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January 14th, 2017

What Lynn Bowden’s Commitment Means to Kentucky



Lynn Bowden is the 23rd commitment and highest-ranked recruit in Mark Stoops’ 2017 class.  Here’s how Bowden can help the team immediately and what it means for Kentucky in the big picture.

Big Play Ability

When the Cats lost Boom Williams to the NFL, they lost a player who could bust open any given play for six.  That’s exactly what Lynn Bowden can do.  Listed as an athlete, he could play running back, wide receiver or Wildcat quarterback.  Wherever he plays, he’s liable to pop one at any given moment.

Landing an Elite Athlete

The Kentucky football program has landed a handful of five-star players, but they’re usually linemen or pocket-passers from the state of Kentucky.

During Mark Stoops’ illustrious recruiting tenure at Kentucky, only Landon Young, Drake Jackson and Drew Barker were ranked higher by the 247 Composite Rankings.  The highest-ranked skills players — C.J. Conrad and Boom Williams — were ranked lower than Bowden.

Improvement in the Short Passing Game

Screens and shallow drags were the foundation of UK’s pro style offense under Rich Brooks.  Last year it took half a season before they could consistently turn short passes into big plays.  These passes take pressure off the quarterback’s arm and away from the pass rush.  Bowden and early enrollee Clevan Thomas are athletes that should dramatically improve this important part of the offense.

Possibly a Game-Changing Returner

The easiest way to get a ball into an athlete’s hands is to let him return kicks.  The Cats finally got a return touchdown from Charles Walker last season, but they still need to take a kickoff to the house.  If they put Bowden back there, anything is possible.

Stoops Owns Youngstown, Marrow Owns Ohio

Kentucky’s 2016 defense was led by a trio from Youngstown: Courtney Love, Marcus McWilson and Jordan Jones.  Now Stoops has Youngstown’s best athlete on the offensive side of the ball.  The gritty rust belt belongs to the youngest Stoops brother.

The same can be said about Vince Marrow and the entire state of Ohio.  No matter how good they are or what part of the state they are from, Marrow has the connection to attract any prospect to Lexington.  Marrow’s only competition is Ohio State.

If the Cats’ trajectory continues to trend upwards…I’ll never doubt Mr. Marrow ever, ever again.

Kentucky Capitalized on Momentum

When the 27-point underdogs went to Louisville and beat the Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Stoops received rare offseason momentum.  It’s safe to say he has seized the moment.  Since the UofL game he’s received nine commitments.  One is the nation’s best JUCO safety, one is a Top 10 edge rusher and Bowden is arguably the state of Ohio’s best athlete.  Kentucky’s win over Louisville did much more than get them to a New Year’s Eve bowl.

Lynn Bowden Commits to KENTUCKY

Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 2.15.08 PM

Four-star athlete Lynn Bowden announced he will be a Kentucky Wildcat.  The nation’s No. 5 athlete and No. 160 prospect overall chose Kentucky over Penn State and West Virginia.

The Youngstown-native was recruited by a pair of Youngstown’s finest, Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow.  Bowden becomes the 23rd player in the 2017 class.  The highest-ranked player in the class, Kentucky’s Top 25 class should become a Top 20 class, jumping the likes of Florida and Arkansas in the process.

Bowden was this year’s Mr. Ohio runner-up, falling just short to former UK commit Michael Warren.  Still, Bowden’s senior statistics are ridiculous: 2,277 rushing yards, 1,366 passing yards and 57 total touchdowns.  Bowden finished his career with 4,178 rushing yards.  In his four years he broke almost every school record held by Ohio State’s National Championship-winning running back Maurice Clarett.  Watch how he racked up some of those statistics.

Stay tuned for more on what Bowden’s announcement means to Kentucky.

Another Day, Another Grayson Allen Trip

Getty Image

Getty Image

Trippie Longstocking is back at it again.  A year ago against Louisville was his most blatant trip, knocking down Ray Spalding in the open floor at Cameron Indoor.  This one against Quentin Snider is a bit more subtle.

In return, he got smacked in the face.

Allen simply can’t stop, won’t stop.

