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June 10th, 2019

Film Room: JuTahn McClain

@JuTahn9

It was a great recruiting weekend to kickoff the summer circuit for the Kentucky Wildcats and after scooping up power back Torrance Davis on Friday night, UK collected a running mate for him on Saturday. For the second time in three recruiting hauls, UK has take two running backs in one class.

JuTahn McClain is a composite four-star back out of Fairfield, Ohio which is just north of Cincinnati. In his junior season, McClain put up over 1,600 yards rushing and scored 31 touchdowns. He is a track star and will be bringing some highlight speed and quickness to Lexington. The Cats have found a thunder and lightning combination to add to their running back room.

Just like we did with Torrance Davis, we’re taking you inside the film room to show you just what JuTahn McClain is bringing to the UK running back room. The scat back is a player that could be used in a lot of ways and will have a great chance to play in his true freshman season.

Similar to class of 2019 member Travis Tisdale, JuTahn McClain is a one-cut runner who just needs a crease to create a big play. However, on his tape he shows some very quality patience when asked to run in between the tackles. On this long touchdown run, McClain lets his blockers do their jobs to create the lane for the big play. McClain needed to use hesitation to allow the backside tight end to pull around to clean up the linebacker. While that’s happening, it allows the playside wide receiver time to get up on the corner to allow an alley for the sideline. Eddie Gran talks about patience all the time with running backs and McClain shows he has that skill.

Similar to fellow commit Torrance Davis, McClain has the ability to spread out and be a factor in the passing game. Fairfield uses him a ton on your typical running back slip screens and in the slot on bubbles. But at times they allow to run actual routes and here you see his ability as a pass catcher. On the out and up route, McClain shows he can create separation and makes an impressive reception away from his body. On tape, he consistently catches the ball with his hands and should be able to factor in as a pass catcher.

The biggest reason that McClain could make an impact right away during his true freshman season will be because what he brings in the return game. The all-purpose back is excellent on kick returns and in his Hudl tape you see numerous returns where he creates a big play for his team. If Kentucky loses Lynn Bowden Jr. following the 2020 season, McClain should step in and be the team’s starting kick returner in 2021.

JuTahn McClain becomes Kentucky’s seventh member of the 2020 class and each is rated as a high three-star or above. That’s making a good living on the recruiting trail and it’s pretty easy to see McClain’s fit in the offense. Kentucky is in need of a change of pace back who can contribute in the passing game. That is what McClain brings to the table. Slowly the Wildcats have a really impressive group of backs set to be in Lexington next year. That’s what you expect after producing the 12th all-time leading rusher in SEC history.

 


Kerry Blackshear Jr. expected to visit Kentucky this week

© Jason Getz | USATSI

Kentucky will have its shot at the top graduate transfer on the market.

According to recruiting insider Evan Daniels, Virginia Tech forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. is expected to visit Kentucky this week.

According to Daniels, Blackshear will be also be taking an official visit to Tennessee on June 14th after taking trips to Florida (unofficial) and Arkansas (official) last week. The 6-foot-11 big man is also considering Texas A&M, along with a potential return to Virginia Tech.

For the Hokies last season, Blackshear averaged 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He will be eligible to play immediately next year.

Bring him on home, Coach Cal.


Aaron Torres Sports Podcast Ep. 156: Sneaker Mogul Sonny Vaccaro + Kerry Blackshear Update


We’re starting the week with a very special episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast. Aaron is joined by one of the iconic names in all of grassroots basketball, Sonny Vaccaro. Vaccaro talks about all the issues plaguing college hoops, including assistant coaches going to jail, and his thoughts on RJ Hampton, in a wildly entertaining interview. But before Sonny, Aaron talks about some developments from over the weekend, including:

What’s next for Kerry Blackshear? On Friday, surprising news emerged, as Virginia Tech transfer Kerry Blackshear ended up taking an official visit to Arkansas. Aaron explains why Blackshear’s recruitment might not be as simple as we once thought, shares what he believes Arkansas’ pitch was, and how serious a threat the Hogs are in his recruitment. He also discusses Jordan Brown’s commitment to Arizona, and why this is way bigger for the Wildcats than most realize.

