Monthly Archive: April 2017

KHSAA’s statement on death of high school athlete

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association staff was shocked and saddened to learn of today’s tragic incident at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

Reports are that a member of the basketball team collapsed and died during open gym and the Lexington Herald Leader posted this on Twitter: “15-year-old Star Ifeacho collapsed during open gym at Dunbar High School and died, coroner says.”

Here is the statement from KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett:

Prince Sets Career High in Strikeouts in Homecoming Win

MARTIN, Tenn. – Senior pitcher Meagan Prince struck out a career-high 14 batters in a complete game winning performance in front of a Bettye Giles Field record crowd of 731 people in her hometown of Martin, Tennessee, as the No 18 Kentucky softball team beat the UT-Martin Skyhawks, 8-2.

Prince threw her 12th complete game of the season on Wednesday night allowing just two runs on six hits, walking four and striking out a career-high 14 batters. She needed just 127 pitches to get through the game and now has an ERA of 1.52 for the season.

Wilderness Trail Distillery wins Gold medal at prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Danville, KY. – Wilderness Trail Distillery’s Bourbon-influenced Blue Heron Vodka earned a Gold Medal and its Harvest Rum garnered a Bronze Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

And both products will be available Saturday at the Taste of Danville at Wilderness Trace Distillery from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Since its introduction in 2000, this competition has become one of the most respected and influential spirits competitions in the world. The 2017 competition was the largest in its history with 2,100 entries. The 43 judges are spirits industry experts.

Keely Potts joins us on WPBK-FM Thursday

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

By LARRY VAUGHT

Join Tim Estes and myself on WPBK (102.9 FM, wpbkfm.com) Thursday morning when we talk to Keely Potts from 7:30-8 a.m.

Kentucky senior Derek Willis made national news when he proposed to Potts at midcourt of Rupp Arena before UK’s Senior Nigh Game against Vanderbilt.

Potts will be able not only to share insights about Willis’ playing career at UK, but also his life off the basketball court that has often involved visiting children at schools and hospitals. He’s a unique person and no one knows that better than Potts.

Johnson and Poythress Named All-NBA D-League

Alex Poythress and family. (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Former Kentucky men’s basketball players Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress were tabbed All-NBA Development League Players on Tuesday. Johnson was a first-team selection, while Poythress earned second-team honors as well as an All-Rookie Team nod.

Johnson, a member of the Oklahoma City Blue, started all 49 games this season. He averaged 18.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, while shooting 55.7 percent from the floor and 68.4 percent from the charity stripe. A 2016-17 D-League All-Star, Johnson enjoyed a breakout season becoming one of the league’s most dominating post presences. He notched career highs in points (31) and rebounds (11) on April 19 against Rio Grande Valley during the playoffs.

Fans need to wish players the best when they make decisions that are best for them

Hamidou Diallo (Vicky Graff Photo)

