Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
October 19th, 2017

Hamidou Diallo: Calipari has “fallen in love” with the zone

Mark Zerof | USA Today

John Calipari famously hates the zone defense, but according to star guard Hamidou Diallo, he’s fallen in love with it after watching his team in practice.

“We’re definitely playing zone this year,” Diallo said. “Definitely. The length is ridiculous and we’ve been playing it great in practice and he’s just fallen in love with it.”

How can Hami tell?

“Every time we start playing in it and he just sees the length when we open our hands up and we just start covering different spots on the court so easily and he just starts smiling.”

Judging by the way Calipari casually dropped in a reference to that zone during his remarks, I’d say Hami is right.

“By the way, I put in a zone and it was 6-7, 6-6, 6-10, 6-9, 6-10 and it was so big,” Calipari bragged. “But we won’t play zone.”

Right.


KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day

The 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.

#10 lewispoore

A great picture of our MVP.

#9 banion

He’s the best.

#8 Daniel Slone

It took long enough.

#7 Terry Jordon

Bye!

#6 James Murray

Zombie Rick coming in hot.

#5 Patrick Shea

That seems about right.

#4 KY Mudder

*All of us before this morning’s show*

#3 KentuckyDude

That’s how you decorate a baseball bat!

#2 Freezing Cold Takes

Aw, poor thing.

#1 Brandon Harris

Huge congrats to the Harris family!


@MaggieDavisKSR


Shai Alexander building case to start at point guard

Photo by UK Athletics

No player has garnered more positive buzz in the preseason than Shai Alexander. The 6-6 combo guard was recruited to play the two at Kentucky alongside Quade Green, but he’s been so good in practice as of late that’s he’s making a case to start at point.

“Oh yeah,” Cal said. “He could start [at point guard]. Quade’s doing fine, too, but they’re competing for [the starting job]. I would say, they’re both going to play.”

Part of the reason Shai stands out is his seven-foot wingspan, second only to Hamidou Diallo among guards in the Calipari era. Calipari says that wingspan is a game-changer on defense.

“With his wingspan and all that stuff, he’s really disruptive. Really disruptive.”

Wenyen Gabriel agrees.

“I’ve said it before. Shai, I really thought he surprised me over the summer and he just kept it rolling ever since. He’s really into this. His focus is right. He’s got the length, all you need. Cal tells him every practice, ‘You have a 7-foot wingspan.’ He’s a talented player and he can shoot the ball. He’s learning the game like the rest of us. We’re still putting the pieces together but I think Shai’s going to be a really good player. Whether he starts or not, he’s going to have a big role on this team.”

Like Calipari, Gabriel said Shai’s wingspan can be a catalyst for the Cats on defense.

“It’s an advantage, definitely, for the rest of us. He’s bothering the point guard, which makes it really hard for the other team to get into it. Our defense really starts with the point guard in that aspect. We all feed off of that.”

Hamidou Diallo agreed that Alexander’s competitiveness has stood out in practice.

“Shai can definitely play point guard,” Diallo said. “He’s a great player. He can play multiple positions, one or two. He’s been bringing it everyday. He’s very competitive. He and Quade have been battling it out everyday. Two great point guards going after each other. Both of them, I feel like, want to see each other play and they’re fighting for minutes.”

Solution: Quade plays point on offense, Shai guards point on defense.

