Saturday, December 5, 2009

Source: 2011 Star Quincy Miller "Loves Kentucky"

I will have more details on this after his visit ends, but all preliminary indications are that 2011 forward Quincy Miller has enjoyed a great visit to Lexington.

A good source tells me, "He absolutely loves Kentucky and Rupp..."

Kentucky could not have provided a better atmosphere for a good first impression than today's game against North Carolina. It was a Rupp Arena record attendance figure and the crowd was really into the game throughout. Add in a good game between two top 10 teams and the top two programs in college basketball history and it just doesn't get any better.

Miller made this statement earlier today on Twitter:

qmillertime What about those Cats? Haha hanging with J.wall right now! He got off..thanx to Carolina! Kentucky! ;)

A full day's work for Mr. Wall - he seals the victory over UNC with free throws and he's working overtime to seal the future.

Quincy Miller is a 6-8 forward in the 2011 Class. He ranks #3 on the Rivals150 List and would be a huge addition for Kentucky.

Miller's Rivals.com Profile

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John Calipari Has One Million Reasons to Love Twitter

Kentucky Wildcats Basketball

Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari now has over 1,000,000 followers on the social networking site known as Twitter.

He has stated that he is planning something special to celebrate the accomplishment. If you are not already, you can follow Coach Calipari here.

Follow AllKYHoops.com on Twitter

Pelphrey Defeats Woods in Battle of Unforgettables

A pair of former Kentucky Wildcats that will forever be linked to one of UK's most famous teams coached against each other today as Arkansas hosted Mississippi Valley State. Arkansas is coached by John Pelphrey and the Delta Devils are under the direction of Sean Woods. The former Cats were teammates at Kentucky as members of "The Unforgettables."

Game recap from AP:

Arkansas used a balanced attack to snap a four-game losing streak Saturday, defeating Mississippi Valley State 91-54.

The Razorbacks (3-5) had lost consecutive home games to Morgan State, East Tennessee State and South Alabama, and a road game at Oklahoma before Saturday. But against the Delta Devils (1-7), Arkansas had little problems, shooting 51.6 percent from the floor while outrebounding Mississippi Valley State, 45-28.

Nine Razorback players scored, led by Jemal Farmer with 18 points. Stefan Welsh came off the bench to add 15.

Saturday's game pitted former college teammates John Pelphrey and Sean Woods against one another on the bench. Pelphrey and Woods were members of Kentucky's team tabbed as "The Unforgettables" and both have their jerseys retired in Rupp Arena.

Asbury Eagles Dismantle Warren Wilson

Asbury College 100
Warren Wilson 65

Final from Roland Wierwille Classic in Berea, Kentucky


Game Recap from Asbury:

Justin Jones (Hazard, Ky.) led four Eagles in double figures as Asbury rolled over the Owls of Warren Wilson College 100-65 in the Roland Wierwille Classic at Berea College. Jones notched career highs with 20 points and 16 rebounds.

Asbury (8-3) bounced back after a surprising loss to Temple Baptist on Friday night and jumped all over Warren Wilson from the get go Saturday, taking a 49-34 halftime lead. The Eagles shot much better from three point range, knocking down 15-of-41 from downtown. Brock Hurtle (North Vernon, Ind.) hit a career high six treys and finished with 20 points off the bench.

Leading scorer Phillip Morrison (Louisville, Ky.) finished with 18 points on seven-of-17 shooting, he also hit three threes. Cory Britt (Cynthiana, Ky.) scored 16 points and had a team best six assists, Morrison also had five assists.

Asbury shot 46% from the floor compared to 42% for the Owls but the Eagles took 27 more shots thanks in large part to 23 Warren Wilson turnovers. Asbury had 15 steals led by Justin Jones' four. The Eagles also pulled down 20 offensive rebounds, and won the battle on the boards 44-41.

Starting forward Brian Johnson did not play due to an ankle injury, and senior Daniel Drury made his first start of the season scoring six points on two three-pointers.

Asbury's next game will be a clash with NAIA Division I Georgetown College in Georgetown on Wednesday December 9th at 7:30 pm. The Tigers were ranked #7 in the NAIA pre-season poll.

Ed Davender's Attorney Withdraws at the Last Minute

Excerpt of article from Kentucky.com:

The attorney for a former University of Kentucky men's basketball player accused of running a ticket scam totaling more than $70,000 withdrew from the case Friday moments before court proceedings.

Ed Davender's attorney, Stephen McFayden, has been replaced by Steve Romines, a Louisville attorney who represented Shane Ragland in Ragland's murder trial.

Complete Article

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari Talks After Game

First, he sends a joke to Seth Davis:



Then, he speaks to the media (courtesy John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader):

Kentucky Wildcats Ruin Robert Ferringo's Day

Remember Robert Ferringo? He is the "professional" handicapper that released an article earlier in the week proclaiming the Kentucky Wildcats to be the nation's most overrated team. As a refresher, here is an excerpt of his article:

Well, I'm going to go out on what I feel is a very sturdy limb and say that Kentucky is by far the most overrated college basketball team in the nation.

The Wildcats suck. And I'm not kidding. They are completely and totally overrated as a Top 5 team and I, personally, think that if you stripped the name off the jersey this would be an NIT team. They don't suck like a Big West bottom feeder, but if we're grading them based on how they relate to the other BCS conference teams I can unequivocally say that this is not a really good basketball team.

And, his comments on Patrick Patterson (the same Patterson that led Kentucky with 19 points today):

Then there is Patrick Patterson. For some reason people think that this guy is an All-American talent. I don't see it. He has no face up game, he doesn't pass or handle the ball, and he basically is just one of those guys that's just freakishly more athletic than his opponents. He couldn't take this team to the NCAA Tournament last year so now I'm supposed to believe that he's going to get them to Indianapolis? Child, please.

Oh yeah, what was that he said about John Wall:

John Wall leads the team with 19 points per game, but I've yet to watch the game in which I found myself saying, "Wow, that guy is just dominating and is clearly the best player on the floor."

Yes Robert, Wall and Patterson are clearly average players. Kentucky obviously sucks and they are definitely overrated. I have already purchased my NIT tickets.

You're a professional handicapper? Child, please.

Related article from earlier in the week

"Overrated" Wildcats Issue Statement to Basketball World

Kentucky 68
North Carolina 66

Final from Lexington, Kentucky

Game recap by AllKYHoops.com:

The fifth-ranked Kentucky Wildcats (8-0), who had been labelled as overrated following close victories over Miami (OH) and Stanford, held off a second half surge from tenth-ranked North Carolina to defeat the Tar Heels 68-66.

Patrick Patterson led Kentucky with 19 points and 7 rebounds. Freshman sensation John Wall overcame a leg injury to score 16 points, including two decisive free throws with four seconds remaining.

Deon Thompson led North Carolina (7-2) with 14 points and Will Graves added 13, but the Tar Heels were unable to overcome the talented Wildcats.

The game was played in front of a Rupp Arena record crowd of 24,468.

The victory inched Kentucky closer to becoming the first team to ever reach 2,000 wins. The Wildcats have 1,996, while North Carolina has 1,991.

Kentucky Wildcats Have First Half e-Rupp-tion

Great stuff from ESPN's Andy Katz:

The early part of the game lived up to the hype. North Carolina jumped out early, with its size and experience (yes even though the Tar Heels are young too) to a 9-2 lead. And then Kentucky freshman John Wall -- and let’s not fool ourselves the top pick in the June NBA draft -- took over for a 16-0 run that included two game-changing plays. Wall flushed a dunk and then came down with a reverse, contorted layup in traffic.

Wall fed Darius Miller for 3s, pushed tempo, and ensured the Wildcats got back in the game and elevated the crowd.

Had Larry Drew II not made a soft baseline jumper the Wildcats may have gone on a Kansas-like run (36-0? No, I kid on that one, this is hardly Alcorn). It was spinning out of control for Carolina during a 28-2 UK run over a few-minute span.

Complete article from ESPN.com

My halftime thoughts:

- If there were any questions about the Kentucky Wildcats, they have been answered
- John Wall is unbelievably good
- Kentucky is knocking down outside jumpers, which was supposedly their only weak spot
- There has been talk of UK being overrated; did the Cats have another gear?
- There's still 20 minutes of basketball remaining; there can't be any letdowns or UNC will win the game
- The atmosphere at Rupp Arena is tremendous

Asbury Basketball Suffers Heartbreaking Loss

Temple Basptist 89
Asbury College 88

Final from Roland Wierwille Classic in Berea, Kentucky

Game recap from Asbury:

Phillip Morrison (Louisville, Ky.) scored a career high 37 points but it wasn't enough as Asbury fell to Temple Baptist College 88-89 on Friday night at the Seabury Center at Berea College.

