Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Top Story

Featured Stories

5 Notes (and 1 dumb joke) from the 2016 UK Football Women’s Clinic

5 Notes (and 1 dumb joke) from the 2016 UK Football Women’s Clinic

IMG_1281

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to join a few hundred of the most diehard UK Football fans you’ll ever meet for a morning of gridiron goodness at Commonwealth Stadium. This was my fourth time covering the UK Football Women’s Clinic, and, like always, I had a blast. Before we move forward to another week of news, here are some things that stuck out to me.

The Practice Facility truly is amazing

Since Thursday, we’ve had about a zillion pictures of UK’s new $45 million practice facility on the site, and with good reason. The facility is truly impressive, and although I haven’t toured many practice facilities in the country, I can’t imagine many being better than it. No expense was spared, from retina scanners to IMAX-quality sound in the team meeting room, to two semi-truck loads of flat screen TVs and custom finishes galore. It’s one of those buildings that, once you walk in, you don’t want to leave, which is kind of the goal, right? The players’ excitement over their new home was palpable, and JoJo Kemp, Blake Bone, Courtney Love, and others stuck around doing drills and goofing off in the weight room long after the tours were over.

IMG_1303

Matte is in

UK will debut its new uniforms this fall, and while they aren’t that different from the old ones, one thing is very clear: matte is in. Players modeled the anthracite (dark grey), white, and blue versions of the unis, and each was paired with a matching matte helmet. Matte helmets have been a pretty big trend in college football unis the past few years, and I must say, although I tend to be more old school when it comes to stuff like this, I was impressed. The anthracite uniform is particularly striking in person.

Lamar Thomas is a rockstar

TEaV4rCQ (1)

Since the moment he left Louisville’s staff to join Mark Stoops in Lexington back in February, we knew Lamar Thomas was no shrinking violet. UK’s new wide receivers coach has won the UK fanbase over by taking on Louisville trolls and entertaining the masses during his guest hosting stint on KSR earlier this summer. At the clinic, Thomas was a rockstar, chatting up fans, taking selfies, and photobombing fans’ pictures. Aside from Stoops, I’d say he had the longest autograph line out of anybody. When I introduced myself to Thomas, he pleaded to come back on KSR, a request we can surely grant, right?

Freddie Maggard also had his share of followers when he crashed the clinic to watch his wife, Jen, kick some butt during field drills. Jen was the star of the passing drills, throwing touchdown after touchdown to ladies in the end zone. I’d say Freddie must have given her some pointers, but after spending some time with her, it’s clear Jen’s a badass in her own right. I hope to have her on my podcast this week.

About that period joke…

By now you’ve heard about Eddie Gran’s unfortunate period joke. Since I was there, I’ll give a little context. Gran was breaking down the schedule of a typical practice, which includes thirteen “periods” of activity. In an attempt to bring some humor to the presentation, Gran said, “(Darin) Hinshaw likes to joke we have 13 periods in practice and women only have one.” After a beat of “did he just make a period joke?!” shock, the crowd stirred with boos and awkward laughter. Gran attempted to backtrack, putting his hands up and protesting, “Hinshaw said that, not me!” and reminding the crowd he has three daughters.

I’m sure Eddie Gran thought the joke was harmless. It was probably a hit in the locker room; however, in a room of two hundred plus women who paid $75 each to be there, it was tone deaf. I’m of the belief that period jokes are never funny, especially when made by a man to a large group of women, but I talked to others who weren’t bothered by it. I’m actually more bothered by the fans who attacked me for reporting it than the joke itself, a topic I’ll get into on my podcast this week. For now, let’s just leave it as a dumb joke. If this is the worst thing that happens to UK Football this season, consider us lucky.

My, what a different five years makes

The UK Football Women’s Clinic has been going on since the Guy Morriss era, but the first one I attended was in 2011 when Joker Phillips was coach. Back then, the clinic was held under the north bowl of the stadium, which got brutally hot in late July. Now, it’s held in the luxurious (air-conditioned!) Woodford Reserve Club, yet another upgrade that speaks volumes to the money UK is pouring into the football program in recent years.

Here’s a “before and after,” featuring former defense coordinator Rick Minter (remember him?!):

Untitled

The Football Women’s Clinic is the best fan experience UK offers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Football Women’s Clinic is the best fan experience UK offers, and that includes the Basketball Women’s Clinic, which has essentially become a glorified autograph session. Because the crowd is a little smaller, coaches and players are able to mingle and interact with fans more, making for a truly unique experience. JoJo Kemp, Landon Young, Courtney Love, Jacob Hyde, Blake Bone, and JD Harmon were among the many players that hung out at the clinic, had lunch with fans, and led tours of the new practice facility, and Stoops and his staff should be proud of how they represented the program. One dumb joke aside, it was a truly enjoyable experience that should be on every fan’s bucket list.

huddle-break


The pedestal in front of the FTC is reserved for the statue that will be revealed vs. South Carolina.

Technology Acknowledges Past, Looks Ahead to the Future at the New Football Training Facility

The pedestal in front of the FTC is reserved for the statue that will be revealed vs. South Carolina.

The pedestal in front of the FTC is reserved for the statue that will be revealed vs. South Carolina.

Kentucky’s new $45 million Football Training Center will help the football program move forward on the field and in recruiting, while acknowledging the successes of the program’s past, something that has not always received the appropriate spotlight on campus.

From the moment you enter the lobby, the old era meets the new.  On a pedestal in the middle of the lobby, six mannequins are adorned in the Cats’ new uniform combinations.  Surrounding them are the bowl trophies from years’ past, including a 1951 National Championship Trophy that was made specifically for the FTC.

Many may laugh off the new trophy (you can see a close up in the photo gallery after the jump), but the reasoning from UK’s Mark Hill makes sense.  “We haven’t done a great job of acknowledging the past.”  That is no longer the case.

IMG_1409

On the lobby wall is a mural of the greatest players to ever wear a Kentucky uniform.

Tim Couch, Art Still, Steve Meilinger and Dermonti Dawson are just a few that are honored.

Tim Couch, Art Still, Steve Meilinger and Dermonti Dawson are just a few that are honored.

While seeing Kentucky’s past, recruits can use tools to help them see what it will be like to be a Kentucky Wildcat in the future.  A Nike kiosk allows them to craft their uniform, from the color combination, right down to the wrist bands and gloves (almost you’re in “Create a Player” mode from a video game).

Beneath the stairs is an area filled with TVs that completely encircles the individual, creating a 360-degree gameday experience.

IMG_1461

The ground floor is wear the players become physically enhanced.  The new weight room has doubled the team’s capacity to train, all while overlooking the practice fields.

The weight racks (bottom left) are unlike anything I've ever seen in a weight room.

The weight racks (bottom left) are unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a weight room.

A path from the practice fields to the Nutter Indoor Training Center splits the weight room and the locker room.  All college football locker rooms have unique features, but I don’t think any of them have a display like this.  Twenty 55-inch televisions are the first thing you see when you walk inside.

IMG_1435

Each locker has three separate compartments.  The large one on top is for shoulder pads, ventilated to cool them down and keep the stink flowing outbound.  The bottom is for their shoes and other essentials while the middle contains built-in USB ports to charge their phones.

They can use a variety of methods to unlock their lockers: a passcode, an ID card or use the retina display sensor.  James Bond technology has come to Kentucky.

Connecting them all is the trainers’ room.  Players can be taped, or use YMCA-like weight lifting machines to help with rehabilitation.  There’s also pools; LOTS of pools.

The largest is a 40-foot recovery pool near the practice fields that acts as a recovery tank, constantly set at 52-degrees.  In the trainers’ room lies three pools, one with an underwater treadmill to aid with rehabilitation.  Two tubs near the locker room can act as either cold tubs or hot tubs, with TVs to keep the players occupied.

The rehab area (top), the leisure area (bottom left) and the recovery area (bottom right).

The rehab area (top), the leisure area (bottom left) and the recovery area (bottom right).

Kentucky football tradition lines the first-floor halls that connect the larger rooms.  One wall features all of UK’s All-SEC and All-American performers.  Another shows each bowl team.  The most unique feature is the NFL wall.

With every NFL team represented by division, TVs in-between scroll through the names of UK players and the different teams they represented.  In the middle is a massive touch-screen that allows you to search for any player.  By selecting “First Round Draft Picks,” it shows each player picked.  Upon choosing a player, you can watch their highlights in the NFL or at Kentucky, and you can see their stats and a photo gallery.

The NFL Wall. The large screen in the middle is the interactive TV. You can see a close-up in the photo gallery after the jump.

The NFL Wall. The large screen in the middle is the interactive TV. You can see a close-up in the photo gallery after the jump.

There are also designated areas that appeal directly to prospective players.  The two that catch their attention most are the Gatorade bar and the Nike display.

The Nike display has every piece of UK-related gear you could imagine.  Recruiting coordinator Dan Berezowitz said recruits were WOWed just by the logo, before it was even filled with gear.  The Gatorade bar looks like something you’d see in a commercial.

Image-1-28

Before heading upstairs, to the right of the lobby is a new cafeteria.  It can sit 80 comfortably, giving room for players to come and go, or it can be a place to host recruits and their families for meals before a game.  On the other side of the glass wall is the hallway leading to the indoor facility.  Prominently pictured is UK’s Ring of Honor.

IMG_1419

If the ground floor is where the players physically enhance their game, upstairs is where they grow mentally.  The academic center is still under construction, but no longer will they have to make the long walk to the other side of campus to receive tutoring at Memorial Coliseum.

Around the corner are the coaches offices and meeting rooms.  Each position has their own meeting room, designed specifically for them.  The coaches offices are finished, but they will not be moving in until next week.  The coaches also have their own meeting rooms.  An offensive and defensive room looks like a conference center, while the main room connected to Coach Stoops’ office looks like something from a courthouse.  Whiteboards and screens are hidden behind wooden planks, while the assistants have a desk area that looks like a place where the jury would sit.

The second floor has a balcony area leading from the coaches’ offices where people can look out onto the practice fields.  There’s also a similar area to look over the weight room.  Called the “Cardio Deck,” sophisticated treadmills and exercise bikes overlook the area where the heavy lifting happens.

The massive second-floor team room that looks more like a movie theater.

The massive second-floor team room that looks more like a movie theater.

The practice fields are Bermuda grass, large enough to fit two football fields, with the capacity to change direction if needed.  On the far-side of the field lies the only part of the facility that will not be player-friendly — the running hill.

Turf will be laid on the pathway to the far left, allowing for them to simply run sprints.  That’s nothing compared to the stairs.  The middle strip will be used strictly for running, surrounded by larger platforms where players will perform plyometrics, jumping their way up the hill on a turf surface.

Instead of an ugly retaining wall, The Hill of Death was created.

Instead of an ugly retaining wall, The Hill of Death was created.

There is still some construction left to be done, but it will be ready to roll when training camp begins August 4.

You’ll see many pictures, but they will not do it justice.  This facility is a marvel, unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  That’s exactly what recruits are saying too.

After seeing it under construction. Berezowitz said their goal is to get the kids to come back for a second time, something that shouldn’t be a problem.  If they’ve traveled to other facilities, when they return to UK, nothing comes close.  After all, those that helped design this also design NFL facilities.

“These guys didn’t cut any corners,”  Berezowitz said.  “We’re at the top of technology in this building.”

The Football Training Center is helping the Cats move forward into the next generation of Kentucky football, while honoring the previous generations that wore the blue and white.

For more photos of how tradition is honored, and neat things like the barber shop, click below.

(more…)


PHOTOS: UK Football moves into its new state-of-the-art practice facility

@UKStoopsTroops

At 7 a.m. this morning, the Kentucky football team got to tour their new practice facility for the first time. As you might expect, it was a hit. Here’s a quick roundup of pictures from UK’s various social media accounts before the media gets to tour it tomorrow:

Lobby:

@UKStoopsTroops

Weight room:

@UKStoopsTroops

Sihiem King, JoJo Kemp, and Boom Williams (@UKStoopsTroops)

New locker room (for practice and games)

Ventilated lockers with phone chargers and cup holders:

@UKStoopsTroops

Jeff Badet and his new locker (@UKFootball)

Barber Shop:

@UKStoopsTroops

@UKAthletics

Team Meeting Room:

@UKAthletics

@UKStoopsTroops

Coach Stoops’ new office:

@UKStoopsTroops

(more…)


RANK the Top 10 Buzzer Beaters in UK Basketball History

RANK the Top 10 Buzzer Beaters in UK Basketball History

clutchshots

On today’s show, the guys took a break from the RNC proceedings to rank the best buzzer beaters in modern UK Basketball history. It’s a fun topic and today’s a slow news day, so I thought we’d bring that debate over to the website. There are a lot of contenders, but here is my Top 10:

1. Aaron Harrison, Wisconsin (2014 Final Four)

Aaron saved his best buzzer beater for last. I still get chills when I watch this clip.

2. Aaron Harrison, Michigan (2014 Elite Eight)

Even with a hand in his face, Stone Cold Aaron drained this three to take Kentucky to the Final Four. After a similar shot by Aaron vs. Louisville, this is when UK’s run started to feel like fate.

3. Brandon Knight, Ohio State (2011 Sweet 16)

Like Knight, this shot is always underrated and underappreciated.

4. Aaron Harrison, Louisville (2014 Sweet 16)

This shot gave Kentucky the lead for good after a huge comeback vs. defending national champion Louisville. I fully admit that, against any other team, it would be lower on this list, but Louisville is Louisville, and the celebration in Indy that night was one for the ages.

5. DeMarcus Cousins, Mississippi State (2010 SEC Championship)

Otherwise known as the shot that made my husband a UK fan. The best part? Boogie and Wall thought they had won the game, when really, that shot only forced overtime.

