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Karl-Anthony Towns is your Home Run Derby Champ

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If you thought that maybe Karl-Anthony Towns was a one-sport athlete, you were 100% wrong. KAT was far and away the most impressive  in the Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic Home Run Derby. Towns won the home run derby with a walk-off in sudden death followed by an epic bat flip.

Check out this video brought to us from CN2’s KSTV:

 

 

As if the BBN could love Karl any more than it already does, he just keeps surprising everyone. Doesn’t hurt that he eats, drinks and breathes Kentucky Wildcats in everything that he does, but still, the guy is like the perfect former Cat.


Is Coach Cal the New Charlie Hustle?

USATSI_9105386_154849602_lowres

I’m sure any UK fan can thing of several times in the past where Coach Cal has criticized the effort or hustle of a certain player, but maybe Coach Cal needs to start practicing what he preaches. As our own Drew Franklin pointed out, John Calipari wasn’t exactly giving 110% while running out this ground out in his celebrity softball game.

As a person who played baseball my entire life, I can hear every former coach of mine yelling at their screens watching that video. Stay tuned to @KySportsRadio and @DrewFranklinKSR for updates all night from the charity/alumni game.


@KentuckyWBB

Women’s challenging non-conference schedule released

@KentuckyWBB

@KentuckyWBB

Women’s Hoops released a challenging non-conference schedule this week complete with their own Kentucky Classic featuring Albany and Miami.

The Cats will play at home against, Union University, Miami, Albany, New Hampshire, Morehead, Samford, Oklahoma, Middle Tennessee, Arizona State, Radford and Washington State. They’ll also travel to Colorado, Louisville and Duke.

Tip-off for Kentucky’s first exhibition game will be on Nov. 3rd at 7 p.m. against Union University inside Memorial Coliseum. Tickets for that game and the rest of the non-conference schedule can be bought here.

In some more exciting news, I want to announce that there will be two new writers joining me to bring you the best Women’s Hoops coverage out there. So I’d like to welcome both Maggie Davis and Savannah Patton to the beat with me. Both of them are phenomenal writers and will be such a great addition to the staff, so be on the lookout for their posts in the upcoming months. Also, you should follow them on Twitter at @MaggieDavisKSR and @savannahpattKSR.

November 3rd isn’t that far away and Big Blue Madness is right around the corner so be on guard for some season previews in the next couple weeks!


Set a world record, get a billboard

Kentucky’s Kendra Harrison has her own billboard along New Circle Road after setting a world record in the women’s 100-meter hurdles. The 28-year-old record was broken at the Müller Anniversary Games in London on July 22, two weeks after Harrison’s dreams of reaching Rio fell short at the qualifier, where she had the No. 1 time entering the competition.

Harrison bounced back quickly to set the new record, and though the billboard isn’t an Olympic medal, it’s a testament to her accomplishment and perseverance.

“I’m so blessed and grateful,” she tweeted.

Real all about Harrison’s record run and the frustration leading up to it here.


Former UK All-American wins gold in rifle

Put a gold medal on the board for the Kentucky rifle team.

Henri Junghaenel of Germany, a former Wildcat, took home top prize in the Olympics today in the 50-meter rifle prone.  I don’t know what that means but I know what a gold medal is and they’re hard to come by.

Junghanel was UK’s shooting-average leader in both guns during the 2010-11 NCAA Championship season. He was a four-time All-America selection at Kentucky.

Gehen Katzen.


Matthew Mitchell Adds Two Walk-Ons from Kentucky

Jessica Hardin (left) and Rachel Potter, via UK Athletics.

The UK women’s basketball roster is growing, adding Rachel Potter of Pikeville and Jessica Hardin of Wayne County to the team as walk-ons this summer.  They’ve worked out with the team this summer and will officially added to the roster when class begins August 24.

Pikeville’s all-time leading scorer averaged 20.4 points per game in her senior season in 2014 and was a third-team all-state selection.  Hardin spent a season at Bellarmine after taking home 12th Region Player of the Year honors in 2013.

These additions give Matthew Mitchell ten active players on the roster.  That number could grow before the season starts.

[Herald-Leader]


@UKLarsJorgensen

UK Swimmer Looking for First Olympic Gold

@UKLarsJorgensen

@UKLarsJorgensen

Sean Gunn has dreamt about making the Olympics his entire life, and at the age of 22, his dreams have finally come true. The Kentucky swimmer will be in Rio representing his home country of Zimbabwe.

I was able to speak with Gunn before he left, where he shared with me how he ended up at Kentucky, how he made the Zimbabwe Olympic team and so much more.

Gunn knew the only way he could make the Olympics was to swim in the United States. Through a recruiting agency in Zimbabwe, he found a small school in South Carolina called Limestone College. Soon after, he realized he wanted something bigger.

“I had never been to the states before so had no idea what I was going, but when I got there I realized I wanted to be a part of the SEC and a Division I program, so I started the recruiting process,” Gunn said. “I really liked the coaching staff, team and facilities that Kentucky had to offer so I decided to come here, and have absolutely loved it.”

