Saturday, June 6, 2009

West Jessamine Hires Damon Kelley

Damon Kelley will be the new head basketball coach at West Jessamine High School.

Andy Katz Chats With Billy Gillispie

ESPN basketball analyst Andy Katz caught up with former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie recently. Gillispie is back in his hometown of Graford, Texas and looking to purchase a home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Here are some excerpts from Katz's chat with Gillispie:

"I've gone strong for a long time," Gillispie said. "I was a head coach in high school to a Division I coach, to a head Division I coach, and I got lucky, real lucky. It's amazing how quickly things happen. I never took a vacation. I'm not sure what to do with the down time."

On the happenings at Kentucky:

I'm the least informed of anyone," Gillispie said of knowing what was happening at Kentucky. "I don't have a computer right now, and basically just live with my cell phone. I don't watch a lot of TV news. If I would, I would have been paying attention."

On John Calipari and his successful recruiting class:

"I love Lexington. It's a neat place, and Kentucky is a fantastic place to live. I'm happy for those guys. I hope they can get every single person they can, and they will, in my opinion."

Gillispie said Calipari is "the perfect fit. He's a great recruiter and a great coach. I think it's awesome, and I'm pulling for them."

On Patrick Patterson:

"He'd been saying all along that he's going to come back to school," said Gillispie, who pulled off a recruiting coup when he landed Patterson two years ago away from Florida and Duke. "He loves it there. He's had a great experience, and it's a great place to go to school. Education is important to him. He could graduate in three years. I'm not surprised he did that."

On Jodie Meeks:

"Jodie will be great no matter what," Gillispie said. "He had one of the best years in college basketball, and that was coming off an injury-plagued season. He was fantastic. It looks like they'll have great personnel in all the spots, and that will help him."

On his time at Kentucky:

"I'm proud of everything we did on and off the court," he said.

They say everything is big in Texas. Apparently, that goes for politically correct answers, as well.

Complete Article from Andy Katz

Vacation Log: Day 1

We drove through the night and arrived in Destin at roughly 5:00 a.m. this morning. We grabbed a meal at The Waffle House and headed to the beach as our rental house check-in time was not until 10:00 a.m.

The morning started with some rest and relaxation on the beach and eight nice fish (7 ladyfish and a snook).

We are now recovering from the long night and preparing for an evening of fun at the beach.

Will and Antonio Barton to Memphis

Despite reports several weeks ago that Will Barton would commit to Kentucky, several sources are now reporting that he and brother Antonio have committed to the Memphis Tigers.

Will is a five-star, 6'6", 170-pound shooting guard and is listed at the 7th ranked player in the 2010 class by Rivals. Antonio is a 6'2" three-star point guard according to Rivals.

Will Barton had stated that Kentucky was his leader for several weeks, but pulled a shocker and committed to Memphis.

Will Barton Rivals' Profile

Friday, June 5, 2009

Time for a Vacation!

The site will be coming to you live from Destin, Florida for the next week as my family and I are taking a much needed vacation. The site will operate on a normal basis during the next week with the addition of some vacation stories and pictures.

There is not a great deal of news so far today, but that is always subject to change.

(Just as I finished that last sentence, I received news from coach Kelly Wells at Pikeville College)

Anyways, wish me luck on the drive today and be sure to add to the comments of this post if you know of anything that we need to check out in Destin or the surrounding area. I am particularly interested in fishing, good food, entertainment, stuff for kids 5 and under and anything that you would classify as just simply cool.

Remember to follow us on Twitter for breaking updates

Pikeville College Announces Staff Additions

Pikeville College head coach Kelly Wells has announced some staff additions for the 2009-10 season:

Head Coach:
Kelly Wells

Head Junior Varsity Coach:
John Biery

New Additions Below:

Assistant Coach:
Brian Kloman
2008 – Present (Owner
2007-2008 (Assistant Daniel Webster College-NCAA D3)
2006-2007 (Assistant Pfeiffer University-NCAA D2)
2006 (Volunteer Assistant Georgetown College-NAIA D1)
2002-2005 (Player Development University of Tennessee-NCAA-D1)
1998-2002 (Volunteer Student Assistant University of Tennessee-NCAA D1)
AC Reynolds High School (Asheville, NC)
University of Tennesse (Knoxville, TN) (Sociology / Sports Management)

Assistant Coach:
Matt Hurt
2008-2009 (Assistant Knott County Central High School, KY)
2005-2008 (Assistant Cordia High School, KY)
Cordia High School (Hazard, KY)
Alice Lloyd College (Pippa Passes,KY)

Strength Coach:
Jordan Compton
2008-present (Assistant WBB & Baseball Pikeville College)
Haysi High School (Haysi, VA)
Pikeville College (Pikeville, KY)

Celtics Looking to Trade Rajon Rondo?

There is speculation that the Boston Celtics are looking to trade veteran star Ray Allen and that they might also part with point guard Rajon Rondo to make the right deal happen. There appears to be a small riff involving Rondo in the Celtics' organization. GM Danny Ainge made the following statements:

"He's stubborn," Ainge told ESPN's Jackie MacMullen. "He doesn't always take direction well. He's very bright and knows what he needs to do to be successful. But sometimes he doesn't understand what the team needs to be successful."

Earlier in the season, head coach Doc Rivers said this to Rondo:

"Do you know your teammates hate playing with you? ... The point guard has to be the guy that brings energy to the team. You can't be the guy that sucks it away. Your moodiness is affecting us. Change it."

Despite having the support of several veterans, including Paul Pierce, it seems possible that Rondo could be traded if the Celtics can find a trade they like.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

What Will Jodie Do?

The lingering question on most Kentucky fans these days is "what will Jodie Meeks do?" Meeks, Kentucky's All-American scoring machine last season, has a little less than ten days to decide on returning to Kentucky or staying in the NBA Draft. The deadline to make the decision is 5:00 p.m. on June 15th.

