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University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
December 9th, 2016

VIDEO: Eddie Gran, Lamar Thomas, Benny Snell, Stephen Johnson, and Juice Johnson speak after practice

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Bowl preparation has officially begun, as the Kentucky Wildcats kicked off their first practice leading up to Georgia Tech this afternoon. According to Eddie Gran, the players had an excellent practice with “not a lot of rust,” despite this being the first time they’ve thrown on pads since the Thanksgiving holiday. “It was a great practice. I thought the tempo was fantastic,” he said. “We got in and out. It was fast. We were ahead in every single period, and that’s a good thing. So, I think they kind of enjoyed it. They hadn’t seen us in two weeks, so not a lot of butt-chewings. They were ready for it.

Both Juice and Stephen Johnson mentioned the atmosphere at practice was impressive, with the players dancing to the music and everyone being dialed in and ready to get to work. “Nobody was really slacking off. Everyone was pumped up,” Stephen said. “(We were) ready to get back to do some more football stuff.”

Gran mentioned it was “good against good” today, as both sides of the ball had their first units on the field, each giving the opposing side fits throughout the day. Freshman RB Benny Snell was quick to agree, saying “It was the ones versus the ones today, so you know, guys were out there competing and having fun. It was a really good day today.”

Lamar Thomas wasn’t as bouncy as usual, dealing with illness from being on the road recruiting since the Louisville game, but he did manage to touch on the incredible momentum surrounding the program right now. “A lot of people watched that Louisville game. A lot,” he said. “There’s just a lot of excitement, and we’re really trying to build on it. I think this program has been starving for a football team to win games consistently.

Juice Johnson mentioned the team is excited to get down to Florida, especially considering the cold front that has moved into the Lexington area as of late. “When we’re down there this whole week, I’m soaking up all the warmth,” he said. “My backpack, pockets, whatever (laughs)… We have a great opportunity to go down there and play in the TaxSlayer Bowl, compete against a great team. We have a great opportunity, we just have to go down there and seize that.”

Hear what all of the coaches and players had to say here:

Cats.


Wendy’s KSR Top Ten Tweets of the Day

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Wendy’s new Spicy Sriracha Chicken Sandwich features our iconic Spicy Chicken, topped with a one of kind Sriracha Jack Cheese, thick-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, creamy Sriracha aioli, spring mix, and red onion, all served on a toasted Sriracha-infused bakery-style bun.

 

#10 Sir Brandon

I guess Mountain Dew is considered “sensitive material” now.

 

 

 

#9 Kelly Dowdell

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

 

 

 

#8 Bucky Small Hooves

I like this conspiracy.

 

 

 

#7 Colton Covington

Shannon might as well be Einstein for his song choices.

 

 

 

#6 John Robic’s Hair

This should be a segment on ‘Hey Kentucky’. Matt as a school principal for 1 day.

 

 

 

#5 Jason Oaks

Hot off the press!

 

 

 

#4 nick warren

#Facts

 

 

 

#3 Jax Teller

Wimp.

 

 

 

#2 Ryan Lemonds Cell Ph

Has Amanda called yet?

 

 

 

#1 Sandi Neville

 

 

@colleenwag_KSR


Post-game Notes from UK Hoops Win Over MTSU

Photo By UK Athletics

Photo By UK Athletics

No. 15 UK Hoops bounced back after tough loss to Louisville last Sunday with a 61-48 win over Middle Tennessee tonight. If you missed the game, here’s the rundown:

We saw Jaida Roper tonight

The freshman from Memphis played a total of 18 minutes and scored 7 points tonight. She subbed in for Makayla Epps in the second period, a player who needed some rest after playing the entire Louisville overtime game on Sunday.

“She had her best game of the season, she gave our team confidence,” said Matthew Mitchell.

Roper has been working hard in practice, coming in early and staying late for extra workouts. Mitchell said this game was no surprise and that she has been “building up to this.”

