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UPDATE x2: Kevin Knox will tweet his decision on Saturday

knox-home2

Yesterday, word leaked that five-star small forward Kevin Knox will announce his decision on Saturday, and now, Scout.com’s Evan Daniels has confirmed with Knox’s father that it will probably go down Saturday evening. So, as we predicted, likely during or after the Derby. Awesome!

Knox is down to Duke, Florida State, Kentucky, Missouri, and North Carolina, and the only hint his dad would give out was this: “It’s going to be interesting.”

Interesting as in picking Kentucky even though no one expects him to or interesting as in staying home and playing for Florida State? Or, not interesting at all and picking Duke?

Hmm.

[Scout.com]

UPDATE: Knox just tweeted that he will make his announcement via Twitter:

Get ready to refresh Twitter all Saturday.


We have a Mohamed Bamba recruiting update!

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With Kevin Knox reportedly announcing his decision tomorrow, all eyes will turn to Pitt grad transfer Cam Johnson and five-star big man Mohamed Bamba, Kentucky’s final targets in the 2017 class. I gave you an update on Johnson in the wakeup post, and now, thanks to our friend Aaron Torres, we have an update on Bamba. Sort of. Torres caught up with the 7-footer from Harlem at practices for the Ball is Life All-American Game, which will take place tomorrow afternoon in Long Beach, California. Unfortunately, Bamba told Torres that he’s still not close to making his decision.

Meanwhile, Torres said most of the people he’s talked to at the practices says Kevin Knox is headed to Florida State, which is pretty surprising considering Duke seems to be the heavy favorite.

Earlier this week, Matt told you that he’s hearing that Bamba’s recruitment is a toss-up between Kentucky and Texas. PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt (UPDATE: Vanderbilt not listed on the current roster, likely due to his mysterious injury), and Bamba’s EYBL teammate Quade Green are also participating in tomorrow’s all-star game, making this their final chance to put in a good word for Kentucky with Bamba. Hopefully he’ll keep their pitch in mind as he goes home to make his big decision.

 


Friday’s Top 10: Happy Oaks Day!

Friday’s Top 10: Happy Oaks Day!

Happy Friday, everyone, or, rather, Happy Oaks Day. The Kentucky Oaks, aka the locals’ day to play (or is that now Thurby?), is upon us, and a few minutes after 6:12 p.m. ET, we’ll find out which filly gets the lilies. Unfortunately, the forecast looks awful, with highs barely reaching the 50’s and rain all day long, so take a poncho to protect all that pink you’re wearing. Here’s the hourly forecast for Louisville from weather.com:

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 7.12.57 AM

So, wear rain boots. Or, stay inside, read KSR, and watch the Oaks on NBC Sports Network. Your choice. Let’s roll through today’s top 10, shall we?

1. Here’s the Oaks field

Paradise Woods is currently the favorite at 5-2, followed by Miss Sky Warrior at 9-2:

# HORSE ODDS
1 Ever So Clever 20-1
2 Lockdown 20-1
3 Mopotism 20-1
4 Paradise Woods 5-2
5 Jordan’s Henny 30-1
6 Vexatious 20-1
7 Farrell 5-1
8 Sailor’s Valentine 30-1
9 Wicked Lick 30-1
10 Miss Sky Warrior 9-2
11 Tequilita 20-1
12 Daddys Lil Darling 20-1
13 Abel Tasman 5-1
14 Salty 6-1
15 Summer Luck 30-1

2. Keep an eye out for Matt’s purple suit

If you missed “Hey Kentucky!” last night, Derby suit expert Chip Cosby took Matt shopping for a suit to wear to the Oaks, and they came up with this purple number. When you think about it, this suit is a pretty wise investment because by day, Matt can attend the Oaks and by night, he can play the Joker in his community theater’s production of Batman.

Here’s the whole clip from last night:

Switching gears to basketball…

3. Kevin Knox is (probably) announcing tomorrow

It looks like there may finally be an end in sight for Kevin Knox’s recruitment. According to Jake Perper of Prep Sports Scouting, Knox will announce his final decision on Saturday. No word on the time yet, but knowing how this always happens, it’ll probably come out right as the Derby begins. Knox is down to Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Kentucky and Missouri, with Duke continuing to surge as the heavy favorite. Thankfully (hopefully), we’ll know for certain tomorrow.

4. Cam Johnson lists Kentucky as his early favorite

One person who will probably be very interested in Knox’s decision is Cam Johnson, the Pitt grad transfer that visited Kentucky last week. Yesterday, Johnson told Evan Daniels that Kentucky is his early favorite, although that’s mostly because he hasn’t taken many visits yet. This weekend, he visits Arizona, and next week, he’ll go to UCLA and Oregon. TCU and Ohio State are also in the mix. Here’s what he said about Calipari’s pitch:

“His pitch to me was pretty much the fact that the team is young and they need some experience and some age,” Johnson said. “They have a need for a player that can shoot like myself, along with the fact that it’s Kentucky. There are pro scouts at every practice. They compete every day. It’s just a competitive environment to get better in.”