Sonny Vaccaro joins the show: Next up, Aaron is joined by an icon in the world of grassroots basketball, Sonny Vaccaro. Vaccaro discusses his role in getting the shoe companies involved in college basketball, and how it snowballed to the point that assistant coaches are now going to jail. Also, after he helped Brandon Jennings go overseas out of high school, he shares his thoughts on RJ Hampton. He also explains why he’s never seen a prospect quite like Zion Williamson. This is a MUST listen interview for any college hoops fan.

Get the podcast delivered directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.  You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  Don’t forget to follow the show on Instagram too.


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: This Season Should Be Fun…..and It Guarantees Nothing

UK had amazingly fun seasons in 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2019.  They made the Final Four in only 2 of those 5 seasons and won the title only once.  Fans were very disappointed in how each of those seasons ended except for 2012 and maybe 2017.  Upset losses in the NCAA Tournament absolutely taint a season in a fanbase like this.  But the reality is those five seasons were five of the best seasons in UK history.  Not only were the teams wildly successful, bringing home SEC titles and many NCAA Tournament wins, the players themselves were easy to enjoy and some of the best to wear blue and white.

And yet, only 20% of them ended in a title and 40% ended in the Final Four.  The best teams in the Calipari era still made the Final Four less than half the time.  Now he has supplemented those disappointments with surprising runs to the Final Four in 2011 and 2014 so that helps balance things out for Calipari.  But this upcoming team will certainly start the season in the Top 4 and has all of the pieces, at least on paper, to make a run for a title.  We must face the reality though  that it is still more likely we will miss the Final Four than make it.

My point is not to be a downer.  My point is recognize the journey more than the conclusion.  My point is to have some better perspective of the difficulty of making it to the Final Four, no matter how good the team is.

Consider that Calipari has had a preseason Top 4 team in 8 of 10 seasons.  He has made the Final Four in only 3 of those 8 seasons.

2009-10: Preseason #4 (no Final Four)
2011-12: Preseason #2 (Final Four)
2012-13: Preseason #3 (no Final Four)
2013-14: Preseason #1 (Final Four)
2014-15: Preseason #1 (Final Four)
2015-16: Preseason #2 (no Final Four)
2016-17: Preseason #2 (no Final Four)
2018-19: Preseason #2 (no Final Four)

Only time will tell but this season and this team could be quite fun to watch this season.  If they meet expectations, they will probably be a 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  But even that lofty seed means you will almost certainly have to play THREE quality opponents just to get to the Final Four.  Winning three straight quality games on neutral floors in a high pressure situation is tough.  The fact that UK has done it 4 times in 10 years is pretty impressive.  But getting beat before the Final Four should be put in perspective for the whole season.

Should UK have beaten WVU in 2010, Wisconsin in 2015, Kansas State in 2018, and Auburn in 2019?  Of course they should have.  But they are not machines.  They consistently get themselves in position to make the Final Four.  And sometimes they finish the job and sometimes they don’t.  This team will probably do the same this year.  Let’s enjoy the ride no matter how the finish comes.


KSR Show Thread, 6/10: Tony Vanetti is in the KSR Big Chair

Tony Vanetti is spending his Monday morning on Kentucky Sports Radio. Standing in for Matt Jones, Vanetti will be joined by the World Heavyweight Radio Champion. Maybe Shannon the Dude will throw him through a table? Tune in to hear all the action.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (772) 774-5254.

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Today on KSR: The St. Louis Jinx is on

Adam Glanzman | Getty Images

The St. Louis Blues did not stand a chance.

Hosting game six of the Stanley Cup Finals with a 3-2 lead, the Blues had a chance to clinch the cup and win the franchise’s first ever championship. Unfortunately, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put the cart before the horse.

Hours before the puck was dropped, the St. Louis newspaper published a thank you letter online from Blues’ ownership, thanking the fans for helping carry the team to a championship. The letter, meant to be seen after a fourth win in the Stanley Cup Finals, was only visible to the paper’s subscribers in their e-edition, but the damage was already done.

After the Blues failed to capitalize on a few first period opportunities, the Bruins scored four goals in the third to win 5-1 and force a decisive game seven in Boston. Everyone makes mistakes. Luckily, ours are not quite as costly as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s.

