Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
January 16th, 2018

Stephen Johnson announces retirement from football

Breaking news: Stephen Johnson just announced his retirement from football on Kentucky Sports Radio. 

Johnson said he’s stepping away from the game because his body just can’t handle it anymore. After being injured in the Music City Bowl, Johnson said he’s about to have surgeries on both shoulders and his left knee.

“I am completely done with football,” Johnson said. “That is the big news. I really don’t have the fire or desire or drive to keep on playing it. To have these surgeries on top of it, it would shut my body down.”

Johnson said he’s still upset how his career ended, specifically the late hit that wasn’t called vs. Northwestern, which forced him to leave the game.

“I was pissed,” Stephen said of the no-call. “I was definitely ticked off, just because I knew I didn’t have a throw so I tried to draw a foul…It ended up being at my cost.”

Amazingly, Stephen was able to come back in and finish the game despite not being able to move his right arm, a testament to his toughness and heart. What’s next for him? Johnson says he wants to stay in Lexington and work with UK Athletics.

“I’m excited to see what the future holds,” he said.

So are we. Thanks to Stephen for sharing his big news on KSR and giving us some incredible memories.


Zion Williamson to announce decision at 8 p.m. Saturday

We’ve known for a few weeks that Zion Williamson will announce his decision on Saturday, January 20. Now, we know what time. According to The State, Zion will announce his decision at 8 p.m. ET Saturday night at Spartanburg Day School, 15 minutes before tip of Kentucky’s game vs. Florida. The public is invited to attend. There’s still no word on whether or not the announcement will be televised, although with ESPN’s College GameDay leading into the game, it’s certainly a possibility. Talk about a giant mood swing one way or the other at Rupp.

Saturday is his mother’s birthday. A public announcement at his high school in South Carolina certainly suggests he’ll make her happy and stay home and play for Clemson, his stepfather’s alma mater. What should we read into the fact that it’s happening 15 minutes before Kentucky vs. Florida? Just that the live blog will start earlier and KSR’s servers will most definitely crash.

Thankfully, we’ll know soon enough.

Immanuel Quickley remains hopeful Zion Williamson commits to Kentucky


WATCH: Don’t blink or you’ll miss De’Aaron Fox

Photo: @bballinsiders

We all know De’Aaron Fox is fast, but last night, he may have broken the sound barrier. Watch Fox cover the length of the court in about five seconds during last night’s Kings/Thunder game:

One more time. Don’t blink!

Fox finished with 12 points and 5 assists in Sacramento’s 95-88 loss to Oklahoma City, but man…he’s quick. We’ll have more highlights from Fox and the other NBA Cats in today’s BBNBA roundup in just a bit.

In the meantime, let’s revisit a popular question from last season: Who would you take in a foot race, Fox or John Wall?


Stephen Johnson fills in for Matt (Tuesday Show Thread)

Matt Jones is on his way back from Cleveland, so Ryan Lemond and Drew Franklin are bringing in none other than your former QB1, Stephen Johnson, to fill the third chair. Tune in to hear Johnson reflect on his career at Kentucky, discuss what’s next, and answer questions from fans.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (859) 300-3264.

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GAMEDAY: Kentucky Travels to South Carolina

Travis Bell | Sideline Carolina

This isn’t the Final Four Team

Last spring the worst seven-seed in the history of the NCAA Tournament made a run to the Final Four behind the impressive play of Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier.  The good news for Kentucky fans, Dozier and Thornwell ain’t walking through that door.

Frank Martin’s 2018 team is 11-6 (2-3 SEC) without any impressive wins.  In the non-conference schedule they fell to their two best opponents, Virginia Tech and Clemson, by a combined 35 points.  Martin still has Chris Silva, the team’s leading scorer (14.2 ppg) and rebounder (9.2 rpg), but the Gamecocks are still struggling to find other consistent contributors.

Injury Updates

The update is there is no update.  Quade Green still has not practiced and there’s no timetable for his return, although Kenny Payne shared some optimistic comments yesterday. “I think he’s any day now. I don’t even know if he’s going to practice today, but I know he’s getting close.”

As for Jarred Vanderbilt, it’s more of the same.  Payne said, “We’re leaving it up to him.”  That means there’s no end in sight.  Whenever Vanderbilt is ready, we will know when he steps on the court for the first time.

The Last Time UK Played in Columbia

John Calipari was not on the sideline for long.  After Coach Cal lost his mind in Columbia, the Cats turned on the jets and blew past the Gamecocks for an 89-62 win.  Tyler Ulis had 27 points, Jamal Murray had 26 and Marcus Lee caught a lob off the backboard for one of the greatest dunks of the Calipari era.

