Saturday, October 17, 2009

John Wall Has Legendary Athleticism (and Dance Moves)



Here are a couple of images that are not the greatest quality, but they do prove a couple of points. John Wall has a fun personality and is not afraid to put on a show for the crowd. As he was introduced at Big Blue Madness, Wall was all smiles as he began dancing to the background music.

It is pretty clear that Wall has a level of athleticism that we have not seen at Kentucky in some time, if ever. When your point guard can hit his head on the rim (see top picture), it is a very good thing.

Meet Your 2009-10 Kentucky Wildcats



Props to Mr. Wall for his dancing skills!

My Guest Article Covering UK/Louisville Recruiting

I have written a full Kentucky/Louisville recruiting update for another site. I urge all fans of both Kentucky and Louisville to check out StraightPinkie.com.

Here is my guest article on StraightPinkie.com

How Can ESPN Explain This John Calipari Mistake?



This is clearly a poor effort by ESPN during last night's madness show. Pat Forde must have made it to the production truck last night. (Note: this was possibly photo-shopped; I didn't see it live, so I can't verify the validity of the pics)

Friday, October 16, 2009

UK Raises the Bar at Big Blue Madness


It is safe to say that Kentucky's Big Blue Madness was taken to a new level tonight at Rupp Arena. From electrifying player introductions to a John Calipari speech that rivals the best work of President Obama, this Madness was overwhelming from start to finish. Then, there was the blue/white scrimmage, which likely featured the biggest collection of talent on the floor in the past decade.

Here are a few thoughts I took away from the event (Yes John Wall is going to turn the SEC upside-down this season):

- The atmosphere was unbelievable; words can't do it justice
- The crowd was really into the event
- Calipari gave one of the best speeches I have ever heard in sports; it was like he was a king that was energizing his entire kingdom for battle
- The talent is there; that wasn't glaringly obvious tonight, but trust me, it's there
- John Wall will simply be one of the most talented players to ever wear the Kentucky jersey (seriously)
- DeMarcus Cousins has the potential to dominate for Kentucky; he was having fun tonight, but when the chips are on the line, Cousins will be a big time player
- Patrick Patterson has All-America potential written all over him this season...and it couldn't happen to a better person
- Josh Harrellson nailed at least 5 smooth-looking 3-pointers in the scrimmage
- Parry Stephenson stepped outside to hit a couple of 3-pointers
- Jon Hood is a little better than I thought; he will see playing time this season as a freshman
- DeAndre Liggins is going to be a valuable player for Kentucky this season
- Is it just me or did Ramon Harris look surprisingly better tonight?
- Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton both showed that they are talented and will be big-time players
- Darnell Dodson was a little off tonight, but he will be fine when he adjusts to the UK atmosphere
- This is going to be a special season for the Kentucky Wildcats

Recruiting Notes:

Out of respect to UK's Compliance Office, I will hold off on specific recruiting information, but I will pass along a few notes. A 2010 player that was expected to be there tonight backed out and did not attend the event. The players that were present seemed to really be into the festivities.

I will have specifics later, but I want to give the recruits a chance to complete their time on campus.

John Wall Image:
Courtesy of Clay Jackson; I strongly encourage you to check out Jackson's excellent photography work

Live Coverage of Kentucky's Big Blue Madness

- Kyle Macy and Rob Bromley have provided an introduction to the night and covered the season's schedule
- Christi Thomas is interviewing fans
- Interesting to note that all 7 national championship trophies are displayed on the court
- Christi has located an Ole Miss fan that is here visiting family (he is wearing a UK shirt, by the way)
- Hearing that Rajon Rondo backed out and will not be in attendance tonight
- Showing a video of great UK moments
- UK cheerleaders are taking the floor
- Halfcourt shot for a car comes up a little short; other fan banked in a 3-pointer to win a home entertainment system
- A little lull in the action at the moment as they transition into the next portion of the event
- UK women's team under the direction of Matthew Mitchell is taking the floor
- Tayshaun Prince has entered the building
- The women are finished with a 5-minute scrimmage
- The UK Dance Team is now on the floor
- Excitement has just gone up about 10 levels; lights are out, video showing
- Big-time atmosphere at the moment; green "laser lights" beaming on stage
- Huge fireworks display
- Introducing players; they are being lowered to the floor from above the stage
- Just an awesome spectacle at Rupp Arena right now
- Noticeable pop for John Wall; he's dancing it up for the crowd
- Huge roar for Patrick Patterson
- Coach Calipari has taken center stage
- Calipari is going to speak
- Roaring chant of "Go Big Blue!!!"
- "C-A-T-S Cats Cats Cats!"
- "Wow, wow, wow, ohhhh!" - John Calipari
- "All I can say, you all are awesome. Wow."
- This is a scene like no other at Big Blue Madness
- Calipari hints that Ashley Judd is in attendance
- "It's about Issel. It's about Walker, It's about Groza, It's about Wah Wah Jones...It's about Macy, It's about Mashburn...Rupps Runts, Fabulous Five, Fiddlin Five, the Unforgettables..." Wow
- "Everyone is connected by the love of Blue."
- Unbelievable speech by John Calipari
- John Calipari is literally declaring basketball domination over the NCAA; it's as if he is a world leader preparing the troops for battle
- "Above all else, we want them to have fun!"
- Cats have taken the court to warmup
- Drake is in the building
- Tayshaun Prince is being introduced to the crowd
- Scrimmage is nearing tip-off
- Nice dunk by Patterson to start the scoring
- Two dunks by Patterson; 4-0 White squad
- Three dunks by Patterson
- Cousins firing up 3-pointers and handling it on the break
- 4-straight points by Jon Hood
- Four dunks by Patterson
- Coast-to-coast by Wall for the dunk
- Halftime of the scrimmage
- Harrellson has nailed three 3-pointers
- Four 3-points for Harrellson
- Five dunks for Patterson
- Six dunks for Patterson
- Players are a little tired, which is very understandable at this point
- Another 3-pointer for Harrellson
- John Wall will be one of the best players to ever wear the Kentucky jersey - ever
- The scrimmage ends: White 63 Blue 62

Big Blue Madness at Rupp Arena Was a Good Choice


Big Blue Nation erupted several months ago when new head coach John Calipari introduced the idea of having Big Blue Madness outdoors at Commonwealth Stadium.

The vision was to have 70,000+ fans show up for an outdoor practice in the comfortable temperatures of mid-October.

In hindsight, I think everyone in Big Blue Nation, from the team down to the fans, are likely very happy that Big Blue Madness will be held in Rupp Arena tonight. Tonight's forecast: a low of 38 degrees and a 30% chance of cold, skin-piercing rain (from WeatherChannel.com).

Big Blue Madness: Recruit Updates

Here are a couple of quick updates on the recruits at BBM:

- Evan Daniels of Scout.com is reporting that Quincy Miller will no longer be attending BBM due to personal reasons

- TrueBlueKentucky.com and Dustin Rumbaugh at KentuckySportsRadio.com are reporting that C.J. Leslie is confirmed for BBM; Many circles are still feeling that Leslie will commit to Kentucky shortly after BBM

- Tobias Harris and Kyrie Irving both posted on Twitter yesterday that they are heading to BBM

- Michael Gilchrist and Achraf Yacoubou are still confirmed to be at BBM

Patrick Patterson is a Hero Off the Court, Too


There is a very touching story about Patrick Patterson on Yahoo Sports this morning. This is a must-read article:


“Patrick isn’t looking for attention. He’s not out chasing ambulances. He’s just doing what comes natural.”

- Kentucky head coach John Calipari

Photo: Courier-Journal

Breaking News: UK Freshman Daniel Orton Finds a Dollar


Kentucky freshman big man Daniel Orton discovered this dollar bill on the street this morning. He posted the picture on Twitter.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ex-Cat Gerald Fitch Dominant in Victory

Former Kentucky guard Gerald Fitch was described as "totally the best player in the victory" after Fuenlabrada's 93-77 win over C.B. Murcia this week.

Fitch dominated the game with 29 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals. He was 4-7 from beyond the 3-point line and 7-8 from the free throw line.

Fuenlabrada is off to a 2-0 start in Spain's tough ACB League.

Source: EuroBasket.com

Former Wildcat Antoine Walker to Play in China?


Former Kentucky Wildcat and NBA star Antoine Walker has stated that he would like to play in China this season.

Reports indicate that Walker met with Bonzi Wells, who spent time in China last season, who told him that Chinese basketball is amazing.

Walker is coming off a summer filled with legal issues stemming from casino gambling debts. He has resolved those issues and is ready to play basketball again.

Source: Asia-Basket.com

2010 Center Shawn Jackson Commits to Murray State


It was just reported on Twitter that Murray State has picked up a verbal commitment from 6-8 center Shawn Jackson from Live Oak, Florida.

Jackson is considered a 2-star prospect by Scout.com in the Class of 2010.

Here is the post on Twitter:

nealbradley: According to the Racer insider, MSU has a verbal from Shawn Jackson, a 6-8 235 pound C from Melody Christian Academy in Live Oak, Fla.

Kentucky Basketball Media Day Coverage

As luck would have it, I had to travel to Somerset today and was unable to provide coverage of Kentucky basketball's Media Day. As a result, I am going to refer you to some of my other "partners in crime."

- Matt Jones at Kentucky Sports Radio gives his recap of the day

- Player quotes and other coverage from UKAthletics.com

- Rick Bozich of the Courier-Journal does the math on Billy Gillispie's UK value

John Calipari Addresses the Media:



And finally, some excellent videos from my main man John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader:











Smith, Jennings Face One Charge; Will Miss No Basketball

Louisville teammates Terrence Jennings and Jerry Smith will only face one charge each following their recent arrests. Each will face a single count of resisting law enforcement. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Rick Pitino had the following statements on the situation:

"Any time you defy a police officer, it's serious," Pitino told ESPN.com. "They will be punished and are being punished right now. But no, they will not miss game time."

He added:

"I think Jerry saw a teammate on the ground and didn't want to abandon him," Pitino said. "I think he saw a teammate taking some pretty good blows and tried to help."

Source: ESPN.com

Morehead State Hall of Famer Leonard Coulter Passes


I was contacted by a good friend this morning with some sad news. Leonard Coulter, a former Morehead State basketball star, has passed away.

Coulter graduated MSU in 1974 and was drafted in the eighth round of the NBA Draft by the Seattle. He had a career (1971-74) scoring average of 23.1 points per game, one of the top career averages in Morehead State history.

Coulter was inducted into the Morehead State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985. He came to Morehead from Danville High School, where he was an all-state and All-American player.

Wanton Disdain Comics: John Wall Cartoon



Wanton Disdain Comics is at it again.

This time, they have produced a cartoon for those with strong stomachs. It plays on Coach Calipari's statement that his new kids "poop ice cream." Enjoy...

Source

Today is October 15th

It's basketball season, my friends.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ex-Tiger Derrick Miller Wins Scoring Title in Paraguay

Former Georgetown Tiger Derrick Miller has collected the scoring title in Paraguay's National League.

Miller, who competed for Sacachispas in the National League, has now moved on to Argentina. In Argentina, Miller plays for Ciudad de Bragado. In his first game of the season in Argentina, Miller had 18 points on 6-9 field goal shooting.