6. Nazr Mohammed, at Vanderbilt (1998)

Some may have this shot lower on their lists, but I was a HUGE Nazr fan growing up and watching that improbable floater fall through the net and the ensuing chaos was just awesome. Remember Tubby rushing the team off the court? And Heshimu Evans “Superman” celebration? Classic.

7. Patrick Sparks, Michigan State (2005 Elite Eight)

This shot forced overtime vs. Michigan State in the 2005 Elite Eight, and even though Michigan State went on to win that game in double overtime, Sparks’ three was one for the ages.

(TIE) 8. Cameron Mills and Scott Padgett, Duke (1998 Elite Eight)

Not a buzzer-beater, but a clutch shot all the same. Padgett’s three with 39.4 seconds left to give Kentucky the lead for good was even bigger:

9. Sean Woods, Duke (1992 Elite Eight)

Laettner’s shot will always steal the headlines from this game, but Woods’ shot to take the lead with 2.1 seconds left should not be ignored. (Warning: the rest of that clip includes “You-Know-What,” so keep your finger on the pause button.)

10. Jeff Brassow, Arizona (1993 Maui Invitational)

Look how young Rick looks!

Honorable Mention: Brandon Knight vs. Princeton (2011 NCAA Tournament), Cedric Jenkins vs. Louisville (1987), Anthony Epps vs. Arizona (1997 National Championship game), Kenny Walker vs. Charles Barkley & Auburn (1984 SEC Tournament)


I’m sure most of you disagree with this list, but luckily, the wonders of technology allow you to weigh in on your favorites. Rank your Top 10 below:


(Anna Negron, U.S. Army All-American Bowl)

2016 Kentucky Football: The Show Me Season

cws1

There’s a reason why people joke there’s an ancient Indian burial ground underneath Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky football and its fans have been trapped in a cruel cycle of inflated hopes and dashed dreams ever since Bear Bryant took off for greener pastures in 1954. In the 62 years since Bear left, the program has had only three seasons in which it won nine or more games. In the past 30 years, UK has only been to eight bowl games, the second worst mark in the SEC behind Vanderbilt. It’s a tale as old as time: just when you think the Cats are ready to pull themselves out of the SEC cellar, some cruel twist of fate comes along to stomp on their fingers.

The past two seasons have been the perfect case study. Not only did Kentucky come up just short of bowl eligibility with losses to arch rival Louisville each go around, there have been just enough moments of ecstasy to make the impending moments of agony that much more painful. Be honest: when Mark Stoops said, “We’re just getting started, bro,” after upsetting Steve Spurrier and South Carolina in 2014, you believed him…only to have your hopes crushed when Kentucky went 1-6 the rest of the season. But hey, these are the pains of rebuilding in the SEC, right? After another win over South Carolina in 2015 — on the road, to boot! — it seemed like the Cats were on the right path once again, only to be derailed by perennial soul-crusher Florida. Two wins later, things were looking up as Stoops and company had every opportunity to beat Auburn on a primetime Thursday night stage, but choked. From there, a series of befuddling errors marred the season, most notably four squandered goal-line opportunities vs. Vanderbilt and a 21-point lead over Louisville blown to pieces by poor execution. After watching the Cards score 31 unanswered points in Commonwealth Stadium to end UK’s season for the second year in a row, it’s been pretty hard to get up off the mat, even for a fanbase as weathered as ours.

That’s why I’m declaring this the “Show Me” season for Kentucky football, and not just because they likely have to beat Missouri to make a bowl. Outside of the perpetually positive hardcore UK Football fans, the rest of fanbase seems to be firmly in “wait and see” mode. Season ticket sales are way down from previous years, and, if you judge by the hits on football articles on KSR, the only thing worse than negativity may be indifference. Critics like to accuse KSR of “sunshine-pumping” the program, but we’re coming upon the time of year in which I inevitably follow heart over head due to excitement and I’m going into Saturday’s Women’s Clinic guarded. Don’t get me wrong, I want nothing more than for Mark Stoops to succeed at Kentucky, and he finally has all of the building blocks in place: renovated stadium, state-of-the-art practice facility, etc. But, without wins, it’s all for naught, and I’ve read the “we’ve turned the corner” script too many times before.

With that being said, here’s what I’ll be looking for on Saturday at the Women’s Clinic:

Barker-MediaDay

Does Drew Barker resemble a leader?

I’ll admit it: I bought in to the Drew Barker hype, hook, line, and sinker. After months of talking to Drew over the phone for his diary on the site, I was blown away by his maturity, focus, and vision for the UK Football program. Well, after a tumultuous freshman year, it looked like we were all wrong about the kid who was heralded to be the future of the program, but hey, kids make mistakes, and Drew spent plenty of time in Stoops’ doghouse. Last year, Drew appeared ready to put the past behind him and won the starting job from Patrick Towles the final two games of the season; however, he never really resembled a leader. Even with the reins of the offense in hand, Drew didn’t seem sure of himself, and was actually benched for Towles towards the end of the Louisville game.

With Towles now out of the picture, it will be interesting to see whether Barker fully embraces the role of leader, and, more importantly, if his teammates respond to him. Kentucky cannot afford another locker room divide, so, if Barker is there, I’ll be watching his interactions with fans and teammates, and if he’s not, I’ll be listening to hear what the coaches say about him. It’s a far cry from seeing him lead the team on the field, but I think you can tell a lot about a person’s character by their demeanor in these settings.


Does the Training Facility really have that “WOW” factor?

As in, ‘I’m an 18-year-old five-star recruit with offers from schools way more prestigious than Kentucky, but “WOW,” that training facility will cause me to give this place a second look.’

Kentucky doesn’t have the tradition or record of other programs, so to snare some big-time stars, things like a renovated stadium, a state-of-the-art practice facility, and, yes, uniforms matter. Those who attend the women’s clinic will get the chance to tour the facility and see the new uniforms, so I’m hoping to be wowed.


(Anna Negron, U.S. Army All-American Bowl)

(Anna Negron, U.S. Army All-American Bowl)

The in-state trio (Landon Young, Kash Daniel, Drake Jackson)

We’ve gotten our hopes up for home state heroes before, and at the risk of doing it again, it seems like the trio of Landon Young, Kash Daniel, and Drake Jackson is just…different. The three spearheaded the 2016 recruiting class, and both Kash and Drake enrolled early to get a leg up on preparing for their freshman seasons. While Drake is likely to redshirt and we’ve heard it’s taken Kash some time to adjust to the college game, Landon might start immediately. As with Drew, I’ll be watching to see how they interact with others. Judging by Twitter, we know they’re not shrinking violets. (I just hope Landon doesn’t feel the need to teach us about frog gigging 😝)


Courtesy: 24-7 Sports

Courtesy: 247 Sports

Who’s the leader on Defense?

Judging by SEC Media Days, it’s Courtney Love, one of the three players Stoops chose to represent the program. Since the days of Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith, I think you can argue there’s been a lack of leadership on defense, and everyone seems to be pointing at Love, a transfer, to fill the void. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Love yet, so I hope to hear from him at the clinic.


