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If you grew up wanting to be a Wildcat, now’s your chance.
UK is hosting mascot tryouts this Thursday, August 23, in the gymnastics room at the Seaton Center on campus. Students interested in trying out will need to show up in athletic clothes with an unofficial transcript in hand for the 5 p.m. tryout.
It may not be that childhood dream of sinking a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat Louisville in Rupp Arena, but let’s be honest: you were never good at basketball and this is your only shot at running out onto the Rupp Arena floor in front of 22,000 fans. So give it a try if you think you’re qualified.
Washed up adults who aren’t students at UK, this isn’t for you. Sorry.
The Kentucky women’s basketball team finished its own foreign trip with a win on Friday. The Cats beat the Marghera Select team 81-64 to finish it’s Italy excursion with a 2-1 record. Senior Maci Morris led the Cats with 24 points including six triples.
UK freshman Rhyne Howard arrived in Italy yesterday after missing the first two games of the trip because she was representing the USA U18 team in Mexico City. The Americans won gold before Howard flew across the country to join her college teammates.
During the trip UK beat the Bosnia and Herzegovina National Team 73-41 before falling to the TK Hannover professional team. The stiff competition in Italy, along with the extra practices and team bonding will only help the Cats as the season approaches.
The team will head to Lake Como on Saturday for more sightseeing before returning home on Monday. Go Cats.
To read the entire game recap click HERE.
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) August 10, 2018
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) August 10, 2018
By Maggie Davis on ©August 07th, 2018 @ 8:30pm
While Coach Matthew Mitchell and the rest of the women’s basketball team are competing in Italy, they’ve picked up a commit from right here in the Bluegrass. Cassidy Rowe, a native of Pike County, Kentucky, has just committed to the Cats.
— Cassidy Jo Rowe (@cassidyballer5) August 7, 2018
Rowe will be a freshman at Shelby Valley High School in the fall. Even though she’ll be new to school, she won’t be new to the basketball team – she’s already played a key role on the roster. Last year, Rowe averaged 9.9 points and 3.3 rebounds as the starting point guard… as an eighth grader. She’s considered a favorite for Miss Kentucky Basketball 2022.
Coach Mitchell extended a scholarship offer to Rowe less than a month ago. Just days earlier, she suffered a torn ACL during an AAU game in Chicago.
Rowe tweeted about her offer on July 13, saying “I am beyond excited to announce that I just received a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky!! I want to thank the UK coaching staff for believing in me even after my injury.”
She also had offers from Northern Kentucky University, Morehead State, Murray State and the University of Denver.
Welcome to the BBN, Cassidy!
There are some changes coming to Memorial Coliseum.
The home of the Kentucky women’s basketball, volleyball and gymnastics teams will add a new video board at the front entrance and ribbon boards along the mezzanine level . First reported by Jen Smith, the changes will be made before the start of the 2018-19 women’s basketball season.
The giant state of the art scoreboard will be on the wall that currently holds championship banners, which will be pushed to either side of the new board. On the opposite end, the old scoreboard will be replaced with new ribbon boards.
Similar to the Rupp Arena renovation project, UK is opting to make minor changes instead of completely renovating the entire arena. The major renovations call for upgrades to restrooms, the HVAC system and the addition of a club section, but they come with an expensive price tag.
By Brett Bibbins on ©July 29th, 2018 @ 8:00pm
Kentucky track and field phenom Sydney McLaughlin has signed with Beverly Hills based talent agency, William Morris Endeavor. McLaughlin has not yet chosen a shoe sponsor for her professional career, but now that she is officially finished running as a collegiate athlete, that is surely on the way in the near future.
William Morris Endeavor has clients across the entire athletic and entertainment spectrum. They represent clients such as actors Denzel Washington, Emma Stone, and Ben Affleck as well as world renowned athletes such as Serena Williams, Cam Newton and Novak Djokovic. Olympic gold medal winning track star, Allyson Felix, is also represented by William Morris Endeavor.
After a record-shatter and incredible lone year as a Kentucky Wildcat, McLaughlin’s professional career is officially beginning with this signing. The non-traditional UK one and done athlete is already a national star, but even so, the future is extremely bright.
And let’s not forget, she’s already gone viral for what she’s done on the track multiple times, both in high school and in Lexington. On top of that, KyWildcatsTV shared this promo video, it has been racking up views for months and has over 5.3 million views on Twitter.
— FloTrack (@FloTrack) June 9, 2018
Read the whole story on McLaughlin’s signing from FloTrack here.
