By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 23rd, 2018 @ 1:15pm
According to documents seized by the FBI, Bam Adebayo received payments of $12,000 and $36,500 from ASM Sports. Jerry Tipton spoke to Bam’s high school coach Brandon Clifford, who spoke to the Miami Heat rookie this morning and denied knowledge of any wrongdoing.
“As far as I know, Bam has never taken a dime from anybody,” said Clifford. “He committed himself to doing things the right way.”
Clifford urged fans to “let the truth come out in due time.”
“You have a star athlete that’s 16 or 17 years old. They’re not calling the shots. Bam wouldn’t even talk to college coaches without it coming through me or his family.”
According to the Miami Heat, Bam will not comment on today’s report.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 23rd, 2018 @ 12:19pm
Clear your schedule for mid-afternoon because UK just confirmed that John Calipari will speak to the media at 2:45 p.m. regarding tomorrow’s game vs. Missouri, and, presumably, Yahoo Sports’ report this morning that three of his former/current players met with or accepted loans or meals from agents at ASM Sports.
While Calipari will speak, his players will not, a very smart move by Kentucky. We’ll have a live stream for you on KSR beginning at 2:40 p.m. If you missed it, Calipari, Eli Capilouto, and Mitch Barnhart have all released statement on the allegations facing the program:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 23rd, 2018 @ 12:00pm
Kevin Knox was listed on financial records obtained by the FBI as meeting with or having a meal with ASM Sports agent Christian Dawkins. Knox’s father has already come out and said that meeting/meal never happened, but if it did, here’s what it could mean for Knox’s eligibility.
According to the most recent version of the NCAA Division I manual, Bylaw 16.01.1 prohibits any extra benefit; however, it stipulates that if the monetary value of that benefit (i.e., a meal) is $200 or less, the player can regain his or her eligibility by repaying the amount to the charity of their choice.
16.01.1 Eligibility Effect of Violation. [A] A student-athlete shall not receive any extra benefit. Receipt by a student-athlete of an award, benefit or expense allowance not authorized by NCAA legislation renders the student-athlete ineligible for athletics competition in the sport for which the improper award, benefit or expense was received. If the student-athlete receives an extra benefit not authorized by NCAA legislation, the individual is ineligible in all sports
16.01.1.1 Restitution for Receipt of Impermissible Benefits. Unless otherwise noted, for violations of Bylaw 16 in which the value of the benefit is $200 or less, the eligibility of the student-athlete shall not be affected conditioned upon the student-athlete repaying the value of the benefit to a charity of his or her choice. The student-athlete, however, shall remain ineligible from the time the institution has knowledge of receipt of the impermissible benefit until the student-athlete repays the benefit. For violations of Bylaw 16 in which there is no monetary value to the benefit, violations shall be considered institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1; however, such violations shall not affect the student-athlete’s eligibility. (Adopted: 11/1/01, Revised: 8/5/04, 1/19/18)
So…which charity will Kevin Knox be donating $200 to today? Even if he didn’t meet with Dawkins or Miller, it doesn’t hurt to pay it forward, right?
UPDATE: Just last month, the NCAA amended that rule to up the amount for $100 to $200.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 23rd, 2018 @ 11:15am
John Calipari has responded to Yahoo Sports’ report that three of his former and current players are part of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. Nerlens Noel, Bam Adebayo, and Kevin Knox are all listed on financial documents from ASM Sports, a sports agency headed by Andy Miller, but Cal denies that he or his staff had any involvement with Miller or ASM.
“I have no relationship with Andy Miller or any of his associates,” Cal said. “Neither my staff nor I utilized any agent, including Andy Miller or any of his associates, to provide any financial benefits to a current or former Kentucky student-athlete. We will cooperate fully with the appropriate authorities.”
As mentioned earlier, UK President Eli Capilouto also released a statement.
