Remember UofL women’s coach Jeff Walz’s epic rant about participation trophies a few months back? →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 23rd, 2017 @ 10:00am
Remember UofL women’s coach Jeff Walz’s epic rant about participation trophies a few months back? Well, former Kentucky player and current Manhattan coach Steve Masiello went on a similar rant last night after his team lost to Siena, the Jaspers’ third straight loss. Masiello, who was an assistant at Louisville under Rick Pitino before taking the head coaching job at Manhattan in 2011, said his team struggles with adversity because society today — their generation in particular — is “fraudulent.”
We’re a fraudulent society top to bottom. Our society is fraudulent. Everything about our society is edited. Everything about our society is pre-arranged, So this generation is a fraudulent generation.
What I mean by that is they put their Instagram picture up the way they want. They put their tweet out the way they want. Nothing is interactive or real. So when things don’t go the way people want them to – people will struggle with when it’s not 70 degrees and sun and the stars aren’t exactly aligned and it’s not exactly 4 p.m., and they didn’t get exactly eight hours of beauty sleep. Young people today struggle with that. Our society struggles with that. For me, I can’t speak for other coaches. I see it more than ever when adversity comes in, people struggle.
They’re not bad kids. This might be one of my favorite groups I’ve ever had. They struggle with adversity, and that’s a byproduct of our society today. I think we are a reflection of our culture today. Not to get too deep.
The irony of this coming from someone who lied about completing his degree at UK on his resume is rich, but well, it will certainly get people talking.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 23rd, 2017 @ 9:00am
Shoutout to KSR fan McKayla, who tossed a coin in the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome to wish for Kentucky’s ninth national championship. Hopefully McKayla threw another coin over her left shoulder to ensure she’ll return to Rome one day; I did that back in the summer of 2004 and can’t wait to fulfill that promise in May on our fifth anniversary trip across Italy. That reminds me, I need to do my Duolingo minutes today…
While I take care of that, enjoy a rundown of today’s happenings in the UK sports world.
1. What’s the latest on De’Aaron Fox’s ankle?
Fox turned his ankle eight minutes in to Saturday’s win over South Carolina, and while the Cats were able to beat the Gamecocks by 16 without him thanks to Dominique Hawkins, everyone wants to know when Fox will be back. After the game, John Calipari suggested the injury wasn’t too bad, telling reporters there wasn’t any swelling and it may simple have been a stinger, but Fox returned to the bench on crutches in a walking boot, so the staff is clearly being cautious with it. We should get an update today, and just cross your fingers Fox’s injury isn’t the dreaded high-ankle sprain.
2. Meanwhile, we gotta go to Tennessee
With Fox’s ankle and Saturday’s showdown with Kansas, this is already a big week, but first, the Cats must travel to Knoxville to take care of business vs. a 10-9 Tennessee team. The Vols are 3-4 in conference play so far, with losses to Ole Miss, South Carolina, Florida, and Arkansas, but given all the distractions, this could be the perfect trap game. As someone who witnessed the debacle in Thompson-Boling last year, you don’t have to remind me of what could happen twice, and I just hope me making the trek down I-40 East doesn’t jinx everything to pieces.
3. Calipari was at the AFC Championship last night
Calipari is a huge Steelers fan, but played nice at Gillette Stadium last night as Pittsburgh fell to New England in the AFC Championship. Cal posted lots of pictures, including this one with Gronk:
Amazing what the Pats have done without this guy – Gronk! pic.twitter.com/ScrWfh8EEn
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 23, 2017
On the flip side, the Falcons beat Randall Cobb and the Packers to advance to the Super Bowl, but at least fellow Boyle County native Jacob Tamme has a chance of getting a ring. I think I speak for most of America when I say, “Go Falcons!”.
4. Mo Bamba wrapped up a visit
This weekend, five-star power forward Mo Bamba took his official visit to Kentucky, and made the rounds in the Bluegrass, eating cake behind the bench during the South Carolina game, having breakfast with Calipari on Sunday, and even meeting Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh. Kentucky signee Quade Green and the rest of the 2017 class have been recruiting Bamba hard, so hopefully we’ll hear some feedback on his visit over the next few days.
5. Kevin Knox is on deck
From one big recruiting weekend to another, right? With Jarred Vanderbilt and Hamidou Diallo on board, Kentucky’s pretty loaded on the wing for the 2017-18 season, but the staff is still pursuing five-star small forward Kevin Knox, who will take his official to Kentucky this weekend for the Kansas game. Suddenly, the game we’ve all been looking forward to all season is bigger than ever, in part because…
6. “College Gameday” is coming to Lexington
It felt like common knowledge when it was finally made official, but ESPN’s “College Gameday” is coming to Lexington for Kentucky/Kansas. The show airs live at 11 a.m. ET Saturday morning, but doors will open at Rupp at 9:30 a.m. Attendance is free.
If you didn’t know before now, don’t worry, because ESPN will remind you one million times before then. After a pathetic showing at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Seth Greenberg issued this challenge to the BBN:
— Seth Greenberg (@SethOnHoops) January 22, 2017
Don’t worry, Seth, we got this.
