Friday, May 6, 2016

Four Kentucky Players Will Participate in NBA Draft Combine Next Week

Four University of Kentucky players will participate in next week's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. 

Skal Labissiere, Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis were all expected to participate in the event. They will be joined by junior Marcus Lee, who was originally tabbed as an alternate.

Isaiah Briscoe did not earn an invite to the event, which is a multi-day showcase where 63 attendees workout for NBA personnel.

By participating in the event, Lee seems likely to keep his name in the Draft. He will officially have until May 25 to withdraw and stay in college for another season.

Here's a release from UK:

CHICAGO – Leading up to what looks to be another Wildcat-heavy NBA Draft, four Kentucky men’s basketball players – Skal Labissiere, Marcus Lee, Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis – are set to participate in the annual NBA Draft Combine in Chicago next week. All four players were on the official 63-man attendee list that the NBA released Thursday.

The NBA Combine, which will take place May 11-15, is a multi-day showcase where some of the world’s best draft-eligible players will participate in physical measurements, interviews, drills, medical and athletic testing, and scrimmages in front of NBA personnel. NBA coaches, general managers and scouts will be on hand to assess individual players in preparation for the annual NBA Draft, to be held June 23 this year at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Athletes attend by invitation only from the NBA based on the feedback and requests from the 30 NBA teams. Some of Kentucky’s most recent departures have participated in the NBA Combine and gone on to successful NBA Draft nights and promising professional careers.

Of the four Wildcats who are expected to participate in next week’s combine, three – Labissiere, Murray and Ulis – have either signed with an agent or announced their intentions to sign with an agent, which would effectively end their careers at Kentucky.

Under new NCAA rules, underclassmen can now “test the waters” by declaring for the NBA Draft, participating in the NBA Combine and working out for individual teams. Players have until 10 days after the conclusion of the NBA Combine to retain their college eligibility so long as they don’t hire an agent. Lee, who has not hired an agent, is the only Wildcat who is participating in the NBA Combine who falls under that criteria.

ESPN2 will televise parts of the NBA Combine on Thursday and Friday.

Labissiere is coming off a year in which he flashed signs of elite potential. The native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, appeared in all 36 games with 18 starts, averaging 6.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in his lone season at Kentucky. His 1.6 blocks per game ranked seventh in the SEC, and he blocked three or more shots nine times during the year. Labissiere shot 51.6 percent from the field.

The 6-foot-11, 225-pound forward had several standout performances during his freshman campaign. He scored in double figures in four of his first six career games and posted a career-high 26 points in his second career game.

Lee enjoyed the best season of his Kentucky career during his junior campaign where he boasted career highs in points, rebounds, blocks and assists. He shot a team-best 68.0 percent from the floor, the best single-season field-goal percentage in school history with a minimum of 150 attempts. His 6.0 rebounds per game average ranked tops on the team and he led the team in blocked shots a team-high 18 times.

A two-time Southeastern Conference Community Service Team member, Lee recently concluded participation in the 2016 NCAA Leadership Forum where he was the SEC’s male representative at the weekend-long conference.

Murray was one of the nation’s best scorers all season long and led the Wildcats in scoring at 20.0 points per game, which is the highest individual scoring average at Kentucky in the John Calipari era. He earned a plethora of postseason accolades, including Associated Press Third Team All-America honors as well as All-Southeastern Conference First Team recognition by both the AP and the league’s coaches.

The Kitchener, Ontario, native was tabbed a freshman All-American by Sporting News and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. With 720 points this season, Murray owns the school’s freshman single-season scoring record, surpassing Brandon Knight (657 points in 2010-11). He posted three 30-point games this season, the most by a freshman in school history

Ulis set the UK-single-season mark for assists in a season with 246, second all-time in the SEC. Ulis was both an elite distributor and proficient scorer in his sophomore campaign, becoming the only player in league history with at least 606 points and at least 246 assists. He was one of only four players in the country this season to average at least 17.3 points and at least 7.0 assists per game. He ranked sixth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.6) and seventh in assists per game (7.0). Among his most noteworthy achievements this season, Ulis had a stretch of 28 straight games with four or more assists, easily a school record.

The Chicago native has the single-season school record for most 20-point, five-assist games with 14, and according to the SEC Network, his three 20-point, 10-assist games this season are the most of any SEC player in the last 20 seasons. For his efforts, Ulis was tabbed a consensus first-team All-American, the shortest consensus first-team All-American since Pittsburgh’s Don Hennon (5-9) in 1958. Among his many honors, he won SEC Player of the Year and the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award.

For the latest on the Kentucky men's basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at

Northern Kentucky Adds Chris Shumate, Tim Morris to Coaching Staff

Northern Kentucky head coach John Brannen has added Chris Shumate and Tim Morris to his coaching staff.

Shumate and Morris replace Ronald Nored and David Ragland on the staff.

Ragland left to take a job on Matt Lottich's staff at Valparaiso.

Nored departed to become head coach of the Brooklyn Nets' new NBA Development League affiliate, the Long Island Nets.

Shumate comes over to NKU from Western Kentucky. Before that, he worked for Donnie Tynall at Tennessee.

"I am excited to have Chris and his family join our program here at NKU," Brannen said in a press release. "Chris brings a wealth of experience as a coach and a recruiter. His energy and enthusiasm in building relationships and developing student-athletes will be instrumental as we continue our rise in the Horizon League."

Morris worked most recently on Eric Musselman's staff at Nevada. There he served as Director of Player Development.

