By TJ Walker on ©June 21st, 2018 @ 6:30pm
How about a friendly competition among Kentucky Sports Radio writers? The NBA Draft starts at 7 p.m. tonight and at least four UK players are expected to hear their names called. Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are expected to be first rounders and there’s been plenty of mystery surrounding Hamidou Diallo and Jarred Vanderbilt. It’d be a bit of a surprise to hear Wenyen Gabriel’s named call tonight, but after several impressive workouts anything is possible (Kevin Garnett voice)
Here’s how the game works:
1. Predict where each UK player will be drafted.
2. For Knox and SGA, if you accurately predict the exact spot you earn three points.
3. If you’re off by a spot (higher or low) you earn one point.
4. For Diallo and Vanderbilt you earn five points if you predict accurately
5. If you’re within three spots (higher or lower) you earn one point.
6. For Wenyen Gabriel you earn one point if you predict he’s not drafted and you’re right.
7. If you predict Wenyen Gabriel is drafted and he is drafted, you get three points.
8. If you predict Gabriel exactly you will get an additional five points, if you’re within three spots (high or lower) you earn two points.
You don’t have to predict the teams that draft UK players, but just the spots.
|Shai Alexander||Kevin Knox||Hamidou Diallo||Jarred Vanderbilt||Wenyen Gabriel|
T.J.: It may come as a bit of a surprise but I think Knox jumps SGA in the draft and ends up a top eight pick. I think both players will have nice NBA careers but Knox has a higher ceiling in my opinion. SGA would be the safer pick, but safe picks don’t sell tickets and aren’t sexy for teams with top 10 picks. Vanderbilt was the toughest player to predict because I wouldn’t be completely shocked if he went first round or early in the second round. I’m playing for points putting him in the early/mid second round. Diallo will be drafted but as of right now a team would just be drafting an athlete. I don’t believe Gabriel will actually be drafted but I’m playing the odds game. Let’s go Wenyen!!!!
Tyler: I believe Knox will end up in New York after knoxing Miles Bridges around in a recent workout (see what I did there? Feel free to use it, NY Post). Knicks fans and the New York papers already seem enamored with Knox, who has the highest upside of any Kentucky prospect in the draft. I know there’s a lot of buzz Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will go in the top ten, but, barring a last-minute trade by Toronto, I think he’s headed to the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s been training in LA since school ended and reportedly has a guarantee. It just makes sense to me, and as much as I love Shai, I just don’t see him going top ten.
I also think Diallo will head home to Brooklyn with the 40th pick because of his athleticism (they were reportedly interested in him last year) and Jarred Vanderbilt will go early-to-mid second round. His history of injuries will prevent teams from taking a chance on him in the first round, but his upside will ensure they do in the second, where contracts aren’t guaranteed and picks are essentially risk-free.
Nick: The third person to take a crack at this, I’m playing a bit of strategy in this draft scenario. Even though the draft “experts” have SGA rising above Knox, neither of my KSR counterparts are buying into the hype. I am all in on the SGA train and I am all out on Knox to the Knicks. It’s too good to be true. Besides, the Knicks will likely trade up to get Bamba, making way for Knox to become the Sixers’ best three-point shooter.
Picking Diallo to the Nets feels too easy too, that’s why I have a feeling he’ll sneak up to the top of the second round. His stock dipped form a year ago, but not as badly as we think. Kentucky fans are the ultimate critics, but NBA scouts will be much more lenient with an inconsistent shooter in the second round. There has been more buzz surrounding Vanderbilt, but I’m not buying into it. I believe the team that gave him a rumored second round promise is his hometown team of Houston, who is in no rush to use a second round stretch five. As for Wenyen, teams are following my lead in this game. They know they don’t need to use a draft pick to put him on their Summer League team before potentially signing him.
I believe Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will come off the board first at No. 8, but he won’t be headed to Cleveland. He has reportedly told the Cavaliers he isn’t interested in their organization and would like to be drafted elsewhere. Fortunately for them, the Cavs are extremely interested in Charlotte point guard Kemba Walker, and the Hornets are extremely interested in Gilgeous-Alexander. My gut tells me we see a massive trade between both franchises with SGA landing in Charlotte with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Malik Monk.
As for Kevin Knox, the New York Knicks are reportedly all-in on the talented forward, and I expect the Big Apple to be his new home. He has dominated the workout process, and his stock has risen accordingly. It would be a shock to see him fall out of the top ten.
