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.

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.

WAKE UP This Morning to a New Kentucky Basketball Hype Video

Basketball season came to a close over a month ago, and while the Cats fell a basket short to reaching a Final Four, it was still a successful season that included an Elite Eight trip, 30 wins, and wins over: North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas, and Tennessee.

Wake up to this new hype video, that will definitely make you feel the best moments of this past season and will get your blood pumping for next season with the No. 1 recruiting class! Go Cats!

John Calipari’s “Baby Son” is Graduating This Weekend

There are not many more things more special than a father-son relationship, and during his time at Kentucky John Calipari has not been shy about showing his love for son Brad Calipari, from kissing him on the cheek to encouraging and pushing him to be a better basketball player.

Brad will graduate this weekend in just three years, an impressive feat and John Calipari wrote a letter to discuss just how proud he is of Brad’s accomplishments.

Here are some quotes from Cal’s emotional letter.

Ellen and I could not be more proud of the young man Brad has grown to be. He knows what it means to be committed and driven toward a goal. He’s humble when he wins and he learns from failure as much as he does from winning.

For me as a father, to be able to be with my son the last three years, to have him in every practice, to watch him play in games, to travel with him across the country, has been a true blessing. 

As a father, if I had a choice, there’s no other young man I’d want to be my son other than Brad. With graduation on the horizon, he has his entire future ahead of him. We don’t know the turns or how fate will intervene. We don’t know how Brad’s story will end. I do know though that he prepared to write his own story and be his own man. Most people know Brad as John Calipari’s son. I can’t wait until the day when the world knows me as John, Brad Calipari’s father.
Congratulations, Brad. We’re all so proud of you.

As a part of the Big Blue Nation, we often see Cal yelling and ranting on the sidelines as he pushes his players, but it’s refreshing to see the emotional and fatherly side of Coach Cal.

While nothing has been reported or said, Brad still has two seasons of eligibility left and could transfer to another school and play next season. However, Brad has discussed his interest in coaching and there are not many many coaches better to learn from than his father.

No matter what Brad chooses, Brad has brought some style to the sidelines and brought out a rarely seen side of Coach Cal, Good Luck Brad!

The rest of the Letter can be read on CoachCal.com.

UK Football gets Four-Star Commitment and UK Basketball Makes Final Four for Johnny Juzang

All of Big Blue Nation should be flexing and doing the John Wall dance right now.

Kentucky football won’t have a lot of roster turnover following the 2019 season, meaning there will be less scholarships for recruits and Coach Stoops and company will have to be very selective about who they go after.

That plan is going well as UK football picked up a commit from Kentucky native and four-star offensive lineman, John Young.

Young, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound tackle, ranks as the No. 214 overall prospect and No. 24 offensive tackle in the nation according to Rivals and chose Kentucky over other finalists Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue, and Louisville.

Thus far, Kentucky has only two commits for next season, but both are four-star recruits and rank as top five recruits in their respective states.

Young is a big get for the UK football program that could play a major role in bringing in more recruits for next season.

Not even 10 minutes later, Kentucky basketball received some big recruiting news regarding five-star Johnny Juzang who announced on Wednesday that he would be reclassifying to the 2019 class.

Before Kentucky’s involvement, Villanova was the heavy favorite to land Juzang and with them out of the picture, Kentucky seems to be the favorite by far.

Juzang is scheduled to visit Lexington on Monday and if we have learned anything from past commitments, don’t be surprised if Juzang commits to Kentucky during his visit.

Scouting Report: Just like Tyler Herro, Juzang is a natural born “bucket”. Juzang can score inside and out and everywhere in between using quick release jumpers, floaters, and scoop shots to score in the lane. Juzang also plays well off the ball and excels in catch and shoot situations. Juzang does lack athleticism and handling.

NBA Comparison: Dillon Brooks

2020 Five-Star Target Jalen Johnson calls Kentucky His “Dream School”

One of the top players in the 2020 class, Jalen Johnson, is in Atlanta this weekend for the Nike EYBL where he is joined by Coach John Calipari and the rest of the UK coaching staff.

