By Eli Mitchell on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 10:30pm
In Benny Snell Jr.’s second preseason game, the former Kentucky running back made several noteworthy plays that hardly left a mark on the box score.
The box score, especially in football, doesn’t always tell the full story as there are too many stats that are not traditionally accounted for.
Against the Chiefs, Snell Jr. carried the ball 7 times for just 16 yards and caught 2 passes for just 5 yards but those pedestrian statistics don’t tell the full story.
On two separate occasions, the Steelers trusted Snell Jr. to convert on 4th & 1, and he was able to convert both.
— Tommy Jaggi (@TommyJaggi) August 18, 2019
Unfortunately, Snell Jr. suffered a minor groin injury that could keep him out of the team’s next preseason game.
The timing of the injury is especially disappointing as the 3rd preseason game would have been a great opportunity for Benny to solidify a role in the offense and on special teams.
Hopefully, the injury is as minor as it seems, and Snell Jr. is able to play in Pittsburgh’s 3rd game which is a week from today against the Titans.
By Brett Bibbins on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
National recruiting expert Evan Daniels has reported Sunday evening that JJ Traynor will be taking an unofficial visit to Kentucky for Big Blue Madness on October 18th. On top of this visit to UK, he’s also scheduled unofficial visits to Louisville on August 26th and Cincinnati on August 29th.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) August 18, 2019
Traynor has been gaining a ton of national interest this summer and coming onto the scene strong for the start of his senior year at Bardstown High School. He’s received offers from several relatively local schools including Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Western Kentucky, but is now drawing interest from a lot of bigger schools outside the area as well, with schools like Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Ole Miss, and Virginia Tech all reaching out, according to Daniels.
While not currently ranked by 247Sports, Traynor’s big summer will be changing that sooner rather than later, says Daniels.
Traynor will be rated as a four-star prospect on 247Sports when the 2020 Top247 is updated later this week.
Going from unranked to a four-star recruit is a big jump and if Traynor continues on that trajectory he’ll be one of the higher touted recruits from the state of Kentucky in the last few years.
You’ll see some more info on Traynor in this week’s Insider Notes from Jack Pilgrim so stay tuned.
By Brett Bibbins on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 9:00pm
A huge weekend for the state of Kentucky in the golf world, as Justin Thomas just took home first place at the BMW Championship, following amateur John Augenstein’s runner up performance in the US Amateur Championship.
The Louisville, Kentucky native birdied the 18th hole at the penultimate event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs at Medinah Country Club in Illinois to cement a three-stroke lead and the victory. Today’s win was Thomas’ 10th career PGA Tour victory and he’ll enter the Tour Championship as the top player in the FedEx Cup standings.
Here’s a look at some of Thomas’ highlights from his final round in Medinah.
An awesome victory for Thomas as he continues to prove he’s one of the best golfers in the world.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 18, 2019
By Brett Bibbins on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
Owensboro, Kentucky native, John Augenstein, finished second overall in the United States Amateur Championship earlier today. The 21-year-old put up a valiant effort, before falling two holes behind with only one hole to play, conceding the first place trophy to Andy Ogletree.
— USGA (@USGA) August 18, 2019
While not winning it all will certainly sting for him, it isn’t all bad for Augenstein today. With his second-place finish, Augenstein gets an automatic qualifying bid to play in the 2020 Masters and the 2020 US Open.
Here’s what Augenstein had to say about getting a bid to play for the green jacket at Augusta.
"Being able to be mentioned in the same sentence as @TigerWoods is something that would be really, really cool."
— FOX Sports: Golf (@GolfonFOX) August 18, 2019
On top of qualifying for two of the biggest golf tournaments in the world, Augenstein was also named as a 2019 Walker Cup Selection. The Walker Cup is essentially the amateur version of the Ryder Cup, as ten amateurs from the United States go up against a team of ten amateurs from Great Britain and Ireland.
The 10 players representing the United States in the 2019 Walker Cup Match are:
Brandon Wu pic.twitter.com/DYuQ9GHWzK
— USGA (@USGA) August 18, 2019
Augenstein is a rising senior at Vanderbilt and his play this weekend will certainly be a huge stepping stone in his career. Congratulations to John for representing his home state on the national stage and making Kentucky proud!
