By Hayden Hooper on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 10:30pm
KSBar and Grille is the place in Lexington to catch University of Kentucky games (pre and postgame too) as well as other events such as the NBA Playoffs, UFC fights, the World Cup, MLB games, PGA tour events, and more.
KSBar might be known for their smoked wings but don’t miss out on the brisket platter, fried katfish, chicken and waffles, and the great assortment of burgers. Start off with the house chips loaded to the ceiling smothered with pulled pork or chicken straight off the smoker topped with the house BBQ sauce.
Head to the KSBar and Grille website ksbarandgrille.com to see a full menu and drink list.
Be on the look out for different specials and events.
KSBar and Grille is located at: 1030 South Broadway, Lexington, KY 40504
You can be a part of KSR’s 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.
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— Elliott (@elliottb21) June 26, 2019
Do I really have to say anything else? I think this explains itself.
#9 David Hobbs
— David Hobbs (@david7charles) June 26, 2019
This GIF will never get old!
#8 C.E. Newton
— C. E. Newton (@cnewton_ky) June 26, 2019
A little beef did not hurt anyone, right?
#7 Kelly Lewis
— Kelly Lewis (@KelLew34) June 26, 2019
What a jersey! Also, Happy Birthday!
#6 Nick McCardell
— Nick McCardell (@UKhoops1_BBN) June 26, 2019
Happy Birthday to our very own, Tyler Thompson!!!
— B££ZY (@Burke_Franklin_) June 26, 2019
Can August 31st come any sooner?
#4 Shoes Hale
— Shoes Hale (@shoeshale) June 26, 2019
Wow, I guess Air Bud: Golden Receiver is a true story!
#3 Just an average Josh
— Just an average Josh (@JLW0914) June 26, 2019
What an experience! Something that she will never forget!
— Jaime ???? (@Treestand_tweet) June 26, 2019
Behind enemy territory, nice!
#1 Jason Kinner
“Work hard and follow your dreams, but NEVER forget where you came from!”
— Jason Kinner (@jasonkinner1) June 26, 2019
What a way to spend your Wednesday with the BBN!
Follow me on twitter and tag me in one of your tweets for a chance to make KSR’s top 10 tweets:
By Zack Geoghegan on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
The transfer news that everyone has really been waiting on is here. Brad Calipari has announced via Twitter that he is down to two schools in regards to his transfer from the University of Kentucky.
The head coach’s son is down to Detroit Mercy and Hampton. Calipari also visited the University of Hartford and Bryant University.
— Brad Calipari (@bradcalipari) June 27, 2019
The former Wildcat announced his intentions to transfer back in late May and it appears he is now coming close to a decision.
I like the name Detroit Mercy more than I do Hampton, so I’m rooting for them to land Calipari. Good luck to Brad wherever he decides to commit!
By Zack Geoghegan on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 9:30pm
Tonight on Hey Kentucky! Matt Jones hands off the microphone to the New Circle Circular, who joins Lexington mayor Linda Gorton in her effort to better educate the city about it’s recycling program.
In the full episode, Matt is joined by the newly famous political ad showman, Ryan Lemond. The two break down topics such as Mitch McConnell meeting with 9/11 first responders and a swaggy John Calipari on Twitter. Check it out below!
To see more of Hey Kentucky!, click here!
By Zack Geoghegan on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 8:39pm
Well, there it is. After several years of waiting, Virginia Tech grad transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. is expected to commit to Florida, per multiple sources.
Kerry Blackshear, barring a last-minute change of heart, is expected to choose Florida, source told @Stadium. Huge pickup for Mike White and the Gators.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) June 27, 2019
Sources: The expectation is that Kerry Blackshear will commit to Florida. Averaged 14.9 PPG & 7.5 RPG last season. Eligible immediately. https://t.co/u5F6JTi4WF
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) June 27, 2019
Sources: Virginia Tech grad transfer Kerry Blackshear is expected to commit to Florida. Announcement will likely happen soon.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 27, 2019
Blackshear was down to Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Virginia Tech before ultimately choosing the Gators.
The Wildcats remain in good shape without Blackshear – a 6-foot-10 big man who can stretch the floor and also put the ball on the ground – and will still go about 10 players deep in the rotation. The addition of Blackshear would have immediately vaulted the Cats into the preseason No. 1 overall ranking. Now, Kentucky will simply have to work with the stacked roster it currently has.
Go Cats and good luck to Blackshear.
UPDATE (9:05 pm): It’s official.
— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) June 27, 2019
By Zack Geoghegan on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 8:30pm
De’Aaron Fox made a name for himself outside of Kentucky and his home state of Texas this past season, practically doubling his production from his rookie season to his sophomore campaign. He improved his scoring as a member of the Sacramento Kings by 5.7 points, his assists by 2.9, and his three-point percentage by 6.4 percent.
