On Saturday afternoon, I sat down and wrote an entire post about how no matter →
Basketball Recruiting News
By Kory Henry on ©February 12th, 2017 @ 6:05pm
According to Adam Zagoria, John Calipari & assistant Tony Barbee are in attendance at the Prime Time Shootout in New Jersey. Kentucky commit Nick Richards is set to tip-off shortly after 6:00 pm, so the coaches are in town to watch next season’s newest center.
Nick Richards, for those who may not be aware, is the #2 center of the 2017 recruiting class according to 247 Sports. He’s also ranked 11th in ESPN’s Top 100 Class of ’17. Richards signed his letter of intent to play for Kentucky back in November of last year. Since signing his LOI, he’s been named a McDonald’s All-American.
Nazreon Reid is also playing tonight while Coach Cal is in attendance. Reid has yet to receive an offer from Kentucky, but UK is considered to be high on his list. Reid is one of the top forwards of the 2018 class, and 14th overall according to 247 Sports.
UPDATE: Here’s a highlight of Naz Reid from moments ago:
— NJ Basketball (@NJHoopRecruit) February 12, 2017
Before you see a Kentucky recruit do some unbelievable things with a basketball, see what future Kentucky footballer Tyrell Ajian did streaking down the paint last night.
— _tyrellajian (@_tyrellajian) February 11, 2017
Ajian’s take was impressive, but it’s about to get much crazier. Zion Williamson will make your jaw drop, even when he misses. This is what the No. 2 player in the class of 2018 did last night.
We may still be in the heat of the 2016-17 basketball season, but plenty of attention lies on the absolutely ridiculous recruiting class coming in next season for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats.
One of the stars headed to Lexington this summer? 5-star SF Jarred Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt committed to Kentucky back in December, where he joined Quade Green, PJ Washington, Nick Richards, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander en route to the No. 1 recruiting class in 2017. 5-star SG Hamidou Diallo later enrolled for the Spring semester, but he will be joining the Wildcats next year, as well.
Out of Houston, Texas, Vanderbilt broke through as a national target back in 2012 as a middle schooler, but the majority of his interest came as a freshman in high school. He wasn’t the tallest guy out on the court at all times, but his silky-smooth handles and ability to finish at the rim turned heads, and phone calls from various colleges started pouring in.
“I was getting attention in middle school, but in 9th grade was when people started calling my school and trying to talk to my parents,” Vanderbilt said. “My phone started blowing up.”
Within the span of just a year, Vanderbilt shot up several inches and his soft touch at the rim soon became a powerful flush, dunking over hopeless defenders standing in his way. Throughout the next few years, he kept growing, but his guard skills remained.
“I hit a growth spurt from 5’10 to about 6’4 transitioning from middle school to high school and I just kept growing from there, but the guard skills just stuck with me,” he said. “I learned how to get my own rebound and initiate the offense. I don’t always have to look for the point guard as soon as the ball touches my hand.”
At 6’9, 220 lbs., Vanderbilt separates himself as one of the most unique athletes in the country. With elite court vision, passing ability, exceptional rebounding and lockdown defense, he’s already getting compared to the likes of Lamar Odom and Thaddeus Young.
With that, he became one of the most coveted recruits in the class.
“My freshman year, most of the schools recruiting me were most of the local schools in Texas, like Texas A&M, UT, and Houston. That summer after playing EYBL of my 9th grade year, that’s when the bigger name schools like Kentucky came in. From there, my recruitment was non-stop.”
“Two-way player” and “versatility” seem to be the most common phrases thrown around in reference to Vanderbilt, and rightfully so. With the help of his 7’1 wingspan, he has the ability to defend four positions on defense, making it tough for opponents to do much of anything with the ball in their hands against him.
For Vanderbilt, that defensive presence separates him from all of the other recruits in the class, which should come as music to the ears of Kentucky fans.
