Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ex-Cat Jodie Meeks Breaks Recent NBA Slump

Former Kentucky Wildcats' basketball star Jodie Meeks scored double figures for the first time since November 7 tonight against the San Antonio Spurs.

Meeks scored 15 points on 5-8 field goal shooting, including 3-4 from long range in the Bucks' 112-97 loss to the Spurs. The most encouraging statistic for Meeks is likely the 28 minutes he played - the most minutes he has ever played in an NBA uniform.

On the season, Meeks is averaging 12.2 minutes and only 4.0 points per game. Recent rumors have introduced the idea of Meeks being demoted to the NBA D-League for seasoning.

Hopefully, he can build off tonight's performance and find a firm spot on Milwaukee's roster.

ESPN Box Score

Q&A with Kentucky Basketball Author Joseph Lacy

basketball ticket book
Joseph Lacy, author of To Africa with Love: A Bush Doc's Story, and Prescriptions for Life, enjoys reading and writing inspirational stories. Appalachian characters often find their way into his stories. He is the ordinary coach/ref of some extraordinary kids in the Upward football and basketball leagues in Kentucky. He is currently working on a medical thriller.

I have checked out Mountain Reign and it is a great piece of literature that really hits home. Here is a Q&A I conducted with Lacy about his book.

Mr. Lacy, it's a pleasure to speak with you today. I am more than happy to pass your brilliant work on to my readers.

First, tell me how many books you have written?

Mountain Reign is my first novel, and you always hope that people don’t say the new baby’s ears are too big. Previously, I wrote a biography of Ohio native Jim Foulkes, MD. I joined Jim on his mission hospital rounds in the bush country of Mukinge, Zambia (south central Africa) and the seeds of To Africa with Love: A Bush Doc’s Story were planted then. I also compiled a series of inspirational gift books in a “Prescription” series, including Prescription for Life. I did a satisfying cover story for Iron Master on the life story of my uncle, Ronald Coleman Lacy. Ron was the greatest all-around athlete I’ve ever seen. I'm currently working on two medical thrillers.

What was the inspiration behind Mountain Reign?

For my money, Hoosiers is the best sports movie ever. What’s the point of fictionalizing Kentucky basketball when we possess dozens of Hoosiers-like tales? Instead of telling one story to the exclusion of other worthy tales, I took slivers of many and coupled it with the spirit of Kentucky basketball and Mountain Reign was born.

I grew up with basketballs bouncing around my ears (Lexington-born, UK alumnus), and gained inspiration from watching a lot of fabulous players. On the college scene, I am more partial to great student-athletes, and two that come to mind are Patrick Patterson and Jeff Sheppard. Other favorite players include Dan Issel, Jamal Mashburn, Pete Maravich, Roger Harden, Tony Delk, Jack Givens, and Rex Chapman.

As well, I was raised by wonderful Appalachian grandparents (who spent part of their lives in Morgan and Wolfe counties) and my Hazard-born Uncle Ron. A lot of their hardiness is found in the characters of Mountain Reign.

Appalachia’s story is often one of a hardscrabble life and the quality of that life depended upon a man or woman’s independence and self-sufficiency. I set the book in 1950. At that time, the severe terrain and isolation of this population left many of these mountain communities unlike any found elsewhere in the world.

Much of Appalachian writing diverges into stereotype or romantic legend. I wanted neither. Mountain Reign is a story of sturdy people who happen to be Appalachian. The creative center of the book is people. As well, the rich landscape of the Appalachian Mountains presents as a character in itself. Then put a basketball in a teenager’s hands and you can get some interesting things that happen.

Were any of your characters inspired by UK players?

High school players, of course, don’t have the polish of college players. In fact, I did not choose one particular player to model my characters after, but took facets from many, some great and some lesser-sung.

When Hazelwood’s pint-sized point guard (Stub) barrels down court dribbling the ball like he’s squashing bugs, readers will see a little guy with a big desire to win. UK fans will hopefully see a composite—Dicky Beal, Anthony Epps, or even Ron Lacy, a UK football player (running back under Bear Bryant, an Army All-Star basketball player, and former Mr. America)—guys with motors that didn’t quit. If John Wall had played at Kentucky before I’d finished Mountain Reign, there would probably be a sliver of him in there, too. With Wall, you're tempted to use Ali’s famous line: “Keep the camera moving, ‘cause I'm kinda fast.”

Hazelwood plays scrappy, in-your-face defense. I hope readers see slivers of Jay Shidler, Cliff Hawkins, Saul Smith, Travis Ford, and Sean Woods.

In Mountain Reign, even some of the opponents have a UK essence. For example, a city player who “looks like he has cantaloupe halves strapped where his calves should have been” muscles his way into the paint with his NFL-style frame (think James Lee) to torment foes with his silky shots (insert Jack Givens or Louie Dampier).

When other characters stroke polished textbook shots, I hope the readers see in their mind’s eye Kevin Grevey, Jodie Meeks, and Troy McKinley. When the hometown player sets a rock-solid box out, visions of Charles Hurt, Dan Issel, or Patrick Patterson may leap to mind. A dribbler blurs through the defense like gale through a corn field—was that Roger Harden or Rajon Rondo? Derek Anderson or Wayne Turner? Larry Conley or Ralph Beard?

Most importantly, I hope the reader sees in Mountain Reign the concept of team. Role players often are the crucial cement that molds really good teams. Mountain Reign is chocked with players who exude hustle, who are comfortable in their own skin and use solid fundamentals—who better to embody the team concept than Jeff Brassow, Chuck Hayes, Ronnie Lyons, John Pelphrey, or Richie Farmer. Those guys were as comfortable scraping their chins against the floor chasing loose balls as shooting baskets in warm-ups. The same can be said for other mountain floor burns—Wah Wah Jones, GJ Smith, Larry Stamper, Reggie Hanson, Joe Stepp, Johnny Cox, and Don Mills.

In my book, one of the guys shares his money with his destitute teammates. Not to stretch this analogy too far, but when Jamal Mashburn donated $500,000 from his salary before playing one NBA game, that kind of generosity gets your attention.

Why did you pick the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the Adolph Rupp era as the setting?

The Appalachian players were the rootstock of Kentucky basketball during this era. And this, at a time when UK was amassing a perennial basketball dynasty, with All-Americans coming off the bench. Rupp would often quote the Bible: “I look unto the hills, whence comes my help.”

Also, in 1950 television had yet to homogenize the culture. The time period and geography made for an amazing abundance of rich-textured themes. Living off the land. The blessing/curse of coal veining through the mountains. Segregation. Elizabethan dialect that resembled what Shakespeare and Chaucer spoke.

Which character, if any, will Kentucky fans find most familiar?

Hopefully, they will see glimpses of many players, not just one. What basketball lovers will find familiar is that the boys between these pages love basketball as much as they do. This beautiful game was made to be played well, and to be played well it must be played fast, and be played as a team.

Really, none of the hometown team in Mountain Reign is good enough to play at UK. But what they're really good at is being a team. As an aside, there’s a scene where the coach drives the winding roads to meet an old retired coach from Clay County, Bippy Skyland, for advice. He’s not exactly a Bobby Keith, but they would have liked each other.

What, if anything, was the most difficult thing about writing Mountain Reign?

On a writerly level, you always worry about the balance of description, narrative summary and dialogue used in storytelling. You want your history and facts to be right, but you don’t want to use a ton of research, because it comes off as a data dump and/or authorial boasting, which yanks the reader out of the story. That’s one reason why I couldn't mention all forty-nine of Kentucky’s Appalachian counties (or most of their great players) between the pages of the book by name—but their spirit is there.

Today, of course, kids of all stripes play ball together. But at that time, you had two Kentucky high school leagues, one white, one black (KHSAA and KHSAL). Then, blacks and whites did not officially play together. Fiction allows you to have a little fun—so I had a black team scrimmage the hometown white team in preparation for a tournament. I didn’t want to rabbit-trail too much from the dominant theme of the book, but I thought this was an important scene (pre-civil rights America). To get a feel for this, I interviewed Henry Lee Logan, the first African-American to play basketball at a predominantly white institution (Western Carolina University) in the southeastern US.

Additionally, one of my main characters is a Melungeon, someone not quite black, someone not quite white. (Try googling “Melungeon” for an interesting read). I interviewed a nurse I work with who is part-Melungeon. Suffice it to say, the self-reliant Melungeon’s skin is not only dark, it’s pretty thick, too. Toughness comes in all shades of skin color.

What do I want people to get out of the book? The enjoyment of a satisfying read and an appreciation for that which is the creative center of Mountain Reign—the Appalachian people.

Check out Mountain Reign reviews or pick up a copy at Amazon.com or Abebooks.com.

