Congratulations, you’ve made it! It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, meaning that –whether you’re actually done →
Vanderbilt’s gonna be legit next year, y’all.
Canadian power forward Simi Shittu just announced his commitment to Vanderbilt, the second five-star recruit to do so this year. Shittu joins fellow former UK recruit and five-star point guard Darius Garland and four-star small forward Aaron Nesmith in Vanderbilt’s 2018 class. With five-star shooting guard Romeo Langford also considering the Commodores, there’s no denying Bryce Drew is getting it done.
A few months ago, it appeared John Calipari was ready to jump in the race for Shittu, even taking Jamal Murray up to watch him play in Ontario, but Cal never extended an offer. Now, the Cats will face him twice next season. What a massive get for Bryce Drew.
Here’s Shittu’s announcement via the Players’ Tribune:
Simi Shittu wants to let you know where he’s going to college.
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) November 22, 2017
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 22nd, 2017 @ 12:15pm
Don’t write James Young’s NBA obituary just yet.
After being waived by the Milwaukee Bucks last month, Young has found new life with the Bucks’ G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd. Young has turned in back-to-back 40-point performances, putting up 40 points (12-15 FG) vs. the Maine Red Claws on Saturday and 41 points (12-17 FG, 9-11 3 PT FG) vs. the Delaware 87ers last night.
Prior to last night’s scoring flurry, Young was named G-League Performer of the Week. So far this season, he’s averaging 29.6 points, the most of any player in the G-League. Last year, Young averaged 2.3 points in 29 games with the Boston Celtics, who did not resign his contract. After a stint with the New Orleans Pelicans summer league team, he signed a training camp contract with the Bucks, but was optioned to the Herd.
More performances like this and it’s only a matter of time before he gets called up.
Tonight is the second game in three days for the Kentucky Wildcats, and the sixth game in the last 13 days overall, so I’m sure one thing these kids are thankful for come Thursday is rest. But we cannot overlook tonight’s match up against the Fort Wayne Mastodons.
Head Coach Jon Coffman brings the 3-1 Mastodons to Rupp Arena for their first ever game against Kentucky. Fort Wayne has won three straight after dropping their first game of the year to Oakland. Their wins are over Defiance, Delaware State, and University of Illinois at Chicago. The Cats take on UIC on Sunday.
Coffman is in his fourth season manning the sidelines for Fort Wayne, following three years as an assistant there. Coffman’s most notable win was over Indiana last season in a shocking upset on national television. Let’s take a look at the probable starting lineup for the Mastodons tonight against the Wildcats:
#1 Bryson Scott, Senior Guard, 6’1″
Bryson Scott is one of three returning starters for Jon Coffman and the Mastodons. After spending two seasons at Purdue, Scott transferred to Fort Wayne where he was named to the Summit League All-Newcomer team last season. Scott was a four-star recruit out of high school and a top 100 player.
The former Boilermaker was one of the top contributors on this Fort Wayne team last year. This year, he’s the top contributor. Scott is leading the team in both points and assists, averaging 22 and 4.3 on the season, to go along with 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals which are both good for second on the team. He’s shooting just under 30% from 3-point range and over 83% from the free throw line.
Another game, another talented and experienced guard for Kentucky’s Quade Green to go up against. Green has been doing a fantastic job on the offensive side of the ball, sticking out as the second best scorer for the Cats lately, but his defensive lapses still occur.
#55 John Konchar, Junior Forward, 6’5″
John Konchar is the second of three returning starters for the Mastodons this season, making this his third year as a starter. Konchar has been named to the All-Summit League First Team in each of the last two seasons. He had the most double-doubles in the conference last season with 15, good for 26th in the country.
The junior has led the team in rebounds from day 1 of his freshman year, and it continues into his third year. He’s averaging a double-double on the season with 11.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per contest, along with 3.5 assists and a team leading 3.3 steals per game. He’s hit a third of his 3’s this season and 6 of his 7 attempted free throws.
Konchar plays a lot bigger than his height with his ability to rebound. At 6’5″, he has a four inch differential to his match up with Kevin Knox, but only weighs five pounds less. It will be interesting to see how Knox defends Konchar on the glass, given that Konchar will try to body up Knox more so than any player Knox has defended this season.
#32 Kason Harrell, Junior Guard, 6’2″
Kason Harrell is yet another returning starter for Coach Coffman. He started 29 of 33 games last season, scoring in double figures 21 times. Harrell currently sits at fifth in the entire nation in career three point shooting percentage for active NCAA Division 1 players at 45.3%.
