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March 29th, 2017

Kentucky’s Next Point Guard is Ready to Create His Own Legacy

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John Calipari’s created a successful lineage of point guards at Kentucky, from John Wall to Tyler Ulis.  The next to join the family is different than his predecessors, and he likes it that way.

A shifty 6-footer from Philly, Quade Green carries a chip on his shoulder to help him play bigger than his size.  He will not mind the comparisons to Tyler Ulis, but after his time at Kentucky ends, he hopes the next great Kentucky point guard will be compared to Quade Green.

“I’m trying to be better than Tyler.  I’m going in with a different mindset: be the best player I can be and be better than all the point guards that ever came through there.”

The Ulis comparisons are inevitable because of his size and shooting ability.  With the ball in his hands, his step-back is rarely contested, especially from deep behind the three-point line, a shot we saw Ulis take often.

“Except for Tyler (Ulis), everybody was 6’3″ and over and couldn’t shoot really.  I hope I’m going to be the first guard really that Cal ever got that can really shoot the ball consistently.”

Green’s ability to live up to his lofty personal expectations will fall on the shoulders of his teammates.  After all, his job is to get everybody involved, something he’s starting to do this week in Chicago.

“Everybody’s getting their feet wet on how they play with each other.  Everybody’s got some different things they like to do, so I’m just trying to help make those things great,” Green said.

That attitude is why great players gravitate toward Green.  They know he’s going to try get them the ball, no matter what.

“He’s a pass-first guard, so he’s always looking for me on the lob and getting touches inside.  He’s always encouraging me to go off.  He’s always telling me to get buckets,” Nick Richards said.  “He’s a natural-born leader.  He’s just a winner.”

“I just get my team involved,” Green said.  “You run with me, you’re gonna get found.  I’m gonna find you regardless.”  Yesterday, Green found Richards on the break for a beautiful alley-ooo, arguably the best highlight from the two days in Chicago.

Quade is constantly communicating with his teammates.  Whether he’s screaming at them to get buckets on the other side of the court, putting them in the correct position or talking trash to his opponents.  Green is an unabashed talker.

“I just like talking.  I like communicating with people, everybody.  I don’t care if you’re a little kid, two years-old, or old and in the hospital, I don’t care.  I like talking.  I just try to be humble and keep everything positive.”

Green’s extroverted personality makes him an effective leader.  A self-proclaimed control freak, he’s at his best with the ball in his hands, especially late in games.

“The way he controls the game.  He controls the tempo.  He makes sure everybody is in the right spot,” Jarred Vanderbilt said.  “He’s very vocal, one of the most vocal point guards I’ve ever played with.  He knows how to find guys and get them open.  His passes are right on target.  He’s a great P-G.”

His ability to get others involved could attract two more All-Americans to come to Kentucky next fall.  Green was Mo Bamba’s point guard in the EYBL for the PSA Cardinals.  His late-game heroics helped carry the team to the Peach Jam Finals, but his insistence on sharing the ball is what might get Kevin Knox to Kentucky.

“Quade’s a leader.  He likes to win and that’s something I really like.  He’ll get people the ball.  He’s not really about scoring.  He’s really a pass-first point guard,” Knox said.  “He makes everyone on the team better.” 

After a handful of practices, P.J. Washington is already seeing the fruits of Green’s labor.

“Nick’s blocking shots, Jarred’s hitting jumpers and Quade’s getting everybody involved.  I feel like we’re going to be great next year.”


MKG had to wear a UNC jacket to settle a bet last night

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If you’ve been depressed over Sunday night’s game, at least you didn’t have to put on Tar Heel gear like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. MKG lost a bet on the game with his Hornets teammate Marvin Williams, a North Carolina alum, and last night, he settled up, wearing Williams’ UNC letter jacket into the Spectrum Center:

Poor MKG. Also, go away, Kaminsky.