If Gameday’s not enough for you, Paul Finebaum will also host his show from the Rupp Arena lobby, just off High Street from 3-7 p.m. Friday afternoon. Like GameDay, fans are encouraged to attend and admission is free.
7. Signing Day is a week from Wednesday
Kentucky has 23 commitments in the 2017 class, and with Signing Day fast approaching, the staff is criss-crossing the country to make sure all of those commitments stay on board. Will they snag a few more? Four-star offensive lineman Thayer Munford visited Ohio State this weekend and this morning, there are reports he committed to the Buckeyes, but Kentucky still has an eye on other targets like former commit Russ Yeast, who hosted Stoops in his house on Thursday night. It seemed like Kentucky was out of the picture for Yeast, but maybe that’s not the case. Stay tuned…
8. I finally saw “La La Land”
I enjoy the occasional musical and after the Golden Globes slobbered all over “La La Land,” I decided to give it a shot this weekend. To me, it was just okay. While I appreciate the artistry, creativity, and the “DREAM SO DREAMING WON’T DIE” sentiment, the movie seemed to get caught up in itself at times, although maybe that was the point. Regardless, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were fantastic, and I don’t think I’ll get that song out of my head anytime soon. Still rooting for “Hell or High Water” to win the Oscar, but it won’t because Hollywood loves nothing more than Hollywood worship. This SNL skit sums up the “La La Land” obsession perfectly:
9. Shoutout to Danville sophomore Ivy Turner for joining the 1,000 point club
Breaking 1,000 points in your high school basketball career is impressive, but it’s even more so when you do it as a sophomore. Danville’s Ivy Turner did just that last week during Danville’s win over Garrard County. Turner ranks in the top ten in the state in scoring, and helped lead the Ads to their fifth-straight All-A region title this weekend. Go Ivy, and Go Ads!
10. A good excuse to go to Raising Cane’s for lunch
Want to travel to Kentucky’s road game in Tuscaloosa in style? Register for the chance to go to the game in a private jet and a pair of tickets to UK/Alabama on February 11 simply by following the instructions below:
Radio in an hour…
RECAP: De’Aaron Fox went down with an injury, but Kentucky still beat the nation’s number one defense by 16
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 21st, 2017 @ 10:15pm
The final score doesn’t reflect it, but there were times in this game that it seemed Kentucky was in serious danger. De’Aaron Fox turned his ankle about eight minutes in and had to go to the locker room, only to return in a boot and crutches. Without Fox at the helm, Kentucky had a bit of a go to pieces, letting South Carolina narrow the lead to three. Thankfully, a host of role players stepped up and propelled Kentucky to an 85-69 win over the Gamecocks, which is pretty encouraging when you consider the Cats played without their star point guard for 32 minutes and still beat the most efficient defense in the country by 16.
Let’s break it down, starting with De’Aaron Fox’s injury…
How long will Fox be out?
At first, it didn’t seem like Fox’s injury was too bad. He turned his ankle and went to the bench to switch to high tops, and after coming back in for a moment, went to the locker room. He returned later on crutches wearing a boot, but seemed in good spirits. How long will he be out?
“I think it might’ve been a stinger, I don’t know. But something hit his ankle,” Cal said after the game. “He is in a boot but they said there is no swelling, so I don’t know.”
Hopefully, Fox is back by the Kansas game, because without him, Kentucky looked a bit rudderless. After Briscoe struggled at point, Calipari turned to Dominique Hawkins, who filled in ably, scoring five points and dishing out a game-high seven assists to only two turnovers. With Mychal Mulder also out due to an illness, Dominique more than answered the call.
“Dom was terrific,” Cal said. “Kenny Payne just said, ‘Put Dom at point’ because Dom plays point every day in practice against De’Aaron Fox. Every day. So Dom looked fine. Again, Dom had seven assist and only two turn(overs) and one was late when none of the other guys could get open for him, so he did fine.”
Simply put, Dom was stellar, and if Fox is going to be out for multiple games, Kentucky will need more of that because…
Isaiah Briscoe had zero points
The most surprising stat line of the night belonged to Isaiah Briscoe, who had zero points, SEVEN turnovers, and only four assists. Calipari and Briscoe yelled at each other throughout the game, and when South Carolina narrowed the lead to five at the start of the second half, Calipari called a timeout to yap at Briscoe some more.
“I just told him, ‘You’ve got one minute to get it going or you’re out and I’ll go without you because you’re not doing this.’ ‘I’m okay, I’m okay.’ ‘Alright you’ve got one minute if you’re okay to play then I’m going without you.’ Then I put Dom at point guard and he played like he didn’t have every second on his shoulder. And he started making plays and coming up with balls.”
Cal was clearly frustrated with Briscoe, and came back to his performance later on.
“He had no points today. Come on. He backs into points. He had nothing today. That’s okay. We still won and he was happy as heck in there, but there’s a concern for him. Now it’s like, come on, I know I’m better than this. The kid had seven turnovers. What? Seven turnovers. And he’s not the kind of kid that does that. Not the kind of player.”
