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.

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.

Even in a Rebuilding Season, Kentucky Baseball Is Not the Most Flawed Team in the State

Following a season where Kentucky had 13 players selected in MLB Draft, the Wildcats are in rebuilding mode. Even in a down season, Kentucky Baseball is not the most dysfunctional team in the state, that title may belong to Western Kentucky this season.

On Friday night, at Ruston High School (LA), where Louisana Tech has been forced to play following an EF-3 tornado, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs matched up for the first game of a weekend series.

Louisana Tech outfielder, Steele Netterville, struck out swinging with bases loaded that secured 5-4 victory for the Hilltoppers, but on his backswing, he appeared to had made accidental contact with WKU catcher, Collin Hopkins’ outstretched arm. 

While Western Kentucky is not at the level of the University of Louisville in athletics nor scandals, they have done their fair share to deserve their mockery.

WKU baseball head coach, John Pawlowski, would be great friends with Billy Gillespie with his DUI charge, and the WKU basketball program had five suspensions just this past season.

Don’t forget, in Kentucky’s two matchups against the Hilltoppers this season, they have handled them fairly easily with 15-0 and 15-4 wins.

UK Softball is Having Another Good Season

Kentucky Softball is currently ranked No. 21 with a 32-20 (14-10 SEC) record and is having another great season.

Since Rachel Lawson became head coach of the Kentucky softball team, the Wildcats have had a winning record and reached the NCAA Tournament in all but her first season. Which is something Kentucky had note ever done before Lawson.

The Wildcats have played the toughest schedule in the country this season which has included wins over then No. 3 Alabama, No. 5 LSU, No. 13 South Carolina, No. 13 Arkansas, No. 14 Auburn, No. 17 Ole Miss, No. 22 Oregon, and No. 23 James Madison.

Kentucky Softball has been a high powered offense this season scoring an average of 6.53 runs per game, ranking No. 12 in the nation. However, the pitching hasn’t been as great with a 3.02 ERA,

One of the brightest spots for Kentucky softball this season has been utility player Abbey Cheek, who has been named a finalist for 2019 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and was drafted in the third round of the
National Pro Fastpitch Draft.

Cheek has a .450 batting average that ranks top 10 in the country, 19 homeruns which ranks No. 8 in the country, and .620 on base percentage that is No. 3 in the country.

Last season the Kentucky softball team had a similar record at 35-21 (8-15 SEC), and hosted a Super Regional. With one of the best players in Kentucky softball history and one game left in the regular season, the Wildcats could be poised for another deep run this year!

UK Hoops Brings Home SEC Awards

The Kentucky women’s basketball team just wrapped up an impressive regular season with a 24-6 (11-5 SEC) record and a 4th place finish in the SEC.

UK hoops was picked to finish 7th in the preseason polls and have been a pleasant surprise this season and have earned plenty of awards in the process.

Breakout star freshman Rhyne Howard won SEC Freshman of the Year and earned a spot in the All-Freshman SEC and First Team All-SEC teams.

Senior, Maci Morris joined Howard on the All-SEC First Team in addition to SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Breakdancer and head coach, Matthew Mitchell was named SEC Co-Coach which he shared with Vic Schaefer from Mississippi State. This is Mitchell’s second SEC Coach of the Year award after receiving the award in 2010.

To finish off the awards, senior guard Tyler Murray was named to the All-Defensive Team, and freshman Blair Green joined Howard on the All-Freshman Team.

Here is recap of the awards

First Team All-SEC
Caliya Robinson, Georgia
Rhyne Howard, Kentucky
Maci Morris, Kentucky

Ayana Mitchell, LSU
Anriel Howard, Mississippi State
Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State
Sophie Cunningham, Missouri
Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M

Second Team All-SEC
Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas
Janiah McKay, Auburn
Crystal Allen, Ole Miss
Te’a Cooper, South Carolina
Tyasha Harris, South Carolina
Alexis Jennings, South Carolina
Rennia Davis, Tennessee
Mariella Fasoula, Vanderbilt

All-Freshman SEC Team
Robyn Benton, Auburn
Blair Green, Kentucky
Rhyne Howard, Kentucky

Akira Levy, Missouri
Destanni Henderson, South Carolina
Victaria Saxton, South Carolina
Zaay Green, Tennessee
Brinae Alexander, Vanderbilt

All-Defensive SEC Team
Janiah McKay, Auburn
Caliya Robinson, Georgia
Taylor Murray, Kentucky
Jazzmun Holmes, Mississippi State
Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State

Co-Coaches of the Year: Matthew Mitchell, Kentucky and Vic Schaefer, Mississippi State
Player of the Year: Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State
Freshman of the Year: Rhyne Howard, Kentucky
Defensive Player of the Year: Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State
6th Woman of the Year: Cierra Porter, Missouri
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Maci Morris, Kentucky

Kentucky earned a double-bye with their 4th place SEC finish and will look to continue their impressive season on Friday in the SEC Tournament.

