By Drew Franklin on ©June 19th, 2019 @ 2:45pm
Fresh off an official visit to Florida, four-star defensive tackle Lamar Goods has rescinded his commitment to the University of Kentucky. Crap.
Goods, who is ranked as the 30th-best defensive tackle in the Class of 2020 in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, announced his decision via Twitter with this statement Wednesday afternoon:
“After long and thought out conversations with my mom and I we have made the decision that it is in our best interests to open my recruitment and announce that I have decommited from the university of Kentucky.thank you for all that the staff and coaches that have been amazing during this process.”
The Canadian, now a Connecticuter (?), had originally pledged his commitment to Kentucky back on April 8 after being recruited by new defensive coordinator Brad White. When he committed, Goods said, “I’m a big believer of going with your gut and knowing that it’s the right place if you truly feel it is.”
I guess that gut feeling wore off.
It is unclear at this time if he will still consider the Cats as he reopens his recruitment to welcome new suitors like stupid Florida.
KSR’s special guest host tour keeps rolling tomorrow with UK head women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell in the big chair to carry the show for two hours. Mitchell is a veteran in the guest host seat so I have no doubt he will put on a terrific two hours of radio.
This year he seems even more amped up than ever though. He sent a text to Ryan Lemond earlier today to say, “I am VERY good for the show tomorrow! It may end up being the greatest appearance of my KSR career! I’m on (fire emoji)!!!”
So tune in at 10 a.m. to hear all Coach Mitchell has to say to BBN. It’s going to be a fun one.
The Kentucky football team has found plenty of bulletin board material going into the 2019 season, and Pro Football Focus wanted to make sure they didn’t add to the list.
In their official preseason poll, PFF ranked Kentucky No. 19 overall and ninth in the SEC.
SEC foes ahead of the Cats? Alabama (2), LSU (3), Georgia (4), Florida (8), Auburn (13), Texas A&M (14), Mississippi State (15), and Missouri (17).
Take a look at the entire list:
–@PFF has released their Top 25:?
6 Ohio St
15 Miss St
21 Iowa St
23 Wash St
— CFB Home (@CFBHome) June 18, 2019
In not-so-optimistic news, Athlon Sports has Kentucky at No. 48 in their preseason rankings:
Meanwhile, ESPN, USA Today, and CBS Sports failed to include the Wildcats in their preseason top-25 rankings.
While Kentucky lost a lot of talent on both sides of the football from their historic 10-3 season, the Cats still have elite playmakers at their disposal, depth, and a solid mix of young talent and seasoned veterans.
While coaches always tend to be optimistic going into every season, guys like Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow, Brad White, Lynn Bowden, and Kash Daniel all touched on their program not getting enough National during their appearance on KSR on Tuesday.
I guess they’ll have to prove to Pro Football Focus why they are right and everyone else why they are wrong again this season.
I like my team.
Brad Calipari is still weighing his options outside of the University of Kentucky and one of the options he is considering is lovely Bryant University, the home of the (**Googles Bryant University mascot**) Bulldogs, in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
The news was first reported on Twitter by his sister, Megan Calipari, who tweeted about randomly booking the same flight to Lexington as her baby bro later tonight. However, if you follow Brad on Instagram, he already put it out there earlier today:
Brad visited Hartford last week, so it seems he’s looking toward the northeast for his next college basketball destination, should he decide to leave Kentucky.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 19th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
Former Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be sticking around in Charlotte for at least one more year.
Today, Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that the Hornets veteran will be opting into his $13 million player option for the 2019-20 season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 19, 2019
In his seventh year in the league, the former Wildcat finished with a career-low 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game.
Going into the season, Kidd-Gilchrist had started in all but four of 357 career games for the Hornets. This year, the 6-foot-7 wing came off the bench for 61 of his 64 contests.
The former Kentucky star is also recovering from a surgical procedure he underwent last week to address a chronic groin strain. He is expected to be back in time for training camp, per the Hornets.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 19th, 2019 @ 11:00am
During the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA last week, 116 of the nation’s best high school basketball prospects competed in front of countless college coaches and NBA scouts.
One of the players who proved to not only be be among the best of the best every time he stepped on the floor? 2021 five-star forward Paolo Banchero.
Teamed up with two top-five prospects in the class of 2020, five-star forwards Makur Maker and Jalen Johnson, Banchero somehow managed to separate himself from his elite peers throughout the week. Averaging 17.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists against some of the top competition in the nation, the 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward even managed to take home MVP honors when awards were announced on Saturday afternoon.
Just three days later, the Kentucky coaching staff decided Banchero’s ridiculous performance at camp was enough to earn a scholarship, making him just the third player in the class of 2021 to receive an offer from UK.
