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Mike Tirico taking over for Tom Hammond at Kentucky Derby

Mike Tirico taking over for Tom Hammond at Kentucky Derby

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 2.26.59 PM

Big Blue Nation’s very own Tom Hammond will step into a much smaller role during this year’s Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown coverage on NBC.

The UK grad will instead host his own 30-minute special called “My Kentucky Home” on NBCSN during Derby week, after passing on his usual duties as host of NBC’s horse racing coverage to someone else.

Mike Tirico, who did his first horse racing broadcast with Hammond at this past Breeders’ Cup, is that someone else. Tirico is your new voice in horse racing, at least for the time being.

“As I embark on a less demanding schedule at NBC, I can rest assured that the coverage of thoroughbred racing is in good hands,” Hammond said in the Tuesday press release. “That sport is very close to my heart, so I am pleased that Mike, a highly accomplished professional, will assume the role as leader of the superb NBC horse racing team.”

Hammond holds a degree from UK in animal science with graduate studies in equine genetics. He anchored the Breeders’ Cup coverage for over 30 years, dating back to the first one in 1984.


WWE Monday Night Raw coming to Lexington

Wrestling fans, you will be thrilled to know that Monday Night Raw is coming to Lexington later this year.

World Wrestling Entertainment’s flagship rasslin’ program is bringing its biggest rasslin’ stars to Rupp Arena on Monday, November 27 and you’ll want to be in attendance as it is Raw’s first trip to Rupp since 2010. Stupid Kentucky laws kept the WWE out of the Bluegrass for many years, but those laws were repealed last fall.

Tickets are not on sale yet and I don’t know when they will go on sale. We’ll pass that information along once we have it.

For now, celebrate the WWE’s return to Lexington and make sure you’re free that night. I can already taste the Steveweisers, if those are still a thing.


Toth a fourth-rounder in new NFL mock draft

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

The NFL Draft is only days away and your University of Kentucky Wildcats football team has one former player who is a sure-fire pick in the draft: the one and only Jon Toth, center extraordinaire.

In a new mock draft for FoxSports.com, draft guru Peter Schrager has Toth going in the fourth round to the Carolina Panthers with the 115th overall pick, some nine spots ahead of Wyoming’s Chase Roullier, another center in the draft.

FoxSports.com’s fourth-round projection for Toth is one of his better projections out there as many others — almost all, in fact — have him slotted in the fifth, sixth or seventh rounds.

The good people at ESPN.com do not have a mock draft deep enough to project where Toth will go, but the website considers him to be the fourth-best center in the entire draft and the No. 170 available prospect.

If Toth does go in the fourth round or drop to one of the later rounds, he will have to wait until Saturday to hear his name called. This year’s first round is held Thursday evening, followed the second and third rounds on Friday.

If I’m him, I keep a close ear by the phone Friday night.


CBSSports.com: Kentucky losing 80.8 points per game next season

KSR-9684

We knew this year’s mass exodus was a big one, but Gary Parrish over at CBSSports.com has now crunched the numbers to quantify just how big it really is.

According to Parrish’s new story and mathematics, Kentucky will lose 80.8 points per game with the departures of De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, Bam Adebayo, Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins, Mychal Mulder and Isaac Humphries. (Whew, that was a lot to type.) There were 324 teams that didn’t even score 80.8 points per game this past season.

The leading returners in the scoring column are Wenyen Gabriel with a 4.6 average across 38 games and Sacha Killeya-Jones’ 2.7 points in 15 games.

That. Is. Insane.


Bam Adebayo makes it official with new statement

bam-adebayo

Yesterday there were several reports of Bam Adebayo hiring an agent and remaining in the draft, and today Adebayo confirmed those reports in an official statement through the university.

Read it for yourself:

After talking with Coach Cal, the staff and my family, I have decided it’s in my best interest to remain in the draft,” Adebayo said.

