Friday, September 16, 2016

Former UK Player Charles Hurt Passes Away After Battle with Cancer

Former University of Kentucky basketball player Charles Hurt has passed away following a battle with cancer at the age of 55.

Kentucky Recruit Wendell Carter is Visiting Harvard This Weekend and They Actually Have a Shot

Kentucky recruit Wendell Carter, one of the nation's top players in the Class of 2017, is visiting Harvard this weekend and the visit shouldn't be considered a joke.

According to his parents, Harvard is legitimately in play for the 6-foot-10 Carter.

Here's an excerpt from Fox Sports:

While college basketball recruiting isn't generally a story we'd pay close attention to this time of year, there is one major reason we are talking about it today: The nation's top recruit, a 6-foot-10 forward who will almost certainly play just one year of college basketball is taking a visit to the least likely place.


Yes, Harvard.

It's an improbable story, especially when you consider Carter's other college choices. They're all the same schools you'd expect a five-star, one-and-done prospect to consider: Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and a handful of others.

But if you think this is some kind of lark, or that Carter and his family are simply taking the visit for a PR stunt, think again.

Complete Article

2016 John Calipari Coaches' Clinic Set for October 29

The 2016 John Calipari Coaches' Clinic will be held October 29 at the Joe Craft Center on the campus of UK.

Here are details from UK:

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 2016 John Calipari Coaches’ Clinic has been set for Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Joe Craft Center on the campus of the University of Kentucky. Last year’s clinic was sold out, so early registration is encouraged to reserve a spot.
The day-long event, intended for male and female coaches, gives a unique look into the coaching philosophies and strategies that Calipari uses in guiding the eight-time national championship basketball program at Kentucky. Included in this year’s clinic will be a chance to tour the Joe Craft Center and the training facilities used by the Wildcats, with staff members available to answer questions.
Attendees will be given exclusive access to watch Coach Calipari and his staff conduct practice with the 2016-17 Wildcats. There will be opportunities to ask questions to Coach Calipari and his staff after practice.
The cost of the clinic is $100. Registration will close on Oct. 28, so please secure your spot for this year’s clinic early through the online registration link or at
Check-in for the 2016 Coaches’ Clinic will be from 9-10 a.m. in the lobby of the Joe Craft Center.
Parking will be available only in the E lot located on the north side of the Joe Craft Center. Attendees must park in a legal parking spot in the E lots only (parking in R lots is not permitted).
Please note that participants of recruiting age (males or females currently in the 7th-12th grade, junior college or prep school) are not permitted to register for or attend the clinic.
Registration is available online and any clinic related questions can be called into the men’s basketball camp line at 859-257-9457 or 859-257-1916.
Cancellation policy: A $15 processing fee will be deducted from any cancellations that result in a refund.
For the latest on the Kentucky men’s basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, and on the web
9-10 a.m. – Check-in/registration
10-10:15 a.m. – Welcome/Coach Cal introduction
10:15-11:45 a.m. – UK assistants instruction
11:45 a.m.-noon – Pre-practice/stretch
12:15-2:45 p.m. – Practice
3-3:30 p.m. – Q&A with UK staff
3:30-4 p.m. – Closing remarks
*Clinic schedule/speakers subject to change

Matt Taylor Named Director of Operations at Nicholls State

Former Caverna High School head coach Matt Taylor has been hired as Director of Operations on Richie Riley's staff at Nicholls State.

Taylor was previously the head coach at St. Catharine College and an assistant at University of Pikeville.

Here's a release from NSU:

THIBODAUX, La. – Nicholls State University men's basketball head coach Richie Riley announced Tuesday the addition of Matthew Taylor as director of operations.

Taylor comes to Nicholls after stints as head coach at St. Catharine College and head recruiting coordinator at NAIA powerhouse University of Pikeville. Taylor helped guide the Pikeville Bears to back-to-back Mid South Conference Championships, as well as the program's best single season in team history (31-3). The two programs reached the postseason a total of three times with UPIKE making two appearances in the NAIA National Tournament, while St. Catharine made the tournament once. He also played a key role as an assistant coach / head recruiting coordinator at Union College (2009-10) and St. Catharine College (2010 and 2012).

In the recruiting circuit, Taylor has been responsible for signing 28 NCAA Division I transfers, including a national and co-national player of the year and three conference players of the year. Among the transfers, 25 went on to earn either all-conference and all-American recognition, highlighted by No. 1 one prospect Jamar "Deuce" Briscoe.

"I have known Matt for nine years and we worked together at the University of Pikeville. He brings a wealth of knowledge from his experience as a head coach at St. Catharine and I love the energy he is going to bring to our program," Riley said. "He is not only passionate about being the best coach that he can be, but also mentoring our student-athletes to be great both on and off the court. I have always considered Matt to be family and I am thrilled to have him on our staff."

Before coaching at the college ranks, Taylor served as head coach of Caverna High School (Ky.) for one season. While there, he coached the nation's leading scorer - Mr. Basketball runner-up Mason Faulkner, and guided the Colonels to a district championship.

An all-region basketball player at Fleming Neon High, Taylor continued his career at NCAA Division II Virginia Wise where he played three seasons before transferring. He went on to graduate from Alice Lloyd College in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in history. Taylor earned a master's in education from Union College in 2011 and is currently pursuing a second master's in business.

"I am incredibly excited to be a part of Nicholls State University and Coach Riley's staff. I have known Coach Riley for years, I have always admired and looked to him as a mentor and proud to call him a friend," Taylor said. "Fortunate doesn't describe this opportunity to be a part of his staff. I am grateful to be working with Coach Riley again, and excited for the future of Nicholls Basketball and growing to be a part of this community."

The men's basketball 2016-17 schedule will be announced at a later date. For instant updates on the Colonels, follow the team on Twitter @Nicholls_MBB.

Orlando Mendez-Valdez Signs with Maccabi Haifa

Former Western Kentucky University guard Orlando Mendez-Valdez has signed with Maccabi Haifa in Israel's top-level Winner League.

Here are details from

Maccabi Hunter Haifa (Winner League) landed 30-year old Mexican international guard Orlando Mendez-Valdez (183-86, college: W.Kentucky, agency: Pro Sports). He has a double citizenship as he also holds American passport. Mendez-Valdez played most recently at Pioneros in Mexican LNBP. In 47 games he averaged 12.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.9apg and 1.4spg last season. He helped them to win the LNBP title despite they ended the regular season at the second place. It was a very successful season in his career as he was selected to All-Mexican LNBP 3rd Team, All-Star Game and All-Domestic Players Team.

The previous (14-15) season Mendez-Valdez played at Halcones UV Xalapa (also in LNBP) where in 34 games he had 11.6ppg, 2.5rpg, 3.1apg and 1.3spg. He contributed to his team making it to the semifinals.


Former NKU Assistant Kurt Young Named Head Coach at Mercer County High School

Mercer County High School has hired former Northern Kentucky University assistant Kurt Young to take over the boy's basketball program.

Here are details from Mercer County Schools:

HARRODSBURG— The Mercer County Athletic Department announces the hiring of Kurt Young as the new Titan Boys Basketball coach. Young was officially hired this week. An introduction ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Friday in the Mercer County Senior High School auditorium.

Young comes to Mercer County after leading Hopewell High School to the 3A State Championship Game in the 2015-2016 season with a record of 23-6. A 20-year college coaching veteran, Young has demonstrated success at several levels, including NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NAIA, and NJCAA. Over the course of his career, Young worked in various coaching and/or administrative capacities at Northern Kentucky University, Arkansas Tech University, Hawaii Pacific University, Northwestern University, Georgetown College, among other prestigious programs.

As head coach at Thomas University in 1998-2000, Young was a National Coach of the Year finalist and Region Coach of the Year. He is also the owner/director of Kentucky ELITE, a business designing to develop basketball players in individual, group, and team settings.

The hiring of Young comes at the end of an extensive hiring process, said Mercer County Athletic Director Donald Wayne Smith. The search drew considerable interest from coaches in several states.

"Mercer County Senior High School is one of the premiere basketball programs in the state of Kentucky, and our pool of applicants reflected as much,” said Smith. “We as a hiring committee and myself as an athletic director were blown away by the highly qualified individuals who threw their hats in the ring on such short notice. Ultimately, the committee came to the conclusion that Coach Kurt Young is the right person to take the reins of the Titan Basketball Program.”

Young says he’s truly excited to lead the Titan program.

“Mercer County not only has a rich tradition, but I’m thrilled about its bright future,” said Young. “Everyone you talk to speaks highly of the potential and the future for the Mercer County Titans. I’m excited to be a part of that. The facilities at MCSH are top-notch and nearly unmatched in the state,” said Young. “The people and resources are there to consistently be an elite program in the state”

The new Titan basketball coach could not be happier to return to Kentucky, and is particularly eager to be a part of the Mercer County community.

“Mercer County instantly felt like home,” said Young. “From the moment I met with the hiring committee, I knew this was where I needed to be. I’ve had opportunities and interviews before, but this had an entirely different feel. I’m truly appreciative of the committee and all those whom I’ve encountered so far in Mercer County. They have already gone out of their way to welcome my family and me.”

