Archive for March, 2010

And The Rumors Begin

March 31, 2010 11:53 pm

The season is less than 5 days from having finished and the rumor mill really got stirred up on Wednesday night. What began as a rather calm day, I was looking forward to watching potentially a few of Kentucky’s new incoming freshman in the McDonalds All-American Game, but then it all started. Rumors ran wild all across the Big Blue Nation about the future of many of the current players. As of 11:43 on Wednesday night, here is what is fact:

  • Daniel Orton has NOT entered his name into the NBA Draft. Reports earlier in the night indicated that his father had dropped the ball saying his son was going to enter his name without hiring an agent. Larry Orton said “If Daniel has a good workout, he might be a top five pick…If he had played more, he would have made DeMarcus look bad”. Not quite the most “team” oriented statement I have heard, but I’m sure Mr. Orton is just wanting the best for his son. But again, to reiterate, Daniel Orton has not entered his name in the NBA Draft, he may do so in the coming days, but as of now he has not.
  • Darnell Dodson found himself at the center of the next rumor of the day. There has been recent speculation of Dodson possibly transfering and untill I recieved concrete evidence I choose to not post anything about it. Well today we received some hints that the momentum for “Darnell transfer rumors” may be picking up. DeMarcus Cousins said tonight at the McDonalds All-American Game that Dodson was going to enter his name into the NBA Draft. If true this is a ridiculous move as I have not seen him mentioned once in any mock drafts. There are also some rumors that he may transfer but  I have not heard any mention as to where he may go. Again, as of now he is still a member of the team but that may change as well in the coming days.
  • There were also a few rumblings about John Hood possibly transfering. Both WLEX and WKYT in Lexington reported that this is false and Hood will return next season.
  • 2010 Mr. Basketball in the state of Kentucky, Elisha Justice of Shelby Valley High School may be hearing from the UK Staff very soon. I’m am hearing that he may be recruited as a preffered walk-on with a 1 year guaranteed scholarship this upcoming season. I hope this happens as it is always good to have a few homegrown kids on the roster.
  • And finally, The McDonalds All-American Game. I was going to go a little more in-depth with this, but due to tonight’s activites I’ll just hand out the stats and may go into it a little later.
  1. Terrence Jones- 14 points, 3 rebounds
  2. Brandon Knight- 9 points, 2 rebounds
  3. Doron Lamb- 12 points, 2 rebounds
  4. C.J. Leslie- 7 points, 9 rebounds
  5. Josh Selby- 13 points, 3 rebounds

Those are just the players who participated who Kentucky is actively recruiting. Last night I promised a preview of what may happen in terms of UK players and the NBA Draft, but I think we have enough new news to review tonight so I will hold off on that untill tomorrow. So there you have it and as long as nothing else major changes, I will have our draft review up here tomorrow. Get ready for a crazy next 2-3 weeks as rumors will be running wild. Goodnight Big Blue Nation.

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Wednesday News

March 31, 2010 12:56 am

We have a couple of quick notes for today, mostly to do with recruiting, but first let’s take a minute to remember “Mr. Wildcat”, Bill Keightley, who we lost two years ago today. Mr. Wildcat was the equipment manager for the UK Basketball team from 1962-2008. During that time he worked for 6 coaches and witnessed 3 NCAA Championships. Mr. Wildcat joins former radio announcer Cawood Ledford as the only two people recognized with a retired jersey in the rafters of Rupp Arena that were not a player or coach. There is no other man who epitomized what Kentucky Basketball is all about more than Mr. Wildcat. Below is the video that was played at Mr. Keightley’s memorial service.

To the news:

– The #1 prospect in the country, Brandon Knight, referred to Kentucky as “we” yesterday during an interview at the McDonald’s All-American Game. Take what you will from that comment on what it holds for the future but we will all know for sure on April 14th when Knight announces his college choice. I still think UK is the heavy favorite to land Knight.

-Another recruit C.J. Leslie said that staff memebers from UK indicated to him that 5 players will be departing from the team for the NBA, and that number does not include any of the 3 seniors. We will get into that a little heavier in the near future, but if that is in fact true, that means Harris, Stevenson, Krebs, Patterson, Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe, and Orton would all be departing from this past season’s team.

– UK Hoops fell last night to Oklahoma 88-68 in the Women’s NCAA Elite 8. It was a tough night for the women’s team as they did not look very good after jumping out to an early 15-3 lead. It still was a fantastic season for the women as they set a record for the most wins in school history as well as reaching the programs second ever Elite 8.

That should cover it for the day. Check back tomorrow as we will break down what will happen with the underclassmen from this season’s team. GO BIG BLUE!!!

