By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 6:00pm
As you might expect, how Kentucky will manage without Reid Travis was a big topic of today’s press conference. John Calipari said that between PJ Washington, Nick Richards, and EJ Montgomery, he’s confident Kentucky has plenty of ways to fill the void in the middle. Let’s run through his remarks.
PJ’s gonna have to get physical
Reid has been Kentucky’s bruiser in the middle, which has allowed PJ Washington to step out and expand his game. With Reid out and neither Nick nor EJ the bruising type, Caliapri said PJ must move back inside and get physical.
“He’s a little more of the muscle game. He’s got to be ready. I told him he’s gonna be begging Reid to come back quicker because he’s going have to go down there and do stuff that the other two cannot do. But I think he’ll be fine. He’s played there at times.”
Stay out of the mud, Nick
Part of growing up is accepting your limitations. At 6’11” 240 lbs., Nick Richards is a big dude, but Calipari doesn’t want him doing his best Reid impression in the middle because that’s not his style. As he did on his call-in show Wednesday night, Cal used the analogy of a mud-wrestling match.
“I want him to use his quickness, his length and his ability to go get balls vs. getting in mud-wrestling matches. So when the ball bounces to you, you’re not worried about pushing and the ball bounces right there, or a guy drives that you can block the shot, but you’re mud-wrestling. Quit it. Stop. You cannot mud wrestle Jonny David and win. So don’t try. [Laugher.]”
“Use your quickness, use your length, use what your strengths are. He’s trying. He’s such a great kid. He’s like a sweetheart of a kid and he wants to play so well, and he’s so hard on himself. Like I said, you’ve got to relax and go do what you do best. Don’t dribble the ball in the post just shoot it. Just catch it and shoot it. If you bounce it they’re coming after you.’”
To be fair, Jonny David does have a lower center of gravity.
“He’s got to survive”
Cal said Nick’s habit of resorting to mud-wrestling probably stems from going against Reid in practice all season. Hopefully these games will help him flip the switch and stick to his strengths.
“He’s trying to survive. He’s got to survive. Not mud wrestle him. ‘I’m just trying to keep him away from me.’ So, you end up mud-wrestling. When he moves those feet and bounces and runs and is active he’s really good. Well, why wouldn’t you play that way all the time? Because it’s really hard. It’s easy to just lean on somebody and mud wrestle. That’s easier than bounces and moving, alert, running, sprinting, sitting, bouncing.”
No room for pouting
Nick still has a tendency to let his mistakes get the best of him, a habit he has to move past with Reid on the sidelines. Instead of putting his head down and pouting, Calipari wants Nick to sub himself out to regroup.
“I just say, ‘Make easy plays. You try to do hard stuff, they steal the ball, and then your head goes down, your shoulders go down, and I got to take you out because you’re not going to rebound, you’re not going block a shot. I’ve coached you now for two years.’ When he’s back and shoulders are back and he’s running, leave him in. Now, what he’s got to do is sub himself when he’s tired, ‘Coach, get me. Can I come out? I want to go, but just get me for a minute.’ ‘Gotcha. Then you’re out a minute, You ready to go? OK, at the 12-minute mark go back in.’”
Do I need to worry about this quote?
On Wednesday night, UK announced that Reid will be out at least the next two weeks, but Calipari said he told the team to be prepared in case that timetable is even longer.
“What I said to my team yesterday was this, ‘Now I know he’s healthy, I’m happy. He may be out two weeks, you ready, three weeks, four weeks, seven weeks. It doesn’t matter. He’s going to be OK, so I’m good now. We’ll figure out how we play as a team.’ I think they got what I was saying. Don’t know how long he’s going to be out, but whatever it is I’m good.”
Let’s stick with two weeks, okay?
By Drew Franklin on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 5:30pm
The NBA is interested in changing its age requirement from 19 to 18 years old, which would mark the end of the one-and-done system, if approved by the NBPA. Should the rule change happen, it will have a major impact on college basketball, mostly in how the elite schools recruit.
John Calipari isn’t sure how impactful a younger age requirement will be on his recruiting strategy, but he isn’t worried about losing his place as one of the game’s best recruiters. When asked how recruiting at Kentucky will change, Cal said, “You won’t believe this: we’ll figure out what it is and we’ll be first at it.”
“Whatever it is, we’ll figure it out,” he continued. “Look, we’re here because this program has been special and it will remain special, whatever the rules are. So anything like this, I believe it helps us. I’d love to be coaching kids three and four years. Are you kidding me? That’s what I used to do. Believe me, I wasn’t as anxious. I could walk into games with juniors and seniors being down 10-0. Timeout. ‘Come on guys. You know you’re better than this.’ Knowing where the game’s going. Then all of a sudden you’d look up and we’d be up 20 at halftime. It’s just different.”
