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2020 five-star guard Daishen Nix commits to UCLA

2020 five-star guard Daishen Nix commits to UCLA

Last night, 2020 five-star point guard Daishen Nix cut his list to five schools, with UCLA, Kentucky, Alabama, Maryland, and Kansas all being included.

Today, after telling reporters that he was planning on taking visits to all five schools on his list, including one already scheduled for late September to Alabama, Nix shocked the world by announcing his commitment to UCLA this afternoon.

“Most of my family is round the west coast, so if I leave to go to UCLA it’s not that hard for them to fly over and drive over to see me,” Nix explained to Evan Daniels of 247Sports. “I loved the weather out there, the visit I had over the weekend was just unbelievable. It just really caught my eye.”

Nix also said he felt UCLA prioritized him the most among all the schools on his list.

“[Mick Cronin] prioritized me from the start,” he added. “As soon as he got there, and it was only him recruiting me, none of the assistant coaches.”

Now, Kentucky will turn its attention to Josh Christopher and Jalen Green to join BJ Boston in the backcourt.

We will have more on the decision on the Sources Say Podcast, set to debut this afternoon. I will also have another post on the site breaking down what this means for Kentucky in a bit.


A UK Football Open Practice Report 11 Days Away from the Start of the 2019 Season

Mark Stoops opened the doors of the Joe Craft Football Training Facility to the media for practice No. 15. Enjoy observations from sideline on each position group after watching the Cats in action for an hour.

Secondary

  • The first group in 7-on-7: Cedrick Dort, Jordan Griffin, Yusuf Corker and Jamari Brown.
  • Stoops asks Mosley why he is covering grass. The head coach is giving lot of individual attention to the DBs.
  • Jamari Brown plays physical in bump coverage vs. Wagner.
  • Mosely has some work to do in man coverage. The JUCO transfer is too slow to react when receivers break.
  • Brown makes another physical play as the ball arrives. This guy has the potential to bring what Baity and Lonnie brought to the secondary.
  • Echols is the only guy who’s come close to covering Bowden.
  • Corker breaks up stuff across the middle in zone from safety. He was much more efficient as a safety than a nickel.

Linebackers

  • Paschal blowing up running plays while defending the slot. Covering nicely too, giving Rigg nothing on the wheel route.
  • Wright getting in work at Sam linebacker. Stoops said he’ll work both spots, likely the No. 2 option at each.
  • Weaver and Casey are rolling with the twos; Casey is doing a good job keeping his outside shoulder free and forcing everything inside.
  • Peters is way too good to be with the threes, especially in pursuit from the backside, but that’s what they have to do until they receive word from the NCAA.

Defensive Line

  • Q moves so damn well for his size. He’s an enormous nose guard that’s as agile as an end.
  • Calvin Taylor has gotten quicker out of his stance.
  • Bohanna is taking up two and sometimes three guys each snap. That’s how you blow up the middle of an offense.
  • T.J. Carter practiced sparingly, slightly banged up after a grueling camp.

Offensive Line

  • Schlarman: “The cameras are on you. Your ass better not look like crap.”
  • I really like the counter action they use with the tight end/H-back. It happens fast and gives the RB an extra two yards to get a head full of steam to get to and through the second level of the defense.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

  • Bowden makes Griffin look stupid in one-on-ones.
  • Wagner is exponentially quicker out of breaks, getting better separation.
  • Nobody can guard Lynn Bowden at all.
  • Ali gets a 1-on-1 with Dort and makes him pay. Terry delivered the deep ball to him in stride on the fade.
  • Marrow absolutely lost his mind when Rigg dropped a pass over the middle. He’s heaped plenty of praise on his guys in the preseason. They can’t let him down when the lights turn on Saturdays.
  • B.J. Alexander makes a great catch through solid coverage on a deep out from Smith. He probably won’t play this year, but he’s showing a lot of potential to contribute next year, while still making simple mistakes like carrying the ball in his inside arm.

Running Backs

  • Gran refuses to curse. “Do you understand it? Gosh almighty, dang!”
  • C-Rod shows patience in Wildcat.
  • Smoke is rocking a red jersey, but still participating in 11-on-11.

Quarterbacks

  • Sawyer Smith is hitting guys in stride out of their breaks.
  • Bowden is throwing in WR drills and 7-on-7s. Most are under thrown, but they’re good looking spirals.
  • Bowden’s favorite ball to throw is the deep ball.
  • Smith is making the right reads in 11-on-11, dropping a beautiful ball in Clevan Thomas’ bucket on a wheel route. This guy is a solid back-up for TW3.
  • Terry is getting to his third and fourth reads pretty seamlessly. He had a great start to the day but had a few throws he’d like to get back in the second half of practice.

The Big Takeaways

1. “Quarterback Lynn Bowden”

Kentucky’s top wide receiver is also QB3. This year the Wildcat quarterback will not just be a running threat. If Bowden shows anything in the passing game, opposing defenses must honor the deep threat every time he takes a snap. He’s thrown a few balls before, but the former high school quarterback failed to deliver right away. He has enough arm power and accuracy. As training camp nears a conclusion, they’re working him into the action more often in practice to improve his timing, and more importantly, keep him from receiving too much contact from the defense.

2. Brandin Echols HAS to play

The JUCO cornerback simply doesn’t let the opposing wide receivers do what they want. Nobody can cover Bowden, except Echols. Wagner is at least six inches taller than Echols, but it did not matter. Echols knocked him off his route and took him out of the play. He will be the closest thing Kentucky has to a “lock down” corner. Coming off a summer hamstring injury, UK’s coaches need to do whatever they can to make sure Echols receives as many snaps as possible.

3. Finding a Nickel will be Difficult

The Cats are really going to miss Mike Edwards. UK’s secondary has a few different candidates who can provide competent run support, but Corker, Ajian and Griffin struggled to cover slots in man coverage. To be fair, they’re usually covering Lynn Bowden. Davonte Robinson’s absence will be felt until one player rises to the occasion.

4. Ahmad Wagner will Contribute

The former basketball player’s greatest advantage is also a disadvantage. Corners can’t match up with his size, but it also slows him down. You can tell Wagner’s anticipation at the position has exponentially improved. He wasn’t just catching jump balls, he was beating corners cutting out of breaks. When he’s not catching passes, he’ll be a valuable asset blocking on the outside.

5. Leaning on 12 Personnel

Kentucky’s base offense will feature Josh Ali, Lynn Bowden, Justin Rigg and Keaton Upshaw as the H-back. The big guys make the Cats more dynamic in the run game and they’re big targets in the middle of the field. There’s a ton of potential out of this personnel grouping, but the inexperienced bigs must grow up fast to become consistent weapons.


Photo: KYWildcatsTV

Ralph Hacker defends Kyle Macy, says John Calipari is ‘shortchanging fans’

KYWildcatsTV

This evening, UK broadcasting legend Ralph Hacker was inducted into the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame.

Before that, though, the former Voice of the Wildcats ruffled feathers in a major way during his appearance on the Terry Meiners Show.

On the show, Hacker was asked about his legendary career with the UK Radio Network as a basketball and football analyst, breaking down some of the top sports moments he has had while on the job.

At the tail end of his segment, Meiners brought up John Calipari’s time in Lexington, along with Kyle Macy’s recent controversial comments about the current Kentucky head coach being too focused on the NBA and not enough about doing what is best for the program.

To start with, Hacker complimented Calipari, saying he developed a system and title formula similar to what Eddie Sutton tried during his time in Lexington.

But unlike Sutton, the broadcast legend believes Calipari has gotten the system to work in his favor at Kentucky, with multiple titles almost certainly coming through the program if those elite players stuck around for more than one season.

“What he has done, and people will probably have a hard time drawing this relation, he has recruited every year for an NCAA championship,” he said. “He says it’s for one-and-done, and perhaps it is. But you don’t go [for] one-and-done [guys] unless you have NCAA championship-type players on there. That’s what Sutton tried to do. He had it all planned out to where if he got this player this year, this player, and this player, he could build up a dynasty of where it was just a matter of getting one player the next year and win that NCAA championship many times. Cal has pretty much done that. And if they had stayed [as opposed to entering the draft], he certainly would have done it.”

He added that he likely learned the system during his time in the NBA, seeing the level of talent he would need to win titles at the college level.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if, like Rick [Pitino], he figured it out in the pros. Basically said, if I go [recruit this way] in college, I can do this and get this caliber of player.”

The only issue, according to Hacker, is that the system hasn’t worked because those players are not staying in Lexington for multiple years. Thus, multiple championships haven’t come during Calipari’s time at Kentucky.

And because of that fact, and that fact alone, Hacker stood up for Macy, saying he believes the UK head coach is “shortchanging fans.”

“I know Kyle Macy took a lot of heat for what he said. But I [told him] “I think you’re right.” I said they’re shortchanging the fans by doing what we’re doing now,” he said. “Even though we’re proud of the University of Kentucky basketball team, we cheer for them, pay for the tickets, all that stuff, but in the end, you’re not doing right by the fan.”

To explain his point, he created a hypothetical for Meiners, telling him to imagine a scenario where he took a lazy approach to his radio show until the spotlight was on him when it came time for ratings.

And after a long-winded explanation, he tried to drive the point home that the diehard fans simply want to see more titles in Lexington.

“It’d be like if you decided you were going to come in here and not do your work to get your show done every day and you were going to do just enough to get by,” he said. “Like, “I’m going to have a good show today because it’s ratings week. But after ratings week, I’m not going to do anything.” And maybe that’s a bad analogy, but they’re working their butts off, they’re winning ball games, doing all this stuff, but I still think the people in Kentucky – the further you get from Lexington, the more rabid the fans are – I think they’d like to see championships.

Long story short, he ultimately defended Macy’s comments, saying those around Lexington may be okay with settling for what we see at Kentucky now, but fans around the state aren’t content with Calipari’s one title in ten years as head coach.

“They don’t see Coach Cal every day, they don’t run into him at Wheeler’s Drug Store,” he said. “They don’t do these things, they don’t get to see Coach Cal. These people, they’d like to see championships. People in [Lexington], maybe they can say, “Coach, you’re doing a really good job and maybe it’s okay if you don’t win them.” Maybe it’s okay? Maybe that’s the way the people of Lexington feel, but I think Macy was right.”

To finish off the segment, he added that despite all of the criticism Macy has received over the last several weeks, he knows that the Kentucky basketball legend is just as passionate about his Wildcats as the rest of us.

“And he loves the Wildcats, he loves the University of Kentucky,” he said. “His children go there. One of them graduated, the other is in school there. Does he love them? He pays the tuition.”

You can listen to Hacker’s entire interview on the Terry Meiners Show here:

Listen to “Ralph Hacker talks his radio career, the coaches and more” on Spreaker.


2020 five-star guard Daishen Nix cuts list to five, includes Kentucky

The No. 1 point guard in the class of 2020 has included Kentucky in his final five.

This evening, Daishen Nix cut his list to five schools, with the Wildcats joining UCLA, Kansas, Maryland, and Alabama.

“Picking my top five wasn’t easy,” Nix said in a Twitter post. “There are some good schools with great coaching staffs that are being left off this list, Washington, Marquette, and Arizona, just to name a few.”

While it’s certainly major news that the No. 1 point guard in the nation and top passer in all of high school basketball is seriously considering Kentucky, it’s an even bigger deal when you consider the fact that they were included without Nix even holding an offer.

On Friday evening, I reported on the site that the 6-foot-5 point guard out of Las Vegas, NV was hoping to take an official visit to Kentucky before making a decision, with one source close to Nix telling KSR that it would be a “point of emphasis” to get to Lexington in the very near future.

That being said, sources also tell KSR that there has been a bit of frustration within Nix’s camp about Kentucky’s lack of offer and that it wasn’t a done deal in the slightest that UK was going to be included on this list. While UCLA, Maryland, Alabama, and Kansas were near-locks, I was told around noon today that Kentucky was “fighting” for that final spot. If they didn’t get the feel from the staff that an offer was on the horizon, sources tell KSR that they would not have made the cut.

In short, Nix loves John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program, and he has been comfortable in letting UK get involved at their own pace. He has openly admitted that the UK coaching staff wants to see more out of him both as a shooter and on defense, something he’s happy to prove he can do. He feels that despite Kentucky’s lack of offer, one is coming.

On the flip side, others close to Nix feel the talented passing guard has done more than enough already to earn a scholarship and believe he should be prioritized. While Kentucky was one of the five-star guard’s favorite schools growing up and his camp understands this, they also don’t feel it is fair to some of the other programs that are dying to bring him in as the centerpiece of their respective recruiting classes.

On Kentucky’s end, sources tell KSR that they have genuine interest in Nix, especially as a passer and leader of the offense, and they are open to bringing him in on an official visit sooner rather than later, but they still want to watch him play more before extending an offer. As mentioned before, there have been concerns about the five-star guard’s shooting abilities.

With Nix hoping to reach a decision in the near future, though, the opportunities will be extremely limited for the coaching staff to make that happen.

As things stand today, UCLA and Kansas are seen as the two favorites to land Nix, though an offer from Kentucky would shake things up in a major way for the talented guard. With an official visit to Lexington now on the itinerary – sources tell KSR this will happen in the coming weeks – we should know one way or the other soon.

Until then, check out some of his highlights below:


Avenatti names Kenny Payne as the ‘UK assistant’ in his Nike allegations

Michael Avenatti was back in court today to continue his War On Nike and this time he brought more texts and e-mails as his ammunition.

One of the texts, Avenatti claims, identifies Kenny Payne as the previously unnamed “assistant coach at the University of Kentucky’ from Avenatti’s first batch of allegations.

Here’s the Kentucky-related excerpt from Yahoo’s new story on the day’s events with Avenatti:

DeBose also participated in a text message exchange on July 6, 2017, with an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, according to the motion. In the exhibits, the initials “KP” are attached to one non-DeBose number. Kentucky has an assistant basketball coach named Kenny Payne.

In the exchange with “KP,” DeBose explains that he provides money to “about 10 [Nike EYBL] coaches who are helping families to the total of about 200K annually.”

He names the coaches using first names and nicknames that couldn’t immediately be identified by Yahoo Sports. DeBose declares the business is “stressful” because he has “to do it cleanly and with a process. I’m good but it’s enough to where Lynn and Nico don’t want to know the intimate details to cover their asses.”

Nike’s global vice president for sports marketing and basketball is Lynn Merritt, who has been a longtime fixture at the company.

“So it’s a risk,” DeBose wrote, “but my everyday job is a damn risk so I’m used to it now.”

“Watch your back, bro,” KP wrote back. [Yahoo!]

The rest of Yahoo’s lengthy report is full of more alleged dirt on Nike and its Nike EYBL circuit, including more suspicious behavior around the very suspicious recruitment of DeAndre Ayton, as well as the recruitments of Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford.

You can read it all here on Yahoo.com. For now, just find peace in knowing the one mention of Kentucky isn’t anywhere near the accusations around Arizona, Duke and Indiana. We don’t love reading Kenny Payne’s name in the report, but it is a minor detail in this overall story of Avenatti V. Nike.


Daishen Nix hoping to take an official visit to Kentucky, decision coming soon

2020 five-star guard Daishen Nix is considered the top passer in all of high school basketball, and with summer slowly coming to a close, he’s hoping to announce where he is taking those talents in the very near future.

And during the home stretch of his recruitment, Kentucky remains right in the thick of things.

Back at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA in June, the 6-foot-5 prospect out of Las Vegas told KSR that despite the fact that he didn’t hold an offer from UK quite yet, the Wildcats were still a major priority of his during his recruitment.

In fact, the elite passing guard said that he was dying to meet Kentucky head coach John Calipari, a “legend” in his eyes, sooner rather than later.

“I really want to meet Coach Cal [in person],” Nix said. “Because growing up, watching all the top schools, they were my dream schools. It was pretty good that I got to finally talk to him. … It’ll be a shock [when I meet him] because he’s a great coach. He’s a legend to me.”

Back on May 2, UK assistant Joel Justus visited Nix at his high school, where he praised the five-star point guard for his elite passing abilities and said he could be an immediate impact player in Lexington.

When asked about the meeting, Nix said having a coach from Kentucky reach out stands out among some of the other visits he has had.

“It was a surprise because Kentucky walked in,” the five-star prospect said. “It was just like some of the other visits, but they were just higher than the other coaches that have come in so far.”

While conversations have remained consistent between Nix and the Kentucky coaching staff since the NBPA Top 100 Camp, an offer is still not on the table, and there are questions as to whether or not one will ever come.

As I’ve mentioned on the site before, while the Kentucky coaches are in love with Nix has a primary ball handler, passer, and leader, there are questions about his shooting and scoring potential at the next level. For better or for worse, Kentucky sees a ton of Isaiah Briscoe in his game, and they are wondering how that would fit in with some of the other pieces they are looking to bring in, most notably with Jalen Green and Josh Christopher.

I’m told that an offer could still absolutely come, but Kentucky would prefer to see him in action just a bit more over the next few months before officially extending one.

Sources close to Nix tell KSR, however, that the five-star guard is still extremely interested in visiting Lexington in the coming weeks in hopes of earning a scholarship offer in person.

In fact, if the Kentucky coaching staff will have him, Nix would like to schedule an official visit to the school sooner rather than later.

“[Visiting Kentucky] is a point of emphasis, most definitely,” a source close to Nix said. “Coach Cal will be the one to decide the order of things. That’s up to Cal.”

If that visit comes to fruition and an offer does come, sources tell KSR that Kentucky would likely climb up Nix’s leaderboard, potentially as high as No. 1 on his list.

Why? Outside of the consensus top-25 prospect’s outspoken admiration of John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program, Nix also told KSR that he is extremely interested in playing with UK commitment BJ Boston in college after the two built incredible chemistry together back at the NBPA Top 100 Camp.

“We’ve got really good chemistry,” Nix told KSR. “He’s a really cool guy, he’s down to earth. He’s really funny too, that’s what a lot of people don’t know about him.”

Boston agreed.

“Our chemistry is developing really good, he’s a pass-first point guard,” Boston told KSR in Charlottesville. “I really like that when I’m playing. We connected from the time we first stepped on the court together.”

But the clock is ticking, however. Sources tell KSR that Nix is looking to make his decision in the coming weeks, with the latest likely being September, meaning this visit and offer would have to come together rather quickly.

If not, UCLA will likely be the favorite to land the top passing guard in all of America.

Until then, watch him work below:


Matt Jones will Not Return as Hey Kentucky! Host following Book Announcement

KSR founder and “Hey Kentucky!” host Matt Jones will not return to the WLEX18 television program “Hey Kentucky!”

After being pulled from the show a little over a month ago due to his impending decision on running for US senate, manger of WLEX 18 Pat Dalbey made the decision to remove Jones from the show completely after Jones announced he was writing a book on US Senator Mitch McConnell.

Dalbey stated:

“As a journalism company, we are committed to bringing quality journalism and objectivity to the news products and programs that we produce. To protect our objectivity, Matt has been off the air from “Hey Kentucky!” while he considers pursuing a political career. In light of the news about Matt’s book and his still-pending decision on whether or not to run for the U.S. Senate, I have decided that he will not return to LEX18.”

Chris Tomlin also resigned from the show earlier this week to focus on the book.

Following the decision, Matt responded with a statement of his own on Twitter:

“Today WLEX made the decision to end my time as host of Hey Kentucky! due my decision to write the “Mitch, Please” book,” he said. “I disagree strongly with this decision but it is what it is. I will continue to pursue my passions and beliefs, regardless of the result. I will however miss doing Hey Kentucky! more than I can even say. What we built during a short time was remarkable and creating and developing that show was a true joy in my life. Thanks to Mike, Noah, Daniel, Chris and all the co-hosts over the years that helped me do Hey Kentucky. I have never had more fun at any job. And thank you to the viewers. you guys embraced a show unlike anything on local tv. Going from zero to beating Jeopardy was the best.

“Finally, thanks to WLEX. I don’t like how it ended but they took a chance on us when no one else would and I will be forever indebted. For now, I will focus on KSR Radio and making “Mitch, Please” a book worthy of losing your job for.”

A new permanent host has not been announced yet.