A new Aaron Torres Sports Podcast is live, with a very special guest: Former Kentucky Wildcat and current New York Knicks star Enes Kanter! Kanter talks to Aaron about all sorts of things in a wide-ranging interview, including his time at Kentucky, getting screwed by the NCAA, playing with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in OKC and what is next for the Knicks. But first, Aaron welcomes in his friend Nick Coffey to talk about a wild week in sports. They discuss:
A couple quick basketball storylines: Aaron attended Wednesday’s Adidas Summer Championships, and shares a couple quick thoughts on the No. 1 player in America, James Wiseman. Also, Aaron explains why Penny Hardaway could be an actual threat to the rest of college basketball, and not just a guy who recruits Memphis well for the Tigers.
Some thoughts on Larry Fedora and CTE: Next, Aaron and Nick shift to a wide-ranging discussion UNC basketball coach Larry Fedora’s comments on CTE. Aaron explains why he mostly defends Fedora here. At this point, don’t football players know what they’re getting into when they play? And while CTE is a serious issue, Aaron explains why some of the reports which have come out aren’t as conclusive as some say, and discusses why there are still more questions than answers this point with CTE and football.
Next, Aaron welcomes in former Kentucky Wildcat and current New York Knick Enes Kanter to the show. The two guys discuss a number of topics, as he gets set to host a summer camp in Los Angeles. Amongst the topics they discuss:
Enes’ time at Kentucky: Enes takes a deep dive on his time at Kentucky. He explains the frustrating process he went through with the NCAA and when and how he found out he was ruled ineligible. He also explains how he nearly came back for a second season at Kentucky and the advice that John Calipari gave him.
His time with the Oklahoma City Thunder: Enes shares intimate details of his time in Oklahoma City, when the Thunder nearly won a championship. He explains what it was like to play with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, and how he found out that KD was leaving OKC. Also, Kanter weighs in on the biggest talking point in basketball: Have the Warriors ruined the NBA?
And finally, his time with the Knicks: Finally, Enes wraps up by talking about his time with the Knicks. He explains why he is excited to play with Kevin Knox, and what fans can expect from a young team next season.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
By Nick Roush on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Benny Snell did not travel to SEC Media Days alone. As always, the Kentucky running back carried a chip on his shoulder.
“He brings that attitude, he brings that chip on his shoulder each and every day,” Mark Stoops said. “He comes to every scrimmage, every practice and plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played. He makes very tough yards. He’s been very reliable. I really appreciate what he’s done.”
It may be a tired cliche, but it’s the best way to describe how Snell carries himself. No matter what, he feels disrespected. Snell has made proving people wrong a habit, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Kentucky fans first saw Snell run angry in the third game of the 2016 season. After being overlooked in a pair of losses, the true freshman did not waste an opportunity to show Eddie Gran he was ready to become a star in the SEC. Snell ran angry until he had more than 1,000 yards and the school’s freshman rushing record.
Snell impressed plenty of people, but not enough to be considered one of the conference’s best backs entering the 2017 season. When critics called out the Cats, he burned their words. Many doubted he could do it again, calling for a sophomore slump. Snell responded by doing things no other Wildcat had done before him. He became the first UK running back to post consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and shattered the school’s career rushing touchdown record.
As he enters his third and likely final season at UK, Benny will earn preseason All-SEC honors, but that recognition isn’t enough to satisfy Snell. His motivation comes from that incredibly large chip on his shoulder, one that’s been there for years.
“It really started from high school,” Snell explained. “Coming into high school I was always an Ohio State guy. I wanted to be a hometown hero, but that wasn’t the case. I found myself at camps, being the best one and still guys were winning running back MVPs, when I was the best one. I knew I was. From then, all the way till now — being a low-ranked recruit, being not productive, being at Kentucky — I forever will keep this chip on my shoulder.”
To make matters worse for his opponents, Snell’s season ended early with an unjust ejection in the Music City Bowl. It’s provided a little extra motivation, even though that’s unnecessary.
“No, I don’t think it needs to grow,” Stoops laughed. “It’s a big enough chip…He’s ready to go.”
Snell is prepared to prove that he’s the best running back in the SEC, a statement he reiterated multiple times at SEC Media Days. He knows what it will take to receive the respect he believes he deserves.
“You win games,” Snell said bluntly. “It’s all about production. It’s all about being better than you were last year. It’s time to win games now.”
Is Snell better this year? “From my freshman year, to now, I feel like I’m the best I’ve ever been. My time is now.”
— Josh Edwards (@JEdwar247) September 18, 2017
* While writing this post, I could not stop thinking of this line from Malibu’s Most Wanted. “She had a big chip on her shoulder, till she ate it.”
