By Nick Roush on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 6:00pm
The offensive-minded Tigers turned around their season in the Kroger Field halftime locker room. Kentucky held on for a 40-34 victory, but Missouri proved they were a changed team. After a loss the following week to Georgia, the Tigers won their last six games to become bowl eligible and give Barry Odom’s team momentum entering his third season in Columbia.
The Best Thing Barry Odom Said — Odom was emotional after the Tigers’ loss to Auburn (the week before the UK game) and explained why that was one of the many catalysts that turned around their season.
“I wouldn’t recommend anybody starts out 1-5. That’s not a lot of fun or healthy for anybody. But we were getting close, and we didn’t play — we didn’t play very well on Saturday afternoon or Saturday nights for three and a half hours. We weren’t playing consistent enough to win a football game.
“We were doing some really good things at times, either offensively or defensively, but not really putting it together and playing smart football together. We were turning the ball over too much. We weren’t getting it back near enough defensively. We weren’t playing consistent.
“But our guys stayed the course. They stayed — because our practice habits were pretty darn good. Our preparation leading up to the game, things trending in the right direction. I knew we were close.
“The emotional side of that evening after that game, our players see that side of me often, and I’ve — I’m usually fairly reserved in a setting with media and don’t show that side of me, but that’s more of my personality.
“I thought at that point in the season, at the time that they needed — they needed to see that. I needed to stand up for them a little bit publicly, because I knew we were getting close. I knew we were going to continue to get better. If we could just hold tight together and continue to show the family that we knew that we had in our locker room and knew we had on our football field and in the classroom, the things we were doing collectively together, then we were going to have a chance. But if we fractured at any moment and we didn’t show togetherness, then obviously we would have fell apart from there.”
The Best Thing Barry Odom Said (Out of Context) — “They’re better husbands, better fathers, better brothers, better dads, better sons.”
Coach Speak 101 — “There’s a lot of great things going on at Mizzou.”
Lock it Out — Nobody in the SEC had better passing numbers in 2017 than Drew Lock. The only SEC quarterback to average more than 300 yards per game, Lock steadily improved his completion percentage from his sophomore to his junior year. Considered by Mel Kiper as the top quarterback prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, Lock can bring Missouri back to the top of the SEC East in 2018.
Missouri’s Scariest Player — Terry Beckner is an absolute beast in the middle of the defensive line. The All-SEC defensive tackle from East St. Louis recorded 7 sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 2017. Beckner is Missouri’s biggest brute, but if you get past him, you’ll have to face Terez Hall, a middle linebacker who had 85 tackles in 2017.
How do you say that? The player many are picking ahead of C.J. Conrad as the SEC’s best tight end is Albert Okwuegbunam. I can’t tell you how to say his name, but I can tell you he broke Missouri’s freshman touchdown record with 11 in 2017.
Same Face, New Place — Missouri lost offensive coordinator Josh Heupel this offseason to become UCF’s next head coach. Barry Odom selected an odd replacement, Derek Dooley. Yes, that’s the same Derek Dooley that lost to a Kentucky team who had a receiver starting at quarterback.
Good News for UK — Benny Snell has saved his best games for Missouri. In two games he’s combined for four touchdowns and 309 rushing yards (5.3 yards per carry). Kentucky has averaged 228.3 yards on the ground in three consecutive wins over the Tigers. The Cats can make it four wins in a row if they can keep it rolling on the ground and get a few stops on defense.
Bad News for UK — Missou’s defense was bad, but they have seven returning starters. On offense, the only real loss is running back Ish Witter. On offense, Drew Lock will be protected by five returning starters from one of the SEC’s best offensive lines, and four of his top five targets return. Missouri didn’t lose much at all from a team that nobody wanted to play at the end of 2017.
Fear Factor — 7.7
Missouri gets crapped on as the “Big 12 of the SEC,” but don’t let the name fool you. These Tigers are no joke. A former defensive coordinator, if Odom’s defense only slightly improves to complement the SEC’s best offense, they can be a contender to win the SEC East.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 5:00pm
ESPN’s E:60 on Jared Lorenzen, entitled “The Hefty Lefty,” premieres Sunday morning at 9 a.m., and today, we were treated to another sneak peek. On today’s Outside the Lines, Bob Ley showed a new clip from the feature and interviewed E:60 host Jeremy Schaap about Jared’s journey and the eye-opening moment that caused him to reach out for help:
Here’s the trailer that came out earlier this week featuring amazing clips of Jared’s career at Kentucky:
— E:60 (@E60) July 17, 2018
On Twitter, Jared admitted he’s nervous about the episode, so if you get a moment, please send him a message of encouragement @JaredLorenzen22.
Well I’m nervous as hell but the rest of the story comes out Sunday at 9:00 am, Espn. https://t.co/E43SisPryR
— jared lorenzen (@JaredLorenzen22) July 19, 2018
You got this, Jared.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
DeMarcus Cousins’ move to Golden State is complete. Boogie was introduced as a Warrior today in a press conference in Oakland and told reporters he’s ready to finally compete for a championship.
“The chance to play for a winning culture,” Cousins said of why he chose Golden State. “Also to have a chance to play with some of the most talented players of this era.”
His favorite Warrior? That’s easy.
“Just to put this out there, my favorite by far is Klay [Thompson]. In our short time together in the summers, for him to be as dull as he is, there is never a dull moment. I really enjoy my time with Klay, but they’re all great guys.”
Boogie was all smiles during the presser, even joking with reporters that he’ll bring some technical fouls with him after leading the league in the category two of the past three years.
“My main goal is to win a championship; that’s what I’m signing up for. What can I bring? I bring a toughness. I bring a skillset they say they’ve never had before. Rebounding, passing, ability to score. I’m bringing a little bit of everything and a couple techs as well.”
With Cousins out most of last season due to injury, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant ranked in the top three in technicals, and Cousins laughed when asked if he should just fight with both of them to get it out of the way.
“Might as well,” he joked.
DeMarcus Cousins joking on if he will fight with Durant and Draymond to get it out of the way pic.twitter.com/KNFZ0QmCLQ
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) July 19, 2018
The one serious moment came when Cousins was asked if the Pelicans offered him a contract when free agency opened on July 1.
“I’m gonna put it like this: Only me and [Pelicans GM] Dell Demps know what was said on the phone that night. We both know the truth. And I’ll leave it at that.”
Watch the complete introductory presser below:
DeMarcus Cousins is a Warrior! Watch the introductory press conference with the four-time NBA All-Star, and get more coverage of Cousins and the Dubs on NBC Sports Bay Area.
Posted by Golden State Warriors on Thursday, July 19, 2018
By Nick Roush on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 3:15pm
Tennessee created the most chaotic coaching search in the history of college football to find Butch Jones’ replacement. When the dust settled, Phil Fulmer hired Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Of the many former Nick Saban disciples who are now SEC head coaches, nobody faces a more difficult task than Pruitt.
The Best Thing Jeremy Pruitt Said — Pruitt was asked if he got any advice from Saban after he was hired by the Vols.
“You think Coach Saban is going to give me advice? There’s a lot of us in the league. We’ve known us for a while, some of us assistant coaches, and now I get an opportunity now. It is probably you better write down everything you can. You better take it all in while you have the opportunity because as soon as you go put on the other uniform, I can guarantee you, everybody, even though everybody’s friends, we want to beat the other guy. You know? So we don’t want to give the other person the edge.”
The Best Thing Jeremy Pruitt Said (Out of Context) — “We’re hungry. They’re hungry. Everybody’s hungry.”
Coach Speak 101 — Pruitt mentioned the “Power of the T” at least three times in his address. I remember, because that’s how many times I threw up in my mouth.
One Stud — Trey Smith might just be the best offensive lineman in the Southeastern Conference. The nation’s top-ranked high school offensive lineman in 2017, he started left tackle as a true freshman and did not disappoint. Smith was injured in the spring but shouldn’t miss a step this fall.
Tennessee’s Scariest Player — Former JUCO transfer Jonathan Kongbo has the name of a terrifying pass rusher, even though he only had 2.5 sacks last year. Kongbo should be better suited as an outside linebacker in Pruitt’s 3-4 defense.
Call the Whambulance — Jarrett Guarantano had quite an impressive freshman year. Six games into the season, the dual-threat quarterback took over an offense that was in the midst of a 14-quarter touchdown drought. In his first start he almost led the dismal Vols to a game-winning touchdown drive against South Carolina.