As the No. 3 overall recruit in the 2020 class, Johnson is one of Kentucky’s highest priority targets for next year’s class. As Johnson hopes to commit before his senior season, he talked about Kentucky as his “dream school”.

Johnson also went on to discuss his “love” for Kentucky and the NBA factory Coach Cal has created in Lexington.

“I just love (Kentucky), I don’t really know why. They were just my dream school, them and Florida. I just loved watching those two schools play and seeing the success they had.”

“Just seeing how successful they are in the NBA, I think that’s a huge factor for recruits. … Calipari’s player development, it’s like no other. Seeing how he’s turned players into future Hall of Famers, it’s crazy.”

According to the 24/7 Sports Crystal Ball predictions, Duke has the best chances to land Johnson at 71% followed by Wisconsin at 29%.

At 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds, Johnson has great size and is one of the most talented players in next year’s class. With Kentucky being his “dream school”, you have to think there is a great chance of Johnson becoming a Wildcat.

Scouting Report: Standing at 6-8 with a 6-11 wingspan, Johnson has great overall speed and athleticism which allows him to run the floor and play above the rim with ease. Even with his size and length, Johnson has legit point guard skills and excels at initiating fast breaks. Johnson is a great two way player with great shooting form. Needs to improve his ball handling and develop a more consistent outside shot.

Comparison: Paul George/Stronger Shaun Livingston

Johhny “Bucket” Juzang could Reclassify to 2019 Class, Announcement Tomorrow

With five players definitely leaving (Reid Travis, PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, and Jemarl Baker) and potentially two more (Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery), there is a lot of unpredictability as we look ahead to next year’s Kentucky team.

G Ashton Hagans
G Immanuel Quickley
G Brad Calipari
G/F Zan Payne
C Nick Richards
C EJ Montgomery

G Tyrese Maxey
G/F Khalil Whitney
G/F Dontaie Allen
F Keion Brooks
F Nate Sestina

John Calipari is exploring all possibilities to fill next year’s roster and one of the hottest names in Kentucky basketball recruiting right now is 2020 five-star wing, Johnny Juzang.

This past Friday, the day Jemarl Baker announced he would transfer from UK, John Calipari and Joel Justus visited Juzang in California and offered him a scholarship.

At 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, Juzang has good size at the wing and is widely considered a top-25 recruit and an elite scorer in the 2020 class.

As a junior, Juzang averaged 22.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists on 43% FG and 35% from three.

Recruiting guru, Evan Daniels of 24/7 Sports, is now reporting that Juzang is “seriously” considering reclassification to the 2019 class and will take a visit to Lexington on April 29th.

If Juzang were to reclassify he would need to obtain credits away from his current school Harvard-Westlake, as they do not have an early graduation program.

As more news comes out the Cats seem to be picking up more momentum, which is certainly promising as Juzang tweeted that he’s got a “big announcement” coming tomorrow night.

Virginia, USC, and Kansas are among other schools going after Juzang but Kentucky’s recent momentum has most believing the Wildcats are the favorite and his offense will be certainly welcomed in Lexington.

Scouting Report: Just like Tyler Herro, Juzang is a natural born “bucket”. Juzang can score inside and out and everywhere in between using quick release jumpers, floaters, and scoop shots to score in the lane. Juzang also plays well off the ball and excels in catch and shoot situations. Juzang does lack athleticism and handling.

NBA Comparison: Dillon Brooks

Here is a video from October, with Juzang talking about Kentucky’s “winning” and “wanting to be a pro”.

John Calipari To Visit Top Grad Transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr.

Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery have declared for the NBA Draft, and while they are both expected to make the wise decision to return to Kentucky, nothing is holding them back from officially leaving.

Even if Richards and Montgomery did return, the Cats are still in need of some frontcourt depth.

Last week, it was reported that there was some mutual interest between Kentucky and Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr., a 6-10 250-pound forward, ranked as the No. 1 graduate transfer by ESPN.

Corey Evans of Rivals.com, reported that Blackshear and his parents hosted John Calipari for an in-home visit today. However, that report turned out to be incorrect and they’re still “trying to figure that out right now as we speak.”

This past weekend, reports came out that SEC opponents Texas A&M and Florida were the early favorites to land Blackshear. Texas A&M just hired former Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams and Blackshear is from Orlando, Florida.

