Most Recent Posts
- Video: Larry hears cowbells, makes a chocolate cow and soaks up the culture in Switzerland
- Video: UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown talks about recruiting the home state of Kentucky
- What role did Drew Barker’s mother play in his athletic development?
- Calipari will be keynote speaker at Iba Awards June 3 in Tulsa
- D.J. Eliot understands coach Mark Stoops “very well” can bring new ideas to UK defense
- Swiss Cat Part 2: Larry continues his adventure in Switzerland
- Brumbaugh understands junior college talent, feels he can bring JUCO players to UK
- Volleyball training, personality will both help Marcus Lee at Kentucky
Vaught’s note: This is not a UK basketball story, but I thought it was a good reminder of the good that goes along with basketball and sports in general even if the stories that gain national attention lose track of that. Yes, I am a little frustrated with all this going on about Eric Bledsoe, a kid I really grew to like. So enjoy John Herndon’s story here and maybe it will inspire you to come pat these Kentucky all-stars on the back for a job well done.
By John Herndon
The Anderson News
LAWRENCEBURG Ã¢â‚¬â€ The Kentucky-Indiana high school all-star basketball game has long been billed as something unique to states that claim hoops as part of the birthright.
But the game has lost its luster in recent years, especially marked by declining attendance on both sides of the Ohio River. The games are set for June 11 at Knights Hall on the campus of Bellarmine University in Louisville and June 12 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Anderson County head boys coach Glen Drury is an assistant coach for the Kentucky team this year Ã¢â‚¬â€ Mike Listerman of Covington Catholic is the head coach Ã¢â‚¬â€ and the head coach for the 2011 series. He wants to do what he can to make the classic special again.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“One of my goals in this organization is that I want this team to be important to every kid in Kentucky again,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury says.
He’s getting his start June 8 when the Kentucky boys team will be in Anderson County at Tony’s Barn at 1435 North Highway 127 (just north of the 127-151 interchange). The event is free and open to the public.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have about 100 T-shirts that we are going to be giving out,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is an opportunity for the people of the community to meet the team. You can have your picture taken with Mr. Basketball.Ã¢â‚¬Â
That player, Shelby Valley’s Elisha Justice, will be attending the University of Louisville.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If I am coaching at Louisville, I can see why they took him. He is a coach’s dream. He is willing to do whatever it takes to win and has excellent leadership skills,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury said.
Justice led Shelby Valley to the state championship. A teammate, Ashley Hatfield, is also on the all-star team. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He’s just a winner,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury said.
Other top players include Louisville Trinity’s Josh Sewell, who will be attending Miami of Ohio, and Ricardo Johnson of Covington Holmes, headed for Ohio University.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am very impresseed with Johnson,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He will do what it takes.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The team also includes Franklin County’s Vance Hall, who Ã¢â‚¬Å“had a great tryout,Ã¢â‚¬Â according to Drury, and McCreary Central’s Aaron Watts, considered one of Kentucky’s best athletes.
The team will be scrimmaging the Kentucky Junior All-Stars at 6 p.m. on June 8 at Franklin County High School before coming to Anderson County. Drury says the team will have a sheriff’s department escort at the county line and should arrive at Tony’s Barn about 8:15.
Drury said that he invited Kentucky coach John Calipari and Louisville’s Rick Pitino to attend but they are are prohibited from doing so by an NCAA regulation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I want this to be a special time for each of the kids,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We want them to realize they are representing the state of Kentucky.Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have great tradition here in Kentucky, too. We want to promote that tradition and we want this to be an experience they will never forget.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
East St. Louis (Ill.) coach Darren Sunkett canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem to say enough good things about defensive tackle Clint Tucker and defensive back Glen Faulkner, who both have verbally committed to Kentucky.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Clint is an outstanding football player with a great work ethic,Ã¢â‚¬Â Sunkett said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He works as hard on the field as off. His offseason conditioning program is great.Ã¢â‚¬Â
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so athletically gifted that Sunkett thinks the four-star Scout.com prospect could compete well with older players.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If he was tested for the NFL combine, he would test with the top defensive lineman coming out (of college) right now,Ã¢â‚¬Â Sunkett said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has so much natural ability, but he also works his butt off and really pounds the iron during the offseason and it pays off every August for him.Ã¢â‚¬Â
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been one of those rare player able to play for Sunkett as a freshman.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is a quick, aggressive football player,Ã¢â‚¬Â the coach said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has an outstanding motor and outstanding speed. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a heck of a talent.Ã¢â‚¬Â
So why Kentucky?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He took an unofficial visit down there in the spring and that impressed him a little bit obviously,Ã¢â‚¬Â Sunkett said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He decided to commit. You never know with kids these days, but he knows this is what he wants. It might have possibly played a role that Glen had committed there. I am sure he saw things there that intrigued him, but we also have a pretty tight knit group.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Tucker, who does not play any other sports, could make an impact for UK in the 2011 season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think he will be ready right away to play,Ã¢â‚¬Â Sunkett said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is a strong player already with a lot of skills.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Faulkner didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t become a starter until last season, but Sunkett likes his ability as well.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has a very high ceiling. He is a great athlete and has great ability. He still has a lot to learn about playing in the secondary, but I am sure he will improve this year from where he left off last year,Ã¢â‚¬Â the coach said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just a pure athlete. He will run the 40 in the 4.5 range. He plays the middle of the field for us and goes from the hashmark to the sideline very effortlessly.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He will definitely help Kentucky. He is a ball hawk. He roams the field and has great range. He takes care of the middle of the field, but also goes sideline to sideline. Not every kid can do that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Sunkett says both players are Ã¢â‚¬Å“great kidsÃ¢â‚¬Â he enjoys being around, too.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are both very humble. You might not even know Glen plays football. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very quiet and laid back. He doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t look like a big football player, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a great kid,Ã¢â‚¬Â Sunkett said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Clint, with his size, you know he is a player. But they both have very good manners and will cause you no problems at all.Ã¢â‚¬Â
KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s relationship with the school and coach started with special teams coach Steve Ortmayer, who used to coach under Rich Brooks with the St. Louis Rams.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I coached his son in high school for a year,Ã¢â‚¬Â Sunkett said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Then there is (UK receivers coach) Tee Martin. We met him down in Oregon for a 7-on-7 tournament. Just my relationship with those two guys is what spearheaded everything with their recruiting here.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
Here is what Matt Kamalsky of www.draftexpress.com had to say about new UK signee Terrence Jones:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think he’s an incredible pick up. He would have been great for Washington, he’ll be even better at Kentucky.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“On first glance, he has one of the most impressive physical profiles of any player in this class.Ã‚Â He looks like an NBA player, and has the athleticism of one as well. His versatility on both ends of the floor and ability to impact the game in transition are his best assets at this point. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a terror in the open court and can use his quickness to get to the rim from the wing as well.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“His first step is fantastic, and he stays extremely low on his drives which allow him to cut down on turnovers. Long-term, hÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll need to improve his midrange game, show more intensity on a nightly basis, and refine his outside stroke to become a more reliable threat in half court sets.Ã‚Â His shooting form is a bit long and allows for some variability, but on nights when he’s hitting shots, he’ll be one of the best players in the SEC.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“As long as he stays motivated, he’ll be able to guard both forward positions very effectively and is clearly a one and done candidate.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Still, even with another No. 1 ranked recruiting class, Kamalsky says it will be hard for any group to have the impact CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first Kentucky class had.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“John Wall was a player that we had tabbed as a high level guy coming in, and I was pretty confident that DeMarcus Cousins could be great, but wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t completely sold on his intangibles.Ã‚Â Daniel OrtonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s season was pretty much on par with what I expected personally, but Eric Bledsoe was a big revelation for us and the basketball community on the whole.Ã‚Â His production as a complementary option was really impressive, especially for a freshman,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kamalsky said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe any combination of the recruits could equal that group, especially if we throw Patrick Patterson into the equation.Ã‚Â Kentucky has the potential there for another big year, but the 2010 team was hitting on all cylinders for almost the whole season and could have five players drafted in the first round of the upcoming draft.Ã‚Â It would be unfair to expect that from any group of freshman, no matter how talented they are or how well they fit coach CalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s system.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The five Cats in this year’s draft will find out their fate during the NBA draft on June 24th. That should have U.K. fans clamoring for NBA tickets.
Vaught’s note: Thought all of you might enjoy this excellent column by the AP’s Tim Dahlberg, one of my favorite columnists.
By TIM DAHLBERG
AP Sports Columnist
On balance, it hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been a bad month for Jim Calhoun.
Certainly better than the one that two of his former assistants are having. They were dumped from the University of Connecticut basketball program under the cloud of an NCAA investigation and will likely now never have meaningful careers in their chosen field.
Better, perhaps, than many of his former players, who tend to leave UConn without degrees and with no appreciable job skills other than dribbling a basketball.
Calhoun? Well, his reputation was damaged and he did have to spend part of Friday at a press conference he surely found painful. But he had a long Memorial Day weekend to get over it, and the apologists above him were busy protecting their coach at all costs.
If he needed any more solace, he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to look far. The extra $13 million UConn so generously gave him earlier this month should heal a lot of wounds, both real and imagined.
Calhoun was already the highest paid state employee in Connecticut even before the new contract fell into his lap. But having to pass out basketballs and deal with the hassles of the NCAA investigation apparently prompted his bosses to give him a new pact that pays him $2.6 million a year.
That something is seriously amiss in college basketball should come as no big surprise. The number of millionaire coaches rises every year, while the graduation rates of the athletes who toil for nothing but books and meal money barely budge.
This time itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about a coach in Connecticut whose talents helped win two NCAA championships. Next time it may be about a coach in Kentucky with a knack of getting out of town at just the right time.
The sport, at its upper reaches, is a cesspool, filled with coaches so desperate for talent that they begin recruiting kids barely out of grade school. The coach who proves most successful in the art of teenage persuasion is usually rewarded with the biggest contract, so theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re continually on the prowl.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so little oversight that someone has to practically hand deliver evidence to the NCAA to get them to look into violations. Even then, NCAA investigators are fixated on the minutiae of phone calls and texts and meals while paying no attention to a bigger picture that grows uglier by the day.
They came down on UConn on Friday, if only because a Yahoo! Sports report last year about the recruiting of Nate Miles was too detailed to ignore. The NCAA alleged eight violations, including a slap on the wrist to Calhoun for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
That was enough to send two assistants packing, and it may be enough to cost the Huskies a scholarship or two. It wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, however, enough to cost the man at the helm of the program anything more than a few awkward moments at a press conference.
If anything, it seems like Calhoun is being rewarded. Why else, with the school fully aware of the coming NCAA charges, would it tear up the coachÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s existing contract just a few weeks ago and give him an extension that will pay him $13 million?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The NCAA review never played into these conversations,Ã¢â‚¬Â UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway said when announcing the new contract.
If Calhoun is responsible for two national titles on his watch, though, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s responsible for everything else. While the two assistants are convenient scapegoats, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to imagine that the control freak of a coach had no idea what was going on when he ordered his people to go after one of the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top recruits.
But thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a bigger issue here. While the NCAA is pursuing sanctions at UConn, it has done nothing while a coaching oligarchy intent on extracting as many millions as possible for its members has basically taken over the sport.
They move around from school to school, hiring themselves out to the highest bidder. Often, as in the case of KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s John Calipari, they leave behind a mess that their former employer has to clean up.
Only in rare instances are any of them held accountable, whether for recruiting violations or the shameful graduation rate of many of their unpaid workers.
Calhoun has gotten rich while staying put, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s yet another example of a broken system propped up by billions of dollars in television money. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s celebrated in the state for his programÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s success on the court, but the graduation rate of his players is so abysmal that UConn was forced to insert a clause in his new contract for a $100,000 penalty if the school loses a scholarship because of poor academics.
Chump change for this millionaire. Hardly enough to stay up nights worrying about it.
Same goes for the NCAA allegations.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just his program, not his problem.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org
In response to The New York Times story involving Eric Bledsoe…
Often high profile student-athletes are selected for an extensive prospective student-athlete (PSA) review.
Eric Bledsoe participated in the normal academic review process and also an extensive PSA review by the NCAA Eligibility Center and was cleared academically.
UK Media Relations
By LARRY VAUGHT
Just as critics and/or skeptics started predicting the day John Calipari came to Kentucky, the NCAA is investigating Kentucky.
Actually, the NCAA is checking the academic history and recruitment of Eric Bledsoe, according to a report by the New York Times Friday.
Bledsoe picked UK after Calipari left Memphis to become the Kentucky coach in April, 2009. He was reportedly leaning to Florida following his prep career in Birmingham before CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s arrival at UK swayed his decision.
Bledsoe was a starter all season and averaged 11.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. He has put his name into the NBA draft, where he is expected to be a first round draft choice.
But the New York Times says the NCAA is checking his dramatic grade improvement after he changed high schools going into his senior year as well as whether his high school coach that final year helped with rent payments and also demanded money from schools recruiting Bledsoe.
The report says the NCAA sent investigators to at least three places in Alabama to check BledsoeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s past. The report does not say what prompted the NCAA to do that after UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s season ended and the NCAA will not comment about ongoing investigations.
However, the report says the landlord where Bledsoe and his mother moved for his senior year indicated Maurice Ford, BledsoeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coach his senior year at A.H. Parker High School, paid at least three monthsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ rent. Ford denied the allegation.
The Times also has a copy of BledsoeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s high school transcript which showed he had a 1.9 grade-point average in core classes after his junior year. The report also alleges that an unnamed coach says Ford demanded money for Bledsoe to sign, another allegation Ford denied.
Remember Ford was not thrilled with Bledsoe coming to Kentucky because the Cats were in line to sign John Wall, another point guard. Ford publicly said he did not think it was the right fit for Bledsoe and repeated that numerous times.
It was also ESPNU national recruiting director Paul Biancardi who says he first told Calipari and his staff about Bledsoe
And the report does quote the principal at Parker High School as saying BledsoeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s grades were not inflated his senior year to help him meet NCAA eligibility.
Also remember that Bledsoe had to transfer because his previous high school closed. And donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t forget that the Alabama High School Athletic Association did rule Bledsoe was eligible to play.
Will that matter to CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s critics? No.
Will it matter that have been waiting for something to go wrong at Kentucky? No.
Calipari was ripped at Massachusetts when the NCAA found out that Marcus Camby took money from an agent during his senior year. He was blamed at Memphis when Derrick Rose was cleared to play for the Tigers and then months after Memphis lost in the NCAA title game, the NCAA ruled that he should not have been eligible.
BledsoeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s background was filled with adversity. He never talks about his father. His mom had various jobs and they moved several times. He came from parts of Birmingham where trouble was on almost every corner.
Yet at Kentucky he was a shy, polite youngster who was immensely popular with teammates. He was an intense competitor who was harder on himself than Calipari ever was. And he appreciated the way UK fans treated him.
However, this story is not going to go away anytime soon no matter what Calipari and/or Bledsoe say or donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s impossible to know what is true and not true today. The New York Times is not prone to publish information with verifying numerous sources, but the NCAA has been known to defy logic in determining how to penalize schools.
Not much has gone wrong for Calipari since he arrived at Kentucky. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s signed back-to-back No. 1 recruiting classes. He won 35 games his first season and reached the Elite Eight. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s put the fun back in UK basketball and most fans adore him.
Now heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hit his first crisis moment and the Bledsoe case could determine CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s legacy.
If UK is punished, it will mean schools were Calipari has coached have gone 3-for-3 in receiving NCAA sanctions. His reputation nationally is already shaky, and this will only add to that perception Ã¢â‚¬â€ or reality.
* * *
Go here Ã¢â‚¬â€ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/sports/ncaabasketball/29recruit.html?src=twt&twt=nytimes Ã¢â‚¬â€ to read the full story.
VaughtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s note: Tamer Turkman is president of www.StudyinAmerica.com and wrote this article on Enes Kanter and his arrival at the University of Kentucky for Hurriyet, the No. 1 newspaper in Turkey. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s allowed the article to be reprinted here for you. Also earlier he had Parla Alpan interview both Kanter and UK coach John Calipari. If you missed the video, go to http://www.studyinamerica.com/01-success-stories/special-interview-john-calipari-enes-kanter/ and you will not be disappointed. Make sure to leave comments here about what you think about Kanter to let him and his Turkish fans know how Kentucky feels about him.
By TAMER TURKMAN
Enes Kanter played one year of high school basketball in the US and broke all records.
It has been only two weeks since up-and-coming basketball player Enes Kanter has been a student at the University of Kentucky and he has already made his impact on the friendly city of Lexington. As you walk around campus on his 18th birthday on May 20, you can feel the excitement. Students like Lindsay Fair said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We appreciate Enes so much, he is already number 1 in our hearts.Ã¢â‚¬Â Or Drew Esposito who enthusiastically stated, Ã¢â‚¬Å“All of Big Blue Nation canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wait to see Big Enes!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Though it has been two weeks since enrolling for his Summer Classes at the University of Kentucky, Kanter already feels the love. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I already have over 1,000 friends (on Facebook) and have received over 2,000 birthday wishes. It did not take me too long to feel at home here.Ã¢â‚¬Â
When you first meet Kanter, you notice his height of 210 centimeters. It only takes a few minutes to realize his other attributes. In addition to being what many people already predict to be the top basketball player in the world for his age, it only takes minutes to realize what a nice and caring person he is. He is also very intelligent and knows that education is an important element of his life.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I love basketball very much but I also know there is a life after basketball,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kanter said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I will be 35 years old someday and will enter a second part of my life. I need to take steps to prepare for that life and only a good education can help me to get there. I am so happy to be enrolled at the University of Kentucky. Not only are the people kind and warm, but the education is excellent and I know this is going to help me to be successful in life.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Many experts predict that Kanter (withstanding injury) would be the best Turkish basketball player in history. He played one year of high school basketball in the U.S. and broke all sorts of records, including Dirk NowtizkiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s total points record in the 2010 Nike Summit Game. He has an outside as well as inside game and remarkable court sense. He is also still growing. He started to play basketball at the late age of 12, at which time his physical education teacher said it would be wise to do so with his height. He developed his game when playing for FenerbahÃƒÂ§e in Turkey.
In the United States, not only are the Turks excited, but so are the students at the University of Kentucky. He just enrolled at the University and is taking summer classes. Though he is a shy person, the students and Professors at Kentucky already love him. Seeing how popular Kanter is remarkable. Turkish flags and T-shirts are being sold at his school, and so many students have bought them. Though the schoolÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s official color is Blue, you notice the red of the Turkish Flag as well.
Along with the Kanter excitement, there is also a noticeable Turkish spirit that has hit campus. Wildcat Fans predict next year to be very big. The University of Kentucky is a well-known NCAA basketball team and nearly all of its games are televised nationally in the U.S. Many feel that Kanter will be the best College Basketball Player in the country. And since he is such a proud Turk, he is going to represent Turkey like no other Turkish athlete has done before in America.
Also, his coach John Calipari is a well-known figure in America. He has charisma similar to Fatih Terim in Turkey. Coach Calipari also loves Kanter very much. You can tell from listening to his exclusive interview on the Turkish student WebPortal at www.studyinamerica.com. The video will help you to understand the excitement and bond that Coach Calipari has for Kanter.
Kanter comes from a solid family. His father is a Medical Professor at Trakya University. Because of his fatherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s doctorate study, Kanter was born in Switzerland before later moving to Ankara. He also has two younger brothers who also are tall and play basketball.Ã‚Â Coming from such a family, education has always been very important to Kanter, and so he wanted to pursue an education in the U.S. With all the exposure the NCAA gets in America, Kanter feels that he can better represent Turkey to the U.S. Also expect Big Blue Nation to have some to have some red in it and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be surprised if you hear the chants of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Turk-E-YeÃ¢â‚¬Â when watching the Wildcats play on television.
As for next year, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Go Enes and Go to University of Kentucky Wildcats!Ã¢â‚¬Â The team that so many Turkish eyes will be on from this point forward.
About the Author: Founder and president of International Student Services, TÃƒÂ¼rkman, is a 1967 born American Citizen with Turkish decent. In 1993, he launched his business idea to help young Turks aspiring a life and education in the U.S. He takes great pride in making a difference in young Turks lives.
En route to the 2010 EA Sports Maui Invitational (Nov. 22-24), the UK menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basketball team will make a stopover in Portland, Ore., to take on the University of Portland on Nov. 19, head coach John Calipari announced on Friday. A start time and broadcast information has yet to be determined.
In an effort to break up the long trip to Hawaii, the Wildcats signed a contract with Portland, stating that in exchange for this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game, the Pilots will make two trips to Lexington in the upcoming 2012 and 2013 seasons. The game is scheduled to be played in the Rose Garden, home of the Portland Trailblazers.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I arrived at Kentucky and first looked at the schedule, we immediately started talking about the possibility of breaking up our trip to Maui by playing a game on the West Coast,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Portland gives us the opportunity to play in a great basketball city with a great venue, and more importantly, gives Terrence Jones a chance to go home and play in front of his family and friends.Ã¢â‚¬Â
UK defeated Portland in their lone meeting, an 88-71 win in the 1990 UKIT. The game will also mark the first appearance by the Wildcats in the state of Oregon.
Fans interested in the roundtrip air charter with the UK menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basketball team and coaching staff via Delta Air Lines from Lexington to Portland to Maui should contact Total Sports Travel at 1-888-367-8781 or send an email to: info@totalSportsTravel.com.
Single-game tickets for the game will go on sale July 30 at 1 p.m. ET through all participating Safeway/ TicketsWest outlets, by calling 877.789.ROSE (7673), at ComcastTIX.com or in-person at the Rose Quarter Box Office (M-F 10a-5p local time). Ticket prices will range from $12 to $50.
Fans living in the Portland area can secure preferred seats to the event by purchasing Portland season tickets or a four-game flex pack, available now by calling the Portland Box Office at (503) 943-7525. Season tickets for the 2010-11 season will cost $195 for Upper Level Reserved and $280 for Lower Level Reserved, while flex packs are $75.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Maybe Bruce Pearl is just tired of all the off-season attention that Kentucky and coach John Calipari are receiving. Or maybe he really believes what heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s saying when he says the Southeastern ConferenceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most talented team next year will be Florida, not UK or Tennessee.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Billy Donovan has had several years of really, really good recruiting. They will be by far the most talented team in the SEC,Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â Pearl told Mike Griffith of the Knoxville News Sentinel. ”
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the same Florida team that lost five of its last six games last year and barely made the NCAA Tournament
And what about Kentucky?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Kentucky brings in another No. 1 recruiting class. They lost more than anybody, but they brought in more than anybody. They’re not going to be as talented as they were; that’s why I put Florida in front of them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Now Pearl has a valid point about Kentucky losing more than anyone Ã¢â‚¬â€ and not having Patrick Patterson to lead the team could be a bigger obstacle to overcome than even most of us imagine. Still, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a bit surprising to see Pearl touting Florida so highly when UK does have another No. 1 recruiting class.
Of course, Donovan isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t backing off the praise, either.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be dealing with something next year that we have not dealt with in the last couple of years and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s having a level of expectation on our team,Ã¢â‚¬Â Donovan told The Associated Press. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be interesting to see how our older guys handle a higher level of expectation. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure going into the season they are probably going to be a team thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ranked very, very high, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be one thing theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never had to deal with before so thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be a challenge.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Gators return starters Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker, Chandler Parsons, Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin. They also have sophomore Erik Murphy ready to be a bigger contributor.
Tyusentered the NBA draft in April but changed his mind Ã¢â‚¬â€ sounds like Patrick Patterson Ã¢â‚¬â€ and decided to return to school for his senior season.
Donovan has a top 10 recruiting class. Patric Young, a 6-foot-9 forward and McDonaldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s All-American, and Casey Prather, a 6-foot-6 swingman and defensive stopper, signed in November and then the Gators added Will Yeguete, a 6-foot-7 forward; Cody Larson, a 6-foot-9 forward.; and Scottie Wilbekin, a 6-foot-2 point guard, this spring.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to come in and learn, mesh, chemistry, gel, all those things are going to now become challenges for us,Ã¢â‚¬Â Donovan said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But I think depth-wise, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re at least getting back to the point of hopefully being able to press a little bit more and do a little bit more in our backcourt.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Gators actually went over the scholarship limit but conveniently two players Ã¢â‚¬â€ seldom-used guard Nimrod Tishman and oft-injured forward Adam Allen wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be on scholarship. Tishmanhas returned to Israel to play professionally and Allen, who missed the last two seasons with a nagging knee injury, will stay in school on an academic scholarship.
Nothing wrong with either scenario, but remember the way Calipari was blasted when Michael Porter, Matt Pilgrim, A.J. Stewart and others lost their scholarships when he arrived.
Just a matter of perception I guess, sort of like PearlÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s perception that Florida now is the team to beat in the SEC.
By LARRY VAUGHT
KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s football recruiting has managed to extend its recruiting scope under new coach Joker Phillips to St. Louis.
First it was defensive back Glen Faulkner that verbally committed to UK and now East St. Louis Senior High (Ill.) teammate Clint Tucker, a defensive tackle, has become KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ninth verbal commitment in the 2011 recruiting class.
East St. Louis coach Darren Sunkett believes the 6-2 Tucker is a special player because he bench presses 395 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds. His coach also says TuckerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s agility is above average for a defensive lineman.
He has scholarship offers from Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville and Arkansas and had heard from numerous other schools like Alabama.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tucker is an excellent prospect. He’s disruptive, and plays hard,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Allen Trieu, a regional scouting analyst for Scout.com.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tucker is a beast. Just a proto-type defensive tackle that has great strength, quickness and intensity,Ã¢â‚¬Â J.P. Rock, a recruiting analyst for Scout.comÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ShowMePreps.com site devoted to University of Missouri athletics. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is raw still but learns quickly and has a great upside. He was at a combine I just was at and pushed up 225 pounds 23 times. He also ran a 5.0 (second) 40 (yard dash)Ã‚Â at 299 pounds..
The 190-pound Faulkner had 60 tackles, three interceptions and one quarterback sack last season while earning all-conference honors for the Flyers, who annually rank as one of the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top prep team.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think Faulkner was a huge pickup for Kentucky. On film, he is one of the best safeties in the country,Ã¢â‚¬Â Trieu said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I really think heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be an impact player in college. Faulkner is a kid I think would have picked up quite a few offers had he not committed and UK did a great job of getting in on him early and getting the verbal. He has great size, athleticism and ball skills.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Both recruiting analysts says getting into East St. Louis High thanks to new assistant coach Tee MartinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s connections is big for Kentucky.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think getting two kids like them early, as well as establishing a pipeline to a school that always produces lots of talent, was a big time coup for Kentucky. Had the process gone longer for both of them, I think they would have both landed more offers,Ã¢â‚¬Â Trieu said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is big for Kentucky since East has been a football factory for decades and has a history of producing very good college and pro players,Ã¢â‚¬Â Rock said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Great pipeline if UK can tap into it.Ã¢â‚¬Â