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July 19th, 2019

DeMarcus Cousins’ squad wins their first game of The Basketball Tournament

Former Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins’ debut as a general manager was a massive success.

To tip off The Basketball Tournament at Frederick Douglass High School, Cousins’ Loyalty is Love squad defeated the Illinois Hoopville Warriors by a final score of 107-98.

Former Baylor standout Pierre Jackson led Loyalty is Love with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists, followed by former Marquette star Darius Johnson-Odom with 24 points, four rebounds, and one assist.

Jackson was joined by fellow Baylor standouts Isaiah Austin and Quincy Miller, who finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively. This was the first time Austin has played an official game on American soil since he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome in 2014, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. At the time of the diagnosis, Austin said he was no longer allowed to play basketball at a competitive level since there was a high risk of his aorta rupturing if he continued to play.

As for Miller, you may recall that he was once a serious Kentucky basketball target in the class of 2011, with many considering him a near-lock to end up in Lexington. Instead, the former five-star forward signed with Baylor.

Former Kentucky center Daniel Orton also put up 11 points on 3-5 shooting to go with two rebounds and one blocked shot in his first game back in Lexington.

Loyalty is Love will take on the winner of KBC and the Peoria Allstars tomorrow afternoon.


Dominique Hawkins and Marcus Lee excited to play together in Lexington again

This afternoon, former Kentucky basketball players Dominique Hawkins and Marcus Lee will be playing in Lexington for the first time in two and three years, respectively.

The Basketball Tournament is underway at Frederick Douglass High School, where the Wildcat duo will suit up for the Bluegrass Boys with a $2 million cash prize on the line.

But for each of them, it’s not just about the money. It’s about competing against high-level professional talent in front of the Big Blue Nation again.

“It definitely is fun being back, I definitely miss playing at Kentucky,” Hawkins said in a media opportunity on Thursday. “As you guys know, I’ve been overseas playing. I get to play with one of my teammates, Marcus Lee, who is here right now. A lot of other Kentucky players. Hopefully we make a good run in this tournament together.”

“Oh man, it’s a great feeling,” Lee said about being back in Lexington. “There’s no better feeling than being back in Kentucky, at my alma mater, with fans that you love. There’s no better feeling. I’m so excited to be back here playing with Dom. I’m looking forward to a great time.”

But it won’t just be Hawkins and Lee representing the University of Kentucky. Former Wildcats Josh Harrellson, Kevin Galloway, and A.J. Stewart will also be suiting up for the Bluegrass Boys.

Leading the team? Kentucky legend Wayne Turner, who will serve as the team’s head coach during the tournament.

“I’ve never had a coach like him before, he’s so relaxed. I’m so used to Coach Cal and (Madison Central coach) Allen Feldhaus, always in my face and stuff. If I make a mistake, [Turner] is like “It’s good, it’s good. We’re going to get it together,” and stuff like that. With Coach Cal, I was on the bench. If he didn’t yell at me, he was putting me on the bench if I did something bad.”

For Hawkins, who grew up in Richmond, KY, it’ll also be a chance for him to play in front of his friends and family again.

“I know a lot of people that are going to be coming up to see me,” he said. “They’ve always supported me since I was in middle school. They figured out that I was going to be an excellent basketball player and that I’ve been a good kid at home, humble. I love their support, and if they haven’t heard it yet, I really hope they come out and support me.”

For the last two years, the former Kentucky guard has been playing professionally in Estonia and will decide in August where he will be headed next.

“[My time in Estonia] was good,” he said. “The winters are really tough for me, I didn’t have that much snow in Kentucky before. We get like six inches of snow almost every week or so. It was insane for me. The food, it was okay. I’m very picky when it comes to food. They had a few burger spots for me and stuff like that. But the people I met there were really good to me, I had fun, made a lot of new friends.”

As a player, Hawkins says his game has changed exponentially since he’s been at Kentucky.

“I’m much more aggressive now, have the ball in my hands a lot more than I ever have,” he said. “I’m way more comfortable being a point guard and controlling the team, making calls.”

Part of the reason he’s so excited to be back and playing in this tournament? The fact that he has Lee, among other athletic big men, to play with again.

“On my teams, I’ve never really had any athletic bigs overseas, so it’s exciting to get back to that with Marcus,” he said. “Throwing lobs, going off the pick-and-roll, knowing I’ll be open because of his dominant presence in the post.”

For Lee, he says he’s excited to not only play in front of Kentucky fans again, but win games in front of them again, as well.

“We’re bonding really well, really great guys,” he said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun out here, especially with the fans. There’s no better fanbase in the world, so it’ll be really cool to watch. We’re going to win a whole bunch of games.”

And while it’s convenient that they’ll be in Lexington again, the former Kentucky forward knows the BBN would follow them wherever they went. After three years with the basketball program, he knows they’d travel across the country to see current or former Wildcats play.

“It doesn’t matter where we’re playing, people need to realize that we’re still BBN,” he said. “We could be in California and they’d find a way to pack it out in all blue. We’ve got an unfair advantage no matter where we go. We’re Bluegrass Boys, we’ve been here. We’re always here.”

Lee played during the 2017-18 season at California, but it’s been three seasons since we’ve seen him in Lexington.

For him, he’s excited to show Kentucky fans what he’s been working on.

“Yeah, this is a great time for us to come back, show what we’ve improved on, show the love that we have for Kentucky. Just for us to come back, give back, and show that we still love them. It means a lot to us, and I know it means a lot to you guys.”

Personally, the end goal for him is to get back to playing in the NBA.

“Most guys don’t know I had knee surgery in October, so I’ve been doing rehab since then,” Lee said. “Now I’m doing a whole bunch of workouts back at home, trying to get my body right. From now on, it’ll be all about working more and getting back to the NBA. The knee is doing pretty great, it’s working just fine now. Better than college, actually, which is surprising. I’m excited to use it again, it’s been a while since I’ve jumped like that.”

Hawkins, Lee, and the rest of his two-seed Bluegrass Boys will take on seven-seed D2 tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET at Frederick Douglass High School. If you can’t make it in person, you can also catch them live on ESPN3.


Mark Krebs Says There’s “No Doubt” Kentucky Had the Best Team in 2010

Photo via UK Athletics

If you’ve followed this site or listened to Kentucky Sports Radio this morning, you know that it’s a big basketball weekend in Lexington. That’s because the city has been tabbed as one of the eight host cities for “The TBT” a single elimination, five-on-five basketball tournament where the first prize winners get $2 million.

It really is a cool event, and the Lexington regional is loaded. “The Bluegrass Boys” feature a bunch of locally-known guys, as they’re coached by Wayne Turner, and feature names like Dominique Hawkins, Ramon Harris and others. “Loyalty is Love” is one of their opponents, with DeMarcus Cousins as their GM, and others – including Daniel Orton – on their roster.

The games began at 3pm ET at Frederick Douglass High School and will go all night, and as a lead-up to them former Wildcat Mark Krebs, joined KSR’s Aaron Torres Sports Podcast to preview the event.

Krebs also discussed his time playing for the Wildcats with Aaron, most notably his final year in 2010 when the Wildcats made the Elite Eight. That was of course John Calipari’s first team in Lexington, one which featured a slew of guys who are still currently in the NBA, including Cousins, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Patrick Patterson and Darius Miller.

So yeah, that was a loaded team, and if you think the guys on that team still don’t think about “what could have been,” think again.

That team knows it was the best team in college basketball. And should have won the title.

We were no doubt the best team left in the tournament that year,” Krebs told Torres. “I go back and talk to Darius, John and those guys and that’s the first thing they say ‘Man, I wish we could go back and win it. It would be awesome.’”

Unfortunately, it simply wasn’t in the cards for that Wildcats team, as a cold shooting night against West Virginia cost them a year’s worth of work. That is the nature of a one and done tournament of course, where the best team doesn’t always win. That’s not just the case for the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats, but so many teams throughout college basketball history.

Which leads to the question: How many titles would Kentucky have right now if it wasn’t a one and done event? The answer: Almost certainly a lot more.

“It just goes to show you that when it’s one game, winner go home [it’s different],” Krebs said. “I think if it were a seven-game series we would have won it, and Kentucky wins it a lot. But when it comes down to one game, you just never know.”

