How big was De’Aaron Fox’s night? His 39 points are the most ever by a freshman →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 24th, 2017 @ 4:00pm
It’s banner season in Lexington, and while 80% of the banners going up around UK’s campus aren’t exactly safe for work, there are some we can share with you. Enjoy, and, as always, if you see a great banner, send a picture to us on Twitter (@MrsTylerKSR, @RoushKSR, @KySportsRadio, @DrewFranklinKSR, etc. etc.).
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 24th, 2017 @ 3:30pm
How do I know John Calipari’s feeling great? After Isaiah Briscoe — one of the worst shooters on the team — nailed the halfcourt shot at today’s shootaround, Calipari hilariously screamed, “OH, DOES THAT MEAN SOMETHING?!” at the camera:
We sure hope it means something, Coach. pic.twitter.com/b4RFp8xEp5
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) March 24, 2017
Gotta like how loose the guys look…also, Brad better watch himself.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 24th, 2017 @ 3:00pm
We won’t hear the real “One Shining Moment” until the National Championship on April 3, but CBS asked some players and coaches to give Charles Barkley a hand with his rendition for an upcoming promo. Representing Kentucky are Dominique Hawkins, Wenyen Gabriel, and John Calipari. Check it out:
Players and coaches took a crack at “One Shining Moment,” and it was something. pic.twitter.com/EaQL2e8zoJ
— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 23, 2017
Who knew Wenyen had such a beautiful voice?
With the UK/UCLA matchup on the horizon for an Elite Eight berth and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball leading the Bruins through their tourney march, Ball’s outspoken father LaVar has spent as much time as possible running roughshod through the national media and talking to whoever will have him. But are YOU LaVar Ball? Take our quiz to find out!
1. The number of sons I have is:
a. I don’t have any sons.
b. I have two sons.
c. I have three sons.
2. My relationship with Charles Barkley is:
a. We get along great.
b. We have our differences, but usually agree to disagree.
c. We are currently at odds .
3. My children are worth:
a. My time.
b. The attention I give them.
c. One billion dollars.
4. If I were to play Michael Jordan one-on-one:
a. He would probably defeat me.
b. It might be a comparable matchup and could go either way.
c. I would kill him.
5. My son’s basketball coach:
a. Loves me
b. Likes me somewhat.
c. Pretends to like me.
6. The number of voicemails I have left at Nike headquarters today is:
7. When I see a possum rummaging through my trash, I:
a. Turn on the porch light hoping it will scare him off.
b. Shake a broom at him.
c. Catch and sell him to a zoo for five million dollars because he’s the best possum.
8. When I wipe ketchup off my mouth with a napkin, I:
a. Politely return the napkin to my lap.
b. Toss the napkin into the trash.
c. Take the napkin to Polo and tell them they can put it on a shirt for thirty million dollars.
9. When it is a beautiful night outside my house, I:
a. Sit outside and look at the evening sky.
b. Comment how beautiful the sky looks.
c. Charge people four-hundred dollars a piece to look at the moon.
10. My best friend is:
a. My wife.
b. My childhood schoolmate.
c. David Steinman, VP of Marketing and Branding Content at Nike
11. The last time I went to a county fair, I:
a. Enjoyed the rides.
b. Appreciated the time with my family.
c. Won all the games and got all the stuffed animals, then sold them all for one thousand dollars apiece.
12. The first thing I think when I smell a rose is:
a. The simple joys in life make everything worth it.
b. It’s important to slow down and enjoy the world.
c. How much can I sell this smell for?
13. The last time I played basketball with my children, I:
a. Laughed and enjoyed each their company.
b. Made memories that will last a lifetime.
c. Beat all three of them five-hundred points to zero and they told me I was better than they are and always will be.
14. When my family goes to take a Christmas card photo:
a. We all dress up so we look nice.
b. We always make sure to take a “silly picture.”
c. I stand in front of the camera and start talking about myself until the manager of Olan Mills tells me that the camera only takes regular photographs.
15. My children see me as:
a. A firm but fair disciplinarian and mentor.
b. A confidant and supporter.
c. The reason they’re not allowed at the Chino Hills YMCA anymore.
16. Someday I hope to be remembered:
a. As a good father who made smart decisions for his children.
b. As a savvy businessman who did right by his family.
c. As the person after whom the newly discovered planet LaVar X-32 was named.
SCORING GUIDE: a=1, b=2, c=3
If you scored:
15 – You are not LaVar Ball.
15-30 You are probably not LaVar Ball.
