Saturday, October 31, 2009

UK/U of L Weekly Recruiting Update: My Guest Column

Check out my weekly guest column on StraightPinkie.com

It is a weekly recruiting update for Kentucky and Louisville basketball, including the latest on a possible commitment that is coming soon.

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Ky. Wesleyan Rebounds With Impressive Victory

Kentucky Wesleyan 71
Western Washington 58

2009 Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic

Game Recap from California Collegiate Athletic Association:

Senior guard Desmond Stephens scored a game-high 13 points, collected five assists and three steals as Kentucky Wesleyan defeated Western Washington 71-58 during Day 2 of the 2009 Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center on Saturday.

Joining Stephens in double figures for the Panthers (1-1) were Shawn Rouse, who chipped in 12 points and five rebounds, while Chris Williams and Travis Owsley contributed 11 points apiece.

Senior center Dave Vanderjagt scored 12 and senior forward Michael Duty contributed 11 to lead the Vikings (1-1).

Kentucky Wesleyan led the entire game as it built a 10-point halftime lead at 32-22 and led by as many as 17 points in the second half.

The Panthers held all the statistical categories as they out-rebounded the Vikings, 40-32, and forced 19 turnovers. Kentucky Wesleyan shot 39.7 percent from the field while Western Washington converted 38.9 percent of its field goal attempts.

Kentucky Wesleyan was never seriously threatened in the contest as it maintained a double-digit through most the game. Western Washington twice cut the deficit to nine points in the second half, but was never able to mount a comeback.

The Disney Classic concludes on Sunday with San Francisco State and Western Washington playing at 4 p.m. and Kentucky Wesleyan taking on Grand Canyon at 6:30 p.m.

Game Recap and Box Score

2010 PG Russell Smith May Commit to Louisville

ZagsBlog.com is reporting that reclassified 2010 PG Russell Smith is leaning towards committing to Louisville during his visit on November 15. Here is an excerpt from ZagsBlog.com:

Russell Smith said he is leaning toward committing to Louisville when he and his father, Russell Smith, Sr., visit Nov. 15.

“The chances are likely,” the 6-2, 165-pound Smith said Saturday. “It’s a big program, big coach. I wouldn’t doubt that.”

Smith also holds offers from Houston, Baylor and Arizona and his father said they may visit Houston Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Smith was originally a 2009 player, but he reclassified to the 2010 Class.

2009 KBA Preseason High School Basketball Showcase


The matchups have been announced for the 2009 KBA Preseason High School Basketball Showcase:

Location: Rupp Arena
Date: Friday, November 27, 2009

8:45 am Clay Mills Baptist v Trinity Christian
10:00 am Bluegrass United v Bracken County
11:15 am Buckhorn v Carroll County
12:30 pm Barbourville v Pendleton County
1:45 pm Marion County v Lincoln County (Girls)
3:00 pm Kentucky Girls Middle School State Final
4:15 pm Whitley County v East Jessamine
5:30pm Larue County v Southwestern
6:45 pm Lexington Christian v South Laurel
8:00 pm Oldham County v Henderson County
9:15 pm Clay County v McCreary Central

What Happens When Bloggers Have the Inability to be Objective? Things Like This 2009-10 SEC Preview


Here is an interesting 2009-10 SEC Preview from a site titled: SEC Hoops: The Good. The Bad. The Dirty. (this one must be The Bad.):

SEC EAST

1. Tennessee – 24-4, 13-3
2. Vanderbilt – 22-6, 12-4
t3. Kentucky – 21-9, 10-6
t3. Florida – 20-10, 10-6
5. South Carolina – 16-12, 7-9
6. Georgia – 10-19, 3-13

SEC WEST

1. Mississippi State – 24-6, 12-4
2. Ole Miss – 18-10, 8-8
3. Alabama – 18-12, 7-9
4. Arkansas – 15-16, 6-10
5. LSU – 13-14, 4-12
6. Auburn – 13-18, 3-13

SEC Player of the Year: Jarvis Varnardo, Mississippi State
SEC Freshman of the Year: John Wall, Kentucky

All-SEC First Team

Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State) Patrick Patterson (Kentucky) Tyler Smith (Tennessee) A.J. Ogilvy (Vanderbilt) Chris Warren (Ole Miss)

All-SEC Second-Team

Michael Washington (Arkansas) Rotnei Clarke (Arkansas) Tasmin Mitchell (LSU) Wayne Chism (Tennessee) Alex Tyus (Florida)

Here is the summary of Kentucky:

KENTUCKY


Last Year: 22-14, 8-8 (Nationally: #52 )
Postseason: NIT Quarterfinals
Returning : 56.95% of scoring (11th), 75.76% of rebounding (6th)

Kentucky loses offensive juggernaut Jodie Meeks, and despite what the talking heads say, they will suffer because of it. The Blue bring in one of the greatest recruiting classes of all time, but none of those players are known for explosive offensive potential. The entire offense can’t rest on the shoulders of the frontcourt, much less only All-SEC star Patrick Patterson. This team will struggle at times offensively and is far too imbalanced to warrant their sky-high expectations. An NCAA Tournament bid is probable, a Final Four run is not.

Prediction : (21-9, 10-6), NCAA Tournament

Friday, October 30, 2009

Washing Dishes for Kids Tomorrow Morning at Shoney's


I will be washing dishes during the early morning shift at the Shoney's Restaurant in Danville tomorrow. I am working for free and the owner of the restaurant is going to pay my "earnings" to AllKYHoops4Kids to help send a young cancer victim to a University of Kentucky basketball game.

I want no credit for this, because it is all about the little girl and the kid's project for me. I do encourage anyone in the area to stop by between 7 a.m. and noon tomorrow to say hello and to support the restaurant owner for his kind gesture.

HINT: There may be a "special" gift pertaining to UK basketball for one lucky person that stops by the Shoney's for a meal and asks for Anthony the volunteer worker.

Also, if you cannot make it to Danville, please support this project through Paypal by utilizing the "ChipIn" widget on the left side of the site.

Lindsey Wilson Prepares for 2009-10 Season


I spoke with Lindsey Wilson head coach Paul Peck this afternoon about his team and how they are looking this preseason. Peck said the Blue Raiders defeated Cumberland University in a scrimmage last weekend despite playing without several key players.

Lindsey Wilson is still trying to overcome injuries to Andrija Tintor and Stefan Juzbasic, two key post players. Peck is expecting to have both players back before next weekend's Homecoming Classic.

Speaking of the Homecoming Classic, the Blue Raiders will be competing against Robert's Wesleyan and Michigan-Dearborn in the event. This will be the last Homecoming Classic as next year the Homecoming festivities will be moving to the football season with the beginning of the school's football program.

Peck said the team will be adding Cornell Thomas, a 6'8" transfer from Johnson C. Smith University when he becomes eligible at the end of the first semester (Dec. 11). Thomas is one of the better post players on the team and will be a big addition down low.

Lindsey Wilson has a scrimmage tomorrow (Saturday) with Union College.

Peck sounded relieved that it is only a scrimmage when he stated, "We will have a scrimmage with Union College this Saturday, but I really don’t know what to expect since we will be without three of our post players. Thank goodness it is only a scrimmage."

Peck added, "Freshman Darren Ballou and Kalen Kimberland, both local Adair County High products have played very well in our practices and our first scrimmage."

Kentucky Wesleyan Suffers Loss in First Game

San Francisco State 78
Kentucky Wesleyan 53

Disney West Coach Tip-Off Classic

Recap from California Collegiate Athletic Association:

Freshman guard Nefi Perdomo scored 16 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists to lead San Francisco State to a season-opening 78-53 victory over Kentucky Wesleyan Friday at the Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Perdomo was one of four Gators (1-0) to score double figures as Derek Fletcher and Marquel Hoskins scored 11 points apiece and Phoenix O'Rourke chipped in 10 points.

Maurico Stinson led Kentucky Wesleyan (0-1) with 12 points and Willie Richardson added 11.

San Francisco State was in control from the outset as it built a seven-point lead five minutes into the contest and extended the lead to 17 points with 4:05 remaining in the first when O'Rourke hit a 3-pointer to give the Gators a 37-20 lead.

Displaying an impressive inside game, San Francisco State used a 21-12 rebounding advantage in 11 3-pointers to take a 40-25 halftime lead.

O’Rourke led a balanced scoring attack with seven points first-half points. The Gators had seven different players scored in the first half.

San Francisco State continued its impressive play in the second half and took a 75-43 lead - its biggest advantage of the game - with 4:23 remaining.

The hot-shooting Gators connected on 58.7 percent (27 of 46) of its field goal attempts, including 62.5 percent (10 of 16) from behind the 3-point arc, while limiting the Panthers to just 30.5 percent (18 of 59) from the floor.

The Disney Classic continues on Saturday when San Francisco State plays Grand Canyon at 2:30 p.m. Kentucky Wesleyan and Western Washington will get play started with a noon contest.

Jodie Meeks Placed on Inactive List for First NBA Game

Former Kentucky Wildcat Jodie Meeks was placed on the inactive list for tonight's game against the Philadelphia 76ers. This was scheduled to be Meeks' first career NBA game.

Here is the official announcement from the Bucks:

The Bucks' inactives for the opener were: Joe Alexander (right hamstring strain), Francisco Elson (coach's decision) and rookie Jodie Meeks (coach's decision).

John Wall Cleared to Play by NCAA


Kentucky freshman point guard John Wall has been cleared to play by the NCAA.

He will miss the Campbellsville game, which is an exhibition game, and the Morehead State game to start the regular season. He must also repay $787.58 of expenses.

I was told yesterday that the news would be coming soon, but didn't expect it this soon.

Great news for Kentucky and John Wall!

DeWayne Peevy posted on Twitter that the money will be paid to a charity of Wall's choice. Here is the message:

UKMediaNews Wall has to repay the expenses to a charity of choice. His choice is the Hope Center to assist with Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless.

Kentucky Wesleyan Opens Season in California Tonight


Kentucky Wesleyan vs. San Francisco State

When: Tonight @ 8:00 p.m. EST
Location: Anaheim, California

It will take a few more games, and several more weeks, before it comes into focus as to what kind of men's basketball team Kentucky Wesleyan College will be this season.

But the learning process begins today when the Panthers tip off the first matchup of three games in three days at the Disney West Tipoff Classic in Anaheim, Cali. The Panthers meet San Francisco State today, Western Washington on Saturday and Grand Canyon on Sunday.

"When you first schedule these, you're thinking this will be great for our team, but once it gets closer to the competition, you're thinking about winning, and you know you're not close to ready yet," KWC coach Todd Lee said. "In the long run it will be good for us. The trip is a great idea for the kids. It's a nice event."

In the short term, KWC will be a team learning on the go. After these three games, it will have three exhibition games against Division I opponents.

The Panthers play at South Carolina on Nov. 5, at Evansville on Nov. 7, then go to Purdue on Nov. 9.

"Then we'll have eight days to come back, evaluate things, break down what we've put in," Lee said. "We haven't had time to do fundamental stuff."

The Panthers have put in the basic motion and some offensive sets through 14 practices. There will be much more to do, though, during the eight-day break before the second start of the "regular season."

They are coming off a 19-9 season, which earned them a trip to the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional.

Who Will Jesco White Go After Now that Payne's a Spartan?


When 2010 big man Adreian Payne announced his commitment to the Michigan State Spartans yesterday, it had to be disappointing for the other three schools on Payne's final list. Arizona probably had the lowest percentage chance of landing Payne, but both Kentucky and West Virginia seemed to be right there until the end. Of the two, West Virginia is likely feeling the most pain (no pun intended) after losing the #20 player on the Rivals150 List to the Spartans.

Where will the Mountaineers and head coach Bob Huggins go from here?

The safe bet is that they will circle the wagons and put an all-out recruiting assault on 2010 power forward Tobias Harris. Harris, a 6-8 powerhouse that is ranked #5 overall by Rivals.com, is also being recruited hard by Kentucky. In addition, he has offers from the likes of Georgia Tech, Louisville, Maryland, Syracuse and Tennessee.

The word out of Morgantown is that the Mountaineers are desperate for a good low-post threat in 2010. With the loss of Payne, Huggins will surely do everything within his power to land Harris. This will be an exciting few weeks leading up to Harris' scheduled announcement in mid-November.

If Huggins can land Harris, the Dancing Outlaw will rejoice:

2010 Forward Tobias Harris to Visit Louisville Sunday


Tobias Harris, a 6-8 forward from New York, will be visiting the University of Louisville this weekend. Harris, who is also being heavily recruited by Kentucky, is the top-rated power forward and #5 overall player in the 2010 Class according to Rivals.com.

He has an impressive list of offers that includes Kentucky, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Syracuse, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Here is an excellent article today that includes several videos of Harris from Dustin Rumbaugh at Kentucky Sports Radio.

No Mental Evaluation for Karen Sypher in Pitino Case

Excerpt of Article from Yahoo Sports:

U.S. District Judge Charles Simpson ruled this week that there was no “reasonable cause” to question Karen Cunagin Sypher’s competency. Prosecutors had noted in asking for the exam that Sypher’s former attorney was concerned about her mental state.

“Sypher’s current counsel has not indicated any difficulty in communicating with his client or securing her cooperation in matters relating to her defense,” Simpson wrote in the ruling Tuesday.

Complete Article

Ex-Cat Winston Bennett Eyes Season at Mid-Continent


Mid-Continent University, coached by former University of Kentucky star Winston Bennett (26-37 in two seasons at MCU; 70-80 in five seasons as college head coach), begins the 2009-10 season at the Mayfield High School Sports Arena, Tuesday, November 3, at 7:00 p.m., against Missouri Baptist University from St. Louis. MCU (15-15, 10-6 TSAC) is picked by the TSAC coaches in its pre-season poll to finish fourth in the conference race this season, and Missouri Baptist (12-18, 8-8 AMC) was picked to finish fifth in the American Midwest Conference.

The Cougars return five starters plus its top seven reserves from a team that set school records with 15 wins and 10 TranSouth victories, a fourth-place conference finish that was MCU's highest ever. Last season, MCU demonstrated an ability to keep games close, MCU won eight of 13 decided by five points or fewer and six of eight decided by three or fewer points, and posted a 12-8 record in contests decided by 10 or fewer points.

EKU's Halloween Hoopfest is Successful


Alumni Coliseum was filled with ghosts and goblins Thursday night as more than 1,000 people visited McBrayer Arena for the festivities surrounding Eastern Kentucky University’s seventh annual Halloween Hoopfest. The event, free to the public, gave Colonel fans their first glimpses of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. In addition, all ages were entertained with Halloween activities throughout the concourse level.

Each team participated in a 10-minute intra-squad scrimmage while slam dunk and three-point competitions were also held.

Junior Nadia Mossong and senior Robin Mestdagh paired to win the three-point shooting competition. Meanwhile in the slam dunk contest, newcomer Spencer Perrin edged out 2008 champion Justin Stommes in a dunk-off to claim that title.

The men open their home schedule with on Saturday, Nov. 14 against West Virginia Wesleyan at 8 pm. The women’s first home game is Saturday, Nov. 21, against Florida Atlantic. Tip time is set for 2 p.m.

Article: EKUSports.com

Murray State Offers Sensational Saturdays to Fans


Excerpt of press release from Murray State:

Murray State Basketball announces Sensational Saturdays, a great way for you to get tickets without purchasing the entire season.

This season the Racers have seven Saturday games at the Regional Special Events Center and we want you to be part of the fun!

In the Sensational Saturday plan; you get one reserved bleacher ticket for only $35, which is $21 off the regular price! A family of four is $140.

MSU Basketball's Sensational Saturday ticket plan is a great gift idea and it features some of the Racers' biggest games of the season including, the Nov. 14 opener against Missouri-St. Louis, plus Morehead State, Chattanooga, Tennessee Tech, Austin Peay and the BracketBusters game. The Thanksgiving weekend game with Tennessee Wesleyan is also included.

Inventory is limited, so order your Sensational Saturday package today!

The RSEC ticket office will take your order in person or call (270) 809-3000

UK Blue/White Game: Breaking Down Individual Play

1 Darius Miller

Key Stats: 7-13 FG 0-2 3FG 5 REB 5 TO 14 TP
Scrimmage Grade: B
Analysis: Played very smooth; looked comfortable; Nice all-around game; Needs to limit turnovers and knock down some outside jumpers

3 Darnell Dodson

Key Stats: 9-19 FG 4-11 3FG 7 REB 4 TO 4 STL 26 TP
Scrimmage Grade: A
Analysis: Game's leading scorer; Started cold by missing first several shots, then heated up; At one point, he scored 8 consecutive points, including consecutive 3-pointers; Excellent performance to help relieve stress about the team's outside shooting questions

4 Jon Hood

Key Stats: 6-21 FG 2-7 3FG 5 REB 14 TP
Scrimmage Grade: C
Analysis: Played much better in the second half; He is a very confident player who is not afraid to shoot at all; Shot was off in this game, but I see Jon's ability to create his shot and to get to the basket - two traits of a good Division I offensive player

5 Ramon Harris

Key Stats: 4-7 FG 4-5 3FG 7 REB 12 TP
Scrimmage Grade: A-
Analysis: I was pleasantly surprised to see Harris play with so much confidence; He displayed a solid long range jumper that he has not shown thus far in his UK career; He was consistent off-the-ball and played excellent man-to-man defense; Harris wins with heart and good, smart and hard play

