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Tubby Smith dealt a hard blow as two of Memphis’ top players announce plans to transfer

Tubby Smith got some rough news today as two of Memphis’ top players, Dedric and K.J. Lawson, announced plans to transfer. Dedric, a sophomore, led the team in scoring this past season, averaging 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds, while K.J., a redshirt freshman, averaged 12.3 points and 8.1 rebounds. The brothers announced their intent to transfer in a release this morning.

“We are born and raised in Memphis, love the city with all our hearts,” they wrote. “However, we must do what is best for our future, our dreams, and our family, so we plan to transfer from the university. While we have enjoyed our tenure here, the time has come for us to explore some new opportunities. It is for that reason that we are asking for a release from the University of Memphis men’s basketball program. We both understand and are aware of the rules and regulations regarding this decision, and we are prepared to fully comply with them.”

KJ added more to the statement in a tweet that has since been deleted:

Well, alright then. It’s also worth noting that the Lawsons’ father, Keelon, was the team’s director of player personnel, and has resigned. Memphis now has five open scholarships, as two other players (Chad Rykhoek and Craig Randall) previously announced their intent to transfer a few weeks back.

Good luck, Tubby.


Malik Monk “heartbroken” after the North Carolina loss

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Yesterday, De’Aaron Fox told us that he wasn’t able to bring himself to watch the Final Four or National Championship games because he felt like it should have been Kentucky there instead, and today, his backcourt partner Malik Monk agreed.

As soon as we lost, I didn’t turn basketball on, unless it was NBA,” Monk said on this morning’s show. “It was [supposed to be] us. That’s exactly how we feel.”

Monk hit two huge threes in the final minute vs. North Carolina, the second of which tied the game with seven seconds left. After that shot went in, Monk said was sure the game was going to overtime.

“That’s exactly what I thought. I had to get back. I was guarding Justin [Jackson] so I had to hurry to get back to make sure he didn’t catch the ball. I think we broke down, I think they did a little dribble hand off and we broke down and didn’t talk enough and [Maye] got open. He was making shots all game. We didn’t stop him.”

What went through Monk’s mind when he saw Maye’s shot go in?

“Heartbroken. It was crazy. I really just wanted to cry, but I didn’t want to do it on the court.”

Monk said he cried “a little bit” in the locker room, and as we all know, he wasn’t the only one.

“It was super sad. We got on the plane, nobody said anything to each other, we all had our headphones in. We didn’t even talk that much when we got back until the next week. It was a sad week.”

Yes, it was. Thanks again to Malik for coming on the show. If you missed it, be sure to check out the podcast.


Listen to Malik Monk on today’s podcast

Listen to Malik Monk on today’s podcast

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Malik Monk joined the guys for a half hour today to discuss his career at Kentucky, the thank you letter to the BBN he wrote with the help of The Players’ Tribune, and what lies ahead in the NBA.

If you missed the interview, have no fear, because Shannon the Dude did you a solid and put it on podcast. Malik comes on about halfway through the second hour:

If you’d like to see Malik and say thank you for his year in Lexington in person, you’re in luck because we just received his signing tour schedule:

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Who do you take: Sophomore Bam Adebayo or freshman Mohamed Bamba?

Who do you take: Sophomore Bam Adebayo or freshman Mohamed Bamba?

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This morning, Bam Adebayo entered his name in the NBA Draft without signing an agent, leaving the opportunity for a possible return after draft evaluations. It would still be a shock to see the 6’10 forward return for another year at Kentucky, but the news is extremely interesting nonetheless.

Mohamed Bamba, the five-star 6’11 big man out of Harlem, New York, is the prized recruit waiting for the college basketball dust to settle before making a decision. He has said he is in no hurry to make a decision, willing to wait till mid-May to announce. With May 24 being the last day to withdraw from the pool of NBA Draft entrants, we may not hear a decision for Bamba until Adebayo officially decides to return to school or stay in the draft.

I don’t believe the two are mutually exclusive. Honestly, I think Adebayo at the power forward position and Bamba at center would be an unbelievable and unstoppable duo down low, and Bamba could certainly be swayed on that possibility alone. This would almost certainly push one of Tai Wynyard, Isaac Humphries, or Sacha Killeya-Jones out the door from a pure numbers standpoint, but the opportunity for this combination is just too intriguing to pass up.