Your 2009-2010 Kentucky Wildcats

March 30, 2010 12:59 am

It is now time to close the chapter on the 2009-2010 edition of the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball team. Even though the ultimate goal was not reached this season, it still was a record breaking year in many different ways. Now that we all have had 2 days to deal with what happened on that fateful night in Syracuse, lets take a look at the highlights that were the 2009-2010 season.

As A Team:

  • First school to win 2,000 games-(12/21/09 Drexel 88-44)
  • 46th SEC Regular Season Championship
  • 27th SEC Tournament Championship
  • 50th NCAA Tournament Championship
  • 41st Sweet 16
  • 32nd Elite 8

#54 Patrick Patterson:

  • 13th All-Time Career Scoring (1564)
  • 13th All-Time Career Rebounding (791)
  • 7th All-Time Career Blocked Shots (152)
  • 6th All-Time Career Field Goal Percentage (58.6%) 
  • 3rd Single Game Blocked Shots (8)
  • 57th Member of the 1,000 Point Club

#11 John Wall:

  • 1st Single Season Points By A Freshman (616)
  • 1st Single Season (241)
  • 1st Single Season Assists By A Freshman (241)
  • 9th Single Season Steals (66)
  • 2nd Single Season Steals By A Freshman (66)
  • 2nd Single Season Field Goals By A Freshman (202)
  • 9th Single Season Rebounds By A Freshman (159)
  • 1st Single Game Assists (16)
  • 2nd Single Game Assists (14)
  • 114th All-Time Scoring (616)

#15 DeMarcus Cousins:

  • 1st Single Season Rebounding By A Freshman (375)
  • 1st Single Season Field Goals By A Freshman (206)
  • 2nd Single Season Points By A Freshman (575)
  • 3rd Single Season Blocked Shots By A Freshman (67)
  • 8th Single Season Rebounds (375)
  • 9th Single Season Steals By A Freshman (37)
  • 9th Single Season Blocked Shots (67)
  • 14th All-Time Career Field Goal Percentage (56%)
  • 121st All-Time Career Scoring (575)

#24 Eric Bledsoe:

  • 3rd Single Season Steals By A Freshman (52)
  • 4th Single Season Assists By A Freshman (106)
  • 4th Single Game 3-Point Field Goals (8)
  • 6th Single Season Points By A Freshman (419)
  • 7th Single Season Field Goals By A Freshman (144)
  • 152 All-Time Career Scoring (419)

#21 Perry Stevenson:

  • 2nd Single Season Field Goal Percentage (66.7%)
  • 5th All-Time Career Blocked Shots (160)
  • 10th All-Time Career Field Goal Percentage (57.6%)
  • 117th All-Time Scoring (602)

#5 Ramon Harris:

  • 170th All-Time Scoring (358)

#33 Daniel Orton:

  • 4th Single Season Blocked Shots By A Freshman (51)
  • 258th All-Time Scoring (129)

So with that, we officially say good-bye to this group. There will be some drastic changes to next season’s roster with both players leaving and coming. We will address all of these issues in the coming days as well as the kick-off to Spring Football Practice on Thursday. It was a successfull year that fell just short of the final goal, but a year that I won’t soon forget. As always GO BIG BLUE!!!

199 Days untill BIG BLUE MADNESS!!!

And It’s Over…

March 29, 2010 12:25 am

That hurt, that just really hurt. I know there is much more to concern ourselves with than college basketball as my family and I have witnessed these last few weeks. But for those of you who have been a part of Kentucky Basketball from the day you were born, you know what I’m talking about. Kentucky Basketball is special, and it engulfs you in a way that can not be explained to someone who hasn’t experienced it. It finds a way to get to me every year when the season ends, whether it is a year like last year when we underachieve, or whether it’s a special group like the one we had this year, I’m never ready for it to end. For 2 hours every winter and into spring, Kentucky Basketball provides excitement to the entire Big Blue Nation. I still feel the same way today when I watch a game as I did when I was a little kid. There are very few things that are as special to me as being able to go to a Kentucky game with my dad or watch a game with my grandparents, and I can’t wait untill November to do it again.

This was a very special group to me this season. Not because half of this team is going to be playing in the NBA in the near future. Not because they won 35 games. Not because of all of the records that they set. This group was special because it brought Kentucky back from the disappointment that we have come to know over the past 5 years. The circumstances are much different, but this group is my “Unforgetables”. They came here when we were coming off of our first season after missing the tournament and turned things around in the blink of an eye. I was only 3 when Richie Farmer and John Pelphrey led the Cats back to the top of college basketball so I can’t say I remember that team. This team did what those boys did with Rick Pitino. I will always remember this group because of what they did on the court, but it was much more than that. They all had great personalities off the court and really embraced the opprotunity they were afforded here at UK.

