By Nick Roush on ©November 12th, 2019 @ 9:00am
The last time Walter McCarty was on the Rupp Arena hardwood, he was celebrating a National Championship. Twenty three years later he returns to play the No. 1 team in America as the head coach of the Evansville Purple Aces.
The former Kentucky Wildcat averaged 11.6 points a game for Rick Pitino’s 1996 Championship squad. You may recall that time he knocked down a corner three-pointer to complete Kentucky’s Mardi Gras Miracle vs. LSU. Following the 96 season, the 6’10” stretch-four was taken with the 19th overall pick by the New York Knicks. He spent most of his ten-year career as a Boston Celtic, the same team where he spent five years as an assistant coach.
McCarty parlayed his position with the Celtics to a head coaching gig in his hometown of Evansville. In his first season at the helm, the Purple Aces’ rebuild got off to a sluggish start, finishing 11-21 and finishing Missouri Valley play with only five wins. They didn’t win a bunch of games, but they did bring back their infamous sleeved jerseys.
McCarty isn’t the only familiar name on Evansville’s sideline. SGA’s little brother, Thomasi Gilgeous-Alexander, is a reserve freshman guard. The Aces are led by DeAndre Williams, their star forward who had 26 points and nine rebounds in the 75-71 season-opening victory over Ball State.
You can learn more about Walter McCarty’s team later today in Brandon Ramsey’s scouting report, but let’s be honest, tonight is all about the Wildcats.
Who Will Step Up?
The season-opener belonged to Tyrese Maxey. Nick Richards starred with a 21-10 double-double against EKU. Who will be the player everyone is talking about on Wednesday? My money is on Keion Brooks. We saw his motor pump out 11 and 8 against the Colonels and I think he’s only scratched the surface.
TV, Radio, Vegas
Kentucky opened as 25-point favorites with a game total of 137.5. Paul Sunderland and Andy Kennedy are on the call for the 7 p.m. ET SEC Network tip-off. If you can’t watch, there are multiple ways to listen to The Voice of the Wildcats and Mike Pratt.
- AM: 840 WHAS, 630 WLAP
- FM: 98.1 WBUL
- Satellite: XM-190 and Sirius-134
- Online: iHeart Radio
E.J Montgomery is Doubtful
We don’t know much about Mr. Montgomery’s injury. John Calipari has kept the details of his absence limited ever since UK revealed just before tip-off Friday night that he would not play after suffering an ankle injury in the Champions Classic. Yesterday Calipari simply said E.J. is doubtful with the ‘day-to-day’ injury.
“One guy’s misery is another guy’s opportunity, but still, we are not as good a team without [EJ], obviously, he’s one of our better players but you want him healthy,” Cal said. “You don’t want guys — their body is their castle and you try to tell them at an early stage, you have to listen to your body and if it tells you to stop, you stop. In this case the doctors and everyone else — it’s day to day, they’re making sure, keeping an eye on it.”
Tonight’s Tale of the Tape
It’s hard to read too much into stats this early in the year, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share them.
Will Wiseman Play?
The Memphis Tigers were initially defiant, playing their top-ranked center Friday night against UIC after the NCAA ruled him ineligible. That was just UIC. Tonight the Tigers have one of their toughest games of the season when they travel to Portland to play No. 14 Oregon. Penny Hardaway appears to be sticking to his guns and playing Wiseman regardless. We’ll find out how it all goes down as soon as Kentucky’s game ends, with tip-off set for 9 p.m. on ESPN.
Leah Edmond Named SEC Player of the Week
Tyrese Maxey grabbed the headlines as the SEC Basketball Freshman of the Week, but Leah Edmond was the only Wildcat to take home the big weekly award. UK volleyball’s all-time leader in kills tied a school record with 22 in a three-set victory over Georgia. That victory, along with another three-set win over Auburn on Sunday, helped the Cats secure a spot in second place of the SEC.
Football Stuff and Things
Mark Stoops spent more than an hour and a half talking to the media at his press conference and to fans on the coach’s show. Stoops provided a few injury updates, shared plenty of recruiting optimism and dug into the details behind the decision to stick with Lynn Bowden over Sawyer Smith against Tennessee. To wrap up the eventful day, the KSR Football Podcast vented some frustrations from the Tennessee loss as our own personal therapeutic outlet. We have a feeling after you listen that you will feel better too.
A New Matt Jones Podcast
KSR’s Fearless Leader is off the air , but he can’t stay away from the microphone for long. Back in the Bluegrass, this morning he’ll talk to his buddy Steve Romines about his wild week. Subscribe to The Matt Jones Podcast feed on iTunes to get it on your phone first when the audio goes live this afternoon.
The Jeopardy Tournament of Champions is extra special this year. Tonight ‘Jeopardy James’ Holzhauer will play for a chance to get revenge on the librarian who ended his streak. Before Emma Boetcher picked up the win, there was a touching moment during Final Jeopardy from Brown University student Dhruv Gaur.
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 12, 2019
The Debut of Disney+
The streaming service from the Mouse House has received hype on every conceivable Disney platform. Now you can watch all of the animated classics, Marvel movies and The Mandalorian under one roof. In the midst of a new streaming service explosion, this one is a must-have. I just recommend holding out a little longer until football slows down. Right now there are just too many sports to watch and not enough time.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
While Mark Stoops typically speaks to the media twice a week – once on Monday afternoon for a weekly press conference and another post-practice session on Thursday evening – the Kentucky head coach usually uses weekly call-in radio show on Monday evenings to kick back and relax a bit.
During the hour-long show with Tom Leach, Stoops usually opens up about his team’s performance from the previous week, previews Kentucky’s upcoming opponent, and answers questions via phone and social media from the Big Blue Nation.
This evening, Stoops went in-depth about Kentucky’s recent loss to Tennessee, how the team is responding, recruiting, and what he’s expecting out of Vanderbilt on Saturday, among other topics.
Here are the ten things we learned during the Mark Stoops Show this evening:
The leaders are helping the younger players move on
After a disappointing loss to Tennessee on Saturday, Stoops said the team had a successful practice on Monday to “get the stench of [the] loss off.”
“It was good,” he said. “Always good to get out there and kick the dust off, get the stench of a loss off you a little bit. Just move on. It was a nice day out there today, weather was good before this nasty stuff came in, everyone was in good spirits.”
A big reason for that? The veterans helping the team move on.
“Without a doubt, that was part of the conversation today,” Stoops said. “It was about picking yourself up, our leaders stepping forward. We need those guys to because we have to go back on the road and take on an SEC opponent in the East. We need this victory. There’s no time sit back and sulk.”