Tune in to the UK-Auburn KSR Pregame Show


The Cats return to the Rupp Arena court to avenge a 2016 loss to Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers.  Matt Jones and the KSR crew will have everything you need to know about Auburn, and maybe even a little breaking news in the world of football recruiting.

Turn your radio dial to 630 WLAP or Stream Here.

Pregame Scouting: Auburn Tigers


Before last season’s loss to the Auburn Tigers, the Kentucky Wildcats had won 18 straight match ups. Last season, Tyler Ulis put up  near triple double numbers (17 points, 10 rebounds, 8 rebounds), but it was in a losing effort as only two other Cats scored more than 8 points.

This year, Bruce Pearl brings an 11-5 Auburn team to Rupp Arena missing their second leading scorer, Danjel Purifoy, who injured his ankle a few games back. Today will be the second straight game that Purifoy has missed because of his ankle.

The Wildcats are 91-18 all time against the Tigers and are looking to extend that lead even further today. Let’s take a look at the projected starting lineup for Bruce Pearl’ squad:


#5 Mustapha Heron, Freshman Guard, 6’5″

Mutapha Heron is one of four freshman starters for the Auburn Tigers this year. He was a big time commitment for Bruce Pearl, ranked as the 25th best prospect in the Class of 2016. He is the first consensus five star prospect in Auburn basketball history. So far this season, he’s lived up to the hype for the Tigers.

Heron is leading the team in scoring and rebounding, at 16.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He’s a knock down shooter at 41.4% from 3-point land and almost 80% from the free throw line. With Purifoy out for today’s game, even more of the offensive load will fall on the shoulders of Heron.

At 6’5″, Heron is taller than all three guards that start for the Cats. He’ll most likely draw a defensive assignment from Isaiah Briscoe. If you read these match up posts before every game, you know how much I stress than Coach Cal likes to move Briscoe onto the bigger scoring guards from the opposing team, such as Justin Jackson from UNC, Miles Bridges from MSU, and Matthew Fisher-Davis from Vandy.


#1 Jared Harper, Freshman Guard, 5’10”

Jared Harper, another freshman starter from Bruce Pearl’s really talented recruiting class, was a top 100 prospect in the Class of 2016. Harper has out-performed his ranking so far this year, starting all but one game so far for the Tigers. He’s the true point guard for Auburn and does a good job of scoring as well.

Harper is putting up solid numbers in his freshman campaign, averaging 13.5 points, a team-leading 3.1 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game. He’s a solid on-ball defender too, and his quickness creates issues for opposing guards. He leads the team with 1.7 steals per game.

The freshman is not the typical guard that starts right out of high school. He’s 5’10” and 165 pounds, which is similar size to Tyler Ulis. De’Aaron Fox will match up with Harper in this one. I know Harper has been able to handle the opponents the Tigers have played this season, but Fox will be the fastest and most talented guard he has defended this season.


#50 Austin Wiley, Freshman Center, 6’11”

Austin Wiley has only been with the team since the middle of December, but he was the highest rated recruit in Pearl’s recruiting class. Ranked as a consensus five-star and top-20 prospect, Wiley committed to Auburn over the likes of Kansas and Duke, among others.

He played in his first game after having only practiced two days with the Tigers, and he’s getting better in each of the seven games he’s played this year. He’s averaging 7.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, along with 1.3 blocks. Wiley’s size will draw fouls, but his percentage from the stripe is very poor, shooting only 46.4%.

Wiley is a good offensive rebounder, and actually has more offensive boards than defensive boards on the season. Bam Adebayo will have his work cut out for him, as Wiley will be one of the few guys that he shouldn’t be able to muscle around easily all year. Wiley’ inexperience will lend to Bam’s success in the post in today’s game.


#23 TJ Lang, Junior Forward, 6’7″

TJ Lang is the only non-freshman starter for this Auburn Tiger team. He started almost every game last season, so his experience is huge on the court for Bruce Pearl. Last year in the game versus the Cats, Lang finished with 6 points and 2 rebounds in 32 minutes.

With the fresh batch of prospects brought to Auburn this year, Lang has seen his production diminish during his junior season. He’s putting up 4.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. He shoots 34.7% from the 3-point line, and just over 65% from the charity stripe.