“As I said to our Board of Trustees this morning, we learned late last night of a report from Yahoo Sports that provides more details regarding documents related to the federal investigation of potential NCAA violations. We began immediately to conduct our due diligence, and we will cooperate fully with any appropriate authorities. That is our commitment as a university to our Board of Trustees and to the Commonwealth. I will keep you informed of any developments should they arise in this matter.”
“We are aware of the report today by Yahoo! Sports,” Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart added. “We have not been contacted by the FBI or the NCAA, but since learning of the report, we have reached out to both the NCAA and our league office. We will be conducting an internal review. At this time, we have no further comment.”
For more on what the allegations facing Nerlens, Bam, and Knox mean, read our breakdown below.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 23rd, 2018 @ 10:56am
In the wake of three former and current Kentucky players being linked to the FBI’s investigation into college basketball, UK President Eli Capilouto says the school will conduct an internal investigation of the allegations facing the program. Per the Herald-Leader, UK was notified of Yahoo Sports’ report last night.
“We learned late last night of a report from Yahoo Sports that provides more details regarding documents related to the federal investigation of potential NCAA violations,” Capilouto said to the UK Board of Trustees Athletics Committee, which happened to be meeting Friday morning. “We began immediately to conduct our due diligence and we will cooperate fully with any appropriate authorities. That is our commitment as a university to our Board of Trustees and to the Commonwealth.”
Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said UK has not been contacted by the FBI, but has reached out to the NCAA and SEC.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 23rd, 2018 @ 10:13am
Kevin Knox’s name was reportedly included on a list of players who met with former ASM associate Christian Dawkins, but according to his father, that meeting never took place. Kyle Tucker spoke to Knox Sr., who said neither he nor his son have ever met or shared a meal with Dawkins or ASM’s founder Andy Miller.
Knox Sr. also said he expects his son to play tomorrow vs. Missouri because “I’ve never met [Dawkins or Miller], so yeah, I feel great.”
Still no word from UK. Stay tuned.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 23rd, 2018 @ 9:45am
Today’s show is live from the Danville Eye Center (104 Smoky Way) in my beautiful hometown of Danville, Kentucky. If you’re in the area, come on out to hear the gang break down this morning’s bombshell news that Nerlens Noel, Bam Adebayo, and Kevin Knox were listed on financial documents from ASM Sports, which have been obtained by the FBI and Yahoo Sports. Then, go get yourself a donut from Burke’s Bakery.
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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By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 23rd, 2018 @ 8:46am
After this morning’s report from Yahoo Sports that several notable basketball players — including Nerlens Noel, Bam Adebayo, and Kevin Knox — met with and accepted loans and meals from Andy Miller’s ASM Sports agency, many are wondering what exactly the NCAA is going to do about it. NCAA President Mark Emmert just released this response:
“These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules.
Following the Southern District of New York’s indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it’s clear this work is more important now than ever.
The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.”
So, basically, “We don’t know yet, but how about that committee we put together!” Got it.
By Nick Roush on ©February 23rd, 2018 @ 7:54am
For the first time since the FBI raided Andy Miller’s ASM agency, names of college basketball players have been revealed. The latest Yahoo Sports report by Pete Thamel and Pat Forde features three players from Kentucky: Bam Adebayo, Nerlens Noel and Kevin Knox.
Adebayo is listed on an ASM balance sheet with the heading, “Loans to Players.” Entered simply as “BAM,” one balance sheet attributes $12,000 to Bam; another states he received $36,500 and includes a “bad loan” annotation. Adebayo did not sign with ASM.
On another balance sheet from 2015 that includes more than 50 names of former college basketball players, it states Noel received a $4,350 loan.
The only current Kentucky player in any of the documents, Kevin Knox, is not on a “Loans to Players” spreadsheet. Knox’s name shows up in Christian Dawkins’ expense reports. The agent sought reimbursement for meals purchased for a dozen players. Duke’s Wendell Carter and Alabama’s Collin Sexton are other notable names in Dawkins’ expense reports.
“There’s nothing wrong with meeting with an agent,” Atlanta-based lawyer Stu Brown told Yahoo. “But then it becomes a question of who pays for the meal.”
