Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ashland's Christian Villers Signs with Kentucky Christian University

Ashland guard Christian Villers recently signed with Kentucky Christian University for 2016-17.

Here are details from KCU:

All-Area perimeter player, Christian Villers, from Ashland Blazer High School has signed with the Knights for the 2016 season.

KCU head coach Grady Lowe had this to say about his latest commitment, "Christian is a terrific scorer and is an extremely basketball-wise player. His signing caps off a very good spring recruiting time for the Knights program and is the final piece to the puzzle for the 2016 class. We just got better!"

Pictured with Christian are Coach Lowe and his mother Leigh Villers.

Jamal Murray Officially Signs Rookie Contract with Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets have officially signed three draft picks, including former Kentucky guard Jamal Murray.

The team also announced Tuesday that Murray will wear jersey #27.

Here a release from NBA.com:

DENVER, August 1, 2016 – The Denver Nuggets have signed guard Jamal Murray, forward Juancho Hernangomez and guard Malik Beasley to multi-year contracts, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Murray, 6-4, 207, was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 7th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

The 19-year-old appeared in five games (all starts) for the Nuggets at the 2016 Summer League in Las Vegas, averaging 19.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 29.5 minutes per game. Among players that played at least five games, Murray ranked fourth in scoring while also tallying three straight games of 20+ points.

Murray played one season for the Kentucky Wildcats in 2015-16, appearing in 36 games and averaging 20.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 40.8% from three-point range.

Complete Release

Brescia University Adds Kayode Daboiku to Recruiting Class

Brescia University has added Kayode Daboiku from Winton Woods (OH) High School to the 2016 recruiting class.

Here are details from BU:

Head Coach Brian Skortz has announced the signing of 6'5" Kayode Daboiku from Winton Woods HS in Cincinnati. Daboiku is a versatile player who runs the floor well and can protect the rim. "We are excited to get Kayode to committed to us. He will bring a physical inside presence and can run the floor in transition. He is coming off a knee injury as a senior but he is fully recovered and ready to go. He will help us both inside the paint with his scoring but also with his ability to rebound the basketball." stated Coach Skortz. Daboiku avg 10.3 ppg and shoot 50% from the field as a junior.

Former UPIKE Grad Assistant Bradlee Yoder Lands Job on Staff at Bethany College

Former University of Pikeville graduate assistant Bradlee Yoder has been hired to the staff at Bethany College.

Yoder will work as an assistant coach at Bethany, and NAIA program in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Here is a release from Bethany:

INDSBORG, Kan. – The Swedes Men's Basketball program announces the hiring of Bradlee Yoder as the program assistant coach. Yoder comes to Bethany from the University of Pikeville in Pikeville, Ky. a NAIA division one program where he was a graduate assistant for the men's basketball program for two years and a student assistant for two years before that.

"I am blessed to be able to continue my coaching career at such a tremendous institution as Bethany College. I think it is a tremendous time to be a Swede and look forward to working with Coach Oleen," Yoder said.

Head Coach Clair Oleen said of Yoder; "We are pleased to have Coach Bradlee Yoder join our coaching staff here at Bethany College. Coach joins us from the University of Pikeville in Kentucky which has been a very prominent NAIA D1 basketball program with National Tournament appearances in each of the four years that Coach Yoder was part of their staff.

While in Kentucky, Yoder assisted and headed numerous activities within the program. This included; opponent scouting, assisting in fundraising, handled the primary scheduling duties including game guarantees, planning practice and game prep, and running day to day operations for the team.

Yoder helped coach the team to Mid-South Conference regular season and tournament titles in the 2013-14 season and a regular season title in the 2014-15 season. Yoder also helped coached thirteen all-conference players, twelve All-Americans and three consecutive conference players of the year.

Yoder obtained a bachelor's in 2015 in history and political science and a masters in 2016 in business administration both from University of Pikeville.

"Coach Yoder comes to us with high recommendations from Coach Kelly Wells of UPike as well as from other coaches in the Mid-South Conference. Coach Yoder succeeds Erik Shupe who did a great job for us this past season. Coach Shupe will still do some volunteer work for Bethany Basketball in the areas of Kansas recruiting, opponent scouting and game planning as he more closely follows his four daughter's athletic exploits and continues to grow his very successful business in Minneapolis, Kan.," Coach Oleen said.

