No starter has been officially named, but sophomore Maxwell Smith and senior Morgan Newton continue to lead the QB battle at Kentucky. Freshmen Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow are in the picture, but appear to be fading behind the two veterans.
Smith started four games for the Wildcats in 2011, completing 84 of 153 passes for 819 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. Newton appeared in nine games last season, completing 83 of 174 passes for 793 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Offensive coordinator Randy Sanders set a pecking order after Saturday's scrimmage, saying sophomore Maxwell Smith and senior Morgan Newton were ahead of freshmen Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow -- and hinting that Smith led Newton because of the latter's continued recovery from shoulder surgery.
Sanders said Monday that order hasn't changed.
"We've got a couple guys competing hard," he said. "It's a good situation to be in. I think it will sort itself out, the way I see things going, the way things are happening. We just need some more time. You don't want to make a decision too quickly. You want to make sure you're doing the right thing."
His son's birth has changed more than just King's sleep schedule.
It's changed everything about the senior's life.
"It makes you more humble," he said. "The goal to get to the NFL has that much more meaning. There's nothing like providing for your family, and to do it by doing something you love would make it that much easier.
Trevathan and Guy were two of six starters UK lost on defense from last year's team, leaving a pair of big holes to fill. In their place, the Wildcats are turning to sophomores Malcolm McDuffen and Miles Simpson.
"I know I'm not Winston Guy," Simpson, who is listed at No. 1 at the hybrid safety/linebacker position on the depth chart, said. "I'm not trying to be Winston Guy. I'm trying to be myself and do my own thing."
For UK and its quartet of righty QBs, the blind side is brand new. Left tackle Chandler Burden and left guard Stuart Hines are gone from last season, taking with them 61 career starts. They've been replaced by true sophomore tackle Darrian Miller and redshirt freshman guard Zach West.
"There's a lot of responsibility to protect the quarterback and to perform," Miller said. "It's pressure all the way around."
Kentucky will get a chance to take down defending national champion Baylor in its second game of the season.
That is one of many big games on UK's non-conference women's basketball schedule released Tuesday.
After their home opener against Delaware State on Nov. 10, the Cats will head to Waco, Texas, to take on Brittney Griner and the Bears, who went a perfect 40-0 last season. That game, on Nov. 13, will be part of the State Farm Tip-off Classic.
Emery, the son of former longtime UK coach Dennis Emery, served as a volunteer assistant for the Cats last season.
"Matt was born to be a collegiate coach with his ability to relate to players and his endless knowledge of the game of tennis," Kauffmann said. "Matt has incredible experience after serving as a volunteer assistant with us last year and a very successful stint as an assistant coach at Maryland. We are both alumni of this great university and know what it means to wear Kentucky across your chest."
The Lakers had just finalized a trade that would bring them Dwight Howard. Immediately, Meeks imagined what it would be like to join a star-studded roster featuring an elite defender (Howard), an elite passer (Steve Nash), an elite scorer (Kobe Bryant) and elite post player (Pau Gasol). The thought of receiving countless open three-pointers because his teammates were double-teamed seemed so tantalizing. Later that night, Meeks agreed to join the Lakers with a two-year deal, worth $3 million, which became official Monday when he signed the contract.
"I felt like this was the best situation," Meeks said Monday in a phone interview with The Times. "To have a chance to play for a team like this will make me better. I'm playing with so many good people."
When Davis finally ran onto the floor, his father in the 12th row pulled out a camera to capture another big moment, the kind that have been more scarce than they were in college or Perspectives Charter School. In six Olympic games, Davis has averaged 8½ minutes, 4.3 points, three rebounds but gained an appreciation no statistic can measure.
"It's been tough coming from Kentucky where I was That Guy," Davis said Friday. "I represent Chicago every time I step on the court. So I'm just glad to be here and want to perform when I get in. I'm lucky these guys are teaching me how to become legendary, like they are."
That first player who caught the first pass from Manning in Thursday's preseason opener at Chicago, that's Jacob Tamme. And he plays tight end, a position that last year often seemed to be an afterthought in the spread-option Tim Tebow offense.
Tamme, one of two free-agent tight ends signed in the offseason, was the target of two of Manning's seven passes (one fell incomplete) against Chicago. Backup tight ends Virgil Green and Cornelius Ingram were also targeted by other quarterbacks against the Bears, proof that the Broncos' offense will be far more diverse in 2012.
