Saturday, January 2, 2010

Kentucky Defeats Louisville in Heated Battle at Rupp

(3) Kentucky 71
Louisville 62

Final from Lexington, Kentucky


Excerpt of game recap by AP:

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Rick Pitino kept waiting for John Wall to lose his cool.

Moments after Louisville quieted a record Rupp Arena crowd by taking a one-point lead over No. 3 Kentucky midway through the second half on Saturday, Pitino thought for a second maybe -- just maybe -- the freshman superstar would finally blink.

Instead, Wall responded with six straight points to spark Kentucky's gritty 71-62 win over its archrival -- and win Pitino's admiration in the process.

"When a game gets a little tight like that, with the game on the line, it just shows you how great Wall is because it didn't faze him," Pitino said.

Not much does.

Not the constant jawing with Louisville players. Not the countless bumps, nudges and hits he took while trying to get down the court. Not the pressure of playing in the spotlight while trying to return the Wildcats to national prominence.

"He decided to take the game over," Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson said. "John got the ball and pushed it, blew by defenders and made several big shots."

Wall scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half as the Wildcats (15-0) matched their best start in 40 years by breaking a two-game losing streak to the Cardinals (10-4).

"I'm playing at another level I never thought I could play at," Wall said. "I always played good when I was in high school but playing for [Kentucky coach John] Calipari, he's going to take you to another level and get you better. I thought I was at the top of my potential when I was in high school. I'm nowhere near it."

It's a scary proposition for opponents, particularly after the Cardinals did their best to frustrate Wall in one of the most contentious meetings in the series' long history.

The jawing started in the tunnel well before tipoff, continued through warm-ups then really got going once the ball was in the air.

Complete Game Recap

EKU Colonels Use Second Half to Defeat State

Eastern Kentucky 79
Tennessee State 71

Final from Eastern Kentucky

Game recap by EKUSports.com:

All five Colonel starters finished in double figures as the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team defeated Tennessee State, 79-71, Saturday night in McBrayer Arena for the team’s first OVC home victory of the season. The win also improved EKU’s home-court winning streak to 15 games.

With EKU (9-5, 2-1 OVC) leading only 72-70 with 39 seconds remaining in the game, senior Josh Taylor delivered an emphatic dunk off an inbounds play to give the Colonels some breathing room. The Colonels then converted 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) free throws in the final half minute to secure the win.

Taylor led all scorers with 17 points. He also recorded a team-high six rebounds on the night.

Junior Justin Stommes (16 points), senior Papa Oppong (14), junior Spencer Perrin (14) and sophomore Joshua Jones (13) rounded out the balanced EKU scoring attack.

The Colonels shot 56 percent (28-of-50) from the field and improved to 6-0 in games in which they shoot at least 50 percent from the field.

Josh Sain paced TSU (3-11, 0-3 OVC) with 13 points and six rebounds. Robert Covington and Wil Peters both chipped in with 12 points.

The Tigers shot a season-best 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from three-point range.

A Stommes fast break layup capped an early 8-0 Colonel run that gave EKU a 12-4 lead with 14 minutes left in the first half. TSU’s Darius Cox, however, sank a three-pointer from the wing to tie the score, 14-14, with 10:34 showing on the clock.

EKU responded with another run as Oppong and Taylor knocked down consecutive threes and Jones slashed to the hole for two to give the Colonels a 26-19 advantage at the 4:05 mark in the first half.

TSU rallied again and a three-pointer by Covington sent the Tigers into halftime with their first lead since early in the contest, 29-28.

Taylor led all scorers with seven points at the break as the Colonels shot 54 percent from the field in the first half. Peters paced TSU with six points at halftime.

TSU used pressure from a full-court defense to reel off seven straight points early in the second half and take a 36-30 lead at the 17:20 mark.

The Colonels responded, though, as Jones converted a three-point play and Taylor threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk to bring EKU to within one, 36-35. A Stommes layup with 15 minutes to play in the half gave EKU the lead, 40-39.

The Colonels led by as many as five over the next 10 minutes before Covington hit a layup to tie the game, 59-59. After EKU scored on its ensuing possession, Jeremiah Crutcher nailed a three-pointer to give the Tigers the lead, 62-61, with 3:56 remaining in the game.

A three-point play by Oppong capped an 8-2 Colonel run over the next two minutes to give EKU a 70-65 advantage. A three from the corner by Josh Sain, however, pulled TSU to within two with 1:31 showing on the clock.

Eastern Kentucky is right back in action on Monday, Jan. 4, with a home game against Austin Peay. Tip time is set for 7:30 p.m.

Union Basketball Takes Down IU East

Union College 94
IU East 82

Final from Union College

Game recap by Union:

Five players scored in double figures to guide Union College to a 94-82 victory over visiting Indiana University East Saturday.

"This was a great way for us to open the new year," said Union coach Sean Gillespie. "The team played very well today. This was the best game we've played as a team all season."

Junior Darrel Jackson (Jonesboro, Ark.) was a perfect 10-for-10 at the foul line in posting a team-high 21 points for the Bulldogs (8-7 overall), while Josh Hurd (Independence, Ky.) recorded his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds to go along with a career-high six assists. Senior Beau Brown (Athens, Tenn.) had a solid, all-around game with 17 points, seven rebounds and a career-high seven steals.

Payton Ponzer (Independence, Ky.) and Nathan Beckley (Clarksville, Ind.) also scored in double figures as they netted 19 points and 12 points, respectively.

Union hit 35-of-69 shots (50.7 percent) from the field and made 76.0 percent (19-of-25) of its free throws. Meanwhile, IU East shot 44.0 percent (33-of-75) from the floor and connect on 12-of-20 free throws (60 percent).

The Bulldogs also dominated the glass, outrebounding the Red Wolves 46-36.

Early on, Union appeared to be running away with the game. The Bulldogs never trailed throughout the contest and had built a 24-13 lead following a Ponzer bucket with 11:03 to play in the opening period.

Using a 16-4 surge, Union stretched the margin to 44-23 with 3:25 to go en route toa 48-31 halftime cushion.

IU East (8-6 overall) came out on fire to begin the second half, using a 13-2 run to cut the margin to 50-44 after a Tyler Rigby 3-pointer with 17:21 remaining.

Union stretched the lead back to double digits and owned a 64-49 lead after Brown drained a 3-pointer of his own with 14:27 on the clock. However, the Red Wolves did not quit, whittling the lead down to 73-68 after another Rigby trey with 6:53 to go.
But IU East could get no closer.

Up 85-77, Union sank six straight free throws - four by Jackson, to build a 14-point cushion with 1:08 to play. IU East score five of the final eight points of the game, making the final 94-82.
IU East's Rigby led all scorers with 23 points with 19 coming in the second half. Rigby went 2-for-7 from the field in the first half but hit 7-of-13 shots in the second half.

After Rigby, Justin Hawkins scored 15 points for the Red Wolves with David Sanders and Brent Burris contributing 13 and 11 points, respectively.

The win was the third in a row for Union, equaling its longest win streak of the season. The Bulldogs have won four of its last five games and have a winning record for the first time all season.

Union returns to Appalachian Athletic Conference play Wednesday when it pays Bluefield (Va.) College a visit. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.

Kentucky Leads Louisville After Cold-Shooting Half

Kentucky 27
Louisville 19

Halftime

The game started with the intensity that can only be found in a bitter rivalry game as there were 6 fouls, including 2 technicals, in the first 45 seconds of the game.

Both teams shot poorly and Louisville didn't hit a single field goal in the first 9:12 of game time. Their first bucket came on a Samardo Samuels tip at the 10:48 mark of the half to make the score 15-5.

It appeared that Kentucky could have easily put the game out of reach early, but the Cats also suffered from poor field goal shooting. Kentucky took an 8-point lead into the halftime locker room.

UPDATE: Peyton Siva May Play for Louisville

Peyton Siva is warming up with the Louisville basketball team and may play in today's game despite earlier reports that he would likely be out with the stomach flu.

Also, early indications are that Rick Pitino is in for a long day in terms of dealing with the Kentucky fans at Rupp Arena. There are blonde wigs and Karen Sypher-related signs everywhere around Rupp Arena.

UPDATE: John Clay of the Herald-Leader reports via Twitter that William "Worldwide" Wesley is in Rupp Arena.

ESPN Goofs on Kentucky Basketball Again


Either there are a bunch of incompetent idiots working at ESPN these days or they simply use every opportunity possible to disrespect the Kentucky Wildcats and John Calipari. There is no excuse for this type of blunder from a company that proclaims itself the "Worldwide Leader."