“I actually love to play defense. I’m able to switch and defend four positions on the floor, sometimes five. It’s something I’ve just always been able to do.”
As far as weaknesses go, Vanderbilt understands his jump shot is still a work in progress, but has optimism he’ll be able to open the floor with some practice.
“I’ve been working on extending my range, trying to become a consistent three-point shooter. With some work there, I really feel like I can open up the floor when I get to UK.”
Vanderbilt’s recruitment came down to Kentucky, UNC, TCU, and Oregon, with the Wildcats obviously winning out. He said when it came to UK, the winning tradition and playing with great players was the selling point.
“I had it down to one or two schools pretty much the entire time, and I knew UK was where I needed to be. They come together for one common goal and that’s to win. I love to win and I love to be around great players. The goal is to win a National Championship, so I feel like Kentucky was the best place for me to grow on and off the court as a player and as a person.”
As we all know, Calipari’s pitch is unlike anyone else’s in the country. He doesn’t promise minutes or shots a game, rather the opportunity to compete against the best every day in practice and grow as a player. Vanderbilt was sold almost immediately.
“I knew from the start I’m not going to have the ball 30 minutes a game at Kentucky, and the ball is not always going to run through me like some of the other schools pitched,” Vanderbilt said. “Calipari told me we were going to have a great team, a top player at every position, so I was going to have to earn it. I’m ready for that challenge.”
A few weeks back, Vanderbilt received nominations to participate in the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic, joining PJ Washington, Nick Richards, and Quade Green to the list of Wildcats with bids.
“As a basketball player growing up, that’s one of your childhood dreams. Just to be on that list with all of the greats to ever play the game of basketball is a real honor. I noticed all the UK guys are on the same team, so hopefully they can throw that lineup in to give you all a taste of what’s to come next year.”
UK may have four recruits in both events, but that doesn’t mean the recruiting season is over for the Wildcats.
The two biggest targets left on board for Kentucky are Kevin Knox and Mohamed Bamba. Vanderbilt has done his best to recruit each of them to UK, staying in their ears as decision time inches closer.
“We would love for Kevin and Mohamed to join in. I’ve talked to both of them here and there. Both of them are taking their visits now so I try to keep in touch just to see where they are with interest in UK. They’re both versatile players and would really fit in with what we’re bringing in.”
With Vanderbilt, Diallo, Washington, Richards, Green, and Gilgeous-Alexander already in-fold, Kentucky is stacked going into next season. Add in one or both of Knox and Bamba? We’re talking about something special.
“This is one of the greatest recruiting classes, for sure for Cal, but maybe even of all-time. Having those two join would only solidify that for us.”
By Nick Roush on ©February 07th, 2017 @ 3:00pm
Future Kentucky point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the least known of UK’s five commits. This two-minute video should help you get to know him.
The four-star combo guard isn’t flashy, but he’s smooth. An exceptional ball-handler, you’ll notice his knack for the ball on defense and ability to finish with a soft floater near the rim.
Ten high school prospects were named Semifinalists for the Naismith High School Player of the Year. Of the five committed prospects in the 2017 class, none of them made the list. However, a few UK targets made the cut.
Point guard Trae Young, small forward Kevin Knox and power forward Mohamed Bamba could win the coveted award that’s only been won by one other Wildcat, Ron Mercer.
Young will announce his college decision next Thursday, but will likely choose Kansas. The Cats are in good shape with Bamba after he took his official visit for the South Carolina game. Knox officially visited campus for the Kansas game. Calipari followed up with Knox the following Friday by watching him play in Tampa. Knox will officially visit North Carolina next weekend.
