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September 25th, 2019

Fatigue and mistakes can’t hold Kentucky back this week

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

The phrase has been attributed to Vince Lombardi, but Will Muschamp has a habit of saying it, too. The South Carolina coach discussed his team’s fatigue following their 34-14 loss to Missouri last Saturday, referencing the “byproduct of staying on the field offensively.” Missouri ran 87 plays to South Carolina’s 65.

“We should get off the field,” Muschamp said. “We don’t get off the field, let them drive. Still we answer.”

Fatigue has also been referenced by Coach Mark Stoops since Kentucky’s loss to Mississippi State, and it was linked to some of Lynn Bowden’s costly mistakes from Saturday’s game.

“We have to look at the amount of plays we are giving him and asking him to run all over the field, and sometimes on reverses and things of that nature,” Stoops said of Bowden. “Sometimes [we run] back-to-back plays with him.”

Stoops went on to say other receivers, including Clevan Thomas, Allen Dailey Jr., Bryce Oliver and Akeem Hayes may get more opportunities going forward. The Cats can’t look to Bowden every time.

We have got to be smart and try to give him some rest when we can, because he’s doing an awful lot and we appreciate his effort,” Stoops added.

However, when those kinds of mistakes do happen, whether it be a drop by Bowden, an interception by Sawyer Smith or a missed tackle by a player on Brad White’s defensive unit, that mistake can’t lead to another one.

“That happens in football,” White said Wednesday afternoon. “You’ve got to be able to rebound. That’s what our guys need to learn and grow from. When bad things happen, when adversity happens, it’s about how you respond.”

In fact, making a mistake on either side of the ball should only lead to a more-focused unit.

“When something happens in the first couple minutes of the game, some people ask me ‘oh, so does that get you down?’ It should get you juiced up. When you’re on defense, the defensive mentality should be ‘I need to outplay the defense across from me.’ So if they get one, I get one plus something else. If they get a turnover, I get a turnover back,” White said. “We have not done a good enough job on defense of putting our offense in the best situations.”

“From the first minute of the ballgame until the last, good things and bad things. You just keep pressing; you just keep punching,” White said. “In the SEC, it’s going to be a battle each and every week. If you get tired and you stop punching, you’re going to get yourself knocked out.”

While White referenced the importance of picking yourself up and dusting yourself off after one bad play, perhaps the same can be said following back-to-back conference losses. The Cats have to avoid letting two consecutive losses turn into a third. According to Coach White, that “hangover” shouldn’t be a problem.

“They feel an anxiousness to win. We all do; we all want to win. That’s why we’re in this business. As coaches, you want to develop young men, but you’re competitive by nature. Everyone on this field is competitive,” White said. “Make no qualms about it: losing stinks. We want to get that taste out of our mouths. There should be a little bit of angst and a little bit of bitterness. Until ythe Cats can’t let fatigue or mistakes get them down this Saturday against South Carolina.the Cats can’t let fatigue or mistakes get them down this Saturday against South Carolina.ou win, that won’t go away.”

No one can do it alone.

“When you go back through and you watch, it’s a guy here and a guy there. That’s what makes this game so different than any other game – one guy can’t do it. It’s got to be a team. If one guy doesn’t do his assignment – unless somebody makes an extraordinary play to cover up for it – you’re going to get exposed. And we got exposed on those times when we didn’t do our assignments.”

Simply put, the Cats can’t let fatigue or mistakes get them down this Saturday against South Carolina.

“If we can create quick three-and-outs, it’ll make their defense tired instead of us being on the field for long, extended drives. That’s what we’ve got to get better at,” White said. “When we have the opportunity to get off the field early in a series, we have got to get off. That’s going to be crucial this week.”


@MaggieDavisKSR


UK Basketball women’s clinic returns to RUPP ARENA Oct. 13

Here’s some good news for the ladies of the BBN: the Kentucky basketball women’s clinic is coming back for another year and this time around, it’ll be back inside Rupp Arena. Get your calendars out now, because the date is already quickly approaching – this year’s clinic will take place on Sunday, Oct. 13. That’s the same weekend as Big Blue Madness, so you can make it a weekend affair in Lexington.

Registration is OPEN now. The past eight clinics have completely sold out, so grab your spot before it’s too late.

9-25-19_WomensClinic_Graphic

The clinic will cost $160 for fans who want a signed souvenir basketball and $110 without the ball. The women in attendance will be invited to take a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the program, including a self-guided tour of Rupp Arena and the locker rooms. There will be staff members stationed throughout the facility for directions and questions.

Each participant will also be guaranteed a small group picture with the entire team and the opportunity to take a picture with John Calipari and his wife, Ellen (because she’s the major draw here, right? Don’t you want the chance to make it on her Instagram?!).

I attended the clinic for KSR last year and had an absolute blast. ESPN’s Maria Taylor and Holly Rowe served as guest-hosts throughout last year’s event, which was held inside Memorial Coliseum, and they spent the day talking with fans and answering questions about the business. Although UK hasn’t announced any special guests for this year’s clinic yet, you never know who you might run into once you’re inside Rupp Arena. Last year’s event also included a Q-&-A session with the assistant basketball coaches.

Any clinic-related questions can be answered by calling into the men’s basketball camp line at 859-257-9457 or 859-257-1916. You can register for the clinic by clicking HERE.


Sawyer Smith says his shoulder is "a little sore, but it’s fine"

After Sawyer Smith briefly left the Kentucky-Mississippi State game last Saturday, speculation began to circle regarding the severity of his shoulder injury. Although he took a quick breather on the sideline, Smith re-entered the game before he even missed a play. Now that he’s had some time to rest, ice and practice with the shoulder, Kentucky’s quarterback says he’s feeling just fine.

It’s fine. I got all my reps this week. It’s a little sore, but it’s fine,” Smith told reporters Wednesday. “It wasn’t really scary. I played the whole game; I didn’t miss a snap in the game. I haven’t missed a rep this week. So it’s good.”

Stoops has been addressing his QB’s shoulder all week, including immediately after the Cats’ loss to the Bulldogs on Saturday. The head coach told reporters Smith had his shoulder X-rayed, and speculated he “would think [Smith will play against South Carolina], but you don’t know how he’s going to respond or what he’s going to wake up and feel like.”

By Monday’s press conference, Stoops’ outlook on Smith was already beginning to improve.

“Sawyer is feeling much better today than he was yesterday,” Stoops said. “That’s good. Hopefully, he keeps progressing and gets back to 100 percent by this weekend.”

When offensive coordinator Eddie Gran took to the podium Tuesday, he echoed Stoops’ sentiment.

“He was a little bit sore. [We] expected it to be, just like everybody else. Linemen are sore; everybody is,” Gran said. “It was good to get him out here, get warmed up and get going.”

It’s one thing to hear it from a coach, but it’s more reassuring to hear the injury report directly from the player himself. Kentucky’s players, coaches and fans should all breathe a sigh of relief knowing Smith not only practiced this week, but he seemingly didn’t miss a beat. He also says it can’t cross his mind during the game against South Carolina Saturday.

“I’m going to play my game. If you play scared in this sport, nothing good is going to happen,” Smith said. “We’re fine with depth, and we’ll be good.”


Several former Cats crack ESPN’s Top-100 NBA Player Rankings

(Photo via NBA.com)

ESPN is gearing up for the incoming NBA season by predicting the league’s top talent, and several former Wildcats made the list. The world wide leader in sports has released players projected to be the No. 11 through the No. 100 player in this year’s class – at the time this article was originally posted on KSR, the top-10 list has not been released.

The rankings, voted on by ESPN’s panel of NBA experts, were sorting the players expected to make the biggest splash this season – not of “all time.” It therefore does not take into account previous seasons they’ve played in the league, and it also excludes or undervalues some of the league’s injured players (i.e. Demarcus Cousins).

Kentucky had eight former players make the list, and that’s not including Anthony Davis, who will presumably crack the top-10 list once it’s published. Here’s where those eight Wildcats landed.

No. 18Karl Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

@Timberwolves

The big man is currently listed as the most-touted former Cat for the coming NBA season.

