Former Cat and Card Go 1-on-1 in Summer Workouts

Chris Brickley, is a former Louisville basketball player, and is known as the NBA’s top workout guru. His gym’s All-Star open runs — including LeBron James and James Harden — have made him a viral sensation.

Brickley has had several Cats in his open runs including Enes Kanter, Hamidou Diallo, Nick Richards, and Demarcus Cousins among others.

Today, Brickley posted a video of former Wildcat, Isaiah Briscoe, and former Card, Russ Smith, battling 1-on-1.

It’s safe to say that this Battle of the Bluegrass 1-on-1 features two of the toughest players from each school in recent memory.

After the NCAA vacated Louisville’s 2011-2015 seasons following “strippergate”, Smith’s college career has become largely irrelevant, but one thing will always be remembered.

NBA to Expand Mental Health Services

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 Americans lives with a mental illness, ranging from children to adults. Even more worrisome, only 41 percent of those people received professional health care or other services.

The stigma around mental illness is no secret, and it is emphasized when you throw in sports and “toughness”.

Mental Illness has affected some of the worlds greatest athletes including Michael Phelps, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Serena Williams. However, the harsh reality is there a large number of athletes that are afraid to receive treatment due to fear of being called weak.

The NBA has always been one of the most innovative professional sports leagues, and they are setting another example for the sports world to follow as they have introduced an expanded set of mental health policies for this upcoming season.

Reportedly, all 30 teams received a memo with the following requirements.

  • All teams must have at least one mental health professional on retainer. Each professional must have “experience in assessing and treating clinical mental health issues.”
  • Each organization must “identify a licensed psychiatrist” available to help manage any mental health concerns.
  • All teams must, “enact a written action plan for mental health emergencies.”
  • All 30 teams need to attend a “health and wellness meeting” in Chicago in September.

This doesn’t directly affect Kentucky, but the effects of this movement will be felt in all levels of sports and will benefit future athletes in Kentucky blue and beyond.

Looking Forward to UK Football’s 2020 Schedule

Earlier today, the SEC announced the 2020 football schedule for each team, and once again it is filled with opportunity for the UK Football team. Let’s take a closer look and breakdown the 2020 schedule.

Away Rivalry Games

Kentucky’s three biggest football rivals are Florida, Tennessee, and Louisville and the Cats will take on all three of them on the road.

The Gators are coming off a ten-win season in 2018 and are expected to take a bigger step in 2019, making for a difficult game in the Swamp in 2020. If the Cats are able to come in on two-game streak, all of the pressure could be on the Gators.

As for the other two teams, Tennessee and Louisville, the Cats could be favored to win both. I don’t expect Scott’s Tots and the Cardinals to be capable of putting up much of a fight but Tennessee should be improved and have beaten us with lesser talented teams in Knoxville (that 2018 loss 🤦‍♂️).

Games Against Ohio and Michigan Teams

It’s no secret that Vince Marrow and company have been dominating recruiting in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Once again, there are two teams from the area on UK’s schedule.

The Wildcats should win these two games, growing the UK brand even larger in Ohio, Michigan, and surrounding states.

HALLOWEEN

For the first time in forever, Big Blue Nation can enjoy Halloween without the stress of Kentucky football. Plan accordingly and bring your best costume game!

Overall, seven or eight wins is a realistic goal and the opportunity for more is there as talent continues to improve in Lexington. I expect Mark Stoops to continue to push the Wildcats in the right direction and closer to an SEC East title.

But… let’s not look too far ahead

The 2019 season is just around the corner and the schedule looks to be pretty favorable, which is fortunate after losing so much talent. Let’s have another fun season in the Bluegrass. GO CATS!

The Pads are On and 25 Days Til Opening Kickoff for UK Football

Football is back in the Bluegrass.

Coming off a historic ten-win season, Kentucky Football started Fall Camp last week and today, the Cats are in full pads and going full contact for the first time this fall.

A big part of the sport is physicality and the injuries that come with it. In the last two weeks, the Cats have lost two very important pieces to the team: safety, Davonte Robinson (season) and Wide Receiver, Isaiah Epps (six weeks).

I expect the Kentucky coaches to be a little more cautious as we approach the Toledo game on August 31st, a game that can’t be overlooked.

Stay tuned to KY Insider!

Enes Kanter the “Underkanter” is Preparing for Something Special

While Enes Kanter never got to play in a Kentucky uniform (NC-stupid-AA), he left us with one of the most legendary Big Blue Madness introductions ever back in 2010.

Since the “Underkanter” entrance, Kanter has made his interest in professional wrestling well known.

Nearly a decade ago, Kanter showed he has the intro down. During his time in the NBA, he has shown he can entertain. Finally, this summer he has been putting work in the wrestling ring and training with WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page to put it all together.

The Score released a pseudo-documentary where Kanter visited Diamond’s facility in Atlanta training to fully learn all aspects that go into becoming a professional wrestler and even calling out LeBron.

“Enes the Menace” Kanter just inked a two-year/$10 million dollar contract with the Boston Celtics, but when he is done on the court he will be a perfect fit inside the wrestling ring.

I’M BACK

Two months is way long to be away from the Big Blue Nation, and I’ve dearly missed all of you. While I was gone I received countless messages of support and prayers, I thank you for that.

I always want to be transparent with my readers. Unfortunately, some events took place that forced me to take a leave of absence. Those events included a family member overdosing, transferring colleges, and moving amongst some other things.

With that in the rearview mirror, I am excited about the 2019-2020 athletic season. Keep your eyes locked on KY Insider, I’M BACK.

