Time has come for Nick Richards to play with confidence

Nick Richards (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON —Nick Richards is more than excited about the upcoming season than his first two seasons with the Wildcats and his goals haven’t changed, either.

“One of the goals when I came in was to win a national championship, and that’s one of my goals this season,” he said. “I don’t feel any pressure at all. I know I have a good team that’s behind me. I know I can play basketball, and it’s just me stepping on the court to prove to everyone that I can play.”

Kentucky didn’t recruit Dontaie Allen for him to “figure out” how to play later in career

Dontaie Allen (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Dontaie Allen has yet to be fully cleared to start practicing full speed with Kentucky because of his knee injury suffered last December when he was playing for Pendleton County and averaging 42 points per game before his season ended.

However, while some have speculated Allen would be redshirted this season, don’t count on that.

“When a kid shoots and scores the way he does, we are going to count on him this year but we have to give him an opportunity to get to 100 percent coming off that knee injury and see where he is,” Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne said.

Expectations, offseason quotes not that different at UK and Duke

R.J. Barrett, and other Duke players, face the same pressure UK players do. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

What’s it like for a college basketball program where winning a national championship, or at least making the Final Four, is an annual expectation no matter how much the roster might change?

“Is that our expectation? Are you putting expectations on us? No, we want — our program has been one of the best ones, and it’s not the only one, but it’s one of them, and I think if you’re going to have an outstanding program you have to have high expectations. When you don’t do it, then there will be big disappointments. But you’re dealing at that level. Each year we have a different team,” the coach said.

“Combination of things” have hurt UK’s third-down conversion tries

All-SEC guard Logan Stenberg and the Cats have had trouble converting third-down plays this year. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky’s offensive and defensive lines were expected to be team strengths this year — something that has not gone quite the way everyone hoped through five games.

“I think it’s been a lot like our team and been inconsistent. At times they have done some really good things. We have higher expectations on both groups and want more consistency out of them,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said looking ahead to Saturday night’s game against Arkansas when UK hopes to end a three-game Southeastern Conference losing skid.

Is Arkansas a make-or-break game for UK?

Sawyer Smith and his UK teammates may need to learn how to be winners. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

In sports, if you want to win games you have to be a winner. I know that seems obvious but hear me out for a minute. Let’s take the University of Kentucky Football team.

Most fans expected this year’s team to have a season that was close in performance to last year’s team. Sure UK lost some very talented players but they had a lot of very talented players just waiting for an opportunity to perform. Make no mistake Benny Snell, Josh Allen, Bunchy Stallings, Lonnie Johnson, Mike Edwards and several other players were all very talented. But they also knew how to win.

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Here’s what Louisville basketball coach Chris Mack said at the ACC Operation Basketball Tuesday

Chris Mack

Q. Coach, just what can you say about what you took away from last season at Louisville, coming in, just what you saw from the program walking into it and now what you see moving forward as you progress?
CHRIS MACK: Sure. I couldn’t be any more grateful and thankful for the guys that we have and had in our locker room a year ago. I think to be able to add Akoy Agau, Cristen Cunningham, and Khwan Fore, three guys that had been through the wars, so to speak, of college basketball and wanted to be at a second home, and then the guys that, you know, didn’t get recruited by me. I said in the very beginning, hey, this was never going to be “Wait until Coach Mack gets his guys in,” and they were all in.

A.J. Rose: “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.”

A.J. Rose (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

For almost two weeks Kentucky football players have read and heard plenty of criticism about their play during a three-game Southeastern Conference losing skid.

That’s not what fans expected from a team that went 10-3 last year even if it did lose running back Benny Snell, linebacker Josh Allen and five defensive backs from last year and then had starting quarterback Terry Wilson go down with a season-ending knee injury in week two.

Tyrese Maxey going after his piece of the bone

Tyrese Maxey has some big goals for this season. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON —Tyrese Maxey is always smiling but don’t let that grin fool you.

Although an upbeat and personable player, the freshman guard hasn’t backed down from anyone on the team, especially veteran sidekick Ashton Hagans.

“It’s like two dogs and one bone,” he said. “Two pit bulls going at it … that’s how I describe it. We’re both very competitive and we don’t want to lose. It’s great and I love it. I think it makes us as a team better.”

John Calipari really struck a nerve with former basketball officials, but will it have an impact on this season

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

There are a lot of interesting comments coming out of John Calipari’s preseason press conferences these days. One of his more interesting ones is how he believes that game officials are biased against the University of Kentucky and in certain instances his team is, well, I’ll let him say it.

“There are times we’ve got to beat eight,” Calipari said, “You know what? Let’s beat eight.” His implication is that there’s at least some bias on the part of officials that call UK games.