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LIVE: John Calipari talks about the Blue/White Game

John Calipari is ready to address reporters about his team’s performance in the Blue/White Game. Watch a live stream below courtesy of KyWildcatsTV:


Blue beats White 88-67 in a sloppy affair

Blue beats White 88-67 in a sloppy affair

Tonight’s Blue/White game was just about what you’d expect: a whole lotta sloppiness with some flashes of promise. The lineups were shuffled throughout, but Blue beat White, 88-67.

Kevin Knox led all scorers with 22 points, followed by PJ Washington with 21 and Wenyen Gabriel with 19. Eight players finished in double figures, and Nick Richards had a team-high 13 rebounds and 8 blocks. Down two players in Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) and Jemarl Baker (knee), fatigue was an issue, with Quade Green and Hamidou Diallo dealing with cramps throughout the second half.

If you didn’t believe John Calipari when he said this team is raw, you do after this game; however, they showed us some great stuff in terms of speed, second chance points, and ridiculous athleticism.

More coverage coming in a bit. Until then, examine the box score:


Blue/White Game LIVE BLOG

Live Blog 2017 Blue/White Game LIVE BLOG
 


Mississippi State attempting a “Stripe Out” tomorrow

Mississippi State attempting a “Stripe Out” tomorrow

This picture is old.

Tomorrow is Homecoming at Mississippi State and the Bulldogs are pulling out all the stops. Not only will there be a “city-wide” tailgate in Starkville (all four strip malls!), Mississippi State is attempting a “Stripe Out” at Davis Wade Stadium, encouraging fans to wear maroon or white depending on what section they’re in:

So, if you’re going to the game tomorrow, WEAR BLUE. (That should go without saying.) And get ready for the cowbells:


Whoever runs the KFC Twitter account needs a raise

Whoever runs the KFC Twitter account needs a raise

Most restaurant social media accounts are cringeworthy, but not KFC’s. Kudos to Twitter user @Edgette 22, who discovered that @KFC only follows 11 people: five Spice Girls and six guys named Herb. That, of course, is a reference to the “11 herbs and spices” that make up KFC’s famous secret family recipe.

Well done. Give that social media director a raise.


Jimmy Dykes will be back in Rupp Arena tonight

Jimmy Dykes will be back in Rupp Arena tonight

Kentucky basketball will be back on your televisions tonight, and so will Jimmy Dykes. Dykes is back with the SEC Network after three years as the head coach of the Arkansas women’s basketball team, and is already sharing his thoughts on the Cats. After watching the team practice last night, Dykes doesn’t think shooting will be as much of a concern for Kentucky as others do:

Tune in for more of Jimmy’s insights on the SEC Network from 7-9 p.m. How many of his favorite sayings can you remember? I’ll start.

  • Drive the nail
  • Violent cuts!
  • Socks in box
  • Guard the yard

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Calipari announces starting lineups for the Blue/White Game

Photo by UK Athletics

Good news: Tai Wynyard will be back in action for tonight’s Blue/White Game. John Calipari just announced the teams for tonight’s scrimmage, and Wynyard will play on the white squad, his first real action since going down with a back injury during Pro Day almost two weeks ago.

Here are the starting lineups (which Calipari warned he will mix up throughout the game):

BLUE WHITE
Quade Green Shai Alexander
Hamidou Diallo Brad Calipari
PJ Washington Wenyen Gabriel
Kevin Knox Sacha Killeya-Jones
Nick Richards Tai Wynyard

Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) and Jemarl Baker (knee) are still out. Wynyard’s back seemed just fine in this video from shootaround earlier today:

Brad Calipari has quite the tall task ahead of him vs. Hamidou Diallo, but he got the day off to a good start by sinking the first shootaround halfcourt shot of the year, a game day tradition.

Go Blue. Go White. Go Cats.


9 Things I’m Excited To See With This Year’s Kentucky Basketball Team

Photo by UK Athletics

It’s late October, and college basketball season is so darn close I can taste it. The leaves are changing (at least I think they are, I live in California), the air is cooling and half the national media is already crafting their excuses for Duke’s first loss of the year. So you know the games are right around the corner!

It really is a wonderful time of year, and as usual Kentucky enters the season about as intriguing as anyone. With the Blue-White scrimmage tonight, exhibitions coming and the season around the corner, what is this outsider curious about with this Kentucky team? Here are nine thoughts:

Is Hamidou Diallo ready to be a star?

If you’ve followed me on Twitter for any period of time, you know that I have actually been pretty critical of Diallo over the last year. I saw him a bunch in high school and when he declared for the draft, I just didn’t see what everyone did. Sure, Diallo had all the physical tools – size, athleticism, wingspan – but lacked a feel for the game of basketball. That’s also why I insisted he should come back for another year of college, even as all the “experts” said he was a lock for the first round. As it turns out, I was right and the experts were wrong. Never doubt your boy Nostra-Torres.

That’s also what made Diallo’s performance at Kentucky’s Pro Day so awesome: It really looks like he has taken the feedback he got in the NBA Draft process last year constructively, and really does seem like he’s evolved as a basketball player. Diallo isn’t just about running and jumping and breathtaking play in the open court, but showed improved ball-handling and a much improved jump shot as well. Sure it was just one day of practice, but it felt like a major step in the right direction.

I always thought Diallo could be good for this team, but I questioned if he could become a “star” in his one year of college. Based on what I saw at the Pro Day, I’m not questioning that any more.

(more…)


Nick Richards and PJ Washington named to award watch lists

Nick Richards and PJ Washington named to award watch lists

Congratulations to Nick Richards and PJ Washington, who were named to preseason watch lists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and the Karl Malone Award, respectively. The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award honors the best center in college basketball, while the Karl Malone Award honors the best power forward.

Earlier this week, Kevin Knox made the watch list for the Julius Erving Award, which honors the best small forward, and Hamidou Diallo made the watch list for the Jerry West Award, which honors the best shooting guard. All four awards are handed out by the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on April 6. Kentucky is one of four schools with four or more players to make the positional award watch lists, along with Arizona, Duke and Southern Cal.

Here’s who Richards will go up against for the  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award:

PLAYER COLLEGE
Dusan Ristic Arizona
Austin Wiley Auburn
Kingsley Okoroh California
Tacko Fall Central Florida
Marques Bolden Duke
John Egbunu Florida
Jessie Govan Georgetown
Ben Lammers Georgia Tech
Nick Richards Kentucky
Omer Yurtseven NC State
Isaac Haas Purdue
Jock Landale Saint Mary’s
Angel Delgado Seton Hall
Michael Humphrey Stanford
Vladimir Brodziansky TCU
Mohamed Bamba Texas
Tyler Davis Texas A&M
Thomas Welsh UCLA
Chimezie Metu USC
Ethan Happ Wisconsin

And Washington the Karl Malone Award:

PLAYER COLLEGE
DeAndre Ayton Arizona
Nana Foulland Bucknell
Gary Clark Jr. Cincinnati
Marvin Bagley III Duke
Wendell Carter Jr. Duke
Nick Mayo Eastern Kentucky
Yante Maten Georgia
Rokas Gustys Hofstra
PJ Washington Kentucky
Moritz Wagner Michigan
Jordan Murphy Minnesota
Alize Johnson Missouri State
Bonzie Colson II Notre Dame
Mike Daum South Dakota State
Reid Travis Stanford
Obi Enechionyia Temple
Dylan Osetkowski Texas
Robert Williams Texas A&M
Zach Smith Texas Tech
William Lee UAB
Bennie Boatwright USC

The OTT Podcast: Not letting UNC off the hook, #Daddy style

The OTT Podcast: Not letting UNC off the hook, #Daddy style

On this week’s episode of The OTT Podcast, Fake Barney joins me to discuss the NCAA letting North Carolina off the hook and…well, that’s just about it because it was that ridiculous. Highlights include:

— We get why UNC got off but it’s stupid

— Why does the NCAA care more about high school classes than college classes?

— How sane UNC fans are reacting to the ruling

— Why the paper classes at UNC aren’t like easy classes at other schools

— UNC greek life vs. UK greek life

— How Kentucky is #Daddy

…We’ve got a special request concerning that last one, but you’ll have to listen to find out what it is.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Tomorrow’s line up to 13 in Las Vegas

If you need an indicator of what people outside Kentucky think of tomorrow’s game, you can take a look at the line out in Las Vegas, which has moved all the way to 13 points.

It opened at Mississippi State laying 10 to the Cats in many of the Vegas sports books, and has since moved the three points as the game gets closer.

Football expert Phil Steele predicts the Bulldogs will win by 17 in one of his ‘star picks’ for the weekend. Our friends over at Oddsshark expect it to be much closer, with UK losing by only four.

What do you say about it?


A Look Back At The Misleading Blue-White Games Under John Calipari

matthews-blue-white

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the Blue-White games over the years, it’s that, though fun to watch, they can be very misleading. Fans should not take tonight’s game as a sign of what’s to come in 2017-18. Too many times we’ve seen guys explode for a ton of points, only to disappear within the offense during the regular season.

That’s just how it works: the Blue-White game is merely a dress rehearsal to showcase what weapons Calipari has at his disposal for the upcoming run.

