On Saturday afternoon, I sat down and wrote an entire post about how no matter →
Basketball Recruiting News
John Calipari is using his day away from practice to recruit…kind of. Calipari is spending his evening in Nashville. No, he’s not at Tin Roof with Drew Franklin.
Coach Cal is at Brentwood Academy watching Kentucky signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, according to Evan Daniels. Technically it’s not recruiting if he’s already signed, but Cal has only seen Gilgeous-Alexander in action a few times. Here’s a taste of what he should see tonight:
SGA just went by FOUR guys, up and under to take an 8-point lead with a minute to play pic.twitter.com/ip9LSRPoNI
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) December 2, 2016
There’s a lot more highlights like that to see here.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 04th, 2017 @ 2:28pm
In the latest edition of his The Sidelines podcast, which is very good by the way, Evan Daniels shared a little bit about what he expects on the Hamidou Diallo front this week as a decision looms.
Daniels said he thinks Kentucky is in the best position to land Diallo and bring the five-star guard to campus immediately; however, he does not expect Diallo to suit up this season:
Hamidou Diallo is strongly considering enrolling at a school here at the break and heading there. I do not believe that Hamidou Diallo will play in the second semester, but I do believe he will head to a college and get started and get working out with the team and hitting the weight room and just attempting to get better.
The options right now are Kentucky, Connecticut and Arizona. He has visited Connecticut and Kentucky; unsure if he is going to visit Arizona. If I were going to take a stab, take a guess at where I think Hamidou Diallo is going to end up, I would guess Kentucky. And like I said, I don’t expect him to play in the second semester. But I do think there is a decision coming from Hamidou Diallo very soon.
Listen to Evan’s podcast around the 49:40 mark for the Diallo talk and then sit back and wait for the news to break later today or tomorrow.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 02nd, 2017 @ 9:00am
Greetings, friends, and happy new year. I trust everyone’s recovered from their New Year’s Eve celebrations. After spending some time at a friend’s house, I rang in 2017 at home with my husband and dog jamming out to Biz Markie on Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution. It was kind of awesome, not gonna lie.
Let’s roll through today’s agenda, shall we?
1. Kentucky plays Texas A&M tomorrow
The Cats rolled in their conference opener last week, and tomorrow night, they’ll host Texas A&M at Rupp. The Aggies are 8-4 this season and are coming off a 10-point loss to Tennessee last week, so unless Kentucky comes out completely unprepared, they shouldn’t struggle. We’ll find out the line a little later today.
2. We’ll also find out where Kentucky’s ranked
The Cats are currently 8th in both polls. I doubt they’ll move much, but it will be interesting to see how the rest of the top ten shakes out after Duke and North Carolina both lost.
3. Kentucky is #1 in the new KenPom ratings
If you prefer Ken Pomeroy’s ratings to the polls, you’ll be happy to hear that Kentucky’s the new #1 team in the country according to KenPom’s measure. The KenPom top ten:
4. West Virginia
8. North Carolina
4. It’s almost time for the first SEC Coaches Teleconference of the season!
The start of league play also means the start of the weekly SEC Coaches Teleconference, which means we’ll hear from John Calipari around 11:35 a.m. I’ll bring you any updates. Odds he works in a plug for his podcast?
5. Tony Barbee will preview Texas A&M this afternoon
Since Calipari will be on the SEC call this morning, he’s letting assistant coach Tony Barbee discuss tomorrow’s game vs. the Aggies with reporters after lunch. We’ll have a live stream of his comments around 2 p.m. and a full recap afterwards.
6. Please tell me you saw this Saturday night
In case you were out partying instead of watching football Saturday night, Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins got a little, um, up close and personal with Ohio State running back Curtis Samuel:
2016 memories pic.twitter.com/DlL9jGHp5m
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) January 1, 2017
After the game, Wilkins apologized for his um, “grab,” saying he was just being silly and this is the type of stuff you do when you’re competing. Really? Samuel responded on Twitter Sunday morning:
— Curtis Samuel (@CurtisSamuel4__) January 1, 2017
#Sweetness? Really? Here’s today’s college football schedule:
- 1:00 PM: Outback Bowl – #17 Florida at Iowa, ABC
- 1:00 PM: Cotton Bowl – #15 Western Michigan vs. #8 Wisconsin, ESPN
- 5:00 PM: Rose Bowl – #9 USC vs. #5 Penn State, ESPN
- 8:30 PM: Sugar Bowl – #14 Auburn vs. #7 Oklahoma, ESPN
7. ICYMI, Boom Williams declared for the NFL Draft
The big news to come out of Kentucky’s bowl game may have been Boom Williams’ decision to turn pro. Boom said he and his parents came to the decision on Friday night, and informed the team after the game was over.
“Me and my family prayed hard about it and we talked about it last night and just came to the decision that we felt like this was the perfect time for me to try to pursue my dreams of going to the NFL,” Williams said. “BBN has the best fans in the nation. I’ll certainly miss the fans. Like I said, it’s just a part of life. At the end of the day, I love Kentucky and I’ll always bleed blue.”
