By KSR on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 5:30pm
The early signing period is officially here. Celebrate the momentous basketball recruiting occasion by listening to another episode of Hardly Committed. T.J. Walker tells you who will sign, who will wait until the spring, and he breaks down a classic Office episode, The Fight. Highlights:
— Reason to worry about Kahlil Whitney?
— Could somebody quietly sign before announcing a commitment?
— What happened when Terrence Jones initially committed to Washington?
— A center who wanted to go to UK that is averaging 18-14 to start the season.
— Whose wife is a better cook?
— Amateur turtle racing.
— Will Jaden McDaniels sign in the fall?
— How schools negatively recruit against Kentucky.
— A podcast within a podcast within a podcast.
Subscribe to Hardly Committed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app to get the podcast delivered directly to your phone. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play, and streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 4:41pm
As Drew already told you, Tyrese Maxey signed his letter of intent to play at Kentucky this morning, and the school just sent out a release celebrating the occasion.
“Tyrese has unbelievable competitive spirit,” John Calipari said of the five-star combo guard. “I love Tyrese’s basketball savvy. He has an elite ability to score the ball, yet he creates shots for his teammates, he defends and he rebounds. In all the time I’ve watched him play, rarely does he make the wrong play. He may not make every shot, but he almost always make the right play. You can tell that he’s a coach’s son. Physically he is going to be able compete with the best in the country.”
Maxey averaged 22.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game last season and led South Garland High School to the state semifinals and USA Basketball to the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA Americas Championship. He’s ranked as high as No. 7 overall by ESPN and said he chose Kentucky because of how Calipari develops his guards.
“Growing up watching Coach Cal-led teams, all the way back to Memphis, he always lets his guards play,” Maxey said. “He has a track record of developing guards and helping them reach their potential. I want to be coached and I know Coach Cal will push me and hold me accountable. I’m happy to be a part of this great tradition.”
The fall signing period began this morning and runs through November 21. In-state star Dontaie Allen will sign his letter of intent on Friday at his school, while fellow UK commit Kahlil Whitney may wait until the spring. (Don’t panic.)
By TJ Walker on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
Five-star center Isaiah Stewart told Rivals.com that he won’t be signing in the early signing period and is unsure when he will make a final decision on his college choice. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound La Lumiere star is considering UK, Michigan State, Duke, Syracuse and Washington, but when dissecting each school he didn’t seem overly high on the Cats.
“(The visit to Kentucky) was good. That visit, Kentucky came in pretty late, but I got the chance to go down there and see how they do things and see what they are all about.”
Stewart was asked what UK’s all aboute:
“It is sort of like a powerhouse, with all of the players that went there in the past and how they have gotten guys to the league. I feel like it is a place that usually, whenever you talk about Kentucky and you are a highly ranked player, it is something that you just have to look at.”
He said Michigan State felt like home, he mentioned Coach K at Duke, he said he would be embraced at Washington and that Syracuse is the hometown team. All seemingly more intimate than “sort of like a powerhouse,” but trying to nitpick recruit’s quotes is a dangerous game. Only once did UK have momentum and it was after his official visit, but a week or two later that buzz was gone. Stewart has officially visited UK, Michigan State, Washington and Syracuse. He’s still planning an official to Duke but is unsure when he will make it Durham.
Stranger things have happened but it seems like the Cats are on the outside looking in when it comes to Stewart’s recruitment. Read the entire interview HERE.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 3:00pm
The accolades keep rolling in for Kentucky’s Josh Allen, one of the best players in all of college football. His latest achievements include his inclusion in the running for two of the sport’s top individual awards: the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
Allen has been named one of 15 “Players to Watch” for the 2018 Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year award, the fourth-oldest college football award in the nation. Allen is one of just five defensive players to make the list, which will be narrowed down to five finalists two weeks from today.