Smith is thrilled with the leadership and consistency Young will provide the program. “We are thrilled to have a coach of Kurt Young's caliber lead our program. In our conversations, I could not be more confident in allowing him not only to lead our players on the court but also to help our kids transition into successful young men,” said Smith.

“His resume is nearly unparalleled in Kentucky High School Basketball, but the hiring committee was even more so impressed by his strong desire to lay roots in and become a part of the Mercer County community. We are proud Kurt Young is a Titan."

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kentucky Unveils New Uniforms for Upcoming Basketball Season

The Kentucky Wildcats will wear new uniforms for the upcoming season.

The UK equipment staff unveiled the new unis on social media earlier today:

Andre Riddick Added to Coaching Staff at Conner High School

Former University of Kentucky big man Andre Riddick has announced that he will be an assistant coach at Conner High School this season.

Riddick, who had a lengthy overseas professional career, will also be the head coach of Conner's junior varsity team.

"I will be the assistant coach for the boys varsity and the head coach for the JV team at Conner High," Riddick announced on Facebook earlier this week.

WKU Adds Hartford Graduate Transfer Pancake Thomas for 2016-17

Western Kentucky University recently added Hartford graduate transfer Cleveland "Pancake" Thomas for the 2016-17 season.

As a graduate transfer, Thomas is eligible to play immediately for the Hilltoppers.

Here is a release from WKU:

WKU men’s basketball head coach Rick Stansbury announced Wednesday the addition of graduate transfer Cleveland “Pancake” Thomas (6-4, Guard) to the Hilltopper program in 2016-17.

Thomas, a Baton Rouge, La., native, brings years of experience to the Hilltoppers’ backcourt for his final season. He’s eligible to compete immediately after graduating and transferring from Hartford.

Thomas was named a Second Team All-America East selection last season after averaging 18.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists for Hartford – all team highs. He also led the program with 36 steals and was the only player in the America East to finish in the league’s top 10 in points, rebounds, assists and steals.

As one of the country’s top 60 scorers, Thomas scored at least 35 points four times last season, including a career-high 38 points at New Hampshire. He hit at least four 3-pointers 11 times while at Hartford and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds twice.

The sharpshooter shot 42.6 percent from 3-point range (ranking him 27th in the nation) with 81 makes in 2015-16 – including a career-high eight 3s against Vermont – as well as an 82.7 percent clip from the free-throw line. His 566 points were the eighth-most in a season in Hartford history.

Thomas was a workhorse for Hartford, leading the conference with 34.6 minutes per contest last season. He played 194 of the team’s 200 minutes over its final five games.

Thomas sat out the 2014-15 campaign at Hartford after transferring from New Mexico. He was named to the America East Academic Honor Roll during his season sitting out.

Complete Release

Louisville's Schedule is So Difficult It Has Rick Pitino Asking for Pepto Bismol

Louisville's 2016-17 men's basketball schedule is so tough that it apparently has Rick Pitino feeling ill.

Pitino released a statement about the difficult schedule yesterday.

In the statement, Pitino called Louisville's schedule "one of the toughest any team could encounter" and called some of the ACC portion of the schedule "a bit unfair."

At one point, Pitino even said, "pass the Pepto Bismol."

University of Pikeville Season Tickets are Now on Sale

Season tickets for University of Pikeville basketball are now on sale. 

Here are details from UPIKE:

PIKEVILLE, Ky. -- Season tickets for University of Pikeville men's and women's basketball are on sale starting today, Sept. 12, 2016, at the Appalachian Wireless Box Office at the East Kentucky Expo Center.

In all, the tickets are good for 23 total home dates between the men's and women's programs. Tickets are being sold for $80, which is a savings of $58 off face value.

Tickets may only be purchased at the expo center box office located at 126 Main Street, Pikeville, Ky., 41501. They can be reached by phone at (606) 444-5500 or 1-800-745-3000.

Get your tickets today to be ready to watch all the action from the Bears this season. Games begin with the men on Oct 25, hosting Central Penn, while the women get started on Nov. 1 against Milligan.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Louisville Releases Challenging 2016-17 Men's Basketball Schedule

The Louisville Cardinals have released a challenging 2016-17 men's basketball schedule.

The Cardinals will face 14 teams that appeared in last season's NCAA Tournament.

Here's a release from UL:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Appearances in three special early season events, the Cardinals' third season in the Atlantic Coast Conference, at least 14 games on national television and 19 home games in the KFC Yum! Center highlight the challenging 2016-17 University of Louisville men's basketball schedule.