Hamidou Diallo’s stock is solid right now, so I expect he’ll be off the board very late in the first round or early in the second. The Brooklyn Nets were in love with Diallo last offseason when he entered the draft, so my gut tells me he’ll get to head home and play in the Barclays Center.
Jarred Vanderbilt has reportedly been promised by a team in the second round, and it would make sense for it to be Vando’s hometown Houston Rockets. After solid workouts, including one record-breaking performance in front of Magic Johnson and the LA Lakers, I anticipate Wenyen Gabriel will latch on with a team as an undrafted free agent.
By Nick Roush on ©June 21st, 2018 @ 6:20pm
As the NBA Draft draws near, one team appears to have been eliminated from the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sweepstakes. The Kentucky point guard has sky-rocketed up draft boards, but ESPN’s Brian Windhorst is ruling out the eighth overall pick.
“I know Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is shooting up draft boards but from what I can tell, it doesn’t seem like he wants to play for the Cavs,” Windhorst said. “He patently refused to work out for them, in fact made a point to tell them he didn’t want to be there.”
All appears normal, until that final clause.
Part of the reason why Gilgeous-Alexander’s stock has soared is because he hasn’t worked out or conducted interviews with teams. The mystery has added fuel to the flames as teams are drawn in like bugs. Windhorst’s report isn’t unusual, except for the final caveat: “(he) made a point to tell them he didn’t want to be there.”
I guess that means SGA won’t be suiting up with LeBron anytime soon.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 21st, 2018 @ 5:40pm
Most college basketball analysts bumped Kentucky up to No. 1 in their preseason polls after the Reid Travis news, but the addition of the Stanford grad transfer doesn’t impress Jon Rothstein much. Rothstein kept Kentucky SIXTH in his preseason top 25, behind Kansas, Gonzaga, Tennessee, Auburn (!), and Nevada.
As you might imagine, this did not go over well on the Big Blue internet.
— Sean Cunningham (@kyfan502) June 21, 2018
— Mitch Bolin (@MitchBolin9) June 21, 2018
Our fearless leader even weighed in while on vacation:
Absolute nonsense https://t.co/BcKGKRc5kf
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) June 21, 2018
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 21, 2018
What is Rothstein’s reasoning (besides wanting clicks)?
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 21, 2018
Agree! This has the makings of a great Kentucky team and the summer trip will no doubt help immensely. But to START next season, the other five are ahead. https://t.co/S8W92Kd4YP
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 21, 2018
Here’s the rest of his poll, if you dare.
By Nick Roush on ©June 21st, 2018 @ 5:15pm
Jacob Tamme was driving to Gatlinburg with his family for a weekend getaway when he received a phone call from Mitch Barnhart.
“I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear that,” Tamme said. “It was a special moment, a special call, for all kinds of reasons.”
That special call confirmed the former Kentucky tight end would be a member of the 2018 UK Athletics Hall of Fame Class. Tamme has received many honors for playing football — two First Team All-SEC selections and two Music City Bowl trophies to name just a few — but all pale in comparison to this.
“I’m probably not going into Canton, but even if I were…for me, the way I grew up and what UK Athletics means to me, going into this one, I don’t know if it could be any better.”
In an interview with Kentucky Roll Call, Tamme’s humility could be heard through the airwaves. The Danville native never thought his football career could take him this far. He just hopes it will inspire others to do the same.
“For this Kentucky boy who grew up dreaming to play for the Cats, to think that I made a mark there worthy of a recognition like this is very, very special,” he said.
“It’s something to be proud of and I hope it’s something that gives encouragement to small-town Kentucky kids all over the state to go chase that dream and work. Some talent, some grit and some determination can take you a long way.”
Tamme admitted he didn’t really think about playing football professionally until later in life. He simply remained focused on school and helping his team succeed. The rest took care of itself. After the 2006 season, a lightbulb when off when Tamme was selected First Team All-SEC tight end.
“I thought to myself, ‘You know what, First Team All-SEC tight ends usually have a chance at going to the NFL.'”
After another excellent season, Tamme earned the esteemed All-SEC title again before the Indianapolis Colts drafted him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Initially a special teams player, that grit and determination made him one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets. Tamme played in three Super Bowls in nine NFL seasons before retiring and returning to Boyle County to become a cattle farmer.
One Kentucky Wildcat may soon following Tamme’s footsteps. C.J. Conrad is currently projected as the top tight end in next year’s NFL Draft. If Conrad remains healthy, Tamme believes he has all of the tools to succeed.
