KSR Today: Bat Cats, Amari Williams, Kenny Brooks, and Men's Tennis

Zack Geogheganby:Zack Geoghegan04/21/24

ZGeogheganKSR

Good morning, folks! How did you spend your Saturday? You couldn’t have asked for better spring weather on a Keeneland day. Myself? I ventured on over to Kentucky Proud Park to watch the Fighting Mingiones take on the Dirty Vols. The beers were cold and my face is slightly burnt — a perfect afternoon, if you ask me. We’ll ignore the final score.

We’ve plenty on the docket for today, too. A rubber match between the Cats and Vols at KPP this afternoon is the primetime event. But let’s not forget about men’s tennis, as Kentucky takes on South Carolina later today in the SEC Tournament championship game. The nationally-ranked softball ‘Cats will also be in action against Auburn. UK stole ther series opener yesterday on the road 5-2. Can Rachel Lawson’s squad win the series tonight? First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. EST on the SEC Network.

Plus, we could potentially learn the landing spots of a key transfer target or two for head coach Mark Pope and Kentucky men’s basketball. Let’s dive into everything you need to know for today.

Bat Cats fall in front of record crowd

After taking Game 1 on Friday 5-3 in front of what was, at the time, a Kentucky Proud Park attendance record (6,992), No. 3 Kentucky couldn’t repeat the same magic in front of yet another record crowd on Saturday.

No. 4 Tennessee poured in five first-inning runs in Game 2, blasting home runs on the second and fourth pitches of the day. Despite 7,304 overfilling the stadium on a perfect day for baseball, the Volunteers had revenge on the brain. The ‘Cats responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the first but left too many runners on base throughout the rest of the afternoon. Tennessee took Game 2 by a final score of 9-4.

You can read Daniel Hager’s full recap here. Kentucky football’s new offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan even threw out the first pitch.

The rubber match is set for this afternoon. First pitch will take place at 1:00 p.m. EST on the SEC Network+. Kentucky is now 32-6 on the season with a 15-2 mark in the SEC. Saturday’s loss ended an 11-game conference winning streak. Time to start a brand new one today.

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Amari Williams Watch continues

The Drexel transfer spent the weekend in Lexington with Mark Pope for an official visit. Amari Williams, a reigning three-time CAA Defensive Player of the Year winner, even made the trip out to Keeneland on Saturday with Coach Pope. They couldn’t have asked for a better day, either.

Is Pope closing in on landing his first transfer portal target? Kentucky is certainly in a great position heading down the home stretch. TheFieldOf68’s Jeff Goodman reported on Saturday that St. John’s is now out of the running for Williams and that the 6-foot-10 forward will decide between UK and Mississippi State.

An announcement has been expected to come soon after Williams’ visit to Lexington.

Let’s not forget about Utah State transfer and reigning Mountain West Player of the Year, Great Osobor, either. Coach Pope met with the 6-foot-8 big man on Friday and Kentucky remains in good shape to land both he and Williams. Another thing to keep in mind: Osobor and Williams both played at Myerscough College in England before coming stateside and share the same agent.

Former BYU signee Collin Chandler and Kentucky Mr. Basketball Travis Perry are currently the only scholarship players on Kentucky’s roster. That could change very soon.

Kenny Brooks is out recruiting too

Remember Oregon State transfer Talia von Oelhoffen? We mentioned her on Friday after her social media post went viral. The 5-foot-11 guard announced that she’s down to just four options through a Fortnite-themed graphic that included Kentucky, Louisville, Colorado, and Southern California.

Little did we know, von Oelhoffen was about to start her official visit to Kentucky. Head coach Kenny Brooks hosted the All-Pac-12 performer this weekend, taking von Oelhoffen (and another big-name transfer visitor, who you can find more about over on KSBoard) to Kentucky Proud Park for a baseball game and even getting her on FaceTime with one of her idols: Kentucky’s own Rajon Rondo.

Not a bad recruiting pitch, eh?

In other Kentucky women’s basketball-related roster moves, former Wildcats guard Brooklynn Miles transferred to Pittsburgh after spending last season at UK. Miles is originally from Frankfort, KY but started her career at Tennessee before coming back home. Now, she’ll head off to the ACC.

Finally, five-star class of 2024 guard Imari Berry committed to Louisville over Kentucky and North Carolina on Saturday. It felt like the 5-foot-10 guard was down to either UK and UL. She even visited Lexington last weekend. But the Cardinals were able to pull off the recruiting win over Brooks and Co.

Don’t expect that to continue as a trend, though…

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Kentucky men’s tennis in the SEC Championship

After winning the SEC regular season outright for the third time in program history (and first since 1992), Kentucky men’s tennis is looking to keep its winning ways rolling straight into the NCAA Tournament. Standing in the Wildcats’ path? The South Carolina Gamecocks in this afternoon’s championship match at the LSU Tennis Complex.

Kentucky (23-2, 12-0 SEC) is the top overall seed in the SEC. South Carolina is the 11-seed. The championship match between the two is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. EST on the SEC Network.

Below are Saturday’s results against LSU.

Doubles

  • No. 7 Lapadat/Mercer (UK) def. No. 59 Chen Dong/Julien Penzlin (LSU): 6-3
  • Baadi/Loutit (UK) def. Ben Koch/Stefan Latinovic (LSU): 6-2
  • Stephenson/Weekes (UK) vs. Welsh Hotard/Alessio Vasquez (LSU) 3-5, unfinished

Singles

  • No. 35 Taha Baadi (UK) def. Stefan Latinovic (LSU): 7-5, 6-2
  • No. 97 Joshua Lapadat (UK) def. Alessio Vasquez (LSU): 6-3, 6-1
  • Rudy Ceccon (LSU) vs. Jaden Weekes (UK) 6-4, 6-6 (unfinished)
  • Charlelie Cosnet (UK) def. Julien Penzlin (LSU:) 6-3, 6-4
  • Chen Dong (LSU) vs. Jack Loutit (UK) 6-2, 3-6, 0-1 (unfinished)
  • Welsh Hotard (LSU) vs. Eli Stephenson (UK) 6-1, 5-7 (unfinished)

Order of Finish:

  • Doubles: 2, 1
  • Singles: 2, 1, 4*

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BBNBA Playoffs: Day 1 action

The 2024 NBA Playoffs officially began on Saturday (oh look! Billy Donovan is finally available!). Plenty of former Wildcats were in action, including the likes of Anthony Davis, Devin Booker, and Karl-Anthony Towns.

Towns and his (3) Minnesota Timberwolves took Game 1 off Booker and the (6) Phoenix Suns, winning easily 125-90. KAT went for 19 points, seven rebounds, and four assists for Minny while Booker dropped 18 points and five assists but on just 5-16 shooting. Meanwhile, Davis posted 32 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks for the (7) Los Angeles Lakers, although it came in a 114-103 loss to the (2) Denver Nuggets and Jamal Murray‘s 22 points and 10 assists.

Finally, Tyrese Maxey‘s 33 points weren’t enough for the (7) Philadelphia 76ers to take down the Julius Randle-less (2) New York Knicks. Maxey shot 14-26 from the field and played nearly 44 minutes, but his efforts weren’t enough in the 111-04 Game 1 loss. Below is today’s round one schedule where plenty more former ‘Cats will be in action.

Sunday, April 21

  • 1:00 PM (ABC): [8] Heat (Adebayo, Herro) @ [1] Celtics
  • 3:30 PM (ABC): [5] Mavericks (PJ Washington) @ [4] Clippers (Boston)
  • 7:00 PM (TNT, truTV): [6] Pacers (Jackson, Tshiebwe: G League) @ [3] Bucks (Livingston: G League, TyTy Washington: G League)
  • 9:30 PM (TNT, truTV): [8] Pelicans @ [1] Thunder (Gilgeous-Alexander, Sarr: G League, Wallace)

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