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January 16th, 2017

Malik Monk wins SEC Freshman of the Week for the third time

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Today’s least surprising news? Malik Monk just won SEC Freshman of the Week. Again. Actually, for the third time. Monk averaged 21 points and 3.5 assists in Kentucky’s wins over Vanderbilt and Auburn and has scored 20+ points in ten games this season. That’s pretty impressive. Monk is now tied with De’Aaron Fox for SEC weekly honors with four (he won the Player of the Week after his massive 47-point game vs. UNC).

Meanwhile, Mississippi State’s Quindarry Weatherspoon was named SEC Player of the Week after scoring 25 points in the Bulldogs’ win over Arkansas this weekend. If you’re wondering what Kentucky has to do to avoid an upset in Starkville tomorrow night, stopping Weatherspoon is a good place to start.

Let’s celebrate Monk’s award by watching his highlights from Saturday, because there were a lot of them:

 


Quade Green: “I tell Mo [Bamba] every day, BBN”

bamba-quade

Nick Richards is currently playing in the Hoophall Classic on ESPNU, but last night, Quade Green was named MVP of the tournament following his 30-point, 10-assist performance. Jeff Goodman interviewed Green during a timeout, and the future UK point guard said he’s doing everything he can to bring his friend and EYBL teammate Mohamed Bamba with him to Lexington.

I tell Mo every day, BBN, BBN. I don’t say nothing to him but BBN. I laugh at him. He just laughs at everything, that’s all our conversations have been.”

(If that’s true, those conversations sound just thrilling.)

Green said basically the same thing in an interview with Adam Zagoria yesterday, recalling a time recently when he walked into Bamba’s practice, said BBN, smirked, then walked out. On some level, it must be working because Bamba included Kentucky in his final four (UK, Duke, Michigan, Texas) and will take his official visit to Lexington this weekend.

By the way, Calipari’s also at the Hoophall Classic to check in on Richards and Green:

@Nate_Rubinstein

@Nate_Rubinstein

No rest for the weary.


BBNBA: Boogie goes for 31, Enes for 29

The NFL ruled the day yesterday, but several former Cats also had a big day in the NBA, led by DeMarcus Cousins, who had 31 points and 11 rebounds in Sacramento’s loss to Oklahoma City. That’s where we’ll start today’s BBNBA roundup…

 

bbnba-cousinsDeMarcus Cousins, Kings (122-118 loss to the Thunder)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

34

8-20

1-6

14-17

6

5

11

7

3

1

6

2

-3

31

Boogie did a little bit of everything last night, including almost taking down the rim on this dunk:


bbnba-cauley-stein-wcsWillie Cauley-Stein, Kings (122-118 loss to the Thunder)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

5

1-2

0-0

0-0

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

2

-5

2

Willie only had two points, but they were pretty:

Skal Labissiere was recalled from the D-League yesterday, so he’ll join the team this week.


bbnba-kanterEnes Kanter, Thunder (122-118 win over the Kings)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

32

10-18

0-1

9-11

7

5

12

2

1

1

4

5

+19

29

On the other side of the ball, Kanter had a huge night, putting up 29 points and 12 rebounds. He got the best of Boogie on this play:


bbnba-townsKarl Towns, Timberwolves (98-87 loss to the Mavericks)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

38

8-17

1-4

1-2

2

7

9

3

1

1

3

2

+5

18

After a 29-point, 17-rebound showing on Saturday, Karl Towns just missed out on a double-double last night. Regardless, he would not be denied in the lane on this play:

(more…)


Nick Richards is about to play on ESPNU

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Looking for something to do this morning? Turn on ESPNU in about 30 minutes, because future Cat Nick Richards is about to play in the Hoophall Classic. Richards’ St. Patrick’s will take on Duke signee Wendell Carter’s Pace Academy at 11 a.m., a showdown of two of the premiere big men in the 2017 class. At 3 p.m., you can watch the best player in the 2019 class, RJ Barrett, and at 5 p.m., the top player in the 2018 class, Marvin Bagley. John Calipari watched both Bagley and Barrett play on Thursday night in Springfield Missouri.

