By Zack Geoghegan on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 9:00pm
Ranking players is always an inherently difficult process, especially in the age of social media, but the fine people over at Sports Illustrated don’t seem to care. For the seventh year in a row, SI has released its list of the top 100 NBA players for the upcoming season.
Before we go any further, it’s important that I point out the criteria for how the site has ranked each player.
“This list is an attempt to evaluate each player in a vacuum, independent of his current team context as much as possible,” wrote SI. “We’re not evaluating Kemba Walker as a Celtic, but as a concept. A player’s prospects beyond the 2019-20 season do not factor into our ranking process.”
This also means that players who are expected to miss the entirety of the 2019-20 NBA season with injuries, such as John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Kevin Durant, did not make the list. Even still, eight former Kentucky players make up the latest edition of this annual concept.
SI also stated that past performances, including the playoffs, were taken into heavy account when deciding who fits where.
And here’s the list:
No. 93 Bam Adebayo – Miami Heat (unranked in 2019)
No. 79 Julius Randle – New York Knicks (No. 72 in 2019)
No. 46 Eric Bledsoe – Milwaukee Bucks (No. 53 in 2019)
No. 38 Jamal Murray – Denver Nuggets (No. 55 in 2019)
No. 34 Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns (N0. 50 in 2019)
No. 33 De’Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings (unranked in 2019)
No. 13 Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 19 in 2019)
No. 6 Anthony Davis – Los Angeles Lakers (No. 5 in 2019)
Now let’s dissect this a bit, shall we?
Starting at the top, it’s about time Bam Adebayo began to receive some recognition and he’s a surefire bet to explode onto the national scene as the starting center in Miami. With that being said, I still have issues with his ranking, mainly because of who was ranked in front of him. Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs (No. 91) and Jeff Teague of the Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 87) seems quite disrespectful to the former Cat. No offense to White, in particular, who is an excellent young player on defense with potential to be a longtime NBA starter, but based off of SI’s own criteria, he should not be ranked ahead of Adebayo. Adebayo is a better all-around defender right now and has a far more expandable offensive game than White. Teague just wasn’t all that great during key stretches for the Timberwolves last season and doesn’t project to do much more as he enters his 11th NBA season.
Moving along, I’m not sure how anyone could watch what Julius Randle did last season with the New Orleans Pelicans and determine that he should be moved down seven spots. He was a far better player in 2018-19 (21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game) compared to his last season as a Laker in 2017-18 (16.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game). Along with Jrue Holiday, he and Randle kept Pelicans “afloat” while dragging the team through the entire Anthony Davis trade saga. Heading into the new season as a member of the Knicks and a key player moving forward, he should improve even more on what was already an impressive season.
Now we get into the middle of the list with players like Bledsoe and Murray. Bledsoe bumped up seven spots to No. 46 after an All-Star level season last year for the Bucks. With Malcolm Brogdon traded to the Indiana Pacers, the former Wildcat will be even more important in keeping Milwaukee’s title hopes alive. Murray shot up 17 spots to all the way to No. 38 after a somewhat inconsistent third NBA season. His production numbers saw a rise across the board, but at the sacrifice of his shooting numbers. Murray took a small leap from year two to year three, but Denver fans expect him to take an even bigger one in year four. The Nuggets need that co-star next to All-Star Nikola Jokic and Murray is the organization’s top prospect. Both Bledsoe and Murray were ranked rather fairly.
Next, we have two potential All-NBA performers slotted side-by-side: Devin Booker (No. 34) and De’Aaron Fox (No. 33). At 22 and 21 years of age, respectively, these two former Kentucky superstars are just scratching the surface of their NBA ceiling. Booker moved up 16 spots from the previous year while Fox skyrocketed from unranked to into the top 35 with one brilliant season.
There has always been a cloud of mystery surrounding Booker, although some of it due to the lack of media attention rightfully directed towards a constantly fumbling Phoenix Suns front office. But coming off a career season as one of the best scorers in the NBA (while playing out of position), Booker will comfortably move back to playing the two-guard with point guard Ricky Rubio (added in the offseason) feeding him the ball like a servant dangling grapes from a vine. As for Fox, Kings fans have now rest optimistic expectations on his still slim shoulders. But there’s a reason he made such a gigantic leap on this list. Fox went from a turnover-prone, inconsistent shooter to a rim-attacking menace with an improved jumper. These two will be snubbed if they don’t make an All-Star team this season despite another year of a loaded Western Conference.
Continuing down the list, Karl-Anthony Towns came in at No. 13, moving up six spots from 2019. After Jimmy Butler was traded early last season, Towns became one of the most dominant offensive players in all of basketball, not just for centers. He made his second straight All-Star team and heads into the new season with expectations that he’ll improve on his criticized defense while carrying a typically underperforming team to the playoffs. This season isn’t going to be easy for Towns, but he’s built to lead a team to 40-plus wins all by himself.