By JESSICA JONES, Contributing Writer

Fans. We are Kentucky fans. We are passionate. We love our team. We love our players. However, it has become increasingly apparent that fans think they need to voice their displeasure for the decisions some of the Kentucky players have made.
Here’s the thing: It’s not our life. It’s not our decision. It’s not our future earnings. It’s not our career. None of us have been faced with the same decisions these young men go through at the end of a season at Kentucky.
First it was Isaiah Briscoe. Many were mad that he chose to sign with an agent. I don’t understand why a fan would be mad at him. I’m happy for him. I hope he gets drafted in a great spot or finds a great team. Do you think he doesn’t know where he stands? Do you think he’s misinformed? You’re wrong. I promise you that Isaiah is fully aware of where he stands and weighed his options and made a decision that he felt was best for him.
Why on Earth would fans be mad at him for doing such? Do you think he owes you something? He doesn’t. Would you like to skip two years of college and make money to play and get better? I think so. Some of you are under the false belief that players only get better in college. Wrong. Aaron Harrison’s undrafted salary was partially guaranteed for around $75,000. I think I would take that rather than going to college for another year or two making $0.
Let’s look at the case of Andrew Harrison who went D League for his first year. The highest D League salary was $25,500 but now Andrew is making over $900,000. I think I would take that too. So before you want to bash Briscoe for his decision, put yourself in his shoes. He made a business decision.
Even if it wasn’t a “good” one, it’s not your choice and it’s not your life. Isaiah will live with the consequences but I bet most likely he’ll be very rich, very soon. He might have to go through a year of D League but I’m guessing it will pay off for him just fine.
Then there was Isaac Humphries. I saw many bashing his decision as well. Why? He has a chance to make some money as well. With the frontcourt Kentucky has coming in, maybe he doesn’t want to be a junior backup anymore? Have any of you been there? Maybe it was high school and the freshmen that came in started over you the junior or senior. It’s not easy. If he doesn’t get drafted or make an NBA team, he does have the opportunity to be a professional in his home country and also BE RICH.
Get over yourself if you think he owes you anything. I’m tired of fans getting mad at 18-22 year old kids for making a decision to advance their careers beyond college. How many bone headed decisions did you make when you were 18-22? I’m guessing at least one. These decisions are big life decisions for these guys’ careers and futures. Don’t you think they have considered the options?
Now we take a look at the one and only Hamidou Diallo. First of all, John Calipari took him on the condition that he wasn’t going to play. Why would he? Some of you are saying that he would have made a difference. Maybe he would have. Maybe he wouldn’t. How do you know? Have you seen him play college ball? Nope. None of us have. What’s the cost of him playing in January? You don’t develop chemistry with a team overnight. Also, what if he would have highly exposed his weaknesses after being on the team for just a few weeks? Ask Harry Giles how it worked out for him.
Hamidou maybe wasn’t ready. Maybe Hamidou simply didn’t want to take the risk of being exposed. The important thing to remember is that this was the plan from day 1 and Calipari took him knowing he wasn’t going to play this year. Calipari took a chance. He took him under the condition that he didn’t play this year and would possibly be a top guy next year or he doesn’t take him at all.
If I’m Calipari I take that chance 100 times out of 100. You have the opportunity to have the an insanely talented kid who also has half a season of experience and is a freshmen. Think about that. It’s a no brainer. You take him.
Here’s a news flash: declaring for the draft doesn’t mean he’s leaving. Stop freaking out. Stop bashing him. He has the opportunity to get feedback from NBA personel and start networking, making connections, and building relationships. Think of this like a job. He’s going to talk to the best in the business at his dream job and learning what he needs to get better at so when he comes back in one year he can make the highest amount of money possible. Wouldn’t you do that?
Think about it. Stop blaming Cal, stop blaming the kid. Both are doing what’s best for Hamidou Diallo and that’s what Calipari is known for. Some of you want to make the argument that Calipari isn’t doing what’s best for the program. You like all these high rated classes don’t you? Do you think he gets these talented guys by being self-serving? Not.
Here’s something else to think about: Had Cal said “No, if you come you have to play,” Diallo likely goes somewhere else. Or, worst case scenario, he takes him, doesn’t play him, and he leaves for the NBA. Either way, he never plays for Kentucky. What’s the big deal?
Let me also mention to you that if you don’t think Calipari can use that to get big recruits later on, you’re crazy. A kid comes in and just PRACTICES with our team for 4 months and gets drafted. Wow.
Also, how do you know Hamidou coming in didn’t help our team? Just because he didn’t play doesn’t mean he didn’t help the team. He likely went against Monk, Dom, and Fox in practice. Don’t you think that might have made them better? I do. This kid is making the best decision for him and if I were to bet on it I would bet that he does play for Kentucky next year. If you were paying the slightest bit of attention when he signed, this seemed like the plan all along. It’s still the plan.
Why can’t he get feedback from the NBA? Because a fan says so? No. Knock it off. It’s childish and selfish. Also, I’m guessing Calipari likely knows what Diallo’s plans are and has a plan. If Diallo leaves, I’m guessing Cal has an idea and has something up his sleeve. He’s Cal. He always does. Remember Jamal Murray? So, BBN, take a deep breath and let this kid go get his feedback that is rightfully his and then come back to Kentucky driven to become a lottery pick in next year’s draft.
You might think the players and parents of recruits don’t see what you put on twitter or Facebook but I promise, they do. Stop it. Be respectful and responsible. You want to get more recruits? Stop bashing current players on social media. Sure, I would love to have every talented kid that comes to Kentucky stay all four years but the reality is that just isn’t going to happen. You want us to stop recruiting the best talent? Then you better be willing to hang in on rebuilding years where we don’t even make the tourney. Cal has Kentucky a title contender every single year because he’s the best at what he does. Let him do his job. Let these kids make their decision.
Most of all, remember: IT’S THEIR DECISION. Are you asking them to care more about Kentucky than they do their own career? That’s just not realistic. I’ve heard some people say that Cal should care more about Kentucky. He does. Trust me. He is also always going to do the very best by these kids and he will get our program ride if they decide to leave. He always has.
If Cal put the program ahead of the kid, he wouldn’t be getting many of these kids. Pick your road. Personally, I like the road we’re on. If Diallo comes back, which I believe he will, he will have made a very smart choice to get the information and then improve on the areas he needs to. And Kentucky will be very good.
If Diallo decides to remain in the draft, Kentucky is going to be just fine. And still really good. There’s absolutely no reason for fans to be upset at Cal or Diallo for this decision that Diallo has made. Do you think Cal is going to tell him “NO, don’t do it!” No way.
Wish Diallo the best and hope he comes back. If he doesn’t, wish him luck and watch and see what magic Cal pulls out of his hat.