"I want to welcome Tim and his wife Morgan to our basketball family here at NKU," said Brannen. "Tim is a tremendous addition to our staff; he is extremely intelligent, hard working and understands what it means to be apart of a successful organization. I had the honor of working with Tim at Alabama for several years. Tim's experience as a student-athlete at Stanford and Washington will be a great model for our young men."

UK AD Mitch Barnhart Named to NCAA Division I Basketball Committee

The University of Kentucky will now have a representative on the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.

UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart has been named to the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee. That committee annually selects the 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament.

Here is a release from UK:

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Mitch Barnhart has been chosen as a member of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee – the body that annually selects the 68-team NCAA Tournament field – the NCAA announced on Friday.

“This opportunity to serve is a tremendous honor and I am humbled to receive it,” Barnhart said. “The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee is tasked with setting the field for one of the greatest events in all of sports and I am eager to contribute to that process. I respect my new fellow committee members a great deal and look forward to working with them, as well as (NCAA vice president of men’s basketball championships) Dan Gavitt.”

Barnhart joins the 10-member committee with a five-year appointment, the latest example of Kentucky’s athletics director playing an important leadership role in the national landscape of college sports. He is currently a member of the NCAA Division I Management Council and the chairman of the NCAA Competition Oversight Committee in addition to serving on the SEC Network Content Committee. He also previously served on the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee.

Membership on the committee continues an impressive string of accomplishments in 2015 and 2016 for Barnhart, currently in his 14th year at UK. He was named NCAA Division I Athletics Director of the Year last June at the annual convention of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, making him one of four Division I ADs selected for the honor. A month earlier, Barnhart was one of four finalists for the Athletics Director of the Year award as chosen by the SportsBusiness Journal. That February, Barnhart received the Sports Business Award from the Bluegrass Sports Commission

The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee is responsible for selecting, seeding and bracketing the field for the NCAA Tournament. School and conference administrators are nominated by their conference and represent a cross-section of the Division I membership.

Committee members spend countless hours evaluating teams during the regular season. They are expected to be experts on the teams within their assigned conferences while maintaining a broad-based knowledge of Division I basketball.

The committee will be chaired in 2016-17 by Mark Hollis, the director of athletics at Michigan State University. Other committee members include Janet Cone, the director of athletics at the University of North Carolina Asheville; Tom Holmoe, the director of athletics at Brigham Young University; Bernard Muir, the director of athletics at Stanford University; Bruce Rasmussen, the director of athletics at Creighton University; Peter Roby, the director of athletics at Northeastern University; Jim Schaus, the director of athletics at Ohio University; Kevin White, the director of athletics at Duke University; and Jim Sterk, the director of athletics at San Diego State University.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Antwavon "Pig" Williams Will Play at Conrad Basketball Academy Next Season

Mason County's Antwavon "Pig" Williams plans to play at Conrad Basketball Academy in Orlando, Florida next season.

Williams averaged 19.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the Royals last season. He led the team to a 10th Region championship but was suspended for the state tournament due to a violation of school rules.

Knott County BOE Decides to Let Rod Rhodes Go at Cordia

The Knott County Board of Education has decided to let head coach Rod Rhodes go at Cordia. 

According to WYMT, Rhodes' contract will not be renewed for next season.

Cordia won the All A Classic state championship last season and finished 15-10.

The Lions are coming off a two-year postseason ban that was issued by the KHSAA.

My thoughts: This feels like an odd move by the BOE. I would have understood letting Rhodes go several years ago when they were punished by the KHSAA. Why stand behind the coach this long, then let him go when his team is finally eligible (and likely favored) to win the 14th Region? Perhaps there is more to the story.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

President Bill Clinton Visits UK and John Calipari

Former President Bill Clinton stopped by to visit UK and John Calipari during his time in Kentucky yesterday.

Former UK players Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker spent some time with President Clinton.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mercer County's Alijah Mink Commits to St. Catharine College

Mercer County's Alijah Mink has committed to play basketball at St. Catharine College. 

Mink averaged 6.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game for the Titans last season.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Taveion Hollingsworth Earns Offer from St. Louis University

Paul Laurence Dunbar junior Taveion Hollingsworth has earned an offer from St. Louis University and new head coach Travis Ford.

Hollingsworth, who will likely be one of the favorites to win Kentucky Mr. Basketball next season, now holds offers from St. Louis, Morehead State, ETSU, Eastern Kentucky, Winthrop and Samford.

Briscoe, Lee and Poythress Are Alternates for NBA Draft Combine

Former Kentucky players Tyler Ulis, Skal Labissiere and Jamal Murray have received invitations to attend the NBA Draft Combine later this month in Chicago.

Isaiah Briscoe, Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress are listed as alternates for the event.

Poythress, of course, is a senior and will have to take the cards as they fall leading up to the NBA Draft in June.

Briscoe and Lee, however, have until May 25 to pull their names out of the Draft and return to college.

Several mock drafts have Briscoe and Lee going undrafted if they remain in the field.

Holy Cross Guard Tyler Bezold Will Walk-on at West Virginia

Holy Cross guard Tyler Bezold, the son of former NKU head coach Dave Bezold, has announced that he will attend West Virginia University next season as a walk-on.

Bezold averaged 15.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game as a senior at Holy Cross. The Indians were 23-9 last season.

Morehead State Guard Corban Collins is Headed to Alabama

Morehead State graduate transfer Corban Collins will play his senior season at Alabama.

Collins averaged 11.0 points and 3.0 assists per game for Morehead State last season. He missed 7 games due to injuries.

As a graduate transfer, Collins is eligible to compete immediately for the Crimson Tide.

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