Former EKU Forward Greg King Transfers to Niagara University

Former Eastern Kentucky forward Greg King has transferred to Niagara University. 

King will have to sit out the 2016-17 season under NCAA transfer rules.

Here is a release from Niagara:

NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – Niagara University men's basketball head coach Chris Casey has announced the addition of forward Greg King to the program.

"Greg will add strength and athleticism around the basket to our program," Casey said. "He is a very active rebounder and defender. His game will continue to develop during this coming redshirt season and we look forward to Greg's impact on our program."

King spent the 2015-16 season as a member of the Eastern Kentucky Colonel basketball team. King saw action in 23 games, while starting in two, and averaged 3.0 points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game. King's second start was at West Virginia where he scored seven points and grabbed a career-high six rebounds while playing in a career-high 29 minutes.

King played one season at Chipola College, an NJCAA program in Marianna, Fla., where he averaged 6.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game; he also made the Dean's List. King played high school basketball at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Lithonia, Ga. and was named DeKalb County Tip-Off Club Player of the year in 2012 and 2013.

Complete Release

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Morehead State Lands Commitment from Malik Winston

Morehead State has picked up a commitment from Dundalk (Md.) High School graduate Malik Winston.

The 6-foot-4 Winston averaged 21 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists for Dundalk as a senior.

Here are more details from The Baltimore Sun:

That all changed “about a week or so ago” when the Morehead State coaching staff reached out to Winston. He committed to the Eagles on Monday night.

“It kind of feels unreal that I’m going to be playing Division I ball,” Winston said Tuesday. “It hasn’t really hit me yet. I think when I get on campus, it will. Right now, it’s crazy. It’s a good feeling. I’m excited.”

Winston, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound combo guard, averaged 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Dundalk as a senior, leading the Owls to an 18-6 record and an appearance in the Class 3A North Section II playoffs. His high school success and his performance with Crusader Nation in previous springs and summers led to college interest from a variety of Division III programs.

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E.J. Floreal Will No Longer Play for Kentucky Basketball Program

Senior guard E.J. Floreal has decided to leave the UK men's basketball team to join the track and field program.

Floreal will have two seasons to compete in track and field at Kentucky.

Here's a release from UK:

LEXINGTON, Ky. – EJ Floréal announced Tuesday his intent to compete for the Kentucky track and field program, which is coached by his father Edrick Sr.

Floréal played on the Kentucky men’s basketball team the past three years. An elite athlete with a decorated prep career on the track, Floréal will have two years of eligibility remaining in track and field. He will no longer play on the Kentucky basketball team.

“First of all I just want to thank Coach Calipari, my coaches and my teammates for the opportunity I’ve had the last three years,” EJ Floréal said. “One of my goals was to play alongside the best players in the country and to grow and develop, and I think I’ve done that.

“Sometimes other opportunities come along. I want to use my athleticism to truly excel, and after seeing what my dad has done with his track and field athletes, I felt like this was my best chance to be the best version of myself. I want to make something clear: This was completely my decision and my decision alone.

“I know this transition won’t be easy, but I was bred for this. As much as I love basketball, track is in my blood. I’m excited for the next step.”

In Floréal’s senior season of high school track and field – his only season competing in Kentucky as he previously lived in Palo Alto, California – he finished fourth in the 100 meters and third in the 200m at the State Championships. He won the Lexington City and Region Championships in the 100m and 200m in 2013.

As a high-school junior, Floréal placed fourth in the 100m and third in the 200m at the 2012 California Championships.

“I’m looking forward to having EJ on the team and watching him reach his potential,” Coach Floréal said. “I’m thankful to Coach Calipari for giving him an opportunity to play basketball at UK.”

Floréal’s basketball career at Kentucky will come to an end after three NCAA Tournament appearances, trips to the 2014 and 2015 Final Fours, and Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament championships in 2015 and 2016. He was a two-time SEC Honor Roll member. He played 29 games in three seasons, and tallied three points, two steals, a block and eight rebounds at UK.

“I’m really happy for EJ and this opportunity to run for his father, who is one of the best in the world at what he does,” UK men’s basketball head coach John Calipari said. “EJ has elite athleticism and I’m happy for him that he’ll truly get a chance to shine. I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication to our basketball program. He was a great teammate, he improved immensely over the last three years and he was a big part of our success.”

