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April 22nd, 2018

The Future of Cliff Hagan Stadium

photo courtesy: UK Athletics

The BatCats are in the midst of their 50th and final season of playing ball inside Cliff Hagan Stadium. Come next spring, the Kentucky baseball team is expected to be all moved into their new home. They’re just going down the road – the new stadium will be off Alumni Drive between Kroger Field and the Bell Soccer Complex.

The new stadium – which has not yet been named – costs a reported $49 million. It will feature permanent seating for 2,500 fans with additional space for bleachers. That would bring total attendance up to 7,000 fans, making the new stadium an attractive option for NCAA Tournament games.

For the team, the new stadium will have AstroTurf, a team lounge, an updated locker room, indoor hitting and pitching areas, coaching offices and a recruiting room. For the fans, there will be chair-back seating, suites and a new club area.

It’s a major improvement for the program, but one thing will be missing: The Cliff. The free, student-run area overlooking the field is a very popular spot during the games (speaking from experience), and drawings of the new stadium do not include anything similar, unless students would be able to see the game from the grassy areas (shown below on the right side of the image) while bleachers are not in use.

via UK Athletics

So, what’s happening to Cliff Hagan stadium? Original reports say it will be torn down to serve as the space for a state-of-the-art tennis facility. Currently, the UK tennis teams’ indoor base is the Hilary J. Boone center, which – again, speaking from experience – desperately needs an upgrade. Here’s an interpretation of the projected $20 million tennis complex:


@MaggieDavisKSR


Today on KSR : Pelicans Advance, Bat Cats Beat Florida

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday Big Blue Nation! Let’s get it started with a little recap of the weekend and a preview of the week to come…

Pelicans Sweep Blazers 4-0 to advance to Round Two

Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday combined to score 88 points to complete the sweep of the Damian Lillard-led Blazers by a score of 131-123. The duo scored 28 of the Pelicans last 29 points to close out the game. Davis finished with 47 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks in a dominant close-out performance.

Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry gave his young star high praise after the game, “In a close-out game and with the magnitude of the situation, this was probably the best game he’s played since I’ve been here. He just was not gonna let us lose.”

NBA Action Today

We’ve got four playoff games to look out for today as things are starting to get interesting with Eric Bledsoe and John Wall trying to even the series for their respective teams.

Celtics @ Bucks (Eric Bledsoe) – 1 PM (BOS leads 2-1) 

Warriors @ Spurs – 3:30 PM (GSW leads 3-0) 

Raptors @ Wizards (John Wall)  – 6:00 PM (TOR leads 2-1) 

Cavaliers @ Pacers (Alex Poythress) – 8:30 PM (IND leads 2-1) 

Justin Lewis Leads Kentucky to a 3-2 win over Florida

It had been an ugly few days for the Kentucky baseball team as #1 ranked Florida took the first two games of the weekend series in dominant fashion. Thankfully, Justin Lewis was on the mound for Saturday’s game with the sophomore throwing one of his best games in a Kentucky uniform.

Lewis finished with 11 strikeouts on 119 pitches continuing an impressive streak for the Georgia-native, in his last four starts, Lewis has given up just six runs in 31.2 innings with 32 strikeouts.

RIP Pat Tillman

On this day in 2004 the great Pat Tillman passed away in a friendly-fire incident while serving as a member of the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion – read the story of his life, his death, and the people he left behind here.


Enjoy your Sunday, folks!

@EMitchKSR


April 21st, 2018

Power Ranking the Kentucky Derby Festival Events

Tonight fireworks will roar across the Louisville sky, marking the official start to the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival.  For the next two weeks, the city of Louisville will buzz as the bluegrass prepares for the fastest two minutes in sports.

There are many different ways you can prepare for the Derby.  If you’re experiencing the event for the first time, allow me to guide you to the best of the best.  You can click here to see a complete list of events or visit KDF.org for more information.