Asbury (7-3) snapped a four game winning streak overall and lost to Temple Baptist for the first time in 15 meetings. The Eagles struggled from the three point line all night long, hitting only eight-of-29 from beyond the arc. The Rams were nine-of-23 from three point range. Asbury shot 44% for the game while Temple Baptist shot only 40% but the Rams pulled down 21 offensive rebounds and won the battle on the boards 59-43 for the game.

Morrison topped 30 points for the third time this season, the first time in a losing effort. He was 12-of-28 from the floor but like the rest of the team struggled from the three point line, shooting only one-of-nine. Morrison did go to the free throw line 14 times and knocked down 12. He scored 34 points when the two teams met two weeks ago.

Adam Delph (Louisville, Ky.) was poured in a career high 20 points for the Eagles on eight-of-15 shooting including two-of-four from behind the three point line. He was the only other Eagle to go to the free throw line knocking down both attempts.

The Eagles only complied 10 assists on 33 made field goals, Morrison led the way with four and Delph added three. Morrison and Delph also pulled down a season high eight and six rebounds respectively. Justin Jones (Hazard, Ky.) led the team with nine, he also added six blocks.

Temple Baptist was led by Ron Nelson and Kendell Cunningham who each scored 23 points and pulled down double-digit rebounds with 12 and 15 respectively. Nelson also had seven assists.

Asbury will face Warren Wilson on Saturday December 5th at 2:00 pm in the second day of the Roland Wierwille Classic at Berea College.

Racial Bias on AP All-America Team?

First, a disclaimer - I'm not buying this at all but I feel it is relevant to allow readers to check the article out. Here is an excerpt from an article on Eog.com:

AP EXPOSED AGAIN.....

The Associated Press last month named its preseason college basketball All-American team. The AP All-American first team included Sherron Collins (Kansas), Patrick Patterson (Kentucky) and three American-born white players: Luke Harangody (Notre Dame), Kyle Singler (Duke) and Cole Aldrich (Kansas).

At best, the first-team members were a poor choice; at worst, the AP voting smacked of racial bias.

The selection of Luke Harangody was a colossal mistake. There are at least 50, let alone five, collegiate players better than Harangody. His game has improved only marginally since his freshman season in 2006. His skill set works well against overmatched foes, but when challenged by more talented players, Harangody's weaknesses are exposed. Harangody's inability to dribble and his lack of explosiveness limit his potential growth. Nothing Harangody does at Notre Dame translates to the NBA level.

In a sport dominated by African-American athletes, how did three white players make the AP starting five?

The Associated Press selection process involved the polling of 71 college basketball writers. The vast majority of voters (approximately 80%) are white.

It's fair to assume white voters, showing bias, selected white players.

Five years ago, Associated Press withdrew its participation from the Bowl Championship Series to avoid any scandals involved with the highly-controversial selection process.

Similarly, Associated Press should disqualify itself from the college basketball voting process. If not, the news source should publish an investigative report on a flawed voting process within its organization.

Source

My thoughts: I'm not seeing anything but the best five players in the country making the first team. What do you think?

Friday, December 4, 2009

UConn's Stanley Robinson Says Cousins is "Too Cocky"

Connecticut big man Stanley Robinson says he is looking forward to competing against Kentucky next week. He also had some interesting comments on Kentucky freshman, and fellow Birmingham native, DeMarcus Cousins:

"He's so cocky," Robinson said of Cousins. "He's just too cocky for his own good. I'm just ready to play him. He's a freshman, so I'm ready to play him."

Bad blood?

"No, no, he just jokes too much," Robinson said. "I told him, 'Stop playing around so much.' So he jokes too much, but he's a great dude, overall."

Source

Joe Crawford Makes Official Return to NBA D-League

Joe Crawford with the basketball
Press Release from the NBA D-League's Los Angeles D-Fenders:

The Los Angeles D-Fenders announced today the team has acquired returning player, Joe Crawford. In an effort to make room for Crawford on the roster, the D-Fenders have released Christopher Hayes.

Shooting guard, Joe Crawford was selected by the Lakers in the second round (58th pick overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft. Crawford participated in the 2008 Lakers training camp. He played in 3 exhibition games with the Lakers, where he averaged 2.7 points. The Lakers then assigned Crawford to the D-Fenders in 2008. Crawford played 43 games for the D-Fenders last season, averaging 20.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Of the 43 games, Crawford scored double figures in 42 of them. In March 2009, Crawford signed with the New York Knicks and became the 18th Gatorade Call-Up of the NBA D-League season. Crawford participated in the 2009 NBA training camp with the New York Knicks, prior to returning to the D-Fenders.

“We are happy to get Joe back on the court. He is a player that we know we can count on when we need a basket and are really excited to have him back,” said Head Coach Chucky Brown.

Kentucky Basketball Fans are Crazy (In a Good Way)

Kentucky Wildcats Basketball
WYMT.com reports:

The excitement surrounding Saturday's big basketball game between UK and North Carolina is building!

Fans are already pitching tents and prepping for the tip off at 12:30 at Rupp Arena.

Dozens of Cats fans are camped out, hoping to get the best spot in the Eruption Zone.

Doors to Rupp Arena open at 11, Saturday morning.

Some of them say they have been camped out along High Street since Wednesday.

Despite the chilly weather they say it will all be worth it tomorrow when they've got great views of the game.


My Thoughts: Best fans in the world...no contest. C-A-T-S, Cats, Cats, Cats!

Will the North Carolina Tar Heels Use Ginyard on Wall?

North Carolina Tar Heels Basketball
Mike DeCourcy of the SportingNews.com feels that the most intriguing element of tomorrows' Kentucky/North Carolina game will be the Tar Heels' defense against John Wall. Here is an excerpt of DeCourcy's article:

The most intriguing element of Saturday's North Carolina vs. Kentucky matchup is how the Tar Heels will choose to defend super freshman John Wall. Simply put: Will Marcus Ginyard get the call on Wall?

With help from his teammates, Ginyard unsettled All-American candidate Evan Turner of Ohio State, who committed 10 turnovers. Against Michigan State, Ginyard took turns shutting down Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas.

Wall would be his most severe test. Wall is the most dynamic athlete at point guard since—well, only since Derrick Rose. But the two of them are the best athletes ever to play the position.

It'd be surprising, though, if Ginyard starts on Wall. If the Heels make such a major matchup change and it doesn't work early, that would throw their entire game plan out of whack.



Louisville Cardinals Are Fighting Injuries

When the Louisville Cardinals host Charlotte Saturday, they will be forced to play without three key players.

Preston Knowles (thumb injury) and Peyton Siva (sprained wrist) were already scheduled to miss the game. Now, the Cardinals will also be without senior guard Jerry Smith, who suffered a strained Achilles' tendon in practice.

Knowles and Smith are both starters and Siva is a key contributor off the bench for head coach Rick Pitino. Sophomore George Goode will likely get his first career start in place of Smith.

Rick Pitino's comments from Courier-Journal.com:

“You’re going to see a lot of interesting lineups to say the least,” Pitino said. “We’re going to have to rely a lot on (walk-on guard) Chris Brickley. Having two starters and our first sub out depletes our backcourt, so we’re going to have to be smart in this game.”

Related article from C-J

Louisville Cardinals Basketball

Basketball Ticket Scam: Davender Pleads Not Guilty

Former Kentucky Wildcat guard Ed Davender has given a "not guilty" plea in an alleged basketball ticket scam.

Excerpt of article from Kentucky.com:

The attorney for a former University of Kentucky men's basketball player accused of running a ticket scam totaling more than $70,000 withdrew from the case Friday moments before court proceedings.

Ed Davender's attorney, Stephen McFayden, has been replaced by Steve Romines, a Louisville attorney who represented Shane Ragland in Ragland's murder trial.

Davender, 43, of Georgetown has been indicted on 23 counts of theft by deception.

Complete Article

Kentucky Wildcats Basketball

NCAA Basketball's Top Mid-Majors for Past Decade

Western Kentucky Basketball
StormingTheFloor.net has released a list of the decade's top 10 mid-major college basketball programs.

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers make the list at #8:

8. Western Kentucky: 223-95, 5, 5 (5 auto), 3-5 The money's always greener in the Big Six, but the grass usually isn't for a mid-major coach. Dennis Felton found that out after taking the Hilltoppers to three tourney berths in the early part of the decade, and parlaying that into a disappointing tenure at Georgia. Seriously, it took a tornado to get his Dawgs into the Big Dance. Darrin Horn presided over the Sweet 16 run in 2008, and decamped for... the SEC. Hm. Anyway, some great players passed through the program, a legendary shot was made, and Big Red is still awesome. That's a great program, right there.

The Decade's Top Mid-Major Programs

1. Memphis
2. Gonzaga
3. Butler
4. Southern Illinois
5. Xavier
6. George Mason
7. Creighton
8. Western Kentucky
9. Davidson
10. Nevada
10a. Winthrop

Tremendous Basketball Article: Kentucky's John Wall

John Wall, Kentucky Basketball
You want to know the real John Wall?

