Friday, May 30, 2014

SEC Network on Armstrong Cable? Possibly...

As you already know, the SEC Network will launch in August and a lot of Kentucky fans (me  and my family included) will not be able to subscribe to it as our local cable company as of right now does not carry it. 

Armstrong Cable covers a lot of people in Eastern, Kentucky and as of today, Armstrong has made no announcement on whether they will be carrying the SEC Network or not. So, after fielding many, many questions from extremely disappointed Kentucky fans and Armstrong customers, I decided to see if I could just get a response from Armstrong on the matter.

I sent them an email earlier this week and informed them that there was A LOT of Cat fans/Armstrong customers here in Kentucky that are extremely upset over the fact that they may not get to see ALL Kentucky games that will be played this season. I also informed them that Kentucky fans are the most loyal fan base of any sports team (college or professional) and they would look at other options if something wasn't done.

A few day's had passed since the email I had sent and I started to think that it got swept under the rug (especially when you consider I sent it to their complaint department and we all know how often you hear back from those) when my phone made a noise and I looked down and it was a response from Armstrong. 

This wasn't just a normal computer generated response you get when you send a complaint to the complaint department, this came from an actual person. The person was, David Wittmann who just happens to be the Vice President of Armstrong's cable marketing department. Here's MR. Wittmann's response...

“Armstrong is well aware of the passion of SEC fans.  We are in active negotiations with ESPN about adding the SEC Network when it launches in August.”

There was more in the Email, you know your basic "thank you for contacting us on this matter and we value each and every one of customers", but this was the quote I was looking for. I wanted someone to tell me if Armstrong was even looking at the possibility of carrying the SEC Network or if they were simply going to refuse it and move along without it.

Now we know that at least they are making an attempt to come to an agreement with ESPN and are hoping to have the SEC Network in their programming line-up come August. So, for the time being, relax and hope for the best and to David Wittmann, thank you for taking the time to respond to my email. It shows that you are in-fact trying to come to an agreement and please your customers in Eastern, Kentucky and everywhere else Armstrong in available.  Hats off sir...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

UK Softball Wins First Ever Women's College World Series Game

Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley was brilliant in the circle with only one hit allowed and five strikeouts, while senior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess provided the offense by going 3-for-3 with a home run, double and two RBI, as No. 14 Kentucky posted a 4-1 win over No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette in its 2014 Women’s College World Series opener on Thursday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

Kentucky (50-17) stays in the winner’s bracket of the tournament and will play the winner of No. 2 Alabama and No. 7 Oklahoma on Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The winner of Friday’s game will have a day off on Saturday and automatically advances to the final of the winner’s bracket, which will determine the two teams that will in the championship final (best-of-three series).

Live stats from Friday’s game will be available on, while the game will be aired live on radio in Lexington and streamed online. UK’s game on Friday can be heard live on 630-AM WLAP with Dick Gabriel and Jenny Dalton-Hill calling the action.

Nunley and Cumbess were the stars for Kentucky in the game with Nunley allowing one hit in seven innings of work, striking out five and allowing one earned run on a solo home run in the first inning. The win in the circle for Nunley moves her record to 30-9 on the season, becoming the first 30-win pitcher in program history. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., is now 6-2 in NCAA Tournament play, having thrown every pitch of every NCAA Tournament game for UK this season. The sophomore has nine wins in her career in NCAA Tournament games, leading UK all-time in that category.

Cumbess led UK at the dish and was responsible for three runs with a double, home run and two RBI to go 3-for-3 in the game. The native of Normal, Ill., hit a run-scoring double in the first inning and followed with a solo home run in the fourth. The homer was her 10th home run of the season – and fourth career NCAA Tournament home run – clearing the wall in left-centerfield. Fellow senior infielder Krystal Smith had a double in the game and scored a run, while senior outfielder Ginny Carroll had a RBI on a sacrifice fly. Junior catcher Griffin Joiner was the only other Wildcat with a hit, going 1-for-2. Sophomore Sylver Samuel reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second base, marking her fifth stolen base all-time in NCAA Tournament play which is a new school record.

Louisiana-Lafayette (49-9-1) started ace Christina Hamilton in the circle with the junior going seven innings, allowing four runs – two earned – on five hits with two strikeouts. Offensively, the Ragin’ Cajuns had one hit on a solo home run in the first inning by sophomore catcher Lexie Elkins. Nunley got two quick outs to start the inning on a groundout and fly out, before Elkins hit her 23rd home run of the season. Nunley followed with a walk before getting her first strikeout of the game to end the threat.

Kentucky started the scoring with a run in the first inning after a double to right-centerfield by Cumbess. After two outs to start the inning, sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann reached on a fielding error and moved to second when Joiner was walked. That set the stage for Cumbess, who sent a laser line drive into the gap to score Sagermann and put UK up 1-0. Louisiana-Lafayette got a strikeout to end the threat.

