Thursday, December 31, 2009

Will Terrence Ross End Up at Kentucky?

As Dustin Rumbaugh pointed out at Kentucky Sports Radio last night, there is a possibility that the Kentucky Wildcats may have interest in Terrence Ross.

Ross, who decommitted from Maryland yesterday, is a 6-5 shooting guard from Montrose Christian Academy that ranks #43 on the Rivals150 List for 2010.

Here is a statement from Ross' head coach Stu Vetter:

"Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Maryland,” Vetter said. “He has limited who he [is considering]. Not anybody can come in and recruit him. Our rule, also, is that there will be no official visits until our season is over. And as far as recruiting during our season, the No. 1 priority is his academic work and the Montrose basketball team.” Source

My Thoughts: I have checked into this situation and apparently there is mutual interest between Kentucky and Ross. There may be good reason to pay attention to this situation.

UK 2010 Baskeball Recruit Explodes for 52 Points

Kentucky 2010 basketball recruit Josh Selby exploded for 52 points last night. He also added 8 rebounds and 8 assists.

Here is his report on his Twitter account:

Misundastood32 had 52 8 and 8 tonight no games!!!!!

Selby is an explosive point guard that is ranked #4 overall on the Rivals150 List for 2010.

C.J. Leslie Stood Out at GSK Invitational

Mike LaPlante of Scouts Inc. (ESPN RISE) named Kentucky basketball recruit C.J. Leslie as one of the standout players at the GSK Holiday Invitational.

Leslie's Word of God team came up short to United Faith Christian Academy (Nc.) in the championship game, but Leslie was still very impressive. UFCA, led by Ian Miller's 26 points, defeated WOG 71-59 in the final game. Leslie finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.

Here are LaPlante's thoughts on C.J. Leslie:

C.J. Leslie, PF (6-9, 205)2010, Holly Springs, N.C./Word of God

One of the top remaining unsigned players in the Class of 2010, Leslie is one of the most athletic players in the country. He rebounded from a frustrating (4 point 2 rebound) first half to finish with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. He has a developing face-up game and can knock down a 15-17 foot jumper. He excels as Amare Stoudemire-type player who is a great finisher and offensive rebounder. If he becomes a more consistent free-throw shooter, he will be even more of a handful to guard; he gets himself to the charity stripe often, but doesn't consistently cash-in. He has the ability to get to balls outside off his area and is a heat seeker who can change momentum when he gets into rebounding mode. With his length and explosiveness he is also an outstanding shot-blocker who forces his opponents to think twice when attacking the basket. At times, he shows some questionable body language that sends up red flags to evaluators, but I hope it is just immaturity that he will grow out off.

Complete Article and Tournament Recap

Racers Cruise to Easy Hoops Victory; Move to 10-3

Murray State 82
SIU Edwardsville 51

Final from Edwardsville, Illinois

Game recap by Murray State:

The Murray State Racers used a 31-7 run over 10 minutes of the second half to rally past SIU Edwardsville 82-51 at the Vadalabene Center in Edwardsville, Ill. Wednesday night.
The Racers (10-3) led 36-30 at halftime and saw the Cougars (2-12) cut their lead to two points 15:12 to play.

MSU used their defense to generate consecutive baskets from Ed Daniel, Danero Thomas, Isaiah Canaan and Isacc Miles for a 48-38 lead with 12:59 remaining.

The Racers bench outscored the Cougars bench 45-12 for game as Canaan had a perfect night going 6-of-6 from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line for a game-high 17 points to go with five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Canaan also pushed his streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer to 12 straight when he made his only attempt of the game.

"He was pretty good tonight and we need him to be good," said MSU head coach Billy Kennedy. "Isaiah did a great job of preparing in practice. He gets pushed in practice and I've said all along that we have a deep team and I think that helped us a lot tonight."

Donte Poole added 13 from the MSU bench while Tony Easley added 12 and Isacc Miles 10.

The Racers shot a season-best .625 from the field on 30-of-48 shooting, while holding SIUE to .333 on 19-of-57.

MSU trailed at the half in the rebounding total, but managed to win the stat at game's end 32-30.

The Racers held SIUE's leading scorer Mark Yelovich to 11 points which was below his 15.8 average. MSU has now held the opponent's leading scorer below his average in 11 of their 13 games this season.

MSU returns to Ohio Valley Conference play Monday when they host the UT Martin Skyhawks in a 7:30 p.m. game at the Regional Special Events Center. MSU leads the all-time series with UTM 34-3 and have never lost a game to the Skyhawks at the RSEC in 12 games.

Louisville Cardinals Open Big East Play with Win

Louisville 73
South Florida 52

Final from Louisville


Game recap by Associated Press:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Edgar Sosa scored 16 points and dished out five assists to lead Louisville to a 73-52 win over South Florida on Wednesday night in the Big East opener for both teams.

Samardo Samuels and Jared Swopshire added 12 points apiece as the Cardinals (10-3) won their fifth straight to set up a showdown with No. 3 Kentucky on Saturday.

Louisville took control with a 15-0 run early in the second half and used its defense to beat the Bulls (10-3) for the 10th straight time.

South Florida shot just 38 percent, turned it over 21 times and made just 13 of 27 free throws.

Toarlyn Fitzpatrick led South Florida with 12 points and 10 rebounds, but the Bulls ran out of firepower when star guard Dominique Jones fouled out with 12:52 remaining.

Louisville guard Edgar Sosa on UK fans being "disrespectful" (Video by John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader):

Future Hilltopper Leads Yates to Another Championship

Future Western Kentucky Hilltopper Brandon "Snap" Peters and Yates High School (Tx.) have won another tournament championship.

Yates (13-0), the 4th-ranked team in the nation, defeated Butler (Al.) 108-77 for the T-Mobile Invitational title. Peters scored 13 points for Yates. Source

Related: Daryl Traynham, another possible 2010 Hilltopper, led his team with 29 points in a 74-67 loss. Source

Calipari and Wildcats Visit Kentucky Children's Hospital


John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats' basketball team recently visited the Kentucky Children's Hospital and brought holiday cheer to everyone.

Article by Mark D. Birdwhistell of UK HealthCare (visit for many other pictures):

On Tuesday December 22, UK Coach Calipari and his team visited the Kentucky Children's Hospital to share holiday wishes with the patients, families and staff. The tradition of the UK Basketball team visiting the Children's Hospital goes back a number of years. The timing of this year's visit was especially memorable because the night before, this basketball team made history. The win against Drexel, was the 2000th win for our program. With this win,UK became the first college basketball program to reach this accomplishment.

I was amazed at the interaction between Coach Cal and the patients and their families. The dedicated staff at the Kentucky Children's Hospital were especially excited to have their pictures taken with Coach Cal and the team. Many of them had the front page of Lexington Herald Leader available for the team to autograph.

Over the past year, we have had the opportunity to get to know Coach Cal from the stands and from the media. After having the opportunity to meet Coach Cal and seeing how gracious he was with the patients and their families, I now have additional admiration for him. His charisma and compassion were inspiring to say the least!

I am excited to be able to share some of the photographs of Coach Cal, the team and our staff. These pictures do not portray Coach Cal's interaction with the patients and families, which due to confidentiality reasons I can not publish. Just take my word for it, it was priceless!

EKU Colonels Go Cold in Loss to Chattanooga

Chattanooga 68
Eastern Kentucky 54

Final from Chattanooga


Game recap by EKU:

Ty Patterson and Keegan Bell combined for 42 points as host Chattanooga defeated the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team, 68-54, Wednesday night in the championship game of the 2009 Dr Pepper Classic. The Mocs improve to 8-6 overall while the Colonels fall to 8-5.

Eastern shot a season-low 31.7 percent from the floor in the loss. The Colonels settled for three-point shots all evening, attempting a season-high 41 long range shots, but netting just 13 trifectas (31.7 percent).

Junior Justin Stommes led the Colonels with 14 points while sophomore Joshua Jones added 12 points and five assists. Senior Dayvon Ellis provided a spark off the bench with seven points and four assists.

UTC’s Patterson, the tournament’s MVP, tallied his first career double-double with 22 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Bell finished 6-of-10 (60 percent) from behind the three-point arc on the way to 20 points.

The Mocs quickly jumped on top of Eastern Kentucky as the Colonels went almost seven minutes without a point midway through the first half. Chattanooga built its biggest advantage with 1:40 left, 33-17, before Eastern rattled off the last six points of the half to make the score 33-23 at intermission.