Here is an excerpt of a tremendous article about Kentucky's John Wall by Jason King of Yahoo Sports:

A 6-foot-4 point guard, Wall will almost surely turn pro after just one season at Kentucky. Most NBA analysts say he would’ve been the top overall selection in last year’s draft had he been eligible to submit his name straight out of high school.

Still, Wall hardly fits the stereotype of an arrogant, one-and-done player who views college as an annoying pit stop en route to the NBA. If anything, he’s just the opposite.

“It’s nice to be known as a good player,” Wall says. “But I want to be known as a good person, too.”

It may be awhile before Wall gets that reputation nationally. In Lexington, though, it’s already established.

When he’s not at practice or in the weight room, Wall spends a large chunk of his free time roaming the halls of university’s athletic offices, hobnobbing with administrators 20 and 30 years his elder – or plopping down in a chair to read a basketball magazine.

Hardly the habits of a prima donna.

Highly Recommended: Complete Article

Photo: Clay Jackson; http://www.claysdaze.com/

Kenneth Faried: "Best Rebounder in the Country, Period"

Morehead State Basketball's Kenneth Faried
SlamOnline.com states that Morehead State's Kenneth Faried is a name to remember this season. Here is an excerpt about Faried:

Faried is the best rebounder in the country, period. He can lay claim to being one of the best rebounders this decade. Since arriving on the scene at Morehead State three years ago, his has never averaged fewer than 15.6 rebounds per-40 minutes - of course all of this has been done in obscurity. At 6-8 he is a little undersized for the pro level but is an absolute machine against college players. Through five games he is averaging over 19 points and 12 rebounds per game, with per-40 minute averages of 24 and nearly 16. So keep this name in mind for Bracket Buster Weekend later in the season and impress your friends when you can call out Morehead State’s ball hawk.


My Thoughts: I enjoy watching Kenneth Faried play basketball as much as anyone I can remember. He plays hard on every play and he goes after the ball. A wise entrepreneur could make an intructional video on how to rebound using game clips of Faried.

A quick check on NCAA stats: Faried currently ranks 3rd in rebounding average in the nation at 12.5 RPG; he has 4 consecutive double-doubles and his stats figure to improve in OVC play

John Wall Named One of Sports Top Future Superstars

Kentucky Basketball Star John Wall
Kentucky's John Wall has been named one of the top 10 future sports superstars by BleacherReport.com. Wall ranks #4 on the list behind Brandon Jennings (NBA), Chris Johnson (NFL) and Stephen Strasburg (MLB). Thoughts on Wall:

4. John Wall - University of Kentucky (NCAA Men's Basketball)

Get used to the name, basketball fans. John Wall to many is considered the next Derrick Rose, and is already considered to be the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Keep crossing your fingers, Nets fans, you never know, a backcourt with Wall and Devin Harris might bring you back to contention in the Eastern Conference.


Kentucky Basketball Recruit Quincy Miller Visiting Today

Quincy Miller, a talented 6-8 forward in the 2011 class, will be visiting Kentucky today and tomorrow.

He posted this on Twitter this morning:

qmillertime Excited as hell for the UK game 2mar! Let's get money big bro J.Wall!!

Miller ranks #3 on the Rivals150 List for 2011.

Get to know Quincy Miller:

Faried Leads Morehead State to Conference Road Win

Morehead State 74
UT-Martin 66

Final from Martin, Tennessee

Game recap by AllKYHoops.com

Morehead State (2-3, 1-0 OVC) held off a late surge from the homestanding Skyhawks to start the OVC season out with a tough road victory. The Eagles, who led by as many as 13 in the second half, were challenged late but held on for the 74-66 win.

Kenneth Faried illustrated why he was named preseason favorite to win OVC Player of the Year as he went for 19 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Eagles. After the game, Faried noted how focused the Eagles are heading into conference play.

"We are hungry again," Faried stated. "We picked up the road win against a really good UT-Martin team. They played a great game and Simmons has really improved."

I jokingly asked the Morehead State big man, who had been shooting 82% from the free throw line on the season, what happened late in the second half when he missed the rim on a free throw attempt.

"Uh, you know, I had just injured my hand on the play before," he said while laughing.

MSU point guard Brandon Shingles dished out 9 assists in the contest, one short of the career high he established in the Eagles' last game. Les Simmons and Demonte Harper each added 15 points for Morehead State.

Benzor Simmons led all scorers with 22 points for UT-Martin.

“Benzor Simmons might be the most improved player in our league,” Tyndall said. “They really spread the floor with their quick guards they have.”

The Eagles shot 45.8% from the field and held UT-Martin to only 32.8% shooting. Morehead State was seemingly solid in every facet of the game except for turnovers. The Skyhawks forced 17 Eagle turnovers which ultimately kept the game close.

“The one thing that concerns me is the 17 turnovers, but we defended so well that we were able to overcome that,” Tyndall said.

Morehead State travels to Murray State on Saturday for an early matchup of preseason OVC co-favorites.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Murray State Escapes Eastern Kentucky in OVC Action

Murray State 62
Eastern Kentucky 60

Final from Murray, Kentucky

Game recap by AllKYHoops.com:

Murray State (6-1, 1-0 OVC) fought off the strong outside shooting of Eastern Kentucky to earn a 62-60 homecourt victory on the first night of conference play. MSU dominated the game on the inside, but the Colonels led most of the way after going 10-23 from the 3-point line. Murray State’s B.J. Jenkins hit the game-winning jumper with 2.4 seconds left in regulation.

The Racers placed three players in double figures, led by Tony Easley with 14 points. Isacc Miles added 13 and Jeffery McClain scored 12 off the bench.

Papa Oppong led Eastern Kentucky (5-2, 0-1 OVC) with 18 points, including 4-5 from long range. Josh Taylor contributed 15 points, but was only 6-17 from the field and 2-9 from beyond the arc.

The Racers were able to overcome EKU's 3-point shooting with rebounding and defense. Murray State won the rebounding battle 36-23 and forced the Colonels into 20 turnovers.

Both teams return to OVC action on Saturday as Murray State will host Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky travels to UT-Martin.

Kentucky Coach John Calipari Proud of His Catholic Faith


Excerpt of article from TheBostonPilot.com:

"It's important to me that people know I have a strong faith," he said. "I couldn't have handled the jobs I've had by myself."

One of the ways Calipari feeds that faith is by attending Mass during the week. In Lexington, he has been seen at the Cathedral of Christ the King and at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary Church.

Calipari was picked for the Kentucky job this spring, becoming the highest paid college basketball coach in the country. Heading into a Dec. 5 game against North Carolina, his Wildcats had a 7-0 record for the 2009-2010 regular season.

Calipari credits God's plan for his life and the life of his family. "I believe that things happen for a reason," he said.

As in Memphis, Catholics in Lexington are a minority. Like many families in the diocese, the Calipari family is interdenominational.

"When we got married, my wife was a better Methodist than I was a Catholic," Calipari said. He met his wife, Ellen, while he was working as an assistant coach at the University of Kansas.

The Caliparis have raised their children -- daughters Erin and Megan and son Bradley -- as Methodists.

Something -- he doesn't remember exactly what -- pushed him back toward the Catholic Church eight to 10 years ago and Calipari began attending Holy Rosary Church in Memphis. "They called me a 'Metholic,'" Calipari said. "I would go to the Methodist church with my family on Sundays and to the Catholic church during the week."

Kentucky Wildcats Nearing 2,000 Basketball Wins

Excerpt of article by Will Graves, AP Sports Writer:

Kentucky has long trumpeted itself as the program with "the greatest tradition in college basketball." Now the Wildcats are closing in on another piece of history: the first program with 2,000 victories.

The fifth-ranked Wildcats are five wins shy in their 107th season heading into Saturday's game against No. 10 North Carolina, which ranks second in victories with 1,991.

"It's a big deal for the Commonwealth," said coach John Calipari of reaching the plateau first. However, Calipari is more focused with getting his young team ready for what is also important to Wildcats fans - championships.

"The reality of it is we're playing for March," Calipari said. "That's how I've always coached. We're playing for March."

Kentucky (7-0) has 1,995 victories, the first coming when the school known as State College beat the Lexington YMCA 11-10 on Feb. 18, 1903. The school's spot atop the totem pole is a source of pride throughout Kentucky and the program's march to become the first with 2,000 wins has seemed as much of a foregone conclusion as the band playing "My Old Kentucky Home" at the end of each game.

Complete Article

Fordham University Basketball and Billy Gillispie


Fordham coach Dereck Whittenburg was fired this afternoon and assistant Jared Grasso will replace him on an interim basis.

“We have great respect for Dereck as a coach and person, and appreciate his contribution to Fordham, his integrity and his dedication to the student athletes,” said Fordham AD Frank McLaughlin. “We wish him and his family well.