Frank Martin agreed that Briscoe running the point made Kentucky more vulnerable.
“With Briscoe, I think what hurt him too was he moved to point guard in the second half and he wasn’t off the ball, where he’s more in attack mode, but he made plays for them,” Martin said. “Seems to me he’s the backbone of that basketball team. He’s the guy that makes everyone go.”
Derek had the dunk of the night
Shoutout to the seniors for their leadership tonight. Like Dom, Derek Willis also stepped up, scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds; those may not sound like flashy numbers, but Derek made some crucial plays tonight, including a huge three when South Carolina cut the lead to three in the first half and a massive dunk in the second half that got everyone in the arena on their feet.
Can we get a replay of the bench’s reaction, please?
— Dave Scott (@Finna_Go_HAM) January 22, 2017
Same, Sacha. Same.
Wenyen Gabriel turned in his third straight impressive performance
For the third game in a row, Wenyen looked like a different player, putting up 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, a block, a steal, and no turnovers in 27 minutes. Wenyen was 3-8 from the three-point line, and although his shot fell off in the second half and he had a few “freshmen moments,” he did all the stuff that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet as well. With he and Derek playing this well, the four spot suddenly went from Kentucky’s weakest position to a pretty sound one. Cal agreed.
“I thought that Derek and Wenyen, again, they’re just giving us so much now. 23 points, 12 rebounds at that position. Making threes, making open shots. Rebounding balls. They had 23 points combined, 12 rebounds out of that position.”
Malik and Bam led the team in scoring
It says a lot about Malik Monk that he scored 27 points and I’m just now getting to him in the recap. He and Bam led the team in scoring with 27 and 18 a piece, and Calipari implied that he wants Bam to be more demanding in the post to get more touches from his guards.
“I told Bam after the game, you’re too nice. I said I would strangle a couple of these guys that aren’t throwing you the ball. If I was you, I would. You’re so nice, you don’t say anything. And we’re throwing him the ball, but it’s like it’s forced. It shouldn’t be forced, he’s that good. I even said, is he selfish? They said, no, he’s not selfish. Well, then throw him the ball. And if he’s double teamed he gives it back to you.”
When Bam’s 5-6 from the floor, it’s hard to argue with that.
How about that prediction, Seth Davis?
I don’t like to shove crow down people’s throats, but we have to give Seth Davis a little grief tonight. Yesterday, Davis predicted that Kentucky would lose to South Carolina and only score 61 points. Predictably, Kentucky surpassed that mark with almost thirteen minutes left in the game. Granted, South Carolina wasn’t firing on cylinders. Not only were they without starting guard PJ Dozier, the flu bug apparently was going around, making the nation’s number one defense look even weaker. Yet, it’s also worth pointing out that Kentucky was without De’Aaron Fox for 32 minutes, Mychal Mulder the entire game, got zero points from Briscoe, and still beat the second best team in the league by sixteen. Not a bad night in the least.
Finally, congrats to Mitch Barnhart on the birth of his new grandson
UK’s athletic director welcomed a new grandson into his family tonight, Reece Mitchell Willoughby. This is the second child for Mitch’s daughter Kirby and her husband McKenzie, and big brother Cooper looks especially proud in this picture. In a true sign that he’s a Kentucky fan, Reece was considerate enough to wait until halftime to come into the world. Also, I’m pretty sure that’s the beginning stages of a three goggle.
South Carolina came into Rupp Arena on Saturday with first place in the SEC on the line, only to be given a 16-point loss by your University of Kentucky Wildcats.
Kentucky was without De’Aaron Fox for most of the game, but the offense still managed to score 85 points on KenPom’s No. 1 defense. Malik Monk led the way with 27, followed by Bam Adebayo’s 18.
Fox’s status is TBD.
The Last Time South Carolina Beat Kentucky
Frank Martin’s only victory over the Wildcats was in Columbia, a 72-67 win over Julius Randle, James Young and Co. in 2014. The Cocks do have a relatively recent three-game winning streak over the Cats, starting with their last victory in Rupp, a one-point win over Billy G’s Cats in 2009. The streak ended when the Cats avenged their road loss to Devan Downey in 2010.
The Last Time These Two Played
John Calipari lost his freaking mind.
Then the Cats played their most complete game of the 2016 season, dominating the Cocks on both ends of the floor to win in Columbia 89-62. It also included the best highlight of the season, a play that is one of the best of the Calipari era.
Top Defense vs. Top Offense
If you haven’t heard about it yet, you’re gonna hear about it a hundred times today. The Cocks’ No. 1 defense must defend the Cats’ No. 2 offense. Seth Davis thinks defense will win, but I tend to side with an elite guard-oriented offense, especially at home.
Clean the Glass
As John Calipari noted in yesterday’s press conference, South Carolina lost their entire front line from last season. In their place, Frank Martin has a freshman (Malik Kotsar) and a sophomore (Chris Silva) who average a combined 12 rebounds per game.
South Carolina is one of the worst teams in the country at keeping their opponents off the glass, allowing them to get second chances on 30.3 percent of their shots, leading to 9.8 offensive rebounds a game. UK is sixth in the country in offensive rebounds per game (12.9), grabbing over 36 percent of their missed shots.