The Wildcats grabbed their lead back in the second inning after Smith started the inning with a double off the wall in leftfield. Smith moved to third on a perfect sacrifice bunt by senior Emily Jolly before Carroll hit a sacrifice fly to leftfield to give UK the 2-1 lead. A foul out by sophomore shortstop Christian Stokes ended the inning.

After Cumbess’ home run in the fourth inning gave Kentucky a 3-1 lead, the senior was involved in more scoring in the sixth inning. After an infield single by Joiner to start the frame, Cumbess placed a perfect bunt down the first baseline for a single with the ULL pitcher fielding the ball and throwing wildly to first, allowing sophomore Maisie Steed, who was pinch running for Joiner, to score.

For the latest on UK softball, follow "@UKSoftball" on Twitter and Instagram or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.

2014 Women’s College World Series – ASA Hall of Fame Stadium – Oklahoma City
Session One (Thursday, May 29)
No. 5 Florida def. No. 13 Baylor, 11-0
No. 1 Oregon def. No. 8 Florida State, 3-0

Session Two (Thursday, May 29)
No. 14 Kentucky def. No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette 4-1
No. 2 Alabama def. No. 7 Oklahoma – 9:45 p.m. ET – ESPN2

Session Three (Friday, May 30)
No. 5 Florida vs. No. 1 Oregon – 7 p.m. ET – ESPN2
No. 14 Kentucky vs. No. 2 Alabama/No. 7 Oklahoma – 9:30 p.m. ET – ESPN2

A.J. Reed Named National Player of The Year

The Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, Kentucky junior lefty/first baseman A.J. Reed has been named the National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball, it was announced by the magazine on Thursday afternoon.

Reed becomes the first player in Kentucky history to earn national player of the year honors and the 13th player in the history of the SEC to earn NCAA Player of the Year accolades. Reed, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound two-way star, is seeking to become just the third SEC player to earn consensus national player of the year honors, joining David Price (2007) and Dave Magadan (1983).

There are five major national player of the year awards, including the Golden Spikes Award, presented by USA Baseball. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association presents the Dick Howser Trophy each season in Omaha, Neb., during the College World Series, with Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association also crowning a national player of the year. Price won all five of the national honors, with Magadan winning the Baseball America and Golden Spikes Award in 1983.

A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed joins SEC legends Magadan, Price, Will Clark (1985), Derick Lilliquist (1987), Ben McDonald (1989), Lloyd Peever (1992), Todd Helton (1995), Tim Hudson (1997), Brad Wilkerson (1998), Eddy Furniss (1998), Kip Bouknight (2000) and Mike Zunino (2012) as national players of the year in the conference.

A consensus freshman All-American in 2012, Reed was also named a first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, marking the 17th player in Kentucky history to earn All-America honors, dating back to Dom Fucci in 1949. Reed is the first All-American for the Wildcats since Sawyer Carroll and Collin Cowgill were each honored in 2008.

The college baseball leader in homers (23), slugging (.768) and OPS (1.259), Reed also ranks as the SEC leader in RBI (70), on-base percentage (.491), wins (11), walks (47) and total bases (162). He also ranks third in the SEC in average (.351), second in runs (59), eighth in doubles (17), ninth in hits (74) sixth in ERA (2.10), third in innings pitched (103.0) and ninth in strikeouts (68). Reed is currently .002 points shy of the SEC lead in batting average and is vying for the second triple-crown in SEC history and the first since Rafael Palmeiro in 1984. There has never been an SEC player to led the conference in homers and pitching victories.

Reed has hit .310 in his 168-game UK career, with 34 doubles, three triples, 40 homers and 165 RBI. On the mound, Reed has an 18-13 record and the third-best ERA in UK career history (2.86), working 239 innings with 171 strikeouts.

No. 22 Kentucky (35-23) will open the NCAA Tournament on Friday vs. Kansas at 2 p.m. ET at Louisville’s Jim Patterson Stadium.

2014: LHP/1B A.J. Reed, Kentucky
2013: 3B Kris Bryant, San Diego
2012: RHP Nick Petree, Missouri St.
2011: RHP Trevor Bauer, UCLA
2010: LHP Chris Sale, Florida Gulf Coast
2009: P Stephen Strasburg, San Diego St.
2008: C Buster Posey, Florida St.
2007: LHP David Price, Vanderbilt 
          2B Tony Thomas, Florida St.
2006: RHP Wes Roemer, Cal. St. Fullerton
          OF Kellen Kulbacki, James Madison
2005: OF Shane Robinson, Florida St.
2004: RHP Jered Weaver, Long Beach St.
2003: 2B Rickie Weeks, Southern 
2002: SS Khalil Greene, Clemson 
2001: RHP Mark Prior, Southern California
2000: RHP Kip Bouknight, South Carolina
1999: UT Jason Jennings, Baylor 
1998: OF Kevin Mench, Delaware
1997: OF J.D. Drew, Florida St.
1996: RHP Kris Benson, Clemson 
1995: 1B/P Todd Helton, Tennessee 
          OF/P Mark Kotsay, Cal. St. Fullerton
1994: P/1B Ryan Jackson, Duke 
1993: UT Brooks Kieschnick, Texas
1992: P Lloyd Peever, Louisiana St.
1991: P Bobby Jones, Fresno St.
1990: OF Mike Kelly, Arizona St.
1989: P Ben McDonald, Louisiana St.
          UT Scott Bryant, Texas
1988: P Andy Benes, Evansville 
1987: 3B Robin Ventura, Oklahoma St.
          1B Marteese Robinson, Seton Hall 
1986: P Greg Swindell, Texas
1985: OF Pete Incaviglia, Oklahoma St.
1984: OF Oddibe McDowell, Arizona St.