What did he see from the Tennessee game film?
Stoops said that despite the final result, there were “a lot of good things” to take away from the Tennessee loss.
Still, though, the “critical misses” killed Kentucky’s chances to win at the end of the day.
“I saw a lot of good things. A lot of critical misses and plays in tough times,” he said. “You look at it on both sides, we controlled the game, we just didn’t control the outcome, the score at the end. That’s what’s frustrating. the ball for most of the game. Offensively, you start looking at it, and you don’t see too many games like this except in the NFL. We only had nine possessions. We started with a 17-play, 10 minute drive. Force a three-and-out, get the ball back, score quickly with a two-play score. But after that, we had one three-and-out all night. We moved the ball effectively all night, but the key to the game was getting stalled. We got stalled on our last three possessions with turnovers on downs.”
The kicking game has to improve
Following Kentucky’s third missed extra point attempt in just two games, Stoops said it is obvious they need to take a closer look at the kicking game and who leads the charge moving forward.
“We need to get back to kicking the ball effectively,” he said. “It changes the way we call our plays [when we struggle in the kicking game], it changes where you’re at. When you sit there and miss three extra points in two games, all of a sudden, when you use two different kickers, you’re losing confidence in the kicking game. The missed extra point itself hurt us because at the end of the game, we would have been able to kick a field goal and tie the game.”
And when will he decide that?
“I’ve got to wait to see, we didn’t kick today as far as extra points and field goals go,” Stoops said. “We’ll kick tomorrow and Thursday, live with the kickers, and we’ll see what they look like. We’ll make a decision then.”
Stoops gives Veterans Day shoutout
With today being Veterans Day, Stoops wanted to give a quick shoutout to those who have sacrificed their lives or continue to do so as service members.
“Without a doubt, I said it in my news conference today,” he said. “Thank you to all men and women, past and present, for their service and all they do for our country. We greatly appreciate it, our whole program does. Our players absolutely care so much, guys like Kash [Daniel]. He’s so involved and cares. We talk about it a lot and greatly appreciate your service.”
Lynn Bowden’s interception was “haunting” for the staff
Stoops was not shy about Kentucky’s struggles in the passing game lately, and he also admitted that Bowden’s early interception spooked the coaching staff out a bit moving forward.
It started with the lack of opportunities.
“We didn’t have as many opportunities with that on Saturday,” he said. “As I mentioned during the postgame, against Missouri, with the way they were playing, I felt like there were some opportunities down the field. It just depends on how they play us. Tennessee didn’t commit as many people to the run, so we didn’t have as many clean looks [passing].”
And when he missed on the interception, it lingered a bit.
“He did on that particular throw, and it did float on him and drift a couple yards outside,” Stoops said. “He just missed it. Had we had clear opportunities like that throughout the night, I believe he would have connected on some of them because he can throw it. A critical play was that interception, that’s where I struggle. You talk about haunting yourself and thinking about it, we had them on the ropes, controlling the game at that point. We were driving on them, I believe it was the seventh play of that drive. We just created a big chunk play in the run game, so we take our shot, and the shot was there. He was open. That’s a touch pass, those are hard on quarterbacks that don’t get as many opportunities. But that’s where we struggle [as a coaching staff]. Do we just continue to pound it out? I kick myself over that.”
Speaking of missed opportunities, what did he think about the final offensive play at the goal line that ultimately ended the game?
“There were some plays that we felt we just missed by a fraction. It was just very close,” Stoops began. “We talked it over. Anybody that says they wouldn’t change their mind is [mistaken]. The play before we ran it up the middle on a power play. It was on the goal line so they had another guy lined up there. I can’t blame Chris because it was a tough run. With Lynn on the perimeter, that gave us the option with him to run it or pitch it. We’ve had great success with that over the last several weeks, so that’s why we did it.”
What about putting in Sawyer Smith on obvious passing situations?
With Kentucky struggling in the passing game, could UK decide to insert Smith in on passing situations?
Stoops said it’s possible, but it’s not as cut-and-dry as people make it out to be.
“You can, you can. The other dynamic is this,” Stoops said. “I didn’t go back and look at it exactly, but I want to say at least two three-and-longs, I know at least a third-and-three, we converted running the ball. And with Lynn, it gives you the dual threat, that’s tough on a defense. He converted on [several third-down opportunities]. Those are things we’re thinking about as well. If Sawyer goes in, you have to take the Q-run game out of it. But it’s a fair question to ask, we could possibly look at that this week, certainly putting him in a possession or two in certain games. But like I said, only one three-and-out, it’s tough to take him out when he’s doing so well and we’re moving the ball so effectively. We just have to convert in critical [scoring] moments.”
Ahmad Wagner and Bryce Oliver are close to returning
After telling the media earlier today that Ahmad Wagner and Bryce Oliver would likely play this weekend against Vanderbilt, Stoops provided yet another positive update.
“It’ll definitely help [getting them both back],” he said. “Ahmad was out there today, so that helps. Bryce wasn’t fully practicing, but he was on the sideline moving around. Hopefully we get a good report in the morning.”
Quarterback gripes are “a legitimate frustration”
One fan called in complaining to Stoops about the quarterback situation, saying the team has to establish some semblance of a passing game if they want to end the season with success.
Stoops didn’t disagree.
“I do not disagree at all, I totally agree,” he said. “It’s a legitimate frustration and comment. You’re correct.”
That being said, the Kentucky head coach was quick to acknowledge that the staff is working hard to correct the mistakes.
“I was having a conversation with a prospect’s father today, and it was interesting because we were discussing all these things and how it’s tough to be in this situation,” Stoops began. “He said, “Listen, coaches are coaches and I’m a parent. You’ll never hear a word from me.” He said, “Believe me, I think you all have a little bit more on your plate than anyone else as far as a vested interest to win.” So when people have frustrations like that, I agree. I’m not saying I have the exact answers on that or that I’m always right. I just promise you, I was not in that office from 9 AM on Sunday morning and left at 10 PM on Sunday night for any other reason but to help us win. I have a very vested interest in us winning football games. This is not a job for me, this is a way of life. I respect [all of the complaints] and I hear you, but the coaches are banging their heads and just as frustrated.”
Recruiting is “through the roof”
Despite the difficult loss on Saturday, Stoops is confident his 2020 recruiting class is solid from top to bottom, and momentum isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
“The amount of recruits at the game was unbelievable,” he said. “There had to have been 20-25 kids there. I had wide receivers, running backs, all different positions are calling me and texting me at 2 o’clock in the morning telling me they were all in. … [Recruiting is] through the roof. This is a unique group. They’re special, they’re solid.”
