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Friday’s Top 10: Did something big happen yesterday?

Friday’s Top 10: Did something big happen yesterday?

@LouisvilleZoo

You’re looking at Cora and Catina, two wolf pups recently born at the Louisville Zoo. The zoo held a naming contest for the pups and announced the winners yesterday, and you’re never going to convince me that “Catina” (“Cat” for short) won because it means “pure” in Portugese; in fact, that makes the irony even more wonderful. “Catina” won because zoo fans in Louisville either have a really awesome sense of humor (Kentucky fans) or they wanted to make it clear a wolf got in their hen house and ruined their basketball program (Louisville fans). Regardless, I’m happy the zoo has a living, breathing reminder of UofL’s depravity, and a pretty cute one at that.

Let’s jump right into today’s top 10, because there’s a lot to go over.

1. The NCAA is after UofL’s banner

The national media thinks the headline is Rick Pitino being suspended for five conference games, but to anyone who’s followed the situation, far more interesting is the NCAA making it clear UofL’s 2013 National Championship and 2012 Final Four banners will come down. Three players were ruled ineligible due to their participation in the sex acts/stripper parties, putting 108 wins and 15 NCAA victories in peril. Per standard procedure, UofL must submit a list of those games to the NCAA in the next 45 days, and even then, they plan to appeal the findings.

2. The appeal is a very, very long shot

UofL’s defense coming into yesterday was that because the sex acts/stripper parties didn’t cost much ($5,400), the banner shouldn’t come down. The NCAA thoroughly debunked that by making it clear that the monetary value has zero correlation to the reprehensible nature of the acts themselves. So, just because your strippers were cheap doesn’t change the fact that they were strippers, and pressuring 16 and 17-year-old kids into participating in these acts makes it a million times worse.

3. Yet, Rick Pitino remains confident they’ll win the appeal

Pitino went on a tirade about the NCAA’s “over-the-top,” “unfair,” and “unjust” findings, telling reporters he’s completely lost faith in the institution. That was just the start. Here’s a brief list of outrageous things Pitino said yesterday:

  • He doesn’t stay up past 10 p.m., so he shouldn’t be held responsible for what his players do between then and 8 a.m.
  • He shouldn’t have to answer questions because he doesn’t want to
  • A reporter must not be from Louisville because he asked a valid question
  • The NCAA investigation of NC State gave Jimmy Valvano cancer

He’s lost it, guys. Meanwhile, at home…

4. Calipari leaves for Colorado Springs tomorrow

Training Camp for the U19 Men’s National Team begins on Sunday in Colorado Springs, and tomorrow, Calipari will head west to prepare. Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, and Hamidou Diallo are among the 28 players who accepted invitations to the camp to try out for the 12-man team that will compete for the FIBA World Cup in Cairo next month. Also on the invite list: 2018 targets Bol Bol, Immanuel Quickley, Cameron Reddish, and Romeo Langford.

5. Shai Alexander is skipping the FIBA World Cup to stay in Lexington

Alexander initially planned to play for Team Canada, but according to Adam Zagoria, he has decided to skip it and stay in Lexington to train with his new squad. Tai Wynyard is still expected to play for New Zealand. Hopefully they’ll play Team USA and we’ll get to see them do the Haka:

6. Malik Monk’s workout with the Sixers went well

Yesterday, Monk had a solo workout with the Philadelphia 76ers, who have the third pick in the NBA Draft, which is less than a week away (!). Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Nik Stauskas, and a handful of other Sixers watched Monk’s workout, and he delivered, knocking down threes and driving the lane with ease. When reporters asked him what he was best at, he quipped, “Everything.” Clearly, he’s confident. You can see more below:

Elsewhere, Bam Adebayo will work out for the Nuggets today and Isaac Humphries will work out for the Sixers. On Saturday, De’Aaron Fox will take his turn working out for the Sixers.

7. UK Football holding a reunion for the 2006, 2007, & 2008 teams

Saturday, October 28 will be a huge day for UK Football. Not only are the Cats taking on the Tennessee Vols that day in Commonwealth Stadium Kroger Field, the program is also holding a reunion for the 2006, 2007, and 2008 teams. Rich Brooks, Jacob Tamme, Andre Woodson, Stevie Johnson, and John Conner are just a few of the names that could be back in town, which I’m seeing as a very good omen for our chances of an upset.

8. The football team got a Yahtzee

In case you missed the news late last night, JuCo DB Domonique Williams committed to Kentucky, picking the Cats over Colorado State, Arkansas State, Iowa State, and others. Last year, he finished with 49 tackles, 10 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions. He announced his commitment via this video on Twitter:

Williams will be part of Kentucky 2018 class. Welcome, young man.

9. J.B. Holmes is tied for 11th at the US Open

Holmes is three under going into the second round of the US Open, and will tee off at 1:47 p.m. ET today, giving you the perfect excuse to take off work early to watch on FS1…or, just stream it on PGATour.com/live like the rest of us. Stephen Jaeger, caddied by former KSR writer/viral video star Aaron Flener, is tied for 28th at one under. He tees off at 2:31 p.m.

Speaking of the US Open, did you see that blimp go down?

Just like the University of Louisville, amirite? (Thankfully, the pilot survived, suffering some serious burns)

10. Today’s KSR is one you won’t want to miss

The gang is at Don Franklin Auto on Richmond Road in Lexington to recap a crazy day. Get on out there to enjoy the show and register for the chance to win tickets to a game. Sounds like a perfect way to start the weekend if you ask me.


The 10 Craziest Moments From A Dark Day For The University Of Louisville

The 10 Craziest Moments From A Dark Day For The University Of Louisville

The smoke is still clearing on what was a dark, dark day for the University of Louisville, which received its public infractions report from the NCAA regarding the sex scandal in the men’s basketball program. This morning, I doubted any of us expected the NCAA to hammer UofL like they did; while Rick Pitino escaped with only a five-game ACC suspension, the program will have to vacate games from December 2010 through July 2014. That means, barring a miracle, UofL’s 2013 National Championship and 2012 Final Four will be struck from the record.

A LOT happened today, and while we absolutely suggest you scroll through the site to catch up (if only to check out some masterpieces by Drew Franklin), I spent the afternoon breaking it down into ten crazy moments.

 The NCAA is going after that banner

Among the NCAA’s punishments are “a vacation of basketball records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible from December 2010 and July 2014.” UofL will have 45 days to submit a written report to the NCAA outlining which games the ineligible players participated in, which is standard procedure. The NCAA’s report said 15 recruits and 3 enrolled players were involved in “adult entertainment and/or prostitution.” UofL special consultant Chuck Smrt confirmed that the ineligible players in question did play in the 2013 National Championship game, meaning that unless UofL wins its appeal (a very slim chance), that banner is gone.

