Saturday, March 27, 2010

If You Wish to Support the Wildcats Tonight

The Kentucky Wildcats basketball team has departed Syracuse and expects to land at Bluegrass Field at approximately 12:30-1:00 a.m. tonight.

If you wish to support the Cats, head to the airport.

Poor Shooting Ends Kentucky's Road to the Final Four

(2) West Virginia 73
(1) Kentucky 66

NCAA Tournament East Regional Final

Game recap by

Kentucky's magical season ended at the hands of West Virginia in the East Regional championship game. The young Cats (35-3) were unable to get on track offensively and could not overcome West Virginia's second half lead.

The Wildcats were undeniably bad from long range and not much better from inside the arc and the free throw line. Kentucky, a 34.4% 3-point shooting team on the season, shot an ice cold 4-32 (12.5%) from long distance. They were 23-67 (34.3%) from the field and only 16-29 (55.2%) from the charity stripe.

In addition to terrible shooting woes, the Wildcats turned the ball over 16 times.

John Wall, playing in what was almost certainly his last game in a Kentucky uniform, led all scorers with 19 points and added 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. DeMarcus Cousins added 15 points and 8 rebounds. Patrick Patterson chipped in 8 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

De'Sean Butler led the Mountaineers (31-6) with 18 points, including 4-8 from long range. Joe Mazzulla added a career-high 17.

West Virginia, which had not shot well in the NCAA Tournament, exploded for 10-23 (43.5%) from long range.

The Mountaineers, who will advance to their first Final Four in 51 years, were plus-24 points from the 3-point line and plus-7 from the free throw in the game.

Notes and My Thoughts:

- My first observation (not a complaint, but an observation): this was a matchup of two #1 seeds; there was no excuse for WVU to be a #2 seed and they proved it

- Bob Huggins is now 8-1 against John Calipari in head-to-head games

- I don't care which team you are and how much talent you have, if you shoot 4-32 from long range, 23-67 overall, 16-29 FT and turn it over 16 times - you will lose

- Kentucky was 6-48 (12.5%) from long range in 2 games at the Carrier Dome

- Dodson, who has been UK's best 3-point shooter, was 2-9 tonight

- UK looked out of sorts for much of the second half and when momentum finally shifted, it was too late

- Another Achilles heel that reared its ugly head - the 3-position; Dodson, Liggins, Miller and Harris were a combined 4-22 FG, 3-18 3PT, 6-8 FT, 17 PTS

- I wanted to cheer for WVU in the Final Four, but they decided to prance around the court mocking the John Wall Dance after the game (see image by Yahoo! Sports); here's to hoping the Mountaineers get drilled in the next game; whatever happened to just winning with class and respecting your opponents?

- John Calipari: "I don't want to make excuses. They outplayed us. But I think there were times when our inexperience hurt us."

- Yes, this is a disappointing loss, but this was a tremendous season by a great group of young men

- Face the reality: Cousins, Wall and Patterson are almost certainly gone; Orton and Bledsoe could very well be gone; Normal roster turnover will lead to the loss of several others (Stevenson, Harris and Krebs for sure)

- Face the reality, part II: We have two high profile recruits in the 2010 class already; we will almost certainly land one of the top PGS (probably Knight) and one of the top wings (most likely Leslie); we will also probably add a couple of other recruits that will contribute - depending on who leaves; this is what it's like to have a Calipari-coached team, so be prepared.

The Butler Did It! Bulldogs Shock Kansas State

The Butler Bulldogs (32-4) shocked the second-seeded Kansas State Wildcats 63-56 this afternoon to advance to the Final Four.

Lexington native Shelvin Mack scored 16 points for Butler, who has now won 24-consecutive games. Gordon Hayward led the Bulldogs with 22 points.

Kansas State (29-8) was led by Denis Clemente with 18 points.

The Final Four will be held in downtown Indianapolis, about 4-5 miles from Butler University.


Calipari's Point Guards are Learning from One of the Best

William C. Rhoden of has a tremendous article about Kentucky assistant coach Rod Strickland today. After reading the article it is easy to see that John Calipari's recent stable full of superstar point guards have been learning from one of the best in the business.

Here is an excerpt:

This season, Strickland, 43, is tutoring John Wall.

During timeouts or sometimes while sitting on the bench, Strickland and Wall have conversations. What’s impressive is that Wall seems to be listening intently.

“I may just talk to him about how a team is defending the pick-and-roll, or defensively what he needs to do when he’s off the ball,” Strickland said Friday after Kentucky prepared for Saturday night’s matchup with West Virginia in the East Regional final. “If the team is struggling a little bit, I tell him he has to take over. Just basketball stuff.”

Note: I heard from a few folks that Strickland has been known to be hell on wheels in intramurals, as well.

No Longer UK Bound, but Vinny Zollo Will Be Just Fine

I had a nice conversation with 2011 star Vinny Zollo this morning. The 6-8 star from George Rogers Clark High School is coming off a tremendous season and preparing for a challenging summer of AAU basketball.

He was once committed to the University of Kentucky, but chose to re-open his recruitment when John Calipari replaced Billy Gillispie as the UK head coach. He is not exactly struggling for college attention, however.

"Tennessee, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Stanford, Xavier, Clemson, South Florida, LSU, Indiana and Purdue," Zollo responded when I asked him if he was hearing from any BCS schools.

"Those are the ones hitting me hard right now," he explained.

He said he is looking forward to the summer and will probably form a list after all the evaluation periods are over.

As for the summer, Zollo said, "Recruiting is really good now that I can focus on it since the season is over. I will be playing with Indiana Elite against this year and we are going to have a great team."

I asked him to give me a few names that he would be playing with on the Indiana Elite team.

"Marshall Plumlee, Cody Zeller, Jeremiah Davis, Deng Leek and Matt Carlino," Vinny stated. "It's fun because we have a lot of talent on one team but we play great as a team, which is rare for this type of team.

Vinny Zollo will be one of Kentucky's premier talents in the 2011 class. lists him as a 4-star player and also adds that he has an offer from Dayton.