Kentucky leads the series 51-11 with a 20-7 record in Columbia.  The Cats have won the last four vs. South Carolina.  Coach Cal has only lost at South Carolina twice; John Wall’s undefeated Cats fell to Devan Downey in 2010 and in 2014 Aaron Harrison told us, “it’s going to be a great story.”

TV, Radio, Vegas

TV — A late 9:00 tip-off on ESPN with Joe Tessitore, Sean Farnham and Laura Rutledge on the call.

Radio — KSR Pregame Show on 630 WLAP at 6:30. Hear Leach and Pratt on the UK Sports Network, Sirius-138 and XM-191.

Vegas — Kentucky -2.5

A Poll Jump

The Cats are up to No. 16 in the Coaches’ Poll and 18 in the AP Poll.  Surprisingly, the Cats aren’t the highest-ranked SEC team.  According to the AP, that honor belongs to Auburn at No. 17.

Today’s Tale of the Tape

College Basketball on TV

Time Game Network
7:00 Wisconsin at #3 Purdue ESPN
7:00 #12 Cincinnati at UCF CBSSN
7:00 #20 Clemson at #15 UNC ACC Net
7:00 Louisville at Notre Dame ESPN2
7:00 Georgia at LSU on ESPNU ESPNU
7:00 Vandy at Miss. State SEC
9:00 #4 Oklahoma at K-State ESPNU
9:00 Ole Miss at Texas A&M SEC

Stephen Johnson Joins KSR

The quarterback who led the Kentucky football team to consecutive seven-win seasons will speak publicly today for the first time since the Music City Bowl.  You can’t miss his appearance with Ryan Lemond and Drew Franklin at 11:00 a.m. on Kentucky Sports Radio.


January 15th, 2018

Wenyen Gabriel’s play “an example of what we need every player to do”

Wenyen Gabriel is Kentucky’s hardest worker right now, to the point Kenny Payne says the coaching staff is using him as an example of what the rest of the team needs to do to succeed.

“We just had a staff meeting and I told [John Calipari], [Wenyen’s] energy, his effort, what he’s giving us on the floor, just the fight of it, is an example of what we need every player to do,” Kentucky’s associate head coach said this morning.

Gabriel may only average 6.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, but his energy and effort are a big reason Kentucky’s won some games they probably should have lost. After disappearing in the second half of his freshman season, Gabriel has rediscovered his game, which Payne says makes him the perfect role model for a historically young squad.

“This kid came here with a bunch of expectations and it’s easy to get lost in what you are and who you are as a player. He’s finally getting back to being the player that he is: an energy guy, a tough guy, a rebounding guy. Obviously, we’d like him to make better decisions handling the ball. He has some unforced turnovers at times, but his energy, his fight, his determination to play winning basketball, is really good right now.”

Gabriel’s hustle was a big part of Kentucky’s win at Vanderbilt; Payne said they’re using his film to show the younger guys what they must do to go on the road and win in an ever-improving SEC.

“One of the things we’re trying to do, we’re trying to be a great road team. A team that can go on the road and fight and get a win; that starts with guys like Wenyen. That kind of fight, that kind of determination to fight for a rebound. That kind of determination to block a shot at a pivotal time in the game. Take a charge. Dive on a loose ball.”

“When you’re playing road games, every little situation on the court, every possession matters. We need that from more than Wenyen, but he’s an example of why we show film and why we show players, the younger guys, ‘Look at what he’s done. Look at how he fought to get that offensive rebound and he was outside of the three-point line.'”

Look at how he swatted and saved the ball on this badass play:

From liability to leading by example, Wenyen is proving that hard work pays off.


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Please contact us at KSRads@kentuckysportsradio.com. A member of our team looks forward to talking with you soon!


KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day

McDowell


The one and only Big Mick is a meaty masterpiece in its own right. Composed of two quarter-pound patties* of never-fresh, frozen, mostly beef raised close to the processing plant. Only McDowell’s has the frosted beef and processed cheese to give you a major reason for the afternoon trip to the secret bathroom only you and Debra know about on the 9th floor that is under construction.


You can be a part of McDowell’s KSR 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 wendell combs


He has my vote.

#9 Kristen


Sounds like she needs to go on KSR Bachelor.

#8 HB & LB


Another sighting!

#7 Alex Richardson


We love t shirts!

#6 Matt Wells


Hmmm….this is a tough question!

#5 Jeremy Triplett


What a superfan!

#4 TW


Got ’em.