For argument’s sake, however, let’s say Kentucky can only have one next season:

Argument for Bam Adebayo:

Late in the year, Adebayo was a force down low on both ends of the floor. He finally lived up to preseason hype and became the physical rebounding presence we all knew he could be, averaging roughly a double double in the final stretch of the regular season. Alley-oops were a guarantee when you tossed the ball anywhere near the rim, and the possibility was always there that Bam would be dunking all over you at any given moment.

As far as negatives go, his offense is still extremely raw, and we saw far too many “Pebbles” moments, even in the NCAA Tournament. There were spurts of greatness, specifically late in conference play throughout March, but inconsistency always lingered. We all know NBA teams draft on potential alone, but his limited offensive skillset could force him to slide all the way to the bottom of the first round this year. Should he return and work on his offensive game, he could easily find himself as a top ten selection next year, even in a loaded draft for big men.

When you look at the leadership impact Isaiah Briscoe made as a sophomore, the thought of Adebayo emulating that is certainly enticing. He’s been on an impressive tournament run, he’s played some of the best teams in the country. He knows the ropes, and there’s always value in that, especially if freshmen take up the majority of the starting line up as expected.

Argument for Mohamed Bamba:

Bamba is a freak athlete, capable of completely neutralizing an opponent’s production in the paint. We’ve had guys like Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein, etc., and Bamba would fit right in that same mold. If the 6’11 stud isn’t blocking shots at the rim, he’s altering them. At the very least, he scares the hell out of anyone even coming in the lane, let alone attempting a shot over him.

With a 7’9 wingspan, Bamba has the ability to be an elite difference maker on both ends of the floor. He has a developing jump shot, impressive touch at the basket, and should be able to rack up all the alley-oops imaginable. This kid’s potential is through the roof, and he can be the next Wildcat selected first overall in the draft.

Though he has ridiculous length, he’s rail thin, and that can always be a cause for concern for injury reasons. Anthony Davis came in extremely thin, but stayed relatively healthy from start to finish. Nerlens Noel, another skinny kid coming in as a freshman, had his season cut short due to an awful injury. Anyone can get injured at any given moment, but it’s something to think about.

Beyond anything else, he’s also a freshman, and there is almost always a learning curve when you get to the college level. You know exactly what you’re getting out of a sophomore Adebayo. Bamba, on the other hand, still has the “unknown” factor that comes with all incoming players.


Forget it, let’s just get both and have the best frontcourt in America.

Deal?

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR


Bam Adebayo declares for the draft but will NOT sign with an agent

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Turns out the rumors were true. Kentucky just announced that Bam Adebayo will submit his name for the draft but will NOT hire an agent, which means he will have until May 24 to decide whether or not he wants to stay in the draft or return to Kentucky.

“This process we went through at Kentucky was a tough but a rewarding one,” Adebayo said. “It was everything I wanted when I decided to come to Kentucky. It taught me a lot. It taught me how to be a better man on and off the court. I have improved so much since the beginning of the season thanks to the hard work of the coaching staff. They helped me with every step of the process along the way and they never gave up on me.

“I want to thank my teammates. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to grow with. We were all like brothers. I also want to thank the fans for their support and everything they do for us. Their passion is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

“I feel I’m making the right step in declaring for the draft, but I want to be absolutely sure that I’m making the right decision for me and my mom. I’m looking forward to the process and I appreciate the support of the coaches, my teammates and the fans. No matter what happens, it’s been an unbelievable ride.”

Adebayo is the third Kentucky freshman to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft following De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk earlier this week. This year, he averaged 13.0 points and a team-best 8.0 rebounds per game. He also led the team in blocks per game (1.5) and double-doubles (eight), including five double-doubles over his last 11 games.

“Bam was our hardest worker this season,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “You’re talking about a player who can guard all five positions, has more perimeter skills than people know, and someone with size and a physique that immediately translates to that league. Bam is a great kid with a ton of upside. Should he decide to stay in the draft, he will be an outstanding four man in the NBA. Every organization needs character and Bam is a high-character kid who only cares about winning.”

Again, Bam will have until May 24 to decide whether or not to return. Right now, he ranges anywhere from 19th to 30th in the major mock drafts. He’ll likely get the bulk of his feedback at the NBA Draft Combine, which takes place May 9-14.

So now, we wait.