In fact, the staff feels they got over the hump with some “fringe” guys.
“We had some guys calling that were on the fringe that I think we are now over the top,” he said. “We still have to hold guys and it’s always a battle in this league, but this is a special group. We don’t have a problem getting guys in the boat.”
What do we need to know about Vanderbilt?
Moving on from Tennessee, what does Stoops know about the Vanderbilt Commodores?
“They had a quarterback start for the first time this past week, their starter should be back next week,” he said. “He was in concussion protocol I believe, so he should be back against us. I know the way Derek Mason coaches, I have a lot of respect for him, I know they’ll play hard. We just need to be ready to play. Offensively, we need to build on the things we’re doing well, put the ball in the end zone.”
By Nick Roush on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 10:45pm
Sawyer Smith’s only snap was a quarterback sneak, a crucial play on the first series that converted a fourth down and ultimately led to a Kentucky touchdown. Aside from that one play, Kentucky’s offense was all Bowden Ball.
Why did UK almost exclusively run with Bowden? The answer to that question is complicated.
First and foremost, Kentucky’s first offensive possession with Bowden at quarterback was a masterpiece. A 17-play, 75-yard drive that took 10:18, it was the longest scoring possession in terms of plays and time since Mark Stoops became UK’s head coach.
Kentucky’s offense moved the ball well against a good Tennessee defense. They had trouble when it was time to score, as Stoops explained Monday morning.
“Every week we look at the best opportunity to win and you look at a big portion of that game and you just look at the drive chart, it frustrated or baffles all of us in how you lose a game like that. But you look at the possessions and where we went, we had one three-and-out all day. We had one three-and-out all day and that’s the first possession of the second half,” Stoops said.
“After that we only had three more drives. We drive it for nine plays, ends on downs. We drive it for another nine plays starting from our own five-yard line and goes all the way into Tennessee territory again and overcome a holding call that was essentially a 22-yard swing and end on downs again there. Then the last drive, you take it 12 plays and end up on the 2-yard line. So, that’s tough to answer, right?”
In total, Kentucky reached Tennessee territory in seven of their nine offensive possessions. Bowden Ball worked well, until the Cats reached ‘no man’s land’ around the Tennessee 35-yard line, too far to kick a field goal and too close to punt. On the first drive of the game, going for it on fourth down worked twice. It failed on the next three attempts, including the potential game-winner at the two-yard line.
“Put yourself in these shoes, because that is a lot of good against a good defensive team. It is just a matter of finding some explosive plays. But it is a balance and something to think about. It is hard when you only have nine possessions in a game. It is a lot easier after the fact to say, ‘Hey, give Sawyer (Smith) three series.’ But every play and every series is so important and again with Lynn (Bowden) we have been very effective and we’ve been moving the football.”
To put it simply, Kentucky’s margin of error decreased significantly following Terry Wilson’s injury. Sawyer Smith could have entered the game to run UK’s base offense, but if it didn’t work, there goes a third of the Cats’ offensive possessions.
“The efficiency was pretty darn good. So that is a tough balance right there. It’s a fair question and it’s hard to do. Put it like this, the last three drives – nine plays, nine plays, 12 plays.” If just one of those ends in a touchdown, we aren’t having this discussion. If he put in Smith for just one drive and it failed, Stoops is right: “You’re sitting here calling me a compete idiot.”
Kentucky had every chance to win. They just were a few plays away from a victory.
“This is at least the second time this year where I come in here and we are talking about a play here and a play there. That is our job to find that, our job to do it. Felt like our guys, again, competed extremely well and we had an opportunity to win in a game like that,” said Stoops.
“That is the key, as we all know, that comes down to winning and losing, converting one of those at the end.”
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KSBar might be known for their smoked wings but don’t miss out on the brisket platter, fried katfish, chicken and waffles, and the great assortment of burgers. Start off with the house chips loaded to the ceiling smothered with pulled pork or chicken straight off the smoker topped with the house BBQ sauce.
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Be on the look out for different specials and events.
KSBar and Grille is located at: 1030 South Broadway, Lexington, KY 40504
You can be a part of KSR’s Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day.
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Awesome dunk, KAT #BBN
— UKBLUE (@KBSWORLD777) November 12, 2019
WHAT A HUGE SLAM!!
#9 Not Jerry Tipton
John Calipari, last week: " I know we beat No. 1 on a neutral court, but some people will not vote for us. They'll either abstain or vote for somebody else.”
AP voter @DaveBorges, this week:
— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) November 11, 2019
There will always be that one…
#8 Sunny Smith
when you see Cat on Cat crime in the NBA, who do you root for? The new guy or the old guy? I'M SO TORN #BBN
— Sunny Smith (@citcatBBNfan) November 12, 2019
You root for them both!
#7 Jonathan deShetler
— Jonathan deShetler (@JondeShetler) November 11, 2019
#6 Nick Isaacs
— Nick Isaacs (@nisaacs54) November 11, 2019
I couldn’t agree more!
#5 Michael Rains
Happy birthday to former @KentuckyMBB and current @DetroitMBB player, Brad Calipari. Have a great day!!!! @MeganCalipari @TheErinCalipari @UKCoachCalipari @CoachCalDotCom #bbn #ksr pic.twitter.com/F1t7Q91BPE
— Michael Rains (@RuppArenaMike) November 11, 2019
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRAD!!!
#4 Not Jerry Tipton
Andy Kennedy *gets it.* pic.twitter.com/QxeA1ZciGG
— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) November 12, 2019
Yep, he gets it.
— UKCatsFan88 (@KDCatsFan) November 12, 2019
We all wish he was out there!
#2 Derek Petrey
— Derek?Petrey (@Derek8Petrey) November 11, 2019
Couldn’t say it better! You are raising him right!
#1 Loyal BBN Fan
I loved serving my country. Would do it all over again. #VeteransDay #iserved #Navy #MilitaryAppreciation #BBN #WeAreUK #Kentucky #KentuckyWildcats @KySportsRadio #KSR #thankyouforyourservice pic.twitter.com/RZyVhEwXXB
— Loyal BBN Fan (@bigmike201423) November 11, 2019
Happy Veterans Day to everyone who has served this country. America would not be the same without our Men and Women who fight for the Red, White and Blue. Thank you all.