Still, when reflecting back on his time at Kentucky, Krebs had nothing but great things to say. He is the rare player (maybe the only one actually) whose time in Lexington actually spanned three different coaching staffs, as his first year in 2006-2007 was Tubby Smith’s final season at the school, before he played two years under Billy Gillispie and then a final season under Calipari.

And as fun as his four years were in Lexington, he can’t believe it’s been 10 more since he last played in 2010.

“I just feel like it goes by so fast,” he said. “When I go back to watch practice or see Coach Cal, when I get back there, it’s almost like no time has passed. But when you actually look at the teams that have come through, the amount of pros that have come through, and all that has happened in 10 years, it’s mind-boggling.”

To listen to Krebs’ full interview on KSR’s Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, click here.

And if you’re interested in attending the TBT, action tips off at 3pm local time at Frederick Douglass High School, with the Bluegrass Boys playing at 9pm ET.


LISTEN: DeMarcus Cousins on Kentucky Sports Radio

We’ve already shared some comments from DeMarcus Cousins’ appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio this morning, but if you missed it, do yourself a favor and go back and listen on podcast because it was great.

In addition to talking about his time at Kentucky, Cousins shared his thoughts on the Warriors coming up short in the NBA Finals and his new home in Los Angeles. He reminisced about his favorite places to eat in Lexington, and said he’ll give KSBar a try, but only if we’ll give him free meals because he couldn’t get them during his college days.

Boogie felt so at home with the KSR crew that he even let a bad word slip out when discussing Matt’s original nickname for him, Carl:

Boogie is the best. Listen below starting at the top of hour two:


The OTT Podcast: Do you feel the need for speed?

The OTT Podcast crew is back after a mini summer hiatus to catch up on all the latest happenings in the UK sports world and beyond. Highlights include…

— Our memories of the late, great Jared Lorenzen

— Kentucky’s turn at SEC Media Days, including Kash Daniel as Jon Snow

— An unexpected power outage. Was that you, Jared?

— Our thoughts on Kyle Macy’s comments about Calipari

— The real reason we’re podcasting: the new Top Gun trailer and our results on the Which Top Gun Character are you quiz.

…and much, much more. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod ParadiseYou can also get it directly on your phone by subscribing to The OTT Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app. Please leave us a review!


KSR Show Thread: Live from The Basketball Tournament

The Basketball Tournament is set to tip off today at Frederick Douglass High School, and the KSR crew is ready to get you hyped for it.

From 10:00 a.m. to noon, Matt Jones, Ryan Lemond, and Drew Franklin will be LIVE from Douglass High School with some very special guests.

Former Wildcats DeMarcus Cousins, Dominique Hawkins, and Wayne Turner will join the show to discuss their specific roles for the event set to take over Lexington this weekend.

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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KSR Shop: 50% off short sleeve tees!

The KSR Shop and Kentucky Branded are having a huge sale on short sleeve tees throughout the weekend. Head to ShopKSR.com to receive 50% off select short sleeve tees! Check out the great selection of KSR, UK, and State Pride apparel. Plenty of new designs to add to your wardrobe. Sale runs through Sunday!

[KSR Shop]


Today on KSR: The Basketball Tournament begins in Lexington

Good morning and happy Friday to you all!

Today, The Basketball Tournament is set to tip off in Lexington at Frederick Douglass High School, with the Bluegrass Boys hosting the event.

But what is it? TBT is a 64-team, single-elimination tournament with a winner-take-all $2 million cash prize. Eight teams are selected as regional hosts, with one team set to come out of each region. From there, the teams compete in a typical tournament format with their eyes on the prize.

The Bluegrass Boys, coached by Kentucky legend Wayne Turner, will feature Josh Harrellson, Marcus Lee, Dominique Hawkins, Ramon Harris, AJ Stewart, and Kevin Galloway, among others.

DeMarcus Cousins will be the General Manager of Loyalty is Love, the one-seed in the Lexington regional. That team will also feature former Kentucky center Daniel Orton.

Here is today’s schedule:

Now on to the rest of the news…

J.B. Holmes is tied for the lead at the Open

At the time of this post, Campbellsville, KY native and University of Kentucky alum J.B. Holmes is tied for the lead at the British Open 2019.

