Five games in, UK is 4-1. Be truthful, raise your hand if you projected that →
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 3:00pm
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Let’s take a break from watching the Louisville basketball program burn to go over some of the basketball and football recruiting news from the week…
Edrice “Bam” Adebayo will visit Lexington this weekend.
Adebayo, the third-ranked power forward in the 2016 class, will begin his official visit to Kentucky today. John Calipari looks to add one more big man to join Wenyen Gabriel, Sacha Killeya-Jones, Tai Wynyard, Isaac Humphries and potentially a senior Marcus Lee next season, and Gabriel is on the short list of names to take that spot. Harry Giles, Marques Bolden and Jarrett Allen are also options, with Giles being the dream addition.
Official Visit To Kentucky This Weekend 😼🔵⚪️
— Bam Adebayo✈️ (@Bloading0) October 8, 2015
Wendell Carter may attend Big Blue Madness.
The No. 1 overall player in the 2017 class is considering an appearance at Big Blue Madness next week, he told Cats Illustrated. Carter will definitely attend Duke’s Countdown To Craziness next Saturday, but may sneak into Lexington the night before to check out UK.
Big Blue Madness will be televised live.
In case you missed it earlier, Kentucky basketball’s biggest recruiting event of the year will air live in its entirety on the SEC Network. It will mark the first time Madness has been aired on a national network from start to finish.
Nothing’s changed with Kobi Simmons.
His father told Cleveland.com, “There’s no rush, you don’t have to tell anybody a date. If you wake up tomorrow and say this is it, or if you wake up Oct. 3 and say this is it. I don’t want him setting a date because that can make you make a decision that may not be natural.”
With De’Aaron Fox’s recruitment looking positive for Kentucky, Simmons will likely be a take as soon as Cal feels he is losing Malik Monk, if that ever happens. Until then, Simmons will stay in limbo until he gets the call from UK or gets tired of waiting for it.
UK extends scholarship offer to 2017 quarterback Walker Wood of Lexington.
— Walker Wood (@Wood7Walker) October 8, 2015
Lafayette High School’s Walker Wood picked up a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky today. Wood is considered a dual-threat quarterback, ranked No. 23 in his class at that position in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Wood is a teammate of 2016 commit Landon Young, and Jedrick Willis, one of the top targets in 2017.
Did you buy that mattress yet? What are you waiting for???
By Freddie Maggard on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 2:00pm
Five games in, UK is 4-1. Be truthful, raise your hand if you projected that record. In this week’s ESPN SEC Power Rankings, Kentucky is listed at No. 8. I get it: polls and rankings are subjective, but 4-1 is concrete.
Below are UK Football position grades and various rankings:
For the season, Patrick Towles is 96-of-156 good for 61.5 percent, eight passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, and six interceptions.
At times, Towles’ inconsistency has limited UK’s offensive production. 33 percent completion rate against Florida skews season totals, but the Gator defense has proven to be dominant. Other SEC quarterbacks aren’t faring well either.
Overall, the junior has been an offensive catalyst. Kentucky has scored 16 touchdowns. Patrick Towles has directly contributed for 11 of those. For some, this grade will be too high. But his 68 percent total touchdown contribution rate is too high for a C, and his sporadic play doesn’t warrant an A. Strip the name, read above stats and assign a grade. That may help.
Running Back: B-
Through three games, Boom Williams was a top-five SEC running back. His numbers have fallen due to missing the second half against Missouri and not playing against EKU; still, 47 rushes for 351 yards, one touchdown and a 7.3 yards per rush are credible.
JoJo Kemp’s 5.3 yards per rush and two touchdowns have provided situational spark. The power back, Mikel Horton has been effective in screen passes and moving the chains. UK averages 135 yards rushing per game. Take away the 155 lost yards due to sacks, and numbers would be better.
A stat that is not published is blocking efficiency. Blitz pick-up has been improved at times, but lacking at others.
Wide Receiver: A-
Dorian Baker separated himself at the go-to receiver. Other than his 24 catches for an 11.5 average yards per reception and three touchdowns, Baker has punished in downfield blocking.
Garrett Johnson, Blake Bone, and Jeff Badet have also had their flashes of grandeur. Explosion plays are now expected. Combined, the wide receiver corps is deep, fast, and talented. It did have one game (Florida) that it dropped passes at an alarming rate; however, this position’s productivity has only scratched the surface.
