Here we are, folks: the Final Four. I honestly don’t understand how some foods got →
Basketball Recruiting News
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 29th, 2016 @ 4:00pm
You’re looking at PJ Washington, a five-star power forward from Dallas, Texas who plays for Findlay Prep in Las Vegas. This afternoon, Washington announced he will take his first official visit to Kentucky the weekend of September 16-18. The 6’7″ 225 lbs. Washington will also visit North Carolina, Arizona, and Texas.
— PJ Washington (@pjwashington_25) August 29, 2016
Kentucky currently leads Washington’s 247 Sports Crystal Ball with 38% of the predictions, followed by UNLV with 31%, Texas with 23%, and UNC with 8%. Interestingly, last month, Washington mentioned the possibility of being a package deal with his AAU teammate John Petty, and right now, the only schools on both of their lists are Kentucky and Kansas, the latter of which it doesn’t seem will get an official visit from Washington.
“I feel like I could play with John [Petty] in college,” Washington told KrossoverTV. “I feel like it’s very possible. It might happen.”
Power Forward| 6-7 | 225 lbs.
Dallas, TX | Findlay Prep
AAU: Team Penny
|ESPN||No. 16 | 3 PF||Top247||No. 16 | 6 PF|
|Rivals||No. 19||Scout||No. 14 | 1 PF|
UK still doesn’t have any commitments in the 2017 class, so let’s make sure Washington enjoys his visit, okay?
The No.19 player in the ESPN Top 100 for the class of 2017, Lonnie Walker, cut his list down to five schools today. Syracuse, Villanova, Arizona, Miami and Kentucky made the final list for the 6’4″ shooting guard out of Reading, Pennsylvania. Walker announced his final five in a short video on Twitter, with help from Bleacher Report.
My official top fivehttps://t.co/hnfaJ46BIh
— G.C.M (@lonniewalker_4) August 25, 2016
It seems like more and more of these high school athletes are announcing lists and decisions with cool videos like these. Walker is the fourth best shooting guard and the best player overall from the state of Pennsylvania in the class of 2017, according to ESPN, so he would be a good addition to the recruiting class if Coach Cal can real him in. Take a look at some of his highlights below:
Walker has been vocal about wanting to choose a school before his senior basketball season starts so that he can relax for his final year, so look for a decision to be looming in the next couple of months.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 24th, 2016 @ 4:00pm
Trae Young is Kentucky’s most important recruit in the 2017 class, which makes the news I’m about to share very good. The five-star point guard just released his schedule of official visits, and according to that, he’s coming to Lexington on the biggest recruiting night of the year, Big Blue Madness on October 14.
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) August 24, 2016
Kentucky and Oklahoma are considered the frontrunners for the Norman, Oklahoma native, with Kentucky holding on to a slim 5% lead in his 247 Sports Crystal Ball. Four of the last five picks in the Crystal Ball have been for the Sooners, including that of recruiting guru Jerry Meyer; however, if there’s an event to change someone’s mind, it’s Big Blue Madness.
Point Guard | 6-1 | 170 lbs.
Norman, OK | Norman North
AAU: Mokan Elite
|ESPN||No. 15 | 2 PG||Top247||No. 21 | 3 PG|
|Rivals||No. 14||Scout||No. 22 | 3 PG|
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 24th, 2016 @ 9:00am
This space is usually reserved for our take on the latest hot TV show, movie, or some video that’s gone viral on social media, but this morning, it’s time to dedicate the wakeup post to something that matters: helping others. By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the floods that have ravaged Baton Rouge and Louisiana. The floods killed 13 people and are being described as the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. More than 100,000 people in Louisiana have applied for federal assistance, and looking at the pictures is heartbreaking. These photos by Chad Schoonmaker were sent to us by Drew Causey, a pastor at Hope Community Church in Baton Rouge, a friend of Freddie Maggard’s.
While scrolling through Facebook this morning, I came across this video of two dogs being rescued from the floodwaters, and if you know me, you know it put a tear or two to my eye:
Want to help? According to Causey, the best way to get support to the areas that so desperately need it is through Living Hope Fellowship. Click here for more information.
