By TJ Walker on ©December 06th, 2018 @ 7:30pm
Former Kentucky great Karl-Anthony Towns met with the UK volleyball team to give them a pep-talk before the Cats’ big Sweet 16 match tomorrow in Minneapolis. No. 10 Kentucky takes on No. 7 Nebraska tomorrow at 2 p.m. on ESPNU. A win would place Kentucky in the Elite Eight where they would face either No. 2 Minnesota or No. 15 Oregon.
— Kentucky Volleyball (@KentuckyVB) December 6, 2018
Kentucky hosted the first and second round at Memorial Coliseum where they swept their way into the Regional Semifinals defeating Murray State and Purdue in straight sets, but now things get tough.
It’s been an unbelievable fall for UK Athletics and we all hope the volleyball Cats can keep it going.
Apparently this dude giving us a pep talk went to Kentucky or something.
— Kentucky Volleyball (@KentuckyVB) December 6, 2018
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 06th, 2018 @ 6:38pm
Mark Stoops and Josh Allen are in Atlanta tonight for Home Depot College Football Awards where Allen is up for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given annually to the best defensive player in college football.
The show starts at 7 p.m. on ESPN, so first, Stoops and Allen strolled the red carpet, speaking with ESPN’s Ryan McGee about Allen’s incredible career and Kentucky’s impressive season.
TRANSCRIPT: Everything John Calipari said from today’s press conference, presented by More Than A Bakery
By TJ Walker on ©December 06th, 2018 @ 6:30pm
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On other players alluding to Ashton Hagans’ defense kick starting the defensive effort for the other players …
“Yeah, and Tyler Herro who anticipates better than anybody on the team and is playing with more defensive confidence. And what’s it doing to him offensively? It’s building his confidence and now he’s become a confident player. How was he for the first couple of weeks of the season? He wasn’t real confident because he was getting killed on defense. Ashton is being more confident because of how he’s playing on defense. It’s just going to be a step at a time. Immanuel (Quickley), we just need him to be more aggressive, to react more and process and just react to stuff versus the processing because it slows him down.”
On getting the team to buy into the mindset of defensive intensity …
“Well, we’re going every day. I’ve got the treadmill revved up. If anybody goes half speed, get on the treadmill. I’m not going to fight you. Just get over there. If it becomes we’re in the middle of a drill and practice went from two hours to two hours and 10 minutes because we’ve had to wait on you, if it keeps happening I’m going to go to two and a half hours because we’re going to wait. You’re going to do it and then you’ll come back over and work. That should be short-term stuff for us as a program. This is acceptable. This is not. Now make it part of who you are and then you move on. I just have to raise the bar on what and how we’re going to have to play. At the end of the day, if we’re a defensive-driven team we’re going to be pretty good. If we’re not, we’re not going to be very good. When will you start working on turnovers, Coach? After we get the defense right we’ll start thinking about turning it over too much. Right now we just can’t throw too much at these guys. We’re doing drills that are really basic, fundamental. Should have been learned a long time ago, but that’s fine. That’s where we are.”
On Nick Richards’ practices this week …
“Better. He had blocks yesterday. He did some good stuff yesterday. Really, really good. I was happy for him.”
On playing only three post players …
“They’ll know in practice how they’re playing. I’m going to talk to all four of them and explain why I’m doing what I’m doing and what led me to this. You can’t have two guys not play well on the floor. Like, two not playing and competing. Now, they’re getting minutes. But, when you only have three and that one guy doesn’t bring it and you only play him 15 minutes, you’re okay. That’s been the issue. You can’t have two of the four not absolutely diving on the floor for every ball, and that’s why I went with three. My chances of having two out there were better, and you see it. If they all four play and we start playing four and they’re competing, I’m good with that. But, I’m not doing it right now. (I’ve) got to coach to win. I’ll deal with the egos later. Again, I like the fact that they’ve got to compete for their time.”
By Nick Roush on ©December 06th, 2018 @ 5:45pm
The Big Dog is howling.
