Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kentucky Starts Hot, Blasts UT-Chattanooga


(3) Kentucky 87
Chattanooga 62

Final from Lexington, Kentucky


The Kentucky Wildcats rolled to an easy 87-62 victory over Tennessee-Chattanooga on Saturday night in Rupp Arena.

Kentucky (9-1) opened the game on a 13-0 run and never looked back in the team's first game since last weekend's 73-72 loss at Indiana.

Anthony Davis led the Wildcats with 14 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Doron Lamb added a game-high 24 points on 10-17 shooting.

Freshman point guard Marquis Teague finished with 11 points, 8 assists and only 1 turnover.

Kentucky lost sophomore Terrence Jones to a dislocated finger. He tried to come back in but was unable to contribute before leaving the game for good. Jones did not score in 10 minutes of action.

Drazen Zlovaric led Chattanooga (3-8) with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Ricky Taylor chipped in 11 points and 5 assists.

Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday night when they host Samford at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Murray State Moves to 12-0 with Win Over Arkansas State


(24) Murray State 66
Arkansas State 53

Final from Murray, Kentucky


Game recap by MSU:

Isaiah Canaan scored 21 points as the 24th ranked Murray State Racers kept their undefeated season going Saturday with a 66-53 home over Arkansas State at the CFSB Center in Murray, Ky.

MSU moved their mark to start the 2011-12 season to 12-0 and their home-court win streak is also 12 straight.

Canaan scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the first half as the Racers took a 35-30 lead into halftime. MSU had to fight back after Arkansas State jumped to a 17-10 lead halfway through the opening 20 mintues. The Racers outscored the Red Wolves 25-13 over the remainder of the half to take a five point lead at the break.

The Racers got their game in high gear at the start of the second half, hitting ASU with a four-point play when Canaan hit a three-pointer and was fouled. His free throw made it a nine-point lead for the Racers.

Complete Recap

EKU Opens OVC Play with Win at Jacksonville State


Eastern Kentucky 59
Jacksonville State 53

Final from Jacksonville, Alabama


Game recap by EKU:

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team opened Ohio Valley Conference action Saturday night with a 59-53 win at Jacksonville State. Senior Joshua Jones poured in a season-high 17 points in the winning effort.

Jacksonville State’s (3-8, 0-1 OVC) only lead of the game came at 9-7 early in the opening half. The Colonels (7-5, 1-0) responded with a 9-2 run, capped by back-to-back buckets from freshman Eric Stutz, to take the lead for good. Eastern shot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the floor and forced seven Jacksonville State turnovers in the first 20 minutes to take a 31-22 lead into halftime.

A Jones lay-up early in the second stanza pushed the Colonel advantage to 11 points, 35-24. However, Eastern Kentucky went the next 10:34 without making a field goal. That cold stretch allowed Jacksonville State to eventually even the score at 39-all, but the Colonels never surrendered the lead.

Another Jones bucket, this time with 7:18 remaining, ended the field goal drought and pushed the EKU lead to six points, 45-39. Jones came through with a three-pointer on the following possession to make the score, 48-39.

The Gamecocks would not go away and closed the gap to two points on numerous occasions, and even one point in the final minute, but Eastern’s free throw shooting allowed the Colonels to hold on for the win. EKU made its first 15 free throws and 15-of-16 (93.8 percent) charity shots overall in the second half.

Besides his 17 points, Jones also hauled in a career-high eight rebounds. Stutz chipped in with 15 points, 13 of which came in the first half. Meanwhile, senior Jaron Jones reached double figures in points for the 10th straight game with 16 points.

Complete Recap

No. 4 Louisville Defeats Memphis in Rivalry Game


(4) Louisville 95
Memphis 87

Final from Louisville, Kentucky


Game recap by U of L:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Russ Smith can always provide an offensive boost for Louisville. His defensive contributions will keep him on the court even longer.

Smith set personal bests with 24 points and seven steals as No. 4 Louisville survived a rough-and-tumble matchup with former conference foe Memphis 95-87 on Saturday to extend the Cardinals' home winning streak to 18 games.

"Seven steals is just a great accomplishment," said Smith, who made the most of a rare start. "Anybody can get 24 points, but seven steals is really special."

Coach Rick Pitino almost passed on Smith despite shining as a youngster at their basketball camps. But Smith grew from 5-foot-9 to a 6-foot frame and kept impressing Ralph Willard, who stepped down as the school's director of basketball operations earlier this year.

"Ralph just kept saying, Russ is the guy we need," Pitino said. "Russ was terrific. He's got great hands. He has no fear. ... I'm real proud of him."

Gorgui Dieng added 14 points and 14 rebounds in the schools' first meeting since the Cardinals (10-0) beat the Tigers (5-4) by a point to win the Conference USA tournament in 2005 before departing for the Big East.

Complete Recap

Indiana Athletics Director Sends Apology for Fan Behavior


Indiana University athletics director Fred Glass has apologized for some of the fan behavior by IU fans during their upset win over No. 1 Kentucky.

Here is an excerpt from VaughtsViews.com:

Glass, Indiana’s vice-president and director of intercollegiate athletics, responded to Perez Friday in this e-mail:

“I am writing to apologize for the unacceptable behavior by IU ‘fans’ that you describe. Thank you for bringing these troubling events to our attention. I want to assure you that we take this matter very seriously. I have directed our staff to issue additional security alerts and to promptly deal with fans that harass or intimidate fans of the visiting school. We have also directed our staff to be on active look out for fans acting in a belligerent or intimidating manner toward people wearing our opponents’ school colors.

“Again, thank you for bringing these serious issues to our attention. Hoosiers pride themselves on their hospitality, and I often receive letters from opposing fans commending our fans and staff for their sportsmanship and friendliness. That is why the behavior you describe is all the more unacceptable. Please know that as result of your note, very strong steps are being taken to try to prevent it happening again.”


Indiana athletics director apologizes for “unacceptable behavior by IU fans”

Twany Beckham Eligible to Play for Kentucky Tonight

Former Ballard star Twany Beckham is eligible to play for the University of Kentucky tonight.

Beckham spoke to the media on Friday (video by uknationofblue on YouTube):



Some more Beckham comments from UK:

On his level of excitement for returning to basketball …
“I’m ready to go. This has been a long time coming. I have been with this team for a whole year and I’m ready to get out there on the floor with my teammates.”

On the waiting process …
“It’s been tough. I have just been watching my teammates grow from day one. I finally get to be out there on the court with them. I am ready to go.”

On what he can bring to the game …
“When I come into the game, I just want to bring energy and ambition to this team. I want to play as hard as I can and whatever Coach Calipari wants me to do, I’m going to do it.”

Centre College Upsets No. 16 Birmingham Southern


Centre College 72
(16) Birmingham Southern 65

Final from Danville, Kentucky


Game recap by Centre:

The Centre men's basketball handed No. 16 Birmingham Southern its first loss of the season as the Colonels never trailed on the way to a 72-65 victory Friday in Danville, Ky.

Senior forward Greg Ross (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored nine points in the first five minutes and went on to finish with game highs of 21 points and 14 rebounds. That hot start was enough to get Centre out to an early 14-7 lead, and the Colonels would keep a comfortable lead throughout much of the first half.

Centre's biggest lead of the game came when Jeff Mullaney (Louisville, Ky.) made a jumper to go up 25-13 at the 9:00 mark, and the Colonels would keep the margin in that vicinity for the rest of the half before going to the break with a 38-28 lead.

The Panthers, who came to the contest averaging 90.1 points per game and shooting 46 percent from outside, eventually made their run early in the second half when 3-pointers by Kevin Kegarise and Blaise White keyed a 12-2 surge that tied the game at 42.

Coming out of a time out with 13 minutes to play, Centre's Matt Griggs (Cincinnati, Ohio) buried a 3-pointer that started a 14-4 run for Centre. By the time Chris Taylor (Louisville, Ky.) capped the run with a jumper at the 7:00 mark, the Colonels would be back in control with a 10-point lead at 60-50.

