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Congrats to UK slugger AJ Reed, who won the Golden Spikes Award this morning, giving him a clean sweep of the National Player of the Year awards. In addition, Reed was named the Southeastern Conference Male Athlete of the Year, SEC Player of the Year, and the winner of the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.
Reed is now the third all-time SEC player to earn unanimous national player of the year honors, joining Dave Magadan (1983) and David Price (2007). Reed is the sixth SEC great to win the Golden Spikes Award and the first since Florida catcher Mike Zunino.
Reed was drafted by the Houston Astros with the first pick in the second round. Reed’s career at UK was so impressive that SEC Commissioner Mike Slive included him in his “brag bag” during the opening remarks of Media Days.
Keep making us proud, AJ.
Whether you like soccer or not, you can’t deny that the World Cup has been the major sporting event of the summer. Yesterday’s Brazil/Germany game was the most tweeted about single sports game EVER, with 35.6 million Twitter users chiming with their opinions on Germany’s epic beatdown of host country Brazil.
In case you were wondering what a professional UK soccer kit (jersey) would look like, Auburn fan Kevin Ives put together a mock-up for all of the SEC schools. Enjoy it above.
Gotta say, I like them than UK soccer’s current threads:
By Aaron Perkins on ©11:55 pm
On Friday, Nick Anderson won the Junior 110m hurdles in Eugene, Oregon. He finished first with a time of 13.37 seconds; a personal best and 7th fastest in his age division in the world this year. He will represent the United States at the 2014 IAAF World Championships that will be held July 22-27.
On the morning after hitting his first home run for the Houston Astros organization, A.J. Reed was named Male of Athlete of the Year by the Southeastern Conference in a voting by the league’s athletics directors, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive announced today.
Reed becomes the University of Kentucky’s sixth male athlete to win the award, joining Anthony Davis, Tim Couch, Jamal Mashburn, Kyle Macy and Jack Givens, who sent a golf ball flying by my face yesterday.
Congrats to A.J. Reed and good luck to whoever is building his trophy case.
3 Track and Field Cats Finish in Top 10 at the USOC, 2 More Win Medals at Canadian Championships over the Weekend
By Aaron Perkins on ©10:13 pm
On Friday, the Kentucky Track and Field teams competed at the United States Outdoor Championships. Three wildcats, Sha’keela Sanders, Kendra Harrison and Andrew Evans finished in the top 10.
- Sha’keela Sanders finished 7th in the long jump with a best mark of 21-075/6.42
- Kendra Harrison finished 7th in the 100 m hurdles final with a time of 12.92
- Andrew Evans finished 8th in the discuss with a throw of 195-7/59/61
Both Sanders and Harrison also qualified for the U.S. team that will compete in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean Under 23 Championships in August.
On Saturday, two more Wildcats; Raymond Dystra and Keffri Neal, won medals at the Canadian Championships that were held in New Brunswick.
- Raymond set a new school record in the javelin throw with a distance of 257 feet 9 inches
- Keffri placed 2nd in the Canadian 800m with a time of 1:46.91
University of Kentucky senior women’s soccer player, Arin Gilliland, will receive the Honda Inspiration Award tomorrow night on the CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. It was announced late May she was selected for the award by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) committee.
The Honda Inspiration Award is given each year to a female student-athlete who has overcome hardship and who was able to return to play at the collegiate level. Gilliland rewrote record books at UK, including placing herself fifth all-time at UK with 77 career points in her three seasons. However, it was not an easy path.
In the spring of 2011, Gilliland’s mother, Letita, died after battling cancer in the summer of her sophomore season. However, Gilliland continued to push forward in her career and even was selected to play soccer for the United States National Team, as well as at Kentucky. In 2011, Gilliland tore her ACL in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal against Tennessee and had to miss the rest of the season.
University of Kentucky athletic director, Mitch Barnhart, said he was proud Gilliland had won the award.
“Being awarded such a prestigious honor like the Honda Inspiration Award is something that Arin has absolutely deserved in her time at Kentucky. Since she stepped foot on campus three years ago, her passion and love for her team and school has been one of the driving forces in our recent women’s soccer success. Arin has overcome a lot of obstacles in her life and has handled them exceptionally well. We are elated for Arin and could not be more proud of her for receiving this honor.”