Johnson also said he loved UK’s campus and the few remaining players that will be on next year’s squad. If Knox heads elsewhere (and it’s looking like he will), hopefully Johnson will decide to take advantage of the rare opportunity to be an immediate impact player on a perennial title contender.

5. Vince Marrow and Darin Hinshaw visited Jarren Williams yesterday

The talented dual threat quarterback decommitted from Kentucky last week, but this week, there have been rumblings he may come back on board. Last night, Vince Marrow and Darin Hinshaw traveled to Lawrenceville, Georgia last night to make Kentucky’s case, only hours after Williams picked up an offer from his home state Georgia Bulldogs. No word yet on how that visit went, but interpret this tweet from Williams how you’d like:

6. The baseball team starts its series with Georgia

The Bat Cats got a bit of bad news yesterday when Nick Mingione announced that reliever Zach Pop will miss at least two weeks with a forearm injury, but they’re poised to continue their impressive rise this weekend with a three-game series against the struggling Georgia Bulldogs. Today’s game will start at 2 p.m. (in anticipation of the bad weather tonight), tomorrow’s at 6:30 p.m., and Sunday’s finale begins at 1 p.m. All games will be broadcast on SEC Network+ (streaming), or you can listen on 630 WLAP.

If you go out to the ballpark, you’ll see this new wrap on “Big Blue Wall” in right field:

The wall now features the names of lettermen, coaches and season ticket holders. Neat.

7. You’ve gotta love Dickie V’s response to Lonzo Ball’s new shoe

If you somehow missed it on social media, Lonzo Ball and his dad revealed their new shoe, the ZO2, which retails for a ridiculous $495/pair. By now, everyone’s had a chance to weigh in on the shoe, a blatant ripoff of Kobes and Adidas Boosts, but Dick Vitale may have had the best response:

Get ’em, Dickie V!

8. John Wall went nuts last night

Wall’s stats may not seem that flashy, but he was absolutely incredible last night, scoring 24 points and dishing 8 assists to lead the Wizards to a crucial 116-89 win over the Celtics in Game 3:

Wall was great, but did you see Kelly Oubre???

As you might expect, he got kicked out for that.

9. Congrats to everyone graduating from UK today

Not only is today Oaks and Cinco de Mayo, it’s day one of graduation at UK (the ceremonies continue through Sunday). Congrats to everyone who’s making the walk. Enjoy today and relish in the fact that most of you accomplished something in four years that took Nick Roush seven. (Or was it eight? I lost track.)

If you know someone who’s graduating but can’t make it to Rupp (or if you’re just really bored), you can watch the ceremony on the live stream below:

10. The winner of the KSR Movie Bracket will be crowned

The show will be live from the Oaks today, where the gang will decide the winner of the KSR Movie Bracket, which is down to Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump. Who ya got??

Finally, what do you do when the betting machines at Churchill Downs break down? Dance it out, of course:

What happens when the betting system goes down at Churchill!

A post shared by Margaret Romine (@mrsromine12) on

Can’t top that on a Friday morning.


Cameron Johnson Discusses his Visit to Kentucky

As Kevin Knox’s decision draws near, the Wildcats’ chances shrink.  Calipari’s next and final perimeter option is graduate transfer Cameron Johnson.  After visiting campus last week, Johnson shared Calipari’s pitch to him with Evan Daniels.

“His pitch to me was pretty much the fact that the team is young and they need some experience and some age,” Johnson said. “They have a need for a player that can shoot like myself, along with the fact that it’s Kentucky. There are pro scouts at every practice. They compete every day. It’s just a competitive environment to get better in.”

Johnson’s first visit of the summer appears to have gone well.  Calipari’s ability to get players to the next level stood out to Johnson, but it has some unintended consequences.

“The thing about Kentucky is, I was able to visit and that was great and I loved the campus and I loved being with the guys that they have now,” he added. “Only a couple of those guys will be around next year, so I didn’t really get to meet with many of the guys that I’d be playing with next year. So I’m looking forward to that in my next three visits, being around their players and the staff and seeing their campuses and seeing how all of that feels.”

Despite that negative aspect of his visit, he currently considers Kentucky the early favorite in his recruitment.  The primary reason: it’s the only place he’s visited.  That can quickly change when he sees other campuses.  Johnson will visit Arizona this weekend, then UCLA and Oregon the following week.  Trips to TCU and Ohio State could also happen.

The shooting guard is in no rush to make a decision.  Don’t expect to hear much more until after the May 24 NBA Draft deadline.

