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January 23rd, 2017

No official update on De’Aaron Fox’s ankle; Mulder still sick

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Well, if you were refreshing the site for definitive word about De’Aaron Fox’s ankle, well, you’re out of luck. Filling in for John Calipari, Kenny Payne didn’t have an update on Fox other than he’s day to day. Fox actually broke a little news himself on Snapchat, taking a picture of his injured ankle in normal shoes, not the walking boot he wore during the second half of the game Saturday night. He was also spotted by reporters walking through the practice facility barefoot with his ankles taped.

Payne said that people saw how much Fox means to this team when they struggled without him when he first went out.

“A lot. A lot. I think you saw a little bit of the adjustment we had to make, we went through a spell. Without him, we were a little confused, discombobulated, but we got it together, which is the sign of a great team that without any missing piece, we win games.”

In other news, Mychal Mulder is still suffering from the illness that held him out of the South Carolina game.

“Hopefully, we’ll get him back soon,” Payne said of Mulder. “We need him.”

Should Kentucky decide to hold Fox out of tomorrow night’s game in Knoxville, senior Dominique Hawkins may get the starting nod. It was Payne who suggested Calipari hand the reins over to Dominique when Isaiah Briscoe was struggling. Why did he do that?

“I think the fact that he doesn’t turn the ball over. I think Isaiah’s done a great job but I think he can also play both on and off the ball. If turnovers are the issue —  which in spells, it has been an issue, we go through a four-five minute stretch where we’re turning the ball over — give it somebody who doesn’t turn it over. It stabilizes us.”

Hawkins did just that for the Cats Saturday, dishing out seven assists to only two turnovers; however, his presence on defense was equally important, Payne said.

“He’s been really really steady, and the most important thing he does for this team is put pressure on the ball, and that’s where we need him the most. He’s been good for us. I’d like to see him get more shots, be a more aggressive offensive player, but he’s done a really good job.”

If Fox is out, we’re going to need another huge game from Hawkins tomorrow night.


LIVE: Kenny Payne previews Tennessee

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John Calipari is letting Kenny Payne handle today’s media opportunity. Enjoy a live stream courtesy of KyWildcatsTV, or check the site in a bit for a full recap.


Fox and Monk on midseason watch lists for USBWA National Player & Freshman of the Year awards

© Mark Zerof

Big news for Kentucky’s freshman backcourt: De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk were just named to the midseason watch lists for both the Oscar Robertson Trophy, given annually to the national player of the year; and the Wayman Tisdale Award, given annually to the top freshman in college basketball. Here are the watch lists for both awards:

2016-17 USBWA MEN’S MIDSEASON WATCH LISTS
Oscar Robertson Trophy (Men’s National Player of the Year)
Dwayne Bacon, Florida State
Lonzo Ball, UCLA
Joel Berry II, North Carolina
De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky
Markelle Fultz, Washington
Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
Josh Hart, Villanova
Marcus Keene, Central Michigan
Luke Kennard, Duke
Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s
TJ Leaf, UCLA
Lauri Markkanen, Arizona
Kelan Martin, Butler
Frank Mason III, Kansas
Malik Monk, Kentucky
Johnathan Motley, Baylor
Alec Peters, Valparaiso
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga
Wayman Tisdale Award (Men’s National Freshman Player of the Year)
Lonzo Ball, UCLA
De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky
Markelle Fultz, Washington
Jonathan Isaac, Florida State
Josh Jackson, Kansas
TJ Leaf, UCLA
Lauri Markkanen, Arizona
Malik Monk, Kentucky
Justin Patton, Creighton
Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s
Dennis Smith, North Carolina State
Jayson Tatum, Duke

And a rundown of Fox and Monk’s impressive seasons thus far, courtesy of UK…

Monk is averaging 21.7 points per game and ranks 18th nationally in scoring, second among all freshmen and first in the SEC. No John Calipari-coached player has ever averaged more than 21.2 points for an entire season (Dajuan Wagner at Memphis in 2001-02). He’s scored in double figures in every game this season and has 11 games of 20 points or more, including a Kentucky freshman record 47 points vs. North Carolina in December and another 34-point outburst at Ole Miss. He’s made 58 3-pointers through 19 games, ahead of Jamal Murray (50) at this point in the season when he went on to break the freshman record with 113 3-pointers a season ago.