Gilliland is the first soccer player to win the award and the first athlete from the University of Kentucky.
You can watch the event at 8 p.m. Eastern on the CBS Sports Network.
Matthew Mitchell and his crew accepted the Cold Water Challenge this week, and fortunately for us, KyWildcatsTV was there to capture it all. For those of you who don’t know (or in the case, don’t have Facebook), the Cold Water Challenge is social media campaign to raise money for charity, in this case, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
So…how do I score an invite to Matthew Mitchell’s next pool party?
After over 40 hours of travel, Morgan Bergren arrived back in China to play with the U.S Collegiate National Team after being selected as one of 12 players to represent the USA.
The roster comprises of players representing 12 different schools and was organized by Bring It Promotions. The players trained for a week at the University of Southern California before leaving for China to face off against Chinese collegiate and adult teams in six different matches.
Bergren was one of four UK players who tried out for different USA Volleyball teams this past February including Jackie Napper, Anni Thomasson and Emily Franklin. This is not the first time Bergren has tried out for the US Collegiate team. Last year the junior setter tried out, but did not make any of the teams.
“It’s always an awesome experience went last year, just to get a feel for things, and going back this year, training hard throughout the spring, getting stronger, I felt like a totally different player going back this year. I felt pretty good and confident about it. It’s always fun getting to play with the top players in the U.S., so I’m really excited to go to China with them.”
Her arrival comes just two weeks after the Kentucky volleyball team and staff returned from China where they visited five cities and played seven matches. Bergren has already settled back into her Chinese surroundings and even tweeted her favorite thing about staying in China.
The great thing about eating Chinese Oreos is that I can't read how many calories I'm eating 👍
— Morgan Bergren (@morgs_6) June 19, 2014
Matthew Mitchell picks up his third class of 2015 commitment Wednesday afternoon from Batouly Camara out of Blair Academy High School in New Jersey. For most of her high school career it was believed that UConn was the frontrunner to sign the 6’2’’ forward, but thanks to a late push by the Kentucky staff the Cats to finally beat the Huskies in something.
Although the UK Hoops program has never experienced success like it has recently, Coach Mitchell takes a lot of heat for being unable to beat the elite programs late in March, failing to reach the elite 8 four out of the last seven seasons. Much of his criticism is based upon fans unhappy with his dedication to playing “small ball”, oftentimes with four guards and a big on the floor. Camara, the No. 2 forward in the country, size and loads of skill to the Kentucky roster in 2015, along with future teammates Maci Morris and Morgan Rich, both top-100 players. The future looks bright in Lexington.
Today is the third and final day of competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship in Eugene, Oregon and in true Wildcat fashion, 3 UK athletes have brought home medals in their competitions.
Kendra Harrison got the Silver medal in the 400m hurdles with a time of 55.55 in a race that saw the SEC claim 6 of the top 7 spots. Keffri Neal was awarded the Bronze medal in the 800m after he finished with a time 1:46.39, a new University of Kentucky and Personal Record in the event. While Harrison and Neal received their medals yesterday, Raymond Dykstra added to the total again today when he got the Silver medal in the javelin, setting another UK record at 76.72m.
Congratulations to these Wildcats on a great job!
Accolades keep flowing in for now former UK baseball star A.J. Reed, who is fresh off signing a $1.35 million dollar contract as the 2nd round pick of the Houston Astros. So it should be no surprise that the National College Baseball Writers of America awarded Reed with the Dick Howser Trophy, given to the most outstanding player in college baseball. Past winners of the award include current and former MLB stars such as Stephen Strasburg (SDSU-2009), Buster Posey (Florida State-2008), David Price (Vanderbilt-2007), Mark Teixeira (Georgia Tech-2000), Mark Prior (USC-2001), and Todd Helton (Tennessee-1995).