Calipari seems to be more concerned about how the NCAA will handle a potential change to the NBA’s rule requirement, noting that he believes the NBA is trying to control basketball.
“I just hope that the NCAA in their infinite wisdom,” he said, sarcastically, “don’t try to go to two and three years to challenge all the kids to not be educated.”
It’s the baseball method and Cal’s not for it. He said, “If a kid goes to college and after a year or two wants to go to the NBA and is good enough, he grew, got bigger, he got more confident, let him go.”
The rule change wouldn’t go in place until 2020, at the earliest.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 5:26pm
The opening line for tomorrow’s UK-Auburn game is up and Kentucky is the heavy home favorite laying 7.5 points to the visiting Tigers. The total on the game is set at 144.
The Cats failed to cover the spread in two of the last three games, missing the mark in the loss to LSU and then in the road win at Mizzou. The under has hit in five of the last six Kentucky games.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 4:06pm
Auburn hasn’t had much luck in Rupp Arena, where the Tigers have won only two games ever. The two wins were big ones, though — one when Kentucky was ranked sixth in 1983, the other when Kentucky was No. 1 in 1988 — but not big enough to make up for the 27 losses. It has been over three decades of losing in Lexington for Auburn as the Cats have taken the last 16 meetings in Rupp since that 1988 upset.
Here’s how much the world has changed since that day, January 9, 1988, 11,376 days ago.
On January 9, 1988…
#1 Song in America: “So Emotional” by Whitney Houston
#1 Movie in America: Three Men and a Baby
Price of a ticket to see Three Men and a Baby: $3.16
Price of a Gallon of Gas: $0.96
Price of a Loaf of Bread: $0.58
Price of a New Car: $13,671
Age of Bruce Pearl: 27
Age of Tyler Herro: -12
Since January 9, 1988…
The moon orbited the Earth 416 times.
55 Kentucky players were selected in the NBA draft.
10 Auburn players were selected in the NBA draft.
John Calipari became a head coach, won 742 career games.
56.2 million ice cream cones were sold in Rupp Arena*
Rick Pitino moved to Camelot, saved Camelot, left Camelot, traded Chauncey Billups, got fired, moved to just outside Camelot, ruined an Italian restaurant’s Yelp rating, burned down Louisville basketball, moved to Greece.
Kentucky and Auburn played 1,640 minutes of basketball against each other.
Kentucky won 16 SEC Tournament championships.
*I made that up
Let’s keep the streak going!
By Drew Franklin on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 3:40pm
Mark Stoops officially announced Brad White’s promotion to defensive coordinator on Friday in a release from UK Athletics.
“I’m very confident in Coach White’s ability to lead the defense,” Stoops said of his new D.C. “He did a tremendous job fundamentally developing our players last season. He has always given great support with ‘big-picture’ ideas on defense and I’m excited about what he will do to take us to another level.”
White came to Kentucky prior to last season after six years in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts. He took over the outside linebackers and played a pivotal role in the development of some of the young talent, as well as the breakout season by Josh Allen.
“I would like to thank Coach Stoops for this great opportunity,” White said. “I’m looking forward to working with our talented defensive staff to continue to build on the success of last season.”
In addition to White’s promotion, Stoops also confirmed Vince Marrow’s new title of associate head coach. Stoops said, “I greatly appreciate the work he’s done in leading our recruiting efforts and bringing top-notch players to our program.”
Marrow, who has been with Stoops from the very beginning, said, “I love working with Coach Stoops and I’m glad to be a part of the Big Blue Nation. I am excited to continue building this football program into a national powerhouse.”
By Drew Franklin on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 3:09pm
Mark Stoops and the Kentucky football program are living in the Georgia football program’s heads. First, Kirby Smart tried to steal Eddie Gran away from his job as the offensive coordinator in Lexington. Now, Smart’s going after UK’s top in-state high school prospects.
Georgia extended a scholarship offer to John Young, the star offensive lineman out of Christian Academy of Louisville, on Friday. Kentucky has been on Young for a long time and the Cats are in great standing, but Georgia is trying to mess with the plan by throwing its name into the mix with a new offer.
— John Young (@the_johnyoung) February 22, 2019
Young’s offer came not long after Beau Allen, the star quarterback at Lexington Catholic, picked up an offer from the Dawgs. Allen tweeted about his UGA offer on Monday.
— Beau Allen (@BeauAllen11) February 19, 2019
Hey Kirby Smart, stay out of the Bluegrass.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 2:49pm
The whole world seems to be talking about Zion Williamson and his faulty shoes, so it’s only normal that John Calipari weighed in on the biggest story in college basketball.