Meanwhile, Fox is currently averaging 16.2 points, 6.0 assists and 1.6 steals. His 6.0 assists per game ranks 16th in the country, fourth among all freshmen and first in the SEC, while his 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio is first in the conference. His 114 assists are ahead of where Ulis (108) sat through the first 19 games last year when he went on to break the school’s single-season assists record. Fox already has a team-leading four double-doubles by way of points and assists, which includes his historic triple-double against Arizona State – the second triple-double in school history and first since Chris Mills did it Dec. 27, 1988. The Houston native has 10 games of six assists or more.

Fox and Monk are also on the midseason watch list for the John R. Wooden Awards, given annually to the national player of the year by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Let’s celebrate with some of their highlights from this season:

 


De’Aaron Fox no longer in a walking boot

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Ahh, the 21st century: automated cars, Amazon Prime, and getting injury updates from players’ SnapChats. De’Aaron Fox gave the BBN a scare after turning his ankle in the first half of the South Carolina game and returning to the bench in a walking boot, but if you follow his SnapChat story, it may not be so bad. This morning, Fox uploaded pics of himself not only in normal sneakers, but dress shoes:

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Yesterday, De’Aaron also photographed himself receiving treatment on that ankle:

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Kenny Payne’s scheduled to address reporters at 2:30 p.m., so we’ll hopefully know more then.


UK also up to #4 in the Coaches Poll

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The Cats are now the consensus number four team in the country, moving up a spot in both the AP and Coaches Poll. The new Coaches Poll just hit the net and Kentucky is fourth behind Kansas, Villanova, and Gonzaga. So, if you prefer this poll to the AP poll, Kentucky will face the #1 team in the country on Saturday.

Here are both polls side-by-side:

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So…I guess Gonzaga is legit?


Calipari will wear custom shoes to honor Bill Keightley tomorrow night

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It’s hard to believe, but we’re coming up on the ninth anniversary of Bill Keightley’s death, and tomorrow night, John Calipari and the UK Basketball staff will wear custom sneakers in Mr. Wildcat’s honor. Once again, Calipari is partnering with the American Cancer Society for Coaches vs. Cancer Week, and this year, True Blue Customs made Calipari and the UK staff custom kicks with the nod to the longtime equipment manager.

You can see the black version above, but there’s also a white version:

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Very, very cool.


Kentucky rises to number four in the AP Poll

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Saturday’s game vs. Kansas will be a showdown of number two and number four. The new AP Poll just came out and Kentucky moved up one spot to number four behind Villanova, Kansas, and Gonzaga. The entire poll for your viewing pleasure:

AP Top 25
RK TEAM RECORD PTS
1 Villanova (35) 19-1 1,591
2 Kansas (28) 18-1 1,572
3 Gonzaga (2) 19-0 1,471
4 Kentucky 17-2 1,414
5 Baylor 18-1 1,379
6 Florida State 18-2 1,215
7 Arizona 18-2 1,190
8 UCLA 19-2 1,177
9 North Carolina 18-3 1,171
10 Oregon 18-2 1,035
11 Butler 17-3 914
12 Virginia 15-3 803
13 Louisville 16-4 796
14 Notre Dame 17-3 767
15 Wisconsin 16-3 746
16 Creighton 18-2 731
17 Duke 15-4 628
18 West Virginia 15-4 569
19 Cincinnati 17-2 478
20 Purdue 16-4 412
21 Saint Mary’s 17-2 290
22 Maryland 17-2 261
23 South Carolina 15-4 171
24 Xavier 14-5 146
25 Florida 14-5 47

Meanwhile, Kentucky is still second in the KenPom ratings behind Gonzaga and now third in the RPI behind Baylor and Villanova. Sing it with me…

 