Reed, the SEC’s Player and Pitcher of the Year went 12-2 with a 2.09 ERA on the mound this year for the Wildcats while also batting .335 with 23 HR’s and 73 RBI’s. He became the first player in SEC history to lead the league in pitching wins and HR’s and also joined Rafael Palmeiro in 1984 as only the 2nd player in SEC history to win the conference’s Triple Crown (league leader in BA, HR, and RBI’s).
All in all, Reed is also a favorite to win the Golden Spikes Award which would give him a clean sweep of the NPOY awards and cement his legacy as the best player to don baseball’s version of the Blue and White. Here’s to a bright future in the Astros’ organization for the GOAT.
Plus, shout out to Reed’s hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana, a short drive from where I grew up in the bustling metropolis of Vincennes, Indiana.
The UK Hoops’ 2013-2014 regular season was a rollercoaster that had a few more lows than most expected, topped off by the team failing to reach the elite 8 for the fifth time in six seasons. Coach Matthew Mitchell was not satisfied with the results in his seventh season at the University of Kentucky and decided it was time for a change. And this offseason has been full of it. Let’s take a look at what has happened so far.
For perspective: 72 days since Kentucky lost. 130 days until Big Blue Madness.
March 29: Baylor defeats the Cats in the Sweet Sixteen, 90-72
The loss to Baylor (I feel like that sentence has been typed too many times in the past 5 years) marked the fifth time in the past six seasons that the UK Hoops team has failed to reach the elite 8.
April 4: Assistant coaches Pillow and House fired
Shalon Pillow, a former Lady Volunteer star, had been apart of the team since 2009 working with post players. Jeff House, a former WNBA assistant, was brought in last July as Matt Insell’s replacement after he took the head-coaching job at Ole Miss.
April 14: Stallworth taken 25th overall in WNBA Draft
DeNesha Stallworth, the rock to this year’s team, was taken by the Connecticut Sun in the third round of the WNBA Draft. The former McDonald’s All-American transferred to UK following two seasons at California, and in her final year led the team in field goals made, field goal percentage, and steals, while finishing second on the team in blocks, points per game, and rebounding. She was voted to the second team all-SEC this past season by the league’s coaches.
May 1: Goodin-Rogers cleared to return
After missing her freshman season due to a pulmonary embolism, the former Marion County star (high school teammate of Makayla Epps on the Sweet 16 championship team) is set to return to the court this summer at full strength.
May 1: Christian Stefanopoulos named assistant coach
After serving as an assistant coach under Matthew Mitchell at Morehead State for two seasons, she followed him to UK to take the position as video coordinator, which she held for three seasons up until 2011. From 2011-2014 she has been a coach with Bucknell, playing a major role in turning the program around.
“With Christian, knowing her for a very long time and having that comfort level is good, but it won’t be enough to get the job done.” –Mitchell
May 6: Amy Tilley promoted to assistant athletics director
After Ukari Figgs, stepped down in November to take an engineering gig at Toyota, Tilley has been filling the role. The UK graduate has worked with coach Mitchell from 2008-2010, after taking time off to be the head coach at Paul Laurence Dunbar in the 2010-2011 season.
May 8: Morgan Rich commits
The Allen County-Scottsville junior guard commits her four years of college basketball to the University of Kentucky, starting in the 2015-2016 season. She is considered a top 100 prospect and will join Bell County’s Maci Morris, as the second 2015 commitment to Matthew Mitchell. Despite tearing her ACL in February, Rich was named second-team all-state in 2014 by the Herald Leader.
May 10: Five seniors graduate
Kastine Evans, Bernisha Pinkett, DeNesha Stallworth, Samarie Walker, and Brittany Henderson all received there degrees from the University of Kentucky. Every player in Mitchell’s seven years at UK has obtained their degree in their final season of eligibility.
May 12: Corsaro commits
Kentucky picks up its first commitment in the class of 2016 from sophomore Lindsey Corasaro out of Indianapolis.
June 2: Amadou named assistant coach
Adeniyi Amadou joins Mitchell’s staff to fill the second of three coaching vacancies. Amadou has spent the last three seasons at Dayton University focusing mainly on recruiting domestically and internationally.