Some of these players are now off to the next level in their playing careers. Coach John Calipari will do what he does so well and bring in the best talent in the country for next season and I will deal with all of this in the coming days and weeks here on the site, but I will miss this team. There will be a team in the very near future that will pick up where these guys left off and finish the journey to #8 and once again bring the hardware back to Lexington, but it will be tough for any team to stack up next to this team. I’m going to steal a line from Coach Rupp, but I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate. To the 13 players who brought us down this Glory Road, the Big Blue Nation thanks you.

Teams who have success and a big time player will always have bandwagon fans, and Kentucky had plenty this year I’m sure. But there is no one in the world who can convince me that the University of Kentucky does not have the BEST fans in the nation. I witnessed first hand people spending money I’m sure they had no business spending just to go see their Cats play and families who have saved all year to take 1 vacation and that vacation is to go see their team in action. It hurt to see my Cats lose today, but I have never been prouder to be a member of the Big Blue Nation and I will continue to bleed blue untill the day the Lord calls me away from this world. GO BIG BLUE!!!

#1 Kentucky-66 #2 West Virginia-73

March 28, 2010 2:52 am

The West Virginia Mountaineers: 7:05 EST CBS

March 26, 2010 1:09 pm

Bob Huggins, in his third year at his alma mater, has led them to the school’s third Elite 8 and first since 2005. West Virginia comes into Saturday’s showdown with the Cats with a 30-6 (13-5) record and winners of 9 in a row. The Mountaineers are fresh off of winning their first Big East Tournament Championship where they knocked off Georgetown 60-58 at Madison Square Garden. West Virginia finished the regular season tied with Villanova  for 2nd in the Big East, which was largely heralded as the strongest conference in all of college basketball. After 3 rounds, West Virginia remains the only representative from the Big East that is still dancing.

How did they get here? West Virginia recieved and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big East Tournament. They recieved a #2 seed and were matched-up with Morgan State where they easily dismissed the Bears 77-50 in round 1. The second round foud the Mountaineers in a showdown with the 10th seeded Missouri Tigers. West Virginia led from the tip but were never to pull away by more than 9 at any time during the contest before finishing off Mizzou 68-59. The Sweet 16 game last night had the Mountaineers going up against Quincy Pondexter and his Washington Huskies. Washington led at the half before the West Virginia defense turned up the pressure forcing numerous Washington turnovers which allowed West Virginia to take the lead and stretch it out to a 69-56 win.

#1 Da’Sean Butler- The 6’7 senior forward has averaged double figures in the scoring column during all four years in Morgantown. His senior season has been his best as he has averaged 17 points and 6 boards a game while shooting 42% from the floor. He is a solid shooter from the perimeter but will knock down open looks. He is a very long and athletic player and one that offers match-up problems for nearly every opponent he plays, including Kentucky. Butler is averaging 17 points during the tournament and is the go-to-guy in the clutch for the Mountaineers. He has hit numerous shots to win games for West Virginia this season. If it comes down to a final possesion, Kentucky must play denial defense against Butler.

#5 Kevin Jones- Jones is another very long and athletic player. At 6’8, Jones can do it all. He will back down on the block, he will drive to the rim, and he will spot up and knock down a jumper. He is a very good 3 point shooter as he shoots at a 40% rate from downtown. Jones averages nearly 14 points a game to go along with 7 boards a game.  This will probably be one of the key match-ups during the game as the winner of this Jones/Patterson match-up will go a long way in deciding the ultimate outcome of both teams.

#3 Devin Ebanks- The final piece of the trio that is West Virginia’s large front line, Ebanks is currently projected as a first round NBA Draft pick in this summer’s NBA Draft. Ebanks is the only player usually on the floor for the Mountaineers that is not a 3-point threat. He leads the team in rebounding at 8 a game and is also the 3rd leading scorer at 12 a game.

This West Virginia team lacks a true post player that can go bang down on the block. They make up for that with 3 very long and very athletic players and that is where they get their rebounding edge. I think the battle of the boards will be the ultimate deciding factor in this game as both teams best offense sometimes is an offensive rebound. West Virginia has come into their own as a strong defensive club over the last month of the season. This is the most talented team that Kentucky has faced all season long and will take a strong team effort to beat these Mountaineers.

