Monthly Archive: February 2017

Willis’ proposal starts Senior Night and Monk’s free throws cap UK comeback win

Derrick Willis proposes to Keely Potts. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Senior Night start with an unexpected moment when Derek Willis dropped to a knee and proposed to his girlfriend, Keely Potts, at midcourt during the pregame ceremony that had fans, teammates and even UK coaches cheering.

It was a touching moment that UK fans loved but the mood quickly changed once the game started and UK missed 15 of its first 17 shots. A 14-0 Vanderbilt run pushed the lead to 25-6 and Kentucky looked lifeless.

Makayla Epps, Evelyn Akhator Named First Team All-SEC

LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky women’s basketball senior guard Makayla Epps and senior forward Evelyn Akhator have been named All-Southeastern Conference First Team performers by league coaches, it was announced Tuesday morning.

Epps and Akhator are joined on the first team by Ronni Williams (Florida), Victoria Vivians (Mississippi State), Sophie Cunningham (Missouri), Alaina Coates (South Carolina), A’ja Wilson (South Carolina) and Diamond DeShields (Tennessee). Kentucky and South Carolina are the only teams to have two players on the first team. UK has had at least one first-team selection in seven of the last eight seasons.

Numbers favor Kentucky by 18 over Vanderbilt

By RICHARD CHEEKS

The regular season is nearly over, with one home game for Senior Night against Vanderbilt tonight and a trip to Texas A&M on Saturday for their senior day celebration. The Big Blue Nation will say “thank you” to three seniors who have left their marks on the Wildcat basketball program. Two of the three are Kentucky boys, Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis, and the third, Mychal Mulder, is a JUCO transfer who is completing his second season as a Cat.

Willis says Calipari helped him “turn my life around”

Derek Willis (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Derek Willis has not always seen eye to eye with Kentucky coach John Calipari and often has been the target of public criticism from the UK coach.

At times, Willis has had incredible games and moments. However, Calipari has always had a short leash on his playing time and constantly questioned his defense.

So with Willis getting set for his Senior Night game tonight against Vanderbilt, it might surprise you how Willis will remember Calipari.

Dangerous Vanderbilt worries Calipari

John Calipari, Kenny Payne, Dominique Hawkins (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

With all the hoopla about seniors Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins and Mychal Mulder playing their final home game tonight, Kentucky coach John Calipari said not to forget about the opponent — Vanderbilt. He called Vandy “very dangerous” based on what he’s seen in recent games.

“They’re playing their best basketball. They’re making shots. They’re cutting hard. They played us all zone last time, and now they’re not playing zone at all. They struggled defensively and they’re not now,” Calipari said Monday.

Emmie Harris finishes career in style that earned respect from fans as well as opponents

Emmie Harris cried as she hugged family members Monday. (Larry Vaught Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

SOMERSET — Sometimes a special moment/memory comes at the most unexpected time.

That happened here Monday night during the Girls 12th Region Tournament. Tourney favorite Mercer County had a 90-68 lead over Boyle County in the first-round game with just a few seconds remaining when Boyle coach Greg Edwards took senior Emmie Harris out for the final time.

Mulder appreciates Calipari setting him up to succeed in more than basketball

Mychal Mulder (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Mychal Mulder said he knew who he was a a basketball player when he came to Kentucky for his final two years of eligibility after two years of playing junior college basketball.

“As a young adult I was still growing, still continuing to grow. But being able to play under coach Cal and in his system, it really teaches you a lot – not just about basketball but about life,” said Mulder Monday. “He’s setting you up to succeed in more areas than just basketball. He’s setting you up to be able to work under pressure, to be able to follow instruction, to be able to know who you are, so there is just a ton of life lessons that I have learned.”

Calipari has “no idea” about De’Aaron Fox’s status

Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox did not play Saturday against Florida because of a bruised knee and UK coach John Calipari offered little into about his status for Tuesday night’s game against Vanderbilt.

“I have no idea,” Calipari said Monday when asked about Fox. “I haven’t seen. This morning he was in the meeting, but I didn’t ask him. So we’ll see.”

Calipari said last week the injury was not a sprain, but a bruise. He had previously missed one game with the flu and part of another game with an ankle injury.

Bam Adebayo SEC Freshman of the Week

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – After averaging 20 points and 15 rebounds a game in a 2-0 week for the Kentucky Wildcats, Bam Adebayo was named the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Week for the first time this season. Adebayo was simply sensational in UK’s two victories, which included a little bit of history for Kentucky’s big man.

He posted a 22-point, 15-rebound effort as he nearly single-handedly willed the Cats to a 72-62 win on the road at Missouri on Tuesday. It was a career day on the boards for the Little Washington, North Carolina, native, who also topped 20 points for the third time in his career. It was the first 20-15 game for any Wildcat since Julius Randle turned the trick on Nov. 8, 2013. Adebayo was steady throughout the game, including knocking down a career-high 10 free throws.

Centre College junior Brooklyn Bell made all sorts of memories while studying in Thailand

Brooklyn Bell

By LARRY VAUGHT

Spending time studying in Thailand gave Centre College junior Brooklyn Bell a lot of different — or maybe unique would be a better word — experiences.

She went to Thailand as part of Centre’s winter term with two field hockey teammates — Cole Jordan and Alicia Kalbfleisch. All three are from Louisville.

“I decided to go to Thailand primarily because I had a few friends going. When deciding where to study abroad, though, I wanted to go somewhere I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to go to if it weren’t for Centre’s study abroad program,” Bell said. “There were a lot of trips I wanted to go on, but a lot of them were places I figured I would be more likely to travel to in my lifetime.

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