Who were those enrolled players? We probably know because…

 Katina Powell called into KSR moments after the ruling came out

Who better to ask about the incidents than the woman behind it all? Katina Powell agreed to come on the show to discuss the ruling, and confirmed that Russ Smith, Chane Behanan, and Montrezl Harrell all participated in the sex acts or strip shows. All three played in the 2013 title game. Title gone.

 The testimony from the recruits is damning

Included in the 35-page infractions report from the NCAA is a detailed account of the “Late Night Activities in Minardi Hall” from the recruits and players interviewed. The more you read, the more disturbing it gets. Of the 15 recruits involved, at least seven or as many as ten were minors under the age of 18 at the time. Four of the recruits who engaged in sex acts were 17, while one was 16. Another 16-year-old recruit declined the offer of a sex act, while a third 16-year-old witnessed a striptease but was not interviewed. For those of you asking how no one went to jail for statutory rape for all of this, the age of consent in Kentucky is 16.

Seriously, the further you go in this, the worse it becomes. The fact that all of these tawdry acts are laid out in the NCAA’s formal legalese actually makes it seem even dirtier than Katina’s descriptions in “Breaking Cardinal Rules.”

 This passage alone makes the NCAA’s verdict indisputable

From pages nine through ten, as highlighted by Eric Crawford:

Ugh. I feel like I need to go scrub my hands clean and watch some cartoons for a while after reading that. The overwhelming horribleness of all of this is exactly why UofL’s appeal has no hope. Repeatedly today, the NCAA debunked UofL’s main defense: that because the sex acts/strip shows didn’t cost much ($5,400 in total), the violations aren’t severe enough to take the 2013 title away. Throughout the report and in their comments during the conference call today, the NCAA made it clear that the monetary value of the acts has zero correlation to the reprehensible nature of the acts themselves, which undermine the integrity of the NCAA Collegiate Model.

“These are severe violations, regardless of any dollar amounts assigned to them,” the report reads. “In this instance, the panel need not ascertain an exact value of the activities. The nature of the violations themselves, without more, elevates them to Level I. The types of activities that occurred in this case were repugnant and threaten the integrity of the NCAA Collegiate Model, regardless of any precise dollar value assigned to them.”

There is no way to argue that. Game, set, match, NCAA.

 Brandon Williams refused to turn over his phone because his mom had it

There’s a lengthy section of the report that deals with a “former program assistant” that took over the striptease/prostitution operations when McGee left. We know now that person is Brandon Williams, who worked at UofL from 2014-2016. The report suggests Williams was specifically involved in the July 2014 incident, in which a prospect (Antonio Blakeney) and his father had sex with Powell and her daughter. While the meet-up was still orchestrated from afar by McGee, the report alleges that Williams paid Powell beforehand outside the back door of Minardi Hall, citing “institutional records” to confirm that he went through the door around 10 p.m. that night.

Williams refused to cooperate with the investigation, telling the NCAA that he couldn’t turn his phone over because it actually belonged to his mother.

“In his supplemental response, dated March 24, 2017, he asserted for the first time that he could not produce the requested phone records because the phone was controlled by his mother, who would not consent to their release.”

Mama’s boy!

 An assistant coach blamed a bad practice on the strippers

Rick Pitino may not have been aware of what was happening with his team between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., but several members of his staff were. The report notes that “assistant coach 3” (not McGee or Brandon Williams) called out the team for playing bad in practice “because y’all had strippers in there all night.”

“Prospect 4 related an incident after he enrolled when assistant coach 3 made a comment to the team that it had practiced poorly ‘because y’all had strippers in there all night.’ He felt that assistant coach 3 may have known of the incidents, as assistant coach 3 was ‘close’ to the former operations director.”

Uhhh, ya think?? Wow.

 The NCAA only gave Rick Pitino a 5-game suspension…and he was still outraged!

Going in to today, many of us expected the NCAA to go after Rick Pitino and not the 2013 banner. Well, it was pretty much the opposite. Pitino was only suspended for five conference games for failure to monitor, a mere slap on the wrist considering the severity of the violations against his program. Yet, Pitino was STILL outraged by the punishment, his lawyer calling the NCAA’s finding “one of the weakest I’ve ever seen against a head coach.”

In a long line of BS that’s associated with Rick Pitino, that may take the cake. Five conference games is nothing after you read this report. I don’t believe Rick knew about the happenings at Minardi Hall, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be responsible for them; that’s how leadership works. Sixteen-year-olds were essentially pressured into sex acts and you’re complaining about having to sit out five games? Shut up and take your suspension, Rick. It could have been a lot worse.

 Rick Pitino reacted like a child

Pitino’s outrage over his own suspension was just the first of many bizarre behaviors from him today. Pitino attempted to take the moral high ground, blasting the NCAA for an “over-the-top” punishment and warning them that they “made a very large mistake.” The irony of Pitino’s comments is especially rich when you consider he spent more time ranting about the NCAA than showing remorse for what happened under his watch. I understand being upset, but being so defensive in a time like this is childish, a sentiment that was hammered home by Pitino’s response to a reporter’s question about what he should bear responsibility for as a head coach.

“I’m not answering that question,” Pitino said. When asked why, he quipped, “Because I don’t want to.”

If I could use that defense — essentially, a child’s — my life would be a whole lot easier.

Throughout the UofL press conference, Pitino lectured reporters, including this exchange:

Reporter: “Have you discussed the findings that were discussed today with the players that are in town or do you plan to do it?”

Pitino: “Well it doesn’t affect them in any way, but I will discuss to them what I told them all along, that every step along the way if you see something wrong, immediately step up so that it doesn’t become a problem going forward, it becomes a problem in the past that you can erase. Just, if you see something that’s going on — you have to understand — obviously this gentleman is not from here. Where are you from, by the way?”

Reporter: “Wave 3”

Pitino: “Wave 3. I guess he is from here.”

To that entire exchange, I say this:

It gets crazier!

 Rick Pitino suggested the NCAA gave Jimmy V cancer

The most bizarre moment of the presser came at the end when Rick Pitino made one final, desperate attempt at martyrdom by bringing up Jim Valvano, the former NC State coach that died of cancer in 1993.

“I’ll finish up with this story. I once saw Jimmy Valvano, and this was way before he got sick and I recommended him for a pro job and he was coaching some tough times at NC State. I saw him later on when he was just getting sick and I said, ‘Jim, how do you feel?’ And he said, ‘You know, the NCAA investigation broke down my immune system.’ And I always thought about that and I asked Bobby if that was true, did I remember it the right way and he said yes. And believe it or not, it can tear you apart, inside and out.”

So…the NCAA investigation broke down Jimmy V’s immune system, leaving him more susceptible to cancer? Or the NCAA investigation was the cancer? I’m so confused. Also, I’m shocked that he left the room before bringing up 9/11.

The NCAA finally got something right

There are some words I never thought I’d type, right? Yet, after reading the NCAA’s detailed account of how the University of Louisville basketball program tried to lure recruits — including minors — in via strip shows and sex acts, I am certain that, for once, the organization designed to govern college sports acted appropriately. Yes, they could have been harsher on Pitino, but for the most part, the infractions panel delivered a just ruling.

