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August 14th, 2018

Behind The Scenes Stories From The Bahamas

There has been a ton of talk about how well Kentucky played in the Bahamas, so much that it’s beginning to get repetitive. We all saw the same games and we all know the Cats looked awesome across the board. They good, folks. Real good.

But as we slowly close the book on the trip and switch gears to the upcoming football season, I have a few stories you may not have heard. Here’s the behind-the-scenes takeaways (at least the ones I can tell) from the action off the court during our stay.

 

Stefan Fundic did not understand why I wanted his jersey.

I made it my Saturday night mission to find Fundic (the big guy for Mega Bemax) and buy his jersey. I was so impressed by how he played and how pink the jersey was, that I had to have it for my basketball jersey collection.

When I finally found Fundic, he was confused as to why I wanted it. I offered him a significant dollar amount but he said he couldn’t do it because he only has one and it would be too hard to get another.

He also kept telling me his last name is pronounced Foon-ditch, but I insisted he’s wrong and I will only call him Fun-dick.

Nice guy, though.

Team Toronto was in the Bahamas to party, not play basketball.

They say snitches get stitches, but for the sake of being completely transparent as a hard-hitting journalist on the scene, I can tell you Team Toronto was having fun in the club. When I saw them it was the night before the night before they played Kentucky, and they were ordering bottle service and getting shout outs from the club DJ. Is that why they got killed by the Cats on the court? I have no idea. Maybe they’re able to rally. And who am I to judge? I just know they were enjoying their stay and the Atlantis nightlife as much as anyone.

I met some of the San Lorenzo de Almagro players and they had very nice things to say about UK.

When it gets late into the night and things are slowing down, you hang out with likeminded people. In my case Thursday night, it just so happened to be two of the starters from San Lorenzo de Almagro, the team Kentucky beat by 20+ points only hours earlier.

We chatted about non-basketball things, like the guy throwing up on the floor three feet away from us and how half the people in the casino at that hour are prostitutes, but we also talked a little bit about the game. The big guy with the beard (that played the most minutes) told me Kentucky is crazy good, especially “#3 and #14” (Johnson and Herro — he had never heard of them).

He also told me Reid Travis and Nick Richards are as physical as anyone he’s played against in his almost-decade of professional basketball. He compared it to being in a fight the entire game.

Immanuel Quickley likes to dance.

Mont Dawson from Bluegrass Sports Nation captured one of the many times Quickley danced around the resort.

I do not know why the team was singing YMCA.

John Calipari was absolutely coaching from the stands.

Coach Cal wants you to believe he was hands-off as he watched all four games from the top corner of the stands, but he was definitely in contact with his assistants and players on the bench. You didn’t really think he was sitting up there without coaching his new team in its first games, did you?

RJ Barrett’s cousin told me something RJ Barrett probably didn’t want out.

This is another “snitches get stitches” moment, but I don’t care. I’m spreading the word.

A player on one of the opposing teams, who claimed to be Duke star freshman RJ Barrett’s cousin, told me Barrett texted him after his game to say something along the lines of: “I watched the game. We’re going to kill Kentucky.”

I can’t confirm if this person is indeed Barrett’s cousin or if Barrett for sure sent that text, but that’s how the person told it (not knowing I’m UK media). The player also took credit in pushing Barrett to Duke, saying he doesn’t like how Calipari runs his program and Coach K does it the right way. Again, I have no idea if any of this is true. All I know is he was eager to tell me about it while we were in the casino.

 

There’s your inside scoop from the week.


Eric Bledsoe Breaks Goal at Charity Basketball Game, Calls Out Boogie

Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe has spent a good portion of his summer giving back to the community. Over the weekend, Bledsoe was giving away free backpacks filled with school supplies and shortly after he held a celebrity charity basketball event.

The game, which featured some former and current NBA players, is attached to his backpack giveaway sponsored by his organization, The Eric Bledsoe Foundation.

Bledsoe hosted the event and also participated in the game, but turned out to be a major cause for a delay in the action after he tossed an alley-oop off the backboard to himself, bringing down the entire goal in the process.

The six-foot-one point guard just “Shaq’d” a basketball goal. You might expect this from someone such as DeMarcus Cousins, not from the undersized guard who resembles more of a power running back than floor general.

Speaking of Cousins, Bledsoe invited Boogie to the event but not without taking a shot at his game-day attire. Cousins was sporting some admittedly dope Golden State Warriors shorts before Bledsoe told him to “take them weak a– shorts off!” followed by a friendly exchange of laughs.

I’ll take one pair of those shorts but with Kentucky written on them, please.


