Why not a patch on jersey to honor Cole Mosier?

Cole Mosier, left, is beloved by teammates. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Sometimes the best ideas are so simple. Or at least simple when a reader/UK fans makes the suggestion you wish you had thought of yourself.

Instead, it took Richard Cheeks, a long-time UK fan and vaughtsviews.com contributor, to come up with this idea after senior offensive lineman Cole Mosier went down with a season-ending knee injury.

“I read on Twitter that Cole’s teammates have commented about what he meant to the team,” Cheeks said after the injury. “I would like to suggest a small patch for the jersey with Cole’s number as a reminder of his contributions to this team.”

See. Simple but sweet.

Granted I have no idea about NCAA or SEC regulations. I have no idea if Kentucky has a rule about adding a patch to a jersey.

But it is a great idea. Mosier went from a small-school walk-on from Walton-Verona to a scholarship player to a starting left tackle in the Southeastern Conference to a possible NFL player.

On top of that, as Cheeks noted, teammates loved him for his work ethic and consistency. He didn’t seek the spotlight. He just played and wanted to win.

This would be a great way to honor him and hopefully UK can find a way to implement Cheeks’ idea.

Lamar Thomas: “I want long touchdown runs.”

Lamar Thomas (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky has five freshman receivers, including Lynn Bowden and Clevan Thomas Jr., who would like to be able to play and contribute this season.

To do so, they obviously have to know their routes. But they also have to be able to block or receivers coach Lamar Thomas will not use them.

So who is the best blocker among the receivers? Who is the toughest guy?

“I would say all of them,” Thomas said. “They have to be. We ask them not only to run routes and catch balls, but to be part of our run game. We have so many run-pass options where they can get the ball on the run play.

“They understand it is important for our success for them to block. I always tell them big plays happen because of us. Long touchdown runs happen because of us. I don’t want big plays. I want long touchdown runs. Do your job. Get the guy in the end zone.”

Dakari Johnson, Dominique Hawkins at All Sports Saturday

Dominique Hawkins. (Larry Vaught Photo)

Former Wildcat and current Oklahoma City Thunder Center Dakari will be at All Sports in the Fayette Mall this Saturday, Aug 19 from 11am-Noon.

Johnson who was selected 48th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft just recently signed a 2 year guaranteed contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. 
Along with Johnson, former Wildcat Dominique Hawkins will be attending as well. Hawkins is currently weighing his decisions on whether to play in the NBA G-League, over eas or join an NFL training camp with one of the teams expressing interest.
Earlier this month, Hawkins had a private workout with the Philadelphia Eagles. 

 

Another highly touted Florida cornerback — Jamari Brown — verbally commits to Kentucky

By LARRY VAUGHT

Another day, another highly touted cornerback recruit from Florida for Kentucky coach Mark Stoops.

Today it is 6-3, 180-pound Jamari Brown of Pompano Beach. A day earlier it was Stanley Garner. Both came to UK camps this summer and both were primarily recruited by offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.

He had offers from schools such as Auburn, Louisville, Oregon, South Carolina and Mississippi State.

 

He is the third cornerback and fifth commitment from Florida in UK’s 2018 recruiting class. The Cats now have 18 verbal commitments for 2018.

Ely and Garner are both three-star players with big upsides. Each runs in the 4.4 second range in the 40-yard dash

Brown is now the fifth Broward product committed to Kentucky in the 2018 recruiting class. He and Garner join the Chaminade-Madonna trio of lineman Davoan Hawkins and receivers Marvin Alexander and Akeem Hayes.

Snell always appreciates his linemen

Benny Snell (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Benny Snell ran for over 1,000 yards as a true freshman at Kentucky last year, a rare feat in the Southteastern Conference.

So how does he let the offensive linemen know he appreciates the way they block?

“Every day I talk to them guys. I am always joking around with them. After a run or practice and they do something great I always compliment them. On weekends I am calling, hanging out The linemen are brothers to me,” Snell said.

“They appreciate that. Sometimes when there is not enough positive vibe in their ear to let them know they are doing good, it hurts. If I remind them they are doing good and the great job they did last year with 2 1,000 yard rusher, it helps. They need to be rewarded.”

Snell said the linemen never regret the attention he gets for his success that is due in large part to them.

“They never kid me back but I know how those guys feel about that. That why any time anything happens big for me, the linemen are always the cause,” Snell said.

 

Columnist already concedes title to Duke

UK coach John Calipari is being given no chance against Duke this season. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press has already conceded the 2018 national basketball championship to Duke.

Wiedmer has regularly covered Southeastern Conference basketball, including Kentucky, during his career. He’s not one to normally make outlandish statements just to get page views.

But’s he all-in with Duke.

Here’s what he had in the lead of a column this week after Marvin Bailey committed to the Blue Devils.

“Take Duke. Only Duke. In every bracket. And when it comes to that nettlesome tiebreaker, where you have to pick the score? Pick the Blue Devils big. Like 15 to 17 points big. Something along the lines of 83-67. At the very least,” Wiedmer wrote.
He wrote that Duke “is loaded” like never before with the addition of Bagley. Wiedmer thinks he’s the best player to come into college basketball since UK’s Anthony Davis in 2011 — and UK won the 2012 national title.
Wiedmer did not that Michigan State, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville and Arizona could all beat Duke on a given night.
However, Wiedmer like many others is giving the title to Duke already.
“Actually, barring injury, that race may now only be for who finishes second,” Wiedmer wrote to conclude his column.

UK volleyball impressive in exhibition against Western Kentucky

UK Athletics Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 2017 edition of the Kentucky Wildcats officially made its debut on Wednesday in the program’s first-ever exhibition match. The Hilltoppers and Wildcats participated in a friendly two-hour match in Memorial Coliseum emulating real-time situations in the lone tune-up prior to the season beginning on Aug. 25 for both teams.

“It was such a great opportunity to play a lot of people in different lineups and experience match type scenarios,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “I was pleased with our focus and serving throughout. Everyone contributed in one way or another and that’s really what we wanted to get out of tonight and we certainly accomplished that.”

WKU is the preseason favorite to win the Conference-USA, while Alyssa Cavanaugh was the Preseason Player of the Year in the league. The Hilltoppers won the C-USA with a 30-3 overall record and went a perfect 14-0 in league play to win their sixth straight conference championship. The Lady Toppers advanced to the NCAA Tournament where they lost to Boise State in the first round.

The Wildcats will begin the regular season with the annual Bluegrass Battle, beginning Aug. 25. UK will open the season with Arkansas State at 11 a.m. and will face No. 23 Utah at 9 p.m., both in Memorial Coliseum. The next day, UK will face Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m. to wrap up the tournament.

“I feel like there’s been so much build up and it was great to finally play with everyone,” freshman Avery Skinner said. “The exhibition was really good for us, we could kind of feel things out and get ready for our matches coming up.”
 
Kentucky is slated to return 91.9 percent of its leading kill production, including its top-five terminators in Leah EdmondKaz BrownDarian MackEmily Franklin and Brooke Morgan. Defensively, UK returns 97.8 percent of its blocking numbers and 84.5 percent of its dig production. Brown, who already holds numerous 25-point rally scoring era records, is UK’s leading returning blocker with 151 rejections a season ago. Ashley Dusek has posted more than 200 digs in all three seasons with the Cats.

Wednesday’s exhibition saw the program’s highest rated recruiting class make its collective debut. The No. 5 class in the nation includes No. 4 Madison Lilley, No. 32 Avery Skinner, No. 46 Gabby Curry and No. 81 Kendyl Paris.
 
“It felt good to finally get on the court and have a different opponent other than ourselves,” freshman Madison Lilley said. “We have this upcoming week to iron out the wrinkles and we have some pretty big matches coming. We’re looking forward to it.”

Noteworthy:

  • Freshman Avery Skinner boasted a match-high 15 kills on a blistering .520 hitting percentage.
  • Olivia Dailey and Madison Lilley split time at setter and combined for 49 assists, 12 digs, five aces and two blocks.
  • Gabby Curry corralled a match-high 23 digs. Eleven players had at least one dig.
  • Eleven different players registered at least one kill, while six players hit .417 or better with at least five attempts.
  • Kentucky’s serving was a highlight as the Wildcats posted 15 aces. Lilley had a match-high four to lead the team, while the 2016 leader, McKenzie Watson, added three.
  • Kaz Brown and Kendyl Paris led the way defensively at the net with four rejections apiece.

CB Stanley Garner commits to Kentucky

Stanley Garner

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky got a commitment many expected when 6-4 cornerback Stanley Garner of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., picked the Wildcats over Alabama, Tennessee, Clemson, Michigan, Louisville and a lot of other top schools.

 

Garner made unofficial visits to Kentucky in June and July. Several current UK commits had indicated that Garner verbally committed to UK a few weeks ago before making it public Wednesday.

Garner is ranked among the top 75 players in Florida and top 50 cornerbacks nationally. He was a high school teammate of Kentucky freshman linebacker Jordan Wright. The only other UK cornerback commit in the 2018 recruiting class is junior college player Domonique Williams.

Kentucky now has 17 commitments in its 2018 recruiting class that ranks among the top six in the Southeastern Conference.

 

Guest post: Being a student-athlete about more than fun and games

Mercer County seniors Seygan Robins and Trevon Faulkner (Larry Vaught Photo)

By BOB GARDNER, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations

and JULIAN TACKETT, Commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.

Tailgates. Pep rallies. Custom Backpacks. Friday night lights. The new school year is here! And that’s exciting news for student-athletes and high school sports fans alike.

Research shows that being a student-athlete is about a lot more than fun and games. It teaches important life lessons, too. In fact, high school athletes not only have higher grade point averages and fewer school absences than non-athletes, they also develop the kind of work habits and self-discipline skills that help them become more responsible and productive community members.

Attending high school sporting events teaches important life lessons, too.

Among them, it teaches that we can live in different communities, come from different backgrounds, faiths, and cultures, cheer for different teams, and still have a common bond.

That’s why attending the activities hosted by your high school this fall is so important. It’s not only an opportunity to cheer for your hometown team, it is also an opportunity to celebrate our commonality. And that’s something our country needs right now.

The bond we share is mutually supporting the teenagers in our respective communities. We applaud their persistence, tenacity, preparation and hard work, regardless of the color of the uniform they wear. We acknowledge that education-based, high school sports are enhancing their lives, and ours, in ways that few other activities could. And we agree that regardless of what side of the field we sit on, attending a high school sporting event is an uplifting, enriching, family-friendly experience for all of us.

Many of the high schools in our state lie at the heart of the communities they serve. They not only are educating our next generation of leaders, they also are a place where we congregate, where people from every corner of town and all walks of life come together as one. And at no time is this unity more evident than during a high school athletic event.

This is the beginning of a new school year. Opportunities abound in the classroom and outside it. Let’s make the most of them by attending as many athletic events at the high school in our community as possible.

Turn on the lights, and let the games begin!

Freshman receivers pushing for playing time

Lynn Bowden

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky has a lot of returning receivers, but offensive coordinator Eddie Gran likes what he’s been seeing from several true freshman receivers this moth.

“I think the young receivers are making a push. They’re pushing the older guys. I think we’ve got three or four guys right now that have a chance to get on the plane (for the opening game at Southern Mississippi),” Gran said.

“This next scrimmage will be huge for them, to see how they react. All the offense is in. We’re not adding anything right now. We’ll see this Saturday with those guys to see if they’re going to be guys that can help contribute.”

Gran knows some of them will. He’s just not sure if it will be game one or later in the season when depth becomes a huge deal. He lists Isaiah Epps, Josh Ali, Clevan Thomas, Lynn Bowden or JaVonte Richardson could all play and help.

“I think all of them are making a push. We’re not going to be able to play them all but we’ll see again after this next weekend,” Gran said.