Kentucky Sports Radio

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

June 7th, 2019

Ashton Hagans thinks Kentucky’s backcourt in 2019-20 could be “one of the best” we’ll ever see

From the time he first announced his return to Kentucky this offseason, the Big Blue Nation has been downright giddy about what we might see out of Wildcat point guard Ashton Hagans in his second year.

And this afternoon, the 6-foot-3 sophomore didn’t do much to temper those expectations.

In our first media opportunity with Kentucky’s four key returning players today, Hagans was asked about his early thoughts on his new partner in the backcourt, Tyrese Maxey, and just how good they can be together this season.

Not only does Hagans believe they can be good together, he actually believes that the Kentucky backcourt this year just might be the best of the John Calipari era in Lexington.

“[Tyrese Maxey] is a really good guard,” he said. “He’s going to be a nice guard to play with. We’re going to have some great memories on the court. Might be one of the best backcourts you all ever see, but we’re going to have to see.”

Maxey, a consensus five-star, top-15 prospect out of high school, certainly comes to Lexington with high expectations, as well. The 6-foot-4 freshman is considered one of the best shooters in the class of 2020, scores the ball with ease, and takes pride in being an elite defender.

While there is a ton to look forward to when it comes to Maxey, that last aspect of his game is what excites Hagans the most. If his new teammate loves playing defense just as much as he does, Hagans believes it’s going to be a “scary sight” for the opposition this season.

“Tyrese does a lot with his game and I feel like I can do the same,” he said. “He plays defense so that’s something that’s going to be a scary sight for other teams. We’re just ready to go out there and play with each other.”

But does Hagans really believe they’ll be one of the best backcourt pairings not only in the nation, but the most impressive we’ve seen in the 11 years John Calipari has been in Lexington? One potentially better than John Wall and Eric Bledsoe in 2009-10, Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray in 2015-16, and De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk in 2016-17?


But it won’t be just because of him and Maxey. With Immanuel Quickley back for a sophomore season and Johnny Juzang making his way from California in the coming weeks, Hagans is extremely confident that the Wildcats have four elite pieces making up the backcourt.

“We’re going to see,” Hagans said with a laugh. “We’re just going to have to see. Tyrese, he’s a really nice guard. We’ve got Immanuel back. We’ve got some other guards. Johnny, hopefully, we’ll get him in a couple of weeks.”

Outside of the backcourt, the Kentucky sophomore says that with Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery both withdrawing from the NBA Draft, along with all of the other strong pieces they have lining the roster, this team has the opportunity to be “special.”

“Nick’s a lot better. Same thing with EJ,” he said. “I think talent wise, I think we’ve just got pieces so I think we’re going to do something real special.”

With all of the talent coming back and just how deep they are across the board, Hagans wants fans to prepare themselves for the 2019-20 season.

“We’re back here for year two and I just want y’all to see what’s coming up in year two,” he said.

And what might that be?

“You’re just going to have to wait and see…”

LIVE: Kentucky’s returning players talk to the media

Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, and EJ Montgomery are about to meet with the media to discuss their decisions to return to Kentucky, the satellite camps across the state, and what they think of the newcomers so far. Watch live below via Facebook Live:

2019-20 Kentucky returning players speak to the media

Posted by Kentucky Sports Radio on Friday, June 7, 2019


Former McDonald’s All-American Jordan Brown will transfer to Arizona

We finally have our answer regarding former McDonald’s All-American and Nevada transfer Jordan Brown.

Today, the 6-foot-11 forward announced on Twitter that he would be transferring to Arizona

In an interview with Evan Daniels of 247 Sports, Brown said that his recent visit to Arizona put the Wildcats over the top.

“Some of the things I really liked about my time up there, was building a relationship with coach [Sean] Miller and the rest of the staff,” Brown said. “The weather out there was nice. I like the way he plays, and the freedom that he gives his bigs in the post and away from the post.”

He also added that he liked how close Arizona was to his hometown of Napa, CA and that his friends and family could now come visit and watch his games for the rest of his college career.

“It’s not too far from home, and is a good distance if my family and friends want to come up and make it to some games,” he added. “One thing I really noticed is Sean Miller’s passion for the game and just the drive that he has. I feel like it matches mine.”

Kentucky was involved early in the recruiting process and sources told KSR that Brown had significant interest in the program, but things went fairly quiet for several weeks. Brown made visits to Saint Mary’s and Arizona State, and there were also rumors that UK could also soon get a visit, but the former five-star prospect opted for Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats instead.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, Brown will have to sit out a year before having three more years of eligibility.

