Twice Jack Givens was “mentally okay” letting older teammates take charge in games

Jack Givens remains popular with UK fans. (Larry Vaught Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Only twice during his four-year career at Kentucky was Jack Givens “mentally okay” just watching instead of needing to make key plays for the Wildcats.

Both games came during his 1974-75 season when UK reached the Final Four — and both came in the NCAA Tournament.

The first one was the Mideast Region final in Dayton, Ohio, against Indiana. The Hoosiers were ranked No. 1 and brought a 34-0 record into the game. Indiana also smacked UK 98-74 on Dec. 7, 1974, in Bloomington in the game where Indiana coach Bobby Knight smacked UK coach Joe Hall on the back of the head.

Perimeter-oriented team might not be so bad for Kentucky

Ashton Hagans (Cole Lambert Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

There’s seems to be a lot of college football news this week. Specifically SEC news due to media days being held in Hoover, Ala. But for those that aren’t inclined towards football or maybe for the folks that like a little variety it seemed like an opportune time to write an article about UK Basketball. After all, I was the one buying up all the 8-track tapes when cassettes first came in. Nothing like going against the grain.

Can Vanderbilt — which has best team Derek Mason has had — beat Vols for a fourth straigh year?

Mark Stoops’ Cats need to be able to beat Vanderbilt. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Vanderbilt has been able to do one thing that the Kentucky football program just can’t seem to do — beat Tennessee three times in a row.

The Cats have finished second in the SEC the last two seasons and finally did beat Florida last year. But the last three seasons, Vanderbilt has beat in-state rival Tennessee every year.

What has that meant to the Commodores?

Disrespect for UK no surprise: Media picks UK to finish sixth in SEC East

Mark Stoops got no respect by SEC media members in the preseason voting as UK was picked sixth in the SEC East. (UK Athletics Photo)

SEC Football Media Days concluded on Thursday with media in attendance predicting Alabama to win the 2019 SEC Championship over Georgia in a rematch of last season’s dramatic SEC Championship Game.

Alabama received 203 votes to be crowned SEC Champion on December 7 in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, while Georgia was second with 49 votes.

Four Cats earn preason All-SEC honors

By UK ATHLETICS

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Four University of Kentucky football players earned a spot on the 2019 Preseason Media Days All-Southeastern Conference teams, it was announced Friday by the league office. Junior center Drake Jackson and senior offensive guard Logan Stenberg were named third-team offense, while senior linebacker Kash Daniel was named second-team defense and junior athlete Lynn Bowden Jr. earned a spot as a third-team specialist.
 
Jackson, a native of Versailles, Kentucky, started at center in all 13 games last season, giving him 20 consecutive starts. He was responsible for only one-half quarterback sack, had 141 blocks at the point of attack, and had 33 knockdown blocks. He was a significant contributor in helping running back Benny Snell Jr. become UK’s all-time leading rusher.

Mark Stoops, Lynn Bowden not talking about Gators

Kentucky fans enjoyed UK’s win over Florida last year. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky ended a 31-year losing streak to Florida with a win at Gainesville last year. So what happened at SEC Media Days on Thursday — Kentucky coach Mark Stoops got reminded that UK had not beat Florida in consecutive seasons since 1976-77.

“Oh, come on now,” Stoops joked.

So what would it be like to start a winning streak against the Gators?

Stoops responded by talking about playing with two-time major champion John Daly in the Barbasol Championship Pro-Am Wednesday in Nicholasville and how much fun that was.

Transfer quarterback Sawyer Smith has shown Mark Stoops he can deliver under pressure

Sawyer Smith

By LARRY VAUGHT

Quarterback Sawyer Smith threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns last season when Troy beat Buffalo 42-32 in the Dollar General Bowl to cap off a season where he started seven games, completed 63 percent of his passes and threw for 1,669 yards and 14 scores and ran for 191 yards and another score.

But after coach Neal Brown left for West Virginia, Smith put his name into the transfer portal and wound up at Kentucky. He’s expected to back up Terry Wilson, who won 10 games last year, but he has over 600 collegiate snaps — a huge plus for the UK offense.

David Toms playing in Barbasol to avoid 4-week break, but daughter wanted to see scene of LSU’s Bluegrass Miracle win

Sonya Toms with her daughter, Anna, at the Barbasol Championship. (Larry Vaught Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

David Toms, a 13-time PGA Tour champion, now competes on the PGA Champions Tour.

Toms, 52 decided to come to Jessamine County this week, though, to play in the Barbasol Championship rather than have a four-week break mainly due to his decision not to play in the British Senior Open.

“We really couldn’t plan anything as a family during the four weeks I would have had off. My son had a tournament this week and I was close by. Only a4 1/2 hour drive away in Akron, so it made sense just to come here,” Toms said after shooting a 4-under par 68 in the first round.

Lynn Bowden Jr. Named to Biletnikoff Award Watch List

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. has been named to the 2019 preseason Biletnikoff Award Watch List, it was announced on Thursday by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation. The award annually is given to college football’s most outstanding receiver at any position.

Bowden, from Youngstown, Ohio, is coming off a sensational 2018 season that saw him break the school record for most receptions (67) by a sophomore in school history, surpassing Derek Abney’s 66 from 2001. He led the Wildcats in catches, receiving yards (745) and touchdown receptions (five) and hauled in the most catches in a season since current NFL star Randall Cobb caught 84 passes in 2010

Barbasol fans love John Daly but he loved hanging out at Old Bridge with Eddie and John Michael Montgomery

John Daly, right, spent time at Old Bridge Golf Club with Eddie and John Michael Montgomery Tuesday night. Anna Cladakis, center, said it was a fun night for everyone. (Larry Vaught Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

John Daly’s up and down round included birdies, a triple bogey and a few short missed putts, but most fans at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf in Jessamine County didn’t care.

They followed him despite the hot, humid weather and cheered loudly when he finished his 1-under par round of 71 that he’ll have to dramatically improve Friday if he hopes to make the 36-hole cut at the PGA Tour event.