— Paolo (Paul-Oh) (@Pp_doesit) June 19, 2019
At the NBPA Top 100 Camp, the five-star forward was asked about his recruitment, where he rattled off Oregon State and Gonzaga as schools he had already visited, along with Memphis and Arizona as places he’d like to visit in the very near future.
When asked about Kentucky’s contact, Banchero said that while they had been in regular communication with those in his inner circle, he was looking forward to talking to John Calipari and the other assistants once college coaches were legally allowed to start communicating with rising juniors starting on Saturday morning,
“I haven’t been in contact with them, but they’ve talked to my trainers and coaches, asking about me,” he said. “But I’m sure I’ll get in contact with them [personally] soon.”
As for his interest in Kentucky, the 6-foot-10 prospect said the proof is in the pudding with their program and he’d definitely consider them if an offer came and interest ramped up.
“I mean, it’s Kentucky,” he said. “You know, they’ve been putting dudes in the league, getting to the tournament, getting to the Final Four, championship, all that, for 10 years now.”
Banchero, a Seattle, WA native, has been rumored to want to stay on the West coast at the college level. When asked about that speculation, the five-star forward shot it down, saying he’d be willing to play anywhere in the country if it was the right fit.
“No, not at all. I’m willing to go wherever,” Banchero said. “Not saying I won’t stay on the West coast. But if I was trying to go to an East coast school or down South, distance wouldn’t really affect me too much.”
So what is he looking for in a school? The top-10 prospect in the class of 2021 said he wants to connect well with the coaching staff and fit in with their style of play.
Luckily for some of the top programs in the country, he said he’s flexible on both accounts.
“I think one of my qualities is I can kind of fit under any type of playing style, any type of coaching,” he said. “My AAU coach is kind of laid back, but my high school coach is more of an in-your-face type of coach. And I like both of those, I fit well with both of styles. So I don’t really pay attention to any of that [specifically], I think I’m good playing in any system.”
Now adding Kentucky to the list, Banchero already holds offers from Kansas, Arizona, Gonzaga, Washington, Memphis, and Oklahoma, among others.
Watch some of his most recent highlights from Nike EYBL Session 3 below:
KSR will be in North Augusta, SC for Peach Jam from July 10-14 to ask Banchero about his new offer from the Wildcats and his soaring stock.
By Bryan the Intern on ©June 19th, 2019 @ 10:00am
My wife got me a very creative and exciting present for my 34th birthday on Monday and I want your help to know how best to use it to the best of our abilities. My wife got me a map of every college football stadium in the country and we are vowing during our lives to try and visit as many of them as possible together. We are targeting Ohio State and Notre Dame this year, along with our typical UK game or two, and maybe one SEC game. But for me, it took seeing this map to realize I haven’t been to very many stadiums in my life. I have been to games at UK, UL, and WKU multiple times. I have also been to a game at Indiana and Vanderbilt, but that’s it. I have been inside the stadiums at North Carolina and Georgia but not for games.
I imagine you all have been to many of this country’s great college football stadiums. So I want your help on 2 fronts:
- Which SEC stadium should we visit first (whether they are playing UK or not)
- Which non-SEC stadium should we visit, considering the atmosphere and extras as well, such as tailgaiting
As I said, we are targeting places that are relatively close to the state for 2019. Notre Dame has always been a favorite for us to want to see, plus most every game there is a good game. But what should be next on the list? Help us out!
By Drew Franklin on ©June 19th, 2019 @ 9:55am
Football talk is back for a second day in a row as we welcome on former UK wide receiver Charles Walker and former UK kicker Austin MacGinnis, two favorites of the Mark Stoops era. They’ll join us in studio for two hours to talk about the coaches’ comments from yesterday and to share stories from their time as Wildcats only a couple of years ago.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (772) 774-5254.
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By Drew Franklin on ©June 19th, 2019 @ 9:00am
There I was, walking the mean streets of Meadowthorpe last night when a familiar face jumped out at me from the side of the building. The lady and I were making a quick Goodwill drop-off, when out of the corner of my eye I saw one of the country folk-singing GOATs himself, Mr. John Prine, in mural form.
Big John Prine guy here, if you didn’t know. Shout out Muhlenberg County, where my parents my born. Sam Stone came home to the wife and family. Give me all of it. I’m hoping to see him live in concert next month in Central City, down by the Green River where Paradise lay.
Anyway, this new John Prine mural I stumbled upon sure is a beautiful piece of art and a lovely addition to Leestown Road. It’s on the side of what is now an empty building but will soon become Apollo Pizza, although I’ve been hearing that for what seems like 10+ years. Hopefully it pops up soon because I’m told Apollo Pizza is delicious and I like pizza.