Any focus on or mention of Special Teams

It’s no secret that UK’s special teams have been a bit of a mess the past few years. In fact, you could argue they were the most frustrating unit on the field last season, which is saying something considering the others. After a million fans lobbied for the job on Twitter, Stoops finally caved in and hired a special teams coordinator over the offseason, former Pitt defensive coordinator Matt House, who will also oversee inside linebackers. Can House restore some order to a troubled unit? I’ll be listening.


What will JoJo Kemp do this year?

Heading in to his freshman year, JoJo Kemp proved to the ladies at the 2013 Women’s Clinic that he’s game for anything, pulling up his shirt during a uniform presentation to show off his abs. Now a senior, JoJo has matured, but he’s still a wildcard. Clearly the vocal leader of the team, JoJo charmed reporters at SEC Media Days and, if he’s there, I’m sure he’ll do the same on Saturday.

Want to join me at the Clinic? There are still spots available.


UK’s 2016-2017 Non-Conference Schedule in its entirety

UK’s 2016-2017 Non-Conference Schedule in its entirety

201617ncs

Get our your calendars, BBN: the 2016-2017 non-conference schedule is complete. Read it and weep for joy that basketball is on the horizon once again.

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 2.14.14 PM

Eight of this year’s non-conference foes made it to the postseason last year and four teams finished with a top 25 RPI ranking. The schedule features a stable of blue bloods, including Michigan State, UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas, and Louisville, the latter of which will host the Cats in their first true road game at the Yum! Center on December 21, the first time since 2006-2007 the two have met before Christmas. Kentucky will criss-cross the country, traveling to New York twice, the Bahamas, and Las Vegas before returning to the Bluegrass to take on Louisville and prepare for conference play.

Times and TV information will be released at a later date.


Visitors in Lexington for the Football Recruiting Summer Finale

UK’s only 2018 commit, QB Jarren Williams, via Scout.

After hosting a variety of camps over the last two months, camp season comes to an end at the University of Kentucky this weekend before the real football season begins.

Today there’s a 7-on-7 team competition for high schools and a lineman camp for the big boys.  Tomorrow’s Sunday Night Lights Camp at Commonwealth Stadium is the coaching staff’s last effort to roll out the red carpet for their top targets.  Here’s a look at who is going in and out of Lexington this weekend.

Current Commits 

OL Austin Dotson — The Belfry native impressed throughout the day.

WR Joshua Ali — The Cats’ most recent commit, from Florida.

LB Jamin Davis — The OLB has been a long-time commit, but UofL is trying to swoop in for a steal.

ATH Tyrell Ajian — The 4-star athlete will likely play safety at UK; autocorrect will likely ruin the spelling of his last name at least a dozen times before he’s at UK.

WR Javonte Richardson — The WR is one of the highest ranked commitments they’ve ever received.

QB Jarren Williams — UK’s only commit in 2018 is making the trip for the first time since pledging to Kentucky.

Commitment Watch

There’s plenty of buzz about a potential commitment coming from Stoops’ hometown.  Lynn Bowden is a 4-star Youngstown athlete that dominates both sides of the ball at running back and cornerback.  Vince Marrow and Mark Stoops are trying to convince him to stick the hometown guys instead of opting for Penn State or Michigan State.

Bowden breaks off defenders during the regular season, via Tribune Chronicle.

Top 2017 Targets

DE MJ Webb — The #8 strong-side defensive end in the class, Webb is probably the highest-ranked recruit in attendance.  He has offers from everybody, yet UK remains at the top of his list near South Carolina, Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama.

WR Danny Davis — The 4-star 6’3″ Ohio wideout is ranked in the top 250 nationally for Fairfield High in Ohio.  Penn State, Michigan State and West Virginia are also at the top of his list.

DE BJ Sharpe — A 3-star on the strong side, Jimmy Brumbaugh spent some extra time with the Georgia native who already has an offer from Alabama.

FS Ahman Ross — The former Miami commit and Mac Jones’ high school teammate is expected to be in town tomorrow.

DE Josh Johnson — A 6’5″ 245-pound native of Peachtree, Georgia, Johnson has yet to receive any major offers.

WR Justin Marshall — UK isn’t included in his top ten and UofL is considered a favorite, but anything can happen, right?

DT Emmanuel McNeil — The 3-star bruiser holds offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State and many more.  His high school quarterback, Jarren Williams, is committed to UK.

RB Morgan Ellison — A Pickerington Central teammate of Jaylin Bannerman’s, the 3-star running back does not currently hold an offer from Kentucky.

FS Hunter Sims — Also considered an “athlete,” he’s teammates with Jarren Williams’ Central Gwinnett, competing in the 7-on-7 tournament.

FS Tariq Carpenter — The speedster from Florida has committed to play for UCF.

Webb Tweeted from @mwebb_8, “Should I be Stoops next Troop?”

Young Guns

DE Malik Vann — The Fairfield, Ohio native ranked tenth at his position in the class of 2018 is also considering Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State.

WR Johnny Fritz — UK was the first offer for the tall 2018 St. Cloud, Fl. wide receiver.

CB Andre Seldon Jr. — From the Detroit area, he was offered by UK before playing a game in high school.

DE Stephen Herron Jr. — A Trinity freshman last fall, Justin Rowland believes an offer could be coming soon.


KSR’s Coverage from a Week at SEC Media Days

The only group picture of the week, featuring our friend from Pensacola, KSR fan Todd Adamson.

The only group picture of the week, featuring our friend from Pensacola, KSR fan Todd Adamson.

After four days and 14 press conferences, SEC Media Days 2016 has come to a close.  Freddie and I created plenty of content, all of which you can find below.

UK’s Media Days Appearance

Stoops is prepared to move forward.  They’ve been close; they’re tired of being close.  With a secondary full of future superstars and a starting quarterback he can trust, the Cats are ready to prove they’ve developed a winning culture.

Freddie’s takeaways from what Mark Stoops had to say at the podium of the Main Media Room.  If you want to see everything Stoops had to say, click here.

The Cats came to Hoover to spread a positive message.  While preaching positivity, they specifically addressed three areas of concern: the defensive line, linebackers and leadership.  Stoops intimately discussed the plight and progress of one of his most important players — Matt Elam.

Nobody was more entertaining on the microphone than Bret Bielema.  Old Iowa running mates with Mark Stoops, the two traded jabs, creating Stoops’ best quote from Media Days.

Through all four days there wasn’t a more entertaining player that took the stage than JoJo Kemp.  Kemp impressed the national media with his honesty, and his dance moves.

We wouldn’t let the players get all of the pub.  Freddie and I found our way onto the ESPN/SEC Network sets more than once during our stay.

Freddie’s Preview of Day Three is eerily spot-on.  It’s like he’s a soothsayer or something.

In the first press conference of the week, Greg Sankey gave UK a few shoutouts.

The preseason depth chart was released in the new media guide.  You can see our takeaways from Birmingham, and Drew’s view from home.

Freddie Scouts UK’s SEC Opponents

After assessing each team, Freddie shares his final thoughts from what he describes as a “bucket list experience.”

