Saturday, September 5, 2009

ESPN Looks at the Best of the Rest

ESPN has broken down all the major conferences for 2009-10 and now they are looking at the best of the rest. Here are some excerpts of interest:

Don't Sleep on These Teams

Butler: If you are a basketball purist, you have to love the way the Bulldogs play the game. Just think of them as Jimmy Chitwood, not in canvas Chuck Taylors, but in leather Nikes. Brad Stevens' team won 26 games last season starting three freshmen and a sophomore and expectations this season are off the charts. While everyone (including me) is excited about super sophs Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack, the hub around which Butler's offense flows is 6-foot-9 junior Matt Howard, who is the perfect complement inside to the team's outstanding 3-point shooters.

Memphis: When everything shakes out after a tumultuous spring and summer, the Tigers will have a bright young coach in Josh Pastner and enough talent to win another Conference USA title. However, their 61-game league winning streak is in serious jeopardy and their dominance of the league is in doubt as well. Duke transfer and Memphis native Elliot Williams is eligible immediately and will help. Doneal Mack, Willie Kemp and Pierre Henderson-Niles all have Final Four experience and we all remember Roburt Sallie's 36-point outburst in the first round of last season's NCAA tourney. A 6-9 juco transfer, Will Coleman, may be the best athlete to enter C-USA this year. If sophomore Wesley Witherspoon blossoms, the Tigers have enough to get back to the comfortable surroundings of the NCAA tournament.

10 Things to Know From the Offseason

1. Butler's golden summer: A pair of Bulldogs blossomed on the under-19 gold medal-winning Team USA in New Zealand. Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack were integral members of the team, forcing head coach Jamie Dixon to say that one of the things he learned on the trip is "not to play Butler." The Bulldogs as a team went to Italy this summer and had a balanced tour with a finale that saw six different players score in double figures. Butler is a legit top-20 team that will have plenty of chances to make a name for itself in the pre-conference season, beginning with the 76 Classic opener against Minnesota.

8. Caracter's second chance: Louisville coach Rick Pitino was relentless on Derrick Caracter about his weight and work ethic. The match never worked. Caracter looked like he was headed toward the abyss of players who are hyped but never find their way. Instead, at least at this juncture, he discovered he can be a reliable player while sitting out at UTEP. Miners coach Tony Barbee has nothing but complimentary things to say about Caracter's character since he has been in El Paso. If Caracter can be a major contributor when he's eligible for the Miners in December, they'll have, perhaps, the most feared frontcourt in Conference USA. Arnett Moultrie is a man in the middle for the Miners and would be the perfect complement to Caracter if the two can dominate the paint.

10. Western Kentucky's arrival: The Hilltoppers are officially here as a regular in the NCAA tournament discussion each season, just like small-conference brethren Gonzaga and Butler. WKU is the team to beat in the Sun Belt -- measuring the success of a team in that league is based on whether it can get past Western Kentucky. How do we know? The Hilltoppers can survive multiple coaching changes as Dennis Felton, Darrin Horn and now Ken McDonald have all had their runs. The program has three NCAA tournament wins in two seasons and it took a buzzer-beater by Gonzaga to keep WKU out of the Sweet 16 two seasons in a row. Western Kentucky, which is a threat to get out of the LSU bracket and reach the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals, will be led by senior guard A.J. Slaughter. This will be a balanced team with six newcomers and six returnees, but McDonald is already meshing this crew well enough to be considered the favorite in the Sun Belt.

10 Players to Keep an Eye On

A.J. Slaughter, Western Kentucky: The most outstanding player in the Sun Belt tournament has had a great summer working out with the likes of D.J. Augustin, T.J. Ford and Chris Paul and his confidence is sky-high. Slaughter is strong and quick and can play either guard position. This season, WKU coach Ken McDonald will turn him loose to score in bunches for the Hilltoppers.

Complete Article from

Friday, September 4, 2009

Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium Loves Kentucky Blue

While travelling through Blacksburg, Virginia tonight, I couldn't resist the urge to claim Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium as owned by Big Blue Nation.

Go Cats!

Francisco Garcia, Domincan Republic Eliminated

Francisco Garcia did not play for the second consecutive game and the Dominican Republic lost to Canada 80-76.

The loss eliminated the Dominican Republic from advancing to the semifinal round of the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship.

In Saturday's semifinal action, Puerto Rico will face Argentina and Brazil will battle Canada. The championship game will be Sunday.

