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Members of 1993 team have “nothing negative to say” about Rick Pitino

To say Kentucky fans have mixed emotions about former head coach Rick Pitino would be an understatement.

On the one hand, Pitino took over a program in the midst of a crushing probation and brought them back to glory, winning a national title in 1996.

On the other, he went on to coach at Louisville, Kentucky’s most bitter rival. It was hero turned villain.

This weekend, Pitino’s 1993 squad came back to Lexington to celebrate the 25-year anniversary of their historic run to the Final Four. The vast majority of the team was in attendance, but the former head coach was notably and unsurprisingly absent.

He did tweet about the reunion, telling his players he was proud and “loved the hell out of them.” He also added that John Calipari reached out to him, sparking controversy within the fanbase:

After Kentucky’s victory over Utah on Saturday night, Calipari addressed the comment, saying he absolutely reached out to Pitino and hopes he makes his way back to Lexington sooner rather than later.

“So what?” he said of Pitino’s tenure at Louisville. Calipari wants you to appreciate him for what he did in Lexington.

“He was with family and he had things going on but I said, ‘Look, you need to get up here. This will be respectful here,’” he said. “What that program did to change this back, we should recognize it. You may be mad he went to coach Louisville. So what? When he was here and we needed this program on a different track, he put it and that group, and I thanked that group last night. ‘You guys got this thing back going. You guys did.’”

He likened the situation to Joe B. Hall’s in Lexington. He had his ups and downs, but fans only remember him for the good now. In his mind, Pitino deserves that same respect.

“I just — like I said, I’d like him to come back and let him — one of the happiest things for me is when I see how Coach [Joe B.] Hall is treated here,” he said. “He’s treated like royalty. I love it when he goes out on the court. I love to see him in practice and I love how our fans treat him. My guess is back in the day they probably weren’t as friendly. But now they look at it and say, you know what? Who would have followed Adolph Rupp? Who was stupid enough to do that? He was. Won Final Fours, won national titles. Think about it.

“And now, what Rick did? Like I said, he deserves to be able to get the respect from what he did here. And I think our fans would be great. I think they’re by all that. He may not think that, but I’m convinced that if he came back, the fans would be great to him.”

When asked about Pitino’s time at Kentucky, former Wildcat point guard Dale Brown said he had nothing but love for his former head coach.

“Nothing negative to say about Coach,” Brown said. “I love that guy. He prepared me for life… Great guy, man. He did great things for us. He’ll always have a special place in our hearts.”

Brown added that under Pitino, players believed in one another and accepted their roles on the team. That cohesiveness led to their Final Four run.

“We just believed in Coach Pitino’s system, we knew he was going to put us in the best situation possible,” Brown said. “We just fulfilled our role night in and night out, and we eventually made it to the Final Four. It was a dream come true.”

Former Kentucky forward Gimel Martinez said Pitino’s presence, combined with the tradition, was enough to seal the deal on his recruitment.

“When coach Pitino was recruiting me, we were obviously on probation, and I knew we would be on probation one more year,” he said. “Just to be able to play for someone like coach, and when I came here on my recruiting visit, just the atmosphere and the tradition, it was something you couldn’t get anywhere else. It was definitely something I wanted to be a part of.”

Martinez said his former head coach made all of his players the best version of themselves, and that’s what he appreciates most.

”Pitino got the best out of all of us, made us all better players,” he said.

Former Wildcat forward Jared Prickett said his head coach would never allow anything of that nature in his time at Kentucky. That’s why his situation in Louisville was so unfortunate.

“Everyone has their ups and downs in life,” he said. “But I look at that (Louisville) situation, and the way Coach communicated with us, how he was strict with us… not allowing anything of that nature at our program. It’s an unfortunate situation”

Beyond the controversy surrounding Pitino and his career trajectory, Prickett wanted to get something else off his chest about his time in Lexington.

The former Kentucky big man said if Brown hadn’t gone down with a shoulder injury and Jamal Mashburn never fouled out in crunch time, the Wildcats were moving on to the national title game. They wouldn’t have lost to Michigan’s Fab Five in the Final Four.

“We should’ve won that game,” he said. “We could’ve won it, we should’ve won it.”

BUY NOW: KSBar gift cards available for the holidays!

BUY NOW: KSBar gift cards available for the holidays!