SEC Media Days Shenanigans

Smooth move, ESPN.

Smooth move, ESPN.

It was a strange, surreal scene in the Hyatt lobby before Alabama arrived.  See what happened when the Crimson Tide entered the building and hear from the infamous Alabama Ring Guy.

Alabama Ring Guy has gained some notoriety, but there isn’t a more famous SEC fan than the Mississippi Stingray.  I spent my morning speaking to Miss. State’s Stingray Steve about a variety of subjects from around the conference, and I grabbed Marcus Spears’ ear to hear what he thinks lies ahead for Kentucky football.  

After two days in Hoover, there were a few things bugging me.  I tried my best to answer lingering questions, but I still can’t figure out why Dan Mullen thinks we care about his Yeezys.

There’s plenty of coach-speak coming from the podium of the Main Media Room.  I did my best to count all of the coaching cliches from day one.

Before we really got rolling, Freddie correctly predicted that suspensions would dominate the conversation this week, and ranked the best uniforms in the conference.

Pokemon have swept the nation and there weren’t any exceptions for SEC Media Days.  Luckily, I was there to save Media Days from all of the Pokemon.

Podcasts from Hoover

Before the event began, we got off to a rough start.  Freddie’s computer broke and we got soaked by an Alabama thunderstorm.  Luckily, we found a way to recover.

We hit the ground running on the first day, meeting Paul Finebaum, encountering a few crazy fans and honestly believing Vanderbilt was the best of the bunch.  You really want to hear why we think Vandy is scarier than you’d think.

I died before the Day Two podcast, but I still wasn’t as bad as Dan Mullen.

Recapping a hectic Day Three that featured Bret Bielema, Nick Saban and YOUR University of Kentucky Wildcats.

If that’s two much listening for you, Freddie and I join The Matt Jones Podcast to discuss the week’s events in a much more condensed format.


SEC Media Days Final Observations

I depart Hoover with a bucket list checkmark and a better understanding of all things SEC. First, the league puts on a first-class event in Hoover. Equating the event to herding cats, there was law and order amongst organized chaos.

— The most underappreciated football support departments are the Sports Information folks. Susan Lax and Tony Neely had a monstrous task of managing four schedules that stretched over four hours and six separate interview rooms. Hat tip to UK’s SID Department.

— The student athletes impressed. Nicely dressed, their remarks were heartfelt, compassionate, and articulated with composure. Given the troubling state of American current events, these young men were asked difficult societal questions. They inspirationally answered with thoughtful remarks. Was extremely proud of the student-athletes.

— SEC Football is a monster. The media horde numbered 1,500 registered hacks, television talking heads, and an immense number of Radio Rons. As the league’s economic engine, football flexed its collective muscles to remind the rest of college athletics that SEC Football reigns supreme.

— I’m still disappointed in Mississippi State. This bothers me greatly. Dan Mullen is a brilliant, tremendous football coach. AD Scott Stricklin is a Barnhart disciple that I highly respect. The Jeffrey Simmons situation remains systematically worrisome. However, it was a mere precursor to the win at all costs theme that resonated throughout SEC Media Days.

— Deservingly so, Nick Saban is the undisputed King of the SEC. Five national championships and being the unofficial host university earned royal treatment. I questioned how he would handle the offseason issues involving All-American OT Cameron Robinson and Hootie Jones. While in the main media room, church league type softball questions were served up to Coach Process. That was until the now viral Finebaum Show blowup. I get it. Nick was taking up for his players and I appreciate internal corrective actions that are in place to educate both Robinson and Jones, but come on, Paul was merely stating the obvious when referencing suspensions. As much respect as I have for Saban the football coach, I felt that Finebaum was absolutely in the right.

— Given the serious nature of Suspension Season, I started to debate the feasibility of appointing a college football commissioner. On one hand, I support university and league autonomy, but with the advent of the college football playoff, I can only foresee more and more deviant behavior leading to lesser and lesser suspensions. Synchronizing corrective action by a singular committee or individual could help even the playing field. At a minimum, the Power 5 conferences should be on the same page as far as admitting student-athletes and approving transfers when dealing with players with legal issues. I’m all for second and, at times, third chances. This slippery slope is only going to get slicker.

— The crazy lobby folks were fun, but, I caught on to a few of their scams. I saw the same folks dressed in different team gear on separate days. These cats had bags of hats, footballs, pictures, you name it. I’m no detective, but I’d guess that autographed items may already be on eBay.

— The food was amazing. From grits to fried chicken, the SEC knows how to feed the masses. Kudos.

— Boss Hog Bret Bielema has been by far the most entertaining coach. Kentucky’s own JoJo Kemp currently owns the title belt as the media’s favorite player. JoJo was funny, original, honest, and even showed off his dance moves.

— There were several future professional football players in attendance. These elite athletes had distinct commonalities: defined focus, seriousness, motivation, and a glowing aura of humble accomplishment. From Auburn’s Carl Lawson, A&M’s Myles Garrett, Mizzou’s Charles Harris, to UK’s Jon Toth and more; there was just something different about these folks that is hard to describe. The old saying applies, elite athletes don’t have to tell you that they are elite, you can just see and feel it.

— I’d like to thank Matt Jones and Kentucky Sports Radio for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Words can’t describe how much this trip meant to me. Bucket list item checked.


The only group picture of the week, featuring our friend from Pensacola, KSR fan Todd Adamson.

On the Road: UK at SEC Media Days Recap

SEC Media Days is coming to a close with a climactic third day featuring a fight with Finebaum and Saban, an entertaining Bret Bielema and YOUR Kentucky Wildcats.  You’ve read plenty, but now you get to hear about our conversations with the UK representatives and what happened behind the scenes.  Highlight include:

—  The winners, Jojo Kemp and Bret Bielema, and the loser, Nick Saban.

—  Mark Stoops and Matt Elam, the most overlooked portion of Media Day.

—  Finding our way onto the SEC Network.

—  Freddie’s iPhone playlist.

To listen, just subscribe to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or stream on Podbay.

FullSizeRender-32


Getty Images

Tywanna Patterson tells story of meeting with Billy Gillispie and Mitch Barnhart

Getty Images

Getty Images

Tywanna Patterson, one of the most beloved of all UK basketball mothers, was a special guest on this morning’s The Leach Report with Larry Vaught filling in for Tom Leach as the show’s host. Mama Patterson had a lot to say about her son, Patrick Patterson, playing for another Wildcat alum, Dwane Casey, with the Raptors in Toronto.

The conversation then turned toward Patrick’s recruitment and Billy Gillispie, who coached Patrick in his first two seasons in Lexington. She shared a story of Gillispie forcing Patrick to continue running with blood coming through his shoes, and then she opened up about meeting with Gillispie after a game, which led to meeting with Mitch Barnhart about Gillispie.

Really candid stuff here:

I did call a meeting with Coach Gillispie, and my husband and I were in the meeting with him and another assistant — we had just lost a game because he changed it up at the very last minute and I was like, ‘Why did you do that? We were winning. We were winning.’ He was like, ‘Well if I had to do it all over again, I would do the same thing.’