The prevailing feeling around Kentucky circles is that Meeks is leaning towards staying in the draft. He has stated in interviews that he has thoroughly enjoyed flying from city-to-city during his NBA pre-draft workouts and the lifestyle is really growing on him.

He is currently being projected anywhere from a late first-rounder to not being selected - at all. The majority feels that Jodie will likely go in the early- to mid-second round. The NBA Draft Express site projected Meeks as the 44th overall pick following his performance at the NBA combine. With the varying range of opinions on Meeks, it is hard to get a solid grasp on where he may be selected.

Meeks has stated that if he finds a guarantee of being selected in the first round, he is going to stay in the draft. If he fails to get that guarantee, he will likely return to Kentucky. The better question may be: "what will the NBA GM's do?"

My Thoughts: My head tells me that Jodie has made the internal decision that he wants to go to the NBA and is likely going to convince himself that he is going to be a first rounder. My heart tells me that he will be back at Kentucky and help lead the Wildcats to the Final Four. For Jodie's sake, I hope he listens to solid advice from trustworthy sources. There are no guarantees for second round picks, which makes this a life-altering decision for Meeks. I wish him the best.

My official prediction: Jodie Meeks will withdraw from the draft and return to Kentucky.

Ever Wonder Why Teachers Dislike Wikipedia?

Have you ever used Wikipedia for a research paper and had a teacher/professor scold you over it?

There is a reason why Wikipedia is often considered non-credible. You see, average Joe's can anonymously update information on any Wikipedia page and make it say basically anything they desire.

Just ask ESPN's Pat Forde about it.

Vaught Says Meeks Seems Content to Stay in Draft

Larry Vaught of the Advocate-Messenger has produced an interesting article today concerning Jodie Meeks and his apparent desire to stay in the NBA Draft. Here are some excerpts from the article:

"There just weren't enough days and some of the schedules clashed. I'll just say, I have been having a lot of fun flying from city to city and I have met many very good people. The NBA GM's (general managers), assistant GM's and coaches have been great! I have been amazed and humbled at how much the NBA coaches and GM's have watched me during the season," Meeks wrote on his site.

"When I started this journey I said I would keep my options open for a return to UK. I am still pursuing my dream of playing in the NBA, but I have not closed any doors."

Vaught feels that this is bad news for those hoping Meeks will return to Kentucky. While Patrick Patterson's heart was set on returning to Kentucky, it seems that Meeks' heart is set on finding a home in the NBA.

My Thoughts: Jodie has had somewhat of a change-of-heart now that he has experienced the NBA lifestyle for a few weeks. He and other Kentucky teammates stated several weeks ago that Jodie would be returning to Kentucky. Now, he seems intent on staying in the draft. The bottom line - if he is told that he is a lock for a first round pick, he is going to end his college career.

Larry Vaught's Complete Article

Former Louisville Recruit to Work Out in Israel

Jeremy Tyler will work out later this week in Los Angeles for Maccabi Haifa Heat of the Israeli pro league.

“He’s working out and people are coming in to see him,” said grassroots basketball guru Sonny Vaccaro, who will broker Tyler’s pro deal. “The Israeli team Haifa are going to be in Thursday and Friday to interview Jeremy and work him out.”

The 6-foot-11 Tyler initially committed to Louisville but then announced he would skip his senior year of high school to play professionally for two years before entering the 2011 NBA Draft.

“It may not be the best way to get to the NBA, but it’s the best way to get ready for the NBA,” Jeremy Tyler told Yahoo! Sports.


Karen Sypher Wants to Delay Trial in Pitino Case

An attorney for the woman accused of trying to extort money from University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino wants a judge to delay her trial.

Karen Sypher faces federal charges she attempted to extort tens of thousands of dollars from Pitino in exchange for keeping quiet about an alleged criminal encounter between the two years ago.

A judge had set Sypher's trial date for June 29, but in a motion filed Wednesday, attorney Thomas Clay said he's learned of more evidence in the case, including phone records and statements from other witnesses.

Clay argued he'll need more time to prepare for trial.


Georgia Journalist Says NBA Scouts Miss on Meeks

Will Hammock of the Gwinnett (GA) Daily Post is puzzled with the scouting reports on Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks. Meeks is widely projected as a second round pick if he chooses to stay in the upcoming NBA Draft. Hammock states:

"Having seen Meeks play numerous high school games in person as well as regular college games on TV, it's tough to imagine him not being a first-rounder. Georgia's been blessed with an incredible amount of basketball talent in the last 15 years, and Meeks ranks right up there with the best of them, including some guys now in the NBA."

He thinks that Meeks may opt to return to Kentucky as a result of the not-so-bright draft forecasts that are being projected.

"If he returns to Kentucky, expect a huge season from him and the Wildcats. He will thrive in new coach John Calipari's dribble drive motion offense, then his name can reappear in the mock drafts next year."

Meeks and other prospective underclassmen have until June 15th to remove their names from the draft and return to college.

Complete Article from Gwinnett Daily Post

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Pitino Offers Louisville Job to Good Friend Ralph Willard

Rick Pitino has confirmed via Twitter that he has offered the vacant Louisville assistant position to his good friend Ralph Willard. Willard is currently the head coach at Holy Cross, but has served as an assistant to Pitino at Kentucky in the past.

Jeff Goodman at feels that it is a bad move. Here are his thoughts:

I understand Louisville coach Rick Pitino needs someone he can trust these days, but hiring his good friend and Holy Cross head coach Ralph Willard makes no sense.

Pitino confirmed via Twitter that he has indeed offered Willard the job - one that opened when Pitino's son, Richard, left for Florida.

Pitino is a proven coach who has won a national title and has been to multiple Final Fours.

With the addition of John Calipari down the road in Lexington, Pitino needs recruiters - not veteran coaches who are in the tail end of their careers and can't get players.

If I were Pitino, I'd hire either the best young coach out there - or hire someone who can get me players.

Plain and simple.