Okay, let’s shift to something a little more upbeat, shall we? Here’s today’s agenda…
Classes start today
If the horrible traffic around campus wasn’t indication enough, the students are back in town, and today, classes begin. The Wildcat is ready:
Well… here goes nothin. pic.twitter.com/zYgr3gUMSk
— The Kentucky Wildcat (@The_Wildcat) August 24, 2016
The first day of class also means no media availability for football, so there won’t be a practice report; however, based on the amount of content he’s churching out, I don’t think Freddie’s slept in a week, so check back for another installment of his “Behind the Facemask” series, along with a post about Eddie Gran’s relationship with the quarterbacks and how it compares to Freddie’s days at UK.
The Basketball team gets back to it
This week, the basketball team has been trickling back on campus from their late summer break, and we’ve already seen pictures of them working in the Joe Craft Center on SnapChat. After a very quiet month or so, expect news to start leaking back out and John Calipari to start making the rounds, starting with an appearance on KSR tomorrow.
John Petty taking an official visit to Alabama tomorrow
At one time, we all thought the five-star wing would be the first 2017 recruit to commit to Kentucky, but Alabama’s Avery Johnson isn’t going down without a fight. Petty is taking an official visit to Alabama tomorrow and Friday, and although I don’t think the Huntsville native will commit to the Crimson Tide during his trip, they have gained major ground with him this summer. According to a source of mine, people in Huntsville who had originally conceded Petty to UK now believe he’s going to Bama because Bama has “shown more love” than Kentucky recently. Petty’s related to former Bama guard Trevor Lacey, adding even more pressure to Bama’s “home state hero” pitch (even though Lacey transferred to NC State). My response? That’s sweet and all, but Trevor Lacey went undrafted and is currently playing overseas, while John Calipari has put 29 players in the pros over seven years.
Got plans Friday? Take part in the Louisville UK Alumni Club Golf Scramble
The scramble takes place at Nevel Meade Golf Course in Prospect Friday afternoon. Here are details:
Sounds like the perfect excuse to start the weekend a little early if you ask me.
Get ready for round two of the Tailgate Food Bracket
Round one had some big upsets (nachos over jambalaya?!), but it’s time to move on. I’ll update the bracket and get round two rolling here in just a little bit.
KSR is in Ashland
But where? Check back in an hour to find out…
By Haley Simpson on ©August 20th, 2016 @ 9:00pm
I’m a sucker for a pretty skyline and the one at the Elite 24 is about as pretty as it gets. Jeff Borzello, a recruiting insider for ESPN tweeted this photo from the court today and I’m a little jealous of him right now.
Several class of 2018 recruits are playing in tonight’s game. Kevin Knox and Nick Richards are playing for Team Clutch and Hamidou Diallo, Zion Williamson, Silvio de Sousa, Naz Reid and Javonte Smart are on Team Drive.
— DraftExpress2 (@DraftExpress2) August 20, 2016
Ugh, that view though.
By Kelsey Mattingly on ©August 20th, 2016 @ 10:45am
Zion Williamson, the no. 6 ranked player in the 2018 class, is now hearing from Kentucky. With projections to be the top player in his class, it would make sense that John Calipari and the Kentucky staff is starting to take a serious look at the wing.
It was reported that both Calipari and Kenny Payne had spoken with Williamson at the Elite 24, and pegging him as a top prospect. Coming in at 6-foot-7, 230 pounds with a 6-11 wingspan, he hasn’t received an offer from Kentucky just yet. But after his showing at the Elite 24, Cal took notice and it shouldn’t be long before Williamson is an official Kentucky potential recruit. He currently has offers from North Carolina, Clemson and Arizona with Duke looking at him as well.
247sports director of scouting, Jerry Meyer considers him a great all-around player and the toughest in his class. “He’s a big-bodied guy, sort of a build of a Jamal Mashburn, Draymond Green or Adrian Dantley, who he’s been compared to,” Meyer said. “He’s tremendous in traffic, quick off the floor, has great instincts, he’s highly competitive and he doesn’t have a weakness in his skill game.”
