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Pat Riley on drafting Bam Adebayo, his first UK player at Miami: “Thank God we got one”

@MiamiHEAT

Pat Riley’s been waiting to draft a Kentucky player for years. Today, the former Cat and current Miami Heat president said that for too long, he was stuck in the “Duke mold,” which is why he’s thrilled to finally have a fellow Kentucky Wildcat on the roster in Bam Adebayo, whom the Heat selected with the 14th pick.

“I couldn’t get out of the Duke mold,” Riley quipped when asked what took him so long to draft a Kentucky player. “I’d fight like crazy on draft night. Thank God we got one. There’s always been a lot of guys on the board from Kentucky, but since 2009, Coach Cal, he’s had 17 freshmen lottery picks. A lot of times, we have been a good team picking in the 20s, we very rarely are picking on the lottery.”

“I’m not saying this is personal last night, that I wanted to get a guy from Kentucky. I just wanted to get Bam. I just felt that he was the best guy on the board, no doubt about it. We rated him at that time and when our pick came, his name was the one on the board, I was tickled to death.”

I think you can tell that from the hug Riley gave Bam when he walked into his office in Miami today:

Last night, Riley called Bam “the perfect fit” for Miami’s system.

“There were other bigs that were available that had specific skills, but there were other things we didn’t like about them. I think he’ll be a perfect fit for us,” Riley said. “It’s a wow factor. He’s not 7-1 like [Hassan Whiteside], but he plays like him at 6-9. He’s an above the rim player for real while other guys try to play above the rim. His speed, quickness, ability. We put him in situations to guard perimeter guys. We felt the need to get an athletic big. He’s a gamer. He’s hungry. He’s as clean as a whistle.”

Once again, Riley praised the job John Calipari has done at Kentucky, as well as Bam’s maturity.

“I’m a big fan of what John [Calipari] does from a coaching standpoint at Kentucky. He comes from a great system,” Riley said. “Also, when we sat and talked to Bam for an hour, you get blown away by his story, his background, his motivation. We felt he was the best player on the board at that time. Now he’s not the best shooter, but that all comes. When he was in the workout for us, he made 30 out of 50 threes and had a great release. All that comes with young big men.”

“He played 30 minutes a game, shot about 60 percent. He’s a very efficient player around the basket. Doesn’t need the ball. What [Calipari] said to me was, he was a great teammate, a wonderful teammate to have. When we talked to him, he had a level of maturity about him, a quietness about him that we really liked. I saw him play two or three times and a number of film sessions. There were three or four or five guys in the mix. He was actually ahead of the 14th pick [on our draft board]. We feel he’s going to be a special player.”

Simply awesome. Watch Bam’s introductory press conference below:


KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day

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 Via Email

#10 Tucker

Tons of kinds all over the BBN this year are gonna dress up as this, aren’t they?

#9 Ryan Lemonds Cell Phone

This could be an interesting summer…

#8 Chris Davis

It’s worth a shot.

#7 Zach

Does he also rap about sports?

#6 Tyson Davis

I’d bid on it.

#5 Dawson Rule

Don’t worry guys, Matt may be gone but we have Dawson and JROCK.

#4 Pat Ingram

Borderline creepy but also, I love it.

#3 Kentucky Basketball

That’s a fact we can all count on.

#2 Tater Allen

Drew has the power now.

#1 Mike Fields

I think the fans are having a harder time dealing with Matt’s absence than we are.


KYWildcatsTV was at the draft and made a sick video

@NBADraft

KYWildcatsTV is not taking a break this summer and were at the NBA Draft last night and of course cranked out another awesome video to recap the amazing day.

I just can’t get enough of this. Dreams came true last night.

 

On an unrelated note: I’m ready for some lit pre-game hype videos for football.


Go behind the scenes of NBA Draft day for Malik Monk

We all love draft day. We soak up every bit of coverage of it and try to imagine what we would do if we were in those athletes shoes. Well, thanks to the Worldwide Leader, we can get a taste of what it was like to be Malik Monk yesterday.

What a day.

Also, big fan of the camo, no matter what y’all say.


Watch Hey Kentucky! in Evansville

Watch Hey Kentucky! in Evansville

Matt and Drew are on the road and today they hit up Evansville to talk about the NBA Draft and Cal’s USA team.

