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Vaught’s note: This is not a UK basketball story, but I thought it was a good reminder of the good that goes along with basketball and sports in general even if the stories that gain national attention lose track of that. Yes, I am a little frustrated with all this going on about Eric Bledsoe, a kid I really grew to like. So enjoy John Herndon’s story here and maybe it will inspire you to come pat these Kentucky all-stars on the back for a job well done.
By John Herndon
The Anderson News
LAWRENCEBURG Ã¢â‚¬â€ The Kentucky-Indiana high school all-star basketball game has long been billed as something unique to states that claim hoops as part of the birthright.
But the game has lost its luster in recent years, especially marked by declining attendance on both sides of the Ohio River. The games are set for June 11 at Knights Hall on the campus of Bellarmine University in Louisville and June 12 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Anderson County head boys coach Glen Drury is an assistant coach for the Kentucky team this year Ã¢â‚¬â€ Mike Listerman of Covington Catholic is the head coach Ã¢â‚¬â€ and the head coach for the 2011 series. He wants to do what he can to make the classic special again.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“One of my goals in this organization is that I want this team to be important to every kid in Kentucky again,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury says.
He’s getting his start June 8 when the Kentucky boys team will be in Anderson County at Tony’s Barn at 1435 North Highway 127 (just north of the 127-151 interchange). The event is free and open to the public.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have about 100 T-shirts that we are going to be giving out,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is an opportunity for the people of the community to meet the team. You can have your picture taken with Mr. Basketball.Ã¢â‚¬Â
That player, Shelby Valley’s Elisha Justice, will be attending the University of Louisville.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If I am coaching at Louisville, I can see why they took him. He is a coach’s dream. He is willing to do whatever it takes to win and has excellent leadership skills,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury said.
Justice led Shelby Valley to the state championship. A teammate, Ashley Hatfield, is also on the all-star team. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He’s just a winner,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury said.
Other top players include Louisville Trinity’s Josh Sewell, who will be attending Miami of Ohio, and Ricardo Johnson of Covington Holmes, headed for Ohio University.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am very impresseed with Johnson,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He will do what it takes.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The team also includes Franklin County’s Vance Hall, who Ã¢â‚¬Å“had a great tryout,Ã¢â‚¬Â according to Drury, and McCreary Central’s Aaron Watts, considered one of Kentucky’s best athletes.
The team will be scrimmaging the Kentucky Junior All-Stars at 6 p.m. on June 8 at Franklin County High School before coming to Anderson County. Drury says the team will have a sheriff’s department escort at the county line and should arrive at Tony’s Barn about 8:15.
Drury said that he invited Kentucky coach John Calipari and Louisville’s Rick Pitino to attend but they are are prohibited from doing so by an NCAA regulation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I want this to be a special time for each of the kids,Ã¢â‚¬Â Drury said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We want them to realize they are representing the state of Kentucky.Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have great tradition here in Kentucky, too. We want to promote that tradition and we want this to be an experience they will never forget.Ã¢â‚¬Â