[Scout]


Report says Kevin Knox to announce his decision Saturday

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We finally have a concrete decision date for Kevin Knox and it couldn’t come at a worse time for Kentuckians.

According to Jake Perper of Prep Sports Scouting, Knox will announce his final decision on Saturday, which tells me the Knox family isn’t really into horse racing.

That decision will be one of five schools: Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Kentucky or Missouri, although Missouri is reportedly out of the mix.

Stayed tuned and let’s hope Churchill Downs has good cell service.


Kentucky’s 2018 Recruiting Board: Confirmed Offers and Key Targets

Kentucky’s 2018 Recruiting Board: Confirmed Offers and Key Targets

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Kentucky’s 2017 recruiting class is still one or two prospects shy of completion, but that hasn’t stopped John Calipari and his staff from directing their efforts toward evaluating and building relationship for the next great group of Kentucky Wildcats in the 2018 class.

This year’s AAU schedule is in full swing with two weekends in the books, showcasing all of the best high school juniors as they enter the biggest summer of their basketball lives. Of those 2018 prospects, seven have confirmed offers from Kentucky and plenty more are waiting to join that list.

Take a look at how UK’s big board stands today as summer ball just gets going…

 


PROSPECTS WITH OFFERS


Marvin Bagley
Power Forward | 6-10 | 200 lbs.
Tempe, AZ | Sierra Canyon
AAU: Phoenix Phamily
★★★★★
ESPN No. 1 | 1 PF Top247 No. 2 | 1 PF
Rivals No. 1 | 1 PF Scout No. 1 | 1 PF

Received UK offer: May 4, 2015

Marvin Bagley is the No. 1 overall player in the 2018 class and he was the first to get a scholarship offer from Kentucky, way back after his freshman year of high school. That’s early for Calipari to reach out to a player, but it also tells you how good Bagley is and how good everyone expects him to be.

Bagley recently listed Kentucky, Arizona, UCLA, Duke, Kansas and USC as the schools he is considering in this fancy video on Twitter. He maintains it is an even race between those six schools, but whoever gets him in the end is getting one of the rare mega-star talents we only see every few years, if that.

 

Bol Bol
Power Forward/Center | 7-1 | 225 lbs.
Santa Ana, CA | Mater Dei
AAU: Cal Supreme
★★★★★
ESPN No. 41 | 13 PF Top247 No. 5 | 2 PF
Rivals No. 7 | 3 PF Scout No. 13 | 3 C

Received UK offer: May 1, 2017

Bol Bol, the son of late NBA great Manute Bol, is the newest name on this list after receiving his offer from Kentucky on Monday. Bol is ranked as high as fifth overall among the major services, and he will continue to climb up the charts if his outstanding play continues this summer. He’s currently averaging 25.4 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game on the Nike EYBL circuit, which earned him Offensive Player of the Session honors this past weekend.

There are already six votes for Kentucky on Bol’s Crystal Ball predictions, making up 75 percent of the votes. He also has offers from Kansas, UCLA, Oregon and USC.

 

Quentin Grimes
Point Guard | 6-4 | 175 lbs.
The Woodlands, TX | College Park
AAU: Basketball University
★★★★★
ESPN No. 14 | 2 SG Top247 No. 8 | 1 PG
Rivals No. 12 | 3 PG Scout No. 24 | 6 PG

Received UK offer: March 29, 2017

Grimes is one of the later additions to the mix with a spring UK offer and he is only one of two point guards on this list, along with Immanuel Quickley.

One of the top guards in the country going into his senior season, Grimes is considering several schools right now and plans to narrow that list down this summer. Count on Kentucky to be squarely in the mix when that happens.

 

Romeo Langford 
Shooting Guard| 6-5 | 190 lbs.
New Albany, IN | New Albany High School
AAU: 22 Vision
★★★★★
ESPN No. 3 | 1 SG Top247 No. 3 | 1 SG
Rivals No. 3 | — SG Scout No. 3 | 1 SG

Received UK offer: April 20, 2016

Romeo Langford, the consensus No. 1 shooting guard in 2018, plays his high school ball about 82 miles away from Rupp Arena in New Albany, Indiana. He’s even closer to Louisville, which is why he has the Cats and Cards among his favorites, as well as Indiana and Duke.

Langford is the consensus No. 3 overall player in the class, behind two other insanely elite talents in Marvin Bagley and Zion Williamson. It would be a huge get to pull him across the river and down I-64 to Lexington for his one season of college basketball.

 

Immanuel Quickley
Point Guard (2018) | 6-3 | 175 lbs.
Bel Air, MD | John Carroll School
AAU: Team BBC
★★★★★
ESPN No. 12 | 1 PG Top247 No. 5 | 1 PG
Rivals No. 15 | 4 PG Scout No. 10 | 2 PG

Received UK offer: October 3, 2016

Immanuel Quickley was the first point guard to receive the coveted UK offer in the 2018 class when John Calipari offered him last fall. Two weeks later he was in Lexington for an unofficial visit to Big Blue Madness.