Josh Selby Will Now Visit UK in March

Josh Selby will not visit Kentucky today, but he has rescheduled already with the Kentucky coaching staff.

Excerpt of article from ZagsBlog.com:

The next visit Josh Selby takes will be to Arizona, not Kentucky.

The 6-foot-2, 183-pound point guard out of Lake Baltimore (Md.) Clifton postponed a planned visit Saturday to Kentucky for the Louisville-Kentucky game, according to a report by Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier Journal.

“We won’t be able to make the visit right now,” Maeshon Witherspoon, Selby’s mother, told Demling.

The Kentucky visit has been postponed until March 7.

Original article by Jody Demling

Morehead Hopes to Black Out Peay

college basketball tickets
Austin Peay (8-6, 2-0 OVC) vs. Morehead State (6-6, 1-1 OVC)

Location: Morehead, Kentucky
Time: 9:00 p.m.

Game preview by MSUEagles.com:

Morehead State men’s basketball returns home from a four-game road stretch to resume its Ohio Valley Conference schedule. The Eagles, who went 5-3 in December, didn’t draw an easy game to open 2010, facing Austin Peay on ESPNU Saturday night at 9 p.m.

The game, a rematch of the double-overtime thriller in the OVC Championship Final, will also be the “Black Out” game, when fans are encouraged to wear black to “black out” Johnson Arena. Fans wearing black receive $1 general admission. There will also be $1 hot dogs, popcorn and Pepsi products.

The Eagles (6-6, 1-1 OVC)) are riding high after winning two straight and four of the last six. And the two losses, one to Utah State and the other to Weber State, were both within reach late in the game. On Monday, senior Maze Stallworth scored 21 points, including the crucial final four: a 3-pointer and free throw to lift Morehead State over South Dakota. It was Stallworth’s second 21-point performance in the past three games. Junior Kenneth Faried had his seventh double-double in just 26 minutes of action against the Coyotes. Faried and Stallworth, along with junior Demonte Harper lead the Eagles in scoring.

Austin Peay (8-6, 2-0 OVC) was picked third in the OVC Preseason Poll behind co-favorites Morehead State and Murray State. Wes Channels, who leads the Governors in scoring at a 15.0 points per game clip, was a Preseason All-OVC selection. Anthony Campbell also averages double digits, tallying 14.4 points per game. The Govs have won eight games, including beating Eastern Illinois and SEMO to start off OVC play at 2-0. Their other wins include Evansville and Akron. APSU shoots the ball very well, hitting field goals 45.1 percent of the time and all but two of their players shooting at least 40 percent.

Things don’t get any easier for the Eagles after Saturday as they host Tennessee State on Monday before heading back out on the road for Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State next week.

Kentucky Wesleyan Streak at a Dozen and Counting

Saint Joseph's (6-4, 0-2 GLVC) vs. (17) Kentucky Wesleyan (12-1, 1-0 GLVC)

Location: Owensboro, Kentucky
Time: 4:15 EST

Excerpt of game summary:

It's time to get down to business for the 17th-ranked Kentucky Wesleyan College men's basketball team.

While the Panthers got a taste of Great Lakes Valley Conference action earlier in the month with a win over Bellarmine, a visit by Saint Joseph's today marks the start of the full GLVC slate.

Tipoff is 3:15 p.m. at the Sportscenter.

"Our guys know we're 1-0," said KWC coach Todd Lee of the his team's 12-1 record, including a 12-game winning streak, being just a prelude to the main objective. "You can say we won all those games in a row, but 1-0 is all that matters in what we want to accomplish.

"The guys know it's the end of the preseason, and now we have to defend homecourt."

Complete Article

Friday, January 1, 2010

Selby Will Not Visit UK Tomorrow, Two Others Will

Josh Selby, who is ranked #4 on the Rivals150 List for 2010, will not visit Kentucky as planned tomorrow. The reason given by Selby is a scheduling conflict that would not allow his mother to attend the visit with him. Selby and his mother, Maeshon Witherspoon, will look to set up another date for Josh to officially visit Kentucky.

Selby has a trip to Arizona scheduled for the weekend of January 8th, the same weekend that the #33 ranked player in the ESPNU 100, Doron Lamb, will be visiting the Wildcats.

While the news on Selby is discouraging, there is a bit of good news. Kentucky will host two other recruits tomorrow: 2011 center Amir Williams and 2012 small forward J.P. Tokoto.

- Amir Williams: 6-9, Center (2011); #52 nationally by Rivals.com; offers from Arizona, Cincinnati, Florida, Miami (FL), Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wake Forest

- J.P. Tokoto: 6-6, Small Forward (2012); #4 nationally by Scout.com; offers from Duke, Kansas, Marquette, Wisconsin and Tennessee

Calvin Fowler Back Home After 3rd-Place Finish in Africa

Calvin Fowler is a 6-5, 207-pound combo guard that played college basketball for the Bellarmine Knights. He has played professionally in both England and Jordan since leaving Bellarmine. Calvin has just returned to America after competing in the African Champions Club for Men, a FIBA-sanctioned competition of the top club teams from around the continent of Africa. Today, he wraps up his behind-the-scenes look at playing club basketball in Africa.

NOTE: Calvin's team lost in the semifinals, but won third place in their final game.

Calvin, you guys lost to a very tough opponent in the semifinals, but won your final game to finish third in the tournament. Give me a rundown of those final two games.

Yes, the semifinal game was against a very talented and well-coached, veteran team. They were very beatable though. I feel that if our team had been playing together as long as they have been playing with each other, we could easily beat them. I feel we had the most talent out of all the teams in the tournament. We came out strong from the gate, we had all the momentum, shots were falling and our defense was on point. Then, some changes were made and the game changed...they pretty much gained control over the game and made the plays they needed to make to advance to the finals.

The second game was pretty scrappy and messy, but we escaped with a victory and third place. I don't think we were the 3rd best team there, I am never satisfied with losing, especially when I know the guys wearing the same jersey as me are just as good or better than our opponents. I would have been OK (not satisfied) with second, but I am not the least bit happy with third. Anyway, we will make strides to win it all next time!

You kind of already answered this, but how do you feel with the third place finish?

Third place still doesn't sit well with me. We were not the third best team there, but I guess on those particular nights we played like we were third best. That is something we have to think about. I also feel that we can beat both of the teams we lost to...one of the coaches even told me personally how he thought we would have finished better, due to the talent level of our team and how deep we were.

What was the overall experience of competing in this event like for you?

The FIBA African Club Championship was by far one of the best events that I have ever been a part of in my professional career. The people, the atmosphere and the level of competition was off the charts! I wish every basketball player could go to Africa and play in just one game. It takes your ego and your game to another level. The crowd actually makes you feel like you are better than you actually are. I cant wait to go back!

Just for fun, and because I love to eat, what was your favorite dish that you ate while in Africa?

Hmm...this may sound a little weird but, my favorite dish was one created by me...Paprika Doritos with pineapple and chocolate chip cookies! It is something about the Doritos in Africa. WOW! Unbelievable flavor! I don't think we have the Paprika flavor in the states. They also had these cookies that were amazing. I think that's why I lost so much weight - Doritos, cookies and pineapples.

So, you're back in the states now? Happy to be home?

Yes, I am back in the US of A! It feels really good to be back home. I spent my birthday on the plane ride home, so I have to celebrate while I am here. It's cool to be back home with my family and friends, though.

Are you still working out at the moment?

I took a few days off, but now I am back at it. I have to stay in shape...being out of shape is a horrible feeling. I may be heading to Europe for the second half of their season, so I have to stay in this great shape that I am in. (he chuckles)

Any basketball plans lined up yet?

I have a few opportunities in Europe that may happen, but nothing set in stone. European teams are approaching the second half of their seasons right now, so there is a chance I will sign with a team until about April, then head back to Kigali in June. Professional basketball abroad is like a rollercoaster, but I don't mind riding this ride!

Calipari and Pitino Relationship: Not What it Used to Be

Rick Bozich of the Courier-Journal offers a nice article tonight about the relationship between Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. All things considered, the relationship is not what it used to be, apparently.

Here are some excerpts:

How did it start?

But as admired as Smith was, he was rarely the coach Fraschilla and Calipari talked about into the night after they retired to their shared dormitory suite. These two weren't fascinated by Smith, Bob Knight or the other coaching titans of the era.

They were drawn to a 25-year-old guy with a 0-0 record who had been named head coach at Boston University earlier that year — Rick Pitino.


What is the state of the relationship between the men?

“Fine,” Calipari said. “We're fine. He knows how I coach, and I know how he coaches. There are no surprises.”

“We're friends, but I wouldn't say we're close,” Pitino said. “The coaches that I am close with are the ones that I grew up with or I have worked with. That's how it is for most guys.”

Pitino actually HELPED Calipari land one job, but not the Kentucky job:

A good word from Pitino was essential in helping Calipari secure one job (University of Massachusetts in 1988) and perhaps a second (New Jersey Nets in 1996).

Cal was not the guy Pitino endorsed for the UK job in the spring — two of his ex-Wildcats, John Pelphrey and Travis Ford, were. That was the latest development that ignited chatter that these two aren't in the business of emulating — or helping — each other anymore.


Here is the link to a very good article by Bozich; it's fairly long but has great detail and information.

Former Gillispie Basketball Recruits Receiving Offers

A pair of former Billy Gillispie basketball recruits are receiving plenty of attention from other NCAA Division I programs.

- K.C. Ross-Miller is being recruited heavily by South Florida, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Nevada and Florida International

Complete Article

- Vinny Zollo has greatly improved and is picking up interest from South Florida, Dayton, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Purdue, Tennessee and Xavier

Complete Article

Kentucky Students Have Camped Out Since Thursday

Several groups of University of Kentucky students have been camping out since Thursday night in hopes of securing great seats in the ERuption zone for tomorrow's Kentucky vs. Louisville basketball game.

Dozens of students camped out outside Rupp Arena Friday night in below freezing weather, hoping for the best seats in the Erruption Zone come game time. "It's not exactly the smartest thing I've ever done, but we'll do just about anything for our wildcats, especially playing Louisville, so it's worth it" said Thomas Cofer.

Some students set up camp Thursday. They say this is the second time this year they've camped out, the first was for the North Carolina game.


Source

Basketball Rivalry: Let's Face It: Louisville is not Kentucky


Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com takes a look at the Kentucky vs. Louisville basketball rivalry - or more specifically, the John Calipari vs. Rick Pitino rivalry. Goodman feels that the roles of the two rival coaches have reversed.

Here is an excerpt:

Finally, Calipari is king.

He now has the job that formerly belonged to Pitino, the one in Lexington, Ky., that has amassed more victories in its history than any other college basketball program.

The one he never, ever thought he’d have a chance to secure.

It’s not as if Pitino is roaming the sidelines at some obscure mid-major institution, but let’s face it: Louisville is not Kentucky.

Complete Article

Ex-UK/U of L Athletes Hit the Court for Good Cause

Article by Associated Press and printed on USAToday.com:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Before the big game, former players from the University of Louisville Cardinals vs. the University of Kentucky Wildcats are hitting the court to benefit children with disabilities.

The players in Friday's 2010 Hardwood Classic are from both the basketball and football squads.
Blue Team players are Anthony Epps, Chris Burke, Matt Layow, Duane Lightfoot, Jr., Jeff Sheppard, Dicky Lyons, Jr., and Andy Treinen.

Red Team players are Montrell Jones, Jamie Martin, Larry O'Bannon, Troy Jackson, Perrin Johnson, Montrell Jones, Julie Smith, Dave Ragone, and Tony Stallings.

The WHAS Crusade for Children raises money for schools, hospitals and other agencies to better the lives of special needs children.

Louisville Reserve Guard Likely Out Against Kentucky


Jeff Goodman at FoxSports.com is reporting that Louisville freshman guard Peyton Siva may miss the Kentucky game with the stomach flu.

Goodman adds that is may be a case of "The John Wall Flu."

Siva is a talented guard, but has not played heavy minutes this season. He is averaging 4.6 points per game for the Cardinals.


Lamb Earns MVP Honors but Oak Hill Suffers First Loss

Oak Hill Academy led 37-32 at the end of the third quarter in the championship game of the Les Schwab Inviational event in Oregon. Westchester stormed back to win the game 52-47 and hand the Warriors their first loss of the season.

Oak Hill (18-1) was led by Kentucky basketball recruit Doron Lamb with 16 points and 4 rebounds. Lamb, who is considered one of UK's top 2010 targets, was named tournament MVP despite the final game loss.

Video of the fourth quarter:



Video Source

Breaking News: Four UT Basketball Players Arrested

basketball tickets
Four University of Tennessee basketball players are facing criminal charges related to weapons and drugs after an arrest today.

Excerpt of Associated Press article:

Four Tennessee basketball players, including starting senior forward Tyler Smith, were charged with gun possession and other counts after a Friday traffic stop.

The Knoxville Police Department said Smith, 23, junior point guard Melvin Goins, 22, junior center Brian Williams, 22, and sophomore guard Cameron Tatum, 21, were arrested during a traffic stop for speeding near Tennessee's campus.

According to a police report, officers smelled marijuana coming from the car and found a handgun with an altered serial number, a bag of marijuana and an open container of alcohol. Tatum was driving.

Officers could not determine whether any of the players were under the influence of marijuana, though the strong odor suggested marijuana had recently been smoked in the car, the police report said.

Tatum was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and having an open container of alcohol. Smith was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with an altered serial number, which is a felony. Goins and Williams both face gun and drug possession charges.


Impact for Tennessee Basketball Program:

- Tyler Smith, Senior, Forward: 11.7 PPG, 3.7 APG, 4.7 RPG, 1.4 SPG
- Melvin Goins, Junior, Guard: 6.1 PPG, 2.3 APG, 2.2 RPG, 1.3 SPG
- Brian Williams, Junior, Center: 6.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.8 BPG
- Cameron Tatum, Sophomore, G/F: 8.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.8 SPG

Totals: 33.4 PPG, 8.0 APG, 14.7 RPG

What would one expect from a team that is coached by a "rapper"?

No One Has Used "One and Dones" Like UK's Calipari

An article on NYTimes.com takes a look at the impact "One and Done" has had on college basketball. The article states that no one has benefited more from one year superstars than Kentucky head coach John Calipari.

Here is an excerpt discussing Calipari:

While some coaches consider it a gamble to go after players who will only pass through their programs, no one has capitalized on the new system better than Kentucky’s John Calipari. Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans lifted Calipari’s teams at Memphis, and John Wall is doing the same now that Calipari is coaching in Lexington, giving his offense a different potential top-10 draft choice at point guard for three straight seasons. Wall, who is already being forecast as the No. 1 choice in June’s draft, may end up as a better player than Rose, who played in a national title game — at least according to Calipari.

Complete Article

Calipari Will Co-Host Dick Vitale's Annual Gala

John Calipari
Legendary ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale shared with Rick Bozich of the Courier-Journal that John Calipari will co-host Vitale's annual gala:

He has selected Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari to serve as co-host for the annual gala he stages in Sarasota every May to raise money for cancer research. Vitale said Calipari's co-host will be North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams.

"I'm really excited about getting both of those guys," he said. "Our goal will be the same -- raise $1 million to beat cancer."

Alex Legion: Update on Ex-Wolverine, Wildcat, Illini

Alex Legion, a 6-5 wing, has confirmed in a statement that he will transfer from Illinois and will continue his long, winding college basketball career for Isiah Thomas and Florida International.

"The decision to leave the University of Illinois basketball program was difficult, however, leaving University of Illinois was in the best interest of my basketball development and collegiate career,” Legion said in a statement. “I am very excited, encouraged and humbled to have the opportunity to play for and learn the professional game of basketball from coach Isiah Thomas, an NBA great and legend.” Source

Legion, who is now averaging more schools than points per game, originally signed with the Michigan Wolverines. He backed out of that commitment and signed with head coach Billy Gillispie at Kentucky. During a brief seven-game stay in Lexington, Legion averaged 6.7 points and 17.5 minutes per game. He then opted to leave the UK program and transfer to Illinois.

At Illinois, Legion played in 33 games before deciding to transfer. This season, he was averaging 2.7 points per game in limited action.

For his career, Legion is at 4.0 schools and 3.7 points per game.

Hilltoppers Defeat UL-Lafayette for First Sun Belt Win

Western Kentucky 77
Louisiana-Lafayette 65

Final from Western Kentucky University


Game recap by Associated Press:

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Steffphon Pettigrew scored 17 points to lead Western Kentucky past Louisiana-Lafayette 77-65 on Thursday night in the Hilltoppers' conference opener.

After Louisiana-Lafayette (4-9, 1-1 Sun Belt Conference) took its second lead of the game at 44-42, Western Kentucky (7-4, 1-0) responded with a 29-12 run to put the contest out of reach.

The Ragin' Cajuns were down by as many as 10 in the first half, but came back early in the second half with three 3-pointers by Randell Daigle. When Daigle picked up his fourth foul, the Hilltoppers went on their decisive run.

Jeremy Evans scored 16 points and A.J. Slaughter added 14 points and six assists for Western Kentucky.

The Hilltoppers had 10 steals, forcing 18 Louisiana-Lafeyette turnovers compared to seven for the Hilltoppers.

Tyren Johnson had 17 points and eight rebounds and Daigle added 14 points for the Ragin' Cajuns.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Will Terrence Ross End Up at Kentucky?

As Dustin Rumbaugh pointed out at Kentucky Sports Radio last night, there is a possibility that the Kentucky Wildcats may have interest in Terrence Ross.

Ross, who decommitted from Maryland yesterday, is a 6-5 shooting guard from Montrose Christian Academy that ranks #43 on the Rivals150 List for 2010.

Here is a statement from Ross' head coach Stu Vetter:

"Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Maryland,” Vetter said. “He has limited who he [is considering]. Not anybody can come in and recruit him. Our rule, also, is that there will be no official visits until our season is over. And as far as recruiting during our season, the No. 1 priority is his academic work and the Montrose basketball team.” Source

My Thoughts: I have checked into this situation and apparently there is mutual interest between Kentucky and Ross. There may be good reason to pay attention to this situation.

UK 2010 Baskeball Recruit Explodes for 52 Points

Kentucky 2010 basketball recruit Josh Selby exploded for 52 points last night. He also added 8 rebounds and 8 assists.

Here is his report on his Twitter account:

Misundastood32 had 52 8 and 8 tonight no games!!!!!

Selby is an explosive point guard that is ranked #4 overall on the Rivals150 List for 2010.

C.J. Leslie Stood Out at GSK Invitational

Mike LaPlante of Scouts Inc. (ESPN RISE) named Kentucky basketball recruit C.J. Leslie as one of the standout players at the GSK Holiday Invitational.

Leslie's Word of God team came up short to United Faith Christian Academy (Nc.) in the championship game, but Leslie was still very impressive. UFCA, led by Ian Miller's 26 points, defeated WOG 71-59 in the final game. Leslie finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.

Here are LaPlante's thoughts on C.J. Leslie:

C.J. Leslie, PF (6-9, 205)2010, Holly Springs, N.C./Word of God

One of the top remaining unsigned players in the Class of 2010, Leslie is one of the most athletic players in the country. He rebounded from a frustrating (4 point 2 rebound) first half to finish with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. He has a developing face-up game and can knock down a 15-17 foot jumper. He excels as Amare Stoudemire-type player who is a great finisher and offensive rebounder. If he becomes a more consistent free-throw shooter, he will be even more of a handful to guard; he gets himself to the charity stripe often, but doesn't consistently cash-in. He has the ability to get to balls outside off his area and is a heat seeker who can change momentum when he gets into rebounding mode. With his length and explosiveness he is also an outstanding shot-blocker who forces his opponents to think twice when attacking the basket. At times, he shows some questionable body language that sends up red flags to evaluators, but I hope it is just immaturity that he will grow out off.

Complete Article and Tournament Recap

Racers Cruise to Easy Hoops Victory; Move to 10-3

Murray State 82
SIU Edwardsville 51

Final from Edwardsville, Illinois

Game recap by Murray State:

The Murray State Racers used a 31-7 run over 10 minutes of the second half to rally past SIU Edwardsville 82-51 at the Vadalabene Center in Edwardsville, Ill. Wednesday night.
The Racers (10-3) led 36-30 at halftime and saw the Cougars (2-12) cut their lead to two points 15:12 to play.

MSU used their defense to generate consecutive baskets from Ed Daniel, Danero Thomas, Isaiah Canaan and Isacc Miles for a 48-38 lead with 12:59 remaining.

The Racers bench outscored the Cougars bench 45-12 for game as Canaan had a perfect night going 6-of-6 from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line for a game-high 17 points to go with five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Canaan also pushed his streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer to 12 straight when he made his only attempt of the game.

"He was pretty good tonight and we need him to be good," said MSU head coach Billy Kennedy. "Isaiah did a great job of preparing in practice. He gets pushed in practice and I've said all along that we have a deep team and I think that helped us a lot tonight."

Donte Poole added 13 from the MSU bench while Tony Easley added 12 and Isacc Miles 10.

The Racers shot a season-best .625 from the field on 30-of-48 shooting, while holding SIUE to .333 on 19-of-57.

MSU trailed at the half in the rebounding total, but managed to win the stat at game's end 32-30.

The Racers held SIUE's leading scorer Mark Yelovich to 11 points which was below his 15.8 average. MSU has now held the opponent's leading scorer below his average in 11 of their 13 games this season.

MSU returns to Ohio Valley Conference play Monday when they host the UT Martin Skyhawks in a 7:30 p.m. game at the Regional Special Events Center. MSU leads the all-time series with UTM 34-3 and have never lost a game to the Skyhawks at the RSEC in 12 games.

Louisville Cardinals Open Big East Play with Win

Louisville 73
South Florida 52

Final from Louisville


Game recap by Associated Press:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Edgar Sosa scored 16 points and dished out five assists to lead Louisville to a 73-52 win over South Florida on Wednesday night in the Big East opener for both teams.

Samardo Samuels and Jared Swopshire added 12 points apiece as the Cardinals (10-3) won their fifth straight to set up a showdown with No. 3 Kentucky on Saturday.

Louisville took control with a 15-0 run early in the second half and used its defense to beat the Bulls (10-3) for the 10th straight time.

South Florida shot just 38 percent, turned it over 21 times and made just 13 of 27 free throws.

Toarlyn Fitzpatrick led South Florida with 12 points and 10 rebounds, but the Bulls ran out of firepower when star guard Dominique Jones fouled out with 12:52 remaining.

Louisville guard Edgar Sosa on UK fans being "disrespectful" (Video by John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader):

Future Hilltopper Leads Yates to Another Championship

Future Western Kentucky Hilltopper Brandon "Snap" Peters and Yates High School (Tx.) have won another tournament championship.

Yates (13-0), the 4th-ranked team in the nation, defeated Butler (Al.) 108-77 for the T-Mobile Invitational title. Peters scored 13 points for Yates. Source

Related: Daryl Traynham, another possible 2010 Hilltopper, led his team with 29 points in a 74-67 loss. Source

Calipari and Wildcats Visit Kentucky Children's Hospital


John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats' basketball team recently visited the Kentucky Children's Hospital and brought holiday cheer to everyone.

Article by Mark D. Birdwhistell of UK HealthCare (visit for many other pictures):

On Tuesday December 22, UK Coach Calipari and his team visited the Kentucky Children's Hospital to share holiday wishes with the patients, families and staff. The tradition of the UK Basketball team visiting the Children's Hospital goes back a number of years. The timing of this year's visit was especially memorable because the night before, this basketball team made history. The win against Drexel, was the 2000th win for our program. With this win,UK became the first college basketball program to reach this accomplishment.

I was amazed at the interaction between Coach Cal and the patients and their families. The dedicated staff at the Kentucky Children's Hospital were especially excited to have their pictures taken with Coach Cal and the team. Many of them had the front page of Lexington Herald Leader available for the team to autograph.

Over the past year, we have had the opportunity to get to know Coach Cal from the stands and from the media. After having the opportunity to meet Coach Cal and seeing how gracious he was with the patients and their families, I now have additional admiration for him. His charisma and compassion were inspiring to say the least!

I am excited to be able to share some of the photographs of Coach Cal, the team and our staff. These pictures do not portray Coach Cal's interaction with the patients and families, which due to confidentiality reasons I can not publish. Just take my word for it, it was priceless!

EKU Colonels Go Cold in Loss to Chattanooga

Chattanooga 68
Eastern Kentucky 54

Final from Chattanooga


Game recap by EKU:

Ty Patterson and Keegan Bell combined for 42 points as host Chattanooga defeated the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team, 68-54, Wednesday night in the championship game of the 2009 Dr Pepper Classic. The Mocs improve to 8-6 overall while the Colonels fall to 8-5.

Eastern shot a season-low 31.7 percent from the floor in the loss. The Colonels settled for three-point shots all evening, attempting a season-high 41 long range shots, but netting just 13 trifectas (31.7 percent).

Junior Justin Stommes led the Colonels with 14 points while sophomore Joshua Jones added 12 points and five assists. Senior Dayvon Ellis provided a spark off the bench with seven points and four assists.

