It’s been a really busy weekend on a number of fronts, especially the Nashville real estate market, as my husband and I just put an offer on a house. But that’s clearly not what you came here for. Let’s look back on the weekend that was and the week that will be in UK sports…
Shyquawn Pullium commits to the Cats
Late Sunday night, JUCO corner Shyquawn Pullium committed to Kentucky. Pullium is a former Penn State commit out of the 2010 class who can give the Cats help at a spot where they need it the most. He runs a 4.31 40 and formerly attended Blinn Jr. College, and will be the tenth member of UK’s 2014 class. He had offers from the Cats, Cincinnati, and Arizona State. Also of note: he’s friends with Ryan Flannigan, another UK target. The Stoops train keeps on rolling. Coach Mainord makes it official:
Two of my favorite games…..Football and #YAHTZEE !!!!!!!!!!!!!
— Tommy Mainord (@CoachMainordUK) June 3, 2013
Drew Barker backs up the hype
Over the weekend, KSR’s newest writer competed in the Elite 11 Regionals in Columbus, Ohio. He performed so well that he earned an invitation to the Elite 11 competition finals in Oregon later this month, along with 17 other QBs. The players who are invited will have the opportunity to get one-on-one instruction at the Nike headquarters, and notable Elite 11 alumni include Matt Leinart, Trent Edwards, Jamarcus Russel, Jake Locker, Matthew Stafford, and Andrew Luck. On top of that, he was also named the QB MVP at the Nike Football Training Camp Sunday afternoon.
Our friend Mark Ennis put his Louisville shades aside for the day to take in Barker’s performance, and came away more than impressed:
Working with the same group that had several of the best quarterbacks in it, Barker was one of a handful of that was able to show off his arm strength despite the windy conditions. Barker effortlessly threw the ball, was as accurate as just about anyone (given the conditions), and showed his ability to throw accurately and consistently while rolling or on the run.
Ennis told me later that he couldn’t say enough good things about Barker, who has room to improve as a QB, but is everything you could want as the face of your program. Elite 11 organizer Trent Dilfer had this to say about Barker: “He had a great weekend and just needs to keep growing as a passer and get more exposure to graduate level QBing.” As you can see in the vine above and Drew’s diaries on the site, he wears his commitment to the Cats as a badge of honor, and looks for opportunities to sell the program to anyone who will listen. With each day that passes, we realize just how lucky Mark Stoops and staff were to land him.
It’s down to Kentucky and Alabama for Matt Elam
The John Hardin giant insinuated on over the weekend that he’s down to Kentucky and Alabama. Alabama’s pitch is easy: come play for the best team in the country to win a National Championship. If this were basketball, they would be Kentucky, and the decision would be easy. However, Kentucky’s still in it and judging from Elam’s responses to the BBN’s advances on Twitter, almost a big lean. Mark Stoops and company are urging Elam to “come be a hero” for his home state school, and on Thursday, told him he was the staff’s number one priority on defense. Elam, who is close with Drew Barker, seems to be taking the bait. Apparently, his only hangup in going to Alabama is that it’s far from his home in E-town, and his mom wants him at UK. Mama knows best, right Matt?
The 2014 Commitments come to town
Football will again be a big focus this week, as UK’s 2014 commitments begin to arrive on campus to take part in UK’s Saturday Night Prime Time Camp. As evidenced by their joint Twitter account and Drew Barker’s comments, the 2014 class is very tight, and is looking forward to fleshing that bond out on the field. Drew Barker will join the group on Monday after he returns from the Rivals 5-star Challenge in Chicago. The fact that the 2014 commits are coming down is big, but UK’s top 2014 targets joining them is absolutely huge. Targets expected to attend include Stanley “Boom” Williams, and Denzel Ware, a former UK commit who may be reconsidering his stance with the Cats. Barker called the collection of prospects that will attend “talent unlike anything UK’s ever seen before,” and their visits, given the staff and the commitments’ enthusiasm, couldn’t come at a better time.
The Avengers assemble
On Thursday, most of the players on Kentucky’s basketball team will return to campus to start an eight-week summer session. A few of the freshmen will join a few weeks later because of their current school schedules, but we will have more details about what the team will be doing on the site Monday. Having the players return to campus is always exciting, but with the current hype surrounding the 2013-2014 Cats, it is enough to make you do a Ken Cosgrove tap dance (drink some bourbon for the “Mad Men” reference). Or, act like this sprightly little deer and giddy up down Keeneland’s track.
Everyone dry laugh with me now!
Nerlens Noel makes his case for the number one pick
It remains to be seen what the Cleveland Cavaliers will do with their number one pick on June 27th. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is pushing to trade the team’s No. 1 pick to get a young big man or small forward, but ESPN’s Chad Ford still thinks they will use it to take Nerlens Noel. We’ve always known Nerlens is a hard worker and his physical therapist Kevin Wilk says he is doing everything possible to return to the court by Christmas. Throughout his short time at UK, we’ve come to know Nerlens’ tireless work ethic as the team’s lone “energy guy,” and according to his doctors, he’s progressing well, if not ahead of schedule, with his rehab. He’s doing all he can to earn the number one pick in the draft; the rest is up to the Cavaliers.
Matt Jones takes on the World Series of Poker
Our fearless leader is in Las Vegas right now relaxing after playing four hours in the World Series of Poker. Matt went all in on Queens against Jacks and a “flush on the river” (not quite sure what that means, but it sounds dirty) and lost. Thankfully, he’s in a place where consolation is second nature, so don’t feel too bad. A preview of what’s to come on the radio show this week: tomorrow, Ryan and Drew will man the mic, with a special appearance by Nick Roush to catch everyone up on football, and on Tuesday, CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel will HOST both hours. Talk about a treat.
See you then.