Happy Saturday, Big Blue Nation.
Things are off and running at Torrey Pines after 36 holes in San Diego. The battle for the U.S. Open will get cooking tonight on the Golf Channel and NBC as all of us east coasters get some prime time golf on this beautiful Saturday night.
Let’s get caught up to speed with everything going on.
Reed Sheppard updates his recruitment
Over in Shelbyville, the Titans/Rockets Summer Shootout is going on as many college basketball staffers are in attendance to recruiting prospects. North Laurel is involved, and that means Reed Sheppard is playing. The combo guard currently sits at No. 65 nationally in the 247 Sports Composite but is starting to get plenty of high major interest.
“It’s been a hard month, but it’s been a fun month,” Sheppard told the media. “Trying to worry about all the calls and texts that you get, but also staying in the gym with your team and keep working. And then trying to stay in touch with some of your AAU teammates, text them ‘congratulations’ on some of their offers, hope to stay with them and get that chemistry back for July.
Louisville has issued Sheppard an offer while Virginia head coach Tony Bennett was seen at each of Sheppard’s games paying close attention to the 2023 prospect. Sheppard has confirmed to KSR that Kentucky has been in contact.
Kentucky football recruiting heats up
The month of June has been very busy for Marks Stoops and his program. Things do not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. This weekend is another official visit weekend for 2022 prospects with borderline four-star offensive linemen Ryan Baer and Daughtry Richardson both in Lexington.
Meanwhile, Kentucky is on the hunt for a 2023 quarterback. Birmingham (Ala.) Briarwood Christian’s Christopher Vizzina visited campus yesterday and very much has the attention of the coaching staff. Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Liam Coen issued another offer to Paris (Tenn.) Henry County quarterback Ryan Damron last night. Meanwhile, Wednesday figures to be a monster day for the QB race with two prospects set to visit Lexington.
— Christopher Vizzina (@vizzina2) June 18, 2021
July 1 is quickly approaching and that means trouble for the NCAA. The governing body of college sports has not addressed how the organization is going to handle name, image, and likeness with some states having had it cleared through legislation and others have not addressed. Per the Associated Press, Mark Emmert is urging members of the D1 council to pass the NIL legislation in next week’s meetings.
“By July, all our athletes should be provided NIL opportunities regardless of the state they happen to live in,” Emmert said. “I have directed my staff to create proposals to this end. We will provide more details next week as this approach is reviewed by the NCAA Board of Governors and the divisional governance bodies.”
Only time will tell how big of an issue this will be for everyone in college sports when the calendar turns to July. For Kentucky’s case, this needs to be cleared up as quickly as possible.
Oscar Tshiebwe is in Lexington
After some online speculation about his status, West Virginia transfer and offensive rebounding phenom Oscar Tshiebwe is here in Lexington to control the paint for John Calipari’s basketball squad. Per Kyle Tucker of The Athletic, there was a visa issue with the transfer but Tshiebwe returned to the states on Thursday.
Kentucky now has their starting five-man on campus for summer workouts.
It’s moving day out at Torrey Pines, and we have a unique leaderboard. Richard Bland posted a four-under 67 on Friday to grab the lead at his first U.S. Open since 2009. The English professional is 48 years old and sits at No. 115 in the world rankings, but qualified for this event by winning the British Masters in a playoff to win his first European Tour event in over 400 tries. That hot streak has carried over.
Bland has been red hot with his putter and seven birdies on Friday has him the co-lead for the weekend. He’ll be joined by Russell Henley in the final grouping as the 32-year-old Georgia alum looks to ride his solid ball-striking skillset to the biggest win of his career. Elsewhere, top-10 players Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, and Bryson DeChambeau are all within five strokes of the lead. This thing is far from over.
Here are your Saturday groupings and tee times:
10:10 a.m. — Akshay Bhatia
10:21 a.m. — Jimmy Walker, Si Woo Kim
10:32 a.m. — Kevin Kisner, Shane Lowry
10:43 a.m. — Wilco Nienaber, Fabian Gomez
10:54 a.m. — Edoardo Molinari, Rick Lamb
11:05 a.m. — Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey
11:16 a.m. — Troy Merritt, Taylor Montgomery
11:27 a.m. — Wade Ormsby, J.T. Poston
11:38 a.m. — Ian Poulter, Dylan Frittelli
11:49 a.m. — Gary Woodland, Martin Kaymer
12 p.m. — Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood
12:11 p.m. — Chris Baker, Greyson Sigg
12:22 p.m. — Lanto Griffin, Patrick Cantlay
12:33 p.m. — Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia
12:44 p.m. — Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama
12:55 p.m. — Stewart Cink, Charl Schwartzel
1:06 p.m. — Rafa Cabrera Bello, Phil Mickelson
1:17 p.m. — Francesco Molinari, Jhonattan Vegas
1:28 p.m. — Kyle Westmoreland, Sungjae Im
1:39 p.m. — Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman
1:50 p.m. — Robert Macintyre, Joaquin Niemann
2:01 p.m. — Chez Reavie, Daniel Berger
2:12 p.m. — Brian Harman, Dylan Wu
2:23 p.m. — Rikuya Hoshino, Charley Hoffman
2:34 p.m. — Matt Jones, Rory McIlroy
2:45 p.m. — Lee Westwood, Tom Hoge
2:56 p.m. — Adam Hadwin, Brooks Koepka
3:07 p.m. — Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa
3:18 p.m. — Harris English, Branden Grace
3:29 p.m. — Bryson DeChambeau, Christiaan Bezuidenhout
3:40 p.m. — Patrick Rodgers, Guido Migliozzi
3:51 p.m. — Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele
4:02 p.m. — Mackenzie Hughes, Kevin Streelman
4:13 p.m. — Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson
4:24 p.m. — Matthew Wolff, Louis Oosthuizen
4:35 p.m. — Russell Henley, Richard Bland