Saturday, February 16, 2013

2014 Star Shaqquan Aaron Commits to Louisville

Shaqquan Aaron, a 6-foot-8 small forward from Rainier Beach (Wash.), has committed to the University of Louisville.

ChrisEgan5 Breaking college basketball news: Junior Rainier Beach star Shaqquan Aaron says he will play college ball at #Louisville


Aaron is rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com.


Camron Justice, Shane Hall Enjoy Visit to Tennessee

Knott Central's Camron Justice and Johnson Central's Shane Hall made official visits to Tennessee today for the Volunteers' game against Kentucky.

Here is Justice and Hall with Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin after the game:

Polson, Wiltjer React After Disappointing Loss at Tennessee

Kentucky's Jarrod Polson and Kyle Wiltjer talk about today's disappointing loss at Tennessee:

Tennessee Drubs Kentucky in First Game Without Noel

Tennessee 88
(25) Kentucky 58

Final from Knoxville, Kentucky

Tennessee (14-10, 6-6 SEC) took control early in the first half and never looked back as they rolled to an 88-58 win over lifeless Kentucky.

The 30-points is the largest margin of victory for Tennessee in the all-time series.

Coming into today's game, a large portion of the college basketball world wondered how Kentucky (17-8, 8-4 SEC) would respond after losing star freshman Nerlens Noel to a season-ending knee injury. The Wildcats showed some positive signs early but things went bad quickly.

The Volunteers won the rebounding battle 39-21 and out-scored Kentucky 40-22 in the paint. Tennessee blister the nets for 29-of-50 (58%) shooting while the Cats could only manage 19-for-53 (35.8%).

Trae Golden led Tennessee with 24 points and 8 assists. Jordan McRae added 15 points. Jarnell Stokes chipped in 9 points and 9 rebounds.

Kyle Wiltjer led Kentucky with 18 points and 6 boards. Julius Mays contributed 12.

Playing in Noel's place, freshman Willie Cauley-Stein had 2 points, 2 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 23 minutes. He was just 1-for-4 from the field.

Kentucky will need to regroup in a hurry as their NCAA Tournament hopes are quickly diminishing with each loss. The Wildcats will return to action Wednesday night when they host Vanderbilt in Rupp Arena at 8:00 p.m.

Box Score (click to enlarge):

Rick Pitino is a Finalist for Basketball Hall of Fame

Former Kentucky and current Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has been named a finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame's Class of 2013.

This year’s list includes six first-time finalists: five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, three-time National Coach of the Year Sylvia Hatchell, two-time NBA Championship coach Tom Heinsohn, nine-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton, five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley and six-time NBA All-Star Mitch Richmond.  Previous finalists included again this year for consideration are four-time NBA All-Star Maurice Cheeks, four-time NBA All-Star Spencer Haywood, four-time NBA All-Star Bernard King, five-time NCAA Final Four coach Guy Lewis, six-time NCAA Final Four coach Rick Pitino and four-time NCAA Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian. 

Here is an excerpt about Pitino from the Hall of Fame release:

RICK PITINO [Coach] – Pitino is the only coach in men’s history to lead three different schools to NCAA Final Four appearances as he did with Providence College, University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. He led Kentucky to the 1996 National Championship and then reached the title game again with the Wildcats the following year. He has won over 600 games in his collegiate career, reached the Final Four six different times (1987, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2005 and 2011), led his teams to 21 postseason appearances and won nine conference tournament championships. He earned Coach of the Year honors from different sources three different years. Pitino also held two stints as an NBA head coach with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, leading the Knicks to two playoff appearances.

Complete Release

Cauley-Stein, Hood Discuss Tennessee Game

Kentucky's Jon Hood and Willie Cauley-Stein talk about today's game at Tennessee and adjusting to playing without Nerlens Noel:

2016 Star Quentin Goodin Visiting Indiana Today

Quentin Goodin, a 2016 star at Taylor County High School, is visiting Indiana University today.

Goodin_3 Going to visit the University of Indiana! #Hoosiers

Calipari Talks About Tennessee, Life After Nerlens Noel

Here is Kentucky head coach John Calipari previewing today's game at Tennessee and talking about life on the court after Nerlens Noel:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kenneth Faried Wins MVP in BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Game

Former Morehead State star Kenneth Faried was named MVP of the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge game tonight after scoring 40 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

Team Chuck defeated Team Shaq 163-135.

Michael Jordan Beats Kidd-Gilchrist in Game of 1-on-1; MKG Says "He Still Has It"

Former NBA star Michael Jordan, who will turn 50 this week, recently defeated former Kentucky star Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in a game of 1-on-1.

A recent article about Jordan dropping weight has spurred rumors of a possible NBA comeback of some level.

According to Kidd-Gilchrist, "he still has it."

Here is an excerpt from CSNHouston.com:

“He did play me 1-on-1 one time,” Kidd-Gilchrist said on Friday morning before playing on Team Shaq in the Rising Stars Challenge Friday night. “And it was hard for me … I lost. I lost to a 50-year-old guy. That’s my boss, though. He’s the best player to play the game.”


But Kidd-Gilchrist didn’t lose to a 50-year-old. He lost to a 49-year-old. Jordan doesn’t turn 50 until Sunday.

"Yeah. Of course," he said when asked if he thought he was going to beat Jordan. "I don’t think I’m gonna lose. I mean, he is 50."

