First Down Kentucky: Who Wins a UK Football Dunk Contest?

On3 imageby:Nick Roush02/26/24


It’s been almost two years since John Calipari and Mark Stoops engaged in a public war of words. Time typically heals all wounds, but there are still embers in the Football vs. Basketball School that ignite whenever one of the teams loses a game it shouldn’t.

Vince Marrow has extended an olive branch, attending almost every home basketball game, and even hitting the road this year to watch the Cats crush the Cards. He joined Matt Jones on the KSR Pregame Show to talk about his love for hoops and stamp out the football vs basketball talk.

“I’ll be the first to say, we’re doing good things in football, but this is traditionally a basketball school, with football coming up and being respectable and still climbing,” said Marrow.

The general fanbase may be ready to set it aside, but some folks just want to take sides. Is there a way to get everyone on board? By bringing football to the basketball game. Football players are frequently honored at Rupp Arena — Josh Paschal was the ceremonial Y at Saturday’s game — but we can take it one step further by hosting a dunk contest for Kentucky football players at halftime of the basketball game.

That’s exactly what Nebraska did on Saturday. Circumstances are different in Lincoln. Fred Hoiberg has Nebrasketball on the rise, but they’re a football-first fanbase. They mixed in both in spectacular fashion when Jeremiah Charles brought the fireworks.

Which Kentucky Football Player would Win a Dunk Contest?

Who wouldn’t love to see the Kentucky football athletes show off their skills? Over the years the team has had some exceptional two-sport stars. Lynn Bowden and Jordan Wright were all-state hoopers. Chris Lewis could yam on the best of them. Nick Haynes was 320 pounds and throwing down windmills at the Johnson Center.

This year’s team has a few guys that could create fireworks. Let’s handicap some of the contestants.

Jordan Dingle — The Kentucky tight end won a State Title in football and also played power forward for the Purples, helping Bowling Green reach the quarterfinals of the 2020 Sweet 16.

Max Hairston — The cornerback who led the SEC in interceptions last fall has some athletic juice. Unlike some of the football players who also starred on the hardwood, Hairston has the wiggle to make acrobatic plays while attacking the rim.

Deone Walker — What can’t Deone Walker do? The answer is nothing. A starting center for Cass Tech High School, he could not be moved from the paint. Stay out of his way when he’s charging toward the rim.

The Betting Favorite: Cam Dooley

Before he committed to Kentucky as a safety to kick off the Early Signing Period, Cam Dooley entertained multiple scholarship offers on the hardwood. During his junior season, he scored more than 15 ppg. and led Valley to an undefeated season and Class 5A state title. Dooley was the State Tournament MVP, scoring 19 second-half points to add to his nine rebounds, four steals, and a block in the finals.

He recently threw down a tip-dunk in front of Brad White during his senior night. It’s safe to say the incoming freshman would be the player to beat in this Kentucky football slam dunk contest. While many of his classmates are already on campus, Dooley is trying to repeat. Valley High School is playing in the Class 5A Semifinals today at 4:30 pm CST and it can be streamed on the NFHS Network.

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Kentucky Adds Big PWO

A healthy walk-on program can produce some contributors after a few years of grinding. The latest preferred walk-on (PWO) addition is a big body in the trenches. Kenyatte Hardge II, a 6-0, 290-pound defensive lineman from Lexington Christian, announced he will play football next year for the Kentucky Wildcats. Hardge began his high school career lining up across the line of scrimmage from current Wildcat OT Malachi Wood at Madison Central.

Eric Bienemy goes to College

There is a reason we call it the coaching carousel. It reared its head over the weekend as the biggest story in college football. While football reporters rang an alarm bell as college coaches departed for the NFL, it paved the way for one of the biggest NFL stars to take his talents to the collegiate level. Follow me here.

— Jeff Hafley leaves Boston College for Green Bay Packers (DC)
— After leaving the Patriots, Bill O’Brien leaves Ohio State (OC) for Boston College (HC)
— Chip Kelly leaves UCLA for Ohio State (OC)
— Eric Bienemy leaves Commanders for UCLA (OC)

The long-time non-play-calling offensive coordinator for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs did about as well as you can expect any coach to do for the Commanders. Seeking a fresh start, he’s calling plays next fall at UCLA. I have a feeling it won’t end with a bang.

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