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

Chris Tomlin’s Monday News and Views

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photo by Terry Prather

Over the eight plus years we have been doing KSR, I have “honored” a lot of people/thing at the top of night posts. From politicians to athletes to celebrities to movies to songs, this opening paragraphs has taken on the life of whatever was in the news/my mind that day and has always been a great chance to write about something other than just Kentucky sports. But few people or subjects that have ever graced this paragraph have ever been more important to me than tonight’s. Chris Tomlin was one of the founding voices of KSR and continues to be (in my mind) the funniest person I know. For the entirety of this site’s existence, Tomlin has written with his unique and unmatched style posts that are some of the best this blog has ever seen. He has the trait that all writers aspire to, you know it is his work from moment one and the thoughts/humor that lies within cannot be replicated by anyone else. He was honored today with an article in his hometown paper that focused on his work with the magazine “National Geographic for Kids”, a magazine that has given us some great KSR Radio fun over the years (on the infamous “KSR Uncensored Podcast” we learned a great deal about Tomlin and his “Animal Friends”). I was very happy to see Tomlin’s National Geographic work recognized (and posing with many children in the picture…better him than me) but also wanted to make sure his tremendous contributions here are equally praised. Along with Rob Gidel, Hubby, John Wilkinson, Mosley and The Turkey Hunter he helped launch this site long ago and I will forever be indebted to him. But more important than all of this to me is that Tomlin has been one of my closest friends since we met each other at Transylvania many years ago. His friendship has helped me through many trying times and there are few people walking who have made me laugh and smile more than he. Tomlin is now KSR’s Funkhouser editor, a father of two cute kids and still consistently brings outstanding weekly posts (and corresponding anger in the comment section from those who don’t understand/appreciate him) that are some of my favorite this site produces. Thanks to Tomlin for all of his great work and for being not only a core part of the KSR family but also a great friend.

With that past-due praise out of the way, a look at the two most important storylines of the weekend:

THE TWINS ARE BACK…COLLEGE BASKETBALL WATCH OUT

Where were you when you found out the Twins were returning? I was finishing the last minute of my radio show on Friday, trying to figure out a snappy closing on such an exciting day, while getting ready for what was sure to be a news-packed afternoon. I received a text that said “Good news comes at 1 pm” and I knew we were headed for a weekend of celebration. Their return of course forced the haters out of their collective closets, making sure to note that now Calipari has somehow “failed” in not getting them to the pros or that all of these players will never be able to come together cohesively without major problems. But my answer to them is a resounding, “so what?” We have learned over the past few months what we have known from the moment John Calipari arrived in Lexington. The Calipari era will be known for three things, winning, changing the way modern college basketball is played/recruited and haters. We can’t escape them so we just deal (and in most cases) laugh at their attempts to take down the current college basketball king.

For next season however, the Twins return to Lexington means one thing…we are going to be very good. That sentence is hard for many to utter because we are understandably gun shy after the experience of this regular season. Because we were all so certain this group of Freshmen would run roughshod over college basketball, how can we be sure that now an unbelievable array of talent like the 2014-2015 team will do it instead? The answer of course is that we can’t but that doesn’t mean that the smart money is still not on a rollicking year of the highest level of play. Last year was, despite its amazing ending, a team of unknowns that didn’t hit their stride until the very end. This team is not unknown. We know that next year’s group has:

9 McDonald’s All Americans
5 major contributors from a National Championship Runner-up
4 of the 29 highest ranked Freshmen in America
5 future NBA draft picks at either the 4 or 5 position
4 guards who all likely have a NBA future

Throw in Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis (whose dad dismissed transfer rumors this weekend) and this could be the deepest team in Kentucky history. Don’t scoff at that comment…it is probably true. Not even the 1996 team had this many good players this deep on the roster. Of course there are potential weaknesses…there isn’t really a true “3” on the team, defense on the perimeter can still be a concern and there isn’t a transcendent go-to star, a la Wall/Cousins/Davis/Randle. But we can’t have everything can we? What we do have is an assemblage of talent that should make us all giddy for Big Blue Madness (can you imagine Calipari’s Vince McMahon-like speech that night?) and a summer of excitement unlike any in a long time.

College basketball at Kentucky under Calipari has been one thing above all else…fun. And with the Harrison Twins returning we are assured of this…another fun 12 month ride starting now that will ensure Big Blue Nation’s passion cup overfloweth.