Did Kidd-Gilchrist even really lose, though. Or did he let his boss beat him?

“No,” he said emphatically. “No. I didn’t allow him to beat me. Because that’s my boss? Nah.”

Jordan recently talked about trying to get back down to his playing weight with Wright Thompson for an in-depth ESPN story. The story, along with the well-known competitive nature of Jordan, has sparked some debate and rumors about a possible comeback for Jordan, who is already in the Hall of Fame.

“That wouldn’t shock me at all,” Kidd-Gilchrist said about a possible Jordan comeback. “He still has it. He does.”

Complete Article

The Louisville Cardinals Do The Harlem Shake

The Louisville men's basketball team, led by Russ Smith, does the Harlem Shake:

No. 12 Louisville Holds Off St. John's

(12) Louisville 72
St. John's 58

Final from Louisville, Kentucky

Game recap by UL:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Russ Smith has seen enough valleys in his Louisville career to know the importance of returning to the peak in the next game.

Thursday night provided another example of the heights the Cardinals guard can reach when his game is on.

Smith scored 21 second-half points, including 12 straight over a 3:03 stretch that put No. 12 Louisville ahead for good and helped the Cardinals beat St. John's 72-58. He finished with a game-high 24, a huge recovery from Saturday night's 104-101, five-overtime loss at Notre Dame that included several ill-advised shots.
The performance stuck with Smith for a couple of days but he was able to put it behind him with a hot stretch including consecutive 3-pointers.

In a game of spurts for both teams - who traded the lead five times - Smith led the last and crucial one for Louisville. The junior guard's dozen points led the Cardinals' 14-5 run for a 46-38 lead.

"It felt really good," said Smith, who shot 5 of 13 from the field but was 12 of 14 from the free throw line. "It felt like I was young again. On the first one, it felt good coming off. But then I came off the screen and they sagged and I said I'm going to take it again, and that went in. And then I drove, ball faked, and (D'Angelo) Harrison jumped and I'm going to take the banker.

No. 17 UPIKE Knocks Off No. 3 Lindsey Wilson

(17) Pikeville 95
(3) Lindsey Wilson 87

Final from Pikeville, Kentucky

Game recap by UPIKE:
PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Four players reached double figures and the home team blistered the nets as No. 17 University of Pikeville knocked off No. 3 Lindsey Wilson College 95-87 Thursday night at the East Kentucky Expo Center.


The win brings the Bears to 20-5 overall and 11-5 in the Mid-South Conference and into a second-place tie with idle Georgetown with four games remaining on the schedule. It also gave the Bears a sweep of the regular-season series with the Blue Raiders, who fell to 23-3 overall and 13-3 in the league.

Pikeville shot a solid 53.1 percent in the first half and then cranked it up to 17-of-27 (63.0 percent) after intermission to finish 34-of-59 (57.6 percent). The Bears were also 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) from the arc and went 19-of-24 (79.2 percent) from the line.

Those numbers helped the Bears survive a 35-19 rebounding deficit to the Blue Raiders.

Lindsey Wilson shot it well also, finishing 35-of-59 (59.3 percent) and 11-of-16 (68.8 percent) from the line. They were also 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) from the arc.

Complete Recap

Andrew Wiggins on ESPNU; Likely to Decide in April

Kentucky recruit Andrew Wiggins goes live (via phone) on ESPNU to discuss the McDonald's All-American game, recruiting and more:



Wiggins has cut his final list to four schools: Kentucky, Florida State, North Carolina and Kansas.

He has already visited Florida State and has three visits coming up. Kentucky is tentatively set for February 27, Kansas for March 3 and North Carolina for March 9.

Wiggins said last night that he'll likely make his college decision in April.

Tubby Smith Shows Off Dance Moves After Win Over Wisconsin

Watch Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith getting down after his team's huge victory over Wisconsin:


Thursday, February 14, 2013

2014 Star Devin Booker: "I'd like to hear from Kentucky"

I spoke to 2014 star Devin Booker earlier tonight and he said he's hoping to hear from the Kentucky Wildcats soon.

"I'd like to hear from Kentucky," Booker said. "I'm totally open as of now."

Booker is very aware of the Kentucky program and what they have to offer.

"Obviously Kentucky is a powerhouse with a coach who wins championships and gets players to the next level," he said of UK and head coach John Calipari. "Can't ask for more than that. Also, he develops players who are already All-Americans."

Booker's recruitment has exploded this season. He's hearing from a heavyweight list of high-major programs and has three visits coming up soon.

"I'm going to be visiting UNC the 23rd, Duke the 24th and Florida on March 2nd," he said.

Booker recently moved into the top 25 (No. 23 overall) on the Scout.com top 100 for 2014. ESPN.com has him ranked No. 19 overall. Rivals.com still has him rated as a four-star recruit but that will almost certainly change when the rankings are updated.

"Pimp Daddy" Enes Kanter Sends Valentine's Day Love

And then there's this from former Kentucky big man Enes "Pimp Daddy" Kanter:

McDonald's All-American Teams Announced, UK Will Have Record 5 Players in Game

The rosters have been announced for the 2013 McDonald's All-American Game and Kentucky will have a record five players in the game.

The Wildcats will be represented by Dakari Johnson, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, James Young and Marcus Lee in the April 3rd game.