Now for some non-John Prine talk while I play John Prine softly in the background as I write.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. is in Lexington.
As I told you late last night, Kerry Blackshear Jr. and his old man, Kerry Blackshear Sr., I presume, made it to Lexington to begin Jr.’s official visit to the University of Kentucky. The father and son were up past curfew with John Calipari, Kenny Payne and Tony Barbee and the visit will carry on into today when all the real fun starts.
If things go well, maybe the staff can convince him to go ahead and sign on the dotted line and pick his room over at the lodge before he leaves town. If not, the fight will continue a little longer.
Whatever happens, we’ll be on top of it here on KSR.
Yesterday’s KSR show was a must-listen.
Tuesday’s Kentucky Sports Radio radio show was hosted by the biggest names over at the UK football training facility. The “Big Dog” Vince Marrow hosted the first hour of the show with special guest appearances from Lynn Bowden and Eddie Gran, before handing the second hour over to new defensive coordinator Brad White, who brought on a star-studded cast of characters from Josh Allen to Kash Daniel to Mark Stoops himself.
Listen to the entire two hours here. You will not regret it.
Highlights from the show in written form are linked below:
— Vince Marrow is pissed off at the national media
— Lynn Bowden faked being sick to avoid Ohio State coaching staff after committing to UK
— Josh Allen made a surprise phone appearance from Jacksonville
— Vince Marrow thinks Justin Rigg can be better than CJ Conrad
Everyone was so good and so honest; in some cases, maybe too honest.
The KSR Football Podcast crew (sans Nick Roush) will host today’s show.
For some odd reason, we volunteered to follow one of the best shows of the summer. It’s not our greatest idea, but we’ll do our best to recap yesterday’s coaches’ show with behind-the-scenes stories and analysis from former players Charles Walker and Austin MacGinnis, two guys who helped build Mark Stoops’ program into what it is today. They’ll be in studio with Ryan Lemond and me for two hours this morning and we’d love to hear from you. I’m definitely asking Austin if Mark Stoops has repaid him for saving his job.
Kentucky’s three NBA Draft stars landed in New York.
Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson and Paul Washington Jr. touched down in New York yesterday to begin all of their NBA Draft fun. All three will be in the green room tomorrow night; until then, they’re doing promotional things around the city, per their social media accounts.
Herro shared a photo from what looks like an upcoming Players’ Tribune story; Johnson flew private to get to the draft; and Washington hit a Panini America (the trading card company) VIP party when he landed late last night. That’s only a small glimpse of everything those guys having going on this week prior to hearing their names called Thursday night.
I’m fascinated by this super-long article I just read on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.
While sitting around waiting for any little piece of Kerry Blackshear news to break last night, I spent some time (a lot of time, actually) reading The Atlantic‘s new million-word story on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 — you know, the one that vanished out of thin air over five years ago now. I’m not the one to explain it all to you here on KSR (although I do feel like an expert now) but I’ll point you in the right direction if I’ve piqued your interest in the story. Here, have a link: “What Really Happened to Malaysia’s Missing Airplane” by William Langewiesche, a great author/journalist/former pilot.
OK, time for me to get over to the radio station.
Looking forward to Chuck and Austin talking about their time at UK and whatever else comes up when Ryan and I are on the air without Matt!
Tune in at 10 a.m.
By Drew Franklin on ©June 18th, 2019 @ 10:42pm
It took a little longer than expected, but KSR can confirm that Kerry Blackshear Jr. has touched down in Lexington for his official visit to the University of Kentucky.
The most important recruit on Kentucky’s recruiting board is in town with his dad and they are currently visiting with John Calipari, Kenny Payne and Tony Barbee to kick off the trip. Things are just getting going due to a late evening arrival, but excitement is high on both sides and there is a lot to discuss.
The hope, obviously, is to get a commitment before he leaves town so he can join this team as soon as possible and get things rolling towards a national championship.
Stay tuned for more. Tomorrow could be big.
KSBar and Grille is the place in Lexington to catch University of Kentucky games (pre and postgame too) as well as other events such as the NBA Playoffs, UFC fights, the World Cup, MLB games, PGA tour events, and more.
KSBar might be known for their smoked wings but don’t miss out on the brisket platter, fried katfish, chicken and waffles, and the great assortment of burgers. Start off with the house chips loaded to the ceiling smothered with pulled pork or chicken straight off the smoker topped with the house BBQ sauce.
Head to the KSBar and Grille website ksbarandgrille.com to see a full menu and drink list.
Be on the look out for different specials and events.
KSBar and Grille is located at: 1030 South Broadway, Lexington, KY 40504
You can be a part of KSR’s Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day.