Samuels Will Stay at Louisville for as Least Another Year

Louisville's sophomore big man Samardo Samuels has stated that he will stay with the Cardinals for at least one more season.

Excerpt of article from BleacherReport.com:

The Jamaican native is now calling Louisville his home for at least another season of college basketball, and Pitino said his star sophomore still has some wrinkles in his game—especially those related to rebounding—that he needs to figure out.

According to Pitino, that starts with instilling NBA-caliber moves under the basket: “checking out” rather than boxing out.

“He’ll block out and get tangled with the guy,” Pitino said. “So now he can’t be explosive. He’s on the ground. What he’s got to do is take his forearm, check out, and get that jump to the ball.
“That’s what all NBA players do.”


Complete Article

U of L Basketball Recruit in STOP-DWI Classic


Louisville 2012 basketball recruit Omar Calhoun will be participating in the STOP-DWI Holiday Classic in New York. Calhoun, who plays for Queens' based Christ the King, is one of the top sophomores in the country.

He is 6-4 and already holds offers from Villanova, Pittsburgh and Louisville.

Excerpt of article from PressConnects.com:

"He can really shoot it," Arbitello said of Omar Calhoun, the lone sophomore on a 15-player roster. "He's 6-4, athletic, and he defends and passes well."

NOTE: Also competing in this event will be South Laurel High School from London, Kentucky.

John Wall's Ice Cream Paint Job

Happy Holidays!

Jennings Will Return for Louisville Basketball on Sunday

Terrence Jennings will not start, but is expected to play Sunday for the Louisville Cardinals after serving a one-game suspension.

Excerpt of article from the Courier-Journal:

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino said that Terrence Jennings will return for Sunday afternoon’s home game against Radford. The sophomore forward was suspended for Wednesday’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette due to an unspecified violation of team rules.

Jennings likely won’t start but could play alongside sophomore center Samardo Samuels.

“We won’t start them together but they could play together,” Pitino said. “If we can stay out of foul trouble we will definitely play them together.”


Complete Article

LostLettermen.com Tracks Down UK Basketball Assistant

new york knicks
LostLetterman.com has tracked down Kentucky basketball assistant Rod Strickland.

Who’s Hot? DePaul’s Rod Strickland Moves With Calipari

Did you notice a familiar face with perusing the Kentucky bench this season? Rod Strickland was a two-time All-America pick and led DePaul to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including two trips to the Sweet Sixteen. After a long career in the NBA, Strickland became director of basketball operations for Memphis under John Calipari. When Calipari moved to Kentucky this year, Strickland followed and is currently an assistant for the Wildcats.

SEC Basketball Title is Kentucky's to Lose

Rivals.com has answered the question: Which teams do you think will win the league titles in the Big Six conferences?

They feel that Kentucky is easily the favorite in the SEC. Here are some excerpts about the Wildcats:

"As for the SEC, it's once again Kentucky's to lose."

- David King

"And in the SEC, Kentucky is the easy pick."

- Mike Huguenin

SEC: Kentucky - "No team in college basketball has a ceiling quite as high as the Wildcats, who have managed to stay undefeated despite the fact that they haven't even implemented half of their offensive plays. John Wall is the top player in the country, hands down. DeMarcus Cousins is getting better every game and junior Patrick Patterson will be a top-20 pick in this summer's draft. Kentucky may lose a few SEC games simply because of its youth. But if John Calipari gets things clicking with this bunch, the Wildcats may be close to unbeatable in March and April."

- Jason King

"Kentucky seems like the clear-cut favorite in the SEC now that Tennessee and Florida have shown some vulnerability the past few days."

- Steve Megargee

Complete Article

Catching Up with Ex-Cat J.P. Blevins

kentucky wildcats basketball
I bumped into former Kentucky Wildcat guard J.P. Blevins at the Citizens First Holiday Classic in Bowling Green on Monday. Blevins was in attendance to watch his former high school, Metcalfe County, take on Daviess County.

I sat down for a quick chat with J.P. to see how sales are going for his iPhone app company, what else he is doing these days and some of his memories as a Kentucky Wildcat.

J.P, how are things going with your Kentucky Wildcats' iPhone apps?

Things are going really well with the UK apps. They spike on some days and then bottom out on others, but on average, we are really pleased. Sales really explode on gamedays.

Tell me a little about the Gameday Apps company and how fans can find your apps.

I am in the business with Josh and Bobby (former UK Wildcats Josh Carrier and Bobby Perry) and also a few others. We currently have six apps on the market. We have UK football and basketball, North Carolina basketball, Florida football, LSU football and Alabama football.

Our apps are available on iTunes and can also be easily found by visiting our website. http://www.gamedayapp.com/

What else are you doing these days, besides the iPhone venture?

I live in Lexington and I'm involved in a business that does various things such as motivational programs for schools. We do elementary, junior high and high school programs. I am also involved in runnin several basketball camps in Lexington. At this time, I am totally self-employed and I love it.

J.P., what would you say is your favorite memory as a Kentucky Wildcat?

We had number one Michigan State in Rupp Arena my sophomore year. It was a huge game. I hit a three-pointer to win it and I'd say that stands out as my best memory from a personal standpoint.

Other than that, I think pretty much every player would agree with me that there is no other memory that compares to Senior Day at Rupp.

I can only imagine what that would be like. I'm sure it's just unbelievable. J.P. I appreciate you taking a timeout from the game to chat a little. Good luck with everything.

Thank you. We really appreciate you spreading the word about our apps.

Patrick Sparks On Fire in Ukrainian Basketball League

Former Kentucky Wildcat basketball sharpshooter Patrick Sparks started this season in a modest fashion but has exploded in his last four games.

The Central City native, who plays for Hoverla in Ukraine's top-level Superleague, was averaging 10.4 points per outing after this season's first 7 games. In the last 4 games, he has been averaging 23.5 points per game. He has gone for 22, 19, 29 and 24 during that stretch and his team has started winning games.

Sparks played high school basketball for Muhlenberg North High School. He started his college career at Western Kentucky and then transferred to Kentucky for his final two seasons. He scored 714 points and shot 38% from long range in his 2-season UK career.

He is perhaps best remembered for this unbelievable shot in the Elite 8 against Michigan State:



Source: Eurobasket.com

Ex-Cat Joe Crawford Scores 22 in D-League Debut

Former Kentucky Wildcat basketball star Joe Crawford has returned to action for the Los Angeles D-Fenders in the NBA D-League.

Crawford spent much of last season with the NBA's New York Knicks, but did not make the team this preseason. As a result, he is back in the D-League with the D-Fenders.

Crawford, coming off an injury, finally made his return debut with against the Bakersfield Jam. In his first game back, Crawford scored 22 points to help lead Los Angeles to a 105-102 victory.

Here are some highlights of Crawford in action:

Friday, December 25, 2009

Future Hilltopper on Display at MaxPreps Classic

western kentucky basketball
Future Western Kentucky basketball player Derrick Gordon and his St. Patrick's teammates are competing in the MaxPreps Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines High School in San Diego.

Here is an excerpt of an article on SignOnSanDiego.com that discusses the nation's current top-ranked high school team:

Torrey Pines coach John Olive, the tournament director, parlayed his connections as a player and coach to set up the appearance by St. Patrick’s, which has four players already committed or signed to Division I schools.

“Many consider (6-3 guard) Kyrie Irving, who is going to Duke, to be one of the best players in the country and in (6-7 forward) Michael Gilchrist they have the best junior in the nation,” Olive said.

“This is probably the most talented team we’ve ever had in the tournament. Man to man, people are going to see a level of basketball skills they’ve never seen before.”

In addition to its two stars, St. Patrick’s comes in with 6-6 forward Chase Plummer (Maryland Baltimore County), 6-3 junior Derrick Gordon (Western Kentucky) and 6-8 senior Josh Daniell (Wagner).


Photo: Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger

2011 Star Wayne Blackshear Commits to Louisville

According to Scout.com, Rick Pitino has earned a nice Christmas gift for the fans of the Louisville Cardinals.

Wayne Blackshear, a 6-5 shooting guard that is ranked #18 on the Rivals150 List for 2011, has given his commitment to the Cardinals. Blackshear also had offers from Illinois and Texas.

Blackshear's Rivals.com Profile

Blackshear in Action:

Calipari and Family Do a Wonderful Thing for Christmas

The media, particularly on a national level, are always eager to spin John Calipari news in a negative fashion. Here is a wonderful article about Coach Calipari and his family sending true blessings to senior citizens in need in the Lexington area.

The Calipari's have spent some time this holiday season putting the Christ back in Christmas.