He was very trite and very — kind of like mean — and I just lost it. I said some not-so-nice things to him and my husband let me say what I had to say. He was like, ‘Buster are you going to let your wife talk to me this way?’ (Buster) was like, ‘That’s between you and my wife. She has the right to speak her mind. You don’t want to hear from me.’

So, one thing led to another, and after that moment, that’s when I realized I had lost respect for him as a coach. Things started happening and happening, and I’m like, I can’t have my son on this team with this man. But I didn’t want him to sit out a year, and he decided to stick it out. But I’m like, after this is over, this can’t happen. So I went to Barnhart and told him some things and he was like, ‘Not to worry, not to worry. Just wait until this season is over. Hang in there.’ And I told him what was happening to some of the other players, because I was in touch with the moms, and they didn’t want to say anything; they came to me, I guess because I’m outspoken. But I’m like, this has to change. This is not working. So, and it did. Thank God it did.”

Listen to the entire interview between Tywanna and Larry Vaught in the show’s podcast below. Tywanna comes in about halfway through the show, after another good interview with Paul Karem.


How Kentucky Integrated SEC Football: The Valiant Foursome

How Kentucky Integrated SEC Football: The Valiant Foursome

natenorthington

Nate Northington

Disconcertingly, in the not so distant past, Nate Northington, Greg Page, Houston Hogg, and Wilbur Hackett Jr. were forgotten Kentucky heroes. Fifty years later, that wrong is being righted.

In the winter of 1965, Louisville native Nate Northington and Middlesboro’s Greg Page became the first African-Americans to sign football scholarships with the University of Kentucky. In September 1967, Nate Northington integrated SEC Football when he played three minutes of game action against Ole Miss. Those three short minutes were momentous, but accompanied by tragedy. The night before, his teammate and friend Greg Page tragically passed away due to injuries sustained in a practice 38 days prior.

Greg Page

Greg Page

Nate Northington eventually transferred to Western Kentucky. Prior to his exit, he convinced his African-American teammates Houston Hogg and Wilbur Hackett to stay at UK and to finish what he and Page had started. History was made again as Hogg and Hackett were the first two African-American athletes in the SEC to complete their eligibility. The trailblazing continued in 1969 when Wilbur Hackett became the SEC’s first African-American team captain in any sport.

wilburhackett

Wilbur Hackett, Jr.

In September, the University of Kentucky will unveil a statue honoring the foursome. The block and mortar figure will be located at Commonwealth Stadium; however, the legacy of Nate Northington, Greg Page, Houston Hogg, and Wilbur Hackett will forever live through the plethora of doors they opened and color barrier walls they knocked down with their bravery.

In addition to the statue, a documentary movie is in the works. The feature will be directed by Academy Award winner Paul Wagner and is titled “Black in Blue.” In addition to Wagner, the foursome’s former teammate Paul Karem has been vigilant in his mission to see his peers honored. Countless hours of discussions have resulted in both the statue and movie. Kentucky Sports Radio received a sneak peek at the movie, you can see for yourself below:

Black in Blue Trailer from Paul Wagner on Vimeo.

After months of research, I have to say that the story of Northington, Page, Hogg, and Hackett moved my emotions to the point of anger, happiness, bitterness, confusion, and achievement. I could never pretend to understand the unthinkable atrocities the foursome endured in order to ensure those that came after could chase their dreams; however, I can say without reservation that I have an infinite amount of respect for their courage, honor, and valor. A statue, movie, or a simple “Thank You” just isn’t enough; but at least it’s a start.

houstonhogg

Houston Hogg

Coming soon on the Matt Jones Podcast, Matt will speak to Nate Northington and Wilbur Hackett Jr. as they tell their incredible story. In closing, let us never forget their inspiration that will stand for all of eternity.

For more information, please go to the documentary’s website:  blackinblue.org


Night One at the Peach Jam

Night One at the Peach Jam

IMG_1194

I had no idea what I was walking into.  “Organized chaos” is a great basketball cliche but it’s appropriate for the crammed gymnasiums in North Augusta, South Carolina.

I saw a tip dunk (almost) game-winner, I saw a point guard dunk on 6’9″ Billy Preston (who nearly broke his finger) that caused the game to temporarily stop, and I saw a lot of coaches awkwardly crossing their legs.  And this was only three sessions on night one.  Here are a few observations, just remember that any player observations are from an extremely small sample size.

Diallo’s Defense

I haven’t done this for very long, but he plays a brand of defense you rarely see at this level. He’s nagging, annoying, always in his opponent’s face.

He does the little things that some people might consider cheap, but I consider it a skill. When he needed to draw a foul, he placed his head near Kevin Knox’s elbow. He checked people near sidelines to retain possession or to prevent a run-out. He has an attitude about him that I appreciate (one I’m sure blue collar fans will too).  The hardest hit of the day happened when his almost-block took Kevin Knox to the ground and into the bleachers.

He has some work to do on offense. I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly, but he struggled to finish tonight. If you want an easy UK comparison, call him DeAndre Liggins. I won’t call him that, because I think there’s more there offensively, but you can call him that for now.

Cats on the Cover

Trey Lyles and Devin Booker graced the cover of the EYBL program.

image

Team Petty Teammates

John Petty and P.J. Washington haven’t lost since they’ve teamed up.  After watching their first game tonight, I can see why.

Petty has bounce.  He’s listed as a small forward, but he was smaller than I expected. It didn’t keep him from penetrating the paint for a few explosive dunks, taking a couple of big lumps in the process. Once the got the wind knocked out of him and they made him leave the game for a play, even though he tried to stay in. His first step is quick and I can’t think of another way to describe him other than “bouncy.”

I couldn’t get a good read on P.J. Washington after one game. The power forward was solid in his first game, but his ready play doesn’t jump off the page immediately…except for one play. Noticing a bigger defender, he ripped the ball at the top of the key, beyond the 6’11” center and right to the rim for an And 1.  A powerful post, I’m anxious to watch his development throughout the weekend.

They also have a Jarnell Stokes look alike.  A massive lower body with huge feet to support his frame, I could have sworn he was related to Stokes.  I was correct; Isaiah Stokes is Jarnell’s younger brother.

All of the Players UK Watched Today

  • Mohamed Bamba & Quade Green
  •  Hamidou Diallo & Kevin Knox
  • Trae Young
  • P.J. Washington, John Petty &Marvin Bagley
  • DeAndre Ayton
  • Tremont Waters & Nick Richards

Those are the only places I could catch Cal.  Just when you think you know where he is, he disappears.

Kevin Knox is Great

This class is stocked with terrific talents at small forward, but none of them have Knox’s elite athleticism. He has length and strength, making him great on defense, and he attacks the basket with tenacity. His jump shot is smooth, with an exceptional midrange game and a decent three-point shot. His one weakness – he dribbles more than I’d like in traffic, but that doesn’t mean he can’t handle the ball in the open floor to run the fast break.