Videnov Named to Team Bulgaria for EuroBasket 2009

Former Western Kentucky Hilltopper Filip Videnov has been named to Bulgaria's national team for EuroBasket 2009.

Videnov has been impressive in qualifying round play and exhibition games and he will now be rewarded with an opportunity to compete at EuroBasket.

Related News: Former Hilltopper Tyrone Brazelton scored 20 points in his club team's 93-87 overtime loss to Latvia. Brazelton plays for Prokom Gdynia in Poland.


Kevin Galloway Transfers to Texas Southern

Coach Alvin Brooks posted on Twitter that Kevin Galloway has transferred to Texas Southern, where he will sit out this season:

Talked to ex cat Kevin Galloway. I missed it. Had no idea he was enrolled & sitting out at Texas Southern. Great kid! Hope he does great!

I hope everything works out for Galloway.

Follow us on Twitter

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Meteorologist Chris Bailey Meets John Calipari

It's hard to say if meteorologist Chris Bailey and Kentucky head coach John Calipari were discussing the weather or basketball when they met in Huntington. Coach Calipari posted the picture on Twitter.

Personal Note: I always thought I would be the first Magoffin County native to meet John Calipari in person, but it looks like Bailey beat me to the punch!

UK Will Visit 2010 SF Terrence Jones in September

Article from

Seemingly every major Division 1 program in the nation is after Terrence Jones, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound small forward from Portland (Ore.) Jefferson High ranked No. 13 in the Class of 2010.

“Right now I’m wide open,” he said. “I haven’t narrowed it down. Me and my mom [Linda Mashia] are still talking about it. It’s a big decision.”

He plans to cut his list to five and then take visits.

“It doesn’t really matter [East or West Coast],” he said. “It’s just what’s the best situation for me.”

Here is Jones’ schedule of in-home visits:

Sept. 10 – UCLA
Sept. 14 – Washington
Sept. 15 – North Carolina
Sept. 21 – Oklahoma
Sept. 22 – Kentucky
Sept. 23 – Maryland
Sept. 24 – Arizona
Sept. 27 – Kansas

Dominican Republic Wins at FIBA Americas Championship

The Dominican Republic picked up a crucial 86-73 victory over Mexico in its third quarterfinal game at the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship. After a disappointing loss to Puerto Rico in yesterday's game and a tough Canada team waiting in tomorrow's game, the Dominicans were in dire need of a victory today and they were able to get the win.

The Dominicans are in a comfortable position, but must defeat Canada to insure a spot in the weekend's semifinal round.

Former Louisville Cardinal Francisco Garcia did not play today, but details are not available to explain his absence.


Calipari Will Give Jersey to President Barack Obama

John Calipari has revealed via that he will present the #44 Kentucky jersey to non other than President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.
Calipari continues his quest to make Kentucky basketball larger than life.

Rick Pitino Talks Basketball and Adversity to WLKY

University of Louisville's head basketball coach Rick Pitino is staying focused on his future and the future of his team.

Five months after going public with an extortion plot against him, and recently talking to the media about his affair, Pitino is working to remain positive and tune out negative comments.

He says there will be people who "know the truth and don't know the truth," and it doesn't matter if those people like him or not, he says he will try to avoid any negativity.

The coach said basketball has been therapeutic for him, saying he's used it as motivation to move himself and the program forward.

The complete interview can be watched here by clicking play on the video player.

Billy Gillispie 911 Call Released

The 911 call from a Shell station employee in Lawrenceburg has been released by authorities in Anderson County. The call led to the DUI arrest of former Kentucky head coach Billy Gillispie. The following is a transcript of that call.

DISPATCHER: "Lawrenceburg Police Department."
CALLER: "We had a driver that came here in a white four door car with Texas plates, heading toward 64. He, was, I'm pretty sure he's drunk."

DISPATCHER: "How long ago did he leave?"
CALLER: "Just now. Just got in the car right now, so."

DISPATCHER: "And it was a white, what kind of car?"
CALLER: "It's a four door. Uh, looks like a white four door sedan. Has Texas plates on it. that's what i'd seen."

DISPATCHER: "And he's been gone just uh..."
CALLER: "A few seconds, yes."

CALLER: "Thank you."


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's Official: Crook is a Hilltopper

As I announced last night, Jamal Crook has been added to the Western Kentucky roster. Here is the school's press release:

WKU men's basketball has added a late signee to the 2009-10 roster in the form of Jamal Crook, Hilltopper head coach Ken McDonald announced Wednesday afternoon. Crook, a 6-3, 165-pound point guard, comes to WKU after one year at Bridgton Academy, a prep school in Maine.

