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Kentucky Takes Series Over LSU With 10-2 Win On Sunday

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Kentucky used 18 hits and a complete game victory from Justin Lewis to pick up a 10-2 win over #9 LSU on Sunday. The BatCats (28-13, 12-6) got big days from Riley Mahan, Kole Cottam, and Zach Reks at the plate to lead them to a series win. UK now sits atop the SEC East standings and will most likely rise close to a top five spot in next week’s poll.

Recap

UK jumped all over LSU for the third time this weekend. The first seven batters of the game reached base on LSU starter Eric Walker as UK scored four runs in the bottom of the first. UK got RBI doubles from Luke Becker and Zach Reks and Marcus Carson added a RBI groundout.

The first inning was a sign of things to come for UK’s offense. Kole Cottam and Riley Mahan hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the third to chase Walker with one out in the inning. Both home runs were absolute moonshots that carried 400 feet off the bat.

Kentucky really stepped on LSU’s throats with another three-spot in the bottom of the fourth. Cottam drove in his third run of the game before Mahan and Becker singled in runs to put UK in double digits in runs.

Justin Lewis quietly dominated for UK on the bump. The sophomore struck out six and allowed two runs (one earned) in a complete game and moved to 6-2 on the season with a 2.82 ERA. Lewis had his plus changeup working today and it led him posting one of his best starts of the season.

LSU’s only firepower came in the second and sixth innings. Josh Smith drove in an unearned run with a single in the second and Nick Coomes added a solo shot to cut UK’s lead to 10-2 in the sixth. Outside of those two instances, Lewis was untouchable. Lewis only hit 90 on the radar gun once but pitched his best game of the season against a top ten opponent.

UK got several runners in scoring position in the final three innings but LSU’s bullpen wiggled out of a couple tough jams. The late effort by the pitching staff was all for not as Lewis slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to clinch a series win.

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Notes

Riley Mahan might be the SEC Player of the Week- After going 2/4 against Louisville, Mahan went 9/12 this weekend with five RBIs, a home run, two doubles, two walks, and a HBP. Mahan is really developing into one of the best offensive second basemen in the country. He now leads the team with seven home runs and 40 RBIs.

UK’s approach looked completely different than Friday- After leaving 14 men on base on Friday, UK capitalized on big opportunities today. The BatCats still left 11 on base, but when you have 18 hits and six walks, not everyone is going to come around. Four different players had three or more hits on Sunday, including Reks collecting four hits in the win. Evan White now has hits in 17 of his last 18 games and Tristan Pompey is riding a 12-game hitting streak and has had a hit in 28 of the last 30 games.

Kentucky is in line for a national seed- After taking Tuesday’s game against Louisville and winning this weekend’s series over LSU, it appears UK is headed towards a top eight seed in June’s NCAA Tournament. The Cats now hold a two-game lead over Florida in the SEC East and trail only Mississippi State in the overall standings.


Via 247Sports

Happy Birthday, Winston Guy!

 

Via 247Sports

Via 247Sports

On this day, we’re wishing a happy birthday to one of the best Kentucky defenders in recent memory, Winston Guy. Guy was a 4-year contributor for the Cats, named to the 2nd-team All-SEC in his senior year, before being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks.

Hopefully, some of our current crop of Cats can follow in Winston’s footsteps. So happy birthday, Big Guy. Here’s a funny video of you jumping ridiculously high:

@JayWinkKSR


Kentucky Boys Tour at Wildcat Wearhouse in Hamburg today

Kentucky Boys Tour at Wildcat Wearhouse in Hamburg today

kyboysstour

If you’re in the Lexington area, this is your 1-hour reminder that the Kentucky Boys Tour will be at Wildcat Wearhouse in Hamburg today from 3:00-4:00 p.m.! Be sure to get over there and see your favorite native Wildcats before they embark on their journey into the real world!

Check out some previous tour photos below!