Finally, Anthony Davis completes the list, coming in at No. 6 – down one spot from last season. The newest Laker is set to be the face of the team on both sides of the court, despite teaming up with LeBron James. During his stint in New Orleans, Davis never had the proper pieces surrounding him to take a team deep into the playoffs. That excuse isn’t going to fly anymore on a team with LeBron and the infamous allure of Los Angeles. But the skillset and talent are all there; it has been since he debuted in the league back in 2012. There has never once been a doubt that Davis is an elite player – and his spot on this list only helps solidify that line of thinking – but now its time to put it all into action in the form of an NBA title.
Overall, SI did a solid job on creating a difficult and always controversial list. Adebayo and Randle will prove them wrong. It’s up to the other six to prove them right.
By Hayden Hooper on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
Today was not only the first game in Memorial Coliseum for the 2019 Kentucky Wildcats Volleyball team, but it was also the first home game in a Kentucky uniform for Duke graduate transfer Leah Meyer.
Grad-Transfer Leah Meyer’s first in-game entrance as a Kentucky Wildcat in Memorial Coliseum. pic.twitter.com/tTfOEcjLLv
— Hayden Hooper (@haydenhooper01) September 13, 2019
The Duke transfer held her own against ACC competition by raking in some big accolades. She was named to the 2015 All ACC Freshman team, was a two-time All-ACC First-Team selection and was an AVCA All-American honorable mention honoree in 2018.
With Meyer’s move from the ACC to the SEC, Meyer said after the team’s 3-0 victory over Cleveland State this afternoon that the culture change between the two conferences is evident.
“It’s a little bit of a higher competition for me, and the expectations of this program are really high and I really appreciate that,” Meyer said. “Not to say that there wasn’t at Duke but coming into a whole new program has been awesome for me.”
Meyer collected eight kills in the victory, including six crucial kills in the second set. With just one error on the day, it made it easy for the Cats to go through their offense on the floor.
“She makes very few mistakes and she’s got a rocket arm, and behind the setter, she can rip it,” Kentucky head coach Craig Skinner said. “Having someone who is a threat behind setters is valuable for our setter so she can run the offense.”
Leah Meyer and the Kentucky Wildcats are set to take on Florida Gulf Coast at 8:30 P.M. ET.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 7:30pm
John Calipari and his Kentucky coaching staff are continuing their nationwide trek of meeting with some of the nation’s top recruits, but not all of them are just potential targets.
On Thursday evening, Calipari and assistant coach Kenny Payne both traveled to Los Angeles to meet with 2020 top-ten prospect and Kentucky commitment BJ Boston.
After the in-home visit, Boston’s father, Brandon Boston Sr., posted the image seen above on his Instagram page with high praise of the UK coaching staff.
“Had some great visitors today,” he wrote. “My dad, [John Calipari], and Coach Kenny Payne! Nothing but great vibes in this pic!”
Boston, ESPN’s No. 9 prospect in the class of 2020, chose Kentucky over Duke, Florida, Auburn, and Oregon back on July 27 following his official visit to the school on July 26.
Jerry Meyer of 247Sports loves the 6-foot-7 guard’s athleticism and scoring ability, comparing him to New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram in his official player comparison.
“A long athlete who is still growing,” he said. “Has good athleticism and a natural feel for the game. Lack of strength needs to improve, especially to be effective long term on the defensive end. Terrific scorer who is effective at all three levels. Has a nose for the ball and the length to be a dangerous rebounder. Has tremendous upside, which makes him a potential lottery pick.”
According to Sources Say Podcast co-host Jake Weingarten, the Kentucky coaching staff also conducted an in-home visit on Tuesday with 2020 four-star forward and fellow UK commitment Cam’Ron Fletcher.
Kentucky’s John Calipari and staff will conduct an in-home visit today with Top-40 senior and commit Cam’Ron Fletcher, a source told @Stockrisers.
— Jake (@jakeweingarten) September 10, 2019
Calipari visited both Lance Ware, who committed to Kentucky on Thursday afternoon, and Terrence Clarke, who is widely expected to commit to UK tomorrow afternoon, on Monday.
In terms of prospects not officially on board or on the fringe of a commitment, the Kentucky coaching staff has seen the likes of Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, Isaiah Todd, Greg Brown, Paolo and Banchero, among others, to open the fall recruiting period.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 7:00pm
When thinking about the pinnacle of high school football, the state of Texas is probably one of the first that comes to mind – followed by other states with massive pig skin followings such as Florida or Alabama.
Which is why it might surprise you to learn that the city of Louisville was listed in the top 10 by the NFL in regards to current players who were on opening day rosters.
