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Tuesday’s Top 10: Blue got into the Grand Canyon

Good morning, friends, and shoutout to this Kentucky fan for repping the Cats at the Grand Canyon. The only way that picture could get more American is if it also included John Short and a bald eagle. This Top 10’s for you, sir.

1. UK Football landed a big transfer last night

@Goaldyn

USC offensive lineman EJ Price visited Kentucky this weekend and liked it so much he decided he wanted to stay. Yesterday evening, the 6-6, 325 lbs. Price committed to Kentucky. He was the 9th best offensive tackle in the 2016 class per 247 Sports and initially chose USC over the likes of Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, and, Notre Dame. After three games at Southern Cal, he decided to transfer to be closer to home. Now, he’ll play his college ball for Mark Stoops and company after sitting out for a season. He’s ready:

For more on Price, check out Nick’s post from last night.

2. John Wall and Randall Cobb are going to the Hall of Fame

Yesterday, DeWayne Peevy broke the news on KSR that John Wall and Randall Cobb are part of the 2017 UK Athletics Hall of Fame class, which also includes Collin Cowgill (baseball), Ralph Hacker (broadcaster), Sherry Hoover Bordner (cross country/indoor track/outdoor track), and Sarah Rumely (volleyball).

The group will be inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend, Sept. 22-23, in conjunction with the football home game vs. Florida. A big weekend just got bigger.

3. This year’s Alumni Game could be the best yet

Peevy also teased that he’s working on getting the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets to play an All-UK dream team in this year’s Alumni Charity Game, which takes place on August 25 at Rupp Arena. If that happens (a big IF), it would be incredible. Ticket info for the game will be released later this week.

4. The team is finally all together in Lexington

During his interview with Peevy, Calipari said the team would probably go through its first practice either last night or today. In typical Cal form, he went on and on about how this will be his greatest challenge as a coach yet.

“I had a meeting, I just told them this will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, which means it will be the hardest thing they’ve ever done. The most inexperienced team I’ve ever coached, which means maybe the most inexperienced team ever to try to do something unique and special. And if you think it’s going to be easy, there’s a magic wand, you’re in the wrong room. It’s going to be hard, everybody’s going to have to be about each other even though they’re responsible for themselves. You’ve got to be about each other or this thing doesn’t get done. Great meeting, I’m going to have a workout with them tonight or tomorrow.”

We’ll bring you scuttlebutt when it comes out.

5. If you haven’t yet, go back and listen to yesterday’s podcast

If you couldn’t tell by all the content it produced, Peevy’s turn in the hosting chair was a hit. Go back and check it out to hear his interviews with Calipari, Randall Cobb, and several more behind-the-scenes stories, including Cal’s reaction to his first ever practice at Kentucky. Spoiler: he was overwhelmed, to say the least.

6. Speaking of podcasts…

We’ve got two new ones for you this morning: Kentucky Thrones Radio with Nick and TJ Walker, and the Depth Chart Podcast with Freddie Maggard. I’m counting on KTR to get me through a humid, hot run today, so let’s hope Nick and TJ don’t spend too much time talking about that disgusting Samwell poop-shoveling montage.

7. This LSU defensive lineman totally looks like a fat Harrison Twin

Photo by Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country

Shoutout to Kyle Tucker, who first pointed out that LSU defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence totally resembles a fat Aaron Harrison. Or Andrew. Either way, can someone check on one of the two to make sure they didn’t gain 100 lbs. overnight?

8. This Texas Tech defensive back had fun with the media at Big 12 Media Days

@YahooDrSaturday

Media Days can be an exhausting process for players, coaches, and reporters, but Texas Tech defensive back Jah’Shawn Johnson had some fun with it by making Media Day Bingo in anticipation of the questions he’d receive. As someone who has asked a lot of predictable questions at these things, I think he nailed it.

9. This golden retriever is a good dog

Today in “Good Dogs,” a golden retriever noticed a fawn drowning in the Long Island Sound, so he jumped in and saved it:

Thankfully, both Storm and the fawn are okay. Storm deserves all the treats today.

10. Who will host today’s KSR?

UK Baseball coach Nick Mingione was scheduled to host this morning’s show but had to cancel due to a family emergency. Who will fill in for him? I’d tell you, but what’s the fun in that? Tune in an hour from now to find out.


Alumni Game may feature All-Kentucky NBA team vs. Warriors or Rockets

Photo by Dr. Michael Huang

It’s been the debate of the Calipari Era: could a team of former Kentucky players take down an NBA super team like the Golden State Warriors? If the folks at UK have their way, we might find out next month.

This morning on KSR, Deputy Director of Athletics DeWayne Peevy said he wants this year’s Alumni Game to feature an all-star UK team and an NBA super team, ala the Golden State Warriors or the Houston Rockets.

“Everybody talks about this All-Kentucky basketball team,” Peevy said. “I’d like to invite one of these so-called NBA super teams to play against us. Whether it’s the Warriors, the Rockets, all these people who are putting these teams together, come play us, an All-Kentucky team, at Rupp Arena on August 25 for charity. Let’s do it.”

In fact, Peevy said he’s already reached out to some of the NBA’s biggest stars to see if they’re interested.

“I’ve got a few feelers out. I’m talking to James Harden (Rockets) and Kevin Durant (Warriors). Bring your team — I don’t care if they combine themselves, they’re not taking down Big Blue Nation.”

Later in the show, Calipari called in and said that while he’s skeptical that Peevy could pull the idea off, he loves it.

“I already put in a call to [Kevin] Durant and [James] Harden,” Peevy told Cal. “I may need you to call Lebron [James]. They might have to all come together to beat us.”

The Alumni Game will take place Friday, August 25 at Rupp Arena. Tickets should go on sale later this week. In the meantime, have fun debating whether a team featuring John Wall, Anthony Davis, Karl Towns, DeMarcus Cousins, and Devin Booker (or any combination of your liking) could take down the Warriors, Rockets, or Cavs. I say yes.


USC Offensive Tackle will Transfer to Kentucky

@Goaldyn

The Kentucky Wildcats have picked up a four-star recruit from an unexpected place.  E.J. Price will transfer from USC to Kentucky as first reported by Josh Edwards of 247 Sports and later confirmed by Price via Twitter.

The 6’6″ 325-pounder was the ninth-best offensive tackle in the nation when he chose USC over Florida State, LSU, Ohio State and a slew of other schools in 2016.  After playing three games as a true freshman, the Georgia native chose to change locales to play a little closer to home.  Price should have three years of eligibility at UK, beginning in 2018.

Anytime you can land a Top 100 recruit, it’s great for your program.  This time it’s just coming from an atypical source.


Monday’s Top 10: It’s A Total UK Takeover

Monday’s Top 10: It’s A Total UK Takeover

Good morning, friends, and what a way to start the week. At midnight, UK’s takeover of the SEC Network began, meaning if you want to spend your day doing nothing but watching UK sports, it’s totally possible. In fact, I bet your boss would totally understand. With that in mind, let’s hop right in to the top 10.

1. Stop what you’re doing and program that DVR

It’s all UK all day on the SEC Network, so if you’ve been looking to catch up on some of the biggest games of the year, program the DVR to record the following:

  • 8:30-10 a.m. – Gymnastics vs. Alabama, Feb. 10, 2017
  • 10-10:30 a.m. – Big Blue Review
  • 10:30-11 a.m. – The Kentucky Experience: Wildcat Roundtable
  • 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Women’s basketball vs. Mississippi State, Feb. 23, 2017
  • 12:30-2:30 p.m. – Softball vs. Florida, April 15, 2017
  • 2:30-4:30 p.m. – Softball vs. Texas A&M, April 29, 2017
  • 4:30-5 p.m. – Big Blue Review
  • 5-5:30 p.m. – The Kentucky Experience: Wildcat Roundtable
  • 5:30-7:30 p.m. – Baseball vs. North Carolina State, June 5, 2017
  • 7:30-8 p.m. – Never Been Done Before: Kentucky Baseball 2017
  • 8-10 p.m. – Football at Louisville, Nov. 26, 2016
  • 10 p.m.-midnight – One and Not Done

2. Just in case you can’t wait until 8 p.m. for football highlights

Don’t feel bad for needing a fix. I pretty much watch this every morning.

