcats’ long-range shooting ability next season, Washington will be the zone-buster.  Like Darius Miller and Isaiah Briscoe, Washington has a knack for finding open space in between a crowd.  From there he makes great decisions and finishes with a soft touch.

Diallo brings the most entertainment value, but watching Washington develop throughout the tournament will be the most interesting Kentucky storyline.

6. The Purdue Kid Can Shoot

I had not heard of Carsen Edwards before today’s game, but after seeing the undersized wing knock down a few threes, I should have guessed he plays for Purdue.  The 6-footer was money, hitting 3-of-4 three and 5-of-6 shots to finish with 15 points.

BONUS: WOW Tai Wynyard

It was from a different game, but his highlights are worth sharing again.