Oh Great, Central Michigan has a Running Quarterback

CMU Athletics

For years the Kryptonite of Kentucky football has been the running quarterback.  Naturally, that means Kentucky is going to start the season playing against one.

Over the weekend Central Michigan head coach John Bonamego revealed Tony Poljan will be the Chippewas’ starting quarterback.

Poljan is not your typical “dual-threat quarterback.”  Standing 6’7″ tall, Poljan spent the 2017 season playing wide receiver and a Wildcat quarterback of sorts.  He completed 10-of-17 passes for 61 yards, caught five passes for 97 yards and carried the ball 23 times for 110 yards and a touchdown.  To put it plainly, he’s fast enough to play wide receiver but taller than Nick Fitzgerald, the Miss. State passer who will break Tim Tebow’s SEC record for rushing yards by a quarterback this season.

Unlike some of the weapons that have dismantled the Cats in the past, Poljan’s start against Kentucky will be his first.  He has a big arm, but he isn’t very wide at just 225 pounds.  Central Michigan’s offensive coordinator acknowledged that Poljan has plenty of work to do.

“We’re taking it one day at a time,” Chris Ostrowsky told the campus newspaper, Central Michigan Life. “Besides being a strong-armed, athletic, tough kid who’s is going to be a consistent leader on and off the field, your ability to process information is so important to playing the position at this level and he continues to grow and get better at it because his work ethic is consistent and it’s every day.”

Facing a running quarterback will always strike fear in the hearts of Kentucky fans, but Poljan is no Lamar Jackson.  Instead of reliving those nightmares, think of Keon Howard, the Southern Miss running quarterback that got pulled at halftime against UK in last year’s season-opener after rushing for only 18 yards on 10 carries.

If Stoops’ defense puts early pressure on the inexperienced Poljan, September 1 should be a lot of fun.  If they give Poljan the freedom to run around and make plays, “it’s the beginning of the end” overreactions are perfectly acceptable.


Kentucky Teachers Forced To Purchase Their Own Smelling Salts

Editor’s Note: The following was written by Harold Leeder, editor-in-chief of The New Circle Circular, Lexington’s #1 source of fake news you can’t count on.

Kentucky Governor and lifeguard in training Matt Bevin gave in-state teachers fair warning about the upcoming school year’s budget concerns during a radio interview today. He showed up wearing red swimming trunks with a whistle around his neck and K-mart sunblock on his nose.

“We’ve got ourselves a real good news/bad news situation right now financially. The good news is I’m about to knock out all the teachers in the Commonwealth, just long enough to solve all the problems they got themselves into. The bad news is they’ll have to wake themselves up after,” said the Governor in what sounded like a WWE promo for Summer Slam.

Then he called out Kentucky teachers for over an hour to meet him in the squared circle “if they dared”. He punctuated every other “dared” with a blow of his whistle. At one point it slipped through his sunblock-slick fingers and fell onto the floor next to his prepared talking points.

“I’m not perfect,” Bevin said. He spoke openly about how he had recently failed his first lifeguard certification exam at the Land Between The Lakes. He admitted his own shortcomings but was eager to blame his instructors and especially the fake victims he was tasked to save.

“Look, this situation is far from cut and dry. My shorts are still wet. I had some bad advice from some bad public beach lifeguards, and, honestly, I’ve only practiced saving dummies. I’m not used to drowning victims actually being able to swim a little.” Bevin blew his whistle again until the radio interviewer asked him to stop.

“You might think,” continued Bevin, “if you work with a drowning victim to bring them to shore it will be easier. But not in my experience. In my experience, I can only help you if you are a dummy. One without their own thoughts or feelings or the ability to express oneself. Or swim. Turns out that actual humans don’t want to swim laughing all the way to the bank like I do.”

Bevin ended the interview segment with one final skipped rock of wisdom. “There’s only one way to drown, and that’s because you did it to yourself. It wasn’t an accident through no fault of your own. Unless you’re some kind of dummy.”
The Governor’s Office later noted that while Bevin can use state funds to knock out the teachers, there isn’t enough in the budget to help the teachers regain consciousness so they’ll have to purchase their own smelling salts and any other supplies they might need to teach their students.

To keep up with The New Circle Circular, like the Facebook page or follow Harold Leeder’s Twitter Account.


Doron Lamb Re-signs With BC Lavrio

(Jeff Gross | Getty Images)

Former Kentucky guard Doron Lamb recently resigned with his professional Greek team, BC Lavrio, according to the club.

