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Some misinformed neighbors are trying to stop Topgolf in Louisville

Some misinformed neighbors are trying to stop Topgolf in Louisville

Folks, Topgolf in Louisville is an absolute must and we shouldn’t let a few neighbors in Hurstbourne stop progress.

Some Hurstbourne residents are making a big stink about Topgolf possibly interrupting their quiet neighborhood. They don’t want Topgolf near them. Maybe they don’t want Topgolf entirely.

They clearly don’t want fun or more money for Louisville. These people would rather support tumbleweeds and an apocalyptic Sears building.

And if there’s one thing that Topgolf is it’s fun. It’s a mix of a bar with a driving range. A place to watch important games while also being able to enjoy quality food and have servers wait on you while you hit golf balls. Maybe someday you will be able to legally bet on UK games while at Topgolf?

Not if some in Hurstbourne have it their way. They will want you to travel to Cincy, Indy or Nashville to have your fun.

Tonight at 5:45 p.m. a group of Hurstbourne haters are meeting at the corner of Lyndon Lane and Oxmoor Woods Parkway to protest the proposed Topgolf entertainment center that is set to open at the Oxmoor Center in the coming years.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Oxmoor Center (mall) in Louisville it’s on the other side of the Watterson Expressway from Mall St. Matthews. The proposed Topgolf  facility would be built where the vacant Sears building is currently located. It would also take up some of an abandoned parking lot. You would have to walk a few hundred yards before getting to a road. You would then cross said road and walk another hundred yards or so before getting to a tree line. Once you walked through the tree line you would eventually stumble upon a neighborhood, assuming you can make it there without being too fatigued from such a long journey.

The Topgolf isn’t being built in a residential area. It’s somewhat near a residential area. It’s a quarter-mile to the closest house but 90 percent of homes are a half-mile or farther away.

I’m sure the majority of Hurstbourne residents have never been to a Topgolf but gossip around the neighborhood has spiraled out of control. I spoke with a buddy who lives in Hurstbourne who said a neighbor approached his house to discuss Topgolf.

“Yeah, she basically came over and told me that Topgolf would ruin the neighborhood,” he said. “She said there would be rock concerts every night, our neighborhood would be blocked off because of traffic and the lights they use will be seen for miles.”

Sadly I can’t say I’m surprised.

Let’s clear the air here:

  • Some Topgolf locations may have live bands (it’s a rarity), but the ones that do almost always play their music inside.
  • Topgolf will play stereo music outside but it’s never too loud. Remember, people are there to talk, hangout and hit golf balls. They’re not at a Mason Ramsey rager.
  • The best comparison for Topgolf is bowling. Bowling on Barry Bond’s steroids. It’s a somewhat athletic social event. Bowling alleys maybe aren’t the best place to practice Sunday School, but it’s far from the infield at the Derby.
  • Anyone in Louisville knows that traffic in that area absolutely sucks. Topgolf won’t help the traffic in that area but it really will only have an impact during evening rush hour, probably just on Thursdays and Fridays. It’s a bummer but you don’t turn down a guarantee moneymaker because your evening commute becomes 10 minutes longer.
  • I’m not an electrician, but it seems like those concerned about the lights from Topgolf are once again misguided. Here’s what Topgolf had to say on its website: In response to concerns from neighbors, our engineers developed a completely new lighting scheme for Topgolf Oxmoor Center. Instead of outward-facing, halogen-powered, “stadium-style” lighting that people may be familiar with from other facilities, Topgolf Oxmoor Center will utilize downward-facing LED installations built inside, instead of on top of the facility.
  • Topgolf isn’t just for golfers. A recent Topgolf study indicated that 51 percent of players aren’t golfers in the slightest. 27 percent of customers play just 1-7 rounds of golf per year.
  • 69 percent of Topgolf players are aged 18-44. That shows that Topgolf likely will be around for a longtime, but you don’t have to be a college student to enjoy it. Let’s not have Louisville miss out on something that could be a staple in the city for decades.
  • The Oxmoor Center is dying. Shops are closing and fewer people actually go to malls. This will bring life back into a hurting part of town and will allow those near Lyndon and Hurstbourne to punch back at nearby St. Matthews and the Highlands.
  • Topgolf is expected to bring in nearly $300 million to Louisville over the next 10 years while adding a proposed 500 jobs. Do you hate money? Do you hate jobs?

Listen, I understand people may not want this close to their homes. You may be thinking it’s easy for me to write this article when it won’t be near my front porch. I won’t live far from the Topgolf, but I understand some of these concerns. Hell, I once suffered a broken foot playing Topgolf. Ignore the fact it was my bachelor party and the injury was suffered because I tried to do a Happy Gilmore swing, but I understand there are concerns about this money and memory making machine.

The good news is that Topgolf executives have already heard dozens of complaints and has already made changes with more to come in the future. There willing to do what they have to do to make this happen at the Oxmoor Center.

I would suggest reading all those changes here, but here are some highlights:

  • Further away: The actual Topgolf building has been moved to the north and west—toward the highway—increasing the distance between the facility and nearby homeowners.

  • Redesigned lighting: Topgolf at Oxmoor Center will now have LED lights on the third level of the hitting bay, below the roof line, facing down, instead of the large, outward-facing halogen installations common at other Topgolf facilities.

  • Traffic Control: Proposed plan changes would further discourage Oxmoor Center guests from taking the slower and less-efficient route through the Hurstbourne neighborhood.

No word on preventing foot injuries from inebriated bachelors.

Don’t allow Nancy from down the street tell you how bad Topgolf will be for your neighborhood. Nancy is out of touch, hasn’t done her research and hates fun.

Topgolf will be great for Louisville and its success could lead to other cities in Kentucky to follow its lead.

The plan still needs to get approval from the city so hopefully you will reach out to your City Council member that represents you and advocate for Topgolf at the Oxmoor Center that stuff actually helps. You can do that here.

Or maybe show up tonight at the corner of Lyndon Lane and Oxmoor Woods Parkway at 5:45 p.m. and show that the majority of people do support revitalizing the Oxmoor Center and helping Louisville continue to grow. Maybe bring this article and some Denny’s coupons to persuade the opposition?

