Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
August 15th, 2017

Has Big Blue Madness Campout run its course?

Big Blue Madness Campout is a prime example of what makes Kentucky Basketball so unique; what other school can boast that its fans camp out for free tickets to a practice? Yet, in recent years, Madness Campout has lost its luster. Not only has construction forced UK to limit areas in which fans can camp, the event has become such a production that it’s lost its original charm. With UK once again asking fans to consider getting their tickets online instead of camping out, it’s time to ask ourselves: has Madness Campout run its course? Let’s break it down.

It doesn’t really serve its original purpose

Let’s go back to the origin of the event itself. Midnight Madness began in the 1980s under Joe B. Hall, but fans didn’t start camping out for tickets until 1993. Back then, camping out served a simple purpose: it was the only way to ensure you got your tickets. For the majority of Kentucky fans, that’s a big deal. Tickets in Rupp Arena can be hard to come by, so Madness became the event for the everyday fan, and Madness Campout the event for the most passionate. To some extent, this is still true; however, now that you can get tickets on Ticketmaster, campout is purely symbolic. Case in point: only 1,000 fans camped out last year, and apparently, not everyone who did got lower level seats. If you can’t get lower level seats by camping out, what’s the point?

The spontaneity is gone

One of the best parts about Madness campout used to be the pick-up games on the blue courts. Players would come out and play against campers, the type of interaction fans dream of their entire lives; however, that tradition ended in 2012 when Nerlens Noel almost hurt himself and a young camper on this ill-fated dunk attempt:

So, no more pick-up games. Early on in the Cal Era, players would come and play cornhole and mingle with fans, but the event has grown so big that it’s now an actual production, sponsored by Coke and Papa John’s, with a “Tent City Live” stream and a schedule of activities. From 9-11 a.m., campers will be treated to Coke promotions from the Coca-Cola Stage; at 1 p.m., there will be a hot dog grill out sponsored by Kroger; at 9 p.m., get ready because the players will be passing out Papa John’s pizza!

Campout evolving into a corporately sponsored event was probably an inevitability in this day and age, but it stifles the spontaneity that made the event so fun to begin with.

They’re actually running out of space

UK sent out a warning again this year that because of construction on campus (and the new buildings that construction has produced), space will be extremely limited, and that once the area around Memorial Coliseum reaches capacity, fans will be asked to get their tickets online instead. From a logistics standpoint, camping out is harder than ever.

What has it really become?

Look, I love Kentucky basketball, but, as family, we can admit that we go a little crazy sometimes. That crazy is on full display at campout. For the most part, it’s harmless; fans being fans, sharing their excitement for another season and supporting the players. Yet, in recent years, it feels like campout has become a glorified autograph session, to the point UK puts up barriers between the lodge and gym so the guys can go work out without being mobbed. Some groups embrace that, hanging outside with fans to sign autographs and mingle; others shy away from it, holing up in the lodge.

What can make it better?

Madness campout is one of the best traditions in Kentucky basketball, but it needs a jolt of life. Space limitations can’t be helped, but there has to be a better way for players to interact with fans. Get them out of the lodge to cover it for KyWildcatsTV? Find a unique way to honor the first ten people in line? Open Memorial for a dunk contest? I’m not sure what the solution is, but something’s gotta change.


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 at Via Email.

 #10 Cheddar

I’ve thought about this a lot.

#9 Lanny Finley

Maybe don’t google it at work.

#8 Evan Hatter

Who’s surprised

#7 Big Money Barnes

You’re in the minority, sir.

#6 Bucky Small Hooves

Poor Kyrie.

#5 Ian Combs

That’s dedication.

#4 Raymond Brooks

This is a good solution.

#3 Daniel Broderick

I don’t wanna know Ryan’s answer.

#2 Chip Stuart

Be careful what you wish for.

#1 Paul R Stephens

Well, this makes sense now.


ESPN’s 2018 Mock Draft suggests two promising scenarios for Kentucky

Kentucky has six top 30 freshman on its roster next season, but according to ESPN’s latest Mock Draft, only two will be drafted in the 2018 NBA Draft.

In the wake of the news that Marvin Bagley is heading to Duke this fall, Jonathan Givony, formerly of Draft Express, released his first 2018 Mock Draft for ESPN, and he projects that Hamidou Diallo and Nick Richards will be the only Cats drafted next season, at No. 18 and No. 22 respectively. That’s right; Givony doesn’t believe that Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, or any of the other Cats will be drafted in the first OR second round of the 2018 Draft, a jaw-dropping prediction that suggests two scenarios. One, that people are majorly underrating Kentucky’s talent this season; or two, that a huge number of players could return for the 2018-19 season, setting up yet another monster run ala 2014-15. Both scenarios are intriguing, although I think the latter will happen regardless.