Most recently, Calipari was in to visit Quickley in Maryland on April 18. He recently trimmed his list to include the Cats, as well as Kansas, Duke, Miami, Maryland, Virginia and Providence.

 

Cameron Reddish
Small Forward | 6-8 | 196 lbs.
Norristown, PA | Westtown
AAU: Team Final
★★★★★
ESPN No. 4 | 1 SF Top247 No. 4 | 2 SF
Rivals No. 5 | 2 SF Scout No. 4 | 1 SF

Received UK offer: April 29, 2016

Cameron Reddish is a guard in a forward’s body, which is a rare find and an impossible mismatch at the college level. He’s been among the best in his class for years and he was one of the first to catch Calipari’s eye.

Reddish visited Lexington in the fall for Big Blue Madness. He recently told Kyle Tucker, “We know what they do best: get players to the [NBA]… and that’s the ultimate goal, to get me to the league. So that’s a great place to be.”

 

Zion Williamson
Forward | 6-7 | 220 lbs.
Spartanburg, SC | Spartanburg
AAU: SC Supreme
★★★★★
ESPN No. 2 | 2 PF Top247 No. 1 | 1 SF
Rivals No. 2 | 1 SF Scout No. 2 | 2 PF

Received UK offer: March 28, 2017

Zion Williamson is not human. The small forward out of South Carolina, ranked second overall in the class, is a fan favorite on Twitter for his highlight reel dunks that are too insane to believe. He is so popular, Drake shared a photo of himself wearing Williamson’s Spartanburg jersey on Instagram.

As for the Kentucky relationship, the Wildcats are the early leader for the high-flyer. He is also considering offers from Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and nearby Clemson, among many others.


THREE MORE TO WATCH


Moses Brown | PF/C |  7-0 | 210 lbs. | Jamaica, NY | No. 8 overall (247 Composite)

Calipari is selling the top center in the class on comparisons to Willie Cauley-Stein and Anthony Davis.

Ja’Vonte Smart | PG |  6-4 | 185 lbs. | Baton Rouge, LA | No. 11 overall

Smart took an unofficial visit to Lexington in February and Cal loves him as a potential point guard addition from this class.

Naz Reid | PF |  6-9 | 220 lbs. | Roselle, NJ | No. 12 overall

An absolute beast of a prospect who Calipari saw in New Jersey earlier in February and then returned for an in-home visit last month.


 


Cal’s Message to Romeo Langford, Highlights and an Early Leader

Scout

Scout

During this weekend’s rounds at the recruiting circuits, John Calipari sat courtside in Atlanta to see the nation’s top-ranked shooting guard, local talent Romeo Langford.  Rick Pitino, Shaka Smart, Roy Williams and many more were also there to catch Langford’s attention.

In four games at the Adidas event, Langford averaged 19 points a game and saved his best for last, a 22-point, 14-rebound double-double. Through the first two weekends Langford is the third-highest scorer on the circuit, averaging 21.4 points per game even though he’s struggled to find his shot, shooting just 21.6 percent from behind the three-point line.  He’s fighting through his shooting woes by making difficult contested shots from all over the floor.

After Friday night’s 20-point performance, Langford spoke with Scout’s Evan Daniels.  Langford wants to cut his list to five by the end of the summer.  He talked about his relationship with Rick Pitino, Coach K, new Indiana head coach Archie Miller and Coach Cal.  Here’s what Calipari’s message was during a mid-April in-home visit:

“He really just talked to me about how he would use me, how he would develop me and how he would be able to help me in the long run.”

Romeo remains reserved on where each school stands, but the word on the street is that Duke is the early leader for Langford.  Duke is also the leader in the 247 Crystal Ball.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a few weeks to see more action from Langford and other UK 2018 targets the shoe company circuits.  Play on the Nike EYBL resumes the weekend of May 12, while Under Armour and Adidas kick things back up Memorial Day weekend.  Until then, you can see more highlights from Langford here.


Free $10 bets at TwinSpires.com want some afternoon notes

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Kentucky is all about basketball, bourbon, and horses, which is why Kentucky Sports Radio, Big Blue Nation, and the Kentucky Derby go so well together.

To find out for yourself just how well, use promo code KSR10 when signing up at TwinSpires.com for a FREE $10 bet on the official wagering site of the Kentucky Derby. Imagine all the excitement of bracket madness packed into the Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports.

And betting and watching on racing isn’t limited to just the world wide web. TwinSpires has apps for both iPhone and Android users that lets you watch and wager on all the action from the comfort of home or Derby party.

And don’t worry if you don’t know who’s running or how to pick a winner from the program or anything like that. Derby is all about fun, and there are all sorts of fun ways to bet this year’s race that we’ll discuss throughout the week.