The EYBL Care Package

There’s plenty of Nike gear for all of the kids, but these Kobe 11’s are the pieces de resistance.

FullSizeRender

Point Guard Play

Trae Young was smooth. I didn’t get to catch much, but his maintained smooth control throughout, similar to Quade Green (who I’ll see more of tomorrow). Green remains in control, but nobody is smoother than Young. He has an overt swagginess that helps you immediately understand why he’s Calipari’s preferred point guard.

Tremont Waters performed at a high level.  When the game got close, he took control, helping his team to an overtime win with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.


KSR Previews the 2016 Peach Jam

Beginning tomorrow evening the nation’s most talented prep stars will descend upon North Augusta, South Carolina for the Peach Jam, a.k.a. the Nike National Championships.  The first day of the open recruiting period is also the first day of the tournament.

It’s not a matter of if the Kentucky coaches will be there, it’s a matter of how many coaches will be in attendance.  All 14 members of the class of 2017 with UK offers will be at the Peach Jam.  Here’s the lowdown on a few of them and the best games on the schedule.

UK’s Top Targets

 

DeAndre Ayton

Power Forward

7′, 235 lbs.
AAU team: California Supreme
247Sports Composite: No. 1 overall, No. 1 PF

Leaders: Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, Arizona and Arizona State

 

Buzz: The No. 1 player in America is an athletic 7-footer that does it all.  He can shoot threes, drive from the top of the key or play with his back to the basket.  The Bahamian has had a peculiar recruiting process.  At one point, he said that everyone had stopped recruiting him other than Kansas, but that’s no longer the case.  He’s a rare talent that will surely do something amazing during the Peach Jam.

 

Mohamed Bamba

Power Forward

7′, 210 lbs.
AAU team: PSA Cardinals
247Sports Composite: No. 2 overall, No. 2 PF

Leaders: Duke, Kentucky, Arizona, UCONN and Villanova

Buzz:  Bamba’s breakout performance came against Ayton at the EYBL’s first event in Brooklyn.  John Calipari quickly became a fan, but unfortunately a foot injury sidelined him for most of the EYBL season.  He is expected to play this weekend alongside Quade Green.  PSA’s point guard has created quite the buzz lately, visiting campus last week where he received an offer.  Mrs. Tyler has more on Green here.

 

Wendell Carter 

Power Forward

6’10’, 260 lbs.
AAU team: CP3
247Sports Composite: No. 4 overall, No. 3 PF

Leaders: Duke, Kentucky, Harvard, Alabama and Auburn

 

 

Buzz:  Carter is another player in this class with a curious recruiting case.  Duke and Kentucky often compete against one another for recruits, but this is new territory for Harvard.  I’m sure their coaches will not miss one of his games.  Unlike Ayton and Bamba, they’ll see a physical power forward that positions his body well in the post.

 

Hamidou Diallo

Shooting Guard

6’5″, 195 lbs.
AAU team: New York Rens
247Sports Composite: No. 7 overall, No. 1 SG

Leaders: Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and UCONN

Buzz:  The lengthy shooting guard from Queens, NY is an elite defender on the perimeter, but he still has some work to do with his offensive game on the outside.  This summer he struggled to shoot the three ball, but John Calipari liked what he saw long before that, offering Diallo in April.

 

John Petty 

Small Forward

6’7″, 180 lbs.
AAU team: Team Penny
247Sports Composite: No. 25 overall, No. 8 SF

Leaders: Kentucky, Alabama and Auburn

 

Buzz:  The Huntsville, Alabama native was the first person in the 2017 class to receive a scholarship offer from John Calipari.  Other than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Calipari hasn’t successfully recruited many true small forwards.  In order to turn the tide, he’ll have to do what he did with Malik Monk — convince him to leave his home state.

 

P.J. Washington 

Power Forward

6’8″, 225 lbs.
AAU team: Team Penny
247Sports Composite: No. 16 overall, No. 7 PF

Leaders: Kentucky, Texas, Arizona, Cal, Michigan State and UNC

 

Buzz:  Team Penny hasn’t lost a game since John Petty joined forces with Washington.  The tandem of forwards are explosive, blowing teams out of the gym.  Washington brings a little power while Petty prefers the finesse.  Even though Kentucky wasn’t very involved with Washington early, that’s no longer the case.  Ben Roberts has a fun fact about Washington: the Texas native was actually born in Louisville.

 

Jarred Vanderbilt 

Small Forward

6’8″, 200 lbs.
AAU team: Houston Hoops 
247Sports Composite: No. 14 overall, No. 5 SF

Leaders: Kentucky, Texas and Kansas

 

 

Buzz:  You’re probably pretty familiar with Vanderbilt.  He’s played in the state of Kentucky at least six times over the last year for Victory Prep.  If you’ve watched him, you’ve seen a baby MKG.  An elite, lengthy defender, he creates for others with his defense and exceptional passing.  He handles the ball well and can get to the rim, but his jump shot still needs work.  Blue collar Kentucky fans would love to see him in a blue and white uniform, but his decision is still a ways away.

 

Trae Young

Point Guard

6’2″, 175 lbs.
AAU team: Mokan Elite
247Sports Composite: No. 20 overall, No. 3 PG

Leaders: Kentucky, Duke, Oklahoma, OK. State & Kansas

Buzz:  If there’s one player Cal can’t afford to miss out on, it’s Trae Young.  He’s pushed his chips all in, and for good reason.  Young has been called “the best shooter on the circuit,” routinely dropping 35-footers like Steph Curry.  Smoother than blue suede shoes, there isn’t a player I’m more excited to see.  To learn more on Young, click here.

Other Names to Keep an Eye On

  • Lonnie Walker- The #3 SG in the class plays for Team Final.
  • Gary Trent Jr.- Howard Pulley’s premier player is an early Duke-lean.
  • Tremont Waters-  The #2 PG plays for Expressions Elite.  
  • Nick Richards- Waters’ 7-foot center for EE, he goes to the same high school as MKG.
  • Kevin Knox- The #6 player in America and #2 small forward.
  • Collin Sexton- The combo guard’s stock is rising, but he still doesn’t have a UK offer.

Games to Watch

Wednesday

Houston Hoops (Vanderbilt) vs. CP3 (Wendell Carter), 5:30

Wendell Carter’s first game won’t be an easy one, matching up against the #11 player in the nation, Billy Preston.

E1T1 (Kevin Knox) vs. The Rens (Hamidou Diallo), 7:00 

Diallo is considered an elite perimeter defender.  It will be put to the test from the start against Knox, who’s ranked #6 overall, the second-best small forward in the class.

King James vs. Mokan Elite (Trae Young), 7:00

You better believe that Kentucky’s coaches will be there to see Young in action.  They might have to split some time to see Diallo, but if Young is rolling I won’t be able to leave the court.

Expressions Elite (Tremont Waters, Nick Richards) vs. Team Takeover, 8:30

Richards and Waters are an interesting combo.  Maybe not top priorities at the moment, but one, if not both could become important pieces to the ’17 class.

