Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Rick Pitino Scandal Continues to Impress


The Rick Pitino sex scandal involving Karen Sypher continues to become a bit more bizarre as each day passes.

Today, we are treated to a picture of a bikini-clad Sypher and news that her husband, Tim,is trying to win custody of the couples' 4-year old daughter.

Ex-Wildcat A.J. Stewart to Texas State


Former Kentucky Wildcat A.J. Stewart will transfer to Texas State according to Alvin Brooks, a former Director of Basketball Operations at UK.

Best wishes to Stewart as he continues his basketball career.

Rumor: New Assistant at Campbellsville

Excerpt from HoopDirt.com:

"It looks like former Liberty University player and Shelton State CC (AL) assistant Jeremy Monceaux will accept an assistants spot at Campbellsville (KY)."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rwanda Captures 9th Place at AFROBASKET 2009

Rwanda and former Bellarmine guard Matt Miller wrapped up the 2009 FIBA Africa Championships with a ninth place finish. Rwanda, who is ranked #71 in the world and not expected to finish in the top 10, pulled off a string of shocking upsets during the event that helped place Rwandan basketball back on the map in Africa.

In today's final game, Rwanda defeated Egypt by a score of 78-75. Miller, who has scored in double figures during each game of the tournament, finished with 12 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds.

Angola and the Ivory Coast will meet in tomorrow's championship game.

Source: Fiba.com

Samford Says Thanks But No Thanks To Pitino

Samford University has canceled an upcoming event featuring Rick Pitino, the University of Louisville basketball coach in the news for a scandal involving adultery and abortion.

Philip Poole, executive director of university communication at the Baptist-affiliated school in Birmingham, Ala., said the dean of Samford's Cumberland School of Law spoke to Pitino Aug. 12. The two "mutually agreed" it would be best for all concerned to cancel a leadership luncheon featuring the championship-winning coach that had been scheduled for Sept. 10.

Complete Article from Associated Baptist Press

Ex-WKU Guard Tyrone Brazelton Signs Deal in Poland


Former Western Kentucky Hilltopper Tryone Brazelton has signed a one-year contract extension with Asseco Prokom Sopot in Poland's top-level basketball league.

Last season, Brazelton played in 27 games with Asseco and averaged 4.9 points. He also spent time in Latvia (10.6 PPG) and the Baltic League (12.1 PPG) in 2008-09. He averaged 16.3 points per game for BK Ventspils during last year's EuroChallenge.


Source: EuroBasket.com

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Adam Delph on his transfer to Asbury College

Asbury guard and former UK walk-on Adam Delph spoke to me briefly yesterday about his transfer to Asbury College and how he handled his recruitment the second time around.

TY: What was it about Asbury that made you choose to continue your college career there?
AD: Just how they treated me when I came up there on my visit. Coach Shouse and one of our former players, (Phillip Morrison), took me on a visit, and I had a great time. Their athletic director and financial aid guy were really nice and helped me figure out my decision pretty easily, actually.

TY: What did you think of the campus and the facilities?
AD: I was surprised by it. It's not a good thing whenever you're talking basketball, but it's the best-kept secret in Kentucky probably because it's so big, but yet it's not too big.

TY: How did your recruiting this time around differ than when you were coming out of PRP?
AD: Coming out of high school, I was talking to a whole bunch of schools, then I just stopped talking to them because I decided to go to Kentucky. The only offer I had was from Georgetown, but I had a bunch of schools talking to me.
This time, I just laid back. The coaches at Kentucky helped me out some, my high school coach helped me out and my mom, and I just laid back and let people call me because I wanted to be somewhere where I was wanted.

TY: Are you excited about coming from a team where you were last on the bench to a team where you will be top dog?
AD: Yeah, that's kind of what made my decision. I wanted to go somewhere where I could be a big impact right away, and I also am just ready to play.

TY: How did playing with Phil again influence your decision?

AD: I can't wait, I never actually got to play with Phil (they were five years apart, my bad). But when I was in eighth grade, he was the guy that I wanted to be like.

TY: What do you know about the team?

AD: I know their record, their style of play. One of the things I like about them is they go on mission trips every summer, which I was wanting to do.

As I wrote in my story for the Jessamine Journal, Adam is one of the highest-profile players in Asbury history, and he should be a KIAC player of the year contender all four years he's there. Seems like everybody won in the deal — Calipari, Asbury and Adam.

Morehead State: Tyndall Speaks About Jamel Marshall


I spoke to Morehead State head coach Donnie Tyndall this morning to get his thoughts on Jamel Marshall, the newest Eagle for 2009-10. Here are Tyndall's comments:

"Jamel is a physical, athletic forward. He can play both forward positions. He has a college-ready body that goes around 225-230 pounds. He'll likely start out playing primarily as a power forward for us.

"He played for a nice high school team in Florida that went to the final four in the state tournament. All five of their starters went D1.

"Jamel will have a great chance to contribute as a freshman and at some point in his career, we think he'll be a starter.

"He originally committed to Florida International, but was not retained when Isiah (Thomas) came on board."

Sypher: "My Husband Was Paid to Marry Me"

In yet another bizarre twist in the Rick Pitino scandal, Karen Sypher has stated that she believes her marriage was part of a plot.