So get your account in order at TwinSpires.com and use promo code KSR10 for a FREE $10 bet!


Happy afternoon, guys. Just think, we’re almost four and a half hours from the start of the Predators/Blues game, which means we’re about ten minutes from my next caffeine fix. Let’s roll through some afternoon notes thanks to our friends at TwinSpires.com.

— Over the past few years, we’ve dealt with more than our fair share of recruiting dramas, but has there been a May with this much uncertainty about next year’s roster? Mohamed Bamba could be a game-changing recruit, but zero information is leaking out of his camp, while Calipari is taking quite the gamble in waiting to hear what Kevin Knox decides while Cam Johnson is being wooed by other suitors. I’ve said it before, but given next year’s lack of experience, Johnson seems like he should be the bigger priority here, especially since there has been almost zero positive momentum in Kentucky’s direction with Knox in recent months. This is a delicate, tricky situation, and I’m certainly glad I don’t have to be the one to deal with it.

— Meanwhile, after being approved by the Athletics Committee this morning, the UK Board of Trustees just signed off on the deal to rename Commonwealth Stadium Kroger Field. According to Jon Hale, two of the 17 members of the Board of Trustees voted against renaming the stadium, the outgoing student body president and a faculty member, who both said students’ reaction to the change was not positive and argued the name “Commonwealth Stadium” has historical significance to the state. I’m not sure I agree with that, but ultimately, it doesn’t matter. We are now in the Kroger Field era.

— Remember that absurd lawsuit UofL students filed against Katina Powell and the author and publisher of her book for “devaluing” their UofL education? WDRB’s Jason Riley reports that it was dismissed today, as was the counterclaim filed by the author and publisher against the students. Hilariously, this was the judge’s comments to the attorney’s in the case:

— The results of this morning’s KSR Movie Bracket Elite Eight, factoring in a tie-breaking poll:

  • Shawshank Redemption over Wolf of Wall Street (tiebreaking Twitter poll)
  • Pulp Fiction over Rocky
  • Goodfellas over Star Wars
  • Forrest Gump over Saving Private Ryan

I don’t agree with most of those decisions, but listen to everyone’s reasoning in the latter half of Hour 2 of the podcast:

That makes your Final Four:

  • Shawshank Redemption vs. Pulp Fiction
  • Goodfellas vs. Forrest Gump

Who ya got??

— Finally, if you haven’t seen Jimmy Kimmel’s emotional monologue about his newborn son’s open-heart surgery, stop what you’re doing and watch:

Anybody got some tissues?


Cam Johnson plans more visits

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Pitt grad transfer Cam Johnson visited Kentucky last week, but with some major pieces of next year’s roster still up in the air, left Lexington without committing. Now, according to Rivals’ Corey Evans, he’ll take some more visits as he waits to hear what Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo will do. Evans says that Johnson will take an official visit to Arizona on Thursday and UCLA and Oregon next week. TCU and Ohio State are still in the mix as well.

So, to recap, a rough timeline as we know it:

  • Thursday – Sunday: Kevin Knox announces
  • Tuesday, May 9 – Sunday, May 14: Hamidou Diallo participates in the NBA Combine
  • May 24: Deadline for Diallo to announce whether or not he’ll return to school or stay in the draft
  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Johnson and Mohamed Bamba announce

So, let’s hurry up and wait, right? At least we can enjoy these highlights in the meantime:

 


Kevin Knox’s dad says he will announce his decision sometime between Thursday and Sunday

Kevin Knox’s dad says he will announce his decision sometime between Thursday and Sunday

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When will the Kevin Knox saga end? According to his dad, sometime between Thursday and Sunday of this week. Knox Sr. told Adam Zagoria that his son plans to announce this weekend, but the exact time will depend on when he can get on ESPN. Recruiting announcements usually take place on ESPNU’s “Recruiting Nation,” but an ESPN spokesman told Zagoria that no new episodes of the show are planned yet.

That being said, I’m sure “SportsCenter” will welcome Knox on to share his big news. Knox is down to Kentucky, Duke, Florida State, Missouri, and North Carolina. Duke holds a healthy lead in his 247 Sports Crystal Ball, with seven of the last eight picks in recent weeks.

So, sometime between Thursday and Sunday, which almost certainly means it will happen while everyone’s watching the Oaks or the Derby, right?

[ZagsBlog]

 


Tuesday’s Top 10: Put your Ls down and let’s go Krogering

Tuesday’s Top 10: Put your Ls down and let’s go Krogering

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Good morning, everyone, and shoutout to this brave Kentucky fan for not only riding a camel, but putting down his L after encountering a Louisville fan in Morocco. You’re doing the Big Blue Nation’s work, sir.

Let’s jump into today’s Top 10, shall we?