The junior is one of three double-digit per game scorers on this Mastodon squad, averaging 12.8 points per game which is good for second on the team. He’s also giving the team 1.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Harrell has made 11 of his 28 attempted three point shots on the season, and has only attempted 16 two point field goals.
Harrell is basically the definition of a shooting guard. He’s not the primary ball handling guard, but will light you up from downtown if given the chance. Hamidou Diallo will need to run him off that three point line to avoid any huge shooting performances.
#22 Xzavier Taylor, Senior Forward, 6’9″
Xzavier Taylor is in his second season playing at Fort Wayne after playing two seasons for Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Despite starting the majority of his freshman season at Bradley, his playing time was reduced his sophomore campaign to just under 10 minutes per game.
The senior is splitting time at the 5 position for Coach Coffman with 6’11” big man Dylan Carl, with both players playing just under 17 minutes per game. Taylor is averaging 6.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, while Carl is contributing 6.5 points and 4.8 rebounds while leading the team in blocks. Combined, the two post players are 3 for 3 from beyond the arc on the season.
Both Taylor and Carl man the paint for the Mastodons, meaning they’ll match up with the two Kentucky big men of Nick Richards and Sacha Killeya-Jones. The two are very different though, as Taylor is 6’9″ and 255 pounds, while Carl is 6’11” and only 205 pounds.
#5 Jax Levitch, Sophomore Forward, 6’7″
Jax Levitch is actually a Kentucky native, playing his high school basketball at Trinity High School in Louisville. His brother, David Levitch, actually just finished his playing career at the University of Louisville from 2013-2017, playing less than 10 minutes per game his senior season.
The sophomore is taller than his brother by 4 inches and comes with a different skill set. Currently, Levitch is averaging 5.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 0.8 steals per game. At 6’7″, he is the second tallest player in the starting lineup, but can step out hit jump shots. He has hit 6 of his 13 attempted threes in the first four games of the season.
At only 210 pounds, Levitch will be outsized by his counterpart in the Kentucky lineup, PJ Washington, who weighs in at 236 pounds. Everyone has been waiting for Washington to show that bulldog mentality in the paint that was promised in the offseason, and this may be the matchup he is able to do it.
The Fort Wayne Mastodons do bring a lot of experience to Rupp Arena tonight, with three returning starters and two seniors in the starting lineup. The Cats can’t be looking forward to Thanksgiving too much, as Fort Wayne does have the ability to knock off high-major schools, like they did to Tom Crean and Indiana last season. Hopefully, tonight is the night we see Kentucky come out and play a full 40 minutes of solid basketball to have a good feeling going into the holiday weekend.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 22nd, 2017 @ 11:05am
And now, a University-6 news dump to start your holiday break: Louisville just announced assistant coach Kenny Johnson has been fired and freshman Brian Bowen has been ruled ineligible.
Once the associate head coach, Johnson was placed on paid leave in early October after an FBI investigation revealed that UofL coaches worked with adidas to funnel $100,000 to Bowen’s family in exchange for him coming to Louisville. Earlier this month, the FBI gave Louisville the go-ahead to investigate Bowen to reinstate him, but clearly, that was a fruitless quest. Bowen will never play for Louisville and will be allowed to transfer to the school of his choice.
Brian Bowen will not play at the University of Louisville. He may remain on scholarship but will not be allowed to practice or compete pic.twitter.com/R04h5R58pR
— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) November 22, 2017
Colleges when they hear from Bowen:
By Aaron Torres on ©November 22nd, 2017 @ 10:00am
Congratulations, you’ve made it! It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, meaning that –whether you’re actually done with work or not – you’re officially in vacation mode. It’s time to kick back, relax, half-heartedly text your friends about that 5k you promised to run tomorrow (even though you know you won’t) and get ready to gorge on enough turkey and mashed potatoes over the next four days to kill a baby rhinoceros.
Honestly, how great is Thanksgiving?!?!
Of course as great as Thanksgiving always is, there is one added bonus besides the food and booze: More college basketball than you can possibly handle. That’s right, over the next four days, virtually every important team is in action, often times for several days in a row, in what can only be described as the most action-packed part of the college basketball season until March. Feast Week is here, and with so much college hoops on TV, it’s fair to ask: What are the games you need to watch?
Thankfully, that’s what I’m here for. As KSR’s national college basketball analyst (frankly, I didn’t know that was my title until Matt told me it was, so let’s just roll with it) I feel it my responsibility to get you caught up on everything going on in college hoops this weekend, from the interesting to obscure and everything in between.