Yahoo provided extensive documents detailing the exchanges between ASM and players, but they did not share the Kevin Knox expense report.
Read the entire Yahoo Report by Forde and Thamel to see the many other players implicated, starting with Dennis Smith Jr., Miles Bridges and Josh Jackson.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 22nd, 2018 @ 11:00pm
[Ed. Note: The is the second installment of KSR’s “Next Man Up” series profiling Kentucky’s 2018 signees. Last week, Drew profiled future point guard Immanuel Quickley.]
It’s no secret that Tyler Herro wanted to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game. When the roster came out last month and his name wasn’t on it, he fumed.
“I was actually really mad when that roster came out,” Herro told Kentucky Sports Radio last week. “The next day, I went to the gym at five in the morning and I pretty much go every morning now.”
Hours of shooting did little to dull Herro’s anger. According to his high school coach Travis Riesop, Whitnall’s practice that afternoon was one of their worst ever because Herro was still so mad. A phone call from future coach John Calipari affirmed his belief that he was talented enough to make the roster, as did his inclusion in the Nike Hoop Summit and the five-star ranking he received a few days later from ESPN.
“It made the McDonald’s committee look even more like — why wasn’t I in the game if I had five stars and all that,” Herro wondered. “To me, it’s all political. Who you know, who you don’t know is how you get in the game.”
The snub is just the latest fuel for Herro, who will suit up for Kentucky this fall thanks to a relentless work ethic and burning desire to prove people wrong.
A year ago, Herro’s life was going according to plan. The sharp-shooter from the suburbs of Milwaukee was committed to play for his home state Badgers, set to follow in Sam Dekker’s footsteps. Then, he hit a growth spurt. After a promising summer on the EYBL circuit, Herro was invited to the Team USA Training Camp in October where he played alongside the best of the best, including Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson. With the realization that he belonged among the nation’s elite, Herro decommitted from Wisconsin, setting off a firestorm of criticism from Badger fans that still burns to this day; however, when Kentucky came calling, it was all worth it.
“They heard I was thinking of decommitting, so they asked my AAU coach what was going on and talked to my dad a little bit,” Herro said. “After I decommitted, they took some time and came after me about a week or two later. It kind of went from there.”
Even though other programs reached out — Kansas, Oregon, Villanova, Butler — Herro waited for Kentucky.
“Ever since he opened his commitment up, he was just like, ‘Alright, when’s Kentucky going to come?'” Riesop recalled.
Calipari finally came to Whitnall on October 31, all swagger and NBA statistics in a fine wool suit. Herro took to his pitch like a fish to water.
“He just told me he doesn’t promise anything, not even to Anthony Davis, who was the best player coming out of high school. Everything is earned. That’s what I like about him.”
Riesop said that was all Herro needed to hear.
“Coach Cal came and said, ‘Kentucky is not for everybody. We do things differently and you need to work your butt off when you’re here.’ When he said that, I was like, well, Tyler is definitely a perfect fit for Kentucky.”
It doesn’t hurt that Calipari coached Devin Booker, the newly crowned NBA Three-Point Contest Champion whom Herro models his game after. The two have yet to meet in person, but Herro talks to Booker’s trainer every week and is hoping they can workout together before he comes to Kentucky this summer.
After watching Herro, it’s easy to see the similarities between his game and Booker’s. Not only are both incredible shooters — Herro averages 32.6 points and has seven 40-plus point games this season — like Booker, he’s not afraid to go at the basket, keeping defenders honest inside and out. He also has a Booker-like swagger that will make him beloved in Kentucky and hated outside of it, a chip on his shoulder sharpened from playing in front of bitter Wisconsin fans in gyms all over the state. Even though he decommitted from Wisconsin months ago, he still receives angry tweets from Badger fans blasting him for reneging on his pledge. The jeers from opposing crowds are even worse.
“It’s been weird,” Herro, a lifelong Wisconsin fan, confided. “A lot of student sections that we play against are all wearing Badger gear and calling me a snake and stuff like that. But I guess it’s cool.”
