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- 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
- UK coach Mark Stoops was patient with Neal Brown because he was “all-in” on hiring him
- UK signee Marcus Lee overcame early education struggles to succeed in academics, athletics
- No. 12 Kentucky and No. 5 Arizona State to start best-of-three NCAA Super Regional set Saturday at 10 p.m. ET
- Stoops: Hiring Neal Brown to run Kentucky offense was a “no-brainer for me”
- Nunley, Cumbess Propel No. 12 UK Softball to Super Regionals
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari has been the target of more than a few barbs from national media members during his coaching career. That certainly has not changed since he got to Kentucky and has seen stories about Eric Bledsoe’s high school academics, John Wall’s recruitment, DeMarcus Cousins’ behavior, Anthony Davis’ recruiting incentives and UK’s grade-point average.
But Calipari is not one to shy away from fighting back. He will talk to certain national media members almost at will to give them information and insights those who blast him will not have access to. Recently the UK coach has talked aboutÃ‚Â “radio silence” on his Twitter account before releasing his definition of that term:
“My definition of ‘radio silence’ is the sound u hear in the Twittersphere from the triumverate & compadres when there r positive stories about UK to be told. See if you can hear it!!!
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips remains convinced that new defensive coordinator Rick Minter will have a big impact on UK’s 2011 season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What Minter does is what we see every week and it will make us better offensively because we will know what to expect. I deal with both sides of the ball and both will benefit from what Rick does. Every week we see those elaborate defenses that we will be seeing in practice now,” Phillips said.
Minter joined the staff in December before UK lost to Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Not every player seemed on board with Minter’s demanding style and aggressive play then, but during spring practice it seemed that more players bought into Minter’s style.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was a tough situation for him. The reason I did what I did at the time (making staff changes), and I know it is tough, is that I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want guys that were not going to be here to be with us through Jan. 8 (for the bowl game) and then have to try and find a job. I thought that was unfair. I knew I wanted to make staff changes and I did not want to do it late in January,” Phillips said. “IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†gambled on bring Rick in here and letting him take over the defense in January because Iknew the opponent (Pittsburgh) we were playing in the bowl game used a pretty basic offense and didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do anything real elaborate.
“They just liked to pound the rock and I thought it gave us an opportunity to get ourself ready to play them. But some guys did not understand why we did what we did and that they might benefit from that month with Rick. Now I think all our guys are comfortable with him. (Martavius) Neloms was a guy who did not understand why we made changes. Now heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s playing safety (and not cornerback) and he is a guy who has really bought in and is selling the defense and telling guys we have a chance to have a great team if we stay together.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Phillips not only made staff changes in December, but he made a major move last July when he replaced Steve Ortmayer with Greg Nord.Ã‚Â Will there be any more staff changes like there were last July or December?
“No. We are very comfortable with what we have and what we are doing,” Phillips said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
There are a lot of things about the Billy Gillispie era at Kentucky that no longer surprise me.Ã‚Â However, the news that former Wildcat Derrick Jasper has is joining Gillispie’s staff at Texas Tech shocks me.
Jasper was a four-star recruit from California and ranked as one of the nation’s top point guards when he came to UK and had a forgettable sophomore year under Gillispie when he averaged 4.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game after missing the first 10 games of the season while recovering from microfracture knee surgery. Jasper had averaged 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds while starting 27 games as a freshman.
Jasper left and transferred to UNLV, where rumors surfaced that even if he had not had to sit out a transfer year that his knee was still so weak that he would not have been cleared to play. While Jasper never took any public shots at Gillispie when he transferred and even praised him in a statement when he transferred, there were rumors that the only reason Jasper left was due to the way Gillispie forced him to return from his injury rather than letting him redshirt.
Jasper played in 53 games the last two seasons for UNLV and averaged 6.7 points per game as a junior and 5.1 as a senior. He shot 57.1 percent from the field as a senior, but was hesitant to take shots just like he was at Kentucky.