So it wasn’t much of a surprise to see Fox’s name listed as one of the three candidates to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, which was announced at the NBA Awards show on Monday. Along with Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam and Brooklyn Nets forward De’Aneglo Russell, Fox improved his game to the point of league-wide recognition.
Unfortunately, Siakam was (deservedly) named the winner with Russell coming in second and Fox in third.
You can see the entire voting results below.
As you can see, Fox received only one first-place vote, 13 second-place votes, and 33 third-place votes. Siakam garnered 86 first-place votes and 469 overall points compared to only 77 overall points for Fox.
Personally, I would have put Buddy Hield (Fox’s teammate in Sacramento) over both Fox and Russell, but that’s my terrible opinion that I know you’ll probably hate. I have a hard time giving an award to a player (Fox) who had a below-average rookie season as a lottery pick and then came into his own the next season. That should just be his natural rate of progression as an NBA point guard. Now, I can confidently say that I didn’t expect him to be this good, as he was in year two, but I definitely didn’t expect the season we saw out of Hield, Russell, and Siakam, either.
I’d also like to point out that Willie Cauley-Stein – another Kings player – received one third-place vote courtesy of Dennis Scott, a former NBA veteran who currently works as a commentator for NBATV. No disrespect to either of WCS or Scott here, but if you watched the Kings all season and chose WCS as a more improved player than Fox or Hield, you either didn’t watch them, or you’re a liar.
Who is your BBNBA candidate to win MIP next season?
By Aaron Torres on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
Over the last few weeks, America has gotten swept up in NBA Draft fever.
Last Thursday the 2019 edition of the draft went down in New York, with Zion Williamson and a bunch of college basketball’s biggest names walking across the stage to shake Adam Silver’s hand. Then, earlier this week, the first wave of 2020 mock drafts came out, forecasting which players are projected to be in the same position next year.
In reflecting back on both things, what’s interesting to me is that there was a very important lesson to learn from the 2019 draft. And it didn’t show up at all when the 2020 mock drafts popped up.
That lesson: There is real value to being a productive college basketball player.
What do I mean by that? Well, it’s that in a sport where we spend so much time talking about the star freshmen, the 2019 draft showed that the NBA still values upperclassmen – sophomores, juniors and seniors, who have proven that they can produce at the college level. Sure, there were the Zion’s, R.J. Barrett’s, Tyler Herro’s and Darius Garland’s who heard their name called on draft night. But there were also the Ja Morant’s, P.J. Washington’s, Rui Hachimura’s and Cam Johnson’s as well. Just one year after there was only one college upperclassman taken in the Top 10 (and at ninth overall, mind you) we had four go Top 10 in 2019, six go in the lottery and 15 go in the first round.
That’s also why it was surprising to me to look at the projections for the 2020 draft. Just briefly scanning them, the one thing that jumps out is that once again, freshmen dominate the early projections. Take ESPN’s 2020 mock draft for example. ESPN projects the first 15 picks in next year’s draft to be all college freshmen or foreign players. There is only one returning college player – Duke’s Tre Jones – projected to go in the Top 20.
Now to be clear, this article isn’t intended to be critical of the people who put out mock drafts – those folks do the best they can with the information that they have at their disposal. Still, if this year – and every year – proves anything, it’s that several upperclassmen will emerge over the course of the season and turn themselves into first round NBA Draft picks.
And with all that as a (REALLY) long lead-up, it brings me to this: Why is everyone sleeping on Ashton Hagans? ESPN has him ranked as the No. 30 NBA Draft prospect going into next season, and the other mock drafts don’t have him as a first rounder at all.
Which leads me to one simple question: Wait, what am I missing? I’m not saying he should be ranked No. 1 overall or anything, but you really mean to tell me there are 20+ freshmen who will all have better seasons next year than Hagans? It’s doubtful.
And if anything, I feel like Hagans is being grossly overlooked both by the college media for the upcoming season ahead, and the NBA media projecting their 2020 draft selections. Maybe it’s just me. But I fully expect Hagans to evolve into one of the true breakout players across college basketball this coming season. And very much into a high-level NBA Draft prospect by the time the 2020 draft rolls around.
For starters, Hagans has the pedigree of someone who could make the leap next season. Remember, it was just one year ago that he was ranked as the No. 1 point guard coming into college basketball, and a player who was projected by many as a potential lottery or first round NBA Draft pick. That was due to Hagans’ mix of size for his position, athleticism, skill-set and mental toughness. None of that has disappeared from Hagans’ repertoire, even if he didn’t always show it off last year.
No, Hagans didn’t quite live up to the hype as a freshman, but there are a few things to remember. One, he could have easily been playing high school basketball last season, and instead, chose to reclassify and join Kentucky a year early. Because of the decision to reclassify he showed up late to campus while finishing his high school coursework and was behind the eight-ball with the rest of the team. And despite all that, he still managed to earn a starting job by the ninth game of the season, a spot he never gave up.