Other International News:

- Former Western Kentucky Hilltopper Elgrace Wilborn just missed another double-double as he went for 9 points and 12 rebounds in Atenas' 74-63 victory over Tabare in Uruguay.

- Ex-Hilltopper Japeth Aguilar, fresh off his pre-season controversy, debuted for the Burger King Whoppers in the Phillipines. Aguilar opened the season with a solid performance of 10 points and 9 rebounds as Burger King suffered a 93-80 loss to Purefoods.

Source: EuroBasket.com

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Kentucky Weleyan Names Tri-Captains for 2009-10


Press Release from Ky Wesleyan:

Celebrating the 100th season of Kentucky Wesleyan basketball, men's coach Todd Lee announced that Jay Ivey, Chris Williams and Andree' Wilson have been selected tri-captains by their teammates for the 2009-10 season.

"The team voted for who they thought should be their leaders and these three young men were chosen. The trio have worked extremely hard and care more about the success of the program then individual success and that is what you want out of your leaders."

Ivey, a 6-foot-7, 237-pound junior center from Owensboro (Owensboro Catholic HS), finished first in field goal shooting at 60.4 percent and second in rebounding with 5.4 boards per game. He averaged 6.3 points and 22.0 minutes in starting 25 of 28 games played.

Williams, a 6-foot-5, 204-pound junior forward from Versailles, Ky. (Woodford County HS), led the Panthers in three-pointers made with 68 while averaging 9.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 28.4 minutes in starting 19 of 28 games played.

Wilson, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior forward from Spanish Town, Jamaica (Jonathan Grant HS), came off the bench to lead KWC in free shooting at 81.8 percent. He averaged 9.5 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 56.9 percent from the field.

Lee added, ""It is a tremendous honor for Andree, Jay and Chris to be voted on by the group. One of the best aspects of being a coach is to watch student-athletes like Chris and Jay, who came in as freshman, change, grow and mature into men.

"Overall, all returners came back in great shape and are focused on having a great year."

Bellarmine to Host "Morning Madness"

Announcement from Bellarmine:

On Thursday, Oct. 15, basketball fans are invited to roll out of bed early and get their first look at the No. 1 ranked Bellarmine men’s basketball team as Coach Scott Davenport leads them in the first official practice of the 2009-10 season at 6 a.m.

The practice session in Knights Hall, which is being dubbed as “morning madness,” is open to the public and is scheduled to last for one hour.

ABA's Kentucky Bisons Preparing to Tour China


The Kentucky Bisons will play 3 exhibition games in China against the Beijing Aoshen Olympian October 20-29. The Bisons are the defending 08-09 ABA Champs.


The 2009-2010 Bisons Roster:

Mike James-Florida International
Jamie Jackson-Bellarmine
Kenny Jones-Ky. State
Lamar Owen-Southern Ill.
Brandon Stockton-U of K, Mr. Basketball
Jamar Avant-Ky. Weslyan
DJ Washington-Ky. State
Robbie Simpson-Cheaney U.
Chad Eichelberger-St. Andrew
Chartral Hall-Bellarmine
Olijeda Hay-UT Martin

Head Coach: Otis Key; Austin Peay, Lincoln University, Harlem Globetrotters

Assistant Coaches:

Quentin Hollis; Howard University
Kalin Holland; Western Kentucky University

The Bisons are owned and managed by Jay Sills. Sills was a starting forward for the 1995 Boys High School State Champs-Breckinridge County Tigers.

For more info:

Louisville's Smith, Jennings Facing Additional Charges

Louisville basketball players Jerry Smith and Terrence Jennings are facing additional charges stemming from their recent arrests in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Police have asked prosecutors to charges both players with resisting law enforcement, battery and disorderly conduct.

Jennings released an apology through his attorney, Larry Wilder:

"I want to first apologize to the police and to the organizers of the event, Jennings said in a statement released by attorney Larry Wilder. "I was minding my own business and unfortunately, was provoked by another person that I was unfamiliar with. That's where this all started."

Complete Article from ESPN.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Introducing AllKYHoops4Kids: Basketball for a Reason


I have been blessed to play the game of basketball for 24 years now. The sport has given me memories and relationships that I will always hold on to and most importantly, it sent me down a path in life that kept me in school, out of trouble and motivated to succeed.

I started AllKYHoops.com in February of this year out of the passion I have for the game of basketball. I had two goals in mind when I posted my first ever blog:

- To promote all levels of basketball in the state of Kentucky to the best of my ability
- To use the game of basketball as a tool to help people

In approximately 8 months, my site has exploded in ways that I never imagined and it continues to grow each day. I have talked to basketball personalities all around the world and have made some great friends since the introduction of my site. In reality, promoting the sport I love in our state has been nothing short of a dream-come-true.

Introducing AllKYHoops4Kids:

Now, I feel it is time to use the game of basketball to give back. After a long and challenging decision-making process, I have decided that my resources can best be used to help the state’s brightest stars – kids. Today, I am introducing AllKYHoops4Kids, a community service effort that will help kids in Kentucky by reaching out through the game of basketball.

I will be extending the arm of service out to coaches, players, staff and fans around the state. Together, we will use basketball to change lives. Our motto will be: “Basketball for a reason.”

We will find children in Kentucky that could use something special in their lives and we will give those children nothing short of the best. We will use the game we all love to do something incredible for Kentucky’s kids.

How can you be involved?

There are many ways that you and/or your organization can be involved in these projects. I don’t want to label the specific things you can do. Let’s be creative. There are already 4 college teams and 2 high school teams in our state that have volunteered to help.