3. It’s UK Takeover Week on KSR as well

Normally, I reserve show news and guest host announcements for the end of the wakeup post, but today’s show is so big it’s up at #3. Deputy Director of Athletics DeWayne Peevy will host today’s show alongside Ryan Lemond, and I’m sure he’s going to bring on some special guests that the rest of us could only dream of having in our Rolodex (contact list for you young folk). DeWayne’s hosting gig is just an appetizer for UK’s takeover of KSR this week. Here’s the entire schedule:

July 17: DeWayne Peevy
July 18: Nick Mingione
July 19: Tim Couch
July 20: Matthew Mitchell
July 21: UK Football coaches

4. Matt was spotted at the Tour De France

Had fun at the Tour De France today. Great afternoon

A post shared by Matt Jones (@kysportsradio) on

Where in the world is Matt Jones? Yesterday, he did a short Periscope from the Tour de France with an adorable old French man who didn’t speak any English. Today, I believe our fearless leader is headed towards Switzerland. Between all of my coworker’s vacations, I’ve got five straight dayshifts staring at me this week, so he better bring me a Toblerone.

5. Meanwhile, Tom Izzo was spotted eating popcorn off the floor

Does the five second rule apply here? With most foods, I might say yes, but he’s got more kernels in that box and who the heck knows what’s happened in that hallway, so let it be, Tom. Let it be.

6. Immanuel Quickley will visit UK on September 16

Kentucky remains in the driver’s seat for the five-star point guard, who set the dates for official visits last night. Per Evan Daniels, Quickley will visit Kentucky the weekend of September 16, the last of his four official visits. This keeps him on track to announce his decision before the start of his senior season in late September. Speaking of…

7. Did you hear he’s a potential package deal with Zion Williamson?

The biggest news out of the adidas Gauntlet Finale was the possibility of Quickley teaming up with Zion Williamson at the next level. That’s excellent news for Kentucky because the Cats are currently the favorite for both. For more on Williamson, check out Jack Pilgrim’s in-depth profile from yesterday.

8. Jerry Bird passed away yesterday

UK lost two greats this weekend. On Saturday, UK Football legend Babe Parilli passed away at the age of 87, and yesterday, former UK Basketball player Jerry Bird passed away at the age of 83. Bird played at UK from 1954-56, helping the Cats to two SEC titles and the 1954 Helms Athletic Foundation title. He was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005 as a part of the hall of fame’s charter class and his No. 22 jersey is retired in the Rupp Arena rafters.

After his basketball career in the NBA was over, Bird returned to his hometown of Corbin and worked for American Greeting Card until retirement. A memorial service in his honor is planned for Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Central Baptist Church in Corbin. It is open to the public.

9. What did we think of the season premiere of “Game of Thrones”?

No spoilers, but I was very pleased with the exception of one horrible cameo. I thought GofT was above such things. Nick Roush and TJ Walker are currently taping a new episode of “Kentucky Thrones Radio,” so look for that on the KSR podcast feed later today.

10. DeWayne Peevy and friends one hour from now

Call in and congratulate him on his son’s 9U team winning the State Championship yesterday:

Ice cream on Uncle Matt, kiddos.


Immanuel Quickley, Zion Williamson Discuss Package Deal after Duel

Adidas

The duel between Immanuel Quickley and Zion Williamson lived up the hype.  Two of the ten best players in the class of 2018 put on a show at the Adidas Final.  When the dust settled, Quickley emerged on top and the two friends talked about playing college basketball together.

“We actually just talked about it after the game,” Quickley said after I mentioned every college recruiter’s favorite term ‘package deal.’   “He’s going to talk to his mom.  I’m going to talk to my people and we’re going to try to get it done.”

Before playing against each other on the Adidas circuit, they have a history of playing with each other at other Adidas events.

“I played with him at the Path, for Adidas.  He’s usually my roommate when we go to those events, so I know him pretty well,” Quickley said.

Zion took it one step further when asked if there was any truth to a potential package deal.

“There’s a lot of truth to that,” Zion said.  “Me and Immanuel are good friends.  We bonded over the Adidas Path and I just love the way he plays point guard.  That’s the type of point guard I want to play with.”

But wait, there’s more.

After watching the two today, they might be the most powerful package deal mentioned to date.

Quickley connected on an alley-oop from half-court.  Williamson had so many tip-slams, I lost count.  In the end, the talented point guard prevailed.  Quickley was one assist away from a triple-double in a 68-64 win; 20 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.  Williamson finished 28 points and 16 rebounds.

UK assistant coach Joel Justus watched the game courtside.  There were dozens of other coaches from Duke, Kansas and everyone in-between.

“I enjoy it,” Quickley said after the game.  “That’s the most fun for me.  A packed gym, all the coaches, I think that’s the best part of the AAU circuit.”

Quickley has somehow continued to play at a high level throughout the tournament, even though he’s only had one day off in the last month.  The most rewarding experience throughout his basketball travels from around the world was playing for Coach Cal in Egypt.

“It was really cool.  Just him being hands on with me, I think that was really important.”  Quickley said their conversations haven’t ended since the trip.  “I keep in touch with him a lot.”

Williamson talks to the Kentucky coaches just as much.  “Coach Cal and Coach Joel text almost every two days.”

Quickley is very close to making a decision.  Many already consider him to be a Kentucky commit, but he has yet to officially pull the trigger.  He plans on doing just that before his senior season of high school basketball.  Zion is taking it slower.  He will just start visiting schools before his senior season.

“I’m just looking at every opportunity because I only get one chance to pick a school and I got to make sure it’s the right school.”

If the right point guard is at the right school, it could be an easy decision for the five-star phenom.


Friday’s Top 10: Winter is coming

Friday’s Top 10: Winter is coming

Winter is coming on Sunday in the form of the “Game of Thrones” Season 7 premiere, and what better way to get ready than this picture of Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, aka Gregor Clegane, aka “The Mountain,” throwing up three goggles with Michael, a diehard UK and KSR fan? For those who don’t watch the show, here’s what The Mountain looks like in costume:

Also, don’t worry; if you stop your life right now and start binge watching, you’ll be ready for Sunday night. Or, you can just catch up with Nick and TJ Walker’s Kentucky Thrones Radio podcast, a new episode of which you can expect later today, I hear.

In the meantime, here’s what’s going on in the world of UK sports….

1. Zion Williamson wants to decide before his senior season

John Calipari started his recruiting marathon by watching Zion Williamson at the adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, and the five-star forward definitely put on a show, scoring 31 points to lead SC Supreme to the comeback win:

Williamson told our own Jack Pilgrim that he’d like to make his college decision before the start of his senior season, and that his relationship with Calipari is “really good.”

“We have a really good relationship,” Williamson said. “He tells me if my dream is to go to the NBA, he can help me achieve that.”

Here’s hoping that really good relationship and NBA pitch is enough to get Zion out of the Carolinas. Read more of his comments here.

2. Cal finished the day watching Marvin Bagley and Bol Bol

How big is the hype around the No. 1 player in the 2018 class? Kevin Durant came to watch him play (and sat next to Kenny Payne) and Calipari fired up the private jet for the 115-mile trip between Spartanburg and North Augusta to see him in the night session, where he was joined by Malik Monk. The 6’11” power forward has lived up to the hype so far, averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds through three games. Here are his highlights from the early game:

Where does Kentucky stand in the race for what some are calling a once-in-a-generation type player? He’ll take an official visit to Duke following the Peach Jam, but said he plans to make it to Kentucky eventually.

3. Bol Bol says he has no hard feelings over being cut from Calipari’s U19 Team

The question on everyone’s mind after 7’3″ Bol Bol was cut from the U19 Team was what effect it would have on Kentucky’s chances in his recruitment. Bol told reporters yesterday that he has no hard feelings about the decision, which he knows wasn’t just Calipari’s.

“It wasn’t just his fault,” Bol said via Kyle Tucker. “It was a coaching staff and a USA Basketball staff, so I don’t really blame him for not putting me on the team, because he can’t, like, officially decide everyone who’s on the team.”

4. Romeo Langford re-aggravated his back injury

Langford battled back spasms throughout the FIBA World Cup, and yesterday, they flared up again during his first game at the adidas Gauntlet Finale. No word yet on if he’ll be able to go today. Despite a report from Evan Daniels that Kentucky is fading in the race for the New Albany native, that didn’t stop Calipari and Joel Justus from being front and center for his first game.