Orginially from Louisville, Ky., Crook played for Ballard High School before finishing his senior year at Durango High School in Las Vegas, Nev. He joins freshmen Caden Dickerson, Jordan Swing, and William Green along with transfer Cliff Dixon to make up the incoming recruiting class. Senior transfer Nemanja Milosevic and redshirt freshman Jameson Tipping will also take to the floor for the first time in 2009-10.

WKU finished the 2008-09 season ranked 41st in the RPI ratings as well as receiving votes in the final ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll after going 25-9 and winning the Sun Belt Conference East Division championship. The Toppers won the SBC Tournament and earned the program's 21st NCAA Tournament appearance, knocking off fifth-seeded Illinois 76-72 in the first round before falling at the buzzer to 10th-ranked Gonzaga 83-81, just missing the program's second-straight trip to the NCAA Sweet 16.

WKU returns four starters for the 2009-10 season including five of their top six scorers.

Kentucky's Newest Running Back: Eric Bledsoe?

Kentucky freshman point guard Eric Bledsoe

Check out the pictures from UK Photo Day

Who Will Get the #44 Jersey from Coach Calipari?

Kentucky head coach John Calipari has announced via Twitter and Facebook that he will be sending an honorary #44 jersey to someone within the next week. He has challenged Kentucky fans to guess where the jersey is going during the next 24 hours.

Here is his post on Twitter:

Who am I sending this jersey to?

Here is the video he posted on Facebook

What would be the significance of the number forty-four? Barack Obama? Dan Issel? Chuck Hayes? Hank Aaron? Who knows?

You can find UKCoachCalipari on Twitter to make your guesses.

Ex-Cardinal Luke Whitehead Arrested in Louisville

Former University of Louisville basketball star Luke Whitehead was arrested Thursday afternoon.

Whitehead, who played from 2000 to 2004, was arrested on drug charges.

Police say he had several pounds of marijuana with him when arrested.

Whitehead is being held at the metro corrections center with a bond of $50,000.


DeMarcus Cousins Gives the Wildcats "Swagger"

There is a great article by Jason King of Yahoo Sports today about Kentucky freshman big-man DeMarcus Cousins. Here are a few excerpts (it is definitely worth the read):

Cousins on his attitude:

“On the court,” Cousins said, “I’m a badass. I’m mean. I’m there to cut your throat. I’m not there to be nice. Off the court, I’m cool. I’m chill. I play around with you. I’m nothing like people say I am. Anyone that’s taken the time to get to know me will tell you that.”

“But on the court … like I said, I’m there to cut your throat.”

Patrick Patterson on Cousins:

“He’s not really angry or mad all the time,” Patterson said, “but he plays with that anger and fire and frustration. He leaves it on the court. He’s not a bad person, but he’s not going to let up. He’s not going to let you see the light of day. Even when he’s beating you down, he’s still not going to stop.”

“He’s got such good footwork for a freshman,” Patterson said. “And he’s not afraid to dribble the ball. He’ll grab it off the rim and take off down the court without hesitation. He’s just so naturally strong. Even when he was young and skinny, I bet he was strong.”

On losing 20 pounds this summer:

“I cut out fried foods – mainly fried chicken and fried oysters,” said Cousins, laughing.

Pitino Brings Marquis Teague's Coach to Louisville

Article from

Louisville hired Shabaka Lands to the position of Special Assistant to the Coach.

Lands was an assistant coach at Indianapolis Pike High School, where he coached Marquis Teague, the No. 1 point guard in the Class of 2011.

Teague is considering Louisville, Indiana and Kentucky and recently took a visit to Kentucky. He plans to visit Louisville soon.

Coincidence? We think not.

There is nothing illegal about this move, but it is just another development that can make college basketball look shady.

My Thoughts: There is nothing illegal here, but there is also no question as to why Pitino made this move. After looking at Pitino's recent past, one can only imagine what duties would be bestowed upon the "Special Assistant to the Coach."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Casey Prather Trims List to Four; UK Not Invited

Four teams are left in the running for 6-6 Casey Prather of Jackson, TN his stepdad said Tuesday night. Jeffery Reid said Clemson, Florida, Michigan and Vanderbilt are the final choices for Prather who will visit all four before making a decision. The family will be at Clemson this weekend. They will go to Michigan September 11th, Florida September 18th and Vanderbilt October 2nd. "Everything is at an even keel" Mr. Reid said. "He wants to give everyone an equal opportunity." Prather wants to make his decision shortly after his Vanderbilt visit and before the start of his basketball season


Prather is ranked #64 on the Rivals150 List for 2010.

