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May 29th, 2016

Trae Young Wants It All

(Matt Scott/247 Sports)

(Matt Scott/247 Sports)

Jason Jordan from USA Today has a great article out today about Kentucky target Trae Young, who currently sits as the 20th best prospect in the nation.

Headed into his senior year, Young is one of the most dominant players in the country. For example, at the last session of EYBL, he averaged 25.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and 1.3 steals and recorded the first triple-double of the EYBL season. But he’s not done yet.

“I want to be the no. 1 point guard in the country. I’m not content with just being in the top 20; that’s not good enough for me.” 

Now, he’s going for Trevon Duval, the #1 PG in the country and the fifth best player in the country’s spot. “I put in the work to get it so I’m going after it. I always want more […] I’ll never be satisfied. I’m always working for something, that’s all I know.” 

In the meantime, Young will cut his list to five schools in the next month or two, and expect Kentucky to be in the mix, as he told ZagsBlog yesterday:

“They’ve come down to my school twice already this year. I’m definitely going to take an official visit there. As for playing for Coach Cal, He’s had a lot of very good point guards, [Eric] Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, the list goes on and on. He says he sees me coming in and being able to start right away, and be the lead guard from Day 1. I haven’t looked at all of the official visits I’m going to take, but Kentucky will definitely be one.”

I think we are really going to like this kid, BBN.

Author’s Note: As graduate school looms before me, I’m sad to announce that this will be my last post on KSR for the foreseeable future. There are so many wonderful people I’ve met here that have left an impact on my life. I would like to extend a huge thank you to Matt, for the endless opportunities he has presented me with these last four years and taking a chance on a 17-year-old college freshman from Bell County. Tyler and Drew, thanks for all the encouragement and being great examples. Our weekend editor Maria is one of the kindest people I have met, she’s a literal ray of sunshine, thanks for always pointing me to quality content and all your encouragement. I’d also like to give a shout-out to the best partner in crime a girl could ask for, Haley Simpson, who through this site and the UK Hoops Beat, has become a friend I will keep for a lifetime. Finally, to you, the readers. Thanks for being just as big a UK fan as I am and giving me a place to share my voice.

There’s not enough words to thank all of you enough.

As Always, Go Cats.



There’s Nothing Better Than Soldiers Coming Home…

(H/T UK Athletics)

(H/T UK Athletics)

One of my favorite things to do on holidays like Memorial Day is to go on the Welcome Home Blog and watch videos of soldiers coming home and surprising their loved ones. While it’s nice to be able to grill out, watch some TV, spend time at the lake, etc. during the long weekend, I also think it’s important to think about what this holiday is really about: those who made it possible for us to live freely by serving their country.

There aren’t enough thank you’s in the world for the freedom we enjoy because of them.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! God Bless America and our troops.

CBS Sports Lists the Issues Facing the SEC This Offseason


There’s only 89 days until college football season kicks off and with that in mind, the SEC will convene in Destin for their annual spring meeting this week. Apparently, they will have a long of things to discuss for the upcoming season. CBS Sports’ Jon Solomon took the initiative to list some of the most pressing matters that will have to be put on the table in Destin this week. In the article, Solomon lists eight things that the conference will need to address, but what was most interesting to me was his take on the state of conference’s divisional imbalance in football:

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn made some waves in April when he told ESPN’s Chris Low he thinks “there will be a discussion” about the Tigers changing divisions to the SEC East. The SEC quickly shot that down and said there has been no discussion of divisional realignment. Two years ago, SEC schedules were set through 2025.

But when asked several times last week, Sankey wouldn’t say if there are discussions of realigning divisions. The West has seven straight SEC championships and has won 70 percent of games against the East since 2009.

Kentucky’s Mark Stoops and Tennessee’s Butch Jones enter their fourth seasons as the longest-tenured SEC East coaches. Advanced stats by Bill Connelly found the SEC East in 2015 was by far the worst division among the Power Five conferences. The SEC East was rated closer to both divisions in the American Athletic Conference and Mid-American Conference than it was to the SEC West.

“It is cyclical,” Sankey said. “We’ve had great competition in divisions for nearly 25 years and we expanded and we’ve kept divisions, and we look forward to our division champions to continue to meet in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.”

So does that mean there’s no talk of realigning divisions? “Just exactly what I said,” Sankey said.

Right, but there have been stories with people floating ideas. So is there actual talk within the SEC of possibly realigning divisions? “I see stories as well,” Sankey replied.

To read the whole article, head over here. It’s a pretty interesting read for a slow news Sunday.

The Reds Report: May 29


Well Reds fans, I have a big announcement as we begin this edition of The Reds Report.

