By Jonathan Howard on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
We are less than two weeks from the season-opening kickoff at Kroger Field against Toledo. Nick Roush has been reporting from practices and scrimmages this summer and while this team lost a lot of really good football players, a lot of the reports have been positive about this year’s team. Vince Marrow has been teasing on his Twitter about doubters and there have been reports of guys stepping up to the challenge of replacing NFL talent. The running back group of AJ Rose, Kavosiey Smoke, and Chris Rodriguez along with positive Terry Wilson news and TJ Carter on defense, guys are rising up to the challenge of a new season.
People better realize this isn’t the old Kentucky.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) August 7, 2019
Outside of the few unfortunate injuries the team has suffered, coaches and players seem really excited about what this season could bring. One of the more exciting things I am hoping for is a new kind of offense for the Wildcats. The last three years have been dominated by the running game and Wildcat formations, but with Benny Snell gone and replaced with a three-headed stable of backs and a QB1 in Terry Wilson that seems poised to make significant progress, a new offense seems really exciting.
As reports have come in from practice about Eddie Gran wanting to throw 30, 40, 50 times a game I have been getting more and more anxious for the season to start. The recent report of Smoke stiff-arming M.J. Devonshire had me dreaming of an offense that can attack through the air and on the ground so well that the opposing defense doesn’t know what is coming next.
While I have regularly reminded myself that Kentucky football is not going to be a juggernaut offense that I may be dreaming it is going to be, I’m still really excited to see this new offense. Even if Wilson isn’t throwing it 40 times a game, 30 is reasonable and with three very capable running backs all possessing different strengths and weaknesses, the Cats should be able to send out an able-bodied man in the backfield almost every play. Hopefully, Coach Gran can air the ball out enough to give Kentucky a newer look on offense and help the running game be successful. No matter what the offense looks like, as long as the wins come, I won’t complain.
By Nick Wheatley on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Believe it or not, Sacha Killeya-Jones played a pivotal role in the Virginia Cavaliers winning their first men’s basketball National Championship in 2019.
According to SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell, SKJ’s recruitment helped bring in arguably the most important player in the Cavaliers’ title run: De’Andre Hunter.
Back in 2016, Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett was busy putting together what ended up being a legendary recruiting class. The Cavs had four scholarships. One went to Kyle Guy. Another went to Ty Jerome. A third went to Jay Huff. And the fourth was set to go to… Sacha Killeya-Jones.
SKJ was Bennett’s highest-ranked recruit at No. 23 overall, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. The soon-to-be McDonald’s All-American was from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and attended Virginia Episcopal School.
The Cavaliers had offered SKJ back in September 2014 and he committed on the first day of 2015. Meanwhile, a four-star recruit ranked No. 91 overall by the name of De’Andre Hunter was quietly hoping for an offer.
SKJ would eventually de-commit on June 2, 2015, before receiving a Kentucky offer on June 12 and committing to the Cats in August. This opened up a scholarship for the Cavs, which was offered to Hunter in July 2015, and the rest is history.
Killeya-Jones only ended up playing two years in Lexington before transferring to NC State, only to then leave the Wolfpack program abruptly for unknown reasons. On the other hand, Hunter would help catapult Virginia to its first National Championship, tallying 27 points, nine rebounds, and locking up future top-10 pick Jarrett Culver on defense.
The performance not only helped the Cavs win it all, but it also helped Hunter become the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
John Calipari and Kentucky fans alike hoped SKJ would help influence a national title run, but I’m not sure they envisioned it would happen this way. Nevertheless, it’s a fun story of what could have been.
Follow me on Twitter: @nickwheatley23
By Zack Geoghegan on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 1:45pm
If the NFL preseason isn’t doing it for you on this Sunday afternoon, why not check in on a future Kentucky basketball commit?
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, recent UK commitment and four-star forward Cam’Ron Fletcher will participate in the SLAM Summer Classic joined by a group of potential future Wildcats.
Several high-profile Kentucky targets such as Jalen Green, Josh Christopher, Makur Maker, Terrence Clarke, and Jonathan Kuminga will also be participating in the event.
Check out how they all arrived.