It's no surprise that he and the Wildcats feel much better about the position this preseason. Two heralded freshmen have joined the top four rushers from last season, who combined for 1,128 yards.
"Because of the amount of experience we've had at that position ... then the quality of the two guys coming in, that's why we were so excited about that position," head coach Joker Phillips said. "It just made that position a deeper position."
"Everybody is trying to learn names right now and the quickest thing they can go to is 'Little Newton' or 'Morgan's little brother' or 'Lil Newton,'" Langston said. "So right now, it's funny to hear all the variations of 'Little Newton' you get."
If Langston has his way, it won't be long before UK fans start thinking of him independent of his relation to Morgan, who has started 17 games in three seasons for UK and is competing for the starting quarterback job this fall.
He has the talent to play several positions and is the forgotten player most of the time on the team's quarterback depth chart. Yet there's no doubt in Jalen Whitlow's mind about what his best position is.
"Quarterback. That is my best position. My natural position is quarterback," said the Kentucky freshman from Prattville, Ala. He says he could play receiver, Wildcat quarterback or even cornerback or safety "if they (UK's coaches) made me" in certain situations.
However, he knows where he wants to play and believes he will play despite the presence of senior Morgan Newton, sophomore Maxwell Smith and true freshman Patrick Towles, Kentucky's Mr. Football last season, on the quarterback depth chart.
In a simple world, Morgan Newton would be the obvious choice. He's the heralded recruit, he's a senior with years of experience, and he's familiar with the system. Unfortunately for Newton, there's the whole issue of last season. Newton was miserable at best and that misery was only shortened by injury before sophomore Max Smith took over. Smith didn't exactly excel, but he performed more-than-admirably for a freshman, and turned some heads in the process. Morgan Newton's starting position shouldn't even be in question, it's just common sense. If it weren't for performance on the field, that is.
University of Kentucky royalties from licensed merchandise sales rose 40 percent in the past year, helped largely by the school's eighth college basketball national championship.
Merchandise royalties at the Lexington-based school, which won the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament title in April, grew to $6.73 million in the 12 months ended June 30 from $4.80 million the previous year, according to Jason Schlafer, the senior associate athletic director for corporate and university relations.
Dawson, along with Jack Butler, became the latest Steelers inducted into the Hall of Fame, with a Pittsburgh crowd on hand to cheer him on.
"I am almost at a loss for words being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame," said Dawson. "This is an incredible honor and I feel very privileged and humbled. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be standing here before you on this stage in Canton, Ohio among all of these great players."
Since arriving in Washington two years ago, John Wall has been unable to persuade President Obama to watch him play at Verizon Center but the Wizards point guard is still prepared to help the Baller-in-Chief stick around for another term. Wall will join Michael Jordan and several current and former NBA stars in fundraiser on Aug. 22 for Obama's get reelection campaign.
The Obama campaign announced on Tuesday that it would hold a benefit shoot-around at New York's Chelsea Piers sports complex featuring several NBA stars, followed by a fundraising dinner hosted by Jordan later in the evening.
So now that the UK AD has taken some vacation days to disappear and climb Mount Kilimanjaro -- he and his expedition party reached its peak Sunday -- some are complaining Barnhart's time would have been better spent back in Kentucky being seen with his embattled football coach.
My friend Kevin Faris of Ace Magazine tweeted: "So the UK AD can get to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, but can't make it to the Governor's Cup or Lexington Football luncheon?"
So let's see, if given the opportunity, do I want to undertake a once-in-a-lifetime experience or sit through another couple of rubber chicken dinners with the grip-and-grin set?
Phillips pleaded with fans Friday to remain open-minded about this year's squad.
"I don't care how you feel about Joker Phillips or the staff," he told the crowd. "Do it for these young men that have agreed to come here and represent you the right way. ... These players don't need everybody to believe in them, but they sure need somebody to."
Two people that know the quarterbacks and their tendencies better than anyone other than their coaches, veteran offensive linemen Matt Smith and Larry Warford, said recently that they don't think a quarterback competition will be bad for UK when fall camp starts this week.
"We're all teammates, all family," Warford said recently. "We sweat together, work together, bleed together.
"Other people make such a big deal, call it a controversy. It isn't really true. We support both of those players. We want both to succeed. Whoever wins the position, we're going to support."