Kentucky Overcomes Early Deficit To Beat Cincy 13-7

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Cincinnati led 4-0 after the first inning and 6-4 through four before #16 Kentucky unleashed a huge comeback in a 13-7 win over the Bearcats. UK scored seven runs in the first in support of reliever Brad Schaenzer in a revenge win over Cincy. Marcus Carson collected three hits and Tristan Pompey drove in three runs as the Cats improved to 19-7 on the season.

Recap

Cincinnati was all over Zack Thompson in the first inning. Connor McVey doubled home a run with one out and Ryan Noda hit a three-run home run two batters later. Thompson allowed five runs in two innings in his shortest outing of the season.

Already in a deep hole, the offense began to wake up in the second inning. Pompey hit a line drive shot to the center field wall to score Riley Mahan and Kole Cottam. Connor Heady followed with a double of his own to drive in Pompey and cut the Bearcats’ lead to one through two innings.

Just as Kentucky drew closer, UC pulled away again. Noda hit his second home run of the day over the Cliff in right field to give the Bearcats a 6-3 lead. The home run came off Brad Schaenzer. Coming on in relief, the home run was the only damage Cincy could do to Schaenzer. The senior went 4.1 innings out of the bullpen and allowed only one run on three hits and three punch outs.

Luke Becker answered in the bottom of the third with a pinch hit solo home run to left to keep the deficit to two. It wasn’t until the fifth inning that UK’s offense completely took over. The BatCats used three singles, three walks, and a pair of hit batters to tally seven runs in the fifth inning. Four straight batters reached base without having to put the ball in play. Evan White brought in two runs with a single and later scored on double steal to give UK an 11-6 lead through five.

Colton Cleary replaced Schaenzer in the seventh and went 1.2 innings of shutout ball to help close the door for UK. The Cats manufactured a pair of insurance runs in the 8th by scoring on a wild pitch and a balk. Zach Pop entered the game in the ninth in place of Cleary. Pop struggled but wound up striking out three in the final frame to close out a 13-7 win for the Cats.

Notes

Marcus Carson continues to lead the team in hitting- The senior centerfielder now leads the team with 38 hits this season. Carson has five three-hit games and 12 multi-hit games overall.

Tristan Pompey riding a six-game hitting streak- Pompey is squaring the ball up right now better than he ever has. Along with his six-game hitting streak, Pompey leads the team in walks and boasts a .432 OBP in 2017.

 

Brad Schaenzer now 4-0 this season- Not that wins are an accurate representation of a pitcher’s value, but for what it’s worth, Schaenzer is 4-0. What is most impressive is his 2.42 ERA, .162 opponents battign average, and nine strikeouts per nine innings.


ESPN is reporting that John Higgins received death threats from Kentucky fans

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Turns out Kentucky fans’ outrage at referee John Higgins over questionable calls in Sunday’s game vs. North Carolina went far past fake reviews on his roofing company’s Facebook page. According to ESPN, Higgins received death threats from Kentucky fans, which prompted a meeting with law enforcement:

Sources said the phones at Higgins’ home and business have been “ringing off the hook” since the game, with angry Kentucky calling to complain and some even going so far as to make death threats.

That prompted a meeting with law enforcement.

Higgins declined to comment when reached by phone, but sources said the official will work the Final Four in Phoenix.

Ugh. We have to be better than this, guys.

[ESPN]


Stop what you’re doing, it’s time for KSR (Wednesday Show Thread)

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Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Wednesday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Today, the gang is in Louisville to close the book on the season and look ahead to next year, specifically tonight’s McDonald’s All-American Game and some big recruiting moves. Fill up your coffee cup and settle in, why don’t you?

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

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Wednesday’s Top 10: The McDonald’s All-American Game is here

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The focus of today’s top 10 is pretty obvious. Tonight, (at least) four future Kentucky Wildcats will take the stage at the McDonald’s All-American Game, which is where we’ll start things off.