The Colonels quieted the crowd early in the second half by opening with a 15-4 spurt to take their first and only lead of the game, 38-37. Stommes capped the comeback with his only three-pointer of the second half.

After ties at 40- and 43-all, Chattanooga regained the lead for good. Following senior Papa Oppong’s three-pointer to cut the deficit back to two points, 48-46, the Colonels went cold again down the stretch. Eastern hit just 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) field goal attempts in the final eight minutes allowing the Mocs to pull away to claim their 13th Dr Pepper Classic title.

This was the first meeting between the two teams and the first time EKU has played a Southern Conference opponent since 1992.

Eastern Kentucky returns home Saturday, Jan. 2 to face conference foe Tennessee State. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Union Bulldogs Drop Midseason Exhibition Contest

Tennessee Tech 95
Union College 46 (Exhibition)

Final from Tennessee Tech

Game recap by Union College:

Union College suffered a 95-46 defeat to host NCAA Division I Tennessee Tech University in an exhibition game Wednesday.

Union took an early seven-point lead but once the Golden Eagles got untracked it quickly turned into a lopsided contest. With 95 points against the Bulldogs, Tech has averaged nearly 92 points in its last four home contests.

Senior Frank Davis led Tech in scoring with 23 points, just one short of his career-high, and also added five rebounds and three assists. He went 5-for-9 from long range.

Several other Golden Eagles did record career-high numbers in the game. Senior point guard Elijah Muhammad scored 17 points for a career-high effort, and added six assists and three steals. Sophomore Bassey Inameti's 14 points and four blocked shots were both career-bests numbers, and freshman Terrell Barnes had career-highs of 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

In addition to Davis, Muhammad and Inameti, sophomore Kevin Murphy also scored in double digits with 15 points and snatched a career-best three steals.

Tech shot 50.7 percent for the game and 43.5 percent (10-for-23) from long distance. The Golden Eagles also owned a 50-28 rebound advantage.

Union had balanced scoring, getting eight points from five different players and six from a sixth. Dan Penick (Ludlow, Ky.) led the way with eight points and five rebounds, while Darrel Jackson (Jonesboro, Ark.), Payton Ponzer (Independence, Ky.), Beau Brown (Athens, Tenn.) and Shawn Hadley (Doraville, Ga.) also scored eight.

The Bulldogs shot 30.9 percent from the field.

Ponzer hit a 3-pointer for a 7-0 Bluefield lead, and Jackson's 3-pointer a few seconds later made it a 10-3 Bulldog edge. That set the stage for the Golden Eagles to run through a 23-2 stretch to take control.

Union (7-7 overall) returns home Saturday to play host Indiana University East at 2 p.m.

Georgetown Tigers Run Away from UVA-Wise

Georgetown 88
UVA-Wise 56

Final from Georgetown College


Game summary by WKYT.com:

After leading for the first 12 minutes of the game, UVa-Wise could not keep the success going on Wednesday night against NAIA Division I’s 18th-ranked Georgetown College men’s basketball team. The Tigers scored the final 21 points of the first half in the last 8:31 and coasted home for an 88-56 victory.

The Highland Cavaliers (5-6) led by as many as six points early, 9-3, on a Pance Kecev triple. After three ties, Sam Eligwe downed a three-pointer to make it 16-11 with 12:32 left in the first 20 minutes. Following the fourth tie, Travis Berry made two foul shots to make it 20-18 with 8:31 in the first half. The Tigers (9-2) took control from that point with the final 21 points to take a 39-20 lead to intermission and were not challenged in the second stanza.

Kecev hit five of 10 shots for 12 points and grabbed six rebounds. Berry and Eligwe added 11 points apiece. UVa-Wise shot just 34% from the field on the night.

Georgetown saw six players score in double figures. Vic Moses and Hollis Giles had top honors with 16 and 15 tallies. The Tigers drained 35 of 61 tries in the contest at a 57% clip.

UVa-Wise will now be off before facing NAIA Division I eighth-ranked Pikeville College on Saturday, Jan. 2nd starting at 4:00 p.m.

Wall, Patterson on Hoops Midseason All-American Team

Jason King of Yahoo Sports has named Midseason All-American Teams for college basketball. He places Kentucky's John Wall on his first team and Patrick Patterson on his second team.

First Team:

F - Damion James, Texas
F - Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
C - Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
G - John Wall, Kentucky – North Carolina coach Roy Williams said Wall is the top point guard prospect since Jason Kidd.
G - Sherron Collins, Kansas
Coach - Jim Boeheim, Syracuse

Second Team:

F Patrick Patterson, Kentucky – The Wildcats’ unsung hero has improved his draft status by coming back to school
F - Quincy Pondexter, Washington
C - Ekpe Udoh, Baylor
G - Jon Scheyer, Duke
G - Jacob Pullen, Kansas State
Coach - Bill Carmody, Northwestern

Complete Article

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Terrence Ross Decommits from Maryland


Terrence Ross, a 6-5 shooting guard that ranks #43 on the Rivals150 List for 2010, has decommitted from Maryland and will reopen his recruitment.

I mention this on here because Kentucky is listed as one of his final four schools on Rivals.com. The consensus seems to be that the Montrose Christian senior is looking closely at the Duke Blue Devils.

Kansas is the other school listed in his final four with the Cats, the Blue Devils and Maryland.

Excerpt of article from Testudodimes.com:

The news comes from a couple sources, most notably from recruiting analyst Clint Jackson who recently tweeted "Terrence Ross decommits from Maryland." Also, the Duke Rivals' site has the exclusive with the headline "EXCLUSIVE: Terrence Ross a Duke option?" As a third (and more stalkerish) source, I can tell you that Terrence Ross has declared over Facebook, in no uncertain terms, that he is opening it back up again but that Maryland still has a decent chance.

Complete Article

ESPN Will Examine UK’s Roster Turnover Under Calipari


ESPN's Outside the Lines will take a look at the methods used to reshuffle Kentucky basketball's roster after Billy Gillispie was fired and John Calipari was hired as the new head coach.

Here is an excerpt of the press release (hat tip: John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader):

Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN)

When John Calipari became Kentucky basketball coach this summer, he inherited a roster put together by his predecessor, Billy Gillispie. But Calipari needed roster room for his own recruits, including sensational freshman John Wall, and six of Gillispie’s players say they were encouraged to leave. Since athletic scholarships are renewed on an annual basis, the players had little recourse but to leave if they actually wanted to play, so they left. Some players tell Outside the Lines Calipari told them that they were unlikely to get much playing time in his system if they stayed. Several players said the dramatic roster turnover at Kentucky is an example of how coaches have little loyalty to returning student-athletes, especially when a new coach is hired. Kentucky officials say Calipari just wanted players who fit his style of play. Outside the Lines’ Tom Farrey examines Kentucky’s roster turnover under John Calipari.

“I thought I was going to finish my career there, graduate from UK.” — Kevin Galloway, guard, who left Kentucky after meeting with new coach John Calipari

“It hurt because I abided by the rules. I did everything I was supposed to. … Kept up a good GPA, went to class every day, didn’t fail any tests. …. I feel like just for following my part of the contract, they should follow theirs.” — Matt Pilgrim, forward, on feeling pressured to leave UK

“He was very clear and very honest that (some) may not fit this dribble-drive approach. …It’s a decision that they jointly made, that they might find more playing time elsewhere.” — Dr. Lee Todd Jr., president of the University of Kentucky, on what Calipari told players who eventually left

“If you talk to the average scholarship athlete, they believe they’re on a four-year scholarship or maybe a five-year scholarship. …. But the reality is, there’s no such thing as a four or five-year scholarship. There’s only a one-year renewable.” — Ramogi Huma, head of an advocacy group that lobbies the NCAA and government on behalf of athletes

My Thoughts: Nice scoop ESPN. You're really onto something Earth-shattering with this one. You have stumbled onto something that happens at EVERY college basketball program in America in EVERY single season.

I'm positive that ESPN will excavate John Calipari's yard to see if they can find any skeletons buried because that is what ESPN does these days. They try to expose negativity in sports rather than promoting the games, the teams, the schools and the student athletes.

I'll reserve judgement until I see how this piece is portrayed, but I don't have much faith in the Every Story Portrayed Negatively network anymore.

Kentucky Wesleyan Overwhelms Tiffin

Kentucky Wesleyan 105
Tiffin 76

Final from Kentucky Wesleyan


Game recap by KWCPanthers.com:

Coach Todd Lee expected Tiffin to provide a test for his 18th-ranked Kentucky Wesleyan College men's basketball team on Tuesday night.

Lee, however, wasn't expecting near perfection from his Panthers in their first half of basketball since a five-day Christmas break.

KWC clicked on all cylinders from the opening tip en route to a 24-point halftime lead that propelled it to a 105-76 win over the Dragons at the Sportscenter.

"We had one turnover in the first half; I don't know if I've ever seen that," Lee said. "One turnover with 14 assists. That's a good statistic."

It was one of many good statistics for the Panthers.

* Desmond Stephens had 25 points and 13 assists, both career highs.

* Andree' Wilson had a career-high 24 points.

* Chris Williams had 18 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

* The Panthers shot 57 percent (39-of-69) from the floor and cooled off in the second half to shoot 46 percent (12-of-26) from 3-point range.

* KWC destroyed Tiffin on the boards, 44-26, which led to a 17-8 edge in second-chance points.

"The good thing is they switched their defense, played 1-3-1 zone, 2-3 zone, man-to-man, and we did a good job of recognizing what they were in," Lee said. "We shot the ball well -- though we got a little 3 happy -- but when we attacked the zone and went inside we got layups."

Tiffin (1-8) employed a full-court press against the Panthers that played right into Stephens' hands. He was able to break it with his dribble, then had the Dragons' defense on its heels with his ability to dish or attack the rim.

"I love breaking the press," said Stephens, who downplayed his own numbers. "I'm proud of them, but the victory is always the best thing."

Lee hasn't been pleased with his club's defensive work much of the season. But the Panthers held Tiffin to 46 percent (26-of-57) shooting from the floor.

Brian Scott led the Dragons with 24 points, as he hit 6-of-7 attempts from 3-point range.

"We played good defense in spurts, but once you get up its hard to maintain the intensity," Lee said. "But yes, I was happier with the defense. And that's the most important thing with us getting into the (Great Lakes Valley Conference), because there's going to be more skilled players."

KWC (12-1) extended its winning streak to 12 games. The Panthers return to action when league foe Saint Joseph's visits at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.

UK Hoops Recruit Josh Selby Scores 31 in Loss

NCAA basketball recruiting tickets
Kentucky 2010 basketball recruit Josh Selby scored 31 points in Lake Clifton's 73-68 loss to Kennedy (Ny.).

Selby is a very talented 2010 point guard that ranks #4 on the Rivals150 List. He is the second-ranked point guard in the 2010 class - just behind Brandon Knight, another Kentucky recruit.

He holds offers from Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Syracuse.

Selby will visit Kentucky this weekend for the Louisville game and plans to visit Arizona on January 9.


Photo: Liam Foley/Icon SMI

Ex-Hilltopper Big Man Makes List in Phillipines Basketball

pba basketball tickets
Japeth Aguilar, a former Western Kentucky center, has made a list of the top 5 basketball stories in the Phillipines.

Here is an excerpt about Aguilar:

Japeth Aguilar

Japeth Aguilar changed his mind as often as he grabbed headlines in 2009. Aguilar darted from plan A to plan B and back to plan A the way he executes windmill slam dunks. He moves fast and people can’t help but notice. How can anyone not notice a 6-foot-11 specimen dash from Mapua to Ateneo to Western Kentucky to Smart Gilas to the PBA Draft to Smart Gilas to Burger King then back to Smart Gilas in the speed of an Aguilar shot-block? While some couldn’t figure out what Aguilar wanted to accomplish, others already figured out two qualities that help defined Japeth’s early career: a) he’s a work in progress and b) he’s a piece of work. Ever the itinerant star, one wonders how long Aguilar stays in a Smart Gilas uniform. One thing’s for sure, he’ll continue to make news in 2010. It’s as certain as a Japeth Aguilar tomahawk on a two-on-one fast-break.

Kids These Days are Having "John Wall Moments"

When I was growing up, I learned to shoot like Larry Bird, pass like Magic Johnson and score like Michael Jordan. These days, kids play like Kobe or LeBron. Soon, it looks like kids will be molding their games after John Wall.

I discovered an article this morning from CorydonDemocrat.com about a game between Lanesville and Rock Creek Academy (no idea where these schools are located). A kid named Chris Gayhart, who happens to be a Kentucky Wildcat fan, was held scoreless throughout regulation and a first overtime period. With time winding down in the second overtime, Gayhart received a good pass and drilled a 3-point shot with 15 seconds remaining. The shot propelled Gayhart's team to an 81-8o victory.

What did Gayhart's coach tell him after the game?

"I'm really happy for him," coach Mikel Miller said. "You're never sure if a kid like that wants to shoot it, but you saw it. He caught it, didn't even hesitate and knocked it down. His favorite team is Kentucky, so I told him that was John Wall out there."

That's right, Chris Gayhart pulled a John Wall.

Source

Kentucky's John Wall...'Nuff Said

"My name is John Wall and I am a freakishly athletic basketball player."



UK Recruit Doron Lamb Leads Oak Hill to Tough Win

Doron Lamb, a key 2010 recruit for the Kentucky Wildcats, took the game over and led Oak Hill Academy to a hard fought 72-58 victory over Westview at the Les Schwab Invitational.

Lamb led the Warriors with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Lamb took the game over in the 4th quarter and helped Oak Hill outscore Westview 23-8 during that decisive final eight minutes.

Oak Hill trailed by a point heading into the fourth quarter, but rallied to win going away. Lamb was 6-15 from the field, but nailed 11-12 from the free throw line in the win.

Box Score

Pictures from Rupp Arena: Kentucky vs. Hartford





EKU Basketball Gets Win Over Morgan State

Eastern Kentucky 76
Morgan State 62

Final from Chattanooga, Tennessee


Game recap by Associated Press:

Justin Stommes scored 20 points to lead Eastern Kentucky to a 76-62 victory over Morgan State on Tuesday.

The Colonels (8-4), who had lost two straight games, shot 51.1 percent from the field (23-for-45) and used a 10-1 run to break away early in the second half in the first round of the Dr Pepper Classic.

Eastern Kentucky led 36-31 before Joshua Jones and Josh Taylor hit 3-pointers to help the Colonels take a 44-31 advantage with 17:30 remaining in the game.

Morgan State's Kevin Thompson hit a free throw before Jones capped the run with a layup and a 46-32 lead with 16:25 left. The Colonels' lead stayed in double figures the rest of the way.

Jones finished with 16 points and Taylor added 15 for Eastern Kentucky.

Reggie Holmes scored 25 points to lead Morgan State (7-5), the 11th time in 12 games he's scored at least 20 points. Thompson added 14 points.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

John Wall Breaks Single-Game UK Assist Record

John Wall
Yours truly with Mr. Wall

Kentucky freshman sensation John Wall has broken the all-time single-game assist record at the University of Kentucky.

Wall dished out 16 assists to eclipse the record of 15, held by Travis Ford (set in 1993).

He exited the game to the roaring chants of "John Wall! John Wall! John Wall!"

Kentucky Dominates Hartford in First Half

The Kentucky Wildcats jumped out to an early lead and then simply out manned Hartford on the way to a 57-31 halftime lead.

The Wildcats shot 55.0% from the field, including 8-16 from the 3-point line in the half. The Hawks were only 10-25 for 40.0%.

DeMarcus Cousins led the way with 15 points and 8 rebounds in the half. John Wall, who is well on the way to an all-time UK single-game assist record (15), added 5 points and 11 assists. Darnell Dodson came off the bench to score 12 points on four 3-pointers. Daniel Orton chipped in 10 points and 2 blocked shots.

Morgan Sabia led the Hawks with 13 points and Joe Zeglinski added 11.

NOTE: Eric Bledsoe is not dressed tonight due to an ankle injury

Kentucky Recruit Doron Lamb is Considering WVU?

The blog 5in60.com is reporting that Kentucky 2010 basketball target Doron Lamb is at least considering West Virginia at this point:

"Doron Lamb, the 6'4, 185 lb shooting guard out of Laurelton, NY., by way of Oak Hill Academy, hasn't made his decision official as of yet, but has decided to consider West Virginia among his finalists and expects to make an unofficial visit to Morgantown in the near future. He is also being recruited by Kentucky, Connecticut, Arizona, Kansas and UConn."