11 John Wall

Key Stats: 12-23 FG 0-3 3FG 7 REB 11 AST 4 TO 4 STL 25 TP
Scrimmage Grade: A-
Analysis: Wall may be the most explosive player to wear the Wildcat uniform; He is as quick as any player I've ever witnessed and he is very confident for a freshman point guard; He demonstrates outstanding leadership, great court vision and supreme talent; He did not show an outside shot, but he has so many weapons that it may not matter

12 Mark Krebs

Key Stats: 2-3 FG 1-2 3FP 2 REB 5 TP
Scrimmage Grade: B-
Analysis: Krebs is a solid role player; He isn't the most talented or athletic player on the team, but he can give the team minutes without hurting the team; He is the type of player that every winning team needs; He showed a good-looking jump shot

15 DeMarcus Cousins

Key Stats: 7-12 FG 0-1 3FG 9 REB 16 TP
Scrimmage Grade: B
Analysis: He appears to play non chalantly, almost to the point that he looks lazy on the court at times, but I get the feeling that looks are very deceiving with DeMarcus; He has the ability to be dominant in the paint; Already has a college-ready body; He plays above the rim and will be a big-time factor in altering shots and making it difficult on opposing players; He's not afraid to mix it up down low

21 Perry Stevenson

Key Stats: 1-6 FG 0-3 3FG 3 REB 2 AST 2 TP
Scrimmage Grade: D
Analysis: Perry did not make it on my notes sheet, which is a sign that he didn't stand out; He was only 1-6 from the field and didn't appear very comfortable in adjusting to the new style of play; He has potential, but may struggle early in the season

24 Eric Bledsoe

Key Stats: 6-20 FG 1-4 3FG 5 REB 9 AST 14 TP
Scrimmage Grade: B
Analysis: Eric forced a few shots that were bad decisions, but he will cut those out of his game; He showed great court vision and was really into the flow of the game; He is explosive, strong and fast; He and Wall are easily the most athletic backcourt in the SEC, if not the nation in terms of speed and jumping ability

33 Daniel Orton

Key Stats: 6-9 FG 1-1 3FG 8 REB 3 BLK 14 TP
Scrimmage Grade: A-
Analysis: Orton is another very pleasant surprise; The big man can play; He was all around the rim, following up misses and swatting shots; He will be a major factor down low this season

34 DeAndre Liggins

Key Stats: 0-2 FG 4 REB 4 AST 5 TO 5 STL 8 FOULS 0 TP
Scrimmage Grade: D
Analysis: Let's face it, DeAndre had a disappointing performance; The word from practice is that he is much improved, but he had a bad game in this one; He did have 4 assists and 5 steals, but that was offset with 5 turnovers, 0 points and 8 personal fouls (not a misprint); He has the athletic ability to play this style, however, and I expect a much better performance the next time DeAndre hits the court

54 Patrick Patterson

Key Stats: 11-15 FG 2-4 3FG 8 REB 24 TP
Scrimmage Grade: A
Analysis: Patrick was...Patrick; He was outstanding in all facets of the game and demonstrated left-handed ball-handling skills, the ability to drive to the basket and a nice-looking long range jumpshot; Patrick should be All-SEC and will have a great opportunity at All-America this season

55 Josh Harrellson

Key Stats: 6-14 FG 1-2 3FG 14 REB 13 TP
Scrimmage Grade: B+
Analysis: He would have had a solid "A" if he played as well in the second half as he did in the first; He had a double-double in the first half with 10 points and 10 rebounds; 14 rebounds was a game high; Perhaps the best pure outside shooter on the team, along with Dodson

Transylvania Picked to Win HCAC

Transylvania University has been voted as the frontrunner in the 2009-10 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball championship race. The Pioneers, who earned the conference title last winter, received four first place votes in the Coaches Preseason Poll. They garnered 70 points overall in the poll holding off Defiance who finished with 59 points and two first place votes.

Anderson University has been forecasted as the third place team by receiving 56 points and the final three first place votes in the poll. Hanover College's 52 points placed the Pioneers fourth and was followed by Franklin College (48 pts) in fifth position. Manchester College (43), Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (34), Bluffton University (26), and the College of Mount St. Joseph (17) round out the poll.

Players to Watch:

Tim Tierney (Sr., G, 5-11, Ft. Wright, Ky./Covington Catholic), Blake McCowan (Sr., F, 6-5, W. Liberty, Ky./Morgan Co.), Matthew Parton (Sr., G, 5-10, Knoxville, Tenn./Knox. Catholic), Chris Owens (So., G, 6-3, Maysville, Ky./St. Patrick)

Complete Release from Transylvania

Basketball Times Ranks Bellarmine #1; Hobbs Honored

The Bellarmine University men’s basketball team has been ranked preseason number one in the country again. This time Basketball Times tabs Bellarmine to be atop of the NCAA Div. II. This is the second poll that has ranked the Knights No. 1, Sporting News had Bellarmine at the top spot earlier this month.

Basketball Times picked BYU-Hawaii as No. 2, followed by Central Missouri, Valdosta State, and Bentley. Indiana (Pa.) checks in at No. 6 while Grand Valley State, Humboldt Sate, Cal Poly Pomona, and St. Cloud State round out the top-10. Findlay, last year’s national champion, who beat Bellarmine in OT, is ranked No. 11.

Two future Bellarmine opponents also made the top 20. Tusculum, which will visit Knights Hall on Dec. 21, checks in at No. 13, and GLVC rival Northern Kentucky occupies the No. 17 spot.

The magazine also honors Bellarmine sophomore Braydon Hobbs in its list of Top 25 All America players. Also included on the list is fellow GLVC player Aaron Hill from Rockhurst. Hobbs, who was named to the D-II All-Freshman Team last year, will be a key contributor for the Knights this year. The Knights return four starters and nine of their top 10 scorers from a team that won a school record 26 games last season.

The Knights tip of their season next Wednesday with an exhibition game against the University of Louisville at Freedom Hall.

Source: Bellarmine.edu

Asbury College Changes Homecoming Schedule

Update from Asbury College:

Due to the potential rain Asbury Athletics have shuffled the schedule for Homecoming Weekend. Men's Soccer will now play on Friday October 30th at 4:00 pm against Campbellsville instead of Saturday night. Volleyball will still have their Senior Night at 7:00 pm Friday night against Mountain State. Women's Soccer will stay at 12:30 pm on Saturday with a potential chance to be moved to the evening depending on the weather. Mid-day Madness for the men's and women's basketball teams will take place at 3:00 pm in the Luce Center.

For up to the minute updates check Asbury's Athletic site at www.asburyeagles.com or follow Asbury Eagles on Twitter at www.twitter.com/asburyeagles.

Spalding University Voted 4th in SLIAC Coaches' Poll

Spalding University will join the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, or SLIAC, this season. The Golden Eagles are eligible for the regular season conference championship and SLIAC awards, but due to their NCAA provisional membership, they may not qualify for the Conference Tournament.

Spalding returns 5 of its 7 top scorers including leading scorer DeWhon McAfee who poured in 15.9 a game last season.

2009 SLIAC Men's Basketball Pre-Season Coaches' Poll

1. Westminster (3)
2. Fontbonne (3)
3. Webster (1)
4. Spalding
5. Greenville (1)
6. Eureka
7. MacMurray
8. Blackburn
9. Principia

Thomas More Preseason Favorite to Win PAC

Press Release from Thomas More:

The Thomas More College men's basketball team was picked to capture the 2009-2010 President's Athletic Conference (PAC) Championship, according to the preseason poll released today (Wednesday, October 28, 2009) following the 2009-2010 PAC Basketball Media Day conference call. Voters in the poll included conference head coaches, sports information directors and members of the media that participated inthe conference call. (Complete PAC Release in PDF)

Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) 2009-10 Preseason Men’s Basketball Poll

1. Thomas More (15) 147 19-9 10-2
2. Washington & Jefferson (4) 115 20-10 7-5
3. Bethany (3) 112 17-12 9-3
4. Grove City (1) 89 12-13 6-6
5. Westminster 88 10-17 7-5
6. Thiel 56 2-23 1-11
7. Waynesburg 37 6-19 2-10

(xx) - first place votes
Predicted record vs. PAC: Geneva - 8-8; Saint Vincent - 10-6

Thursday, October 29, 2009

EKU Picks Up Commitment From Taylor Filipek

Eastern Kentucky has earned a 2010 commitment from 6-6 small forward Taylor Filipek.

Filipek also had an offer from Samford according to Rivals.com.

The Richmond Register broke the news on Twitter:

"EKU receives verbal commitment from Taylor Filipek from Willmar HS in Minnesota. Filipek, a 6-6 guard, has played against Justin Stommes."