I’ll be the LouCity match supporting other cool stuff in Louisville, but if you go send me pictures because I would love to see the crowd at this rally. Maybe in five years I’ll miss an anti-NBA to Louisville movement because I’ll be getting down at Topgolf. Support your cities. Support your Commonwealth. Oppose Nancy.


The Best of the KSR Food Bracket

The Best of the KSR Food Bracket

This morning, Buffalo Wild Wings beat out defending champion Outback Steakhouse for the 2018 KSR Food Bracket title. I could go on and on about how dumb this decision was — B-Dubs’ wings are always oversauced and the rest of their food is bland — but instead, I’m digging deeper into the bracket to answer the real questions. Which restaurant serves the best fries? What about best pizza, burger, and sub?

Here are my picks, along with a poll for each category so you can vote.

Best Fries: McDonald’s

Other chains can church their fries up all they want with peanut oil, sea salt and seasonings, but nothing beats fresh-out-of-the-fryer McDonald’s fries. The perfect width and tossed with salt, they are irresistible, especially when you find the occasional burnt one to shake things up.

Runner up: Arby’s

Curly fries FTW. Not an everyday fry, but an exciting one nonetheless.



Best Burger: Wendy’s

Wendy’s does a lot of things well (Frosty, sea salt fries, baked potato, chili, spicy chicken sandwich), but the burger is their crown jewel. Their square patty junior/single/double/triple burgers are by far the best of the major chains, and my number one choice when in the mood. I’m not sure I believe their claim that their beef is never frozen, but the ingredients do seem fresh for fast food. I’m always satisfied with a Wendy’s burger, which is way more than I can say of any other chain.

Runner up: Five Guys

Five Guys stakes their claim on burgers, and while they’re delicious, I can feel my arteries clogging while I eat them. I’m all for indulging once in a while, but after eating Five Guys, I have to lay down for a while to digest. Unless it’s Sunday afternoon, ain’t nobody got time for that.



Best Sub: Firehouse

The Engineer from Firehouse is one of my favorite sandwiches period. The steaming process is a game changer, and the combination of smoked turkey, Swiss cheese, and sautéed mushrooms never disappoints.

Runner up: Anyone but Subway

There are a lot of sandwich chains in this bracket and I’d be fine with any of them winning but Subway. As a former Subway devotee back in my corporate lunch break days, I speak with certainty when I say it sucks because 1) the bread makes everything smell and taste the same; and 2) that smell NEVER. GOES. AWAY. Whether you get a Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, a Steak and Cheese, or my former go-to, the Subway Club, your hands are going to smell like that bread for at least 48 hours, no matter how many times you scrub them. Plus, their meat is super processed and oily.

So, anyone but Subway, but shoutout to the Turkey Tom Unwich from Jimmy John’s, my go-to healthy choice when on the road.



Image result for bojangles cajun filet sandwich

Best Chicken Sandwich: Bojangles Cajun Filet Sandwich

The Cajun Filet biscuit is better, but I love Bojangles’ chicken so much I’ll settle for the sandwich version. The seasoning on the chicken is just perfect and you always get a big piece. If there’s a Bojangles around, this is an easy choice.

Runner up: Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich

If you can’t tell, I like the spice. Wendy’s version of the spicy chicken sandwich is always good.



Image result for rooster's wings

Best Wings: Roosters

Confession: I’ve never been to Roosters. So, how can I vote for their wings over the others? Every single person I’ve talked to says they’re the best of the best, and I have such little faith in the rest of the wing joints in the bracket that I believe them. If you’re reading this, Roosters, please expand to Nashville.

Runner up: Buffalo Wild Wings

I’ve had BDubs’ wings plenty of time and never been blown away. They’re always just okay. Seriously, I almost put Domino’s here instead.



Image result for cracker barrel breakfast

Best Sit-Down Breakfast: Cracker Barrel

There are several good breakfast options on here, but if I’ve got the time, I’m going to Cracker Barrel and getting the Old Timer’s, scrambled with cheese, with grits, hashbrown casserole, and sausage.

Runner up: Waffle House

On the flip side, when it’s late at night and I need some grease, I’m going to WaHo, Cracker Barrel’s drunk uncle.



Image result for taco bell three tacos

Best fast food Mexican: Taco Bell

There are fancier Mexican places on this list (I’m not counting Chuy’s in this category since it’s a full-service restaurant), but if you’re going to get fast food Mexican, you might as well go all in. Before I started my stupid paleo diet, the three soft taco meal was a road trip staple. I miss it a lot.

Runner up: Qdoba

The burrito bowl from Qdoba is perfect for when you want to trick yourself into thinking you’re eating healthy. I mean, guacamole is good for you, right???


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Ten Things KSR Learned about Nik Scalzo from a Conversation with his Coach, Matt DuBuc

Ten Things KSR Learned about Nik Scalzo from a Conversation with his Coach, Matt DuBuc

@NikScalzo

Last week Eddie Gran received a commitment from South Florida quarterback, Nik Scalzo.  An unheralded three-star recruit, we heard the Baker Mayfield comparisons and a few more anecdotes, but there’s much more to learn about UK’s next signal-caller.

To find out more about Scalzo, I sought somebody who knows him quite well, his coach at Cardinal Gibbons, Matt DuBuc.  After a 15-minute conversation with KSR, there are a few things that should make you excited to see Scalzo in Kentucky blue.

1. Air Raid Roots

Scalzo has been tagged as a dual-threat quarterback by 247 Sports, but that’s not necessarily the case.  Throughout his quarterbacking career, he’s led an Air Raid offense.  That tag can often be misleading, especially for Kentucky fans who recall the years Tim Couch fired up the sirens at Commonwealth Stadium.

DuBuc runs the same offense Hal Mumme operated at Kentucky, because he learned it from Mumme’s most successful disciple, Mike Leach.

