Most Recent Posts
- Former UK great Jeff Sheppard excited about recruiting class, but says fans should remember players are young
- Kentucky fans even took time to throw up the “3 goggles” in the Alps
- Signee Marcus Lee says Kentucky “will refuse to lose next year”
- Even UK football coach Mark Stoops did not expect this much fan support at Kentucky
- Video: UK softball coach Rachel Lawson previews the Super Regional clash against Arizona State
- ESPN.com’s Jason King seems to have logical rankings going into next season
- Mark Stoops on John Calipari: “I love being around him”
- UK football coach Mark Stoops understands that hiring Vince Marrow was a home run for Kentucky
By LARRY VAUGHT
Sometimes there are moments that make you appreciate that there really are still random acts of kindness that make our world a better place to live.
Saturday I got to see one of those special moments at the Danville Wildcat Wearhouse during an autograph signing session by DeAndre Liggins, a starter on KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Final Four team last season.
It cost $15 to get an autograph Ã¢â‚¬â€ or more depending on what someone may have wanted to purchase to have autographed. One woman, who did not want to be identified, came into the store and bought a blue and white basketball she had Liggins autograph for her father. However, as she was preparing to leave, she noticed four youngsters that came into the store, left and came back again.
Soon it became obvious they did not have enough money to pay for autographs and some were going to have to leave without getting an autograph. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s when she approached the youngsters, briefly talked to them and then offered to spend the $50 it would take for an autograph package so all four could leave the store with LigginsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ signature.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There was no way I was going to let them walk out without an autograph,Ã¢â‚¬Â said the kind-hearted woman who never gave the youngsters her name. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†am not rich, but I am fortunate to have a good job, my husband has a good job and we have a nice home. Whatever it takes to make those kids happy, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†was going to do.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know them. But that could have been me as a kid and IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†know IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†would have been heartbroken. I would be even now because IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†love Kentucky basketball so much. WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s $50? I can make that in two hours. WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s two hours of my time worth compared to the happiness of those four kids?Ã¢â‚¬Â
She insisted on remaining anonymous.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do this for any notoriety. I just knew how they would feel if they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get that autograph,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I would do anything for kids and this was really a small thing to do.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Small thing to do? No way. It was a gesture IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m guessing those four youngsters will never forget. They got an autograph from a player they obviously admired because of the random act of kindness from a stranger. Those can be life-changing moments.
Liggins knew nothing about what was going on in the back of the store when the woman worked out paying for the autographs.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“That is what this state is about Ã¢â‚¬â€ helping kids out,Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬Ë†Liggins, a second-round draft pick of the Orlando Magic, said when told what happened. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have been to several of these places where people could not afford it and showed up and IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†gave them free pictures and autographs to show IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†was happy they showed up and supported me. If they have no money, I will give them something.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I want to support kids because I know what that is like. IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†have a son myself. I know how kids are. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good deal for me to come out and see how the fans support me. But I would not have let those kids left without an autograph, either, if I had known. I truly appreciate what the lady did. I just wish I had known so I could have thanked her, too, because thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very, very special and coming from the background IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†did, I can especially appreciate how those kids felt about what she did for them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 31, 2011) -Ã‚Â Following three days of training camp that featured 20 elite college players, USA Basketball today announced 14 finalists for the 2011 USA Men’s World University Games Team. The selections were made by the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee. The training camp continues with two practices each day at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., July 31 through Aug. 7, and the official 12-member roster will be announced prior to Aug. 8, when the team departs for China.
“I think it’s a great group,” said USA and Purdue University head mentor Matt Painter, who previously assisted the 2009 USA U19 World Championship Team to a gold medal. “We have a lot of balance. I think on the interior we have some shot-blockers, we have some athletes, guys that can really go and get the basketball and some real good shooters. We have some good, interchangeable parts, and a lot of talent, both returning talent and young. I’m really excited about the mix we have.”
Still in the hunt for one of 12 roster spots on the 2011 USA Men’s World University Games Team are: Tim Abromaitis (Notre Dame/Unionville, Conn.); Marcus Denmon (Missouri/Kansas City, Mo.); Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh/Scotch Plains, N.J.); Draymond Green (Michigan State/Saginaw, Mich.); JaMychal Green (Alabama/Montgomery, Ala.); Scoop Jardine (Syracuse/Philadelphia, Pa.); John Jenkins (Vanderbilt/ Hendersonville, Tenn.); Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara/Seaside, Calif.); Greg Mangano (Yale/Orange, Conn.); Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota/ St. Paul, Minn.); Ray McCallum (Detroit Mercy/Beverly Hills, Mich.); Darius Miller (Kentucky/Maysville, Ky.); Aaric Murray (West Virginia/Philadelphia, Pa.); and Shabazz Napier (Connecticut/Randolph, Mass.).
The USA will play an exhibition contest against New Century, a Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) professional team on Aug. 11 in Huizho, China, before opening play in the 2011 World University Games on Aug. 13.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Laura McKeeman is a recruiting analyst for FOX Sports and Scout.com and has covered college football recruiting, basketball and baseball in the southeastern United States. SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also part of the Tampa Bay Rays broadcast team on Sun Sports.
She was at the Southeastern Conference Media Days and offered these thoughts on Kentucky football after talking to UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†coach Joker Phillips and three Cats Ã¢â‚¬â€ linebacker Danny Trevathan, offensive guard Stuart Hines and quarterback Morgan Newton Ã¢â‚¬â€ in Hoover, Ala., as well as listening and talking to coaches and players from the other 11 SEC schools:
Question: What was your general impression of Kentucky coach Joker Phillips and his players at SEC Media Days?
McKeeman: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I thought Joker Phillips was absolutely dynamic at SEC Media Days. He is a likable guy with an electric enthusiasm that is very contagious. He is optimistic while still being realistic which is much appreciated in the SEC. I also respect his ability to give others credit.Ã‚Â Coach Phillips repeatedly praised his assistants and the wonderful people he surrounds himself with.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Did anything in particular jump out at you that Phillips brought up or said during his media time?
McKeeman: Ã¢â‚¬Å“As I mentioned before, coach Phillips is so willing to credit his staff with success surrounding Kentucky football. Phillips is obviously aware of the impact Tee Martin has on his coaching staff and on the recruiting front. Phillips even said he could see Martin being a head coach someday soon but he hopes he doesn’t leave too soon because they love him at Kentucky.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I also liked how Phillips talked about getting over the Ã¢â‚¬ËœhumpÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ in the SEC and winning more games. It seems Kentucky has been pretty close to grabbing a few more digits in the win column over the past couple of years but they just haven’t been able to quite get it done. Phillips and staff are working on filling some holes on the recruiting front which I think will be the key to getting over that Ã¢â‚¬Ëœhump.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Anything about your expectations for Kentucky this season change after hearing all the Media Days talk?
McKeeman: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The toughest stretch for the Wildcats will start the first of October when they take on LSU in Baton Rouge and then head to SEC East favorite South Carolina the next week. These games will be very tough to win for Kentucky but the key will be staying focused and bouncing back if losses happen in that stretch so that they can get ready to welcome two Mississippi teams to Lexington. I am even more confident in the resiliency displayed by Wildcat coaches and players after Media Days and I see success coming as a result of the collective chip on their shoulders.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Is Danny Trevathan another example of astute recruiting by Kentucky of turning a two-star guy into a five-star player and is that the path UK will have to continue to take in recruiting or can UK beat schools like Florida, Alabama, Georgia for four- and five-star guys?
McKeeman: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It will be a mixture of both of these situations for Kentucky. I always say, great coaches are key, not the number of stars next to a player’s name. Kentucky’s Danny Trevathan is a testament to this and sometimes players that are a little bit underrated come in and work much harder than five-star players. This is not always the case but I think the best teams (national championship teams) are made of an even combination of great talent and hard workers.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes, you need excellent playmakers with natural ability and Kentucky will get those guys. It’s hard to beat Florida/Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Bama/Georgia for the really big-time guys, but Kentucky will continue to get more of those as they have more success on the field. In the meantime, making each one of their players the best player they can be will be integral in a recipe for winning that coach Phillips is attempting to concoct.
Question: What do you expect recruiting-wise from Kentucky in the next few months?