From there, there were the typical ups and downs that come with being a freshman. Especially a freshman point guard. There were the highs, like a 23-point homecoming performance against Georgia, the breakout eight-steal game versus North Carolina and a 10-point, 12 assist effort against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament. There were also lows. By the middle of the season teams figured out that they could sag off Hagans and force him to shoot threes, rather than letting him beat them with his quickness. There were also too many turnovers.
What’s crazy however is that despite a season which many viewed as “disappointing” he still managed to lead Kentucky in assists per game (4.2) and steals (1.6) while contributing 7.7 points per contest on a loaded team offensively. His assist and steal totals ranked him second and third nationally among power conference freshmen, and in the process he earned SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year alongside Tremont Waters.
To which I ask: Does that sound like a player who “struggled” as a freshman? Or one who simply went through growing pains, and could be poised for a breakout sophomore season? To me it seems like the latter.
Looking ahead to 2019-2020 there are obviously things that Hagans needs to clean up, specifically those turnovers. There are also things that he needs to improve, like the above-mentioned three-point shooting.
But can you imagine what Hagans could look like next season? Keep in mind Hagans already has NBA-level athleticism and size for the position, already did a good job of getting teammates involved last season and was already one of the best defensive guards anywhere in college basketball. If he can even incrementally improve in those categories next, he might be the best point guard in the SEC. And if he can improve in those categories and improve his jump shot and cut down on his turnovers? Now you’re talking about the potential to be one of the best point guards in all of college basketball.
Will it happen? Well, at this point it’s up to Hagans. The early returns from Kentucky’s summer workouts are good, but we’ll find out soon enough whether he was willing to put in the work or not.
Still, if Hagans does what he is capable of, look out.
We will have a breakout college basketball star. And a player the draft experts regret leaving off their 2020 mock drafts.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 7:30pm
D’Angelo Russell sure does have a ton of connections with the BBN.
Not even a week after Karl-Anthony Towns stated that he is hoping his team – the Minnesota Timberwolves – would go after the Louisville native in free agency, Devin Booker is now hopping in on the action.
According to ESPN‘s Zach Lowe, Booker has been campaigning for the Suns to sign Russell this summer. Russell is set to become a restricted free agent on June 30th coming off an impressive season in Brooklyn that landed him his first ever All-Star appearance.
Booker and Russell have long been good friends. They met at a basketball camp as teenagers. I recently recall seeing the two of them on Booker’s Instagram spending time on a fancy boat together. Booker said back in November he would “love” to play with Russell, who responded by saying “you never know” in regards to the two teaming up. “It’s not something I really can control,” Russell said. In just a few short days, he actually will have control over the situation. This isn’t something new to these guys. They’ve clearly been thinking about this for a while.
However, it all depends on if Phoenix can open up the required space to add Russell into the mix. It has long been known that the Suns are desperate for a point guard and Russell will be one of the biggest names in free agency at that position. He could potentially garner a max-deal if his agent can make it happen, but the Suns currently only have about $13 million in space after extending a Qualifying Offer to Kelly Oubre.
But even before that, the Suns were only looking at around $22-23 million in cap space, a few million short of the $27-28 million that Russell would earn in the first year of a max-level deal. Russell could potentially take a pay cut to sign with Pheonix, although the Nets can match any offer sheet since Russell restricted. Before any of that, though, they’ll need to shed some more salary.
Until Booker finally finds his backcourt partner, this is always going to be the biggest gripe against the Suns. They’ve already had a questionable offseason that is only getting weirder. Now they’ll have to decide if Russell is truly worth the money, or if his excellent season in 2018-19 was merely a fluke.
By Maggie Davis on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 7:00pm
Over three years ago, the Power Five conferences revealed new rules to better prioritize the safety of student athletes. Under these new rules, medical staffs around the country have the last word on whether a student athlete can participate in team workouts, practices and games, while coaches no longer have the unilateral authority to hire or fire athletic trainers.
However, new survey results from the National Athletic Trainers Association suggest there is still much more to be done.
NATA’s survey, which polled around 1,800 collegiate athletic trainers, found 19 percent of interviewed trainers believe college coaches have allowed a student athlete to play while he or she was “medically out of participation.” The survey also shows 36 percent of the trainers believe the coaching staff has been able to influence the hiring and firing of the sports medicine staff, despite the guideline requiring otherwise; of those respondents, 58 percent then reported feeling pressured by a coach or administrator to make a decision “not in the best interest of a student-athlete’s health.”