With no chance at a professional career due to his limited offensive game, Jasper apparently has jumped at the chance to get into coaching on Gillispie’s staff and I wish him well. He was a terrific young man during his time at Kentucky and one you could not help but like. But I just never imagined him wanting to reunite with Gillispie.
Either most of us judged the Gillispie-Jasper situation wrong, or Jasper is willing to forgive and forget for a chance to get into coaching.
By LARRY VAUGHT
If there is anyone who might be able to appreciate what sitting out a year as a transfer might do to help a playerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s career, it should be former University of Kentucky All-American Kyle Macy.
The Indiana native signed with Purdue and played a year with the Boilermakers before transferring to UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†to play for coach Joe B. Hall. He sat out 1976-77 season as a transfer when Larry Johnson ran the team and UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†lost to North Carolina in the regional final. The next year Macy teamed with seniors Rick Robey, Mike Phillips, James Lee and Jack Givens to help the Wildcats win the national title.
Ryan Harrow, a Georgia native, was a North Carolina State starter last season but decided to leave when coach Sidney Lowe was fired. After considering several schools, he picked UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†and now will sit out this season while incoming freshman Marquis Teague runs coach John CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s offense at Kentucky.
Macy thinks the year practicing against Teague and UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s other talented players will help Harrow while also giving him time to learn CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s offense and philosophy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“With the talented they have stockpiled at Kentucky, sitting out a year should be a good thing for him,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Macy. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He will practice and play against some of the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top players. Probably some will move on after the year ends and he will be ready to step in and play.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“For a player that some say has a reputation as a bit of a troublemaker, this will be a great chance for him to fall in line. Physically, he will be able to add some strength that he needs. If he goes about his business, sitting out this next year will be nothing but a positive for him. Plus, even though Calipari will have him on the bench, he wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to wish he could put him in because he has other good players. That gives a coach leverage to make a transfer work hard in practice as well because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not like he can just coast and then know heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll get to play immediately whenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s eligible. He will be challenged daily in practice and have to show what he can do.Ã¢â‚¬Â
But there could be a big positive for CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cats much like there was for KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 1976-77 team that would have beat the Tar Heels if there had been a 35-second shot clock to have thwarted the boring four corner offense (stall ball) after Carolina took a small lead.
Macy says HarrowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s presence will be good for Teague because of the challenge the freshman will face daily from a player who held his own against the Atlantic Coast ConferenceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best players last season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I sat out the year, Larry Johnson challenged me every day and hopefully I challenged him a little bit, too,Ã¢â‚¬Â Macy said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think it goes both ways. Both point guards will bring out the best in each other.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Harrow is not as tall as point guards like Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose and John Wall that Calipari has developed into NBA stars or even Brandon Knight, last seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s freshman starter at UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†who soon will become a high draft pick and future star himself.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Calipari likes players that are versatile and usually that does mean being a big guard,Ã¢â‚¬Â Macy said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But if you are 6-2 or 5-10 and can play, he will find a spot for you. And if he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think he could play, he would be bringing him to Kentucky.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Macy is right. CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s talent evaluation since he has came to Kentucky has been very, very good Ã¢â‚¬â€ four signees were first-round draft picks last year and Knight will be this year. Both sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb are destined to be first-round picks and so could all four incoming freshmen this year. And donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t forget that while he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play for UK, Enes Kanter will soon be a first-round pick, too.
In 13 seasons, Hall had six first-round picks and four second-round choices. Rick Pitino had six players go in the first round in his eight seasons at Kentucky and two go in round two. Tubby Smith had five first-round picks in 10 years and one second-round choice. Adolph Rupp had five first-round draft choices, Eddie Sutton two and Billy Gillispie one.
That tells you that Calipari recognizes and develops NBA talent.
