By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 09th, 2018 @ 12:13am
Nick Richards may have stolen the show, but Tyler Herro turned plenty of heads in Kentucky’s win over the Bahamas National Team, finishing with 16 points, 12 in the first half. The freshman came to Lexington with a reputation as a three-point specialist, but his performance tonight showed he is so much more.
“I think a lot of people labeled me as a shooter so if you’re competitive, you want to show people other things you can do,” Herro said afterwards. “Just going out there and competing myself is what I’m known for and wherever I go and whoever I play, I’ve got that competitive edge and my teammates know that.”
Calipari raved about Herro’s high basketball IQ, which he said the rest of his team lacked at times in their first outing.
“He does [play with confidence]. [I like] that he makes basketball plays. I said, we probably missed ten layups. Some was the decision making was a little bit suspect. In transition, we tried to make the hardest plays instead of just making a basket. But he even tried to defend.”
Herro said he was pleased with the win, but not his performance.
“I think I played alright. I didn’t play my best. I still missed a few three-pointers I should have hit. I’ve got to step it up on the defensive end.”
After Herro’s dunk late in the second half, many fans are asking: could he be the next Rex Chapman?
“I think Rex thinks he’s the next Rex,” Calipari said. “I just want him to be Tyler Herro. Be who you are. Rex had a heck of a career here and has a heck of a following even today. Tyler is different. Rex was a real high flyer. Tyler can jump and do that, but Rex was unique and Rex ended up being special. In time, that may be the case, but for right now, let’s let Tyler be Tyler.”
By Nick Roush on ©August 08th, 2018 @ 9:04pm
Kentucky’s four-game exhibition excursion in the Bahamas started with a 24-point win.
Without John Calipari on the sideline, the young Wildcats sprinted out to a 13-0 lead behind the efforts of Sophomore Nick Richards, who finished with 19 points and only missed one shot. It was fun, until the sloppy play set in. The halftime lead quickly evaporated as the Bahamas National Team tied it up five minutes into the second half. However, the lull was brief, sparking the Cats to an entertaining win.
Reid Travis was rusty on the offensive end (2/9 FG), but grabbed every single rebound within reach (14 to be exact). Tyler Herro was absolutely incredible, finishing with 16 points on 55 percent shooting.
Ashton Hagans showed off elite athleticism, even though it was not always contained. Keldon Johnson made his first shot, but could not finish two powerful dunks. Every player had their moment, even Brad Calipari, who had a three-pointer touch every spot on the rim before rolling in.
Kentucky’s first game of the Big Blue Bahamas was a success. We’ll see if they can do it again in 22 hours.
By TJ Walker on ©August 08th, 2018 @ 3:50pm
The third UK commit for the class of 2019 spoke with ESPN about his commitment to Kentucky. Kahlil Whitney pledged for the Cats on Wednesday just a few days after his official visit over the weekend.
“After they offered, Coach Cal or one of his assistants were always at one of my games. Kentucky was my dream school,” Whitney told ESPN. “Growing up in Chicago, I remember watching John Wall, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Tyler Ulis. Coach Cal is a great person and a great coach.”
While on his visit Whitney met and spoke with former UK guard Isaiah Briscoe. Whitney attends Roselle Catholic in New Jersey where Briscoe played before enrolling at Kentucky. Sources close to the program say the two talked about Roselle and what it takes to play at Kentucky.
The 6-foot-6, 185-pound guard from Chicago picked UK over Oregon, Illinois and Georgetown, but had just previously cut his list that included Louisville, SMU, Miami and Florida State. Ranked No. 19 in the 247 Sports rankings, Whitney’s involvement with UK moved quickly.
Kentucky started watching Whitney’s games during the second evaluation period in July, offered in mid-July, he scheduled a visit shortly after and pulled the trigger just days after returning home. We should have possibly seen this coming after reading some of Whitney’s quotes when he was a freshman in high school.
“I want to go to Kentucky,” Whitney said back in 2016. “I hope to get an offer from them if I blow up [summer of 2016]. I like Coach Calipari. He’s a great coach. You can display your talent at the highest level and I just love the atmosphere there for games.”