Down six with 1:13 to play, Guarantano marched Tennessee down to the South Carolina two-yard line. They had a few attempts into the end zone with just seconds remaining before his final pass sailed out of bounds. Devastated, Guarantano fell to his knees on the sideline. South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley was there to pick up his opponent, earning a sportsmanship award from the SEC in the process.
Good News for UK — Tennessee is trash. The program is in shambles and I don’t think Pruitt can save face in just one year. All hatred aside, transitioning from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense isn’t easy, and the Tennessee defense lost their greatest playmaker, Rashaun Gaulden. On offense, Alvin Kamara isn’t walking through that door. Butch Jones scared off Jalen Hurd, Kamara was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year and John Kelly has graduated.
Bad News for UK — The Vols do return their starting dual-threat quarterback and his top three targets. Most importantly, this game will be played at Neyland Stadium, a place that has not been kind to Kentucky over the last three decades.
Fear Factor — 3.4
It’s been 34 years since Kentucky won a football game on Rocky Top. History is the only thing scary about Tennessee (and that insufferable, puke in a pumpkin orange).
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 2:45pm
To pass the time until the season, the folks behind the NCAA March Madness social media accounts put together an All-Time Starting Five bracket for fans to vote on. In the first round, Kentucky faces West Virginia. Who did they pick for each team’s top five?
- John Wall
- Tony Delk
- Tayshaun Prince
- Anthony Davis
- DeMarcus Cousins
- Jevon Carter
- Jerry West
- Da’Sean Butler
- Kevin Jones
- Kevin Pittsnogle
We could argue for hours about Kentucky’s starting lineup (No Mashburn? No Issel?), but there’s no denying that this one would kill West Virginia’s. Not surprisingly, Kentucky leads the poll 83 percent to 17 percent:
Midwest Round 1:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) July 19, 2018
There’s also a poll on NCAA March Madness’ Instagram story which will be used as a tiebreaker if the Twitter poll is 50/50.
Here’s the complete bracket:
Now, the real question, which is perfect for a slow summer day: What’s your ultimate Kentucky starting lineup?
By Aaron Torres on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 2:00pm
LOS ANGELES — It was an up-and-down couple days for James Wiseman at Peach Jam last weekend. Coming into the event it was a near consensus that Wiseman was one of two players (along with Vernon Carey) who should be considered the top player in the high school class of 2019. Yet after playing good but not great at Peach Jam (he averaged 16 points and 5.8 rebounds over the course of that weekend), some called into question whether Wiseman should be considered at all for the top spot.
Well, if Wiseman heard those whispers, he showed – beyond a reasonable doubt – on Wednesday night that it is way too premature to remove his name from the conversation of “the best player in high school basketball.” After electing to switch AAU teams (his normal squad, the Bluff City Legends, finished their season last weekend) Wiseman arrived at the Adidas Summer Championships in Los Angeles Wednesday night and put on a show everyone in attendance from coaches, to fans and yes this writer for KSR.
Still, despite appearing to play with a chip on his shoulder, Wiseman said that wasn’t the case at all.
“Really I don’t [feel like I have anything to prove],” Wiseman said following the game. “I feel like I played hard at Peach Jam. I think I showed everything, my offensive game, everything.”
An official scorer from Adidas said that Wiseman finished with 20 points and nine rebounds on Wednesday night, but watching him in person it felt like a much more dominant performance. Beyond just the raw numbers though, Wiseman showed off a skill-set that fits the profile of a player who many consider to be the No. 1 player in the country and a potential future No. 1 pick in the draft.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) July 18, 2018
Over the course of a couple possessions, Wiseman did everything from hit a deep three, to put back a monster dunk, with a beautiful up-and-under move in the paint. Defensively he tore down a couple big rebounds and slapped away a block shot in those same few possessions. Even in a gym where there was other elite talent (consensus Top 10 prospects like Matthew Hurt and Trendon Watford were also in the building), Wiseman stood out as by far the best player at the event (for those wondering, 2020 big man Evan Mobley was probably the closest behind him).
What will be interesting to see is what comes next in Wiseman’s recruitment. Wiseman has claimed all along that his recruitment remains open, and reiterated that Wednesday night, telling me that he plans to release a new “Top 8” schools soon. Still, the consensus seems to be that there are only two really contenders in his recruitment, Kentucky and Memphis, and the crowd on Wednesday night seemed to indicate that. Kentucky assistant Joel Justus was there (multiple sources told KSR that John Calipari is expected in today) and Memphis’ Penny Hardaway and assistant Mike Miller were there as well.