If you are interested in sponsoring KSR’s Top 10 Tweets, please contact us at Via Email.
#10 Cody Fannin
— Cody Fannin (@CodyFannin2) June 18, 2019
I’ll never disagree with a post like this.
#9 Chris Heringer
@kjblack15 – #BBN welcomes you with open arms! Imagine, Rupp Arena full, rowdy, and you’re announced in the lineup. Guaranteed craziness, experiences you will love forever! Hope to see ya wearing a uniform of the winningest college basketball program in history! Bring home #9
— Chris Heringer (@chrisheringer) June 19, 2019
What he said.
#8 Loyal BBN Fan
— Loyal BBN Fan (@bigmike201423) June 18, 2019
And a salute to you, sir.
#7 Leigh Anne Claywell
— Leigh Anne Claywell (@leighclay) June 18, 2019
I approve of this purchase!
#6 A D A M
— A D A M (@swipathecrawf) June 18, 2019
The numbers NEVER lie.
#5 Alec Usleaman
— Alec Usleaman (@AlecUsleaman) June 18, 2019
Another purchase I approve of! Now I just need to get me one.
#4 Not Jerry Tipton
Lynn Bowden tells KSR that Ohio State called right after he committed to UK and wanted to visit him so he faked being sick because he didn’t want to meet with them and he also just finished with a 3.8 GPA.
Is it too early to give him the Heisman?
— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) June 18, 2019
Just hand him the damn thing!!
#3 Sammy Reed
— Sammy Reed (@reedsammy7) June 19, 2019
As mentioned earlier, Lynn Bowden is very good.
#2 KY Clips
— KY Clips (@KY_Clips) June 19, 2019
A couple of suave young men.
#1 Everything Kentucky Football
— Everything kentucky Football (@everythingkyfb) June 18, 2019
Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Brown, Georgia on my mind, The Devil Went down to Georgia, don’t matter, Cats by 90.
Follow me on twitter and tag me in one of your tweets for a chance to make KSR’s top 10 tweets: @BrentW_KSR
By Drew Franklin on ©June 18th, 2019 @ 9:30pm
Of all the newsworthy stuff that came out of Tuesday’s football edition of the KSR morning radio show — and there was a lot — it is easy to overlook Vince Marrow’s comments about his tight ends.
In answering a call about having to replace the irreplaceable CJ Conrad, who is off to a fantastic start in his first summer with the New York Football Giants, Marrow suggested the next man up, Justin Rigg, can be just as good, if not better. He called Rigg, “your prototypical tight end.”
“Man, I love C.J. and he’s doing so awesome with the Giants, but I think Justin has the potential to be better than C.J,” Marrow said. “He’s a big blocker, he has soft hands, he’s athletic, he’s a basketball player.”
“And then you got Keaton Upshaw,” Marrow continued, going right down the tight end depth chart. “If you don’t know him, you’re going to find out real quick. He’s 6’6, 250, about a 4.65 (40-yard dash) guy, another basketball player; just a freakish athlete. I think people are really going to love him.”
“Then Brenden Bates, we got him from (Archbishop) Moeller, another traditional school, and he’s 6’5, 250.”
“Trust me,” Marrow told fans. “I coach that position. I am the least worried about that position. I think we are going to be very fine and these guys are going to do a good job for us this year.”
We’ll need to see it before we buy all the way into the Rigg will be better than Conrad talk, because Conrad is one of the best the school’s ever had. But in Rigg’s only full season so far, last year as a redshirt freshman, he flashed some potential with four catches for 45 yards, while playing in all 13 games with two starts.
Behind him, Upshaw and Bates will get their share of opportunities in their first full seasons as redshirt freshmen, although Bates saw limited action in two games last year. Another player that went unmentioned, incoming freshman Nikolas Ognenovic, will also be in the tight end room.
By Aaron Torres on ©June 18th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
Let’s be honest, it’s been a longgggggggggg few weeks for those of us who love college basketball.
Sure, the spring was filled with all sorts of excitement – the NBA Draft deadline, the transfer portal turning into a wilder scene than Cancun during spring break, and a bunch of elite high school players making their college decisions. Yet since that draft deadline back in late May, it’s been slim pickings for us college hoops fans, just a couple of meager Kerry Blackshear visits, and that’s really about it.
Thankfully, the NBA Draft will give us something to talk about this week.
Sure, the NBA Draft isn’t technically college basketball content, but at the same time, it isn’t not college basketball content either (how did you like me dropping a triple negative there?). Instead it’s kind of the gap that bridges the two sports, the chance for those of us who’ve followed these kids from their high school days to the college level to see them make the final leap in their basketball journey. To quote John Calipari, it really is their graduation day, a moment where we hand our beloved Zion Williamson’s, PJ Washington’s and Ja Morant’s to Adrian Wojnarowski for safekeeping.