TJ Lang is the verbal leader on the court for the Tigers and without Purifoy, he may be asked to take on some more of the offensive responsibilities. The junior has a reputation of a lock-down defender, and will probably try to shut down Malik Monk’s scoring for the Cats. 


#24 Anfernee McLemore, Freshman Forward, 6’7″

Anfernee McLemore is starting in place of the injured Danjel Purifoy, and last game was only his first start of his young career. He was a four-star prospect out of Sylvester, Georgia, and he was the 12th best player in the state. He’ll play the 4-position for the Tigers today.

McLemore is averaging 3.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest. He won’t be a huge statistical factor in today’s game, but the same can be expected of any normal back up in the country. McLemore is a good defender though, and has the most blocks of any current starter.

McLemore will play the four position for the Tigers today, drawing a matchup with the Wenyen Gabriel and Derek Willis position for the Cats. This is a game where I really think Gabriel can have a coming out party, as he won’t be oversized for one of the first time this season.

Auburn’s losses this season have come to Purdue, Boston College, Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss. Their best win is over Oklahoma in an early season tournament. Oklahoma had some key guys out with injury, but still a good win for Bruce Pearl’s squad. Look for the Cats to try to push the pace, per usual, and try to get the Auburn freshmen off of their game. I think De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo should both have big games today against fellow members of the class of 2016. Bruce Pearl is a really good coach though, so don’t be surprised if Auburn comes out with a strong game plan to try to slow down the Cats’ transition offense.

Go Cats. Beat Tigers.


A Crazy Stat About Karl Towns in Today’s New BBNBA Recap

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Getty Image

Karl-Anthony Towns is in good company.

In last night’s ten-point win over the Thunder, Towns had 29 points and 17 rebounds, his tenth consecutive double-double.  It’s the eleventh time in his career he’s gone for 25 and 15.  The only other players under 22 with more 25/15 games are Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard and Shaq.  Not too shabby.

Towns’ best highlights of the night:

Today I’m going to change things up.  Let me know in the comments section if you prefer this format or the one we’ve been using this season.  We’ll gladly accommodate.


PlayerResult Mins.FG (3FG)FTReb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOsPlus/MinusPoints
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist103-92 L vs. Sixers352-6 (0-0)8-8124111+712
DeMarcus Cousins120-108 L vs. Cavs399-16 (1-5)7-9811106-226
Willie Cauley-Stein120-108 L vs. Cavs10-00-000000-20
DeAndre Liggins120-108 W vs. Kings130-1 (0-0)0-031001+10
Enes Kanter96-86 L vs. T'Wolves308-10 (1-1)4-582003-521
Jodie Meeks115-109 W vs. Blazers193-6 (2-2)4-411104-812
Trey Lyles 110-77 W vs. Pistons172-5 (0-3)0-052010+14


  • Playing through pain in his hand and wrist, John Wall received an x-ray and MRI on his right pinkie finger, revealing no structural damage.  Wall missed practice yesterday but is expected to play tonight vs. the 76ers.
  • Fake news found Anthony Davis when one blog relayed the information that Davis had been traded to the Bulls.  Sidelined earlier this week with a hip injury, AD is expected to play in his hometown of Chicago today.
  • Patrick Patterson did not play against the Nets last night due to a sore left knee and Andrew Harrison did not get off the bench in the Grizzlies’ game against the Rockets.



  • 3:30: Lakers (Randle) vs. Clippers
  • 5:00: NOLA (AD) at Bulls (Rondo)
  • 6:00: Suns (Ulis, Bledsoe, Booker, Knight) at Spurs on ESPN
  • 8:00: Sixers (Noel) at Wizards (Wall)
  • 9:00: Magic (Meeks) at Jazz (Lyles)

Football Position Reviews and Previews: Secondary

Gerry Melendez | The State

Gerry Melendez | The State

2016 Production and Accolades

The Kentucky secondary allowed six more passing yards per game in 2016 than in 2015, but they were still the fifth-best unit in the SEC, allowing just 206.8 yards a game.  After a shaky start to the season, the unit averaged one interception per game, often coming in critical moments, behind three seniors and three exceptional sophomores.