The Reds won a game this week. I repeat, THE REDS WON A GAME THIS WEEK.

Sure it was only one win. Yes, they’re 1-12 over the past few weeks. But it’s nice to have something to feel good about for a change.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Cincinnati Reds this week.

1. Brandon Finnegan pitched well enough for the Reds to win on Monday night against the Dodgers. Unfortunately, Cincinnati’s offense was going up against the best pitcher on the planet. In 2016 Kershaw is 7-1 with a league leading 1.48 ERA. He’s also leading the league in strikeouts (95) and WHIP (0.658). If you haven’t taken the time to watch Kershaw this season, then enjoy this short recap of his performance against the Reds.

That curveball had me like…

2. A little off the field news broke for the Reds this week. Since 1974 Marty Brennaman has been the voice of Reds baseball on the radio. This week he announced he will return for next season. C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer broke down the decision, and Brennaman’s history with the club.

3. It’s hard to fault Reds fans for losing interest in the club during an eleven game losing streak that finally ended on Saturday. However, one thing they haven’t lost interest in is Joey Votto. In particular, Votto is in the midst of a heel turn that Paul Heyman would be proud of. Last week we detailed Votto’s struggles at the plate, and it appears he’s turned his frustration toward opposing fan bases. Two weeks ago he taunted Phillies fans. This week a Dodgers fan threw a paper airplane on the field. How did Votto respond? You can see right here. 

After this incident I got a few texts from people wondering if Votto had “snapped.” It’s more likely that Votto knew how this season was going to go. During a season in which Reds fans will endure a lot of disappointment, the all-star first baseman is doing his best to give fans something to smile about.

4. Adam Duvall continued his hot hitting this week. The Reds left fielder leads the National League in home runs for the month of May with nine. While there hasn’t been a lot to cheer for this season, Duvall has been a breath of fresh air.

5. Another bright spot for Cincinnati has been the offensive development of Zack Cozart. For several years baseball fans knew he was one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, although many wondered if he would ever be productive at the plate. Up to this point he’s actually been the Reds best offensive player. Zach Buchanan took some time to write about how this has happened.

Cozart’s slick fielding was on display against the Dodgers earlier in the week.

6. Cincinnati’s pitching has been a sore spot with fans this season. One of the few players to give the Reds hope when he takes the mound has been Dan Straily. The 27 year-old was picked up by the Reds on April 1, and most didn’t expect much out of him this season. As of now he’s 2-2 with a 2.98 ERA. On Wednesday he gave up three runs over seven innings and struck out 11 against the Dodgers. Unfortunately the Reds could only muster one run.

7. Somehow we’ve made it this far without mentioning the bullpen by name. Part of that is due to the fact that there were fewer opportunities for them to blow games this week. They still have the worst ERA in baseball (6.46), have given up the most runs (136), and surrendered the most homers (38). They didn’t blow a lot of games this week, but that doesn’t mean they were good.

8. The Reds finally got a win on Saturday against the Brewers but it almost ended in disaster. Cincinnati trailed 2-1 heading in to the fifth. Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon had been hit by a pitch an inning earlier, and Milwaukee pitcher Chase Anderson led off the inning. Simon plunked Anderson, was ejected, and put the bullpen in a bad spot. The Brewers expanded their lead to 6-1 off of Reds reliever A.J. Morris, but the Reds used a five run seventh to tie the game.

9. To get that win on Saturday Cincinnati needed a little help from replay. In the 9th inning the Reds had the bases loaded with one out. It looked like Adam Duvall hit into an inning-ending double play, but replay revealed that Brewers second baseman never touched the bag. The Reds scored on review, and won the game 7-6.

10. Yes, the Reds are 16-34. I can see you getting frustrated with the team. Why not let Brandon Phillips’ son warm your heart?

This week the Reds head to Colorado for a four game series starting on Monday. They close the week facing the Nationals at home. If you’ve never seen Bryce Harper in person, it would be a great weekend to get to Great American Ball Park.

You can follow the Reds, and Eric’s writing, all season long at Red Reporter.

Bam Adebayo named one of NBC Sports’ preseason All-Americans



One of Kentucky basketball’s newest Wildcats, Bam Adebayo, has been named a preseason All-American by NBC Sports’. As a member of the second team, he was joined by such players as Indiana’s Thomas Bryant, Melo Trimble from Maryland, and Dillon Brooks from Oregon.

