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Today on KSR, powered by DRAFT: Florida prep, Immanuel Quickley’s decision

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The Florida game is TOMORROW

We’re almost there, guys. Tomorrow night, the Cats will attempt to break the 30-year losing streak to the Gators, which means, if you’re like me, your nerves are probably already shot. Yesterday, Stoops did not respond well when told his players were already predicting a win over Florida.

“They shouldn’t be saying that,” Stoops said. “We’re going to prepare our butts off to win the game. There’s no guarantees in anything. So I don’t like that, just simply because we’re going to do everything we can to prepare to win this week, and the same next week and the week after. That’s what I care about – preparation.”

In the off chance that you’re not already bouncing off the walls with anticipation for tomorrow’s game, let KyWildcatsTV do their thing:

I mean, that’s better than coffee.

Jordan Jones will NOT play

Jones is still out with that shoulder injury, so it will be up to Eli Brown and Boogie Watson to fill the void as they did last week. By the way, the spread, which started with Florida at -4, is now down to -1.5.

 

6:30 p.m.: Immanuel Quickley announces his decision

This is a huge football weekend but it’s also a huge basketball recruiting weekend, as five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley is set to announce his decision tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET. He’s down to Kentucky, Kansas, and Miami, but it’s all but certain to be the Cats. We’ll bring you the stream on the site tonight.

The timing of Quickley’s announcement couldn’t be more perfect. Not only will it jump start Kentucky’s 2018 class…

Zion Williamson begins his official visit

Zion’s visit was already huge, but having him on campus the same night his pal Quickley commits? Perfect. Add in John Wall’s Hall of Fame induction and…

Other 2018 recruiting tidbits…

John Wall, Randall Cobb, and other UK greats enter the Hall of Fame

If this weekend wasn’t big enough, six former Wildcats will be inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame:

  • Randall Cobb (football)
  • Collin Cowgill (baseball)
  • Ralph Hacker (broadcaster)
  • Sherry Hoover Bordner (cross country/indoor track/outdoor track)
  • Sarah Rumely (volleyball)
  • John Wall (men’s basketball)

A private induction ceremony will take place tonight and the group will also be recognized during tomorrow’s game.

2018 RB Tyler Markray will join the team as a preferred walk-on

The running back out of West Bloomfield, Michigan announced his commitment to Kentucky last night. He’ll join the team as a preferred walk-on next season.

KSR is at Country Boy Brewery in Georgetown

Come on out to 108 Corporate Boulevard in Georgetown for today’s show, which is presented by Red State BBQ. If you’re one of the first 100 fans in line, you’ll get this awesome KSR/Country Boy/Red State BBQ pint glass:

This is a huge, huge weekend, folks, so stay tuned…


Immanuel Quickley to announce his decision TOMORROW

Well, we saw this coming. Immanuel Quickley, the five-star point guard thought to be Kentucky’s first commitment in the 2018 class, will announce his decision tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. at his school in Bel Air, Maryland, his mother told the Baltimore Sun. It will be streamed online via Uninterrupted, the same company that dropped an eight-minute documentary on Quickley earlier today, reports Matt Scott. Kansas, Kentucky, and Miami are the three schools on his list.

Kentucky has long been the favorite for Quickley, and if you watch that documentary, it all but confirms that the good news we’ve been hearing about is his commitment:

Come on down, Immanuel. Bring your drums.


Calipari visited R.J. Barrett today

After visiting Vernon Carey, the No. 1 overall player in the 2019 class, in Fort Lauderdale yesterday, John Calipari decided to stay in the Sunshine State to check in on the No. 1 player in the 2018 class, R.J. Barrett, today. According to Corey Evans, Cal was at Montverde Academy this afternoon to see the five-star wing, who is coming off official visits to Duke and Kentucky.

R.J. Barrett ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Small Forward 6-7 | 185 lbs. Mississauga, Ont., CAN Montverde/Nike UPlay Canada
ESPN: 1 | 1 SF Top 247: 2 | 2 SF Rivals: 1 Scout: 1 | 1 SF

Barrett heads to Arizona tonight and goes to Oregon on September 23. On September 29, he will wrap up his official visits with a trip to Michigan. Right now, Kentucky and Duke are tied in his 247 Sports Crystal Ball; after trips to Lexington and Durham, Barrett continues to speak glowingly about each.

“I watched Duke and Kentucky a lot growing up because they’re always on TV and they’re the best programs,” he told Adam Zagoria earlier this week. “And I want to be the best.”