1. The McDonald’s All-American Game is at 7 p.m.

Quade Green, PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Nick Richards will all suit up for the East Team in tonight’s McDonald’s All-American Game, which airs at 7 p.m. on ESPN. From what I gather, the foursome has spent almost all of their time recruiting Mo Bamba and Kevin Knox to join them. Nick Roush has been churning out awesome coverage of the McDonald’s All-American festivities, so to prepare yourself, check it out:

2. KSR will have a live blog for the game

It’s been a few days since we’ve done a live blog, so if you need a fix, or just want to join some fellow Cats fans to talk about the game, check the site around 7 p.m.

3. Get in the mood with these highlights from practice

Impossible to really tell anything from a practice for an all-star game, but those midrange jump shots sure look nice.

4. Calipari finally offered Zion Williamson last night

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IG: Zionlw10

After watching his mixtapes for months, I’ve been waiting for John Calipari to offer 2018 phenom Zion Williamson, and last night, he finally did. The 6’7″ 230 lbs. forward  is considered the best player in the 2018 class by 247 Sports and has become a YouTube sensation for his explosive dunks, to the point even Drake has been spotted wearing his jersey. Here’s why:

Williamson visited Kentucky for the Kansas game earlier this year and said he was floored by the experience.

“Indescribable, the environment,” Williamson said. “That environment, I just can’t even describe it, it’s ridiculous.”

5. South Carolina fans really want him

It’ll be a while before Williamson makes his decision, but South Carolina fans have made it clear to the Spartanburg native that they want him, chanting “We want Zion” at a pep rally celebrating the team’s Final Four berth in Columbia a few days ago:

Plenty to focus on before we worry about that, such as…

6. Two new names on the radar

On Tuesday, John Caliapri reached out to two 2017 shooting guards: Mark Smith and Jemarl Baker. With the backcourt cupboard bare after this season, Calipari’s clearly going after depth, particularly guys that can shoot, and both guards can do just that. Smith was recently named Mr. Basketball in the state of Illinois and was originally set to play baseball at Missouri, but an elbow injury forced him to focus on basketball instead. The Cats are obviously coming in late to his recruitment and will have to beat out schools like Illinois, Butler, Indiana, Ohio State, Texas, California, Northern Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas State and Missouri, which, given the fact that it’s Kentucky, probably won’t be too tough.

Meanwhile, four-star guard Jemarl Baker recently decommitted from Cal after Cuonzo Martin took the job at Missouri, and the Cats are on his list, along with Maryland, Utah, Oregon, Arizona, Duke, Marquette, Virginia, and ASU. He’s known as a great shooter, and the Cats will definitely be in need of those next season.

With the early signing period starting on April 12, it’s gonna be a fast and furious recruitment with both of these players, so stay tuned.

7. Don’t forget Derek Willis in the Reese’s College All-Star Game on Friday

Willis is headed to Phoenix this weekend after all, to play in the Reese’s College All-Star Game. The game will be a great chance for Willis to impress some scouts and further his NBA stock, and he’ll play alongside the likes of JJ Frazier, Moses Kingsley, and Bryce Alford. The game airs on CBS Sports Network at 6:30 PM ET on Friday night. We’ll be watching.

8. Those of you leaving nasty stuff on John Higgins’ roofing company’s Facebook page need to stop

I get that a lot of you blame Higgins’ questionable calls for Kentucky’s loss, and yeah, leaving fake bad reviews may seem funny, but when you think about it, it’s really not. It’s actually embarrassing and a horrible representation of our fanbase. The story has gone national, so please do everyone a favor and stop.

9. “Trading Spaces” is coming back!

I got way too excited yesterday when I heard that TLC is reviving “Trading Spaces,” the home improvement makeover show that ran from 2000-2008. The show was must-see TV for me during high school and college, and I’ll never forget the homeowners’ reactions when Hildi glued hay on the walls or when Doug redid a brick fireplace, which left one homeowner so upset that she could be heard sobbing off camera:

10. KSR starts in an hour

Are you ready?