Check out the full episode after the jump:

(more…)


Coaching Team USA is an advantage for Cal, recruits agree

Scout

Calipari may have been in Colorado at a training camp for USA Basketball U19, but it may as well been one giant recruiting trip.

After three days of instruction with their potential coach Immanuel Quickley, Cameron Reddish and Romeo Langford all agree that the training camp was an advantage for Kentucky.

Thanks to the Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts, we know what the three recruits think:

Quickley: “It’s definitely an advantage,” he said. “No doubt.”

Reddish: “I get to see how he really coaches. How he is outside of recruiting,” Reddish said. “I like him. He pushes me to get better. That’s what I need — somebody who’s going to push me to the limit, and that’s what he’s doing.”

Langford: “I like the way he coaches,” he said. “He doesn’t let you slide on anything. Little things like catching the ball with two hands. Little things like that — that’s what makes you better as a player.

“It kind of gives him a head start. I get to see how he coaches, and I get to see if I like the way that he teaches his kids.”

I like the way these guys are talking.


@KentuckyWBB

NBA and WNBA 2017 Draft nights historic for both Kentucky programs

@KentuckyWBB

Since the beginning of the Calipari era, the NBA Draft night has become like an added holiday for Kentucky fans.

It always seems like the draft is historic in some way for men’s side of the table, but this year they weren’t the only ones.

For the women’s basketball program, center Evelyn Akhator became the highest WNBA draft pick in program history as the number three overall pick by the Dallas Wings. A record previously held by A’dia Mathies who was the 10th pick in 2013.

History happened again 30 picks later as Makayla Epps was selected by the Chicago Sky. Before this year, two Cats had never been selected in the same WNBA draft.

Last night was obviously a huge night for Kentucky’s program as the newest NBA Cats just added on to already record-breaking numbers. For instance: all 21 one-and-done’s at Kentucky have done in the first round, Calipari has more former players (24) in the NBA than all other Kentucky coaches behind (23) and finally, for the third time in program history, Kentucky had three lottery picks, more than any other school. 

Not too shabby y’all, not too shabby.

 

@haleysimpKSR


New KSR Radio Show Podcast Feed

New KSR Radio Show Podcast Feed

You might have heard we have a new podcast feed for our radio show. Don’t miss an episode by subscribing to the new feed now. Search “KSR” and select the one that has our pictures on it.

We have a great group of summer guest hosts starting Monday with USA TODAY’s Dan Wolken. Again, if you can’t listen live, be sure to download the new podcast feed here.

 

[New KSR radio show podcast feed]


Katina Powell has a new website

Katina Powell has a new website

Have you ever dreamed of having an autographed copy of “Breaking Cardinal Rules”? You’re in luck, because Katina Powell is now selling them on her new website, KatinaPowell.com:

Autographed copies are $29.99 and personalized copies are $39.99. Something tells me they’ll be popular birthday and Christmas gifts across the state this year.

Apparently more items are coming soon to the website, so check it out at KatinaPowell.com.


Linebackers Departures Cause for Concern?

Linebackers Departures Cause for Concern?

Pic by KSTV

No. I could end this post with a one-word sentence but Tyler Thompson prefers that I expand on my opinions and such. ESPN generally devalues Kentucky Football in polls, power rankings, predictions, and most other measurable categories. The Network recently ranked the Wildcat linebacker as the 3rd best in the Southeastern Conference. Think about that for a moment. Lindy’s preseason publication has the group rated as the 6th best in the nation. So, the answer remains; recent linebacker departures are not a cause for concern.

My reaction to specific player exits vary and at times differ from most. For example, contrary to popular opinion, Alvonte Bell’s dismissal will hurt the Cat’s capacity to influence opposing quarterbacks. For the defensive end position as a whole, the Bell situation will be difficult to absorb in relation to personnel and experience. Unproven defenders will be called upon to demonstrate vast improvement and development in order to counter his leaving.

