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August 17th, 2019

Bowling Green eliminated in the Little League World Series

Photo: Little League

Bowling Green’s Little League World Series dreams have unfortunately come to an end.

Following the team’s 6-1 loss to New England this afternoon, Bowling Green East has been eliminated from contention.

Bowling Green – who turned into Great Lakes for the LLWS – managed just two hits on the day, while New England ended game with eight total, led by three from Lucas Tanous.

New England’s Owen Pfeffer pitched a complete game, finishing with seven strikeouts, two hits, two walks, and zero earned runs.

As for Great Lakes, Jameson Napper and Luke Idlett made up the team’s two hits on the day.

Kentucky made its 10th LLWS appearance overall and its first since 2016, with the state’s record now moving to 14-20 all time in the event. Bowling Green East made its third trip to Williamsport, with all three of them coming in the past five years alone. Led by manager Rick Kelley, Bowling Green won two games in both 2015 and 2016.

The team had been a perfect 14-0 going into the weekend, including a 3-0 finish at Regionals.

Great Lakes lost on Friday afternoon to Minnesota in the double-elimination event.


Today on KSR: One week from college football season

Can you hear that off in the distance? You know, that sound of helmets hitting, whistles blowing, and fans screaming? Of course you do, because college football season is officially just one week away.

While the sounds of Kroger Field are just a tad bit further away, next Saturday marks the official begin to college football season, as Miami (FL) is set to take on the Florida Gators on August 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL.

Kentucky’s season begins 14 days from today, but next week’s season-opener will certainly do for a filling appetizer.

Until then, let’s take a look at what’s going on in the world of UK Athletics.

Michael Avenatii names Kenny Payne in Nike allegations

Infamous attorney Michael Avenatti was back in court on Friday to fight his extortion charges, and once again, he came armed with text messages and e-mails to go after Nike.

One of the texts uncovered, Avenatti claims, identifies Kenny Payne as the previously unnamed “assistant coach at the University of Kentucky” from Avenatti’s first batch of allegations.

Here’s the brief Kentucky-related excerpt from Yahoo’s new story on the day’s events with Avenatti:

DeBose also participated in a text message exchange on July 6, 2017, with an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, according to the motion. In the exhibits, the initials “KP” are attached to one non-DeBose number. Kentucky has an assistant basketball coach named Kenny Payne.

In the exchange with “KP,” DeBose explains that he provides money to “about 10 [Nike EYBL] coaches who are helping families to the total of about 200K annually.”

He names the coaches using first names and nicknames that couldn’t immediately be identified by Yahoo Sports. DeBose declares the business is “stressful” because he has “to do it cleanly and with a process. I’m good but it’s enough to where Lynn and Nico don’t want to know the intimate details to cover their asses.”

Nike’s global vice president for sports marketing and basketball is Lynn Merritt, who has been a longtime fixture at the company.

“So it’s a risk,” DeBose wrote, “but my everyday job is a damn risk so I’m used to it now.”

“Watch your back, bro,” KP wrote back. [Yahoo!]

This afternoon, I will be breaking down the Avenatti documents and explain why or why not Kentucky fans should be worried about the news.

(Spoiler alert: they shouldn’t be)

Stay tuned.

The injury bug continues to hit former Wildcats

Just a day after DeMarcus Cousins learned of his torn ACL that would keep him out for the 2019-20 NBA season, former Kentucky football star Avery Williamson received the same news.

On Thursday night, the New York Jets linebacker fell late in the second quarter of his team’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons with an apparent knee injury.

And on Friday, it was announced that the injury was, in fact, a torn ACL for the former Wildcat.

Williamson, who is going into his sixth year in the NFL and his second with the Jets, was seen as one of the leaders of the entire team and served as the defense’s lead playcaller.

Last year, Williamson managed 120 total tackles (80 solo), three sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception in the first year of his three-year, $22.5 million contract with the franchise.

Now, the 27-year-old linebacker will be forced to miss the entire year.

Nik Scalzo’s Netflix documentary is out now

On Friday, Netflix released season three of QB1: Beyond the Lights, which features none other than Kentucky freshman quarterback Nik Scalzo.