Jerry Tipton asked Cal what went through his mind when he saw the play, considering Kentucky is a Nike school, to which Cal said it’s more of a Zion Williamson problem than a Nike shoe problem.
“That kid’s torque and his explosion would blow out any shoe,” Cal said. “When you look at it you’re like, ‘Ho—‘ and he’s not 120 pounds now doing that. He’s got some weight to him. If you looked at it, you’re like, ‘Holy Cow!'”
Cal said Nike will likely have to make a special shoe designed to withstand Williamson’s weight and power, if they’re allowed to do it while Williamson’s still in college.
“The kid is so unusual — size-wise, explosiveness, quick twitch,” he said. “I don’t care what he had on… It’s a wonder both shoes didn’t blow out.”
By Nick Roush on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 2:10pm
By KSR on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 1:45pm
Posted in Main
To coincide with UK’s tribute to the 1958 NCAA Championship team this Saturday 2/23 during the UK-Auburn game in Rupp, the “Wildcat Legends” Fine Art Series will host team member and All-American Johnny Cox, as he will be on hand before the game to sign autographs for fans.
From noon — 1:00 p.m., Johnny will be in the Lexington Center mall foodcourt (immediately adjacent to Rupp Arena) in front of Your Frame Of Mind Galleries to autograph his likeness on the popular “Wildcat Legends — Rupp’s Living Legends” fine art print (see image). Fans who previously bought the print with other players’ signatures are welcome to bring their existing print to simply add Cox’s signature for $15; fans who have yet to purchase the print may buy it anew for various pricing options with different combinations of player signatures. Johnny will also sign any other memorabilia brought by fans for $15 per signature, or 5 items signed for $60; he will also sign your ticket to the Auburn game (his photo is on it) for FREE with the purchase of any item. As always for the fan’s convenience, any items purchased at the event can be left at the YFOM Gallery until (30 minutes) after the game, so they will not need to be taken inside of Rupp during the game.
ALL fans are invited to attend and meet this true “Wildcat legend,” regardless if they have a game ticket or not. Please visit YourFrameOfMind.biz or see their Facebook page at Facebook.com/YourFrameOfMind for more information.
By Aaron Torres on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 1:00pm
It’s amazing how quickly the conversation in college basketball can change.
Shortly after Kentucky’s win over Tennessee on Saturday, I pitched our editors here a piece on the overall, No. 1 seed picture. Obviously most folks reading here are Kentucky fans and I actually thought that the Wildcats had a better shot at a No. 1 seed than most were projected.
We agreed that we would go ahead and wait until after Tuesday night’s games to be safe. Assuming Kentucky took care of business against Missouri and Tennessee handled Vanderbilt, it would be safe to run Wednesday morning. What could possibly go wrong?
Quite a bit actually. In no particular order, here is what has changed in the race for the four No. 1 seeds, just since late Tuesday night:
— Reid Travis left Kentucky’s game with a knee injury – sending Big Blue Nation into a frenzy. Thankfully it was just a sprain and Travis will hopefully be back in just a few weeks. Still, with several big games ahead and Travis likely on the sidelines, Kentucky’s path to a No. 1 seed isn’t nearly as clear as it looked when I began this article Tuesday morning. I still think they get one, but this is a major road block.
— Tennessee looked terrible in a win against the SEC’s worst team, Vanderbilt. Ultimately it had no bearing on the Vols pursuit of a No. 1 seed, but with Tennessee facing five straight games against NCAA Tournament caliber teams to close the regular season, it feels fair to wonder if the Vols can finish as strongly as they started.
— Nevada lost on the road at San Diego State on Wednesday night. While the Wolf Pack were a long-shot to get a No. 1, this officially eliminated them from any such talk.
— Zion Williamson went down with a knee injury – flipping the sports world on its head Thursday. Zion is OK, and we can put to rest talking of him “Shutting it Down” for now. At the same time, Duke took a loss no one saw coming, and now they aren’t nearly as much of a lock for a No. 1 as they were before the Carolina game.
— Duke’s unexpected loss resulted in an unexpected North Carolina win – and now the Tar Heels have a realistic, albeit small shot at a No. 1 seed. It would take a minor miracle, but North Carolina does in fact have life in the No. 1 seed debate.
And again, that’s only what happened since Tuesday afternoon when I officially finished the first draft of the article below – can you imagine how much will change in the final two weeks of the regular season?
Ultimately however, the gist of the article didn’t change, and I still believe Kentucky is in prime position to get a No. 1 seed.
Let’s go through all the scenarios and all the teams involved, to give you a clearer picture of where we are, and how the Wildcats fit in.
By Nick Roush on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 12:30pm
Joey Brackets has a new NCAA Tournament prediction, but not a lot changed for Kentucky.