It may have taken Whitney a bit longer to get UK’s attention, but it happened and he didn’t wait long to jump on the offer. He becomes the second UK commitment in a week, following Kentuckian Dontaie Allen, who visited UK just days before Whitney and committed six days ago.
The two have similar games. Both are gifted offensively and can shoot from deep, but Whitney is more athletic and the better defender as of today. Whitney is more battled tested on the AAU circuit, too. Allen’s squad didn’t play a cupcake schedule but it wasn’t the Nike EYBL. He averaged 21.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game on the circuit this summer while shooting 38 percent from deep and averaging over two made threes per game.
Calipari has coined “position-less” basketball, so there’s no doubt that Allen and Whitney can play together.
Both commitments come shortly after the decommitment of D.J. Jeffries. Jeffries picked UK back in March but backed off the pledge on July 30th. Jeffries’ dad mentioned that UK didn’t watch Jeffries last AAU game although the Cats were present for nearly every other game during the circuit. KSR was told that Jeffries’ family wasn’t thrilled UK would be hosting two other wings in Allen and Whitney and that was the actual driving force behind the decommitment.
Jeffries’ game doesn’t compare to Whitney or Allen’s. Jeffries is more defensively oriented and is more adjusted to contact inside, but Whitney and Allen are significantly better offensive players. All three can run the floor well and aren’t afraid to attack the glass. UK is happy with how things played out over the last two weeks.
Where Jeffries may have shied away from competition, Whitney is ready to embrace it.
“I knew when I left Kentucky that it was the place for me,” he told ESPN. “It felt like family. I had other visits planned, but this is where I wanted to be. When I watched the players work out, they were focused and intense. I can see myself playing there — playing with some of the best players in the country and against high-level competition. It will prepare me for my goal to make it to the next level.”
It’s unclear if we should consider Whitney a bonafide one-and-done player. He certainly has the potential to bolt to the NBA after one season, but he will need to polish his game. If I had to guess today I would say he most likely will only spend one year in Lexington, but you never know.
Whitney and Allen join top 10 player Tyrese Maxey as Wildcats in 2019 and John Calipari is far from finished.
For the second time in less than a week, Kentucky has received a commitment from a highly-touted wing.
Kahlil Whitney told ESPN’s Paul Biancardi he will be a Kentucky Wildcat. ESPN’s second-ranked small forward and No. 14 player overall, Whitney’s decision comes just days after an unofficial visit to Lexington. Whitney joins five-star point guard Tyrese Maxey and Pendleton County sharpshooter Dontaie Allen in the Cats’ 2019 recruiting class.
The University of Kentucky unofficially celebrated the commitment with an ode to Anthony Davis, another Chicago native whose dreams came true in Kentucky blue. Whitney currently attends Roselle Catholic in New Jersey, the alma mater of Isaiah Briscoe, who was on UK’s campus during Whitney’s unofficial visit.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 8, 2018
Stay tuned for more on Whitney’s decision and what it means for the Wildcats.
By Nick Roush on ©August 08th, 2018 @ 12:33pm
The NCAA is making significant changes to college basketball rules that will dramatically alter the way players decide their NBA future.
Under the newly proposed rules, players invited to the NBA Combine who are not selected in the NBA Draft will be able to return to school by notifying their athletic director by 5:00 pm on the Monday after the draft. Those who decide to return to school can also be eligible for financial assistance. The change all go into effect if the NBA agrees to make those players un-draftable until they complete the following college basketball season.
Agents, once the bane of the NCAA’s existence, will now be able to represent elite athletes as early as July 1 of their senior year. USA Basketball will determine who is eligible to receive representation. If a player does not make the cut in high school, college athletes who give their name to the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee at the end of the season can receive representation.
The agents must go through a certification process with the NCAA. Once they are approved and a written agreement has been reached between parties, agents will be able pay for meals and transportation expenses.
After the NCAA was criticized for small changes in the college basketball recruiting calendar, this move appears to be moving in the right direction. However, almost all of these rules are pending changes by the NBA and NBPA.
Read all of the details about the new proposed rules here.