Follow me on twitter and tag me in one of your tweets for a chance to make KSR’s top 10 tweets:
By Nick Roush on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
The Kentucky Wildcats return to action Tuesday night against the Evansville Purple Aces. A day after they were officially crowned as the top-ranked team in the country, the fine folks from Las Vegas believe the Cats will win handily.
The opening spread for Walter McCarty’s return trip to Rupp Arena is Kentucky -25. If you like betting over-unders, the total is 137.5.
In Kentucky’s first two contests the under hit and the Cats covered. The closing line against EKU was 28.5 and Kentucky made it look easy, winning by 42. Evansville won their season-opener, defeating Ball State by four to cover the 1.5-point spread.
As always, wager responsibly and good luck.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 9:45pm
Former Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox is expected to miss the next three-to-four weeks with a left ankle sprain.
On Monday evening, the Sacramento Kings announced that Fox “sustained a left ankle sprain at the end of practice on Monday” and “will be reevaluated in 3-4 weeks,” with his status “updated as appropriate.”
Here was the entire release:
Through nine games, Fox has averaged 18.2 points (43% shooting, 33% from three), 4.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 0.8 steals in 32.1 minutes per game.
He also had this ridiculous left-handed slam off the dribble his last time out on the floor against Atlanta:
— NBA (@NBA) November 9, 2019
In Fox’s two years in the league, he has missed ten total games, with the Kings going 3-7 in those outings. His rookie season, Sacramento went 3-6, with the team losing its lone game without Fox last year, as well.
Godspeed, Mr. Fox.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 9:00pm
On if the approach is any different Evansville’s head Walter McCarty, a former player …
“I’ve known Walter for a long time, so it won’t change how I play the game but I’m happy for him. Watching his team, he’s doing some good stuff. I’m always happy when we can bring guys back here. Bringing them coaching teams, we’ve done it before. I think it’s a great thing. You just want them to know, in Walter’s case, you won a national title here. You’re a part of the history of this program. And I think our fans, he’ll feel that coming back.”
On if remembers trying to match up with him in the 1996 Final Four …
“I don’t, but Tony Delk was upstairs and I said to Tony, ‘We’re a little short in practice. We may need you. He said, ‘I can stand in that corner. I said, ‘No, I’ve seen that one.’ I said, ‘How many did you make in that game? Six? He goes, ‘Seven.’ He still knows exactly how many he made. It’s good that those guys are back. They’re good guys. They have always been kind to me. This program is a part of their family.”
On if the guys have bought in earlier to defense than his other teams …
“Well, it’s not that it’s earlier. What you had is, the teams that I’ve had have had a bunch of veterans come back and understand, drag other people along. When you don’t have that, it’s the coaches dragging that along, and that becomes a longer process. It also will take away from your offense because you’re playing so hard that you’ll back up and it takes more time. But I would say having Nate (Sestina) talk, and our guard play defensively is so good I said that from day one. When you can guard the ball and you have some shot blockers behind, you’ve got a chance to be good.”
By Nick Roush on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 7:30pm
Mark Stoops addressed the media Monday morning after a tough loss to Tennessee. See everything Kentucky’s head coach had to say on Veterans Day.
Opening Statement …
“I do want to acknowledge and thank all the veterans past and present around the world for what they do for us and what they do for our freedom and our country. We do greatly appreciate them here at the University of Kentucky and I certainly do. So, thank you for your service. As I mentioned after the game, just an extremely difficult game and extremely difficult outcome. Very proud of the way our team played and competed across the board. Really did some very good things to put us in a position to win. As a I mentioned afterwards, it is not some coaching cliché or ways for you guys to pounce on me about it, but we have to find a way to get those yards … inches, yards plays. (In) Critical moments, we have to find ways to execute and to make those plays happen. Right now, the way we are playing the margin for error is extremely small but we are playing extremely hard. Guys are doing a lot of good things, it gets down to a few plays. If you look at our league, there are probably six teams with a better record than us and then everybody s lumped in there from seven to 14, it is extremely competitive and extremely close and there are plays here and plays there for all of us. We are all trying to make those plays and win these close games. This is at least the second time this year where I come in here and we are talking about a play here and a play there. That is our job to find that, our job to do it. Felt like our guys, again, competed extremely well and we had an opportunity to win in a game like that.
It was weird in the sense that we had nine possessions in the game, that is all the offensive possessions we had was nine. You look at some of those possessions and they were remarkable. Of course, the start of the game with a 17-play drive and then a quick explosive play after the blocked punt and you get a two-play drive. But after that, you are talking about seven possessions the rest of the game and the last three ended on downs. That is the key, as we all know, that comes down to winning and losing, converting one of those at the end. That is compounded by a missed extra point again, or it is different. It is different in maybe possession seven and eight in how you are moving the ball to get a field goal if nothing else and then at the end of the game to get a field goal to tie. We have to get that fixed. I don’t have an answer for that other than to continue to work with the kickers that we have and build their confidence and get them better. I know they can do it. There is a lot of good and a lot of things we need to get cleaned up and improve on.”
On how you evaluate the current status of the offense …
“Yeah, it gets difficult, it really does. We kicked that around every week and as you know, you watch our games, every play, every possession is critical. Even whether you throw it or run it. We have a lot of explosive runs in that game. If you throw an incomplete pass and you’re behind the chains, it gets tough, that balance. We are confident in Lynn’s throwing ability. I will say this, Tennessee is a good matchup with us right now because they are stout up front, as I mentioned going into the game, and they have been covering very well. They have been creating a lot of interceptions. Their back end has been playing well. I felt like even when you look at possession eight when we were stopped on downs, we had a shot there for a huge play and potential touchdown or big gainer and we miss it by a little bit. E
very week we look at the best opportunity to win and you look at a big portion of that game and you just look at the drive chart, it frustrated or baffles all of us in how you lose a game like that. But you look at the possessions and where we went, we had one three-and-out all day. We had one three-and-out all day and that’s the first possession of the second half. After that we only had three more drives. We drive it for nine plays, ends on downs. We drive it for another nine plays starting from our own five-yard line and goes all the way into Tennessee territory again and overcome a holding call that was essentially a 22-yard swing and end on downs again there. Then the last drive, you take it 12 plays and end up on the 2-yard line. So, that’s tough to answer, right? Put yourself in these shoes, because that is a lot of good against a good defensive team. It is just a matter of finding some explosive plays. But it is a balance and something to thing about. It is hard when you only have nine possessions in a game, it is a lot easier after the fact to say, ‘Hey, give Sawyer (Smith) three series.’ But every play and every series is so important and again with Lynn (Bowden) we have been very effective and we’ve been moving the football.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
John Calipari met with reporters earlier to talk about Kentucky’s new No. 1 ranking and tomorrow’s game vs. Evansville. We’ve already shared EJ Montgomery’s status and Calipari’s comments on the James Wiseman situation, but here are the eight other things he said that stood out the most to me.