Akhator is back

Akhator got in some foul trouble against Louisville and didn’t play much. But, tonight the senior came back with another double-double. Akhator had 13 points (2 of which came from an impressive left-handed hook) and 12 rebounds in her 30 minutes of playing time. Akhator, Roper and Murray all had to step up when Epps was on the bench in the second period.

“We could’ve panicked then but we didn’t. we were able to go into halftime with the lead,” said Matthew Mitchell about Makayla Epps sitting out.

MTSU came out hot…then fizzled out.

The Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders came out really hot. Senior Ty Petty had 5 3-pointers in the first half alone.  But, when Jaida Roper and the Cats started getting hot, MTSU fizzled out. With only one senior on the team, the young players felt the pressure and got out-rebounded 44-22.

Taylor FREAKIN Murray

Murray has been on a roll! After a season high 21 points on Sunday, she lead the team and scored 16 points and had 7 rebounds tonight. The sophomore guard was electric tonight and gave the team energy especially throughout the second half.

“When someone’s out it’s my job to step up and make sure the team is relaxed,” said Murray.

Get to Rupp on Sunday

UK Hoops takes on Arizona State this Sunday in Rupp Arena at 1pm. If you’re looking for a BBN-related activity before the Men’s team takes on Hofstra – come to this. If you haven’t been to a Women’s game yet – come to this. Last season, UK Hoops got an exciting overtime win over Arizona State so it should be a good game.

In the words of Matthew Mitchell: “If you need a warm place to go on Sunday come to the game because Rupp Arena will be on FIRE!” 

Let’s pack the house on Sunday! Tickets and info can be found here


Murray continues to shine, lifts Cats over Blue Raiders

 

 

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Coming off a career 21 points on Sunday at Louisville, Taylor Murray was the saving grace for Kentucky Friday against Middle Tennessee State University.

Trailing after the first period, the N0. 15 Cats came back to roll over the Blue Raiders 61-48 at home.

The first half for the Cats was filled with turnovers, which MTSU had no problem taking advantage of. Turning nine Kentucky turnovers into eight points by the end of the half.

It didn’t help that MTSU got off to a hot-start shooting while the Cats couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn. Halfway through the first period the Cats hadn’t scored a field goal in three minutes and 42 seconds, and were trailing the Blue Raiders 11-7 going into a media timeout, during which head coach Matthew Mitchell must’ve struck a fire under them.

Coming out of the timeout, Murray scored on two back-to-back drives, tying the game up at 13.

However, the little spark was not enough to hoist the Cats over, as they still trailed 18-15 at the end of the period.

Murray stepped up in the second period, taking charge of the game as star senior Makayla Epps sat the entire period with two fouls. Still trailing halfway through the period Murray once again went back-to-back on go-ahead drives to boost the Cats up 27-23 over the Blue Raiders. The two drives also brought the sophomore to 10 points, putting her in double-digits for the fifth time this season.

While Epps was on the bench, freshman guard Jadia Roper earned her first real significant minutes of the season. Roper knocked down shots when they were needed and attacked on defense aggressively. The freshman, according to Mitchell played her best game yet, scoring seven points and grabbing three rebounds.

The Cats were able to go into halftime leading, Murray leading them with 12 points and Roper not too far behind with seven of her own.

Lucky for the Cats, Epps sitting for the entire second period and halftime gave her 25 minutes of rest, sending her out with fresh legs for the second half. And she was ready to go, scoring 11 of her 13 points in the half.

“Her presence is out there, even when she’s sitting on the bench ready to come back in,” MTSU’s head coach Rick Insell said.

From the start of the second, Kentucky ran with the game. Crashing the boards, out rebounding MTSU 44-22 and shooting their tails off, much like MTSU did in the first half.

Overall, Evelyn Akhator churned out yet another double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Maci Morris had an off night with just two points and four turnovers of her own out of the teams 15.  Also, tonight first time Kentucky hasn’t made a three since November 27, 2014. They did however shoot 41 percent from the field.

Kentucky’s next game will be against an unranked, but tough, Arizona State University team at 1 inside Rupp Arena for their annual “Pack the House” game. A total of 22,000 tickets are available for the game and Mitchell wants it to be the largest crowd in women’s college basketball this season. Get you tickets here.