Only half of collegiate-level sports programs follow the NCAA-legislated independent medical model of care for student athletes, a new @NATA_ICSM study found. Read more: https://t.co/TFku79s6qG #NATA2019 pic.twitter.com/3KvKzguxBy
— NATA Office (@NATA1950) June 26, 2019
A big part of the issue seems to be connected with teams’ strength and conditioning staff and their current place on the “chain of command.” Although the staff members who design the players’ workouts do not have to be licensed medical professionals (while most athletic trainers do), strength and conditioning staff report to head coaches, not the trainers or administrators.
A new NCAA recommendation, which will go into effect August 1, changes that. Going forward, strength coaches should report to sports medicine supervisors, not the head coach.
“Coaches might question an athlete’s toughness. [They] might say, ‘She’s just not tough enough. Don’t you think this ankle sprain has taken long enough?‘ And those types of conversations are some of the more benign but impactful ways in which health care providers feel pressure,” NATA president Tory Lindley said. “A coach should not have any type of an opportunity to provide an opinion on whether or not those decisions are being made correctly. They lack the medical expertise to provide an opinion.”
When players come back before they are physically ready to resume competition, they risk greater injury. And while everyone wants their team to win games, no one wants to cause permanent damage to these young men and women in the process. The survey results paint an alarming picture of college athletics, but the approval of new NCAA recommendations shows the first step toward a safer organization. Now, everyone just has to abide by them.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 6:30pm
Enes Kanter has had himself a busy day. After calling Zion Williamson “Julius Randle with hops”, it is now being reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, that Kanter is expected to receive interest from several high profile teams once free agency begins on June 30th. Among those teams are his current organization, the Portland Trail Blazers, along with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.
Free agent center Enes Kanter is expected to receive interest from the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics on June 30, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 26, 2019
The former Kentucky big man averaged 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds in 23 regular season games for the Portland Trail Blazers last season after being waived by the New York Knicks in February. After an encouraging performance in the Blazers playoff run, Kanter has gone through a slight career revival. In New York, he was stuck in the mud without much hope of consistent playing time or a winning culture.
Kanter’s move to Portland was ultimately a rebirth for a player who came in and performed at a high level during the playoffs. Following Jusuf Nurkic’s devastating leg injury, Portland needed relief at center with the playoffs approaching and Kanter stepped up big time. Now, he’s expected to be a valuable commodity on the free agency market.
I personally don’t see him returning to Portland, despite all the good (although, some bad) he did there. With a healthy Nurkic expected to return next season and a young Zach Collins behind him, the Trail Blazers have their frontcourt to build around (not to mention Skal Labissiere, who is also on the roster). The Celtics and Lakers, on the other hand, are much more realistic options. The Lakers will be looking to add significant talent for cheap with the idea that a championship is the reward. The Celtics, falling into a fiery spiral of disarray, could probably offer Kanter a sizable contract, especially if Kyrie Irving and Al Horford skip town. Odds are high he’d start on either team. Kanter, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James could be a productive frontcourt (that is, if Davis can hold everything down on defense).
Kanter is 27 now. He’ll likely be looking to obtain a least a two-year deal for some stability. He’s already played for four NBA teams in only eight seasons. As a Kentucky fan, I hope they put Kanter on the Lakers the second free agency hits. As an NBA fan, I just hope we get some more classic Kanter antics out of all this.
By Nick Roush on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
In the middle of a hot Kentucky summer, humidity and UK football bulletin board material are never in short supply.
Asked Kash Daniel about Kentucky's over/under being set at 6 (A highway robbery if you enjoy free money) Here was his response. pic.twitter.com/hQavrLSB1I
— Charlie Walter (@CharlieWalterTV) June 26, 2019
“They’re just a bunch of jackasses. Who cares?”
Kash’s defiant statement from the Big Blue Caravan in Paintsville is incredible. The only thing missing is a prop or two. When I say “prop or two,” I mean fire.
View this post on Instagram
By Drew Franklin on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
Enes Kanter stirred the NBA pot during an appearance on Colin Cowherd’s radio show today.
Cowherd said he heard Kanter believes Zion Williamson is overrated, and when asked if that is the case, Kanter owned up to it and brought another former Wildcat into the conversation with a comparison.
Kanter said, “I kind of feel like he is overhyped. I feel like he is Julius Randle with hops.”
“Some players are scared to say it,” he added, “but you know me, I’m not scared to say anything.”
Oh boy. Hear it for yourself:
In case you didn’t listen, Kanter went on to say Williamson can be a Hall of Famer if he adds a jump shot.
Once Julius Randle caught wind of the comments, he quickly reminded Kanter that he had 45 the last time they met.
Yo @EnesKanter last time you guarded me I had 45 relax bro lol
— Julius Randle (@J30_RANDLE) June 26, 2019
I can’t pile on Kanter like everyone else because I wrote this on KSR the night of the NBA draft lottery: “Williamson is Julius Randle without gravity. Left-handed and all.” Thank you to Enes for standing with me on this lonely hill.