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Getty Images

Kevin from “The Office” got married this weekend to the woman above. There is hope for everyone (assuming of course you are on a hit television show)

SPRING GAME BRINGS OPTIMISM

Last year’s Spring Game was one of the more exciting UK football moments that we have had in five years. Now to be fair, that is like saying that Victor Oladipo is one of the more talented players of the Tom Crean era at Indiana…it means very little. But there was excitement in the air at the 2013 Spring Game in a way that we simply had not seen in years past. The product on the field however was a different story and was a sobering reality. This staff has been very careful to not say anything bad about the team it inherited publicly and has instead focused on noting that they needed to improve as a staff and a unit in order to make the play on the field better. But anyone who watched the passing struggles and the inept defense last April, knew that it would be a long year…2-10 was a sobering reality that if we are all honest with ourselves, we could have predicted at the end of that great April night.

But Saturday’s 2014 version of the Spring Game was a different story altogether. The signs of an improving Kentucky football program were everywhere to view in Commonwealth Stadium this weekend. Most obvious was the huge improvement on the offensive side, as Kentucky looked much closer to an efficient “Air Raid” attack that at any other point of the Stoops era. All three quarterbacks, Towles, Phillips and Barker, looked better than any quarterback did last year and each gave positive signs that can give fans hope. Patrick Towles looks to be the favorite for the position, and he led a number of solid drives, even though many of his minutes were with the second team. Barker showcased some great throws and Phillips was a part of possibly the best overall drive of the day. The Running Backs were VERY impressive, with Jo Jo Kemp, Braylon Heard, Josh Clemons and Mikel Horton showcasing the potential to be a fearsome foursome come next fall. Add in more protection from the offensive line and the makings are there for an offense that is much more like what fans have been hoping to see.

The defense had some bright spots as well…the secondary is clearly much improved and a number of guys made big plays on otherwise good throws. The defensive line got run on quite a bit, but most were second string players and the Zadarius/Bud Dupree combination is still tremendous. There is concern at the Linebacker position and that will probably remain all year…in my mind, it is this team’s biggest worry. But the defense fought hard and at the end of the game, Mark Stoops said he was proud of all the players for improving exponentially during the Spring. There is still a long way to go, but for any person that made the trip to both Spring Games over the last two years, the marked improvement is clear.

It is of course Derby week, which means fun times around KSR as we play the “Ryan Lemond Derby” and offer our listeners some good deals courtesy of TwinSpires.com. To get you in the spirit, I will once again link the best column ever written about all things Derby, Hunter S. Thompson’s “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved. Read it and get yourself in the mood.

We will be back with radio in the morning to celebrate the Twins and more. If you missed our special show last Friday afternoon (which got all the way to #1 nationally on iHeart Radio) you can listen to it here. See you then…

Article written by Matt Jones

43 Comments for Chris Tomlin’s Monday News and Views



  1. Money
    10:44 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    You are dumber than I thought if you think this team is more talented than 96.



    • Daniel
      10:46 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

      he didn’t mention talent…. he was only talking about Depth



    • 2cents
      10:53 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

      Some body sucks at reading comprehension!!!! Looking at you, Money! Hahaha



  2. Shawon
    10:47 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    Big congrats to Tomlin for the hometown shout-out and the work he goes with Nat Geo for Kids. Been reading his stuff on here since the days of “Need-to-Know Wednesday” and have been a fan for far longer than that.



  3. Money
    10:49 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    Not even 96 had this many good players sounds to me that means better. 1996 team would win by double figures.



    • Matt Jones
      10:50 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

      Then you might want to learn to read…deeper means deeper, not better



  4. Dumb
    10:51 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    It has already been mentioned but can we please stop bragging on how many burger boys this team will have. How many have the LAST 2 national champions had? The team will be deep but stop sucking the Johnson’s of these MAA stats.



    • Awwwww
      10:54 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

      U mad, bro?



  5. Not mad at all
    10:59 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    I could care less. As I mentioned above lack of MAA doesn’t determine a teams success. Just ask UCONN



    • grammar nerd
      12:51 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

      If you don’t care, then you couldn’t care less. “I could care less” means you do care.



  6. Jarweed
    11:04 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    Those old tyme baseball reports by Chris Tomlin are still the best… Great article.



  7. KENTUCKY
    11:08 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    Why is this so hard for your bird brain to wrap itself around. Would you rather have, Mark Pope or Dakari Johnson? Derek Willis or Oliver Simmons? Marcus Lee or Jason Lathram?



    • i would rather have a team that wins every game
      11:15 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

      like UCONN or Louisville. Only point i am trying to make is that it is not a big deal as you all make it. next thing you know you will have a T-shirt printed up bragging about it.



  8. Shawn
    11:08 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    We are returning the Twins, Dakari, WCS, Lee, and Poythress. That Is six players. Hawkins got time during the run too so that really makes seven.



  9. Matt in Clearwater
    11:13 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    One effin paragraph of the spring game…why you guys keep giving the football program the middle finger?



    • Rupp
      11:47 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

      they have been writing about the spring game all weekend.



    • Haha
      12:57 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

      Apparently you cannot count. That is 3 paragraphs.