80-90 – You are LaVar Ball.
Before the season started, you could’ve circled this the first game between these teams as one of the better games on the college basketball schedule, but getting this match up a second time is a treat for the college basketball world . Steve Alford and company have put together an extremely talented roster, and a terrific season leading to a 31-4 record overall.
The Bruins have one of the most talented starting fives in the country, led by freshman phenom Lonzo Ball. Stating it now: I will not feed into the attention craving father that Ball has, so let’s just focus on basketball. While Ball may impact the game in so many ways, UCLA has a second freshman that averages more in the stat sheet than Ball. TJ Leaf is the guy that causes such a match up problem for almost any team that the Bruins face, including Kentucky in the first game back in December.
This game is a match up of two elite talent level teams that have the ability to run and gun; however, Kentucky’s recent defensive improvement have lent to a slower style of play than the first time these two teams played. Here’s another look at the starting five for the Bruins.
#2 Lonzo Ball, Freshman Guard, 6’6″
As probably one of the toughest, if not the toughest player to guard in the country, Lonzo Ball has taken the college basketball world by storm throughout this season. It is very well known what Kentucky’s freshman have done this season, but out on the West Coast, they have a gem of their own.
Ball is already averaging 14.7 points, a best in the country 7.6 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per game. He’s a solid defender, blocking just below one shot and getting 1.9 steals per game. I think even more impressive than those stats is the fact that he’s accumulating all of those assists while still shooting so well with a god awful stroke. Ball is 42% from three-point land and that’s only good for third best on the team.
At 6’6″, Lonzo Ball is a matchup nightmare. He is already drawing comparisons to Jason Kidd, except with a better jump shot, which is high praise for a guy who is just finishing his first collegiate season. John Calipari will put his highly touted freshman guard, De’Aaron Fox on Ball tonight. This matchup lived up to the hype in the first game, as Fox finished with 20 points and 9 assists, while helping to force Ball into 6 turnovers. However, Ball had a big game of his own, finishing with 14 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds.
#22 TJ Leaf, Freshman Forward, 6’10”
TJ Leaf has been overshadowed by Lonzo Ball for UCLA, but his numbers have been almost as impressive, if not more. The freshman forward was rated as the 13th best player in his class coming out of high school, and has lived up to his heralded ranking.
Leaf is first on the team in points and second in rebounds, putting up 16.2 and 8.2 per game. He’s also blocking 1.1 shots per game and dishing out 2.5 assists. We mentioned the three-point shooting of this team earlier, but here it is again, as Leaf has made 45.6% of his 3-point attempts this season, good for best on the team. On top of that, he’s shooting almost 69% from the field overall. Leaf finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists back in December.
Measuring at 6’10” and 225 pounds, Leaf will be one the biggest and most talented forwards that the Cats have faced this season, and he’s not even the biggest starter for UCLA. Despite what everyone else is thinking, the TJ Leaf – Derek Willis match up is not the one to look at tonight. The reason being, is that I am under the impression that Bam Adebayo will be guarding Leaf, not Willis. Bam is a better overall match up for Leaf, and it takes Willis away from guarding one of the best players in the country.
#10 Isaac Hamilton, Senior Guard, 6’5″
Isaac Hamilton is one of two extremely experienced starting guards for Steve Alford. Over the past two seasons, Hamilton has started all 68 games for the Bruins, plus starting all this season. He put up 15 points and 3 rebounds in UCLA’s 10-point victory over UK last season in Pauley Pavilion.
This year, Hamilton’s role on this team started out much more impactful than it is now. Through the first 8 games, he was leading the team with 18 points per game, to go along with 3.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and a 44.1% clip from downtown. As of now, Hamilton is averaging 14 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and is shooting 35.5% from three point land. Hamilton was the leading scorer against UK the first time, finishing with 19 points and 4 rebounds.
I think Isaac Hamilton will likely be guarded by Malik Monk, but may be guarded by Briscoe due to the higher defensive ability from Briscoe. Monk and Hamilton have similar games and body types to make for a very interesting matchup at the two-guard position. While the Cats do have to find out how to stop him from scoring in bunches, I’m more interested in seeing how he guards the UK backcourt. Last match up, Malik Monk scored a game high 24 points on 10/19 shooting. Monk has been struggling lately, but I’m seeing a break out game for the freshman from Lepanto, Arkansas.