Birmingham Southern threatened one last time when baskets by Kegarise and Caleb Lee cut the lead to six with 2:33 to play, but Collin Lopez (Louisville, Ky.) scored on consecutive possessions to put the game out of reach at 67-57.

Complete Recap

Jeff Mullaney drains a 3-pointer in the first first:

Patrick Patterson is Ready to Get Back on the Court

Former University of Kentucky star Patrick Patterson is ready to get back in the action with the Houston Rockets.

Here is Patterson speaking to Fox 26 on Thursday:

Video: Top 10 Kentucky Basketball Dunks of 2011

Here are the "Top Ten Dunks of 2011" for the University of Kentucky Wildcats (video by UKRewind on YouTube):

Knight Impressive, Wall "Terrible" in Preseason Action


John Calipari's last two great point guards, John Wall and Brandon Knight, played their first NBA preseason games on Friday night.

It was an impressive debut for the rookie, but a performance Wall would rather forget.

Wall was 3-12 from the field for 8 points in Washington's 103-78 loss to Philadelphia. Additionally, the former Kentucky star had 3 assists and 6 turnovers.

"Terrible," head coach Flip Saunders said of Wall after the game. "He didn't play with the same aggressiveness, passion."

Meanwhile, Brandon Knight made a strong first impression in Detroit.

The rookie had 9 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal in Detroit's 91-87 loss to Cleveland.

"I thought he played with great energy when he was on the floor," said coach Lawrence Frank. "He made some nice plays on the pick-and-roll. I think everyone can see he's going to be a very, very good player."

Others:

- Jodie Meeks, 76ers: 34 MIN, 8 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 3-7 FG, 1-3 3PT

- Shelvin Mack, Wizards: 21 MIN, 5 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 3 TO, 2-6 FG, 0-4 3PT

- Samardo Samuels, Cavaliers: 26 MIN, 15 PTS, 7 REB, 3 STL, 2 BLK, 2-4 FG, 11-16 FT

- Tayshaun Prince, Pistons: DNP Coach's Decision

Friday, December 16, 2011

Webber International Defeats Union College


Webber International 81
Union College 75

Final from Babson Park, Florida


Game recap by Union College:

BABSON PARK, Fla. -- Union's James Strange scored a team-high 14 points, but it wasn't enough, as Webber International hung on for an 81-75 win Friday evening in NAIA Men's Basketball action. The game was a part of the 2011 Crooked Creek Classic.

With the loss, Union fell to 3-11 on the season, while Webber International improved to 3-4 on the year with the victory.

In the first half, Union came out and controlled things from the start, taking an early lead and holding it for the majority of the period. The lead, however, was never a large one, as the biggest deficit Webber International faced in the entire period was just five points.

In the last minute of the period, Josh Hurd (Independence, Ky.) knocked down a jumper with 42 seconds left that gave UC 32-28 lead. The Warriors got the last bucket of the period and the game went into the locker room for intermission with Union in the lead at 32-30.

In the second half, the momentum flipped to Webber International's side right from the start. The Warriors opened the half knocking down a three that gave them their first lead since early in the first half, and eventually went on an 8-0 run to start the half to take a 38-32 lead.

Complete Recap

Khem Birch Makes It Official, Leaving Pittsburgh


The rumors have been confirmed as freshman Khem Birch has officially opted to leave Pittsburgh after just 10 games.

Here is more from CBSSports.com:

The 6-foot-9 Canadian, the highest-ranked player to commit to the Panthers in the history of the program, told CBSSports.com he has decided to transfer.

"I'm leaving," Birch told CBSSports.com on Friday night. "I'm headed to Toronto now. I enjoyed my time at Pittsburgh, I love Coach (Jamie) Dixon, had no problems with the staff and the players. It just wasn't the right fit for me."

Birch informed CBSSports.com that he does not have a new list and has not decided on his next destination.


Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

Photo: Rivals.com

John Calipari Talks About Chattanooga, Terrence Jones

John Calipari spoke to the media today about Saturday's game, Terrence Jones and more (video by uknationofblue on YouTube):



Transcript from UK:

On practice being different this week …
“I think the one thing I learned after the game at Indiana is that we need to have more rough-house practices, a little tougher and we need to do more conditioning. So we did that this week so they might have thought it was tougher. It was from what I saw from my team. Also we needed to go over situational stuff; you can’t blame them if you haven’t covered a lot stuff. One thing I’ll say though about doing situations, at the end of the day you can’t predict what is going to happen. You have to have a player make a play like Anthony (Davis) made (vs. North Carolina). Somebody has to just go make a play and that’s part of what we have on this team but they just haven’t been in many of those deals.”

On Terrence Jones …
“I think he’ll be fine. He knows he can’t do that again. He’s a good kid, he had a bad game for whatever reason and the crazy thing is we still had an opportunity to win the game. We got no breaks and we still could have won the game. We had a will to win, Marquis Teague, Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist), Doron (Lamb)’s will to win. We had a lot of good things come out of that game and I’ll be honest with you if we had won I probably would have stuck my head in the sand and not said, ‘we’re not in good enough condition and we’re not tough enough.’ I would have said, ‘hey man, let’s just keep this ball rolling; we got three games left before Christmas.’ So this was a wake up for me so hopefully I’ll do a better job of helping these guys.”

On contributions Twany Beckham can make …
“He can help defensively. He’s not going to play any point guard so he’ll probably play one of those other positions. He’s got to go out there and defend and make easy plays so that he can stay on the floor.”

On leaving Terrence Jones on the bench at the end of the Indiana game …
“It wasn’t a message, if we left him in we weren’t winning, that was the message. I told Kyle (Wiltjer) we need to get him more minutes, but he gave up a three at a critical time and we’re doing things in practice now that he has to come up with the ball or we lose. If he doesn’t I stop it and tell him that’s why I can’t play him at the end of the game. I told him, ‘even if your minutes are short you have to do what you do offensively, just play.’ I think he’s holding back and we just have to get him going.”

On being concerned with Terrence Jones …
“I’m not; I’m going on my second year coaching him. You asked me that question many times about DeMarcus Cousins, ‘are you concerned about him growing up or anything?’ No, I’m not.”

On Twany Beckham not playing point guard …
“He doesn’t understand that position the way we need it played. He’s a good athlete, he has some good size, he can defend and be tough. I’ll be honest, with Jarrod (Polson) understanding how we play and what we do, he is probably ahead of Twany.”

On the team being ready for Chattanooga tomorrow …
“We’ll see (if they’re ready), there are always the drags after a game like last week so we’ll see.”

On guarding 3-pointers against Indiana …
“There were three or four of the 3s that weren’t guarded and they made all of those. Then all of the sudden they only make 25 percent of the guarded ones, but they make those other four and now all of a sudden they make seven or eight threes because you gave them four. A bunch were off an offensive rebound where we should have grabbed the ball and they’d just throw it out and the guy makes the 3. If you rebound the ball that doesn’t lead to a kick out and 3. We have a lot of work to do. If you listen to us practice you know all I talk about is making (the opponent) drivers and let them drive into our defense. Do not let them play horse, I know they can beat us playing horse and shooting free throws. Make them play basketball.”

On (UK president) Dr. (Eli) Capilouto’s statement about funding …
“We have 60-year old dorms on our campus; I didn’t know buildings could stay standing that long. We have 500 new beds; we need 5,000 beds that are new housing. We need classrooms that are up-to-date. We’re the flagship campus, when we go out we represent the entire commonwealth. Everybody in the legislature is represented by us when we go out or when we are on this campus, 80 percent of this campus is from our state. You can’t do private funding; the legislator has to get behind us. Once all that is covered then I said, let’s think about Rupp Arena. Its 35-years old, it hasn’t hurt us in recruiting, it obviously hasn’t hurt us on the basketball court. Our fans like it as long as you aren’t in the upper deck. Have you ever been in the upper deck with 12 inches to sit when your butt is 18 inches? It’s a tough seat. If you tell me it’s between our campus or a new arena, I’m saying it’s for our students, new classrooms and new dorms.”

Keith Bogans Released by the Chicago Bulls


The Chicago Bulls have released former University of Kentucky star Keith Bogans.