Dominican Republic, Garcia Win First Quarterfinal Game

The Dominican Republic picked up an 80-74 victory over Uruguay in its first quarterfinal game at the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship. The win moves the Dominicans into fourth place overall in the group standings. The top four teams will advance to the semifinals over the weekend.

Former Louisville Cardinal Francisco Garcia had 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals for the Dominican Republic.

Garcia and his teammates continue quarterfinal action tomorrow against Puerto Rico.


Western Kentucky Preparing to Add Jamal Crook?

I have been told that the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers may add 6-2 point guard Jamal Crook to the 2009-10 class. With the loss of David Laury, the Hilltoppers have a scholarship to play with.

Crook, a member of the 2008 class out of high school, is rated an 83 by He is originally from Louisville and played at Bridgton Academy (ME).

ESPN Analysis:

December 2008: Crook is a combo-guard who has a great instincts and a ton of savvy on both ends of the floor. He needs to fill out his physical frame before he will be capable of handling the rigors of college basketball but he has long arms, good quickness, and athleticism. Offensively, he has a knack for scoring in the mid-range area as he shoots it well in that range and does a nice job of using his dribble and/or a spin move to create enough space to get it off. His shot is much less consistent from long range and has a noticeable glitch in his release from outside of the arc. On the opposite end, Crook is a passing lanes defender who shows great anticipation. However, his lack of muscle mass and physical strength can give him problems when isolated against bigger and stronger wing players.

Follow Kelly Wells and Pikeville College on Twiiter

If you want some good Twit about Pikeville College basketball, make sure to follow head coach Kelly Wells on Twitter.

He offers a wealth of basketball knowledge and valuable insight into the Bears' program:

Follow Coach Wells and Pikeville College Basketball

Make sure to follow Bluegrass State Basketball on Twitter

C.J. Penny Leaves SE Illinois Junior College

Former Anderson County High School All-State basketball player C.J. Penny is back home in the Bluegrass State.

Penny signed to play at Southeastern Illinois Junior College in Harrisburg, Ill., but returned home last week and told The Anderson News he has enrolled at Kentucky State.

Penny told the paper that he wants to play at Georgetown College.

Complete Article from Demling's Blog at the Courier-Journal

Ex-Wildcat Ed Davender Arrested on Theft Charges

There is a bit of sad news to report tonight as one of the Cats what I adored as a young lad has been arrested on theft charges. The player that I, and thousands of others adored, has been charged with scamming Kentucky fans out of thousands of dollars in a ticket scam.

Article from

A former UK basketball star is now facing theft charges.

43 year old Ed Davender of Georgetown was a major force with the wildcats in the 1980's.

Lexington police say Davender scammed fans out of thousands of dollars.
He was reportedly claiming he had season tickets to UK basketball games, when he did not.

Davender will be booked tonight, into the Fayette County jail on felony theft charges.

He's charged with three felony counts of theft by deception and one count of trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school.

Davender played for UK from 1984 through 1988.

"Gillispie is the least hirable coach in college basketball"

Greg Doyel of says, "along with Dave Bliss, Jim Harrick and Nolan Richardson, Billy Gillispie is the least hirable coach in college basketball."

Doyel discusses Gillispie's apparent alcohol problem and gives his opinions on the ex-UK coach's recent DUI arrest. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Hi. My name is Billy, and I have a drinking problem.

And listen to me. I don't write this with malice or mockery. Alcoholism is not a joking matter -- it's deadly serious -- and I'm convinced Gillispie has a deadly serious problem. If he's found guilty of DUI this would be his first alcohol-related conviction, but that's a technicality. This was his third such incident. He was arrested in 1999 in Tulsa, Okla., on charges of DWI, but those charges were dismissed after he pleaded guilty to reckless driving. In 2003 he was arrested in El Paso, Texas, on suspicion of drunken driving, but those charges were dropped for lack of evidence. Some of the evidence: When officers asked Gillispie in 2003 for identification, he gave them a credit card instead of his driver's license.