THE FELLAS MADE AN ENTRANCE. pic.twitter.com/BgrAeiombH
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) August 18, 2019
By Eli Mitchell on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 1:30pm
The former Kentucky and current Golden State Warriors center turns 26 years old today!
Just a reminder that Willie Cauley-Stein use to dunk the ball A LOT ? pic.twitter.com/makecutCiq
— KY Clips (@KY_Clips) July 28, 2019
#BBN, I hope you'll join me in wishing @THEwillieCS15 a happy birthday today. Really excited to see what he does with an organization like the @warriors. I think it's going to be a really great fit. pic.twitter.com/PRhsL4H1zD
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 18, 2019
After averaging 11.9 points, 8.4 rebounds per game in 2018 for the Sacramento Kings, Cauley-Stein agreed to a two-year, $4.4 million deal with the Warriors.
Ultimately, the decision came down to situation for Cauley-Stein, as he couldn’t turn down the recruiting of Steph Curry, Steve Kerr, and Draymond Green.
“I know I had said something about getting paid at the beginning of the year. But by the end of it, it was no longer about getting paid. It was about staying secure and building off that security. … I think the Warriors are probably the best at doing that in the league. It was a really easy decision on me and my team’s part.”
With the change of scenery and a talented group around him, Cauley-Stein is poised for an improved year.
Let’s send him some love today, BBN!
By Eli Mitchell on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
Former Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson suffered a torn ACL in the New York Jets second preseason game on Thursday night. The timing could not be worse for Williamson, as he was set to lead a much-improved defense alongside fellow linebacker CJ Mosley.
The injury occurred late in the 2nd quarter, at which point every single NY Jet starting defender was on the sideline except for Williamson.
“Everybody’s slotted for a different amount of snaps,” head coach Adam Gase explained Thursday night. “Some guys we’re trying to get with certain packages and you’re a 1 in this group, a 2 in this group. The last two weeks, he’s kind of stayed in there a little longer.”
There’s no one to blame in a situation like this, but it is easy to question the decision-making after the fact.
This injury to the ACL is by no means the end of Williamson’s career, but it likely does end his time as a NY Jet.
Back in 2018, Williamson signed a three-year $22.5 million deal, but only $16 million is guaranteed. The guaranteed money runs out at the end of this year, so the Jets will have to decide whether or not the $8.5 million cap hit is worth it to keep him. They can release him to free agency for just $2 million in dead cap.
The Jets will likely release him as the cap hit will not be worth a linebacker coming off a serious knee injury.
At 27 years old, there will be a market for Williamson, but coming off a torn ACL he will likely have to play at a discounted rate.
BBN, show some support to Avery as he begins the long road back.
By Eli Mitchell on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
Former Kentucky cornerback Derrick Baity went undrafted in the 2019 NFL draft, but he’s not allowing that to stop him from making a name for himself in the NFL.
Baity signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent and is certainly making the most of his opportunity.
In last night’s contest against the Detroit Lions, Baity led the Texans with six total tackles, while adding two pass deflections, and an interception.
Nice awareness from CB Derrick Baity for the INT. pic.twitter.com/qawGp1zEMW
— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) August 18, 2019
It is going to be an uphill battle for Baity Jr. to make the Texans 53 man roster as they are deep at the corner position. Fortunately, the rest of the league will also evaluate Baity Jr.’s preseason tape, and if he continues this pace it may be enough to make a roster.
By Eli Mitchell on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 11:00am
In Benny Snell Jr.’s second preseason game, the former Kentucky running back made several noteworthy plays that hardly left a mark on the box score.
The box score, especially in football, doesn’t always tell the full story as there are too many stats that are not traditionally accounted for.
Against the Chiefs, Snell Jr. carried the ball 7 times for just 16 yards and caught 2 passes for just 5 yards but those pedestrian statistics don’t tell the full story.
On two separate occasions, the Steelers trusted Snell Jr. to convert on 4th & 1, and he was able to convert both.
— Tommy Jaggi (@TommyJaggi) August 18, 2019
Unfortunately, Snell Jr. suffered a minor groin injury that could keep him out of the team’s next preseason game.
The timing of the injury is especially disappointing as the 3rd preseason game would have been a great opportunity for Benny to solidify a role in the offense and on special teams.
Hopefully, the injury is as minor as it seems, and Snell Jr. is able to play in Pittsburgh’s 3rd game which is a week from today against the Titans.
By Eli Mitchell on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 10:00am
Each Saturday of Fall Camp, the Kentucky football team has held full-contact scrimmages to prepare for the upcoming season.
The scrimmages are important, as they play a role in deciding the two-deep depth chart.
Following a disappointing showing last Saturday, the Kentucky defense responded yesterday with a dominant performance, especially in the trenches.
Defense Wanted It More
The offense didn’t have an awful day, but they did not have the same energy and excitement that the defense brought.
Junior Quarterback Terry Wilson is starting to feel more comfortable with his 2nd & 3rd reads, which showed on Saturday as he did not turn the ball over.
Coach Stoops told reporters, “Offensively, we’re going to be fine. We’re going to be good. They continue to run the ball effectively. We’re doing some very good things.”
TJ Carter Impressing Teammates, Coaches
The biggest revelation of fall camp may be the emergence of TJ Carter as a leading playmaker on the defensive line.
“He’s probably the most noticeable guy on defense right now,” said defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc.
Carter has also drawn praise from teammates as they see the difference in not only his play but also in his mindset.
For more on TJ’s incredible off-season, check out Nick’s Article with quotes from Mr. Carter himself.
De’Aaron Fox Withdraws From Team USA
The former Kentucky guard was a near-lock to make the Team USA roster, but that is no longer the case.
Following the team’s win against Spain, Fox decided to withdraw from consideration so that he can begin preparing for the 2019-20 NBA season.
Fox hopes to lead the Sacramento Kings to their first playoff berth since 2005.
Justin Thomas’ Record-Setting Day
The Louisville native played an incredible round of golf at the BMW Championship on Saturday, finishing the day with a 61 to lead the tournament at -21 under.
Thomas holed out for Eagle on the 16th hole from 181 yards away.
Look at the shot from Kentucky native Justin Thomas. From the fairway, into the hole. pic.twitter.com/C4m84ks2Kt
— Charlie Walter (@CharlieWalterTV) August 17, 2019
Thomas is set to tee off at 1:20 PM with Patrick Cantlay and Tony Finau.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
The dirt surrounding college basketball recruiting and popular shoe and apparel companies continues to pile up.
On Friday evening, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel, and Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports released yet another bombshell report, filled with the various exhibitions submitted to federal court by controversial lawyer Michael Avenatti.
His goal? To support his claims from earlier in the week that Nike has engaged in corruption and illegal payments to high-level basketball recruits.
As we’ve seen in some of the past breaking news stories over the last year or so, multiple big-name athletes and schools were included in Friday’s report.
And as we discussed on the site last night, Kentucky was one of the schools named in the documents, sparking a sense of uneasiness throughout the Big Blue Nation.
But what does it all mean, specifically for the Kentucky program? Do UK fans have any reason to be worried?
Let’s take a look.
Deandre Ayton, Zion Williamson, and Romeo Langford
While Kentucky fans were most interested in UK’s involvement, the biggest aspect of the story had to do with former Arizona center Deandre Ayton, among with fellow former prized recruits Zion Williamson (Duke) and Romeo Langford (Indiana).
For Ayton, the evidence was rather damning. According to the official court documents, Nike EYBL director Carlton DeBose received an email on his official Nike corporate account from Mel McDonald, a known middleman and handler for Ayton and former five-star big man Bol Bol, along with other associates.
The email had a subject line of “Numbers,” with in-depth details on the money spent on Ayton and those close to him.
The expenses revealed in the report covered travel, cell phone, and immigration costs, among other things, totaling $65,840.
In the same email, a long list of payouts were listed, including:
- Nov. 3rd – $5K
- Nov. 24th – $5K
- Dec. 2nd – $5K
- Dec. 12th – 5K in Kentucky (3 cells 2K cash)
- Dec. 15th – $5K Xmas Gifts
- Dec. 15th – $4K (loan) (Met mom about Larnelle)
- Jan. 8th – $2940 mom $600 auntie
- Feb. 9th – $5,000 for March to mom $3,500 for Bahamas to dad.