The leader of the secondary was the centerfielder, Mike Edwards.  The sophomore accounted for 100 tackles, 8 pass break ups, 11 deflections and three interceptions.  Edwards was one of only six players in the SEC with over 100 tackles and his three picks were tied for fifth in the league.


  • Snubbed by the SEC coaches, Mike Edwards was named Second Team All-SEC by the AP, and was a Third Team selection by Athlon and Phil Steele.
  • Edwards was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week after recording two interceptions against Louisville, including the game-clincher.
  • Pro Football Focus named Derrick Baity as one of the nation’s most improved players.

Grade: B-

Penned as the team’s best unit entering the season, they struggled mightily in their first three games, especially in the final two minutes before half.  Chris Westry didn’t miss a tackle in the regular season, but failed to record an interception until the Austin Peay game.

Westry’s sophomore slump was countered by Derrick Baity’s breakthrough year.  Baity excelled in the run support, broke up 7 passes, deflected ten, and he had 3 interceptions, including a game-saver in the end zone against New Mexico State.  Along with Edwards’ outstanding season, the secondary was good, but not great, leaving room for improvement in 2017.


  • Marcus McWilson: A four-star recruit in Stoops’ first recruiting class, the Youngstown native played early and often.  Inconsistent throughout his career, he put it all together in his final season, finishing fifth in tackles with 69.  He also had 4.5 TFL and a HUGE pick six against Miss. State.
  • J.D. Harmon: The Paducah Tilghman product came to Kentucky as a walk-on wide receiver.  Moved to cornerback shortly after his arrival, Harmon had two interceptions on back-to-back plays against Missouri as a freshman.  Awarded a scholarship two seasons later, he was a vital asset on special teams before becoming Kentucky’s primary reserve cornerback.  He had two interceptions in his senior season, finishing his career with seven takeaways.
  • Blake McClain: Recruited by Joker Phillips, McClain stuck around upon Mark Stoops’ arrival and played immediately, starting his first three years at nickel before Darius West’s injury forced a permanent move to safety as a senior.  McClain had 180 career tackles and 3 interceptions, all coming in his final season.  None were bigger than this one in the end zone at Louisville.


  • Darius West: West played two years ago in special teams, but missed this season with a knee injury during a preseason scrimmage.  Considered at the time as one of the leaders of the defense, expect West to shine as the safety next to Mike Edwards.
  • Jordan Griffin: Technically not a newcomer, Griffin played sparingly as a true freshman.  Expect to see more reps from one of the top recruits in the ’16 class.
  • Lonnie Johnson: The versatile JUCO transfer is expected to play immediately.  Johnson is the perfect player to replace McClain and McWilson because of his ability to play nickel, safety or corner.
  • Davonte Robinson: One of the fastest players on the team, the Lexington native impressed coaches during bowl practices.  If he doesn’t find a ton of time at corner, you could see him as a returner.
  • Tobias Gilliam: The redshirt freshman drew comparisons to Melvin Johnson as a recruit, a notoriously hard-hitting safety.
  • Tyrell Ajian:  Freddie Maggard likens the athlete to Randall Cobb, but I expect Ajian to play on the defensive side of the ball.
  • Yusuf Corker: Corker turned down Tennessee and Georgia to come to Kentucky.  That should say it all.
  • Michael Nesbitt: The Florida corner committed to Kentucky early and never wavered, even with offers from Auburn, Florida State and the like.
  • Cedrick Dort: In his senior season, the early enrollee did not allow a touchdown pass, a first down pass or a pass over 5 yards during regular season.

2017 Outlook

The secondary failed to live up to lofty expectations in 2016, but they came close.  Outside of a few blown zone coverages, their opponents were rarely left open.

Filled with exceptional athletes across the board, the days of watching opponents streak past Kentucky uniforms for easy touchdowns are over.  Playing without as much pressure, Chris Westry will bounce back in year three.  Derrick Baity and Mike Edwards are two of the best in the biz, but replacing McClain, McWilson and Harmon will not be easy.  The good news: there’s a ton of talent waiting to fill their shoes.