"The feds bugged my house and put surveillance everywhere with Tim's help," said Sypher, who is currently going through a divorce.

"I now think my husband was paid to marry me."

Complete Article from ESPN.com

Thursday, August 13, 2009

John Clay Chats About His Job, UK and Calipari


John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky and graduate of UK, he covered UK football for 13 seasons before being promoted to columnist in 2000. He lives in Lexington with his wife and two sons.

John does an excellent job for the Herald-Leader and is well-liked by everyone associated with Bluegrass State Basketball. I caught up with John this week for a Q&A that covers everything from John's career to his predictions for the upcoming Kentucky basketball season. Here is my interview with John Clay:

John, I appreciate you taking the time to speak to me today. First, let’s start by introducing your background as a journalist. How long have you been with the Herald-Leader? How long have you been covering University of Kentucky athletics? What other sports and teams do you primarily cover?

I started for the old Lexington Leader the summer of 1980 while I was still at UK. I worked for the Herald the summer of 1981 and was hired full-time on Dec. 1 that year. I took over the UK football beat in 1987. In 2000, I followed Chuck Culpepper as columnist.

Speaking only of UK athletics – your favorite Wildcat sport to cover is _____? Why?

I really do enjoy football and basketball equally. By fall, I’m excited for football. And by November, I’m ready for basketball.

John, if you will, give me a little insight to the behind-the-scenes world of sports journalism at the Lexington Herald-Leader. Guys like you, Tipton, Story and others have some very interesting articles on a daily basis. Are you guys dreaming those topics up on your own and running with them or do you have others behind-the-scenes that are developing ideas and presenting them to the journalists?

The ideas are often a collaborative effort with our editors, Gene Abell and Mat Graf. I would say I come up with most of my ideas, but Gene and Mat have suggestions, or topics they think should be addressed.

I’m going to veer from that topic and ask your thoughts on Internet bloggers, particularly those that blog about the same topics you cover. I am certainly not a professional journalist by any means, but I love the sport of basketball and I’m willing to work daily on networking and trying to keep basketball fans up-to-date. You are definitely one of the journalists that guys like me love because you embrace blogs and actually link to them when they have relevant information. How have sites like Bluegrass State Basketball changed your reporting and the information you deliver?

It’s a whole new world, and a better world in my opinion. I don’t have a problem with all the other outlets out there. I try to treat the other bloggers with respect, and help when I can. To me, it only adds to the interest in the sport and what we’re doing as a whole. I will say there is a difference in that mine is not a fan blog, as some are fan blogs. And that’s fine. More power to the fan blogs. But I think there is a distinction.

An opinion question – do you feel that relevant bloggers should be granted press credentials to games? What are your thoughts on that subject?

How do you make a distinction which blogs are relevant? The Lexington Herald-Leader is a news-gathering organization that employs professionals whose job it is to report the news. To me, that’s different than someone who writes a blog in his or her spare time. Those blogs are certainly worthy of readership, and contribute to the overall experience. But I’m not sure that qualifies for the limited media credentials given at an event, etc.

Let me switch gears here and talk a little Kentucky basketball. Have you noticed a significant change in the atmosphere surrounding the Kentucky program since the hiring of John Calipari? Is it that Calipari is doing things great that Billy Gillispie was doing things so poorly or a combination of both?


There is a huge change. Calipari has embraced all the aspects of the job like no coach I’ve seen at Kentucky. And that includes Pitino. Of course, we’re in a different age now with so many more ways to reach out to the public. But a lot of coaches say they don’t have the time for that. Calipari has made time. As for the atmosphere around the program, I think it is much more player-oriented. I think the Gillispie Era was an unmitigated disaster on a number of fronts, but the most damaging was the way he treated the players.

My opinion is that John Calipari is a perfect fit as head coach at Kentucky. What are your thoughts on Calipari and how he has seemed to embrace the entire role of being the Kentucky coach? I know he is yet to coach a game at UK, but would you label him the perfect person for the job at this point?

Well, as I said before, I’ve never seen a coach embrace every aspect the way Calipari has embraced them. As one UK official told me, “We’ve gone from a coach who detested that part of the job, to someone who has waited his whole life for it.” I would say that right now Calipari has been a perfect fit. He has brought hope, optimism and (best of all) a sense of fun back to the program.

Calipari has been labeled as a coach that walks a tight rope between fairness and bending the rules, particularly on the recruiting scene. Do you think the scrutiny is justified or do you feel that the media perceptions of Calipari are a little biased and unfair?

While I think the scrutiny is very much justified, I do think that Calipari has been treated a bit unfairly. He has never been named in an NCAA violation, this after 17-or-so years as a head coach. Do I think Calipari pushes the envelope? Absolutely. But I think he knows how to play the game with the shoe companies, etc., and he has a style of play that is attractive to top-shelf recruits. I guess I would say that Calipari knows how to take advantage of the rules that are in place.

Are you expecting an All-American type season from Patrick Patterson in 2009-10?

I do look for big things from Patrick. I think he returned because he wanted to have at least one year of college basketball, in other words a fun experience. I don’t think he had that under the previous coach. I think the offensive system will make him a better player. I have a tremendous amount of admiration for Patrick, his work ethic, the way he handles himself, etc. I think he deserves a big year.