“This was a difficult decision, but we felt that we needed a new direction for the basketball program at this time. It’s a priority of the University to have a successful program in the competitive Atlantic 10 Conference.”

Somewhere in the Midwest plains, former Kentucky head coach Billy Gillispie is unemployed and searching for a route back to major college basketball following issues with alcoholism.

Could Billy Gillispie use Fordham University as a mid-major stepping stone and a return to high-level DI basketball?

Probably not, but how ironic would it be if Billy Gillispie managed to land a job at F.U.?

NCAA Basketball 2010: John Calipari Talks Offense

OVC Regular Season Basketball Tips Off Tonight

The Ohio Valley Conference regular season for basketball begins tonight on national television. Eastern Kentucky travels to Murray State for a battle on ESPNU at 7:00 p.m. Morehead State goes on the road to face Tennessee-Martin at 8:30 p.m.

OVC Schedule

Tonight:

7:00 p.m. Eastern Kentucky (5-1) @ Murray State (5-1) (ESPNU)
8:30 p.m. SE Missouri State (2-5) @ Austin Peay (3-4)
8:30 p.m. Morehead State (1-3) @ UT-Martin (1-3)
8:30 p.m. Eastern Illinois (3-2) @ Tennessee State (1-6)

Saturday:

5:30 p.m. Tennessee Tech (3-5) @ Jacksonville State (2-4)
7:00 p.m. Eastern Kentucky @ UT-Martin
7:30 p.m. Morehead State @ Murray State
8:30 p.m. Eastern Illinois @ Austin Peay
8:30 p.m. SE Missouri State @ Tennessee State

Kenneth Faried Rebounds the Basketball for MSU

Excerpt of article from BasketballProspectus.com:

Kenneth Faried is not necessarily a mathematician but he has a good understanding of how odds have helped him become a ferocious rebounder.

“You have to play the percentages,” the Morehead State junior forward said. “For example, if someone takes a shot from the corner and misses, there’s a 70-percent chance that the ball is going to come off on the other side of the hoop. So much of it is having an understanding where a missed shot is going to wind up. It’s just become natural for me.”

Few players in the nation played the percentages better or had better rebounding percentages last season than Faried. He finished second in defensive rebounding percentage (33.8) and eighth in offensive rebounding percentage (16.4) in helping Morehead State to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 25 years.

Though Morehead State is off to a 1-3 start, Faried has again been a rebounding machine. He is pulling down 12.5 boards a game to go with a 19.3 scoring average in 31.5 minutes a game.

However, it is not surprising that Faried is such a great rebounder. After all, he was raised to be one while growing up in Newark, N.J.

“My mother and father wouldn’t let me play unless I rebounded,” Faried said. “They wanted my game to be more than about shooting all the time and scoring points. They insisted that I had to have an all-around game and work hard on the boards, and it’s paid off.”

It has paid off to the point where Faried is drawing the notice of NBA scouts despite playing at a mid-major program and rarely getting national exposure. Draft Express ranks the 6'8", 215-pounder as the 13th-best junior in the country and the 51st-best prospect overall while ESPN’s Chad Ford has Faried at No. 61 on his top list of top 100 prospects.

Finish article here

NAIA DI Basketball: Some Random Thoughts

David Paul Estes offers some random thoughts and observations on NAIA DI basketball today and CollegeFanz Sports Network. Here are a few thoughts he has that include teams from Kentucky:

- I think Mid Continent deserves some credit. Head Coach Winston Bennett has put together one of the toughest preconference schedules in the NAIA. They've played NAIA DII Top 15 team IU Southeast twice, plus games against #14 Cumberlands (Ky), #7 Georgetown, RV Campbellsville, RV Lindsey Wilson, and RV Pikeville. Throw in a game against a solid Missouri Baptist team and another quality NAIA DII team in Mount Vernon Nazarene. There is no doubt Coach Bennett will have his squad ready for the TranSouth schedule.

- The Mid South Conference is always among the nation's best. This season it could boast it's most deep level of talent in years. Campbellsville has already beaten Union University and Freed Hardeman, West Virginia Tech took down Life, Cumberlands whipped Robert Morris by 16, and St Catherine won at Southern Poly by 10. Throw always tough Georgetown and Lindsey Wilson into the mix then stir in talented Pikeville and it will be a mad dash once their 14 game conference schedule begins.

Complete Article

Maurice Harkless Will Announce Soon; UK on List

Maurice Harkless, a 6-7 forward that is ranked #50 on the Rivals150 List for 2011, will make his college announcement Wednesday, December 9 on SNY.tv.

Harkless currently has Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Connecticut, St. John's, Seton Hall, Providence, Arizona, Florida State, Hofstra, Villanova and Rutgers.

Quote from ZagsBlog.com:

“Maurice Harkless is still narrowing down his college choices,” said Nathan Blue, his AAU coach. “Any talk of him being committed is premature. I, along with his high school coach and mother, will be making sure he’s comfortable about what school he chooses on Wednesday on SNY.”

My Thoughts: I don't think Kentucky of Louisville fans should be deeply involved with this one. First, I'm not sure that either school has expressed a great deal of interest in Harkless and secondly, I look for him to stay closer to home. My wild guess would be UConn.

Article from ZagsBlog.com

Kentucky Basketball: John Wall Talks North Carolina

Video courtesy of John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader:

John Wall Video on John Clay's Blog

Pro Basketball Outlook on DeMarcus Cousins


Hoopsworld.com takes a look at Kentucky freshman basketball star DeMarcus Cousins and discusses his NBA potential:

DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky)

The big 6'11 freshman has looked great so far in the early season alongside Patrick Patterson, who was able to move to his natural position thanks to the addition of Cousins. Cousins is posting up averages of 16 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks a night. Coach Calipari has been demanding of Cousins defensively and is really starting to bring out the best in him on that side of the court. Cousins gets his work done a lot differently than Favors because he's nowhere near as athletic. His offense comes as a result of solid footwork and touch around the basket. Cousins has worked his way into the first round of most mock drafts and should stay there as long as he continues to makes progress on the defensive end. It'd likely take a sophomore season for him to make his way into lottery discussion.

The article also takes a look at Derrick Favors, Xavier Henry, Lance Stephenson, John Henson, Renardo Sidney and Evan Turner.

Josh Selby Will Visit Kentucky Wildcats on Jan. 2


Talented 2010 point guard Josh Selby is scheduled to visit Lexington on January 2 for the Kentucky/Louisville basketball game.

In addition, his mother, Maeshon Witherspoon, is considering a trip to Indiana on December 12 to watch the Kentucky/Indiana game. Selby will not be able to travel with her on that trip.

Witherspoon also told TheShiver.com that Selby would like to visit Kansas on January 25 for the Big Monday matchup against Missouri.

Here are some comments from the article on TheShiver.com:

“I might have to pass since we are going to UK (Kentucky) in the 2nd (January). I am also trying to see Indiana and UK play also,” said Witherspoon of the initial plan to visit Lawrence on December 22nd.

“No he can’t make that one,” Witherspoon said of Josh making the trip to Indiana with her on the 12th. ” I would like to go. I am a basketball fan and I like watching games. I can also see two of the teams at one time,” added Witherspoon.

In related news, an article on BaltimoreSun.com confirms that Selby has taken Miami (FL) off his final list and is now down to Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana and Syracuse.

Here is a comment in the article from Jerry Meyer of Rivals.com:

"Josh has everything you look for in an elite talent," said Jerry Meyer of Rivals.com, who ranks Selby fourth in the country overall and the No. 2 point guard. "It's really a combination of three things: athleticism, high skills and competitiveness. He has all those characteristics. There's no telling how good he can be. He has a chance to be a one-and-done college player, an All-American type who can be a longtime pro that goes on to play in [ NBA] All-Star games."


John Calipari on List of New Jersey Nets' Worst Moments


Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has listed 18 ugly moments in the history of the New Jersey Nets.

The list contains things such as the sale of Dr. J, Jayson Williams and losing Lew Alcindor in the 1969 draft.

Coming in at number 12 on the list:

No. 12 -- The John Calipari Era: The Nets gave Calipari a five-year, $15 million contract in 1996, and within three years, he was gone -- having alienated players, coaches, and the front office on the way to a 3-17 start in lockout-shortened '98-99.


Ex-Cat Derrick Jasper Leads UNLV to Big Road Win


Former Kentucky Wildcat Derrick Jasper nailed a 3-pointer with 1:39 left in the second overtime to help #24 UNLV beat Arizona 74-72 last night.

Jasper’s shot tied the score at 70. After Arizona sophomore Kyle Fogg missed a contested driving layup with 28 seconds left, TreVon Willis made two free throws to give the Runnin’ Rebels (6-0) the lead for good. Willis scored 25 points for UNLV.

Jasper, who transferred from Kentucky during Billy Gillispie's coaching tenure, had 12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals for the Runnin' Rebels.