He’s excited to welcome Walter McCarty back to Rupp Arena
Walter McCarty is in his second season as head coach of the Evansville Aces, and tomorrow, will bring his squad to his old stomping grounds of Rupp Arena. The Aces were 12-21 in Walter’s first season, attempting a program-high 776 threes, and beat Ball State 79-75 on Saturday night. Kentucky has a long tradition of scheduling games vs. teams coached by former players, which Calipari is excited to continue.
“I’ve known Walter for a long time so it won’t change how I play the game but I’m happy for him. Watching his team, he’s doing some good stuff and I’m always happy when we can bring guys back here. We’ve done it before and I think it’s a great thing. You just want them to know, and in Walter’s case, he won a national title here. You’re part of the history of this program and I think our fans, he’ll feel that coming back.”
He tried to recruit Tony Delk to join the practice squad
Down yet another player due to EJ Montgomery’s ankle sprain, Cal joked that he tried to recruit Tony Delk to the practice squad, mentioning the former Cat’s NCAA Championship game record of seven three-pointers.
“I said to Tony, ‘We’re a little short in practice. We may need you. He said, ‘I can stand in that corner. I said, ‘No, I’ve seen that one.’ I said, ‘How many did you make in that game? Six? He goes, ‘Seven.’ He still knows exactly how many he made. It’s good that those guys are back. They’re good guys. They have always been kind to me. This program is a part of their family.”
He still wants more from Nick Richards
We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season for Nick Richards. The junior is averaging 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks through two games, all while battling a sprained ankle. He had only the second double-double of his career vs. Eastern Kentucky with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but John Calipari still wants more.
“He’s getting better,” Cal said of Richards’ maturity. “I still want more. Somebody said, well, if he plays that way, well, he could have played better. There were more baskets, there were more rebounds, a couple more defensive things that he kind of backed up on, but what it is is he’s showing confidence based on competence and conditioning.”
He credits the veterans for Kentucky’s strong defensive play
Kentucky’s defense has been the story of the season so far. Through two games, the Cats are holding their opponents to 31.7% from the field, 22% from behind the arc. The young guys are buying in on defense way ahead of the curve, which Calipari said is a credit to his veterans.
“The teams that I’ve had have had a bunch of veterans come back and understand, drag other people along. When you don’t have that, it’s the coaches dragging that along, and that becomes a longer process. It also will take away from your offense because you’re playing so hard that you’ll back up and it takes more time. But I would say having Nate (Sestina) talk, and our guard play defensively is so good I said that from day one. When you can guard the ball and you have some shot blockers behind, you’ve got a chance to be good.”
Still looking for an offensive identity
We know what this group can do on defense; Calipari is much more concerned with what their identity is going to be on offense. In fact, he said he’s more worried about that than how his team handles their new No. 1 ranking.
“What I’ve seen, after the start of last game and how we played, if you guard and you contest shots and you rebound, you’ll have a chance to win every game. The issues we’re coming back to is how do we play offensively and how do we keep all of these guys engaged when you’re playing random?”
In other words, get ready to see a ton of different lineups over the next month.
After running through EKU’s press, the team wants to play fast
Kentucky easily handled Eastern Kentucky’s press, which the players enjoyed so much that they told Calipari they want to play that way every game. His response: not so fast.
“Four of the guys came in and said, ‘Coach we’d really like to play that way.’ And I said, ‘I’ve gotta make a call. I’m going to call Eastern Kentucky and see if we can play them 30 times’ because unless the defense plays that way, what if they play pack-line defense? What if they play a zone? And that’s why we play all kind of different teams. We want to feel a zone, we want to feel a press, we want to feel a pack-line, we want to feel a team that is trying to shoot a ball in 25 seconds on the shot clock. How do we play? It is important for these guys to feel all of that.”
He couldn’t help but coach Brad a little bit after his game
Yesterday, the Caliparis traveled to Raleigh to watch Brad’s Detroit Mercy take on NC State. Cal was happy to cheer his son on from the crowd, but admitted he couldn’t help but do a little coaching after the game was over.
“He did good. He played like 14, 15 minutes. He took a charge. He lunged and took a charge on a guy. He smashed their big guy in the back to make sure we could get a rebound. He tipped a ball free. He ran hard. He looked good. He missed some shots. I told him, ‘There’s some guys that if they defend they stay in. There are other guys that if they make shots they stay in longer. You just didn’t make any. You missed a couple. If you made one or two, you probably would have played more. Not to be pressured, but just understand that is the situation you are in.’ They were down 14 with two minutes to go. I was screaming. I was so high. I was on the second level in a box. No one even really knew I was there, except I screamed at the officials a little bit. The one guy, I saw him look up like, ‘I have heard that voice.’ [Laughter.]”
Tyrese Maxey is the new Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
We’re only two games into the season, but Calipari once again said that Tyrese Maxey’s attitude reminds him of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to help the team, even if it means coming off the bench.
— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) November 11, 2019
Not surprisingly, Cal said a lot more about his former players in the NBA, which we’ll share a little later on.
By KSR on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 5:45pm
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Nobody is happy after the Tennessee loss. Once you hear the KSR Football Podcast crew voice their grievances, you might feel better about Kentucky football. Give it a try. Highlights:
— Can Duffy just drop kick extra points?
— What did Kentucky ever do to Guarantano?
— Why Vandy will be ready to play vs. UK.
— Drew’s biggest complaint from the game.
— Good recruiting news.
— Can we blame the loss on the couple who got married at halftime?
The entire gang is finally back together. Hayley, Jacqueline and Claire catch up with another exciting edition of The A Block by touching on a variety of topics, from baby turtles to Christmas decorations. Highlights:
— Winter, GO AWAY!
— Oh no, not a Tennessee fan.
— A very important debate on La Croix.
— Top Five Thanksgiving Sides
— When is it too early to Christmas?
— See ya later, Instagram likes.
— This week in self care #TreatYoSelf.
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By Nick Roush on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 4:05pm
Two days after Kentucky fell two yards short to Tennessee, I did not expect to see Mark Stoops smiling from ear to ear. That’s exactly what happened when I asked him what he said to recruits after the 17-13 loss to the Vols.
