Saturday, June 20, 2009

Louisville Hosting Trio of Talented 2011 Prospects

The University of Louisville has three big-time visitors from the Class of 2011 on in town today checking out the campus and basketball facilities.

Chicago standouts Mike Shaw and Wayne Blackshear and Lakewood (Ohio) center Zach Price are all on their unofficial visits with the school.

Price is a 6-foot-11 prospect from St. Edward High School who is one of the rising stars in the class of 2011 nationally. He plays for the King James All-Stars.

The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Shaw is the No. 2 power forward nationally by Scout.com and attends Chicago De La Salle. His AAU teammate - Blackshear - is 6-foot-4 and the No. 2 shooting guard in the '11 class. He attends Chicago Morgan Park.

Source: Jody Demling, Courier-Journal

Richie Riley Lands at Coastal Carolina


It has been an interesting month for former Pikeville College assistant coach Richie Riley.

Riley, who worked as an assistant to Pikeville coach Kelly Wells for four years, decided several weeks ago to accept an assistant coaching position at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. Fort Smith is an NCAA Division II school near the Oklahoma border in northwestern Arkansas.

After serving several weeks on the Fort Smith staff, Riley has now resigned and taken a assistant's position on Cliff Ellis' staff at Coastal Carolina, an NCAA Division I university that is situated just minutes from beautiful Myrtle Beach, South Carlina.

Riley, a native of London, Ky., was the top assistant coach for Bears head coach Kelly Wells for two seasons before being promoted to associate head coach this past season. He also was recruiting coordinator for three seasons.

While at Pikeville, Riley helped guide the Bears to an overall 54-40 win-loss record, including a 42-21 mark the past two seasons. Pikeville’s 2007 and 2008 recruiting classes were rated in the Top 5 in the nation at the NAIA level by VSN and RecruitingRumors.com and included 11 NCAA Division I transfers as well as five Kentucky high school players.

Riley was recognized for his recruiting abilities by being named Top NAIA Assistant Coach by RecruitingRumors.com.

Attorneys Request More Time In Gillispie Lawsuit

Attorneys for both the University of Kentucky and former basketball coach Billy Gillispie, are saying they need more time for sorting out the facts surrounding a lawsuit.

Gillispie sued the UK Athletics Association last month, alleging breach of contract and fraud, after being fired in March.

He claims the university owes him at least six million dollars.

But UK officials have argued the coach never signed a formal contract and was operating under a year-by-year "memorandum of understanding."

The university's lawyers had been scheduled to respond to Gillispie's lawsuit in a court in Texas by Monday, but the Lexington Herald Leader reports lawyers on both sides have agreed to push the hearing back to June 26th.

Source: WKYT.com

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mark Bradley of AJC Ranks Kentucky #1

Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published his NCAA preseason rankings today and he has the Kentucky Wildcats ranked #1. Here are Bradley's thoughts on the Wildcats:

Kentucky: The Wildcats lost Jodie Meeks of Norcross to the draft but kept Patrick Patterson, the best big man in the SEC. And they again have a real coach in John Calipari, who promptly delivered recruits John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.

Bradley's Top 10:

1. Kentucky
2. Kansas
3. Michigan State
4. North Carolina
5. Villanova
6. Purdue
7. Mississippi State
8. Duke
9. Texas
10. Georgia Tech

The next wave: 11. Butler 12. Maryland 13. Dayton 14. Washington 15. Notre Dame 16. Minnesota 17. Cal 18. Michigan 19. UConn 20. Syracuse 21. Tennessee 22. BYU 23. Clemson 24. Ole Miss 25. Northern Iowa.

Complete Article from AJC.com

2010 Prospect Mychal Parker to Visit Kentucky

Jody Demling of the Courier-Journal is reporting that Mychal Parker, a top-35 prospect in the 2010 class, will visit Kentucky next week. Parker is a 6-6 small forward and is ranked #34 on the Rivals150 list for 2010.

"If you get a chance to get recruited by Kentucky and with that new coaching staff, it's a privilege," Parker said from the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp.

Parker states that the Wildcats have not offered, but he hopes there might be an offer waiting when he arrives in Lexington.

"I have just follow (Calipari's) work at Memphis," Parker said. "Everybody he has coached is doing something prosperous with his life and I really I want to be a part of that."

Parker's list includes Miami, Maryland, Florida, Ohio State, Clemson, Virginia and Virginia Tech. All schools except Ohio State have given him an offer.

Article from Demling's Blog

Morehead State Eagles Release 2009-10 Schedule


2009-10 Morehead State Men’s Basketball Schedule

Nov. 9 Asbury (exhibition) Morehead, Ky.
Nov. 13 at Kentucky Lexington, Ky.
Nov. 16 Brescia Morehead, Ky.
Nov. 21 Louisiana-Monroe Morehead, Ky.
Nov. 29 Kent State Morehead, Ky.
Dec. 3 at UT Martin* Martin, Tenn.
Dec. 5 at Murray State* Murray, Ky.
Dec. 15 St. Catharine’s Morehead, Ky.
Dec. 18 East Tennessee Morehead, Ky.
Dec. 21-23 at Utah State Tournament Logan, Utah
(vs. Utah State, Weber State and Cal-State Fullerton)
Dec. 28 at South Dakota Vermillion, S.D.
Jan. 2 Austin Peay* Morehead, Ky.
Jan. 4 Tennessee State* Morehead, Ky.
Jan. 7 at Tennessee Tech* Cookeville, Tenn.
Jan. 9 at Jacksonville State* Jacksonville, Ala.
Jan. 14 Southeast Missouri* Morehead, Ky.
Jan. 16 Eastern Illinois* Morehead, Ky.
Jan. 19 SIU Edwardsville Morehead, Ky.
Jan. 23 at Eastern Kentucky* Richmond, Ky.
Jan. 28 at Tennessee State* Nashville, Tenn.
Jan. 30 at Austin Peay* Clarksville, Tenn.
Feb. 4 Jacksonville State* Morehead, Ky.
Feb. 6 Tennessee Tech* Morehead, Ky.
Feb. 11 at Eastern Illinois* Charleston, Ill.
Feb. 13 at Southeast Missouri* Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Feb. 17 Eastern Kentucky* Morehead, Ky.
Feb. 20 at ESPNU Bracket Buster Game
Feb. 25 Murray State* Morehead, Ky.
Feb. 27 UT Martin* Morehead, Ky.
March 2 OVC Tournament Quarterfinals
March 5 OVC Tournament Semifinals Nashville, Tenn.
March 6 OVC Tournament Championship Nashville, Tenn.

