Saturday, May 28, 2011

Francisco Garcia Talks About Playing for the Dominican

Former University of Louisville star Francisco Garcia talks about playing for the Dominican Republic this summer:

Rodney Purvis Adds Memphis to Final List


Kentucky recruit Rodney Purvis announced on Twitter today that he is adding Memphis to his final list of schools.

Purvis, a 6-3 shooting guard, is now considering UK, Louisville, Duke, Memphis and North Carolina State.

Rivals.com ranks Purvis No. 7 overall in the 2012 recruiting class.

Former Wildcats Make Appearance in Mercer County

Here is some footage of former Kentucky stars Josh Harrellson, Perry Stevenson, Jared Prickett and Patrick Patterson participating in a charity event at Mercer County High School (video by Larry Vaught of the Danville Advocate-Messenger):

 

Heshimu Evans, Benfica Fall Behind in Championship Series


Former University of Kentucky star Heshimu Evans and Benfica fell behind 3-2 in Portugal's LPB championship series after losing 91-79 to Porto Ferpinta in game 5.

Marquin Chandler scored 21 points to lead Benfica. Evans chipped in 16 points and 5 rebounds.

Porto Ferpinta was led by Gregory Stempin's 27 points and 7 rebounds.

Benfica will try to keep the series alive on Sunday.

On the season, Evans has averaged 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

Justin Ennis Signs with Campbellsville University


Campbellsville University has signed Justin Ennis from Grayson County College in Dennison, Texas.

Ennis chose Campbellsville over NCAA Division II school Oklahoma State.

Here is an excerpt from ItemOnline.com:

“I visited both schools and felt like Campbellsville was a better fit for me,” Ennis said late last week. “The positives at Campbellsville outweighed the positives at Southeastern Oklahoma. The coaches at Campbellsville — coach (Keith) Adkins and coach (Bryan) Milburn — treated me very well, plus they have a pharmacy school, and that’s what I want to do, become a pharmacist.

“Everything just lined up for me there,” he added. “This gives me a chance to get out and see the world a little more. I think it’s going to be a good two years for me.”

Ennis had two solid seasons at Grayson College in North Texas. A first-team all-conference selection as a sophomore this year, Ennis averaged 11.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals.

Ennis was the Vikings’ second-leading scorer, behind Cheikh Mbodj, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward who averaged 14.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks this past season for a Grayson team that finished 20-11.


Complete Article

Video: 2013 Kentucky and Louisville Recruit Chris Walker

Check out 2013 Kentucky and Louisville recruit Chris Walker:

Reach USA Closes Out Trip with Win; Vargas DNP


Reach USA ended their exhibition tour to China with a 90-82 victory over a Brazilian opponent.

The Americans scored on their first position and never looked back in cruising to the win.

Justin Bocot from Southern Illinois led a balanced scoring attack with 21 points on 6-10 shooting. UCF's Keith Clanton had 14 points and 17 rebounds. Indiana's Vic Oladipo had 9 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.

Kentucky's Eloy Vargas did not play due to an illness.

Reach USA finished the trip with a 6-2-1 record.

Box Score:



As for Vargas, he finished up the trip with solid numbers. In 8 games, Vargas averaged 10.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots (led team).

Eloy Vargas' final stats:

Edgar Sosa Says He Will Play on Calipari's Dominican Team


Former University of Louisville point guard Edgar Sosa confirmed on Twitter yesterday that he plans to play for John Calipari's Dominican Republic national team.

Sosa will be a nice addition for the Dominican. He currently plays for Angelico Biella in Italy's top-level SerieA League.

In 30 games this season, Sosa averaged 14.1 points, 4.5 assists and 2.3 steals per game. He was 47-124 (37.9%) from the three-point line.

Here is some footage of Sosa playing overseas:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Former Kentucky Big Man Mark Pope Talks BYU Basketball


Former University of Kentucky big man Mark Pope was interviewed by Cougar Cuts earlier today.

Pope is now serving as an assistant coach at Brigham Young.

Click Here for the Interview

The University of Kentucky Held Liggins Out of 9 Games


Earlier today, Alan Cutler of Lex18 received a message concerning DeAndre Liggins from Dwayne Peevy, UK's Associate Athletic Director and who is in charge of the Media Department.

Peevy confirmed that the University of Kentucky, not the NCAA, held Liggins out of nine games at the start of the 2009-10 season:

"It was the University of Kentucky's choice to withhold DeAndre Liggins from competition at the start of the 2009-10 season while eligibility questions were being resolved," DeWayne Peevy, UK's Senior Associate AD/Communications sent via email.

"Once they were resolved the number of games we voluntarily withheld him from was considered sufficient. The original withholding was not mandated by the NCAA."


Complete Article

Chuck Hayes Makes a Meaningful Appearance


Former University of Kentucky star Chuck Hayes, who currently plays for the Houston Rockets, made an appearance at Sierra Ridge Academy in Northern California.

Here is an excerpt from SierraRidgeAcademy.com:

Houston Rocket’s Starting Center Chuck Hayes provided the backdrop of an encouraging and moving ceremony for three very lucky young men. Chuck provided these words of wisdom to the students as they take their education, goals, and aspirations back to their communities:

“Always have a plan, have a plan A and plan B. You can put plan B in your back pocket. The thing about plan B being in your back pocket is that you have to reach back. Always move forward, stick with plan A, never reach back.”


