After much speculation and discussion over the past few months, Mark Stoops decided yesterday on his final assistant coach to add to this staff for the upcoming 2018 season. Brad White comes to the University of Kentucky as the new outside linebackers coach after serving as the same position for the Indianapolis Colts for the past 3 seasons.

Coach White brings 5 years of college and 6 years of NFL coaching experience to Kentucky after playing linebacker at Wake Forest under current UK coach Dean Hood. Mark Stoops discussed the addition and how it changes the current responsibilities of the staff.

“When I talked to Brad, he impressed me with his expertise, his NFL experience and what a very, very good technician he is,” said Stoops, who did not know White prior to the hiring search. “Brad came highly recommended from people I know at Indianapolis. In addition to his knowledge of coaching linebackers, he has ‘big picture’ expertise.

“I’m also excited about hiring Brad because it will enable us to move Coach (Dean) Hood to the secondary, where he will assist Coach Clink (Steve Clinkscale). Dean has been a defensive backs coach for most of his career.”

UK Football

With the coaching staff now complete and early enrollees on campus, all eyes look towards National Signing Day next Wednesday (2/7). There can obviously be surprises, but right now the focus is on getting signatures from 2 major targets: Chris Oats and Kavosiey Smoke.

Chris Oats is a 4* linebacker out of Cincinnati, Ohio and an important target for the staff after the recent flip/miss on Xavier Peters. Recruiting analysts have said for quite a while that this would come down to Ohio State and Kentucky. Oats also visited hometown Cincinnati in January. Marc Givler with the Ohio State site on Rivals reported yesterday that a possible visit this weekend from Oats to OSU would not happen. This is a very good sign in favor of UK and created an enormous shift in his 247 Crystal Ball, up to nearly 80% right now.

Kavosiey Smoke is a 3* running back out of Wetumpka, Alabama and also an important target after the unexpected offseason transfer from Bryant Koback. Smoke’s crystal ball is currently split 50/50 between North and South Carolina, but he just visited Lexington this past weekend. With UK’s strong offensive line, the lack of depth in the backfield and a very recent visit right before NSD, Kentucky is looking like a real possibility.

UK Basketball

Future Cat Tyler Herro continues to get buckets in his senior year. ICYMI, Herro was 7/15 from 3 and scored 42 points Tuesday night (his 6th 40+ point game this season).

Someone we would like to see join Tyler next year in Lexington is EJ Montgomery. Montgomery is a 6’10”, 5* power forward out of Marietta, Georgia. UK has become very involved and visited just 2 days ago, but this recruitment is far from over. An official visit has just been scheduled to Duke for February 14. I can’t imagine anything worse to do on Valentine’s Day than to visit Duke, good grief. EJ would be the highest commit in UK’s class, but would be the 5th highest in Duke’s class … wow! That is insane. Fab 5 2.0. Please don’t let that happen.

I’m sure it has been too long since you have seen Marquis Teague highlights, so check these out. Teague had a career-high 31 and capped it off with a game-winner for the G League’s Memphis Hustle.

Non-UK Banter

Due to declining attendance and financial losses in recent years, it was announced there will not be a Derby Festival Classic this year. This is the event where Shai Gilgeous-Alexander first stood out to Kentucky fans. Shai was last year’s MVP as he scored 29 points on 12/15 shooting, grabbed 9 rebounds and dished out 6 assists in only 19 minutes. He also won the 3 point contest during halftime. This is not the first time the all-star game has been canceled and will be evaluated by organizers for a possible comeback.

The crazy news yesterday surrounding sports talk was a report by ESPN that LeBron James would listen to the Golden State Warriors after this season if they were to take the necessary moves to clear the cap space for a max salary slot. Personally, I wonder if LeBron just wants to see them start to break up their team… and then not go there, ha!

I know if I could get rid of Draymond Green and his $17.5M contract next year and add James, I would do that in a heartbeat. Also, Iguodala will turn 35 and make $16M and Livingston will be 33 and make $8.3M. There are definitely ways to make it happen – I guess – I have no idea what all goes into NBA trades. Where do you think LeBron will be next year?

Image courtesy of @UKFootball