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The Kentucky basketball standout who doubles as a rapper

·4 min read

Fast-break points from the premiere of the 2021-22 basketball season:

21. Life outside of hoops. Kentucky women’s basketball standout Dre’una Edwards has an interesting hobby.

20. From poet to rapper. The 6-foot-2, redshirt junior forward began writing poetry as a high school student in Las Vegas. The poems then “escalated,” she says, into composing rap songs.

19. “An outlet.” Rapping is “an outlet for me. It is something I love to do outside of basketball,” Edwards says. “Whenever I get free time or if I am ever feeling overwhelmed, I just sit down and write. It releases energy.”

18. Rap topics? Edwards says what she writes “all depends on the beat. But I write about things I have experienced. (I write) about things I have seen people go through. ... I just write about real stuff, just working hard and grinding, what that looks like and where that can get you in life.”

17. A “second dream.” Playing in the WNBA is Edwards’ top goal. “But I would definitely love to be a rapper if I could,” Edwards says. “That is like a second dream.”

16. Calipari and an NIL scenario. At Kentucky men’s basketball Media Day on Wednesday, UK Coach John Calipari raised a name, image and likeness scenario I had not previously pondered.

15. Litigious reserves? In discussing possible changes/additions needed to Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order that makes NIL income possible for Kentucky college athletes, Calipari hypothesized about “A player isn’t playing a whole lot and it affects his name, image and likeness (earnings). Is he going to sue me? ... There’s got to be some protection.”

14. A net plus for UK basketball. Calipari also pointedly noted that Wildcats men’s basketball players have been winners in the NIL marketplace. “To this point, our players have the most transactions on this campus — and there’s only, really, 10 of them taking advantage,” the UK coach said.

13. Calipari on UK football. Calipari was asked about the No. 14 football Cats (6-1). “I am so happy for football,” he said. “Packed stadiums, running onto the field, like storming the field, all this stuff. It’s just great. It’s great for the morale of this campus. It’s great for our alums to take pride in this place.”

12. Dontaie Allen. If you see the ex-Pendleton County High School star and think he looks bigger, it is because he is.

11. Growth vertically and horizontally. “I’ve gotten taller. I am about 6-8 now,” Allen reports. Appearing to have much more definition in his upper body, Allen says, “I stayed in the weight room this summer. I put a lot of work in.”

10. A changing role? If Kentucky truly commits to a “small ball” approach, could Allen’s future be not as a wing but as a stretch four?

9. Rebounding the key? Of Allen, John Calipari says, “The other day he had an unbelievable day rebounding. I said, ‘Listen, if you rebound the ball like this, you’re going to be on the floor. Because it’s not just shooting. You may go 0-of-6, you may go 6-of-6, but if you’re rebounding, none of that matters.’”

8. Message received. Noting his increased size, Allen says, “I am going to have to get down there and bang, really get rebounds.”

7. A Sweet Sixteen flashback. When UK guard CJ Fredrick won the three-point shooting contest at Big Blue Madness, it was the first basketball activity in Rupp Arena for the Iowa transfer since earning MVP honors while leading Covington Catholic to the 2018 Kentucky Boys’ State Tournament title.

6. A tourney to remember. The 6-3 sharpshooter rifled in 32 points in CovCath’s 73-55 pasting of Scott County in the state finals. He finished with 111 points in the four games in Rupp Arena.

5. Feeling “the warmth.” Not surprisingly, Fredrick feels only positive vibes being back in Rupp. “Walking in and seeing Rupp Arena, I immediately thought of the state championship game,” he said. “The warmth of playing in Rupp Arena was still there.”

4. “A little different.” What was new about Fredrick’s most recent victory in Rupp was the exuberant atmosphere of Big Blue Madness. Says Fredrick: “That was a little different. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it. It was really fun. The fans really showed out.”

3. Oscar Tshiebwe. You will look long and far in men’s college basketball to find a more engaging personality than the Congolese big man who has transferred from West Virginia to Kentucky.

2. John Calipari vs. Bob Huggins. Tshiebwe was asked the difference between the practice demeanor of his new coach vs. that of his prior coach. “In practice, Coach Cal, he talks a lot. He talks a lot more than Coach Huggins,” he said.

1. Oscar’s philosophy on rebounding. “I don’t care how big you are, how fast you are,” Tshiebwe says, “one thing I am going to tell you: I am going to fight you.”

You are going to like Oscar Tshiebwe.

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