Pitino doesn't need an X's and O's guy who he can bounce things off. Not at this point in his career.

Willard isn't going to go out there and get any players. That would fall squarely on Steve Masiello and Walter McCarty.

Why not add a third big-time recruiter to the mix? Because that's the only way Pitino is going to be able to compete with his new rival: Calipari.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Update on Dakotah Euton

Michael Johnston of Louisville High School Sports Examiner conducted a Q&A with Scott County star and former Kentucky Wildcat recruit Dakotah Euton. Euton originally committed to Kentucky and head coach Billy Gillispie, but opted to re-open his recruitment with John Calipari replaced Gillispie.

Euton stated that he has spoken to Billy Gillispie several times recently and that the former UK coach would probably offer Dakotah a scholarship when he lands another job. He admits that he was upset when Gillispie was replaced by Calipari.

"I know all he plays in athletic players and he even said in his first practice, if your not athletic and can beat your man to the basket you are not going to play for me, so I knew I wouldn't play for him and that's why I de-committed."

Euton says he has been working on his athleticism and has picked up offers from Oregon State and Akron. He has also been talking to Notre Dame, Davidson, Stanford and Eastern Kentucky.

Complete Q&A With Euton

Murray State Racers Will Host Two-Day Team Camp

Press Release from Murray State:

Murray State Men’s Basketball is ready to stage its 2009 Racer Team Camp at the Regional Special Events Center Friday and Saturday.

The RSEC will stage 121 games in 36 hours as 46 teams from Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, and Alabama compete.

“We are excited to have our local teams participating at the RSEC,” MSU Head Coach Billy Kennedy said. “This gives our staff a chance to develop relationships with coaches and see local talent before next season.”

Friday’s play begins at 10 a.m. and runs to the final game of the day at 8:20 p.m.

Saturday’s games begin at 9:20 a.m. and go until the final game at 7:10 p.m.

There is no admission charge.

It's Official: Landon Slone to Morehead State

As we reported on Sunday, Landon Slone will continue his college career with the Morehead State Eagles. It has been made official this afternoon. Here is the report from

27 Sportsfirst has learned that former UK walk-on Landon Slone will transfer to Morehead State to play basketball for the Eagles.

Slone told us he informed head coach Donnie Tyndall with a telephone call this afternoon. Slone will have to sit out a year because he's transferring from another Division One school, but because of the coaching change at Kentucky he will appeal to be able to play right away.

This upcoming season Slone will not be on scholarship and will have a chance to earn a scholarship during his second season on campus.

Slone called Morehead State a great fit, Donnie Tyndall a great coach and loved every aspect of the eagle program.

The Paintsville native also considered Northern Kentucky and Bellarmine.

Jodie Meeks: Projected 44th After NBA Combine

The NBA pre-draft combine has concluded and Kentucky's Jodie Meeks is projected as the 44th overall pick in the upcoming draft. Louisville's Earl Clark is projected 14th overall and teammate Terrence Williams is projected as the 16th overall pick. Here are some of the projected picks:

1. Blake Griffin
2. Hasheem Thabeet
3. James Harden
5. Jordan Hill
6. Tyreke Evans
8. Stephen Curry
9. Demar Derozan
10. Jonny Flynn
14. Earl Clark
16. Terrence Williams
44. Jodie Meeks

My Thoughts on Meeks: It would seem likely that Meeks will opt to return to Kentucky if he cannot pickup a higher guaranteed spot in the draft. He is a "fringe" player that is close to breaking into the higher picks, but is just sitting on the outside. It is important to remember that while he is projected in the middle of the second round, it would only take one team making a firm commitment to take him higher to convince him to stay in the draft. If that does not happen, I expect Meeks to return to Kentucky for his senior season.

The complete combine statistics and projections can be found here.

Bobby Perry to Coach West Jessamine Middle School

Larry Vaught is reporting via Twitter that former Kentucky Wildcat Bobby Perry will coach the West Jessamine Middle School boy's basketball team. This will be exciting news for the kids at WJMS and plenty of fun for Perry. Here is the post by Vaught:

"Bobby Perry is the new boys middle school coach at West Jessamine. Good move by the school to do this"

You can follow Vaught's tweets at:

John Calipari Heads to China

Kentucky head coach John Calipari is travelling to China today and will be there until June 10. He is scheduled to lead a coaching clinic during his visit and will be laying the foundation for some future plans.

Calipari has mentioned the idea of bringing several Chinese basketball coaches back to the states for a brief visit. Beyond that, he intends to keep a couple of coaches in the United States during the 2009-10 season. He has also mentioned that he expects to have a Chinese recruit on the roster at Kentucky in the near future (there could be a future All-SEC performer in the image).

In my opinion, it is great for the University of Kentucky to have Calipari as an ambassador in China. He is doing an exceptional job in advertising Kentucky basketball in the states and now he will take the PR tour to the other side of the globe. In doing so, he is building a recruiting pipeline to China that has basically been an untapped resource. It is refreshing and exciting to see Calipari's innovative ideas for the future of Kentucky basketball.

Here is a list of attractions for Coach Calipari to enjoy while he is in China:

Great Wall of China: The Great Wall, built over 2,000 years and stretching over 5,400km (3,375 miles), contrary to legend, cannot be seen from space! The restored stone and brick Badaling section stands 8m (26ft) high and 6m (20ft) wide, and is the closest to Beijing, 70km (44 miles) away. A slightly less touristy section lies a little further away at Mutianyu. Here, you can take a cable car up to the wall and bobsled down. It's also possible to hike a 5km (3 miles) route along the steep Simatai section.

Forbidden City: Beijing's crowning glory is the Forbidden City, officially the Palace Museum. The imperial palace of the Ming and Qing emperors for 500 years, it is China's greatest surviving historical site with fabulous halls, palaces and gardens.

Beijing: As well as the Forbidden City, Beijing is home to a large number of first-rate attractions including Tiananmen Square, the world's largest public square; circular 15th-century Temple of Heaven; the Summer Palace imperial resort; the old city wall gates; traditional hutong alleys and courtyards; and beautiful Beihai Park.