“It is very similar.  I went to Texas Tech, so I know Mike Leach very well.  It’s very similar to the Air Raid he ran at Texas Tech and Washington State.” DuBuc told KSR.  “We’re running very similar things to what you saw when Leach was there, and Mumme, at Cardinal Gibbons.”

2. Scalzo Loves the Deep Ball

There are differences in the offense Scalzo runs and the one that Tim Couch ran at Kentucky.  The foundation of that offense was to get the ball into open space, often with short passes, then let playmakers make plays.

“That’s how I teach it, but unfortunately, he likes to take the big shots,” DuBuc said with a laugh.  “On almost every play we have a pre-snap read where we have a vertical route.  If he feels like we can win on that vertical route, he’ll take it.  We’re not necessarily dink and dunk.  The Air Raid’s evolved a little bit more in the last few years where there’s a lot more vertical throws within the diamond concept, but if you want to throw for a lot of yards in this offense, you gotta utilize the backs.  The backs are key.”

One of the running backs, Vincent Davis, is also a Kentucky target.  More on him later.

3. He’s Always Been Undersized

DuBuc first began training Scalzo when the quarterback was in middle school.  If he’s considered undersized now at 5’11”, you should have seen him then.

“He was a little 5’3″ kid when we started, but always had a really good arm and good feet, so I thought there was potential there.”

It did not take long for that potential to turn into production.

“His freshman year he threw for almost 2,000 yards on JV, and you could just tell — ball placement, moxie, athletic ability.  He had those things and he’s smart.  He came in here and got a 4.5 GPA.  He’s just done it the right way.”

He was only about 5’8″ in that first season.  As his game grew, luckily he did too.

4. The Comparisons to Mayfield, Manzeil are Fair

Following Scalzo’s commitment, many eyes rolled when he was compared to two of the last six Heisman Trophy winners.  I’ll admit, I was one of them, but DuBuc makes a good case for the comparisons.

“I think he’s very similar to Baker Mayfield and Johnny Manzeil.  I think he’s got a lot of their qualities as a playmaker.  The one thing in the Air Raid — Tim Couch was not really able to, when the pocket collapsed, he had to get it out or throw it away and play on second down.  Nik has that ability, even though we’re running the Air Raid, when things break down he’s able to continue the play, but look to throw and not to run.  He gets a lot of balls out there to guys that they can’t cover for more than three or four seconds.”

5. Not a Runner

Scalzo has the dual-threat tag.  His coach said it’s not because he’s going to run for 1,000 yards.  He’s quick enough to escape the pocket, but once that happens, he looks to throw instead of run.  That development of Scalzo’s game makes his coach proud.

“That’s natural for him.  We had to break him a little bit when he got here — like a wild pony and put a saddle on him — because a lot of times when things broke down early, he ran out.  I challenged him and in the later half of last year he really became a pocket passer.  He ran when he needed to, but he wasn’t looking to run.  He was looking to throw.  I think that’s where his game has really taken the next step.”

DuBuc added: “The thing with most quarterbacks at 5’11, when things break down they run.  This guy is looking to throw, and I think that’s why he’s thrown 50 touchdowns in two years.”

6. Eddie Gran is an Excellent Evaluator

Kentucky’s offensive coordinator has developed an outstanding reputation in South Florida.  DuBuc has the utmost respect for the longtime SEC assistant who has developed relationships at Florida’s top high school programs.

“Eddie Gran does a phenomenal job recruiting the schools.  He has a great eye for talent,” DuBuc said.

Where other schools only see Scalzo’s size, Gran sees a competent quarterback that can move an offense down the field efficiently.

Eddie I would say is not taking a risk.  He is taking the best player available.  I think a lot of teams think, ‘You gotta be 6-foot or you gotta be 6-1.’  I think Eddie’s really figured out that one inch on somebody’s height isn’t going to change the day.  Can they win?  Can they perform? Can they lead people?  Can they do the things necessary to move the chains?  He sees that in Nik.”

7. They Gotta Beat American Heritage

Cardinal Gibbons has one team keeping them from getting over the hump.  Coached by three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain, American Heritage was ranked No. 14 in the nation by the USA Today Super 25 at season’s end.  I’ll let DuBuc explain how they got there…

“We were 11-2 last year and lost in the third round to American Heritage 58-57 in triple overtime on a blocked extra point.  They ended up going 15-0 and winning the state championship with a running clock.  That’s a district game for us.  Nik and I in the two years I’ve been the head coach are 21-4, and all four losses are to American Heritage.  We definitely got them on our sights.”

Scalzo and DuBuc will have another shot at American Heritage on October 12.

8. Talented Teammates

Scalzo isn’t UK’s only recruit at Cardinal Gibbons.  Near the top of Gran’s recruiting board at running back is Vincent Davis.  A three-star prospect, he holds offers from UK, Boston College, Syracuse and a dozen others.

“Vince is a 10.7 100 meters.  He’s about 5’9″, 175 and can flat out guy,” DuBuc said.  “He runs very hard for a smaller back. He’s a guy that you gotta get the ball in his hands any which way.”

Scalzo’s tight end, Nikolas Ognenovic, has traveled to Kentucky with his quarterback.  The 6’5″ target rarely puts his hand in the dirt in Gibbons’ Air Raid offense, which essentially makes him another receiver, “but he’s 240 pounds.”

The other teammate Kentucky is recruiting, offensive lineman Jamari Williams, will choose between Kentucky and Louisville this Friday.

9. Where Scalzo Needs to Improve

Scalzo is far from a polished product.  The high school junior needs to improve on his decision-making, among other things.

“You kind of always use the word “maturity” for every player.  The maturity of understanding that you don’t have to take the deep shot.  You don’t have to force the ball.  You don’t have to run out of the pocket.  Those are all maturity things.

“I think he’s a pretty good student of the game.  By the time he gets up to you guys, he’ll probably be 6-foot 195, 200 pounds.  He’s a workout guy.  He works hard in the gym.”

10. A Playmaker

Nik Scalzo has come a long way since DuBuc first met the 5’3″ seventh grader.  He’s grown physically and mentally.  Scalzo was not handed a ticket to college football.  He had to work to earn his offer from Kentucky.  Scalzo was not born with god-gifted measurements, but he did receive one gift: the ability to make plays.

“He wanted to play in the ACC or SEC.  He got those opportunities because he makes plays.  That’s the bottom line.”

 


"Ask Anything Mailbox," Vol. 1: Naming babies, Reid Travis and getting fired

Hello there and welcome to the very first edition of the “Ask Anything Mailbox.”

In this Volume 1 of the anything-goes Q&A, I answer 10 of the many questions submitted by you, the loyal KSR readers, over the last week. I’ll get to the others in due time, but your response to my call for questions was quite enormous and I can only write so many words in one sitting.

So here we go, Ask Anything numero uno…

 


My wife and I are expecting our first child in October and it’s a boy. Naturally we have been kicking around baby names.

Question is: What do you think of the first name “Rupp”?

All my friends agree with me that it would be awesome and all her friends think I’m crazy. I’m campaigning hard for support. What do you think?

Congrats on the sex.

If you’re wanting to name your boy after Rupp, I much prefer the name Rupp over Adolph. In fact, I highly recommend staying clear of naming him Adolph. However, I do think there are better options out there. I would consider Doron or even like a Deelamb. You should also see what your wife thinks of Tayshaun or Heshimu or Nazr or Karl-Anthony. I like all four of those.


When is the last time UK had a winning SEC record? 

I assume you mean football and the answer is 1977. Fran Curci’s Wildcats went 10-1 and 6-0 in the Southeastern Conference with wins over Mississippi State, LSU, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Florida and Tennessee.

Also, Google is your friend.


Hey Drew and gang – Lexington born and lifelong UK fan writing from San Francisco! Classic would you rather for ya – Would you rather: Eat tacos with Boogie Cousins OR watch Rick Pitino fall down a flight of stairs?

As much as I love to laugh at Rick Pitino, I do not wish bodily injury on anyone. Now if I got a pre-fall guarantee that he wouldn’t get hurt, I’d take the fall. But if there’s any chance Rick would injure himself, I just can’t pick that one because I’m not a bad person.

Can I pick tacos with Pitino?


Honestly, did your parents earn their pensions in the 80’s from Pepsico or something?  I eat Taco Bell also but let’s face it, it’s a bad example of tacos and frankly limits your credibility on the taco subject, Tex Mex, and even BBQ  Why BBQ?   Because if you have no Tex Mex credibility it means you really have no Texas credibility either which limits you on brisket, an entire segment of delicious BBQ. It’s like dominoes or paying hush money to a porn star, it eventually touches everything.

I remember once being on a plane early in my career traveling from Chicago to Louisville returning to home in Lexington.  At the time I had recently relocated to Chicago and was apartment hunting in advance of my wife joining me.  I was seated next to an executive from Papa Johns who was lamenting the fact that the PJ franchises were having a hard time cracking the Chicago market and he did not understand why.  I was unapologetic in my description that compared to mom and pop Chicago pizza restaurants and chains, North or South side, that his pizza was horrible!  It was like a slap in the face but truth that he desperately needed.  I went on to explain, all pizza is delicious, even shitty pizza, but great pizza is euphoric.  Geno’s East, Aurelio’s, and Lou Malnati’s are all places that no self respecting human being would every fore go for an inferior product like Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars or Dominos if you lived in Chicago.  I told him to focus on markets that do not have strong family chain presences or he will be having the same discussion 20 years later with someone else on the flight.  I also told him he could compete with the late night but still delicious burritos as big as your head market after the bars close with a pizza by the slice strategy.Now, how does that relate to Taco Bell.  Because it is the exact same example.  Taco Bell is good because even even crappy tacos / pizza are considered delicious.  At the same time, pretty much any other stand alone taco joint in the world serves better tacos then Yum Brands flagship Taco Bell.  Hell, I even had one at a Jack box 20 years ago was better then TB and they are the same company and used a slice of cheese reserved for the burgers instead of shredded cheese. You also can’t say it is strictly price based as I fed an entire fraternity rush part for $80 bucks and it included a 100 tacos, 100 bean burritos, and a free t-shirt (that I kept) all from a lonely Taco Tico in Lexington.

I can appreciate loyalty to a high degree but I think your readers deserve an explanation as it can not possibly be because of the food.  Did your parents meet at TB?  Did your mother birth you at a TB?  Perhaps you shared your first kiss over a mexican pizza at a TB?  Fill us in Drew as something is clearly missing.

First of all, I don’t like your attitude. You’re coming at me with this Taco Bell slander and I find it offensive. Secondly, I don’t believe your airplane story. You made that up.

And so you know, my mother gave birth to me in a hospital and I hate the Mexican Pizza. Your Ask Anything Mailbox submission was the Mexican Pizza of Ask Anything Mailbox submissions.


Since Ryan loves to save money why didn’t he have his hair replaced with pubic hair. This would save him major $$$ on haircuts because it only grows to about an inch and stops growing after that.

I’ll let you take that up with Ryan. That is a mental image I don’t need.


My super senior year of college was the 38-1 season. In the second semester there were rampant rumors about Devin Booker and porn star Lisa Ann potentially being a thing. Like they were texting or they hung out. KSR might have even mentioned something about it on the radio show. Was this true? We heard she broke it off right before March Madness and he coincedentally started to play terribly for the remainder of the year, so me and my buddies always blame her.

Any insights are appreciated.

I wouldn’t blame Lisa Ann for Kentucky losing in the Final Four that year. I would blame Kentucky for crapping the bed in the final minutes of a close game. But there might be a little truth to the Lisa Ann/Devin Booker “friendship.” She said in a radio interview that the two texted back and forth before and after his games. Whether or not that is true is not for me to discuss, but she did say they exchanged texts on many occasions. She also said she wanted to have a threesome with the Harrison twins.


If we lose 2 of the 3 guys still in the draft but not projected as picks, what % is  your confidence level we get the Travis kid from Stanford?