For fun, check out a chart of the wingspans of the guards of the Calipari Era below:

Player Height (with shoes) Wingspan
Hamidou Diallo 6’5.5” 7’0.25”
Shai Alexander 6’6″ 7’
James Young 6’6.75″ 7’
DeAndre Liggins 6’6.25” 6’11”
Archie Goodwin 6’5.25” 6’9.5”
John Wall 6’4” 6’9.25”
Mychal Mulder 6’4.5” 6’8”
Isaiah Briscoe 6’2.5” 6’8”
Aaron Harrison 6’6.25” 6’8”
Andrew Harrison 6’6” 6’8.25”
EJ Floreal 6’4” 6’7.5”
Eric Bledsoe 6’1.5” 6’7.5”
Marquis Teague 6’2” 6’7.25”
Doron Lamb 6’4.75” 6’6.75”
Brandon Knight 6’3.25” 6’6.75”
Jamal Murray 6’4.25” 6’6.5”
Devin Booker 6’6.25” 6’6.25”
Dominique Hawkins 6’0.25” 6’5.5”
De’Aaron Fox 6’3.25” 6’4.5”
Malik Monk 6’3” 6’3.5”
Quade Green 6’ 6’2.5”
Tyler Ulis 5’9” 6’1.25”

10 Leftovers from SEC Basketball Media Day

© Christopher Hanewinckel | USATSI

Yesterday was “SEC Basketball Tipoff,” aka SEC Basketball Media Day, here in Nashville, and now that I’ve churned through the majority of the Kentucky content, I’m ready to reflect on the event as a whole. Simply put, it was a hot mess.

1. The setup was horrible

I had planned on bringing you guys a rundown of each team in the league; however, once I walked in the tiny meeting room they had us in, it became clear that wasn’t going to happen. The room was split in half, with one side set up as a “work room” and the other as the main media area, with small high top tables stationed around the perimeter. Throughout the day, coaches and players came through the room at staggered times, meaning at least two or three people were talking at once, leading to crowding around the small tables and mass chaos on the open floor. TV cameras, cords, tripods, microphones, and large, grumpy reporters were just a few of the obstacles you had to face while switching from one interview to another, and unless you were the height or an actual basketball player or could squeeze through gaps like Benny Snell, there was no getting close to anyone worth talking to.

Media gonna whine, I know, but being smushed up next to a total stranger with a photographer’s hot, smelly breath in your ear is not an ideal way to do anything (legal, at least). When you compare the setup to the palatial spread at SEC Football Media Days in Hoover, it is obvious that, to the league, basketball does not “just mean more.”

2. There was a literal stampede when Calipari walked in

As the day went on, it became painfully obvious how chaotic it would be once Calipari walked in. With no indication from the staff on where Calipari would be placed, reporters and photographers staked their claim around one of the open tables in hopes it would encourage officials to bring him to us. NOPE. At the last minute, they decided to put him across the room, leading to a literal stampede. TV cameras came crashing down as reporters scurried to get a front row spot. Like the nice dufus I am, I stopped to help a camera guy get his tripod and microphone off the floor, which meant I couldn’t even see Cal most of the time he spoke. As you can see in the picture at the top of the post, I ended up watching most of it on John Clay’s iPad (thanks, John!).

That close proximity made it easy for Calipari to reach out and jokingly pat down a few reporters for a wire, much to their enjoyment:

Enough complaining. Some good things…

3. There was free sparkling water!

And, like at any SEC event, all the Sunkist and Dr. Pepper you could dream of. I hear the lunch was also excellent (I’m still “eating clean,” which meant an unwich from Jimmy John’s down the block).

4. Andy Kennedy is a treasure

The only thing that makes this event worth it? Andy Kennedy. The longest tenured coach in the SEC always entertains, and yesterday, cracked several jokes about how dumb Media Day was (TRUTH!), how Kentucky’s always good, and Jerry Tipton. The best was when he was asked about Ole Miss’ beautiful new arena, the Pavilion, which replaced the old, dark “Tad Pad.”

“It is well lit. The AC works. I kind of like the darkness at times. I’m better in the dark. Bada Bing!”

LOL. Never change, Andy.