The 14 other Walter Camp semifinalists are: Deandre Baker, Senior, Defensive Back, Georgia; Devin Bush, Junior, Linebacker, Michigan; Travis Etienne, Sophomore, Running Back, Clemson; Will Grier, Senior, Quarterback, West Virginia; Dwayne Haskins, Junior, Quarterback, Ohio State; Darrell Henderson, Junior, Running Back, Memphis; Trace McSorley, Senior, Quarterback, Penn State; McKenzie Milton, Junior, Quarterback, UCF; Gardner Minshew, Senior, Quarterback, Washington State; Kyler Murray, Junior, Quarterback, Oklahoma; Tua Tagovailoa, Sophomore, Quarterback, Alabama; Jonathan Taylor, Sophomore, Running Back, Wisconsin; Jerry Tillery, Senior, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame; Quinnen Williams, Sophomore, Nose Guard, Alabama.
Baker Mayfield won the award in 2017.
Allen was also named one of the five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top defensive player.
The other finalists are: Michigan linebacker Devin Bush, LSU safety Grant Delpit, Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and Alabama nose guard Quinnen Williams.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 2:00pm
Many of you may recognize DJ Warren Peace from various UK events, ranging from home basketball and football games to the secondary sports and several other outings on campus. He has become the university’s go-to guy for music, and he’s profiled in this new video.
Before you watch it, let me preface all this by saying I’ve known Warren for several years and there isn’t a nicer person in Lexington. You can’t walk past him without him asking how you’re doing and what’s been up, etc.
On top of that he’s really good at his job, especially when he’s getting the basketball team ready in Rupp Arena. Quade Green is a huge fan, as you’ll see in the video.
Now learn more about him:
By Adam Luckett on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 1:15pm
Kentucky will be back in Rupp Arena tonight for its second home game of the season and they’ll look to pick up consecutive victories for the first time this season. It’ll be another late tip at 9:00 pm with the SEC Network in the house. Friend of KSR Tom Hart and Jon Sundvold will be on the call.
After a tough matchup with Southern Illinois, the schedule will lighten up for John Calipari’s squad the rest of November. Per KenPom, the Wildcats will not face a top 100 opponent until UNC Greensboro comes to Lexington on the first weekend in December. Now is the time to grow for this young roster and to get some players that have gotten off to a rocky start some confidence.
Nuts and Bolts
Brian Jones is in his 13th season in Grand Forks and this program has come a long way under his watch. The Fighting Hawks were in Division II when Jones arrived for the 2006-07 season and he helped this program make the transition to Divison I. Under him they’ve seen a fair share of success.
UND has been to the postseason in six of the last eight seasons highlighted by a Big Sky title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017. Brian Jones worked for Steve Alford for nearly a decade at Iowa and they do not play slow. Look for the Fighting Hawks to not be afraid to push the pace. UND has some real rebounding inefficiencies so they will hardly ever crash the offensive glass. Kentucky will have plenty of second chance points opportunities.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two programs and will be UND’s first ever game against a current SEC opponent. This past Saturday, UND picked up a nice non-conference road win over Milwaukee. After spending the last few years in the Big Sky, 2017-18 will be UND’s first season in the Summit League. In the preseason, the Fighting Hawks were picked to finish near the bottom of the conference after a 12-20 run last season.
Out in the desert, Kentucky is currently a 27-point favorite with a total of 152. That’s a projected final score of 89.5-62.5. On the season, Kentucky is 0-2 against the spread while North Dakota is 0-1 against the number.
To look for UND’s go-to player all you have to do is look at the wing. Cortez Seales is a 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior from Iowa who emerged as a scoring threat last season for the Fighting Hawks. Through two games this season, Seales leads the team in points and shot attempts. The former sixth man of the year as in the Big Sky does most of his damage slashing towards the basket. Look for UND to invert the offense and give the southpaw some touches on the block.
Joining Cortez Seales in the backcourt will be junior Billy Brown at the point guard spot. After a reserve role last season, the upperclassmen has seen starter’s minutes to start the year. However, UND’s best returning player was point guard Marlon Stewart and he has yet to play this season. The former Creighton Blue Jay gives this offense a nice scoring combo with Seales and without him it’s taking away a lot of firepower.
Without the volume shooting of Marlon Stewart, UND has been playing two freshmen a lot in Davids Atelbauers and Aanen Moody. Both of these guys can stretch the floor and hit from deep.
The Fighting Hawks have some questions about perimeter depth, but they really don’t have those issues in the post. UND has gotten some very productive minutes from their bigs to start the season.