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: SEC Softball Gettin’ Frisky

Who knew SEC Softball was turning into WWE wrestling.  Florida and Auburn are 2 of the best programs nationally in softball with multiple meetings in the NCAA Tournament over the last few years (I looked it up), so there is likely some bad blood there.  It seemed to boil over a little bit on Monday with the “shoving match” above between Auburn player Somebody Somebody and Florida Head Coach Tim Whoever.

A background note: The Auburn player had 2 sisters who played at Florida and were both kicked off the team for an “altercation”.  So it’s safe to say there is a little history there.  But here are my thoughts:

  1. The Auburn player was not shaking hands in the line, which shows her character right there.
  2. The Florida coach does touch her shoulder but certainly not what I would call a push.  Now, should he have touched her at all?  It’s hard to say.  He might have just been patting her on the shoulder and he might have actually been annoyed and touched her shoulder because of that.
  3. Nonetheless, the Auburn player’s reaction was absolutely a push.  Again, showing her character.
  4. The Florida coach showed serious restraint in obviously not pushing back but seemingly responding in a calm manner.

Considering the history between this player’s sister and an “altercation”, which we obviously know means fight of some kind, and then her poor sportsmanship and shove in the back, I tend to side with the Florida coach on this one.  Nonetheless, SEC softball is getting feisty and might be worth watching when these 2 teams square off again.


March 28th, 2017

10 Things To Look Forward To Now That Basketball’s Over

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The first few days after the season ends are always an adjustment. Not only is there the sadness that Kentucky’s run is over, there’s a gaping void left by the one thing you’ve spent the past five, almost six, months focusing on. What do we do now that basketball’s over? I’ve spent the entire day asking myself that and have ten suggestions, starting with the obvious and most important.

1. The Spring Game

Friday, April 14, 7:30 p.m., Commonwealth Stadium, SEC Network

Hey, remember spring football? Freddie and Nick have done a great job holding down the fort for us while we’ve been wrapped up in roundball, and what better way to recalibrate than check in on Mark Stoops’ squad? The spring game is two weeks from Friday, giving you plenty of time to catch up. From what I gather, Stephen Johnson’s been doing really well and has been asked to eat 5,000 calories a day, which sounds like a dream life to me. Stay tuned on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for practice and scrimmage updates, and in between for our analysis as we slowly shift our focus to the gridiron. With enthusiasm for the program at maybe an all-time high, it’ll be an easy transition.

2. Basketball recruiting

McDonald’s All-American Game: Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN; Jordan Brand Classic: Friday, April 14

If you haven’t seen Nick’s coverage on the site the past two days, the McDonald’s All-American Game is tomorrow night and features (at least) four future Cats: Quade Green, PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Nick Richards. If those four have their way, they’ll seen be joined by Mohamed Bamba and Kevin Knox soon, who have yet to decide on a school (both are targeting mid-late April decisions). Jumping right into the next team just as we are saying goodbye to the current one is always a tough transition, but watching the future Cats relentlessly go after Bamba and Knox has been entertaining. This tweet alone gave me a bit of a thrill:

The spring signing period starts April 12, so expect a LOT of coverage on Bamba, Knox, and UK’s latest target, shooting guard Mark Smith (read more about him here), in the coming weeks.

keeneland

3. Keeneland

Spring meet runs Friday, April 7 through Friday, April 28

For a lot of you, this probably ranks #1. The spring meet starts next weekend, which means your office will be pretty empty on Friday afternoons for the next month. Nothing says spring like Keeneland, and nothing says Keeneland in the spring like girls in sundresses and wedges even if it’s still 55 degrees out. As someone who lives three hours away, I can’t wait for you all to rub it in on Instagram and Facebook.

4. Derby

Saturday, May 6

See above and multiply it by 1,000. Also, if you’ve missed it the past two weeks, we now have a horse racing writer, Chad Lashbrook, contributing to the site to prepare you for this year’s Run for the Roses. Each Wednesday leading up to the Derby, he’ll break down the top eight contenders. Click here to check out his most recent column.