Article by The Associated Press:

(AP) — LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari began the team's holiday break visiting senior citizens in need.

Calipari, his wife, Ellen, and his two children, Erin and Brad, visited the homes of nine seniors Thursday with gifts of clothes and gift cards, as well as food.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Caliparis had partnered with the city's Urban League to find the recipients.

At one home, the coach handed resident Anna Russell a signed copy of his book, "Bounce Back," telling her she could "regift" it if she wanted to.

Said Russell: "Naw, I'm not going to give it away."

Original Article from Kentucky.com

Need a College Basketball Fix for Christmas Day?

If you are going into college basketball withdrawal, you should tune into ESPN2 tonight at 9:30 p.m. You can catch former Kentucky Wildcat Derrick Jasper and UNLV (12-1) versus USC in the Diamond Head Classic championship game.

USC (7-4, 0-0 PAC-10)

vs

NO. 20 UNLV (12-1, 0-0 MOUNTAIN WEST)


DATE: Friday, December 25, 2009
TIME: 4:30 PM HST/6:30 PM PST
SITE: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300), Honolulu, Hawaii
TV: ESPN2 (Jon Sciambi, Doug Gottlieb)
RADIO: ESPN Radio 1100 AM, Las Vegas (Jon Sandler, Robert Smith)
ONLINE: Audio Broadcast and Live Stats at UNLVRebels.com


CLICK HERE FOR PDF OF GAME NOTES

David Palmer Scores 39 to Lead NKU Hoops to Win

Northern Kentucky 91
UC-Clermont 89 Final/OT

Final from Northern Kentucky University


Excerpt of game recap by NKU:

David Palmer scored a career-high 39 points as Northern Kentucky University outlasted UC-Clermont in overtime, 91-89, Wednesday night in The Bank of Kentucky Center.

Palmer, a 6-foot-9 senior center, was 17-for-27 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds. Palmer’s 39-point performance tied for the third-highest scoring total in NKU history, and his 17 field goals equaled the school record.

Four other NKU players - Derek Fields, David Marshall, Brady Jackson and Richard Derkson – have also scored 39 points in a game. Mike Kelsey scored a school-record 50 points for the Norse against Indianapolis on Jan. 2, 2004. Greg Phelia netted 43 points against Kentucky Wesleyan on Jan. 18, 1992, for the second-highest scoring total in NKU history.

Chris Knight and Corey Sorrell each added 18 points for NKU, which improved to 7-4. Knight scored six points in the overtime and made two free throws with 8.4 seconds remaining to give the Norse a 91-86 cushion. UC-Clermont’s Maurice McGee drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to account for the final margin.

Jose Narvaez led UC-Clermont (10-5) with 22 points and 18 rebounds. Kraig Unger added 23 points for the Cougars, who are 0-7 all-time against NKU. Travis Donald finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Cougars.

Complete Recap and Box Score

Thursday, December 24, 2009

UK Basketball Recruits in Les Schwab Invitational

basketball tournament
There will be a pair of talented 2010 Kentucky basketball recruits participating in the Les Schwab Invitational at Liberty High School (Or.).

Terrence Jones, 6-9, Jefferson: No. 15 in ESPN's class of 2010 rankings; The Oregonian 2009 Class 5A player of the year; considering Kentucky, Oklahoma, UCLA, Oregon, Washington

Doron Lamb, 6-4, Oak Hill Academy (Va.): No. 33 in ESPN's class of 2010 rankings; considering Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas

College Basketball Holiday Award for John Wall

Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com has delivered his Holiday Awards and he gives high praise to Kentucky's John Wall. Here is an excerpt:

Player of Year: John Wall – Who else but Kentucky's talented freshman? The Wildcats point guard has wasted no time exploding onto the scene and establishing himself as the frontrunner for National Player of the Year honors. He can dominate a game on either end of the floor, has quickly become a leader and has also shown he has ice in his veins with the game on the line. If Ohio State's Evan Turner hadn't gone down with a back injury, this would have been a difficult decision.

Complete List of Goodman's Holiday Awards

Conference USA Better Off Without John Calipari?

john calipari
Several basketball coaches in Conference USA believe the conference is actually better off now that John Calipari is no longer in the league. Here is an excerpt from an article on FoxSports.com:

Ask the coaches in Conference USA.

Finally, there’s oxygen in the gym for somebody other than Calipari to breathe.

“I love Cal, but if he was still here, he would be so dominant that nobody else in the league would get any respect,” UAB coach Mike Davis said. “It took away from our league because of how good he was.”

This is what Davis is talking about: In the last three seasons, here is the list of teams C-USA has placed in the NCAA tournament: Memphis, Memphis and, believe it or not, Memphis.

That is the entire list.

This is what college basketball should be noticing as the season accelerates into league play: Conference USA has regained its swagger.

Complete Article

UK Recruit C.J. Leslie Highlights from Holiday Classic

Here is a YouTube video of 2010 forward C.J. Leslie, a Kentucky basketball target, in action during the 2nd Annual Prep All-Stars Holiday Classic:

Recap of Citizens First Holiday Classic in Bowling Green


Game Recaps:

Dec. 20

Greenwood 54 DeSales 50

Without knowing either of these teams, I thought early that DeSales would win this game. The Colts rode hot outside shooting to a halftime lead and appeared to be in control of the game. The multi-talented Dee Anderson simply took the game over in the second half and Greenwood roared back for the victory.

Metcalfe County 50 Adair County 47

Adair County jumped out to about a 10-point or so lead early in this one, but Metcalfe County stormed back to tie it. The Hornets actually extended out to a double-figure lead in the fourth quarter, but Adair would not go away. They used a combination of pressure defense and 3-point shooting to pull within three points. The Indians actually had four good looks from long range to tie the game within the final 30 seconds, but could not get a shot to fall. This game was a coming out party for Grant and Russell Kindred, Metcalfe's 6-8 twin brothers. They were dominate on the glass in this game and put the Hornets on their backs and carried the team to victory.

Mason County 52 Franklin-Simpson 50

This was probably the best game I watched. Two really good teams that are led by two really good players in a battle to the wire. Treg Setty of Mason County and Mickey Lewis of Franklin-Simpson both came to life in the second half and provided the fans with a great basketball game.

Bowling Green 64 Christian Brothers 59

This one was played in the smaller auxiliary gym, which actually provided an electric atmosphere. The place was packed and it was loud. This was my first opportunity to watch big man Chane Behanan in action and it took about 30 seconds to realize he is one of the best players in Kentucky. Bowling Green had a sizable lead, but allowed Christian Brothers to get back in it.

Dec. 21

Daviess County 83 Metcalfe County 56

I was impressed by the intensity that the Daviess County team plays with. They are a tough defensive team and the undersized Hornet guards had no chance against the full court trapping defense.

DeSales 59 Madison Southern 55

This one, played in the smaller auxiliary gym, was the most intense game I witnessed during my time in Bowling Green. I would have thought these two teams are bitter district rivals by the way they played in this game. Both teams laid it all on the court in this game but DeSales ended up converting on a couple of big plays in the last minute to get the win.

Franklin-Simpson 63 Ryle 58

Franklin-Simpson seemed in control throughout, but Ryle refused to give up. They came up a little short and just couldn't get over the hump, but it was still a really nice effort. Mickey Lewis was the best player on the floor in this one.

Christian Brothers 70 Buckhorn 44

Christian Brothers had more talent and played with a little more emphasis after losing on day 1. This one was never in doubt and the better team won.

Greenwood 53 Madison Southern 43

This game was pretty close throughout. Southern, like most of the tournament field, had no answer for Dee Anderson. I am really impressed with the outside shooting ability of Southern's Aaron Ponder. He is lethal from long range.

I left after the Greenwood game to make the 2-hour drive back home, so I missed the final 3 games. Here are the scores:

Daviess County 50 Adair County 44
Bowling Green 84 Buckhorn 44
Mason County 51 Ryle 46

Dec. 22

Note: I left after day two (that whole "real" job thing strikes again), but here are the results:

Buckhorn 53 Ryle 52
Greenwood 68 Mason County 61
Madison Southern 64 Adair County 48
Franklin-Simpson 51 DeSales 42
Buckhorn 62 Adair County 46
Ryle 64 Madison Southern 56
DeSales 73 Metcalfe County 29
Christian Brothers 46 Franklin-Simpson 43
Bowling Green 68 Daviess County 37
Christian Brothers 65 Metcalfe County 54
Consolation Game: Mason County 60 Daviess County 50
Championship Game: Bowling Green 64 Greenwood 61

Top Players:

NOTE: This is not the all-tournament team; these are the players that stood out to me

MVP: Chane Behanan, Bowling Green
Runner Up: Dee Anderson, Greenwood

12 more that I felt "stood out":

1. Mickey Lewis, Franklin-Simpson
2. Frankie Bougher, Christian Brothers, (Tn.)
3. Treg Setty, Mason County
4. Russell Kindred, Metcalfe County
5. Jordan Gilbert, Mason County
6. D.J. Ray, Bowling Green
7. Hayden Simon, Daviess County
8. Grant Kindred, Metcalfe County
9. Dominic Fragale, Christian Brothers (Tn.)
10. Bobby Stauffer, Ryle
11. Aaron Ponder, Madison Southern
12. Justin Lang, Mason County

My "Awards":

Craziest buzzer beater: Jesse Jones, Metcalfe County; the 5-6 guard threw up a 45-footer at the end of the 3rd quarter against Adair County and it found the bottom of the net

Most intense game: Madison Southern vs. DeSales; All I can say about this one is "wow!" The fans were exchanging words, the players were exchanging words and the teams laid it all on the line.

Bloodiest injury: Bobby Stauffer, Ryle; he was popped in the nose and there was plenty of blood; to his credit, he cleaned up and came back in the game in the second half.

Hospitality Award: Bowling Green High School and head coach D.G. Sherrill; the facilities were first class and Coach Sherrill made sure I was welcomed and taken care of; first class all the way

Popeye Award: Mitch McLeish, Ryle; that kid's arms look like they were taken from Muscle & Fitness magazine; I was nervous

Knowledgeable Head Coach Award: Bubba Luckett, Christian Brothers; I talked to several great basketball minds during my days in Bowling Green, but the coach that stands out is Luckett. He is one of those guys that just gives you the feeling that he knows what he's talking about. Add in his opinions on Kentucky head coach John Calipari and...well, let's not add in his opinions.

My Final Thoughts: This was just a tremendous event and it was loaded with good teams and talented kids. Chane Behanan is the real deal, which most already knew anyways, but it will be confirmed when you see him in person. Bowling Green has a nice squad and will be right there at the end of the season.

I was similarly impressed by Greenwood. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't think much of the Gators when I saw them warming up for the first game. Head coach Blane Embry has his team together, though, and looks are very deceiving. Dee Anderson is one heck of a good basketball player.

Photos from Citizens First Holiday Classic

The beautiful gymnasium at Bowling Green High School


Packed house in the BGHS auxiliary gymnasium to watch the Purples


Franklin-Simpson's Mickey Lewis and Mason County's Bradley Lang

Mason County's Treg Setty


Grant and Russell Kindred of Metcalfe County

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Introducing Metcalfe County's 6-8 Twin Towers

kentucky high school basketball
Metcalfe County features a set of 6-8 twin brothers that are loaded with potential. Juniors Grant and Russell Kindred are a pair of talented big men that generated a buzz during the Citizens First Holiday Classic in Bowling Green.

I spoke with several college coaches and scouts while watching the Kindred brothers play and each was impressed with their basketball skills.

Wes Durrant, an assistant at Southeast Illinois Community College said of pair, "I think they have a lot of potential. I believe they are tough kids who work hard. They will help some team at the next level out, especially when they add a little more size as they get older. They also seem to be smart individuals on and off the court from what I was able to observe."

Shane Howard of Custom College Recruiting added, "It's rare that this area sees a true big man. With the Kindred twins, not only do you get a true big man, but you get two true big men. After talking to these young men and their father, I feel these kids are a class act and a jewel to be had by a program at the next level."

Former University of Kentucky Wildcat J.P. Blevins, who travelled to Bowling Green to watch his former high school team play, feels the Kindred twins have a bright future. He stated, "The team is really young and lacks size on the perimeter and that makes it very difficult against tough defensive teams, but the two big guys can really play. I think both have college-level ability if they continue to improve."

I watched the second half of Metcalfe's 50-47 victory over Adair County and the Kindred brothers really performed at a high level. They controlled the glass on both ends and basically took the game over in leading the Hornets to victory.

I spoke to Grant and Russell after the victory over Adair County.

"It feels good to get the win tonight," said Grant.

I asked Russell how he feels the pair are playing. "We're doing OK, but I think we will get a lot better," he responded.

Each agreed that Bowling Green and Warren Central are likely the top two teams in the 4th Region.

Several colleges have started showing interest in the Kindred brothers, particularly after they attended Mississippi State's Elite Camp this summer. After check the twins out in person, I don't think I'm walking out on a limb by saying that the phone will be ringing much more soon.

Unbelievable: Adolf Hitler Parody About John Calipari

Just when I thought I had seen it all from the sour grape basketball fans of the South...

Some Notes on Several Kentucky Baskteball Recruits

ESPN's Reggie Ranking (Scouts Inc.) has some notes on several UK basketball recruits for 2010 and 2011.

On Stacy Poole (who has already signed with Kentucky for 2010):

Kentucky bound SF Stacey Poole (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence School) displayed his high-level athletic ability by attacking the basket with powerful drives that led to short pull-ups in the lane. Poole also tip dunked an offensive rebound in traffic that was a big-time play and momentum changer.

On Brandon Knight (2010) and Quincy Miller (2011):

Quality Education (Winston-Salem, N.C.) is loaded with talent and was very impressive in an 83-61 blow out win against Brandon Knight and Pine Crest. Point guard Stargell Love, shooting guard Aaron Bowen and power forwards Quincy Miller and Dom Pointer all scored double figures, combining for 63 of the team's 83 points. Knight led Pine Crest with 32 points, scoring 25 in the first half.

Complete Article

Morehead State Eagles Defeat Cal State Fullerton

Morehead State 69
Cal State Fullerton 62

Final from Utah State

Game recap by AP:

Kenneth Faried scored 19 points, including seven in the final 4-minutes, and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead Morehead State past Cal State Fullerton 69-62 Wednesday night.

Demonte Harper had 18 points and Maze Stallworth also added 13 for the Eagles (5-6).

The Titans (4-6) were led by Devon Peltier with 15, shooting 5 of 7 from the 3-point line. Orane Chin added 11 points and Jer'Vaughn Johnson 10.

Pelteir hit a 3-point shot with 5:10 to play to give the Titans a 59-55 edge, but Morehead would get three steals, two resulting in scores, in the final 3:50.

Neither team held an advantage in the first half, as the lead changed eight times and was tied six times. Fullerton attempted 13 3-point shots in the first half, hitting six. They led 37-34 at halftime.

The game was part of the three-day Basketball Travelers Invitational, hosted by Utah State.

Samuels Helps Louisville Cruise By Louisiana-Lafayette

Louisville 84
UL-Lafayette 69

Final from Louisville

Game recap by AP:

Samardo Samuels posted career highs with 29 points and 15 rebounds as Louisville beat Louisiana-Lafayette 84-69 on Wednesday night.

Kyle Kuric added 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench while Preston Knowles had 11 points and five assists as the Cardinals (8-3) won their third straight.

Louisville dominated the paint despite playing without sophomore center Terrence Jennings, who was suspended for the game for violating team rules.

The Cardinals outrebounded the Ragin' Cajuns 48-30 and outscored them 44-10 in the paint.

Chris Gradnigo led Louisiana-Lafayette (4-7) with 23 points and Randell Daigle had 21, but the Ragin' Cajuns ran out of gas after trimming Louisville's lead to 72-63 with 3:33 remaining.

Kentucky Wesleyan Climbs One Spot in NCAA Poll

Kentucky Wesleyan basketball and head coach Todd Lee will spend the Christmas holiday at #17 in the NCAA Division II basketball coaches poll.

NABC Division II Coaches Poll
(As of 12/22/2009)

Rank School W-L Points Prev

1 Central Mo. (8) 10-0 200 1
2 Fla. Southern 9-0 191 2
3 Augusta St. 9-0 185 3
4 Indiana (Pa.) 7-0 174 4
5 Arkansas Tech 10-0 167 5
6 Seattle Pacific 8-0 160 6
7 Kutztown 5-0 150 8
8 Minn. St. Mankato 10-0 143 9
9 Midwestern St. 11-0 129 10
10 Southern Ind. 10-0 128 11
11 Southwest Baptist 11-2 113 13 12 Rollins 8-1 110 7 13 Fort Hays St. 9-1 109 14 14 Cal Poly Pomona 4-1 91 15 15 Valdosta St. 10-2 85 16 16 Western Wash. 11-1 77 17 17 Ky. Wesleyan 11-1 72 18 18 BYU-Hawaii 6-2 68 19 19 Montevallo 10-0 62 20 20 Drury 8-2 49 12 21 Bentley 7-2 33 23 22 Quincy 10-0 32 24 23 Stillman 5-0 16 25 24 Augustana (S.D.) 9-1 11 NR 25 Mesa St. 9-1 9 22 26 West Chester 9-0 9 25

Source: NCAA.com

Merry Christmas! Wildcats Undefeated for Holidays

(3) Kentucky 86
Long Beach St. 73

Final from Rupp Arena


Game recap by AP:

John Wall scored 19 points and No. 3 Kentucky pulled away in the second half for an 86-73 victory over weary Long Beach State on Wednesday.

DeMarcus Cousins shook off early foul trouble to finish with 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Wildcats (13-0) continued their best start in more than 30 years.

For the first 30 minutes it looked like Kentucky had partied a little too hard after celebrating the program's 2,000th win on Monday night. The Wildcats led just 58-55 with 11 minutes to go before using their size to outmuscle the 49ers.

Stephan Gilling and Larry Anderson led the 49ers with 15 points each, but Long Beach State (6-6) looked tired in the final minutes barely 36 hours after dropping an overtime decision to Loyola Marymount and then flying crosscountry for a game that started at 10 a.m. PST.

Brescia's Howard Receives KIAC Honors Again

Andrew Howard of Brescia University, has been named KIAC men's basketball Player of the Week for the second time this season.

Howard, a graduate of Owensboro Catholic High School, averaged 21.7 points during the three games last week, while shooting 58 percent from the field and 54 percent from 3-point range.

Future Hilltopper Leads Yates to 'Iolani Championship


Future Western Kentucky basketball player Brandon "Snap" Peters was named Most Outstanding Player after leading Yates High School to the championship of the 'Iolani Classic in Hawaii.

Yates (Tx.), which is ranked #6 in USA Today's Super 25, improved to 10-0 after a thrilling 97-96 victory over Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) in the title game.

Peters led Yates with a game-high 28 points, including several high-flying dunks.

The game featured some big-time talent including Peters (Western Kentucky), Joseph Young (Providence), Tony Chennault (Wake Forest) and Tyreek Duran (LaSalle).

Final Standings:

1st Place – Yates Lions (TX)
2nd Place – Neumann-Goretti Saints (PA)
3rd Place – Montrose Mustangs (MD)
4th Place – Columbia Eagles (GA)
5th Place – Gonzaga (D.C.)
6th Place – Kinston (NC)
7th Place – Lutheran (CA)
8th Place – Iolani (HI)
Consolation Champion – Kamehameha Warriors (HI)

Most Outstanding Player (MOP): Brandon Peters – Yates
Most Valuable Player (MVP): Joseph Young – Yates
One Team Award (Sportsmanship): Columbia Eagles

All Tournament Team:

Micah Christenson – Kamehameha
Dylan Rice – Lutheran
Tyler Thornton – Gonzaga
JerShon Cobb – Columbia
Kainoa Chu – Iolani
Reggie Bullock – Kinston
Tyreek Duran – Neumann-Goretti
Terrence Ross – Montrose
Cedrick Lindsay – Gonzaga
Kai Guo – Tsinghua
Tony Chennault – Neumann-Goretti
Jarmal Reid – Columbia
Josh Hairston – Montrose
Daniel Stewart – Neumann-Goretti
Alexander Davis – Yates


Katz: Wildcats are SEC's Best Team, Wall is Best Player


Andy Katz, a well-respected ESPN basketball writer, says in an article today that Kentucky is once again the class of the Southeastern Conference. He adds that the SEC's best player is UK freshman star John Wall.

Here are some excerpts about the Wildcats, Wall and the UK freshman recruiting class:

Favorite: Kentucky The Wildcats have had their moments of angst, allowing the likes of Miami (Ohio), Stanford and Sam Houston State to hang around way too long. Still, when the games mattered most -- against North Carolina and Connecticut -- the Wildcats have risen to the challenge. Patrick Patterson has been an All-American inside while John Wall has been a stud on the perimeter. DeMarcus Cousins has shown flashes of being a sensational talent inside. The role play has been solid. Sure, there is plenty of room for improvement and the Wildcats will likely get nipped on the road a few times, but they are clearly the favorite to win the league title.

Best player: John Wall, Kentucky The freshman guard is averaging 17.8 points, seven assists and four boards through his first dozen games. Wall has been quite a bookend player, performing well at the beginning and end of games with a few lulls in the middle. He was stellar in closing out Miami (Ohio) with the winning shot, helped the Wildcats beat Stanford in overtime in Cancun, Mexico, and started strong and hit the game winner to beat Connecticut at Madison Square Garden. He then came up big in the beginning and end of a cramp-plagued game against North Carolina. He's easily one of the top four candidates for national player of the year honors prior to Jan. 1.

Reason to brag: Kentucky's freshmen class has lived up to the hype. The Wildcats have multiple future pros and players whom other teams would covet in a second. John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton and Darnell Dodson all will have and have had their moments this season.

Complete Article

UK Basketball Recruit in ESPN RISE Magazine

college basketball tickets
There is a feature article about 2010 forward Terrence Jones in the December edition of ESPN RISE magazine.

Jones is a Kentucky target and is said to be down to the Cats, Washington, UCLA, Oregon and Oklahoma.

Here is an excerpt of the article:

The light bulb finally went on during the middle of Jones' sophomore year, when he realized he needed to get his act together both on and off the court if he wanted to reach stardom.

"I started working harder in practice and at school," says Jones. "It's what I needed to do to mature and stop acting like a little kid and accept my responsibilities."

"He just really didn't take it serious," adds his mother. "A lot of the boys who play sports seem to think that academics and sports don't go hand in hand. He quickly figured that out as I reminded him every day. Now he says, 'Mom, I got this.'"

In the classroom, he's fulfilled his mom's wishes with a 3.0 GPA. And in hoops, he's become the top player in Oregon and one of the best in the country. The 6-foot-8, 210-pound small forward is rated the nation's No. 15 recruit in the ESPNU 100 and was considering Oklahoma, Washington, Oregon, Kentucky and UCLA at press time.

After seeing little playing time as a freshman, Jones became Jefferson's sixth man in his sophomore year. He showed the results of his newfound effort in practice, playing the majority of every game off the bench and averaging a team-high 17.5 points to go with nine boards and four assists per contest.

King of the Bluegrass Results and All-Tournament Team


2009 King of the Bluegrass Results

CONSOLATION FINAL
3:00PM - Ballard def. Iroquois, 69-61

FIFTH PLACE FINAL
4:30PM - Memphis Central def. Shelby County, 70-36

THIRD PLACE FINAL
6:00PM - Eastern def. Clark County, 77-70

CHAMPIONSHIP
7:30PM - Trinity def. Seneca, 59-42

2009 King of the Bluegrass All-Tournament Team

Tim Peete (Mem. Central) Trae Golden (McEachern) Quintrel Morris (Fairdale) Donovan Gibbs (Iroquois) Donovan Johnson (Shelby Co.) Ian Chiles (Ballard) Keisten Jones (Ballard) Remy Abell (Eastern) Lyonell Gaines (Eastern) Robbie Stenzel (Clark Co.) Vinny Zollo (Clark Co.) Zach McElwain (Seneca) Martez Harris (Seneca) Taylor Epley (Trinity) Bob White MVP: Josh Sewell (Trinity) Ralph Beard Spirit Award: Robbie Stenzel (Clark Co.)

Tournament Site

Chane Behanan Impresses at Citizens First Event


The Citizens First Holiday Classic at Bowling Green High School gave me an opportunity to watch Purples' big man Chane Behanan in action. I left Bowling Green thinking that Behanan is already my early favorite for Kentucky Mr. Basketball in 2010-11.

Behanan, who is averaging 24 points and 14 rebounds through 9 games, led the Purples to the Citizens First championship game - a 64-61 victory of district rival Greenwood. Behanan and his teammates are off to an impressive 8-1 start on the season.

In tonight's championship game, Behanan put in 24 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.

He has received interest from several high-major schools, including Kentucky. After watching several games, I can see why. Behanan is a force in the paint. He controlled the boards and showed an array of skills around the basket. Add to that his soft jumper and it's easy to see why the likes of Bobby Huggins, Rick Stansbury, Travis Ford and John Calipari have taken notice.

I was talking to a college assistant coach on the sidelines Sunday night. As we were talking, Behanan cut to the free throw line elbow and spun back to the basket with a violent cut. The guard lobbed a pass up from the opposite side and the big man slammed it home with authority. The coach looked at me and simply said, "wow."

I nodded in agreement.

Hilltoppers Defeat Murray State in Instate Battle

Western Kentucky 83
Murray State 72

Final from Western Kentucky University


Game recap by AP:

A.J. Slaughter had 20 points and a career-high nine assists to lead Western Kentucky to an 83-72 win over Murray State on Tuesday night.

Steffphon Pettigrew added 18 points and nine rebounds and Jeremy Evans chipped in 15 points and nine boards for the Hilltoppers (6-4).

B.J. Jenkins scored 15 points to lead the Racers (9-3).

In a game that featured 12 lead changes and nine ties, Western Kentucky used an 11-2 run to pull away from Murray State in the second half after leading 36-35 at halftime.

After committing 25 turnovers against Louisville on Saturday, Western Kentucky had just 11 against Murray State, which had won nine of its last 10 games.

The Hilltoppers, played without Sergio Kerusch, the team's second-leading scorer who broke his foot in practice on Friday. They also did not play Anthony Sally or Cliff Dixon, but still managed 22 points from their bench.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

UK Basketball Recruit Pays No Mind to Bob Knight

UK 2011 basketball recruit Marquis Teague said that he “wasn’t moved at all” by Bobby Knight’s comments about Kentucky head coach John Calipari last week.

“I’ve never looked at Coach Cal negatively,” said Teague, whose older brother Jeff Teague plays for the Atlanta Hawks. “I just look at him as a great coach who sends his players to the NBA. There’s nothing negative about him in my eyes.”

He added:

“I mean of course I heard all about the Derrick Rose stuff, but he (Calipari) didn’t have anything to do with that,” said Teague. “I definitely respect Coach Knight, but I can only go off of what my experience has been. And everything has been fine.”

Complete Article

Weber State Uses Second Half Surge to Defeat Eagles

Weber State 66
Morehead 64

Final from Traveler's Invitational at Utah State


Game recap by AP:

Damian Lillard scored 22 points, including the go-ahead basket in the final minute, to push Weber State past Morehead State 66-64 Tuesday night.

Lindsey Hughey also added 15 for the Wildcats (7-5) and Nick Hansen added 13. The win came in the second day of the Basketball Travelers Invitational hosted by Utah State.

Morehead State (4-6) was led by Maze Stallworth, who dropped in 21 and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds. Kenneth Faried scored 16 and Demonte Harper 14 for the Eagles.

Trailing by as many as 20 points twice in the first half, Weber State took their first lead of the game 50-49 with 5:25 to play in the game when Kyle Bullinger made a breakaway layup following a missed shot by Faried.

The teams then traded leads or were tied nine times until Lillard made a spinning layup to give the Wildcats a 58-57 advantage with 51 seconds to play.

Kentucky Talent: Mickey Lewis of Franklin-Simpson

Mickey Lewis
I walked away from the Citizen’s First event in Bowling Green impressed with senior Mickey Lewis from Franklin-Simpson High School.

Lewis led his team in a competitive 52-50 loss to a very good Mason County team and followed that up with an outstanding performance in a 63-58 win over Ryle. In 30 minutes of action against Ryle, Lewis put in 23 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and, most impressively, 0 turnovers.

“I feel like we played pretty good today,” Lewis stated after the win. “Our team worked hard against a pretty good team. We had our chemistry together and it showed on the court.”

I spoke to Shane Howard of Custom College Recruiting during Franklin-Simpson's game yesterday and he was high on Lewis. He stated, "Mickey was by far one of the top level talents in this tournament. He's quietly becoming one of the top seniors in the state."

Lewis is a 6-4 guard and spends the majority of his time at the point. The Citizens First Holiday Classic, which is being hosted by Bowling Green High School, wraps up today.

Terrence Jones Committed to Maryland?


I have getting hammered with e-mails and text messages wondering if Kentucky 2010 recruit Terrence Jones has committed to Maryland. My first thought was, "I hope not." My second inclination was to make some calls.

It turns out that the uproar has been caused by this article posted today, which points to this ESPN article that states:

2009 Les Schwab Invitational

Where: Liberty High School, Hillsboro, Ore.
When: Dec. 26-30
Player to watch: SF Terrence Jones (Portland, Ore./Jefferson) verbally committed to Maryland but he decided not to sign during the early signing period.

After clicking on the Terrence Jones link, it leads to Terrence Jones: 6-2, 180 lb., PG, Notre Dame Prep.

That Terrence Jones is the #81-ranked point guard in the 2010 Class and receives an ESPN scout grade of 75.

The Terrence Jones Kentucky is recruiting is is 6-8, 219 lb., forward from Jefferson High School (Or.). He is the #3 small forward and has an ESPN scout grade of 96.

Basically, it would appear that someone at ESPN forgot to do his/her homework. The Terrence Jones that Kentucky is recruiting has not committed to Maryland and is reportedly down to the Wildcats, Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma and UCLA.


John Calipari to Watch 2010 Guard Doron Lamb Tonight

basketball recruiting
Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari will visit Ironton, Ohio tonight to watch Oak Hill Academy and 2010 guard Doron Lamb.

Excerpt of article from The Ironton Tribune:

Dayton recruit Juwan Staten had 15 points along with Doron Lamb who is being courted by Kentucky, UConn and Kansas. Pe’Shon Howard had 13 and 7-foot-1 Martins Abele added 10.

Austin Traylor scored 20 for Walnut Ridge (1-5).

While Huggins was on a recruiting trip Monday, Kentucky head coach John Calipari is to attend Tuesday’s 9 p.m. game between Oak Hill Academy and Cincinnati Princeton.


Complete Article

Photo: KENT SANBORN

Bellarmine Basketball Gets By Tusculum

Bellarmine 71
Tusculum 59

Final from Bellarmine University


Game recap by Bellarmine:

Bellarmine University got career performances from Jeremy Kendle and Luke Sprague as the Knights turned back the Pioneers of Tusculum College 71-59 tonight in Knights Hall in a matchup of NCAA Division II schools.

Kendle led the Knights in scoring for the second straight game, collecting a career high 25 points against the Pioneers. Sprague also came up big for Bellarmine. Starting in place of an injured Nick Holmes, the sophomore from Newburgh, Ind., also registered a career high with 15 points and pulled down a team high six rebounds.

The game was strongly contested throughout, but a 10-0 run by Bellarmine to close out the first half gave the Knights a 33-22 halftime cushion, and the home team was able to maintain a double digit lead for the remainder of the game.

Bellarmine again relied on a strong defensive performance to help generate offense. The Knights forced 18 Tusculum turnovers and coverted those into 20 points, which helped offset a 34-26 rebounding advantage for the Pioneers.

"I don't care what level talking about, that was a great basketball game tonight," said Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport. "That was as well as a coached team as there is in Division II basketball, and they returned four of five starters -- including the conference MVP -- from a team that went to the NCAA last year, so that was a very good win for us," he said.

With the win, Bellarmine improves to 7-4, while the Pioneers slip to 5-6.

Coach Davenport used the Saturday-Monday homestand against Cumberlands and Tusculum as a warmup for the upcoming Great Lakes Valley Conference season, in which the Knights will play two games in three days for the remainder of the regular season.

"One of the keys to the game for us tonight was 62," Davenport said. "I put that (number) on the board in the locker room. That's number of days we have left--33 practice days, 17 games and 12 days off. I told the guys that if they want their dreams to come true, now is the time they have to come into focus."

The Knights return to action on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 3:15 p.m. as they entertain Wisconsin-Parkside in their GLVC home opener.

U of L Basketball Suspends Terrence Jennings


Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has suspended forward Terrence Jennings for an unspecified violation of team rules.

He will likely miss Wednesday night's game against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Jennings is averaging 5.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and has blocked seven shots.

Murray State Passes WKU in Mid-Major Top 25

The Murray State Racers dropped one spot to #14 in this week's Mid-Major Top 25 rankings. Western Kentucky has dropped six spots to #17. Eastern Kentucky received 4 votes this week.

MID MAJOR TOP 25-COLLEGEINSIDER.COM

Record Points Previous

1. Butler (22) 8-3 748 2
2. Northern Iowa (3) 8-1 708 3
3. Gonzaga (3) 8-3 707 1
4. St. Mary's (2) 9-1 627 4
5. Cornell 8-2 622 5
6. Western Carolina 10-1 606 8
7. Old Dominion 7-4 568 9
8. Missouri State 10-0 516 12
9. VCU 7-2 499 7
10. Wichita State 10-1 459 20
11. William & Mary (1) 7-2 407 16 12. Akron 7-3 403 15 13. Illinois State 8-2 351 6 14. Murray State 9-2 343 13 15. Siena 6-4 308 14 16. Niagara 7-4 251 17 17. Western Kentucky 5-4 231 11 18. Portland 6-3 197 10 19. Wright State 7-4 183 18 20. Green Bay 10-3 182 23 21. Ohio 7-3 178 NR 22. Detroit 7-4 171 21 23. Northern Colorado 9-3 87 22 24. Harvard 7-2 81 25 25. Long Beach State 6-4 73 24

NOTE: Roughly 200 Division I teams comprise The CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll (out of 347 Division I teams). Eligible teams are from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Continent, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Sun Belt, West Coast.