BBNBA: Eric Bledsoe puts up 40, Karl Towns puts up 32

Eric Bledsoe was one of the stars of the night in the NBA yesterday, putting up a career high 40 points, 13 assists, and six rebounds in the Suns’ win over the Raptors. That’s where we’ll start today’s BBNBA roundup.

bbnba-bledEric Bledsoe, Suns (115-103 win over the Raptors)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

42

11-17

4-7

14-14

0

6

6

13

0

0

4

3

+23

40

Bledsoe not only set a career high, he became the first Suns player to record at least 40 points and 10 assists in a game since Steve Nash in 2006. Here’s a complete highlight reel:


bbnba-bookDevin Booker, Suns (115-103 win over the Raptors)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

37

6-14

5-8

3-4

0

4

4

2

2

0

2

5

+12

20

Devin Booker had a pretty good night himself, turning in his ninth straight 20+ point game. He had five threes:


bbnba-knightBrandon Knight, Suns (115-103 win over the Raptors)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

24

3-6

0-0

6-6

0

1

1

1

0

0

1

2

+17

12

Knight had 12 points, but took a blow to the head from Kyle Lowry, which resulted in Lowry’s ejection:


bbnba-ulisTyler Ulis, Suns (115-103 win over the Raptors)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

6

2-4

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

-11

4

Gorgeous little spin move from Ulis on this play:


bbnba-pattersonPatrick Patterson, Raptors (115-103 loss to the Suns)

DNP — Knee injury


bbnba-townsKarl Towns, Timberwolves (111-108 win over the Nuggets)

MIN

FG

3PT

FT

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TO

PF

+/-

PTS

40

13-19

0-0

6-8

2

10

12

7

1

4

6

4

+6

32

It was also a huge night for Karl, who put up 32 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 blocks in the Timberwolves win, his seventh 30+ point game this season. He joins Kevin Garnett as the only player in Timberwolves history to record consecutive 30 point, 10 rebound, 5 assist games. As Andrew Wiggins said afterwards, Karl is “playing out of his mind right now.” Don’t tell John Calipari, but he chinned up on the rim on this dunk:

Full highlights:

(more…)


De’Aaron Fox’s status is “day-to-day”

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It’s the question on everyone’s mind: what’s the latest on De’Aaron Fox’s ankle? Hopefully we’ll get a bigger update from John Calipari in his press conference this afternoon, but for now, a UK spokesman says Fox is listed as “day-to-day” after turning his ankle in the first half of the South Carolina game. On Saturday, Calipari suggested the injury wasn’t too serious.

“I think it might’ve been a stinger, I don’t know. But something hit his ankle,” Cal said after the game. “He is in a boot but they said there is no swelling, so I don’t know.”

If the injury’s not that bad, I still say sit Fox for the Tennessee game to make sure he’s ready to roll for Kansas. Let Dominique Hawkins run the point and hope Isaiah Briscoe doesn’t turn in another clunker.


Steve Masiello calls millennials a “fraudulent generation”

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Remember UofL women’s coach Jeff Walz’s epic rant about participation trophies a few months back? Well, former Kentucky player and current Manhattan coach Steve Masiello went on a similar rant last night after his team lost to Siena, the Jaspers’ third straight loss. Masiello, who was an assistant at Louisville under Rick Pitino before taking the head coaching job at Manhattan in 2011, said his team struggles with adversity because society today — their generation in particular — is “fraudulent.” 

We’re a fraudulent society top to bottom. Our society is fraudulent. Everything about our society is edited. Everything about our society is pre-arranged, So this generation is a fraudulent generation.

What I mean by that is they put their Instagram picture up the way they want. They put their tweet out the way they want. Nothing is interactive or real. So when things don’t go the way people want them to – people will struggle with when it’s not 70 degrees and sun and the stars aren’t exactly aligned and it’s not exactly 4 p.m., and they didn’t get exactly eight hours of beauty sleep. Young people today struggle with that. Our society struggles with that. For me, I can’t speak for other coaches. I see it more than ever when adversity comes in, people struggle.

They’re not bad kids. This might be one of my favorite groups I’ve ever had. They struggle with adversity, and that’s a byproduct of our society today. I think we are a reflection of our culture today. Not to get too deep.

The irony of this coming from someone who lied about completing his degree at UK on his resume is rich, but well, it will certainly get people talking.

[The Score, via @SamBlum3]


Start your week right with KSR (Monday Show Thread)

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Good morning friends, and welcome to the Monday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. This morning, the KSR crew will discuss Kentucky’s win over South Carolina, the latest on De’Aaron Fox’s ankle, a big, big week, and the SEC’s stupid policy about tweeting highlights, which Matt wrote about last night and I’ve been mocking all season. Tune in for all of that and probably a bunch more random stuff.

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

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

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Monday’s Top 10: De’Aaron Fox’s ankle, Calipari & Gronk, Mo Bamba, and Gameday coming to town

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Shoutout to KSR fan McKayla, who tossed a coin in the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome to wish for Kentucky’s ninth national championship. Hopefully McKayla threw another coin over her left shoulder to ensure she’ll return to Rome one day; I did that back in the summer of 2004 and can’t wait to fulfill that promise in May on our fifth anniversary trip across Italy. That reminds me, I need to do my Duolingo minutes today…

While I take care of that, enjoy a rundown of today’s happenings in the UK sports world.

1. What’s the latest on De’Aaron Fox’s ankle?

Fox turned his ankle eight minutes in to Saturday’s win over South Carolina, and while the Cats were able to beat the Gamecocks by 16 without him thanks to Dominique Hawkins, everyone wants to know when Fox will be back. After the game, John Calipari suggested the injury wasn’t too bad, telling reporters there wasn’t any swelling and it may simple have been a stinger, but Fox returned to the bench on crutches in a walking boot, so the staff is clearly being cautious with it. We should get an update today, and just cross your fingers Fox’s injury isn’t the dreaded high-ankle sprain.

2. Meanwhile, we gotta go to Tennessee

With Fox’s ankle and Saturday’s showdown with Kansas, this is already a big week, but first, the Cats must travel to Knoxville to take care of business vs. a 10-9 Tennessee team. The Vols are 3-4 in conference play so far, with losses to Ole Miss, South Carolina, Florida, and Arkansas, but given all the distractions, this could be the perfect trap game. As someone who witnessed the debacle in Thompson-Boling last year, you don’t have to remind me of what could happen twice, and I just hope me making the trek down I-40 East doesn’t jinx everything to pieces.

3. Calipari was at the AFC Championship last night

Calipari is a huge Steelers fan, but played nice at Gillette Stadium last night as Pittsburgh fell to New England in the AFC Championship. Cal posted lots of pictures, including this one with Gronk:

On the flip side, the Falcons beat Randall Cobb and the Packers to advance to the Super Bowl, but at least fellow Boyle County native Jacob Tamme has a chance of getting a ring. I think I speak for most of America when I say, “Go Falcons!”.

4. Mo Bamba wrapped up a visit

@coolmoreamerica

@coolmoreamerica

This weekend, five-star power forward Mo Bamba took his official visit to Kentucky, and made the rounds in the Bluegrass, eating cake behind the bench during the South Carolina game, having breakfast with Calipari on Sunday, and even meeting Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh. Kentucky signee Quade Green and the rest of the 2017 class have been recruiting Bamba hard, so hopefully we’ll hear some feedback on his visit over the next few days.

5. Kevin Knox is on deck

From one big recruiting weekend to another, right? With Jarred Vanderbilt and Hamidou Diallo on board, Kentucky’s pretty loaded on the wing for the 2017-18 season, but the staff is still pursuing five-star small forward Kevin Knox, who will take his official to Kentucky this weekend for the Kansas game. Suddenly, the game we’ve all been looking forward to all season is bigger than ever, in part because…

6. “College Gameday” is coming to Lexington

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It felt like common knowledge when it was finally made official, but ESPN’s “College Gameday” is coming to Lexington for Kentucky/Kansas. The show airs live at 11 a.m. ET Saturday morning, but doors will open at Rupp at 9:30 a.m. Attendance is free.

