Finally Some Respect for Kentucky Football, Maybe

After weeks of constant disrespect aimed towards Kentucky Football, we finally have some respect…well for at least one player. Lynn Bowden was named as one of the top 50 most underrated players in the nation. Lynn Bowden was a main piece of the offense last season and on the punt return squad, especially against Penn State. Bowden is a stud and as he enters his junior year, all of us are expecting a breakout season to coincide nicely with Terry Wilson, AJ Rose, and Smoke. So with one sign of respect, it’s obvious more disrespect follows, right?

Yesterday, the Kentucky Football over/under was set at 6.5 which would symbolize them making a bowl game, right? Wrong. Phil Steele continues to shove hate towards us and says we won’t make a bowl. First off, their schedule is a tad easier than last season. They have their rivals, Louisville, Florida, and Tennessee at home while traveling to Mississippi State, Georgia, and South Carolina. Kentucky will win four of those six games…with losses probably coming to Georgia and Mississippi State if I had to guess. But our good pal Phil claims Kentucky will only win five games and he states that the loss of our defense is too major to recover yet Mark Stoops has had an inexperienced defense every season besides last and we’ve still been able to reach the seven wins. But this year is different, mainly because our offense is so much better.

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While the disrespect is in the records, more Football analyst throw shade towards Terry. Terry has been ranked last in the SEC due to “inconsistency” yet he led Kentucky Football to a 10 win season, a rarity in the Bluegrass. Terry Wilson has what it takes to be an elite quarterback. He is tall, athletic, and can run the RPO offense which the NFL seems to be leaning towards. He has the arm to make the downfield threat but you really never know where his ball will go. He has experienced the lowest of lows, including his season opener against Central Michigan where he went 11-18 with only 78 yards and 2 interceptions but he also has had his highlights when he beat Florida at the Swamp by throwing two touchdowns and running for one more. Terry has shown he has what it takes, especially against Kentucky’s rival opponents. To say he is the worst quarterback in the SEC after he led Kentucky into the Swamp to defeat Franks and the Gators to end a long streak. To have Franks ranked above Terry is just as disrespectful as having Terry last.

Say what you want about Kentucky Football, but it’s on the rise. Kentucky will shock a ton of people this season, so let’s just enjoy the ride and embrace the hate. For the latest updates, follow us on Twitter @soft7sports and on Facebook

2019 Roster Update, N’Faly Latest

We have entered the dog days of summer where it’s basically just baseball for the next few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Reds fan, but with college football just around the corner it’s hard to stay focused. College Football I love, but for the sole reason that Basketball is just a few more months away. When Calipari came to Kentucky, he brought the program back to where it should be and this year is no different. With the number two recruiting class and a ton of players returning, Kentucky is set out to do what it did in 2012 and this is the team to do so.

For only the second time in the Calipari era, Kentucky returns four players who averaged double digits in minutes and more than 4 points per game. The last time that happened? Kentucky went 38-1* and got screwed in the Final Four with a non call on a shot clock violation. Now to sit here and say this team will go 40-0 is just outrageous, but they can make a run. They return their guards in Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley who both improved tremendously as the season progressed. They both could be apart of the best backcourt in college basketball next season along with Tyrese Maxey. Tyrese Maxey has an uncanny ability to get to the rim. Think of John Wall with the ability to shoot outside of 15 feet. He’s going to be a special player and I can see him assuming the starting role at point guard if Hagans is underperforming but they’ll be a great mix.

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The bigs are definitely improved. Not only do we return Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery but Kentucky adds special talent to help them out. Kahlil Whitney is the player I am most excited for next season. After watching hours of his highlights, he reminds me of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the jumping ability of Hamidou Diallo. Expect two alley-oops a game and several players’ careers being ended by getting dunked on. Along with Whitney, Kentucky brings in Keion Brooks, Dontaie Allen, Johnny Juzang, and Nate Sestina. Allen could be a legit player once he is healthy, and Keion brings on a special skill set including rim protector. Juzang could be this years Tyler Herro will his shooting ability and Sestina brings the experience and the shooting/defensive ability needed.

I do think Kentucky is missing a piece and his name is N’Faly Dante. While Dante is 6’11”, he has a wingspan of 7’5” which just makes him a beast. Watching some of his highlights, I feel like Dante is the closest to Bam. Bam was an absolute tank but he wasn’t the best shooter. His defense will set him apart from the others as he is a complete package with shot-blocking and rebounding and the ability to switch off the pick. The issue Dante may have is his outside shot. While he drains threes in his videos, his shot is just so inconsistent. With his height, he has the ability to again rebound and dunk but he’ll need to develop an outside shot and it will take patience from everyone. He has the peak of a Karl Anthony Towns with his athleticism and he can grow into a shot and with Kenny Payne, this is possible.

But there is a holdup around N’Faly. From an interview with the Athletic, Dante’s AAU director claims that they are doing everything possible to reclassify. The hardest thing to do is reclassify but it is even harder when English is not your primary language. His family wants him to reclassify and they love Kentucky, but again it will take time and it won’t likely happen until the end of the summer, if at all. They claim they are working “around the clock” to make it possible and by all accounts, he wants it to happen. Oregon and Kansas are possible contenders but I really think if he reclassifies, he is Kentucky’s to lose. We’ll find out more with Peach Jam this week.

My guess, N’Faly will be a member of the 2019 recruiting class and will bring us into the top 3 and possibly the #1 team in the nation. We’ll have the 2nd recruiting class behind Memphis still, but we will be a much deeper and a much more athletic team. #9 is looming, let’s get ready.

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Some Things are Bigger than Rivalries

As all of Big Blue Nation know, Jared Lorenzen passed away last week after a battle with kidney and heart issues along with an infection. The 38 year old is one of the most beloved Kentucky Football players of all time and his love for Kentucky Football made the transition to college easier for tons of players, including Maxwell Smith whom Lorenzen took under his wing. But one thing no one expected…former Louisville players are helping out with funeral cost.

Jamon Brown, Deion Branch, and Chris Redman are helping Lorenzen’s family by helping pay for the funeral for the former Wildcat star. All three of these men also played with Jared in the NFL. Brown is donating $5,000 himself and when asked why, he said “We wanted to be an example of how, no matter if you played for the blue or the red, how important it is for us to come together and support one another, both in and out of sports,” Brown told Forbes.com. “The rivalry between the schools is intense, and it’s great, but at the end of the day, all that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you remember that we’re all in this game of life together, whether you played for the blue or the red.” This just goes to show that some things are bigger than rivalries.

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Lorenzen was an example of how everyone should live. He never took a day for granted saying, “life’s too short to cry about stuff. So get out there laugh, smile, and have fun doing it.” If you want to find a way to donate to his cause, Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio has started a fund to help his kids get to college. More information is coming and keep an eye on KSR and Matt’s twitter to see how you can help.

One last thing on this…you may hate Louisville and believe me I do too, but this is a prime example of class and how some things are just bigger than sports. So thank you to these Louisville players, you’ve shown your class and your respect. Rest easy 22.

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Latest N’Faly Dante Update

At this point you know who N’Faly Dante is and what he brings to the table. In case you forgot, N’Faly Dante is the 2nd ranked center in the 2020 class but his family seems to be pushing for him to reclassify into 2019. While he is from Wichita, Kentucky is also pushing for a reclassification due to his ability to own the paint and it doesn’t hurt that he is long as hell. While he is technically 6 foot 11 inches, his wingspan stretches to 7 foot 5 and some measurements even think it is bigger. With Calipari still looking to add to his already stacked 2019 class, Dante could be the final piece of the championship puzzle.

While the Kerry Blackshear saga continued for weeks, the N’Faly Dante sweepstakes could take even longer but at no fault of his own. Being a junior in high school, N’Faly has perhaps his most important AAU summer and he’d be a fool to skip out on it. With the Peach Jam about to begin, we could see him make a decision anytime after July 14th but hold on and keep your hopes to a minimum.

N’Faly is an amazing player, there’s no arguing that and he is one of those players that could leap into the 2019 class because his skill set is so special. There is a holdup though and for him, it’s harder than most situations. With him being originally from Mali, english is his second language. Reclassifying is hard enough but he’ll have it harder. A ton of media reports came out saying he was staying in the 2020 class…they’re wrong. N’Faly wants to reclassify and he is awaiting a few test results as well as the Peach Jam. But as the Peach Jam begins soon, he’ll face media and we’ll be able to get more answers.

Again, N’Faly would be a stud. His length, his shot blocking ability, and his speed are a few things to look out for. I feel like Dante is the closest to Bam. Bam was an absolute tank but he wasn’t the best shooter. His defense will set him apart from the others as he is a complete package with shot-blocking and rebounding and the ability to switch off the pick. The issue Dante may have is his outside shot. While he drains threes in his videos, his shot is just so inconsistent. With his height, he has the ability to again rebound and dunk but he’ll need to develop an outside shot and it will take patience from everyone. He has the peak of a Karl Anthony Towns with his athleticism and he can grow into a shot and with Kenny Payne, this is possible.

Here are my thoughts…if and it’s about 70/30 right now, IF N’Faly reclassifies Kentucky is in the driver’s seat. He could potentially stay home at Kansas and even Oregon is atop of his list, but Kentucky is the school he has his eyes on and his host family feels the exact same way. If I had to take a guess, I think he will reclassify but it would happen after Peach Jam and those AAU events. This gives him more time to visit, work on school work, and show off his skills against the elite of the elite. It may be a waiting process, but I think the Cats wrap up their 2019 recruiting class with N’Faly.

So as we wait, make sure you follow us on Twitter @soft7sports and on Facebook for the latest updates. Come on down, N’Faly.

Division Title Within Reach

I said earlier this week that this could be the most important week of the season because they had series against the division leading Cubs and Brewers. Well, here we are on July 5th and the Reds won both of the series with a combined 5-2 record and they ended it with perhaps the most dominating pitching performances of the year from Sonny Gray and our ace, Luis Castillo.