Vince Gill Helps Raise $40K for Campbellsville Athletics

Giving back is nothing new for Country Music legend Vince Gill. The singer/song writer took the stage Friday night at Campbellsville University's Ransdell Chapel in front of a sold-out crowd to raise money for CU athletics' "More Than a Game" fundraising campaign.
"We are deeply honored to have had a popular entertainer like Vince Gill give of his time and talent to support our ‘More Than a Game' athletic fundraising effort," said Rusty Hollingsworth, CU director of athletics. "This was a great night for Campbellsville University and the student-athletes who will benefit from his generosity."

More than $40,000 was raised to help fund the addition of synthetic turf and lights to Campbellsville's football field and lights at the baseball stadium.

Gill, who holds numerous charity events each year, is familiar with sports fundraising efforts, as an avid golfer and also a friend to Belmont University basketball.

"I'm a sports nut," Gill said. "Sometimes it takes some of the athletic programs to help put the school on the map.

But overall, it's about giving and helping provide a better future for today's youth that helped bring Gill to Campbellsville.

The journey to CU began in California back in October, when golfing buddy Steve Finley, nephew of Campbellsville football patriarch Ron Finley, asked Gill if he'd be willing to do a benefit concert.

Gill jumped at the idea.

"I love my friends, and I tell you, nine times out of 10 when you do some kind of a charitable thing, you're reacting to someone else's passion. It just makes sense to help somebody else out," Gill said. "Plus, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Kentucky. When I moved away from home at 18, this was my home. I really love the state."

Finley, while connected to CU's athletic history, said he asked the favor more for CU's future athletes than its past ties - mainly freshman football player Westley Cadena, who Finley has mentored since age 6.

"I'm doing this, because the school took a chance on Westley." Finley said.

To Finley, Gill was a natural pick to ask the favor.

"He's the most giving of anybody I know in Nashville on the entertainment side," Finley said. "The people will love him in Campbellsville. I've seen him in every venue, from 30 to 40 in a small room to 10,000 people. This was a nice venue tonight."

Prior to the concert, Gill was the dinner guest of Campbellsville President Dr. Michael V. Carter at the Betty Dobbins Heilman House, the president's home, on campus.

"We were thrilled to have Vince Gill come to Campbellsville University in support of our ‘More Than a Game' campaign. His performance was terrific and his love to help others comes through with such sincerity," Carter said. "We feel honored that he cares so deeply about helping young people grow and mature through Christian higher education."

The concert was organized and directed through the Campbellsville University Office of Development and the Big Maroon Club.

"It is a rare opportunity to have a person of Vince Gill's stature at Campbellsville University," Chuck Vaughn, director of the Big Maroon Club, said.

"Not only is Vince a Hall of Fame country music artist but he also has a generous heart. He is well known for his humanitarian spirit and our ‘More Than a Game' campaign is a beneficiary. This is just one more way that Vince Gill is giving back to help others," Vaughn said.

"Also, a special thanks goes out to Steve Finley for his help in arranging for Vince to perform."

During that same October dinner with Gill, Finley helped organize Campbellsville's next fundraising effort is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person or $60 per couple. Butkus will also play in the Big Maroon Golf Scramble on April 17. For more information, call 270-789-5211 or click here.

For fans who missed the special Campbellsville University performance, Gill will have four concert dates in April, within three hours of Campbellsville. He is next scheduled to appear at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on April 2, 3 and 10. He will also be at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on April 19.

Source: Press release by CU

Tubby Smith Still Mentioned for Oregon Job

Former Kentucky and current Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith is still being speculated as a name that Oregon would like to hire as their head coach.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Ducks' booster Phil Knight (pictured), the co-founder of Nike, really wants Smith at the Oregon program.

"Phil Knight wants Tubby at Oregon," a source tells the Minneapolis Star-Tribune of the Ducks' super-booster's interest in the Gophers coach.

The Ducks are known to have interviewed four candidates, and former athletic director Pat Kilkenny, who is overseeing the search, has said he hopes to make a hire by the Final Four, which is April 3-5.

Will Tubby Just Do It?

Billy Kennedy Has Interviewed for Iowa Job

Jeff Goodman of has confirmed that Murray State head coach Billy Kennedy has interviewed for the head coaching position at Iowa.

Excerpt from Goodman:

While Dayton's Brian Gregory continues to win games in the NIT and slow things down for Iowa's search to replace Todd Lickliter, the Hawkeyes have spoken to other candidates.

Iowa has interviewed Utah's Jim Boylen, Wright State's Brad Brownell and Murray State's Billy Kennedy, according to multiple sources.

Tulsa's Doug Wojcik is said to be in the mix as well.

Billy Gillispie in the Final Two for Houston Job?

Former Kentucky head coach Billy Gillispie has met with the administration at Houston concerning their vacant head coaching position.

It appears that Gillispie and former USC coach Tim Floyd are the final two candidates in consideration for the job.

The third potential candidate was Bob Marlin from Sam Houston State, but he has accepted a new job at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Athletic director Mack Rhoades said the university hopes to hire a coach with a salary in the range of $500,000 annually.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Former Mr. Basketball Joins East Kentucky Energy

On the heels of Shelby Valley bringing home Pike County’s first state basketball championship, another former state champion is taking to the court in Pikeville.

J.R. VanHoose, who led Paintsville to the 1996 state championship, signed recently to continue his basketball career with the East Kentucky Energy.

“I am excited to be playing professional basketball again, and very happy that it will be in Eastern Kentucky where I began playing basketball many years ago,” said VanHoose. “It is my hope that the Energy will be a franchise that is around for a very long time and represent the different communities in Eastern Kentucky in a professional manner.”

VanHoose was selected as Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 1998 and remains one of the best prep players in state history. He is one of only three players in Kentucky history to record more than 3,000 points and 2,000 rebounds in his career.

The 6-foot-9 forward/center was named one of the 50 greatest players ever to play in the Sweet 16, joining the likes of Rex Chapman, Allan Houston and Wes Unseld.

VanHoose also made history during a stellar career at Marshall University. He was elected to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008 and ranks in the top 10 all-time in seven statistical categories, including No. 2 all-time in career rebounds and fifth all-time in career points.