There will be fundraisers and other donation opportunities that I will announce, but there are many other ways to be involved. I will announce each project and we will work together to make it happen!

When will we start?

Right now! The first project is underway, already. I will have more details very soon, but I have discovered a little angel in Central Kentucky that can use our help.

She is only 8 years old and has been battling a fast-moving form of bone cancer. She has undergone an 8-hour surgery in which a part of the bone in her arm was totally removed and replaced with one of the small bones from her leg. In addition, she has received several blood transfusions and 9 months of chemo treatments.

One thing this little girl loves – Kentucky Wildcats basketball. We are going to send this little girl to Lexington for a full day of UK basketball, capped off with an exciting home game at Rupp Arena. With a little help, we can give this young lady a special day to remember.

I will have more details soon, but contact me if you and/or your organization would like to help or if you have questions. I will make sure it is worthwhile for those that help. If you would like to make an online donation, use the ChipIn widget to the left and make a Paypal or credit card donation (100% of all donations go to the project). Our goal for this first project will be $2,000.

Doron Lamb Names Kentucky in Top Three

Oak Hill (Va.) guard Doron Lamb will take his second official visit this weekend to Kansas for “Late Night in the Phog.”

He previously visited Oklahoma for his first official the same weekend Harrison Barnes was there.

After the Kansas visit, Lamb says he plans to visit either Kentucky or UConn the weekend of Oct. 23.

Oak Hill coach Steve Smith had previously told me Lamb would visit Kentucky that weekend.

“I don’t even know yet,” Doron said Tuesday night. “Kentucky or UConn next week.”

Asked if he had a leader at this point, the 6-4 Lamb said: “It’s a three-way tie out of Kentucky, Kansas and Oklahoma.”

Complete Article from ZagsBlog.com

Bellarmine Hires Carl White as Assistant

Carl White will join the Bellarmine men's basketball coaching staff as a part-time assistant coach.

White will be “a great asset on the court as well as in recruiting,'' said head coach Scott Davenport.

“I'm thrilled to be a part of a university with the academic standards of Bellarmine and to be part of a basketball program that has really turned a corner,” said White, who'd been assistant head coach and junior-varsity coach at Eastern High School since 2005.

Davenport's previous assistant, Mark Bugg, left because of conflicts with his full-time job.

Source: Courier-Journal.com

Billy Gillispie DOES Know How to Sign His Name


Well sort of...is that chicken scratch acceptable in court?
(Yes folks, this is just a joke. No reason to overreact)

Pikeville Elementary Kids Go "Reading With the Bears"


Message from Pikeville College head coach Kelly Wells:

Pikeville College Bears did their 1st installment of “Reading with the Bears” at Pikeville Elementary School last night. The program is to encourage reading and learning in our youth. This also gives our student-athletes an opportunity to give back to our community and schools. Reading is such an important part of learning and developing so we take great pride in helping in this developmental skill. All the elementary schools kids read stories along with our players and also had the opportunity to take their Accelerated Reader tests in conjunction with the stories.

(Picture is of Coach Wells and his daughter Kaylee during Reading program in conjunction with Accelerated Reading)

UK to Gillispie: Let's Settle This One...

DeWayne Peevy, UK's Assistant AD and Director of Media Relations, has announced on Twitter that the University of Kentucky and former head coach Billy Gillispie have reached a settlement agreement to end all litigation between the two. It is being reported by the Courier-Journal that UK has agreed to pay Gillispie approximately $2.98 million.

Here is Peevy's post on Twitter:

UKMediaNews: "UK and Billy Gillispie Execute Settlement Agreement and Resolve All Litigation."

My Thoughts: I think this is the most positive solution for all parties. Now, Gillispie can focus on regaining control of his life and UK can focus on moving forward.

Details Released in Arrest of Louisville Players


WLKY.com has released the Jeffersonville Police Department report containing the details of the arrests of two Louisville basketball players.

According to the report, police responded to a disturbance at the bar inside of Kye's. Upon arrival, police discovered Terrence Jennings "shoving and pushing people around him."

Police state that they tried to calm Jennings down, but had no success. The report goes on to state:

"Officers continued yelling at Mr.Jennings to place his hands behind his back and stop fighting, Mr. Jennings continued to fight with officers; trying to get back to his feet and refusing to place his hands behind his back. Officer Mitchell then retrieved his tazer from his duty belt and drive-stunned Mr. Jennings on the right side of his lower back. Officer Mitchell told Mr. Jennings to stop fighting and to place his hands behind his back. Mr. Jennings again continued to fight and tried to get to his feet. Officer Mitchell again drive-stunned Mr. Jennings on the right side of his lower back; at this time Mr. Jennings complied and placed his hands behind his back where he was handcuffed by Harrison County Corrections S.W.A.T. Officer Nathan Banet; who was also working security, and was taken outside."

Apparently, according to the report, Jerry Smith insisted on trying to help Jennings, which eventually landed him in jail, as well.

2010 Guard Doron Lamb to Visit Kentucky Oct. 23

Adam Zagoria from ZagsBlog.com is reporting via Twitter that 2010 guard Doron Lamb will visit Kentucky on Friday, October 23. Add Image

Lamb is a 6-4 guard from Oak Hill Academy. He is ranked #21 on the Rivals150 List for 2010. He has offers on the table from Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Here are Zagoria's "tweets" from earlier regarding Lamb:

AdamZagoria: Doron Lamb will visit Kentucky 10/23 according to Oak Hill coach Steve Smith

AdamZagoria: Doron Lamb will visit Kansas this weekend for "Late Night in the Phog" and will then visit Kentucky, Arizona or UConn the following weekend

Windstream Introduces John Calipari Website

Windstream has introduced a new site called 1-0n-1 with Coach Calipari.

