Remember When Tayshaun Prince Shot the Heat Check of the Century?

There is not a more beloved player from the pre-Calipari era of Kentucky Basketball than Tayshaun Prince. The sharpshooting lefty from Compton brought a glimmer of hope back to Lexington for the first time since the ’98 championship team.

Our sweet Prince’s UK career was full of great highlights, but none were better than this one against North Carolina. Start your day off right. Watch:

Five straight three pointers capped off with a pull up from the parking lot. Tayshaun Prince inspired thousands of young ballers with the heat check of the century.

These Campers Don’t Stand a Chance Against Kentucky Bigs

Kentucky Summer Basketball camps are upon us and it only means one thing: little kids getting swatted into the third row. It’s never too early to let kids know that real basketball players won’t let them shoot uncontested. “Hand down, man down” is taught entirely too late, in my opinion. We can always count on there being one hilarious block on unsuspecting campers. Here are a couple including one from this year.

Very excited to see what Keion Brooks can do against 18-22 year olds. Now, a throwback to last year with Nick Richards.

View this post on Instagram

For the kids 🧒🏼

A post shared by Nick Richards (@nickrichards_) on

“For the kids.” The slogan is usually applied to Kentucky’s DanceBlue 24 dance marathon that supports childhood cancer research, but I feel like it can be applied to teaching kids life lessons too. Even Demarcus Cousins, long after he has left Lexington, is keeping the tradition alive.

Word of advice to these kids: Never meet your heroes.

No Respect for Kentucky Football

The NCAA Football preseason rankings is one of the most untrustworthy things in sports. Outside the top 5, the rest of the top 25 is populated with historical powerhouses and SEC teams with way too much hype around them. These rankings, though, influence season long projections and ultimate respect for the rest of the season. An unranked team at the start of the season that finishes with 3 losses may land them in an unimportant bowl game, but teams that begin in the top 10 can lose the same amount of games and still make a New Year’s 6 Bowl, like LSU. Here is how the preseason polls ended up:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Ohio State
  4. Georgia
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Texas
  7. Michigan
  8. LSU
  9. Notre Dame
  10. Texas A&M
  11. Oregon
  12. Florida
  13. Penn State
  14. Wisconsin
  15. UCF
  16. Washington
  17. Auburn
  18. Washington State
  19. Utah
  20. Stanford
  21. Virginia Tech
  22. Iowa
  23. Missouri
  24. Northwestern
  25. Nebraska

No Kentucky to be found. Shocker. I am not saying that Kentucky should be in the top 25. They lost a lot of good players especially on the defensive side of the ball. All I am saying is that Kentucky has a better case to be ranked than a lot of these teams. Nebraska, Iowa, Tennessee? The offense and recruiting class of Kentucky shows much more promise than a team that lost most of their offense to the draft and two schools that didn’t even make bowl games.

It doesn’t stop there though. According to several sports betting sites, Kentucky’s projected win total is set at 6. Give me a break. They made this prediction with full knowledge that they play Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Arkansas, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, UT Martin and Louisville. The UK homer in me wants to say that they can hit 9-3 again, but realistically 7 or 8 wins is what will probably happen.

Bottom line is that Kentucky, yet again, has been given no respect. Sure, it’s frustrating, but the cats thrive in the underdog role. At least, the last couple of years. Mark Stoops has proven time and time again that BBN is not something to mess with. He has shown that he can make something out of nothing putting 2-star recruits in the NFL. It will be interesting to see what he can do with one of the best recruiting class in UK history.

Image result for mark stoops

Kentucky and Duke Are Hopping on the Bronny James Recruiting Train

Bronny James Jr. may be the most talked about 14 year old since Justin Bieber. Definitely the most popular 8th grader in the recruiting world since Billy Gillispie offered one a scholarship. If you aren’t already to seeing him plastered all over the internet (or on the vino… SHEESH), get used to it. The class of 2023 doesn’t graduate for a while, but some top programs seem to already be sold on LeBron’s son.

Image result for bronny james scholarship offers

According to 247Sports and several other publications, Bronny Jr. already has standing scholarship offers from Kentucky and Duke. Of course, anyone with the same genes as one of the most athletic players to have ever lived is going to be attractive to just about every program. On top of that, he had a stellar performance at this year’s Nike EYBL tournament. Here is what 247Sports’ basketball insider Evan Daniels had to say about him:

“With his father looking on, James showed impressive feel for the game and incredible poise for his age. He was unphased by the circus like environment around him. James has a smooth shooting stroke from three, competed on both ends and played with energy. He finished with 11 points and his team left with a double digit victory.