Taking Harrow also tells you Calipari has a big headstart on his 2012 recruiting class because if Teague leaves for the NBA after one year as Evans, Rose, Wall and Knight did, Kentucky wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be turning to a true freshman point guard Ã¢â‚¬â€ unless Calipari adds another recruiting gem in the next fewÃ‚Â months.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It takes the pressure off knowing the shelf is stocked as opposed to trying to sign another top point guard,Ã¢â‚¬Â Macy said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have a kid with a year of college experience as well as another year under his system. Harrow should be ready to step right in.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if he (Calipari) has ever been in a situation when he lost a starting point guard three years in a row to the draft like he will if Teague leaves. This way Calipari doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to recruit a top guy this year. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s already got his point guard on campus.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Harrow will not get rusty and forget how to play because of the practice competition heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll face. It will take him a few games once he comes back to get in the swing of things because scrimmages and games are different. It took me about four games to get comfortable playing real games again, but it comes back really quick and works out well for the player and team.Ã¢â‚¬Â
RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer
At some point, Ohio State had to determine the cost of doing business with Jim Tressel Ã¢â‚¬â€ and without him.
Just a few days after the NCAA shot down Southern CaliforniaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s appeal of harsh sanctions, the Buckeyes Ã¢â‚¬â€ facing their own NCAA investigation Ã¢â‚¬â€ parted ways with one of the most successful coaches in college football. Maybe that will keep Ohio State from getting the USC treatment.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The recent situation has been a distraction for our great university and I make this decision for the greater good of our school,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tressel said in his resignation letter.
Only the timing of TresselÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s resignation Monday was shocking.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think everybodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been bracing for it for a while,Ã¢â‚¬Â said former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, who hosts a sports talk show on SiriusXM satellite radio.
Tressel acknowledged in March he withheld information from the NCAA and his bosses about Ohio State players trading their trophies, rings, jerseys and other memorabilia for tattoos. No matter how effusively athletic director Gene Smith and President Gordon Gee supported their coach, there was no doubt his job could be in jeopardy. While it may very well be a coincidence that the end of TresselÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mostly glorious 10-year run in Columbus (9-1 against Michigan and a national title) came four days after the NCAA showed USC no mercy, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy to draw a correlation between the two scandals.
In fact, TresselÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Memorial Day surprise provides a neat bookend to a calamitous calendar year in college football. Agent scandals, a pay-for-play scheme and improper benefits have dominated headlines. Even as Auburn and its Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Cam Newton, accepted the crystal ball after a 22-19 victory against Oregon in the BCS title game, fans couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but wonder: Will they get to keep those trophies?
Add in the Fiesta BowlÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s transgressions Ã¢â‚¬â€ inappropriate use of funds and illegal campaign contributions Ã¢â‚¬â€ and college footballÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s image has taken a massive beating the past 12 months.
It was June 10 of last year that the NCAA unleashed its fury on Southern California for violations committed by former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush during Pete CarrollÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dominant decade with the Trojans. The NCAA basically said that a then-USC assistant, Todd McNair, knew Bush was breaking rules and did nothing Ã¢â‚¬â€ sounds familiar Ã¢â‚¬â€ and that USCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s athletic department leadership had created a lax atmosphere when it came to compliance.
But coaches who have proved they can win like Tressel are even more valuable than a blue-chip quarterback. The players come and go. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s up to the coach to keep the program on top. Tressel was making $3.5 million a year, among the highest paid coaches in college football. There is little doubt Ohio State was getting tremendous returns on that investment. Tressel had led the Buckeyes to eight BCS appearances, including last seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Sugar Bowl. Those games are worth about $17 million to the teams that get to play in them, though they do have to share that windfall with the rest of the conference. TresselÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s teams filled Ohio Stadium Ã¢â‚¬â€ capacity 102,329 Ã¢â‚¬â€ even when overmatched opponents came to town. Heck, TresselÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Buckeyes would draw 80,000 to the spring game.
But at some point Smith and Gee had to ask themselves:
Ã¢â‚¬â€Will the NCAA go easier on Ohio State if Tressel is no longer the coach?
Ã¢â‚¬â€Is it worth risk taking the NCAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best shot to keep one of the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best coaches?
The NCAA aimed its toughest charges directly at Tressel, accusing him of unethical conduct. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has also acknowledged making a serious mistake and his resignation today is an indication that serious mistakes have serious consequences,Ã¢â‚¬Â Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement.
But is Tressel is being made the fall guy for problems at Ohio State that run deeper than his own missteps? Ã¢â‚¬Å“If he is, he is,Ã¢â‚¬Â Leach said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But if other people had responsibility in this, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important to address that, too.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips doesn’t mince words when talking about what worried him the most about his 2011 team coming out of spring practice.
“Our ability to put the ball in the end zone. We didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t score the way we have been scoring points around here for a while,” said the second-year Kentucky coach. “We ditched the running game in the spring because we thought it was so important to be efficient in the throw game. That skewed the outlook on offense and our ability to put the ball in the end zone because we did ditch the running game. We will probably run more in the fall.
“I am pleased with how our defense is coming. We have quality players there and SEC speed at positions now because of the (personnel) moves we made. But my biggest concern is can we score enough points like we have been doing. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve always been able to score. Now we have a chance to stop people, but the concern is can we get our offense to the same level of our defense.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We also didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t protect the football well in the spring. Our backs put the ball on the ground way too many times. Our receivers were not real consistent in catching the football. Taking care of the football is a concern because we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to put our defense in a short field situation, especially since we did a good job taking away the football for the first time in a long time on defense.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Vaught’s note: This idea certainly is open to a lot of pros and cons. Personally, I just don’t see how most schools could afford it, but also can see where athletes could easily argue they deserve this.
By ERIC OLSON
AP Sports Writer
Athletes at the highest level of college sports could receive money for personal expenses as part of their scholarship packages if a trial balloon floated by the Big Ten becomes reality. The idea of offering additional funding to cover an NCAA Division I athleteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s full cost of attendance Ã¢â‚¬â€ the money above and beyond just whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s paid to the university Ã¢â‚¬â€ has been a long time coming, advocates for student-athlete welfare say.
But still to be answered is how a plan could be implemented without inviting abuses, whether schools could come up with the extra funding and comply with Title IX, and whether it would create a greater divide between the haves and have-nots in college athletics.
NCAA President Mark Emmert and commissioners of the six BCS conferences have said increasing the value of an athletic scholarship merits study. NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said no conference or school could offer the beefed-up scholarships independently. A change in Division I bylaws would be required, he said, and no formal proposal has been submitted.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The devil is going to be in the details,Ã¢â‚¬Â Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford said.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany brought up the issue at his leagueÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recent spring meetings, and it will be addressed again when Emmert hosts 50 Division I presidents and chancellors and other athletic administrators during an August retreat. Commissioners for other BCS conferences said their leagues will talk about it as well. A formal proposal for NCAA membership consideration could still be three to four years out, said Chad Hawley, Big Ten associate commissioner for compliance.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We were just trying to get a conversation started,Ã¢â‚¬Â Hawley said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“and I think we succeeded.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Athletic scholarships currently cover tuition, fees, room, board and books. Not covered are transportation, clothing, laundry, entertainment and incidentals. Proponents of the enhanced athletic scholarships point out that some academic scholarships cover full cost of attendance and that athletes deserve the same, especially in light of the money and exposure they bring to their schools.
The idea isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t new Ã¢â‚¬â€ athletes received $15 a month in Ã¢â‚¬Å“laundry moneyÃ¢â‚¬Â until 1972 Ã¢â‚¬â€ but Swofford said it has come to the forefront recently because coachesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ salaries have skyrocketed and the NCAA and conferences have negotiated huge television contracts. Add in a couple of years of scandal, with USC getting penalized and Ohio State under investigation for improper benefits to football players, and the urgency of the conversation has turned up a notch.
One of the biggest questions is just how much extra money should be tacked on to a scholarship package?
Under federal financial-aid guidelines, each institution is required to estimate full cost of attendance. The numbers are wide ranging. For example, Indiana University figures a nonresident student needs $4,044 to cover his or her costs after tuition, fees, room and board are paid. At Arkansas, the estimate is $2,128. Conference commissioners and athletic directors will have to decide whether to use a uniform dollar amount or to allow the amount estimated by each school. The rub is that if School A would provides more money for discretionary spending than School B, School A could have a recruiting advantage.
The ACCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Swofford said there also will be a debate about who should be entitled to the extra money. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I know some would like to look at it in terms of revenue-producing sports and athletes that participate in those sports only,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Whether it could be addressed in that way, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The argument that football and menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basketball players are the ones who should receive extra money because their sports are the ones that produce the most revenue wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stand up in court, said Minneapolis-based attorney Rayla Allison. She specializes in issues involving Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If they only implement it with the gender thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s favored Ã¢â‚¬â€ men Ã¢â‚¬â€ theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re setting themselves up for liability,Ã¢â‚¬Â Allison said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think any administrator would want to do that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
So far, the discussion has focused on athletes in the so-called head-count sports. Those sports require athletes on scholarship to receive a 100-percent grant-in-aid. There are a combined 98 scholarships in the menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head-count sports Ã¢â‚¬â€ football and basketball. There are 47 on the womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s side Ã¢â‚¬â€ basketball, gymnastics, tennis and volleyball. Hawley said if each of those 145 scholarships were funded equally, the gender-equity standard would be met.
By LARRY VAUGHT
As we consider what to be thankful for on this gorgeous Memorial Day weekend, I thought it might be a great time to share a few notes that Kentucky coach John Calipari posted on coachcal.com about his speech a little over a week ago at the Dick Vitale Gala to raise money for cancer research where the UK coach was one of the honorees.
Calipari’s notes on his speech offer some interesting insights into the UK coach:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ When Dick asked me if I would be a part of this gala, little did I know that four months later that my mother would be diagnosed with cancer and that eight months later that she would be gone. So IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to take this time to tell you a little bit about my mom, who was a strong one, absolutely the driving force behind our family, no disrespect dad. Her mission was to make sure her three children would be the first college educated in our family, and she did that. She always did more with less. We never knew we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a lot because we had what we needed. The biggest thing she always she taught all of us and she taught me was, Ã¢â‚¬ËœDream big dreams. You cannot be afraid to think beyond where you are right now. You have to dream big to be big,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Ã¢â‚¬â€œ she hit on that all the time. I was so lucky to have her as my mother.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Now as I get older, life becomes less about me and more about everyone around me. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about players reaching their dreams, assistants becoming head coaches, support staff growing their families and also helping the Big Blue Nation realize their dreams. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about causes that move me, like this one.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ In many ways IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve become a vehicle to help others reach their dreams. But thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only right because IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had so many people stoke the flame for me and I now understand why they felt so good doing that.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ There is one person I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mentioned yet who came here today from Lexington. He is THE only person allowed into my practices wearing anything red. Rick Corman, where are you? Please stand up.
I want to share a little bit of RickÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s story with everyone Ã¢â‚¬â€œ IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d encourage you all to find the Fortune magazine article written about Rick this past March to learn more of his amazing journey that began while working for his grandfather at the age of 11! Rick wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind me telling you this Ã¢â‚¬â€œ heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hardly even a basketball fan. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got other interests, mainly his beautiful children and his close friends Ã¢â‚¬â€œ of which he has many. Ellen and I met Rick the night before I accepted the job at Kentucky as he flew us into town. Immediately we were both taken by this soft-spoken, generous man. As I got to know him more, it became apparent that he was more than just a hugely successful businessman and proud father Ã¢â‚¬â€œ heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a survivor. A true survivor.
You see, Rick has multiple myeloma, an incurable form of this awful disease we are rallying against tonight. While his cancer is incurable it is NOT in-survivable. Ten years after the initial diagnosis, Rick continues to fight on.
We have laughed together, we have talked together, we have prayed together and we have cried together. Rick Ã¢â‚¬â€œ thank you for the inspiration you provide to all of us and thank you for embodying the spirit of Jimmy VÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s everlasting message Ã¢â‚¬â€œ DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ever give up.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ In closing, earlier this week I relayed to the Big Blue Nation that I NEVER want to be JUST a basketball coach. I coach basketball and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s my profession but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not who I am. But, we can use our positions to come together on nights like this for a very worthy cause. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the people we touch through this game and those who we will touch tonight who feel moved to do something to help us fight this dreaded disease. Mom, I love you.
By LARRY VAUGHT
If you are a University of Kentucky basketball fan and have not yet read Mark KrebsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ book Ã¢â‚¬â€ Beyond a Dream Ã¢â‚¬â€ you really should.
Krebs, a walk-on guard from Newport, compares the coaching styles of Tubby Smith, Billy Gillispie and John Calipari in the book and what it took for him to earn a spot on KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s roster as well as what he had to do each year to keep that spot. However, the book is also about the courageous fight his mother, Terri Krebs, showed in her battle with cancer after being given only nine months to live when she was originally diagnosed with the disease in 2001.
Terri Krebs had 390 chemotherapy treatments and seven surgeries but she was at center court with her son for UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2010 Senior Day, a ceremony few UK fans who were there will ever forget.
Krebs continues to travel across the state giving speeches and promoting his book. He also does both radio and TV work with Matt Jones in Louisville.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I really want to move on, but I also want to keep the book going and it just seems like something else keeps coming along to give me an opportunity to promote the book,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Krebs. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I really didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what to expect from the book when IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†did it. Part of me was like if it takes off, it will sell out really fast. Another part said if sales were slow, it would still be worthwhile if it just helped one person.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Now sales are pretty steady. I have so many people go online and tell me what the book meant to them. Schools have welcomed me with open arms and are ready to hear my speech. I spoke to the governor and his wife and cancer survivors. I got all kind of e-mails and feedback on the book and how accurate it was when it came to my momÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s battle with cancer. If the book has helped just one family maybe get through its ordeal, then it was more than worth what it took for me to do the book.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s obvious the book was a labor of love for Krebs. Yet part of the book had to be painful for him to relive some of those difficult times with his motherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fight with cancer.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In some ways, it was tough to do the book. I knew when she was getting toward the end. She was in a wheelchair, the chemo was rough and the cancer was growing. The book brought upo a lot of memories from my freshman year in high school, which was the toughest time,Ã¢â‚¬Â Krebs said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was really tough when she passed away, but in some ways the book was almost therapeutic. I knew this could be something big and important and IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†had to keep writing to get the book out there.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I still think about my mom every day. When speaking and telling the story of her determination and outlook on life, it does bring back great memories. Those are the good memories I always want to keep. IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†am pretty good at controlling the emotional part when I am talking. But it does get me inside. It inspires me and the inspiration she provided me and others is the most important part of the book.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Krebs says not everyone can fully comprehend the emotional, mental and physical distress his mother was under during her nine-year battle with cancer before she passed away after his UK career ended.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The thing people donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t realize about mom, especially if they are a 15-year cancer survivor, is that she never had a chance to be in remission,Ã¢â‚¬Â Krebs said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“From six weeks after her diagnosis it was as bad as you could get and she would not ever be cured. For her to fight the way she did because she wanted to see things like my sister getting married, my brotherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s graduation, family vacations, every game at Rupp Arena she could was just remarkable.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“She saw her granddaughter born. If she had just passed away nine years ago, she would have missed so much. She loved her family and hung in there for as long as she did because every day with her family was like a vacation for her. Every day with her was special and IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†hope the book makes that clear.Ã¢â‚¬Â
It does and that book about his experiences in life and his momÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nine-year battle with breast cancer is inspirational for many, many reasons. Go to http://www.beyondadreambook.com/ to read and hear more and also order a book that will make you smile and cry as you read it.
By The Associated Press
Philadelphia 76ers player Jodie Meeks, a former Kentucky guard, has returned to the university to finish his degree after his second season in the NBA.
The marketing major told WKYT-TV that both his parents have degrees in business, so he wanted to get his degree since he was so close to finishing. He’s taking just one class right now, but he said going back to school has been an adjustment.
Meeks was a second-round pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by Milwaukee and then was traded to the Philadelphia. He became a starter midseason this year and averaged more than 10 points per game.
He said he’s been fortunate to go to Philadelphia and said the team was the right fit for him.