By Brett Bibbins on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 7:00pm
Kentucky starting nose guard Quinton Bohanna credits his Memphis roots for his hard working mentality on the football field. The junior uses his journey from Memphis to a high level college football program as motivation to eventually be able to give back to the people that helped get him where he is today.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) August 18, 2019
The fact that Bohanna is already thinking about being able to give back to the community that raised him shows the type of person he is off the field as well. Stoops and company often talk about having high character football players at Kentucky, and it appears they hit the nail on the head with Bohanna. With just a few weeks left until the start of college football season, it will be fun to watch his development as an experienced upperclassmen on this Kentucky football team.
By Jonathan Howard on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
In the last few weeks, two programs in the ACC have announced some throwback ideas for courts and uniforms. We all saw the Louisville court design that was teased a while back. Now, Pittsburgh is getting on the train. They released a new court design at the Petersen Events Center where their home games are played. The new court design harkens back to the old bright blue and yellow that the Panthers used to rock.
I hate to say it about Louisville, but their court design looks pretty good and the new Pitt court, while not as dramatic as the Yum! Center, looks really pleasing to the eye and much better than the navy and gold they had been using.
Everyone talks about UK football going back to the Power K, which would be amazing! What about some throwbacks for basketball? At the very least it would be nice if Kentucky could do a couple of nights a year at Rupp or Kroger Field with some throwbacks, right? Personally, I would love to see the Power K come back like many in BBN, and doing a 90s throwback jersey for basketball would be AWESOME, even if it is the denim jerseys. Break out one of the old Wildcat logos and put it down at halfcourt! Many fans think that because we’re Kentucky, the best and most historic program in the NCAA, that we shouldn’t do things like this. I disagree. Our fans deserve to revel in the days of yesteryear like other fans across the country. We have a richer history to celebrate than any school out there, so why don’t we celebrate our history with a few throwback nights a year?
By Jonathan Howard on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
Anyone who has been following the Team USA saga this season leading up to the FIBA World Cup knows that things have not been going well for the Red, White, and Blue hoops. Especially when it comes to keeping players on the roster. Player after player has left the team or declined an invite, typically stating that it is due to wanting to get ready for the upcoming NBA season, which is a fair excuse. The long 82 game regular-season of the NBA can be grueling, but it is clear many players just don’t feel the motivation to suit up for Team USA this summer, and really the last few summers.
There is a lack of star power that could possibly get Team USA in some trouble as they attempt to reclaim gold in the FIBA World Cup. Now, the USA has been very dominant internationally, even when the team was unable to acquire star power, but it should still leave fans worried. Out of the 11 American players to make an All-NBA team this season only one is going to be participating for Team USA in the World Cup – Kemba Walker. Out of 20 NBA All-Stars this season only two remain on the USA team: Walker and Khris Middleton.
If you look at the roster, it just doesn’t look like a typical World Cup team, and heading into the Olympics next year, will we see the same trend continue? Gregg Popovich is one of the greatest coaches of all time and Steve Kerr is one of his assistants. Two of the most liked coaches in the NBA can’t convince a couple more stars to play in this tournament? While many are thinking that it is an off-year since the Olympics aren’t until 2020, this will be the easiest way to qualify for the Olympics next year. If Team USA finishes top two among teams in the Western Hemisphere they will have their ticket punched. This way, over the next year, Team USA won’t have to waste time putting together another random roster and playing in qualifying games.
Not to mention since De’Aaron Fox left the team, there aren’t any more Kentucky players on the roster. For a couple of weeks during the summer, it looked like the National team and Select team would be loaded with BBNBA players, but alas there won’t be a single Wildcat on this year’s roster. This actually has me curious if an All-USA BBN team could win the World Cup or Olympics. A roster of the top 12 guys from Kentucky that are playing in the NBA right now would be a really solid team. Sadly, with guys like John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins injured for the foreseeable future, the team wouldn’t pack quite the same punch as a healthy roster would.
With that being said, Team USA is hardly in trouble in regards to winning the World Cup this year. The roster issues that have been hurting Coach Popovich and his staff are also hurting teams across the globe. Many European teams have experienced issues with getting star players to join rosters, and Canada has been hit especially hard. In the last eight to ten years, Canada has had an influx of NBA talent. For our neighbors to the north, they have lost out on RJ Barrett, Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and even players like Shai’s cousin Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Trey Lyles, and Nik Stauskas have passed on suiting up for their home country.