There are going to be high expectations for the Kentucky team this coming season. Do you think a team with a new coach, new offensive scheme, new roster and a large group of freshmen will be able to live up to the great expectations that have already been placed on their backs?

Depends on what you believe are the expectations. A national title? That’s unrealistic for any team. Too many things can happen. My expectations are that this team has a legitimate shot of making the Final Four. If they don’t come close to that, then I think the season will be a disappointment. Yes, they will be young, and the holdover players have not played in this system. But college basketball is a different game now. Youth is not an excuse.

Give me your predictions on an SEC record and an overall record for this season’s team. How far do they advance in the NCAA Tournament?

It’s awfully early, but I would guess in the 30-5 area, with a 14-2 record inside the league. Those are wild guesses. I predict they will at least make the Elite Eight.

Who wins – Kentucky or Louisville? Kentucky or North Carolina? Kentucky or Uconn?

I think Kentucky will win all three of those games.

How much are you looking forward to the coaching battles between John Calipari and the likes of Rick Pitino, Bruce Pearl, Billy Donovan, Roy Williams and Jim Calhoun?

I can’t wait for all of those.

Best fit at Kentucky – Pitino or Calipari?

I think both were great fits at the time. Pitino’s style-of-play and work ethic both were what Kentucky needed at that point in the program’s history. I think Calipari’s personality and style of play are both what is needed at this point.

John, it has been great talking with you and again, I really appreciate your time. Give the readers a link to your blog, your Twitter and any other links you’d like folks to checkout.

You can find my blog at http://johnclay.bloginky.com/. My main twitter is johnclayiv, but I have a Sidelines twitter account that functions as a way to promote the blog.
Thanks for talking to me, and good luck with your blog. You guys do a good job not only covering UK basketball, but all basketball in the state.

Is Pitino Ready for Life on the Road?


Andy Katz of ESPN has an interesting article online tonight that looks into the potential problems that Rick Pitino may face in trying to escape the Karen Sypher scandal. Katz questions what Pitino's experiences will be like during road games, particularly in fierce rivalries like the road game at Rupp Arena in early January.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

"I'll probably make sure at that time to say to be respectful," Kentucky coach John Calipari said Wednesday after returning from a trip to China. "But I can't control 25,000 people."

"Any place that has any class won't do something," (Bob) Huggins said. "You can have your signs and have fun but anybody that has signs about those kinds of things [referencing an affair and an abortion] is very classless. Rick is the ultimate professional. He will handle things extremely well like he always does."

"You get so locked into the game, in the big venues, that I never heard the individual stuff," (Andy) Kennedy said. "I don't foresee Coach Pitino having a problem. He's always had to deal with a lot of scrutiny."

"Rick can overcome this but it all depends on the president of the university," Chaney said. "If he stands by him, just like my president stood by me in all my travails, then I think he'll be able to manage it."

U of L President: Pitino is "Our Guy"

University of Louisville president James Ramsey says it's time to move on after Rick Pitino's public apology for sex with a woman outside his marriage.

Ramsey said Thursday that the basketball coach is "our guy" and that he believes the school will become stronger following Pitino's expression of remorse on Wednesday.

The coach's apology came after police documents became public showing Pitino admitted sex six years ago with a woman who is now charged in federal court with trying to extort money from the coach. She has since told police the sex was not consensual but prosecutors cited a lack of evidence in declining to prosecute Pitino.

The coach said he plans to remain at Louisville for as long as the university allows.

Source: ESPN.com

Josh Selby is Checking Out Connecticut

Josh Selby could wait until the late signing period to pick a school, according to Herman Harried, Selby’s coach at Baltimore (MD) Lake Clifton.

“I don’t think he’s going to decide early,” Harried said Thursday by phone. “It’s up to him and his mom.”

The No. 2 point guard in the Class of 2010 according to Rivals, Selby recently decommitted from Tennessee and is being courted by a list of top schools, including UConn, Kentucky, Kansas, Memphis, Texas and Syracuse.

“Everybody’s coming after him,” Harried said.

Selby will visit UConn beginning Thursday, along with 6-8 Long Island forward Rod Odom.
Harried said no other visits have yet been set.

Harried played at Dunbar High with the late Reggie Lewis and then competed at Syracuse. He is close with UConn head coach Jim Calhoun, who coached at Northeastern, and with Husky assistants Pat Sellers and Andre LaFleur. LaFleur played alongside Lewis at Northeastern.

“I knew Coach Calhoun,” he said. “I played with Reggie Lewis who helped put Northeastern on the map.”

Selby will be at UConn for a couple of days and will then plan his next move.

“When he comes back he’ll sit down and go over what he’s gonna do next,” Harried said. “His mom helps him a lot.

“I think anybody has a shot. I think that’s why he opened his recruitment, to give everybody a shot.”

Source: ZagsBlog.com

My Thoughts: He seemed to be a lock for Kentucky just over a week ago, but now UConn could be gaining momentum. We should know more after he completes his visit to Storrs.