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

5. UK Baseball

After losing the first four games, UK Baseball has gone 18-3, 5-1 in the SEC, UK’s best conference start since 2012. In his first season, Nick Mingione has his team rolling. The Cats are now ranked in all five baseball polls (who knew there were five polls?). I’m not a big baseball person, but the excitement around the program is palpable, and you can get in on it by checking out our KSR Baseball Podcast with Trey Huntsman and former UK Baseball Coach Keith Madison. Also, get out to the Cliff to watch UK take on Vandy this weekend.

6. The Masters

April 6-9

Is there anything more comforting than The Masters theme music? The Masters has been my go-to “get over basketball” event for years, and even though I’ve struggled to reconnect with the sport now that Tiger’s out (and may never be back), I try to get back into it every year. Nothing is better than watching Sunday at Augusta from the couch with the windows open, and the inevitable nap that follows.

7. Patio weather

Drinking and eating outside beats drinking and eating inside any day. It’s scientifically impossible to turn down an invitation to happy hour on a Friday afternoon when it’s 75 degrees and sunny out. Similarly, it’s scientifically impossible not to grill on a Sunday afternoon when it’s 75 degrees and sunny out. I’ll be doing a whole lotta both this weekend.

8. NBA Finals

April 15 – June 18

The playoffs begin in a few weeks, and right now, a handful of former Cats are on teams in contention:

Western Conference

  • Trey Lyles, Utah Jazz
  • Enes Kanter, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies

Eastern Conference

  • DeAndre Liggins, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • James Young, Boston Celtics
  • John Wall, Washington Wizards
  • Patrick Patterson, Toronto Raptors
  • Terrence Jones, Milwaukee Bucks

With eight games left, the Nuggets (Jamal Murray) and Bulls (Rajon Rondo) still have a shot as well.

KSR-9684

9. NBA decisions/autograph tours

Early Entry Deadline: April 23; Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline: June 12

Who will stay and who will go to the Draft? De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo, and Isaiah Briscoe seem to be the safe bets on going, while the rest of the team seems likely to stay. Wenyen Gabriel may test the waters, but I would imagine the only feedback he’ll get will be to return to Kentucky and get stronger. Those who do test the waters have until June 12 to make the final decision on staying/going, but will probably make their decisions shortly after the NBA Draft Combine May 9-14.

Those that decide to stay in the draft will start their autograph tours around the state and appearances on KSR, along with Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis, and Mychal Mulder. Once those dates/locations are available, we’ll pass them along to you.

10. Calipari’s 30 for 30

Thursday, April 13, ESPN

Sure, Cal’s 30 for 30, “One and Not Done,” may have had more oomph behind it had Kentucky made it to the Final Four, but I’m still looking forward to it. Also, it’s no coincidence that the documentary premieres the day after the spring signing period begins. I’m hoping to get my hands on an advanced copy to review next week, but in the meantime, this trailer will do:


KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day

mcdowellsThe one and only Big Mick is a meaty masterpiece in its
own right. Composed of two quarter-pound patties* of never-fresh, frozen,
mostly beef raised close to the processing plant. Only McDowell’s
has the frosted beef and processed cheese to give you a major reason for
the afternoon trip to the secret bathroom only you and Debra know about on the 9th floor that is under construction.


You can be a part of McDowell’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.

If you are interested in sponsoring KSR’s Top 10 Tweets, please contact us at Via Email 

Now. On to the tweets:

#10 Carlos McNabb

While we don’t condone the behavior, this is still funny.

 

#9 Bucky Small Hooves

Now that is one heck of a jacket.

 

#8 Tommy Thompson

Well at least we know what happened now.

 

#7 George Herbig

I doubt he can even be right that much.

 

#6 Nick Bowman

Where’s Lynn Marshall when ya need her?

 

#5 Brandon Gracheck

I’m a big fan of this.

 

#4 Jake

Someone needs to check this out, ASAP.