If you didn’t know before now, don’t worry, because ESPN will remind you one million times before then. After a pathetic showing at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Seth Greenberg issued this challenge to the BBN:

Don’t worry, Seth, we got this.

If Gameday’s not enough for you, Paul Finebaum will also host his show from the Rupp Arena lobby, just off High Street from 3-7 p.m. Friday afternoon. Like GameDay, fans are encouraged to attend and admission is free.

7. Signing Day is a week from Wednesday

Kentucky has 23 commitments in the 2017 class, and with Signing Day fast approaching, the staff is criss-crossing the country to make sure all of those commitments stay on board. Will they snag a few more? Four-star offensive lineman Thayer Munford visited Ohio State this weekend and this morning, there are reports he committed to the Buckeyes, but Kentucky still has an eye on other targets like former commit Russ Yeast, who hosted Stoops in his house on Thursday night. It seemed like Kentucky was out of the picture for Yeast, but maybe that’s not the case. Stay tuned…

8. I finally saw “La La Land”

I enjoy the occasional musical and after the Golden Globes slobbered all over “La La Land,” I decided to give it a shot this weekend. To me, it was just okay. While I appreciate the artistry, creativity, and the “DREAM SO DREAMING WON’T DIE” sentiment, the movie seemed to get caught up in itself at times, although maybe that was the point. Regardless, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were fantastic, and I don’t think I’ll get that song out of my head anytime soon. Still rooting for “Hell or High Water” to win the Oscar, but it won’t because Hollywood loves nothing more than Hollywood worship. This SNL skit sums up the “La La Land” obsession perfectly:

9. Shoutout to Danville sophomore Ivy Turner for joining the 1,000 point club

Breaking 1,000 points in your high school basketball career is impressive, but it’s even more so when you do it as a sophomore. Danville’s Ivy Turner did just that last week during Danville’s win over Garrard County. Turner ranks in the top ten in the state in scoring, and helped lead the Ads to their fifth-straight All-A region title this weekend. Go Ivy, and Go Ads!

10. A good excuse to go to Raising Cane’s for lunch

Want to travel to Kentucky’s road game in Tuscaloosa in style? Register for the chance to go to the game in a private jet and a pair of tickets to UK/Alabama on February 11 simply by following the instructions below:

canes

Radio in an hour…


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: UK’s Pathetic SEC Schedule Is Going to Eventually Bite Them

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No doubt it is fun watching this team play and I see no reason why this team should not be in the Final Four and has a legit chance at the title.  But since SEC play started, its just boring to watch.  South Carolina was supposed to be the “best” team the Cats have played so far and even with our best player out early in the game and Bam in foul trouble, the Cats still won by 16.  Vanderbilt gave the Cats a semi-competitive game, as did Mississippi State.  But never once in any of those games so far have I thought the Cats were going to lose.  Never for one second.  The gap in talent between UK and the rest of the SEC is pathetic.  And just look at how many conference ranked opponents the Cats have played under Calipari and notice the very concerning trend:

2009-10: 6 (Tennessee (3 times), Vanderbilt (2 times), Mississippi)
2010-11: 4 (Vanderbilt (2 times), Florida (2 times))
2011-12: 3 (Florida (3 times))
2012-13: 3 (Florida (2 times), Mississippi)
2013-14: 3 (Florida (3 times))
2014-15: 2 (Arkansas (2 times))
2015-16: 1 (Texas A&M)
2016-17: 1 (South Carolina)
COMBINED: 23 (Florida-10 times, Vanderbilt-4 times, Tennessee-3 times, Arkansas-2 times, Ole Miss-2 times, Texas A&M, South Carolina)

With that said, the Cats are still very successful in these games:

2009-10: 5-1
2010-11: 3-1
2011-12: 3-0
2012-13: 2-1
2013-14: 0-3
2014-15: 2-0
2015-16: 1-0
2016-17: 1-0
COMBINED: 17-6

17-6 overall with 3 of those losses coming to #1 Florida in the 2013-14 season.