Team USA shouldn’t be too worried about this year’s World Cup and next year’s 2020 Olympic roster. However, the amount of star power in the NBA right now is ridiculous. You have freaks of nature like LeBron, KD, and Anthony Davis to pair with unreal playmakers and shooters like Curry and Klay, but I’m not sure if we will see a true “Dream Team,” for awhile. Perhaps if the NBA season were shorter more players would be willing to suit up in the summer for these tournaments, or maybe there needs to be more incentive for the players. It’s hard to compete with the monster-sized contracts that are being given in the NBA nowadays, and why would anyone want to risk injury like PJ Tucker this summer, or even worse the Paul George injury from 2014.
As fewer star players suit up for Team USA, the product just isn’t the same. Even if Kemba, Myles Turner, Jayson Tatum, Khris Middleton, and Harrison Barnes win gold this year, does that sound like exciting basketball? Not nearly as exciting as what could have been. These international tournaments are one of the few times we get to see players from different teams get together on the same team outside of All-Star Weekend. Hopefully, 2020 goes smoother for Team USA and its roster issues.
By Jonathan Howard on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
For those of us who may like to put a little action on the Cats, last season’s against the spread stats were mixed. The 2018-19 Wildcats covered the spread 20 times out of 37 games. If you bet on the Cats every game to cover the spread, you would have come out on top more than 50% of the time, which is pretty reliable. However, the Cats did go on some lengthy streaks of not being able to cover.
The Cats had three losing streaks against the spread of three games or longer during the season. The longest dry spell came between February 26th with the Arkansas game and ended when the Cats defeated Alabama at home on March 15th, 73-55. There were also three winning streaks against the spread with a long win streak of eight games between Jan. 15th at Georgia and ended when the Cats took an L to LSU at home on Feb. 12th. Basically, betting on the Cats was a rollercoaster last season that thankfully ended in a positive record covering the spread.
This season’s team is relatively young with five freshmen making up the 2nd ranked recruiting class in the country, a grad transfer, plus two new walk-ons. The Cats are going to have to fit a lot of things together quickly. Will they be able to beat last year’s record of 20-17 when it comes to the spread?
Sound off in the comments with your takes!
By Jonathan Howard on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
We are less than two weeks from the season-opening kickoff at Kroger Field against Toledo. Nick Roush has been reporting from practices and scrimmages this summer and while this team lost a lot of really good football players, a lot of the reports have been positive about this year’s team. Vince Marrow has been teasing on his Twitter about doubters and there have been reports of guys stepping up to the challenge of replacing NFL talent. The running back group of AJ Rose, Kavosiey Smoke, and Chris Rodriguez along with positive Terry Wilson news and TJ Carter on defense, guys are rising up to the challenge of a new season.
People better realize this isn’t the old Kentucky.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) August 7, 2019
Outside of the few unfortunate injuries the team has suffered, coaches and players seem really excited about what this season could bring. One of the more exciting things I am hoping for is a new kind of offense for the Wildcats. The last three years have been dominated by the running game and Wildcat formations, but with Benny Snell gone and replaced with a three-headed stable of backs and a QB1 in Terry Wilson that seems poised to make significant progress, a new offense seems really exciting.
As reports have come in from practice about Eddie Gran wanting to throw 30, 40, 50 times a game I have been getting more and more anxious for the season to start. The recent report of Smoke stiff-arming M.J. Devonshire had me dreaming of an offense that can attack through the air and on the ground so well that the opposing defense doesn’t know what is coming next.
While I have regularly reminded myself that Kentucky football is not going to be a juggernaut offense that I may be dreaming it is going to be, I’m still really excited to see this new offense. Even if Wilson isn’t throwing it 40 times a game, 30 is reasonable and with three very capable running backs all possessing different strengths and weaknesses, the Cats should be able to send out an able-bodied man in the backfield almost every play. Hopefully, Coach Gran can air the ball out enough to give Kentucky a newer look on offense and help the running game be successful. No matter what the offense looks like, as long as the wins come, I won’t complain.
By Nick Wheatley on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Believe it or not, Sacha Killeya-Jones played a pivotal role in the Virginia Cavaliers winning their first men’s basketball National Championship in 2019.
According to SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell, SKJ’s recruitment helped bring in arguably the most important player in the Cavaliers’ title run: De’Andre Hunter.
Back in 2016, Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett was busy putting together what ended up being a legendary recruiting class. The Cavs had four scholarships. One went to Kyle Guy. Another went to Ty Jerome. A third went to Jay Huff. And the fourth was set to go to… Sacha Killeya-Jones.