Three days after Lunardi’s most recent piece of Bracketology, he kept UK as a two-seed in the Louisville Regional, with Virginia holding down the top spot. The three and four seeds in the region also remained the same.
There’s an interesting potential first round matchup in the Midwest. Lunardi has matched up Louisville against Ja Morant and Murray State in a 12-5 first round matchup. It’s the perfect opportunity to prove Louisville is the third-best team in the state.
By Nick Roush on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 11:47am
Former Kentucky Wildcat Karl-Anthony Towns might have to miss a game or two after the NBA All-Star was involved in an auto accident.
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders told the media this morning the car accident happened as Towns traveled to the airport for the team’s road trip to New York. He was excused from this morning’s shoot-around and is considered “questionable” for tonight’s game against the Knicks.
There were no further details about Towns’ accident, but luckily, it does not sound severe. Best wishes from the BBN to a speedy recovery for the Big KAT.
By Nick Roush on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 11:00am
Two Kentucky legends are taking their talents across the Commonwealth. Josh Allen and C.J. Conrad’s autograph tour begins at KSBar.
Once the NFL Scouting Combine concludes, the record-breaking pass-rusher and versatile tight end will make stops across the state. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 6.
Allen will sign any item for $30, while Conrad will offer a slightly discounted rate at $20. You can find more information here.
It’s a wonderful chance to meet the Kentucky legends before they join the NFL. Take advantage of this opportunity before it’s gone.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 10:30am
Good morning, folks. The NBA is back. Let’s talk about it.
[30-28] Kings – 123 @ [42-16] Warriors – 125
- Despite 18 points and eight assists from De’Aaron Fox, the Sacramento Kings couldn’t hit a shot at the buzzer to send this game into overtime. Buddy Hield had a chance to tie it up, but his free-throw line jumper fell short just as time ran out. Fox also added three rebounds and three steals to his total while his teammate Willie Cauley-Stein contributed 10 points, five rebounds, and three steals.
- And who did WCS have the pleasure of guarding whenever they were in the game simultaneously? A revitalized DeMarcus Cousins. Boogie dropped 17 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes after having the week off, but he was getting completely tapped out of energy way too quickly. A lot of that had to do with the Kings and Warriors wasting zero time pushing the ball down the floor and chucking up jumpers before the shot clock could hit 20, forcing the former Kentucky center to sprint along with them. After recovering from an Achilles injury, Thursday night proved that Cousins has a ton of conditioning to do if he wants to be ready to compete come playoff time. But in the halfcourt, he was a tank.
- In Cleveland, Devin Booker scored a BBNBA high 30 points on 10-20 shooting to go along with seven assists (and nine turnovers) as his Phoenix Suns fell on the road to the Cavaliers in a battle of “who wants to lose this game more” (the answer was apparently the Suns). Brandon Knight recorded nine points, three rebounds, and four assists for the Cavs.
- Enes Kanter played his first game for the Portland Trail Blazers since he was waived by the New York Knicks before the All-Star break. In his debut, Kanter shined, shooting an efficient 8-9 from the field for 18 points while also pulling in nine rebounds in only 19 minutes. The Blazers beat the Nets in Brooklyn, 113-99.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Devin Booker (PHX)||98-111 L @ CLE||30||10-20 (3-9)||1||7||1||0||9||-12||37|
|Enes Kanter (POR)||113-99 W @ BKN||18||8-9 (0-1)||9||0||1||0||1||-3||19|
|De'Aaron Fox (SAC)||123-125 L @ GSW||18||6-14 (2-4)||3||8||3||1||2||+3||31|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||125-123 W vs. SAC||17||6-12 (1-4)||10||3||0||1||2||-6||26|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)||123-125 L @ GSW10||10||4-6 (0-0)||5||1||3||0||1||-3||27|
|Brandon Knight (CLE)||111-98 W vs. PHX||9||3-6 (1-3)||3||4||0||0||1||+7||21|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||102-106 L @ PHI||6||3-4 (0-0)||2||2||2||0||0||+10||16|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||98-97 W vs. BOS||5||2-9 (0-4)||3||1||0||0||2||-15||31|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||111-106 W vs. HOU||2||1-4 (0-1)||2||7||0||0||4||-9||19|
|Terrence Jones (HOU)||106-111 L @ LAL||DNP-Signed to 10-day contract on Thursday||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Wizards (Wall-out) @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk)
7:00: Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle) @ Pacers
7:00: Bulls @ Magic (Briscoe)
7:00 (ESPN): Spurs @ Raptors (Meeks)
7:30: Pistons @ Hawks (Poythress)
7:30: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Knicks (Kanter)
8:00: Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Grizzlies
8:30: Nuggets (Lyles, Murray, Vanderbilt) @ Mavericks
9:30 (ESPN): Jazz @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson)