With football season right around the corner and basketball recruiting heating up, it’s time to resurrect an old KSR feature. Back in 2012, I started KSR Trend Watch to chart what’s hot and what’s not in the world of UK Sports. In the spirit of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, let’s get off our lazy butts and get this thing going again.
Rising faster than Terry Wilson’s pass attempts
We don’t usually see a lot of action in basketball recruiting until the winter or spring. This year, John Calipari is off to an early start with the 2020 recruiting class, reeling in two commitments in a week in five-star guard BJ Boston and four-star wing Cam’Ron Fletcher. Both recruits committed during their visits, an anomaly in itself and a sign that Cal may be switching up his strategy…or that the Wildcat Cake at Jeff Ruby’s is just that good.
Expectations for Lynn Bowden
With Benny Snell now in the NFL, Kentucky’s offense has a new face: Lynn Bowden. Last year, we got a taste of Bowden’s unique athleticism and versatility as a receiver, returner, and even quarterback; this year, it’ll be front and center for all of college football to see. If all goes according to plan, expect a Randall Cobb-esque season from Bowden, Kentucky’s version of Swiss Army knife.
Tyler Herro’s “drip”
Is there a better match than Tyler Herro and the city of Miami? Since being drafted by the Heat, Herro has become a star, both on the court in the Summer League and off with his eclectic street style. If you needed any further proof that the 90s are back, just look at Herro’s wardrobe, a cornucopia of patterns, airbrush, and neon:
Falling faster than Mitch Barnhart’s approval ratings
Love for the common fan
On Thursday, Mitch Barnhart announced that Kentucky will not expand alcohol sales to public areas at Kroger Field or Rupp Arena this season. The decision itself isn’t surprising — given the changes that need to be made to concessions, etc. and the tragedy outside the stadium last fall, waiting a year is a safe bet — however, Mitch’s defense of it was weak and completely tone deaf. Instead of acknowledging the hypocrisy of refusing to sell alcohol to everyone when fans in premium areas can already buy it, he doubled down on the morality of the issue, insisting that public alcohol sales would compromise an already — in his words — great, family-friendly atmosphere. If that’s the case, why sell alcohol at all? Last time I checked, it does the same thing to rich people as it does normal folks. With new club areas currently under construction at Rupp Arena designed to sell alcohol to season ticket holders and boosters, Mitch would have been better off calling his decision what it is: protecting an investment.
We knew Kentucky’s secondary would be green this fall after losing all five starters, so the news that Davonte Robinson will miss the season with a quad injury was salt in the wound. Projected starter Brandin Echols is also nursing a leg injury to start fall camp. So far, it sounds like the rest of the unit is stepping up accordingly, including true freshman M.J. Devonshire, so let’s hope they learn fast and stay healthy or they’ll be the Cats’ Achilles heel this season.
Kentucky’s non-conference home schedule
Does a home game vs. Georgia Tech get your toe a tappin’? What about Fairleigh Dickinson, Eastern Kentucky or Evansville? Thankfully, this is the year Louisville comes to Rupp Arena or this would be the worst non-conference home schedule in recent memory. Good thing the SEC slate is strong.
Trend of the Week: Shirtless team pictures
Last week, the Kentucky Basketball team showed off the results of a summer in the weight room with a shirtless picture outside the football training center. As is the case with most things Kentucky Basketball, it became a trend, with teams like Memphis, Tennessee, and even Louisville following suit:
The City’s Team ??? pic.twitter.com/RRaxPyr2bG
— Memphis Basketball (@Memphis_MBB) August 2, 2019
In case you were wondering what we've been up to this summer ? pic.twitter.com/ap0N3MoGWK
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) August 2, 2019
I’ll give the Cards this: if there’s one area in which Chris Mack can beat John Calipari, it’s the weight room. I did not expect that.