“He’s going to be real special,” Emoni Bates, a top 2022 prospect, said about Bronny after the game. “He plays hard, he’s smart. He finds people. He’s going to be real good.”

The idea of projecting a rising freshman is difficult, and ultimately James’ continued skill development and physical growth will determine where he ends up, but at this stage the 2023 guard is tracking as a future high major prospect.”

Bronny’s recruitment will be one for the books. LeBron having not gone to college means it’s anyone’s guess as to where he ends up. LeBron grew up an Ohio State fan, played under Coach K for Team USA, and has spent a significant amount of time at Kentucky games. When Bronny ultimately does make his decision, the announcement video will be legendary. I expect no less than two helicopters.

Image result for lebron kentucky

Jon Hood Was a Hire Rated Recruit Than Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi vs Jon Hood. Who’s better? Obviously, this shouldn’t even be a question. Especially not while Kawhi is dropping 30 points a night in the NBA Playoffs and giving the Warriors a run for their money in the Finals. But back in 2009, the recruiting trail was on fire with names like John Wall, Derrick Favors, Demarcus Cousins and Lance Stephenson, so it’s no wonder that certain players fell through the cracks. Kawhi Leonard definitely did. In fact, he fell so far that he was ranked behind a certain Kentucky player that only BBN knows of. According to 247Sports, Jon Hood was better than Kawhi.

Here is what I think happened. Kawhi is from California which is a top recruiting state in just about every sport. He definitely got some exposure, but having absolutely no flash or emotion may have lulled some ranking “experts” over at 247Sports to sleep. Then for Jon Hood, he was from Kentucky which does not nearly have the same competition. He had every recruiter in the Commonwealth looking at him. Also the prowess of the programs recruiting them could have played a part. If John Calipari wants to give a scholarship to a kid, there’s definitely something special about him. On the other hand, being recruited by San Diego State isn’t exactly noteworthy. One spot in the rankings could have just been a matter of geography.

Other notable prospects in the 2009 class that Jon Hood was ranked higher than:
– Eric Bledsoe
– Khris Middleton
– Jack Cooley
– Marshall Henderson
– Sean Kilpatrick
– CJ McCollum
– Mike Muscala

Most Underrated Players from the Calipari Era of Kentucky Basketball

With 10 years of stellar recruiting classes and each superstar being replaced by a new one every season, it’s highly likely that some of our favorite players fell through the cracks. Some of these players were stars at Kentucky, but ultimately overlooked by NBA scouts or even Calipari himself. Other players were good, but on such good teams they could never manage to get substantial playing time. These 10 players were universally loved at UK despite their careers fading after their time in Lexington was up.

DeAndre Liggins
DeAndre Liggins has had a pretty rocky NBA career. Disappointing since he was one of the best on-ball defenders that Calipari has ever had. He and Anthony Davis have been the only players I have felt 100% confident about them guarding a last second shot.

Derek Willis
Leaving Derek Willis open for 3 was one of the biggest mistakes an SEC team could make. Luckily for them, his utter lack of defensive awareness made those points up real quick. A Kentucky kid that stays all four years and reminds us of Darius Miller was loved at UK, but sadly did not get the same love from the NBA.

Jarrod Polson
Who would have thought that this kid was going to be the savior of the 2013 Cats? Being a former walk-on, he was underrated his whole life. But, he made the best of a bad situation and ran the hell out of an offense that was in shambles. We would have made the tournament had Nerlens Noel hadn’t torn his ACL.

Marquis Teague
One would think that a national championship winning point guard would get their fair chance in the NBA. Especially when he has a brother already in the League. Not only is he underrated to the NBA, he was underrated to the teams he played in college. Little did they know, he turns into Steph Curry with less than 5 seconds on the shot clock.

Josh Harrellson
JORTS. He may have been forgotten about it the NBA, but no one will forget the games he had against Louisville and Ohio State. Nothing I can write about how undervalued he was would do him justice.

Kyle Wiltjer
Not only was Kyle Wiltjer underrated, he was under appreciated. He transferred to Gonzaga after his sophomore season due to the stacked incoming freshman class and to be closer to home. I still don’t understand what he could have been afraid of. There is not a single person in the world that could convince me that Marcus Lee was a better option.

