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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s Thursday News and Views

Thursday is an unofficial holiday in the state of Kentucky. It’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Day. I will not refer to it as anything else.

MKG, as we know him best, turns 20 years old on Thursday, making all of us feel really old and unsuccessful in whatever it is we’re doing with our lives. I’ll be honest with you: I ask God three to four times a week why he made me who I am and not Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. I want to be MKG. You want to be MKG. We all want to be MKG. But there can be only one. We should just be thankful that he chose to attend the University of Kentucky for a year to play basketball, where he won the hearts of everyone — and UK’s eighth national championship.

So join me in wishing Mike a Happy 20th (double-checked it, he’s really turning 20) Birthday and a Happy Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Day in the bluegrass.

I dream I move, I dream I groove. Like Mike. If I could be like Mike….

 

 Well, football fans, we’ve heard from Mark Stoops and the staff for the last time before the Florida game. Stoops spoke to reporters after Wednesday’s practice, his final media opportunity of the week, and he was pleased with what he saw from his players.

Headlining the report is Max Smith, who looked good at quarterback for the second straight day. “He seems to be fine.” Stoops said. “We put a pitch count on him again but seems to be no effects.”

Neal Brown had more to say about his quarterback. He said Smith was almost perfect in Tuesday’s practice and he has fully recovered from the shoulder injury.  “I think the week down did him well,” he added. “No signs of the injury to me.”

Smith will still split time with Whitlow under center, though. It’ll take more than a perfect practice to change that.

 Demarco Robinson was back returning punts and kicks in practice this week but the staff isn’t sure if he’ll fill that role against Florida. Stoops reminded everyone how thin Kentucky is at returner and said they’ll continue to evaluate tomorrow and make a decision on the starter closer to game time. Robinson still isn’t at 100%, but Neal Brown believes he’ll be close by Saturday.

If Robinson can’t go, look for Jeff Badet to get more looks at that position. “I like him, he’s made some big plays,” Brown said. “But Demarco gives us more depth. And he does have some experience, and he did play well in that Western game.”

 The offensive line will be tested Saturday against Florida, the first SEC opponent of the season, and the group will find a lot out about themselves in the game. However, the Florida defensive line took a huge hit Wednesday when Dominique Easley suffered a season-ending ACL injury in practice. Easley is a projected top 10 pick in the NFL draft and the star of Florida’s front four. The group will undoubtedly miss him, but just how much so remains to be seen. Regardless, the loss of Easley helps UK’s otherwise slim chances, although you never want to see an opponent go down.

Easley’s injury is the sixth season-ending injury for Florida this year: QB Jeff Diskel, broken leg; LB Matt Rolin, ACL; WR Andre Debose, ACL; OL Chaz Green, labrum; CB Nick Washington, shoulder; and DL Dominique Easley, ACL.

 When Kentucky and Florida kick it off Saturday, it will be the 64th meeting between the two teams. Florida leads the series 46-17, including the last 26 meetings, as you well know. The Gators have won 32 of the last 33, which doesn’t sound any better. So, point being, beat Florida. Please.

 One more friendly reminder: Florida held Kentucky scoreless a year ago in Gainesville, winning the game 38-0. In fact, Kentucky averages only 7.2 points per game in its last five meetings against the Gators.

2012: Florida 38, Kentucky 0
2011: Florida 48, Kentucky 10
2010: Florida 48, Kentucky 14
2009: Florida 41, Kentucky 7
2008: Florida 63, Kentucky 5

Sheesh.

  Switching over to basketball, it was announced Wednesday that tickets for the Champions Classic will go on sale October 1. The November 12 double-header in Chicago features three preseason top five teams and the three top freshmen in all of college basketball. Kentucky and Michigan State will tip it off first in the battle of the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams, followed by the Andrew Wiggins/Jabari Parker showdown in Duke’s game against Kansas. What a great night of basketball in the Windy City. Be there.

 Before basketball practice begins for the year on Friday, John Calipari has a couple stops to make out west. On Wednesday, he was in Oakland to see 2015 power forward Ivan Rabb, their first face-to-face meeting. Rabb comes from the Oakland Soldiers AAU program that help put Aaron Gordon and Stanley Johnson on the scene and he’s currently the No. 3 player in the 2015 Rivals150. There’s still a long way to go with Rabb, but this one is sure to be another Lexington/West Coast battle for his services. Oh boy.

 Calipari also stopped by Los Angeles to see another class of 2015 star, second-ranked point guard Tyler Dorsey. Dorsey tweeted this blurry photo after the visit:

tyler-dorsey

The No. 7 prospect in the 2015 ESPN60 already has offers from Arizona, Duke, Florida, Louisville, Kansas, UCLA and several others. An offer from Kentucky should come soon.

Cal will stick around Los Angeles and meet with Stanley Johnson tomorrow. It’ll be their second meeting in the last three weeks, since the fall recruiting period got underway on September 9.

 Our friend Jason Jordan from USA Today has a good story on Stanley Johnson and a unique tactic he uses during visits to catch coaches off guard. Johnson waits until the coach is good and comfortable, then he asks if they think he will be one-and-done.

“They never see it coming at the time that I ask it,” Johnson told Jordan. “That’s when the visit or meeting actually starts. It catches them off guard because, of course, that’s a goal for most players; if you’re ‘one-and-done’ good then you’re really on your way. I want to get better and there are things that I need to improve to be a pro, whether it’s one or four years, so how are you gonna get me to that ultimate level in seven months? What’s your plan?”