If you’re curious, Givony still has Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. going first in the 2018 Draft, followed by Marvin Bagley and DeAndre Ayton. In yet another sign the SEC will be a man’s league this year, Texas A&M sophomore Robert Williams is projected to go fifth and Alabama’s Collin Sexton eighth.

Read it all for yourself below:

[ESPN]

Then get hyped for the season with this Kevin Knox swaggy tweet:

 


Marlana Vanhoose To Sing ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ At Kroger Field During Solar Eclipse Monday

Editor’s Note: The following was written by Harold Leeder, editor-in-chief of The New Circle Circular, Lexington’s #1 source of fake news you can’t count on.

Kroger Field has announced an event this coming Monday that will allow fans a chance to experience the newly renamed football facility before the season kicks off. Tailgaters will be allowed in the parking lot early and will be able to purchase special parking passes and any regular season ticket holders will receive a free pair of eclipse glasses provided they make a sizable donation to the K fund.

Fans will be able to take their seats by 1pm when the pre-game show will begin when former UK quarterback Freddie Maggard will begin breaking down film of previous matchups between the sun and moon for all of the fans in attendance.

The eclipse is expected to peak at roughly 2:29 in Lexington, the real treat for fans will be Kentucky’s own Marlana Vanhoose singing a stirring rendition of Total Eclipse Of The Heart as the moon slowly passes in front of the sun.

To learn more about what to expect during this eclipse local eclipse enthusiast Rob Bromley weighed in. “I was there for the last one in 1935, that was probably the best one, the 1918 one was nothing to write home about,” began Bromley. “The Sun dominated all day, but this Sun and Moon matchup will be closer than the experts think. I like the Sun to win but the Moon to cover.” Bromley added that he plans to attend this year’s Eclipse viewing and will enjoy hearing Vanhoose sing saying, “I can’t wait for this year’s show. I got thrown out when they did this back in the 30’s over at Stoll Field because I kept spicing up that boring song with some F-bombs here and there.”

To keep up with The New Circle Circular, like the Facebook page or follow Harold Leeder’s Twitter Account.


Matt goes in depth on the protest violence on “Hey Kentucky!”

Earlier today, a white supremacist group announced plans to hold a rally in Lexington to protest the city’s planned removal of two Confederate statues from downtown. What would that mean for the city of Lexington? Matt went in-depth on the topic in a passionate editorial on today’s “Hey Kentucky!”:

Full episode after the jump:

(more…)


The Dog Days of Training Camp with The KSR Football Podcast

There’s only two Saturdays left without Kentucky football, but it feels even longer.  Fight through your late-summer football-less blues with the KSR Football Podcast.  The gang ponders a new name (with the finalists polled at a later date) and discussed all of the camp storylines like…

—  Cole Mosier’s injury and why John Schlarman’s offensive line is built to take attrition.

—  Good things that happened at UK’s first scrimmage.

—  Why is Drew naked on the wall at 21C?

—  Is it good or bad to script plays ahead of time?

—  Joker Phillips’ frivolous statement about his time at Kentucky.

—  Jared’s unforgettable “Remember the Titans” experience.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Diallo, Richards working out with NBA stars during summer break (UPDATED)

John Calipari’s Wildcats are supposed to be on summer break right now, but it has been anything but that for Hamidou Diallo and Nick Richards. If anything, they’re working harder against better competition while back home in the New York area.

How is that possible, you ask?

Well, according to several video clips from Chris Brickley, a popular NBA trainer, Diallo and Richards have been working out with some very familiar names, including Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter.

Brickley was recently featured in Business Insider for his work with Anthony, Kevin Durant and other NBA superstars, so it’s nice to see him teaching and training the two young Wildcats while they are home for the summer break.

Have a look:

A post shared by Chris Brickley (@cbrickley603) on

A post shared by Chris Brickley (@cbrickley603) on

A post shared by Chris Brickley (@cbrickley603) on

Brickley said Diallo told him he wants to win a national championship and be one of the best players in college basketball next season.

This summer work is certainly a great start in that direction.

