Thursday, July 10, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Coury, who boasts a 4.00 grade point average, is majoring in Business Management. The sophomore from West Bloomfield , Michigan is averaging 2.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game for the Wildcats this season. He has started 19 of UK's 20 games this season, tied for most on the team.
As a first team selection, Coury is now eligible for Academic All-America voting with results being announced later in the season.
Coury and the Wildcats return to action on Saturday when they host Alabama at Rupp Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. with the game being broadcast on Raycom Sports, formerly Lincoln Financial.
A limited number of single game tickets remain for Saturday's game. Fans can order tickets by calling the UK Ticket Office (1.800.928.2287), the Rupp Arena Box Office (859.233.3535) or by going to UKathletics.com or ticketmaster.com.
At halftime of the game, the 1978 NCAA Championship team will be honored for it's 30 year anniversary. There will be an autograph session earlier in the day at the Kentucky Basketball Museum. One hundred fans will have an opportunity to get autographs from team members that participated in the 1978 NCAA championship season. The autograph session will take place Saturday, at 11:00 a.m. at the museum. Tickets will be distributed to the first 100 fans at the entrance of the museum on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. One ticket will be given per person and fans will be allowed one item to be autographed. Fans must have a ticket in order to receive autographs.
Monday, February 4, 2008
On the heels of their first 3-game win streak since November, Kentucky heads to Auburn, Alabama on Wednesday night to play the Tigers at 8:00 pm. Kentucky has beaten Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia in it's past three games but it hasn't come without a price. Senior guards Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford have both suffered injuries during the streak and are both questionable for the Auburn game along with sophomore Jodie Meeks. In his teleconference on Monday, Coach Billy Gillispie told us that Bradley's status is unknown due to the concussion suffered on Saturday along with a viral infection that he was also battling in Athens. Crawford's status is still up in the air while Meeks' has shown little improvement in practice. One thing is for sure, the status of these three will change several more times between now and game time. One positive that came from the Georgia game was that the Cats won their first road game of the season. Before that, they were 0-4 on the road.
Auburn enters the Kentucky game coming off of a 78-71 loss at Vanderbilt on Saturday. Frank Tolbert scored a career high 32 points in the loss, including 26 in the second half. The Tigers fell behind early in the game and trailed by 12 at halftime. Tolbert rallied his team and they closed the gap to 1 point after the half but Vanderbilt kept fighting and eventually pulled out the victory. The last meeting against Kentucky occurred last January in Lexington when the Cats handled the Tigers with ease, winning 84-57. Joe Crawford scored 21 points and Ramel Bradley had arguably one of his best games as a Cat, scoring 18 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and handing out 7 assists. The Cats led by 17 at the half and never let the Tigers gain ground during the second half. The Tigers are 7-3 this year at home.
Overall, Kentucky leads the series, 81-17, and is 22-9 at Beard Eaves Memorial Coliseum. Kentucky has won the last 8 games in the series, including the last three in Auburn, as well as 22 of the last 23. Auburn coach Jeff Lebo is 0-3 in his career against Kentucky. Billy Gillispie is 2-0 against Auburn, beating the Tigers 72-67 in 2006 and 87-58 in 2007 while head coach at Texas A&M. Lebo has a Kentucky tie in that he played his final collegiate game at Rupp Arena in 1989 when his UNC team was beat by Michigan in the NCAA Tournament. The game tips off at 8:00 pm ET and will be televised on Raycom Sports.
AUBURN TIGERS (12-8, 2-5)
Auburn is led in scoring by 6-8 senior forward Quan Prowell. He averages 14.0 points a game and 6.2 rebounds a game. Their second leading scorer on the year, Korvotney Barber, hasn't played since the last of December when he broke his hand. He was schedule to be out four weeks but has yet to make an appearance in any games since. 6-5 junior guard Rasheem Barrett averages 13.5 points a game and will provide a tough challenge for the smaller Kentucky guards on the perimeter. Finally, senior Frank Tolbert rounds out the double digit scorers for the Tigers, averaging 12.6 points a game. He has a tendency to explode in some games and score at will. In the Vanderbilt game over the weekend, he scored 32 points, 26 in the second half. He is very streaky and will need constant attention on the perimeter.