 

#3 Bryan Nichols

This is true.

 

#2 Billy Birk

Bet he can’t even get that right.

 

#1 Chad Shively

Because this helps.

 

@haleysimpKSR


Lexington Tattoo Artists Sad To See Derek Willis Go

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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.

Lexington Tattoo artists are finally being forced to dread a day they’ve known was coming for four years now. Derek Willis is graduating and with him goes one of the largest body art canvases the city has seen in years.

“Look I’m not too worried about the money, we survived when Willie Cauley Stein left, there will always be enough drunk college freshman to keep us in business,” Bleed Blue Tattoo artist Karl Anthony Towns Vaughn Dee said. “What I’m worried about is, there’s not too many people out there that can pull off a huge Native American skull on their arm. I can’t put a crying skull on most people, they just can’t pull it off like Derek could man.”

While the tattoo artists will miss Derek, there is still hope for them. “Look, I love Derek and no one can replace him. I loved seeing him walk in because I knew I was going to get a break from all of these butterflies and barbed wire tattoos but I feel good about the future. No one can fill Derek’s shoes, but there is a replacement out there. I don’t want to say his name because he’s a college kid you know, but his place as Derek’s replacement will be earned not given.”

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


Five Leftovers from Day Two at the McDonald’s All-American Games

The Vanderbilt, Green, Richards trio dominated today's practice.

The Vanderbilt, Green, Richards trio dominated today’s practice.

The trip to Chicago has been fantastic so far, and I have plenty of great stories to share about next year’s Wildcats, but they have to wait another day.  It turns out, if you stay awake for 20 straight hours, you’ll inevitably hit a wall.  That’s what exactly what happened this afternoon.

Fear not.  Countless pieces of wonderful content are coming your way before the game tips-off at the United Center tomorrow night at 7:00 ET on ESPN.  Until then, here’s the stuff that didn’t make the cut for what’s to come that’s still worth your while.

Washington Knows the Rivalry Well

Power forward P.J. Washington started his life in Louisville.  He wasn’t talking trash to Cardinals in the crib, but he knows what to expect when the Cards come to Rupp Arena next year.

“I don’t really like the Cards and I feel like they don’t really like us.  It’s a great rivalry and I’m ready to win next year,” Washington said at media day.  “It’s going to be tough, but we’re going to get it though.  Can’t wait.”

It’s not as much trash-talking as last year’s L’s Down party, but it’s enough to quench the thirst for UofL hate.

Jarred Vanderbilt is the Class Clown

Known as Vando, all three of his future teammates think he’s the funniest of the group.  The small forward always plays with a smile, but his sarcastic sense of humor is often delivered with deadpan.  An example from yesterday, I asked him how guarding Washington in practice helps make his game better:

“He can’t make my game that much better.  If we’re being honest.”  Washington’s laugh gave away the joke, but for a second I was dumbfounded.  Today I put him on the spot and asked if he had a joke to share.  He took a raincheck.

Vanderbilt Won the Day

R.I.P. Vando killed the club.  At one point in practice I quit counting his makes and started looking for misses.  Going toe-to-toe with Kevin Knox, the two traded buckets until Vanderbilt’s defense made the difference.  When people are described as having a “nose for the ball,” this is what they’re talking about: Vanderbilt knocks a ball loose, blocks a shot, then gets the rebound.

His length makes his step-back unguardable (remember, Knox is 6’8″ and can’t touch it).

 Commits Earned All-USA Honors

Three future Cats are among the Top 15 players in the country according to USA Today.  Not a ranking system or exclusive to seniors, this award is purely based on their performance from this past season.  P.J. Washington earned second team honors while Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander were named to the third team.

Washington almost averaged a triple-double with 20.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game, Green averaged 20.8 points and 8.0 assists per game and SGA posted 18.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

Don’t Forget About the Cal’s USA Basketball Job

John Calipari is dipping his toe in USA Basketball this summer when he coaches the U19 team in Egypt.  P.J. Washington is anxious for an early opportunity to play for his new coach.

