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Basketball Recruiting News

Keldon Johnson Commits to KENTUCKY

Keldon Johnson has picked Kentucky over N.C. State, Maryland and Texas.

The five-star 6’6″ Oak Hill Academy swingman is considered the No. 2 shooting guard in America and the No. 14 player overall by the 247 Composite Rankings.  Johnson is the second member of John Calipari’s 2018 recruiting class, joining point guard Immanuel Quickley.

Recruited by Joel Justus, Johnson’s stock soared following this summer’s Team USA Junior National Team Mini-Camp.  According to 247’s Jerry Meyer, the physical slasher took his game to another level when he brought an improved jump shot to Colorado Springs.  There’s impressive highlights to back-up that statement.

But wait, THERE’S MORE!  This time from the 2017 Nike EYBL.

Welcome to the BBN.

Listen to Keldon Johnson’s announcement LIVE

Keldon Johnson is down to Kentucky, Maryland, NC State, and Texas. Which school will he pick? Listen in via the radio stream below. (To our knowledge, there is no video stream. It’s like the old days!)

OakHillWarriors is on Mixlr


Romeo Langford Cuts Kentucky


New Albany, Indiana superstar shooting guard Romeo Langford has trimmed his list of finalists to three and John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats did not make the cut.

Langford announced on Twitter his final three schools: Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt.

Kentucky was one of Langford’s seven finalists, but it should be no surprise the Cats are now out of the picture.  The nation’s No. 1 shooting guard played for John Calipari in Egypt as a member of Team USA, but only played sparingly during the ten-day tournament.  After that trip, it was hard to foresee Langford attending college in Lexington.

Instead of looking local for a shooting guard, Calipari is targeting Keldon Johnson, who will make his decision tonight, and Tyler Herro, who is currently in Lexington on an official visit.

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An Even Series

It’s easy to look down on Vanderbilt, but the series is neck and neck.  Over the last ten years, each team has won five times, with the Commodores taking four of the last six.  Kentucky has a one-win advantage in the series, 43-42-4, but Kentucky has not won in Nashville since Rich Brooks and Randall Cobb got a 24-13 win in 2009.

The last time Kentucky made the trip, an uncovered Commodore prevented Kentucky from becoming bowl eligible.  Now Freddie Maggard will never return to the Music City.  The good news is that neither him, nor I will be there to bring bad mojo.  Tyler and Drew will be holding down the fort for KSR.

Will Snell Make History?

There are two accomplishments within reach that will put Benny Snell ahead of all the Kentucky running backs that came before him.  With two touchdowns and 103 rushing yards, Snell will hold the school’s rushing touchdown record and become the first UK running back with consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons.  That might sound like a lot, but the Commodores have the SEC’s No. 12 rushing defense by allowing 211.5 yards per game.

The Schedule

  • 1:00 — The KSR Pregame show begins on 630 WLAP
  • 1:45 — The Cat Walk near Gate 3
  • 2:00 — Countdown to Kickoff with Freddie Maggard & Christi Thomas
  • 4:00 — Kickoff on the SEC Network

How to Watch/Listen

Taylor Zarzour, Andre Ware and Olivia Harlan are on the call for the SEC Network.  If you haven’t memorized where to find America’s favorite television channel…

  • Cable: 516, 517
  • AT&T UVerse: 607, 1607
  • DirecTV: 611
  • Dish: 408

If you’re stuck on the road and can’t watch, there are multiple ways to listen to Leach and Piecoro.

  • AM: 840 WHAS, 630 WLAP
  • FM: 98.1 WBUL
  • Satellite: XM-191 and Sirius-157
  • Online: iHeart Radio

A Halftime Basketball Recruiting Announcement

You will not have time to take a long break during halftime of today’s game.  The No. 2 shooting guard in the 2018 class, Oak Hill’s Keldon Johnson, will make his college decision around 6:00 tonight.  It’s down to Texas, Maryland, N.C. State and Kentucky.

After R.J. Barrett denied Calipari last night, the Cats could use some recruiting momentum in the fall signing period.  If the Cats don’t get Johnson’s commitment, Tyler Herro is another option.  The sharpshooting former Wisconsin commitment is in Lexington this weekend on an official visit.

