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Courtesy: Big Blue History

Happy Birthday to Cameron Mills

Courtesy: Big Blue History

Happy Birthday to former Cat, Cameron Mills! The son of another former Cat, Terry Mills, Mills was a member of both the 1996 and 1998 National Championship teams. Mills averaged only 4.3 points per game, but was a three point specialist. Over his four years in Lexington, he shot 47% from behind the arc including shooting 53% from there in 1997.

In 1998, Mills scored a career high 31 points in Kentucky’s loss to a young Florida head coach by the name of Billy Donovan. For fans, the most memorable moment of Mills has to be this moment from the 1998 Elite Eight:

Go and wish Cameron a very happy birthday on Twitter @CameronMillz. 


@umichbball

Charles Matthews helps Michigan overcome 15-point deficit

@umichbball

Michigan defeated UCLA 78-69 in overtime on Saturday after trailing by 15 points in the second half.

Former Cat Charles Matthews’ 20 points played a huge part in Michigan’s comeback win.

Michigan tied the game with 11 seconds left to send the game into overtime. It was all Michigan in overtime and the Wolverines outscored the Bruins 13-4 in overtime.

A corner three by Matthews in overtime helped seal the Michigan win.

Matthews, a redshirt sophomore, scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half after sitting out most of the first half with two fouls. Matthews finished with eight boards and three assists. Matthews struggled from the free throw line finishing 2-of-10 from the charity stripe.

I think I can speak for all of the BBN.. It is great to see Matthews succeeding at Michigan.


John Calipari brought on Kentucky’s lack of respect from national media

After yesterday’s convincing win against Monmouth, John Calipari told reporters he was “disappointed” with the lack of respect his Kentucky Wildcats are getting right now by the national media.

“I’m a little disappointed the kids aren’t getting the respect they deserve,” he said. “We’re just getting going.”

The latter half of his statement is true. Kentucky looked dominant in their 93-76 victory over the Hawks, with several role players finding their grooves and Hamidou Diallo playing like a true star. They truly look ready to take the next step up and become the team we all thought they could be going into the year.

The former, however, was brought upon himself.

Throughout the entire summer, he lowered fan expectations about this team and the troubles we were certain to see. When Jarred Vanderbilt went down with an injury, the comments were even more unfavorable and severe.

Two weeks ago, Calipari told reporters not to “get carried away with how things are going.” Kentucky had just demolished UIC 107-73, and both fans and media were ready to talk about how this team was turning a new leaf. Lowered expectations.

Just a week ago, the Cats squeaked out a nine-point victory over Harvard, and Coach Cal told reporters afterward his team wasn’t playing “winning basketball.”

“If you accept mediocrity, you’re going to get it every time, especially with young kids,” he said. “Playing winning basketball, there are stretches that we don’t play winning basketball.”

And I don’t necessarily disagree with those comments. They’ve looked disorganized, sloppy, and lazy on several different occasions, owning the label of “youngest team in college basketball history” they received a while back. But that doesn’t take away from the spectacular performances we’ve seen, either.

Every time Calipari steps in front of a camera or talks with the media at press conferences, he talks about how young his team is and how much of a challenge it will be to get them to find success. And we hear the same narrative every year. They’re always the absolute worst team Cal has ever coached, they make a magical turnaround during Camp Cal, and they end up making a run in the NCAA Tournament. Clockwork.

I love you to death, Cal, but come on. Whether you realize it or not (you do), people listen to what you have to say and respect your opinion. When you say your basketball team isn’t very good, the media is going to say you’re not good. When you say they’re extremely young and inexperienced, the media is going to find the statistics to back that up and write columns about how this is the youngest basketball team in history.

When the comments are made, and the stories are written as a result, you can’t complain about the lack of respect your team is getting. When they continue to play like they did yesterday, especially against some of the tough upcoming competition and into conference play, the respect will come. Just like it always does.

This Kentucky team may be rough around the edges right now, and we’re going to see some slip-ups throughout the year, but this is a really good basketball team with a ton of potential. They have an entire roster of talented pieces that just haven’t figured one another out yet. When one player struggles, two or three other players come off the bench and pick up the slack.

The minute they can all get healthy and come together as a cohesive unit, Kentucky is going to be tough to beat, and we will see Swaggy Cal come alive once again.