And, unfortunately, the game has a history of being a very inaccurate indicator of how individual players will perform when the score matters.

Take a look back with me, if you will.


2016


Last year’s game was the appetizer to what was ahead from Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox. The two guards combined for 57 points, while Isaiah Briscoe led the way with 39 points on 14-of-30 shooting and a game-high 10 assists.

Mychal Mulder’s night was the most misleading (if there was a misleading performance last year) with 18 points on 4-for-5 shooting from outside.

Watch the highlights:


2015


The 2015 Blue-White game saw the White team snap a 13-year losing streak to the Blue. Starting for that White squad were Tyler Ulis, Mychal Mulder, Charles Matthews, Marcus Lee and Skal Labissiere; and for the Blue we saw Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray, Derek Willis, Alex Poythress and Isaac Humphries.

Labissiere led both sides with a game-high 18 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. We never in a million years thought his season would go the way it did, with the hype surrounding him after that first scrimmage.

Alex Poythress, Charles Matthews and Jamal Murray weren’t far behind in scoring with 17 points each, then Isaiah Briscoe with 16, Derek Willis with 14 and Marcus Lee and Tyler Ulis with 10 apiece. It was the most evenly distributed scoring in a Blue-White scrimmage under Calipari.

Other notables:

— Poythress hit 3-of-4 three-pointers.

— Tyler Ulis’ 15 assists gave us a preview of what was to come.

— Attendance of 15,007 was the second-highest in Blue-White history.

Watch the highlights:


2014


The 2014 Blue-White game was, without question, the most competitive of its kind. That one featured the two “platoons” and came after the Cats had already played games against professional teams in the Bahamas. You could say it was one of the toughest games they played all season, and it was against each other.

Karl-Anthony Towns, who had 20 points and 13 rebounds, said afterward, “It’s just scary to think that the other team is actually part of our team.”

Devin Booker was the leading-scorer with 22 on 9-of-11 shooting, with his only two misses coming on his only two three-point attempts.

Other notables:

— The Harrisons combined for 34 points for the Blue team in the win.

— Dakari Johnson showed off a new, leaner physique. He had 13 points and 14 rebounds playing for both sides, but missed eight of his nine free throw attempts.

— Brian Long went 1-for-1 from outside for his three points.

Watch the highlights:


2013


The Cats opened our eyes in the 2013 edition of the Blue-White game and had several fans (me included) thinking absurd thoughts about what that team was capable of doing. Of course, things didn’t pan out the way we had hoped during the regular season, but the end result was a trip to Dallas for the Final Four.

James Young led all scorers in the 2013 intrasquad scrimmage, tallying 25 points for the Blue squad in a dominant offensive performance. Defensively, he gave us all false hope with several hustle plays and a game-high seven steals.

For the White team, Derek Willis took MVP honors with 21 points and eight rebounds. The Kentucky boy was 5-for-6 from downtown, leading everyone to wonder if Kyle Wiltjer would be missed at all. Willis hit one three-pointer in the regular season.

Other notables:

— Julius Randle matched Willis’ 21-point, eight-rebound outing.

— Aaron Harrison added 19, including 3-of-4 from downtown

— Dakari Johnson recorded a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 11 boards, playing for both the Blue and White teams.

— The Blue team started four freshmen: Andrew and Aaron Harrison, James Young and Julius Randle, alongside Willie Cauley-Stein.

Watch the highlights:

 And how can we forget E.J. Floreal dunking on Julius Randle? Play of the Game:

 Randle said, “He got me.”


2012


2012 gave us the UK debuts of Willie Cauley-Stein, Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays, the only Kentucky team to not reach the NCAA tournament under John Calipari. Goodwin was the game’s leading scorer with 32 points, but he needed 22 shots to do it. That selfishness was a taste of what we’d see from Goodwin that season, although he was the only one trying to make something happen at times, as you remember.

Other notables:

— Willie Cauley-Stein and Nerlens Noel combined for 12 blocks in the game.

— Jon Hood scored 17, exposing the poor defense of a sophomore Kyle Wiltjer.

— Wiltjer scored 28 points with nine rebounds.

— Alex Poythress scored 25, while Ryan Harrow posted 20 and a game-high six assists.

— Goodwin missed a free-throw to send the game to overtime.

Watch the highlights:


2011


Terrence Jones stole the show in 2011, a game that included six future NBA players, by scoring a record 52 points and hauling in 16 rebounds. After the scrimmage, Calipari told reporters, “Terrence Jones right now, I’ll tell you, if there’s a better player in the country, I’ve got to see him. Maybe that guy’s in our gym. I don’t know. But if there is somebody better than Terrence, I’ve got to see it.”