An International Team
John Calipari has hosted quite a few foreign players during his time, but this year Frank Martin has more. South Carolina has five international players, all from different countries: Estonia, Gabon, Senegal, Canada and Australia.
There isn’t a rich basketball tradition at South Carolina, but they still have diehard fans. Of all their fans, Gamecock Jesus is the best. As the kids might say, “he has no chill.” Mrs. Tyler was honored to sit behind him in 2014.
Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers
I feel like I beat this dead horse before each game, but ball security is kind of a big deal and the Cocks aren’t very good at it. They give it away 13.6 times a game (196th in the nation). SC’s game notes point out they committed “only” 15 against Florida after 22 and 20 in consecutive games.
You’d think Kentucky could run them off the court with points of turnovers and offensive rebounds, but there’s a reason this stat hasn’t killed the Cocks: they force 17.1 (!) turnovers a game.
Must Stop Thornwell and Dozier
The Cocks’ two-headed monster in the backcourt leads their offense. A McDonald’s All-American and Top 20 recruit, Columbia-native P.J. Dozier has found his rhythm in his second season, averaging 14.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
Sindarius Thornwell is South Carolina’s experienced leader. They haven’t lost when he’s in the lineup. He leads the team in points (18.2), rebounds (6.9) and assists (3.3) per game.
Watch them Run
They don’t average a ton of possessions per game, but according to South Carolina beat writer David Cloninger, the South Carolina excels when pushing the pace with their experienced guards. Even though pushing the pace against UK is usually a death sentence, expect to see them run whenever they can force a Kentucky turnover.
By the Numbers
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 20th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
Shoutout to the person spotted wearing a KSR hat at today’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. After a long day on the national mall, I bet you’d like to know what else John Calipari said in his press conference today, wouldn’t you? I’ve already shared Cal’s quotes about Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and the uptick in fouls called this season, but Cal being Cal, there was plenty more to share. Here are five more notes for you:
1. South Carolina’s defense does everything well
By now, you’ve heard that South Carolina’s defense is first in the nation in efficiency in KenPom’s rankings. When asked about that defense, Calipari raved, telling reporters that Frank Martin’s team pretty much does everything right.
“They lost good players and they came back to be able to do what they’re doing – being undefeated in our league and win games on the road like at Georgia, which is just am impossible place to try to win a game. They led from start to finish. Rebounding? They do it. Giving you a tough shot? They do it. They have full rotations as well. They’ll bring four guys to the ball. If you drive, they’re bringing three to four guys at you. I have to give them credit.”
2. Sindarius Thornwell makes them even better
The Gamecocks are undefeated with the Harry Potter villain, who served a six game suspension earlier this year and is averaging 18.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.3 assist per game. Calipari said what makes Thornwell so dangerous is that he can play so many different positions. (One might say he’s almost positionless!)
“He’s like one of those guys that can score baskets. He can rebound. They play him at the four at times when they go small. Now they have four guards and he’s a pick-and-pop guy or they just run their action. They’ll give him the ball and just say drive it. When he’s going against fours, he’s like a two or three with size. He’s really good and he’s tough. He’s physical.”
3. They’re trying to teach Bam how to play without fouling
Calipari went on a lengthy diatribe about the increase in fouls being called this season (which I shared with you earlier), and he said the staff is doing their best to teach the players — Bam, specifically — how to operate under the new rules.
“We are trying to tell Bam (Adebayo), if you put your hand out away from your body, you are giving them a chance to call an offensive foul. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Keep your hands tight. When he goes like that, they have a right to call that, even if you looked at it and said, well, there was not a whole lot of contact. Well, yeah, but you gave him a chance to call it.”
4. He’s given up on getting Derek to be a defensive stopper
Calipari has tried for years to get Derek to be a lockdown defender to the point that earlier this season, it distracted Derek from doing what Derek does best: making buckets. Cal’s given up on that quest in order to let Derek focus more on scoring.
“I keep telling Derek, ‘I know you are working on defense, I know you are trying, but you hang your hat on making shots. Not dribbling, spinning, throwing passes. Not cross-court passes for baskets for them. You can’t. Just shoot it, make an easy play. That is who you are. That is the strength of your game. Offensive rebounds. Fly in transition. Dunk balls. Work on your defense.’ But is he ever going to be a defensive stopper? He is a senior. He is what he is. Be the best version of that. How do we get you even better knowing what you are as a player?”
5. Several NBA Cats are planning to come back for the Kansas game
When asked, Calipari claimed he didn’t know Karl Towns called into ESPN’s broadcast of the UK/Vandy game, but he did say that several former players are planning to come to the Kansas game in a week.
“I mean, we’ve got a bunch of them trying to get to the Kansas game. We want to come. This guy, this guy, that guy. Five or six of them. They’re connected to the place. They understand that they have people here who care about them and love them and were a part of what they had to do and look after them.”
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that next weekend is also when five-star target Kevin Knox will be on campus. A big game just got even bigger.