I think it’s very likely Kentucky lands Reid Travis if two or three leave for the draft. If only one leaves, Calipari may be content with what he already has in the frontcourt.


What does Drew actually do for KSR besides being a late 30’s creepy, drunken mascot?

I hate to break it to you, but I am not in my late 30s, nor am I even in my mid-30s. You would also be very disappointed to know how often I actually get drunk. As for the creepiness, I cannot think of any creepy activity I’ve engaged in, but thank you for the kind words and I’m sorry I’m not the person you want me to be.

My work with KSR includes but is not limited to writing 30+ posts on the website each week; staying on top of breaking news; co-hosting the radio show twice a week, although that will soon be three times a week; co-hosting all pregame shows; moderating the KSR live blog during all games, both football and basketball; co-hosting the KSR Football Podcast; weekly appearances and field packages for “Hey Kentucky!”; assisting in behind-the-scenes business operations, from generating revenue to planning for the new office; sinking the KSR Bowling Team’s point total each Wednesday; laughing at comments and messages to the KSR Facebook Page; and many other day-to-day tasks to further develop the brand and take over the world. On Sundays I sleep. A lot.


Drew,
Personally, I think the radio show is the best when you are there to add your knowledge and quick-witted humor. Who dictates when you make a radio appearance? Do you get to do whenever you want or does Matt ask you to do specific days?

My current agreement with the good people at iHeartMedia, Inc. is to appear on two shows per week. I usually pick the days based on my own availability, my other KSR obligations, and what Matt has planned for the show for the week. A third day will be added to my weekly radio schedule later in the summer.


What’s the closest you’ve come to getting fired from KSR?

I don’t think I’ve come close, as far as I know. My nine years have been pretty free of controversy with Matt, Hubby and the rest of the crew. There has been plenty of public controversy (beginning with the Samantha Ryan incident early in my career) but never anything between me and anyone on the KSR team.

That being said, I can see the Ask Anything Mailbox getting me fired one day for revealing company secrets.


Submit your question(s) for an upcoming edition of the “Ask Anything Mailbox”…

E-Mail: AskAnythingKSR@gmail.com

Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

Until next time…


Monday Insider Notes: NBA Draft, backup plans and recruiting nuggets

Monday Insider Notes: NBA Draft, backup plans and recruiting nuggets

Welcome back to the Monday Insider Notes! I hope you all had a great weekend, enjoyed the Preakness, and watched the UK Softball Cats dominate their regional.

The NBA Draft Combine is over and while things are slightly more clear there’s still much to be determined in the next nine days. We only have nine days! The deadlines are confusing with the NBA’s deadline being in June and the NCAA’s deadline being May 30th, but circle May 30th. That’s when we will know about P.J. Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel’s final plans.

Of course those three could decide earlier and make our job easier, but if Hamidou Diallo taught us anything last year this may come down to the wire.

Jarred Vanderbilt: Not only did Vanderbilt not compete in the NBA Combine, I don’t think Vanderbilt has met with many (if any) NBA teams since the season has ended. Calipari said last week that he met with a team or two, but I’m not so sure how formal those meetings were and how many actually took place. If it’s any it’s likely not more than two or three.

Obviously NBA teams do these interviews to learn more about potential prospects. They want to learn about their character, competitive nature and to try and smooth over any potential red flags.

But with Vanderbilt the obvious topic of conversation would be his injuries, possible surgeries and when he will be able to play basketball. The fact that we haven’t learned more about these meetings is telling but behind the scenes people close to the situation haven’t heard of any formal meetings between Vanderbilt and front-office executives.

Things look better for UK’s chance at having a sophomore Vanderbilt, but the crux of his decision remains prominent. Does he need to start making money because of injury concerns or does he need to prove he can stay healthy? He certainly isn’t drumming up more NBA buzz with how quiet things have been around Vanderbilt’s camp.

Some have asked if Vanderbilt is still hurt from the March injury that ended his season. Many folks believe he’s been rehabbing from a possible surgery required after that injury. That timetable would seem to line up and keep him out of NBA Draft Combine activities.

My guess is he comes back to Kentucky.

P.J. Washington: It seems more likely that P.J. Washington leaves for the NBA than returns to Kentucky as of today. Things had been leaning that way for a few weeks but the NBA Combine may have sealed the deal for Washington. I was told that if Washington completely stunk in Chicago then that could tilt the scales, but he didn’t stink. His measurements were great in some areas and underwhelming in others, but his performance on the floor in scrimmages turned heads.

It may be all Washington needed to officially make the jump. P.J. had the quote that if he wasn’t a guaranteed first round pick he would return to UK, but some fans have misinterpreted that quote.  There will be no written agreement between Washington and an NBA team, but instead it will be a promise. Washington could be told that he will be a first round pick but there won’t be a binding agreement. Basically, an NBA team could screw over Washington. Or an NBA team could be sincere and take him with one of the last picks in the first round. Regardless, it’s been overblown. I know if Washington stays in the draft and doesn’t go to the second round some people will call him a liar. That won’t necessarily be true.

Regardless, I’m guessing Washington hears what he wants to hear and stays in the draft. UK has a plan in place if Washington leaves.

Wenyen Gabriel: Gabriel is the guy that I go back-and-forth on more often than any other player. Gabriel wasn’t invited to the NBA Draft Combine and wasn’t included in the Professional Basketball Combine (a second tier combine). However, Gabriel wasn’t invited to the PBC because you must have given up college eligibility to participate. He is still considering going back to school.

He continues to work out for teams (Sacramento Kings) but that seems to strictly be for summer camp roster spots, which Gabriel would land if he stays in the draft. It would be a major shock if he heard his name on draft night. However, while it is far from being set in stone my opinion has turned to Gabriel returning to Kentucky for his junior season.

If Gabriel was set on going pro he missed an opportunity not participating in the PBC. He will continue to work out for teams likely up until the deadline and that will be great learning experience for Gabriel.