As far as the “Kentucky” line is concerned, this is likely in reference to the location of the payment, not the UK basketball program. Hillcrest Prep (AZ), Ayton’s high school, played in Lexington back on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13, 2015 for a tournament called the Bluegrass Showcase. While the document doesn’t clarify what the money was used for in Kentucky, the timeline certainly adds up.
Back in April, Avenatti accused Nike of making $83,000 worth of payments to those close to Ayton, providing documents to back up his accusations, as well.
On February 25, 2018, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach also reported that FBI wiretaps showed that Arizona head coach Sean Miller discussed a $100,000 payment to secure a commitment from Ayton.
Outside of Ayton, Avenatti also provided a series of text messages from February 2017 between DeBose, Nike recruiting coordinator John Stovall, and Nike EYBL manager Jamal James, where the trio discussed a plan to pay Williamson, Langford, and another undisclosed player from Michigan.
In one of the exhibits, James wrote to DeBose in a group text message trying to figure out what they would be able to swing financially for all three players.
“Remember that the Romeo and Zion deals are NOT done yet! We are still in it. Just want u to remember that possible financial obligation also,” James said in a text on February 11.
“We’re still in there for Zion and Langford?!?! I thought that ship had sailed,” DeBose later responded.
“Are we willing to do the additional 30K for this (California) [kid] along with whatever may be needed for the Zion/Romeo situations as well as the money we’re not going to do for the kid in Michigan?” James wrote back.
In one group text, James wrote to DeBose seeking to find out if they would be “willing to do … whatever may be needed for the Zion/Romeo situations as well as the money we’re now going to do for the [minor] kid in Michigan.”
“Langford — 20 (thousand), Zion — 35-plus (thousand), [Michigan kid] – 15 (thousand),” Stovall responded.
Later, DeBose added that he was okay with spending “70” if it meant they could “cripple adidas,” saying that those involved needed to “stay aggressive.”
“The other 70 listed I’m willing to spend to cripple adidas,” he said. “The amount of work that you guys are doing is more than worth me spinning the approximate 100K to support the efforts. I will have to get creative elsewhere in the budget but I’m encouraging you all to stay aggressive and I will figure out the money part.”
On February 28, Stovall then said a “new offer” for Williamson had not been presented, but they “hinted at it.”
“[No update on Williamson] yet,” he said. “[A third party] had not talked to them directly in a couple of days. Still has not presented our new offer. Only hinted at it. He did not want to put it in print which I agreed with.”
“What moved Langford?” DeBose responded.
“$$ is my guess,” Stovall said. “They claim “a chance to start a new path.” I’m not buying it. They admitted [Indiana] will stink and said “it’s not about wins and losses” lol.”
Unlike Ayton’s situation, the text messages did not indicate any money explicitly exchanged hands or whether or not any offers were officially presented.
Nonetheless, if you believe the documents, the discussions happened.
Kenny Payne’s “involvement”
As you guys read last night, Kenny Payne participated in a text message exchange with Carlton DeBose in the early hours of July 6, 2017.
According to the official exhibits in Avenatti’s case, Payne – listed by his initials and nickname of “KP” in the messages – had a conversation with DeBose, who told the Kentucky assistant which Nike EYBL coaches he supplied money to in order to help families of players on the popular shoe circuit.
“Do [you] help people like Webster and speedy every year and how many more people asked you to help them,” Payne asked DeBose. “They both are happy [you] are helping them. How many more are [there?]”
“Those two [Nike coaches]. And about 10 other brothers,” DeBose responded, adding nine more names to the list. “About 10 coaches who are helping families to the total of about [$200,000] annually and I still have to meet budget.”
“Wow,” Payne responded.
“You’re the only one that knows about it [because] so many of these dudes are selfish and would want more [because] they would argue that someone else don’t deserve the help more than they do,” DeBose said. “It’s a stressful balancing act.”
“Damn man, can it come back [and] hurt you?” Payne responded.
“Not really. Have to do it cleanly and with a process. I’m good, but it’s enough to where Lynn [Merritt, Nike’s global vice president for sports marketing and basketball] and Nico [Harrison, Nike’s vice president of North American Basketball Operations] don’t want to know the intimate details to cover their asses,” DeBose said. “So it’s a risk but my every day job is a damn risk so I’m used to it now.”
