Saturday, January 21, 2012

Josh Harrellson Suffers Fractured Wrist, Out 6 Weeks


Former Kentucky big man Josh Harrellson will miss at least 6 six weeks of action after suffering a fractured wrist on Saturday.

Harrellson suffered a fractured right wrist and will reportedly require surgery.

The former Kentucky star had 2 points and 6 rebounds in 17 minutes tonight. New York lost 119-114 to Denver in overtime.

On the season, Harrellson is averaging 5.5 points and 4.2 boards per game.

Brandon Knight Discusses Win over Portland

Former Kentucky star Brandon Knight talks about Detroit's 94-91 win over Portland on Saturday night:



Knight finished with 14 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.

Findlay Prep Beats Bishop Gorman, Shabazz Muhammad


Findlay Prep rolled to a 73-61 victory over Bishop Gorman and top-rated recruit Shabazz Muhammad earlier tonight.

Here's more from Bleacher Report:

Bishop Gorman had just beat the fifth-ranked team in the country (DeMatha, Md.), and of course featured the consensus No. 1 player in the nation in Shabazz Muhammad. There was the thought that there was no way Muhammad would allow his team to lose to Findlay all four years of his tenure at Gorman. This game was the only thing left for Muhammad to cross off on his list of achievements during his illustrious high school career.

I guess Findlay Prep didn't get the memo. Findlay turned a one-point halftime deficit into a comfortable 73-61 victory at a sold-out Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas.

The matchup saw two nationally ranked teams going head to head, as Findlay Prep entered the contest as the third-ranked team in the country and Gorman came in as the No. 16-ranked team. Make no mistake, though, this game was clearly about local bragging rights.


Complete Article

Muhammad just complete the third installment of his recruiting diary at Slam Online. Here's an excerpt:

So we just got back a couple days ago from the Hoophall Classic in Massachusetts. It was a good trip. We played DeMatha Catholic, who is a really good team, and we went out and played hard and got the big win that we needed. [Truth be told, Shabazz went for 37 in Gorman's 73-65 win over No. 3 DeMatha. —Ed.] It felt great.

That game was our first time this season having our full team healthy. We got our big guys back—Ronnie Stanley, who’s going to Notre Dame for football, and Ben Carter, who signed with Oregon. We had a couple of losses early on, but now that we’re 100 percent, I think we’re one of the best teams in the country. With those guys in, we’re such a bigger team, and I can get out and play the 2 and the 3 instead of playing the 4 and the 5.

Oh, and I got a dunk in that one that made SportsCenter’s top plays. It was the last play of the game, and I got a windmill on the break. I always do that dunk—that one and the 360 are my favorites—but it was cool to see it on SportsCenter.


Complete Diary

Idaho Stampede Re-Acquire Kevin Galloway


The Idaho Stampede have re-acquired former Kentucky/Texas Southern guard Kevin Galloway.

Here's an excerpt of the release:

BOISE, Idaho, January 20, 2012 - The Idaho Stampede re-acquired Eric Devendorf (6-2, 181, Syracuse) and Kevin Galloway (6-7, 215, Texas Southern), the club announced today.

Both Devendorf and Galloway will dress for tonight's game against the Austin Toros (7 p.m., KTRV Channel 12, NBA.com/futurecast, CenturyLink Arena). Devendorf is averaging 10.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in 11 games (zero starts). Devendorf's last game with the Stampede was on Dec. 30, 2011, when he scored a season-high 18 points against the Iowa Energy. Devendorf was selected 55th overall (4th round) in the 2011 NBA D-League Draft.

Galloway (6-7, 215, Texas Southern) is averaging 4.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in 12 contests (5 starts). In his last game as a Stampeder, Galloway had 10 points (season-high), seven assists and four rebounds on Dec. 26 against the Reno Bighorns. Galloway was selected 25th overall (2nd round) in the 2011 NBA D-League Draft. Galloway finished his college career in 2010-11 after two years at Texas Southern. Galloway began his college career at USC, before heading to the College of Southern Idaho, where he averaged 8.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and a nation-leading 8.6 assists in 2007-08. Galloway then went to Kentucky for one year before transferring to Texas Southern.


Source

Bellarmine Knights Headed for No. 1


(2) Bellarmine 99
Wisconsin-Parkside 69

Final from Louisville, Kentucky


Game recap by BU:

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The No. 2 Bellarmine University Knights roared past the visiting Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers 99-69 to record their 11th victory in a row this afternoon in a Great Lakes Conference contest in Knights Hall.

The host Knights took just a six-point lead into halftime, but rolled over the Rangers in the second half by turning up the defensive intensity and limiting UWP to just 30.8 shooting while filling the nets at a 63.6 percent clip over the same span.

Chris Dowe put up another monster night collecting a season high 25 points and hauling in eight rebounds. Not only did the junior from Eastern High School produce eye-popping statistics, but his acrobatic maneuvers on the court left some fans cheering wildly and others simply speechless.

In the first half, Dowe drove the baseline and was hit going up to the basket so he did a reverse 360 spin to get the basket and draw the foul. In the second period, Dowe jumped into the passing lane for a steal and a breakaway reverse double pump slam dunk that brought the crowd to its feet. Then just a few minutes later, Dowe put the icing on the cake by converting a layup that pushed his career point total to 1,001 and put the 85th point on the board which earned a Chick-fil-A sandwich for everyone in Knights Hall thanks to the “Drive for 85” promotion.

Complete Recap

John Calipari and Joe B. Hall in Mt. Sterling Tonight

Nick Hammonds of Morehead, Kentucky sent in this picture of Coach Cal hanging out with Joe B. Hall in Mt. Sterling tonight:



Calipari is checking out the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic.

Bullitt East, featuring new Kentucky commit Derek Willis, defeated Rowan County 61-59 earlier in a top 20 battle.

Trinity High School is currently playing Madison Central in a top 10 matchup.

Kentucky Wildcats Are Your New No. 1 Team in America


Notre Dame has just stunned No. 1 Syracuse . The University of Kentucky (19-1) will be the new top-ranked team in America on Monday.

Murray State University is now the only undefeated team in the nation.

In bonus news, Florida State nailed a buzzer beater to end Duke's 45-game homecourt winning streak this afternoon.

Around the SEC:

(2) Kentucky 77 Alabama 71
Tennesseee 60 (11) UConn 57
(14) Florida 76 LSU 64
Arkansas 66 (19) Michigan 64
Auburn 63 South Carolina 52
Ole Miss 66 Georgia 63

Western Kentucky Uses Late Surge to Stun UALR


Western Kentucky 65
Arkansas-Little Rock 53

Final from Bowling Green, Kentucky


Game recap by WKU:

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Trailing by five with 6:13 left in the game, the WKU Hilltoppers pulled together and played their finest stretch of basketball of the season and earned a 65-53 win over Sun Belt Conference West Division-leading UALR Saturday afternoon at E.A. Diddle Arena. The loss ends a five-game Hilltopper losing streak and improves the team's record to 6-14 on the season and 2-5 in conference play. UALR drops to 8-13 and 5-2 in the league with the defeat.

A crowd of 4,254 witnessed interim head coach Ray Harper's first win at WKU and an offensive explosion and a defensive shutdown in the final six minutes, as the Hilltoppers went on scoring runs of 13-0 and 8-2 to earn the victory. Derrick Gordon and Jamal Crook led WKU with 13 points apiece, with Crook's coming on 6-of-7 shooting in addition to five rebounds, four assists and two steals. George Fant had eight points, five rebounds two blocks and two steals in the second half alone, and Vinny Zollo added nine points on the strength of three three-pointers in a career-high 30 minutes of action.

UALR was paced by D'Andre Williams' 16 points and Courtney Jackson's 14, and Michael Javes had 14 rebounds for the Trojans, who won the Sun Belt Conference Tournament a season ago and were the conference's representative in the NCAA Tournament.

Complete Recap

Kentucky Players Talk About Win Over Alabama


Here are postgame comments from Kentucky's Terrence Jones, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Anthony Davis and Doron Lamb following UK's win over Alabama on Saturday:

#20, Doron Lamb, G

On his overall thoughts on the game …
“We just had to get stops. They were making a lot of shots and a lot of lucky shots. Things happen like that, always against us. It doesn’t really affect us that much. We knew they were going to come out and make shots. So we had to come out and execute and do what we do best and make shots.”