Given Mark Stoops’ first-year receiving corps status, talent upgrade alone warrants a passing grade.
Tight End/Fullback: B+ (Blocking); Incomplete (Receiving)
Taco Meat Collins has moved into my upper echelon of UK football player fandom. CJ Conrad has blocked at an SEC senior level and finally had a breakout game against Missouri. Collectively, blocking has been consistent and physical.
But three catches for 55 yards is not what was expected. Simply, tight ends have not been targeted enough to receive a grade.
Offensive Line: C-
Offensive line rotation has been a revolving door of youth. Injuries have also reared their ugly heads. Steady center Jon Toth has anchored and is playing at an All-SEC level. But, the EKU game is too fresh in my mind to grade John Schlarman’s group high.
The Cats are averaging 365 total yards per game. An understandable struggle versus Florida seems more reasonable as the Gators continue to defensively control the conference. Red zone productivity has been excellent. UK is 15-15 inside the 20 and have scored 11 touchdowns in those 15 trips for 73 percent. Allowing 16 sacks for negative 116 yards is a hard statistic to overlook. This group will get better once it settles in on a rotation and heals up during the bye week.
Defensive Line: B
The insertion of CJ Johnson has proven to benefit. Even after missing the Louisiana game due to suspension, Johnson is the team’s second-leading tackler, totaling 37 stops, 3.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks.
Farrington Huguennin has been solid with 22 tackles. Expected strength of the defensive line was nose tackle. Melvin Lewis has racked up 17 tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. Regie Meant was improving by the snap, but an early injury versus Missouri has hampered the group’s overall power. At times, UK has gone with only two down defensive linemen which has diminished Melvin Lewis and Matt Elam’s game snaps. Given its level of talent, other than the EKU game, Coach Jimmy Brumbaugh’s unit has overachieved.
Easily the best 2015 surprise. Josh Forrest is playing at an All-SEC level with 49 tackles, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and one interception. His weekly improvement is scary and profitable for his NFL future.
Khalid Henderson effectively filled in for the injured Ryan Flannigan and provided consistency along with 30 tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.
In only two games, Ryan Flannigan’s speed and ability to close on opposing ball carriers have enhanced defensive diversity. Denzil Ware’s development is a weekly highlight. Ware’s two-point conversion against South Carolina was a game-saver. This position has endured suspension and injury but remained reliable. Collectively, the linebacker corps has played above fan and media expectation.
Another expected liability, UK’s secondary is limiting opposing offenses to 197 passing yards per game. That number won’t lead conferences statistical categories, but it’s been good enough and much better than expected.
Headline story is the emergence of true freshman Chris Westry. The rookie has excelled. Senior Cody Quinn held onto his starting position after being pushed by several freshmen cornerbacks. JD Harmon has been the group’s playmaker with two interceptions and game-altering tackles.
Safeties have not intercepted a pass, but are leading the secondary in tackles: McWilson with 28, Stamps with 25. The safety pair is stable, which allows DJ Eliot the freedom to dial up creative blitz packages. Nickel backs Blake McClain and Kendall Randolph add an edge. Both are pound for pound two of the better football players on the team.
Special Teams: C
An improvement from 2014’s F. Prior to EKU, Wildcat kickoff coverage team ranked second in the SEC.
Landon Foster’s punting has not been as effective as expected. Mark Stoops inserted his backup against the Colonels.
All-SEC Austin MacGinnis uncharacteristically missed a field goal and PAT in the opener, but has rebounded before an injury kept him out against Eastern Kentucky.
Kick returner Sihiem King has been a spark, and been close to breaking a kickoff return for six. Overall, the Wildcat special teams have been okau, but could be better. MacGinnis’ return will help. In coverage teams, better players running down the field to make tackles increases the group’s status. Punt and punt return teams have not met expectation.
Inconsistency has haunted the Cats throughout its first five football games. However, in four out of five contests, Kentucky has resiliently found a way to win. For the first time in program history, UK’s first five games have been decided by eight points or less. More telling, total points scored for the year: Kentucky 130, opponents 109.
In SEC play, margin of winning is 18.6 to 16.3. In non-conference, 37 to 30. This post could have actually been divided into two segments: Grades vs. SEC opponents and Grades vs. Non-Conference Foes. In conference, much higher. Non-conference, could have seen some Ds and Fs. Ebb and Flow.
Top Five Opposing Player Performances
1. DE Noah Spence, EKU
2. DE Alex MaCalister, Florida
3. DE Charles Harris, Missouri
4. ATH Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
5. S Brian Poole, Florida
Five Most Difficult Games Remaining
1. @ Georgia
2. @ Mississippi State
SEC Top Five
2. Texas A&M
5. Ole Miss
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 1:21pm
University of Louisville President James Ramsey issued a statement on his basketball program’s scandal this afternoon. In it, he said he fully supports Tom Jurich because Jurich has served as Athletic Director of “an exemplary program” for the last 18 years. Ha!
As we stated last week, when we learned of the allegations toward our men’s basketball team, we immediately hired Chuck Smrt of the Compliance Group to undertake a complete and thorough investigation of the alleged misconduct. Chuck advised us that we should also report these allegations to the NCAA so they could join our investigation.
For the past 18 years, Tom Jurich has served as Athletic Director of an exemplary program at UofL. I fully support Tom as we work to identify the facts in this situation, and that is what we are doing. Tom and I are committed to the values that are fundamental to the success of Cardinal athletics.
As I stated in the recent State of the University address, it is important that the university–all of us–stay focused on our day-to-day work of providing our outstanding student with a world-class education. The investigation of the allegations may take time and we must, as one university, continue doing the work we do to move our university and our community forward.
I can’t take him seriously with that hair.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 1:14pm
Good news for fans who were unable to get tickets to Big Blue Madness, which is most of you, I assume.
The SEC Network will air the annual tipoff to the UK men’s and women’s basketball seasons in its entirety this year. It will be the first time Madness will air live from start to finish on a national network.
The two-hour spectacle will also stream live on the WatchESPN app on computers, tables and smartphones. ESPN’s Dave O’Brien, Sean Farnham and Kara Lawson will handle the broadcast for the network.
Big Blue Madness is set for 7 pm next Friday.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 12:31pm
The co-author of Breaking Cardinal Rules was a special guest on Kentucky Sports Radio radio this morning to discuss the book, the allegations and why it should all be believed.
Dick Cady added to Louisville’s awful morning by telling the guys he has seen the actual phone and seen the actual text messages shared in the book. Until now, we had wondered if those screengrabs could’ve been forged, but Cady saying the actual messages exist confirms they are real.
He also said he doesn’t know if Rick Pitino was involved or was aware of anything going on. As Matt pointed out on the show, that suggests Cady is being completely honest and not trying to be sensational to create a story and sell books.
And the highlight of the interview: When asked about Louisville fans doubting his credibility and suggesting the whole thing is made up, Cady said, “That’s poppycock.”
Listen to the entire interview below:
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 12:00pm
Kentucky was the feature team on last night’s SEC Film Room on the SEC Network. UK’s head coach and quarterback reviewed the tape from Saturday’s overtime win against Eastern, explaining what went wrong and what changed to escape with a victory.
Watch the clips below:
The episode re-airs today at 2:30 and again at midnight.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 11:19am
Jaquan Lyle is one of the recruits named in Katina Powell’s book of allegations against the Louisville basketball program. Now a freshman at Ohio State, Lyle spoke to the NCAA yesterday and, according to CBSSports.com, confirmed the gist of allegations involving paid escorts during his trip to the school.
“He told the truth,” a source told Gary Parrish.
Lyle committed to Louisville in June of 2013, then decommitted two and a half months later. If he did indeed confirm what Powell wrote in her book, he could really hurt the Cardinals’ hopes of getting out of this alive.
The pieces are beginning to fall into place. Things aren’t looking good for Louisville.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 11:00am
Mel Kiper Jr. and his hair updated the top five underclassmen quarterbacks in college football yesterday and Kentucky’s own Patrick Towles made the list.
Towles ranks fifth among underclassmen, according to Kiper, behind Jared Goff (California), Christian Hackenberg (Penn State), Cardale Jones (Ohio State), and Gunner Kiel (Cincinnati), respectively.
Yet some of you still want him benched.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 10:25am
Jeff Goodman riled Kentucky basketball fans up yesterday when he released a report saying Skal Labissiere has still not been cleared by the NCAA. And because Kentucky basketball fans live for everything Kentucky basketball, everyone panicked. It’s natural around here.
But don’t read too much into Goodman’s report. Goodman’s gonna Goodman. There are players all over the country who haven’t been cleared by the NCAA. It happens every year and Labissiere just happens to be one of those guys. UK is completely confident he will be eligible and they are proceeding on with that mindset. Labissiere is in team photos, he is practicing with the team, and all expectations are he will be a member of the 2015-16 Wildcats when the ball is tipped this season.
So until we hear otherwise, we’re not going to worry about Labissiere’s eligibility. There is still plenty of time for him to get cleared. If you recall, John Wall wasn’t cleared until November 1 back in 2009. Nerlens Noel, October 17, 2012. Those guys turned out all right.
Don’t lose any sleep over this one.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 9:45am
On today’s edition of Kentucky Sports Radio radio, Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond are going straight to the co-author of Breaking Cardinal Rules to determine its credibility. They will have Dick Cady as a special guest to talk about the book, the allegations and why we should believe Katina Powell.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
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By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 9:00am
The greatest author in the history of fictional literature celebrates his 72nd birthday today. I’m talking about R.L. Stein, the man behind the Goosebumps series of children’s horror fiction novels.
As the owner of every single Goosebumps book from the original series — all 62 of them and some of the terrible ones that followed — I will be celebrating Stein’s birthday by drinking monster blood in my Camp Nightmare t-shirt and getting revenge on the lawn gnomes. I may even take a walk around Fever Swamp before the scarecrow walks at midnight, who knows.
I do know that, next week, I will be the first in line to see the new Goosebumps movie:
Pretty pumped about that one.
And while we’re on the subject, I’ll go ahead and admit the last book I read from start to finish was a Goosebumps book, about 15 years ago. (I’m not a big reader.)
Happy Birthday to my favorite author!
Karl-Anthony Towns shined in NBA preseason debut.
Towns saw his first NBA action last night against the Oklahoma City Thunder and it was a great start to the No. 1 pick’s career. He scored 18 points with five rebounds and two blocks in the loss to the Thunder. Most of his night was spent battling inside with another former Cat in Enes Kanter.
Willie Cauley-Stein said playing for the Kings is the same as playing for Kentucky.
“It’s pretty much the same as at Kentucky, for real,” he told the media, after last night’s game against Phoenix. “It’s the same offense, it’s the same defense. Now it’s just better players, bigger bodies. You just got to learn how to play with them.”
Cauley-Stein had eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks against the Suns in a game that featured seven former Wildcats.
Willie Cauley-Stein: 8 pts, 7 reb, 3 blks
DeMarcus Cousins: 15 pts, 8 reb
Rajon Rondo: 5 pts, 5 ast, 5 to
Devin Booker: 6 pts, 3 reb
Eric Bledsoe: 13 pts, 4 ast, 4 stl
Brandon Knight: 19 pts, 4 reb, 2 ast
Archie Goodwin: 3 pts, 2 ast
The Wildcat Play of the Game was Rondo hitting Cauley-Stein for a slam:
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) October 8, 2015
Remember that time Rick Pitino took his Boston basketball team to the strip club?
The Courier-Journal’s Tim Sullivan does. He reminded everyone of that alleged trip from a 25-year old book, “Raw Recruits.”
According to the 1990 book written by Alexander Wolff and Armen Keteyian, Pitino’s Boston University team made at least one unscheduled stop following a road game for adult entertainment.
“After one upset victory at Rhode Island,” the book says, “Pitino was so juiced he ordered the team bus to stop at a strip joint on the way back to campus. There he led his players in wolf whistles, even disbursing dollar bills so they could stuff them into the dancers’ G-strings.” [Courier-Journal]
Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein, after speaking to Pitino, said yesterday, “It never happened. The team walked in to get food, thinking it was a restaurant. They found out it wasn’t and walked out.”
Yeah, okay. Because it’s so hard to identify a strip club.
Did you listen to the KSR football podcast yesterday?