Keep up with us here at Kentucky Sports Radio for all of the latest on Zion Williamson and his potential to be a Kentucky Wildcat.
Last night, I finished up “Last Chance U,” Netflix’s original series about East Mississippi Community College and it’s celebrated football program. The show has been a viral hit, so in case you haven’t finished it yet, I won’t spoil the ending, but man…if you’re looking to get ready for football season, put this series on your To Do List for the weekend. In a time of year that is reserved for all things football, this is not only a perfect palette teaser, it’s a documentary that will really make you think about the JuCo system.
We’ve mentioned this series ad nauseam on this site in the past few weeks, but in about two hours, I’m interviewing Brittany Wagner, the academic advisor who is arguably the star of the series. Matt interviewed Brittany for his podcast on Wednesday, but I’m planning to take a totally different approach, asking her about her journey to Scooba and how she deals with the ups and downs of her job.
If you have any questions for Brittany, please leave them in the comments sections or tweet them @MrsTylerKSR. If they’re good (and not lewd, you perverts), I’ll use ’em.
Meanwhile, here’s what we have to look forward to today…
Get ready for a practice report
After a day away from the media, the offense will address reporters after practice today. Check the site after lunch for a practice report and some more of Freddie’s awesome “Behind the Facemask” posts.
So far, KSR is leading the Medialympics 4x100m relay poll
I mean, we have to do this, right? It can’t just join the graveyard of great ideas alongside the Waddy campout, 24 Hours of Ryan Lemond Radio, and Matt’s Kentucky county profiles.
Team USA takes on Spain in the Olympics semifinal at 2:30 p.m. ET
DeMarcus Cousins and Team USA looked better vs. Argentina on Wednesday, but to make the gold medal game, they have to beat Spain, who they’ve faced in the last two Olympic finals. The winner takes on the winner of Australia/Serbia for the gold medal on Sunday afternoon.
Here’s the rest of today’s Olympic schedule:
Two big recruiting events going down this weekend
On Saturday, two major recruiting events will go head to head: The Nike Select Camp in the Bahamas and Under Armour’s Elite 24 in Brooklyn. Jamal Mashburn and Tony Delk are serving as coaches in the Elite 24, and got some quality one-on-one time with three of UK’s targets in the 2017 class: Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, and Nick Richards.
Kentucky is the leader for both Diallo and Richards, and this sweet play yesterday could be a preview of what’s to come for the 2017-18 Wildcats:
SEC Network has faith in UK’s running backs
Freddie Maggard was watching the SEC Network last night because of course he was, and snapped this picture of Matt Stinchcomb’s running back duo ratings. As you can see, Kentucky is in fourth behind Tennessee, Georgia, and LSU, and AHEAD of Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris. How ’bout THEM APPLES.
KSR as the State Fair
Matt and Shannon are at the DirecTV booth at the State Fair to talk about the topics of the day while Ryan gets a blessed day off after his big night at the Darius Rucker show. Get some work done now so you can listen to it later.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 18th, 2016 @ 5:10pm
As I mentioned earlier, Under Armour’s Elite 24 event is Saturday in Brooklyn, and the nation’s top recruits who aren’t going to the Nike Select Camp in the Bahamas are already in the Big Apple to prepare, along with some UK legends, it seems. According to Chris Fisher, Jamal Mashburn and Tony Delk are currently working with top 2017 targets Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, and Nick Richards.
Here’s a little bit about each prospect:
Shooting Guard | 6-4 | 170 lbs.
Queens Village, NY | Putnam Science Academy
AAU: New York Rens
|ESPN||No. 12 | 2 SG||Top247||No. 8 | 2 SG|
|Rivals||No. 7 |||Scout||No. 9 | 1 SG|
Kentucky is the favorite for the explosive and dynamic Diallo, who averaged 19.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in the Peach Jam last month. If you’re looking for a current player to compare Diallo to, my pick would be Malik Monk, although Diallo’s not as accomplished a scorer from the outside.
