A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Jamie Vaught: Despite Wildcat’s absence, March Madness still offers some fun with Ky. connections

Over the years, the men’s NCAA Tournament party, popularly known as the Big Dance, usually has invited the Kentucky Wildcats as a very important guest. But that isn’t the case this time as the 9-16 Wildcats suffered one of their worst hoops seasons in school history. Fortunately, if you are a true fan, 2021 March Madness will still be fun as the 68-team event will have some UK flavor as well as...

Jamie Vaught: Although Davion Mintz is still deciding on future, a return to Kentucky would big win for BBN

My teenage son’s current favorite basketball player at UK is Davion Mintz. I certainly agree with him. Mintz is probably my favorite, too. The 6-3 guard arguably has been the most productive player for the 2020-21 Wildcats. He has been very dependable and doesn’t make many mistakes. In fact, he has a nice assist/turnover ratio of 62 to 45 going into Saturday afternoon’s matchup with South Carolina...

Jamie Vaught: With MLB spring training in full swing, excitement is building for upcoming baseball season

With the 2021 Major League Baseball Spring Training now in full swing in Florida and Arizona, it’s certainly a very exciting time to talk about the summer sport and preview upcoming campaigns, especially after brutal winter weather. If you are a baseball fanatic, especially from the older generation, you definitely will look for a preseason baseball magazine or yearbook online or at a retail store....

As Wildcats continue to improve, Isaiah Jackson providing a boost at both ends of the court

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Isaiah Jackson is starting to make an impact and it’s starting to show on the court. “I think just getting used to just playing to be honest,” he said. “I’ve started to get like a feel for the game, the college game. I’m just going out there and just hooping.” The freshman forward has averaged 16.3 points and nine rebounds during Kentucky’s current three-game...

Jamie Vaught: Despite up-and-down season, Boston has shown improvement for struggling Wildcats

Brandon Boston Jr. – a consensus five-star prospect who was ranked as high as No. 5 overall by Rivals – has had an up-and-down season for the struggling Kentucky Wildcats. Sometimes he is fun to watch with his smooth jumpers. Sometimes he aggravates his coach and the Big Blue Nation faithful with his rookie mistakes as well as missing very easy layups. The celebrated 6-foot-7 freshman guard from...

Jamie Vaught: Former UK standout Scott Padgett takes the helm at UNM, but he’ll always be a Wildcat

Former Kentucky Wildcat standout Scott Padgett may be working 1,300 miles away from his hometown of Louisville, but he is thankful he still has something that he loves to do and that’s coaching basketball. Padgett began working in Albuquerque in the picturesque state of New Mexico last summer where he is the assistant coach for University of New Mexico. After six years at Samford University in Birmingham,...

Jamie Vaught: Calipari asks media, ‘What did you learn about my team?’ after scare from Vanderbilt

University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari loves teaching his players how to play and respect the game. He really enjoys his role. Instead of Coach Cal, we perhaps should start calling him Professor Cal. And he probably couldn’t resist an opportunity to teach the media folks a thing or two like he did after 13th-ranked Kentucky’s 71-62 comeback win over Vanderbilt at Rupp Arena Wednesday...

Jamie Vaught: Despite tougher schedule, Kentucky’s odds for winning 2020 football season look strong

The football Wildcats, who are coming off an electrifying Belk Bowl victory over Virginia Tech in Charlotte, now have posted four straight winning seasons. Will they have another victorious campaign in 2020? I think so, although the schedule may be a little bit tougher. But UK will have some experienced weapons coming back and that helps. In addition, the Wildcats have more talent than in the past...

Jamie Vaught: Saturday’s matchup with Georgia Tech gives Cats first big-name opponent in seven games

For the first time in over a month, Kentucky will finally face a big-name opponent in Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena. Both schools are beginning a two-game series with next season’s matchup taking place at State Farm Arena (formerly Phillips Arena) in downtown Atlanta. After going through a series of seven straight home games against the so-called cupcakes, the Rupp Arena crowd...

Jamie Vaught: Combination of Hagans, Maxey and Quickley give Cats one of nation’s best backcourts

Ashton Hagans, Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley (Photos from UK Athletics) Kentucky has one of the nation’s best backcourts this season, featuring its three-headed monster lineup of guards Ashton Hagans, Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley. As far as preseason hype goes, Hagans and Maxey had much more attention or publicity than Quickley as they garnered preseason Watch Lists and All-SEC honors....

Jamie Vaught: Miss Basketball candidate Ally Collett looking forward to senior season at South Laurel

Ally Collett is a very personable athlete who wants to help her team flourish and give opponents a hard time on the hardwood floor. And the prep senior is actually a basketball superstar. Collett is ranked as the No. 1 girls’ player from the Class of 2020 in the state of Kentucky, according to a preseason Top 25 poll by Exposure2.0 and Pure Prospects. Ally Collett (Photo by Jamie H. Vaught) In a...

Jamie Vaught: UK sophomores Hagans, Howard will be key to success of respective teams this season

Ashton Hagans, in my opinion, is the most important player for the Kentucky Wildcats this season. As a valuable point guard on the hardwood floor, Hagans runs the show. The 6-3 sophomore from Cartersville, Georgia, will keep things going smoothly with his leadership. And Hagans sure can play sticky defense, creating chaos on his opponent. Last season, he was named SEC’s Co-Defensive Player of the...

Jamie Vaught: Calipari set to begin second decade at UK helm; Gators will give Cats a run for SEC title

Yes, it’s hard to believe that John Calipari is beginning his second decade at Kentucky. Yes, it’s been that long since he arrived on campus in 2009 to take over the coveted head coaching job at UK. Despite the constant turnover of “one-and-done” standouts over the years, the 60-year-old Calipari once again is expected to have another very good basketball team in Lexington this winter with...

Jamie Vaught: Cats should still fare well, despite loss of Wilson; Bob Stoops opens up about storied career

While it was heartbreaking to see quarterback Terry Wilson’s season-ending injury during Kentucky’s win over Eastern Michigan last weekend, I still think the Wildcats will be okay this season with backup QB Sawyer Smith, a graduate transfer from Troy who started the last seven games of the 2018 campaign, helping his team to a Dollar General Bowl victory, and earning bowl’s MVP honors. Before...

Jamie Vaught: UK football has tough act to follow, but look for Wildcats to finish 8-4 with another bowl trip

The football Wildcats from Lexington will have a very tough act to follow this fall. That’s after we saw a historical campaign by the 2018 University of Kentucky squad, which came up with the school’s best season in 41 years as the Cats posted a remarkable 10-3 record — including a New Year’s Day bowl victory over Penn State. Kentucky also finished with a winning league mark of 5-3 for the...

Jamie Vaught: Despite key personnel losses from 10-3 team, UK football should remain competitive in SEC

After enjoying a remarkable 10-3 campaign in 2018, including a victory over Penn State in a New Year’s Day bowl, will the University of Kentucky football team continue its winning ways this fall? Yes, but the Wildcats likely will regress some after losing megastars Josh Allen and Benny Snell Jr. to the NFL. UK won’t win 10 games this time, but it should remain respectable with a forgiving schedule...

Jamie Vaught: With basketball season winding down, it’s time to discuss SEC’s top individual award

With UK basketball’s regular season nearly over, we can now start discussing one of SEC’s top individual awards. Who is going to be the 2019 SEC Player of the Year? Tennessee’s 6-7 junior star Grant Williams, who captured SEC Player of the Year honors last year, is attempting to make history by becoming the 10th player to win SEC Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons. The other nine SEC...

Jamie Vaught: Despite early season setbacks, Cats rebound, make basketball in Kentucky fun again

UK Basketball is fun again. After that ugly season-opening loss to Duke in Indianapolis back on Election Day in early November, the Big Blue Nation suffered a horrible spell for nearly two months. The rabid fans had seen the Wildcats, a preseason No. 2 team behind Kansas, fall from grace. Kentucky was no longer a serious Final Four contender. Three days later, UK bounced back and defeated Missouri...

Jamie Vaught: Cal’s gesture an honorable one, Pitino should be recognized for accomplishments at UK

Rick Pitino was nowhere to be seen in the Big Blue Nation last month when UK basketball coach John Calipari reached out to the former Wildcats boss for the celebration of UK’s 1993 Final Four team’s 25th-year anniversary held in Lexington. It was Pitino who took that team to the school’s first Final Four trip in nearly 10 years. But Pitino — who in 1989 took over the Kentucky program in...

Jamie Vaught: Looking ahead to 2019 after ‘Amazing Cats’ add exclamation point to outstanding season

Before New Year’s Day in 2019, like many fans, I only saw ONE great UK football team during my career as a sportswriter. But that statement changed after the 16th-ranked Wildcats ended their stunning 2018 campaign with an exciting 27-24 victory over No. 12 Penn State on Tuesday in a sunny Citrus Bowl in Orlando, finishing with an amazing 10-3 mark, including three wins over nationally-ranked teams...