Hometowns with most NFL players on opening-day rosters:
Fort Lauderdale 14
New Orleans 14
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 13, 2019
Shocking absolutely no one should be the top of this list; Miami, Houston, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay are all massive cities with huge investments into not only professional football, but all levels of the sport. But to see a local city boast 10 homegrown NFL players on an opening day roster is quite impressive. And if you try hard enough, you could probably toss a football to a neighboring city that made the cut – Cincinnati, OH – who produced 12 opening day NFL players.
The state of Ohio alone produced 72 opening day NFL players, the fifth-most of any state.
States with the most NFL players on opening-day rosters:
New Jersey 59
North Carolina 56
South Carolina 44
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 13, 2019
Most notably, former Kentucky star and current Arizona Cardinal, Corey Peters, is a Lousiville high school football descendant before playing his college ball in Lexington. Although the original number of 10 players has since dipped since the season began, Lousiville still boasts hometown talent such as DeVante Parker (University of Louisville), long snapper Colin Holba (UL), center Weston Richburg (Colorado State), long snapper Patrick Scales (Utah State), and defensive tackle Brandon Dunn (UL).
Not a bad reputation for a basketball state.
But perhaps the craziest state is the one from Alabama, as it generated an NFL player for every 74,000 people, per capita.
States with the most NFL players on opening-day rosters, per capita:
So. Carolina 1/105,122
New Jersey 1/149,015
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 13, 2019
Screw the lottery, you have better odds to make it to the big leagues if you’re born in Bama.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 6:40pm
2021 five-star forward and consensus top-five prospect Paolo Banchero trimmed his list down to nine this afternoon, and the Kentucky Wildcats made the cut.
The 6-foot-10, 235-pound big man announced that he would be moving on with Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Duke, Georgetown, Baylor, Memphis, Washington, and Gonzaga in his recruitment. Banchero cut the likes of Alabama, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, USC, Vandy, and Michigan, among others, from his list.
— Paolo (Paul-Oh) (@Pp_doesit) September 13, 2019
Kentucky has made the nation’s No. 3 prospect (ESPN and Rivals.com) their top priority in the frontcourt for the class of 2021, as they have yet to offer any other junior big man in the country.
Last week, Banchero joined the Sources Say Podcast for an exclusive interview, where he told KSR that he was “really high” on Kentucky.
“I am really high on Kentucky. They are a great school, great program,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to my visit [for Big Blue Madness on October 11-13]. Coach Cal talks to my mom all the time, they have a great relationship. He talks to me, actually just texted me not too long ago, a couple minutes ago. He wants to talk tonight. He’s keeping in close contact with me and my mom. Coach Barbee, he keeps in close contact, as well.
In fact the five-star forward said earning an offer from Kentucky was “surreal” and that he had been a fan of the program for quite some time.
“Just because I have been watching Kentucky for a while now, since John Wall playing, seeing Coach Cal on TV, on ESPN,” he told KSR. “Kentucky is always nationally televised, so I always see them a lot. Always in the news, headlines. It was just surreal because there was a time where I really didn’t feel I would ever be recruited by blueblood schools, and then finally hearing Coach Cal’s voice and him saying they had offered me was just kind of surreal. There was a point where I just didn’t think that would be a reality for me.”
By Zack Geoghegan on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 6:30pm
For its annual meeting at the SEC headquarters located in Birmingham, AL, the Southeastern Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Leadership Council will assemble on Friday and Saturday with Nate Sestina and Jaida Roper representing the University of Kentucky.
The responsibilities of the two Wildcats are for them to serve as a pipeline of communication between school and conference; bringing up issues or topics of notice that relate to the wellness and experience of the student-athletes in the SEC. Each of the 14 programs in the conference will be represented by one male and one female basketball student-athlete.
According to the press release sent out by UK, the group of student-athletes will participate in the following:
Dinner and a conversation with Commissioner Greg Sankey, a review of NCAA and SEC legislative items, and the 28 student-athletes will also have an opportunity to engage with men’s and women’s basketball officials on rules of the game, student-athlete/referee interaction and careers in officiating.
Former NBA player and Missouri alum, Kenyon Dooling, will be in attendance to speak to the group of the popular topic of the importance of treating mental health in sports.
Sestina, a graduate transfer from Bucknell, and Roper, entering her senior season, will serve as veteran voices with the potential to make an impact on topics they feel deserve the attention.
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) September 13, 2019
Here’s the full list of student-athletes representing all 14 SEC schools.
Tyler Barnes, Alabama
Adrio Bailey, Arkansas
Anfernee McLemore, Auburn
Dontay Bassett, Florida
Rayshaun Hammonds, Georgia
Nate Sestina, Kentucky
Aundre Hyatt, LSU
Breein Tyree, Ole Miss
Mitchell Storm, Mississippi State
Mitchell Smith, Missouri
T.J. Moss, South Carolina
John Fulkerson, Tennessee
Josh Nebo, Texas A&M
Quentin Millora-Brown, Vanderbilt
Jordan Lewis, Alabama
Jailyn Mason, Arkansas
Kiyae’ White, Auburn
Kiki Smith, Florida
Ari Henderson, Georgia
Jaida Roper, Kentucky
Jaelyn Richard-Harris, LSU
Milicia Reid, Ole Miss
Myah Taylor, Mississippi State
Jordan Chavis, Missouri
Elysa Wesolek, South Carolina
Kamera Harris, Tennessee
Ciera Johnson, Texas A&M
Jordyn Cambridge, Vanderbilt
Sestina is in an interesting position as the lone productive senior on Kentucky and he’ll be in attendance without any prior experience playing SEC basketball. However, this can provide him with a unique take on how the SEC goes about its business on the basketball side as opposed to what he saw during his time at Bucknell (out of the Patriot League). Roper, on the other hand, is about to begin her fourth season as a Wildcat while also coming off her most productive season. She is a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll student.
By Hayden Hooper on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 5:30pm
The Kentucky Volleyball team won its first game of the Bluegrass Battle and fifth overall, defeating the Cleveland State Vikings in three sets, 25-17, 25-19, 25-9.
Game, set and match. The #15 Kentucky Wildcats defeat the Cleveland State Vikings in a sweep. Next game for the Cats will be later today as they play Florida Gulf Coast at 8:30 P.M. EST. pic.twitter.com/D7GNHSa5Je
— Hayden Hooper (@haydenhooper01) September 13, 2019
After being on the road for the beginning of the season, the Cats found themselves back in their old Kentucky home for the first time this season.
“First game went pretty good. Started out very slow,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “Our serving got better as the game went on. Very efficient with nine hitting errors total is pretty low. Pretty impressed with that.”
Several new faces were in Memorial Coliseum early Friday afternoon, one being Duke grad transfer Leah Meyer.
“I have loved Lexington so far and playing Memorial, running out through the tunnel and throwing the ball was a cool experience for me with the lights turned down,” Leah Meyer said of her first game in Memorial Coliseum. “Something that I’ve never experienced before. It was really cool.”
A two-time All-ACC First-Team selection and 2015 All-ACC Freshman Team, Meyer’s success has bled over to her time at Kentucky as she stacked up 8 kills with an assisted block in her Memorial Coliseum debut.
The returning stars showed out in the first game as well. Senior outside hitter Leah Edmond led the charge with 14 kills and one dig, ten more kills than her season average of 4 kills per game. For Edmond, this was her last first home game as a Kentucky Wildcat.
“It’s sad and exciting at the same time,” Edmond said. “This will be my last first home game here so it was really meaning to be home after being away for two weeks.”
The win advances the No. 15 Wildcats’ record to 5-2 in the regular season and 1-0 in the Bluegrass Battle. They’ll be back in action later today at 8:30 P.M. vs. Florida Gulf Coast.
Who does the national media like in tomorrow’s game between Kentucky and Florida? Here’s a roundup of picks from across the interwebs.
Only Kyle Bonagura and Sam Khan have the Cats pulling off the upset tomorrow night.
Kyle Bonagura: How will Kentucky celebrate its first back-to-back wins over UF since 1976-77? Kentucky 28-27
Sam Khan Jr.: The Cats rally around Sawyer Smith to pull off the upset. Kentucky 24-21
The remaining 11 members of the panel picked Florida:
David Bearman: Florida 31-28
David M. Hale: Florida 31-10
Chris Low: Florida 28-17
Edward Aschoff: Florida 27-17
Bill Connelly: Florida 35-31
Ryan McGee: Florida 24-14
Adam Rittenberg: Florida 26-10
Alex Scarborough: Florida 28-20
Mark Schlabach: Florida 27-17
Phil Steele: Florida 27-16
Tom VanHaaren: Florida 28-17
The Sporting News‘ Bill Bender
Kentucky lost Terry Wilson for the season, which makes Gunnar Hoak’s transfer from the program that much more painful. Florida will be looking for revenge after last year’s loss to the Wildcats, and Feleipe Franks continues to trend in the right direction.
Florida wins 31-21 and COVERS the spread.
(Big eye roll to this one)
Ross Dellenger picks Florida: The revenge game for the Gators. Florida had won 31 consecutive games over Kentucky, a streak that dates back to 1987 before a 27–16 home loss last year. Expect a tight battle, and the Wildcats might very well pull this one off, but we’re siding with the Gators in a coin-flip type match in Lexington.?
Florida will get revenge for last year, when the Wildcats’ 27-16 win in Gainesville ended a 31-year losing streak in the series. Florida 20, Kentucky 13
Tough break for Kentucky, losing experienced QB Terry Wilson. The Wildcats now hand the reins to former Troy starter Sawyer Smith. They’ve got good pieces around him, most notably WR Lynn Bowden Jr., and by no means is this team without hope. But Smith’s first start against Florida’s defense could be rough. Florida 26, Kentucky 20
By Nick Roush on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 4:30pm
For the biggest game of the year at Kroger Field, Mark Stoops is hosting one of his biggest recruiting weekends of the year.