* Denotes OVC Game
Tentative as of June 19, 2009

Tubby Smith Sued By Former Assistant Coach


Tubby Smith, the former head coach at Kentucky, has been sued by a former assistant. Jimmy Williams states that he quit his previous job to work with Smith, the current coach at Minnesota, only to be denied the job later. Williams has sued Smith for more than $50,000, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"Between March 30, 2007, and April 2, 2007, Smith did not disclose to Williams that his authority to hire him was anything but complete and final," the lawsuit said, according to the Star Tribune.

The lawsuit claims Smith told Williams that he was the right person for the job. " I think we'd be a great team together," the suit said Smith told Williams. "I am really offering you the job, and I can get you the money that you wanted."

It accuses Smith of "false representations of authority."

Western Kentucky Gets Commitment from Stephon Drane

Jody Demling of the Courier-Journal reports this morning that Western Kentucky and head coach Ken McDonald have picked up a commitment from a talented 2010 prospect:

Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God forward Stephon Drane has given the Hilltoppers a verbal commitment after a recent visit to Bowling Green for the school's elite camp.

The 6-foot-8 Drane had an offer from Missouri State and averaged about six points and six rebounds a game last season for Word of God.

He was a teammate of Kentucky freshman point guard John Wall. Virginia and George Mason were also showing interest.ESPN.com has Drane ranked as the No. 28 power forward in the country.

"I just felt really comfortable down there when I visited three weeks ago," Drane told Highschoolhoop.com. "I just liked everything about the school, and when I committed today they were real excited. They said I could consider myself part of the family."

ESPN Scouts Grade: 91

ESPN Scouting Evaluation: Stephon comes off the bench for Word of God and was very impressive with his defensive presence (GlaxoSmithKline Tournament). He is 6'9 with a long wingspan. He plays above the rim and is a run and jump athlete. Drane would be excellent at the front of the press. The high-major pressing teams need to get all over him. What stood out the most was he was in a stance at all times at 6'9. He competes at a high-major level defensively. He got a lot of minutes the game I saw because N.C. State-bound C.J. Leslie got in early foul trouble. Stephon can play for a lot of people at the high-major level because his athleticism and length. He can guard any position on the court, 1 through 5. This player is a high-major sleeper.

Rivals.com Profile

In addition to WKU, Drane received offers from North Carolina Central and Missouri State. He also had George Washington, South Carolina, Virginia and George Mason on his list.

Jodie Meeks Projected 55th by NBADraft.net


Former Kentucky Wildcat Jodie Meeks is projected as the 55th selection in the upcoming NBA Draft by NBADraft.net.

Meeks, who is hoping to be taken near the end of the first round, decided to stay in the draft rather than returning to Kentucky for his senior season.

The Numbers: Kentucky Wildcats' 3-Point Shooting


With the departure of Jodie Meeks to the NBA Draft, the Kentucky Wildcats immediately have a potential glaring weak spot - outside shooting. Meeks was Kentucky's primary outside shooter last season and his loss could be a huge factor in the team's offensive flow next season. How will Kentucky fill the void left by Meeks?

Here is a look at the 3-point shooting statistics of everyone on the UK roster for last season:

Patrick Patterson 0-1 (.000)
Perry Stevenson 3-10 (.300)
Darius Miller 18-55 (.327)
Ramon Harris 6-25 (.240)
DeAndre Liggins 12-51 (.235)
Josh Harrellson 5-15 (.333)
Dwight Perry 1-2 (.500) (Walk-on)
Mark Krebs 1-4 (.250) (Walk-on)

Totals: 46-163 (.282)

Incoming JUCO Transfer:

Darnell Dodson 41-120 (.342) (JUCO)

Incoming Freshmen (High School Stats Not Available):

John Wall: Perimeter shooting is one of Wall's primary areas for improvement
DeMarcus Cousins: Has a nice jumper, but not a consistent 3-point threat
Jon Hood: Hood is the best outside shooting threat in the freshmen group
Eric Bledsoe: Like Wall, outside shooting is area for improvement
Daniel Orton: Not a perimeter shooter

Analysis:

With the loss of Meeks, Kentucky has a large hole to fill in the area of perimeter shooting. Of the returning players, only Darius Miller has shown an ability to knock down the 3-point shot. Miller looked uncomfortable shooting outside for much of last season, but started to find a consistent groove as the season progressed. Darnell Dodson may be the team's best hope of picking up some of Meeks' shooting numbers. Dodson has shown an ability to consistently hit the outside shot, but he is unproven at the division I level. Of the incoming freshmen class, only Jon Hood is considered an excellent perimeter shooter. Like Dodson, it remains to be seen how he'll perform at the highest level of college basketball.