Related News:

- EKU will be without sophomore forward Jorge Camacho for at least the first semester and possibly more. Camacho is not enrolled at EKU and is therefore ineligible to compete with the team.

Camacho played in all 31 games last season and averaged 6.0 points per game.

UK States: No Practice at Freedom Hall

The University of Kentucky is now saying that the men's basketball team will not be holding a practice at Freedom Hall in Louisville on Sunday.

UK states: "In response to numerous reports, the UK men’s basketball team will not be conducting an open practice in Freedom Hall this Sunday."

Kentucky Blue/White Postgame Pictures





Kentucky Blue/White Game Pictures





Ex-Duke Guard J.J. Redick is a Rapper? No Really


I know this is a Kentucky basketball site, but I just cannot resist passing this article along. Former Duke shooting guard J.J. Redick has announced plans to release a rap album (Hat tip to StraightPinkie.com for this article):

Excerpt:

Orlando Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick will soon become the latest basketball player with his own unnamed rap group.

According to Redick, he’s part of a “rap super group” that will release a new single before the end of the year titled “Waste Management.”

“We’re working on a rap CD,” Redick revealed. “We actually haven’t come up with a name from the group, we’re throwing around some ideas right now.”


My Thoughts: Here's an idea for the group name: No Chance

DeCourcy on Louisville: "Ranked, and shouldn't be"

Mike DeCourcy of SportingNews.com has delivered some thought on the preseason AP basketball poll. He feels that Louisville should not be included in the rankings. Here are his comments on the Cardinals:

Ranked, and shouldn't be: No. 19 Louisville. Rick Pitino is one of the great basketball coaches of all time, but he didn't turn Edgar Sosa into a significant player in three prior years. Why should we believe that'll suddenly happen? The Cards not only lost their top two scorers and rebounders, NBA first-rounders Terrence Williams and Earl Clark, but also veteran point guard Andre McGee. If this doesn't become a tough transition year, Pitino's even better than I thought.

Complete Article from SportingNews.com

Payne-ful Day for Kentucky Fans

Adreian Payne, a 6-10 center that ranks #20 on the Rivals150 List for 2010, has given his verbal commitment to Michigan State according to Scout.com.

Payne will make the official announcement at 5:30 p.m. EST today on ESPNU.

Article from WHIOTV.com

Payne's quote: "It was a tough decision. I would like to thank my coach, my family, the Jefferson Township Schools and the Jefferson Township community."

OVC: Morehead State/Murray State Voted Co-Champions

Press Release from MSUEagles.com:

Morehead State men's basketball has been chosen as Ohio Valley Conference preseason co-champions and Eagle junior Kenneth Faried has been selected as the OVC Preseason Player of the Year the league announced in a media teleconference Thursday morning. MSU senior Maze Stallworth joined Faried as a preseason All-OVC selection.

It marks the first time since the 1983-84 season that MSU has been picked to finish first. Selected by head men’s basketball coaches and sports information directors, Morehead State and Murray State each received 10 first-place votes. Morehead State finished last season 12-6 in league play (fourth place) and won the OVC Tournament Championship. Murray State was tied for second overall last season with a 13-5 record and lost in the OVC Tournament semifinals.

“We are honored to be picked to finish first alongside Murray State, but it also means we won’t sneak up on anyone this year," MSU coach Donnie Tyndall said. "The reality is that regardless of where we are picked, we have to work hard and win basketball games to make these predictions come true."

Tyndall led the Eagles into the NCAA Tournament a season ago by capturing the OVC Tournament Championship by beating perennial power Austin Peay 67-65 in a thrilling, double-overtime game in Nashville. MSU advanced and picked up a victory in the Opening Round, the league’s first win in the NCAA Tournament in 20 years (1989). After topping Alabama State 58-43, the Eagles stayed in Dayton and face No. 1 overall seed Louisville in the next round.

"I think we have an excellent team and I want to congratulate Kenneth Faried and Maze Stallworth on earning preseason honors. Like all of the other deserving young men on the preseason team, they have worked hard in the offseason and will be a core part of our team this season," Tyndall said.

The Eagles lost just one key contributor from last year’s team (leading scorer Leon Buchanan) but do return a host of talented players including Faried and Stallworth. Faried notched the second-most double-doubles in the country last season (25) while finishing third nationally in rebounding (13.0/game). He was named OVC Tournament MVP after several big plays down the stretch of the title game, including a key alley-oop dunk and a big blocked shot. Stallworth appeared in 33 of MSU’s 36 games, starting 29 times and scoring a season-high 26 points and pulled down eight rebounds versus Drake. He topped the 20-point mark in six other games, including twice against Austin Peay. He scored 14 points on 4-of-8 three point shooting in the NCAA first round match up with Louisville.

MSU opens the preseason with an exhibition game against Cedarville Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. at Johnson arena. The Eagles open the regular season Nov. 13 at Kentucky at 6 p.m

Bisons Return from China and Other International News

The Kentucky Bisons went 1-2 on their China tour against Beijing Aoshen Olympia.

The first game on Friday, the Bisons dropped a close one 107-105. They had a decent look at a last second 3-pointer for the win, but the shot rimmed out.

The second game, played on Saturday, had a better outcome as the Bisons won 117-105. Kenny Jones led the way with 26 points.

The third and final game resulted in a 112-100 loss as the team was dealing with several key injuries and illnesses, including ankle sprains and food poisoning. The Bisons were lead by DJ Washington with 20 points and former Kentucky Wildcat Brandon Stockton with 19.

Other International News:

- Ex-Louisville guard Taquan Dean scored 19 points to lead Unicaja to an 86-68 victory over Olympiakos in Spanish ACB action

- A pair of ex-WKU players had nice performances in round 12 of Uruguay's LUB League. Elgrace Wilborn had 12 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks in an 84-80 loss to Bohemios. Wilborn's Atenas' team is now 9-1 on the season.

Pop Thornton had 30 points and 6 rebounds in Sayago's 86-80 victory over Union Atletica.

- Rick Hughes, a former Thomas More standout, put in 20 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in Leon's 67-64 win over Tenerife in Spain's LEB Gold league.

- Ex-Georgetown Tiger Brian Silverhorn will likely be moving on to a new team after discovering his new role as a reserve for Halifax. He has been a two-year starter for the team and will likely not return for a third season.

Another Good Source Says Payne to Michigan State

Dustin Rumbaugh from Kentucky Sports Radio has just heard from a very good source that Adreian Payne is likely to commit to Michigan State. Here is an excerpt from Rumbaugh's latest post:

"I’ve heard from a very good source that Adreian Payne will be announcing his commitment to Michigan State tonight...The source that I just spoke to is pretty on top of things, so for now it sounds like Payne will be a Spartan…"

Link to Rumbaugh's Article

AP Top 25 Poll Released

AP Top 25 Preseason Poll:

1 Kansas (55)
2 Michigan State (5)
3 Texas (1)
4 Kentucky (3)
5 Villanova
6 North Carolina (1)
7 Purdue
8 West Virginia
9 Duke
10 Tennessee
11 Butler 12 Connecticut 13 California 14 Washington 15 Michigan 16 Ohio State 17 Oklahoma 18 Mississippi State 19 Louisville 20 Georgetown 21 Dayton 22 Georgia Tech 23 Illinois 24 Clemson 25 Minnesota

* Western Kentucky earned 2 votes in the poll

Cardinals are "Dumbfounded" by UK's Practice Plans


If Kentucky head coach John Calipari was looking for a way to rekindle the flames in the Kentucky/Louisville basketball rivalry, he seems to have made a nice preemptive strike. The postgame interviews after Louisville's 80-68 exhibition victory over Georgetown College last night were highlighted with questions about Calipari's Wildcats and their intentions of holding a 2-hour practice Sunday night - in Louisville's Freedom Hall.

When the plans were mentioned to Cardinal players, most of them were shell-shocked.

Here are a few reactions given to Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal:

Samardo Samuels: "Coming in here to practice?"

Jerry Smith: "They're coming here to practice? They're not even playing (us) here this year. It's crazy. I don't understand the point. It's crazy"

Preston Knowles: "I'm dumbfounded by it. I really don't know why they would want to come down here and practice."

Edgar Sosa: "It's not going to faze us. The game is in Lexington. They could come in here and practice eight straight days. It's not going to help them. The game is in Lexington."

Bozich sums it up best with his closing statement:

"Yes, it is. At 3:30 p.m. Jan.2. But the rivalry is everywhere, every day, every moment."

Patterson, Wall, Samuels on Naismith List

Kentucky's Patrick Patterson and John Wall along with Louisville's Samardo Samuels will represent Kentucky basketball on the preseason Naismith Top 50 Watch List.