SKJ was Bennett’s highest-ranked recruit at No. 23 overall, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. The soon-to-be McDonald’s All-American was from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and attended Virginia Episcopal School.
The Cavaliers had offered SKJ back in September 2014 and he committed on the first day of 2015. Meanwhile, a four-star recruit ranked No. 91 overall by the name of De’Andre Hunter was quietly hoping for an offer.
SKJ would eventually de-commit on June 2, 2015, before receiving a Kentucky offer on June 12 and committing to the Cats in August. This opened up a scholarship for the Cavs, which was offered to Hunter in July 2015, and the rest is history.
Killeya-Jones only ended up playing two years in Lexington before transferring to NC State, only to then leave the Wolfpack program abruptly for unknown reasons. On the other hand, Hunter would help catapult Virginia to its first National Championship, tallying 27 points, nine rebounds, and locking up future top-10 pick Jarrett Culver on defense.
The performance not only helped the Cavs win it all, but it also helped Hunter become the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
John Calipari and Kentucky fans alike hoped SKJ would help influence a national title run, but I’m not sure they envisioned it would happen this way. Nevertheless, it’s a fun story of what could have been.
Follow me on Twitter: @nickwheatley23
By Zack Geoghegan on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 1:45pm
If the NFL preseason isn’t doing it for you on this Sunday afternoon, why not check in on a future Kentucky basketball commit?
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, recent UK commitment and four-star forward Cam’Ron Fletcher will participate in the SLAM Summer Classic joined by a group of potential future Wildcats.
Several high-profile Kentucky targets such as Jalen Green, Josh Christopher, Makur Maker, Terrence Clarke, and Jonathan Kuminga will also be participating in the event.
Check out how they all arrived.
THE FELLAS MADE AN ENTRANCE. pic.twitter.com/BgrAeiombH
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) August 18, 2019
By Eli Mitchell on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 1:30pm
The former Kentucky and current Golden State Warriors center turns 26 years old today!
Just a reminder that Willie Cauley-Stein use to dunk the ball A LOT ? pic.twitter.com/makecutCiq
— KY Clips (@KY_Clips) July 28, 2019
#BBN, I hope you'll join me in wishing @THEwillieCS15 a happy birthday today. Really excited to see what he does with an organization like the @warriors. I think it's going to be a really great fit. pic.twitter.com/PRhsL4H1zD
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 18, 2019
After averaging 11.9 points, 8.4 rebounds per game in 2018 for the Sacramento Kings, Cauley-Stein agreed to a two-year, $4.4 million deal with the Warriors.
Ultimately, the decision came down to situation for Cauley-Stein, as he couldn’t turn down the recruiting of Steph Curry, Steve Kerr, and Draymond Green.
“I know I had said something about getting paid at the beginning of the year. But by the end of it, it was no longer about getting paid. It was about staying secure and building off that security. … I think the Warriors are probably the best at doing that in the league. It was a really easy decision on me and my team’s part.”
With the change of scenery and a talented group around him, Cauley-Stein is poised for an improved year.
Let’s send him some love today, BBN!
By Eli Mitchell on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
Former Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson suffered a torn ACL in the New York Jets second preseason game on Thursday night. The timing could not be worse for Williamson, as he was set to lead a much-improved defense alongside fellow linebacker CJ Mosley.
The injury occurred late in the 2nd quarter, at which point every single NY Jet starting defender was on the sideline except for Williamson.
“Everybody’s slotted for a different amount of snaps,” head coach Adam Gase explained Thursday night. “Some guys we’re trying to get with certain packages and you’re a 1 in this group, a 2 in this group. The last two weeks, he’s kind of stayed in there a little longer.”
There’s no one to blame in a situation like this, but it is easy to question the decision-making after the fact.
This injury to the ACL is by no means the end of Williamson’s career, but it likely does end his time as a NY Jet.
Back in 2018, Williamson signed a three-year $22.5 million deal, but only $16 million is guaranteed. The guaranteed money runs out at the end of this year, so the Jets will have to decide whether or not the $8.5 million cap hit is worth it to keep him. They can release him to free agency for just $2 million in dead cap.
The Jets will likely release him as the cap hit will not be worth a linebacker coming off a serious knee injury.
At 27 years old, there will be a market for Williamson, but coming off a torn ACL he will likely have to play at a discounted rate.
BBN, show some support to Avery as he begins the long road back.
By Eli Mitchell on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
Former Kentucky cornerback Derrick Baity went undrafted in the 2019 NFL draft, but he’s not allowing that to stop him from making a name for himself in the NFL.
Baity signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent and is certainly making the most of his opportunity.
In last night’s contest against the Detroit Lions, Baity led the Texans with six total tackles, while adding two pass deflections, and an interception.
Nice awareness from CB Derrick Baity for the INT. pic.twitter.com/qawGp1zEMW
— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) August 18, 2019
It is going to be an uphill battle for Baity Jr. to make the Texans 53 man roster as they are deep at the corner position. Fortunately, the rest of the league will also evaluate Baity Jr.’s preseason tape, and if he continues this pace it may be enough to make a roster.
By Eli Mitchell on ©August 18th, 2019 @ 10:00am
Each Saturday of Fall Camp, the Kentucky football team has held full-contact scrimmages to prepare for the upcoming season.
The scrimmages are important, as they play a role in deciding the two-deep depth chart.
Following a disappointing showing last Saturday, the Kentucky defense responded yesterday with a dominant performance, especially in the trenches.
Defense Wanted It More
The offense didn’t have an awful day, but they did not have the same energy and excitement that the defense brought.
Junior Quarterback Terry Wilson is starting to feel more comfortable with his 2nd & 3rd reads, which showed on Saturday as he did not turn the ball over.
Coach Stoops told reporters, “Offensively, we’re going to be fine. We’re going to be good. They continue to run the ball effectively. We’re doing some very good things.”
TJ Carter Impressing Teammates, Coaches
The biggest revelation of fall camp may be the emergence of TJ Carter as a leading playmaker on the defensive line.
“He’s probably the most noticeable guy on defense right now,” said defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc.
Carter has also drawn praise from teammates as they see the difference in not only his play but also in his mindset.
For more on TJ’s incredible off-season, check out Nick’s Article with quotes from Mr. Carter himself.
De’Aaron Fox Withdraws From Team USA
The former Kentucky guard was a near-lock to make the Team USA roster, but that is no longer the case.
Following the team’s win against Spain, Fox decided to withdraw from consideration so that he can begin preparing for the 2019-20 NBA season.
Fox hopes to lead the Sacramento Kings to their first playoff berth since 2005.
Justin Thomas’ Record-Setting Day
The Louisville native played an incredible round of golf at the BMW Championship on Saturday, finishing the day with a 61 to lead the tournament at -21 under.
Thomas holed out for Eagle on the 16th hole from 181 yards away.
Look at the shot from Kentucky native Justin Thomas. From the fairway, into the hole. pic.twitter.com/C4m84ks2Kt
— Charlie Walter (@CharlieWalterTV) August 17, 2019
Thomas is set to tee off at 1:20 PM with Patrick Cantlay and Tony Finau.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
The dirt surrounding college basketball recruiting and popular shoe and apparel companies continues to pile up.
On Friday evening, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel, and Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports released yet another bombshell report, filled with the various exhibitions submitted to federal court by controversial lawyer Michael Avenatti.
His goal? To support his claims from earlier in the week that Nike has engaged in corruption and illegal payments to high-level basketball recruits.
As we’ve seen in some of the past breaking news stories over the last year or so, multiple big-name athletes and schools were included in Friday’s report.
And as we discussed on the site last night, Kentucky was one of the schools named in the documents, sparking a sense of uneasiness throughout the Big Blue Nation.
But what does it all mean, specifically for the Kentucky program? Do UK fans have any reason to be worried?
Let’s take a look.
Deandre Ayton, Zion Williamson, and Romeo Langford
While Kentucky fans were most interested in UK’s involvement, the biggest aspect of the story had to do with former Arizona center Deandre Ayton, among with fellow former prized recruits Zion Williamson (Duke) and Romeo Langford (Indiana).
For Ayton, the evidence was rather damning. According to the official court documents, Nike EYBL director Carlton DeBose received an email on his official Nike corporate account from Mel McDonald, a known middleman and handler for Ayton and former five-star big man Bol Bol, along with other associates.
The email had a subject line of “Numbers,” with in-depth details on the money spent on Ayton and those close to him.
The expenses revealed in the report covered travel, cell phone, and immigration costs, among other things, totaling $65,840.