Roster Outlook: If I’m right and Vanderbilt and Gabriel return to UK, let’s look at the frontcourt:

Jarred Vanderbilt, Nick Richards, Wenyen Gabriel and E.J. Montgomery. That wouldn’t be Calipari’s best frontcourt but it would be far from his worst. You would have scoring, rebounding and defense. Gabriel would be a threat from deep and Montgomery can stretch the floor, too.

The question is would Calipari continue with his plan to bring in a certain grad-transfer from the left coast? If just one of Gabriel or Vanderbilt join Washington in the NBA Draft then it’s a no-brainer. But, if Gabriel and Vanderbilt return it becomes tricky for Calipari. You would want an embarrassment of riches, but you also wouldn’t want to tick off any frontcourt players.

2019 Notes:

Keion Brooks: He remains one of UK’s big targets in 2019, but news broke over the weekend that his dad may try to coach his high school team. I always think it’s cool when a parent can coach their kids, but be on the lookout of other colleges trying to hire Brooks’ father. This is a somewhat common occurrence for recruiting. I think UK is in a great spot for Brooks, but that could clearly change things if his pops is hired elsewhere.

Jalen Lecque: He is still deciding whether to stay in 2019 or move to 2018, but it’s unlikely he ends up at UK in either class. 2018 certainly won’t happen for Lecque and UK, but there’s some rumblings that he prefers other schools. I actually think NC State and Tennessee are in really nice spots for Lecque. Lecque would be a fun combo guard to pair with Maxey in 2019, and it’s not impossible, but seems more unlikely.

Dontaie Allen: He continues to roll in nice offers and my advice for UK’s staff would to be to offer the kid ASAP. Accept his commitment and allow Kentucky fans around the state to fall in love with him during his senior season. I think as long as UK eventually offers Allen he ends up in Lexington, but the sooner the better. UK fans love Kentuckians and Allen would be a great fit. UK’s staff does just fine on the recruiting trail but landing Allen this summer would be nothing but a positive.

Matthew Hurt: Be on the lookout for visits planned by Hurt. He may take some this summer, or he may wait until the early fall, but he isn’t going to drag his recruitment out until the spring of 2019. That may not be great news because UK prefers Carey and Wiseman, but we’ll see how UK handles possibly prioritizing Hurt.


Introducing Kentucky Football’s Top 2019 Targets: Kentucky

The Kentucky football team is gaining momentum just in time for peak summer recruiting season.

Mark Stoops has added four commitments since Sunday, and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.  Two members of UK’s 2019 recruiting class — Eli Cox and Shawnkel Knight-Goff — are Kentucky kids.  The floodgates could be broken for more top prospects from the Commonwealth to commit to Kentucky.  Here are the candidates:

JJ Weaver 
Defensive End | 6-6 | 230 lbs.
Louisville, Ky. | Moore Traditional
Highlights
ESPN 50 DE| 7 KY Top 247 23 DE | 6 KY
Rivals — | 8 KY 247 Comp. 35 DE | 6 KY

Weaver is not originally from Louisville.  A native of Broward County, Florida, home of Nik Scalzo and Jake Pope, Weaver moved to Kentucky in eighth grade.  Last week the defensive end took an unofficial visit to Kentucky last weekend.  He left impressed.

“UK is showing me the most love right now,” Weaver told Rivals’ Dave Lackford.   Once perceived as a Louisville lean, he shot down that notion and complimented Kentucky’s campus.  Playing in the SEC is a big draw, but UK isn’t the only SEC school after Weaver.  Georgia is also pursuing Weaver, along with Miami and Purdue.

If Weaver had to commit today, he’d probably pick UK, but he will wait until his birthday on November 30 to decide.  Until then, Vince Marrow will be talking to the elite defensive end frequently.

Aidan Robbins 
Running Back/Linebacker | 6-3 | 225 lbs.
Louisville, Ky. | DuPont Manual
Highlights
ESPN 36 RB| 8 KY Top 247 48 RB | 9 KY
Rivals — | 10 KY 247 Comp. 62 RB | 10 KY

Robbins was once seen as a shoe-in to Vanderbilt, until Marrow got involved.  He took an unofficial visit to Lexington and now the Cats are sitting comfortably.  Matt House told the Manual athlete he could play linebacker too, but Eddie Gran wants Robbins at running back.  It looks like Robbins is seeking some advice from a pretty good one.

Robbins has already taken an official visit to Vanderbilt.  He’s set for officials at Missouri, Purdue and Kentucky before he makes his decision at the end of the summer.

Wandale Robinson  
All-Purpose Back | 5-9 | 180 lbs.
Frankfort, Ky. | Western Hills
Highlights
ESPN 33 ATH| 6 KY Top 247 6 APB | 7 KY
Rivals — | 9 KY 247 Comp. 9 APB | 9 KY

Arguably the state’s best athlete, the Frankfort all-purpose back will most likely play slot receiver at the next level.  Marrow is pitching him the opportunity to be the next Lynn Bowden.  The Cats made some serious headway after an unofficial visit last weekend, but 247’s Steve Wiltfong still believes Robinson will become a Duke Blue Devil.  Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State are also in the mix.  Expect to hear Robinson’s decision prior to the end of summer.

Milton Wright  
Athlete | 6-3 | 190 lbs.
Louisville, Ky. | Christian Academy of Louisville
Highlights
ESPN 44 WR| 5 KY Top 247 3 ATH | 1 KY
Rivals 33 WR| 2 KY 247 Comp. 13 ATH | 3 KY

He’s the most mysterious recruit in Kentucky and the highest-ranked.  The wide receiver/athlete is the No. 55 player in America according to 247.  A quiet kid who doesn’t have a Twitter account, it’s impossible to read where Wright stands.  He also hasn’t really taken any visits; those will happen later this summer.  Wright has a final five — UK, UofL, Alabama, Purdue and Ohio State — but the favorite to win Mr. Football is a long way from making an announcement.

