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Rex Chapman’s Friday News and Views


This weekend, Rex Chapman will be one of six UK greats inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame, along with Tubby Smith. “King Rex” is one of the program’s most accomplished players, accumulating 1,073 career points in just two years in Lexington. Rex was born in Bowling Green and played high school ball in Owensboro before committing to Kentucky over several schools, including Louisville, a team which he grew up cheering for. During his speech for his Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame induction, Rex said that made his infamous dunk over Kenny Payne in the 1986 UK/Louisville game particularly emotional:

“I grew up a Louisville fan,” he said. “Coach (Denny) Crum really recruited me hard. I knew what the rivalry meant. I was happy that we won, but at the same time I was a little emotional for Coach Crum and those guys. It was so unexpected. We weren’t a really good team that year. They were coming off winning a title.”

Rex played for four teams over his twelve-year NBA career, most notably the Phoenix Suns. He went on to serve as a scout and Director of Basketball Operations with the Suns, and later the Vice President of Player Personnel for the Denver Nuggets. Oddly enough, it was Rex’s foray into Twitter that really reconnected him with the Big Blue Nation. Rex took Twitter by storm, posting hilarious pictures and videos from his time at UK and in the NBA and expressing his opinion on just about anything to his followers. King Rex became a fan favorite once again, and even served as a guest coach during the Big Blue All-Stars vs. Villains exhibition game opposite Christian Laettner. Rex’s views on college basketball have been so popular that he landed a gig as an analyst during the 2013 NCAA Tournament for CBS.

Want more? You’re in luck. Rex Chapman and Josh Hopkins will join Matt and Drew on the radio show Friday morning to talk about the Cats and whatever else their hearts desire. Hopkins will introduce Chapman, one of his Big Blue heroes, at the Hall of Fame Dinner Friday night, so I’m sure there will be plenty of adorable fanboying.

Before all of that, we have some news and views to go over.

Cats vs. Cards

Can the Cats upset Florida?

That’s the big question everyone is asking. Duncan Cavanah gave you a detailed rundown of Kentucky’s chances for an upset on Saturday, and a few national media members are picking the Cats to win, including Dick Vitale and Mike Bianchi. Here are my six cents:

Three reasons to believe:

1) Florida is wounded: You’ve heard it several times by now, but six of Florida’s starters will be out of the game on Saturday, including QB Jeff Driskel and star DT Diminique Easley. DB Brian Poole will also sit out the first half for targeting and a helmet-to-helmet hit during last week’s game against Tennessee. Injuries are a terrible thing, and Florida’s back-ups are almost as talented as the starters, but every little bit will help for the Cats.

2) Their offense looks bad; UK’s offense looks good: With Jeff Driskel out, Stoops isn’t expecting Florida’s offense to change much, but backup Tyler Murphy showed on Saturday against Tennessee that he’s capable of running the ball. However, it’s his first collegiate start on the road in what will hopefully be a rowdy Commonwealth Stadium. Florida’s offense has been terrible this season, and ranks last in the SEC in scoring. On the other side of the ball, Stoops and Neal Brown say the offense has had its best set of practices yet this week, and Maxwell Smith is showing no signs of injury. Although they haven’t named a starter, it’s likely that Smith will get the nod, especially because of Jalen Whitlow’s early game nerves. UK’s young wide receivers and running backs have looked excellent so far, and according to the depth chart and Stoops’ comments this week, will get even more rein to run.

3) It’s time: 26 years is a long time. Kentucky has always had some kind of mental block towards Florida, built over years of heartbreak and Steve Spurrier beatings. However, it’s a new era, and as we’ve seen in Za’Darius Smith’s trash talk earlier this week, these Cats aren’t scared. It’s a night game, which means fans will have all day to marinate in the parking lot. Kentucky looked good against Louisville, and fans are more than ready for an upset, and Mark Stoops for a signature win.