Will Miller, Dodson and Hood be able to give the Wildcats the outside firepower necessary to open up the dribble-drive motion offense? Will Bledsoe or Wall be able to provide an outside threat? Is it possible that someone else will find an ability to consistently shoot from beyond the arc? These are questions that Kentucky and head coach John Calipari will surely be asking as they begin preparation for the 2009-10 season.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Osborne's Player Development Camp


June 24-27, 2009

Available for children ages 5-18

Contact K.C. Goodin at (502) 863-8052 or kc_goodin@georgetowncollege.edu for more information.

Cost

Overnight - $225.00 Commuter - $175.00

Walk-ups welcome

The Happy Osborne Player Development camp is a facet of our basketball program that we have tremendous pride in. Our philosophy when it comes to developing young players is to allow them to take what they learn in the summer and continue to improve their skill level throughout the year.

The individual attention that we pay to the young people at our camp is a big part of our camp’s success. To us, it is more than a camp, we view it as an extension of our individual improvement workouts we do with our players. we now want to extend these types workouts and skill development sessions to the young people that strive to improve their level of play.

Western Kentucky: No Longer a Mid-Major


Western Kentucky head coach Ken McDonald does not consider his team a "mid-major."

"There's nothing mid-major about Western Kentucky," said McDonald, who was an assistant on Rick Barnes' staff at Texas for four years before coming to WKU. "We have tremendous facilities, tradition and coaching staff. (WKU) can play in any conference in the country and hold our own.

"I take offense to the ‘mid-major' label and people need to get away from that moniker. There's plenty of programs that compete on a national basis, like Coach (Mark) Few's Gonzaga program and Coach (John) Calipari's UMass and Memphis program. The key is to have the coaching staff intact and take chances."

McDonald says it's difficult to get BCS schools to play the Hilltoppers in Bowling Green.

"We struggle with getting teams to come here and play us," McDonald said. "We're in the same boat as (Siena and others) in that regard, but with that being said, it's worth it for us to go out there and play schools because despite the fact we took licks, it made us an even more tougher-minded team."

With a team that has a chance to start in the top 25, the Hilltoppers may be major players again next March. But please refrain from calling them a "mid-major."

Nebraska Looking at Galloway and/or Pilgrim

Per Andy Katz of ESPN.com:

Nebraska is one of a handful of schools investigating taking on Kentucky players Kevin Galloway and/or Matt Pilgrim after they "departed" Lexington to allow UK to get down to the required maximum 13 scholarships. But the problem for Galloway and Pilgrim is that they are both juniors and would have only one season of eligibility remaining (Pilgrim already sat out last season after transferring from Hampton) under normal transfer rules. Schools like Nebraska probably won't take one or both players for just one season of eligibility. The hope is they would get a waiver to play right away, instead of sitting out the traditional residence requirement of one year. The unique situation here is if both players can prove it wasn't their choice to leave Kentucky, the NCAA may show leniency in granting immediate eligibility.

Katz's Complete Article

There has also been a rumor circulating that Creighton, Cincinnati or an NCAA Division II program are possibilities for Pilgrim.

Kentucky Christian Announces Three Signings

Kentucky Christian and head coach Corey Mullins have announced the signings of three players for the 2009-10 season:

- Chris Mofford: A 6-7 post player from Augusta High School. Mofford averaged 15 ppg, 9 rpg, and 4 bpg as a senior for Augusta.

"Chris is a great sign for us," commented coach Mullins. "He has a great combination of size and athleticism. Physically, as he continues to get stronger, the game will continue to come easily to him. He has a great relationship with the guys and has already impressed me as a coach during his visits to campus."

- West Carter High School senior guard Taylor Webb signed a letter of intent to continue his playing career at Kentucky Christian University. Webb averaged 10 points and 4 assists for a West Carter team that finished 20-8 on the season.

"Taylor is first of all a great young man, who comes from a family that understands the values that we hold here at KCU," commented coach Corey Mullins. " He has instant credibility among the other players, and he will become a leader both on and off the floor. As a player, the thing I like most about Taylor is his poise and confidence, and ability to defend. I look forward to watching him develop into a great point guard at this level."

- Mark Pemberton, a senior at East Carter High School has committed to play college basketball at Kentucky Christian University. Mark started this season for the Raiders who finished the season with a 15-8 record.

"Mark is a great fit for us here at KCU," commented coach Corey Mullins, "He is athletic and strong. Coach Baker and his staff have done a great job of building Mark up and teaching him the game. He hasn't played for a long time, and I believe his best days are ahead of him. Spiritually, Mark also brings a high level of maturity that will have a positive effect on our team."

Press Releases from KCU

Louisville Cardinals: Notes and Links

A couple Cardinal links to peruse...

By: Tyler Young

• According to the project manager, Louisville will be playing in a new downtown stadium in 2010. The project has been the subject of some turmoil, with controversy over not hiring enough workers from the city and investigations following the collapse of one of the floors, but according to the C-J article, everything is still on schedule, both in time and on budget.

• A delay in the Karen Sypher case. Apparently, the prosecutors need more time to get their case together, so "the government" (couldn't narrow that down for us, C-J?) agreed to a six-week continuance.

NBA.com's Pistons writer looks at Earl Clark's draft status and calls him another Amir Johnson — ridiculously athletic, maybe not that smart. Still, they think he may go to the Pistons at 15. Or maybe he could go home and play for the Nets, but the chances of him taking Jason Kidd's number are slim. I vote for E6. Any more Es though, and my battleship is sunk.

That's all BSBers. Enjoy your Thursday.

Miller and Mack Make USA Under-19 National Team

Congratulations to Kentucky's Darius Miller and Butler's Shelvin Mack!

They have made the USA Under-19 National Team's final roster.

Team USA Under-19 National Team:

Coach: Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon
DeAngelo Casto, Washington State
Klay Thompson, Washington State
Seth Curry, Duke
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh
Gordon Hayward, Butler
Shelvin Mack, Butler
Darius Miller, Kentucky

Arnett Moultrie, UTEP
John Shurna, Northwestern
Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas
Howard Thompkins, Georgia
Terrico White, Ole Miss

The team will compete in the FIBA U19 World Championships in New Zealand from July 2-12.