The new 1996 National Championship team Maker’s Mark bottles go on sale Friday

The new 1996 National Championship team Maker’s Mark bottles go on sale Friday

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About a month ago, we gave you a sneak peek of the new Maker’s Mark bottle commemorating the 1996 national championship team, the third in a five-part series honoring Kentucky’s national championships. The series is a collaboration between UK Athletics, Maker’s Mark, and Keeneland to raise money for UK’s Center for Academic and Tutorial Services (CATS), which recently expanded to the south side of campus in the new football training facility.

This year’s bottles honoring “The Untouchables” will go on sale at retail outlets throughout Kentucky on Friday, April 7 (even though it seems a few of you have already gotten your hands on some). The first two bottles in the series featured legendary coaches Adolph Rupp and Joe B. Hall, along with the 1978 national championship team.

“Our ’96 championship team was one of the best not only in the history of our program, but in the history of college basketball,” Barnhart said. “This iconic bottle is a fitting tribute to them and all they accomplished during that historic season.”

A bottle signing of this year’s commemorative Maker’s Mark® bottle will take place at the Keeneland Entertainment Center on the morning of Friday, April 14. Details are available on www.Keeneland.com. That afternoon, Keeneland will feature some of the nation’s top turf horses in the 30thrunning of the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1).

Bottles released in 2018 and 2019 will complete the five-bottle series to benefit the CATS program.

Overall UK Series - 15-17


Wednesday’s Top 10: It’s Malik Monk Day!

Wednesday’s Top 10: It’s Malik Monk Day!

Good morning, everyone. It’s a been a frustrating day so far here at the KSR South compound, as I woke up early to write the wakeup post only to find out Comcast had turned my internet off. After a half hour on the phone with a nice woman named Jasmine, I’m back online, but still annoyed with the whole ordeal. I could go on and on, but for your sake, I won’t. Let’s roll through today’s top 10 before they turn the internet off again.

1. Malik Monk will be on the show

After declaring for the draft yesterday morning, Malik Monk will start his farewell tour of the Bluegrass on KSR today. With the help of The Players’ Tribune, Monk penned an emotional thank you letter to the Big Blue Nation for their support during his time in Lexington, particularly in the tense aftermath of his decision to come to Kentucky and not home state Arkansas:

Kentucky fans made one thing crystal clear to me: They had my back. No one made me wait until the fall, until I got to Lexington, to be accepted into Big Blue Nation. Man, it was just right off the bat: Like, Once you’re one of us, you’re one of us. And whether it was defending me on social media … or sending me messages about how excited they were for me to come play there … or alums getting in touch and letting me know what an amazing experience was in store for me in the fall … it really helped a lot. It helped turn an extremely tough situation into an extremely positive one. And it helped me realize that, just by committing to Kentucky, I was already a part of something special.

And I’ll never forget that.

😢 You can read the rest here.

2. De’Aaron Fox came on the show yesterday and was great

Fox has always been great with the media, and yesterday, he showed that side of his personality off to fans in his most candid interview yet. Fox gave some great insight into his year at Kentucky, his bond with his teammates, and, of course, his hair. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the podcast:

3. Catch De’Aaron on the #TourDeFox

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4. While you’re at it, check out Derek, Dom, and Makayla Epps

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Makalya Epps will also sign autographs at Cardboard Heroes at the Florence Mall on Sunday right before the guys, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

5. Practice continues at the Nike Hoop Summit

Preparations roll on for Friday night’s Nike Hoop Summit, and while Team USA (which includes Quade Green, Jarred Vanderbilt, Mo Bamba, and Kevin Knox) seems to still be making its way to Portland, the World Team has been there all week practicing. Nick Richards and Shai Alexander have been putting in work, and since Alexander is the recruit we know the least about since he didn’t play at the McDonald’s All-American Game, here’s 30 seconds of him shooting threes to enjoy with your morning coffee:

6. Calipari hits the recruiting trail tomorrow

The dead period ends tomorrow at noon, which means Calipari will fire up the ole private jet and start making the rounds to check on his 2017 and 2018 targets. With the spring signing period starting next week, here’s a reminder of who he’s still pursuing in the 2017 class:

5-star game changers: Kevin Knox and Mohamed Bamba

Picking up Bamba would take next year’s team to the next level, as he’s considered the next franchise player, while Knox would ease concerns about shooting. Picking one up would be big; picking up both would monumental.