 


VIDEO: Matt leads discussion about Calipari’s book

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This morning, Matt Jones got an early start to a big day by moderating a discussion with John Calipari about his new book at the Commerce Lexington Inc. Good Morning Bluegrass event. Thanks to them, we have video of said event, so if you’d like something to do for the next 43 minutes and six seconds, have at it:


Check out today’s episode of Hey Kentucky

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Just in case you missed it earlier this evening, take a look at today’s edition of Hey Kentucky. Tonight’s episode featured Drew Franklin as the co-host, and included a one-on-one sit down with Matt and Coach Cal, some TaxSlayer Bowl talk, and a game of Good Idea-Bad Idea.

Be sure to tune into Hey Kentucky every weeknight at 7:30pm ET on LEX-18.


Boom Williams considering NFL Draft

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Though it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, Boom Williams told the media following practice today that he was considering the NFL Draft, and will talk things over with his family following the TaxSlayer Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

He said, “Conversations and things have started. That’s something I have to think about as well. Right now my main focus is the bowl game, but after the bowl game, me and the family will talk some more and will handle that situation.”

We knew it was a possibility going into the year, and that only went up as the year progressed. Injury problems still remain a concern, but that likely won’t stop NFL teams from lighting up Boom’s phone when the time comes.

Should he decide to return, Kentucky would easily possess one of the best backfields in the country next season, led by Boom, Benny Snell, and RS freshman AJ Rose likely taking third-team reps.


Reports say DeMarcus Cousins not likely to be charged in nightclub incident

 

Photo: Bleacher Report

Photo: Robb Carr – Getty Images

Graham Rayman of New York Daily News is reporting that DeMarcus Cousins is not likely to be arrested or charged with anything following an incident where he was with teammate Matt Barnes at a nightclub, and Barnes allegedly assaulted someone.

The report also says that the NYPD are “closing in on arresting” Matt Barnes for his involvement in the altercation. It is alleged that Barnes hit a female during a brawl at the nightclub. 26 year old Jasmine Besiso claims that Barnes choked her until she went unconscious, and her boyfriend, 35 year old Myrone Powell, claims that Cousins sucker punched him during the fight.

Glad to hear that DeMarcus Cousins probably won’t be charged in relation to this night, but still a bad look for a former Cat who already has a reputation of having issues controlling his anger. Someone please get Cousins out of Sacramento and get him to a winning team and a coach who knows how to deal with him the way that Coach Cal did. And please do so ASAP.

More on this as the information becomes available.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Kansas’ Carlton Bragg arrested on suspicion of domestic battery (UPDATED)

Breaking news in college basketball: Kansas sophomore Carlton Bragg was arrested yesterday on suspicion of domestic battery against a family member. According to the Kansas City Star, Bragg — one of Calipari’s biggest recruits in the 2015 class — remains in jail this morning with no bond listed. Kansas has confirmed the report.

Bragg’s averaging 7.8 points this season for Kansas. You may remember him as the kid who accidentally said he was committing to Kentucky when he meant to say Kansas:

That’s still painful to watch.

UPDATE: The details are out and they are not good. According the Douglas County district attorney’s office via NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster, Bragg’s girlfriend called the police and claimed he struck her and pushed her down the stairs. He pled not guilty. He also smiled in his mugshot:

Ugh. Smiling just makes it worse!


The Entertation Index: December 5-9

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Each week KSR’s Funkhouser collects the best of pop culture. The Entertation Index collects the best of the week for your consumption.

