Saturday, July 11, 2009

Antigua and Strickland Check Out Kyrie Irving

Per ZagsBlog.com:

COACHES SWARM TO SEE IRVING

Think Kyrie Irving is in high demand?

Coaches from about a dozen high-majors watched the 6-foot-1 senior combo guard from Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick drop 24 points as the New Jersey Roadrunners pulled out a one-point win over Philly Pride.

Newly minted Virginia Tech commit Tyrone Garland had 21 in the loss.

Irving had this to say via his Twitter feed, which now has more than 1,000 followers: “Decent games today…can’t make any excuses just gotta learn and grow from all these experiences…it’s life.”

Kentucky had two coaches on hand, Orlando Antigua and former Knicks point guard Rod Strickland. Strickland recently told me he’s excited to work with John Wall and Eric Bledsoe next year. Could Irving be the next great Calipari point guard in the line?

Also on hand were Paul Hewitt of Georgia Tech; Roshown McLeod of Indiana; Steve Wojciechowski of Duke; Kevin Murphy of Seton Hall; Doug West of Villanova; Darren Savino of Rutgers; and coaches from Texas A&M and Virginia.

Irving has a list of a dozen or so schools, but my bet is this thing comes down to Kentucky, Indiana and Texas A&M, with Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame and Seton Hall hanging around.

Memphis coach Josh Pastner was also in the house checking in on Antonio Barton, who has committed for 2010. I interviewed Josh at the Reebok Camp and will have more on him later.

John Pelphrey Earns Extension at Arkansas


Former Kentucky Wildcat and Paintsville native John PelphreCheck Spellingy has received an extension as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Pelphrey's contract has been extended through 2014. He earned $795,000 last season as the Razorbacks were 14-16 and missed the postseason.

"We're in transition," Arkansas AD Jeff Long said. "Coach Pelphrey and I agree with where the program needs to be. We obviously are going through some growing pains."



USA Will Go For U19 World Championship

United States U19 81
Croatia U19 77

2009 FIBA U19 World Championships in New Zealand

The United States (8-0) overcame a difficult 3rd quarter to rebound for a semifinal victory over Croata at the FIBA U19 World Championships in New Zealand. Leading comfortably by a score 46-33 at the half, the Americans came out of the locker room cold and saw Croatia (6-2) storm back to actually take a 2-point lead. A gritty fourth quarter saw the United States prevail and advance to the gold medal game.

Gordon Hayward led the U.S. with 15 points and 8 rebounds while Ashton Gibbs added 11 points. Seth Curry and Terrico White each went for 10 points in the victory. Shelvin Mack, a product of Bryan Station High School in Lexington, scored only 2 points, but also grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. Darius Miller scored 1 point in limited action.

Croatia picked up 17 points from Mario Delas. Three others contributed 15 points each.

The United States will advance to the championship game where they will face Greece. Greece (6-2) pulled off a stunning 84-69 victory over Australia (7-1) in the other semifinal. The Americans defeated Greece 85-69 in the tournament's second round.

Box Score

Jodie Meeks Shines in First Pro Game


After the game ended, the announcer for tonight's summer league game stated, "Jodie Meeks stood out. He was without a doubt the best player on the Bucks team tonight."

Meeks, who left Kentucky after his junior season and was drafted 41st by the Bucks, showed that he belongs at the NBA level in his first professional game. He was 6-9 from the field and scored 14 points to lead the Bucks. Meeks was 1-1 from long range and added 2 rebounds and a steal in the game. He clearly stood out as one of the better players on the court tonight.

The game lacked offensive flow and featured both teams combining for 55 fouls, 46 turnovers and 44-113 field goal shooting. The Bucks won the ugly affair by a score of 65-59.

Former Louisville Cardinal Juan Palacios did not score in 10 minutes of action.

My Thoughts: Meeks looked great tonight. It is amazing that he was able to do anything in the same lineup with Joe Alexander and Brandon Jennings. The two combined for 7-30 shooting and destroyed Milwaukee's offensive flow.

Friday, July 10, 2009

UPDATES: Jodie Meeks Gets the Start

- Jodie Meeks is in the starting lineup for the Bucks.
- Meeks is 1-1 with his first ever professional points
- Jodie appears to be in the best shape of his career
- Brandon Jennings likes to play the Starbury offense; which doesn't translate well to getting teammates involved
- Meeks drains an outside jumper; 4 points for Jodie
- The best looking player in the first quarter is Meeks
- End of the first quarter; Bucks 15 Mavs 14
- Meeks: 2-3 FG 4 PTS 8 Minutes
- Steal for Jodie
- Meeks nails another jumper...
- Halftime: Meeks 3-5 FG 6 PTS 1 STL
- Meeks can't get a touch with Alexander and Jennings in the lineup
- Meeks is 3-5; Jennings and Alexander are a combined 4-21
- Juan Palacios getting some PT in the 3rd quarter
- End of the 3rd Quarter - terrible game by both teams
- Meeks is 3-6, 1 reb, 1 stl, 6 points
- Just a horrible performance by both teams; 45 fouls, 37 turnovers, 32-87 from the field
- Meeks hits another outside jumper; 8 points now
- Meeks scores again. 10 points on 5-8 shooting
- THREE for Jodie Meeks; 6-9 for 13 points
- Meeks to the line late; 1-2 FT, 14 points for Jodie
- Game ends with a Bucks victory; Meeks scores 14 to lead the team

Announcer: "Jodie Meeks stood out. He was without a doubt the best player on the Bucks team tonight."

Some Notes from Morehead State Coach Donnie Tyndall


I gave Morehead State head coach Donnie Tyndall a call this afternoon to check on Leon Buchanan's progress towards signing a professional contract. He was taking a few days off the recruiting trail to spend some time with his family. In fact, I caught him in the car en route to Chicago with his daughter to watch a Jonas Brothers concert, but he was more-than-happy to give me some updates on his basketball program.