Guards to provide depth/consistency: Jemarl Baker, Mark Smith, Thomas Allen

Calipari is expected to visit Baker and Smith this week in an attempt to shore up Kentucky’s depth at guard, while Allen, a former NC State signee, has also received interest. Don’t sleep on Pitt transfer Cameron Johnson either.

7. Want to feel better about Kentucky’s chances with Knox?

People seem to think Duke or UNC lead for the five-star small forward, but which coach did he say he’d choose to save over all others if he were in a life boat? John Calipari. For more on what the heck that’s all about, click here.

8. Kentucky seems to be a popular top pick in everyone’s “Way-Too-Early” rankings

It’s really, really dumb to me that people are putting out preseason polls and even more so, Bracketology, right now, but hey, writers gotta write, and even though we don’t really know what next year’s team will look like, for some reason they all feel great about the Cats. Kentucky was ranked 1st in ESPN and Yahoo! Sports‘ Way-Too-Early rankings, 2nd in Sports Illustrated‘s, 3rd in Sporting News‘, and 8th in CBS Sports‘. I hate to say it, but I kind of agree with Gary Parrish (CBS Sports) on this one, even if he says he expects Isaiah Briscoe to return.

9. Dick Vitale also thinks the Cats will be #1 next season

Gotta love Dickie V.

10. I realize it’s been a few days, but did everyone see the new “Game of Thrones” promo??

If not, you’re about to, because I really want to watch it again this morning:

Malik Monk in an hour…


How De’Aaron Fox Will Be Remembered

How De’Aaron Fox Will Be Remembered

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It’s fitting that the first memorable image we got of De’Aaron Fox was a picture of him alongside John Wall, to whom he would be compared throughout his career at Kentucky, and probably, beyond. Wall saw Fox’s mixtape in the summer of 2015 on social media and tweeted about it, and from there, a friendship — or rather, a mentorship — was born. The two connected, and Wall came to see Fox play at his high school in Katy when the Wizards played the Rockets in nearby Houston. They stayed in touch, with Wall doling out advice and praise to Fox about his game, and, his future at Kentucky. Inevitably, the two were asked which of them was fastest and while both always play the question off, it’s one that will probably be debated in living rooms, coffee shops, and bars in the Bluegrass for years to come.

Now, with Fox set to become Wall’s peer in the NBA, how will he be remembered in his own right at Kentucky? Like Wall, the first thing that comes to mind is speed, but I don’t think I’ve sat back and said, “Man, that kid’s fast” as many times as I did with Fox this season. Fox’s speed is awesome in the truest sense of the word; he’s a blur in the open court, and while a lot of players with his speed lack finesse, most of the time, when Fox barrels towards the basket, the ball’s going in. We’ve been blessed with a lot of great basketball in the John Calipari era, but I’d argue that Kentucky basketball has rarely been as fun that it was this season with Fox burning teams in transition and Malik Monk dashing their dreams from the outside.


Speed is obviously the biggest component to Fox’s game, but it helps that his mind moves just as fast as his feet. I remember traveling to Katy, Texas to meet Fox over a year ago when he was still a high school senior, and him telling me about how he spends his time off the court.

“At home, I have a setup, two TVs and an iPad. I have a lot of electronics. I call it my man cave. So, I’ll watch the game, be playing my PS4 then have something on my iPad. If I have to do homework, I can’t just sit there and do homework. I literally have to be doing something else while I’m doing my homework, so I’ll probably be playing a game and doing homework at the same time.”

At the time, I didn’t really think much about this, chalking it up to how kids these days multi-task. Yet, I came back to this quote once I read Reid Forgrave’s profile of Fox a few months back, in which he explained that juggling multiple tasks at once actually helps him focus on a singular task at hand.

“Watch this,” Fox says, sitting in the team’s film room. “You’re going to think I’m weird.”

He removes the wireless headphones that had been in his ears. He switches the music to his phone speakers. It’s an R&B song called “Without You,” and it’s loud. It hadn’t even been noticeable that music was playing up to that point.

“Right now, I’ve actually been listening to music this whole interview,” he says. Then he laughs.

Anyone who follows Fox on social media knows his affinity for video games, particularly “Dragon Ball Z,” which is based on a Japanese anime show. Over the past year on Snapchat, he’s posted countless clips from the show, which seems to also be the inspiration for his trademark spiky hairstyle. Because this is the #BBN, Fox’s hair became its own character this season, inspiring parody Twitter accounts and even making headlines. When Fox showed up to the fourth game of the season with his hair “twisted up,” which he has to do occasionally to help maintain its style, and missed three free throws after going perfect from the charity stripe to start the season, everyone — even John Calipari — blamed the hair.

“One game, I had it twisted and everyone was like, ‘Oh my god, he’s changing his hair, he’s changing his hair!,” Fox said on KSR this morning. “I think that was the first game — I was 25-25 from the free throw line and I missed three free throws, right? So Coach Cal said, ‘You have to go back to the other hair. I don’t like it.'”

Later on in the season, Fox’s hair was in the news again when he wore it in a man bun for a handful of games, a move he chalked up to laziness. Was it a coincidence that Fox had his worst run of games while sporting the man bun? Yes. Come on guys, it’s hair.


Sometimes I feel like trying to pinpoint a player’s legacy is impossible, especially in the Calipari era; not only are players here for such a short time, there have been so many talented guys come through the program in the past eight years that it’s simply unfair. I’ve already fallen victim to comparisons at the start of this piece, but I do think it’s important to point out that Fox had the unenviable task of following Tyler Ulis, one of the most beloved players in Kentucky basketball history. Trying to walk in Ulis’ larger than life footsteps would be impossible for 99.9% of players, but Fox forged his own path and in the process, did something Ulis didn’t: record the school’s second triple-double in history. Fox had 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in Kentucky’s dominating win vs. Arizona State in the Bahamas, and even though one of those assists was called into question, there’s no doubt that had Calipari kept Fox in the game, he would have ended up with many more.

It’s no coincidence that Fox’s triple double happened during the same game in which we all realized this team’s potential. The Cats dipped and soared on the roller coaster that is the regular season, but by the time March rolled around, they were once again playing their best basketball. After battling illness and injuries, Fox returned to form in the final month of the season, and when pitted against Lonzo Ball — who many believe is the greatest point guard in the draft — in the Sweet 16, Fox took his game to another level, scoring a career-high 39 points, the most ever by a freshman in an NCAA Tournament game. This morning on KSR, Fox shied away from directly dissing Ball, but did say that he always believes he’s the best player on the court.

“I’m going to say I am the better player if you put me up against anybody,” Fox said.

In fact, ever the competitor, he seemed more bothered that he didn’t end up with 40 in that game, which Malik Monk teased him about.

“After I saw (the scoreboard) I put my head down and thought, ‘Man, I could’ve had 40.’ But then I saw it’s the most a freshman has had in the NCAA tournament game in history so I am fine with it.”


Sadly, the final image I’ll have of Fox is from the locker room after the loss to North Carolina in the Elite Eight. A leader until the very end, Fox held Bam Adebayo and spoke through tears when his brothers could not.

“We went through that stretch and we lost those games and everybody talked about how we didn’t care. This isn’t a locker room that looks like guys don’t care. I love my brothers, man.”

That video went viral, I believe, in part, because it showed not only Kentucky fans how much this team cared about the season, but the rest of college basketball how much one-and-done players can care about a program. Even the biggest haters can’t deny the raw emotion in that locker room.

“It was very emotional,” Fox said. “It was tough, letting that sink in. Sometimes the emotions just spill out. They did.”

Like many of us, Fox said he didn’t watch a single second of the Final Four or National Championship games because he knew it should have been Kentucky there instead; as we close the book on his career here, I’ll take some solace in that because, with him playing at the level he was, it was really starting to feel that way.


Who’s left on Calipari’s recruiting board for 2017-18?

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The NBA dominoes are officially starting to fall. Yesterday, De’Aaron Fox announced his decision to sign with an agent and head to the draft, and today, Malik Monk followed suit.

Kentucky is also expected to lose Bam Adebayo and Isaiah Briscoe to the draft, and there is a chance the Wildcats lose a player or two via transfer. With Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis, and Mychal Mulder also gone, there are several spots left to fill.

It’s never fun to see our beloved Wildcats go, but there are usually some late Spring signees to ease the pain. This year is certainly no different.

Let’s take a look at the remaining recruits/transfers on Calipari’s short list:

Mohamed Bamba

Standing 6’11 with a freakish 7’9 wingspan, Bamba is the next (literally) big thing in college basketball. He possesses Nerlens Noel-esque shot-blocking ability, tremendous athleticism, and touch around the basket. He’s the type of prospect that makes opposing teams terrified to shoot in the paint, similar to the impact Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns had in 2015-16.