But here is my point: this will eventually bite the Cats in the ass.  Not only are they esentially playing 3 months without a quality NCAA Tournament opponent (thank god for Kansas this weekend), but their seeding can be damaged.  Every loss the Cats have the remainder of the season (sans Kansas) will be considered a BAD loss.  Florida will no longer be a ranked team after a 2-loss week.  North Carolina can lose games, Kansas can lose games, even Villanova has more quality opponents remaining than the Cats.  UK can maybe lose 1 game in conference play to get a #1 seed because they have only Kansas remaining that will be considered a quality win.

Let’s do a quick comparison of some of the other powers currently in college basketball.  Just to give you a comparison of how UK is put behind the 8-ball so often in conference play.  Here is how many ranked conference opponents each of these teams have played since the 2009-10 season (keep in mind UK has played 23 games):

Kansas: 53
Michigan State: 53
North Carolina: 38

Those teams are getting 2-4 more ranked conference opponents every season.  That is that many opportunities to impress the committee and improve their resume and that many FEWER chances to suffer a bad loss.  Kentucky only has bad losses remaining on the conference schedule which is why the Kansas game this weekend is so important.  It is likely the last game UK has to put a bow on their resume.  Beat the Jayhawks and you have 2 top wins and both losses being quality.  It probably gives the Cats one, maybe 2, losses to suffer to remain a #1 seed.

But wouldn’t it be so much better if the conference just improved?  It’s nice to win and all.  It’s so much better to watch entertaining basketball from both teams though.


January 22nd, 2017

SEC has Twitter take down Matt Jones’s UK Basketball Tweets

SEC Logo

Are we among friends now? Yes, good. Let’s be honest about something. Besides our beloved Kentucky Wildcats, it is beyond clear by now that SEC Basketball sucks. This year may be the worst year for the conference basketball-wise in history and every night seems to produce some result just a bit more embarrassing than the one before. Whether it is the painful non-conference losses, the alleged 2nd best team in the league taking a home loss to below .500 Vanderbilt or the most egregiously horrendous officiating of my lifetime, SEC Basketball has been a royal train wreck all season long. Thankfully for the SEC, Kentucky and more importantly the Big Blue Nation, exist to break the ubiquitous depression of SEC Basketball with actual excitement and top-level play. Without Kentucky, the SEC is the Atlantic 10 (or worse) and without the BBN, the overall average crowd attendance of league games would likely barely hover above that of your favorite 14th Region High School game. The SEC is a basketball wasteland and one would think the league would thank its lucky stars that UK and the BBN still throw a life preserver to its mediocrity.

However, that seems not to be the case. This weekend’s UK victory over South Carolina produced a view good video moments…Derek Willis had a dunk for the ages, SKJ had a reaction that can create 1,000 memes and Brad Calipari pinched Tai Wynyard’s nipple…all moments that bind us as fans. We posted them here on this site and I retweeted various fan postings of the moments from TV in short clips on my Twitter account. UK/SEC was able to get good (as opposed to normal horrendous) publicity and UK fans were able to share the best moments from an otherwise normal 20 point win. However this evening I received the response you see below from Twitter, as the SEC forced Twitter to take down all of my tweets showing any footage from the UK game. As you can see, the SEC claims ownership of all footage and wants to be the only entity to share it in any form online. (“ALL BRAD CALIPARI NIPPLE PINCHES ARE OURS!”) My tweets were removed and it looks as if they are gone to the dustbin of history, ensuring that the fans that consume the product the most cannot see their favorite moments from a big Rupp Arena home win.

It has seemed in recent weeks that the SEC has stepped up enforcement of its alleged copyright over UK games quite a bit. Our show “Hey Kentucky” was told to no longer showcase what we refer to as “B Roll” highlights from UK games on any presentation of our TV show online, even when that footage has been shot by our own photographers at the game. When we reached out to the SEC, they were increasing enforcement across the board, although as far as I have seen, we have been the only entity that has received such notices. Now this is apparently extending into the social media sphere as well, and it looks to be the policy of the league going forward.