#3 Coach Salyers


This does seem like Ryan.

#2 Randolph Vance


This sounds wayyyyy more fun!

#1 Patrick Ballard


What a compliment!


Kentucky women’s basketball falls to Vanderbilt, 70-55

The women’s basketball team suffered another tough loss tonight, falling 70-55 to Vanderbilt. The Wildcats played without the season’s leading scorer Maci Morris, who is still out with a knee bone-bruise injury, and the Cats couldn’t compensate for her missing offensive spark. Tonight’s loss drops Kentucky’s record to 9-10 overall and 1-4 in the SEC.

The Wildcats struggled from the beginning; both teams remained scoreless for the first 5:14 of the game and the Cats failed to get a bucket until only four minutes remained in the quarter. They found a groove by the end of the first quarter, going on a 6-0 run and holding a 10-7 advantage at the end of the period. But it wouldn’t last, as the Commodores responded in the second quarter with a 15-0 run.

Taylor Murray served as Kentucky’s sole offensive power in the first half, scoring 12 of the Cats’ 20 points. She finished the day with a season-high 23 points and a career-high seven steals in her full 40 minutes of play. She was the only player to hit double-digit scoring.

“Taylor was really tough and we need her to play that way,” Coach Matthew Mitchell said after the game. “We will have to see if we can get some [other] players to step up and play that way.”

Freshman KeKe McKinney showed she has the potential to be that player. The freshman added nine points and six rebounds in tonight’s matchup. Senior Makenzie Cann was limited, playing just 15 minutes and scoring zero points. After the game, Mitchell said Cann is dealing with a foot injury, and her reps have been limited.

“You have to congratulate Vanderbilt tonight. They played a tough game and clearly wanted the game more than us and that is disappointing,” Mitchell said. “We have to get back at it and see if we can get better.”

The Cats will look to get back on track Sunday, when Kentucky will host South Carolina at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for noon and the game can be seen on ESPNU.


@MaggieDavisKSR


Former Wildcats speak out on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

@KarlTowns

MLK Day celebrates the birth and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the most prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement, and a man who protested racial discrimination until his assassination in 1968.

Several NBA games are played throughout the day, and as a result, players use these games as a platform to spread awareness to the importance of this day and the impact Dr. King made.

Though he played last night, Karl-Anthony Towns was one of the biggest voices this afternoon:

He even wore special Martin Luther King Jr. basketball shoes for Minnesota’s game last night against the Portland Trail Blazers:

Eric Bledsoe wore his own MLK Day kicks:

DeMarcus Cousins tweeted out this image:

And John Wall:

Anthony Davis is featured on the NBPA #PlayersVoice video, where various NBA players discuss how they would finish the “I Have A Dream” speech in modern society:

Well done, guys.

Go Cats!


UK signee Keldon Johnson scores 21 points on ESPNU, turns heads nationally

Kentucky signee Immanuel Quickley impressed in the Hoophall Classic earlier today, dropping 19 points and five rebounds in a tough loss.

Immediately after, five-star Oak Hill forward and Kentucky signee Keldon Johnson managed to also put on a show, finishing with 21 points, seven rebounds, and three assists on the day. With his team’s victory, No. 2 Oak Hill moves to 25-0 on the year, with Johnson being a massive reason for that.

Though his performance was stellar, the national attention Johnson received after the game was even more impressive. Scrolling through Twitter after the game, countless media members and basketball analysts raved about Johnson’s game, saying his competitiveness and will to win is second to none.

During a halftime interview, Johnson was asked what separates his game from the rest of the nation.

His response? “I’m a dog. I do whatever it takes for my team to win.”

In an interview with Tom Westerholm of MassLive.com, Johnson said things are starting to click for him, and when he gets going, it’s going to be a problem for the rest of the nation.

“I think the sky’s the limit for my game generally, because once I get going, everything gets going,” Johnson said. “My shot, getting to the basket, getting to the free-throw line, getting my teammates involved. Once I get going, it’s really a problem.”

Johnson’s jump shot has always been the biggest knock on his game, but now, he has developed into a consistent threat from both mid-range and beyond the arc. He said if he continues to work on that and build up muscle, he’ll be ready to be a big contributor for the Wildcats next season.

“I hit the mid-range pretty consistently when I shoot it,” Johnson said. “I just think spot-up threes, I really improved on that this year. I’m just working. Keep working hard on my body, and I think I’ll be ready for that.”