Maybe even more interesting, was who wasn’t there. Although Wiseman said that schools like Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Vanderbilt have reached out to him (in addition to his top two), outside the contingent from Memphis and Kentucky, as best I could tell, only North Carolina’s Roy Williams seemed to be there explicitly for Wiseman. Kansas didn’t appear to have a coach in the building (although maybe I missed them). And in a wild twist, no one from Duke watched him either. That is especially telling, considering that both Coach K and assistant Jon Scheyer were not only in Los Angeles, but at the same court earlier in the night to watch Matthew Hurt. All they had to do was literally not move from where they were, and they could have seen Wiseman play a few minutes later. Yet they were gone by the time his game tipped off.
Interesting note: Coach K left the court James Wiseman was playing at, prior to tip-off (he'd been there to watch Matthew Hurt earlier in the night). It seems like everyone other than Memphis and Kentucky really has given up on recruiting the No. 1 player in the country
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) July 19, 2018
Understand, that is a knock on Coach K, but instead, feels to me like an indicator of where Duke believes they stand in Wiseman’s recruitment.
Even though Wiseman claims that Duke has been in touch, if the Blue Devils were seriously pursuing him, I find it hard to believe that Coach K wouldn’t be courtside, especially since he was already in the building. Some will argue that Duke has prioritized other big men including Vernon Carey and Isaiah Stewart and that’s fair, but let’s be honest, it’s not like Duke hasn’t recruited multiple guys at the same position before (like R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish and Zion Williamson this year, for example).
Therefore, seeing both Coach K and Scheyer leave once Wiseman took the court can only lead me to one conclusion: They don’t believe they have a real shot at him. To which I ask, when was the last time that Duke basically punted on even trying to recruit the best player in high school basketball?
Those are the times we’re in however and – as has been reported by everyone – it appears as though Wiseman’s recruitment will ultimately come down to Kentucky and Memphis when it’s all said and done.
In the meantime, Wiseman doesn’t seem particularly worried about recruiting, or much else for that matter.
“I just want to keep working hard,” he said when asked about his plans for the rest of the summer. “And just keep getting better.”
If Wednesday was any indication, he is well on his way to doing just that.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 1:30pm
You know what’s a bad idea? Feeding bears. A Harlan County man learned that lesson the hard way earlier this week.
Jonathan Shelton decided to test his luck on Black Mountain recently, opening his car door as a bear walked by and asking if it wanted food. Not surprisingly, the bear did, lunging at Shelton as he extended his hand. Luckily, he was able to get the car door shut just in time:
Shelton told WYMT he filmed the incident to bring awareness to how comfortable bears have become around people and didn’t actually have any food with him. Except, you know, his flesh.
However dumb this attempted PSA was, it is a good reminder NOT TO FEED BEARS. Not only is it dangerous, it’s actually against the law in Kentucky, with fines up to $1,000.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 11:38am
John Calipari is back on the recruiting trail this week. Yesterday, Calipari was at the NY2LA Sports Summer Jam in Milwaukee and tonight, he’s expected to be at the Adidas Gauntlet Summer Championships in Los Angeles, according to our own Aaron Torres.
Last night, Cal watched Kahlil Whitney, a five-star 2019 small forward from Roselle Catholic, Isaiah Briscoe’s alma mater. According to 247 Sports’ Sean Brock, Cal is watching him again this morning.
Whitney’s offers include Louisville, Illinois, Syracuse, St. John’s, Kansas, Pitt, Virginia, and Florida. Rivals’ Eric Bossi watched Whitney last night and said his stock is only going to rise:
“I’m glad that we moved Kahlil Whitney to five-star status during the update to our 2019 rankings at the beginning of the month,” Bossi wrote in his recap of the night. “But, he could still go a little higher. No, there’s no such thing as a sixth star or anything like that, but he could legitimately compete for the national top 15 by summer’s end. The way he’s raised his level of play since the end of the high school season is equal parts getting to be the main man and getting in the gym and working. His athleticism and strength remain his calling card, but his jumper and handle are improving.”