However, if John Calipari and Kentucky is in the mix they can never be counted out.

This past season, Blackshear averaged 14.9 PPG and 7.5 RPG on 50.8% shooting and 33.3% from three. In Virginia Tech’s Sweet Sixteen matchup against Duke, Blackshear finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Not to mention, in 2017’s performance against Kentucky at Rupp Arena, Blackshear recorded 18 points and 5 rebounds in just 22 minutes of action.

Blackshear was a Second Team All-ACC Selection, but with Calipari’s track record and recent success with PJ Washington, Blackshear could develop him into an First Team All-SEC selection.

Future NBA Cats Driving Around in Style

Now that PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson, and Tyler Herro have declared for the draft and announced they will stay in the draft, it looks like they have got themselves each a new set of wheels.

Earlier in the week Michael R Vine of Blue Grass Motorsport, a luxury car dealership in Louisville, KY, posted these two pictures welcoming the soon to be rookies “to Blue Grass Motorsport”.

As all three are practically first-round locks in the 10th-25th pick range, it looks like they wanted to splurge a little bit. If they are in fact picked in the 10 through 25 range, they have the money to splurge and would earn $9.1 million (10th pick) to $4.5 million (25th pick) over three years of guaranteed money according to the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement.

There is no confirmation on whether these cars are rented, gifts/advances from their agents after declaring (not illegal), or if they were bought but let’s take a closer look at the new whips.

*The pictures display the correct car, not exterior or interior colors.

Keldon Johnson, Audi RS5 & McLaren 720S Spider

Keldon Johnson confirmed he was driving a 2019 Audi RS5 during his interview with Kentucky Sports Radio, setting Johnson back at least $74,200. While the Audi is a nice car, it looks like he wanted to rent something with “Hollywood” style while in LA this week.

That something “Hollywood” was a McLaren 720S Spider, with a top speed of 202 mph and a cost starting at $315,000. I find it hard to believe Keldon got that big of an advance from his agent, which is why I am assuming it was a rental, which would still cost $3,500 a day according to Dynasty Luxury Rentals of Miami.

PJ Washington, Porsche Cayenne

PJ Washington was the first to post anything and is driving around in a 2019 Porsche Cayenne, which starts at $65,700. PJ who could be the highest draft pick of the eligible Wildcats to be drafted, chose the “cheapest” car of the three and maybe the wisest decision.

Tyler Herro, Maserati Quattroporte

Tyler Herro can now take a page from the hit song, Old Town Road, and “drive down Rodeo in my Maserati sportscar”. Herro is driving around in a 2019 Maserati Quattroporte, which will set you back at least $107,680 for the basic trim and is the most expensive car of the three.

These three Wildcats are going to be riding into their rookie season in style is just a few short months. As for Reid Travis, we can be certain he bought a sensible and brand new Honda Accord.

Kentucky in talks with Grad Transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr.

Could a second grad-transfer be joining the 2019-2020 UK Basketball roster?

Around 2 PM on Tuesday, Kerry Blackshear Jr., who previously played for Virginia Tech, entered the transfer portal. UK fans immediately jumped on it and said Cal needed to go get him and it sounds like Cal listened.

According to a source inside the Blackshear family, the grad-transfer has talked to Kentucky.

“Kentucky has made contact with the inner circle.” Said a source in the Blackshear camp.

It’s said that Blackshear’s plan is to go to the NBA Portsmouth combined, get feedback, and then go from there.

It would be a huge pickup for the Cats, who lack a big man in the 2019 class. He is the top-ranked grad-transfer and at 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, Blackshear would add some well-needed depth.

This past season, Blackshear averaged 14.9 PPG and 7.5 RPG on 50.8% shooting and 33.3% from three. In Virginia Tech’s Elite Eight matchup against Duke, Blackshear finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Not to mention, in 2017’s performance against Kentucky at Rupp Arena, Blackshear recorded had 18 points and 5 rebounds in just 22 minutes.

There will be no shortage of bidders for Blackshear, but Blackshear could be the piece Kentucky needs to be THE dominant team next season.