“This process we went through at Kentucky was a tough but a rewarding one. It was everything I wanted when I decided to come to Kentucky. It taught me a lot. It taught me how to be a better man on and off the court. I have improved so much since the beginning of the season thanks to the hard work of the coaching staff. They helped me with every step of the process along the way and they never gave up on me.

“I also want to thank my teammates. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to grow with. We were all like brothers. I also want to thank the fans for their support and everything they do for us. Their passion is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”

Adebayo is projected as a late-first/early-second round draft pick, depending who you ask. If he falls to the second, he will be Calipari’s first one-and-done to drop out of the first round.


Do You Care: Dale Earnhardt Jr. retiring; RIP NASCAR

Everyone gather around for a special game of “Do You Care?” featuring the hottest story in sports today.

In case you haven’t heard, Dale Earnhardt Jr. plans to retire following the 2017 season. Hendrick Sports announced Junior’s decision early this morning and it is the third major retirement in the sport in three years, joining the retirements of Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.

Many believe Junior’s departure from the sports marks the end of NASCAR, so I’ll ask you where you stand in the debate.

Do you care about Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement?

Do you care about NASCAR at all?

I can’t say that I care or have ever cared about NASCAR, so this is nothing to me. No big deal at all. I didn’t even know he was still racing in the first place. I only know Junior as Dale’s son and as the guy who stole the UK cheerleader from her former UK football player husband. Other than that, Earnhardt Jr.’s never entered my mind.

But what say you? Is this the end? And if it is, do you care?

I’ll hang up and listen. (And continue not watching NASCAR.)


Greg Sankey wanted more on UK academics in Calipari’s 30 for 30

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey finally got around to watching One and Not Done over the weekend — he’s been busy investigating North Carolina for academic fraud — and he has one criticism of the film.

Speaking at an event on Monday, Sankey said he wished the film focused more on the academics around Kentucky men’s basketball and how many players who leave early eventually return to school to complete their degrees.

The full quote, courtesy of The Courier-Journal:

“I haven’t talked to Cal about it and (UK athletics director) Mitch Barnhart. I actually think the program missed what happens academically at Kentucky around men’s basketball,” Sankey said. “In fact, I know that’s the case. Stories of young men coming back after they’ve had that professional opportunity and continuing to return to receive their education, those are real. … They well support them academically, and they keep inviting them back to campus to continue to pursue their degree.”

Meanwhile, Jay Bilas has a problem with Sankey serving as the chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions as it looks into the UNC scandal. One of Bilas’ many comments in a series of tweets on what he calls a conflict of interest, reads, “His conflict is clear and cannot be waived, no matter how good his judgment may be. NCAA rules address recusal at perception of conflict.”

See all of Bilas’ tweets on his timeline here.


Very young student does writing assignment on John Higgins

Very young student does writing assignment on John Higgins

opinion

A young student in Greenup County wrote a fantastic piece of literature for an “In My Opinion…” assignment and I think you will appreciate it.

Derek Willis shared a photo of the student’s work, which reads, “In my opinion John Higgins should not be allowed to ref a UK basketball game ever again.”

Read the whole thing below:

@derek_willis33

@derek_willis33

This kid’s going places.


Recruiting, Bam, Commonwealth and Movie Selection Committee (Tuesday Show Thread)

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It’s an action-packed day on KSR as the guys weigh in on the latest recruiting news and more on Bam Adebayo’s decision. They’ll also discuss Commonwealth Stadium naming rights and release the bracket for Thursday’s Movie Tournament.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

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Tuesday Top 10: Big Volcano In Guatemala Edition

Tuesday Top 10: Big Volcano In Guatemala Edition

fans-of-the-day

Monday was full of news and most of it involves the makeup of next year’s basketball roster. Let’s rehash on all the latest shake-ups in recruiting and NBA decisions, as well as what lies ahead this week.

(But first say hello to our friends in front of the Pacaya volcano in Guatemala.)