Additionally, Kentucky is still involved with uncommitted players Andrew Wiggins and Aaron Gordon.

EAST TEAM


Anthony Barber – NC State
Keith Frazier – Undecided
Isaiah Hicks – North Carolina
Kasey Hill – Florida
Demetrius Jackson – Notre Dame
Rondae Jefferson – Arizona
Dakari Johnson – Kentucky
Kennedy Meeks – North Carolina
Wayne Selden – Kansas
Noah Vonleh – Indiana
Chris Walker – Florida
Andrew Wiggins – Undecided

Head Coach: Freddy Johnson, Greensboro (N.C.) Day School
Asst. Coach: Steve Shelton, Greensboro (N.C.) Day School
Asst. Coach: Jeff Smith, Greensboro (N.C.) Day School

WEST TEAM
Jabari Bird – California
Aaron Gordon – Undecided
Isaac Hamilton – UTEP
Aaron Harrison – Kentucky
Andrew Harrison – Kentucky
Matt Jones – Duke
Marcus Lee – Kentucky
Jarrell Martin – LSU
Jabari Parker – Duke
Bobby Portis – Arkansas
Nigel Williams-Goss – Washington
James Young – Kentucky

Head Coach: Mike Flaherty, Mt. Carmel, Ill.
Asst. Coach: Jasper Williams, Bloom (Olympia Fields, Ill.)
Asst. Coach: Brian Flaherty, Bremen (Chicago)

Read More

NBA Agent David Falk Slams John Wall and the Wizards

David Falk, the former agent of NBA legend Michael Jordan, recently slammed former Kentucky star John Wall and several other Washington Wizards' players.

"I'm going to save you from embarrassment," Falk said publicly. "You guys are in dreamland. Because this team [stinks] so bad you guys want John Wall to someone he will never be.

"Before Wall becomes Nene, I would trade him and get rid of him."

The Washington Post has some more excerpts of Falk's comments:

“I’m serious. He doesn’t have a feel for the game,” Falk said. “He only knows how to play one speed. Magic Johnson had a great feel, a court sense, by the time he was a sophomore in college. Chris Paul had it by the time he was a sophomore in high school.

“You can develop your jump shot all you want, but if you don’t know how to play more than an up-and-down game by the time you’re about 20 as a point guard, the chances of learning are very slim. I don’t see it happening.”

“Let me ask you a question,” Falk said, maybe 28 times over 30 minutes, often answering for you. “Who’s bigger, Kyrie Irving or John Wall? John Wall. Who’s a better athlete? John Wall. Who’s faster? Who’s stronger? John Wall.

“Now, who’s a better player? Kyrie Irving,” he said of Cleveland’s all-star point guard who was rookie of the year in 2012. “John Wall will never be good as Kyrie Irving was in his first week in the NBA."

Complete Article

Coach Says Kentucky Plans to Watch Owootoah Tonight

Cordia head coach Rodrick Rhodes just told me via text that Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua is planning to watch 2013 point guard Emmanuel Owootoah tonight.

"He said he was coming," Rhodes said of Antigua.

Cordia hosts Jackson City in a 14th Region game tonight at 8:00 p.m.

USA Today Honors Nerlens Noel in Sports Section

USA Today honors injured Kentucky star Nerlens Noel in today's Sports Section:

Tryout Roster Announced for Kentucky All-Star Team

Thirty-five senior basketball players in Kentucky have been selected to tryout for the WLKY Kentucky/Indiana All-Star Classic.

Invitations will also be issued to player of the year selections from each of Kentucky’s 16 regions not included on the below list.

Tryouts will be held March 23 and 24 at Georgetown College.

Here is a look at the tryout list:

- Lavonne Holland, Ballard
- Davonte Grundy, Bardstown
- Larry Morton, Bryan Station
- Rusty Troutman, Bullitt East
- Derek Willis, Bullitt East
- Demetrius McReynolds, Butler
- Marcus Burnett, Carlisle County
- Stuart Jackson, Central
- Dez Marshall, Collins
- Emmanuel Owootoah, Cordia
- Logan O’Bryan, Daviess County
- Antonio Campbell, Covington Holy Cross
- Jordan Majors, Hopkinsville
- Brandon Price, John Hardin
- Nick Trisko, Lafayette
- Kelton Ford, LaRue County
- Jack Whitman, Lexington Catholic
- Ken Jah Boosley, Madison Central
- Dominique Hawkins, Madison Central
- Quan Taylor, Madison Central
- Omar Prewitt, Montgomery County
- David Levitch, North Oldham
- William Gary, Paul Dunbar
- Mike Smith, Paul Dunbar
- Mason Monroe, Pendleton County
- Tyler Robertson, Russell County
- Dalton Cornett, Perry County Central
- Ray Kasongo, PIkeville
- Ethan Rowe, Pikeville
- Taylor Gover, Pulaski County
- Kyle Skaggs, Russell
- Quinn Richardson, Scott County
- Brock Kiesler, St. Xavier
- Darryl Hicks, Trinity
- James Quick, Trinity

Complete Article

Hanover Defeats Transylvania in Final Minutes

Hanover 73
Transylvania 70

Final from Lexington, Kentucky

Game recap by TU:
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Hanover wiped out a six-point deficit over the final 1:43 Wednesday and handed Transylvania a 73-70 loss in Heartland Conference men's basketball action at the Beck Center.

