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University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
June 24th, 2017

Keyshawn Johnson Pulls Son Out of Nebraska, Becomes Father of the Year Candidate

Brendan Sullivan | Omaha World-Herald

Parents and sports usually do not mix.  This story is an exception to that rule.

In 2017 parents often confuse “what’s best for their kid” as “defending them no matter what.”  The sports world’s most popular parent, LaVar Ball, first hit the spotlight for berating a coach for not giving Lonzo more touches.  That type of parent is seen as the norm, but the world still has plenty of parents who believe in discipline.

Former No. 1 NFL draft pick and current ESPN analyst Keyshawn Johnson, pulled his son Keyshawn Jr. out of the University of Nebraska to take “an extended leave of absence.”

The four-star wide receiver came to Nebraska a semester early, but struggled during spring ball, making just one catch for seven yards in the spring game.  His struggles off the field were worse.  It culminated with a marijuana possession citation in his dorm room.  Less than two weeks later, Keyshawn Sr. made his son return home to California.

“One thing you will not do as my son is you will not embarrass Nebraska, you will not embarrass Mike Riley and you will not embarrass this family,” the elder Johnson told the Omaha World-Herald. “If you mature and you’re ready to resume your football career and academic goals, then Nebraska will be ready to embrace you.”

Some parents might defend their kid, deflect the blame or ask for a second chance.  Not Keyshawn.  He dropped the hammer.

But wait, there’s more.  When Johnson Sr. was asked what Jr. thought about the move, he said:

“I never asked him,” Johnson Sr. said. “At the end of the day, I don’t think that decision was in his hands. He squandered that decision. He still wants to play football, and he still wants to play for Nebraska. But if you don’t do the things you’re supposed to do, under the guidelines of me, it’s not going to happen.”

The option to pull his son out of school with the ability to return isn’t an option all parents have, but Johnson Sr. played for Mike Riley at USC.  Their longstanding relationship established enough trust from both parties, even though the younger Johnson thought it might give him more leniency.

“You’ve watched — on Instagram, on Facebook, on Twitter — everything’s a big party,” Johnson Sr. said. “You just want to get to college to party, but you don’t understand: You’re playing college football. It’s a business. And it’s a serious business. If you want to become successful — make it to the NFL — you’ve got to embrace it. You’ve got to own it. You don’t make it to the next level by cruising. There’s no cruise control.

“There’s no ‘Mike Riley is good friends with Keyshawn, so his son’s automatically going to play.’ That’s not the game. That’s not why he went to Nebraska. He went there to work his tail off. To have an opportunity to be successful. But when you don’t do that — and you squander that — what are you going to do?”

As a 25-year old, normally I don’t cater to the “back in my day was better” folks, but the world needs more discipline like this.  All too often parents do not force children to take responsibility for their actions.  It may briefly benefit the child, but it does nothing but cause harm in the long run.

Keyshawn Johnson Sr. is holding his son accountable for his actions, a lesson a few parents should learn sooner rather than later.

[Omaha World-Herald]


WATCH: Naquez Pringle Squats 585 Pounds

While you spent your Saturday morning working on your tan, the Kentucky football team went to work.

Naquez Pringle was not messing around.  The Kentucky nose guard loaded up the bar with so many plates, I needed a calculator to learn Pringle was squatting just under 600 pounds.  What’s even more impressive?  He goes ass to grass not just once, but four times.

If that clip didn’t get you fired up for football, this one surely will.

70 days till football season.


Trey Lyles Believes He Fits In Well In Denver

Chriss Grassmick | AP

Former Kentucky forward Trey Lyles will get a fresh start in Denver, one he believes he can take advantage of immediately.

Entering his third NBA season, Lyles’ fared well as a rookie with the Utah Jazz.  He played in 80 games, started in almost half of them, and shot the ball well (43.8% FG, 38.3% 3FG) to average 6.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.  All of those statistics took a slight dip in his second season when the Jazz added Boris Diaw.

After taking a backseat in Utah, Lyles now has an opportunity to step in and immediately contribute, especially on the defensive end.