Dominique Hawkins Returns To Kentucky

Sophomore guard Dominique Hawkins concluded his trip to the Far East with Sports Reach and has returned to the United States. Hawkins joined several other collegiate players and participated in the cultural exchange that also included playing in nine games.

Hawkins averaged 9.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in the nine contests. The Richmond, Ky., native topped double-figures in three games including a break-out 27-point effort in a win over Lithuania. In that contest, Hawkins was 10-of-15 from the field and connected on both of his attempts from long range.

In a game against the Lithuania All-Stars, Hawkins hauled in 11 rebounds and dished out five assists while contributing six points. He concluded the trip with back-to-back double-figure scoring efforts with tallies of 11 against Athletas Lithuania and 14 against Atletis Lithuania.  

Hawkins played in 33 games for UK’s national runner-up squad. He scored 25 points and hauled in 23 rebounds while dishing out 12 assists in his first season. The 6-foot guard served as a top defensive performer during UK’s NCAA Tournament run with John Calipari citing his efforts against Michigan’s Nik Stauskas as a key to UK’s win over the Wolverines.

Hawkins is one of several Wildcats who have participated in the cultural exchange during Calipari’s tenure. Other players who have participated include Josh Harrellson, Jon Hood and Eloy Vargas. Harrellson’s trip came in the summer of 2010 and was followed by a breakout senior campaign in which he averaged 7.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game while shooting 61 percent from the field.

Joining Hawkins on the trip were players from Illinois, Jacksonville State, Murray State, Southern, TCU, Texas Tech and Troy.

Founded in 1986 by Robby Spear, Sports Reach attempts to reach the world through sports. For more information on Sports Reach, visit

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kentucky Baseball to Face Kansas in Opening Round of NCAA Tourney

The No. 22 Kentucky baseball team will open up its eighth all-time NCAA Tournament, in the NCAA Louisville Regional, facing off with Kansas in the first round on Friday at 2 p.m. ET at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Kentucky (35-23) joins No. 5 Louisville (45-15), Kansas (34-24) and Kent State in the four-team field. UK will face Kansas in the opener on Friday, with Louisville slated to face Kent State later in the evening. The winners will advance to face each other in the second game of the day on Saturday, with the losers facing off in an elimination game on Saturday at Jim Paterson Stadium.

The entire regional will be broadcast live on, with Clay Matvick and Gabe Gross calling the action. All of UK’s games will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online

The Wildcats are turning to sophomore righty Kyle Cody (4-0, 2.65 ERA) for his sixth start of the year in the NCAA Tournament opener. Kansas will call on senior right-hander Jordan Piche’ (6-5, 4.25 ERA).

This will mark Kentucky’s eighth all-time NCAA Tournament berth and its first since a runner-up finish in the 2012 NCAA Gary Regional, hosted by Purdue. UK has a 12-14 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament, also owning runner-up finishes in 1988, 2006 and 2008.

The Wildcats swept the two-game midweek series with Louisville in 2014, posting an 8-3 win in the first game in Lexington and a 4-2 win at Louisville in the finale of the two-game series. UK has never faced Kansas in program history and last faced Kent State in the 2012 NCAA Gary Regional, with KSU edging UK in the 21-inning NCAA Tournament opener and in the NCAA Tournament Regional Final.

UK equaled its best-ever finish in the Southeastern Conference Tournament last week, posting a 3-1 record to advance to the semifinals for the second time in the last three years. UK edged No. 24 Alabama in the opener, 7-1, top-seed No. 7 Florida on Wednesday, 4-2, before an epic tilt with No. 17 Mississippi State in 12 innings, a 7-6 result. UK suffered a 6-5 setback in the semifinals vs. the Gators, who scored the go-ahead run in the eighth to eliminate the Wildcats.

The Wildcats finished the SEC Tournament owning a No. 19 RPI and a total of 15 wins over top-50 RPI teams, tied for the third-best total in college baseball. Sporting a No. 4 strength of schedule, UK boasts an 11-9 record vs. the top-25 and a 7-4 mark vs. top-10 foes, with wins over No. 1 Virginia, No. 1 South Carolina, No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 8/9 Louisville, No. 12/7 Florida, No. 24 Alabama and No. 17 Mississippi State.