On how much better this team is getting …
“We are way better. We are practicing way harder now. It’s very physical and we are getting used to it. We are getting way better at it, we just have to learn how to finish plays.”

On the physicality of the game …
“It was physical, but it wasn’t that physical. We executed at the end, and we made the tough foul shots at the end to pull the game out.”

#23, Anthony Davis, PF

On the physicality of the game…
“It was very physical. We were missing a lot of one-footers, dunks, and layups. We had looks but we just weren’t finishing. It was a rough game. We knew they were trying to make it a physical game from the jump so we had to fight through it and grind it out. And that’s what we did the last four minutes.”

On winning a close game…
“We are just happy we got the win. We still have a lot to work on. We’re going to watch film to see what we did wrong and try to fix our mistakes. But we’re just happy we got the win.”

On whether Alabama set the blueprint for other teams…
“Well especially on rebounding and offensive rebounds and putting them back and scoring. And not just me, but Terrence [Jones] was missing them and our whole team was missing them. Those are buckets that we usually have, guaranteed. But I think they did make a stand for other teams. We just have to get back into practice. We just have to go at each other and fight through these bumps.”

On the home winning streak…
“We don’t think about it during the game. We just try to worry about winning the game. Nothing goes through our head but guarding our man, playing hard, being physical, rebounding the ball, and everything that ‘s incorporated in the basketball game. We don’t think about keeping the streak alive, it’s not in our heads when we’re playing. If you worry about that, your mind is off the game and you can make huge mistakes.”

#14, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, G

On Alabama pushing UK to the limit …
“It was one of those games. They had a good team.”

On Anthony Davis being focused down low …
“Anthony (Davis) was working really hard. It was one of those games.”

On how physical the game was …
“It was real physical. Their big men were stronger than ours, but we got the win and that’s all that matters.”

On what Darius Miller means to this team …
“He is everything. He is (one of) the only seniors on this team and he means a lot. He means a lot to us.”

#3 Terrence Jones, So., F

On whether Alabama’s physical play bothered them at all today…
“I think it did in the first half when it came to us making one-footers and low post shots in the paint that we should have made and we missed. That could be the only cause of it.”

On whether this was the most physical game they had played all year…
“One of them, but I mean all of the SEC teams are tough and they’re going to try to play us this way. But as long as we’re coming out with the win, it’s only going to make us better as a team later on in the season.”

On what he did differently in the 2nd half which resulted in his 12 points…
“Just being aggressive and just not listening to anything besides my teammates.”

On how hard it is to erase missed free throws from the mind when getting off to such a slow start from the line….
“It’s just something you have to do mentally, and when it gets closer down the stretch, we just say, as a team, that we’re going to make them. I think that’s what happened.”

John Calipari Happy to Get a Win; Alabama Postgame Comments


Here are John Calipari's postgame comments following Kentucky's 77-71 victory over Alabama on Saturday:

Q. How do you explain the free throws, the struggle early, but then in the clutch, everyone?

COACH CALIPARI: I have no idea. I can't explain the 14 one-footers we missed in the first half either. We missed seven free throws and 14 one-footers in the first half. We're lucky we were in the game.

You know, teams like this that are physical, have some maturity, are playing for their lives. They made every play and free throw down the stretch they needed to keep it a game. Give them credit. Here we are with eight turnovers.

The point guard made a couple of bad decisions, but we didn't -- Anthony (Davis) was not the same guy, and neither was Michael (Kidd-) Gilchrist. Again, foul trouble.

Michael made the big plays though - the diving on the floor, and came up with some balls that made a difference in the game. But six guys in double figures, nine assists, eight turnovers, but we still, it was a very physical game, and we didn't, especially at the start, we weren't able to play through the physical play. That's going to be, until we learn to do that, every team's going to play us that way.

Q. Cal, they shot 65% against you guys in the second half?

COACH CALIPARI: They were shooting 85 for a while. They're a team that doesn't shoot the 3 well and they shot 72%. Three of them were on Darius Miller where he just backed away and gave a guy a shot. Teams will do that to us.

I even told Tom (Leach) on the radio, I imagine they'll come in and make every 3 where that's one of the worst parts of their game, which they did.

Like I said, I'm happy we won. I told the guys enjoy the win. It was a rough game. We're still growing. We've got a long way to go. We're not the team everybody thinks we are, but we're getting better. All I want to see is improvement.

Q. Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) played so well in the first half, then he got two fouls. It seemed like the second half he was never quite the same. Is that fear of foul trouble or sitting too long?

COACH CALIPARI: He fouled out, so it must not have been the fear of foul trouble. But it might have been that. But here he is, 13 points and 6 rebounds in 23 minutes. Not bad.

What's happened for us here is we're all spoiled. If we don't win by 25, what's going on? Part of it is, you don't believe this, but they have scholarships too. They're good. They're a team that's now 13-6. They're not afraid to get some veteran guys out there who play well. There are some things we did good. I'll watch the tape and get a better idea of it. But right now, I'm just kind of happy we get a W and move.

Q. It seemed down the stretch under a minute to play, you wanted the ball in Darius (Miller's) hands. You wanted him to go to the line and hit those free throws.

COACH CALIPARI: He did it too though, and I like that. I like the fact that he held that ball to get fouled. I like the fact that Marquis Teague made his foul (shots). That's a good thing because now when your point guard and you have Doron (Lamb) and Darius (Miller) all making free throws -- and Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) in most cases are making them. He missed a bunch today, and Terrence (Jones) missed a bunch -- but the free throws we had to make down the stretch, we have a nice will to win.

But I'm going to tell you, we've got to play better than this, because instead of it being a two- or four-point game, we're going to be down eight or 10, and we're going to get caught in that situation.

Q. How different of a game is it for Anthony (Davis) when they're taking it to him?

COACH CALIPARI: What they did was they never left him. All they did was made sure there was a body on him. Somebody's hip was on him 24/7 until the game ended. As a matter of fact, they put a hip on him in the postgame handshake too. So it was somebody on his body so he can't block, so he can't jump. Just stay on him.

That's why Marquis Teague had some opportunities to get to the rim because they just didn't leave him

No. 2 Kentucky Survives Test from Tough Alabama Team


(2) Kentucky 77
Alabama 71

Final from Lexington, Kentucky


Senior Darius Miller nailed a pair of clutch free throws with 14.0 seconds remaining and freshman Anthony Davis swatted an Alabama shot on the ensuing possession to seal a 77-71 Kentucky victory on Saturday afternoon.

Six Kentucky players scored in double figures in the game led by 15 points from Terrence Jones. Doron Lamb came off the bench to scored 14 points on 5-8 shooting. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 13.

Davis and Miller chipped in 11 points each. Davis also added 9 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 blocked shots.

Kentucky (19-1, 5-0 SEC) shot 22-51 (43.1%) from the field and 6-14 (42.9%) from long range. The Wildcats only turned the ball over 8 times while forcing Alabama into 14 turnovers.

JaMychal Green led the Crimson Tide (13-6, 2-3 SEC) with 22 points and 12 boards. Trevor Releford had an impressive second half, finishing with 17 points. Freshman Trevor Lacey finished with 10 points.

The Wildcats hit the road next week with games at Georgia and LSU. They face Georgia Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m.

Chuck Hayes is Eager to Get Back on the Court


Former University of Kentucky star Chuck Hayes is eager to get back on the court for the Sacramento Kings.

Hayes has missed 8 consecutive games with a separated shoulder, but hopes to return soon.

Here is more from Sacbee.com:

Hayes is making progress toward returning, as he took part in Thursday night's practice at the Spurs' facility.

"It felt real good," Hayes said. "I'm excited, I can't wait to play. Wish I could play today (Friday), or sometime on this road trip, but it's not my call."

Kings coach Keith Smart would welcome Hayes' veteran presence back on the court. The Kings worked on running the offense and shooting, Smart said, and Hayes didn't have a lot of soreness Friday.

"(Hayes) was able to go through the whole program of shooting and hopefully probably in the next couple of days or so he'll get on the floor and do some things with some contact," Smart said.

"We're going to take it day by day."


Kings notes: Injured Chuck Hayes 'felt real good' in practice

Nerlens Noel Enters Mr. Basketball USA Picture


Kentucky and Louisville recruit Nerlens Noel has entered the top 5 of the ESPNHS Mr. Basketball USA Tracker.

