Five things: UK football’s Darian Kinnard feeling the preseason love

Five things of interest, if only to me, for Wednesday:

1. Darian Kinnard earning more preseason pub

Kentucky’s senior offensive tackle has been included on several preseason All-American teams by the various preseason publications.

Pro Football Focus ranked the top 50 players in college football heading into 2021. Kinnard came in at No. 31.

“While Kinnard’s pass protection is good, he gets the nod largely because of his impact in the run game. The 6-foot-5, 345-pound right tackle has consistently paved holes for ball carriers over the past two years, generating run-blocking grades of 89.1 in 2019 and 91.9 in 2020. Both marks ended up being among the 10 highest in college football.”

2. Nice NBA Finals start for Devin Booker

The former Kentucky sharpshooter scored 27 points in the Phoenix Suns’ 118-105 win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night.

Chris Paul scored 32 points and Deandre Ayton scored 22 points and grabbed 19 rebounds for the Suns. Giannis Antetokounmpo did play for the Bucks after missing the final two games of the Eastern Conference finals. Giannis scored 20 points with 17 rebounds on Tuesday.

Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday night in Phoenix. All games are on ABC.

  • Game 1: Tue, July 6 - Phoenix 118, Milwaukee 105

  • Game 2: Thu, July 8 - 9 p.m. at Phoenix

  • Game 3: Sun, July 11 - 8 p.m. at Milwaukee

  • Game 4: Wed, July 14 - 9 p.m. at Milwaukee

  • Game 5: Sat., July 17 - 9 p.m. at Phoenix

  • Game 6: Tue., July 20 - 9 p.m. at Milwaukee

  • Game 7: Thu, July 22 - 9 p.m. at Phoenix

3. Reds bullpen suffers a meltdown

The recently improved Cincinnati bullpen returned to its woeful ways on Tuesday night, coughing up a five-run lead in a 7-6 loss at Kansas City.

From Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

“The bullpen, which hadn’t allowed an earned run in its last 16 innings, wasn’t sharp. Cionel Pérez surrendered a two-run homer in the eighth inning. Brad Brach issued a walk and hit a batter to open the ninth.

“Eugenio Suárez had a hard-hit ball shoot between his legs and under his glove for an error in the ninth inning, which led to a run. If Suárez fielded it cleanly at third base, it had a high likelihood of turning into a double play.”

4. UK softball signee in the Olympics

From UK Athletics:

“Kentucky Softball signee Alexia Lacatena was named as a 2020 Tokyo participant on Sunday afternoon as she will represent Team Italy in the Olympics. The Italian National Team was announced by head coach Federico Pizzolini following the team’s successful defense of the European Softball Championships this weekend.

“Lacatena, a native of Stanhope, New Jersey, is part of the 2021 Kentucky Softball signing class, which ranked No. 9 in the nation and will enroll at UK this summer as part of the 2022 Kentucky Softball Team. Currently in Italy, Lacatena was part of the Italian team that won the European Championships.

“Lacatena played her travelball for Newtown Rock Gold, and Extra Innings Softball ranks her as the No. 37 player in the signing class for 2021. She was 2018 and 2019 First Team All Group 2 All-State.”

5. Miami booster wants Hurricanes to cash in on NIL

Ben Kercheval of CBS Sports reports that one Miami businessman is offering University of Miami football players $500 a month to promote his training facilities.

“Dan Lambert said in an interview with CaneSport that he is offering Miami’s 90 scholarship football players $500 monthly contracts to help promote his well-known American Top Team mixed martial arts training academies, most of which are scattered throughout the state. Players can earn up to $6,000 a year by promoting the gyms through social media, personal appearances and other marketing tactics.

“Oversight for the offer is through Lambert’s marketing company, the appropriately named “Bring Back The U”, which will essentially arrange NIL deals for Hurricanes players.”

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