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(Photo: Facebook/Fort Thomas Matters)

Eli Manning says hi to Jared Lorenzen’s son at preseason game in Cincinnati

(Photo: Facebook/Fort Thomas Matters)

Eli Manning took a moment to say hello to Jared Lorenzen’s son, Tayden Lorenzen, during halftime of the Giants’ preseason game against the Bengals in Cincinnati.

Fort Thomas Matters, an online publication covering news around Ft. Thomas, Ky., happened to grab a photo of their interaction:

Now that’s awesome. Manning was very close to Jared from their time together in New York — he even flew in for the funeral — and now he is spending time with Jared’s son on the sideline.

UPDATE:

The Giants’ Twitter account shared photos of Tayden Lorenzen playing QB in his #22 jersey during a halftime scrimmage between local youth teams:

 

 


Today On KSR: Thanks for reading my nonsense for a decade

Today On KSR: Thanks for reading my nonsense for a decade

Can you believe it has already been 10 years?

Last week marked my 10-year anniversary with Kentucky Sports Radio — yes, I am an old man now. It was in August of 2009, a couple months shy of the John Wall Dance and the resurgence of the Kentucky basketball program, when Matt Jones called me up and asked me to move my talents from The Horace Grant Halftime Report to KSR. I had a hard time leaving behind my own project because it was on the come up, but looking back it was the best decision I ever made.

Since joining Matt and the KSR website a decade ago, I have stirred up legal troubles with a porn star; broken a story about Matt Roark starting at quarterback against Tennessee, which nobody believed; flown across the country to Taco Bell headquarters to be the first to try the Doritos Locos Taco; made a split-second cameo in Kentucky’s “One Shining Moment” in 2012; done unspeakable things with UK basketball players in the Bahamas before the 2014-15 season; made fun of Louisville, a lot; made fun of Starkville, a lot; hit a buzzer-beater to knock Kentucky out of the 2016 NCAA Tournament; unintentionally started a feud with Gregg Marshall and his wife, which got so big, the story went international; made fun of Louisville some more; traveled approximately a gazillion miles with Matt, by car, and one time he let me play a song I like; plus much, much, much, much more fun while covering the Kentucky Wildcats for this here website. I could thank a million people, including you for reading this, but we will save that for another time. I don’t want to start crying on a Wednesday. Just know I am greatly appreciative for this sweet job I have that allows me to blab about whatever pops into my head, without any restrictions (or an editor to correct all of the typos). It has been a fun and exhausting decade and I’m ready for all of the exciting things ahead!

Now that we got that out of the way, here is what you need to know this morning:

Mark Stoops crossed the border into Tennessee and stole a four-star defensive lineman from the Volunteers.

Tennessee fans are up in arms over little ol’ Kentucky stealing one of the Volunteer state’s top football prospects from their own dirt.

Tre’vonn Rybka, a four-star defensive end out of the suburbs of Nashville, picked the Cats over the Vols on Tuesday. He did so by dropping a UT t-shirt to reveal a UK t-shirt in his commitment video.

Suck it, Tennessee.

For those of you keeping score at home, Rybka was UK’s second four-star commitment in two days.

Stoops & Co. added two elite talents to the Class of 2020 in a span of less than 24 hours from Monday to Tuesday. Rybka joined Deondre Buford, a four-star offensive lineman out of Michigan, who picked Kentucky over several schools, including LSU, Auburn, Penn State and Michigan State.

The UK program used to rarely get top-ranked players from other states; now it is getting two at a time.

Kentucky missed out on the No. 1 point guard yesterday. (Or maybe not.)

Daishen Nix, the top point guard in the Class of 2020 basketball rankings, announced he will attend UCLA for his basketball career. Nix named Kentucky a finalist in his recruitment Monday evening, only to turn around and pick the Bruins on Tuesday. The Alaska native, who now plays his high school ball in Las Vegas, likes Mick Cronin and the new staff in Westwood, he said after the commitment. Alabama, Kansas and Maryland were also in contention.

There is one pretty big detail to the story that shouldn’t be overlooked: Kentucky did not extend a scholarship offer to Nix. Nix named Kentucky throughout the process, even in the final hours before his commitment, but was never actually presented with the opportunity to attend UK. The belief is that Kentucky would’ve been the front runner had it shown a little more interest, but John Calipari and his staff will proceed with other options for its next backcourt, including the two that are already on board.

Our “Sources Say” podcast debuted yesterday.

KSR’s new basketball recruiting podcast with Jack Pilgrim and co-hosts Travis Graf and Jake Weingarten. To get caught up on all the latest UK basketball recruiting news, give it a listen here.

President Trump will be in Louisville today.

If you are into that sort of thing, you can try to catch a glimpse of him at The Galt House before or after he speaks to AMVETS at its national convention; however, be ready for a traffic nightmare in downtown Louisville, whether you’re downtown for Trump or not.

Trump’s Wednesday speaking engagement is not a rally that is open to the public, but rather an official White House event that is invite-only. Attendees can get a photo with Trump for only $21,000.

From there, Trump will head to a private fundraiser for Governor Bevin to assist Bevin in his pursuit of a second term.

The KSR Food Bracket is back!

Gather around your radios or your KSR streaming devices at 10 a.m. today because it is time to once again reveal our chain restaurant champion of the summer. This year’s bracket is out and ready to be dissected on the show today with a full house of KSR radio personalities, plus special guests Lee Cruse and Hayley Harmon. You can print out your copy now so you’re ready, but don’t waste your breath complaining about the seeding because we don’t have time for it.


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: