Saturday, April 18, 2009

More Details Released in Pitino Extortion Case

There have been more details released in the possible extortion attempt against Louisville coach Rick Pitino. After the previous story was released, a Louisville attorney contacted the Courier-Journal stating that he is representing the woman that has been named in the FBI investigation. Here is an excerpt from the newspaper:

Louisville attorney Thomas Clay later called the newspaper and said he represents the woman who is under FBI investigation.

He declined to provide details of her claims or to identify her, but when told that WDRB 41 had named her as Karen Sypher, the wife of U of L basketball equipment manager Tim Sypher, he said he did not “take issue” with that.

“There is a federal investigation going on, and there may be criminal charges placed against her as a result of what coach Pitino has brought to the attention of the FBI,” Clay said. “. . . There are no counter allegations, and as far as I am concerned this criminal investigation is going to proceed to a logical conclusion and I hope that we can put this matter behind us as quickly as possible.”

Clay said his client has been interviewed by the FBI, but declined to offer more specifics.

As I stated earlier, things are about to get very ugly in Louisville.

Source: Louisville Courier-Journal

Mike Casey Memorial Heart Walk Team Organized

A memorial walk team has been created in honor of Mike Casey. Here is an e-mail from Mr. Casey's daughter with some details:

Mike Casey #34 Memorial TeamA Memorial "Walk" Team has been set up in Daddy's honor next weekend at the American Heart Association Walk held at Commonwealth Stadium. A link is attached below if you would like to donate to such a great cause.

The Central Kentucky Heart Walk and Tailgate Party will take place on April 25th at 10:00 at Commonwealth Stadium. Walkers have a 1 mile and a 3 mile route option.

The Heart Walk immediately precedes the Blue White Football Game.

You have to look on the left side of the page in the blue area for Mike Casey #34 Memorial Team. It’s easy after that to follow the link.

http://heartwalk.kintera.org\lexingtonky

Heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans and 31 people die from Heart Disease every day in Kentucky.

The American Heart Association is helping in the fight against Heart Disease through education, advocacy and research. AHA has given the University of Kentucky Cardiovascular Research Center nearly $16 million dollars during the last 10 years in this effort. The Heart Walk is one of our major fundraisers every year.

Thank you and God Bless!
Laura Casey Lake

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association 859 278-1632

Cousins, Hood Named to All-Southern Team

Future Kentucky Wildcats DeMarcus Cousins and Jon Hood have been named to the All-Southern basketball team. The 12-man All-Southern team is put together by the Orlando Sentinel. The newspaper also adds a top-five from each of the southern states.

Orlando Sentinel All-Southern Team


F DeMarcus Cousins 6-11 Sr. Mobile (Al.) LeFlore - Kentucky
F Fred Gulley 6-2 Sr. Fayetteville (Ark.) High - Oklahoma State
G Brandon Knight 6-4 Jr. Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest - underclass
F Derrick Favors 6-9 Sr. South Atlanta High - Georgia Tech
G Jon Hood 6-7 Sr. Madisonville (Ky.) North Hopkins - Kentucky
F Eddie Ludwig 6-8 Sr. Metairie (La.) Country Day - LSU
G Andre Stringer 5-8 Jr. Jackson (Miss.) Forest Hill - underclass
F Reggie Bullock 6-8 Jr. Kinston (N.C.) High - 2010 UNC commit
G DeAndre Hopkins 6-2 Jr. Central (S.C.) Daniel - 2010 Clemson commit
F John Jenkins 6-4 Sr. Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp - Vanderbilt
G Joseph Young 6-2 Jr. Houston Yates - underclass
F Jaquon Parker 6-4 Sr. Suffolk (Va.) King's Fork - undecided/prep school

Kentucky Additional Picks:

G Jonathan Ferguson, 6-2, Sr., Sandy Hook Elliott Co. (undecided)
G Vee Sanford, 6-3, Sr., Lexington Catholic (undecided)
F Richie Phares, 6-8, Sr., Georgetown Scott Co. (Louisville)
F Elijah Pittman, 6-7, Jr., Covington Holmes (undecided)

Other Notable Picks:

Mississippi: G Isaiah Canaan , 6-4, Sr., Biloxi (Murray State)
Alabama: G Eric Bledsoe, 6-1, Sr., Birmingham Parker (undecided)
Alabama: F Jordan Swing, 6-6, Sr., Birmingham Vestavia Hills (Western Kentucky)

Source: Orlando Sentinel

Rick Pitino a Victim of an Extortion Attempt?

There is a strange story coming out of Louisville tonight:

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has released a statement tonight saying that he is fighting an extortion attempt aimed at him.

Pitino's statement, in full, reads, "My family and I were recently threatened as part of a criminal scheme to extort money. Upon receiving these threats, we reported this extortion attempt to the FBI. While I did not want to make this matter public, I recently learned that the individual behind this extortion attempt has already gone to the media with false, defamatory and outrageous allegations in an attempt to pressure me to cave in to this scheme. I want to make it clear that I intend to vigorously defend my reputation and the character of my family against any criminal scheme to extort money. I am hopeful that the media and public will recognize the slanderous nature of this direct and malicious attack. My family and I appreciate the support we have received from Tom Jurich, Dr. James Ramsey, and the entire Louisville family. Because this is a federal criminal investigation, I cannot comment further at this time. Any inquiries should be directed to my attorney, Steve Pence."

U of L athletic director Tom Jurich said in a statement that, "Coach Pitino has informed us that he and his attorneys have reported a potential extortion attempt to the FBI. We cannot comment further about this ongoing criminal investigation. We stand by Coach Pitino and support his decision to alert the authorities."

Source: Louisville Courier-Journal

UPDATE: I have learned a little more about this issue and while I will not post exactly what I know, I will say this: things are about to get very ugly in Louisville.

2009 Jordan Brand Classic Notes

- Game is on ESPN2

- Pregame interview with Wall and Henry; Wall stated that he would visit Miami and then narrow his list to 3-4 schools - indicating that it will still be a few weeks before anything is decided; Henry was asked about his April 25-26 visit to UK and he said that there was no official visit scheduled

- The announcers stated that a UK roster that includes Meeks, Patterson, Wall, Cousins, Orton and Henry would make Kentucky the preseason #1 team in 2009-10

- Cousins is looking like a special player early in the game; he has 6 early points and has shown some great moves around the basket

- Kentucky is listed on Jimmy Dykes' list of 2009-10 title contenders (Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, Villanova, Texas, North Carolina and Kentucky)

- Cousins has 10 points on 4-4 shooting midway through the first half; he's very active in the paint and on the boards

- Halftime: Black 52 White 42 (Cousins on Black; Wall, Henry, Orton on White)

- Impressive half for Cousins and Henry

- Wall has turned it up a notch in the 2nd half; Orton just had the most obvious goaltend I have ever watched

- Cousins has 16 points (7-11 FG) and 7 rebounds

- John Wall is an unbelievable talent; He only has 8 points and 3 assists, but he has shown that he is phenomenal

- Wall to Henry for a 3-pointer at the buzzer

- Black Team 110 White Team 103

Friday, April 17, 2009

Is Calipari Formulating a Backup Plan?


A few days ago, I felt like John Calipari might be putting all of his eggs in the John Wall basket. Now, it appears that he might be working on a backup strategy. Today, Calipari visited Eric Bledsoe, the best point guard option available after Wall.

Calipari's interest in Bledsoe would seem to indicate (in my opinion):

a) He is trying to get both Wall and Bledsoe, and is selling Bledsoe on a long-term future with Kentucky

b) He is making sure that a backup plan is in place in case Wall chooses another school

While Wall is clearly the best available player in the nation, Bledsoe would certainly not be a disappointing get. Bledsoe is a five-star point guard that ranks #23 on the Rivals150 list. He has stated that Florida is his current leader, but he has also shown strong interest in Kentucky. Some have speculated that Bledsoe does not enjoy being the second option behind Wall in Kentucky's eyes.

Either way, it is likely becoming painfully obvious to the rest of the SEC that John Calipari is a master recruiter and that he is tireless on the recruiting trail.

A few other notes:

- Calipari visited Bledsoe and then headed to New York; the site of the Jordan Classic tomorrow
- Xavier Henry seems to be going back-and-forth between Kansas and Kentucky; this could be a big story over the weekend

Rick Pitino News and Rumors

News:

- Richard Pitino (Rick's son) will leave Louisville and take an assistant coaching position at Florida under head coach Billy Donovan

Rumor:

- Could Rick Pitino leave the Louisville Cardinals for the NBA? The latest rumor involving Pitino has him back in the NBA as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.

Insiders Think John Wall will be a Kentucky Wildcat

There is an interesting article on ESPN.com tonight that includes a few paragraphs about John Wall, the nation's top overall player according to Rivals. Wall is still undecided on his college choice and has became recruiting's top commodity. His list includes the likes of Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Baylor, Florida, Miami, Memphis and North Carolina State. While he states that he has no interest in doing so, there is even a small chance that he could use a loophole to declare for the 2009 NBA Draft.

Wall is quoted in the article as saying: "All the schools are good fits but the coach is important; really important."

The article then says:

Calipari took the Kentucky job earlier this month, and insiders think it's a matter of time before Wall follows.

While this is insider speculation, it would lead one to believe that Wall would love to play for John Calipari.

Here is the article from ESPN.com

Trevor Setty to Walk-On at Oklahoma State

Mason County's Trevor Setty has accepted an offer to walk-on at Oklahoma State next season. Setty visited the Stillwater, Oklahoma campus last weekend and made the decision to join the team. Setty, a 6'7" forward, averaged 14.3 points per game as a senior on Mason County's 2008 state championship team. He originally signed with Georgetown College but never played for the Tigers.

Oklahoma State is coached by former Kentucky Wildcat star Travis Ford.


Article from The Ledger Independent

Morehead State Signs JUCO Forward David Terrell

The Morehead State Eagles have signed David Terrell, a junior college standout from Midland College in Midland, Texas. Terrell, a 6-4, 215-pound forward, averaged 12 points and 7 rebounds last season in helping Midland reach the NJCAA Division I national championship game.

“David is a strong rebounder and a tremendous athlete who plays above the rim,” said MSU Head Coach Donnie Tyndall. “He is a very versatile athlete who can play both inside and outside and can guard three different positions as well.”

Announcement from Morehead State

Thursday, April 16, 2009

John Calipari Takes 7 Minutes of My Life


New Kentucky head coach John Calipari reminds me of an upper echelon salesman. He is the kind of talker that can ring your doorbell, show you a new vacuum cleaner and then sell you a new car before you even know what happened. If I am being totally honest, I could listen to him talk Kentucky basketball all day.

This morning, I had to make a business trip from Danville to Corbin, a 70-mile journey that takes you south on US-150 through Central Kentucky. As I was driving through the little town of Crab Orchard, I flipped my Sirius radio to the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN Radio. Coach Calipari was scheduled to call into the show at 9:25 a.m.

I listened to the end of a decent interview with Matthew Stafford, the former Georgia quarterback that could potentially be the top pick in next week's NFL Draft. Finally, Greeny explained, "He has the second best winning percentage among all active coaches in college basketball. He's one of five all-time to take two different teams to the Final Four and he is now the head coach at most storied program in the college basketball world..."

My first thought was that it was exciting to hear someone at ESPN call Kentucky the most storied program in college basketball. Then, I entered a focused trance as Greenberg asked Calipari if it had sunk in yet that he was the coach at Kentucky. Calipari responded, "You know, last night about 11:30...I'm in my office and it overlooks the practice facility court. And I have John Robic, my assistant in there and I look out the window and I go 'Robes, we're at Kentucky.' And we bust out laughing. He's like 'wow.'"

Calipari then explained to the national audience that Kentucky has always been his dream job.

"My dream was to coach at Kentucky. That's my dream."

Calipari said exactly what I wanted to hear with every question from Greenberg and Golic. He called Kentucky "the Commonwealth's team." He laid out a plan for getting better players in a Wildcat uniform. He mentioned that high school juniors were calling frequently to inquire about becoming Kentucky Wildcats. He explained how kids want to play in the dribble-drive motion offense. He talked about how great the practice facilities are.

"I wanna have fun," explained Calipari. "It's about having fun and chasing dreams."

He ended by telling the nation that within two years he wants his team to look like this season's North Carolina team - the team that just won the national championship. He wants the best players.

As the interview ended, I snapped back to reality. I quickly realized that I had driven roughly 10 miles and that I had no recollection of that portion of the trip. I had fallen victim to John Calipari's charm and zoned the outside world out during the entire seven-minute interview. I have no memory of travelling through Brodhead, I do not remember meeting any vehicles and I have no idea how fast I was driving.

From approximately 9:25 a.m. to 9:32 a.m. this morning, there was a crazed Kentucky fan unconsciously driving down a country road in Central Kentucky. He was dreaming of John Wall playing the point, Meeks and Henry filling it up from all over the court, Cousins and Patterson dominating the paint and a deep bench of talented reserves aching to get on the court. A bench that might include the likes of Hood, Miller, Orton, Stevenson, Harris, Liggins, Galloway, Pilgrim and the other Henry. He was dreaming of a new offense that is sure to light up scoreboards all around the SEC. He was dreaming of an eighth banner hanging from the Rupp Arena rafters.

I sure hope he was driving safely.

Kentucky Wildcats - Notes

A few notes to pass along tonight:

- John Calipari has purchased a house in downtown Lexington

- Daniel Orton has decided that he will definitely be a Wildcat

- Tony Delk and Scott Padgett have been added as Kentucky assistants

- John Wall has eliminated North Carolina from his list of schools

- Calipari will visit PG prospect Eric Bledsoe tomorrow

- Xavier Henry will visit Kentucky and make a decision in the next 10 days

- LaMont "MoMo" Jones has heard from Kentucky

Kentucky, Louisville Have Top 15 Recruiting Classes

The latest team recruiting rankings by Rivals.com have Louisville and Kentucky ranked in the top 15 classes for 2009. There will likely be a shakeup in the rankings as several players, including John Wall (#1) and Xavier Henry (#8), remain undecided on which schools they will attend. Kentucky currently has the fifth-ranked class with DeMarcus Cousins (#2), Daniel Orton (#22) and Jon Hood (#40). If the Wildcats sign either Wall or Henry, they will likely have the top-ranked class for 2009. Louisville comes in at fifteenth with Rakeem Buckles (#36), Peyton Siva (#39), Mike Marra (NR) and Stephan Van Treese (NR).

Currently, the rankings are as follows:

1. Villanova
2. Texas
3. Georgia Tech
4. North Carolina
5. Kentucky
6. Oklahoma
7. UCLA
8. Kansas
9. Connecticut
10. Indiana
11. Oklahoma State
15. Louisville
22. Minnesota

Rivals.com 2009 Team Rankings

Murray State Signs JUCO Forward A.J. Wilson

The Murray State Racers have signed A.J. Wilson of Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado. Wilson is a 6'6", 215-pound forward who played the last two seasons for Northeastern. He averaged 16.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game last season. Wilson led the team with 63% field goal shooting, including 32% from beyond the 3-point line.

"His ability to score is something that attracted us," Racers' coach Billy Kennedy said. "He's also capable of making the three-pointer and he can block shots."

He competed at Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C. in the 2005-06 season with current Racer Danero Thomas.

Wilson played at Saint Bernard’s High School and was named All-Minnesota Third Team after the 2004-05 season.

Announcement from Murray State

Murray State Recruiting Class for 2009:

- A.J. Wilson (Sterling, CO), 6'6" forward (Junior)
- Isaiah Canaan (Biloxi, MS), 5'11" guard (Freshman)
- Edward Daniel (Birmingham, AL), 6'7" forward (Freshman)
- Colin Slotter (Kennesaw, GA), 6'5" forward (Freshman)

Final Rivals150 List for 2009 is Released

Rivals.com has released the final Rivals150 prospect rankings for the class of 2009. There are several players of local interest on the list:

Top 10:

1. John Wall (Undecided)
2. DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky)
3. Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech)
4. Avery Bradley (Texas)
5. John Henson (North Carolina)
6. Jordan Hamilton (Texas)
7. Michael Snaer (Florida State)
8. Xavier Henry (Undecided)
9. Keight Gallon (Oklahoma)
10. Mouphtaou Yarou (Villanova)

Other Players of Interest:

11. Lance Stephenson (Undecided)
17. Latavious Williams (Undecided)
22. Daniel Orton (Kentucky)
23. Eric Bledsoe (Undecided)
36. Rakeem Buckles (Louisville)
39. Peyton Siva (Louisville)
40. Jon Hood (Kentucky)
58. Nolan Dennis (Undecided)
64. Terrence Boyd (Western Kentucky)
127. Deshawn Painter (Undecided)
141. Jordan Swing (Western Kentucky)

Complete Rivals150 Prospect Rankings for 2009

Kentucky Still Recruiting Eric Bledsoe

Marc Maggard is reporting that Kentucky head coach John Calipari has scheduled a visit with PG prospect Eric Bledsoe tomorrow. Bledsoe is #23 on the Rivals150 list and ranked as a 5-star point guard. He is the best point guard option available outside of John Wall, who is the top-ranked player on the Rivals150 list.

Kentucky is heavily recruiting Wall and it remains to be seen if the Cats will land Wall, Bledsoe or both.

Article on TrueBlueKentucky.com (Registration Required)

Tony Delk, Scott Padgett to Join UK Staff

Jerry Tipton is reporting that former Kentucky players Tony Delk and Scott Padgett will take entry-level assistant coaching positions with the team. Head coach John Calipari noted how much he likes to help aspiring coaches get started in the profession. He added that it should come as no surprise if his former players from Massachusetts and Memphis take entry-level positions while he's at Kentucky.

Article by Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader

My Thoughts: This is a move that had been mentioned around the program for several days now. I am glad that Delk and Padgett will be joining the staff and it's refreshing to see a head coach welcome former Wildcat greats near the team.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Western Kentucky Signs Two Key Recruits

Western Kentucky signed Terrence Boyd and David Laury to National Letters of Intent today, the first day of the NCAA regular signing period. Boyd and Laury join Caden Dickerson, William Green and Jordan Swing in Western's recruiting class.

"I am very excited about the effort of the assistant coaches, adding two quality players who are very talented, each in their own right. They are very good kids and two guys that are excited about being Hilltoppers and what that represents," said head coach Ken McDonald. "I think they got excited as the year went on, came here and saw the passion, and wanted to be a part of it."

- Terrence Boyd: 6'5" 230-pound shooting guard form Norman, Oklahoma; Ranked as high as 54th on ESPNU's Top 100. He is listed as a four-star recruit by both Rivals.com and Scout.com; He is ranked #64 on the final 2009 Rivals150 List

- David Laury: 6'8" 225-pound forward from Newark, New Jersey; Averaged 22.0 points and 12.0 rebounds per game for East Orange (N.J.); Averaged 26.0 points and 14.0 rebounds per game for Alif Muhammad Nia Prep School this past season

Announcement from Western Kentucky

Xavier and C.J. Henry to Visit Kentucky

Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader is reporting that highly-rated recruit Xavier Henry and his brother C.J. plan to visit Kentucky on the weekend of April 25-26. According to Carol Henry, the players' father, Kentucky is the only school the brothers will visit.

“If it was me, I don’t need to look (at UK), if I want to play for Coach Calipari,” the players’ father said. “They want to see the campus. They’ve heard a lot about it.”Carl Henry sounded anxious to finish the recruiting process. When asked if the visit should be interpreted as UK as the leader, he said. “If it as me, definitely. My sons change their minds all the time.”

Article from Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader

DeAndre Liggins is Staying at Kentucky

There had been speculation circulating through the rumor mill that DeAndre Liggins may transfer from Kentucky during the off-season. Today, those rumors were put to rest with this statement:

“100 percent I’ll be back,” Liggins said. “(Calipari) is a good coach. I like his offense. I’m ready to play for him.”

Liggins was recruited out of high school by John Calipari when he was coaching at Memphis.

Liggins admitted to Larry Vaught of the Advocate-Messenger today that he would not have returned to Kentucky if Billy Gillispie were still the coach.

“It was going to be time for me to just move on,” said Liggins. “I had already decided that.”

He added to Vaught that he is excited to play for new coach John Calipari.

“Even though he’s our new coach, you can talk to him,” Liggins, who averaged 4.3 points and 2.5 assists per game last year, said. “You can find out what he feels about you and what he wants. You can build a relationship with him.

“He just keeps telling me to keep it simple, play hard and keep a level head.”


Article by Larry Vaught, Advocate-Messenger

Article by Bobby Reagn, KYKernal.com

My Thoughts: I am encourged that Liggins feels strongly about returning and I think he has the talent to be a great success in Calipari's offense. I expect Liggins to be much-improved next season.

DeMarcus Cousins Signs His Letter of Intent at UK

Per UKAthletics.com:

Cousins signs LOI to play at Kentucky

Posted at 5:38 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

It’s official: DeMarcus Cousins is a Wildcat.
Cousins, a senior out of LeFlore High School in Mobile, Ala., has signed a national letter of intent to play with the University of Kentucky, Coach John Calipari announced Wednesday.

Full details here.

Kentucky's Patrick Patterson to Enter Name in NBA Draft

Patrick Patterson will enter his name in the 2009 NBA Draft, but will not hire an agent. This was a move that many around the program were expecting and it has now been announced officially. Patterson joins Jodie Meeks as Kentucky players that will be testing the draft waters this summer.

Source: Courier-Journal

Some quotes from UKAthletics.com:

“I just got to talk to my family, and when that time comes we’ll make a decision,” Patterson said.
Patterson pointed out that he can always decide to come back, and Calipari said he would love to have him back.

“I want to try to test the waters to see where I stand but I also do still want to come back and play with my teammates,” Patterson said. “I know the opportunities that we could have next year. I know the arsenal of the team we will have hopefully if we get a couple more players that we want to. And with Coach Calipari coaching us and leading us, I believe with next year’s team, if everybody does return, we could have something nice.”

That sounds like a guy who wants to stay. So why not just do it?

“I’ve thought a lot about it, what the team next year would be like and all the fun that we possibly could have,” he said. “I’m just doing this for myself for my best interests and for my family and just seeing how everything plays out and what happens.”

A related article from last week:

Breaking News: Patrick Patterson Likely to Test NBA Draft

Danville's Miles Kingsley Signs With Asbury College

Danville High School's Miles Kingsley will continue his basketball career at Asbury College. The 6'6" Kingsley averaged 9.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game for the Admirals during his senior season. Kingsley chose Asbury over several schools in Virgina and Indiana.

Asbury is coming off a 21-13 season and a 5th place finish in the NCCAA national tournament.

Article by Larry Vaught in The Advocate-Messenger

Centre's Jeff Mullaney Named Freshman All-American

Jeff Mullaney, a freshman from Louisville, Ky., has been named to the Division III News Freshman All-American team for his performance during the 2008-09 season. Mullaney averaged 8.2 points for the Colonels, including 41-105 (39%) from beyond the three-point line. He also contributed 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

Announcement from Centre

Out With the Taxes, In With the Recruits


Today is April 15, the deadline for Americans to file their tax returns. The IRS reports that it received 102-million tax returns as of last week, but there are approximately 20 millions people that have not mailed in forms yet.

There are tax protest rallies planned around the nation, including Kentucky. Tea Party Tax Protests are planned for noon in Lexington, Nicholasville and Frankfort according to WKYT.

Today also marks the beginning of the regular signing period in NCAA basketball. The regular signing period runs from today through May 20.

Kentucky expects big-man DeMarcus Cousins to sign his national letter of intent according to Jody Demling at the Courier-Journal. Kentucky coach John Calipari is also awaiting the decisions of several other recruits.

Louisville added four players during the fall signing period and is not expected to add any others. I will report on Western Kentucky, Morehead State, Murray State and Eastern Kentucky when the information becomes available.

Article by Jody Demling

Article from WKYT.com

John Wall Not Considering NBA Option

Speculation by ESPN's Chad Ford yesterday that John Wall might consider entering the NBA Draft through a loophole in the rules is incorrect. Jody Demling of the Courier-Journal is reporting that Wall will definitely attend college. Brian Clifton, Wall's AAU coach and mentor, states, "He is going to school."

Article by Jody Demling

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Barring Drastic Change, Daniel Orton Will Play for UK

Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald-Leader is reporting that Daniel Orton's father has stated that Daniel will remain firm in his commitment to Kentucky unless something "drastic" occurs.

"Daniel is set to go to the University of Kentucky," Larry Orton said. "Unless something drastic changes, he'll still (be playing for Kentucky.)."

Article for Jerry Tipton

My thoughts: I think Daniel Orton is a little nervous about all the change, but will ultimately honor his commitment to the Cats. He has probably given strong consideration to Kansas, but John Calipari is a great recruiter and has likely made Orton begin to feel a little more comfortable. Also, Aldrich is returning to Kansas, which could have an effect on Orton's decision.

Could John Wall Enter the NBA Draft THIS Season?

According to ESPN's Chad Ford, there is a remote possibility that John Wall could enter the 2009 NBA Draft. Here is an excerpt from Ford on an ESPN chat this afternoon:

Chad Ford: (2:12 PM ET ) He was awesome and he'll compete with Ed Davis and a few other freshmen for that. However, there is some buzz that Wall believes he might be eligible for THIS year's draft. I've been doing some digging and will be filing a story later today. The short rub is this: Wall is a 5th year senior and depending on how you read the collective bargaining agreement, 5th year seniors are eligible for the draft as long as the turn 19 in the calendar year (Wall does). The league is taking a wait and see approach. If he declares, they'll research and make a ruling. If he does declare and is ruled eligible (two big ifs) he's a Top 5 pick in this draft. Maybe Top 3.

Source: ESPN.com

My Thoughts: I think this is a highly unlikely scenario, but it is an interesting twist to the nation's hottest recruiting saga. During the chat, Wall was asked what his list looked like. He responded with: Memphis, Kansas, Baylor, NC State, Miami, Duke, Carolina, Florida. Then, he was asked if Kentucky was still a strong possibility and he responded with "yes they are..."

Three Western Kentucky Players Leaving Team

Three Western Kentucky basketball players will leave the program according to Hilltopper coach Ken McDonald. Dejan Cvoro, Uros Komadinic and DJ Magley have all been granted a release from their scholarships.

"Dejan, Uros, and DJ have all worked hard in their time at WKU and have given of themselves to make our program better," said McDonald. "They have been granted a release from their scholarships to pursue opportunities outside of WKU and we wish them nothing but the best."

- Dejan Cvoro: 6'5" guard from Belgrade, Serbia; appeared in 24 games as a freshman; averaged 1.7 points, 1.3 rebounds and 11.1 minutes per game

- Uros Komadinic: 6'6" forward from Belgrade, Serbia; played in 10 games early before a foot injury that forced him to sit out the last 24 games of the season; 2.9 points and 0.8 rebounds per game

- DJ Magley: 6'9" center from Bradenton, Florida; was a starter in 2008 and reserve in 2009; 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 34 games this year

Announcement from WKU

John Calipari Making Radio Appearances Today

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari will appear on three national radio shows tomorrow. His schedule, courtesy UK media relations:

10:20 a.m. - Dan Patrick show
11:25 a.m. - Tim Brando show
2:05 p.m. - Mad Dog Radio w/Chris Russo

Schedule from Brett Dawson, Courier-Journal

Notes from Dan Patrick Show:

- He hopes players that signed at Memphis, stay at Memphis
- Cal thinks Josh Pastner will do a great job at Memphis
- He told Todd and Barnhart that it may take up to 4 years to build the program correctly
- Taking UK job was mostly about taking over one of the nation's storied programs
- "I wanna have fun..."
- He states that he loves the path as much as he loves the prize...loves recruiting...loves practice
- On Pitino: "We're not best of friends...but I absolutely respect him as a coach..."
- He says he wants to schedule Memphis, but needs to get his team right, first.
- "We will play anybody."
- He thinks Meeks and Patterson should both test NBA Draft waters
- He's looking forward to meeting Ashley Judd

Notes from Tim Brando Show:

- Memphis was tough because he was forced to win basically every game for
- He feels that the SEC is becoming the television darlings with the ESPN contract
- On recruiting: he wants to get it back to where other recruiters are nervous when they see Kentucky walk in
- States that he would have forced Tyreke Evans to enter the NBA Draft if he were still the Memphis coach
- No question that Patterson and Meeks will improve their stocks if they return to Kentucky
- He wants his team to fresh mentally and physically in March
- States that Kentucky might be a top 5 program in college basketball AND football

Monday, April 13, 2009

Joe Crawford Has NBA Debut for Knicks

Joe Crawford saw his first NBA action against the Detroit Pistons last week. Crawford, who was signed by the Knicks out of the NBDL, played 11 minutes against the Pistons. He scored 4 points, had 1 rebound and 1 assist in his NBA debut.

Crawford is a former Kentucky Wildcat that was drafted in the second round of last year's NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He ended up in the NBDL and was called up by the Knicks for a 10-day contract. When the contract ended, the Knicks decided to sign Crawford through the end of the season.

Joe Crawford's ESPN Profile

Wildcats Placing wAll the Eggs in One Basket?


Is John Calipari starting to feel confident that he is going to get John Wall in a Kentucky uniform next season? It is starting to seem that way as point guard Eric Bledsoe decided to skip his visit to Kentucky that was planned for yesterday. Bledsoe opted to visit Cincinnati instead of Kentucky. There is speculation that Bledsoe likes Kentucky, but is tired of playing second fiddle to John Wall, who is the top uncommitted player in the nation.

Calipari travelled to Portland, Oregon over the weekend to have an opportunity to visit with Wall and Xavier Henry, another top-level recruit that is still looking for a home. Wall ranks #1 on the Rivals150 List of recruits for 2009 and those that have watched him play all concur that he will be a difference-maker for the team that lands him.

If Kentucky were to sign Wall, they would likely have the top recruiting class in college basketball for 2009. Currently, the Cats have signed Daniel Orton (#22 Rivals) and Jon Hood (#32 Rivals). They recently picked up a verbal from DeMarcus Cousins (#2 Rivals) and he is expected to sign this week when the regular signing period begins. They are actively recruiting Wall and Henry (#3 Rivals).

My Thoughts:

Based on information I am hearing, I feel there is strong probability that John Wall will be a Kentucky Wildcat in 2009-10.

Kentucky Hires Two More Staffers from Memphis

The University of Kentucky basketball program has hired two more staffers from Memphis. Chris Simmons will join the program as an athletic trainer. He has been the athletic trainer for the Memphis team the past three seasons. Simmons graduated from Memphis in 2002, worked with the Arkansas RimRockers of the NBDL and then returned to Memphis in 2006.

Lunetha Pryor will join the Kentucky staff as an administrative assistant and office coordinator. Pryor worked 22 years for Memphis before making the move to Lexington.

So far, Kentucky has hired the following individuals from Memphis:

- John Calipari, Head Coach
- Orlando Antigua, Assistant Coach
- John Robic, Assistant Coach
- Rod Strickland, Director of Student-Athlete Development/Manager
- Bilal Batley, Assistant Director of Operations/Manager
- Chris Simmons, Athletic Trainer
- Lunetha Pryor, Administrative Assistant/Office Coordinator

Article from Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader

Mid-Continent University Signs PG Tyler Huston

Mid-Continent University has signed point guard Tyler Huston to an NAIA Letter of Intent for the 2009-10 season. Huston is from Pleasant View Christian School in Ashland City, Tennessee.

MCU coach and former Kentucky Wildcat star Winston Bennett describes Huston as: "A shooter with unlimited long-range capabilities and an excellent ball-handler, penetrator and finisher."

Huston scored 1,291 points in two seasons at Pleasant View Christian School, passing the 1,000 career-point mark on January 23, 2009. He ranked in the top five in scoring in the Tennessee Mid-State area and received All-Region and All-State as a junior and senior and All-State Tournament honors in the 2008 and 2009 TACS Tournaments. Huston led PVCS to its first Tennessee state tournament appearance ever in 2008.

Announcement from Mid-Continent University

Kentucky Defeats Ohio in 18th Annual All-Star Game

Kentucky All-Stars 100
Ohio All-Stars 91

18th Annual Ohio-Kentucky All-Star Game

The Kentucky All-Stars held on to defeat Ohio over the weekend in the 18th annual "Battle at the Border" game. Mason County's Russ Middleton and Elliott County's Ethan Faulkner were named co-MVP's of the game.

Middleton led the Kentucky team with 16 points. Faulkner added 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Moore's Eric Mosley and Eastern's Chris Dowe contributed 11 and 9 points, respectively.

C.J. McCollom led Ohio with 22 points and 5 rebounds.

Ohio-Kentucky All-Star Game

Article from Jody Demling

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Where Will Jon Hood Rank?

Jon Hood will be the 16th Mr. Basketball from Kentucky to wear the blue and white of the Kentucky Wildcats. I have ranked the others based on their careers at the University of Kentucky. Where will Jon Hood rank when his career comes to a close?


1. Jack Givens (1974)

- 4 seasons, 2,038 points (15.44 PPG), 793 rebounds (6.0 RPG), Career 51.5 FG%
- Drafted #16 in 1978 NBA Draft by Atlanta
- Retired Jersey #21
- All-American 3 times; All-SEC First Team 3 times; NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player, NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player; All-NCAA Regional Team

2. Mike Casey (1966)

- 3 seasons, 1,535 points (18.7 PPG), 558 rebounds (6.8 RPG), 260 assists (3.2 APG)
- Drafted #130 Overall in 1970 NBA Draft by Chicago
- All-SEC First Team 3 times; All-NCAA Regional Team; Academic All-American

3. Rex Chapman (1986)

- 2 seasons, 1,073 points (17.6 PPG), 220 assists (3.6 APG), 134-335 3PT (40.0%)
- Drafted #8 Overall in 1988 NBA Draft by Charlotte
- All-American; All-SEC First Team twice; SEC Tournament MVP; Academic All-SEC; All-SEC Freshman Team

4. Bill Lickert (1957)

- 3 Seasons, 1,076 points (14.7 PPG), 554 rebounds (7.6 RPG)
- Drafted #45 Overall in 1961 NBA Draft by Los Angeles
- All-SEC First Team 3 times; All-NCAA Regional Team

5. Dirk Minniefield (1979)

- 4 seasons, 1,069 points (8.69 PPG), 646 assists (5.25 APG), 156 steals (1.27 SPG)
- Drafted #33 Overall in 1983 NBA Draft by Dallas
- All-SEC 2nd Team; All-SEC 3rd Team twice

6. Winston Bennett (1983)

- 4 seasons, 1,399 points (10.52 PPG), 799 rebounds (6.0 RPG)
- Drafted #64 Overall in 1988 NBA Draft by Cleveland
- Academic All-SEC; All-SEC First Team twice; All-SEC Tournament; All-NCAA Regional Team
- Redshirted in 1986-87

7. Jimmy Dan Conner (1971)

- 3 seasons, 1,009 points (11.87 PPG), 344 rebounds (4.0 RPG), Career 50.0 FG%
- Drafted #36 Overall in NBA Draft by Phoenix
- All-SEC 3rd Team twice; All-NCAA Regional Team; Academic All-American

8. John Pelphrey (1987)

- 4 seasons, 1,257 points (11.03 PPG), 469 rebounds (4.11 RPG), 327 assists (2.87 APG), 160-433 3PT (37.0%)
- All-SEC First Team; All-SEC Tournament; Academic All-SEC
- Retired Jersey #34

9. Richie Farmer (1988)

- 4 seasons, 898 points (7.61 PPG), 184 rebounds (1.56 RPG), 184 assists (1.56 APG), 147-428 3PT (34.3%)
- Retired Jersey #32

10. Randy Embry (1961)

- 3 seasons, 393 points (5.95 PPG), 115 rebounds (1.75 RPG)
- Also played baseball at UK

11. Darius Miller (2008)*

- 1 season, 191 points (5.3 PPG), 110 rebounds (3.06 RPG), 72 assists (2.0 APG)
* still active

12. Brandon Stockton (2002)

- 4 seasons, 120 points (1.45 PPG), 46 rebounds, 38 assists

13. Josh Carrier (2001)

- 4 seasons, 110 points (1.17 PPG), 61 rebounds, 28 assists

14. Pat Doyle (1959)

- 2 seasons, 12 total games played, 12 career points, 46 career rebounds

15. Todd May (1982)

- 1 season, 4 total games played, 14 career points, 10 career rebounds
- Transferred to Wake Forest early in freshman season
- Drafted in the 4th Round of the 1987 NBA Draft by San Antonio

Next: Jon Hood, 2009 Kentucky Mr. Basketball

Herald-Leader All-State Team Announced

The Lexington Herald-Leader's All-State Team has been announced. The team is headlined by Mr. Basketball Jon Hood.

2008-09 Herald-Leader All-State Team

Jon Hood - Madisonville-North Hopkins

Vee Sanford - Lexington Catholic

Richie Phares - Scott County

Elisha Justice - Shelby Valley

Jonathan Ferguson - Elliott County

Ethan Faulkner - Elliott County

Elijah Pittman - Holmes

Russ Middleton - Mason County

Ricardo Johnson - Holmes

Herald-Leader Announcement

John Wall, Xavier Henry Impressive at Nike Hoop Summit

Kentucky fans have plenty of reason to be excited about the possibility of Xavier Henry and/or John Wall playing for the Wildcats next season. Both players were very impressive at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon last night, even with the USA junior national select team losing to the World team 97-89. During interviews, both players also named Kentucky on their final lists of potential destinations.

The World team was led by Milan Macvan of Serbia, who scored 23 points. Lithuania's Donatas Motiejunas added 21 points. Croatia's Tomislav Zubcic contributed a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. It was the first victory for the World team since 1998, when NBA superstar Dirk Nowitski exploded for 33 points. The key for the World team was a 48-29 rebounding advantage.

Henry led the U.S. team with 22 points, including six 3-pointers. During an in-game interview, he listed Kentucky, Kansas and Memphis as his possible college destinations. Avery Bradley scored 21 points for the Americans. Wall, who stood out as the most explosive player in the game, had a double-double with 13 points and 11 assists. He also tied an event record with 5 steals. Wall displayed a phenomenal ability to explode with the ball. He dunked several times and even vaulted for an impressive blocked shot. Future Kentucky Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins found himself in early foul trouble, but looked good in limited minutes.

Michael Eaves, of Fox Sports, reports on his blog today that John Calipari was meeting with Wall and Henry around midnight last night at the team hotel. Coaches were not allowed to attend the actual game, but were free to meet players away from the arena. It is clear that Wall and Henry are both big-time prospects and are likely Calipari's two top remaining targets for 2009.

Nike Hoop Summit

My Thoughts: John Wall is the type of player that can come into to a college program and be a difference maker. He is a point guard that can immediately take a team over. If I am Calipari, Wall is the top priority.

Blog Archive