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Posts from Wednesday, July 1

Darius Miller put together a solid performance in his first competition for the Stars and Stripes.

Darius Miller put together a solid performance in his first competition for the Stars and Stripes.

Miller all-around solid in first FIBA game

Posted at 9:25 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

 

UK forward Darius Miller put together an all-around balanced performance in his first competition for the United States.

 

Miller, who is playing for Team USA in the Under-19 FIBA World Championship in New Zealand, had four points, five rebounds, six steals and four assists in the United States’ 106-55 romp of Iran. The 6-foot-7 forward was a perfect 2-of-2 from the field in 16 minutes of action.

 

Larry Vaught of the Danville Advocate-Messenger got the inside scoop and talked with Miller following the game. Miller said he more excited than nervous to play and said the experience has been better than he expected.

 

Strolling down memory lane

Posted at 3:49 p.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

Does anybody remember these videos from back in the day? UK came out with a few "This is Kentucky Basketball" videos, modeling them after ESPN's "This is SporsCenter." We were in the office today reminiscing about UK basketball and happened to stumble across these. There are a couple more of these, but this was a personal favorite of mine.

 

Afternoon notes

Posted at 2:28 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

A couple of afternoon news bits to pass by for you this afternoon, a couple of which are pretty noteworthy. I’ll briefly just run over them because we should have news releases on the homepage on each here shortly.

  • The UK women’s basketball team hired former Tennessee standout Shalon Pillow as an assistant coach. Her primary duties will consist of coaching the post players. Pillow comes to UK after spending one season as an assistant coach at Hofstra and three seasons at South Florida. Keep an eye out on the blog over the next few days for a Q and A with the new assistant coach.
  • Former UK tennis player Bruno Agostinelli was selected to the Canada Davis Cup Team. He is the eighth Wildcat all-time to be selected to a Davis Cup Team. Canada begins play in Peru on July 10.
  • A total of 53 UK student-athletes were selected to the Southeastern Conference Spring Academic Honor Roll. Athletes from baseball, men’s and women’s golf, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s track made the honor roll. To make the list, a student-athlete must have a grade point average of 3.00 or above for the preceding academic year or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or above at the nominating institution. South Carolina, which also includes other sports like equestrian, paved the way with 114 student-athletes.
  • Thanks again to Trevard Lindley and Sam Maxwell for stopping by for the live chat. Maxwell came through in the clutch when we learned at the last minute that Micah Johnson would not be able to join us. We’re planning on having another duo of football players before Wildcat Wednesdays is over, so keep an eye out for that. Also, we’ve already confirmed our two guests for next week. Pitching phenom Alex Meyer and baseball head coach Gary Henderson will join us at approximately 11:45 a.m. for the fourth Wildcat Wednesdays. That time is still tentative, but I’ll let you all know an exact time next week.

Morning coffee

Posted at 10:11 a.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

Before we jump into some links, don't forget that we'll have a live chat with linebacker Micah Johnson and Trevard Lindley at 12:20 p.m. as a part of Wildcat Wednesdays. It's a great opportunity for you all to talk to some of your favorite athletes here at UK, so be sure to join in.

Also, what a crazy night it was for college basketball rumors and reports last night. Unfortunately I can't name names on this Web site because of NCAA rules, but believe me, I was more than aware of the he-said, she-said "tweets" and reports last night.

On UK's end, there is nothing to report at this time. That's not what some of you want to hear, but unfortunately that's all my I'm allowed to provide. I'd be dumb if I didn't think that was truly the "UK story of the day," but we'll have to stay away from that this morning. If you don't know what I'm talking about, well, all I can tell you is to surf the Internet.

On to the links:

UK highlight of the day (sort of): UK's very own Darius Miller will begin play with the United States on Thursday (Wednesday evening here in the U.S.) in the FIBA Under-19 World Championship for men's basketball in Auckland, New Zealand. (Story comes from Matt May of The Cats' Pause.)

There is no telling how much Miller will play - there was no official box score available for the exhibition romp of Croatia, so it's unclear how much Miller played - but either way, head coach John Calipari is hoping the experience will serve as a huge confidence booster for the sophomore.

Miller was by far the most impressive player in spring drills, and Calipari raved about him in detail during Monday's Southeastern Conference Coaches Teleconference. Even if Miller doesn't see huge minutes this weekend, just practicing with the nation's best - Duke's Seth Curry, Butler's Shelvin Mack, Mississippi's Terrico White - should raise his game to next level.

"I will tell you this, before he left for tryouts the kid was doing two-a-days," Calipari said on Monday. "I'd be in the office at 11 o'clock at night and he'd turn on the lights. I could see the lights on and look out and it was him. He'd be out there shooting and going hard. I think this has lit a fire, which I love to see in players."

If it does, I truly believe you could be looking at one of the top two or three players in UK's lineup next season. Nobody is talking about Miller, but given this offense and how well it suits him, plus the point guards that will be feeding him the ball on cuts and slashes, Miller could very well be a 15 points per game type of player.

We'll pass along any news from Miller and the USA. national team as it comes along. To stay on top of the team throughout this weekend, I'd also recommend following assistant U.S. assistant coach and Southern Illinois head coach Chris Lowery on Twitter. Link will take you to his page.

SEC highlight of the day: Louisiana State's head baseball coach Paul Mainieri has been named Baseball America's Coach of the Year. Last week he was named Collegiate Baseball's Coach of the Year.

Mainieri directed the Tigers to their first national title since 2000 in his third season as head coach. Most national pundits would tell you that he's restored the LSU program back to national prominence.

Not like it went anywhere or anything. But it appears that LSU has restored its title as the class of the Southeastern Conference, which generally means you're the class of college baseball. LSU, arguably the team of the 1990s should be in good hands for years to come under Mainieri.

National highlight of the day: Apparently they're playing tennis across the big pond over at Wimbledon.

After a pair of victories Tuesday, Venus and Serena Williams are just a match away from another all-Williams Grand Slam championship match. The sisters have faced each other seven times on the big state, with Serena holding a 5-2 advantage. No. 1 Dinara Safina stands in Venus' way and No. 4 Elena Dementieva is Serena's next foe.

The men kick off the quarterfinals on Wednesday, with the obvious top story being Roger Federer. He made quick work in the quarterfinals Wednesday morning, winning in straight sets to advance to the semifinals.  The five-time Wimbledon champion is in pursuit of his record-breaking 15th Grand Slam title and his biggest rival, Rafael Nadal, is not in his way to stop him.

I'm not a big tennis guy (I find it to be a more realistic version of the arcade game "Pong"), but even those storylines have me tuned in a bit this week to the All England Club.


 

 

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