“Growing up, I’ve always had coaches who preach defense, (including) Coach (John) Calipari at Kentucky,” Lyles told the Denver Post. “I think personally, for me, being able to be versatile and guard different positions, keep guys in front of me and just compete is the main thing for me. This past summer I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on that. I’m continuing to focus on it through different training exercises to get better with it. I think with our length, our youth and our size, we’ll be able to be one of the better teams in the league on the defensive end once everyone buys in.”

Lyles has plenty of familiarity with the Nuggets’ lineup.  He grew up competing against Gary Harris in Indiana AAU basketball, and the Canadian-born baller teamed up with Jamal Murray, Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic during the 2012 Nike Global Challenge.  He’s excited to play with the pass-first Jokic.

“This past year he was able to step up into a role that allowed him to flourish and people started seeing he was able to do a multitude of things,” Lyles said. “I’m excited to go out there and play with him and catch some of those passes from the angles he’s throwing them at. It’s going to be a great compatibility between us.”

However, the most exciting part about the move to the Nuggets is the city of Denver.  During his pre-draft workouts, he grew to love the city and hoped the Nuggets would select him instead of Mudiay.

“When I worked out for the Nuggets, Denver was one of my favorite cities I visited,” Lyles said. “It was a city and a team that I was looking forward to hopefully getting a chance to play for.”

[Denver Post]


Former Wildcat Todd Perry Inducted into KY Pro Football Fall of Fame

@UKFootball

Former Kentucky offensive guard Todd Perry was one of six inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame last night in Lexington.

The Elizabethtown native was an All-SEC performer for Bill Curry in 1992.  A fourth round selection by the Chicago Bears, Perry spent eight seasons in Chicago and finished his 11-year career in 2003 after three years in Miami.  Before the induction ceremony, Perry caught up with his former teammate Freddie Maggard.

Perry wasn’t the only Wildcat honored last night.

Nick Haynes, Perry, Courtney Love and Mike Edwards via @UKFootball.

Mike Edwards, Nick Haynes, Courtney Love and Stephen Johnson were honored as members of the All-Commonwealth Team.  The quarterback could not make it to the event because Johnson is spending time in New Orleans, improving his game at the Manning Passing Academy.

The gang also ran into a sharp-dressed Marty Moore.

UKFootball | IG

The emcee of the event cleaned up pretty well.

Don’t worry Lexington drivers. This photo was taken by Amanda.

Sorry to include this unflattering photo of your bald spot Mr. Lemond, but I had to.  It’s in my contract.

UK Football | IG


Saturday’s Top 10: Draft Leftovers, Boxing is Back, Podcast SZN

What do you think Monk, Bam and Kennard are looking at? CAPTION THIS, via UK Athletics.

The dust has finally settled on Thursday night’s successful NBA Draft.  After months of interviews, analysis and mock drafts, three Wildcats heard their names called in the lottery.  It was a wild time.  We’ve covered just about everything, but there’s a few leftovers.  If I don’t cover them all now, you’ll hear more from me throughout the day.

1. Summer League Teams for Each Cat

After they did not hear their names called Thursday night, three Wildcats discovered their NBA Summer League destinations.

  • Isaac Humphries: Washington Wizards
  • Derek Willis: Detroit Pistons
  • Isaiah Briscoe: Philadelphia 76ers

Briscoe will team up with Aaron Harrison and Alex Poythress for the Sixers in the Utah (July 3-6) and Vegas Summer Leagues (July 7-17).  The verdict is still out on Dominique Hawkins and Mychal Mulder. 

2. James Young to New Orleans?

One report says the former Wildcat guard will sign with the New Orleans Pelicans once free agency officially begins.  A Top Ten player in the class of 2013, Young’s professional career with the Celtics has been lackluster at best.  All of his career statistical highs are from his first season in 14-15: 31 games played, 10.7 minutes and 3.4 points per game.

3. Louisville was the Draft’s Top TV Market

Once again, nobody watched the NBA Draft more than the city of Louisville.  What’s even more astonishing, the UofL College World Series baseball game drew an 8.0 rating and a 13 share, yet there were still enough people watching the draft to beat out professional basketball cities.