Complete Article

* Photo courtesy of Sierra Ridge Academy

Transylvania Inks Jordan Gilbert from Mason County


Mason County's Jordan Gilbert has officially signed with Transylvania University.

Here is the release from Transy:

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Mason County standout Jordan Gilbert, who played on three straight 10th Region championships teams, will continue his career at Transylvania, Pioneers' head coach Brian Lane said Friday.

Gilbert, a point guard from Maysville who started as a junior and senior, is an All-10th Region performer who earned regional tournament MVP honors as well as recognition on the All-Sweet 16 team.

Also a member of the Royals' football team, Gilbert had been chosen to participate in the upcoming Kentucky-Indiana All-Star series.

“We are excited Jordan has decided to join our program," said Lane, who led the Pioneers to an 18-9 finish last year. "For us to have a Kentucky all-star choose Transylvania for the second straight year is a testament to the direction our program is heading. This recruiting class is shaping up to be another outstanding one.”

Complete Release

Shooting Woes Doom Reach USA in China


Reach USA's exhibition tour continued in Western China this morning as the Americans lost 106-105 to a Brazilian team.

The Americans managed to take 100 field goal attempts, but only made 36. The Brazilians were an impressive 36-64 from the field.

Justin Bocot from Southern Illinois led Reach USA with 19 points. Nevada's Malik Story added 16.

Kentucky's Eloy Vargas chipped in 9 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.

UPDATE: Vargas was listed as having 4 points in the box score. I received a text from China this morning informing me that Vargas actually had 9 points and the box score was incorrect.

Box Score:

John Calipari's State of the Cats - Part 1


University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari has delivered part one of his "State of the Cats" for 2011.

Here is an excerpt:

Before I wish you all a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend and remind you to honor all those who serve this great country, I’d like to begin with some closing comments on the 2010-11 Final Four season we experienced. I’ve finally had some time to sit back and reflect on what a magical season it was and I want to thank everyone associated with our program for their support and dedication. Our guys grew up in so many different ways both on and off the court and it was a pleasure for Ellen and I to watch them mature and truly become each other’s brother.

Just as important as the 38 wins is the news of our APR being at the top of the SEC. Admittedly, we were not where we wanted to be academically after our first semester here but that transition period was to be expected and we dealt with it the way we do everything in our program – head-on. As I said last year at this same time, my job as a coach is to get young people from a wide background of academic experiences to change, to think differently, to grow academically and to develop a love of learning. Above all else, this is what being a players-first program is rooted in.


Complete Article

Dayton Transfer Juwan Staten to Visit Louisville


University of Dayton transfer Juwan Staten, who led the Atlantic 10 in assists last season as a freshman, will visit Louisville next Tuesday.

Staten told Scout.com that he will visit Louisville, South Carolina, Miami and Texas.

As a freshman at Dayton, Staten averaged 8.5 points, 5.4 assists and 2.1 rebounds.

Staten in action:

What Did Scottie Pippen Say?

"Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play the game, but I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game..."

- Scottie Pippen



My Thoughts: That is one of the dumbest statements I have heard in a long time. I'm not sure LeBron James has proven himself as a top 5 all-time player at this point.

Louisville, Memphis Planning Home-and-Home Series


According to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, Memphis is expected to begin a home-and-home series with the University of Louisville next season.

Here is an excerpt:

After a six-year layoff, Memphis and Louisville are close to restoring arguably the most storied rivalry in Tigers basketball history, coach Josh Pastner confirmed Thursday.

Though a few details are still to be worked out, Memphis is expected to begin a home-and-home series with Louisville next season at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. The teams will then play in FedExForum in 2012-13.

“Obviously it’s not official until every formality is finished,” Pastner said. “I’ve had more fans since I’ve gotten the job come to me and say, ‘Coach, can we play a game against Louisville? Can we get a series going against Louisville?’

“So this is sort of an opportunity to give back to the fans since they’ve kept us in the top 10 in attendance; to start a series that means so much to Tiger Nation.”


Complete Article

UK Recruit Omar Calhoun is Waiting on Jim Calhoun


Omar Calhoun, a 2012 shooting guard from Christ the King (NY), is reportedly waiting to see if UConn head coach Jim Calhoun will be on the Huskies' sidelines next season.

Here is an excerpt from NBCConnecticut.com:

If we're taking the glass-half-full approach in light of the recent news that UConn men's basketball team will lose two scholarships for underwhelming Academic Progress Rates, then this is a good sign: high school junior Omar Calhoun, one of the nation's best shooting guards, sounds very much like he wants to play for the Huskies. There's just one condition.

Calhoun the Younger is waiting to see if Calhoun the Elder will continue to coach. Jim Calhoun, 69, has been noncommittal on his future at UConn although he indicated last Friday that he's "55/45" (percent) leaning toward returning for next season.


Complete Article

Calhoun ranks No. 32 overall on the Rivals150 List for 2012. He has offers from a long list of schools, including Louisville. Kentucky has not offered at this point but the Wildcats have shown interest.

