Sidelines with John Clay

Tyler Ulis plays hero, and more Big Blue Links

Phoenix Suns’ Tyler Ulis (8) reacts after making a shot at the buzzer shot to defeat the Denver Nuggets 82-81 in overtime an NBA summer league basketball game at the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday, July 16, 2016, in Las Vegas.
Phoenix Suns’ Tyler Ulis (8) reacts after making a shot at the buzzer shot to defeat the Denver Nuggets 82-81 in overtime an NBA summer league basketball game at the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday, July 16, 2016, in Las Vegas. Las Vegas Review-Journal/Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Sunday:

Mitch Barnhart’s new contract appears crazy, until you look at the bottom line. I write in my column, “Television is the goose that laid that golden egg. CBS is paying the SEC $55 million per year to basically televise one football game per Saturday through the year 2023-24. In 2008, ESPN signed a $2.25 billion deal to televise SEC sports for 15 years. Then before ESPN launched the SEC Network in 2014, the cable giant basically extended that deal (terms undisclosed) for 10 more years.”

Tyler Ulis hits game-winning three-pointer at buzzer. The H-L reports, “Rookie point guard Tyler Ulis hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer on Saturday to send the Phoenix Suns to the semifinals of the NBA Las Vegas Summer League Tournament. Playing against the Denver Nuggets and former Kentucky teammate Jamal Murray, Ulis hit a deep three from the right wing to give Phoenix an 82-81 overtime victory.”

Bluegrass Boys fall in tournament. The H-L reports, “One-and-stunned. The Bluegrass Boys, a University of Kentucky alumni basketball team seeded No. 1 in The Basketball Tournament, lost its first-round game to a No. 16 seed and will not get a chance to collect on a $2 million prize that ultimately goes to the tournament winner.”

Jojo Kemp showed off his Media Days mojo. Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader writes, “I’m not sure anyone had as much fun at Southeastern Conference Media Days this week as Jojo Kemp. Kentucky’s senior danced (The Sprinkler and The Dab) in the television room. While in the main room, Kemp took a group selfie with reporters before sitting down for 25 minutes of interviews.”

Zack Thompson turns down MLB, will enroll at UK. Derek Terry of Cats Illustrated reports, “Score one for Kentucky baseball coach Nick Mingione. The new head man of the Wildcats received good news Friday afternoon when left-handed pitcher Zack Thompson announced that he would enroll at Kentucky rather than pursue a professional career with the Tampa Bay Rays.”

Tennessee building for sustained success. Dustin Dopirak of the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports, “Jones’ answer indicates he’s not concerned a disappointing season will destroy his approval rating, which appears to be positive among the UT fan base, and put him on the proverbial hot seat. But it also indicates that if the Vols do match expectations for this season — they were picked to win the SEC East — that won’t satisfy the program’s internal hopes.”

SEC players get ample opportunities to right wrongs. Tony Tsoukalas of the Montgomery Advertiser writes, “You can’t spell second chance without SEC. The topics of second chances and discipline were brought up regularly at the SEC media days, as conference coaches shared their thoughts and policies on how to manage players. Much of the attention centered around Mississippi State incoming freshman Jeffrey Simmons, who was arrested for simple assault in March. The incident was caught on camera and showed Simmons hitting a woman multiple times on the ground.”

The “biggest man in football” camped at Georgia. Jeff Sentel of the AJC reports, “The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Tyler Catalina didn’t look all that strapping standing next to Krahn. Krahn made national news last fall by earning the mantle of the “biggest man in football” because of his 7-foot, 440-pound frame. Krahn camped in Athens on Friday and showed pretty good feet. He moves better than any 400-pound prospect I’ve ever seen on a field. (Try the veal. I’ll be here all week.) He’s also the only 7-foot, 410-pound prospect I’ve ever seen on a football field. He worked in the morning session, but sustained an injury and was only a spectator for the afternoon session.”

Chad Kelly is making a name for himself. Daniel Pauling of the Clarion-Ledger reports, “It was 11 years ago when a father and his sixth-grade son approached Pat Conrad on the field at Red Lion High School in central Pennsylvania. This is Jim Kelly’s nephew, Kevin Kelly said, as a way to introduce his son Chad. They had just moved into Red Lion’s school district, though Chad was still three years away from enrolling at the school.”

Where Chad Kelly really ranks among nation’s top quarterbacks. Jeff Dooley of Pro Football Focus writes, “The Rebels quarterback lived up to his ‘Swag Kelly’ nickname at SEC Media Days Thursday, responding to a question about whether he was the best QB in the SEC by stating that he believes he is the best QB in the entire country.”

Media Days not a great look for SEC. Josh Kendall of The State writes, “The Southeastern Conference unveiled a new – and probably very expensive – slogan to start its SEC Media Days here last week: It Just Means More. The league’s principals then spent the rest of the week proving that maybe it means a little too much at times. For starters, there was conference commissioner Greg Sankey on Monday repeating a line we’ve heard way too often in regard to Mississippi State freshman defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons.”

Former Vanderbilt player sentenced to 15 years in prison. The AP reports, “A former Vanderbilt football player was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison after he was convicted of taking part in the gang rape of an unconscious female student. Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins handed down the sentence for Cory Batey after the victim in the case said her life has been shattered as a result of the rape.”

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