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Posts from Tuesday, June 23

Jodie Meeks is being rumored everywhere from a late first-round pick to undrafted. Thursday night we'll learn of the All-American's destination.

Jodie Meeks is being rumored everywhere from a late first-round pick to undrafted. Thursday night we'll learn of the All-American's destination.

Meeks to the Lakers?

 

Posted at 6:52 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

 

According to Doug Gottlieb of ESPN, it could happen with the 29th pick in the first round of Thursday’s NBA Draft.

 

Gottlieb was just on SportsCenter speculating who could go where. He seemed to believe that Meeks could go early second round or possibly slide into the first round with Los Angeles.

 

I’m not sure how much credibility goes into Gottlieb’s mock selections (he seemed to be purely guessing to me), but I can’t help but think of the possibilities there. Can you imagine Meeks playing alongside Kobe Bryant? Talk about a lethal shooting backcourt.

 

Obviously Meeks would have to work his tail off to even crack top seven or eight (come on, this is the NBA champs we’re talking about), but the Lakers need to start thinking about Derek Fisher’s eventual replacement.

 

Playing alongside Bryant could be exactly what Meeks needs to succeed. He wouldn’t be asked to dribble and drive all that much, rather spot up and shoot to extend the defense for Bryant. Plus, with all the attention Bryan gets, Meeks would be open for his fair share of shots.

 

Then again, Gottlieb could just be plain wrong.

 

 

Swapping Cats?


Posted at 3:05 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

Yahoo! Sports is reporting  that the Boston Celtics are fishing to trade former Wildcat Rajon Rondo and All-Star Ray Allen to the Detroit Pistons for former Wildcat Tayshaun Prince, All-Star Richard Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey.

The Detroit Pistons quickly shot down the report Tuesday afternoon, but usually where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

The rumored trade would happen for several reasons (one dealing around possible chemistry issues with Rondo; it would help the Pistons get younger at the point-guard position; and it would help reload the Celtics for a possible second title in three years), but I can’t decide what I think of the trade.

If you’re the Pistons, you get a championships point guard (Rondo) who is coming off a career year in which he averaged career highs in points (11.9), assists (8.2) and rebounds (5.3). You also get the league’s most prolific 3-point shooter in Ray Allen, but it’s clear his best days are behind him.

The biggest factor if I’m the Pistons is that I’m trading away the centerpieces of the franchise’s future for a decaying 3-point threat (Allen) and a guy who has been rumored to have chemistry issues (Rondo).

From the Celtics’ perspective, it appears to be a win-win deal. At least from the outside it does. For all the disadvantages the Pistons would lose in the deal, namely future cornerstones, the Celtics would gain. Prince is an Olympic gold medalist who is one of the most undervalued and underrated players in the league. On most teams he’d be the second-best player. With the Celtics, he’d be the fourth option. That’s makes for a dangerous team. You’d also get an up-and-coming guard in Stuckey and another NBA champion and All-Star in Hamilton.

Sounds like a deal to me. But at second glance, there are some concerns on Boston’s side as well. Why get rid of one of the hottest point guards in the league – the same guy who helped you win a championship just over a year ago. And why trade your best 3-point shooter on a team that is already primarily dominated by low post players? I guess it all comes down to trying to get better all the time, but it’s hard to imagine Boston contending for a title again without those guys.

I’m really just tossing my thoughts on the blog because the deal is that interesting. For one, it’s a potential blockbuster NBA deal just before the NBA Draft involving two of the most successful and storied franchises, not to mention it involves two former Kentucky Wildcats.

It would seem like Boston is getting the better end of the deal (hence, Detroit denied the possible trade), but who really knows. What do you think of the trade? Who gets the better end of the deal? Would you be upset to see former UK players Rondo and Prince leave their current teams? Do you even care? E-mail me at catscratches@email.uky.edu with your opinion.

 

Matthew Mitchell headlines this week’s Wildcat Wednesdays


Posted at 1:44 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

Wildcat Wednesdays will continue tomorrow for a live chat with women's basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Mitchell will join Cat Scratches for a 30-minute chat to talk about the upcoming season, his talented 2009-10 recruiting class and the push for 5,000 season tickets, plus he’ll be taking questions and comments from fans.

The 1:30 p.m. time is still tentative. We’re hoping to get him on a little bit earlier (1:15 p.m. or so) because of a prior engagement he has at 2 p.m., but we’ll let you know the final details tomorrow morning here on the blog and on Twitter.

Mitchell’s chat will be the second segment of an eight-part series with UK players and coaches. Last week softball’s Molly Johnson and volleyball’s Sarah Rumely spoke with fans. To see a replay of that chat, click here.

UPDATE: I talked with Mitchell and he said he's OK starting a few minutes early so we get him for at least the full 30 minutes. We'll move the start time up to 1:20 p.m.

 

 

Meeks projected as a second-rounder


Posted at 11:37 a.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

We’re just days away from the NBA Draft, which will be held Thursday in Madison Square Garden. From a UK perspective, the big question is obviously where Jodie Meeks will get drafted, if at all.

Nobody knows what will truly happen Thursday night, but it’s always fun to take a peek at what people think will happen. If the mock drafts below are right, it appears Meeks will get taken in the second round.