“I was so encouraged by the recruiting aspect of it,” he said as he searched for the proper words to convey his joy.
“There were guys texting me afterwards till late in the evening and picking me up. I was like, ‘I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I needed a little pick up right now.’ Guys were really encouraged. This is a special group. It’s a tight group. I think their unity within the commits is affecting guys that are on the fringe. I think we have a chance to put a really special class together. ”
Mark Stoops hasn’t smiled that wide since he told James Franklin who wears the real blue and white.
Kentucky’s head coach had plenty of future players to talk to after the game. A significant chunk of the 2020 commits attended the game at Kroger Field: Beau Allen, Andru Phillips, Earnest Sanders, JuTahn McClain, Tre’Vonn Rybka and Justin Rogers. Many worried the five-star recruit headlining the Cats’ class would reconsider his commitment, but he’s remained steadfast and vocally supported Kentucky since the season started. This weekend he even brought a teammate, four-star junior offensive tackle Rayshaun Benny.
— Rayshaun Benny ??? (@rayshaun_benny) November 11, 2019
Kentucky’s 16 commits in the 2020 class could help Stoops and Vince Marrow close out the recruiting year on a heater. With enough room to add eight or nine players, one player may have made up his mind after attending the Kentucky-Tennessee game. He said as much Sunday afternoon.
I think I’ve made my decision ?
— Tyler Baron (@Tylerbaron23) November 10, 2019
The fifth-ranked defensive end in America and Rivals’ No. 102 player overall, Tyler Baron is from Knoxville and his father works on Jeremy Pruitt’s staff. Also considering Ohio State, if UK convinces Baron to make the move to Lexington… to call it a huge win would be an understatement.
He wasn’t the only talented player in town. Joey Gatewood was once a top 50 prospect overall and the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in America. An enormous talent at 6-5 240 pounds, Auburn Tiger fans were upset when Gatewood entered the transfer portal. Many believed legacy recruit, Bo Nix, was handed the starting job, despite being less talented. Auburn’s coaching failure could end up being Kentucky’s fortune. Florida and LSU are also pursuing Gatewood, but UK got the first visit. He spent his weekend hanging out with Terry Wilson and Vince Marrow, first at Rupp Arena, then at Kroger Field. The trip to Kentucky could be Gatewood’s first and last visit. This is a big week as Gatewood considers his options.
— Joey Gatewood (@Joey1gatewood) November 10, 2019
Two four-star players from the Commonwealth have kept their recruitments quiet, and that should benefit Kentucky. Vito Tisdale was generating buzz from Oklahoma, Louisville and Tennessee, but the only news we’ve heard from the Bowling Green safety over the last six months are his intentions to announce his decision on national TV at the All-American Bowl. Tennessee recruiting followers believe they are the team to beat for defensive tackle Octavious Oxendine. Despite that, I’ve heard similar good feelings from Kentucky’s side after he unofficially visited over the weekend. We will ultimately learn Ox’s fate when he announces his decision at North Hardin High School on December 18, the first day of the Early Signing Period.
Before the beginning of the early signing period, Kentucky will reportedly host another talented defensive lineman for an official visit December 9. Josaih Hayes, ranked by Rivals as the No. 11 defensive tackle and the No. 166 player in America, the former Ole Miss commit has offers from Alabama, Georgia and LSU, but Miss. State is the only other school he’s visited.
In the secondary, Kentucky hosted four-star Baton Rouge, La. defensive back Joel Williams in October when the Cats took down Arkansas. The one-time Florida commit is also being recruited by LSU and Florida. A week later Kentucky hosted another Williams, cornerback Ronald Williams. A junior college prospect from Louisiana, he received offers from Oklahoma, Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama shortly after leaving Lexington.
— Ronald Williams Jr (@LongLiveZan9) October 27, 2019
As frustrating as this season has been at times, Kentucky’s 2020 recruiting class is giving Mark Stoops plenty of reasons to smile five weeks before the prospects put pen to paper.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 3:33pm
John Calipari fought hard for a commitment from James Wiseman, the No. 1 player in America in last year’s high school recruiting class. Calipari was on Wiseman early and often, only to lose him in the end to new hire Penny Hardaway at Memphis.
Now Wiseman and Hardaway are in hot water for improper benefits Hardaway extended to Wiseman’s family prior to the two linking up at Memphis. It has been alleged (and Penny has not argued) that Hardaway paid for Wiseman’s family to move (an $11,000 move) to Memphis from Nashville; and though Hardaway wasn’t the head coach at Memphis at the time, the NCAA considers him to be a booster for the university and its basketball program.
On Monday, John Calipari was asked about his former five-star target and the ineligibility ruling, to which he said, “I don’t really have an idea of any of the insides of it, but I hope the kid can play because he’s a great kid. I hope they work through it.”
For what it’s worth, Hardaway has said Wiseman will continue to play for the Tigers.
For more on the Wiseman saga, click right here to read our story on it from earlier today.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 3:05pm
EJ Montgomery sat out Friday night’s game with an ankle injury he suffered vs. Michigan State. Montgomery was spotted in a walking boot at the Joe Craft Center today, and John Calipari told reporters he doubts the big man will play tomorrow vs. Evansville.
“I doubt it. It’s day-to-day, but I would say doubtful,” Cal said.
More opportunity for Junior Nick Richards, right?
“One guy’s misery is another guy’s opportunity, but still, we are not as good a team without [EJ], obviously, he’s one of our better players but you want him healthy. You don’t want guys — their body is their castle and you try to tell them at an early stage, you have to listen to your body and if it tells you to stop, you stop. In this case the doctors and everyone else — it’s day to day, they’re making sure, keeping an eye on it.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Kentucky received 64 of the 65 first-place votes in the latest AP poll. One voter had Louisville, not Kentucky, atop his ballot: Dave Borges, the UConn beat writer for the New Haven Register.
Little does Dave know he did John Calipari a huge favor. During the postgame show following Kentucky’s 91-49 rout of Eastern Kentucky, Calipari (correctly) predicted his team wouldn’t get every first-place vote, even betting dinner for fans in the audience on it.
“I know we beat No. 1 on a neutral court, did this. We will not get every vote. I promise you. I’ll take you all to dinner if we get every vote.”
Kentucky received 64 of 65 #1 votes in this week’s poll.
— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) November 11, 2019
Not only did Borges not give Kentucky a first-place vote, he had the Cats fourth on his ballot behind Louisville, Duke, and North Carolina. In a column yesterday, he braced himself for the blowback.