Rebounds – 33.9
Assists – 15.2
Turnovers – 14.7
Steals – 8.3
Blocks – 2.7
Field Goal % - 48%
Free Throw % - 64%
3-Point % - 35%
KENTUCKY WILDCATS (10-9, 4-2)
Kentucky is led in scoring by freshman sensation Patrick Patterson, as it has been for most of the year. Patterson averages 17.1 points a game, which puts him 7th in the SEC. He also averages 8 rebounds a game, which is 5th. There is no doubt that this year has been a great one for Patterson but a stat I ran across puts it into perspective. If Patterson can average 16 points per game for the remainder of the season and in the one guaranteed SEC Tournament game, he will become the all-time leading freshman scorer at UK. He currently needs 174 points to pass “King” Rex Chapman. Joe Crawford has been hampered by a foot injury but has still averaged 16.6 points a game. Ramel Bradley is questionable for the Auburn game as a a result of a concussion and viral infection but if he does play he provides almost 16 points in scoring. Jodie Meeks would provide another 10 points if he goes on Wednesday night.
Rebounds – 35.1
Assists – 13.7
Turnovers – 16.3
Steals – 7.3
Blocks – 4.6
Field Goal % - 47%
Free Throw % - 76%
3-Point % - 36%
KEYS TO THE GAME
TURNOVERS!! Auburn averages almost 15 turnovers a game but in their last 11 games they have cut that total to only 12 per game. Kentucky averages 16 a game but in it's last five it has only averaged 12. Which ever team can force the other to revert to their old habits will have an excellent chance of leaving Beard-Eaves Coliseum with the “W”.
SHUT DOWN TOLBERT!! Frank Tolbert is not the leading scorer on this team but he tends to have big games followed by let downs. He scored a career high 32 points at Vanderbilt on Saturday and will come out looking to keep the hot shooting going. Kentucky must defend him around the perimeter and cut him off when he decides to drive to the basket. He shoots 31% from the 3-point arc but has only taken 60 shots so far. He is primarily a threat on dribble drives and when he creates his own shot by getting the defender on their heels.
QUAN MUST BE STOPPED!! No disrespect to Rod Tidwell from “Jerry Maguire” but Kentucky would like to not see too much “Quan” on Wednesday night. Quan Prowell is a heck of a scorer but I would rather find out from the box scores of past games and not witness it live. Every team Kentucky plays seems to have one player who scores at will. I would rather it not be Quan on Wednesday.
BE QUICK ON YOUR FEET AND ADJUST!! Auburn routinely starts four guards and Prowell who is 6-8. The Cats must adjust to this and put a lineup on the court that can defend the smaller, quicker guards that the Tigers put on the floor. Patrick Patterson will probably guard Prowell leaving the four spot for guys like Stevenson and Coury to guard one of the smaller guards. Auburn only plays two guys taller than 6-7 so adjusting to their small lineup will be a big factor.
Friday, February 1, 2008
Well, I feel a whole lot better about this game today than I did two weeks ago. Kentucky has been playing inspired basketball in the last two weeks, despite two of the games being losses. Ramel Bradley and Patrick Patterson have emerged as the most dominant duo in the conference. Perry Stevenson has put on consecutive breakthrough performances to help out Patterson in the frontcourt. Three important cogs in the machine are injured. Derrick Jasper and Jodie Meeks have played through pain to log huge minutes and make significant contributions. Both are getting healthier, and according to the ever-so-popular rumor mill, Jasper is becoming more assertive on offense when he drives to the rack. Unfortunately, it looks as though Kentucky will probably be without the services of Joe Crawford once again, as only a cyborg would be able to play through an ankle injury and plantar fascitis.
With Crawford’s absence potentially coming into play, winning against a depleted Georgia squad suddenly loses a great deal of certainty. In order for the team to win, they will need to get the same kind of performances from Meeks, Jasper and Stevenson that they got against South Carolina. Georgia does not have a player like Devan Downey, an absolute blur who can blow by anybody in America off the dribble. Their guards are tough and aggressive, but none are as good at shooting as last year’s Bulldog guards, Levi Stukes and Mike Mercer. Billy Humphrey has had good games against UK in the past, but Sundiata Gaines has been a Kentucky killer throughout his 28-year career as the Georgia point guard. If I were Coach Gillispie, I would look back at the job Derrick Jasper did on Downey in the last game, and put him on Gaines on Saturday. Of course, that might be a horrible idea and go against everything the coaches want to do, and that’s why I’m just a guy on the internet who writes columns.