Source

Previewing UK Basketball vs. Hartford Hawks

Hartford Hawks (2-9) vs. #3 Kentucky Wildcats (13-0)

NOTE: AllKYHoops.com will be reporting live from this event.

Location: Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky
Game Notes: UK Notes Hartford Notes
Date & Time: Tues., Dec. 29, 7:00 p.m
Coverage:
TV: ESPN2
Radio: BBSNGameTracker Online Audio Online Video via ESPN360 Live Blog

Summary: The Wildcats gave Kentucky fans one final Christmas present with an 86-73 win over Long Beach State in UK’s final game before the Christmas break.

DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson paced the Wildcats with a pair of double-doubles, Cousins with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Patterson with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

John Wall led all scorers with 19 points, while also handing out five assists and recording four steals.

Eric Bledsoe also posted double-digits for the Wildcats with 11 points and joined Wall for team-high honors with five assists.

The Cats remained hot from the free throw line, shooting 73.3 percent (22 of 30).

Pregame Quotes from Kentucky head coach John Calipari:

On Christmas break practices...

"More focus. You get a lot more work in and you can do more teaching. You aren't pressed for time. I get in what I get in, and then we come back and we do whatever we need to get in. We spend a lot of time on areas that we need to improve and I didn't have time to work on. We have played 13 games. We have played more games than any other team in the country. And we went to Cancun, New York and Indiana, we've been on CBS three times, and we played for 2000 games. There were no teams on the schedule that couldn't beat us so we had to play every night out. Now I have time so I don't have to worry about anything else. I don't have time limitations, I don't have day limitations.

"They have done well. I was planning on two hours (for every practice), and they were 1:50, 1:30 and 1:40. They were all shortened, because what I have on that sheet, they are getting done and they are doing it with great enthusiasm. The greatest thing for me is I'm getting a lot of teaching. I'm breaking down the press, blitzing pick-and-rolls, the box-and-one, triangle-and-twos, and showing them how we'll play it when we need to shut a guy down. All of the stuff we didn't have time for because we were going on to the next game and the next game."

On DeMarcus Cousins...

"He has been fabulous. The way he has run the last two days I told him, `If you make that you and run like that, you will be the best player in the country. But, you may choose not to run that way because it's hard to run that way. But, if you will, then every time you are on the court you will play that way.' He is a beast. You work on his free throw shooting and look what's happened. You work on his conditioning and look what's happened. You hold him to a standard and look what happens. You just tell him, this is what is acceptable and this is not acceptable. Again, he's inexperienced. This is all new to him, but it is for most of the guys."

On Louisville...

"We aren't talking at all about that game. I will not watch any tape on the next game until this game is over, and until I watch that game. Until I watch Hartford, I will not watch (Louisville tape). I have seen no tape. I have seen clips or highlights, and I have not watched them play one game. Wednesday morning, we'll get started on that game. Right now it's 'let's get better and let's worry about our team.' I have a methodical way of going about it. You methodically go through the season. No one game is bigger than the next. That's how you do it. You don't move on from one game until you are done with the last game. Will that game this weekend be a big game? If we win it will be huge."

On Hartford...

"Right now, our next game is Hartford, a team that has struggled some, but shot the ball in games. I've probably watched four tapes of them and I think they'll play us with a lot of zone. If they are making three's and we are missing three's, we're in for a ballgame, and they can make three's."

Complete Game Preview from UKAthletics.com

Kentucky Sits On Top of SEC Basketball Power Rankings

BleacherReport.com has released their latest SEC Basketball Power Rankings and Kentucky sits alone on top.

1. Kentucky (13-0)

Since my last set of rankings, the Wildcats have chalked up three more victories. Their win against Long Beach State was a little too close for comfort. However, the 49ers had played a ridiculously tough schedule, so they were used to superior competition. Both John Wall and Patrick Patterson are averaging over 17 points a game to lead the way.

The kids from Lexington should chalk up an easy win tonight against Hartford, and then a challenge against in-state rival Louisville this weekend.

2. Ole Miss (10-2)
3. Tennessee (9-2)
4. Mississippi State (11-2)
5. Florida (9-3)

Complete Rankings

Alex Legion: Ex-Wildcat is Now Ex-Illini

Former Kentucky basketball player Alex Legion, who transferred from UK to Illinois, has now decided to leave the Illinois basketball program.

Excerpt of article from IlliniHQ.com:

"It's hard at this level — this is D-I basketball — to come into the middle of the season and right away start playing," Legion said last season. "You've got systems, chemistry, and it's about winning games at this level. You can't sacrifice one player for the team. No one player is bigger than the team at this level.

"So I totally understand people have doubts. I don't make any excuses. Last year is in the past, and hopefully this year I can go out there and show what I can do."

Legion averaged 9.9 minutes this season.

"I appreciate the support from the U of I fans, my teammates and coaches," Legion said in a release.. "I look forward to the next step in my collegiate career."

Will John Wall Follow Kobe as Next Face of the NBA?

john wall, kentucky basketball
Chris Harry of the Orlando Sentinel says that Kobe Bryant has been the face of the NBA for the decade of the 2000s. He wonders if Kentucky freshman point guard John Wall will be the face of the league for the 2010s:

Image of the 2010s: John Wall

Somewhere in the mix of Michael Jordan, Phil Knight, Jay-Z and Warren Buffett, LeBron James has Kentucky freshman point guard John Wall on his cell phone speed dial.

"We talk all the time," James said. "He's great. He'll be the No. 1 pick in the draft."

While at Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Christian Academy, Wall attended the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, and wowed 'em. What Wall has done in his freshman season with the unbeaten Wildcats -- like his 25-point, six-steal show-stopper against Connecticut a couple weeks ago -- has not surprised the Cavaliers MVP.

Wall has the look of a one-and-done guy in Lexington and a slam dunk to be the first pick in the NBA draft next April.

Not only will Wall and James be talking to each other a lot in the years to come, we'll be watching them a lot in key NBA moments.


Complete Article

Murray State Basketball Now Available in 85,000 Homes

Murray State Racers' basketball games will now be available in 85,000 households:

The regional office of Comcast Cable announced it has joined the Racer Television Network pushing the total number of households that can see Murray State Basketball games to 85,000.

"Comcast is excited to partner with New Wave to make Murray State Basketball games available to our customers in Paducah," said Jeff Danner Comcast Delta Area VP of Marketing. "We believe our customers and Racer fans will consider the addition of

Racer Basketball a significant value add to our channel lineup"

"This was one of our main objectives when we started the network last season and that was to get as many people as we can to have access to the games," NewWave President Jim Gleason said. "MSU has a large alumni base in McCracken County and this will allow more Racer fans to see the games."


Complete Announcement

Rajon Rondo on List of Boston's Top 10 Defining Moments

Former Kentucky basketball point guard and Louisville native Rajon Rondo makes the top 10 list of the Boston Celtics' defining moments for the decade.

7. The Suns Get Rondo’d

Rajon Rondo was drafted 21st overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 NBA Draft and the first guard taken but the Kentucky product wasn’t about to go celebrate in the Grand Canyon State.

Rondo was heading east as Phoenix quickly traded him to the Celtics along with Brian Grant for the Cleveland Cavaliers' first-round draft pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, which Boston received for Jiri Welsch and cash considerations.

After just two years as the hometown hero with the Wildcats, the Louisville native entered the draft after averaging just over 11 points, six rebounds and just under five assists per game. After splitting time with Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West in his first year with the C’s, the guard has gone onto to start every single game of his career -- 185 to be exact. His first campaign leading the C’s down the court finished with the C’s taking the NBA title as he averaged 10.6 points and 5.1 assists per game. While Rondo is on the outside of the Big 3 looking in, the playmaker is arguably one of the most important pieces of the C’s puzzle and will be for years to come as the C’s recently offered him a five-year extension.

Complete Article

Georgetown College's Pearson is Out for Season

No team in the Commonwealth, at any level, has been bitten by the injury bug as severely as the Georgetown Tigers.

The news continues to worsen for the Tigers and head coach Happy Osborne as they have learned that big man Maurice Pearson is lost for the season. There was hope that the 6-9 Pearson would recover and be back in the second semester, but he has been ruled out.

“We are 8-2. The thing I’ve got to do is stay positive,” the Osborne told the Georgetown News-Graphic. “We are not having much luck, but it hit over Christmas it is not my fault, not the system’s fault, not our players’ fault, injuries happen.”