We’ll have all the coverage you need from Johnson’s announcement right here on KSR.

So About that Basketball Game

There are two ways you can look at last night’s ten-point season-opening win over Utah Valley.  You can either drop your head and say, “this is going to be a long season,” or you can be patient and remind people what happened in John Wall’s first game.

The answer is probably somewhere in-between.  Like Wall’s team, the ’18 Cats will be inconsistent outside shooters and rely on the defense to create offense.  Last night, that came in the form of a 2-3 zone, something Cal only resorts to in dire situations.

This team has a looooooooong way to go.  Sit back, relax and enjoy some inconsistent basketball while Cal’s young Cats try to figure it out.

SEC Basketball is BACK

The SEC went 13-0 on opening night of the college basketball season and they did it without their brightest stars.  A&M curb-stomped West Virginia without Robert Williams, Alabama beat Memphis convincingly without Collin Sexton and Missouri rolled Iowa State without Michael Porter Jr. in front of a sold out Mizzou Arena.

Kentucky has walked through the SEC under John Calipari.  That will not be the case in 2017-18.


Today’s College Football Schedule

  • Noon: No. 12 Michigan State at No. 13 Ohio State on Fox
  • Noon: No. 15 Oklahoma State at No. 21 Iowa State on ABC
  • Noon: Arkansas at No. 24 LSU on ESPN
  • Noon: Florida at South Carolina on CBS
  • 3:30: No. 1 Georgia at No. 10 Auburn on CBS
  • 3:30: Florida State at No. 4 Clemson on ESPN
  • 3:30: No. 20 Iowa at No. 8 Wisconsin on ABC
  • 7:00: No. 2 Alabama at No. 17 Miss. State on ESPN
  • 7:00: Purdue at No. 25 Northwestern on ESPN2
  • 8:00: No. 3 Notre Dame at No. 7 Miami on ABC
  • 8:00: No. 6 TCU at No 5 Oklahoma on Fox

KHSAA Football Playoff Second Round Scores

  • Campbellsville 50, Russellville 26
  • Glasgow 27, Newport Central Catholic 20
  • DeSales 54, Washington County 0
  • Danville 19, Somerset 0
  • LCA 42, Prestonsburg 12
  • Caldwell County 40, Larue County 27
  • Hopkinsville 43, Logan County 8
  • Wayne County 38, Rockcastle County 24
  • Harlan County 28, North Laurel 21
  • Bowling Green 42, Greenwood 21
  • Madison Southern 14, Anderson County 11
  • South Oldham 35, Highlands 34
  • Butler 14, Male 6
  • Frederick Douglass 34, Tates Creek 21
  • Daviess County 34, McCracken County 21
  • St. X 16, PRP 7

To see more scores and next week’s Regional Championship matchups, click here. 

Happy Veterans Day

A big thank you goes out to all of the Veterans who reading this around the world.  Vanderbilt will pay tribute to our Veterans and the Marine Corps, who celebrated its 242nd birthday yesterday.

After last Saturday’s Salute to Service, KY Wildcats TV shares the amazing story of Jon Hill, an assistant strength and conditioning coach who spent more than a decade serving our country before coming to UK.

DECISION DAY: Where will RJ Barrett attend school?

DECISION DAY: Where will RJ Barrett attend school?


Today is the big day…

The No. 1 prospect in the class of 2018, RJ Barrett, is deciding at 6:00 p.m. tonight, and the Wildcats are in his final three along with Duke and Oregon.

Barrett is considered one of the most gifted scorers in recent recruiting memory, and will likely become an All-NBA talent in just a few years. This kid has that “it” factor you look for in a top prospect.

In the FIBA U19 World Championships, Barrett dropped 38 points, 13 rebounds and five assists for Team Canada against Calipari’s Team USA squad in early July. At the end of the month, the five-star forward out of Canada reclassified from the class of 2019 to 2018, and almost immediately, Calipari made him a top priority.

Will Coach Cal’s efforts pay off?

Let’s break down his recruitment:

The Latest

We’ve seen it before in the past, and just like every other time, it is causing a stir amongst all fanbases involved.

