The Juice is Loose, Should We Panic About Kentucky?

First off, I know what you’re thinking…where hell have you been, Juice? Well, I moved to Nashville and the real world got chaotic. But I’m back…kind of. Kentucky basketball coverage has been my dream and I’m happy to say I’ve secured an amazing job and recently started a side hustle which will be announced later but I wanted to come back to the roots, to the place that started it all. Now let’s get to my point.

As we all know now, Kentucky got flat out embarrassed by Evansville. You can blame who you want, but it’s simple to see how we lost: we were unprepared.

I love John Calipari, but we lost this game because of him. Now stay with me. Cal has shown since day one he doesn’t really care about Kentucky and I respect that. Okay, he cares but he wants more than just notoriety for the school. His type of coaching/recruiting is unprecedented and his goal isn’t a championship, a perfect season, or to even make the tournament, he coaches for the kids futures which is why this past weekend was weird, especially for Cal.

Early season with a young team can be stressful. We’ve seen Cal stress this and it’s been proven especially when we lost to Duke last season by 34 but we still should’ve made the Final Four. Early season is so important for Cal which just makes his visit to NC State this weekend even more weird. He knows how important prep is for games, especially the weaker opponents because it’s a chance to run their schemes and get prepared for April but Calipari spent 2 days away from the team to cheer on his son. I’m not saying that’s an issue, I support Brad and I’m sure every member of BBN does but this early in the season you can’t be lazy and unfortunately that’s what Cal was last weekend.

I’m not knocking Calipari for visiting his son, that’s awesome and I’d want to see my kid play his first game (outside of Kentucky). But we need his full attention and I believe this is what captures it.

Look a loss is a loss who cares. We’ll be fine. We’ll beat Ohio State, we’ll beat Utah and we know damn well those Dirty Birds aren’t beating us in Rupp. We’re banged up. Hagans needs to rest, EJ and Allen need to get healthy, and Maxey and company need to find their stride. This team reminds me a ton of 2011 with Knight. We struggled, especially on the road and lost to some inferior opponents. But they’ll turn it around, give it some time.

This team still can win it all. We got spoiled with a great performance against Michigan State but it’s early. We should expect some bumps along the road and I know Calipari is more focused than ever now. We’ll be where we need to be, when we need to be there.

As always, Go Cats.

PS…Morning Juice will be making a comeback early December. I’ll be writing more here until I can share the exciting news.

Cal Starts 2020 with a Bang, Plus N’Faly Commitment?

A little bit of breaking news this morning as Kentucky gets their first commitment in the 2020 class, Brandon Boston Jr. Boston is the #10 player in the class and the #2 shooting guard. He is a very versatile player who was seen as a lock to Kentucky but is also considered Duke and Auburn. He is an amazing shooter as well as a great rebounder but needs to work on his strength if he wants to make it in the long run, but Cal can bring so much out in him. Boston could be the next Eric Bledsoe for Kentucky, but he could bring a much better force in the college game than Bledsoe could have ever imagined. He is joining Wade and Bronny James this season which will give us a better idea of how he can play with some spotlight on him, but this is a HUGE get for Calipari with Coach K making a big push for Boston Jr last week.

With Boston Jr committing, our attention turns again to N’Faly Dante. Dante is a 6’11” junior from Kansas (originally Mali) and he is in the process of reclassifying but he is running short on time. Dante is said to be between Oregon, Kentucky, and LSU but if you ask me, it’s Kentucky or Oregon with LSU trending down quicker every day. With the process nearing a close, here’s what we know.

Dana Altman and the coaching staff over at Oregon have done an amazing job with their pursuit of N’Faly. They have had his visit and have visited him multiple times within the past two seasons and they were the first team that showed interest in him. I can see why N’Faly would want to go to Oregon, just because of the constant love and admiration they have shown him but look at Bol Bol…no offense, Oregon did not help him whatsoever, in fact it definitely made his situation worse. But what they do have, is success with reclassified players such as Dillon Brooks and Francis Okoro. When it comes to it, Oregon will be hard to turn down for N’Faly.