“Watch your back bro,” Payne responded, his final message in the exhibits.
Should Kentucky fans be worried?
Now that you know who DeBose is and what Payne said to him in the text exchange, is there any reason to sweat if you’re a Kentucky basketball fan?
In short, not really.
While it’s never a “good” thing to have your name associated with any scandal, Payne’s text exchange seemed to indicate he and the Kentucky program had seemingly minimal involvement in the entire process and that he was simply telling an individual he had known for quite some time to be careful.
Diving into the assistant’s quotes alone, while it’s obvious he’s not ignorant to the shadiness going on in the world of AAU basketball – he did acknowledge “Webster” and “Speedy” by name and was aware that they appreciated DeBose’s help – he was admittedly surprised at the number of EYBL coaches involved, the dollar figure attached to the process, and seemed to be unaware of the logistics of it all.
Looking at Kentucky’s recruiting track record, especially as of late, with players of questionable backgrounds and those rumored to be looking for handouts, John Calipari and his staff have backed off on multiple occasions.
Ayton, a player who publicly listed Kentucky as one of his favorite schools and was the first in the class of 2016 to receive a scholarship offer from UK, was outspoken about how his recruitment hadn’t gone the way he had hoped and wanted more schools to reach out. For a player who was deemed the most dominant and NBA-ready big man in his class, why would Kentucky randomly cut off all communication during the home stretch of his recruitment, especially when they likely could have reeled him in?
And with Langford, you may recall, Kentucky’s interest and communication dropped off almost completely in the spring of 2018. At the time, Langford’s father, Tim, told the Courier Journal about his disagreements with John Calipari during his time coaching the former five-star prospect with USA Basketball at the U19 FIBA World Cup in Egypt. He also added that Langford called Calipari in hopes of taking an official visit to Lexington in hopes of potentially solving their issues and rebuild burnt bridges.
Bol Bol’s contact dropped off, Terrance Ferguson essentially begged for an offer, Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t prioritized, Josh Jackson’s recruitment drew red flags, Anthony Bennett went from Kentucky lean to minimal interest, etc.
You go down the list, and it’s no secret that Kentucky has mostly stayed away from the prospects – especially late in their respective recruitments – that could have caused them potential headaches with the NCAA. This case only seems to be more of the same.
Going back to Payne’s text messages, there’s always the possibility – a very real one – that the Kentucky assistant used DeBose to find out which AAU programs, coaches, and prospects to avoid on the recruiting trail, not who to go after. If you need a safety blanket to know who will get you in trouble and who will keep you out of it, why not go to the direct source?
Considering the program’s recent track record and the fact that the NCAA has been watching Calipari like a hawk from the day he arrived in Lexington, it’d be far-fetched to think that Payne was using DeBose to find out which prospects were looking for handouts and use that information for more bad than good, to say the least. National analysts and rival fans may jump on this and assume guilt based on name recognition alone, but there is little-to-no substance here that should make Kentucky fans sweat.
Friday’s report didn’t completely clear Payne or the Kentucky basketball program of any wrongdoing, but it certainly didn’t implicate them in any way, either.
By Nick Roush on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 10:45pm
Players fought to move up the depth chart during Saturday’s preseason scrimmage at Kroger Field. It was closed to the general public, but KSR spoke to some folks who got to see the action.
1. Smoke Welcomes a Freshman to the SEC
After the scrimmage I asked Jamin Davis who is the hardest running back to tackle. “Smoke. He’s a hard runner,” said Davis. “He keeps his feet moving on contact. He’s real physical.”
M.J. Devonshire knows that all too well. The freshman cornerback, who is alternating between the first and second team, ate a stiff-arm from Smoke before the redshirt freshman running back scampered into the end zone. The move incited a reaction from the entire sideline. It was the equivalent to a dunk at an AAU game that shuts down the gym.
2. A Freshman Uses the Hit Stick
The freshmen don’t always have to be on the receiving end of “welcome to the SEC” moments. They can deliver the blow too. That’s exactly what Taj Dodson did today. As a unsuspecting wide receiver crossed the middle of the field, the early enrollee safety lowered the boom stick. “It was a nice hit. It wasn’t targeting,” insisted linebacker DeAndre Square.