Rwanda Continues Nice Play; Defeats Libya

Rwanda may only be playing for ninth place in the 2009 FIBA Africa Championships, but the team continues to put itself back on Africa's basketball map. Today, the Rwandans defeated host-nation Libya in the consolation round by a score of 80-77. The win guarantees at least a .500 record for Rwanda (4-3), who is only ranked #71 in FIBA's world rankings.

Former Bellarmine Knight Matt Miller continued his excellent tournament today by scoring 15 points and pulling down 3 rebounds in 40 minutes of action. For the tournament (7 games), Miller has averaged 13.4 points per game and shot a blistering 41.2% from beyond the 3-point line.

Rwanda completes their AFROBASKET 2009 tournament against Egypt in tomorrow afternoon's 9th place game.

Jamel Marshall: Isiah's Loss is Morehead State's Gain

Morehead State and head coach Donnie Tyndall have signed 6'5 forward Jamel Marshall to a grant-in-aid offer. Marshall, a native of Orlando, will enter Morehead with four years of eligibility. He had originally committed to Florida International University, but was ushered out when Isiah Thomas took over the FIU program.

Jamel is an outstanding young man from a fantastic family," Tyndall said. "He will add strength and athleticism to our frontline. He is a skilled forward that can guard multiple positions.

"I'm very excited to find a home with coach Tyndall and MSU," Marshall said. "It is a program that is on the rise. I had a chance to watch MSU in the NCAA Tournament and was very impressed. I hope to fit in well and contribute right away."

Press Release from Morehead State

Marshall's ESPN.com Recruiting Profile

Pikeville College Adds Trevor Setty


Pikeville College and head coach Kelly Wells have added former Mason County star Trevor Setty to their basketball squad. Setty, a 6'8" guard, enters the program as a red shirt freshman that will be available for the 2009-10 season.

Setty had considered a walk-on position with Travis Ford and Oklahoma State, but did not want to sit-out a full season as a walk-on.

I talked to Wells this morning and he spoke very highly of Setty:

“Trevor brings many assets to the table…his unlimited range shooting the basketball, his length at 6’8 and a 2/3 man, and he is a WINNER! He has been extremely well coached in high school by Chris O’Hearn and won a state championship at Mason County. The sky is the limit for Trevor and he will have four great years here at Pikeville College.”

Class: Red Shirt Freshman
Position: G
Major: Undeclared
Hometown: Maysville, KY
High School: Mason Co.
Height: 6-8
Weight: 180

High School Achievements: Kentucky-Ohio All-Star team selection...State Champion...McDonald's All-American Nominee...All-Region selection...1,000-point member.

Western Kentucky Gearing Up for NIT Season Tip-Off


The 2009 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off brackets have been announced and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers will enter the tournament as a 5-seed. The Hilltoppers will play in the tournament's South bracket against Milwaukee in the first round. The winner will face the winner of LSU/Indiana State for an opportunity to advance to famed Madison Square Garden.

Western will be favored against Milwaukee and are quite capable of defeating LSU in the second round if the Tigers handle Indiana State. A trip to New York could mean an early-season battle with the likes of UConn, assuming that they survive Colgate and the winner of Yale/Hofstra.

The NIT's top four seeds in order are Duke, UConn, LSU and Arizona State. The regional rounds will be played on November 16-17. The semifinal and championship rounds will be played on November 25 and 27, respectively.

Jeremy Tyler's Price for Skipping High School and College?


What's the going rate for skipping your senior season of high school basketball and your commitment to the University of Louisville?

For 6'9" forward Jeremy Tyler, the price is roughly $140,000. That is the value of Tyler's one-year professional contract with Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Premier League.

"I think I made the right decision," Tyler told The Associated Press on Wednesday evening. "I think this team is a good fit for me and its the right country."

Sonny Vaccaro, the former shoe company executive whos been advising Tyler and his family, said Maccabi Haifa is a good fit for several reasons.

"I think its a very good deal for Jeremy because it's a good team, he'll play, they speak English and he'll learn there," Vaccaro said. "The reason we did one year was because it will give Jeremy time to understand how hard it is to be a professional, then he'll do whatever he wants to do next year."

Source: NBCSports.com

My Thoughts: A one-year contract for $140,000 or high school and at least one season of college basketball...was this a good choice by the young man or a life-altering mistake? Only time will tell... Someone on Twitter commented, "I doubt that Sonny Vaccaro is the deacon of his church."

Rupp Arena Conquers "Arena Wars" Battle


Article from Brian De Los Santos of CBSSports.com:

The fans have spoken. Well, fans of the University of Kentucky at least.

Our community members made it no secret where their allegiance lied, making Rupp Arena the top-ranked arena of the nine weekly winners of our Arena War summer series.

(Just imagine if Kentucky basketball fans could put that energy into something constructive, like tracking down Osama Bin Laden.)

Rupp Arena was the run away winner, receiving 174 first-place votes in the balloting that required readers to rank the arenas 1 through 9. Allen Fieldhouse's 32 first-place votes were second most.

Only one arena did not receive at least one first-place vote: Pauley Pavilion. Where you at UCLA fans?

Of course, rankings in general are highly subjective. After all, what really constitutes having the nation's best arena?

Is it the size? Is it the architecture and design? Is it the history?