1. Kentucky offered Bol Bol last night

We’ve had some great names come through this program over the years, but should Bol Bol come to Kentucky, it might rank up there with the best. The 7-1 son of former NBA giant Manute Bol received an offer from John Calipari last night after two impressive weekends on the EYBL circuit. Kentucky now has eight offers out in the 2018 class, including Marvin Bagley, the 6-10 power forward who’s considered the top player in the class. Could Bol and Bagley play together? Talk about a couple of twin towers.

2. Here’s who has offers in 2018 so far:

  • PG Immanuel Quickley
  • PG Quentin Grimes
  • SG Romeo Langford
  • SF Zion Williamson
  • SF Cameron REddish
  • SF Jaedon LeDee
  • PF Marvin Bagley
  • PF Bol Bol

It’s super early, but give me Quickley (or Javonte Smart), Langford, Zion, Bagley, and Bol and let’s go win the 2019 championship. (This is a post for another time, but the more I think about it, the more 2019 feels like “the year”)

3. 2019 stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis will be on campus later this week

Not only are Antoine and Lewis two of the best wings in the 2019 class, they’re best friends and teammates. AND, they’ll be on Kentucky’s campus later this week. If you see them, be sure to say hello.

4. Commonwealth Stadium is now Kroger Field

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Yesterday, we found out that Commonwealth Stadium is now Kroger Field as a result of JMI Sports and Kroger’s 12-year, $1.85 million/year deal. Calling it Kroger Field will take some getting used to, but in this day and age, selling naming rights to stadiums/arenas is becoming the norm, so be grateful it wasn’t something worse. If you missed out on all the excitement, we covered it from just about every angle possible:

5. Everyone’s got a joke about it

From Kroger Plus cards to the self-checkout lanes, everyone who’s ever been to a Kroger has made the same jokes about the new name, so keep that in mind as you go about your Tuesday.

Personally, I’ve been fascinated by all the old Kroger commercials on YouTube, such as this one from 1989 featuring human scissors:

6. Don’t worry, Rupp Arena’s name is safe for now

With change comes fear of more change, but according to Mitch Barnhart, Rupp Arena’s name is safe…sort of. Yesterday, Mitch Barnhart said Rupp’s name is “too iconic” to sell, and in UK’s latest lease with the Lexington Center Corporation, both sides agreed to keep the name “Rupp Arena” intact; however, odds are the naming rights to the adjacent convention center WILL be sold to help pay for renovations, to one day, it could be “Rupp Arena at the Alltech Center,” or “Rupp Arena at the Big Ass Center,” my personal favorite.

7. No new info on Bamba, Knox, or Cam Johnson

If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out Matt’s post from yesterday with the latest on UK’s chances with Mohamed Bamba, Kevin Knox, and Cam Johnson, as well as the latest rumblings on whether or not Hamidou Diallo will stay in the draft. Basically, no new info on recruiting stuff as Cam Johnson continues to take visits and we wait for Kevin Knox’s decision, which is allegedly happening this week. Meanwhile, NBA folks continue to be intrigued by Diallo, who wants a first round guarantee to stay in. Next week’s combine is huge.

8. It’s Game 2 for Wizards/Celtics

The Celtics got the best of John Wall and the Wizards in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday, but hell hath no fury like a John Wall scorned, right? Boston hit a whopping 19-39 threes on Sunday, so if Washington wants to avoid a 0-2 start to the series, they should, you know, start defending the perimeter. Tune in to TNT at 8 p.m. for Game 2, and stick around for Game 1 of Jazz/Warriors at 10:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, LeBron James feels so confident about the Cav’s chances vs. the Raptors that he almost helped himself to a cold beverage during last night’s game:

9. It’s Game 4 for the Preds/Blues

I hope you’re not tired of hockey updates yet because you’re going to keep getting them until the Preds lose. Game four between the Preds and the St. Louis Blues is tonight at Bridgestone Arena and I’ll be in the house wearing my new PK Subban jersey. The Preds have a 2-1 lead in the series so far, and taking a 3-1 lead to St. Louis for Game 5 on Friday would be HUGE. So, catch Preds fever and join me in cheering them on when the puck drops at 9:30 PM on NBC Sports Network.

10. We’re now on the Elite Eight of the KSR Movie Bracket

Let us hear your picks for the following matchups:

  • Shawshank Redemption vs Wolf of Wall Street
  • Pulp Fiction vs Rocky
  • Star Wars vs Goodfellas
  • Saving Private Ryan vs Forrest Gump

Go Rocky!