Small Forward | 6-8 | 195 lbs.
Tampa, FL | Tampa Catholic
|ESPN||No. 7 | 2 SF||Top247||No. 12 | 2 SF|
|Rivals||No. 6||Scout||No. 6 | 2 SF|
So far, all signs point to Knox going to Duke, but never count Calipari out, especially with a player as dominant as Knox. The 6’8″ small forward can score from anywhere on the floor and is considered one of the best offensive players in the class:
Center | 6-11 | 235 lbs.
Manhasset, NY | St. Patrick’s
AAU: Expressions Elite
|ESPN||No. 8 | 3 C||Top247||No. 13 | 2 C|
|Rivals||No. 21 |||Scout||No. 31 | 8 C|
Richards has the size of a true center, but his versatility and athleticism would make him a great fit in Calipari’s “position-less” system. He’s down to five: Kentucky, Arizona, UConn, Syracuse, and Indiana, and Kentucky has 100% of the predictions in his Crystal Ball.
I still think Knox is headed to Duke, but having two Kentucky greats like Mashburn and Delk getting some quality one-on-one time with these three prospects is certainly a good thing.
UPDATE: Here’s a nice play from Diallo to Richards.
Coming soon to a Rupp Arena near you?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 18th, 2016 @ 4:00pm
CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander are back with their annual “Candid Coaches” series in which they survey more than 100 coaches on various topics in college basketball. Today’s topic? Cheating in college basketball. CBS asked coaches if college basketball is cleaner or dirtier than it was five years ago. The results? Fourteen percent of coaches said it’s cleaner, 37% dirtier, and 49% said it’s about the same.
The difference between then and now? Whereas cheating used to mean a bag of cash or a gift from a booster, it’s much more advanced now that shoe companies and AAU coaches are involved.
“The cheating is worse,” one coach told CBS. “But I think the big-name coaches are less involved because they don’t have to be involved anymore. They’re always three steps removed from it. They just benefit from a system that’s in place. I could tell you how this big-name school got this kid and how that big-name school got that kid. But I really don’t think the coaches at those schools are throwing around cash. They’re just letting a friendly agent or a shoe-company executive do the cheating for them.”
Anyone who’s followed recruiting the past five years knows the pull shoe companies and AAU have over recruits. Just this week, Nike (who sponsors the EYBL circuit) one-upped Under Armour’s Elite 24 event by throwing a huge tournament in the Bahamas AND inviting participants to the White House:
— EliteYouthBasketball (@NikeEYB) August 18, 2016
While most recruits will deny they choose a college based on a certain brand of shoe, the corresponding circuit they play on more often than not has a huge influence.
“Most coaches insist about 80 percent of the nation’s top 10 players, in any given year, are already tied to an agent before they ever even step on a college campus because agents are often deeply connected to some of the top summer programs,” Parrish wrote. “It’s rarely a coincidence when a prospect who spends his summers playing for a Nike-funded team ends up on visits to Nike-sponsored schools. Same goes for kids with Under Armour connections. Same goes for kids tied to Adidas.”
So, the question really becomes: is letting shoe companies/AAU circuits have that much influence any more honest than a bag of cash or a new car?
Thomas Beisner, formerly of News and Views fame, brought on Scout.com’s Evan Daniels to talk UK basketball recruiting for the KSTV audience last night.
Daniels had some interesting things to say about Cal’s plan with the 2017 class, but the biggest piece of news is that he believes Cal will take either Trae Young or Quade Green at point guard. There was a time not too long ago when the presumption was Cal was Young or bust, but now Green has entered the picture and it’ll go to whoever commits first.
Daniels also talked about the assistant coach swap during the summer recruiting and what he is hearing about Isaac Humphries’ improvement in Lexington.
Have a look/listen:
Romeo Langford has a new top 10, per this graphic from Julius Kim of Phenom Hoops. That top 10 includes Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, NC State, North Carolina, Purdue, UCLA, Vanderbilt and, of course, Kentucky.