10. The “Great” Steamboat Race

Once a marquee event, thousands gathered at the water tower to watch the Belle of Louisville and the Delta Queen glide over the Ohio River.  The glory days have long faded and the Delta Queen has been retired, with the Belle of Cincinnati racing in its place.  The race’s demise crawls under Tony Vanetti’s skin, but you can’t blame people for not caring about a race that’s fixed.

9. Pegasus Parade

Unless you know somebody that’s in the parade, the horse pooper-scoopers are the highlight of the event.

8. The Great Balloon Race

Ran each year the Saturday before the Derby, this event holds a dear place in my childhood heart.  If the wind blew the balloons to my end of town, the family packed up the minivan, made a stop at Krispy Kreme and chased the balloons to their landing spot.  The end of the race is rather anticlimactic, unless a balloon lands on top of a house, as one did to my grade school classmate’s 15 years ago.

7. Hole in One Golf Contest

You can win a million dollars, but you probably will not.  Taking place over ten days at Seneca Park, the person closest to the pin on each day become finalists that earn an opportunity to win a million bucks with one shot.  That rarely ever happens, so if you miss out, don’t be mad.  Treat it as a day at the driving range.

6. The Chow Wagon/Kroger Fest-a-Ville

Chow wagons used to pop up all around the city, but now the beer gardens and food booths are all centrally located at Waterfront Park.  This could be the best thing in the city, if they got better food.  We live in 2018.  They should bring in a few nice food trucks instead of exclusively carrying deep fried State Fair food.

The nightly concerts downtown make or break the event.  Usually relegated to poppy new country stars, this year they’re changing things up with The Lone Bellow on Wednesday of Derby Week and Judah & the Lion the following day.  Find a complete lineup here.

5. Thunder Over Louisville

Thunder can be one of the best days of the year, or one of the worst days of the year.  It all really depends on the weather and whether you can find a spot that’s free from roaming bands of high schoolers.

4. The Great Bed Races

The most under-rated Derby Festival Event, businesses from around the state create a wheeled bed that resembles a parade float.  Creativity consumes the contraptions that fly down through Broadbent Arena.  Five people push as one person lies down face-first as the bed flies toward the finish line.  It may not tickle everyone’s fancy, but it’s a fantastic family event.

3. Mini Marathon

Running 13.1 miles (or 26.2 in the Marathon) does not exactly sound like a good time.  You don’t have to be a runner to have a blast at the Mini-Marathon.

Thousands line the streets to cheer on the participants.  There are few places your hand can go numb from giving high-fives; the Mini is on of those places.  If you really want to make the event great, tailgating is highly encouraged.  For more than a decade my group of rowdy South End friends have gathered at 4:00 a.m. to prepare for the runners.  Rain or shine, it’s always a good time.

2. Balloon Glow

The KDF has created six separate events that lead into the Saturday morning race.  The Glow the night before at the fairgrounds is hands-down the best of the best.  Lit up against the dark night sky, it’s astounding to stand next to the massive balloons and look up in awe.

The event is fun for every person in every age group and demographic, except for large people. Upon seeing the tiny wicker baskets the balloons hold, I learned I will never, under any circumstances, take a hot air balloon ride.

1. Dawn at the Downs

This is not an officially sanctioned Kentucky Derby Festival event, but it’s the best way to prepare for the Kentucky Derby.  In the twilight of the early morning, the sights and sounds of the hustle and bustle around Churchill Downs give you a greater appreciation for all the work that goes into a two-minute race.

You can feel fancy and enjoy brunch on Millionaires’ Row.  You can edge up to the rail for a closer look, and if you have kids, a jockey might hand them a pair of goggles.  If you know a guy (or are extra sneaky), the backside is the best place to see all of the action.  TV and radio crews broadcast along the rail, hundreds of donuts are served and trainers entertain crowds atop a viewing platform.

There are many more reasons why Dawn at the Downs is my favorite part of Derby Week.  It’s a tradition I will uphold as long as I possibly can, because I cannot pick my Derby horse until I’ve seen it run on a brisk spring morning at Churchill Downs.


Will Tyrese Maxey Reclassify? Excellent Question.