Here’s your guide to Thanksgiving hoops.
Maui Invitational Final (Wednesday night)
Teams to watch: Wichita State, Notre Dame
This is the only tournament in this preview that is actually underway (although the Battle 4 Atlantis starts today) so if you haven’t been watching, you’ve missed some good basketball. Among the big storylines was LSU – and first-year coach Will Wide – pulling an upset in Round 1, and basically looking like a completely different team from last year (somehow making the Johnny Jones era look even worse in the process). Also, former Kentucky guard Charles Matthews has looked awesome for Michigan, averaging 25 points in two games in Hawaii.
However with the opening rounds done, we’ve now reached the final, where we get a fun matchup between Wichita State and Notre Dame. Both are legitimate Top 15 teams and both threats to make a deep tournament run (although if we’re being honest, we all know what Wichita State’s future holds – they’re going to get matched up with Kentucky in the second round and lose a heartbreaker. That’s what always happens to the Shockers).
On the court, both teams are led by guards. For Wichita it’s Landry Shamet and Notre Dame it’s Matt Farrell. Skip the bars on Wednesday night and stay in for this one. I promise it will be worth it.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 22nd, 2017 @ 9:55am
Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Wednesday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio, which is coming to you live from Double H BBQ (1244 Versailles Road) in Lexington. Today’s show is sponsored by the Becker Law Office, and Matt, Ryan, Drew, and Shannon are on hand to entertain listeners and hand out some pretty amazing prizes. Come on out if you’re in the area, and if not, just tune in for two hours of fun.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (859) 300-3264.
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Black Friday sales START NOW at the KSR Shop and Kentucky Branded! You don’t have to wait in the cold outside for the doors to open and you don’t even have to wait until Friday. Take advantage of our huge sales right now!
Head to ShopKSR.com to receive 50% off select sweatshirts and short/long sleeve t-shirts. But wait, there’s more. You will also receive 25% off everything else! This is a Black Friday sale you won’t want to miss. You can finish all your holiday shopping today before you’re super busy on Thanksgiving. Tell your family and friends!
It’s game day in Lexington!
Wildcats to host Fort Wayne tonight.
Kentucky basketball is back in action yet again Wednesday night with another 8 pm game in Rupp Arena, this time against the Mastodons of Fort Wayne. The Cats opened as 18.5 point favorites and that line has already jumped up to 19.5, despite the inability to cover the spread at home.
KenPom predicts Kentucky will win, 86-65.
What is a Mastodon anyway?
According to the internet, it is a large, extinct, elephant-like mammal of the Miocene to Pleistocene epochs, having teeth of a relatively primitive form and number.
It’s also a heavy metal band out of Atlanta.
Mark Stoops to speak again today.
Between his Monday press conference and special Tuesday night edition of his call-in show, we’ve heard a lot from Mark Stoops the past two days, and we’ll get a third opportunity for more questions today when he holds a press conference after Kentucky’s practice.
Matt House and the defense will also take questions, so check back this evening for updates from that.
C.J. Conrad is special.
Vince Marrow went to check on Conrad last night and found him watching video of his fellow tight ends from practice:
Went to visit my main man @cjconrad1 tonight. 1st thing I see when I walk into his room was him watching practice from today on his phone critiquing the other TE’s. He’s going to be back stronger than ever next year #BBN pic.twitter.com/7e0n6hupSA
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) November 22, 2017
Nick Roush wrote about how Kentucky will adapt without him moving forward:
In other injury news…
Michael Porter Jr. out for the season.
SEC basketball took a huge hit yesterday when Mizzou announced it will be without Michael Porter Jr., who will undergo back surgery that will likely keep him out the entire year. A preseason First Team All-SEC player and a contender for the No. 1 pick in next summer’s NBA draft, Porter Jr. was to be a superstar in his one season of college basketball. Mizzou will now struggle without him, and the rest of us will be robbed of seeing him play.
Mike Leach is a national treasure.
— Aaron Levine (@AaronQ13Fox) November 22, 2017
Why would anyone ask Mike Leach a football question?
KSR is at Double H BBQ in Lexington.
We’re taking the show to one of my favorite eateries in town today: Double H BBQ at 1244 Versailles Road. The show is sponsored by Becker Law Office and they’ll be giving away gifts to the first 50 people through the door. It’s also Wing Wednesday, and Double H has the best wings around. Get there.