Langford is the top shooting guard and No. 2 player in the 2018 recruiting class. He plays his high school ball in New Albany, just a short 90-minute drive from Rupp Arena and dangerously close to the KFC Yum! Center.
He picked up his offer from John Calipari back in April and the UK staff has had eyes on him all summer. It’s no surprise to see the Cats in the mix.
Louisville and Indiana have also been all over him, so it’ll be a fight ’til the end for the somewhat local product.
Trae Young is arguably Kentucky’s most important recruit in the 2017 class. John Calipari has prioritized the five-star point guard since offering him last August, and although Young released his top six a few weeks ago, most believe it’s down to Kentucky and his home state Oklahoma for his services. In an interview with The Oklahoman’s Scott Wright this weekend, Young said he’s hoping to make his decision in December.
“I don’t know if I want to wait too long,” Young said. “I’d like to make a decision around December. That’s what I’m looking at, but anything can happen.”
Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington, Oklahoma State and Kentucky are in Young’s final six, and although he only gets five official visits, the Cats will certainly get one of them.
For now, Young’s headed to the Bahamas for the Nike Select Camp, where he’ll play alongside fellow UK targets Kevin Knox, Mohamed Bamba, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Wendell Carter this weekend. Hopefully he’ll turn in some more highlights like these:
Last night the No. 4 point guard in America, Quade Green, trimmed his list to nine and Kentucky made the cut. Also competing for his services: Duke, Louisville, Villanova, Syracuse, Arizona, Xavier, Kansas and Rice.
Along with Trae Young and Tremont Waters, there are multiple point guards vying for coveted spots at Kentucky and Duke. Green said at the Peach Jam, “It really comes down to who commits first.” As Calipari heavily pursues Young, Green is perceived as a Duke-lean.
One of the most clutch performers at the Peach Jam, watch his smooth step-back in the EYBL highlights below.
The No. 25 player in the country is an elite athlete on the wing. The first player John Calipari extended an offer to in the Class of 2017, you can understand why after watching John Petty’s best plays from the Nike EYBL Circuit.
John Calipari’s toughest competition to land the Huntsville native is from Petty’s home state of Alabama.
By Drew Franklin on ©August 11th, 2016 @ 3:30pm
Under Armour announced its rosters for the 2016 Elite 24 basketball showcase, one of the top events in high school basketball, and Kentucky has several targets lined up to participate.
The game will be played at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 2 on New York’s East River on Saturday, August 20. It will be televised live on ESPNU, preceded by the slam dunk and three-point competitions the night before.
The two rosters can be found below with confirmed UK offers in bold…
TEAM “CLUTCH” Class Position Hometown
Jalek Felton 2017 Guard Mullins, SC
Jahvon Quinerly 2018 Guard Hackensack, NJ
Devon Dotson 2018 Guard Matthews, NC
Josh Anderson 2017 Guard Baton Rouge, LA
MJ Walker 2017 Guard Riverdale, GA
Billy Preston 2017 Forward Los Angeles, CA
Gerald Liddell 2018 Forward Cibolo, TX
Kevin Knox 2017 Forward Riverview, FL
Sid Wilson 2018 Forward Bronx, NY
Nick Richards 2017 Forward Brooklyn, NY
Austin Wiley 2017 Center Hoover, AL
Bol Bol 2018 Center Olathe, KS
TEAM “DRIVE” Class Position Hometown
Trevon Duval 2017 Guard New Castle, DE
Javonte Smart 2018 Guard Baton Rouge, LA
Hamidou Diallo 2017 Guard Queens, NY
Nickeil Alexander-Walker 2017 Guard Toronto, ON
Louis King 2018 Forward Columbus, NJ
Khavon Moore 2018 Forward Macon, GA
Jaylen Hoard 2018 Forward Carnon, France
Nazreon Reid 2018 Forward Neptune, NJ
Silvio De Souza 2018 Forward Luonda, Angola
Zion Williamson 2018 Forward Spartanburg, SC
Brandon McCoy 2017 Center San Diego, CA
Moses Brown 2018 Center Queens, NY