It all boils down to this: three players and 15 recruits received impermissible inducements and benefits arranged by an employee of the University of Louisville. Due to the despicable nature of those inducements and benefits, 108 wins and 15 NCAA Tournament wins should — and I believe, will — be wiped from their record.

UofL and Pitino can complain all they want, but those are the facts.


Calipari invites Capitol Police officer shot during today’s attack to be the Y at a Kentucky game

You’re looking at David Bailey, one of two Capitol Police officers that was injured during today’s shooting at a GOP congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Bailey, age 32, was shot in the leg as he charged the gunman, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson. While recovering in the hospital this afternoon, Bailey, a North Carolina Central University graduate, received a phone call from John Calipari thanking him for his heroics and inviting him to be the honorary “Y” at an upcoming Kentucky game.

“Just got off the phone with David Bailey of Capitol Police, one of two police officers who saved a lot of lives today,” Cal tweeted minutes ago. “David was hit in the ankle as he charged the gunman. What a hero and what courage. I told him he’s gotta come to a game and do the Y. #BBN, make sure our prayers are with all those who were injured today in the shooting.”

This morning, Senator Rand Paul told CNN that the only reason everyone at the field was still alive was because of Bailey and his fellow Capitol Police officers.

“Our lives were saved by the Capitol Police. Had they not been there I think it would have been a massacre,” he said. “The field, I mean, was basically a killing field.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan agreed.

“We are, as ever, awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police,” Ryan said. “I expressed our profound gratitude to them. It is clear to me, based on various eyewitness accounts that without these two heroes — Agent Bailey and Agent Griner — many lives would have been lost.”

Hopefully Agent Bailey will take Calipari up on his offer this season so Kentucky fans can give him a proper ovation.


Wednesday’s Top 10: PJ Washington’s threes, former Cats working out, baseball Cats getting drafted

Wednesday’s Top 10: PJ Washington’s threes, former Cats working out, baseball Cats getting drafted

Between the giant fire at a high rise in London and GOP Majority Whip Steve Scalise being shot at the GOP baseball practice in Virginia, it’s a pretty sobering morning, which makes pictures like the one above an even more welcome respite. Shoutout to these Kentucky fans for repping the Cats atop this beautiful mountain. Location is unknown, but man, that’s pretty.

Our thoughts out to all of those affected by the fire in London and the shooting in Virginia. Kentucky senator Rand Paul was at the practice at the time of the shooting and is unharmed. He’s doing interviews on all the major outlets, so turn one of them on to hear his account of it. The shooter, thankfully, is in custody.

There’s no way to transition from this, but so let’s just move on to today’s top 10.

1. Basketball jersey numbers were released

Yesterday, UK released the jersey numbers of the new guys and the returning guys. Two “vets” switched numbers: Hamidou Diallo from No. 4 to No. 3 (if you read KSR on Monday, you already knew that) and Brad Calipari from No. 20 to No. 12. Maybe he can pay for his mom and sister to get new jerseys.

Here are all of the numbers:

0 – Quade Green
1 – Sacha Killeya-Jones
2 – Jarred Vanderbilt
3 – Hamidou Diallo
4 – Nick Richards
5 – Kevin Knox
10 – Jonny David
12 – Brad Calipari
13 – Jemarl Baker
14 – Tai Wynyard
22 – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
25 – P.J. Washington
30 – Dillon Pulliam
32 – Wenyen Gabriel

2. ICYMI, Calipari says Jarred Vanderbilt will be fine

The biggest news from Calipari’s summer presser was that he expects Jarred Vanderbilt to be back to playing basketball in about two weeks. Vanderbilt suffered a mysterious left foot injury during the Jordan Brand Classic two months ago and hasn’t played since, but Calipari said the UK medical staff examined him and they’re holding him out for two more weeks just to be cautious.

“He’s not started playing. Probably two weeks before he’ll really get full going into what we’re doing here, but I think he’ll be fine. There aren’t any issues, it’s just – like I told his family – this is June. I just want to make sure when we get in November he’s in his stride. Right now, taking a couple weeks off. We had him with our doctors and with the trainers, just making sure, giving him a couple weeks. But he’ll be fine. He’s in good shape.”

Good to hear.

3. PJ Washington’s three-point shot looks pretty nice in this video

Before arriving at Kentucky last week, Washington worked on his three-point shot in Dallas, Texas. Let this video serve as a reminder of just how versatile Washington and fellow forwards Jarred Vanderbilt and Kevin Knox are.

4. Malik Monk is working out for the 76ers

The Sixers have the third pick in the draft, in addition to a boatload of second round picks, and today, they’ll host Malik Monk for an individual workout. I’d be surprised to see Monk go as high as three, but Calipari wouldn’t be.

“No, I think Malik is, I would say he’s a (No.) 3, 6, 7 (pick) maybe,” Cal said during yesterday’s teleconference. “That’s what I would guess. Fox is a (No.) 2 to 5 (pick), possibly. I would say Bam is anywhere from (No.) 9, 10 to 14, 15 (pick), in that range. There were teams that Isaac went and worked for and they liked him. The job that I’m hearing Isaiah is doing, and those guys, they’re going to have their opportunities now. That would be my guess of what I’m hearing.”

5. De’Aaron Fox thought his workout with the Lakers went well

Yesterday, Fox had his all-important solo workout with the Lakers, who have the second pick in the draft, and told reporters he thought it went well. Hear all of his comments below:

In other workout news, Derek Willis will work out for the Detroit Pistons today. Good luck, Derek.

6. Calipari will be at the draft

Even though Cal will be in Colorado Springs next week for the U19 National Team training camp, he will fire up the private jet to detour to New York the night of Thursday, June 22 to see his guys on “graduation night.” Jerry Tipton seemed to be doing his best to frame the question to make it seem like flying to the draft for the night would mean neglecting his duties at training camp, but Cal ended all of that with a simple, “My plan is to be at the draft.” Nice try, Jerry.

7. Five more baseball Cats were drafted

The Major League Baseball Draft continued yesterday, and several more Cats got opportunities at the next level following Evan White’s selection at No. 17 Monday night:

  • #89 (3rd round): Sophomore INF Riley Mahan, Miami Marlins
  • #171 (6th round): Senior RHP Logan Salow, Oakland Athletics
  • #220 (7th round): Junior RHP Zach Pop, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • #279 (9th round): Junior LHP Zach Logue, Toronto Blue Jays
  • #310 (10th round): Senior OF Zach Reks, Los Angeles Dodgers

Head coach Nick Mingione was also named the 2017 Perfect Game/Rawlings Coach of the Year for college baseball. Congrats, everyone.