Kentucky’s lead recruiter rolled the dice and landed four-star linebacker Jared Casey this afternoon. Vince Marrow has now successfully recruited four players from the city of Louisville for Kentucky’s 2019 class.
The timing of the announcement was impeccable. Yesterday the Big Blue Nation reeled when Kentucky’s Mr. Football de-committed from UK. After a chaotic 72 hours, Marrow shared this message:
Love guys that want to stay home and represent the BBN. BOOM.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) December 6, 2018
This. Is. Awesome and I can’t believe we missed it when it came out a few weeks ago. Take a few minutes and read Chase Goodbread’s piece on Josh Allen. NFL.com spent time detailing Allen’s upbringing, high school career, journey to UK, his breakthrough season and what’s next for the New Jersey native. Allen had to overcome a great deal to even put himself in a position to play at Kentucky, and things didn’t necessarily become easier in Lexington. Allen battled from being a two-star recruit to a likely top 10 NFL draft pick, and over the last year he’s had to put in all this work while also being a father.
I wouldn’t do this piece justice by picking-and-choosing quotes/blurbs, so read the entire thing, but allow me to post just this one. The end of this story on Allen will give you goosebumpsh:
Well done Chase Goodbread and best of luck to Josh Allen as he tries to rack in more awards tonight during the Home Depot College Football Award Show tonight on ESPN at 7 p.m. Read the entire profile HERE.
By TJ Walker on ©December 06th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
No, this isn’t UK or sports related, but it’s pretty hilarious. ‘The Wiz’ had two performances on December 1st at the Brown Theatre in Louisville and folks, it did not go well. Several patrons are demanding a refund but the company that put on the show, Island Entertainment KC, of Kansas City, Missouri, isn’t returning calls or emails. And the Brown Theatre isn’t a dump. It’s a well respected theater in Louisville.
All the proof you need is from the ticket prices- tickets cost between $35 and $65. That’s not a cheap ticket to see what was supposedly a horrible performance of The Wizard of Oz. Here’s why it stunk:
“It was terrible,” Barnett said. “Dorothy was wearing a Walmart dress. They forgot their dialogues … at one point Dorothy said she wanted to go back to Texas!”
Surely they meant Kansas.
“The people who came to the three o’clock show, there was just a lot of issues,” Black said on Facebook. “The three o’clock show ended up being pretty much our dress rehearsal because we didn’t have enough time to do the show full-out at the venue before we performed it.”
That’s what you want to hear after spending $65 on a ticket. “Oops, you kinda got to see our dress rehearsal. Our bad.” But supposedly the evening show was just as bad.
Tasha McGhee, who went to the 7 p.m. show, said the actor playing the Cowardly Lion didn’t have a tail or a mane on his costume. He was missing one of his paws and was wearing one black sock instead.
“He didn’t look like a lion,” McGhee said. “He looked like a dumb sasquatch!”
It went downhill from there. McGhee said there were several times the cast and crew set the wrong scene and needed to turn off the lights to reset it.
“It was really sloppy,” Tasha McGhee said. “The backdrop was a projected image of a cornfield and a barn. But then laptop notifications kept popping up on screen. They were projecting it off of someone’s computer.”
To read what else went wrong, read the entire story from the Courier Journal for a good laugh. CLICK HERE.
I bet the KSR crew could put on a better rendition of The Wizard of Oz.
Calipari details how Ashton Hagans can stay on the floor and other tidbits from his Thursday presser
By TJ Walker on ©December 06th, 2018 @ 3:10pm
John Calipari met with the media on Thursday to discuss UK’s road trip to New York City. The Cats will take a seven game winning streak into its Saturday matchup against Seton Hall for a noon tip.
Calipari spent time discussing how he wants more out of his players, praising some and criticizing other. We’ll post the entire transcript soon, but here are some of the tidbits from Thursday.
- Calipari isn’t afraid to shorten the rotation. Against Greensboro Nick Richards played a season low one minute, where he picked up a foul and committed a turnover. Calipari will use a short rotation moving forward if need be. “I like the fact they have to compete for their time.” After all, this isn’t communism. (Cal surprisingly didn’t say that today)
- “Reid’s not even the same player he was back int he Bahamas. he’s so different and so much better.” This wouldn’t be the last time that Calipari would praise Reid Travis.