It is nice-looking site that includes several interesting features including a Q&A with the UK head coach, opportunities to win prizes and personalized "pep talks" from Coach Cal that you can send your friends. There are also some great wallpapers available for download.

2010 Forward J.J. Moore to Visit Louisville This Weekend

Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier-Journal is reporting that 2010 forward J.J. Moore plans to make an official visit to Louisville this weekend. Moore is a 6-6, 3-star forward that is described by Rivals.com as an "athletic swing man."

Moore ranks #107 on the Rivals150 List for 2010 and is also considering Florida, Pittsburgh and St. John's. In addition, he has picked up offers from UConn, Marquette, Providence and Rutgers.

NKU to Introduce Teams at Halloween Hoopla

Press Release from NKU:

Northern Kentucky University will host "Halloween Hoopla" on Oct. 28 in The Bank of Kentucky Center, beginning at 6 p.m.

All NKU teams will be at the event helping with games and trick-or-treating. Kids and adults alike are encouraged to attend in their best Halloween costumes. Jumping Jack's Inflatables will be set up for the kids, while free food and drink will be provided courtesy of Gold Star Chili and Pepsi.

This will also be the public’s first opportunity to see the 2009-10 editions of the NKU men’s and women’s basketball teams in intra-squad scrimmages. There will also be slam dunk and 3-point shooting contests.

For information, call (859) 572-7665.

Pikeville College Basketball Blast Off Tonight


PIKEVILLE COLLEGE
BASKETBALL BLAST OFF
Tuesday @ 8:30, November 13th
Pikeville College Gym

Monday, October 12, 2009

Great Night for Ex-Morehead State Eagles in the UK


Two former Morehead State Eagles are playing well in the United Kingdom.

Chez Marks scored 8 consecutive points to start the fourth quarter and blast his Cheshire Jets to a 97-72 victory over the Airwaves Plymouth Raiders. Marks finished the game with 23 points and has played well in helping Cheshire to a 3-2 start in BBL action.

Chad McKnight (pictured), who not only plays, but also coaches the Guildford Heat is also off to a nice start on the court. McKnight scored 16 points in Guildford's 85-79 loss to the Everton Tigers. The loss dropped Guildford to 2-1 in the BBL.

Other International Action:

- Ex-Western Kentucky point guard Orlando Mendez-Valdez had 8 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists to hep Halcones UV Xalapa improve to 10-0 on the season. Halcones defeated Angeles De Puebla 89-87.

- Former Louisville Cardinal Jason Osborne scored 18 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead La Union Formosa to a 79-70 win over Centro Juventud Sionista De Parana in Argentina's top-level LigaA

Source: EuroBasket.com

Kentucky Wesleyan Head Coach Todd Lee Talks Basketball


I talked to Kentucky Wesleyan head coach Todd Lee recently about his coaching career, his team and the competitiveness of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Lee is entering his fifth season as the Panthers' head coach. In the past two seasons, he has put together a 43-17 record and made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA DII Tournament.

Here is my interview with head coach Todd Lee:

Coach, you are a native of South Dakota and you have spent several years in California. Tell me a little about your background and your path to Kentucky Wesleyan.

There were two reasons that I was interested in coming to Kentucky Wesleyan from UC Irvine. One of them was the ability to compete at the national level of Division 2 and coming to a program that is considered the premier program at this level. The other reason is, even though I spent most of my career in Southern California, my wife is from Evansville, born and raised, all of my family is from the Midwest. We have three boys, all young that now have the opportunity to grow up around my family and my wife’s family. Owensboro is a great place to raise a family and we really enjoy it here. My wife and I got married in Evansville and we won the National Championship in Louisville in 1997 when I was an assistant at California State University Bakersfield.

You have had the unique experience of coaching at both the professional and amateur levels of basketball. Describe some of the differences between being on the coaching staff of the Cleveland Cavaliers as opposed to the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers.

Coaching for two years in the CBA was an unbelievable experience. The head coach was Eric Musselman and I was the assistant coach. We became friends while I was coaching at the University of San Diego, where he played previously. Eric and I are the same age, at that time we were both in our late twenties. The CBA at that time was the official developmental league of the NBA. There were a lot of great coaches in the league then, Flip Saunders, Henry Bibby, Bill Musselman, Rick Barry just to name a few. It is different then the NBDL now in that we could have 90% of our roster be veterans and Eric knew that is what would win. We were coaching players that had a lot of NBA experience and we won a lot of games, which always makes it fun. We had the best record in the league both years, competed in the playoffs, Eric and I got to coach the All-Star game two years in a row.

We played 56 games per year plus exhibition and the playoff games, so it was similar to getting a PHD in basketball. It is so different coaching at that level with NBA players and the collegiate level. I learned a lot from the players, there were a number of them that were older than me, they had families, I was young and learning. The professional game is more about matchups and taking advantage of those. You talk more about situations and have more options in the pro game because the players can retain more and adjust on the fly.

Eric let me do all the scouts, I lived 24 hours a day with our editing system. I was young and did not even think about that 56 games was a lot to scout and prepare for. I gained a lot of confidence during those two years. I had a lot of veterans come up to me and tell me that we were better prepared than a lot of NBA teams they had played for and that I was better at presenting and preparing our team then where they had played in the NBA. These were veterans, who knew I was young and that made me feel good about my ability.

I was also able to take a professional team over to China and it was the first pro team to go over there. We played five games and won all five. Back then it was a big deal and that was my first head coaching experience. There are a lot of great stories that came from that two years in the CBA and living in the Hilton Hotel in Rapid City, SD.