“J.R. is one of the best basketball players ever to come from Eastern Kentucky,” said Energy co-founder Jerry Boggs. “His accomplishments throughout his career are staggering. We’re excited that the Energy will be part of his legacy.”

For the Energy, which begins play in the American Basketball Association in December, bringing VanHoose into the fold for the team’s inaugural season was an easy decision.

“A professional basketball team in Eastern Kentucky should have J.R. VanHoose on the roster,” said team co-founder Tom Hamilton. “He’s a tremendous asset to the team both on the court and off. He’s got tremendous talent as a player and is also an ambassador for professional basketball and for the East Kentucky Energy.”

Complete Release

Montana Loves the Kentucky Wildcats?

Of all the places, I had no idea that a huge base of UK fans lived in Montana:

I was getting pretty excited, but a quick mouse-over revealed that all 11 UK fans in the state voted on the ESPN poll:

Video: DeMarcus Cousins is Kentucky's "Iron Man"

Here is a good DeMarcus Cousins' highlight reel set to the tunes of Iron Man by Black Sabbath. Really...what else could you ask for?

Cats Discuss Kentucky's Win Over Cornell

Patrick Patterson:

DeMarcus Cousins:

Videos from KentuckyVids' YouTube Channel

Kentucky Aces the Cornell Exam

(1) Kentucky 62
(12) Cornell 45

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Kentucky shot poorly but simply had too much talent for Cornell.

The Big Red seemingly had all the elements to make a bid for an upset, including overwhelming fan support in the Carrier Dome.

Cornell (29-5) came out hot early and built up a 10-2 lead. Kentucky then closed the first half on a 30-6 run to take a 32-16 lead into the halftime break.

DeMarcus Cousins was too much of a force down low for Cornell's big men as he led Kentucky with 16 points on 7-8 field goal shooting. Cousins also had 7 points and 4 steals. John Wall added 8 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists. Eric Bledsoe contributed 12 for the Cats.

Louis Dale led the way for Cornell with 17 points and 4 rebounds. Ryan Wittman added 10. Former Kentucky Wildcat Mark Coury was 0-2 from the field and did not score.

Neither team was able to find the range from long distance. Cornell was a cool 5-21 (23.8%) from beyond the 3-point line. Kentucky was even worse as the Cats when 2-16 (12.5%). UK was only 16-26 (61.5%) from the free throw line.

Kentucky (35-2) will battle West Virginia Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. for a spot in the Final Four. It will be Kentucky's first appearance in the national quarterfinals in the five years.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Butler Shocks No. 1 Seed Syracuse in Sweet 16

The Butler Bulldogs have defeated Syracuse, the No. 1 seed in the West Regional, by a score of 63-59.

Lexington native Shelvin Mack (Bryan Station High school) is one of Butler's key players.

Butler advances to the Elite 8.

In other action, West Virginia and Washington are in a single-digit game midway through the second half. The winner will face the Kentucky/Cornell winner on Saturday.

Tyndall Sends Heartfelt "Thank You" to Morehead State Fans

Listen to Coach Tyndall's Statements to Morehead State Fans Here

"I say this as humbly as you can possibly say it. You can’t imagine how much your support and you being at the games all season long means to our players, our coaches and the tremendous growth. In growing and building our program, to be able to bring a recruit to campus, and have a great arena filled with fans and they get excited about coming to Morehead State. So not only thank you for today, and your support, but all season long, to our students, our faculty staff and all of our community people, thank you very very much."



ESPN Article About the Shelby Valley Wildcats

Christopher Lawlor has written an article on about the Shelby Valley Wildcats and their magical season that ended with a state championship.

Here is an excerpt of the article:

"It's the dream of every boy in Kentucky once they pick up a basketball," senior forward Ashley Hatfield added.

If you win Kentucky's state tournament, you truly are champion. That's what happens in the commonwealth, a single-class system where every school has a chance at the prize. All schools play in district and region tournaments before qualifying for a date at storied Rupp Arena in Lexington.

Win the tournament and you're an instant celebrity. Autograph sessions, police escorts, pictures, ring fittings and parties were on the agenda this week.

Complete Article

It has been a great week and a great season for Coach Booher and the boys from Shelby Valley.

Breaking: Elisha Justice Named Mr. Basketball in Kentucky

According to numerous posts on Facebook, Shelby Valley's Elisha Justice has been named Kentucky Mr. Basketball.

Paul Hewitt is Staying at Georgia Tech

Jeff Goodman of reports that Paul Hewitt is staying at Georgia Tech.

Former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith had been rumored as a possible replacement for Hewitt at Georgia Tech.

Kansas Ticket Office Under Federal Investigation

The Kansas University ticket office is under federal investigation according to

Here is an excerpt:

Unidentified sources told The Star that proceeds from potentially illegal sales could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The nature of the allegations is not clear. One anonymous source told The Star they are about the athletic department's handling of NCAA tournament tickets, while another anonymous source said it also included season tickets. A third anonymous source told the newspaper only that federal investigators were involved.

Complete Article

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cousins Says NBA Decision Will Be Tougher Than Expected

Kentucky freshman big man DeMarcus Cousins said today that his upcoming decision on leaving early for the NBA Draft or returning to Kentucky is going to be a little tougher than originally expected. He admits that he has had the NBA dream for a good while now, but the love he has received in Kentucky is overwhelming.

Here is an excerpt of an article by Larry Vaught of the Advocate-Messenger:

Now he’s not quite so certain about his future, even though he’s had a monstrous freshman season going into Thursday’s game against Cornell in Syracuse, N.Y.

“Whenever I do decide to leave, I will miss this a lot, probably more than I ever thought,” Cousins said. “No matter where I have played or been, I have never been accepted like this. It just feels so good to be accepted.

“It is going to be a tough decision, much harder than I thought it ever would be. I have always dreamed of that next level, but we’ll have to see. Life is good at Kentucky for me.”

My Thoughts: I think Cousins will certainly enter the NBA Draft, but it is nice to know that he values his time in Lexington.