Student-athletes have more freedom and flexibility to decide about going pro or getting a college education, and they can receive financial assistance if they leave school early and wish to return later to finish their degree. https://t.co/Ubizwm4Bkb pic.twitter.com/UBjBMZZDlh
— NCAA (@NCAA) August 8, 2018
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 07th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
One of the lasting images from Kentucky’s trip to the Bahamas in 2014 was Karl Towns giving his socks to a young boy after washing his feet during a volunteer opportunity with Samaritan’s Feet, an organization that distributes shoes to impoverished children around the world.
This morning, the current Kentucky team is back with Samaritan’s Feet to meet local Bahamian children, wash their feet, and help them into new socks and shoes. The images and videos are just as powerful now as they were back in 2014:
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 7, 2018
To wash the feet and put shoes on someone who may not have any with @Samaritans_Feet today was the ultimate lesson in servant leadership for our guys. How do you make a difference in other people's lives and bring true joy? Incredibly powerful morning. #ShoesOfHope #CountToZero pic.twitter.com/a5Qz1Fvt28
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 7, 2018
— CoachCal.com (@CoachCalDotCom) August 7, 2018
Last night, John Calipari prepared his squad for the experience, which I doubt is one they’ll ever forget.
The UK basketball team will again work with @Samaritans_Feet while in the Bahamas. Coach Cal closed tonight's team meeting by explaining what the players can expect and why it matters. pic.twitter.com/cStHKD90O1
— CoachCal.com (@CoachCalDotCom) August 7, 2018
UPDATE: Kentucky just released this excellent video of the experience. Stop what you’re doing and watch.
This trip — and really, our entire experience at Kentucky — is more than just basketball. If we have an opportunity to leverage our position to help others, we do it. #BigBlueBahamas #ShoesOfHope #CountToZero pic.twitter.com/v27gwNog26
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 7, 2018
By TJ Walker on ©August 07th, 2018 @ 6:00pm
UK target James Wiseman is currently enrolled at Memphis East High School where he attended school his junior season.
You may wonder why this is a big deal, and I’m not so sure it is at this point, but Wiseman had been rumored all summer as potentially transferring to a prep school for his senior year.
James Wiseman, the No. 1 player in the country, is enrolled at East High School, his mother just told me.
— John Martin (@JohnMartin929) August 7, 2018
We’ve been saying at KSR that odds are Wiseman would stay in Memphis for his senior season, and we still expect that to happen, but just because he’s enrolled does not mean that a prep school is completely out of the picture. If he were still unsure of his plans the logical thing to do would be to enroll at Memphis East. There would be no punishment if he decided to leave and head to a prep school.
But if he were unsure and didn’t enroll for his senior season at Memphis East it would be a headache for him to return and make up the classes he missed depending how long it took him to make that decision. Memphis East started classes this week.
Currently Wiseman is playing in the SC30 Camp in the Bay Area with other 2019 UK targets like Cole Anthony, Scottie Lewis and Jaemyn Brakefield in 2020.
— Memphis East BB (@MemEastBB) August 7, 2018
It would be a pretty big blow to Memphis if Wiseman did leave town for his senior year of high school, but if you remember his mom shot down reclassifying rumors because she wanted her son to be with her longer and enjoy the perks of being a senior. Let’s hope longer doesn’t also include a year in college at Memphis.
It’s obviously not great news for the Cats that he will be surrounded by Memphis fans for another eight months. Memphis has plenty of momentum and if Wiseman does indeed turn down the prep school option this won’t slow down the Memphis hype.
UK and John Calipari will have to pull out all the stops to try and secure a commitment.
By Drew Franklin on ©August 07th, 2018 @ 3:19pm
Hello and good afternoon from lovely Paradise Island, where your University of Kentucky Wildcats just wrapped up their open practice before a four-exhibition gauntlet in the Imperial Ballroom at the Atlantis. I was in attendance to witness the fans’ first look at John Calipari’s new team, so allow me to share a few observations with you, if you will.
Pick-and-roll defense was the major point of emphasis.