The most intriguing recruiting development over the last month has surrounded point guard Tyrese Maxey.  Considered the No. 2 point guard in the 2019 class, he could make the jump to 2018, but will he?

In the first two days of EYBL competition, Maxey has already answered that question a few times.  The responses differ, making the murky situation even more unclear.

“Right now, I really haven’t put much thought into it,” Maxey told Jeff Drummond and a host of UK beat reporters this morning after scoring 14 points and dishing out 5 assists.

“It’s a tough decision now that I know it’s more real,” Maxey told USA Today’s Jason Jordan. “I’ve been thinking hard on it.

It’s impossible to discern anything about reclassifying from those conflicting quotes, however, he did provide insight into what would go into the process.  A good student, he would only need two or three more classes to make the jump, a task he could easily accomplish.  Maxey has no specific time-table, but it probably will not happen until after the Peach Jam in mid-July.

“Right now I’m just out here trying to focus on EYBL Session 1.  Me and my parents, we’ll get together and figure out a plan later,” said Maxey.

Kentucky is the early leader for Maxey.  Coach Cal visited him twice during the live recruiting period.  Outside of Kentucky, Michigan State, Texas and Oklahoma State are recruiting him the hardest.

We do not know if Maxey will reclassify.  We do know he would not do it until later in the summer.  We do know the kid can ball.


The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved

There are many Derby Traditions the faithful uphold annually.  With Thunder Over Louisville officially kicking off Derby Season in the Bluegrass, I embark on my annual quest into Hunter S. Thompson’s Decadent and Depraved Derby of 1970.  The literary giant’s career catapulted after this piece.  It was the first, the one that gave gonzo journalism its name.

As a person who takes this stuff quite seriously, I hope you receive as much joy as I do every time I read these wonderful words, “The rest of that day blurs into madness.”  


“The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved”
Written under duress by Hunter S. Thompson
From Scanlan’s, June 1970

I GOT OFF the plane around midnight and no one spoke as I crossed the dark runway to the terminal. The air was thick and hot, like wandering into a steam bath. Inside, people hugged each other and shook hands … big grins and a whoop here and there: “By God! You old bastard! Good to see you, boy! Damn good … and I mean it!”

In the air-conditioned lounge I met a man from Houston who said his name was something or other – “but just call me Jimbo” – and he was here to get it on. “I’m ready for anything, by God! Anything at all. Yeah, what are you drinkin?” I ordered a Margarita with ice, but he wouldn’t hear of it: “Naw, naw … what the hell kind of drink is that for Kentucky Derby time? What’s wrong with you, boy?” He grinned and winked at the bartender. “Goddam, we gotta educate this boy. Get him some good whiskey … ”

I shrugged. “Okay, a double Old Fitz on ice.” Jimbo nodded his approval.

“Look.” He tapped me on the arm to make sure I was listening. “I know this Derby crowd, I come here every year, and let me tell you one thing I’ve learned – this is no town to be giving people the impression you’re some kind of faggot. Not in public, anyway. Shit, they’ll roll you in a minute, knock you in the head and take every goddam cent you have.”

I thanked him and fitted a Marlboro into my cigarette holder. “Say,” he said, “you look like you might be in the horse business … am I right?”

“No,” I said. “I’m a photographer.”

“Oh yeah?” He eyed my ragged leather bag with new interest. “Is that what you got there – cameras? Who you work for?”

Playboy,” I said.

He laughed. “Well goddam! What are you gonna take pictures of – nekkid horses? Haw! I guess you’ll be workin’ pretty hard when they run the Kentucky Oaks. That’s a race jut for fillies.” He was laughing wildly. “Hell yes! And they’ll all be nekkid too!”

I shook my head and said nothing; just stared at him for a moment, trying to look grim. “There’s going to be trouble,” I said. “My assignment is to take pictures of the riot.”

“What riot?”

I hesitated, twirling the ice in my drink. “At the track. On Derby Day. The Black Panthers.” I stared at him again. “Don’t you read the newspapers?”

The grin on his face had collapsed. “What the hell are you talkin about?”

“Well … maybe I shouldn’t be telling you … ” I shrugged. “But hell, everybody seems to know. The cops and the National Guard have been getting ready for six weeks. They have 20,000 troops on alert at Fort Knox. They warned us – all the press and photographers – to wear helmets and special vests like flak jackets. We were told to expect shooting … ”

“No!” he shouted; his hands flew up and hovered momentarily between us, as if to ward off the words he was hearing. Then he hacked his fist on the bar. “Those sons of bitches! God Almighty! The Kentucky Derby!” He kept shaking his head. “No! Jesus! That’s almost too bad to believe!” Now he seemed to be jagging on the stool, and when he looked up his eyes were misty. “Why? Why here? Don’t they respect anything?

I shrugged again. “It’s not just the Panthers. The FBI says busloads of white crazies are coming in from all over the country – to mix with the crowd and attack all at once, from every direction. They’ll be dressed like everybody else. You know – coats and ties and all that. But when the trouble starts … well, that’s why the cops are so worried.”

He sat for a moment, looking hurt and confused and not quite able to digest all this terrible news. Then he cried out: “Oh … Jesus! What in the name of God is happening in this country? Where can you get away from it?”

“Not here,” I said, picking up my bag. “Thanks for the drink … and good luck.”

(more…)


Anthony Davis Scores 47 as Pelicans Sweep Portland

@NBARegion

For the first time in his NBA career, Anthony Davis has won a playoff series.

The Unibrow shot 63 percent from the field to score 47 points and lead the PeliCats to a 131-123 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.  He added 11 points and 3 blocks — one of which came on a crucial three-pointer in the game’s waning minutes — to his superb stat line.

The 4-0 sweep of Portland is just the second playoff series victory in franchise history.  Davis’ 47 points set a new franchise playoff record.

Davis’ incredible postseason numbers have become routine.

He did not do it alone.  Playoff Rondo was on another level.  He had 7 points, 7 rebounds and SIXTEEN assists, including this filthy behind-the-back pass to AD.

The Pelicans will play the winner of the Golden State-San Antonio series, which means Davis will likely get a shot at revenge against the Warriors, the team that swept him out of his only other playoff appearance.


Saturday Night Football Notes for the UK Fans of the Day

Tobias Gilliam Finds New Home

The safety from Ohio announced earlier this week he planned to transfer from UK at the conclusion of the semester.  He is taking his talents to the West Coast.  Gilliam will play JUCO football at Arizona Western Community College in the same league where the Cats found Kayaune Ross.

Donte Rumph is Playing Arena Football

The former Kentucky defensive lineman tried to get an NFL job by camping outside of the Falcons’ training facility.  When that didn’t work, he found employment in the Arena Football League.  Today is Rumph’s home-opener for the Philadelphia Soul, the perennial powerhouse owned by Ron Jaworski and Jon Bon Jovi.  Rumph did not record a tackle in the Soul’s season-opening victory.

Tennessee is the Worst

There are a lot of these inside Neyland Stadium for today’s spring game and frankly, they are dumb and I hate them.

But I can’t stay mad because this is hilarious.

Alabama gets another Tua

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa entered college football lore by coming off the bench to lead Alabama to a National Title.  Now, he has some competition…from his little brother.

There’s another Tagovailoa quarterback coming to Tuscaloosa.  Tualia committed to Alabama prior to today’s spring game.  Different than his older brother, he’s a righty that’s considered the No. 6 pocket-passer in his class, while big bro is a lefty that was considered a dual-threat weapon.  Taulia is the second elite 2019 passer to commit to the Crimson Tide, joining Bear Bryant’s great-grandson and former Kentucky recruit, Paul Tyson.

Need a Room in College Station? 

If you want to watch the Cats play Texas A&M at Kyle Field, it’s best to make plans right away.  Tickets are available, but hotel rooms will be hard to find.  The UK Alumni Association has your back.  They’ve booked a block of rooms to make sure blue gets into Kyle Field.