It’s really not, but Herro thrives on the hate, regularly dropping 40-plus points in hostile environments.
“I definitely think that my character has gotten better since I decommitted because I have to focus on the things that are around me and let everybody else talk and say what they believe,” he said.
“He’s just that kid,” Riesop said. “He wants to be pushed, he wants to be better and he’s got that killer mentality that, ‘I want to be the best.’ That’s what I really like about him and why it’s so fun to coach him and see how he responds when we go places on the road.”
Riesop recalls one away game in which two girls in the student section held up “Herro is overrated” signs, then afterwards, asked Herro for a selfie. When Riesop called them out for their hypocrisy, they claimed other people put them up to holding the signs. Booker had to deal with girls licking his car when he was at Kentucky; something tells me Herro will receive similar treatment.
Wisconsin fans’ attacks on Herro seem especially petty when you learn he’s still friends with Badger legend Nigel Hayes. The two met at a Nike camp in Los Angeles Herro’s freshmen year, and even though Herro parted ways with Hayes’ alma matter, they stayed in touch, to the point Hayes came to Herro’s Senior Night on Friday. After posting pictures of the two on Twitter, I was stunned by the number of angry responses from Wisconsin fans, who could clearly learn from Hayes’ example.
Herro’s decision to come to Kentucky instead of Wisconsin hasn’t just resulted in personal attacks; Riesop says it may have also put his campaign for the Wisconsin Mr. Basketball award in jeopardy.
“A lot of times, when people pick that award for our state, they say, ‘Well, we want a hometown guy who’s going to come to Wisconsin’ and now they’re like, ‘He totally did us wrong and that’s not okay.’ Strictly looking at basketball, he really is the best player.”
There are rumblings that Herro may tie for the award, which Riesop says is unfortunate.
“He may be one of the best players to ever come out of this state, so for you to just push him off to the side is really unfortunate because he’s doing things that are absolutely unbelievable.”
Senior Night at Whitnall was a grand affair, with the program saying goodbye to eleven players. Herro and the rest of the normal starting lineup sacrificed their starting spots so five other seniors could enjoy the pomp and circumstance of the final home game. Once in, Herro — wearing custom UK sneakers — didn’t shoot well, scoring only 21 points and hitting two threes, but his other talents were on full display. With his shot not falling, Herro focused on creating for others, often bringing the ball down the court and calling out plays, a role that comes naturally to him.
“He is the guy that picks everybody up and keeps everybody together,” Riesop said. “I think he really is soaking all of that in and I think that’s where he’s really matured this year and that’s why he’s doing so well.”
After Herro was whistled for a phantom double dribble, Whitnall’s gym erupted in boos and the fan beside me muttered, “Good, he plays better when he’s pissed.” On the next series, Herro zipped a beautiful no-look pass down to the lane to his teammate for an easy score and met him under the basket to celebrate. A few plays later, he sprinted down the court and dunked it with authority:
Tyler Herro can dunk, too. pic.twitter.com/EFUStufVeI
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) February 17, 2018
Whintall cruised to an easy win over Shorewood, securing the Woodland East title. Last night, Herro put up 39 points to lead the sixth-ranked Falcons to the Woodland Conference Championship, beating top-ranked Pewaukee on the road. Next week, they’ll start their run in the WIAA Tournament, which Herro hopes ends with another ceremonial cutting of the nets, a tradition he strives to continue at Kentucky. He and fellow signees Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson regularly discuss their goal of winning the national championship in a group text that lights up daily.
“We just see what the guys are doing this year and how they’ve been losing and stuff and we pretty much said to each other that we’ve got to go out there and fight together and put the NBA stuff to the side and just focus on our main goal, winning the national title.”
Herro’s focused on winning a state title right now, but his excitement for next year in Lexington is obvious. Riesop said Herro wears Kentucky gear to school four days out of the week, and it would be five if not for a team rule that players must wear Whitnall gear or dress up on game days.
