Category Archives: General UK Sports News
It was another busy weekend in Kentucky athletics. So, let’s jump right in. Following are some of the top headlines from the weekend that was:
- An Andrew Wiggins decision is coming Tuesday. Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford told the Herald Leader’s Ben Roberts that Wiggins will announce his decision Tuesday at 12:15 pm at his school. Wiggins postponed the decision until now because he wanted his mother, who just left Toronto this morning, to be there. Wiggins does not want a press conference signing, so the ceremony will just be open to family, friends and classmates. The saga is finally coming to a close.
- Rod Strickland may take his talents back to Memphis. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweeted today that Rod Strickland is under consideration for a spot on Josh Pastner’s staff at Memphis. Strickland was originally a member of the Memphis staff before making the jump to Kentucky with John Calipari. Voluntarily going from Kentucky to Memphis may seem a bit unusual, especially with Kentucky being poised to make another title run, but it would present Strickland the opportunity to get back into the coaching. He would be an assistant coach on Pastner’s staff versus a more administrative role as assistant to the head coach on Calipari’s staff. Best of luck to Strickland either way.
- Kentucky Basketball alumni were the fourth highest-paid group in the NBA this season. A College Spun article says that the 20 former Cats made a total of $61,882,315 this season, ranking them behind just Duke, Connecticut and Florida. This number should only go up in future years as many of UK’s marquee players, including John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe, are still playing under their rookie contracts.
- Kentucky’s AAU team is turning heads in the Nike EYBL. The Kentucky Travelers are now 7-6 with five games remaining in the Nike EYBL, which ties them for second in their 10-team division. Perhaps most impressive, they were able to beat Mac Irvin Fire, one of the most talented AAU teams in the country, 72-61 on Saturday. Mac Irvin Fire features two top five players in 2014: Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander. Not too shabby. There is a lot of young and up-and-coming talent in Kentucky. That’s something to be excited about.
- Kentucky football is off to a great start for 2014. It’s early, but Kentucky currently has the No. 19 recruiting class in 2014, according to Rivals. Not counting Nebraska transfer Braylon Heard, the Cats already have six commitments for 2014 and this number is sure to grow within the next few weeks. Drew Barker’s commitment on Friday was huge for Kentucky as it will likely begin a domino effect that could lead to commitments from a bevy of other highly-rated recruits. It’s truly remarkable what Stoops and company have been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.
- Kentucky did miss on one recruit Sunday. 4-star athlete Lonnie Johnson picked Ohio State today over Kentucky and a host of others. Johnson, a Gary, Indiana native, measures in at 6’3″ and projects to be a wide receiver at the next level, though he is also an outstanding safety. Johnson would have been a nice grab for Kentucky, but the Cats still have a great chance of landing two of the top wide receivers in 2014: Derek Kief and Braxton Berrios.
It’s only fitting to start this post by congratulating the Baltimore Ravens on their second Super Bowl victory in their franchise’s history, and of course, to Ray Lewis. Love him or hate him, there are few players who have ever played the Middle Linebacker position as well as Ray Lewis. As polarizing of a figure as he is off the field, you got to give him props for his play on the field. Now, just get ready for a few weeks of Ray Lewis taking over a SportsCenter near you.
On to the news….
Looking back at Saturday night’s game, it’s hard not to feel pretty impressed with the Cats win down in College Station. You didn’t get a good performance from Archie Goodwin, Ryan Harrow, Alex Poythress, or Kyle Wiltjer, and you still managed to pull out a victory. Julius Mays and Nerlens Noel carried the Cats, and came up with huge plays down the stretch. Wiltjer came through down the stretch, and despite some defensive breakdowns, the Cats gutted out a hard fought victory on the road.
UK never trailed in the game. Not at any point did Texas A&M have the lead. That’s pretty impressive.
How about Uncle Julius? The oldest Cat certainly had his best game as a Cat on Saturday night, and it could not have come at a better time.
It was so important for the Cats to win a game like this too. To have guys not play their best game, and still realize that they had it within themselves to find a way to win, even in a hostile (semi-hostile) environment. Now, hopefully Texas A&M can do us a favor and go win a few games.
In football recruiting news, Ryan Timmons returned from his visit to Florida this week, and the waters surround his recruitment become muddier. Florida sources are confident that he’s going to Florida, as they are with any recruit that goes to Florida for a visit (it should be noted), but Florida has 4 wide receiver commits, is actively recruiting 2 highly rated JUCO Wide Receivers, and looks to be on the verge of getting 4* James Clark, who plays essentially the same role as Ryan Timmons.
Here’s why I think Timmons ends up a Cat, just reading tea leaves:
-He knows he’ll have the opportunity to play early.
-He knows the system Neal runs extremely well, and is a natural fit for it.
-Lexington is much closer to home than Gainesville.
-There’s a new sense of optimism and confidence around the program, and there is firm belief that UK will win, and will win soon.
-His sister is going to UK.
-He did the interview with KSTV. If you’re not going to UK, why make your recruitment so public to the Commonwealth state?
Now with all this said, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him go to UF, but I just think when it comes down to it, he knows how much he’s needed, and wanted, by UK. And he knows that UK is close to winning, and he can put them over the top.
Nick Haynes committed to UK today, becoming the 20th commitment of the class. UK still has 5 spots open, and will be looking to make a splash on National Signing Day. I don’t think they would be publicizing NSD so much if they weren’t expecting a surprise or two.
And who could forget that Jeff Badet and JoJo Kemp became Cats on Friday night. Two huge commitments for the Cats this close to Signing Day. Kemp is actually rated as the #10 All-Purpose back in the nation, and figures to get a shot at the starting running back spot from day one.
There’s lots to get to this week, with National Signing Day on Wednesday, and UK getting two home games this week with South Carolina and Auburn.
More to come!
Go Big Blue!
Ain’t no rest for the wicked….
One day, we’ll all look back at the day that charges were dropped against Miami University by the NCAA as the “day the NCAA lost all semblance of power.”
The NCAA will have gone from an organization that ruled collegiate athletics with a mighty fist, to an organization that has become a laughing stock, and has no more enforcement power than the local media.
After it was found out this week that the NCAA had Nevin Shapiro’s attorney on their payroll, and were paying her for an opportunity to interview Shapiro and others under oath during Shapiro’s bankruptcy trial, things aren’t looking good for the once powerful organization.
First, everyone scoffed as the NCAA over-stepped it’s bounds to institute huge sanctions against Penn State. That’s great and all I guess, since there was certainly a lot going on, but the issue was handled through the legal system, and all those who were part of what was happening were either brought to justice, or are in the process of, and were no longer at Penn State. So, it’s fair to punish schools, who at the time, have no one there that committed any NCAA rules violations?
Now you have Miami. A school were reportedly NCAA rules were being broken over and over again. Now, there will be no penalties or sanctions brought against the school, as the NCAA will have no choice but to settle their disputes with Miami, and move on. They know now that if they press sanctions against Miami, Miami can take them to court, and a whole bevy of lies and corruption could be laid out in front of the American people.
The truth, and the reality is, that the NCAA needs to be done away with, and a new organization implemented from scratch.
One that is transparent. One that keeps athletes, fans, and schools in their best interest, and not themselves. One that is made up of people not tied to any individual member. One that has Board Members, and members in Executive and Legislative power that are voted on both the Presidents and Athletic Directors of the institutions that make up the organization. One that creates rules that are enforceable, make sense, and have true competitive balance in mind.
One day, we’ll look back at this Miami case as the straw that broke the camel’s back; the day institutions decided it was time to take on, and take out, the NCAA.
Which one is scarier?
It looks we have came to somewhat of a definitive answer for the question, who is the opponent you fear the most in SEC season. Florida is definitely going to be UK’s toughest opponent this season. They have destroyed several teams this year already, including a 31 point beat down against Missouri.
The SEC is definitely down this year, because Missouri is supposed to be our 2nd toughest opponent and the have not played that great this season. Someone that is tougher than Missouri and almost as tough as Florida is Jadaveon Clowney. He is one scary dude. Just look at this picture below and you will know how scary he is.
All in all the SEC will be tough and not so tough at the same time. I just do not look forward to the game against Florida, it will be a slobber knocker.
With 2012 firmly in our rear view mirror, we’d be remiss not to take an opportunity to look back at the year that was, and all of the top UK stories for the year. Let’s take a look.
#5: Kentucky fires Joker Phillips
Easily one of the biggest stories of the year was the firing of Joker Phillips. The firing was a surprise to no one, but still signified the deepest depression that UK football had been in since the early 2000′s. UK was in a dark hole at the time, and struggled to a 2-10 season. With no hope on the foreseeable horizon, Joker was let go. Mitch Barnhart caught a lot of flack for a lot of things in the following days, but we’ll check in to see how he fared a little later in this post.
#4: UK signs 4th consecutive #1 recruiting class
Kind of surprising that it was this low, but UK signed their 4th consecutive #1 recruiting class in April of this year when they inked signatures from Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, Nerlens Noel, and Willie Cauley-Stein. Those players joined the few remaining players, and incoming transfers Julius Mays and Ryan Harrow. We’ll see if this group an make some headlines in 2013.
#3: UK prepares to sign 5th consecutive #1 recruiting class
This one ranks ahead of the previous one because of the sheer brilliance of the class that is being put together. In consecutive weeks, UK saw commitments from the Harrison Twins, James Young, and Marcus Lee, all 5 star recruits, and all top-10 recruits according to 247 sports. Combining with Derek Willis, this class is now poised to possibly be the greatest recruiting class in the history of college basketball.
#2: The hiring of Mark Stoops
In a normal season, this would easily be the biggest story line of the year. Stoops’ hiring ushered in an era of good feelings for UK football, and has re-united a broken fan base. The good feelings have reverberated around college football, and has already led to an immediate turn around on the recruiting trail. The question now, is can this hiring lead to an immediate turn around on the field next year.
#1: UK wins #8
There is no doubt this was the biggest moment of 2012. After 14 years without a championship, John Calipari was able to lead Kentucky to their 8th National Championship. Behind National Player of the Year Anthony Davis, candidate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, first round draft picks Terrence Jones and Marquis Teague, and draft picks Doron Lamb and Darius Miller, UK stormed through 2012 on their way to a National Championship. This one, will never be forgotten either.
Here’s to hoping 2013 can be just as memorable as 2012.
Happy New Year’s, everybody!
Go Big Blue!