8. Workout video of the day: UK Strength Coach Rob Harris

Need some motivation to get in the gym? All you need to do is watch this video of UK Basketball Strength Coach Rob Harris punishing the ropes and sled in a recent workout:

Okay, no more complaining about my Tracy Anderson tapes.

9. Anyone watch the 30 for 30 on the Celtics/Lakers last night?

I wasn’t able to start it last night, but I’ve heard ESPN’s three-part, five-hour documentary on the Celtics/Lakers rivalry is awesome. That rivalry was a little bit before my time, so I’m really looking forward to delving into it when I get some time this weekend.

10. KSR is in Russell Springs today

If you’re in the area, get on out to the Lawless-Smith True Value to check out the show and register for the chance to win tickets to a game this season. As an extra treat, country star Wheeler Walker will call in, which means Shannon better have his finger on the dump button because anything could happen.


5 Life Events That Are Perfectly Acceptable To Skip For A Kentucky Game

On this morning’s radio show, Matt and the guys raised an interesting topic: is it acceptable to skip a wedding for a Kentucky game? If you’re reading this website, you probably answered “yes” with no hesitation; however, weddings during football and basketball season are a touchy subject for couples across the Bluegrass. More than once, I’ve had to decline invitations to weddings because of Kentucky games, but as someone who covers them for a living, I’ve got a pretty easy out; for fans, it can be a much more delicate matter. So, in hopes of easing scheduling snafus across the state, I came up with this guide for which events are acceptable to skip in favor of a Kentucky game and which are not.

For sake of argument, let’s assume that the Kentucky game in question is a pretty important one, like Louisville, not a cupcake, and you’ve got a ticket to it. For some of you diehards, it may even mean just watching it.

Friend’s wedding: ACCEPTABLE TO SKIP

Unless: You’re in it; you’re a family member 

Now, this will probably make me enemy number one of brides across the Bluegrass, but if you want to make things easy on your guests, schedule your wedding in April (but never the first weekend), May, June, July, or August. Fall weddings are beautiful, but problematic, so if you absolutely must get married amongst the falling leaves, schedule on a cupcake or bye weekend (although you may run into issues with the rehearsal dinner and Big Blue Madness). If you don’t, either have the game available somewhere on a TV at the reception, or just expect some people not to show up, especially during March.

As outlined above, there are a few exceptions to this rule: you can’t skip if you’re in the wedding or the bride or groom is a family member. There’s a little wiggle room if they’re a second/third cousin or niece or nephew you’ve only seen a few times, but your family will probably be pissed and it might not be worth the drama. If you’re an extremely close friend of the bride or groom, you’re probably going to be involved in the wedding, but if you’re not, this could be your revenge. (Kidding. Sort of.)


Graduations: ACCEPTABLE TO SKIP

Unless: It’s your graduation; it’s your kid’s graduation

To me, graduations are a colossal waste of time, and it seems like for kids these days, there are about ten of them. Because most take place in the spring, they don’t conflict with football or basketball games very often, but December graduations certainly do, and unless it’s your graduation or your kid’s graduation, you’re probably safe to skip it.


Birthday parties: ACCEPTABLE TO SKIP

My only “unless” here would have been if it were your kid’s birthday party, but come on, if you’re reading this article, you’re not dumb enough to schedule that during a UK basketball or football game. In fact, you’re probably making your kid’s year by taking him or her to an actual UK game as their present. Well done.

As far as other birthday parties go, fulfilling your duty as a Kentucky fan to cheer on the Cats trumps your friend’s kid’s sixth birthday at Monkey Joe’s or your work buddy’s birthday happy hour. If you don’t have a ticket and the party in question centers around the game or has a designated area where you can watch it and get loud, by all means, party on. Otherwise, you’re just going to be checking your phone the whole time, which will probably get you in more trouble than skipping the party to go the game in the first place.


Kid’s sporting event: ACCEPTABLE TO SKIP

Odds are your kid has five million soccer/softball/baseball/peewee football games during the year. You can miss one to cheer on the Cats.


Family Reunion: ACCEPTABLE TO SKIP

So your family rented a chalet in Gatlinburg for the weekend or is gathering at grandma’s house for a Saturday cookout. Hopefully, because they’re related to you, they’re also Kentucky fans and understand the importance of cheering on the Cats in person and will give you a pass. If not, then they probably won’t be cool with you watching the game at the house either, or checking the score on your phone, so just skip it.


Kid’s parent/teacher conference: DEPENDS

This is totally dependent on circumstance. If it’s a parents’ night at the school or a routine parent/teacher conference, I’d say do your best to reschedule. If it’s an actual issue that warrants calling an emergency meeting, then you gotta go be there for your kid, and double the punishment for whatever they did to have them make up for you missing the game.


A funeral: NOT ACCEPTABLE TO SKIP

If it’s a family member or close friend, don’t even consider it. And definitely don’t try to use the excuse, “It’s what [insert name of deceased person] would have wanted.” That will get you smacked.


Your child’s birth: NOT ACCEPTABLE TO SKIP

Are you kidding me? Never acceptable to skip that. Also, they have televisions in hospitals.


UK Basketball released the players’ jersey numbers for next season

UK Basketball released the players’ jersey numbers for next season

The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team revealed each players’ jersey numbers for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

Quade Green and Kevin Knox will take over the numbers worn by De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk this past year, while Jarred Vanderbilt adopts Aaron Harrison’s trademark No. 2, Nick Richards takes No. 4 from Hamidou Diallo, and P.J. Washington honors Dominique Hawkins with the No. 25.

Two second-year guys made changes from their first season: Brad Calipari goes from No. 20 to No. 12, and Diallo will wear the No. 3.

Here’s the whole team:

0 – Quade Green
1 – Sacha Killeya-Jones
2 – Jarred Vanderbilt
3 – Hamidou Diallo
4 – Nick Richards
5 – Kevin Knox
10 – Jonny David
12 – Brad Calipari
13 – Jemarl Baker
14 – Tai Wynyard
22 – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
25 – P.J. Washington
30 – Dillon Pulliam
32 – Wenyen Gabriel

Update your rosters accordingly.

Ellen’s going to need a new jersey.


Five Quotes From John Calipari’s Tuesday Teleconference

Mark Zerof | USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari picked up the phone and talked to the media today over the sound of intense jackhammering at the UK basketball practice facility. He talked about his 2017 NBA draft prospects, the one-and-done rule, coaching Team USA, the health of one of us his players, and much, much more.

Here are five quotes that stood out:

 

“If I wasn’t comfortable, I wouldn’t go.”

John Calipari is not worried about his upcoming trip to Cairo for the FIBA World Cup. He admitted that he was curious how it would go, but now he’s very comfortable in Team USA’s travel plans with the safety precautions in place. He said the president of Egypt is even assisting in the safe passage of the Americans during their time overseas.

“Kentucky eats first. I’m not saying that to be arrogant. You know it.”

