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By HAL MORRIS
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ In most every pre-draft report, Eric Bledsoe was listed as a first-round pick.
But the former Kentucky guard was nowhere near New York for the NBA draft on June 24 with those expecting to be lottery picks. Instead, he and his mother watched the draft at an Ohio Buffalo Wild Wings when Oklahoma City drafted him with the 18th pick before trading him to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They just called my name, (my mom) jumped up before they even got it out,Ã¢â‚¬Â Bledsoe said Saturday at the John Calipari ProCamp. Ã¢â‚¬Å“And before you know, it my agent told me they traded me to LA. But either place, I was OK with it. Oklahoma is good, and L.A. is also good. It was a win-win either way.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Of course, his good draft night fortune did not lead to a free meal of wings, but he did get plenty of congratulations from the patrons in the restaurant.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fans that I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even know knew me were coming up to me. It felt like I was at the draft,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They showed my picture up on the screen, then everybody saw me.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Now heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s determined to show he was worth the high draft pick even though he is learning a new position at point guard.
Bledsoe gave himself mixed reviews of his play in the summer league in Las Vegas.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Turnover-wise, I think I did horrible. But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a learning experience. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the first time IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been at the point guard and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just trying to learn how to play the point guard position,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just guys IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never played with. I was kind of throwing the ball where guys should have been, but they werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t there. I had to recognize who I was playing with, and it led to turnovers.Ã¢â‚¬Â
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll get plenty of tutoring at the position under coach Vinny Del Negro, a former NBA guard, and veteran point guard Baron Davis. Bledsoe said he enjoyed playing for Del Negro, who is in his first season in L.A. after being fired by Chicago.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach Del Negro, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to let us play. He made the playoffs two years in a row, and he had Derrick Rose. Just like Coach Cal (John Calipari), he letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s us run,Ã¢â‚¬Â Bledsoe said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I can learn from Baron, and Baron can teach me a lot at the point guard. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s real good. He tries to help me when IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m working out, tries to give me points to work on and stuff.Ã¢â‚¬Â
What Bledsoe would not talk about when asked were the stories about his grades and who paid for his apartment his senior year of high school. UK media relations director DeWayne Peevy said BledsoeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lawyers Ã¢â‚¬Å“advised him not to comment on that, and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have a response at a later date.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Bledsoe kept glancing a highlight reel playing on screen at the Joe Kraft Center, and said it brought back great memories of his one season in Lexington.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sometimes you just wish you could have come back, but it is what it is. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help it. Life goes on,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Bledsoe said he was beyond fortunate to get out of Birmingham, Ala., and come to Kentucky and eventually land as an NBA first-round pick.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just growing up where IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m from, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not easy making it out. One out of a million make it out, so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just one of the few. It was tough,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
He really just had one person Ã¢â‚¬â€ his mother Ã¢â‚¬â€ responsible for seeing him through a rough childhood.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Seeing he hard work and dedication, just her way of living making sure we get to school, making sure we had food on the table to eat. I kid of cherish it every day,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Bledsoe.
He says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s already started trying to pay her back.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“That was my number one priority, making sure she was all right,Ã¢â‚¬Â Bledsoe said.
By HAL MORRIS
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ Patrick Patterson said his first month as a professional basketball player has been Ã¢â‚¬Å“pretty much a roller coaster rideÃ¢â‚¬Â to this point.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just flying from point A to point B. Playing basketball in the summer league. It was a lot of fun in (Las) Vegas, trying to settle down in Houston and pretty much just getting situated before we have to return for preseason workouts,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said Saturday at the John Calipari ProCamp here at Memorial Coliseum.
The former UK star was drafted 14th overall by the Houston Rockets inÃ‚Â June. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s learned players are responsible for making themselves work.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The thing about college, you had people asking constantly if you want to get your work in. Some people, they put forth the effort before you do,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“At the NBA level, you have to go to them. They expect you to put the work in. The next level is about being your own man. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely a business like everyone says, and you have to have that drive and determination to be the best you can be and do the right thing.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Patterson said he tries to talk to former UK star, and Houston teammate, Chuck Hayes every day.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve talked about whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ahead in the future as far as workouts, practices, preseason and during the season what to expect. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always there for me. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll definitely ask him as the season progresses,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said.
He also got a chance to meet injured Houston center Yao Ming.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“That was someone I was eager to meet when. When I met him the first thing in my mind was, Ã¢â‚¬ËœHow can he be this tall?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I always say he was genetically made. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no way he can be this tall.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been around some tall people, and people like DeMarcus (Cousins) and 7-foot people, they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make me feel short. But he makes me feel like a little kid.Ã¢â‚¬Â
All the advice heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gotten from friends and NBA players has prevented Patterson from being too surprised by the NBA.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Talking to all the people already in NBA and talking to (former UK teammate) Jodie (Meeks) all the time and everything he went through and learned helped me know what to expect ahead of time,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just have to get used to the level of play. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely more physical and more expectations and also more plays.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve still got the dribble-drive offense in my head, and I am learning defensive schemes and rotations and what coaches expect. I just tried to soak as much information as I can in order to better myself.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Patterson said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also trying to ease into the life in Houston. Patterson said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s moving into this three-bedroom, three-bath townhouse near the arena this week.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I love Houston. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a big city, a lot of stuff to do, great people, friendly people willing to help you out,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just trying get used to the streets, everything thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s around it. Meet the fans. I just want to get out and get my face out there and show the people IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m here and do everything necessary for the city.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Patterson said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not splurged on anything big for himself yet, but his father, Buster, is getting an RV.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still picking out an RV form the catalog. I think heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got one in mind, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m grateful thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the only thing they want is an RV so they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be digging in my pockets,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also had a chance to play with the incoming UK players, and has been impressed with freshman center Enes Kanter.
Ã¢â‚¬ÂHeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right up there with DeMarcus. I definitely expect him to put numbers up like DeMarcus did,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a big, talented man, and he can pass ball extremely well. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s aÃ‚Â great rebounder. What I was surprised most with was his footwork around the basket, his post-up moves. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s even working on his jump shot around the perimeter.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Getting a chance to come back to UK before resuming his pro basketball duties was special for Patterson.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I was deciding, I really didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to leave. This is like home to me except for Huntington (W.Va.),Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just how the fans give me that warm comfortable feeling and how the fans made me feel at home.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve always been anxious to get back to Lexington, get around to see everybody and show them the same love they showed me. Just coming back here makes you feel like you never left. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always a second home where you can come back and visit and still feel welcome.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ No one will be happier to see Kentucky start preseason practice than senior running back Derrick Locke.
First, he has huge expectations for himself and his team. He has already rushed for 1,731 yards Ã¢â‚¬â€ heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 10th on the all-time UK career rushing list Ã¢â‚¬â€ and scored 15 total touchdowns.
He has two 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns, a feat no other UK player has accomplished. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a preseason all-Southeastern Conference choice both as a running back and kick returner.
Second, starting the season will finally put to rest the questions about his summer moped accident that left him with a broken bone in his wrist.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was something that shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have happened, but it happened. I am over it. I am good to go. I will learn from it. I am ready to go. I am excited for this season,Ã¢â‚¬Â Locke said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am ready to stop all this conditioning, put some pads on, hit some people, make some moves and check myself out and see how I am.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am doing rehab, but I am catching and holding the ball. I am tired of talking about it and want to show people I am good to go.Ã¢â‚¬Â
First-year Kentucky coach Joker Phillips likes what he has seen and heard from Locke during the offseason.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is starting to be a good leader. That has not always been him. I think he is now understanding the team concept and is starting to lead this football team,Ã¢â‚¬Â Phillips said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have forced him also to be a leader for us because of his presence. When he does speak, people are listening. We had to tell him that and that we also hoped the right things came out of his mouth. Now they are.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Locke shared his insights on a variety of subjects as the Wildcats prepare to report to preseason camp on Thursday:
Question: What kind of expectations do you have for your senior season?
Locke: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I expect to do big things. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to be known as an underrated player. I want my respect and what I have to do to get that, I am going to get it.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When they line up and play us, I want them to know they have to contain him and watch this guy because he can do this and that. I want them to know I can do it all and not just a little, fast back.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one of my main goals. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about respect. If you get respect, numbers will come. I just want to get my respect. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: What is life like under Joker Phillips, and is that different from when Rich Brooks was coach?
Locke: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is a lot different. I am not going to say it is good or bad. I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say he expects more, but he really does expect more off the field. Part of his Ã¢â‚¬ËœOperation WinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ is win in the classroom, win in the community.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He wants to play fast. The only way we will get better is by getting more reps, so he wants the intensity at a crazy pace. That is how it is.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do everything. His thing is to get people around him to do the things he canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do. Bring in coaches who can help our intensity and get us stronger. Bring in coaches who do more. That is one thing I respect about him.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I feel every change he has made has a plus side. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t knock him or say anything bad about him. To me we are going in the right direction to being the program we want to be in the future.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: How do you like new strength coach Rock Oliver?
Locke: Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is here to show me things and teach me things that I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how to do. That is the main thing I am taking from him. The workouts and all that stuff, I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have knownÃ‚Â what to expect if I went to the NFL. I know what to expect now.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has been there (with the Cincinnati Bengals) and knows what I need to do. He knows everything that I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know. I take that as a plus side and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think it is a negative the way he brings his intensity.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s different. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s outspoken. He is a little rowdy at times, but you have to respect him, and I know he can do things to get me places I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get by myself.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Next: Locke talks about the NFL, his family and returning kicks.
By BRETT BARROUQUERE
Associated Press Writers
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Ã¢â‚¬â€ Rick Pitino never said a woman who claimed the Louisville basketball coach got her pregnant after a one-night stand had to get an abortion but did advise she Ã¢â‚¬Å“go out of townÃ¢â‚¬Â to get medical care, his longtime aide told a jury Friday.
The aide, Tim Sypher, was testifying against the woman, his ex-wife Karen Cunagin Sypher. He testified about helping her get an abortion at her extortion trial. The two divorced after she was indicted last year on charges of demanding cash and gifts worth millions from Pitino to keep secret their 2003 tryst on a restaurant table.
Tim Sypher, 49, testified that he called clinics in Indiana and Ohio before taking the woman, then known as Karen Wise, to Cincinnati, where she terminated the pregnancy on Aug. 29, 2003. Tim Sypher said he paid for the procedure from $3,000 Pitino gave to Karen Sypher for medical care.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just figured it was a good thing to do, go out of town,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tim Sypher said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yeah, he (Pitino) said go out of town.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Pitino, married and Roman Catholic, has said he intended for the money to be used for medical insurance, not an abortion. The Roman Catholic Church is opposed to abortion.
Karen Sypher, 50, has pleaded not guilty. After she was indicted, she told police Pitino raped her, but authorities didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t pursue charges.
Tim Sypher, who has worked for Pitino in various capacities since 1996, told jurors the coach called him on Aug. 23, 2003, and asked to use his condo to meet with a woman about a Ã¢â‚¬Å“supposed pregnancy.Ã¢â‚¬Â That meeting took place just less than a month after Pitino and Sypher had sex after hours at Porcini, an Italian restaurant where they met a few hours earlier.
As Pitino and Sypher met downstairs, Tim Sypher said, he waited for about an hour in an upstairs bedroom.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In a situation like that, you know, I just wanted the day over with,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tim Sypher said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I heard nothing.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Defense attorney James Earhart asked Tim Sypher why Pitino called him, then a single 43-year-old, to take care of a pregnant woman.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is a situation that is potentially devastating to Rick Pitino, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s be honest,Ã¢â‚¬Â Earhart said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to come out.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“True,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tim Sypher said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“… If he hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t asked me, who then?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Six days after the meeting at the condo, Tim Sypher drove Karen Sypher to a womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clinic in Cincinnati, where she had an abortion. Jurors saw records from the clinic on Thursday indicating she was about 5 weeks pregnant. As Karen came out of the clinic, Tim Sypher said he extended his hand, prompting Ã¢â‚¬Å“a look IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll never forget.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sir, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not lying to you. We hit it off. It was quick,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tim Sypher testified. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not lying to you, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not lying to anybody here. We clicked.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Once back in Louisville, Karen Sypher asked if she could see Tim Sypher again. The two began dating and were married less than a year later. Over the next five years, Karen Sypher attended functions around Pitino without problems, Tim Sypher said.
Tim and Karen Sypher had given each other nicknames drawn from the movie Ã¢â‚¬Å“Driving Miss Daisy,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tim Sypher said. She was Ã¢â‚¬Å“Daisy,Ã¢â‚¬Â while he was the driver, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hoke.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Every time you make reference to her as Daisy and you as Hoke, you are resurrecting memories of the trip to get an abortion,Ã¢â‚¬Â Earhart said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You might have looked at it that way, but it was just pet names,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tim Sypher said.
By 2007, the marriage deteriorated, Tim Sypher said. Then, on Feb. 26, 2009, Pitino received two anonymous calls threatening to expose the one-night stand and accuse the coach of rape. Pitino sent a text message that said Ã¢â‚¬Å“red alert,Ã¢â‚¬Â then called, asking for a meeting with Karen Sypher, Tim Sypher said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When you get red alert, something serious is going on,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tim Sypher said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what to think. I just waited for the next step.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Jurors earlier in the week heard from Lester Goetzinger, a longtime friend and sometime sexual partner of Karen Sypher. Goetzinger said he made the calls after receiving sexual favors from Karen Sypher. He testified as part of a deal with prosecutors.
The meeting failed to produce answers about who made the calls, Tim Sypher said. Tim Sypher said Karen Sypher started making several demands when they met on March 6, 2009, days after Pitino received a third phone call.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It got to a point of, Ã¢â‚¬â„¢What do you want? What do you want?Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Tim Sypher said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“She started blabbing all these things.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He said he told her to write down what she wanted because he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t remember all of it. He delivered the letter to Pitino that evening but said he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what was in it.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Before I handed it to him, I was thinking about ripping it up because I knew how crazy she was,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tim Sypher said.
Karen SypherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s former attorney, Dana Kolter, also testified Friday, telling jurors he and Sypher had sexual relations three times before he wrote a letter to Pitino on March 22, 2009, demanding $10 million and threatening to file a lawsuit accusing Pitino of rape and forced abortion.
Kolter said Karen Sypher seemed believable, despite inconsistencies in her story.
By HAL MORRIS
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€Ã‚Â John Wall knows players are going to try to make a name by trying to outduel him.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what goes along with being the top pick in the NBA draft, but the former Kentucky point guard ignores those types of distractions and just tried to get better during the NBA Summer League.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t read anything into it. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just like high school and college. People, no matter how good a game they played, had their moments against me,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said Friday at the John Calipari ProCamp at Memorial Coliseum. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not all about one-on-one, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not AAU or anything like that. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about helping my program get better, helping my team get better and winning basketball games.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what I was trying to do in Vegas. They were trying to make it into a battle, but I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t focus on that I just stayed focused on my game and the game plan my coaching staff and I have.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wall, who was drafted by the Washington Wizards, got a huge reception in Washington after the draft that included a video of other athletes doing the John Wall Dance, along with a big outdoor welcoming party.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They accepted me pretty well. They had a highlight video of all their big hockey players and (Redskins quarterback Donovan) McNabb doing my dance, and that means a lot,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still a dream come true. Sometimes IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll sit back in my hotel room and be shocked and amazed that all this has happened.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Now I just have to stay humble, keep working and do what people in the WizardsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ organization tell me and just prepare myself.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The huge welcome he got doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t compare to what he got as a Wildcat.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nowhere near the same. Kentucky is always going to be on top. Their fans are great, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just nothing IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen that can beat it. Kentucky is like another family to me. So every chance I have to come back and be on campus I will,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The opportunity to be around the basketball program means a lot, and hopefully I can be there for years to come and come back to a game and be one of those people to come out and throw up the Ã¢â‚¬ËœYÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ (in the Kentucky cheer). ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the biggest thing I want to do.Ã¢â‚¬Â
That love from the UK faithful is a message he wants to send to future Wildcats as well. Wall said he bonded with former Calipari point guards Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, and tried to develop the same sort of relationship with new UK guard Brandon Knight.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I knew Brandon since I was in 10th grade and I talked to him and we played against each other. I always thought he was a talented player,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was wishing he would have come here, and I hope he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel pressure to do the same things I did or be like me or anything like that. Just let him come in and play his game and be Brandon Knight because that is the Best thing he can do. I just hope he comes out and has a greatÃ‚Â season.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wall said itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a quick learning process in the NBA, and credits assistant coach Sam Cassell, a longtime NBA point guard, for helping him.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just like coach (Rod) Strickland did (at UK), he taught me pretty much everything I needed to know about point guard in the NBA,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Every year there is something you can do to get better and develop your game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a great experience. The NBA is a different level of basketball, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a different speed but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got a great coaching staff.Ã¢â‚¬Â
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also not surprised how well former UK teammate DeMarcus Cousins played in the summer league.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They gave him the ball a lot more in the post. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s who people wanted to see in the summer league, and he did a great job,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“His coaches and everybody here knew how talented he was.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Now in the NBA, everyone can see he can pay. We all knew he could play atÃ‚Â the next level as long as he kept his head straight, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been doing.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wall said he has been blessed for his opportunities, and that is some of what he was trying to get across to the campers on Friday.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“At this age I wish I would have had opportunity to talk to NBA guys,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yeah, it means a lot to me. You also got to stay humble through this whole situation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It just shows you that if you work hard and get on the right page, you can turn things around. I could have been on the wrong page and not been here and nobody would haveÃ‚Â heard of me, but credit goes to my mom for telling the right things to do and surrounding myself with the right people helping me get through.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s never been one to mince words or try to avoid saying exactly how he feels. In fact, Derrick Locke has been as daring with his off-field conversations as he has with his running, receiving and kick returning for Kentucky the last three years.
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect that to change this season, either, even though Locke knows he has more senior leadership responsibility, especially since this is Joker Phillips first year as head coach.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am not going to change who I am. That is just me. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s my personality. I am going to speak up. If I think something is going wrong, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind saying what I feel. The thing I really have to watch is what I do,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Locke. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be like telling players to do this and do that and then me not being doing it.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“So my thing is make sure I am doing everything right, which I usually do 99 percent of the time any way. Just make sure you keep your head out of trouble and do the right things because other guys are going to look up to how you are going to be. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be a leader and do things you have no business doing. I am not going to be that kind of person.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just have to watch what I do and make sure I do everything right. Not miss any classes. If I have tutors, go to tutors. Be on time. Be early. Watch extra film. All that little stuff to get guys more involved. I want them to think if he is doing this, then I can do it, too.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Locke admits he has changed since arriving from Oklahoma as a brash, confident youngster determined to show those who thought he could run track but not run the football at the Division I level that he was a special player.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The biggest thing that has changed in me is that I grew up a little bit. I came and do not want to say it was more about me, me, me, but in a sense it really was. I want to be at this level, but I got more humble,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Good things are going to happen, but you have to make sure you keep your head right. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one of the main things. I am not cocky. I have more of a swag now.Ã¢â‚¬Â
WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the difference between cocky and swag?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Being cocky and having swag is almost the same thing except swag is a little more mellow. I am going to keep my swag,Ã¢â‚¬Â Locke said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am not going to change or think I am not as good as any other player. I am going to do what I have to do.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I will have my line do this, then I will do what I have to do to help them out. I am more of a team player, but at the same time I want to do mine. But I have to do my job so they can do their job. If I do my job and they do their job, everything will click and we will win.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do it by myself and I understand that I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do anything without my line, quarterback or receivers. I can be the best runner in the country, but if my line is not blocking and my receivers are not catching and we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t pass the ball, then running is not going to help you out at all.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just play your role. If you have to block, block. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just be a runner. You have to be able to route run and adjust. It is all the little things that I am worried about. Proper steps. Proper alignment. All that good stuff that people donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t pay attention to, but that comes with being a leader and being older.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
Torrey Campbell insists he is Ã¢â‚¬Å“wide openÃ¢â‚¬Â about where he will play college football, but the Florida athlete says he was impressed by both Kentucky and Louisville on a recent trip to the Bluegrass.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We were just there a couple of days ago,Ã¢â‚¬Â Campbell said.
He says Kentucky was one of the places that his mother liked the best among the schools that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been to this summer (Tennessee, Iowa, Georgia, Georgia Tech and South Florida) in addition to Louisville. He also went to Boston College this week.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Kentucky was one of her favorite schools,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Campbell, a standout running back who prefers to play cornerback in college. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We had a very good experience at Kentucky. It was what I would call a positive visit.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am just going to all these schools and taking in all I can. I am not sure what I will do about committing. I do know that coach Joker (Phillips) is a great guy and has a very good coaching staff that I really liked.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You do your research to see what is out there, and I wanted to see Kentucky for myself. I had been watching Joker and hearing about him. I just went to see Kentucky, and I was impressed.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He knew Louisville coach Charlie Strong because Strong had been the defensive coordinator at Florida before coming to the Cardinals.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I liked Louisville a lot, too. It was another good trip,Ã¢â‚¬Â Campbell said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“There was nothing negative. Coach Strong is really a good guy and coach. It was a good stop for us, too.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Campbell describes himself as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“fast, aggressive player who can make playsÃ¢â‚¬Â on both sides of the ball. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But I am not really good at talking about myself,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s played football since age 4 and is also a track and field standout after starting that sport in eight grade. He qualified for the state meet in the 110-meter high hurdles this year and finished second. He also went to a junior national meet in Iowa.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Track is another thing I love because I love to compete one-on-one,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am a sprinter as well, but as soon as I finished my (hurdle) event, I pulled my hamstring and the coaches pulled me out of the rest of the meet.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say I am a great 200-(meter) sprinter because I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make the state meet. But depending on where I go, I might try to do both football and track in college. It would just depend on how I picked up the system.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He says his mother does not want him to rush a college decision, but he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to wait once heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sure where he wants to go.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to know exactly what is right, but once I am done visiting and traveling, I just want to sit and think about it. If I feel like I am ready to commit the next day, I will,Ã¢â‚¬Â Campbell said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But right now thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not really that one or two schools that just stand out.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By BRETT BARROUQUERE and DYLAN LOVAN
Associated Press Writers
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Ã¢â‚¬â€ Rick Pitino, worried that his wife and kids would find out he had a one-night stand with a woman he met in a bar, acknowledged Thursday that he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t immediately tell police about demands for cars, cash and housing in order to keep the tryst secret.
The Louisville basketball coach told jurors he kept quiet for nearly two months, hoping he could Ã¢â‚¬Å“containÃ¢â‚¬Â the damaging information.
Intimate details emerged over the past two days as Pitino, 57, testified against the woman, Karen Cunagin Sypher, at her federal extortion trial. He recounted the sex, the threatening calls he said left him Ã¢â‚¬Å“sick to my stomachÃ¢â‚¬Â and strongly denied allegations he raped Sypher.
Pitino had to pause, look down and gather himself Thursday as he told jurors the hardest part of the case: telling his family about the 2003 affair after he reported the alleged extortion demands to the FBI in April 2009.
Pitino, who coached in the NBA before taking over at Louisville in 2001, said his best two years came when his son Richard served as an assistant. But as the secrets came out, the partnership had to end. Richard Pitino wound up taking a job at the University of Florida.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I had to suggest to him to move on, it was very difficult,Ã¢â‚¬Â Pitino said.
Pitino and defense attorney James Earhart frequently cut each other off during ThursdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s questioning, and the tension escalated as Earhart pushed Pitino to address the rape allegations.
The coach interrupted, saying he was Ã¢â‚¬Å“here to give the truth.Ã¢â‚¬Â Earhart retorted, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I bet you are.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fear the truth,Ã¢â‚¬Â Pitino said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Neither do we,Ã¢â‚¬Â Earhart shot back.
Sypher, 50, has pleaded not guilty. She filed a rape report with police after she was indicted last year, about six years after she and Pitino had sex in an empty restaurant a few hours after they met. Authorities have said her rape claim lacked merit, and no charges were filed.
Pitino told jurors Wednesday and again Thursday that Sypher initiated the sex by whispering to him and unzipping his pants when he got up to leave. He said they had sex Ã¢â‚¬Å“very brieflyÃ¢â‚¬Â and called the liaison Ã¢â‚¬Å“unfortunate.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Sypher watched PitinoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s testimony closely but showed no reaction. Some jurors began fidgeting as Earhart questioned Pitino about that night and whether Sypher was raped.
Pitino cut off one question by saying Sypher didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t protest as they had sex.
Earhart asked why Pitino didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t address the rape allegations during several meetings with Sypher.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The truth is, you never at one time challenged the fact that you raped her,Ã¢â‚¬Â Earhart said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to challenge it because it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t true,Ã¢â‚¬Â Pitino said.
They sparred again when Earhart asked Pitino why he told Sypher the phone calls would stop if she denied they had sex.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re probably not proud of the fact that you asked someone to lie,Ã¢â‚¬Â Earhart said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I never asked someone to lie,Ã¢â‚¬Â Pitino said.
The coachÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s testimony was the first time heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s talked publicly in detail about the relationship. Pitino portrayed Sypher as the aggressor, and several witnesses said she was flirty and persistent when she approached Pitino at the restaurant.
SypherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ex-husband and longtime Pitino aide, Tim Sypher, told jurors Thursday afternoon that Pitino called him in August 2003 with a request to help Karen Sypher, then known as Karen Wise, find counseling and medical treatment after she said she was pregnant.
Karen Sypher ultimately had an abortion in August 2003 at a clinic in Cincinnati. Pitino gave her $3,000 for medical insurance, about $430 of which was used to pay for the abortion, Tim Sypher said.
Tim and Karen Sypher started dating shortly after and were married less than a year later. Tim Sypher said his ex-wife was fine around Pitino until 2007, when she started making claims of rape and talking about wanting a car and a house.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It just came out of the blue,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Tim Sypher, who speaks with a heavy accent from his native Massachusetts.
Jurors also heard SypherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s version of events when prosecutors played a never-broadcast TV interview of her rape claim.
No one else has testified to witnessing the sexual liaison after hours at an upscale Italian restaurant. The owner said he left for the night after showing Pitino and Sypher how to get out through a self-locking door. PitinoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s driver said he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see or hear anything because he had stepped behind a partial wall to leave the couple some privacy.
Prosecutors showed the jury a handwritten note from Sypher that asked for cars, housing and money, which Tim Sypher said he delivered to Pitino.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I really didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what was in there. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tim Sypher said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nuts.Ã¢â‚¬Â
When PitinoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s testimony ended, he had spent about six hours on the witness stand. His attorney, Steve Pence, said Pitino would return to recruiting later in the day.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This matter, certainly his portion, is behind him now,Ã¢â‚¬Â Pence said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m very proud of coach Pitino in how he handled this.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been to Tennessee, Michigan, Florida and Kentucky for unofficial visits this summer. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been to Florida to play in a 7-on-7 competition against the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best recruits. He has scholarship offers from about 20 schools and is ranked as the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ninth best prep middle linebacker by Scout.com.
Yet Boyle County senior Lamar Dawson admits heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s glad to be back home where he can concentrate on trying to help the Rebels win a second straight Class AAAA state championship.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am through visiting schools for n ow. I am back to play football and will decide later where to take my official visits,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Dawson.
His team didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make the championship game in the 7-on-7 competition sponsored by ESPN and Champions that was shown nationally Wednesday night, but Dawson said it was a Ã¢â‚¬Å“great experienceÃ¢â‚¬Â to be part of the event.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just played offense, but it was a great experience playing against the best players around,Ã¢â‚¬Â Dawson said.
He could play with and against the top national players in college, too, once he finally decides where heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll go to school.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am going to try and narrow it down to seven (schools) in August if I can,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have no idea right now who it will be. I have around 20 or so offers. The latest one was from LSU, but I may still get some more.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Dawson plans to rely on Ã¢â‚¬Å“my gutÃ¢â‚¬Â to trim his potential college list.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Everybody has something nice to offer,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“My coaches tell me just to do what is best for me and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t push any schools.Ã¢â‚¬Â
What about telling coaches that have been recruiting him heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no longer interested? Will that be hard to do?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just have to be a man and just step up and tell them. It is part of growing up. I would not have done that a few years ago, but I can now,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
He went to visit Kentucky before he played in the 7-on-7 competition after taking earlier trips to Tennessee, Michigan and Florida.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Kentucky visit was good. They showed me around campus and I watched them work out,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have been there before. I just went to get a feel for how I would fit in and a feel for the other players. I talked to a couple of guys while I was there.Ã¢â‚¬Â
What made him go to Tennessee, Michigan and Florida?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are among the top programs in the nation and have some of the best facilities you will ever see,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just want to see the world and see what is out there.Ã¢â‚¬Â
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t look for an early college decision. Even after he narrows his list to seven, he will make only one official visit at most during the season Ã¢â‚¬â€ maybe during BoyleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s open week. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll make his other four visits after his season ends.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“All the schools pretty much say the same thing. They just do it in different fashions,Ã¢â‚¬Â Dawson, who has increased he weight to 240 pounds while maintaining his same speed, said.
He admits heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still a bit surprised heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s become a national recruitÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“since I play in KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬Â and not a football hotbed.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But it wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be a distraction for my season. It is motivation because I have to play up to it. I know lot of people will want to test me. To me, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exciting,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Dawson says he hears daily from most schools recruiting him and gets plenty of mail both at home and school.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Some days it gets kind of boring because it is so much, but I always open it,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have a big drawer full of letters and stuff I have kept.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are all pretty much the same. They send team colors and tell you about the program. But it does make a little bit of impact when you get that mail. You get a feel for their program. If you get hand-written stuff telling how much they want you, it does mean something. I do pay attention to the hand-written notes.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Scout.comÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Scott Kennedy, a national recruiting analyst, lists DawsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s strengths as his aggressiveness, discipline and size. He says he need to improve his pass coverage skills.
Here is KennedyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s overall evaluation: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Excellent size at middle linebacker and the type of player that the phrase Ã¢â‚¬Ëœlinebacker mentalityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ is coined from. Dawson is an aggressive defender that enjoys taking on and disposing of blockers then attacking the ball carrier. He’s disciplined in the middle. He plays fast without playing reckless. A pure football player that’s good on both sides of the ball. Good lateral range and change of direction.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ Being back at the John Calipari Pro Camp certainly was a labor of love for DeMarcus Cousins.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fun coming back to Kentucky. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something I always enjoy. I consider this home,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Cousins, the No. 5 pick by Sacramento in the NBA draft in June after his stellar freshman season at Kentucky.
He was back in Lexington Thursday working at the first day of CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s three-day camp that will feature No. 1 draft pick John Wall Friday and first-round picks Patrick Patterson and Eric Bledsoe both Saturday.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I walked in the gym when I got here (Wednesday) and John was dripping sweat,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins said during a break between the two sold-out camp sessions at Memorial Coliseum. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I plan to play a little bit while IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m here.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Cousins hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t backed off his belief that he should have gone higher than the No. 5 pick and admitted he was disappointed he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get to play against more teams that passed on him during the NBA summer league in Las Vegas.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think I started strong, but ended bad (in summer league),Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I made a lot of rookie mistakes. The summer league does not get the credit it deserves. There are some name players in it.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I do play with a chip on my shoulder. I want to prove every doubter wrong. Every time I play, I am trying to prove someone wrong.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Of course, there has been talk since the draft that the Sacramento Kings got a steal with Cousins at No. 5.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Make up your mind. Either love me or hate me,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins joked.
He says Sacramento and Lexington are similar size cities and both only have one basketball team for fans to support.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot of love. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an easy place to adjust to,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I love the fans backing me up. That makes me go even harder. I appreciate it (the support). We had a pep rally after the draft and it was about 1,000 degrees outside and the fans were still there.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have a young team, but if we work hard I really think we can do some damage this year.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Cousins says he has felt like he has been on a plane every other day since the draft .
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You are your own business. You determine how far you go. If you get lazy, you will be out of the league,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins said.
Cousins says he has lost weight since leaving Kentucky and will continue to work on conditioning.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They say you can never be too conditioned,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins said.
Cousins also indicated he could never be too grateful when it comes to repaying his mother. He bought her a new house in Alabama before coming to Lexington.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I owe her the world,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cousins said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just giving back to her felt good. She got all emotional, but I wanted to do this.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He also wants to continue coming back to Kentucky all he can. He constantly watched highlights flashing on a TV screen during his eight-minute press conference.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It seems like just yesterday we were doing that and now I am gone,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Man, I wish I was still here. I love this place. I wish I could still be here.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I will come back as much as possible. I miss this place. I wish I could even take classes.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Cousins flashed that playful grin after the comment about the classes, but he emphasized Kentucky would be home to him now.
One other thing that has not changed is that he still does not have a driverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s license.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am still working on that. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to kill anybody on the road,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.