Speculation of Kentucky’s future defensive alignment became a hot topic once DJ Eliot’s departure was confirmed. For what it’s worth, I prefer a “multiple” defense that has the capability to adapt to the game’s temperature and not to stove pipe configuration based on obstinacy.
Regardless, I received several messages following a prior KSR post asking about the differences between the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses other than the obvious odd/even front construction.
One major variance lies within the defensive end’s physical stature and responsibilities. Let’s take a look at a NFL prototypical 3-4 and 4-3 DE in order to clarify preferred body types, abilities, and style:
3-4 Defensive End
3-4 DEs are bigger in stature with positional and schematic emphasis on stopping the run with an additional assignment of rushing the passer. A large portion of allocated tasks occur within the tackle box. Size and strength are paramount. Outside linebackers are normally the pass rush specialists in the 3-4.
Preferred size ranges from 6’4 or taller, 280-pounds or heavier. On many occasions the 3-4 DE takes on a similar role as a defensive tackle based upon pre-snap alignment.
NFL Prototypical 3-4 DE: #91 Stephon Tuitt, Pittsburg Steelers
- 6’6, 310-pounds
- 2016 season results: 37 tackles, 4 QB sacks
4-3 Defensive End
With an emphasis on athleticism and pass rush proficiency, the 4-3 defensive end can also be described as a bulked up outside linebacker playing out of a 3-point stance or with his hand on the ground. These players must possess a full assortment of pass rush moves and are counted on to be the defense’s designated sack artist with an additional duty of stopping the run; or to at least provide edge containment. Quick twitch athleticism, speed, and rapid burst trumps size in this case.
6’2-plus, 250-plus is preferable.
NFL Prototypical 4-3 DE: #52 Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders
- 6’3, 250-pounds
- Season results: 73 total tackles, 11 QB sacks
Same position but two totally different body types and skill sets. Hope this helps.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 20th, 2017 @ 3:25pm
As we’re all painfully aware, officials are calling more fouls than ever in college basketball this season. Over Kentucky’s last three games, 144 fouls have been called, and the Cats aren’t alone; SEC Basketball has become unwatchable as of late, but during his press conference today, John Calipari made it clear he wants officials to keep calling fouls…but only if they’re actual fouls.
“Let me just make my position clear: I think we’ve gotta keep calling fouls. Now, we’ve gotta make sure they’re fouls. So there are some replays that look and you say, well, that wasn’t even close to a foul. Those shouldn’t be called. There’s a forearm on a drive, there’s a body check on a big, those should be automatic calls. Call the fouls. On both teams.”
“Now, if one team’s fouling and the other team’s not, that’s when you get those fouls called because you’re feeling like, ‘I can’t call them all against the other team.’ Why not if they’re fouling every play? If the other team’s not fouling, don’t call — that’s when, how could they call that a foul, how could they call this a foul? Call the game the way we all want it to be. We want freedom of motion; we don’t want a guy driving to get banged three times before he shoots a layup and you say, why did he miss a layup? Well, probably the guy’s finger in his eyeball and his knee and his thigh kind of affected the layup. So, I’m about calling fouls. Better fouls. If the game is physical, it should be called.”
Calipari said he’s on the side of the referees on this matter, pointing out that he was behind the rule changes to call more fouls because the game was getting way too physical; however, what he doesn’t want is refs calling fouls that aren’t really fouls because they feel they have to call more this season.
“They’re being told to call fouls. The only issue is there are some that aren’t fouls that they’re calling,” Cal said. “Everybody says, nobody touched them, how did they call that? Probably not a foul they should have called.”
“Call the fouls. Does anyone want the game to go back to where they’re beating the crap out of each other? I support what they’re trying to do. As a matter of fact, I was one of the voices behind it. Call the fouls.”
Just make sure they’re actual fouls.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 19th, 2017 @ 11:30pm
Late last night, John Calipari’s much-anticipated podcast with Rick Pitino was released, giving fans on both sides lots to talk about today. We’ve already recapped the podcast for you, which included some great moments in which Rick describes his early years at Kentucky, stories about Five Star Basketball Camp, and even a discussion about the scandal at UofL; however, there’s PLENTY of over-the-top cheesiness in between. From Calipari’s odd “fake news” skit at the start to his constant maniacal laughter throughout, it’s a good thing this podcast was sponsored by Papa John’s because it’s cheesy as hell.
In that spirit, I ranked the cheesiest moments of the podcast by the one thing Calipari professes to love most in this world: Papa John’s famous cheese sticks! On my scale, one cheese stick is charming, five cheese sticks is lactose overload.
I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I saw the podcast had been released overnight. I quickly downloaded it and tuned in, ready for fireworks. Well, I’m not sure anything prepared me for Calipari’s fake news skit, which might be the corniest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. You know it’s a gotta be a joke early on when Cal “invites Rick in” and you can hear the door “slam,” and then he breaks into a bit about Rick stealing Ellen’s brownies.
“Hey, yo, those aren’t your brownies, my wife made those for one of our players. I said get your hands — hey you –”
What follows is an odd sequence of sound effects: growling, Cal yelping, karate chop grunts, swords clashing, more growling, crashing, etc. etc. etc. Finally, Cal says “FOLKS, THAT WAS FAKE NEWS,” because fake news is all in the real news these days.
