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Young Rob Ryan’s Wednesday News and Views


Good evening, very late evening, and welcome to your Wednesday News and Views. It was a long day for me here at the KSR office, but I’m still going strong off the chicken parmesan fumes and I have a lengthy final recap from UK basketball Media Day 2013 for you before we go night-night. And instead of boring you with a couple paragraphs about Gravity (I’ll save that for next time) or a random celebrity who celebrates a birthday today, I’m just going to toss the News and Views honoree privileges to a young Rob Ryan, back when he roamed the New England Patriots sidelines. As Eye on Football pointed out earlier today, he looked EXACTLY like Kenny Powers. It’s uncanny. I can’t stop looking at it.

Now, let’s knock this out so I can watch Sunday night’s Eastbound and Down before we do it all again Wednesday morning…


Everyone is either improved or better than expected.

Every time Coach Cal talks about this year’s young team, he mentions someone new as “improved” or “better than expected.” When talking to the media at Media Day 2013, he spoke highly of the bench players and confirmed the recent rumor that NBA scouts are raving over James Young.

“Everybody that walks in the building, the guy that they’re saying is the standout is James Young, like every day,” he said. “We’ve had NBA scouts in here every day.  They’re all speaking about him.”

From there, he said Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson are getting better; Marcus Lee is better than he thought; Derek Willis is better than he thought; and Dominique Hawkins practiced well yesterday.

Who on this team is he disappointed with??!!

Calipari doesn’t talk about 40-0 with this team, but he wants it.

Coach Cal has been open about wanting perfection for a long time now, not just heading into this season. He wants to coach a 40-0 team before he retires. Will it happen? He doesn’t know, but they’re going to play every game to win. He said he is teaching the mentality that every game matters, whether it be Michigan State, North Carolina or Auburn. “The way we do this is a process.”

He won’t call this team the No. 1 team in the country.

When asked if this group is worthy of the preseason No. 1 ranking, Cal dodged the question by saying he hasn’t seen anyone else. When asked if they’re anything like previous No. 1 teams he has had in the past, he said they’re too inexperienced to tell, but he admits they’re good.

“We’ll be the most inexperienced team in the country, but we’re really talented,” he said. “We’ve got great size and speed and skill. Will we be a great defensive team and rebounding team, and will we share the ball? If we do that, we have a chance to be one of the best teams in the country.”

So, yeah, it sounds like the No. 1 team in the country. He also said they’re much deeper than his most talented team, the 2009-10 team, which is very scary. That teams weakness was shooting; this team’s weakness, if any, will start to show once the season begins.

He likes his team.

He can barely say it without laughing these days.

He’s working with Julius Randle away from the basket, much like Patrick Patterson.

Randle has the build of a power forward but Calipari is asking him to play 20 feet away from the basket to develop his game, much like he did Patrick Patterson in 2010. Playing Randle seven feet under the basket might win college games, he says, but that’s not helping him for the future. They’re working on driving the the ball and jump shooting, and when to do each one. It’s going to take some time, but look out when Randle puts it all together. He’ll be unstoppable.

Randle’s work ethic is on a level Calipari has seen only once before.

Only Brandon Knight put in the work Coach Cal is seeing from Julius Randle right now: “I come in last night. I’m in my office about 11:00. 10:30. He’s in there shooting. This morning, I hear blup, blup, blup, and I look out my window in the morning, and he’s got a full sweat going, and he’s going to practice today. So when you ask me, does he have a chance at [National Players of the Year]?  Yes, he does because of that. The only kid that worked like that that I’ve had has been a Brandon Knight, who willed himself in the league, willed himself to be a top five, six, seven pick because, physically, you look at him and there’s no way, but he willed himself. [Randle] has got that body and he does it.”

Think Randle is a little tired of all the Andrew Wiggins love? Sounds like it to me. He’s coming for that Naismith Award and No. 1 pick.

A “ridiculous” non-conference “event” to be announced soon.

Calipari said they’re unsure about renewing a deal with the Champions Classic, then hinted at another event he called “ridiculous” that they plan to announce in the next two weeks to a month.

Marcus Lee likes to text his teammates and coaches to keep them motivated.

Lee admitted he’ll occasionally text his teammates and coaches to keep them going. He said it’s to make sure they’re not forgetting who they are and they’re always together.

After Coach Cal gave the team last weekend off, he said he got a text from Marcus Lee saying, “Coach, I cannot wait to practice. How are you feeling?”

And that’s one of the many reasons he’s already a KSR favorite without playing a single game.

Alex Poythress has a whole new demeanor.

He still has to prove it on the court, but right now Poythress says he has a whole new demeanor. He approaches the game differently this year, with more aggression, while trying to be more of a leader. He has also improved his game offensively and loves the improved chemistry and competition in his sophomore season.

“I feel like it is going to be a good year.”

Derek Willis may or may not have dunked on Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson.