“I think if he stays healthy it certainly could be a fun year for him,” said Tamme. “He’s a good all-around tight end. I think he does a good job when they ask him in the run game. He does a good job of catching the football. The main thing for him is staying healthy, where he can move at 100 percent all the time, get open on those man-to-man routes and find holes, get in the right spots.”
In the 15-minute interview, Tamme also explained how UK’s offense can get more receptions to the tight end, why his father-in-law’s absence is a good luck charm and he answered the question, “Who is the best Kentucky football player to ever wear No. 18?”
Listen to the entire interview with Tamme below:
By Nick Roush on ©June 21st, 2018 @ 4:15pm
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Did you miss this morning’s edition of Kentucky Sports Radio? Have no fear. This should cover everything Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow, Eddie Gran and Freddie Maggard said that we didn’t already talk about here and here.
Who’s Going to be the Quarterback? Of course it had to be asked, and of course it did not get answered. Eddie Gran referred to Mark Stoops and Stoops relayed the same answer previously stated, “I’m confident in both of them.” Sorry, but the QB battle will not be decided anytime soon.
Bud Dupree Called In. The Pittsburgh Steeler spent ten minutes catching up with his UK coaches, busting chops and talking about his time at UK during the second segment of the first hour. Before you scroll to the bottom of the post to listen to the podcast, remember that one time Bud scored a touchdown?
Bowden to Return Punts. As expected, Lynn Bowden will replace Charles Walker as UK’s punt returner. David Bouvier may get some play, but it’s Bowden’s job for the taking.
In his first year, the coaches wanted him to strictly focus on becoming the best slot wide receiver possible. Now Gran said, “he’s bouncing all over the place.” Bowden will be used inside, outside and in the backfield as Kentucky’s Swiss Army Knife.
These Cats are Fast. Team speed has never been greater under Mark Stoops. More players run faster than 21 miles per hour than ever before. That speed will translate into all three facets of the game.
These Cats are Smart. Stoops began the show by making a joke about his own call-in show, before bragging about his players. Forty-six players had a GPA greater than a 3.0 to help the team finish with their best GPA ever under Stoops, and 16 of the players on the bowl game roster had already graduated. “I really don’t talk about that enough,” he said.
Eddie Gran likes Frank Sinatra. Every person got two song requests. Vince Marrow played “Big Poppa,” Mark Stoops played Toby Keith and Freddie played, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.” The only surprise was when UK’s resident hunting and fishing aficionado requested Sinatra’s, “New York, New York.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 21st, 2018 @ 4:01pm
By TJ Walker on ©June 21st, 2018 @ 3:30pm
We’ve seen John Calipari go toe-to-toe with FS1’s Colin Cowherd but this time Baker Mayfield wasn’t going to sit back and allow Cowherd to roast him.
The Herd with Colin Cowherd is an OK national radio show that will often debate the obnoxious and recycled sports topics that we’re all sick of hearing, but on the day of the NBA Draft what did Cowherd spend time discussing? You guessed it! The NFL and Baker Mayfield. Granted, the NFL season is just over two months away and the sport hardly gets any coverage, but Cowherd thought it would be a good time to bring on Mayfield to rip him for being a bad teammate because he once threw a touchdown pass and didn’t celebrate with his team.
What malicious thing did Mayfield do instead? He ran over to his fans and band to briefly show them some love before going back to his bench to celebrate with his guys. There are plenty of things that can bother you when it comes to Mayfield, and while I don’t get worked up over any of them, this is what Cowherd decided to nitpick?
Baker Mayfield roasted Cowherd for trying to make him seem like a “bad teammate” after a TD ? pic.twitter.com/vdR2gZtf4M
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) June 21, 2018
It’s worth mentioning that Cowherd once ripped John Wall for dancing in front of his teammates for 34 seconds. “That told me all I needed to know,” Cowherd said back in 2010. “He opened his mouth later and confirmed it.”
He also said John Wall planned “The Dougie” dance for weeks before performing it (although it’s been eight years now and I promised I wouldn’t get worked up over it again). What a dingus.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 21st, 2018 @ 3:00pm
John Calipari is doing what John Calipari does best and spending his day making the rounds in New York City to talk up his guys ahead of tonight’s NBA Draft. How swaggy is he? Here’s a running thread of his appearances.
“Get Up,” ESPN
Calipari gave his usual NBA Draft stump speech (“Kevin Knox is the youngest player in the draft,” “Anthony Davis took the fourth most shots,” “My guys are making $1.5 billion in NBA contracts”), but was also asked about the NBA team pressed Kevin Knox on whether or not he had a kid at the Combine.
