ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
81°
Cloudy
H 84° L 68°
  • cloudy-day
    81°
    Current Conditions
    Cloudy. H 84° L 68°
  • cloudy-day
    69°
    Morning
    Cloudy. H 84° L 68°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    77°
    Afternoon
    Thunderstorms. H 79° L 68°
Top Sports Stories
1
2
3
Kentucky basketball recruiting: Will Ashton Hagans reclassify? How stacked will the Wildcats’ backcourt be?

Kentucky basketball recruiting: Will Ashton Hagans reclassify? How stacked will the Wildcats’ backcourt be?

LEXINGTON, Ky. — So just how crowded will Kentucky’s backcourt be next season? It’s going to take a while before we know for sure. Recent Wildcats commitment Ashton Hagans, ranked the No. 1 point guard in the Class of 2019, is widely expected to reclassify and play college basketball this fall. That would make four top-40 guards, including three 5-stars, joining UK’s backcourt for the 2018-19 season. But it’s not quite a done deal. “We won’t let anybody know until July what the game plan is,” Chris Williams, Hagan’s AAU coach, told SEC Country on Friday afternoon. “Right now, he’s just focusing on being a 2019 and finishing out the school year strong and playing the spring season with AAU.” Hagans is in Dallas this weekend for the first stop on the Adidas spring circuit, where John Calipari will keep a close eye on the 6-foot-4 playmaker from Georgia who reminds Kentucky’s coach a little bit of John Wall. There is still some academic work to complete for Hagans to be in position to reclassify, but “he will be by July,” Williams said. “He’ll have the option to do so by then.” If Hagans pulls the trigger and rising sophomore Quade Green doesn’t transfer out, the Wildcats would have four former 5-star guards on the roster — incoming point guard Immanuel Quickley and wing Keldon Johnson are the others — plus 4-star sharpshooters Tyler Herro (freshman) and Jemarl Baker (redshirt freshman). “It would be a helluva team,” Williams said. “He’s friends with Keldon and knows Tyler from going to camps and obviously we know Immanuel from playing against him last summer on the Adidas [circuit]. They’d have a helluva squad, especially with him and E.J. [Montgomery, a 5-star forward] coming in together, because they’re good friends also. They could match up with any team in the country, on paper.” Imagine, then, if yet another 5-star guard joins the fun. Tyrese Maxey, the No. 2 point guard in the Class of 2019, is very high on Kentucky and has also talked with Calipari about reclassifying and playing for the Wildcats this fall. What would Hagans think of that? “Regardless of if it’s a teammate or an opponent, Ashton’s going to compete,” Williams said. “No matter who it is, he ain’t ever backed down from a challenge. Actually, he plays his best games when there is a challenge.” RELATED: Maxey entertaining idea of playing for UK in 2018 There aren’t many bigger challenges than graduating high school a year early and being asked to lead a Kentucky team with national title aspirations — potentially without much veteran help. The Wildcats already have lost starters Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo to the NBA and reserves Sacha Killeya-Jones and Tai Wynyard to transfer. Four key decisions loom: Green is considering a move to a program that isn’t so stacked in the backcourt and forwards PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt are all testing the NBA draft waters. It seems unlikely but nevertheless possible that all of them are gone by the end of May. “I think Cal going through what he did this year with all the young guys [UK started five freshmen], he’ll be more prepared if those guys do leave,” Williams said. “He’ll be more prepared with a game plan to put in place more so than last year. He’ll be ready to step up to the challenge.” RELATED: Green is a fighter; Calipari counting on that Having a Wall-like point guard certainly wouldn’t hurt Calipari’s latest reloading effort. Williams broke down his star’s game for SEC Country: “Great kid on and off the court, but a totally different person on the court. He’s a dog,” the coach said. “He plays defense 94 feet and makes everybody else around him better on the other end. He’s a true point guard, pass-first point guard — but if you need him to score, he can go out and lead your team in scoring as well. Whatever you need from him, that’s what he’s going to give you. “And if he does graduate early, he can step on any Division I campus right now and lead a team with no issues.” So just how did the Wildcats swoop in and scoop up this top-10 overall recruit — ranked as high as No. 6 by 247Sports — after he decommitted from in-state Georgia? The same way Kentucky landed Quickley and Johnson and have a great shot at signing James Wiseman, the No. 1 overall player in the Class of 2019: assistant coach Joel Justus. “Me and Joel are fairly close,” Williams said. “This is something he’s been working on since Ashton was in the ninth grade. Me and Joel have had a relationship since then, talking on a consistent basis, and he’s someone Ashton’s dad and I trust [because] he’s honest and he’s been keeping it 100 from Day 1. He’s a player’s coach. “He establishes those relationships with guys from a young age and stays in constant contact with them, always checking up on them and building those relationships, and it pays off.” The post Kentucky basketball recruiting: Will Ashton Hagans reclassify? How stacked will the Wildcats’ backcourt be? appeared first on SEC Country.

Alabama women’s golf has low score of third round, advances to SEC Championship quarterfinals

Alabama women’s golf has low score of third round, advances to SEC Championship quarterfinals

For the second time in three days, the University of Alabama women’s golf team had the low score of the day, shooting the third round at 7-under-par, and easily advanced to the quarterfinals at the SEC Championships. A late flourish helped the Crimson Tide close the gap, but South Carolina was able to hold on at the end of the stroke-play portion of the tournament at the par-72, 6,253-yard Greystone Golf and Country Club Legends Course in Birmingham, Ala. Alabama is ranked No. 1 by  Golfweek/Sagarin, and No. 2 by Golfstat. It leads the nation in scoring average at 71.00, and topped the tournament in most pars. The Crimson Tide will square off against No. 24 Vanderbilt. Should the Crimson Tide advance it could face No. 3 Arkansas in the semifinal. No. 10 South Carolina will head up the other side of the bracket. Alabama’s Kristen Gillman,  Cheyenne Knight and  Lauren Stephenson all shot -2 on Friday to pace the Crimson Tide, and finished in the top 10 in the individual results. Gillman was third at -2, Knight was tied for fourth at even-par and Stephenson tied for ninth at +2. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played Saturday, and the championship match Sunday morning (SEC Network). This story will be updated.  Team standings 1 South Carolina +3 2 Alabama +8 3 Arkansas +11 4 Georgia, U. of +31 T5 Auburn +32 T5 Florida +32 7 Vanderbilt +35 8 Missouri +43 9 Kentucky +49 10 Mississippi St. U. +51 The post Alabama women’s golf has low score of third round, advances to SEC Championship quarterfinals appeared first on SEC Country.

Earle Bruce, Ohio State coach who followed Hayes, dies at 87

Earle Bruce, Ohio State coach who followed Hayes, dies at 87

Earle Bruce stepped into his dream job, football coach at Ohio State, under most challenging circumstances, replacing the program's revered longtime leader after a fall from grace. Bruce embraced the task of following Woody Hayes, and went on to have his own Hall of Fame career. He never did quite match Hayes' record or status at Ohio State, but Bruce earned a special place of his own in Buckeyes football history as adored patriarch and sage and the mentor to the program's current coaching star. Bruce died in Columbus at 87, according to a statement released by his daughters through Ohio State on Friday. He'd been suffering from Alzheimer's disease. He had a record of 81-26-1 as Ohio State's coach from 1979-87. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003. Bruce was hired after the revered Hayes was fired for punching a Clemson player in the 1978 Gator Bowl. Even after being fired by Ohio State and moving on to other jobs, he never lost his passion for Ohio State football. 'He was just so genuine,' said former Ohio State All-American Chris Spielman, who played for Bruce from 1984-87. 'I think the one thing that stood out to me, and I heard other people describe him this way. There was nothing phony about him. What you saw was what it was. I loved him smiling when he told football stories.' Ohio State coach Urban Meyer began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Bruce in 1986, and later worked for him at Colorado State. 'I've made it clear many times that, other than my father, Coach Bruce was the most influential man in my life,' Meyer said in a statement. 'Every significant decision I've made growing up in this profession was with him involved in it. His wife (Jean) and he were the role models for Shelley and me. They did everything with class. He was not afraid to show how much he loved his family and cared for his family.' Born in Pittsburgh and raised in Cumberland, Maryland, Bruce had come to Ohio State in the fall of 1949 to play football. He sustained a knee injury that in effect ended his playing days and got him to think about coaching. He was a high school assistant in Mansfield and became a head coach in 1956 at Salem where his teams went 28-9. He moved on to Sandusky High School in 1960 and in four years had a record of 34-3-3 and then took over at mighty Massillon, one of the most renowned prep jobs in the country. In two seasons, Bruce went 20-0. Hayes beckoned and Bruce joined him as an assistant at Ohio State in 1966. Bruce was in charge of a bruising offensive line that paved the way for the Buckeyes to win three Big Ten titles, two Rose Bowls, go 43-14 and win the 1968 national championship. Bruce was on the 1968 staff that also Lou Holtz, Bill Mallory, Lou McCullough and George Chaump. Earlier, Bruce had worked on an Ohio State staff that included Bo Schembechler, who would become the head coach at Michigan and serve as a nemesis for both Hayes and Bruce. After six years on Hayes' staff, Bruce became a head coach. He spent a year at the University of Tampa and went 10-2 with a colorful cast that included NFL star John Matuszak and George Orendorf, who would go on to become a professional wrestling mainstay. After a stint at Iowa State, Bruce was hired in January 1979 to replace his mentor and friend. He went at the job with characteristic energy and organization, despite some criticism from fans who constantly compared him to the sainted Hayes, the Buckeyes' coach for 28 seasons. 'You don't want to lose in Columbus, Ohio,' Bruce once told The Associated Press. 'A football loss? That's terrible. You want to win all your home games. You're only as good as your last game here.' Bruce took over a 7-4-1 team that had lost its last two games and finished fourth in the Big Ten in 1978. He promptly took the Buckeyes to within a whisper of a national title. With quarterback Art Schlichter working out of an updated, modernized offense and the Buckeyes employing the same old in-your-face defense, Ohio State went unbeaten through the 1979 regular season before losing the national title to Southern California, beaten 17-16 in the Rose Bowl. After winning or sharing four Big Ten titles, he was fired in 1987 after falling into disfavor with Ohio State President Ed Jennings. Spielman said news of Bruce's death brought back memories of the Ohio State band showing up at Bruce's home on the day the coach had been fired as a show of support and playing the alma mater for him. 'How much he loved that, appreciated that, I think shows you where Coach Bruce's heart was.' Spielman said. He went on to coach at Northern Iowa and Colorado State before returning to Columbus in retirement and again becoming an integral part of Buckeyes football. He worked for years as a radio analyst and was well known for saying how he 'bled scarlet and gray.' Spielman was recruited to Ohio State by Bruce and became one of 10 All-Americans coached by him. 'I think coach always exuded passion for football and passion for his university,' said Spielman, who played eight seasons in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. 'The one thing that set him apart as a coach was that he was an equal distributor of criticism and praise. 'If you screwed up you were held accountable. If you did well he'd let you know you did well. I thought that was really how my dad was as a coach, which I really admired.' Bruce was preceded in death by his wife, Jean. Survivors include four daughters, nine grandchildren — including Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith — and three great grandchildren. ___ AP reporters Dan Sewell in Cincinnati and Ralph D. Russo in New York contributed to this report.

Franchise QB or bust? Making sense of Josh Allen, draft enigma Rocket arm. Freakish talent. The Wyoming quarterback could be a superstar. But Allen has flaws that stand out from the usual top draft pick.