Like clockwork.


Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Today on KSR: everything you need to see before you start your day

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, friends. It’s a nice, cold, snowy Sunday morning here in Lexington, and I hope you’re celebrating that by still being cozied up in bed. Yesterday was an eventful one in the sports world, so let’s get right to it.

A Quick Kentucky vs. Monmouth Recap

The Kentucky basketball team was finally back in action after what felt like years without a game. But the time off certainly worked to the No. 7 Wildcats’ favor: they cruised past Monmouth 93-76. We posted plenty of good stuff about the game yesterday, but in case you missed it, catch up by clicking here. Otherwise, here’s what you need to know:

  • Hamidou Diallo led all scorers with 23 points in his New York Homecoming. He also added three rebounds, one assist, one steal and just one turnover.
  • PJ Washington had his best game of the season with 20 points, five rebounds, two blocks and an assist.
  • Kevin Knox did not shoot the ball well, finishing the game with just four points. He contributed to the win with eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block, but he also committed seven of the Cats’ troublesome 19 turnovers.
  • Quade Green left the game in the second half after being poked in the eye. Calipari said Green’s eye was swollen shut after the game, but we haven’t gotten an update since then. Luckily, the Cats don’t play again until next Saturday, so he should have plenty of time to heal.
  • Along with Green, Sacha Killeya-Jones also missed the game due to injury. A sprained ankle kept the sophomore on the bench for the entirety of the game.
  • Without Green and Killeya-Jones, Tai Wynyard earned a season-high 12 minutes. He finished with four points, six rebounds and two steals.
  • John Calipari says “the kids on this team aren’t getting the respect they deserve as players… and we are just getting going.” Positivity from Coach Cal is a great way to end a game.

Kentucky Volleyball Falls

After a spectacular season, the UK volleyball team’s post-season run ended last night in front of a packed Memorial Coliseum after a disappointing 3-1 loss to Nebraska in the regional final. Although it’s not the outcome the “Comeback Cats” were hoping for, this was Coach Craig Skinner’s most successful team thus far, and the future is very bright. The Cats will miss senior middle blocker Kaz Brown’s dominating presence at the net, but setter Madison Lilley and outside hitter Avery Skinner are just freshmen, while Leah Edmond is just a sophomore.

We have a Heisman Trophy winner

It’s official: Baker Mayfield is this season’s Heisman Trophy winner. The Oklahoma quarterback was the overwhelming winner, collecting 732 first-place votes and 2,398 points in the voting totals. Stanford running back Bryce Love was second with 75 first-place votes (1,300 points) and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was third with 47 first-place votes (793 points).

While Mayfield certainly put up excellent numbers this year, I’d have to say Louisville’s eight-win season hurt their QB’s chances of taking home the trophy. Had Louisville performed better as a team, the Heisman may have been going home with someone else.

Duke loses to Boston College

What’s the only thing better than a day when Kentucky basketball wins? When Kentucky basketball wins and Duke basketball loses. The Blue Devils fell to Boston College 89-84. The No. 1 team in the country struggled defensively, while Boston College had a stellar shooting night, hitting just over 50 percent of their shots from the floor.

40-0? Nope. Thank you, Patty Ice.

NFL Today

Happy week 14! Here are today’s matchups:

  • Colts vs. Bills at 1:00 on CBS
  • Cowboys vs. Giants at 1:00 on Fox
  • Lions vs. Buccaneers at 1:00 on Fox
  • Raiders vs. Chiefs at 1:00 on CBS
  • 49ers vs. Texans at 1:00 on Fox
  • Packers vs. Browns at 1:00 Fox
  • Bears vs. Bengals at 1:00 on Fox
  • Vikings vs. Panthers at 1:00 on CBS
  • Redskins vs. Chargers at 4:05 on CBS
  • Jets vs. Broncos at 4:05 on CBS
  • Titans vs. Cardinals at 4:05 on CBS
  • Eagles vs. Rams at 4:25 on Fox
  • Seahawks vs. Jaguars at 4:25 on Fox
  • Ravens vs. Steelers at 8:30 on NBC

Well, that’s all I have for now. Have a great Sunday and stay warm out there, BBN.