There was no sugarcoating the situation when Rick Pitino met with C. M. Newton to be presented with a unique but perilous coaching opportunity. But unlike Bill O'Brien, who signed on to replace Joe Paterno at Penn State, Pitino knew exactly what he was getting himself into.
Newton, Kentucky's new athletic director, visited Pitino in 1989 at his home in Bedford, N.Y., to lay out what the first two years would look like if Pitino quit the Knicks to help resurrect a defamed college basketball program that had narrowly avoided the N.C.A.A.'s so-called death penalty for major recruiting violations and academic fraud.
There are very few constant-pressure-cooker jobs in the world of sports. Two of the most intense ones are in the Bronx, N.Y., and Lexington, Ky. The leader of the New York Yankees has to face the media and all the tabloids, on a regular basis, while getting scrutinized for every move he makes. It's a difficult challenge.
In college hoops, it takes a special person to run the Kentucky Wildcats' program in front of Big Blue Nation. Kentucky fans expect nothing less than a consistent winner and anything less is a nightmare.
When you look at the Yankees and the Wildcats, both have the perfect men in place leading the way. Joe Girardi and John Calipari both fit to perfection what those jobs are all about.
The University of Kentucky promoted associate head coach Cedric Kauffmann to head coach of the men's tennis program on Wednesday.
Kauffmann replaces Dennis Emery, who retired last week after 30 years guiding the program.
Kauffmann has served as an assistant coach since 2005, including his promotion to associate head coach in 2009.
"This is an opportunity that I have dreamed about since I was a student-athlete here at Kentucky," Kauffmann said. "Anyone who spends even a short amount of time with me knows how I feel about the University of Kentucky, and I am committed to work tirelessly to keep our program as one of the best in college tennis."
But it was clear watching Davis play with a bunch of NBA All-Stars and superstars: He belongs on this team. He didn't look out of place. He didn't look lost. He fit. And as Doug Collins mentioned during the game on the broadcast, talk about an offseason training regimen for Davis. His coach Monty Williams was in the arena watching the game and has to just be giddy about a) Davis's incredible skillset and b) the kind NBA crash course he's getting.
Woodyard, a fifth-year pro, is coming off his best season yet, one in which he piled up career highs in tackles (97), starts (seven) and forced fumbles (two) while replacing middle linebacker Joe Mays on passing downs and making spot starts for an injured Williams.
"He's a veteran guy, he's done it before," Smith said. "So, on the depth chart he's penciled in there right now at No. 1. But these things are evaluated not only in practice but in games. So, we've got enough pre-season games to find out who's going to be the starter at that position."
George Wright-Easy, a 28-year-old friend who has known the 6-foot-10 shot-blocking phenom since he was a gangly grade schooler, picks up Noel at his house. Widely considered the top prep prospect in the country, Noel has the world in the palm of his enormous hand.
So where does he go on one of the last nights before his world changes, before he leaves for the University of Kentucky next month and presumably the NBA draft 10 months later? To the movie theater to see the latest installment of the "Spiderman" series with kids Wright-Easy mentors through New England Community Services -- a Dorchester-based nonprofit that has a contract with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.
The New Orleans Hornets have come to terms with power forward Anthony Davis and guard Austin Rivers, a formality since the collective bargaining agreement has established the compensation level for first-round picks.
Davis, the first overall pick in last month's NBA draft, will earn $5.144 million in the first year of his three-year guaranteed deal while Rivers, as the 10th overall choice, is slotted by the CBA to earn $1.865 million in the first year of his three-year contract.
After a peeved Chan Gailey yanked Stevie Johnson out of the Buffalo Bills' 2011 season finale for another excessive-celebration penalty, the wide receiver believed he'd just punched his ticket out of town.
"At that point, I was thinking I was done with Buffalo," Johnson told Yahoo! Sports' Michael Silver. "I was like, 'They benched me? Really?' I figured I'd go back to Hunter's Point (to play for the 49ers). But the (Bills) stepped up and paid me. And it felt so good to be wanted."
Quigley, a South Oldham graduate, won four state high school singles titles and blossomed into a elite-level collegiate player on the courts at UK.
"Pretty much my whole career I have played some of my bigger matches at the Boone Center at UK. It has been really good to me," Quigley said. "I love it and I love all the fans that come out to support me."