If you really want to spend today scouting, here’s the full Hoophall Classic schedule:

  • 11:00 a.m. — The Patrick School (NJ, No. 12 2017 Nick Richards) vs. Pace Academy (GA, No. 3 2017 Wendell Carter)
  • 1:00 p.m. — Oak Hill Academy (VA, No. 19 2017 Billy Preston) vs. Nathan Hale (WA, No. 2 2017 Michael Porter Jr.)
  • 3:00 p.m. — Montverde Academy (FL, No. 1 2019 R.J. Barrett) vs. Bishop Montgomery (CA, No. 51 2017 Ethan Thompson)
  • 5:00 p.m. — La Lumiere (IN, No. 13 2017 Brian Bowen) vs. Sierra Canyon (CA, No. 1 2018 Marvin Bagley)
  • 7:00 p.m. — Central vs. Hillhouse (CT)

Yesterday, Richards was one of four future Kentucky players named to the McDonald’s All-American Game. His highlights will show you why:

 


The New Yorker profiles a day in the life of John Calipari

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of John Calipari is like? Well, so did The New Yorker, so they sent one of their writers, Yaron Weitzman, to follow him as he made the media rounds to promote his book in Manhattan following Kentucky’s win over Michigan State in the Champions Classic in November. Weitzman gives us some great behind-the-scenes moments with Cal, including the moment he found out point guard Quade Green was coming to Lexington:

Back on the road, Calipari called Tameka Johnson, the mother of Quade Green, a crafty point guard from Philadelphia. “I’m really excited to be coaching him,” he told her. He hung up and informed Lindsey that Green had committed to Kentucky. “And they say I have to buy players—why would I need to buy players when all mine go to the N.B.A.?”

Lots of other great stuff, including the one moment in Calipari’s life in which he admitted he was “scared shitless,” so go check it out.

The New Yorker: “A Whirlwind Day in the Life of John Calipari”


Wake up! It’s time for KSR (Monday Show Thread)

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Greetings, friends, and welcome to the MLK Day edition of Kentucky Sports Radio, which is coming to you live from the Lexington and Louisville studios. Today, Matt, Ryan, Shannon, and Drew will recap the events of the weekend, including Kentucky’s win over Auburn, Lynn Bowden’s commitment, UK recruits being named to the McDonald’s All-American Game, and much more. Tune in for all of that and a lot of random stuff, probably.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

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MLK Day’s Top 10: UK Cheerleading wins again, gearing up for Mississippi State, and PACKERS WIN!

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Good morning, friends, and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Whether you’re at work/school or at home, we’ll get you through the day, which is chock full of UK sports news. Shoutout to the UK Cheerleading squad, who brought home their 22nd national championship yesterday, an unprecedented feat. Here’s part of their routine:

The UK Dance Squad also turned in an impressive performance, finishing second in the Hip Hop competition and fourth in the Pom competition. Well done, ladies.

Now, on to the rest of today’s agenda…

1. We’ll look forward to Mississippi State

Starkville is the armpit of America, so thankfully, Matt didn’t require one of us to go, but we’ll do our best to prepare you for Kentucky’s game throughout the day. Here’s a glimpse at what Ben Howland’s squad has done so far this season:

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 7.23.51 AM

Given the horrid state of SEC Basketball, it’s hard to tell how impressive Mississippi State’s 3-1 league record really is, but regardless, the Cats can’t afford to look past tomorrow’s showdown at The Hump.

2. John Calipari will be on the SEC Teleconference

Cal will discuss tomorrow’s matchup and take a few questions on this morning’s SEC Teleconference, so check the site mid-morning for highlights.

3. Joel Justus will preview Mississippi State at 2:45 p.m.

Because Calipari’s doing the SEC call, assistant coach Joel Justus will preview Kentucky’s road trip at 2:45 p.m., along with a few players. We’ll have a live stream on the site and a recap shortly after.