In the same email, a long list of payouts were listed, including:
- Nov. 3rd – $5K
- Nov. 24th – $5K
- Dec. 2nd – $5K
- Dec. 12th – 5K in Kentucky (3 cells 2K cash)
- Dec. 15th – $5K Xmas Gifts
- Dec. 15th – $4K (loan) (Met mom about Larnelle)
- Jan. 8th – $2940 mom $600 auntie
- Feb. 9th – $5,000 for March to mom $3,500 for Bahamas to dad.
As far as the “Kentucky” line is concerned, this is likely in reference to the location of the payment, not the UK basketball program. Hillcrest Prep (AZ), Ayton’s high school, played in Lexington back on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13, 2015 for a tournament called the Bluegrass Showcase. While the document doesn’t clarify what the money was used for in Kentucky, the timeline certainly adds up.
Back in April, Avenatti accused Nike of making $83,000 worth of payments to those close to Ayton, providing documents to back up his accusations, as well.
On February 25, 2018, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach also reported that FBI wiretaps showed that Arizona head coach Sean Miller discussed a $100,000 payment to secure a commitment from Ayton.
Outside of Ayton, Avenatti also provided a series of text messages from February 2017 between DeBose, Nike recruiting coordinator John Stovall, and Nike EYBL manager Jamal James, where the trio discussed a plan to pay Williamson, Langford, and another undisclosed player from Michigan.
In one of the exhibits, James wrote to DeBose in a group text message trying to figure out what they would be able to swing financially for all three players.
“Remember that the Romeo and Zion deals are NOT done yet! We are still in it. Just want u to remember that possible financial obligation also,” James said in a text on February 11.
“We’re still in there for Zion and Langford?!?! I thought that ship had sailed,” DeBose later responded.
“Are we willing to do the additional 30K for this (California) [kid] along with whatever may be needed for the Zion/Romeo situations as well as the money we’re not going to do for the kid in Michigan?” James wrote back.
In one group text, James wrote to DeBose seeking to find out if they would be “willing to do … whatever may be needed for the Zion/Romeo situations as well as the money we’re now going to do for the [minor] kid in Michigan.”
“Langford — 20 (thousand), Zion — 35-plus (thousand), [Michigan kid] – 15 (thousand),” Stovall responded.
Later, DeBose added that he was okay with spending “70” if it meant they could “cripple adidas,” saying that those involved needed to “stay aggressive.”
“The other 70 listed I’m willing to spend to cripple adidas,” he said. “The amount of work that you guys are doing is more than worth me spinning the approximate 100K to support the efforts. I will have to get creative elsewhere in the budget but I’m encouraging you all to stay aggressive and I will figure out the money part.”
On February 28, Stovall then said a “new offer” for Williamson had not been presented, but they “hinted at it.”
“[No update on Williamson] yet,” he said. “[A third party] had not talked to them directly in a couple of days. Still has not presented our new offer. Only hinted at it. He did not want to put it in print which I agreed with.”
“What moved Langford?” DeBose responded.
“$$ is my guess,” Stovall said. “They claim “a chance to start a new path.” I’m not buying it. They admitted [Indiana] will stink and said “it’s not about wins and losses” lol.”
Unlike Ayton’s situation, the text messages did not indicate any money explicitly exchanged hands or whether or not any offers were officially presented.
Nonetheless, if you believe the documents, the discussions happened.
Kenny Payne’s “involvement”
As you guys read last night, Kenny Payne participated in a text message exchange with Carlton DeBose in the early hours of July 6, 2017.
According to the official exhibits in Avenatti’s case, Payne – listed by his initials and nickname of “KP” in the messages – had a conversation with DeBose, who told the Kentucky assistant which Nike EYBL coaches he supplied money to in order to help families of players on the popular shoe circuit.
“Do [you] help people like Webster and speedy every year and how many more people asked you to help them,” Payne asked DeBose. “They both are happy [you] are helping them. How many more are [there?]”
“Those two [Nike coaches]. And about 10 other brothers,” DeBose responded, adding nine more names to the list. “About 10 coaches who are helping families to the total of about [$200,000] annually and I still have to meet budget.”
“Wow,” Payne responded.
“You’re the only one that knows about it [because] so many of these dudes are selfish and would want more [because] they would argue that someone else don’t deserve the help more than they do,” DeBose said. “It’s a stressful balancing act.”
“Damn man, can it come back [and] hurt you?” Payne responded.