“Can’t wait.  It’d be great for me,” Washington said.  “I feel like I’m coming in next year knowing everything, knowing how he coaches, and then applying it to the game.”

Quade Green believes it will be a big advantage, but he’s not counting his chickens before they hatch.  “Hopefully I make it.”  I like Green’s chances.  Green, Washington and Vanderbilt all have Team USA experience and I bet Coach Cal is hoping to share some of that experience with his new players.


Calipari meeting tonight with 2018 five-star phenom Zion Williamson

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You want some recruiting news? You got it.

Coach Cal is meeting with 2018 five-star sensation Zion Williamson out of Spartanburg, SC tonight according to recruiting guru Evan Daniels.

Williamson was named to the All-USA first team today, yet another outstanding feat for one of the most sought-after recruits in all of high school basketball.

Kentucky has yet to offer the 6’7 forward, but many believe that could change tonight.

Watch him dominate the competition with some of these ridiculous dunks this year:


******UPDATE*******

Reports say Williamson was offered a scholarship by Coach Cal and Joel Justus tonight on their visit.

Come on down, big fella.


Meet Derek Willis’ special ring bearer on tonight’s Hey Kentucky

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Derek and Keely have already found their ring bearer and Hey Kentucky introduced him to its audience on tonight’s show.

Watch as Matt and Nancy Cox talk about 10-year-old Zack Pickard, a special boy who has a special place in the hearts of Willis and his fiancee.

See tonight’s entire episode of Hey Kentucky below:

(more…)


Who stays and who goes?

UCLA-3997

We’ve officially reached the time of year fans dread. The players are in the process of going home and talking about their upcoming NBA decisions with their families, and the majority of the time, the end result sucks. Saying goodbye to our favorite Wildcats is never fun, but that’s what comes with bringing in top talent year in and year out.

Let’s break down the upcoming decisions of each Wildcat:

De’Aaron Fox

After a dominant regular season, it was just about guaranteed Fox would head to the NBA following his freshman year at Kentucky. After lighting up future top-3 selection Lonzo Ball in the Sweet 16, it would be the shock of a lifetime to see the fastest player in college basketball return next year. He has all of the tools NBA scouts drool over, showing off unbelievable court vision, elite speed, and beating even the best guards in America off the dribble to finish uncontested at the rim.

The one flaw in his game, shooting, even saw a dramatic improvement at year’s end. He was comfortable taking shots from behind the arc, and his pull-up jumper at the elbow was consistent. His shot absolutely kept defenders honest by tournament time.

I didn’t believe the John Wall comparisons going into the year, but he proved throughout his time at Kentucky he was deserving of such high expectations. He flourished in the spotlight, and showed off everything you can ask out of a college basketball player and NBA prospect.

Prediction: NBA Draft (Top 5)

Malik Monk

Similar to Fox, Monk impressed scouts from the minute he got on campus, and that infatuation never wavered. Monk is considered one of the best shooters in the draft, combined with top-level athleticism and dunking ability. On any given night, the freshman out of Lepanto, AR has the ability to drop 20+ points on you, and NBA teams were sold on that alone.

Early criticism of his game centered around his lack of effort on defense, rebounding, and poor shot selection. When Monk struggled to get shots to fall late in the year, he focused on improving on his weaknesses and converting them to strengths. His passing improved, his defensive intensity spiked, and his shot selection was less errant. We began to see the complete player Monk is capable of becoming, and nearly every draft board out there penciled him in as a top-five lock accordingly.

Without a doubt, he’s gone.

Prediction: NBA Draft (Top 5)

Bam Adebayo

Adebayo’s situation is much different than the other two “locks” on the team. To start the year, he would throw down some ferocious dunks and send an opponent’s shot or two into the stands, but he struggled to rebound and thrive on offense. In February, Bam looked like a man amongst boys, and many thought a jump into the lottery was inevitable. He was a walking double-double, as his efforts on the glass increased, and the offense moved through him in the paint.