- Calipari said the team is working everyday on their off-the-ball defense. Cal even went on to say they are having to take time to teach his players were they need to look when they’re playing defense. Yikes. “(This is) stuff they should have had before they came here.” Not to criticize Cal, and I know it was probably a hyperbolic statement, but why did it take until December for him to realize some of his guys didn’t know where to look on defense?
- Cal wasn’t finished ripping some of his players’ defensive abilities. He said UK may as well be playing four-on-five when Keldon is defending off the ball. I do agree that Keldon has been somewhat disappointing defensively.
- When convincing himself not to panic, Calipari remembers the ups-and-downs from last season. He mentioned how UK should have been in the Final Four and admitted every year that he moves too fast but it ends up where he needs to slow down and go back to the grind, referring to thinking his team is ready to take off, but realizes they’re not where he thought they were. “And it’s a grind, but I’m in a good frame of mind to help my team and help these guys.”
- Calipari said that Ashton can be UK’s defensive stopper and if he does that he’s going to play. “If you want to play then play this way,” Calipari said. Interesting, answering the same question Calipari said that if Hagans wants to “joke around” then he’s not going to play and he can cheer on UK from the bench. I believe it’s the first time that he’s mentioned guys goofing around. Regardless, it’s clear that if Hagans locks in defensively he will be on the floor.
- Cal joked that a few of his players are in the conversation as the worst passers he’s ever coached. He said no one is the worst on the team, but a couple are in the conversation. Someone asked about Tyler Herro jokingly calling himself the best passer Calipari has coached and Cal laughed “Have you seen some of the passes he’s thrown?” Hey, Herro is only averaging 1.5 turnovers per game. Five players have more turnovers on the season.
- But he did praise Herro. he said that’s come a long way defensively and that his “anticipation” is the best on the team and it’s translated into his offense.
- Finally some Seton Hall talk. Calipari said it will be a 40 minute game on Saturday and if a player can’t stay disciplined for 40 minutes he will be benched. He’s still trying to figure out a roster and rotation that leads to 40 minutes of success.
- Calipari complimented the IQ of UK basketball fans. He said fans in this state want teams that compete, play hard, are unselfish and obviously they want winners. He said fans know what good basketball and bad basketball look like. He believes his team is getting there. “They’re starting to accept it.”
- Other coaches (not sure the level) visited UK’s practice this week and one coach came up to Calipari after a practice to praise Travis. He told Calipari that Travis never takes his eyes off him when Calipari stops a practice to teach, “he’s on a mission.” Cal wants his teammates to do the same, but then complimented his entire team. “We have really good players. Don’t think we don’t.” Then he went into a spiel about how they constantly need to compete and if they don’t fight to win they won’t play.
By Aaron Torres on ©December 06th, 2018 @ 1:45pm
Today is Thursday, December 6th, which means that – as hard as it is to believe – we have reached the one-month point since the start of college hoops season. It really is incredible to think about how much has changed since that first night of the season in Indianapolis, when Kansas beat Michigan State and… well, actually, as best I can remember that happened in Indy that night.
Like Urban Meyer, I must be suffering a bit of memory loss.
Regardless, it’s incredible to sit here one month into the season and think about how much things have changed in the weeks since that opening night. Contenders that weren’t contenders a month ago have emerged, other teams have fallen, and Duke has gone from “print up the undefeated t-shirts” good, to just another really solid college hoops team at the top of the sport.
So one month into the season, what have we learned? Here are 10 things:
There are no great teams, but a whole lot of good ones
It’s pretty clear that five weeks into the season, there is no team like the 2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcats, a club that is overwhelmingly better than everyone else in the sport. But in their place however are a lot of really good teams, and a couple that more closely resemble Villanova last year, a 30-4 club in the regular season that rode upperclassmen and a handful of good-but-not-elite NBA Draft prospects to the national title. There really are about seven or eight teams that feel a cut above the rest to me.
Right now Gonzaga is No. 1, and with good reason. To me, they most closely resemble the Villanova team from last year. If you’ll remember, Villanova had a bunch of pros masquerading as college players and Gonzaga does too, with four veterans on their roster (Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke, Killian Tillie and Zach Norvell) who could all hear their names called on draft night. They also have the wins to back it up. That victory over Duke in Maui will likely only get better as the season wears on, and they also have wins over Arizona, Creighton and a last-second victory over Washington on their resume as well. The crazy part is, the Zags aren’t even at full-strength yet with Tillie and Geno Crandall currently sidelined with injuries.
Behind them are a bunch of other teams that feel capable of having what it takes to win the title in March. Kansas is deep and talented (insert your own Adidas/T.J. Gassanola joke here) but still a work in progress. Michigan picked up right where they left off last year (more on them coming), and as much as I’ve been critical of Virginia in the past, they’ve been phenomenal early on. Nevada is undefeated, and yes, good enough to win a title. Duke of course has the two most talented players in college basketball, even if they haven’t been the same since that opening night win against Kentucky.
I’d throw in a few more names behind those teams as well. Tennessee looked REALLY good against Kansas (they controlled that game for about 32 minutes) and although I was critical of them in the preseason, I could see them taking home a title. Auburn can get hot from behind the three-point arc which is all you need to make a deep tourney run. And I haven’t given up on Kentucky and their depth yet either (although obviously the defense needs to improve).
Point being, it’s a wide-open season, where it feels like there is no real separation between the top 8-10 teams in the sport. Which should make for a compelling regular season, and even better basketball once we get to tournament time.
By KSR on ©December 06th, 2018 @ 1:30pm
Get the podcast delivered directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. Don’t forget to follow the show Instagram too.
Coach K is still landing top five targets without Jeff Capel.
Live on SportsCenter, Vernon Carey announced he will attend Duke next year. The No. 3 player in America picked the Blue Devils over North Carolina and Michigan State. Carey used a new commitment trick: he pulled out an embroidered handkerchief to reveal his selection.
Kentucky was initially in the picture for Carey but failed to make the final cut.
It’s always a blow to see a former UK recruit commit to Duke, but there is a positive spin: Carey’s commitment takes up a Duke frontcourt spot next season. Will Matthew Hurt want to split time with Carey? Duke’s 2018 class didn’t mind, but it could potentially help the Cats land Hurt in 2019.
Kentucky’s top ten defense was led be an experienced group of seniors, but one young star shined bright.
True freshman DeAndre Square was selected to the SEC’s All-Freshman Team after recording a tackle in every game of the 2018 season.
The Michigan native impressed Kentucky’s coaches as soon as he stepped on campus in January. After and exceptional spring season, Square earned significant special teams roles and filled in admirably for Jordan Jones and Kash Daniel. When Daniel was suspended for the first half of the Texas A&M game, Square recorded a career-high six tackles at Kyle Field. The true freshman finished his first season with 29 tackles, 2.5 for loss, 3 quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a pass deflection.
Unlike the rest of there All-SEC teams, Square was Kentucky’s only selection on the All-Freshman Team.
The 2018 SEC All-Freshman Team
Daniel Parker, Missouri
Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
Cade Mays, Georgia
Dylan Wonnum, South Carolina
Ben Brown, Ole Miss
Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Seth Williams, Auburn
Justin Fields, Georgia
JaTarvious Whitlow, Auburn
*Tyler Badie, Missouri
*JaShaun Corbin, Texas A&M
JaShaun Corbin, Texas A&M
Jordan Davis, Georgia
Phidarian Mathis, Alabama
Bobby Brown, Texas A&M
Tyree Johnson, Texas A&M
Dimitri Moore, Vanderbilt
*Jacquez Jones, Ole Miss
*Eyabi Anoma, Alabama
*DeAndre Square, Kentucky
Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Bryce Thompson, Tennessee
Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Trey Dean III, Florida
Seth Small, Texas A&M
Jake Camarda, Georgia
JaShaun Corbin, Texas A&M
By Nick Roush on ©December 06th, 2018 @ 11:05am
Josh Allen’s star continues to rise.
