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December 5th, 2016

Calipari is Getting Back to the Basics

cal

After watching film from the UCLA game, John Calipari had three takeaways:

1. “They outfought us, which was the disappointing thing for me.”

2. “For the first time this year we didn’t pass the ball the way we’d been passing.”

3. “We broke down defensively.”

Calipari focused most of his call-in show discussing his team’s defensive struggles.

“We gotta go back to the basics defensively.  We got away from a lot of the stuff we historically did everyday because I thought this team was farther advanced than they really are.”

Calipari shoulders most of the responsibility.  After watching his team explode against Arizona State, like most fans, he became “intoxicated,” forgetting his players are only freshmen and sophomores.

“We’re too young to think we’re beyond all that stuff,” Cal said.  “It was a great lesson for me as a coach.  I went back to drills we were doing the first two weeks of practice.”

One of those drills involves running at three-point shooters, especially shooters in the corner.  Normally a shot they take away from opponents, UCLA hit it eight times.  A drill he traditionally inserted into every practice was taken out of the routine about two weeks ago.  That is no longer the case.  In fact, he is doubling-down.  Normally a practice on the day before a game would be light, but not tomorrow.  Cal can’t take it easy on his young team.

“Anytime I think they got it, they don’t.  They’re freshman and they’re sophomores.” Calipari said it’s a process, “it just doesn’t happen overnight.”


Tai Wynyard Will Miss Wednesday’s Game vs. Valpo

wynyard

Tai Wynyard returned home to New Zealand this afternoon after learning his grandmother passed away.

Coach Calipari revealed on his call-in show that Wynyard will not be back for the game against Valpo.  The BBN’s condolences are with the Wynyards during this difficult time.

The frontcourt took another hit today, quite literally.  Calipari tried switching things up by inserting Sacha Killeya-Jones into the lineup with Bam Adebayo.  On the first play, Killeya-Jones took a shot to the eye.  He was forced to leave practice to get stitches, although he did return before practice ended.

Killeya-Jones’ status for Wednesday’s game is uncertain.  “We’ll see,” Calipari said.


Future Cat Walker Wood out 3-4 months with knee injury

Photo via USA Today High School Sports

Photo via USA Today High School Sports

Future Cat Walker Wood suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter of Lafayette’s state championship loss to Trinity on Saturday, but thankfully, it appears the injury is not as serious as once feared. According to the Herald-Leader’s Josh Moore, Wood dislocated his knee and chipped some of the bone off his knee cap in addition to suffering some cartilage damage, but didn’t tear anything, which is what everyone fears when they hear the words “knee injury.” With surgery and rehab, Wood said he expects to be back to 100% in three to four months.

Wood is still one of the frontrunners for the Kentucky Mr. Football award, with 31 rushing touchdowns and 30 passing touchdowns this season. Wood will enroll at Kentucky this spring, where he could also be used as an “athlete” or wide receiver, and today, he penned an emotional farewell letter to his family at Lafayette High School:

No matter how UK uses him, it sounds like the Cats are getting a quality player on and off the field.

Check out some of Walker’s highlights from this season below, starting with this incredible touchdown vs. Boyle County, which made SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays:

 


JoJo Kemp on bowling in Florida: “We want to get these Lexington folks’ feet in the sand”

@UKFootball

@UKFootball

It seems like few players have been happier over the past few weeks than JoJo Kemp. The Cats’ senior running back has been with the program for several ups and downs, but maintained his positive attitude throughout. When Kentucky finally achieved bowl eligibility vs. Austin Peay, JoJo turned the sideline and locker into his own personal bowling alley, striking the bowling pose over and over and over again.

JoJo was one of the players who met reporters today to discuss Kentucky’s invitation to TaxSlayer Bowl, and his enthusiasm was still sky high a week after the Cats’ thrilling upset of Louisville.

“The first stop everyone is talking about is the beach,” JoJo said of how the team might spend their down time in Jacksonville. “We want to get these Lexington folks’ feet in the sand and show them how we’re feeling. We’ll make sure we catch a view of the beach and everything else will take care of itself.”

If that quote wasn’t indication enough, JoJo said he’s “just in heaven right now.”

“It’s been great. This is what we’ve been working so hard for. Especially me, I wanted to see the change in the program. So to see us take that step forward is just an awesome feeling and you can tell that everyone is excited and happy to have the Governor’s Cup back in Lexington. It just feels good to top off everything that I wanted to do for my senior year. It’s an awesome feeling, especially with having the bowl game in Florida, that’s a plus. I’m just in heaven right now, you don’t even understand.

