Teammates, coaches like the way Willis is “balling”

By LARRY VAUGHT

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Freshman Isaiah Briscoe said Tuesday that coach John Calipari wants every player on the court talking, something that Kentucky junior has not always easily done.

But Briscoe says Willis is doing a lot more than just talking recently.

“Derek, he’s been balling. Blocking shots, rebounding, running in transition, making shots. Everything he’s known how to do,” said Briscoe.

Briscoe thought Willis’ double-double at Auburn “got his confidence going.”

Assistant coach Tony Barbee said Tuesday that Willis’ play the last three games has made a tremendous difference.

UK target Jarred Vanderbilt back in Kentucky to play Feb. 6-7 at Pulaski County

By LARRY VAUGHT

This Kentucky fan made sure to let Jarred Vanderbilt  know where he wants him to go to college. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

This Kentucky fan made sure to let Jarred Vanderbilt know where he wants him to go to college. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

One of the nation’s top juniors is 6-9 Jarred Vanderbilt of Houston, who is only 16 years old and plays for Victory Prep and coach Rodney McCray, a former Louisville standpoint.

“He’s going to be really special at the next level,” Victory Prep (Texas) coach Rodney McCray, a former Louisville and NBA star, said.

Missouri coach sees Kentucky team that has defined and accepted roles

By LARRY VAUGHT

Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

Watching Kentucky beat Arkansas and then Vanderbilt in convincing fashion in a 48-hour period certainly impressed Missouri coach Kim Anderson going into Wednesday night’s game in Rupp Arena.

Kentucky has again been solid at home this year while Missouri has struggled to win on the road.

“With our guys, we’re young. I talk more about opportunity to go in and play a team like Kentucky. It was the same thing kind of with (Texas) A&M. You get a chance to go in and play a ranked team. A team that’s an experienced team,” Hamilton said Monday on the SEC coaches teleconference. “Kentucky has a measure of experience with a guy like – even though (Tyler) Ulis is young, he’s played a year and (Alex) Poythress has played. They have some experience.

UK Women vs. Tennessee Photo Gallery

(Photos by Vicky Graff)

Ulis and Murray both on midseason watch lists

Jamal Murray (Vicky Graff Photo)

Jamal Murray (Vicky Graff Photo)

Kentucky guards Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray are on the midseason watch lists for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s national player of the year award and freshman of the year award, respectively.

Ulis is one of 20 midseason players on the watch list for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, given annually to the men’s national player of the year. He’s one of only two players from the Southeastern Conference to make the cut.

Meanwhile Murray is one of 10 on the midseason watch list for the Wayman Tisdale Award, which goes to the top freshman in the game.

Matthew Mitchell says beating Tennessee was “great victory”

Kentucky Women’s Basketball

#12 Kentucky vs. #19 Tennessee

Postgame Quotes

Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.

Jan. 25, 2016

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …

Kentucky-Tennessee postgame notes and numbers

Kentucky Women’s Basketball Postgame Notes

FINAL:  #12 Kentucky 64, #19 Tennessee 63

Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.

Jan. 25, 2016

Team Records and Series Notes

–    UK came back from a 10-point deficit to take down No. 19 Tennessee, 64-63 in Memorial Coliseum.

–    With the victory, UK moves to 15-3 on the season, and 4-3 in Southeastern Conference play while Tennessee falls to 12-7 (3-3 SEC).

–    The meeting was the 64th between the two programs, with UK advancing to 11-53 in the all-time series.

–    The victory snaps a four-game losing skid against the Lady Vols.

On son’s 18th birthday, Ryan Lemond reveals how son taught him to be better dad, person and man

By RYAN LEMOND

Gavin Lemond, left, taught his father, Ryan, there is more to life than sports.

Gavin Lemond, left, taught his father, Ryan, there is more to life than sports.

I’m experiencing a new emotion today, and I don’t know how to handle it.  I’m happy.  I’m excited, and at the same time, I’m sad.

I cried today.

My oldest son, Gavin, turns 18 today.  All parents have to face this day and go through this emotion, but I’m having a hard time dealing with it.  Gavin is adopted.  He came into my life when he was only 5 months old, and more importantly, he came into my life at a time when I didn’t know if I was ever going to be a dad.  He was and is a blessing from God.

Bill Self: Bonuses of Big 12/SEC Challenge in January outweigh negatives

Is the Big 12/SEC Challenge better in late January when it is not during the college football season or better in November when it does not disrupt conference play?

Here’s what Kansas coach Bill Self said today going into Saturday’s game in Lawrence with Kentucky:

“I think it’s both. I don’t necessarily like it all. I don’t like the disruption of the league play – and I think the majority of the coaches would probably agree with that – but for our league I think it’s going to be a great exposure day,” Self said.

Jamal Murray SEC Freshman of the Week again

-1BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Freshman sharpshooter Jamal Murray was named the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Week after helping lead UK to a pair of double-digit wins at Arkansas and against Vanderbilt this week.

Murray averaged 18.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in the two wins. Today’s honor marks the second such award of his career.

The Kitchener, Ontario native continued to be a threat offensively while emphasizing his defensive performance in the two wins this week. Murray and Co. helped lead UK to its first win in Arkansas under the direction of John Calipari on Thursday. Murray poured in 19 points and added seven rebounds. He also contributed a block and a steal in the victory.