Photo: Scout.com

Vee Sanford Will Transfer to Dayton


Former Lexington Catholic star Vee Sanford will transfer from Georgetown University to the University of Dayton.

Here is an excerpt from Boxscorenews.com:

New University of Dayton men’s basketball coach Archie Miller has announced that Vee Sanford, a former sophomore at Georgetown University, is transferring to Dayton. Sanford had announced his intentions following his campus visit on May 18, but it could not be announced by the University until after he signed his financial aid agreement.

"We are excited about Vee and his future with us,” Miller said. “He comes from a great family, and has tremendous character, and is very motivated to get better. His contributions to our program start immediately and we look forward to not only him making us better, but us having the chance to develop together."


Complete Article

Buzz on Kentucky Basketball: Indiana Elite Scandal Edition


Thursday's Top 5:

- ESPN is hot on the trail of several alleged scandals involving the Indiana Elite program. One portion of the investigation uncovered the ugly recruitment of Kentucky's DeAndre Liggins and the revealed the reason why Liggins missed 9 games.

- UK celebrity fan Ashley Judd gives more proof that Kentucky fans actually are everywhere.

- Kentucky has added Chris Woolard as associate athletics director for basketball operations.

- Shabazz Muhammad has given his final list of seven schools; Kentucky is in the mix.

- Former Louisville forward Nate Johnson was named Player of the Year in Lebanon.

On Friday, Get Ready For:

- The start of a three-day holiday weekend.

Recruiting News:

- Former Dayton point guard Juwan Staten will visit Louisville next week. Staten told Scout.com that he'll visit U of L, South Carolina, Miami and Texas.

- Former Lexington Catholic star Vee Sanford is transferring from Georgetown University to the University of Dayton.

The Buzz:

- Louisville and Memphis are close to working out a home-and-home series. If things are finalized, they'll meet at the KFC Yum! Center next season and at the FedExForum in 2012-13.

- The Miami Heat defeated Chicago 83-80 last night; they'll face Dallas in the NBA Finals series.

- Murray State has added William Small as an assistant coach.

Video of the Day (This is what John Wall missed out on):

Pitino Answers Questions About TCU and the Big East


Mac Engel of Star-Telegram.com spoke to University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino on Thursday. Pitino answered a couple of questions about TCU and the Big East Conference.

Here is an excerpt:

Mac Engel: What was your reaction to the Big East's decision to add TCU?


Rick Pitino: We felt it was purely a football decision. One of my very worst experiences was traveling to TCU and getting killed there. We were in Conference USA (it was a 71-46 loss on Feb. 17, 2004). It was one of those nights that nothing went well for us and everything went right for them. It was a horrible experience. It really was one of the worst experiences of my coaching career.
It was a football decision, but what it does is enhance the basketball program at TCU for sure.

For all of us it adds value.

Texas is so fertile in recruiting; it's a big part of recruiting in the Big 10 and this should help for us as well. Some of us will feel more comfortable recruiting there now for sure.

ME: How does this add value for a Louisville, or a TCU?

RP: When I came to Louisville we were a top 10 program. In terms of value according to Forbes, there is only one basketball program among the top 50 money making athletic programs in the country that is basketball. The rest are all football. We're the one. That would not be true today if we were not in The Big East. The Big East makes Louisville a top five program. It was the one thing that Louisville lacked was that established conference. We really didn't have it in the Metro or Conference USA. Now we do.

TCU basketball could never, ever - or a South Florida or a DePaul or a wherever - be what it wants to be without being in a major conference. Now they are because they have that affiliation.

Complete Article

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Whatever Happened to Rashaad Carruth?

This is old news but I saw a reference made to former University of Kentucky player Rashaad Carruth on Twitter this morning. So, I asked myself "whatever happened to Rashaad Carruth?"

After a quick Google search, I found my answer...he is currently incarcerated in Florida for selling methamphetamine and marijuana. (HT: LostLettermen.com)

I found this using a Florida inmate search tool:



There are several Carruth highlights in this video (which also features Tayshaun Prince lighting up North Carolina):

Nate Johnson Named Player of the Year in Lebanon


Former University of Louisville forward Nate Johnson was recently named Asia-Basket.com All-Lebanese Player of the Year for 2010-11.

Johnson was also named Forward of the Year and Import of the Year. In addition, he was named to the All-Lebanese First Team and the All-Imports Team.

In 24 games with Al Riyadi, Johnson averaged 22.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

Here is a list of the awards:

Player of the Year: Nathanel Johnson (199-F-77) of Al Riyadi
Guard of the Year: Austin Johnson (191-G-87) of Moutahed
Forward of the Year: Nathanel Johnson (199-F-77) of Al Riyadi
Center of the Year: Loren Woods (218-C-78) of Al Riyadi
Newcomer of the Year: Charles Tabet (205-C) of Anibal
Most Improved Player of the Year: Bassel Bawji (204-F-89) of Moutahed
Import of the Year: Nathanel Johnson (199-F-77) of Al Riyadi
Domestic Player of the Year: Fadi Khatib (199-F-79) of Champville
Defensive Player of the Year: Darnell Cox (211-C-85) of Champville
Turning Point Player of the Year: Ahmad Ismail (201-F-76) of Al Riyadi