In March, he still showed spurts of greatness, but never seemed to find consistency at the basket. Even in the Elite Eight game against UNC, Bam’s hands were unreliable and he fumbled the ball in the paint more often than not. He still gets blocked by weaker opponents at the rim, and fails to finish on some of the gimmes he is absolutely capable of converting.

He hasn’t developed much of an offensive game other than alley-oops, open dunks, and one-step jump hooks.

He’ll enter the draft, but it’ll be entirely centered around potential and his NBA-ready body.

Prediction: NBA Draft (Late 1st round)

Isaiah Briscoe

It’s not a secret Isaiah Briscoe wanted to leave last year, but his atrocious shooting percentage forced him to return. He has always been able to finish around the rim, find the open man, and flourish in the ball handling department, but he struggled to get pretty much anything other than layups to fall.

This year, his shooting behind the arc and from the line improved, he was a veteran leader for the freshman, and came up with clutch plays when no one else on the team did.

On the flip side, he turned the ball over far too often for a guard, and his shot still is nowhere near consistent. His three-point percentage went from 14% to about 29% this year, and his free throw percentage went from 47% to about 66%. Again, the numbers jumped, but not enough for scouts to drool over.

There were reports several teams had promised to select him in the second round last year, but he returned to try to inch his way into the first round. Unless he dominates in workouts, I don’t see a first round selection in his future, but he’ll take the opportunity to get picked up in the second round and earn a roster spot.

Prediction: NBA Draft (2nd Round)

Wenyen Gabriel

After showing some early success against weaker opponents, many scouts thought Gabriel would be yet another one-and-done for Coach Cal. Against talented bigs, however, his lack of strength became a glaring weakness that wouldn’t go away anytime soon.

When SEC play heated up, as did his three-point jumper, and the idea of Gabriel becoming a stretch four in the NBA sparked some more interest. When he wasn’t able to contribute in the post, he was able to knock down open shots.

To end the year, however, Kentucky was getting just about nothing from Gabriel, and he rarely got off the bench as a result. In the Round of 32 against Lynn Marshall and the Wichita State Shockers, fans groaned as each of his jumpers clanked off the rim (or hit nothing but air). He has converted just 16% of his field goal attempts since UK’s matchup against Alabama on Feb. 11.

The potential is there, and a sophomore season at UK would be massive for both his development and the Wildcats’ on-court success. Right now, however, he’s nowhere near ready to declare for the draft, and would be making a huge mistake by doing so.

Prediction: Stays at Kentucky

Isaac Humphries

The easy choice for Humphries would be to return to Kentucky, but after some of his recent comments about his discontent, that might be up in the air.

After preseason hype was off the charts, Humphries’ production on both ends of the court was extremely inconsistent this season. His touch around the basket wasn’t what it was last season, and he wasn’t as successful on the boards as many expected him to be. He didn’t have a bad year by any stretch, but he admittedly was not impressed with his growth during his sophomore campaign.

When asked by the media a few weeks back, Humprhies said his basketball future at Kentucky was up in the air, and he would evaluate his options this offseason.

When the spotlight hit during the tournament, however, he dominated. If it weren’t for you know what, we’d be talking about Humphries’ MVP performance against UNC, where he managed to drop a career-high 12 points and dominated on the glass. Hopefully he sees that game as a building block for next season as a Wildcat.

Prediction: Stays at Kentucky

Sacha Killeya-Jones

He has been adamant on social media that he will be returning next year at Kentucky, but after sitting out 23 games on the year and not logging a single minute since January 21, it makes you wonder.

Say what you want about rotations or being lost on the court, but Brad Calipari logged more minutes than a former five-star recruit since January.

As much as I like Sacha and believe he has the ability to be a big player for UK in the future, I’m not sold he’s returning.

Prediction: Transfers from Kentucky

What do you all think?

@JackPilgrimKSR