It’s almost Kentucky Derby time in the bluegrass, which means it’s almost Ferdinand’s Ball time in the bluegrass, a KSR May tradition. The annual gala in honor of the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner will kick off Louisville’s biggest weekend on Derby Thursday, as it always does, at the Muhammad Ali Center. This year’s event will be hosted by Jon Hood, Jarrod Polson, Darius Miller, Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Luke Hancock.
In case you missed the promotion here on the website earlier Monday evening, Ferdinand’s Ball is offering $25 off cocktail tickets for Kentucky Sports Radio readers and listeners. All you have to do is enter promo code “drewloveskate” to receive the discount at checkout on the Ferdinand’s Ball website. Cocktail tickets will get you access to the premium open bar, appetizers, the photo booth, silent auction, dance floor, and much more.
This year will mark our fourth time attending the event and we’ll continue to go as long as they’ll have us as it is one of our favorite parts of Derby weekend. Not only does Ferdinand’s Ball raise money for a great cause, but it provides several celebrity interactions — some good, some awkward — and we hope you’ll join us a week from Thursday to see what this year has in store. (We will not be throwing up Ls with Peyton Siva this year.)
On to the Tuesday news and views…
Julius Randle will announce his decision Tuesday afternoon.
Kentucky basketball fans — that’d be you — will finally learn the future of Julius Randle on Tuesday when he announces his intentions to enter the NBA, or, if hell freezes over, return to Lexington for a sophomore season. Randle is scheduled to hold a press conference at 1:30 pm Tuesday to go public with his decision and all signs point to the league, as expected all along.
Randle has been a projected top five pick since committing to Kentucky last spring so he’d be borderline crazy to return, although we’d gladly welcome him back. But with his NBA potential and teams drooling over the opportunity to draft him, the smart play is to follow the lifelong dream and the money after one season of college basketball. We’ll officially find out if that is his play Tuesday afternoon.
Kentucky football landed a HUGE commitment.
Mark Stoops and the University of Kentucky football program hauled in a huge commitment Monday night in the form of Eli Brown of Bowling Green, one of the best outside linebackers in the country. Brown, originally a Vandy commit until James Franklin bolted for Penn State, also had offers from several big programs, including football powerhouses Ohio State and USC.
A four-star prospect in the 2015 class, Brown currently has a 0.9191 247Sports Composite rating, the fourth-highest for a UK commit in the Mark Stoops era. Only Jason Hatcher, Drew Barker and Matt Elam received a higher grade, but Brown still has another season of high school football ahead of him to improve that number.
There’s no doubt, folks, this is one of the biggest Yahtzees and one that could spark more incoming elite talent by coming so early in the process, a la Drew Barker.
Welcome aboard, Eli.
Trey Lyles wants to win UK’s ninth title in his hometown.
Around this time two years ago, a young Julius Randle tweeted that he wants to win the 2014 NCAA championship in front of his friends and family in Dallas, his hometown. Randle, of course, fell just short of that goal after successfully reaching the title game two weeks ago.
Now it is Trey Lyles’ turn. The soon-to-be Kentucky Wildcat has his eyes on the 2015 NCAA championship game in Indianapolis, his hometown. Monday night, Lyles tweeted, “In 2015 I want to win a National Championship in my hometown Indianapolis!!! #BBN #Cats”
— Trey Lylesîª (@TreyMambaLyles) April 21, 2014
Willie Cauley-Stein replied, “Ya I wanna win it in urs too.”
Yeah, I want you two to win it, too.
Donnie Tyndall to Tennessee?
According to Gary Parrish and his Hollister rewards card, former Morehead State head coach Donnie Tyndall will be the next head basketball coach at the University of Tennessee. Tyndall spent the last two seasons at Southern Miss after a great run at Morehead State that included sending Rick Pitino home from the NCAAs and turning Kenneth Faried into a star. Tyndall also spent time on the coaching staffs at Middle Tennessee State and LSU, so he knows the state and the conference well.
Tennessee had hoped to hire Louisiana Tech’s Michael White, but when White declined an offer, Tyndall became the guy.
The door is open for Barry “Slice” Rohrssen to join Calipari’s staff.
Pittsburgh sent out a press release saying Rohrssen is leaving the Panther program, paving the way for him to accept the rumored assistant coaching offer in Lexington. The deal is believed to be done but there has been no official word from UK, not yet at least.
The one-time Manhattan head coach has several ties to New York City and is an excellent recruiter, not to mention a longtime friend of John Calipari. Jamie Dixon reportedly offered Rohrssen a significant raise to stick around, but the UK job is just too attractive of an offer to turn down.
Expect to hear something from Kentucky soon.
Calipari will meet with the Harrison twins Tuesday to discuss their future(s).
The smart move is to come back as they’re almost guaranteed a better spot in the draft with another year under Calipari and another season of college basketball to prove they’re NBA ready. My guess is Cal will tell them a return is the right move, but ya never know. The plan all along for the twins was to be one-and-done players, so even the slightest bit of interest from the league could send them packing. But as of now, there has been very little talk of interest from the NBA, if any, so the idea of a second season at UK has grown on them.
As Matt wrote in his decision update below, no one truly knows what is going on behind the scenes in the twins’ decision making process and anyone who tells you they know is lying. The Harrisons have been very private with everything and we’ll all find out together once the decision is made.
I’ll leave you with this:
Go Cats, everybody.