Zimbabwe does not have Olympic swimming trials like the United States. In order to make the Zimbabwe Olympic team, you have to be chosen.

“I had to be a part of the national team and had to have competed in the World Championships last summer and the All-Africa Games early this year. After that I kind of just had to wait, and wait until they decided who they were going to send.” Gunn said.

Zimbabwean officials had an easy decision. Gunn placed first in all his events at the 2016 Zimbabwe National Championship. Gunn also holds two Zimbabwean records for the the 100-meter freestyle at 50.91 seconds, and 200-meter freestyle at 1:51:53.

Challenges in the pool will not be as difficult as some of the circumstances outside of the pool. Not many athletes are worrying, including Gunn.

“I had heard a lot of bad reports and negativity about the village, and how bad the games were going to be, but I really didn’t get too worried about it,” Gunn said.

As an athlete all you can think about is competing to win a gold medal. The importance of representing your country, especially a small African country like Zimbabwe, puts all the fear aside.

“I’ve dreamed of this my whole life so it’s very exciting that it’s so close,” Gunn said. “The opening ceremony is also something I’ve really been looking forward to. Staying in the village with all the athletes I think will be so cool.”

When you ask most swimmers about people they’ve idolized and admired growing up, you hear names like Michael Phelps. That’s not the case for Gunn.

Growing up Kirsty Coventry was definitely my hero and someone who I looked up to in swimming. She was the first person to get medals for Zimbabwe,” Gunn said. “So being a first time Olympian, its really cool to have her as my teammate as someone who has already been to four previous Olympics to help me through everything.”

Gunn and Coventry are the only two swimmers representing Zimbabwe in Rio.

Gunn and Coventry in Rio

Gunn and Coventry in Rio (@KirstyCoventry)

I could not let Gunn experience his first Olympics without asking him one of the most important questions at KSR… Cracker Barrel or Outback?

“Cracker Barrel,” Gunn said.

Gunn will be swimming in the 100m Freestyle on August 9.


Former Matthew Mitchell Commit Picks UofL

Bullitt East's Lindsey Duvall (12) makes a move on Butler's Jaelyn Penn (23).

Bullitt East’s Lindsey Duvall has committed to play for Jeff Walz at the University of Louisville, her father confirmed to The Courier-Journal.

Her commitment to UofL comes less than three months after removing her pledge to play for Matthew Mitchell at the University of Kentucky.  Duvall was one of the casualties of the mass exodus surrounding Mitchell’s program this spring.

Ahead of her junior season, Duvall was ranked as the third-best point guard in the nation, the No. 10 player overall by ESPN.com.  Sidelined with a tumor on her knee, Duvall made a miraculous recovery to return to the court before the season came to a close.  As a senior, she will be a Miss Basketball favorite.

Losing players in Mitchell’s program obviously hurts, but their eventual destinations pour salt on the open wound.  Batouly Camara transferred to play for Geno Auriemma at UConn, Alexis Jennings joined SEC-rival South Carolina and now the best recruit from the Commonwealth will play for Kentucky’s instate foe.


UK Tennis is getting a new $20 million facility

Good news for the UK Tennis program: on Wednesday, UK announced plans for a new $20 million tennis center, which will be placed on the site of the current UK Baseball Stadium once the new baseball stadium is built. The Hilary J. Boone Center, UK’s current tennis facility, has been home to UK Tennis for 31 years, and according to former UK Tennis coach Dennis Emery, it was time for a change.

“Our indoor facility really needs an update,” Emery said, via LEX18. “The building is 30 years old. Our outdoor facility is still good but since you’re doing this, you do it all at one time.”

No timetable has been set for the center, but man, it sure looks pretty in that rendering.

[LEX18]


Reed Optioned To Triple-A, Rogers Killing It For Minnesota

Taylor Rogers was picked by the Twins from UK in 2012. (Photo by Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)

Taylor Rogers was picked by the Twins from UK in 2012. (Photo by Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)

Two members of the 2012 Kentucky Baseball team have been called up in 2016. Taylor Rogers has pitched in 29 games for the Twins, while AJ Reed played in 17 with the Astros.

Following a difficult stint for the Astros, AJ Reed was sent back to Triple-A to get regular at bats. Reed hit .156 with two home runs and four RBIs in 17 games for Houston. The demotion shouldn’t be for long, as the Astros still want to use him in a push for the postseason in 2016. 

Taylor Rogers has been displaying his desire to stay in the big leagues by dominating out of the Twins’ bullpen. Rogers is 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA in 29 appearances this season. Rogers was predominantly a starter at UK, but moved to the bullpen when he reached the major leagues. In his last 15 games, Rogers has a 0.49 ERA and 20 strikeouts. Rogers is fifth on the abysmal Twins in WAR and second in walks per nine innings. 

For an older story on Rogers’ change to the pen, check out this piece by MLB.com.

 


Kendra Harrison Breaks 100m Hurdle World Record

Former Kentucky track star Kendra Harrison broke a 28-year old record in the 100m hurdles, finishing in 12.20, .01 faster than the previous milestone.  Her performance at the London Anniversary Games was amazing; her reaction was priceless.