Kentucky Adds Two Running Backs

It was a good weekend to be a Kentucky football fan. The Cats landed not one, but two incredibly talented 2020 running backs from the state of Ohio.

Torrance Davis and JuTahn McClain rolled the dice on their official visits. Now UK’s seven-man class is ranked 21st in America by Rivals.

Davis and McClain will create an exceptional combo in the backfield. Davis, who pulled the trigger Friday night, is a big-body back who can run opponents over after catching passes out of the backfield. The Cleveland Glennville product can be used in a variety of ways, just like McClain. A 5’9″ all-purpose back from the Cincinnati suburb of Fairfield, the home run hitter can score on any given play. The future is bright in Eddie Gran’s backfield.

Football Camps Continue

Kentucky’s wave of recruiting momentum isn’t slowing down anytime soon. One-day camps are rolling along today, while more official visitors are set to arrive on campus tomorrow. After three days of camp, Jack and I still have much to share from the eye-opening events that brought unprecedented talent to the Bluegrass.

On The Road

Camps aren’t just for football players. The basketball team will be at South Oldham High School this afternoon for a three-hour satellite camp. After seeing what happened in Bardstown, I have a feeling there will be a block party.

Game Five of the NBA Finals

The death of a dynasty is on our doorstep. The Golden State Warriors trail 3-1 to the Toronto Raptors. Kawhi Leonard could give the franchise their first Larry O’Brien Trophy and Canada its first pro sports championship in 26 years.

That will not happen if Kevin Durant has anything to say about it. Yesterday the superstar practiced for the first time since he injured his calf. Will KD put the team on his back and become a legend or will this be an ugly swan song for the Warriors? We’ll find out tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

Women’s World Cup is Underway

You’ll have to wait one more day before the United States takes the pitch. Until then, there are a few games on the schedule in France. Argentina takes on Japan at noon, followed by Canada vs. Cameroon at 3:00 p.m. ET on FS1.

It’s a Fight

In today’s edition of, “things I thought I’d never type on the internet,” Justin Bieber wants to fight Tom Cruise.

Aaron Torres has a HUGE Guest

The biggest name in the shoe biz is on today’s Aaron Torres Sports Podcast. Sneaker mogul Sonny Vacarro joins Aaron to talk about the FBI’s investigation into college basketball and much more. Subscribe to make sure you get the podcast on your phone first when it hits the feed later this morning.

Tony Vanetti is on the mic

There’s been a slight change in the KSR guest hosting lineup. The Italian Stallion was called out of the bullpen to host this morning. Kyle Tucker, Curtis Burch and the Johnny Juzang train will take over Tuesday, moving Laura Rutledge to June 21. The show will go on beginning at 10:00 a.m.


June 9th, 2019

Kentucky Has Rough Showing in KY-IN All Star Games

(Photo by: Indiana All Stars)

Indiana swept Kentucky as the state won both games of the annual all-star showcase over the weekend by more than 30 points each. Indiana was victorious in the first matchup on Friday night by a score of 97-64, and the state won again on Saturday by a score of 120-74.

The series sweep comes after Kentucky split the last four games over the last two years. Indiana now leads the all-time series, 99-44, and has won 30 of the last 34 games played. However, it is important to note that this year saw several talented Kentucky players not able to participate in the showcase. Dontaie Allen, was not able to play due to continuing recovery from off-season knee surgery and an injury suffered in an April car accident. Michael Moreno of Scott County who signed with Eastern Kentucky, did not play as well due to injury, and Kyle Rode of Lexington Christian Academy who signed with Liberty University did not participate as well.

Despite those heavy losses, Kentucky still had very talented players like KyKy Tandy, David Johnson, Isaiah Cozart on the court. However, the team was just simply outclassed by Indiana’s all star team. Considering the overall dominance displayed in this series by the hooiser state, Kentucky needs to start competing more consistently to justify this showcase’s existence. Otherwise, tweets like this from verified accounts would not exist:

Oh well. Congrats to Indiana on being good on just one level of basketball.