1st Team
G: Ali Mahmoud (185-83) of Al Riyadi
F: Nathanel Johnson (199-77) of Al Riyadi
F: Fadi Khatib (199-79) of Champville
F: Terrence Shannon (203-79) of Anibal
C: Loren Woods (218-78) of Al Riyadi

2nd Team
G: Rodrigue Akl (190-88) of Anibal
G: Austin Johnson (191-87) of Moutahed
G: Jasmon Youngblood (195-84) of Champville
F: Calvin Warner (201-80) of Byblos
C: Darnell Cox (211-85) of Champville

All-Imports Team
G: Austin Johnson (191-87) of Moutahed
F: Nathanel Johnson (199-77) of Al Riyadi
G: Jasmon Youngblood (195-84) of Champville
F: Terrence Shannon (203-79) of Anibal
C: Loren Woods (218-78) of Al Riyadi

Complete List

Should the Houston Rockets Start Williams, Patterson?


TheDreamShake.com wonders if the Houston Rockets should trade Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry and replace them in the lineup with Terrence Williams and Patrick Patterson.

Here is an excerpt of their thoughts:

Him being a superstar, though, would be dependent on one thing...putting him in lineups where he's playing the point guard position.

6 foot 6, great speed, great passing abilities, lockdown defender, good mid-range shot, unbelievable athleticism, good basketball IQ, good handles, good rebounder. If I could build the most dominating point guard in the NBA, that sounds about right.

Best Case Scenario- Offensively Terrence is unstoppable. Teams can't put their sg's on him because Kevin Martin would eat up pg's. Terrence will play alot like Russel Westbrook, getting to the rim and pulling up at will. He will boast LeBron James like numbers, with his passing and rebounding skills. Defensively our backcourt defense will improve tremendously. It will give Kevin Martin the option to gaurd the pg while Terrence can guard the 2 and even the 3.

Worst Case Scenario- This sounds biased since I'm presenting this idea, but with Williams game defensively not being porous and offensively not being turnover-prone, this can't really end up turning out bad.

Complete Article (Go Here to Vote)

Filip Videnov, Asseco Prokom Win Title in Poland


Former Western Kentucky sharp-shooter Filip Videnov and Asseco Prokom captured the championship in Poland's top-level PLK league.

Asseco Prokom defeated PGE Turow in a decisive game seven of the championship series to win the title.

Videnov, a native of Bulgaria, had 8 points in the 76-71 game seven victory.

On the season, Videnov averaged 10.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He was 55-133 (41.4%) from the three-point line.

The former Hilltopper was named Honorable Mention All-Polish League following the season. He also earned a spot on the All-Bosmans Team.

Source: Eurobasket.com

Kentucky One of Final Seven for Shabazz Muhammad


Shabazz Muhammad has numerous offers but he tells Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com that he plans to focus on seven schools.

Kentucky is one of the schools on his list.

Here is an excerpt:

“Schools are recruiting me as a shooting guard,” he said. “So I’m working on handling the ball. Schools like Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, they have their shooting guards handle the ball a lot. And the most important thing is my perimeter shooting. The athleticism is already there.”

Muhammad has offers from dozens of schools, but he has trimmed some of the fat and is focusing on seven schools: Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, UNLV, Arizona, Kansas and Texas.


On Kentucky:

Not surprisingly, Kentucky is also on Muhammad’s list. He said it’s different than the other schools on his list because of the location.

“I can be very focused there, since it’s not a city,” Muhammad said. “It’s a good place for a person who is serious about basketball. There are no distractions.”


Complete Article

Kenny Mayne Gets Inside DeMarcus Cousins' Head


ESPN's Kenny Mayne had a discussion with five heavily-penalized athletes and Mark Cuban recently.

One of those athletes is former University of Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins talked about how he earned so many fouls, how body language gets him in trouble and the NBA's top three "floppers."

Here is an excerpt of the discussion:

DeMarcus Cousins, Kings center

During 2010-11 regular season, led the NBA in total personal fouls (332), personal fouls per game (4.1) and ejections (3).

It can be hard to understand the refs' limits. So many times I play in a way that avoids fouls, and that means I'm not being as aggressive.

- - -
Mayne: When I was in fourth grade, I filled in on my friend Brian Foltz's intramural basketball team when they were a man short. Afterward, I remember proudly saying to the coach, "Hey, I had no fouls." He responded, "That means you weren't aggressive enough." Say we were reviewing 10 fouls you committed. What percentage would have been legitimate, with you being too aggressive, as opposed to guys flopping?

- - -
Cousins: I'd say about 30 to 40 percent are me being too aggressive.

- - -
Mayne: So there's a lot of acting going on in the NBA. That same thing drove me nuts during the last World Cup -- guys falling down and pretending they were fouled.

- - -
Lindpere: Well, sometimes you have to do it, because the referees have the wrong angle. But if it's an obvious fake foul, people will see it. We don't have replay, which adds to the beauty of the game, but guys will see it on highlights afterward and be embarrassed.

- - -
Cousins: There's really no way of preventing yourself from getting a foul from guys flopping. The guys who do it most -- Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol, Kevin Martin -- have perfected it.

- - -
Mayne: But you've earned a few technicals for arguing fouls you must have thought you didn't commit. What do you say that sets off the refs?

- - -
Cousins: Most of the time it's not even saying something. It's slapping your hands or even just a facial expression. Body language.