@MaggieDavisKSR


Kentucky coasts to 93-76 victory over Monmouth

© Nicole Sweet | USATSI

After a slow start on offense and a few defensive breakdowns in the first half, Kentucky fans thought we’d see yet another back-and-forth outing against a lesser opponent for the Cats.

At the flip of a switch, defense picked up, transition buckets were had with ease, shots started falling, and the blowout commenced.

At halftime, the Wildcats held Monmouth to just 31.3% from the field, 25% from three, nine turnovers, and blocked three shots. On the glass, Kentucky dominated 27-13 and also had an 18-6 edge in points in the paint.

In the second half, UK continued to thrive on both ends of the floor, defeating the Hawks 93-76. The Cats finished the day shooting 53% from the field, 37% from three, and outrebounded Monmouth 44-34. UK also blocked eight shots (altered several more), forced 15 turnovers, and knocked down 75% of free throws.

Five players finished the day in double figures, led by Hamidou Diallo with 23 points and PJ Washington with 20. Eight players made a shot for the Cats, proving just how well-rounded an effort this was.

Let’s break down some key aspects of this game:

Diallo was (almost) showtime

His stat line of 23 points on 8-13 shooting, three rebounds, one assist, one steal, and just one turnover against the Hawks was likely the redshirt freshman’s best outing as a Wildcat. He took over when the Cats needed points, and did it in spectacular fashion.

Earlier in the year, we saw a lot of moments that brought us back to the Archie Goodwin days, and not in a good way. He seemed out of control and tried to make something out of nothing just a bit too much, with turnovers and lazy shot selection occurring more often than not.

In the last several weeks, however, Diallo has been a completely different player. The game is coming to him easier, he’s confident, and he’s relentless when attacking the rim. He’s still a raw basketball player, but we’ve seen true superstar potential, and that should make the Big Blue Nation very excited.

We also saw Diallo get fouled on two ridiculous dunk attempts that would have taken the roof off the place. Those will start converting into and-ones for the Wildcat guard, and that’s when things will get truly scary.

PJ Washington had a breakout day

We’ve seen Washington take over some games this year, but for the most part, he just hasn’t been the player we all know he can be. He’s been turnover prone, misses gimmes, and seems to get flustered when things aren’t working for him.

Today, we saw just how dominant Washington can truly be.

The freshman big man finished with 20 points on 5-8 shooting and 9-9 from the line, five rebounds, two blocks, and an assist. He found his mismatches, attacked the basket, and balled out in a way we just haven’t seen yet this year. It was his best performance as a Cat by a mile.

On another note, Calipari said Washington has lost 15 pounds in just 17 days, and that the UK freshman would be one of the best players in the country by the end of the year.

You could see just how agile Washington was with the ball in his hands and how much confidence he had in himself. If Cal thinks this is just the beginning of Washington’s success, I think UK is going to be just fine.

Wenyen Gabriel finally put points on the board

I’ve been hard on Gabriel this year because of his lack of production on the scoreboard. When I watched him play this summer, the Kentucky sophomore reeked of confidence and did things you rarely see from a guy his size. His ball handling was incredible, he was UK’s best shooter, and he played with great strength. I thought we’d see Gabriel finish as one of the team’s leading scorers.

So far, Gabriel has done just about everything well on the floor except for shooting. He grabs rebounds, forces turnovers, blocks shots, and provides massive energy. With big buckets, he’d be one of the most valuable players on the floor for Kentucky.

Today, we finally saw him put it together. He looked confident from behind the arc, made highlight plays, and proved just how valuable his leadership can be for this team this year.

Kevin Knox was ice cold

Washington and Gabriel had been quiet offensively and each played extremely well today. Kevin Knox, however, was fairly invisible on offense for the Cats. In the first half, Knox had just one point on 0-4 from the field along with five turnovers. He hit a three in the second half to bring his total to four points, but still couldn’t get much of anything going.

He finished the day with four points on 1-10 shooting and 1-5 from three, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block to go with seven turnovers.

Other players stepped up in his absence and found their groove, which is a good sign for the Cats going forward. We know what Knox can be, but seeing other players put on a show was important for the team.

Turnovers continue to be an issue

For as well as the Cats shot today, turnovers continue to limit this solid basketball team from being great. We saw an abundance of lazy passes and careless dribbling from several players, leading to some heated Coach Cal moments.