4. Four future Cats were named to the McDonald’s All-American Game

If you missed the news last night, Quade Green, Nick Richards, P.J. Washington, and Jarred Vanderbilt were chosen for the McDonald’s All-American Game, which will be played March 29 at the United Center in Chicago. In a telling stat, 29 Kentucky players have been chosen for the all-star game in the Calipari Era, the most by far of any program. In fact, this screenshot tells you all you need to know:

Coincidentally, all four of Kentucky’s commits will play on the same team as Mohamed Bamba and Kevin Knox, which is good because, you know, peer pressure. Speaking of…

5. Bamba will take an official visit to UK this weekend

Mohamed Bamba is the biggest remaining target in the 2017 class and this weekend, he’ll take his official visit to Lexington. The 7-footer already visited for Big Blue Madness and has taken official visits to Michigan and Texas. Quade Green and Hamidou Diallo have been relentless in their pursuit of Bamba, so hopefully having him on campus this weekend can further Kentucky’s case. His 247 Sports Crystal Ball is a 50/50 split between Duke and Kentucky, but on Thursday, Jerry Meyer flipped his pick from the Blue Devils to the Cats, which is a very good sign.

6. Calipari visited Immanuel Quickley yesterday

Because the man is incapable of sitting still, Calipari was on the recruiting trail yesterday, visiting 2018 star Immanuel Quickley. Quickley is currently the only point guard in the 2018 class with a scholarship offer from Kentucky, and visited UK for Big Blue Madness back in October. He’s also got offers from Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, and Virginia.

7. Drake wore a Zion Williamson jersey over the weekend

Zion Williamson is considered one of the best players in the 2018 class and still doesn’t have an offer from Kentucky, but he does have the endorsement of one of UK’s most famous fans, Drake. Drake was pictured wearing Williamson’s jersey this weekend:

@mikewillmadeit @troubledte6

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Don’t put your middle fingers up like that, kids. It’s not nice.

8. So, landing Lynn Bowden was huge

In case you missed it between all the basketball, Mark Stoops landed a huge recruit on Saturday in four-star athlete Lynn Bowden. Bowden chose the Cats over Penn State and West Virginia, and has been described as the most electric playmaker since Randall Cobb. Keeping Bowden on board will be paramount over the next couple of weeks, and cross your fingers that Ohio State doesn’t come calling.

Am officially 100% committed to the University of Kentucky #BBN stand up

A photo posted by HUNCHO 😎 (@h.huncho_) on

9. How about those Green Bay Packers?

Speaking of Randall Cobb, how about last night’s Packers/Cowboys game?? Green Bay advanced to the NFC Championship in thrilling fashion thanks to a last second 51-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. It was awesome:

Bud Dupree and the Steelers advanced to the AFC Championship game as well. The Packers take on the Falcons in Atlanta next Sunday. Anyone want to swing through Nashville and pick me up on the way to the game?

10. Today’s the last day to #NBAVOTE

Do you want your favorite former Cats to be NBA All Stars? Then you best get to voting because the polls close today. Here’s how:

  • Go to NBA.com/vote and select your favorite players (you can vote once per day)
  • Vote through the NBA app (once per day)
  • Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. You can vote for up to ten players per day using this method.
  • Do the same thing on Facebook
  • You can even just Google search “NBA Vote All-Star” and it will pull up a special ballot.

Radio in an hour…


January 15th, 2017

2017 McDonald’s All-American rosters announced

all-american-games-logo

The 2017 McDonald’s All-American selection show just aired on ESPNU, and a total of 4 future Cats were included. Quade Green, Nick Richards, PJ Washington, and Jarred Vanderbilt were all selected. All four future Cats will play for the East squad. Not to mention the Cats’ chance to add Mo Bamba who is also on the East team. Take a look at their lineup below.

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And here’s a look at the West roster.

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This was before the announcement tonight, so Kentucky’s number is actually 20 now. Even so, WOW. That is an incredible statistic. What Coach Cal has done for UK recruiting in his time in Lexington is really unbelievable.