Pairing Nick Richards, a defensive-minded big man, with Bamba would give the Wildcats a nasty one-two punch down low, and easily the best defensive frontcourt in the nation.

Right now, UK is the rumored favorite in his recruitment. Landing Bamba would easily place Kentucky in the driver’s seat of national title contention next season.

Kevin Knox

Ah, the prototypical scoring wing Coach Cal has been fighting for since Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in 2011-12. Jaylen Brown, Kelly Oubre, Jayson Tatum, etc., sadly all swings and misses.

Does UK’s streak of missing out on the athletic scoring wings end with now?

Calipari is selling Knox on replacing Malik Monk as the team’s go-to scorer, which should be music to the ears of the 6’8 small forward out of Tampa, FL. With a smooth shooting stroke and ability to attack the rim, Knox has the potential to be a 20+ PPG scorer at UK en route to the program’s ninth title.

Knox is visiting Missouri, but his recruitment seems to be coming down to UK, Florida State, Duke, and UNC.

Does UNC’s championship and the idea of replacing Justin Jackson send him to Raleigh? Did Duke’s extra recruiting time after their early tournament exit help make up some ground? Will Knox follow in his father’s footsteps and stay home to play at FSU? Or will NBA dreams send him to Kentucky?

My gut tells me UNC is the leader, but don’t count out Coach Cal.

Cameron Johnson

The one need for UK next year? Three-point shooting. And this kid’s got it.

The Pittsburgh redshirt sophomore announced he would be transferring after averaging 11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game to go with 42% from behind the arc last season for the Panthers. Calipari has been adamant about his displeasure with graduate transfers across America, but has shown he would take one on if the right opportunity came along a la Julius Mays in 2012-13.

At 6’7, 210 lbs., Johnson has incredible size at the shooting guard position, a trait Calipari absolutely drools over. He can shoot lights out, gives the team a much-needed veteran presence, and has two years of eligibility remaining.

Cameron Johnson and Kentucky seem to be a match made in heaven, and if the Cats miss on Knox, I expect Calipari to push hard for the transfer guard.

Jemarl Baker

Earlier today, it was reported the four-star shooting guard and Califorina de-commit would be deciding between nine schools in the coming weeks, and Kentucky was on that list.

The sharpshooter has been drawing comparisons to Ray Allen, as his jumper is one of the purest in high school basketball right now. Coach Cal and the UK staff visited Baker last week, and there are rumors that the staff could visit again in the near future.

The 6’2, 175 lbs. guard out of Los Angeles, CA is considered the No. 17 shooting guard and 65th best player in the country according to ESPN.

Mark Smith

Listed just outside of the 247 Sports top 100 prospects in America, Mark Smith is a late bloomer with interest from most schools in America. He’s fairly new to the game of basketball, but the 6’5, 225 lb guard has shown spurts of unbelievable potential in his senior year at Edwardsville, averaging 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds this season.

Smith is a great outside shooter, but he has the ability to score anywhere on the court.

Calipari will be visiting Smith on Thursday at his high school, and if an offer comes, many expect him to accept it and commit to Kentucky.

Who finishes out the 2017 recruiting class for the Wildcats?

@JackPilgrimKSR


Nick Richards and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had impressive measurements at Nike Hoops Summit

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The Nike Hoops Summit is officially gearing up, and the participants’ testing results and measurements are slowly trickling out from the event.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada) and Nick Richards (Jamaica) are representing the Wildcats for the World team, and both players managed to turn heads with their impressive measurements.

Check out Draft Expresses measurements and thoughts on the future Cats:

Nick Richards:

Height (w/shoes): 6’11.75

Weight: 239

Wingspan: 7’3.75

Hand Length: 9.25

Hand Width: 9.5

Standing Reach: 9’0.5

Country: Jamaica

Kentucky commit Nick Richards has grown a bit since last summer and posted the highest standing vertical leap among players in this group, a fairly impressive feet for a center.  His 30 inch standing vertical leap ranks among the top marks recorded by a center all-time.  Having grown a bit and packing on some muscle since last summer, Richards is one of the more impressive big men from a physical perspective in the high school game at this point.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Height (w/shoes): 6’6

Weight: 175

Wingspan: 6’10.5

Hand Length: 8.5

Hand Width: 9.0

Standing Reach: 8’6

Country: Canada

Fellow Kentucky commit Shai Alexander measured very well here standing 6’6 with a 6’10.5 wingspan, both small, but relevant, improvements from the marks he was credited with at last spring’s Biosteel All-Canadian Game.  A tremendously talented, but somewhat raw guard with high upside, Alexander has tremendous size for either guard spot, but particularly the point guard position if John Calipari ultimately decides that’s where the Toronto’s native’s future will be long-term.  From a physical perspective, he’s similar to Shaun Livingston who measured 6’7 in shoes with a 6’11 wingspan and a 186 pound frame at the 2004 NBA Pre-Draft Camp.

We will post measurements for the Wildcats on Team USA when they are released.


Kevin Knox says he would save Coach Cal over other coaches in hypothetical life boat situation

Kevin Knox says he would save Coach Cal over other coaches in hypothetical life boat situation

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USA Today’s Jason Jordan has a fun video from the McDonald’s All-American Game in which he asks Kevin Knox and Mohamed Bamba hypothetical questions about the remaining schools and coaches they are considering.

In the first question, Kevin Knox says he would save John Calipari over the other coaches on his list if he were in a lifeboat and could only rescue one from the water (and in turn, death).

Make of that what you will, but this is a good look at their personalities and further proves all the good things people say about Bamba’s future as a politician.

The video auto plays so let’s put it after a jump…

(more…)


Joey Lunardi releases 2018 Bracketology and we should ignore it but we can’t

Joey Lunardi releases 2018 Bracketology and we should ignore it but we can’t

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If you think the way-too-early preseason rankings are pointless, you must really hate the first Bracketology of the 2018 season.

Joe Lunardi released his first NCAA tournament projection for next season and he has Kentucky as the No. 2 seed playing out west. Arizona is the No. 1 seed, Gonzaga the No. 3, and I can’t believe we are talking about this.

I have no earthly idea how Lunardi formed his prediction a whole 11 1/2 months ahead of time, but here it is:

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So stupid.


John Higgins finally speaks up about threats from UK fans

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In a new story for Omaha.com, we finally hear from John Higgins for the first time after Kentucky fans lit up his phone lines and his business page with criticisms (to put it lightly) of his officiating in the UK-UNC Elite Eight game.

Higgins said things got so bad, some of his family members wanted him to retire after 28 years as a referee, while many of his employees were afraid to drive around town in company trucks. His roofing business dropped to a 1.0 rating from a 4.8 rating on Facebook, although it is slowly climbing back up now that things have died down.

Higgins also said he thought he and his two colleagues called a fair game in Memphis, which is part of the reason why he was asked to do his eighth Final Four.

“My job is to be fair to both teams,’’ he told the website. “Be professional and demand sportsmanship. That’s what we’re supposed to do as officials. That’s what I try to do every time I get out.’’

Higgins estimates he received thousands of phone calls, e-mails and Facebook comments, some fans calling as many as 40 or 50 times in one day. Things didn’t slow down until his office blocked any incoming calls from Kentucky area codes.

“Nobody has ever seen anything like this,’’ Higgins said. “This is crazy.’’

[Omahan referee John Higgins putting life back together after frightening threats from angry Kentucky fans]


Kentucky ranked fifth in final USA Today Coaches Poll

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The final USA Today Coaches Poll of the 2016-17 season is out and Kentucky finds itself ranked fifth in the rankings. John Calipari predicted a fifth-place finish in his latest Cal Cast released last week.

Two other SEC schools cracked the top 10: South Carolina at No. 6 and Florida at No. 10. The mighty ACC had only one representative in the top 10.

Here it is:

1. North Carolina
2. Gonzaga
3. Oregon
4. Kansas
5. Kentucky
6. South Carolina
7. Arizona
8. Villanova
9. UCLA
10. Florida

See the full 25 here.


Catch De’Aaron Fox on his #TourDeFox around Kentucky

Catch De’Aaron Fox on his #TourDeFox around Kentucky

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Today’s De’Aaron Fox theme continues here on Kentucky-Sports-Radio-dot-com with a list of his tour stops around the state in the week ahead.

If you’re in the Somerset, Glasgow, Owensboro, Hopkinsville, Simpsonville or Cold Spring areas, you should consider attending one of his upcoming events.

Details listed below:

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