1. Louisville (5.3)
2. Charlotte (4.7)
3. Indianapolis (4.4)
4. Norfolk (4.0)
5. OKC (3.9)

To all the curmudgeons who think Louisville can’t support an NBA team, get outta here.  This place loves basketball and needs more of it.

4. Cal Reviewed the Draft on KSR

John Calipari gave KSR listener’s a departing gift before Matt leaves vacation by calling into the show to discuss Thursday night’s NBA Draft and take a shot at Roy Williams.

“I’m the father in the stands that embarrasses his kids because he goes and takes pictures, he’s yelling, he’s screaming, he’s hugging. That’s a big day for parents. And it is for me.” Cal added, “You’re maybe not real close to the kid or he didn’t or he wasn’t grateful enough — it doesn’t matter to me. I’m going.”

For more talk about the draft, the U19 team and the UofL sanctions, listen below.  If the new iHeart widget doesn’t work, click here.

5. Check out KY Wildcats TV’s Draft Recap

6. Boxing Returns to Freedom Hall

People forget that Boxing is Back in Louisville.  Returning to the place Ali won his first professional fight, Freedom Hall hosts the Real Deal Championship Boxing tonight.

With Evander Holyfield as the mastermind, 11 fights will happen tonight, starting at 6:00 p.m.  It’s headlined by a heavyweight title fight.  Contender Derric Rossy will face Carlos Negro in a 10-round bout for the WBC Continental Americas Championship belt.

Even if you’re not a boxing person, this will be an entertaining event, one we are not used to seeing around these parts.  Tickets are still on sale through Ticketmaster.  If you can’t make it, the event will air on CBS Sports Network beginning at 10:00 p.m.

7. One Fantastic LaVar Ball Quote

It’s a fantastic quote because it’s not coming from his mouth.  This quote is about LaVar as a player from Washington State.  This is an excerpt from a January 27, 1988 column in the Lewiston Tribune.

@BlogMyRabbit

8. Podcast SZN on KSR

Every day this week we released a new one, covering something completely different each time.  After a season three Game of Thrones review on Kentucky Thrones Radio, Nick Mingione joined the KSR Baseball Podcast to wrap up the historic baseball season.  Fake Barney shared his awful opinions on NBA cities with Tyler Thompson (Barns might have the worst takes ever) on the OTT.  Finally, Pookie Jones joined The Depth Chart Podcast for what might be my favorite episode we’ve ever recorded.

If you aren’t subscribed yet to the “Kentucky Sports Radio” podcast feed on iTunes, do so now.   You can also stream them on Pod Paradise and a variety of other platforms.

There’s one other podcast feed you need to subscribe to.  The old KSR Radio podcast is dead.  To hear new episodes of the radio show, you must subscribe to the new feed here.

9. SEC Media Days are Coming

It’s hard to believe that football season is almost here.  Three weeks from tomorrow Freddie and I will depart for Hoover for SEC Media Days.  The hotel has been booked, but your company can still be a part of our adventure.   Your business has the opportunity to sponsor content on KentuckySportsRadio.com, receive live reads on our KSR podcasts, and mentions on our social media accounts.  Contact us at KSRads@kentuckysportsradio.com to learn more.

10. World’s Ugliest Dog Crowned

The World’s Ugliest Dog isn’t that ugly…

Justin Sullivan | Getty

…until you see her flaps up.

Josh Edelson | Getty

Martha, a 125-pound Neapolitan Mastiff, was awarded $1,500 for winning the competition.  It’s great to see a big dog win the competition, especially one that’s a rescue.  If you’re thinking about getting a dog, get a rescue.  Mine are the best; don’t at me.


June 23rd, 2017

Pat Riley on drafting Bam Adebayo, his first UK player at Miami: “Thank God we got one”

@MiamiHEAT

Pat Riley’s been waiting to draft a Kentucky player for years. Today, the former Cat and current Miami Heat president said that for too long, he was stuck in the “Duke mold,” which is why he’s thrilled to finally have a fellow Kentucky Wildcat on the roster in Bam Adebayo, whom the Heat selected with the 14th pick.