Schools with more than one participant include Kentucky with 4, Duke with 2, and UCLA with 2.

On the current roster, the Cats have five former McDonald’s All-Americans in Isaiah Briscoe, Bam Adebayo, Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, and Sacha Killeya-Jones. Not going to say that all of the guys for UK will be as good as these guys next year, but I’m not not saying it. This season hasn’t even finished yet and I’m already getting pumped for next year. #KentuckyBasketballProblems

Here’s the announcement from the Kentucky Men’s Basketball Instagram account. You’ll notice no mention of Jarred Vanderbilt because he hasn’t sent in signed papers to UK yet. But, no worries there, UK has four future guys in the game.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Kentucky Cheerleading wins 22nd National Championship

 

Photo: UK Athletics

Photo: UK Athletics

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but your University of Kentucky Cheerleading squad just took home yet another National Championship. That’s 22 total national championships for the Cats, the most of any school in the country. An unprecedented winning culture in Lexington for these cheerleaders.

Here’s a small look at their routine from earlier tonight.

The crowd knew they were witnessing the best squad in the country and the Cats had the venue rocking.

It really doesn’t get better than this. Go Cats!!!

And also a special shoutout to the UK Dance Team that took home 2nd place overall in the Hip Hop competition and 4th place overall in the Pom competition. All Cats Everything!

Way to go UKDT!!!! 2nd in Hip Hop and 4th in Pom!! #ukdt #udanationals #decidetorise

A photo posted by UK Dance Team (@ukdanceteam) on

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Bud Dupree making plays for the Steelers

 

Photo:247Sports

Photo:247Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs are just starting the second half of the final playoff game of the weekend, and the Steelers are up 12-7 at this point. Former Cat Bud Dupree is a part of a very athletic Steelers’ defense and he has already been making things happen tonight.

Dupree has only two tackles through half of the game, but he also has a QB hit that led to an interception for Pittsburgh. Take a look at the big play for Dupree below.

Dupree also made a nice play on a quick screen pass, getting the deflection.

And in case you missed it earlier, our own Haley Simpson did a short write up on how Bud Dupree’s teammate refers to him as a different species for his athleticism on the field. Give it a read here.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Randall Cobb is moving on in the playoffs!

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For all of you who have been living under a rock for the past few hours, the Green Bay Packers and the Dalls Cowboys just put on a show in the first of two NFL playoff games. Green Bay ran out to a 21-3 lead before Dallas battled back to tie the game twice within the last four minutes. Dallas kicked a field goal with 35 seconds left to tie the game, but those 35 seconds were entirely too much time to write Aaron Rodgers off.

Rodgers led the Packers into field goal range despite running into a 3rd down and 20+ yards to go on the wrong side of the 50 yard line. The following play was one of the most clutch throw and catch plays I’ve ever seen. Check it out below.

The following play was a 51-yard field goal attempt by Mason Crosby that looked like it would miss wide-left, but straightened out and stayed between the uprights, remiscent of Austin Macginnis’ kick against Florida a few years back. You can compare the two yourself.

As for former Cat Randall Cobb, he finished with 7 catches for 62 yards. Those stats include this catch along the sideline as he barely keeps himself in-bounds.

The Packers move on to the next round of the playoffs to take on the Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and the Atlanta Falcons.

In the second game of the night, the Steelers are currently taking on the Chiefs in Kansas City. Bud Dupree and company are looking to advance to take on the Patriots in the next round of the playoffs.

Go former Cats. Win rings.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Future Cat Quade Green wins MVP at Hoophall Classic

Photo: ZagsBlog

Photo: ZagsBlog

Many top level prospects in the class of 2017 took part in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Hoophall Classic, including Kentucky commit Quade Green. Green had a huge game for Neumann Goretti, going for 30 points and 10 assists in a 72-69 victory over Greensboro Day School in North Carolina. The Hoophall Classic gives out an MVP award for every game, and Green took home the award following his performance, which included this nifty little crossover.