“In fact, it’s a job not everybody wants,” Borges says of being an AP voter. “Every writer’s ballot is available each Monday afternoon on the Associated Press’s website, as well as on a site called collegepolltracker.com. And, of course, Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, who apparently has submitted nothing but perfect ballots his entire life, likes to publicly ridicule at least one voter each week with a column called Poll Attacks. It often leads to an avalanche of criticism for that voter on Twitter or other social media outlets. But Parrish feels the need to embarrass voters in a very public way. Perhaps because his daily Top 25 And-1 poll has no significance on the actual AP poll.”
BURN! I am all here for this Dave Borges/Gary Parrish feud.
While the BBN may be miffed at Kentucky not being the unanimous No. 1 team in the country, I know one famously frugal coach that is not.
By Aaron Torres on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 1:30pm
College basketball has no shortage of salacious and shocking recruiting stories over the last few years, but there are few which have topped what came out Friday night.
By now you know the basic details: Memphis freshman James Wiseman, the No. 1 player in the high school class of 2019, potential No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and long-time Kentucky recruit was deemed ineligible by the NCAA late Friday. It was a shocking piece of news, that led many to wonder if Wiseman would ever play another minute of college basketball.
At least until an hour or so later, when we found out that the school and player had gotten an injunction against the NCAA, which will allow him to play for the time being. He took the court hours after the news broke and played well, finishing with 17 points, nine rebounds and six blocks.
Still, even after Wiseman played, it remains the biggest story in college basketball – and will be the biggest story until 1) The NCAA rules Wiseman eligible or 2) Memphis decides to sit him.
And it doesn’t appear as either of those things will happen any time soon.
So with so much information out there, what is fact from fiction? What could happen next and why did this come out now?
I spent most of the night Friday working the phones for details (sorry for those of you who are mad I didn’t pay more attention to Kentucky’s butt-whipping of Eastern Kentucky) and below is what I found out.
(Also, for those who want more details, I spent a ton of time discussing it on today’s Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, including some insider stuff you won’t hear anywhere else. You can hear my thoughts right around the 40-minute mark)
What are the nuts and bolts facts of the case?
Most of the facts of this case come from Wiseman’s recruitment, therefore it all should be somewhat familiar to those reading here.
It all starts in the summer of 2017, when Wiseman had emerged as one of the top high school players in the class and spent the summer playing for Penny Hardaway’s AAU team. Following the summer, Wiseman – who is originally from Nashville – elected to move to Memphis to play for Hardaway, who at the time, was a high school coach in Memphis.
Wiseman played for Hardaway during the 2017-2018 high school season (his junior year), before Hardaway eventually took the Memphis head coaching job in the spring of 2018. Even after Hardaway left the high school ranks, Wiseman decided to stay at the same high school in Memphis and eventually committed to play for Hardaway at Memphis last fall.
Where the issue lies is this: When Wiseman elected to move across Tennessee to play for Penny Hardaway, his family took money from Hardaway to help moving expenses. In total, it was over $11,000 (a heck of a move, I must admit).
To be clear, Hardaway has never disputed giving the money to the family. His argument is pretty simple: At the time, he was just a high school coach trying to help a family. He could have never imagined that he would end up as the Memphis head coach when he gave the money away.
So in a weird twist, the issue isn’t really that Hardaway is the Memphis head coach, and that the Memphis head coach gave his best player money. Instead, the issue is this: Hardaway is considered a “booster” in the NCAA’s eyes after donating to the school previously. And as we all know, boosters can’t give money to recruits.
Ultimately in the NCAA’s eyes, Hardaway giving Wiseman’s family money to move is no different than an Alabama booster giving the top quarterback in the country money to move to Tuscaloosa to play for the Tide.
Whether you love NCAA rules or hate them, this is a pretty straightforward booster case. And a pretty clear NCAA violation.
Why Did Wiseman Continue to Play Over the Weekend and Will He Keep Playing Going Forward?
Put simply, Wiseman and his team of lawyers (one of whom is named “Leslie Ballin” – really) got a court injunction which allowed him to play on Friday. And based on the fact that Wiseman traveled with Memphis over the weekend for the Tigers next game on Tuesday against Oregon, it appears as though he will keep on playing.
— Memphis Basketball (@Memphis_MBB) November 10, 2019
Now in terms of what the injunction actually means, well that’s way over my head in terms of what legal rights it does and doesn’t protect (this would be a great topic for #FreeMattJones, honestly).
As best I can tell, all the injunction really does is basically allow Wiseman to “technically” be eligible while the process of this investigation plays out. In theory, I guess the injunction could drag out this case long enough to get through the season, which would allow Wiseman to play.
Still, at some point the injunction will be over. And at that point, if Wiseman was deemed to be an ineligible player, it won’t stop the NCAA from vacating all the games he played in.
Could Wiseman Eventually Be Ruled Eligible? What Would His Argument Even Be?
Obviously while the injunction is ongoing, Memphis will continue to fight this case with the NCAA.
And I actually think that they have a reasonably strong argument to eventually get Wiseman eligible.
That argument is pretty straightforward: Yes, Hardaway gave Wiseman money when Wiseman was in high school. But again, he was just trying to help the family. And he had no idea that he would ever become Memphis basketball’s head coach.
As I explain on my podcast, I’m actually not totally sold on the notion that Hardaway had “no idea” he’d become the Memphis coach, since people in basketball will tell you that he was politically angling for the Memphis job years before he got it.
But at the same time, that’s all conjecture and back-channel hearsay. And I actually think it is a pretty strong argument for Hardaway and Memphis.
So if we take out the salacious fact that Hardaway is now the head coach at Memphis, and just look at it as the simple fact of “a booster paying a recruit” that’s where it gets interesting. There are plenty of examples of a booster giving money to a recruit, and the recruit eventually being ruled eligible. It would probably involve a suspension of some sort and Wiseman’s family paying back the money they received to charity.
Just as an example, Jeff Goodman tweeted about the case of a BYU player named Nick Emery, who a couple years ago accepted $12,000 from a booster. Emery was forced to pay back the money and was suspended for nine games.
Different situation than James Wiseman, but BYU’s Nick Emery was hit with a 9-game suspension by NCAA a year or so ago after taking a similar amount of money ($12,000) in impermissible benefits from boosters. Here are the other penalties imposed in that case. pic.twitter.com/rlq1vHZyNI
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) November 9, 2019
So could we see a similar situation with Wiseman, where he paid the money to charity and was eventually reinstated?
Yeah, I could actually totally see that.
What Are the Risks of Playing Wiseman?