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: KSR Friday Summer Storytime

Image result for tom payne kentucky

Every Friday from now until the beginning of football season, I open the Friday Rants and Ramblings post up to the reader.  Part of what makes this fanbase great is the memories and stories that people cherish so much.  So I am asking you to send me your favorite UK story.  Whether it be a joyful moment or one that brings tears to your eyes because of the heartbreak, something that sticks with you as a fan of UK.  You can send these stories to [email protected].  You can even send me a picture if you want.  Either way, I like hearing from you.  Today, one fan gives a recap of the long road to integration of the UK basketball program:

Kentucky had dominated college basketball throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s. UK ranked #1 in W-L percentage during those two decades and won 4 NCAA titles and an NIT title in that era. UK was undefeated and probably the best team in the country in 1954 but declined to play in the NCAA tournament that year because its 3 senior stars were ruled ineligible to play in the NCAA.  But the integration of college basketball changed things for the Wildcats. Beginning in 1960, every NCAA champion has been an integrated team. And the best HS players in Kentucky during the 1960’s included many black players. Names like Michael Redd and Clem Haskins in 1963, Westley Unseld in 1964, and Alfred (Butch) Beard in 1965 are
legendary in Kentucky high school basketball history.

The year 1967 topped them all. Black stars Jim McDaniels, Jim Rose, Clarence Glover, and Jerome Perry led the Kentucky All-Stars to a sweep of Indiana and enrolled as a group at Western Kentucky. And 1969 would produce black stars like Tom Payne and Ron King.  UK basketball started to recruit black players actively in the mid 1960’s.  UK signed black track star Jim Green of Eminence KY and football stars Nat Northington and the late Greg Page to athletic scholarships.  But basketball was another story. UK didn’t really try very hard to sign Clem Haskins so he went to Western Kentucky where he led the Hilltoppers into the NCAA tournament and earned All-American honors.

The year 1965 brought changes to the UK coaching staff. Longtime assistant Neil Reed moved on and was replaced by Joe Hall, who played for Rupp at UK in the late 1940’s.  Hall quickly implemented changes to a UK recruiting system that had been floundering for a few years. Joe Hall worked his recruiting magic that  spring by signing 12 players to UK scholarships. (Yes, 12 – there were no limits back then) None of the 12 was black. UK tried to sign Parade A-A forward Perry Wallace of Nashville in 1966 but he opted to attend hometown Vanderbilt instead. Wallace was the first black (varsity) basketball player in the SEC in the 1967-68 season.

Hall continued to recruit black players as part of his UK recruiting efforts. One of his top targets in 1968 was 6-8 big man Joby Wright of Savannah GA. Wright was yet another Parade 1st team HS All-American and visited the UK campus that spring. But Wright wound up at Indiana where he ultimately played for legendary IU coach Bobby Knight. Finally 1969 rolled around. Black players continued to dominate the landscape in Kentucky HS basketball. Once again two KY players were chosen Parade HS All-Americans that spring. They were 7 footer Tom Payne of Louisville Shawnee and “shooting star” Ron King of Louisville Central (1969 Kentucky HS champions). Both players visited the UK campus later that spring.

King opted for Florida State following in the footsteps of Kentuckian Dave Cowens to play for Hugh Durham. Payne was highly recruited by major schools across the country and narrowed his choices to UK and UCLA. He also played in the Dapper Dan Classic and waited until June before finally making his college choice. And it was Kentucky!!!

Finally the Wildcat basketball program would be integrated.  But Payne would prove to be ineligible to play as a freshman at UK or even earn a scholarship due to some academic shortcomings. His parents paid his way to attend UK as a freshman and he played on an AAU team in Lexington that year. Payne got his grades in order and became a star on the UK varsity in the 1971 season. He earned All-SEC honors and wound up declaring himself eligible for the NBA Hardship Draft of underclassman in 1971. He was picked second by the Atlanta Hawks behind Nate Williams of Utah State, who was chosen by the Cincinnati Royals. Payne was the second “One and Done” player ever at UK after LeRoy Edwards, who left UK in 1935
to play pro basketball after his sophomore season.  But history will forever record Tom Payne as the man who integrated the UK basketball program in the 1971 season. Payne had enormous talent and basketball skills that were never fully realized.

Adolph Rupp retired in 1972 and Joe Hall was named UK head coach. Hall would proceed to sign many black basketball stars with Kentucky roots. Reggie Warford was an All-State guard at Drakesboro in 1972.  Larry Johnson of Union County and Merion Haskins (Clem’s younger brother) of
Taylor County were signed in 1973. Lexington stars Jack Givens (Parade HS AllAmerican) and James Lee chose UK in 1974. Those 5 were the first black players to make a Final Four appearance for UK in 1975.  Joe Hall probably deserves a lot of the credit for successfully integrating the UK basketball program beginning in 1969 and throughout the 1970’s. But it was the unlikely duo of Tom Payne and Adolph Rupp who are recorded by historians as integrating the Kentucky basketball program.

FortyYearCatFan (Since Rupps Runts In 1966)

KSR Show Thread, 6/7: Sam Panayotovich guest hosts

Sam Panayotovich came highly recommended out of Chicago so Matt Jones is giving him a shot in the big chair on KSR. Sam is so excited, he drove all the way to Lexington to be in studio with Ryan and me. We’ll be there to chime in when needed, but the show is in the hands of Sam with the long last name.

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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June 6th, 2019