They forced 15 turnovers for the Hawks, but committed 19 themselves. Part of it may have been playing loose with a big lead, but that’s something the Cats have to get fixed going into the the next part of their schedule. They have to develop that killer instinct to finish opponents when they have a significant lead. Slowing down and making crisp, efficient passes from tipoff to the final buzzer is a big part of that.

The no-name games are over for a while

Fans wanted tougher competition against bigger names, and they’re about to get it.

Next Saturday, the Cats will take on the 8-1 Virginia Tech Hokies at Rupp Arena. UK will then head to New Orleans to take on the Ball-less UCLA Bruins the following week. The week after, it’s Louisville Hate Week, where the Cardinals will head to Lexington.

Immediately after that trio of games, conference play begins, where the SEC is looking stronger than it has in years.

Kentucky is playing at a high level right now and things are starting to click, but we’re about to see some big tests for a very young basketball team.

Let’s get to work.


Today is a Kentucky Basketball Madison Square Garden Anniversary

Big Blue History

Today Kentucky dismantled Monmouth at Madison Square Garden.  A similar story was told when John Wall was at the Garden on this day in 2009.

It’s been eight years since Wall revealed to the world that the Cats are back.  Entering the game, national analysts were skeptical of John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats.  College basketball teams have been successful with freshmen before, but Cal’s Cats took things to a new extreme with Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Co.

Facing 14th-ranked Connecticut in the SEC/Big East Invitational, Wall scored 25 points, including the game-winning AND ONE.

Wall also stole four passes and threw down this incredible alley-oop on top of Kemba Walker’s head.

Patrick Patterson added 16 points and DeMarcus Cousins had a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double in a 64-61 win over the Huskies.


© Nicole Sweet | USATSI

PJ Washington lost 15 lbs. in 17 days

© Nicole Sweet | USATSI

Hamidou Diallo was Kentucky’s leading scorer today, but the most impressive player on the floor to me was PJ Washington. Washington had a career-high 20 points off 5-8 from the floor and 9-9 from the free throw line in what was clearly his best game as a Cat. He also chipped in five rebounds and two blocks, one that was just straight up mean:

During his halftime interview, John Calipari said Washington’s dropped 15 lbs. over the past 17 days. Whoa. What is that diet and how do I sign up? When asked, Washington credited the weight loss to all the running he’s been doing in practice.

“Running, running every day,” Washington said of his diet. “Before practice, after practice. It’s just a confidence booster. I feel like I’m more in shape.”

Washington was more versatile today than he’s been all season, which Calipari said wasn’t a coincidence.

“That’s who he is. Plus 15 lbs. he can’t be that. And I even said, maybe lose 7, 8 more. Huh. You’ll even get better. As Kenny [Payne] was working him out in practice and basically, the kid wasn’t happy. He was whining, complaining. All of a sudden it starts kicking in. There’s only one way, if you’re chasing greatness to convince yourself you’re good enough and that’s through work, spending more time than anybody…In the case of PJ, it was a demand, not a request.”


ESPN Turned Kentucky-Monmouth into Baseball Tonight

ESPN Turned Kentucky-Monmouth into Baseball Tonight

As Kentucky turned on the jets to take commanding first half lead over Monmouth, ESPN’s commentators were hardly paying attention.  Instead of calling the game, they were talking to the New York Yankees’ new manager, Aaron Boone.

And that was just two minutes of their talk with Boone.  This went on for an entire segment between the eight and four-minute TV timeouts.

It became excruciatingly painful down the stretch.  While they waited for a dead ball, Boone was asked about every question imaginable until they reached, “How are you spending the holidays?”  The segment concluded with the former ESPN color analyst giving an uncomfortable, albeit emphatic description of a deep Quade Green three.

The gimmicks didn’t end there.

When the game really got out of hand, ESPN producers sent the sideline reporter outside to report in the snow.  With thousands of Santas walking the snowy Manhattan streets for Santa-Con, it’s not a bad idea to get a look of the surreal scene.  We got a look, but that’s it.  She didn’t even talk to the Santas.  Instead, the guys at the tables busted her chops.