Videos: Current Cat and a Former Cat Talk to Media

Vintage DeMarcus Cousins:

Former Cat Mark Coury:

Videos from KentuckyVids' YouTube Channel

UTEP's Tony Barbee to Coach Auburn Tigers

UTEP head coach Tony Barbee has accepted the head coaching position at Auburn University.

Here is an excerpt of an article from

UTEP's Tony Barbee has accepted Auburn's head coaching job Wednesday, multiple sources told

Barbee was one of at least four candidates interviewed for the position in Atlanta in the last two days. Barbee will replace the fired Jeff Lebo, who was let go after six seasons after failing to reach the NCAA tournament.

This is important to fans in Kentucky for several reasons. First, Barbee is a former player that was coached by UK head coach John Calipari. Secondly, Auburn is an SEC opponent. Lastly, Morehead State's Donnie Tyndall was contacted about the job according to several sources and this means he will remain at Morehead - at least for now.

Kentucky 1998 National Championship Ring on eBay

I just came across an eBay auction for one of Kentucky's 1998 National Championship rings.

Here is a link to the auction

From the auction:

"M A R C H M A D N E S S"

What a Gorgeous Ring!!! This Very Rare *Player's* 1998 Kentucky Wildcats NCAA "National Championship" 10K Gold Basketball Ring is a "Stunner"! Bigger than most NBA Championship Rings from the 80's & 90's out there, and one of the largest College Basketball Ring to that point, this extremely scarce, beautiful ring is one of only a select few made for the players & coaches by JOSTENS.

This extremely rare piece is just a HUGE college basketball ring, produced by JOSTENS, which has all the proper markings engraved inside ("J" inside a diamond-logo for Jostens, "c" inside a circle, for copyright, & "10K" for the Gold content). Plus, there's the player's name engraved inside the shank, in script, too. Comes in the original Jostens Black Presentation Box. This amazing ring weighs a hefty 37-grams (1.3-Ounces) of solid gold, is a Size 11-1/2 to 12, and would make an incredible gift for the man in your life, or a great addition to your own Kentucky Wildcats collection for that matter! Treat yourself ......... =)

Mason County's Treg Setty Commits to Southern Illinois

I just received a text message confirming that Mason County's Treg Setty has committed to Southern Illinois.

UK Recruit C.J. Leslie Named North Carolina All-State

Kentucky 2010 recruit C.J. Leslie has been named to the AP All-State prep basketball team in North Carolina.

The 2009-10 Associated Press All-State prep basketball teams for North Carolina, as selected by 22 sports writers across the state. With school, position, class and number of votes in parentheses:

x-Reggie Bullock, Kinston, G, Sr. (22)
P.J. Hairston, Greensboro Dudley, G/F, Jr. (21)
J.T. Terrell, West Charlotte, G, Sr. (20)
Ian Miller, Charlotte United Faith, PG, Sr. (17)
C.J. Leslie, Raleigh Word of God, F, Sr. (15)
Aaron Toomey, Kernersville McGuinness, G, Sr. (15)
Jarell Eddie, Concord Cannon, G/F, Sr. (14)
Tashawn Mabry, Rocky Mount, F, Sr. (14)
Terry Whisnant, Cherryville, G, Jr. (14)
Paul Larsen, Lake Norman, F/C, Sr. (8)
Jamaal Williams, Southwest Onslow, G, Sr. (8)
Jay Canty, Oak Ridge Military, F, Sr. (7)
Tyler Lewis, Forsyth Country Day, G, Soph. (7)
Melvin Tabb, Raleigh Enloe, F, Sr. (7)

Chane Behanan Lands Another High-Major Offer

Bowling Green big man Chane Behanan has picked up another high-major Division I offer, this time from the Big Ten Conference.

The Purdue Boilermakers have extended an offer to the talented 2011 star.

He now holds offers from Purdue, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Western Kentucky.

Centre's Alex Lloyd Named to SCAC All-Sportsmanship Team

Centre junior Alex Lloyd (Versailles, Ky.) and junior Amanda Stovall (Louisville, Ky.) were named to the 2010 SCAC All-Sportsmanship Team. Twelve men's basketball players and twelve women's basketball players were selected to the 2009-2010 squads.

Lloyd finished the season ranked 38th nationally for Division III in blocked shots per game with 2.0. He also was ranked 42nd nationally in rebounds per game with 9.7.

In the SCAC Lloyd was ranked first in rebounding and second in blocked shots. He was first in offensive rebounds averaging 3.4 per game. Lloyd was also first in defensive rebounds averaging 6.3 per game.

The Centre men's basketball team finished the season with an overall record of 18-9 and a conference record of 14-5. Lloyd helped the Colonels repeat as conference champions and return to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the fourth straight year. In his efforts on the court Lloyd was named the 2009-2010 SCAC Defensive Player-of-the-Year.

Complete Release

Former Cornell Star Recalls Upset Over UK in 1966

Former Cornell star Gregg Morris talks to the New York Post today about the Big Red's upset victory over Adolph Rupp's Kentucky Wildcats in 1966.

Excerpt of article from

The Cornell players began feeling invincible. It was over early in the second half.

"I don't remember any exchanges like 'Good game,' or anything with the Kentucky players," Morris said. "It was civil, but no."

Rupp's reaction? "I remember seeing this look on his face that I would describe as ... disgust," Morris said.

The Cornell players hit several Lexington bars afterward, and didn't see a single black face in them.

"We didn't run into any insults or anything like that before the game, during the game, after the game," Morris recalled, "and we hit all the redneck bars and there was nothing. Everybody knew who we were. It was like they were shocked we were able to do it."

Complete Article

Brandon Knight Named Florida Mr. Basketball

One day after being named Gatorade National Player of the Year, UK recruit Brandon Knight has been recognized as Mr. Basketball in the state of Florida.

Knight, who averaged 31.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game, edged out Winter Park's Austin Rivers for the award.

He received 10 of 17 first-place votes and totaled 138 points. Rivers finished with 104 points.

Florida's Ray Shipman to Transfer

Ray Shipman, a former Florida Mr. Basketball, plans to transfer from the Florida Gators basketball program.