This season, Boom amassed 1,163 yards and seven touchdowns, and over his three-year Kentucky career, put up 2,486 yards and 17 touchdowns. Early feedback suggests he’s got a ways to go to get on the boards, but you can’t blame the kid for wanting to take his chance while he still can.
8. What’s the latest with Hamidou Diallo?
Diallo took an official visit to Kentucky last week, which John Calipari followed up on in person on Friday. The five-star shooting guard is expected to visit Arizona this week, but no date has been set. Will he still visit Arizona or did Calipari say enough to convince him to come to Kentucky already? Thankfully, we’ll find out soon because Diallo only has a few weeks to decide if he wants to enroll for the spring semester. Stay tuned…
9. ICYMI, Bud Dupree had a big play in yesterday’s Steelers/Browns game
— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) January 1, 2017
Dupree sacked and stripped RG3 to help the Steelers beat the Browns 27-24 in overtime (!). Yes, believe it or not, the 1-15 Browns managed to take the 11-5 Steelers to overtime, but couldn’t bring home the W. Dupree had 7 tackles and the aforementioned sack, bringing his season total up to 4.5 sacks. Good on ya, Dupree.
10. I still like “Hell or High Water” over “Manchester by the Sea”
If felt like everyone and their mom was at the movies in Nashville yesterday, or at least, in our showing of “Manchester by the Sea.” The drama starring Casey Affleck has a lot of Oscar buzz and while it was certainly well-acted and interesting, I still prefer “Hell or High Water.” Something tells me the Oscar for best movie will still go to “La La Land,” because there’s nothing Hollywood loves more than a musical about Hollywood.
No new radio show today because apparently today’s a holiday since New Year’s Day was on a Sunday this year. I’ll still be here to bring you UK sports news in the most ridiculous manner possible, so check back early and often.
By Kelsey Mattingly on ©January 01st, 2017 @ 10:00pm
While our main focus has been on football for the last several days, we have some basketball recruiting news you probably missed! On Friday night, Kentucky assistant coach Joel Justus attended the Farm Bureau Classic at Dorman High School in Roebuck, South Carolina.
Forward Zion Williamson of Spartanburg Day School, overall No. 1 in the 2018 recruiting class, is a prime target for Kentucky. At the Classic, Williamson averaged 43 points and had 14.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. While he doesn’t have an official offer from Kentucky yet, early offers from Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Arizona and others have come in.
Check out his highlight video!
Also participating in the Farm Bureau Classic for Covington Newton was Ashton Hagans, a top 5o point guard in the 2019 recruiting class. The No. 5 ranked point guard attended this year’s Big Blue Madness. He averaged nine points, four rebounds and seven assists and was named to the all-tournament team.
Stay tuned with KSR for recruiting updates on potential future Wildcats!
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 30th, 2016 @ 3:30pm
John Calipari truly doesn’t take any time off, does he? Fresh off his team’s 23-point win over Ole Miss, Calipari released a new podcast featuring Nike founder/CEO Phil Knight. The interview was taped after UK’s win over UNC, but leave it to Cal to make sure Kentucky’s in the news, especially on a day he’s doing some very important recruiting. Speaking of recruiting, before getting into the interview, Calipari did a ten-minute intro in which he shared his message to a recruit that was on campus this past week, which has to be Diallo, although he can’t mention him by name.
“I had a recruit on the campus last week and what I talked to him about is not ego, not shots, not minutes, it’s aspirations. I had other players come in the room and tell the young man how hard this is to be here. That this isn’t for everybody. That you’re going to be with other really good players that are going to challenge you everyday. If you’re in this only to get shots and be in part and chase and go play a 2-3 zone and do — you’re not coming here.”
As we reported earlier, Calipari is visiting Diallo today. Diallo can join the team this upcoming semester (so, 12 days from now), and is scheduled to take a visit to Arizona next week. If today’s meeting with Calipari goes well, I have a feeling Diallo will cancel that visit and become a Kentucky Wildcat. In fact, 247 Sports Director of Basketball Scouting Jerry Meyer just flipped his pick for Diallo back to Kentucky in the five-star shooting guard’s Crystal Ball…
Listen to Calipari’s podcast with Phil Knight on iTunes, Podbay, Stitcher, etc. It’s interesting stuff.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 30th, 2016 @ 2:19pm
We now interrupt all things football for a very important basketball recruiting update. According to our own Matt Jones, John Calipari is visiting five-star shooting guard Hamidou Diallo today, days after Diallo’s official visit to Kentucky. Diallo, who can enroll this upcoming semester, wrapped up his trip to Lexington on Wednesday:
Great Official Visit to Kentucky !!!
