What are Your Realistic Expectations for Kentucky

Coming off the best season in Kentucky Football history, well since I’ve been alive, expectations are high in the Commonwealth. This offseason Kentucky has been the subject of tons of hate, including Terry Wilson being ranked last in the SEC, our buddy Phil Steele projecting Kentucky to miss out on a bowl game, and lastly tons of national media just setting Kentucky’s over/under anywhere from 5.5 to 6.5. With the schedule released, let’s take a look and walk it through.

First, let’s begin with Toledo. Opening day at Kroger Field, Cats win easily and they win the second week against Eastern Michigan as well. Those are two locks. Then Kentucky enters possibly the most important three weeks of the season involving Florida, @Mississippi State, and and @South Carolina. Kentucky needs 2 of the 3 if they want to be special. Personally, I think Kentucky will best Florida again, especially with Touchdown Terry showing up in a big way and the crowd just behind them. Mississippi State is much improved from last season and so is South Carolina. I think our best bet is Mississippi State and we’ll start the season 4-0 with our first potential loss the following weekend at South Carolina. So 4-1 entering the Arkansas game.

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Arkansas is Arkansas. They’ll have their usual ups and downs but at Kroger Field for the first time in weeks, this Kentucky team will eat them alive and come 5-1 coming up on the possible SEC East Championship in Athens. I’ll be blunt, I’d be shocked if Kentucky even comes close in this game so I’ll put us at 5-2 and then a win against Missouri to make us bowl eligible. Tennessee demolished us last season, for no reason. I see it as a revenge game and we’ll be 7-2, 8-2 after Vanderbilt. 9-2 after Tennessee Martin and I think Kentucky absolutely obliterates Louisville again making us 10-2. This is my prediction.

Obviously a lot can change. Defensively we are much weaker than last season, but Stoops has set the bar high and this team can play higher. The offense will be the show, if Terry can be Florida Terry all year then this team attains this easily, possibly setting Kentucky scoring records. The one game I look at that could change…Mississippi State. That three game stretch is brutal and Kentucky needs 2 of the 3. Otherwise, we could end up 9-3 or worse. It’ll set the tone for the season.

So I ask you, what are your predictions?

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The 6 Broncos That Need to Have a Big Year in 2019

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The Denver Broncos had a very disappointing 2018 season. They were the embodiment of the difference between a Buffalo Bill and a Dollar Bill and were never truly good for four quarters. On and off the field issues left the team in shambles. Injuries virtually eliminated the tight end position. Chad Kelly had two cases keeping him from the starting position. One of which was Keenum while the other was breaking and entering. With the 2019 season quickly approaching there are still many moving parts for first year coach Vic Fangio. In order for the Broncos to have success in the toughest AFC West since 2013, these 6 players will need to step up in major ways.

Noah Fant
The Broncos have not had real success with a tight end since Julius Thomas. The lack of success is due to countless injuries, including 4 last year. Now, Elway has decided to roll the dice again by taking Iowa’s Noah Fant with his first round pick. Fant, at 6’4″ 250 pounds, has all the measurables to be a successful NFL tight end. Now, he needs to repeat the same success he had in college in his first year in Denver. It’s difficult to say that a rookie needs to have an immediate impact, but this is a position that the Broncos absolutely have to have production at to have success in the AFC West.

Joe Flacco
His Eliteness will be gracing Mile High with his presence in 2019. It’s about time the Broncos added another Super Bowl MVP to the team in my opinion. Flacco losing his position to Lamar Jackson last season puts him in a difficult spot. He seems to have the the starting spot lined up for Game 1, but the fear of losing his spot to another rookie in Drew Lock has to be weighing on him. He will definitely be on short leash this season.

Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco, left, watches as quarterback Kevin Hogan throws during the NFL football team’s veterans minicamp Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Courtland Sutton
Emmanuel Sanders has been making unbelievable progress in his recovery from an achilles injury, but still may not be at 100% for Game 1. This means that Courtland Sutton will be the de facto first option receiver for the season opener. The last thing that Sanders needs is pressure to return to the field before he is ready. Courtland Sutton needs to have a big season to give Sanders all the time he needs. The Flacco specialty has always been underthrowing a receiver forcing them to run back and be interfered with by a cornerback with his back turned. Hopefully, the thin Denver air allows Flacco to actually throw the ball far enough for Sutton to put up some serious numbers.

Royce Freeman
Phillip Lindsay has the starting running back position locked up for Game 1 of next season. But with uncertainty at the quarterback position, the Broncos needs a viable second option in the backfield. More specifically, a receiving option. Flacco is a big time check down quarterback and needs a safety valve receiver. Freeman played that role perfectly at Oregon and could add a whole new element to the Bronco offense. Screens, wheel routes and swing passes may be what unlocks his potential.

Kareem Jackson
Kareem Jackson is the only newcomer expected to start in the Broncos secondary. Coming off 9 seasons in Houston and a career best year, expectations will be through the roof. But the veteran cornerback is exactly what this Broncos team needs. Joining an elite secondary with William Parks, Justin Simmons, Chris Harris, Bryce Callahan, and Su’a Cravens led by Vic Fangio’s expertise should make for a dominant season, but Kareem Jackson will need to have a big year to bring back to notorious No Fly Zone.

Josey Jewell
Vic Fangio loves to play 3-4 defense. Obviously, three of the four linebacker spots will go to Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Todd Davis. The last inside linebacker spot will go to the next man up, Josey Jewell. Coming off a pretty good rookie year of 58 tackles (38 solo) and 4 tackles for loss, he is going to have to come up huge for the Broncos defense this season. Josey proved that he is an elite linebacker at Iowa and needs to be a presence in the run game for the Broncos to be competitive in the AFC West. Luckily, Vic Fangio is the perfect coach for a young linebacker to learn under.

One player that you should not see on a list like this, at least for the upcoming season, is Phillip Lindsay. Some people still think that he needs to have a big year in 2019 in order to prove himself. Really? Has he not done enough? He went from undrafted to Pro-Bowler in a couple of months. Saying he has proven himself is an understatement.

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NBA Analysts Are Raining Praise on Tyler Herro

The Miami Heat and Pat Riley knew they were getting an elite shooter when they drafted Tyler Herro with the 13th overall pick. To their pleasant surprise, Herro has proved in Summer League that he is much more than just a shooter. His ability to score from anywhere, pass and handle the ball is drawing praise from all over the NBA.

In his 6 games in the Summer League, Herro put up big numbers. Averaging 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 steals, he is looking like a future star for Miami. The Heat’s Summer League Coach Eric Glass told the Miami Herald that Herro “can give us whatever we need… If we need a guy that can handle, get us into offense, if we need him to be pick-and-roll, if we need him to come off catch-and-shoots, he’s shown he can do it all, and we feel comfortable in any of those spots.”

Glass went on to say, “from the day he came in, he proved that he could be a really good passer, so I put him in those roles. The thing that surprised me, I guess, is his feel. It looks like he’s a second- or third-year guy out here. That’s the thing that probably jumps out more than even the touch.”

Glass also loves Herro’s competitiveness and confidence. But not just Heat personnel seems pleased with their draft pick. NBA analysts have been showering the Kentucky guard in compliments since he began his Summer league play.

NBA TV’s Brendan Haywood commented, ““He can do more than shoot… There are other layers to his game. He looks like he will be a steal.” In respect to his game, Haywood also said that Herro “gets right to his point, understands what he has to do without using a lot of the shot clock.” Even delivering the scorching take, “He’s going to be a very impressive rookie in the league. He’s going to have a chance to be first-team All Rookie.”

Former GM of the Atlanta Hawks, Wes Wilcox, said “He’s one of my favorite players in the draft… I would have had him in the top 10. He plays with confidence.” 

Even NBA living legend Vince Carter shared his opinion on Herro’s versatility at the guard position saying, “He has the ability to facilitate, so he will play both.”

Obviously, if Tyler Herro was not on teams radars before, he is now. The Heat and Pat Riley have made it clear that he will be with them for the forseeable future. Even fending off a trade with the Thunder for Russell Westbrook before he was dealt to the Rockets. Having exceeded every expectation for the Heat in Summer League, the chances of being first-team All Rookie and playing multiple crucial roles for a playoff contending squad are favorable.

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And Now the N’Faly Dante Watch Begins

As the Peach Jam finally ends with N’Faly’s team winning it, the official watch can actually begin. The whole time we knew he’d delay his process until at least now so he could showcase his skills during this elite tournament and with it finally done…we wait. There is still so much to unwrap in his reclassification and his recruitment in general, but what I do know is that he needs to decide quickly to avoid being far behind in his conditioning because man, it was awful to watch today, but even when he’s tired he scored 22 and brought in 18 boards, so…

With the Peach Jam being essentially 8 games in three days, N’Faly is bound to be tired. But watching his game today there were multiple occasions where he couldn’t even make it across half court. Again, so many games can do that to you and he still made such an impact on the court as he led his team to the win, but he needs to decide quickly in order to ramp up his conditioning. Being a 6’11” center, N’Faly is expected to be a little behind in conditioning as it is but when you can’t make it up the court it’s just embarrassing. NCAA is a much faster, more intense game than any AAU game will ever be, especially when you get to March. I have no worries he’ll be fine once he reaches that point and I’ll tell you what…even with him out of shape at points, he controlled the game and that is who I want representing the University of Kentucky. With the game winning free throws being hit by N’Faly, I like this kid more and more.

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N’Faly is such an athlete and would add so much talent to this current team. With an obvious “weak” spot at the center position, N’Faly would allow EJ and Nick more rest as well as a huge defensive asset. He is going to cause so many issues inside the paint and the one thing that has come out of the Peach Jam is the dude is “100% NBA ready.” N’Faly told KSR if everything works our academically, he’ll be reclassifying but he’s waiting on a few test as well as finishing classes. He is considering Oregon, LSU, and Kentucky but honestly if he reclassified, Kentucky is the leader. He also said Calipari told him they have a spot either this year or next, meaning they want him to be a Wildcat regardless.

As a refresher, Dante is 6’11” and 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.

I think he’ll be a Wildcat soon enough, especially once he gets cleared to reclassify. For all BBN updates, opinions and much more, follow us on Twitter @soft7sports now!

Calipari Watching Closely

As we are all aware at this point, Kentucky is looking to add another piece to their 2019-2020 team. With the AAU Peach Jam ongoing, the main point of attraction for Cats fan is N’Faly Dante as he told KSR he wanted to reclassify if everything works our academically. Well, his team is playing in the semi-final this evening and guess who is there…John Calipari (see below). Calipari was straddling two courts watching N’Faly on one and Jalen Green vs Cade Cunningham on the other (both in the 2020 class). (Picture via @JackPilgrimKSR on twitter)

If you follow us at Soft7, you know how much I want N’Faly Dante. N’Faly is such an athlete and would add so much talent to this current team. With an obvious “weak” spot at the center position, N’Faly would allow EJ and Nick more rest as well as a huge defensive asset. He is going to cause so many issues inside the paint and the one thing that has come out of the Peach Jam is the dude is “100% NBA ready.” N’Faly told KSR if everything works our academically, he’ll be reclassifying but he’s waiting on a few test as well as finishing classes. He is considering Oregon, LSU, and Kentucky but honestly if he reclassified, Kentucky is the leader. He also said Calipari told him they have a spot either this year or next, meaning they want him to be a Wildcat regardless.

As a refresher, Dante is 6’11” and 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.

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 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.

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HUGE N’Faly Dante Updated

Ladies and gentlemen, the moment we have been waiting for…N’Faly Dante wants to reclassify to the 2019 class he tells KSR. Although him saying it doesn’t mean much, we are still awaiting test results to see where he actually stands. But if this is able to happen, he is considering Kentucky, Oregon, and LSU. When asked, N’Faly said “I feel like I can play [in college right now], but it’s all about school, you know?” he said. “But I don’t even think about [my reclassification] right now.” He told KSR he’s ready, but everything is just waiting on school work as he is finishing up class online currently. According to Dante, Kentucky told him they have a spot in 2019 or 2020, whenever he is ready.

This speaks volumes to me. Calipari wants him and why wouldn’t he? Dude is an absolute beast as he has dominated the Peach Jam as well as showcasing his ability day in and day out. Tennessee is also a possibility but due to their ability to actually win or get him on national television, I think they stand no chance. I’ve said time and time again, if he reclassified Kentucky would be the choice. They offer the most for him and give him the best ability to grow.

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.

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.

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

N’Faly Looking Like a Cat

For weeks I have been praising N’Faly and practically speaking into existence his membership on the 2019 squad and let me tell you, it’s looking pretty damn good. 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.

This past week the AAU Peach Jam has been going on and N’Faly has been a dominant force for his team. The other day he scored 7 of the first 13 for his team including two dunks. He runs the floor like an animal, his body is already looking NBA ready and he has a strong interior presence on defense. This kid is ready to make the leap and this week has shown just that. The 2020 center from Mali will hopefully make the leap but it’s up to him at this point…well and if he passes some tests.

Image result for 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.

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.