By Drew Franklin on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
Another week, another Chip McDaniel update on the PGA Tour. This time, the Clay County native will participate in the upcoming Rocket Mortgage Classic, his third straight event on tour. McDaniel picked up one of the four sponsor’s exemptions into the tournament following another strong performance.
Last weekend, McDaniel finished T43 in the Travelers Championship, which earned him a check for $21,924. In his third round on Saturday, he was paired with the No. 1 player in the world, Brooks Koepka, and beat him by four strokes in the head-to-head.
Heading into this week’s tournament, PGATour.com named the former Wildcat a sleeper pick:
Chip McDaniel … As @sault0885 put it best on my Twitter, “Chip must be thrilled to have a day off.” Indeed, a whirlwind would be a downgrade given what the 23-year-old product of the University of Kentucky has experienced in recent weeks. McDaniel started the month as a sectional qualifier (in Springfield, Ohio) for the U.S. Open. He made the cut at Pebble Beach, finished 78th and then flew overnight to Boston. After landing, he drove to Ellington, Connecticut, for the open qualifier for the Travelers Championship and survived a 9-man playoff for three spots in the tournament proper. Operating no doubt on a combination of adrenaline and fumes, he managed a T43 at TPC River Highlands that included a third-round pairing with Brooks Koepka. Naturally, McDaniel had entered the open qualifier for this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, but when one of the last two sponsor exemptions became available, he received one. You gonna bet against this guy? [PGATour.com]
Good luck to Chip as he continues his rapid path to becoming a regular on tour.
By Drew Franklin on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 2:57pm
Not so fast on the N’Faly Dante excitement.
According to Tipton Edits, the popular graphics page that first broke the news of Dante’s visit to Kentucky, the five-star big man does not have plans to reclassify to 2019. The visit to Lexington is still a go, but Dante intends to remain in the Class of 2020.
John Calipari will likely use this visit to convince Dante to reclassify and join the Wildcats as soon as possible, given the rush to get him on campus at this stage in the game; however, at least for now, Dante doesn’t see it in the cards, per the new update.
Of course, Dante could be saying he isn’t reclassifying so he can continue dominating the summer circuit with MOKAN Elite of the Nike EYBL. He has been putting up huge numbers for his team and the Peach Jam is only a couple of weeks away.
Whatever the case, tomorrow’s visit is a big one, whether it be for the future of this current Kentucky team or the next.
By Nick Roush on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Following the best Kentucky football season in 40 years, one of the nation’s top college football prognosticators believes the party is coming to an end in 2019.
Phil Steele’s 2019 College Football Preview magazine is on newsstands this week. The 25th edition of the college football talking season Bible does not give Mark Stoops’ team a glowing review. A predictor who relies on a number of formulas to reach his conclusion, Steele’s personally crafted concoctions conclude the Cats will take a step back this fall.
Steele projects Kentucky to finish sixth in the SEC East, ahead of only Vanderbilt, and ranks the Cats 60th out of 130 FBS teams. After three straight postseason appearances, Steele does not believe Kentucky will go to a bowl game following the 2019 season.
Those pessimistic projections come with a few caveats. First and foremost, he does not predict each game. Even though the schedule is favorable for the Cats, UK returns only ten starters. History also plays a significant factor in Steele’s formula too. If Kentucky regresses to the mean of the pre-Stoops era, 2019 will not be pretty.
The thing about the Mark Stoops era is that it has defined the norms. Since he arrived in Lexington six years ago, UK is the only program in America that has not taken a step back. Each year Kentucky’s record has been the same, or improved, from the previous year. Continuing that trend will obviously be difficult, but over the last three years UK has pulled off ten upsets. That’s why Steele hedged his bet in closing by saying a bowl appearance is “probable.”
The preview of Kentucky from the Phil Steele magazine has a lot more information. What you’ll find isn’t too different from the rest of the bulletin board material that will surface during talking season, which unofficially kicks off at SEC Media Days in less than three weeks.
Phil Steele’s UK Preseason All-SEC Selections
- Drake Jackson, First Team Center
- Lynn Bowden, Third Team Wide Receiver
- Kash Daniel, Third Team Linebacker
- Logan Stenberg, Third Team Offensive Lineman
- Quinton Bohanna, Fourth Team Defensive Lineman
- Boogie Watson, Fourth Team Linebacker
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
So far in the 2020 class, Kentucky has landed commitments from four in-state recruits, three from the city of Louisville. In the 2019 class, the Cats signed five in-state players, four from the Derby City. Considering that the 2018 class didn’t include a single player from the state of Kentucky and a player from Louisville hadn’t signed with the program since 2014, that’s a pretty impressive upswing, the credit for which should go to Vince Marrow.
Mark Stoops’ decision to put Marrow, who mainly focused on Ohio, Michigan, and other Big 10 territories, on Kentucky has helped the program reestablish its stronghold on the state at the expense of Louisville, its biggest rival. Since Vince took over in-state recruiting, the Cats have signed or secured commitments from nine players from the Commonwealth to Louisville’s three, and are becoming the preferred choice for Louisville’s top talent, who typically go with Cardinal Red instead of Kentucky Blue.
There’s a long way to go until Signing Day, but with two major in-state targets still on the table in four-star safety Vito Tisdale and three-star defensive tackle Octavious Oxendine, let’s take a look at how Kentucky has taken over the battleground for in-state stars.
We generally prefer to use Rivals’ rankings for football here at KSR, but because 247 Sports Composite’s state rankings are much more comprehensive prior to 2017, I defaulted to them for this exercise.
Kentucky – 4
- No. 4: Four-star OT John Young, Louisville (Christian Academy-Louisville)
- No. 6: Three-star QB Beau Allen, Lexington (Lexington Catholic)
- No. 7: Three-star WR Izayah Cummings, Louisville (Male)
- No. 10: Three-star ATH Jordan Watkins, Louisville (Butler)
Louisville – 2
- No. 11: Three-star S Josh Minkins Jr., Louisville (Ballard)
- No. 15: Three-star SDE Austin Collins, Louisville (Christian Academy-Louisville)
Still on the table:
- No. 3: Four-star safety Vito Tisdale, Bowling Green (Bowling Green)
- No. 5: Three-star defensive tackle Octavious Oxendine, Radcliff (North Hardin)
Another trend to keep an eye on: West Virginia. Since taking over, Neal Brown has landed three-star wide receiver Reese Smith from his old stomping grounds at Boyle County.
Kentucky – 5
- No. 7: Four-star LB Jared Casey, Louisville (Ballard)
- No. 8: Four-star DE JJ Weaver, Louisville (Moore)
- No. 10: Three-star WDE Shawnkel Knight-Goff, Louisville (Doss)
- No. 11: Three-star WR Demontae Crumes, Louisville (Butler)
- No. 14: Three-star C Eli Cox, Nicholasville (West Jessamine)
Louisville – 2
- No. 12: Three-star RB Aidan Robbins, Louisville (DuPont Manual)
What a difference a year makes. Obviously, the decision to put Vince Marrow in charge of Kentucky in the spring of 2018 started paying dividends with the 2019 class. Kentucky landed five of the top 15 players in the state, the most since the 2016 class, which included Landon Young, Kash Daniel, and Drake Jackson.
Kentucky – 0
Louisville – 2
- No. 2: Four-star CB Jairus Brents, Louisville (Waggener)
- No. 43: Two-star QB Drew Zaubi, Crestwood (South Oldham)
In 2018, Kentucky didn’t sign a single in-state kid for the first time in 78 years, a brutal wake-up call. Louisville may have snagged the second best prospect in the state, Jairus Brents, but another coach had cast a spell over the Commonwealth’s best: Jeff Brohm. Purdue signed five of the top 15 players from Kentucky that year, including No. 1 Rondale Moore. Obviously, a change needed to be made. After the ink dried and the dust settled on the 2018 class, Mark Stoops put Vince Marrow in charge of getting Kentucky’s best to come to Kentucky.
Kentucky – 2
- No. 4: Three-star QB Walker Wood, Lexington (Lafayette)
- No. 9: Three-star OT Austin Dotson, Belfry (Belfry)
Louisville – 1
- No. 2: Three-star OG Cole Bentley, Belfry (Belfry)
Jedrick Wills was far and away the best player in the state that year, and had he chosen Kentucky over Alabama, the Cats may have been able to build momentum in the state for the 2018 class; needless to say, that didn’t happen.
Kentucky – 5
- No. 1: Four-star OT Landon Young, Lexington (Lafayette)
- No. 2: Four-star C Drake Jackson, Versailles (Woodford County)
- No. 3: Four-star ILB Kash Daniel, Paintsville (Paintsville)
- No. 5: Three-star ATH Zy’Aire Hughes, Paducah (McCracken County)
- No. 7: Three-star CB Davonte Robinson, Lexington (Henry Clay)
Louisville – 3
- No. 4: Three-star WR Keion Wakefield, Louisville (Male)
- No. 10: Three-star DT Derek Dorsey, Louisville (DuPont Manual)
- No. 14: Three-star P Austin Johnson, Louisville (De Sales)
Stoops made a splash by signing five in-state stars in 2016, all ranked in the top ten in the state. Kash Daniel, Landon Young, and Drake Jackson became the cornerstones of Stoops’ “Stay home and be a hero” campaign in hopes of snagging an even bigger fish in the 2017 class: five-star offensive tackle Jedrick Wills.
Kentucky – 2
- No. 2: Four-star OLB Eli Brown, Bowling Green (Warren East)
- No. 9: Three-star OG Mason Wolfe, Henderson (Henderson County)
Louisville – 0
A lot of Kentucky’s in-state efforts in the 2015 class were focused on Damien Harris, the No. 1 prospect in the state who eventually signed with Alabama. Elsewhere in the Commonwealth, Western Kentucky was booming after back-to-back eight-win seasons, signing the majority of the state’s two- and three-star talent.
Kentucky – 4
- No. 1: Four-star QB Drew Barker, Hebron (Conner)
- No. 2: Four-star DT Matt Elam, Elizabethtown (John Hardin)
- No. 3: Three-star WDE Lloyd Tubman, Louisville (Seneca)
- No. 5: Three-star DT Adrian Middleton, Bowling Green (South Warren)
Louisville – 1
- No. 3: Three-star ATH Reggie Bonnafon, Louisville (Trinity)
With his first season under him, Stoops made keeping Drew Barker and Matt Elam in-state a priority in the 2014 class. He succeeded, and even if their careers at Kentucky didn’t pan out, there’s no denying the swag of that Super Bowl ad:
Kentucky – 3
- No. 3: Four-star WDE Jason Hatcher, Louisville (Trinity)
- No. 6: Three-star RB/WR Ryan Timmons, Frankfort (Franklin County)
- No. 7: Three-star DT Jacob Hyde, Manchester (Clay County)
Louisville – 2
- No. 1: Four-star WR James Quick, Louisville (Trinity)
- No. 4: Four-star QB Kyle Bolin, Lexington (Lexington Catholic)
Stoops’ first initiative when taking the job in November 2012 was securing in-state talent. With very little time, he did pretty well, signing four-star defensive end Jason Hatcher, three-star athlete Ryan Timmons, and three-star defensive tackle Jacob Hyde.
By Drew Franklin on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 12:07pm
The money-grabbing masterminds behind the NCAA are meeting in Indianapolis today to approve new guidelines around transfers in college football and basketball. The plan is to make it more difficult for players to earn immediate eligibility, which sounds about right given the NCAA’s history of making the wrong decision, and it is expected to pass.
The change will not be a new set of rules, rather a crackdown on the committee’s granting of hardship waivers for transfers. With several high profile players moving around college football the last couple of years, the NCAA has decided it is too much and must come to a stop.
In USA Today’s story on the meeting, Tom Mars, an attorney who has advocated for student-athletes seeking a transfer and even represented some of those athletes, said, “Across the board, the proposed new guidelines raise the bar for schools seeking a waiver on behalf of a student-athlete. Given the dramatic increase in the number of waivers being sought for the 2019-20 season, raising the bar strikes me as a sensible short-term reaction by the Legislative Council.”
We will have to wait to see what new guidelines come out of the meeting, but it sounds like lots of documentation will be required in transfer cases. For example, a student-athlete who was run off at one school will likely need a written statement from their former athletic director saying there was no opportunity for them to stick around. For student-athletes returning closer to home to be with family, the NCAA will need statements from both schools, plus “a treatment plan detailing the student-athlete’s caregiving responsibilities,” says USA Today.
This could have an effect on Kentucky as incoming transfer Xavier Peters, a star linebacker who left Florida State for Lexington, seeks immediate eligibility this upcoming season. Peters picked Kentucky as his transfer destination to be within a one-hour drive of his young son in Cincinnati. Today’s meeting isn’t going to help his chances.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 11:30am
Potentially huge news for Kentucky basketball in the upcoming 2019-20 season.
While we still wait for news on Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr., Kentucky is set to host 2020 five-star center and serious reclassification candidate N’Faly Dante starting tomorrow.
Tipton Edits was the first to break the news:
— TIPTON EDITS ? (@TiptonEdits) June 26, 2019
Dante, a 6-foot-11, 235-pound center, is considered a top-15 prospect in the class of 2020. He currently holds offers from Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, LSU, Oklahoma State, and St. John’s, though most recruiting experts feel his decision will come down to the Ducks, Tigers, Jayhawks, and Wildcats, no matter when he decides to play college basketball.
The five-star prospect has been a rumored reclassification candidate for several months now, though most assumed if he would make the jump, it would likely come down to Oregon and LSU. Sources told KSR back in the early spring that there was mutual interest between Dante and Kentucky, though the UK coaching staff originally preferred he stayed in the class of 2020 to help him develop his offensive game a bit further.
After a dominant performance on both ends of the floor on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring, though, Kentucky’s interest in bringing him in this upcoming season has grown tremendously. There have been several moving parts over the last month or two with the NBA Draft decisions, Jaden McDaniels, Blackshear Jr., etc., but Dante has always been a potential 2019 option for the UK coaching staff if need-be.
Now, it looks like that option is legitimately on the table.
Dante is considered the best shot blocker in high school basketball, regardless of class. In terms of his potential impact this season, the 6-foot-11 prospect would serve as a very solid rim-runner, rebounder, and interior defender off the bench, at the very least. He is a high-potential prospect with legitimate NBA size.
Here are some of his most recent highlights:
This could be big news, BBN…
By Drew Franklin on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 11:00am
Bob Ley is leaving ESPN after a 40-year run with the Worldwide Leader in Sports. One of the original on-air hosts with the network, Ley announced he will retire at the end of this month. It’s a sad day in Bristol.
Let’s celebrate his amazing career by rewatching his best work:
Bob Ley, you savage. pic.twitter.com/Bfai25K4kf
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) September 26, 2017
Cheers to one of the best to ever do it.
By Drew Franklin on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 10:20am
Kalil Branham, one of Kentucky’s top targets in the 2020 class, sure seems like he is close to making a major announcement on Twitter. I say that with no inside info because football recruiting isn’t really my thing, but I am capable of reading tea leaves and his timeline is full of them.
A four-star receiver in 247Sports’s rankings, Branham has spent the last 24 hours thanking all of the coaches and universities that have been recruiting him. It started with a shout-out to Pitt, then Alabama, then Notre Dame, then Wake Forest, then, most recently, Cincinnati this morning. He also tweeted thank yous to his high school coaches and other people who have played a role in his upbringing as a prized high school athlete.
Notably absent from his shout-outs so far is the University of Kentucky. And if you’re more of the optimistic type, you may interpret that as a commitment is on the way. Everything he has written reads as a goodbye to those programs, leaving the door open for one final tweet, a commitment announcement, to wrap it all up.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on him today.
By Bryan the Intern on ©June 26th, 2019 @ 10:00am
Since the Class of 2016, we have seen Kentucky’s recruiting mojo slip ever so slightly. The most elite of the elite players have started going elsewhere, none more evident than the triumverate who went to Duke last year and Memphis’ haul for this upcoming season. Cal used to feast on Top 10 players but now much of his classes are centered in the 11-25 range. According to Rivals, he hasn’t gotten a Top 5 player since the Class of 2015 (Skal). So why does this really matter? Is there that much of difference between the guy ranked #7 and the guy ranked #17?
Well, for Calipari recruits, it has meant night and day.
Top 10 Recruits (21)
One and Done (16 of 21): Wall, Cousins, Kanter, Knight, Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Teague, Noel, Randle, Towns, Labissiere, Murray, Fox, Adebayo, Monk, Knox
Lottery Picks (14 of 21): Wall, Cousins, Kanter, Knight, Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Noel, Randle, Towns, Murray, Fox, Adebayo, Monk, Knox
1st Round Picks (16 of 21): Teague, Labissiere
3 or 4 Year Players (1 of 21): Poythress
None of the Above (4 of 21): An.Harrison, Aa.Harrison, D.Johnson, Briscoe
Top 11-25 Recruits (17)
One and Done (6 of 17): Orton, Bledsoe, Young, Lyles, Vanderbilt, K.Johnson
Lottery Picks (2 of 17): Lyles, Washington
1st Round Picks (8 of 17): Orton, Bledsoe, T.Jones, Goodwin, Young, K.Johnson
3-4 Year Players (5 of 17): Wiltjer*, Lee*, Killeya-Jones*, Richards, Green*
None of the Above (4 of 17): Ulis, Gabriel, Montgomery, Hagans
In the Calpari era, 14 of his 21 Top 10 recruits have been drafted in the lottery of the NBA Draft, all one and done players. That is a 2 in 3 shot. On the other side, only 2 of 17 players ranked 11-25 in the Calipari era have been drafted in the lottery. That is a 66% chance for Top 10 recruits and a 12% chance for Top 25 players. Significant.
Even getting drafted in the first round shows a large disparity. Top 10 recruits are drafted in the 1st round of the NBA Draft 76% of the time. Recruits ranked 11-25 that number drops to 47%.
The Fox-Monk-Adebayo class was a Final Four caliber class. They just got a bad break in the NCAA Tournament. But since that time, only Kevin Knox has been a Top 10 recruit and the last two seasons have had their struggles. It has still finished with a Sweet 16 and Elite 8 finishes but no one can say the season’s have not been grinds. This season, Tyrese Maxey comes in as the #10 ranked player in the class. Expect him, if the numbers hold, to likely be gone after this year and headed to the lottery. But it will once again be the recruits in the 11-25 range that will dominate this roster. What effect will that have on the season? Only time will tell but if past history shows us anything there could be some bumps in the road in the 2019-20 season.