But again, that’s all speculation. Besides the first 10 picks or so, drafts never quite shake out how the analysts predict them to be. Remember Joe Crawford from a year ago? Nobody really had an idea where he was going until the Los Angeles Lakers suddenly snatched him up with the third-to-last pick in the 2008 draft.

Meeks, although he’s hoping for a first-round pick, could be facing a similar setting. He’s projected as a mid second-round pick in the major mock drafts, although ESPN’s Chad Ford has him as the final pick in the draft).

Without further ado, here are some updated projections:

NBA Draft.net

DraftExpress.com

MyNBADraft.com   

probasketballnews.com

 

5K for 5K deadline approaching


Posted at 10:54 a.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

Wanted to provide one final reminder that Wednesday is the final day to register for the “5K for 5K,” one of five events the women’s basketball team is hosting over the summer and fall to set a new school record for 5,000 season tickets for the 2009-10 season. The race is Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Memorial Coliseum.

All new or returning season ticket holders who purchase and/or renew season tickets by Wednesday will receive one free entry to the race for each of their season tickets. There will be no walk-up registration on the day of the race.

So far UK has received 271 registered participants in the race and nearly 600 season ticket holders. Obviously there is still a ways to go until UK Hoops meets its goal, but there’s still plenty of time before the season starts for you to buy or renew your season tickets.

If you haven’t already registered for the race and are still thinking about it, let me provide you with a couple of incentives:

  • Overall male and female winners will receive lower level tickets for themselves and a guest to this season’s Big Blue Madness on Oct. 16.
  • Age group winners (14 and under; 15-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60+) will receive a Nike gift pack, a winner’s medal and a VIP package for a women’s basketball game for the 2009-10 season.
  • Each entrant will receive a commemorative race T-shirt. The day will feature some of the women’s basketball players and coaches, as well as entertainment, foot and activities for families and children.

Oh, and did we mention that men’s head coach John Calipari will be the honorary starter?

For more information on how to register, click here.

 

 

Morning coffee

 

Posted at 10:08 a.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

 

Well, after a five-day hiatus (an enjoyable mini-vacation, I might add), it’s time to get this baby back up and running. I’ve missed a couple of topics over the weekend while I was gone – most notably, Darius Miller making the under-19 national team and Rondel Sorrillo capturing gold at the Trinidad and Tobago Championships – but I’m back and ready to go. There are a couple of big events going on at the end of the week, but I’ll touch on those here in some following posts.

 

UK story of the day: As has been the case for the past few weeks, this isn’t an earth-shattering story (come on, it’s the summer). But I wanted to point out that head coach John Calipari was the featured speaker at the 15th Annual Kicks for Kids Celebrity Golf Classic Pairings on Monday just outside of Cincinnati. The story comes from Richard Skinner of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

 

Calipari spoke to the crowd on a number of things, but the most important thing is that he continues to embrace the Big Blue fans and the community.

 

“What I have found out in a short period of time is the program is pretty important to the people of the Commonwealth – people really care about this basketball program,” Calipari said, according to the Enquirer story. “We’ve got a lot to do to bring everybody back in and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

 

It comes as part of the job, but it’s still a welcoming and fresh site to see after the rough couple of years with the past regime. Billy Gillispie might have gotten a worse rap than he maybe deserved in certain situations, but UK wanted a true basketball ambassador when it hired its next coach. Nearly three months into the job, it’s clear UK picked the quintessential ambassador.

 

SEC story of the day: Summer means lemonade, cookouts, sunburns and baseball. And although baseball is unfortunately winding down in the collegiate ranks, it’s not leaving without a climatic finish.

 

Southeastern conference foe Louisiana State is on the cusp of writing the final page of the season.

 

Despite falling in holes of 3-1 and 6-4, the Tigers rallied Tuesday night in game one of the College World Series, defeating Texas 7-6 with a game-winning Mikie Mahtook single.

 

LSU, seeking its sixth national title, survived five round trippers from the No. 1 overall seed to come within one game of the national championship. One more LSU win – either Tuesday night or Wednesday night – should cement what many have already speculated all season long: The SEC is the best baseball conference in America this year.

 

National story of the day: A monsoon and a tsunami later, the U.S. Open finally concluded Monday. And boy was I disappointed.

 

It wasn’t so much that Lucas Glover (who?) won or that the torrential downpours drown much of the early excitement; it was that my personal favorite, Phil Mickelson, once again fell short in our national championship.

 

I know, I know. Like I said last week, I can already hear many of you groaning that I like Phil. But I’m just as flabbergasted that some of you don’t like him.

 

He’s a train wreck waiting to happen. One second he’s hacking out of knee length grass and saving par, the next he’s knocking in five-foot eagle putts. If that isn’t enough, he’ll follow it with a three-foot gimmie for bogey. There is never a dull moment with Phil. And I absolutely love it.

 

Besides it being instant entertainment, I can’t help but feel for and relate to the guy. He encompasses that weekend golfer – the one who faces an impossible 250-yard drive over the lake and knows in every corner of his brain that he should lay up, but goes for it anyway. He’s shaky, he’s unstable and sometimes just outright dumb, but I can’t think of one guy I would rather win the U.S. Open.

 

Once again it didn’t happen – he became the first golfer in U.S. Open history with five runner-ups – but that’s only going to make me root for him ever more the next time out. With his wife battling cancer, that could be a lot later than sooner, but here’s hoping the Mickelsons win the battle and that he’s back on the course as soon as possible.

 

 

 


 

 

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