I feel like we say this every week, but I think it’s the best one yet. It is by the far the goofiest with Freddie Maggard, of all people, leading the off-topic discussion. He is alone at home this week and shared more of himself than any of us ever knew or could’ve imagined. Definitely give it a listen. There is good football talk in there, too.
Subscribe to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or listen here.
Dick Cady will be a guest on Kentucky Sports Radio radio this morning.
The author of Breaking Cardinal Rules will call in to KSR to talk about the book, the allegations, and why we should believe everything. That is must-hear radio for Kentucky fans.
By Courtney Hessler on ©October 07th, 2015 @ 10:30pm
Wendy’s® BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and Pulled Pork Cheese Fries feature premium pork shoulder smoked for hours with real hickory chips and topped with your choice of smoky, spicy or sweet barbecue sauce. Try it today on a brioche bun with crunchy slaw or atop our natural-cut cheese fries.
You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:
— John606 (@johnchesnut6714) October 7, 2015
I really hope Shannon frames this for the studio somewhere.
#9 jason terrell
@KySportsRadio get kat Powell on for an interview
— jason terrell (@jtwilcat23) October 7, 2015
Seconded. That would be gold.
#8 Devin Booker
What gym? pic.twitter.com/6rqZC23bmi
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) October 7, 2015
Nothing like Rupp though, right? 😎 https://t.co/HgWDXoGW8O
— Big Blue Nation (@BigBlue9ation) October 7, 2015
Nothing is https://t.co/YT9N44REZO
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) October 7, 2015
Awwwwww. We miss you too, Booker.
#7 Allison King
— Allison King (@amking09) October 6, 2015
I feel like this book is just bad parenting.
#6 Stanley Williams
— Stanley Williams (@boom_that_guy) October 7, 2015
Okay. I’m ready to football again.
#5 Pitino KNEW
University of Louisville's (UPDATED)"Blame List" 2015 : 1. Cal 2. Nike 3. "The tight rims" 4. Youtube 5. Matt Jones 6. The Refs #BBN
— Pitino KNEW (@BBN_Taye_UK) October 7, 2015
There’s no way Matt is only fifth.
— cookingworth (@nathan_alan14) October 7, 2015
Thanks a lot, Obama.
#3 Patricia Rowland
— Patricia Rowland (@kentuckewildcat) October 8, 2015
They look so awkward…..but gotta give it up for that support.
#2 Justin Allen
— Justin Allen (@jallen14) October 8, 2015
I had this same reaction.
#1 Wildcat Statue
BREAKING NEWS: UK/Auburn kickoff postponed due to Luke Bryan concert traffic. #BBN
— Wildcat Statue (@WildcatStatue) October 7, 2015
I tried to warn everyone about country music, but they didn’t listen.
By Nick Roush on ©October 07th, 2015 @ 10:20pm
But it’s not starting at UofL. The organization is starting their probe with recruits named in the book that did not attend Louisville – JaQuan Lyle and Antonio Blakeney.
Like Blakeney, Lyle was a one-time Cardinal commitment. TooTall and Shay allegedly met with Lyle in June of 2013. He verbally committed to the Cards on June 26, 2013. It didn’t last long – he pulled the plug on his commitment in September – but the timing is certainly worth questioning from the NCAA.
Ohio State associate athletic director for communications, Dan Wallenberg, confirmed to Pat Forde and others that Lyle spoke with the NCAA. He does not seem to be worried about Lyle at all, “It does not affect us or JaQuan at all,” Wallenberg said. “We’ve been told, and are pretty confident, this is not something we need to worry about.”
There are multiple reports that Blakeney has met with the NCAA as well. Both guys could hold the smoking gun and will play an essential part in how the “Breaking Cardinal Rules” story ends.
By Nick Roush on ©October 07th, 2015 @ 10:00pm
The Yum! Center is hosting their second consecutive NBA preseason game, but the crowd is less than enthusiastic. The Florida matchup between the Heat and the Magic has attracted more crickets than people.
As a person that wants to see an NBA team in Louisville, it’s disappointing. It might be a different story if the Kings were playing the Suns. 5 of the 10 starters were Cats: Willie Cauley-Stein, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.
I’d pay to watch that game. If you have NBA TV, you don’t have to. Go ahead and change the channel. It’s basically a UK in the NBA reunion.