That's what Gillispie does when he gets pulled over on suspicion of DUI: He ceases to think like an adult. In this latest incident, Gillispie was borderline pathetic. According to the arrest report, he was unable to find proof of insurance for his car. He searched unsuccessfully in his golf bag, of all places, but only after being uncertain how to open the trunk of his own car. First he was befuddled by his car's passenger-side door lock, and then by the door to his glove box, which required several tries by Gillispie to open.

He also drove, spoke, looked and smelled like he was drunk, according to the police report. Gillispie might get out of this one, like he got out of his first two DUI arrests, but enough is enough. As if three DUI arrests in a decade weren't enough circumstantial evidence of a drinking problem, there were the two years Gillispie spent at Kentucky -- where he was infamous for enjoying the nightlife. The next school that thinks about hiring Gillispie will need to speak to administrators at Kentucky who heard story after story after story about their basketball coach. Those stories made their way to fans, and the media. Maybe you've heard them. I've heard at least 10. Do I believe them? I didn't at the time. But now? Yes. I believe some of them. Not sure which ones. Not sure it matters which ones.

You think Gillispie was fired at Kentucky simply for winning "only" 40 games in two years and for being prickly with fans? Think again. There were plenty of reasons, and if Gillispie continues his ill-conceived lawsuit against Kentucky -- which he says owes him a $6 million buyout for firing him with five years left on his deal -- those reasons will come out.

Brandon Knight to Visit Kentucky in September

Evan Daniels is reporting via Twitter that Brandon Knight, the top overall player in the 2010 recruiting class according to, will visit Kentucky on September 19. Here is the post by Daniels:

@EvanDanielscout Brandon Knight has scheduled an official visit w/ Kentucky. Will be in town Sept. 19th . . . same weekend as Stacey Poole

Knight and Poole will likely be treated to a football rivalry game at Commonwealth Stadium.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Who Would Win the Coach Calipari Final Four?

Who would win a Final Four between four of John Calipari's best teams? His 2009-10 Kentucky team is unproven, but the talent speaks for itself. Let's look at the UK team, his best UMASS team and his best two Memphis teams.

2009-10 Kentucky Wildcats (?-?; ?)

24 Bledsoe, Eric 6-1 190 Fr. G
15 Cousins, DeMarcus 6-11 260 Fr. F
3 Dodson, Darnell 6-7 215 So. G
55 Harrellson, Josh 6-10 265 Jr. F
5 Harris, Ramon 6-7 220 Sr. G-F
4 Hood, Jon 6-6 195 Fr. G
12 Krebs, Mark 6-5 210 Sr. G
34 Liggins, DeAndre 6-6 200 So. G
1 Miller, Darius 6-7 225 So. G
33 Orton, Daniel 6-10 255 Fr. F
54 Patterson, Patrick 6-9 235 Jr. F
21 Stevenson, Perry 6-9 210 Sr. F
11 Wall, John 6-4 195 Fr. G

1995-96 Massachusetts Minutemen (35-2; NCAA Final Four)

Bright, Donta 6-6 223 Sr. F
Burns, Ross 6-3 180 Fr. G
Camby, Marcus 6-11 220 Jr. C
Clarke, Charlton 6-3 210 Fr. G
Cottrell, Ted 6-9 200 Sr. C/F
Dingle, Dana 6-7 220 Sr. F
Maclay, Andy 6-4 190 Fr. G
Norville, Inus 6-8 225 So. F
Nuñez, Rigoberto 6-7 195 Sr. F
Padilla, Edgar 6-2 175 Jr. G
Padilla, Giddel 6-3 187 Sr. G
Travieso, Carmelo 6-2 180 Jr. G
Weeks, Tyrone 6-7 260 Jr. F

2007-08 Memphis Tigers (38-2; NCAA Final Four)

Allen, Andre 5-10 190 Sr. G
Dorsey, Joey 6-9 265 Sr. F
Douglas-Roberts 6-7 200 Jr. G
Rose, Derrick 6-3 190 Fr. G
Bailey, Hashim 6-10 275 So. C
Taggart, Shawn 6-10 235 So. F
Kemp, Willie 6-2 185 So. G
Dozier, Robert 6-9 220 Jr. F
Henderson-Niles Pierre 6-8 300 So.. F
Anderson, Antonio 6-6 215 Jr. G
McGrady, Chance 6-2 185 Jr. G
Mack, Doneal 6-5 180 So. G
Robinson, Jeff 6-5 230 Fr. G

2008-09 Memphis Tigers (33-4; NCAA Sweet 16)