Terracotta Army: Xi'an's Terracotta Army is made up of 6,000 ancient life-sized warriors and horses. They were buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di, who first united China in 200 BC. Also visit the Big and Small Wild Goose Pagodas and the old city walls.

Shilin Stone Forest: Take a day trip from Yunnan capital Kunming to see one of southwest China's most celebrated natural attractions. The Shilin Stone Forest's limestone rock columns resemble petrified trees

Ming Tombs: 13 of the dynasty's 16 emperors were buried in the Ming Tombs. They lie just outside Beijing and are an easy stopping off point on a day trip from Beijing to the Great Wall

Buddhist monuments: See the monumental carved Buddhist effigies of Yungang Caves, near Datong, or carved effigies and monuments in Luoyang's fifth-century Longmen Buddhist Caves. At Bingling Lamasery, near Lanzhou, you'll find 34 early Buddhist caves whilst Dunhuang's Mogao Caves have some of China's oldest Buddhist shrines

Tombs: Pay homage in Qufu at Confucius' Tomb, Temple and Mansion. Shenyang's North Imperial Tomb is where the Qing Dynasty's founding father is buried. Nanjing possesses the Xiaoling Tomb of Ming Dynasty founder Zhu Yuanzhang, and the mausoleum of China's first president, Dr Sun Yat-sen.

Shanghai: In the cosmopolitan atmosphere of economic powerhouse Shanghai, soaring skyscrapers contrast the European-style Bund waterfront, art deco laneways of the former French Concession and traditional delights like Yuyuan, an ancient Chinese garden surrounded by a touristy shopping bazaar, also home to the Temple of the City God

Suzhou: 2,500-year-old Suzhou is China's own Venice. Its streets lining the Grand Canal and famous water gardens are a delight. Gardens include the Humble Administrator's Garden and the Garden of the Master of the Nets. Buy exquisite Suzhou silk fabrics and embroidery.
- Chinese sites were taken from

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Former Hilltopper Courtney Lee is Playing for NBA Title

Press Release from Western Kentucky:

Courtney Lee, who starred at WKU from 2005-08 and earned All-American honors as a senior, has helped the Orlando Magic to a 4-2 series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers and a berth in the NBA Finals. The Magic will play the L.A. Lakers with game one slated for Thursday night in Los Angeles.

The Magic earlier defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs before knocking off defending NBA champion Boston 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Magic last reached the NBA Finals in 1995, when they lost to the Houston Rockets.

Lee was the 22nd overall selection in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft. He has seen action in 16 playoff games, starting 11, and has averaged 28.9 minutes per game. While playing solid defense, Lee is also averaging 8.8 points per game, 2.0 rebounds per game and 1.6 assists per game. He has converted 20 of his 22 free throw attempts for a sterling 90.9% from the line. Lee saw action in 77 regular season games during his rookie season, and averaged 8.4 points per game along with 2.3 rebounds per game and 1.2 assists per game.

Lee earned Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year honors in 2008 and led WKU to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title and a “Sweet 16” appearance in the NCAA Tournament. His 2,238 career points as a Hilltopper tied him with Jim McDaniels for WKU’s all-time lead.

An Official Update on Jodie Meeks

Jodie Meeks has given his own update via his website:

Norcross, GA. – Hello again and I just thought this would be a good time to take a moment and update those who are interested in what I am doing. It is widely known that I have worked out for Oklahoma, Detroit, Washington, Atlanta, and I just finished a workout with Minnesota. I don't think it is fair to share my future schedule as the teams have a right to announce for themselves who they are working out. I have not been able to schedule workouts for all of the teams that were interested in me. There just weren't enough days and some of the schedules clashed. I'll just say, I have been having a lot of fun flying from city to city and I have met many very good people. The NBA GM's, Assistant GM's and Coaches have been great! I have been amazed and humbled at how much the NBA coaches and GM's have watched me during the season.

When I started this journey I said I would keep my options open for a return to UK. I am still pursuing my dream of playing in the NBA, but I have not closed any doors.

My NBA predraft assessment was a snapshot, a picture of what the NBA saw in me when I entered into the draft. It said I could be as high as middle first round, could be late first round prior to any workouts, but as people declare for the draft it could change. I could also be as low as the early second round if the teams needs, or if other players were viewed ahead of me. I know the mock drafts didn't know that information, but it has been interesting to see people say I wouldn't even be drafted! I have only gathered input from NBA personnel. One of the GM's from the NBA shared with me that he thought I would be a better player in the NBA than I was at college, another said he thought I could be a big scorer in the pro's. One day I hope I can live up to their expectations. The input has been good. I will continue to work hard, and will make a decision prior to the deadline.

Thanks for all of your support and interest.

Follow Meeks On His Official Site

Another SAT Issue at Memphis?

Gary Parrish at is reporting what sources say was another SAT "issue" at Memphis recently. Here is Parrish's article:

On the same day that the Memphis released its response to NCAA allegations that Derrick Rose had someone take his SAT for him, sources told that Rose's former teammate, Robert Dozier, only played for the Tigers because Georgia declined to enroll the in-state product over concerns that he might've similarly had someone take his SAT.

According to a source, Dozier took the SAT once before trying to enroll at Georgia, but that score was flagged after the school received a tip that the score might be "fishy." At the time, Georgia was still dealing with charges of academic fraud under Jim Harrick and determined to be extra careful with everything. So the school asked Dozier to take the SAT again, and a source with knowledge of the situation told that the second score was "not enough to resolve the issue." Put another way, Georgia officials were not properly convinced the first test and second test were taken by the same person, which led to the end of Dozier's time as a Georgia recruit in August 2004.