Today could be a turning point for the 2016-17 Kentucky Wildcats. After losing consecutive games for the first time all year, the Cats got a hard-fought win over Georgia at home. Today is their most difficult SEC test remaining. Will they fight through adversity and carry some momentum into March, or will they succumb to the pressure and drop three out of four? You’ll have to wait until 8:15 to find out. Until then…
1. Fox is in Florida
After missing Tuesday night’s game against Georgia, many were worried De’Aaron Fox would miss Kentucky’s road test in Gainesville. No updates were given during yesterday’s press conference, but Fox did reveal on Snapchat that he made the trip to Gainesville. John Calipari told Andy Katz Fox will be a game-time decision.
There’s been a lot less scuttlebutt about Mychal Mulder, who hasn’t played since the January 17th road trip to Starkville, but according to KSR sources, Mulder is closer to returning to the court than Fox. Both players participated in Thursday’s practice.
2. Cats Opened as a 2-Point Favorite
The opening line in Las Vegas gave the Cats two points. Since then the script has flipped; the Gators are now two-point favorites in most Las Vegas sports books.
It’s Kentucky’s first trip to the renovated O Dome, now officially known as the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center after the university invested $64.5 million for improvements. It re-opened in December. Today’s game will without a doubt be the biggest stage the renovated arena has seen.
3. Kentucky’s Poor GameDay Record
The Cats have been the featured game on ESPN’s premier pregame show 13 times, but things rarely go their way. The Cats are 5-8 on GameDay and have lost three consecutive games. Kentucky’s last win in front of a GameDay audience was actually in Gainesville, when Willie Cauley-Stein was charged with first degree murder.
That was the only time Kentucky has even taken down Florida in a GameDay showdown. Florida is 5-1 vs. UK since they first met on GameDay in 2006.
4. Drew Franklin will be in the Building
We know at least some blue will get in today. Make sure you’re following Drew on all the social media platforms (@DrewFranklinKSR, drew_franklin on Snapchat and Instagram) to see what he is seeing in Gainesville.
5. Coach Cal Watched Kevin Knox
John Calipari and Kenny Payne made the short two-hour trip from Gainesville to Tampa to see five-star 2017 small forward Kevin Knox. Knox didn’t disappoint, scoring 26 points in a ten-point victory. Cal saw him do this…
— Overtime (@overtime) February 4, 2017
— Prep Hoops Florida (@prephoopsfl) February 4, 2017
6. Trae Young Sets Commitment Date
Five-star point guard Trae Young revealed on Twitter he will announce his college decision at his high school on Thursday, February 16 at noon. Even though he was the first point guard Calipari pursued in the 2017 class, the chances of landing Young dropped dramatically after Quade Green signed with Kentucky. According to the 247 Crystal Ball, Oklahoma and Kansas are the favorites (tied at 36%) with UK not far behind (20%).
7. Booker’s Buzzer-Beating Bank-Shot
There are rumors around the league that Boogie could be traded to Phoenix. I’m sure Cousins is much more open to the move after watching Devin Booker silence the Sacramento crowd, for the win.
Devin Booker hits game-winning buzzer-beater to defeat Kings pic.twitter.com/0T76D7aJeP
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) February 4, 2017
Booker finished the night with 33 points. Now with 15 straight games with 20 points or more, he’s only the second player to do so before turning 21. The first? LeBron James.
8. Podcast Plugs
Yesterday we were delighted to record the Depth Chart Podcast at Jack Kain Ford. It will hit the iTunes feed within the hour. Until then, you can keep your ears busy by listening to a pair of podcasts from the KSR archives, with postgame shows from Kentucky’s 2012 Final Four and National Championship. Even though many will say the championship show is better, I prefer the one following the win over Louisville. The relief is real and the championship game predictions couldn’t be more incorrect.
Subscribe to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or listen on the KSR app.
9. The Unforgettable Fairytale
Author Temple Stites has an exciting treat for UK fans that he would love to share with you today.
25 years ago, The Unforgettables inspired us all. That season, and the Greatest Game Ever Played, inspired a young father, who is a lifelong member of the BBN, to want to pass this story of grit and determination on to his young son.