Judging by his highlights, he’s got a good shot:

 


Simi Shittu sets official visits, Kentucky NOT on the list

A few weeks ago, Kentucky was thought to be the favorite for versatile Canadian forward Simi Shittu, but tonight, he released his list of official visits, and Kentucky’s not on it:

What gives? Earlier this week, UK offered Jaxson Hayes, a big man on the rise in the 2018 class, a sign Calipari may be going in a different direction. Additionally, three recruiting experts, including 247 Sports’ Jerry Meyer, have switched their picks to Arizona in Shittu’s Crystal Ball. Kentucky will only take a handful of players in the 2018 class, and with Immanuel Quickley, Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Keldon Johnson, and potentially Hayes or Bol Bol high on that list, the writing may be on the wall.

Shittu, we hardly knew you…


It’s not hard to read between the lines of new video on Immanuel Quickley

It’s not hard to read between the lines of new video on Immanuel Quickley

This afternoon, a new documentary dropped about Immanuel Quickley, the apple of Kentucky’s eye at the point guard position in 2018. The eight-minute video by Uninterrupted is a great view into Quickley’s life and the recruiting process, and if the title — “Star Point Guard is College Bound” — wasn’t indication enough, it suggests he is very, very close to announcing his school of choice. Even better, there are several hints that it will be Kentucky, such as…

1. “I don’t think Immanuel Quickley is going to waste too much time with his recruitment. What I was told is he wants to visit other places just to make sure he’s making the right decision.”

Kentucky has long been the favorite for Quickley, who also took an official visit to Kansas before coming to Lexington last weekend. Hurricane Irma kept him from going to Miami and he decided not to reschedule the trip. Why waste time?

2. “The best coaches really don’t make promises to you before you come on campus.”

Calipari’s signature recruiting style is not promising players anything, even if they’re considered the best in their class.

3. “With college coaches, you can always tell the real from the fake, I think, as soon as you meet them.”

The camera literally pans across Calipari’s face when Quickley says this:

4. “The biggest thing when I’m selecting a school is if the players have been successful in the past. I think the relationship between the players and coaches and the coaches basically getting their players to the NBA because that’s what I want to do one day.”

@KentuckyMBB

Enough said. Watch it for yourself below:

Prediction: Quickley announces his commitment to Kentucky in another video this weekend. Just saying.


Exciting basketball news is coming this weekend

Brace yourselves, Big Blue Nation. There is some big news on the way and it’s not just Kentucky football’s win over Florida.

I just spoke on the phone to our own Matt Jones, fresh off his Finebaum appearance, and he is hearing Kentucky is likely to receive some very good basketball recruiting news this weekend. The news concerns the 2018 class and it’ll be something fans will want to celebrate.

So keep your eye out for a major headline in the coming days, per Matthew Harper Jones.

And get excited.


Get to know Jaxson Hayes, Kentucky’s new 2018 target

There is a new name on John Calipari’s recruiting board for the Class of 2018 and it’s a surprising one.

Calipari extended a scholarship offer to Jaxson Hayes, a blossoming prospect out of nearby Cincinnati, on Tuesday. Hayes is only the second big man on UK’s board with an offer, and many are wondering why it went to him and not Simi Shittu, who Calipari loves.


JAXSON HAYES

Power Forward/Center 6-11 | 195 lbs. Cincinnati, OH Archbishop Moeller
ESPN: Unranked Top 247: 160 | 41 PF Rivals: Unranked Scout: Unranked

Hayes is considered a long-term project due to his inexperience and skinny frame, but Cal obviously sees the potential or he wouldn’t have extended the offer. Other big programs see the potential, too — Hayes also has offers from Texas, Ohio State, Purdue, Xavier, Illinois, Butler and Dayton, among many others.

You’ll hear plenty more from Hayes in the coming days as speculation of a commitment heats up, so you better go ahead and get familiar with him. Here’s what you need to know…

 

He hasn’t started a game in high school.

By now you’ve probably heard: Hayes hasn’t started a single game of high school basketball — not on the varsity team, not on the JV team and not on the freshman team…

… yet he holds a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky.

He averaged less than 10 minutes per game last season.

Hayes was a reserve for Ohio state tournament runner-up Archbishop Moeller in his junior season, his first on varsity. He averaged around three to four points per contest off the bench.

He’s grown almost a foot taller since his freshman year.

Hayes was 6-1 as a freshman, and has grown to 6-11 entering his senior year at Moeller.

Anthony Davis 2.0?

“He’s literally getting better by the hour.”

That is what his head coach, Carl Kremer, told WCPO in Cincinnati back in July.