On game days, Stoops, Vince Marrow and the rest of the coaches have their hands full. While they worry about preparation, almost every committed player in the 2020 recruiting class will be on hand to talk to other recruits. To name a few — Earnest Sanders, Dru Phillips, Izayah Cummings, Jordan Watkins and Kalil Branham will be in the building.
Two in-state players will be prioritized by the 2020 class, Bowling Green safety Vito Tisdale and North Hardin defensive tackle Octavious Oxendine. Each have led low-profile recruitments thus far. Oxendine’s visit is an official visit, joining a handful of others in the 2020 class.
Michael Drennen II is a “must play right away” talent from Ohio’s Dublin Coffman High School. One of the top athletes in America, he is deadly running out of the backfield or catching passes from the slot. Even though Kentucky already has four wide receivers committed, when you can take away an elite athlete from Ohio State and Alabama, you do whatever it takes to make that happen.
R.J. Adams is currently a Penn State commitment, but the offensive guard from Virginia is joining Drennen and Co. for an official visit to Kentucky this weekend. I’m sure he’ll be reminded about what happened in the Citrus Bowl quite often.
There are a pair of elite defenders officially visiting, cornerback Brian George and defensive end Tyler Baron. George is ranked by 247 as the No. 5 overall JUCO recruit in America. Baron, a Knoxville native, is a top 100 player in the 2020 class. Many believed Baron would become a Vol, but Tennessee’s slow start and this weekend in Lexington could change his mind.
While most of the focus is on the upcoming recruiting class, this weekend is the perfect time to make an impression on underclassmen, especially those from Tennessee. DC Tabscott is a top 20 pocket passer in the 2021 class from Nashville. Zion Rucker could become UK’s next great interior defensive lineman from Tennessee. Noah Josey is one of the best players from the Volunteer State. The Brentwood offensive lineman holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and a dozen others. Travion Ford, a four-star defensive end from St. Louis, represents Kentucky’s border state to the west.
UK is making sure the best from the Bluegrass are on hand for Saturday night’s electric atmosphere. Three of the most-talented juniors in the state will be on hand for unofficial visits — Frederick Douglass offensive guard Jager Burton, North Hardin running back Lavell Wright and Somerset quarterback Kaiya Sheron are near the top of UK’s big board.
The number of recruits on campus should double what I mentioned in this post. There’s no better time to capitalize on momentum than Saturday night.
The Kentucky men’s basketball team’s annual Pro Day has been set for Oct. 6 at the Joe Craft Center.
The event, which provides NBA organizations with an up-close look at the current Wildcats’ roster, will be televised live on the SEC Network for the sixth consecutive season from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET. Seth Greenberg and Jimmy Dykes will be on hand to call the action.
Due to the ongoing construction in Rupp Arena – where the event has been held for the last two years – Pro Day will make its return to the Craft Center, where the event was held the first three years.
All 30 NBA teams are invited and expected to be in attendance for the annual Pro Day. There, the Wildcats will go through a combine-like practice conducted by the Kentucky coaching staff including various agility and shooting drills in addition to 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 scrimmaging.
The practice will serve as a warm-up for Big Blue Madness, set for Oct. 11.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 3:15pm
We knew Ryan Lemond’s pep talk for the Florida game at Country Boy Brewing would be wild. I don’t think any of us expected it to be this nuts.
Watch below as Ryan does only as Ryan can do, eventually stripping down and crowdsurfing in only a tiny pair of UK Basketball shorts:
God Bless Ryan Lemond. If you haven’t yet, check out today’s podcast:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 2:30pm
While in Lexington for tomorrow’s SEC Nation, Tim Tebow took a controversial stance on one of the biggest issues in college sports.
On ESPN’s First Take, the legendary Florida quarterback spoke out against the new California law allowing student-athletes to earn money from their names, images and likenesses, arguing that it will ruin college football.
“I feel like I have a little credibility and knowledge about this because when I was at the University of Florida, I think my jersey was one of the top-selling jerseys around the world. It was like Kobe, LeBron and then I was right behind them. I didn’t make a dollar from it and nor did I want to because I knew going into college what it was all about.
“I knew going to Florida, my dream school, where I wanted to go, the passion for it and if I could support my team, support my college, support my University, that’s what it’s all about. But now, we’re changing it from ‘us’ from ‘we’ from ‘my university’ from being an alumni where I care, which makes college football and college sports special, to then, ‘Okay it’s not about us. It’s not about we, it’s just about me.’
“And, yes, I know we live in a selfish culture where it’s all about us but we’re just adding and piling it onto that. Where it changes, what’s special about college football. We turn it into the NFL, where who has the most money, that’s where you go. That’s why people are more passionate about college sports than they are about the NFL.
“That’s why the stadiums are bigger in college than they are in the NFL, because it’s about your team, it’s about your university, it’s about where my family wanted to go, it’s about where my grandfather had a dream of seeing Florida win an SEC championship and you’re taking that away. And, you’re taking that away so that young kids can earn a dollar and that’s just not where I feel college football needs to go. There’s that opportunity in the NFL, but not college football.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) September 13, 2019
Hoo-boy, that’ll get people talking. I bet we’ll hear more on The Paul Finebaum Show, which starts in 30 minutes live from UK’s campus, and obviously, SEC Nation tomorrow morning.
Maybe Tebow was all worked up from lifting weights with Kash Daniel?
— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) September 13, 2019
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 12:45pm
Do you have DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse, or AT&T TVNow? You may want to make a backup plan for tomorrow’s Kentucky vs. Florida game.
AT&T, DirecTV’s parent company, is currently in negotiations with Disney, ESPN’s parent company, who is threatening to black out ABC affiliates, the ESPN and Disney networks, and Freeform if an agreement isn’t reached.
“Unfortunately, so far AT&T has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with us, despite the fact that the terms we are seeking are in line with recent marketplace deals we have reached with other distributors. If a deal is not reached soon, DIRECTV and AT&T video subscribers could lose access to ABC, ESPN and more.”
No deadline has been mentioned, but SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey tweeted about the possible outage this morning.
Attention @SEC fans! If you are a DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse or AT&T TVNow subscriber, you may not be able to view games on @SECNetwork (& other @ESPN and Disney networks) this weekend. Visit https://t.co/j0yzDYpouI for the latest info.
— Greg Sankey (@GregSankey) September 13, 2019
Disney is encouraging viewers to call AT&T to tell them to keep the networks they’re paying for. This is most likely just a bullying tactic on Disney’s part, but to be safe, have a backup plan so you’re not in the dark tomorrow at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit InstantAccessTV.com.
By Nick Roush on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
Ahead of the Saturday night showdown with Florida, one matchup has been highlighted by more than any other and it’s not at a skill position.
Florida’s defensive line enters with the most sacks in the nation and second-most tackles for loss. They’ll face an experienced Kentucky offensive line that boasts the reigning SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, Landon Young. Last week the SEC Network’s Cole Cubelic named UK’s offensive line as the best in the conference. He joined Kentucky Roll Call Friday morning to break down the clash between the two units.
“I think when teams are running the ball, Kentucky has the advantage. I think in obvious pass downs, Florida may have the advantage,” Cubelic said.
“I don’t think Kentucky has a guy as twitchy, as quick as Josh Allen was a year ago to be able to sort of bend the pocket and affect things from the outside. I think Florida’s offensive line is a little bit better in pass protection than they are in the run game. I think Kentucky’s offensive line is the opposite. I think Kentucky’s offensive line’s — probably their deficiency in the pass game is not as big as Florida’s in the run game, but Kentucky’s a bunch of maulers man. Logan Stenberg has been an absolute joy to watch this season. Drake Jackson’s having a really good year. Landon Young’s having a nice year.”
Cubelic’s biggest concern for the Cats is in obvious passing situations. Jabari Zuniga and Jonathan Greenard, arguably Florida’s most impactful player, can turn Sawyer Smith’s first start into a disaster. To avoid those situations, UK must be able to effectively run the football.
“I think they can control the ball on the ground and obviously if they can do that, they’re going to make life easier for Sawyer Smith who’s making his first start in a Wildcat uniform.”
If Kentucky’s offensive line protects Smith, Cubelic believes the Cats will win.
“I’m not sure Kentucky can afford a turnover. Maybe one, but if they get up to two or three, I don’t see Kentucky finding a way to win the game. He’s gotta protect the ball and make good decisions. If he does those two things, I think Kentucky can win this football game. I picked Kentucky to win this game. I’m confident that Kentucky will run the football. That will open up just enough in the play-action. Defensively, you’ve got a quarterback that I think you can rattle easily. Now, it’s going to be on those guys up front for the Wildcats to get in the backfield, affect the pocket and do it.”
You heard it from Cubelic first. Cats by 90.
By Nick Roush on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 11:00am
This week we’ve talked at length about Sawyer Smith and what he will bring to the table in his first start as Kentucky’s quarterback. Nobody has a better perspective than Barry McKnight.
For the last 18 years, McKnight has been the voice of the Trojans. He saw every single snap Sawyer Smith took last season at Troy. In all of his time as a play-by-play announcer, McKnight has never seen a quarterback spin a bomb better than Smith.