#20 Bryce Alford, Senior Guard, 6’3″
Bryce Alford, son of head coach Steve Alford, has been lighting up defenses from downtown since his freshman year at UCLA. He has led the Bruins in three-point shooting for every year he’s been in college. Alford holds the UCLA record for most threes made in a season and is now second all-time in career three-pointers made for the Bruins.
Alford is scoring 15.6 points, finding teammates for 2.6 assists, and pulling down 2.5 rebounds per game this season. Despite being known as a dead-eye shooter, he’s one of four players for UCLA shooting over 40% from deep. Alford is shooting 43.3% from behind the arc this season, good for second on the team. For reference, Kentucky does not have one player shooting over 40% from deep.
The senior is UCLA’s smallest starter. He likes to move a lot off of the ball to come around screens for catch and shoot opportunities. He could be guarded by either Malik Monk or Isaiah Briscoe. I think Briscoe’s defensive abilities can run Alford off the 3-point line because the Cats definitely don’t want him to catch fire, but Monk’s speed may be best for chasing Alford all over the court.
#40 Thomas Welsh, Junior Center, 7’0″
Thomas Welsh, along with fellow starting big man TJ Leaf, will be a rough matchup for UK’s talented front line. Welsh ripped apart the Wildcats last season in the pick-and-pop, shooting 8-11 on mostly elbow jumpers for 21 points and pulled down 11 boards. Skal Labissiere, Alex Poythress, and Derek Willis struggled attempted to guard Welsh on the perimeter, and combined for 14 fouls, after Marcus Lee went down with an injury 4 minutes into the game.
Welsh is almost averaging a double-double this season, scoring 10.8 points and grabbing 8.7 rebounds, alongside his 1.4 blocked shots per game. I haven’t included Welsh in my 3-point shooting stats, as he’s only attempted one this season, but he did make that one attempt. Welsh has made 88.6% of the free throws he’s attempted this season.
The big man will be an interesting matchup for the Cats, as Bam Adebayo can handle him in the post, but Bam will be guarding TJ Leaf. Derek Willis matching up with Welsh is better for Kentucky in that Willis shouldn’t get exposed a ton, but if Welsh moves to the block, Willis will be undersized. The junior finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds in the first game, but was only able to play 19 minutes due to his inability to handle Bam on the other end of the floor and eventually fouling out.
No more explanation necessary. Let’s get to business.
Survive and Advance.
Go Cats. Beat Bruins.
To make up for kicking KSR out of the lobby during yesterday’s radio show, The Peabody invited Matt, Ryan, Shannon, and Drew to be honorary duckmasters for the famous Peabody Duck March this morning.
If you’ve never been before, the duck march is a big, big thing. The ducks come down from their home on the roof of The Peabody hotel at 11 a.m. every day to get in the fountain, and at 5 p.m., go back up for the night. The ceremony of bringing them down draws in over 200,000 visitors to The Peabody each year, and this morning, hundreds of people crowded around the fountain in the lobby to watch our motley crew do the honors. I’ve been coming to the Peabody to watch the march since I was a little girl, so getting to tag along to document the behind-the-scenes action was really, really cool.
Here’s the reserved seat and a close up of one of the duck canes Matt, Ryan, Drew, and Shannon received:
And the behind-the-scenes footage of us going up the elevator to get the ducks, one of the most surreal things we may have ever done:
And another angle of the big moment from our Facebook page:
Thanks again to The Peabody for inviting us to be part of such a big event. We are definitely #TeamDuck.
By Nick Roush on ©March 24th, 2017 @ 12:00pm
When Kentucky takes the court with UCLA tonight in Memphis, all eyes will be on Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox. The matchup between two of the nation’s best three point guards will get all the hype, but Malik Monk can not be forgotten.
Two years ago Monk went toe-to-toe with Ball at the Tournament of Champions in Missouri. The juniors did not disappoint. Ball had a triple-double — 19 points, 15 assists, 12 rebounds — and Monk scored 50 points. Watch the highlights that begin with Monk’s AND 1 off an alley-oop.
It was a relatively slow night in the NBA last night for former Kentucky Wildcats with only 8 guys suiting up for their respective teams. Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis were the only Cats to make a major mark on their game, but let’s take a look at how all the former Cats stacked up last night.
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (126-98 loss to Nets)
Bucket through contact for Booker.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 24, 2017
Tyler Ulis, Phoenix Suns (126-98 loss to Nets)
That’s a no look pass for the oop.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 23, 2017
Ulis with the long lob for the slam.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 24, 2017
Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns (126-98 loss to Nets)
DNP – Coach’s Decision
Brandon Knight, Phoenix Suns (126-98 loss to Nets)
DNP – Coach’s Decision
Archie Goodwin, Brooklyn Nets (126-98 win over Suns)
Hesitation dribble through the lane and the finger roll finish.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 24, 2017
Nerlens Noel, Dallas Mavericks (97-95 win over Clippers)
Noel on the receiving end of the lob.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 24, 2017
Dirk to Nerlens for the jam.