He visited Kentucky on Sept 2.

Hayes took an unofficial visit to Lexington on Saturday, September 2.

He took official visits to Texas and Xavier.

Hayes visited the Longhorns on September 8; then Xavier on September 15.

Football was his first love.

Before the sudden growth spurt, Hayes thought his future was in football. He was being recruited as a tight end and wide receiver, and took a visit to Iowa, his father’s alma mater.

His father is the tight ends coach for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hayes is the oldest son of 12-year NFL veteran Jonathan Hayes, who is in his fifteenth season as the Bengals’ tight ends coach.

His mother was a college basketball star.

Mama Hayes scored more than 1,500 points for Drake and was the 1995 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. She went on to coach at Southern Illinois-Carbondale, Iowa and Oklahoma.

So the kid has pretty good genes, huh?

He is a friend and classmate of UK tight end commit, Brendan Bates.

Bates committed to Kentucky back in March and has been billed as the tight end of the future for Kentucky football.

He played AAU ball with Romeo Langford.

Hayes played alongside Romeo Langford on the Kentucky-based 22 Vision AAU team on the adidas circuit this past summer.

Learn more about him in this news story:

Watch his highlights:


No. 1 player in 2019 earns Kentucky offer

No. 1 player in 2019 earns Kentucky offer

This morning, news leaked that Coach Cal was on his way to visit the No. 1 player in 2019, Vernon Carey Jr., at his school.

Tonight, Carey announced on Twitter he received an official offer from Calipari during the visit.

The 6’10 forward out of Florida also holds offers from North Carolina, Duke, Michigan State, and Michigan, among others.

Watch him work:

Get him in blue, Coach Cal.


Positive buzz for Kentucky’s chances with Zion Williamson ahead of official visit

Five-star sensation Zion Williamson will be on Kentucky’s campus this weekend for an official visit, and judging by some recent buzz, the Cats are in a much better position than previously thought.

Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader spoke to five top recruiting analysts — Jeff Borzello, Evan Daniels, Corey Evans,  Jerry Meyer, and Andrew Slater — and the majority said Kentucky is the clear favorite to land the explosive forward from South Carolina. Kansas, which has picked up a lot of buzz in recent months due to their partnership with adidas, didn’t even register on three of the analysts’ top three.

The analysts’ pick for the team with the second best chance to land Zion was a little surprising, but you’re going to have to go to the Herald-Leader to find that out. Then watch some of Zion’s highlights to get hyped for his visit this weekend.

[Herald-Leader]

Zion Williamson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Forward 6-7 | 230 lbs. Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg/SC Supreme
ESPN: 2 | 1 PF Top 247: 1 | 1 PF Rivals: 2 Scout: 3 | 2 SF

 


Today on KSR, powered by Lextran: The Florida game approaches, McDonald’s All-American Game moves to Atlanta

A message from our friends at Lextran:

Heading to the game? Hop on the Lextran football shuttle to Kroger Field! Lextran operates shuttle service during every UK home football game from downtown and campus. The service begins three hours prior to kick-off and runs for 30 minutes after the start of the game. Shuttle will pick back up at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Pay $1 each way onboard the bus. Please have exact change! Further details can be found at www.lextran.com!


The Florida game is officially SOLD OUT

At 5 p.m. yesterday, Mitch Barnhart shared the good news: Saturday will be Kentucky’s first sellout since the Thursday night Auburn game in 2015. With a packed house and arguably the best chance to break Florida’s 30-year winning streak in some time, Kroger Field will be nuts.

The team wore the chrome helmets in practice yesterday, the latest indication they wear them on Saturday night:

Mark Stoops will take his turn on the SEC Coaches Teleconfernece

With his team 3-0, I expect an upbeat but focused Stoops on the conference call this afternoon. Nick Roush will be listening in to bring you updates. Speculation continues that the nine suspended Florida players won’t play due to their involvement in a credit card fraud investigation, so surely someone will ask Jim McElwain about it. Check the site around lunch for a recap.

Defensive coordinator Matt House will address reporters later this afternoon. Last night, Eddie Gran, Benny Snell, and Stephen Johnson took their turns at the podium, and if you missed their comments, enjoy the recaps from Nick below:

Stephen Johnson and Benny Snell Explain their Viral Moments vs. South Carolina

Eddie Gran wants to get Sihiem King more Involved

The CBS Sports Network crew likes the Cats

Get on board, Brian Jones.