UK recruit Shabazz Muhammad is still on top, followed by Kyle Anderson and Jabari Parker.

2011-2012 ESPNHS Mr. Basketball USA Tracker Week 3

Rank Prev. Name Pos High School 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total
1 1 Shabazz Muhammad (10) SF Bishop Gorman 7 1 2 0 0 95
2 3 Kyle Anderson (10) PG St. Anthony 2 3 1 3 1 82
3 2 Jabari Parker (10) SF Simeon 0 3 0 3 2 69
4 5 Tyler Lewis (8) PG Oak Hill 1 0 2 0 2 52
5 NR Nerlens Noel (6) C Tilton 0 1 3 1 0 45
6 6 Marcus Smart (4) SF Flower Mound 0 0 0 2 1 25
7 4 Julius Randle (5) SF Prestonwood 0 0 0 0 1 24

Others Receiving Votes:
Alex Poythress (Northeast, Clarksville, Tenn.) 13 pts. (2)
Katin Reinhardt (Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif.) 11 pts. (2)
Perry Ellis (Wichita Heights, Wichita, Kan.) 10 pts. (2)
Kris Jenkins (Gonzaga, Washington, D.C.) 9 pts. (2)
Anthony Bennett (Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev.) 9 pts. (1)
Kris Dunn (New London, New London, Conn.) 9 pts. (1)
Grant Jerrett (La Verne Lutheran, La Verne, Calif.) 8 pts. (1)
A.J. Hammons (Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6 pts. (1)
Gabe York (Orange Lutheran, Orange, Calif.) 6 pts. (1)
Amile Jefferson (Friends' Central, Wynnewood, Pa.) 5 pts. (1)
Tyler Dorsey (Ribet Academy, Los Angeles, Calif.) 4 pts. (1)
Gary Harris (Hamilton Southeastern, Indianapolis, Ind.) 4 pts. (1)
Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young, Chicago, Ill.) 4 pts. (1)

Source

Photo: Rivals.com

Centre College Downs Southwestern University


Centre College 64
Southwestern 49

Final from Danville, Kentucky


Game recap by Centre:

Leading by three points at the half, the Centre College men's basketball team outscored Southwestern University 36-24 in the second half to win 64-49 Friday, Jan. 20 in Alumni Gymnasium in Danville, Ky.

Tied 4-4 in the early going, the Colonels scored seven straight to lead 11-4 at the 12:18 mark in the first half. That lead grew to nine (24-15) with 5:24 left, but the Pirates closed the half with 10-4 run to cut the lead to 28-25 at the break.

The lead was cut to two (38-36) at the 14:35 mark in the second half, but that was as close as Southwestern would get the rest of the way.

An 8-1 run gave Centre a 46-37 lead midway through the half, and that lead grew to double digits as the Colonels pulled away for the 15-point conference victory.

Centre committed a season-high 19 turnovers, but made 21 of 27 (77.8%) free throws and limited Southwestern to only 37.0% (20-54) from the floor.

Seniors Jeff Mullaney (Louisville, Ky.) and Greg Ross (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the way for the Colonels. Mullaney scored 19 points on six of 10 shooting, while Ross finished with his fourth double-double of the year with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Freshman Josh Karsner (Frankfort, Ky.) added nine points and nine rebounds, and sophomore Donovan Whiteside (Knoxville, Tenn.) finished with nine points and seven assists off the bench.

Complete Recap

John Calipari Talks About Game Against Alabama

Here are John Calipari's pregame comments heading into today's game against Alabama:



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Transcript via UK:

On last year’s game against Alabama …
“In the tournament we played them good, I liked the game. I liked how we controlled the tempo and our toughness. I didn’t even watch the tape (of the first meeting). I watched the last game we played, I liked that a whole lot better.”

On Alabama coming off a loss against Vanderbilt …
“They’re going to be mean and nasty. I would expect that. It wasn’t so much that they didn’t play well, Vanderbilt is really good, (Alabama) is good, but Vanderbilt is really good. If Vanderbilt is making shots like they were, we are getting beat by them. They’re that good. I don’t think it’s that they played that poorly, a couple guys didn’t score like they normally do but that kind of stuff happens. They’ll be ready, playing here and playing us. We know what we’re in for; it’s going to be a hard game for us.”

On the development of Anthony Davis’ post game …
“You have to understand, his junior year in high school wasn’t a great year so you’re just talking about his senior year. Everything that is happening to him is new. That shot he made (against Tennessee) is the first time he has ever made a shot like that. At Indiana he missed free throws, I doubt now he’d miss those but that was the first time he had been in that situation. He has been really good about letting us bring him along at a pace where you’re not seeing a whole lot of bad stuff, you are seeing mostly good.”

On the difference between preparing for Alabama rather than Arkansas …
“These guys are pressing now. It’s just a different kind of press. The biggest difference is they can throw the ball inside and they try. They will do it and they’re going to go right at you.”

On not having any Thursday games on the schedule …
“I think there are two other teams in our league that don’t. We do have a Thursday game, though. Because TV has decided we’re a CBS game and TV decides most of this. The option is don’t go on TV and play the date you want to play or play when they want. We sign a TV contract and we have to go with what they say. If they wanted us on every Thursday then we’d play on Thursday and I wouldn’t say a thing. Whatever our schedule is, we’ll play. Everyone knows from my history, we’ll play any team, any place, any time. We’ll play on I-95, shut it down. We’ll play on Bluegrass Parkway, shut it down. That’s the schedule, that’s what they threw at us and we’ll take it on.”

On Alabama’s offensive struggles …
“If they get it in transition they’re very good. If their two veterans get it going they are better. They haven’t shot the 3 particularly well, but I predict they will shoot it better against us like everyone else does. They are a great defensive team and a good offensive team, they aren’t bad offensively but they are great on defense.”

On Doron Lamb fighting for a starting spot …
“A little bit, we are probably going to stay as we are. I want to see guys battling. I was talking to a friend of mine about how a lot of young people are never cut as seventh or eighth graders, everyone is playing the same amount of time and everyone thinks they are equal and then when you move up and there is never any pressure. Now you come here and it’s on, you’re in a dog fight. That’s one advantage our kids have and part of the Kentucky effect, you’re under the gun here and you are challenged by other good players and have to fight. You find out it’s got to be a dog fight, you want it worse than him, go take it, he wants it too. We have six starters here and sometimes when I look at Kyle (Wiltjer) I think we have seven.”

On the block/charge call…
“Let me explain the charge/block. If a player leaves his feet and the defender slides, 100 percent of a time that is a block. It may not be called that way but it is. Why did they put down the charge arc? They put it down because they didn’t want all these charges. If it’s 50-50 it should be a block every time to keep people from sliding in there. Is that what you want to see when we’re playing basketball, guys flying in front of people, and flopping? I don’t want to see it and if my team does it then it should be called a block. That’s the rule in the rule book.”

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jamie Dixon Feels No Pity for Louisville


Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon isn't shedding any tears for the Louisville Cardinals in regards to their injury problems.

Check out Dixon's comments from today:

"They have a lot of guys on scholarship and a couple of extra guys as well," Dixon said. "They have a lot of depth, a lot of players."

Dixon was asked whether the Panthers could take advantage of Louisville's short bench.

"They've got 15 players, 13 on scholarship and two others who have been on scholarship," Dixon said. "Depth is something that stands out. They have an injury or two, but they started out with more players. I don't really think of it as a limited bench. They'll have plenty of guys on the perimeter as well as inside guys."


Dixon not shedding a tear for Pitino

Photo: Pittnews.com

More Problems for the Louisville Cardinals


The University of Louisville men's basketball program continues to face adversity this season.

The Cards (14-5, 2-4 Big East) have dropped five of their last seven games heading into Saturday's game at Pittsburgh.

Unfortunately, head coach Rick Pitino announced more bad news on Friday. Here's a rundown of what Louisville is currently dealing with:

- Wayne Blackshear: The star freshman has missed the entire season with a shoulder injury. Today, Pitino said Blackshear is dealing with "some very strong asthma related things that are preventing him from getting on the court." He even said he is considering redshirting Blackshear to preserve his eligibility.

- Other Injuries: Rakeem Buckles is lost for the season after suffering a second torn ACL. Kyle Kuric is doubtful for the Pitt game with a high ankle sprain. Kevin Ware probably won't play Saturday because of a bruised knee.