UPDATE

LeBron James and Kevin Durant have joined the party this week. Richards can be seen trying to guard them in the new clip from today:

A post shared by Chris Brickley (@cbrickley603) on

How about that for offseason competition before beginning his college career?


Kyle Wiltjer signs with the Raptors

Looks like that Goonies reunion with Willie Cauley-Stein brought Kyle Wiltjer some good luck. Wiltjer signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Raptors today, and will compete for a final roster spot at training camp in September.

Last year, Wiltjer signed with the Houston Rockets as an undrafted rookie and spent most of his time in the D-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, averaging 20.5 points (including 37.9% shooting) and 6.4 rebounds per game. He and fellow former Cat DeAndre Liggins were sent to the Los Angeles Clippers in the Chris Paul deal, but the Clippers parted ways with Wiltjer last month. Now, he’ll battle Kennedy Meeks and Alfonzo McKinnie for one of the final two roster spots at the Raptors’ training camp.

Good luck, Kyle. Hopefully you and Willie can team up for a Goonies Christmas Special when the Sacramento Kings host the Raptors in December.

The Goonies are back! Willie Cauley-Stein & Kyle Wiltjer take over Hong Kong

 


Gran Encouraged by Offense’s Response after Scrimmage

After Saturday’s scrimmage, the Kentucky football coaches had mixed opinions on how the team performed.  After yesterday’s practice, Eddie Gran was decisively pleased with his offense.

During the live scrimmage, the offense started drives well, but struggled once they got inside the red zone.  That was not the case when they returned to the field on Monday.

“What I did like is we came out yesterday and had a really good day in the red zone,” said Gran.  “They responded and we were more efficient on first-down run and third down.  We were really good.”

The scrimmages are never as good, or as bad as the coaches initially think once they get to the film.  What he wants to see on film after each practice is a team that has learned from their previous practice’s mistakes.

“How are you going to respond after the things we didn’t (do)?  We’ve just got to continue to get better.  We’ll go on there and look today and whatever we didn’t get better at, that will be the emphasis tomorrow.  If they can continue to grow that way, we’ll have a chance.  I talk about consistency, and that’s what I want to see out of this group is being consistent.”

Today the team conditioned after practice.  I guess that means tomorrow conditioning will be the practice’s emphasis.


Is that Benny Snell Jr. or Odell Beckham Jr.?

Benny Snell Jr. made a one-handed catch in Monday’s practice that had him looking more like Odell Beckham Jr.

See for yourself:

Snell will need his hands, both of them, to catch more passes out of the backfield this season, and this is a good sign that he is capable of doing so. He said on Media Day he anticipates seeing a lot more thrown his way after catching only two passes last season as the power-back behind starter Boom Williams.


Why Marvin Bagley going to Duke is a good thing for Kentucky

By now, you’ve heard that Marvin Bagley, heralded by some as a “once in a generation” type recruit, is headed to Duke, which makes the Blue Devils the definitive No. 1 team in the country heading into the season. Here’s why that’s a great thing for Kentucky.

Last year, the national media penciled Duke in as the national champions before the season even began, hyping the Blue Devils as the perfect mix of talent and experience. As we all know, that wasn’t the case. Injuries and chemistry problems plagued Duke all season, and even though the Blue Devils rallied to win the ACC, they lost to South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, making the season undeniably a disappointment. There were a lot of factors to Duke’s failure to launch — Grayson Allen sure was a distraction — but it didn’t help that every single struggle was nitpicked by the national media. Because of the preseason hype, Duke was squarely in the spotlight, and clearly did not fare well because of it; with the number one player in the 2018 class reclassifying to join the Blue Devils this fall, that will be the case once again. After Bagley’s announcement, Duke’s odds of winning the 2018 title jumped from 7-1 to 3-1, making them the second largest preseason favorite in the last ten seasons behind the 2014-15 Kentucky team. For the second straight season, college basketball’s crosshairs will be on Durham.

If there was ever a season for Kentucky to dodge the spotlight, this would be it. As John Calipari has said time and time again (and will ad nauseam until the season starts), this is his youngest team ever. While several players gained experience during international play this summer, the only returning player who averaged more than seven minutes per game is Wenyen Gabriel. Wenyen averaged 4.6 points last year, making this Calipari’s first team at Kentucky without a returning player who averaged 5.0 points or more in the previous season.

The freshmen are talented, yes, but they are still freshmen, and this team will take some lumps. Last year’s team — also young — was able to go through its growing pains while the rest of the nation focused on Duke. As a result, when the tournament rolled around, the Cats hit their stride. Thanks to Marvin Bagley, Kentucky will have that luxury once again.