I will have a more in-depth Q&A with Coach Tyndall later in the summer, but I'll pass along a few updates:

- Leon Buchanan will be playing professionally next season but he has not made a final decision on his destination at this time; he is weighing his options with 4-5 opportunities overseas and hopes to have firm plans sometime in August

- Former MSU point guard Nikola Stojakovic just completed a successful season of professional basketball in Serbia; he will not be returning to the same team and is possibly looking to advance to a second-division team in France; he is also looking at a couple of other opportunities; Tyndall added that Stojakovic will actually be visiting Morehead in a few days and he is looking forward to seeing his former point guard, which he proudly calls "one of his all-time favorites..."

- Notre Dame transfer Ty Proffitt has been looking good during summer ball; he arrived on campus at 207 pounds and is now down to 192; Tyndall would like to see his playing weight in the 188-190 range; He expects Proffitt to be in the mix for a starting position come November

- Kenneth Faried, who was a top 3 rebounder in the NCAA last season, is primed for a huge junior season; he has really attacked the weight room in the summer and is up to 222 pounds; Faried's goal is to be the best mid-major player in the country next season

- Tyndall feels that a major key to MSU's success next season will be the play of Les Simmons; Simmons is an athletic forward that red-shirted last season

- The Eagles are hoping to get a big contribution from David Terrell, a JUCO transfer who was recruited to help fill the void left by the loss of Buchanan

- In closing, Tyndall added that a big strength next season will be the team's depth; he returns four of his five starters and will have plenty of talent on the bench

Follow Morehead State Athletics on Twitter

Announcement from MSUEagles.com:

The Morehead State athletic department has announced that fans can now follow the Eagles on the popular networking site Twitter. Eagle fans can receive updates as well as provide input via the site. MSU's twitter site can be found at http://twitter.com/MSUATHLETICS.

Wizards May Give Jamaal Magloire an Opportunity


The Washington Wizards are considering adding one of several veterans to add some depth down low. The group they are looking at includes former University of Kentucky big man Jamaal Magloire. Magloire has bounced around the league throughout his long NBA career. He last suited up as a reserve for the Miami Heat.

Here is an excerpt from an article appearing on WashingtonTimes.com today:

The Wizards, according to league sources, have expressed interest in signing Rasho Nesterovic, Channing Frye, Jason Collins or Jamaal Magloire for near the veteran minimum, but Grunfeld left open the possibility of adding one of the five center/power forward prospects on the summer league squad.

"There could an opportunity," Grunfeld said. "We have only 13 players under contract and can carry 15. If someone impresses us, there's an opportunity for them to possibly earn a spot on the regular-season roster."

United States U19's Advance to Semifinals

United States U19 93
Canada U19 73


2009 FIBA U19 World Championships in New Zealand

The United States (7-0) had a relatively easy win against Canada (3-4) in the quarterfinals of the FIBA U19 World Championships. The Americans raced out to a 15-point halftime lead and never looked back en route to a semifinal battle with Croatia (6-1).

Gordon Hayward and Seth Curry combined to go 8-10 from the 3-point line to lead the Americans. Hayward finished with 20 points and 3 steals. Curry came off the bench to score 12 points and dish out 3 assists. Howard Thompkins added 12 points while Tyshawn Taylor and John Shurna added 10 each.

Kentucky's Darius Miller scored 5 points, pulled down 3 rebounds and dished out 3 assists in 16 minutes of action. Shelvin Mack added 6 points and 5 rebounds. The United Stats was a blistering 14-26 from the 3-point line as a team.

Tristan Thompson led the Canadians with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Kelly Olynyk chipped in 14 points in the loss.

Box Score

My Exclusive Interview with The Fake John Wall


One of the most intriguing stories of the day, for me, was the revelation by UK that the Twitter accounts of John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were actually fake. I was contacted tonight by the "Fake" John Wall and he agreed to explain his story to me under the agreement that I keep his contact information private. I conducted a Q&A with the not-so-real John Wall:

Why did you decide to contact me with this story?

I visit your web site 5-10 times a day and really enjoy your perspective on basketball.

Ok, let’s start here: tell me why you decided to create a fake John Wall account.

This is a long story. I had a bet with a friend at a bar one night in May. This was about two weeks before Wall signed at UK. My bet was – if Wall signed at UK, I would change my name from theFakeJohnWall to UK11JohnWall figuring that he would wear that number from HS. So, I have been UK11JohnWall for a little over two months until Matt Jones alerted UK Media and bam, there goes my secret.

Are you also the fake DeMarcus Cousins?

The funny part is that the guy who did DeMarcus Cousins copied the name setup off of me. I don’t know who he is and he doesn’t know me.

Tell me more about your intentions.

I hit a high of about 3,450 followers until tonight - I have lost about 300 followers. I never set this account up to make fun or degrade John. I love UK Basketball and was excited about the 5 star players coming to UK. Matt Jones on his live blog called me a sad person to do this, but that’s how I roll. So hopefully I will still be able to keep a few followers because I am excited for the new season. What is sad is that I expected Twitter to shut me down two months ago and they never did. I wonder what John Wall thought about the twitter account. I am sure he has seen it. Somebody early on sent me the background picture and UK people just fell in love with it.

What would you like to say to the Big Blue Nation?

I really am sorry to the people who thought I was John Wall.

What happens now?

I wonder if I will have a cult following with TheFakeJohnWall. Probably not. You should have read some of the afternoon messages on my account telling me to go [expletive] myself for being a fake John Wall. The original bet was that I couldn't get 1,000 followers before Twitter would shut me down. I did even better than that with 3,450.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jodie Meeks Will Start Pro Career Tomorrow


The 2009 NBA Summer League by EA Sports kicks off tomorrow afternoon and runs through July 19.

There will be plenty of players with local ties to keep an eye on, including Jodie Meeks from the Kentucky Wildcats. Meeks and the Bucks will play their first game tomorrow night against the Dallas Mavericks.

Other players of local interest that will be in action over the weekend are Juan Palacios (Bucks) from Louisville and Erik Daniels (Grizzlies) from Kentucky.

The weekend schedule will be:

Friday, July 10 - COX Pavilion

1 PM Houston vs. Golden State
3 PM Detroit vs. Sacramento
5 PM LA Lakers vs. Toronto
7 PM Milwaukee vs. Dallas

Saturday, July 11 - COX Pavilion

1 PM Toronto vs. Detroit
3 PM LA Lakers vs. Cleveland
5 PM Golden State vs. Sacramento
7 PM Houston vs. Dallas

Sunday, July 12 - COX Pavilion

1 PM New Orleans vs. San Antonio
3 PM Minnesota vs. Houston
5 PM Oklahoma City vs. Memphis
7 PM Cleveland vs. Milwaukee

Doron Lamb Likes What He Sees at Kentucky

Article from Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader:

A top-25 point guard prospect, Doron Lamb, visited Kentucky two weeks ago. Lamb, who plays for the high school powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, liked what he saw and considers Kentucky among his college choices.

That might be considered news given UK will have two highly regarded freshman point guards next season in John Wall and Eric Bledsoe.

“I think John Wall is one-and-done,” meaning he’d play only one season for Kentucky before turning pro, Lamb said at the Nike-sponsored King City Classic on Thursday. “Eric Bledsoe, he’d be there if I go there. He and I will be a good backcourt.”

Lamb, whose first name is pronounced Dah-ron, listed his schools as Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Connecticut and Southern Cal.

When he visited UK, Lamb was escorted by Wall and another freshman, DeMarcus Cousins.

An Update on the KBDL


KBDL management has recently worked out a deal to own and operate a team in the ABA, as well as the Louisville Basketball League, touted as the only 'minor league for the ABA'. Both the CRUSADERS and the LBL are based in Louisvile, KY, will be operated totally independent of the KBDL. They also took control of the ABA online magazine, reporting and writing for the ABA.

"This is an exciting venture," quoted Cliff Todd, KBDL Commissioner. "Im looking forward to it." The Crusaders are not the KBDL Plus; it is an official ABA team and will be operated under the conditions and rules set forth by ABA Commissioner Joe Newman.

KBDL Management is very familiar with the ABA. Todd is a former coach for the Kentucky Colonels and some of the staff of the Colonels now work with the RiverCity Gamblers. Cliff is friends with several coaches in the ABA and the KBDL has sent many players to staff ABA teams, including last seasons Championship team, the Bisons.

Shawn Thompson and Jeremey Broyles to KCU

Kentucky Christian head coach Corey Mullins has announced the addition of two players to his basketball program.

Shawn Thompson - Lawrence County High School

Shawn Thompson, former standout at Lawrence County High School signed a letter of intent to continue his playing career at Kentucky Christian University. Over 20 of Thompson's closest friends, family, and former coaches were on hand to wish Shawn the best in his career as a Knight.

"Shawn is going to be a nice addition to our program," commented coach Corey Mullins. " Shawn came to campus a few times in the spring. He worked hard in our open gyms and really impressed all of us with his drive and ability. He plays taller than he actually is, and certainly will be one of the strongest player on the floor at all times."

Thompson will add to the inside presence that allowed KCU to win the Mid-East region tournament. The Knights begin the defense of their championship on November 3rd at Alice Lloyd College.

Jeremey Broyles - Conner High School

Head coach Corey Mullins received a commitment from Jeremey Broyles, a 6'4 guard from Conner High School in Northern Kentucky. This past season, Broyles averaged 9ppg and 4rpg while leading the team in 3pt shooting, knocking down 42% of his attempts behind the arch.

"It is a priviledge to have Jeremey apart of our program," remarked coach Mullins. "First and foremost, Jeremey understands our commitment to Christ and biblical teaching. He comes from a great family whose values are the same as our's her at KCU. I envision Jeremey stepping into a leadership role as soon as gets on campus. Jeremey is also a talent on the floor. He has a rare combination of size and skill. He is a taller guard who can shoot the three and has the toughness to guard the forward position. It is great to sign great young men like Jeremey."

Broyles is coming off of post-season surgery and will look to rehab and contribute as he becomes healthy.

KCU Press Releases

Isiah Thomas Making a Run at Brandon Knight


Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com is reporting that former NBA player turned head coach Isiah Thomas is showing an ability to recruit high-level players. Thomas just convinced 6-10 junior Chris Coleman, who was also being recruited by North Carolina State and other BCS schools, to join him at Florida International.

"That’s a great get for FIU,” one Big East assistant coach said after watching Coleman play at the Reebok Camp in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Thomas is going after several big-time players, including Kentucky recruit Brandon Knight. Goodman says that sources indicate that Thomas is making a legitimate run at Knight, who is widely considered a top 2-3 player in the Class of 2010.

UK Exposes Fake John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins

DeWayne Peevey and UK have revealed that Twitter accounts claiming to be Kentucky incoming freshmen John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are fake. Here is a post on Twitter by Peevy:

"UK has confirmed that the twitter accounts 'UK11JohnWall' and 'UK15DCousins' are not the official twitter pages of two UK incoming freshmen."

If you are following those two accounts on Twitter, they are NOT Wall and Cousins.

You can follow Peevy's Posts at:

http://twitter.com/UKMediaNews

UK Checking Out Rising Sophomore Kyle Anderson


Adam Zagoria is reporting on his blog that Kentucky is involved in recruiting Kyle Anderson, a 6-7 rising sophomore from Paterson (N.J.) Catholic.

Anderson's father says the schools recruiting his son include: Pitt, Georgetown, Rutgers, St. John's, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, La Salle, Texas, Kansas, Baylor, Miami, Kentucky and Indiana.

Article from ZagsBlog.com

Karen Sypher: I ain't sayin' she a gold digger, but...


The Rick Pitino extortion case, which has been full of surprises, has taken on another interesting twist. WHAS11 has uncovered an intriguing, perhaps even embarrassing, profile of Karen Sypher on the dating website sugardaddie.com. That particular website is a dating site that allows women to target wealthy men.

WHAS11's Melanie Kahn spoke to Karen Sypher and here is how she explained her profile on the site:

"It was a big laugh for us for a while. I think that's the most we've laughed in a long time," said Sypher.

Sypher explained that her children created her profile on the site:

"My children, I guess are just concerned about me having a life like everyone else seems to have."

Her profile has now been removed from sugardaddie.com, but WHAS11 managed to grab a screenshot (see image).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Campbellsville to Face UK at Rupp Arena

The 2009-2010 Campbellsville University men's basketball team has secured an opportunity to play an exhibition game against the University of Kentucky in Rupp Arena. The Tiger squad, coach by Keith Adkins, will face the Wildcats and new coach John Calipari on Monday night November 2nd. Game time has not been set. "We are very appreciative to coach Calipari for this opportunity," said Adkins. "They have played other schools from the Mid-South Conference the last few seasons and we are certainly glad to be selected this season."