Demontae “TaeTae” Crumes  
Wide Receiver | 6-1 | 165 lbs.
Louisville, Ky. | Butler Traditional
Highlights
ESPN –| — Top 247 111 WR | 10 KY
Rivals –| — 247 Comp. 93 WR | 8 KY

The Butler wide receiver committed to Louisville just days after receiving a scholarship offer.  Once Kentucky and other offers started rolling in, Crumes realized he needed to see everything the recruiting process had to offer.  No longer a UofL commit, Michigan, Michigan State and Oregon have extended scholarship offers.  Even if UK doesn’t land him, the Cats’ offer effectively took away a player from Bobby Petrino.  Well done.

Potential Prospects

Jared Casey — The Louisville inside linebacker has flown under the radar.  He transferred form Trinity to Ballard last year, but had to miss the entire season with a torn labrum.  Last week he burst onto the recruiting scene by winning MVP honors for his position at the Rivals Camp in Nashville.  Oregon took notice and offered Casey.  Kentucky might not be far behind.

Trel Riley — A cornerback from Caldwell County, he only has offers from WKU and UT-Martin, but UK could enter the picture.

Langston Jackson —  Like Casey, the athlete from Henry Clay missed his junior football season with an injury.  Jackson recovered from a torn MCL to win today’s 3A State Title in the 100M.  He told the Herald-Leader that Dean Hood has been in touch.  Maybe Jackson is the next Charles Moushey?


What we Learned about the Kentucky Wildcats at the NBA Combine

Stacy Revere | Getty Images

The action on the court at the NBA Combine has concluded.

Four Wildcats were in Chicago for the evaluation event — Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo and P.J. Washington.  The projected lottery picks, Knox and SGA, were only measured, while Washington and Diallo fought to raise their draft stock.  Where they stand now is still unknown, but we do know a little bit more about their basketball future.

Washington wants a Guarantee

“If I get a second round guarantee, I’m definitely going back to school,” Washington told reporters Thursday.  “Right now, if it’s a first round, I should take it.  If it’s a second round, I should come back (to school).”

Now it’s just a matter of what he hears from teams.  The deadline to withdraw from the draft is June 11 at 5:00 p.m.

Diallo met with Two Teams

The athletic phenom who stole the show a year ago has hired an agent and cannot return to Kentucky.  Now in the process of meeting with teams, the first two are the Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers.  The Wizards’s pick at No. 44 overall fits Diallo’s stock.  The Sixers have more options with the 26th, 38th, 39th and 56th picks.

Money-Making Scrimmages

While Diallo declined to participate in the scrimmage portion of the combine, his teammate made the most of the opportunity.  Washington finished his first scrimmage with a double-double, and reached double figures on day two.  He combined for 24 points and 15 rebounds in 40 minutes of 5-on-5 action.  Few players were more consistent than Washington.

Bilas Believes

The ESPN analyst named Washington as one of the four top performers from day one at the combine.

@BBNation15

Turning Heads

Bilas wasn’t the only impressed by Washington.  Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo said Washington’s stock is rising, although he’s unsure what it means for the Wildcat’s decision.

“Two strong combine days makes Washington’s draft decision a bit more interesting. He’s said publicly he wants to turn pro only if he’s a first-round pick, and while that deal is far from sealed, he at least gave teams more to think about this week.

Washington is a unique player, standing 6’7” but utilizing long arms and plus athletic ability to bang on the inside. He showed a good understanding of the floor, rebounded aggressively, and notably hit three midrange jumpers in a row early in Friday’s scrimmage. Washington’s unique skill set will only fit with certain lineups as a small-ball big, but he certainly does enough to get drafted. If he really wants to be a first-rounder it may help his case to go back, but he’s at least turned some heads.”

Dropping Verticals

Some people have bad days.  That might be what happened to Hamidou Diallo, who reached 40.5 inches at this year’s combine.  That number was good enough to tie for sixth, but it was four inches shorter than the record-setter at last year’s combine.

Washington can’t simply chalk it up as a bad day.  His vertical leap was nine inches shorter in Chicago than it was at UK last summer.  How that can happen, I do not know, but he recovered well enough in the scrimmages to put the poor leap in his past.

So. Much. Length.

The official measurements prove what we already knew — last year’s Kentucky team was LONG.

Player Body Fat Hand Length Hand Width Height w/o Shoes Height w/Shoes Standing Reach Weight Wingspan
Hamidou Diallo 4.45% 8.75 9 6’4.25 6’6″ 8’7″ 197 6’11.5
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 3% 9 9 6’4.5 6’6″ 8’8″ 180 6’11.5
Kevin Knox 4.95% 8.75 9.25 6’7.75 6’9″ 9″ 212.6 6’11.75
PJ Washington 6.85% 9 10.25 6’6.5 6’8″ 8’11” 223 7’2.5

An Interesting Comparison

After seeing Diallo run through drills all weekend, CBS’ Reid Forgrave walked away with an interesting NBA comparison — Zach Lavine.  How is Diallo like the former Slam Dunk Champion?  He’s an “incredible athlete who needs to learn to become a basketball player.”  Diallo can’t completely hate that comparison, especially if he is somehow picked as high as Lavine was at No. 13 overall.

Why Vanderbilt did not Attend

One Wildcat declined the NBA Combine invitation.  Many expected Jarred Vanderbilt stayed home because of an injury.  Calipari confirmed to reporters that Vanderbilt “physically could not participate.”

This weekend should have provided clarity on Vanderbilt and Washington’s status.  P.J. probably did enough to leave, but it’s still uncertain what he and Vanderbilt will do.  They have 23 days to make a decision.

 


YAHTZEE! 2019 in-state DE Shawnkel Knight-Goff commits to KENTUCKY

YAHTZEE! 2019 in-state DE Shawnkel Knight-Goff commits to KENTUCKY

PHOTO: @itskeltime1

 

2019 three-star DE Shawnkel Knight-Goff is going to have to switch out that red prom suit for Kentucky blue…

This afternoon, the No. 5 prospect in the state of Kentucky (Louisville Doss High School) announced his commitment to KENTUCKY!

Knight-Goff, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound DE/OLB, received an offer from the Cats back in July of 2016.

Almost two years later, he made it official.

Kentucky assistant coach Vince Marrow called the Yahtzee, and Rivals’ Justin Rowland later confirmed it was indeed Knight-Goff.