Complete Article

Murray State Adds Assistant Coach William Small


New Murray State head coach Steve Prohm has added William Small to his coaching staff.

Here is the release from MSU:

Murray State Men's Basketball Head Coach Steve Prohm announced the hiring of William Small, who joins the Racers' program from the University of Texas–El Paso where he was assistant coach.

“William brings a lot of experience not only in the area of recruiting, but also in his ability to teach student-athletes about the game,” Prohm said. “He'll be an important asset in continuing to keep MSU Basketball at a championship level.”

“I'm very excited about joining the Murray State program,” Small said. “To be back in the Ohio Valley Conference and at the premier program in the league is exciting. As someone who coached against MSU, I always admired the tremendous tradition they have, the fan support and how every season the Racers are going to be one of the teams that can win a championship and be a force in the post season.”

Small has 16 years of experience in the college game as the native of Winona, Miss., has worked and had success at several stops. His experience with former MSU Coach Billy Kennedy and new head coach Steve Prohm laid the foundation for success at Southeastern Louisiana (2000-03). He also assisted at Western Kentucky (2004-05) when the Hilltoppers were 22-9 and played in the NIT. At WKU, Small recruited Courtney Lee, who was Sunbelt Freshman of the Year and was an NBA draft pick by the Orlando Magic.

Small's coaching career started as a graduate assistant at Delta State (1994-95), the rest of his career includes stops at: Cowley Community College (1995-97), Alabama-Huntsville (1997-98), UT Martin (1999-00), Southeastern Louisiana (2000-03), Western Kentucky (2003-05), Troy (2005-06), Tulane (2006-07), Georgia State (2007-10) and then recently at UTEP.

Complete Release

Chris Woolard Leaving C-USA to Accept Job at Kentucky


According to Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, Chris Woolard is leaving Conference-USA to become the associate athletics director for basketball operations at the University of Kentucky.

Parrish posted on Twitter:

GaryParrishCBS Chris Woolard is leaving C-USA to become the associate athletics director for basketball operations at Kentucky, source told CBSSports.com.

GaryParrishCBS Expect UK to announce the hire later today. Woolard and John Calipari have known each other for years, since Cal's days at Memphis.

Can Ryan Harrow Succeed Under the Guidance of Calipari?


Dan Wiederer of FayObserver.com wonders if North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow can succeed and excel under the guidance of John Calipari at UK.

Here is an excerpt:

It won’t be easy to follow Wall, Knight and Teague and match their success. And any prolonged stretch of struggle for Harrow in Lexington will inevitably be met with great frustration and disdain from rabid fans. On top of that, Calipari doesn’t hide the fact that he can be a demanding boss to play for; he’s been open about how hard he was on both Wall and Knight, sometimes jarring both point guards with his authoritative demands for improvement.

There have been questions as to whether Harrow’s sensitivity to such criticism can be quelled. But maybe a year away from competition will give Harrow greater perspective and a chance to mature. And hopefully his family and others close to him will dive into this next step with a more realistic vision of the future and the time it will take to develop.

Ryan Harrow can be a fantastic player at Kentucky. He’ll be working in a point-guard friendly system for a point-guard friendly coach. The keys to success, however, will likely depend on Harrow’s own patience and his ability to accept coaching, to accept struggle, to accept the honest feedback about his talents and limitations. And now we’ll all get a chance to see how successful Calipari can be when he has a point guard around for more than one year.


Complete Article

Former University of Cumberlands Star Gives Back


Former University of Cumberlands star Kenny Mac Sessions spends a great deal of his time these days giving back to the game of basketball.

At UC, Sessions helped lead the Patriots to the NAIA Division I Final Four.

Currently, he serves as a volunteer basketball coach at New Summerfield (Tex.) High School.

Here is an excerpt about Sessions from JacksonvilleProgess.com:

For the last, going on four years now, Sessions, whenever he is not working in the family plant farm, can usually be found at Hornet Gymnasium, playing the game and teaching the game that he loves so much to youngsters of New Summerfield.

“I like to volunteer with basketball and try to help out whenever I can,” he said during an interview on Friday. “I help out here and there and try to fill in if a coach is sick and just help out New Summerfield in whichever way I can.”

Sessions said it is his aim to try to school the kids at a slightly advanced level.

“We try to to teach the kids college plays and try to make them better by doing some of the things that I learned while in college,” Sessions said.

If one were to peep inside Hornet Gymnasium while Sessions is doing his thing, they would see him behaving more like a player — constantly running up and down the floor, teaching all the while playing the game — as opposed to standing along the sidelines barking out instructions.

“I really don’t ever consider myself a coach,” he said. “I still see myself as more of a player, than a coach.”


Complete Article

Photo: Jay Neal of the Daily Progress in Jacksonville, Texas

ESPN Investigation Uncovers Ugly Side of Liggins' Recruitment


A five-month investigation by ESPN.com has brought scrutiny to Indiana University and uncovered an ugly side of DeAndre Liggins' recruitment.

Liggins was caught up in a bad situation between then-Kentucky assistant Glenn Cyprien and Mike Barnett, the founder of the Indiana Elite AAU program.