— Hamidou diallo (@Diallo1Hamidou) December 28, 2016
We’ve gone over this before, but if Diallo picks Kentucky over UConn and Arizona — and it appears Calipari is putting on the full court press — he will likely be here for a year and a half. Diallo can either play next semester or sit out and practice with the team and use the semester to develop his body and learn from Kentucky’s trio of guards. Diallo has already graduated high school and is eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft, and if he comes to Kentucky and really wants to go in this summer’s draft, you know Calipari won’t stop him; however, Calipari appears to be selling him on a year and a half stay in Lexington.
Diallo visits Arizona next week, but with Calipari’s visit, things seem to be trending in the Cats’ direction. Calipari is also watching fellow five-star Kevin Knox this afternoon. Stay tuned…
Shooting Guard | 6-5 | 195 lbs.
Queens Village, NY | Putnam Science Academy
AAU: New York Rens
|ESPN||No. 11 | 3 SG||Top247||No. 9 | 1 SG|
|Rivals||No. 10 |||Scout||No. 10 | 1 SG|
The No. 2 player in America played like the No. 2 player in America last night. Mohamed Bamba went 12-for-12 from the floor, finishing the game with an exclamation point, a tip-in for the win.
— Overtime (@overtime) December 29, 2016
If you’re more entertained with dunks…
— Overtime (@overtime) December 29, 2016
Bamba finished his perfect game with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists in the 70-68 win.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©December 28th, 2016 @ 9:30pm
5-star SG Hamidou Diallo just finished up his official visit at Kentucky, and rumors are spreading that there’s mutual interest in him signing on for the second semester at UK.
Should he decide to sign with the Wildcats, he would be eligible to play starting next week (if cleared by the NCAA academically) as a freshman, despite absolutely no preparation at the college level thus far. Diallo would be eligible to enter the NBA Draft after the year, or would be able to come back to get a full year under his belt at the college ranks, with the latter being the most likely scenario.
Many viewed UCONN as the team to beat for his services, but anything can happen when Calipari gets someone on campus. Judging by the Huskies’ abysmal performances as of late (lost against Auburn 70-67 with Diallo in attendance, destroyed by Houston 62-46 today), I’d say the Cats have a legitimate shot.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of Diallo coming in mid-year:
Position of need
The three guard lineup with De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Isaiah Briscoe has worked well this season, but the depth at the three and four positions have left much to be desired. Wenyen Gabriel has shown flashes of potential, but defensive struggles have been an issue. Derek Willis has rebounded well, but his shot just isn’t falling and he remains a liability on defense. Mychal Mulder has shot the ball well in limited time, but defensive struggles have forced Cal’s hand to keep him on the bench, as well. (I think I see a recurring theme here.) Calipari has tried to work in various pieces at the three, but he hasn’t seemed to find his “guy” yet. Diallo is extremely versatile, and could be able to step in and provide that missing piece at the three for a deep run in the tournament.
It was touched on a bit before, but the Queens native would be able to provide a much-needed presence on the defensive side of the ball. Standing 6’5 with a 6’10 wingspan, Diallo has the measurables to be an elite defender, and has proven that at the high school level. Briscoe is an elite defender, but at 6’3, he gets physically outmatched by long, athletic small forwards in Cal’s three-guard lineup. Beyond Briscoe, guys like Gabriel, Monk, and Willis all tried, and failed, defending skilled small forwards like Justin Jackson and Deng Adel. Diallo would be a perfect fit to come in and limit these guys.
Diallo is one of the most athletic players in the country right now, and bringing that with him to Kentucky would be downright scary. Can you imagine the fast breaks with Monk and Diallo to throw lobs to? We’ve seen #SCTop10 plays all year long, and the addition of Diallo would just add to that. The 6’5 guard has tremendous ability in getting to the rim and finishing in transition, dunking all over anyone standing in his way. He’s raw, there are kinks in his game to work out, but Diallo is a match made in heaven for Calipari’s system and would flourish in this aspect.
How often does a high schooler come in mid-season and dominate at the collegiate level? Exactly. It’s just not easy. Learning an entirely new system, conditioning, building up strength to compete against D1 athletes, etc., are all things that take a while, so to expect Diallo to be the outlier is just not realistic. He may come in and show flashes of brilliance, but he would likely ride the bench and play in garbage-time situations while he adjusts to the college level. Maybe he develops well and provides a spark in post-season play? Who knows, but as of now, it’s all a crapshoot.
Lack of shooting ability
Diallo can jump out of the gym and defend at an elite level, but the dude cannot shoot the ball to save his life. His form looks decent, but for whatever reason, he can’t buy a bucket from long range. UK wouldn’t necessarily need him to come in and jack up threes, but it’s worrisome to have yet another shooting liability on the court at this point in the season. Mychal Mulder, a guard similar in size, is a gifted shooter and knows the system. Barring a major surprise out of Diallo, Calipari would almost certainly throw Mulder in before relying on a kid that just showed up, even considering the defensive struggles.