The return of Darius West should pleasantly surprise fans.  2016’s talented trio — Robinson, Griffin and Gilliam — should thrive after a few growing pains.  This year’s recruiting class is just as talented, but Lonnie Johnson might be the only one to provide an immediate impact.  Next year’s secondary will be the deepest, and most talented secondary that most Kentucky fans have ever seen.

There is still some youth to the group, but as Derrick Baity said after the bowl game, “This year we were more green than ripe.  Next year we’ll be more ripe than green.”

Saturday’s Top 10: A WILD Football Friday, Bowden’s Announcement and a Matchup with Auburn

Badet photo by AP, Bowden photo by .

Badet photo by AP; Bowden photo by R. Michael Semple, Tribune Chronicle.

Normally gamedays begin by discussing the game, but today is different.  Yesterday I woke up to Ryan Lemond’s laugh.  The roster news didn’t end there.  We might even receive more football roster news before the day is done.  Here’s what happened and what could happen before the day is done.

1. Jeff Badet to Graduate, Transfer

Kentucky’s leading wide receiver is leaving the program.  Badet caught 31 passes for 670 yards and 4 touchdowns.  At 21.6 yards per catch, he led the SEC in yards per catch and was sixth in the nation.  What’s most problematic: Kentucky’s two fastest players on the 2016 team, Boom and Badet, left with a year of eligibility remaining.

It stinks, but it makes sense.  Badet was recruited into an Air Raid offense.  He struggled with injuries until his talents were finally validated this year, but in a run-first offense.  Even as Kentucky’s greatest homerun threat, getting 10 caches in a game is improbable.  The most any receiver had in a single game this season was when Badet caught seven passes against Miss. State.

It stinks, but it makes sense, and we wish him the best.

Moving forward, Kentucky has plenty of receivers ready to fill his spot.  Tavin Richardson, Jabari Greenwood and Kayaune Ross have adequate experience on the outside, and Garrett Johnson can be a speedy deep ball threat (just ask UofL).  Also, the highest-ranked recruit in the 2017 class, Javonte Richardson, plays his position.

2. UK Announces Seven Mid-Year Signees

Fifteen minutes after breaking the Badet news, Kentucky announced the addition of seven early enrollees: QBs Danny Clark and Walker Wood, WR Clevan Thomas, RB Bryant Koback, OLB Jamin Davis, and DBs Cedrick Dort and Lonnie Johnson.  Of the seven, JUCO safety Lonnie Johnson is the only one guaranteed to play immediately, filling the holes left by Blake McClain and J.D. Harmon.

Jamin Davis is Freddie’ favorite, but mine is Bryant Koback.  Koback’s play is reminiscent of Benny Snell’s.  He doesn’t run over people like Snell, but he plays with a low pad level, carrying his momentum forward whenever he’s hit.

Koback could have attained some HUGE offers, but was injured in just the fifth game of the season.  Prior to the injury, Koback rushed for 1,096 yards on 93 carries (11.78 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns in just four games (more than 5 scores per game).  His highlights are not too shabby.

You can see highlights from of all seven early enrollees here.

3. Lynn Bowden Announcement

Before the craziness of yesterday, I planned on leading off with Bowden’s announcement.  Even with a home basketball game, the potential addition of Bowden is the biggest news of the day.  He’s that good.

I’ve ranted and raved about Bowden before, but you can’t say enough about Youngstown’s finest.  The No. 5 athlete in the nation is a program-changing player.  Just like Boom Williams, Bowden has the potential to bust open a big play on any given snap.  Bowden is set to choose between Penn State, West Virginia and the Cats.  If Ohio State stays away, Bowden will be in blue next fall.

Bowden said he’ll announce “around 1:45ish.”  Don’t wait around on your computer for the announcement like last Saturday.  Just download the KSR app (Google Play and iTunes), turn your notifications on and I’ll let the sound of Ryan Lemond’s laughter bring you joyful news.

4. Bruce Pearl Returns to Rupp

The former head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers is in his third season at Auburn.  This year the Tigers are 11-5, but I’m more focused on the coach than the players.  Pearl has a 2-7 record against John Calipari.  He’s never won at Rupp Arena, but the Tigers enter with a one-game winning streak over the Cats after last year’s win at Auburn Arena.