NAISMITH TROPHY 2009-10 PRESEASON WATCH LIST

Solomon Alabi, Florida State
Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
James Anderson, Oklahoma State
Luke Babbitt, Nevada
Talor Battle, Penn State
Trevor Booker, Clemson
Matt Bouldin, Gonzaga
Craig Brackins, Iowa State
Avery Bradley, Texas
Kenny Boynton, Florida
Da'Sean Butler, West Virginia
Patrick Christopher, California
Sherron Collins, Kansas
Ed Davis, North Carolina
Devan Downey, South Carolina
Jerome Dyson, UConn
Devin Ebanks, West Virginia
Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
Manny Harris, Michigan
Gordon Hayward, Butler
Lazar Hayward, Marquette
Xavier Henry, Kansas*
Robbie Hummel, Purdue
Damion James, Texas
Jerome Jordan, Tulsa*
Sylven Landesberg, Virginia
Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
Tasmin Mitchell, LSU
Greg Monroe, Georgetown
A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt*
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky
Jerome Randle, California
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
Samardo Samuels, Louisville
Larry Sanders, VCU
Kyle Singler, Duke
Tyler Smith, Tennessee
Isaiah Thomas, Washington*
Evan Turner, Ohio State
Edwin Ubiles, Siena
Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State*
Greivis Vasquez, Maryland
Kemba Walker, UConn
John Wall, Kentucky
Willie Warren, Oklahoma
Terrico White, Mississippi*
Nic Wise, Arizona*
Chris Wright, Dayton

Source: Jeff Goodman at FoxSports.com

The Latest on Kentucky Recruit Adreian Payne

After a morning of research and phone calls, here is the latest information on Adreian Payne:

Here is what we know for sure:

- He will announce his decision late this afternoon on ESPNU's Recruiting Insider Show

- His final list of schools is: Kentucky, West Virginia, Arizona and Michigan State

- Payne is a 6-10, 215-lb. center; he ranks #20 on the Rivals150 List for 2010

Here is what we are hearing/believing/speculating:

- Several sources now are indicating that he will commit to Michigan State; this ranges from several well-respected recruiting analysts to Joe Blows on Twitter

- A couple of other choices state that Payne's final decision came down to West Virginia and Michigan State

- It is believed that Arizona was unofficially eliminated several days ago

- I have not found anyone that believes Payne will end up at Kentucky

NCAA ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll Released

The first edition of the NCAA ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll has been released and the Kentucky Wildcats are ranked #5. Louisville makes the poll at #23

ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll

1. Kansas
2. Michigan State
3. Texas
4. North Carolina
5. Kentucky
6. Villanova
7. Purdue
8. Duke
9. West Virginia
10. Butler
11-25: Tennessee, California, Washington, Connecticut, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Dayton, Louisville, Clemson, Syracuse

Rankings from ESPN.com

Breaking: Adreian Payne to Michigan State?

A source that I consider pretty solid is saying that Adreian Payne will indeed announce his intentions to go to Michigan State today (Thursday).

Officially, Payne is down to four schools: West Virginia, Michigan State, Kentucky and Arizona.

It is late and I am still gathering details, but I hope to have something solid early.

Kentucky Blue/White Game Reaches New Heights


There is a new atmosphere surrounding the Kentucky basketball program as the Cats prepare for the 2009-10 season. It was evident the moment I stepped out of the Rupp Arena tunnel tonight. Even the Blue/White game, which is essentially a practice game with fans, had a feeling of importance. Tonight may have officially marked the awakening of arguably the NCAA's all-time greatest program.

Moments after the game tipped off, the reason for all the excitement became very apparent. From top-to-bottom, this may be the most talented, athletic Kentucky team in the past decade. If I were asked to say the first two words that come to mind when I think of tonight's game, my two words would be "speed" and "athleticism."

John Wall is good. He is historically good. Patrick Patterson looks to be in the best shape of his life and, believe it or not, he can shoot from outside and drive to the basket. Then, there's Darnell Dodson, who started slowly tonight before putting in a game-high 26 points, including 4 smooth-looking 3-pointers. Wall added 25 points, 7 rebounds, 11 assists and 4 steals. Patterson looked impressive in getting 24 points and 8 rebounds, and did I mention that he was 2-4 from long range?

Freshman big man DeMarcus Cousins scored 16 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. Darius Miller and Jon Hood each put in 14 points. It should be noted that Josh Harrellson put in a double-double in the first half of the scrimmage and finished with a game-high 14 rebounds.

The primary concern heading into the season has been outside shooting. Tonight, Kentucky was 16-45 from the 3-point line for 35.5%. If the bad shots are eliminated from the mix, the team actually looked very good from long range.

The score tonight was insignificant, the Blue team won 106-73, because players switched sides throughout. The obvious upgrade in overall talent, however, is very important. This team has the potential to be special.

Some Basketball Notes:

- The Blue team opened the game in a full court man-to-man defense; the defense did not last long and Calipari admitted after the game that the players "were worn out after about 3 minutes."

- The overall team speed is very impressive

- There were many deflections and tipped balls by defensive players; a visible result of the team's overall length and quickness

- A few players tried to do a little to much with the ball, which is pretty typical in an October scrimmage - especially one played in front of an excited crowd of 14,000+

Some Things You May Have Missed on Television:

- The attendance tonight was 14,060, a Blue/White Game record

- John Calipari had a whistle on the sidelines; several times throughout the game, he blew the whistle to stop play and setup a different situation or to do some coaching

- Several former Wildcats were recognized on the big screen's during timeouts; each time, the crowd erupted in support; Wayne Turner, Ron Mercer, Tony Delk and Scott Padgett were recognized; When former coach Joe B. Hall was pointed out, the fans erupted into a standing ovation

- There was an obvious bad call late in the second half and the majority of the arena rained down a course of boo's

- DeAndre Liggins had 8 fouls in the game, which led to several nonchalant jabs by the public address announcer; the crowd enjoyed the humor

- Someone sitting about 20 rows behind the media table screamed, "Shoot it Mark! Come on man!!!" Another fan unloaded on the refs after a so-so call; have to love "that guy" in every crowd

- Wall dunked on his own basket with about 13 seconds remaining in the game; he then took the ball on the other end and dunked on the wrong basket just before the final buzzer - don't recall ever seeing that before

Postgame Quotes:

John Calipari on John Wall off the court:


"Nothing, he's in pretty good shape."

"Wall has gone through the clearinghouse."

John Calipari on expectations:

"They don't have high expectations in Kentucky. They just like to win a game every now and then, don't they?"

John Calipari on whether or not Bledsoe and Wall can play together:

"I hope so."

"They played better together then when they were separated."

I'll have pictures and complete player breakdowns tomorrow
.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Georgetown Impressive in Exhibition Loss to Louisville


Louisville 80
Georgetown College 68

Exhibition

Georgetown College fought hard, even taking the lead into the halftime locker room, but came up a little short in their exhibition game against Louisville tonight. The Cardinals refocused at halftime and exploded in the second half to pick up the 80-68 victory tonight.

The Cardinals picked up 20 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks from big man Samardo Samuels in the victory. Kyle Kuric added 15 and Edgar Sosa chipped in with 12 for Louisville. Freshman point guard Peyton Siva dished out 8 assists and earned 6 steals, but he also finished with 7 turnovers in a bittersweet debut.

A balanced Tiger attack was led by Vincent Crutcher with 10 points. Eddie Gray and Vic Moses added 9 apiece.

Each team had similar statistics, but Louisville simply managed to put up and make more field goals to pull out the hard fought win.



Photo: Timothy D. Easley, AP

Leslee Smith to SMU

I was just texted by Smith's coach and the 2010 forward has committed to SMU. He chose SMU over Western Kentucky

More later...

Live Coverage of Kentucky Blue/White Game

It is approximately 10 minutes before tip-off of the 2009 UK Blue/White game. I am situated in the media area.

Rupp Arena is approximately 50% full at the moment...

- I'm lined up with some of my fellow bloggers - Danny Jett's Inner Circle, StraightPinkie, Rush the Court and Kentucky Sports Radio...

- Miller, Wall, Cousin, Bledsoe, Patterson on the Blue team

- Dodson, Hood, Stevenson, Orton, Liggins on the White team

- First observation: Patterson is in tremendous shape
- Blue team opens in a full court man-to-man press
- Cousins limping after landing awkwardly on a layup
- Patterson's first drive to the basket looked very impressive; missed shot, but great move
- Wall lobs to Cousins for a nice dunk
- 14:24 first half; timeout on the court; Blue 16 White 8
- Liggins appears much more comfortable on the court than he did last season
- This has been a sloppy segment of the game
- Mark Krebs with a nice-looking 3-pointer
- 11:37 first half; timeout on the court; Blue 16 White 13
- Dodson flips to the Blue team and drains a 3-pointer; Dodson with 5 in a row
- 8 consecutive points for Dodson
- Just showed Delk and Padgett on the big screens; loud ovation for both - great to see
- Ramon Harris just drained a 3-pointer
- 7:31 first half; timeout on the court; Blue 28 White 20
- An observation - Hood has a ton of confidence for a freshman
- Liggins has already "fouled out"; announcer got a joke in and the whole arena laughed
- Wayne Turner on the big screen; another loud pop from the crowd
- Nice alley-oop pass to Patterson for the dunk
- 3:11 first half; timeout on the court; Blue 37 White 23
- Not sure what the crowd was just saying, sounded like "B.J. Mesley! B.J. Mesley!"
- Again, the crowd with a weird chant; sounded like "Clarence Bones! Clarence Bones!"
- Patrick Patterson just drained a 3-pointer; good-looking jumper
- Patterson ends the half with a nice, turn-around jumper in the lane
- Halftime: Blue 49 White 27
- Harris drains a 3-pointer early in the 2nd half; that is three for him tonight
- Interesting note that you can't see on TV; Coach Calipari has a whistle and has used it
- A few first half stats: Harrellson was 5-12 for 10 points and 10 rebounds
- "What's your favorite color baby? Blue and White!" A little Mony Mony at Rupp...
- First Half: Hood was 3-12; Patterson had 15 points and 5 rebounds; Dodson 10 points (4-7)
- Liggins has more fouls than you'll ever see in a game
- Hood has heated up in the 2nd half; he looks much more confident
- 11:45 second half; Blue 20 White 18 (Note: rosters are changed significantly)
- Standing ovation for the one and only Joe B. Hall during the break
- Patterson with another 3-pointer; Hood drains another 3-pointer
- Announcer: "Foul is on Liggins That's the team's fifth."
- Liggins has 8 fouls
- Bad call by the ref - everyone in the arena boo's
- Someone 20 rows behind me just screamed, "Shoot it Krebs! Come on!!!"
- Patterson dunks on one end and brings the house down; huge roar
- Miller dunks on the other end to extend the buzz
- Attendance 14,060 - a new Blue/White game record
- Ron Mercer on the big screens; another loud cheer
- Very loud Blue - White cheer in the arena during the break
- 5:48 second half; Blue 37 White 28
- Nice lob dunk to Daniel Orton; huge roar in Rupp
- The level of athleticism on this team is big-time
- 4:00 second half; Blue 43 White 32
- Harrellson drains another 3-pointer; followed by Harris with another 3-pointer
- Believe it or not, there are a few in the crowd that are heckling the refs
- Another 3-pointer for Dodson; I thought this team couldn't shoot?
- A 3-pointer for Orton
- Wall with a huge reverse dunk; then a tomahawk ON THE WRONG END to end the game
- Wall shows great energy to the fans as the game ends
- 2nd Half Score: Blue 57 White 47

Preview: Georgetown College vs. Louisville


Louisville vs. Georgetown College

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 28

Time: 7:07 p.m. ET

Site: Crum Court / Freedom Hall (18,865), Louisville, Ky. (UofL 669-137 all-time in Freedom Hall)

TV: WHAS (Ch. 11 in Louisville) will televise the game with Drew Deener (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (analyst)

Radio: WKRD (790 AM, 101.7 FM) with Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Doug Ormay (analyst)

SIRIUS: Game not available on SIRIUS radio

Series History: U of L leads 54-19 all-time (39-7 in Louisville, 13-10 at Georgetown, 2-2 neutral)

Last Meeting: U of L 74, Georgetown 67 (Nov. 1, 2008 in Freedom Hall)

Satellite Coordinates: AMC 6, Transponder K08H, (KU digital; downlink frequency 11851
horizontal; data rate: 18.30Mb; symbol: 13.235)

Officials: James Breeding, Brent Hampton, Mike Roberts

Next U of L Game: Nov. 4 vs. Bellarmine, 7:07 p.m. ET (WHAS-TV/Cardinal TV network statewide)


My Thoughts: Make no mistake about it, the Georgetown Tigers will give maximum effort in this game. The Tigers are as talented as any team in NAIA Division I and they will have an opportunity to hang around with the Cardinals tonight. I expect the Cardinals to come out of the gate a little slow and creep out to an 8-10 point halftime lead. After regrouping, the Cardinals should pull away in the second half to get the exhibition victory.

Prediction: Louisville 81 Georgetown College 62

WKU or SMU? Leslee Smith Announcement Today

Leslee Smith, a talented forward from Christian Life High School (TX), is set to make his commitment official.

He was originally scheduled to announce on Sunday or Monday, but the announcement was pushed back to this morning. Now, I am told by a good source that Smith will make his college destination known after practice this afternoon. Practice ends at roughly 3:30 p.m. Central time today.

Smith has been deciding between Western Kentucky and SMU.

The NCAA Seeks to Clean Itself Up a Bit


The NCAA Division I board of directors will review a package tomorrow that has been designed to clean up the area of Division I basketball recruiting. Here is an excerpt from Dana O'Neil's article on ESPN.com:

The recruiting reform package has one aim -- to curb the payola in college basketball -- and already has received the endorsement of the conference commissioners and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

"There is a very strong feeling amongst our coaches that this money trail has got to be shut down," said NABC executive director Jim Haney. "We want to break down that perception that everyone has their hand out and is looking at colleges as a bank. I want to stress that it's not everyone who has their hand out, and certainly there are some among our coaching ranks more than willing to pay the money, but the overall feeling is it has to stop."

Among the meatier suggestions in the package:

• Eliminating so-called package deals, making it nearly impossible for a college program to hire any of the myriad of hangers-on associated with prospective student-athletes.
• Disallowing college coaches to subscribe to recruiting services run by people associated with prospects. This would curtail services offered by AAU programs (and others) that charge colleges to subscribe but sometimes offer little to no information on the prospect.
• Preventing payment to nonprofit organizations benefiting summer-club teams, prospects or people attached to prospects.
• Preventing coaches from hiring outsiders to work at their camps and clinics.

All are designed, in the words of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, to "bright line" what is legal and illegal in a portion of the black-and-white rulebook that has been smudged gray.

John Wall Will Play in Blue/White Scrimmage

Jerry Tipton reveals on his blog this morning that John Wall will be participating in the Blue/White game tonight. Here is a brief excerpt from Tipton's article:

"...NCAA spokesperson Cameron Schuh sent an e-mail this morning which indicates that Wall can play in Kentucky’s annual Blue-White scrimmage game Wednesday night."

Complete Article

Coach Kevin Keathley Talks New Job and Basketball


Kevin Keathley has spent 10 seasons as a coach on both the college and professional levels and has never had a losing season. In fact, he's finished each season with a comfortable amount of games over the .500 mark. Keathley has become known for his unique offense that ranks as one of the most exciting styles in professional basketball.

In the 2007-2008 season, East Kentucky averaged 111 points per game. The Miners scored a single-game record 194 points in the season finale. During the 2008-2009 CBA/ABA Inter-League Challenge, in which Keathley's team went 10-0, East Kentucky managed to defeat the West Virginia Wild 172-70, posting the largest margin of victory in CBA history and one of the most one-sided wins in the history of professional basketball.

Keathley has coached and produced some of the top players on this level of professional basketball. Outstanding players like Antwan Barbour, Jermaine Blackburn, and current NBA Player with the Cleveland Cavaliers Jamario Moon. He is recognized as one of the top recruiters in the country and each year his teams have outstanding talent (Source: KFDM.com) .

Here is my interview with Coach Kevin Keathley:

Coach Keathley, first let me thank you for taking the time to do an interview with me today. I know you’re gearing up for the season ahead and your time is limited.

I’m thankful to have the opportunity. I’ve followed this site for some time and you do a great job keeping basketball fans up-to-date with news and notes from all levels of basketball. From top to bottom, this is quickly becoming a great resource for not only fans of the game, but basketball coaches on all levels to follow.

Let’s start with the big news that you have accepted a new position with the ABA’s Southeast Texas Mavericks. Tell me a little about your new job and about the Mavericks.

I’m really excited to be involved with the Mavericks' organization. I had an NBA Developmental league opportunity available to me as well, but chose to go in this direction for this season. The Mavericks are a three-year franchise dating back to when they were the Rio Grande Silverados of the CBA. They have since moved from the Rio Grande area and have moved from the CBA to the ABA. In terms of pro basketball at this level, it’s as good as anything in the states today. They play at Ford Arena which is a 10,000 seat arena in Beaumont. The head coach is Steve Tucker, who I have worked with in the past on the collegiate level. He’s a veteran coach who I have a lot of respect for and feel comfortable working for after being head coach of my own programs for the last 5 years or so. My official title with the team is Associate Coach & Special Assistant to the Head Coach & G.M. A lot of exciting things are happening within the Mavericks' franchise. We have former IU coach Bob Knight coming in next month to help tip-off our season the night before as he will speak to our team and the fans. We just signed a couple of players that I’m really excited about, one of those players is Josh Pace who played for me in 2007-2008 with the Miners. He’s just coming off a championship overseas. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it!

You come to Southeast Texas after a successful run as head coach of the CBA’s East Kentucky Miners. Why the change?

We had two good years in Eastern Kentucky. We led the CBA in scoring both seasons, had a winning record and made the playoffs. We set several scoring records along the way. We produced a lot of good players as well-- Many of those players went on to get strong NBA looks or sign major contracts overseas. I thought as an organization, we did a lot of good things out in the community. I thought we kind of set the tone in terms of community involvement. Whether it was raising money for homeless shelters or speaking at the local schools, holding free basketball camps with Unite & YMCA. We spoke at the Kiwanis clubs, Rotary clubs, food drives and we were active in child abuse awareness. We did these things in Pikeville, Prestonsburg, Paintsville, Inez, Martin, Knott County, Hazard, Pineville and several other communities. That’s what I’m most proud of, the opportunity to come in and make a difference.

The change comes for me, with the CBA going "dark” for the season. A lot of people may not realize, but the CBA is the oldest professional league in America, even older than the NBA. But, because of the economic downturn in the economy and some other factors the league and its owners decided to close the door for a year. With that, I had to look at other options. My agent did a really good job of finding me jobs that appealed to me. Actually in late May, I accepted the position of Associate Coach at The University of Louisiana-Lafayette (The Ragin Cajuns) who compete in the Sunbelt Conference. After 3 weeks or so, I decided that I wanted to explore other options. I think Louisiana-Lafayette is a great school and I can’t say enough good things about Coach Robert Lee. He’s got a chance of doing really well this year.

Talk a little about the level of play in leagues such as the CBA and ABA. How would you describe this level of basketball for those that have never watched a game?

The CBA has a storied tradition of producing great players and coaches. Over 500 players in the last 25 years have gone on to play in the NBA. The CBA has also been a proving ground for some of the coaching greats. Coaches like Phil Jackson, Flip Saunders, George Karl, the Musselmans, and countless others-- Including a coach you recently interviewed, Todd Lee. I think Coach Lee would say the same thing. The CBA is the best league outside the NBA for players and coaches to hone their skills. It’s the next generation of NBA coaches and future NBA or top Euro league players.

The ABA has hit a couple of bumps in the road over the last two seasons. They have lost several franchises to other leagues and the top talent has been leaving for contracts overseas. I would say 2004-2005 was when the ABA was hitting on all cylinders. For example, when I was the Head Coach of the Kentucky Colonels, our starting line up included Anthony Epps, Antwain Barbour, Jamario Moon and Luke Whitehead. All those players went on to make a lot of money overseas or in Moons' case, he’s now with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This season is a great opportunity for the ABA to gain ground in the states again, with the CBA not playing and the overseas' market not paying what they have in the past. All those players will be looking to play somewhere. With no CBA and the D-League losing two franchises, the ABA will be the beneficiary of this. All these guys will be filling ABA rosters this year. You add that with the National TV deal the ABA has signed with Versus and it’s an opportunity for the ABA to establish itself as a competitor to the NBA-D League.

If you’ve never seen a game, I encourage basketball fans in Lexington and Owensboro to check out their local ABA teams. Lexington will have Kyle Macy as the coach and The Kentucky Bison are defending ABA champions. Those guys are currently on a tour of China. You won’t be disappointed at the product they put on the floor I promise you that.

Each time I hear news about Coach Keathley, it normally involves a mention of your teams’ explosive offense. East Kentucky averaged 111 points a game in 2007-08, so I’m assuming your teams get the ball up and down the court. How would you describe the offense that you try to implement?

We like to put pressure on the defense at all times and we want to do it with our transition break and then in our spacing game in the half court. It starts with the players we recruit. We want players who can play multiple positions, second we have a very good conditioning program that we put our players through. We implement the philosophy of looking to run our break on all misses or makes. In the half-court game, we work a variation of the DDM. We run a spacing game where we make strong attack moves looking to get shots 10-12 feet within the basket. We also want to create contact to have an opportunity to get to the free throw line.

Overall, I think players want the opportunity to showcase their talents and it makes for an empowering offense for players to be a part of.

Last season, East Kentucky defeated West Virginia 172-70, which is the largest margin of victory in CBA history. Give me some reflections on that game from the perspective of the winning coach.

It was a fun night, but we were just more talented than our opponents that night. It was a homecoming of sorts for a couple of players for WV--former Paintsville star JR Vanhoose and former Pikeville College point guard Will Holloman, who earned all MSC honors playing under Kelly Wells. I was happy to see those two players get a chance to play in front of the Eastern Kentucky fans again. The year prior, we set an all-time scoring record in pro basketball by scoring 194 points in a game against Atlanta. In 2005 as coach of the Kentucky Colonels, we set an ABA record with 165 points in a game. Former UK wildcat Antwain Barbour scored 40 in that game and current Cleveland Cavalier Jamario Moon had 20 points and 10 rebounds for me. I said in interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal at the time that I would probably never see that happen again. I was wrong, but I can honestly say, I don’t think I will ever be a part another 194-point night.

Before entering the world of professional basketball, you actually spent some time at both Lees College and Saint Catharine College. How would you compare and contrast coaching at the college level versus coaching professional athletes?

I think the biggest difference is the speed of the game and the talent on the pro level. You really look at matchups and taking advantage of your opponents’ weaknesses as it pertains to those matchups. The speed of the game really changes your coaching approach. At the end of the day, coaching college or pro has its “unpredictable” nature to it. What you may have thought was a priority to begin the day, usually ends up becoming a backburner issue. There’s something always changing the course of the day and taking you in a thousand different directions. I think that’s where having good assistants really helps. I have a ton of respect for coaches who work at Saint Catharine or a Mid South Conference program. There’s a lot of commitment that is involved. There are a lot of great coaches pacing the sidelines in the state of Kentucky, that’s for sure.

Are you a Kentucky native?

I grew up in Harold, Kentucky for most of my childhood. It’s a small town right outside Pikeville. The area is basketball crazy like most places in the Commonwealth. I used to dribble my basketball up and down the hollers of Harold pretending I was Travis Ford or Jamal Mashburn. I grew up listening to Cawood Ledford call the UK games and I can remember sitting in my dorm as a freshman in college watching Kentucky win the National Championship in 1996 and thinking it was the greatest thing ever. Little did I know, some years later, I would coach both Anthony Epps and Wayne Turner. Epps would help guide our team to a league championship in 2003 in my first year coaching on the pro level.

I understand that you are the author of a book about the game of basketball. Tell me about your book and where fans can find it.

The name of the book is Hardwood Constitution “A Blueprint to Coaching Success”. I decided to write the book to help all those who have a desire to get in to coaching. Specifically, young men or woman that aspires to coach on the collegiate level or beyond. It’s a quick and easy read. The book can be purchased at all major bookstores online. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ or http://www.amazon.com/ is probably the easiest way to find it.

Do you have a Twitter account or anything along those lines that you want to pass along to fans so they can follow you?

I do have a twitter account, its @coachkeathley… from the sidelines and beyond I’ll be updating throughout training camp and throughout the season.

Again I appreciate the time to visit with you, this is a heck of a site for anyone who wants the scoop on all things Kentucky Basketball.

Rajon Rondo's Agent: Talks Are Not Dead

Excerpt of article from ESPN.com:

Although contract talks between point guard Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics hit a snag recently, negotiations are not dead.

An extension could still be reached before Saturday's deadline, Rondo's agent, Bill Duffy, told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher on Tuesday.

Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Duffy met at Tuesday night's Celtics-Cavaliers game in Cleveland, and the team made a counterproposal that has rekindled negotiations.

Duffy told Yahoo! Sports on Monday that talks of an extension were dead after a message from the team indicated the Celtics' offer would not change. Rondo was prepared to test the market next summer as a restricted free agent.

But the two sides kept their scheduled face-to-face meeting in Cleveland, anyway. Terms of the counterproposal were not available, but it was enough to re-open dialogue, Duffy said.

Complete Article from ESPN.com

Former Wildcats Create UK Sports iPhone Apps


Former Kentucky Wildcat basketball players Josh Carrier, J.P. Blevins and Bobby Perry have joined forces with several others to create a powerful iPhone application for Kentucky football fans. In approximately three-four weeks, they will be releasing a similar iPhone app for Kentucky basketball.

I spoke to Carrier today about the venture and he is excited about the application's release. I asked him what inspired this project.

"The three of us love Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation of fans. We wanted the fans to have an all-access pass to Wildcat football and basketball at the touch of their hands. The applications are powerful tools that offer a wealth of information that is easily accessible on the iPhone," explained Carrier.