Three reasons to beware:

1) Florida’s defense is really, really good: Even without Dominique Easley, they’re good. The Florida defense ranks first in the SEC in scoring defense (14.7), total defense (212.3), rushing defense (55.3) and pass defense (157.0). Overall, the Gators rank second in the nation in total defense and sit in the top 20 nationally in nearly every defensive category. Gulp.

2) The talent level is much higher: As Duncan pointed out earlier, Florida has more four-star recruits in their second string than KUK has on the entire roster. Wow.

3) It’s Florida: While Florida may be down, they’ve still managed to beat the Cats 26 years in a row. The future is bright for the Cats, but will that excitement be enough to take down the Gators?

I say yes. Cats 31-24.

Cal Camp

Basketball practice starts in full

Friday is also a big day for basketball, as the team can finally begin practicing 20 hours a week. The NCAA kindly moved up the date on which teams could start practicing full time, an uncommonly courteous move for them considering UK’s wealth of young talent. So far, so great when it comes to the Cats, who have received glowing reports from “sources” around the program and the media that’s been fortunate enough to see them in action. We’ll finally be able to tell you what Ryan Lemond learned during the preseason interviews on Tuesday, but until then, here’s some fun trivia about UK’s new players, courtesy of UK:

EJ Floreal: His favorite basketball player is John Wall.
Aaron Harrison: If he could have one talent, he would be able to grant everyone’s wishes
Andrew Harrison: Something people don’t know about him is that he used to rollerblade every day
Dominique Hawkins: Dominique’s favorite show is “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
Dakari Johnson: He lists ping pong as a skill off the court and his greatest fear is sharks
Marcus Lee: Chose his number because he likes double numbers and if he could have any talent, he’d like to fly
Julius Randle: His greatest fear is not reaching his full potential (of course it is)
Derek Willis: His most prized possession is his phone
James Young: He chose his jersey number for his favorite player, Tracy McGrady; His most prized possession is his Bible.

That’ll do for now. See you in the morning.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

20 Comments for Rex Chapman’s Friday News and Views

  1. bunny
    11:39 pm September 26, 2013 Permalink

    Your optimism is refreshing, Mrs TT!

  2. Positive UKFootball Fan
    12:18 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    What an awesome memory that was when Rex Chapman DESTROYED the Louisville Cardinals in one of the most classic games in UK basketball history. I remember after that game everyone in town could be seen wearing a King Rex t-shirt. It was a t-shirt epidemic! Plenty of video on Youtube…..

    Now turning to football. In 1993, UK played the Florida Gators in a game many experts predicted to be a EASY win for the Florida Gators. But I kept telling everone I knew, this was the one game on the schedule that I circled for a upset. Still, everyone told me I was crazy. But I PROVED THEM WRONG>

    UK had the lead 20-17 with 1:23 min. left in the game. But a miracle happened. Danny Wuerffle threw a touchdown pass from the 29 yardline with 2 seconds left to win the game.

    I have a good feeling about Saturday nights game. Many upsets happen around this time of the year during football season! Just believe. GO CATS!

  3. gobgblu37
    12:39 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    I also love your optimism Mlady, but we could only muster 13 against the dirty birds just don’t see how our Cats can score enough to win, unless it’s a field goal contest. GBB!!!

  4. Not that way
    1:01 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky might win but now way are we gonna score 31 points against Florida’s D. If Kentucky wins, it will be due to some Florida miscues and an awesome day by UK’s defense. Optimistically, I say KY wins 17-14.

  5. Worth the read!!
    1:39 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    The air raid is a thing of beauty. You pitch, pitch, run then it like WITCHAPOW!! Bang it’s over. the ball has to be thrown at 50-53 MPH. and if youre not square, you aint gonna catch it. OT CANT BE DONE FOLKS!! the best part is being under center and reaching in to that warmth for the for the leather sphere. You just gotta appreciate the environment out there. Wear baby oil, and don’t wipe for a week. You will win big!! Team spirit!!