Knight-Goff becomes the fifth commitment to Kentucky over the last two weeks, joining West Jessamine OL Eli Cox, South Carolina DB Jalen Geiger, Florida quarterback Nik Scalzo, and Florida OL Jake Pope.

According to Justin Rowland, Knight-Goff, who was on an unofficial visit to Kentucky today, is expected to play outside linebacker for the Cats in 2019.

The newest commitment chose the Cats over offers from Louisville, Purdue, Cincinnati, and Indiana.

Speaking of Louisville, the Cards held 57% of Knight-Goff’s Crystal Ball predictions, including two submissions over the last three days:

What a beautiful sight.

Watch our newest Cat go to work:

Welcome home!


Bret Bearup passes away at 56

Bret Bearup passes away at 56

Former UK basketball player Bret Bearup has died. He was just 56 years old.

Bearup was found dead on Thursday in Denver and the cause of death is unknown, per the Lexington Herald Leader’s Jerry Tipton.

As a star recruit Bearup never did fully live up to expectations at UK during his career that spanned five years from the 1980-1981 season to 1985, but he made a lasting impression off the court. A fan favorite, Bearup had an amazing personality.

Bearup would play in 26 games his freshman season coming from Greenlawn, N.Y., but would miss the following season and redshirt. UK’s front court featured stars like Sam Bowie and Melvin Turpin, so the 6-foot-9, 230-pound center/forward didn’t see much action until his senior season.

He played in 31 games in 1985 while averaging 6.3 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game. The Cats lost in the Sweet 16 to St. John’s to end Bearup’s career.

Bearup’s sudden passing comes after his ex-wife BethAnn Bearup told Tipton that he had recently lost 80 pounds and was “feeling good.”

Keep his three kids in your thoughts and prayers. The sudden passing of Bearup won’t be easy for anyone that knew him. Several have already taken to Twitter to express kind words and memories.

https://twitter.com/tsnmike/status/997317419105386497?s=21


247Sports updated rankings

Photo by adidas

247Sports updated their 2019 rankings and it included some interesting moves for the three UK commits.

Ashton Hagans remains UK’s highest ranked commitment in the class of 2019, but that may not last long. Hagans is expected to make the jump to the 2018 class and play for Kentucky next season.

Hagans fell one spot to No. 7 in the rankings. As of now he’s the top ranked “true” point guard in the class of 2019.

Tyrese Maxey was also rumored to potentially make the jump to 2018 but had a change of heart that will keep him in 2019. Since committing to the Cats, Maxey was bumped up three spots from No. 17 to No. 14. Maxey is the second ranked combo guard. He’s behind the No. 2 player in the class, Cole Anthony.

While Hagans dropped a spot it could be worse. Ask D.J. Jeffries. The first UK commit in 2019 dropped 14 spots to No. 41. While Maxey and Hagans are obvious five-star players, Jeffries is stuck at four.

Jeffries hasn’t been a scrub in the early spring AAU session, but he’s clearly a notch below the best talent in the class. UK didn’t take the Mississippi native to be an instant star when he arrives on Kentucky’s campus for the 2019-2020 season, but instead UK’s coaches think he can develop into a nice multiyear player. Expect the drop in the rankings to serve as motivation for Jeffries.

Seven other players in the class of 2019 hold an offer from UK. If the Cats can add two or three of those players it could be a super class.

James Wiseman– No. 1 in the class (remained No. 1).

Vernon Carey– No. 3 in the class  (dropped one spot).

Matthew Hurt- No. 6 in the class (dropped two spots).

Keion Brooks- No. 9 in the class (moved up seven spots).

Bryan Antoine- No. 11 in the class (moved down three spots).

Scottie Lewis- No. 13 in the class (moved down four spots).

Jalen Lecque- No. 15 in the class (moved down five spots).

Other 2019 recruits of interest that don’t currently hold an offer from the Cats:

No. 2: Cole Anthony. It’s strange the Cats haven’t offered. Maybe Anthony prefers other schools and UK won’t waste its time?

No. 5: Charles Bassey. Bassey plays his high school basketball in Louisville but when UK, Duke and UNC aren’t interested that may be telling.

No. 54 David Johnson. Johnson plays for Trinity in Louisville. Once committed to UofL, the Cats have shown interest in Johnson.

No. 137 Dekeyvan Tandy. Most UK fans would love to see Tandy in blue, but after his father’s recent comments it seems unlikely UK will offer.

No. 154 Dontaie Allen. This may be the Kentuckian that ends up at UK. Allen moved up 61 spots in the latest rankings.

No. 243 Michael Moreno. The Scott County prospect hopes to have a big senior season.

 


P.J. Washington’s NBA Combine Numbers Decline

P.J. Washington needed an excellent showing at this weekend’s NBA Combine to solidify a selection in this year’s draft.  After one day of testing, most of his numbers are worse than what he posted when he first got to UK’s campus last summer.

When the Kentucky basketball team arrives on campus, each player is tested in the combine drills.  The UK Pro Day in October should be a barometer for the player’s early progress.  Washington did not participate in most of the drill’s at UK’s Pro Day, but his initial numbers were released after the event.  There’s only one NBA Combine time better than what he posted lasted summer.

Pre-UK Pro Day NBA Combine
Lane Agility 10.87 11.39
Shuttle Run 3.02 3.42
3/4 Sprint 3.34 3.2
Standing Vertical 35.5″ 27″
Max Vertical 43″ 34″

Washington’s three-quarter court sprint was faster today, but that’s it.  His vertical leap dramatically decreased by almost nine inches in each category. Some people just have bad days, but that does not explain these differences.

However in the scrimmage portion of the combine, Washington performed well.  He turned an offensive rebound on a missed free throw into points, he ran the floor and even knocked down his free throws.  Washington didn’t show off an extended range, missing an open look from the short corner, but he attacked the rim and played physical to finish with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 2 steals in 19 minutes.

After one day at the NBA Combine in Chicago, Washington produced mixed results.