So with the draft now just a few days away, what do you need to know? What are the big storylines and question marks, both for college basketball and NBA fans?
Here are the biggest questions, my favorite players and a few other things to keep your eyes on.
Former UK golfer Chip McDaniel is making some serious noise in the professional golf world for what he did this past weekend.
We’ll start with the U.S. Open, his first appearance in a major. McDaniel earned a spot at Pebble Beach the week before his first tee time by finishing in a tie for first in a 36-hole Monday sectional qualifying event in Springfield, Ohio. He of course flew out to California as fast as he could for his major championship debut; and not only did well once he got there, but he made the cut and cashed $21,224 by doing so.
Not bad, huh? It gets better.
Immediately after McDaniel tapped in for par on the par-5 18th at Pebble Beach, he took a shuttle to the San Francisco airport, almost three hours away, to catch a 9 p.m. flight to Boston for another Monday qualifying event. He landed in Boston around 5:30 a.m., rented a car, drove 90 minutes to Ellington Ridge Country Club to tee it up again. When he hit his first drive, he had slept only for a little while on the red eye flight and made one stop along the way: McDonald’s for breakfast.
McDaniel told Golf Digest, “It was a pretty wild day. I slept pretty much the entire five-hour flight but, man, I was still loopy when I got there.”
The loopy Clay County native birdied his first hole. And then he went on to win a playoff at the end of his round, earning him a spot in the upcoming Travelers Championship this coming weekend.
Now he’s off to Cromwell, Connecticut for his fifth PGA Tour start and you’ll having a hard time finding a wilder 18 hours in sports.
By Drew Franklin on ©June 18th, 2019 @ 6:37pm
If the New Orleans Pelicans handed its general manager duties over to Jamal Murray, Murray would select RJ Barrett with the first overall pick Thursday night, not Zion Williamson.
The former Wildcat said so in speaking with ESPN’s Marc Spears in Spears’ new story about Barrett’s NBA potential.
Murray told Spears:
“Zion has definitely overshadowed RJ because of the hype. But I think RJ is more of a complete player in terms of what you are looking for. Zion is going to sell tickets. But if it was up to me, I would still take RJ.” [TheUndefeated.com]
He added he believes Barrett will be a star in the league and eventually be considered the best player out of this incoming draft class. For what it’s worth, Barrett got wind of Murray’s comment and said he agrees. (As he should.)
So is Murray serious in this hot draft take? Or is this one Canadian showing some love to another?
(Answer: B. Canadian pride)
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 18th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
On Sunday, a very cool event is happening in Lexington that you don’t want to miss. Former Cat Isaac Humphries is performing a benefit concert supporting the Ronald McDonald House Charities® of the Bluegrass at the Lexington Opera House Sunday night at 6 p.m.
“Isaac Humphries: Songs of My Life” will feature 15 songs (a nod to his Kentucky jersey number) and some special guests. Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster, with all proceeds going to help families with sick children.
“I’m so excited to share this experience with my Kentucky family,” Humphries said. “While I was a player at UK, Coach (John) Calipari always stressed servant leadership and impacting the lives of others. It’s no secret that I have a love for music and I have spent years developing this very idea. I have always wanted to share this side of myself with this particular community and help this specific organization that I respect so much.
“The Ronald McDonald House is a prevalent presence on Kentucky’s campus and I have always admired what the House does for families. It was important to me to return to a community that I consider my second home and impact this organization and city that I love so much.”
Isaac’s already in town to prepare for the concert and train for next month’s NBA Summer League, during which he’ll try to earn another NBA contract with the L.A. Clippers. In 2018, Humphries was named NBL Rookie of the Year before accepting a spot with the Atlanta Hawks G-League team. After averaging 11.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in 46 G-League games, Humphries earned a roster spot with the Hawks for the final month of the 2019 season.
This afternoon, UK posted this video of Humphries at the Joe Craft Center:
? who’s in town & working out.
You’ve seen what he can do on the court. Here’s your chance to see & hear his ? talent
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) June 18, 2019
Isaac’s concert is going to be amazing and all, but where do I get that Kentucky NBA shirt??
Now that Anthony Davis is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers, the endorsement deals are rolling in. This afternoon, the former Cat announced a partnership with Ruffles potato chips to help develop new flavors and products.
“Ruffles have ridges. I have ridges,” Davis quipped in the announcement. “So, we understand each other.”