Problem was, the little guy couldn’t yet follow basketball. He was more interested in knights, duels, and castles. So his dad decided to write an epic knight’s tale inspired by the Unforgettables.
“The Unforgettable Fairytale” is a new children’s book filled with heroic knights, jousts, a Tournament of Knights, honor and ultimately, redemption.
This is our story and I think you’re going to want to share this book with your kids and grandkids. And you’ve got to see how beautiful this thing is.
10. Today’s College Basketball Schedule
- Noon: No. 23 Purdue at No. 17 Maryland on ESPN
- Noon: No. 9 Virginia at Syracuse on ESPN2
- 1:00: Pitt at No. 21 Duke on CBS
- 2:00: Georgia at No. 19 South Carolina on ESPN2
- 2:00: Iowa State at No. 3 Kansas on ESPN
- 3:00: Xavier at No. 22 Creighton on Fox
- 4:00: No. 5 Arizona at No. 13 Oregon on ESPN
- 4:00: UConn at No. 14 Cincinnati on ESPN2
- 5:00: Oklahoma State at No. 7 West Virginia on ESPNU
- 6:00: Ohio State at Michigan on ESPN2
- 6:00: No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 12 North Carolina on ESPN
- 9:00: Exas A&M at LSU on ESPNU
At one time, most people thought Trae Young would be John Calipari’s next great point guard; however, after waiting on Young to commit for months, Cal went ahead and accepted a commitment from two other point guards, Quade Green and Shai Alexander. Now, Young is finally ready to make his decision. Today, he tweeted that he’ll announce where he’s going to college on February 16 at his high school:
It's been a long process, but now it's time…🙏🏽💯 pic.twitter.com/7KCZKtC7Q3
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) February 3, 2017
Is Kentucky still an option? With two point guards already on the roster, probably not. Earlier this week, Young’s dad said the family eliminated two schools from consideration, leaving three to choose from. The smart money’s on Kansas or Oklahoma, and after his dad chastised Oklahoma media for writing a critical article about his son’s team, I’d say Trae’s probably going to be a Jayhawk.
Five-star small forward Kevin Knox took his official visit to Kentucky last weekend for the Kansas game, and this afternoon, his dad told Chris Fisher that John Calipari and Kenny Payne will follow up with him tomorrow night. While Kentucky travels to Gainesville, Calipari and Payne will detour to Tampa to watch Knox’s Tampa Catholic play Jesuit Friday night.
Knox Sr. said he and his son were very impressed by the atmosphere at Rupp Saturday.
“We got a taste of the Big Blue Nation. We had never been to an actual Kentucky game. That was a very, very loud venue. A lot of excited fans.”
Knox is down to Kentucky, Duke, Florida State, and North Carolina and isn’t expected to announce until March. Although Kentucky will be loaded on the wing next season with Jarred Vanderbilt, PJ Washington, and potentially Wenyen Gabriel, Knox is a pretty good shooter, which is a role Calipari’s been selling him on thus far. I have a feeling that will be part of the conversation tomorrow.
Small Forward | 6-8 | 195 lbs.
Tampa, FL | Tampa Catholic
|ESPN||No. 7 | 2 SF||Top247||No. 13 | 3 SF|
|Rivals||No. 9 | 2 SF||Scout||No. 7 | 2 SF|
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 02nd, 2017 @ 9:00am
Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s coooold out there today! Actually, it could be colder for the second day in February, but because it’s Groundhog Day, I had to steal a line from Bill Murray’s 1993 classic. If you believe in the bizarre tradition, don’t put away your flannel and sweaters just yet; this morning, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, meaning we’ve got six weeks of winter left. Considering it was 65 degrees here in Nashville Tuesday, I’m skeptical, but hey, who am I to argue with a groundhog?
Let’s go over today’s agenda…
1. Stoops signed his best class yet yesterday
Yesterday was quite the day for the UK Football program, which pulled in what Mark Stoops called his best class ever. Although the class may not rank as high as Stoops’ 2014 group, he raved about the character and leadership of his 24 new players.