Four players were cut from U-19 trials: West Virginia's Darryl "Truck" Bryant, Minnesota's Ralph Sampson III, Florida-bound high schooler Kenny Boynton, and Pitt-bound high-schooler Dante Taylor. UCLA's Drew Gordon had already withdrawn from the trials with a patella tendon in right knee.

“I never thought about playing for the USA,” said Miller. “I was kind of surprised at first (of my selection). It really hit me when I got here. Just playing here, I’m so happy because I never thought I would be a part of it.”

Team USA Roster's Announced

Article About Miller on USABasketball.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking: Meeks Can Return

I was unaware that this is still the case, but apparently Jodie Meeks could hypothetically return to Kentucky if he were to somehow end up undrafted. Here is an excerpt from an article by Steve Moss at WKYT.com explaining the situation in detail:

DeWayne Peevy, UK's Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations, says the NCAA allows players to return to school, as long as that player doesn't do anything to jeopardize his/her amateur status.

In the NCAA Manual, you'll find the answer in Rule 12.2.4.2.1, which is the exception rule for basketball players who enter a pro draft.

"An enrolled student-athlete in basketball may enter a professional league's draft one time during his or her collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided the student-athlete is not drafted by an team in that league and the student-athlete declares his or her intention to resume intercollegiate participation within 30 days after the draft. The student-athlete's declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution's director of athletics."

So, in a nutshell, Meeks CAN return to play for the Wildcats, provided he isn't drafted, doesn't sign any contracts, whether with an agent or for any endorsements, for which he will be paid, and writes Mitch Barnhart a letter asking for reinstatement to UK. All of this must happen within a 30-day time frame.

Complete Article on WKYT.com

Conference USA Happy to See Calipari Leave?

If John Calipari's good friend Tony Barbee is happy to see the former Memphis coach leave Conference USA, one can only assume the league's other coaches are ecstatic. Jeff Goodman reports in his blog that Barbee, the coach at UTEP, isn't shedding any tears now that his mentor has left the conference.

"Those Memphis teams have been so good the last four or five years that it actually hurt our league,” Barbee said. "There were some really good teams in our league outside of Memphis. Tulsa should have been in the NCAA tournament last season with 24 wins, but they didn’t even get a sniff.”

Barbee said the league has opened up with the departure of Calipari to Kentucky.

"No doubt,” he admitted. "It was hard for anyone to overcome that {Memphis}.”

Update on Former Louisville Cardinal Derrick Caracter

Goodman also spoke to Barbee about his current UTEP team, including former Louisville Cardinal Derrick Caracter.

Caracter is still in El Paso after transferring in the middle of last season.

Barbee said that Caracter practiced with the team the second semester and hasn’t been a problem thus far.

"I have a lot of respect for the kid because with all the hype, he could have just packed his bags and gone overseas and made $100,000 or whatever,” Barbee said. "But he doesn’t want to go down that road. He wants to prove everyone wrong.”

Caracter, who has a year and a half of eligibility left, has dropped weight and is down to around 300 pounds. Ultimately, he needs to get down to around 275.

Barbee said he bikes to school from his off-campus apartment every day.

Goodman's Article

Meeks and Williams to Workout for Nets on Friday

Kentucky's Jodie Meeks and Louisville's Terrence Williams will workout for the New Jersey Nets on Friday.

The Star-Ledger reports that Williams is on the Nets' short-list of players that they are considering with their mid-first round selection.

Article from the Star-Ledger

Luke Fitzgerald Impresses at Diamond Midwest


Luke Fitzgerald, a 6-7 forward from the University of the Cumberlands, has been named MVP of the Diamond Midwest Invitiational pro basketball exposure camp. In addition, Fitzgerald was named to the First Team All-Diamond team following the event. He averaged over 20 points and 7 rebounds per game during the camp.

Fitzgerald averaged 17.2 points per game which ranked him number four in the Mid-South Conference and #41 in NAIA Division I. Also, Luke pulled down 7.9 rebounds per game earning him second in the Mid-South Conference and 31st in NAIA. Fitzgerald ranked number two in the Mid-South Conference and sixth in the NAIA for field goal percentage. He shot 60.4% (201-333) from the field this season. He was included in the 2009 State Farm NAIA All-American First Team.

Fitzgerald will have an excellent opportunity to sign a professional contract overseas of in the NBDL.

Diamond Midwest Invitational All-Diamond Teams

Image: University of Cumberlands

Joe Lunardi's Insanely Early Bracketology


ESPN's "bracketologist" Joe Lunardi has released an insanely early Bracketology for the 2010 NCAA Tournament. He has four teams from the Bluegrass State slotted in his ridiculously early forecast.

Lunardi has the Kentucky Wildcats and first-year coach John Calipari as a #1-seed playing against Holy Cross in the first round. The Louisville Cardinals are in as a #4-seed against Old Dominion. Western Kentucky is expected to win the Sun Belt and once again appear as a #13-seed in a winnable game against California. He has Murray State winning the OVC and appearing as a #15-seed versus the Duke Blue Devils.

Terrence Williams Impresses Larry Brown in Charlotte

Former Louisville Cardinal Terrence Williams recently worked out for the Charlotte Bobcats and he appears to fit the mold of a Larry Brown player. Brown, the Bobcats' head coach, values quick learners, grownups and defenders.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer says that Williams appears to be all of the above. In fact, Williams looks like a viable candidate for the Bobcats with the 12th overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Williams has an NBA body and he takes defense personally.

“I love playing defense (because) it's man-vs.-man, competing,” Williams said. “Your skills versus another man's skills, your footwork and determination versus his.