Transy (18-6, 13-4 HCAC) dropped out of a second-place tie with the Panthers (17-7, 14-3 HCAC) in the conference race. Transy, which had won eight of its past nine games, will be the No. 3 seed in next week's HCAC tourney and will host a quarterfinal contest on Tuesday.

The Pioneers led by 15 points in the first half and by as many as 13 in the second before Hanover rallied. Transy led 68-62 following a pair of Tate Cox free throws with 1:43 left. But Hanover converted a layup on the ensuing play, then took advantage of consecutive Transy turnovers to score five points for a 7-0 run and a 69-68 lead.

Brandon Rash, who became the leading scorer in the non-scholarship era of the men's basketball program with a team-high 22 points, missed a jumper, but Ethan Spurlin grabbed the rebound and was fouled. His free throws gave Transy its final lead, 70-69 with 50 seconds to go.

Complete Recap

Jim Boeheim Calls Andy Katz an Idiot, Says He's Disloyal

Watch as Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim calls ESPN's Andy Katz an "idiot" and says he's "disloyal" following last night's game (video via the New Haven Register):



UK Signee James Young Goes for 33 Points vs. Lahser

Check out these highlights of Kentucky signee James Young scoring 33 points in a recent game against Lahser:

Centre's Donovan Whiteside Named SAA Player of the Week

Centre College's Donovan Whiteside was named Southern Athletic Association Player of the Week earlier this week.

Here is a release from Centre:

Centre College junior men's basketball player Donovan Whiteside (Knoxville, Tenn.) has been named the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Player-of-the-Week for his efforts in games played February 4-10.

The 6-3, 190-pound guard came off the bench in a pair of SAA home games to have a big weekend for the Colonels. Whiteside averaged 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals in the two wins to keep Centre in the mix to win the regular season title and host the conference tournament.

In the Colonels 72-62 win over Birmingham Southern Friday, the junior scored eight points, grabbed seven rebounds and had four assists and three steals. Two days later, he scored a game-high 16 points to go along with seven rebounds, three steals and three assists. Whiteside also added 18 deflections in the two games combined and made nine of his 12 shots (75.0%) from the floor, including four of five (80.0%) from beyond the three-point arc and two of three from the free throw line.

With two regular season games to play, he is averaging 9.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.0 assists per game.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Calipari to Keynote Franciscan University of Steubenville's Baron Club Dinner

Kentucky head coach John Calipari will be the keynote speaker at Franciscan University of Steubenville's 2013 Baron Club Dinner in April.

Here is more from FUS:

STEUBENVILLE, OH—Legendary University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari will be the keynote speaker at Franciscan University of Steubenville's 2013 Baron Club Dinner (formerly the Century Club Dinner).

The Baron Club Dinner will be held Saturday, April 20, and is the major fundraising event of the year for Baron athletic programs.

A native of nearby Moon Township, Pennsylvania, where he graduated from Moon Area High School in 1978, Coach Calipari garnered his first NCAA National Championship in 2012 when he led the University of Kentucky Wildcats to their eighth title.

A "hoop dreamer" as a youth, Calipari is one of only two coaches to lead three different schools to a Final Four finish (UMass-1996; Memphis-2008; Kentucky-2011, 2012). En route to the 2012 national championship, Calipari guided the Wildcats to an NCAA record-tying 38 wins and a perfect 16-0 mark in the Southeastern Conference.

His NBA experience includes head coach of the New Jersey Nets, 1989-96, and assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, 1997-99.

Calipari impresses upon his players the importance of academics and the development of life skills. Fifteen of his last 18 seniors that came through his Memphis program earned their bachelor's degrees. The Wildcats posted a 3.12 grade point average in the 2012 spring semester with 10 players earning a 3.0 GPA or better.

Though he is a highly-sought motivational speaker, Calipari has made few public appearances in his hometown region. He will speak at Franciscan University on "life's lessons" and on what's more important in life than wins and losses. Calipari has written two books, Refuse to Lose and Bounce Back: Overcoming Setbacks to Succeed in Business and in Life.

Complete Article

Jared Swopshire's Career Ends with Knee Surgery

Former Louisville big man Jared Swopshire, who transferred to Northwestern for his final season, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday.

The surgery ends Swopshire's season and college basketball career. He was averaging 9.7 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds per game this season.

Here is more from a Northwestern release:

EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern graduate student Jared Swopshire (St. Louis, Mo./IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)) underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday and will miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season.

Swopshire suffered an injury to the knee during the second half of last Saturday's game at Iowa.

"We all feel badly for Jared that he won't be able to play out the remainder of his final collegiate season," Northwestern head men's basketball coach Bill Carmody said. "He has been a terrific addition to the program, both on and off the court. He was enjoying a very productive year and was playing his most consistent basketball of the season when the injury occurred. There is every indication that he'll experience a full recovery."
Complete Release

John Calipari Statement on Nerlens Noel's Injury

University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari released the following statement about Nerlens Noel's torn ACL injury earlier today:

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari on Nerlens Noel's injury

I’ve been coaching for 22 years and this is the first injury we’ve had of this kind during the season, which makes it even more devastating. I met with Nerlens earlier today. The meeting was really positive, and I loved his attitude. The way he is already dealing with this injury lets me know that he is going to come back stronger than ever. The good news is he is insured, so he would have been fine even if the injury would have been worse. Obviously this is not a career-ending injury and it’s one that athletes bounce back from all the time.