“I’d say it’s by far best class, period, but by athletes as well. I just feel so good about this class top to bottom. The biggest thing, and I may be a bit redundant when I talk about this, but it is about their character, about their leadership. You look at these guys and a bunch of these guys are captains on their football team, they’re very, very good students. They’re competitors, they’re winners. You just look at the two quarterbacks that we have in this class, and if I’m talking about one, I’m talking about both of them. They are unbelievable leaders. They’re winners, they’re competitors and you could say that about the whole group.”
2. Jedrick Wills and Danny Davis went elsewhere
There was hope Kentucky would be able to flip five-star Lafayette lineman Jedrick Wills, but Wills decided to stay with Alabama. He called Stoops late Tuesday night to inform him of his decision, which he admitted was very difficult.
“It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but it’s something you have to do because I have respect for him,” Wills told SEC Country’s Joe Mussatto. “UK’s been on me since about 8th grade so I respect them a lot and I thank them for what they’ve done for me.”
Best of luck to Wills and Danny Davis, a four-star receiver who opted for Wisconsin instead of Kentucky Wednesday afternoon.
3. Lamar Thomas continues to enjoy the win over Louisville
We all loved Kentucky’s upset over Louisville, but I’d argue few people have enjoyed it as much as Lamar Thomas, who wore a “Mr. 41-28” nametag around the football facility yesterday:
— Coach Lamar Thomas (@LamarCoachT) February 2, 2017
During his press conference yesterday, Vince Marrow said the win over Louisville gave the program huge momentum with the 2017 class:
“When we first got here we were selling the dream and what it was going to become with the facilities and all that. We still were able to sell the SEC but eventually we had to win that signature game to make them say ‘whoa, everything they are selling is coming true.’ I know when our coaches went out in December I had a lot of people telling me our coaches were walking in those schools with a swag. Everyone was talking about the Louisville game. To me that win was huge for us.”
4. The entire roster of 2017 signees
Before we close the book on Signing Day and shift back to basketball, here’s one last look at the 24 newest Kentucky Wildcats:
5. What’s the latest on Fox, Mulder, and Killeya-Jones?
De’Aaron Fox and Sacha Killeya-Jones missed Tuesday night’s game vs. Georgia due to the flu, along with Mychal Mulder, who sat out his fourth game due to an undisclosed illness. Will they be back in time for Saturday’s game at Florida? On Tuesday, Calipari said Fox and SKJ will probably be game-time decisions, while Mulder would be out another week to ten days. I doubt we’ll get an official update before Calipari’s presser on Friday, but we have our ear to the ground and will bring you any news that comes along. In the meantime, send healing vibes to the Wildcat Coal Lodge, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40526.
6. A ServPro truck was spotted at the Lodge yesterday
If you listen to KSR, you know ServPro can handle any disaster, small or large, and one of their trucks was spotted outside the Lodge yesterday. Coincidence or did Calipari call in the pros to help sanitize the place? His tweet last night suggests the latter:
Want to thank the team at ServPro of Lexington and @servprosmith for their great work in the Wildcat Coal Lodge on short notice!
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) February 2, 2017
7. Zion Williamson met with Calipari last night
Fresh off his “indescribable” and “ridiculous” visit for the Kansas game, the second best player in the junior class hosted John Calipari in his home in South Carolina yesterday. Williamson, a 6’7″ five-star power forward, didn’t have an offer from Kentucky before yesterday; did something change on that visit? You’ll hope so after watching Williamson dunk so hard the scoreboard just gave up Tuesday night:
A video posted by JBGolf (@jbgolf18) on
Phew. Give that kid an offer, Cal. Speaking of recruiting…
8. Kentucky’s trending up for Mohamed Bamba
Two more picks went in Kentucky’s direction this week from Duke writers, furthering the buzz that the 7-footer will end up in Lexington:
9. Calipari’s podcast with Ben Roethlisberger is scheduled to drop today
This week’s Cal Cast guest is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and even though Calipari avoided his first three-game losing streak at Kentucky with Tuesday’s overtime win, I bet some people will still grumble about how he NEEDS TO STOP DOING THAT PODCAST AND START COACHING MORE ZONE. Regardless, I’ll bring you the highlights whenever it comes out (even though I really, really don’t like Big Ben).
10. College basketball on TV tonight
- 7:00 PM: Missouri at #24 Florida, ESPN2
- 9:00 PM: #5 Arizona at Oregon State, ESPN2
- 11:00 PM: Arizona State at #13 Oregon, FS1
- 11:00 PM: #1 Gonzaga at BYU, ESPN2
- 11:00 PM: #18 Saint Mary’s at Pacific, ESPNU
Radio in an hour…
By Nick Roush on ©January 31st, 2017 @ 1:00pm
After visiting Kentucky for Saturday’s game against Kansas, Zion Williamson, the No. 2 junior in America, was blown away with the atmosphere at Rupp Arena.
“Indescribable, the environment,” Williamson told Adam Zagoria. “That environment, I just can’t even describe it, it’s ridiculous.”
Williamson has yet to receive an offer from Kentucky, yet. He told Zagoria Coach Cal and a few of his UK assistants will visit his home in Spartanburg, South Carolina tomorrow. A scholarship offer to Kentucky could (and probably should) be extended during the in-home visit.
The 6’7″ small forward is arguably the most explosive player in America regardless of class. There’s a long way to go in Williamson’s recruitment but he’s also considering Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Arizona, UCLA and the school his father attended, Clemson.
Joel Justus watched Williamson score 31 points and grab 14 rebounds on New Year’s Eve. Highlights from the performance are impressive…
…but he’s done better.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 27th, 2017 @ 10:40am
The Jordan Brand Classic rosters were announced this morning, and four Kentucky signees/commits made the cut: Quade Green, PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Nick Richards. Center Mohamed Bamba was also selected, along with small forward Kevin Knox, who will visit Kentucky this weekend. Bamba and Knox are Kentucky’s two remaining targets in the class, and we’re hearing the Cats are in a very good position with both.
The Jordan Brand Classic takes place April 14 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. All of the players I mentioned above were also selected for the McDonald’s All-American Game, which goes down March 29 at the United Center in Chicago.
For fun, enjoy some highlights from Kentucky’s 2017 class after the jump.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 26th, 2017 @ 3:15pm
This week, John Calipari invited his old pal Drake on his podcast, which is now available on the interwebs. Since the two met almost ten years ago, Drake’s become a big Kentucky fan, introducing Calipari at Big Blue Madness in person in 2014 and then via (a really odd) video in 2015. Obviously, having Drake, one of biggest stars in the entertainment industry, as one of your program’s most prominent fans is huge for recruiting, and I’m sure prospects across the nation are listening to Calipari’s podcast for the first time today, cringing at his ad reads and wondering why in the world his wife makes food when they’re rich enough to eat out every night.
Drake tells the story of when he first visited Calipari at Kentucky in 2009 and how that experience inspired him to go back to high school and finish his degree (he dropped out early to be on Degrassi).
“When I came to Lexington and met you, I didn’t want to leave. I would probably have traded my life at that moment to play Kentucky basketball and be under you and it felt like a mentor, it felt like a father figure, it felt like this incredible feeling, and at 26 years old, it made me go and reconnect with the teacher that I loved the most from grades nine through eleven before I decided to stop going to high school, and I reconnected with her and — we still talk every day — but at that point in time, we would talk a lot and I asked her if she would help me graduate high school. And I felt like I was doing it just in honor — and this is not just to say this because I’m on this show — to honor what I had seen in Lexington and feeling like I was part of something.”