There’s my favorite quote of the 30-minute teleconference. In talking about what will happen to the program if the one-and-done rules goes to something else, Cal said, “Kentucky eats first. I’m not saying that to be arrogant. You know it.”

He also said he’d like to see the NBA adopt the MLB’s draft system, but doesn’t expect that will ever happen.

“My plan is to be at the draft.”

Will Calipari miss the draft for the first time since he’s been Kentucky’s coach? Nope. Despite his commitment to Team USA’s training camp in Colorado June 18-25, Cal plans to sneak away to be in the green room with his Cats on draft night. It must be nice to have unlimited access to a private jet, huh?

“I think he’ll be fine.”

Calipari expects Jarred Vanderbilt will be back to playing basketball in about two weeks. Vanderbilt hasn’t been able to go full speed since suffering an injury in the Jordan Brand Classic back in April, but UK’s medical team looked him over and they believe he’ll be good to go in the coming weeks. Great news.

“If we go to 20 games we won’t have a series with North Carolina, so I’m not for it.” 

Yesterday it was reported that the Big Ten will likely go to 20 regular season conference games, and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo supports the change. Calipari, on the other hand, doesn’t want to see the same for the SEC. He said if it does, UK will lose important non-conference series, like the one with North Carolina.


Building John Calipari’s Perfect U19 World Cup Team

Building John Calipari’s Perfect U19 World Cup Team

This time next week, John Calipari will be at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado for the U19 World Cup Team training camp. Calipari and his assistants will have eight days to evaluate and coach the 28 camp attendees before the group is narrowed down to a 12-man World Cup roster for competition play in the 2017 FIBA World Cup in Cairo next month.

I’m here now to say let’s save everyone the hassle and select the team without spending all that in Colorado. We can build Cal’s best team right now. So let’s do it…

 

DESMOND BANE, Guard, TCU (Sophomore)

Leading off our alphabetical order of training campers is reigning NIT champion Desmond Bane of TCU. The sophomore guard started 13 games for the Horned Frogs last season with averages of 7.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game over 31 games played, while leading the team in three-point percentage at .380 (30-for-79).

I’m sure he’s a nice person and will have a lovely career at TCU, but NO.

BOL BOL, Forward/Center, High School (Class of 2018)

Bol Bol is one of the hottest names in the 2018 class these days after being named MVP of the Nike EYBL regular season circuit. The son of former NBA great Manute Bol, Bol Bol averaged 24.1 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game while shooting 48.9 percent from three-point range in 16 EYBL games.

Considering Bol Bol is one of Calipari’s top targets and Kentucky is the heavy favorite in his recruitment, Bol Bol is a YES for the 12-man roster.

Marques Bolden, Center, Duke (Sophomore)

If Marques Bolden could go back in time, I bet he’d like to redo his commitment to Duke out of high school. The five-star big man was rumored to favor Kentucky over Duke, but chose the Blue Devils at his mother’s encouragement. Whether that’s true or not is irrelevant now, but his freshman season numbers (or lack thereof) prove Duke wasn’t the place to go for first-year success.

Now Bolden has the opportunity to play for Calipari and I think Calipari would love to coach him up to say “I told you so.” Their past relationship, and Calipari’s opportunity to show up Coach K, makes Bolden a YES.

Chaundee Brown, Guard, Wake Forest (Freshman)

Team USA assistant Danny Manning likely played a role in Brown’s invitation to Colorado as Manning recruited him to Wake Forest and will coach him in his freshman season this fall. The 31st-ranked player in the 2017 class, Brown picked Wake Forest over Manning’s old school, Kansas. It was a huge get for Manning, but he won’t have the same influence in getting Brown on the final USA U19 roster. He is a NO.

Devon Daniels, Guard, NC State (Sophomore)

Devon Daniels averaged 10 points per game as a freshman at Utah in 2016-17, but transferred to NC State following the season. A Google search of his name (because I have no idea who he is) brings up a suspension at Utah for conduct detrimental to the team, so he’s a big NO because we do not need detrimental conduct to Team USA.

Hamidou Diallo, Guard, Kentucky (Freshman)

Hamidou Diallo is the safest bet in the field for his obvious ties to Calipari and previous experience with USA Basketball. I don’t see a reason why he should have to show up for camp. Easy YES.

Carsen Edwards, Guard, Purdue (Sophomore) 

Carsen Edwards was one of four double-digit scorers for a Purdue team that reached the Sweet 16 last season. Good for him. NO.

Malachi Flynn, Guard, Washington State (Sophomore)

Washington State produced a great guard in Klay Thompson, but Malachi Flynn is no Klay Thompson. NO.

Kevin Huerter, Guard, Maryland (Sophomore)

Sleeper pick! Maryland’s Kevin Huerter is a YES because he is one of only four returning players who played for the U18 team that won Gold in the FIBA Americas Championships last summer. He led that team in three-pointers made and scored 6.8 points per game. He’s in.

Louis King, Forward, Hudson Catholic H.S. (Class of 2018)

2018 wing Louis King has been in contact with Kentucky and he recently said it would be a “privilege” to play there. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. He’s not going to Egypt. NO.

Kevin Knox, Forward, Kentucky (Freshman)

Uh, YES.

Romeo Langford, Guard, New Albany H.S. (Class of 2018)

By now you should know all about Romeo Langford; if not, he’s the superstar in the making that plays shooting guard across the Ohio River from Louisville in New Albany, Indiana. With Duke, Indiana, and Louisville lined up as UK’s biggest competitors for his services, Calipari will make sure he gets all the one-on-one time he can with Langford this summer. Easy YES.

Brandon McCoy, Forward, UNLV (Freshman)

McDonald’s All-American Brandon McCoy tried out for the U18 team last year and did not make the cut. Good luck to him as he tries again and good luck to him next season at UNLV. NO.

De’Anthony Melton, Guard, USC (Sophomore)

Melton had a nice freshman season at USC where he scored 8.3 points per game and was second on the team with 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He also led the conference with in steals and was named All-Pac-12 Defensive Team honorable mention. Throw him on the team. YES.

Charlie Moore, Guard, Kansas (Sophomore)

Moore transferred to Kansas this fall after starting 34 games at California last year and earning Pac-12 Conference All-Freshman team honors. You’ll probably hear a lot about him once he suits up the Jayhawks in 2018-19. You will not hear about him making Calipari’s U19 team. NO.

Chuma Okeke, Forward, Auburn (Freshman)

Calipari to help develop one of Bruce Pearl’s incoming freshman? NO. Sorry.

Josh Okogie, Guard, Georgia Tech (Sophomore)

Okogie will have a slight edge in the race for a spot due to Calipari’s relationship with his coach, Josh Pastner at Georgia Tech. Outside of that I know nothing about him. So, NO.

Shamorie Ponds, Guard, St. John’s (Sophomore)

Point guard Shamorie Ponds will not be crossing the pond to compete in America. NO.

Payton Pritchard, Guard, Oregon (Sophomore)

No room, bud. NO.

Immanuel Quickly, Guard, John Carroll H.S. (Class of 2018)

Quickley was the first point guard on Calipari’s board for the 2018 class and the second player to receive a scholarship offer. His recruitment is already down to four schools — Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland and Miami — and Calipari will use a trip to Egypt to gain a huge advantage over the other three. There’s no chance he’s not on that flight to Cairo, especially since he plans to make his decision before his senior season. YES.

Cameron Reddish, Forward, Westtown High School (Class of 2018)

Go ahead and pencil Cameron Reddish in as a YES to make the final roster. Reddish is one of only seven high school seniors with a scholarship offer from Kentucky and Calipari will make sure he gets some quality time with Reddish this summer before Reddish begins his senior year of high school.

Mitchell Robinson, Center, Western Kentucky (Freshman)

Five-star center Mitchell Robinson shocked the world by committing to Western Kentucky as one of the top centers in high school basketball last summer. He’ll make the team and compete for the starting center spot before he tears apart Conference USA this fall.

Quinton Rose, Guard, Temple (Sophomore)

NO.

Jeremiah Tilmon II, Center, Missouri (Freshman)

Calipari will do nothing to help out Mizzou head coach Cuonzo Martin. NO.

PJ Washington, Forward, Kentucky (Freshman)

Like Diallo and Knox, Washington is an automatic YES for his prior USA experience and current spot in Calipari’s Kentucky program.

Austin Wiley, Center, Auburn (Sophomore)

There’s no room for Auburn’s sophomore center with Bolden, Bol and Robinson already on the list. Sorry. NO.

Kris Wilkes, Forward, UCLA (Freshman)

Incoming UCLA freshman Kris Wilkes was recruited by Calipari, but cut the Cats from his list when UK’s interest started to decline. A top-20 prospect in his class, Wilkes is a great player and will look good in the Pac 12 this fall; however, NO.

Trae Young, Guard, Oklahoma (Freshman)

Trae Young had his chance to play point guard for Calipari. He was the Cats’ priority in the 2017 class to take De’Aaron Fox’s starting PG spot and he let it slip through his hands by waiting too long. Now he’s off to disappear at Oklahoma where he will play four years and his shining moment will be making the second weekend of the NCAA tournament in his senior season. So sorry, Trae. NO to Team USA. You’re not going to take Cal’s coaching into your freshman season of college. Let Lon Kruger develop you.

 

Here’s your roster…

 

G – Immanuel Quickley

G – Romeo Langford

G – Kevin Huerter

G – De’Anthony Melton

G – Hamidou Diallo

F – Kevin Knox

F – Cameron Reddish

F – Kris Wilkes

F – P.J. Washington

F – Bol Bol

C – Marques Bolden

C – Mitchell Robinson

 

Go USA.


What We Learned at the First Kentucky Football Camp of the Summer

What We Learned at the First Kentucky Football Camp of the Summer

The summer season for Kentucky football began with more than a hundred campers the Kentucky football facility.  Split between the stadium and practice fields, coaches spent more than three hours working with some of their top recruits.

Here’s what we learned, along with a disclaimer: there are no rosters at these events.  Figuring out who is who can be difficult, but I think I got all I needed.  Check it.

—  Jarren Williams went to the Elite 11 Camp.  If you didn’t know who he was, all you had to do was see the quarterback’s Elite 11 swag.  From his shoes to his backpack, he brought everything from L.A. to Lexington.  Williams did not throw today, instead he spent his time talking with Darin Hinshaw and future teammates.

—  Williams’ wide receiver dominated.  A pair of Central Gwinnett wide receivers made the trip to Kentucky, Jallah Zeze and Khmari Thompson.  One player in yellow shorts — I’m almost certain it was Thompson — took on all takers in one-on-one drills and never lost.  He caught everything that went his way all over the football field.  Only once did he get bested with a bump at the line of scrimmage, and that was by arguably the most talented player at the camp.

—  Top 20 Cornerback from Michigan Visits.  I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out who the wide-bodied cornerback in adidas cleats was.  My Google search led me to Kalon Gervin, the No. 2 player in the state of Michigan, a Top 200 player overall and Top 20 cornerback in the nation.

Gervin is a teammate of DeAndre Square at Cass Tech in Detroit.  Square, a safety/outside linebacker, spent the day with Matt House, who often used Square as a teaching example during drills.  Gervin received that individual attention from Steve Clinkscale, the UK defensive backs coach and Gervin’s primary recruiter.  On one occasion, Clinkscale wouldn’t let Gervin get a water break with the rest of the players until he walked him through some man coverage tricks of the trade.

—  “Stay Up.”  Those two words were uttered more than any other by Steve Clinkscale during one-on-one period.  Everybody wants to be at their best in front of the coaches.  After getting beat, a few DBs tackled the WRs instead of letting them run the play out into the end zone.

“You ain’t going to get a scholarship by tackling somebody!” Clinkscale had to yell after his initial instructions were not followed.  One of the few who got a scholarship offer was a 2021 recruit, A.J Kirk Jr. from Columbus. Kirk is the younger brother of former NFL and Ohio State DB Mike Doss.

—  “Big Dogs.”  That was of course what Vince Marrow required the tight ends to say when they broke out of the huddle.  Tight end commit Brenden Bates was in Lex, but Keaton Upshaw received most of Marrow’s attention.

“You ever been in a fight?” Marrow asked after seeing Upshaw fire out of his stance for the first time.  After Upshaw replied negatively, Marrow implored, “Bring your whole body.  STRIKE!  PUNCH!”

Upshaw ferociously followed Marrow’s instructions.  It was impressive.  Normally 6’7″ 17-year old tight ends are gangly pass-catchers.  That’s not the case with Upshaw.  The Lima, Ohio native is jacked.  UK needs a second tight end in the 2018 class and Upshaw would be the perfect fit.

(L to R) Keaton Upshaw (@UpshawKeaton) with Jarren Williams and Brenden Bates.

—  Talented underclassmen running backs.  This is where figuring out names became too difficult.  There were some good looking guys working out with Eddie Gran, but differentiating the short, explosive underclassmen from one another was too much to handle.  Still, they were much more talented than I anticipated.

—  Nepotism.  Strength coach Corey Edmund’s son was one of the underclassmen at the camp.  A wide receiver, every current player on the field was watching him during one-on-ones.  He did not disappoint.  After one catch down the sideline, Coach Ed turned to the players and said, “Stay off his back,” causing the crowd to erupt in laughter.

—  One Player with Buzz.  There was a good crowd of current players at Kroger Field watching today’s activities.  Mike Edwards, Derrick Baity, Tobias Gilliam, Kayaune Ross (his younger brother camped), Clevan Thomas, Tymere Dubose, Jamin Davis, Cedrick Dort and A.J. Rose stayed the longest.  One player who wasn’t there was the most talked about newcomer: Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald.