Right there with you, JoJo.


Anthony Davis leads the NBA in scoring, blocks, and efficiency

anthony-davis

If one thing has become abundantly clear in the first month and a half of the NBA season, it’s that Anthony Davis is back. Anthony now leads the NBA in scoring (31.8 points per game), blocks (2.75 per game), and player efficiency (31.87) after his eighth 35+ point, 10+ rebound game of the season last night. Needless to say, he leads off our BBNBA roundup today.

 

bbnba-davisAnthony Davis, Pelicans (101-92 loss to the Thunder)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

43

14-32

0-1

9-11

5

10

15

2

2

4

3

3

-10

37

As mentioned earlier, Davis has scored 35+ points and grabbed 10+ rebounds in eight games so far this season. That’s bonkers, as is this sick crossover:


bbnba-jonesTerrence Jones, Pelicans (101-92 loss to the Thunder)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

25

4-6

0-0

1-2

1

6

7

0

0

1

2

2

+2

9

Teammate Terrence Jones had a solid outing, going for 9 points and 7 rebounds off the bench. This breakaway slam was impressive:


bbnba-kanterEnes Kanter, Thunder (101-92 win over the Pelicans)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

30

7-13

0-0

3-6

4

6

10

1

1

2

2

2

+3

17

On the other end, Enes Kanter had a double double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He got the best of Anthony on this play:


bbnba-cousinsDeMarcus Cousins, Kings (106-98 loss to the Knicks)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

43

9-30

4-10

14-16

4

8

12

4

1

3

2

0

+1

36

Boogie turned in another 35+ point, 10+ rebound performance vs. the Knicks:


bbnba-cauley-stein-wcsWillie Cauley-Stein, Kings (106-98 loss to the Knicks)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

23

4-7

0-0

1-3

3

1

4

0

1

0

0

4

+13

9

One of Boogie’s four assists went to Willie Cauley-Stein on this play:

Tonight’s games:

  • 7:00 PM: Nuggets (Jamal Murray) vs. 76ers
  • 7:30 PM: Cavaliers (DeAndre Liggins) vs. Raptors (Patrick Patterson)
  • 7:30 PM: Wizards (John Wall) vs. Nets
  • 7:30 PM: Thunder (Enes Kanter) vs. Hawks
  • 8:00 PM: Grizzlies (Andrew Harrison) vs. Pelicans (Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones)
  • 8:00 PM: Celtics (James Young) vs. Rockets
  • 8:30 PM: Hornets (MKG, Aaron Harrison) vs. Mavericks
  • 10:30 PM: Jazz (Trey Lyles) vs. Lakers (Julius Randle)

Another note: Rajon Rondo has been suspended from the Bulls’ game vs. the Trail Blazers tonight for “conduct detrimental to the team.” According to The Vertical, Rondo got into a “vociferous postgame exchange” with an assistant coach.


8 Leftovers from Mark Stoops’ Postseason Press Conference

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I’ve already shared some stuff from Mark Stoops’ press conference with you today, but let’s go over some leftovers, shall we?

1. While at Florida State, DJ Eliot figured out how to beat Georgia Tech’s offense

The Yellow Jackets run a flex-bone option offense that’s known to give coaches headaches, but while at Florida State with Mark Stoops, DJ Eliot found a way to beat it, which Stoops said he hopes will happen again this year.

“So we did it together, and he did a lot of it. So he had spent some time with it, different places. We had been different places for many years. We worked together for a lot of years, but also he was in several jobs, so I can’t tell you exactly where it was or who it was. But he had some background in that, and we sat there and hashed out a game plan and figured it out. Fortunately we got a few stops because it’s not always easy.”

2. He’s hoping Darius West can come back for the bowl game

West went down with a patella tendon injury in his knee in practice during fall camp. Stoops said he hoped the sophomore safety could come back for the bowl game, but it doesn’t look promising.

“The guy I was hoping was Darius. I was hoping Darius would be back just for him to get some work. He was trying to. He had a little setback, nothing major, just like tendonitis and things like that that sets back some of the rehab, so he will be fine. But I don’t think ready to do much in this prep.”

3. The first postseason practice will be this weekend

UK gets 15 practices between now and the bowl on December 31, and Stoops said his team will hold their first one this weekend.

“We’ll get started this weekend coming up, and then we have to give them a little break for finals because our finals will be all throughout the day and they need some time to study. So we’ll practice this weekend.”

He said this month will basically be “another spring practice.”

“I think they can improve a good dose. We’ll have, not exactly sure, but we’ll have in the neighborhood of 15 practices, and that’s another spring practice. So, again, a portion of that will be about development, period. Just playing football and developing our team and a portion of that will be getting ready for the game.”

4. Someone asked a question about participation trophies and it was awkward

After UofL women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz went viral with his rant about participation trophies, one of the reporters at the presser couldn’t help but see if Stoops would take the bait, asking him what he would tell one of his sons if he came home with a participation trophy.

“Oh, wow, you’re trying to get me,” Stoops laughed. “They do come home with a participation trophy once in a while, and it goes on a shelf that nobody sees.”

5. Understatement of the season: Jordan Jones is a “live wire”

There’s no denying UK’s star linebacker is an incredible talent, but even Stoops admitted he’s a bit off his rocker.

“He’s one of those guys, he’s a live wire, but he’s been very consistent. He brings — one thing he brings every day that’s undeniable is he brings great energy. He brings that juice to practice every day and our players feed off it. So I love watching him. I love coaching him. He’s always got a smile. He’s always bouncing around, and he could practice all day, and that’s a good thing. That rubs off on a lot of people.”

6. Drew Barker will do what he can to participate in bowl preparation

Stoops said Barker will travel with the team to Jacksonville and do what he can to help out following his back surgery last month.

“He’ll travel and he’ll participate as best he can with meetings and helping Stephen and the other quarterbacks, so we’ll continue to work with him with rehab and things like that. But it will be business as usual for him. It’s been a tough time, but I know as I mentioned before, it was a successful surgery, he felt better immediately, and that’s a good thing. So with all that waiting and doing the best we can and trying to do it non-operative, but after talking with the doctors, they’re happy with the way things went.”

7. Priority #1 in recruiting: “Hold everybody we have”

As mentioned earlier, this is a big recruiting period for the staff as they continue to capitalize on momentum from the Louisville win and bowl bid.

“We’ve always got to hold everybody we have, number one. That’s always an issue, and nobody’s going to stop recruiting. So we’ll continue to try to hold everybody we have committed and continue to get some other positions. I think we need offensive linemen still, D-linemen, like to get a couple DBs and linebackers.”

Stoops said he’d like to finish with approximately 20 players in the 2017 class, maybe a little over. (Right now, he has 15 commitments.)

8. Get ready for contract extensions

When asked, Stoops said he’s prepared to do everything he can to keep his staff in place, especially amid rumors that Eddie Gran may be up for the Cincinnati job.

“We’ll talk about that with some of them immediately. This is the time of year where there’s always some interest and it happens, and we’ll continue to work hard at keeping this staff. I do feel very comfortable with this group. So I’d like to keep it intact as best we can.”


Calipari and Quade Green went recruiting yesterday

green-commit

When Quade Green signed with Kentucky last month, he immediately started recruiting his friends to come to Lexington with him. The 2017 point guard is so focused on bringing top prospects to Kentucky that he hit the recruiting trail yesterday with John Calipari and Tony Barbee. According to ZagsBlog, the trio watched Green’s AAU teammate and good friend Mohamed Bamba play in the PSA Cardinals Showcase at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, along with fellow five-star Hamidou Diallo. If you remember, minutes after his commitment last month, Green vowed to bring Bamba, Diallo, and Kevin Knox to Kentucky with him.

“Now it’s my time to recruit him now,” Green said of Bamba, adding later, “There’s a bunch of guys I want to get there to play with me, Diallo, Kevin Knox, a bunch of ’em.”

Bamba had 9 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, and five blocks in his game, including this reverse dunk:

Meanwhile, Diallo put up 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. If you didn’t know already, he can jump high:

Bring ’em home, Quade.


De’Aaron Fox named SEC Freshman of the Week…again

Chet White | UK Athletics

Chet White | UK Athletics

Congratulations to De’Aaron Fox, who was named SEC Freshman of the Week for the second time this season. Fox won the award the opening week of the season and takes it home today for his performances vs. Arizona State and UCLA. Malik Monk also won the award the second week of the season, making this Kentucky’s third SEC Freshman of the Week honor in four weeks.

Of course, Fox had a triple double vs. Arizona State, with 14 points, a career-high 11 rebounds and 10 assists, only the second triple-double in program history. Against UCLA, Fox scored 20 points, just one off his career high, and just missed out on a double-double with a game-high nine assists. Right now, Fox is averaging 15.9 points a team-high 7.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. Per UK, his assists average through eight games is ahead of where Tyler Ulis was through eight games last season when he went on to break the school’s single-season record for assists. The 7.8 assists per game ranks third in the country.

His highlights from Arizona State:

And a breakdown of his performance vs. UCLA from Draft Express:

 


Kentucky drops to #7 in the Coaches Poll

After dropping to sixth in the AP Poll, Kentucky dropped from first to seventh in the Coaches Poll. The new top three is the same as the AP Poll: 1) Villanova, 2) UCLA, 3) Kansas.

Compare both polls below:

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-12-39-48-pm

Can’t really argue with it.


Stoops on recruiting: “It was a really good weekend”

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

This weekend was a huge one for Kentucky football for many reasons. First, the Cats accepted an invitation to the TaxSlayer Bowl, Kentucky’s most prestigious bowl since the Outback Bowl in 1998; and second, several major recruits were in town. Sixteen, in fact. Of course, Mark Stoops couldn’t talk specifics, but after convincing one of those visitors, 3-star DE Chris Whittaker, to flip his commitment to Kentucky last night, he hinted in his press conference that the weekend went very, very well.

“We had about 16 kids in, really just wrapped up with one of them just now,” Stoops said in a press conference earlier today. “It was a really good weekend. A lot of good players, a great reception. Some guys are committed, some aren’t, we’re working through it. But it’s been a good week.”

Stoops was on the recruiting trail all last week, checking in on current commits and trying to convince players pledged to other schools to flip their commitment to come play for Kentucky. He’s been a busy, busy man.

“Was gone all week, left last Sunday early and got back Friday, we had 16 kids in this weekend, that went very well. Actually had to leave last night, was out of town for the night, came back this morning. Gonna have this press conference, met with another recruit this morning. Gonna have a team meeting at 2 p.m., and then leave right after that.” 

Some of the players in town this weekend included 4-star wide receiver Danny Davis, 4-star athlete Lynn Bowden, 3-star offensive tackle Naasir Watkins, and 4-star defensive end Joshua Paschal (younger brother of former Cat TraVaughn Paschal), who posed with Calipari and Vince Marrow in Cal’s office on Friday:

As I mentioned earlier, KSR is hearing UK will get at least one or two more football commitments this week, including at least one more flip. Stay tuned…


Like most of us, Stoops celebrated Kentucky’s win over Louisville with bourbon

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Between recruiting and bowl negotiations, the last week has been a whirlwind for Mark Stoops, but he told reporters today that he did find some time to celebrate the big win over Louisville last Saturday in the most Kentucky way possible: over a nice glass of bourbon.

“I went home and enjoyed that victory Saturday and I’ve been on the run ever since. I haven’t sat down for five minutes since then, since last Saturday evening,” Stoops said before smiling and adding, “I did enjoy that bourbon last Saturday evening, though.” 

Like most of us, Stoops said he’s still enjoying the monumental win.

“We’re still on a high after the big victory. Our feet, really, have not hit the ground.”

When asked, Stoops said the celebration at Commonwealth Stadium once the team returned from Louisville was a special one for players, coaches, and fans.

“It was a great moment. Great for our team, for our assistant coaches, for everybody, for our fanbase. It’s really been exciting. It was weird because I left right after that, like I mentioned, but that night, yes, it was special. It was fun. It was fun for our team and everyone in our program.”

In between recruiting trips, Stoops said he was reminded of the win around Lexington as fans congratulated him. 

“And then I was gone and then I got back and had to run an errand, go to the bank, everything and everybody starts beeping and waving and yelling at me, I was like, what’s going on? It was just another normal day for me,” he joked.

Also special: Saturday’s halftime recognition during the UCLA game.

“It was really nice to come back and have that weekend and get recognized at halftime of the basketball games as well for our players. Like I said, they’ve worked hard and they’re a good group. It was fun.”

Let’s relive both the celebration at the practice facility and Saturday’s halftime ceremony via KyWildcatsTV:

In other news, I need Marcus McClinton to be my life coach.