Barrett is playing the social media game with fans, liking and following different team-specific things for misdirection. Here are some of his most recent follows…

Other recent follows? Jamal Murray, PJ Washington, Hamidou Diallo, and John Calipari, along with Duke commitments Cam Reddish and Tre Jones.

But no sign of Oregon? Hmm…

That’s not stopping the Ducks from making one last pitch on Twitter:

He’s releasing a documentary series leading up to the announcement:

Lastly, he’s ready to decide:

What are the analysts saying?

Duke has been the rumored favorite for a while, but for what reason?

Following an in-home visit with the Blue Devil coaching staff, almost every recruiting analyst has picked Duke for the five-star forward. Duke assistant Jeff Capel is known to run his mouth to the media, and even the slightest bit of confidence he feels is translated as gospel to those that talk to him. Thus, Duke ALWAYS seems to be a “lock” for prospects, when that may not be true.

In an interview with NPH National Scout Tariq Sbiet, someone that has followed Barrett’s game and recruitment since the eighth grade, weighed in on Kentucky’s chances and where he ultimately think the five-star prospect ends up.

“The biggest thing RJ cares about is, where will he go to position and prepare himself best for the NBA. He’s going to be there for one year and with Kentucky they have carved out a niche being a one and done NBA factory. That’s where I think Kentucky holds a little bit of an advantage because of that reputation. However, that is not to say both Duke and Oregon do not produce NBA talent,” said Sbiet.

“I know they have kept everything in house. Nobody really knows except for, I would say, RJ, his dad and his mom. My guess is, he’s going to Oregon,” said Sbiet.

Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader interviewed Scout’s Evan Daniels, who said Duke is not the massive favorite everyone makes them out to be. The Blue Devils may have a slight lead, but there is definitely suspense going into the announcement.

“I think it’s a pretty tight race,” Daniels told the Herald-Leader on Thursday evening. “It’s been my belief that Duke has been out in front, but obviously anything can happen. And he certainly hasn’t eliminated those other schools. I think there will be a little suspense heading into this announcement.”

Corey Evans of told Roberts that Oregon has a solid shot and the Wildcats have the ability to come in for the big steal.

“I will say that I’m rather on the fence about it,” Evans said. “I think that Oregon has a much better chance than people realize. And I’m not downplaying Kentucky.

“Kentucky has been good for coming out of the woodwork and stealing a guy every now and again, aka Kevin Knox.”

Most people are picking Duke, but it’s not a done deal.

Recruiting whispers

Kentucky’s recent history with talented Canadian prospects seems to be one of the most overlooked aspects of this. Barrett is very good friends with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and the two reportedly talk more often than we realize. Barrett’s AAU coach Dwayne Robinson told SEC Country the five-star forward is like a “brother” to Kentucky’s true freshman.

Barrett “talks to Shai every day,” Washington said. “Shai is like his big brother. They train in the summer, they hang out, Shai works with him and shows him a lot of stuff. Shai is very serious and focused, so if he picks a school, you really gotta take it seriously.”

Washington also told SEC Country that Barrett’s family is very serious about player development with top prospects, something Gilgeous-Alexander told the top prospect on his official visit to Kentucky a while back.

“It was good for the family to see and echo everything about why Shai went there: because they can make you better,” Washington said. “If you’re somebody who is No. 1 in the class, you definitely have to say, ‘What did they do with the other No. 1 guys?’ Who is getting those players to be better than they are, noticeably, in a short period of time?”

Also, Jamal Murray is reportedly close with Barrett and has supposedly been in touch with him about the Wildcats. He told Adam Zagoria watching Murray at Kentucky was “special.”

“Jamal is one of my friends and to watch him play for Kentucky was something special. He said he loved it. It helped him get to the league, so he’s thankful.”

Barrett is also deciding on the same Canadian television station Murray did a few years back.

Speaking of which, check out who was behind Murray at his announcement in 2015…

You guessed it, RJ Barrett’s father, Rowan.

RJ Barrett has pride in his country, and the Kentucky Wildcats have a pretty darn good track record with Canadians.

Trey Lyles, Murray, Mychal Mulder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander… Barrett?

KSR Prediction

My gut says Duke, but this has been a very Kevin Knox-like recruitment.