Jeff Badet’s surprise transfer to Oklahoma is somewhat different. Eddie Gran will have to identify a deep-threat receiver to replace Badet’s 21-yards per catch average. For complete analysis purposes, his drops also factored into the overall equation. After reviewing an extensive amount of film, I came to the conclusion that opportunity played a minor factor in Badet’s success. This take is in no way intended to downplay his influence on Kentucky’s 7-win season; however, the quarterback’s throw, formation, timing, defensive alignment, and play call must be taken into consideration when discussing multiple post-route completions.

Hear me out. Garrett Johnson’s performance against Louisville highlights this assumption. It was Johnson who was lined up at the right place at the right time against a vulnerable defense with the right plays called to catch perfectly thrown post-routes from Stephen Johnson. UK’s receiver corps can somewhat compensate for Badet’s exodus, but his absence will sting. This will especially apply in the season’s early games.

Now back to the linebackers. Losing four roster players won’t immediately alter UK’s two-deep depth chart nor devalue the position group. However, special teams may take a hit. To what extent is yet to be seen as linebackers play a major role in the third phase.

Let’s take a look at the departed foursome’s 2016 contribution:

Nico Firios recorded five tackles in 2016 and was credited with a blocked punt vs. Georgia Tech. Frequent injuries slowed development.

D’Niro Laster played in 5 games, registered 14 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 QB sack, and recovered a fumble. Of the four, Laster will be missed the most.

Roland Walder redshirted, did not participate in game action. 

Kobie Walker was a safety converted to linebacker that had a great deal of talent. He played in just three games, started two, totaled 10 tackles and .5 TFL. Injuries and off the field difficulties prevented Walker into developing into a dependable defender.

What does all this mean?

Pic by Scout.com

Even after the most recent attrition, Kentucky’s linebacker corps is still talented and deep (See above ESPN and Lindy’s ranking). Resourceful recruiting and detailed development have given Matt House and Dean Hood meeting rooms full of SEC-ready athletes.

Pre-Camp Linebacker Depth Chart

*Returning starter

— OLB/DE Junior* Denzil Ware, Redshirt freshman Jamar Watson

— MLB Senior* Courtney Love, Sophomore Kash Daniel

— WLB Junior* Jordan Jones, Sophomore Eli Brown

— SLB Junior* Josh Allen, Junior Jordan Bonner

All American candidate Jordan Jones is the SEC’s top returning tackler. Josh Allen led the conference in forced fumbles and led the team in QB sacks. Allen is listed as all conference in various preseason outlets. Denzil Ware is the group’s designated pass rusher and listed as a Top 5 outside linebacker/defensive end in the Southeastern Conference. Courtney Love is the team’s captain and showed progress in last season’s final weeks. Jones, Allen, and Ware are on NFL Draft lists. Depth is sufficient with seasoned veterans with several talented rookies at the ready (see below).

Pic by Bleacher Report

The Newcomers

— Jaylin Bannerman, 6’5 240-pound redshirt freshman is ready to contribute at linebacker and on special teams. Bannerman is regarded as one of the better overall athletes on the team.

— Jamin Davis was one of the stars of the spring game. Could see playing time as a true freshman. As predicted on National Signing Day, Stoops and company found a gem in Davis.

— Alex King was regarded as one of the most disruptive high school pass rusher in the Midwest. Think a more polished Josh Allen at this stage in his career.

— Josh Paschal, Class of 2017 prize signee. Will compete for immediate playing time and could enhance the Wildcat’s pass rush.

— Jamar Watson was the spring game’s Most Valuable Player after registering 4 QB sacks and 4 TFL’s. The redshirt freshman is a star in the making.

— Jordan Wright is a freakish athlete that has the build and skill to play either defensive end or linebacker. His best football lies ahead.

It’s never pleasant to lose football players to transfer or dismissal. As of now, Kentucky’s linebacker situation is stabilized and poised to star. But, it cannot afford more attrition prior to traveling to Hattiesburg.


Esquire followed De’Aaron Fox around on draft night; concludes he is “irrepressibly cool”

On a night when the lights were bright, few players shined like De’Aaron Fox. From flashing his blinged out watch at the start of ESPN’s broadcast to thoughtfully answering the Sports Illustrated kid reporter’s questions afterwards, Fox was the most charismatic player in the Barclays Center last night. Esquire magazine agrees. Esquire‘s Jack Holmes shadowed Fox last night as he made the rounds, and reported that he was positively charmed.