June 6: Matthew Mitchell hosts KSR
Coach Mitchell isn’t on the level of the Sklar Brothers, but I loved every minute of his two hours on the air last Friday. If you didn’t have a chance to listen, check out the podcast here. He brought on new men’s basketball assistant coach “Slice” Rohrssen along with athletic director Mitch Barnhart as special guest. While Barnhart was on the line, he announced that Mitchell was donating 1 million dollars over the next 10 years to the University of Kentucky athletics, the largest donation ever to the athletics department by a UK athletics employee.
In a press conference later that morning, Mitchell said “…we’re just unbelievably greatful for the opportunity to be at Kentucky and we want to be here a long time. This is our home. We hope our family can be of service to this community and university for a long time.”
June 3: Santos leaves Kentucky
Danielle Santos, a former assistant coach, decides to take a job with Florida State, leaving yet another coaching position empty. She coached under Mitchell from 2012-2014, and played at Florida while he was an assistant coach there.
It’s hard to imagine the rest of the offseason being more eventful than what we’ve seen so far, but who knows? Despite all the instability, the program is in the hands of the winningest coach in UK Hoops’ history, and I think it will be just fine.
3 Wildcats were honored today as the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced their outdoor season awards for the 2014 season. Assistant coach Andrew Ninow and athletes Kendra Harrison, who was recently was named “Track Athlete of the Year,” and Andrew Evens were named to the Regional Athletes and Coaches list.
Anderew Ninow earned the men’s assistant of the year for the first time in his career. He was responsible for two SEC Champions, three All-SEC selections, a SEC All-Freshman Team member, and four NCAA Championship qualifiers.
Andrew Evans claimed the SEC title in the discus and has qualified for the NCAA Championships next week
Kendra Harrison won both the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles at the SEC Championships and has also qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Congratulations to these three and best of luck to Kentucky Track and Field as they compete at the NCAA championships this weekend.
Images via ukathletics.com
-picture via UKAthletics.com
After seeing 2 of it’s biggest stars taken in the first 3 rounds of the 2014 MLB Draft in the days before (A.J Reed & Austin Cousino), the Kentucky baseball team added 2 more members to the professional ranks today in the 13th round of the draft when Junior IF Max Kuhn and junior RHP Chandler Shepherd were taken with the 402nd and 404th picks, respectively.
Kuhn was selected by the Oakland Athletics with pick #402 after batting .324 this season with 8 homers and 58 RBI’s for the Wildcats. Interestingly enough, coming out of high school Kuhn was also drafted by the Athletics in 2011 in the 24th round. Moneyball seems to like him quite a bit, and improving to the 13th round from the 24th in 3 years is very impressive.
picture via UKAthletics.com
Chandler Shepherd was then selected merely minutes later with #404 by the Boston Red Sox where he will link up with 2013 UK draftee Corey Littrell, who was selected by the Sox in the 5th round. Shepherd was also previously drafted in 2011 by the Chicago White Sox. From UKAthletics.com’s Official Statement:
Shepherd has had a decorated three-year career for the Wildcats, owning a 13-6 mark in 60 games and 19 starts, charting a 3.45 ERA in 188 innings, saving two games, walking 57 and striking out 128. Shepherd opened his UK career in 2012 on the school-record 45-win team, appearing in 18 games with nine starts, owning a 3-1 record and a 3.83 ERA, saving one NCAA Tournament game in 56.1 innings.
That makes 5* Wildcats so far through the first 13 rounds, I think there’s like 213 more rounds to go so maybe we’ll get to hear some more get their names called at some point today. CATS.
**[UPDATE] – Almost immediately after this post was published, senior C Michael Thomas was selected in the 22nd round with the 670th pick by the Detroit Tigers. Thomas started 58 games this season, and finished 4th on the team with a .315 average with 8 home runs and 45 RBI’s.
Kentucky’s Austin Cousino was drafted today in the third round of the MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners with the 80th pick. The junior centerfielder was the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2012, a Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner in 2013 and a two-time selection to the All-SEC Defensive Team. He hit .308 with 15 doubles, four triples, four home runs and 38 RBI, with a career-high 19 steals this past season.
Cousino started all 178 games in his three years in Lexington.