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Anthony Davis (@antdavis23) on
This afternoon at the NBA Store in New York, Davis showed off the “Ruffles Ridge Top,” a custom shoe he designed with The Shoe Surgeon:
Anthony Davis also will be a “creative partner” with @RUFFLES and help the brand develop new products, including signature flavors of chips. His current favorite? @AntDavis23 likes the Cheddar and Sour Cream chips ? The new limited-edition shoe will be available on June 24 ? pic.twitter.com/QTPGhopzOd
— Matthew Jussim (@Matthew_Jussim) June 18, 2019
Here’s hoping that’s not the only ‘chip Davis gets as a Laker.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 18th, 2019 @ 3:45pm
We’ve already shared what Vince Marrow, Lynn Bowden, Josh Allen, and Brad White had to say on the Kentucky Football takeover of KSR this morning, but what about the head man Mark Stoops? Stoops sat in on hour two of the show and discussed his team’s progress since the ten-win season. Here are five highlights.
He teased Calipari about his new contract this morning
On Thursday, John Calipari’s new 10-year, $86 million contract extension became official, and Stoops couldn’t help but tease Cal about it this morning while getting coffee.
“I said, ‘I saw your contract and I’m here for a loan!’ We started laughing, and then I said, ‘Yeah, I’m going to get you. I’m going to go to that camp store and say, give me this, this and this, and all those things and put it on Cal’s tab.’ That’s what I’m going to do.”
It’s vacation time for the coaches, but the players are working
With the big camps of the summer now over, most of the coaching staff is taking the next few weeks off to spend with their families; however, the team is on campus for summer workouts, so Stoops is handing the reins to his veterans, including Kash Daniel.
“You’ve got Coach Daniel here next to me. He’ll take over and run the defensive meetings here when the guys do go out of town and really, that’s what we need. We need leaders to really have a great summer. There’s only so much we’re allowed to do with these guys, so when we leave, we’ve gotta have great leadership to step up.”
How does Coach Daniel feel about his squad so far?
“Everything in that 7-on-7 we did yesterday was crisp,” Kash said, mentioning how the team-run workout flowed like a normal practice. “For me, that gives me a lot of confidence going into the season, saying, hey, if we’re doing this right now in June, we’re going to be five steps ahead of where we were last year going into camp.”
Stay hungry, stay humble
Along those same lines, Stoops said the team doesn’t have a big head after last season’s success; in fact, it just made them hungry for more.
“We don’t ever go around beating our chest around here,” Stoops said. “In this business, you have every seven days to get humbled so you always keep things in perspective. We’re confident but we are hungry and we always try to have a chip on our shoulder. That’s why these coaches are in here on vacation. That’s why Kash is here. That’s why we’re here all the time. It’s a competitive business. We’re competitive. We’re not here to lose. We’re going to do everything in our power to win and be successful and that’s not going to stop. I want these guys to have an edge and an attitude about them but I want them to keep things in perspective.”
Recruiting is “really good”
Stoops couldn’t mention any names or specifics, but said he’s pleased with how recruiting’s going, which has to be the understatement of the century.
“Recruiting’s going really good,” Stoops said. “We’re on some great guys. These [coaches] have done a great job recruiting. They’ve been busy. We’ve had more guys on this campus this offseason than ever before at this point. Some really quality guys.”
Stoops said the ten-win season helped changed the perception of the program, making it easier for coaches to lure big names in for unofficial and official visits.
“Once we get people on this campus, they love it. We fight that — and we’re changing that — but that 100-year history, it’s a lot easier for them to look at some history of some other places in the SEC. When we’re bringing them from the south, we’ve got to bring them here and get them on campus and then they see that and they’re like, ‘Wow. This place is incredible. We love the atmosphere. We love what’s going on.'”
“We’re not going backwards”
A ten-win season that culminated with a New Year’s Day bowl and five draft picks is tough to follow, but Stoops vowed to do everything he can to prevent the program from backsliding.
“Keep on winning,” Stoops said. “I don’t ever make predictions, never have, with games or numbers or anything, but I’ve just simply said — and fortunately, to this point, it’s always held true — we’re not going backwards. We haven’t gone backwards in six years and I don’t plan on going backwards this year.”
Listen to his appearance below starting midway through Hour 2:
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Kerry Blackshear Jr. visits and a few updates on recruiting for 2020 (Part 1)
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 18th, 2019 @ 2:30pm
Today is the big day, Big Blue Nation. Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. is headed to Lexington on an official visit, and if he signs on the dotted line as hoped, Kentucky will likely have the No. 1 team in all of college basketball going into the season.
In this edition of Pilgrim’s Insider Notes, we will dive into the big decision, how other schools feel about this recruitment, Kentucky’s pitch, and a timeline on when we should find out his final destination.
After breaking down Blackshear, I’ll also be touching on the class of 2020 and some of the rumblings I heard at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend.