Kentucky Baseball Could Clinch a Huge Series Win This Afternoon

 

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

Need a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon? If you aren’t already at Cliff Hagan Stadium, and you’re among the few whose TV gets SEC Network+, you can tune in right now to see the 10th ranked Wildcats take on 9th ranked LSU Tigers.

The Cats and the Tigers split a doubleheader on Friday, with UK taking game one 12-5, and LSU coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in game two. The two top ten squads meet again today, each hoping to clinch the series and improve their stock heading into the postseason.

Coach Nick Mingione is spearheading the triumphant return of UK Baseball. Best of luck to the Bat Cats today. If you don’t have SECN+, you can always check WatchESPN or just listen to the action on 630 AM-WLAP.

@JayWinkKSR 


2018 Forward Naz Reid Should Be On Your Radar

Prep Insiders

Prep Insiders

There are some pretty insane athletes in the class of 2018. Zion Williamson may have all the attention, and deservedly so, but we shouldn’t forget about Nazreon “Naz” Reid. John Calipari sure hasn’t, as told by Adam Zagoria:

Reid met this past week with Kentucky coach John Calipari, who has tracked Reid for several years now out of the same high school that produced former Wildcats guard Isaiah Briscoe.

“It’s a winning team,” he said. “‘[Their message is] just stay focused, run the floor, do what I do best. Be the best version of me.”

Asked if Kentucky — who had assistant Tony Barbee on hand — might offer him after evaluating him this spring, Reid said, “Yes.”

You can read Zagoria’s full breakdown of Reid’s recruitment here. Naz is currently ranked 14th overall in the class of 2018 by 247Sports. At 6’10”, 220 lbs., your mind’s eye might picture a Marcus Lee-esque rim protecting specialist.

You would be wrong:

Tell me you don’t want this kid.

@JayWinkKSR


What Ever Happened to Daniel Orton?

What Ever Happened to Daniel Orton?

danielorton

You out there, reader of KSR, have probably seen the ESPN 30 For 30 “One and Not Done” by now. And maybe you, like me, were struck with nostalgia when the documentary recapped the night of the NBA Draft in 2010, when a record 5 Cats were drafted in round 1. Man, most of those guys are doing great, right? You’ve got John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, two of the league’s premier talents, Eric Bledsoe, a breakout star in his own right, plus Pat Patterson making his money up in Toronto. Couldn’t be more proud of these 5… wait.

What ever happened to Daniel Orton?

This was actually my first thought as I watched the documentary’s recap of draft night. At the time, I honestly couldn’t remember the last bit of Daniel Orton news that I had heard. Had it been months, maybe even years? No idea. So, for those of you out there like me who were wondering about big ol’ Daniel, here’s an update for you:

Needless to say, he’s not in the NBA.

After getting released by the Magic in 2012, Orton became a bit of an NBA journeyman, spending 1 year each with the Thunder and the 76ers before getting bumped down to the D-League in 2014. It’s at this point that Orton’s journey gets hard to follow. To summarize, Daniel basically bounced back and forth between pro teams in Asia and multiple D-League squads for a couple of years.

After brief stints in Puerto Rico in 2016 and Greece this year, Orton found himself in Lebanon, where he currently plays for the illustrious Champville Sports Club. Based on his career up to this point, don’t count on him being here for very long.

And there you have it, folks. The latest, and perhaps last, update on the whereabouts of Daniel Orton. While we do wish him the best in his future endeavors, let’s just keep remembering him as the final piece of a legendary night for the UK basketball program.

@JayWinkKSR


William Shakespeare’s Sunday Morning Wakeup

William Shakespeare’s Sunday Morning Wakeup

William Shakespeare

Today we celebrate the birthday of the man who ruined high school English classes for students across America. William Shakespeare would be celebrating his 453rd birthday if he was still writing today. Enough about Shakespeare, let’s get to the news you care about!

1. John Wall has a MASSIVE Dunk

Do I really need to say anything else? Wall has been unbelievable this postseason, even if Kentucky players supposedly don’t show up in the postseason… *cough *cough Colin Cowherd *cough *cough.