He averaged 2.4 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game this past season.

Shipman's father, Ray Shipman Sr., told The Sun:

"He's definitely outta there. I talked to him (Tuesday) morning and I just think there were some issues with playing time."

Shipman is the fifth Florida player to transfer in the past two years, a list that includes Jonathan Mitchell (Rutgers), Jai Lucas (Texas), Eloy Vargas (Miami Dade College) and Allan Chaney (Virginia Tech). Article Unloads on Kentucky Basketball

Dan Shaughnessy of is clearly a huge fan of Kentucky and John Calipari.

Here are some excerpts from his article this morning:

You can have Kentucky. You can take Ashley Judd, Adolph Rupp, Sam Bowie, Pat Riley, Coach Cal, Refuse to Lose, the one-and-done freshmen bound for the NBA, and all the bags of cash needed to make the Wildcats run.

I’ll take Cornell and the Ivy League, which has long been a joke in college basketball.

My Thoughts: Yeah Dan and articles like yours are one of the key reasons why the Ivy League is a joke in college basketball.

The contrasts could not be more striking. Cornell spends less than $1 million on basketball and gets it done without athletic scholarships. Kentucky’s men’s basketball budget is $8.6 million — and that’s only counting sanctioned money. The rest is invisible and inestimable. Wonder what they’ll get Cal on this time.

My Thoughts: Only counting "sanctioned" money? Kentucky spends $8.6 million because Kentucky is a BCS school that has 24,000 fans at their home games. Yes Cornell is a great story and they've had a tremendous season, but it's apples to oranges. Wonder what they'll get Cal on this time? Classy.

The Big Red have history on their side. In December of 1966, in the only basketball meeting of these schools, Cornell went to Kentucky and defeated Rupp’s Wildcats (NCAA runners-up in the spring of ’66) by a score of 92-77. Some folks in Lexington still haven’t recovered from that one.

Here’s hoping Calipari and his guys take the apple in this one. Then we can tell them that Dr. Henry Heimlich is a Cornell man.

My Thoughts: Yeah, the Big Red have tremendous history on their side. They have what now, 2 NCAA Tournament victories - ever? Kentucky has the most wins in college basketball history and 7 national titles. Nice "wishful thinking" but I'm pretty sure no one around Lexington is sweating the mighty Big Red upset in 1966. I hate to burst your bubble, but we're not having an academic meet on Thursday.

Source: "Florida found out that Knight is Kentucky bound"

I talked to a national recruiting analyst this morning to hear his thoughts on Brandon Knight's recruitment.

Knight, the nation's top-rated overall player in the 2010 class by, will make an announcement on his future soon.

We learned last night that Florida is no longer considering Knight, which leaves his list at four: Kentucky, Connecticut, Kansas and Syracuse.

I asked the analyst why Florida would back away from Knight at such a critical stage of the process:

"Florida found out that Knight is Kentucky bound and (Josh) Selby is heading to Kansas," he replied.

I asked him if he felt that it was generally known in most recruiting circles that Knight was likely going to Kentucky:

"Probably yeah. Unless something happens at the last minute, he's the next great Calipari point guard."

My Thoughts: While this is certainly nothing official, I'm starting to feel pretty good about Kentucky's chances of landing Brandon Knight.


Ex-Eagle Ricky Minard Signs Contract in Russia

Former Morehead State star Ricky Minard has moved to Russia.

Minard has signed a new contract with Khimky in Russia's top-level A Superleague.

He moves to Russia from Italy, where he played for Lottomatica in Seria A and Euroleague. In league play, he averaged 8.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. In Euroleague action, he tallied 11.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per outing.

The Russian A Superleague is a talented league that includes the likes of Levance Fields, James White, Brion Rush, Trajan Langdon, Sasha Kaun, J.R. Holden, Gerald Green and Lionel Chalmers.

Minard will join forces Kelly McCarty (Southern Miss), Robertas Javtokas (Arizona), Keith Langford (Kansas) and Raul Lopez (Utah Jazz).


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Breaking: West Virginia Point Guard Breaks Foot in Practice

West Virginia starting point guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant will miss the rest of the NCAA tourney after breaking his right foot in practice on Tuesday.

This could cause a shakeup in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament as the Mountaineers are one of the four remaining teams with Kentucky, Cornell and Washington.

Losing a starting player at any position would be critical at this stage of the tournament, but the loss of a starting point guard puts West Virginia in a difficult position as they prepare for Thursday night's game against Washington.



Several from Kentucky Schools Named NAIA All-Americans

The NAIA has released its 2009-10 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball All-America Team and several players from Kentucky schools have been honored.

Nestor Colmenares of Campbellsville was named to the First Team and teammate T.J. Bishop earned Honorable Mention.

Georgetown College's Hollis Giles was placed on the Second Team. Vic Moses of Georgetown picked up Honorable Mention.

Jonathan Clark from Pikeville College was named to the Third Team.

Chad Byron of Cumberlands and Kenny Thomas of Mid-Continent also earned Honorable Mention selections.



Xavier Alexander Southern Nazarene (Okla.)
Nick Aldridge Mountain State (W.Va.)
Nate Brumfield Oklahoma Baptist
Nestor Colmenares Campbellsville (Ky.)
Rocky Hampton Biola (Calif.)
Eric Hobbie McKendree (Ill.)
Dominique Johnson Azusa Pacific (Calif.)
Justin Johnson Concordia (Calif.)
Derrick Parker LSU-Shreveport
Jason Taylor Oklahoma Christian

Florida is Not in Brandon Knight's Future

Florida is no longer recruiting Brandon Knight according to Dave Telep of

Telep reports:

We can’t tell you where No. 2 Brandon Knight is going to attend college, but as of Tuesday, we can tell you the list shrunk by one school., according to a source, learned that Florida took itself out of contention for Knight’s services. The move will do nothing except fuel the theory that Kentucky is in the driver’s seat for Knight

Complete Article

What does this mean for Kentucky?

My Thoughts: I have not found one person that thinks Brandon Knight is heading anywhere besides Lexington, Kentucky.

Enes Kanter Has Committed to Kentucky

Evan Daniels of has reported that Enes Kanter has committed to Kentucky.

I had heard two weeks ago that Kanter absolutely loved his visit to Kentucky and was going to commit soon.

Here is Daniels' announcement on Twitter:

evandanielscout Enes Kanter Makes Commitment ...

Kanter is projected as a top 10-15 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and has turned down several multi-million dollar deals overseas to play college basketball in the United States.

He is not a typical European player according to Daniels. He is more of a big, physical post player that has an array of offensive moves.

Jeff Goodman: "My gut says Bledsoe is gone"

Jeff Goodman of stated on Twitter today that he thinks Daniel Orton will return to Kentucky, but his "gut says Bledsoe is gone" to the NBA Draft this summer.

Here is a post by Goodman on Twitter in response to a his thoughts on Orton and Bledsoe:

goodmanonfox Orton - back. My gut says Bledsoe is gone...

Jeff Goodman is a pretty reliable source in most instances. I personally feel that both Bledsoe and Orton will be back at Kentucky, but the prospect is certainly there to lose one, or both.

I'm going to enjoy this season while it lasts, but Kentucky fans will have to adjust to the thought of having an entirely different team year-in and year-out.

Sorry Cornell, I'm Going with Kentucky's Talent

My prediction:

(1) Kentucky 78
(12) Cornell 65

I think the game will be close early, but Kentucky will eventually pull away.

Brandon Knight Named National Player of the Year

Kentucky 2010 recruit Brandon Knight has been named Gatorade National Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Knight, who is ranked No. 1 overall in the 2010 class by, becomes only the third two-time winner of the award (LeBron James and Greg Oden).

He averaged 31.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game for Pine Crest (Fl.) High School. He also maintains a stellar 4.3 GPA in the classroom.


Talented Youth vs. Solid Experience: Kentucky vs. Cornell

When Kentucky battles Cornell on Thursday night, it will be a classic contest of talented youth vs. solid experience.

Cornell (29-4) comes into the game with four starters that are seniors, which is a little refreshing in today's college game, but is it a recipe for victory? doesn't think so:

As Derrick Coleman once said, whoop-de-damn do. Nice story, but nothing to bet on. Sure, everybody likes to see hard-working upperclassmen beat a team of one-and-dones. But while experience might help at the so-called mid-majors, it's also the single biggest ruse come tournament time.

In March -- especially, in March -- talent trumps everything. And as college ball is presently constituted, "senior" has become shorthand for "not good enough." Show me a senior, I'll show you a guy who couldn't go pro.

Kentucky, on the other hand, relies on youthful talent.

John Calipari recently stated, "Of our top eight, we have no NCAA experience."

Talent is not the problem with Kentucky, however. The Cats have probably five and maybe even six first-round picks. on Kentucky:

John Wall, Calipari's latest point guard prodigy, will be the first selection in the draft. DeMarcus Cousins, another freshman, is a possible lottery pick. Patrick Patterson, the 6-foot-9 junior now playing small forward, and freshman Eric Bledsoe figure to go in the top 15. Even Darnell Dodson, a junior college transfer who'd originally committed to Memphis, could be drafted -- though the pros don't rate him nearly as high as backup center Daniel Orton, whom the Los Angeles Times predicts as the 12th pick.

So who wins an important game that features youth vs. experience?

I'm going to agree with John Calipari: "at the end of the day, I'll take talent every time."

Video: Shelby Valley Captures First Ever State Title

Videos from rock19701's YouTube Channel

Billy Donovan Turned Down St. John's Offer; Or Did He?

Roger Rubin of reported this morning that Florida head coach Billy Donovan turned down a $3M per year offer to become the head coach at St. John's University.

Here is an excerpt of Rubin's article:

Florida's Billy Donovan, the coach St. John's coveted the most, has politely turned down an offer to coach the Johnnies, the Daily News has learned.

According to a confidant of Donovan, St. John's wealthy alum Mike Repole - who built his fortune as co-founder of Vitaminwater maker Glaceau - represented himself as an advocate for the school and offered the Long Island product a contract in excess of $3 million per year to take the job.

"Thank you so much but no thank you" is how the Donovan confidant described the reply.

Shortly after that article appeared, stated that Florida strongly denies that any offer was made to Donovan:

Florida is flatly denying Tuesday’s Daily News story that a St. John’s booster offered Billy Donovan more than $3 million per year to coach the Red Storm.

“St. John’s did not contact us regarding Billy Donovan. There is no truth to the report that he turned down $3 million a year….zero truth,” said Fred Demarest, Florida’s assistant AD for Communications.

My Thoughts: There was likely some "middle-man" discussions about Donovan and St. John's. This type of thing happens all the time. It does not necessarily mean that Donovan wants to leave Florida, but like any other professional, he would be crazy to not keep an eye open. I expect him back at Florida next season.

UC's Chad Byron Named NAIA Scholar-Athlete

On March 22, 2010 the NAIA announced that University of the Cumberlands senior men’s basketball player Chad Byron (Louisville, KY) has been named a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete. Byron is one of 67 student-athletes in the Men’s Basketball NAIA Division I to receive this great honor.

In order to be a recipient of the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete award, Chad had to fulfill three requirements. He had to be a junior or above in academic standing. Byron also had to be in attendance at the nominating institution a minimum of one full year. The last requirement Chad met was he had to have a minimum grade point average of 3.50 (on a 4.0 scale) at the time of nomination.

Chad wore number 3 for the Patriots in the guard position. He hails from Louisville, Kentucky and was graduated from Trinity High School. During his four years for Cumberlands, Chad has started every game for the Patriots. He currently ranks in Cumberlands All-Time Career record books in the Top 10 in all-time scoring, all-time assists, and all-time made 3 pointers. Chad is an All Mid-South Conference performer, an Academic All-Conference member, and a NAIA Academic All-American recipient.

Complete Release

UK Basketball Dream Comes True for Young Cancer Survivor

I discovered 8-year old Shayla Terry in an article that appeared in the Danville Advocate-Messenger late last summer.

Shayla, a huge University of Kentucky basketball fan, has been in a battle with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form bone cancer.