As Wic wrote the other day, the Reds have allowed the fewest runs in Major League Baseball. A huge part of that comes from their outstanding shift in their pitching with a league ranking of third. They are second in the league in shutouts with nine, but they currently are dead last in the NL Central. But things are changing. With the momentum building week they have had, the Reds currently sit only 3.5 games out of first in the Central and currently 3.5 games out in the Wild Card as well. They have the ability to gain some more ground with the Indians coming in town but their schedule does not get any easier after All-Star break. In fact, they will play a ton of games against the NL Central which gives them so much ground to gain. So what needs to happen?

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It’s easy to say that hitting is the issue, and it is, but consistency is the real problem. The Reds have been producing in the first inning which has led them to tons of wins recently, including last night against the Brewers. They are lucky to have a top bullpen (4th overall, 2nd in NL) that has let them kind of breeze by without scoring runs but that needs to change. Votto, Senzel, and Puig have been producing like no other recently so let’s hope the rest of the team catches on.

But let’s get real. My expectations for this team remain the same, a NL Wild Card spot and a visit to either Milwaukee or Los Angeles for the NLDS. This team has the ability to reach the NLCS but it will start with their hitting. Their pitching has proved it can remain a force and once the offense wakes up, this team could be atop of the NL. Realistically, they are a Wild Card team but as MJ once said, “the ceiling is the roof.” So I ask you, what are your expectations?

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Terry Wilson Trying to Pay Tribute

Terry Wilson has been at the helm of the Wildcats for the past season and it’s going to take a miracle for him not be be there again this season. Now, I have never been a true fan of Terry due to his inconsistency but everything seems to be changing. On Wednesday, Kentucky legend Jared Lorenzen passed away with heart and kidney complications as well as an infection. There has been tons of messages relayed the last few days, including some from our rival Louisville. All of the current players shared a message but Terry Wilson may take it a step further.

Now Terry has gotten a lot of disrespect, including being ranked as the worst SEC QB which is just absurd. Terry Wilson has what it takes to be an elite quarterback. He is tall, athletic, and can run the RPO offense which the NFL seems to be leaning towards. He has the arm to make the downfield threat but you really never know where his ball will go. He has experienced the lowest of lows, including his season opener against Central Michigan where he went 11-18 with only 78 yards and 2 interceptions but he also has had his highlights when he beat Florida at the Swamp by throwing two touchdowns and running for one more. Terry has shown he has what it takes, especially against Kentucky’s rival opponents. To say he is the worst quarterback in the SEC after he led Kentucky into the Swamp to defeat Franks and the Gators to end a long streak. To have Franks ranked above Terry is just as disrespectful as having Terry last.

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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A Closer Look at N’Faly Dante

Unless news breaks anytime soon, this is probably the last update on N’Faly for a long while. N’Faly Dante is a stud. We all know him as the 6’11” center from Mali, but currently living in Wichita. Dante is an absolute stud who currently plays for Willie Cauley Stein’s old team and his coach constantly says how Kenny Payne helped shaped WCS into the player he became and basically includes Kenny Payne in his family. While he sees so many comparables between the two, he thinks Dante may have the higher ceiling and I tend to agree with that.

While Dante is 6’11”, he has a wingspan of 7’5” which just makes him a beast. Watching some of his highlights, I feel like Dante is the closest to Bam. Bam was an absolute tank but he wasn’t the best shooter. His defense will set him apart from the others as he is a complete package with shot-blocking and rebounding and the ability to switch off the pick. The issue Dante may have is his outside shot. While he drains threes in his videos, his shot is just so inconsistent. With his height, he has the ability to again rebound and dunk but he’ll need to develop an outside shot and it will take patience from everyone. He has the peak of a Karl Anthony Towns with his athleticism and he can grow into a shot and with Kenny Payne, this is possible.

Image result for kenny payne

But there is a holdup around N’Faly. From an interview with the Athletic, Dante’s AAU director claims that they are doing everything possible to reclassify. The hardest thing to do is reclassify but it is even harder when English is not your primary language. His family wants him to reclassify and they love Kentucky, but again it will take time and it won’t likely happen until the end of the summer, if at all. They claim they are working “around the clock” to make it possible and by all accounts, he wants it to happen. Oregon and Kansas are possible contenders but I really think if he reclassifies, he is Kentucky’s to lose.

Here are my thoughts…if and it’s about 50/50 right now, IF N’Faly reclassifies Kentucky is in the driver’s seat. He could potentially stay home at Kansas and even Oregon is atop of is list, but Kentucky is the school he has his eyes on and his host family feels the exact same way. If I had to take a guess, I think he will reclassify but it would happen after Peach Jam and those AAU events. This gives him more time to visit, work on school work, and show off his skills against the elite of the elite. It may be a waiting process, but I think the Cats wrap up their 2019 recruiting class with N’Faly.