The 58-year-old coach retired on Tuesday, at least from coaching, giving it up after 30 years at UK, announcing that he had accepted Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart's offer to become a special assistant AD where Emery could put his focus and determination to use helping the entire athletics department.
"The thing is, as I know he does, I feel like we're really close to being a top-15 program in all sports," said Emery in what turned out to be an emotional news conference at the Memorial Coliseum media room. "For somebody that's been here 30 years, let me tell you, that's a completely stunning revelation."
Emery is one of the most decorated tennis coaches in collegiate tennis with an all-time record of 655-404, which ranked him sixth among active coaches. His 23 NCAA Tournament berths was second among active coaches.
"Although he will no longer be gracing the courts, we are thrilled that he has elected to stay with our department and help us achieve our goals of building a championship culture," Barnhart said. "What Dennis achieved with our tennis program is historic and we will always be indebted to him for his hard work and dedication for that program. I look forward to him continuing to be a part of UK Athletics."
In his new role, Emery will serve as a liaison between the athletics department former athletes, donors and others in the community while working with the fundraising office.
"It's the ability to be an incredible ambassador for things that I can't get to all of the time, places we can't go and places we need representation," Barnhart said of Emery's new job. "Two, (it's) fostering relationships with people that we have not been able to, at times, do as good a job as we need to do."
Of course, unlike Davis, both Cousino and Reed will be back next season, and the one after that as well. College baseball is governed by an eligibility rule many believe college basketball should adopt. So while Davis collects millions in the professional ranks, the UK duo will be playing more college baseball.
The latest honor marks consensus freshman All-America prizes for the UK duo who are now the first Kentucky players in school history with consensus freshman All-America honors. The two standouts join former shortstop Chris Wade (2008) as the only freshman All-America selections in school history.
Davis is the seventh top pick in the last decade to sign with Nike, which isn't surprising considering they are the biggest basketball-related company in the world by a significant margin. Yet that status doesn't mean that Davis is a guaranteed shoe superstar. In fact, as a defense-oriented player on a team with a long way to championship contention, Davis might not reach a superstar level of market penetration for some time. That doesn't mean Nike made a bad deal here -- it just means that Davis probably didn't command a gargantuan signing bonus or get promised a certain number of national advertisements. Different players demand different shoe-company salaries, and there's no shame in being a mid-level endorser in the Nike stable as a rookie.
Kidd-Gilchrist's off-court self-confidence has grown over the last 12 months since being thrust into the national spotlight. That's what happens when you chose to play college basketball at the University of Kentucky, win a national championship and become the second pick in the NBA draft.
"It's a part of me. It's who I am." Kidd-Gilchrist said of his stuttering.
Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins both hit solo home runs, while Joe Blanton held the Dodgers to two runs over eight innings before turning things over to Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth as the Phillies won for the third time in four games since the All-Star break.
state that has just under 4.4 million people according to a 2011
estimate -- which is the 26th highest total population in the U.S. -- is
able to generate enough interest in Kentucky basketball to sustain a
number of websites, newspapers, radio shows and TV shows. It is no
secret that Kentucky fans drive college basketball traffic on the
How is that possible from such a small state? Why does the Big Blue Nation have such a powerful online presence?
Overall, a schedule with games against Maryland, Duke, Notre Dame, Baylor and Louisville, plus quality mid-major foes Long Island and Marshall is respectable. The Rupp Arena part of the schedule, especially in a season in which UK raised ticket prices for some fans, leaves a lot to be desired.
The University of Kentucky has announced its 2012-13 men's basketball non-conference schedule, including games against Maryland, Duke, Notre Dame, Baylor, Morehead State and the traditional Christmas week game against Louisville on Dec. 29.
University of Kentucky senior Matt Smith has been named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which annually honors the best center in college football.
Smith, a Louisville native who was also on the Rimington watch list last season, has played in 29 games in his career with 22 starts.
In 2011, Smith missed the first two games because of injury but bounced back strong with nine starts. Two years ago, Smith helped anchor a UK offensive line that ranked in the top 25 in the nation in fewest quarterback sacks allowed.
Football recruiting is far more an inexact science than baseball and basketball, for obvious reasons. There's no way of knowing if a kid who physically dominates at the 12th-grade level will keep doing the same every year. And, like it or not, AAU basketball gives recruiters the opportunity to see the nation's most highly-touted players clash with each other.
The difference is - and it's huge - one great player still can change the fortunes of any quality basketball program. Two can prompt your fans to start squirreling away money for a trip to the post-season. Three? Assuming they get along and play well together, well, they can make history.
It takes dozens of players, arriving every year, to make it happen in football. And even though you're bringing in around 25 per year, if you're Kentucky, you can't make many mistakes.
Floreal, a UK assistant from 1995 through 1997, returns after a highly successful run at Stanford University, where he was an assistant from 1998-2005 and director of track and field for the past eight seasons.
He soon will be heading to London as the Team USA jumps coach at the Summer Olympic Games.
That Floreal would leave national-power Stanford for Kentucky prompted Track & Field News magazine to label one of its tweets "a coaching shocker."
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team couldn't find an answer for Cuban starting pitcher Freddy Alvarez who struck out eight and allowed just two hits in 7.1 innings to lead Cuba to a 5-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Latin American Stadium.
Team USA fell behind early and played catch-up all game. Trailing by four with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the U.S. put together a two-out rally, getting a single from Kyle Farmer (Georgia), a double by Austin Cousino (Kentucky) and another two-bagger, which drove in both runners, by Johnny Field (Arizona).
Alex Meyer did not get his turn to pitch in the Futures Game until the eighth inning, when USA led the World by 12 runs. He waited and waited, and he only threw six pitches, but Meyer packed into his impressive performance all the reasons why he is considered the Nationals' top pitching prospect.
The biggest loss is Harrellson, a versatile power forward who rebounds well, defends solidly and can shoot the three-pointer. His skill set should translate to a solid career in the league. But on this current Knicks team, his minutes were likely to be eaten up by Steve Novak, Jared Jeffries and Camby himself, who is a far better fit for backup center than Harrellson.
Danny Trevathan is proving that he belongs in the National Football League.
The former Leesburg High School and University of Kentucky linebacker, a sixth round draft pick of the Denver Broncos, became the team's first rookie from the Class of 2012 to crack the starting lineup.
The team announced Saturday that forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky signed a deal worth about $4 million for his first season, according to the union negotiated rookie pay scale. Kidd-Gilchrist averaged nearly 12 points and more than seven rebounds in his only season with the Wildcats.
The Bobcats chose Kidd-Gilchrist with the second overall rick. Kidd-Gilchrist's Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis was chosen first overall by New Orleans.
Henderson was named SEC Coach of the Year, having led the Cats to a third-place finish in the regular season. UK led the league for a school-record eight of 10 weeks, was ranked No. 1 in the country for three weeks and was nationally ranked for 13 consecutive weeks.
"It goes on and on and on, all the things that they did and they accomplished," Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. "The guy leading the charge is obviously Gary Henderson."
"Gary Henderson is a good example of the type of coach we want to lead our athletics programs at Kentucky and he and his staff are very deserving of new contracts," UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. "He has helped build the program from the moment he arrived in Lexington and it was thrilling watching his team complete a historic campaign in 2012. We are convinced that the success our baseball program achieved last spring is just the beginning and it is an exciting time to be a UK baseball fan."
While Barnhart and Henderson both expressed excitement with the direction of the program Tuesday, they also noted the importance of continuing to invest in the program in the form of a facility upgrade in the coming years.
That the 6-foot-10 Davis would be taken first was a foregone conclusion. He set an NCAA freshman record with 186 blocks and earned National Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and consensus Player of the Year honors. He led UK to its eighth national title in New Orleans -- his new home city -- in April.
Kidd-Gilchrist immediately following him was something of a surprise. That seemed more possible a month ago, but as the draft drew closer, the buzz was that he might slip to the third, fourth or fifth pick. In his final prediction Thursday, ESPN draft guru Chad Ford had him falling to No. 7.
UK and Coach Cal are a match made in heaven. Whether you like it or not, UK is one of the -- if not the -- elite basketball schools in the country with fans that Cal calls "crazy." And Coach Cal is not afraid to sell UK for what it is known for -- a basketball school.
With UK's Anthony Davis going No. 1 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist going No. 2, Coach Cal is lord over the NBA draft. In his three years at UK, he has sent 11 players out the door in the first round of the NBA draft and had two top picks. The success he has had, from an Elite Eight to a Final Four to the 2012 National Championship, all the while using one-and-done players, is exactly what UK fans want and is exactly what someone who is willing can do to take advantage of the current rules.