While Coach Floréal has been head coach at UK, Wildcat athletes have won five individual NCAA Championships, earned 81 All-America honors, 27 Individual SEC Championships, had four Academic All-Americans and 46 all-academic selections. Additionally, Floréal's Wildcats have broken the school record for NCAA Championships finish four times.

As a personal coach, he has mentored and trained 11 athletes at the Olympic Games (Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, Leah Nugent, Rondel Sorrillo, Grace Upshaw, Jackie Edwards, Amaechi Morton, Arantxa King, Toby Stevenson [2004 silver medal] , Erica McLain, Ian Thompson) including three (Camacho-Quinn, Nugent and Sorrillo) at the 2016 Rio Games.

Notably he coached Kendra Harrison to breaking the 28-year-old world record in the 100-meter hurdles (12.20) at the 2016 London Anniversary Games. Harrison is the fastest combination hurdler in history with PRs of 12.20 in the 100m hurdles and 54.09 in the 400m hurdles.

EJ Floréal’s parents were both decorated athletes in their time as elite competitors.

Floréal Sr. graduated from Arkansas in 1990. He captured five NCAA triple jump titles and four NCAA team championships. He also competed for Canada at the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympic Games. He was the 1990 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medalist in the triple jump.

EJ Floréal’s mother is LaVonna Martin-Floréal, the 1992 Olympic silver medalist in the 100m hurdles. She won three individual NCAA Championships, and eight SEC Championships as a Tennessee hurdler and sprinter.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Eloy Vargas Named Player of the Week in Dominican Republic League

Former Kentucky big man Eloy Vargas has been named Latinbasket.com Player of the Week for the Dominican Republic's LNB league.

Vargas had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Metros STGO in an 85-79 win over Indios SFM.

Here are details from Latinbasket.com:

Center Eloy Vargas (211-C-88) put on an amazing game in the last round for top-ranked Metros STGO, receiving a Latinbasket.com Player of the Week award for round 17. The 28-year old player had a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while his team beat Indios SFM (#7, 4-12) 85-79. It allowed Metros STGO to consolidate first place in the Dominican Rep. LNB. Metros STGO have a solid 15-2 record. Vargas turned to be Metros STGO's top player in his first season with the team. Former University of Kentucky star has very solid stats this year. Vargas is in league's top in rebounds (2nd best: 9.9rpg) and averages impressive 1.3bpg and 54.2% FGP.

Television Schedule Set for 2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge

The television schedule has been announced for the 2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Kentucky will host Kansas at 6:00 p.m. ET on January 28. The game will be televised live on ESPN.

Here is a release with the full schedule:

Birmingham, Ala. – ESPN announced the television network designations and start times for the fourth annual Big 12/SEC Challenge Presented by Sonic on Monday.

Seven of the 10 games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 and three games will air on ESPNU. All 10 games will also be available via WatchESPN.

ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm – the Saturday roadshow that discusses the top storylines of the college basketball season – will originate from one of the Challenge games.

All 10 of the Big 12’s teams and 10 of the SEC’s 14 member institutions will participate in this year’s event. Each of the 10 SEC teams that participated in the 2016 Challenge are playing in the 2017 event.

Twelve participating teams earned postseason berths in 2016 and seven of the 10 games will feature at least one team that participated in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

This will be the second year that a bye in the league schedule for participating teams was created to accommodate the single-day format. The four SEC teams not participating will play each other in conference games the same day. The first two years of the challenge were played over several days in November and December but the 2017 event will be consolidated to one single day in January.

2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic (January 28, 2017):

ESPN, 12p ET, Texas A&M at West Virginia
ESPN, 2p ET, Florida at Oklahoma
ESPN2, 2p ET, Kansas State at Tennessee
ESPNU, 2p ET, LSU at Texas Tech
ESPN, 4p ET, Texas at Georgia
ESPN2, 4p ET, Iowa State at Vanderbilt
ESPNU, 4p ET, Arkansas at Oklahoma State
ESPN, 6p ET, Kansas at Kentucky
ESPN2, 6p ET, Baylor at Ole Miss
ESPNU, 6p ET, Auburn at TCU

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