UK opened the SEC Tournament in a single-elimination win over homestanding, No. 24 Alabama on Tuesday, riding a five-inning start from A.J. Reed, who picked up his SEC-leading 11th win of the year. UK then advanced to the double-elimination format, sending top-seed, No. 7 Florida, to the loser’s bracket with a 4-2 win, with Kyle Cody and Andrew Nelson combing to handcuff the regular-season champion Gators. The Wildcats then squared off with No. 17 Mississippi State in an instant classic that saw the lead change hands or the game tied eight times. The 12-inning tilt was an instant classic, as the two teams combined for 32 hits in a four hour and 36 minute tilt, with the game marking the longest, in terms of time, in SEC Tournament history. UK ended the thriller in the bottom of the 12th inning behind a pinch-hit, walk-off single from sophomore catcher Zach Arnold. UK then faced off with the Gators in a single-elimination tilt on Saturday, with UK bidding for its first-ever championship berth. In another tight battle, with UK turning to freshman Logan Salow in his first career start, UK saw the Gators rally from behind with two outs in the eighth to post a 6-5 win.

The Wildcats have hit .302 as a team in 2014, with a .453 slugging and a .401 on-base percentage, belting 116 doubles, 10 triples, 59 homers and 453 runs, stealing 63 bases. On the mound, UK has a 3.98 team ERA in 520.2 innings, walking 180 and striking out 353.

A.J. Reed, the NCAA leader in homers (23), slugging (.768) and OPS (1.259), also paces the SEC in on-base percentage (.491), RBI (70), walks (47) and wins (11), sporting a .351 average, 17 doubles, and a 2.10 ERA on the mound in 103 innings. Sophomore Ka’ai Tom has hit .333 with 13 doubles, two homers and 37 RBI, stealing 15 bags. Third baseman Max Kuhn owns a .322 average with 18 doubles, eight homers and 55 RBI. Freshman outfielder Storm Wilson has hit .313 with six doubles, four homers and 20 RBI. First baseman Thomas Bernal has hit .313 with eight doubles, one homer and 28 RBI. Senior catcher Micheal Thomas has hit .310 with 10 doubles, one triple, eight homers and 44 RBI. Centerfielder Austin Cousino has hit .298 with 14 doubles, four triples, four homers, 38 RBI and 17 steals. Second baseman JaVon Shelby has hit .260 with six doubles, two triples, four homers and 21 RBI. Outfielder Kyle Barrett has a .258 average with six doubles, one homer and 10 steals. Shortstop Matt Reida owns a .244 average with nine doubles, four homers and 34 RBI.

On the mound, Reed (11-2, 2.10 ERA), Chandler Shepherd (5-4, 3.36 ERA) and Andrew Nelson (2-5, 3.80 ERA) have carried the majority of the innings, with Shepherd appearing in 15 games with nine starts, and Nelson owning 18 games and 10 starts. Junior Spencer Jack (4-1, 1.19 ERA) has a team-high 25 relief outings, with a three saves in 37.2 innings. Logan Salow (2-3, 5.40 ERA) has 22 appearances and one start, with Kyle Cody (4-0, 2.65 ERA), Zach Strecker (0-1, 4.34 ERA), Zack Brown (0-1, 5.32 ERA), Dylan Dwyer (5-3, 5.46 ERA), Taylor Martin (0-0, 6.28 ERA), Ryne Combs (1-2, 6.55 ERA) and Sam Mahar (1-0, 8.22 ERA) each appearing in double-digit games.

All-session tickets for the 2014 NCAA Regional in Louisville will be available online here starting Sunday evening or can be purchased by phone (502-GO-CARDS) through the UofL Ticket Office starting Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., ET. All-session tickets for the four-team, double-elimination regional are $70 for reserved chairback seats and $45 for college students.

Fans are encouraged to purchase and pick up tickets in advance or print their tickets at home to avoid long will call lines on game day. Tickets can be picked up at the UofL Ticket Office, located at Gate 2 of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. No tickets will be mailed. Single session tickets, including reserved chairback and general admission berm seating, will go on sale Friday, May 30 from 9 a.m., ET at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Ticket Office or at Jim Patterson Stadium starting at noon ET.

NCAA Regional - Louisville, Ky. - Ticket Information
All-Session Tickets:
On sale now by ordering online here
Reserved Chairback: $70
College Student: $45

Single-Session Tickets:
Available starting on Friday in person only
Reserved Chairback: $15
Berm/General Admission: $15
College Student: $5

Tentative Pitching Matchup
Friday vs. Kansas
So., RHP Kyle Cody (4-0, 2.65 ERA) vs. Sr., RHP Jordan Piche’ (6-5, 4.25 ERA)

Donovan to The NBA?

After taking a few days away from anything to do with blogging, I return to some interesting NBA rumors that for the first time doesn't involve the University of Kentucky or John Calipari.

Billy Donovan done nothing to quite the rumors of him possibly being interested in taking an NBA coaching position when he said he 'couldn't guarantee' that he would be back in Gainesville to coach the Gators next season. Now, in his defense, I don't technically blame him for not guaranteeing his return, but he could have done a little better job of convincing Florida fans that he would remain the coach of one of the two best (Kentucky being the other) teams in the SEC. If a man guarantees something and turns around and does the exact opposite, that's wrong. However, if a man never commits one way or the other, then nothing can be said when he up and leaves for greener pastures. 