Have you been struggling to find that perfect gift this holiday season? You’re in luck! KSBar and Grille gift cards are available online. You can purchase them in $25, $50, $75, and $100 increments. Plus, you will receive $5 free for every $25 you purchase!

Simply head to, select your gift card amount, enter the address and payment info, and your special gift is on the way.

You can finish all your holiday shopping right now with these KSBar gift cards! Cards must be ordered by December 18th to arrive in time for Christmas. Tell your family and friends.

[BUY NOW: KSBar gift cards]

FINAL DAY: 50% off sweatshirts, 20% off everything else

FINAL DAY: 50% off sweatshirts, 20% off everything else

We are approaching the final stretch of the holiday shopping season. The KSR Shop and Kentucky Branded don’t want you to panic so they are having a big holiday sale!

Head to to receive 50% off select sweatshirts and 20% off everything else. Pick out some super soft KSR or UK sweatshirts, long sleeve tees, and lots of other great gift ideas to complete your holiday shopping. This holiday sale ends at midnight.

[Holiday Sale at the KSR Shop]


GAMEDAY: Kentucky tries to bounce back vs Utah

It’s been a rough week for the Kentucky basketball team.

Last Saturday the Wildcats lost an up-and-down overtime thriller to Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden.  The problems magnified in that performance seemed minuscule when point guard Quade Green announced on Wednesday that he’s leaving the team.  Now the backcourt is missing its most-experienced player and top three-point shooter.

Adversity is striking this team much quicker than anticipated.  Today we’ll find out if it forces them to rise to the occasion, or will they resort back to bad habits against an average PAC-12 foe?

John Calipari has talked about tweaking UK’s offense multiple times this week.  Along with a new backcourt rotation, today could be the beginning of UK’s turnaround, or another early-season slog at Rupp Arena.  The action begins at 5:00 on ESPN2.

Vegas Line

Despite last Saturday’s loss, the Wildcats are 14.5-point favorites over the 4-4 Utes.

Prepare on the KSR Pregame Show

Before the Cats tip-off at Rupp Arena, listen to the KSR crew preview the matchup between the Cats and the Utes.  All of the action begins on 630 WLAP or online at 2:30.

$15 Student Tickets Available

Don’t have tickets to this afternoon’s game? No problem.  Beginning at 3:30, the Rupp Arena box office will be selling unclaimed student tickets for only $15.  Bring cash and watch from Rupp’s lower level. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

How to Watch and Listen

Friend of the program, Tom Hart, will be on the call for ESPN2 with Jimmy Dykes.  If you’re stuck on the road and can’t watch, there are multiple ways to listen to The Voice of the Wildcats.

  • AM: 840 WHAS, 630 WLAP
  • FM: 98.1 WBUL
  • Satellite: XM-190 and Sirius-94
  • Online: iHeart Radio

1993 Final Four Reunion

This weekend is the 25th anniversary celebration of the 1993 Final Four team.  During halftime members of Pitino’s first Final Four team will be honored at half-court.  It’s a wonderful time to take a trip down memory lane.  Even if you weren’t around to remember, the Maui Invitational created an excellent KSR inside joke.

Win $5,000 in The KSBar Hammer Bowl Challenge

The beginning of bowl season this afternoon also marks your first chance to enter KSBar’s $5,000 Hammer Bowl Challenge.  Arrive at the bar before kickoff, predict the game and the person closest to the final score will be a finalist for the grand prize.  It’s that simple.  Here’s who’s on tap today:

  • 1:30: Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette in the Cure Bowl on CBSSN
  • 2:00: Utah State vs. North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl on ESPN
  • 3:30: Arizona State vs. #21 Fresno State in the Vegas Bowl on ABC
  • 5:30: Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan in the Camellia Bowl on ESPN
  • 9:00: Middle Tennessee vs. App. State in the New Orleans Bowl on ESPN

On top of the bowl games, we also have our first Saturday of NFL football.  The Jets host the Texans at 4:30, followed by the Browns at the Broncos at 8:20.  Each game will be on the NFL Network.

UK Hoops Returns to Memorial

The Kentucky women’s basketball team is back in action to start a five-game home stand at Memorial Coliseum.  If you want to watch the Cats take on the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State, admission is free for every fan who brings a toy to donate.  Tip-off is set for 1:00 pm.

Benny to the NFL

As expected, Benny Snell’s time at the University of Kentucky is coming to an end.  The running back announced yesterday he will play one more game as a Kentucky Wildcat.  “I want to go out like I came in, with my brothers,” Snell said.