And here’s one of his 10 assists on the oop. I’m going to go ahead and say that pass will work real nicely to Mo Bamba next year. Fingers crossed.

Speaking of Mo Bamba, there was no shortage of quotes from Green on helping to recruit Bamba to Lexington. Bamba has now officially cut his list down to four (UK, Duke, Michigan, and Texas). According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog, Green is always making sure Kentucky is on the mind of Mo Bamba.

I walked right into their practice and said ‘BBN.’ I just gave him a smirk and just left

Bamba told Zagoria that Green has been relentless in his recruiting, even “following him around campus”. And can you blame Green? Take every chance you can to get another solid player on the team. Green had this to say about Bamba’s abilities.

He brings the length for the big men and the pick-and-rolls he got length so the guard can bounce out. I can get back and guard my man and he’s a shot-deflector and he changes shots.

Along with one other guy, Mo Bamba has been the prospect that I’ve wanted the Cats to secure since this class started getting national attention. I think he has huge upside, and who would turn down a consensus top-5 player in the class?

As for the guys who are already currently committed to John Calipari, Green alluded that they all keep in touch often and are using Hamidou Diallo to gauge how Lexington will be when they all arrive.

Oh, everybody using Hami as a spy. Me, Jarred [Vanderbilt], Nick [Richards], P.J. [Washington], we all in group chats and we all asking Hami, ‘What’s this, what’s that?

Green went on to say that Diallo has said he loves UK so far, which is a great sign for people who want him to skip out on the draft this summer.

Either way, gotta love the feeling that the future class is already seeming to gel as a cohesive group. And as for you, Mo Bamba, come on down.

One other thing to keep an eye out for is the McDonald’s All-American rosters being announced later tonight. We’ll have them up on KSR whenever they become available.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Steelers teammate on Bud Dupree: A “different species”

 

USA Today

USA Today

Bud Dupree will be playing tonight for a chance to play in the AFC Championship game next weekend, but people around Pittsburgh are still talking about his hit on Dolphins QB Matt Moore, last weekend for which he was fined 18k.

This week, a reporter asked teammate Ryan Shazier what makes Dupress so successful, his response was that Dupree is a “different species”, according to Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora.

“People underestimate his closing speed,” Shazier said via Steelers.com. “There are a lot of guys on this team who are a lot faster than they look on film. When you just see him in person, it’s ridiculous. The only way to know how fast Bud is pretty much playing with him or going to the Combine and playing with him.”

“He’s a species man. He’s a huge person. Fast, guy who is really blessed with the talents and all the things he’s able to do.”

As I said earlier, I’m a big fan of the Cowboys and would love nothing less than to see a Cowboys vs. Steelers Super Bowl.

To read the rest of the story, click here.


Comparing the 2014 and 2017 football recruiting classes

Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 2.15.08 PM

With the addition of Lynn Bowden to the 2017 recruiting class yesterday, Kentucky’s class is now listed in the Top 25 of every major website.

Joe Mussatto of SEC Country compared the 2014 class, the best in program history from Stoops second year at UK, and 2017 class to figure out which one was really the best.

The class of 2014 brought Kentucky six four-star recruits, the top ones being Drew Barker, Matt Elam and Darius West. However, it was several others who contributed the most, according to Mussatto:

“Boom Williams, who declared for the NFL Draft, was the No. 5 prospect in the class and was a 1,000-yard rusher in his junior season. He averaged more than 6.5 yards per carry in his three seasons with the Wildcats and found the end zone 20 times. Kentucky had no more dynamic playmaker than Williams.

Safety Mike Edwards and linebacker Denzil Ware have developed into two of Kentucky’s best defenders. Both were top-10 commitments of the 2014 class. Edwards was second on the team with 100 tackles and intercepted Lamar Jackson twice in the regular-season finale against Louisville. Ware was Kentucky’s fourth-leading tackler and was second on the team in sacks and tackles for loss.”

Overall, the 2014 class was ranked No. 22 and tenth in the SEC by 247Sports and then No. 18 and ninth in the SEC by Rivals.

From the class of 2017 Kentucky has four five-star recruits coming in, the top ones being Lynn Bowden, JaVonte Richardson and Joshua Paschal. Ranked N0. 21 and ninth in the SEC by 247 Sports and No. 17 and eighth in the SEC by Rivals. Time will tell with this class, just as it did with the 2014 class but here’s what Mussatto had to say about it:

Bowden projects as a slot receiver and he will join incoming No. 2 prospect JaVonte Richardson in the pass catching corps. The Cats are loading up on playmakers and 4-star wide receiver prospect Danny Davis (Springfield, Ohio) remains a top target.

Defensive end is another position group that sticks out. Three of the top-8 commits in the class are defensive ends, led by 4-star Joshua Paschal (Olney, Md.). Three-star prospects Alex King (Mason, Ohio) and Jordan Wright (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) are the other two.”

National signing day is just a little more than two weeks away, meaning the staff will be spending the time keeping the recruits they have settled with Kentucky. February 1st will tell the tale of which class is the better.

To read the rest of Joe’s post, click here.


Five Takeaways from today’s Hoops victory

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

The Lady Wildcats capped off a successful weekend for Kentucky athletics with an easy 82-61 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs. UK Hoops moves to 12-6 on the season and 3-2 in the SEC. You can read Haley’s game recap here. The game was broadcast on the SEC network, but if you missed it, here are five leftovers.

1. Evelyn Akhator had a game

Akhator paced the Wildcats for much of the game, and finished the night with another double-double. Her 24 points and 16 rebounds earned the senior her 10th double-double of the season and her 23rd at UK. Even more impressive, she secured the double-double with over a minute left in the first half.

Today’s game rivaled Akhator’s performance against Alabama last week, where she scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

“She put on a real display of skill,” Matthew Mitchell said after the game. “She had some good reads, good shots and good plays. Her teammates really worked to get her the ball.”

2. The first half was arguably the best of the season

Kentucky came out ready to play, starting the game with six quick points for Akhator and a three-pointer by Makayla Epps to put the Wildcats ahead 9-0. The Cats ended the first quarter on a 10-0 run, and Kentucky led 23-4 at the break. The rest of the first half was more of the same: UK went into the locker room shooting 58.6 percent of their field goals and 44.4 percent of their three-pointers, while holding the Bulldogs to 21.4 percent from the floor and no shots from behind the arc.

3. UK capitalized off Georgia mistakes

The Cats showed aggression today, forcing 12 Bulldog turnovers and converting those mistakes into 24 points. Additionally, Kentucky out-rebounded Georgia on both ends of the court: UK had a 26-19 defensive rebound advantage and a 12-9 offensive rebound advantage. On the season, the Bulldogs have been limiting opponents to 59.2 points per game – Kentucky’s 82 points obviously obliterated that.

4. Jessica Hardin is still unavailable

After a concussion in the Duke game, Jessica Hardin is still not back on the court for the Wildcats. Today’s game marked the fifth game played without the senior guard. Makayla Epps took a knee to the head during the fourth quarter, and she did not speak at the post-game press conference as she was being examined by the doctor. Still, the senior ended the night with 13 points and six assists.

5. The Alumni Game was a success 

Any win is a great win, but it’s even sweeter when so many former players are in the house. For today’s game, over 30 Cats were in Memorial to cheer on the Wildcats, with members ranging from the 1973 team all the way up to crowd-favorite Victoria Dunlap from the class of 2011.

@KentuckyWBB

@KentuckyWBB

“We had a great crowd today, [and] I was so excited we played well on Alumni day,” Mitchell said. “This city has been so supportive, all of Big Blue Nation has been so supportive.”


While Kentucky’s next two games are away, the BBN can continue this support here in Lexington next week, when the Wildcats take on Ole Miss at home on Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.

Twitter: @MaggieDavisKSR