3. Terry Wilson’s Reads Through Progressions
We’ve heard throughout training camp that Terry Wilson is more “comfortable” in the pocket, but what exactly does that mean? A year ago, if Wilson’s first read wasn’t open, he panicked more times than not. That is no longer the case.
For the first time, Wilson is finding his check-downs. When a few reads aren’t there, A.J. Rose and the rest of the UK running backs will gladly bail out the quarterback. Rose turned one third medium into a hard-fought first down.
Arguably Wilson’s best throw of the day happened before he could get to his running back check-down. Twenty-five yards away from the end zone, he went through two different reads before finding his third option, tight end Keaton Upshaw, open in the end zone for a touchdown. Terry is taking the next step.
4. Jordan Wright Makes his Case
The outside linebacker room got a little more crowded when UK’s coaches moved Josh Paschal back to Jack. Forced to perform in a pressure cooker, Wright brought his A-Game today. One play in particular stood out. Facing an athlete in the flat, Wright did not fall for any jukes. Instead, he hit the receiver in the open field for a tackle for loss.
If Wright does not continue to play at a high level, Xavier Peters certainly has the physical tools to make an impact. As for the NCAA, Stoops is still waiting to see if Peters will be eligible to play this fall.
5. Stoops Makes up his Own Rules
Kentucky’s head coach has a tendency to favor the defense. If you need anymore proof, he did not let the offense get away with a busted play.
“There was a play early offensively. We were keeping them out of the end zone pretty good. There was a broken play and I couldn’t give them the first down. I just couldn’t do it,” Stoops laughed. “It was a dropped snap, the running back picked it up and somehow managed to get a first down. I said ‘field goal.’ They didn’t deserve it. We couldn’t be so lucky.”
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 10:30pm
Kentucky fans will have the opportunity to check out one future Wildcat (at the very least) on Sunday afternoon.
At 2:00 p.m. ET, 2020 four-star forward and UK commitment Cam’Ron Fletcher, among several other elite prospects, will take the floor in the SLAM Summer Classic in New York.
Fletcher will be joined by Kentucky targets Jalen Green, Josh Christopher, Makur Maker, Terrence Clarke, and Jonathan Kuminga, among other high-major recruits, in the event.
Green, Christopher, Maker, and Clarke participated in one-on-one sessions today, followed by Green stealing the show in the event’s official dunk contest afterward:
We’ll have the stream right here on KSR, as well. Stay tuned.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
The Kentucky football program hosted a very important visitor on Saturday morning.
In fact, the team brought on a brand new player to join the roster for a day to make his dream come true. .
This morning, six-year-old Braxton Wessels had his Make-A-Wish wish granted by UK Athletics.
His wish? To live the life of a Kentucky football player for one day.
The team brought him in with his family this morning and showed him around the football facilities, let him meet his new teammates, and watch Kentucky’s scrimmage, among other activities.
By looking at his smile alone, you can already tell he had the time of his life.
Take a look at the footage the Kentucky football social media team released on their Twitter page this afternoon:
Six-year-old Braxton Wessels had a wish to be a Kentucky Football player for a day. We were honored make that wish come true today for Braxton and his family with help from @makeawishohkyin. It's a great day to be a Wildcat!#BringIt pic.twitter.com/WbPgdNlVnX
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) August 17, 2019
Congratulations to Mr. Wessels on his big day as a Kentucky football player! And most importantly, go Cats!
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 9:00pm
If you’ve followed along with the website throughout the day, you’d already know how Kentucky football’s final scrimmage of fall camp went this morning.
Here’s a SparkNotes summary of the day, in case you missed it:
- Stoops was happier this week than last
- Logan Stenberg feels the defense won
- The Kentucky head coach wants more consistency from both side, emphasis on fundamental football
- Terry Wilson is still turnover-free through two scrimmages
- Boogie Watson, Lynn Bowden, and Quinton Bohanna were held out for precautionary reasons
- Nik Scalzo suffered a significant injury
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time for some highlights.
This evening, the official Kentucky football Twitter account released some footage from today’s scrimmage, where we got to see Terry Wilson make some tough throws, Keaton Upshaw find himself wide-open for a touchdown, and the running backs turning heads, among other clips.
Take a look below:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) August 17, 2019
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 8:15pm
On Thursday afternoon, it was announced that former Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins had torn his ACL and his 2019-20 season was over before it had even begun.
The injury reportedly occurred in a morning practice session in Las Vegas when his knee hit the knee of another participating player in transition.
Immediately after, Cousins left the court and traveled to Los Angeles, where tests confirmed the worst.
Now, footage of the incident has been released to the public.
WARNING: WATCH AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION
After the injury, Cousins’ former head coach in Golden State, Steve Kerr, said he was “devastated” for the former Wildcat.
“I’m devastated for DeMarcus. It’s been a couple of years of hell,” he said. “I was really hoping this season would be a chance to get healthy. We’re all crushed for him.”
Kerr also added that Cousins gave the Warriors “everything he had” in his NBA Finals appearance and appreciated his efforts.
“Game two and game five [of the NBA Finals], the two games we won, it wasn’t a coincidence that DeMarcus played really well,” he said. “He helped us immeasurably, knocking down shots, scoring inside, rebounding. The tough part for us was that he had just missed five weeks, so there was no way he was going to have the consistency over a five, seven game series. Just didn’t have the consistency or rhythm. But he was great in spots, gave us a hell of an effort. … DeMarcus gave us everything he had.”
Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers back in July, where he was set to team up with former Wildcat Anthony Davis and NBA superstar LeBron James this season.
In April, he tore his left quad but was able to return to the court in June to play for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. In January 2018, he tore his Achilles and had to miss an entire year.
Boogie’s latest injury means he has torn his Achilles, quadriceps, and ACL in the last 568 days alone.
Devastating. Absolutely devastating.
By Nick Roush on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
The Kentucky football team is starting to find its groove after the second scrimmage of the preseason.
Even though the defense probably got the victory on Saturday, Terry Wilson is pleased with his progress. “I’ve come along way and feel more comfortable,” he said. “There’s probably a few plays I could do better on, but I didn’t take any sacks today, so that was a good thing, and I didn’t turn the ball over. I feel like I did pretty good.”
Logan Stenberg wasn’t too happy with the way the offensive line played on Saturday. That means he was quick to praise his defensive counterparts.
DeAndre Square saw the defense take the field with a much better mindset, especially up front. The experienced group makes his job much easier.
“They help me out a lot. They know their job,” said Square. “They communicate with us. A lot of d-linemen just get in a three-point stance and play the down. Our d-linemen communicate with us, they talk and know what to do.”
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 5:15pm
Bowling Green’s Little League World Series dreams have unfortunately come to an end.
Following the team’s 6-1 loss to New England this afternoon, Bowling Green East has been eliminated from contention.
Bowling Green – who turned into Great Lakes for the LLWS – managed just two hits on the day, while New England ended game with eight total, led by three from Lucas Tanous.
New England’s Owen Pfeffer pitched a complete game, finishing with seven strikeouts, two hits, two walks, and zero earned runs.
As for Great Lakes, Jameson Napper and Luke Idlett made up the team’s two hits on the day.
Kentucky made its 10th LLWS appearance overall and its first since 2016, with the state’s record now moving to 14-20 all time in the event. Bowling Green East made its third trip to Williamsport, with all three of them coming in the past five years alone. Led by manager Rick Kelley, Bowling Green won two games in both 2015 and 2016.
The team had been a perfect 14-0 going into the weekend, including a 3-0 finish at Regionals.
Great Lakes lost on Friday afternoon to Minnesota in the double-elimination event.
By Nick Roush on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 3:25pm
After Kentucky’s first scrimmage, Mark Stoops was not pleased with the effort from his defense. Leading into today’s showdown at Kroger Field, fans waited with bated breath to see if the defense responded. Good news folks: the defense did it.
“Today I’d say the defense won,” said offensive guard Logan Stenberg. “The offense didn’t come out, play the way we needed to play and play the way we can.”
Kentucky’s defense brought the sense of urgency they completely lacked a week ago. It was a much cleaner scrimmage overall, but they still have plenty to clean up before August 31.