Mock Draft Updates on UK’s NBA Prospects

With just 11 days before the 2019 NBA Draft, former UK Stars PJ Washington, Tyler Herro, and Keldon Johnson are patiently waiting to see where they will be selected. As June 20th draws closer, many scouts and different websites are routinely making new mock drafts.

Here is where the Kentucky trio is slated to be selected in some of the most well-regarded mock drafts on the internet:

PJ Washington

CBS Sports: Round 1, Pick 13 to the Miami Heat

The Ringer.com: Round 1, Pick 10 to the Atlanta Hawks

NBA Draft.net: Round 1, Pick 18 to the Indiana Pacers

Bleacher Report: Round 1, Pick 11 to the Minnesota Timberwolves

Tankathon.com: Round 1, Pick 13 to the Miami Heat

Tyler Herro

CBS Sports: Round 1, Pick 15 to the Detroit Pistons

The Ringer.com: Round 1, Pick 18 to the Indiana Pacers

NBA Draft.net: Round 1, Pick 21 to the Oklahoma City Thunder

Bleacher Report: Round 1, Pick 15 to the Detroit Pistons

Tankathon.com: Round 1, Pick 21 to the Oklahoma City Thunder

Keldon Johnson

CBS Sports: Round 1, Pick 19 to the San Antonio Spurs

The Ringer.com: Round 1, Pick 27 to the Brooklyn Nets

NBA Draft.com: Round 1, Pick 22 to the Boston Celtics

Bleacher Report: Round 1, Pick 26 to the Cleveland Cavaliers

Tankathon.com: Round 1, Pick 25 to the Portland Trail Blazers

 

Overall, most of this speculation is not too different from earlier in the draft process. Washington seems destined to be a lottery pick as teams really like his wingspan and improved shooting capabilities. The Miami Heat are the most popular destination as they need a leader in the frontcourt who can foster a competitive culture. While there is always a risk that he could fall in the draft due to his undersized height at the position, it seems almost certain at this point that Kentucky will have a player selected in the lottery for yet another year.

Herro has seen his stock slightly improved in the past few weeks. After reports of him having a legendary workout with the Boston Celtics, it seems that Herro’s reputation as a shooter has improved in the eyes of many front offices. Seeing him projected to go as high as 15th to Detroit is the highest I’ve seen since he declared. Being selected by the Thunder is the most popular prediction as they badly need more outside shooting. Seeing Herro play alongside NBA stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George would be a dream for many Kentucky fans.

Johnson on the other hand has seen his stock slowly fall ever since the midway point of Kentucky’s season as he finished the year on a bit of a quiet note. The consensus from many experts is that he will go somewhere in the late 20’s at the end of the first round. This is a bit disappointing, but the bright side of that is Johnson might get picked by a very good team at the end of the first round. The mock draft by CBS was the kindest to Kentucky as it predicted that all three players will be taken in the first 20 picks. If that happens, then this will be yet another great draft night for the Wildcats.


Four-Star DL Octavious Oxendine Makes Unofficial Visit

(Photo by 247Sports)

As reported by Justin Rowland of rivals.com and our very own Jack Pilgrim, class of 2020 4-star defensive lineman Octavious Oxendine made an unofficial visit with Kentucky on Sunday.

The Radcliff, Kentucky native is ranked as the third best prospect in the state by Rivals and the 17th best defensive tackle in his class. Oxendine spent his junior year at North Hardin High School where his play on the field earned him SEC scholarships from Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Tennessee.

Rivals currently gives the Volunteers a 100% chance of landing Oxendine while Oklahoma and Purdue are in the mix as well. But today’s news is certainly encouraging as the very talented 6’3, 296 pound athlete is certainly considering the Wildcats.

Considering that this news comes on the same weekend that Kentucky lands two highly regarded running backs, its safe to say that the Wildcats are on a warpath right now on the recruiting trail. Landing Oxendine would possibly pair him with recently committed 5-star DT Justin Rogers which would create quite the duo at that position.

Continue to follow KSR as we will report any further news on Oxendine’s recruitment.


Former Wildcat Charles Matthews Tears ACL in Draft Workout

(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Kentucky Wildcat and Michigan Wolverine Charles Matthews unfortunately tore his ACL at a draft workout with the Boston Celtics as reported by his agent Adam Pensack.