 

1. Bam Adebayo hired an agent. #HeGone

As expected all along, Bam Adebayo is yet another one-and-done player at the University of Kentucky. It took a little longer for Adebayo to officially make the jump, but he has now hired an agent and forfeited his amateur status to remain in the draft and pursue his NBA career. Adebayo was in his hometown in North Carolina over the weekend and I assume that is when the decision was finally made. Now he gone, as the saying goes. Good luck to him.

2. Mark Smith will announce his decision tomorrow.

Looking forward to next year, we will hear from one of the four remaining targets on John Calipari’s big board tomorrow. Mark Smith, the first of the three potential backcourt additions that were added to the radar this month, is all set to announce his decision on Wednesday. Illinois’ Mr. Basketball canceled plans to visit Kentucky after seeing a pair of Big Ten schools over the weekend, so things aren’t looking too positive for the Wildcats. That is okay, though, as Calipari already has Jemarl Baker and his eyes set on Cameron Johnson. Speaking of Johnson…

3. Cameron Johnson will take a visit to Kentucky tomorrow.

Johnson will be on campus Wednesday and Thursday for an official visit to Kentucky. The grad transfer from Pittsburgh will have two years of eligibility (so long as he graduates this spring) and UK is considered to be the leader for his next college basketball home. The trip to Lexington will be Johnson’s first official visit to any school since declaring his departure from Pitt. He is also considering Arizona, Ohio State, Oregon, UCLA and TCU.

4. Jemarl Baker is on campus right now.

We continue the basketball recruiting theme with a reminder that Jemarl Baker has been on campus since Sunday. The latest commit to the 2017 class, Baker will travel back to California sometime today and then return to Lexington this summer to begin his college basketball career as a Wildcat.

5. Jarren Williams re-opened his recruitment.

And now for some football recruiting news… Mark Stoops’ class took a big blow yesterday with word that Jarren Williams will re-open his recruitment following a long list of elite scholarship offers this spring. The dual-threat quarterback out of Georgia became Kentucky’s first member of its 2018 class when he committed last summer; now he has offers from teams all over the SEC, including a brand new one from that quarterback-stealing program in Tuscaloosa. This makes two QBs ripped out of Kentucky’s arms in two years.

6. The CATSPYs were all the craze last night.

Former co-workers Kaylee Hartung and Sean Farnham were in Lexington last night to host the CATSPY Awards, UK’s annual celebration of its athletic achievements. Among the notable winners were Malik Monk, Male Rookie of the Year; Dominique Hawkins, Supporting Role; Men’s Basketball, Team of the Year; and Jon Toth, Mr. Wildcat.

You can see a full list of the winners here.

7. Watch Marlana VanHoose sing “Don’t Stop Believing.”

(via @ClaySTV)

8. Have you sent a scathing tweet to Hamidou Diallo today?

If you have, delete your account. If you haven’t, don’t.

Some of y’all are going to mess around and run him off for good.

9. This guy thinks Missouri is out of the picture for Kevin Knox.

If true, it’s back to the original four of Duke, UNC, Florida State and Kentucky for Knox. My prediction is still one of the ACC schools, especially if Calipari can convince Cam Johnson to commit on campus this week.

10. KSR radio show in an hour…

Tune in.


KSR Best Movie Ever Bracket (Post 1980 Edition)

KSR Best Movie Ever Bracket (Post 1980 Edition)

best-movies-hbo-godfather

OK it is that time of year again…as we head into the Dog Days of Summer, thoughts turn to topics that don’t solely include UK Sports. And with that in mind, the radio show begins the summer Bracket chatter with our first ever attempt to pick the KSR Radio Best Movie Bracket Contest. Now we have thought about undergoing such an endeavor in the past, but a number of things have gotten in the way, most importantly the fact that not everyone has seen every movie. So with that in mind, I tried to limit the scope to pick the KSR Best Movie under these criteria:

1. All Movies Since 1980

Look I know people love Casablanca, On the Waterfront, Citizen Kane and a host of other movies from another generation. That is nice. And it is very likely that the 1970s produced the best decade of movies of all-time. But I am looking for a contest that virtually everyone can participate in…the 1980s seemed like a good starting point.