The Tigers still have some very talented players and while they will be undersized, they will still make plenty of noise in the Mid-South Conference. Osborne and his staff are some of the best in the business and they will have the team ready for conference play.

Source

Leslie's High School Basketball Coach Scolds the Media



In a post game press conference at the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational, Word of God head coach Erasto Hatchett had some words to the media.

I actually agree with some of what he is saying and I think he is trying to do what is best for his kids. What do you think?

NOTE: Kentucky 2010 recruit C.J. Leslie plays for Hatchett at Word of God

Important Visitor for Louisville Basketball This Week


Article by Evan Daniels, Scout.com:

Justin Coleman, No. 25 on Scout.com's 2010 list, is working hard in the classroom, is set to take his SAT and will visit a Big East program this week.


Getting to know Coleman:

Justin Coleman is a 6-4 forward that plays for Huntington Prep (Wv.). He is rated a 4-star prospect by Rivals.com and ranks #45 on the Rivals150 List for 2010.

He holds offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Charlotte, Indiana, Marquette, Providence and Xavier.

Lamb, Jones on Day 2 of Les Schwab Invitational

Two 2010 Kentucky basketball recruits, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, were in action on day 2 of the Les Schwab Invitational at Hillsboro, Oregon.

Lamb, a 6-4 guard that ranks #21 on the Rivals150 List, led all scorers with 29 points in Oak Hill's 80-67 victory over Oregon City. Lamb also added 6 rebounds and 2 steals. He was 7-19 from the field and 15-17 from the free throw line (Oregon City - as a team - shot 4-5 from the free throw line).

The 6-8 Jones, who ranks #13 on the Rivals150, did not fare as well as his Jefferson team lost to Westview 70-59. Jones scored 19 points, but was only 5-17 from the field. He did put in 9-11 free throws and grab 11 rebounds.

Oak Hill Academy and Lamb return to action tonight at 11:30 p.m. EST as they face Westview in the tournament's semifinal round.

Tournament Bracket

Terrence Jones with the impressive 360-dunk:

Terrence Jones 360 Dunk









UK Basketball Recruit C.J. Leslie Scores 31 in Win


Kentucky 2010 basketball recruit C.J. Leslie led all scorers with 31 points in Word of God's closer-than-expected 75-71 victory over Apex last night.

Excerpt of game summary by NewObserver.com:

Leslie led all scorers with 31 points. Bishop Daniels added 15 points for the Holy Rams and Joel Kindred had 14.

But it was Leslie's defense in the waning seconds that sealed the Holy Rams' win.

Leslie blocked Apex forward K.B. Boru's 3-point attempt that could have tied the score at 74, then knocked the ball off an opponent to give WOG the ball. Leslie was fouled with 9.2 seconds left and made one of two free throws to seal the win.


Source

Dustin Rumbaugh Interviews Josh Selby's Mother

Here is an excerpt of a good piece from my man Dustin Rumbaugh over at KentuckySportsRadio.com:

I had the opportunity over the weekend to talk to Maeshon Witherspoon, who is the mother of super-recruit Josh Selby. Selby will be taking an official visit to UK’s January 2nd matchup against UL. We talked about who they are currently considering, what they have enjoyed so far with their visits, and what they expect to enjoy when they arrive in Lexington this weekend. Here’s some highlights from that discussion:

Dustin Rumbaugh: How has Josh’s high school season been going so far?

Maeshon Witherspoon: It’s been an adjustment coming from the team where he had a lot of guys there and the changes from the Catholic league where he had a lot of games to the public league where he’s limited in the amount of games he can play. Like right now, there’s a snow storm and because Baltimore city’s public schools are closed the games are canceled, whereas in the Catholic league, even if the schools are closed, you still were able to play. Just the traveling thing, like Josh and them played in so many different tournaments in his three years of high school that the public schools couldn’t do. The one thing about this team is it’s a good nucleus of guys. Coach “Tree” [Herman "Tree" Harried] is definitely a good motivator and he’s going to be in shape for whatever program get’s him next year.


Complete Interview Here

Monday, December 28, 2009

Morehead State Overcomes Whistle, South Dakota

Morehead State 66
South Dakota 64

Final from South Dakota


Game recap by Morehead State:

Senior Maze Stallworth hit a three-pointer with 1:40 left to play and sunk a late free throw to pull Morehead State past South Dakota 66-64 Monday night at the Dakota Dome.

The Eagles (6-6) trailed for most of the game, leading only briefly only in the each half until Stallworth's triple fell following a key steal by senior Brandon Shingles just past mid court. Tyler Cain, who had 17 points to lead South Dakota, had two free throws to tie it, but missed the first of two. Stallworth then swished a single free throw to make it a two-point game. Jake Thomas narrowly missed a desperation 3-pointer from 35 feet that would have won it for the Coyotes.

Stallworth had 21 points and a career-high five steals, four of which came in the first half. Senior Kenneth Faried had 15 points and 15 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Shingles finished with seven assists. Sophomore Steve Peterson had 12 points and seven rebounds and junior Demonte Harper scored 10 points.

Thomas, Roman Gentry and Kendall Cutler each finished with 10 points for South Dakota (6-6). Cain also had 15 rebounds.

The Eagles return to action Saturday at 9 p.m. for an ESPNU doubleheader with the women's team. MSU resume Ohio Valley Conference play with Austin Peay.

ESPN's Adreian Branch: "Kentucky Wins It All"


I was just watching the UPS Halftime Report on ESPN2 and Adreian Branch said during the "going out on a limb" segment that he is choosing the Kentucky Wildcats to win it all this season.

No Change for UK in Latest College Basketball Polls

The Kentucky Wildcats remain #3 in both college basketball polls this week. The Louisville Cardinals received no votes in the AP Poll, but did earn 5 votes in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25.

AP Top 25

1. Kansas (52) 11-0 1,607
2. Texas (11) 11-0 1,556
3. Kentucky (1) 13-0 1,476
4. Purdue 11-0 1,407
5. Syracuse (1) 12-0 1,398
6. West Virginia 10-0 1,309
7. Duke 9-1 1,241
8. Villanova 11-1 1,177
9. North Carolina 9-3 1,033
10. Connecticut 9-2 1,002
11. Michigan State 9-3 910 12. Kansas State 11-1 892 13. Georgetown 9-1 813 14. Tennessee 9-2 664 15. Ohio State 10-2 605 16. Mississippi 10-2 544 17. Washington 9-2 490 18. Temple 9-2 403 19. New Mexico 12-1 352 20. Texas Tech 10-1 334 21. Clemson 11-2 300 22. Florida State 11-2 252 23. Wisconsin 10-2 180 24. UAB 11-1 178 25. Northwestern 10-1 144

ESPN/USA Today Poll

1. Kansas (28) 11-0 772
2. Texas (3) 11-0 743
3. Kentucky 13-0 702
4. Purdue 11-0 677
5. Syracuse 12-0 657
6. West Virginia 10-0 630
7. Duke 9-1 585
8. Villanova 11-1 553
9. North Carolina 9-3 489
10. Connecticut 9-2 471
11. Michigan State 9-3 436 12. Kansas State 11-1 409 13. Georgetown 9-1 407 14. Tennessee 9-2 313 15. Ohio State 10-2 290 16. Washington 9-2 274 17. New Mexico 12-1 241 18. Clemson 11-2 192 19. Temple 9-2 164 20. Georgia Tech 9-2 140 21. Mississippi 10-2 137 22. Gonzaga 8-3 96 23. Butler 8-4 85 24. Texas Tech 10-1 68 25. Florida State 11-2 67

Patterson Second-Guessing Decision to Bypass NBA?

NBA basketball tickets
Is Patrick Patterson second-guessing his decision to return to Kentucky for his junior season rather than entering the NBA Draft?

ESPN's Cam Martin makes the claim today that:

"Patrick Patterson is reportedly second-guessing his decision to bypass the NBA Draft and return to Kentucky, where a bunch of snot-nosed freshmen are stealing his thunder."


My thoughts: I wanted to add that I personally can't see Patrick Patterson making any statements like this, but I felt it relevant to pass it along.

Ex-UK Basketball Coach Makes Most Forgettable List

DUI attorney Dallas Texas
Former Kentucky basketball head coach Billy Gillispie has made a list of the top 10 "Most Forgettable Sports Moments of 2009".

The Billy Gillispie Era at UK

"Add a new coach (John Calipari), the best player in America (John Wall) and a shiny undefeated record, and it’s hard to believe that the Cats were bounced by Notre Dame in the NIT last year."

Some other forgettable moments this past year:

- Terrell Owens with the Buffalo Bills
- Allen Iverson with the Memphis Grizzlies
- Fat college football coaches
- ACC Football

Former Mr. Basketball Chris Lofton is Headed to Spain

Former Mason County Royal and Kentucky Mr. Basketball Chris Lofton has signed a contract to finish out the season with MMT Estudiantes in Spain's top-level ACB League.

Estudiantes is currently 6-8 on the season and are in 10th place in the ACB standings.

After leading Mason County to a state championship, Lofton had a very successful career for the Tennessee Volunteers. He spent his first pro season in Turkey, spent time with the Boston Celtics' summer league squad and then made an appearance in EuroLeague action earlier this year.

Some familiar names in Spanish ACB basketball are former Kentucky Wildcat Gerald Fitch, who leads the entire league in scoring at 18.8 point per game, and former NBA player Juan Carlos Navarro.

DeMarcus Cousins Collects Weekly "Kentucky Award"


For the sixth time in seven weeks, a University of Kentucky men's basketball player has been named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week.

This week, it is big man DeMarcus Cousins, who averaged 16.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game in wins over Drexel and Long Beach State.

Big Cuz, or DeMarvelous as I like to call him, joins Eric Bledsoe and John Wall as UK freshmen that have collected the SEC Freshman of the Week award.

2010 Basketball Recruit C.J. Leslie at GSK Invitational

C.J. Leslie, a talented 6-8 forward that is one of Kentucky's top 2010 targets, put on a dunking exhibition at the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Here is an excerpt of an article from NewsObserver.com:

Word of God's C.J. Leslie provided some jaw-dropping moments in the Rams' 72-50 victory over Southern Wayne.

On the first possession of the game, Leslie was standing at the 3-point line before breaking to the basket and taking a lob for a resounding dunk. Seconds later, he cupped an offensive rebound, dropped the ball to his waist and crashed through another slam that had the near-capacity group on its feet and begging for more.

Leslie, who is uncommitted, also had highlights at the defensive end, contributing unlikely blocks and soaring high above other players for rebounds.

The Game's Top 10 Dunks - featuring Leslie:

MSU Basketball on Holiday Vacation in South Dakota


The Morehead State Eagles are currently in Vermillion, South Dakota as they get ready to face the University of South Dakota Coyotes on the hardwood tonight.

The current temperature in Vermillion is 16 degrees, but it feels much colder. All things considered, the Eagles would likely prefer to be in Florida this week.

As for basketball, South Dakota is a team in transition as they make the move to full-time NCAA Division I basketball. They are sitting at 6-5 on the season, but the Eagles will be the first true Division I team to travel to the "DakotaDome." So far this season, they have only hosted Division II, NAIA and fellow transitional Division I teams.

"It's hard to get teams to come here, and it will continue to be until we're finished with the transition," Boots said. "We're pleased to be able to get a team like this to make a trip here, though. It shows the scheduling issues are starting to turn a little bit." (Source)

The game tips off at 8:00 p.m. EST tonight.

South Dakota this season:

November 13 at Texas Tech L 88-49 0-1
November 14 vs. Oregon State* L 62-47 0-2
November 15 vs. Texas A&M-CC* W 76-73 1-2
November 20 Mayville State W 99-67 2-2
November 24 at Marquette L 93-68 2-3
November 28 Dana W 100-65 3-3
November 29 Midland Lutheran W 104-71 4-3
December 2 Dakota State W 111-59 5-3
December 11 at Drake L 96-81 5-4
December 13 vs. Binghamton* W 89-77 6-4
December 20 at Wyoming L 86-74 6-5

EKU Hoops Prepared for 2009 Dr. Pepper Classic

EKU basketball tickets
After a week off to celebrate the holiday season, the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team returns to action Tuesday and Wednesday in the 2009 Dr Pepper Classic, hosted by Chattanooga. Game times both nights are set for 6 and 8 p.m.

Eastern (7-4) has not won an in-season tournament title since the 1971 All-College Tournament. That year, the Colonels defeated Texas Tech, Santa Clara and host Oklahoma City. This is the second time EKU has participated in the Dr Pepper Classic. The Colonels also competed in the 1991 tournament, but came away with losses to Auburn and Alaska-Anchorage.

Morgan State (7-4), out of the MEAC, has won three of its last four games including an 87-80 victory over Towson on Dec. 22. In that contest, forward Kevin Thompson tallied career-highs in points (23) and rebounds (25). As of Dec. 20, guard Reggie Holmes ranked second nationally in scoring (25.1 ppg) while Thompson ranked fifth in rebounding (12.2 rpg).

Chattanooga (6-6), out of the SoCon, has already played two OVC teams this year, defeating Jacksonville State and falling to Murray State. The Mocs are led by senior Ty Patterson’s 16.5 ppg. He has played four games since being reinstated prior to the Dec. 12 Mississippi Valley State game. True freshman guard Josh Odem chips in 10.6 ppg.

Long Island (4-6) was picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference. The Blackbirds have lost three straight including a 71-61 setback to Manhattan on Dec. 19. Senior Jaytornah Wisseh was named the NEC Player of the Week after recording 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists against Manhattan. Wisseh currently ranks third in the NEC with 17.9 ppg and 5.0 apg.

Eastern Kentucky has never faced Morgan State or Chattanooga. Eastern and Long Island met once back in the 1975 All-College Tournament. The Blackbirds won that meeting, 87-68.

Jones on All-Decade List of Basketball Players in Oregon

Kentucky 2010 basketball recruit Terrence Jones is on a list of the top high school players in the state of Oregon during the last decade.

All Oregon Team:

Kevin Love, Lake Oswego
Kyle Singler, South Medford
Salim Stoudamire, Lake Oswego
Maarty Leunen, Redmond
Luke Jackson, Creswell

Honorable Mention: Terrence Jones, Jefferson; Aaron Miles, Jefferson; Brandon Brooks, Jefferson; Thomas Gardner, Jefferson; Michael Lee, Kansas; Blake Stepp, South Eugene; Jeremiah Dominguez, South Salem; Josh Tarver, Jesuit; Seth Tarver, Jesuit; Michael Harthun, South Medford; Brian Conklin, North Eugene; Drew Wiley, Thurston;

Source

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Q&A with Future WKU Hoopster Kene Anyigbo


I checked in with future Western Kentucky basketball player Kene Anyigbo tonight to see how his high school senior season is going and his thoughts on Western Kentucky and Bowling Green.

Anyigbo, a strong 6-6 forward, plays for Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas. He signed with the Hilltoppers during the early signing period.

Kene, tell me how your high school season is going to this point.

We are off to a good start. We're 16-1 and we are playing better every day.

Who was the loss to?

We lost to Dallas Lancaster earlier in the season.

Talk a little about your team and the style of basketball you guys play.

We are made up of six seniors, two juniors and two sophomores. We play an up-tempo style of basketball and we have a couple of go-to players when the game is on the line.

How do you feel you've been performing on an individual basis?

I feel I have been playing pretty well so far. I do have a few things I am working on, especially the jump shot.

You have signed to play for Western Kentucky University. What ultimately led you to choose the Hilltoppers?

There are several things. I like the program and the kinds of kids they are molding into young men. I have a really good relationship with Coach Mac (WKU head coach Ken MacDonald). I also like the opportunities that WKU holds for me.

Do you feel that you'll be able to step right in at WKU and contribute?

I expect to play my roll and compete. If that means stepping in and playing, then by all means...I'll be ready.

Bowling Green is a nice town, but let's face it - it's not exactly Houston. What are your thoughts on Bowling Green and what will that change be like for you?

Bowling Green is kind of country. Me being from Texas, I actually found that to be a big plus. The only thing I find challenging about Bowling Green is the weather.

Hey, it's only bad for 2 months or so and you'll be focused on basketball during that time anyways. I appreciate you taking the time to speak to me tonight and best wishes the rest of this season.

(he laughs) Yeah, no problem. Talk to you later and Happy New Years.

Jodie Meeks May Start for Milwaukee Bucks Tomorrow

Former Kentucky basketball scoring machine Jodie Meeks may earn a start for the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow night.

Excerpt of article from JSOnline.com:

Don't be surprised if rookie Jodie Meeks gets significant playing time again Monday night when the Milwaukee Bucks play at Charlotte to open a two-game trip.

Coach Scott Skiles admitted he was searching for answers after the Bucks' 112-97 home loss to San Antonio on Saturday, a defeat that dropped the slumping Bucks to 3-9 in December.

Meeks played the entire second quarter against the Spurs, and when he responded in positive fashion, he earned a season-high 28 minutes and finished with 15 points.

Asked about the starting lineup after Sunday's practice at the Cousins Center, Skiles said, "We might change."

But whether the 6-foot-4 Meeks gets his first NBA start or not, it's clear he brings a bit of explosiveness the Bucks desperately need.

"He's improved on the ball and off the ball," Skiles said of the former Kentucky player's defense. "He's been a good rebounder and he's not afraid to go up in traffic.

"He's coming along, he really is. He seems a little more poised than he was earlier in the year. He's put in a lot of hard work and it's starting to pay off for him."

Complete Article

UK Recruit Terrence Jones Explodes at Les Schwab

basketball hoops tickets
Kentucky 2010 basketball recruit Terrence Jones showed today why schools like UK are after him.

The 6-8 forward blew up for 38 points and 12 rebounds in Jefferson's 72-63 victory over Central Catholic. Jones was 14-22 from the field, including 3-7 from beyond the 3-point arc. He was also 7-11 from the free throw line in the game.

Jones is reportedly down to Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA and Washington.

Basketball Rivalry Week in the Bluegrass State

kentucky basketball tickets
The attention of basketball fans in the Bluegrass State will be fully focused on the Kentucky/Louisville "rivalry" game that is scheduled for Saturday.

Most Kentucky fans will be paying attention to the UK football team, which competes against Clemson in The Music City Bowl tonight. After the football game ends, the Big Blue Nation will be all Louisville, all the time for the rest of the week.

Louisville defeated Radford today for its fourth consecutive victory and opens Big East Conference play this week against South Florida; Kentucky still has a game on Tuesday night against Hartford. Those games are important, but essentially irrelevant to the fans of the Cards and Cats.

Here is an excerpt of an article by Mike DeCourcy that discusses the upcoming battle for the Bluegrass:

Rick Pitino feels like old news now, and we probably have Tiger Woods to thank/blame for that. Tiger is a bigger star and generated a bigger scandal, so much that Pitino's peccadillo seems as though it emerged closer to four years than four months ago.

There are two ways, though, for all that unpleasantness to regain our attention:

- A trial for Karen Sypher, accused of an extortion attempt in exchange for covering up her alleged affair with Pitino.
-Louisville plays at Kentucky, where UK fans will be only too happy to delight at his circumstance.

Rick Pitino will be back in the news and the center of attention at Rupp Arena.So guess which is scheduled for 3:30 Saturday afternoon, to be televised by CBS?

New Plan for Terrence Williams from this Point Forward

New Nets' head coach Kike Vandeweghe has stated that he has a new role for former Louisville Cardinal Terrence Williams.

Excerpt of article from NorthJersey.com:

Point forward

Vandeweghe compared Terrence Williams to Paul Pressey and Michael Cooper, and said he plans to play the rookie more in the point-forward role.

"It’s beneficial for us because we have point guards who can play two positions," Vandeweghe said. "We’ve got to make sure even though [there] may be short-term pain, you invest in developing Terrence with the ball in his hands."

Williams with a nasty windmill dunk recently:

Louisville Basketball Shoots Down Highlanders

Louisville 79
Radford 53

Final from Louisville


Game recap Associated Press:

Samardo Samuels had 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead surging Louisville past Radford 79-53 on Sunday.

Jared Swopshire added 13 points and the Cardinals (9-3) won their fourth straight by swarming the visiting Highlanders (5-5) from the opening tip.

Samuels scored nine points during a 12-0 first-half run and Louisville kept Radford center Art Parakhouski in check. Parakhouski finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. The senior entered the game averaging 22.7 points and 14.0 rebounds, tops in the nation.

The Highlanders shot just 37 percent from the field and were outrebounded 46-33.

With a dozen NBA scouts on hand to get a look at Parakhouski, instead it was Samuels who impressed.

The sophomore posted his fourth double-double of the season and nearly matched the career-high 15 rebounds he grabbed in a win over Louisiana-Lafayette last Wednesday.

John Calipari is the "Face" of College Basketball


The Orlando Sentinel states that Kentucky basketball head coach John Calipari is the face of college hoops for the decade of the 2000's.

Excerpt of article:

He has led two programs to Final Fours, but both Massachusetts (1995) and Memphis (2008) had to forfeit their victories in those great seasons because of NCAA violations discovered after players were gone.

John Calipari lives on.

Quite nicely, in fact.

A master at tiptoeing through the gray areas, Calipari used a long-time relationship with William "Worldwide Wes" Wesley, one of the most famous (and infamous) power brokers on the AAU circuit, to feed his program at Memphis, build a dynasty led by NBA-bound short-timers and ultimately bolt for Kentucky for an eight-year, $31.65 million contract, the richest in college hoops history.

The man knows how to work a system.

Then again, the NCAA system allows it to be worked.

New Big East Basketball Poll; Louisville Drops

The Post-Standard has conducted another Big East media poll to compare/contrast with their preseason poll. As expected, Louisville has dropped a few spots in the new poll.

In October, The Post-Standard surveyed 17 college basketball writers for their predictions regarding the Big East Conference. The writers included one from each Big East market plus a national reporter.

The writers picked Villanova to win the conference with 11 first-place votes, while West Virginia came in second thanks in part to six first-place votes. Syracuse slipped in at No. 6 in the writers poll, which virtually mirrored the result of the Big East coaches’ poll.

With two months of games in the books, The Post-Standard offered the same group of writers a mulligan. Fourteen accepted with the others opting out due to duties with football coverage.

Here are the results of the new poll, with first-place votes in parentheses:

1. Syracuse (6)············25
2. West Virginia (3)······28
3. Villanova (5)·············30
4. Connecticut·············58
5. Georgetown·············65
6. Seton Hall·············108
7. Cincinnati··············111
8. Notre Dame···········121
9. Louisville···············122
10. Pittsburgh···········138
11. St. John’s············140
12. Marquette············153
13. South Florida·······188
14. Providence···········198
15. Rutgers················205
16. DePaul·················218

The following writers participated in the poll:

Rick Bozich, Louisville Courier-Journal; Phil Chardis, Manchester (Conn.) Journal-Inquirer; Ken Davis, MSNBC.com; Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Dave Hickman, Charleston Gazette; Dick Jerardi, Philadelphia Daily News; Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger; Kevin McNamara, Providence Journal; Tom Noie, South Bend Tribune; Dana O’Neil, ESPN.com; Lenn Robbins, New York Post; Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel; Roger Rubin, New York Daily News; Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune.

Source

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ex-Cat Jodie Meeks Breaks Recent NBA Slump

Former Kentucky Wildcats' basketball star Jodie Meeks scored double figures for the first time since November 7 tonight against the San Antonio Spurs.

Meeks scored 15 points on 5-8 field goal shooting, including 3-4 from long range in the Bucks' 112-97 loss to the Spurs. The most encouraging statistic for Meeks is likely the 28 minutes he played - the most minutes he has ever played in an NBA uniform.

On the season, Meeks is averaging 12.2 minutes and only 4.0 points per game. Recent rumors have introduced the idea of Meeks being demoted to the NBA D-League for seasoning.

Hopefully, he can build off tonight's performance and find a firm spot on Milwaukee's roster.

ESPN Box Score

Q&A with Kentucky Basketball Author Joseph Lacy

basketball ticket book
Joseph Lacy, author of To Africa with Love: A Bush Doc's Story, and Prescriptions for Life, enjoys reading and writing inspirational stories. Appalachian characters often find their way into his stories. He is the ordinary coach/ref of some extraordinary kids in the Upward football and basketball leagues in Kentucky. He is currently working on a medical thriller.

I have checked out Mountain Reign and it is a great piece of literature that really hits home. Here is a Q&A I conducted with Lacy about his book.

Mr. Lacy, it's a pleasure to speak with you today. I am more than happy to pass your brilliant work on to my readers.

First, tell me how many books you have written?

Mountain Reign is my first novel, and you always hope that people don’t say the new baby’s ears are too big. Previously, I wrote a biography of Ohio native Jim Foulkes, MD. I joined Jim on his mission hospital rounds in the bush country of Mukinge, Zambia (south central Africa) and the seeds of To Africa with Love: A Bush Doc’s Story were planted then. I also compiled a series of inspirational gift books in a “Prescription” series, including Prescription for Life. I did a satisfying cover story for Iron Master on the life story of my uncle, Ronald Coleman Lacy. Ron was the greatest all-around athlete I’ve ever seen. I'm currently working on two medical thrillers.

What was the inspiration behind Mountain Reign?

For my money, Hoosiers is the best sports movie ever. What’s the point of fictionalizing Kentucky basketball when we possess dozens of Hoosiers-like tales? Instead of telling one story to the exclusion of other worthy tales, I took slivers of many and coupled it with the spirit of Kentucky basketball and Mountain Reign was born.

I grew up with basketballs bouncing around my ears (Lexington-born, UK alumnus), and gained inspiration from watching a lot of fabulous players. On the college scene, I am more partial to great student-athletes, and two that come to mind are Patrick Patterson and Jeff Sheppard. Other favorite players include Dan Issel, Jamal Mashburn, Pete Maravich, Roger Harden, Tony Delk, Jack Givens, and Rex Chapman.

As well, I was raised by wonderful Appalachian grandparents (who spent part of their lives in Morgan and Wolfe counties) and my Hazard-born Uncle Ron. A lot of their hardiness is found in the characters of Mountain Reign.

Appalachia’s story is often one of a hardscrabble life and the quality of that life depended upon a man or woman’s independence and self-sufficiency. I set the book in 1950. At that time, the severe terrain and isolation of this population left many of these mountain communities unlike any found elsewhere in the world.

Much of Appalachian writing diverges into stereotype or romantic legend. I wanted neither. Mountain Reign is a story of sturdy people who happen to be Appalachian. The creative center of the book is people. As well, the rich landscape of the Appalachian Mountains presents as a character in itself. Then put a basketball in a teenager’s hands and you can get some interesting things that happen.

Were any of your characters inspired by UK players?

High school players, of course, don’t have the polish of college players. In fact, I did not choose one particular player to model my characters after, but took facets from many, some great and some lesser-sung.

When Hazelwood’s pint-sized point guard (Stub) barrels down court dribbling the ball like he’s squashing bugs, readers will see a little guy with a big desire to win. UK fans will hopefully see a composite—Dicky Beal, Anthony Epps, or even Ron Lacy, a UK football player (running back under Bear Bryant, an Army All-Star basketball player, and former Mr. America)—guys with motors that didn’t quit. If John Wall had played at Kentucky before I’d finished Mountain Reign, there would probably be a sliver of him in there, too. With Wall, you're tempted to use Ali’s famous line: “Keep the camera moving, ‘cause I'm kinda fast.”

Hazelwood plays scrappy, in-your-face defense. I hope readers see slivers of Jay Shidler, Cliff Hawkins, Saul Smith, Travis Ford, and Sean Woods.

In Mountain Reign, even some of the opponents have a UK essence. For example, a city player who “looks like he has cantaloupe halves strapped where his calves should have been” muscles his way into the paint with his NFL-style frame (think James Lee) to torment foes with his silky shots (insert Jack Givens or Louie Dampier).

When other characters stroke polished textbook shots, I hope the readers see in their mind’s eye Kevin Grevey, Jodie Meeks, and Troy McKinley. When the hometown player sets a rock-solid box out, visions of Charles Hurt, Dan Issel, or Patrick Patterson may leap to mind. A dribbler blurs through the defense like gale through a corn field—was that Roger Harden or Rajon Rondo? Derek Anderson or Wayne Turner? Larry Conley or Ralph Beard?

Most importantly, I hope the reader sees in Mountain Reign the concept of team. Role players often are the crucial cement that molds really good teams. Mountain Reign is chocked with players who exude hustle, who are comfortable in their own skin and use solid fundamentals—who better to embody the team concept than Jeff Brassow, Chuck Hayes, Ronnie Lyons, John Pelphrey, or Richie Farmer. Those guys were as comfortable scraping their chins against the floor chasing loose balls as shooting baskets in warm-ups. The same can be said for other mountain floor burns—Wah Wah Jones, GJ Smith, Larry Stamper, Reggie Hanson, Joe Stepp, Johnny Cox, and Don Mills.

In my book, one of the guys shares his money with his destitute teammates. Not to stretch this analogy too far, but when Jamal Mashburn donated $500,000 from his salary before playing one NBA game, that kind of generosity gets your attention.

Why did you pick the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the Adolph Rupp era as the setting?

The Appalachian players were the rootstock of Kentucky basketball during this era. And this, at a time when UK was amassing a perennial basketball dynasty, with All-Americans coming off the bench. Rupp would often quote the Bible: “I look unto the hills, whence comes my help.”

Also, in 1950 television had yet to homogenize the culture. The time period and geography made for an amazing abundance of rich-textured themes. Living off the land. The blessing/curse of coal veining through the mountains. Segregation. Elizabethan dialect that resembled what Shakespeare and Chaucer spoke.

Which character, if any, will Kentucky fans find most familiar?

Hopefully, they will see glimpses of many players, not just one. What basketball lovers will find familiar is that the boys between these pages love basketball as much as they do. This beautiful game was made to be played well, and to be played well it must be played fast, and be played as a team.

Really, none of the hometown team in Mountain Reign is good enough to play at UK. But what they're really good at is being a team. As an aside, there’s a scene where the coach drives the winding roads to meet an old retired coach from Clay County, Bippy Skyland, for advice. He’s not exactly a Bobby Keith, but they would have liked each other.

What, if anything, was the most difficult thing about writing Mountain Reign?

On a writerly level, you always worry about the balance of description, narrative summary and dialogue used in storytelling. You want your history and facts to be right, but you don’t want to use a ton of research, because it comes off as a data dump and/or authorial boasting, which yanks the reader out of the story. That’s one reason why I couldn't mention all forty-nine of Kentucky’s Appalachian counties (or most of their great players) between the pages of the book by name—but their spirit is there.

Today, of course, kids of all stripes play ball together. But at that time, you had two Kentucky high school leagues, one white, one black (KHSAA and KHSAL). Then, blacks and whites did not officially play together. Fiction allows you to have a little fun—so I had a black team scrimmage the hometown white team in preparation for a tournament. I didn’t want to rabbit-trail too much from the dominant theme of the book, but I thought this was an important scene (pre-civil rights America). To get a feel for this, I interviewed Henry Lee Logan, the first African-American to play basketball at a predominantly white institution (Western Carolina University) in the southeastern US.

Additionally, one of my main characters is a Melungeon, someone not quite black, someone not quite white. (Try googling “Melungeon” for an interesting read). I interviewed a nurse I work with who is part-Melungeon. Suffice it to say, the self-reliant Melungeon’s skin is not only dark, it’s pretty thick, too. Toughness comes in all shades of skin color.

What do I want people to get out of the book? The enjoyment of a satisfying read and an appreciation for that which is the creative center of Mountain Reign—the Appalachian people.

Check out Mountain Reign reviews or pick up a copy at Amazon.com or Abebooks.com.

Samuels Will Stay at Louisville for as Least Another Year

Louisville's sophomore big man Samardo Samuels has stated that he will stay with the Cardinals for at least one more season.

Excerpt of article from BleacherReport.com:

The Jamaican native is now calling Louisville his home for at least another season of college basketball, and Pitino said his star sophomore still has some wrinkles in his game—especially those related to rebounding—that he needs to figure out.

According to Pitino, that starts with instilling NBA-caliber moves under the basket: “checking out” rather than boxing out.

“He’ll block out and get tangled with the guy,” Pitino said. “So now he can’t be explosive. He’s on the ground. What he’s got to do is take his forearm, check out, and get that jump to the ball.
“That’s what all NBA players do.”


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U of L Basketball Recruit in STOP-DWI Classic


Louisville 2012 basketball recruit Omar Calhoun will be participating in the STOP-DWI Holiday Classic in New York. Calhoun, who plays for Queens' based Christ the King, is one of the top sophomores in the country.

He is 6-4 and already holds offers from Villanova, Pittsburgh and Louisville.

Excerpt of article from PressConnects.com:

"He can really shoot it," Arbitello said of Omar Calhoun, the lone sophomore on a 15-player roster. "He's 6-4, athletic, and he defends and passes well."

NOTE: Also competing in this event will be South Laurel High School from London, Kentucky.

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