Obviously, this is one of the worst things that can happen to prospects as they prepare for the NBA Draft. Matthews was widely considered to be a late second round selection. However, in recent weeks his stock rose a bit as many scouts consider Matthews to be one of the top defenders in this year’s draft.

With this news, it would not be surprising at all if the 22-year old is not drafted at all now. His agent still remains optimistic that Matthews will still be selected as the former Michigan star impressed NBA teams considerably at the combine and in private workouts.

Matthews averaged 12.2 points and 5 rebounds per game last season for the Wolverines. He spent three seasons with Michigan after spending his freshman season in Lexington where he played 36 games but averaged just ten minutes per outing.

Hopefully, this promising athlete will still have his dream of getting selected in the NBA Draft fulfilled on June 2oth. Prayers up for Charles!


Kentucky opens as 13-point favorite in season opener vs. Toledo

The countdown is officially on. We are less than 12 weeks until the Kentucky Football team opens the 2019 season at Kroger Field against the Toledo Rockets.

With the date approaching quickly, multiple sports books are beginning to release the opening numbers as to who is favored in the season opening contest.

The SportsBook in Las Vegas has Kentucky opening as a 13-point favorite against the Rockets.

Last season, Kentucky finished 6-7 against the spread and 2-5 at home. I am admittedly the last person that you should take gambling advice from, in fact I’d highly recommend Matt and Drew’s “Free Money” podcast that will come out in the fall for more informed advice.

At first glance, I would be worried about the 13 points. One thing that Mark Stoops’ teams have been consistent about is starting the season opener with a game that is closer than it probably should have been.

Other notable lines include Notre Dame as a -19 point favorite over Louisville (take the points all day there right?), Auburn as a 2.5 point favorite over Oregon and Alabama as a 31.5 point favorite over Duke.


Tates Creek wins KHSAA Baseball State Championship

Courtesy: Tates Creek Athletics

Tates Creek High School has won the 2019 KHSAA Baseball State Championship.

The Commodores defeated McCracken County 4-2 Sunday afternoon to claim their first state title since 1986.

Champions of the 11th Region, Tates Creek finished the season with a record of 34-7; winning 16 of their final 17 games and 9 in a row.

The Commodores are the first Lexington area school to win the state title since Woodford County won the title back in 2012.

To get to the championship game, they defeated Pleasure Ridge Park, Breckinridge County and the Mustangs of McCracken County.

Next weekend, the final state champion of the year for the KHSAA will be crowned as the girls will take over Lexington for the state softball championship. That tournament was supposed to be this weekend as well, but due to weather they pushed it to next weekend.

Male, Boyle County, Madisonville-North Hopkins, Clay County, Ashland Blazer, Warren East, Pendleton County and Central Hardin will all compete to take home the crown.


KSR Guest Host Schedule Changes for this week

As we approach the second week of the KSR Guest Hosts while our fearless leader Matt Jones is on his vacation, we do have some updates to the schedule. This past week, you heard from Aaron Torres, Myron Medcalf, the Pardon My Take guys and Sam Panayotovich.

Due to a scheduling conflict from ESPN, Laura Rutledge has been forced to change her guest host date to next week. So instead of her on Tuesday, we will hear from the Athletic’s Kyle Tucker and Curtis Burch.

This makes our remaining schedule for the next two weeks as such:

Week 2
Monday, 6/10 — Tony Vanetti | Louisville radio host
Tuesday, 6/11 — Kyle Tucker, Curtis Burch | Locked On Kentucky
Wednesday, 6/12 — Tom Hart | ESPN/SEC Network
Thursday, 6/13 — Barry ‘Slice’ Rohrssen | Former UK basketball assistant
Friday, 6/14 — DeWayne Peevy | UK Deputy Director AD

Week 3
Monday, 6/17 — Michael Eaves | ESPN
Tuesday, 6/18 — UK Football Staff
Wednesday, 6/19 — KSR Football Podcast
Thursday, 6/20 — Matthew Mitchell | Kelly Clarkson Superfan
Friday, 6/21 — Laura Rutledge | ESPN/SEC Network

These next two weeks have some heavy hitters with some making their KSR hosting debut, so be sure to head towards your nearest affiliate.