Johnson said all coaches have answered it well after the initial shock. I bet I can guess which coach handled it the best.

 If you missed Dick Vitale on Kentucky Sports Radio radio Wednesday morning, I encourage you to go back and listen to his interview in the second hour. He, like everyone else who has seen them, believes Kentucky is the best team in college basketball and will be a force to be reckoned with. Have a listen at TalkRadio1080.com.

See you back here in the morning, friends.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

20 Comments for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s Thursday News and Views



  1. JS
    11:16 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    HAPPY B-DAY MKG – You can tell you’re a great kid and I wish you nothing but happiness, you deserve it.



  2. KY Fan
    11:48 pm September 25, 2013 Permalink

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a class act!! According to Wikipedia, did you know Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist has a mild to acute stuttering problem. I read he has made tremendous strides in overcoming this problem. He is a role model for all all people who experience this… I wish him the best in his future in the NBA! HAPPY B-DAY MKG!!

    Dick Vitale was like music in my ears this morning when I heard him on Kentucky Sports Radio radio!

    Go KSR!



  3. Blue Jesus
    12:21 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    Looking at the scores from the UK-Florida series the last five years makes me realize it will be hard for Stoops to disappoint this coming Saturday… So long as we can score a couple touchdowns and hold UF under 40 then he’s sitting pretty. Not that I don’t want more and believe there can be more, but really the bar has been set pretty damn low for Stoops.



  4. ColoradoCat
    12:30 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    If you add up all the points we’ve scored over the past 5 years…they still beat us in any of the last 5 years.



  5. BluelightBub
    1:04 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    Happy Birthday Michael,
    You are my fave Cat of all time. Hope the best for you in your carreer and in life. I think of you as my son.
    BluelightBub



  6. Worth the read!!
    1:21 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    You cannot, I repeat, cannot get accustomed to playing small. You’ve got to stand under the box and put all your effort into menstruating the almighty rock. The pilgrimage to the top is a windy, dark, treacherous one. But it is fully obtainable if you have put the work into your triceps and inner thigh muscles. You can also outperform the average 25-50 year old guy. Don’t skip physical education folks!! Team spirit!!



  7. SeaCat
    1:31 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    Stanley Johnson wants to be one and done,
    It has to be UK!

    I want James Young to be MKG with a 3 point shot!

    Stoops should feel no pressure about Florida at all.
    Their defense is crushing. And Fla>>TN>>WKU>>UK
    If UK scores against Florida, I will take that as a victory!



  8. Wildcatsteeler
    3:10 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    Careful. Telling these rednecks they want to be a black guy is seriously risking a boycott. You have to understand they see these players as champions for us. Not equals. It’s honestly similar to watching a horse race for them. Praise them and thank them for their service but never imply envy or equality. Never forget you’re in the South.



  9. theSkinny81
    6:39 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    8 – Shut. The [email protected] Up.

    Can we ban this racist troll?



  10. RealCatsFan
    7:20 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    Drew, I generally like the site redesign, but one thing that is annoying is having to scroll down through all of the text of the article to get to the comments after you click on the button. That is the whole point of clicking on the button. It should go straight to the comments. That should be a simple fix for your webmaster.



  11. Webmaster
    8:32 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    Simple fix, simple fix are you for real, simple fix……..oh yeah that should be a simple fix.



  12. RahRah
    8:34 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    Happy Birthday to MKG! Miss that guy. #BBNforever
    As for Stanley Johnson, I highly doubt that question caught Coach Cal off guard. With the superstars he recruits, I’m sure he’s heard it all before. And has all the right answers. But if that’s the kid’s objective, I can’t imagine he picks anyone else. Go Coach!



  13. classof68
    8:40 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    10. – I concur. In fact I don’t see where the site upgrade is much better than the old one. Seems like it’s more time consuming to get the same basic info they used to give. All that screen space taken up by such big print and empty space equals a lot of scrolling. On top of that, Drew would rather be MKG than Justin Bieber – just makes you wonder about these KSR dudes sometimes. I think they ought to go back to the old web design and put Mrs. TT in charge, so everyone else at KSR can concentrate on tennis.



  14. Jwall
    8:41 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    9) no joke man that’s all that guy ever posts he’s a broken record. I also motion for a ban!



  15. rick
    9:15 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    #9, You are right #8 is st###d.



  16. Hoops Malone
    9:21 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    8) Thanks for your comments, Mr. Forde.



  17. wildcat whisperer
    9:22 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    Just a quick comment on site re-design….using Firefox as my browser, I have had zero issues. Not that KSR is all of the sudden the hottest thing to ever hit the web, but some of the gripes that I have been reading about have not been any problem for me at all.

    And happy b-day Mike!



  18. kentucky effect
    9:54 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    8….You are a total NUT BAG…..GO AWAY IDIOT!



  19. KevinM
    10:29 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    Yes, Matt is biased with Vitale.

    Who would have thought? Not a tough question in the bunch.

    And, Matt, don’t talk politics….its not your future.



  20. come on
    10:43 am September 26, 2013 Permalink

    Had to smile about the Gilchrist read. If my old arthritic butt could do it, I ‘d go out back to the basketball goal and pretend to be him just like I did with Dampier and Riley. We never lost.
    I guess Florida’s Easley got his wish about not having to go to any more Southern towns. Hate that the guy got hurt but Karma shouldn’t be tempted