Taggart, Shawn 6-10 235 Jr. F
Kemp, Willie 6-2 185 Jr. G
Dozier, Robert 6-9 220 Sr. F
Sallie, Roburt 6-5 185 So. G
Henderson-Niles Pierre 6-8 300 Jr. F
Anderson, Antonio 6-6 215 Sr. G
McGrady, Chance 6-2 185 Sr. G
Witherspoon, Wesley 6-8 200 Fr. G-F
Evans, Tyreke 6-6 219 Fr. G
Simpkins, Matt 6-9 215 Fr. F
Mack, Doneal 6-5 180 Jr. G
Laird, Preston 6-2 180 Fr. G

Projected All-Tournament Team:

Tyreke Evans (Memphis 2008-09)
John Wall (Kentucky 2009-10)
Derrick Rose (Memphis 2007-08)
Marcus Camby (UMass 1995-96)
Patrick Patterson (Kentucky 2009-10)
Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis 2007-08)
Donta Bright (UMass 1995-96)
Carmelo Travieso (UMass 1995-96)
Joey Dorsey (Memphis 2007-08)
DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky 2009-10)

Want to Meet John Calipari?

Do you want to meet John Calipari? If so, you should buy his book, head to one of the following locations and expect to stand in line for a long time.

John Calipari Book Tour:

Tuesday, Sept. 1 — Crestview Hills — Borders, 11-1 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 1 — Louisville — Borders, 5-7 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 2 — Owensboro — Books a Million, 11-1 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 2 — Bowling Green — Barnes and Nobles, 5-7 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 3 — Pikeville — Eastern Kentucky Expo Center, 11-1 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 3 — Ashland — Kroger’s, 5-7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 4 — Radcliff — The Book Store, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 5 — Cincinnati — Joseph-Beth Booksellers, about 4 p.m. (or after the UK football game)
Sunday, Sept. 6 — Versailles — Kroger’s, 4-6 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 7 — Paducah — details to be announced.
Wednesday-Thursday, Sept. 9-10 — New York City
Friday, Sept. 11 — Boston


Katz: WKU's McDonald "Understands How to Schedule"

Andy Katz of ESPN thinks that Western Kentucky head coach Ken McDonald "understands how to schedule into the NCAA tournament out of a non "Power Six" conference." Here is an excerpt from Katz's article appearing on

The NCAA tournament selection committee should use Western Kentucky's Ken McDonald as someone who understands how to schedule into the NCAA tournament out of a non "Power Six" conference. McDonald's Hilltoppers will be the favorite to win the Sun Belt, but he has positioned himself to get a possible at-large berth. WKU is in the NIT Season Tip-Off with a legitimate chance to get to New York since it's in a bracket at rebuilding LSU. Western Kentucky also plays at South Carolina and Southern Illinois, hosts Tulane, Evansville and Houston (in February) and goes to Louisville, plays Vanderbilt in Nashville and hosts Mississippi State. Tulane and Evansville are solid home games for a team out of the Sun Belt. The other games are all against teams that could be in the postseason with South Carolina, Louisville, Vandy and Mississippi State projected to be in the NCAA tournament.

"It's aggressive,'' McDonald said on the first day of school Monday in Bowling Green. "A year ago we rolled the dice and we weren't supposed to be very good (losing to Gonzaga on a buzzer-beater in the second round of the NCAA tournament). We've got good young talent coming in and we're going to test them early.''

The beauty of this schedule is that none of the games are a one-shot deal. The Vanderbilt game in Nashville is part of the Sun Belt Classic and is likely going to be a rotating scenario with Tennessee and Middle Tennessee State. The hope is that the four teams will switch in 2010 with Tennessee playing Western Kentucky and Middle playing Vandy.

The Louisville game is the second of a four-year deal. Western Kentucky beat Louisville last season in Nashville. This year's game is at Freedom Hall while the game in 2010 is in Bowling Green and then the final game of the contract is at Louisville's new arena. Mississippi State is the end of a two-year deal with the Bulldogs.

South Carolina is the first of a four-year deal that Darrin Horn has to own up to after leaving WKU for South Carolina. Horn's exit contract called for a four-year deal with Western if he left for a BCS-level school. It's the same thing that happened to Dennis Felton when he went from Western to Georgia. Horn is entering his second season at South Carolina. The contract was pushed off for a season after the two teams couldn't agree on a date in 2009. McDonald also hopes he can continue the SIU series. A year ago, Western Kentucky lost to Houston and Mississippi State but beat Southern Illinois, Louisville, Georgia and Tulane in key nonconference games.

Final Four Predictions for Kentucky

The Kentucky Wildcats continue to earn respect from media around the country. Jason King and Mike Huguenin, writers for, were recently asked to make their early Final Four picks and both like the Cats:

Early Final Four Picks:

Jason King: Kansas, Kentucky, Texas and North Carolina

Mike Huguenin: Kansas, Kentucky, Purdue and Villanova

Complete Article from

Ex-Cardinal Larry O'Bannon Will Stay in Israel

Larry O'Bannon has decided to say with Maccabi Rishon Le Zion in the Israeli Premier League, which is the nation's top-level league.

O'Bannon, a product of the Louisville Cardinals, came to Maccabi in January and appeared in 11 games for the team. During that stint, he averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He also shot 39.5% from long range and earned All-Israeli League Honorable Mention.

Before moving to Israel, O'Bannon played for Lukoil Akademik from Sophia. That team won both the championship title and National Cup in Bulgaria. O'Bannon put in 12.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 37 games in Bulgaria.

O'Bannon graduated from Louisville in 2005.


Related News: Nouha Diakite, who was at Louisville for half a season, has signed to play with Pau-Orthez in France. Pau-Orthez is a member of France's ProB (second-level) division.

UNLV Looking for Big Things from Derrick Jasper has given a preview of the Mountain West Conference. Here are some comments about former Kentucky Wildcat Derrick Jasper, who will be eligible to play for the Runnin' Rebels in 2009-10:

10 Offseason Storylines:

3. Rebel with a cause:
Coach Lon Kruger is understandably excited about his new point guard, Derrick Jasper. The Kentucky transfer, who would have started last season had he stayed at UK with Billy Gillispie, started the final 27 games of his freshman year, averaging 2.9 assists per game. Microfracture surgery held him out of 11 games his sophomore season, but he still shot 45 percent from behind the arc. That hot shooting, not to mention a 6-6 frame for a point guard, has Kruger and Runnin' Rebels fans anxious to see him on the court this season.

UNLV Team Preview:

3. UNLV: Tre'Von Willis had a very solid first season after transferring in from Memphis. If new transfers Derrick Jasper (Kentucky) and Chace Stanback (UCLA) can be equally effective, the notion of UNLV as a "bounce back" recruiting school will explode. Keep an eye on frosh Justin Hawkins to play big minutes right away. Matt Shaw coming back off knee surgery is important, too.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Western Kentucky Announces 2009-10 Schedule

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers have announced their 2009-10 schedule:

Nov. 16-27 (Mon-Fri) 25th Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off
Nov. 16 (Mon) vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1) Baton Rouge, La. TBA
Nov. 17 (Tue) vs. Indiana State or LSU (1) Baton Rouge, La. TBA
Nov. 23, 25 (Mon, Wed) vs. TBA (2) TBA TBA
Nov. 24, 27 (Tue, Fri) vs. TBA (2) TBA TBA
Dec. 2 (Wed) at South Carolina Columbia, S.C. TBA
Dec. 6 (Sun) Tulane Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Dec. 8 (Tue) Evansville Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Dec. 11 (Fri) vs. Vanderbilt (3) Nashville, Tenn. TBA
Dec. 19 (Sat) at Louisville Louisville, Ky. TBA
Dec. 22 (Tue) Murray State Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Dec. 31 (Thur) Louisiana-Lafayette* Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Jan. 4 (Mon) Mississippi State Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Jan. 7 (Thur) at South Alabama* Mobile, Ala. TBA
Jan. 10 (Sun) at Denver* Denver, Colo. TBA
Jan. 14 (Thur) Florida Atlantic* Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Jan. 16 (Sat) FIU* Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Jan. 18 (Mon) at Middle Tennessee* Murfreesboro, Tenn. TBA
Jan. 21 (Thur) at Troy* Troy, Ala. TBA
Jan. 23 (Sat) Middle Tennessee* Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Jan. 25 (Mon) at Southern Illinois Carbondale, Ill. TBA
Jan. 28 (Thur) North Texas* Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Jan. 30 (Sat) New Orleans* Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Feb. 4 (Thur) at ULM* Monroe, La. TBA
Feb. 6 (Sat) Troy* Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Feb. 9 (Tue) Houston Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Feb. 11 (Thur) Arkansas State* Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Feb. 13 (Sat) at UALR* Little Rock, Ark. TBA
Feb. 18 (Thur) South Alabama* Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
Feb. 20 (Sat) at Arkansas State* Jonesboro, Ark. TBA
Feb. 25 (Thur) at Florida Atlantic* Boca Raton, Fla. TBA
Feb. 27 (Sat) at FIU* Miami, Fla. TBA
Mar. 6-9 (Sat-Tue) at Sun Belt Conference Tournament Hot Springs, Ark. TBA
Mar. 18-21 (Thur-Sun) at NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds TBA TBA
Mar. 25-28 (Thur-Sun) at NCAA Regional Finals TBA TBA
Apr. 3-5 (Sat-Mon) at NCAA Final Four Indianapolis, Ind. TBA