2. Calipari hits the Recruiting Trail

Yesterday, John Calipari was in Dallas to attend the Adidas circuit games. He reportedly saw: Quentin Grimes, Jordan Brown, David McCormack, Charles Bassey, and Grant Sherfield. Nick Roush went into more depth on the recruits here.

3. UK Baseball goes for the Series Win today

UK Baseball will go for the series win over #8 LSU today. The Cats played a double header on Friday with the Tigers and split the two games. Today’s rubber match will start at 1pm and can be seen on SEC Network + or can be heard on 630 WLAP.

4. UK Softball goes for the Sweep against Mizzou

UK Softball had a great day yesterday with two wins over Missouri. The Cats won game one by a count of 4-2 before following up with game two with a 4-0 win. Kentucky will look to complete the sweep with a first pitch at 1pm.

5. Isaiah Briscoe will be in Simpsonville today

Former Cat, Isaiah Briscoe will be in Simpsonville today at 3pm. You can go see Briscoe at Campus Warehouse at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass.

6. NBA Playoffs continue today

After an entertaining night last night, the playoffs continue today with:

  • Cavaliers at Pacers- 1pm on ABC
  • Rockets (Kyle Wiltjer) at Thunder (Enes Kanter)- 3:30pm on ABC
  • Celtics (James Young) at Bulls (Rajon Rondo)- 6:30pm on TNT
  • Clippers at Jazz (Trey Lyles)- 9pm on TNT

7. UK Track and Field has a big day

The UK Track and Field team had a big day at the Jesse Owens Classic in Columbus yesterday. Your notable finishers include:

  • Michelle McKinney- 1st in the Mile
  • Jill Weston- 3rd in the Mile
  • Jacob Thomson- 2nd in the Mile
  • Caroline McCaslin- 1st in 3k Steeplechase

The team is preparing for the SEC Championship that is held next month. The UK Women’s track team is ranked #3 nationally, while the men are ranked #22.

8. WKU Football Spring Game

WKU

Yesterday, WKU hosted their annual Spring Game. The team welcomed in the Mike Sanford Jr. era. WKU is coming off of Back-to-Back Conference USA Championships. The news from the game centered around a new tradition that WKU is starting for this season. At the conclusion of every Monday practice of game week, the player of the game from the week before will raise the “W” flag to let the Bowling Green area know that it is game week. Here was video from the first raising of the “W,” which was performed by Covington Catholic alum and Former Hilltopper, Max Halpin.

 

9. Other Celebrity Birthdays

In addition to William Shakespeare, today is also the following people’s birthdays:

  • John Cena- 40
  • George Lopez- 56
  • Shirley Temple- would be 89
  • Taio Cruz- 32
  • John Oliver- 40
  • Roy Orbison- would be 81
  • Kal Penn- 40
  • James Buchanan- would be 226

10. Today’s “National Holidays”

If you have read my wakeup posts in the past, you know that I like to finish them off with weird holidays that are observed today. I have no idea who comes up with them, but hey, some are worth celebrating.

  • National English Language Day
  • International Nose Picking Day
  • National Lovers Day
  • National Picnic Day
  • National Zucchini Bread Day
  • National Lost Dog Awareness Day
  • National Slay a Dragon Day
  • National Talk like Shakespeare Day

Luckily, for both of our sanities, I refrained from participating in the last holiday. With all of that being said, be sure to follow me on Twitter @GormleyKSR! Have a great day and Go Cats!


Andrew Harrison’s Overtime Block is a Game-Saver for the Grizzlies

Andrew Harrison’s Overtime Block is a Game-Saver for the Grizzlies

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 11.21.47 PM 1

Trailing two games to one to the San Antonio Spurs, the seven-seed Memphis Grizzlies needed a victory at home to keep their hopes alive.  Hope was in short supply with just over a minute and a half to play in overtime.

Trying to take the lead and behind by two, Memphis turned it over to start a San Antonio two-on-one fast break.  The dagger appeared to be imminent.  Then, Andrew Harrison made a fantastic defensive play.