There was one major theme from the practice and it was the pick-and-roll. It’s clear Calipari expects Kentucky’s opponents to pick-and-roll this team to death this week, so he is doing all he can to get them ready (an impossible task this early in the process) for what’s ahead. I wasn’t able to see the beginning of the practice due to our Hey Kentucky taping, but I can tell you the back half of practice was mostly about defending. It’s not something Calipari ever does this early in the year, but he doesn’t normally have four games against professional teams this early in the year either. He was really driving it home and trying to get in as much instruction as he can.
E.J. Montgomery is a little behind in the aforementioned pick-and-roll defense.
E.J. Montgomery is awesome. He is much bigger than I realized, he is athletic, and he is very talented offensively. He’s going to be a star and you’re going to love him. That being said, he was struggling to grasp what he is supposed to do and where he is supposed to be in defending the pick-and-roll. At one point Cal told him, “If you don’t pick this up, we can’t play you down here.” There’s a storyline to watch in the games ahead.
It was a real practice.
Unlike the open practices in the NCAA tournament, this was a real deal practice. Usually Coach Cal only trots his team out to go through the motions and put on a show for the fans, but not this one. It was no different than what they do in the privacy of their own Joe Craft Center. No fun and games for the guests today.
Reid Travis is enormous.
I thought I knew what Reid Travis looks like. I was wrong. He is much bigger than I thought. It’s also very clear that he is the old veteran of the bunch. He’s very mature and was strictly business the whole time he was on the court. I think he is going to be even more valuable than anyone expected due to that maturity and leadership.
I don’t know what to expect from the guards.
This was my first time seeing the team in action, and if you want me to give some insight as to how the backcourt minutes will be dispersed, I don’t know what to tell you. In the very small sample size I saw today, the two guard spots could go to anyone in the Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, Quade Green and Tyler Herro group. Your guess is as good as mine.
Nobody here knows the new guys.
When I wasn’t taping Hey Kentucky, I was going around the gym telling fans who is who. I had at least four different people stop me and ask to point out all the new guys, and I’m sure many of you at home could use the help too. I expect there is a lot of learning to be done around the fan base once they take the floor tomorrow night.
Short shorts are back.
UK Basketball fashion has come a long way since John Wall and Eric Bledsoe’s shorts were dragging across the court. This team has gone the opposite direction with their length, so get ready for a lot of thigh. A LOT of thigh.
The setting for these games is really cool.
Check this out…
That’s Brad you see out there all by himself getting shots up an hour before practice.
BASKETBALL STARTS TOMORROW NIGHT LETS GO!
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 06th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
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Throughout the week, KSR will be previewing Kentucky’s opponents in the Bahamas. First up, the Bahamas National Team, who Kentucky will face Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET (SEC Network).
BAHAMAS NATIONAL TEAM
Head Coach: Mario Bowleg
Colors: Yellow and Aquamarine Blue
FIBA Zone: FIBA Americas
Michael Carey, Guard
Height, Weight: 6’4″, 200 lbs.
Averages: 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Carey played at Wagner from 2015-17, averaging 13.8 points and 9.1 rebounds per game his senior season. Last year, he played for Soles de Santo Domingo of the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto in the Dominican Republic.
Shaquille Cleare, Center
Height, Weight: 6’8″, 264 lbs.
Averages: 12 points, 5.8 rebounds
Cleare played for Maryland (2012-14) and Texas (2015-17). In his final season as a Longhorn, he averaged 8.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in 21.3 minutes. Last year, he played for Pully, a Swiss professional team.
Kadeem Coleby, Power Forward
Height, Weight: 6’9″, 251 lbs.
Averages: 8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1 assist
Coleby played for several schools, but finished his collegiate career at Wichita State (2013-14). Yes, the same Shockers team that lost to Kentucky in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. (Watch out for the revenge factor!) Last season, he played for the Akita Northern Happinets in Japan.
Dwight Coleby, Forward
Height, Weight: 6’9″, 245 lbs.
Kadeem’s younger brother Dwight played at Ole Miss, Kansas, and Western Kentucky, averaging 11.1 points and 8.0 rebounds for the Hilltoppers as a fifth-year senior. He tore his ACL in September 2015, which prevented him from reaching his full potential at Kansas, but played for the New Orleans Pelicans in the Summer League last month.
