Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chances of Being on Scholarship at UK in 2009-10


The Kentucky Wildcats have a new coach and at least five new players for the 2009-10 season. One well-discussed topic around the Kentucky basketball program these days is which players will not have a spot on the roster next season.

Currently, the team is over the scholarship limit and it is well-known that they are actively pursuing point guard prospect John Wall. With 13 scholarships available and the possibility of 16 players on the roster, something has to give. I am going to place percentages on the chances that each player will be under scholarship next season.

% Chance of 2009-10 Scholarship at UK

Patrick Patterson (100%) - No brainer
Darius Miller (100%) - Calipari loves Miller
DeMarcus Cousins (100%) - #2 player in 2009 Class
Daniel Orton (100%) - Top 25 player in 2009 Class
Jon Hood (100%) - Top 50 player in 2009 Class; Calipari likes his skill set
Eric Bledsoe (80%) - 100% chance he plays if he qualifies; 20% he doesn't qualify
Darnell Dodson (100%) - I have to think he wouldn't be here if he wasn't here to play
Jodie Meeks (90%) - 100% chance if he withdraws from draft; 10% chance he stays in draft John Wall (70%) - 100% if he commits to UK; 30% chance he goes to Duke/Miami or elsewhere
Ramon Harris (90%) - He's a senior; I have to think he stays
Perry Stevenson (95%) - Same as Harris
Kevin Galloway (70%) - Galloway is a senior also, but he has struggled a bit in workouts
DeAndre Liggins (60%) - Academic issues could reduce DeAndre's chances
Matt Pilgrim (80%) - Good post player on both ends; likely he'll be here next season
Josh Harrellson (60%) - Wants to stay at UK, but can he work out in Calipari's system?
AJ Stewart (50%) - Probably the most likely to leave the program

Looking at those percentages:

If Wall comes to Kentucky, Stewart, Harrellson and Liggins/Galloway are likely in trouble

If Wall goes elsewhere, Stewart and Harrellson/Liggins/Galloway are likely in trouble

Some Notes:

- Calipari noted that seniors who wanted to stay would have a scholarship; the seniors next season are Galloway, Stevenson and Harris
- Liggins has the talent to play for Calipari, but it will not matter if he fails academically
- Rumors that Stewart will be gone sooner, rather than later - perhaps right after finals
- Wall seems to be a Kentucky lean and some expect him to commit as early as next week
- I've been told that Meeks will be back
- If the rumors are true on Bledsoe, he only needs a "B" in a math class to qualify
- Someone stated that Calipari will only keep two walk-ons next season (Krebs and Perry most likely)

Eastern's Chris Dowe Signs with Bellarmine

Chris Dowe, a 6-3 guard from Eastern High School in Louisville, has signed and submitted his National Letter of Intent to play for the Knights. The reigning Seventh Region Player of the Year becomes the first recruit of the year for Coach Davenport, whose team was 26-7 and made it to the NCAA's Sweet 16 this year.

"We're extremely excited to have a player of Chris's caliber join our basketball family," said Davenport. "He's a great all-around player with a balanced game, and he comes from a class program at Eastern. He's also a great match with our current players, and that's what building a team is all about," Davenport added.

Dowe averaged 14.2 points and 4.9 rebounds a game this year for the Eastern Eagles to make the Courier-Journal All-State Team among a host of other honors. He should also already have a great feel for Knights Hall, as Eastern went 7-0 on the Bellarmine hardwood this year winning won both the seventh region championship and the Louisville Invitational Tournament held at Bellarmine.

Dowe chose Bellarmine over several schools, including Fairfield, Southern Illinois, Western Carolina and Eastern Kentucky.

Press Release fro Bellarmine

Schedule Set for Asbury Basketball Camp

Press Release from Asbury:

Wilmore, KY - Asbury College will host a basketball camp for kids ages 5-15 on Monday, June 8th through Thursday June 11th. Two sessions are available, an all-day session which runs from 9am until 3pm, and a half-day session which runs from 9am until 12pm. All-day sessions are $100 per camper and half-day sessions are $75 per camper. The camp will be geared towards the improvement of offensive skills with a special emphasis on shooting technique, offensive moves, and individual workout strategies.

Asbury Head Men's Basketball Coach Will Shouse and Women's Basketball Coach Bart Flener will direct the camp along with a quality staff of instructors, including members of the Asbury College men's and women's basketball teams. Lunch will be provided for all day campers. Every camper will receive a basketball and t-shirt at the end of camp. The camp is open to both boys and girls and will have age divisions. For more information contact Will Shouse at (859) 858-3511 ex. 2476 or via e-mail at will.shouse@asbury.edu, or the Asbury Athletics Office at 858-3511 X 2470. Applications are available for download by clicking the link above and provide instructions for mailing. Applications are due by June 1st.

Download Application

Kentucky Wesleyan Welcomes Pair of Transfers

Kentucky Wesleyan has announced the addition of two talented transfers for the 2009-10 season. Breland McKnight and Marico Stinson will transfer from other schools and continue their basketball careers for head coach Todd Lee and the Panthers.

- Breland McKnight is a 6-7, 260-pound center from Illinois Central (Jr.) College in East Peoria, Illinois. McKnight will join the Panthers as a Junior and have two years of eligibility remaining. He led Central in scoring (12.4) and rebounding (6.2) last season. McKnight also shot 46.4% from the field and 70.0% from the free throw line. His 2009 accolades include first-team All-Mid-West Conference and All-Region 24 recognition and preseason first-team All-America honors.

"Breland is a big strong player that has great hands and a great touch," said Lee. "He will remind our fans of Jeff Fahnbulleh, not only with his body type but also how he plays the game.

"He is a very skilled offensive player and an excellent passer for a post player. Breland has the ability to score the ball inside and stepping out on the perimeter."

- Marico Stinson transfers to Kentucky Wesleyan from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. The 6-3, 195-pound guard will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Stinson, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, led the Sycamores in three-pointers with 71 while averaging a second-best 12.0 points and 30.4 minutes per game in starting all 31 games as a sophomore in 2008. He sat out the 2009 season as a redshirt after two seasons as a starter.

"Marico is a very good shooter but also has the ability to score in different ways," said Lee. "He put up very good numbers in the Missouri Valley Conference and we feel he will fill a need for us over the next two years. He had some big games while playing at Indiana State and he is going to immediately impact our program.”

In 2007, Stinson was named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman team where he averaged 9.4 points and 2.4 rebounds while making 54 treys in 31 games and 23 starts

McKnight Press Release

Stinson Press Release

Saturday Afternoon John Wall Videos

Will we see something like this at Rupp Arena next season?



Wall with a 40-point triple-double:

I Just Ran My First Ever 5K Race


I took a break from the basketball world this morning to run my first ever 5K race. I have always been more of a sprinter, but I decided to give it a shot as it was for a good cause. I learned the hard way that 5K is a little longer than I expected, but I managed to finish the race in a time of 35 minutes and 8 seconds. Considering that I haven't ran any in about 6 months, I am ecstatic that I finished the race.

By the way, I think I saw Danville's own sports writer Larry Vaught speeding by me, although it was hard to tell with him blistering the course. It must have been him because I heard his name called in the top three of his age grouping.

I couldn't talk them into giving me a gift for 232nd place, but my number was pulled for a door prize. I came home happy with a t-shirt, my door prize water bottle and the good feeling associated with helping a good cause.

Here is the story behind the race:

Jennie Carol Black Tarter started running in 2005. She finished the 2007 and 2008 Derby Festival Mini-marathons in Louisville, Kentucky. Her sons, Evan (9) and Mason (6), crossed the finish line, each holding her hand, on April 26, 2008 in what would be her final race. While celebrating her successful race over dinner the following Friday, Jennie collapsed after choking. Unfortunately, all efforts to help Jennie, including the Heimlich maneuver, failed. Jennie passed away on May 7th, 2008 and was laid to rest the day before Mother's Day.

To honor Jennie's love and devotion to children, her own as well as other people's children, and in celebration of her life, we are proud to present the annual Jennie Carol Memorial Mother's Day 5K race. Our goal is to continue to give to the children of Kentucky by raising money and awareness for the Backpack Kids Program in Jennie's name.

More Information About the Race

Friday, May 8, 2009

John Wall Leaning Towards Kentucky?

Well, Rick Bozich first reported today that Duke had a slim lead in the John Wall sweepstakes. Now, he is hearing that it is Kentucky:

More John Wall

Another source, another twist in the recruiting of the Next Derrick Rose.

Word I got later tonight is that UK is optimistic about getting a commitment from John Wall next week.

And when scholarships need to come open, these are the names I'm hearing that won't be back next season:

A.J. Stewart, DeAndre Liggins, Matt Pilgrim. Stay tuned.

Patrick Patterson Will Return to Kentucky

Patrick Patterson will return to Kentucky for his Junior season. I have heard this off-the-record for some time now, and Brett Dawson has confirmed it. This is super news for Kentucky basketball.

“I have the chance to graduate in three years, which is important to me and my family,” Patterson said. “I want to help Kentucky compete for a national title, and even more than that win its eighth national championship. I’m also really excited about playing for Coach Cal and developing my game in the dribble drive offense.” (Article on WKYT.com)

I have also heard that Jodie Meeks will be a Kentucky Wildcat next season, as well.

One Wall Away From History


With the addition of point guard Eric Bledsoe, the Kentucky Wildcats now have the top-rated recruiting class in the nation according to Rivals.com. The Kentucky class includes three five-star and two four-star signees, including three of the top twenty-five players in the class. This the best class the Wildcats have put together since 2004 and the team will likely have the most depth of talented players since the 1990's.

Even with the nation's top class, Kentucky continues to recruit John Wall, the top-rated overall player in the country on the Rivals150 List. Wall is expected to trim his list soon (maybe today) and Kentucky will almost certainly make the cut - along with Duke and possibly Miami. If Kentucky were to somehow land Wall, they could possess the best recruiting class (on paper) of all time. I make the distinction of "on paper" because they would have to have a great showing on the court to rival Michigan's famed Fab Five class of Webber, Howard, Rose, King and Jackson.

For now, Kentucky fans wait anxiously to see if Wall actually trims his list today. The way his recruitment has gone to this point, nothing is guaranteed. The last month has watched Wall set deadline-after-deadline on recruiting decisions - only to see them pass and be rescheduled. He has stated that he would visit North Carolina Central (that's NCC, not UNC), but then skipped that visit because he had a class to attend. He has been charged with misdemeanor breaking-and-entering when he and two minors trespassed at a vacated house. Through it all, his list of potential destinations still sits at roughly eight (maybe nine depending on what Roy Williams is up to behind the scenes). There are those that think he is a lock for Kentucky, those that think he will not be at Kentucky under any circumstance, those that are fifty-fifty and some that really care less at this point.

So, we patiently wait for the news to come...

Kentucky's 2009 Recruiting Class (Rivals' Rank):

PF DeMarcus Cousins (2)
C Daniel Orton (22)
PG Eric Bledsoe (23)
SG Jon Hood (40)
SF Darnell Dodson

Rick Pitino Says He Is "Staying put"

Responding to an Internet report that said the Louisville coach is a candidate for the Sacramento Kings job, university spokesperson Kenny Klein said he spoke to Pitino on Friday morning and Pitino said he has no intention of leaving the Cardinals.

"He's not going to the Sacramento Kings," Klein told ESPN.com's Andy Katz.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich told ESPN.com's Pat Forde, "I'm sure they're interested [in Pitino]. He's not going anywhere."

Complete Article from ESPN.com

Centre Colonels Announce Five Committments

Centre College has announced Josh Crawford, Bryon Ellis, Matt Griggs, Mitch Shover, and Spencer Wright have committed to attend Centre in the fall of 2009 and will join the men’s basketball program for the 2009-2010 season.

- Josh Crawford (Corbin High School) was a five year starter and 13th Region Player of the Year. He led Corbin to a 29-4 record and the 13th Region title, where he was named the tournament’s MVP. For his efforts, Josh was named 2nd team All-State by both the Louisville Courier Journal and the Lexington Herald Leader. Josh was invited to try-out for the Kentucky All Star Team.

- Bryon Ellis (Russell County High School), KABC 4th Region Player of the Year, is coming off a career in which he scored 1,468 career points and hit 250 career three point shots. During his senior season, he led his team in points per game, three point percentage, assists, and steals. Bryon was chosen as Honorable Mention All-State and was invited to try-out for the Kentucky All Star Team.

- Matt Griggs (Cincinnati Indian Hill High School) was a three year starter and named First Team All-CHL his senior season. He helped lead Indian Hill to a school record 21 wins, a CHL title, and 5th in the final Ohio State AP poll. Matt was Honorable Mention All-City and picked to play in the East/West All Star Game.

- Mitch Shover (Covington Catholic High School) was rated as the 4th best player in Northern Kentucky by area coaches coming into his senior season. As a junior he led his team to a regional runner-up finish while averaging 15 points and 3 assists per game. Mitch missed almost all of his senior year due to illness.

- Spencer Wright (Cincinnati Country Day) comes to Centre after a four year career at CCD. He was an All-Miami Valley Conference selection as well as a member of the All-Southwest Ohio District 16 (Division IV) team. Spencer will also play football at Centre, after playing tight end at CCD.

Press Release from Centre

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Did CBS College Sports Report a Story from March?


It appears that CBS College Sports created a meltdown throughout the Big Blue Nation tonight when they scrolled across the screen "Kentucky SO F Patrick Patterson will reportedly return to school for his junior season."

A guy that I generally trust without question on UK basketball information called and stated that Patterson was returning to Kentucky. I went ahead and reported it on my website along with everyone else that saw the CBS scroll. The Internet exploded with Patterson reports for several minutes.

Then, we learned that there may have been some "media confusion" and that the original report was based on an article from March. I'm not sure how that happened, but it seems to have happened. My friend texted me that he made the mistake of trusting the CBS report, as well.

To make a long story short, CBS College Sports may have had a "fail" moment tonight. Patterson may return to Kentucky (I still believe he will, by the way), but for now, the reports are likely false.

Patrick Patterson Returning to Kentucky?


I am hearing that Patrick Patterson will be withdrawing from the NBA Draft and returning to Kentucky.

Stay tuned...

UPDATE: CBS College Sports is reporting that Patterson will be returning to Kentucky, as well.
Here is the scroll ----------------------------->

UPDATE #2: CBS College Sports is still reporting that Patterson will return to UK, but there is nothing official, yet. I talked to a good source on UK basketball and he says that someone is trying to scoop the story on Patterson, but there is nothing official.

I personally think that Patterson will return to Kentucky, but I am going to consider it a rumor for now.

UPDATE #3: TCP's May is reporting that there may have been some "media confusion" that led to a false announcement on Patterson. I'm going to stick with it being a rumor for the time being.

Rick Pitino to the Sacramento Kings?

Per Yahoo Sports:

Rick Pitino has emerged as a candidate for the Sacramento Kings' coaching job, multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Pitino has communicated his interest in a possible NBA return to Kings ownership, sources say, and one league official describes the Maloof family as “intrigued.”

It is believed that Pitino intermediaries initiated the contact. No Kings offer is imminent and so far conversations have been exploratory in nature.

Complete Article

This could explain some of the rumors going around the Bluegrass state.

Louisville Cardinals: Press Conference Tomorrow?

The Louisville Cardinals will be holding a press conference tomorrow.

There are rumors circulating about the future of head coach Rick Pitino, but nothing more than rumors at this point.

UPDATE: This was just posted on C.L. Brown's Courier-Journal blog:

No truth to Pitino resignation

Despite the message board rumors that seem to be picking up steam, U of L men's basketball coach Rick Pitino is not resigning.

I just spoke with U of L sports information director Kenny Klein, who added he has been bombarded with emails asking the same thing, and he said no press conference had been scheduled for tomorrow or anytime soon.

Klein said he spoke with Pitino, who is in Florida, earlier today and Pitino actually joked to tell C-J columnist Rick Bozich that he'd be "stuck with him" for a while to come.

Pitino and Florida coach Billy Donovan will be special guests on May 15 in Sarasota, Fla., at the Dick Vitale Gala, a fund raiser for cancer research.

Rajon Rondo Receives NBA All-Defensive Honors


Former Kentucky Wildcat Rajon Rondo has been voted to the 2008-09 NBA All-Defensive Second Team. Rondo, who is playing some of the best basketball in his career during this season's playoffs, is the starting point guard for the Boston Celtics. Former Wildcat Tayshaun Prince received 15 votes, just missing the Second Team.

2008-09 NBA All-Defensive First Team

C Dwight Howard, Orlando (55)
G Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers (53)
F LeBron James, Cleveland (47)
G Chris Paul, New Orleans (36)
F Kevin Garnett, Boston (35)

2008-09 NBA All-Defensvie Second Team

C Tim Duncan, San Antonio (30)
G Dwyane Wade, Miami (26)
G Rajon Rondo, Boston (23)
F Shane Battier, Houston (22)
F Ron Artest, Houston (22)

North Carolina Writer Thinks UNC in Mix for Wall

A sports writer in North Carolina thinks that the Tar Heels could still be in the mix for highly-rated point guard John Wall. Eddy Landreth of The Chapel Hill News makes the claim that "UNC just happens to be Wall's dream school." He hints that North Carolina could make the final cut for Wall, along with Kentucky and Duke. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

"Wall has taken a different route. He is still trying to decide where he will play. A big reason he is still available is Carolina's Roy Williams has been the one coach in the country to say no (or possibly maybe if certain criteria are met) to Wall, and UNC just happens to be Wall's dream school."

"Then when Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington announced they were leaving Carolina for the National Basketball Association, a reporter asked Williams if he planned to use the scholarship that had just become available. (Twelve are accounted for by the returning players and incoming freshmen.)

Williams never mentioned Wall as he is not allowed to talk about unsigned players specifically, but the reference was obvious. Williams kept his options open by saying he would just have to wait and see what happened with the 13th scholarship."

"Nevertheless, the Wildcats are in this sweepstakes, along with Duke, and maybe Carolina."

"The arrest is, and that could be enough to make Williams say thanks but no thanks. Given that will probably end Duke's interest, if it has not already waned, the Blue Devils saying no thanks might make it even easier for UNC walk away.

Kentucky, well, who knows? The Wildcats might not care if Wall arrived in Lexington with his ball on the end of a chain, but the test score would be another issue. That one is dictated by the NCAA."

Here is the article from The Chapel Hill News

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What About John Wall?

The Kentucky Wildcats added a five-star point guard to their recruiting class today when they added Eric Bledsoe. Many fans are wondering what impact, if any, Bledsoe will have on John Wall's future. There are generally three schools of thought making the rounds on the Internet:

1) John Calipari has somehow convinced both John Wall and Eric Bledsoe that two point guards can coexist in his dribble-drive motion offense. Bledsoe stated in his press conference that he was told that he will be starting at point guard next season and seeing significant minutes. The Memphis fans, who are a very bitter bunch at the moment, continue to state that Calipari has duped Bledsoe into signing with Kentucky under false promises. I tend to believe that Calipari has told Bledsoe the truth.

John Wall is considered the top point guard in the class and he will be expecting a starting role on the team that he chooses. If you fall under this school of thought, you are expecting Wall to join the Wildcats and looking for a starting lineup that includes both players next season. Those that believe this way feel that there is a very strong chance that Wall will round out one of the greatest recruiting classes in the history of college basketball.

2) Calipari has finally grown tired of the John Wall recruiting saga and decided that he can wait no longer to sign a five-star point guard - the missing piece to an otherwise talented team. If you fall into this category, you likely feel that Calipari gave 110% in trying to land Wall, but finally ran out of patience as Wall still remains undecided. Feeling that he could wait no longer, Calipari sold Bledsoe on coming to Lexington and offered him a scholarship. If you think this, you probably consider the chances of landing Wall about 50/50 at this point.

3) Calipari and the Kentucky staff have been informed that John Wall is heading elsewhere and they focused all efforts on Bledsoe. ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb falls into this category. He states that signing another top-10 point guard is a sure indication that Kentucky will not (under any circumstance) get John Wall. If you fall under this category, you think that Kentucky has slim to no chance at landing Wall and the recruiting class is complete.

What do I believe?

I have confirmed through several good sources that Wall will trim his list to three schools soon and that Kentucky will make the final cut. The final three will likely be Kentucky, Duke and Miami, in my opinion.

I still believe that John Wall will be a Kentucky Wildcat, but I am not as confident as I was earlier in the week. I've officially lowered my percentage of John Wall coming to Kentucky to 98%.

Pikeville College Bears Recruiting Update

I spoke to Pikeville College head coach Kelly Wells this afternoon about his recruiting progress for 2009-10. He is compiling a very talented class, including several NCAA Division I transfers.

He passed along three names to remember (he is still working on at least three more):

- Jonathan Clark is a talented point guard transfer from Louisiana Tech University (Western Athletic Conference). Clark is a 6'0", 185-pound Senior from Charlotte, North Carolina. He played for Tech in 2005-06 and 2007-08. In 2007-08, Clark averaged 31.5 minutes, 9.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.6 assists per game. He shot 86.6% from the free throw line and 33.9% beyond the three-point line.

Clark's ESPN.com Player Profile

- Andre Thornton is a 6'6", 240-pound Junior power forward from Memphis, Tennessee. He will transfer to Pikeville from the University of Central Florida (Conference USA). He played his Freshman season at UCF in 2007-08 and did not play last season. As a freshman, he averaged 2.4 points and 1.8 rebounds per game for the Knights. Thornton was the Valedictorian of his Senior class at Mitchell (TN) High School and was named Ebony Magazine's Top Black High School Senior.

- Ryan Whitaker is a 6'3", 180-pound transfer from Lincoln Memorial University, an NCAA Division II program. Whitaker, who will be a Junior for Pikeville, played high school basketball for Bell County High School in Kentucky. In 2007-08, he averaged 32 minutes, 11 points and 2.3 rebounds per game for Lincoln Memorial. He shot 39% from the three-point line on the way to being named to the South Atlantic Conference All-Freshman Team. Last season, he averaged 8.6 minutes and 1.6 points per game.

Western Kentucky Basketball Camps Announced

2009 WKU Basketball Summer Camp Information

Release: 05/06/2009
by Western Kentucky

COACH MAC'S 2009 BASKETBALL CAMPS

Below are the dates for the 2009 WKU Basketball Summer Camps:

DAY CAMP 1: (June 8-11)
Camp runs Monday-Thursday
For boys in grades 1st through 12th
Camp runs 8:30 to 4:30 PM
Lunch will be provided

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD CAMP BROCHURE IN FILLABLE PDF FORMAT

DAY CAMP 2: (July 13-17)
Camp runs Monday-Thursday
For boys in grades 1st through 12th
Camp runs 8:30 to 4:30 PM
Lunch will be provided

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD CAMP BROCHURE IN FILLABLE PDF FORMAT

LITTLE HILLTOPPER CAMP (June 22-25)
Camp runs Monday-Thursday
For boys ages 4 to 7
Camp runs 8:30 to 12:00 PM
Registration: Monday, June 22, 8:00 to 9:00 AM

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD CAMP BROCHURE IN FILLABLE PDF FORMAT

ALL THREE CAMPS WILL FEATURE:

Team Play
WKU Jersey and Shorts
Award Ceremony
Individual Instruction
Picture with Coach McDonald
Contests and Competitions
Certificate of Participation
Autograph Session with Players and Coaches

CLICK HERE to download the camp brochure in FILLABLE PDF format. (Print the form and mail it to the address provided along with your $75 check made payable to "KEN McDONALD'S BASKETBALL CAMP".)

2009 Ken McDonald Basketball Camp Brochure

Morehead State's Tyndall, Buchanan Encourage Students


Elementary schools around the state of Kentucky are currently in the middle of state-mandated testing. As the husband of a 5th grade teacher, I have learned to appreciate the hard work that goes into preparing students for the testing process. There is a great deal of stress involved for students, teachers and staff around the state during the testing weeks.

I was pleased to see Morehead State head coach Donnie Tyndall and Senior player Leon Buchanan help alleviate the stress for some Mt. Sterling students recently. Tyndall and Buchanan spoke to a large group of children at Mt. Sterling Elementary school on Friday.

Here is the Morehead State Press Release:

On Friday May 1, Morehead State University Head Men's Basketball Coach Donnie Tyndall and senior captain Leon Buchanan took time out of their schedule to speak to 750 elementary school children at Mt. Sterling Elementary. They spoke as a part of a pep rally for the upcoming CATS test that elementary school children will be taking this week. This was another opportunity for the Morehead State Men's Basketball team to give back to the communities that have been so supportive.

Mary Alice Collier, the Assistant Principal at Mt. Sterling Elementary and an MSU Alum, requested that Tyndall and Buchanan come speak at the event.

"Our kids were looking forward to this event all week, and we were fortunate to be able to have Coach Tyndall and Leon speak to our children," she said. "This event was a terrific way to get ready for next week."

"This was a great opportunity for us to get out in the community and give back. Leon Buchanan is a terrific example of what can be accomplished with hard work, and it was great to be able to have him speak as well," said Tyndall.

The MSU men's basketball team has participated in numerous community service and campus events this year.

Nice Article on Former Wildcat Chuck Hayes

There is a nice article about former Kentucky Wildcat Chuck Hayes on ESPN's TrueHoop blog today. Hayes, who plays for the Houston Rockets, has earned a reputation as one of the best in the business at defending the post.

Excerpt:

"Chuck Hayes is a high priest of defending the post.

So, sure, some rebounds are nice, but the box score misses the point of Chuck Hayes.

Somebody somewhere has these stats, I'd imagine. If you post up Hayes' man, I'll bet you my laptop that man's offensive efficiency tends to be vastly lower than it is against the average defender."

Here is the Article

Special shout out to John Clay's blog for finding the article...

YouTube Version of Eric Bledsoe's Press Conference

In case you missed it or if you wanted to watch again...

John Calipari Giving Away Signed LeBron Shirts?


Coach Calipari has "tweeted" that he will be giving away three autographed LeBron James shirts soon. Here are his posts from Twitter:

"Talked to Lebron. He said I hear u r on twitter, u r crazy. He asked how can he help. I said give me 3 signed Lebron witness mvp shirts"

"I will give one to 1 of the 1st 100 followers, one to 1 of the first 5k and one to any of my followers thru Sunday (now over 17k)"

http://www.twitter.com/UKCoachCalipari

Hook me up Coach!!!

Eric Bledsoe Press Conference


Eric Bledsoe is a Kentucky Wildcat.

Press Conference Notes:

- John Wall did not factor into the decision
- Calipari told him he will be able to start
- He points out that Memphis was going after John Wall, too
- He likes Lexington
- Did Bledsoe just say that Patterson is coming back?
- Says he and John Wall can play together

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kentucky Welcomes the Nation's Top Recruiting Class

With the addition of five-star point guard Eric Bledsoe, the Kentucky Wildcats have likely reeled in the nation's top-rated recruiting class for 2009. If John Calipari manages to land John Wall, the overall top player according to Rivals, this Kentucky recruiting class of 2009 may go down in history as the best class ever. Here is a look at what Kentucky has at this point (per Rivals):

(2) PF DeMarcus Cousins 6-9 250 Mobile, AL (*****)
(22) C Daniel Orton 6-10 260 Oklahoma City, OK (*****)
(23) PG Eric Bledsoe 6-1 185 Birmingham, AL (*****)
(40) SG Jon Hood 6-6 185 Madisonville, KY (****)
(NR) SF Darnell Dodson 6-7 215 Miami, FL (****)

This is already one heck of a recruiting class. One can only imagine if this were added:

(1) PG John Wall 6-4 184 Raleigh, NC (*****)

As a comparison, the famed Michigan Fab Five, which is generally considered the greatest recruiting class ever assembled, looked like this:

(1) Chris Webber
(5) Juwan Howard
(8) Jalen Rose
(18) Jimmy King
(48) Ray Jackson

A Kentucky class that includes John Wall would give the Michigan Fab Five a good run for best class ever.

Follow Bluegrass State Basketball on Twitter

A Memorable Cinco de Mayo


I must say that I cannot look back through my life and recall anything that has ever happened on Cinco de Mayo. Today, however, has been a different story. After several years of renting, my wife and I have decided to purchase a home for our family. We negotiated a deal on a new house and today, it was accepted. Our closing date is June 24 and at that time, we will be homeowners in Danville, Kentucky.

Add the news that Eric Bledsoe will likely be a Kentucky Wildcat to the excitement of buying a house and this will be a Cinco de Mayo that I'll remember for a very long time.

What exactly is Cinco de Mayo? According to Wikipedia:

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "fifth of May") is a regional holiday in Mexico, primarily celebrated in the state of Puebla, with some limited recognition in other parts of Mexico. The holiday commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. The outnumbered Mexicans defeated a much better-equipped French army that had not been defeated in almost 50 years.

Cinco de Mayo is not "an obligatory federal holiday" in Mexico, but rather a holiday that can be observed voluntarily.

While Cinco de Mayo has limited significance nationwide in Mexico, the date is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. A common misconception in the United States is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day, which actually is September 16 (dieciséis de septiembre in Spanish), the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico.

Clark Stepp to Transfer from Austin Peay

Announcement from Austin Peay:

Clark Stepp, a 6-3 guard who played in 12 games as a freshman, has elected to transfer from Austin Peay State University.

The Pippa Passes, Ky., native averaged 0.6 points per game for the Govs in his only season.

“We are thankful to Clark for his contributions to the program,” APSU coach Dave Loos said. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

John Calipari in Cleveland Tonight

Here are a few Twitter messages from Coach Cal tonight:

"I'll be at the Cavs game tonight. You'll see me on the baseline wearing a pair of LeBron James' MVP shoes. I'm part of his entourage."

"Two of Lexington's finest came along with me, Royce Pulliam and Brent Rice"

"When they interview me, which I imagine they will, I'll rub my eye to say hello to all my followers."

Calipari is nearing 17,000 followers on his account. You can follow him here:

http://twitter.com/UKCoachCalipari

Eric Bledsoe to Kentucky


I have confirmed with a valid source that unless something changes drastically, Eric Bledsoe will announce his intentions to play basketball for the Kentucky Wildcats tomorrow morning at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

I will have more as the evening progresses.

UPDATE: MemphisRoar.com says Bledsoe to UK, too
UPDATE #2: Jerry Meyer and Rivals are confirming Bledsoe to UK
UPDATE #3: ZagsBlog.com is on the Bledsoe wagon
FINAL UPDATE: Bledsoe confirms that my source was accurate. He is a Kentucky Wildcat.

A Couple of Quick High School Notes and Signings

- Jody Demling is reporting that Aaron Cosby will transfer from Jeffersontown and finish his prep career at Northfield (Mass.) Mount Hermon School. He will reclassify and play two seasons at Mount Hermon and be recruited for the Class of 2011. The 6-2 Cosby is considered one of the top high school players in Kentucky.

- Mike Satterwhite, a 6-8 post player from Western Hills will play college basketball at Transylvania University next season.

- Brian Gish of Newport Central Catholic has committed to play for West Virginia Wesleyan College, an NCAA Division II team

Some More Memphis Scare Tactics for Eric Bledsoe

The rumors are floating around this morning that Eric Bledsoe will be a Kentucky Wildcat next season. Dan Wolken at TheMemphisEdge.com would like to convince Bledsoe that he'll be "playing 8-10 minutes per game next season at Kentucky..." next season in the shadow of John Wall. Then, he'll be "fighting it out with Brandon Knight in 2010-11..."

It sounds like Wolken is well aware, if not a little bitter, that John Calipari will be bringing top-level talent to Lexington. Here are some excerpts from the article:

"Kentucky has been trying to sell Bledsoe on the idea that he and Wall can co-exist in the same backcourt next season. History, however, does not support this claim."

For evidence, just look at the 2007-08 Memphis team that featured Derrick Rose and Andre Allen, who had been the primary point guard for two Elite Eight runs before Rose’s arrival."

"Playing behind Rose, Allen grew so frustrated he was ready to quit the team two-thirds through the season and only remained after an intervention by his mentor, Ken Bennett."

"When the stakes were high, Rose played and Allen didn’t. Just like the year before, when Allen ran the team in crunch time and Willie Kemp didn’t"

"Bledsoe doesn’t need to be anyone’s backup. And yet, that’s probably what he would be at Kentucky."

"If Bledsoe is content playing 8-10 minutes per game next season at Kentucky - and yes, I’m assuming Wall is headed to Kentucky because he IS headed to Kentucky despite the public waffling - then fighting it out with Brandon Knight in 2010-11, that’s his decision. But all things considered, it probably wouldn’t be the right one for his career."

Here's the Complete Article

Source: Eric Bledsoe Has Chosen Kentucky

An article appearing in The Birmingham News this morning quotes as least one source as saying that Eric Bledsoe will be a Kentucky Wildcat.

Excerpt:

"Another person familiar with Bledsoe's thinking said he believes the No. 1 Birmingham News Super Senior has chosen Kentucky..."

Here is the Article

UPDATE: I have been asking around but still have not found anything that I would call credible on this situation. At this point, it could still go either way. I hesitate in calling "another person familiar with Bledsoe's thinking" a valid source. I will say that the signs would seem to indicate that Bledsoe will be going to Kentucky, but I'm still waiting on something a little more solid.

UPDATE #2: Gary Parrish of CBSSports: "All indications are Eric Bledsoe to Kentucky..."

Misdemeanor Unlikely to Damage Wall's Recruitment

The major players on John Wall's list are unlikely to shy away after he received a minor charge of breaking and entering last week. Dave Telep, the national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, and Bob Gibbons, the analyst for All-Star Sports recruiting service, agreed a misdemeanor charge probably wouldn't deter most of the eight programs on Wall's list of potential schools.

"I think as long as things stay status quo and nothing else comes of this, I don't believe it will have much effect, if any, on his recruitment," Telep said.

Anna E. Smith, Wall's attorney, said, "Mr. Wall was never arrested. He was simply given a citation. And we are fully cooperating with the DA's office to resolve this matter as soon as possible."

Telep said schools aren't likely to stop recruiting Wall on the basis of the citation.

Wall is a five-star point guard that is widely considered the top overall player in the 2009 recruiting class. His recruitment has developed into a marathon and his long list of schools includes Kentucky, North Carolina State, Duke, Miami, Kansas, Florida, Baylor and Memphis. The criminal charge is just the latest twist in the journey that has even included a potential visit to North Carolina Central.

Source: The News & Observer

My Thoughts on Eric Bledsoe


Eric Bledsoe will announce Wednesday that he will play his college basketball for either the Memphis Tigers or the Kentucky Wildcats. Bledsoe, a five-star point guard that is #23 on the Rivals150 List, visited Memphis late last week and Lexington over the weekend. His high school coach has stated that the decision has already been made and Bledsoe knows where he is going.

So, Kentucky's Big Blue Nation is anxiously awaiting 11:00 AM or so Wednesday morning when Bledsoe announces his intentions. For the record, I think the news will break "unofficially" before the end of the day tomorrow, which often happens in these situations.

What is my opinion?

My gut instinct wants to tell me that he will be a Tiger, but if I were betting, my money would be on the Wildcats. Several sources have stated that Bledsoe has desired to play for Kentucky for several weeks now, but did not particularly enjoy playing "second fiddle" to John Wall. I think John Calipari has sold him on being a Wildcat regardless of what Wall decides and I also believe that Calipari has made Bledsoe feel "wanted" during the past two weeks.

I think Eric Bledsoe will be a Kentucky Wildcat.

The bigger issue may be whether or not Bledsoe will be qualified academically to play at either school in the fall. I have heard that he will have a chance if he makes successful academic progress during summer school, but it is definitely not a lock at this point.

Monday, May 4, 2009

How David Beats Goliath Using the Full Court Press

There is an interesting article on the NewYorker.com today that breaks down how weaker teams use a full court press to defeat more talented teams. The article will be of particular interest to Kentucky and Louisville fans as it includes several paragraphs about one of the masters of coaching the full court press - Rick Pitino.

Here is an excerpt where Pitino discusses the Kentucky Wildcats 1996 team:

“The greatest example of the press I’ve ever coached was my Kentucky team in ’96, when we played L.S.U.,” Pitino said. He was at the athletic building at the University of Louisville, in a small room filled with television screens, where he watches tapes of opponents’ games. “Do we have that tape?” Pitino called out to an assistant. He pulled a chair up close to one of the monitors. The game began with Kentucky stealing the ball from L.S.U., deep in L.S.U.’s end. Immediately, the ball was passed to Antoine Walker, who cut to the basket for a layup. L.S.U. got the ball back. Kentucky stole it again. Another easy basket by Walker. “Walker had almost thirty points at halftime,” Pitino said. “He dunked it almost every time. When we steal, he just runs to the basket.” The Kentucky players were lightning quick and long-armed, and swarmed around the L.S.U. players, arms flailing. It was mayhem. Five minutes in, it was clear that L.S.U. was panicking.

“We had eighty-six points at halftime,” Pitino went on—eighty-six points being, of course, what college basketball teams typically score in an entire game. “And I think we’d forced twenty-three turnovers at halftime,” twenty-three turnovers being what college basketball teams might force in two games. “I love watching this,” Pitino said. He had a faraway look in his eyes. “Every day, you dream about getting a team like this again.” So why are there no more than a handful of college teams who use the full-court press the way Pitino does?

Here is the complete article

Eric Bledsoe "Knows where he's going"


"He knows where he's going,'' Parker High School head coach Maurice Ford said. "He told me he'll tell me today when he gets off the plane.''

"He" is Eric Bledsoe, a talented point guard from Parker High School that has narrowed his college choice down to Kentucky or Memphis. Bledsoe, who is #23 on the Rivals150 list, has announced that he will make his choice public on Wednesday. Bledsoe visited Memphis late last week and Lexington over the weekend.

The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 20.3 points per game, 9.4 rebounds and 11.5 assists per game during the season.


Photo: Mark Almond, Birmingham News

John Wall Charged With Breaking and Entering


The recruiting saga that is John Wall has taken an unforeseen Add Imageturn - Wall has been criminally charge with breaking and entering. Wall, 18, was charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering in connection with an April 27 break-in at an unoccupied home at 3924 Laurel Glen Drive in Raleigh.

An officer saw Wall leaving the rear of the home and was able to detain him. Police state that there was no forced entry and no indication that anything was taken from it.

Two other people were also charged in the April 27 crime. Bria Renea Draughn, 16, was detained while walking along a nearby street. Reginald Leonard Jackson II, 17, was detained when he returned to the residence, police said.

Article from WRAL.com


UPDATE: I have been told that there is more to the story and everyone should wait before passing judgment. It seems that there is a misunderstanding and more details will be coming soon.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

One Wall of a Prediction


John Wall is the hottest topic on the recruiting trail this season. The Raleigh (NC) Word of God point guard is still officially labelled as "undecided" on his college future and currently names enough teams to make up a conference on his list of potential destinations.

Numerous times during the past several weeks, Wall has stated that he would be trimming his list to 3-4 schools soon. Each time, he has decided to wait a little longer. Last Friday, he was again to trim his list, only to announce that he would take a visit to North Carolina Central - yes that is North Carolina with a Central at the end. He then announced that he cancelled that visit due to a Friday class (that he apparently knew nothing about on Thursday?). Now, the nation waits once again as he may, or may not, trim his list to 3-4 schools tomorrow.

If tomorrow is the day that Wall cuts his list down to a more manageable number, I feel that the Kentucky Wildcats will be on the final list. In fact, I'll take it one step further and go on record as saying that I predict that John Wall will be a Kentucky Wildcat.

I base that prediction on a number of factors. First, Wall and those close to him have stated that he loves the idea of playing in John Calipari's dribble-drive motion offense, which has allowed players like Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans to explode offensively.

Secondly, I think Wall will choose a school that offers him a reasonable chance to win in what will likely be a one-season college career. That would seemingly eliminate a couple of schools from his list - perhaps Baylor, Miami, North Carolina State and Memphis.

Next, I believe Wall will want to go to a school that truly needs a point guard. The two teams on Wall's list that are in dire need of a talented point guard are Kentucky and Duke. Kentucky will have a deep and talented roster, especially if Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson return, at every position except the lead guard. Wall would almost be guaranteed as many minutes as he wants in Lexington.

There is no question that John Wall wants to go to the school that will most prepare him for the 2010 NBA Draft. Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas all have the ability to get players to the NBA, but seeing what Calipari has done with Rose and Evans has to be a factor that weighs heavily in Wall's decision. Calipari states publicly that he coaches for the players and if they are NBA talents, he wants them in the draft.

I have heard through sources close to the team that Wall has established great relationships with several of the players that will be in Lexington next season. That likely will not be a deciding factor, but it helps to attend a school where you already have friends. Wall has several friends in Lexington, already.

Lastly, Wall seems like the type of player that wants to be visible at the highest level of the game. At Kentucky, he would be playing in front of 24,000 passionate fans in Rupp Arena and will be the hot topic on all levels of media. He will surely consider the new contract that ESPN has with the SEC.

There are several schools on Wall's list that can give him a great stage, but I think Kentucky has everything to offer. That is why I go on the record right now as saying that I think John Wall will be a Kentucky Wildcat.

UPDATE: John Wall has announced that he will not trim his list today and that he should do so next week.

Elliott County's Jonathan Ferguson to Give Up Basketball

There is an interesting article in the Lexington Herald Leader today about the future of Elliott County's Jonathan Ferguson. Ferguson, the fifth-leading scorer in KHSAA history with 3,377 points, has decided that he will not pursue a college basketball career.

"Nobody knew it, but I officially decided before this season that I didn't want to play college basketball," he said last week.

"I was just burned out and tired of it all."

Ferguson plans to attend Morehead State University as "a regular student" and study pre-pharmacy.

I have known about Ferguson's decision for some time now, but decided to wait for Jonathan to make it official. I wish the young man nothing but the best in his future, whether that includes basketball or not.

Article in the Lexington Herald-Leader

Cousins, Wall Named to 2009 Courier-Journal Super Five

The Louisville Courier-Journal has named its 2009 Super Five team of the nation's top high school basketball players. The team includes future Kentucky Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins and Wildcat recruit John Wall. Wall and Cousins are joined by Derrick Favors, John Henson and Avery Bradley.

Cousins, a 6-10 big man from Atlanta, is the first Kentucky signee to make the team since Ron Mercer in 1995. Rodrick Rhodes and Tony Delk are the only other Kentucky players to make the Super Five since 1991.

Louisville signee Peyton Siva is listed on the Fifth Team.

THE 2009 COURIER-JOURNAL SUPER FIVE

John Wall Raleigh, N.C. 6-3 22.1 5.2 Undecided
Derrick Favors Atlanta, Ga. 6-9 28.1 13.3 Georgia Tech
John Henson Tampa, Fla. 6-10 17.6 12.2 North Carolina
DeMarcus Cousins Mobile, Ala. 6-10 24.1 13.2 Kentucky
Avery Bradley Henderson, Nev. 6-3 19.0 4.5 Texas

SECOND TEAM

Lance Stephenson Brooklyn, N.Y. 6-6 31.0 8.0 Undecided
Xavier Henry Oklahoma City 6-6 28.6 7.1 Kansas
Renardo Sidney Los Angeles 6-9 24.8 11.4 Undecided
Kenny Boynton Plantation, Fla. 6-3 32.0 8.0 Florida
Abdul Gaddy Tacoma, Wash. 6-3 20.0 8.2 Washington

THIRD TEAM

Dominic Cheek Jersey City, N.J. 6-5 14.1 7.5 Villanova
Ryan Kelly Raleigh, N.C. 6-10 25.2 10.2 Duke
Michael Snaer Moreno Valley, Calif. 6-5 28.1 10.7 Florida St.
Keith Gallon Mouth of Wilson, Va. 6-9 16.2 10.3 Oklahoma
Mouphtaou Yarou Rockville, Md. 6-9 19.6 11.2 Villanova

FOURTH TEAM

Milton Jennings Summerville, S.C. 6-9 20.1 8.7 Clemson
Wally Judge Jacksonville, Fla. 6-9 18.5 17.1 Kansas St.
Mason Plumlee Arden, N.C. 6-11 15.3 10.1 Duke
Dante Taylor Ft. Washington, Md.6-9 18.0 11.0 Pittsburgh
Kawhi Leonard Riverside, Calif. 6-7 22.6 13.1 San Diego St.

FIFTH TEAM

Dexter Strickland Elizabeth, N.J. 6-3 18.0 9.0 N. Carolina
Thomas Robinson Wolfeboro, N.H. 6-8 18.0 12.0 Kansas
Alex Oriakhi Tilton, N.H 6-8 17.0 10.5 Connecticut
Rashanti Harris Columbus, N.C. 6-8 19.7 15.0 Georgia St.
Peyton Siva Seattle 5-11 18.1 4.5 Louisville

Article from Courier-Journal

Second Through Fifth Teams

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