One week ago, C.J. Conrad said: “I’ve been here for three years now, the past four games is the best the tight end group has played all-around.” Today, Kentucky is out of tight ends.
How time changes everything.
Today Conrad had surgery to repair a broken left foot. While taking the injured Conrad’s reps in the Georgia game, redshirt freshman Justin Rigg sprained his ankle and is now in a boot. Greg Hart played sparingly with a cast on his right hand. He got that cast taken off, just to put another one on his left hand.
“We’re all banged up,” Hart said. “We’re still doing some things, truckin’ along, just trying to figure it out. With us banged up, there’s obviously some limitations, but it is what it is.”
Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran is still not entirely sure how the offense will change.
“I don’t know yet,” Gran said. “We’ve been pretty good at 10-personnel. We’ve been pretty good in two-minute drill. We’ve been pretty good at that, so whatever we got, we’re going to play with it. We’re going to make it work.”
Kentucky was having success running the ball in formations that featured multiple tight ends. The personnel groups are divided into a numbering system. 10-personnel means UK is using one running back and zero tight ends, compared to the two tight end 12-personnel package that has brought them recent success rushing the ball on the edge.
Gran makes the lives of defensive coordinators difficult by throwing a ton of different personnel groups onto the field. Without the tight ends his options are limited, but it also creates an opportunity to show Louisville stuff the Cards have never seen before on film.
“I can’t tell you all of that,” Vince Marrow said with a big-barreled laugh when asked how the offense will change without healthy tight ends.
“But I can tell you this: our guys are ready to play. We do some good things in 10-personnel, but we also got other tight ends. I can tell you this: all of them guys are going to be ready to play. Whether we’re in 10 personnel or 12 or 11, those guys are going to play hard for C.J. He means that much to a lot of guys on this team.”
Finishing my career in honor of my roommate, teammate, and more importantly my brother #87 pic.twitter.com/dGFpFmdgfr
— Greg Hart (@g85hart) November 20, 2017
Hart is dedicating his final game to the guy who’s been by his side since he arrived at UK. Despite his health, Marrow has already seen Hart respond.
“Greg has miraculously looked very good out there, because he was kind of banged up. All of those guys are banged up.”
We don’t know what UK’s offense will look like without a healthy group of three tight ends, but we do know Conrad’s Kentucky teammates will rally around him.
“I think what happened to C.J. has added more energy,” Marrow said. “You see all the support for him. I just think everybody’s going to play hard for the young man. I really believe that. You don’t get too many — you don’t recruit too many guys like that. I got very close with the young man. He’ll be back, but you miss him in the room. It was the first time he wasn’t in that room today. I think our guys are going to play hard for him.”
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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 Lynda Clark
— Lynda Clark (@lynclark) November 20, 2017
That looks like the perfect street for them!
#9 brian yochum
Cats living rent free in his head for 52 weeks pic.twitter.com/wnJnP5CUCQ
— brian yochum (@byochum23) November 21, 2017
But remember when he fumbled?
#8 Matthew Alexander
No no no no. More like this silly. pic.twitter.com/eUA1OxPJBN
— Matthew Alexander (@matthewa_18) November 21, 2017
That’s how I remember it.
#7 Katie McDowell
I’m worried that my seats for the UK-UL game this Saturday may be in an area with a lot of UL fans. I can’t go to jail because I’m bringing my son to the game. Suggestions?? 🤔 #KSR
— Katie McDowell (@Mrsk_mcdowell) November 21, 2017
Just be louder than them. That’s all that matters.
#6 Nick Carroll
— Nick Carroll (@CickNarroll) November 21, 2017
Ryan? Is that you?
#5 Austin Stevenson
Nothing that can happen on Saturday will take away even one ounce of the joy I felt that day
— Austin Stevenson (@AStevenson2014) November 21, 2017
Where were YOU when he fumbled?
#4 Dalton Jones
— Dalton Jones ® (@DaltonJJones18) November 21, 2017
#3 hydrangeas areblue
Happy thanksgiving to my #BBN Family Gobble Gobble
— hydrangeas areblue (@wantsomesports) November 21, 2017
#2 David Bryant
— David Bryant (@DavidOhBryant) November 21, 2017
Well that is one amazing friends.
#1 Pilgrim Cass
Aunt: Isn’t that your fifth plate?
— Pilgrim Cass (@AndCassady) November 21, 2017
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 21st, 2017 @ 10:00pm
This weekend, former Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins helped distribute food for Thanksgiving to those in need in New Orleans’ 9th Ward.