And Fox is ready for the fame. Whether because of his time on the big stage of Kentucky basketball or some inherent effervescence, Fox is not just media-savvy, or “a good kid.” He can command a room from a press-conference microphone, and he can jaw with a reporter without ever saying something he wouldn’t want on Twitter. He’s got a nerdiness to him—he doesn’t go out, he says, and he plays video games as much as five or six hours a day—but he pairs it with a self-possession, a comfort with his own being, that is irrepressibly cool.

Lots of really interesting stuff in this profile, including how grueling draft night can be for prospects after they hear their name called, and, not surprisingly, that Fox handled it better than most.

[Esquire]


Three Wildcats will play for the 76ers this summer

Ready for more good summer league news? Not only will Isaiah Briscoe play alongside Alex Poythress on the Philadelphia 76ers Summer League team, Aaron Harrison will too. Sixers beat writer Keith Pompey is reporting that all three Wildcats will play together for the Sixers this summer in the Utah Summer League (July 3-6) and the Las Vegas Summer League (July 7-17).

How does that make me feel?

Go Cats.


John Calipari on attending the draft: “That’s a big day for parents. And it is for me.”

John Calipari on attending the draft: “That’s a big day for parents. And it is for me.”

After bouncing from table to table to check on his guys and essentially hitting the pause button on the draft with his six-minute segment on ESPN, John Calipari called into KSR this morning to talk to the Big Blue Nation. Calipari discussed the draft, his U19 National Team, and the NCAA sanctions on the UofL scandal. He even took a bit of a shot back at Roy Williams for his comments yesterday regarding Calipari attending the draft. Highlights and audio below:

He jabbed back at Roy Williams

Yesterday, Roy said on a North Carolina radio show that, unlike Calipari, he doesn’t like to attend the draft because it’s a special moment for players and their families, an eye-rolling comment if there ever was one. Today, Cal seemed to jab back when he said that he loves going to the draft because he feels he is family.

“For me, I’m the father in the stands that embarrasses his kids because he goes and takes pictures, he’s yelling, he’s screaming, he’s hugging. That’s a big day for parents. And it is for me. So, you can shake it anyway you want. You’re maybe not real close to the kid or he didn’t or he wasn’t grateful enough — it doesn’t matter to me. I’m going. And none of it — it’s what I do. I didn’t start just doing it when I went to Kentucky. I was always there. If a kid was going to get drafted, I was there. I think it’s important.”

Pat Riley texted him a 💥 emoji after drafting Bam

“Bam goes to Miami. Before the pick, I hit Pat Riley, said ‘Pat, I hope you’re taking my kid, you will love him.’ And after they made the pick, he had BAM with an emoji, like an explosion emoji, like BAM! You know, like that, which was kind of neat.”

Like this? “BAM 💥”

Watch out guys, Calipari has discovered emojis.

He thought Isaiah Briscoe would be drafted by the Knicks

Cal believed Briscoe would be drafted by New York in the second round, but apparently that plan went out the window when a higher prospect fell down the board. The Knicks drafted Damyean Dotson at 44 and Jaramaz Ognjen at 58.

He’s still trying to figure out PJ Washington

The conversation turned to Calipari’s U19 Team in Colorado Springs, and after praising Kevin Knox, who had to withdraw due to injury, he talked about PJ Washington, a player so positionless that he’s trying to figure out exactly how to use him.

“I’m still trying to figure him out. I want some people to tell me, professional people, what they want him to look like. I’ll need some help because I’m still — like, I’m going to ask him this question today, ‘Alright PJ, the game is on the line and we need a game winner. Where do I give you the ball? You tell me. Where do I give you the ball where you’re getting fouled or scored. How are we doing it?'”

Hamidou Diallo “has a winner’s mentality”

Hami has been an offensive machine in Colorado this week, but Calipari wants him to play on the ball more than off because “he has a winner’s mentality.”

“I want his hands on the ball. Now, that’s going to force him to make better decisions, throw better passes, because going right to the rim, he’s really good. He’s shooting the ball better, but got a ways to go. And he has a winner’s mentality. He’s okay defensively, but I’m different, I want guys that really lock people down and he’s not quite there yet, and neither is PJ and neither is Kevin. But they’re so long and we should be a great defensive team. That doesn’t mean we will be, but we should be.”