Freddie was right, again.  The steal of the 2017 class, people around the program marvel at the freshman’s size and work ethic.  He is in the weight room every single day, so much so that they’re probably going to have to tell him to slow down soon.  Losing Alvonte Bell doesn’t hurt so bad after hearing about the progress of our boy Abule.


Mark Stoops’ Expected Visitors for this Weekend’s Camps

This weekend Mark Stoops is hosting his most talented crop of recruits for a pair of evening camps.

From a recruiting aspect, it’s another opportunity to roll out the red carpet for their top targets.  The camp also gives coaches another look at young talent that may not have been previously on their radar.  Most importantly, this is the only venue where coaches can individually work with commits.  The coaches can tell them where they want them to improve, show them different drills and techniques, all while building camaraderie to solidify their commitment.

Many of Kentucky’s 2018 commits and top targets are expected to appear at Kroger Field over the next two days.  Take a look…

Commits

Jarren Williams– The Kentucky quarterback commit received a four-star rating from Scout following his trip to L.A. for the Elite 11.  A finalist, he’s one of 11 quarterbacks who will compete with America’s best at The Opening in Oregon.

Alex Reigelsperger–  Vince Marrow’s lead Ohio recruiter for the Class of 2018, the defensive end from national powerhouse Wayne High School in Dayton will be busy convincing his peers to commit to UK.

Brenden Bates–  A three-star tight end from Cincinnati Moeller High School, the exceptional pass catcher is the first to fill the position of need in 2018.  They’ll add another tight end,to the class before National Signing Day, maybe a player who’s on campus this weekend.

The calm before the storm.

Quintin Wilson–  The Cincinnati Walnut Hills center is arguably the most underrated player in Kentucky’s 2018 class.

Marvin Alexander–  The three-star Florida wide receiver will get to show off his speed on the Kroger Field turf for the first time.

Marquan McCall–  The highest-ranked commit in the 2018 class, the Michigan offensive lineman is bringing plenty of talent with him to Lexington this weekend.  As you’ll see, one of them could commit before returning to Michigan.

Top 2018 Targets

Akeem Hayes– He’s committed to Louisville, but he has two Chaminade-Madonna Prep teammates committed to Kentucky, wide receiver Marvin Alexander and defensive end Davoan Hawkins.  Hayes will be in Lexington tomorrow after a trip to UofL.  If the Lexington trip doesn’t convince him to change his mind, maybe this Twitter poll might.

Tyler Bentley and Xavier Peters–  These two defenders from Lakota West are two players that would fill positions of need.  Bentley is one of the Midwest’s best defensive tackles and Peters is considered one of the ten best outside linebackers in the country.

DeAndre Square– The safety/outside linebacker could become Kentucky’s second commitment from the state of Michigan.  A top ten player in the Great Lakes State, don’t be surprised if he pulls the trigger and commits before returning to Detroit.

Keaton Upshaw–  A 6’7″ three-star tight end from Lima, Ohio, the lengthy athlete looks right at home in the Nutter Football Training Facility.

@UpshawKeaton

 

These are just a few of the hundreds who will be on campus this weekend.  For every player mentioned above, there will be three or four more teammates participating in the camp.

Follow me on Twitter and stay tuned to KSR later tonight where I’ll provide updates from Kroger Field.


Cards Beat Cats 5-2 in Game One of the Super Regional

Cards Beat Cats 5-2 in Game One of the Super Regional

UK Athletics

The Kentucky baseball team’s first Super Regional appearance looked completely different from the Bat Cats’ first Regional Championship win.

On Monday Kentucky scored ten runs on just six hits.  Today UofL scored five runs on just four hits.  The Cats rattled N.C. State into submission to start the week.  Today the tables turned after Drew Ellis’ three-run homerun in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Kentucky catcher Kole Cottam was not a fan of Ellis’ celebration and he let him know about it.  The teams had to temporarily be restrained before resuming play.

At the time the Cards had a two-run lead thanks to an obscure rule they had to print out in order to share with the world.  With runners on second and third and one out, Cottam was called for catcher interference on a slow chopper to the short stop.  The umpires initially stopped play to load the bases, but the rule gives UofL an option to accept or decline the penalty.  The opted to decline, bringing in their second run in exchange for an out.

Louisville’s Kade McClure pitched a shutout for five and a third and surrendered just three hits.  Evan White’s lead-off single in the third inning gave the Bat Cats an opportunity, but McClure shut the door by striking out the side.  Their next best opportunity came with two leadoff hits in the fifth.  A botched bunt, a pickoff at second and a strikeout let Louisville leave the inning unscathed.

At least the game ended with some good news for the Cats.  Evan White hit a solo shot to right field to prevent a shutout.  They weren’t done.  The Bat Cats scored another run with a two-out rally off Louisville-native Tyler Marshall’s single.  T.J. Collett pinch-hit as the tying run but struck out swinging to end the game.

Tomorrow SEC Pitcher of the Year Sean Hjelle will take the mound to keep the Kentucky season alive at noon on ESPN.


Some of the juiciest findings from the audit of the UofL Foundation

The findings from the forensic audit of the UofL foundation were released on Thursday and it’s worse than anyone probably imagined. From extreme overcompensation to extreme overspending and plenty of bad financial decisions in between, the foundation drained its endowment and now it’s all out there for the world to see.

The entire 132-page report is a pretty long read for one person with a busy life such as yours, so I gathered some of the juiciest findings for you here on Kentucky-Sports-Radio-dot-com…

 

UofL’s IT department erased and repurposed Dr. Ramsey’s hard drive before the audit.

I’m sure it’s purely coincidence that UofL’s IT department bleached Ramsey’s computer clean right before the firm stepped in to conduct the audit.

“Nothing to hide here, just one big ol’ coincidence that we destroyed the hard drive as you came to investigate it. Unfortunate timing I guess.” – UofL Foundation, probably  [Source]

Tom Jurich’s son was paid almost $800K by the foundation.

Mark Jurich, the son of Tom Jurich, received $791,000 in compensation from the UofL foundation.

Fun fact: Mark Jurich did not work for the foundation.

The audit says UofL’s payroll processing listed him in the Department of the President, but the university’s staff directory lists him as Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development since 2008. [Source]

The foundation paid $300,000 for a radio show. And it wasn’t even a good one.

As we expected (and knew all along), the UofL foundation funded its own propaganda on the radio with a $300K/year deal for a show and advertising. Of course that show is was Captain Suntan’s show and it was created to counter KSR. Good job, good effort. [Source]

Kathleen Smith, Ramsey’s former aide, wasn’t afraid to play dirty.

Smith’s name is found all throughout the audit’s findings and she seems like a gangster. For example, she once asked, “How can we move our LLCs into something more obscure that would be difficult to find?” [Source]

She was all about hiding the paper trails, too. Check out this last paragraph:

“We are so close to receiving benefit for the risk that we have taken over the years,” she wrote. [Source]

The foundation spent more than $800,000 of its endowment on season football and basketball tickets.

Holy cow those must’ve been good seats. I hope the Office of the President really enjoyed wasting all those donations on tickets to see the Cards. [Source]

Oh wait… It turns out they then sold those tickets:

But to who? And where did the money go?

No one knows.

The foundation invested $9.9 million in high-risk startup companies.

Those companies are currently valued at less than $2 million. [Source]

The spending is really insane.

The foundation used some of its endowment to buy a golf course.

ULF bought the Simpsonville golf course for the UofL Athletics Association. [Source]

Dr. Ramsey, Smith and former provost Shirley Willihnganz got PAID.

Almost $4.4 million over seven years for Kathleen Smith; $6.8 million for Willihnganz; and Ramsey took home $12.4 million.

 

There is still much more in the findings. Much, much, much more.


Photo by UK Athletics

It’s time to rally behind Kentucky Baseball’s Rally Cup Hat (and make your own!)

Photo by UK Athletics

There are several obvious contributing factors to UK Baseball’s historic run to the Super Regional: the relentless enthusiasm of first-year head coach Nick Mingione; talented pitchers like Sean Hjelle and Logan Salow; All-Americans Evan White, Tristan Pompey, and Riley Mahan; and the team’s remarkably quick transition to Mingione’s system. Yet, there is one unsung hero in this bunch that deserves some recognition: Austin Keen’s rally cup hat.

Constructed entirely of paper Powerade cups and tape, Keen’s creation is modeled after a Viking hat. It first drew attention when Kentucky faced elimination vs. Indiana on Sunday of the Lexington Regional. Desperate times called for desperate measures, so Keen, a redshirt freshman pitcher, crafted the hat out of the materials available and it worked. Kentucky went on to beat Indiana and, a few hours later, NC State to advance to the final showdown with the Wolfpack Monday night.

“Of all the guys and everything that happened in our program, who and what from the University of Kentucky got on ESPN?” Nick Mingione joked today. “The cup hat! The guy that poured himself into the team the most. I want you to think about that. It wasn’t the grand slam, it wasn’t the dog pile, it wasn’t any of that. The guy that got on ESPN was the guy that had the cup hat.”

Heading into Monday night’s big game, the hat was bigger and bolder then ever, gaining new accessories like a propeller so that it resembled a giant flying blue and white traffic cone. Its shining moment came at the top of the sixth inning when, with the Cats down one, a foul ball rolled into right field near the dugout and Keen took off a sprint to retrieve it. His hat magically staying in place, Keen flipped the foul ball into the crowd and dutifully sprinted straight back to the dugout.

Mingione has embraced the hat as a metaphor for his team’s selfless, one brick — err, cup — at a time mentality.

“By the way, what was [Keen] doing? He was chasing a foul ball to serve his team. That’s the guy that got on SportsCenter. Oh and by the way, that just happened to bleed over to our team and we just happened to win a championship and do something that’s never been done before. I’m about to share this with our team. That’s how life works. Who’s the guy that everybody wants to pull for? The guy that’s the most selfless person. How do you not want to root for that guy?”

You can’t. It’s impossible. Today, senior Connor Heady and junior Riley Mahan credited the rally cup hat and the rest of the dugout for keeping the team loose during the stressful postseason.

“Fortunately for us this weekend, it was pretty loose,” Heady said. “You guys saw some of the things we had going on in the dugout with the rally cap, the cup hat that Austin Keen made. Just guys wearing sunglasses the whole game in the dugout for the night game, backwards hats. They had it all going on. Our dugout was really loose this weekend and they brought a lot of energy, a lot of positive reinforcement for us that are out there playing the game.”

“When you have stuff like that going on in the dugout, it keeps everybody loose,” Mahan said. “That really helps from both ends and keeps everybody loose and reminds everyone it’s just a game and go out there and control what you can control and have fun playing the game.”

To answer the question you surely have by now, yes, the cup will travel to Louisville for tomorrow’s Super Regional showdown with the Cards.

“It’s ready to go,” Mahan assured reporters today. “I think he might have some more tape on it to make it more stable, but it’s ready to go.”

Want to make your own? Hopefully we won’t need it, but it’s best to be prepared.

How to make your own Rally Cup Hat

Materials needed

  • Paper cups (preferably blue, white, and/or black)
  • Scissors
  • White tape

Step 1: Cut several paper cups down the side and remove bottoms

Step 2: Tape cups together to form initial ring

Step 3: Layer and tape rings until you form a cone

Step 4: Add horns

Step 5: Add other accessories at will

Go ahead, get crazy. It’s Louisville, and the rally cup hat hasn’t failed us yet.


Introducing the KSR Summer Tour 2017

Introducing the KSR Summer Tour 2017

Get your calendars out because the 2017 KSR Summer Tour schedule is coming together. This year’s tour will be split into two legs: one in June and one in August, surrounding Matt’s European vacation.

Here’s how it stands as of today:

Leg 1: June

6/12 – Prestonsburg – Stonecrest Golf Course
6/13 – London – Sleep Outfitters
6/14 – Russell Springs – Lawless-Smith True Value
6/15 – Somerset – Ashley Furniture
6/16 – Lexington – Don Franklin Auto on Richmond Road

6/19 – Danville – Dexter Insurance
6/20 – Leitchfield – Future Designs
6/21 – Louisville – Academy Sports on Outer Loop
6/22 – Henderson – Sleep Outfitters
6/23 – Owensboro area – Don Moore Auto

Leg 2: August

8/3 – Lexington – TBA
8/4 – Louisville – Academy Sports in Middletown

8/7 – Loretto – Maker’s Mark
8/8 – Monticello – Monticello Banking Company
8/9 – McKee/Jackson County – TBA
8/10 – Flemingsburg – People’s Bank
8/11 – Pikeville – Bank 253

8/14 – Cynthiana – Maiden City Brewing Company
8/15 – Somerset – Sleep Outfitters
8/16 – Campbellsville – Mr. Gatti’s Pizza
8/17 – Benton – Kennedy’s Fan Shop
8/18 – Madisonville – Hudson Toyota

8/21 – Hopkinsville – Eclipse
8/22 – KY State Fair
8/23 – Northern KY – Dickman’s
8/24 – Richmond – Mann Chrysler
8/25 – KSR Louisville Golf Outing


Three Wildcats are going to USA U19 training camp

Three freshmen from the University of Kentucky have accepted invitations to attend the USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team training camp in Colorado later this month, UK announced today. They are Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, and P.J. Washington, and they will compete against 25 other players from both high school and college for a spot on the team that will travel to Egypt under the guidance of John Calipari. All three Wildcats have experience playing for USA Basketball.

Have a look at the entire list of training camp attendees:

 

 

The camp will also include four of UK’s targets top targets in the Class of 2018: Romeo Langford, Immanuel Quickley, Cameron Reddish and Bol Bol.

Advantage: Calipari.