Apprentice, Celebrity — NBC and Variety have confirmed that the new season of Celebrity Apprentice, which begins on January 2 and will be helmed by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in place of its former host, President-elect Donald Trump, will continue to be produced by Trump even as he takes the highest office in the country. The winner, as always, will receive a large cash prize to be donated to the charity of his or her choosing while the sixth-place finisher has to be Secretary of State.
Link: Trump Will Remain EP on Celebrity Apprentice

California, HotelRolling Stone ran an article this week featuring “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hotel California,” which purports the original name of the song (“Mexican Reggae”), an argument with Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull surrounding the tune and the arguments over the melody between Henley and Joe Walsh during the recording. If you didn’t know these things, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover them. If you did know all of these things, there is a 100% chance you still have a ponytail.
Link: The Eagles Hotel California – 10 Things You Didn’t Know

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Carey, Mariah — You may or may not believe this but, according to Billboard Magazine, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is the most downloaded Christmas song ever at 3.2 million downloads, double its closest competitor. Although to be fair, its closest competitor is “Oh Holy Night (feat. Extra Mouth Drums and Beating on our Chests)” by Pentatonix.
Link: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” Is the Most Downloaded Holiday Song Ever

Chyna, Blac –– Even though she’s married to their brother Rob, Kardashian sisters Khloe, Kim and Kourtney have, according to TMZ, banded together to bar the hip-hop video star from trading on the Kardashian name in fears she’ll damage their reputation. “We are all perfectly capable of doing that ourselves, thank you very much,” an official statement from the siblings read. BAM! Old-joke vaudeville zing!
Link: Kim, Khloe & Kourtney Crush Blac Chyna’s Biz Dreams 

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Reinhold, JudgeBeverly Hills Cop and Fast Times at Ridgemont High-starring eighties icon was detained for disorderly conduct at a Dallas airport after “causing a disturbance” on Thursday.  Authorities failed to believe Reinhold’s far-fetched story that Fred Savage is the real culprit as the two remain the subject of a bizarre thirty year-old body-switching plot. On the plus side, contrary to what Reinhold’s agent told him, he can get arrested in this town! Way to go, buddy!
Link: Judge Reinhold Arrested at Dallas Airport

Season Finale, Westworld — If you’re like me, you enjoyed HBO’s Westworld. Also, if you’re like me, it wrapped your brain around itself in parts and even after a whopper of a season finale you still had a few nagging questions. So here’s a good spoiler-full debriefing of the show’s season one ender. Discuss.
Link: The Biggest Westworld Questions Heading into Season 2

Vegas Girl Walk — As Matt, Drew and company embark on their cross-country journey culminating in Sin City next weekend for the UK-UNC game, this seems like the perfect time to reference rapper Lil’ PP’s stellar hip-hop track “Vegas Girl Walk.” Enjoy. And see you next week.


7 Leftovers from today’s pre-Hofstra media opportunity

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1. Camp Cal will be a time for reflection

“Camp Cal” starts Wednesday after finals, and assistant Joel Justus said it’s a good chance for the players to reflect on their performance so far this season and readjust their goals heading forward.

“Whenever classes end and you can focus solely on basketball, going a couple times a day, getting a chance to work on your skills, allow the coaches to really focus at that time of year after playing 10-11 games, to really just settle and say, ‘okay, this is what I look like when I’m at my best,’ if you embrace that and you’re excited about it, it’s a fun, fun time of year. And then after that, the game maybe seems to slow down for our freshmen.”

2. Briscoe thinks Camp Cal is fun

“This time coming up is very important because we only really have to worry about one thing and that’s basketball,” Briscoe said. “If that’s what you want to do for the rest of your life, this Camp Cal – or whatever y’all call it – should be fun. Last year it was fun for me. No school, just all basketball and getting better. That’s the things I live for and I’m sure the freshmen, great group of guys and I know that they love basketball, so I’m sure they’re looking forward too.”

Spoken like a leader and not someone who’s exhausted after their second of three practices in one day, but I love the enthusiasm.

3. This group has a “tremendous thirst” to improve

Justus said there isn’t an established “breakfast club” as in years past, but that’s because this team is already in the gym 24/7.

“This group loves to be in the gym, they love to be around each other. They drag each other, whether it be to the weight room, whether it be to watch some film, whether it be to get extra shots. This group is working hard and it’s contagious. They love to be in the gym and they have a tremendous thirst for it.”