After averaging 11.6 points and six rebounds in a full-time starting role last season, senior Conner Avants is back for his senior season and he is UND’s best scoring option in the paint. The undersized 6-foot-7 and 235-pound low block scorer is very efficient with the basketball. He shot .569 from the field last season and has hit 10-of-13 shots to start this year. He is this team’s only proven rebounder and if you keep him off the glass it’s going to be a long day in the paint for this frontline. He may be this squad’s best passer.
Joining Conner Avants in the post will be junior Kienan Walter who is the floor spacer. The 6-foot-9 lanky big is a threat to hit from deep. Joining him in this role will be freshman Elijah Hazekamp who has provided instant scoring off of the bench.
UND has athletic deficiencies in the paint, but they are efficient with the basketball and space the floor. This will make Kentucky’s half-court defense communicate and move.
Keys to Victory
- In the win over Southern Illinois, we may have seen Kentucky establish an early identity for the season. In that win, the Wildcats dominated the glass and guarded a perimeter oriented offense without fouling. Against North Dakota, they should continue to do the same. UK must create extra possessions via the offensive glass and not give UND any cheap buckets. Set the tone early and this one will get out of hand quickly.
- In the win over SIU, we saw the emergence of Immanuel Quickley and Nick Richards after very poor performances against Duke. Now some of UK’s other players need to begin turning the corner. The Wildcats desperately need Tyler Herro to bust out of this early season shooting slump and for P.J. Washington to be a consistent scorer in the half-court. Look for UK to get them both early touches on designed sets.
- Anytime you’re playing an inferior opponent, the biggest thing you should worry about is matching their intensity. Kentucky will handle their business as long as they give effort while playing. Due to what seems like early season confidence issues, we have not seen that version of this Kentucky squad for extended minutes since the Bahamas trip. Can Kentucky hit shots and get stops early to get some swagger back? Even if they don’t, the young guys must learn to consistently play hard when things aren’t going well.
For years, North Dakota was known as the ‘Fighting Sioux’ but that changed nearly two decades ago. Along with many other NCAA teams in the early 2000s, UND changed their name due to their original mascot being considered derogatory to Native Americans.
In 2oo5, the NCAA declared North Dakota and 18 other schools have “hostile and abusive” mascots or images in related to Native Americans. If these schools would not change the logos, they would be facing NCAA sanctions that would limit the school’s postseason participation. Since then, schools such as UND, Syracuse and Marquette have changed their nicknames.
However, that decision wasn’t made without controversy. After the school decided to change its name they made the decision to keep ownership of the “Fighting Sioux” trademark. But with that there is one big catch. UND must still sell items with the logo and name to prove that they have ownership.
So, nearly two decades later, this controversy still brews on with the school itself selling merchandise that is prohibited by the NCAA.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 1:00pm
With Kentucky’s two basketball programs playing consecutive games in Rupp Arena tonight and tomorrow night, you should consider watching them right down the street from Rupp Arena (assuming you’re not going) at KSBar and Grille. (If you are going, pregame with us!)
We’ll have the games playing on all of our televisions (it’s a lot of televisions) and we’re running drink specials that might put us out of business but we’re doing it anyway in the spirit of a good time for BBN.
So join us for either game or both games at 1030 South Broadway in Lexington. You should also follow the KSBar and Grille Facebook page here for more upcoming events.
And if you decide to go tonight, tomorrow or any other time, I highly recommend the wings (half dry rub/half sweet habanero) or the brisket. All of the food is delicious, but those are my two favorites.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 12:30pm
The dirtiest move in the history of basketball occurred last night with a nasty cheap shot in a Division III game.
Kewan Platt of Fitchburg State tried to behead Nichols’ Nate Tenaglia as Tenaglia shot a three-pointer in the corner. We do not know what led Platt to put his elbow in Tanglia’s chin, but the move is inexcusable and should cost Platt his basketball career.
I’m all for forgiveness and hearing both sides of the story, but this is disgusting. Platt should be banned from any kind of basketball forever — even watching it on TV in the comfort of his own home.
I hope Tanaglia’s teammates returned the favor before Platt could get to halfcourt. That’s a bench-clearing move.