The Bulls signed Rip Hamilton to a 2-year deal on Wednesday, essentially ending their needs for Bogans.

The news was first reported on Twitter by Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:

AschNBA Keith Bogans waived by Chicago Bulls.

John Wall Looks Good on the Court, Not in Call of Duty

Off the court, John Wall got his butt kicked by Dwight Howard's Call of Duty team:



On the court, however, Wall is taking care of business:

Video: Hilarious Interview with DeMarcus Cousins


DeMarcus Cousins appears to be having entirely too much fun these days. Check out the hilarious interview below:



Source

WKU Loses Guard Caden Dickerson for Season


Western Kentucky will be without injured junior guard Caden Dickerson for the rest of this season. Dickerson will be undergoing shoulder surgery and hopes to obtain a medical redshirt.

Here is more from WKU:

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU head men's basketball coach Ken McDonald announced Tuesday that junior guard Caden Dickerson will miss the remainder of the 2011-12 season after he undergoes surgery to repair his injured left shoulder.

"We feel for Caden now that we know he will have to miss the rest of our season to rehab after his shoulder surgery," McDonald said. "Caden is a competitor, and it will be hard for him to sit on the sidelines. He is the ultimate teammate and can still be a major contributor for this team, but just in a different role. This surgery should help Caden come back even stronger next year. We and his family determined surgery was the best option moving forward after talking with our athletic trainer and doctors, since this is the same shoulder that he injured at the end of last season."

Dickerson will seek a medical redshirt and, if granted, will have two years of eligibility remaining at WKU beginning next season.

Kevin Keathley Named Head Coach of Sauk Valley Predators


Kentucky native Kevin Keathley has been named new head coach of the Sauk Valley Predators in the Premier Basketball League.

Keathley recently did a two-part interview with Premier BasketBlog about the new job and much more.

Here's an excerpt:

PBB: What are the biggest challenges of taking over a team so close to the season?

KK: The biggest challenge without question is I didn’t have the opportunity to assemble the team’s roster. I haven’t been here from the beginning–That’s tough to a degree. When you coach, you need guys that play your style and you need players that can execute the system you install. I like what I see so far from the roster assembled. There are some guys that you can build a winner around. Every day, I’m doing research on each player and trying to establish what their strengths and weaknesses are as a player. I think the former coach & ownership group did a good job putting the roster together. That’s part of the challenge though. As a coach, I will have to find out what these guys are made of once training camp arrives. It’s not easy; we do a lot of conditioning. It’s tough, but it is definitely going to be a lot of fun. I look forward to meeting the team and beginning this 2012 basketball journey to the top of the PBL Mountain.

PBB: What are your thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of the Predators roster?

KK: It’s a little early to talk weaknesses really. The only thing early on that might be an obstacle to overcome is we’re inexperienced to some extent. We have a young team, but sometimes that turns out to be a good thing. If you look at my first East Kentucky Miners team in the CBA, we were the youngest team in the league and we had a good bit of success with them. Other than that, I really don’t see any weaknesses. On the flip side, we have high character guys, great kids, and just fantastic people off the court. That’s what I’m about! It is important to me to have players that are going to go out and represent the organization with class. They are coachable and almost all of them were winners on the college level. At this point, I’ve only really got to look at about half of the roster in-depth. However, we have some guys that can definitely play my style and we have really good people. The character of your roster is an important part of growing as a franchise, especially in the first year. There are a lot of positives for sure.

Complete Interview (Part I)

Complete Interview (Part II)

No. 24 Murray State Hammers Lipscomb


(24) Murray State 89
Lipscomb 65

Final from Murray, Kentucky


Game recap by MSU:

#24 Murray State had its best shooting night of the season Thursday, staying perfect on the season in an 89-65 win against Lipscomb at the CFSB Center.

Leading 27-21 with 6:14 left in the first half, MSU ended the half with an 18-8 run to lead the Bison 45-29 at the half.

The Racers forced six straight Lipscomb turnovers to key an 18-0 run to build a commanding 65-35 lead with 13:44 remaining in the game.

The Racers (11-0) sank 56.9 percent (37-65) of their shots for the game, including 60 percent of their shots in the second half. Ed Daniel and Ivan Aska led MSU with 16 points each on the night, with Daniel scoring a season-high on 7-of-8 shooting from the field as he scored 12 points in the first half as the Racers jumped ahead 45-29 at halftime.

Five different Racers grabbed four rebounds as Murray State held a 33-29 advantage on the glass.

The game was the third time this season that the Racers have forced their opponent into giving up more turnovers than they have made field goals. Lipscomb (6-6) was held to just 20 made field goals and committed 23 turnovers on the night. The Racers forced 15 steals, their second highest total of the season.

Complete Recap

Kentucky Wesleyan Pulls Away from Salem International


(4) Kentucky Wesleyan 104
Salem International 78

Final from Owensboro, Kentucky


Game recap by KWC:

In a contest that was tougher than expected well into the second half, No. 4 Kentucky Wesleyan finally shifted into overdrive down the stretch to pull away from stubborn Salem International 104-78 on Thursday night at the Sportscenter.

The Panthers improve to 8-0 and do not hit the hardwood again until Dec. 30, when they entertain in-state NAIA representative Lindsey Wilson College.

Ball security proved to be the major issue for Wesleyan against cat-quick Salem International (1-10), which had a hand in forcing the Panthers into 24 floor mistakes.

“Obviously, we've got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball — that's far too many turnovers,” KWC head coach Todd Lee said. “Some of our problems had to do with (Salem's) quickness, but a lot of it was on us, too.

“To our credit, I thought we showed some heart in the second half after Salem made a nice run at us. We responded the way I want us to respond in situations like that.”

Complete Recap

DeMarcus Cousins Really Likes the New Black Uniforms

Former University of Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins posed for some pictures and spoke to the media during Sacrmento Kings media day:




Here is some footage of Cousins talking to the media (via news10.net):

Schedule Announced for 2012 All "A" Classic


The pairings have been announced for the 2012 Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic state tournament.

The event will be held January 26-29 at the Frankfort Convention Center.

Here is a schedule:

January 26

8:30 a.m. Region 16 vs. Region 2
10:00 a.m. Region 1 vs. Region 15
11:30 a.m. Region 11 vs. Region 5
1:00 p.m. Region 4 vs. Region 3
5:00 p.m. Region 9 vs. Region 13
6:30 p.m. Region 8 vs. Region 14
8:00 p.m. Region 10 vs. Region 7
9:30 p.m. Region 6 vs. Region 12

January 27

5:00 p.m. Quarterfinal #1
6:30 p.m. Quarterfinal #2
8:00 p.m. Quarterfinal #3
9:30 p.m. Quarterfinal #4

January 28

6:00 p.m. Semifinal #1
7:30 p.m. Semifinal #2

January 29

2:30 p.m. Championship Game

Complete Bracket

Source: Khem Birch Plans to Transfer, Don't Count on UK


I have spoken to someone close to Pittsburgh freshman Khem Birch about rumors that he is planning to transfer.

The source confirmed that Birch, a 6-9 power forward, is planning to transfer.

He added that rumors about Birch transferring to the University of Kentucky are false and no decision has been made.

Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com first reported that Birch was thinking about a change on Thursday evening:

GoodmanCBS Khem Birch contemplating leaving Pittsburgh, per sources. No final decision made quite yet.

My Thoughts: I think it's important to note that Birch is a college freshman and freshmen often encounter struggles. I personally wouldn't count on anything until a final decision is announced.

It sounds like he plans to transfer but it wouldn't be surprising at all if he has a change of heart and stays at Pitt.

Photo: Rivals.com

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Garnett: Rondo is Smartest Celtic, Most Hated Player in NBA


Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett says former UK star Rajon Rondo is the smartest but perhaps the most hated player in the NBA.

Here is an excerpt of Garnett's interview:

Who’s the smartest player on this team? Because Doc gave us an answer immediately.

Rajon Rondo.

That’s what he said. He said he was the smartest player in the league.

Very much so. The most stubborn, the most probably hated.

You might have part of that on him.