Rethlake Throws Complete-Game Shutout in 5-0 Win Over EKU

RICHMOND, Ky. – The No. 18 Kentucky softball team picked up its fifth win in a row on Tuesday night as Erin Rethlake threw a complete-game shutout against Eastern Kentucky and Jenny Schaper had three RBI as the Wildcats knocked off the Colonels, 5-0.

Kentucky improves to 31-13 on the season with Tuesday night’s result, as Eastern Kentucky falls to 20-27. The Wildcats return to the field on Wednesday afternoon down in Martin, Tennessee, the hometown of ace pitcher Meagan Prince. Kentucky and UT-Martin will start at 5 p.m. ET and the game will be shown live on the OVC Digital Network online.

Bailey Vick SEC Freshman of the Week

Bailey Vick (Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Freshman softball player Bailey Vick was named the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Week, it was announced by the league offense on Tuesday afternoon. Vick was an instrumental part of Kentucky’s 4-0 week, including a sweep of Missouri on the road for the first time all season.

On the week, Vick hit .400 with six hits, three runs scored, a double and an RBI. The freshman from Paducah, Kentucky, is hitting .336 on the season, which ranks third on the team and has 37 total hits on the season with eight doubles. The speedster has also stolen seven bases this season on nine attempts.

Adebayo on UK coaches: “They never gave up on me”

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men basketball freshman forward Bam Adebayo announced Tuesday he will officially hire an agent and remain in the 2017 NBA Draft, forgoing his remaining eligibility at Kentucky.

“After talking with Coach Cal, the staff and my family, I have decided it’s in my best interest to remain in the draft,” Adebayo said.

“This process we went through at Kentucky was a tough but a rewarding one. It was everything I wanted when I decided to come to Kentucky. It taught me a lot. It taught me how to be a better man on and off the court. I have improved so much since the beginning of the season thanks to the hard work of the coaching staff. They helped me with every step of the process along the way and they never gave up on me.

Bam Adebayo picks agent, will have autograph stop Monday in Ashland

Bam Adebayo (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

After a few weeks of speculation about Bam Adebayo’s future, it’s now clear the Kentucky freshman is heading to the NBA draft.

Both Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports reported Monday that Adebayo would hire an agent and remain in the draft where he continues to be projected as a first-round pick in June. He had until May 24 to take his name out of the draft and return to UK if he did not sign with an agent.

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