What if it's none of the above?

Based on our highly unscientific results, it may just be about the fans that pack an arena every game night. Last week our colleague Gary Parrish said Kentucky would come out on top of the fan vote even though he didn't think Rupp was necessarily the nation's best arena. Kentucky fans "just care about this kind of stuff more than the rest of you," Parrish wrote.

Maybe, just maybe, that's what having the greatest arena in the nation is all about -- the fans. Not that Duke, Kansas, Indiana, etc., don't have great fans, but Big Blue Nation is in a class of its own and thus Rupp Arena will hold the distinction as the top dog of CBSSports.com's Arena Wars.

Final Standings:

1. Rupp Arena - Kentucky
2. Allen Fieldhouse - Kansas
3. Assembly Hall - Indiana
4. Cameron Indoor Stadium - Duke
5. Pauley Pavilion - UCLA
6. Breslin Center - Michigan State
7. Carrier Dome - Syracuse
8. Memorial Gymnasium - Vanderbilt
9. University Arena (The Pit) - New Mexico

Superior Hoops: Basketball Equipment Discounts Offered


I was recently contacted by the owner of Superior Hoops, an online basketball equipment reseller, and asked if I'd be interested in passing his products along to my readers. The company is offering a nice discount on all equipment if customers mention the ad from this site. I'm not a huge fan of running ads, but if a company offers solid equipment at an excellent price, why not?

Promotion from SuperiorHoops.com:

Given all the different types of basketball hoops out there, it's natural to wonder how different backboards and rims affect your game.

Most of us have noticed differences between playing on a steel backboard and playing on a glass backboard. But the big question is whether playing on different systems can actually affect your shooting average. As it turns out, it can.

Your shooting average will change slightly when playing on different types of basketball hoops. And as you might expect, it affects your shooting average in a predictable direction. Sometimes you will miss shots on a steel backboard that would have fallen on a glass backboard.

The same goes for rims. If you're shooting on a high end breakaway rim, some shots will fall that wouldn't have fallen with a non-breakaway rim. Does it make a big difference? Not necessarily a big difference, but it does make a difference. You'll never see the "bang" effect on breakaway rims with glass backboards. And vice versa, you rarely get the "super favorable bounce" effect on a steel backboard.

Superior Hoops is a basketball equipment dealer and they're giving BSB readers a discount on basketball hoops and systems. Feel free to contact Superior Hoops for pricing and more information.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Even John Calipari Discovers Bad Real Estate Market


Kentucky head coach John Calipari has sold his Memphis home, but he took a $70,000 loss from the purchase price he paid in 2000:

Even John Calipari isn’t immune to a real estate market in the dumps.

The former University of Memphis basketball coach, who left Memphis in March for the head coaching job at the University of Kentucky, has sold his palatial East Memphis home for $70,000 less than he bought it in 2000.

Nine years ago, Calipari bought the five-bedroom home at 220 E. Galloway for $1.495 million. He recently sold the 6,918-square-foot home with a pool and tennis court for $1.425 million to Stephen Donly, according to a warranty deed filed with Shelby County Register Tom Leatherwood’s office this morning.

The home was appraised for $1.495 million in 2009, according to the Shelby County Assessor’s Office.

Source: Memphis Commercial-Appeal

Mark Halsell to NAIA's Park University


Mark Halsell has stated via Facebook that he will transfer to Park University in Parkville, Missouri.

Park University has an NAIA basketball team. Here is the men's basketball page:

Park University Men's Basketball

Rick Pitino: "I want to apologize..."

Rick Pitino issues an apologetic statement during a brief evening press conference:

More Shocking Details Involving Rick Pitino


I'm good with the information that has already been made public, but I know some of you are interested in more details.

If you're one of those people, then this link is for you:



Click Document Image to Enlarge----->

Louisville AD to Issue Statement on Rick Pitino

Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich plans to issue a statement this afternoon regarding Rick Pitino's viability as basketball coach, U of L spokesman Kenny Klein has announced.

Source

Pitino's Contract Contains Morality Clause:

The University of Louisville's contract with men's basketball coach Rick Pitino allows him to be fired for cause for acts of “moral depravity” or for being dishonest with the university.

It also allows him to be terminated for generating disparaging media publicity, if it is caused by his “willful conduct that could objectively be determined to bring (the) employee into public dispute or scandal, or which tends to greatly offend the public.”

Source: Courier-Journal

Adam Delph transferring to Asbury

I'm told former UK walk-on and PRP star Adam Delph will transfer to Asbury College with an announcement coming later today or tomorrow. He had been deciding between Asbury, Northern Kentucky, Kentucky Wesleyan and Mid-Continent.

Delph began looking for a new school after UK Coach John Calipari dismissed him and two other walk-ons from the team July 31. He did not see the floor in the regular season while at Kentucky, and he is expected to have four full years of eligibility in the NAIA and will not have to sit out any games. I'll update with more details after the announcement.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hold the Sauce: Ugly Details Emerge in Pitino Scandal


There has been behind-the-scenes chatter and speculation for most of the summer regarding the details of the Rick Pitino extortion case, but I am utterly surprised by tonight's Courier-Journal story that makes those vivid details available to the public. The story has finally broken and the details can be described as nothing more than ugly.

Tonight, we learned that Rick Pitino, head coach of the Louisville Cardinals and one of college basketball's top-level minds, has admitted to police that he had consensual sex with Karen Sypher. He denies her allegations of rape, but he fully admits that he had sex with her. The sexual encounter was at a Louisville restaurant called Porcini, after the establishment had closed. Sypher alleges that the two had another sexual encounter a few weeks later at a different location.

I think that most everyone agreed that there was likely more to the story, but I'm not sure that anyone expected the rest of the story. Not only did Pitino have sex with Karen Sypher, he also gave her $3,000 to pay for an abortion. Two weeks after the initial encounter, Sypher called Pitino and told him she was pregnant. After a discreet meeting and discussion, Pitino gave Sypher the money to fund the abortion.

I knew it wasn't likely to end in a pretty way, but I had no idea that it was going to be this ugly. How will this damage Pitino's legacy? Will this impact his job at Louisville? There are many questions that are yet to be answered, although the picture is becoming much clearer now.

Read the Full Details in the Courier-Journal Article

Butler Ends Tour With Huge Win; Mack Scores 13

Six different players scored in double-figures and Butler cruised to a 94-37 victory over Prima Veroli on Tuesday, Aug. 11, in Rome. It was Butler’s second consecutive victory over the Italian club team and left the Bulldog with a 2-2 record for their four-game tour of Italy.

For the second straight night, the Bulldogs were led in scoring by redshirt freshman Chase Stigall, who finished with 15 points. The 6-3 guard had 35 points in Butler’s back-to-back games against Prima Veroli, and he finished with a four-game average of 11.0.

Stigall had plenty of help in the Bulldogs’ final game. Senior Willie Veasley and sophomore Garrett Butcher each scored 14 points, sophomore Shelvin Mack and redshirt freshman Emerson Kampen each tallied 13 points and senior Avery Jukes added 11 points. Butler also picked up points from senior Nick Rodgers (6), junior Shawn Vanzant (5), junior Zach Hahn (4) and sophomore Gordon Hayward (2).

Juniors Matt Howard and Grant Leiendecker and sophomore Ronald Nored did not play in the game because of injury.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 34-7 lead in the first quarter and led at halftime, 51-22. The margin after three quarters was 52 points, 77-25.

Mack and Hayward wound up leading the Bulldogs in scoring on the tour with 48 points apiece, while Stigall added 44. Butcher also posted a double-figures scoring average with 40 points (10.0).

Bulldog Bits: The Bulldogs will close out their 10-day tour of Italy with a trip to Vatican City on Wednesday (Aug. 12). The team will return to the U. S. on Thursday, Aug. 13.

Matt Miller, Rwanda Get the Win but Miss Quarterfinals

Matt Miller, who played college basketball at Bellarmine, and Rwanda picked up a huge victory in today's must-win battle against Cameroon. Unfortunately, despite the 83-69 win, the Rwandans were edged out of the quarterfinal round by a point-differential tiebreaker.

Rwanda and four others teams finished the first two rounds of the tournament with 3-3 records, but only 3 spots remained in the quarterfinal round. Rwanda and Morocco were eliminated due to point-differential.

In today's game, Miller scored 16 points, grabbed 3 rebounds and dished out 3 assists.

Rwanda now advances to the consolation round where they will battle Libya, Egypt and Morocco for 9th-12th places in the 2009 FIBA Africa Championship. Their first consolation game will be against the host nation Libya on Thursday.

Pikeville College Special Announcement


Pikeville College and head coach Kelly Wells will have a special announcement next Tuesday.

August 18, 3:00

“Excellence and then some…” at East Ky Expo Center Ballroom

Monday, August 10, 2009

Joe Jackson Trims List to 3: UK Doesn't Make Cut

Joe Jackson, who is rated #18 on the Rivals150 List for 2010, has cut his list to three schools: Memphis, Tennessee and Kansas).

Kentucky had recruited Jackson but never gave an official offer.

Source: MemphisRoar.com

I spoke to Dan Wolken of The Memphis Commerical-Appeal tonight and here are his thoughts:

"If you talk to anyone involved with Jackson's recruitment, including the other coaches who have been recruiting him, there has been a strong sense that he would end up at Memphis. Nothing has happened to my knowledge that would change that equation."

Ex-Wildcat Legend Kyle Macy: A Tennis Pro?


I have to admit that I didn't see this one coming, but I do find it very interesting. Apparently, former Kentucky Wildcat legend Kyle Macy has resurrected his athletic career - as a tennis pro.

Here is the story from the Louisville Courier-Journal

An excerpt:

Macy's resume includes an NCAA championship, seven years in the NBA and nine years as coach at Morehead State University. And television analyst. And general manager of a minor league basketball team. The resume now includes tennis pro at Idle Hour Country Club, where Macy is in his second summer, and lessons are $55 an hour.

Mack, Butler Destroy Opponent in Rome

Shelvin Mack and the Butler Bulldogs continued their trip to Italy by demolishing a local team known as Prima Veroli. Mack, who played sparingly in the lopsided win, scored 4 points.

Release from ButlerSports.com:

Redshirt freshmen Chase Stigall and Emerson Kampen combined to score 34 points while leading Butler to a 103-45 victory over Prima Veroli on Monday, Aug. 10, in Rome. It was Butler’s third game on the 10-day trip to Italy and the Bulldogs’ first victory.

A nearly six and a half hour bus trip to Rome on Monday didn’t affect the Bulldogs, who were in never seriously threatened by the Italian club team. Head coach Brad Stevens was able to play all 11 of his healthy players, and each cracked the scoring column.

Stigall and Kampen, playing in a Butler uniform for just the third time, recorded their top scoring performances of the trip. Stigall led the way with 20 points, while Kampen chipped in with 14. They were backed by 13 points from sophomore Garrett Butcher and 10 points each from sophomore Gordon Hayward and junior Zach Hahn. The five players combined to out-score their Italian opponent.

Senior Willie Veasley and junior Shawn Vanzant each scored nine points, senior Avery Jukes tallied seven points, senior Nick Rodgers had five points, sophomore Shelvin Mack finished with four points and senior Alex Anglin added two points.

Juniors Matt Howard and Grant Leiendecker and sophomore Ronald Nored did not play in the game, because of injury.

Bulldog Bits: The Bulldogs will tour Rome, including a trip to the Coliseum, on Tuesday, Aug. 11, before playing their final game against Prima Veroli on Tuesday evening.

Rakeem Christmas Trims List to Eight; No UK

According to Evan Daniels at Scout.com, highly touted 2010 recruit Rakeem Christmas has cut his final list to eight schools. He is no longer considering Kentucky.

"We are happy to get to this point and start looking at a smaller list more carefully," said Amira Hamid, Christmas' aunt and legal guardian.

“It’s been hectic and confusing,” Christmas told Scout.com. “I was just trying to find a good fit. I’m just looking at each one carefully and seeing which one fits the best.”

Christmas, who is transferring to Bryn Athyn (Pa.) Academy of the New Church, is now considering Baylor, Florida, Georgetown, Indiana, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas and Villanova.

Matt Miller Continues to Shine for Rwanda

Rwanda, which has been labelled "giant killers" at FIBA's AFROBASKET 2009, pulled a shocking 72-59 upset of Senegal over the weekend. Ex-Bellarmine player Matt Miller continued his excellent international play with 14 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds for Rwanda.

Miller and his teammates struggled today against a more powerful opponent as they went down in defeat 85-64 to Central Africa. Miller scored 11 points in the loss.

Rwanda, which in only ranked #73 in the FIBA World Rankings, still has a chance to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament, but they must defeat a tough Cameroon squad on Tuesday.

Source: FIBA.com

Dakotah Euton Picks Up Offer from Morehead State

From our friends at MSU Eagle Nation:

Jody Demling of the Courier-Journal reports that Scott County forward Dakota Euton has been offered a scholarship by Morehead State. Demling also lists 10 other schools on Euton’s list, including OVC rivals Eastern Kentucky and Murray State. Euton, who played his first two seasons of high school ball at Rose Hill Christian, was committed to the University of Kentucky until the coaching change forced him to explore other options.

Obviously Euton would be a very big fish for the MSU staff to land. MSU is looking to sign at least one big man in the class of 2010 and already has offers out to Euton, Elijah Pittman (Covington Holmes), and former Austin Peay committment Robert Elam that we know of. All three are very good prospects.

Check out the MSU Eagle Nation Blog

What Happened to Daniel Orton's Elbow?


Kentucky freshman big man Daniel Orton just sent a message via Twitter that reads:

Check out my elbow http://twitpic.com/df3kc

He followed that with:

Hilton Armstrong is what happened to my elbow

It looks like Orton is undergoing some physical play in California. You can follow Orton on Twitter by clicking here:

Bowling Green's Chane Behanan Re-Opens Recruitment


Bowling Green High School junior forward Chane Behanan has re-opened his recruitment.

Purples coach D.G. Sherrill told the Daily News this morning that Behanan - who committed to the University of Cincinnati last summer - wants the chance to look at all possible options.

“He committed before his sophomore year of high school, which is way too early for anybody to commit to a college,” Sherrill said. “He still wants to consider Cincinnati as a place he could possibly go and it’s still at the top of his list.

“He just wants to open it back up to see all the options available.”Behanan transferred to BGHS this summer after spending the first two years of his prep career at Aiken High School in Cincinnati.

Considered a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Behanan has also fielded offers from Ohio State, West Virginia and Xavier, according to Rivals.

Meanwhile, Behanan participated in Western Kentucky’s second Elite Camp over the weekend.

Sherrill said Behanan enjoyed his time at the camp, but WKU has not extended a scholarship offer at this point.

Cats Should Count Their Blessings on Dominique Ferguson

Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal has an interesting take on the Dominique Ferguson situation and I'll admit that I tend to agree with him. Bozich feels that Kentucky and Indiana should count their blessings that neither ended up with the 2010 recruit. Here is Bozich's article:

UK, IU better off without Dominique Ferguson

Florida International played its last home basketball game on Feb. 28, 2009 against rival Florida Atlantic. The game is FIU's version of the UK-U of L game. A robust crowd of 926 people packed the place to watch the rivalry.