"This will be an exciting experience for our team, coaches and fans," added Rusty Hollingsworth, CU Director of Athletics. The Tigers have played several exhibition games in the recent past against Arkansas, Western Kentucky, UT Chattanooga, Murray State, Samford University and North Alabama. "To play UK in Rupp Arena will be a very big event for our program, our university and our community," said Adkins.Tickets will be limited and may be obtained through the UK ticket office.

Press Release from Campbellsville

Brescia Announces the Hiring of Shane Howard

Press Release from Brescia:

Brescia University men’s basketball coach Joe Pechota didn’t have to look far in filling his position of assistant coach. Former Daviess-County High School assistant Shane Howard will be joining the Bearcats coaching staff for the 2009-2010 season.

“Shane is a very good teacher of the game and has already begun to do a great job making the move to the college level,” said Pechota. “The energy he brings to workouts and his enthusiasm for the game is tremendous.”

Howard’s responsibilities will consist of post player development and leading the recruiting efforts for the Bearcats.

“He has tremendous contacts within the state of Kentucky as well as regionally, and I believe this will reflect in the future recruiting classes, Pechota added”

“I am excited for this opportunity to work with and develop the young men in the Brescia University basketball program,” said Howard. “Over the last few years Coach Pechota has built a great foundation for success and I look forward to being a part of this program.

“I am excited to have the chance to help the program achieve its goals, not only within the KIAC, but also nationally.”

Announcement

2009 Orlando Pro Summer League: Day 3 Recap

Game 1:

Pacers 95
Jazz 79

Quick Summary: Tyler Hansbrough played great for the third consecutive game in leading the Pacers with 24 points and 5 rebounds. Roy Hibbert continued to shine, as well, scoring 21 points and pulling down 8 rebounds. James Augustine led the Jazz with 12 points and 5 rebounds.

Bluegrass Connection: None

Box Score

Game 2:

Thunder 94
Celtics 82

Quick Summary: Russell Westbrook exploded for the Thunder with 26 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals. D.J. White had a good game for the Thunder with 16 points and 7 rebounds. The Celtics were led by J.R. Giddens with 16 points.

Bluegrass Connection: Former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Chris Lofton scored 15 points for the Celtics, including 4-5 from the 3-point line. Bill Walker scored 12 points and pulled down 5 rebounds.

Box Score

Game 3:

Nets/Sixers 86
Magic 108

Quick Summary: The Magic picked up 21 points form both Ryan Anderson and Maurice Ager. Kasib Powell added 19 points and Richard Hendrix tallied a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Bluegrass Connection: Terrence Williams had his best game as a pro as he scored 16 points, pulled down 7 rebounds and dished out 4 assists.

Box Score

Jodie Meeks Signs NBA Contract with Bucks

I'll have more on this later, but Jodie Meeks has signed a guaranteed 2-year contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The announcement was made by Alvin Brooks, who was formerly Director of Basketball Operations at Kentucky.

UPDATE: Meeks signed a 3-year deal with the Bucks. Two years are guaranteed and the third season is optional.

LeBron James: UK's Secret Head Recruiter?


There are Twitter reports from Jeff Drummond of The Cat's Pause saying that LeBron James is sitting with several University of Kentucky staff members and recruiting targets. That is huge news and it can't be stated enough how someone like LeBron can influence high school kids. Here is Drummond's "tweet":

"interesting top row sight here: the UK staff alongside LeBron James watching a game with 3 or 4 UK targets"

Dustin Rumbaugh, who does superb work on the recruiting trail for Kentucky Sports Radio, realizes the potential power of a name like LeBron. Here is a tweet that Dustin sent out:

"I can't tell you how HUGE LeBron sitting with UK coaches is. Talk about a top recruiting tool. He could be UK's MJ. I'm pumped."

The photo comes to us from Jody Demling of the Courier-Journal.

This is great news for Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation!

I recommend that all UK fans follow these guys on Twitter. Also, make sure to follow Bluegrass State Basketball for daily (and oftentimes, hourly) updates about basketball in our state.




Tipton: 2011 Top 30 Wings Looking at Kentucky

Article from Jerry Tipton's blog:

Top 30 wing players in the next two high school classes expressed interest in Kentucky after playing games in the King City Classic in Cleveland.

The wings were senior to be Cameron Clark (ranked No. 26 by the Prep Stars recruiting service). Junior to be Adonis Thomas (No. 23 in the class of 2011) also mentioned UK as did Quincy Miller (who was not on Prep Stars’ summer listing of the top 25 players in the class of 2011).

Clark, a 6-foot-6 player from Sherman, Texas, said that UK had offered a scholarship. He’s also received interest from Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas.

His versatility interests the schools, Clark said. “I can put it on the floor, dribble it, pass it, rebound. Basically, everything.”

Thomas a junior to be from Memphis, said he’s also considering Memphis, Miami, Florida State and Florida.

Miller, a 6-8 player from Winston-Salem, N.C., listed a number of schools including Louisville, Duke, North Carolina and Memphis.

Miller noted how he likes the uptempo way Kentucky and Louisville play.

Visit Tipton's UK Blog

UK Wildcats: New Coach, New Team, New Uniforms?


There are hints in the air that the Kentucky Wildcats will have some new uniforms in 2009-10. The idea of a new look had been mentioned by new head coach John Calipari in the past and he has given some pretty big hints today on Twitter:

"The Nike machine is alive and kicking. Wait to you see the creative plan they have for us. Classy and creative."

"Meeting with Michael Smith and Eric Lautenbach of Nike. They want to show me the new uniform designs. Photos may follow..."

It looks like a new era is about to being in Lexington. The Cats have a new coach, many new faces and now - new uniforms. What's next?

You can join 366,000+ others in following Coach Calipari on Twitter by visiting:

USA U19's Tested by Lithuania in Narrow Victory


United States U19 76
Lithuania U19 69

2009 FIBA U19 World Championships in New Zealand

The Americans were tested by a desperate Lithuania team, but they pulled out a win to improve to 6-0 in the FIBA U19 World Championships. Lithuania (3-3) was fighting for their medal lives and gave a tremendous effort, but they came up just short.