“I couldn’t get out of the Duke mold,” Riley quipped when asked what took him so long to draft a Kentucky player. “I’d fight like crazy on draft night. Thank God we got one. There’s always been a lot of guys on the board from Kentucky, but since 2009, Coach Cal, he’s had 17 freshmen lottery picks. A lot of times, we have been a good team picking in the 20s, we very rarely are picking on the lottery.”

“I’m not saying this is personal last night, that I wanted to get a guy from Kentucky. I just wanted to get Bam. I just felt that he was the best guy on the board, no doubt about it. We rated him at that time and when our pick came, his name was the one on the board, I was tickled to death.”

I think you can tell that from the hug Riley gave Bam when he walked into his office in Miami today:

Last night, Riley called Bam “the perfect fit” for Miami’s system.

“There were other bigs that were available that had specific skills, but there were other things we didn’t like about them. I think he’ll be a perfect fit for us,” Riley said. “It’s a wow factor. He’s not 7-1 like [Hassan Whiteside], but he plays like him at 6-9. He’s an above the rim player for real while other guys try to play above the rim. His speed, quickness, ability. We put him in situations to guard perimeter guys. We felt the need to get an athletic big. He’s a gamer. He’s hungry. He’s as clean as a whistle.”

Once again, Riley praised the job John Calipari has done at Kentucky, as well as Bam’s maturity.

“I’m a big fan of what John [Calipari] does from a coaching standpoint at Kentucky. He comes from a great system,” Riley said. “Also, when we sat and talked to Bam for an hour, you get blown away by his story, his background, his motivation. We felt he was the best player on the board at that time. Now he’s not the best shooter, but that all comes. When he was in the workout for us, he made 30 out of 50 threes and had a great release. All that comes with young big men.”

“He played 30 minutes a game, shot about 60 percent. He’s a very efficient player around the basket. Doesn’t need the ball. What [Calipari] said to me was, he was a great teammate, a wonderful teammate to have. When we talked to him, he had a level of maturity about him, a quietness about him that we really liked. I saw him play two or three times and a number of film sessions. There were three or four or five guys in the mix. He was actually ahead of the 14th pick [on our draft board]. We feel he’s going to be a special player.”

Simply awesome. Watch Bam’s introductory press conference below:


KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day

The one and only Big Mick is a meaty masterpiece in its own right. Composed of two quarter-pound patties* of never-fresh, frozen, mostly beef raised close to the processing plant. Only McDowell’s

has the frosted beef and processed cheese to give you a major reason for
the afternoon trip to the secret bathroom only you and Debra know about on the 9th floor that is under construction.


You can be a part of McDowell’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day.

If you are interested in sponsoring KSR’s Top 10 Tweets, please contact us Via Email

#10 Tucker

Tons of kinds all over the BBN this year are gonna dress up as this, aren’t they?

#9 Ryan Lemonds Cell Phone

This could be an interesting summer…

#8 Chris Davis

It’s worth a shot.

#7 Zach

Does he also rap about sports?

#6 Tyson Davis

I’d bid on it.

#5 Dawson Rule

Don’t worry guys, Matt may be gone but we have Dawson and JROCK.

#4 Pat Ingram

Borderline creepy but also, I love it.

#3 Kentucky Basketball

That’s a fact we can all count on.

#2 Tater Allen

Drew has the power now.

#1 Mike Fields

I think the fans are having a harder time dealing with Matt’s absence than we are.


KYWildcatsTV was at the draft and made a sick video

@NBADraft

KYWildcatsTV is not taking a break this summer and were at the NBA Draft last night and of course cranked out another awesome video to recap the amazing day.

I just can’t get enough of this. Dreams came true last night.

 

On an unrelated note: I’m ready for some lit pre-game hype videos for football.