No. 25De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

The point guard finished third in last year’s Most Improved Player competition, and he’s still extraordinarily young – even for the “one and done” era. Fox doesn’t turn 22 years old until this December. He served as the Kings’ starting point guard for the latter half of last season. Could he be joined by Tyler Ulis in the backcourt this season?

No. 27Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets

Murray was one of the breakout stars of last season’s NBA Playoffs, averaging over 21 points per outing across 14 games. ESPN sees him following up those performances with more stellar ones, as he made a huge jump from last season to this one. In last year’s ranking, he was listed as the expected No. 47 player.

No. 30Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

Last year, Booker averaged over 26 points and six assists per game, good for a career high during his five years in the league. He’s also on his fifth head coach. Could this be the year we see Booker finally take charge and lead the Suns to a semi-successful season? ESPN’s insider Bobby Marks picked the former Cat as his “bold prediction.”

“We’ll see Devin Booker selected to play in the All-Star Game. Because of how poorly Phoenix has played since his arrival, we forget how good Booker has been. Yes, his defense is a work in progress, but with a new coach in Monty Williams and finally some stability at point guard in Ricky Rubio, Phoenix should start winning more games and allow Booker to get the recognition he deserves.”

No. 64 – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is only entering his second year of playing with the pros, but he’s already being hailed as one of the class’ most-talented players. He averaged 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists last season. Over the summer, he was traded from the LA Clippers to the Oklahoma City Thunder during the Paul George trade, which also involved Kawhi Leonard. How will his new home affect his potential or reputation?

ESPN wrote that although he has the potential to be “one of the league’s best two-way point guards down the line,” Gilgeous-Alexander “needs to continue shooting it better from 3 and rely less on inside-the-arc jumpers.” Long-2 U, anyone?

No. 67 – Eric Bledsoe, Milwaukee Bucks

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Bledsoe earned an active role on the Milwaukee Bucks’ roster last season, alongside the year’s Most Valuable Player, the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo. Bledsoe averaged nearly 16 points and five rebounds per outing last season, but he underperformed in the NBA Playoffs, specifically the Eastern Conference Finals. How will he bounce back?

No. 81 – Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

Adebayo will be teaming up with former Cat Tyler Herro in Miami this year, alongside one of the Heat’s free agency acquisitions, Jimmy Butler. Bam’s teammates have praised him throughout the duration of the off-season – is this the year Adebayo shows the Heat what he can really do?

Well, we certainly know what he can’t do… beat Takeru Kobayashi in a competitive-eating contest.

No. 92 – Julius Randle, New York Knicks

Julius Randle rounds out the list for the former Wildcats, coming in at No. 92 out of 100. He averaged 21.4 points on 52 percent shooting last season for the Pelicans before being traded to the Knicks during the summer’s free agency period. As much as Kentucky fans dislike the Blue Devils of Duke, it’ll be an interesting combination to see how he plays alongside rookie RJ Barrett. He’ll also be joined by Kevin Knox. At the very least, it should be exciting.


One other notable ranking? Murray State’s Ja Morant came in at No. 93 on the list. Kentucky’s latest draft picks – Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson and PJ Washington – did not crack ESPN’s top-100 list. Neither did John Wall, Kevin Knox or Malik Monk.

What do you think? Did ESPN get it right? Check out the full lists on ESPN.com


FINAL HOURS: FREE hat with select purchases!

For today only you can receive a FREE UK Wildcats Hat with any purchase of $40 or more. Head to ShopKSR.com to check out the great selection of KSR apparel, UK tees, sweatshirts, and more.

Take advantage of this special offer. Make sure you get your order in by midnight to receive your UK hat.

[KSR Shop]


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: UK Looking to Continue Historic Winning Streak Saturday

Everyone knows that in the modern history of UK football, Vanderbilt has typically been the whipping boy of the league, and for Kentucky, the only team in the league that we have consistently been better than.  In fact, UK has four different occasions where they have won 4 consecutive games or more against the Commodores.  But UK is currently holding a 5-game winning streak over South Carolina, something they have only done one other time against an SEC team not named Vanderbilt:  

(7 games) Mississippi State: 1972, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1984, 1985, 1990 (*the win in 1976 only given to UK because of forfeit)
(6 games) Vanderbilt: 1976-1981
(5 games) South Carolina: 2014-?????
(4 games) Vanderbilt: 1971-1974
(4 games) Vanderbilt: 1996-1999
(4 games) Vanderbilt: 2004-2007

If UK is to win Saturday, this will become the 2nd longest SEC winning streak in UK modern history.  These are the kind of winning streaks that other SEC teams have traditionally had on us.  Mark Stoops has begun really breaking down all of the barriers and embarrassments that UK football has had to endure for so long.  Beating Florida.  Beating Tennessee.  Beating Louisville.  But I think getting a sustained winning streak over an SEC opponent not named Vanderbilt is almost just as important.


KSR Show Thread 9/25: Talking Campout and South Carolina

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Wednesday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio, which is coming to you live from Lexington (Ryan), Louisville (Shannon), and somewhere else in Kentucky (Matt). Tune in to hear the gang talk about the start of Big Blue Madness Campout, Saturday’s game at South Carolina, and much, much more.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (772) 774-5254.

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Today on KSR: Big Blue Madness Campout Begins

At 5 a.m. this morning, hundreds of diehard Kentucky Basketball fans made the annual dash across Avenue of Champions to claim their spot for the 2019 Big Blue Madness Campout. If you were snug in your bed like a normal person, here’s what you missed:

Kudos to everyone for putting up a tent better than this year’s freshmen:

Madness tickets will also be distributed via Ticketmaster Friday night at 10 p.m., but if you are reading this from Tent City, some things you need to know…

  • A limited number of control cards will be issued to campers on Friday at 2 p.m. All campers must be present at campsite to receive a control card, and a maximum of four control cards will be given at each tent.
  • Those who camp can begin lining up for ticket distribution at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. Campers with control cards must be in line by 10 p.m. when the ticket office opens for business.
  • If you haven’t claimed your spot yet, here’s the map of where you can and cannot camp:

Our videographer Bradley McKee will be making the rounds today to talk to fans, so if you see him, invite him over for a chat. Big Blue Madness will take place Friday, October 11 at 7 p.m. at Rupp Arena.

What will Mark Stoops say on the SEC Teleconference?

Stoops and the rest of the league’s coaches will chat with reporters on a teleconference later this morning. Check the site around lunch to see if Stoops has any updates on Sawyer Smith’s shoulder and how his team is preparing for this weekend’s trip to Columbia.

We’ll hear from Brad White and Sawyer Smith after practice

Last night, Eddie Gran shouldered the blame for some of Sawyer Smith’s struggles so far. Tonight, we’ll hear from QB1 himself, who participated in practice yesterday, but is still sore.

“He was a little bit sore,” Gran said. “Expected it to be, just like everybody else. Linemen are sore, everybody is. It was good to get him out here, get warmed up and get going.”

Click here for more practice notes from yesterday and check the site this evening for updates from Sawyer, Brad White, and the defense.

Calipari ‘Crootin Update

So far this week, the Kentucky coaching staff has checked in on 2021 top three prospects Patrick Baldwin and Jonathan Kuminga. According to Paul Biancardi, Calipari will go see another junior today, five-star small forward AJ Griffin Jr.. We’ll have more on him later this morning.

TV Rec of the Week: Fleabag

It’s not for everybody — especially children — but Fleabag is the hottest show in America right now. The raunchy British comedy just cleaned up at the Emmys, upsetting Veep for Best Comedy and Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. I first heard about it when the second season dropped on Amazon Prime in May, but didn’t get around to watching it until last week, which resulted in a two-night binge and deep depression when I found out there won’t be a third season. Get ready for a lot of Phoebe Waller-Bridge GIFs on Twitter and the live blog this fall.

Tyler Ulis to the Kings

In case you missed the big news yesterday, Tyler Ulis is back in the league. Ulis signed a $1.67 million partially guaranteed deal with the Sacramento Kings, where he’ll join fellow former Cat De’Aaron Fox in the backcourt. Ulis has had a rough go of it in the pros so far, but after double hip surgery, is finally healthy. By now, he’s proved to us all never to count him out.

KSR Dog of the Day

Lucy is one sweet, scruffy puppy.

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