Here's a little sample of what I'm talking about...

"I think when you start making guarantees about life and start making guarantees about where you’re going to be, that’s not good because if for some reason I ever change my mind and did something, I wouldn’t want (people) saying, ‘Well, he promised, he guaranteed, he said this on record,’” Donovan said, according to the Associated Press. “I just think when you start doing that, that’s a mistake."

He's right, that is a mistake, a mistake that is hard to recover from, but when you leave it as as wide open as he did, it's hard to feel comfortable as a Gator fan. Here's how he closed the conversation...

“All I can say is I love Florida, I’m happy here … the school’s been great to me,” said Donovan, who turns 49 on Friday. “But at the same point, some of the NBA stuff, as I’ve said before, is intriguing in a lot of ways — the basketball part of it. That’s not to say that I’m unhappy here; that’s not the case at all.”

This sounds like a guy who is saying, yeah I love Florida, but if the right situation comes along I'd leave in a heartbeat. It's already being reported that Donovan has been in talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers who just happens to have the number one pick in this years NBA Draft. Mix that with Kyrie Irving and it starts to look like a great opportunity for Billy. Could it be the situation that draws Billy away from Gainesville? Time will tell, until then, Rick Pitino (A guy who knows a little something about saying one thing and doing the exact opposite when he took the Celtics job after saying he had absolutely no interest) had this to say about his former player/assistant...

“I think Billy always gets cold feet at the end because with him it’s always been about team and family,” Pitino said. “More than any person I’ve met in my life and encountered in my 40 years of coaching, Billy Donovan has his priorities more in line than any person I’ve ever met.”

Let's see if Ricky is right and Billy ends up staying with the Gators, but after these sort of comments, smart money has to be on him leaving...

To echo Tyler Thompson of KSR however, the SEC wouldn't be the same without Donovan and I personally hope he stays plus, how often does a college coach succeed in the NBA?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

UK Softball Advances to First Ever Women's College World Series

I'm enjoying a little time off during this Memorial Day weekend, but this deserves a lot of attention.....

University of Kentucky sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley tossed an impressive 14 innings of work Sunday, while the Wildcat offense exploded with 14 runs in the doubleheader, leading No. 14 Kentucky to two wins over No. 3 UCLA and its first ever appearance in the Women’s College World Series.

Kentucky (49-17) continues its best season in program history after defeating highly ranked UCLA (52-8) twice on Sunday to punch its ticket to the 2014 Women’s College World Series. UK won game two of the Super Regional 7-3 before a 7-1 victory in game three sealed UK’s berth in the World Series.

The Women’s College World Series is a double-elimination tournament that will begin on Thursday at Noon ET. Kentucky will play sixth-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette in its first game of the event. Times are still to be determined. All games at the WCWS will be on the ESPN family of networks.

“This is a special day for us,” UK head coach Rachel Lawson said. “We’re going into a place that we’ve never been before, I feel really excited. It’s a dream come true for all the girls on our team and our staff, we’ve worked incredibly hard. This particular senior class, this is our third Super Regional, so we’ve been close enough to taste it, but for it to actually be a reality is very special. For it to happen on such a storied softball field, where college softball was pretty much invented. It feels pretty good that we’re advancing to Oklahoma City.”

Nunley was the star for Kentucky on Sunday, tossing 14 innings, allowing four runs – all earned – on 11 hits with five strikeouts. The sophomore moves to 29-9 on the season, breaking her own school record for wins in a season. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., now has 202 strikeouts this season, becoming the second player in program history to post 200-plus strikeouts in a season. Nunley has thrown every pitch for Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, posting a 5-2 record and a 0.87 ERA in 48.1 innings pitched.

Offensively, sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann led the way for Kentucky, going 4-for-6 combined with two RBI, while junior catcher Griffin Joiner was 3-for-6 on Sunday with two RBI. Senior infielder Krystal Smith was 2-for-5 in the game with two doubles and four RBI, while fellow seniors Lauren Cumbess and Ginny Carroll also collected two RBI. Senior outfielder Emily Jolly went 2-for-6 on the day with a run scored and a RBI.

“I’ve always thought we are a really tough team, and it’s shown throughout our season that we don’t give up, we’re always fighting back,” Cumbess said. “The three-game series in the SEC have really prepared us for this weekend and the postseason. Playing a three-game series and losing on a Friday night and bouncing back to win Saturday night and Sunday is a huge help to us. We’ve grown tougher during the regular season for the postseason.”

Kentucky set the momentum for the day in the bottom of the first inning in game two, scoring five runs to take control and set the tone moving forward. The rally started with a leadoff walk to sophomore Christian Stokes, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by outfielder Sylver Samuel and came home to score on Sagermann’s single up the middle. Joiner followed with a single and senior Emily Gaines reached on catcher’s interference to load the bases for Cumbess, who singled down the leftfield line to score two more UK runners. Smith followed with a double off the wall in leftfield to score two runners and put Kentucky up 5-1.