  10. slapdicks
    11:17 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    Petrino and company will be running you slapdicks off the field in november. Stoops Troops hahahaha



    • this is the comment making louisville fans look stupid
      11:21 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

      at least post something within reason of the conversation man. im the one posting the MAA comments but damn man not all louisville fans are ignorant and post stupid comments like his. please disregard his comment KY fans



    • Cayuts
      11:46 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

      Whats your prediction on the game “rational” Louisville fan



    • Weak trolling is weak
      6:59 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

      hurrrrr slapdicks hurrr

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  11. Rupp
    11:50 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    i want Towns and Trey to start at the 3 and 4,
    we need them to be that good.



  12. WTF
    11:53 pm April 27, 2014 Permalink

    Will someone please cast me is a sitcom so that I too can marry a hottie at the Aria in Vegas? Sign me up!



  13. roons
    12:23 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    MAYSVILLE in the HOUSE!!!
    Congrats Chris. Great person from a great family. Keep up the awesome work!



  14. Well Said
    12:26 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    You’re right on the money in that our only real weakness is not having a true “3”. But I disagree about not having a superstar. Towns is the guy. Not only is he a top 5 draft pick, but he has something to complement his size that none of the other bigs have – the ability to shoot it from outside. He will completely open up the offense.

    ps How well can our incoming frosh shoot free throws? If they can shore up that weakness too, man that’s scary!



  15. LeeDee
    12:55 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    I loved the piece by Hunter S. Thompson, but you might have warned us it was longer than War an Peace. I had to break for a sandwich in the middle of it.



  16. Kevin C.
    3:52 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    I think UK needs to open up their first home game with Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town” blaring over the loud speakers.



  17. arlo
    4:06 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    if tards think refs are tough on them at rupp, i can’t wait to hear them sob and whimper after getting bent over in cameron indoor sh*** er.



  18. Dick Vitale
    6:01 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    No superstars? What about Mr. Towns? HE IS A DIAPAH DANDY BABY! PTP!



  19. CATandMONKEY
    6:43 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    Tomlin is the only writer on the KSR staff although poster #15 above has submitted a noteworthy effort.

    Comedy Gold. EVERY time.



  20. dnabtyblu
    7:06 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    I could argur that the 2012 team didnt have a go to guy. Davis was a beast but wasnt really the offensive go to. I could also argue that you guys are SLEEPING ON KARL TOWNS and I dont get it. And Aaron Harrison is CLEARLY clutch and deserves to be the go to guy



  21. Angie
    7:11 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    Towles won’t see the field this year. It’s Stoops recruits or no one at all. Who was the Y at UK basketball games this past season. The incoming freshman who didn’t know UK existed until 6 months ago. It’s Barker and company this coming season. They have to prove their recruits are amazing, no matter how many missed tackles, missed blocks, fumbles or missed passes. Sad but true!



  22. rahrah
    7:30 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    Can’t wait for next basketball season! I believe a go-to star will emerge fairly early, maybe two or three. As I’ve said before here, can’t wait to see what Coach Cal can do with three tournament-experienced guards. Not looking for 40/0 but sure would love another big tourney run. Go Cats!

    Congratulations to Tomlin. I love his writing and yes, I can tell in the first sentence or two that it is his work. Not sure why folks don’t “get” him. Who doesn’t like to laugh?



  23. Ryan
    7:41 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    “cup overfloweth”…I see what you did there.



  24. Axe Cop
    8:14 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    How long do you think that marriage lasts? Two years?



  25. Ho Lee Fuk
    8:26 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    “Kevin” better have a prenup.



  26. UKfanNKY
    9:20 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    Angie Sorry but Towles will see the field and Drew will/should redshirt it would be the best thing for him this year. Believe me I would love to see Drew start this year but a redshirt would help him tremendously. GO CATS!!!



    • Chris
      9:56 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

      Im a Barker guy too but 7/19 says alot especially when u see 10/17 and 11/15 from the other QBS.. Towles threw 11 great passes even his bomb to Snodgrass was catchable!!



  27. Chris
    9:51 am April 28, 2014 Permalink

    Saying all 3 QBS looked good in not really accurate … The most important throw these QBS will make over and over this coming season will be the out route!! Towles made those passes and looked like Peyton Manning making them..Barker has some trouble with this throw and Reese couldnt make this throw at all.. When Reese threw the out pass it was jumped by the defense and could have been picked off 3 times..If u really watched these QBS THROW the ball there should be no question Towles is way ahead right now!



  28. Kevin Stallings
    5:40 pm April 28, 2014 Permalink

    Thanks guys for the picture of me and my hot wife. I know it can be tough to give credit to your rivals but we all appreciate the love down here at Vandy. Hard to believe how long its been since we filmed the Office finale