The University of Kentucky women's basketball team added to its extraordinary depth of talent for the 2012-13 season Wednesday, announcing the signing of junior-college transfer Jelleah Sidney.
Sidney, a high school teammate of current UK players Jennifer O'Neill and Bra'Shey Ali, is a 6-foot-2 power forward who spent last season at Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla. Sidney arrives at Kentucky with three seasons of eligibility remaining.
Joker Phillips is two months away from the most important season of his career. The former University of Kentucky player and assistant coach is 11-13 in two seasons as the Wildcats' head coach and suddenly finds his seat warm entering Year 3.
Athletic director Mitch Barnhart has shown steadfast public support for Phillips, saying over and over that he believes Phillips can get UK, which ended its streak of five consecutive bowl berths last season, back on track. But Barnhart also acknowledged this spring that the Cats need to show signs of that in 2012.
1. Louisville (Sept. 2): I normally argue against the chronic notion that the U of L game is the must-win of every Kentucky football season. Much can happen post-Louisville, good or bad. This year, I join the chorus. A UK loss, especially a lopsided one, and a pessimistic fan base could toss in the towel. A UK win at Papa John's, however, and the outlook on the entire campaign changes -- for the better.
Davis, a 6-foot-11 center from Kentucky, could return to practice for Team USA within a week to 10 days. USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski plan to be patient with Davis, especially with the glut of injuries that have hit the team's frontline. Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard and LaMarcus Aldridge are already out for Team USA.
Randall Cobb doesn't have an easy path to be this team's breakout player because the Packers' wideout depth chart is so stacked. Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson are the starters. James Jones and Donald Driver make terrific reserves. But Cobb is going to force the Packers to find room.
Cobb announced his presence as a rookie with two touchdowns in the season opener, but he barely played on offense that night against the New Orleans Saints. As late as Week 13 against the Giants, Cobb was an afterthought. His playtime and production gradually increased after that.
Thursday night will mark the third consecutive NBA Draft that will see John Calipari coached Kentucky players realize their dreams. The NBA Draft has become a huge night for the University of Kentucky, as Kentucky players have made quite an impression over the last few years at the event.
Being drafted serves as a right of passage, the final step, and holds a graduation-like feel. When Calipari talks about making Kentucky a player's first program, this night is what he's referring to: preparing his players at the highest level to play amongst the best basketball players in the world in the NBA.
Where they will end up is anyone's guess. Except for Anthony Davis. He's a lock with the number one pick to New Orleans. But the projections for the rest of them are all over the map, and it will be interesting and exciting to see where these former Wildcats will take their game to help represent the Blue and White.
With the draft generating the most headlines this week, we're going to do Web Wednesday a little differently this time around. Here we go.
The soft-spoken Davis is typically bland in what he says, but he created a stir when he called out Kobe Bryant shortly before the combine during a radio interview. Asked on The Dan Patrick Show whom he was anxious to face, Davis chose Bryant.
"He's a monster," Davis said. "I just want to go out there and play my hardest. There's a lot of guys that can't stop Kobe, so if I stop him, I could be one of the guys that say, 'I shut Kobe down.' "
If he deals with his stammer the way he and his hyper-protective family have confronted and conquered everything else -- his premature birth, his father's murder, a surrogate father's death on the day he signed with Kentucky, the daily 154-mile commute throughout high school -- Kidd-Gilchrist figures to overcome it soon enough.
"I'm not worried about [the stammer] anymore," he said. "I'm happy with everything."
Perhaps the NBA should, at least for this year, rebrand the noteworthy "green" room, where Thursday night's top draft prospects and their families gather while awaiting word about their professional destinations.
It could quite easily be the "blue" room in 2012, with five players from the University of Kentucky's national championship team in the running to be lottery selections.
Michael Kidd-GIlchrist awaits his fate Thursday's NBA draft.
While there's little doubt that power forward Anthony Davis will be the first Wildcat selected, the second, third or fourth overall pick will be Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Opinions vary on what type of player Jones will be in the NBA, but there is little doubt he is a first-round lock. Some mock drafts have him going as high as seventh, to the Golden State Warriors, while others have Jones slipping all the way to the late teens. But after wildly successful high school and college careers, Jones is eager to start the next chapter of his life -- wherever that may be.
"I'm going to be blessed and happy to play for whatever team that drafts me," Jones said, when asked if he hoped to play for the hometown Trail Blazers. "It doesn't matter to me where I go; playing in the NBA is a dream come true."