By Maggie Davis on ©July 29th, 2018 @ 11:00am
Get ready to feel jealous: The Kentucky women’s basketball team will depart for their European tour in just five short days. That’s right, the men’s basketball team isn’t the only group of Wildcats boarding long plane flights, and the ladies are the first to leave. The Cats will spend 10 days in Italy, traveling to Rome, Venice, Florence and Lake Como, beginning Aug. 3.
This summer’s trip marks the first international travel the women’s team has taken since 2001, even though the NCAA allows an international trip every four years. Just like Coach Calipari, Coach Matthew Mitchell will also be allowed 10 extra practices with his team. And it couldn’t come at a better time.
The team was TOUGH this week!! We got better every practice. Working hard in preparation for our trip to Italy! We leave a week from today! Ciao! ?? ?#VaiGrandeBlu #amoquestasquadra #aintnostoppingusnow pic.twitter.com/iJ4B6n1Yr1
— Matthew Mitchell (@UKCoachMitchell) July 27, 2018
Last season was clearly a rebuilding year for the Wildcats. With obvious scoring holes after Makayla Epps’ and Evelyn Akhator’s graduation, Maci Morris had big shoes to fill. And while she led the team in scoring, averaging 17.3 points per game, having one consistent shooter wasn’t enough. Kentucky finished 15-17 on the season and 6-10 in the SEC, failing to qualify for post-season play for the first time since 2004.
But a new season begins in five short days, and the Wildcats are ready for a fresh start. After suffering hit after hit to their roster from 2014-2016, Kentucky finally has more returners than newcomers. Both of last season’s leaders – Morris and point guard Taylor Murray – will be back for their senior seasons, while Dorie Harrison (center) and Tatyana Wyatt (forward) will look for their breakout sophomore seasons after making respectable contributions as freshmen.
Clearly, Morris and Murray will be the team’s leaders in practice. Check out this impressive practice footage:
This is what transpired … pic.twitter.com/sklhnkxEPQ
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) July 27, 2018
Then, there are the newcomers: Rhyne Howard and Blair Green. Both women are likely to serve a major role on the team.
Howard, a five-star guard, will unfortunately not be able to attend the European trip. But don’t worry, she’s taking an international trip of her own. Howard is a member of the USA Women’s U18 National Team, so she’ll be competing at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Mexico City August 1-7. Technically, the rest of the Wildcats will be in Europe until Aug. 13, so she could join them late in their trip, but that has not been announced.
Blair Green, a four-star guard out of Harlan, Kentucky, is a player to watch this season. As a high school senior, she averaged 26 points per game. Praised for her long-range shooting, Green is an obvious candidate to contribute – alongside Maci Morris – from the 3-point line. While Mitchell and the BBN would obviously love to see Green have a standout freshman season, her true test will come next year, once Morris has graduated.
This timing of the trip couldn’t be better. In addition to the in-game experience they’ll earn – the team will play three games – the extra 10 practices will certainly help find and develop that chemistry a young basketball team so desperately needs before the start of another challenging season in the SEC.
Coach Mitchell put it best:
“The importance of these educational and athletic trips cannot be overstated,” Mitchell said in a letter to potential donors. “For example, the last two times our men’s basketball team has made a foreign tour before a season it resulted in Final Four runs in April.”
The UK women’s basketball team started practice today, giving us another sign that the fun sports are on the way and we’ll get through this summer soon enough.
The Cats finished 15-17 last season but 2018-2019 looks much brighter. UK will return 11 players on last season’s team, including Ogechi Anyagaligbo who was injured last season. Anyagaligbo was named Rookie of the Year in the American East Conference after averaging 10.1 points and nine rebounds per game for Stony Brook during the 2015-2016 season.
Kentucky will return 80 percent of its scoring, 74 percent of its rebounding and 80 percent of its assists. Sounds good, but that’s not all.
UK adds Rhyne Howard and Blair Green. The two freshman were high school stars with Howard being named Miss Basketball of Tennessee. Green was named First Team All-State in Kentucky. Howard leaves for USA Basketball this weekend.
But hold the phone. We’re not done yet.
The Cats will also get a preseason exhibition trip to Italy. John Calipari and his squad heads to the Bahamas, Matthew Mitchell’s team will go to Rome, Florence and Venice. We all know how beneficial those summer trips can be so it’s a nice added bonus for both teams.
UK will practice again Saturday and Sunday and the season opener on Nov. 7th will be here before we know it.
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) July 19, 2018
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) July 19, 2018
New season, same energy. A great first day of practice. ? pic.twitter.com/uxuSqsiLpi
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) July 19, 2018
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 18th, 2018 @ 4:30pm
Kentucky softball coach Rachel Lawson has been mentioned as a candidate for several high-profile jobs recently, which is why the news I’m about to share is so great. UK just announced that Lawson signed a contract extension to stay at Kentucky through the 2022-23 season. Rifle coach Harry Mullins, volleyball coach Craig Skinner, and swimming and diving coach Lars Jorgensen also signed extensions.