I find the adversity you faced and how you battled through it in 2008-09 to be an inspirational story. You started the season with a full complement of players and by January, you were down to eight players and a walk-on from the football team. You still managed to finish 19-9 and made a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

How did you manage to lose so many players during the course of the season? At the point when you were down to only eight players, how did you refocus and get your kids to buy into the idea that the team is down, but definitely not out? Finally, tell me the feelings you have for last season’s team in looking back on what they were able to accomplish against such monumental odds?

Last season was really difficult with all the adversity that we faced with injuries. It was also very difficult for me personally because of my father passing away in February. That was something you cannot prepare for emotionally and especially in the middle of the season.

The last six weeks of the season we played with seven scholarship players and we picked up a player from the football team. I have never been through that many injuries in a year and a couple of them were season ending. I was really proud of the group getting back to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row. The only two teams in the GLVC to go the past two years are us and Northern Kentucky. We had a great group of young men that kept battling and we stuck together through all of the injuries and adversity. Playing seven players after a few games, will wear on the players. We were worn down at the end of the year but we went into every game prepared and believing we were going to win, if the seven players did what they were supposed to do.

The last two seasons we have had our full compliment of scholarships after having a reduction my first two years by the NCAA. We have made it to the NCAA tournament and been a top 20 program the past two years while on NCAA probation. That is a great accomplishment by our players and staff. We are no longer on probation after we received the official letter from the NCAA this summer. I am proud of what we have accomplished with the penalties we have had to deal with. We feel like we should compete every year here at the national level, with us off probation and having our scholarships back, we can do that

Coach, what do you have coming back this season? What kind of recruiting class do you have coming in? Give me a few names of players that you think will have nice seasons in 2009-10.

We have six players back this year and all of them came back to campus in tremendous shape. Desmond Stephens was our starting point guard last season but he broke his hand, so he redshirted. He will have an impact on our team with his quickness and toughness. All of our returners have improved both physically and with their skills. We added seven recruits, so we have a lot of new players. We feel good about our recruiting class but they have to understand how difficult the GLVC is and how many good players and coaches there are in the league.

Based on the personnel you have on the roster, what can we expect to see offensively and defensively from Kentucky Wesleyan this season? What do you see as your team’s biggest challenge (weakness) heading into the season?

Our biggest challenge this year is mixing in our new players with our returners. The six returning players understand how difficult the GLVC is and also what it takes to compete for a championship in our league and to play in the NCAA’s. We had a tough loss in our league tournament and the NCAA Tournament and our returners are using that to motivate themselves for the upcoming season. The new players need to understand how hard they need to play and compete. We play three games in the Disney Tip Off Classic against three quality teams and then we come home and travel to University of South Carolina, University of Evansville and Purdue University in a five day stretch. After those six games we will have a very good evaluation of our weaknesses and some of our strengths.

Obviously, it’s no secret that you are going to have some stiff competition in your league this season. Bellarmine is pre-season #1 according to The Sporting News and Northern Kentucky can always be counted on to provide stiff competition. Of course, Southern Indiana is typically a strong team. What are you expecting out of the Great Lakes Valley Conference this season?

The GLVC split the league into three divisions for the next two seasons. In our division there are five teams, four of which made it to the NCAA Tournament last season. The GLVC is the best Division 2 conference in the country. I really felt like we deserved to get six teams in the NCAA’s last season. In our division we have Indianapolis, Northern Kentucky, Bellarmine and Southern Indiana. Stan is doing a great job at Indy and they will be very good this year. The other three will be as good as any teams in the country. You could finish fourth in our division of the conference and be a top 20 team nationally.

Talk a little about your conference foes from Kentucky. Bellarmine appears to be loaded this season and like I said, Northern Kentucky always has a solid program. What do you know about those two squads heading into the season?

Scott Davenport has done a tremendous job at Bellarmine and they deserve to be considered one of the best teams in the country if not the best. He has built that program up every year since he arrived and it seems that their administration is making a great effort to be very good not just in basketball but all sports and that is what you need to compete at the national level. Dave Bezold has Northern Kentucky competing at the top of Division 2 every year and their kids play so hard. They do a great job of adding talent every year to a returning group and they play as a team every year. They have the most talented big man in our league, David Palmer, the transfer from Iowa. Now they have an arena that is better then most Division 1 arenas.

Kentucky’s DII schools often slide under the radar of the fan-bases surrounding the Louisville and Kentucky programs, but there is some pretty good basketball at smaller schools in our state. What would you say to fans that have failed to notice DII, DIII and NAIA basketball in Kentucky if you were trying to convince them to check it out?

I have had the opportunity to coach at a lot of different levels including two different Division 1 schools and two different Division 2 schools. If you have a team that can compete for a national championship at our level and the GLVC has a good number every year, then you are as good as a lot of low to mid major schools at Division 1. There is a lot of great basketball being played in Kentucky not only at the Division 1 level but also at the Division 2 level and the NAIA level. After coaching at so many different places the one thing that stands out is there are tremendous players and coaches all over the country and a lot of them most people are not familiar with or have never heard of.

Coach, it has been great talking to you. I look forward to covering your program this season and I wish you the best of luck. Any other comments you would like to add?

There have been so many great players and great coaches that are associated with this program. One of the most difficult things that we have had to do here is to follow a great coach, Ray Harper. His accomplishments here will never be duplicated at the Division 2 or Division 1 level. There is so much pride associated with Kentucky Wesleyan here in Owensboro and even across the country, it is great to have the opportunity to coach at this institution.

UK Recruit Josh Selby Will Attend Kansas Madness

Excerpt of article from TheShiver.com:

The #8 ranked player in the ESPNU 100, Josh Selby, will make his way to Lawrence, Kansas this Friday for ‘Late Night in the Phog.’