Even though he’s been a Tiger for three years now, this is still the first thing that comes to mind every time I hear Pearl’s name.

Getty Image

Getty Image

5. Quick-Hitters on Today’s Game

  • It tips-off at 4:00 on ESPN with Tom Hart, Kaylee Hartung and Kara Lawson Barling on the call.
  • The KSR Pregame Show begins at 1:30 on 630 WLAP.
  • Auburn is led by Mustapha Heron, a fourth team preseason All-SEC selection. Heron averages 16.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
  • Auburn has two signature wins. They beat Oklahoma by four and defeated UConn by three in overtime.

More on the Tigers later today.

6. Go Behind-the-Scenes for Today’s Game

Drew Franklin is busting out the Snapchat machine to take you behind-the-scenes for today’s game at Rupp Arena.  From watching warm-ups on the floor to the City BBQ nachos, Drew will show you what it’s like to cover a Kentucky basketball game for KSR.  Take a pic of the pic below or add him at drew_franklin.

7. Watch Bamba Play Ayton After UK

After you watch your Kentucky Wildcats, grab a meal, then head back to your TV to see the two best post players in the country face off at 8:00 on ESPN.  DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 player in the nation, is committed to Arizona.  Mohamed Bamba, the No. 3 player in America, first entered Cal’s radar after dominating Ayton in the first event of this year’s EYBL.  The 247 Composite gives UK and Duke a 50/50 shot at landing Bamba.

The Cats are also recruiting Bamba’s teammate, Cameron Reddish.  The No. 4 player in the 2018 class, John Calipari watched the Westtown teammates play on Wednesday.

8. Today’s Sports Schedule

With the NFL Playoffs beginning at 4:35, it’s a front-loaded college basketball schedule.

  • Noon: Trippers vs. Strippers on ESPN
  • Noon: UGA at No. 23 Florida on ESPN2
  • Noon: UConn at Georgetown on Fox
  • 2:00: No. 9 Florida State at No. 11 North Carolina on ESPN
  • 2:00: Oklahoma State at No. Kansas on ESPN2
  • 2:00: No. 15 Xavier at No. 12 Butler on FS1
  • 4:00: No. 10 West Virginia at Texas on ESPN2
  • 4:30: No. 1 Baylor at No. 25 Kansas State on ESPNU
  • 4:35: Seahawks at Falcons on Fox
  • 8:15: Texas an Patriots on CBS
  • 10:00: No. 21 St. Mary’s at No. 5 Gonzaga on ESPN2

9. You Need to start Watching Taboo

This week FX debuted Tom Hardy’s new show Taboo.  I will not geek, but let’s just say I’m glad I used my DVR.

Without providing spoilers, I’ll set the scene.  It’s London in 1814.  Many thought Hardy’s character was dead, but he returns from Africa for his father’s funeral.  His inheritance causes a split between Hardy and the East India Company.  Hardy’s badassery and the wonderfully created setting will make this show one of the best this year.  Hurry up and start it before you get too far behind.

10. Ali’s 75th Birthday Celebration Begins Today

Muhammad Ali would have turned 75 this upcoming Tuesday.  The Center bearing his name will host a four-day celebration beginning today.  There will be a service project with Ali Center staffers, a new Ali Art Tribute exhibit and free film screenings in the auditorium.  Today’s lineup features a documentary I’m ashamed I’ve yet to see, When We Were Kings. Ali Bomaye!

10:00 a.m.: Ali Rap
11:00 a.m.: When We Were Kings
1:00 p.m.: The Trials of Muhammad Ali
3:00 p.m.: Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World

Unfortunately, it will not be as star-studded as his 50th birthday celebration.


Final Day: Buy One, Get One HALF OFF at the KSR Shop!


Today is the final day to take advantage of our big 2-day sale at the KSR Shop. Be sure to head to, to buy one, get one HALF OFF EVERYTHING!

That means your favorite UK or KSR sweatshirt you’ve been wanting for the past couple of months, you can now buy it at half price. All you have to do is pick out a KSR t-shirt to go along with it. The UK fleece pants, polo shirts, jackets, and hats are all popular items as well!

Don’t miss out on this big sale at the KSR Shop. Hurry this is the final day of our 2-day sale. Head to now to buy one, get one HALF OFF EVERYTHING!


Buy One, Get One HALF OFF at the KSR Shop!

January 13th, 2017

Calipari: Diallo will only play this year if it’s in HIS best interest, not the team’s

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Here we go, folks! After arriving in Lexington on Tuesday night, Hamidou Diallo is now practicing with the team. Check out this sneak peek of Diallo in practice, which @KentuckyMBB tweeted out minutes ago:

How perfect is it that they showed him hitting a jumper? Diallo is the best shooting guard in the 2017 class, but isn’t exactly known as a great shooter BUT MAYBE WE’RE WRONG. Predictably, John Calipari talked a lot about Diallo in today’s press conference, and when asked if he would play Diallo if Kentucky’s guards got into foul trouble, Cal said no, stressing that Diallo will only play this season if it’s in HIS best interest, not the team’s.

“I wouldn’t do it for me or the program. The only way that would happen is if it’s in his best interest. The situation wouldn’t matter. Up, down, sideways, it wouldn’t matter. It would be about him. What I know is what’s in his mind, and what I see, he needs to get squared away, let’s get your base set, and then come back and do your thing. That would be my recommendation if he asks me.”

Diallo will travel with the team but he will not dress, meaning his biggest impact will be in practice, where he can go against Kentucky’s guards.

“He can guard them, he can make them come every day and have to bring it because he’s a long, athletic player,” Cal said. ” I get to split up the group a little bit so we get a little six rotation on both sides, which is gonna be good. It’s his first time, he’s probably anxious and nervous. We gave him a couple of things that we’re doing so when we go up and down he can play those things and we can go against him, but if I had to imagine, he’ll look a little lost.”

Cal said he thinks any player that’s in Hamidou’s situation and can go to college early should because it will give him an extra semester to develop with the best training staff in the country.

“He’s going to get to work out, all the stuff that he needs personally, we can be about. You can really focus on what he needs and then kind of shove him into this stuff, let him have a feel for it and go from there.”

And now, for the $64,000 question: how does Diallo look so far?

“I don’t know, let me coach him one day and let you know.”

Fair enough.

Wendy’s KSR Top Ten Tweets of the Day

Wendy’s new Spicy Sriracha Chicken Sandwich features our iconic Spicy Chicken, topped with a one of kind Sriracha Jack Cheese, thick-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, creamy Sriracha aioli, spring mix, and red onion, all served on a toasted Sriracha-infused bakery-style bun.

#10 Mark Sandlin

Great show with Steve Rannazzisi today!




#9 Chad Middleton

We better not lose to Auburn! Blame Ryan if we do.




#8 Kentucky Basketball

Already can’t wait for next year. But still, #LoveMyTeam.




#7 Kelly Deuser

Not Briscoe too! BBN would have a heart attack.




#6 Mark Phillips





#5 Brooke Callihan

Brooke deserves a round of applause.




#4 Rick Newton

Family tradition?




#3 Jack Bergstrom

Once a Cat, always a Cat. Even ESPN knows that.




#2 John Hanks

Is there a way both teams can lose?




#1 Not Jerry Tipton

Thank goodness for Jodie Meeks in 2009.



Friday Night Notes From The Couch

Austin Graffiti Park | @mwphill

Austin, TX Graffiti Park | @mwphill

Who up, KSR?!

It’s Movie Friday at the Franklin household and I will soon be in airplane mode for the night, but before I go, allow me to type a few words for you here on the internet this evening. Once I’m done here, I will be scrolling through movies on the Firestick for the next couple hours (because I’m the most indecisive person on the planet) so feel free to send me some suggestions if you have them. If any of you need a movie recommendation, take my advice and watch Hunt For The Wilderpeople immediately. It’s one of the best movies I have seen in a long time and I had never heard of it until I watched it last Movie Friday. Trust me on this one: it’s very good.