At least 21 of the Cardinals' 31 games will be played against teams that participated in post-season competition last season, including at least 14 from the 2016 NCAA Tournament (NCAA Tournament: Duke, Indiana, Kentucky, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame twice, Pittsburgh twice, Purdue, Syracuse twice, Virginia twice; NIT: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Long Beach State, Texas Southern, Virginia Tech; Tournament: Grand Canyon; Vegas 16 Tournament: Old Dominion). Games against Battle 4 Atlantis participants could add to the list of tournament participants. At least 23 of the Cardinals' games will be played against teams that won 20 or more games last season.

"Our schedule as planned is one of the toughest any team could encounter," said UofL Coach Rick Pitino, whose team has played a schedule ranked among the top 16 toughest by the ratings percentage index (RPI) in seven of the last nine seasons. "The league travel is a bit unfair with a 9 p.m. home game on Thursday, followed by a 2 p.m. game at Florida State on Saturday. There's also a road game on Saturday afternoon at Boston College, then next up traveling to Virginia on Monday. That's not mentioning our league opening game at home against Virginia sandwiched between Kentucky and Indiana, all followed with a game at Notre Dame. But that's the ACC. The Battle 4 Atlantis, Purdue and at Grand Canyon -- pass the Pepto Bismol. Our saving grace is the attitude and work ethic of this team. We may be unproven and a bit inexperienced, but this group is talented and tenacious. It should be a fun season!"

Including a pair of exhibition games against intrastate teams, eight of the Cardinals' first 12 games will be played at home in the KFC Yum! Center, UofL's spectacular 22,000-seat home arena. The Cardinals will face their first outside competition in an exhibition game on Nov. 3 in the KFC Yum! Center against Kentucky Wesleyan, followed by Bellarmine on Nov. 7. Both were NCAA Division II Tournament participants last season. UofL officially opens its season on Nov. 11 against Evansville, followed by a Nov. 14 home game against William and Mary.

The Cardinals will face Long Beach State at home on Nov. 17, the first of four games in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Old Dominion will be the opposition on Nov. 23 in the first round of the event staged at the Atlantis resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas. The Cardinals' game will be the fourth of the day, tipping off at 9:30 p.m. in a game televised by AXS TV. The other first-round matchups include Wichita State vs. LSU (noon, ESPN2), Baylor vs. VCU (2:30 p.m., ESPN2), and Michigan State vs. St. John's (7 p.m., AXS TV).

Louisville's second-round foe will be from the Wichita State-LSU matchup. Teams advancing to the semifinals will play on Nov. 24 at noon and 2:30 p.m. on ESPN. Those that are not successful on the first day will play at 7 and 9:30 p.m. in games televised by AXS TV. The third-place game will be played on Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. and the championship game will be played at 3:30 p.m., both on either ESPN or ESPN2. The remaining two games on Nov. 25 will be played at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on AXS TV.

The Battle 4 Atlantis field has combined for 30 Final Four appearances, and five of the eight have reached an NCAA national semifinal within the last decade, including Michigan State (2009, 10, 15), Louisville (2012, 13), Wichita State (2013), VCU (2011) and LSU (2006). Seven of the eight participants won at least 19 games last season.

The Cardinals return home to face Purdue in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. on ESPN. Louisville will Grand Canyon in Phoenix, Ariz. in its first true road game of the year on Dec. 3. The Cardinals will play their next four straight at home, beginning with Southern Illinois on Dec. 7, Texas Southern on Dec. 10, Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 17 and Kentucky on Dec. 21 (ESPN).

Complete Release

2016-17 Men's Basketball Schedule:

Devin Booker is the Best Basketball Player on the Planet Under the Age of 20

Former Kentucky guard Devin Booker is the only player under the age of 20 to make Sports Illustrated's top 100 NBA players of 2016-17 list.

Booker averaged 13.8 points and 2.6 assists per game for the Phoenix Suns as a rookie last season.

Here's an excerpt from

Here's a sentence to savor: Devin Booker is the best basketball player on the planet under the age of 20.

That's according to Sports Illustrated, which released the first half of its annual top 100 NBA players of 2016-17 list on Monday.

OK, OK, there are only a handful of teenagers currently active in the NBA, but at No. 100, the second-year Suns guard was the youngest player who made the cut.

Although rookies were not considered for the list, Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, Dragan Bender, Jamal Murray, Marquese Chriss, Thon Maker and Georgios Papagiannis were the only teenagers selected in this year's draft lottery. Booker, with a year of NBA experience under his belt, likely would be ranked above them as of now regardless.

Booker finished his rookie campaign averaging 13.8 points, 2.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds to earn NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.

Complete Article

Dunbar's Dontell Brown Will Miss Entire Season with Torn ACL

Tough news out of Paul Laurence Dunbar this week as senior big man Dontell Brown has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the entire season.

Brown averaged 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for last season's state championship team.

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