Check out his game highlights, and his sit-down interview with ESPN’s Paul Biancardi where he talked about his work ethic and how excited he is to play for John Calipari at Kentucky:

Not enough highlights for you? Check out Johnson’s MVP performance at the Chic-Fil-A Classic two weeks ago:

This kid is going to be good.

Go Big Blue.


Immanuel Quickley remains hopeful Zion Williamson commits to Kentucky

Photo by adidas

This afternoon, Kentucky signee Immanuel Quickley finished with 19 points and five rebounds in his team’s 71-58 loss at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, MA. It was an impressive showing, especially considering Ohio State commitment and defensive specialist Luther Muhammad guarded him from start to finish.

But the questions he was asked after the game had nothing to do with him or his game.

They were all about Quickley’s friend, five-star forward Zion Williamson, and his thoughts on his decision going into the final week of his recruitment.

Though there are rumors Williamson has already made his decision, Quickley doesn’t think his mind is 100% made up, and Kentucky still has a great shot.

“I honestly 100 percent do not know if he made up his mind,” he told Adam Zagoria. “I think he has a couple of schools that are really favored but I don’t know if he’s 100 percent made up his mind. Kentucky is definitely in there.”

If Williamson joined him at Kentucky, Quickley believes the Wildcats would win a national title.

“I think we could win a national championship,” he said. “With him, he’s a monster on offense and defense so that just makes it easier for everybody else.”

And if he ends up staying home, specifically at Clemson?

“Clemson’s about an hour from his home, you can’t be mad at somebody going to college an hour away.”

To read the rest of Quickley’s interview with Adam Zagoria, head on over to ZagsBlog.com.


SEC Seinfeld Index: January 15

Before the season began, who would have predicted that Auburn would be on top of the SEC standings and Texas A&M at the bottom? SEC Basketball is a circus this year, so let’s try to make sense of it all with some help from the show about nothing, and in turn, everything, Seinfeld.

First, a look at the current SEC standings:

TEAM CONFERENCE RECORD GAMES BACK OVERALL RECORD
Auburn 4-0 16-1
Kentucky 4-1 0.5 14-3
Florida 4-1 0.5 12-5
Tennessee 3-2 1.5 12-4
Alabama 3-2 1.5 11-6
Ole Miss 3-2 1.5 10-7
Missouri 2-2 2 12-5
LSU 2-2 2 11-5
Arkansas 2-3 2.5 12-5
Georgia 2-3 2.5 11-5
South Carolina 2-3 2.5 11-6
Mississippi State 1-3 3 13-4
Vanderbilt 1-4 3.5 6-11
Texas A&M 0-5 4.5 11-6

 

They’re real and they’re spectacular?

 #17 Auburn (16-1, 4-0)

Last week: Won vs. Ole Miss (85-70); Won at Mississippi State (76-68)

So, I guess Auburn is legit? I didn’t take them seriously in the non-conference because of their weak schedule, but they’re the only undefeated team in SEC play and continue to impress, all without Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley. I see you, Bruce Pearl.

This week: at Alabama, vs. Georgia


Still Masters of their Domain

 #21 Tennessee (12-4, 3-2)

Last week: Won at Vanderbilt (92-84), Won vs. Texas A&M (75-62)

After starting SEC play 0-2, the Vols have won three straight. It feels weird to rank them ahead of Kentucky, but there’s no denying that they exposed all of the Cats’ flaws in Knoxville over a week ago. We’ll find out more when they go on the road this week.

This week: at Missouri, at South Carolina

 #18 Kentucky (14-3, 4-1)

Last week: Won vs. Texas A&M (74-73); Won at Vandy (74-67)

Kentucky was without Quade Green and Tai Wynyard this week but managed to grind out wins over Texas A&M and Vandy despite some critical errors down the stretch. Lots to nitpick, but considering the Cats were shorthanded, you have to be encouraged.

This week: at South Carolina, vs. Florida


Spongeworthy

 Florida (12-5, 4-1)

Last week: Won vs. Mississippi State (71-54), Lost at Ole Miss (78-72)

The Gators’ loss in Oxford snapped a six-game winning streak, but a road loss is forgivable in the SEC these days. How will they respond with two huge games coming up this week?

This week: vs. Arkansas, at #18 Kentucky

 Alabama (11-6, 3-2)

Last week: Won vs. South Carolina (76-62), Won at LSU (74-66)

After back-to-back road losses to Vandy and Georgia, Alabama got back on track, beating South Carolina and LSU. The win at LSU was especially impressive because the Crimson Tide were without starting forward Donta Hall, who is recovering from wrist surgery. Wednesday’s game vs. Auburn is huge.