If you missed any of last week’s guests, you can catch up below. Is there a better way to spend a rainy Sunday?


What are the “coldest pictures” in Kentucky sports?

Image result for kentucky logo

As I was scrolling through Twitter this morning, I saw this tweet from @hoodie2times asking to start a thread of the coldest pictures in sports.

And that made me think of some of the most iconic pictures in Kentucky sports history.

So here are some of the “coldest” pictures in Kentucky sports:

Anthony Davis Block Against North Carolina

The News & Observer, Robert Willett

Taylor Wyndham Hit On Tim Tebow

Image result for tim tebow kentucky

Anthony Davis Arm Length

Related image

Mark Stoops After Missouri Win

Image result for mark stoops missouri

DeMarcus Cousins “Call Me”

Image result for demarcus cousins call me

Tyler Ulis Bleeding

And the “coldest picture” in KSR goes to…

Ryan Lemond in Las Vegas

Image result for ryan lemond vegas

Okay, Big Blue Nation, what pictures am I missing? Let me know in the comments.

 


Today on KSR: The Dice stay Hot

@JuTahn9

Good Morning, BBN! As a good friend of mine would say, it’s a great day to be a Wildcat, but today seems even better coming off the heels of two commitments at the running back position in the 2020 class.

It started with top 25 running back Torrance Davis on Friday night, KSR’s Nick Roush and Adam Luckett have everything you need to know on Davis.

YAHTZEE! Top 25 Running Back Torrance Davis Commits to Kentucky

Film Room: Torrance Davis

His commitment was followed by four-star Juthan McClain at around 10 pm last night. KSR’s Jack Pilgrim made sure to dish out the scoop last night.

YAHTZEE! Four-star running back JuTahn McClain commits to KENTUCKY

2020 commit and lead recruiter amongst the players, John Young, seems to be pretty happy with the two.

Summer Camp Continues

After a very successful first two days, the Kentucky football camp will continue today with the kicking camp and the Sunday Showcase. Here are the sights and sounds from yesterday’s Saturday night primetime camp from KSR’s Jack Pilgrim.

Quick notes from Kentucky football’s Saturday Night Primetime Camp

What’s next for today? Or should I say, who’s next? 

Kawhi Leonard is a Strange-Strange Man

Kawhi Leonard has slowly turned into a fan favorite in the NBA, with his unorthodox personality in which he essentially shows zero emotion, which is a strange thing to have in sports, let alone a league as flashy as the NBA. With his personality, Twitter has been a gold mine for memes, especially after it was reported that Leonard’s trash talk was…something.

The story of Leonard’s trash talk sparked memes such as this one, which is scarily accurate.

If you think he’s strange now, a story came out yesterday that claimed at a team dinner, Leonard didn’t order anything, but he ate 12 apples instead with a fork and knife. Now, I’m not so sure that this story isn’t a joke, but the fact that people are questioning if it’s real or not is a testament to how different the man actually is.

Regardless, Raptors in five.

Sir Winston Wins The Belmont Stakes

After the first two legs of the Triple Crown were eventful, with he controversy-ridden Kentucky Derby, and the jockey-less horse at the Preakness, Sir Winston quietly won the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes.

Kumar Rocker Throws No-Hitter

For the first time in NCAA Super-Regional history, Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker threw a no-hitter last night in a 3-0 victory over Duke. Not only did he make history by doing such last night, but he also did it by throwing 19 STRIKEOUTS! Absolutely incredible. Watch the highlights from his performance below:

Coach Cal Speaks on Kentucky Basketball Camps

To wrap up this Sunday post, we look to Kentucky basketball’s summer which has included the first father/son camps and the Satellite Camps. Here is what Cal had to say about the last few days in this twitter thread:

Side note from this heart-warming post, are we feeling Kahlil Whitney’s hair?

These camps, including the first father/daughter camp on June 22nd, are still going and it’s not too late to sign up. If interested, check the information below:

Happy Sunday! Go Cats.


@BrentW_KSR