2. Movie Must Be Well-Known and Watched by Many

I am in no way going to try and argue that these are the BEST movies since 1980. There have undoubtedly been many that have higher quality than most on this list and I could do a complete different bracket with just the movies that I prefer. But I wanted to pick movies tha most everyone has seen, and thus this list seems to work best.

3. No Comedies Are on the List

I realized as I began that comedies are hard to compare to other movies…how is “Billy Madison” like “Schindler’s List?” It isn’t. So we will do those in another bracket at another time. Where a movie could have a couple of labels (like “Lost in Translation”), I went with what I thought was the best description.

So the 64 movies below are what I have come up with…there are very few superhero movies because I haven’t seen many of them and am not really into them (sorry). Movies with many sequels, even the good ones, are combined into one listing. The 64 below make up my first stab at the list…the radio show tomorrow will give people a chance to replace one movie off the list with another one if they can make a good case for it. My guess is a few will be able to, so once that is finished, we will have the final list to put into a bracket for the shows on Thursday and Friday. The list below is not in any order beyond decades and wont be the four brackets. Let the movie watching begin:

Indiana Jones
ET
Star Wars
Back to the Future
Die Hard
Rocky
Batman
Platoon
Top Gun
Braveheart
Do the Right Thing
Karate Kid
Goonies
Gremlins
Full Metal Jacket
Terminator

Titanic
Raging Bull
Con Air
Forrest Gump
Shawshank Redemption
Pulp Fiction
Blair Witch Project
Boyz N the Hood
Fight Club
Good Will Hunting
Matrix
Usual Suspects
Saving Private Ryan
Fargo
Goodfellas
Seven

Lord of the Rings
Departed
Traffic
There Will be Blood
Gladiator
Hurt Locker
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Dark Knight
Lost in Translation
Almost Famous
Cast Away
No Country for Old Men
Tombstone
Avatar
Gangs of New York
Walk the Line

Scarface
Field of Dreams
Heat
Jurassic Park
Silence of the Lambs
Boogie Nights
Harry Potter
Kill Bill
American Psycho
Gravity
Zero Dark Thirty
Nightcrawler
Wolf of Wall Street
Gone Girl
Schindler’s List
The Shining


One And Done: Goodbye, Bam

One And Done: Goodbye, Bam

bam-adebayo

Bam Adebayo is gone.

Kentucky’s lovable big man reportedly hired an agent after initially leaving open the option to return when he declared for the draft two weeks ago. The hiring of the agent ends his amateur status and college eligibility, thus ending his time as a Kentucky Wildcat. Your hopes and prayers for a sophomore season went unanswered.

In my opinion the move was the right one, although others will say different. That’s a conversation we can have some other time. For now let’s just look back on Adebayo’s one season in Lexington as he looks ahead to the next phase of his basketball life.

 

The Commitment

Bam Adebayo made a special guest appearance on Mike & Mike in November of his senior season to announce his college decision.

That decision was, of course, to attend the University of Kentucky:

Adebayo chose Kentucky over North Carolina and Auburn, as well as interest and offers from many other schools.

The fifth-ranked player in his class, Adebayo cited John Calipari’s ability to get players to the next level as one of the main reasons he picked the Cats.

That Story About The Coffee Table

It wouldn’t be a tribute to Bam Adebayo without regurgitating the story of how he became Bam in the first place. As legend has it, Adebayo picked up the family coffee table while watching The Flintstones with his mother when he was only one year old. The nickname was born from there and the story was told way too many times throughout this past season.

The Dwight Howard Comparisons

Though he absolutely hated it, Adebayo was often compared to Dwight Howard when he first got to campus. However, we quickly learned to never, ever, ever compare him to Dwight Howard to his face, unless you had a death wish.

The good people over at KSTV had some preseason fun with Adebayo’s teammates and the uncanny resemblance:

I guess being compared to Dwight Howard isn’t a good thing these days, at least not as good as it was 10 years ago.

The Preseason Hype/Early NBA Projections

Adebayo was the fifth overall pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in CBSSports.com’s first NBA mock draft for the 2017 draft, while Chad Ford over at ESPN.com projected Adebayo would go 12th overall, still in the lottery.

“Bam Adebayo already has the NBA body and athleticism that teams crave in their power forwards,” Ford wrote last fall. “He’s an explosive athlete who plays with a great motor. He’s going to be a rebounding and shot-blocking machine for Kentucky.”

Meanwhile, college basketball media types (us included) threw around that “beast” word to describe what we expected to see out of the freshman.

John Calipari also called him a beast when he said, “We have to buy a couple more backboards down at Rupp, because we only have three and I’m afraid if he breaks one or breaks two … like, this kid, he’s a beast.”

Calipari even hinted at the possibility of Adebayo developing at the rate of Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Davis by the end of his first season.

The Underwhelming Start

It was obvious out of the gate that Adebayo would need some time to find his footing in college basketball. The look test he passed with flying colors over the summer didn’t translate to the college game right away. Sure, he bullied some of the inferior competition on Kentucky’s early schedule, but Adebayo struggled when he ran into players who would push back. Foul trouble was also an early criticism and focal point for the coaching staff.

Above all, Adebayo’s rebounding was the most underwhelming aspect of his game. Once predicted to be a double-double machine for the Wildcats, the big man had only three double-doubles in his first 27 games in college, and scoring was never the problem.

The Dunks (Bam Slams)

There was no shortage of dunks (or Bam Slams) from Adebayo in his one season at Kentucky. He set a new record for the Calipari era with 101 dunks on the year, surpassing Anthony Davis’ record of 92 dunks in the 2011-12 season.

Here is one of the those 101 dunks:

11

And here is another:

22

The Late Emergence

While the double-doubles were hard to come by through the first four months of the season, Adebayo had no problem getting them by the end. Once that switch flipped and the light came on in mid-SEC play, Adebayo closed the season with an average of 14.3 points and 10.2 rebounds in the nine games leading into the NCAA tournament. The late emergence led Matt Norlander to write a piece titled “Why Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament prospects rest on Bam Adebayo’s shoulders” and predict Adebayo would become a breakout star in March.

The NCAA Tournament

Adebayo went on to score 28 points and grab 28 rebounds in Kentucky’s first two games in the tournament. The second of those games, against Wichita State, came with some extra motivation thanks to Wichita’s Darral Willis Jr. saying he would shut Adebayo down.

Bam’s mom was pretty excited about Kentucky’s win and her son’s double-double response to Willis Jr.’s comment:

The Goodbye

Back on April 5, Adebayo said goodbye to Big Blue Nation:

“This process we went through at Kentucky was a tough but a rewarding one,” Adebayo said. “It was everything I wanted when I decided to come to Kentucky. It taught me a lot. It taught me how to be a better man on and off the court. I have improved so much since the beginning of the season thanks to the hard work of the coaching staff. They helped me with every step of the process along the way and they never gave up on me.

“I want to thank my teammates. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to grow with. We were all like brothers. I also want to thank the fans for their support and everything they do for us. Their passion is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

“I feel I’m making the right step in declaring for the draft, but I want to be absolutely sure that I’m making the right decision for me and my mom. I’m looking forward to the process and I appreciate the support of the coaches, my teammates and the fans. No matter what happens, it’s been an unbelievable ride.”

An unbelievable ride indeed.


KSR’s Top 10 Tweets of the Day

mcdowells

The one and only Big Mick is a meaty masterpiece in its
own right. Composed of two quarter-pound patties* of never-fresh, frozen,
mostly beef raised close to the processing plant. Only McDowell’s
has the frosted beef and processed cheese to give you a major reason for
the afternoon trip to the secret bathroom only you and Debra know about on the 9th floor that is under construction.


