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....

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: UK women’s basketball team enjoying fine season, ranked among nation’s best at No. 15

With the COVID-19 regular season already halfway over, the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team has struggled mightily. But what about the UK women team? It has done exactly the opposite of its counterparts, ranking among the nation’s top teams with a very good mark of 11-4 going into this week’s action. The Wildcats, currently No. 15 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, have already...

Jamie Vaught: UK’s Kyra Elzy credits legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt for career success

More than 25 years ago, when current University of Kentucky women’s basketball coach Kyra Elzy starred at Oldham County High School in LaGrange, she was one of the top performers the state has ever seen in girls’ basketball action. The 6-foot-1 Elzy was a two-time Parade Magazine All-American who scored 3,020 points (currently ranked 23rd on the state’s all-time list) and grabbed 1,703 rebounds...

Jamie Vaught: Struggling UK might have found permanent solution at point guard in Davion Mintz

With its slow start this season, the University of Kentucky has been struggling to find a reliable point guard who can fit in and take charge without making too many turnovers. But the very young Wildcats may have found a permanent solution to their point guard dilemma this past weekend when graduate transfer Davion Mintz emerged and turned in a solid performance during his team’s 75-63 loss to North...

Jamie’s Bookshelf: Some recently-published titles for the bookworm on your Christmas shopping list

As an avid reader, the Christmas shopping season traditionally is a joyful time to browse at a local bookstore or online, searching for a recently-published book or two for a loved one (or even for myself) as a holiday gift. Below are some volumes you may want to consider as possible Christmas presents. • “Mornings with Jesus 2021: Daily Encouragement for Your Soul” by Guideposts (Zondervan,...

Jamie Vaught: After much uncertainty, Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr finally makes UK debut

After several months of uncertainty of whether he would get to play at Kentucky, it sure was awfully nice to see 7-footer Olivier Sarr play as a Wildcat for the first time Wednesday night. A senior transfer from Wake Forest where he was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference third team selection, Sarr had a decent debut at Rupp Arena during UK’s 81-45 victory over Morehead State. He had eight points on...

Jamie Vaught: Freshman guard Terrence Clarke could become UK fan favorite with downtown jumpers

Going into this COVID-19 hoops season, superstar guard Brandon “BJ” Boston is considered the University of Kentucky’s most celebrated freshman. But the Big Blue Nation needs to watch out for another rookie guard by the name of Terrence Clarke, a consensus five-star prospect who is just about as good as the 6-foot-7 Boston. Like Boston, he can help the Wildcats in a big way. A true athlete with...

Jamie Vaught: UK women’s hoopster a cookie addict, loves scary movies — and excels academically

Blair Green has been a very productive member of the University of Kentucky women’s basketball program for the past two years. A versatile athlete with a high basketball IQ, Green enters her junior year with lots of promise after an outstanding sophomore year. The 6-foot guard averaged 19.2 minutes and 5.8 points while starting seven games last season with UK finishing at No. 16 in the final Associated...

Jamie Vaught: Former UK Dance Team members now cheerleaders for Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts

Two former members of the University of Kentucky Dance Team – Savannah Guzman and Brooklynn Mitchell – are still cheering like crazy. After four years of cheering the Wildcats, the UK graduates recently have been selected as an NFL cheerleader. Guzman is now with the Atlanta Falcons, while Mitchell is with the Indianapolis Colts. Guzman – who is from London, Ky., where she was a cheerleader at...

Jamie Vaught: Let’s try this fearless forecast again — with a revised SEC schedule looming for UK football

More than two months ago, I predicted the University of Kentucky would have a nice football team. I wrote that head coach Mark Stoops’ UK team, with several preseason All-Americans, would be respectable, finishing with a 7-5 mark in a 12-game schedule — and the Wildcats would be making their fifth straight bowl trip. Not bad, but could be better. Well, as you know, COVID-19 pandemic has forced...

Jamie Vaught: Is another winning season on tap for UK football? Here’s my annual fearless forecast

For the last four years, the Kentucky Wildcats have played winning football on the field with a nice overall record of 32-20, including four bowl trips and a 16-16 mark in the Southeastern Conference. But will the Wildcats win again in 2020? Well, on paper, they should with several preseason All-American and All-Southeastern Conference standouts returning despite the departure of All-American Lynn...

Jamie’s Bookshelf: These recently-published nonfiction titles cover politics, media and more

•  “How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor: A Smart, Irreverent Guide to Biography, History, Journalism, Blogs, and Everything in Between” by Thomas C. Foster (Harper, $27.99) is an interesting volume that attempts to teach us how to get accurate information in a rapidly changing 24/7 news cycle and become better readers, thinkers and consumers of media. The new 313-page hardcover is patterned...

Jamie Vaught: UK home game against Mississippi State — and head coach Mike Leach — should be fun

Unlike last season, when Kentucky featured three glamour football schools – Florida, Tennessee and Louisville – at Kroger Field, the 2020 Wildcats will see their seven-game home schedule somewhat lacking in the allure department. Since Kentucky will face the Gators, the Volunteers and the Cardinals on the road this time, UK’s most attractive opponents at home are South Carolina (Sept. 26),...

Jamie’s Bookshelf: Politics, family and religion, the latest non-fiction titles for your summer reading list

• “All This Marvelous Potential: Robert Kennedy’s 1968 Tour of Appalachia” by Matthew Algeo (Chicago Review Press, $28.99) is a remarkable story about RFK’s two-day tour of eastern Kentucky in early 1968. At the time, U.S. Senator Kennedy was a former Attorney General who was considering a presidential run. The 264-page hardcover provides a new portrait of RFK, a politician of uncommon courage...

Jamie’s Bookshelf: A rundown of recently-published sports books for your summer reading list

•  “Yogi: A Life Behind the Mask” by Jon Pessah (Little, Brown and Company, $30) is a definitive biography of Yogi Berra, the New York Yankees icon who won a record 10 World Series championships. Berra, who died in 2015 at the age of 90, was a second-generation immigrant from a working-class, Italian-speaking family in St. Louis who left school after the eighth grade. The Hall of Fame catcher...

Jamie Vaught: UK non-conference football schedule features Louisville — and three (blah) cupcakes

When you look at the University of Kentucky’s non-conference football schedule for 2020 (if there is a pigskin season), it’s really nothing special to talk about. Just like the past, the school’s non-league slate is not very attractive. It’s blah. Except for the showdown at Louisville to end the regular season, the Wildcats – who finished last year with an 8-5 mark, including a Belk Bowl...

Jamie Vaught: UK great ‘Wah Wah’ Jones played for legends Bear Bryant, Adolph Rupp — at same time

(Editor’s Note: During our national COVID-19 crisis, longtime sports columnist Jamie H. Vaught will be writing about the ex-Wildcats who were featured in one of his first four books on UK basketball, using excerpts that were published in his out-of-print volumes. His latest and fifth book, titled “Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey,” was released in late February 2020.) It has been...