The 9th Ward was one of the main areas destroyed by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, and the recovery process to get it even remotely restored has been long and challenging.
Here’s the clip:
Appreciate the 9th ward showing love. First time and definitely won’t be my last! ⚜️🦃pic.twitter.com/ugzDXfPnqc
— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) November 20, 2017
This is just one of countless examples of Cousins giving back to the community and donating his time and money. In just a few weeks, we will be seeing “Santa Cuz,” the star center’s annual event where he takes local children out shopping and buys them toys and gifts for Christmas.
But remember, DeMarcus Cousins is a “thug” and only cares about himself.
Keep making us proud, Boogie!
By ShopKSR.com on ©November 21st, 2017 @ 9:45pm
The ‘Cats won last night which means we all win at the KSR Shop. Take advantage of the Big Blue Bucket sale TODAY ONLY. Head to ShopKSR.com to take 20% off your purchase. Pick out some KSR sweatshirts, UK jackets, the new KSR Christmas t-shirt, and plenty of other great gift ideas. Hurry, this sale ends at midnight!
It was a tough day for the Packers as Brett Hundley threw 3 interceptions on the way to a 23-0 loss to the Ravens. Randall Cobb had just 3 catches for 34 yards in the loss.
Za’Darius Smith was on the opposite end of things as the Ravens get back to 5-5 with a victory over the Packers, Smith finished with 2 tackles along with 3 QB hits in the win.
The Steelers are looking like the team that is going to challenge New England in the AFC as they extended their winning streak to 5 games with a 40-17 win over the Titans. Bud Dupree had a nice game with 2 tackles and one tackle for loss as the Steelers improve to 8-2.
Wesley Woodyard had a quiet game in the Titans loss to the Steelers, the Georgia native had just 2 tackles as the Titans record falls to 6-4.
Avery Williamson saw his playing time increase against the Steelers, and finished the game with 4 tackles. Williamson’s performance in the last 8 weeks of the season will have a big impact on his upcoming free agency this off-season.
Danny Trevathan was forced to sit out a 2nd straight game with a lingering calf injury as the Bears fell to the Lions by a score of 27-24.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 21st, 2017 @ 8:45pm
John Calipari told us from the beginning this team would be rough to start the year, and he sure wasn’t lying. Five games into the year, the Cats are 4-1, but none of the victories have come in convincing fashion.
With just one junior and zero scholarship seniors, we all knew this Kentucky team was young, but how young exactly?
According to Ken Pomeroy’s data, this is the youngest college basketball team he has ever recorded since starting in 2007.
So when we talk about being historically young this year, we weren't kidding. This year's team is the most inexperienced team in @kenpomeroy's experience rankings since he began charting them in 2007. All that means is we have a lot of growing to do. #EmbraceTheChallenge pic.twitter.com/UG9RY082ij
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 21, 2017
Over a decade, several ridiculously young Kentucky teams under Calipari, nothing like this.
Coach Cal talked about that statistic on the John Calipari Show and what it means for his Wildcat team this season.
We’re big on stats and @UKCoachCalipari just dropped a huge one on us:
— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) November 22, 2017
Even with this team being so young, the Cats are still getting every team’s best effort, and they struggle as a result.
. @UKCoachCalipari “That’s why teams come in and play so well; they have nothing to lose.”
— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) November 22, 2017
Because of this ridiculous youth, massive leads like the 21-point lead the Cats had last night against Troy magically disappear, and the end result isn’t as pretty as fans would hope.
. @UKCoachCalipari speaks on the drought after being up 21 last night, teaching his team to have the will to win
— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) November 22, 2017
We knew these kids were young, but I’m not sure people realized they were historically young.
No better time to mature than now, boys.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 21st, 2017 @ 8:30pm
It’s almost Thanksgiving, and people across the Commonwealth are just happy and dandy, ready to spread the love. It’s a beautiful time, really.
Matt and Mary Jo went through the Hey Kentucky! voicemail to listen to all the wonderful messages people had for them, giving them a warm and fuzzy feeling before the holiday season.
Take a look below:
Also, the Hey Kentucky! crew knew a guy was guilty based on how he chewed his gum. Take a look:
Of course he's guilty! Just look at how he chews gum. Tune in tonight at 7:30 for more! pic.twitter.com/b8fv4J5XVT
— Hey Kentucky! (@hey_kentucky) November 21, 2017
For more Hey Kentucky! head here.