It’s hard to see that and not think of this.

Aaron approves.

That wasn’t Andrew’s only highlight of the night.

Andrew knocked down two clutch free throws with 22 seconds remaining to give the Grizz a three-point lead.  They gave up a three to Kawhi Leonard, but Marc Gasol’s buzzer-beater ensured Harrison’s play would not be made in vein.  The Grizz won 110-108 to tie the series at two and Harrison finished with 7 points, 3 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one game-changing blocked shot.


A Case for Bam Adebayo to Return to Kentucky

UF-8981

During NBA early entry decision season, more and more elite posts have enlisted to be considered by NBA teams.  As Zach Collins of Gonzaga and Jarrett Allen decided to test the draft waters, I wondered how much it could deter Bam Adebayo from leaving Lexington after just one year.

For optimistic UK fans, I hate say they aren’t hurting Bam’s chances.

After combing through mock drafts from the three most reliable draft gurus, Adebayo’s stock is better than it appears.

  • Draft Express: Second Round, No. 31
  • ESPN’s Chad Ford: First Round, No. 20
  • NBA Draft Net: First Round, No. 19
  • CBS: First Round, No. 30
  • Sports Illustrated: First Round, No. 27

After falling out of the first round in many mock drafts halfway through the season, Bam’s late-season resurgence reinforced the preseason beliefs of scouts.  Knocked for his size at about 6’8,” he proved that he can be an elite rebounder with a few reliable post moves.

Even though his stock is still relatively high — flirting with lottery at best, bottom of the first round at worst — there are two reasons Adebayo could opt to turn down millions of dollars to stay in Lexington for another year.

Depth in the 2018 Draft Class

The 2017 draft class is praised for being deep, primarily at the point guard position.  There could be as many as four point guards taken in the top five picks.

In the paint, Adebayo has plenty of competition.  In Chad Ford’s Top 100, there are eight post prospects ranked higher than Adebayo.  The status of some is questionable, like Duke’s Harry Giles, but either way there are at least ten first round forwards, but that could reach as high as 15.  In 2018, the depth at forward is not as strong.  In Draft Express’ way-too-early 2018 mock draft, there are just nine forwards in the first round.  Only three players — Mo Bamba, DeAndre Ayton and Robert Williams — are lottery locks.

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Dakari Johnson

Kentucky’s 2015 centers each present case studies that apply to Adebayo.  After their sophomore seasons, Cauley-Stein and Johnson were considered to be late-first round, early-second round picks, about the same position Adebayo is in right now.

Cauley-Stein stayed for another year, went to a Final Four and vaulted into the Top 10.  Selected No. 6 overall, Cauley-Stein’s three-year guaranteed rookie deal is worth $10.6 million.  He’ll make an additional $4.7 million if the Kings pick up his year four option after the 2017 season.

Johnson left Lexington for the NBA after his sophomore season and fell into the second round, selected No. 48 overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Johnson did not sign a rookie deal with OKC.  Johnson’s game has progressed during his two years in the D-League, but he’s only made $51,000, and that’s if he’s considered an “A Player.”  D-League salaries are below $20,000 a year if you are not considered a top-tier player.

In the 2016 NBA Draft, the year after Dakari was drafted, only three college basketball forward/centers were selected in the lottery.

Cauley-Stein and Johnson are the ceiling and the floor for Adebayo.  If his stock remains static around No. 20, he could earn guaranteed money around $3 million in his first two years.  If he falls into the second round and isn’t signed, his D-League contract will be worth about as much as a statewide autograph tour.


Adebayo’s decision is his to make.  More likely than not, he’ll receive positive feedback at the NBA Combine in mid-May and make a couple million bucks.  I, and you, can not blame him for making that career decision.  However, the Kentucky centers that came before him provide plenty of evidence to stay for another year to create substantially more in long-term potential earnings.


Cal chose the white Jordan OVO XIIIs by Drake, via @ace_hearts8408.