Kentucky offered 2018 7-footer Bol Bol last night

It’s not every Tuesday that you get to wake up to news that Kentucky offered one of the most exciting players in the 2018 class. Last night, John Calipari and Kenny Payne extended an offer to Bol Bol, the 7-1 son of NBA player Manute Bol. Bol shared the happy news on Twitter:

Bol is considered the second best power forward and the fifth best overall player in the 2018 class by 247 Sports. He’s tearing up the spring circuit, averaging over 25 points and nine rebounds per game in EYBL play. Over the weekend, Calipari and Payne got to see him battle the top player in the class, Marvin Bagley, at the EYBL event in Indianapolis:

Some more highlights from the weekend before:

 


The 5 things you missed in basketball recruiting this weekend

The 5 things you missed in basketball recruiting this weekend

Marvin Bagley

Marvin Bagley

The spring live recruiting period rolled on this weekend, with major events going down in Indianapolis and Atlanta. John Calipari started the weekend at Nike and Under Armour events in Indy before flying to Atlanta to monitor his targets in the adidas circuit. Tony Barbee and Kenny Payne stayed in Indy all weekend, while Joel Justus held down the fort in Atlanta. In case you spent your weekend doing something other than waiting for recruiting news, here are the five things you need to know.

 Marvin Bagley looked phenomenal

Bagley is the #1 player in the 2018 class and he’s proved why the past few weekends. The 6’11” big man leads the Nike circuit with 26.9 points and 14.7 rebounds per game and on Friday night, dropped 35 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals in front of John Calipari and Kenny Payne. Unfortunately, Bagley’s team is still winless despite his brilliance, but he perked up when a reporter pointed out a giant poster of Anthony Davis on the wall behind him, prompting this quote via Kyle Tucker:

“It’s a great program, speaks for itself,” he said. “A lot of great NBA players went through Kentucky, and they’re doing great in the NBA now. Obviously, that’s my goal, to get to the NBA. Seeing that is always good, always great, so Kentucky is a great school.”

[SEC Country]

Kentucky is one of six schools on Bagley’s list, along with Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Southern Cal, and UCLA. After watching this mixtape, you’ll understand why landing him would be so important:


antoine-lewis 2019 stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis are visiting this week

Calipari hasn’t handed out any offers in the 2019 class yet, but two of the players he’s watched the most are five-star wings Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis, high school and AAU teammates that have played together since the 7th grade. Cal watched the two play Saturday night, and later this week, the duo will take unofficial visits to Louisville and Kentucky. As you can see in this mixtape, they’re pretty good at this basketball thing:


Cameron Reddish dropped 35 points

Many believe Duke’s the early leader for Reddish, but Calipari won’t concede him easily. Reddish dropped 35 points in a game at the EYBL event in Indy this weekend and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to make a decision. Watch him work:


Javonte Smart loves John Wall

The 2018 five-star point guard doesn’t have an offer from Kentucky yet, but the Cats’ coaches kept a close eye on him this weekend and he told the Herald-Leader that he thinks an offer is coming soon. One reason Smart wants an offer from Calipari? John Wall, who he said is his favorite point guard in the NBA.

“John Wall is my favorite point guard,” he said. “He’s great, and Calipari coached him. That’s a great thing. … Everybody says you have to have that dog in you. He’s got that. And that’s what I want to learn from him.”

Should Calipari decide to put the full-court press on Smart, maybe Wall can do his old coach a solid and swing by Baton Rouge to see Smart play?

[Herald-Leader]


  Zion Williamson and Quentin Grimes didn’t play

Williamson and Grimes both have offers from Kentucky but sat out this weekend, Williamson with a knee injury, Grimes with an illness. Williamson did do interviews, giving Evan Daniels an update on his recruitment. What was Kentucky’s pitch during a recent in-home visit?

“Don’t listen to the outside world on how they run things. It’s a family environment and they care about academics. Even if I was to go one-and-done I could still come back and get my school work and my degree. But basketball wise: Developing me as much as he can within those 6-8 months and see me improve.”

Come on down and be a superstar, Zion.

[Scout]


Monday’s Top 10: It’s Gonna be May

Good morning, everyone, and happy May Day. While the first day of May is traditionally celebrated with people dancing around a Maypole, nowadays, it’s usually greeted by one of your friends texting or tweeting you a picture of Justin Timberlake in his NSYNC days because you know, it’s gonna be May. I’m going to celebrate by attempting to stay in my chair all day because it hurts too much to walk. Saturday’s Rock ‘N Roll half marathon was brutal, guys. Thankfully, this chair’s got wheels.

Lots going on today, so let’s get to it.

1. UK landed a four-star football commitment last night

Mark Stoops and company got some big news late last night when four-star offensive tackle Darian Kinnard committed, becoming the seventh member of UK’s 2018 class. Kinnard is a massive get — literally. At 6’7″ 336 lbs., he’s a monster, and ranked the 17th best offensive tackle in his class by 247 Sports. The Cleveland, Ohio native picked the Cats over West Virginia, Penn State, Maryland, Missouri, Pittsburgh and Purdue, and he was also drawing interest from Ohio State.