See for yourself:
This is disgusting ? pic.twitter.com/D8xihwFmwT
— Overtime (@overtime) November 14, 2018
For what it’s worth, the shot went in.
UPDATE: Fitchburg State suspends player, releases statement:
The school suspended the player indefinitely and barred him from campus:
The Fitchburg State community is appalled by the conduct displayed during Tuesday night’s home basketball game. The player involved has been indefinitely suspended from the team and barred from campus, effective immediately.
His behavior is antithetical to our community values and good sportsmanship. Fitchburg State does not tolerate behavior that violates those standards. The case is being reviewed at the student conduct level for consideration of further sanctions.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 12:00pm
Good afternoon, folks. It was a light load for the Association on Tuesday night. Let’s talk NBA.
Hornets – 89 @ Cavaliers – 113
- Two completely different versions of both of these teams showed up for this game. For Cleveland – a team who only had five rotational players due to an array of injuries suffered by several key players – they played their best game of the season. No matter what shot they took or where they attempted it, it went in. The bevy of role players stepped in and did not hesitate with their playing time.
- The Hornets, on the other hand, were near full health, but could not hit a shot to save their lives. They finished the game 8-41 from three and at one point missed 20 straight three-pointers. I don’t care how bad the Cavs are, you’ll never win an NBA game shooting 19.5 percent in this era. It also didn’t help that Kemba Walker – the third leading scorer in the league – scored only seven points on 2-16 (!!) shooting. It also ALSO didn’t help that Malik Monk went 3-13 from the field, either. But that’s part of the Hornets gameplan. Get up and down the court and fire at will. If the shots aren’t falling, then so do their chances of winning.
Malik Monk goin’ ? pic.twitter.com/yfKCrZjJ5r
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) November 14, 2018
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sat out this game due to a right ankle sprain he suffered in the Hornets win over the Pistons on Sunday. He was seen in a walking boot following the game on Sunday and is questionable for Saturday’s matchup with the new-look 76ers.
- Now let’s talk about Andrew Harrison. I’ve been a huge defender of Harrison over the years and after he finally started to show some improvement last season in Memphis, I thought he might finally be on the track to being an NBA role player. After he was waived by the Grizzlies a couple weeks ago, I thought he was getting royally screwed. Well, two games into his tenure with the Cavaliers and I have a better understanding of why Memphis did what they did. Harrison must have regressed over the summer or is simply struggling to acclimate to his new team because he looks absolutely lost. All the basic floor general fundamentals he seemingly developed last season have been nowhere to be found. I’m going to chalk it up to a lack of chemistry and he’s going to continue to receive playing time as long as the entire roster is injured, but it’s still concerning. This is not the same Harrison that started 46 games last season.
Rockets – 109 @ Nuggets – 99
- The Houston Rockets were able to keep the Nuggets from separating themselves and jumping out to a big lead. Houston was constantly ahead by five points for the majority of the game and then stretched the lead just enough to close out Denver in the end.
- Jamal Murray – who was shooting a mere 35.3 percent from the field since his 48-point outburst – came back to form a bit, scoring 15 points on 7-13 shooting. Trey Lyles only played in 12 minutes but scored eight points on 3-4 shooting. In the absence of Will Barton – the injured starting small forward for Denver – the Nuggets have been running with Juancho Hernangomez in favor of Lyles. Lyles has been playing well as of late, but there’s only been so much clock to go around and these two play a similar style. Hernangomez has played just as well as, if not better than, Lyles, so it’s not a huge shock. But it’s going to be up to Lyles to play himself into more minutes.
Jamal Murray got ’em dancin’ ? pic.twitter.com/QSSV8nvQa5
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) November 14, 2018
Blocked oop on one end ?
2-hand Lyles slam on the other ? pic.twitter.com/UjgoR4gb7u
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) November 14, 2018
- Alex Poythress played 20 minutes against the Steph Curry and Draymond Green-less Golden State Warriors, scoring four points on 2-5 shooting to go along with eight rebounds.