5. More good vibes from Immanuel Quickley

Quickley continues to give off vibes that he could be the first 2018 recruit to commit to Kentucky, telling Jack Pilgrim and other reporters that he was very impressed with Calipari during the FIBA World Cup.

“It was good. We wanted to win the gold but obviously came up a little short. It was a good experience overall on and off the floor. (Calipari) is a great coach on and off the floor. I think it was really cool to get to learn from him. When you spend time for three or four weeks, almost a month with one person you get to know them pretty well.”

Well enough to want to spend a whole year with him? We’ll see soon.

6. Today’s schedule

Peach Jam

  • 9:00 AM: Nike Phamily (Marvin Bagley) vs. Howard Pulley
  • 10:30 AM: Cal Supreme (Bol Bol) vs. Oakland Soldiers
  • 6:00 PM: New York Lightning vs. Nike Phamily (Marvin Bagley)
  • 9:00 PM: Bradley Beal Elite vs. Cal Supreme (Bol Bol)

adidas Gauntlet Finale

  • 10:20 AM: SC Supreme (Zion Williamson) vs. Garner Road
  • 10:20 AM: Team BBC (Immanuel Quickley) vs. Gamepoint Pump N Run
  • 1:00 PM: Rytes Warriors vs. Twenty Two Vision (Romeo Langford)
  • 1:00 PM: Team Arsenal vs. Basketball University (Quentin Grimes)

Want to watch? Peach Jam games are being streamed on Facebook via FloHoops and adidas games via BallisLife.

7. All-SEC Preseason Teams will be announced today

Media Days is over, but this morning, the media’s choices for the All-SEC Preseason Teams and conference standings will be released. Did they pick Kentucky or South Carolina third in the East? Or, did old habits die hard and the Cats didn’t get any respect?

Speaking of football…

8. The 2017 Schedule posters are available at Kroger starting tomorrow

Starting tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., all seven posters will be available at Kroger stores statewide, so go get yours. And if you go to the Euclid one, say hi to John Short.

9. You all have a lot of french fry opinions

Yesterday was National French Fry Day — one of the least annoying of the “Why is this a holiday?” holidays — and to celebrate, I ran a Twitter poll asking people to pick their favorite fries between McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Arby’s, and Chick-fil-A. Naturally, McDonald’s won, but people went after me for not including Rally’s. In the interest of a fair and complete evaluation, I’m including Rally’s (or, as it is called in Tennessee, Checkers) in a new poll below:


10. Today on KSR: Laura Rutledge

The SEC Network reporter will take over the mics today to talk Media Days, UK Football, and whatever else is on her mind. That starts in one hour.


50 Things To Know About SEC Media Days ’17 (Yes, FIFTY!)

50 Things To Know About SEC Media Days ’17 (Yes, FIFTY!)

The 2017 edition of SEC Media Days is finally in the books after four long days at the Wynfrey Hotel in sunny Hoover, Alabama; the largest suburb outside Birmingham. Coaches and player representatives from all 14 of the Southeastern Conference’s football programs, and hundreds of college football’s chubbiest and baldest media stars, descended upon Hoover to look ahead to the upcoming season in what is unofficially considered SEC’s Opening Day.

Coverage from the event spans the internet far and wide, and it is a lot to digest at once. For the casual fan, it is probably too much detailed information to consume. So with those casual SEC football fans in mind, I compiled what I consider the 50 things you need to know from Media Days ’17.

Is it everything you need to know from Hoover? Well, no. But it’ll get you through the cooler talk at work or if you run into a fellow SEC fan while on the beach or in line for the Pigeon Forge ferris wheel during your late-summer vacation.


1. The SEC will honor UK’s four trailblazers at the 2017 SEC Championship. League commissioner Greg Sankey kicked off SEC Media Days with the announcement that Wilber Hackett, Nate Northington, Houston Hogg and representatives of Greg Page’s family will be in Atlanta to celebrate their breaking of the color barrier 50 years ago.

2. Arkansas was up first on the podium and head coach Brett Bielema left his newborn baby to attend. Bielema and his wife, Jen, welcomed their daughter, Briella Nichole Bielema, into the world on Saturday. Bielema said she has already changed his perspective on life.

3. Bielema butt-FaceTimed the commissioner while walking out of Chipotle with a double-veggie bowl for his wife, soon after their child’s birth. “I said, ‘This is pretty cool, the commissioner is FaceTiming me. That’s pretty unique.’ He said, ‘Why were you calling me? I said, ‘I apologize, I must have butt-dialed you.’ That was a unique experience.”

4. LSU running back Derrius Guice sees no difference in him and Leonard Fournette. Guice said he and Fournette are both angry and mean runners, both are bruisers. Guice led the SEC in rushing last season with 1,387 yards.

5. Guice stole his Media Day look from a mannequin. “I was at the store and I saw the mannequin with this on,” Guice said in a televised interview on the SEC Network. “And I thought, ‘Bro, that would look way better on me.’ So obviously I took it off and I tried it on.”

6. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron called his program “DBU.” That title has been used by several other programs, including rival Florida, over the years. Related: I could listen to Coach O talk forever.

7. Tennessee head coach Butch Jones was very Butch Jones-like in his SEC Media Day comments. Paul Finebaum suspected Jones was trying to lower Tennessee fans’ expectations for the upcoming season.

8. Butch Jones said he doesn’t see the Vols’ 2016 season as a disappointment. Reminder: Tennessee went .500 in conference play with losses to Vanderbilt and South Carolina, after being picked to win the SEC East. The Vols opened the season with a close overtime win over Appalachian State, which completely blew that game down the stretch.

9. Dan Mullen revealed two non-football things about himself: One, he caddied for his eight-year-old son the day before he traveled to Hoover for Media Day; and two, his mom made him take ballet as a kid.

10. Mullen also said his wife told him he should’ve called a timeout to ice the kicker in the Kentucky game last year when UK’s Austin MacGinnis connected on a 51-yard field goal as time expired to give the Wildcats its first win over the Dawgs since 2008.

11. Mullen continued his SEC Media Day tradition of wearing a pair of adidas’s trendiest shoes; this time, he sported a pair of the adidas NMDs. He wore Yeezy Boosts the last two years.

12. Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, the hottest topic in Mississippi State football discussions, was not one of the three players who represented the Bulldogs. However, he is still very, very good at football.

12. Florida head coach Jim McElwain doesn’t have a sense of humor. McElwain took it personally when everyone, literally everyone, said the naked man straddling a shark looked like him. No one really thought it was McElwain in the viral photo, but when asked by Kyle Tucker, McElwain said it was a personal attack on the University of Florida and his family. Whatever. Lighten up. Dude looked like you.

13. Despite reports saying otherwise, McElwain does not know Florida’s starting quarterback. “I know we will start a quarterback,” he said, but that quarterback is still TBD.

14. McElwain insists he had no input in Florida scheduling LSU on homecoming weekend. Here’s how he explained the process behind that decision: “So, I get off the plane, having been gone for a week (to his cabin in Wyoming) and believe it or not, unlike maybe Coach Saban at Alabama, I have no choice in it… It’s a university choice. So, they didn’t tell me until I got off the plane and somebody said, ‘Hey, guess who your homecoming game is?’ That’s the first I heard about it.”

15. Florida offensive lineman Martez Ivey said Florida-LSU is the new rivalry, not Florida-FSU. That upcoming homecoming game was all the talk around the Gators on Media Day.

16. No decision has been made on what disciplinary action will be taken for Florida wide receiver Antonio Calloway, whose latest off-the-field issue was an offseason marijuana citation back in May. It wasn’t Calloway’s first run-in with the law; he was at the center of a sexual assault investigation in which he admitted to being high during the night in question, but was eventually ruled “not responsible” on the sexual assault charge. Calloway led the Gators in receiving in 2016.

17. Man, Jim McElwain was really upset about that shark photo question.

18. Georgia running back Sony Michel said he and Nick Chubb returned to school for their senior seasons to chase an SEC championship. The NFL was calling, but they’re both back to form the best backfield in the entire league.

19. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart took a shot at Butch Jones, saying, “We had one coach that told us we had better talent. Then he had six guys taken in the first four rounds and we had one player drafted.” Got-eeeeeem!

20. Smart also played off Jones (although likely unintentional) when he said Georgia’s season was a disappointment. Jones had just said Tennessee’s season wasn’t a disappointment. Both teams were 4-4 in SEC play.