In round one on Thursday, Holmes shot a career-low 66 to finish the day at five under par. And then this morning, the former Wildcat finished round two three under par and eight under overall, tied with Shane Lowry.

Holmes and Lowry hold a one stroke lead over both Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood, who each finished three under par on the day and seven under overall.

Holmes, Lowry, Fleetwood and Westwood are followed by Cameron Smith and Justin Harding, who are tied for fifth at six under.

J.T. Potson leads at the Barbasol Championship

Right here in Kentucky, J.T. Potson leads all golfers with an opening-round 10-under 62 in the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship.

The coolest part of it all? Potson is being caddied by former KSR writer Aaron Flener, with our own Drew Franklin following them around this weekend, as well. All three have decided to donate $22 to the Jared Lorenzen Memorial Fund for every birdie Potson hits this week.

With 11 birdies in the first round alone, the three have pledged a total of $726 to the fund.

Well done, guys.

Elsewhere, Nick Taylor is right behind Potson at -9, followed by Wes Roach at -8 and Kelly Craft and Kramer Hickok at -7 each through one round.

PGA legend John Daly shot an opening-round 71.

SEC Media Days

Kentucky football took the SEC Media Day stage on Thursday morning, where the biggest topic of discussion was disrespect.

After Kentucky’s first ten-win season in 41 years and a historic Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State, national analysts and ranking systems still can’t help but predict the Wildcats to finish near the bottom of the SEC. In fact, the current ESPN FPI projections expect Kentucky to finish 5-7 overall and 1-7 in the SEC.

But on Thursday, the Cats wanted the world to know that they’ll be back next year whether they like it or not.

“This ball club can be as good, if not better than last year’s team,” Kash Daniel said.  “Just because we lose a lot of talented guys, doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of talented guys on the back end that’s gonna step up.

Daniel said that this program isn’t recruiting no-name guys, they’re bringing in elite prospects to replace the talent at the top of the roster.

“Coach Stoops is not going to offer people to sit on the bench, get free gear and just walk around campus. He’s not doing that,” he said. “He’s recruiting players right now to come in and take my job. He’s recruiting players to take over for Josh Allen, to take over for Benny Snell. That’s what building a program is. That’s what Coach Stoops is doing here. He’s not just building a two or three-year team. This is now a program where we can reload instead of rebuild.”

Logan Stenberg made it quite clear for those doubting them: Kentucky is going to be a “hell of a football team” in 2019.

“Give us another look. If not, get ready, because we’re going to take you on another ride this year. You can predict whatever you want, but we’re going to be a hell of a football team this year.”

Boom.

Kyle Macy had some words for Coach Cal

On Thursday afternoon, Kentucky basketball legend Kyle Macy had some choice words for John Calipari and the current state of the UK program.

For starters, he said he didn’t know if he felt welcome around the basketball program anymore.

“I’m not as involved with the program as I used to be,” he said in a radio interview on the Query & Schultz show on Fox Sports 1260. “There were times I could go to practice whenever I wanted and feel welcome, but I don’t know if that’s the case now. I don’t really have any desire to go there and go to practice.”

Why? A difference in philosophies with the current Kentucky head coach.

He said that he didn’t agree with Calipari’s stance on neutral site games (specifically when it comes to the Indiana series) and the program’s current focus on getting players to the NBA.

“I’d say we don’t agree with those issues in particular, and he’ll argue with you till his death that [draft day] is the greatest day,” Macy said. “When he first got here, he made the comment that the greatest moment in Kentucky basketball history was draft day because they’re changing the lives of young men. And it is nice that they are able to do that, but it’s not like it should be a training ground for the pros. Granted, you go to college to get a better paying job, and that’s what’s happening with these kids.”

KSR is live from Frederick Douglass High School

The Basketball Tournament is set to tip off today, and KSR is ready to get you hyped for it.

From 10:00 a.m. to noon, Matt Jones, Ryan Lemond, and Drew Franklin will be LIVE from Douglass High School with some very special guests.

Former Wildcats DeMarcus Cousins, Dominique Hawkins, and Wayne Turner will join the show to discuss their specific roles for the event set to take over Lexington this weekend.

You won’t want to miss it.