The Wildcats had two three-run rallies in the decisive game to seal the berth in the WCWS. After UCLA tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning, UK scored three runs in the fourth to take back control of the game. Gaines started the inning with a single to rightfield, moving to second when Cumbess singled through the left side. Smith answered the bell again with a double down the leftfield line, scoring a run and putting two runners in scoring position with one out. After a groundout, Carroll hit an infield single to the right side to score two runners and put Kentucky up 4-1.

UK added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning, getting a bases loaded walk to Sagermann and a two-run single by Joiner to clinch the 7-1 victory.

The wins for Kentucky were its 13th and 14th this season over a ranked foe, setting a new school record for wins over ranked opponents in a season. Under Lawson, Kentucky has 54 wins over ranked teams, including 15 over top-five teams.

For the latest on UK softball, follow "@UKSoftball" on Twitter and Instagram or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.

NCAA Los Angeles Super Regional – Easton Stadium – Los Angeles, Calif.
Saturday, May 24
No. 3 UCLA def. No. 14 Kentucky 6-4

Sunday, May 25
No. 14 Kentucky def. No. 3 UCLA 7-3
No. 14 Kentucky vs. No. 3 UCLA 7-1


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cleveland Has The Number One Pick... AGAIN

For what seems like the fortieth year in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers earn the number one pick in the NBA Draft as the picking order was drawn out tonight. Now, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker will go to Cleveland to never be heard from again.

If you are tired of hearing the Cal to the NBA rumors, you may as well get ready for another round of them now that Cleveland has won the NBA Draft lottery. Having some decent young talent, the number one pick in the upcoming draft and the possibility of LeBron James returning to Cleveland (figuring he doesn't opt in for his last year in Miami) is enough to make people wonder if Cal will make the jump to the next level. My gut says no-way he leaves this season, especially when you consider the fact that he just hired one of his good friends as an assistant coach in Barry "Slice" Rohrssen and the simple fact that he quite possibly has the most talented and experienced team he has had since his arrival in Lexington. When you look at all of that, it just wouldn't make sense for Cal to make a move at this particular time, but stranger things has happened, but I don't see it.

Now, lets look at where the all knowing NBA mock drafts has Julius Randle and James Young going now that the picking order has been set...

(yes I know I cut off a few picks, but I'm banking on Kentucky's guys being gone before that)

As it stands right now, Draft Express (the website I go by anyways) has Julius Randle going numb five to the Boston Celtics. I for one hope this is true as I am a HUGE Boston fan, so my reasons are a bit selfish, but I really think that would be a good place for Randle to go. No hurry to produce and of course you got veteran point guard and fellow UK alum in Rajon Rondo, so yeah, I'd like to see Julius in Boston.

On the same note, Draft Express also has James Young going in the latter part of the lottery at number thirteen to the Minnesota Timberwolves. I'm going to admit, if I'm not a fan of that team, or you're not in the playoffs, then I don't know much about you or you're team. It's just good to see that James has worked himself into the conversation of being in the lottery.

Both of these kids have a huge advantage in not being picked first. Sure they will loose a little money, but in the long run they will be better off not going to Cleveland. With that...

We wish both of these young men the best going foreword in their careers and want to thank them for taking us Cat fans on one helluva a ride this season.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Andrew Wiggins is a Freak

Huntington Prep head coach, Rob Fulford (Wiggins' high school coach) posted the above picture of Andrew Wiggins participating in an unnamed NBA workout on Facebook. Fulford said "Freak is the only word to describe how athletic he is". I couldn't agree more.

During Andrew's senior year at Huntington Prep, I traveled around and seen many of his games and let me tell you, he is the most athletically gifted basketball player I have ever seen in person. The above picture is just a sample of what this kid is capable of.

Andrew never really shined in college like many thought he would and that's not a swipe at Kansas or Bill Self. It's the simple fact that Andrew, like many gifted ball players are better suited for the NBA than they are college. Give this kid 3-5 years in the NBA and you will finally start to see what kind of player he is capable of being.

I still would've loved to have seen him play at Kentucky.... DAMN IT!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New Mens Basketball Assistant, Barry "Slice" Rohrssen Met With Media Today (FULL TRANSCRIPT)

                                                         Barry “Slice” Rohrssen (ROAR-son)

"Opening statement"
“Thank you everybody for being here today and taking the time and making the effort. I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone, as well as working for this University and being a member of this community. Everyone has been so kind during this transition getting here and it’s been nice to meet all the friendly folks in the city of Lexington and a lot of the members of the Big Blue Nation.”

On his first impressions of the program ...
“One of the things that you hear about from the outside and you certainly learned when you get into this town and on this campus, is in the Big Blue Nation they do things big. Again, it’s nice to see everybody and I really appreciate how consumed this town and this state is and how supportive they are in their love for basketball. It’s something that struck me a long time ago when I actually had a lot more hair and a lot less weight, when I came here and spent some time with Coach (Joe B.) Hall working at his basketball camp and its left an indelible impression on me, so being here now is basically a dream come true.”