Let’s dive right in.
Kerry Blackshear Jr.
On Sunday evening, Kentucky fans were treated to news of Kerry Blackshear Jr. visiting Kentucky starting on Tuesday evening, with Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers.com first breaking the story, followed by KSR and recruiting insider Evan Daniels of 247Sports also confirming the report.
And then on Monday, Weingarten followed it up with even more breaking news that left the BBN salivating, saying that there was “major” mutual interest between Blackshear and Kentucky.
More on my Kentucky-KBJ report yesterday: Hearing the major interest between the two sides are mutual, UK is extremely hopeful they could land Blackshear on this visit. Texas A&M still vying for a visit. https://t.co/jNQnKwGqBC
— Jake (@jakeweingarten) June 17, 2019
I wrote in my notes back in April when Blackshear originally put his name in the transfer portal that not only was Kentucky one of the first schools to reach out to the 6-foot-11 big man, they also wanted to make sure they met with their family face-to-face before he got into the grind of the NBA Draft process. Not long after, multiple outlets reported that contact was made and an in-home visit was held at the family’s home in Orlando, FL.
For whatever reason, though, those reports were originally denied by Kerry Blackshear Sr. before he eventually backtracked and admitted both parts of the story were true. Why was he so open about other schools reaching out but wanted to keep Kentucky’s interest hidden? At the time, many assumed it had to do with Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery still being undecided on their futures, but it has always been a bit odd to me that the Blackshear family was willing to keep things quiet for the UK coaching staff.
To take it a step further, I also reported in my notes back in April that one source told KSR that if Blackshear were to withdraw from the NBA Draft, Kentucky would be the likely option. At the time, the original plan for the 6-foot-11 forward was to keep his name in the draft and continue to explore his professional options even if he went undrafted, so this source essentially brushed off the idea. Now that he’s absolutely playing college basketball next season, that conversation lingers with me.
In terms of the visits he has taken – Florida, Arkansas, and Tennessee – there are conflicting reports about each school’s confidence in landing the prized big man. For starters, I’ve seen a few reports that Florida is out of the running completely, but I genuinely don’t believe that is true. I talked to one source down in Gainesville that feels that while they aren’t necessarily the favorite they once thought they were, they definitely feel they still have a shot. They wished they could have sealed the deal during the visit, but they are confident if Blackshear goes home after his visit to Lexington uncommitted, they are still right in the thick of things.
After Florida, Blackshear made a surprise visit to Arkansas, with several recruiting analysts saying they felt the Razorbacks actually had a strong shot to land him. While I trusted some of the individuals who made these reports, I just didn’t buy it then and I don’t buy it now. Eric Musselman has a strong history with graduate transfers and I have also heard there are strong family ties between Blackshear and the Arkansas coaching staff, which could have been a big part of the original rumors. But to spend one final year in Fayetteville before heading off to play professionally? I’ll eat my hat if it happens.
As for Tennessee, I have heard that there is not much confidence in Knoxville that Blackshear will end up playing there. They felt their pitch was strong during the visit and there is playing time to be had, but something just didn’t click with him in his time on campus. The staff hasn’t shut down the possibility completely, but I am told that they are operating under the assumption that he won’t be in Knoxville next season. I’d be shocked if he ends up at Tennessee.
With the other schools that have been mentioned in this recruitment – Texas A&M, Gonzaga, and Memphis – I don’t see any of them being serious contenders. The latter two likely won’t even get a visit before a decision is made. When it comes to the Aggies, I am told that Blackshear and his family has incredible respect for Buzz Williams and they were hoping to give him a visit out of pure courtesy. Evan Daniels says that still might happen, but I think it all depends on how it goes with Kentucky over the next two days. At first, I thought it was a close race between Kentucky, Florida, and Texas A&M, but after putting together all of the conversations I’ve had over the last week or so, I don’t think they will be the final landing spot. Blackshear wants one final run at a championship while building his NBA Draft stock as much as he can, and he realizes the best two places to make that happen are Kentucky and Florida.
Which brings us to our final topic of conversation: the Kentucky visit.
The Kentucky coaching staff has been up-front from the start about their overall interest and desire to get him on campus at some point. I’m told that Blackshear and his family made it clear that the plan all along was to visit Lexington once the recruiting process got going.
And now that the trip is finally happening, Kentucky is confident they can make it his last.
I’m told that the UK coaching staff feels strongly about their chances and that their pitch is the strongest among all contenders. With PJ Washington off to the NBA, they are set to show him that he can replace his production and consistency in the frontcourt en route to a Final Four run. Blackshear wants one last chance at a national title and to build his draft stock a bit in the process. He’s not going to magically become a lottery pick in just a year, but if any coach can help him become a sure-fire draft selection, it’s Coach Cal. And he knows that.