Of course that was about 300 more fans than FIU attracted for a home game with Middle Tennessee two nights earlier.For the season, FIU's average home crowd was 681. Total home attendance: 11,571.

Less than one home game at either Kentucky or Indiana.

Yet, this is the place that just received an oral commitment from Dominique Ferguson, the Top 20 recruit who played at Lawrence North High School in suburban Indianapolis last season.

Nothing smelly about that, is there?

The only thing FIU hoops has going for it is the luminous smile of its head coach -- Isiah Thomas, a guy who didn't leave many people smiling with the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors and Continental Basketball Association.

Now Thomas is coaching FIU and he's landed Ferguson, who had committed to UK and Billy Gillispie last season.

I'll say this: Both Kentucky and Indiana should be high-fiving the news that Ferguson has taken his career to die in suburban Miami. His decisions to A) leave Lawrence North and B) play for FIU say this is not a kid with an appreciation for the local basketball culture and traditions. Ferguson has an appreciation for Ferguson.FIU fans will discover that soon.

All 681 of them.

My Thoughts: I'm going to have to agree with Bozich - something just doesn't smell right about this whole situation.

Source: Courier-Journal.com

SportingNews.com: Wall Could Start in NBA Tomorrow

Here is an excerpt from Dan Shanoff's article on SportingNews.com:

YouTube Clip of the Day: That would be John Wall dunking on Jerry Stackhouse in a summer-league game. Wall is not just already the best player in college basketball, but he could start in the NBA tomorrow -- which is why he will be the No. 1 overall pick of the NBA Draft in 2010.

Here is the John Wall clip he speaks of which features Mr. Wall posterizing former NBA All Star and former North Carolina Tar Heel Jerry Stackhouse:



Complete Article from SportingNews.com

Wall gets some love from Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com

Preparing Calipari for Rupp: UK Pep Band Surrounds Court

This is always one of my favorite pre-game events - the UK Pep Band surrounds the court and welcomes the Cats out of the locker room.

This is not the highest quality video around, but it captures the sites and sounds from a court-level view:

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tobias Harris Leaning to Georgia Tech?

There has been a hot rumor circulating over the weekend that it is only a matter of time until highly touted forward Tobias Harris commits to Georgia Tech. Harris, who recently visited Kentucky, is swiftly becoming a hot commodity in the 2010 Class. He is a 6-8 forward that is expected to rise in the class rankings. He is currently #27 on the Rivals150 List for 2010.

Despite the rumors, there is an update from Harris' father on ZagsBlog.com that would indicate a different story:

HARRIS HASN’T COMMITTED

Despite rumors that Tobias Harris has committed to Georgia Tech, his father said it’s not true. “No, we haven’t committed. We’re a long way from committing,” Torrel Harris said Sunday night. “Torrel also said Tennessee wants Tobias to visit Sept. 12, but no official visit date has yet been nailed down…

Former Geogetown Tiger Having Successful Pro Career

Derrick Miller, who played for Happy Osborne and Georgetown College almost a decade ago, is enjoying a successful start to another professional season. Miller currently stars for Sacachispas de Encarnacion in Paraguay's National League. His team is off to an impressive 2-0 start, including a 92-69 victory over Estrellas de Area 4. Miller led his team with 23 points in the victory.

Last season, Miller split time for two teams in Argentina. In 13 games for Asociacion Italiana, he averaged 17.5 and shot 37.9% from long range. He spent 19 games with Atletico Echague Parana, where he went for 15.5 points per game.

Derrick Miller's 2008-09 Statistics

Source: LatinBasket.com

The Swiss Handle Butler Again; Mack Scores 16

Article from ButlerSports.com:

Despite getting 27 points from Gordon Hayward, Butler dropped its second straight game to the Swiss National Team, 100-90, on Friday, Aug. 7, afternoon in Italy. The two teams were squaring off for the second time in less than 24 hours.

In a game that featured little at the defensive end of the floor, the Swiss jumped out to a 26-23 first quarter lead and then held on for a 46-45 halftime margin. Butler trailed by five points, 70-65, after three quarters, before the Swiss squad tacked five more points onto the final margin.

Butler junior Matt Howard, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer and rebounder last season, suffered a slight ankle/foot injury in the second quarter of the contest and did not play in the second half.

Hayward was one of four Bulldogs to score in double-figures in the high-scoring contest. Sophomore Shelvin Mack tallied 16 points, junior Shawn Vanzant had 12 points and senior Avery Jukes added 11 points. The Bulldogs also picked up six points each from sophomore Garrett Butcher and redshirt freshman Chase Stigall, four points each from Howard and senior Willie Veasley, three points from senior Alex Anglin and one point from junior Zach Hahn.

NBA player Thabo Sefolosha topped the Swiss and led all players in the game with 30 points.

The Bulldogs will take a couple of days off before returning to the court for a game in Rome on Monday, Aug. 10.

Bulldog Bits: The Bulldogs had a five-hour bus trip after the game in Como to their hotel in Venice. The team stopped in Verona for dinner and then proceeded on to Venice. Butler will spend Saturday, Aug. 8, touring Venice and then move on to Florence on Sunday, Aug. 9, before heading to Rome.

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