Listening, recruits? It gets better.
“The Kentucky basketball program — honestly, I mean it from the bottom of my heart — you’re one of my most iconic mentors in my life, period,” Drake says. “Coming to Lexington and seeing the basketball program, seeing the way that, not only your team, not only your staff, but an entire culture, an entire city looks at you as a this figure that they can always find solitude in, it really was inspiring to me and reminded me why that’s so important.”
This whole story started when Calipari asked Drake where he would play college basketball, and Drake eventually gave him this answer.
“To answer your question, there’s no doubt in my mind. I wouldn’t have to do some big spectacle of choices with different caps on the table. I would go straight to Kentucky because I’d have to play under you. That would be one of the greatest things to ever happen in my life.”
Of course, as he reminded us in the layup line at Madness in 2014, Drake is not a basketball star:
Tune in to the podcast for more of Drake’s stories, and if you’re like me, marvel at how much he and Karl Towns sound alike.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 25th, 2017 @ 6:00pm
There is an eighth grader in Wolfe County who I am sure you’ve never heard of, but that is about to change right now. His name is Wilgus Tolson and you need to remember that name from this point forward because the kid can play.
Tolson had his first highlight reel hit YouTube today and consider me all in on the Wilgus Tolson Hype Train after seeing it. It is full of clips from his trip to the 2016 MSHTV Camp in Indianapolis, where he shined against some of the nation’s best in his age group. He was recognized as an All-Star at the event despite being the smallest player on the floor.
So stop whatever it is you’re doing right now and watch this young Eastern Kentucky star whose dream is to be a Wildcat. You won’t regret it. Trust me.
Offer him right now, Cal.
By Nick Roush on ©January 24th, 2017 @ 3:00pm
Earlier this month, Kentucky signee Quade Green went toe-to-toe with Louisville signee Darius Perry. Green struggled to find his jump shot, scoring just 14 points on 3-of-13 shooting. Perry’s performance was nearly identical — 3-of-13 shooting for only 8 points — but his team left with a W.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 23rd, 2017 @ 9:00am
Shoutout to KSR fan McKayla, who tossed a coin in the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome to wish for Kentucky’s ninth national championship. Hopefully McKayla threw another coin over her left shoulder to ensure she’ll return to Rome one day; I did that back in the summer of 2004 and can’t wait to fulfill that promise in May on our fifth anniversary trip across Italy. That reminds me, I need to do my Duolingo minutes today…
While I take care of that, enjoy a rundown of today’s happenings in the UK sports world.
1. What’s the latest on De’Aaron Fox’s ankle?
Fox turned his ankle eight minutes in to Saturday’s win over South Carolina, and while the Cats were able to beat the Gamecocks by 16 without him thanks to Dominique Hawkins, everyone wants to know when Fox will be back. After the game, John Calipari suggested the injury wasn’t too bad, telling reporters there wasn’t any swelling and it may simple have been a stinger, but Fox returned to the bench on crutches in a walking boot, so the staff is clearly being cautious with it. We should get an update today, and just cross your fingers Fox’s injury isn’t the dreaded high-ankle sprain.
2. Meanwhile, we gotta go to Tennessee
With Fox’s ankle and Saturday’s showdown with Kansas, this is already a big week, but first, the Cats must travel to Knoxville to take care of business vs. a 10-9 Tennessee team. The Vols are 3-4 in conference play so far, with losses to Ole Miss, South Carolina, Florida, and Arkansas, but given all the distractions, this could be the perfect trap game. As someone who witnessed the debacle in Thompson-Boling last year, you don’t have to remind me of what could happen twice, and I just hope me making the trek down I-40 East doesn’t jinx everything to pieces.
