What is usually a quiet week in early May was quite the opposite with John Calipari making noise and several other happenings around UK Athletics and the NBA combine. The newswire was unexpectedly busy from Monday to Friday, which is pretty rare this time of year. So why don’t we get you all caught up on your KSR so you’re in the loop heading into the weekend.
— The week began with reports of a modification to Kentucky’s 2016-17 basketball schedule: Kentucky will play Hofstra in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, not in Nassau Coliseum, as originally planned.
— Also from Monday morning: John Calipari released Part 2 of his “Vision of the Program” series. It included several jabs at Coach K and Duke, as well as plenty of subliminal messages to Marques Bolden and the Bolden family. The essay stirred up quite an online controversy and it did not go away on Monday.
— Video leaked of a brutal, four-on-one fight in the Kentucky Derby infield. It was all over the internet Monday, because it’s not everyday you get a preppy fight between guys in blazers, with one swift knockout kick.
— Big Bertha came down after 40 years of service in Rupp Arena. While it’s great to see her go for the addition of a brand new scoreboard, she will be missed.
— The city of Lebanon took its hideous water tower and turned it into a beautiful Maker’s Mark water tower. That thing needs its own postcard.
— Kentucky football to open the season on a Thursday night? A report out of Mississippi said it’s a possibility. UK denied it as being fact, but did not deny that it’s being discussed.
— Matthew Mitchell lost another commitment. This time it was his top recruit in the 2017 class, an in-state talent from Bullitt East High School.
— I took a look back at Derby weekend. It included a great photo of Rick Pitino.
— Via TMZ, Nerlens Noel denied trashing his Philadelphia rental home last year. Noel has been accused of over $40,000 in damages to the home, as well as a death threat once he was hit with a lawsuit from the homeowners.
— I made the case for why Kentucky should move its home football opener to Thursday. Many fans seem to agree, although there is a part of the fan base that is very against the idea.
— All five UK basketball signees cracked the top 25 of Rivals.com’s final Rivals150. Three of the five made the top 10.
— We learned that UK pays its basketball and football coaches more than any other university in the SEC. UK spent $10.5 million combined on the salaries of Stoops and Calipari, just ahead of the $9.89 million Alabama spent on Nick Saban and Avery Johnson.
— Mrs. Tyler played Face Swap with some of your favorite faces from Kentucky basketball.
— UK announced the dates for Big Blue Madness, the Blue-White scrimmage and the first two exhibition games. We learned Clarion and Asbury will have the honor of playing punching-bag for the Cats to prepare for the regular season.
— Matthew Mitchell added a former player, Amber Smith, to his coaching staff. Smith was a fan favorite at Kentucky when she played from 2008 to 2012.
— In his offseason press conference, John Calipari said he expects Marcus Lee to remain in the draft. He also said the feedback he has received on Isaiah Briscoe has only been on Briscoe’s shooting, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen Briscoe play basketball.
— In that same press conference, Coach Cal denied his Monday website comments were about Duke. Sure, Cal. Sure.
— More from the presser: Cal delivered one last indirect message to Marques Bolden as Bolden comes close to making his final decision.
— Jen Smith of the Herald-Leader broke the news that Mark Stoops was close to adding Matt House to his staff. We would later learn Jen was correct in her report.
— Nick researched House’s background and what he’ll bring to the table at UK. He’s a professional disc golfer, so there’s that.
— Video surfaced of Skal Labissiere wowing scouts with his jump shot in a private workout before the combine.
— “Answers To Your Topix” returned with a trip to the Pikeville forum.
— Thursday began with confirmation from UK that the Wildcats will indeed play Hofstra in the Barclays Center. The game will be part of the 2016 Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival on December 11.
— Soon after that release hit the inbox, UK officially announced the hiring of Matt House as outside linebackers and special teams coach. The release included a statement from Mark Stoops and noted D.J. Eliot will take over the outside linebackers.
— A source told Evan Daniels Skal Labissiere was “unreal” in his workout. One NBA writer said it’s time to move Labissiere back into top-five consideration.
— We learned the combine measurements of Labissiere, Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee. Jamal Murray elected to sit out that phase of the combine.
— Tyler Ulis recorded a 38-inch max vertical. Thirty. Eight.
— Following a disappointing performance in his first combine scrimmage, Marcus Lee told reporters he is 87 percent sure he will keep his name in the draft. Could you be a little more precise, Marcus?
— Nick shared a complete rundown of the Thursday combine action for those who missed it.
— Back in Lexington, UK Athletics scored its eighth straight 3.0 cumulative GPA.
— Freddie Maggard celebrated his one-year anniversary with KSR by writing some observations from the job. Year 1 was a blast and we’re excited for many more with Freddie on the team. (And we appreciate his kind words in the post.)
— Mrs. Tyler introduced Jared Vanderbilt in her Get To Know The 2017 Prospects series.
— Downtown Lexington saw a special guest Thursday evening when Bill Clinton took a lap around Thursday Night Live. I think everyone within a mile radius got a photo with the former President.
— We learned the date of the return trip in UK’s home-and-home series with UCLA. The Bruins will travel to Rupp Arena on Saturday, December 3 for that contest. All eyes on De’Aaron Fox versus Lonzo Ball.
— KSR learned this year’s Kentucky-Louisville game will be played on a Wednesday night. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve stole the two available Saturdays, so the game will be on Wednesday, December 21, in the Yum! Center.
— Matthew Mitchell opened up about the problems within his program. “We will not be discouraged by rumors of some scandal that does not exist,” he wrote in an open letter to the fans.
— One-time UK signee, Lindsey Corsaro, spoke to espnW about her decision to back out of her Letter of Intent. Corsaro said UK Hoops underwent a culture change and the girls who didn’t fall in line with that change decided to move on.
— It’s very unlikely Marcus Lee will hear his name called on draft night after he struggled at the combine for a second day in a row. That’s okay, though; Lee told reporters he is “totally fine” with the D-league if that is where he ends up.
— With two new dates added to next season’s basketball schedule, I put together a look at the 2016-17 non-conference slate as it stands today.
Enjoy your weekend!