On his relationship with Coach Calipari and when they first met ...
“There’s a basketball camp, which many of you might have heard, it’s called the Five Star Basketball Camp where a lot of great players have come through; the Michael Jordan’s and Moses Malone’s, as well as a lot of good coaches. God rest his soul, Chuck Daly and the Mike Fratello’s have all come through this camp and just by chance the first week of my employment there, I went in to check into my dorm as one of the coaches and counselors and who turned out to be the roommate? A guy by the name of John Calipari.”

On what Coach Calipari was like when they were younger ...
“He knew he wanted to be a coach from the first day I met him. That’s what he spoke about and it’s really what’s consumed him and one of the reasons why he’s been so good at what he does. He’s got a very clear definition of what he wants to do in his life and he’s gone on to do that. There’s no greater place than here.”

On if he and Coach Cal remained in contact after that camp ...
“Absolutely, we’ve been friends ever since that first initial meeting.”

On how he and Coach Cal kept in contact ...
“You know what, you’re a little bit on the young side and back then we had rotary phones. I don’t even know if we had push button phones back then. Now it would probably be on Facebook or Instagram or whatever you guys use now. I’m still on the rotary phone.”

On why he wanted to go into coaching ...
“You know what, loving basketball; loving sports and loving basketball in particular. One of the things sports do is there are really no boundaries in it: age, race, religion. Coming from the neighborhood where I grew up and many people here since I’ve got to town have asked me where I’m from. I say ‘Why would you ask that?’ ‘Because you have an accent.’ And I said, ‘I do?’ It didn’t hit me, but being from New York, it’s a melting pot and you just come across so many different people and sports and even basketball has become a global game, an international game and (I) just felt that it’s a great way to be able to stay involved in the sport and more importantly give back. You know my background a bit is from a single-parent home. My mom, God bless her, struggled, worked and sacrificed her whole life and saw the impact that it had on me and I said that if I was able to help other young people achieve their dreams and do that, then that’s what I wanted to do.”

On how he would describe his recruiting approach ...
“One of the things you find out being a coach is the plays work great when you have great players, so you better find the good ones. That’s kind of the approach.”

On if he has noticed any difference in recruiting for Kentucky ...
“There’s a lot of interest from the best players in the nation that have Kentucky on their list, so it’s a very well-received school and program.”

On changes in technology and social media affecting recruitment ...
“That’s what they say, there have been a lot of changes with the social media and someone like myself needs to catch up with them. I think, going back to one of the previous questions, it still gets down to people. It’s just like anything, even in business, the contract is only as good as the people it’s written between. No matter what way you speak to a prospect, his coach, his parent, it gets down to the words that are said, not the way, the medium that has been said.”

On why he took the Kentucky job when he was successful at Pittsburgh ...
“Well Pitt is a place that’s very dear to my heart. I went there originally with Ben Howland, who this program I think has coached against at some point somewhere. He gave me an opportunity. I was the director of basketball operations for a few years. Then he elevated (me) and put me in a coaching role on the floor and out on the road recruiting players. They’re very good people. Having been there for quite a number of years and even staying there, passing on an opportunity to work at UCLA and turning down positions, some of them even in my hometown New York, just goes to show how much I think of that University and the people. Kentucky, as I said before, is a dream come true.

On having previous discussions with Calipari on working together ...
“He’s been very kind. I better take it this time. There may come a time when he doesn’t ask anymore. I’m sure there’s a long line of people that want this. Every year, the line gets longer.”

On having a stacked roster next season ...
“We’re all looking forward to it, very much. I guess a lot of people are. That’s the single common denominator; a lot of people are looking forward to next season. Probably most importantly, it seems that the players are. When you see them and when you speak to them, that’s what really this whole thing is about. (It’s) about the players.”

On recruiting players from Pittsburgh to Kentucky ...
“We’ll see where that all falls. Again, the best players in your program, they are the best recruiters. People could say certain things about coaches and staffs and how they recruit but the best recruiters are the players because they’re the actual living proof of what’s going on and how things are being done.”

On processing how crazy it is that two roommates from the Five Star camp are coaching together ...
“Meant to be. We spoke about it in the past and when the opportunity really presents itself, I’m the first one to tell you, I’ve got a blessed life.”

On how he’s seen Calipari change as a coach ...
“Well, like we already stated, he’s known he’s wanted to coach since when we first met. It’s kind of a similar bond. We both were working at that camp like many other counselors and coaches that have gone through there because we knew that’s what we wanted to do and hoped to do professionally. Not a lot of people in college go through whether they want to work in the business sector, whatever they want to do, have a job handed to them when they get out of school. So you go there, you’re a five star at the time for Mr. Garfinkel, Howard Garfinkel and Will Klein, you paid your dues and cut your teeth in that environment and hope to one day get an opportunity. That’s how a lot of that developed.”