Five Players Calipari Watched at the Adidas Uprising Circuit

Cal chose the white Jordan OVO XIIIs by Drake, via @ace_hearts8408.

Cal chose the white Jordan OVO XIIIs by Drake, via @ace_hearts8408.

After spending Friday night watching Cam Reddish and Marvin Bagley at the Nike EYBL, John Calipari traveled to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area to see the rising stars in the adidas circuit.  He rarely sits still for long at these events, but here’s who he reportedly watched, if only for a moment, at the adidas event.

Quentin Grimes

One of three point guards with Kentucky offers in the class, Grimes lost a point guard battle last night against Immanuel Quickley.  Hailing form College Park, Texas, 247 Sports ranks him as the No. 1 point guard in the class, but he’s No. 5 in the Composite Rankings.  You be the judge:

Jordan Brown

The fifth-ranked player in the 2018 class and second-ranked power forward hails from Roseville, California.  The 6’10” forward has impressive accolades from the recruiting analysts, but only six scholarship offers.  Cal and Kansas are considered the top two leaders.

David McCormack

The 6’9″ 300-pound center from Oak Hill Academy took an unofficial visit to Lexington last weekend.  The second-ranked center in the 2018 class does not yet have an offer from Kentucky.  Meanwhile Georgetown, Louisville, N.C. State and Kansas are taking the lead in his recruitment.

Charles Bassey

The 6’10” power forward is the third-ranked layer in the Class of 2019.  The powerful post only has three offers — Baylor, Kansas and Texas A&M — but John Calipari has kept a keen eye on him early and often.

Grant Sherfield

The 6’2″ combo guard from Arlington, Texas is a borderline Top 25 player in the 2019 class, currently a four-star prospect.  He has ten early offers — most notably from Kansas, Texas and UCLA — but Sherfield does not have one from Calipari.

Surely a few more players caught his eye, but these five will do for now.  


Prepare for Kentucky Camp Season

Prepare for Kentucky Camp Season

cal-stoops

Today marks the first Saturday without Kentucky football or basketball since August.  Until things kick back into gear this August, the athletic fields will be buzzing, filled with campers from across the Big Blue Nation.

Basketball and football camps start seven weeks from today on June 10.  If you’re a football player trying to get noticed, playing in front of the coaches is a great way to start.  See the entire schedule and register here.

FullSizeRender-124

John Calipari’s basketball camps tip-off the same weekend.  The overnight and father/son events will create memories that last a lifetime.  Spots are filling fast; register as soon as possible here or here.

Father/Son Camps

  • June 9 – 10
  • June 16 – 17
  • June 30 – July 1

Overnight Camps

  • June 11 – June 14
  • June 18 – June 21

WKU Football Unveils New One-of-a-Kind Tradition

via @WKUFootball

via @WKUFootball

New Western Kentucky football coach Mike Sanford is bold.  During halftime of the Red/White Game, the first-time head coach announced the creation of a tradition never seen before in the athletic arena.

The Hilltoppers will “Raise the W” each week, something never done before in the history of sports*.  The bold initiative from Coach Sanford is explained in the following press release.

At halftime of Saturday’s Red vs. White Spring Game, WKU Head Football Coach Mike Sanford introduced his ‘Raise the W’ initiative to signify the start of game week in Bowling Green beginning with the 2017 season.

The brainchild of the first-year head coach, the red flag features WKU’s varsity style ‘W’ which has appeared on lettermen jackets dating back to the 1920’s, and it will be raised each Monday by a selected Hilltopper on the basis of commitment to his teammates, the program and level of play from the previous week.

Area business and fans will be encouraged to also raise their own ‘W’ flag to help the Hilltoppers kick off game week in unison across town. Replica versions of the flag, which will fly in the south end zone of Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, will be available this summer.

The first W flag ceremoniously flew at halftime to the tune of WKU’s new football fight song, “Go Tops Go!”

“Hey Bowling Green, what do you say? The Tops are gonna win today!”

(more…)


This John Wall Dunk is too Amazing for Words

Geoff Burk | USA Today

Geoff Burk | USA Today

There are amazing basketball plays that you must see, then there’s what John Wall just did.