Coach Cal bragged about Derek Willis dunking on Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson at the same time — he said he stopped practice after the play — in the return of the Helmet Cam, but the problem is, not everyone remembers it happening that way. Randle firmly said, “That did not happen.” He remembers blocking Willis’ attempt and the ball bouncing back in off the backboard  Johnson remembers it as a hard layup that rattled in.

Dunk or not, it was a big play for Willis and Alex Poythress confirmed Calipari did indeed stop practice after the dunk that wasn’t really a dunk.

There will be a lot of dancing at Big Blue Madness.

After talking to almost all of the players about their introductions at Friday’s Big Blue Madness, it’s clear this group is ready to put on a show. I couldn’t get any of them to get specific — aside from Derek Willis telling me he’s coming out to Eminem’s “Berzerk”  — but the smiles on their faces told me they’re ready for a good time.

E.J. Floreal hinted to KSTV that Jarrod Polson is the player to watch this year during introductions. Others told me to keep an eye on Tod Lanter, although Tod told me he still doesn’t know what he’s doing. Regardless, there’s a buzz among the players about their intros and as many as six or seven of the guys are planning to dance for the fans Friday night.

And Marcus Lee will break the internet if he does the Terio dance.

Doug Gottlieb defended his preseason Top 25 on Kentucky Sports Radio radio.

James Blackmon will not announce his decision on October 22.

Blackmon’s tentatively scheduled press conference on October 22nd is no more. He will visit Indiana some time after taking in the sights and sounds of Big Blue Madness this weekend.

This doesn’t change KSR’s prediction that Blackmon will end up at Kentucky.

Rich Brooks stopped by football practice to pump up the team.

Switching over to football news, former UK head coach Rick Brooks was a special guest at Tuesday’s practice. He had some words of encouragement for Mark Stoops, who said Brooks reminded him of the dark days during his time at UK and that it’ll get better. Stoops said, “[Brooks] was actually telling me that, I forget what year it was, the year they took a thumping by LSU and they had a bye week and they came back and won five of their next six. So that was good to hear. I’m not getting that far ahead of myself; I’m worried about one. I would just like to get one, but it was good to hear that. And I think that’s where he started turning the program. It just clicked and it turned and they had some good success from there. So it was good to hear those stories and just visit with him.”

The update on Jalen Whitlow is there is no update on Jalen Whitlow.

Stoops said he’ll give us an update every three or four days when they see how Whitlow’s left ankle is healing.


That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for stopping by.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

33 responses to “Young Rob Ryan’s Wednesday News and Views”

  1. Dan

    I love all the talk and I actually believe it all,…except for Poy. No one wants him to be a different player more than I do. But he’s had one full season to show it. So until he shows something more than he showed last year,’s just talk. He can’t step on the baseline over and over again, and try to pass through the teeth of a zone defense. He can’t be tentitive while other players are being aggressive. From what I’ve seen of the freshmen,…he has no business getting PT over any of them. I hope he has improved as much as folks hope. Now,…I don’t worry about the twins, Dakari, Lee, Young, Randle,…or some of the others. But I am concerned about Poy,..until he shows me something otherwise. Talk is cheap. Jmo.

  2. Cope

    I agree #1…… But man I think he can make this team if Julius can bring something out of him, which I think he will do in practice… But if we have learned one thing, its that you just do not know how freshmen will turn out…. worries me a little but not every class is the same and I believe our newcomers will exceed my expectations.

  3. Shawn

    Gottlieb sounds like a message board troll living In his step mothers basement.

  4. connecticut chris

    Good job with Gottleib Matt, I never thought he made a strong point .. He honestly kindof danced around , and he had nothing in his analysis that accounted for Cals success with talented freshmen teams,,Plus Matt please tell these people who want to compare this years team with last years that not only is this class different in talent level and depth BUT it seems Cal thought we could have been much better if we had a point guard.. So we have 3 PGs this year with at least another coming next year!! But on another point posted I too will have to see it with my eyes on Poythress !! He had the talent and body last year just lacked heart!!

  5. Msmolder

    Look at At this guy. He took a huge fan base and organized them into an army. This is the BBN. Jones has turned a fan base into an army, unbelievable. You go Matt. You see a national sports analyst talk out of his a$$ and take him down. Go get em Jones

  6. ibescootch

    Ugh. That interview was uncomfortable.

    I can kind of see what Gottlieb is saying, with these guys being unproven, and ranking them based on what he KNOWS of the other teams, but I still completely disagree. Isn’t that methodology creating a bubble as well? You can’t just dismiss an entire criteria because it’s unproven data. The whole ranking system is unproven data! They’re all projections, and excluding highly rated and clearly excellent basketball players based solely on the fact that they’ve not played a college game, is stupid.