You can be a part of McDowell’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day.

If you are interested in sponsoring KSR’s Top 10 Tweets, please contact us at Via Email 

Now. On to the tweets:

#10 Billie Larry Forston

How original, guys.

 

#9 TJ Flynn

This dude don’t know anything.

#8 Terry Jordan

Thanks, Alabama.

 

#7 CMD_77

Same, dude, same.

 

#6 John Robic’s Hair

I’m just amazed.

 

#5 Trey Minton

It’s a travesty.

 

#4 nickwitt

Seems appropriate.

 

#3 Kentucky Glen

Probably both.

 

#2 King Lex Chapman

I mean, it was a pretty solid joke.

 

#1 Tony Ray

KSR Commonwealth Stadium, where listening to the officials is optional.

 

@haleysimpKSR


Kentuckymbb|IG

Winners from the 15th CATSPYs

Kentuckymbb|IG

KentuckyMBB | IG

Community Service Award
Alex Carter (women’s soccer)
Sean Gunn (men’s swimming and diving)
Female Rookie of the Year
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (women’s track and field)
Male Rookie of the Year
Malik Monk (men’s basketball)
Bill Keightley “Assist” Award
Ryan Clark (men’s basketball)
Blue Heart Award
Kole Cottam (baseball)
Alex Montgomery (football)
Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Danielle Galyer (women’s swimming and diving)
Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Paul Sime (men’s soccer)
Female Academic Team of the Year
Women’s tennis
Male Academic Team of the Year
Men’s golf
Scratch Award
Paige Poffenberger (women’s basketball)
Supporting Role
Dominique Hawkins (men’s basketball)
Heart of a Wildcat
Makayla Epps (women’s basketball)
Evelyn Akhator (women’s basketball)
Female Athlete of the Year
Sha’Keela Saunders (women’s track and field)
Male Athlete of the Year
Jacob Thomson (men’s track and field)
Coach(es) of the Year
Mark Stoops (football)
John Calipari (men’s basketball)
Lars Jorgensen (swimming and diving)
Edrick Floréal (track and field)
Female Team of the Year
Women’s swimming and diving
Male Team of the Year
Men’s basketball
Miss Wildcat
Danielle Galyer (swimming and diving)
Mr. Wildcat
Jon Toth (football)

A few takeaways:

—  Do we need four coaches to receive awards?  Coach Cal has won enough while at Kentucky.  I don’t think he’d feel slighted if a year went by and he didn’t get the hardware from the athletic department.

—  Benny Snell got snubbed.  I love watching Malik Monk play basketball, but pardon me for being more excited about Benny Snell.  We see freshman phenoms on the basketball court ALL THE TIME.   What Snell did last season has only been done by a few UK football players, let alone a freshman.  Which brings me to my next point…

—  The basketball team doesn’t need any more awards.  They’re treated like award-winners before they reach campus.  They reach rockstar-status as soon as they get to campus, then receive more awards.  I think they’re good on awards.  Let the CATSPYs go to the rest of the hard-working athletes, not the ones that get all of the BBN’s love.

—  Three Perfect Awards.  Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator received the “Heart of a Wildcat” to perfectly encapsulate their Kentucky careers.  The Blue Heart Award is given to those who persevere through injury, and there isn’t a better example than Alex Montgomery.  Mr. Wildcat Jon Toth is everything you want in a student-athlete and tonight he earned his unwanted time in the spotlight.


Don’t Miss De’Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe’s Final Tour Stops

Don’t Miss De’Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe’s Final Tour Stops

IMG_3274

Isaiah Briscoe and De’Aaron Fox are saying thank you to the BBN by traveling across the state of Kentucky.  If you missed the UK guards at an early stop, you’re running out of time.  These are Isaiah and De’Aaron’s final tour stops:

tour-final-briscoe Tour-Final-Fox