“He’s really excited about it. We talk about it all the time and it’s funny how he says, ‘Drake follows me now on Instagram’ and all this stuff. It’s cool. I’m happy for him because he is soaking it all in and he’s really enjoying it but at the same time, he’s very humble about it. He doesn’t flaunt it. He doesn’t brag about it.”
Herro’s visited Kentucky twice this season, once for an official visit after reopening his recruitment and again on his birthday for the Florida game. Even though Kentucky lost to the Gators that day, he couldn’t get enough of the Big Blue Nation.
“When I went to the mall, when I got there, right when I walked in the mall, there were ten people asking for a picture right away, which I thought was kind of cool,” he recalled, smiling. “It was weird knowing a lot of people already know me and I’m not even there yet. It should be fun.”
Also weird: having LaVar Ball slide in your DMs. Through Instagram, Ball extended an invitation to Herro to join his Junior Baller League in lieu of going to college, a path Herro said is not for him.
“I told my parents right away and all they said was, ‘No. Don’t respond.’ So, I didn’t respond to him, but it was kind of funny, seeing it in my direct messages. I thought it was funny. I don’t want to hate on him or LaMelo or any of his kids. I support what they’re doing but I just don’t think that’s the path I want to go down.”
Since our discussion last week, Kentucky is finally back on the winning path, but there’s no denying the Cats could use Herro’s talents right now.
“It’s exciting to know that next year, they’re going to need a shooter and that’s what they’re missing. Being able to go in there next year and hopefully make an impact right away with my shooting and scoring.”
In fact, Herro went as far to deliver this promise to Kentucky fans.
“It won’t be like this year.”
Until then, Herro will keep striving to prove his doubters wrong because it’s the only way he knows how.
“That’s the thing about Tyler,” Riesop said. “When people doubt him or people are challenging him that they’re better than him, he’s like, ‘Okay, well I’m going to work twice as hard as you and I’m going to try to do more than you to be better than you.’ He wants to work to be the best. Getting up at five in the morning, stuff like that. That’s his life. That’s what he knows. That’s ingrained in his DNA.”
The fact that Herro is coming to Kentucky is proof he’s a great player; however, one particular snub will always stand out.
“When I make it – hopefully – when they ask me why, I just want to remember the day they left me out of the McDonald’s All-American Game.”
By Nick Roush on ©February 22nd, 2018 @ 9:30pm
The way the season ended, it’s easy for fans to forget that Kentucky’s defense won the Cats a couple of games at the start of the 2017 season. The biggest of those wins, arguably the most impressive of the season, was Kentucky’s fourth consecutive victory over South Carolina.
The blackout at Williams-Brice Stadium was hyped to be South Carolina’s return to glory, all thanks to Will Muschamp. After an awful start that featured an interception and a one-play Gamecock touchdown drive, Kentucky’s defense absolutely dominated.
The Cats held the Cocks to only 54 rushing yards, they picked off Jake Bentley twice and South Carolina converted just 3-of-12 third downs. Mark Stoops’ defense saved their best work for fourth down.
Trailing 14-6, Muschamp left the halftime locker room with an aggressive gameplan in hopes to recapture lost momentum. After forcing a UK three-and-out, South Carolina went for it on fourth down in no-man’s land near midfield. Derrick Baity stuffed the run for no gain. Kentucky’s offense responded with a made field goal to put South Carolina in the danger zone.
Desperate for a score, South Carolina methodically marched down to the UK two-yard line in 12 plays. Twice Bentley completed passes on third down to keep the drive alive and put the Cats on their heels. The third time was the charm for Kentucky.
On third down Eli Brown attacked the scrambling Bentley, stopping him one yard short of the goal line. Brown was injured on the hit. Down to UK’s third and final option, Boogie Watson was inserted at Will linebacker for the first time in his career. The redshirt freshman scraped to the outside to help Baity make the tackle behind the line of scrimmage. The biggest play of Boogie’s young career silenced the sold out stadium.