EJ Montgomery “Really Wants to Go” as Countdown Continues

At the moment that this article was written, there are slightly more than 26 hours until EJ Montgomery has to ultimately decide whether to keep his name in the NBA Draft or return to Kentucky for a sophomore season.

Outside of Montgomery’s announcement to test the NBA waters, Montgomery and his camp have been very silent since the end of the season. However, a very credible source has told KY Insider, “[Montgomery] really wants to go, and this could be ‘Hamidou Diallo’ type decision that comes down to the wire”.

The source also went on to say, “[Montgomery] is leaning towards leaving and is looking for a guaranteed contract from an NBA team upon his selection.”

This situation sounds eerily similar to Jarred Vanderbilt’s last season, and he ultimately was drafted to the Denver Nuggets with the 41st pick and given a three year contract. However, there is no guarantee yet and “hoping” to be selected in the second round is a big gamble.

In what could be Montgomery’s lone year as a Wildcat, he went on to average 3.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1 block.

If Montgomery were to stay he would be a centerpiece of a Final Four caliber Kentucky Wildcat team, and if he were to stay in the draft, Calipari and the coaching stuff will need to find a capable big via reclassification or graduate transfer.

One way or the other, Big Blue Nation will know a decision by 12 am E.T. on Wednesday.

NCAA Looking to Adjust Rules: Could Allow Athletes to Profit off Name, Image, and Likeness

The NCAA is not the most popular organization, and the majority of that blame is their own. However, the NCAA finally looks like to be exploring what I believe would be a positive change, changing the amateurism model.

The NCAA appointed a “working group” to examine issues related to student-athlete name, image, and likeness.

“This group will bring together diverse opinions from the membership — from presidents and commissioners to student-athletes — that will examine the NCAA’s position on name, image, and likeness benefits and potentially propose rule modifications tethered to education. We believe the time is right for these discussions and look forward to a thorough assessment of the many complexities involved in this area.”

The release also went on to say, “the group will not consider any concepts that could be construed as payment for participation in college sports.”

Any sensible human being understands that players like PJ Washington and Zion Williamson are worth far more than a college scholarship, and when they are bringing in MILLIONS of dollars to their respective schools they should be looked in much higher regard than being “amateurs”.

In 2017, the NCAA cleared a revenue of $1.045 billion from media rights fees, ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, and most importantly March Madness (accounts for nearly 90% of NCAA total revenue). How much of that did the athletes performing receive? Zero.

If the “working group” is able to find some sort of way to compensate athletes this would make college more appealing to high school recruits when the “one-and-done” rule changes, could allow athletes to profit off of apparel and autographs, and could even bring back two very memorable video game titles; NCAA Basketball and NCAA Football.

For the sake of college sports and college sports video games, I hope the “NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group” is able to find a compromisable way to compensate athletes for their efforts.

Read the rest of the NCAA’s release here.

BBNBA Playoff Update

The NBA Conference Finals are here! Don’t forget to get your champagne and cigars out, as for the first time in probably a long time or forever, a former Kentucky player is guaranteed to win an NBA championship as the four remaining teams all have at least one Kentucky alumnus.

  • Golden State Warriors: C Demarcus Cousins
  • Portland Trailblazers: C Enes Kanter, PF Skal Labissiere
  • Milwaukee Bucks: PG Eric Bledsoe
  • Toronto Raptors: SG Jodie Meeks

Thirteen former Kentucky Wildcats on seven different teams entered the NBA playoffs, only five remain. However, that’s not to say we haven’t seen some amazing moments from Cats that were sent packing.

Jamal Murray

Despite the Denver Nuggets’ early second round exit, we got to see and experience “Finger Licking Playoff” Jamal Murray and his continuing emergence into an NBA star

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander joined Jamal Murray as the best “Cantuckian” players in the playoffs, and as a rookie, showed the NBA he is more than capable of holding his own against the league’s best on the biggest stage.

Eric Bledsoe

Among the Wildcats still remaining in the NBA Playoffs, Eric Bledsoe has undoubtedly been the most impressive.

Bledsoe is currently averaging 16 points, 4.3 assists, and 1.2 steals (all playoff career highs) and with the help of Giannis Antetokounmpo, has led the Milwaukee Bucks to their first Conference Finals appearance since 2001.

Enes Kanter

While Enes Kanter was never able to actually play during his time at Kentucky, no one will forget his “UnderKanter” entrance at Big Blue Madness. Kanter is truly a Wildcat at heart and still considers himself a Wildcat.

Kanter is currently showing what an athlete’s heart should look like as he continues to play with a separated left shoulder.

Not to mention his trolling of fellow Wildcat, Jamal Murray, after defeating the Nuggets in their second round 7-game battle.

Simply put, this has been a successful NBA Playoffs for some former Kentucky Wildcats. Regardless of who you are rooting for (NOT Golden State), rest assured knowing that at least one Wildcat will be hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy and receiving a nice piece of jewelry come June.

Does Wikipedia Know Something that Big Blue Nation Doesn’t?

Either Wikipedia or a joking fan (most likely) is trying to tell the Big Blue Nation something. That something, 2019 five-star, Jaden McDaniels, is a Kentucky Wildcat.

Wikipedia is well known for its ability to allow users to change information, which is most likely the case here. Nonetheless, Kentucky is widely considered the favorite to the land the 6-9, 185 pound, forward amongst recruiting insiders.

Recruiting guru, Evan Daniels, notably made his prediction for Kentucky as the Wildcats lead the Crystal Ball rankings at 85%.

Sources have reported that McDaniels hopes to decide within the next two weeks. Hopefully soon, Jaden McDaniels will accurately be a part of the Kentucky Wildcats and their Wikipedia page.