5. Pat Bradley’s accent fascinates me

The former Arkansas Razorbacks guard is now an analyst for the SEC Network, and, as we discussed a little last season, has the most bizarre accent. He was born in Massachusetts and lives in Little Rock now, so he’s got this weird Yankee twang that he turns on and off while on camera. He occupied an entire corner of the tiny room we were in, so we got to hear lots of his questions, which ranged from challenging Cuonzo Martin to one-on-one in Birkenstocks to how many times Ben Howland has seen Godfather and Godfather Part II (80 times). Unfortunately, this video doesn’t do it justice:

The best part when Bradley asked 21-year-old Riley LaChance how often he shaves. If you’ve forgotten, this is what Riley LaChance looks like:

Speaking of accents…

6. Admiral Schofield’s British accent needs work

The Tennessee big man was born in London, England (at the same hospital where Princess Diana gave birth to Princes William and Harry, in fact), but his British accent could use some work:

Kudos to him for being a good sport. He was the funniest kid we talked to all day.

7. Michael Porter, Jr. is a vegetarian

The first player I got to meet was the preseason pick for SEC Player of the Year, Mizzou’s Michael Porter Jr. Considering all the hype around him, I expected him to be a little cocky, but he couldn’t have been nicer. The most interesting thing about him? He’s a vegetarian and always has been, and is now in the process of becoming a vegan. Thanks to some help from a chef from England, Porter and his family — including younger brother Jontay, who reclassified to join Michael at Mizzou — are switching to a raw vegan diet in hopes it will help their on-court performance.

Whenever you hate on Porter this season, remember that, unlike other college kids, there are no late night Taco Bell runs for him. Or real cheese. Have you had fake cheese? For your sake, I hope not.

8. Bruce Pearl couldn’t comment on the FBI investigation

Former Auburn assistant Chuck Person faces six federal charges in the FBI’s investigation into bribery in college basketball. Not surprisingly, Bruce Pearl was asked about it, but couldn’t offer much comment.

“Under normal circumstances, if we weren’t a part of this ongoing investigation, you’d get a lot of comments from me about it,” Pearl said. “But I think because we’ve got something that’s ongoing right now, I just can’t offer my thoughts or opinions, and I hope you understand that.”

9. Everyone else did though

Kyle Tucker made it his mission to ask every coach if their program has been contacted by the FBI, and some took kinder to the question than others. The most annoyed? Frank Martin, who practically went after Kyle.

“Who are you? From? I don’t know if you followed what I said before: We are not under investigation, so since we’re not under investigation, we have no conversations with the FBI. I don’t want to be lumped into something that we have nothing to do with. Lamont worked for me. Lamont is under investigation. Lamont has not worked for me for over a year. We are not under investigation. So I don’t — I did all this; I’m not going to keep talking about the FBI when we have nothing to do with that.”

Yikes. Check out Kyle’s rundown of the other coaches’ responses by clicking here.

10. Wenyen Gabriel hasn’t been to Keeneland

I shared the most ridiculous observation for last. As Kentucky’s session wrapped up, a reporter who covers another team asked Wenyen Gabriel how he liked Lexington, specifically Keeneland. To our astonishment, Gabriel said he’s never been.

“I haven’t gone. Everyone tries to get me to go, but I just feel like I’m going to get bombarded right now. I’m going to wait until I’m not an amateur anymore so I can sit up in a box and do it right.”

Fair enough.


Matt interviews Reggie Thomas on “Hey Kentucky!”

Tonight on “Hey Kentucky!”, Matt interviewed 6th District Congressional candidate Reggie Thomas. Learn more about why Thomas is running and his platform in the interview below:

For the full episode, which includes another visit from Ricky Jones, head on over to HeyKentucky.com.


Free Money with Matt and Drew: Episode 8

Matt Jones and Drew Franklin return to make picks for this weekend’s slate of college football games, but more importantly, KSR’s dynamic duo dishes on what’s gone down at the University of Louisville this week.  Highlights:

— Is Drew enemy #1 in Starkville?

— Matt reluctantly admits that he likes the new UofL assistants.

— What does Phil Steele brag about this week?