Charles Matthews
Calipari has got to be kicking himself over how he let Charles Matthews slip away. Every time he stepped on the court in the blue and white, we all thought to ourselves that this kid should get some more playing time. I was disappointed to see him go, but it was awesome to see the player he became at Michigan.

Dominique Hawkins
The born and raised Kentuckians that come to play ball at UK are always fan favorites. Only they never get the exposure they need from their comparatively small towns during recruitment. Luckily, Cal has been able to find some gems like Dominique Hawkins. So much potential, but underrated nonetheless.

Tyler Ulis
It’s hard to think of a player that was more universally loved that Tyler Ulis. Being one of the only returners from the 38-1 team, he was a constant reminder of how great Kentucky Basketball can be. If only he was 6 foot tall.

Alex Poythress
Even though his Twitter handle was once AlexTheGreat, I always considered him AlexTheJustOkay. That being said, when Poythress was on… he was ON. I’ll never forget how he jumped from the middle of the paint and floated to the basket. Imagine how he would have turned out had he not torn his ACL.

*List is in no particular order. Did we leave anyone out? Let us know @soft7sports and I am always here to argue at @soft7wic.

Saturday Morning Sports Trivia: Kentucky Wildcats

There are few things I love in this world more than my Kentucky Wildcats. I’m a born and raised Kentuckian, a UK alum and a life long Cats fan for going on 23 years. Similarly, I love trivia. Kentucky sports are one of the few things that can beat a solid bar trivia night. I’ve been writing trivia articles every Saturday for the last couple months and now I have decided to combine the two things I love. So, here is one of the most my best ones yet: Kentucky Sports Trivia. 15 questions, matching and a final that only true Cats fans would know. Follow us on Twitter @soft7sports and let us know how you did.

Image result for charles walker kentucky

Questions

  1. How many John Calipari-coached former Kentucky players have won an NBA Title?
  2. How many NCAA National Championships has Kentucky won across all sports? *hint: cheerleading is not an NCAA sanctioned sport.
  3. Who is the all time leading point scorer in Kentucky Men’s Basketball history?
  4. Who is the only Wildcat to be taken number one overall in the NFL Draft?
  5. Who is the winningest coach in Kentucky football history?
  6. Who was the head basketball coach for the 1978 National Championship team?
  7. What former Kentucky basketball player made five straight three pointers to start a game versus North Carolina?
  8. Rick Pitino coached Kentucky from 1989-1997. Where did he go immediately after?
  9. What Kentucky alum currently plays on the PGA Tour?
  10. What prestigious basketball high school did Rajon Rondo attend before Kentucky?
  11. “Touchdown” Terry Wilson originally played for what other D-1 school before coming to Kentucky?
  12. How many Kentucky alums are currently on MLB rosters?
  13. Who is the Athletic Director of Kentucky?
  14. In 2010, Kentucky had a record number of players taken in the first round of the NBA Draft with how many players drafted?
  15. Who is the last NBA Rookie of the Year from Kentucky?

Matching
Match the Kentucky Basketball player to the NBA team that drafted them.

Brandon Knight________________________Milwaukee Bucks
Antoine Walker________________________Minnesota Timberwolves
Jodie Meeks____________________________Detroit Pistons
Demarcus Cousins_____________________Boston Celtics
Rex Chapman__________________________Charlotte Hornets
Karl-Anthony Towns___________________Sacramento Kings

Final
Name the last three Kentucky Football players to return a punt for a touchdown.

Answers

  1. 0
  2. 11 (8 men’s basketball, 2 rifle, 1 track and field)
  3. Dan Issel (2,138)
  4. Tim Couch
  5. Bear Bryant
  6. Joe B. Hall
  7. Tayshaun Prince
  8. Boston Celtics
  9. J.B. Holmes
  10. Oak Hill Academy
  11. Oregon
  12. 7 (Collin Cowgill, Scott Downs, James Paxton, Chris Rusin, Trevor Gott, Alex Meyer, AJ Reed)
  13. Mitch Barnhart
  14. 5
  15. Karl-Anthony Towns

Matching Answers

Brandon Knight________________________Detroit Pistons
Antoine Walker________________________Boston Celtics
Jodie Meeks____________________________Milwaukee Bucks
Demarcus Cousins_____________________Sacramento Kings
Rex Chapman__________________________Charlotte Hornets
Karl-Anthony Towns Jr.________________Minnesota Timberwolves

Final Answer

Randall Cobb, Charles Walker, Lynn Bowden