- Derek Willis: The 2013 star from Bullitt East High School committed to Kentucky on Friday. He chose the Wildcats over a group of schools that included Louisville.

- Dumb Comments: Rick Pitino continues to make damaging comments when he speaks to the media. The latest came today when he commented on George Mason transfer Luke Hancock, who is sitting out this season under NCAA transfer rules. "He's out best basketball player," Pitino proclaimed. "He's mentally...physically the best player on the team. He's a true basketball player. I really haven't coached anyone like him in my life." That sounds great for next season but I'm sure that's the last thing the players on a reeling team THIS season want to hear.

- Hungry Pitt Team: Louisville is almost in must-win mode at this point. The bad news is that they travel to play an equally desperate team on Saturday. Pitt is winless in conference play and literally MUST win tomorrow at home. The Cards need a win in the worst way...and it isn't going to be an easy one.

Christian Laettner Lands D-League Coaching Position


Former Duke University star Christian Laettner has landed a coaching position in the NBA Development League.

Laettner will be Steve Gansey's assistant coach with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

The former Duke star hopes to eventually land a head job in college basketball:

An article on NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk explained why Laettner might be wanting to get back into a paying gig – so he can pay back Shawne Merriman, namely – but the wildcard in this hire will be what exactly Laettner is able to bring to the table for the Mad Ants. The 42-year-old doesn’t have any prior coaching experience and had a pretty nondescript professional career after a standout amateur career. Laettner led Duke to a pair of championships and was a part of the original Dream Team prior to failing to live up to NBA expectations, but told Lost Lettermen last year that he has high hopes for his coaching career.

“Well, the ultimate goal is to get a big-time head college coaching job,” Laettner said. “If nothing happens in the college ranks, I’ve got to go to the NBA pre-draft camp this year in Chicago and let the people in the NBA know that I’m ready to be an assistant coach.”


Complete Article

Ex-Kentucky Wildcat Ramon Harris is currently on the Fort Wayne roster. He is averaging 5.5 points and 2.7 rebounds this season.

St. Catharine's DeShawn Mitchell Destroys Defender

Check St. Catharine College's DeShawn Mitchell as he absolutely destroys a Cumberlands' defender:



St. Catharine (8-7, 4-3 MSC) defeated University of the Cumberlands 72-70 on Thursday night.

Kashiff Carr led the way with 17 points. Tarvis Wilkins added 15. Brandon Johnson, Melo Smith and Mitchell added 10 points each.

Aaron Watts led Cumberlands (10-7, 3-4 MSC) with 24 points. Matt Daniel chipped in 20 points.

Derek Willis Commits to Kentucky



Derek Willis, a 2013 star from Bullitt East High School, has just announced his commitment to the University of Kentucky.

Willis, a 6-8 power forward, ranks No. 23 overall on the Rivals.com list for 2013. He is the first player to commit to Kentucky's 2013 recruiting class.

"Kentucky is just the best fit for me and that's why I chose them," Willis said shortly after making his announcement.

#KentuckyEffect



Willis in action:

Archie Goodwin Highlights from Bass Pro Shops TOC

Check out these Archie Goodwin highlights from the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions:

Metal Detectors in Use for Kentucky State Games


On the heels of an early-morning shooting on Wednesday, fans will have to pass through metal detectors when attending Kentucky State University basketball games.

The metal detectors were first used Thursday night after KSU player Patrick Dawson was shot in the shoulder early Wednesday morning.

Kentucky State officials have confirmed that the metals detectors will against be in use for Saturday's game against Tuskegee University.

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing and no arrests have been announced at this time.

Source

Kentucky Wesleyan Shakes Off Loss, Blasts Saint Joseph's


(1) Kentucky Wesleyan 84
Saint Joseph's 61

Final from Owensboro, Kentucky


Game recap by KWC:

Boxing out and rebounding were major points hammered on in the two team meetings that Coach Todd Lee had with the Kentucky Wesleyan College men's basketball team since it was beaten for the first time this season Monday night at the University of Southern Indiana.

The Panthers took those meetings to heart collectively and controlled the glass, among other things, on the way to an 84-61 win over Saint Joseph's on Thursday night at the Sportscenter.

“It had been a big problem for awhile,” Lee said following KWC's win over the Pumas. “We told them when the shot goes up, you find a man, hit a man, then locate the ball. What we had been doing is when the shot went up, we were standing and watching.”

No. 1 KWC (15-1, 7-1 in Great Lakes Valley Conference) was bigger inside than St. Joe's, and, along with added emphasis on the rebounding part of the game, earned a 44-32 advantage on the glass.

Complete Recap

Derek Willis Set to Announce: All Signs Point to Kentucky


Derek Willis, a 6-8 power forward from Bullitt East High School, is set to make his college announcement today at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Willis, who ranks No. 23 overall on the Rivals.com list for 2013, was previously committed to Purdue but opted to de-commit and reopen his recruitment.

His final list consists of Kentucky, Louisville, Purdue, and Indiana.

I have spoken to several good sources and both feel that Willis has chosen Kentucky.

"I think he has fallen in love with the Kentucky Wildcats," one source stated.

"Looks like Calipari strikes again," said the other.

When asked to give his prediction, Evan Daniels of Scout.com said, "Kentucky."

Here are some thoughts from Daniels (via his Twitter account):

EvanDanielscout Kentucky. RT @KentuckyGrad: any prediction on Derrick Willis today? And if you think this commitment actually sticks?

EvanDanielscout He's very good. 6'9, long, mobile, skilled, can shoot it very well RT @ULCards1 is Willis ranked high because of potential

EvanDanielscout For all those asking questions, Derek Willis, No. 33 in the 2013 class, will announce today just after 4. UK is the favorite.

EvanDanielscout Not sure what all these questions about Derek Willis are. Kid can play anywhere in the country. Period.

Fans can watch the announcement live on WHAS 11 news and several places online (details later).

Kentucky Recruits in 2012 Hoophall Classic Mixtape

Check out the 2012 Hoophall Classic Mixtape from Ballislife.com (includes Kentucky recruits Julius Randle, Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel, Jabari Parker, Wayne Selden, Tony Parker and more):

No. 2 Bellarmine Uses Big Second Half to Destroy Lewis


(2) Bellarmine 84
Lewis 56

Final from Louisville, Kentucky


Game recap by BU:

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The No. 2 Bellarmine University Knights showed their defensive prowess tonight in turning back a solid Lewis Flyers team by the final count of 84-56 in a Great Lakes Valley Conference contest in Knights Hall.

After a slow-starting first half, the Knights finally got on track and pulled out to a 29-16 halftime lead as they held the guests to just 31.6 percent shooting and forced 13 first half turnovers.

In the second period, Bellarmine ramped up the offense that has become their calling card and put up 55 points en route to their 28-point victory.

One of the highlights of the second period came at the 13:17 mark when Luke Sprague nailed a three pointer from just left of the top of the key to record career points 1000, 1001, and 1002.

Complete Recap

Three Kentucky Recruits to Play in 2012 Mountaineer Showcase


Several University of Kentucky basketball recruits will be in action at the 2012 Mountaineer Showcase today and tomorrow.

Tilton School (NH) features Kentucky recruits Nerlens Noel and Wayne Selden. Tilton will have a Saturday night battle against Arlington Country Day.

Huntington Prep Academy is led by 2014 UK recruit Andrew Wiggins.

The event will be played at University High School in Morgantown, West Virginia. Tickets benefit the ‘Remember the Miners Organization’ and the West Virginia University Children’s Hospital. Adult tickets are $15/Day or $20 for a Two Day Pass. Students are free on Friday and $7 on Saturday.

