Josh Teater’s predictions coming true — and he also happens to be in 5th place after two rounds

Josh Teater (Barbasol Championship Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Several weeks before the Barbasol Championship, Josh Teater made two predictions — he thought Keene Trace Golf Club would be a great venue for the first PGA Tour stop in Kentucky in over 50 years and he expected a lot of friends to show up to watch him play.

So far, he’s been right about both things and has only added to the excitement after shooting a 6-under par 66 in Friday’s rain shortened second round that leaves him 10-under par after two rounds and five shots behind clubhouse leader Troy Merritt. Teater is tied for fifth place.

Media picks Alabama to win SEC, UK picked 5th in East; Benny Snell first team pick

Benny Snell (Vicky Graff Photo)

SEC Football Media Days concluded on Thursday with media in attendance predicting Alabama to win the 2018 SEC Championship.

Alabama received 193 votes to be crowned SEC Champion on December 1 in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, while Georgia was second with 69 votes.

Georgia was selected to win the SEC Eastern Division with 1,977points, including 271 first-place votes, while South Carolina was second with 1,535 points and 8 votes to win the division. Florida was third with 1,441 total points. Points were awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.

Benny Snell says he’s the best and Kentucky will give him chances to prove it

Benny Snell (Keith Taylor Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Could getting kicked out of the Music City Bowl on a controversial call turn out to be a blessing for Kentucky junior running back Benny Snell?

Snell thinks so. He called it a “blessing in disguise” at the recent SEC Media Days in Atlanta.

“More people know who I am now because of that, so it’s not all negative,” he said.

If that’s not enough, he said something else to make sure people know who he is going into the 2018 season. He bluntly proclaimed he was the best running back in the SEC — a statement that Alabama senior running back Damien Harris would not respond to a few days later.

John Robic says satellite camps were “neat” to do and that UK will continue doing them

Jacob Tamme with coach John Calipari at Boyle County High School. (Allison Tamme Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky assistant basketball coach John Robic thought the summer satellite camps UK did this year were “great” for youngsters, fans and the current UK players.

“It’s neat for us and neat for our players to do. You talk about giving back, and for our kids to be able to do eight of them like we did this year was really great,” said Robic.

Brittany Lincicome: “I could feel the energy of the crowd.”

Brittany Lincicome had a lot of young girls watching her play Thursday. (Larry Vaught Photo)

Here is what LPGA Tour standout Brittany Lincicome shot a 6-over par 78 at the Barbasol Championship when she was just the fifth woman to play in a PGA Tour event. Here’s what she had to say after her round Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Jessamine County.

LCA junior Laney Frye has day to remember working as standard bearer for Brittany Lincicome

Laney Frye with Brittany Lincicome after Thursday’s round at the Barbasol Championship.

By LARRY VAUGHT

Lexington Christian Academy junior Laney Frye admits winning the 7th Region Golf Tournament was a big moment for her. However, her day Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Jessamine County was even more memorable.

Frye was the standard bearer for the group in the Barbasol Championship that included LPGA Tour star Brittany Lincecome, only the fifth woman ever to play in a PGA Tour. Lincecome had just one birdie, hit one ball in the water and finished with a 6-over par 78 — “But I still had a lot of fun,” Lincecome said.

Damien Harris: “Coming back for my senior year wasn’t hard”

Damien Harris went to a lot of UK football games before picking Alabama over UK. (Larry Vaught Photo)

Here’s what Alabama senior running back Damien Harris, a Madison Southern High School graduate, had to say at the SEC Media Days Thursday:

On his mindset going into the season …
Harris: “The mindset going into this season is that we know our success isn’t going to be inherited.
Anything we accomplish as a team this season is not going to come from the fact that we won a National Championship last year. If anything, it is just going to make it that much harder. We know that winning a National Championship puts a target on your back. We know that day in and day out, we are going to get everybody’s best game. We need to better ourselves, both mentally and physically, so that we can handle these situations thrown at us and that we can have the success that we want to have as a team.
On how he avoids complacency …
“It’s not hard. With Coach Saban as your coach , things like that come pretty easily. No matter who we are playing, no matter what week it is in the season, whether we are playing a power five team or not, or whether we are playing in the National Championship or not, one thing that we always focus on is just being the best team we can be. We are confident in the fact that if we play our best football, offense, defense and special teams, that we are capable of being the best team in the country , year in and year out. “
On what he enjoys about The University of Alabama …
“I just love Tuscaloosa. I love being a part of The University of Alabama, and that is something that brings me a lot of happiness. The mindset across the entire University of Alabama is that we are champions, whether it is from an academic standpoint or an athletic standpoint. I love walking down the street in Tuscaloosa and somebody rolling down their windows when they drive by and yelling ‘Roll Tide’. There are just so many things about being a part of The University of Alabama and living in Tuscaloosa that bring us so much joy as athletes. Coming back for my senior year wasn’t hard. “

Kevin Knox Named to All-Summer League First Team

Kevin Knox

LAS VEGAS – With 14 players participating in this year’s NBA Summer League, there really was no question that Kentucky was going to make a splash once again. All the two weeks of action did was solidify that no program better prepares players for the professional game than UK.

After being selected in the top 10 of the 2018 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, Kevin Knox (2018) showed off his versatility and dominated play en route to being one of five players selected to the All-NBA Summer League First Team. Knox averaged 21.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals in four games in Las Vegas. His 29-point, nine-rebound effort against the Lakers in 33 minutes was arguably his best performance. He knocked down five 3-pointers in the game and scored 16 points in the third quarter.

Three reasons Gunnar Hoak will be UK’s starting quarterback

Gunnar Hoak (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

There’s been a lot of talk recently from UK coach Mark Stoops, several players and the media about who will be UK starting quarterback on Sept. 1st when Kentucky meets Central Michigan in the season opener at Kroger Field.
There are several capable candidates for the job. Currently Gunnar Hoak, Terry Wilson Jr. and Danny Clark are leading the pack but don’t completely forget about Walker Wood. With Stephen Johnson’s graduation and Drew Barker foregoing his last year of eligibility due to medical reasons the door is wide open for one of the aforementioned guys to walk through and claim the job.
To me it should be an easier decision for Mark Stoops and Eddie Gran than most people believe. Here are three reasons why. 
1. Quarterback Accuracy. Eddie Gran has stated publicly that he would like to get this year’s quarterback pass completion percentage up to the 65 to 70% percent level. In looking at the two leading candidates – Gunnar Hoak and Terry Wilson, Jr – it appears from what we know that only one of those candidates can probably hit that percentage come September. Terry Wilson, Jr completed only 58% of his passes in junior college with 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Those numbers won’t fly in the SEC. Especially on a team that will be depending on it’s offense to control the ball and control the game. The Wildcats have to be better in the passing game if they are going to reach the 7 or 8 win mark in 2018. 
Conversely Gunnar Hoak was 16 for 24 in the spring game with 2 touchdowns. Those are the only statistics we have to go on because he didn’t play a down in his redshirt freshman season but we know from practice reports that he is a very accurate passer. Benny Snell, Jr recently said that Hoak was extremely accurate, that he could “put the ball anywhere he wants to”. Mark Stoops said about Hoak, “He’s poised. He is accurate. He knows where to go with the football. He can make all the throws. I like what Gunnar’s doing. I look forward to watching him this summer.”
2. Knowledge of the System. Another reason Hoak will be the starting quarterback in September is that he has been in the program for two years. He is a proven commodity to the coaches. They see him every day in practice. He knows what they are trying to run and how they want him to run it. As good as Terry Wilson, Jr is athletically – and based on the glimpses we have seen so far he is excellent – he hasn’t been around the UK system very long. A few months exposure is not enough time to fully grasp what Eddie Gran is asking his quarterback to do. When the bullets start to fly – especially early in the season – the coaches will want a player that knows what they are expecting and will stick with a disciplined approach and not rely completely on instinct. 
They need a game manager. I know that is an unpopular term with fans and players alike but it’s exactly what UK needs to challenge the Georgias and Floridas of the SEC world. This year’s team can’t afford to put the defense into bad field position with turnovers like UK teams have done in the past. Kentucky as a football team is not built to overcome throwing a key interception or a allowing a fumble deep in their own territory. 
With all that being said I believe that Terry Wilson, Jr will still have a vital role with this offense. Eddie Gran will come up with a package for Wilson that consists of handoffs and designed quarterback runs out of UK’s Run-Pass Option offense. As the season moves forward and Wilson gets more experience at the college level he will become a more important cog in the offense. 
3. Point Guard Mentality. That brings me to my third point. Hoak is the kind of player that can make all the other players around him better. He is Marquis Teague on the 2012 UK National Championship team surrounded by the Anthony Davis’s and Michael Kidd-Gilchrists of the UK Football world. When you have an experienced offensive line that can block and players around you like Benny Snell Jr, CJ Conrad, Dorian Baker and Lynn Bowden, to name a few, all you need to do is get the ball into the right player’s hands at the right time and let the other guys make great plays. A quarterback that is an accurate passer and knows the offense can do just that. 
What Mark Stoops said recently about Hoak is exactly what I am talking about. Stoops said, “Gunnar Hoak, he’s been in our system. He hasn’t played a college snap yet. He’s been in our system. He practiced a bunch. He knows what we are doing. He’s poised. He has always been poised since he stepped on campus.”  Those statements sum up exactly what this Kentucky team needs from their quarterback this season to be a winner. Knowledge, poise and confidence along with accurate passing. 
 
So when the offense jogs out onto the field for the first time in September don’t be surprised to see No. 12 in blue and white line up behind center and take the first snap. Most football coaches look for the lowest-risk and highest-reward scenario and for the first game of the season Gunnar Hoak is it. But don’t sleep on Terry Wilson, Jr. That guy can play. 

Davis Love III glad to have Brittany Lincicome playing in Barbasol Championship

Brittany Lincicome (Gary Moyers Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Davis Love III remembers the PGA and LPGA players used to compete in a mixed team competition and how much he enjoyed the competition.

Love is playing in the Barbasol Championship this week and LPGA star Brittany Lincicome will become only the sixth LPGA player to participate in a men’s event. She’ll be trying to become the first one to ever make the 36-hole cut.