Thankfully, this was by far the cheesiest moment of the episode.
2. The Blue Apron Ad with Ellen
As always, Ellen and Calipari’s Blue Apron ad was just adorable. Bucatini pasta bolognese with shredded brussels sprouts! Yum.
Have you heard Calipari has a new book out? No? Well, he’s here to make sure you and Rick Pitino know. In fact, that’s the first thing he brings up when Rick gets on the line.
Cal: “I gotta ask you a question before we get started: Have you read my new book?”
Rick: “When I looked at the chapters and saw ‘Assembling the Talent’ is the number one chapter, I immediately bought five copies, one for each assistant coach.”
Yeah, that’s completely bogus. And, of course, Cal ends the podcast by plugging his book again.
Props to Pitino for bringing up his old record vs. Cal at Kentucky before Cal had the chance. After Cal moaned about having to live with the loss to Louisville for a year, Pitino quipped, “Well how would you like to live with being 1-8?”.
This is the laughter that followed:
Actually, that laugh is probably genuine.
Calipari and Pitino share a unique bond in that they both understand better than anyone how crazy Kentucky fans can be. Both have been considered gods in the state, and it was fun to hear Rick verify the urban myth that fans used to take dirt and grass from his yard, and share a new story about how a crazy woman dropped off a VHS of “The Bodyguard” at his house after they lost to Louisville.
Calipari was giggling like a baby after the dirt in a jar story:
Calipari’s pretty self-deprecating about his short tenure with the Nets, a job for which Pitino recommended him. Cal couldn’t help getting a jab in about it, asking Rick if he did it on purpose.
They both got a laugh out of that one:
Inevitably, the talk turned to Calipari and Rick’s sons, and Rick shared a story about his Louisville team playing his son Richard’s Minnesota team back in Puerto Rico back in 2014. After the game, Rick said his son blew by him in the handshake line. Oh, the nerve!
Calipari thought it was great:
After Cal got Rick to talk about the UofL scandal, the mood lightened when Cal jokingly tried to take credit for UK’s 1996 title after Rick said he decided to play Anthony Epps at point guard instead of Tony Delk after playing Calipari and UMass.
Cal: “Do you give me credit for the national title then? No?”
Rick: “I didn’t.”
Cal: “Well, now we did. Now I helped you.”
Thankfully, it was over after that, because it was pretty clear the fake laughter that followed was definitely fake:
Whether you’ve listened to the podcast or not, do yourself a favor and listen to this laugh track I made of all of Cal’s maniacal laughter in the podcast. It might be one of my favorite things ever:
Fresh off his school’s first bowl appearance since 2010, departing Kentucky running back JoJo Kemp made a guest appearance on this morning’s KSR show at Sleep Outfitters in Lexington.
JoJo was awesome, as expected, and you can find some of his quotes from the interview below. Then tune in to the second hour of the show down at the bottom to hear his entire conversation with Matt and Ryan.
On finally reaching a bowl game in his senior season…
“It was very exciting to see the difference we made in the Kentucky program. That is what we came here to do — change the culture, change the perspective of Kentucky football. To be able to play in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville and see so many fans, it was a great experience… It was very awesome to see the impact we made on so many people lives. It was amazing.”
On the team’s mentality after losing to Southern Miss and Florida…
“Of course it started rough. We knew people — some people, not the true blue fans — were going to hop off the bandwagon and they’re going to start saying things about us.”
“We knew (the turnaround) was going to happen. We just had to stay together and believe in ourselves and, you know, continue to fight.”
His favorite moment at UK…
“One of my favorite moments would be when we went down to South Carolina the second time and we got our first road win in the SEC… It was awesome because — the year before, of course, we ran the Wildcat and beat them — and people was saying, ‘Oh they won’t beat them again. It was luck. Steve Spurrier won’t let that happen again.” So when we beat them, it was just an awesome feeling. We beat them away on a road game and, also, Steve Spurrier retired. So it was awesome because that’s when we knew the program was changing and moving in the right direction.”
On Big Blue Nation and moving the football program forward…
“It took me being here to (understand BBN). My sophomore year when people were trying to get me to leave, I was letting them know that it’s bigger than me. We have a wonderful fan base. I know the basketball program is where it needs to be, that’s why it is so important for us to get this football program just as high as basketball. Lexington is a great place. The state of Kentucky is a great place. To have both programs where it needs to be is awesome and awesome for the state.”
His prediction for next season…
“I think they can win all 12 games. They just gotta take it a game at a time, continue with that work ethic we had this year. If we was just a little more detail oriented and focused on little things, we could’ve won a lot more games than we did this year. Only thing they have to do is continue to find, build, and keep that leadership mentality, and don’t flinch, like Coach Stoops always says.”
Tune in to the entire interview below to hear more from JoJo about the win at Louisville, getting his friends and family to the bowl game, and his plans for the future.