An Easy $25K

All this Nebraska student had to do is catch a punt for $25,000.  I know it’s harder than it looks, but it’s definitely easier than making a half-court shot.


John Calipari Treated to Excellent Performance by 2020 Guard R.J. Hampton

USA Basketball

On the first night of the live recruiting period, John Calipari spent the night watching elite recruits like James Wiseman, Vernon Carey and Tyrese Maxey in the Nike EYBL.  This morning he left one Dallas gym for another.  Calipari had like what he saw at the Under Armour Association.

R.J. Hampton was the best player in the gym and Coach Cal got a front row seat to watch him do work.

The 6’4″ combo guard is considered the No. 4 player overall in the class of 2020.  In last night’s debut, Hampton flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 28 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds.  This morning he had 32 points and 13 assists in front of Calipari, Bill Self and many others.

Hampton does not currently have a Kentucky scholarship offer.  Kansas is the early leader for Hampton in the 247 Crystal Ball.  Duke and Texas are also heavily pursuing the 2020 star.

After watching Hampton, Calipari returned to the EYBL and ran into a familiar face (and I’m not talking about James Wiseman).


UK Softball Upsets No. 6 Georgia

@UKSoftball

The Kentucky softball team used a pinch-hit homerun to take home its fourth win over a top ten team this season.

The game was tied 2-2 in the fourth inning when Rachel Lawson called Abbey Cheek to the plate.  On the first pitch, Cheek delivered a homerun.  The two-run bomb proved to be the game-winner as the Cats defeated No. 6 Georgia 4-2 at John Cropp Stadium.

The win improves the Cats’ record to 28-14 on the season. They’ll try to take the series tomorrow at 1:00 during a bark at the park event at John Cropp Stadium.


Justin Lewis Carries Kentucky To Win Over Top-Ranked Florida

UK Athletics

Behind a dominant performance by Justin Lewis, #6 Kentucky beat #1 Florida (34-8, 14-4) 3-2 to take the final game of the series. UK had dropped three in a row before taking the series finale against the top-ranked Gators.

Florida had no problem scoring runs in the first two games of the series against Kentucky, but Justin Lewis quieted the powerful Gator offense in the finale. Lewis struck out eleven in seven innings to lead the Cats to the series finale win.

As the game got underway, it appeared that Lewis would see the same fate as Sean Hjelle did last night. Hjelle loaded the bases in the third inning last night and Lewis followed by loading the bases in the first inning today. The only difference between the two was Lewis flipped a switch and wiggled out of the jam. The Georgia-native proceeded to strike out two men and get an inning-ending pop-up to end the threat.

The bases-loaded threat in the top of the first would be the closest the Gators would come to scoring multiple runs against Lewis. UF would not collect another hit against Lewis after Deacon Liput’s leadoff double in the first inning. Lewis w

The UK offense gave Lewis just enough run support for him to feel confident on the mound. The BatCats scored one run in each of the first three innings as they chased Florida pitcher Tyler Dyson in the third inning. Troy Squires, Luke Heyer, and Ben Aklinski all drove in runs as the Cats jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings.

Dyson, a projected first-round pick in 2019, gave way to Jack Leftwich on the mound in the third inning. Leftwich would go on to pitch six scoreless innings in relief.

Leftwich was fantastic, but Justin Lewis was just a little better. Lewis allowed one unearned run in the fifth inning, but the Gators had no other answer for the junior right-handed pitcher. With a dominating changeup, Lewis tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts against the top-ranked Gators.

Lewis threw 119 pitches in the gutsy victory. He would hand the ball over to Chris Machamer for the ninth. In his first outing since last Saturday against Georgia, Machamer allowed one run on a solo home run by JJ Schwarz with two outs before inducing a game-ending groundout from Austin Langworthy.

Lewis’ performance was one for the books against Florida. In his last four starts, Lewis has six runs in 31.2 innings with 32 strikeouts. His performance today saved the Cats from a bad sweep at home.