Alabama Rolled Out the Crimson Carpet and Won Me Over

I took a road trip over the weekend (more on that soon) and found myself in a hotel near the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Thursday night.

Before I left town Friday morning, I decided to do a little sight-seeing and ventured down to the Alabama campus.

I must say, the campus is absolutely beautiful. Obviously, the structure that stands out is legendary Bryant-Denny stadium, home of Nick Saban's back-to-back national football champs.

I stopped by the stadium to take a peek and realized that I had no idea how to find Coleman Coliseum, home of Alabama basketball. I flagged a student down to see if he could offer some assistance. Not only did he offer assistance, he chatted for five minutes or so to make sure that he had given me exact directions.

So, I took a left on Paul W Bryant Dr and found the basketball arena. The door was open so I went in for a peek...

Soon after I entered the arena, an older lady quickly rushed over in my direction.

"Darn, she's about to turn me away," I thought to myself. "Oh well, at least I got to see the court."

"Honey, you look lost," the lady said. "Can I help you find something?"

I explained that I was just passing through and was hoping to get a picture or two of the arena for my website.

"Welcome to Alabama and of course," she replied. "Just walk right down that tunnel and go down on the court if you'd like."

I pulled out the camera and took several shots around the court. About that time, I received a text from a friend who noticed my Facebook picture of the court.

"Noticed you're at 'Bama," the text read. "Go to men's basketball office and see if Coach John Brannen is in his office. Great guy. Just introduce yourself."

Sure, why not?

I wasn't able to find the basketball office on my own so I asked a gentleman who walked across the court if he could point me in the right direction.

"Sure my man," he said. "Let's hop on the elevator and I'll take you right to it."

The guy welcomed me to Alabama, took me to the basketball office and handed me off to a lovely lady named Brenda.

I explained my situation to Brenda and she informed me that Coach Brannen had stepped out for a few minutes but would be back. While I was hanging out, I got into a conversation with some folks in the office.

"We just love Kentucky basketball fans," one lady offered up. "They are always so great to talk to at the SEC Tournament. We think UK basketball fans are a whole lot like Alabama football fans. They are knowledgeable and respectful for the most part."

After 15 minutes or so, Coach Brannen returned. I introduced myself and was really expecting nothing more than a handshake and an opportunity to drop off a business card. To my surprise, he led me to his office and started up a conversation on everything from basketball to his time at Morehead State to his wife, who happens to be from Jenkins, Kentucky.

Besides being married to a Kentucky girl, John has several other ties to the state, which gave us plenty of food for conversation.

As mentioned, John started his college career at Morehead State before transferring to Marshall. He also spent time on Travis Ford's staff at Eastern Kentucky University.

Additionally, John's brother, Grant, is the head coach at Newport Central Catholic (the 27-2 All A State champs). He was nervous for Grant that day as NCC was about to face then-undefeated Covington Holmes that night (Catholic ended up handing Holmes their first loss in a double overtime slug fest).

After finishing up with a great chat about SEC basketball, including his thoughts on Kentucky (he expected a loss at Florida but said the Cats "will be just fine this season."), we said our goodbyes and I headed to the interstate to continue my journey to Mississippi.

I have to admit, the folks in Alabama won me over with their hospitality. Each person I met during my two-hour visit to campus went out of his/her way to be overly nice. To be perfectly honest, I have been cheering for the Crimson Tide in their last two games and will continue to do so in every game. Well, almost every game...go Cats, but Alabama has certainly gained a fan.

Roll Tide?!?





Spanish Team Keeps Edgar Sosa, Parts Ways with Alhaji Mohammed

There is good news and bad news out of Spain regarding a pair of former Louisville Cardinals.

On a positive note, former Louisville point guard Edgar Sosa continues to play well after coming back from a major leg injury.

Blancos de Rueda Valladolid has announced that Sosa's temporary contract will be extended for six more weeks. Sosa's contract will be reviewed on the weekend of March 16-17.

Unfortunately, the team has decided to part ways with former U of L guard Alhaji Mohammed.

Blancos de Rueda Valladolid competes in Spain's top-level ACB league.

Here is more from Eurobasket.com:
Blancos de Rueda Valladolid officially announced that Edgar Sosa (190-PG-88, college: Louisville) and Patrick Ewing Jr. (203-F-84, college: Georgetown) will stay in the team for six more weeks, while Alhaji Mohammed (192-G-81, agency: Court Side, college: Louisville) will leave after reaching and agreement with the club to part ways. Sosa and Ewing Jr. landed in Valladolid on January with a temporary agreement that will be reviewed again after the game against Basquet Manresa on March, 16-17th. On the other side, Mohammed, who joined the team last summer, leaves Valladolid after playing 18 games in Liga Endesa, averaging 4.2ppg in 14mpg.

Kentucky's Nerlens Noel is Out for the Season with Torn ACL

Kentucky's Nerlens Noel is out for the season. An MRI this morning revealed a torn ACL suffered during last night's game at Florida.

Here is the release from UK:

LEXINGTON, Ky. – – University of Kentucky men’s basketball freshman Nerlens Noel will be out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL injury suffered during Tuesday night’s game at Florida.

According to the UK medical staff, surgery should be expected in the next two to three weeks. The normal timetable for recovery is estimated at six to eight months.