SI Lists Notable Basketball Wins in UK History

SI.com lists some of the most notable victories in Kentucky basketball history.

Here is an excerpt of the list:

Feb. 18, 1903 - Kentucky (then known as State College) beats Lexington YMCA 11-10 for its first-ever win.

Feb. 28, 1933 - Wins first SEC tournament title with 46-27 win over Mississippi State.

March 23, 1948 - Beats Baylor 58-42 to win first NCAA title.

March 26, 1949 - Repeats as national champions with 46-36 win over Oklahoma State.

March 27, 1951 - Captures national title No. 3 with 68-58 win over Kansas State.

March 22, 1958 - Races past Seattle 84-72 for fourth NCAA title under Rupp.

March 27, 1978 - Holds off Duke 94-88 to end 20-year NCAA title drought.

Feb. 15, 1994 - Rallies from 31-point second-half deficit to stun LSU 99-95.

April 1, 1996 - Wins first national title in 18 years with 76-67 victory over Syracuse.

March 8, 1998 - Takes second title in three years with 78-69 win over Utah.

Complete List

Papa John's Pizza for Louisville Basketball Fans


John Schnatter (aka Papa John), the founder of Papa John's Pizza, delivered the goods for 18,000+ Louisville basketball fans during halftime of the Oral Roberts' game.

Schnatter promised free pizza to everyone in attendance if he managed to hit a half court shot during halftime.

Note to Papa John: You're welcome for the free advertisement, pizza donations accepted!

Karen Sypher Pleads Not Guilty in Rick Pitino Case

louisville cardinals
Karen Sypher has pleaded not guilty to new charges in the Rick Pitino extortion case. The new charges include retaliating against a witness.

James Earhart, Sypher's attorney, entered the plea yesterday, a month after a federal grand jury handed up a second indictment against her.

In May, Sypher entered not guilty pleas to charges of trying to extort money from the Louisville basketball coach and lying to the FBI. She is accused of demanding $10 million, college tuition for her children and payment for her mortgage.

Source: TBO.com

2K Cats, Kentucky Basketball Reaches Historical Milestone

Kentucky 88
Drexel 44

Final from Lexington, Kentucky


NOTE: Greg Warren represented AllKYHoops at this event

Game recap by UKAthletics.com:

Kentucky's 2,000th victory looked awfully familiar.

DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson scored 18 points apiece and the third-ranked Wildcats became the first team in NCAA history to reach the 2,000-win plateau with an 88-44 romp over Drexel on Monday night.

Kentucky improved to 2,000-635-1 in 107 seasons. North Carolina is next on the list with 1,992 wins while Kansas has 1,980.

"We weren't a part of many of those 2,000 wins and we had a job to do and that was drag us across the line before that other blue team got there," coach John Calipari said. "This is a special moment for this program and this state."

The Wildcats did it in style, taking control early behind the play of Cousins, Patterson and superstar freshman John Wall to improve to 12-0.

Samme Givens led Drexel (6-6) with 11 points, but the Dragons shot just 31 percent from the field and spent most of the game as invited guests to Kentucky's celebration.

The first win was an 11-10 squeaker over the Lexington YMCA on Feb. 18, 1903.

It took Kentucky 66 years to reach 1,000 victories. Students celebrated the milestone with cake alongside legendary coach Adolph Rupp at Memorial Coliseum in 1969.

This party was a little bigger.

Confetti showered the court moments after the final buzzer while players donned black T-shirts commemorating the occasion.

Complete Game Recap

Box Score Quotes Notes AP Photo Gallery Video from SEC Reliving 2,000 wins through the legends

Notes from the game:

- Big standing ovation for Rich Brooks when he was introduced during a timeout as the SEC Coach of the Year
- 4 minutes into the game, Drexel had only taken 4 FG attempts.
- KY showed a little half court trap. Produced several turnovers and don't recall any easy baskets surrendered.
- Huge ovation for Liggins 3-pointer at the 12:20 mark and also as he was subbed for at the 8:46 mark.
- Cousins made a living off the offensive boards -- usually his own rebounds
- Crowd booed loudly when Cousins was whistled for a foul as he sat a screen at the 12:20 mark. Hard contact, but the guy just never saw Big Cuz.
- Cousins 8 for 8 from the line. Great improvement.
- When Bledsoe got injured, the Drexel coach got to pick who shot his free throws. Harris shot them and missed one, breaking UK's streak.

Numbers from the game:

- 12-0 start is UK's best start since 1983-84 when that team also started 12-0
- 8th time in school history that team started 12-0
- Shot 53.4% from field
- 8th time this season the Cats have shot at least 50%
- Outrebounded Drexel 44 - 22
- 38 - 14 points in the paint
- 9 for 13 3-pointers for a season high 69.2%
- Limited Drexel to 30.9% (2nd best defensive performance)
- Consecutive FT streak to 31 before miss on number 32.

Free Throw Differential Dooms Morehead State

Utah State 79
Morehead State 72

Final from Logan, Utah

Game recap by AP:

Nate Bendall and Tai Wesley each scored 18 points to lead Utah State past Morehead State 79-72 Monday night.

Tyler Newbold also scored 15 for the Aggies (7-4). The win came in the opening round of the three-day Basketball Travelers Invitational, hosted by Utah State.

Morehead State (4-5) was led by Steve Peterson, who scored a career-high 16 points. Kenneth Faried added 14, and Terrance Hill and Demonte Harper each had 12.

After the Aggies extended to a 52-37 lead to open the second half, the Eagles went on a 14-4 run to bring the score to 56-51 with less than nine minutes to play.

Morehead State shot 20-of-30 from the field and 3-of-6 from the 3-point line in the second half. They eventually would close to 75-72 on a short jumper by Faried with 17 seconds to play.

But Utah State dropped in 4-of-4 free-throw attempts in the closing seconds.

NOTE: Free throws - Morehead State 9-11; Utah State 21-30

John Wall Chats with ESPN's Jeannine Edwards

John Wall

John Wall simply looked at Jeannine Edwards and all memories of Billy Gillispie were erased

(Photo: Greg Warren, AllKYHoops.com)

Monday, December 21, 2009

2,000 Reasons to Watch Kentucky vs. Drexel

Kentucky (11-0) vs. Drexel (6-5)

Location: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Game Notes: UK Notes Drexel Notes

Coverage
TV: ESPNU
Radio: BBSNGameTracker Online Audio -->Live Blog

A game 107 years in the making will finally take place as the Wildcats attempt to become the first school in NCAA history to win 2,000 games. Sitting on 1,999 wins, the Cats welcome the Drexel Dragons to Rupp Arena on Monday in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.

The Cats collected win number 1,999 against Austin Peay, a 90-69 win that saw four Wildcats score in double-figures. Patrick Patterson scored a team-high 21 points, while pulling down a game-high nine rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins (19), John Wall (17) and Darius Miller (11) joined Patterson in double figures.

UK shot a season high .667 (8-12) from three-point range, while also hitting 18-18 from the free throw line.

Pregame Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On Drexel…

“They do a great job and really defend. They are a good defensive team and they do a great job coming off screens. We need to be prepared for that. They are good enough to beat us. Everybody saw Austin Peay and they hung around. We had one or two gaps, and other than that, they played head-to-head with us. This team could do the same. I watched our game from Memphis a year ago. He is running things a little different than he did last year. I watched a couple tapes from this year. They defend, execute and take good shots. Sometimes, they shoot it really well, other times they don't. IF they are shooting it well, they are like Sam Houston State. These are good challenges for us.”

On Kentucky playing for 2,000 wins…

“First of all, I'm such a small part of the 2,000 wins. But, there is a sense of responsibility when you are in this seat. There have not been many in this seat, but the guys that have been (here) know there is a sense of responsibility that you feel to the state, university, former players and coaches. We can act like it wasn't important for us to get to 12 (wins) before North Carolina got to 16 (wins), but believe me, the day after I took the job I started thinking, ‘How are we going to get to 12 before they get to 16?' Now I'm thinking, ‘How can we get to one before they get to seven?' That may not be Monday. It may be Wednesday; it may be next week when we come back. We need to get to one before they get to seven. This program has created a pride in this state, from Eastern, to Western, to Northern, to Southern Kentucky. People have a pride in their Commonwealth's team and it means something to them. Obviously, there all kinds of goals you have before your season starts. Some of it is non-conference, some of it is conference play, and then it becomes post-season play. There are all kinds of goals you are setting. When you start the season, everything is day-to-day. The good news is we have some gap. The pressure was the North Carolina game. When we got that I thought we'd have some breathing room to get there before them, because we had some space. Before the season started, after that game it is going to be a three game gap. I wasn't sure what we would do in the tournament in Cancun, and I thought that could be a loss. I though Connecticut and North Carolina games would be hard to win. I was hoping we could beat Indiana on the road, but I wasn't sure. I thought we'd have three to four losses with such a young team. The minute you sit in the seat I'm in, you understand the importance to the state. I'm happy we are up against it now. Let's just get it over and move on to what we have to do this season.”

On Darius Miller…

“When he misses one or two, he either stops shooting, stops being aggressive, or starts to question. That's why I talk about having amnesia. Great players have amnesia. He is trying to play.”

On team roles…

“Today what I told them is that Eric Bledsoe dogged the ball. If you don't dog the ball, I with either go with DeAndre (Liggins) or Ramon (Harris) and they will dog the ball. The reason is, when Eric dogs the ball, he then plays aggressive offensively and makes plays. I want play-finishers to be Darnell (Dodson) and Darius (Miller). I don't need them to be play-starters. You better rebound and defend well enough to stay in the game, but I need you to make plays. Let these other guys make plays. We are getting closer. I like that we have a full complement of players right now.”

Complete Game Recap from UKAthletics.com

Morehead State's Kenneth Faried "is a man's man"

The Morehead State Eagles are in Utah for three games at the Basketball Travelers Invitational. Here is their team preview from HJNews.com:

Morehead Eagles (4-4)

When the Eagles face the host Aggies tonight, they will be trying to work out some issues as well.

Morehead head coach Donnie Tyndall was not real pleased with how his team played against the zone in the first half of the last outing — a 60-58 home win over East Tennessee State. He expects to see more zone and hopes his Eagles, who traveled west from Morehead, Ky., will handle it.

Junior forward Kenneth Faried averages a double-double for Morehead State, with 16.8 points and 13.0 rebounds per game. The rebounding average is second best in the country.

“Wow, he is a man’s man,” Morrill said of Faried. “He is so athletic, so active. He jumps well and has a great nose for the ball. His rebounding ability reminds me of (former Louisiana Tech player Paul) Millsap, in terms of how strong he is and how he just gets to the ball. If he gets his hands on it, you ain’t getting it.”

The 6-foot-8 forward gets some help offensively from junior guard Demonte Harper (12.9 ppg) and senior forward Maze Stallworth (8.9 ppg).

As a team, the Eagles are scoring 68.2 points per game and shooting 44.1 percent from the field, 32.9 percent from 3-point range and 69.4 percent at the free-throw line. Defensively, they are allowing 65.8 points per game and their opponents are shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from 3-point range.

Morehead State returns four starters and seven letterwinners from last year’s team that went 20-16 overall, finished fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference and then won the OVC postseason tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament where it defeated Alabama State 58-43 in the play-in game. The Eagles then lost to Louisville 74-54 in the first round.

Complete Article

John Wall Named Bob Cousy Award Candidate

Press release from UKAthletics.com:

UK men's basketball freshman John Wall was named a Bob Cousy Award candidate as announced by The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Wall, a 6-4 guard from Raleigh, N.C., is averaging a team high 18.0 points, 7.0 assists and 2.6 steals. He ranks second nationally in assists and 18 th in steals.

He has already received four of five SEC Freshman of the Week awards this season and was named ESPN.com's National Player of the Week in late November.

Wall set a UK freshman record for assists in a game with 14 against UNC Asheville. He also recorded the third most steals by freshman with six against UNC Asheville and UConn. In addition he hit the game-winning shot against Miami University while scoring 12 of Kentucky's final 15 points in UK's 64-61 win over UConn.

The annual award, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes college basketball's top point guard. 72 candidates have been nominated for the 2010 award. Nominations were solicited from all Division I, II and III schools across the country.

This original list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 20 by January 1st, final 10 by February 1st, and final five by March 1st. The winner of the 2010 Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford will be presented at the Hall of Fame's Class Announcement on Monday, April 5th in Indianapolis as part of NCAA Final Four weekend.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Could Jodie Meeks be on Track for the NBA D-League

NBA basketball
I hope not, but there is speculation that Jodie Meeks could be in line for relegation to the NBA D-League. Meeks has showed signs of a promising future, but he has been very inconsistent.

On the season, Meeks is averaging only 4.4 points and 0.5 assists per game. He has not played in three of the last four games as the Bucks have established a rotation that is limiting Meeks' minutes.

Here is an excerpt from Bucksketball.com:

And if a rotation is established, will Jodie Meeks be facing the D-League? He had a nice line against the Kings, five points two assists and two steals in nine minutes, but doesn’t Redd squeeze him out?

John Wall will be Top Pick in the NBA Draft: "Done Deal"

John Wall will be the number one pick in the NBA Draft. The real question is who will be second.

Excerpt of article from ChicagoTribune.com:

Forget No. 1. That's locked up by John Wall.

Imagine Kobe Bryant as a point guard at 17.

"I was sitting there with (a Western Conference general manager)," said another Western team official of last week's Kentucky victory over Connecticut in New York. "After five minutes, we just looked at each other and started laughing.

"If New Orleans has the top pick, they would take John Wall, even with Chris Paul. That's how good Wall is. You would just take him and then work it out later."

A pass-first, 6-foot-4, 195-pound point guard, Wall already takes over games whenever needed, averaging 18 points, shooting 54 percent overall and 37 percent on 3s.

He's taller than Derrick Rose, a better jumper and even or above Rose in all skill categories. And the 2008-09 Rookie of the Year isn't chopped liver.

"We played Derrick here when he was at Memphis a couple of years ago," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "[Wall] is all of that. Whatever that is, he is all of that."


Complete Article

Future Hilltopper Brandon Peters Wins Slam Dunk Title

Brandon "Snap" Peters, who will play his college basketball at Western Kentucky, won the slam dunk title at the ‘Iolani Classic - 10 minutes after a 95-88 victory over Lutheran (Calif.).

Excerpt of article from HawaiiPrepWorld.com:

After 32 exhausting minutes — and he played every second — of a 95-88 win over Lutheran (Calif.), Yates (Texas) senior Brandon Peters had every reason to take a pass on the ‘Iolani Classic slam-dunk contest.

The competition began within 10 minutes after the game, which was a run-and-gun affair from the opening tip. Peters had a tremendous game — 23 points, including several alley-oop dunks that electrified his team and a capacity crowd — but showed no inclination to sit out the dunk contest.

Not only did the 6-foot-2 guard participate, but he wowed the audience and one of the toughest fields in the contest’s history with a repertoire of dunks that bordered on Josh Smith territory. Smith won the contest in style, but without much competition three years ago.

This time, Peters used an array that included a dunk over two teammates and an assistant coach and the winner, a self-lobbed bounce pass for a 360 dunk to earn a perfect score from the panel of five judges. The dunk came just in time to beat the 45-second clock.


Complete Article

Here are the highlights (Peters in the red shirt):

Kentucky Recruits are Building Relationships

Quincy Miller, a 2011 Kentucky target, posted on Twitter tonight:

qmillertime Hung out with Stacey Poole and his team today watching B.Knight hoop..had a good convo! Heading to sleep

Evan Daniel of Scout.com chatted with Miller and noted his attire:

evandanielscout Just spent some time with @qmillertime. He's rocked head to toe in Kentucky gear. Listed about 8 schools that are making him a priority.

My Thoughts: It would be nice to come into a new school with several of your friends!

Cardinals Manhandle Western Kentucky in Freedom Hall

Louisville 102
Western Kentucky 75

Final from Louisville, Kentucky

Game recap by AP:

Edgar Sosa and Jerry Smith scored 17 points apiece to pace six Louisville players in double figures as the Cardinals routed Western Kentucky 102-75 on Saturday.

Louisville avenged last season's loss to the Hilltoppers by shooting 55.6 percent (35-for-63) from the field and converting 25 Western Kentucky turnovers into 36 points in the Billy Minardi Classic.

Samardo Samuels added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Cardinals (7-3), while Terrence Jennings tallied 11 points off the bench. Jared Swopshire and Kyle Kuric added 10 points apiece for Louisville.

Steffphon Pettigrew scored 23 points to lead the Hilltoppers (5-4) and A.J. Slaughter added 16.

Western Kentucky played without second-leading scorer and leading rebounder Sergio Kerusch. The 6-foot-5 junior forward, who is averaging 13.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, broke his foot in practice on Friday.

Box Score Quotes Notes AP Action Photos Box Score (PDF)

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