Official Visitors

Kentucky is hosting about ten official visitors on campus for the final big football recruiting weekend before signing day.  Four-star cornerback Jammie Robinson’s mother appears to be enjoying her time with Matt House.


Another uncommitted four-star recruit, wide receiver Devonta Lee (pictured right), is much bigger than I thought.  He’s only a high school senior, yet he’s built like an SEC linebacker. Sheesh.


College Basketball on TV

Kentucky does not interfere with a pair of marquee matchups that bookend the Saturday slate.

  • Noon: #17 Villanova at #1 Kansas on ESPN
  • Noon: #3 Tennessee at Memphis on ESPN2
  • 1:30: Notre Dame vs. Purdue on CBS
  • 3:45: Butler vs. #25 Indiana on CBS
  • 6:00: #20 Arizona State at Georgia on the SEC Network
  • 7:00: #4 Gonzaga at #12 North Carolina on ESPN2
  • 8:30: Cincinnati at #18 Miss. State on SEC Network

Cage Match!

Tony Vanetti’s rivalry with Shannon the Dude made its way into an OVW cage.  Before the 49-year old’s match, the live TV feed was disrupted.  The only available evidence shows Vanetti absolutely taking it to Adam Revolver.  The old man’s still got it.  If I were Shannon, I’d be worried.

Congrats Graduates!

Today Rupp will be packed with thousands of basketball fans.  Yesterday it was packed with hundreds of graduates.  Completing that journey is not easy.  To all those who finally made that walk, Congrats! You made it.  You’re in good company.

UK will have 13 graduates on its Citrus Bowl roster (@UKFootball).

Previewing Kentucky’s 2019 Football Recruiting Season Finale

The weekend before signing day has traditionally been the Kentucky football program’s marquee recruiting event.  As the rules changed, so has the event, but there are still plenty of talented recruits in Lexington for official visits.

This weekend KSR expects about ten 2019 recruits to be on campus.  Before the early signing period was adopted in 2017, at least ten commitments would wait to take their official visit on the final weekend of the recruiting calendar year.  Since signing day has moved up, the official visits have as well.

“We have more kids on campus for in-season games and that’s always good and bad,” Mark Stoops said last week.  “It’s nice to be able to fly parents in and the prospects in and spend time with them and see the game day atmosphere and be around here. That’s good, but it’s tough on us coaches also because our attention is on winning that game until the game is over.”

Even though the majority of the 2019 class already elected to officially visit for a game day, Stoops will still see quite a few commitments this weekend.

Three committed players from the state of Florida will be in Lexington for official visits — offensive tackle Jake Pope, wide receiver DeMarcus Harris and quarterback Nik Scalzo.  Before hopping on a flight to Lexington, the rehabbing quarterback hosted his coaches for an in-home visit earlier this week.

Scalzo will not be the only quarterback in town.  Fresh off a six-touchdown state championship performance, Amani Gilmore will officially visit UK with his four-star teammate, Devonta Lee.  A Top 100 wide receiver, Kentucky will use an early playing time pitch to try to persuade him from leaving his home state.  LSU is the perceived favorite for Lee.  He’ll officially visit Baton Rouge in January before signing in February.

Lee is one of three uncommitted prospects expected to officially visit this weekend.  The other two are cornerbacks, Jammie Robinson and Taj Dodson.  Dodson is a three-star prospect from Georgia with offers from Baylor, Iowa State, Ole Miss and others.  Robinson is the four-star target who wore UK gloves during his state championship victory at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.  South Carolina is UK’s top competition; Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee and Michigan are also in the mix.

Vince Marrow’s top task at hand is keeping Cavon Butler in the fold.  The Toledo defensive tackle has been committed to Kentucky since August, but Ohio State has tried to change that.  Butler visited Columbus a few times, including an official visit for the blowout of Michigan.  However, the talented interior defensive lineman has remained loyal.  Kentucky can seal the deal this weekend before he puts pen to paper in a signing ceremony on Wednesday.

Two other UK commits from Georgia, Travis Tisdale and KD McDaniel, could also make the trip for an official visit.  As of now that remains unclear.  It is clear that this weekend could take Kentucky’s class to another level.  We’ll find out shortly if Stoops, Marrow and Co. can create last-minute momentum before December 19.