Five-star center N'Faly Dante stops and poses for a photo in New York City

With Kentucky, you know what I think. Kentucky would allow N’Faly to develop his full potential with the help of Kenny Payne and John Calipari, I mean just look at their success with the big men. Kentucky offers a challenge that any other school cannot do but it comes at a cost. Kentucky is the standard for one and dones, but with every class but a few there has always been competition that cuts playing time which means less time to showcase skill. Cal has never held back anyone (shut up Booker fans) and he always allows them to strive once they hit their peak. N’Faly would have to accept a lesser role, due to Richards, Sestina, and Montgomery but it would also allow him the opportunity to grow and fully enhance his game at an elite level, on a national stage every single night.

N’Faly would put Oregon into the top 25, would they stay there? My guess is probably. Oregon will be decent this season with or without Dante. He would force them into a conversation for the title, but most likely a Sweet 16 is the peak. He would make Kentucky a top 2 team and they’d be there all year. If he commits, he’d give Kentucky the best odds to win the tournament but there is still some waiting to be done. With the Peach Jam and the summer circuit closing shortly, N’Faly is waiting on some test results but all signs point to a reclassification. His host mom loves Kentucky, so does his AAU director…calling them “family.” I firmly believe he will be a Wildcat in due time, just be patient with the process.

For all BBN updates, opinions and much more, follow us on Twitter @soft7sports now!

A Big Blue Charge

We’re in a rare situation in Lexington. It is currently the end of July and more people are excited about football than ever before, in fact no one even cares about the thought of N’Faly Dante joining the Basketball Team but who blames them? There is so much build up around the football program, even with the injury to Davonte Robinson. Kentucky Football is a next man up program and good thing there are tons of four stars backing up Robinson. But all of this is due to one man and his intentions on forever (Mark)ing his legacy in Lexington.

If you would have told me that Kentucky Football was beating LSU, Alabama, Michigan, and even Louisville in recruiting, I would not believe you, not at all. But it’s a different feel in Lexington these days and that is mainly due to Vince Marrow and Mark Stoops. In November 2012, Mark Stoops took over the program and it started off very rocky. In his first year he went 2-10 and then followed it up with two straight 5-7 seasons, barely missing bowl season. Everyone was calling for Mark’s head, including myself but I am forever thankful that Mitch trusts himself more so than the passionate Big Blue Nation.

Image result for kentucky football

After his first three years of going a combined 12-24, he started his 2016 season with another disappointing 0-2 before he turned it around. He finished up going up 7-5 defeating Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals in the best way possible. This was followed by another 7-6 season due to another bowl loss and we all know what happened this past season, 10-3 with a Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State. Stoops has given Kentucky fans a wild ride, but the actual ride is only beginning.

Last year put Kentucky Football on the map. A team that was never expected to win more than 6 games ended up being the team that beat the streak, demolished Louisville, and posted a 5-3 record in the SEC. Josh Allen led the way and became the eleventh top 10 pick in program history and the 17th first rounder. He is the highest Wildcat drafted since Dewayne Robertson in 2003 when he was selected 4th by the Jets. Benny Snell also changed the program, becoming the all time leading rusher as well as posting highs that haven’t been accomplished in so long at Kentucky. Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow have built on all their success. When looking at Allen, the 2 star recruit out of high school, helps Kentucky’s recruiting game more than anyone. Marrow and Stoops built him into a top 10 pick after being a 2 star and it shows the tide is turning at Kentucky.

Kentucky is changing, folks. It is no longer only a basketball school and a big thanks goes to Mark and Vince. With the growth, comes the disrespect which many analyst have already brought on. Not predicting a bowl game, not thinking they’ll get over 6 wins, ranking Terry the worst in the SEC, etc. This only builds the passion of the team. Their feeding this team with tons of bulletin board material as they prepare to shock the world even more. As Michael Jordan once said, “the ceiling is the roof.”