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||99-109 L vs. HOU||15||7-13 (0-3)||1||5||1||0||3||-4||34|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||99-109 L vs. HOU||8||3-4 (1-1)||1||0||1||0||1||-12||12|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||89-113 L @ CLE||6||3-13 (0-8)||2||2||1||0||1||-12||23|
|Alex Poythress (ATL)||103-110 L @ GSW||4||2-5 (0-1)||8||0||0||0||0||+4||20|
|Andrew Harrison (CLE)||113-89 W vs. CHA||2||0-3 (0-2)||2||2||0||0||1||+2||12|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)||89-113 L @ CLE||DNP-Ankle||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||110-103 W vs. ATL||DNP-Achilles||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Brandon Knight (HOU)||109-99 W @ DEN||DNP-Knee||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||99-109 L vs. HOU||DNP-Foot||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Sixers @ Magic (Briscoe)
7:00: Cavaliers (An. Harrison) @ Wizards (Wall)
7:30: Bulls @ Celtics
7:30: Heat (Adebayo) @ Nets
7:30: Pistons @ Raptors
8:00: Grizzlies @ Bucks (Bledsoe, Meeks-suspended)
8:00 (ESPN): Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle) @ Timberwolves (Towns)
8:00: Knicks (Kanter, Knox) @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson)
8:30: Jazz @ Mavericks
9:00: Spurs @ Suns (Booker)
10:30 (ESPN): Trail Blazers @ Lakers (Rondo)
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
By Drew Franklin on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 11:24am
Tyrese Maxey is officially a Kentucky Wildcat.
The five-star guard, ranked ninth overall in the 2018 class, signed his Letter of Intent to solidify his spot as a member of the Cats’ next class of talent on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.
It’s official at South Garland: Tyrese Maxey (@TyreseMaxey), the No. 1 overall player in Texas for 2019, signs with Kentucky and four-star guard Chris Harris Jr. (@chrisharris_2) signs with Texas A&M. #txhsbb pic.twitter.com/wFJGjXPSKS
— Callie Caplan (@CallieCaplan) November 14, 2018
Maxey is the first of UK’s three commits to ink his LOI. Dontaie Allen will sign on the dotted line in a ceremony at his school on Friday, but it’s unclear when (or if) Kahlil Whitney will sign his.
By KSR on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 11:00am
The holiday season is upon us, which means The OTT Podcast crew is back to settle another inane debate: Thanksgiving vs. Christmas. Highlights include…
— A brief recap of a crappy sports week
— People who put their Christmas trees up way too early (cough, Fake Barney, cough)
— Tyler’s case for why Thanksgiving is the superior holiday
— The best strategy for your office’s White Elephant gift exchange
— The plot for every single Netflix/Hallmark Christmas movie
— Whiskey Sours and pie eating races
…and much, much more. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. I Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly on your phone by subscribing to The OTT Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
By Aaron Torres on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 10:00am
Look, I know it hasn’t been a great few days for the folks who follow Kentucky sports.
And really it’s easy to understand the frustration surrounding the basketball team. Three months ago, the Wildcats looked like an unbeatable juggernaut in the Bahamas, a team that seemed destined for a Final Four and potentially the school’s ninth national championship. Three months later they look like a team that is going to struggle to finish in the middle of the pack in the SEC.
Of course we know that’s not reality. But it is how they look right now.
The good thing is (and this is just my opinion) that Kentucky isn’t broken. Yes, they have flaws, but everyone does this time of year. Yes, the coaching staff needs to figure out how to use their players, but that’s totally normal.
More than anything though, you know what this team needs: Tough love. To quote the movie Major League, “We’re coddling these guys” or at least we were after the trip to the Bahamas. These guys believed their press clippings. They believed they were invincible and unbeatable and destined to get to Minneapolis. After getting punched in the mouth by Duke and holding on to survive against Southern Illinois they learned the hard way that’s not the case.
So yes, this team has been torn down. And now it’s time to build them back.
Here are four things that have to change for Kentucky to reach their potential this season.
It’s time to start Quade Green and Immanuel Quickley together in the backcourt
I know I wrote this exact same last week, but it’s worth repeating here: As soon as I saw Ashton Hagans trot out for the opening tip against Duke I knew Kentucky was in trouble. Seeing Hagans in the starting lineup indicated to me that Calipari was more concerned with matching up with Duke (and in turn putting his best defensive guard on the floor) rather than playing his best starting five. Calipari got burned and even on Friday against Southern Illinois only dipped his toe in the water with his best lineup. He replaced Hagans with Quickley, but still brought in Green off the bench.