KY Insider Weekend Wrap-Up

Cats Win BIG at Rupp Against #1 Tennessee

The #1 Tennessee Volunteers came into Rupp hailed as the best team in all the land and came out with a 17 point loss and a welp on their ass to THE Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky thoroughly dominated Tennessee from the tip and was the most physical team on the floor.

Kentucky led at one point by 24 points and each player gave positive contributions. PJ Washington outplayed Grant Williams and helped his case for SEC Player of the Year with an extremely efficient 23 pts, 5 reb,75% FG 50% 3P performance. Ashton Hagans broke through the freshman wall with a 7-1 assist:turnover ratio and bouncing back on the defensive end. Tyer Herro finished 3-11 from the field but recorded a sneaky double-double with 15 pts and 13 reb.

This team is coming into its own at the right time, right before March. This team is going to be fun!

NBA Cats Take Over All-Star Weekend 2019 in Charlotte

The Kentucky Wildcats were well represented this weekend at the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, as usual since Calipari began his NBA factory in 2009.

Here’s a quick look at who will be involved.

Friday- The Rising Stars Game: De’Aaron Fox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox

Saturday- Skills Challenge: De’aaron Fox

Saturday- 3-point Contest: Devin Booker

Saturday- Slam Dunk Contest: Hamidou Diallo (WON)

Sunday- All-Star Game: Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis

This is always great exposure for Kentucky as future recruits watch them on the biggest stage.

Vince Marrow Promoted to Associate Head Coach

Vince Marrow has been absolutely critical to the recent success of the Kentucky Football team in his role as tight end coach and recruiting coordinator.

Back on New Years Day, Marrow was reported to have signed a three-year extension. It has been reported that as a part of this extension, Marrow will be promoted to Associate Head Coach with a $650,000 base salary, while still retaining his current roles.

UK Target Keion Brooks Jr. Cancels Michigan St. Visit

2019 Kentucky target Keion Brooks Jr. was in Rupp for the Tennessee game and was able to experience one of the best Rupp Arena atmospheres in the Calipari era. On Sunday, Brooks canceled his last remaining visit to Michigan State and is anticipated to make a decision this week. This appears to be great news for Kentucky and their chances to land the 6-7 wing from Indiana.

For the majority of his recruitment, most recruiting experts believe that its either his home school of Indiana or Kentucky. With the dumpster fire that Indiana has been this season, and the Rupp atmosphere he got to experience. I don’t see how he could turn down Kentucky, but more shocking things have happened.

Kentucky Boys Dominate the PGA

J.B. Holmes and Justin Thomas, both Kentucky natives battled it out for first and second in the Genesis Open, with Holmes coming out on top. Holmes came into Sunday with a 4-hole deficit. However, the golfers had to compete in a 34-hole day due to weather issues on Thursday.

It came down the last three holes as Justin Thomas missed a putt to force a playoff, allowing Holmes to win his first major in three years when he had brain surgery.

UK Hoops Win on a Last-Second Shot

In the postgame interview, Howard admitted the last shot was supposed to be for Maci Morris. But when Arkansas’ defense was all over Morris, Howard was able to create an open look for herself. The game started end ended with a Rhyne Howard jumper, as UK Hoops won 61-59.

The #17 Kentucky Women’s basketball team have outperformed their expectations all year. Predicted to finish 7th in the SEC, the Wildcats are tied for 3rd in the SEC. Rhyne Howard was the savior on Sunday afternoon. At the end of a back-and-forth game with Arkansas, tied 59-59, Rhyne Howard pulled up from free throw line to make the game-winning basket.

ITS BEEN A GREAT WEEKEND TO BE A CATS FAN!

The KY Insider Blog Begins

Thank you for joining me and taking time to read the #1 up and coming University of Kentucky sports blog. KY Insider is your one stop for all things Kentucky Wildcats and Big Blue Nation. Your input and feedback is always valued, feel free contact us and let us know how we can better serve you and out publish the best content possible. 

“Enough talking, lets ball” – John Calipari