“He throws the best deep-ball of anybody I’ve ever seen,” McKnight told ESPN Louisville’s Andy Sweeney. “He does stretch the defense quite a bit. He doesn’t have the absolute strongest arm, but he’s extremely accurate deep. That really spread things out, particularly elongated things. It lengthened things out and opened up other stuff.”
Smith’s long ball puts pressure on defenses, but more importantly, his personality is one others gravitate to when it matters most.
“A big, tough, experienced guy who can throw the deep ball extraordinarily well and is not going to be over-awed by the moment. He is a winner. Sawyer Smith is a guy who is one of those ‘rally around me’ kind of locker room personalities that players tend to gravitate towards. A super kid, great competitor and a guy who knows what he’s doing out there,” McKnight said.
“I’m not sure exactly what happens in that game. I don’t know what the final numbers are going to be for Sawyer, but I can absolutely guarantee you that whatever the atmosphere, whatever the challenge, it’s not going to be too much for Sawyer Smith.”
McKnight is so confident, he’s already preparing for a Grove Street Party in Troy.
“I’m not sure at all that there will be sad Kentucky fans against the Gators. I think that’s a party waiting to happen.”
Click here to hear all of McKnight’s conversation with Sweeney on The Take.
Since Terry Wilson’s untimely injury against Eastern Michigan, his coaches, teammates and the fans have shown their support in a variety of ways.
Saturday night Lynn Bowden will be wearing Terry’s No. 3 when the Cats take on Florida. The student section will sport No. 3 t-shirts. The sweetest message came from the students at Breckinridge Elementary.
From handmade cards to marquee signs, everyone has Terry’s back.
The Kentucky quarterback appreciates all the support. He reciprocated the love by sending a video to the Big Blue Nation.
“It means a lot. It’s going to stick with me through this process.” Now, he wants the fans to send all of their support to this football team. “I believe in this team a lot. I know you do as well.”
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) September 13, 2019
By Nick Roush on ©September 13th, 2019 @ 10:00am
The SEC Network is setting up shop this weekend at a popular intersection on Kentucky’s campus.
Beginning this afternoon, you’ll find SEC Network personalities on the west lawn in front of Willy T near Rose Street. If that did not paint a clear enough picture, this will do the trick.
Ignore Laura Rutledge in the graphic. She’s out on maternity leave. In her place is Marty Smith, who’s pretty fired up to see the Big Blue Nation.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 11, 2019
Tim Tebow is enjoying his time in the Commonwealth. This morning the former Florida quarterback went fishing with Kash Daniel.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 13, 2019
All of the action begins with The Paul Finebaum Show from 3-7 p.m. ET. Paul will be joined by a few of your favorite UK personalities. Get there early for the big show Saturday morning. It airs from 10-noon. Once the show ends, join us for a party at KSBar and Grille.
It’s the biggest show of the year. Kentucky Sport sRadio is taking over the Country Boy Taproom in Georgetown to get you ready for Saturday’s matchup between the Cats and the Gators. A year ago a shirtless Ryan Lemond leapt into a crowd of people. What will he do this year? Tune in to hear all of the shenanigans.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (772) 774-5254.
|Ashland||WCMI||93.3 FM T||LIVE|
|Bowling Green||WKCT||930 AM||LIVE|
|Bowling Green||WKCT||104.1 FM T||LIVE|
|Elizabethtown||WIEL||106.1 FM T||LIVE|
|Grayson||WGOH||100.9 FM T||LIVE|
|Hopkinsville||WHOP||95.3 FM T||LIVE|
|Lancaster||WZXI||1280 AM||5-7 PM|
|Lancaster/Stanford||WZXI||95.5 FM T||5-7 PM|
|Leitchfield||WMTL||870 AM||10A-12N CST|
|London||WFTG||106.9 FM T||LIVE|
|Madisonville||WFMW||94.9 FM T||LIVE|
|McKee-Booneville||Peoples Rural Telephone||Cable TV Channel 209||LIVE|
|Morganfield||WUCO||98.5 FM T||LIVE|
|Paducah||WPAD||99.5 FM T||LIVE|
|Pikeville||WLSI||95.9 FM T||LIVE|
|Prestonsburg||WPRT||104.5 FM T||LIVE|
|Whitesburg||WTCW||95.1 FM T||LIVE|
|Whitley City||WHAY||98.3 FM||LIVE|
|Williamson, WV||WBTH||1400 AM||LIVE|
|Williamson, WV||WBTH||102.5 FM T||LIVE|
|50 Radio Affiliates|
1 TV/Cable Affiliate
*Affiliates subject to change without notice
Another game day at Kroger Field is upon us. Time to get ready to cheer on the ‘Cats. Head to ShopKSR.com to pick up new hats, tees, tailgate items, and more. Plus, you will receive a FREE HAT with any purchase over $60!
Hurry this special deal is one day only. Tell your family and friends. Ends at midnight.
Good morning and happy Friday, BBN.