Following approximately 40 weeks of chemotherapy, two marrow transplants and the removal of a tumor on her right arm, Shayla is currently cancer-free.

After reading Shayla's story and speaking to her grandmother and dad, I decided that I would use my community service venture (AllKYHoops4Kids) to send her to a UK basketball game.

Shayla had always dreamed of attending a game at Rupp Arena, but her dad, Patrick, said before the Kentucky game, "she's really never been to anything bigger than a high school game."

For Shayla's first experience at Rupp Arena, she was able to attend the Florida game on Senior Day.

"It's amazing. I would've never dreamed of being able to do this with her," Patrick told WYMT's Jeff Archer before the game.

Who is Shayla's favorite Wildcat?

"DeMarcus Cousins," she quickly explained.

Watch: WYMT's Coverage of Shayla's Day at Rupp Arena (starts at 2:05 mark of video)

Special Thanks To:

- Jeff Archer of WYMT for covering the story
- John Hukle of the Danville Shoney's for allowing me to work a shift and donating my "pay" to the project; who knew cooking bacon could be so much fun?
- Former Wildcats Josh Carrier, Dale Brown, Allen Edwards, J.P. Blevins and Bobby Perry for autographed items, advice and all other help
- Current Wildcats Patrick Patterson and John Wall for taking the time to sign a few things
- Everyone that made online donations - too many to name everyone, but even those $5 donations are greatly appreciated; special thanks to Kevin Whitaker, who made the largest online donation
- Pikeville College head coach Kelly Wells for your donation
- Shane Howard of Custom College Recruiting for all your help
- DeWayne Peevy at UK for answering question and pointing me in the right direction
- I apologize if I have forgotten anyone

Monday, March 22, 2010

Starter at Kentucky is Now a Reserve for Cornell has an article about former Kentucky Wildcat Mark Coury, who now plays for Cornell.

Here is an excerpt:

ITHACA, N.Y. — Mark Coury remembers those Southeastern Conference football Saturdays at Kentucky, the sun splashing down, the smell of barbecue wafting in the autumn air.

Atop a hill near Commonwealth Stadium, Coury remembers tents that were set up where players and potential men’s basketball recruits would mingle in a roped-off area. Fans would rubberneck or point as they walked by, and children would approach seeking autographs.

“You’re on this pedestal, it’s like a big pedestal on a hill,” Coury said, smiling at the memory. “You can’t get pushed much higher up than that.”

Complete Article

My thoughts: My oh my how the talent-level has changed at Kentucky...

New Jersey's Terrence Williams Injures Foot

Former Louisville star Terrence Williams left the game for New Jersey tonight with an apparent foot injury.

Williams drove hard to the basket and seemed to twist his left foot after coming down on the foot of another player.

He left the game and the Nets announced that he would not return.

Williams had 9 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists before exiting the 99-89 loss to the Heat.

Photo: New York Post

Morehead State Loses Long Range Shootout in Boston

Boston University 91
Morehead State 89 F/OT

CBI Tournament Quarterfinals

Game recap by AllKYHoops:

In a game that resembled a 3-point contest, the Morehead State Eagles (24-11) fell just short against Boston University, losing 91-89 in overtime.

The Eagles lost the game despite shooting 16-34 (47.1%) from the 3-point line.

The Terriers (21-13) were 13-28 (46.4%), but the game was ultimately decided at the charity stripe. Boston University attempted 23 more free throws than the Eagles (41-18) and made 15 more (28-13). Morehead State was whistled for 28 personal fouls int he game in comparison to 18 for BU.

Boston had three players score more than 20 points in the game. John Holland led the way with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Carlos Strong added 22 points and 5 rebounds. Jake O'Brien contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Maze Stallworth ended a stellar Morehead State career by leading all scorers with 27 points. He was 8-13 from the 3-point line and eclipsed his own MSU record for most 3-pointers in a single season (new record is 95 made 3-pointers).

Terrence Hill blew up for 21 points off the bench for MSU, including 5-10 from long distance. Kenneth Faried finished the season with his 25th double-double as he added 19 points and 11 rebounds.

The Eagles finish the season one win short of tying the school record for wins in a season.

This season and last season mark the first time in Morehead State history that the team won postseason games (beyond the OVC Tournament) in back-to-back seasons.

Derby Festival Basketball Classic Rosters are Released

2010 Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic Roster

Black team

Anthony Brown Stanford 6-7 180 F
Justin Coleman Louisville 6-5 215 F
Gorgui Dieng Undecided 6-10 210 C
Ryan Harrow N.C. State 6-0 158 G
Tyler Lamb UCLA 6-4 195 G
Nate Lubick Georgetown6-9 227 F
Russ Smith Louisville 6-2 150 G
Trey Zeigler Undecided 6-5 185 G
Elisha Justice Louisville5-11 167 G

White team

Moses Abraham Undecided 6-9 235 C
Trae Golden Tennessee 6-2 190 G
Josh Hairston Duke 6-9 195 F
Justin Martin Xavier 6-6 200 F
Ray McCallum Undecided 6-2 175 G
Jordan McRae Tennessee 6-6 180 G/F
Victor Oladipo Indiana 6-5 180 G
Stacey Poole Jr. Kentucky 6-5 200 F
Dwight Powell Stanford 6-9 215 C
Royce Woolridge Kansas 6-1 175 G

Cornell Coach: "We’ve played teams like Kentucky before"

Cornell head coach Jeff Foote feels that his team is well-tested and prepared for a battle against a team like Kentucky.

Excerpt from

“We’ve played teams like Kentucky before,” Jeff Foote said after beating Wisconsin yesterday. “We’re very experienced and very confident in ourselves.” The teams he’s referring to? Syracuse and Kansas, two No. 1 seeds heading into the tournament. In only their fourth game of the season, Cornell trailed then ninth-ranked Syracuse 42-36 at the half before losing by 15. Still, it gave Foote, Ryan Wittman and Louis Dale valuable experience for taking on more “real” teams than their Ivy League counterparts.

Wittman shot a respectable 6-for-13, making only 3-of-10 threes, while Foote shot 6-of-7 from the field. Also, don’t forget that in a game against then top-ranked Kansas, Cornell was leading with a minute and a half left before losing 71-66. And while Cornell will be playing Kentucky for the opportunity to advance to the Elite 8, Kansas will be watching from home.

Calipari Says Cornell "Got the Worst Seed in the Tournament"

Kentucky head coach John Calipari appeared on Mike & Mike this morning and had some interesting comments about Cornell.

Here is an excerpt:

Calipari's thoughts on playing against Cornell:

Calipari: It's a road game. You know it. They're 59 miles or 57 miles away [in Syracuse, New York]. How about they win the league, the Ivy three years in a row. They are like the old Penn or Princeton teams. Third year in a row in the NCAA tournament. Eight seniors. This is a quality team that got the worst -- the worst -- seed in the tournament. I couldn't believe it as a 12. But they've played their way into a four. They went from a 12 to a four because they played their way into a four.

Here is a podcast of the show, including Calipari's interview

Daniel Orton to Transfer from Kentucky?

That is shocking news...even to Orton himself.

Orton posted on Twitter earlier:

danielorton33 I don't know how all these people know that I'm transferring.

danielorton33 Cuz I sure didn't know that. Someone told me about an hour ago I was haha

Daniel Orton is not transferring from Kentucky. There is a possibility that he will test the NBA Draft waters this summer. Even that seems like a reach, but that is a possibility.

Here is an excerpt from that contains Orton's thoughts:

"That is not something I am thinking about, but if I had a good tournament and we won the national championship that would be a possibility,” the 6-foot-10 Orton said Friday. "I would say you would have to think about it. That would be a great way to carry on my career. That is something I have always wanted to do, so who knows what could happen.”

My Thoughts: I personally think that Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton will solidify a talented Kentucky lineup next season.

Photo: NBC Sports

NCAA Infractions Committee Denies Memphis Appeal

The NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee has denied an appeal by the University of Memphis in relation to men's basketball violations during the 2007-08 season. The Committee stated that it "found no basis" to reverse the penalties handed down by the NCAA.

Here is an excerpt from the Memphis Commercial-Appeal:

The NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee “found no basis” to reverse the penalties levied against the University of Memphis for men’s basketball violations during the 2007-08 season, it said in a release this morning.

The final decision now brings to a close the issue involving former point guard Derrick Rose, who was ruled retroactively ineligible by the NCAA after his SAT score was invalidated by the Educational Testing Service. There were also violations involving Rose’s brother, Reggie Rose, who was not charged by the university for more than $2,000 in travel expenses with the team. Memphis was only charged with a failure to monitor for the travel issue.

John Calipari was the head coach at Memphis during the 2007-08 season, but it is important to note that he was not named for any wrong-doing by the NCAA.

Western Kentucky to the Mid-American Conference?

Andy Katz of ESPN has reported that Temple University and Western Kentucky may become the 13th and 14th teams in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).

Temple is currently in the Atlantic 10 and WKU is in the Sun Belt.

Excerpt from

Andy Katz of ESPN reported that Temple University and Western Kentucky may become the 13th and 14th teams of the MAC. Temple is currently in the Atlantic 10 Conference and Western Kentucky competes in the Sun Belt Conference. Both teams are historically successful basketball programs.

Still, the addition of these teams remains hearsay at this point.

John Wall Named USBWA National Freshman of the Year

Kentucky's John Wall has been named the USBWA national Freshman of the Year for the 2009-10 season.

The USBWA named Evan Turner of Ohio State as its Oscar Robertson award winner, given to the National Player of the Year.

Release from USBWA:

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Kentucky guard John Wall has been selected National Freshman of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association for the 2009-10 season.

The 6-4, 195-pound Wall, from Raleigh, N.C., has averaged 16.8 points, 6.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game for the Wildcats. He is a first-team USBWA All-American as well as the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and the USBWA District IV Player of the Year. He has led Kentucky into the East Regional with a 34-2 record that includes both the SEC Eastern Division championship and the SEC Tournament championship.

Wall was a unanimous choice in voting by USBWA members in all nine of the association's geographical districts for Freshman of the Year and was among 16 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, given to the USBWA's National Player of the Year. He is the just the second SEC player to win the USBWA's National Freshman of the Year award joining LSU's Chris Jackson, who was the first winner of the award in 1989.

"He's a deserving player by how he has led this team – an inexperienced team – and his ability to make plays when the game is in the balance," said Kentucky coach John Calipari. "I'm happy for him because he's as hard-working a player as any I've been around – on the court, in the weight room and in the classroom. This is a great honor for John to be recognized by the USBWA and another reflection of how our team success leads to individual accolades."

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Today, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-421-0339.

Erik Daniels Parts Ways with Ukrainian Team

Erik Daniels has parted ways with Azovmash of Ukraine's Superleague.

The team and Daniels have agreed on terms of contract termination.

Daniels averaged 14.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for Azovmash in VTB-League play.

In EuroCup play, he averaged 21.0 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

In the Superleague, he put in 17.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per outing.


In other action:

- Ex-Cat Gerald Fitch had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists to help Fuenlabrada to an 86-82 victory over Estudiantes in Spain's top-level ACB League; Fitch is now second in the entire ACB in scoring with a 19.0 average (leader is at 19.3 PPG)

Kentucky is the New Favorite to Win the NCAA Tournament

The new odds are out and the Kentucky Wildcats are the favorites to win the NCAA Tournament.

Other notables in the Sweet 16 include Cornell at 60-1 (the biggest long shot remaining), Syracuse at 7-2 and both Duke and West Virginia at 6-1.

Current Odds to win the 2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament:

Kentucky 2-1
Syracuse 7-2
Duke 6-1
West Virginia 6-1
Kansas State 8-1
Ohio State 8-1
Baylor 20-1
Michigan State 25-1
Tennessee 25-1
Washington 30-1
Butler 35-1
Xavier 35-1
Northern Iowa 40-1
Purdue 40-1
Saint Mary’s 40-1
Cornell 60-1

Odds courtesy of Las Vegas Sports Consultants

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