Here is an excerpt about the recruitment of Liggins:

Barnett turns defensive when asked whether he tried to guide Liggins away from the SEC program and whether he essentially dropped Liggins from his life after he committed there -- allegations that multiple sources made to ESPN.com during a five-month investigation. ESPN.com found other cases in which A-HOPE or Indiana Elite officials tried to direct some players' college choices in the absence of close parental involvement, allegedly dropping the players from contact or future help if they chose a school the officials didn't want them to attend.

In the Liggins case, Barnett's battle for the highly touted prospect turned personal between him and then-Kentucky assistant Glynn Cyprien -- two adults tugging at a teenager's heart: one a college recruiter for a team with clear intentions, the other living on the game's fringes.

Barnett acknowledges working against the Wildcats, saying he believed Cyprien, their chief recruiter at the time, wasn't playing by the book. That was before Liggins' arrival in Lexington and before Barnett's coaching friend, John Calipari, left Memphis for the upgraded gig. Barnett acknowledges that the rumor mill had him pushing Memphis and Kansas to Liggins.

At one point, with Liggins unable to play for Indiana Elite because of a serious foot injury, Barnett is alleged to have discussed adopting the Chicago teenager, which sources said was not solely a benevolent gesture but one designed to expand his influence over Liggins. Barnett loudly denies it, but seven people -- among them Liggins, his mother and an NCAA official -- told ESPN.com that he indeed had proposed the idea. Barnett is also said to have cut off Liggins' cellphone service soon after he committed to Kentucky.


Complete Article

The ESPN investigation also led to these articles:

Basketball ties that bind (trouble for Indiana University?)

Top IU recruit Perea receives benefits

Player feared deportation

On A-HOPE's watch, but not officially

Feeling pressure to pick a school

More Proof that UK Fans Actually Are Everywhere


I'm beginning to think that Kentucky's Big Blue Nation actually covers the globe.

Celebrity UK fan Ashley Judd posted on Twitter last night that she encountered a group of fellow fans in a quiet Croatian town.

Here is Judd's post:

AshleyJudd Kentucky fans are everywhere. I was rehearsing in a small, quiet Croatian town when I heard an eRUPPtion of "C-A-T-S!"

Videos: Ryan Harrow in Action

Let's take a look at Ryan Harrow, who is transferring from N.C. State to Kentucky, in action:



Buzz on Kentucky Basketball: Ryan Harrow to UK Edition


Wednesday's Top 5:

- North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow announced that he is headed to Kentucky.

- Kentucky's Eloy Vargas had 17 points and 13 rebounds to lead Reach USA to another win in China.

- Josh Harrellson and his jorts recently starred in a series of commercials.

- The updated Scout.com rankings for 2011 are out and Kentucky still tops the list.

- John Calipari is making a run in the "Vol Villains" tournament.

On Thursday, Get Ready For:

- NBA Playoffs: Miami vs. Chicago at 8:30 p.m. ET (Miami leads series 3-1)

Recruiting News:

- Morehead State signed JUCO star Marsell Holden from San Jacinto College.

- Rodney Purvis announced on Twitter that his high school team will play in Louisville in January.

- Kentucky Wesleyan College has added 6-2 guard Devonte Maymon, a transfer from NCAA DI Youngstown State.

The Buzz:

- Eastern Kentucky has added Richie Riley as an assistant coach.

- Murray State has hired former player Chris Shumate as an assistant coach.

- Dallas closed out Oklahoma City with a 100-96 win

- Brandon Bender and Ken Caldwell appeared on Orlando radio as scheduled last night. The interview was good, but it didn't live up to its billing.

Video of the Day (Ryan Harrow having a little fun):

Northern Kentucky Could Land Two Division I Transfers


Northern Kentucky University has landed one NCAA Division I transfer and is reportedly in the mix for another.

Chad Jackson, who had an outstanding high school career at Rose Hill and Scott County, is transferring from James Madison to NKU.

Jackson, a talented 6-4 guard, averaged 2.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last season at JMU.

According to Cincinnati.com, Indiana University's Bobby Capobianco is also considering the Norse.

Here is an excerpt:

Forward Bobby Capobianco, a Loveland High graduate who is leaving Indiana, said Wednesday that he visited NKU on Monday and played some pickup games in the student recreation center.

“I’m leaving open all possibilities,” said Capobianco, a 6-foot-9 sophomore who averaged 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds at IU. “I’m in the process of fielding all options and just talking to different people. Right now, I’m just taking a break. I haven’t had one since my junior year of high school.”

UK Remains on Top of Updated 2011 Scout.com Rankings


Scout.com has updated their 2011 team recruiting rankings and Kentucky still sits alone on top.

The Wildcats are followed by Duke, St. John's, Arizona and Texas.

Arkansas and Louisville are six and seven.

Western Kentucky received recognition as having an honorable mention class.

Kentucky's top-ranked 2011 class:

- Anthony Davis (1)
- Michael Gilchrist (5)
- Marquis Teague (7)
- Kyle Wiltjer (22)

Louisville's No. 7 class:

- Wayne Blackshear (16)
- Chane Behanan (23)
- Zach Price (65)
- Angel Nunez

Complete Rankings

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ryan Harrow is Headed to Kentucky

North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow is headed to Kentucky. He informed Evan Daniels of Scout.com of his decision moments ago:

EvanDanielscout Ryan Harrow is headed to Kentucky. He just texted the news.

As a freshman at N.C. State, Harrow averaged 9.3 points, 3.3 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game.

He will sit out the 2011-12 season under NCAA transfer rules and be eligible as part of the 2012 recruiting class.

Would the Boston Celtics Trade Rajon Rondo?


Nah...I don't think so, but Taurus London says on Yahoo! Sports that a Rondo trade may be exactly what the Celtics need.

I'm not buying it, but here is an excerpt of the argument:

Let's make one thing clear, just in case there's any confusion. I'm not suggesting Rondo should be traded or that the Celtics are better off without him. I'm not saying that Rondo doesn't have the potential to be the best point guard in the NBA. What I am saying, though, is that Rondo is not the best PG in the league, or at least he hasn't. Not within that final, frustrating stretch as the season wound down anyway.

Rondo has a lot to learn when it comes to consistency, and he may get there in Boston or somewhere else. But fellow fans shouldn't discount the possibility of a guy (or two) who can deliver from the minute the next season starts, right into the 2012 playoffs.


Complete Article

Meanwhile, William Menna says on Yahoo! Sports that Rondo is one of the top five point guards in Boston Celtics history:

The only non-Hall of Famer on the list, current Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has already cemented himself in Celtics and NBA history. Rondo owns the Celtics single-season records of 794 assists and 189 steals. His career 7.6 assist average matches Bob Cousy's for the highest in Celtics history. After his performance following a serious elbow injury in the 2011 playoffs, years from now people will be saying Willis Reed pulled a Rajon Rondo.

Complete Article

KWC Adds Youngstown State Transfer Devonte Maymon


Kentucky Wesleyan College has added 6-2 guard Devonte Maymon, a transfer from NCAA DI Youngstown State.

Here is an excerpt of the release from KWC:

Youngstown State University guard Devonte Maymon will transfer to eight-time NCAA Division II National Champion Kentucky Wesleyan College, according Panther head coach Todd Lee.

He will have one year of eligibility at KWC.

Maymon, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder from Madison, Wis., was the third leading scorer at 9.2 points per contest and fifth in three-pointers made with 29 in starting 14 of 20 games as a junior in 2011.

He averaged 1.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 23.8 minutes while shooting 36.5 percent from the field, 36.3 from three-point range and 62.7 from free throw line for the Penguins

Maymon scored in double-figures 12 times and recorded single games high of 16 points at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, four rebounds versus Akron and six assists against Illinois-Chicago.

He also posted 13 points on four-of-seven shooting including a perfect three-for-three from three-point territory and two of three at the foul line against 2011 Final Four participant Butler at Indianapolis.

“Devonte is a very good athlete that will help us improve our perimeter defense,” Lee said. “He's also a versatile offensive player where he shoots the ball well and uses his athletic ability well to attack the basket.

“We recruited Devonte last year, so there was a previous relationship with him and his family. His primary goal is to win at a high level and he knows that is the focus of our program. He's an excellent addition to our team”

Complete Release

Calipari Advances to Quarterfinals of "Vol Villains" Tournament


University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari has advanced to the quarterfinal round of the "Vol Villains" tournament at RockyTopTalk.com.

He is matched up against UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma.

Here is an excerpt:

The Lady Vols are more equal in Knoxville than on any other college campus except the one in Storrs, though both will always struggle against juggernauts in football and basketball. But it's Bruce Pearl who gets an assist in making John Calipari matter as much as he does in Knoxville.

Calipari beat Rick Pitino in the first round, who is the single most successful coach against Tennessee in any major sport. I'm sure Cal's personality scores him some villain points as well, and his efforts in this rivalry are more recent. But the main reason Cal beat Pitino is because he won games that mattered.


Go Here to Vote

Currently, Auriemma is beating Calipari 104-62 in the voting.

Josh Harrellson is On His Way to Stardom

Former University of Kentucky star Josh Harrellson is on his way to stardom (click images to watch videos):





Harrellson posted these videos on his Twitter account.

SLAM: Brandon Knight No. 3 to the Utah Jazz


SlamOnline.com projects University of Kentucky freshman Brandon Knight going to the Utah Jazz as the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft.

The site says Knight's maturity and leadership are years ahead of his age.

Here is an excerpt:

With Devin Harris still producing at a high level, the Jazz can start grooming the 18-year-old Knight for a full season without expectations or mounting pressure. Knight’s maturity and leadership are years ahead of age, as was evident throughout the college season. He, not Terrence Jones or John Calipari, led his team to the Final Four. With a 6-4 frame and long arms, the Jazz will value his defensive versatility, as he could slide in and play minutes at the two-guard. He is a better scorer than passer right now, but he’s not one of those guys who asks for the ball then phases his teammates out or automatically looks to shoot, like we’ve seen with Russell Westbrook this postseason. (By the way, I’m not a Westbrook hater. The kid is realness, just give him room to breathe).

Knight’s upside is higher than Walker’s, and some argue Knight may even turn out better than Kyrie Irving. He is a silent killer, saucing the competition at every level he’s played. He averaged 33 points per game his senior year of high school, then posted a relatively quiet 17, 4, and 4 in Lexington. His crafty arsenal of moves, endless motor, and tremendous upside make him the fourth pick.


Complete Article

Vargas, Reach USA Close Out Atletas Series with a Win


Eloy Vargas picked up his second double-double in as many days he has led Reach USA to a 104-99 victory over Atletas this morning in China.

Vargas put in 17 points, 13 rebounds and 3 steals for the Americans, who finished the seven-game series with a 5-1-1 record.

Nevada's Malik Story led Reach USA with 18 points.

Reach USA was able to survive a three-point onslaught by Atletas as the Lithuanian club went 18-36 from downtown. The Americans out-rebounded their opponents 42-30.

Vargas during the first seven games:



Box Score:

Richie Riley Joins Coaching Staff at Eastern Kentucky


Eastern Kentucky head coach Jeff Neubauer has announced the addition of Richie Riley to the men's basketball coaching staff.

Here is the news release from EKU:

RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University head men’s basketball coach Jeff Neubauer announced today that Richie Riley has joined the Colonel coaching staff for the upcoming 2011-12 season.

Riley served the previous two seasons as an assistant coach at Coastal Carolina where he helped the Chanticleers win back-to-back Big South regular season titles. With Riley on the sidelines in 2010-11, Coastal Carolina opened league play with 15 straight victories and went on to set a Big South record for league wins in a season (15). The Chanticleers advanced to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) in both 2010 and 2011.

“It is great to welcome Richie back to EKU,” Neubauer said. “He is a proven recruiter both here in the state of Kentucky and on the national level. I have also been extremely impressed with his ability to coach the game. We expect great things from him.”

Riley earned his bachelor’s degree in special education with a minor in English from Eastern Kentucky in 2005. The native of London, Ky., played basketball for one season (2001-02) for then-EKU head coach Travis Ford.

Riley began his collegiate coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at Georgetown College for two years (2003-05) before moving on to the University of Hawai’i-Pacific for the 2005-06 season.

From 2006-09, Riley served as the recruiting coordinator for Pikeville College. While at Pikeville, Riley was recognized for his recruiting abilities by being named the ‘Top NAIA Assistant Coach’ by the RecruitingRumors.com web site. He was promoted to associate head coach for the 2008-09 season and helped the Bears finish 20-12 overall.

Murray State Hires Chris Shumate as Basketball Assistant


Former Murray State star Chris Shumate is returning to the school as an assistant coach.

Shumate leaves Cincinnati, where he was serving as Director of Student-Athlete Development.

Here is an excerpt about Shumate from BearcatLair.com:

“It means a lot for me to be a coach at the same place where I'm an alum and also where I played,” Shumate said. “It holds a special place in my heart professionally and this is where I met my wife. It's a lot like going home for us.”

The four-year apprenticeship in an operations role at Cincinnati had him ready for the next step, and there were several opportunities for Shumate to choose from in taking his next step in the coaching profession. While there were a few higher profile choices in front of him, it was the pull of returning to his alma mater that made the most sense.

“The connection to the program, the community,” said Shumate. “The people down there are great and I don't want to define my life by how much money I make. You take money out of the equation and line up several different jobs, which was my situation, and Murray made the most sense. That's where my family will be the happiest, and it was an easy decision.”


Complete Article

Rodney Purvis is Headed to Kentucky in January


Rodney Purvis posted on Twitter this morning that his high school team will be playing in Louisville in January.

Here is his post:

rpurvis_44 January 28-29 my high school and I will be in Louisville Kentucky playing ... #cardnation & #BBN !!

When asked, Purvis said he is not sure who his team will be playing against.

Purvis is a 6-3 shooting guard in the 2012 class. He is considering several high-major programs, including Kentucky and Louisville. He originally committed to the Cards, but decided to reopen his recruitment and look around some more.

John Calipari Comments On APR Scores


University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari gave his thoughts on UK's impressive APR scores on CoachCal.com earlier.

Here is an excerpt of Calipari's thoughts:

On Tuesday, we received our annual Academic Performance Rate from the NCAA. It gives me great joy to see Kentucky’s name alongside Vanderbilt’s atop the SEC’s APR standings. This is a reflection of what teamwork throughout our program and within our exceptional athletic department is capable of producing off the court. It truly is as important as our on-court success over the past two seasons (trips to the Eilte 8 and the Final 4).

I’ll again mention the incredible support staff at C.A.T.S. and Mike Stone and his staff and also commend each of our 21 other varsity teams for surpassing the NCAA “cutoff score” (925) with 16 of the 22 squads exceeding the national average for public universities in their sports.

When we talk about being the gold standard for college athletics, this emphasis on academics is another vital element of how UK maintains its status among college basketball’s elite programs.


Complete Article

My Thoughts: I'm anxiously awaiting a picture of Bobby Knight with his foot in his mouth.

Eloy Vargas Continues Great Play in China


Kentucky's Eloy Vargas continued his string of great play overseas as Reach USA defeated Atletas 82-77 yesterday in Yebei, China.

Vargas totalled a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. He was 5-10 from the field and also collected 3 steals.

Justin Bocot of Southern Illinois led the Americans with 13 points. Indiana's Jordan Hulls added 12.

Reach USA now sits at 4-1-1 on their exhibition tour.

Box score:

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