The documentary, produced by Friday Night Lights’ Peter Berg, profiles the lives of three high school quarterbacks through a football season. You’ll be able to go behind the scenes to see how Scalzo handled adversity through a tumultuous senior year at Cardinal Gibbons that ends in triumph.

There are ten episodes, each just 30 minutes long.

Click here to start watching the first episode right now.

Bowling Green facing elimination in LLWS

Kentucky’s own Bowling Green East squad is facing elimination in the Little League World Series this afternoon following the team’s loss to Midwest (MN) on Friday.

Yesterday afternoon, Bowling Green fell to Minnesota by a final score of 2-1 following a strong pitching display from both teams.

The boys out of Kentucky allowed just two hits on the day, but Minnesota managed to come in the clutch late in the game to come out on top.

Grayson Newman started the game for Great Lakes and pitched for two innings, allowing two runs on two hits, along with four strikeouts and one walk.

But Bowling Green’s season isn’t over just yet.

Bowling Green East will play Barrington, RI (New England) today at 3 p.m. ET on ABC in the elimination game. With four more victories, they will have a chance to jump right back in the U.S. LLWS Final.

Matt Jones permanently pulled from Hey Kentucky

Yesterday afternoon, it was announced that KSR founder Matt Jones would not return to host Hey Kentucky! on WLEX 18 moving forward.

After being pulled from the show a little over a month ago due to his impending decision on running for US senate, manger of WLEX 18 Pat Dalbey made the decision to remove Jones from the show completely after Jones announced he was writing a book on US Senator Mitch McConnell.

Dalbey stated:

“As a journalism company, we are committed to bringing quality journalism and objectivity to the news products and programs that we produce. To protect our objectivity, Matt has been off the air from “Hey Kentucky!” while he considers pursuing a political career. In light of the news about Matt’s book and his still-pending decision on whether or not to run for the U.S. Senate, I have decided that he will not return to LEX18.”

Following the decision, Matt responded with a statement of his own on Twitter:

“Today WLEX made the decision to end my time as host of Hey Kentucky! due my decision to write the “Mitch, Please” book,” he said. “I disagree strongly with this decision but it is what it is. I will continue to pursue my passions and beliefs, regardless of the result. I will however miss doing Hey Kentucky! more than I can even say. What we built during a short time was remarkable and creating and developing that show was a true joy in my life. Thanks to Mike, Noah, Daniel, Chris and all the co-hosts over the years that helped me do Hey Kentucky. I have never had more fun at any job. And thank you to the viewers. you guys embraced a show unlike anything on local tv. Going from zero to beating Jeopardy was the best.

“Finally, thanks to WLEX. I don’t like how it ended but they took a chance on us when no one else would and I will be forever indebted. For now, I will focus on KSR Radio and making “Mitch, Please” a book worthy of losing your job for.”


Enjoy your last weekend without football, BBN.


KSR Shop: Flash sale extended!

The KSR Shop and Kentucky Branded have decided to extend their flash sale for another day! Head to ShopKSR.com to receive 25% off everything. Stock up on KSR gear, UK tees, hats, and more.

Don’t miss out on this big flash sale. Ends at midnight!

[KSR Shop]


August 16th, 2019

Avenatti names Kenny Payne as the ‘UK assistant’ in his Nike allegations

Michael Avenatti was back in court today to continue his War On Nike and this time he brought more texts and e-mails as his ammunition.

One of the texts, Avenatti claims, identifies Kenny Payne as the previously unnamed “assistant coach at the University of Kentucky’ from Avenatti’s first batch of allegations.

Here’s the Kentucky-related excerpt from Yahoo’s new story on the day’s events with Avenatti:

DeBose also participated in a text message exchange on July 6, 2017, with an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, according to the motion. In the exhibits, the initials “KP” are attached to one non-DeBose number. Kentucky has an assistant basketball coach named Kenny Payne.

In the exchange with “KP,” DeBose explains that he provides money to “about 10 [Nike EYBL] coaches who are helping families to the total of about 200K annually.”

He names the coaches using first names and nicknames that couldn’t immediately be identified by Yahoo Sports. DeBose declares the business is “stressful” because he has “to do it cleanly and with a process. I’m good but it’s enough to where Lynn and Nico don’t want to know the intimate details to cover their asses.”