If Bam can do what NBC Sports predicts he can do this season, averaging a double-double at the least, he could be Coach John Calipari’s eighth All-American since coaching at Kentucky. Adebayo, the 6’9″ power forward from North Carolina was the only player in the McDonald’s All-American game to post a double double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Ranked no. 9 overall in the 2016 class, Bam led his team to a 24-6 record his senior year and surpassed the 2,000 point mark. He will be essential to Kentucky’s front court this season and isn’t hiding the pride he feels in his decision to rock Kentucky blue.

Report: Marcus Lee to visit Cal on Tuesday, commitment expected


Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports is reporting that Marcus Lee is set to visit the University of California on Tuesday. Rothstein says a commitment is expected on the visit. Because Lee is not set to graduate from Kentucky until December, he will have to sit out a year as a transfer before playing for the Golden Bears in the 2017 season.

Cal was a finalist for Lee back in high school due to the proximity to his home. This time around Cal is coached by former Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin. Lee will get the chance to practice against forward Ivan Rabb who elected to bypass this June’s NBA Draft. The 6’11 Rabb is a former top 10 recruit so that will be excellent competition for Lee to face in practice. The Golden Bears’ other top freshman Jaylen Brown is expected to be a top 10 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.

We all know what a great kid Marcus is so we definitely wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life. ICYMI, Mrs. Tyler had a great piece on Marcus earlier this week on how he will be remembered. I suggest you check it out.

Sunday EYBL player updates


Trae Young exploded for 40 yesterday, and has made it known that he aspires to win an MVP award at one of the EYBL sessions. Kentucky has made him a priority from the very beginning, and he will definitely be taking a look at the Cats before he makes his college decision he said.

Today Young had just 12 points and 3 assists in a loss to the Bradley Beal coached St. Louis Eagles. It wasn’t his best performance, but he will get a chance to bounce back with another game tonight at 6:30. He is a consistent shooter with a feisty attitude on the court, and he is a prime recruiting target for Calipari in the 2017 class.

Early Sunday results from other UK recruits:

DeAndre Ayton: 18 points, 8 rebounds

Kevin Knox: 14 points, 14 rebounds

Gary Trent Jr.: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals

Lonnie Walker: 9 points, 2 rebounds

Hamidou Diallo: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists

John Petty Jr.: 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists

P.J. Washington: 14 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks

UK baseball playing catch-up after years of financial distress

UK baseball has been through years of financial hardship and they are finally starting to catch back up. Derek Terry, a great writer and friend of mine, exposed the issues UK baseball has faced with support from their university and fan base. Kentucky is still the only team in the SEC without an appearance in a super regional or a College World Series, and they desperately want to change the culture of success. Derek spoke with former head coach Keith Madison regarding the program’s troublesome financial past,

In order to keep up with the rest of the conference, Madison intended to break renovations down into three different plans. He first wanted to put in permanent seating so the field would have more of a stadium feel. This phase also included a new, bigger press box at the ballpark.

When Madison went to discuss the plans with then-athletic director Cliff Hagan, he was met with a surprising answer.

“I told him, ‘We’re getting absolutely smoked by our competition and we’re already the northernmost school in the league, our weather’s not as good as the southern schools. We didn’t have a full allotment of assistant coaches like the other schools to do.

“They basically said, you want it, go out and raise money,” Madison said. “You have to do it yourself.”

So he did. Madison and his staff were able to raise $250,000 for the installation of lights in 1987 and later raised $520,000 for renovations that refurbished the stadium in 1990.

He would later raise $2.5 million for the renovations in 2002. The stadium added 2,000 chairback seats, a new press box and television booth and two luxury skyboxes.

Madison did almost all of the fundraising to improve the stadium to its current state. He acknowledges that it was tough to receive little financial support from the athletic department.

“I’d like to tell you that it didn’t bother me but there were times it did bother me,” Madison said. “But I wanted so badly to help Kentucky get to the next level in baseball that I just put my nose to the grindstone and kept going. It’s one of those things where you can either get bitter or you can get better. I chose to try to get better.”

UK seems poised to get the baseball program turned around, and Mitch Barnhart realizes the facilities desperately need to be improved for that to happen. Kentucky has projected that construction for the baseball stadium should begin sometime in 2017, with a new stadium being built over by the softball and soccer complex. According to Mitch Barnhart it will be a state-of-the-art facility that stacks up with other stadiums in the SEC, and it will seat 2,500 people for a price range of $30-40 million dollars.

ESPN blames UK football struggles on 2014 class

Mark Stoops was able to haul in the best recruiting class in school history despite finishing just 2-10 the season before. The program was bought in and Stoops Troops seemed to be turning the Cats around for a major comeback in the SEC. Fast forward two years and two 5-7 season’s with no bowl trip later, Stoops seat is getting just a little warmer. Who is to blame for our struggles? ESPN writer Alex Scarborough thinks the 2014 recruiting class, albeit very young, has a big part to play in the continued lack of success last season.

Key storyline: Flashback to 2014. Kentucky has the best signing class in school history with six ESPN 300 signees and eight total four-stars. Ware’s the highest-rated player, Barker’s the face of the class and receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass and running back Stanley Williams have the look of future stars in the SEC. For good measure, Kentucky fans can thump their chests about signing big defensive tackle Matt Elam, who considered committing to Alabama. The future looks bright. But in the two seasons since arriving in Lexington, the 2014 class hasn’t exactly paid off. There have been flashes of potential, but not a single bowl game. And now that has to change. For Kentucky to get over the hump, it’s up to those redshirt sophomores and juniors to make good on their potential and carry the program.

While it may not be fair to place full blame on the 2014 class, it is factual that if we plan on getting to a bowl next year our talented juniors and redshirt sophomores need to be the guys stepping up. It’s their time to shine after two years in the program, and they have a burden placed on their shoulders to guide this team in the right direction for the 2016 season. Rally the troops, fellas, we need a bowl game trip in December.

(UPDATE) Gorilla killed at Cincinnati Zoo after child falls into exhibit

In this shocking video from the Cincinnati Zoo yesterday, you can see a 400-pound male Western lowland silverback named Harambe holding the child who had fallen about ten feet over the railing into the enclosure at about 4 p.m. Saturday evening.

The 17-year-old gorilla was shot after first responders had witnessed him violently dragging and throwing the child. It appeared that maybe the gorilla was protecting the child in the video, but apparently the violent footage wasn’t caught on tape.

After the gorilla was shot and killed with a rifle, the 4-year-old was retrieved from the enclosure, and taken to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with serious injuries he is expected to recover from. The child remained conscious during the entire incident, which lasted over ten minutes. The gorilla was an endangered species, but zoo officials agree that the right choice was made with strong animal in an agitated situation. Prayers for the little kid’s recovery.

UPDATE: New footage has emerged from terrifying situation at the Cincinnati Zoo

The Warriors’ Sunday Morning Wakeup


Steph and the Warriors pulled it out last night in Game 6 at OKC. They will head home for the final game on Monday for an opportunity to reach the Finals for the second straight season.

Klay Thompson caught fire last night, leading the Warriors on 11-18 shooting from behind the three-point line, an NBA playoff record. He led the Warriors with 41 points.

Indy 500 100th Anniversary

Today the Indy 500 will run in front of what is expected to be a record crowd at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Legend Tony Kanaan finished the fastest in the final practice, and looks poised to try and claim a win today. He will start beside defending winner, Juan Pablo Montoya, and veterans like Marco Andretti. It’s going to be a wild day of racing.

Landon Young wins State Title

He may not have been able to hang on in the shot put title, but Landon still walked away with his third straight title in discus. He didn’t miss a state record in discus by much and he had an excellent day in KHSAA play. Our future football star made us proud. Bryan Hudson finished second behind Young.

Trae Young drops 40 at EYBL

Young had 40 points and 11 assists yesterday in his team’s win on the Nike circuit. The young point guard also showed UK some love in an article on Zagsblog earlier this weekend, saying that he definitely will take a look at UK, and that he has felt like a priority all along. Hopefully Michael Porter Jr. (the other one) doesn’t ruin convince him with the thought of a package deal elsewhere.

May 28th, 2016

Pick Your Kentucky Football Golf Scramble Foursome

Tim Couch, Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan and @UKCoachStoops is a solid foursome.

Tim Couch, Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan and @UKCoachStoops is a solid foursome.

The U Club was flooded with former Kentucky football greats on Monday for Wesley Woodyard’s 16 Ways Charity Golf Scramble.  Scramble season is finally here.

It was an entertaining ensemble of characters.  From Mark Stoops and Joker Phillips, to Lamar Thomas and Danny Trevathan, the combinations sparked my curiosity.  If I could pick three for footballers to play 18 holes, who would I turn to?

The first criteria has to be someone that will “enjoy” themselves on the course.  You can’t have anyone being too serious when you have an unlimited supply of beer.  Secondly, it’d be nice to have someone who isn’t too bad at hitting a golf ball.  Even though this is a hypothetical game, you can’t pick Bear Bryant; only former footballers who are still living and able to play (the latter takes Freddie Maggard out of consideration).  My trio:

Rich Brooks

You can find more pics of retired Rich on the golf course @UKCoachbrooks.

You can find more pics of retired Rich on the golf course @UKCoachbrooks.

If Coach Brooks isn’t everybody’s number one selection, you’re playing this game wrong.  Not only is he well versed with the links in retirement, he also knows how to have a good time.  He also doesn’t hesitate to talk trash.  Even if you’re on the same team, you need a good trash-taller in the group.  If only you could add Spurrier to the team…

Sonny Collins

Image via Herald-Leader archives.

Image via Herald-Leader archives.

I never saw Sonny Collins play a snap, but all I have to do is see that picture to know that Collins would be a great guy to spend a day with on the golf course.  Collins wasn’t just a great running back, he was a great personality, one I’d like to get to know.  The epitome of cool, Collins starred for some of the best teams Kentucky has ever fielded.  It was also when they got caught cheating, which I’m sure is worth at least one good story.  A Madisonville native, I know another guy from Madisonville who’s pretty proficient on the golf course.  There must be something in the water…

Jared Lorenzen

Ryan could be the caddy.

Ryan could be the caddy.

I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really want to pick Jared.  If you’re playing a fun, hypothetical game, you should let your imagination run wild; you shouldn’t pick someone who you could potentially play with if you could ever figure out how to say their name correctly on a podcast.  However, you can’t have a fantastic UK football foursome and not include Gerald.

Even though I’ve heard many of his NSFPodcast stories, I know there are some hiding deep in the archives.  He’s an exceptional trash-talker, one that takes it as well as he dishes it.  He won’t drink all of the beers because he’s a rum and coke guy.  Even better, he played for Coach Brooks.  That means if Brooks was planning on being somewhat subdued, Jared holds the key to unleashing a floodgate of phenomenal stories.

Honorable Mention

Tim Couch
Hal Mumme
Avery Williamson
Jeff Snedegar
Dicky Lyons Jr.
Stevie Johnson
Tim Couch’s offensive line
Jon Toth (just to make Freddie jealous)

Who would YOU include in your UK Football Foursome?

WATCH OUT! Bobby Knight might steal your cheese

Photo @NoJortsNoProblm


There are not many Bob Knight fans in Kentucky.

There was plenty of hate when the Cats beat his undefeated Hoosiers in the 1975 NCAA Tournament.  It started the year before when he slapped Joe B. Hall in the face on the sideline.  He became easier to hate when he was doing stuff like this:

Then there was that time he said UK players don’t go to class.  When he was hired to be an “analyst” for ESPN, we learned that he has a thing for Krakel bars, keeping a secret stash with him whenever he was “working.”  There’s no indication that he was stealing the Krakel bars but the latest anecdote gives me reason to speculate.



I guess that’s what you get for inviting Bob Knight to an event.  He’s climbing in ya windows, he’s snatchin’ up ya cheese.  Hide ya cheese, hide ya wife.

Landon Young Upset in the Shot Put State Final (UPATED)

Mile Split KY

Mile Split KY

Landon Young could not hold on to win his second state title in shot put.  The future Kentucky offensive tackle was upset by Scott County’s Bryan Hudson in the final.

The Scott County freshman has been compared to Young.  The 6’4″ 260-pounder received an early offer from Mark Stoops last month.  The hope is that he’ll follow in Young’s footsteps and develop into an elite talent.  After today’s win, I’d say he’s off to a good start.

A view of one of Young’s final throws.

In other news from the world of track and field, former Wildcat Kendra Harrison broke the American record in the 100 meter hurdles, finishing with a time of 12.24.  The next time you’ll see her she’ll be running in Rio, representing the USA.


He didn’t get the shot put title, but he’s claiming his third straight championship in discus, falling just shy of a new state record.  Bryan Hudson finished second.

Trae Young “Definitely” taking an Official Visit to Kentucky


Calipari’s offered more scholarships than usual, extending his recruiting scope.  While he’s talked to many different players, one person has always been his top priority — point guard Trae Young.

After scoring 23 points this morning, he spoke with Jack LeGwin of ZagsBlog.  Young had only good things to say about the Cats, who have made him a priority “since day one.”

“They’ve come down to my school twice already this year. I’m definitely going to take an official visit there. As for playing for Coach Cal, He’s had a lot of very good point guards, [Eric] Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, the list goes on and on. He says he sees me coming in and being able to start right away, and be the lead guard from Day 1. I haven’t looked at all of the official visits I’m going to take, but Kentucky will definitely be one.”

Young was initially seen as a package deal with AAU teammate Michael Porter Jr.  When Porter Jr. left UK off his top five, it could create a little concern around the BBN.  The package deal is still being talked about, but most of the talk isn’t coming from Young.

Young said that he’ll cut his list of schools down to about five in the next month or so.  Expect Kentucky to be on that list.