While all of the attention is on Kentucky’s upcoming matchup with the Florida Gators on Saturday evening, UK fans have plenty of things to look forward to in the time leading up to kickoff.
Kentucky already received one bit of massive news on Thursday, and it’s only expected to continue both today and tomorrow afternoon.
Let’s jump right in.
Lance Ware commits
On Thursday afternoon, 2020 four-star forward Lance Ware announced his commitment to Kentucky, becoming the third prospect to join the program’s recruiting class for next year.
A 6-foot-9, 215-pound prospect out of Camden, NJ, Ware chose the Wildcats over offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Miami, Providence, Georgetown, Louisville, and Oregon, among others.
“I want to thank my family, my friends, all the coaches that have helped me grow as a person and as a player,” Ware said during an announcement ceremony at his school. “This has been a tough decision, going to all these schools and meeting all of these coaches, building the relationships with all the coaches and assistant coaches. After spending time talking with my family and everybody that I trust and that is important to me, I’ve decided that I want to go to the University of Kentucky.”
2020 Camden (NJ) and NY Rens forward Lance Ware just announced his commitment to Kentucky at his school pic.twitter.com/Mg0YP2K8zh
— Ari Rosenfeld (@ARosenfeldDVHR) September 12, 2019
The consensus four-star forward is ranked as high as No. 31 overall (Rivals) and as low as No. 42 (ESPN) in his class, with 247Sports giving him a Composite ranking of No. 32 overall.
With Ware set to follow five-star guard BJ Boston and four-star wing Cam’Ron Fletcher to Lexington, Kentucky is now ranked No. 1 overall in the recruiting class rankings on both 247Sports and Rivals.com.
Terrence Clarke decides tomorrow
But Kentucky isn’t even done this week, let alone overall.
On Saturday, 2021 top-three prospect Terrence Clarke is set to make his decision at 1:00 p.m. ET, with Kentucky seen as the runaway favorite to earn his commitment. Despite some academic hurdles in his path, the 6-foot-7 guard is also widely expected to reclassify to the class of 2020, which would ultimately give the Wildcats two top-ten prospects (Clarke and Boston) and two four-star forwards (Ware and Fletcher) at their disposal two full months before the early signing period even begins. With Kentucky already boasting the No. 1 class in the nation, Clarke’s commitment would give them a substantial lead among all competitors, one they have a very strong chance of keeping.
We’ll have all of the coverage you need right here on the site both before and after the announcement.
How about a football commit too?
2020 three-star safety and Westerville, OH native Rickey Hyatt Jr. is on the verge of a commitment, as well, with the current speculation being that a decision could come as early as today.
And yes, the Kentucky Wildcats are seen as the heavy favorite.
The 6-foot-2, 187-pound safety currently holds offers from Ohio State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Penn State, and West Virginia, among several others.
If and when that commitment takes place today, we will have everything you need to know about the secondary prospect on the site.
The Kentucky vs. Florida hype video is awesome
On Thursday afternoon, the UK football Twitter account posted a hype video to get you… well… hyped for Kentucky’s matchup with the Florida Gators on Saturday evening.
And it certainly did the job.
Take a look:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) September 12, 2019
KSR live from Georgetown in an hour
The Kentucky Sports Radio crew will be LIVE from Country Boy Brewing in Georgetown this morning from 10 a.m. to noon, where there are several surprises and prizes in store for the BBN.
For starters, the first 250 people there will receive special edition co-branded KSR/Country Boy/Kentucky pint glasses.
Then, there is the big prize package that will be given away at the end of the show: The Ultimate Lexington Weekend!
The winner of The Ultimate Lexington Weekend will receive:
— Two-night stay in Lexington the weekend of the Mizzou game (10/25-10/27)
— Four tickets to the UK-Mizzou football game
— Private tour of the Country Boy brewery
— Private tour of the Joe Craft Center, home of the UK men’s basketball team
— Friday night dinner at Malone’s
— A night of Battle Axes
— Pregame lunch or postgame dinner at KSBar (depending on kickoff time)
— Private tour of the new KSR office above KSBar
— Sunday brunch at OBC Kitchen
This morning, KSR’s Drew Franklin also led the way on a KSR/Country Boy VIP Experience, where a limited number of tickets were available to meet at Country Boy’s Lexington taproom for a beer tasting and brewery tour, depart for Country Boy in Georgetown on Lex On Tap’s bus, participate in another tasting and tour, receive VIP seating for the KSR live show, and then ride back to Lexington on the bus.
In one of the biggest and most entertaining shows of the year, you definitely won’t want to miss it.
Hope you folks are planning on coming to KSR tomorrow in GEORGETOWN
– Giving away UK-Florida tickets
– UK Weekend with hotel and more
– First 250 people get KSR/Country Boy glasses
One of the most fun shows of the year…take off work and join us
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) September 12, 2019