ICYMI, the 2018 football schedule was released

Sept. 1                          CENTRAL MICHIGAN

Sept. 8                          at Florida

Sept. 15                        MURRAY STATE

Sept. 22                        MISSISSIPPI STATE

Sept. 29                        SOUTH CAROLINA

Oct. 6                            at Texas A&M

Oct. 13                          Open Date

Oct. 20                          VANDERBILT

Oct. 27                          at Missouri

Nov. 3                           GEORGIA

Nov. 10                         at Tennessee

Nov. 17                         MIDDLE TENNESSEE

Nov. 24                         at Louisville

Pencil me in for that trip to College Station on October 6. I’ve only driven by Kyle Field on a trip to cover a basketball game at Reed Arena a few years back and I can’t wait to see a game there.

The McDonald’s All-American Game is moving to Atlanta

After seven years in Chicago, the famous high school all-star game is moving to Atlanta. The event is scheduled for March 28, 2018 at Philips Arena. Rosters won’t be announced for a while, but they’re guaranteed to include most, if not all, of UK’s targets, including Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Immanuel Quickley. Can anybody stop Zion from winning the dunk contest?

Speaking of Zion, a reminder that he’ll be on campus this weekend for his official visit. Something tells me he’ll be front and center to watch John Wall enter the Hall of Fame on Friday night.

Everyone say a little something for Puerto Rico

The island is currently being slammed by Hurricane Maria. Most of my husband’s family is from Puerto Rico, including my father-in-law, who lives on the island half the year. Thankfully, he’s in Tennessee right now, but it’s scary to think what he could go back to once the storm passes.

While you’re at it, say a little something for Mexico City as well. The images coming out after yesterday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake are horrible. Mother Nature, are you trying to tell us something?

I’m on day three of eating clean and all I can think about is cheese

Someone please tell me it gets better. Also, why the hell am I doing this during football season?

Radio in an hour.

 


Calipari offers unranked 2018 prospect

Calipari offers unranked 2018 prospect

John Calipari went off the grid with his latest scholarship offer, given to an unranked prospect out of Cincinnati that 99.9999 percent of you have never heard of.

But now that he has the Kentucky offer, you better get to know Jaxson Hayes.

Hayes is a 6-foot-10 senior at Archbishop Moeller and he is probably as surprised as anyone by the new offer on his list, considering he’s never started a game of high school basketball. That’s right: Calipari just offered a spot to a kid who hasn’t started a single game.

“Not on varsity, not on junior varsity, and not even on the freshman team,” his head coach told Scout.com.

But Hayes is a player on the rise after growing close to 10 inches since entering high school, and now he has offers from schools like Texas, Xavier, Ohio State, Purdue, Clemson, Illinois, Butler and Dayton, to go along with the Kentucky offer.

He is the definition of ‘late bloomer’ and coaches are very interested in seeing how much he can bloom. Now that he has the frame, he only needs time, the proper instruction and experience before potentially becoming a very good player.

Maybe a good two or three-year prospect for the class?


Feedback on Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson’s official visits

2018 stars Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson were on Kentucky’s campus this weekend for official visits, and so far, the feedback has been very positive. Jide Sodipo, the executive director of Quickley’s AAU team, told Kyle Tucker that Johnson and Quickley spent a lot of time working out together in the Joe Craft Center.

“They definitely hung out together,” Sodipo told SECCountry.com. “They went over there by themselves and worked out. They both seem to be gym rats, so they were asking the manager what time they could get into the gym to work out. Immanuel could go to the moon and find a basketball gym so he could work out.”

Quickley had to cancel his official visit to Miami and few weeks ago because of Hurricane Irma, but this morning, Sodipo told TJ Walker it doesn’t look like he will reschedule, which is more good news for the Cats, who are the overwhelming favorite in his recruitment. Meanwhile, Keldon Johnson’s father told Adam Zagoria they enjoyed getting to know “the real Cal.”

“Getting to talk to Cal, you see the real Cal,” Chris said. “He really loves the kids, and I could see Keldon playing there. I think it would be a great opportunity.”

Texas is still Kentucky’s primary competition for Johnson due to his longstanding relationship with Shaka Smart, who started recruiting him in the ninth grade; however, if anyone can make up ground fast, it’s John Calipari.

 


Today on KSR: Chrome domes for Florida?

Today on KSR: Chrome domes for Florida?

What do you think Derrick Baity, Matt Elam, and Lynn Bowden were discussing right here? Baity’s game-sealing interception? Elam batting down Jake Bentley’s passes? The latest episode of Bachelor in Paradise? I’ll let you leave your best guess in the comments while I roll on to today’s agenda.

Excitement continues to build for the Florida game

After Saturday’s big win over South Carolina, excitement is ratcheting up again for another shot at Florida. As we are all painfully aware, the Gators have won 30 straight vs. the Cats, but Kentucky is riding a huge wave of momentum and Florida hasn’t exactly looked like world beaters so far this season. Last night, word broke that the suspended Florida players could be facing felony charges for credit card fraud, which would normally suggest they won’t play, but I’ve been to this rodeo enough times to rule them out. One thing is for certain: Kroger Field will be rocking.

As of 8 p.m. last night, only 1,500 tickets (250 lower level) and 300 student tickets were available, and it sounds like the student tickets are now sold out. If you’re even entertaining the idea of going, I suggest you call the UK Ticket office (800-928-CATS) or get on UKFootballTix.com right now to secure your seats.

Banners are even popping up on campus

@KyleGregory2

If any students are reading this and thinking about making a banner of your own, here’s my humble plea: please be clever. No hurricane jokes. No incest jokes. We’re not South Carolina.

Are the Cats going to wear chrome helmets?

@cameronrduke

This picture from Drew Barker’s Instagram story suggests it.

This tweet from Finebaum will get you going

For more on SJ’s appearance on Finebaum, click here.

I’m just now seeing this video from Saturday night

And it might be my favorite UK Football thing ever. Love Benny.

John Calipari’s handing out more 2019 offers

After hosting Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson on Friday and Saturday, John Calipari traveled to New Jersey on Sunday to see 2019 stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis. Both are top five players in the 2019 class and both got scholarship offers on the visit.

Calipari has handed out four scholarship offers in the past week in the 2019 class:

  • James Wiseman, PF
  • D.J. Jeffries, SF
  • Bryan Antoine, G
  • Scottie Lewis, SG

On Wednesday, he’ll go see Vernon Carey, considered by three of the four major recruiting services to be the top player in the 2019 class (James Wiseman is ranked #1 in the other). I think you can count on Carey getting an offer. Meanwhile, in 2018 recruiting, Zion Williamson is scheduled to take his official visit to Kentucky this weekend, and with John Wall being inducted into the UK Hall of Fame and the Florida game going down, we’re being told UK is pulling out all the stops to impress the superstar.

UK Basketball opened the doors to photographers yesterday

Our own Dr. Mike helped USA Today’s Mark Zerof out on the photoshoot, and while we can’t share all of the pictures yet, this one of Brad Calipari kissing a basketball is too good to keep under wraps:

Should we have Ryan Lemond replicate it? No? Too soon. For outtakes from the shoot, check out Jack’s post from last night. This seems like a really fun group.

WATCH: UK Men’s Basketball has a blast at Photo Day

Radio in an hour…


Mitchell Robinson leaves Western Kentucky AGAIN

The carousel that is Mitchell Robinson’s commitment to Western Kentucky took another turn this weekend when Robinson left campus AGAIN. Robinson will move to Dallas and hire a trainer to prepare for the NBA draft, per Evan Daniels’ story at Scout.com.

“I’ve decided to leave Western Kentucky and just focus on next year’s NBA Draft,” Robinson, a five-star center in the 2017 class, told Scout. “I want to thank Western Kentucky, the coaching staff, the fans and my teammates, but I decided to pursue a professional career.”

This has to be the last time Robinson changes his mind; then again, I said the same thing five mind-changes ago.

Whoever is giving this poor kid advice needs to be cut off because they are destroying his NBA stock with the flip-flopping and disloyalty to his commitment. It doesn’t help that it will have been well over a year since he played a real game of basketball when it comes time to draft him.


Zion Williamson will be at the Kentucky/South Carolina game

Zion Williamson will be at the Kentucky/South Carolina game

It’s not often that Kentucky football and basketball recruiting mix, but they will tomorrow night in Columbia. Zion Williamson, one of John Calipari’s most coveted 2018 recruits, announced on Instagram he will take an unofficial visit to South Carolina for tomorrow night’s game:

Zion is from Spartanburg and is still being recruited by the Gamecocks, so the trip is not surprising. He’s attended several South Carolina games in the past…Or maybe, he’s is secretly a huge UK football fan. Not only will he be in the stands tomorrow night, he’ll also be at Kentucky’s game vs. Florida on his official visit next weekend. If the Cats pull off both upsets, we should name Kroger Field after him.

Zion Williamson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Forward 6-7 | 230 lbs. Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg/SC Supreme
ESPN: 2 | 1 PF Top 247: 1 | 1 PF Rivals: 2 Scout: 3 | 2 SF