This week: vs. #17 Auburn, vs. Mississippi State


Yada Yada Yada

Ole Miss (10-7, 3-2)

Last week: Lost at #22 Auburn (85-70); Won vs. Florida (78-72)

Ole Miss’ win over Florida may be reason to sit up and take notice, but I’m waiting to see how they do in back-to-back road games this week before I deem them spongeworthy.

This week: at Texas A&M, at Arkansas

 Arkansas (12-5, 2-3)

Last week: Lost vs. LSU (75-54); Won vs. Missouri (65-63)

Arkansas ended a three-game losing streak with a two-point win over Missouri at home on Saturday, but that’s not enough for me to forget their 21-point loss to LSU on Wednesday.

This week: at Florida, vs. Ole Miss

Missouri (12-5, 2-2)

Last week: Won vs. Georgia (68-56); Lost at Arkansas (65-63)

After losing to Florida and Arkansas by only two points, Missouri is better than their record suggests; however, they have to break their bad habit of starting games slowly.

This week: vs. #21 Tennessee, at Texas A&M

LSU (11-5, 2-2)

Last week: Won at Arkansas (75-54); Lost vs. Alabama (74-66)

Had LSU beaten Alabama at home on Saturday, they would be much higher on this list; however, the Tigers just couldn’t take the next step despite 19 points (including five threes) from Tremont Waters.

This week: vs. Georgia, at Vanderbilt

South Carolina (11-6, 2-3)

Last week: Lost at Alabama (76-62); Won at Georgia (64-57)

South Carolina beat Georgia in Athens despite shooting only 27.1% from the field. That tells me more about Georgia than it does the Gamecocks. We’ll find out more this week.

This week: vs. #18 Kentucky, vs. #21 Tennessee


Shrinkage

Georgia (11-5, 2-3)

Last week: Lost at Missouri (68-56); Lost vs. South Carolina (64-57)

It was a bad week for Georgia, which dropped games to Missouri and South Carolina. Try as he might, Yante Maten can’t do it all, and if the Bulldogs want to keep their postseason hopes alive, they’ll need to pull off some big upsets…such as Auburn on Saturday.

This week: at LSU, at #17 Auburn

 Mississippi State (13-4, 1-3)

Last week: Lost at Florida (71-54); Lost vs. #22 Auburn (76-68)

The Bulldogs started conference play off strong, beating then-#22 Arkansas, but lost their next three. Mississippi State actually led #22 Auburn by 13 early in the second half, but collapsed. They’ll look to get back on track vs. Vandy tomorrow night before a tough trip to Alabama.

This week: vs Vandy, at Alabama


Eh…

Vanderbilt (6-11, 1-4)

Last week: Lost vs. #24 Tennessee (92-84); Lost vs. #21 Kentucky (74-67)

As has been the case all year, Vandy had the chance to upset Kentucky, but choked. In a moment that encapsulated their entire season, senior Riley LaChance missed three free throws in the final minute that could have put the ‘Dores within one. Ouch.

This week: at Mississippi State, vs. LSU


Again with the sweatpants?

 Texas A&M (11-6, 0-5)

Last week: Lost at #21 Kentucky (74-73); Lost at #24 Tennessee (75-62)

At this point, I’m not sure what to think about Texas A&M. The Aggies are clearly capable of being a good team, as they showed vs. Kentucky last Tuesday; however, Saturday’s collapse at Tennessee showed they are still very far from that. With everyone back from injury and suspension, Texas A&M still couldn’t find a way to win, yet another setback for a squad that many picked to win the SEC this season.

This week: vs. Ole Miss, vs. Missouri


Stephen Johnson to be a guest on Tuesday’s show

Matt Jones left town for a couple of days, so Tuesday’s show is in the trustworthy hands of one Ryan Lemond. Ryan called on the help of me to join him for two hours on the air, but I’m not a big enough draw to completely fill Matt’s shoes, so we’re adding a third person to the party in Lexington.

That third person is former UK quarterback Stephen Johnson, who will make his first radio appearance since his career ended in Nashville a few weeks ago. We’ll ask him all about that game and his two seasons at UK, plus whatever comes up along the way.

Tune in.

Leave some questions below, if you’d like, and we’ll ask them.


Kentucky is a 3 point favorite at South Carolina

Kentucky got us paid as a road favorite at Vanderbilt over the weekend, and the Cats are the favorite again in tomorrow night’s game at South Carolina. The line opened up at -3 out in lovely Las Vegas, according to our friends at VegasInsider.com.

UK has only covered once in SEC play, so be cautious.

Gambling is bad.