 


Kentucky falls to #6 in the latest AP Poll

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

After a two-week run at number one, Kentucky fell five spots to number six in the latest AP Poll. UCLA, previously number 11, moved all the way up to number two, right behind Villanova, the new number one team in the country.

Here’s the entire poll:

1 Villanova (57) 1,613
2 UCLA (2) 1,478
3 Kansas 1,458
4 Baylor (6) 1,437
5 Duke 1,389
6 Kentucky 1,274
7 North Carolina 1,234
8 Gonzaga 1,198
9 Indiana 1,103
10 Creighton 1,003
11 Louisville 901
12 Saint Mary’s (Cal.) 899
13 Xavier 784
14 Virginia 758
15 West Virginia 729
16 Butler 691
17 Wisconsin 655
18 Purdue 485
19 South Carolina 476
20 Arizona 320
21 Florida 285
22 Cincinnati 258
23 Notre Dame 197
24 Oregon 175
25 Iowa State 95

Others receiving votes: Syracuse 45, Southern Cal 43, Ohio St. 40, TCU 33, Florida St. 18, Virginia Tech 11, California 10, Maryland 9, Valparaiso 7, Wichita St. 5, Temple 3, Michigan St. 3, Minnesota 1, IPFW 1, UNC Wilmington 1


LIVE: Mark Stoops talks about the TaxSlayer Bowl

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-9-50-50-am

Kentucky is in the TaxSlayer Bowl and Mark Stoops is a happy man. So happy he’s holding a press conference with his favorite media members at Commonwealth Stadium. Tune in via the live stream below:


Jeff Brohm reportedly taking the job at Purdue

Breaking news! Several outlets are reporting that Western Kentucky head coach Jeff Brohm is leaving Bowling Green to take the head coaching job at Purdue. Rumors flew about the move over the weekend, but now, it’s happening. Brohm is reportedly meeting with his team right now to deliver the news.

You could argue that Brohm could have waited for a bigger, better job next year, but apparently, Purdue made him a pretty impressive offer, around $3 million per year, according to Western beat writer Chad Bishop. Brohm was 30-10 in his three seasons as the Hilltoppers’ head coach.

No word on the impact this news is having on the Roush family. (Brohm is Nick’s cousin and Nick’s brother Nathan plays for Western.)


Bowling Green Wins Fifth Title In Six Years

carothers23

BG Daily News

Kevin Wallace and the Bowling Green Purples won their fifth title in six years and sixth overall with a 70-22 win over Pulaski County on Sunday night. BGHS reeled off 48 unanswered points in the second half to win the 5A title game at WKU. Navy-commit Jamale Carothers totaled 239 total yards and five touchdowns to bring home MVP honors for the Purples. Mr. Football favorite Jake Johnson had ten catches and a touchdown to bring his season total to 139 catches and 20 total offensive scores.

Pulaski County hit BGHS in the mouth in the first half. Wiley Cain started 15/22 and Johnson had eight catches in the first half. The Maroons scored with 21 seconds remaining in the first half to tie the game at 22. The second half was all Bowling Green. The Purples scored 21 points in the fourth quarter before their offense even took the field and DeAngelo Wilson added two touchdowns on offense as Bowling Green ran away with a 70-22 win.

What Coach Wallace has built at BGHS is truly spectacular. Bowling Green now has five titles in six years and have only lost four times in that span. The Purples defense allowed less than ten points per game in 2016 while outscoring their opponents by 511 points over the course of the season. As a BGHS alum, I got to watch the run first hand and let me tell you, it has been fun. Carothers will be excellent at Navy and Clark Payne will be a stud QB at the next level.

A congratulations is in order for Pulaski County. I had the privilege to call Maroons’ Football this season in Somerset for iHeart Radio. The first thing I want to mention is about Jake Johnson. He is simply the best player in the state. I have taken friends and family to Somerset with me just to watch him in person and they are blown away by everything he does. He plays every down on offense, defense and special teams. He scored touchdowns by passing, rushing, receiving, interception return, and kick return. He picked off eight passes and had 20 offensive touchdowns. Johnson is the career leader in KHSAA history in receiving yards and receptions and in the top five in receiving yards. It was incredible to watch #2 do his thing all season. The entire PCHS team battled through an incredible amount of adversity this season. For a team that saw a leading contributor leave the team, double digit injuries, and the loss a beloved former player, the Maroons never quit.

Congrats to BGHS on yet another incredible season. Once a Purple, always a Purple.

@TreyHuntsmanKSR