4. Briscoe continues to advocate for Mychal Mulder

“Mike’s my guy, we’re cool,” Briscoe said. “That’s my roommate when we’re on the road. Mike, he just needs somebody to encourage him because Coach is on him pretty tough because he’s a senior. He’s expecting a lot out of him. I think Mike likes the message when it’s coming from me rather than Coach. Whenever Coach is getting on him I’ll pull Mike to the side and let him know, ‘Yo, just do this and this and you’ll be fine. He won’t say nothing to you,’ and things like that. Mike’s been playing well, he’s been getting after it, and he’s been working on playing defense. Like I said, I’m the leader of this team. I’m trying to keep everybody on board and trying to get Mike better.”

5. Briscoe admits the team went into the UCLA with a big head

When asked what the team learned from the loss to UCLA, Briscoe had a simple answer:

“That we can be beaten. I think that some of us thought we were so good that we can just come out and play and they’ll see that it’s Kentucky and think we can just get the win based off that. UCLA is a good team. I’ll give them credit. But also we didn’t have our best game, and we didn’t play to our full potential. We let that one slip away from us, but like I said, that one’s over with. We’re judged on what we do from here on out.”

6. Fox is not used to the snow

The Katy, Texas native said he’s used to “100-degree weather, not seven,” so seeing the snow outside of his window last night was a bit of a shock.

“It’s different. It’s different. I looked outside at one in the morning because it looked like it started snowing. So I looked outside and the whole car was white. I think is was supposed to be blue. It’s different. I’m not used to this.”

7. Calipari’s trying to get Fox out of “chill mode”

“Sometimes I’m just out there in what I call ‘chill mode,’” Fox said. “I’ll be on the court sometimes some people say I’m playing good, but I just know there is more in me that I haven’t shown. It’s really just the energy part. Sometimes I’m not focused. Other than that, sometimes I’m just chilling on the court.”

Obviously, Calipari is not a fan.

“Oh, he hates it. He calls it causal. I call it chill. He’s just trying to get me out of that. Creating habits.”


The Depth Chart Podcast’s All-Opponent Team

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The Depth Chart Podcast All-Opponent team will most likely have a different look than the tidal wave of All-SEC teams that have flooded headlines as of late. Criteria for securing a spot on this prestigious list is simple: best opposing players at each position during specific competition against the Wildcats.

Let’s get started:

OFFENSE

Unit: Tennessee

Receiver: Antonio Calloway-Florida, Calvin Ridley-Alabama

Quarterback: Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Running Back: Alvin Kamara-Tennessee, Ito Smith-Southern Miss

Tackle: Jonah Williams, Alabama, David Sharpe-Florida

Guard: Zack Bailey-South Carolina, Martez Ivey-Florida

Center: Cameron Tom, Southern Miss

Tight End: Cole Hikutini, Louisville


PIC BY Hattiesburg American

PIC BY Hattiesburg American

DEFENSE

Unit: Alabama

Defensive Line: Jonathon Allen-Alabama, Dylan Bradley-Southern Miss, Darius English-South Carolina, Derek Barnett-Tennessee

Edge: Jonathon Calvin, Mississippi State, Corey Vereen-Tennessee

Linebacker: Zach Cunningham-Vanderbilt, Stacy Thomas-Louisville, Rashaan Evans-Alabama

Cornerback: Jalen Tabor-Florida, Malkom Parrish-Georgia

Safety: Ryan White-Vanderbilt, Eddie Jackson-Alabama


Pic by Scout.com

Pic by Scout.com

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

Punter: Mason King, Louisville

Kick Returner: Kente Williams, Austin Peay

Punt Returner: Johnathon Johnson, Missouri


Everyone — including Isaiah — agrees Briscoe’s energy is the key to this team

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UK assistant coach Joel Justus met with the media today to discuss the team’s mindset as they head to Brooklyn to face Hofstra, and when asked about Kentucky’s bounce-back win over Valparaiso, said sophomore Isaiah Briscoe’s energy is the key to this team’s success.

