Not too long ago, there was a concern Kentucky’s football team could lose multiple key players on the defensive side of the ball before next season. Guys contemplating whether or not to return to UK for their senior season included Mike Edwards, Josh Allen, Denzil Ware, and Jordan Jones. It was a possibility all four could leave stripping Kentucky of valuable experience. Monday, Josh Allen announced he would come back for his senior season. Allen, who flirted with high draft projections in the middle of the season, will be back and have a chance to end up near the top of Kentucky’s all-time sack record list.

After back to back seasons with 7 sacks, Allen now has 14.5 for his career. 5 sacks as a senior would place him 2nd, just ahead of Dennis Johnson. A breakout season with 12 sacks would make him the all-time sacks leader ahead of Oliver Barnett.

Josh Allen’s decision to return to UK could possibly begin a domino effect … as yesterday, Mike Edwards also announced he would be coming back for another year in blue. Those are both huge developments for the Cats. This leaves Denzil Ware and Jordan Jones left to announce. However, when you consider them being the least likely to leave of the four, along with Denzil’s recent Instagram post you wonder – did they already say they’re coming back?

It’s possible something more official will come out confirming (or contradicting) this, but it looks like a real possibility all four of these Cats could be back on defense together next year. Players have until next Monday (1/15) to make their final decision.

UK Basketball

After falling to #21 with a road loss at Tennessee, Kentucky was able to get back in the win column last night against Texas A&M. Both teams were short-handed and had guys coming off of sickness or injury, and it came down to the wire. Somehow they combined for 43 fouls without anybody fouling out. Check out the highlights of the 74-73 victory:

A few UK basketball thoughts:

  • SGA continues to trend upwards. Shai has turned out to be one of the better players on the team and if not for him, last night (with Quade out) would have been very ugly. He’s played 38 and 39 minutes in the last 2 games and is filling up the stat sheet.
  • PJ Washington continues to show the ability to post and drive and get high percentage attempts for himself. This was his 3rd straight game in double figures as he’s 19/30 for 63.3% from the field in that stretch. He still needs to work on his New Year’s Resolution, however – make free throws. He’s 8/17 in 2018 and missed some big ones to leave the door open late last night.
  • Kevin Knox was 5-5, including 2-2 from 3 and 3-4 from the line for 15 points. It was nice to see him get back into double figures after failing to do so in the 3 of the last 4.
  • Nick Richards has disappeared in SEC play. He has 13 points and 13 rebounds in 4 conference games. That 25 and 15 game seems like forever ago.
  • There is some buzz with Jarred Vanderbilt and Jemarl Baker coming back from their injuries. We have a couple of road games coming up before Florida comes to Lexington next Saturday (1/20). I’ll be in Rupp covering that game – hopefully he’s ready to go.

Non-UK Banter

Keith Garrett is my hero. While most of us just complain about all the ridiculous and horrible block/charge missed calls, he sat down and put it all together. Can we please get Keith’s article to go viral? Something has to change. After SKJ was called for a ridiculous charge at Tennessee, he decided to get in on the action himself … but, of course, they missed another obvious one!

In case you haven’t seen any of this, ESPN has shipped Jeff Goodman to Lithuania to cover the two younger Ball kids. Personally, I think the whole idea is hilarious. Every time Goodman tweets about it, I’m just like, “Damn, he’s still there!” They played in some kind of scrimmage yesterday against another very young team and these highlights are awesome.

Here’s LaMelo’s first shot attempt:

Here’s LiAngelo with the breakaway!

They combined for 1/10 from 3 while LaMelo had 6 of the teams 12 turnovers in just under 21 minutes of action. They won 90-80 while LaMelo was a -4 and LiAngelo was flat.

The Ball kid that can actually play finally quit running from De’Aaron Fox.

Who’s gonna win the NBA Finals this year? With IT back, can he mesh with Cavs in time for a run? Alabama has set the stage for The King.

 

Images courtesy of CatsIllustrated and @retro_zel35