“Not really. Have to do it cleanly and with a process. I’m good, but it’s enough to where Lynn [Merritt, Nike’s global vice president for sports marketing and basketball] and Nico [Harrison, Nike’s vice president of North American Basketball Operations] don’t want to know the intimate details to cover their asses,” DeBose said. “So it’s a risk but my every day job is a damn risk so I’m used to it now.”
“Watch your back bro,” Payne responded, his final message in the exhibits.
Should Kentucky fans be worried?
Now that you know who DeBose is and what Payne said to him in the text exchange, is there any reason to sweat if you’re a Kentucky basketball fan?
In short, not really.
While it’s never a “good” thing to have your name associated with any scandal, Payne’s text exchange seemed to indicate he and the Kentucky program had seemingly minimal involvement in the entire process and that he was simply telling an individual he had known for quite some time to be careful.
Diving into the assistant’s quotes alone, while it’s obvious he’s not ignorant to the shadiness going on in the world of AAU basketball – he did acknowledge “Webster” and “Speedy” by name and was aware that they appreciated DeBose’s help – he was admittedly surprised at the number of EYBL coaches involved, the dollar figure attached to the process, and seemed to be unaware of the logistics of it all.
Looking at Kentucky’s recruiting track record, especially as of late, with players of questionable backgrounds and those rumored to be looking for handouts, John Calipari and his staff have backed off on multiple occasions.
Ayton, a player who publicly listed Kentucky as one of his favorite schools and was the first in the class of 2016 to receive a scholarship offer from UK, was outspoken about how his recruitment hadn’t gone the way he had hoped and wanted more schools to reach out. For a player who was deemed the most dominant and NBA-ready big man in his class, why would Kentucky randomly cut off all communication during the home stretch of his recruitment, especially when they likely could have reeled him in?
And with Langford, you may recall, Kentucky’s interest and communication dropped off almost completely in the spring of 2018. At the time, Langford’s father, Tim, told the Courier Journal about his disagreements with John Calipari during his time coaching the former five-star prospect with USA Basketball at the U19 FIBA World Cup in Egypt. He also added that Langford called Calipari in hopes of taking an official visit to Lexington in hopes of potentially solving their issues and rebuild burnt bridges.
Bol Bol’s contact dropped off, Terrance Ferguson essentially begged for an offer, Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t prioritized, Josh Jackson’s recruitment drew red flags, Anthony Bennett went from Kentucky lean to minimal interest, etc.
You go down the list, and it’s no secret that Kentucky has mostly stayed away from the prospects – especially late in their respective recruitments – that could have caused them potential headaches with the NCAA. This case only seems to be more of the same.
Going back to Payne’s text messages, there’s always the possibility – a very real one – that the Kentucky assistant used DeBose to find out which AAU programs, coaches, and prospects to avoid on the recruiting trail, not who to go after. If you need a safety blanket to know who will get you in trouble and who will keep you out of it, why not go to the direct source?
Considering the program’s recent track record and the fact that the NCAA has been watching Calipari like a hawk from the day he arrived in Lexington, it’d be far-fetched to think that Payne was using DeBose to find out which prospects were looking for handouts and use that information for more bad than good, to say the least. National analysts and rival fans may jump on this and assume guilt based on name recognition alone, but there is little-to-no substance here that should make Kentucky fans sweat.
Friday’s report didn’t completely clear Payne or the Kentucky basketball program of any wrongdoing, but it certainly didn’t implicate them in any way, either.
By Nick Roush on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 10:45pm
Players fought to move up the depth chart during Saturday’s preseason scrimmage at Kroger Field. It was closed to the general public, but KSR spoke to some folks who got to see the action.
1. Smoke Welcomes a Freshman to the SEC
After the scrimmage I asked Jamin Davis who is the hardest running back to tackle. “Smoke. He’s a hard runner,” said Davis. “He keeps his feet moving on contact. He’s real physical.”
M.J. Devonshire knows that all too well. The freshman cornerback, who is alternating between the first and second team, ate a stiff-arm from Smoke before the redshirt freshman running back scampered into the end zone. The move incited a reaction from the entire sideline. It was the equivalent to a dunk at an AAU game that shuts down the gym.
2. A Freshman Uses the Hit Stick
The freshmen don’t always have to be on the receiving end of “welcome to the SEC” moments. They can deliver the blow too. That’s exactly what Taj Dodson did today. As a unsuspecting wide receiver crossed the middle of the field, the early enrollee safety lowered the boom stick. “It was a nice hit. It wasn’t targeting,” insisted linebacker DeAndre Square.