Wall starts a fast break, by himself, off a made basket.  He knifes through all five defenders, goes behind his back, murders Kent Bazemore, then stares Bazemore into a traumatic state of humiliation. Wow.

The Wizards aren’t winning, so expect more from craziness from “put the team on my back” Wall.  He was 14 points and 2 assists early in the second quarter.


The Elephant in the Room: Boom Williams will (Probably) not get Drafted

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

A week from today the NFL Draft will come to a close in Philadelphia.  More likely than not, Stanley “Boom” Williams will not hear his name called.

The Kentucky running back declared for the draft immediately after the TaxSlayer Bowl, forfeiting his final year of eligibility by signing with an agent.  A 1,000-yard rusher in 2016, Williams was still just a borderline draft pick at the time of his decision.  Since then his stock has not improved.

A top performer in the 20-yard and three-cone shuttle at the NFL Combine, his best 40-yard dash time was disqualified.  The “Bottom Line” on his NFL.com Combine Analysis is not flattering.

Scat back with outstanding burst who can create for himself in space, but is not about that life when asked to run between the tackles. Williams doesn’t have the blocking or the hands to be a full-time third-down back and he lacks the decisiveness and vision necessary to handle snaps as a backup. While he does have plus athletic ability, Williams may be too limited in what he can offer a team from a roster flexibility standpoint.

Being an above-average scat back is Boom’s best shot at having an NFL Career, but the scouts don’t see those skills.  In three years at Kentucky Boom only caught 38 passes, which is just an average of about one screen pass per game.  To make matters worse, Williams did not do anything Earth-shattering at his Pro Day and he has limited experience as a special teams player.

As we enter the heart of mock draft season, Boom is nowhere to be found.  Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, the two most well-known draft prognosticators, only predict the first two rounds, but ESPN does have a service that ranks every prospect.  Williams is considered the No. 319 player overall.  There are only 253 players selected in the NFL Draft.

Only a few outlets conduct mock drafts for all seven rounds.  Of the following four, Boom was not featured in any mock drafts.

It’s difficult to foresee a home for Boom in the NFL Draft, but that’s ultimately for the best.  As a free agent, he’ll get to choose the team that provides the best opportunity, rather than going to a team that chooses him.  He’ll get a shot, but it probably won’t be through the NFL Draft.

The good news is the BBN has someone to cheer for in Philadelphia.  Jon Toth will be selected somewhere in between the third and sixth rounds and nobody will be happier than Freddie Maggard.


The Ringer: These are John Wall’s Playoffs

John Wall’s rise to superstardom has been well-documented on this website, but it has yet to reach the pinnacle across the NBA landscape.  The four-time all-star has received the accolades, but does not receive the same hype as other NBA superstars.  According to The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks, that’s about to change.

Through the first two games of the first round, Wall has never been better, beating the Hawks in dominating fashion.

Wall has been as dominant as anyone in the playoffs so far. In the first two games of the Wizards’ first-round series with the Hawks, he is averaging 32 points on 47.7 percent shooting, 11.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds a game, and he has been a star on both ends of the floor. He’s a 26-year-old entering the prime of his career, and he’s proving himself capable of carrying a team on his back. Whenever Atlanta has challenged Washington, Wall has provided an answer.

There are plenty specific examples of Wall’s dominance (GIFs included) in the article, but my favorite part is the foreshadowing.  With the Celtics on the ropes early in the series against the Bulls, whoever the Wizards have next will be vulnerable, putting them in position to reach a Conference Final for the first time in Wall’s tenure.  A showdown against LeBron’s Cavs is the spotlight Wall needs.

“John Wall’s time in the shadows is coming to an end,” is an eloquent ending to Tjarks’ article, but I prefer his colleague Shea Serrano’s proclamation: “If you’re not rooting for John Wall, I’ll fight you.”

Root for him on in Game 3 vs. Atlanta at 5:30 on TNT.

[The Ringer]