Two days before Terrence Jones expects to hear his name called in the first round of the NBA Draft, he was helping put a giant smile on the face of a friend in Lexington.
With the aid of the former Kentucky forward, William Bolden -- a 22-year-old UK basketball superfan who has developed a bit of a YouTube following with Wildcats-oriented videos posted under his nickname "Stone Cold Willow" -- got extensive dental work at no cost to him.
Another NBA draft, another Indianapolis-area player likely to be selected in the first round.
If Pike High School graduate Marquis Teague is taken among the top 30 picks of the draft Thursday night -- he's projected to go somewhere between No. 16 to Houston and No. 30 to Golden State in most mock drafts -- it would mark the seventh consecutive year a player from the area has been ?selected in the first round.
Brian and his wife Nicole are understandably very proud of their son, who they have followed closely in Lexington and on the road throughout his career.
"Well, things have settled down some for now, but June 28 (NBA Draft night) can't get here fast enough for us. We're anxious and nervous about where Darius is going to go but the main thing is we want him to go to a team where he can play and get an opportunity," Brian said. "Nothing will surprise him, he's already won three AAU titles, a gold medal, a state championship and a national championship."
The UK strength and conditioning coach says it's not her mission to make athletes miserable. She wants to make them tougher and stronger, more confident.
"I always tell the basketball players, 'You guys hate me now, but you're going to love me in March,'" Simmons says.
By the time basketball season rolls around and the season starts in November, Simmons is sure of one thing. "They will have the confidence that they can run anyone in the country down and wear them out."
Davis doesn't sound worried about pressure. He's dealt with plenty of it at Kentucky, a team that has one of the most rabid fan bases in college basketball. There, Davis played under a high-profile coach in John Calipari, and for a team that was expected to win it all the whole season and actually fulfilled that promise.
"Playing at Kentucky (under) Coach Cal and being the No. 1 team, the pressure came then, and we kind of felt it when I was playing there," Davis said. "So I think it kind of helped me a lot."
After the meeting, athletics director Mitch Barnhart spoke with the media and explained the ticket hike. He also addressed a few questions you fans might be having, like: 1) How do you justify charging more for men's tickets when that program makes a ton of money while giving a raise to the women's coach (a sport that loses money already)? 2) How exactly are football ticket sales going? 3) Why take Indiana off the home schedule the same year you hike ticket prices?
It's a great opportunity for the former McDonald's All-American, UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said.
"It is an honor for any player to get to play at this level with a chance to compete in the Olympics," Mitchell said. "All of us at UK will be cheering for Jen as she tries to help the Puerto Rican national team earn a spot."
O'Neill would be the first women's basketball player in program history to compete in the Olympics.
Once Tyler, who will be a junior this fall, completes his summer course he'll be able to play this fall. He sat out the 2011 season for personal reasons.
After missing the first two games of the 2010 season because of a sprained ankle, Tyler played in the last 11 games in 2010 and made one start. He registered 13 tackles, one tackle for loss, one pass breakup and forced a fumble. He also contributed on special teams.
The actual value of the UK-U of L football series has become a topic of debate among UK fans again; it seems as though it always is during the months leading up to a game that has Louisville favored.
U of L has everything to gain and nothing to lose, the reasoning goes. It's the Cards' annual chance to upend a team from the mighty Southeastern Conference. What does Kentucky gain by beating a team from an inferior conference?
Of course, ask yourself this: Have you ever heard a UK football fan make that argument in the giddy moments following a victory over the Cardinals - especially after a game Kentucky wasn't supposed to win?
That's when he drew upon his college education and his communications major, and began doing radio call-in shows. He moved back to Kentucky, and a friend told him about the need to promote literacy among Kentucky's children. Especially thanks to the computer era, it's hard to get children to pick up and read a physical book, Walker said. So Walker spied a prime chance to combine his studies, basketball experience, interest in reading and his role-model status.
He now helps release annual UK basketball yearbooks, which document the team's work that year and helps place copies of the books in public high-school libraries.
"Everybody loves UK basketball, especially with boys in school," he said. "So it's one way that we can get them to physical pick up a book to read."
Riley and Daly were rivals as coaches, eventually became close friends and now they're linked once again. The National Basketball Coaches Association selected Riley as this year's recipient of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award, which commemorates the former Detroit coach's life in basketball and his "standard of integrity, competitive excellence and tireless promotion" of the game.