The ESPN producer had the right idea, but not the talent to properly execute it.  If Aaron Boone is in the audience and the Yankees just made a blockbuster trade, you gotta ask him about it.  It all fell apart when Kentucky went on an 11-0 run and they remained focused on Boone.  They didn’t interrupt Boone during big plays, they just mentioned the game-defining run after the fact.

It was a blowout, but the Kentucky audience doesn’t care about the Yankees.  All we care about is basketball and the four-letter network failed to deliver.


WATCH: Highlights from Kentucky’s Win over Monmouth at Madison Square Garden

© Nicole Sweet | USATSI

Today’s game was fun. Enjoy the best parts from Kentucky’s win with these highlights from KY Wildcats TV.


Less is more for Hamidou Diallo

Less is more for Hamidou Diallo

Hamidou Diallo had a great game with a career-high 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting and only one turnover. After the game, John Calipari said Diallo played well because he has learned to do less and not force the action.

“Hami being a more willing passer, doing less, looks way better,” Calipari said of his star guard. “Less is more for him, but that is so hard. Just do less and don’t try to do as much.”

For Diallo, his MVP performance meant even more in this game, considering it was a New York homecoming for him.

The Queens native told reporters, “This was my first time playing in the Garden. Coming from New York City, it is every kid’s dream to play in the Garden. You grow up watching it and going to game, and for me playing in there and having a good game is a blessing.”

I think it’s the first time one of Calipari’s Kentucky players has played well in a homecoming game, so good for Diallo to make the most of his return home. If he can make it there, he can make it anywhere, they say.


WATCH: John Calipari’s postgame press conference

WATCH: John Calipari’s postgame press conference

Watch the video below to hear John Calipari’s postgame comments following Kentucky’s win over Monmouth in the Citi Hoops Classic.


Sacha Killeya-Jones, Quade Green injury update

Sacha Killeya-Jones, Quade Green injury update

© Nicole Sweet | USATSI

Before the game, UK announced Sacha Killeya-Jones was out with a sprained ankle, but another Cat went down this afternoon. Quade Green had to leave the game in the second half after being poked in the eye. He had to stay out the remainder of the game because the eye had swollen shut.

“We’re checking, but he got poked pretty good in the eye,” John Calipari said afterwards. “His eye is shut right now.”

Calipari said Killeya-Jones sprained his left ankle earlier in the week.

“He didn’t practice two days and he was out. Doc said the kid wasn’t comfortable going, I said fine. Next man up.”

That next man up was Tai Wynyard, who turned in four points, six rebounds, and two steals in a season-high 12 minutes this afternoon.

“I thought he did good,” Calipari said afterwards. “One guy’s misery is another guy’s opportunity. And Tai was ready for his chance.”

Now, everybody heal up.


© Nicole Sweet | USATSI

Kentucky cruises by Monmouth 93-76

© Nicole Sweet | USATSI

Kentucky easily handled Monmouth this afternoon at Madison Square Garden, winning by a final score of 93-76; honestly, it wasn’t even that close.

It was a career-high kind of day, with both Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington turning in their best games yet with 23 and 20 points, respectively. Kentucky shot 52.5% from the floor, held Monmouth to 36.6% shooting, and dominated the boards 47-33. There were still way too many turnovers — 18 to 14 assists — but there’s a lot to like about Kentucky’s performance. The Cats put together several impressive runs, and Washington looked like a totally different player. Most importantly, they were able to win easily with only four points from Kevin Knox. Knox was only 1-9 from the floor and had seven turnovers. It just wasn’t his day.

Kentucky wins and Duke goes down to Boston College. Pretty good day if you ask me.


HALF: Kentucky 54, Monmouth 31

HALF: Kentucky 54, Monmouth 31

It was an easy first half for Kentucky, who leads Monmouth 54-31 at halftime in New York. PJ Washington leads all scorers with 16 points and 4 rebounds, followed by Quade Green with 12 points and 4 assists. Kevin Knox, Kentucky’s leading scorer this season, only has one point so far, along with seven rebounds and five turnovers.

Kentucky’s ball movement was impressive in the first half, although still too sloppy at times. The Cats turned it over ten times, something John Calipari will surely address in the locker room.

The real question is, can ESPN address that ridiculously long interview with Aaron Boone during the game? I tuned in to see Kentucky Basketball, not Baseball Tonight.


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