The only wing Kentucky’s offered in the 2019 class so far is Keion Brooks and judging by the Peach Jam, the staff may be cooling on him; could Whitney score an offer? Dunks like this in front of Calipari certainly help:
— Movement Hoops (@MovementHoops) July 19, 2018
With Dontaie Allen scheduled to visit Kentucky in a few weeks, Whitney is definitely a name to keep an eye on.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 10:30am
Today in “Coach K copies John Calipari,” ESPN just announced that Duke’s getting an all-access show; however, while Kentucky’s four games in the Bahamas will be televised on the SEC Network, Duke’s games in Canada and the all-access show will only be available on ESPN+, the network’s premium (aka $) streaming service. The games will also be televised on TSN and RDS in Canada.
Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas will call Duke’s exhibitions in Canada, which take place August 15-19. The Blue Devils will play three Canadian universities: Ryerson, the University of Toronto, and McGill. The all-access show, entitled “Earn Everything,” will be eight episodes long and follow the Blue Devils through summer workouts, the foreign tour, and the fall leading up to the season opener vs. Kentucky.
“Along the way, college basketball fans will get an inside peek at how Coach K and his staff mold a group of talented basketball players into a group of ‘Duke Basketball Players,'” the release reads.
Gag. Of course, Kentucky’s no stranger to all-access shows; ESPN documented the 2012-13 season (which in retrospect is pretty unfortunate), the “Let’s Ball” documentary followed the 2014-15 season, and Facebook did a series on the Cats last year.
At the very least, I’m looking forward to seeing how Coach K plans to get R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Cam Reddish to share minutes. That actually might be worth forking over $4.99 a month.
By Drew Franklin on ©July 19th, 2018 @ 10:00am
The Barbasol Championship is underway at Champions at Keene Trace. You should make the trip out there to see the action, but before you do, let’s get you some names to watch.
The casual fan will recognize some of the bigger names from the golf world — Davis Love III, Stuart Appleby, Billy Horschel, to name a few — but these are some of the competitors many of you may not know. We will be keeping an eye on this group all weekend and we hope to see all of them toward the top of the leaderboard.
Poston’s caddie, Aaron Flener, is a former KSR writer and a very good friend of ours. We always root for Flener, so Poston has become one of our favorite golfers since Flener got on his bag back in May.
Tee Times: 8:42 am, Thurs. / 1:42 pm*, Fri.
Before Flener was with Poston, he caddied for Stephen Jaeger on the Web.com Tour and then the PGA TOUR. The two went separate directions earlier this year, but Jaeger remains one of our favorites. We had some fun on a bachelor party last year.
— Drew Franklin. (@DrewFranklinKSR) May 20, 2017
Tee Times: 3:10 pm, Thurs. / 10:10 am*, Fri.
Also a friend of the KSR program, Josh Teater is the player most Kentuckians should follow. He’s currently competing to regain his PGA Tour card on the Web.com Tour, but he’s no newcomer to the PGA. The Danville native has made millions in over 150 PGA events over his career since turning pro after a great career at Morehead State.
Fun Fact: He and former UK football coach Rich Brooks are great friends.
Tee Times: 2:26 pm*, Thurs. / 9:26 am, Fri.
Chip McDaniel and Cooper Musselman
Two former Kentucky Wildcats will be making their professional debuts this weekend after leading UK to an NCAA Championship appearance for only the 10th time in program history. McDaniel holed out from the fairway on the 18th hole to punch the Cats’ ticket.
Tee Times: 9:59 am, Thurs. / 2:59 pm*, Fri.
Tee Times: 10:10 am*, Thurs. / 3:10 pm, Fri.
LPGA professional Brittany Lincicome accepted a Sponsor Exemption to compete in the 2018 Barbasol Championship. In doing so, Lincicome is only the fifth female in history to compete in a PGA event.
Tee Times: 9:59 am*, Thurs. / 2:59 pm, Fri.
Lovelady is the longest hitter in the tournament. He roomed with Justin Thomas at Alabama in college, and then again in Thomas’ home after he turned pro.
Tee Times: 2:37 pm, Thurs. / 9:37 am*, Fri.
Billy Hurley III
Hurley’s caddie, Clay Duerson, is a Lexingtonian and was once the Wildcat mascot for UK. So that’s neat.
Tee Times: 1:53 pm, Thurs. / 8:53* am, Fri.
A Pikeville native, Justice is a former UK golfer with five wins on his college resume. He is now a golf instructor in Lexington and earned his entry as the Kentucky PGA Section’s Player of the Year.
Tee Times: 2:48 pm*, Thurs. / 9:48 am, Fri.