Riley is the fifth person to receive the award, joining Tommy Heinsohn in 2009, Jack Ramsay and Tex Winter in 2010 and Lenny Wilkens in 2011.
"This is not an award," Riley said. "This is something somebody bestows on you. I'm very honored that the coaches association would do this."
The camp will continue through Wednesday, June 20. Meeks also plans to hold another camp in July. At that time, he'll be a free agent.
"I talked to our GM (Philadelphia) and Doug Collins and they said they definitely want me back," Meeks said.
The decision will be Meeks'. He will be an unrestricted free agent starting July 1. He said money will be factor in his decision, but just as important is finding a team where he can establish himself.
At the time, Kentucky was lurking at No. 8, with two top-40 prospects (Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley) in the fold. UCLA was at No. 10, as Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams were the only ones committed to the Bruins.
Barring another program picking up two five-star players, Arizona looked destined for the No. 1 spot.
Unfortunately for Miller and the Wildcats, that's exactly what happened - with both Kentucky and UCLA.
Perhaps he is not quite a legend in his sport yet, but he is a deity in the state he currently calls home. If John Calipari asked for a flash mob to assemble at Rupp Arena at noon on Friday, businesses and schools would have to shut down. If he said he liked purple tulips, they'd arrive at his doorstep by the truckload.
That's why Mitch Barnhart -- or whoever is the Kentucky athletic director when Calipari calls it quits -- has the toughest job in college basketball.
And even though he wasn't quite ready to buy a home in the Big Easy, there's a good chance he'll be the one heading to the podium when commissioner David Stern announces the first pick of the draft.
With his athleticism and game-changing defense, Davis helped Kentucky win a national championship in his lone college season. Now he's poised to join Bulls star Derrick Rose as the second Chicago product in five years to be taken with the No. 1 pick.
It's likely that by June 28, the night of the draft, Jones will have fulfilled both missions. He already helped hang UK's eighth national championship banner in April and, based on the latest projections, Jones will be an NBA lottery pick -- a distinction bestowed on the first 14 selections -- in a little more than two weeks.
"Oh, yeah," Calipari said. "We had a good idea where he would have gone last year, and he's in a better position. He knew he wasn't ready to go, so he helped himself. He came back and now he's mature. He helped himself, no question."
In a one-on-one interview with KyForward sports editor Jon Hale, Calipari took time from a satellite basketball camp at Campbell County Middle School to talk about his future at UK, his scheduling philosophy, the NBA draft, next year's team and a host of other topics.
After 34 years on the UK cross country track and field staff, the last 28 as head coach, Weber has retired.
"For pretty much a full year, unless I was really occupied with a task, I couldn't help this running through my head," Weber said. "And I didn't want even the possibility of 'I might not be here' to leak out, and the complications that would cause. So I pretty much kept it to myself."
Patrick isn't coming into Kentucky making any big boastful statements like I'm going to be the man from day one. But he does come in with a perfect attitude about what his ability brings to the table.
"Yes sir. Any, being the competitive person that I am, I'm not going into go into a situation and put 50% effort into it. My goal is to get the starting quarterback job. It's been that since I, a year ago since I committed. I'm going to go down there and whatever I possibly can so that on September 2nd, I'm the starting quarterback against Louisville."
Woods, the former UK point guard, has been Morehead State's coach almost a month. In that time, he's spoken to alumni groups in Maysville and Ashland. He participated in a fund-raiser Saturday, two days after giving the keynote speech to a Morehead Chamber of Commerce event.
Of the 25 or so interviews he's given, Woods talks of building on the success of his predecessor, Donnie Tyndall, who made Morehead State a regular participant in the NCAA Tournament.
DeMarcus Cousins believes he can do this. Actually, he believes he will do this: Dominate the competition during Team USA's training session early next month in Las Vegas. Impress coach Mike Krzyzewski. Defy the odds, overcome the skeptics, and convince USA Basketball czar Jerry Colangelo to slip him a plane ticket to the 2012 London Games.
Right-hander Alex Meyer served up his best performance as a professional with six innings of shutout baseball Tuesday night, allowing just two hits. Meyer struck out five Hickory Crawdads and walked just one in a 4-0 Hagerstown victory in a rain-shortened affair at Municipal Stadium.