The Sports Illustrated staff has submitted their college football All-American teams. Kentucky’s Josh Allen was a unanimous First Team All-American.
“Underrated no longer,” SI said, “Allen gave Kentucky’s opponents nightmares and boosted his draft stock into the top half of the first round with a dominant junior season in which he finished with 14.0 sacks and five forced fumbles. He is Kentucky’s first winner of the Bronko Nagurski Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player.”
The most recent accolade from Sports Illustrated is Allen’s third All-American honor, following first team selections by Pro Football Focus and The Athletic.
Allen was not Kentucky’s only All-American. After earning first team honors from The Athletic, Bunchy Stallings was named a Second Team All-American by SI.
This will not be the last accolade Josh and Bunchy receive.
- The Minnesota Timberwolves had a huge home stand against four really solid teams over the past week, and managed to take 3 out of four. Last night’s win over the Charlotte Hornets gives them six wins in their last seven games, and most of them have come behind the strength of Karl-Anthony Towns. The Wolves are now over .500 for the first time all year. Last night, Towns had another big game, finishing with 35 points, 12 rebounds, 6 blocks, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
- Following Julius Randle‘s career night earlier this week, the Pelicans continued to stay hot, as Randle and Anthony Davis both scored 27 points a piece, and combined for 22 rebounds, 10 assists, and 5 blocks to earn a 132-106 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
- The Denver Nuggets got a bit of a scare from the clear underdog Orlando Magic last night, as the Magic gave them all they could handle in an overtime thriller. Denver did pull out the win, mostly do to a whopping 46 minutes played by Jamal Murray in which he totaled 31 points, 8 assists, and 4 boards.
- The Milwaukee Bucks are turning into a team that no one wants to see come playoff time. They are as solid as any team in the Eastern Conference and former Cat Eric Bledsoe led the way to another W last night. Bledsoe had 27 points, 4 assists, 4 steals, and 3 rebounds in the 115-92 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
|Karl-Anthony Towns||121-104 win over Hornets||35||14-20 (4-5)||12||3||2||6||2||+28||36|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||121-104 loss to Timberwolves||9||4-10 (1-2)||5||0||1||0||2||-4||23|
|Malik Monk||121-104 loss to Timberwolves||10||3-6 (0-3)||1||0||1||1||2||+1||18|
|Julius Randle||132-106 win over Mavericks||27||11-16 (2-3)||18||1||0||0||1||+21||35|
|Anthony Davis||132-106 win over Mavericks||27||10-20 (2-2)||4||9||2||5||2||+11||34|
|Darius Miller||132-106 win over Mavericks||12||4-6 (4-6)||1||2||1||0||1||+10||26|
|Andrew Harrison||132-106 win over Mavericks||6||2-3 (2-3)||0||0||0||0||0||+3||4|
|Jamal Murray||124-118 win over Magic||31||10-25 (2-3)||4||8||1||0||1||+2||46|
|Trey Lyles||124-118 win over Magic||12||4-8 (1-3)||2||0||0||1||1||+4||19|
|Eric Bledsoe||115-92 win over Pistons||27||10-17 (2-6)||3||4||4||0||1||+14||26|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander||96-86 loss to Grizzlies||12||4-9 (1-1)||4||4||3||1||1||+10||29|
|Patrick Patterson||114-112 win over Nets||0||0-3 (0-1)||1||0||0||0||0||-11||7|
|Nerlens Noel||114-112 win over Nets||5||2-5 (0-0)||9||0||1||1||1||-16||14|
|Hamidou Diallo||114-112 win over Nets||1||0-1 (0-0)||2||0||0||0||2||-3||5|
- New York Knicks (Enes Kanter, Kevin Knox) at Boston Celtics, 8pm ET on TNT
- Phoenix Suns (Devin Booker) at Portland Trail Blazers, 10pm ET
- Houston Rockets (Brondon Knight) at Utah Jazz, 10:30pm ET on TNT