McKeeman: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Kentucky has already grabbed some great guys in 2012. The Wildcat coaching staff will now focus on recruiting some that they still need to land and also holding on to players like the (Zack and Daron) Blaylock twins and Patrick Towles. Tee Martin will continue to be crucial for UK recruiting in the coming months as he may be the staff’s recruiting ace.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
Brandon KnightÃ‚Â returned to Lexington from Florida toÃ‚Â work a day of the John Calipari Pro Camp. He led UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†to the Final Four his freshman season before opting to leave for the NBA where he was picked eighth by the Detroit Pistons.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know much about what is going on (with the NBA), but just trying to make sure IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†am ready,Ã¢â‚¬Â Knight said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am home right now but IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†plan on coming in and working out here. Even though IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†just left, I still feel like IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†am part of the family. IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†am part of UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the way it should be.Ã¢â‚¬Â
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right. Players should be welcomed back with open arms, something UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†at times has struggled to do. Even today many football players especially feel they have been neglected, a wrong football coach Joker Phillips is trying to remedy much like Calipari has with the former UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†basketball standouts.
Knight said he feels a little funny being considered an Ã¢â‚¬Å“ex-CatÃ¢â‚¬Â since he only left a few months ago.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is kind of surreal.Ã¢â‚¬Ë†I just left and feel like I am still part of the team. I still feel like Coach is my coach and these guys are my teammates. It is kind of funny being back and saying IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†used to play at UK. I still feel like I should be at the University of Kentucky,Ã¢â‚¬Â Knight said.
Former Kentucky standout Tayshaun Prince is not the kind of person to be critical or take verbal shots at others. Still, Prince couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but express his appreciation for the way current UK coach John Calipari has treated former players that made it clear former Cats had not always felt nearly as comfortable coming back to UK as they do now.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is a great feeling. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one thing we (former players) talk about now. We have a coach here now who really appreciates not just the players he has here now, but the players who have gone,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Prince during the John Calipari Pro Camp last week at UK. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He always stays in contact with us during the season and throws in a text here and there to see how we are doing and letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s us know things going on in the summer. Things that he is planning and trying to do to get guys to come in.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a huge, huge thing for us to be able to feel that type of passion from a coach here who didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the opportunity to coach us but wants that relationship with us. It makes guys feel pretty good and you will see guys rolling in to do workouts because of the relationship he is putting out there with guys he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t coach but is trying to build a relationship with.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s obvious by the upcoming exhibition game against the Dominican Republic national team Calipari is coaching. Former UK stars John Wall, Rajon Rondo,Ã¢â‚¬Ë†Nazr Mohammed, Keith Bogans, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Jodie Meeks and Prince, all current NBA players.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s even a chance Rondo, Wall and Bledsoe could enroll in fall classes at UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†if the NBA lockout continues as it seems it undoubtedly will. If they do, they will be around for UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s current players Ã¢â‚¬â€ and talented freshmen class Ã¢â‚¬â€ to learn from and might even qualify as student-assistant coaches like Enes Kanter did last yer.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I was here at UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†playing basketball, there were some guys rolling in. There were a few guys here and there, but not like this,Ã¢â‚¬Â Prince, now an unrestricted free agent after playing with Detroit for nine years, said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think Calipari is trying to do something special where there is more than just a couple of guys. Hopefully by getting the word out there it will be different than when I was in college.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Prince smiles when thinking about the sometimes warm practices he had in Memorial Coliseum with no air conditioning compared to the new Joe Craft Center where both the menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basketball teams have their own gym available whenever it is needed.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The whole thing is just unbelievable. The good thing is that coach Calipari and his whole staff have done a great job of just staying in contact with the former players here,Ã¢â‚¬Â Prince said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He always opens the door for us to come here and work out. It just goes to show you all the hard work guys have put in before us made all this happen. The facilities are getting better and better. We have top-notch guys come here and play basketball. This is impressive.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There will be some guys coming in mid to late August or early September. Guys are going to roll in and try to get some workouts in. I think one thing special about UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†is the number of guys rolling in here in the summer now. You have a lot of guys that come back here. Nazr (Mohammed) comes back a lot. Keith Bogans comes back. Chuck Hayes comes back. Rondo. You have a lot of guys that come back and not forget where they came from because they know they are welcomed here.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Prince says another plus for coming back is players can learn from UK staff member Rod Strickland, a former NBA standout.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s good as well is that we have a guy here in Rod Strickland who has been in the league a long time and knows what it is all about. Guys can roll in and get some workouts and knowledge with him as well. IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†think it is very good,Ã¢â‚¬Â Prince said.
Prince says he feels Ã¢â‚¬Å“blessedÃ¢â‚¬Â to have only played with one NBA team as he contemplates his future once the lockout ends.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There are a lot of guys that were in my draft who have been with five, six or seven teams. To be able to be with one organization that long is a blessing.Ã‚Â IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†have options and we will see what is out there and see what is best for me and my family,Ã¢â‚¬Â Prince said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But it always gives me great pleasure to come back. It has always been a great experience and is just getting better.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky likely is going to need help from true freshmen receivers and running backs this season. Two years ago the Wildcats even turned to true freshman quarterback Morgan Newton when starter Mike Hartline was injured and lost for the season.
But will new defensive coordinator Rick Minter rely on any true freshmen to bolster his new, more aggressive UK defense that will rely on much more blitzing?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It would be a challenge to be honest with you, but in the first year no matter who you are playing with, freshmen or seniors, it is a challenge,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Minter. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Second, third (years) and on down the road gets easier. Marshall and Note Dame, my last two stops (in Division I), it took time before things started to flow and fall in place. My second year at Marshall we climbed into the top two or three defenses in Conference USA and played extremely well
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But we are not talking about the future. We are talking about now. What we have to make work now is that we have got experience. We have older guys who should be physically developed and mentally capable of learning new things. We have 10 seniors on defense and what IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†tried to sell them on is fast forward your life and if you have aspirations to play at the next level (NFL) you are going to be thrown a playbook that looks just about like ours and told to learn it in about four weeks.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Minter says he is challenging his older players, who he knows have NFLÃ¢â‚¬Ë†aspirations, to use his playbook/style as a way to measure how they could do in a NFL training camp.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Use that as a test. If you really want to play at the next level, use this as a test to the finish line of your four- or five-year college career. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t coast. Accelerate in your last year and put the hammer down and hopefully it makes us better, too, and will make you better,Ã¢â‚¬Â Minter said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“One year from now, guess what. Ã¢â‚¬Ë†You are going to be asked to do that again. If you want to play at the next level, you are going to be asked to learn that again. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the silver lining for those guys that they have been tested and taught a bunch of new things and now their bank of knowledge is that much broader.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If there are three or four teams they happened to get looked at, it could be guys that our system really is patterned after whether it be the Ravens, the Jets, the Steelers. A lot of their packages and concepts are in our playbook.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so hard for a freshman to adopt to his system.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It could happen with a freshman, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not easy on them,Ã¢â‚¬Â Minter said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am going to play the best guys we have, but they also have to know what they are doing.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
This time even the NCAA will have a hard time finding a way to bench Joe Hall.
After ruling that the former Kentucky coach could not be the honorary coach for a group of ex-UK players now playing in the NBA for an exhibition game Aug. 15 in Rupp Arena against the Dominican Republic national team coached by John Calipari, the current UK coach came to the rescue Hall will assist Calipari and help with practices and the game according to the announcement on Calipari’s Twitter account Friday.
“Coach Hall has international experience and brings a lot to the table and I’m glad that I finally have the chance to coach with him,” Calipari tweeted.
Still hard to imagine that Hall, 82, could be the center of controversy. He retired in 1985 after coaching UK for 13 years and winning one national title. He has conducted overseas clinics and coached a U.S. all-star team in 1978. But the NCAA just couldn’t let it go and let him enjoy a moment on the bench with former Cats like John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo and others.
Congrats to Calipari for finding a way again to beat the NCAA.
By LARRY VAUGHT
As the debate continues about who should be No. 1 going into the college basketball season, I turned to my most knowledgeable source Ã¢â‚¬â€ Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook (www.Blueribboninsider.com) editor Chris Dortch.
Queston: Will you have North Carolina, Ohio State or Kentucky No. 1 in your preseason Blue Ribbon poll?
Dortch: Ã¢â‚¬Å“North Carolina.Ã¢â‚¬Â
VaughtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comment: With North CarolinaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s returning talent and experience, makes sense.
Question: Will there be a better non-conference matchup this season than the Kentucky-North Carolina game and your early instinct on who you think will win that game?
Dortch: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I can’t think of a better pre-conference game. The annual UK-UNC game is good for college basketball. My instinct says UNC will win because of its experience at point guard and in the post.Ã¢â‚¬Â
VaughtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comment: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy to understand DortchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s logic. However, this will be THE GAME OF THE YEAR in Rupp Arena. Normally, it would be Louisville. But not this year and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why I think the Rupp Arena magic will turn the game into a win for CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cats.
Question: Who is your early pick to be the SEC Player of the Year?
Dortch: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Terrence Jones.Ã¢â‚¬Â
VaughtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comment: Sound logic there. Jones was one of the leagueÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s better players last year and figures to be even better this season. His only problem could be that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to adopt a Patrick Patterson-like attitude Ã¢â‚¬â€ sacrifice individual stats for more team wins Ã¢â‚¬â€ and that could hurt him in Player of the Year voting.
Question: Who will have a bigger impact for Kentucky this season Ã¢â‚¬â€ Jones, Doron Lamb, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Anthony Davis?
Dortch: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I’m placing a lot of stock in Jones. He’s going to be a first-team preseason All-America in Blue Ribbon and will also be on the cover with the other four All-American picks.Ã¢â‚¬Â
VaughtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comment: Myself,Ã¢â‚¬Ë†I am going with Davis because he needs to have a big impact inside and will get plenty of chances to do so.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Wondering what the perception of Kentucky football might be across the Southeastern Conference going into the 2011 season? Or at least what media members might think?
Based on al.comÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mark Inabinett comments in a recent post, the feeling is that UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†is not going to making any noise in the SEC this year, either. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s his post:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Kentucky has not posted a winning record against SEC competition since DE Art Still and QB Derrick Ramsey led the Wildcats to a 6-0 league mark in 1977. The 33-season stretch is the longest without topping .500 in conference history. But the streak isn’t as hard to fathom when you understand that for about the past quarter of a century Kentucky has had two losses built into its league schedule annually. Of the two longest opponent-vs.-opponent winning streaks in SEC history, the Wildcats are on the wrong end of both of them.
In each of the previous 26 seasons, Tennessee has beaten Kentucky. In each of the previous 24 seasons, Florida has beaten Kentucky. The Volunteers’ mastery of the Wildcats is the longest current winning streak in an uninterrupted series in NCAA FBS. It ranks sixth on the all-time list. Florida’s streak over Kentucky is the ninth-longest in major-college history.”
His facts are right. No one can dispute any of them. And based on what IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†heard from Florida and Tennessee players at SEC Media Days, those teams really donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even consider losing to Kentucky. Of course, why should they. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not a player at Tennessee or Florida who was alive when the Wildcats beat either team.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why as nice as beating South Carolina was last year, for UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†football to move ahead the Cats have to find a way to put these streaks to rest not only to move up in the SEC, but also to gain a measure of respect across the SEC.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Kentucky basketball player DeAndre Liggins is going to have a busy weekend of appearances. The tour is organized by Nationofblue.com, an internet site devoted to University of Kentucky athletics. Liggins has already visited several eastern Kentucky sites, including Hazard, Pikeville, Paintsville and Maysville.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We had a very good turnout at them all,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Nationofblue.comÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Scott Anderson. Ã¢â‚¬Å“DeAndre is really good with fans. That is one thing I noticed immediately on the tour. He will jump in and take a picture. He has hugged a 95-year-old woman and held babies for pictures. The one in Hazard started at 10 in the morning and there was someone there at 4:30 (a.m.) waiting to be first in line.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It has been pretty unreal. Everywhere we have been, there have been long lines and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got huge ovations as soon as he has walked in. The atmosphere everywhere has been very, very good.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Liggins was a starter and defensive stopper on UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Final Four team before opting to bypass his senior season with the Wildcats to enter the NBA draft. He was picked in the second round by the Orlando Magic.
He made an appearance at the Prasco John Calipari Pro Camp this morning in Lexington. Saturday, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be at Wildcat Warehouse locations in Somerset (10 a.m.-12 noon), Fayette Mall in Lexington (3:30-5:30 p.m.) and Danville (1-2:30 p.m.). Saturday night heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be at the Best Little Card Shop in Richmond from 6:30-8.
Sunday he heads west and will be at Wildcat Warehouse locations in Owensboro (12 noon-1:30 p.m. CST) and Elizabethtown (4-5:30 CST) before going to Big Blue Country in Louisville from 7-9 p.m.
Autograph packages at each location start at $15.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“DeAndre is a good guy and this tour has been an easy fit for him,Ã¢â‚¬Â Anderson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“With the NBA lockout, this is his job right now.Ã¢â‚¬Â