No, no. I’ve grown to understand Shorty. His greatest gift is his greatest curse. We as players try to help him to understand that. Me, more or less, I see a lot of myself in him. I’m not as cocky as he is. I like to actually set aside ego when I step on the court and let the play do the talking.

Shorty’s very smart but he’s also very stubborn. Nonetheless, with all that said and done, talking to him, I see the maturity, I hear the maturity in him wanting to be better. That’s what you want from your young guy. You want your young guy growing. You want your guy to always be in a sense to where he’s understanding that he’s the future. I think him understanding that, him being confident in that. You hear your name in talks, that’s not what you want to be. Things like that come on for a reason. Just understanding growth and understanding being young. But I love Shorty. I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else.

Kevin Garnett: Rajon Rondo ‘probably the most hated’ player in the league

Here is Celtics head man Doc Rivers talking about several topics including Rondo.

Former Kentucky Star Walter McCarty Signs Recording Deal


Former University of Kentucky basketball star Walter McCarty has signed a distribution deal with Bronx Bridge Entertainment.

Here is more from BallerStatus.com:

Former NBA player/coach turned singer, Walter McCarty, announced this week that he has signed a distribution deal with Bronx Bridge Entertainment for his own, Hit Boys Entertainment.

Via the deal, McCarty will release several projects through his label, including his own project, Emotionally, set to drop in early 2012.

It's first single is the LP's title track, currently on the smooth jazz charts and crossing into the R&B charts.

Although he's known for his career in the NBA, McCarty has always had a love for music.

With the new deal in place, McCarty will be able to pursue his dreams of creating music and performing, while helping launch the careers of others who also share the same dream.


Former NBA Player Walter McCarty Lands Deal For Own Label, Preps New Album

Chuck Hayes to Have Medical Tests After "Abnormality" Found


Former University of Kentucky star Chuck Hayes will undergo further testing after an "abnormality" was discovered today.

Below is a statement from the Sacramento Kings regarding Hayes:

"A recent stress echo test performed on Kings' center/forward Chuck Hayes revealed an abnormality which will require further testing this evening and tomorrow. An update will be provided as more information becomes available."

Source

Hot-Shooting Pikeville Destroys IU-Southeast


University of Pikeville 95
Indiana University Southeast 66

Final from Pikeville, Kentucky


Game recap by UPIKE:

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – A more intense version of University of Pikeville Bears – and Coach Kelly Wells – gave their fans an early Christmas gift in the form of 17 made three-point bombs en route to a 95-66 win over NAIA Div. II No. 24 Indiana-Southeast Thursday night at the East Kentucky Expo Center.

Pikeville (8-4) finished the game a remarkable 17-of-30 from the arc and forced IUS into 17 turnovers thanks to 11 steals in the win, which ended a stretch of four losses in five games.

It wasn't just the three-point shooting. The Bears shared the basketball to the tune of 24 assists on their 34 made baskets. They hit 57.6 percent – 60 percent after halftime – and cruised to the win.

A couple of streaks – one in each half – was the difference. After a three-point play by freshman Spencer Allman gave the Grenadiers their only lead of the night, Pikeville went on a 17-2 run to take command.

The stretch, which lasted 4:04, included two threes each by senior Chris McHenry and junior Trevor Setty and a three-point play by junior Kenny Rhymes. Setty's came on back-to-back trips to end the run and make it 17-5 with 15:04 to play.

Complete Recap

Orlando Magic Introduce DeAndre Liggins, Daniel Orton


The Orlando Magic officially welcomed several new players today including former University of Kentucky guard DeAndre Liggins and big man Daniel Orton, who missed last season with a knee injury.

Head coach Stan Fan Gundy said Liggins is still adjusting to life in the NBA:

“The two rookies, they’re adjusting to life in the NBA,” Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy explained. “Things moving fast and everything else. I think they’ve done a good job.”

“They’re smart guys, they’re hard-working guys. They’re doing a good job,” Van Gundy added.


Meanwhile, Van Gundy doesn't think Orton is ready for NBA competition at this time and hinted that the former UK big man will spend much of this season on the bench:

It appears second-year C Daniel Orton will receive another redshirt season, in effect.

Van Gundy said after practice that Orton looks trim and mobile, but he hasn't played a lot of basketball while dealing with a left-knee injury he sustained in high school. Orton played one year at Kentucky before the Magic drafted him.

Orton underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee last season and says it finally feels as if it's back to normal.

"Daniel's very inexperienced, and he's not ready to be thrown into a game right now, " Van Gundy said. "He needs a lot of learning time, a learning year."

Kelly Wells, Others Deliver Gifts for Needy Children


University of Pikeville head coach Kelly Wells and others delivered Christmas Gifts for Marlow Tackett's annual Christmas giveaway recently.

Here's more from UPIKE:

WHITESBURG, Ky. - When the signature edition Kelly Wells-UPIKE Ford F-150 truck rolled up it was a welcome sight to the man they call the “Mountain Santa Claus.” Filled with bicycles and toys, the makeshift sleigh delivered hundreds of gifts specially chosen to bring smiles to children of all ages.

Sponsored by the University of Pikeville (UPIKE), Appalachian Wireless, Bruce Walters Ford, Walmart and East Kentucky Broadcasting (EKB), the special delivery will benefit Marlow Tackett's annual Christmas giveaway on Sunday, Dec. 18, in Letcher County in the former Food World building at the Walmart Plaza. Now in its 33rd year, the event will serve families from Letcher, Pike, Floyd and surrounding counties and communities in Virginia.

“Bruce Walters had the idea to load up the F-150 with gifts,” said EKB President and General Manager Keith Casebolt. “A lot of families need help right now so we called some of our friends to lend a hand.”

“Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in a child's life it is a blessing. I am thrilled to be a part of giving back,” said Kelly Wells, head men's basketball coach at the University of Pikeville.

Complete Release

Poythress, Muhammad on Naismith Award Watch List


University of Kentucky signee Alex Poythress and recruit Shabazz Muhammad have been named to the Naismith Trophy High School Player of the Year preseason watch list.

Joining Poythress and Muhammad on the list are Kyle Anderson (UCLA), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Brandon Ashley (Arizona) and Isaiah Austin (Baylor).

Here is a release from UK about Poythress:

LEXINGTON, Ky. – UK men’s basketball signee Alex Poythress is among the top six senior boys named to the Naismith Trophy High School Player of the Year preseason watch list as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Poythress is currently a senior at Clarksville Northeast High School in Clarksville, Tenn. where he is averaging 29.0 points through nine games this season.

The watch list was comprised by leading basketball journalists from around the country who form the national voting academy, and identify players under consideration for the award.

Scout.com ranks Poythress 16th overall in the class of 2012 and the No. 3 small forward. ESPNU Recruiting has him 17th overall and No. 4 at his position, while Rivals.com ranks him 19th overall and No. 8 at his position.

Kentucky returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 17, hosting the Chattanooga Mocs. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. ET tip and can be seen live on CSS

Photo: Rivals.com

Enes Kanter Speaks at Utah Jazz Media Day

Here is an interview with former Kentucky big man Enes Kanter at Utah Jazz media day:

D'Antoni Hopes Harrellson Can Perform in Front of 20,000 Fans


Former University of Kentucky big man Josh Harrellson is off and running with the New York Knicks.

Harrellson has already impressed head coach Mike D'Antoni, but D'Antoni hopes his new big man can perform in front of "20,000 people." After a career at UK, I think Jorts probably has that one under control.

Here is an excerpt from ZagsBlog.com:

“You know, it’s still just surreal to me that I’m actually living out my dream, having another opportunity to put on another jersey and playing for the name on the front of it.

“And just doing the little things and just being able to continue doing what I love.”

Harrellson averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in 38 games on last year’s Final Four team.

He missed out on playing in an NBA summer league because of the lockout, but so far he has impressed Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni.

“I think he can be a player,” D’Antoni said Wednesday. “I think that he’s a skilled big man who knows how to play. Now we’ll see if that translates into a game, but so far, so good. Really happy with him….We’ll see when 20,000 people are in there [watching him].”