The United States (6-0) was led by Tyshawn Taylor with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Klay Thompson and Kentucky's Darius Miller each scored 10 points. Miller was instrumental in the victory as he put in six consecutive points at a crucial stage in the final quarter. Shelvin Mack chipped in 5 points for the USA.

Eimantas Bendzius led Lithuania with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

The Americans have advanced to Friday's quarterfinal round where they will play Canada (3-3).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

2009 Orlando Pro Summer League: Day 2 Recap

Game 1:

Celtics 82
Magic 85

Quick Summary: Orlando's Ryan Anderson was very impressive in scoring 33 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. Kasib Powell chipped in 15 points for the Magic. The Celtics came up short in the fourth quarter.

Bluegrass Connection: Chris Lofton scored 3 points in only 4 minutes of action. Bill Walker did not play in the game (coach's decision).

Box Score

Game 2:

Jazz 83
Nets/Sixers 68

Quick Summary: The Jazz took the lead early and never looked back in coasting to victory. Utah had a balanced scoring attack led by Eric Maynor and Josh Duncan with 12 points each. Chris Douglas-Roberts was impressive for the second consecutive game in scoring 27 points.

Bluegrass Connection: Terrence Williams scored 8 points and pulled down 6 rebounds. He continued to struggle from the field with a 3-11 shooting performance.

Box Score

Game 3:

Thunder 88
Pacers 91

Quick Summary: The game came down to the wire, but the Pacers were able to hang on late. Roy Hibbert exploded for 24 points and 8 rebounds to lead Indiana. Tyler Hansbrough was impressive for the second consecutive day as he scored 23 points.

Bluegrass Connection: None

Box Score

Local Players Trying to Impress at Orlando Invitational

The Orlando Invitational Tournament concludes tomorrow and there are several with Bluegrass State ties that are trying to catch the eyes of professional scouts during the event.

What is the Orlando Invitational Tournament?

The Orlando Invitational Tournament is an opportunity for the NCAA's top graduating senior basketball players to showcase their talents and skills before the general managers, coaches, and scouts from the European Leagues, D League, WBA, and the PBL. The tournament is a proving ground for America's top basketball players and it gives professional teams an opportunity to evaluate the candidates that have the potential to compete professionally in 2009.

Who competes there?

There are players from all walks of college basketball participating in the event. There are players ranging from large BCS schools to NAIA levels.

Players with Kentucky ties:

Cheyenne Moore Georgetown College 6'4" 210 SG 2.4 PPG 2.0 RPG
Tramaine Stevens Morehead State 6'5" 205 G/F 24.3 PPG 6.1 RPG 2.0 APG
Andre McGee Louisville 5'10" 180 G 6.0 PPG 1.7 RPG 1.5 APG 1.2 SPG
Demetrius Guions Georgetown College 6'5" 195 G/F 12.3 PPG 4.8 RPG 2.0 APG
Leslie Malone Northern Kentucky 6'7" 195 G/F 20.0 PPG 11.0 RPG 1.6 APG

Complete Rosters

2009-10 Kentucky Wildcats' Official Roster Announced

UKAthletics.com has released the official 12-man roster of the Kentucky Wildcats for the 2009-10 season. The roster includes Darnell Dodson, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and Eric Bledsoe - meaning that all four are on the team and all four have qualified academically. The roster is deep and filled with talented, athletic players.

2009-10 Kentucky Wildcats:

24 Eric Bledsoe G 6-1/190 FR/HS Birmingham, Ala. (Parker)
15 DeMarcus Cousins F 6-11/260 FR/HS Mobile, Ala. (LeFlore)
3 Darnell Dodson G 6-7/215 SO/TR Greenbelt, Md. (Miami-Dade CC)
55 Josh Harrellson F 6-10/265 JR/1L St. Charles, Mo. (SW Illinois College)
5 Ramon Harris G 6-7/218 SR/3L Anchorage, Alaska (West Anchorage)
4 Jon Hood G 6-6/195 FR/HS Madisonville, Ky. (North Hopkins)
34 DeAndre Liggins G 6-6/202 SO/1L Chicago, Ill. (Findley Prep)
1 Darius Miller G 6-7/223 SO/1L Maysville, Ky. (Mason County)
33 Daniel Orton F 6-10/255 FR/HS Oklahoma City, Okla. (Bishop McGuiness)
54 Patrick Patterson F 6-9/235 JR/2L Huntington, W.Va. (Huntington)
21 Perry Stevenson F 6-9/207 SR/3L Lafayette, La. (Northside)
11 John Wall G 6-4/195 FR/HS Raleigh, N.C. (Word of God)

Source: UKAthletics.com

Michael Gilchrist Loves the Wildcats


Unfortunately, for Kentucky fans, he also loves another set of Wildcats. In an article appearing in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gilchrist states that the two sets of Wildcats are actually neck and neck.

"Michael loves Villanova," said Cindy Richardson, Gilchrist's mother. "It's Kentucky, Villanova. Villanova, Kentucky."

Gilchrist is widely considered the top overall prospect in the junior class. He has been contacted by an impressive list of schools that includes Kentucky, Rutgers, Louisiana State, North Carolina, Duke, Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, Florida, Florida State, Oregon, Indiana, West Virginia, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Southern Cal, and Connecticut.

"I'm looking for a school that has a fast-paced transition game," Gilchrist said. "I just want to be with my friends. . . . I want a friend to come with me to school."'

United States Dominates Puerto Rico in U19 Action

United States U19 82
Puerto Rico U19 61

2009 FIBA U19 World Championships in New Zealand (2nd Round)

The United States U19 squad improved to 5-0 at the FIBA World Championships with a dominating 82-61 victory over Puerto Rico. The Americans jumped out to a 43-19 halftime lead and were never challenged after an explosive second quarter.

Howard Thompkins led the United States with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Gordon Hayward added 11 points and 7 rebounds for the Americans. Kentucky native Shelvin Mack contributed 7 points and 4 rebounds. Darius Miller had 4 points and 3 rebounds in 17 minutes of action.

Juivani Fontan led all scorers with 16 points for Puerto Rico.