Dirk finds Nerlens for the jam! 🔨 pic.twitter.com/ke8YP0iVBd
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 24, 2017
Patrick Patterson, Toronto Raptors (101-84 win over Heat)
Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies (97-90 loss to Spurs)
Tonight’s schedule in the NBA looks like this:
- Brooklyn Nets at Washington Wizards, 7pm ET
- Cleveland Cavaliers at Charlotte Hornets, 7pm ET
- Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic, 7pm ET
- Denver Nuggets at Indiana Pacers, 7pm ET
- Phoenix Suns at Boston Celtics, 7:30pm ET
- Philadelphia 76ers at Chicago Bulls, 8pm ET
- Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks, 8pm ET on NBATV
- New Orleans Pelicans at Houston Rockets, 8pm ET
- Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30pm ET
- Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors, 10:30pm ET
This morning Doug Gottlieb joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss his future. Gottlieb said he interviewed for the head coaching job yesterday at his alma mater, Oklahoma State, (he was not offered the job) but his comments on another coaching gig are much more intriguing.
Patrick asked Gottlieb who’s the most likely to end up coaching their alma mater: Gottlieb to Oklahoma State, Patrick Ewing to Georgetown or Steve Alford to Indiana.
“I’ve been told the Steve Alford thing is done. I would say that’s the most likely,” Gottlieb said.
“Done deal” statements on the day of NCAA Tournament games usually don’t work out well for that team, just ask Rex Chapman.
By Nick Roush on ©March 24th, 2017 @ 10:00am
In his return to Memphis, John Calipari’s role as the “one-and-done, ruiner of college basketball” is once again being brought up by his critics. The stigma will never leave him. He’s fine with it and I believe he likes it, using the chip on his shoulder as motivation.
Meanwhile, Coach K is recruiting similar five-star talent (now that his season is finished), but according to many he’s doing it “the right way.” It’s a double-standard that’s so obvious it can be seen from Great Britain. The Guardian, a daily British newspaper, calls Coach K out on his crap.
“I want you armed for life,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said 12 years ago, barely able to keep a straight face on camera. “I want you to develop as a player. I want you to develop as a student, and I want you to develop as a human being.” He then added, to cash in for himself and instantly reveal how fake the previous sentiments were about a system that earns billions while paying athletes nothing: “That’s why my card is American Express.”
The article’s author, D.J. Gallo, sees through the BS that many Americans either don’t see, or refuse to admit. While the NCAA and CBS/Turner rake in billions, the players get nothing…except in Calipari’s system. Embracing the rules, he puts players on the quickest path to achieve their dream, winning a ton of basketball games in the process.
They’re just taking on an even playing field the smartest way possible. They know that none of us actually care more about a player’s grade point average than his scoring average.
That’s why continuing to root against Kentucky feels so outdated and pointless. It’s rooting against innovation. It’s rooting against best practices and actual, not faux, integrity. It’s buying into the idea that the NCAA tournament, which generates more than a billion in ad revenue, is somehow about amateurism and academics.
The article will put a smile on your face (especially if you read it with a British accent).
Yesterday they were forced to leave The Peabody in the middle of the show. Where will they get kicked out of today? Find out by listening to a Sweet 16 edition of Kentucky Sports Radio, LIVE in Memphis.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
Fans! Have you booked your spring getaway yet?
Plan a trip to sunny Myrtle Beach, South Carolina today! Whether looking for a quick getaway, a spring trip with the whole family, or a fisherman’s retreat, you will find it all along Myrtle Beach’s 60 miles of coastline.
Book now and save with vacation deals and special packages this spring!
Are you looking for the perfect spot to watch the NCAA Tournament this weekend? Take your family and friends to Barleycorn’s! Barleycorn’s has over 30 beers on tap, jumbo wings with 10 delicious sauces, sandwiches, salads, and our famous handcrafted burgers!
If you need another reason to get over to Barleycorn’s, how about this promo they’re running right now!? Now through April 3, bounce back in to Barleycorn’s for a FREE order of chicken tenders when a player scores 30 or more points in a single Men’s NCAA Tournament game!