I could go on and on about what a shortsighted, stupid policy the SEC’s current strategy is going forward. No one except UK fans cares about SEC basketball footage and to take it away from UK fans online seems ridiculous. The NBA, NFL and all other conferences have allowed social media sharing to go on and have given quotes saying they believe it helps their product. They are correct. That publicity and sharing helps their best plays get seen by more people, which only makes people want to watch the games more. The SEC Basketball powers that be showcase that the same level of competence they have put into fielding competitive basketball programs extends to their media expertise as well by going in the opposite direction. Going forward it looks as if the league is taking one of these two positions. They are either:

1. Beginning a crackdown of all social media sharing of highlights, first by going after media and then fans or

2. Beginning a crackdown of all KSR-affiliated sharing of highlights, first by TV and social media and later everything else as well

The latter scenario seems a little far-fetched, but I can’t completely dismiss it. Since I started the “Hey Kentucky” TV show, the official media partner of UK (JMI) has cut us out of all of their broadcasts and pressured our people with relationships with the company to no longer work with them. I can’t imagine the SEC would care enough to have a similar policy, but as of yet it seems it has only been our highlights that have been cracked down upon. Absent any more evidence, I will assume we are just the most notable media entity and this isn’t selective enforcement based on pettiness. Surely the league would be better than that.

The more likely scenario is the second. The SEC simply is cutting off its nose to spite its face. Under the guise of “protecting copyright”, they are choosing to limit the sharing of their already mediocre product and keep it from the one group of people that actually like it the most, UK fans. Rather than spend energy and resources in promoting and making what is positive about the league (UK) more visible, they would rather make their product value diminish by hiding it and keeping the best moments in as few of their (owned) resources as possible. While this may be legally valid (fair use applies but my guess is there is some addition to our credential application…which functions as a contract of sorts…that allows them to double down on their suspect business decisions with the self-delusion of legal superiority), it is another example of the league having little clue as to how to market its weakest sport in the new modern media age. SEC Basketball somehow finds a way to be the big loser, even when it wins.

Below is the notice we received from Twitter…nice job SEC…you own the Brad Calipari titty twister for all time. Use it wisely.

Hello,

The following material has been removed from your account in response to the DMCA takedown notice copied at
the bottom of this email:

Tweet: https://twitter.com/kysportsradio/status/822964904881754113 – Derek creates a Poster! RT @Scott_Charlton: #BBN https://t.co/jzkhYqPWoQ
Tweet: https://twitter.com/kysportsradio/status/822974680684437504 – Brad with the Nipple pinch on Tai RT @BluegrassHunter: @KySportsRadio https://t.co/fxA4VR3hd6
Tweet: https://twitter.com/kysportsradio/status/822965860902047744 – What did you say SKJ? RT @hunnner: @KySportsRadio https://t.co/ZaUCloTM9c

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Derek Willis coming into his own as season passes

derek-willis

It is easy to make the argument that out of all Kentucky basketball players, Derek Willis has received the most criticism this season. Starting with his arrest months before the beginning of the season, his struggles on the defensive end of the court and a surprising shooting slump to start the season. Likewise, the four has been the most criticized position for the Cats because of  a lack of defensive spark.

However, over the past five games Willis and Wenyen Gabriel have both been the saving grace for the Cats. The biggest change for the two has been Willis’ three-point percentage.

According to CoachCal.com, in the first 14 games of the season, Willis shot just 31.8 percent, 14 of 44 from behind the line. The last five? Willis went seven of 12 for 58.3 percent from three. The senior looks more confident with each game and has improved his shot selection.

Both Willis and Gabriel have begun to knock down shots when the Cats need them to, but they have also stepped it up on the other end of the court.

In the Cats’ win over Auburn, Gabriel pulled down 16 rebounds, the most of any player in the Cal era in SEC play. And then against South Carolina last night, Willis led the team with seven rebounds, stepping up when the Cats were getting almost no help from their guards.

Oh, and who can forget about this?

It was good enough to earn him a shout out from my pastor in church this morning, gotta love Bullitt County.