Complete schedule for the tournament:

Friday:

4:30 pm: St. Mary's Ryken (Leonardtown, MD) vs. South Shore (Brooklyn, NY)

6:00 pm: Bishop Kearney (Rochester, NY) vs. Huntington Prep (Huntington, WV)

8:00 pm: Tilton School (Tilton, NH) vs. Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Cleveland, OH)

9:30 pm: Withrow (Cincinnati, OH) vs. Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, FL)

Saturday:

11:00 am: Bishop Kearney (Rochester, NY) vs. University (Morgantown, WV)

12:30 pm: St. Mary's Ryken (Leonardtown, MD) vs. Magnolia (New Martinsville, WV)

6:30 pm: Withrow (Cincinnati, OH) vs. Morgantown (Morgantown, WV)

8:00 pm: Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Cleveland, OH) vs. Huntington Prep (Huntington, WV)

9:30 pm: Tilton School (Tilton, NH) vs. Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, FL)

EKU Survives Double-OT Battle with UT-Martin


Eastern Kentucky 86
UT-Martin 78 F/2OT

Final from Richmond, Kentucky


Game recap by EKU:

RICHMOND, Ky. – Junior Mike DiNunno missed a pair of free throws in the final minute of regulation which allowed visiting UT Martin to tie the game, but he redeemed himself with six straight points during a key stretch in double-overtime to lead the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team to a thrilling 86-78 victory over the Skyhawks Thursday night in McBrayer Arena.

UTM (3-17, 0-7 OVC) led most of the first overtime, but senior Joshua Jones knocked down a clutch three-pointer from the top of the key with six seconds on the clock to tie the game at 71 and send the contest into double-overtime.

Sophomore Jeff Johnson then opened the second extra session with a three-pointer – his first in EKU’s last nine games – to give the Colonels a lead they would not relinquish. DiNunno, who had just two points heading into double-overtime, took over in the final five minutes, knocking down three straight field goals, the last of which came with under a minute to play and gave the Colonels a two-possession lead, 80-76.

With the win, EKU (11-9, 5-3 OVC) snapped a two-game conference losing streak and improves to 6-4 in overtime games under head coach Jeff Neubauer. It was the Colonels’ first double-overtime game since 2007.

Senior Jaron Jones paced EKU with 20 points, thanks in part by connecting on 9-of-10 free throws, including two with 12 seconds to play that sealed the win. Meanwhile, freshman Eric Stutz scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half.

Complete Recap

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nerlens Noel Talks Recruiting; UK, Louisville in Hot Pursuit

MassLive.com caught up with 2013 Kentucky and Louisville recruit Nerlens Noel recently:



Noel's coach confirmed that Kentucky and Louisvlle are two of five schools that are coming after Noel the hardest:

Kentucky coach John Calipari was front and center Sunday to watch Nerlens Noel against Brewster Academy at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.

Kentucky is one of five schools working the hardest on the 6-foot-10 junior center from The Tilton (N.H.) School.

“Nerlens hasn’t provided any formal list,” Tilton coach Marcus O’Neil told SNY.tv by text. “Kentucky, Syracuse, UConn, Georgetown and Louisville have been in pursuit.”

O’Neil added that Florida, Kansas, Providence and others are also involved.


Complete Article

Jeff Pearlman of SI.com Seems to Hate John Calipari

I guess Jeff Pearlman of SI.com really dislikes University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari:



Pearlman posted that a couple of days ago and I originally intended to ignore the post, but he has since added about a hundred more Tweets in response to Kentucky fans (here's a sample):



Seems that Pearlman has a personal problem with Calipari and according to A Sea of Blue, that's exactly the case.

Here's an excerpt:

Lest you think this is something new for Pearlman, let me disabuse you of that notion right now. Pearlman has a bit of a history taking shots at Kentucky on his blog. For example, here is a blog post from back in February of 2010:

If one thing seems obvious, it’s that [former Tennessee head football coach Lane] Kiffin is just another in he long line of Calipari-esque slime-balls who’ll do anything to better his own standing. Just look at his approach and antics at Tennessee this past year, when he talked much trash, mocked opponents, then, when a better offer came along, bolted.

Don't sweat giving Pearlman hits. It looks like to me like any hits he gets from us might be one of the few, and his blog is really not commercial at all.


Then, there is this, from another post:

Truth is, a coach serves a school not as a teacher, but as a symbol of its overall priorities. When, two years back, the University of Kentucky brought in John Calipari and his one-year-and-off-to-the-NBA mantra, for example, it said to the nation that its sports mission was not personal development or the merging of academic-athletic goals, but to win, to win big and to win immediately.

Will Jeremy Evans Challenge Blake Griffin for Dunk Title?

Former Western Kentucky star Jeremy Evans thinks he can jump over a car better than Blake Griffin.

Will Evans challenge Griffin in the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest?

Eric Bledsoe Could Return to Action Soon


Former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe could be returning to action for the Los Angeles Clippers soon.

Bledsoe, who suffered torn meniscus in October, says he's ready to return.

Here is more from ESPN.com:

But Bledsoe says he's ready now. The 22-year-old has been working out strenuously since the weekend, he said, and feels he's ready to get back whenever the team training staff clears him for competition.

"I feel real good," Bledsoe said Wednesday, before the Clippers' home win over the Dallas Mavericks. "They could clear me right now and I could go out there and play like I never was hurt.

"I can play right now."

He worked out before the Mavericks game and looked comfortable on the court. But so did Paul, and he was held out of a third-straight game after straining his hamstring last weekend against the Lakers.


Bledsoe could be back soon

Dad: Shabazz Muhammad Will Make Official Visit to Kansas


Shabazz Muhammad's father, Ron Holmes, recently told Jayhawkslant.com that his son's final list is Kansas, Kentucky, UNLV, UCLA, Duke and Arizona.

He said Shabazz will take an official visit to Kansas, adding, "if it works out, I'm going to bring my entire family to Kansas."

Here is an excerpt:

Shabazz Muhammad, the top-ranked basketball player in the high school recruiting Class of 2012, will make an official visit to Kansas University, Muhammad’s dad, Ron Holmes, told Jayhawkslant.com. Muhammad, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds out of Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High, has a final list of KU, Kentucky, UNLV, UCLA, Duke and Arizona.

“A lot of people have it wrong about Shabazz,” Holmes told the website. “A lot of people have no idea what’s going on. We’re going to officially visit Kansas, and I’ve said that many times. If it works out, I’m going to bring my entire family to Kansas. I always knew Kansas was a great school, but the in-home visit really opened my eyes.”


Complete Article

Rajon Rondo is BIG; Video by the NBA

Former University of Kentucky star Rajon Rondo is BIG. Check out this video by the NBA:

Chris Lofton is Headed Back to Spain


Former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Chris Lofton is headed back to Spain for a tryout period with Estudiantes.

Lofton signed with Estudiantes at the beginning of the season but was let go after failing a physical.

The team is currently 6-10 in Spain's top-level ACB league.

Here is more from EuroBasket.com:

Estudiantes invited Chris Lofton (188-G-86, college: Tennessee) for a tryout period. The guard was about to sign with the team at the start of the season. However he was refused the contract after failing to pass medical examination. Last season Chris Lofton started in D-League. He played for the Iowa Energy. His stats read 15.6 points, 3.5 boards, 2.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Later Chris Lofton moved to Lokomotiv Kuban. The guard averaged 3.3 points per game in Russian PBL. Chris Lofton received USBasket.com All-D-League Honourable Mention in 2011. Chris Lofton is not new to Estudiantes. The guard played for the team back in 2009. He notched 12.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.1 assists per game then.

Evan Daniels Talks About Amile Jefferson, Shabazz Muhammad

Here is Evan Daniels of Scout.com giving his latest thoughts on Kentucky recruits Amile Jefferson and Shabazz Muhammad (video by foxsports on YouTube):

Kentucky State Basketball Player Injured in Shooting


Kentucky State University has confirmed via a statement that Patrick Dawson, a member of the KSU men's basketball team, was shot early Wednesday morning in Frankfort.

KSU has released the following statement:

Patrick Dawson, a member of the Kentucky State University men’s basketball team, was shot early Wednesday, Jan. 18, off campus in Frankfort, Ky. He was released from the Frankfort Regional Medical Center in good condition at about 11 a.m. Wednesday. This is Dawson’s third year on KSU’s basketball team. A physical education major, Dawson, 22, is from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is expected to resume studies shortly. From this point on, the Frankfort Police Department is handling the shooting investigation.

Photo: KSU Media Relations

Rockets Pay Tribute to Former UK Star Chuck Hayes

The Houston Rockets recently played a tribute video for former Kentucky star Chuck Hayes, who played 6 seasons with the Rockets before signing with Sacramento.

Check it out (click the image to play):



Fran Blinebury of NBA.com says Hayes has a heart that's big in more ways than one:

It turns out the doctors at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic used a barrage of MRIs and CAT scans to get the kind of readings they could have found simply by flipping over to ESPN.

Chuck Hayes has a lot of heart.

For six years it had been what pumped blood into the unlikeliest of NBA careers, unknown, undrafted, undaunted by a trip to the D-League and unrelenting in carving out his place.

You could always look up the 6-foot-6 Hayes in the history books and find him listed as shortest regular starting center ever to play in the league when he moved into the middle to replace the injured Yao Ming in Houston. And you could always look down in the low post to find the reasons why.

Hayes often gave away the better part of a foot to opponents, but never gave an inch of ground. He was almost always outweighed doing battle for rebounds and positioning, but was rarely outworked or outhustled.

"It's just what I do," Hayes said with a shrug.


Complete article

Transylvania Improves to 14-2 with Win Over Mt. St. Joseph


Transylvania 53
Mt. St. Joseph 44

Final from Cincinnati, Ohio


Game recap by Transylvania:

CINCINNATI, Ohio - Transylvania put the defensive clamps on Mt. St. Joseph Wednesday and took a 53-44 win in Heartland Conference men's basketball play.

The HCAC-leading Pioneers are 14-2, 8-1 in conference play, while the Lions fall to 6-10, 2-7 HCAC. The game marked the half-way point of the conference season.

The Pioneers held the Lions to just four of 22 shooting (18 percent) in the first half, and zoomed to a 26-11 cushion at intermission. Transy, which got eight points from Ethan Spurlin and six from Brandon Rash, was eight of 21 from the field, which included a three of 15 effort from behind the arc.

Mt. St. Joseph was equally cold from long range, connecting on one of 10 tries.

Transy's halftime advantage was its biggest of the game to that point. The Pioneers would lead by as many as 20 in the second half, but the Lions warmed up, out-scoring Transy 33-27 over the final 20 minutes.

Complete recap

Louisville Point Guard Peyton Siva Saved His Father's Life

Do yourselves a favor and watch this touching story about how Louisville point guard Peyton Siva saved his father's life (literally):



* Video by CBSSports.com

The SEC Responds to Kevin Stallings About UK Schedule


SEC director of media relations Craig Pinkerton sent an e-mail response to Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean in regards to Kevin Stallings' comments about SEC scheduling.

Stallings recently complained to the media about Kentucky receiving some "preferential" treatment from SEC schedule makers.

Here is the email response that Lockridge received from Pinkerton:

“The SEC’s athletics directors have established a set of parameters to follow when building the men’s basketball schedule. These parameters are in place to ensure that the schedule is as equitable as possible and enables the SEC to fulfill its contractual obligations with television. We make our best effort to balance out the Thursday-Saturday tandem among all of the teams. Last year we began moving some Thursday games to Tuesday to alleviate some of the issues with the quick turnaround. Now we are playing two games Tuesday night with an ESPNU game that leads into the ESPN Super Tuesday matchup.

“We try to get every team at least one game and no more than four games on Thursday night. The key issue is avoiding teams playing on the road for both parts of a Thursday-Saturday tandem.”


Complete Article

Nazr Mohammed From WAY Down Town...Fail

Former Kentucky star Nazr Mohammed attempted a long 3-pointer last night...from about 70-feet...with 5 seconds still remaining in the quarter (and he was a little short):

Murray State vs. Morehead State: Postgame Thoughts

Murray State survived a great effort from Morehead State on Wednesday night. Here are postgame thoughts from both teams:







Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Murray State Survives Difficult Road Test at Morehead State


(10) Murray State 66
Morehead State 60

Final from Morehead, Kentucky


Game recap by MSU:

MOREHEAD, Ky. -- The upset-minded Morehead State men’s basketball team led by nine points with 13 minutes to play on Wednesday night, but #10/12 Murray State finished the game on a 29-14 run to escape with a 66-60 victory before a crowd of 6,036 at Johnson Arena.

The Racers, who are the Ohio Valley Conference’s first nationally-ranked team since 1997-98, improve to 19-0 overall and 7-0 in conference action. The Eagles, who began the day with a 57-9 home record over the past five years, fall to 9-11 on the campaign and 3-4 in league play.

The contest featured the first nationally-ranked men’s basketball team to ever play at Johnson Arena, which hosted its first game on Dec. 3, 1981. Morehead State had not previously hosted a top 25 foe since #9 Western Kentucky came to town on Feb. 20, 1971.

Murray State and Syracuse, both 19-0, continue to be the nation’s only undefeated teams at the Division I level. The Racers also continue to build on their longest winning streak in school history.

“Give Murray State a lot of credit,” Morehead State Head Coach Donnie Tyndall said. “They have experienced guards and several great players. They made some timely threes tonight when we missed defensive assignments in our match-up zone.”

Complete Recap

Some Thoughts:

- Murray State survived in a difficult road environment: The Morehead State fans were out in full force (6,036 officially) on Wednesday night. They were loud and hungry for an upset for the full 40 minutes. It was one of the best crowds I've seen in Johnson Arena.

- The Racers are the real deal: It's hard for me to say that Murray State is one of the nation's top 10-12 teams, but they are no joke. After the game, Morehead head coach Donnie Tyndall gave his opinion that Murray State this season is not as good from top-to-bottom as Murray State two seasons ago or Morehead State last season. He then added, "It's hard to even say that when they're ranked 10th in the country."

- Isaiah Canaan is the early favorite for player of the year in the OVC: Canaan is certainly the best point guard in the OVC (Zac Swansey is very good too Tech fans) and perhaps the best in mid-major college basketball. He was stifled by the tricky Eagles' defense last night and STILL managed to get 20 points, including several huge plays down the stretch. Tyndall said Canaan would currently have his vote for OVC Player of the Year.

- Did Morehead State layout the blueprint of how to defeat the Racers?: Speaking of that MSU defense, it did exactly what it was designed to do and gave the Eagles a great opportunity to pull the upset. Tyndall described it as a "zone defense with man-to-man principles" that he's utilized in short stretches during several games this season (once against Swansey). Canaan admitted that he was "confused" with were the double teams were coming from and had a hard time finding open spots on the court. Canaan said that even the middle man in the zone was coming to the top of the key for double teams.

- The officials put a damper on an otherwise great game: The game was great, no question about it, but the officiating was sub par at best. There were several walking violations that were missed and seemingly a foul every other trip down the court. No wait, that's exactly what happened as there were 48 total fouls called. There were 56 free throws attempted in the game (34 for Murray State). Neither team was able to get into any real offensive flow. And by the way, that's not to say that the officials changed the outcome of the game - they were equally bad both ways.

With Morehead State leading 46-39 at the 10:43 mark in the second half, top scorer Drew Kelly was whistled for his fourth personal foul. When he retreated to the bench, the Racers quickly roared back to take their first lead of the game. Tyndall said that Kelly's fourth foul "changed the complexion of the game."

Canaan with a clutch 3-pointer late in the game:

Morehead State Leads No. 10 Murray State at the Half

Morehead State leads No. 10 Murray State 37-31 at the half.

Sophomore Drew Kelly continues to play well as he put up a team-high 14 points in the half. He was a perfect 3-3 from the field, including 2-2 from long range.

Isaiah Canaan and Jewuan Long each scored 9 points to pace Murray State.

Here is a first half buzzer beater from Kelly:



And a few pictures (Joe B. Hall signing autographs, Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports and a rabid MSU crowd):



Jodie Meeks Appears on CSNPhilly's "Lunch Break"

Former UK star Jodie Meeks joined CSNPhilly's "Lunch Break" recently. He talked about the surprising Philadelphia 76ers:

Lindsey Wilson Rises to No. 11 in NAIA Division I Poll


Lindsey Wilson's 80-foot buzzer beater against Georgetown College has moved the Blue Raiders up to No. 11 in the NAIA Division I rankings.

Georgetown dropped two spots to No. 7 this week following the loss.

Campbellsville University climbed two places to No. 20.

The University of Pikeville and the University of Cumberlands both received votes this week.

NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Poll

RANK LAST WEEK SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES) 2011-12 RECORD TOTAL POINTS

1 2 Shorter (Ga.) (9) 17-0 280
2 1 Oklahoma Baptist (1) 15-1 269
3 3 Robert Morris (Ill.) (1) 16-1 267
4 10 Southern Poly (Ga.) 13-2 240
5 8 Rogers State (Okla.) 15-2 238
6 4 Concordia (Calif.) 14-3 231
7 7 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 14-3 224
7 5 Georgetown (Ky.) 15-3 224
9 9 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 13-3 223
10 17 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 13-3 199
11 14 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 13-4 189
12 13 Montana State-Northern 17-2 184
13 6 Texas Wesleyan 12-3 169
14 12 Southern Nazarene (Okla.) 13-4 165
15 11 Mountain State (W.Va.) 12-6 157
16 RV Westmont (Calif.) 13-2 133
17 15 Evangel (Mo.) 14-5 132
18 21 Lee (Tenn.) 11-3 126
19 T18 Xavier (La.) 12-5 104
20 22 Campbellsville (Ky.) 13-5 102
21 23 Saint Xavier (Ill.) 13-4 96
22 23 Montana Western 15-5 86
23 RV Cumberland (Tenn.) 12-3 83
24 RV Columbia (Mo.) 14-5 68
25 RV Tougaloo (Miss.) 14-5 59

Others receiving votes: The Master's (Calif.) 49; Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 43; Oklahoma City 31; SAGU (Texas) 21; Cal State San Marcos 21; Pikeville (Ky.) 21; Westminster (Utah) 16; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 10; Missouri Baptist 1; Science & Arts (Okla.) 1; Cumberlands (Ky.) 1; Oklahoma Christian 1; Wiley (Texas) 1; Union (Tenn.) 1; Benedictine (Kan.) 1; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 1; Life (Ga.) 1.

Drew Kelly Ready to Lead Morehead State Into Battle Against Murray State


Morehead State sophomore Drew Kelly has picked his game up since the Eagles lost leading scorer Terrance Hill to a knee injury.

Kelly scored a career-high 26 points to lead Morehead State past Eastern Kentucky on Saturday night.

"My teammates kept on telling me to be aggressive," Morehead State's Drew Kelly told the media after the Eagles defeated Eastern Kentucky on Saturday. "They lifted me up the whole night. I thank them for that."

Kelly was aggressive to the final tune of a career night. He essentially put the Eagles on his back in the second half and carried the team to a critical Ohio Valley Conference win.

Tonight, Kelly and the Eagles will battle an entirely different beast as No. 10/12 Murray State (18-0) travels to Morehead.

"We're excited," Kelly said of the opportunity to battle the Racers. "You know, they're a very-very good team. A ranked team has never played here in this arena. It's going to be a great game."

The Eagles and Racers square off in Morehead tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET. It will be the first time that a ranked opponent has visited MSU's Johnson Arena.

Highlights from Kelly's career-night against EKU:

2013 Star Julius Randle Wants to Visit Kentucky


Julius Randle, one of the top players in the 2013 class, says he doesn't have an official list at this point but does want to visit the University of Kentucky in the future.

Here is an excerpt from CBSSports.com:

Earlier this month, the No. 3-ranked prospect in 2013 spent some time on Tobacco Road, visiting North Carolina, North Carolina State and Duke.

“They’re three programs that have great tradition,” Randle said. “It was just an honor to visit. It was a lot of fun.”

Randle, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Prestonwood Christian (Texas), is not tipping his hand as to which visit was the best – or to which specific schools are recruiting him.

“I don’t have a list,” he said. “If you name a team, they’re probably recruiting me.”

However, Randle did say he wants to take unofficial visits to Texas and Kentucky in the near future.


Julius Randle begins taking unofficial visits

Randle is a 6-8 power forward at Prestonwood Christian Academy. He ranks No. 4 overall on the Rivals.com list for 2013.

Photo: Rivals.com

Chase Spreen Named National Player of the Week


Lindsey Wilson College's Chase Spreen has been named NAIA National Division I Men's Basketball Player of the Week.

Here is the release from the NAIA:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Chase Spreen of Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) has been named the NAIA National Division I Men's Basketball Player of the Week, the national office announced Tuesday. Spreen was selected based on his performances from Jan. 9 - 15 and was chosen out of a pool of conference/independent/unaffiliated groupings.

Spreen made national attention on ESPN's SportsCenter with his 80-foot buzzer-beater against No. 5 Georgetown (Ky.) on Jan. 14. That play, which was the game-winner and sent the Blue Raiders to a 79-78 win, was chosen as No. 2 on the nightly top-10 broadcast. The 6-foot-6 senior forward finished the game with 23 points, nine rebounds and hit a career-high five 3-pointers. You can view that video here.

On Jan. 12, the native of Bedford, Ind., poured in 17 points in the 85-78 victory over Shawnee State (Ohio). Spreen chipped in five rebounds, three assists and went 7-for-12 from the floor (.583).

For the week, he averaged 20.0 points, seven rebounds, 2.5 steals and shot 58.3 percent (14-for-24) from the floor.

The next Player of the Week announcement will be on Jan. 24.

Complete Release

John Calipari Talks About the Win Over Arkansas

University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari talks to the media following his team's win over Arkansas (video by uknationofblue on YouTube):



Transcript via UK:

Q. Talk about Anthony (Davis) and how many times you've seen somebody do that?

COACH CALIPARI: Let me say this: This is how he is. This is, in my mind, I walked in and said Terrence Jones, now you're getting closer. You had two or three other balls you could have dunked. You tried to lay up, but you got blocked and you're closer. You're being more aggressive, you're doing your talking more.

I said, Marquis Teague, "unbelievable floor game. The best you've played this year. Unbelievable floor game. Nothing was forced." He didn't make any crazy plays. It was unbelievable.

I looked at Michael (Kidd-)Gilchrist and said you've got to play smarter and you cannot be fouling. I just looked at him and said "You played good again," Anthony Davis. You can imagine, he does what he does every game. That's who he is. I mean, he's getting points, not being a pig. Getting up there and getting the ball.

Q. Compare the influence or impact Anthony (Davis) has defensively and offensively, you know, each side?

COACH CALIPARI: I've coached Marcus Camby, and Bruiser Flint called me the other day and said this kid does what Marcus Camby did for us. He clears up all your errors, and he's back there.

We played Princeton, and the coach that now is at Fairfield was on that team. They ran their best backdoor stuff. He said it was the best backdoor stuff we've ever run. Camby had 11 blocks in that game, and we beat them by 30.

Well, they ran their stuff, but he cleaned up all the mess. This kid does the same. He also does it in the press attack. Now all of a sudden you make any kind of mistake, and we're throwing it to him and he's dunking the ball. That's a tough one to deal with.

So on both ends he does it, and he's getting better. He's making free throws. He's making jumpers. You're seeing more of his game. Again, I've got to tell you, Marquis Teague gets seven points, nine assists, three turns. If we are getting closer to getting him right, if we are getting closer to getting Terrence Jones right, all of a sudden this thing takes on a little different look to it.

Q. You mentioned Marcus Camby, and I've heard a couple other people say he's the best shot blocker in the game for college in the past 10 years.

COACH CALIPARI: Who was?

Q. Anthony (Davis) right now is maybe the best in 10 years?

COACH CALIPARI: How long ago did Marcus play?

Q. That was '96. Can you give us perspective on that in terms of how good he is in the past 10 years if that's accurate in your mind?

COACH CALIPARI: I don't know. Let the season end and you can look back at numbers and find out. I've been blessed that I've coached two of the great shot blockers who are unbelievably nice people who defer to their teammates, are not selfish, don't have a selfish bone in their buddy, neither guy, and I was fortunate enough to coach both of them.

Maybe I can coach Anthony (Davis) three years like I did Marcus (Camby). That would be a lot of fun too. I'm going to try to influence him that way.

Q. What was the difference in Marquis Teague tonight? What was he doing that he hasn't been doing?

COACH CALIPARI: He's really focused and zoned in on how he's got to start playing. He's playing as a point guard versus trying to score baskets. He's still scoring and making free throws. The biggest thing is our team is a totally different team when he's playing.

I want him to play fast but in control. In other words, if they're trying to press go, we're not going to hold back how we play. If it's back there, we're going to grind it out. We're a good grind-it-out team.

Obviously, I would love to play fast the whole game, but you've got to be able to play in the half court, defend in the half court, play offense in the half court, grind out clock and make people make plays late in the clock. He's got to run us and be able to do that, and he did that today.

Q. Can you talk about what you were saying, you saw more from Terrence (Jones), and also a comment on the way Doron (Lamb) played tonight?

COACH CALIPARI: Both of them have made strides. They've both got to keep going. I thought Darius (Miller) made some shots. He had some defensive breakdowns. But they, you know we have a bunch of guys taking eight to 10 shots. That's what we have.

I thought Kyle Wiltjer played well. He made a couple baskets when we needed him. We're making our free throws, which makes the score a little bit more than it probably would have been.

We're a good defensive team. We gave them, again, think about this, in the last two minutes, we gave them three baskets which put them from 38% to 40%, which is why it drives me crazy. Why would you let him go 4-for-4 to end the game, which is basically what we did?

We out-rebounded a team that's really scrappy, and we didn't shoot a whole lot of 3s to do it. Now they went to the zone. I thought we were good versus the zone. I know we looked good. Got the ball, moved the ball. The first time they went zone, Doron (Lamb) nails the 3, and from there, we nailed it inside out. We got the ball in the middle, got the ball on the baseline, so we made strides.

We got better today. This is much better. Let me say this: They weren't like a huge team, but they're just as physical and they play a style that they go after the ball on every play. And we ended up with 12 turnovers, which is pretty good.

Q. Cal, Arkansas played the way they're going to play, and tried to get the tempo especially early in the second half. But the way you all got up and down, does that reinforce even more that you're probably going to see the whole grind-it-out, slugfest-type of games most of the way?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah. But I'm okay with that. My teams historically, if you want to play fast, we'll play fast. If you make us play slow, we'll play slower. We get breakouts, we're taking them. If you're back there, we'll do it.

You slow the game down versus zone, our zone offense is quicker than a normal zone offense. So we can score on three or four passes, but teams are going to play all kind of ways. When you have seven guys that are all skilled with that basketball and make plays, it's hard. It's hard.

Q. I was wondering if you could tell me what you thought of Arkansas, Mike (Anderson)'s first year, and what was the key to only having 12 turnovers?

COACH CALIPARI: When you ask me that, I've coached against Mike (Anderson) a bunch, so I kind of have an idea of how they're going to play, so I can explain it to my team. They really play a frenetic style. They come at you different ways. You won't know who is coming at you. They're just coming.

The Louisville game prepared us for this game because they played very similar. I will tell you, I watched the Mississippi State tape, and I was like, whoa. I didn't think we could beat them today after watching. That's what I watched today.

I watched the Mississippi tape. They easily could have won that game. What was the other game I watched in the league that they won?

Q. LSU.

COACH CALIPARI: And LSU couldn't even get into anything. And LSU is a good club now, so I would tell you that he's going to win at home, and then they're going to steal some games. They're going to play that style that if you're not ready and you're not physically and mentally ready to play, you're getting beat.

Q. It looked like Darius (Miller) and Terrence (Jones) both were trying to be aggressive right from the jump. Is that what you're looking for from them?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, they both were, and I was happy about that.

Q. Why is it important to you in a game that's already decided that the other team made their last four shots?

COACH CALIPARI: Because you take pride in your defense. We have a chance to lead the nation in field goal percentage defense, why wouldn't we? Well, don't worry about it. We'll finish seventh. Well, that's an honor. That's a badge of honor, to be that good.

But what happens is the last two, three minutes of the game, those guys got to guard too, or they're going to end up playing 30 seconds instead of two minutes. So it is important that way.

Plus, I want to see Kyle (Wiltjer) get better. I want to see Twany (Beckham) not breakdown and make mistakes. I want to see that I can go to those guys. Eloy (Vargas), get a block, get a rebound and come up with something. That's your opportunity to show us what you should be doing.

Q. Can you talk about your preparation for Alabama?

COACH CALIPARI: They're going to have tomorrow off. We'll practice, Thursday, Friday, and it's a Saturday afternoon game. It's going to be a war. Alabama's a Sweet 16 team in my mind as is Florida, as is Vandy and Mississippi State. They're all Sweet 16 teams.

So when we play them, they are physical. Last year, they beat us down there. They beat us in the paint. They beat us in the scoreboard. They beat us physically. They beat us a hundred different ways. They're a really good team, they've got terrific players and it's going to be a hard game for us.

Former WKU Coach Ken McDonald Releases Statement


Former Western Kentucky head coach Ken McDonald released a statement on Monday night:

I would like to thank Gary and Julie Ransdell for their leadership, support and friendship during my 8 plus years at Western Kentucky University. I would also like to thank Wood Selig for the opportunity he gave me to lead one of the nation's finest basketball programs as the head coach.

WKU is very dear to my heart and I wish nothing but absolute success for Hilltopper basketball in the future. My biggest challenge has been not being with the team and freshman class as they grow and develop each day. I want to personally thank them for their hard work and commitment. I am thankful for and love each player in that locker room and have enjoyed every single day as their coach. I hope the freshman class stays in tact; In time, this group is going to be special and will make the Hilltopper nation proud.

A special thank you to the people at Houchens Industries for your loyalty and support. Jimmie Gipson, you are an inspiration to so many people including me. I am so thankful for your guidance and friendship.

Lastly, I would like to thank my staff for their effort and dedication to the team and university. I am also thankful to so many friends, alumni and fans for their support and friendship. You truly represent the spirit of Western.


Source

No. 2 Kentucky Clips the Hip Against Arkansas


(2) Kentucky 86
Arkansas 63

Final from Lexington, Kentucky


The Kentucky Wildcats opened the game on a 13-2 run and never looked back as they rolled to an 86-63 victory over Arkansas on Tuesday night.

Anthony Davis led Kentucky (18-1, 4-0 SEC) with a career-high 27 points, 14 rebounds and 7 blocks. With his 7 blocks, Davis set a new UK single-season record.

Doron Lamb came off the bench to score 14 points. Terrence Jones added 13 points, 9 boards and 5 blocks. Darius Miller chipped in 11 points.

Mardracus Wade led Arkansas (13-5, 2-2 SEC) with 12 points on 4-7 shooting. Rashad Madden, B.J. Young and Marvell Waithe all came off the bench to add 10 points each.

Kentucky shot 32-56 (57.1%) from the field and out-rebounded the Razorbacks 38-26.

The Wildcats return to action on Sunday when they host Alabama at Noon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Free Throw Expert Reaches Out to Rajon Rondo


A free throw expert named Cob Carlson believes he can help Rajon Rondo become the best point guard in the NBA.

Carlson thinks Rondo, who is shooting just 59.3% from the free throw line, is just a few tweaks away from being a great shooter at the charity stripe.

Here is more from BostonGlobe.com:

“I know I can help him,’’ said Carlson. “The only thing holding Rajon Rondo back from being the top point guard in the NBA is his free throw shooting.’’

He has tried to contact Rondo directly to offer his services. He has written to Rondo’s agent, Bill Duffy, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers. He has enlisted the help of a former girlfriend, a veterinary technician who treated one of Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck’s dogs. He even wrote to Rondo’s mother in Louisville, Ky.

“I said, ‘Dear Mrs. Rondo. I love the Celtics. I’d love to help him. I love his game. He does a lot of things right. He only needs a few tweaks.’ ’’

Tweak No. 1 would be keeping his eyes on the prize. Watch when Rondo steps to the line, says Carlson. He takes the ball and stares down at the parquet floor instead of looking at the rim.

“If you’re a state cop at a shooting range, you are focused at the bull’s-eye, you’re not looking at the floor,’’ said Carlson.


Free throw expert says he can help Rajon Rondo

Kevin Stallings Believes UK Received Preferential Treatment


Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings is complaining about the University of Kentucky's basketball schedule.

Stallings believe the Wildcats received preferential treatment with the way their schedule lines up for the remainder of this season.

"That's not right," Stallings said of UK's schedule.

Here is an excerpt:

Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings didn’t need to wait until then to address what could be construed as a little preferential treatment toward the ‘Cats.

Stallings, whose team is preparing for a short Thursday-Saturday turnaround this week with games at Alabama and vs. Mississippi State, said today that it’s “not right” for Kentucky to receive a league schedule that lacks a Thursday-Saturday combo for the second consecutive season.

And it’s not just that. The Wildcats benefit from Saturday games with four tired SEC opponents that are coming off Thursday night games – the most of any team in the league.

“Go figure that one out for me, would you?” Stallings said. “We all agreed to do it, so if you have one like we have one, I’m not going to complain with the one that we have. To not have any and to be able to play four teams that have to do it to play you … that’s not right.”


Kentucky basketball schedule irks Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings

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