The visit to Kansas will be an unofficial visit as Selby plans on taking either the ACT or SAT in the coming weeks. Once Selby has taken one of the tests he can, then, make official visits to schools.

Selby re-opened his recruitment in July after decommitting from Tennessee, where he originally committed in September of 2008. After hosting a number of schools this September for in-home visits, Selby and his mother, Maeshon Witherspoon, narrowed the list of schools on September 27th to six schools, Baylor, Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Miami and Indiana.

Complete Article from TheShiver.com

Gary Parrish Names Kentucky as Program on the Rise

Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com lists five college basketball programs that are "on the rise." The Kentucky Wildcats make the list after making a head coaching change from Billy Gillispie to John Calipari. Another former Kentucky coach, Tubby Smith, also makes the list with his Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Here is an excerpt:

Kentucky

Why it's here: UK pushed Billy Gillispie out in March, hired John Calipari a few days later, and the Wildcats have been rolling ever since. Calipari convinced Patrick Patterson to return to school, enrolled six Class of 2009 prospects -- including five-star recruits John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins -- and rejuvenated the Wildcats' large and wacky fan base. Simply put, he took an NIT roster and reshaped it into a roster capable of winning a national title this season. There aren't many men who could accomplish such a feat.

Minnesota

Why it's here: I was skeptical when Minnesota tossed a life line to Tubby Smith and pulled him out of Kentucky, if only because I didn't believe a man who was struggling to recruit at UK would be successful recruiting at Minnesota. Clearly, I was wrong. Smith secured two Top 35 prospects from the Class of 2009 who should help Minnesota make the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season, this after making the NCAA tournament just once in the previous nine years.

Complete Article from CBSSports.com

Louisville's Jerry Smith Named Top 50 Shooter in NCAA


Jeff Goodman at FoxSports.com has made a list of the top 50 shooters in college basketball. He names former Kentucky recruit Rotnei Clark as the best shooter with Xavier's Brad Redford and Vanderbilt's John Jenkins next. Gordon Hayward of Butler and Ryan Wittman of Cornell round out the top 5.

Jerry Smith of Louisville makes the list at #29:

29. Jerry Smith, 6-2, 190, SG, Sr., Louisville: He connected on 54-of-131 (41 percent) last season, made 38 percent as a sophomore and was 55-of-115 (.478) his freshman year.

"What makes him such a terrific shooter is the fact that if you get up on him too close, he can put it on the floor and get into the lane. He can do other things, and that's what makes him so effective at shooting the ball." — Louisville coach Rick Pitino

Complete Article from FoxSports.com

U of L Recruit Jesse Morgan Commits to Seton Hall

Jesse “The Takeover” Morgan has verbally committed to Seton Hall.

The 6-foot-4, 180-pound combo guard from Philly committed after a weekend visit to campus.

“I committed about 45 minutes ago,” Morgan said by phone Monday afternoon. “I’m just happy to be a Pirate.”

He added: “I can come in and contribute as a freshman and get quality minutes. It’s not too far from home so my family can come up and see me play.”

Morgan joins 6-5 Paterson Catholic wing Fuquan Edwin in Seton Hall’s recruiting class for 2010.
South Kent (Conn.) coach Kelvin Jefferson said Morgan was “as under-recruited as anybody in the country.”

“He’s a great perimeter player that can shoot it, slash and get to the rim,” Jefferson said. “He can be moved over to the point guard. He can really guard and he plays with a lot of confidence. He plays wit a lot of confidence and a lot of swagger.

“He plays within himself. He’s got a good chance to be a real good player at a high level.”

Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez and assistant Dermon Player began recruiting Morgan during the summer and watched him in the Reebok All-American Camp All-Star game.

Morgan recently picked up offers from Louisville coach Rick Pitino and Rutgers coach Fred Hill.

He had said his top five were Seton Hall, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers and UMass and was planning a visit to Louisville next weekend.

“All of the visits are off,” Jefferson said.

Added Morgan: “I’m real happy. They [Seton Hall] should be pretty good this year. When I go in, hopefully we can be a lot better.”

Article from ZagsBlog.com

Mid-South Teams Earning Respect in NAIA Preview

Several Mid-South Conference teams and players in our state have earned pre-season recognition in Basketball Times' NAIA preview. Basketball Times ranks The Cumberlands at #10 in their pre-season Top 10. Here are some excerpts from the article:

10. The Cumberlands: The Cumberlands stepped into new territory last year, racking up a 27-7 record, winning the Mid-South Conference Tournament and reaching the Sweet 16 of the NAIA Tournament. Though only one starter returns, don't expect coach Don Butcher's squad to suffer. Butcher is surrounding 6-2 Chad Byron (11.9 ppg) with a ton of talent.

Five transfers supply instant firepower, led by 6-5 Andrew Prestley, who averaged 10.9 point and 5.3 rebounds a game for Grambling Sstate, and Brandon Russ, who put up 12.8 points and 4.6 rebounds a contest at Indiana State last season.

Possible Breakthroughs:

Campbellsville (10-19), Georgetown (27-5), Pikeville (20-12), Mid-Continent (15-15)*

* Mid-Continent competes in the TranSouth Athletic Conference

All-America First Team:

Nestor Colmenares, Campbellsville (Ky.)

All-America Honorable Mention:

Justin Hicks, Pikeville (Ky.)
Eric McPherson, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
Vic Moses, Georgetown (Ky.)
Joshua Samarco, Pikeville (Ky.)

Iroquois Star Donovan Gibbs Commits to IUPUI

Article from Jody Demling:

Iroquois High School standout Donovan Gibbs has committed to play basketball at IUPUI.

