It’s that time of the year again, folks, when football fans all over America gather around their television sets to watch the NFL Draft — and Kentucky football fans watch something else. Aside from Tim Couch, Dewayne Robertson, Randall Cobb and a couple others, Big Blue Nation doesn’t have a lot to brag about on draft day. There are plenty of UK players to be proud of in the NFL, but not many walked across the stage to shake the commissioner’s hand in the first two rounds.
Thursday evening, the 2013 edition of the NFL Draft will take center stage at Radio City Music Hall and on primetime television on ESPN. The draft’s first round will air at 8:00 p.m. ET on the worldwide leader Thursday night, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday and the last four rounds on Saturday. Kentucky’s Larry Warford is expected to hear his name called sometime on Friday, hopefully early in the second round. When he does come off the board, he will be the first UK offensive lineman picked in the draft since 1993 and potentially one of the school’s highest picks in the last decade.
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops will be in attendance Thursday night when the first round is held. He is going to New York to support some of his former players from Florida State, two or three of whom could get picked in Round 1. We can only hope the ESPN production gives Stoops some face time, and that the nation’s top high school recruits are watching.
Also, former UK center Matt Smith is hoping to be drafted this weekend, although most mock drafts predict he’ll go undrafted. Don’t give up on Matt’s NFL dreams if he doesn’t hear his name called by the end of the day on Saturday; Wesley Woodyard is proof that there’s still hope after the draft.
Good luck to Larry and Matt.
And good luck to Coach Stoops getting some important TV time.
John Calipari was on the move again Wednesday night, checking in on some potential future talent for Kentucky basketball. This time it was Devin Booker who received a visit and a surprise scholarship offer from Coach Cal.
Booker, a five-star shooting guard in the 2014 class, received an offer from UK at his high school in Mississippi Wednesday evening. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard, a top 20 player in the class, is also being heavily recruited by Duke, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State and several others. (You can read about his visits to Duke, North Carolina and Florida here.)
If you’re wondering what kind of backcourt player Booker is, think Duke’s Seth Curry. He is a lights-out shooter who can create his own shot off the bounce, shoot off the pick-and-roll or dial one up off a pass. He’s one of the better shooters, if not the best, in the class of 2014. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot about him this summer.
Andrew Wiggins. Andrew Wiggins. Andrew Wiggins. Andrew Wiggins.
If you smelled something foul in the KSR comments section on Wednesday, it’s likely because we experienced a flood of traffic from the Louisville fan base. My first thought when seeing all the visitors on here was that one of our writers had promised a Mad Dog 20/20 giveaway in a post I skimmed over, but it turns out they just came over here to talk trash about Russ Smith returning for his senior season. Boy, they sure are excited — and they should be. Russ makes Louisville an automatic title contender and a top three preseason team. Not only that, his return makes that game in Rupp Arena on December 28th the game of the year in college basketball.
Kentucky should still be the favorite, but CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman says Louisville will give the Cats a run for their money next season with Smith back in the fold. I don’t disagree… until UK gets Wiggins.
Goodman also broke down the UK/UofL matchups in that same article. It went like this:
Andrew Harrison or Chris Jones? I’ll give Harrison the edge, but not by much.
Aaron Harrison or Russdiculous? I’ll take Smith in that one.
The duo of Poythress and freshman James Young against the twosome of Hancock and Blackshear? It’s close, but I’ll go with the Cards wings.
Julius Randle and Wiltjer vs. Behanan? Not a no-brainer, but I’ll take Kentucky in that one.
Cauley-Stein, Johnson and fellow frosh Marcus Lee against Harrell, Stephan Van Treese, Zach Price and Mangok Mathiang. Again, I’ll take the Cats in this one.
Coaching? Calipari vs. Pitino. I’ll go with Louisville.
Only 247 days until we find out…
Hey, look, Nerlens Noel added some new ink to his right arm.
My guess is it’s a caricature of John Robic. What do you think it is? Tell us in the comments section.
UK head football coach Mark Stoops made his first career appearance on the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday morning and he didn’t hesitate to say his boys need help. Stoops was quick to praise his players’ attitude during spring practice, but said they need help at all positions. The skill positions on both sides of the ball need it the most, he says.
As far as the offense goes, Stoops said Jalen Whitlow was the star of the Blue/White game, but the starting job is still open until the fall. He was also impressed by running backs Dy’shawn Mobley and Josh Clemons, but said Justin Taylor has “a lot of work to do.”
Stoops also praised his staff for the great work on the recruiting trail and the Big Blue Nation for getting behind the program again. “The fan base is awfully hungry and wants us to be successful.”
The ugly tale of former Northern Kentucky University athletic director Scott Eaton continues to get uglier. Eaton, who played a crucial role in moving NKU athletics to Division 1 last year, has now admitted to stealing between $100,000 and $150,000 in university funds over the past eight years for personal use. This coming after he was fired last month for improper relationships with several female employees and one NKU student. An interim AD was named on April 1st but KSR fully supports Bryan The Intern for new NKU AD. #BTI4NKU
Indiana’s Maurice Creek is transferring away from the Hoosiers basketball program. He’s the seventh player Tom Crean has lost since the end of the season. Not everyone likes excessive celebration, I guess.
In closing, we ask you to keep a fellow member of Big Blue Nation in your thoughts and prayers. Kelsey Butler, a huge Kentucky fan and defender of all things UK, was struck by a car over the weekend at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. She is currently recovering in Nashville from a broken pelvis, broken ribs, broken tailbone, concussion, and numerous cuts and bruises, but her friend, 19-year-old Andrew Svgdik, was killed in the accident. Witnesses say Svgdik saved Kelsey’s life by pushing her clear of the full impact of the oncoming vehicle.
As you can imagine, she has a long road to recovery, both physically and emotionally, and could use a little encouragement.