On how he got his name, Slice ...
“Well we’ll go back to Howard Garfinkel. During those years at the Five Star basketball camp and growing up in New York, I really didn’t shoot the ball that well. The only way to try and stay on the court and win a game was to basically navigate your way to the basket. Mr. Garfinkel affectionately called me Slice and that was how it started, where it started and the name has kind of stuck. He had a lot of people at that time, coming through his camp and that’s what he kind of dubbed me as and it stuck ever since.”

On looking at transfers that could sit out a year ...
“You’re the recruiting guy here, huh? The recruiting guy in this group. You probably want to have your own session after everybody else leaves. You know what, I’m just trying to get my feet on the ground. I’m trying to find a place that has hot browns with parmesan cheese on it. We’ll get to the transfers at another time.”

On working at Coach Joe B Hall’s camp ...
“You know what a gentleman he was. Here’s a guy that was at the top of his profession and he took the time the time to respond, and wrote a handwritten letter back to somebody he didn’t even know and didn’t even meet, and said if you want to coach come down here and work and I’ll give you the opportunity. It was nice to actually just run into him my first week here. To go back and have lunch with him.”

On the time frame in which he worked Coach Hall’s camp ...
“Off the top of my head, and obviously you see there’s a lot off the top of my head that I can’t really tell you, but it was back in my days when I was at college. I used to have a full-head, and now I have a five-head.”

On the difference between being a head coach and an assistant coach ...
“Well, you know what? Both positions are very good. But, if you had to ask me what’s one thing that stands out in your mind, probably as an assistant coach you make suggestions and as a head coach you make decisions. And that would probably be my best way of summing it up. As a member of the staff, you may see things in more or less as snapshots. As a head coach you have to kind of see it as a portrait, to see the whole thing.”

On what his role will be during games ...
“You know what, we haven’t gotten that far yet. I’m actually still trying to find a place to live. That’s where I was right before I got here. The potential landlord (and I), we were going over the lease and he wants to sell the place. He asked me if I could vacate it in 30 days. I said, 'what would you like me to vacate?' He said, ‘You know in 30 days if somebody wanted to buy it.’ I said, during basketball season you really don’t want to move. So, he’s going, like when can you move? And I told him, hopefully not until April. I want to be playing until April, sometime after that. Just make the lease out after that.”

On outsider’s view of Kentucky in the recruiting world vs. being at Kentucky ...
“Well, again, having coming down here at that initial time with Coach Hall at his camp, you know you see the way things are done here. And then, as you reference Pitt, we played here for an NCAA Tournament game at Rupp Arena in one of our Regionals. The result still disappoints me, we ran into a guy named Antonio Gates (of Kent State) and he had a super night. One of my all-time favorite players to have coached is from Lexington, Jaron Brown. So, having some background here, even though I may be new to the city, again not necessarily new to the Kentucky program, and the Lexington way of how they feel about their basketball. The bar is high here, and it should be. Somebody previously asked a question about John (Calipari), he sets the bar even higher, Coach Cal.”

On if Coach Calipari described the program as one on steroids ...
“Yeah, he likes that. Then you go into your office and you see the pillow there. You all are crazy.”

On if he has a desire to return to being a head coach someday ...
“We’ll let that process play out. Right now, I’m just really enjoying this. I’ve always felt good in my life, fortunately. I’ve said the Lord has blessed me. I’ve got my mom to thank. I just want to live in this moment right now, and do whatever part I can to help Coach Calipari, this staff and this University win a National Championship.”

On having been a head coach helps him be a better assistant coach ...
“I feel it would help anybody. It was definitely something that sharpened my lenses a lot more. When you have that experience, on a daily basis for a good length of time it definitely brings different things to the forefront, and hopefully that makes you better in the role that I have right now.”

On Coach Robic and Coach Payne ...
“Well, Coach Robic is another Five-Star guy. I have basically known him even from his GA days. He’s been to multiple Final Fours and has a National Championship. The same thing with Coach Payne. I’m very excited to be on their staff and I look forward to working with them.” 

Kentucky Announces 2014-15 Exhibition Games

The Kentucky men’s basketball team has announced that Georgetown College and the University of Pikeville will make up the exhibition portion of its 2014-15 schedule.

The Wildcats will host Pikeville on Nov. 2, followed by a Nov. 7match-up with Georgetown before heading into regular-season play.

UK and Pikeville have met twice in exhibition play, most recently prior to the start of the 2010-11 season. The Wildcats won that meeting 97-66.

Kentucky and Georgetown played regularly in the early 1900s, with UK posting a 35-15 mark against the Tigers. Most recently the two teams met in an exhibition contest prior to the start of the 2005-06 season with the Wildcats claiming an 85-63 victory.

Georgetown head coach Chris Briggs served as a student manager for the UK basketball program from 2001-04 and was a graduate assistant for the Wildcats from 2004-06.

It marks the first time since the 2004-05 season that a pair of in-state schools has made up Kentucky’s exhibition season.