The 6-foot-7 Gibbs, who averaged 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds as a junior for the Raiders, picked IUPUI over Eastern Kentucky and Evansville.

"It was a perfect fit for me," Gibbs said. "The style of play that have and the past couple of years their leading scorers have been at my position. I like how they run the offense."

And that have three seniors that play my position. So they needed somebody to come in."

One of the top seniors in the state, Gibbs is considered the top prospect in the Sixth Region. He said he's happy to finally have a decision.

Gibbs will sign next month.

"I am glad it's over," he said. "A lot of people are always asking me where I am going and it didn't bother me but now that I know it's a relief."

Article from Courier-Journal.com

Rajon Rondo Pre-Season Dunk on the Nets

Former Kentucky Wildcat point guard Rajon Rondo takes a pass in the lane and flushes it in NBA pre-season action against the New Jersey Nets (just click the play button):

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ex-Cat Gerald Fitch Opens Spanish Season With 22


Former Kentucky shooting guard Gerald Fitch was the game's leading scorer in Fuenlabrada's regular season-opening 74-71 victory over Unicaja Malaga. Fitch was 8-18 from the field, including 5-11 from the three-point range. He also added 5 rebounds and 2 assists in the victory.

Fitch competes in Spain's top-level ACB league.

- Fitch's Kentucky teammate, Cliff Hawkins, scored only 3 points but pulled down 9 rebounds and totalled 5 steals in Trefl Sopot's 59-54 victory over Energa Czarni Slupsk in Poland's top-level PLK league.

Source: EuroBasket.com

2010 PG Kyrie Irving Still Plans to Attend Madness

Article from ZagsBlog.com:

Kyrie Irving has now completed two official visits and still plans to take the five he initially
planned.

After a weekend official to Texas A&M in which the Aggies lost to Oklahoma State 36-31 in football, Irving texted me Sunday to say, “It was good. I really enjoyed it.”

The 6-foot-2 Irving, a senior point guard at Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick, said he still planned to visit Kentucky next weekend for Big Blue Madness.
“Yes,” he said.

He will be reportedly be joined on that visit by a Who’s Who of recruits including Tobias Harris, Marquis Teague, Michael Gilchrist and Achraf Yacoubou.

After Kentucky are planned visits to Georgia Tech (Oct. 23) and Seton Hall (Oct. 30).

Complete Article from ZagsBlog.com

NOTE: A reader pointed out that Teague's name is still listed in this article. I assume that ZagsBlog.com either did not know that Teague backed out of Madness or forgot to remove his name. Either way, unless something changes, Teague will NOT be at BBM.

Calipari Discovers Kentuckian's Other Passion...Politics


Kentucky head coach John Calipari sent a Kentucky basketball jersey to United States President Barack Obama recently. In doing so, he accidentally discovered that Kentuckians are passionate about something other than UK basketball. He stumbled into the world of "Kentucky politics."

As a result of his gesture to President Obama, Calipari has learned that not everyone in Kentucky supports Obama. Now, Calipari has had to defend himself in sending the jersey by saying that it was not any indication of his political beliefs. Here is an article from Kfvs12.com:

University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari has learned that fans are passionate about more than just Wildcats basketball.

Calipari incurred the wrath of some fans after word got out that he sent a Kentucky jersey to President Barack Obama. Calipari responded with a statement on his Web site and a comment at Louisville news conference last week.

Calipari, preparing for his first season in Lexington after coaching at Memphis, said politics had nothing to do with the gesture. Instead, the coach said, fans need to "cool out."

Calipari said he's simply trying to help the state and wasn't a statement about his political beliefs.

Louisville Basketball Players Arrested

WAVE 3 has confirmed University of Louisville basketball stars Terrence Jennings and Jerry Smith were arrested Saturday night and booked into the Clark County Jail.

Sources tell WAVE the two men were at a function Kye's in Jeffersonville, when a fight broke out. Both Jennings and Smith were charged with resisting arrest.

UofL head basketball coach Rick Pitino released a statement saying they were aware of the matter and would deal with it internally.

Source: WAVE3.com

Jodie Meeks Reaches Double Figures Again in Win

Former Kentucky Wildcat sharpshooter Jodie Meeks scored 10 points for the second consecutive game in the Milwaukee Bucks' 98-86 victory over Chicago. Meeks was 3-8 from the field and 4-4 from the free throw line in 24 minutes of action.

Related News:

- Ex-Louisville Cardinal big man Earl Clark scored 10 points, but was only 4-16 from the field in the Suns' 104-101 loss to Golden State. Clark also pulled down 6 rebounds.

- Ex-Kentucky Wildcat Kelenna Azuibuike scored 8 points for Golden State.

- Former UK guard Ramel Bradley scored 7 points and dished out 7 assists in Dijon's 86-82 victory over Le Havre in a French ProA game.

- Ex-Murray State standout Cuthbert Victor scored 13 points in Vive Menorca's 89-62 win over La Palma in Spain's ACB league

- Also in ACB action, Jason Robinson from Pikeville College led Melilla with 16 points in a 66-63 win over CB Tarragona.

- Ex-Louisville reserve Alhaji Mohammed had 18 points and 8 rebounds to lead Limoges to a 79-64 win over Maurienne in France's ProB league.

- Former Murray State Racer Pop Thornton led Sayago with 23 points and 8 rebounds as they defeated Aguada 95-89 in Uruguay.

- Big Elgrace Wilborn (Western Kentucky) dominated wtih 15 points and 16 rebounds as Atenas defeated Olimpia 93-79 in Uruguay.

Source: EuroBasket.com

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