“Rachel has taken our softball program to places we have never been before,” UK Athletics Director Barnhart said. “Not only have her teams reached the Women’s College World Series and become contenders on an annual basis, but she has also created a culture that enables success in all facets of life, both during and after the time her student-athletes play for her. We are proud to have her leading our softball program and look forward to the championship moments we will celebrate together.”
Two-time SEC Coach of the Year Craig Skinner extended his contract through the 2022-23 season after leading the volleyball team to its first SEC regular-season championship since 1988 and first Elite Eight in the modern era of the NCAA Tournament in 2017. Swimming and diving coach Lars Jorgensen’s new agreement will also keep him at Kentucky through the end of the 2022-23 season. UK is in the midst of a streak of five consecutive top-25 NCAA team finishes, including back-to-back 14th-place finishes over the last two seasons. After winning his second national championship at Kentucky earlier this year, rifle coach Harry Mullins has agreed to stay at Kentucky through the 2021-22 season. The four-time Great American Rifle Coach of the Year is the longest-tenured UK head coach, having just completed his 31st season.
“I continue to believe that our group of head coaches is the best in America,” Barnhart said. “Ensuring that Harry, Craig, Rachel and Lars will stay at Kentucky for years to come is vital to the success of both the teams they lead and our department as a whole. I’m excited to continue working with them and all of our outstanding coaches.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 03rd, 2018 @ 9:54am
After losing Edrick Floreal to Texas last month, UK has hired a new track and field coach. Lonnie Greene will take over at Kentucky after six seasons at Purdue, in which he built the Boilermakers into a national power.
“Lonnie is a quality person who shares our commitment to fostering growth and continuing to build our track and field and cross country programs in all facets,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “I had the pleasure of watching him and his team in person last month at nationals and was so impressed by the energy and unity of his team. Getting a chance to spend time with him during the interview process only solidified the impression he made.
“Lonnie will bring the same integrity to our program that he did in establishing Purdue as a contender on a national level. He has a championship mentality honed over the many seasons he spent in our conference at Arkansas, as well as a focus on helping the young people he leads grow as students. We are pleased to welcome Lonnie, his wife LaTayna and his entire family to our UK Athletics family.”
Greene led the Purdue women’s team to an eighth place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last month. Under his guidance, Purdue’s women’s team won the team title at 2017 Big Ten Outdoor Championships for the first time since 1999 and finished 14th at each of the last two NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. In 2016, then men’s team finished 15th at NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships – best since 1972 – and 13th at NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships – second best in school history. Greene was named Women’s Head Coach of the Year in the Great Lakes Region three times in the last two years by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, twice for outdoors and last year for indoors.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity as head coach at Kentucky,” Greene said. “Before I go any further I want to thank everyone I worked with at Purdue. They gave me a chance and I’ll always be so grateful to have worked with them. Thank you to Mitch Barnhart and Jason Schlafer for their leadership and for trusting me to take on this role at UK. I look forward to hitting the ground running building winning teams in the classroom and on the track. I can’t wait to start leading this great program. Go Big Blue!”
Before taking over at Purdue, Greene spent 16 seasons as an assistant at perennial power Arkansas, serving as associate head coach in charge of sprints, hurdles, horizontal jumps and multi events from 2000-2012. In each of his last two seasons with the Razorbacks, he was named USTFCCCA South Central Regional Assistant Coach of the Year. In 2004, he was named National Assistant Coach of the Year.
Greene hails from Nassau, Bahamas, but earned his B.S. from Murray State University in 1989. He is married to LaTayna Stewart. The couple has a daughter, Charisse; three sons, Cameron, Isaiah and Jacob; and two grandchildren, Tylan and Caleb.
Welcome back to the Bluegrass, coach!
By Nick Roush on ©June 23rd, 2018 @ 6:30pm
As Mitch Barnhart searches for a new coach to lead the Kentucky track and field program, the Wildcat athletes continue to win medals.
At the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Iowa, two former Wildcats won gold medals. 2017 grad Sha’Keela Saunders earned a gold medal in the long jump with a mark of 21’5.5″/6.54m. Kendra Harrison, the 100m hurdle world record holder from the class of 2015, took home the 100m hurdle title, finishing in a time of 12.46.
There’s another Wildcat up for an award, but she can’t win it alone.
Sydney McLaughlin is one of three women’s finalists for The Bowerman Award, given each year to the NCAA’s top men’s and women’s track and field athlete. Fans help pick the winner and Sydney is currently in second place. Do what you do best BBN and vote for Sydney to win up to five times a day until the June 28 deadline.