“I felt like there were times when one side or there other had success because the other side was a bit sloppy,” said Stoops. “I wanna see more good fundamental football across the board where one side is winning because the other side is making outstanding plays. That wasn’t always the case today, but I feel like our position on the football was much better defensively. We were much more sound across the board. I feel like the offense worked for their yards.”
Even though the defense got the best of the offense, Terry Wilson and Co. instilled confidence in their coach after another turnover-free outing by the Cats’ quarterback.
“Offensively, we’re going to be fine. We’re going to be good. They continue to run the ball very effectively. We’re doing some very good things,” said Stoops. “There’s some hard plays to defend out there and I think Terry’s getting more and more comfortable with the first, second down passing game.”
Nik Scalzo was the only player to suffer significant injury during the scrimmage. Quinton Bohanna, Lynn Bowden, Boogie Watson and a few others were held out for precautionary reasons. Brandin Echols returned and looked “more and more comfortable” in his first live 11-on-11 action.
Today was the last big moving day for many of the underclassmen still trying to climb their way up the depth chart. Coaches will use the film to tighten up the two-deep before Toledo game prep begins this week.
“We have to get dialed in here this week starting Monday, make some decisions today or tomorrow. Not that it’s a final decision, but have some good idea of who is in the two-deep,” said Stoops.
“We’ve got to work hard and concentrate on putting one great unit out there on each side of the ball and have some guys who can go out there and play winning football as well.”
By Nick Roush on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 2:25pm
Kentucky could not escape the second scrimmage of the preseason without an injury.
Mark Stoops revealed Saturday afternoon that Nik Scalzo suffered a knee injury during the action. Scalzo was seen being carted away from Kroger Field.
“I’m a little bit concerned about Nik Scalzo,” Stoops said. “We’ll see what the situation is with Nik. I feel for him right now.”
Scalzo injured the same knee last fall. He was cleared to play in June after recovering from an ACL tear. The timing is not ideal. Yesterday a documentary on his high school senior season, QB1:Beyond the Lights, premiered on Netflix.
By Nick Roush on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 1:30pm
The Big Dog is celebrating his birthday in front of the KyWildcatsTV cameras.
Vince Marrow has a knack for making headlines in radio interviews or in post-practice media sessions. You rarely see him in his natural environment on the practice field. C.J. Conrad often praised Vince for teaching him how to become an elite blocker. After watching this, you’ll understand how he implements his techniques (and see if his shooting technique is up to snuff).
On his birthday, we present to you the sixth episode of “Behind the Grind” with tight ends coach, recruiting coordinator, associate head coach, aka the Big Dog, @vincemarrow! Happy Birthday, Coach! ? #BringIt #UKCamp19 pic.twitter.com/x6PdXDgANO
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) August 17, 2019
Larry! Larry! Larry!
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 12:30pm
Kentucky now has zero representatives on Team USA as they chase gold at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
This afternoon, Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox withdrew from the team to “focus on [the] upcoming season with [a] goal of making [the] playoffs,” per Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.
Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox will withdraw from Team USA to focus on upcoming season with goal of making playoffs, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 17, 2019
Last night, Team USA took on Spain in an exhibition game, winning by a score of 90-81. In the victory, Fox played a team-low 6:11, finishing with just two points and one assist.
With Fox now gone, USA is down to 13 active players, with no former Kentucky players on the roster going into the team’s training camp and exhibition slate in Australia next week:
- Kemba Walker
- Jayson Tatum
- Khris Middleton
- Myles Turner
- Donovan Mitchell
- Jaylen Brown
- Kyle Kuzma
- Brook Lopez
- Mason Plumlee
- Joe Harris
- Harrison Barnes
- Derrick White
- Marcus Smart
Bam Adebayo was released following the Team USA intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 9, with Anthony Davis and Julius Randle both withdrawing from the team at various points back in July. Devin Booker was also expected to be on the roster, though the former Wildcat’s agent reportedly notified Team USA director Jerry Colangelo back in May that his client would not accept an invitation, opting to focus on getting healthy and ready for the 2019-20 season instead.
Before long, Team USA will be taking open tryouts to fill roster spots prior to the official FIBA World Cup in Shanghai, China, which will take place from August 31 through September 15.