Go behind the scenes of NBA Draft day for Malik Monk

We all love draft day. We soak up every bit of coverage of it and try to imagine what we would do if we were in those athletes shoes. Well, thanks to the Worldwide Leader, we can get a taste of what it was like to be Malik Monk yesterday.

What a day.

Also, big fan of the camo, no matter what y’all say.


Watch Hey Kentucky! in Evansville

Matt and Drew are on the road and today they hit up Evansville to talk about the NBA Draft and Cal’s USA team.

Check out the full episode after the jump:

(more…)


Coaching Team USA is an advantage for Cal, recruits agree

Scout

Calipari may have been in Colorado at a training camp for USA Basketball U19, but it may as well been one giant recruiting trip.

After three days of instruction with their potential coach Immanuel Quickley, Cameron Reddish and Romeo Langford all agree that the training camp was an advantage for Kentucky.

Thanks to the Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts, we know what the three recruits think:

Quickley: “It’s definitely an advantage,” he said. “No doubt.”

Reddish: “I get to see how he really coaches. How he is outside of recruiting,” Reddish said. “I like him. He pushes me to get better. That’s what I need — somebody who’s going to push me to the limit, and that’s what he’s doing.”

Langford: “I like the way he coaches,” he said. “He doesn’t let you slide on anything. Little things like catching the ball with two hands. Little things like that — that’s what makes you better as a player.

“It kind of gives him a head start. I get to see how he coaches, and I get to see if I like the way that he teaches his kids.”

I like the way these guys are talking.


NBA and WNBA 2017 Draft nights historic for both Kentucky programs

@KentuckyWBB

Since the beginning of the Calipari era, the NBA Draft night has become like an added holiday for Kentucky fans.

It always seems like the draft is historic in some way for men’s side of the table, but this year they weren’t the only ones.

For the women’s basketball program, center Evelyn Akhator became the highest WNBA draft pick in program history as the number three overall pick by the Dallas Wings. A record previously held by A’dia Mathies who was the 10th pick in 2013.

History happened again 30 picks later as Makayla Epps was selected by the Chicago Sky. Before this year, two Cats had never been selected in the same WNBA draft.

Last night was obviously a huge night for Kentucky’s program as the newest NBA Cats just added on to already record-breaking numbers. For instance: all 21 one-and-done’s at Kentucky have done in the first round, Calipari has more former players (24) in the NBA than all other Kentucky coaches behind (23) and finally, for the third time in program history, Kentucky had three lottery picks, more than any other school. 

Not too shabby y’all, not too shabby.

 

@haleysimpKSR


New KSR Radio Show Podcast Feed

You might have heard we have a new podcast feed for our radio show. Don’t miss an episode by subscribing to the new feed now. Search “KSR” and select the one that has our pictures on it.

We have a great group of summer guest hosts starting Monday with USA TODAY’s Dan Wolken. Again, if you can’t listen live, be sure to download the new podcast feed here.

 

[New KSR radio show podcast feed]


Katina Powell has a new website

Have you ever dreamed of having an autographed copy of “Breaking Cardinal Rules”? You’re in luck, because Katina Powell is now selling them on her new website, KatinaPowell.com:

Autographed copies are $29.99 and personalized copies are $39.99. Something tells me they’ll be popular birthday and Christmas gifts across the state this year.

Apparently more items are coming soon to the website, so check it out at KatinaPowell.com.


Linebackers Departures Cause for Concern?

Pic by KSTV

No. I could end this post with a one-word sentence but Tyler Thompson prefers that I expand on my opinions and such. ESPN generally devalues Kentucky Football in polls, power rankings, predictions, and most other measurable categories. The Network recently ranked the Wildcat linebacker as the 3rd best in the Southeastern Conference. Think about that for a moment. Lindy’s preseason publication has the group rated as the 6th best in the nation. So, the answer remains; recent linebacker departures are not a cause for concern.

My reaction to specific player exits vary and at times differ from most. For example, contrary to popular opinion, Alvonte Bell’s dismissal will hurt the Cat’s capacity to influence opposing quarterbacks. For the defensive end position as a whole, the Bell situation will be difficult to absorb in relation to personnel and experience. Unproven defenders will be called upon to demonstrate vast improvement and development in order to counter his leaving.

Jeff Badet’s surprise transfer to Oklahoma is somewhat different. Eddie Gran will have to identify a deep-threat receiver to replace Badet’s 21-yards per catch average. For complete analysis purposes, his drops also factored into the overall equation. After reviewing an extensive amount of film, I came to the conclusion that opportunity played a minor factor in Badet’s success. This take is in no way intended to downplay his influence on Kentucky’s 7-win season; however, the quarterback’s throw, formation, timing, defensive alignment, and play call must be taken into consideration when discussing multiple post-route completions.

Hear me out. Garrett Johnson’s performance against Louisville highlights this assumption. It was Johnson who was lined up at the right place at the right time against a vulnerable defense with the right plays called to catch perfectly thrown post-routes from Stephen Johnson. UK’s receiver corps can somewhat compensate for Badet’s exodus, but his absence will sting. This will especially apply in the season’s early games.

Now back to the linebackers. Losing four roster players won’t immediately alter UK’s two-deep depth chart nor devalue the position group. However, special teams may take a hit. To what extent is yet to be seen as linebackers play a major role in the third phase.

Let’s take a look at the departed foursome’s 2016 contribution:

Nico Firios recorded five tackles in 2016 and was credited with a blocked punt vs. Georgia Tech. Frequent injuries slowed development.

D’Niro Laster played in 5 games, registered 14 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 QB sack, and recovered a fumble. Of the four, Laster will be missed the most.

Roland Walder redshirted, did not participate in game action. 

Kobie Walker was a safety converted to linebacker that had a great deal of talent. He played in just three games, started two, totaled 10 tackles and .5 TFL. Injuries and off the field difficulties prevented Walker into developing into a dependable defender.

What does all this mean?

Pic by Scout.com

Even after the most recent attrition, Kentucky’s linebacker corps is still talented and deep (See above ESPN and Lindy’s ranking). Resourceful recruiting and detailed development have given Matt House and Dean Hood meeting rooms full of SEC-ready athletes.

Pre-Camp Linebacker Depth Chart

*Returning starter

— OLB/DE Junior* Denzil Ware, Redshirt freshman Jamar Watson

— MLB Senior* Courtney Love, Sophomore Kash Daniel

— WLB Junior* Jordan Jones, Sophomore Eli Brown

— SLB Junior* Josh Allen, Junior Jordan Bonner

All American candidate Jordan Jones is the SEC’s top returning tackler. Josh Allen led the conference in forced fumbles and led the team in QB sacks. Allen is listed as all conference in various preseason outlets. Denzil Ware is the group’s designated pass rusher and listed as a Top 5 outside linebacker/defensive end in the Southeastern Conference. Courtney Love is the team’s captain and showed progress in last season’s final weeks. Jones, Allen, and Ware are on NFL Draft lists. Depth is sufficient with seasoned veterans with several talented rookies at the ready (see below).

Pic by Bleacher Report

The Newcomers

— Jaylin Bannerman, 6’5 240-pound redshirt freshman is ready to contribute at linebacker and on special teams. Bannerman is regarded as one of the better overall athletes on the team.

— Jamin Davis was one of the stars of the spring game. Could see playing time as a true freshman. As predicted on National Signing Day, Stoops and company found a gem in Davis.

— Alex King was regarded as one of the most disruptive high school pass rusher in the Midwest. Think a more polished Josh Allen at this stage in his career.

— Josh Paschal, Class of 2017 prize signee. Will compete for immediate playing time and could enhance the Wildcat’s pass rush.

— Jamar Watson was the spring game’s Most Valuable Player after registering 4 QB sacks and 4 TFL’s. The redshirt freshman is a star in the making.

— Jordan Wright is a freakish athlete that has the build and skill to play either defensive end or linebacker. His best football lies ahead.

It’s never pleasant to lose football players to transfer or dismissal. As of now, Kentucky’s linebacker situation is stabilized and poised to star. But, it cannot afford more attrition prior to traveling to Hattiesburg.