NBA Draft eligible
Diallo is technically old enough to declare for the Draft after this season, regardless of his decision to attend college. So yes, it’s entirely possible that Diallo comes in, sits on the bench for the latter half of the year, and goes pro, putting the team in a real bind for guards next season. If I had to guess, Calipari likely doesn’t sign Diallo without confidence in him returning for a sophomore season, but you never know with kids trying to reach the NBA. There aren’t many elite guards remaining in the 2017 recruiting class, so Kentucky can’t afford a wasted opportunity with little return on the investment.
All reports have been extremely positive on Diallo’s visit, with many believing the Wildcats are in the driver’s seat with a decision possibly coming soon. He will take one more visit to Arizona before sitting down and going through his options, either attending college immediately, waiting till next season to play, or entering the NBA Draft this offseason.
We shall see.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 28th, 2016 @ 9:00am
I don’t know about you guys, but 2017 can’t come soon enough. Sure, we’ve got a basketball game and a bowl game to win before the clock strikes midnight on Saturday, but 2016 has truly felt like the worst year ever. Yesterday, Carrie Fisher became the latest celebrity to pass away this year, as beautifully and depressingly portrayed in British artist Christ Barker’s reimagining of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover that’s gone viral this week. Just looking at that is sad. We even lost Alf, aka Michu Meszaros! Hurry up, 2017; I don’t think Barker can fit anything more in that picture.
With that in mind, let’s hurry through today’s wakeup before someone else dies.
1. Calipari will preview the Ole Miss game
After returning to campus from Christmas break on Monday, the team’s been back in Camp Cal, practicing defense in the mornings and scrimmaging at night. Today, John Calipari and a few players will meet with the media to preview tomorrow’s SEC opener vs. Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. Tune in around
12:45 p.m. 2:30 p.m. for a live stream, and afterwards, a full recap.
2. Ole Miss’ Andy Kennedy is a hoot
I shared Kennedy’s comments about tomorrow night’s matchup with you yesterday, but I’m going to share them again because they make me laugh. Kennedy said the usual nice things about Kentucky — they’re the fastest UK team he’s ever seen, De’Aaron Fox is fast, Kentucky is the gold standard, blah blah — but his comments about having to open league play with Kentucky the past three years made me laugh.
“Just clean living, I suppose. Just karma coming back to me. At least this time when I got the schedule I texted Cal, ‘Man, you must have really pissed off somebody in the league office because they finally sent you back to Oxford.’ I don’t know. I don’t get too caught up in things I can’t control. I know, preferably, my Christmas afternoon would have been a little more pleasant if I wasn’t staring at Big Blue in 72 hours.”
Please never change, Andy. Or you, Randy.
3. What will the line be?
Ole Miss is 9-3 with losses to Creighton, Middle Tennessee, and at Virginia Tech, which isn’t all too bad considering Creighton’s a top ten team and Middle Tennessee beat Vanderbilt by almost 30. Ole Miss has a tendency to turn it over, which could really burn them vs. Kentucky, so if I had to guess, I’d say the Cats open as a 12-13 point favorite.
4. Hamidou Diallo watch continues
Diallo wraps up his official visit today as the team departs for Oxford. Hopefully, that means we start getting some feedback on it, although I’m sure it will be the typical, “The visit was great!”, “I got to watch the team practice,” “They really have an impressive setup,” etc. etc. What won’t be typical is Diallo’s timetable; since he’s able to enroll in the spring semester, I expect this one to wrap up after his official visit to Arizona. (Classes at UK start January 11.)
5. The fun really starts in Jacksonville
The team will go through its third bowl practice of the week this morning at the University of North Florida, which will also include a short media opportunity. After that, the fun really begins when the team starts the first of many “outings,” this one to the Mayport Naval Station. No word on if Freddie Maggard will be in Jacksonville by then, but one can only hope he gets to go to that media opportunity.
Here’s what Stoops had to say after yesterday’s practice:
6. Last night, the team ate their weight in seafood and swam in the indoor pool
Last night was the team’s official welcome dinner, and it was a grand seafood buffet. Don’t worry, no shellfish sickness there, it seems, or at least with this part of the crew that took a dip in the hotel’s heated pool later on:
7. College basketball on TV today
Lots of big games, including a showdown between Louisville and Virginia:
- 5:00 PM: Wake Forest at #20 Florida State, ESPN2
- 6:30 PM: Nebraska at #16 Indiana, BTN
- 6:30 PM: DePaul at #1 Villanova, FS1
- 7:00 PM: Providence at #17 Xavier
- 7:00 PM: #12 Virginia at #6 Louisville, ESPN2
- 7:00 PM: Saint Peter’s at #24 Notre Dame
- 7:00 PM: Monmouth at #9 North Carolina, ESPNU
- 8:00 PM: Seton Hall at #10 Creighton, FS2
- 8:30 PM: Iowa at #15 Purdue, BTN
- 9:00 PM: #2 UCLA at #21 Oregon, ESPN2
- 9:00 PM: #23 Cincinnati at Temple, ESPNU
- 11:00 PM: #22 USC at Oregon State, PAC12
8. Did you download the new KSR app yet?
Then stop what you’re doing and get thee to the App Store, because we’re really proud of it. The new app, available for Android as well, has a much better layout and is a one-stop shop for all things KSR, including the podcasts. To make sure you’re downloading the new one, which is FREE, and not the old one, which cost $0.99, use the links below:
9. KSR will be live from Macon, Georgia this morning
The guys continue their trek south to Jacksonville for the bowl game, and last night, stopped in Macon, Georgia. Tune in an hour from now to hear their latest adventures.