Dozier subsequently enrolled at Laurinburg Prep along with four other future Tigers (Antonio Anderson, Shawne Williams, Kareem Cooper and Roburt Sallie). About a month later, he committed to Memphis for a second time -- Dozier was actually committed to Memphis before he ever signed with Georgia -- and eventually helped the Tigers make the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 NCAA tournaments under John Calipari while becoming the winningest Division I men's basketball player in history (along with Anderson and Chance McGrady).

My Thoughts: Even is there is nothing to this report, it adds on to the damaging rumors that have already been circulating about John Calipari and Memphis.

Billy Gillispie's Lexington House: SOLD

Billy Gillispie's home in Lexington has sold to a doctor after six days on the market. Article from

The house of former University of Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie has sold to a doctor with three children.

"They didn't know it was Billy's house," said Whitney Pannell, Realtor with Prudential A.S. deMovellan Real Estate, who represented Gillispie in the transaction.

Pannell could not reveal the buyer's name or the price paid. That will be disclosed after the closing, set for mid-July.

Gillispie bought the house two years ago for $1.4 million and put it on the market last week for $1.5 million.

The European-style house features a theater, library, exercise room, wine cellar, wet bar and cabana room and maple hardwood floors. It is located 4 miles south of Man o' War Boulevard off Harrodsburg Road in Forest Hills Estates.

In Jessamine County where 22 houses priced at $1 million or more are on the market, Gillispie's house sold after only six days on the market, said Pannell who was obviously pleased.

Is It Possible That John Calipari is Innocent?

Memphis has released a 63-page response to the NCAA as an answer to the allegations of "major" violations to several of its athletic programs.

The response suggests that there were "major" violations against the women's golf team at Memphis, but the attempts to drag the basketball team and John Calipari into the discussion may have been misguided.

In fact, Memphis' response to the allegations state that the school's athletics staff, including former basketball coach John Calipari, found no proof of academic fraud involving a player. The answer to each allegation is as follows:

- On the allegation that a player's grades were changed:

"Based on the interviews and the review of the documents, the university concluded that neither (the player) nor the coaching staff had any knowledge of the grade change."

- On the allegation that someone took a Memphis player's SAT coming out of high school:

"The university does not have sufficient information to conclude that (the player) engaged in unethical conduct in regard to ... taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Specifically, the university has no knowledge that (the player) did not complete the SAT."

- On the allegation of improper travel expense awarded to a player's brother:

"The university acknowledges that a portion of (that person's) travel expenses 'fell through the cracks' and was not charged in the manner it should have been ... The university believes that its failure to recognize this issue, while needing of correction, should be viewed in light of the large amount of travel reviewed here, with few mistakes found."

It appears that certain members of the media and other circles may have jumped the gun a little in going straight for John Calipari. There are many who would love to disagere, but I must ask: Is it possible that he is innocent?

Article from

Copy of the Memphis Letter

Xavier Henry is Staying at Kansas

The article on also shoots down the rumor that Xavier Henry may be leaving Kansas. Here is an excerpt dealing with Henry:

Carl Henry told that his son, Xavier, will honor his commitment to Kansas and that he has no idea who Moses DuPre is. DuPre started an Internet rumor that Henry was unhappy with his role at KU.

“Nothing has changed,” Carl Henry said, according to

Apparently someone opened a Twitter account in Xavier’s name during the recruiting process and started posting some false info.

On a side note, to all the folks emailing me and posting comments saying it was irresponsible of me to post this rumor yesterday, wake up and smell the coffee. What was irresponsible was posting this rumor initially. Once it’s out there, the mainstream media needed to report it out and investigate. Shay Wildeboor at Jayhawkslant did a great job of getting Carl on the phone and doing just that.


Sources: Wall and Cousins Will Qualify Academically

Adam Zagoria at is reporting that John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins will qualify academically. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Over at Kentucky, rumors are flying that Wildcat recruits John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe may not qualify academically, but sources close to Wall and Cousins say they will. I have yet to speak with anyone in Bledsoe’s camp.

“He’s gonna be fine, he’s gonna be qualified,” a source with knowledge said of Wall. “As far as everything that we see all his academics are in order. Summer school starts next week and we expect all those guys to be up there.”

Otis Hughley, Cousins’ high school coach, also said he believes Cousins will qualify.

“There’s nothing to speculate about DeMarcus Cousins,” Hughley said Monday. “From the 4th grade on up, he’s never had any issues. As far as his academics, you can’t dispute that. You can check his grades from top to bottom, they’re as solid as solid gets.”

UPDATE: Jeff Goodman at posted this earlier today:

I’ve heard from two different sources – neither in John Wall’s so-called Camp – that the Kentucky signee won’t have any problem qualifying.

There has been speculation that Wall may not qualify and would have to play overseas, but two college coaches familiar with the Wall situation told me that he’ll be fine academically.

Some Legal Advice for Billy Gillispie

With an apparent legal battle coming between Gillispie and Kentucky, I thought I would offer some help to the former Kentucky coach. I have found him some solid legal representation and I think his case would be even stronger under the leadership of this Texas law firm:

Memphis Will Refute NCAA Claims Against Derrick Rose

Here is an article from Gary Parrish of

The University of Memphis will release its response to the NCAA's notice of allegations on Tuesday, a source has told

According to the source, the response is 63 pages long with another approximately 480 pages of exhibits. It is designed, in part, to refute the NCAA's claim that former Tiger Derrick Rose "failed to deport himself in accordance with the generally recognized high standards of honesty and sportsmanship normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics" by allowing someone else to take his SAT. The other serious charge facing Memphis is that Rose's older brother, Reggie, flew on team charters for road trips and stayed at the team hotel without paying.

Memphis will appear before the NCAA committee on infractions in Indianapolis on Saturday.

Is There Anything Better Then the UK Rumor Mill?

It has been a bizarre twenty-four hours in Big Blue Nation. There have been three fanatical rumors floating around the net involving three members of Kentucky's 2009 recruiting class. I am going to break-down each rumor and give me thoughts on each:

Rumor 1: Xavier Henry is dissatisfied with Kansas and is looking to transfer to another school

Xavier Henry's recruitment was already a circus and this rumor just adds to the show. I was led to this rumor by a Kentucky basketball blog, but the rumor apparently started via Twitter by a guy in Oklahoma. The rumor gathered steam and eventually made the usual rounds on the Internet.

There may be some validity to the rumors that Henry is not entirely happy with the way things have unfolded at Kansas. He did not enroll in summer school and there have been several whispers around the Jayhawk program that support this part of the rumor. On a rumor with this much smoke, there is usually at least a small spark of truth. The part of the rumor that suggests Henry will leave Kansas and transfer to another school is false, in my opinion. The suggestion that he will join the Kentucky recruiting class, while entertaining to think about, is insanely off-target.

There are reports tonight that Carl Henry, Xavier's father, is stating that both his sons will be attending Kansas. Even the person that started this rumor made these posts on Twitter:

"Right now look for xavier to suit up for the jayhawks unless u here different from me or somebody else."

"That's not true. The family gave self 12 days to work things out. To say xavier to uk is totally premature. Ill keep u updated."
"folks, some of u need to calm down! u r taking what i said and think xavier is headed to uk"

Rumor Status: FALSE with an *

Rumor 2: John Wall's academic status is questionable and he is looking for opportunities to play professionally in Greece

Today, we were hit with the rumor that John Wall, the top overall player in the 2009 recruiting class, will not qualify academically and is seeking a professional deal in Greece. I posted this on my site only because I feel that Kentucky fans should have the opportunity to check-out the various rumors that circulate during the off-season.

I have not discovered the origin of this rumor, but it quickly snow-balled and ended up all over the Internet. I did not create this rumor in any way, shape or form. I simply posted it for review and passed it along. The only portion of this rumor that even has a chance of being halfway accurate is the possibility that Wall's SAT score will not be adequate. While that is always a concern until it is official, I don't even know that there is reason to worry about that at this point.
This rumor is 100% false and worthy of nothing more than a good laugh.

Rumor Status: FALSE

Rumor 3: DeMarcus Cousins has not made the required SAT score and has been looking at professional opportunities in Germany

This rumor just went online tonight. I discovered it in the comments section of a well-known national blog. It was apparently started by a blog in Cousins' home-state of Alabama. I am not even going to waste any time on this one.

If you hear this rumor, it is false - end of story.

Rumor Status: LAUGHABLE

Final Thoughts:

It has been entertaining to see how fast these rumors spread, but my final thoughts are that they are nothing more than entertainment. John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins will be Kentucky Wildcats next season, providing they both qualify academically. Xavier Henry will be a Kansas Jayhawk next season. If he is unhappy now, Bill Self will resolve the situation and everything will return to normal.

Jodie Meeks Working Out in Minneapolis

Jodie Meeks is currently taking part in a 4-day NBA tryout in front of scouts from about 20 NBA teams. Here is the list of players participating in the 4-day tryout:

North Dakota State guard Ben Woodside, Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez, French guard Nando De Colo, Syracuse forward Paul Harris, Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks, Michigan State center Goran Suton, Gonzaga center Josh Heytvelt, Ukraine guard Patrick Beverley, LSU forward Tasmin Mitchell, Wisconsin forward Joe Krabbenhoft, Missouri forward DeMarre Carroll and Gonzaga guard Micah Downs.


Former High School and WKU Star Jim Rose Dies

There was sad news reported on tonight that former Kentucky high school star Jim Rose has passed away. Here is the article from WKYT:

Some sad news to pass along over the weekend former Hazard High School All-American Basketball Star Jim Rose died of a heart attack and abdominal aneurysm.

Rose led Hazard to three consecutive state tournament appearances.

He also helped Western Kentucky University make their only Final Four appearance in 1971 after beating UK.

One of the best stories involving Rose was told by Adolph Rupp involving his recruitment.

Rose was recently profiled during the Cardinal Hill Telethon.

Watch the entire story featuring Jim Rose that aired during the 2009 Cardinal Hill Telethon in April.

Rose is referred to as James Lindon, which is actually his first and last names but most people only knew him as Jim Rose, especially during his basketball career.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Katz: Memphis Knew of SAT Problem Month After Final Four

ESPN's Andy Katz is reporting that Memphis was alerted of Derrick Rose's SAT problems one month after its Final Four appearance. Here is an excerpt from Katz:

It was then that Memphis was first notified that star freshman point guard Derrick Rose, who helped the Tigers to an NCAA-record 38 wins and was soon going to become the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft by his hometown Bulls, had an invalidated standardized test score the previous year at Chicago’s Simeon High School, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the e-mail.

The University of Memphis’ legal counsel, Sheri Lipman, would not identify the student-athlete as Rose, but said Monday, “for the student-athlete, whoever that was, the first indication that we got was in early May [2008] that his score was being invalidated.”

Complete Article from Katz

Thanks to John Clay at the Herald-Leader for pointing me in the right direction on this one.

The Latest UK Rumor: John Wall to Greece?

I guess the Xavier Henry rumors failed to keep the rumor mill churning, because the latest rumor has John Wall skipping college to play a season in Greece.

The basis of this rumor is that Wall has discovered that he is not academically eligible and Sonny Vaccarro is negotiating a professional deal for him.

My thoughts: Like the Henry rumor, I wouldn't pay a great deal of attention to this one. It is fun to pass along and discuss, but at this point, it is nothing more than an online rumor.

UPDATE: The site that started this rumor has deleted the original article.

UPDATE: The Xavier Henry Rumors

As I mentioned last night, there was a late-evening buzz yesterday that Xavier Henry might be unhappy in Kansas and may consider looking at other schools. So far, this is nothing more than the latest UK online rumor (well actually it's no longer the latest...more on that soon). I first learned of this rumor via Jordan's Kentucky Wildcat Blog.

Apparently, some are pointing the finger at a Kentucky fan in Oklahoma as the person who started this rumor via Twitter. He posted this on May 30th:

Xavier henry might not end up @ KU.
4:25 PM May 30th from web

And this a little later:

my twitter is blowing up! lol, hopefully more info tomorrow evening.
about 23 hours ago from web

His latest update:

just woke up. no new news. b patient, might be a couple of days.
about 2 hours ago from web

Today, posted a blurb about the rumor in an article:

"A Kentucky basketball blog says Xavier Henry is not happy at Kansas and that he could still end up at Kentucky. Henry initially committed to Memphis and then changed his mind after John Calipari took the Kentucky job.

"Sources say Henry will not attend the first summer school session at Kansas but that Xavier and his brother, C.J., still plan on attending the school. The family has made no official comment."

My Thoughts: We will continue to monitor the situation to see if there is any validity to the rumor.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

UK's 2009 Recruiting Class and the Dribble-Drive Motion

Kentucky head coach John Calipari has managed to land one of the greatest recruiting classes in college basketball history. His 2009 class ranks on paper with the likes of the Fab Five at Michigan in 1991.

According to, the Kentucky class consists of four 5-star players and two 4-star players. Perhaps the most impressive details, besides the depth of the class, is the fact that Kentucky will have the top two recruits in the entire 2009 class. Point guard John Wall is the top player in the class and big man DeMarcus Cousins is ranked second.

One thing that will be interesting to observe will be the effectiveness of each recruit in John Calipari's infamous dribble-drive motion offense. Calipari's offense depends on a deep bench of talented players that have the quickness to get to the basket and the ability to shoot from the perimeter.

Kentucky's 2009 Recruiting Class and the DDM:

1. John Wall, PG, 6-4, 184: Wall is the prototypical point guard for the DDM. If Calipari had the ability to clone players, he would make a John Wall clone every season to run his offense. Wall has the size and speed to attack the rim like several other Calipari point guards - Tyreke Evans and most notably Derrick Rose. Wall should be a superstar in the DDM.

2. DeMarcus Cousins, PF, 6-9, 250: Cousins is the perfect big man to play in the dribble-drive motion. He is agile, can run the floor and has a nice touch from outside the paint. Cousins is big and athletic allowing him to attack the rim with authority. It is very possible that we'll see Cousins playing the low post position in the DDM, while Patick Patterson moves his game out on the floor a little more. Cousins and Patterson will compliment each other nicely and create incredible matchup difficulties for opposing defenses.

3. Darnell Dodson, SF, 6-7, 215: Dodson is somewhat of an unknown as a JUCO transfer, but he is said to be long and athletic with a nice jumper. The scouting report on Dodson indicates that he also has the quickness and athleticism to be a very effective player in Calipari's offense. Calipari recruited Dodson to Memphis previously and feels that he will be a nice player in the DDM.

4. Jon Hood, SG, 6-6, 185: Hood was originally a Billy Gillispie recruit, but Calipari has stated that he has been pleasantly surprised with Hood's ability on the court. Hood has a nice outside jumpshot and the quickness to drive to the basket. He will likely be a reserve, but Hood has a bright future in Lexington.

5. Daniel Orton, C, 6-10, 260: Orton was also recruited by the previous coachine regime. He is a more traditional big man in size and stature. Orton is a power player that figures to spend the majority of his time in and around the paint. With Patterson and Cousins on the roster, Orton will likely be a reserve big man. He will almost certainly see significant minutes, however, and his effectiveness in the DDM will rely heavily on his ability to get up and down the court.

6. Eric Bledsoe, PG, 6-1, 185: Bledsoe, like Wall, is the prototypical DDM point guard. He is quick and explosive with the ball and has the ability to beat most everyone in a one-on-one situation. He is somewhat smaller than Wall, but has more-than-adequate skills to succeed. It will be interesting to see if Bledsoe is a reserve behind Wall or if Calipari figures a way to start both. Either way, Bledsoe will excel in the dribble-drive motion offense.

A Closer Look at the DDM

John Calipari implemented AASAA (attack, attack, skip, attack, attack) Offense after sharing a meal with an innovative junior college coach named Vance Walberg. As the two enjoyed a meal, Calipari hit Walberg with a question he was not used to. "So tell me, Vance," he said, "what do you run?"

Walberg must have been a talented salesman because one of college basketball’s top-level coaches decided to implement Walberg’s AASAA offense after that conversation. Calipari added a few wrinkles of his own and started calling the system the Dribble-Drive Motion offense. He describes it as a wide-open, European-based offense that allows the players to attack the rim on every opportunity. He has called it “Princeton on steroids.” Calipari says that players love his system because it allows them to feel unleashed.

This offense is certainly very different than most other offenses. It is founded on dribble penetration from the perimeter players. There are no screens in the Dribble-Drive Motion and the post man actually runs to the weak side rather than posting up on the strong, or ball, side. The success of the offense is determined by proper spacing and driving lanes to the basket. When ran properly, the offense yields either layup or three-point attempts and virtually eliminates the mid-range jumpshots.

Calipari has added a few additional wrinkles to Walberg’s base system. In Calipari’s version, the team sometimes swings the ball around the perimeter before getting into the offense. Occasionally, he will have a player set a high ball-screen in an attempt to spring the point guard to the basket. Another wrinkle he has implemented is that he may allow his big men to rush the basket for a potential alley-oop pass.

John Calipari will bring the DDM offense to Lexington with him and he will be building the Kentucky Wildcats around his philosophy. It is hard to argue with his results to this point. He has enjoyed an impressive run at Memphis using the Dribble-Drive Motion.

Calipari’s offense is best suited for a certain type of player and its success is directly related to having the proper personnel. Several traits that are necessary for starring in the DDM are:

- Requires quick, smart and explosive guards

- Relies on agile big men that can shoot from the perimeter and run down court

- Calls for a deep bench of talented players

- Needs good three-point shooters that can punish sagging man-to-man and zone defenses

Blog Says Xavier Henry Not Happy in Kansas

There is a blog that says it can confirm that Xavier Henry is not happy in Kansas and a move to Kentucky is not out of the realm of possibility. Here is the article:

And we thought 09 recruiting was finished....Not so fast says Xavier Henry. There are some rumors going around that Henry isn't totally happy with his decision to verbally commit to Kansas. I can confirm that there is some truth to those rumors. Alot of the decision to attend Kansas was to make his mom happy and he may be wanting to change that decision. This COULD mean that Henry to Kentucky is possible if Henry wants to change his college. So we will all just have to keep a eye on this, something could happen.

Link to Article

My Thoughts: Probably just some hot Internet rumors...but, who knows?

Alice Lloyd Duo Attends WBA Exposure Pro Tryout

Alice Lloyd College seniors William Dillard and Corey Hairston traveled to Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA for the 2009 WBA Exposure League Free Agent Tryout held April 17-18.

Dillard just finished an outstanding collegiate career for the Eagles. As a four year starter, the native of Beckley WV was selected three times to the KIAC All-Conference Team. This season, as a result of his averages of over 19 points and 5 assists per game, he was chosen by the league’s coaches as the 2009 KIAC Player of the Year. During his career, he tallied just over 1,500 points, and led the team in assists each year.

The 6’3” Hairston, who is also a native of Beckley WV, will take an extremely valuable level of athleticism and talent to the Georgia camp. Hairston, one of the most exciting players to ever don the royal blue and white, was a three year starter. He was twice voted ALC’s defensive player of the year, and is also member of the Alice Lloyd College 1,000 Point Club.

Great Article from John Clay Today

John Clay's article today is so good that I want to pass it along and give more people an opportunity to check it out. Here is the article in its entirety (make sure to check out John's blog at the bottom):

It's more about Derrick Rose than John Calipari

Allegations currently point more to chicago than memphis

By John Clay / Herald-Leader Sports Columnist

There may come a day when John Calipari's detractors will finally catch the coach red-handed at something other than guilt by association.

But this isn't that day.

Here's why: The NCAA allegations against the Memphis basketball program aren't a John Calipari issue.

They're a Derrick Rose issue.

Page 8 of the 13-page letter outlining the allegations sent by the NCAA to the University of Memphis states:

"It is alleged that (name redacted), prospective men's basketball student-athlete, failed to deport himself in accordance with the generally recognized high standards of honesty and sportsmanship normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics for his knowing fraudulence or misconduct in connection with his entrance examination."

It goes on to allege that (named redacted) knew that "an unknown individual completed (name redacted)'s SAT ... which was used to obtain his admission into the institution and to certify his NCAA eligibility."

The redacted name is not John Calipari's. It is reportedly that of Derrick Rose. The NCAA is not alleging that Calipari or the University of Memphis had anything to do with the test in question. It's not even alleging that Calipari knew that improprieties in the test occurred. That's why Calipari's name is not mentioned in the letter.

And remember, it was the NCAA Clearing House, after looking at Rose's test scores and academic transcript, that certified Rose's eligibility to play his freshman season with the Tigers.

True, there is also the $2,260 in "extra benefits to (passage redacted) of men's basketball student-athlete (name redacted)," received in free transportation and lodging to Memphis road games. That is reported to be Derrick's brother, Reggie, who often accompanied the Tigers, and re-paid the school except for the $2,260 in question.

Is it against NCAA rules for the brother of a player to accompany the team to a road game via charter plane, or stay at the team hotel? That is to be determined, apparently. The NCAA wants Memphis to explain its policy on such matters come June 6.

Yet all this, apparently, is the proof detractors were looking for to confirm their long-held belief that Calipari operates beneath the rules.

Never mind that Rose took his (third) SAT in his hometown of Chicago before he ever reached the Memphis campus. Never mind that the person the NCAA thinks took the test for Rose was a high school teammate, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Never mind that three players (including Rose) on that team allegedly had their grades changed to help with college admissions.

I'm not naive enough to think a college coach couldn't be involved in such a thing. But does this seem like Calipari orchestration or a Chicago inside job?

And, oh yeah, never mind that the NCAA sent a letter to Calipari stating he is not considered to be "at risk"?

The truth is the process is still in the preliminary stages. There's been no "NCAA official letter of inquiry," the certain harbinger of doom. What Memphis received in January was a "notice of allegations," resulting from a "preliminary inquiry" which found that "the available information appears to be of sufficient substance and reliability to warrant a notice of allegations."

The letter also states that "if the institution does not believe that the allegation is substantially correct, it should support its position with any evidence upon which the conclusion is based."

Memphis doesn't believe the allegations are correct. That's why it entered into a bidding war in late March to try and prevent Calipari from leaving to go to Kentucky.

And, yes, should Memphis be forced to vacate its 2008 NCAA Tournament appearance over Rose's eligibility, it will not look good for Calipari to have the word "vacated" replace his two Final Four appearances.

And yes, I'm cynical enough to think there may well be an instance when the national media can crow its I-told-you-so's about Calipari.

But this isn't that instance, because this isn't even about John Calipari.

It's about Derrick Rose.

John Clay's Blog

Players Who Should Return to College: Jodie Meeks includes Kentucky's Jodie Meeks in a list of Players Who Should Return to College. Here is what the site says about Meeks:

Jodie Meeks appeared on the national stage after a 54-point performance against Tennessee. He's a magnificent shooter (averaged nearly 24 a game on 46 percent shooting, 40 percent from three), but scouts are not thrilled about his size (6'4").

Meeks' lack of athleticism and explosiveness to the basket have some teams leery of him as a first round pick. He is the type of shooter that would thrive with a point guard who can consistently attack the lane and force pinches from the wing. Without a creator, though, Meeks struggles to get to the basket and finish. If he stays in college and works on his speed and ball-handling, especially in transition, he could thrive despite his size. And with Calipari signing two athletic point guards, Meeks' game could really get showcased next year and perhaps result in some hardware.

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