Frances Ledford, the widow of legendary Kentucky basketball broadcaster Cawood Ledford, has passed away at the age of 90. According to the Herald-Leader, she died Sunday night in Harlan, where the two lived after his retirement.
In an interview with the Herald Leader, JMI Vice President of Operations Kim Ramsey recalled this sweet memory of Frances waiting for Cawood to come home from basketball road trips.
“She never would go to bed until he came home,” Ramsey said. “She’d sit in a love seat in the front room and wait for him.”
Funeral services are tentatively scheduled for Thursday in Harlan. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cawood Ledford Boys and Girls Club in Harlan or to a project to set up a room named for Cawood Ledford at the public library in Harlan.
By Nick Roush on ©June 18th, 2018 @ 4:30pm
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After a busy opening recruiting weekend, things were much quieter at Kroger Field over Father’s Day weekend. Even though there were less kids on campus, there were still quite a few recruiting developments. There’s some good news, and some bad news. First, the bad news.
Damn it, Alabama
A few months ago, Wandale Robinson’s recruitment was essentially a two-horse race between Duke and Kentucky. Now, everybody that’s anybody is getting in the mix. One month ago Ohio State offered the four-star athlete from Frankfort. This weekend he attended a camp in Tuscaloosa and this happened:
That’s right. Nick Saban brought him into his office, busted out the National Championship rings, told Robinson he had a great camp and offered him a scholarship.
Keeping Robinson inside the Commonwealth isn’t getting any easier.
Legacy Recruit Commits Elsewhere
This afternoon Cincinnati offensive lineman Zeke Correll committed to Notre Dame. The four-star top 200 prospect has a last name many UK fans know well.
His grandfather, Ray, was an All-American for Bear Bryant and is enshrined in the Cats’ Ring of Honor. His father, Steve, was a three-year player at UK and his brother, Gabe, was a preferred walk-on during Joker Phillips’ tenure. Stoops and Marrow recruited Correll, but it wasn’t in the cards for Correll to continue the family tradition at Kentucky.
UK Makes the Cut
Two weeks ago Braylen Ingraham took an official visit to Kentucky. Yesterday he cut his list of suitors to six: Miami, Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida, Alabama and Kentucky. A four-star defensive end from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to land Ingraham the Cats must take down the big dogs.
On the same weekend UK hosted Ingraham, Triston Miller made an official visit to Lexington. A three-star offensive lineman from Charlotte, Miller is down to North Carolina, Arkansas, N.C. State, Maryland and Kentucky. You’ll only have to wait another month or so before Miller makes a final decision. .
Florida RB Plans Visit
A 2020 running back from Ft. Meyers likes what he’s hearing from Kentucky. Brandon Benjamin told Rivals’ Woody Wommack he intends to visit Lexington soon.
“Kentucky came by my school to watch me in practice and after that my coach let me know I have an offer. I plan on getting up there to campus for a visit. I know they have a running back now, Benny Snell, he’s great. They build their running backs up to play a power-type game and that’s my style of play.”
Can Nikolas Ognenovic’s Dad still Play?
The three-star Kentucky tight end target followed his UK official visit with an official visit to Pitt. At each stop, he posed with his parents while rocking the school’s uniforms. Somebody needs to put Ogenovic’s father in full pads.
Ognenovic plans to make his final decision in July and I like UK’s chances. If he chooses to wear the Kentucky blue and white, for the love of God watch your mouth around Mr. Ognenovic. That is one dad you do NOT want to mess with.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 18th, 2018 @ 3:55pm
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hasn’t worked out for any teams during the draft process. Now, we may know why. According to Marc Stein, the Toronto Raptors, who do not have pick in Thursday’s draft, are exploring all trade options in hopes of getting one high enough to take Shai, who grew up in nearby Hamilton, Ontario.
According to one league source, no one on Toronto's roster is off limits as the Raptors pursue a top-10 pick https://t.co/AZzCv8fPXD
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 18, 2018
Shai has been remarkably quiet for a draft prospect, declining to name the teams he met with at the NBA Combine and limiting media appearances. When asked about it on today’s NBA Draft teleconference, John Calipari said he doesn’t know why Shai has gone silent, but said any team that passes on him is making a mistake.
“He and I just texted back and forth two days ago. We didn’t get into that. I heard that he limited some things. I don’t know what that means. Sometimes it means they have a good idea where he’s going to go. I’ve not talked to his agent about it but the teams love this kid. Again, you’re talking 6’6″, 7-foot wing-span. You’re talking a projection — which is what the NBA is, the future of the league — a projection of where he was at the beginning of our year — he was our ninth-rated player — to where he was at the end of the year. When he played well, we won. To a guy that proved he could shoot it better than everybody thought he could which is why he was in the gym at 7 a.m. working on it. A guy that got stronger physically. Why? Because he was the best we’ve had in the weight room and he started to mature physically.”
Even if the Raptors don’t get to bring Shai home, Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo says the sense around the league is that he won’t fall past the Charlotte Hornets, who have the eleventh pick.
Sense around the league seems to be that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is unlikely to fall past Charlotte at No. 11. Has been a quiet predraft process for him, but the 8–11 range feels like his sweet spot.
— Jeremy Woo (@JeremyWoo) June 18, 2018
A Shai/Malik Monk backcourt? I’m for it.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 18th, 2018 @ 3:00pm
What do NBA scouts really think of Kentucky’s draft prospects? Five of them spoke to Seth Davis and turned in mostly positive reviews on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox, and Jarred Vanderbilt. Hamidou Diallo? Not so much. Although Diallo has been described as a “sleeper” and a “steal” by ESPN, one scout was not impressed.
“Very disappointing. Love him as a kid, but he’s still an athlete trying to play basketball. His jumper has a long way to go. He needs to buy into being a lockdown defender, but I don’t know if he has that in him. He’s what I call a ‘should-be’ guy. He should be able to defend in the league, he should be able to finish. But does he have that mentality? He still has that AAU mentality where you just run around and jump and play transition basketball, and the game isn’t played like that enough. He’s worth a swing in the second round and maybe you put him in the G League and hope he develops.”
One of the scouts believes Kevin Knox is “one of the most talented wings in the draft,” but worries about his consistency, while another says Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is “solid, just not dynamic.” Jarred Vanderbilt may have gotten the best review of all, which is crazy to me considering his foot/ankle injuries, but clearly, a team will draft him based on potential.
“He’s got size, athleticism, strength. He can rebound and push. He rebounds at a high level. Some team that’s high on analytics will fall in love with this kid. He’s going to have the ability to defend multiple positions. My main concern would be just how healthy he is and if he can sustain it for 82 games. I like his skill level. I’ve heard he’s a good character guy. He looks the part and then some.”
For more, get your wallet out and head on over to The Athletic.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 18th, 2018 @ 2:18pm
There’s a good chance Wenyen Gabriel won’t hear his name called at the NBA Draft Thursday night. Regardless, John Calipari said there’s a place for his former player at the next level because he’s proven himself as a shooter.
“Wenyen, a couple of the teams he worked out for late in that first round, really liked him,” Calipari said on today’s NBA Draft teleconference. “Reason is, he’s 6’10” and he can really shoot and that’s kind of where the league is going. Now, physically, he’s gotta get stronger and I think in an NBA environment, I think within a year, you would see someone who is 6’10”, physically able to battle, and can really shoot it. Right now, the physical part is a little tougher for him but again, I think if someone could get him in that late second, that’s a steal in my mind.”
Calipari said Wenyen was determined to make the jump to the next level, even at the risk of going undrafted.
“My hope is he goes somewhere in the second round. He may not. You know what, either way, he’s probably going to have to go through the G-League and work his way, figure out, ‘I’ve gotta get stronger,’ and all those kind of things. He wanted to go for it and he was adamant, ‘I’ve gotta do this, Coach’. So, at that point, my shift is, how do I help him? What teams are you working out for? Who can I call? I’ll give you a feel for what they’re saying.”
You’ve heard him say it plenty of times before, but Calipari reminded reporters that encouraging kids to stay in school for his own benefit isn’t his style.
“I don’t have, at any point with any of these kids, overriding,” Cal said. “I think in this, you try to be honest, which is what we do in the recruiting process. We’re not going to oversell them, tell them, ‘You come back and I’m going to do this, that and the other.’ It’s not what I do, it’s what they do. If you’re honest with them and say, ‘Look, there’s a good chance you’re not going to get drafted,’ [they’ll say] ‘I know, but I want to do this.'”
One more time, for the seats in the back!
“I think it’s bad business, trying to override [players’ NBA Draft decisions]. ‘You have to come back’ or ‘I’m going to play you like this so you’ll be able to show’ — I’m not doing that. At the end of the day, you’re not tricking the NBA. At the end of the day, you cannot play around whatever weakness you have.”
Wenyen wouldn’t be the first of Calipari’s players to work his way through the G-League. Calipari used Dakari Johnson and Andrew Harrison as examples of players who have used the system to their benefit in recent years.
“I think there are teams in the league that really utilize [the G-League] and I think the success of those teams, Oklahoma City and a couple others, the other teams will move towards that. Literally, we’re not just having a team to have a team. We want these kids to get on that court, we want them to play. It’s hard to get better not playing and like Dakari [Johnson], we can talk about Andrew Harrison, who earned his space on the Grizzlies and they love him. I’ve had guys that have gone second round and had to play their way into the NBA and it’s a great way of doing it. And the up and down stuff, which is now you have some two-way contracts, which I think are beneficiary to those kinds of kids, too.”
A few weeks ago, PJ Washington had surgery to repair the pinky he broke back in January. According to John Calipari, he’ll be able to get back to playing in about three or four more weeks.
“PJ’s not playing yet because of his hand,” Cal said on today’s teleconference. “He’ll probably be, my guess is, two and a half more weeks in the cast and another week, ten days, two weeks of rehab and he’ll be ready to go.”
Last week, Washington told reporters that he hurt the finger diving for a loose ball and a tendon tore when a trainer popped it back into place. He played through the pain but admitted it affected his game.