Prediction: Kentucky rolls to their 14th Final Four by 7

#1 Kentucky-62 #12 Cornell-45…3 Down, 3 To Go

March 26, 2010 12:04 am

 

On a night where another #1 seed fell, Kentucky completely dominated Cornell on the defensive end only giving up 45 points to the nation’s best shooting 3-point team. Cornell jumped up early to a 10-2 lead before the Cats got it rolling and ended the half on a 30-6 run. Kentucky struggled offensively all night and especially the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half, but the good news was that they were so stout on the defensive side that it didn’t matter. The Cats now will now advance to  the Elite 8 to take on West Virginia. Tip will be 7:oo on Saturday again in the Carrier Dome with a trip to the Final Four on the line. Check back tomorrow as we will get you all set for the Mountaineers. GO BIG BLUE!!!

12 Hours Till Tip…

March 25, 2010 9:57 am

The butterflys are here, and I’m starting to get a good feeling about tonight.

The Cornell Big Red: Approx. 9:57 EST CBS

March 24, 2010 12:59 pm

It is the classic “hoopsters” vs. “the smart white kids”, your future NBA All-Stars against your future Wall Street Brokers, the team with all the swagger and the team will all the Abercrombie.  The Cornell Big Red come into Thursday night’s East Regional Semi-Final game against Kentucky sporting a 29-4 (13-1) record. They are winners of 9 in a row and 17 of their last 18. Cornell tried on the Cinderella slipper in the first two rounds of this NCAA Tournament and not only did that slipper fit, but they used it to smash the two teams in their way to get to Syracuse with another chance to shock the world against Kentucky. Steve Donahue is in his 9th season working the sidelines for the Big Red and has guided them to their 5th NCAA Tournament appearence, including this season their first 2 tournament wins.

How did they get here? Cornell won the IVY Leauge Regulars Season Championship to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. In the first round of the tournament the 12th seeded Big Red defeated Temple 78-65. The second round of the tournament the Big Red found themselves matched up against Wisconsin where they used 8 of 15 shooting from downtown to blow open the game as they cruised to a 18 point win.

#20 Ryan Wittman- The 6’7 senior forward from Eden Praire, Minnesota leads the team in scoring for the 2nd year in a row. Wittman is not a great rebounder for his size but more than makes up for that with his scoring ability. He has shot 80%+ from the freethrow stripe every year he has been at Cornell and has also drained a total of 375 3’s in his career. Wittman will probably draw the defensive assignment of Darius Miller and Miller will need to close out at all times on Wittman to prevent him from getting his tournament average of 22 points a game.

#1 Jeff Foote- Foote will provide another challenge for DeMarcus Cousins in the post tomorrow night. At 7’0, Foote posses the type of length that has proved to be the one thing that can slow down Boogie. Foote will try and draw Cousins into foul trouble, and aspect of Cousins game that he has greatly improved on from earlier in the season.  However, if Foote gets himself into foul trouble (something that almost every post player in the past month has gotten into against Kentucky), Cornell will have some problems as no one on the bench would be able to even think about slowing down Boogie. Foote is also the only player in the main Cornell rotation that Kentucky won’t have to worry about defending out on the perimeter.

#42 Mark “Every Day Is Senior Day” Coury- You may remember Mark Coury as he was a part of the Billy Clyde Expierment at Kentucky. Mark bizzarrely started almost every game for the Cats in the 2007-08 season and then by the first T.V. timeout found himself getting comfortable on the bench for the remainder of the game. After sitting out last season due to NCAA rules for transfers, he is playing his first season for the Big Red. He is averaging 2.5 points and rebounds a game for Cornell, about the same as he did in his final year for Kentucky.

The Big Red will have plenty of fans in the house tomorrow as Ithica (Home of Cornell University) is just 45 minutes down the road from Syracuse. Many fans are saying that this is the biggest athletic event in the history of Cornell University. Cornell is the best 3-point shooting team in the country and will look to make it rain from deep in the Carrier Dome. Many “experts” from around the country keep talking about how Cornell will give Kentucky fits, and I do know that nothing comes easy this deep in the tournament, but I have a hard time seeing Kentucky struggle with this team. Outside of Kansas, Cornell has not seen a team this long and athletic and I believe that will slow down the outside game of the Big Red. Kentucky has all the advantages down low, and while I don’t know if we can continue to blister the nets like we did in the first weekend of the tourney, I do think we continue to shoot fairly well. It should be a great atmosphere in the Carrier Dome with the winner moving on to face either West Virginia or Washington in the Elite 8.

Prediction: Kentucky by 13

That “Swagger”

March 24, 2010 7:37 am

In case you missed it, CBS did a segment on 4 of Kentucky’s freshmen.