Nike’s global vice president for sports marketing and basketball is Lynn Merritt, who has been a longtime fixture at the company.

“So it’s a risk,” DeBose wrote, “but my everyday job is a damn risk so I’m used to it now.”

“Watch your back, bro,” KP wrote back. [Yahoo!]

The rest of Yahoo’s lengthy report is full of more alleged dirt on Nike and its Nike EYBL circuit, including more suspicious behavior around the very suspicious recruitment of DeAndre Ayton, as well as the recruitments of Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford.

You can read it all here on Yahoo.com. For now, just find peace in knowing the one mention of Kentucky isn’t anywhere near the accusations around Arizona, Duke and Indiana. We don’t love reading Kenny Payne’s name in the report, but it is a minor detail in this overall story of Avenatti V. Nike.


PFF QB Ranking Takeaways

The good guys at Pro Football Focus gave us a great appetizer just before the toe officially meets the leather for the 2019 season. PFF analyst Cam Mellor rated each projected starting quarterback for every FBS team and ranked them from No. 1 all the way to No. 130. Our own Tyler Thompson gave you the lowdown earlier this week, but now it’s time to get deeper into the weeds.

Fair Spot for Wilson

Heading into his junior season, PFF slotted Terry Touchdown at No. 46 after starting 13 games in his first season over from Garden City Community College. Mellor highlighted Wilson’s ball security and running ability. For all of us that watched Wilson last year, that totally makes sense.

The Oklahoma City native and former high three-star recruit was a game manager for Kentucky who occasionally made some impressive throws. He is a true weapon with his legs and should again be the best running quarterback in the SEC this season.

Coming in at ninth overall in the league sounds right.

Kentucky Flavor

All three FBS programs in the state (UK, Louisville, WKU) all will have out of state starters under center, but some other programs stole some talent from the Bluegrass State. Most notably up I-71 North.

After Hayden Moore left last season’s opener hurt last season, Desmond Ritter stepped into the lineup for Cincinnati and never looked. The Louisville St. Xavier alum completed 62.4 percent of his throws, averaged just under eight yards per attempt, contributed 727 rushing yards (not counting sacks) in the run game, and led the squad to 11 wins. He might be the best quarterback in the AAC this season.

In the Big Ten, Tanner Morgan is back under center for P.J. Fleck’s Golden Gophers after starting the last six games of his redshirt freshman season. The Ryle alum led Minnesota to their first win over rival Wisconsin since 2003. In West Lafayette, Elijah Sindelar returns for Jeff Brohm’s squad after making nine starts the last two seasons. The Caldwell County alum will get the benefit of throwing the ball to superstar Rondale Moore all season.

Big XII Firepower

The Big XII is known for their offensive firepower and they are going to have some dudes spinning the rock this season. Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, Iowa State’s Brock Purdy, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, and Baylor’s Charlie Brewer each find themselves in the top 12. Down at No. 26 is Texas Tech’s Alan Bowman rounding out half of the league’s quarterback.

Ehlinger has a chance to join 30-20 (passing/rushing) touchdown club, Brock Purdy is a star in the making, Lincoln Riley gets to tailor his offense to Jalen Hurts’ strengths, and Charlie Brewer has a great chance to become a first round pick. Get ready for some overs to hit in the Big XII.

Love for Guarantano

One of the biggest surprises about this entire list is where Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano fell. The redshirt junior and former top-100 recruit has started 18 games for the Vols the past two seasons and has put up pedestrian numbers and only a 6-12 record. However, he has graded out well in PFF’s system.

Tennessee essentially had no running game last season and a ton of offensive line problems. Guarantano had a sack rate of 8.2 percent and the protection issues were a big reason why he only averaged 20.5 throws per game. However, he graded out well all season in the PFF system. The New Jersey native consistently hit on vertical back shoulder throws and played excellent in the upset win over Kentucky.

PFF is going out on a limb here with their Guarantano analysis and we’ll see if it pays off on the field this fall.

What happened to Puma?

In the class of 2016, Bobby Petrino and Louisville pulled off a big recruiting getting Jawon “Puma” Pass to pick the Cards over Alabama and Mississippi State. He was tabbed the future of the program and many thought he would start his true freshman season.

