It’s almost Kentucky Derby time in the bluegrass, which means it’s almost Ferdinand’s Ball time in the bluegrass, a KSR May tradition (although this year it’s in April). The annual gala in honor of the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner will kick off Louisville’s biggest weekend on Derby Thursday, as it always does, at the Muhammad Ali Center on April 30th.
Scheduled guests this year include Nashville recording artist, J.D. Shelburne; “Chicago P.D.” actor, Jon Seda; “Project Runway” Season 10 designer, Gunnar Deatherage; 2015 Miss Kentucky USA, Katie George; jockey legend, Jean Cruguet; former UK and NBA basketball star, Winston Bennett; jockey, Rosie Napravnik; and soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick, Karl-Anthony Towns. Other celebrities are expected to join in on the fun and will be confirmed soon. Not to mention, Matt and I will be there, too. We wouldn’t miss it.
If you’re interested in attending, and you should be, check out FerdinandsBall.com/tickets for more information and to purchase tickets. All of the proceeds from the gala go directly to Old Thoroughbreds Retirement Facility. Read more about Old Friends and the Ferdinand’s Ball here.
Hope to see you there!
Now, on to the Monday news and views…
Slice is gone.
Barry “Slice” Rohrssen accepted an associate head coaching position at St. John’s, making him the first one-and-done assistant coach in the John Calipari era. The opportunity to head back to New York and team with longtime friend Chris Mullins, now the head coach at St. John’s, was too much to pass up. I can’t say I blame him. ($450,000 per year for give years is pretty good, too.)
Coach Cal had this to say:
“Let’s all congratulate Slice for his new opportunity at St. John’s. When he came in my office and talked to me about the offer, we both got emotional. You have to understand, we’ve been friends for 30 years. Not only that, he loved this place and the BBN. At the end of the day, it was an offer in every way — including going home — that I didn’t think he could pass on. As we do with players and staff, when these things arise, I want our family to do what’s right for them. I couldn’t be happier for Slice. He’s not only a great person, he’s a terrific coach and recruiter, and one of my most loyal friends. I wish Slice and Kerry nothing but the best in their new opportunity.”
KSR would also like to congratulate Slice on his new job and return home. But damn we enjoyed having him here in Lexington.
Current UK “special assistant” Tony Barbee leads the list of candidates to replace him.
Karl Towns was on KSR. And he was awesome.
Towns is always great when doing media stuff and today was no different when he co-hosted the first couple segments of Kentucky Sports Radio radio with Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond. Towns opened up the show explaining why he chose to go pro and said he is “haunted” by the fact he and his teammates couldn’t bring home No. 9 for Big Blue Nation. “When you’re competitors, you want to leave on top,” he said, when asked why 38-0 wasn’t good enough for the team. “We gave so much and just couldn’t come out with the result we wanted.”
The future No. 1 pick also talked about the good times he had in Lexington, how much time he spent on his handwritten letter to BBN, and his relationship with his teammates. “We could be our own Disney show,” he joked of the team’s personalities.
Listen below. Seriously, listen. You need to hear it. Karl is the best.
Did you listen? Stop scrolling down and listen.
Right now. Go.
You can get Karl’s autograph this week at the following locations:
- Tuesday: Ashland, KY @ Wildcat Wearhouse, 6:00 p.m. — 7:30 p.m.
- Wednesday: London, KY @ Shepards Fan Shop, 5:30 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.
- Friday: Hazard, KY @ Wildcat Wearhouse, 6:00 p.m. — 7:30 p.m. **WITH DEVIN BOOKER
- Saturday: Pikeville, KY @ Deskin Motors, 11:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m. before Hillbilly Days
- Sunday: Dry Ridge, KY @ Wildcats ‘N More, 4:00 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.
Graduate transfer Mike Thorne Jr. will visit Kentucky.
Thorne, formerly of the Charlotte Mark Prices, added a trip to Kentucky to his list of visits this spring. He was in Pittsburgh over the weekend and he plans to check out Illinois and Kansas before traveling to Lexington for a look at UK.
The 6-foot-11 big man wants playing time and a place to maximize his NBA potential. I think I know just the place.
For more on Thorne and other new names on UK’s radar, scroll down.
Stephen Zimmerman expected to commit to UNLV, says 247Sports.
Multiple sources — not just one, multiple — tell Jerry Meyer of 247Sports that Stephen Zimmerman will commit to UNLV. “It does not look like John Calipari will be able to overcome the lure of the opportunity for Zimmerman to be a star for his hometown school,” Meyer writes.
If that’s the case, and who knows if it is, Mike Thorne becomes pretty important. The 2015 class is running out of big men and Kentucky could use another body inside next season.
Malik Newman doesn’t plan to take any official visits.
Newman will soon decide between Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Kansas, LSU and N.C. State and he doesn’t need any official visits to help make that decision. “For one, he doesn’t really have the time,” his father told the Clarion-Ledger. “Now that basketball season is over with, I don’t think he’ll take visits. If he does, fine. If not, that’s fine too.”
Newman took an unofficial visit to UK for Big Blue Madness, so he knows what’s here.
Ivan Rabb committed to California.
Cuonzo getting it done.
Stoops is close to naming Patrick Towles the starting quarterback.
Following Monday’s practice, Mark Stoops said he is close to naming the team’s starting quarterback. “I think we’re getting closer to that point,” said Stoops. “We’ll sit down with both quarterbacks after the spring.”
All of the talk throughout the spring points to Patrick Towles as that guy. Stoops raved about Towles play again today, saying he has been the more accurate of the two QBs and he has emerged as the team’s leader. Towles stood out in Saturday’s scrimmage, too.
“Really impressed with Patrick. He really played very well Saturday. Made a lot of good decisions, got rid of the ball quickly. He was very accurate with the football.”
Devin Booker will be a guest on KSR tomorrow morning
Today it was Towns, tomorrow it’s Booker. This week is off to a great start. Be sure to tune in!