Thursday

Team Penny (P.J. Washington, John Petty) vs. Pro Skills, 11:00

There’s UK targets playing on all four courts in the morning session, but this one might be the most exciting.

Mokan (Young) vs. Expressions Elite (Waters, Richards), 12:30

Two of Calipari’s top point guard targets go head-to-head.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Cal Supreme (DeAndre Ayton) vs. Phoenix Phamily (Marvin Bagley), 2:00  

The #1 player in 2017, Ayton, goes up against the #1 player in 2018, Marvin Bagley, a pair of 7-foot centers.

Houston Hoops (Vanderbilt) vs. The Rens (Diallo), 6:30

The two swingmen will probably guard one another.  It’ll be interesting to see which defender can produce the most points.

Expressions Elite (Richards, Waters) vs. Howard Pulley (Gary Trent Jr.), 8:00

Gary Trent Jr. will need to put up a ton of points for a win, so it’ll be an interesting watch.

Friday

St. Louis Eagles (Jeremiah Tilmon) vs. Phoenix Phamily (Bagley), 10:30

Tilmon is a powerful post from Indiana.  A big performance against Bagley could attract more attention from top-tier programs.

Team Penny (Petty, Washington) vs. Cal Supreme (Ayton), 12:00  

There probably won’t be a more high-powered matchup in the entire tournament.

Team Final (Lonnie Walker) vs. The Rens (Diallo), 7:30

A matchup of the top two shooting guards in America should be a fun sight to see.

After pool play the tournament portion takes place on Saturday.  You can watch the finals on ESPNU Sunday at 2:00.

Follow @RoushKSR for updates. You can also check out stats, scores and the schedule here.


Get to Know the 2017 Prospects: Quade Green

Get to Know the 2017 Prospects: Quade Green

quadegreen-gtk

With what is likely to be a roster overhaul on the horizon, the 2017 recruiting class is crucial to Kentucky’s success over the next several years. With that in mind, KSR will introduce you to John Calipari’s top targets in the 2017 class over the course of the summer. Here’s who we’ve profiled so far:

Next up: the player who just received an offer from John Calipari today, Quade Green.


Vitals

Quade Green
Point Guard | 6-1 | 170 lbs.
Philadelphia, PA | Neumann-Goretti
EYBL: PSA Cardinals
★★★★★
ESPN No. 22 | 3 PG Top247 No. 32 | 4 PG
Rivals No. 25 Scout No. 25 | 4 PG

The other contenders

Duke, Syracuse, Villanova, Louisville, Michigan State, Kansas, Maryland, Arizona, and about a half dozen others

Kentucky, Duke, Syracuse, Villanova, and Maryland are considered the frontrunners at this point.

Background

You could argue that no player has had a better spring and summer so far than Quade Green. The Philadelphia native leads the Nike EYBL in assists (10.5) and steals (2.9) and also averages 14.1 points per game; as a result, he’s picked up offers from Duke and Kentucky in the past two weeks. Green, EYBL teammates with fellow UK target Mohamed Bamba, is the third point guard in the 2017 class that Calipari’s offered behind Trae Young and Tremont Waters, and although the staff is clearly zeroed in on Young, Green is too good of a prospect not to put a line in the water. It’s worth noting that Green only transitioned from scoring guard to point guard in the past few years, and, besides, Calipari has shown in the past that he’s more than okay with taking two point guards in one class, especially when the roster will be pretty much depleted after this season.

Green picked up his offer from UK while on campus today, and his high school coach Carl Arrigale told Adam Zagoria that the staff sees him as a Tyler Ulis-type player, just a little bigger.

“I know they do feel like their backcourt this year [Isaiah Briscoe, Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox] is going to be talented enough to all be gone possibly next year so they’re looking for players to come in and play,” Arrigale said Monday on Adam Zagoria’s 4 Quarters Podcast. “They see him as a Tyler Ulis maybe with a couple more inches, which is probably a pretty good comparison. He’s got the guts of burglar. He plays really hard, he’s not afraid of any moment and he watched the Kentucky teams with Tyler out there. They see him as being a guy who can play that similar role for them the next few years.”

Well, I like Tyler Ulis, so I think I’m going to like Quade Green. (FYI, that’s pronounced “QAH-DAY,” not “QWADE”)

(Photo: Cassy Athena)

Recruitment timeline

  • June 16: Named finalist for the U18 Men’s National Team
  • June 20: Begins visit to Duke
  • June 21: Gets an offer from Duke
  • June 29: Begins visit to Kentucky
  • June 30: Gets an offer from Kentucky

Strengths

  • Excellent passer (leads EYBL in assists)
  • Good assist-to-turnover ratio (4:1 in EYBL)
  • Very good shooter with excellent range (37.3% from 3-point range in EYBL)
  • Good defender
  • Vocal leader
  • Tough (used to play football)

Weaknesses

  • Not especially explosive
  • Small
  • Needs to continue to develop as a point guard

Quotes about Quade

Here’s how Green’s EYBL teammate and fellow UK target Mohamed Bamba described him to the Herald-Leader earlier this month:

“He’s great,” Bamba said. “He’s so smooth and poised. You don’t see that at this age. Part of me being out here is observing, and I think he’s really making a name for himself. To play with a good point guard, it takes your game to a whole new level.”

Evan Daniels, from that same article:

“What stands out about Quade is his feel for the game and his leadership and ability to run a team,” said Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. “He’s been as impressive as any point guard in the country, in terms of facilitating and distributing. He’s also a pretty competitive kid. He’s stepped into some pretty big-time environments and been pretty successful.”

According to TJ Walker, Green played pick-up against some of UK’s current players during his visit this week and held his own against the likes of De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Mychal Mulder, and Dominique Hawkins, which is what we call an encouraging tidbit.

Video evidence

Here’s Green going up against fellow UK PG Target Trae Young at the Pangos All-American Camp:

Social Media Profile

Green is active on Twitter (@Q_Green1), regularly posting highlights and retweeting stories about him and tweets from his friends. He’s got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, which you have to like in a point guard:

Green posted this tweet at the start of his visit to Lexington:

And these after he received his offer today:

I’m guessing that means today was a good day?

Likelihood to commit: Unknown

As with any top recruit, Kentucky’s definitely in the mix, but from the sounds of it, Green’s pretty high on Duke. Or, at least that’s how I interpreted his coach’s remarks to Adam Zagoria:

“For him, it’s good because he works extremely hard and Duke is a school he always talked about,” Arrigale said Monday on The 4 Quarters Podcast. “What is there not to like about Duke and their program and getting to sit in Coach K’s office and talk hoops?”

For starters, the fact that it’s Duke, but hey, I bet sitting in Coach Cal’s office wasn’t bad either.

Quade, Bamba, and the PSA Cardinals will be in action next week at the Peach Jam, and you can be certain that Calipari and Coach K will be watching. It doesn’t sound like Green’s in a hurry to decide, but could this be yet another Duke vs. Kentucky recruiting showdown?