3. Terry Wilson’s Reads Through Progressions
We’ve heard throughout training camp that Terry Wilson is more “comfortable” in the pocket, but what exactly does that mean? A year ago, if Wilson’s first read wasn’t open, he panicked more times than not. That is no longer the case.
For the first time, Wilson is finding his check-downs. When a few reads aren’t there, A.J. Rose and the rest of the UK running backs will gladly bail out the quarterback. Rose turned one third medium into a hard-fought first down.
Arguably Wilson’s best throw of the day happened before he could get to his running back check-down. Twenty-five yards away from the end zone, he went through two different reads before finding his third option, tight end Keaton Upshaw, open in the end zone for a touchdown. Terry is taking the next step.
4. Jordan Wright Makes his Case
The outside linebacker room got a little more crowded when UK’s coaches moved Josh Paschal back to Jack. Forced to perform in a pressure cooker, Wright brought his A-Game today. One play in particular stood out. Facing an athlete in the flat, Wright did not fall for any jukes. Instead, he hit the receiver in the open field for a tackle for loss.
If Wright does not continue to play at a high level, Xavier Peters certainly has the physical tools to make an impact. As for the NCAA, Stoops is still waiting to see if Peters will be eligible to play this fall.
5. Stoops Makes up his Own Rules
Kentucky’s head coach has a tendency to favor the defense. If you need anymore proof, he did not let the offense get away with a busted play.
“There was a play early offensively. We were keeping them out of the end zone pretty good. There was a broken play and I couldn’t give them the first down. I just couldn’t do it,” Stoops laughed. “It was a dropped snap, the running back picked it up and somehow managed to get a first down. I said ‘field goal.’ They didn’t deserve it. We couldn’t be so lucky.”
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 10:30pm
Kentucky fans will have the opportunity to check out one future Wildcat (at the very least) on Sunday afternoon.
At 2:00 p.m. ET, 2020 four-star forward and UK commitment Cam’Ron Fletcher, among several other elite prospects, will take the floor in the SLAM Summer Classic in New York.
Fletcher will be joined by Kentucky targets Jalen Green, Josh Christopher, Makur Maker, Terrence Clarke, and Jonathan Kuminga, among other high-major recruits, in the event.
Green, Christopher, Maker, and Clarke participated in one-on-one sessions today, followed by Green stealing the show in the event’s official dunk contest afterward:
We’ll have the stream right here on KSR, as well. Stay tuned.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
The Kentucky football program hosted a very important visitor on Saturday morning.
In fact, the team brought on a brand new player to join the roster for a day to make his dream come true. .
This morning, six-year-old Braxton Wessels had his Make-A-Wish wish granted by UK Athletics.
His wish? To live the life of a Kentucky football player for one day.
The team brought him in with his family this morning and showed him around the football facilities, let him meet his new teammates, and watch Kentucky’s scrimmage, among other activities.
By looking at his smile alone, you can already tell he had the time of his life.
Take a look at the footage the Kentucky football social media team released on their Twitter page this afternoon:
Six-year-old Braxton Wessels had a wish to be a Kentucky Football player for a day. We were honored make that wish come true today for Braxton and his family with help from @makeawishohkyin. It's a great day to be a Wildcat!#BringIt pic.twitter.com/WbPgdNlVnX
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) August 17, 2019
Congratulations to Mr. Wessels on his big day as a Kentucky football player! And most importantly, go Cats!
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 9:00pm
If you’ve followed along with the website throughout the day, you’d already know how Kentucky football’s final scrimmage of fall camp went this morning.
Here’s a SparkNotes summary of the day, in case you missed it:
- Stoops was happier this week than last
- Logan Stenberg feels the defense won
- The Kentucky head coach wants more consistency from both side, emphasis on fundamental football
- Terry Wilson is still turnover-free through two scrimmages
- Boogie Watson, Lynn Bowden, and Quinton Bohanna were held out for precautionary reasons
- Nik Scalzo suffered a significant injury
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time for some highlights.
This evening, the official Kentucky football Twitter account released some footage from today’s scrimmage, where we got to see Terry Wilson make some tough throws, Keaton Upshaw find himself wide-open for a touchdown, and the running backs turning heads, among other clips.
Take a look below:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) August 17, 2019