As I said on my podcast Tuesday, Quade Green/Immanuel Quickley were by far the most effective backcourt for Kentucky in the Bahamas. Have been again tonight. Wouldnt have mattered against Duke but should be the starting backcourt going forward, with Hagans and Herro off the bench
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) November 10, 2018
Well two games in, we’ve seen enough and the bottom line is that Kentucky’s best starting lineup features Quickley and Green on the floor together. And they should be out there in the starting lineup tonight when Kentucky plays North Dakota.
There really is no other way to put it: Those two on the floor together have been Kentucky’s most effective offensive group. They were in the Bahamas, and they were late in the Southern Illinois game, when Kentucky needed an offensive spark and these guys combined to rip off eight straight points. It was that little jolt which ultimately got Kentucky over the hump and got them the win.
Now I already know that some would question that lineup and say “Yeah, but those two struggle on the court together defensively.” Honestly, I see where you’re coming from. At the same time, what’s the point of having your best defensive lineup out on the court to start the game if your offense is so bad that you’re going to fall behind by double-digits anyway?
There is no reason, which is why these two should start against North Dakota. Starting them also allows…
It’s time to bring Tyler Herro off the bench
Please don’t take this is as me attacking an 18-year-old kid. I’m not. But at the same time, all these players came to Kentucky to be challenged and pushed, and behind closed doors, I promise you John Calipari is being brutally honest with them. So it only makes sense that I’m honest too, and right now here is the honest truth: Herro isn’t helping Kentucky much on either offense or defense right now.
For whatever reason he appears to be more comfortable coming off the bench, and that’s not just my opinion but fact. Remember, in the Bahamas Herro averaged 17 points per game on a ridiculous 59 percent shooting from the field – an insane percentage for a player who does most of his damage from beyond 15-feet. Yet since arriving back on the mainland, Herro is shooting an abysmal 24 percent to start the season. And please don’t tell me it was all Duke – Herro also went 0-6 against Southern Illinois too.
So yeah, he is really struggling. To me it seems like the college game is coming at him too fast, which by the way, is perfectly normal. Just as an example, I remember talking to John Calipari when I was writing my book “One and Fun” and Coach Cal mentioned to me that even John Wall – a future NBA All-Star – got overwhelmed during his one season at Kentucky. So it’s natural that Herro would do the same. Calipari said as much at Tuesday’s press conference when he said that Herro is “Still trying to feel his way out.”
So while Herro figures things out, what better way to get him relaxed and in his comfort zone than bringing him off the bench? Do that and Herro doesn’t have to focus on both offense and defense, but instead, can worry about what he does best: Getting buckets. And like so many young players, I’m guessing once his shots fall, his defense will suddenly look a lot better too.
Plus, by bringing him off the bench you really are helping the team in every way. You’re putting your best offensive backcourt on the floor (Quickley and Green) while also adding instant offense off the bench. Herro’s lack of defensive presence is also mitigated by playing with Ashton Hagans, the team’s best perimeter defender. In turn, Hagans’ lack of offense is mitigated as well.
This one is a no-brainer. Make Herro comfortable again and the shots will start falling. Bring him off the bench.
If P.J. Washington is hurt, let him sit – but if he can play, he’s got to… PLAY
Right now I feel like I’m in an episode of the Real World– that’s right, I stopped being polite and starting getting real. And boy does it feel good!
And in my quest to stay real, I’ve got to ask: What the hell is up with P.J. Washington? Right now, he’s playing with the excitement of a 60-year-old man about to get a proctology exam, and with the same sad expression on his face my dog makes every time I leave the house. I thought basketball was supposed to be fun! Only you’d never know it watching Washington who is averaging just 5.5 points and four rebounds per game right now. Woof!
Even worse, everything that made P.J. Washington well, P.J. Washington last season is gone. The edge, the anger, that chip on his shoulder isn’t there. In the past, you could always expect one thing from Washington and that was mental toughness.
And on Friday night we might have finally gotten the reason why Washington has struggled so much. Following the Southern Illinois game, Calipari claimed that Washington is still recovering from a finger injury and surgery in the spring.