  6. bigcatstanding
    3:16 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    Does anyone remember what the nickname they gave Lexington back when Chapman was playing there. Back In the day they called it Rexington, I can still remember him he was by far the most athletic on the court, he had a vertical off if I’m not mistaken 46 inches that’s the real white boy can jump. hopefully those shorts are a joke, like Steve Urkel type of joke because hopefully he hasn’t lost touch that much lol. BBN IS CBB. ILF#9

  7. Vinny Hardy
    3:37 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    I think Rex’s time in Charlotte was equally important. Sounds like I’m some old man saying this but there wasn’t any social media or YouTube back in 1988 that allowed us to keep up with what he was doing. Rex getting drafted by the Hornets kept him kind of close in my mind. He was still close to Kentucky playing for Charlotte, same thing if he’d been drafted by Atlanta. I never became a Hornets fan, but as a 10 year old at the time it made it a little easier to try to keep up with him there than if he’d gone to Seattle.

  8. Drew Barker says
    6:56 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    How can UK score with no one who can QB and the receivers cannot catch the ball?
    Wait till I come next year then maybe we will have a chance in Gainesville. Take the redshirt off Towles now, he is not playing after this year anyway.

  9. barn
    7:24 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    jeff sheppard was an awesome jumper too. I think he was high jump champion in the state of georgia. think about that

  10. Gi11y
    7:28 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    LOL @ UK’s Offense is good! Did TT even watch the UK/UL game? Our defense was exhausted after the first half because UK’s offense went 3-out every possession.

    “It’s been 26 years” is also not a reason to ‘believe’.

  11. RealCatsFan
    7:28 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    Keep in mind that Louisville’s defense absolutely destroyed Florida inn the bowl game last year. True, we still only scored 14 against that defense, but that was with several miscues in the red zone that could have easily led to additional scores. I’m not saying UL > UF at this point (although they may be), but as far as UK’s defense is concerned, you have to think that UL’s offense is probably more potent than UF’s, at least as far as big play potential is concerned. I look for UF to play conservative on offense, which means Stoops may have to try to throw another wrinkle at them defensively to try to throw them off balance, similar to what he did against Bridgewater.

    I think UK will give them a game, but ultimately I think UF’s run game will wear down our defense in the second half. Looking for UK to come up just a little short, probably keep it within 7. However, I think even a close loss will light a fire and give these kids confidence that will benefit them later in the season. I do think they will surprise someone in the SEC at some point this season, and next year and especially the year after, I see the infamous streak finally coming to an end.

  12. Jud
    7:31 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    Thank you brother James.

  13. CPACAT
    7:34 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    My only claim to fame…Rex and I were listed on the same page of the UK student phone book:))

  14. Writing on the Wall
    7:34 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    Number 8. UK has Barker coming in next year, then another high profile QB will come in 2015, then another in 2016, and so on. I expect one will be a Peyton Manning caliber.

    Barker will come in as Stoops man and will start just like all of his freshman do, but Barker will be challenged by the QBs of 2015 and 2016.

    And so it is…..

  15. asdf
    8:14 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    Rex was amazing in Phoenix when they played “small ball” and he played the 3 spot full time. He took advantage of a lot of slower forwards on offense, but the amazing thing was how he did a pretty good job defending guys who outweighed him by 30+ pounds – every single night! That was one of the most fun to watch NBA teams in my lifetime.

  16. Chauvanist
    8:29 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    Yet another reason females should stay out of sports discussions. Not that they’re dumb; just sports dumb. UK’s offense “looks good”? Did you even watch the UL game? Good grief! Stick to scrapbooking.

  17. Urkel says
    8:31 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    That dude stole my shorts!

  18. Teachable Mo'
    10:43 am September 27, 2013 Permalink

    Chapman’s best moment at UK came before he was a player. It was during some exhibition — like an All Star game — when he threw a half court bounce pass to the player heading for the basket. Just a touch of backspin. Right on the money.

    None of his achievements in his brief UK career matched that for panache. In fact, it always looked to me as if he were trying to capture that moment again.

  19. m
    1:43 pm September 27, 2013 Permalink

    James posted that picture of him on his instagram

  20. Old Cat
    1:53 pm September 27, 2013 Permalink

    A pick or two should seal the deal on Saturday. We are due for a few.