Landon Young is Prepared to Replace Mosier after Invaluable Experience as a True Freshman

Jeff Houchin Photography

Landon Young is in familiar territory.

Last year in just his second game as a Wildcat, he was thrown into the action in Gainesville after Cole Mosier went down with a minor injury.  Eddie Gran said it’s invaluable experience, “You can’t put that in words.”  However, Young was able to eloquently describe what it was like when he was forced into action as a true freshman.

It was like I was getting dipped in gas and then thrown into a fire,” Young said after today’s practice.  “It was a little rough at first.  I had to get my wits about me, but I felt like after I got the experience and got to see every thing I settled down.”

After emerging from the fire relatively unscathed, he feels comfortable at left tackle.  He’s seen what kind of looks SEC defenses will throw at him and the type of players he will face on a regular basis.  John Schlarman saw all he needed to see to know that Young is ready to fill the void left by Mosier.

“He’s gotten game reps.  He’s played in the SEC.  We’ve won games with him so I’m confident.”  Schlarman added that even though he didn’t play in the first game, by the end of the season Young received more snaps at left tackle than Mosier.

The coaches believe Young is prepared, but if not, there’s a true freshman who is showing them a lot  of the same things they same from Young a year ago.  Gran said he loves what he’s seeing from Naasir Watkins.

“Athletically, you can see his athleticism.  He’s smart, and boy he is battling through.  The hits those big o-linemen take everyday,” Gran said.  “They’re getting banged around a lot and I love where he’s at right now.  He’s got a chance (to play).  He really does.”

Along with Watkins, Schlarman has a few players who are battling with Young to earn the starting spot at left tackle.  Kyle Meadows can play left or right tackle.  George Asafo-Adjei can play play right tackle in Meadows’ absence.  Mason Wolfe is getting reps once again at left tackle and Nick Haynes has experience at the position.  Currently Schlarman is confident in a seven-man rotation, but wants it to get to ten before the season begins.

Eager to earn his keep, Young is prepared to do whatever it takes to rally around Mosier.

“It does leave a little gap in our line and it has a spot that’s free for the taking right now,” Young said.  “I just have to go out here and outwork the rest of the guys and prove that I’m the one that should be there.”


White nationalists considering rally in Lexington

Charlottesville, Va. protest (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Groups of white nationalists are discussing a rally in Lexington in protest of the city’s planned removal of two Confederate statues from downtown.

Matthew Heimbach of the “Traditionalist Worker Party” has said he and others like him are eyeing Lexington as their next stop after Charlottesville.

A story from the Herald-Leader says, “Heimbach claims people in the Lexington area asked his group get involved in the issue. The group has members in Kentucky and plans to try to recruit more, he said.”

If you saw anything from Charlottesville over the weekend, you know this could get extremely out of hand and you should hope a similar scene doesn’t come to Kentucky.

And if you didn’t see anything from Charlottesville over the weekend, the people at Vice News did an amazing report, which Matt and Ryan mentioned on today’s show, on the events that occurred:


Kentucky to play Monmouth in Citi Hoops Classic in the Garden

New details have emerged regarding Kentucky’s December basketball game against Monmouth in New York City, including how and when to purchase tickets for the event.

The game was officially introduced today as the Citi Hoops Classic, set for Saturday, December 9, 2017 in Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is set for noon.

“This is a great opportunity to play a strong and up and coming team in a historic venue,” John Calipari said of the game. “We love coming to New York and look forward to seeing the Big Blue Nation in full force out east. I’m always excited to partner with Citi to bring great basketball to the fans.”

Tickets for the event go on sale to the general public on August 25, but Citi cardmembers can go ahead and purchase their tickets today through August 24 on CitiPrivatePass.com.


Stephen Johnson to return to practice Wednesday

There were some concerns about the health of UK starting quarterback Stephen Johnson after a photo surfaced showing Johnson sidelined at Monday’s practice in a protective boot on his right ankle.

LOOK: Stephen Johnson Wears a Boot During Practice

Johnson looks to have missed practice again on Tuesday after he was seen without pads, but Eddie Gran told reporters in his post-practice press conference that Johnson is expected to return to the field Wednesday.

Gran did not comment on the extent of the injury, only saying, “Just a boot,” when asked.

Johnson was not wearing the boot on Tuesday.