Little did Cal know — or maybe he did — Anthony Davis would soon become the best player in the country and lead Kentucky to the national championship the following spring. Davis scored a quiet 27 points opposite Jones with 13 rebounds and four blocks for the White team.

Other notables:

— Doron Lamb scored 31 points for Jones’ Blue team, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 21 with 10 rebounds and seven assists.

— For the White, Kyle Wiltjer chipped in 17 with five three-pointers to go with 24 from Darius Miller and 19 from Marquis Teage.

Watch the highlights Jarrod Polson dunk:


2010


One year before Terrence Jones made history for the most points scored, Brandon Knight set the record with 37 points. Knight out-shined the freshman version of Jones in the 2010 Blue-White box score, but Jones still put up big numbers with 29 in the win for Blue while showing off incredible versatility in his game. It was Knight who was the record-setter, but Jones was the talk of the state after their UK debuts.

Lost in the excitement of the new freshmen: Josh Harrellson hauled in 26 rebounds and earned a Twitter suspension a few days later. Jorts tweeted, “Just amazing to me I can’t get a good job or way to go.”

You may remember, the tweet almost sent him home from the Lodge. Cal was very close to kicking him off the team and the 2011 Final Four run never would’ve happened.

Other notables:

— Apparently no one had a YouTube account in 2010.

— Enes Kanter was not free; he sat courtside in an Undertaker t-shirt:


2009


The first Blue-White scrimmage under John Calipari gave us the most shocking individual Blue-White performance of Cal’s era, and maybe ever.

In a game that showcased three current NBA max deal players and five other future leaguers, the leading scorer was none other than one Darnell Dodson. Dodson scored a game-high 26 points, one better than John Wall’s 25 and two better than Patrick Patterson’s 24. He went on to average just under six points per game before transferring to Southern Miss after the season.

Other notables:

— Wall added 11 assists to his 25 points.

— DeMarcus Cousins fell just shy of a double-double with 16 and 9.

— Eric Bledsoe scored 14 with nine assists, splitting time between the two teams.

— A record 14,060 fans showed up for a first glimpse at the new Cats and Cal’s Dribble-Drive offense.

Darnell Dodson, ladies and gentlemen.


Bad guy DeMarcus Cousins wins NBA Community Assist Award

To those who don’t really know him, DeMarcus Cousins is a terrible person and the bad guy in the NBA.

But to those who do, DeMarcus Cousins is as kind and as generous as anyone in the league, which is why we’re not surprised Cousins is the recipient of the inaugural Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award.

The award recognizes an NBA player for his work in the community from the end of one regular season until the start of the next. This past summer, Cousins participated in numerous charitable events in Alabama, New Orleans, Sacramento and South Africa, including “Boogie’s Block Party” in his hometown of Mobile.

“Giving back to those in need is something that has always been a big part of my life,” Cousins said in a release. “The NBA has given me a unique platform that helps me connect with the people I really care about in the community. I am so thankful for this recognition and extremely blessed to have the opportunity to touch people’s lives.”

Go Boogie.


Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Dakari Johnson’s NBA debut and first points

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Last night only featured three total NBA games. However, as usual, there were multiple former Kentucky Wildcats to look for in the action, as four UK guys took the floor.

As it pertains to UK fans, the most important was probably Dakari Johnson getting his first regular season NBA minutes, points, rebounds, and steal. The guy has worked so incredibly hard to earn his way on to the Oklahoma City Thunder roster and the BBN should be extremely proud to call him one of our own.

Numbers:

 

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Enes Kanter105-84 loss to Thunder105-10 (0-1)71304-2122
Dakari Johnson105-84 win over Knicks42-3 (0-0)40100+03
Patrick Patterson105-84 win over Knicks00-2 (0-2)00001-17
Julius Randle108-92 loss to Clippers94-8(0-1)61012-2518

 

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers, 7pm ET
  • Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks(DeAndre Liggins), 7pm ET on ESPN
  • Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets(Malik Monk, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist), 7pm ET
  • Portland Trail Blazers at Indiana Pacers(Alex Poythress), 7pm ET
  • Detroit Pistons at Washington Wizards(John Wall, Jodie Meeks), 7pm ET
  • Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30pm ET
  • Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves(Karl-Anthony Towns, 8pm ET
  • Sacramento Kings(De’Aaron Fox, Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein) at Dallas Mavericks(Nerlens Noel), 8:30pm ET
  • Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans(Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Darius Miller, Rajon Rondo), 9:30pm ET on ESPN
  • Los Angeles Lakers(Julius Randle) at Phoenix Suns(Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, Tyler Ulis), 10pm ET

@BrettBibbinsKSR