Barleycorn’s has three locations in Northern Kentucky – Cold Spring, Lakeside Park, and Florence – and is open seven days a week! For hours and information, follow them on Facebook or visit Barleycorns.com. Get over here!
A Sweet Start to the Weekend
Excluding Kansas’ destruction of Purdue’s posts, the first night of the Sweet 16 produced magnificent basketball. Gonzaga beat West Virginia by 3 points, Xavier beat Arizona by 2 points and Oregon beat Michigan by 1 point, ending the Michigan magic with Derrick Walton Jr.’s missed jumper.
The good news: Bill Murray is in the Elite Eight.
Soak it in Bill Murray Xavier is going to the Elite 8pic.twitter.com/I17vmdMmXJ
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) March 24, 2017
The bad news: the other side of the bracket is terrible. One of these six teams will be in the national championship game: Gonzaga, Xavier, South Carolina, Florida, Baylor or Wisconsin. Meanwhile, UCLA, North Carolina and probably Kansas stand in Kentucky’s way of reaching the title.
Tonight’s Basketball Schedule
- 7:09 on CBS — Butler vs. North Carolina
- 7:49 on TBS: South Carolina vs. Baylor
- 9:40ish on CBS: Kentucky vs. UCLA
- 10:05ish on TBS: Wisconsin vs. Florida
Cal’s Return to Memphis
Coach Cal is happy to be back in a city that means so much to him.
“Ellen and I loved our time here, and it was a special time. I say this over and over again. This is not the kind of place where one person can do something. You have to all be together, and this community and the administration, the school just all came behind all of us, and it was a terrific ride. We loved our time here.
“And I understand some people were upset that I left. I get that. I mean, and I accept that. It doesn’t bother me. I know last night we had a couple hundred people in that room, and close to tears, all of us, because we enjoyed the ride together. You know, it’s kind of special to be back. Been back many times, many, many times, but this is the first time coaching in this building since I left. “I think we did all right here. Had some good times.”
Of course, Calipari was met with boos when he entered the arena.
More of the boos directed at Calipari pic.twitter.com/Q3XGdvXbt9
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) March 23, 2017
For a deeper look into the situation, watch last night’s feature on Hey Kentucky.
Monk will be Surrounded by Family
Malik Monk’s hometown of Lepanto, Arkansas is just 42 miles northwest of Memphis. The FedEx Forum will be filled with family and friends. For some, that might mean more pressure, but it has quit the opposite effect on Monk.
“It’ll make me way more comfortable. I’m just comfortable. My family is here, I know I have to play good, so I’m going to be comfortable.”
Shooting just 19.2 percent from behind the three-point line in the month of March, a more comfortable shooter can only be a good thing, right?
Views from Open Practice
Normally, the NCAA Tournament shoot-arounds aren’t that entertaining. That was not the case yesterday. The team was flying all over the floor, performing the kind of dunks that incite an audible response. Don’t believe me, just watch.
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) March 23, 2017
Lonzo isn’t as Crazy as LaVar
His shot may be crazy-looking, but Lonzo is not like his outspoken father. In the pregame interviews, he was humble, doing his best to avoid the distractions created by his father.
“I just go out there and play basketball. I enjoy playing the game, and I try not to listen to the distractions.” Lonzo said he’s used to this kind of stuff from his dad. “He’s been talking like this since I’ve been born, so it’s nothing new for me. Y’all get to see it for the first time, and he’s always on TV. That’s the only difference.”
Today’s Tale of the Tape
The NCAA Responded to UofL
The latest in the UofL Stripper Scandal contains harsh language from the NCAA. It wasn’t loaded with language that gets you the death penalty, but the terms “common knowledge” make it difficult to defend Pitino’s case. UofL will still get their date in court, some time this summer (Augustish) to make their final defense before the Committee on Infractions hands down the penalty. Read the entire report here.
More Offers for Jarren Williams
The Georgia dual-threat quarterback was Mark Stoops’ first commit in the 2018 recruiting class. At the time, his only other major offers were from West Virginia, Maryland and Colorado. Since then, he’s received offers from almost half of the SEC. Yesterday Florida extended an offer, following LSU, Tennessee, South Carolina, Miss. State and Mizzou.
Williams’ offer sheet reflects the recruiting trend in the South; Kentucky finds ’em early, then everybody else follows their lead.
One Final Thing
I’ll leave you with Kyle Wiltjer’s NCAA Tournament prediction.
KSR starts in one hour, from somewhere in Memphis that is not The Peabody.
#14 Ole Miss dropped an offensive bomb on #19 Kentucky in a 9-6 win on Thursday. The Rebels scored six runs in the sixth inning to down Sean Hjelle and the BatCats. T.J Collett hit a grand slam for his first career hit to get UK back in the game late, but Ole Miss shut down the Cats in the ninth.
Fresh off winning national pitcher of the week, Hjelle motored through the first two frames with three strikeouts. Grae Kessinger got the ball rolling off Hjelle in the top of the third. The nine hole hitter hit a ball to right that carried out to the Cliff to give Ole Miss a 2-0 lead. After Will Golsan singled, Connor Heady and Riley Mahan turned one of the slickest double plays of the season to get Hjelle out of the inning.
Kentucky ROLLS two… literally, figuratively and every other way! #SCTop10
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) March 24, 2017
The Cats got one back in the bottom of the fourth on a sac fly by Kole Cottam. In a game that projected as a pitcher’s duel, Ole Miss was able to open up their offense against UK. The Rebs were hitting .242 as a team entering today, but they recorded 14 hits against UK on Thursday. Ole Miss had seven consecutive hitters collect hits off Hjelle, Colton Cleary, and Alec Maley in the sixth inning. Golsan and Tim Dillard drove in a pair of runs a piece as Ole Miss jumped out to an 8-1 lead.
Ole Miss added one more run in the eighth before UK made a push in the bottom half of the inning. Tristan Pompey, Storm Wilson, and Luke Becker all reached base with no outs to load the bases for Riley Mahan. The junior second baseman walked for his team-high 25th RBI. Collett pinch hit following Mahan and delivered in a big way. The freshman hit a bomb to left center just under the scoreboard for a grand slam. The home run was Collett’s first career hit in only his second official at bat. Evan White also pinch hit in the eighth in his first appearance since March 8th.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) March 24, 2017
UK could not add another run in the eighth and eventually fell 9-6 to #14 Ole Miss. The BatCats are now 16-6 (3-1) on the season. The series continues tomorrow at 7 ET on SECN+.
Like a lot of athletes, Bam Adebayo wears a rubber bracelet on his wrist with a message on it. Bam’s reads “1 Peter 4:10,” referring to a Bible verse that reads, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
The Kentucky big man says he picked the bracelet up from someone at the John Calipari Fantasy Camp in September, and ever since, it’s been on his wrist.
“At fantasy camp, this dude was handing them out, and I saw the Bible verse and I just grabbed one. My other one broke, so I grabbed this one. I read the Bible every now and then so when I see this, I will go to that verse and read it again.”
In his short time at Kentucky, Bam has been doing his best to use his “gifts,” morphing into a consistent post presence, particularly in the past month. In the last ten games, Bam’s averaged 14.4 points and 11 rebounds, while shooting 63% from the floor. That consistency bodes well for the Cats, particularly since he was only 33% of the floor since UCLA in December, earning 10 of his 18 points at the free-throw line. Bam had a career-high 18 rebounds in Kentucky’s tournament opener vs. Northern Kentucky a week ago, and when Wichita State’s Darral Willis Jr. vowed to “shut that down,” he turned in another double-double, putting up 13 points off 6-11 shooting and 10 rebounds. Bam may look intimidating, but in person, he’s all smiles and reflection.
“Coming from a small town, you never thought you’d be playing in a Sweet 16 so I’m just going to go out there and play my hardest and play with my teammates,” Bam said about his freshman year. “A lot of people don’t get chosen to be recruited by Kentucky but I’m blessed that I was. Now that I’m here, I’ve just got to have fun with it and enjoy the rest.”
Most of the time when you ask Bam about his time at Kentucky, he talks about his teammates.
“We’ve got a lot of great guys. We all stick together, we have fun. It’s not only on the court, it’s off the court. We stick together, we go out to movies, we just hang around each other a lot,” Bam said, noting that the last movie they saw was King Kong (he gave it two thumbs up).
On the court, you can tell this team has really come together over the past month, particularly on defense; Bam said that’s been the biggest change since Kentucky played UCLA in December.
“I feel like we’ve gotten a lot better. We’re getting stops, we’re taking charges, we’re having fun on defense, we’re talking. We’re just enjoying it.”
When asked if he was going in to tomorrow’s game looking for revenge, Bam wisely took the high road, refusing to give the Bruins bulletin board material.
“We’re just going to go out there and play hard. It’s another game we’ve got to look for and prepare for. It just so happened to be UCLA, so we’ve just got to go out there and play hard.”
And use those gifts they were given.