And if you’d like to meet JoJo this week, he will be at the Elizabethtown Mall tomorrow night from 6:00 to 7:30 pm and then on Saturday at All Sports in Fayette Mall from 2:30 to 4:00 pm.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 19th, 2017 @ 12:00pm
It is Thursday and that means Joe Lunardi has a brand new Bracketology for college basketball fans.
In this week’s edition, Kentucky held down its spot as the No. 1 seed in the tournament’s South region. That honor comes with opening round games in Indianapolis against UC Irvine/New Orleans and TCU/Dayton, followed by a trip to Memphis for the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight.
No. 2 Baylor, No. 3 Louisville, No. 4 Arizona and… Oh my… No. 5 Duke are the region’s biggest threats to Kentucky.
The thought of having to play Duke in the Sweet 16 is absolutely terrifying.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 19th, 2017 @ 9:00am
John Calipari finally released his highly-anticipated Cal Cast with Rick Pitino when many of you were in bed late Wednesday night. If you’re just now learning of its release or haven’t gotten around to listening to it just yet, take a moment to read some of the highlights in our recap below.
The entire podcast can be found on iTunes or at the bottom of this post and I encourage you to give it a listen as Pitino shares stories from his past and the two coaches try to convince us that they can tolerate each other.
The podcast’s intro is pretty cheesy.
Coach Cal added sound effects and a little acting to try to make it sound like he and Pitino were fist-fighting before the interview began. There is a fake door slam; fake shouting; fake grunting; fake sword fighting; a dog growling and barking; and Cal yelling, “Hey, you bit me! What the…”
“Folks, that was fake,” Cal assured his listeners, as if we fell for the over-the-top brawl to start the show.
The interview begins with book talk.
“I gotta ask you before we get started — have you read my new book?”
Pitino admitted to reading the jacket of Calipari’s new book and then buying copies for all five of his assists (which I don’t believe), while Calipari said he didn’t even glance at Pitino’s book.
“Everyone thought I copied your title, but it was the publisher who came up with it,” Cal said of the coincidence in the similar titles.
Pitino initially learned the magnitude of UK basketball from Bill Keightley and Cawood Ledford.
Pitino told the story of meeting UK’s equipment manager, Bill Keightley, when he first arrived in Lexington.
“The way he talked about Louisville, it’s like Lucifer with horns,” he said. “I thought Denny Crum had horns coming out of his head the way he was talking.”
“And then I met Cawood Ledford, who is the ultimate gentleman, and he would tell me about the early days and what it meant — you know, people on a hillside in Eastern Kentucky listening to the radio to just get the last play of the game. Then you realize that we don’t have professional sports; by in large we are a poor state; and what the people had is Kentucky basketball in a pocket in the middle of the state, and then there is Louisville basketball because there are no professional teams.”
“So I watched and you get educated by Cawood and Bill and the older guys, You realize it’s a symbol of pride. It’s their life.” … “What I witnessed from my years there was something to behold.”
“How would you like to live with being 1-8?”
Pitino had a nice comeback when Calipari told him he has to live with losing to Louisville for the rest of the year. Pitino asked, “Well how would you like to live with being 1-8?”
It produced one of the many exaggerated Calipari laughs we heard throughout the interview.
Kentucky’s facilities were “antiquated” when Pitino took the job.
Pitino said he couldn’t believe how outdated everything was when he took over in 1989.
“Everything was so antiquated, they just lived on the reputation of Kentucky basketball. It was the name. From a facilities standpoint, everyone would be shocked what we have today.”
He also said he never would’ve been able to turn the program around without Jamal Mashburn and C.M. Newton.
More old-time stories from Pitino’s time in Lexington…
— When he first arrived on campus, he told Rock Oliver, who was his strength coach, to go around town and find out which businesses were giving discounts to players. Pitino told Oliver to warn business owners that they would lose their season tickets if they didn’t comply with NCAA rules.
— Fans were stealing dirt from Pitino’s front yard (now Matthew Mitchell’s front yard) and putting it in jars when he moved to town.
— After losing to Louisville one year, a female fan gave Pitino a copy of “The Bodyguard” to tell him he would need one after losing the rivalry game.
Coach Cal indirectly asked him about the scandal.
Before wrapping up the interview, Calipari asked about “accountability” and “responsibility” in the coaching profession; obviously a question about Pitino’s latest scandal. To that, Pitino compared coaching to being a parent, saying there is only so much control they can have over young adults, and that coaches can’t be “scapegoats for society today.”
“If I have 29 (assistants) that went on to prosperity and one went the wrong way, well, I’ve gotta be accountable for that one person and I feel very saddened that he did the wrong thing,” he went on to say. “That being said, there’s certain things that we can’t control in our lives. This is a college atmosphere right now and certain things that we’re not in control of.”
Cal ended it with well wishes (kind of).
“I wish you luck… until we play you next year and I hope we beat your brains in because that was just miserable for me walking off that court,” he said in closing.
There is a whole lot more to be heard in the podcast, including Pitino recommending Cal to the Nets, Brad Calipari, Richard Pitino, Rick’s coaching tree, and more:
Like many of you, I disagreed with about 49 of the 52 fouls called in Tuesday night’s game at Mississippi State. The officiating was consistently abominable on both ends, which took big men from both teams completely out of the game
So in this week’s return of KSR Film Room — back by popular demand! — I’ll highlight three plays that really stood out to me as horrible whistles. There were plenty more crap-calls than these three, but I’m only one man and can’t possibly highlight every mistake Tuesday night’s crew made. These are only three of the many.
Let’s start with Bam Adebayo’s second foul that sent him to the bench seven minutes into the game. Adebayo made what looks like to me was a textbook boxout for a defensive rebound, but the officials saw a foul.
Take a closer look and tell me with a straight face that should be Foul No. 2 on Adebayo.
As a friend said to me after that call, that’s the kind of B.S. whistle that could cost Kentucky a national championship via foul trouble.
Now let’s move on to Isaac Humphries’ first of his five fouls. Another terrible call, it was followed up by yet another foul on Humphries only 14 seconds later, which sent Kentucky’s second big man to the bench for the remainder of the half.
This is not a foul.
Should we continue? We should continue.
Down to Tai Waynyard and Derek Willis defending the paint and still in the first half, Willis picked up his second foul on an off-ball screen that was a completely legal play in James Naismith’s eyes. It was equally bad as Willis’ first foul and it marked the ELEVENTH foul on a UK forward/center in the first half.
Hey TV Teddy, this isn’t a foul…
I could go on and on and on but I think you all get the point. Tuesday night’s officiating was as bad as it gets.
FINALLY! The 54-minute podcast with John Calipari and Rick Pitino is finally here.
John Calipari teased it weeks ago, then on tonight’s call-in show he said it would be released tomorrow. Instead of waiting, it dropped late tonight. Listen to it before everyone else.
Get the Cal Cast with Rick Pitino on iTunes here.
Reports began to circulate on Wednesday that Kentucky defensive coordinator DJ Eliot had accepted a similar position at Colorado. The Herald-Leader’s Jen Smith later confirmed Eliot’s departure.
Much like with the conversation surrounding the exodus of WR Jeff Badet, the “what” Mark Stoops decides as a replacement is more important than the “who.”
Let me explain:
Will Mark Stoops convert his defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3 given the high number of elite prototypical 4-3 defensive ends in the Class of 2017?
The 3-4 defense is predicated on having a wardaddy or collection thereof at nose tackle. Naquez Pringle was the team’s most improved player and solidified the middle of the Wildcat defense. But, Pringle had very little help down the stretch. Collectively, the NT position lacks current firepower for insistence on manning an odd man front (3-4).
Lack of NT depth was highlighed in the Taxslayer Bowl when Georgia Tech’s B-Back (fullback) rushed for 169 yards straight up the gut. Given the number of defensive linemen coming off redshirt, incoming players, and returners; Kentucky will finally have the adequate up-front depth to man the 4-3. So, the question still remains; will Stoops hire a 4-3 minded defensive coordinator?
To play devil’s advocate, the development of sophomore outside linebackers Denzil Ware and Josh Allen may throw a wrench in the plans for a fulltime changeover to the 4-3. Allen and Ware combined for more QB sacks than did the final season of the Bud Dupree-Za’Darious Smith combination. Both are still emerging and are listed on early 2019 NFL projections. Simply, Kentucky is a better football team when both are on the field at the same time.
What Part II
Mark Stoops was in his element when calling the defense and is considered one of the nation’s top minds on that side of the football. Will he turn over his prized unit to a new face in the office and be completely comfortable with a hands-off approach?
Or, will he hire a DC that will assume similar duties as Eliot which was to organize game plans and personnel while Stoops had the final say-so from the sideline? If yes, will he internally hire? There is no wrong or right answer here.
Kentucky could compete for the SEC East title in 2017. The time for a program surge up the SEC’s pecking order is now. Finally, UK’s talent is on par with its East peers. Stoops’ comfort/trust level in the new DC will be paramount and prominently factor in the ultimate decision.
Names will surface. Social media will be a launching pad for Good Idea Fairies from all walks of life. But, a viable replacement will not likely surface until after February 1st as Stoops will maintain focus on finalizing what could potentially be the program’s best recruiting class in recent memory.
UK’s leader has demonstrated patience when selecting a coordinator, as seen in the Eddie Gran situation. Additionally, the pool of candidates worth their salt will be putting the finishing touches on their recruiting classes and wouldn’t be available for interviews for quite some time. Coordinator searches are critical. This may take a while.
What does all this mean?
Mark Stoops and DJ Eliot had history. They appeared to be close with mutual trust. This move could not have been comfortable for either but remember; it’s not personal, it’s personnel (or in this case, a coach).
The fact of the matter is that Eliot’s defenses gave up 29.9 points per game over the course of three years. In 2016, the Cats allowed 43 points per game when he was in complete charge which led to a change in responsibilities. Stoops assumed command and it surrendered 27 a game. Over two touchdowns worth of points per game can be persuasive.
Whether or not the head coach decided to make a permanent change or Eliot openly sought another job is irrelevant. What does matter is that the Kentucky defense could take on a new personality in 2017? Or, will it?