The goal line stand deflated the crowd and defined Kentucky’s hard-nosed victory at South Carolina. The Cats could not consistently contain SEC offenses in 2017, but their performance in Columbia could be a preview of what’s to come from the veteran group in 2018.
By Hey Kentucky! on ©February 22nd, 2018 @ 9:00pm
Tonight on “Hey Kentucky,” Matt goes in-depth on the pension bill that was just proposed by the Republicans in the Kentucky State Senate. Find out how it’s different than Governor Matt Bevin’s proposal and what it could mean for teachers and state employees across the Commonwealth if it passes:
To see the rest of tonight’s episode, go to HeyKentucky.com.
By Freddie Maggard on ©February 22nd, 2018 @ 7:00pm
Some highly respected analysts project seasons based upon returning experience along the offensive line. If that’s the case, then Kentucky should be receiving higher marks than it’s earned thus far during the silly season. This post will address the UK big fellas in relation to the team’s pending spring practice.
The Kentucky offensive line experienced one of the program’s most dominant seasons from the position group in 2016. Major factors for its success were depth, a quality center, experience, and collective healthiness. Fast forward to 2017. Starting left tackle Cole Mosier’s season ending injury that occurred during fall camp led to a seesaw effect within John Schlarman’s unit. Guards played tackle, left and right tackles flip flopped, and a revolving door at center resulted in bad snaps and other mistakes. Throughout early struggles, Schlarman stayed true to his coaching philosophy of establishing a standard substitution rotation and cross-training players amongst other positions.
Center Drake Jackson solidified the middle of the offensive line-of-scrimmage midway through the season. The rising sophomore’s play improved on a weekly basis. Jackson is said to have gained quality weight and strength in the offseason. He will be the base in which Kentucky builds for the next three seasons. The “Drake Effect” projects confidence for the three prior position groups we’ve discussed through this point prior to spring practice: Quarterback, Running Back, and Receiver.
The Departed Starter
Kentucky returns four out of five offensive line starters to go along with three players that factored in the rotation. The sole departure is long-time contributor Kyle Meadows. Meadows started 35 consecutive games. He started at both left and right tackle.
Projected Spring Practice Starters
Left Tackle: Landon Young 6’7, 305 Junior
- Started 9 career games at left tackle; 6 in 2017
- Rotated with Kyle Meadows and Cole Mosier at left tackle
- Extremely high ceiling. Needs to get “there” this spring. It’s time.
- Registered 27 knockdown blocks as a true freshman
- Former 5-star prospect, US Army All American
Left Guard: Logan Stenberg 6’6, 320 Junior
- Started all 13 games as a sophomore
- Only UK offensive lineman to start all 13 games at the same position in 2017
- Recorded 8 knockdown blocks vs. Tennessee
- Locked down starting role. Considered the group’s “enforcer”
- Registered 37 knockdown blocks as a freshman, missed just one blocking assignment, and allowed one QB pressure in 2016
Center: Drake Jackson 6’2, 305 Sophomore
- Started final 7 games. Jackson’s improvements coincided with Benny Snell’s increase in rushing yardage.
- First start was against Mississippi State after an encouraging performance in a win over Missouri
- Former US Army All-American
Right Guard: Bunchy Stallings 6’3, 318 Senior
- Started 18 games at both guard and center
- Was recruited as a center. Appears much more comfortable at guard.
- Seven consecutive starts within an interior offensive line grouping that consists of G Logan Stenberg, C Drake Jackson, and G Bunchy Stallings. This is an important note going into spring practice. Experience and familiarity are two vital coaches within a football program.
- Joins Stenberg to construct a physical duo of guards. Both play with a necessary nasty streak for the position.
Right Tackle: George Asafo-Adjei 6’5, 315 Senior
- Started in 11 career games at both guard and tackle
- Diverse nature of Asafo-Adjei’s game projects to multiple positions
- Finished 2017 by starting the team’s final 6 games at right tackle
- Played in over 30 games
Available Offensive Linemen for Spring Practice
The UK offensive linemen will be doing a great deal of jersey swapping during the spring game if my math is correct. Eleven scholarship lineman will participate in spring practice. No incoming freshmen enrolled early and will not factor in spring practice.