John Calipari met with the NBAPA to Establish a High School Combine

In a game of word association, “one-and-done” would likely incite a response of “John Calipari.”  They go together so much, the 30 for 30 on his story was titled “One and Not Done.”  After using the rule to his advantage for nine successful years, he’s ready for it to end.

“Kids should be able to go (to the NBA) out of high school. That’s not our deal. That’s between the NBA and the Players Association,” Calipari said yesterday. “Don’t put restrictions on kids.”

Prior to visiting the EYBL circuit in Dallas, Coach Cal spent the afternoon in Fort Worth at TCU’s basketball coaches clinic.  In a conversation with the Star-Telegram, Calipari said he’s taken his stance one step farther.

Last week Calipari visited the NBA Players Association to urge them to create a combine for high school juniors.  It’s an idea he revealed during College Gameday’s trip to Rupp Arena this spring.  He believes a combine will give players the feedback they need before making a decision to either go to college, or jump directly into the NBA.

“The players and the families need to know – here are the ones who should be thinking about the NBA, and here are the ones who should not,” he said. “That’s why you need a combine.”

As college basketball tries to sift through an FBI scandal that involves under the table payments from agents, Calipari has provided many different solutions.  This one is the most practical and makes a ton of sense.  He’s putting his ideas into action.  Now we’ll see if anybody is listening.

[Star-Telegram]


BBNBA: Wall, Bledsoe Bounce Back in NBA Playoffs

Chris Graythen | Getty Images

After enduring a pair of embarrassing losses to start the NBA Playoffs, John Wall and Eric Bledsoe returned home and bounced back with exceptional performances.

Bledsoe had the most to prove in Milwaukee.  After former Cardinal Terry Rozier took it to him in Boston, Bledsoe got the best of him in Game Three.  The former Wildcat scored 17 points (62% FG), while limiting Rozier to just nine points and forcing five turnovers.  The Bucks rolled Boston 116-92.

Wall’s Wizards took a beating from the top-seeded Toronto Raptors on the road.  Back in D.C., Wall will his team to win win.  He dominated the first three quarters before throwing it in cruise control for a 122-103 win.  Wall finished the night with 28 points and 14 assists.

The other Cat in action last night, Alex Poythress, did not play for the Pacers, but Indianapolis got a 92-90 win to take a 2-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers.


The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E39: Sam Vecenie

The deadline to enter the NBA Draft is fast approaching, and that is the focus of the latest episode of the Aaron Torres Sports podcast, as The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie joins the show to break it all down. But first up, it’s a visit from Nick Coffey. Highlights:
New Draft Rule: Do we really like the new rule that allows players to enter without an agent when 100+ players have declared? Does everyone really need to enter the draft to get feedback or can they simply ask their college coaches?
Jarred VanderbiltAaron and Nick discuss Jarred Vanderbilt’s decision to “test the waters.” Can he actually test them if he can’t play? And why Vanderbilt has one of the toughest decisions of anyone in the draft.
The Quade Green SagaWill Quade stay or go, and is it even fair to him for Kentucky to be recruiting all these point guards? Aaron explains why he’d be pissed if he was Green.
Should more Return? Aaron opens the conversation with Sam by asking about the 2019 draft. Is Sam surprised that more players didn’t decide to come back to college, knowing how bad next year’s draft will be?
Rising StockSam shares a few names that he believes he can impress scouts and improve their draft stock over the next couple weeks.
Brian Bowen: Aaron asks Sam about Brian Bowen, and the tough decision he faces with his NCAA future uncertain.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


WATCH: James Wiseman EYBL Highlights in front of John Calipari

USA Basketball

At day one of the EYBL’s opening session in Dallas, John Calipari, Joel Justus, Tony Barbee and Kenny Payne were courtside to watch Kentucky’s top target in 2019 class do work.  James Wiseman did not disappoint.

The No. 1 player in the 2019 class was 9-of-13 from the field to finish with 19 points, 9 rebounds and one block in a 97-88 EYBL debut loss.