The United States will wrap-up second round play against Lithuania on Wednesday.

Box Score

Patrick Sparks is Lighting Up the Ukraine


Former Kentucky Wildcat and Central City native Patrick Sparks has completed a successful 2008-09 season for Hoveria Ivano-Frankivsk in the Ukraine. Sparks is thousands of miles from home but he has found some similarities - the rims are still ten feet from the floor and he has not forgotten how to shoot the basketball.

Sparks scored 16.4 points per game for his team during the 40-game season that wrapped up in May. The former Kentucky sharpshooter blistered the nets for 41.3% shooting from beyond the 3-point line. He also averaged 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals during the season.

The Ukraine may offer different surroundings than his hometown of Central City, but some things never change.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Luke Fitzgerald Ready for Eurobasket Summer League

Luke Fitzgerald, fresh off an NAIA All-America senior season at the University of the Cumberlands, is ready to shine at the 2009 Eurobasket Summer League in Las Vegas. The event, which gives players that are not in the NBA Summer League an opportunity to shine for professional scouts, gets underway tomorrow and runs through Thursday. Fitzgerald will be playing for Team Brussels.

Team Brussels Roster for Eurobasket 2009:

Andy Gebru, G, Fayettville St.
Chris Green, G, Houston Takers (ABA)
Jamal Johnson, F, Gigates (Venezuela)
Tim Latiker, G, Panteras del distrito nacional (Dominican Republic)
Carey Rigsbuy, F/C, La Salle UPB (Bolivia)
John Ruffus, F/C, Manchester Milrats (PBL)
Kevin Sowell, G, Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia)
Jason Underwood, F/C, Vancouver T. (Canada)
Kenny Whitehead, C, Grevenbroich (Germany)
Luke Fitzgerald, F, University of the Cumberlands

Eurobasket Summer League Information

Hoop Scoop: Marquette Has Top 2009 Recruiting Class


Hoop Scoop, a Louisville-based scouting service, has released its recruiting rankings for the Class of 2009.

Surprisingly, the service ranks Marquette's class as the top overall class, while the Kentucky Wildcats are ranked second. Marquette has a quality class, but this ranking is surprising considering that the Marquette class is ranked 17th by both Rivals.com and Scout.com.

The Hoop Scoop explains the point system:

A top-five ranked player nationally is worth 10 points, a top-10 player is worth nine points, a player in the 11-40 range is worth eight points, a player in the 41-70 range is worth six points, a player in the 71-100 is worth four points, a player in the 101-300 range is worth three points and anyone in the 301-1000 ratings is worth two points. A high school player not in the top 1000 is worth a point and junior college, prep school and foreign players are factored like they were the equivalent of a high school senior.

1. MARQUETTE (46 Points)..........7 Recruits..........6.6 Talent Rating Average Per Recruit..........Big East Conference..........(8) Erik Williams, 6'7, WF, Cypress (Cypress Springs) TX; (8) Junior Cadugon, 6'0, PG, Humble (Christian Life) TX; (8) Jeronne Maymon, 6'6, PF, Madison (Memorial) WI; (8) Dwight Buycks, 6'3, 2G, Indian Hills (JC) IA; (8) Darius Johnson-Odom, 6'2, PG, Hutchinson (JC) KS; (3) Brett Roseboro, 6'10, PF, Quakertown (H.S.) PA; (3) Youssouphe Mbao, 7'2, C, Simi Valley (Stoneridge Prep) CA.

2. KENTUCKY (41 Points)..........6 Recruits..........6.8 Talent Rating Average Per Recruit..........Southeastern Conference..........(10) DeMarcus Cousins, 6'10, C, Mobile (LeFlore) AL; (10) John Wall, 6'3, 2G, Raleigh (Word of God) NC; (8) Daniel Orton, 6'10, C, Oklahoma City (Bishop McGuiness) OK; (6) Darnell Dodson, 6'7, WF, Miami-Dade (JC) FL; (4) Eric Bledsoe, 6'0, PG, Birmingham (Parker) AL; (3) Jonathan Hood, 6'7, WF, Madisonville (North Hopkins) KY.

My Thoughts: This is an interesting way to rank the classes, but it seems to reward quantity over quality, in my opinion. I mean, hypothetically speaking, is it more productive to recruit 3 top 40 players or 8 top 300 players? I respect all the hard work that Hoop Scoop puts into their service, but I disagree with this ranking system.

2009 Orlando Pro Summer League: Day 1 Recap

Game 1:

Nets/Sixers 67
Pacers 75

Quick Summary: Pacers outscored the Nets/Sixers 10-2 in overtime to pull out the victory. Tyler Hansbrough led the Pacers with 17 points and 5 rebounds. Brandon Rush added 15 points. Mareese Speights exploded 28 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Nets/Sixers. Chris Douglas-Roberts added 20 points in the loss.

Bluegrass Connection: Former Lousiville Cardinal Terrence Williams scored only 2 points, but pulled down 9 rebounds in 35 minutes of action.

Box Score

Game 2:

Thunder 88
Magic 77

Quick Summary: Russell Westbrook led the Thunder to victory with 22 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds. James Harden added 17 points. Ryan Anderson led the Magic with 21 points and Jeremy Richardson contributed 18.

Bluegrass Connection: None, unless you count Robert Vaden, who once exploded for UAB and helped make Kentucky look bad. He scored 2 points in 8 minutes.

Box Score

Game 3:

Celtics 87
Jazz 56

Quick Summary: The Celtics used a balanced scoring attack to throttle the Jazz. Bill Walker led the way with 14 points.

Bluegrass Connection: Former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Chris Lofton scored 8 points in 15 minutes for the Celtics. Walker spent some of his early high school career playing for Rose Hill Academy in Ashland.

Box Score

Northern Kentucky to Hire Kurt Young?

I told from a good source at Northern Kentucky this afternoon that the Norse will likely hire Kurt Young as an assistant coach. Young, who is a Kentucky native, has been an assistant coach at Arkansas Tech.

Parrish has Brandon Knight going to Kentucky

Gary Parrish at CBS Sports has a bizarre question-and-answer column that started as a multiple choice quiz and became...I don't know, whatever. But he says the smart money is on 2010 point guard Brandon Knight choosing Kentucky due to Cal's experience coaching NBA point guards and...wait for it...family in Lexington. I'm not sure if that's true, but if it is, the Cats should be a lock for the top-rated player in next year's class, according to Rivals. It's amazing how a coaching move can change the fortunes of a program in just three months.

One factor in that decision, of course, is Eric Bledsoe, who is setting message boards ablaze with his play in pickup games. Nabbing two of the elite point guards in this year's class was quite a haul for Calipari, but you have to think Knight will be looking at rosters to see who is where and how many minutes he could have on the floor. We will get a much better idea of how that would play out when we see Bledsoe and John Wall manning the backcourt either together or separately.

Kelly Wells to Guest-Host WYMT Sports Tonight

Pikeville College head coach Kelly Wells will be guest-hosting the WYMT Sports broadcast tonight during the six o'clock news.

Wells will be the first of several guest-hosts on WYMT during the month of July.

USA U19's Defeat Greece in FIBA 2nd Round Play

United States U19 85
Greece U19 69

2009 FIBA U19 World Championships in New Zealand (2nd Round)

The United States U19 team struggled to pull away from Greece, but was able to extend their lead in the second half for a comfortable 16-point victory. The Americans led by one after the first quarter and 41-36 at the half. In typical fashion, Greece nailed 11 three-pointers to keep the game close before the U.S. was able to put the game out of reach.

Howard Thompkins led the United States with 22 points on 10-14 shooting. Gordon Hayward added 9 points and 5 rebounds. Shelvin Mack joined a group of five players that scored 8 points in the game. Mack also pulled down 5 rebounds and dished out 3 assists.

Kentucky's Darius Miller struggled with foul problems and scored 2 points in only 7 minutes of action.

The American's (4-0) continue second round pool play today as they battle a very tough Puerto Rico (3-1) squad.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Jared Carter to Play in Eurobasket Summer League


Former Kentucky Wildcat Jared Carter is hoping to make an impression at the 2009 Eurobasket Summer League in Las Vegas. The camp tips off on Tuesday and the former UK big man will be playing for Team Dublin in the event.

Carter's career failed to pan-out at Kentucky, but a center of his size (7'2", 265) can sometimes find a professional career overseas. Good luck to Jared!

Carter's Team Dublin Roster:

Jared Carter 22 7'2 265 Center Kentucky
Mike Copeland 24 6'7 245 Forward North Carolina
Anton Currie 25 6'8 248 Forward Grand Rapids Flight
Brice Fantazia 22 6'5 204 Guard Culver Stockton College
Nate Fritsch 26 6'6 200 Forward Bentley
William Funn 27 6'4 200 Guard Worcester Wolves (UK)
Darius Howard 25 6'4 197 Guard Al Ittihad Aleppo (Syria)
Nathan Linhart 22 6'8 210 Guard University of Akron
Cedric Middelton 24 6'0 185 Guard Akron
Reggie Peyton 22 6'0 185 Guard Christian Brothers University
Marcus Watts 23 6'7 210 Forward Componenta (Finland)

NBA Summer League Preview: Jodie Meeks


Name: Jodie Meeks

Bluegrass State Connection: Played college basketball for the Kentucky Wildcats

Path to the NBA: Drafted in second round (#41) of 2009 Draft by Milwaukee

2009 Summer League Team: Milwaukee Bucks

2009 Milwaukee Bucks' Summer League Roster:

Joe Alexander F 6' 8" 230 West Virginia
Dominic James G 6' 0" 175 Marquette
Brandon Jennings G 6' 1" 170 Italy
Will McDonald C 6' 11" 255 South Florida
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute F 6' 8" 230 UCLA
Jodie Meeks G 6' 4" 208 Kentucky
Juan Palacios F 6' 8" 245 Louisville
Chris Richard F 6' 9" 255 Florida
Salim Stoudamire G 6' 1" 175 Arizona
Szymon Szewczyk F 6' 10" 242 Poland
Mohammed Tangara F/C 6' 8" 248 Chaminade
Lorrenzo Wade F 6' 6" 225 San Diego State

Milwaukee Bucks' Summer League Schedule:

Fri., July 10 Dallas 9 p.m. Cox Pavilion
Sun., July 12 Cleveland 9 p.m. Cox Pavilion
Mon., July 13 Sacramento 9:30 p.m. Thomas & Mack Center
Wed., July 15 Chicago 5 p.m. Cox Pavilion
Thu., July 16 Toronto 3 p.m. Cox Paviolin

NBA Summer League Preview: Terrence Williams


Name: Terrence Williams

Bluegrass State Connection: Played college basketball for the Louisville Cardinals

Path to the NBA: Drafted in first round (#11) of 2009 Draft by New Jersey

2009 Summer League Team: New Jersey Nets

2009 New Jersey Nets/Philadelphia 76ers' (split) Summer League Roster:

A.J. Abrams - G - Texas
Jeff Adrien - F - Connecticut
Blake Ahearn - G - Missouri State
Dionte Christmas - G - Temple
Chris Douglas-Roberts - G/F - Memphis
Jason Ellis - F - Boise State
Gary Forbes - F - Massachusetts
Jrue Holiday - G - UCLA
Chris Johnson - C - LSU
Rob Kurz - F - Notre Dame
Marreese Speights - F - Florida
Terrence Williams - G/F - Louisville

New Jersey Nets/Philadelphis 76ers' Summer League Schedule:

Mon, July 6 vs. Indiana 3 p.m.
Tue, July 7 vs. Utah 5 p.m.
Wed, July 8 vs. Orlando 7 p.m.
Thu, July 9 vs. Oklahoma City 3 p.m.
Fri, July 10 vs. Boston 1 p.m.

NBA Summer League Preview: Chris Lofton


Name: Chris Lofton

Bluegrass State Connection: Former Kentucky Mr. Basketball; Played for Mason County

Path to the NBA: Undrafted Free Agent out of Tennesse; Played most recently in Turkey

2009 Summer League Team: Boston Celtics

2009 Boston Celtics' Summer League Roster:

Nick Fazekas F 7'0" 235 Nevada
J.R. Giddens G 6'5" 215 New Mexico
Lester Hudson G 6'3" 190 Tennessee-Martin
Coby Karl G 6'5" 215 Boise State
Chris Lofton G 6'2" 200 Tennessee
Bryan Mullins G 6'3" 190 Southern Illinois
Gabe Pruitt G 6'4" 170 Southern California
Kevin Rogers F 6'9" 250 Baylor
Bryce Taylor G 6'5" 210 Oregon
Mike Sweetney F 6'9" 270 Georgetown
Robert Swift C 7'1" 270 Bakersfield HS (CA)
Bill Walker F 6'6" 220 Kansas State
Darius Washington G 6'2" 195 Memphis

Boston Celtics' Summer League Schedule:

Monday, July 6 7:00 p.m. Utah Jazz
Tuesday, July 7 3:00 p.m. Orlando Magic
Wednesday, July 8 5:00 p.m. Oklahoma City
Thursday, July 9 7:00 p.m. Indiana Pacers
Friday, July 10 1:00 p.m. New Jersey/Philadelphia

NBA Summer League Preview: Joe Crawford


Name: Joe Crawford

Bluegrass State Connection: Played college basketball for the Kentucky Wildcats

Path to the NBA: Drafted by Lakers in 2nd round (#58) of 2008 Draft; Spent time in NBDL and was signed by New York Knicks late last season

2009 Summer League Team: New York Knicks

2009 New York Knicks' Summer League Roster:

Wink Adams G 6-0 200 Nevada-Las Vegas
Alex Acker G 6-5 185 Pepperdine
Blake Ahearn G 6-2 190 Missouri State
Morris Almond G 6-6 225 Rice
Warren Carter F 6-9 220 Illinois
Joe Crawford G 6-5 210 Kentucky
Toney Douglas G 6-1 200 Florida State
Patrick Ewing, Jr. F 6-8 240 Georgetown
Jordan Hill F 6-10 235 Arizona
Ron Howard G 6-5 200 Valparaiso
Yaroslav Korolev F 6-10 245 Moscow
David Noel F 6-6 230 North Carolina
Mouhamed Sene C 6-11 230 Senegal
Rashaad Singleton C 7-0 270 Florida Southern
Nikoloz Tskitishvili F 7-0 225 International

New York Knicks' Summer League Schedule:

Tuesday, July 14 vs. Memphis3:00 p.m. Cox Pavilion
Wednesday, July 15 vs. Detroit1:00 p.m. Cox Pavilion
Friday, July 17 vs. Sacramento3:00 p.m. Cox Pavilion
Saturday, July 18 vs. Chicago3:00 p.m. Cox Pavilion
Sunday, July 19 vs. Washington1:00 p.m. Cox Pavilion

NBA Summer League Preview: Juan Palacios


Name: Juan Palacios

Bluegrass State Connection: Played college basketball for the Louisville Cardinals

Path to the NBA: Undrafted Free Agent; Has been playing in Spain

2009 Summer League Team: Milwaukee Bucks

2009 Milwaukee Bucks' Summer League Roster:

Joe Alexander F 6' 8" 230 West Virginia
Dominic James G 6' 0" 175 Marquette
Brandon Jennings G 6' 1" 170 Italy
Will McDonald C 6' 11" 255 South Florida
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute F 6' 8" 230 UCLA
Jodie Meeks G 6' 4" 208 Kentucky
Juan Palacios F 6' 8" 245 Louisville
Chris Richard F 6' 9" 255 Florida
Salim Stoudamire G 6' 1" 175 Arizona
Szymon Szewczyk F 6' 10" 242 Poland
Mohammed Tangara F/C 6' 8" 248 Chaminade
Lorrenzo Wade F 6' 6" 225 San Diego State

Milwaukee Bucks' Summer League Schedule:

Fri., July 10 Dallas 9 p.m. Cox Pavilion
Sun., July 12 Cleveland 9 p.m. Cox Pavilion
Mon., July 13 Sacramento 9:30 p.m. Thomas & Mack Center
Wed., July 15 Chicago 5 p.m. Cox Pavilion
Thu., July 16 Toronto 3 p.m. Cox Paviolin

NBA Summer League Preview: Erik Daniels


Name: Erik Daniels

Bluegrass State Connection: Played college basketball for the Kentucky Wildcats

Path to the NBA: Signed as undrafted free agent by the Sacramento Kings; Currently with NBDL's Erie Bay Hawks

2009 Summer League Team: Memphis Grizzlies

2009 Memphis Grizzlies' Summer League Roster:

Jeff Adrien - F - Connecticut
Darrell Arthur - F - Kansas
DeMarre Carroll - F - Missouri
Erik Daniels - F - Kentucky
Daniel Ewing - G - Duke
Trey Gilder - F - Northwestern St.
Hamed Haddadi - C - Iran
Longar Longar - C - Oklahoma
Brion Rush - G - Grambling St.
Donta Smith - G/F - SE Illinois College
Greg Stiemsma - C - Wisconsin
Hasheem Thabeet - C - Connecticut
Marcus Williams - G - Connecticut
Sam Young - G/F - Pittsburgh

Memphis Grizzlies' Summer League Schedule:

Sunday, July 12 Oklahoma City Thunder 7 p.m. COX Pavilion
Tuesday, July 14 New York Knicks 5 p.m. COX Pavilion
Thursday, July 16 Los Angeles Clippers 9:30 p.m. Thomas & Mack
Saturday, July 18 Phoenix Suns 7 p.m. COX Pavilion
Sunday, July 19 San Antonio Spurs 7 p.m. COX Pavilion

*** ALL TIMES CENTRAL

Samardo Samuels is Golden in CBC Championship Game


Samardo Samuels and his Jamaican teammates held on to win the gold medals at the Caribbean Basketball Championships. Jamaica defeated British Virgin Islands by a score of 65-61.

Samuels, who is looking to have a big season at Louisville in 2009-10, led Jamaica with 17 points. Weyinmi Efejuku followed closely with 16 points. Kimarni Ffriend, who plays for Nebraska, added a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Kennedy Bass led British Virgin Islands with 19 points.

Both Jamaica and British Virgin Islands qualified for Centrobasket after advancing to the CBC championship game.

Photo: Samardo Samuels courtesy of LatinBasket.com

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