UTC’s Patterson, the tournament’s MVP, tallied his first career double-double with 22 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Bell finished 6-of-10 (60 percent) from behind the three-point arc on the way to 20 points.

The Mocs quickly jumped on top of Eastern Kentucky as the Colonels went almost seven minutes without a point midway through the first half. Chattanooga built its biggest advantage with 1:40 left, 33-17, before Eastern rattled off the last six points of the half to make the score 33-23 at intermission.

The Colonels quieted the crowd early in the second half by opening with a 15-4 spurt to take their first and only lead of the game, 38-37. Stommes capped the comeback with his only three-pointer of the second half.

After ties at 40- and 43-all, Chattanooga regained the lead for good. Following senior Papa Oppong’s three-pointer to cut the deficit back to two points, 48-46, the Colonels went cold again down the stretch. Eastern hit just 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) field goal attempts in the final eight minutes allowing the Mocs to pull away to claim their 13th Dr Pepper Classic title.

This was the first meeting between the two teams and the first time EKU has played a Southern Conference opponent since 1992.

Eastern Kentucky returns home Saturday, Jan. 2 to face conference foe Tennessee State. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Union Bulldogs Drop Midseason Exhibition Contest

Tennessee Tech 95
Union College 46 (Exhibition)

Final from Tennessee Tech

Game recap by Union College:

Union College suffered a 95-46 defeat to host NCAA Division I Tennessee Tech University in an exhibition game Wednesday.

Union took an early seven-point lead but once the Golden Eagles got untracked it quickly turned into a lopsided contest. With 95 points against the Bulldogs, Tech has averaged nearly 92 points in its last four home contests.

Senior Frank Davis led Tech in scoring with 23 points, just one short of his career-high, and also added five rebounds and three assists. He went 5-for-9 from long range.

Several other Golden Eagles did record career-high numbers in the game. Senior point guard Elijah Muhammad scored 17 points for a career-high effort, and added six assists and three steals. Sophomore Bassey Inameti's 14 points and four blocked shots were both career-bests numbers, and freshman Terrell Barnes had career-highs of 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

In addition to Davis, Muhammad and Inameti, sophomore Kevin Murphy also scored in double digits with 15 points and snatched a career-best three steals.

Tech shot 50.7 percent for the game and 43.5 percent (10-for-23) from long distance. The Golden Eagles also owned a 50-28 rebound advantage.

Union had balanced scoring, getting eight points from five different players and six from a sixth. Dan Penick (Ludlow, Ky.) led the way with eight points and five rebounds, while Darrel Jackson (Jonesboro, Ark.), Payton Ponzer (Independence, Ky.), Beau Brown (Athens, Tenn.) and Shawn Hadley (Doraville, Ga.) also scored eight.

The Bulldogs shot 30.9 percent from the field.

Ponzer hit a 3-pointer for a 7-0 Bluefield lead, and Jackson's 3-pointer a few seconds later made it a 10-3 Bulldog edge. That set the stage for the Golden Eagles to run through a 23-2 stretch to take control.

Union (7-7 overall) returns home Saturday to play host Indiana University East at 2 p.m.

Georgetown Tigers Run Away from UVA-Wise

Georgetown 88
UVA-Wise 56

Final from Georgetown College


Game summary by WKYT.com:

After leading for the first 12 minutes of the game, UVa-Wise could not keep the success going on Wednesday night against NAIA Division I’s 18th-ranked Georgetown College men’s basketball team. The Tigers scored the final 21 points of the first half in the last 8:31 and coasted home for an 88-56 victory.

The Highland Cavaliers (5-6) led by as many as six points early, 9-3, on a Pance Kecev triple. After three ties, Sam Eligwe downed a three-pointer to make it 16-11 with 12:32 left in the first 20 minutes. Following the fourth tie, Travis Berry made two foul shots to make it 20-18 with 8:31 in the first half. The Tigers (9-2) took control from that point with the final 21 points to take a 39-20 lead to intermission and were not challenged in the second stanza.

Kecev hit five of 10 shots for 12 points and grabbed six rebounds. Berry and Eligwe added 11 points apiece. UVa-Wise shot just 34% from the field on the night.

Georgetown saw six players score in double figures. Vic Moses and Hollis Giles had top honors with 16 and 15 tallies. The Tigers drained 35 of 61 tries in the contest at a 57% clip.

UVa-Wise will now be off before facing NAIA Division I eighth-ranked Pikeville College on Saturday, Jan. 2nd starting at 4:00 p.m.

Wall, Patterson on Hoops Midseason All-American Team

Jason King of Yahoo Sports has named Midseason All-American Teams for college basketball. He places Kentucky's John Wall on his first team and Patrick Patterson on his second team.

First Team:

F - Damion James, Texas
F - Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
C - Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
G - John Wall, Kentucky – North Carolina coach Roy Williams said Wall is the top point guard prospect since Jason Kidd.
G - Sherron Collins, Kansas
Coach - Jim Boeheim, Syracuse

Second Team:

F Patrick Patterson, Kentucky – The Wildcats’ unsung hero has improved his draft status by coming back to school
F - Quincy Pondexter, Washington
C - Ekpe Udoh, Baylor
G - Jon Scheyer, Duke
G - Jacob Pullen, Kansas State
Coach - Bill Carmody, Northwestern

Complete Article

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Terrence Ross Decommits from Maryland


Terrence Ross, a 6-5 shooting guard that ranks #43 on the Rivals150 List for 2010, has decommitted from Maryland and will reopen his recruitment.

I mention this on here because Kentucky is listed as one of his final four schools on Rivals.com. The consensus seems to be that the Montrose Christian senior is looking closely at the Duke Blue Devils.

Kansas is the other school listed in his final four with the Cats, the Blue Devils and Maryland.

Excerpt of article from Testudodimes.com:

The news comes from a couple sources, most notably from recruiting analyst Clint Jackson who recently tweeted "Terrence Ross decommits from Maryland." Also, the Duke Rivals' site has the exclusive with the headline "EXCLUSIVE: Terrence Ross a Duke option?" As a third (and more stalkerish) source, I can tell you that Terrence Ross has declared over Facebook, in no uncertain terms, that he is opening it back up again but that Maryland still has a decent chance.

Complete Article

ESPN Will Examine UK’s Roster Turnover Under Calipari


ESPN's Outside the Lines will take a look at the methods used to reshuffle Kentucky basketball's roster after Billy Gillispie was fired and John Calipari was hired as the new head coach.

Here is an excerpt of the press release (hat tip: John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader):

Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN)

When John Calipari became Kentucky basketball coach this summer, he inherited a roster put together by his predecessor, Billy Gillispie. But Calipari needed roster room for his own recruits, including sensational freshman John Wall, and six of Gillispie’s players say they were encouraged to leave. Since athletic scholarships are renewed on an annual basis, the players had little recourse but to leave if they actually wanted to play, so they left. Some players tell Outside the Lines Calipari told them that they were unlikely to get much playing time in his system if they stayed. Several players said the dramatic roster turnover at Kentucky is an example of how coaches have little loyalty to returning student-athletes, especially when a new coach is hired. Kentucky officials say Calipari just wanted players who fit his style of play. Outside the Lines’ Tom Farrey examines Kentucky’s roster turnover under John Calipari.

“I thought I was going to finish my career there, graduate from UK.” — Kevin Galloway, guard, who left Kentucky after meeting with new coach John Calipari

“It hurt because I abided by the rules. I did everything I was supposed to. … Kept up a good GPA, went to class every day, didn’t fail any tests. …. I feel like just for following my part of the contract, they should follow theirs.” — Matt Pilgrim, forward, on feeling pressured to leave UK

“He was very clear and very honest that (some) may not fit this dribble-drive approach. …It’s a decision that they jointly made, that they might find more playing time elsewhere.” — Dr. Lee Todd Jr., president of the University of Kentucky, on what Calipari told players who eventually left

“If you talk to the average scholarship athlete, they believe they’re on a four-year scholarship or maybe a five-year scholarship. …. But the reality is, there’s no such thing as a four or five-year scholarship. There’s only a one-year renewable.” — Ramogi Huma, head of an advocacy group that lobbies the NCAA and government on behalf of athletes

My Thoughts: Nice scoop ESPN. You're really onto something Earth-shattering with this one. You have stumbled onto something that happens at EVERY college basketball program in America in EVERY single season.

I'm positive that ESPN will excavate John Calipari's yard to see if they can find any skeletons buried because that is what ESPN does these days. They try to expose negativity in sports rather than promoting the games, the teams, the schools and the student athletes.

I'll reserve judgement until I see how this piece is portrayed, but I don't have much faith in the Every Story Portrayed Negatively network anymore.