"Anytime you go into double overtime, you see everybody just step it up and that's what happened tonight," said Jasper. "I saw a little bit of miscommunication among the Arizona players at the end and they just left me wide open." (Quotes: ESPN.com)

Image: UNLV Men's Basketball

Handicapper on Kentucky Basketball: "The Wildcats Suck"


A "self-proclaimed" professional handicapper lists his nine most overrated teams in college basketball. He names Kentucky the most overrated team of all and basically unloads on the Wildcats. He also ranks the Louisville Cardinals at #7 on his list and takes a few cheapshots at Louisville and head coach Rick Pitino. He even manages to get an indirect blow in on the Morehead State Eagles.

Here is an excerpt of the article about the Kentucky Wildcats:

Well, I'm going to go out on what I feel is a very sturdy limb and say that Kentucky is by far the most overrated college basketball team in the nation.

The Wildcats suck. And I'm not kidding. They are completely and totally overrated as a Top 5 team and I, personally, think that if you stripped the name off the jersey this would be an NIT team. They don't suck like a Big West bottom feeder, but if we're grading them based on how they relate to the other BCS conference teams I can unequivocally say that this is not a really good basketball team.

Kentucky has bumbled its way to 7-0 while facing the No. 329-rated schedule in the country. They have played zero teams that I predict will play in a postseason tournament and I don't see what they have accomplished that would convince anyone that they are anything but a fringe Top 25 team. They won by just two points against a Miami, OH team that is probably the fifth-best team in the MAC East. They managed a 10-point win over Sam Houston State in a game in which they allowed 92 points. And they needed overtime to beat a weak Stanford team that is one of the two or three worst in the god-awful Pac-10.

Statements about John Wall:

John Wall leads the team with 19 points per game, but I've yet to watch the game in which I found myself saying, "Wow, that guy is just dominating and is clearly the best player on the floor."

Some thoughts on Patrick Patterson:

Then there is Patrick Patterson. For some reason people think that this guy is an All-American talent. I don't see it. He has no face up game, he doesn't pass or handle the ball, and he basically is just one of those guys that's just freakishly more athletic than his opponents. He couldn't take this team to the NCAA Tournament last year so now I'm supposed to believe that he's going to get them to Indianapolis? Child, please.

And just for fun, some comments about Louisville:

7. Louisville (No. 18, No. 20) I can't say enough bad things about this team. Let's just take all of the negative karma surrounding Dick Pitino and bend it over a table. (I'm sorry, did I say, "bend it over" I meant to say "put it on" the table. My bad, Dick.) Just focusing on what's on the court I can say that I don't really like much about this squad. Samardo Samuels is backing up the fact that he was one of the most overrated players out of high school last year. If anyone thinks the light is going to turn on for Edgar Sosa, they don't know anything about basketball. And if Jerry Smith keeps shooting like he has been (19.2 percent from three-point range) then these guys are in big trouble. They are deep, if you like mediocre, out-of-control perimeter players. And the guy that I like the best, Reginald Delk, is getting really inconsistent minutes. Don't be fooled by their blowouts over Arkansas (who was, quite literally, relying on a dude off the tennis team on the inside) and Appalachian State. Both of those games were tight early in the second half, and those are teams that Louisville should handle from start to finish. That loss at UNLV was not an aberration; Louisville is probably the seventh or eighth best team in the Big East, not a Top 20 team in the country.

Entire Article

Union College Suffers First Conference Defeat

Milligan College 97
Union College 92

Final from Milligan College

Game recap from Union:

Senior Beau Brown posted a season-high 22 points, but it was not enough as Union College dropped a 97-92 Appalachian Athletic Conference contest to host Milligan (Tenn.) College Wednesday.

With the loss, Union is now 4-6 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Milligan, meanwhile, is 2-7 overall and 2-1 in the AAC.

Brown (Athens, Tenn.) hit 8-of-12 shots from the floor and went 2-for-5 from long range in scoring his team-best 22 points. He also grabbed a game-high eight points.

Down 42-39 at the half, Union kept things close and eventually took a 71-70 lead when Kearney Demus (Lexington, Ky.) completed an old-fashioned, three-point play with 8:17 left to play.
Milligan, though, reeled off an 11-1 run to take an 81-72 lead with 5:20 remaining.

The Bulldogs cracked up the offense, scoring 20 points during the final five minutes. However, it was too little, too late as Milligan held on for the 97-92 decision.

After Brown, Demus added 17 points with Payton Ponzer (Independence, Ky.) chipping in 16. Darrel Jackson (Jonesboro, Ark.) and Jerome Carmichael (Newport, Tenn.) helped out with 10 points apiece.

Torian Sitton paced Milligan with 23 points, while Justin Sylvester knocked in 22. Bryant Edwards contributed 18 points.

Union returns home Saturday to play host to Virginia Intermont College at 6 p.m.

Transylvania Opens HCAC Play with a Win

Transylvania 85
Hanover 71

Final from Lexington, Kentucky

Partial game recap from Transylvania:

Transylvania freshman Barrett Meyer poured in a career-high 19 points Wednesday, leading five Pioneers in double figures in an 85-71 win over Hanover in Heartland Conference men's college basketball play at the Beck Center.

Transy is 3-3 on the season, 1-0 in HCAC play, while the Panthers are 3-2, 0-1 HCAC.

Blake McCowan had 12 points, eight rebounds, and three assists while senior Tim Tierney came off the bench to get 14 points. Matthew Parton and Brandon Rash were also in double digits with 10 apiece.

Reserve Taylor Dial and Mitcheel Meyer led Hanover with 15 points each.

Transy is back in action on Saturday, taking on HCAC rival Bluffton at 4 p.m. at the Beck Center.

Complete game recap

Thomas More Drops PAC Opener in Overtime

Grove City 98
Thomas More 93 F/OT

Final from Grove City, Pennsylvania


Game recap by AllKYHoops.com:

Thomas More suffered a heartbreaking 98-93 overtime loss to Grove City College in both teams' Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) opener at Grove City.

The Saints were led by Aaron Miller, who recorded a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Joining him in double-figure scoring were Daniel Whelan with 16 points, Daniel McKeehan with 13 and Robert Wilson with 10.

With the loss the Saints fall to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in the PAC and with the win the Wolverines improve to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the PAC

The Saints return to action on Saturday, December 12 when they travel to New Wilmington, Pennsylvania to play PAC foe Westminster College at 4 p.m.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

UK Recruits on Display During Old Spice Showcase


ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU 2009-10 High School Basketball Schedule

Old Spice High School Showcase to Feature 14 Games; Coverage Begins Dec. 11

The ESPN family of networks, in conjunction with Paragon Marketing Group, will combine to present 14 high school boy’s basketball games this season on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, as part of the returning High School Showcase. The series of regular-season games will include teams from 13 different states, including 17 teams currently ranked in the ESPN RISE FAB 50 Rankings. The series will open with a matchup featuring two Texas schools on Friday, Dec. 11, with No. 47 Duncanville vs. No. 40 Lincoln at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

The High School Showcase is highlighted by games that will include the top four teams in the nation. No. 1 Findlay Prep (Nev.) will play No.16 Northland (Ohio) on Thursday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. on ESPN and No. 2 St. Patrick (N.J.) on Monday, Jan. 18, at 3 p.m. on ESPNU. No. 3 Oak Hill (Va.) will play Northland (Ohio) on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 4 p.m. and No. 4 St. Benedict’s (N.J.) will face Virginia-based Bishop O’Connell on Jan. 18, at 11 a.m. on ESPNU.

ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, will televise 10 games, ESPN2 will air two contests and ESPN will present three matchups. ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband digital sports network, will simulcast the ESPN and ESPN2 games.

ESPN Scouts, Inc., National Basketball Recruiting Director Paul Biancardi will serve as the primary analyst for the high school basketball telecasts. He will be joined by various play-by-play announcers throughout the season, including Doug Bell and Justin Kutcher.

This season, 19 players from the ESPNU 100 Class of 2010 player rankings are expected to participate in the series, including No. 1 Harrison Barnes, SF, Ames HS (Iowa); No. 2 Jared Sullinger, PF, Northland HS (Ohio); No. 3 Perry Jones, PF, Duncanville HS (Texas); No. 4 Brandon Knight, PG, Pine Crest HS (Fla.); No. 6 Kyrie Irving, PG, St. Patrick (N.J.); No. 10 Josh Smith, C, Kentwood HS (Wash.); No. 11 Tristan Thompson, PF, Findlay Prep (Nev.); No. 12 DeShaun Thomas, SF, Bishop Luers HS (Ind.); No. 15 Terrence Jones, SF, Jefferson HS (Ore.); No. 16 Roscoe Smith, SF, Oak Hill Academy (Va.); No. 17 Jereme Richmond, SF, Waukegan HS (Ill.); and No. 20 Fabricio Melo, C, The Sagemont School (Fla.).

ESPNU will supplement the game schedule with a weekly studio show, ESPNU Recruiting Insider, which evaluates the top high school basketball recruits and their classes based on research and analysis provided by ESPN’s Scouts, Inc. The show will air Wednesdays at 6 p.m. throughout the season with ESPNU anchor Lowell Galindo hosting alongside analyst Biancardi.

ESPN’s postseason high school basketball coverage will feature the 2010 Powerade Jam Fest; the McDonald’s All-American High School Games (girls and boys); Jordan Brand Classic; and ESPN RISE’s National High School Invitational. Dates, times and networks will be announced at a later date.

Source: Press Release from ESPN

New Jersey Nets Capture Embarrassing Record


The New Jersey Nets have stamped their claim on NBA infamy as they have started the season 0-18, the worst start in the history of the league. The Dallas Mavericks sent the Nets into history with a 117-101 victory.

Former Louisville Cardinal Terrence Williams scored 8 points on 3-8 shooting and also dished out 6 assists. Former WKU Hilltopper Courtney Lee scored 13 points, but was only 5-14 from the field. Lee also grabbed 6 rebounds and picked up 4 steals in the loss.


Western Kentucky Loses Big at South Carolina

South Carolina 74
Western Kentucky 56

Final from Columbia, South Carolina

Game recap by Associated Press:

Devan Downey scored 15 points to lead five South Carolina players in double figures as the Gamecocks defeated Western Kentucky 74-56 on Wednesday night.

Playing short-handed for the second straight game, South Carolina (6-1) went on a 21-4 run in the first half as five players connected on 3-pointers.

Brandis Raley-Ross hit a pair of 3-pointers and Ramon Galloway, Sam Muldrow and Downey also connected from long range during the stretch lasting more than 6 minutes.

The Gamecocks were 10-for-16 from the field in building a 15-point lead, but went 6-for-23 the remainder of the half.

Western Kentucky (2-3) opened the second half on an 11-5 run to pull within eight but could not get any closer.

Muldrow and Raley-Ross had 12 points apiece while Galloway and Evaldas Baniulis scored 11 each.

A.J. Slaughter led Western Kentucky with 12 points.

Louisville Cardinals Overwhelm Stetson

Louisville 80
Stetson 48

Final from Louisville, Kentucky


Game Recap from Associated Press:

Jerry Smith broke out of a shooting slump to score 17 points and lead Louisville (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) to an 80-48 win over Stetson on Wednesday night.

Samardo Samuels added 15 points and seven rebounds while Edgar Sosa had 15 points and five assists for the Cardinals (5-1), who had little trouble bouncing back from a loss to UNLV last Saturday.

A.J. Smith led the Hatters (2-5) with 18 points, but Stetson shot 35 percent from the field and was simply no match for Louisville once the Cardinals got going midway through the first half.

Louisville used an 11-0 run to take control after a sluggish start, holding the Hatters without a field goal for over 6 minutes. The Cardinals led 37-21 at halftime and wasted little time pulling away behind the revitalized Smith.

The senior came in shooting 30 percent from the field over his last four games, but he was 6 of 8 from the field against the Hatters while focusing on driving to the basket instead of settling for 3-pointers.

It's a good sign for the Cardinals, who need Smith's leadership to help calm a roster filled with freshmen and sophomores.

Coach Rick Pitino has been critical of Smith's shot selection in recent weeks, saying he felt Smith was settling for too many 3-pointers whether he was open or not.

Smith spent extra time in the team's practice facility over the last week to work out the kinks on his jumper, but it was his determination to get to the basket that pleased his coach.

Smith wasted little time heeding Pitino's advice, getting fouled on his way to the rim on Louisville's second possession then immediately following it up with a layup while getting fouled.

Still, it took awhile for the Cardinals to get going against the overmatched Hatters. Louisville led 13-10 7 minutes into the game before coming to life behind Sosa and Smith.

The seniors sparked an 11-0 burst capped by another layup by Smith as Louisville went up 24-10 and cruised from there.

It's exactly what Pitino was looking for following the tough loss at UNLV, in which the Cardinals rallied from a 19-point deficit to tie the game only to fall in the final minutes.

Pitino called the loss a learning experience for his young team and said he was looking forward to an eight-game December homestand to help get things corrected.

While the Cardinals only sporadically displayed the kind of intensity Pitino expects, they were never in any danger against the Hatters.

Louisville shot 62 percent from the field, made 15 of 20 free throws and forced 18 turnovers. Ten of the 12 players who saw action scored as Pitino experimented with his lineup liberally in the second half.

The Cardinals played without injured guards Preston Knowles and Peyton Siva, both of whom watched from the bench in street clothes. Pitino expects them to be back for Saturday's game against Charlotte.

The injuries forced Smith to play point guard when Sosa went to the bench. He looked comfortable at times with the ball in his hands and finished with three assists and three turnovers in 24 minutes.

"I'll Have a Shot of John Wall"


John Wall, Kentucky's freshman basketball superstar, already has a drink named after him.

Here is an excerpt of an article from Courier-Journal.com:

On nights when the University of Kentucky men's basketball team plays on TV, it's filled with a mixture of blue raspberry vodka, sour mix and Sprite.

A shot of that concoction has become known as a “John Wall.”

“The customers just started calling it that,” bartender Seth Bennett said. “We never really had a name for it.”

They still don't. There's no sign advertising a “John Wall” anywhere in Two Keys. That fans still order rounds of them every time the Wildcats' freshman point guard scores a basket is a sign of just how adored he's become in his short stay at UK.

Student that Collapsed and Died is Honored with Jersey

A high school in Frankfort has honored a freshman who died while trying out for its basketball team.

WKYT-TV in Lexington reported that before Tuesday night's game, the school presented the parents of Waseeq Shahid with a framed team jersey and a moment of silence was observed in the gymnasium.

Shahid — who was 15 — collapsed and died during wind sprints on Oct. 19.

Franklin County Deputy Coroner Kelly T. Adams said preliminary autopsy results showed the youth had "several abnormalities to the heart."

He had cleared a standard physical examination the week before he died.

Sources: AP and WKYT

SEC Basketball Recruiting Grades; Tennessee on Top

ESPN has graded the 2010 recruiting efforts of the teams in the Southeastern Conference to this point. The Tennessee Volunteers are on top of the conference after landing Tobias Harris. Florida and LSU also received excellent scores. Kentucky, who only has Stacey Poole so far, is near the bottom:

Kentucky Wildcats

Grade: B
Kentucky commits: one

Coach John Calipari's dribble-drive system isn't for everyone; it caters to athletic and skilled players who thrive with the freedom to create. UK's lone 2010 signee, SF Stacey Poole (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence School), is that type of player. Poole is a high-flying athlete who fearlessly attacks the basket. He also gives the Cats a potential defensive stopper on the perimeter. With the prospects of multiple players declaring for the draft at the conclusion of the season, many of the top unsigned players are keeping a close eye on events in Lexington. As was the case last year, watch out for Calipari's ability to strike in the late signing period.

Complete Rankings from ESPN.com

2011 SF Maurice Harkless Will Trim List; UK Involved


Excerpt of article from NBE Basketball Report:

2011 forward has plenty of Big East schools in pursuit as he looks to make early commitment

Forest Hills (NY) small forward Maurice Harkless, one of the top players in the country in the class of 2011, is expected to make his college commitment this month . According to Nathan Blue, Harkless will narrow his school list to six schools this weekend and then visit as many as he can before making a commitment.

“Harkless will be looking at the pros and cons of all the schools on his list,” Blue told NBE in an email.

According to Blue, the current list of schools Harkless is working to pare down this weekend includes Seton Hall, St. Johns, Florida State, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Providence, Kentucky, Connecticut, Hofstra, Cincinnati, Villanova and Rutgers.

Brescia's Andrew Howard Named KIAC Player of the Week


Andrew Howard was named Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for November 23-29.

Howard, a 6-2 guard from Owensboro, averaged 26 PPG for the week as the Bearcats went 2-1 during the week.

He was named to the All-Classic team at the Owensboro Classic. In the event, Brescia defeated NAIA DI opponent Lambuth, behind 32 points and 6 rebounds from Howard, and lost to Alaska-Fairbanks, an NCAA DII program.

The Power of Basketball in Kentucky

This story beautifully illustrates the power of basketball in Kentucky:

When Ashland’s senior point guard learned about Terrence Smith’s automobile accident that would cost Smith his senior basketball season, his heart sank, even though he really didn’t know Smith aside from their basketball battles.

Skaggs still felt a connection with Smith, who would have been Lewis County’s senior point guard.

Skaggs told his father, Todd Skaggs, about what had happened and they immediately went into fundraising mode for the injured 16th Region star.

“It really shook him up,” Todd Skaggs said. “He said ‘Dad, what can we do?’ I told him we could raise some money.”

Ashland’s team collected in excess of $7,000 – with a promise to reach at least $10,000 — to help defray medical expenses for the Smith family. Will Skaggs presented the money to Lewis County coach Joe Hampton prior to Tuesday night’s season opener in Anderson gymnasium.

Hampton accepted it on behalf of the Smith family. “It’s very generous and just the thoughtfulness of the whole thing is special,” he said. “You go against these coaches all the time but when something like this happens, you see the human side of people.”

Complete Story Here

My Thoughts: Folks, that is what it's all about.

Jimmy V Week: "Don't Give Up. Don't Ever Give Up."


This week is V Week on ESPN. Jimmy V, of course, is the late Jim Valvano, the former North Carolina State basketball coach who passed away in 1993 after a battle with cancer.

Valvano led the Wolfpack to the 1983 NCAA basketball championship against unbelievable odds. He is often remembered for his actions after winning the title game as he ran up and down the court in disbelief looking for someone to hug.

Valvano was diagnosed with bone cancer in June 1992. In July, he found out that it had metastasized.

Shortly before his death, he spoke at the inaugural ESPY Awards, presented by ESPN, on March 3, 1993. While accepting the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award, he announced the creation of the "Jimmy V Foundation", an organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. He announced that the foundation's motto would be "Don't give up. Don't ever give up."

During his speech the teleprompter stated that he had 30 seconds left, to which Valvano responded, "They got that screen up there flashing 30 seconds, like I care about that screen. I got tumors all over my body and I'm worried about some guy in the back going 30 seconds." His speech became legendary, and he closed the speech by saying, "Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever. I thank you and God bless you all."

He received an emotional standing ovation from the ESPY crowd.

Jim Valvano died less than two months after his famous ESPY speech and after a year-long battle with cancer.

The V Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to saving lives by helping to find a cure for cancer. The foundation seeks to make a difference by generating broad-based support for cancer research and by creating an urgent awareness among all Americans of the importance of the war against cancer. The V Foundation performs these dual roles through advocacy, education, fundraising, and philanthropy. Its motto is “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

Support the V Foundation for Cancer Research

Jim Valvano's memorable speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards:


Eric McPherson Named Mid-South Player of the Week


Press release from Lindsey Wilson:

Lindsey Wilson College senior guard Eric McPherson is the Mid-South Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week, the conference announced today. McPherson led the Blue Raiders to a 2-0 week with a pair of wins in the MSC Challenge in Frankfort, Ky.

The honor is the first of the season for McPherson and second of his career.

The Cleveland, Ohio native poured in 24.5 points per game and hauled in 6.5 rebounds per contest last week.

McPherson tallied a season-high 33 points in Lindsey Wilson's 98-74 win against Indiana-University-Northwest on Friday, followed by a 16 point, 10 rebound performance in the 72-65 win over Talladega (Ind.) College on Saturday

McPherson shot 70 percent (7-of-10) from behind the arc for the week, including a career-high six threes against IU-Northwest. The senior shot 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from the field.

Lindsey Wilson (6-2) returns to action at 2 p.m. CT on Dec. 5 at Davenport (Mich.) University.

Kentucky Wildcats: Right on Track for Historical Season


The Kentucky Wildcats basketball team is 7-0 as it enters Saturday's contest with the North Carolina Tar Heels.

The Wildcats have a new coach, new roster, new system and new expectations this season. They have shown flashes of brilliance, but for the most part, they are playing exactly as they should be playing at this point. They are making mistakes, they are adjusting to the speed of the game at this level, they are learning a new offensive system and at times - they are struggling. Most importantly, with a roster that is filled with new faces, Kentucky is still working on becoming a basketball team.

Here is a newsflash for even the most optimistic of Kentucky fans: this team is going to lose soon. I do not want to scare you, but they could easily lose Saturday against the Tar Heels. In fact, they could lose 2-3 times before entering SEC play. In all likelihood, they will lose 2-3 times in the Southeastern Conference, which is a little stronger than anticipated this season. That would be 4-6 losses if it holds true, but there is more. I think this team will almost certainly lose at least 1-2 games that no one expects them to lose. Perhaps to a mid-major team that heats up for one magical night or possibly to a lowly SEC team on the road. You can mark it down though, there will be an unexpected loss or two (or maybe more).

What I am telling you is that this is the most talented roster that Kentucky has had possibly in the last decade, but it will require a tremendous amount of hard work, dedication and time to reach the expectations that already surround the program.

The good news is that they are right on track to reach those expectations. The talent is in place. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson are as good as any trio in the country from a talent perspective. Eric Bledsoe, Darius Miller, Daniel Orton and Darnell Dodson are not far behind. Add in role players such as Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson, DeAndre Liggins and Jon Hood and Kentucky is loaded.

Here is what I know: Kentucky will lose. They may lose 8-10 games. That is part of the process that comes with the learning curve created by youth, inexperience and a major program transition.

Here is the good news: Kentucky has the talent, depth, coaching experience, leadership, guard play and tradition to win a national championship - this year.

Here is my advice: Do not have a meltdown each time that Kentucky has a sub par performance, even if they lose. If they lose to Austin Peay at Rupp Arena, do not purchase FireCoachCal.com or say things you will later regret on message boards. It is a process and that process lasts until March. Stick behind the program and be a True Blue Fan and this process may just last into April.

Ex-Cat Jared Carter Returns to D-League Roster


Former Kentucky Wildcat big man Jared Carter, who was waived by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants a little over a week ago, has been reacquired by the team.

Carter has appeared in one game. He played 3 minutes and picked up an offensive rebound. In his second game with the Mad Ants, he did not play (coaches' decision).

Carter is a native of Georgetown, Kentucky and he played high school basketball for Scott County.

Here is a mention of Carter on a Mad Ants Blog:

In the meantime, I have heard we are bringing back Jared Carter to get another big body on the team with Chris gone. If you recall, Carter is the 7'2 center from Kentucky who started off with us in training camp but was waived. He did not get a lot of time in at Kentucky to show what he can do, so let's see what he does with this opportunity.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Loss to Kent State Leaves Morehead State Hungry


The Morehead State Eagles jumped out to a 9-point lead over Kent State at home on Sunday and appeared close to sending the Golden Flashes home with a tough road loss. The tables quickly turned however, and the Eagles found themselves with a 63-57 loss and a disappointing 1-3 record heading into Ohio Valley Conference play.

"We're just not where we need to be," Morehead State head coach Donnie Tyndall explained after the game. "I have told our guys all along that we have a target on our backs this season and they're all coming after us hard."

The loss to the Golden Flashes did not seem to be the biggest problem on Tyndall's mind.

"We're not where I thought we'd be. I thought we'd be a tougher team. We have not been a good practice team," he stated. "Our team is talented enough to do good things if we become a better practice team."

The Eagles open OVC play with a two-game road trip. They travel to UT-Martin on Thursday and then head to Murray State on Saturday for a matchup of arguably the two most talented teams in the conference.

Morehead State Notebook:

- Senior Maze Stallworth became the 28th player in MSU history to reach the 1,ooo-point club during Sunday's game
- Notre Dame transfer Ty Proffitt is out 2-4 weeks with a stress fracture
- David Terrell did not play Sunday and I was told he has been suspended indefinitely; no reason was given
- Kenneth Faried continues to be one of the most impressive big men in the state of Kentucky; he came up with 12 points and 15 rebounds against the Golden Flashes; he is a mid-range jumper away from being a solid NBA contributor, in my opinion
- Brandon Shingles set a new career high with 10 assists against Kent State
- Steve Peterson set a new career high with 15 points against Kent State

Postgame Quotes:

Geno Ford, Kent State Head Coach

On the key stretch in the game that led to a Kent State victory:

"I felt like there were two big plays. The first was Rod's steal in the high post and then about two plays later, we got another steal. During that stretch, they weren't able to get a shot off and I felt that we were able to get control of the game at that point."

On MSU's Kenneth Faried:

"We had to get stops. We had to play zone because we couldn't stop Faried."

"We won't be renewing the contract. We've seen enough of him. After he graduates in two years, we'll reschedule then. He changes the game in a lot of ways."

"His footwork has improved. The Morehead staff has done an excellent job in developing his game. He's put time in and they've developed him."

Donnie Tyndall, Morehead State Head Coach

On the game:

"I thought both teams played hard. Kent State is one of the best mid-major programs in the country."

"They played 38 minutes of zone defense...we go 6-24 from the three-point line."

"The turnovers are disappointing."

On his thoughts of what ultimately won/lost the game:

"I think there are two areas that really determined the outcome. One, they get to the foul line 26 times, we get there 12. Second, we settled for contested jumpshots."

On Maze Stallworth:

"I'm very proud of what Maze has accomplished."

“When he was a freshman, we were at Murray State and there was a player being honored for his 1,000th point and I turned to him and told him if he worked hard and listened, someday I’d be giving him a 1,000-point ball. It’s amazing how far he’s come at this point.”

Marshall County Hoop Fest 2009 Opens Thursday


The 14th annual Marshall County Hoop Fest kicks off Thursday and runs through the weekend in Benton, Kentucky. Once again the event will be jam-packed with basketball talent and will include nationally ranked Oak Hill Academy and Findlay Prep.

Here is the schedule for the Hoop Fest:

MARSHALL COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL

REED CONDER GYMNASIUM

December 3-5, 2009

Thursday December 3

5:00 PM Marshall County KY Vs Massac County IL (girls)
6:30 PM Marshall County KY Vs Massac County IL
8:00 PM Graves County KY Vs Muhlenberg County KY

Friday December 4

4:00 PM Grace Prep Academy TX Vs Our Savior New American NY
5:30 PM Marshall County KY Vs McLean County KY (girls)
7:00 PM Christian County KY Vs Bellville Althoff Catholic IL
8:30 PM South Laurel KY Vs Bowman Academy IN
10:00 PM Findlay Prep NV Vs Christ School NC

Saturday December 5

12:00 PM Paducah Tilghman KY Vs Perry County KY
1:30 PM Lexington Catholic KY Vs Warren Central KY
3:00 PM Hopkinsville KY Vs Jeffersontown KY
4:30 PM Christ School NC Vs Grace Prep Academy TX
6:30 PM Holmes High School KY Vs Bowman Acadamy
8:00 PM Oak Hill Academy VA Vs Jackson Calloway MS
9:30 PM Findlay Prep NV Vs New American NY

My Name is John Wall and I Am an Athlete

John Wall demonstrates his amazing athleticism against UNC-Asheville:

Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles Injured for Louisville

The Louisville Cardinals will be without a pair of key players in tomorrow night's game against Stetson. Guards Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles will both be forced to miss the game due to injuries.

Here is an excerpt of an article in the Courier-Journal:

Injured University of Louisville guards Preston Knowles and Peyton Siva both will miss Wednesday night's game against Stetson

Knowles has an injured thumb and Siva a sprained wrist.

''It hurts our quickness, and certainly we have to juggle our lineup,'' U of L coach Rick Pitino said.


Pitino stated that Reginald Delk will likely start and Mike Marra and Rakeem Buckles will see an increase in minutes as a result of the injuries.

Article from the Courier-Journal

Kentucky Wildcats Lead SEC Basketball Power Rankings

BleacherReport.com has released its SEC Power Rankings and Kentucky is on top, just in front of Florida and Tennessee. Here is a look at what the site says about the Wildcats and how they rank the SEC at this point of the season:

Top Tier

1. Kentucky Wildcats

Year one under John Calipari has been a success so far. The Wildcats are ranked fifth in the nation, and their young talent has improved from game to game. They enter this week 7-0 and sit atop the SEC.

Next Test: Sat., Dec. 5 vs. No. 10 North Carolina

2. Florida Gators
3. Tennessee Volunteers

Sniffing the Top Tier:

4. Mississippi Rebels
5. Vanderbilt Commodores

Middle of the Pack:

6. Alabama Crimson Tide
7. South Carolina Gamecocks
8. Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Rest:

9. Georgia Bulldogs
10. LSU Tigers
11. Auburn Tigers
12. Arkansas Razorbacks

Complete Article and Team Analysis

Bellarmine Climbs One Spot in NCAA DII Basketball Poll

NABC/Division II Coaches Poll

(Dec. 1, 2009 – Regular season poll #2)

Record Points Pvs

1. BYU-Hawaii (8 first place votes) 2-0 200 1
2. Central Missouri 4-0 190 2
3. Valdosta State, Ga. 5-0 184 3
4. Florida Southern 5-0 174 4
5. Augusta State, Ga. 4-0 171 6
6. Bellarmine, Ky. 4-1 156 7
7. Southwest Baptist, Mo. 7-1 148 8
8. Indiana, Pa. 3-0 143 11
9. Findlay, Ohio 3-1 133 10
10. Bentley, Mass. 4-1 130 5

Complete Top 25

FoxSports.com Top 10 Player of the Year Candidates

Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com has listed his top 10 candidates for NCAA basketball Player of the Year. John Wall from Kentucky comes in at #2 on the list:

2. John Wall, 6-3 1/2, 193, PG, Fr., Kentucky

After being suspended for the season opener, the freshman floor leader hasn't missed a beat. He made a last-second game-winner to save the Wildcats against Miami (Ohio) and is averaging 18.5 points, 7.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds thus far.

Top 10 from FoxSports.com:

1. Evan Turner, Ohio State
2. John Wall, Kentucky
3. Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
4. Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
5. Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
6. Da'Sean Butler, West Virginia
7. Quincy Pondexter, Washington
8. Damion James, Texas
9. Klay Thompson, Washington State
10. Matt Bouldin, Gonzaga

Complete Article

2010 Recruit Josh Selby Trims List and Plans UK Visit

Josh Selby, a 2010 point guard that is one of the top remaining uncommited players, has apparently dropped a school from his final list and is close to working out a visit date for Kentucky:

“As far as Miami, I don’t think we are going to pursue them anymore,” Witherspoon said. “We are trying to get the flight situation worked out to visit UK on the 2nd (Jan) or 9th,” added Witherspoon.

He is also trying to organize a trip to Kansas:

I would like to get to KU on the 22nd (Dec). “I think they (KU) play Cal that day,” said Witherspoon of setting up a return visit to Kansas. “I want to see that game. I will have to fly in for that one even without Josh. That’s a game we could get out there to see. If he can’t go, I would still come,” added Witherspoon.

Article from TheShiver.com

Tough Few Days for the Louisville Cardinal

First, this happened during Kentucky's open practice at Freedom Hall:



Then, the University of Kentucky mascot pretended to, let's say, "relieve" himself on the Cardinal during the Kentucky/UNC-Asheville game.

The Freedom Hall Cardinal will certainly be happy to see the return of Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals.

Murray State Moving Up Mid-Major Basketball Poll

MID MAJOR TOP 25-COLLEGEINSIDER.COM

Record Points Previous

1. Gonzaga (31) 5-1 775 2
2. Butler 4-2 743 1
3. Portland 5-1 622 9
4. Northern Iowa 4-1 607 7
5. Illinois State 6-0 598 12
6. VCU 4-1 554 6
7. Old Dominion 4-2 550 3
8. Siena 4-2 531 4
9. Western Kentucky 2-2 461 5
10. Cornell 5-2 451 10
11. Akron 5-2 450 18 12. George Mason 3-3 367 11 13. St. Mary's 4-1 360 22 14. Rider 4-3 302 14 15. Niagara 4-3 262 15 16. Murray State 5-1 202 23 17. Northeastern 2-2 199 16 18. Cal State Fullerton 3-0 171 21 19. Long Beach State 4-3 167 17 20. Wright State 3-2 123 13 21. Ohio 4-1 118 19 22. Detroit 4-2 116 20 23. Northern Colorado 5-0 112 25 24. Bradley 4-2 96 NR 25. Western Carolina 5-1 92 NR

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Missouri State 87, Texas-San Antonio 86, San Diego 84, Morgan State 79, Kent State 73, Southern Illinois 66, South Alabama 46, Pacific 44, UC Santa Barbara 42, Wichita State 37, Cleveland State 28, Radford 26, Indiana State 24, Iona 24, Buffalo 23, Eastern Michigan 23, Wisconsin Green-Bay 21, Milwaukee 20, Sam Houston State 18, Oakland 17, Wofford 17, IUPUI 16, Coastal Carolina 15, Vermont 13, Appalachian State 12, Denver 12, Troy 10, College of Charleston 10, Davidson 8, Montana 8, Campbell 7, Norfolk State 7, Creighton 6, Mount St Mary's 6, Stony Brook 6, Eastern Kentucky 5, North Texas 5, Furman 4, Seattle 4, Ball State 3, Canisius 3, Harvard 3, Loyola 3, Morehead State 2, Army 1, Bucknell 1, Chicago State 1, South Carolina State 1.

The Best Job in the World is Kentucky Basketball Coach


John P. Wise, a contributor on BleacherReport.com, says the greatest job in the world is Kentucky basketball coach. He lists the final four as Notre Dame football coach, Kentucky basketball coach, Yankees manager and Cowboys quarterback.

Here is what he says about Kentucky:

Kentucky Basketball Coach

The microscope, pressure, and expectations here are similar to those at Notre Dame. These are high-profile gigs on a national level, but because, in either position, your office is in small-town, Middle America, you are the biggest of fish in the smallest of puddles.

The likelihood that you'll own Lexington if you do the job right is stronger than the likelihood you'll own South Bend, where a 10-2 record would have saved Weis' job, but still left many whimpering about those two losses.

And the final choice is:

"If I had to pick, I'd take the Kentucky basketball job."

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