Take it for what it’s worth, but I’ve also been told from one individual that Blackshear may have already told his family that he wanted to go to Kentucky and has planned on signing on this visit all along, but he wanted to take some of these other trips to keep his options open and make a complete decision. I’m not sure if this was at the request of his family or if it was a joint decision, but I think there is legitimacy to that rumor.
Based on everything I know, I believe Kentucky gets a signature from Blackshear before he leaves campus. And if not, I feel he will go home, talk things over with his family, and still ultimately decide to commit to Kentucky.
If we don’t hear news of a trip to Texas A&M, I believe a decision will come as early as Wednesday in favor of the Wildcats. If he does visit College Station, I expect that to take place this weekend with a decision coming not long after.
Regardless, I expect Blackshear Jr. to join Kentucky’s 2019-20 roster sooner rather than later.
2020 recruiting class
I spent the latter part of last week and into the weekend in Charlottesville, VA at the NBPA Top 100 Camp where I got the chance to talk to several of Kentucky’s top recruiting targets for both 2020 and 2021.
Because I couldn’t get around to a notes post last week while I was covering the event, I’ll be posting a few quick updates today and then posting a bigger recruiting update on Thursday evening.
Makur Maker, the No. 2 prospect in the class of 2020, has seen his stock rise exponentially over the last several months.
As a result, all eyes are on his recruitment to see which college program will land the 7-foot center with elite guard skills.
While just about every school in the nation will be recruiting Maker, sources tell KSR that there is a bit of uncertainty regarding his basketball future. On one point, I have been told that there is definitely a pull for the five-star forward to go professional right out of high school, following in the footsteps of his cousins Thon and Matur.
“Zero percent chance [his guardian] lets Makur play college hoops,” one source said.
On the flip side, I have also heard that those close to Maker want him to play basketball at the college level because they saw the struggles Thon has had adjusting to the NBA and feel he needs to mature a bit physically.
In fact, in an interview with Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader, Maker’s guardian, Ed Smith, touched on that specifically and said Makur will absolutely be playing college basketball next year.
“Everybody thinks he’s not going to college,” he said. “They’re like, ‘Ah, Ed’s going to send him pro.’ That’s how it is. … But [those schools] are going to be trying to come in late when they figure it out. Then they’ll be behind the game.”
If he goes to college, I think Kentucky has a very good shot to land the skilled center. Maker told KSR that he will be visiting Lexington soon and that he is highly interested in the Wildcats.
BJ Boston/Daishen Nix
Early on in the week at the NBPA Top 100, I was told that two of the top guards in the class of 2020, BJ Boston and Daishen Nix, had genuine interest in playing with one another in college, and that would likely be at Kentucky. They had been developing chemistry together from the moment they arrived on campus together, and sources tell KSR that they had those discussions with one another not long after.
Later on in the week, I asked them both about the rumors, and they said there is definitely truth to the speculation.
“It’s up to him, I don’t know where I want to go right now. I probably won’t be making my decision until later,” Boston said. “But for me, I need a passer to join me where I decide to go to school.”
For Nix, he said he would be happy being that passer Boston is looking for.
“He’s a scorer, he can score from wherever he wants, get wherever he wants on the floor,” he said. “And I like that. If I get him the ball, he can do his thing.”
And he hopes it happens.
“Hopefully,” the No. 1 point guard in America said. “I’m not sure yet, but hopefully.”
After talking to more people this week close to both of their recruitments, I feel that Kentucky is the strong favorite to land Boston right now, and they are definitely trending for Nix. The star point guard told KSR that he feels an offer is coming and that he can’t wait to meet a “legend” like John Calipari. He says he’s nowhere near a decision, but I believe the UK coaching staff is ready to put on the full-court press for the top passing guard in the nation.
If I were a betting man, I’d say Kentucky’s starting backcourt in 2020-21 consists of both Nix and Boston.
I’ll be back with more on Thursday.
Until then, follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR
Miss today’s show? Stop what you’re doing and download the podcast because the Kentucky Football coaching staff killed it.
Associate head coach/tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow hosted hour one with special guests Lynn Bowden and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran, while new defensive coordinator Brad White hosted hour two with appearances from Josh Allen, Kash Daniel, and head coach Mark Stoops. We’ve shared plenty of highlights from the show so far, but be sure to listen to it all on podcast:
Get ready for more football tomorrow as Charles Walker and Austin MacGinnis join Ryan, Drew, and Shannon in studio. Matthew Mitchell gets his turn on the mic on Thursday, while ESPN’s Laura Rutledge wraps up the guest host schedule on Friday. Matt will be back before you know it.