The one and only Big Mick is a meaty masterpiece in its own right. Composed of two quarter-pound patties* of never-fresh, frozen, mostly beef raised close to the processing plant. Only McDowell’s has the frosted beef and processed cheese to give you a major reason for the afternoon trip to the secret bathroom only you and Debra know about on the 9th floor that is under construction.
You can be a part of McDowell’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day.
If you are interested in sponsoring KSR’s Top 10 Tweets, please contact us at Via Email.
#10 Jamie Creager
— Jamie Creager (@jamie_creager) July 19, 2018
Blue ALWAYS gets in.
#9 Brittni McCoy
Went to play ball at the Roy F. Collier Community Center in Inez and found this! #ksr120 #BBN #GOBIGBLUE @KySportsRadio @ryanlemond @DrewFranklinKSR @MrsTylerKSR @hey_kentucky @ShannonTheDude @TJWalkerKSR pic.twitter.com/oHYixN5nCn
— Brittni McCoy (@bmccoy10) July 19, 2018
#8 Brandon Moody
— Brandon Moody (@moody2806) July 19, 2018
This is classic KSR.
#7 Hunt Boyd
— Hunt Boyd (@doctor_pappy) July 19, 2018
Okay, these pigs are actually pretty cute.
#6 Alan Talley
— Alan Talley (@alantalley) July 19, 2018
#5 Clint Smalley
— Clint Smalley (@TheClintShow) July 19, 2018
You said it, not me.
#4 Dr. Travis Tarr
— Dr. Travis Tarr, PT (Prep BB Coach) (@tarrt) July 19, 2018
Well this is adorable.
#3 Patrick Spalding
— Patrick Spalding (@Cleatus2121) July 19, 2018
Two days in a row? We aim to please.
#2 Roy Combs
I have a feeling Rick Dees is gonna be a very nice networking connection for #KSR
— Roy Combs™ (@broncofan4life) July 19, 2018
Nothing wrong with that!
#1 Lee McFarland
— Lee McFarland (@LMcFarland68) July 19, 2018
Yes, yes they did.
By TJ Walker on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 10:00pm
Duke basketball will be the focus of an all-access feature this fall called “Earn Everything”, the school announced Thursday.
The series will show Duke’s players arriving to campus, practicing, its exhibition trip to Canada and their preparation for the opening season game against Kentucky.
The eight episode series will air on ESPN Plus, which likely means not too many people will watch it.
UK all-access shows are old news. Calipari has had a 30 for 30 and the Cats have had two all-access shows including one on regular ESPN. Sadly that was the year the Cats went to the NIT. We can only hope Duke suffers a similar fate.
Let’s hope it shows Coach K cry like he did when Luke Kennard committed to the Blue Devils. If that doesn’t happen I’ll settle for this being a distraction for the young Dukies.
See ya in November.
By TJ Walker on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 9:30pm
Matt Jones spoke with former UK head coach Tubby Smith at the Barbasol Pro-Am. The two played together, along with John Michael Montgomery and Rick Dees, and the gang won the whole doggone thing.
Jones caught up with Tubby to talk about his time in Lexington, and he spoke with Montgomery and Dees.
“We really love Kentucky,” Tubby said. “Obviously there’s no better basketball fans, or better fans period anywhere in Kentucky.”
Tubby is the man. The dude won a championship for UK and although it didn’t work out long term we were lucky to have him.
Days ago many UK fans maybe had never heard of Kahlil Whitney, the new 6-foot-6, 185-pound Kentucky target from Roselle Catholic in New Jersey (the same place Isaiah Briscoe played), but now Whitney is talking about visiting UK’s campus.
The No. 23 ranked player in the Rivals150 (No. 18 in 247 Sports) spoke with Rivals’ National Recruiting Analyst Eric Bossi. Whitney didn’t debate whether he would or would not check out Lexington, but instead if it would be an official or unofficial visit.
“I talked to coach (John) Calipari once and he talked to my family and I have talked to them about it. He said that he would love to have me on campus. I don’t know when I want to take an official or an unofficial, I’m not sure. But, I’ll be talking to my parents about that.”
You can read Bossi’ entire update HERE, but it seems like the reputation of Kentucky alone has Whitney interested. Sometimes it can be tough for UK to make ground on a five-star that has been being recruited by other players for years, but Whitney seems interested to hear what UK has to say and wants to check out Kentucky’s campus.
Whitney averaged 21.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game on the Nike EYBL circuit.
What this tells me is that UK is possibly casting a wider net at the wing position for 2019. The Cats have only offered Keion Brooks at that position in 2019, but Kentucky just invited Dontaie Allen back for another unofficial visit and are actively pursuing Whitney.
KSR posted on the Monday Insider Notes that Brooks may prefer other schools over Kentucky, so perhaps UK is seeing the writing on the wall or maybe the Cats weren’t blown away by Brooks’ performance at Peach Jam. Whatever the reason, UK has new options.
I expect Allen to get an offer when he visits UK and we may need to be on “offer watch” with Whitney.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 8:30pm
Nine games of action were all former Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison saw for the Dallas Mavericks last season. The Mavericks tanked away the entire season, which gave Harrison a chance to showcase all the progress he made during his 41 games for the G League team, the Reno Bighorns (now named the Stockton Kings). Harrison averaged 18.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a G Leaguer before being called up to the pros. However, the player once known for having the coldest veins in college basketball looked like anything but that in the NBA.
At 23-years old, Harrison’s game is best defined as a sharpshooting wing who can make tough shots with a hand in his face. He didn’t get much of an opportunity to display that during his two-season run with Charlotte, where he played a total of 26 games and only 110 minutes. But for the Bighorns, that’s exactly what he was, as evidenced by his 42.5 percent mark from three on over six attempts per game. His short stint in Dallas, however, did not paint the same picture.
In nine games for the Mavericks – which included three starts and 233 total minutes – Harrison averaged 6.7 points and 2.2 rebounds while playing nearly 26 minutes per game. With the season well over for the organization, the Mavericks saw it as an opportunity to search for hidden talent that might be able to make a contribution in the future. The Mavericks were essentially holding regular season “tryouts” and Harrison, along with Johnathan Motley (Baylor), Kyle Collinsworth (BYU), and Jalen Jones (Texas A&M), were invited along for the ride. Harrison didn’t even make his debut until the Mavericks 72nd game of the season. Starters such as Dennis Smith Jr., Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, and Wesley Matthews were playing limited minutes (if any) in order to let the younger players get some run.
Instead of playing with the regular season rotation, Harrison was playing a high-level version of the G League. Which is something to keep in mind when evaluating his play from last season. After watching him play, the most obvious note I can make is that he did not look completely comfortable on the court. Playing with practically an entirely new team with little time to prepare was a noticeable downside in him being able to play to his abilities. The fact that those teammates were mostly compiled of other G Leaguers also plays a role in Harrison settling into a new offense and system with unfamiliar faces surrounding him.
To quickly sum it up, Harrison did not do enough for the Mavericks to prove that he’s worth another this offseason and his disappointing play at the 2018 Summer League surely didn’t help either. But there are plenty of positives to pull from the finite number of minutes he played this past season.
Harrison shot a lowly percentage of 20.9 from three during his nine games in a Dallas uniform. He attempted nearly five attempts per game, too, and took any shot he felt was open. Despite not shooting well, he was still taking shots. For Harrison, having confidence in his shot is a huge benefit, no matter how many times he misses. Hardly did he hesitate on open looks or shots with a defender in his face. Unfortunately, most of Harrison’s misses were considered “wide-open”. According to NBA.com, Harrison was 1-2 on threes that were considered “tight”, or where the defender was within 2-4 feet of him when he attempted the shot. On shots considered “open” (closest defender within 4-6 feet), he shot 1-10. As for the shots considered “wide-open”, where a defender was at least six feet away from him, he shot only 7-31, or 22.6 percent. I don’t believe it was a lack of confidence for Harrison, because he looked more than confident in every three he attempted, but having little rhythm is what impacted him the most.
In the last few games he played as the season dwindled down, he consistently showed more frustration as the ball refused to go in the basket. The open misses were clearly starting to get in his head down the stretch and there were several possessions where he would swing his head down after a miss and give up a fastbreak or get back on defense too slowly. The confidence in his shot was always there, but the confidence in his overall play appeared to diminish with every passing game.
When we take a look at the shots he did make, there is so much potential.
Harrison has one of the purest shooting forms in all of basketball. Not just the G League, but the entire NBA. It reminds me a bit of Klay Thompson’s jump shot. It’s incredibly quick, has a high release point, and he doesn’t need much from his legs to get the shot off. Being six-foot-six sure does help, too. He has the range to step back well-beyond the NBA three-point line, it’s just a matter of if he can do this consistently. He’s a career 39.8 percent shooter from deep in his G League career. We know he can knock down threes all day long, being able to execute that at the highest level is what has escaped him thus far. But I firmly believe the variables mentioned earlier, (being thrown into a new system, playing with mostly G League teammates, etc.) played a significant role towards his inability to find a rhythm with his shot. He exuded plenty of confidence in his shot, he just never looked comfortable in the game.