Kentucky Wesleyan Overwhelms Tiffin

Kentucky Wesleyan 105
Tiffin 76

Final from Kentucky Wesleyan


Game recap by KWCPanthers.com:

Coach Todd Lee expected Tiffin to provide a test for his 18th-ranked Kentucky Wesleyan College men's basketball team on Tuesday night.

Lee, however, wasn't expecting near perfection from his Panthers in their first half of basketball since a five-day Christmas break.

KWC clicked on all cylinders from the opening tip en route to a 24-point halftime lead that propelled it to a 105-76 win over the Dragons at the Sportscenter.

"We had one turnover in the first half; I don't know if I've ever seen that," Lee said. "One turnover with 14 assists. That's a good statistic."

It was one of many good statistics for the Panthers.

* Desmond Stephens had 25 points and 13 assists, both career highs.

* Andree' Wilson had a career-high 24 points.

* Chris Williams had 18 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

* The Panthers shot 57 percent (39-of-69) from the floor and cooled off in the second half to shoot 46 percent (12-of-26) from 3-point range.

* KWC destroyed Tiffin on the boards, 44-26, which led to a 17-8 edge in second-chance points.

"The good thing is they switched their defense, played 1-3-1 zone, 2-3 zone, man-to-man, and we did a good job of recognizing what they were in," Lee said. "We shot the ball well -- though we got a little 3 happy -- but when we attacked the zone and went inside we got layups."

Tiffin (1-8) employed a full-court press against the Panthers that played right into Stephens' hands. He was able to break it with his dribble, then had the Dragons' defense on its heels with his ability to dish or attack the rim.

"I love breaking the press," said Stephens, who downplayed his own numbers. "I'm proud of them, but the victory is always the best thing."

Lee hasn't been pleased with his club's defensive work much of the season. But the Panthers held Tiffin to 46 percent (26-of-57) shooting from the floor.

Brian Scott led the Dragons with 24 points, as he hit 6-of-7 attempts from 3-point range.

"We played good defense in spurts, but once you get up its hard to maintain the intensity," Lee said. "But yes, I was happier with the defense. And that's the most important thing with us getting into the (Great Lakes Valley Conference), because there's going to be more skilled players."

KWC (12-1) extended its winning streak to 12 games. The Panthers return to action when league foe Saint Joseph's visits at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.

UK Hoops Recruit Josh Selby Scores 31 in Loss

NCAA basketball recruiting tickets
Kentucky 2010 basketball recruit Josh Selby scored 31 points in Lake Clifton's 73-68 loss to Kennedy (Ny.).

Selby is a very talented 2010 point guard that ranks #4 on the Rivals150 List. He is the second-ranked point guard in the 2010 class - just behind Brandon Knight, another Kentucky recruit.

He holds offers from Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Syracuse.

Selby will visit Kentucky this weekend for the Louisville game and plans to visit Arizona on January 9.


Photo: Liam Foley/Icon SMI

Ex-Hilltopper Big Man Makes List in Phillipines Basketball

pba basketball tickets
Japeth Aguilar, a former Western Kentucky center, has made a list of the top 5 basketball stories in the Phillipines.

Here is an excerpt about Aguilar:

Japeth Aguilar

Japeth Aguilar changed his mind as often as he grabbed headlines in 2009. Aguilar darted from plan A to plan B and back to plan A the way he executes windmill slam dunks. He moves fast and people can’t help but notice. How can anyone not notice a 6-foot-11 specimen dash from Mapua to Ateneo to Western Kentucky to Smart Gilas to the PBA Draft to Smart Gilas to Burger King then back to Smart Gilas in the speed of an Aguilar shot-block? While some couldn’t figure out what Aguilar wanted to accomplish, others already figured out two qualities that help defined Japeth’s early career: a) he’s a work in progress and b) he’s a piece of work. Ever the itinerant star, one wonders how long Aguilar stays in a Smart Gilas uniform. One thing’s for sure, he’ll continue to make news in 2010. It’s as certain as a Japeth Aguilar tomahawk on a two-on-one fast-break.

Kids These Days are Having "John Wall Moments"

When I was growing up, I learned to shoot like Larry Bird, pass like Magic Johnson and score like Michael Jordan. These days, kids play like Kobe or LeBron. Soon, it looks like kids will be molding their games after John Wall.

I discovered an article this morning from CorydonDemocrat.com about a game between Lanesville and Rock Creek Academy (no idea where these schools are located). A kid named Chris Gayhart, who happens to be a Kentucky Wildcat fan, was held scoreless throughout regulation and a first overtime period. With time winding down in the second overtime, Gayhart received a good pass and drilled a 3-point shot with 15 seconds remaining. The shot propelled Gayhart's team to an 81-8o victory.

What did Gayhart's coach tell him after the game?

"I'm really happy for him," coach Mikel Miller said. "You're never sure if a kid like that wants to shoot it, but you saw it. He caught it, didn't even hesitate and knocked it down. His favorite team is Kentucky, so I told him that was John Wall out there."

That's right, Chris Gayhart pulled a John Wall.

Source

Kentucky's John Wall...'Nuff Said

"My name is John Wall and I am a freakishly athletic basketball player."



UK Recruit Doron Lamb Leads Oak Hill to Tough Win

Doron Lamb, a key 2010 recruit for the Kentucky Wildcats, took the game over and led Oak Hill Academy to a hard fought 72-58 victory over Westview at the Les Schwab Invitational.

Lamb led the Warriors with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Lamb took the game over in the 4th quarter and helped Oak Hill outscore Westview 23-8 during that decisive final eight minutes.

Oak Hill trailed by a point heading into the fourth quarter, but rallied to win going away. Lamb was 6-15 from the field, but nailed 11-12 from the free throw line in the win.

Box Score

Pictures from Rupp Arena: Kentucky vs. Hartford





EKU Basketball Gets Win Over Morgan State

Eastern Kentucky 76
Morgan State 62

Final from Chattanooga, Tennessee


Game recap by Associated Press:

Justin Stommes scored 20 points to lead Eastern Kentucky to a 76-62 victory over Morgan State on Tuesday.

The Colonels (8-4), who had lost two straight games, shot 51.1 percent from the field (23-for-45) and used a 10-1 run to break away early in the second half in the first round of the Dr Pepper Classic.

Eastern Kentucky led 36-31 before Joshua Jones and Josh Taylor hit 3-pointers to help the Colonels take a 44-31 advantage with 17:30 remaining in the game.

Morgan State's Kevin Thompson hit a free throw before Jones capped the run with a layup and a 46-32 lead with 16:25 left. The Colonels' lead stayed in double figures the rest of the way.

Jones finished with 16 points and Taylor added 15 for Eastern Kentucky.

Reggie Holmes scored 25 points to lead Morgan State (7-5), the 11th time in 12 games he's scored at least 20 points. Thompson added 14 points.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

John Wall Breaks Single-Game UK Assist Record

John Wall
Yours truly with Mr. Wall

Kentucky freshman sensation John Wall has broken the all-time single-game assist record at the University of Kentucky.

Wall dished out 16 assists to eclipse the record of 15, held by Travis Ford (set in 1993).

He exited the game to the roaring chants of "John Wall! John Wall! John Wall!"

Kentucky Dominates Hartford in First Half

The Kentucky Wildcats jumped out to an early lead and then simply out manned Hartford on the way to a 57-31 halftime lead.

The Wildcats shot 55.0% from the field, including 8-16 from the 3-point line in the half. The Hawks were only 10-25 for 40.0%.

DeMarcus Cousins led the way with 15 points and 8 rebounds in the half. John Wall, who is well on the way to an all-time UK single-game assist record (15), added 5 points and 11 assists. Darnell Dodson came off the bench to score 12 points on four 3-pointers. Daniel Orton chipped in 10 points and 2 blocked shots.

Morgan Sabia led the Hawks with 13 points and Joe Zeglinski added 11.

NOTE: Eric Bledsoe is not dressed tonight due to an ankle injury

Kentucky Recruit Doron Lamb is Considering WVU?

The blog 5in60.com is reporting that Kentucky 2010 basketball target Doron Lamb is at least considering West Virginia at this point:

"Doron Lamb, the 6'4, 185 lb shooting guard out of Laurelton, NY., by way of Oak Hill Academy, hasn't made his decision official as of yet, but has decided to consider West Virginia among his finalists and expects to make an unofficial visit to Morgantown in the near future. He is also being recruited by Kentucky, Connecticut, Arizona, Kansas and UConn."

Source

Previewing UK Basketball vs. Hartford Hawks

Hartford Hawks (2-9) vs. #3 Kentucky Wildcats (13-0)

NOTE: AllKYHoops.com will be reporting live from this event.

Location: Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky
Game Notes: UK Notes Hartford Notes
Date & Time: Tues., Dec. 29, 7:00 p.m
Coverage:
TV: ESPN2
Radio: BBSNGameTracker Online Audio Online Video via ESPN360 Live Blog

Summary: The Wildcats gave Kentucky fans one final Christmas present with an 86-73 win over Long Beach State in UK’s final game before the Christmas break.

DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson paced the Wildcats with a pair of double-doubles, Cousins with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Patterson with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

John Wall led all scorers with 19 points, while also handing out five assists and recording four steals.

Eric Bledsoe also posted double-digits for the Wildcats with 11 points and joined Wall for team-high honors with five assists.

The Cats remained hot from the free throw line, shooting 73.3 percent (22 of 30).

Pregame Quotes from Kentucky head coach John Calipari:

On Christmas break practices...

"More focus. You get a lot more work in and you can do more teaching. You aren't pressed for time. I get in what I get in, and then we come back and we do whatever we need to get in. We spend a lot of time on areas that we need to improve and I didn't have time to work on. We have played 13 games. We have played more games than any other team in the country. And we went to Cancun, New York and Indiana, we've been on CBS three times, and we played for 2000 games. There were no teams on the schedule that couldn't beat us so we had to play every night out. Now I have time so I don't have to worry about anything else. I don't have time limitations, I don't have day limitations.

"They have done well. I was planning on two hours (for every practice), and they were 1:50, 1:30 and 1:40. They were all shortened, because what I have on that sheet, they are getting done and they are doing it with great enthusiasm. The greatest thing for me is I'm getting a lot of teaching. I'm breaking down the press, blitzing pick-and-rolls, the box-and-one, triangle-and-twos, and showing them how we'll play it when we need to shut a guy down. All of the stuff we didn't have time for because we were going on to the next game and the next game."

On DeMarcus Cousins...

"He has been fabulous. The way he has run the last two days I told him, `If you make that you and run like that, you will be the best player in the country. But, you may choose not to run that way because it's hard to run that way. But, if you will, then every time you are on the court you will play that way.' He is a beast. You work on his free throw shooting and look what's happened. You work on his conditioning and look what's happened. You hold him to a standard and look what happens. You just tell him, this is what is acceptable and this is not acceptable. Again, he's inexperienced. This is all new to him, but it is for most of the guys."

On Louisville...

"We aren't talking at all about that game. I will not watch any tape on the next game until this game is over, and until I watch that game. Until I watch Hartford, I will not watch (Louisville tape). I have seen no tape. I have seen clips or highlights, and I have not watched them play one game. Wednesday morning, we'll get started on that game. Right now it's 'let's get better and let's worry about our team.' I have a methodical way of going about it. You methodically go through the season. No one game is bigger than the next. That's how you do it. You don't move on from one game until you are done with the last game. Will that game this weekend be a big game? If we win it will be huge."

On Hartford...

"Right now, our next game is Hartford, a team that has struggled some, but shot the ball in games. I've probably watched four tapes of them and I think they'll play us with a lot of zone. If they are making three's and we are missing three's, we're in for a ballgame, and they can make three's."

Complete Game Preview from UKAthletics.com

Kentucky Sits On Top of SEC Basketball Power Rankings

BleacherReport.com has released their latest SEC Basketball Power Rankings and Kentucky sits alone on top.

1. Kentucky (13-0)

Since my last set of rankings, the Wildcats have chalked up three more victories. Their win against Long Beach State was a little too close for comfort. However, the 49ers had played a ridiculously tough schedule, so they were used to superior competition. Both John Wall and Patrick Patterson are averaging over 17 points a game to lead the way.

The kids from Lexington should chalk up an easy win tonight against Hartford, and then a challenge against in-state rival Louisville this weekend.

2. Ole Miss (10-2)
3. Tennessee (9-2)
4. Mississippi State (11-2)
5. Florida (9-3)

Complete Rankings

Alex Legion: Ex-Wildcat is Now Ex-Illini

Former Kentucky basketball player Alex Legion, who transferred from UK to Illinois, has now decided to leave the Illinois basketball program.

Excerpt of article from IlliniHQ.com:

"It's hard at this level — this is D-I basketball — to come into the middle of the season and right away start playing," Legion said last season. "You've got systems, chemistry, and it's about winning games at this level. You can't sacrifice one player for the team. No one player is bigger than the team at this level.

"So I totally understand people have doubts. I don't make any excuses. Last year is in the past, and hopefully this year I can go out there and show what I can do."

Legion averaged 9.9 minutes this season.

"I appreciate the support from the U of I fans, my teammates and coaches," Legion said in a release.. "I look forward to the next step in my collegiate career."

Will John Wall Follow Kobe as Next Face of the NBA?

john wall, kentucky basketball
Chris Harry of the Orlando Sentinel says that Kobe Bryant has been the face of the NBA for the decade of the 2000s. He wonders if Kentucky freshman point guard John Wall will be the face of the league for the 2010s:

Image of the 2010s: John Wall

Somewhere in the mix of Michael Jordan, Phil Knight, Jay-Z and Warren Buffett, LeBron James has Kentucky freshman point guard John Wall on his cell phone speed dial.

"We talk all the time," James said. "He's great. He'll be the No. 1 pick in the draft."

While at Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Christian Academy, Wall attended the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, and wowed 'em. What Wall has done in his freshman season with the unbeaten Wildcats -- like his 25-point, six-steal show-stopper against Connecticut a couple weeks ago -- has not surprised the Cavaliers MVP.

Wall has the look of a one-and-done guy in Lexington and a slam dunk to be the first pick in the NBA draft next April.

Not only will Wall and James be talking to each other a lot in the years to come, we'll be watching them a lot in key NBA moments.


Complete Article

Murray State Basketball Now Available in 85,000 Homes

Murray State Racers' basketball games will now be available in 85,000 households:

The regional office of Comcast Cable announced it has joined the Racer Television Network pushing the total number of households that can see Murray State Basketball games to 85,000.

"Comcast is excited to partner with New Wave to make Murray State Basketball games available to our customers in Paducah," said Jeff Danner Comcast Delta Area VP of Marketing. "We believe our customers and Racer fans will consider the addition of

Racer Basketball a significant value add to our channel lineup"

"This was one of our main objectives when we started the network last season and that was to get as many people as we can to have access to the games," NewWave President Jim Gleason said. "MSU has a large alumni base in McCracken County and this will allow more Racer fans to see the games."


Complete Announcement

Rajon Rondo on List of Boston's Top 10 Defining Moments

Former Kentucky basketball point guard and Louisville native Rajon Rondo makes the top 10 list of the Boston Celtics' defining moments for the decade.

7. The Suns Get Rondo’d

Rajon Rondo was drafted 21st overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 NBA Draft and the first guard taken but the Kentucky product wasn’t about to go celebrate in the Grand Canyon State.

Rondo was heading east as Phoenix quickly traded him to the Celtics along with Brian Grant for the Cleveland Cavaliers' first-round draft pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, which Boston received for Jiri Welsch and cash considerations.

After just two years as the hometown hero with the Wildcats, the Louisville native entered the draft after averaging just over 11 points, six rebounds and just under five assists per game. After splitting time with Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West in his first year with the C’s, the guard has gone onto to start every single game of his career -- 185 to be exact. His first campaign leading the C’s down the court finished with the C’s taking the NBA title as he averaged 10.6 points and 5.1 assists per game. While Rondo is on the outside of the Big 3 looking in, the playmaker is arguably one of the most important pieces of the C’s puzzle and will be for years to come as the C’s recently offered him a five-year extension.

Complete Article

Georgetown College's Pearson is Out for Season

No team in the Commonwealth, at any level, has been bitten by the injury bug as severely as the Georgetown Tigers.

The news continues to worsen for the Tigers and head coach Happy Osborne as they have learned that big man Maurice Pearson is lost for the season. There was hope that the 6-9 Pearson would recover and be back in the second semester, but he has been ruled out.

“We are 8-2. The thing I’ve got to do is stay positive,” the Osborne told the Georgetown News-Graphic. “We are not having much luck, but it hit over Christmas it is not my fault, not the system’s fault, not our players’ fault, injuries happen.”

The Tigers still have some very talented players and while they will be undersized, they will still make plenty of noise in the Mid-South Conference. Osborne and his staff are some of the best in the business and they will have the team ready for conference play.