Well, Lamar Jackson happened and UofL got to slowly bring Pass along. When it was time for the blue-chipper to start, he failed immediately. The Columbus, Georgia native barely completed 50 percent of his passes, had an ugly sack rate of 9.1 percent, and threw 12 interceptions to just eight touchdowns. It was no surprise to see him ranked as the second worst QB1 in the Power Five. The Cardinals had one of the worse passing games in the FBS after having the sport’s most electric player for two season.

Scott Satterfield is set to begin his first season in Louisville and he has his work cut out for him in developing Pass into the player many thought he would be out of high school.

[PFF]


Daishen Nix hoping to take an official visit to Kentucky, decision coming soon

2020 five-star guard Daishen Nix is considered the top passer in all of high school basketball, and with summer slowly coming to a close, he’s hoping to announce where he is taking those talents in the very near future.

And during the home stretch of his recruitment, Kentucky remains right in the thick of things.

Back at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA in June, the 6-foot-5 prospect out of Las Vegas told KSR that despite the fact that he didn’t hold an offer from UK quite yet, the Wildcats were still a major priority of his during his recruitment.

In fact, the elite passing guard said that he was dying to meet Kentucky head coach John Calipari, a “legend” in his eyes, sooner rather than later.

“I really want to meet Coach Cal [in person],” Nix said. “Because growing up, watching all the top schools, they were my dream schools. It was pretty good that I got to finally talk to him. … It’ll be a shock [when I meet him] because he’s a great coach. He’s a legend to me.”

Back on May 2, UK assistant Joel Justus visited Nix at his high school, where he praised the five-star point guard for his elite passing abilities and said he could be an immediate impact player in Lexington.

When asked about the meeting, Nix said having a coach from Kentucky reach out stands out among some of the other visits he has had.

“It was a surprise because Kentucky walked in,” the five-star prospect said. “It was just like some of the other visits, but they were just higher than the other coaches that have come in so far.”

While conversations have remained consistent between Nix and the Kentucky coaching staff since the NBPA Top 100 Camp, an offer is still not on the table, and there are questions as to whether or not one will ever come.

As I’ve mentioned on the site before, while the Kentucky coaches are in love with Nix has a primary ball handler, passer, and leader, there are questions about his shooting and scoring potential at the next level. For better or for worse, Kentucky sees a ton of Isaiah Briscoe in his game, and they are wondering how that would fit in with some of the other pieces they are looking to bring in, most notably with Jalen Green and Josh Christopher.

I’m told that an offer could still absolutely come, but Kentucky would prefer to see him in action just a bit more over the next few months before officially extending one.

Sources close to Nix tell KSR, however, that the five-star guard is still extremely interested in visiting Lexington in the coming weeks in hopes of earning a scholarship offer in person.

In fact, if the Kentucky coaching staff will have him, Nix would like to schedule an official visit to the school sooner rather than later.

“[Visiting Kentucky] is a point of emphasis, most definitely,” a source close to Nix said. “Coach Cal will be the one to decide the order of things. That’s up to Cal.”

If that visit comes to fruition and an offer does come, sources tell KSR that Kentucky would likely climb up Nix’s leaderboard, potentially as high as No. 1 on his list.

Why? Outside of the consensus top-25 prospect’s outspoken admiration of John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program, Nix also told KSR that he is extremely interested in playing with UK commitment BJ Boston in college after the two built incredible chemistry together back at the NBPA Top 100 Camp.

“We’ve got really good chemistry,” Nix told KSR. “He’s a really cool guy, he’s down to earth. He’s really funny too, that’s what a lot of people don’t know about him.”

Boston agreed.

“Our chemistry is developing really good, he’s a pass-first point guard,” Boston told KSR in Charlottesville. “I really like that when I’m playing. We connected from the time we first stepped on the court together.”

But the clock is ticking, however. Sources tell KSR that Nix is looking to make his decision in the coming weeks, with the latest likely being September, meaning this visit and offer would have to come together rather quickly.

If not, UCLA will likely be the favorite to land the top passing guard in all of America.

Until then, watch him work below: