Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kentucky Wildcats' 2009-10 Roster

The signing of point guard John Wall brought Kentucky's 2009 recruiting season to a close. Now that the recruiting class is complete, it is time for John Calipari to finalize his Kentucky roster for next season. Word came yesterday that Calipari has met with three players that will not be returning to Kentucky next season. The unknown variable is whether or not Jodie Meeks will withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to college. I am going to share my thoughts on the Kentucky roster for next season.

All Potential Kentucky Scholarship Players:

Kevin Galloway 6-7 215 Sr.
Ramon Harris 6-7 218 Sr.
Jodie Meeks 6-4 208 Sr.
Jared Carter 7-2 270 Sr.
Michael Porter 6-3 198 Sr.
Perry Stevenson 6-9 207 Sr.
Josh Harrellson 6-10 265 Jr.
Patrick Patterson 6-9 235 Jr.
Matt Pilgrim 6-8 233 Jr.
A.J. Stewart 6-7 218 Jr.
Darnell Dodson 6-7 215 So.
DeAndre Liggins 6-6 202 So.
Darius Miller 6-7 223 So.
DeMarcus Cousins 6-9 250 Fr.
Jon Hood 6-6 185 Fr.
Daniel Orton 6-10 265 Fr.
Eric Bledsoe 6-1 185 Fr.
John Wall 6-3 180 Fr.
Donald Williams 6-3 205 RS-Fr.

Notes:

- Kentucky has 13 available scholarships
- Michael Porter has already decided to end his basketball career and focus on his family and professional career
- Donald Williams was already a one-season scholarship player; he will no longer be a Kentucky Wildcat
- Jared Carter graduated but could have applied for an additional season of eligibility; that will not be the case; Carter is no longer a Wildcat
- We have learned that A.J. Stewart will end his Kentucky career and transfer to another school
- It is not guaranteed at this point, but I feel strongly that Jodie Meeks will withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to Kentucky
- If Meeks returns, that is going to leave 15 scholarship players vying for 13 scholarships

The two players that will not be on scholarship figure to come from the group of DeAndre Liggins, Kevin Galloway, Josh Harrellson and Matt Pilgrim. There are unconfirmed rumors that a couple of players may have some academic issues that will make them ineligible next season. There have also been rumors that a player or two might volunteer to give up scholarships and become walk ons. One other rumor is that Calipari will significantly decrease the number of walk ons and the early favorites to stay are Mark Krebs and Dwight Perry.

Taking everything into consideration, I am going to take a guess at what the Kentucky roster will look like next season.

Kevin Galloway 6-7 215 Sr.
Ramon Harris 6-7 218 Sr.
Jodie Meeks 6-4 208 Sr.
Perry Stevenson 6-9 207 Sr.
Patrick Patterson 6-9 235 Jr.
Darnell Dodson 6-7 215 So.
DeAndre Liggins 6-6 202 So. or Matt Pilgrim 6-8 233 Jr.
Darius Miller 6-7 223 So.
DeMarcus Cousins 6-9 250 Fr.
Jon Hood 6-6 185 Fr.
Daniel Orton 6-10 265 Fr.
Eric Bledsoe 6-1 185 Fr.
John Wall 6-3 180 Fr.
Dwight Perry - Walk On
One other walk on - Mark Krebs or a current player that opts to give up scholarship

My Potential Starting Five:

C DeMarcus Cousins
PF Patrick Patterson
SF Darius Miller
SG Jodie Meeks
PG John Wall

How Will Players Fare in Calipari's Offense:

Jodie Meeks: Meeks is coming off an All-American season, which is impressive considering how things finished this season. He is a great shooter and has a knack for getting into the paint and drawing fouls. Jodie is not a bad ball-handler, but that is probably his weakest area on the offensive side of the ball. DDM Outlook: If Meeks enters an offense that gives him true freedom and allows him to explode to the basket and/or get good, open looks from outside – he could go down as one of the Kentucky’s all-time greats.
Patrick Patterson: For the most part, Patterson was Kentucky’s only hope down-low this past season. I feel that he would be better suited at a power forward position, playing alongside a true center. He has shown that he has a nice outside touch and that the can get to open spot when facing the basket. DDM Outlook: Patterson could potentially excel in this offensive scheme. The offense would allow him to play a position that is a little more natural than he has been forced to play in his first two seasons. It will be exciting to see Patrick get up-and-down the court in a fast-paced offense.
Darius Miller: Miller came on strong near the end of this freshman season. He showed that he has plenty of upside and will be a nice player for Kentucky down the road. DDM Outlook: Miller would definitely be able to adapt to the new offense. He has shown that he has a consistent outside jumper and he has been one of the better players on the current roster at driving into the paint for short jumpers and layups. Miller is athletic enough to play in Calipari’s system.
DeAndre Liggins: Liggins is a player that is hard to figure out. He showed flashes of brilliance in several games last season, but found himself on the other end of the spectrum more times than not. He appears to be athletically gifted, but seems to struggle with decision-making and staying under control. DDM Outlook: Liggins has the explosive capabilities that could make him shine in Calipari’s system. He has the speed and athletic ability to get to the rim and take advantage of the offense’s spacing. The question that remains is whether or not he has the basketball knowledge to pick up on the keys to success in the DDM.
Kevin Galloway: Galloway was the player that the fans called for all season and everyone felt he should have been playing more. Everyone, that is, except his head coach. Galloway is a physically gifted player, but his decision-making and jump shot has been suspect. When he makes the correct decision, he may be the best passer on the roster. DDM Outlook: Galloway has potential to be successful in the new offense, but he needs to work hard on outside shooting.
Ramon Harris: Harris was a solid contributor all season when he avoided the injury bug. He is generally considered the Cats’ best defender and is capable of scoring 8-10 points a game. DDM Outlook: Harris may be a bit slow to be great in Calipari’s system. He also has a less-than-stellar outside jumper. I look for Harris to stick around but see fewer minutes under the new coach.
Josh Harrellson: Harrellson was reduced to a role player for the most part this past season. He showed a little promise with his outside jumper early in the season, but was unable to make a big impact once SEC play began. DDM Outlook: I think Harrellson will have a hard time adjusting to the speed that is required to play in the new offense. He will likely be a role player at best.
Matt Pilgrim: Pilgrim is rumored to be a heck of an athlete but he is yet to take the court for Kentucky. He has sat out his required time after transferring and is looking forward to playing next season. DDM Outlook: There are to many unknowns with Pilgrim to project what he can do in the system. If the rumors about him are true, he is a pure athlete and that will bode well for him.
Perry Stevenson: Stevenson started strong last season, went through a long slump during the middle of the season and then finished up strong. He has shown a solid jump shot but has been too weak with the ball around the basket to succeed against the bigger, stronger SEC big men. DDM Outlook: Stevenson would fair much better in a non-traditional offense that doesn’t expose his weaknesses so much. I am interested to see if he can play that post position off the bench for Calipari.

Weekend High School Notes

There are a few high school notes to report this weekend:

- Chad Persinger will be the new basketball coach at Bracken County

- Maxpreps has formed a list of the top 100 Class of 2010 high school players in the nation; five Kentucky players make the list

- The Kentucky Jr. All Stars have been selected: James Berry, Donovan Gibbs, D'Carlo Hayes, Tim Henderson, Thomas Jackson, Travis Johnson, Cody Miller, Jarrod Polson, Matt St. John, Delquan Thomas, Curtis Washington, Aaron Watts

- Tyler Boyles from Raceland and Zak Metz from Bath County will play college basketball at Shawnee State University

- Jason Holland is leaving Henry County to become the head coach at Oldham County

What in the Tweet is Going On?

This morning, there were a couple of inadvertent messages sent from John Calipari's Twitter account. They read:

"Can u resend me the transfer release in an email?"

"Sorry, that wasn’t meant for you guys. More on that later."

The followers that saw the messages before they were removed began to question the meaning behind the messages. Now, Calipari has posted this:

"Pt. 1: A brief explntn on an inadvertent tweet from 2day: While all my tweets are my own, orig. thghts, my super SID edits them b4 posting."

"Pt.2 We were working on a forthcoming release about some stud-athletes and DeWayne mistakenly sent a txt meant for me, to the twitter acct"

"Pt. 3 Thank u all for understanding and I promise 2 keep tweeting. As in evrythg, there's a learning curve in these new ways 2 communicate!"

Hybrid Fishing at Herrington Lake


I have to apologize for the lack of updates this morning. I took a break from basketball to do some hybrid striped bass fishing with a couple of friends at Herrington Lake last night. We had full intentions of fishing until midnight or so, but the fishing was so good that we were loading the boat as daylight broke this morning. The picture to the right is me struggling to hold a stringer of hybrids up long enough to have a photo snapped.

If anyone is near Herrington Lake and would like details on how and where we caught the fish, leave a note in the comments section of this post.

The biggest basketball news of the day so far is the somewhat expected news that A.J. Stewart will be leaving the Kentucky basketball program. There was an interesting few moments earlier when John Calipari sent the following two messages via Twitter:

"Can u resend me the transfer release in an email?"

"Sorry, that wasn’t meant for you guys. More on that later."

The messages have since been deleted.

By the way, Coach Calipari now has 81,000+ followers on Twitter. You can follow him at:

A.J. Stewart Will Transfer

I have been told that A.J. Stewart will transfer from Kentucky and likely end up at Northern Kentucky University. Stewart saw limited action last season as a reserve and it has been speculated for some time that he would transfer.

I will have more on this as the day progresses.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kentucky Roster Cuts are Near

Andy Katz is reporting that Kentucky coach John Calipari has already spoken to three players that will not return to Kentucky next season. Katz describes them as:

But Kentucky officials had previously acknowledged that under former coach Billy Gillispie one reserve knew that he was on a one-year scholarship, another had already graduated but had a year of eligibility remaining while a third was apparently not talented enough for the SEC. There could be more attrition to come, according to Calipari. The Wildcats will need to come up with one more scholarship if Jodie Meeks withdraws from the NBA draft by June 15.

The roster will take shape at the latest by mid-June after Meeks makes his decision whether he's staying in the draft or returning for his senior season in Lexington.

The article also announces that Calipari is hoping to attract as many NBA players as possible to Lexington during the summer for workouts. He hopes to get guys like Nazr Mohammed, Tayshaun Prince, Rajon Rondo and Chuck Hayes to come back and play this summer.

"I want as many guys playing here as possible," Calipari said.

Katz also mentions that Darius Miller will be trying out for the United States Under-19 team that will be coached by Pitt's Jamie Dixon.

Here is Katz's Article

The Detroit Pistons May "Steal" Jodie Meeks from UK

The one scenario that would keep Jodie Meeks in the NBA Draft would be if he was guaranteed a spot in the first round. That possibility, which has seemed far-fetched, is now a distinct possibility. The Detroit Pistons list Meeks as one of the only two players they will consider for the 15th overall pick in the draft. They will choose either Meeks or Chase Budinger of Arizona with that pick.

Meeks himself has been stating that he will likely return to Kentucky barring a huge jump into the first round. The Detroit Pistons may stand in the way of a Meeks' return to Kentucky.

Besides the 15th pick, the Pistons also select 36th, 39th and 44th in the June 25 draft.

Stay Tuned...

Source: Detnews.com

Andy Kennedy: The SEC Needs "Kentucky to be Kentucky"

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy thinks that it is important to the Southeastern Conference for Kentucky to be one of the league's dominate teams once again. Kennedy thinks that the national perception of the SEC being "down" last season was due in large part to Kentucky's bad season.

"The Southeastern Conference needs Kentucky to be Kentucky," Kennedy said, "and I think John Calipari will most certainly take Kentucky back to the standard that's expected.

"He's going to get very good players, he's going to coach them and I'm sure they're anticipating a very high level of success."

When Kentucky is strong, getting a victory over the Wildcats carries a much greater value for its league opponents.

"If you think about it, North Carolina needs to be good in the ACC," Kennedy said. "The Pac-10, until UCLA became UCLA again, everybody was saying the Pac-10 is down. I think everybody in our league would say Kentucky--based on the sheer numbers and the passionate support--it needs to be Kentucky. And it's certainly well on its way."

Article from SportingNews.com

Tyreke Evans on Playing for Cal: "It worked out for me”

Tyreke Evans, the latest point guard to explode in John Calipari's dribble-drive motion offense, feels that John Wall made the right decision in choosing to play at Kentucky. Evans feels that he and Wall share similar traits and that Wall will also flourish in Calipari's offensive philosophy.

“It worked out for me,” Evans said of playing for Calipari.

Evans took notice of Memphis point guard Derrick Rose, who is now a superstar for the Chicago Bulls, when he came out of high school. Now, Wall has taken notice of Evans and Rose.

“It’s just that I’ve seen what coach Cal can do recently with (point guards) Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans,” Wall told HighSchoolHoop Tuesday morning. “I just feel like coach Cal can get me where I want to be the fastest.”

Evans speaks highly of Calipari's offense and he loves how the new Kentucky coach allows the players to have freedom on the court.

“He’s (Calipari) definitely gonna get John ready for the NBA,” says Evans. “He just lets you learn from your mistakes. That was a big transition for me because I began to settle down on my shot selection and started to make better decisions. I think that’s the best thing about playing for coach Cal, he lets you be free out there.”

Is it possible that Tyreke Evans was actually helping Kentucky in the recruitment of John Wall?

“It’s all about what you’ve seen recently,” says Evans. “I’m sure that all of the coaches recruiting John have developed point guards, but he might not be as familiar with them. With coach Cal it started with Darius Washington. Then Derrick Rose and then me. That lets John know exactly what he’s capable of doing, and it’s in his mind fresh because it just happened. Me and John are close friends and we talk often. I was just telling him to make the best decision for him. I feel like he definitely did that.”

One thing is for certain - If Wall follows the footsteps of Washington, Rose and Evans, this is going to be an exciting seasons for the Big Blue Nation.

Source: HighSchoolHoop.com

Pikeville College Adds A-10 Transfer Maurice Thomas


Announcement from Pikeville College head coach Kelly Wells:

Please welcome the PC Bears newest signee...

Maurice Thomas - 6'9, 225 lbs, Sr, Philadelphia, PA

Transfer: St. Bonaventure University (9.4 ppg, 6 rpg, 20 mpg, 55% FG) (Atlantic 10)
Prep School: Lutheran Christian Academy, PA
High School: Olney High School, PA

- Top 150 Prospect by Rivals.com
- Sociology Major
- Had 6 double-doubles last season
- 25 points and 11 rebounds against Richmond last season
- ESPN Player Profile

Thomas joins Jonathan Clark, Tobin Erhardt, Ryan Whitaker and Andre Thornton in the Bears 2009 recruiting class.

TGIF Videos: The Year of the Point Guard?

It is often said that great teams usually have great point guards. If that is the case, Kentucky and Louisville should be in for fun seasons. Check out the athleticism and talent of John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and Peyton Siva:

John Wall:



Peyton Siva:



Eric Bledsoe:

Bluegrass State Basketball Welcomes Tyler Young

Please join me in welcoming Tyler Young to the Bluegrass State Basketball site. Tyler will assist in providing more in-depth coverage of Kentucky's statewide college basketball teams. Tyler is very personable and will be a valuable resource to those that love the game of basketball.

Here is a little more about Tyler:

I just wanted to introduce myself to everybody — I'm Tyler, and I am a 22-year-old newspaper reporter from Wilmore.

I grew up in Lexington, where I graduated from Dunbar High School. From there I went to Asbury College and graduated in December 2007 with a bachelor's in journalism and a bachelor's in Spanish.

I covered Asbury College sports for four years, and from there I developed a big interest in small-college athletics — particularly basketball — in Kentucky. We call ourselves the greatest basketball state in the country, so shouldn't we support all of our collegiate basketball teams in the state and prove how die-hard we are? When I first saw Bluegrass State Basketball, I knew I had found a site that had the same goals I do. I'm here to help out with covering NAIA and small NCAA schools, which from what I've experienced over the last four years have much better athletes than we normally think of when considering the Transys and Brescias and Spaldings.

So any small-college fans, coaches or players can feel free to contact me with information or story ideas at tylerscottyoung@hotmail.com and I will be happy to give your school coverage on the site.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Check Out Patrick Patteron's Live Chat


You can click on the link below to review Patrick Patteron's live chat on Kentucky Cat Scratches today. Some things revealed in the chat:

- Patterson may bring the old school hair back this season; if enough fans want it

- About 98% of those that voted think Jodie Meeks will return to UK

- There were over 2,000 chatters online during the event

- Patterson loves Kentucky basketball (and Kentucky girls)

- Patrick is becoming good friends with Daniel Orton, but he has not spoken to DeMarcus Cousins, yet

- Bledsoe is the best dunker on the team that Patrick has watched so far; Wall is the best dunker that he has not watched in person

- He plans to make at least one 3-pointer a game; at least three lob dunks a game

Some interesting stuff - worth the read:

Patrick Patterson's Live Chat

Northern Kentucky Signs Erik Stenger from Cincinnati

Release from Northern Kentucky:

NKU men’s basketball head coach Dave Bezold has signed Cincinnati prep standout Erik Stenger for the 2009-10 season.

Stenger, a 6-foot-6, 192-pound forward, averaged 17.6 points per game for St. Xavier High School as a senior. He was named St. Xavier’s most valuable player and earned first team All-Greater Catholic League South honors this past season.

Stenger averaged 7.8 rebounds per contest as a senior and helped the Bombers repeat as district champions. He was also named to the Associated Press All-Southwest Ohio first team and received special mention Division I all-state accolades.

NKU posted a 24-7 record this past season and won the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament championship. The Norse, who captured the GLVC East Division title for the third straight year, also advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

Are You Ready for DeMarcus?

Here's one thing that Kentucky fans have to look forward to:



With the John Wall fiasco, many fans have forgotten about Demarcus Cousins. Remember that before Wall joined the Cats, Cousins was the highest-rated Kentucky recruit since the early 2000's.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Source: Jodie Meeks Will Return to Kentucky



Kentucky fans have not been blessed with enough good news lately (OK, that was sarcastic), so it will be nice to head into the weekend with something positive. I talked to a good friend that is close to the Kentucky Wildcats this afternoon and he confirms what many already suspect: Jodie Meeks will likely return to Kentucky for his senior season.

Meeks will possibly complete his scheduled workouts, but it would not be shocking to see him withdraw from the NBA Draft as soon as next week.

Meeks, coming off an All-American season, is said to be very excited about the transition the Kentucky program has seen with the hiring of John Calipari. Meeks has made several statements lately that would lead one to believe he was planning for a return to college and it appears that's what he will do.

My source did add one thought that should be noted: "If Jodie gets a call from someone in the NBA tomorrow saying 'you'll be our first round pick' then he'll have a decision to make. As of now, he is coming back."

If Meeks does indeed return to Kentucky, the Wildcats will be loaded with talent and are likely to enter next season as a top five team. Kentucky has already welcomed big man Patrick Patterson back to campus after he announced his withdrawal from the NBA Draft last week.

My Thoughts: I have expected Meeks to return for several weeks now. He is projected somewhere near the middle of the second round and it would take a miraculous few workouts for him to jump into the first round. My official prediction: Jodie Meeks will return to Kentucky.

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Eastern's Mike Rose Works Out for NBA's Wizards



Mike Rose, Eastern Kentucky's outstanding senior guard, worked out for the Washington Wizards on Monday.

“This is what I have been working for ever since I started playing basketball,” Rose said. “I’m glad I was able to get my foot in the door. I wouldn’t say it was the best workout I have ever done, but it was a good first step.”

Rose was joined in the workout by Villanova's Scottie Reynolds, Marquette's Jerel McNeal and UT-Martin's Lester Hudson. Wizards' head coach Flip Saunders ran the workout while several staff members were on hand to evaluate and assist in the drills.

“This is a tremendous reward for Mike to have the opportunity to work out for an NBA team,” EKU head coach Jeff Neubauer said. “It’s rare for any collegiate player to get one workout with NBA scouts. He earned this opportunity with his consistency and his ability to improve throughout his career.”

If Rose's NBA plans do not come to fruition this season, he plans to pursue a professional career overseas.

Article from Eastern Kentucky

Patrick Patterson on UK Live Chat Tomorrow

Announcement on UKAthletics.com:

LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky men's basketball player Patrick Patterson is back for another year and now he's ready to talk to the fans.

Patterson, a 6-foot-9 forward from Huntington, W. Va., will join Cat Scratches, UK's official blog on UKAthletics.com, Thursday afternoon for a live chat. Starting at 1 p.m., Patterson will chat with fans about his return to Kentucky, the Cats' latest recruiting class, head coach John Calipari and more.

Fans can participate in the blog by sending in their questions and comments while the live chat is going on. The live chat will last about 30-45 minutes. Cat Scratches will launch the blog 15 minutes before the Patterson chat is set to start to allow fans to send in their questions and comments ahead of time.

ESPN Front Page Article: Cats Clean Up


There is an article featuring the Kentucky Wildcats on the front page at ESPN.com.

Here is the article

ESPN now ranks Kentucky's 2009 recruiting class as the top-rated class in the nation. Here is what ESPN says about Kentucky:

Commits: 6
ESPNU 100 Commits: 4
Top Prospect: C DeMarcus Cousins

That loud groan heard south of Kentucky on March 31 was the collective sound of the other 11 SEC schools at the news of John Calipari's hiring by the Wildcats. Calipari's entrance made recruiting a whole new ball game in Lexington. His impact on the trail was apparent immediately with C DeMarcus Cousins (Mobile, Ala./LeFlore) committing to Kentucky soon after Calipari took over. On Tuesday, Calipari landed the other superstar of this class when PG John Wall (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) picked the Wildcats. That development, giving Kentucky two recruits ranked in the top five nationally, put the Wildcats over the top in our final recruiting rankings. This class is deep and has a couple of strong suits. One is the power forward/center positions. Cousins and big man Daniel Orton (Oklahoma City/Bishop McGuinness) give the Wildcats two of the top incoming post players in the country. With the return of Patrick Patterson, Kentucky now has a front line that can compete with the elite programs nationally. Two weeks ago, Kentucky was hurting at the point guard position. Now the Wildcats have two of the best in the class. Wall's prowess has been well documented. (He has frequently been compared to Derrick Rose.) Although he's a bit less lauded, 6-0 point guard Eric Bledsoe (Birmingham, Ala./Parker) will be a major contributor from day one in Lexington. The strong-bodied leader with the ability to get into the paint will be a key player in Calipari's dribble-drive offense. Junior-college small forward Darnell Dodson (Miami-Dade College) is long and skilled. He should give Kentucky a quality wing player who can break his opponent down off the dribble. Six-foot-5 shooter Jon Hood (Madisonville, Ky./North) will provide the 'Cats with a consistent threat from behind that will help spread the defense.

John Wall Press Conference & Notes


Press Conference Notes:

- Wall is looking very sharp in a suit and tie
- Wall is being introduced by his pastor, who is the founder of Word of God Christian Academy
- His school requires a 2.4 GPA to participate in athletics
- "I have chosen to attend the University of Kentucky."
- Reasons for choosing UK: Relationship with Coach Cal, wants to compete for national championship, wants to be a great student
- Watching Derrick Rose at Memphis was important in his decision
- He promised his dad before he passed away that he would attend college
- Florida, Kentucky, Duke and Miami were his final four choices
- He realizes there will be plenty of expectations at UK
- He wants to make a run at a national championship
- His plan is to go to Kentucky for 2-3 years; if Coach Cal decides he's ready for the NBA after one year, then he'll go
- He has received a lot of phone calls from coaches; sometimes 3-4 calls a day
- Feels UK is a great school outside of basketball
- "I do like computers. I might try to major in something related to computers."
- He chose the school that he thought was best for him; "...and that's the University of Kentucky."

Memphis: The Nation's Top Producer of Sour Grapes


The Memphis fans are upset, and rightfully so, at all that has happened to their basketball program during the past two months. They have lost one of the nation's top coaches, the nation's top recruiting class, their assistant coaches, some of their basketball office personnel and their best player. They now have a young, inexperienced head coach and, in all likelihood, are probably headed for a season that will be a little less than they have been accustomed to.

There is some good news coming out of Memphis this morning, however. They have taken the majority share of the nation's sour grape market and those in need of the tiny fruits of negativity can simply visit TheMemphisEdge.com to place orders. In fact, there is such an abundance of sour grapes in Memphis that the city will be one of America's key natural resource exporters. Memphis sour grapes can now be shipped worldwide (beware of the Somali pirates, by the way).

This morning, Gary Robinson at TheMemphisEdge.com passes along this sour message to Eric Bledsoe, a member of Kentucky's top-rated 2009 recruiting class:

"Back when the basketballs were actually bouncing, we paid periodic visits to MoonDog.com, which often had interesting posts.

MD has a new one up, with a headline many Tiger fans might find appropriate: Eric Bledsoe: Coach Calipari, You Told Me I Was The Man

His ultimate point is that John Wall’s signing with Kentucky makes Eric Bledsoe’s decision to become a Wildcat questionable at best."

The article that they are alluding to includes some great quotes:

"I’ll bet Eric Bledsoe, one of the more highly recruited prep basketball players in the nation, is feeling pretty stupid today."

"On Tuesday, Bledsoe found out he’ll be second fiddle to the nation’s most prized recruit, point guard John Wall..."

"Bledsoe might like to believe he’ll have a chance to lead the Wildcats to glory next season, but those are merely pipe dreams."

"At that time, Wall will be standing at the top of the key as the Wildcats starting point guard, and Bledsoe will be on the second team hoping to get at least 10 minutes of playing time per game."

"In fact, it’s entirely possible Bledsoe will become an afterthought among the nation’s best recruiting class, once belonging to Memphis but now residing in Lexington."

"Bledsoe will learn the grass isn’t always greener, or in Kentucky’s case, bluer. He’s about to be blue alright, blue from the fact he made the wrong decision to attend Kentucky."

The phenomenal rate at which Memphis is producing sour grapes has to be encouraging in these days of an unstable economy and financial difficulty. One can only imagine the rate at which production will increase between November and March.


Article from MoonDogSports.com

High School Notebook - 5/20/2009

- Troy Lee Thomas will be the next girl's coach at West Jessamine; Thomas coached at Green County last season and has served as head girl's coach at Rowan County, assistant at Morehead State and assistant at Fleming County

- Andrew Donovan of Franklin County has signed with University of Alabama-Huntsville; Donovan average 14 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks last season for Franklin County

- The 2009 King of the Bluegrass field has been announced: Eastern, Ballard, Trinity, Iroquois, Fairdale, Seneca, Clark County, Holmes, Warren Central, Tates Creek, Shelby County, Knott County Central, Huntsville (Ala.) J. O. Johnson, Scottsdale (AZ) Chaparral, Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern and Memphis (TN) Central; the event will be held Dec. 17-22, 2009 at Louisville Fairdale.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Upgrade: Kentucky's 2009-10 Roster Version 2.1


This document provides documentation and release notes for Kentucky's 2009-10 Roster Version 2.1

The following features are included in this release:

- 6 new recruits
- Arguably the best recruiting class in college basketball history
- Several potential All-Americans
- The talent to make the Final Four
- A preseason #1 team
- A deep bench filled with talented reserves
- A returning All-American
- Excitement in Big Blue Nation

Installation Notes:

- Upgrade brings Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson back to Kentucky
- Upgrade replaces the 2009 recruiting class of Orton, Vilarino, Hood and Tucker with the class of Wall, Cousins, Orton, Hood, Dodson and Bledsoe
- Upgrade removes Jared Carter, Michael Porter and several walk-ons
- Upgrade includes new coach, new system and new philosophy
- Upgrade revives Kentucky's Big Blue Nation
- Upgrade returns Kentucky basketball to national prominence

Technical Support:

- Send a message to: http://www.twitter.com/ukcoachcalipari

Known Issues:

- The new upgrade initially creates 17 scholarship players, but only 13 actual scholarships
- Bringing in 6 freshman creates a young roster that lacks experience
- A new coach with a new system creates a learning curve

Resolution:

There will be several patches released to resolve all known issues.

Chad Ford Projects Clark and Williams in the First Round

The NBA Draft Lottery was decided tonight and ESPN's Chad Ford has updated his mock draft accordingly. He projects Louisville's Earl Clark and Terrence Williams in the first round. He does not think Jodie Meeks would be a first round selection. Here is what he says about Clark and Williams:

Pick 14 - Earl Clark - Phoenix Suns

Position: SF
Height: 6-9
Weight: 200
Age: 21
School: Louisville

Analysis: Clark could be the second coming of Shawn Marion if he's willing to play hard every night. The versatile forward can play both the 3 and the 4, and he's amazing in transition, an excellent rebounder, an emerging shooter and capable of playing outstanding defense, even if he's not always inclined to do so.

Pick 21 - Terrence Williams - New Orleans Hornets

Position: SG
Height: 6-6
Weight: 220
Age: 21
School: Louisville

Analysis: Williams is the biggest enigma of the draft. He has lottery-pick size, athleticism and skills but was very inconsistent in putting it all together in four seasons at Louisville. At this point, he would be a risk worth taking and would fill a need for the Hornets in their backcourt.

Ford's Mock Draft

Western's Mendez-Valdez Wins Sun Belt Honor

Western Kentucky's Orlando Mendez-Valdez has been named the Sun Belt Conference's Male Student-Athlete of the Year. The award is determined by a vote of all conference office personnel based on recommendations from each of the league’s 13 member institutions.

Mendez-Valdez, who graduated and received his degree this past Sunday, was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and earned a spot on the Associated Press All-America team as an Honorable Mention selection after leading the Hilltoppers to a 25-9 record and a second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth this past season. WKU, who defeated Big Ten runner-up Illinois 76-72 in the first round, finished the 2008-09 season ranked 34th in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and 41st in the final RPI ratings. WKU also captured the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division and Tournament titles for the second consecutive year.

Press Release from Western Kentucky

Goodman: Preseason Top 25 - Kentucky's #1

With the addition of John Wall, Jeff Goodman has moved Kentucky up to #1 in his preseason rankings. Here is what he says about the Wildcats:

1. KENTUCKY

Record: 22-14 (NIT)
Losses: Jared Carter
Potential Early-Entry Departures: Jodie Meeks

Key Returnees: Patrick Patterson, Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins, Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson, Kevin Galloway, Josh Harrellson, Matt Pilgrim
Newcomers: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, Jon Hood
With the addition of my No. 1 freshman in the country, John Wall, and also Patrick Patterson's decision to withdraw from the NBA Draft, the Wildcats — as long as Jodie Meeks follows Patterson and opts to return (which he should) — are FOXSports.com's choice as the top team in the country, barely edging out Kansas. Just think about this: Two fringe McDonald's All-Americans — Daniel Orton and Eric Bledsoe — will be role players who probably won't see the floor with the game on the line. Wall and Meeks in the backcourt with a big man trio of Patterson and heralded freshmen bigs DeMarcus Cousins and Orton make this group the deepest and most talented in the nation.

Rest of his rankings:

2. Kansas
3. Michigan State
4. North Carolina
5. Villanova
6. Washington
7. Purdue
8. Texas
9. Clemson
10. Duke
11-25. Xavier, Butler, UCONN, West Virginia, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio State, Wake Forest, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Siena, California, Texas A&M, UCLA

Ten more to watch: GONZAGA, MISSISSIPPI, MISSISSIPPI STATE, KANSAS STATE, FLORIDA, DAYTON, VANDERBILT, NOTRE DAME, GEORGETOWN, CREIGHTON

Complete Article

Calipari Announces Three Assistant Coaches

John Calipari has officially announced three assistants:

- Orlando Antigua: standout player at the University of Pittsburgh, enters his second year on Calipari’s staff, having coached with him last season

- John Robic: will be in the fourth year of his second stint as part of Calipari’s staff. Prior to his three years on Cal’s staff at Memphis, Robic was an assistant under Calipari at UMass from 1990-96

- Rod Strickland: inaugural season as an assistant coach after serving as the Director of Basketball Operations at Memphis the last three seasons. A 17-year NBA veteran and two-time All-America

Source: WKYT

John Wall: Picking Kentucky "Was an easy decision."

In an article in The News & Observer, John Wall stated that picking Kentucky "was an easy decision." Wall, who has been the center of recruiting interest for several weeks, has committed to the Kentucky Wildcats.

"I had a group of great schools, and I admire them all," Wall said today. "But the relationship I had with Coach Cal [Kentucky coach John Calipari] was the biggest factor."

Wall also was being recruited by Duke, N.C. State, Baylor, Miami, Florida and Kansas. Although North Carolina coach Roy Williams telephoned Wall from the Final Four, the Tar Heels never officially joined the hunt.

Wall said Calipari has not promised him a starting role or guaranteed him playing time.

"He told me that it would be competitive, and I'd have a chance to compete for the starting job," Wall said. "I'm looking forward to graduating from high school and moving on to my college career."

By adding Wall, Kentucky cements what scout.com analyst Dave Telep said might be one of the strongest recruiting classes of all time.

"I think right now everybody’s on notice," Telep said. "This is old school Kentucky right now, and the rest of the country has been served notice. This is the real deal. These guys are coming after players, they're getting guys, and they have a powerful product to sell."

Complete Article

John Wall Press Conference

I have been told that John Wall will have an official press conference tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

The event will be held at Wall's Word of God High School in Raleigh, North Carolina.

You can watch the press conference here

Shane Howard is Opening Eyes at Brescia


New Brescia University Head Assistant Coach Shane Howard hasn't wasted any time getting acclimated to his first college coaching job.

The Bowling Green native was approached by Head Coach Joe Pechota after he saw Howard interacting with players as an assistant at Daviess County High School. Pechota told him that he wanted to meet about an assistant position with the Bearcats, but Howard refused until he decided to test himself on a spring break trip to Florida. He told Pechota that he would spend four or five days recruiting to see how he did, and in three days, he had 14 players lined up to go to Owensboro for a workout. He took the job.

Howard's biggest get has been JUCO transfer Lamarte McGhee, a 6'8" bruiser of a post player, who Pechota describes as being a football player with great touch and great footwork who led the NJCAA Division III in rebounding last season with 15 per game. His coaches told Howard that he had been recruited at defensive end by Tennessee, North Carolina and NC State. Lamarte was highly regarded as the NJCAA Division III preseason player of the year heading into this season.

Shortly after landing McGhee, Howard pulled in Garrett Stone, a JUCO transfer from Shawnee State in Scottsville, to come off the bench at the small forward spot and be a scorer.

"Shane has done an unbelievable job," Pechota said, adding that there are a couple more prospective signings in the near future. "I like the group we project to have as far as an incoming class we'll add to what we already have."

Howard, a self-proclaimed salesman with the gift of gab, has been pleased with what he's accomplished so far, and he has plans to continue to make grounds in recruiting by holding showcases where he brings in 75 players from Kentucky, Indiana, Texas and Florida. He said he already has six of the top 50 unsigned players in Texas flying up with Pacers point guard TJ Ford's dad to work out for the team.

"It's been a great ride," he said. I'm enjoying it and look forward to doing some big stuff. I'm all about making the big time where I'm at and bringing a new energy and life. I'm loving it."
Howard and Pechota were interview by Tyler Young, BSB's newest contributor.

Let's Nominate Kentucky's 2009 Recruiting Class

Here is an interesting site that I think Kentucky fans should visit:

Recruiting Class Hall of Fame

I believe it is a good time to nominate Kentucky 2009.

Eric Bledsoe Has Qualified Academically

Eric Bledsoe, the highly touted point guard from Parker (AL) High School has made the necessary grades to qualify him academically to attend the University of Kentucky.

Parker High School coach Maurice Ford said the high school will send Bledsoe's transcript to the NCAA Clearinghouse this week. Bledsoe, who scored a 17 on his ACT test earlier, Ford said, was scheduled to go through Parker High's graduation ceremonies today.

Article from The Birmingham News

John Wall is a Kentucky Wildcat


Good morning to all. I hope everyone is having a nice Tuesday morning.

Oh, by the way, John Wall will be a Kentucky Wildcat.

One of the most anxiously awaited decisions in recruiting history has came to a close. Kentucky has landed John Wall, the top overall player in the 2009 recruiting class. Wall is a 6-4, 185-pound point guard that is considered a program-changer. His skill set is perfectly suited for John Calipari's dribble-drive motion offense and he is cut from the mold of Derrick Rose. Rivals describe's Wall as:

"Blazingly fast with the basketball, Wall is an impeccable ball handler with court savvy. The right hander has a penchant for beating defenders with his left hand and can then counter with a terrific left to right behind the back dribble. Finding teammates on the move is his forte, but he is also an excellent finisher at the rim. His jumper is still a work in progress, but it is good enough to keep the defense honest."

Wall chose Kentucky over a long list of highly regarded schools including Duke, Kansas, Memphis, Miami, N.C. State, North Carolina and Baylor. Wall informed Miami coach Frank Haith Tuesday morning that he committed to Kentucky because he just wanted to play for Calipari.

The addition of Wall gives Kentucky one of the all-time great recruiting classes in college basketball history. On paper, it may be the top-rated class ever assembled.

Slam Magazine Breaks the Story

Wall's Rivals.com Profile

Kentucky's 2009 Recruiting Class

My Official John Wall Prediction (from Sunday)

Turn Back the Clock: 1992 Morehead State vs. Kentucky


Each Tuesday, we will turn back the clock to look at a game or relevant article featuring basketball history in Kentucky. Today, we take a look at a 1992 game that saw the Morehead State Eagles travel to Rupp Arena to face an improving Kentucky team.

Eagles overcome by mighty UK

Third-ranked Kentucky, talent-laden and deep, wore down the youthful Morehead State Eagles, 108-65 in Rupp Arena Dec. 19.

MSU was without the services of senior center Doug Bentz, who missed the contest due to a deep thigh bruise suffered in the Union game. Though he probably won't be 100 percent, Bentz wasn't expected to make the trip to Kansas City for Wednesday's contest against Missouri-Kansas City.

The Eagles shocked Rick Pitino's Wildcats with eight first-half three-point field goals and led at 30-29 before finally trailing 50-39 at intermission. Freshman John Brannen scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half, and sophomore transfer Kelly Wells, playing his first game as an Eagle, scored 11 of his team-high 20 in the initial half.

The second half belonged to the Wildcats. UK shot 55.6 percent (20 of 36) from the field in the second half to only 26.3 percent (10 of 38) for the Eagles. MSU which had the eight three-pointers in 14 attempts in the first half, managed only one of 11 in the second.

For the game, UK outrebounded the much smaller Eagles, 60 to 31, and the Wildcat pressure defense forced 22 Eagle turnover to only 11 for UK. Thirteen Wildcats played and all scored, led by Jamal Mashburn who tallied 24 points and also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Four Wildcats, Andre Riddick (14 points), Tony Delk (12), Jared Prickett (11), and Chris Harrison (10), came off the bench to reach double figures. Starting guard Dale Brown scored 12 points, giving UK six players with 10 or more points.

Marty Cline and Johnnie Williams, each with 11 points, joined Wells and Brannen in double figures to MSU. Williams led Eagle rebounders with eight.

"Obviously, depth was a big factor," said MSU coach Dick Fick.

"While we're always disappointed when we don't win, our situation with the very tough early schedule was planned. When we win the Ohio Valley Conference championship game some day, we will be playing a Kentucky or a Michigan State (121-53 winner over MSU earlier this season) in the NCAA tournament. Our kids need to know what to expect."

Article appeared in The Morehead News - Tuesday Morning, December 29, 1992


Notes:
- Dick Fick was MSU's coach from 1991-97, compiling a 64-101 record; he passed away in 2003
- Jamal Mashburn was one of the all-time UK greats; he had a successful NBA career and is now an ESPN analyst
- Tony Delk went on to become a Wildcat great, winning a national title on the 1996 team; he also played several years in the NBA
- Dale Brown, the JUCO transfer to Kentucky, is now working on a coaching career
- Jared Prickett has been involved in real estate in Lexington and is the new director of the KBA
- Doug Bentz scored 1,426 career points and grabbed 808 career rebounds in his MSU career
- Kelly Wells was a legendary high school player at Rowan County; he had a nice career at MSU, despite several injury-shortened seasons; he was a successful high school, winning the KHSAA state championship at Mason County; he is now the head coach at Pikeville College
- Rick Pitino is an all-time great NCAA coach; he is now the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals
- John Brannen transferred to Marshall, where he played 2 seasons; he played professionally in Europe for several seasons before beginning his coaching career; he has made assistant coaching stops at Eastern Kentucky and Virginia Commonwealth; he is now an assistant at Alabama

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kwan Waller Transfers to Kentucky Wesleyan

Kentucky Wesleyan has added talented transfer Kwan Waller, a 6-1, 180-pound guard from Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Illinois.

Waller, an honorable mention All-American last season, led his former team in scoring (18.8 ppg), three-pointers (69) and three-point percentage (39.2%) in 29 stars as a sophomore. He also averaged 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 3.2 rebounds per game in leading SVCC to a 21-10 record. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

"Kwan is a very good athlete that has the ability to score in a variety of ways," said Lee. "He is an excellent shooter but can also attack the rim and finish. He was being recruited by a number of Division I schools and also a lot of programs in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

"Kwan wants to win and compete at the national level of Division II. We have been recruiting him for a long time and think he has a chance to be a great player for us. He fills another need for us, which is an athletic scoring guard."

Waller was an honorable mention all-state performer at Auburn High School and voted the team's Most Valuable Player as a senior.

He joins Marico Stinson, a 6-3 guard from Indiana State University; Breland McKnight, a 6-7 center from Illinois Central (Jr.) College; and Jonathan King, a 6-3 guard from Trigg County (Ky.) High School as members of the 2009-10 recruiting class.

Press Release from Kentucky Wesleyan

High School News, Notes and Signings

I have plenty of high school notes to pass along tonight (few days behind):

- Greg Coldiron is the new head coach at Lafayette High School; Coldiron was an assistant under Damon Kelley at Lafayette the last three years

- Mike Flynn is the new head coach at Highlands High School; Flynn succeeds Willie Schlarman who stepped down from the position in anticipation of the upcoming birth of his first child

- Chris Hendrick from Carroll County has signed to play junior varsity basketball at Georgetown College

- James Willett, a longtime assistant, has taken over the Allen County-Scottsville basketball team

- Cory Turner and Christian Courtney from Trimble County signed to play junior varisity basketball at Lindsey Wilson College

- Robert Hammond has left West Jessamine to be the new head coach at Letcher County Central

- Geoff Cody has been named the new head coach at Paris High School; Cody is from Knott County Central High School and played college basketball at Alice Lloyd College

- JaMel Riley and Brandon Housley from Holmes will play college basketball for Cincinnati State; they join former Holmes' teammate Arrez Henderson

- Johnny Martin will be the next head coach at Pike County Central

- Knott County Central has hired Dave Fraley to coach the boy's basketball team

Calipari vs. Crean: Nothing Like a Friendly Rivalry


When John Calipari accepted the position of head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky, he immediately entered into a traditional rivalry with the Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana head coach Tom Crean happens to be a good friend of Calipari's, which spices up the rivalry even more. Although it is now a "friendly" rivalry, the two have already began taking a few shots at each other via everyone's newest communication tool - Twitter.

Originally, Crean decided to do a battle with Calipari in seeing who could amass the most followers on the social networking tool. After the first month, the results show Calipari with nearly 54,000 followers. Crean, on the other hand, is sitting at a little over 5,200 followers. Now, the two have started a friendly Tweet battle.

Yesterday, Crean posted several comments, including:

"Our recruits will be nice and warm and in a packed house. His will have to have a umbrella and hot chocolate available"

"Maybe they could have a ice skating competition rather than a dunk contest."

"I hope Nike makes velour snow suits for there players."

"They will go from the dribble drive offense to the slip and slide lawsuit."

"That should be enough to keep 50000 people warm."

"I am concerned about the tree going down because his son doesnt have a place to build his 7 room tree house."

Calipari has returned the favor with:

"My good friend at Indiana, the honorable Tom Crean, had some interesting tweets yesterday. Basically questioned my sanity."

"I will make this one statement. I am crazy, I'll always be crazy and I'll always think crazy!"

"As we start bumping up against 100k followers, lets welcome Tom's 5k followers to join us."

"By the way, it doesn't snow in Lexington in October. It will be 75 and balmy in Lexington and of course snowing in Bloomington for Madness."

Ah, nothing like a couple of good friends embarking in a bitter, border rivalry. This is going to be a fun basketball season in the Bluegrass state!

You can follow Coach Calipari here: http://twitter.com/UKCoachCalipari

Follow Coach Crean here (he needs all the help he can get): http://twitter.com/TomCrean

Billy Gillispie to Texas-Pan American?

Apparently, Billy Gillispie is rumored to be in the running for the head coaching position at Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, Texas.

Texas-Pan American is a member of the Great West Conference and is coming off a 10-17 season. The teams RPI at the end of last season was 329 on the list of 343 schools. Texas-Pan American isn't know for there basketball tradition but Gillespie has previous success in turning programs around (i.e. In his three seasons at Texas A&M the team achieved three consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in program history.)

Texas-Pan American's program is currently under an internal investigation for possible NCAA violations. So far, 28 coaches have applied for the position.

This sounds like a terrific fit for Gillispie to get back on his feet. He would be able to return to the comfortable, "home" setting of Texas, where he undoubtedly has many connections. UT-Pan American would also put Gillispie out of the spotlight so that he can focus on basketball. If he is able to turn the program around, he will then get an opportunity at a higher profile school.

Source

UPDATE: I received an update from John Clay of the Herald Leader via Twitter that UT-Pan American's final four in the coaching search have been announced; Billy Gillispie is not one of the final four candidates announced publicly. This does not mean he has no chance of getting the job, however. They could still potentially hire Gillispie if both parties like each other and an agreement can be reached.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Former Wildcats Out of NBA Playoffs

Two former Kentucky Wildcats were both victims of game 7 defeats in the NBA Playoffs on Sunday.

Chuck Hayes and the Houston Rockets were crushed by the Los Angeles Lakers by a score of 89-70. Hayes finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals in 25 minutes of action. The Lakers will advance to the Western Conference Finals to face the Denver Nuggets.

In Boston, the Celtics and Rajon Rondo were blown away in the 4th quarter in suffering a 101-82 loss to the Orlando Magic. Rondo, who put up amazing numbers during the playoffs, finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists. The Magic will compete against Cleveland and LeBron James during the Eastern Conference Finals.

Courtney Lee, who starred for Western Kentucky, is a key player for the Orlando Magic.

John Wall is Still "Weighing Options"

An article on ZagsBlog.com is stating that John Wall is still weighing his options. Last night, a radio station in Raleigh was reporting that Wall would be "announcing something tomorrow," but the only thing announced was that there may (or may not) be a decision by the end of this week. Another rumor, another week...anyone surprised?

Here is the article from ZagsBlog.com:

John Wall could be inching closer to a decision later this week.

“He is still weighing options. End of the week it sounds like,” said a source close to the situation.

As I previously reported, Wall is believed to be down to Kentucky and Miami and will choose between those two schools. His advisor, Brian Clifton, told SI.com that Duke was also still an option.

“John wants to make the best decision for him,” Clifton said. “I think John should concentrate on getting all the information he needs and getting as good a read on the situation as he can.”

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