Fun fact: This won’t be Coleby’s first time playing Kentucky. While at Ole Miss, he put up eight points and four rebounds vs. the last Kentucky team to go to the Bahamas for a preseason tour.
I forgot how stressful that game was.
Last Time Out
The Bahamas National Team most recently played in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers June 28 and July 2, first losing to the Virgin Islands 84-74 then beating the Dominican Republic 83-82. Former Oklahoma star and current Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield led the squad in points, rebounds, and overall efficiency, but won’t participate in this week’s exhibition.
This pass from Michael Carey to Kadeem Coleby at the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers this summer was impressive:
— Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWC) July 3, 2018
Shaquille Cleare is big:
Shaquille Cleare ?? with the dunk! #ThisIsMyHouse
— Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWC) November 28, 2017
Dwight Coleby pulled off this impressive shot in the Summer League:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 13, 2018
The Bahamas National Team will probably the easiest foe Kentucky faces this week, but they do have some players with Power 5 college experience to challenge the Cats, especially on the inside. After hearing about Reid Travis all summer, I’m looking forward to seeing how he matches up with Shaquille Cleare and how our super young backcourt handles an experienced player like Michael Carey. But most of all, I’m just excited to see this Kentucky team take the floor. The first game will inevitably be sloppy, but judging by what we’ve heard out of practice, the Cats’ speed and athleticism will win out, making this the perfect start to the foreign tour.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 06th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
The Kentucky football team had several key NFL draft decisions this past offseason, but none were more important than those of Josh Allen and Mike Edwards.
Despite impressive junior seasons and high draft stock, the star linebacker and safety opted to return for one more year at Kentucky, where they will likely be two of the most dominant players at their positions in the SEC.
The decisions weren’t easy, but they are each excited about what should be a very special senior year.
“I had a lot of pros and cons about coming back and leaving,” Allen said. “Coming back, I knew I had a lot of stuff that I needed to fix, a lot of corrections I needed to make. I also wanted to get my weight up, show the league that I can play a 12-game season or more. I decided to come back and mature, get bigger and stronger, work on my pass rush, work on my drops. Just be more fluent and know the game. That’s what I plan on doing.”
In fact, even with high draft stock, NFL teams told him it was in his best interest to come back for one more season.
“They actually told me to go back to school. I talked to a lot of scouts, and they said they wanted to see me progress more throughout the season. But I already knew that, so I just told them ‘okay.’ I know what I need to work on, and they know what I need to work on, so I came back to show them that I’ve grown,” Allen said.
For Edwards, he absolutely wasn’t coming back to Kentucky if a losing season was in the works. He knows this can be a special, special year.
“That’s one of the reasons why I came back, I knew we had something special with this team,” he said. “Over the past few years we’ve gotten a lot better. You know, I wouldn’t have come back if I knew it was going to be a losing season, so I know we have something special this year.”
As far as what separates Edwards from the rest of the defensive backs in the SEC, he believes his versatility stands out.
“A lot of guys can play different positions, but I try to thrive on playing and knowing every position, even at linebacker and defensive line,” he said. “I played a lot of different positions in high school, offense, corner, safety, wherever.”
And that is why the NFL is in love with his game.
“I talked to a lot of NFL guys, and I told them I can play any and every position they need me. If they need a corner, I can do it. If they need a safety, nickel, I can play that. Any of the defensive back positions, I can play it. They love my game a lot, they just wanted me to get my body stronger and bigger. Take my leadership role and expand my game a little more. Keep tackling well,” Edwards said.
We all know about the Honey Badger’s admiration of former LSU safety and current Houston Texan, Tyrann Mathieu. But that’s not the only NFL talent he models his game after.
“I like a lot of defensive backs,” he said. “I like Tyrann Mathieu, Earl Thomas, guys like that. Corners, young guys like Marshon Lattimore and Jalen Ramsey. I think those guys are well-balanced defensive backs, play different positions, and that’s how I want to be.”
If things go as expected this season, we’ll see both Allen and Edwards walking across the stage on the first night of next spring’s NFL Draft.