“Briscoe was a big part of getting that back for us the other night vs. Valpo. He was tremendous. He had big smiles. Big thing that Cal wants our guys to do is talk and touch and he was all over the place. He was engaged in huddles, he was engaged in pregame. That’s Isaiah at his best. And as someone who’s on the same team as him, it was great to see. I was happy. It was great to have him being his best and that was a lot of fun. Zay’s a big reason why we were who we were the other night.”

Briscoe didn’t have his best outing vs. UCLA, shooting only 28.6% from the floor, and during his interviews with the media, he admitted his energy wasn’t what it should have been that day.

“After the game, Coach called me into his office and he just told me, ‘What happened today, you weren’t yourself, I didn’t see the energy,’ and everything like that. And me being a leader of the team, I had to accept that. I told him, ‘Yeah, I didn’t bring energy and I feel like that one is on me,’” Briscoe said. “The time we had [in between games] at practice, I was just going hard and giving it my all, and he said, ‘That needs to be you every game. That needs to be you every day in practice.’ That’s what I’ve been focusing on.”

Justus said that when Isaiah’s playing with energy, it benefits everyone.

“I think the biggest thing for him is when he comes in and he’s got that big smile and he’s laughing and talking and touching and bringing that competitive spirit to practice, that’s when we’re at our best and then also when he’s doing that in games, that’s when we’re at our best. ”

“As long as we keep doing what we need to do and Isaiah does what he needs to do, I think we’re going to be fine,” Justus concluded.


UK staff floored by Bam Adebayo’s work ethic and eagerness to learn

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Like most big men that come to Kentucky, Bam Adebayo’s had a relatively slow start to the season, averaging 12.4 points and 8.1 rebounds through nine games; however, there’s no denying that Bam’s improving each day. Today, Joel Justus said that’s because the freshmen spends all of his time trying to get better, whether it be putting in extra work at the gym or asking the staff every question he can think of.

“Bam is one of the first guys to practice everyday. He’s another guy that is just wanting to get better everyday. He asks questions, he’s inquisitive. He’s a guy that’s wanting to engage you in any way so you can help him get better. He’s always a guy that’s listening. From someone when you first get to know him, he’s a very bright kid. That’s the thing that I’ve been and we as a staff have been most impressed with is how much he wants to learn, how great he listens and how much he wants to improve every day.”

When asked, Justus said there’s not one thing Bam needs to do to have his “breakthrough moment” ala past UK bigs like Anthony Davis and Karl Towns, but given his work ethic and eagerness to learn, it will happen soon.

“I don’t think it could be one thing. I think he’s a guy that, like I said, he’s in there with Kenny, Cal’s working with them. But he asks everybody questions. He comes by the office. He just wants to be around. I think for someone that age, that shows tremendous maturity on his part. If he keeps that up, he’s gonna go farther than any of us probably can limit him right now. By putting just one thing that he can improve — I think he’s going to be that guy like some of the guys that we have here that do things beyond here where you just say, holy cow.”

As we saw Wednesday, it really is only a matter of time before he pulls down the rims at Rupp:


De’Aaron Fox admits he shouldn’t have been credited for that assist on his triple-double

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Remember when the worst thing to happen to Kentucky basketball this season was De’Aaron Fox mistakenly being credited for an assist? Last week, some national media members discovered that Fox was credited for an assist than he shouldn’t have been vs. Arizona State, calling his triple double — only the second in Kentucky basketball history — into question. Officials at the Atlantis reviewed the tape and said they’re keeping the assist on the box score, but when Jerry Tipton asked Fox about it today, he said he watched the play in question afterwards and knew it wasn’t legit.

“Yeah, I saw it, I was like, how is this controversial?” Fox said, noting that it clearly wasn’t an assist. “It didn’t make sense to me, but they’re doing their job and they said it stands, so it stood.”

Even if they had decided to take his triple double away, Fox said he wouldn’t have been upset.

“I didn’t care. I’m not playing for stats. If it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen. Cal told me that night on the phone, I said I don’t care.”

Just more reason to go get another one, right?