Here was Calipari’s exact quote:
“You know what, he’s struggling a little bit. And he’s still — he had an operation on that hand, and I don’t think right now he’s confident enough yet in that hand. But my thing is, forget the hand, just run and go crazy and play with unbelievable energy and get away from what you look like in other areas. Just make easy plays and fly up and down.”
My first thought here is this: Again, didn’t he get that surgery back in June? While I credit Calipari for defending his player (like any good coach should) if Washington is that banged up, how did he play so well in the Bahamas? Because I’m pretty sure he averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds there. If his hand was fine then, when did he re-injure it?
But let’s say that Calipari is 100 percent telling the truth. The second part of the quote is still important, which is what Calipari said on the back-end: Even if the hand is hurting, it’s no excuse not to play hard. The one thing that made P.J. Washington, P.J. flippin’ Washington, last season was his motor, his energy and mental toughness.
And it’s all lacking right now.
That’s also why maybe my biggest proposed change for Kentucky is this: If Washington really is hurt, tell him to sit out and get healthy. Tell him to do what he needs to do to get back 100 percent.
But if he is going to step on the court, there will be no excuses for effort. It’s OK to miss a shot or two. What’s not ok is the lack of hustle, the lack of fight, the lack of energy.
Again, if he’s hurt he should sit. But if he’s going to play… he’s got to PLAY!!!
Which leads me to…
Get more reps for E.J. Montgomery and Nick Richards
This is kind of a trickledown effect of figuring out what is up with P.J. Washington. But if Washington doesn’t want to play or can’t go hard, get the guys playing time who deserve it. And right now those guys are Reid Travis, Nick Richards and E.J. Montgomery. Washington has the most talent of all four – but right now he either isn’t physically capable of playing at his peak or mentally isn’t there.
Whatever the case, it’s time to play the players who deserve it.
By the way, you know who isn’t slacking? How about Richards, the guy who just grabbed 19 rebounds the last time he took the court. Think Richards is playing with effort and energy? Because I’d say that he is indeed. And hopefully Richards will see the court a bit more going forward.
Then there is Montgomery, who – you could argue – outside of Keldon Johnson has been this team’s best player. He’s averaging 9.5 points and five boards, which doesn’t sound great on paper until you realize he’s playing just 19 minutes a game. That averages out to about 19 points and 12 boards per game over a full 40-minute game. He’s also shooting 57 percent from the field, a solid number when you consider he has taken the second most shots on the team behind only Johnson.
So while he’s playing well and his other teammates are struggling why not get him more reps?
Which also leads me to my conclusion. And in reflecting back on the big picture with Kentucky this team, things really aren’t as bad as everyone thinks. Yes, they need work and no they’re not a finished product. No team is at this point.
But they do need work, and they do need change – in lineups, playing time and attitude.
Hopefully it starts tonight.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 9:55am
Kentucky will play its third basketball game of the season tonight against North Dakota, and what to expect from the Cats will be a big part of today’s KSR show.
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 TJ Walker on ©November 14th, 2018 @ 9:00am
Wake up, it’s gameday! The Cats return to Rupp Arena to take on North Dakota for a late 9 p.m. tip and it’s going to be a busy day for Kentucky Sports Radio.
We’ll have plenty of gameday coverage, more talk from the football coaches/players as they prepare for Senior Day, and plenty more.
Let’s get to it!
The Cats take on the Fighting Hawks:
And folks, North Dakota is undefeated. The Fighting (tony) Hawks beat DIII Northland College in the opener and then Milwaukee in a nailbiter on Saturday night.
Despite North Dakota’s hot start the Cats should have no problems tonight. Kentucky is eight days removed from the shocking blowout to Duke and it’s clear that loss impacted Kentucky on Friday against a scrappy Southern Illinois team.
But UK ended that game against the Salukis on a 26-13 and the first sense of momentum since the Bahamas. We’ll have a scouting report for you this afternoon and the normal game coverage you’ve grown to love.
The Cats desperately need a “feel good” game and Vegas thinks they get it tonight. UK opened as a 26.5 point favorite, but Drew Franklin is staying away. So he says…
Stop by KSbaR before the game:
Folks, it’s for a good cause. The picture above gives you all the details but everyone at KSR would appreciate you stopping by for a good cause.
In Kentucky 1 in 6 people are unsure where they will get their next meal. We’re talking about Kentuckians, our neighbors and our family. Give what you can to help make a change.
If you can’t go KSbaR, CLICK HERE to donate, but if you can make it we’d love to see you.
Get those fax machines ready:
Ah, the humble fax machine. It seems to only be used during college signing ceremonies and good news for you fax machine stock- the fall signing period starts today. Kentucky commit Tyrese Maxey will be the first to officially join UK’s 2019 class when he signs at 10 a.m. CT.
Dontaie Allen will sign on Friday, but in somewhat of a surprise twist Kahlil Whitney is not planning on signing in the fall period. But don’t panic. His mom shared the details with KSR on Tuesday.
Once a recruit signs with a school, the school can officially talk about the recruit publicly, but be patient with UK. The Cats generally don’t release statements on their signees until the end of the period or when they feel all their commits have signed. So, it’ll likely be another week before we hear Calipari comment on Maxey and Allen.
Below is a look at where UK stands in the fall signing period:
We’ll hear from UK’s defense today. Coaches and players will speak with the media as UK prepares for its last home game of the season against Middle Tennessee.
Folks complaing about UK’s offense has dominated radio shows, social media and websites since the Tennessee loss, but Kentucky’s defense has taken a step back the last two weeks. It certainly hasn’t been as bad as the offense, but giving up 24 points to Tennessee wasn’t ideal for the Cats.
It will be the last time we will see a good chunk of this defense play at Kroger Field, so I’ll be anxiously awaiting to hear what they think about Senior Day and how the team is responding after back-to-back losses.
Speaking of football:
Our rivals to the west seem to be Jeff Brohm or bust, as you know. But it seems like Vegas is leaning more towards Brohm than bust. Here are updated odds on Louisville’s coaching search from Uncle Bo(voda)
Fresh odds for replacing Bobby Petrino, hot off the presses, per Bovada:
Jeff Brohm 10/11
Neal Brown 4/1
Ryan Day 9/2
Brent Venables 6/1
Luke Fickell 11/1
Dino Babers 12/1
Matt Campbell 12/1
Jason Candle 16/1
Scott Satterfield 16/1
— Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer_) November 13, 2018
Wandale makes a jump:
A big jump. 131 spots! He’s the No. 114 player in America according to 247 Sports, the highest ranked player in Kentucky and the nation’s No. 2 all-purpose back.
And he’s a Cat. Although I’m a little concerned that Mark Stoops’ is literally trying to already hold him back in the picture above.
In all seriousness, the kid is going to be a stud and what a great job by UK’s staff to keep him home. Read more about his new ranking HERE.
SEC Fever on Tuesday night:
It was a mostly good night for SEC basketball on Tuesday. LSU handed Penny his first loss as Memphis fell in Baton Rouge by nine. Penny’s squad looked formidable and played LSU tough, but man, Will Wade’s bunch is vastly underrated. They have size and athleticism on the frontcourt and a great scoring point guard in Tremont Waters. LSU is probably behind UK, Auburn and Tennessee, but not far behind.
Tennessee beat a pesky Georgia Tech bunch 66-53 to move to 3-0 on the season. Georgia Tech probably isn’t making the NCAA Tournament, but they’re a decent group and it was a solid win by UT.
USC picked up its second win of the season against Norfolk State 81-64 in a game I did not watch.
Tom Crean provided the SEC its lone loss on Tuesday. Classic. Georgia fell at Temple 81-77. Get used to it, Tommy boy.
Louisville’s TopGolf passed another hurdle:
Another win for TopGolf in Louisville as the Planning, Zoning and Annexation Committee voted to send the project to the full council. Now there is one final vote by the Metro Council on Nov. 29th. Once it passes that it will be a full-go!
However, the Hurstbourne curmudgeons won’t have it. Some residents are going to file a lawsuit today against Metro government over the planning commission’s approval of the TopGolf lighting plan for the Oxmoor Center. Despite two long hearings and a vote they want to drag this out until they get their way. Not happening.
Still the GOAT Halloween costumes.