Sebastien Dolcine 6’4, 305 Freshman
- Redshirted in 2017. Projects inside to guard. Athletic mauler. Excited to gauge Dolcine’s development during the spring.
Austin Dotson 6’6, 310 Freshman
- Preferred measurables and demeanor for a right tackle. Redshirted last season. Much like Dolcine, I’m eager to watch the former Belfry Pirate match up against Denzil Ware, Josh Paschal, and Josh Allen.
Luke Fortner 6’6, 305 Sophomore
- Earned playing time as a redshirt freshman
- Joins Mason Wolfe as returning players that were actively involved in the offensive line rotation. Considered to be in starting rotation and will compete to be counted with the first five.
- A force multiplier, Fortner can play tackle, guard or center.
EJ Price 6’6, 311
- Transfer from USC
- Extremely high potential. Will be interested to see him compete during spring practice.
- Possesses talent, build, and ability to push for immediate playing time within the rotation or perhaps even as a starter at one of the tackle positions.
Naasir Watkins 6’5, 300 Freshman
- Redshirt was nearly taken off following the injury of Cole Mosier and others along the offensive front.
- Talented athlete. Watkins played tight end and offensive tackle at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School.
- Coaches have raved about Watkins’ ceiling. Will compete for starting tackle position. Assuredly will be in 2018 rotation.
Mason Wolfe 6’6, 310 Junior
- Provides quality depth. Considered another starter due to the rotation. Solid, will push for a starting role.
- Showed significant strides from 2016 to 2017
What does all this mean?
Starting positions are effectively locked up at guard and center. The interesting competitions could occur at tackle. Landon Young will have to hold off Naasir Watkins. George Asafo-Adjei should get the role but will have quality backups in Wolfe and Dotson. Fortner will factor somewhere. This group’s ability to play multiple positions paid dividends in 2017.
The Class of 2018 is the best offensive line group that Mark Stoops has signed. We’ll incorporate the rookies in a preseason post. Also reporting in June will be Chris Rodriguez and Kavosiey Smoke. Both are 200-pound plus bruisers that can run behind the pads. The fact that UK returns physical starters at guard-center-guard can only be considered a positive as the aforementioned youngsters will join Benny Snell to make up a group of downhill runners. Break out the Tylenol in fall camp.
Much like the highly successful 2016 OL campaign, experience, depth, and a quality center return in 2018. Will this current group of Cats produce as did Toth and company? Stay tuned as all offensive position groups tie together.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 22nd, 2018 @ 6:10pm
If you didn’t get enough of Rick Pitino’s comedy caravan yesterday, you’ll be glad to know he had more to say today.
Pitino went on “Ramsey and Rutherford” to continue his Feel Sorry For Me Tour 2018, and in his lengthy interview with the show, he said he believes the NCAA’s ruling is “unconstitutional.”
Now I’m no expert on constitutional law, but I think he’s going to have a tough time backing that one up. I don’t think our forefathers sat around the Constitutional Convention talking about hookers and skeezers and how partying with them in an on-campus dorm room should impact the NCAA tournament.
I’d like to hear Rick explain which amendment is in play here.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 22nd, 2018 @ 5:17pm
Michael Porter Jr. is cleared to play basketball again after sitting out all but two minutes of his highly-anticipated freshman season up until this point.
The projected NBA lottery pick met with a back specialist in Dallas on Thursday, and now he is ready to resume basketball activities with Missouri.
Missouri’s next game? Kentucky, of course.
It’s unclear if he’ll actually play on Saturday, but odds are pretty high Cuonzo Martin will give him a look. Porter Jr. has been working out and recently said he hopes to get some game experience before the NCAA tournament, which says he’s anxious to get on the court.
With this new development, there will be a whole lot of eyes on Rupp Arena in two days.