The gratifying performance comes after Harrison hit a slump, failing to qualify for the Rio Olympics at the US Trials.  That motivation carried her today.

“Not making the Olympic team, I was really upset and wanted to come here and show what I could have done,” Harrison told the BBC.

“I had vengeance on my mind and wanted to show the girls what I had.

“I trained so hard for this moment. Good luck to the girls running in Rio, but I am just shocked now.”


UK’s self-reported violations for last season include a picture with Drake & accidental tweets/calls

It’s that time of year again, when we look back at all the secondary violations UK reported to the NCAA for the previous school year and shake our heads. SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker did the dirty work this go around, filing an open records request and discovering that UK self-reported 14 secondary violations to the NCAA for the 2015-16 school year. Keep in mind that most of these are laughably minor, and because UK reported them themselves, the penalties are pretty mild.

There were four Level III (non-suspension) violations for football, including UK accidentally paying for a recruit’s parents’ lodging the night before an official visit; a recruit talking to a former player (“who is considered a booster”) at a game; an assistant coach accidentally tweeting a recruit something that was meant to be a direct message; and an assistant coach accidentally calling a recruit and his parents one day after the no-contact period began.

The one men’s basketball violation is one we already knew about: Tyler Ulis taking a picture with Drake at his concert in Chicago. This is considered “preferential treatment,” although UK pointed out that the two merely said hello and took a picture, and that’s it. No tickets, no access to the after party, nothing. If you remember, Ulis was briefly declared ineligible and reinstated on the day of Big Blue Madness.

There were three violations for women’s basketball (including Matthew Mitchell pocket dialing a recruit), one for baseball, three for women’s golf, one for men’s golf, and one for women’s volleyball, all Level III (non-suspension). Head on over to SEC Country to check them out and laugh at the institution we call the NCAA.

[NCAA Check-Up: A look at Kentucky athletics’ 14 minor violations in 2015-16]


Update: Former UK golfer JB Holmes finishes in third place at British Open

Update: Former UK golfer JB Holmes finishes in third place at British Open

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Former Wildcat and Campbellsville native JB Holmes is currently in fourth place at the British Open at -5 overall through 15 holes.

After maintaining third place for much of the morning, a double-bogey hole for Holmes on 14 helped push Steve Striker (-6) ahead and into third.

Henrik Stenson currently sits in first at -19 through the 16th hole, with Phil Mickelson in second at -17 through 16. Unless Stenson chokes, it looks as if those two will finish in that order.

Though he won’t be finishing first overall, Holmes still has a chance for a career best third place finish (Holmes finished fourth overall at the Masters back in April), which should be more than enough to keep him happy. Third place at the Open will bring Holmes $571,560 in prize money. If he finishes in fourth place, he’ll be bringing home $444,840.

Even if Holmes struggles in the end and finishes anywhere in the top seven, he’ll be bringing home over a quarter of a million dollars. Not a bad day at the office.

Finish strong, JB!

—————————UPDATE————————–

JB Holmes just retook third place on #17, now sits at -6.

Steve Striker is in fourth at -5. One hole to go…

————————–UPDATE #2———————–

Holmes just completed #18, finishes the day for a career best third overall finish at a major tournament. He will be bringing home $571,560 in prize money.

Way to make the Big Blue Nation proud, JB!


Photo by Cheryl Treworgy, PrettySportsPhotos

Seven Wildcats are headed to the Olympics in track and field and swimming

@KentuckyTrack

Football and basketball dominate the headlines when it comes to Kentucky sports, but it’s worth mentioning that six Wildcats qualified for the Olympics in track and field. Over the weekend, Andrew Evans made Team USA with a third-place showing in the Men’s Discus; Leah Nugent will represent Jamaica in the 400m hurdles; former Cat and current UK volunteer assistant coach Rondel Sorrillo and Mikel Thomas will represent Trinidad and Tobago; freshman Camacho-Quinn made the Puerto Rican national team for the 100m hurdles; and Luis Orta will represent Venezuela in the marathon.

Someone give Edrick Floreal a raise, please.

@UKSwimDive

The U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials ended last week with no Wildcats advancing, but this morning, UK announced that senior Sean Gunn will represent Zimbabwe in the 100m free.

Congrats to all on this huge accomplishment. Representing your country in the Olympics has to be one of the coolest experiences ever.


@KentuckyTrack

Kentucky Track & Field Hurdler Looking to Make Olympic Roster

@KentuckyTrack

@KentuckyTrack

Kentucky is looking to add another member to Team USA. On Friday, Andrew Evans qualified for the Olympic Games in discuss after placing third.

Now it’s Nick Anderson’s turn. Anderson will run in the 110m hurdles semifinals at 7:25 p.m.

Good luck Nick, the Big Blue Nation is cheering for you!

UPDATE: Nick Anderson finished sixth and will not advance to the final.

 


 

The SEC is well represented on Team USA’a discuss team. Team include’s Kentucky’s Andrew Evans, Tennessee’s Tavis Bailey and Kansas’ Mason Finley.

@ctreworgy

@ctreworgy