He both answered and didn’t answer Matt’s question about UofL’s NCAA sanctions

Matt couldn’t help but ask Calipari about the sanctions the NCAA handed down to UofL. As someone who is pretty familiar with the NCAA’s strict liability policy, Calipari offered this response.

“I’ve always said coaches should stand up when they did these, you know, the strict liability. I said, where is everybody and why is everybody silent? I said, it’s going to hit everybody. But we didn’t have anybody say anything, so it’s like, okay. The second thing is, I’ve never thought vacating games had an effect other than affecting the other players and maybe the fans that had nothing to do with anything. I’ve always believed that. But again, no one said anything so we’re here. This is where we are.”

Cal changed the subject, bringing up how busy he’s been lately (Megan’s getting married! He’s trying to lose weight!), but circled back to the topic again a few minutes later.

“I haven’t — I just know we have issues that we should have dealt with 10 years ago but everyone ran from because it was personal vs. what does this do to our profession? And now we’re paying a price for it. I don’t know exactly what went on. I don’t wish ill on any program. This about our game and coaching.”

Make of that what you will.

 


Deadspin and The Ringer go all in on Rick Pitino

Want a fun afternoon read? Our friends at Deadspin and The Ringer are going all in on Rick Pitino today. In an article entitled, “Rick Pitino’s Campaign Against NCAA Sanctions Is A Shameless, Repetitive Mess,” Nick Martin takes Pitino to task for his bizarre, holier-than-thou defense against the NCAA’s failure to monitor charges, pointing out that were Pitino as ignorant of the situation as he claims, the charges ended up being way lighter than they should have been:

Over a four-year period, high-school recruits, some as young as 16, were offered and received sexual favors—stripteases, blowjobs, intercourse—on Louisville’s campus, and it was all facilitated by a member of Pitino’s staff. Nothing—not claims of ignorance, finger-pointing at the NCAA for being a bully, 9/11, or Pitino’s faith—will erase this from the record, nor can anything excuse the fact that Pitino claims to have learned about this essentially at the same time as everyone else (“I was coaching the Puerto Rican National team in Mexico when reports of the book first broke.”) Despite what Pitino believes, he’s far closer to a show-cause penalty than he is impunity.

Meanwhile, over at The Ringer, Mark Titus — who will host KSR on July 12 with Tate Frazier — has his usual hilarious rundown of the draft, which includes this glorious shot at Rick, appropriately, in a section dedicated to John Calipari:

Nobody else in college basketball — and honestly, maybe all of sports — has figured out how to keep the media in the palm of his hand quite like Calipari has, and at this point I have no choice but to tip my hat and respect the hustle. It is truly remarkable how he continues to be the ONLY coach who finds his way to a microphone time and again, which happens because he’s playing a completely different game than every other college basketball coach. Coach K’s goal is to get his players to win at the game of life. Roy Williams’s goal is to, um, graduate players. Tom Izzo’s goal is to establish a strong enough relationship with his star player that they put their arms around one another during a dead ball. Rick Pitino’s goal is to see how many sex scandals he can attach his name to before losing his job. Calipari’s goal is to bring five-star recruits to Kentucky, give them access to the UK practice gym for nine months, and then sit at their table on draft night before he goes on national TV to talk about how rewarding it is to help MY GUYS achieve their NBA dreams.

I like that so much I’m just going to ignore the little Kevin Ollie line Titus throws in a paragraph later. Read the rest for yourself over at The Ringer.


Isaac Humphries signs Summer League deal

This morning, Isaiah Briscoe and Derek Willis signed summer league deals, and now, Isaac Humphries is getting an opportunity. According to Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports Australia, Isaac has agreed to a summer league deal with the Washington Wizards. The Wizards will participate in the Las Vegas Summer League, which runs from July 7-17.

If you missed it below, Derek Willis’ fiancee Keely corrected an earlier report that Derek will play for the Heat this summer. According to Keely, he will play for the Detroit Pistons.

Let’s celebrate by listening to Isaac sing “Let it Go,” just because: