By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 15th, 2018 @ 7:00pm
Last week, a horse Rick Pitino is part-owner of named “Party Dancer” came away with a victory in the fifth race at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. The final purse was $33,380, and a $2 win bet came out to $10.80.
After receiving obvious backlash about the horse’s hilarious and completely unsurprising name, Pitino came out today and played the dumb card. Again.
“It was unbeknownst to me,” Pitino told the Courier-Journal. “I have absolutely no clue about the name of this horse. (Co-owner Larry Spitcaufsky) doesn’t even know I’m a basketball coach. … It never dawned on me that Party Dancer is a striptease act.”
You couldn’t connect the dots that strippers DANCING at a PARTY for recruits isn’t a striptease act? Shocker.
The self-pity continued, with the former Louisville head coach saying he can’t even savor the victory without people raining on his parade.
“The shame of it (is I) can’t even enjoy a win,” Pitino said. “The piling on is incredible.”
Jockey Club spokeswoman Shannon Luce confirmed the name was not submitted by Pitino himself back in 2017.
Reportedly owning “just” a 50 percent stake in Party Dancer, Pitino said he will name another horse when he can afford it again.
“When I’m a majority owner, I will name a horse,” he said. “When I left coaching, I can’t afford to be a majority owner.”
Pitino is also the sole owner of “Miss Loyalty” (another gem of a name for the scandal-filled former coach), a three-year-old filly that raced earlier this year.
For more of Pitino’s pity party, head to the Courier-Journal here.
By Drew Franklin on ©August 15th, 2018 @ 6:00pm
Back at SEC Media Days in July, UK running back Benny Snell definitively said he is the best running back in the Southeastern Conference. So when UK Football Media Day came around last week, I spent the entire afternoon asking his teammates if they feel the same way in a piece for Hey Kentucky.
Check it out…
Zion Harmon may not play at Marshall County after all.
The highly-touted high school sophomore has been ruled ineligible by the KHSAA, according to Joe Jackson of the West Kentucky Star. There is no explanation for the ruling at this time, but one can assume Harmon’s frequent transferring from school to school is a factor.
Harmon helped carry Bowling Green to the 2017 state title as an eighth grader. He then transferred to Adair County for his freshman year, where he averaged over 30 points per game, but left Columbia after only one year. He eventually decided on Marshall County for his third stop in three years this fall, which brings us to today’s not-so-surprising news.
Marshall County plans to appeal.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 15th, 2018 @ 4:24pm
Remember that random road game Kentucky was supposed to play next season at Eastern Michigan? Turns out it’s going to be played in Lexington instead.
Sources tell KSR that after a request from Eastern Michigan, Kentucky bought out the game and it will be played at Kroger Field on September 7, 2019. While the price of the game is unknown, we do know the request was made due to budget restructuring in the Eagles’ athletic department.
While you may have had your heart set on a road trip to Ypsilanti, this is very good news, especially since the Eagles nearly upset the Cats at Kroger Field a year ago. That’ll make for at least two straight home games to start the season after the opener vs. Toledo on August 31 and eight home games total. Giggity.
UPDATE: Derek Terry spoke to Eastern Michigan associate AD for media relations Greg Steiner, who said Kentucky will pay the Eagles $800,000 for the 2019 game and additional compensation for the 2020 game in Lexington.
Every year, we comb the Kentucky Football Media Guide for interesting facts about the Wildcats. Last year, we found out that Landon Young was learning the banjo and Jordan Jones loves the TV show “Jersey Shore.” What surprises does this year’s media guide have in store for us?
Did you know…
— Junior offensive tackle Landon Young’s favorite movie is O, Brother, Where Art Thou
— Sophomore wide receiver John Daido speaks fluent Russian
— Freshman offensive lineman and Knoxville, Tennessee native Darian Kinnard is related to Dolly Parton (As a huge Dolly fan, I definitely need to know more about this)
— Sophomore offensive tackle E.J. Price is a big country music fan, thanks to teammate Austin Dotson
— Junior wide receiver Ahmad Wagner is a talented singer and closet country music fan
— Sophomore kicker Matt Ruffolo’s fourth cousin is actor Mark Ruffalo, aka “The Hulk”
— The most famous person in freshman running back Tyler Markray’s cell phone is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
— Freshman defensive lineman Jerquavion Mahone puts syrup on his spaghetti
— Freshman offensive lineman Kenneth Horsey’s guilty pleasure is watching “Scandal”
— Freshman defensive lineman Davoan Hawkins has 14 siblings
— Freshman running back Kavosiey Smoke is part Native American
— Sophomore quarterback Terry Wilson hasn’t had a haircut since the eighth grade
— Senior kicker Miles Butler: “Money Man”
— Redshirt freshman quarterback Danny Clark: “Prototype”
— Redshirt freshman linebacker Jamin Davis: “Shadow”
— Senior cornerback Chris Westry: “Scotty Too Hotty”
— Junior running back Benny Snell: “Snell Ya Later”
Dream jobs other than the NFL
— Senior cornerback Chris Westry: Work for Google
— Redshirt freshman safety Tyrell Ajian: Pharmacologist
— Sophomore wide receiver Josh Ali: Real estate agent
— Sophomore nose guard Quinton Bohanna: Take care of his mom and grandmother
— Redshirt freshman quarterback Danny Clark: Work on custom muscle cars
— Redshirt freshman safety Yusuf Corker II: Pediatric Surgeon
— Sophomore punter Colin Goodfellow: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
— Sophomore defensive tackle Kordell Looney: Accountant
Word to describe him on the field:
— Sophomore wide receiver Lynn Bowden: “Calm”
— Sophomore quarterback Gunnar Hoak: “Poised”
— Sophomore center Drake Jackson: “Cerebral”
— Junior offensive guard Logan Stenberg: “Nasty”
— Freshman offensive lineman Naasir Watkins: “Whoa”
Life’s theme song
— Senior kicker Miles Butler: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin
— Senior tight end C.J. Conrad: “All I Do is Win” by DJ Khaled
— Junior linebacker Kash Daniel: “Hells Bells” by AC/DC
— Senior safety Mike Edwards: “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley
— Sophomore linebacker William Nalty: “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw
By Nick Roush on ©August 15th, 2018 @ 3:00pm
Ah, the dog days of preseason football camp. The time of the year where every ounce of information is dissected to the nth degree. Some fans are tooting the Cats’ horn, while pessimists point to the logos on UK’s schedule. Fans analyze every move made by each quarterback, even the ones we can’t see, while national analysts create more bulletin board material.
Believe what you want about the 2018 Kentucky football team, but I’ve been sold since August 4.
On the first Saturday of August the doors to the Kentucky football practice fields were opened to the general public. It took about ten minutes to realize it’s the best Kentucky football team I’ve seen in six years of covering the program.
You don’t have to have a trained eye to tell the difference. The Cats are just bigger and stronger at every single position. You can look at the heights and weights listed on the depth chart and see taller, heavier players, but numbers are not captivating. To see Marquan McCall, a true freshman nose guard, deliver a thunderous punch to the chest of an All-SEC offensive lineman, it elicits an unfamiliar wide-eyed response.
Mark Stoops can tell you the Cats have more depth at the defensive line, but those are just words. You must see the difference. Let me try.
Remember C.J. Johnson? In 2015 he was Kentucky’s most disruptive defensive lineman, accounting for 67 tackles, 8 for loss and a pair of sacks. His athleticism made him effective because he didn’t have size on his side. As you’ll see below, he held his own in the trenches, earning SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors, but he was undersized for an interior lineman at 6’2″ 290ish pounds.
If Johnson was on the 2018 roster, he would be the last guy to catch your eye. Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald was a gangly basketball player when he signed with Kentucky. The redshirt freshman might not see a snap this fall, but he’s a 6’6″ 280-pound behemoth built with solid muscle. Oh yeah, and he can move too.
At almost every single position, the third guy on the depth chart is bigger, faster and stronger than their predecessors who were stars just a couple years ago.
Guys like Jordan Griffin, Davonte Robinson and Yusuf Corker would have started for Stoops’ 2015 team, one that was a heartbreaking loss away from a bowl appearance. This year, it will be hard for any of them to find minutes behind a talented group of seniors. You thought Dorian Baker was big? Ahmad Wagner makes Baker look tiny. Kash Daniel is an absolute monster, but all of the underclassmen behind him are lengthy 6’4″ developing talents that move like wide receivers. On the offensive line, Big George is the strongest man on the team, but the senior right tackle is no longer the biggest man on the offensive line.
Size doesn’t equate success. It’s a lesson the Big Blue Nation learned from Matt Elam. The big guys must be tacticians that can explode into the right place at the right time to make plays when their number is called. That’s football.
Like every football team in America, the 2018 Wildcats are far from a finished product. Fans who got to see the team on August 4 saw an impressively balanced team that has limitless potential. No matter who is on the schedule or where the game is played, Kentucky has the athletes to match (or dominate) the competition.
Unfortunately, UK will keep the team behind closed doors until September 1. When you finally see the Wildcats take the field, dreams of a season unlike anything you’ve seen before won’t seem so far-fetched.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©August 15th, 2018 @ 2:15pm
According to the online sports betting site, Bovada, New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis has the second-highest odds to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for the upcoming 2018-19 season.
After placing third for both the NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year last season, Davis is set to have a monstrous season now that DeMarcus Cousins has settled in with the Golden State Warriors.
A five-time NBA All-Star, the 25-year old Davis will be in full control of everything the Pelicans do on both offense and defense this coming season. Following the Achilles injury to Cousins last season that caused him to miss the majority of the second half of the season, Davis averaged 30.2 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks while shooting 51.4 percent from the field in games where he was the only superstar. While Davis wasn’t the only factor that led to the Pelicans stellar end to the season and their sweep of the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of last season’s playoffs, he was without a doubt the most important. Heading into this season, Davis is going to be expected to do even more.
The actual odds are shown below and Davis isn’t the only former Wildcat that Vegas thinks has a shot to take home the league’s most sought-after individual award.
Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), John Wall (Wizards), Devin Booker (Suns), and even a still-injured Cousins are listed as possible MVP candidates. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is the odds-on favorite to win the award and he’ll surely have his opportunity as the only star in LA.
While James will likely have another great year, the potential for him to slow down throughout the grueling 82-game season given how many minutes he’s already played in his career is prevalent. Davis – along with reigning MVP James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo – should be the favorites throughout the majority of the season if healthy.
By Drew Franklin on ©August 15th, 2018 @ 1:30pm
Big Blue Nation has spoken.
Tyler Herro is the fan favorite following the team’s four games in the Bahamas.
Herro won our fan poll by an overwhelming margin, taking over half of the votes from the response. The freshman scoring machine received 4,077 of the 7,398 votes placed, almost 3,000 more than the next closest vote getter.
Here are the full results from the poll:
Tyler Herro 55% (4,077)
Keldon Johnson 16% (1,180)
P.J. Washington 10% (739)
Nick Richards 5% (404)
Ashton Hagans 3% (217)
Reid Travis 3% (217)
Quade Green 2% (160)
Immanuel Quickley 2% (115)
Jonny David 1% (102)
Jemarl Baker 1% (94)
Brad Calipari 1% (61)
EJ Montgomery 0% (32)
I can’t say I’m surprised Herro took the top spot, but to receive 55 percent of the votes? That’s impressive given the amount of talent on the roster.
After a week of watching basketball in the Bahamas, Hardly Committed is back with special guest, Evan Daniels. The 247 Sports recruiting guru talks to T.J. Walker about where Kentucky stands with some of the nation’s top prospects. Highlights include:
— A review of the good and the bad from the Big Blue Bahamas.
— Every UK guard brings something different to the table.
— Evan agrees with T.J.: Kentucky is in a great position with Vernon Carey.
— How to pronounce Oscar Tshiebwe’s last name.
— The Annex reviews The Alliance, one of the worst alliances in the history of the world.
Subscribe to Hardly Committed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app to get the podcast delivered directly to your phone. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play, and streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.
Former Kentucky forward Marcus Lee will get a shot in the NBA down in Miami.
Lee signed with the Miami Heat today, according to the team’s official Twitter account. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, per club policy.
OFFICIAL: The Miami HEAT have signed forward Marcus Lee.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) August 15, 2018
Lee played for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Summer League. He appeared in seven games (five starts) in Las Vegas with averages of 6.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.57 blocks in 15.9 minutes of action, while shooting 70 percent (21-of-30) from the field.
The former Kentucky Wildcat joins another former Wildcat, Bam Adebayo, in the Miami paint. The two could’ve been teammates in Lee’s senior season at UK, if not for his transfer to Cal.