Harrison does do a good job of knowing where to be in spot-up situations. He has a solid understanding of how to rotate when there is a possibility for a kick out. These are tiny tools that can turn him into a spot-up specialist at the next level, but again, it comes down to making the shots when it counts. He doesn’t need much space to get off a shot so if he plants himself correctly, he needs only a couple extra inches to get off a clean look. Already knowing how to rotate and be in proper position is something a lot of shooters don’t naturally have. If he can find himself in a system where he has time to build chemistry with lead guards and decipher rotations, that’s where he would strive as an offensive threat.
He didn’t show many signs of being a threat at getting to the basket, limited to few dribble moves and a line-drive method of attack. He has a decent frame, but struggled to get to the rim and, more importantly, he struggled to finish. The shots that did go in usually weren’t shots he can reliably expect to make on a game-by-game basis.
If he’s given a mismatch against a clearly smaller and slower guard, Harrison does a good job of acknowledging that and can attack with some efficiency.
On defense, Harrison left much to be desired.
He overused the back tap method, where he would lazily (yet precisely) swipe at the ball after being beaten by a defender. He was actually rather efficient in doing so in comparison to most NBA players, but it is a poor way of going about defending on the ball. It means he’s being beaten too easily and the chance to poke the ball away last minute won’t always be there as evidenced by the play against Tyler Ulis.
What Harrison does do well on defense is always making sure his hands are active. He’s not a great rotational defender off the ball but has a sneaky ability to swipe his hands in at the perfect time and jar the ball loose enough for a transition opportunity.
The biggest negative regarding Harrison’s defense is his general unawareness. He gets caught ball watching and is constantly having to make up ground, chasing cutters all across the court and being mauled by screens in the process. This is less about a lack of comfortability within the system and more about his need to improve his overall anticipation of his opponents. Make sure to look where Harrison is at the beginning of each play in the clip below. He’s often in a favorable position but quickly loses it in the blink of an eye. He’s not aggressive enough to fight through screens or to keep penetrators from bullying him to the post. Even with a six-foot-eight wingspan, he can’t keep opposing players in front of him. His length helps him break up plays, but his lack of lateral quickness can often kill him.
There is a lot to like about Aaron Harrison. He’s the perfect size for the modern day two-guard and could one day play the three consistently if his defense improves. There aren’t many players with as pure of a shooting form as him and if he is able to make his way back into the NBA, a significant bump in his three-point percentage would skyrocket his overall stock. Another run in the G League similar to his 2017-18 season could easily earn him another 10-day contract for an NBA team, albeit, probably one near the bottom of the league standings much like Dallas was last season. But nonetheless, Harrison just needs another shot. There are some clear holes he needs to work on, but there’s no denying he has supreme confidence in his jump shot.
By TJ Walker on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 8:00pm
Matt Jones debated Mitch McConnell advisor Scott Jennings at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Conference in Louisville on Thursday. The pair, along with Jacqueline Pitts, spoke on a plethora of topics like the governor’s race, national politics, and other races to watch across the state.
The UK women’s basketball team started practice today, giving us another sign that the fun sports are on the way and we’ll get through this summer soon enough.
The Cats finished 15-17 last season but 2018-2019 looks much brighter. UK will return 11 players on last season’s team, including Ogechi Anyagaligbo who was injured last season. Anyagaligbo was named Rookie of the Year in the American East Conference after averaging 10.1 points and nine rebounds per game for Stony Brook during the 2015-2016 season.
Kentucky will return 80 percent of its scoring, 74 percent of its rebounding and 80 percent of its assists. Sounds good, but that’s not all.
UK adds Rhyne Howard and Blair Green. The two freshman were high school stars with Howard being named Miss Basketball of Tennessee. Green was named First Team All-State in Kentucky. Howard leaves for USA Basketball this weekend.
But hold the phone. We’re not done yet.
The Cats will also get a preseason exhibition trip to Italy. John Calipari and his squad heads to the Bahamas, Matthew Mitchell’s team will go to Rome, Florence and Venice. We all know how beneficial those summer trips can be so it’s a nice added bonus for both teams.
UK will practice again Saturday and Sunday and the season opener on Nov. 7th will be here before we know it.
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) July 19, 2018
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) July 19, 2018
New season, same energy. A great first day of practice. ? pic.twitter.com/uxuSqsiLpi
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) July 19, 2018
James Wiseman is a stud. You probably knew that and you’ve probably watched several highlight videos of the 6-foot-11, 210-pound No. 1 ranked center.
But here’s one more from last night. Wiseman is playing in Orange County for an adidas AAU team because it’s the most competitive remaining circuit. No, not because the team has Memphis ties or because he knows he’s going to be a Tiger.
Aaron Torres had a great update on Wiseman last night that recaps his aggressive evening. Read that HERE.
I think it’s about 50/50 with UK’s chances with Wiseman, but there’s a reason UK has made him a priority for over a year.
— SLAM HS Hoops (@SLAM_HS) July 19, 2018