10. I’ll leave you with this heartwarming video
Cam Newton may have his critics, but there’s no denying his heart after watching this video of his visit with a young fan battling a heart condition yesterday:
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 28, 2016
No topping that. Is it dusty in here or is it just me?
By Nick Roush on ©December 27th, 2016 @ 8:00pm
Jarred Vanderbilt’s surprise commitment just before Christmas was received without much fanfare because of the timing. Allow me to insert some fanfare.
The 5-star small forward is the versatile athlete we’ve rarely seen throughout John Calipari’s tenure at Kentucky. This new highlight reel from Courtside Films does an excellent job showcasing his diverse tools. There are excellent passes in transition, blocked shots off help defense, ankle-breaking cross-overs, posterizing dunks and even a few pull-up three-pointers from the top of the key.
You were probably already excited to see Calipari add another 5-star athlete, but I can guarantee you will be much more excited after seeing this highlight.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 27th, 2016 @ 9:00am
Greetings, friends. I expect many of you are headed back to the office today, and for those of you that aren’t, don’t rub it in too much. Shoutout to these two fine Kentucky fans for reppin’ the Cats up in New York City. After sweating through 75 degree temps yesterday, the sight of snow is a little surreal.
Let’s go over today’s agenda, shall we?
1. ICYMI, Kentucky got a football commitment yesterday
Three-star cornerback Yusuf Corker chose Kentucky over Tennessee, South Carolina, and Michigan State. The commitment came as a bit of a surprise, since Corker was considered a lock to Tennessee by most until the last minute. In terms of talent, Corker is a big get; he’s considered the 38th best cornerback in his class by 247 Sports Composite, and is actually the cousin of former UK running back Raymond Sanders. Landing him is also big when you look at the competition. It’s not every day Kentucky beats out Tennessee, South Carolina, and Michigan State.
2. The staff is going to have to stay on him until Signing Day
After reading an interview Corker did with Rivals’ Brandon Simmons, I feel a little less confident this commitment will stick until Signing Day in February. Don’t get me wrong; Corker said some great things about his connection with UK’s coaches and how comfortable he felt in Lexington, but he also said he plans to take three more official visits, meaning this battle has just begun.
“I’m still keeping my recruiting process open. This is just so I can secure a spot. Right now Kentucky’s the best spot for me right now but I’ll still take three of my official visits.”
Let’s hope Kentucky’s still the best spot for Corker on February 1st.
3. Kentucky’s 2017 class is now 19th in the country
With eight commitments since the Louisville win, Kentucky’s recruiting mojo is sky high. The 2017 class is now ranked 19th in the country by Rivals, 23rd by 247 Sports.
Keep in mind, there are several four-stars still out there that Kentucky’s trying to grab, such as athlete Lynn Bowden, wide receiver Danny Davis, offensive lineman Thayer Munford, and wide receiver Kevaughn Dingle.
4. Meanwhile, the team is getting settled in Jacksonville
After arriving on Sunday, the team went through their first practice at the University of North Florida Monday afternoon. Here are a few highlights of the action to remind you football is coming:
Great day of work under the sun here in Jacksonville!
— UK Stoops Troops (@UKStoopsTroops) December 26, 2016
Last night they had fun at Dave & Busters, footage of which you can see here.
5. Today: more practice, more fishing, and the welcome dinner
The team will practice again this afternoon, followed by the official team welcome dinner at the Sawgrass Marriott at 6:30 p.m. In between all of that, I expect Kash Daniel will do some more fishing in the pond outside the hotel, because I’m pretty sure that’s all he’s done in his free time so far:
Props to you if you make it through that entire video. I watched until the third time Kash got his line hung up on the shore and then tried to blame it on Landon Young.
6. Camp Cal is back in session
Last night, the team reassembled on campus and had an evening practice. On his radio show, John Calipari said the break helped his team come back in with a fresh perspective, and that they’ll focus on defense in the morning practice and scrimmage at night. Cal’s hoping the scrimmages will improve shot selection, pick and roll defense, and show him who sees the floor the best. I hope for all three of those things as well.
7. Hamidou Diallo is still on campus
Kentucky Official Visit 🔵⚪️
— Hamidou diallo (@Diallo1Hamidou) December 27, 2016
Diallo started his official visit yesterday. His situation is a unique one in that he can enroll as soon as the spring semester (so, a week or so from now), although with a team as loaded at guard as Kentucky’s, you have to wonder if he went with that option, if he would choose the Cats over UConn and Arizona. He can also go to the school of his choosing and sit out the spring semester but still be able to practice against the team, and play next year. For a detailed rundown of his options, check out my post from yesterday.
While we’re on recruiting…
8. Trae Young sported a UK sweatshirt on Christmas Day
Shoutout to @for tipping us off to Trae Young sporting a UK hoodie while in the car with his family on Christmas day. Many believe UK’s chances with Young aren’t so great now that they have both Quade Green and Shai Alexander, but I’m not so sure. Young’s dad insists UK’s other commitments will have no bearing on his son’s decision, and Young himself mentions UK an awful lot on social media, most recently when he congratulated his friend Jarred Vanderbilt on his commitment last Friday.
9. We started “The OA” last night
“The OA” is Netflix’s latest original series, and last night, we gave it a shot, watching the first two episodes. So far, I’m intrigued, although it’s definitely not as charming as “Stranger Things.” I asked about the show on Twitter before we started it and man, it’s polarizing isn’t it? Half of you loved it, half of you hated it. I’m not in either camp yet, but I’ll let you know after a few more episodes.
10. Today is the day we finally unveil the new KSR App
If things go according to plan, you could get a belated Christmas gift from the KSR crew in the form of a new mobile app. I’ve played around with the new app for a few weeks and it’s much, much better than the old one, and easier to navigate. The plan is to roll it out this morning, but stay tuned and be patient as we try to get our baby off the ground.
Matt, Ryan, and Shannon are back in studio today to catch up before they leave for Jacksonville, so make sure you’re around your radio or streaming devices an hour from now.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 26th, 2016 @ 12:00pm
You’re looking at Hamidou Diallo, a five-star shooting guard who is currently on an official visit to Kentucky. Diallo’s recruitment has been an odd one, and because he’s already graduated high school, it could end in the next few weeks with him enrolling at the school of his choice for the second semester. Diallo took an official visit to UConn last week, is visiting Kentucky right now, and will visit Arizona next week; those three are considered his leaders, but Indiana, Syracuse, and Kansas are also in the mix.
With all of that in mind, here are five things to know about Diallo as he tours Kentucky’s facilities.
1. He’s the best shooting guard in the class
Diallo is considered the best shooting guard in the class by 247 Sports, 247 Sports Composite (which takes an average of all recruiting services), and Scout. Only ESPN has him ranked lower:
Shooting Guard | 6-5 | 195 lbs.
Queens Village, NY | Putnam Science Academy
AAU: New York Rens
|ESPN||No. 11 | 3 SG||Top247||No. 9 | 1 SG|
|Rivals||No. 10 |||Scout||No. 10 | 1 SG|
2. However, he’s not a great shooter
While Diallo is technically a “shooting guard,” he shot only 20% from three over the summer; at almost 6’6″ with a 6’10” wingspan, his strengths are his athleticism and explosiveness. Kentucky needs shooters in the 2017 class, and although Diallo would be a massive, massive get, Calipari still needs to bring in some more shot makers, such as Trae Young, or maybe a graduate transfer.
3. Like I said, Diallo’s explosiveness is why we want him
Just watch him work:
4. Quade Green and the rest of Kentucky’s 2017 class have been recruiting him hard
Green seems to be leading the charge to recruit the rest of Kentucky’s 2017 class, and right after his commitment, vowed to bring in Diallo, Mo Bamba, and Kevin Knox. After committing to Kentucky on Friday, five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt echoed Green’s pitch, telling Chris Fisher that he’s also trying to help recruit Diallo, Bamba, and Trae Young.
5. What happens if Diallo picks Kentucky?
Diallo’s in a unique position because he’s already graduated high school and he’s old enough to be eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft, so he’s got options. He can…
- Stay in prep school and enter the 2017 NBA Draft (less visibility)
- Enroll in college for the spring semester and enter the 2017 NBA Draft (more visibility)
- Enroll in college for the spring semester, sit out/practice, play the 2017-2018 season, and enter the 2018 NBA Draft (most visibility, longest route to draft)
If Diallo comes to Kentucky, he’ll most certainly take the third route given the Cats’ depth at the guard position; however, a semester to practice against the team, pick up the system, and develop in the weight room would give him quite a head start heading into the 2017-2018 season.
If I were a betting woman, I’d say he ends up taking the “half-and-done” route at UConn. But never count Calipari out…
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 26th, 2016 @ 9:00am
Good morning, friends, and happy Boxing Day for our Canadian readers. While most of you have today off, state holidays don’t apply here at KSR, so I’m here to bring you UK Sports news in the most ridiculous manner possible. My husband and I stayed in Nashville for Christmas this year and had a wonderful time. If you were curious. Santa was particularly good to us, bringing me all of my favorites, including a Karl Towns shirt, a popcorn maker, a new tea kettle, and a DNA kit that will tell you what breed(s) your pound puppy is. As the kids say, I am hashtag blessed.
While the rest of you sleep in and help your kids put together their Lego sets, let’s run through today’s agenda…
1. The football team will go through its first bowl practice in Jacksonville
Yesterday, the team landed in Jacksonville to prepare for Saturday’s TaxSlayer Bowl, and they have a full week of practice and fun activities ahead of them. This afternoon, the team will practice at the University of North Florida. The real fun begins tomorrow and Wednesday, when the KSR crew comes to town and the official bowl events begin. Stay tuned for much hilarity as Nick, Jack, Freddie, Matt, Ryan, Jeremy Jarmon, and Daniel the Camera Man make their way to Jacksonville to cover it for us all.
2. The team was happy to land in Florida
Florida boy/Miami alum Lamar Thomas couldn’t stop tweeting about being back in his home state:
— Coach Lamar Thomas (@LamarCoachT) December 25, 2016
3. Meanwhile, the offensive line already found a fishing hole
You can take the boys out of Kentucky, but you can’t take the Kentucky out of the boys. Somewhere, Freddie Maggard is smiling.
4. Camp Cal begins in force
Lots of football talk this week, and rightly so, but don’t forget that the basketball team returns to campus today after a few days with their family to immerse themselves in Camp Cal and prepare for Thursday’s SEC opener at Ole Miss. Anyone else going to Oxford? I’m making the trip and can’t wait to show my husband around one of my favorite SEC towns. Restaurant/bar recs would be much appreciated.
5. Will UK move in the polls after the loss to Louisville?
Hard to see Kentucky sliding much after their first true road loss to a top ten team, but the media seems to seize on opportunities like these to drop the Cats. They’re currently sixth in the AP poll, fifth in the coaches poll. We’ll find out around noon.
6. Hey, did you see we got Jarred Vanderbilt?
In case you’ve been off social media the past few days, Kentucky’s 2017 class got a whole lot richer on Friday when five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt surprised us all by announcing his commitment. The Cats have been the leader for Vanderbilt, one of the best forwards in the class, for a while, but his decision was a pleasant surprise heading into the holiday. Between you and me, he’s my favorite commitment so far in the class, and could be the true four Kentucky’s lacked since Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. If only he could enroll right now, right?
Anyways, in case you missed it, watch his commitment below:
ESPNU EXCLUSIVE: No. 22 overall prospect in Class of 2017 @JVando_ announces his college commitment!
— ESPNU (@ESPNU) December 23, 2016
Speaking of recruiting…
7. 🚨 Hamidou Diallo is on campus until Wednesday 🚨
Five-star shooting guard Hamidou Diallo starts his official visit to UK today. Diallo, considered the most explosive and athletic guards in the class, visited UConn last week and will also visit Arizona. Getting a commitment from Diallo would be huge, especially since there’s a chance he could enroll at the semester break, which would put him on track to be eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft. Right now, UConn’s considered the favorite for the 6’5″ guard from Putnam, Connecticut, accounting for 53% of the Crystal Ball predictions, including five of the last six.
Diallo’s recruitment is constantly changing, so the next few days could get pretty interesting. Stay tuned…
8. The Wildcat mascot joined in on some holiday fun
The Wildcat mascot was one of several across the country to “read” ‘T’was The Night Before Christmas” on Twitter on Christmas Eve. Basically, a mascot from 26 schools tweeted a line of the story with a funny picture, and it’s all the more fitting since the Kentucky mascot went first and the Georgia Tech mascot went second:
'Twas the night before Christmas… pic.twitter.com/TxWVssEUV7
— The Kentucky Wildcat (@The_Wildcat) December 25, 2016
— Buzz (@Buzz_GT) December 25, 2016
Click either of those to read the whole thread. It’s neat.
9. Plenty of bowl games to watch today
If you’re waking up and wondering what the heck to do today, fret not! Plenty of bowl games to entertain you, including two SEC teams and Patrick Towles:
- 11:00 AM: St. Petersburg Bowl — Miami (OH) vs. Mississippi State, ESPN
- 2:30 PM: Quick Lane Bowl — Maryland vs. Boston College, ESPN
- 5:00 PM: Independence Bowl — NC State vs. Vanderbilt, ESPN
Need a break from football? HBO is airing a 60-hour “Game of Thrones” marathon, making today the perfect day to start binging if you’ve never seen it, or just the perfect day to sit on the couch and relive older episodes. Westeros not your thing? AMC is also airing a “Breaking Bad” marathon starting at noon. If football, “Game of Thrones,” and “Breaking Bad” don’t appeal to you, I’m out of suggestions.
10. No new radio show today
But enjoy another edition of the “Best of KSR.” Or, just listen to one of our latest podcasts, including The Depth Chart Podcast (presented by Jack Kain Ford) or the KSR Football Podcast, which is chock full of great stuff, including a 40″ pizza and a little feedback. Also, don’t forget to check out John Calipari’s family podcast, which went up on Christmas Eve.
In the meantime, I’ll be here to entertain you. Let’s have some fun.
The nation’s No. 1 shooting guard, arguably Cal’s top remaining target, Hamidou Diallo will take an official visit to Kentucky next week according to Adam Zagoria.