The 6-10 freshman was leading the nation in blocks (106) and blocks per game (4.4) and ranked second in the Southeastern Conference in rebounding (9.5). He was also averaging 10.5 points per game for the Wildcats.

More High-Majors Showing Interest in Emmanuel Owootoah

According to Cordia High School head coach Rodrick Rhodes, several more high-major schools will be checking out 2013 point guard Emmanuel Owootoah this week.

"Kansas will be coming by practice today," Rhodes said in a phone conversation. "I'm texting with Kentucky right now. I'm not sure if they are coming today or not. I'm waiting to hear back."

Rhodes said coaches from Florida, Alabama, Villanova and Seton Hall will be watching Owootoah soon. He expects Florida, Seton Hall and Alabama to stop by Cordia games later this week.



Owootoah has exploded onto the high school basketball scene in Eastern Kentucky since being ruled eligible to compete at the KHSAA level. Most observers think Cordia has a legitimate chance to compete for the 14th Region title.

The Lions came up just short against Knott Central several weeks ago and will have a tough road test at Perry Central on Friday night.

"He has skills that can't be taught," Rhodes said of Owootoah. "His feel for the game and things. He knows how to control the game and dictate the tempo."

Wiltjer, Mays Talk About Loss at Florida, Nerlens Noel

Kentucky's Julius Mays and Kyle Wiltjer discuss last night's loss to Florida and Nerlens Noel's knee injury:

Kentucky to Wear Alternate Road Uniforms at Tennessee

Kentucky will wear alternate road uniforms for Saturday's game at Tennessee.

Here are details from UK:

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky will wear an alternate away uniform design for the Saturday, Feb. 16 contest at Tennessee. UK will suit up in blue Nike Hyper Elite jerseys and shorts as one of 12 select institutions chosen to wear commemorative uniforms on a one-time basis this season.

This marks the second time this season UK has participated in wearing an alternate uniform, as the Wildcats also opened the 2012-13 campaign against Maryland in commemorative home white uniforms. 

The Nike Hyper Elite jerseys and shorts offer lightweight performance through sustainable materials. A UK interlocking logo was inspired by Kentucky’s home court, appears on the jersey’s center chest. Nike dubs the look as a “piece of home away from home to wear with pride.” The back nameplate features iconic references to the team’s mascot and home crowd. The team is also slated to wear a Hyper Elite warm-up hoody for the first time as well.Gonzaga, Michigan State, Baylor, Villanova, Southern California, Ohio State and North Carolina have revealed the new designs. Coming up:

- Stanford Cardinal (Women): Feb. 15
- Georgetown Hoyas: Feb. 15
- Kentucky Wildcats: Feb. 16
- Duke Blue Devils: Feb. 16
- Texas Longhorns: Feb. 16
- Connecticut Huskies (Women): March 4

The UK at Tennessee game is set for a 1 p.m. ET tip and will air live on CBS.





UK Releases Statement About Nerlens Noel, X-rays Were Negative

The University of Kentucky has given an update on the condition of freshman center Nerlens Noel. X-rays or Noel's leg/knee showed no breaks. The school is awaiting results of an MRI.

Here is the statement from UK:

Last night’s x-rays on Nerlens Noel were negative. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI this morning. Further updates will be released when they’re available.

2014 Star Devin Booker Talks Recruiting, Comparisons to Steph Curry and More

Last week, I had the opportunity to watch 2014 star Devin Booker drop 43 points on Hattiesburg (MS) High School.

Booker, who just moved to No. 23 on the Scout.com list for 2014, is a 6-foot-4 combo guard at Moss Point (MS) High School.

I spoke to Booker tonight following Moss Point's 54-51 double overtime loss to Gautier High School.

Missouri assistant Tim Fuller was in attendance tonight to watch Booker score 35 of his team's 51 points.

After the game,  Booker was named Division 7-5A Basketball Most Valuable Player for this season.

Catching up with Devin Booker:

Devin, I know your recruitment has exploded in recent weeks. Can you give me an update and tell me the school's you've been hearing from?

My recruitment is getting hot right now. More schools are calling and making trips down here. I'm hearing from Michigan State, Missouri, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Michigan, Florida, Stanford, LSU and Mississippi State. All of those schools have been down here.

Do you have any sort of list at this point or are you still fielding interest and calls?

As of now, I'm stll letting schools come in. I'm totally open for now and at some point, I might make some cuts (15, 10, 5).

As I watched you knock down shot after shot the other night, I heard several people around me comparing you to NBA star Steph Curry. How do you respond to that comparison?

I do get that comparison a lot. I am a combo guard, but shooting is probably my best ability. I have improved a lot on my game off the bounce. That is something me and my dad have been working on. We work on basically everything...from post up to point guard. I have a great IQ for the game, which probably comes from being around my dad and basketball my whole life.

Tell me a little about your dad (Devin's dad is former Missouri star Melvin Booker)

My dad was an All-American at Missouri. The man loves basketball, which rubbed off on me. He is the best mentor to have. Not many kids get the chance to have a former pro around them 24-7. He's hard on me at times but I understand why. He asked me a while back if this is what I wanted and I told him yes. We have been at it ever since.

Which AAU team will you you be playing with this summer?

Alabama Challenge (EYBL)

Did any coaches catch your game tonight?

Missouri assistant coach Tim Fuller was at the game tonight.