Well, as you know, that’s pretty straightforward also. Wiseman has already been ruled ineligible. Which means that unless the NCAA completely reverses course and makes him eligible, it means that any game he plays prior to being ruled eligible has to be vacated, and will count as a loss in the record books.
Considering that Wiseman has already played in two games since he was ruled ineligible (the ruling technically came out before Memphis’s opener against South Carolina State, even if it didn’t become public until Friday) it means that those two could count as losses when they’re actually wins.
Now admittedly, maybe Memphis is simply hoping that the injunction holds up throughout the season, that Wiseman plays in all of its games and that they make a deep tournament run. Do that, and who cares if they eventually have to vacate those wins, right? Screw the NCAA, right?
Except here’s the thing, while everyone in the media is praising Memphis for giving a middle finger to the NCAA, it’s actually a pretty stupid philosophy.
Let me explain why.
Let’s say James Wiseman plays in five games before the NCAA decides on his eligibility, and they decide to say suspend him another nine games (like in the BYU case). And let’s say that Memphis accepts that punishment (which is questionable if they will at this point) and the Tigers finish the regular season with a 27-5 overall record.
Except, because they played Wiseman while he was ineligible, it could also mean that when the NCAA selection committee looks at Memphis, they won’t look at them as a 27-5 team, but instead 22-10, because they had to vacate the five wins to start the season that Wiseman played.
It could cost Memphis NCAA Tournament seeding, or possibly a berth altogether.
Again, I know so many who are anti-NCAA think it’s super “cool” that Memphis is giving the NCAA the middle finger, but it actually could cost them long-term.
Could the NCAA Also Bring Down the Hammer on Penny Hardaway?
Full-disclosure, when the news first broke I did a Periscope discussing the news, and I said that I thought that Wiseman would never play at Memphis and Hardaway’s days as the coach were numbered. Admittedly, that happened before the injunction, but also before we had a full grasp of the facts of the case.
At the time I was thinking of “Penny Hardaway, Memphis Basketball Coach” as the guy who paid Wiseman’s family. Not “Penny Hardaway, High School Coach.”
That is a big difference though.
Therefore, while I think in theory that Hardaway could face some kind of suspension, I don’t think he will end up losing his job over all this, that is, assuming he wants to stay at Memphis to fight this. Penny of course is in a unique situation because he doesn’t need the Memphis job after making over $100 million during his NBA career.
So maybe he ends up fighting this. Or maybe he ends up saying “screw it” and moving on to the next part of his life.
My guess though is that this isn’t something he’ll be fired over if he does want to stay as the Tigers basketball coach.
Why Did This Come Out Now?
There is one final, little twist in this story that I wanted to share here, because at the very least I think it’s interesting. It also came from more than one person who I spoke to over the phone this weekend.
The question: Why did this information come out now?
The answer: It’s way more complicated than you think.
Because here is a little fact that has been kind of glossed over by the national media: The NCAA originally ruled James Wiseman was eligible in May. The NCAA went through all the records, and found nothing suspicious about Wiseman’s recruitment, his decision to move to Memphis to play high school basketball or to attend the University of Memphis.
Then, at some point since then, they got enough information to suspend Wiseman.
So what happened between May and now? Well most likely, someone was unhappy with Memphis and leaked information to the NCAA.
The question is, who?
I discussed this at length on my podcast today (and again, seriously encourage you to download it) but the one thing that is undeniable, is that Penny Hardaway has made a lot of enemies since coming to college basketball a little over a year ago. Not only did he essentially get Tubby Smith pushed out at Memphis, but his recruiting has obviously been the talk of the sport. In addition to adding Wiseman to his roster, he has players on his roster who originally committed to Duke (Boogie Ellis), Kentucky (DJ Jeffries) and Wichita State (Alex Lomax). All eventually decommitted and ended up at Memphis. Precious Achiuwa also signed with the program, when for a good chunk of last spring it appeared as though he was leaning towards North Carolina.
To be clear, I’m not saying that Memphis broke rules to get any of those players. And I’m not saying that Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina or anyone else was the one who turned him in.
At the same time, those are a lot of powerful programs to piss off in a short amount of time. And again, the one thing that is undeniable is that Penny Hardaway has made a lot of enemies in his short time at Memphis.
Because this situation is so unique, it’s a question that is honestly impossible to answer at this point.
It seems as though Memphis plans to keep playing Wiseman, as the facts of this case are resolved behind the scenes.
Whether they get resolved soon or not remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen just how many wins Memphis is forced to vacate from this season, and what the futures of both Wiseman and Hardaway are at Memphis.
In the meantime though, all I can say is this: Keep paying attention to this story.
It remains one of the most fascinating cases we’ve seen in a long, long time.
Congratulations to Tyrese Maxey, who has been named SEC Freshman of the Week following his huge performance vs. Michigan State. Arkansas’ Mason Jones took home SEC Player of the Week honors following his career-high 32 points vs. Rice.
Maxey came off the bench to score 26 points vs. the then-No. 1 Spartans, the most by a freshman in a debut in program history and the most points of any UK player against an Associated Press No. 1 ranked team since Jamal Mashburn scored 28 in an overtime loss to Duke in 1992. He was 7-12 from the field and had three ridiculously long threes, the final putting the Cats up by five with a minute left. On Friday vs. Eastern Kentucky, Maxey came off the bench again to score nine points and grab three rebounds.
This is the first SEC Freshman of the Week honor for Maxey, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.
By Nick Roush on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
Kentucky’s pass offense lost two of its best weapons prior to the Tennessee game. When Lynn Bowden was in trouble, he could not simply throw it up.
Ahmad Wagner and Bryce Oliver are Kentucky’s two most-talented jump ball receivers. In a game that Tennessee won thanks to a few 50-50 receptions, Wagner was sidelined by a leg injury and Oliver missed the game after injuring his toe in practice.
“I hope both of them will be back this week. We’ll see,” said Stoops. “I was told that both of them were close, both of them were better today, so hopefully they’ll be out there.”
One person who did unexpectedly return to the sideline is Marquez Bembry. The junior college transfer injured his knee in the spring. On Saturday the outside linebacker did not play, but he was in uniform for the first time.
“He’s working his way back in there, he really has. He’s been practicing a couple weeks. We’re close to getting him into a game. He’s getting there,” Stoops said. “We have actually explored because of the need — we have some good depth at outside and we need some help inside — we’ve actually been repping him at inside (linebacker). That can help us in the future for next year. Now you’re talking about a big guy, a big strong guy that can move in there.”