Source

Leslie's High School Basketball Coach Scolds the Media



In a post game press conference at the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational, Word of God head coach Erasto Hatchett had some words to the media.

I actually agree with some of what he is saying and I think he is trying to do what is best for his kids. What do you think?

NOTE: Kentucky 2010 recruit C.J. Leslie plays for Hatchett at Word of God

Important Visitor for Louisville Basketball This Week


Article by Evan Daniels, Scout.com:

Justin Coleman, No. 25 on Scout.com's 2010 list, is working hard in the classroom, is set to take his SAT and will visit a Big East program this week.


Getting to know Coleman:

Justin Coleman is a 6-4 forward that plays for Huntington Prep (Wv.). He is rated a 4-star prospect by Rivals.com and ranks #45 on the Rivals150 List for 2010.

He holds offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Charlotte, Indiana, Marquette, Providence and Xavier.

Lamb, Jones on Day 2 of Les Schwab Invitational

Two 2010 Kentucky basketball recruits, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, were in action on day 2 of the Les Schwab Invitational at Hillsboro, Oregon.

Lamb, a 6-4 guard that ranks #21 on the Rivals150 List, led all scorers with 29 points in Oak Hill's 80-67 victory over Oregon City. Lamb also added 6 rebounds and 2 steals. He was 7-19 from the field and 15-17 from the free throw line (Oregon City - as a team - shot 4-5 from the free throw line).

The 6-8 Jones, who ranks #13 on the Rivals150, did not fare as well as his Jefferson team lost to Westview 70-59. Jones scored 19 points, but was only 5-17 from the field. He did put in 9-11 free throws and grab 11 rebounds.

Oak Hill Academy and Lamb return to action tonight at 11:30 p.m. EST as they face Westview in the tournament's semifinal round.

Tournament Bracket

Terrence Jones with the impressive 360-dunk:

Terrence Jones 360 Dunk









UK Basketball Recruit C.J. Leslie Scores 31 in Win


Kentucky 2010 basketball recruit C.J. Leslie led all scorers with 31 points in Word of God's closer-than-expected 75-71 victory over Apex last night.

Excerpt of game summary by NewObserver.com:

Leslie led all scorers with 31 points. Bishop Daniels added 15 points for the Holy Rams and Joel Kindred had 14.

But it was Leslie's defense in the waning seconds that sealed the Holy Rams' win.

Leslie blocked Apex forward K.B. Boru's 3-point attempt that could have tied the score at 74, then knocked the ball off an opponent to give WOG the ball. Leslie was fouled with 9.2 seconds left and made one of two free throws to seal the win.


Source

Dustin Rumbaugh Interviews Josh Selby's Mother

Here is an excerpt of a good piece from my man Dustin Rumbaugh over at KentuckySportsRadio.com:

I had the opportunity over the weekend to talk to Maeshon Witherspoon, who is the mother of super-recruit Josh Selby. Selby will be taking an official visit to UK’s January 2nd matchup against UL. We talked about who they are currently considering, what they have enjoyed so far with their visits, and what they expect to enjoy when they arrive in Lexington this weekend. Here’s some highlights from that discussion:

Dustin Rumbaugh: How has Josh’s high school season been going so far?

Maeshon Witherspoon: It’s been an adjustment coming from the team where he had a lot of guys there and the changes from the Catholic league where he had a lot of games to the public league where he’s limited in the amount of games he can play. Like right now, there’s a snow storm and because Baltimore city’s public schools are closed the games are canceled, whereas in the Catholic league, even if the schools are closed, you still were able to play. Just the traveling thing, like Josh and them played in so many different tournaments in his three years of high school that the public schools couldn’t do. The one thing about this team is it’s a good nucleus of guys. Coach “Tree” [Herman "Tree" Harried] is definitely a good motivator and he’s going to be in shape for whatever program get’s him next year.


Complete Interview Here

Monday, December 28, 2009

Morehead State Overcomes Whistle, South Dakota

Morehead State 66
South Dakota 64

Final from South Dakota


Game recap by Morehead State:

Senior Maze Stallworth hit a three-pointer with 1:40 left to play and sunk a late free throw to pull Morehead State past South Dakota 66-64 Monday night at the Dakota Dome.

The Eagles (6-6) trailed for most of the game, leading only briefly only in the each half until Stallworth's triple fell following a key steal by senior Brandon Shingles just past mid court. Tyler Cain, who had 17 points to lead South Dakota, had two free throws to tie it, but missed the first of two. Stallworth then swished a single free throw to make it a two-point game. Jake Thomas narrowly missed a desperation 3-pointer from 35 feet that would have won it for the Coyotes.

Stallworth had 21 points and a career-high five steals, four of which came in the first half. Senior Kenneth Faried had 15 points and 15 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Shingles finished with seven assists. Sophomore Steve Peterson had 12 points and seven rebounds and junior Demonte Harper scored 10 points.

Thomas, Roman Gentry and Kendall Cutler each finished with 10 points for South Dakota (6-6). Cain also had 15 rebounds.

The Eagles return to action Saturday at 9 p.m. for an ESPNU doubleheader with the women's team. MSU resume Ohio Valley Conference play with Austin Peay.

ESPN's Adreian Branch: "Kentucky Wins It All"


I was just watching the UPS Halftime Report on ESPN2 and Adreian Branch said during the "going out on a limb" segment that he is choosing the Kentucky Wildcats to win it all this season.

No Change for UK in Latest College Basketball Polls

The Kentucky Wildcats remain #3 in both college basketball polls this week. The Louisville Cardinals received no votes in the AP Poll, but did earn 5 votes in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25.

AP Top 25

1. Kansas (52) 11-0 1,607
2. Texas (11) 11-0 1,556
3. Kentucky (1) 13-0 1,476
4. Purdue 11-0 1,407
5. Syracuse (1) 12-0 1,398
6. West Virginia 10-0 1,309
7. Duke 9-1 1,241
8. Villanova 11-1 1,177
9. North Carolina 9-3 1,033
10. Connecticut 9-2 1,002
11. Michigan State 9-3 910 12. Kansas State 11-1 892 13. Georgetown 9-1 813 14. Tennessee 9-2 664 15. Ohio State 10-2 605 16. Mississippi 10-2 544 17. Washington 9-2 490 18. Temple 9-2 403 19. New Mexico 12-1 352 20. Texas Tech 10-1 334 21. Clemson 11-2 300 22. Florida State 11-2 252 23. Wisconsin 10-2 180 24. UAB 11-1 178 25. Northwestern 10-1 144

ESPN/USA Today Poll

1. Kansas (28) 11-0 772
2. Texas (3) 11-0 743
3. Kentucky 13-0 702
4. Purdue 11-0 677
5. Syracuse 12-0 657
6. West Virginia 10-0 630
7. Duke 9-1 585
8. Villanova 11-1 553
9. North Carolina 9-3 489
10. Connecticut 9-2 471
11. Michigan State 9-3 436 12. Kansas State 11-1 409 13. Georgetown 9-1 407 14. Tennessee 9-2 313 15. Ohio State 10-2 290 16. Washington 9-2 274 17. New Mexico 12-1 241 18. Clemson 11-2 192 19. Temple 9-2 164 20. Georgia Tech 9-2 140 21. Mississippi 10-2 137 22. Gonzaga 8-3 96 23. Butler 8-4 85 24. Texas Tech 10-1 68 25. Florida State 11-2 67

Patterson Second-Guessing Decision to Bypass NBA?

NBA basketball tickets
Is Patrick Patterson second-guessing his decision to return to Kentucky for his junior season rather than entering the NBA Draft?

ESPN's Cam Martin makes the claim today that:

"Patrick Patterson is reportedly second-guessing his decision to bypass the NBA Draft and return to Kentucky, where a bunch of snot-nosed freshmen are stealing his thunder."


My thoughts: I wanted to add that I personally can't see Patrick Patterson making any statements like this, but I felt it relevant to pass it along.

Ex-UK Basketball Coach Makes Most Forgettable List

DUI attorney Dallas Texas
Former Kentucky basketball head coach Billy Gillispie has made a list of the top 10 "Most Forgettable Sports Moments of 2009".

The Billy Gillispie Era at UK

"Add a new coach (John Calipari), the best player in America (John Wall) and a shiny undefeated record, and it’s hard to believe that the Cats were bounced by Notre Dame in the NIT last year."

Some other forgettable moments this past year:

- Terrell Owens with the Buffalo Bills
- Allen Iverson with the Memphis Grizzlies
- Fat college football coaches
- ACC Football

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