I noticed during the game I watched that the other team literally tried everything to slow you down. You were double and even triple teamed most of the game. How do you feel about having that target on your back every night?

I'm use to the junk defenses now. I have been dealing with them since last year. I like being the one with the target on my back because it brings the best out of me and will help me on the next level.

Photo: Rivals.com

Booker drops 43 points on Hattiesburg High School:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Herald-Leader Photo of Nerlens Noel's Knee is Just Ugly

The photographer from the Lexington Herald-Leader snapped a photo of Nerlens Noel that would seem to illustrate Big Blue Nation's worst fears.

I will warn you that the photo at the link below is somewhat graphic and shouldn't be clicked on if you have a difficult time looking at legs bending in ways they aren't supposed to bend:

http://www.kentucky.com/2013/02/12/2514279/game-action-uk-at-florida.html

While the photo is perhaps the ugliest injury I have seen since Edgar Sosa's leg injury two summer's ago (or Marcus Lattimore's injury during the college football season), there is no official word on the extent of the injury. Sometimes these things can appear worse than they actually are and I certainly hope and pray that is the case for Nerlens.

John Calipari Talks About Loss at Florida and Nerlens Noel

Here is Kentucky head coach John Calipari talking to the media following his team's loss at Florida earlier tonight:



The University of Kentucky has released the following update on Noel:

Nerlens Noel underwent further tests at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida. He will fly back to Lexington with the team. We will update you as more details come available.

Florida Cruises Past Kentucky, Cats Lose Noel to Knee Injury

(7) Florida 69
(25) Kentucky 52

Final form Gainesville, Florida

No. 7 Florida took control of the game midway through the first half and never looked back as they rolled past No. 25 Kentucky 69-52 tonight in Gainesville.

The Gators (20-3, 10-1 SEC) led 18-15 with 7:40 to play in the first half. From there, Billy Donovan's team went on a 14-4 run to extend the lead and Kentucky was never able to get back in the game.

Scottie Wilbekin led a balanced scoring attack for Florida with 14 points and 8 assists. Patric Young, Mike Rosario and Casey Prather added 12 points each. Erik Murphy chipped in 10.

Willey Cauley-Stein and Julius Mays led Kentucky (17-7, 8-3) with 10 points each. Nerlens Noel had 8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks before leaving with a scary-looking knee injury.

Noel was jumped in the air to attempt a blocked shot on a Florida fast break and appeared to land awkwardly under the basket. He immediately went to the floor clutching his left knee and screaming in pain. Eventually the big freshman was carried off the court by teammates and likely sent to a local hospital for examination. No details have been released at this time.

The young Wildcats struggled on the road against the more-experienced Gators. Kentucky finished with 11 assists and 17 turnovers while Florida had 17 assists and 10 turnovers.

Nerlens Noel Leaves Game with Apparent Knee Injury

Kentucky freshman star Nerlens Noel had to be carried off the court by his teammates moments ago during UK's game at Florida.

Noel chased a defender down the court and appeared to land awkwardly under the basket. He immediately started screaming in pain while clutching his left knee.

We will report more when an update is given...

Goodwin, Wiltjer Talk About Tonight's Game at Florida

Kentucky's Archie Goodwin and Kyle Wiltjer talk about tonight's difficult road test at Florida:

Surprise Wedding Proposal at Kentucky Wesleyan Game

Watch as former Kentucky Wesleyan women's basketball star Leslie Warren gets a big surprise while being recognized between games on Saturday:



Warren commented, “On Saturday afternoon, at center court where I tipped off many basketball games, I received the greatest gift ever...my future teammate for life! He has brought so much excitement to my life and I'm looking forward to becoming the future Mrs. Evans.”

Team Manimal AAU Announces Summer Schedule

The Team Manimal AAU program has announced their game and practice schedule for the upcoming spring and summer.

Team Manimal: Summer Game Schedule 2013


1. Knoxvegas Heat Invitational- April 12-14

- Location: Knoxville, TN
2. Spring Slam Classic- April 19-21rst

- Location: Lexington, KY
3. Adidas Spring Classic- April 26-28th

- Location: Indianapolis, IN

4. Adidas May Classic- May 10-12th

- Location: Indianapolis, IN

5. Kentucky State Tournament- May 17-19

- Lexington, Ky

6. National Gear-Up Tourney- May 31-June 2nd

- Location: Indianapolis, IN

7. Adidas Invitational- July 10-14th

- Location: Indianapolis, IN

8. Eddie Ford-Round Robin Tourney-

July 15th-16th

-Location: Louisville, KY
9. Eddie Ford Kentucky Hoop-Fest-

July 17th-21rst

- Location: Louisville, KY
Last Tournament of Summer is National Tournament!!!

Buena Vista, Florida July 25-31rst

Practice Schedule

1. March 25 Time: 6-730pm - Informational - Open Gym
2. March 27 Time: 6-730pm
3. March 29 Time: 6-730pm
4. April 1rst Time: 6-730pm
5. April 3rd Time: 6-730pm - Scrimmage St. Catharine
6. April 5th Time: 6-730pm - Scrimmage ECTC
7. April 10th Time: 6-730pm

• All Practices will be conducted at:

Saint Catharine Gymnasium
2735 Bardstown Road
Saint Catharine, Ky 40061

Coaches:

(HC)- Maze Stallworth (Cell)- (502) 550-1692 - Assistant Saint Catharine College
(AC)- Ty Proffitt (Cell)- (606) 309-5355
(AC) – Matt Taylor (Cell)- (606) 424-9727 - Associate Head Coach Univ. of Pikeville

Campbellsville University Signs Scott County's Quin Richardson

Campbellsville University and head coach Keith Adkins have signed Scott County High School star Quin Richardson for next season.