‘Jorts’ Learning on the Fly With Knicks (UPDATED)

Idaho Stampede Bring Kendall Dartez Back


The Idaho Stampede have activated former Louisville big man Kendall Dartez. Dartez did not play in his first game back on Wednesday night.

Here is more from OurSportsCentral.com:

The Idaho Stampede activated Kendall Dartez (6-10, 257, Louisville) from the injured list, the club announced today.

Dartez will dress for tonight's game against the Bakersfield Jam (7 p.m., CenturyLink Arena). Dartez, who was in training camp with the Stampede until being waived due to injury, and was then activated for one game, has played in Korea and in the D-League before, being selected in the 4th round of the 2004 D-League Draft by the Florida Flame.


Stampede Re-Acquire Dartez

Steve Prohm's Weekly Press Conference - Dec. 13

Here is Murray State head coach Steve Prohm speaking with the media during his weekly press conference on December 13:

Former Kentucky Recruit Commits to Sonoma State


Remember Michael Avery? He is the kid who committed to the University of Kentucky and former head coach Billy Gillispie following his 8th grade season.

Avery, now a senior in high school, has committed to Sonoma State.

Here is more from LATimes.com:

Michael Avery of Encino Crespi has committed to Sonoma State.

The 6-foot-5 senior guard committed to Kentucky prior to his freshman year, receiving national attention as one of the youngest commitments ever.

The offer was taken away after Billy Gillispie left Kentucky.

Avery sat out his junior season after returning to Crespi following a transfer to Montverde Academy in Florida.


Boys' basketball: Michael Avery commits to Sonoma State

Sonoma State is an NCAA Division II program.

Photo: AL.com

Earl Clark Agrees to 2-Year Deal with the Orlando Magic


According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, former Louisville star Earl Clark has agreed to a two-year deal with the Orlando Magic.

WojYahooNBA Earl Clark has agreed to a two-year deal with the Orlando Magic, league source tells Y! Sports.

Lindsey Wilson Nets Road Win at Southern Wesleyan


Lindsey Wilson College 91
Southern Wesleyan University 72

Final from Central, South Carolina


Game recap by LWC:

CENTRAL, S.C. -- Chase Cox led four players in double-figures scoring with 16 points to lead the 18th ranked Lindsey Wilson College men's basketball team over Southern Wesleyan (S.C.) University 91-72 on Wednesday in Tysinger Gymnasium.

Cox hit 4-of-5 3-pointers to tally the team high, while senior Chase Spreen added 15 points, junior Kalen Kimberland tallied 12 and senior Justin Archie finished with 11 points, going 5-for-5 from the field.

Kenny Joyner and Nikola Lambic paced the Warriors with 16 and 14 points, respectively.

The game was won for the Blue Raiders in the second half, outscoring Southern Wesleyan 52-41 behind a season-high 63.8 shooting percentage from the field and season-best mark of 66.7 percent from behind the arc.

Lindsey Wilson's 10 3-pointers were also a season high, helping give it separation in a game that was not won on the backboards as the two teams tied in rebounds at 26 each.

Complete Recap

Footage of Kentucky Recruits Nerlens Noel, Wayne Selden

Here is some recent footage of Kentucky recruits Wayne Selden and Nerlens Noel in action:



Chris Paul Traded to the Los Angeles Clippers


NBA superstar Chris Paul will team up with former Kentucky star Eric Bledsoe this season. Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clipper on Wednesday.

Here is more on the trade from Yahoo! Sports:

The NBA has traded Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers in a deal that will pair star forward Blake Griffin with one of the game’s top point guards.

The league-owned New Orleans Hornets will receive guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ unprotected 2012 first-round pick in return for Paul.

As part of the deal, Paul has agreed to not opt out of his contract after this season – allowing the Clippers to keep him at least through the 2012-13 season.

The trade was formally approved Wednesday night. Paul plans to fly to Los Angeles Thursday to be introduced by the Clippers.


NBA trades Chris Paul to the Clippers

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jarnell Stokes May Enroll Soon, Tennessee the Leader?


At lest one source thinks Jarnell Stokes will end up at the University of Tennessee.

Stokes, one of the top players in the 2012 class, may enter college in January and be eligible to play immediately.

Kentucky is in the mix with several other schools.

Here is more from ZagsBlog.com:

Earlier this month, Jarnell told the Memphis Commercial Appeal: “I’ve set myself up to go to college midyear. I really don’t know yet, but that’s definitely an option.”

The 6-foot-9 Stokes is considering Kentucky, UConn, Memphis, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee, with one source close to the recruitment saying he believes Stokes will land at Tennessee.

“I talk to my dad about that every day. I’m just waiting on an answer from God,” Stokes told the Appeal. “I wish I could just choose right now and get it all out the way, but I don’t think I’m ready to make a decision right now. Maybe I will be next week, but I can’t give you a timetable right now.”


Jarnell Stokes Leaning Toward Enrolling in January

Photo: Rivals.com

Brandon Knight, Tayshaun Prince at Pistons Media Day

Here are press conference appearances by former Kentucky stars Tayshaun Prince and Brandon Knight at Detroit Pistons media day:





Source: PistonPowered.com

Brandon Knight Making Good First Impression in Detroit



Former University of Kentucky star Brandon Knight has made a positive first impression with the Detroit Pistons.

Here is more from The Detroit News:

Brandon Knight, a rookie.

There he was on Tuesday, taking extra 3-pointers and going through dribbling drills.
Judging from his energy, you couldn't tell he had just completed a three-hour practice.

Pistons guard Will Bynum, who just finished running wind sprints with director of player development Ryan Hoover, stood by, almost in amazement.

"This is what we need right here," said Bynum, motioning to Knight. "If he never becomes great, it won't be because he didn't put the work in."

Pistons scouts, coach Lawrence Frank and Platinum Equity partner Bob Wentworth were transfixed by Knight's work ethic and endurance.

"It's something I had to work at, just from mental toughness," Knight said before he went to lift weights. "Your legs might not be feeling great, you have to persevere. You have to give that effort, because you'll see improvement."


Pistons rookie Brandon Knight boosting team's energy

Darnell Dodson May Suit Up for Southern Miss on Saturday


Former Kentucky player Darnell Dodson will likely be in uniform on Saturday when Southern Miss battles Ole Miss.

Here is an excerpt from SunHerald.com:

Eustachy could not comment on the eligibility of Darnell Dodson, a 6-7 transfer from Kentucky. Dodson played on the Kentucky team that featured first-round pick John Wall and reached the Elite Eight two years ago while starting nine games. But a source within the athletic department said Dodson will be in uniform for the Ole Miss game.

Early success for Southern Miss basketball

Chattanooga Tunes Up for Kentucky with Win Over Spalding


UT-Chattanooga 98
Spalding University 48

Final from Chattanooga, Tennessee


Game recap by SU:

The Spalding University Golden Eagles fell to Division 1 opponent UT Chattanooga Tuesday 98-48 at McKenzie Arena.

Tyler St. Julian led Spalding with 11 points, while Quayshaun Hamilton and Jametrius Brasher both recorded 9.

Spalding is back in action at Derek Smith Gymnasium next Wednesday December 21st when they take on Thomas More College. Game time is slated for 7pm.

Photo: UT-Chattanooga

Kentucky Christian Gets Revenge on Cincinnati Christian


Kentucky Christian 83
Cincinnati Christian 71

Final from Grayson, Kentucky


Game recap by KCU:

The Kentucky Christian University men’s basketball team played their last home game of the semester Tuesday evening against Cincinnati Christian College. The Knights had previously played the Crusaders of Cincinnati Christian College in Cincinnati on December 2, 2011 and lost a close game 77-69. Senior Drew Johnson did not want to lose to the Crusaders a second time, “We got down big on the Crusaders the first time we played them and were able to make a comeback and just ran out of gas. We know that if we play well we can beat this team.”

Johnson made sure to do his part to put his team in a position to win at the end of the game scoring 39 points on 16 for 22 shooting. Coach Reed was pleased with the way Johnson played Tuesday night, “Drew played a great game, he saw the openings in the defense and took advantage of that. We have had a number of players have great games this season, just not at the same time, if we could get them all going at the same time we will be a very tough team to beat.”