“He drums that it into your head from Day One. That doesn't leave you.”

The “he” Williams referred to was Louisville coach Rick Pitino. Brown values the priority Pitino places on defense and he sees that in the way Williams plays.

“He's going to go early in the draft. He plays hard, he passes the ball, he defends and he'll rebound.”

It appears that Williams' stock is on the rise heading into draft day.

Complete Article from The Charlotte Observer

Rajon Rondo Trade Rumors Discussed


On Tuesday’s edition of Comcast SportsNet’s Sports Tonight, ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo and Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix shed light on the Rajon Rondo trade rumors. Both pointed to same reason for Rondo’s inclusion in offseason talks: Money.

Russillo: Yeah I think there’s a bigger chance that they’d move him than maybe Boston fans would think. I think when it was originally rumored, whatever that Phoenix deal was with Amar’e Stoudemire, I heard a lot of people say oh the Celtics would never trade Rondo. But based on what I’ve heard the last couple days, I don’t think that’s true. Look, I don’t think they’re trying to move him, but I think they’re trying to throw some pieces around and let basketball people know that they’d move some of these guys to avoid maybe having to pay Rondo all the money they’ll have to pay and then pair him with guys that are going to be two years older than they are right now.

Mannix: Well they don’t like his contract demands first of all. Rondo’s not the kind of guy who’s going to take a hometown discount to stay in Boston. He’s going to sign with whoever offers him the most dollars at the end of his contract, whenever it’s up. He’s going to be a guy who’s going to go out there and try to get the most money.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Sun News Picks Cats to Win SEC East

The Sun News expects Kentucky to win the SEC East and Mississippi State to take the West.

SEC EAST

1. Kentucky
2. Vanderbilt
3. Tennessee
4. South Carolina
5. Florida
6. Georgia

SEC WEST

1. Mississippi State
2. Alabama
3. LSU
4. Mississippi
5. Arkansas
6. Auburn

Thoughts on Kentucky:

Ultimately, Meeks' decision to leave school only mattered for the national picture. Kentucky had long since become the prohibitive East favorite, thanks to new coach John Calipari's recruiting skills.

Center Patrick Patterson did return. The Wildcats also have the nation's top two high school recruits (John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins) and three more in the top 50, and one of the most sought after junior college players in Darnell Dodson.

The only issue for the Wildcats will be chemistry. But Calipari had ways of making a lot of talent work during his days at Memphis.

Complete Article

Kentucky and Louisville in NCAA Preseason Polls

With the NBA entry deadline passing, several services have updated their 2009-10 preseason polls. Here is a look at several of the latest polls:

- CBSSports.com has Kentucky #2 and Louisville #15

- Andy Katz at ESPN.com has Kentucky #7 and Louisville NR

- The Washington Times has Kentucky #3 and Louisville #13

St. Petersburg Times Q&A with Jeremy Cox

Greg Auman, Staff Writer with the St. Petersburg Times, has conducted a Q&A with former Kentucky assistant coach Jeremy Cox. Cox was an assistant under Billy Gillispie at Texas A&M and Kentucky and will now be an assistant under Stan Heath at South Florida. Here are a few excerpts:

GA: You've recently coached in the Big 12 and the SEC. How will it be different in the Big East?

JC: I have to be careful how I answer this. The SEC and Big 12 are wonderful leagues, great conferences, but when you speak of the SEC, it's definitely built on football. The Big 12, with Texas and Oklahoma, is still football. They play great basketball in both leagues, and they play great football in this league, but the Big East was built on basketball.

I think kids associate the Big East with basketball. The Big East has done a really good job of selling their conference as a terrific basketball league. It has a great tradition, even as young as it is compared to the other leagues. We all grew up in this generation with the Big East.

GA: Who are the coaches who have shaped you the most as a coach?

JC: My dad (Neil Cox) was a high school coach, a fantastic coach. Your father always develops your personality as much as anybody, for all of us. He gave me my personality, and Coach Gillispie's personality as a coach is very similar to that. Guys like Benny Dees at Wyoming, who was a terrific recruiter and taught me so much initially. He was fantastic. My junior college coach was a terrific basketball coach, and not a lot of guys will ever know how good a coach he was because he was a junior college coach. His organization, his teaching methods, they influenced the way I was as a head coach as much than anything. His practice planning, his organization was fantastic.

Complete Article

SNY.tv Ranks the Big East for 2009-10

New York sports' site SNY.tv has released its preseason Big East rankings for 2009-10 now that the NBA Draft early entry deadline has passed. The site ranks Louisville fourth in the conference following the loss of Terrence Williams and Earl Clark. Here is a look at the site's rankings and their thoughts on the Cardinals:

1. Villanova
2. West Virginia
3. UConn
4. Louisville
5. Notre Dame
6. Syracuse
7. Cincinnati
8. Pittsburgh
9. Seton Hall
10. Georgetown
11-16. St. John's, Marquette, Rutgers, Providence, South Florida, DePaul

4. Louisville (31-6, 16-2)

Key Losses: Earl Clark, Terrence Williams
Key Additions: Rakeem Buckles, Mike Marra, Peyton Siva, Chris Smith (Walk-on transfer), Stephen Van Treese
Bottom line: Clark and Williams led Louisville to the No. 1 overall seeding in last year's NCAA Tournament, but the Cardinals remain talented with big men Samardo Samuels and Terrence Jennings and guards Preston Knowles, Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa. Coach Rick Pitino may be distracted by the extortion case he is in involved with and some believe that he may still have to take time away from the team to deal with it. Pitino's new assistant and old friend Ralph Willard, the former Holy Cross coach, may be called upon to steady the ship at times.

Calipari Tweets His Way to 200,000 Followers


John Calipari now has over 200,000 followers on Twitter (200,679 at this very moment). He added this tweet earlier:

"We went over 200,000 followers! Incredible! Have some special things that will be available to all of you. Hope this has been positive & fun"

You can follow the UK coach here:

http://www.twitter.com/UKCoachCalipari

Terrence Williams and Chartrael Hall to Workout for Knicks

Two players with Kentucky ties are scheduled to workout for the New York Knicks tomorrow in preparation for the upcoming NBA Draft. Former Louisville Cardinal Terrence Williams and Chartrael Hall from Bellarmine University are scheduled to join four others in tomorrow's workout.

Knicks Workout List for Wednesday:

Nemanja Aleksandrov – Forward, 7-0, 220, Serbia & Montenegro
Brandon Costner – Forward, 6-9, 230, North Carolina State, junior
Daniel Hackett – Guard, 6-5, 215, Southern California, junior
Chartrael Hall – Guard, 6-2, Bellarmine University, senior
Kyle McAlarny – Guard, 6-0, 195, Notre Dame, senior
Terrence Williams – Guard/forward, 6-6, 213, Louisville, senior

Katz: Draft Process was a Draw for Kentucky

ESPN's Andy Katz has picked his NBA draft process winners and losers. He says that one team, the Kentucky Wildcats, has truly earned a draw. Here is an excerpt from the article:

In the end, there were plenty of winners and losers in the process, but only one team can truly be labeled a draw.

That team is Kentucky.

The Wildcats lost one player Monday when Jodie Meeks, the SEC's leading scorer last season (23.7 points per game), decided to stay in the draft. But UK gained just as big a prize last month when Patrick Patterson withdrew.

Kentucky may not be No. 1 in some preseason polls after Meeks' decision, but first-year coach John Calipari will still have a formidable crew worthy of a top-10 ranking and on the short list of potential Final Four teams. Calipari said Meeks' decision will allow him to play highly touted prospect Eric Bledsoe alongside much-hyped point guard John Wall, arguably the top pick in the 2010 draft if he enters. Newcomer Darnell Dodson will also provide plenty of scoring pop. Patterson will be the anchor inside with newcomers DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton.

Complete Article from ESPN.com

DeCourcy: The Real Losers Are the Kentucky Fans

Mike DeCourcy of the SportingNews.com has declared his NBA Draft entry process winners and losers.

His list of winners are Greivis Vasquez of Maryland, Jerime Anderson of UCLA and Paul Hewitt who coaches Georgia Tech.

His losers are Jeff Teague of Wake Forest and Austin Carr, the all-time leading scorer at Notre Dame who will surely be surpassed now that Luke Harangody has decided to return. His third loser - the Kentucky fans.

Here are his comments:

Kentucky fans. The Wildcats were on an astonishing winning streak: hiring John Calipari, landing prep superstars John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins and getting back star forward Patrick Patterson. But All-American guard Jodie Meeks decided to move on. Oh, well. Nobody in this game has won 'em all since 1976 Indiana.

Complete Article

Monday, June 15, 2009

What Will Kentucky Do With That Open Scholarship?


With today's decision by Jodie Meeks to stay in the NBA Draft, the Kentucky Wildcats, once capable of fielding the numbers of a football team, are now one below their scholarship limit of 13. With an open scholarship, there are many theories being developed on how John Calipari will choose to use it.
Here are some of the theories that are being circulated around the Bluegrass state this afternoon and evening:

1. The Chinese Theory: Some feel that Calipari, fresh off his tour of China, has discovered a hot prospect in the Far East. The UK coach has stated that he will bring at least one and maybe several Chinese coaches to the United States for an opportunity to be a part of the Kentucky staff. Is it possible that he has also found a talented shooter to replace Jodie Meeks?

2. Calipari Will Do Nothing At All: A very realistic possibility is that Calipari will simply do nothing and just play this 2009-10 season with 12 scholarship players. If he chose to do this, he would have an additional scholarship for the 2010 recruiting class.

3. The Lance Stephenson Theory: Believe it or not, there has been many UK fans wondering if Calipari will now go after the infamous Lance Stephenson. Stephenson is ranked 11th on the Rivals150 list and is considered a New York high school legend. He is a very talented player, but he also comes with a load of negative baggage - ranging from legal issues to being a selfish player.

4. The Continuing Saga of Xavier Henry: In the recruiting story that just won't go away, there are some that continue stating that Xavier Henry is not happy in Kansas and could potentially look elsewhere. With Meeks leaving, some feel that Henry would be happy to jet out of Lawrence and head to Lexington.

5. The Feel-Good Theory: The story I heard late tonight was the idea of offering the scholarship to Michael Porter and allowing him to re-join the team for his senior season - not because he would be a superstar, but because he has earned it.

My Thoughts: These are all rumors and I suppose at least a couple of them are possibilities, but I am going to guess that Calipari saves the scholarship for a 2010 recruit.

John Clay: Meeks' Decision is the Right One

John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader has written a very good article about Jodie Meeks' decision to stay in the NBA Draft and forgo his senior season at Kentucky. Clay feels that Jodie's heart was in the NBA and he made the correct decision to do what he truly wanted to do.

Clay's article:

Jodie Meeks made the right choice.

He followed his heart.

Oh, sure, the senior-to-be could have pleased Kentucky fans and those of us who would have enjoyed his deep threes another basketball season. He could have joined John Calipari's star-studded roster and helped in the hunt for banner No. 8.

But his heart wouldn't have been in it. Not completely. It's obvious that by participating in all those workouts and waiting until decision day before announcing his intention to remain in the NBA Draft, remaining in the draft was his intention all along.

After all, there's no time like the present.

There are two types of NBA players. There are the chosen ones, the lottery picks, and the first-round selections who all but take their appointed spots on NBA rosters. And then there are the ones who play their way onto a team...

The Article Continues Here

Asbury Players Complete Mission Trip to Costa Rica

As always, I thoroughly enjoy passing along exciting stories that illustrate ways that basketball can be used to help those in need. I am pleased to post this article about several members of the Asbury basketball and their mission trip to San Jose, Costa Rica:

Six members of the Asbury College men’s basketball team, along with Head Coach Will Shouse, participated in a short-term mission trip to Costa Rica May 9-16.

The trip was organized through SCORE International, an organization that specializes in short term missions. SCORE International maintains that its purpose is “to evangelize, encourage missionaries, and equip participants to do the work of foreign missionaries.” The organization works to send sports teams and groups of all ages into the mission field, introducing many to missions for the first time.

While in Costa Rica, the group all bunked together. Shouse stated that it was a great bonding experience for all of the guys, him included. SCORE had service activities planned so that the group just had to arrive with willing hearts.

“We did mission work until lunch—passing out tracks, distributing food, and some manual labor. In the evening we got a chance to play against local teams and share with them about Christ during halftime,” Shouse said.

The trip to Costa Rica was the first for Couch Shouse’s Asbury men’s basketball team, but he hopes to make missions opportunities a regular thing. “I want to encourage more players to go and participate in spreading the Gospel, serving others and learning about themselves.”

Article from Asbury

Hurricane Jodie: How Will Kentucky Recover?


With Jodie Meeks keeping his name in the NBA Draft, UK Coach John Calipari will have an interesting battle in the preseason for the starting two guard and small forward spots.

While in the DDM offense, both guards act as ball-handlers primarily, a big part of the system is a drive and kick-out for an open 3-pointer. Meeks was supposed to assume that role and shoot the Cats straight to title #8. A starting 5 of Wall, Meeks, Miller, Patterson, and Cousins was what Big Blue fans have been looking forward to since the Wall press conference. Now, there is a glaring hole that will have to be filled, most likely by one of the newcomers.

The word on Darnell Dodson is that he can be a lights-out 3-point shooter, that according to his JUCO coach. My speculation is that Dodson was the top option at his school, therefore his open looks were limited. If he can sit in the corner and knock down those shots all season, I think you have your answer. But that means he would be acting as the two guard, and at 6'6" and no word on his ball-handling skills, that could be an issue for Cal's offense. A starting 5 with Dodson would look like this: Wall, Dodson, Miller, Patterson, and Cousins.

Scouts are really high on Eric Bledsoe, and he said in his press conference that Coach Cal promised him a starting spot. So the Cats could go with a two-point-guard system with Miller as the spot-up shooter/mismatch. Problem is, we saw two different Millers last season — one that was too timid to shoot the open 3 and missed when he tried, and one that shot the ball with confidence and a pure form. If Coach Cal can bring out the latter Darius, I think you have a starting 5 of Wall, Bledsoe, Miller, Patterson, and Cousins with Miller becoming the kick-out option and Wall and Bledsoe wreaking all kinds of havoc on drives.

Regardless of who steps up in practice (looking at you, Jon Hood), losing Meeks does hurt Kentucky's championship chances, but we tend to forget that the best recruiting class in basketball history (that's right, I said it) is coming to Lexington, and Patterson and Cousins — both 2010 first-rounders — will be lurking inside. Two of last year's starters — Ramon Harris and Perry Stevenson — will be the last options on the bench. That's where we have come since April. A title run is still not out of the question.

Good luck to Jodie — I know he'll be cheering the Cats on as ferociously as we will.
Article by Tyler Young

Jodie Meeks Will Remain in the NBA Draft

Per Jeff Goodman at FoxSports.com:

Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks has decided to bypass his final season in college and will remain in the NBA Draft.

According to sources close to the situation, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound guard made the decision on Monday morning – hours prior to the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the June 25 NBA Draft.

Meeks’ return would have given Kentucky another major piece to a team that is still capable of competing for the national title this season. Meeks averaged 23.7 points last season for Billy Gillispie.

Calipari Confirms it via Twitter:

UKCoachCalipari Jodie called..He's keeping his name in the draft. He's excited and I'm excited for him. I wish I got the chance to coach him.

Statement from Meeks on Courier-Journal Site:

"I want to thank the fans and the city of Lexington. They have been great and I will always be a Kentucky Wildcat," Meeks said in a statement released by UK. "I feel comfortable with my decision and I'm confident in my ability. My family and I talked over the weekend and decided this was the best decision."

Kentucky Staff Knows Meeks' Decision

The Kentucky basketball staff has been told what Meeks is going to do. The announcement should be coming very soon.

Billy Gillispie Will Be Keeping Eyes Open in Texas


ESPN's Doug Gottlieb says we can expect to see former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie at a ton of high school basketball events during the upcoming season. He also feels that Gillispie will be keeping an eye on the situations at Houston and Texas Tech and we shouldn't be surprised if Gillispie eventually ends up back in a Texas college arena somewhere.

Here is an excerpt from Gottlieb's article:

"Houston recently hired Mack Rhoades as its athletic director, which no doubt got the attention of UH coach Tom Penders. The veteran coach has won 23 games in each of the past two seasons, but has yet to make the NCAA tournament in his five years with the Cougars. So what does the hiring of Rhoades have to do with any of that? Before running the athletic department at Akron, Rhoades was an assistant AD at UTEP at a time when Billy Gillispie was helping revive a dormant program. Gillispie -- who also coached at Texas A&M before heading to Kentucky -- is currently living in Dallas, and it's no secret in the Lone Star State that he is keeping an eye on the situations at Houston and Texas Tech. Expect to see Billy Clyde at a ton of Texas high school events this upcoming school year, and don't be surprised if he eventually ends up back in a Texas college arena somewhere."

Latest DraftExpress NBA Mock Draft; Meeks 47th

The latest mock draft from DraftExpress.com has been released and includes several Louisville players in the first round and Kentucky's Jodie Meeks in the second round.

Top 10 and Other Notables:

1. Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
2. James Harden, Arizona State
3. Hasheem Thabeet, UCONN
4. Ricky Rubio, International
5. Stephen Curry, Davidson
6. Tyreke Evans, Memphis
7. Jonny Flynn, Syracuse
8. Jrue Holiday, UCLA
9. Demar DeRozan, USC
10. Jordan Hill, Arizona
16. Terrence Williams, Louisville
19. Earl Clark, Louisville
47. Jodie Meeks, Kentucky

Complete Mock Draft

Still Waiting on Jodie...

Today is the day that we'll know the future of Kentucky shooting guard Jodie Meeks. If he returns to Kentucky for his senior season, the Cats will likely be a top 3 preseason team and will be primed for a deep tournament run. If he stays in the NBA Draft, Kentucky will still likely be a top 10 team, but expectations will be a little less in March.

Barring a late change-of-heart, I have been told that Meeks will be back at Kentucky. He is likely waiting to the last minute to see if anything changes, but it is unlikely that he's going to get a first-round guarantee.

So, we will continue to patiently wait for Jodie to announce his decision.

Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com thinks Jodie will likely withdraw at some point today:

"He won’t get that guarantee he’s searching for, so it’s likely he’ll withdraw sometime today."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shelvin Mack Added to USA U19 Roster


Shelvin Mack, a former Bryan Station star, has been added to FIBA USA U19 roster. Mack now plays for Butler.

Kentucky's Darius Miller will be one of the 14 players that are trying out for the 10 remaining spots on the team.

Here is a breakdown from ESPN's Andy Katz:

USA Basketball officials confirmed Friday that Pitt guard Ashton Gibbs was added to the roster, as was Butler's Shelvin Mack. The rest of the players trying out for the 12 spots next week include:

Kenny Boynton (Florida)
Darryl Bryant (West Virginia)
DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson (Washington State)
Seth Curry (Duke)
Drew Gordon (UCLA)
Gordon Hayward (Butler)
Darius Miller (Kentucky)
Arnett Moultrie (UTEP)
Ralph Sampson III (Minnesota)
John Shurna (Northwestern)
Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas)
Howard Thompkins (Georgia)
Terrico White (Ole Miss)

Jacob Jenkins Verbally Commits to Bellarmine

Jody Demling reported earlier via Twitter that former Manual star Jacob Jenkins has verbally committed to the Bellarmine Knights. Here is Demling's statement:

"Former Manual star Jacob Jenkins just made a verbal commitment to Bellarmine. A great pickup - after a year or prep school - for the Knights"

Calipari: "No word from Jodie..."

Kentucky coach John Calipari has posted on Twitter that he still has no word from Jodie Meeks. Here is his tweet:

UKCoachCalipari No word from Jodie...Made me run faster 2day around campus...Headed 2 Markey Cancer Fundraiser @ Ashford Farms...Gonna b in NYC 2nite

Coach Calipari now has 188,154 followers on the Internet's fastest-growing social sensation. You can follow him here:

http://www.twitter.com/UKCoachCalipari

Word Has "Leaked" That Meeks Will Return to UK

It is being reported on SportingNews.com that word leaded last week that Jodie Meeks would withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to Kentucky. Here is an excerpt:

Jodie Meeks, 6-4 guard, Kentucky. Word started to leak late last week that Meeks was leaning toward pulling out, but he was still quiet into the weekend. Meeks is unlikely to be a first-round pick and needs the versatility John Calipari's hard-driving offense would add to his game. It's not a lock that Meeks can make a living strictly as a jump shooter.

Complete Article

A.J. Stewart to Central Florida?

An article on Kentucky.com indicates that former Kentucky Wildcat A.J. Stewart may transfer to Central Florida. It was widely thought that Stewart might end up at Northern Kentucky University, but he is apparently considering other options. Here is an excerpt:

Former UK player A.J. Stewart appears to be headed for a transfer to Central Florida. He recently forwarded his transcript to the school.

But Stewart's high school coach, Rex Morgan, wants the player to visit at least one other school before deciding. Morgan noted that Stewart signed with UK in 2006 without visiting the other schools on his final list: Illinois, Kansas State and Clemson.

The article adds that former Wildcat Donald Williams has not decided on a destination, but is considering the junior college route.

Complete Article from Kentucky.com

University of the Cumberlands Holds Successful Camp

Press Release from UC:

The University of the Cumberlands held its annual team camp this week from June 7th to June 10th. Eight high schools attended the camp including Country Day High School and Brookville High School from Ohio, Scott High School from Tennessee, Pisgah High School from Alabama, and four local high schools including Pulaski County, Whitley County, Williamsburg, and Barbourville.

For four days, these teams were matched up against each other and scrimmaged in multiple games. The games were played by halves as in college with a running 20 minute half. Each school brought varsity and junior varsity squads so play was held in three gyms, including the O. Wayne Rollins Center, the UC Intramural Gym, and the Williamsburg High School Gym. Each school had between 15-21 games between the varsity and junior varsity squads.

University of the Cumberlands Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Mark Vernon was part of the camp staff. “We had a very good week of camp,” stated Vernon. “We had a mix of schools that have been coming for many years and a couple of schools here for their first time. All the teams were very competitive and very well coached. It made for another successful year of team camp.”

The Patriots will be hosting more camps this summer including a Youth Day Camp beginning on June 15th and a Big Man Camp that will start on June 28th. For more information on camps as well as Patriot athletics, please visit www.ucumberlands.edu/athletics.

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