April 2018 archive

Six Cats have NBA Draft Combine invitations

Hamidou Diallo (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Sources indicate that six Kentucky players have been invited to the upcoming NBA Draft Combine in Chicago May 16-20.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo all entered the draft and hired agents — meaning they will not be back at UK.

P.J. Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel have put their name into the draft without hiring an agent — meaning they could choose to return to UK if they don’t get the evaluation they want or need from NBA officials.

“Everything went great” with former UK coach Fran Curci’s open heart surgery

Fran Curci

By LARRY VAUGHT

Former Kentucky football coach Fran Curci had open heart surgery this morning in Tampa, Fla., to repair an aneurysm on his aorta.

“I keep in touch with him and his children.  They found aneurysm on his aorta.  It grew quickly, but doctors said it was a miracle they found it,” said family friend Jennifer Parks, a former UK cheerleader. “He is strong and in good spirits. He’s a fighter and always has been.

“Angela, one of his daughters contacted me today to say ‘his surgery is over and everything went great!  He’s a new man!  Thank you for all the prayers.’”

Kole Cottam SEC Player of Week

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky junior Kole Cottam was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week after a red-hot week that culminated in his game-winning, eighth-inning grand slam, it was announced on Monday.

Cottam is the third UK player in as many weeks to win either SEC Player or Pitcher of the Week and seventh overall. This is the 12th time since the start of the 2017 season a Wildcat has claimed one of those awards, the most of any school in the SEC.

Ashton Hagans’ age makes it easier to understand why he likely will reclassify

Ashton Hagans

By LARRY VAUGHT

Thanks to the always informative Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader, I now understand more about why Georgia guard Ashton Hagans is likely to reclassify to the 2018 recruiting class.

Roberts noted in a story Sunday that Hagans turns 19 years old in July. In Kentucky, that would make him ineligible to play his senior year because he would turn 19 before Aug. 1. However, in Georgia he would be eligible because a “student must not have reached his 19th birthday prior to May 1st” to be eligible.

Almost half of Mark Stoops’ highly-touted 2014 signing class transferred

Mikel Horton is one of 11 players in UK’s 2014 signing class that transferred. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky had 25 players in its 2014 football signing class that included six four-star players and 20 three-star players according to 247sports.com. That put Kentucky No. 23 in the recruiting rankings.

For Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, that was a big momentum builder for his program with UK fans.

However, at the time former UK quarterback Freddie Maggard — who just recently was named the director of player development at UK — warned he thought the class looked better on paper than it might on the field.

Grand prize: Cottam delivers game-winning homer

Kole Cottam won Sunday’s game with a grand slam.
Photo by Elliott Hess | UK Athletics

LEXINGTON, Ky. – For No. 13 Kentucky, life was grand on Sunday afternoon.

Kole Cottam belted a soaring game-winning grand slam to left field in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Wildcats claimed a wild series over Missouri, 11-10, on an ideal spring afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Tennessee’s early homers help beat UK 6-0

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Thanks to early home runs from All-American Meagan Gregg and Ashley Morgan, the No. 6 Tennessee Lady Vols claimed the series on Sunday afternoon knocking off the No. 18 Kentucky softball team, 6-0 at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. After UK won Friday’s series opener, UT claimed the series win with victories on Saturday (8-1) and Sunday (6-0).

With the loss, Kentucky falls to 29-17 overall and 6-14 in Southeastern Conference games this season. Tennessee improves to 42-10 overall this season and 11-9 in SEC play this season.

Nothing surprises recruiting writer about UK recruiting

E.J. Montgomery (McDonald’s All-American Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Count Rivals.com recruiting writer Krysten Peek as a believer in Kentucky signee E.J. Montgomery.

“E.J. had glimpses of greatness during the McDonald’s All American practices. There were a couple times he surprised everyone in the gym with a putback dunk or a nice block and it’s surprising because he’s such a quiet kid,” Peek said.

“He’s not very vocal on the court like Keldon Johnson and Immanuel Quickley, so when the quiet players do something ridiculous it always draws a reaction. He’s tough in the lane but also has a nice mid-range jumper. I would say he’s not as strong as PJ Washington but his outside game is much better.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the “cool kid at school”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

McDonald’s All-American Elizabeth Balogun, a Georgia Tech signee, played at Hamilton Heights in Chattanooga. That’s the same school where Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played before going to Kentucky.

“I didn’t have class with him since he was a year ahead of me but I had one study hall with him,” she said. “He was like the cool kid at school. He was fun to be around. He’s just a good kid.”

Both were extraordinary players, but she never practiced or worked out with him.

Troy Squires shines but No. 13 Kentucky falls 14-11 to Missouri

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Freshman Coltyn Kessler recorded his first career hit and junior Ryan Shinn his first home run but the long ball undid No. 13 Kentucky in a 14-11 loss to Missouri on Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The teams will play the rubber game of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

The Tigers had scored just 16 runs in their past 10 conference games but broke out on Saturday thanks to four home runs. The final blow came on Trey Harris’ three-run, eighth-inning shot off that provided enough cushion to withstand the Cats’ furious rally from a 9-2 deficit.