“I knew nothing about it, but when someone started telling me the story, that they asked him if he had a child, I said, ‘Does he have a child? I know this kid and his family, I can’t believe it.’ They said, ‘No, it was a hoax.’ So, it’s interesting that someone would go that route, but they’re trying to unearth everything. They’re trying to look, mentally, what are we getting here? Is he a truthful kid or is he just going to say whatever we want to hear? I get it, but it’s an unique way to do it.”
The best part of the entire appearance was at the end when Calipari crossed paths with Villanova head coach Jay Wright, resulting in this great picture:
That looks like a lot of fake laughter about Kentucky landing Reid Travis if you ask me.
Calipari Swag Meter: “TAKE THAT, JAY!”
The Dan Patrick Show
Dan Patrick loves to get Calipari off script, and started the interview by asking him, “Would you rather be a five-footer or a seven-footer with no athleticism?”, which resulted in an answer that made absolutely no sense.
Cue plenty of goofiness between the two:
Calipari Swag Meter: Confused, but amused
Calipari was able to stick to his talking points much more easily on “SportsCenter A.M.,” going on about how Kevin Knox is the next Jayson Tatum and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander went from the ninth-rated player on the team to a potential lottery pick.
As I mentioned earlier, he also touched on Reid Travis and next year’s roster, which, per his words, “should be okay.” LOL.
Calipari Swag Meter: TO THE CEILING
It’s a busy day so of course Calipari made time to take in a Yankees game:
Jason Garrett, John Calipari, Tommy Lasorda, Brian Cashman, and Yanks Pres Randy Levine all chilling. WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?? pic.twitter.com/g2BR6KTjj8
— JRSportBrief (@JRSportBrief) June 21, 2018
Had a chance to see legendary and longtime Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, and my good friend Brian Cashman. pic.twitter.com/xUQUcntpyw
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) June 21, 2018
The man never stops.
Calipari Swag Meter: Needs Dunkin Donuts
Where will Cal pop up next?
By TJ Walker on ©June 21st, 2018 @ 2:30pm
The USA U17 team will make its way to Argentina in a couple days and several UK targets made the final cut. The Cats will send a coach to watch the FIBA U17 World Cup from June 26th-July 8th. The main target will be the No. 1 player in 2019, Vernon Carey Jr. UK is one of the top five for Carey with Duke, Michigan State, UNC and Miami (Fla.). While many experts don’t view UK as the favorite you’d be silly to count out John Calipari at this point.
Here’s the complete 12 man roster (UK targets in bold)
Vernon Carey (2019, offered)
De’Vion Harmon (2019)
Wendell Moore Jr. (2019)
Isaac Okoro (2019)
Isaiah Stewart (2019)
Romeo Weems (2019)
Scottie Barnes (2020, offered)
Jeremy Roach (2020)
R.J. Hampton (2020)
Jalen Green (2020)
Evan Mobley (2020)
Jalen Suggs (2020)
What an absolutely stacked team. Remember, it’s coached by high school coaches. The head coach is Don Showalter (USA youth division coach). The Americans are 30-0 in the event and are the heavy favorites to bring home gold once again.
James Wiseman didn’t make the first cut because of a groin injury, but he did measure in at 7-feet talk and an impressive 7-foot-6 wingspan. That will work.
Introducing the 2018 USA Men's U17 World Cup Team
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) June 21, 2018
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 21st, 2018 @ 2:04pm
How is John Calipari feeling about his team after the addition of Reid Travis? If there’s a word for someone’s who’s both swaggy and smug, he’s it. Cal appeared on “SportsCenter A.M.” this morning to preview tonight’s draft, and inevitably, was asked about Travis and next year’s squad.
“He’s going to bring a lot,” Cal said of Travis. “You know I say if it’s talent or experience, I’m taking talent, but guess what, we get BOTH with him. He’s a talented player and he’s experienced. He can help us with leadership. He and PJ [Washington] — I told PJ and Reid that you’re both going to help each other. Both going against each other and playing with each other.
“The players we have returning with PJ and Nick [Richards], Jemarl [Baker] who didn’t play. Quade Green is WAY better. I looked at him yesterday in the gym, he’s lost weight. I’m excited. The new guys coming in, we just added Ashton Hagans to the team. We should be okay.”
Then he made this face:
Watch the entire interview below:
More on Calipari’s media appearances in just a bit…