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Latest on N’Faly Dante

With August approaching quickly, all eyes have shifted to N’Faly Dante and his decision that could impact a few teams and bring one to a lethal team. Dante is a 6’11” junior from Kansas (originally Mali) and he is in the process of reclassifying but he is running short on time. Dante is said to be between Oregon, Kentucky, and LSU but if you ask me, it’s Kentucky or Oregon with LSU trending down quicker every day. With the process nearing a close, here’s what we know.

Five-star center N'Faly Dante stops and poses for a photo in New York City

Dana Altman and the coaching staff over at Oregon have done an amazing job with their pursuit of N’Faly. They have had his visit and have visited him multiple times within the past two seasons and they were the first team that showed interest in him. I can see why N’Faly would want to go to Oregon, just because of the constant love and admiration they have shown him but look at Bol Bol…no offense, Oregon did not help him whatsoever, in fact it definitely made his situation worse. But what they do have, is success with reclassified players such as Dillon Brooks and Francis Okoro. When it comes to it, Oregon will be hard to turn down for N’Faly.

With Kentucky, you know what I think. Kentucky would allow N’Faly to develop his full potential with the help of Kenny Payne and John Calipari, I mean just look at their success with the big men. Kentucky offers a challenge that any other school cannot do but it comes at a cost. Kentucky is the standard for one and dones, but with every class but a few there has always been competition that cuts playing time which means less time to showcase skill. Cal has never held back anyone (shut up Booker fans) and he always allows them to strive once they hit their peak. N’Faly would have to accept a lesser role, due to Richards, Sestina, and Montgomery but it would also allow him the opportunity to grow and fully enhance his game at an elite level, on a national stage every single night.

N’Faly would put Oregon into the top 25, would they stay there? My guess is probably not. He would make Kentucky a top 2 team and they’d be there all year. If he commits, he’d give Kentucky the best odds to win the tournament but there is still some waiting to be done. With the Peach Jam and the summer circuit closing shortly, N’Faly is waiting on some test results but all signs point to a reclassification. His host mom loves Kentucky, so does his AAU director…calling them “family.” I firmly believe he will be a Wildcat in due time, just be patient with the process.

For all BBN updates, opinions and much more, follow us on Twitter @soft7sports now!

Let’s See How the NCAA Can Mess This Up

The Kentucky family lost one of the most beloved members of their community when Jared Lorenzen passed away due to kidney, heart complications as well as an infection. Since then, Kentucky fans have raised nearly $100,000 for Jared’s family (huge s/o KSR) and have shown why being a Kentucky fan is still one of the greatest things in the world. We’re a family, who will do anything for anyone. Which leads us to Terry Wilson. A week or so ago Terry Wilson tweeted that he wanted to “rock the deuce deuce” for opening day and we thought it may be far fetched, but apparently not.

According to WLex 18, Stoops said “He reached out to me right after it happened and my initial thought was, that’s a great idea.” One of the big obstacles was the coaching staff, just because a lot goes into the numbering as well as the planning, but with Stoops on board there is only one thing that could stop this…the NCAA.  Our good friends over at the NCAA love to ruin good things, like NCAA Football. But they could step in saying this isn’t allowed due to money allocation on the sales of the #3 jersey or that they do not want to set a precedent that players can just change numbers whenever, but I think they should just let this happen.

Think about this…if the sales of #3 dip, then just make a #22. You know how many fans would scoop up a newer version of a Lorenzen jersey? This would also give them good press for the first time in a very long time and would seemingly put them in good graces with Kentucky (for the time being). With Stoops, our athletic department, and pretty much everyone else on board, let’s hope they don’t ruin this.

If Terry Wilson is able to pull this off, how beloved will he be? Kentucky will definitely have a ceremony on before their opening kick and may even wear some “22” stickers but if Terry Wilson changes his number for a game that would be the sign of ultimate respect and a way for him to win over some fans. As for Lorenzen, he was the one that got me into Kentucky Football. The “Hefty Lefty” inspired many and lived the dream of any player raised in Kentucky. Wic wrote a piece on him the other day (here) but our continued thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. In 2016, he said “Life’s too short to cry about stuff. So get out there laugh, smile, and have fun doing it.” So let’s take those words and live on. See you on the other side, 22.

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