Barrett’s family doesn’t talk much, if at all, similar to Knox. People made educated guesses for Knox initially, and eventually, everyone took it as gospel. No one picked the Cats, and most believed it would either be Duke or North Carolina. Is Barrett’s situation much different?

All buzz is with Duke, quiet whispers are talking about Oregon, and things are eerily quiet about Kentucky. Which one wins out, no one knows.

I’m going in assuming the worst with the Blue Devils, but I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest if Coach Cal pulled this off.

Regardless, this has the potential to be a massive recruiting night for the Wildcats, or a heartbreaking one.

Let’s hope for the former.

Come on down, RJ.


LOOK: The hats/jerseys are out for RJ Barrett


Preparations continue for RJ Barrett’s announcement, and @UPLAYCanada, the Twitter account of Barrett’s EYBL team, has shared some pictures of the setup. Before you overanalyze the jersey/hat choice and placement, they just switched them around on us:


What does it mean???? Use this thread to speculate as we count down the minutes until his announcement at 6 p.m. (Yes, if there’s a live stream, we’ll have it.)

Today on KSR: Basketball, Barrett, and a special Ford giveaway

Today on KSR: Basketball, Barrett, and a special Ford giveaway

Ford wants to send YOU and three friends to watch the Cats take on ETSU on Nov. 17—but that’s not all. They’re also throwing in a tour of Rupp Arena and a $500 Visa giftcard to boot. Don’t miss your chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at the home of the greatest tradition in college basketball and witness the next class of Kentucky basketball greats—sign up for the Ford Tickets & Tours giveaway now!

Registration is easy: just click HERE, fill out the form, and cross your fingers. Good luck!

With four games over five days, we’re busy, so let’s get right to it.

6:00 PM: R.J. Barrett announces his decision

The number one player in the 2018 class will announce his decision tonight on Canadian sports network TSN. He’s down to Kentucky, Duke, and Oregon, and although the Blue Devils are perceived to be the favorite, Barrett’s camp has been very, very quiet, meaning he could shock everyone. If you’re looking for promising signs, Barrett said he watched Kentucky a lot growing up, took his first official visit to Lexington, and is friends with Jamal Murray, who apparently believes he will be a Cat. On the flip side, he said he also watched Duke a lot growing up and they’ve had all the momentum for months.

Thankfully, we’ll find out for certain at 6 p.m.

7:00 PM, SEC Network: Kentucky opens the season vs. Utah Valley

The games count starting tonight with Utah Valley, coached by former Cat Mark Pope. This is the first meeting between the Cats and the Wolverines, a veteran squad that went to the postseason for the first time in school history last year. They return four starters, while Kentucky returns only 7% of its scoring from last year.

After playing Kentucky, life doesn’t get easier for Utah Valley. Tomorrow night at 7 p.m., they play #1 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Ouch. I think Kevin Knox put it best yesterday when he said he’s praying for the Wolverines.

“That’s a crazy back-to- back games right there. I was looking at that the other day and just praying for them. That’s a tough two days going against two top teams with a lot of talent. I really hope them the best, but I know it’s going to be rough on them Friday and Saturday.”

Let’s win tonight then pray for them, okay?

Here’s the TV schedule for today’s games

12:00 PM Savannah State #12 Cincinnati ESPN3
6:00 PM #25 Texas A&M #11 West Virginia ESPN
6:30 PM Fairleigh Dickinson #23 Seton Hall FS2
7:00 PM Elon #1 Duke ACC Network
7:00 PM Northern Iowa #9 North Carolina ESPNU
8:00 PM North Florida #2 Michigan State Big Ten Network
8:00 PM Northern Arizona #3 Arizona PAC12
8:00 PM UMKC #7 Wichita State ESPN3
8:00 PM Gardner-Webb #13 Miami ACC Network
8:30 PM Columbia #6 Villanova FS2
9:00 PM Tennessee State #4 Kansas ESPNU
10:00 PM CS Fullerton #10 USC PAC12
11:30 PM Georgia Tech #21 UCLA ESPN

Tomorrow at 4 PM, SEC Network: Must-win vs. Vandy

I think everyone, from the players to the coaches to the fans, could use a big win tomorrow vs. Vanderbilt. Even though the ‘Dores are winless in the SEC, they are a formidable foe with one of the league’s best running backs in Ralph Webb and an impressive quarterback in Kyle Shurmur. The Cats cannot afford a lackadaisical effort on Saturday. Win and hope for a strong finish and better bowl remains; lose and the majority of fans jump ship for basketball. Hopefully we don’t have to hear that fog horn too much.