Bluff City, the new name for Team Penny, also features UK commit D.J. Jeffries and point guard target Zion Harmon.  Harmon knocked down a pair of threes to finish with 9 points and one assist, while Jeffries had 13 points, 2 assists and a rebound.  Jeffries could not reveal where Wiseman’s recruitment currently stands.

“Honestly, no one knows with James,” Jeffries told Rivals’ Jeff Drummond after the game.  “He’s quiet.  He keeps to himself so we really don’t know.”

Jeffries also talked about his relationship with John Calipari’s coaching staff, his mentor Penny and how his game resembles Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and P.J. Washington.

That all went down last night.  This morning Kentucky’s coaches returned to watch Bluff City go toe-to-toe with Cole Anthony, the No. 5 player in the 2019 class.


Today on KSR: Thunderstruck

WDRB

It’s a beautiful day in the bluegrass to celebrate the official start of the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival. With clear skies and 60-degree weather in the forecast, hundreds of thousands will pack the Louisville waterfront to see the annual fireworks phenomenon.

The air show begins at 3:00, with fireworks following at 9:30.  If you’ve never gone, today would be a great day to start (unless you hate disco, because this year’s theme is “A Disco Thunder”).  Before you go, see where roads are closed and what you can and cannot bring.  And please, let me be the first to wish you a Happy Derby Season.

Jarred Vanderbilt Declares for NBA Draft

After hearing nothing but crickets for weeks, yesterday the freshman forward announced he will test the NBA Draft waters but wait to sign with an agent, leaving open the door for a possible return.  How far Vanderbilt can dip his toes into the water is unclear.  He finished the season on the sideline with an injury.  It’s awfully tough to evaluate someone who is not healthy enough to participate.

There are now three Wildcats who have declared for the draft without signing an agent — Vanderbilt, P.J. Washington and Wenyen Gabriel.  The only person we have heard nothing from is Quade Green.  That could change before you return to work Monday morning.

EYBL Season Begins

The AAU shoe circuits return to action this weekend.  John Calipari’s coaching staff is all over the country watching top targets in the 2019 class.  We’ll let you know who’s watching who where throughout the day.

Move That!

John Wall’s Wizards got the win and Kyle Lowery got his shot tossed off the backboard.

More on how the rest of the Cats fared later.  First, today’s Playoff schedule:

  • 2:30 — Sixers at Heat on TNT (76ers lead 2-1)
  • 5:00 — Trail Blazers at Pelicans on TNT (NOLA leads 3-0)
  • 7:30 — Rockets at Timberwolves on ESPN (HOU leads 2-0)
  • 10:00 — Thunder at Jazz on ESPN (Tied 1-1)

UK Gymnastics Falls in Nationals

The Kentucky gymnastics team did not advance in their first ever National Championship appearance.  The Cats were a point away from finishing in the top three and placed sixth in the night session.  Mollie Korth’s valiant effort was not enough to carry the team to the next stage, but the sensational sophomore did earn All-American honors in the vault and in the all-around.

Florida Hands Bat Cats L

A nice night for Sean Hjelle was not enough to get a win.  He held Florida to four runs in seven innings, but Kentucky’s bats didn’t start working until after the bullpen surrendered five runs to put the game out of reach.  Kentucky’s 9-4 loss gave the Gators the series victory.  The Cats will try to avoid a sweep today at 1:00.

No Wins at All

It was a rough night for Kentucky teams.  Even the softball team took a tough L.  Grace Baalman only allowed one run, but the Cats could not win the pitchers’ duel, falling to No. 6 Georgia 1-0.  They’re looking for revenge at John Cropp Stadium this afternoon at 2:00.

Ballin!

Congrats Freddie!

Freddie Maggard has returned to his UK football family.  KSR’s maestro of football will be the Director of Player Development for Mark Stoops’ Kentucky football team.  We will miss our frequent podcasts and football talk with Freddie, but could not be happier for him and his family.  Never forget that it’s not personal, it’s personnel.

Congrats TJ!

The newest member of the KSR crew is only a few hours away from getting hitched. Here’s to a beautiful start to a long a prosperous life for Hannah and T.J.