21. No quarterback controversy in Athens. Jacob Eason is Georgia’s starter. Plan accordingly.

22. “Vanderbilt football is on the rise,” per Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason.

23. Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb called himself the best back in the nation. If he can come up with 1,249 yards on the ground this upcoming season, he will become the second-leading rusher in SEC history, behind only Herschel Walker.

24. Vanderbilt isn’t afraid of Alabama, its intimidating SEC West opponent this year. Coach Mason made it very clear that he doesn’t fear anybody, nor does his team. The Commodores host ‘Bama on Sept. 23 to open SEC play.

25. Alabama fans got in. The lobby of the Wynfrey Hotel rolled Tide, per usual.

26. Nick Saban didn’t remember his heated exchange with Paul Finebaum on the SEC Network set last year. The argument started over the suspension (or lack thereof) of Cam Robinson, and it carried over into a commercial break. Saban didn’t remember it, though. (Everyone else did.)

27. Do not make stuff up about the Alabama football program to create a headline. Saban won’t tolerate it. Ask the reporter who tried to say Jalen Hurts’ job is in jeopardy. He caught an earful.

29. Greg McElroy hasn’t been impressed by the play of Kentucky’s Matt Elam. In McElroy’s words, Elam is as lazy and as underachieving as anyone he has seen in the league in a long time.

30. When Kentucky linebacker Courtney Love saw McElroy’s comments, he immediately sent the clip directly to Elam to motivate the defensive lineman and hold him accountable.

31. UK quarterback Drew Barker is back to 100 percent after offseason back surgery and sitting out the spring game to recover. Stephen Johnson will start Week 1, but a healthy Barker is a solid backup that will push Johnson to keep his job.

32. Dang Alterations saved the day for the Kentucky Wildcats. Located in a Hoover shopping mall, Dang sewed All-SEC safety Mike Edwards’ pants back together after he ripped them down the crotch while getting dressed for the flight.

33. Stephen Johnson opened up about his Tourette syndrome, which he has struggled with since he was a child. Johnson said he never would’ve imagine being comfortable in front of all of the bright lights and cameras in front of him at Media Day. “It’s divine how it’s all come about,” he said. “I really couldn’t expect this. I dreamed of it all the time.”

34. Mark Stoops said it is “nut-cutting time” in Lexington. No more talking. No more excuses. It is time to produce. “When I was hired they said, ‘It’s a five-year rebuild.’  Well guess what, in Year 4 they don’t want to hear a darn thing about it.”

35. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, one of the league’s top returning passers, does not like his own forehead, which is why he grew his bangs out to almost his eyebrows. Meanwhile, the SEC Network’s Jordan Rogers’ hair is still immaculate. This is info you can’t get everywhere, folks.

36. Nick Saban stole Missouri head coach Barry Odom’s joy. Odom said he could feel a buzz when he arrived at the Wynfrey Hotel for his second Media Day and he thought it was for him. “Then I was quickly reminded Nick Saban was in the room.”

37. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin doesn’t want to go 8-5 for a fourth consecutive season. He better not, because that will likely cost him his job. He’s sitting on the hottest seat in the conference.

38. Rumor mill: Texas A&M really wants Chip Kelly, so Sumlin may be screwed if he does anything shy of winning the West.

39. Painting your pup to look like an Auburn Tiger is animal cruelty.

40. Auburn took its kicker to Hoover to be one of its three player representatives. (Yes, a kicker.) Fresh off his engagement to his girlfriend, too. Big week for Daniel Carlson, the first kicker at SEC Media Days since South Carolina brought its kicker two years ago.

41. Gus Malzahn said the biggest question mark with his team is who’s going to be Auburn’s starting punter. That’s a testament to how many returners he has, not an emphasis on the Tigers’ punting competition.

42. Hugh Freeze rambled for over 15 minutes in his opening statement, which led reporters to call it Freeze’s filibuster on the main stage. Why did the Ole Miss coach talk for so long before opening it up to the crowd? Because he didn’t want to answer questions about all of the trouble Ole Miss is currently in.

43. Houston Nutt was the MVP of SEC Media Days. He dropped a lawsuit on Ole Miss the day before Ole Miss was due up in Hoover, alleging defamation of character related to how the school handled an NCAA investigation. Coincidence? No way. It was brilliant on his part and a direct punch to the throat of his former employer.

44. Nobody wanted to talk football with Ole Miss, which has become the norm this week. Coach Freeze said, “This’ll be my sixth media day, if my memory’s right, and it’ll be the fifth time we’re talking about something other than our team.” Maybe stop having scandals then.

45. Conference realignment has not been discussed, per SEC commissioner Greg Sankey. If he hasn’t had any discussion about it, then it’s a long, long way from happening.

46. South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp had some fun with some of the reporters on the Florida beat, who he remembered from his time as the Gators’ head coach. He told one of them, “You remind me of that Josh Turner song, ‘You Look Like I Need a Drink.’”; and said to another, “You don’t have to identify yourself. They could use your voice to torture prisoners of war.”

47. Abiding by the new sideline rule will require a little help. Several SEC coaches have said they already brought on additional “get-back coaches” to help them stay off the playing field when arguing with an official. Muschamp said he has given his assistants permission to tackle him.

48. Steve Spurrier was dearly missed, which begs the question: is SEC Media Days really an SEC Media Days without Steve Spurrier? He carried the entire show for years.

49. SEC Media Days on the move? Sankey teased new locations for future Media Days, and Atlanta and Nashville were among the cities in consideration. Hoover has long been the event’s home, but it sounds like that could soon change. Whatever happens, that’s a conversation on down the road. As for the present…

50. The 2017 college football season has officially begun…


Thursday’s Top 10: Switching gears from football to basketball recruiting

Thursday’s Top 10: Switching gears from football to basketball recruiting

Good morning, friends, and shoutout to these Kentucky fans for climbing Grays and Torreys Peaks in Colorado recently. Well done pairing that UK Football shirt with that gorgeous view. With football in mind, let’s hop right into today’s top 10:

1. Mark Stoops seemed loose and confident

As we’ve seen all week, Media Days can be a boring affair, with coaches gliding by on coach speak and roster talk; however, in his fifth year at the event, Mark Stoops looked more relaxed and confident than ever. Whereas some coaches seemed to have a stick up their butt (cough, McElwain, cough), Stoops cracked jokes about Bret Bielema’s small dogs and Mike Edwards’ ripped pants. Stoops seemed relieved to finally have some results to point to in his rebuilding project, and preached the importance of continuing to build a winning culture, select the right players, and develop them.

Aside from the confirmation that Stephen Johnson is the starter at quarterback and JuCo defensive lineman Phil Hoskins not being ready to go by game one, there wasn’t a lot of big news yesterday; however, when the main story about your team is your junior safety ripping his pants on the plane ride down, that’s probably a good thing.

Watch a portion of Stoops’ main podium speech below:

2. Catch up on all the headlines from yesterday

Build, Select, Develop: Mark Stoops in Hoover
WATCH: Behind-the-Scenes Photos and Videos from UK’s Appearance at SEC Media Days
Mark Stoops Describes the 2016 Season as “Nut-Cuttin’ Time”
WATCH: Mike Edwards Explains How He Ripped His Pants
Mark Stoops Provides Updates on Four Players
Courtney Love Didn’t Let Matt Elam Shy Away from Criticism

Don’t forget to listen to the latest Depth Chart Podcast to hear Nick and Freddie recap the day in audio form. If that’s not enough, Nick will be on The Leach Report at 9:35 a.m. to talk about it some more.

3. Check out Freddie’s recaps of all the other teams

Arkansas
LSU
Tennessee
Georgia
Vanderbilt
Mississippi State
Florida
Alabama
Missouri

4. Up today: South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Auburn

Normally, reporters look for every excuse to get out of the hotel as fast as possible on the final day of Media Days, but given yesterday’s news, that may not be the case this time around. Not only is Ole Miss wrapped up in an NCAA investigation, former head coach Houston Nutt sued the university yesterday for breach of contract, arguing that current head coach Hugh Freeze and school officials created a “false narrative” in order to pin the blame on him for the violations. Something tells me that will come up.

5. Basketball everywhere at the Peach Jam & adidas Gauntlet Finale

It’s the first full day of action at two of the biggest recruiting events of the year. Here’s when UK’s primary targets will be playing today:

PEACH JAM (Games streamed live via FloHoops on Facebook)

  • 12:30 PM: Expressions Elite vs. Cal Supreme (Bol Bol)
  • 2:00 PM: Nike Phamily (Marvin Bagley) vs. Mokan Elite
  • 8:00 PM: Nike Phamily (Marvin Bagley) vs. Team Melo
  • 9:30 PM: Cal Supreme (Bol Bol) vs. PSA Cardinals

adidas Gauntlet Finale

  • 11:20 AM: Team Knight vs. SC Supreme (Zion Williamson)
  • 11:20 AM: Basketball University (Quentin Grimes) vs. Ohio Basketball Club
  • 12:40 PM: Twenty Two Vision (Romeo Langford) vs. AC Georgia
  • 3:20 PM: Team BBC (Immanuel Quickley) vs. TBD

For more on each recruit, check out my preview from Tuesday night. Sadly, we won’t get to see anymore from Cameron Reddish, whose team lost their play-in game at the Peach Jam yesterday despite his 44-point performance.

6. Alex Poythress said no to Lonzo Ball’s shot

The 76ers played the Lakers in the Summer League last night, and Lonzo Ball rallied from the sore groin injury that held him out of Monday’s game vs. De’Aaron Fox’s Kings to put up 36 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds. That’s impressive, but so is Alex Poythress blocking this shot by Ball in the third quarter:

7. That block also broke a laptop, apparently

Alex finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds in the 76ers’ loss. Here’s how all of the Cats did in the Summer League last night:

PLAYER TEAM MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
Alex Poythress 76ers 21 7-11 1-3 1-2 3 2 5 0 1 1 1 16
Aaron Harrison 76ers 8 0-2 0-1 0-0 1 1 2 1 1 0 0 0
Isaiah Briscoe 76ers 8 5-7 0-2 2-2 0 2 2 2 1 0 2 12
Skal Labissiere Kings 34 8-13 0-0 3-8 2 7 9 1 3 2 3 19
Dominique Hawkins Kings 11 1-2 1-1 0-2 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 3
James Young Pelicans 21 3-8 2-7 0-0 0 3 3 1 1 0 1 8

De’Aaron Fox (Kings) and Bam Adebayo (Heat) sat out.

8. This video from the ESPYs may make you cry

I only watched a few minutes of the ESPYs, which apparently included lots of Peyton Manning jokes and Kevin Durant memes, but I did see 15-year-old Saints superfan Jarrius Robertson win the Jimmy V Perseverance Award. Warning, you may need tissues as you watch his story:

Jarrius was a star last night, taking over the red carpet and charming everyone with his sense of humor and incredible positivity.

Suddenly, all the little things I’ve complained about lately don’t seem like such a big deal.

9. Lexington lost a restaurant pioneer yesterday

If you live in Lexington, odds are you’ve been to one of Lucie Slone Meyers’ restaurants. The veteran restauranteur passed away yesterday after a battle with lung cancer at the age of 68. Meyers’ latest venture was the Red Light Kitchen & Lounge, which opened in February, but she was most well known for a la Lucie, which closed in 2015 after a 31-year run. Meyers also opened Rosebud, Roy & Nadine’s, the Phoenix, Pacific Pearl, and the Julep Cup.

Growing up, dinner at Roy & Nadine’s or a la Lucie was the epitome of a big night out in the city for this Danville girl, so I know I’m not alone when I say Lexington has lost a culinary star. Rest in peace, Lucie.

10. Today on KSR: The Sklar Brothers

Get your Conway Twitty jokes ready! The Sklars return to KSR in one hour.


Build, Select, Develop: Mark Stoops in Hoover

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops appeared more confident and comfortable in his fifth appearance at SEC Media Days. The head Cat’s opening remarks included a thank you to conference commissioner David Sankey for the league honoring four former Wildcats that integrated the conference nearly fifty years ago.

Build

Definition: Building a winning culture.

This has been a process for Mark Stoops. From strength and conditioning changes in both leadership and intent, facilities upgrades, and a goal for increased on/off field consistency, UK has placed its football players in an environment that negates excuses. The most important aspect of this program development pillar was winning seven of its last 10 regular season games. Wednesday’s Hoover environment is a prime example. There was a legitimate buzz and a much higher expectation surrounding the Cats than years prior.

Select

Definition: Selecting the right players; it’s self-explanatory.

To simplify; keep Vince Marrow on campus to lead Stoops’ recruiting program. Marrow is one of the nation’s best at identifying, enlisting, and signing talent in Lexington.

Develop

Definition: Developing player and have an intentional development plan once they get on campus.

Case in point; UK produced two, 1,000-yard rushers in 2016. Its offensive line returns four of five starters yet none were nominated for All SEC via Media Day’s voting selection. This can also be filed under selection but leans more towards John Schlarman’s development of the big fellas. Higher “starred” players coming out of high school receive increased name recognition in college, especially at offensive line. Regardless, Kentucky is developing players at a high level on both sides of the football.

Miscellaneous Notes

— JUCO DT Phil Hoskins will not be full-go on week one. Stoops indicated that the much needed defender may be ready week three-five. This was not good news for the Big Blue Nation as a beleaguered defensive line is down another player that was expected to contribute.

— Lynn Bowden and Michael Nesbitt are anticipated to be on campus for the first day of fall camp. Not having on campus for summer workouts could limit the rookie’s early impact.

— Stephen Johnson is the starting quarterback but Drew Barker and Gunnar Hoak will continue to compete. Stoops is confident in all three of his quarterbacks.

Excerpts from Stoops’ Speech

On Four Wildcats that integrated football in the Southeastern Conference:

 “Greg, I like to thank the commissioner on behalf of the University of Kentucky for your decision to recognize the four players that played at the University of Kentucky that broke the color barrier in the SEC some 50 years ago. We appreciate that.”

Benefits of bowl game and dealing with expectation:

“Like everybody says, it’s an exciting time of the year. I’m excited about our football team. I’m excited about our season. It’s really nice to come in here year five and build with some positive momentum that we had a year ago. You know, a year ago, we did not start the season the way we wanted to, but we finished strong when seven of our ten regular season games, and you know, to build on that positive momentum, to go to the TaxSlayer Bowl, to have those extra practices meant a great deal to our program.

“Our players have worked extremely hard to get to that point, and it was really nice to finish with that momentum. If you heard me talk a year ago, you heard me constantly talk about our capacity to do more. Our team needed to mature. We needed to work them harder. We needed to have stronger weightlifting sessions, run harder, longer practices, mentally and physically, to be able to endure the rigors of an SEC season.”

On this year’s offense:

“We lost our starting quarterback the second game of the year, came in with a back-up who’s here with us today and again led us to seven victories down the stretch and really starts with Eddie Gran. I really appreciate Eddie. He’s a seasoned veteran, spent a lot of time in the SEC prior to coming to Kentucky. Eddie’s a great person. He’s a great X-and-O guy. But more important, he’s a great leader, a great leader of men in developing these young guys and developing an attitude on the offensive side of the ball. I am very proud to have Eddie with us, along with co-offensive coordinator,

“Darin Hinshaw. Again I just mentioned it, but Darin did a heck of a job with Stephen Johnson to put us in a position to be successful, along with the rest of the offensive staff, very proud of those guys.

“Also on the offensive stat of the ball, I got to mention our recruiting coordinator, Vince Marrow. I’m proud of our entire staff the way we recruited. Vince heads up that effort. He has done a great job in Ohio. We’re really stepping up our recruiting and Vince is a big piece of that. We appreciate him.”

 

On this year’s Defense:

“On the defensive side of the ball, we have promoted Matt House to defensive coordinator. It will be a lot of fun for me. It already has been. It will be a collaborative effort with myself, Coach House, and the defensive staff to tweak our defense. We’ll be much the same. We will continue to build on the good things that we’ve done, but we’ll also strip it down and start over in certain areas.

“And I’m excited to work with Matt. And we have two new additions on the defensive side of the ball. Derrick LeBlanc will coach our defensive line. He’s already improved them. I like what I’ve seen in the preseason, what I’ve seen in the spring ball. He has a big job. We all know that we all need to improve. That’s one area we need to improve. And I’m counting on Derrick and our defensive staff and all of us to get those guys to play at the level that we expect them to.

“Also the addition of Dean Hood, Dean will coach our outside linebackers and special teams. Dean has a wealth of experience. He’s been a head coach. He has been a defensive coordinator. He’s another seasoned veteran. We are very proud to have Dean on our staff. He also knows the state of Kentucky. He’s been the head coach at Eastern Kentucky for quite a while. So we are very excited to have him and his expertise.”

On Recruiting Ohio:

“I know we’re in the deep south here, and we respect that, and we need to and will and continue to recruit in the deep south playing in the SEC. But for us, it just makes sense with our proximity to Ohio. Southern Ohio butts up to us. You can go two and a half hours of our campus, and there’s a heck of a lot of football players in that region.

“With my ties, I grew up in Ohio. My father was a high school teacher and coach for 30 years in Ohio. With myself, Coach Marrow, Coach Clinkscale, there are quite a few ties to the Ohio area within our staff. I think that is a big reason. I think the SEC is a selling point for guys that grew up in Ohio and respect SEC football. I think they embrace the opportunity to come down here and play in this league.”


SEC Media Day Emergency: UK safety ripped his pants

SEC Media Day Emergency: UK safety ripped his pants

Mike Edwards’ first SEC Media Day is off to a rough start.

The UK safety, a preseason All-SEC selection, somehow managed to tear his new pants while en route to Alabama. He now has about an hour to find new drawers or he’ll be pants-less while answering questions in front of a packed house full of reporters this afternoon.

I think Edwards should wear the shorts and make the day about his wardrobe malfunction; it would make a great story that would get a lot of traction.

But I bet Susan Lax of UK media relations is in an Uber to the nearest Hoover department store for some new slacks. (Slax, get it?)

Good luck, Badger.

 

UPDATE: Dang Alterations to save the day.

https://twitter.com/UKFootball/status/885161987214331904


Wednesday’s Top 10: Kentucky due up SEC Media Day

Wednesday’s Top 10: Kentucky due up SEC Media Day

It’s Kentucky day down in Hoover!

Mark Stoops, Stephen Johnson, Courtney Love and Mike Edwards will soon hop on a private jet in Lexington for a trip down to SEC Media Days in ‘Bama for the opening day of college football’s talking season. They will follow Nick Saban and Alabama, per usual, and we’ll have all the coverage for you here on KSR all day/night long.

But first, the morning 10…

 

1. Mark Stoops is expected at the podium at 2 pm.

Possible topics of discussion include: the status/whereabouts of Lynn Bowden, Matt Elam (See No. 4 below), Stephen Johnson’s grip on the starting QB spot, the defensive line, and, of course, John Calipari and Kentucky basketball. It comes up every year.

2. Kyle Tucker made the headline of the week when he asked Jim McElwain about the shark.

Somebody was going to do it, and we shouldn’t be surprised it was Kyle.

McElwain’s response made it a story and now this is what you get when you type “J-I-M M-C-E” in Google:

Why couldn’t he just laugh it off like the rest of us? No one really thought it was him on that shark, although it REALLY looks like him on that shark:

There’s your Media Day story so far, folks.

3. Read Freddie Maggard’s team recaps from the first two days:

Arkansas
LSU
Tennessee
Georgia
Vanderbilt
Mississippi State
Florida

4. Greg McElroy BLASTED Matt Elam.

In speaking about Kentucky’s defensive line, the SEC Network analyst said, “It was an embarrassing effort last year, particularly by former five-star Matt Elam, who was lazy and as underachieving a player as I’ve seen in this league in some time.”

But is he wrong?

5. The Nike Peach Jam and the adidas Gauntlet Finale begin today.

The biggest five-day stretch in college basketball recruiting kicks off today with the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta and the adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, putting the best high school basketball prospects less than a two-hour drive apart in South Carolina. Mrs. Tyler Thompson did a phenomenal job of previewing the two events for Kentucky fans (you can read that here) so there’s no point in me adding my two cents, but you should know that we have people in both places to get the latest scoop on who John Calipari and his staff are chasing, how those recruitments are going, and how those targets are playing against other elite players.

6. I’m leaving the United States in two days.

While the rest of the team keeps up the best stuff you’ll find on the internet and radio, I am making my first ever trip across the pond on Friday, and I’m not ready. I land in Dublin early Saturday morning and plan to drive straight out to Galway and the countryside for a day or two; then Liverpool/Manchester for the (British) Open; and then a couple of days in Scotland before coming on back home.

Some questions I have, that you might be able to answer:

— Is it tasteless to wear an American flag onesie to the Open? It looks like this. Is that too much?
— How terrible is Ryanair?
— How many times should I plan to wreck my rental car driving around Ireland?
— What would you do with a full day of nothing in Liverpool?
— Should I drive to Edinburgh from Liverpool or take a train?
— I have to go up to St. Andrew’s while in Edinburgh, right?
— Does it really rain a lot?
— How long do I extend the vacation if Kent Bulle wins the Open?
— Will someone come help me pack tonight?

Feel free to e-mail if you have any advice: drewfranklin@kentuckysportsradio.com

7. Mohamed Bamba cleared by NCAA to play at Texas.

Big news for college basketball yesterday when the NCAA ruled Mo Bamba eligible despite Bamba’s brother’s allegations about some funny business with a family friend. A statement read, “After evaluating all available information, the NCAA determined the assistance Greer Love provides to Mohamed Bamba does not violate rules. Bamba remains certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center.”

Bamba seems like a great kid, so great news for him. No hard feelings here over him turning down the Cats.

8. The Herald-Leader has an update on Jon Toth.

Jen Smith caught up with Jon Toth during his recovery from a freak injury and it’s pretty sad, especially for big Toth fans like us. Once a projected NFL draft pick only a few months ago, Toth is still without an NFL team and fighting to get back on the field.

“There’s certainly a time when that happens when you’re like, ‘This sucks. It’s terrible timing,’” he said.

Read the story here.

9. Rick Pitino was at the MLB All-Star Game last night.

I can’t believe Rick Pitino would go to the MLB All-Star Game on the 74th anniversary of the day German and Italian troops launched an attack on Allied forces in Sicily in World War II.

10. Mark Titus and Tate Frazier host today’s KSR.

Ready for some fireworks? Today’s show will be hosted by an Indiana/Ohio State fan and a North Carolina fan, both of The Ringer fame. Give them a call if they get out a hand to get them back on the task at hand: making fun of Duke.


KSR’s Guide to the Peach Jam & adidas Gauntlet Finale

KSR’s Guide to the Peach Jam & adidas Gauntlet Finale

Tomorrow, the two major recruiting events of the year begin 115 miles apart from each other in South Carolina. The top prospects in the 2018 and 2019 classes will be split amongst the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta and the adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, meaning John Calipari and his staff will have the ole private jet fueled up and ready to travel between the two. All six players Kentucky has offered in the 2018 class will be in action, and in turn, KSR is sending two reporters to the Palmetto State. Nick Roush will make the trek from Hoover, Alabama to the Nike Peach Jam following Kentucky’s run at SEC Media Days, while Jack Pilgrim will be camped out at the adidas Gauntlet Finale.

While they pack their bags and steel their stomachs for five days of basketball and Hooters hot wings, check out my guide to the top recruits that will be in action this week.

 NIKE PEACH JAM

Riverview Park Activities Center, North Augusta, South Carolina; Games live streamed on FloHoops.com.

Players Offered:

Marvin Bagley ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Power Forward 6-11 220 lbs Phoenix, AZ Sierra Canyon/Nike Phamily
ESPN: 1 | 1 PF 247: 2 | 1 PF Rivals: 1 Scout: 1 | 1 PF

List: Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Arizona, UCLA, and Southern Cal

Latest: Only one recruiting service (247 Sports) doesn’t have Bagley in the top spot in the 2018 class. Otherwise, he been called a “once in a decade” type player (ESPN’s Paul Biancardi) with an unique arsenal of skills. Bagley’s Nike Phamily squad didn’t qualify for the Peach Jam, but was added as a wildcard, probably just so Bagley could participate.

Likelihood to Kentucky: Kentucky leads Bagley’s Crystal Ball, but he’s expected to take an official visit to Duke following the Peach Jam, so expect Calipari to make plenty of appearances during his games.

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Wednesday, 6:30 PM: Nike Phamily vs. Each 1 Teach 1
  • Thursday, 2:00 PM: Nike Phamily vs. Mokan Elite
  • Thursday, 8:00 PM: Nike Phamily vs. Team Melo
  • Friday, 9:00 AM: Nike Phamily vs. Howard Pulley Panters

Bol Bol ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Center/Power Forward 7-2 220 lbs Santa Ana, CA Mater Dei/Cal Supreme
ESPN: 4 | 1 C 247: 3 | 1 PF Rivals: 3 Scout: 2 | 1 C

List: Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas, UCLA, Southern Cal, and others

Latest: Bol was the MVP of the EYBL regular season, averaging 24.1 points (65.6% from the field), 10 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks per game. He was the only 2018 player to earn a scholarship offer from Calipari in the April recruiting period, but was cut from John Calipari’s U19 National Team a few weeks back.

Likelihood to Kentucky: It will be interesting to see what effect being cut from the national team has on Kentucky’s chances with Bol. Team USA was allowed only one naturalized citizen on the squad and the committee went with Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie, an understandable decision given his age and experience. I expect Calipari will smooth things over just fine.

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Wednesday, 8:00 PM: Cal Supreme vs. CIA Bounce
  • Thursday, 12:30 PM: Expressions Elite vs. Cal Supreme
  • Thursday, 9:30 PM: Cal Supreme vs. PSA Cardinals
  • Friday, 10:30 AM: Cal Supreme vs. Oakland Soldiers

Cameron Reddish ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Small Forward 6-7 203 lbs. Norristown, PA Westtown/Team Final
ESPN: 3 | 1 SF 247: 5 | 2 SF Rivals: 4 Scout: 4 | 2 SF

List: Kentucky, Arizona, UConn, Duke, Maryland, Miami (Fl.), UCLA, Villanova

Latest: Reddish was one of the most impressive young players on Calipari’s U19 squad, thanks in part to Calipari’s willingness to let him play almost every position. Reddish started at point guard at times during the FIBA World Cup, averaging 10.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. Team Final (which also includes Louis King) must win the play in game tomorrow afternoon to stay in the tournament.

Likelihood to Kentucky: Coming in to the FIBA World Cup, Duke was thought to be the leader for Reddish, but he told Kyle Tucker that is “absolutely not” the case. Calipari letting Reddish showcase his versatility seems to have done Kentucky some big favors in his recruitment.

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Wednesday, 12:00 PM: Team Final vs. Nike Team Florida

Other interests:

 Louis King, SF (Team Final)

King also played for Calipari in the FIBA World Cup and could be one of the next targets to receive an offer. He’s teammates with Cameron Reddish on Team Final.

Simi Shittu, PF (CIA Bounce)

I Shittu not, Kentucky has shown some interest in this Canada native recently, with Kenny Payne checking in on him at a Nike event in April. Every year, someone breaks out at one of these tournaments, so keep an eye on this versatile power forward.

Keldon Johnson, SG (Boo Williams)

Johnson’s ranked 13th in ESPN’s rankings and just transferred to Oak Hill Academy from Huntington Prep. Maryland seems to be the early leader, but should Calipari extend an offer, that could change.

 Zion Harmon (2021, Boo Williams)

The point guard from Bowling Green may only be a rising freshman, but he’s already turning heads. As the youngest player in the EYBL, Harmon averaged 12.6 points and 3.6 assists in 16 games for Boo Williams. He also led Bowling Green to its first state title as an eighth grader and played in the FIBA Americas U15 Championships last month in Argentina.

 Evelyn (1959, Hooters)

Evelyn’s been the head waitress at the Augusta Hooters since it opened in 1990. If Nick knows what’s good for him, he won’t give her any lip.

Additional Note: 2019 #1 prospect RJ Barrett’s team did not qualify.


ADIDAS GAUNTLET FINALE

Upward Star Center, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Players Offered:

Zion Williamson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Power/Small Forward 6-7 230 lbs Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg Day School/SC Supreme
ESPN: 2 | 2 PF 247: 1 | 1 SF Rivals: 2 Scout: 3 | 1 SF

List: Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Clemson, North Carolina, UCLA, and others

Latest: Williamson is just coming off a knee injury that sidelined him for a few months, but showed off his signature explosive dunks at a scrimmage this past week. With the adidas Gauntlet Finale taking place in his hometown, expect Williamson to be the star.

Likelihood to Kentucky: Williamson wasn’t able to participate in training camp for Calipari’s U19 National Team due to his knee injury, but Kentucky is still up there among the perceived favorites, along with Duke, Clemson (his dad’s alma mater), UNC, etc. etc.

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Thursday, 11:20 AM: Team Knight vs. SC Supreme

Romeo Langford ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Shooting Guard 6-5 195 lbs New Albany, IN New Albany/Twenty Two Vision
ESPN: 5 | 1 SG 247: 4 | 1 SG Rivals: 5 Scout: 5 | 1 SG

List: Kentucky, Duke, Indiana, Louisville, Kansas

Latest: Langford battled back spasms throughout the FIBA World Cup, averaging 4.2 points and 1.2 rebounds in 5.7 minutes per game. He sat out the Angola and Canada games, but rallied to score eight points in three minutes vs. Spain in the bronze medal game. Despite the injury, he said he still plans to play in the adidas event.

Likelihood to Kentucky: It will be interesting to hear feedback from Langford on his experience in Egypt. Dealing with his back injury must have been frustrating, but his latest USA Today HSS blog included this perplexing line: “I really don’t like watching and knowing that I could play.” Hmm. Is he calling out Calipari and staff for not playing him?

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Thursday, 12:40 PM: Twenty Two Vision vs. AC Georgia

Immanuel Quickley ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Point Guard 6-3 180 lbs Bel Air, MD John Carroll/Team BBC
ESPN: 14 | 2 PG 247: 14 | 3 PG Rivals: 10 Scout: 10 | 3 PG

List: Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland, Miami (Fl.)

Latest: Quickley averaged 6.7 points, 2.4 assists, and 1.7 rebounds in 18.3 minutes for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, and showcased all the qualities John Calipari likes in a point guard: size, athleticism, length, and smarts.

Likelihood to Kentucky: Very, very high. Quickley confirmed on KSR that Kentucky is “definitely” his leader, and although he still plans to take his four official visits later this summer before announcing this fall, it looks like he’s Calipari’s to lose.

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Thursday, 3:20 PM: Team BBC vs. TBD

 Quentin Grimes ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Point/Shooting Guard 6-4 195 lbs The Woodlands, TX The Woodlands College Park/Basketball University
ESPN: 29 | 6 SG 247: 17 | 5 PG Rivals: 20 Scout: 23 | 6 PG

List: Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas, and others

Latest: There hasn’t been much buzz about Grimes lately. The Texas native primarily plays point, but is comfortable playing off the ball as well.

Likelihood to Kentucky: Kansas seems to be the early leader for Grimes, which makes sense considering Quickley is Kentucky’s priority at the point guard position; however, Grimes did tell MadeHoops he wants to take an official visit to Kentucky this fall.

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Thursday, 11:20 AM: Basketball University vs. Ohio Basketball Club

Other interests:

 David McCormack, C (Team Loaded)

The 6-10 center plays on Bam Adebayo’s old AAU team and visited Kentucky unofficially back in April. He’s shed a lot of weight over the past several months, and as a result, his stock is rising.

 Charles Bassey, C (2019, YIIS TX Future)

Bassey is considered the second best player in the 2019 class behind RJ Barrett and visited Kentucky last month.

 Ashton Hagans, PG (2019, Game Elite)

Hagans visited UK for Big Blue Madness last season and was one of the standouts at the NBA Top 100 Camp last month. In a recent USA Today HSS blog, he said he’s looking forward to hearing more from Kentucky. He also said his favorite movie is Norbit; he was eight when it came out, so I’ll let that one slide.


Watch Greg McElroy crush Matt Elam for being lazy

Watch Greg McElroy crush Matt Elam for being lazy

Greg McElroy did not hold back in issuing a challenge to the Kentucky defensive line, namely Matt Elam.

Sitting on the SEC Network’s Media Day set down in Hoover earlier today, McElroy sent a message to the Wildcats, saying, “Step up, right now. Step up. It was an embarrassing effort. The linebackers covered their bases an awful lot, who are really good and played their tails off, but this defensive line, they need to be issued a challenge.”

“It was an embarrassing effort last year, particularly by former five-star Matt Elam, who was lazy and as underachieving a player as I’ve seen in this league in some time.”

Tell us how you really feel, Greg.

Elam should watch this clip every morning from now until the end of the season.


UK Football Pioneers are Focal Point of Greg Sankey’s SEC Media Days Opening Address

Each year SEC Media Days begin with a statement from the Commissioner.  Each year it begins with a pat on the back to celebrate the conference’s long list of accomplishments.  Each year we’re lucky to hear one mention of Kentucky.  This year that was not the case.

After Greg Sankey read through the SEC’s 2016-17 titles, the Commissioner asked us to look even further back to the year 1967.  He didn’t do it to remind us it was the first year the Super Bowl was played.  He didn’t do it to give the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels a shout out.  He did it to acknowledge Kentucky’s Nate Northington, the first African-American to play varsity football in the SEC.

“This September will mark the 50th anniversary of that Autumn Saturday,” Sankey said.  “When the Kentucky football team reported for preseason practice in 1967, there were four young African-American men who were part of that program; Nate Northington, Greg Page, Wilbur Hackett and Houston Hogg. Northington and Page were varsity players. Hogg and Hackett freshman recruited to join Kentucky’s team.

“These four men, one whose life was lost too soon, one who broke the color barrier in football in the Southeastern Conference and two others who carried forth the torch of change in Kentucky in the SEC dealt with realities most of us don’t understand, and they were not alone over the years this change took place.”

Page, Northington, Hackett and Hogg’s story was the primary focus during Sankey’s speech.  It’s a story that’s been overshadowed for far too long, but one that has an enormous effect throughout the African-American community in the South that can be best explained by a quote from Dr. King.

“In April of 1963, not far from this very spot, a letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior wrote this quote: ‘We’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.’

By playing in a football game on September 30th, 1967, Nate Northington affected us all,” Sankey said.  “This network of mutuality involves more than the four football players at Kentucky, more than just one date, one sport, one team, or one university.”

 

Sankey proceeded to read off the names of African-Americans who broke the color barrier at each SEC institution, all which stemmed from the sacrifice of UK’s four pioneers.

“The winds of change began earlier than the fall of 1967, but the seeds of change planted by Stephen Martin, Nate Northington and Perry Wallace and so many others have blossomed today into hundreds of opportunities in every SEC sport all across the campuses of our great universities.”

Northington’s time at Kentucky ended earlier than expected after he decided to transfer following his sophomore season.  Sankey drew to a Courier-Journal column from the time that described African-Americans in the SEC as a failed experiment.

“Last year, the ceremony unveiling a statue to honor Nate and his three teammates which now stands on Kentucky’s campus, he (Northington) said this: ‘Now, it doesn’t look like a failure to me.'”

 

The SEC has invited Kentucky’s three living pioneers — Northington, Hackett, Hogg — and the family of Greg Page to this year’s SEC Championship Game to honor and celebrate their sacrifice 50 years later.

You can read all of Sankey’s profound and poignant speech about UK’s pioneers after the jump.   (more…)


Monday’s Top 10: SEC Media Days begins, Team USA comes home, Summer League amps up

Monday’s Top 10: SEC Media Days begins, Team USA comes home, Summer League amps up

Good morning, friends, and welcome to a new week. Shoutout to these two Cats fans, who are posing in front of the Dottifoss waterfall in Iceland, the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe. If the picture wasn’t great enough, the two met a fellow Kentuckian while filling up their car at a gas station in nearby Akureyri. As I always say, small world, Big Blue Nation.

With that in mind, let’s jump right in to today’s top 10.

1. SEC Media Days begins today

Today is the unofficial start to football season. SEC Media Days begins in Hoover, Alabama, meaning sportswriters across the South will freeze their butts off in the Wynfrey Hotel and drink more than their fair share of Sunkist and Dr. Pepper over the next four days. Kentucky isn’t up until Wednesday, but Freddie Maggard and Nick Roush arrived in Hoover last night. Check back in an hour from now for Freddie’s preview. In the meantime, here’s a schedule of what you can expect today, starting at 12:30 p.m. ET:

  • SEC commissioner Greg Sankey
  • Arkansas coach Bret Bielema; QB Austin Allen, OL Frank Ragnow, DB Kevin Richardson II
  • LSU coach Ed Orgeron; WR D.J. Chark, RB Derrius Guice, DB Christian LaCouture
  • Tennessee coach Butch Jones; DB Emmanuel Moseley, OL Jashon Robertson, DL Kendal Vickers

Because this is the SEC, all of the fun will be televised on the SEC Network, along with WatchESPN.com. Bonus points to whomever spots Freddie or Nick on TV first.

2. Keep an eye out for a new Depth Chart Podcast

In addition to several posts throughout the day, Freddie and Nick will be taping a daily edition of the Depth Chart Podcast, which you’ll be able to find on your KSR podcast feed each evening. Tune in for their expert analysis on all of the happenings in Hoover, including how popular Freddie is on Radio Row. You can hear their preview, which hit the feed last night.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

3. We have our first actual Depth Chart

Scroll down to the post directly below this one or click here to check it out.

4. Team USA got the Bronze Medal in Egypt

On Saturday, Team USA was upset by Team Canada, led by 2019 phenom RJ Barrett. Barrett had a ridiculous 38 points and 13 rebounds in Canada’s 99-87 semifinal win, and he went on to lead his country to the tournament title on Sunday, ousting Italy 79-60. John Calipari’s squad finished third, beating Spain 96-72.

Team USA’s semifinal was extremely disappointing, but like the pro he is, Calipari shouldered the blame, telling reporters not finding a way to shut down Barrett was “my mistake, not these kids’ mistake.” Despite the early exit, he said he was proud of his team for rallying to beat Spain for the bronze medal.

“To be able to bounce back and play the way they did from start to finish shows me a lot about them. We were all still really disappointed. We came here to not only play for the gold, but win the gold, and to play like we did and have Canada come out and play so well, it was just disappointing that we couldn’t get it done. To come back today and play and win the bronze, it’s a good way to end.”

5. RJ Barrett is the real deal

Barrett was named the tournament’s MVP, leading all scorers with 21.6 points per game, along with 8.3 rebounds and 4.6 rebounds. Barrett is the number one player in the 2019, but is considering reclassifying to 2018. These highlights of his performance will show you why:

He’s good.

6. Hamidou Diallo’s tweet will make you feel better about USA’s loss

Neither can we.

7. Davis Bertans now knows not to mess with Alex Poythress

Poythress didn’t take too kindly to Bertans’ elbow to the face last night:

Alex finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds in the 76ers’ loss, while Aaron Harrison chipped in 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Isaiah Briscoe had 5 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists.

In other Summer League news, De’Aaron Fox continued his impressive start for Sacramento, putting up 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists (5 turnovers), and 3 steals. Skal Labissiere had 13 points and 8 rebounds. Dominique Hawkins didn’t play.

Today’s action, headlined by Lonzo Ball vs. De’Aaron Fox in the nightcap:

  • 4:30 PM ET: Miami Heat (Bam Adebayo) vs. Washington Wizards, NBATV
  • 6:00 PM ET: Brooklyn Nets (Archie Goodwin) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (James Young), ESPNU
  • 10:30 PM ET: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings (De’Aaron Fox, Skal Labissiere, Dominique Hawkins)

After spending 24 hours with three 10-year-old boys this weekend, I can verify that Ball vs. Fox is the rivalry of the future in the NBA.

8. Do you live in Northern Kentucky, love UK, and golf?

If you answered yes, check out the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati UK Alumni Club Golf Scramble, which will take place at Summit Hills Country Club on Monday, July 24. So, two weeks from today. Details below:

Registration is $140 per person which includes golf, continental breakfast, grill lunch, two drink tickets on the course and admission to the Big Blue Follow Through Party. Early bird registration ends Monday, July 10 (so, TODAY), after which the cost increases to $160 per person. All proceeds go to the club’s scholarship fund for UK students. More information and golfer registration can be found at www.ukalumni.net/nkygcgolfscramble2017.

9. I made a guest appearance on a podcast about the new Spider-Man movie

My friends at the “2 Guys, 1 Girl, Santa” podcast were nice enough to invite me on their show this weekend to discuss the newest Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming. We had a rollicking good time discussing the latest addition to the franchise, so if you’ve seen the movie OR you’re okay with spoilers, check it out below:

They’re just getting their feet under them with this podcasting thing, so please leave them some feedback @GuyGirlSanta.

10. Today on KSR: Cameron Mills and Lee K. Howard

We had a scheduling change, so Cameron Mills and Lee K. Howard will man the mics in Matt’s absence this morning. Tune in an hour from now to hear their takes on all things UK Sports.