Diallo is old enough to be eligible for the NBA Draft, but instead of going pro he could head to college early for the second semester. Diallo plans to take an official visit to Arizona the week following his visit to Kentucky.
Things are looking up for the Cats. UConn is probably their greatest competition. When he took his official visit to Storrs yesterday, he saw the Huskies lose to Auburn 50-47. Diallo is also considering Syracuse, who lost to St. John’s by 33, Indiana and Kansas.
Watch him dunk, dunk, then dunk some more.
Merry Christmas Eve, KSR Nation. Outside of the first Saturday in May, it’s the best day of the year, or as Andy Williams might say, the most wonderful time of the year.
Tonight my basement will be filled with dozen of family members, hundreds of cookies, a delicious honey ham and enough bourbon to build a new bar. I’m geeking in my chair just thinking about it. But before we get rowdy, there’s church and a little blogging.
I know nobody’s Christmas Eve tradition can compare to my fantastic Saturday, but I’d like for you to try. Instead of using the comment section for a stupid argument, I invite you to share your family’s Christmas tradition. If that invitation isn’t enough, the most unique Christmas tradition will earn a laurel and hearty handshake.
Thanks for your support all year. It has been a joy. Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy a little UK news in the process.
New Additions to the Big Blue Nation
Julius Randle and Kendra Shaw welcomed their first child into the world, Kyden, just in time for Christmas.
Coach Calipari welcomed 5-star small forward Jarred Vanderbilt to the Big Blue Nation. Vanderbilt kept his recruitment quiet throughout, making yesterday’s announcement a bit of a surprise. He’s the fourth 5-star in the class, the No. 20 player overall and the No. 6 small forward.
Despite all of his recruiting success, John Calipari has struggled to consistently recruit small forwards. You can count Trey Lyles and Wenyen Gabriel, but Michal Kidd-Gilchrist stands above the rest. Vanderbilt’s style of play mirrors MKG’s. He’s an athlete that does all of the little things the right way — runs the floor, passes well, rebounds and defends — but his outside shot could use some work.
Calipari has a pretty good starting lineup in the ’17 class:
- Quade Green, point guard
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, combo guard
- Jarred Vanderbilt, small forward
- P.J. Washington, power forward
- Nick Richards, center
Cal is still actively pursuing two top dogs: point guard Trae Young and center Mohamad Bamba. Kevin Knox is out of the mix with the addition of Vanderbilt. Cal still needs shooters, but those names probably won’t surface until the end of the season draws near.
Congrats Neal Brown!
The former Kentucky Wildcat receiver and offensive coordinator coached Troy to a 28-23 victory over Ohio in the Dollar General Bowl in just his second season as head coach. It’s only Troy’s third bowl win in program history.
Navy fell to Louisiana Tech on a field goal as time expired and Old Dominion beat Eastern Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl. The only bowl game today is the Hawaii Bowl, an 8:00 matchup between the Rainbow Warriors and Middle Tennessee State.
If you don’t want to be jealous of those in Hawaii, the NFL has taken over Christmas Eve to leave Christmas Day to the NBA. The games in bold are teams filled with former Cats.
- Dolphins at Bills
- Jets at Patriots
- Titans at Jags
- Vikings at Packers
- Chargers at Browns
- R Words at Bears
- Falcons at Panthers
- Colts at Raiders
- Bucs at Saints
- Cardinals at Seahawks
- 49ers at Rams
The Bengals travel to Houston to play the Texans in a Saturday night edition of Sunday Night Football.
We began a week of podcast presents with The Depth Chart Podcast, presented by Jack Kain Ford. If you didn’t listen, do it. If you’re going to Jacksonville, find us, because you could win a 65-inch TV. Here’s how:
1. Follow Jack Kain Ford on twitter (@KainFordInc) or Facebook.
2. Take a picture with the Freddie’s Ford Flex or with the Depth Chart Podcast Crew wearing a special Jack Kain Ford t-shirt with same hashtag.
3. Tweet or Facebook pic to Jack Kain Ford using #TeamFreddie
Drawing for the television will be at Jack Kain Ford in Versailles on January 6th.
If you don’t want a free t-shirt or a free TV, you just want another podcast, we got you. In an hour or two I’ll be releasing the KSR Football Podcast we recorded live at the Original Brooklyn Pizza. I want to thank everyone for their patience. I did not plan on locking my keys in my car 45 minutes before show time, creating a few technical difficulties, but what else do you expect from
this crew me?
More Bowl Prep
If a pair of podcasts do not float your boat, there’s still plenty of TaxSlayer Bowl Prep coming your way just a week away from the game in Jacksonville. Start with this video from KY Wildcats TV.
This one isn’t bad either.
If you’d rather read than watch or listen, as the KSR staff sits by the fire with care, tomorrow we will be scheduling the best of the best from our TaxSlayer Bowl coverage. Enjoy the holiday Big Blue Nation!