Lamb played for BC Lavrio last season where he averaged 13.2 points and 2.6 assists per game in 14 total Greek league games. Known as a sharpshooter during his time at Kentucky, he shot 44.8 percent from three on 2.1 attempts per game last season.

Lamb will also make his debut in the FIBA Europe Cup for the club this upcoming season. This will be his second season with the team. The deal will be for one year although the financial specifics have yet to be identified.

BC Lavrio finished with a record of 14-14 last season and placed sixth in the league.

Lamb has not played in the NBA since he was a member of the Orlando Magic during the 2013-14 season where he averaged 3.6 points 13.1 minutes per game across 53 total games.

At 26 years old, his dreams of playing in the NBA may be too far gone, but there is a chance he could thrive overseas and return for an NBA comeback a la Darius Miller. But still, Lamb has seemingly found a comfortable spot on a team that wants to keep him around. Eat, D. Lamb.


Aaron Torres Sports Podcast Ep. 69: Bahamas Recap

It’s episode 69 of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, as Aaron spends virtually the entire episode breaking down Kentucky’s trip to the Bahamas! While he discusses the chaos at Maryland and Ohio State at the end, it begins with the Wildcats in the Bahamas.

The emergence of Kentucky’s stars: Aaron spends the first few minutes of the show breaking down the play of Kentucky’s biggest stars, most notably Tyler Herro, PJ Washington and Keldon Johnson. Aaron explains why the most impressive stat from Herro wasn’t his team-leading 17 points per game, and why Washington is showing NBA scouts everything they need to see to make him a mid-round pick next year. Plus, Aaron gushes about Keldon Johnson and the energy and toughness he played with in the Bahamas.

Second-year players shine: Next Aaron takes a deep dive into UK’s two other sophomores, Nick Richards and Quade Green. He explains the way each has improved, and why Quade Green might be the most underappreciated player of the whole trip. Plus, why seeing players like Richards and Green put in the work isn’t just important for them, but the younger players on the roster as well.

Finally, a look at the scandals of Maryland and Ohio State: Aaron breaks down the two biggest scandals across college sports, Maryland and Ohio State. Aaron takes a deep dive at Maryland and explains why everyone is blaming the wrong person, and also a quick update on Ohio State. Will Zach Smith’s newest criminal allegations have any impact on Urban Meyer’s future at Ohio State?

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Also, we recently started an “Aaron Torres Sports Podcast” Instagram page, for videos and pictures related to show and to preview upcoming guests. Go ahead and click here to follow the show, or follow the link below:


Rick Pitino’s lawsuit against Adidas got dismissed

A federal judge dismissed Rick Pitino’s lawsuit against Adidas on Tuesday.

The former Louisville coach, now a frequenter of a Best Western outdoor bar in Miami, filed the lawsuit last October. He was seeking damages for emotional distress and humiliation from Adidas putting him on blast in the Brian Bowen play-for-pay scandal.

U.S. District Court judge David J. Hale tossed it out like a fake national championship, saying it must be settled in arbitration, as Pitino’s endorsement with the shoe company states.

You can read the full order over at LEX18.com.


The Funkhouser Situation E34: RIP Mrs. Garrett

Surprised to see Chris Tomlin and Lee Cruse? The Funkhouser Situation is on your podcast feed a day earlier than normal to provide takes on the latest in the world of pop culture.  The guys are back with another edition of Hot Goss, they try to figure out Omarosa, and…

— The podcast got a significant TV plug.

— Lee Cruse has a lot in common with Freddie Mercury.

— Will Jack Ryan be a hit for Amazon?

— Was the Ross and Rachel storyline overplayed on Friends?

—  The Academy Awards has a new category: Best Popular Movie

— Lee and Chris share their love for the 80s television series Moonlighting.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to The Funkhouser Situation podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


CBS Sports ranks Kentucky’s one-and-dones

It’s a question that defines the John Calipari era: Who are the best one-and-dones to come through Kentucky? CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone tackled the topic this afternoon, ranking all 25 Kentucky one-and-dones based on their college production. (That last part is important!)

His top four won’t raise any eyebrows, but from there, it’s up for debate. Here’s Boone’s top ten:

1. Anthony Davis
2. John Wall
3. DeMarcus Cousins
4. Karl-Anthony Towns
5. Brandon Knight
6. Julius Randle
7. Jamal Murray
8. De’Aaron Fox
9. Malik Monk
10. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

It’s not a bad list, and I know this is mostly based on numbers, but it just feels like MKG should be higher than tenth. Davis was undeniably the star of that team, but MKG was the heart and soul.

Check out the entire list at CBS Sports and then let us know your top ten in the comments.

[CBS Sports]