Here’s what Mark Stoops had to say about the game last night:

Three Takeaways from Mark Stoops’ Pre-Vandy Press Conference

The forecast for tomorrow looks great

If you need recs on where to eat and drink in the city, check out my flowcharts from March or just leave me a message in the comments or on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR. If you’re already in Nashville and wondering where to watch tonight’s game, Double Dogs on Charlotte Pike is the official meeting spot for the UK Alumni Club. If you’d rather stay closer to downtown, most bars on Broadway/2nd Avenue will have SEC Network, or Noble’s is an awesome sports bar in nearby East Nashville.

In one hour: KSR is in Nashville

Come on out to the Sleep Outfitters in Bellevue (7033 Highway 70S) to enjoy the show and make it clear that we need KSR on the airwaves in Music City!

Quickley: 10 Things To Know About UK’s Next Point Guard

Quickley: 10 Things To Know About UK’s Next Point Guard

John Calipari has his point guard for the Class of 2018.

Immanuel Quickley, a five-star prospect out of Maryland, made his commitment official on Thursday when he signed his National Letter of Intent to the University of Kentucky. The Wildcats led from start to finish in the race for Quickley, and that race is officially over with his signature on the paperwork.

Now it’s time for you to get familiar with Kentucky’s next point guard (if you’re not already) with 10 Immanuel Quickley facts you need to know.

Immanuel Quickley
Point Guard (2018) | 6-3 | 175 lbs.
Bel Air, MD | John Carroll School
ESPN No. 12 | 3 PG Top247 No. 13 | 2 PG
Rivals No. 10 | 2 PG Scout No. 8 | 3 PG


1. He chose Kentucky over Kansas and Miami in the end.

Quickley was considering two other schools — Kansas and Miami — in the final stages of his recruitment, so he says. Kansas brought him in for an official visit prior to his official to UK; his trip to Miami was called off due to Hurricane Irma. There was some late chatter that Kansas had made a move, but it turns out that wasn’t the case and it was Kentucky in the end, as expected.

2. Calipari’s track record is the reason he picked UK.

Quickley wanted to go to the program that will best prepare him for the NBA, and nowhere does it better than Kentucky.

3. He was the first point guard in his class to receive a UK offer.

Calipari had his eyes on a couple of points guards in the Class of 2018, but Quickley was the top priority of the bunch for the Wildcats. He received his scholarship offer back in October of last year, making him the first point guard on the board with the option to attend UK.

Another 2018 point guard with an offer, Quentin Grimes, is still considering Kentucky, too.

4. Joel Justus was the lead recruiter.

UK assistant coach Joel Justus spearheaded Quickley’s recruitment for the Cats. He made several trips to see the five-star point guard and Quickley once said in an interview that he talks to Justus on a daily basis.

You can see some of Quickley’s in-home visit with Justus and Coach Cal here via a video from the Quickley family.

5. He attended Big Blue Madness 2016.

Quickley made the drive from Baltimore to Lexington last fall to see the welcoming party for the 2016-17 Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena. He and several other UK targets — including Quade Green, P.J. Washington, Nick Richards and Kevin Knox — were in attendance for Big Blue Madness on an unofficial visit to Kentucky in mid-October.

6. He grew closer to Calipari over the summer with Team USA.

Quickley got an early taste of what it is like to play for Calipari while playing for the U19 team in Egypt. Their time together gave UK an advantage in the recruitment, Quickley admitted after returning to the States with a silver medal.

“Everyone wants to know if him coaching me was an advantage because he’s one of the coaches that’s recruiting me,” he wrote in his USA Today blog. “And I’d have to say it was.”

7. He plays the drums in his church.

That’s cool.

8. He’s into pottery.

From Quickey’s personal blog on USA Today High School Sports:

I’m loving my Ceramics class. It’s just cool to build things like cups and boxes and things like that.

UK’s College of Fine Arts offers several ceramics courses, ranging from intermediate to advanced.

9. He can really play.

See for yourself:


10. He is very good friends with Zion Williamson.

And he knows what to do.

Article originally published September 22, 2017 following Quickley’s verbal commitment to UK.

Re-published November 9, 2017 to celebrate his signing.


Immanuel Quickley makes it official, signs with Kentucky

It’s official: Immanuel Quickley will be a Kentucky Wildcat. This morning, Quickley signed his letter of intent in front of friends and family at The John Carroll School in Maryland:

Here’s Quickley showing off that Kentucky jersey with his teammate Montez Mathis, who signed with Rutgers:

Congrats, Immanuel. Now, let’s fill up the class with some of your friends.

Keldon Johnson will announce decision on Saturday

Keldon Johnson will announce decision on Saturday

We knew the dominoes were bound to fall soon, and now we have our first bit of news…

Five-star forward Keldon Johnson has set his commitment date for Saturday, November 11 at 6:00 p.m.

He will decide between North Carolina State, Kentucky, Maryland, and Texas.

Kentucky has been the heavy favorite for several weeks now, and there’s no reason to think that has changed.

Johnson was supposedly “95-percent” certain of his decision, and just needed a bit of time to make sure he was making the right choice.

No. 1 prospect RJ Barrett plans to announce his decision on Friday night, where he will choose between Duke, Kentucky, and Oregon. Will his decision impact Johnson’s? Is there a chance they both end up at UK?

No one knows. What we do know, however, is that Kentucky will almost certainly pick up several new signees in the early signing period.

Go Cats.

ESPN likes Kentucky’s chances with three prospects

Which recruits does Kentucky have the best chance of landing now that the Early Signing Period is officially underway? ESPN’s Jeff Borzello gives Kentucky the edge with three prospects: Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, and Zion Williamson.

Before you break out your custom UK Zion jersey, Borzello notes that his other suitors have made up considerable ground in recent weeks.

“A couple weeks ago, this recruitment seemed fairly positive for Kentucky — but that’s changed significantly since then. The Wildcats still might be the favorite, but Clemson, Duke and North Carolina have all made up ground in the last month. North Carolina hosted him on a visit in late October, while Duke brought him the weekend prior. Clemson is hoping to get him on campus this coming weekend. This one can still go in a number of directions.”

Borzello puts Kentucky’s chances of landing Zion at 35%. Meanwhile, he gives the Cats a 70% chance of landing Tyler Herro, who will be on campus this weekend for an official visit, and a 55% chance of landing Keldon Johnson, who will announce next week. In my opinion, Kentucky lands both Herro and Johnson, while the fight for Zion will go into the spring.

Regardless, we’ll keep our ear to the ground for any rumblings.


Today on KSR, powered by DRAFT: The Early Signing Period has begun

Today on KSR, powered by DRAFT: The Early Signing Period has begun

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The Early Signing Period is upon us

Starting today, high school seniors can make their commitments official by signing their letters of intent (LOI). Right now, Kentucky only has one commit in the 2018 class in Immanuel Quickley, but a week from now, there’s a very good chance they’ll have one or two more. Here’s the timeline as we know it:

  • Thursday: Immanuel Quickley signs his LOI
  • Friday: RJ Barrett announces
  • Weekend: Tyler Herro arrives on campus for official visit
  • Next week: Keldon Johnson announces

Bol Bol, Quentin Grimes, Moses Brown, and Zion Williamson could also announce this week, so there’s a LOT on the table. If you missed it yesterday, here’s a detailed breakdown of where Kentucky stands with each of its top targets:

Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Early Signing Period Preview

Mark Stoops on the SEC Coaches Teleconference

Stoops will take questions from reporters around lunch, while Matt House will give us an update on his defense after practice. After the Ole Miss loss, it’s been a tense week around the fanbase, but let’s just hope the team is much looser a few days ahead of their trip to Nashville.

Speaking of…

Right now, the game forecast looks good

It’s hard to ask for a better forecast than that in November. If you’re staying in town for the Titans/Bengals game, there’s a chance of rain, but it’s not until the late afternoon/evening.

ICYMI, last night we got a Yahtzee

Three-star athlete Ashtan Pierre committed to Kentucky last week and plans to enroll early. He chose the Cats over a bevy of schools, most notably South Carolina.

YAHTZEE: Kentucky adds three-star athlete to 2018 class

John Calipari’s dogs made an appearance at practice yesterday

McGruff and Palmer accompanied Ellen to the Joe Craft Center yesterday while she dropped off birthday brownies for Jonny David. Clearly, they have the run of the place.

LaVar Ball canceled his press conference in China

Yesterday, LiAngelo Ball and two of his UCLA teammates were arrested for shoplifting in China, and after initially planning a press conference for this morning, LaVar Ball has been told to keep his mouth shut, an epic feat for the outspoken father. A few hours ago, Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill were released on bail, and will stay at a hotel until the legal process is over. Chinese lawyers told Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel that could take over a month, and if convicted, the trio could be sentenced to three to ten YEARS in prison. Wow. Yeah…best to stay quiet, LaVar.

Kentucky accounted for 81 of the Pelicans’ 117 points last night

The New Orleans Pelicans beat the Indiana Pacers last night 117-112 in Indianapolis thanks to some big performances from a trio of Cats. Anthony Davis led the way with 37 points and 14 rebounds, followed by DeMarcus Cousins with 32 points and 13 rebounds. Darius Miller hit 3 threes for the third straight game for 12 points. Impressive stuff. Highlights coming in just a bit in the BBNBA roundup, but here’s a quick look at Anthony’s big night:

In other NBA news, Willie Cauley-Stein got a haircut:

Did you watch the Ric Flair “30 for 30”?

Because you know Matt’s going to talk about it on today’s show, which starts in about an hour…

Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Early Signing Period Preview

Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Early Signing Period Preview

The early signing period begins tomorrow and, with only one commitment on the board in Immanuel Quickley and a handful of targets set to decide, this week could shape Kentucky’s 2018 class. Here’s a preview of what you can expect, along with our latest predictions.

Signing Thursday

Immanuel Quickley ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Point Guard 6-3 | 175 lbs Bel Air, MD John Carroll School/Team BBC
ESPN: 12 | 3 PG Top 247: 13 | 2 PG Rivals: 10 Scout: 8 | 3 PG

After committing to Kentucky back in September, Quickley will put ink to paper on Thursday to make his pledge official.

Announcing Friday

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 is down to Kentucky, Duke, and Oregon, and although most believe the Blue Devils are the frontrunner, Barrett and his family have kept this recruitment close to the vest. He will announce his decision at 6 p.m. on Canadian sports channel TSN, ala Jamal Murray.


As mentioned, Barrett and his family have kept this recruitment quiet, but there are too many experts (including Evan Daniels) picking Duke to expect otherwise. The hope for Kentucky here is Barrett will surprise everyone, ala Kevin Knox, and that Calipari’s Canadian pipeline will be more influential than most anticipate. It’s worth noting that Barrett is friends with Jamal Murray and Shai Alexander; will that factor in?


Visiting Kentucky this weekend

 Tyler Herro ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Shooting Guard 6-4 | 180 lbs. Greenfield, WI Whitnail/Playground Warriors
ESPN: 27 | 4 SG Top 247: 40 | 6 SG Rivals: 38 Scout: 38 | 5 SG

It’s been a fast and furious courtship with Herro, who decommitted from Wisconsin on October 17 and heard from Kenny Payne nine days later. Last week, Herro got an offer from John Calipari, and he will take his official visit to Kentucky this weekend.


Herro was reportedly the one to reach out to Kentucky, so if he likes what he sees this weekend (and how could he not?), I’d expect him to go ahead and make it official.


Likely to announce:

Keldon Johnson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Small Forward 6-6 | 205 lbs. South Hill, VA Oak Hill Academy
ESPN: 7 | 3 SF Top 247: 11 | 2 SG Rivals: 18 Scout: 24 | 2 SG

There have been some conflicting reports on Johnson in recent days, with his father backtracking on an earlier report that Johnson would sign this week. Now, per his father, he may wait until next week or even the spring. Over the weekend, Johnson himself said he’s 95% sure he knows where he wants to go, so he’s probably just waiting to see what R.J. Barrett does on Friday night. (UPDATE: Johnson will announce next week.)


Kentucky, Maryland, and Texas are the three schools recruiting Johnson the hardest, but the Cats have had the momentum for a while. Texas may try to make a last-minute push by leaning on Johnson’s longstanding relationship with Shaka Smart, but I feel good about Kentucky’s chances, especially if R.J. Barrett picks Duke.


Bol Bol ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Center 7-2 | 220 lbs. Santa Ana, CA Mater Dei/Cal Supreme
ESPN: 4 | 1 C Top 247: 4 | 1 C Rivals: 3 Scout: 2 | 1 C

Bol is down to Kentucky and Oregon and has taken official visits to both. All indications are he will sign early.


Oregon has become the clear favorite in recent weeks. Kentucky’s recent involvement with Moses Brown is a good indicator they are moving on.


Quentin Grimes ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Shooting/Point Guard 6-4 | 185 lbs. The Woodlands, TX The Woodlands/Basketball University
ESPN: 13 | 3 SG Top 247: 17 | 5 PG Rivals: 11 Scout: 11 | 4 PG

Grimes is down to Kentucky, Kansas, Marquette, and Texas and has taken all of his official visits. He hasn’t set an announcement date, but is expected to sign in the fall.


Grimes has long been considered a Kansas lean, but Kentucky quietly stayed in the picture; however, considering the Cats already have a point guard commitment in Immanuel Quickley and the chances of Quade Green and/or Shai Alexander returning seem high, I expect Grimes to be a Jayhawk.


May wait until the Spring

 Moses Brown ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Center 7-1 | 241 lbs. Briarwood, NY Archbishop Molloy/New Heights
ESPN: 17 | 2 C Top 247: 27 | 3 C Rivals: 13 Scout: 13 | 2 C

Cal, Florida State, Kentucky, Maryland, and UCLA are the contenders for Brown, the second best center in the class behind Bol Bol. Kentucky jumped back in the race for his services on Sunday when John Calipari and Tony Barbee paid him a visit; however, they did not extend an offer. One will likely come when Brown takes his official visit to Kentucky, which has yet to be determined.

PREDICTION: Kentucky (but not until the spring)

Even though Maryland is considered the frontrunner, Brown’s father told the Herald-Leader that Kentucky is his son’s “dream school” and he’s been waiting for an offer from Calipari for some time. Yet, obligations to his high school team will keep him from taking his official visit to Kentucky this weekend to get that offer, so unless the family finds a way to get to Lexington before November 15, this one will go into the spring.


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

I saved the biggest mystery for last. Clemson, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina are the teams after Zion, and there are some recent reports that suggest he could take his final official visit to Clemson this weekend. Zion initially said he wanted to announce before his high school season began, but right now, it looks like this will carry through to the spring.

PREDICTION: Kentucky (but not until the spring)

I would love nothing more than for Zion to wrap this thing up and pick Kentucky in the next week, but I have a feeling this recruitment will drag out until the very end. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


Report: Keldon Johnson to announce decision next week

The honorable Chris Fisher over at spoke to the father of Keldon Johnson on Tuesday and he confirmed the five-star guard will announce his decision next week.

Johnson is of course considering Kentucky, as well as Maryland, N.C. State and Texas.

This past Friday, Johnson told USA Today, “I’d say I’m about 95 percent sure I know where I want to go… Most likely I’ll get it over with. I just have to talk with my family and make sure they’re OK with it.”

The original plan was to announce his decision this week, but for whatever reason, he will take a little longer before wrapping things up. My uneducated guess? He wants to wait to see if R.J. Barrett picks Kentucky on Friday.

For more from Fisher’s conversation with Johnson’s father, click here to ready the story.

Celebrate NBA Cats with “The Greatest Play At UK” video

Celebrate NBA Cats with “The Greatest Play At UK” video

Kentucky Wildcats TV released a new video celebrating Kentucky’s many basketball alums in the NBA, and it’s awesome.

The video’s message is direct: “The Greatest Play At UK.”

I don’t think the timing of the video is a coincidence as R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and other top prospects in the Class of 2018 finalize their college decisions in the coming days.