The Jeff Badet news was surprising and devastating. Matt and Ryan didn’t seem as concerned as I am about Badet’s departure when they discussed it on the show, but I think it is a pretty big hit to next year’s offense. Sure, there is plenty of depth at that position — if any position can handle a transfer, it’s receiver — but Badet is one of the speediest guys in the SEC and the Cats’ best deep threat. I was looking forward to one more year of Johnson chucking it out there for Badet to go and get whenever the defense scooted up for the run and now that element is gone. We wish him the best wherever he goes, though — hopefully in a pass-happy offense.

— Auburn is in trouble tomorrow. I was pretty confident Vanderbilt would give Kentucky a close game and I am equally confident that Auburn won’t. I think we’re in for another fun one tomorrow in Rupp with the Cats running wild all over Bruce Pearl’s Tigers.

— Keep an eye on Auburn’s Mustapha Heron. You may remember Heron as a potential option for Kentucky out of the ’16 class last year after he decommitted from Pittsburgh. Heron was on the radar when Slice was on the staff because of Slice’s relationship with Heron’s father and UK showed some interest in the five-star prospect at one time. Bruce Pearl eventually swooped in and stole him from St. John’s, his leader at the time, and now he’s the Tigers’ best player and one of the top freshmen in the country. He is currently ranked eighth in the SEC in scoring at 16.2 points per game and is 11th in rebounding with 6.4 while shooting 42.9 percent from the floor and 41.4 percent from outside. He good.

— This Grayson Allen video made me laugh. And I made a surprise cameo!

Please, please, please let him trip someone tomorrow in that Louisville game. Last year he tripped Ray Spalding and I’d love to see him run it back.

— Huge shout-out to this little girl for her Ls down!

I’m her biggest fan.

Follow me on SnapChat for a behind-the-scenes look at a gameday with KSR. I’ll take you through pregame and what it’s like to cover the Cats in my shoes. Take a pic of my Snap code below or do it the old fashioned way by adding drew_frankin.

See you then.

Go Cats.

Governor Bevin on a bike and Kentucky politics with House Speaker, Jeff Hoover, on Hey Kentucky!

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Kentucky House Speaker, Jeff Hoover, joined Matt on tonight’s episode of Hey Kentucky!

In it, Matt and Hoover debate topics of the day, Kentucky politics, tomorrow’s UK vs. Auburn, and much more.

Check out the clip of the two discussing Kentucky’s new “Right to Work” Bill:

For more, here’s the full episode…


Great Thursday morning practice allowed Calipari to go out and recruit


No one hits the in-season recruiting trail harder than John Calipari and one of the reasons he is able to leave Lexington so often is because his team can handle it. (And because he has unlimited access to private jets.)

Yesterday, Calipari called for a 7:30 am practice before his players’ second day of spring classes, so he could spend the afternoon and night in Missouri watching PJ Washington, Marvin Bagley and RJ Barrett.

The practice went very, very well, he told reporters today.

“We practiced yesterday morning and (Isaiah Briscoe) had them so ready to practice,” Cal said, when asked about Briscoe’s leadership. “My worry was that we cannot waste a day.”

If we can’t practice in the morning then I won’t travel. I’d like to get a travel day done because then I can see three kids and it saves me two or three days. When I walked in that morning at 7:25 a.m., the guys were clapping for me like I was late. He had them ready and we had a great practice, which shows me a lot about the team and his leadership.”

As for Briscoe, he is “getting closer” to being that floor general Calipari needs him to be, and yesterday’s practice was an example of that.

This block by Zion Williamson is really incredible


Zion Williamson is not a human being. I refuse to believe he walks this Earth like the rest of us. He defies everything I know about physics and gravity and all that other scientific stuff I slept through in middle school. He is an absolute freak.

If you haven’t heard of him by now, Williamson is the most fascinating player in the Class of 2018, and in my opinion, the most fascinating, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring YouTube basketball star ever. Punch his name in YouTube and then say goodbye to the next hour of your life because you can’t turn away from his highlights.

I came across his newest highlight, an unreal block on a fastbreak, today on Twitter and I can’t wrap my head around it. Watch how high he gets up and then explain to me how someone can do that:

That goal can’t be regulation size.