    A basketball team is made up of individual parts that make a whole. That whole, and certain elements that affect that whole (coaching staff, strength of schedule, quality of opponent, injuries, distractions/drama off the court, etc), contribute to the success or failure of the whole. You cannot convince me that collectively (as Matt mentioned) across the board, there are better basketball players all playing at the same university anywhere in the country. Sure, there may be one or two positions you could find better players at a different school, but as many as we have, all at the same school? Nope, not buying it. And when you add in those other elements that I mentioned above, like the staff, schedule, opponent quality, I don’t believe they will negatively affect the whole in such a way that this team doesn’t absolutely demolish most of the teams they face. Quite the contrary, I believe BECAUSE of those elements, we will be better.

    Ranking teams based on your own convenient criteria is troll-worthy, and not in a homer way necessarily, but in a way that is sort of anti-homer. It’s the “I hate Louisville and love anyone playing Louisville” concept. I think Gottlieb (and it’s been this way for a while) hates Kentucky, and conveniently found a way to rank them lower than everyone else. It’s a win-win for him. He has a (semi)plausible line of reasoning that will be agreed upon by anyone not thinking too hard, he gets hits because it sounds so ridiculous up front, and whether UK ends up successful or not is irrelevant, he has an out either way- if we’re terrible, he can say, “see, I told you, you can’t put all your intangible (freshman) eggs in one basket, look at last year’s UK team…”, but if we’re successful, he can say, “the intangibles were what won the Championship two years ago, so I’m not surprised”.

    Intangibles/unknown factors have to be factored in to every ranking in some way, since they DO affect the actual, real team. You can’t just completely dismiss them as parts of the equation.

  7. tdogg40330

    DG was a smart a** from the start …. who cares what he thinks any how?

  8. the realest
  9. Kyle

    Gottlieb sounds like Matt jones. Wish I got a chance to actually hear what he had to say. Terrible interview. Go Cats!

  10. musrat59

    Gottlieb got exactly what he wanted, ATTENTION.

  11. La Flama Blanca

    “Fundamentals are a crutch for the talentless” -KP

  12. yesterday's wine

    I liked Gottlieb as a player but watching him as a player didn’t give a sense for his personality. The guy is a total jerk! I’m glad he is now with CBS so he is more easily avoided.

  13. Brian Boone

    Is it just me, or is young Rob Ryan the twin of Kenny Powers?

  14. Brian Boone

    hah I need to start reading posts before commenting. Apparently that was pointed out under the picture. I agree though. Amazingly similar looking…

  15. Axe Cop

    That…is…uncanny. For a second there I really thought it was KP.

  16. Snowball

    Our inexperience definitely worries me. Do I think we’re the best team in the country right now, probably not, but I can’t put 6 other teams ahead of us. Do I think we’ll be the best team at the end of the year, yes, but our inexperience still worries me as far as winning the whole thing. Darius Miller was just as important as any other one player on that 2012 team.

  17. Axe Cop

    17. Big Darius fan but no one was as important as AD.

  18. Bobofky

    This is too good not to revisit in January. Time will tell. The answers will be evident.* There will always be an argument based on subjectivity, ‘the best team didn’t win etc’ D.G. chooses to dance on thin ice. The good news is, we Cat Fans are difficult to bs.
    Fight the good fight Matt. cats

  19. dude

    Gottlieb can eat a D…that is all

  20. Powers

    Motherf%^&Ker dont ever compare me to that fat a$$$$ lazy FuC& nut again……..Son of a bi^c$ f$ck

  21. brain

    Only Jones could make Gottleib look smart.

  22. Doug Gottlieb

    My brother is an assistant coach for the California Golden Bears so that makes them the 10th best team.

  23. pr

    #1- WHO are you that poythress has to show you something. Your not putting him in n pulling him put the game. I get sick and tired of some fans always down talking a player. Its not just him saying hes better cal saying it teammates are saying it. The boy has no choice but to get better. He’s has way better players pushing him. He’s got it. Its in him and poythress will ball this yr. Trust!!!!

  24. Billy Clyde

    I love me some big ol’ April titties

  25. TLWOOD43

    Huge fan of the Cats. Not a huge fan of Gottleib. But that “interview” was horrible. Having rankings before a single game has been played, especially with so many teams being so freshmen dependent, is silly. Arguing about those rankings is asinine. Everyone will know what’s what when the ball is finally tipped.

  26. harry

    be fun to have him back after the tourney.

  27. harry

    I like to be in his shoes, dead wrong with most of your expert analysis and still have a job.

  28. Phil knights bank acct

    The ridiculous non conference event will be an all Nike school tourney played on four courts in a cowboys stadium simultaneously. Phil knight is trying to make some extra cash.

  29. mack

    Did anybody notice that he left FL outside the top 25 all together? How does this guy get paid to do this?

  30. TNO


  31. KyleStewart

    I can feel it down in my plums

  32. ohiocatfan

    I hate Gottleib but that interview made me embarrassed to be a UK fan. Matt wouldn’t let him talk and gave him no respect. Matt sounded like a complete ignorant homer. Good luck continuing to get big name guests when you treat them like that.

  33. ohiocatfan

    Gottleib is an arrogant deuchebag, but he is knowledgeable about the game.