Complete Recap

Video: Jodie Meeks Talks at 76ers Media Day

Here is an interview with former University of Kentucky star Jodie Meeks:

Jordan Adams Thinks Shabazz Muhammad Ends Up at UCLA

UCLA recruit Jordan Adams feels confident that 2012 superstar Shabazz Muhammad will join him on the West coast (video by Fivestarbasketball.com):

DeMarcus Cousins Says Chuck Hayes Stays Low, Talks Too Much

Cowbellkingdom.com has a good recap from Sacramento Kings training camp.

Here is a video of some of the players, including DeMarcus Cousins, speaking with the media:



Complete Article

- DeMarcus Cousins on his iced shoulder: “It’s alright. It’s the same injury from last year. I tweaked it a little bit at practice. We’re just trying to get it right before it gets any worse.”

- Cousins on how his role is changing in the new offense (very good question by the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones): “It’s kind of similar. Last year we kind of went into it later in the year. But we are going to use a lot more splits this year. And he’s (Coach Westphal) going to be using me and Chuck dishing the ball off to the splitting guards. It’s different, but it’s not at the same time.”

- Cousins on what he is learning from Chuck Hayes: “Just to stay low. Chuck’s always low. Even though he’s short, he’s low (laughing). That’s really what I’m learning from him and to be vocal. Chuck’s always talking, even when he’s not in the game…actually, he talks too much.”

Derrick Caracter Out 4-6 Weeks After Knee Surgery


Former Louisville/UTEP big man Derrick Caracter will miss 4-6 weeks of action following surgery to remove part of a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee.

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported the news on Twitter:

SpearsNBAYahoo Lakers say forward Derrick Caracter is out 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a part of a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee.

Chuck Hayes Talks to the Sacramento Media


Former Kentucky star Chuck Hayes says he has the legs of a defensive lineman, but can move them pretty quick like a guard.

Hayes spoke to the Sacramento Kings media recently and gave some great quotes.

Here's an excerpt from Sacbee.com:

On being a 6-foot-6 center and adjusting to playing in the post in the NBA:

"If you ask me to play point guard then I'd look terrible. But playing center to me is something I've been doing my whole life."

On his defensive philosophy:

"I've got legs of a defensive lineman, but I can move them pretty quick like a guard. I just try to use it to my advantage. I figure most 7 footers, big guys, if you make them take more than one or two dribbles than it's to your advantage. You don't see too many 7 footers with a mean crossover or the handle of a point guard. So if I root them out away from the basket and make them take dribbles, more than two dribbles, I feel like I have the advantage and on the second dribble I'm going to attack his dribble."

And coach Paul Westphal on the influence Hayes might have on his teammates:

"I think that Chuck is somebody that is easy to respect. His opponents, the officials and his teammates respect Chuck because he doesn't expect anybody to give him anything and he's not going to give you anything. And that's the way this league is supposed to be."


Chuck Hayes on Chuck Hayes

Report: Rondo Shattered a Video Screen During Film Session


According to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, former Kentucky star Rajon Rondo lost him temper during a film session after game 2 of last season's NBA Playoffs.

Rondo reportedly threw a bottle and shattered a video screen during a film session.

If the report is true, it's another red flag against Rondo's negative attitude.

Here is the report:

"Rondo's errors were being pointed out when he arose and began discussing the mistakes of his teammates. Loudly. Using harsh language," Bulpett wrote. "Coach Doc Rivers got up and fired back, and Rondo threw a bottle that shattered the video screen. He bolted from the practice facility and was prevented from returning when he tried later."

"I went home that night and thought about my actions," Rondo told the Herald. "I talked to [Kevin Garnett], and I came back the next day and apologized to the team."

Questions of Rondo's temperament is nothing new. The word is that he fell into a funk last year after President Barack Obama insulted his jump shot, he was once fined for showing up late to a playoff game (he says he was sitting in his car in the parking lot) and Tubby Smith, Rondo's coach at Kentucky, once said Rondo "could make life easier on himself by not being so stubborn.


Rajon Rondo Flips Out During Heat Playoff Series, Throws Bottle That Breaks Video Screen, Says New Report

Here are Gresh & Zo discussing Rondo's attitude:

Antoine Walker Talks About Returning to the D-League


Many people are surprised to see former Kentucky star Antoine Walker back in the NBA Development League for another season.

The maximum D-League salary is around $25,000 and Walker currently owes roughly $770,000 in casino debts.

The former NBA star says it isn't about the money.

Here is an excerpt from The Idaho Statesman:

“It has nothing to do with finances. I can never make the money playing in the D-League,” Walker told the Idaho Statesman on Tuesday.

“I just enjoy playing.”

Walker, 35, was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to repay more than $770,000 to three Las Vegas casinos after pleading guilty last week to failing to pay gambling debts incurred in 2008 and 2009.

“It’s definitely a relief to have it somewhat under control and know what I have to do going forward,” Walker said. “I’m excited about that and hopefully moving past the situation eventually one day.

“You’ve just got to pay it back in due time. As you continue to work, you just pay it back and you try to make sure it gets done. It’s like having a house note. It’s like having a student loan. There are things you have to pay back as you go on throughout life. I’m ecstatic I have an opportunity and have time to get it done.”


Stampede’s Antoine Walker hopes to put financial troubles behind him — finally

Terrence Williams Looking Good in Training Camp

Former Louisville star Terrence Williams is looking good at training camp with the Houston Rockets.

Here are some videos of T-Will during shooting drills:



Kentucky Basketball 2012 Calendar from Season Never Ends


Fan-tested, Jorts-approved. It's the box calendar that's not just a box calendar- it's the KentuckyBasketball 2012 Box Calendar from Season Never Ends. Created by two UK graduates. It's all-new.

Available online from seasonneverends.com for just $14.99. Use the coupon code "Kentucky" and take $3 off shipping.

How soon do we ship? When you order by 8 pm, we'll send your calendar(s) out the next day via Priority Mail. It's that fast. But, you have to hurry because (a) Christmas is coming and (b) we're running out of them.

Or, you can rush to one of these fine retailers to pick up your copy: Allsports (Fayette Mall), Alumni Hall (Fayette Mall, St. Matthews Mall, Greenwood Mall), Kennedy's Book Store, Kentucky Korner (Fayette Mall, Shops at Lexington Center, Jefferson Mall & others), Joseph-Beth (Lexington Green), Gift Shops at Elk Creek Vineyards (8 locations), Beckers (2 Louisville locations), Fan Outfitters (2 stores in Lexington & 2 in Louisville) and more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Daniel Orton is Healthy and Ready to Play for Orlando

Former University of Kentucky big man Daniel Orton is healthy again and finally ready to get his NBA career underway.

Here is Orton at Orlando's media day:

Untitled from Knight News on Vimeo.

DeMarcus Cousins Has "Old School" Views on Free Agency


Former University of Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins is "old school" in his views on free agency.

Cousins believes star players should be loyal to their teams.

Here are some of his comments from Sacbee.com:

"I'm not taking jabs at anybody or anything like that," said the Kings second-year center, "but to me, that's all part of being a competitor, of being a part of this sport. If you're the star player of that team, you should want to continue.

"I mean, trying to join another - I mean, I'm not taking jabs at anybody - but to me that's kind of like taking the coward's way out. At the same time I respect you because you want to be a winner. But, me, being the type of person I am, I am wanting to lead my team. I want to stay with the group of guys I came in (into the league) with. I'm going to do what I gotta do to help my team win.

"I mean, that's how most of them (superstars) came up. They stuck with their teams til they got their chance. That's how I feel about it. Magic. Isiah Thomas .. I mean all those guys. They stuck with their teams."


Cousins' offers old school view of free agency

Eagle Sports Coaches Show with Donnie Tyndall

Here is the latest edition of the Eagles Sports Coaches Show with Morehead State head coach Donnie Tyndall and other MSU coaches:

Report: Kentucky in Great Shape with Shabazz Muhammad

According to Neal Nieves of coast2coastrecruiting.net, Kentucky is "in the drivers seat" to land 2012 star Shabazz Muhammad.

Here's an excerpt:

One person I talked to that is close to the Shabazz recruitment told me that Kentucky is making the strongest push for him right now and he felt if he had to decide today that Shabazz would pick Kentucky.

Complete Article

Muhammad in action recently:

Kentucky Wesleyan, Bellarmine in Top 5 This Week


Kentucky Wesleyan College moved up one spot to No. 4 this week in the NABC/Division II Coaches Poll.

Bellarmine University also climbed one spot to No. 5 in the new poll.

Northern Kentucky University rose two spots to No. 21 this week.

NABC/Division II Coaches Poll (Dec. 13, 2011)

W-L Pts Pvs
1 Metropolitan State (5 first place votes) 9-0 197 2
2 Southern Indiana (1) 8-0 188 3t
3 Lincoln Memorial (1) 10-0 180 3t
4 Kentucky Wesleyan (1) 7-0 177 5
5 Bellarmine 8-1 161 6

6 Colorado Mines 7-0 156 7
7 Missouri Southern 10-1 143 1
8 Humboldt State 6-1 141 8
9 West Liberty State` 8-1 127 11
10 Rollins 7-0 122 13
11 Cal Poly Pomona 5-0 114 14t
12 Tarleton State 8-1 111 12
13 Indiana (Pa.) 7-1 87 14t
14 Augustana (SD) 7-1 84 16
15 Fort Hays State 8-1 83 10
16 Winona State 8-1 79 17
17 Georgia Southwestern 6-1 60 19
18 Alabama-Huntsville 6-2 56 18
19 Findlay 7-2 49 9
20 Bowie State 5-1 46 20
21 Northern Kentucky 8-0 42 23
22 Alaska-Anchorage 5-2 36 22
23 Midwestern State 6-0 28 24
24 Arkansas Tech 5-1 22 25
25 Benedict 3-1 21 21

Others receiving votes: Montevallo, Western Washington, District of Columbia, Mount Olive, West Georgia, Hillsdale, Northwest Missouri State, South Carolina-Aiken, West Texas A&M, Bentley and Southwestern Oklahoma State.

3.5 Million People Watched Kentucky vs. Indiana on Saturday


According to reports, 3.5 million people watched Saturday's game between Kentucky and Indiana.

That is an astronomical number for a regular season college basketball game.

Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com says that's proof that the rivalry series should continue. Here's an excerpt:

That's a low number for "Jersey Shore."

But it's a massive pull for college basketball.

What Kentucky-Indiana provided was a game between two undefeated teams from two tradition-rich schools at an on-campus arena, and the importance of that last little detail can't be overstated. Take the same game -- and the same Christian Watford buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave Indiana a victory over the top-ranked Wildcats -- and put it at Madison Square Garden, and it loses something. Because the location mattered. It provided the type of atmosphere that makes college basketball special, and it created the postgame celebration that most of us will remember forever. I like that. And it's only possible with a home-and-home series between power programs.


UK-IU draws 3.5 million viewers

Kentucky Wesleyan Destroys Union College


Kentucky Wesleyan 101
Union College 62

Final from Owensboro, Kentucky


Game recap by KWC:

Players who haven't had much chance in the spotlight made the most of the opportunity when Kentucky Wesleyan College's men's basketball team faced Union on Monday night.

The most notable among those was Luke Shelley, who drained three 3-pointers for the second straight game, to help lead No. 5 KWC to a 101-62 win in front of an announced crowd of 2,000 at the Sportscenter.

Shelley, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from Victoria, Australia, made 8-of-12 shots in all on the way to a game-high 19 points.

“He can spot-up shoot, and he just needs to get stronger,” KWC coach Todd Lee said. “When he comes in a game, he plays hard, which is good for him.”

And Shelley did more than just shoot 3s.

He ran the floor well, getting an extra pass from Marseilles Stewart for one basket, going in transition for a dunk, and scoring inside on a putback, all coming long after the issue had been decided for KWC (8-0).

Complete Recap

Pikeville Adds D1 Transfer Chase Robinson to Roster


The University of Pikeville has added 6-3 guard Chase Robinson from Kennesaw State University.

Prior to Kennesaw State, Robinson played two seasons at Duquesne.

Robinson will be eligible to play during the second semester for the Bears.

Chase Robinson- 6’3 Guard- JR

Hometown: Huntsville, AL

Prior to Pikeville: Red-shirted at Kennesaw State University in 2010-11 due to NCAA transfer rules…Played two years at Duquesne of the Atlantic 10 Conference, where he appeared in a total of 22 games...Had a career-high five points in his career debut against High Point (11/14/08).

Prep Career: Played his prep ball at Lee High School in Huntsville, Ala. under head coach Greg Brown, where he averaged 23.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists as a senior ... Earned Class 5A first team all-state honors ... Was a finalist for the 2008 Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 5A Mr. Basketball ... Scored a career-high 40 points against Leeds HS as a senior ... Averaged 19.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game as a junior…Received Co-MVP honors at the Huntsville Times Classic…Earned first-team recognition at the 2008 Adidas Superstar Summer Camp.

Murray State Move Up to No. 2 in the Mid-Major Top 25


Murray State University (10-0) has moved all the way up to No. 2 in this week's Mid-Major Top 25 poll.

CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 (Dec. 12)

Record Points Previous
1. Creighton (21) 7-1 740 1 Missouri Valley
2. Murray State (5) 10-0 697 10 Ohio Valley
3. Harvard (1) 9-1 693 2 Ivy League
4. Cleveland State (1) 10-1 625 5 Horizon
5. Iona 7-2 593 3 Metro Atlantic
6. Belmont 6-2 581 6 Atlantic Sun
7. Wichita State 7-2 572 7 Missouri Valley
8. Kent State (1) 7-1 568 8 Mid-American
9. Gonzaga (1) 5-2 528 4 West Coast
10. Saint Mary's 5-1 492 9 West Coast
11. Northern Iowa (1) 9-1 454 21 Missouri Valley
12. BYU 8-2 442 15 West Coast
13. Weber State 6-2 329 11 Big Sky
14. UC Santa Barbara 4-2 313 14 Big West
15. George Mason 7-3 294 12 Colonial Athletic
16. Indiana State 7-2 261 16 Missouri Valley
17. College of Charleston 7-1 254 19 Southern
18. Ohio 7-1 230 25 Mid-American
19. Middle Tennessee 9-2 232 17 Sun Belt
20. VCU 6-3 226 20 Colonial Athletic
21. Oakland 6-4 174 18 Summit
22. Long Beach State 4-5 161 13 Big West
23. Denver 6-2 106 NR Sun Belt
24. Loyola (MD) 8-1 79 NR Metro Atlantic
25. Campbell 8-1 64 NR Big South

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Valparaiso 62, Wisconsin Milwaukee 45, Davidson 44, Coastal Carolina 31, Missouri State 25, Robert Morris 24, Lamar 24, Norfolk State 15, Youngstown State 14, South Dakota State 12, Wagner 11, Butler 10, Fairfield 10, Ball State 9, North Dakota State 9, Lehigh 8, Buffalo 5, Drake 5, Elon 3, Oral Roberts 3, Georgia State 2, Akron 1, Columbia 1, Mercer 1, Santa Clara 1, Utah Valley 1, Yale 1.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Assembly Hall Experience: My First Trip to Bloomington


Loud. Rabid. Insane. Crazy. Ridiculous. Obnoxious. Red. Electric. Rocking. Incredible. Unbelievable. All of the above.

Assembly Hall was at its absolute greatest on Saturday afternoon when No. 1 Kentucky visited Bloomington. The historical home of the Indiana Hoosiers was college basketball that evening.

My first trip to one of the nation's most celebrated arenas was everything I dreamed of and more. The atmosphere and the passion of IU fans illustrated college basketball at its best (and, at times, worst) on Saturday.

Road Trip to Bloomington

The drive from Central Kentucky was not bad, perhaps a little boring, but not bad. I car pooled with fellow Kentucky bloggers Scott Anderson (NationofBlue.com) and Walter Cornett (WildcatWorld.com) and we set the GPS to Bloomington, Indiana.

With the exception of a minor delay in Louisville (can't imagine commuting across that river every day), the first two-and-a-half hours of driving were a piece of cake.

The last portion of the journey is without the comfort of I-65, however. In fact, the 30-mile drive down IN-46 between the interstate and Bloomington reminded me of driving down route 7 in Eastern Kentucky. It was a long, winding country road with little-to-no cell phone service and nothing more to look at than trees, fields, farms and a few country homes.

The drive through the country was just long enough to remember my days back home, but short enough to prevent car sickness, headaches and the feeling that I had actually moved back home (thankfully).

Once we reached Nashville and then Bloomington, things opened up and we exchanged the always welcome "back to civilization" jokes.

We arrived at Assembly Hall at 2:30 p.m., grabbed our parking spot and prepared to face what appeared to be roughly 150-200 Indiana fans who were already waiting at the entrance.

I knew it was a road game when...

First, let me just say that I made the decision to wear a blue, collared shirt to the game because a) it was clean and matched my pants and b) I figured we could all just get along.

We grabbed our laptops, cameras and other various media tools and headed to the arena.

After about 10-15 steps (literally), I heard a loud and obnoxious: "F*** KENTUCKY!!!"

My first thought was, "is he talking to me" and my first reaction was to look in that general direction.

Sure enough, I was greeted by a double, two-fingered salute and a loud, "yeah! I said it!"

An aside: I did notice that the kid had a big Greek "SAE" painted on his back. Let me just say Phi Alpha to you brother. If you don't mind, try to represent the True Gentleman with a little more class and character. By the way, didn't IU temporarily kick their SAE chapter off campus for being stupid a decade ago?

Now, getting back to the story. We worked our way through the crowd with some limited hazing, but nothing out of the way.



Impressions of Assembly Hall

For me, entering storied Assembly Hall for the first time was like entering a museum of basketball greatness.

The first thing I noticed when I walked through the door were Hall of Fame plaques and championship trophies. I was enamored with the pictures of legendary Hoosiers such as Calbert Chaney, Keith Smart, Steve Alford, Jared Jeffries and on and on. Even the pictures of "The General" Robert Montgomery Knight reminded me of the greatness that once was Indiana basketball. I never cheered for those guys, but I certainly respected them.

Even though I had seen that Indiana logo on television numerous times, walking into the arena for the first time gave me cold chills. I will admit, it was bigger than I expected and I knew immediately that it was going to be a tough environment.



One of the first things I noticed when checking out the court was the one and only Dick Vitale playing around with what appeared to be his grand kids. I know fans rarely get to see the real Vitale on the tube, but he is one of the nicer guys you can ever meet. He is one of those "superstars" who mingles with the fans, poses for pictures and is generally always in a pleasant mood. In my mind, Dick Vitale is one of the all-time great ambassadors of college basketball.



More than an hour before tip, I knew Kentucky was facing a tough situation

A group of rowdy IU fans entered the arena more than an hour before the game was set to begin. They were painted, decked out in costumes, holding signs, screaming and unintentionally giving some great foreshadowing for what was coming soon. In hindsight, that group of fans was like a small piece to a giant Assembly Hall puzzle that would eventually be Kentucky's worst nightmare.

We retreated to the media room to mingle a little and quite honestly, to see what kind of food the IU folks had to offer.

I have to give some credit, the food was great. The spread included pepperoni pizza sticks, barbecued beef, mac-n-cheese and more. Good food. Check.

After pigging out, uh, I mean finishing our meal, we headed back to the arena, which was starting to fill up with fans. At that point, there were spots of blue around the arena and I felt that UK would have a pretty good crowd.



Unfortunately, it turned out that those were basically the ONLY Kentucky fans who managed to get in.

The other 17,000+ fans were Indiana red through-and-through. The arena quickly filled up and, to be honest, all hell broke loose.

Let me discuss the bad points first

I want to go ahead and get this out of the way before I move into an otherwise all-time great college basketball atmosphere.

Many of the Indiana fans were downright rude and obnoxious and there was absolutely no place for it. If you are one of the losers who screamed "F*** KENTUCKY" or "A** HOLE" in a crowd that included children, elderly adults and innocent victims, then you are an idiot. Before you give me the classic "that happens at Kentucky, too" argument, just go ahead and stop yourself. If anyone in Kentucky does the same thing, then they are idiots, too.





For the record, I have been to many games at Rupp Arena and I have never witnessed anything like that. The only thing that comes close was the embarrassing "Walsh is gay" chants from several years ago.

Now that we know where I stand on that subject, let's move on to what the Indiana faithful did right.



Kentucky had to be nervous. I'm a media guy and I was rattled.

I have to be honest...I have played in and watched hundreds of basketball games during my life and I have never seen anything like Assembly Hall on Saturday. That was the best college basketball atmosphere that I have ever been blessed to experience.

My words can't do it justice, so I'll illustrate the scene with some videos I recorded.

This is thirty minutes before the game:



Twenty minutes:





The crowd continued with this level of intensity during the entire game. I did not hear a single word that the P.A. announcer said during the game. I rarely heard the officials blowing their whistles.



The fans were without question the difference in the game. If the same two teams played tomorrow, I think Kentucky beats Indiana 6-10 points on a neutral court and 12-18 points at Rupp Arena. In fact, I'm impressed that Kentucky had an opportunity to win the game. As strange as it sounds, I came away from the loss feeling like UK is actually better than I thought.

From a basketball perspective, a number of things stood out:

- Marquis Teague was overwhelmed in the first half. It's no wonder. He was abused by the crowd and was trying to do a little more than he was capable of doing. In the second half, he settled down and suddenly became the next great John Calipari point guard.

- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist may have been the best player on the court. If the last two games by MKG don't have NBA scouts salivating, I don't know what will.

- Anthony Davis was in foul the entire game and his production overall impact on the game was limited.

- Darius Miller is a man amongst boys...literally. There was a stretch in the second half were UK could have folded up the tent and lost by double digits but Miller put the team on his back and willed them in the other direction.

- Doron Lamb was one of the key players during the entire game. He missed a clutch free throw late, but the rest of his afternoon was outstanding. Terrence Jones, on the other hand....wait, did he dress?

- Eloy Vargas has improved dramatically. He is giving the Wildcats solid minutes and is actually helping the team.

- Make no mistake about it, I think UK is more talented than Indiana but it's not like the Hoosiers are a bunch of non-athletic slums. These guys can play and are well-deserving of their top 20 ranking. I think the Hoosiers can advance to the Sweet 16 and, with a little luck and/or hot shooting, possibly more in March.

A couple of funny stories:

- At halftime, we walked outside to get a breath of fresh air. There was an Indiana fan out there and we were chit-chatting about the game. He said, "as much as you boys get paid, I'm sure it's all worth it."

We informed him that we were bloggers and didn't work for companies or anything.

"And they let you guys in the games with media passes?" he questioned with wheels turning. "No s**t?"

I fully expect to see that guy in the media room the next time I'm in Bloomington.

- As we returned to our seats after halftime, I was leading a group that included Scott Anderson and Alan Cutler (they can confirm this story) up the stairs to our seats. An Indiana fan decided he was going to basically run the Kentucky media guys over on the steps. I saw it coming and braced for it...he bounced off and nearly fell down the stairs. Scott claims that I followed through with a friendly forearm but I deny those rumors.

That last play

- Calipari and the players said the instruction was given to intentionally foul the Hoosiers and force them to take the ball out of bounds on the final play (the Cats had two fouls to give)

- The official didn't call the first attempt at the foul and then Kentucky seemingly forgot to make another attempt.

- Kentucky probably should have matched up full court rather than play back on defense.

Of course, the result was one of the great moments in Indiana basketball history:



I have no problem with Indiana fans storming the court. It was a dangerous situation in many ways and luckily, no one was seriously injured. They deserved to storm the court after working as hard as they did during the game.

This is a full twenty minutes after the game:



Indiana basketball is back on the map and there's no denying it.

After the game, Indiana's Verdell Jones said that he had not seen an atmosphere like the one on Saturday.

I haven't either.

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