Richardson leads Scott County in scoring (18.8 PPG) and assists (3.1 APG) this season.

Here is a release from CU:

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University has picked up its second high school signee for the 2013-14 season, men's basketball head coach Keith Adkins announced Wednesday.


Scott County High School point guard Quin Richardson recently signed with the Tigers, after helping lead the Cardinals to the Kentucky state championship game last season.

Richardson currently leads Scott County in scoring with 18.8 points per game, assists with 3.1 per game and in 3-point shooting, hitting 41 percent from beyond the arc. He is also an 84 percent free throw shooter and averages 3.0 rebounds per game.

"In Quin Richardson, we have signed one of the top guards in the state of Kentucky. I don't think that there is a better pure point guard in the senior class," Adkins said. "There are a lot of things that I see in Quin that will make him an outstanding player at the college level. Having played at Scott County High School, he has played on the biggest stages that a high school kid can play on. He has played for a state championship, he has played in national tournaments against the best players in the country, and he has been the leader of those teams.

"He has adapted from being a pure point guard as a junior to being the premier scorer on this year's team. I love his toughness and his leadership qualities. Having played for one the greats in Coach Billy Hicks, I know he will step into the college game and be ready to play immediately. We have had Scott County players before and we currently have one on our coaching staff. I know that they have a great understanding of the game and they are great competitors."

Complete Release

John Calipari Previews Kentucky's Game at Florida

Kentucky head coach John Calipari previews tonight's game at Florida:

Single Session Tickets Available for OVC Tournament

Single session tickets for the 2013 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament are now on sale.

Here are details from the OVC:

Single session tickets for the 2013 Ohio Valley Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championship are now on sale.


Fans can purchase single session tickets ONLY through Ticketmaster, Ticketmaster.com and Municipal Auditorium (615-862-6390).

All single session tickets are general admission. For men's sessions the single session tickets will be available for the balcony level and baseline mezzanine seats and are $30 apiece. All tickets for women's sessions are general admissions and are $15 each.

The OVC Taco Bell Fan Package is also available through Friday, Feb. 22. The package includes one (1) all-session general admission ticket, one (1) tournament t-shirt, one (1) official game program and a $10 Taco Bell gift card. The price per package is $85.

To purchase a Taco Bell Fan Package download the ORDER FORM and send it back to the OVC office. The forms must be postmarked by Feb. 22. Tickets will be mailed in February and will include vouchers to pick up your t-shirt, gift card and program at Municipal Auditorium during the tournament.

Also now on sale now through Feb. 22 is the OVC Taco Bell Family Package. The package includes four (4) single-session general admission tickets, two (2) official game programs and a $10 Taco Bell gift card for $40. The package is available only for the women's sessions of the tournament (Sessions 1, 3, 5 and 7).

To purchase a Taco Bell Family Package download the ORDER FORM and send it back to the OVC office. The forms must be postmarked by Feb. 22. Tickets will be mailed in February and will include vouchers to pick up your t-shirt, gift card and program at Municipal Auditorium during the tournament.

Scout.com Releases Updated 2014 Rankings

Scout.com has released their updated class of 2014 recruiting rankings. As expected, Kentucky is involved with almost every five-star player in the nation.

Here's a look at the new top 10:

C 1 Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young Magnet HS) Chicago, IL 6-9/255 Arizona, Arkansas, DePaul, Duke, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Wisconsin

PG 2 Tyus Jones (Apple Valley Sr.) Apple Valley, MN 6-0/175 Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio State, UCLA

PG 3 Emmanuel Mudiay (Prime Prep Academy) Dallas, TX 6-3/180 Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M

PF 4 Trey Lyles (Arsenal Technical HS) Indianapolis, IN 6-9/210 Butler, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Louisville, UCLA

C 5 Cliff Alexander (Curie Metropolitan HS) Chicago, IL 6-9/230 Kentucky, Michigan State, DePaul, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, Memphis, Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue, Tennessee, Wisconsin

PF 6 Chris McCullough (Brewster Academy) Wolfeboro, NH 6-9/205 Committed to Syracuse

PF 7 Kevon Looney (Hamilton HS) Milwaukee, WI 6-8/195 Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Louisville, Marquette, Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, Texas, Villanova, Wisconsin

C 8 Karl Towns (St. Joseph HS) Metuchen, NJ 6-10/225 Committed to Kentucky

SF 9 Justise Winslow (St. John's School) Houston, TX 6-6/210 Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Duke, Florida, Harvard, Houston, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Rice, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, Villanova, Washington

SF 10 Justin Jackson (Homeschool Christian Youth) Spring, TX 6-6/175 Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Virginia, Washington

Some Other Notables:
  11. D'Angelo Russell 12. Jaquan Lyle 13. Rashad Vaughn
17. Stanley Johnson
18. Theo Pinson 20. Leron Black
23. Devin Booker 24. Quentin Snider (Ballard High School)
25. Jalen Lindsey
97. Shane Halle (Johnson Central High School)

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