“It started hurting and I’d have to shake it off and keep playing. It was kinda hard at first but I got used to it.”
Great news. Putting a trash bag around a cast to get in the water in the Bahamas would suck.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 18th, 2018 @ 12:44pm
John Calipari hosted a teleconference today to discuss Kentucky’s five NBA Draft prospects, but his most interesting comments came when he was asked about his current squad. Calipari said he hopes to have all of his players in Lexington “by next week,” which could be a reference to Reid Travis, the Stanford grad transfer set to visit Kentucky tomorrow.
“I think we’re going to be a much different team than we were a year ago, which is why, as we finish this out and we get all these guys in here, probably by next week, we’ll do some team stuff on the court.”
Even without Travis, Calipari likes his team; you could practically hear him drooling while he described how he plans to use all those guards.
“Last year we were short on guards, you guys all know it. Our skill set, we had more turnovers than assists most of the year and that’s just unusual for one of our teams based on the fact that most years, I’m playing three point guards, or three guys you can consider point guards. Last year, a lot of times, we had one on the court. We were a better built team when we had two, but we weren’t as dominating when we had two.
“This year, you’ve got with Quade [Green], with Immanuel [Quickley], with Ashton [Hagans], you have three legitimate point guards but being able to handle the ball, Keldon Johnson, he can be a point [guard]. He can be that big guard who starts your offense because of how he plays. You’re also skilled with Jemarl [Baker], you’re also skilled with Tyler [Herro].
“And the other thing, I’m hoping we’ll be more of a three-point shooting team than we have in the past. where it’s a true weapon, we can shoot it in transition, we can shoot it off ball screens. We just weren’t able to [last year]. Someone said we should have shot more threes, we probably would have missed more threes then. It just wasn’t what our strength was. I think we’re also going to have some up front guys who can play like guards.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 18th, 2018 @ 11:24am
There’s new hope for legalized sports gambling in Kentucky. This morning, it was announced that a bipartisan group has been formed to draft and file legislation to legalize sports betting in the state following the Supreme Court’s ruling last month.
The panel, which includes six members from the Kentucky House of Representatives and three from the Kentucky Senate, will file companion bills for each chamber that reflect the revenue sports betting could bring to the state, which is estimated to be an additional $5.5 million to nearly $26 million per year. The legislation will be aimed at professional sports and some college sports while banning wagering on high school or below level sports.
The nine member panel includes Reps. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, John Sims, D-Flemingsburg, Diane St. Onge, R-Fort Wright, Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, George Brown, D-Lexington, and Dean Schamore, D-Hardinsburg, and Sens. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, and Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort.
If it passes, they will all be heroes.
Here’s a headline that would surprise most people: Kentucky Basketball player wins prestigious academic fellowship. Former Cat Dillon Pulliam was just awarded the 2018 Phi Kappa Phi National Fellowship, which he will use as he pursues a master’s degree program in electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon.
Phi Kappa Phi (PKP) is the nation’s oldest and most selective all discipline honor society, having over 300 chapters across the nation and more overseas. Every year, they present 50 fellowships of $5,000 each to award winners entering the first year of graduate or professional study.
“This $5,000 fellowship will go a long way as I pursue my master’s at Carnegie Mellon,” Pulliam said in a release from UK. “I am extremely honored to receive this award as it will be a tremendous benefit in helping me grow as an engineer, and prepare for a future in the field. I have always been fascinated with technology and how it works. From a young age I have dreamed of having a hand in one day developing the innovations that will shape tomorrow.”
Last month, Pulliam graduated Summa Cum Laude. During his three years at Kentucky ,he served as a research assistant for NASA KY at UK, built an electronic pitch detection device capable of recognizing which string had been played on a guitar, and developed a mobile application for both iOS and Android devices. In short, he is incredibly smart and a wonderful ambassador for UK, Kentucky Basketball, and his hometown of Cynthiana. Congrats to him on the fellowship and making us all look good.
There’s a new study out and I blame Louisville fans for the result.
Social drinking app BARTRENDr recently analyzed posts and pictures from its 700,000 users to determine the most popular liquor brand in each state and, surprisingly, Kentucky’s isn’t bourbon. Crown Royal and Jagermeister share the top spot, a shameful result I pin solely on the line bearded, flat billed fans of that school down I-64.
Maybe those two got the top spot because there are so many delicious bourbons in Kentucky it was impossible for one brand to win out? Or, maybe Louisville fans care more about sharing what they’re drinking on social media than we do? All of the above?
Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Monday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Matt’s on vacation, so Tony Vanetti is taking over, which means you’ve got two hours of stories about the golden days of rock radio and maybe a little sports talk ahead of you. Buckle up!
Here’s the guest schedule for the next two weeks:
June 19: The Sklar Brothers
June 20: Matthew Mitchell
June 21: Vince Marrow and the Kentucky Football coaches
June 22: Nick Mingione
June 25: Jay Bilas
June 26: Pardon My Take
June 27: Jared Lorenzen
June 28: Kyle Tucker
June 29: Aaron Torres
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (859) 300-3264.
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