3. Calipari was at the AFC Championship last night
Calipari is a huge Steelers fan, but played nice at Gillette Stadium last night as Pittsburgh fell to New England in the AFC Championship. Cal posted lots of pictures, including this one with Gronk:
Amazing what the Pats have done without this guy – Gronk! pic.twitter.com/ScrWfh8EEn
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 23, 2017
On the flip side, the Falcons beat Randall Cobb and the Packers to advance to the Super Bowl, but at least fellow Boyle County native Jacob Tamme has a chance of getting a ring. I think I speak for most of America when I say, “Go Falcons!”.
4. Mo Bamba wrapped up a visit
This weekend, five-star power forward Mo Bamba took his official visit to Kentucky, and made the rounds in the Bluegrass, eating cake behind the bench during the South Carolina game, having breakfast with Calipari on Sunday, and even meeting Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh. Kentucky signee Quade Green and the rest of the 2017 class have been recruiting Bamba hard, so hopefully we’ll hear some feedback on his visit over the next few days.
5. Kevin Knox is on deck
From one big recruiting weekend to another, right? With Jarred Vanderbilt and Hamidou Diallo on board, Kentucky’s pretty loaded on the wing for the 2017-18 season, but the staff is still pursuing five-star small forward Kevin Knox, who will take his official to Kentucky this weekend for the Kansas game. Suddenly, the game we’ve all been looking forward to all season is bigger than ever, in part because…
6. “College Gameday” is coming to Lexington
It felt like common knowledge when it was finally made official, but ESPN’s “College Gameday” is coming to Lexington for Kentucky/Kansas. The show airs live at 11 a.m. ET Saturday morning, but doors will open at Rupp at 9:30 a.m. Attendance is free.
If you didn’t know before now, don’t worry, because ESPN will remind you one million times before then. After a pathetic showing at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Seth Greenberg issued this challenge to the BBN:
— Seth Greenberg (@SethOnHoops) January 22, 2017
Don’t worry, Seth, we got this.
If Gameday’s not enough for you, Paul Finebaum will also host his show from the Rupp Arena lobby, just off High Street from 3-7 p.m. Friday afternoon. Like GameDay, fans are encouraged to attend and admission is free.
7. Signing Day is a week from Wednesday
Kentucky has 23 commitments in the 2017 class, and with Signing Day fast approaching, the staff is criss-crossing the country to make sure all of those commitments stay on board. Will they snag a few more? Four-star offensive lineman Thayer Munford visited Ohio State this weekend and this morning, there are reports he committed to the Buckeyes, but Kentucky still has an eye on other targets like former commit Russ Yeast, who hosted Stoops in his house on Thursday night. It seemed like Kentucky was out of the picture for Yeast, but maybe that’s not the case. Stay tuned…
8. I finally saw “La La Land”
I enjoy the occasional musical and after the Golden Globes slobbered all over “La La Land,” I decided to give it a shot this weekend. To me, it was just okay. While I appreciate the artistry, creativity, and the “DREAM SO DREAMING WON’T DIE” sentiment, the movie seemed to get caught up in itself at times, although maybe that was the point. Regardless, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were fantastic, and I don’t think I’ll get that song out of my head anytime soon. Still rooting for “Hell or High Water” to win the Oscar, but it won’t because Hollywood loves nothing more than Hollywood worship. This SNL skit sums up the “La La Land” obsession perfectly:
9. Shoutout to Danville sophomore Ivy Turner for joining the 1,000 point club
Breaking 1,000 points in your high school basketball career is impressive, but it’s even more so when you do it as a sophomore. Danville’s Ivy Turner did just that last week during Danville’s win over Garrard County. Turner ranks in the top ten in the state in scoring, and helped lead the Ads to their fifth-straight All-A region title this weekend. Go Ivy, and Go Ads!
10. A good excuse to go to Raising Cane’s for lunch
Want to travel to Kentucky’s road game in Tuscaloosa in style? Register for the chance to go to the game in a private jet and a pair of tickets to UK/Alabama on February 11 simply by following the instructions below:
Radio in an hour…