I have checked the football product out and I highly recommend it to all Kentucky fans.

Here is the company's official press release:

GameDayApps launches on ITunes, releases the first of several SEC Apps for Football and Basketball:

GameDayApps, a new company focused on building in depth, team specific sports apps for the Iphone, has received approval by Apple. GameDayApps has released its first App, Kentucky Football GameDay, on to Itunes and hopes to add Kentucky Basketball within the month.

The GameDayApp team is comprised of a diverse group of Sports enthusiasts. Four former basketball players from the University of Kentucky, a former baseball player from Wofford College, an IT expert from North Carolina, an Iphone Developer from UVA, and a former High School Basketball Coach raised in Lexington, KY came together with the idea this past fall and spent a year developing the software.

Each of these men brought a different aspect to the table as the first GameDayApp was launched with a specific focus on the Bluegrass state. Being that most of the development team had been raised as Kentucky fans, the natural jumping off point was Lexington. However, co-founder J.P. Bevins notes, ”As the GameDayApp brand gains momentum, expect more teams to follow quickly, both football and basketball.”

The idea sprung from the thought that narrow and deep best served the serious fan, considering several apps already provide stats and scores. The development team, as Kentucky fans, wanted to know more about the games than immediate stats.” We wanted to answer the questions most fans really ask as they watch the game. We believed that our group of friends, who have either played our coached sports their whole lives, had the right questions to provide answers to for the app,” commented Blevins.

GameDayApps uses the built-in features of the iPhone to a specific sports interest. It taps into "Maps" to give you immediate directions to the Stadium (Home or Away). It will give you up-to-date weather information and allow you to call the box office for tickets right from the app.

The App also brings you a Twitter based view of your team. Under our "Tweets" section, GamedayApps has created an account that follows current players, current coaches and ex-players of just one specific team. One can see the un-edited views of the players, coaches and alumni before, during, and after the game.

The app provides the roster, the Vegas Line, and all available TV information so you can find exactly who is doing what and where for the chosen favorite team.

GameDayApps includes all the links to the blogs, popular news links, and websites of note for your school. Local news stations and radio affiliates are also included. The App allows one to access local papers and beat writers, the opponent’s local papers, and the coach's websites for each team. A fan of the chosen team can see what their beat local news is saying about the opponent and what the opponents news outlets are saying about their team, all the way up to game time.

The app is to be available year round and updated on an annual basis to provide the owner with a continuing stream of information. GameDayApps can be reached at:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Recruitment of Grayson Co.'s Travis Johnston Heats Up


I spoke to a source close to Grayson County senior Travis Johnston this afternoon and picked up some information on how his recruitment is going.

Johnston, a 6'0" point guard, is coming off knee surgery this summer that caused him to miss the AAU season. He in now fully recovered and his recruiting interest is heating up.

Johnston has not picked up any offers at this time, but he has been visited by coaches from Jacksonville University and Kentucky Wesleyan. He has received recent interest from SMU and Army on the NCAA DI level and is also earning interest from Rockhurst University, Bellarmine, Pikeville and Campbellsville.

Johnston is a senior to keep an eye on this season.

Image Source: Louisville Courier-Journal

Contract Signed: Wildcats to Practice at Freedom Hall

Excerpt of an article from Courier-Journal.com:

The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team is scheduled to practice at Freedom Hall on Sunday, a workout that is expected to be open to fans.

UK signed a contract on Tuesday to rent Freedom Hall for a basketball practice from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday, said Harold Workman, president of the Kentucky State Fair Board.

NCAA rules prohibit UK from promoting the practice as open to the public.

UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy could neither confirm nor deny that UK had rented the building for a practice, nor that fans would be permitted to watch the workout.

Complete Article from the Courier Journal

My Thoughts: I'm sure Rick Pitino is ecstatic with this news. I mean, there's nothing like having your arch nemesis come into your house to practice. Point for Calipari. By the way, the general public may or may not be allowed into the practice.

C.J. Leslie to Attend Blue/White Game Tomorrow

Marc Maggard at TrueBlueKentucky.com just posted that 2010 forward C.J. Leslie will visit the Kentucky Blue/White game tomorrow night at Rupp Arena. Here is Maggard's comments on the visit:

Two big time UK recruits will be attending Wednesday's Blue/White scrimmage.

Sources close to Terrence Jones tell me that he arrives to Lexington tonight and people close to CJ Leslie told me that he will be in Lexington in time to attend the Blue White game as well.

This is tremendous news for Kentucky from a recruiting perspective.

Visit TrueBlueKentucky.com

Josh Selby Eliminates Baylor; Kentucky Still Involved

According to an article on TheShiver.com, Josh Selby has decided to eliminate his visit to Baylor and essentially end his interest in the Bears. Here is an excerpt:

“Baylor,” said Witherspoon about what school that wouldn’t receive a visit.”At this time, yes,” added Witherspoon about the Bears being eliminated from consideration.

The schools remaining on the list should receive visits from the 6′3″, 180 combo guard from Baltimore. Those schools are Kentucky, Syracuse, Miami, Indiana and, of course, Kansas, who already received a visit from Selby.

Complete Article from TheShiver.com

Richie Farmer for Governor of Kentucky?


It could happen... John Calipari's joke about "Ratchie" could go to a whole new level if the former Kentucky guard and Clay County hero enters the race for Governor. Here is an excerpt of an article from Kentucky.com discussing the possibility:

University of Kentucky basketball icon Richie Farmer said Tuesday he is considering a run for governor on the Republican ticket.

The shooting guard on the legendary 1992 UK team dubbed "The Unforgettables" said Tuesday he has been "in discussions" about a possible run.

"I'm looking at options and seeing what people are saying," Farmer said. "We may look at doing a poll a little later on."

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is the only major candidate who has entered the race so far. Beshear and his running mate, Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, have already begun fundraising.

Beshear chose Abramson as his running mate when Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo bowed out to run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Jim Bunning, who is retiring.

Pikeville College Bears Visit Elementary School


The Pikeville College Bears and head coach Kelly Wells continue to do an impressive job in representing the college. Today, they visited an elementary school as part of their Reading with the Bears program.

Pairings Set for 2009 "The Memorial Classic" at Ballard

The matchups and times have been set for The Memorial Classic tournament hosted by Ballard Memorial High School:

Friday, December 11th

4:30 Cairo, IL vs. Fulton City
6:00 Union County vs. Ballard Memorial
7:30 Fulton County vs. Campbell, GA

Saturday, December 12th

5:00 Ballard Memorial vs. Fulton County
6:30 Campbell, GA vs. Cairo, IL
8:00 Fulton City vs. Heath

Paintsville's Bill Mike Runyon to Run for Political Office


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:
Nathan Haney
Campaign Advisor
Coach Runyon for Representative
502-681-2610
Nhaney02@msn.com

LEGENDARY COACH SETS SIGHTS ON THE POLITICAL ARENA

Coach Bill Mike Runyon has filed a Letter of Intent seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for office of State Representative from Kentucky’s 97th District. Having achieved over 500 wins, 8 Regional Titles, a State Championship, and having coached two Kentucky Mr. Basketballs (John Pelphrey and JR Vanhoose), now Coach Runyon is setting his sights on a new type of arena – the political arena.

“My candidacy is not about me, it is about the future of eastern Kentucky, and Kentucky as a whole. I hope to help bring people together from all political parties and walks of life in order to promote common sense solutions based on a bedrock of strong principles.”

Coach Runyon’s campaign will be about the future, and how to tackle the problems that our people face. In the 97th District, covering Johnson, Martin, and parts of Floyd and Pike County there are many issues to be addressed. The full out assault on coal mining, the strangle hold the government has on our individual liberties, the problems with our state budget, and the need to move forward in education are just a few of the issues Coach Runyon plans to address in his campaign.

“I am planning a full-court press to get to Frankfort and work for my district and my state. With dedication to problem-solving, hard-work, and some new and fresh ideas, I just don’t see what could keep us from meeting our commitments and reaching our goals.”

Coach Bill Mike Runyon is a retired teacher. He coached basketball, baseball, and football as well as was Athletic Director for Paintsville High School. Coach Runyon currently serves the City Council of Paintsville, and won that office with more votes than any other candidate. Coach Runyon is a family man, married to Jayme Runyon a teacher and academic coach at Paintsville Independent Schools. Coach Runyon also has three children: Matt Runyon (an attorney), Allison Runyon (a PhD student at EKU) and Laura Runyon (a college student attending EKU).

“The out-pouring of support so far, in just the few days I have spoken with area leaders, friends and family about running for this office, has been amazing. I am energized and motivated to campaign hard in order to get to work for the folks of eastern Kentucky and our great state.”

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