Welcome aboard, Darian. Stay a while, won’t you?

2. Maybe that’s why Vince Marrow was so swaggy

Kentucky’s recruiting guru was a tweeting machine yesterday, putting a good spin on Kentucky’s disappointing NFL Draft (more on that in a minute). Marrow said Kentucky’s days of not having a player go in the draft are over:

Gotta love the big dawg’s confidence.

3. Cats in the NFL update

Saturday was a surprising day for the program as Kentucky’s two best NFL Draft prospects, Jon Toth and Boom Williams, went undrafted. Boom signed with the Bengals afterwards, but Toth still doesn’t have a home, which is truly bizarre given that he was projected to be a fourth or fifth round pick. Yesterday, rumors circulated that Toth signed with the 49ers, but ESPN’s Field Yates shot that down, tweeting that Toth “will soon be fully healthy” and should sign with a team then. Wait, what? He was injured? That’s the first we’re hearing of that.

Meanwhile, Ryan Timmons signed with the Bears and JD Harmon with the Browns. Here’s hoping Toth finds a home soon. Whichever team lands him is getting a heck of a steal.

4. UK Baseball won their series with South Carolina

Nick Mingione’s squad continues its impressive rise, winning the series at South Carolina this weekend, the first time the Bat Cats have beaten the Gamecocks in Columbia since 1999. UK improves to 31-14, leading the SEC East with a 14-7 league mark and tying Western Division co-leaders Mississippi State and Auburn for the overall league lead. On Friday, they got their first win in the series in dominating fashion, beating South Carolina by an astounding score of 19-1, Kentucky’s largest margin of victory against an SEC opponent in school history. Do yourself a favor and watch the highlights below:

They’re getting it done, folks.

5. It was a big weekend for basketball recruiting

The spring live period continues, which means John Calipari was on the road to watch targets at Nike and Under Armour events in Indianapolis. Cal watched pretty much all of his 2018 and 2019 targets, including Marvin Bagley, Cameron Reddish, Javonte Smart, Romeo Langford, Immanuel Quickley, Moses Brown, and 2019 stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis, who will visit UK later this week. I’ll have a more detailed rundown on the recruiting weekend for you later this morning.

6. Calipari found a home for his Air Jordan 8 Calipari Pack

Something tells me he’ll still sport a pair on the road on recruiting trips.

7. ICYMI, Hamidou Diallo got an NBA Combine invitation

On Saturday, five Cats received invitations to next week’s NBA Combine: Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe, and, yes, Hamidou Diallo. Diallo is the only Cat left who declared for the draft but didn’t sign with an agent. The Combine takes place in Chicago May 9-14 and while Diallo has until May 24 to decide whether or not to stay in the draft, A LOT of that decision could weigh on his performance next week.

8. It’s Derby Week

Can you believe it’s already Derby week? I can’t, but it’s here, which means the city of Louisville will put its best foot (hoof?) forward this week. The draw is Wednesday morning at 11 a.m., and I’ll be honest, I haven’t done a bit of research on this year’s contenders. Thankfully, Chad Lashbrook and the folks at Twin Spires will be by this week to get us ready.

9. Rich Brooks is having a heck of a time on vacation

Nobody does retirement like Rich Brooks, who is currently fishing in the Bahamas:

Is there anyone cooler than Brooks in this picture?

The answer is no. Man is having the time of his life, and I’m super jealous.

10. The KSR Movie Bracket rolls on

The gang will wrap up the KSR movie bracket on today’s show, which means you’ve got an hour to mull over your picks:

— Shawshank Redemption vs. Top Gun
— Wolf of Wall Street vs. Titanic
— Pulp Fiction vs. Silence of the Lambs
— Rocky vs. Lord of the Rings
— Star Wars vs. Batman
— Goodfellas vs. Schindler’s List
— Saving Private Ryan vs. Jurassic Park
— Se7en vs. Forrest Gump

My Final 4: Shawshank Redemption, Rocky, Star Wars, and Saving Private Ryan. Gimme Rocky in an upset.


Zion Williamson talks to Evan Daniels about game, recruiting

zion-williamson

Evan Daniels of Scout recently sat down with top 2018 prospect Zion Williamson to talk basketball and recruiting. They discussed everything from defense, to Kentucky, to Coach K. Here are some of the highlights and the full video:

Q: How has your game evolved over the last year?
A: “I feel like my game has evolved in every dimension. Most importantly my defense has come a really long way.

Q: In your opinion, what’s the best part of your game?
A: “Attacking the basket and making my teammates better.”

Most importantly:

Q: What’s Kentucky’s pitch been?
A: “Don’t listen to the outside world on how they run things. It’s a family environment and they care about academics. Even if I was to go one-and-done I could still come back and get my school work and my degree. But basketball wise: Developing me as much as he can within those 6-8 months and see me improve.”