* Sun Belt Conference game • All Times Central
Home games in BOLD will be played at E.A. Diddle Arena
(1) 25th Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off hosted by LSU
(2) NIT games either in New York at Madison Square Garden or at home versus Diddle Arena)
(3) The Hilltoppers and Commodores will play on a neutral floor at the Sommet Center

UK Recruit Tobias Harris Visits Maryland

Tobias Harris, the 6-8 forward from Dix Hills (NY) Half Hollow Hills West, took an unofficial to Maryland this weekend.

“I went unofficially,” he wrote in a text. “My older brother lives in Virginia so I was down with him. It went good.”

Harris is considering a long list of schools and will begin a series of in-home visits in September.


NOTE: Kentucky will give Harris an in-home visit September 9 at 7:00 p.m. He also has in-home visits scheduled with Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Syracuse, UCONN, Louisville, St. John's, Tennessee, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Maryland.

Filip Videnov Emerging as Bulgaria's Leader

Former Western Kentucky Hilltopper Filip Videnov is quickly becoming Bulgaria's go-to star.

Videnov was impressive for Bulgaria during the summer and he continues to improve. In yesterday's friendly loss to Greece, Videnov led his team with 17 points. It is becoming apparent that if the Bulgarians are to enjoy international success, it will be behind Videnov's leadership.


Francisco Garcia, DR Advance to Quarters of FIBA Americas

The Dominican Republic lost a nail-biter to Argentina in the final game of pool play at the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship, but they will still advance to Tuesday's quarterfinal round. Ex-Louisville Cardinal Francisco Garcia chipped in 20 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists and today's 89-87 loss to Argentina.

The Dominicans finished pool play with a 2-2 record, which earned the third position in Group B of the tournament. Garcia and his teammates will begin quarterfinal action against Uruguay on Tuesday.

In other news of local interest, the U.S. Virgin Islands and ex-Murray State Racer Cuthbert Victor were eliminated in pool play and failed to qualify for the quarterfinals.


Will Billy Gillispie Ever Coach Again?

This question was posed to a panel at

Today's Question: Former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie is in the job market; what kind of effect will his arrest earlier this week on DUI charges have on his marketability?

Mike Huguein: "I'm always willing to overlook missteps in a coach's private life, but Gillispie's hopes for a major-college job in 2010-11 ended with this latest arrest because it was his third such charge. Yes, the first two were either dropped or pleaded down, but a major school hiring Gillispie now would take a PR hit..."

Jason King: "Billy Gillispie's chances of landing a high-level Division I coaching job in 2010-11 ended the moment a Kentucky police officer wrapped a pair of handcuffs around his wrists early Thursday morning. Gillispie already was battling image problems following his firing from Kentucky after just two seasons. Rumors swirled about his coaching style and his off-court habits. The nicest thing anyone in Lexington will say about Gillispie these days is that he was "difficult." Still, no one has denied that, when it comes to pure coaching, Gillispie is near the top of his profession. Someone would've been willing to give him a chance..."

Steve Megargee: "Billy Gillispie's coaching future could depend on how this latest charge is resolved. Gillispie has been arrested on alcohol-related charges twice before, but in neither case was he actually convicted of a DUI. The first charge came in 1999 when he was working as an assistant at Tulsa. That time, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving. He also was arrested in 2003 during his first season as UTEP's coach, but those charges were dismissed entirely. This third arrest ? coupled with his messy exit from Kentucky ? could make it difficult for him to get a head-coaching job at a major conference."

Complete Article from

My Thoughts: Billy Gillispie dealt his career a damaging blow with his latest arrest. He can work his way back to a DI sideline, but he has essentially eliminated lots of hard work and knocked himself back down the career ladder. He will literally be forced to work his way back to the top. He will likely be forced to start as an assistant and prove himself again.

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