— How Drew feels about Tennessee football

— Famous alumni from Miami University in Ohio.  

— Matt offers an exciting giveaway for all loyal Free Money listeners.  

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


The Depth Chart Podcast: Mississippi State

After a brief break for the Bye Week, Freddie Maggard returns for another exciting episode of The Depth Chart Podcast to preview Kentucky’s road trip to Starkville.  On top of Freddie’s knowledge, the podcast got a little perspective from a superfan who knows the Bulldogs better than anyone.  Highlights:

—  The Cats and the Bulldogs are a lot closer than the Vegas line appears.

—  Freddie found few tendencies, except on critical third downs.

—  Tips for those traveling to Starkville (DON’T FORGET EARPLUGS!).

— Why this game looks a lot like the 2016 UofL game.

—  A Game of Thrones reference all nerds will enjoy.

Editor’s Note: Sorry about the interview quality. For unknown reasons it was on the fritz this week and adds a little too much pop.  Please persevere through it; I promise it’s worth it. 

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


Where to Eat, Drink and Tailgate in Starkville

There’s not a whole lot happening in Starkville, Mississippi but the town will be buzzing for homecoming this weekend.  The last time I went to Starkville, I could only find fast food joints.  Now, I have some help from KSR fan and MSU grad school student Ethan Stewart to make sure your trip to Stark Vegas isn’t as miserable as my last adventure.

Food

A Taste of Kentucky — Start your day the right way at Aunt Marti’s Bakery.  Ran by a Fleming County native and less than a mile from campus, they are bringing out their best for the Big Blue Nation.

The Best Burger —  When you want a burger and you’re attending a game at Mississippi State, it only makes sense to try the Bulldog Burger.  If you’re really feeling froggy, throw some pulled pork on top with the Hogwild burger.

“Hey, I’ve been there before.” —  The KSR headquarters in Hattiesburg was at Mugshots.  The sports bar also has a home in Starkville.  If you missed it at Southern Miss, it’s something you can’t pass up at Miss. State.

A Taste of the Gulf — Starkville isn’t on the Gulf Coast.  To make it feel like you’re not in the middle of nowhere, try a Po’Boy at Oby’s.

A Name Perfect for BBQ — The Little Dooey sounds like a great place for BBQ.  If that doesn’t convince you, this logo should.

If that’s not enough to convince you, they’ve served Alabama, Garth Brooks, Kirk Herbstreit, Charlie Daniels and John Micheal Montgomery.

Sit Down and Enjoy — If you’re in the mood for a big, delicious sit-down meal after a Kentucky victory, Restaurant Tyler has the Southern fixens to cap off a wonderful win.

Applebee’s —  I hear they’ve got a two for $20 deal that’s to die for.

Brunch It —  The Veranda will fuel you for your drive back to the Bluegrass with a bountiful brunch that includes my personal favorite, chicken and waffles.

Tailgate Time

For those who do not want to prepare their own tailgate, the UK Alumni Association has you covered. They’ll be setup on the old intramural fields on Stone Boulevard just south of Bully Boulevard from 12:30-2:30 CDT.  The pregame buffet is just $20, $15 for Alumni Association members and $10 for students.  You can register ahead of time here.

For a little bit rowdier crowd, I’ve received a few messages from Cats who will set up shop down the road in the Mississippi Horse Park RV Lot.  If you don’t head there, I’ll be honest, the parking situation is spread out all across campus.  To help you find your way around, check out the parking map below (click to enlarge).

Fine Establishments

Does Starkville have a night life?  Kinda, sorta, in a way.

You won’t find anything like what Lexington has to offer, but a good place to start is the Cotton District.  Here you’ll find a handful of places to enjoy a cocktail or two, including a place that may feel familiar, the STAGerIN Sports Grill.

Outside of the Cotton District, The Guest Room and Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern should tickle your fancy.  The Dark Horse Tavern also has pretty good pizza to help soak in all of the alcohol you’ve consumed throughout your college football Saturday.


Mark Stoops’ Team is Healthy Ahead of Trip to Starkville

In his final meeting with the media prior to Kentucky’s road trip to Starkville, Mark Stoops did not have any significant injury setbacks to report.

Charles Walker will be back for the Mississippi State game, as will All-SEC linebacker Jordan Jones.  Even if Jones doesn’t have a dozen tackles in his return, his infectious energy will benefit the Kentucky defense.

“I was out at practice, I guess yesterday and I was standing behind Darius [West].  Jordan was Jordan, flying around, and Darius just turned around and said, ‘He’s back!'”

Now that Jones is back, Boogie Watson is back to playing outside linebacker.  The timing is perfect for Watson’s return to the outside.  Stoops revealed Jordan Bonner recently suffered an injury that will force him to miss a significant amount of time.  Now Watson will be Josh Allen’s backup at Sam linebacker.

Stoops also shared his thoughts on playing vs. tempo, how Danny Clark has mimicked Nick Fitzgerald in practice and more.

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Calipari to pay spring tuition for two students at Blue-White game

As is tradition, John Calipari will pay the 2018 spring semester in-state tuition for two lucky Kentucky students who attend Friday’s Blue-White Game at Rupp Arena.

To be eligible, UK students will need to check into the Blue-White Game via the BBN Rewards app with a fully completed profile, including their student ID number. The winners will then be randomly selected and announced at the completion of the game. The winners must be present to win.

In the event of an out-of-state or graduate/professional student winner, the spring semester in-state undergraduate tuition amount will be applied.

Good luck, Wildcats.


Hamidou Diallo and Wenyen Gabriel on how to deal with screaming Calipari

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about John Calipari in the past eight years, it’s that he loves to scream. Calipari is famous for screeching and stomping at his players from the sidelines, which can take a toll on a freshman’s psyche. What advice are Wenyen Gabriel and Hamidou Diallo — “veterans” on this squad — giving to their younger counterparts on how to deal with screaming Cal?

“When he’s screaming, he’s not mad; he’s just trying to get a point across,” Diallo said. “I don’t think any of these guys have seen Coach mad yet. That’s a good thing, definitely. Nobody wants to see that side of him.”

Diallo may only have a semester of experience under his belt, but he’s seen “that side” of Calipari before.

“A couple times last year,” Diallo said. “I was here at the end when it really counted, so any little thing could turn that switch on.”

Gabriel’s message to his younger teammates: don’t take it personally.

“We always gotta keep it as, it’s never personal with Cal. We all know he’s a businessman, but it’s never personal. That’s something you have to keep in your mind. You’ve got to try to take the message about what he’s trying to say there. If he yells at you, that doesn’t mean he’s mad at you. That’s one of the things that you’ve got to really let them know.”

With his youngest team ever, Calipari’s screaming a lot in practice these days, but Diallo is doing his best to make sure the younger guys don’t crumble.

“Definitely just staring at the guys when Coach is talking and the little things,” Diallo said of ways he’s trying to help the freshmen out. “Always trying to boost their confidence because Cal stays on top of guys and he wants to see who is going to let go of the rope. At the end of practice when it gets tough, that’s when it really counts.”

Has anyone let go of the rope yet?

“No. Absolutely not.”


Former Florida QB asked a 15-year-old to touch his penis, allegedly

Before there was Tim Tebow, there was Chris Leak, who led the Florida Gators to the 2006 BCS National Championship in Tebow’s freshman year.

Leak’s first career start for Florida came against Kentucky in his freshman year in 2003, and he went on to set the SEC passing record for a freshman that season. His career ended with MVP honors in that 2006 title game, a 41-14 victory over Ohio State.

Times have since changed for Leak as he has moved on from the game of football and into teaching, although the teaching career is currently on hold. Leak surrendered his teaching license amid allegations that he asked a 15-year-old student to touch his penis. The alleged incident occurred while he was receiving a massage from the student, per the Palm Beach Post’s story.

Edgewater High School football coach and Art Recovery teacher Chris Leak, who played quarterback at the University of Florida just before Tim Tebow, voluntarily surrendered his Florida Educator’s Certificate amid allegations that, on Sept. 5, 2015, he received a massage from a 15-year-old female student and asked the student to touch his penis, according to an order filed by the Florida Education Practices Commission on Tuesday.

Leak allegedly was wearing only a towel when he received the massage.

A police report, obtained by WFTV, alleges that the teenage victim told the school’s resource officer she left the athletic trainer’s office where the interaction with Leak occurred. She also claimed that Leak later drove her home, took her to get food and gave her friend, who she had told about the incident, $100.

Charges were eventually dropped by the student and her guardians, but it’ll be tough for Leak to land another teaching gig after the allegations.

Fun fact: Leak’s last coaching job was at Florida, where he took over the wide receivers position when Joker Phillips resigned.


Kentucky ranked fourth in Preseason Coaches Poll

With college basketball right around the corner, USA Today released its preseason coaches poll on Thursday and your University of Kentucky Wildcats are one of the top teams in the nation.

The Cats came in at No. 4 in the rankings, trailing only No. 1 Duke, Michigan State and Kansas. UK received zero first place votes.

RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS 1ST PLACE VOTES PREV CHANGE HI/LOW
1 Duke 28-9 774 20 NR 0
2 Michigan St 20-15 747 9 NR 0
3 Kansas 31-5 723 0 NR 0
4 Kentucky 32-6 678 0 NR 0
5 Arizona 32-5 654 2 NR 0
6 Villanova 32-4 623 0 NR 0
7 Florida 27-9 549 1 NR 0
8 Wichita St. 31-5 543 0 NR 0
9 North Carolina 33-7 515 0 NR 0
10 West Virginia 28-9 458 0 NR 0
11 USC 26-10 396 0 NR 0
12 Miami-Florida 21-12 383 0 NR 0
13 Cincinnati 30-6 349 0 NR 0
14 Notre Dame 26-10 305 0 NR 0
15 Minnesota 24-10 303 0 NR 0
16 Louisville 25-9 295 0 NR 0
17 Xavier 24-14 284 0 NR 0
18 UCLA 31-5 275 0 NR 0
19 Gonzaga 37-2 242 0 NR 0
20 Northwestern 24-12 208 0 NR 0
21 Purdue 27-8 167 0 NR 0
22 St. Mary’s 29-5 152 0 NR 0
23 Seton Hall 21-12 139 0 NR 0
24 Baylor 27-8 107 0 NR 0
25 Alabama 19-15 82 0 NR 0

Louisville to add former Duke Blue Devil to coaching staff

David Padgett has found another assistant to join his staff at Louisville and it’s a former Duke Blue Devil.

According to several reports on the internet, Greg Paulus will soon become the second assistant beneath Padgett, along with Trent Johnson. The addition of Paulus will be announced in a press conference later this afternoon.

Paulus was most recently an assistant at Ohio State, up until Thad Matta’s firing this past summer. He also spent time as a quarterback at Syracuse after his basketball playing career at Duke ended in 2009.


Pssst… Here’s the pre-sale code for the UK-Morehead State exhibition

You didn’t get this from me, but the two pre-sale codes for Kentucky’s exhibition game against Morehead State are UKCARES and RELIEF. So head over to Ticketmaster and use one of those two to go ahead and purchase your tickets before they go on sale to the public tomorrow. Here’s the link: Click me!

Remember, you didn’t get these codes on Kentucky-Sports-Radio-dot-com. If we’re going to play Robin Hood and steal from the rich, we need you to keep this between us. Top secret stuff here or we’ll never do it again. Snitches get stitches.

Now go get ’em.