Inside, Georgia would scare me a lot more if they had the awesome Takais Brown, but Dennis Felton kicked him off the team, which means that the Bulldogs aren’t left with much inside. They don’t have a dominant interior defender like a Jarvis Varnado. I am hoping that this leads to another consistently awesome game from Patterson, and another similar effort from Stevenson. Besides Brown, I am also relieved to see that UK killer Steve Newman has finally graduated. Georgia relies on physical play to win ballgames. This level of physicality was often something that Tubby Smith’s teams (even the good ones like 2004) did not combat well. I believe that the team has responded well to physical defense for the most part this season. It’s an SEC road game, so free throws will be critical. Kentucky shoots a much higher percentage from the free throw line than Georgia, an especially important factor if the game is close down the stretch.
The excitement level for basketball is returning at a rapid pace across the Bluegrass. The Cats are on a multi-game win streak for the first time since November (3 game streak prior to UNC loss) and look to move that number up a ways with a trip to Athens, Georgia tomorrow. The Bulldogs are undefeated at home and are two wins shy of the longest home game win streak posted during the Jim Harrick era at 13. So what does it normally mean when a team that has yet to win a road game travels to play a group that is undefeated at home? I’ll not bore you with that answer, but I contend it all changes Saturday.
Georgia is a tough, defensive-minded team. Where the Dogs lack offensive consistency (11th in SEC in scoring, field goal percentage, and assists) they’re game starts on the defensive side of the court where the Dogs have been holding opponents to 65.5 points per game. They will also kill you with steals, where senior guard Sundiata Gaines leads the charge. To be more assertive though, Gaines leads the charge in just about all facets of the game. Gaines recently became the only UGA player in history to amass 1’000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists in his career. He is also the school’s all-time leader in steals with 234 and counting. Needless to say, the focus is on that guy. But Kentucky’s guards, mainly Bradley and Jasper have stepped up the intensity in all areas since the Louisville game, so that is less of a concern than it would have been just a month ago.
The biggest concern is depth. Though Seth is convinced UGA is depleted, Felton has had recent returns of Albert Jackson (6-10 F/C boosts inside play) and Billy Humphrey (leads team in scoring), while freshman forward Chris Barnes has provided an increase in production. Don’t be surprised to see the Dogs play 10 different men in the game. Kentucky may be without Joe Crawford AND Jodie Meeks (did not practice today) for the game. But the Cats may just be the most conditioned team in the country as Bradley, Patterson, and Crawford sit comfortably at 1-2-3 on the SEC minutes per game list. Meeks and Jasper are both averaging around 25 per even with the ongoing injury struggles. Not once have I noticed this team huffing, puffing, and grabbing their shorts. Kentucky wins tomorrow, and after that happens I’m writing a story before or after the win at Auburn about how this team has a chance to do some special things and be remembered for years to come. It’s all about confidence, maturity, and chemistry. Those are all things that have rapidly improved over the course of this month. Add some health…and the “sky is the limit.” – Billy G.
-- Jared Powell
Thursday, January 31, 2008
GEORGIA BULLDOGS (11-7, 2-3)
Assists – 11.8 (12th)
Turnovers – 15.9 (9th)
Steals – 7.8 (3rd)
Blocks – 3.7 (8th)
Field Goal % - 44% (11th)
Free Throw % - 68% (7th)
3-Point % - 32% (11th)
Assists – 13.7 (8th)
Turnovers – 16.7 (12th)
Steals – 7.4 (6th)
Blocks – 4.7 (4th)
Field Goal % - 47% (5th)
Free Throw % - 77% (1st)
3-Point % - 36% (5th)
Monday, January 28, 2008
Today marks the 34th birthday of one of the great players at Kentucky, #00, Tony Delk. TD was a highly sought after guard coming out of Brownsville, Tennessee's Haywood High School. Delk was a Parade All-American, a McDonald's All-American, and was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee's Class AAA in 1992.
Delk committed to play for Kentucky and head coach Rick Pitino and showed up on campus in the fall of 1992. As a freshman, he averaged 4.5 points a game but played in 30 games during the season. During his sophomore season, TD began to show signs of things to come. He played in all 34 games including wins in the Maui Invitational and the SEC Tournament games. Delk was named to the All-SEC Tournament team, averaging 19 points in the three games, and to the 2nd Team All-SEC. The Cats earned a #3 seed that season but lost to Marquette in the 2nd round.
Throughout his junior year, Delk led the Cats in scoring average, scoring 16.7 points a game. He shot 48% from the field on the season and 39% from 3-point range. The Cats again won the SEC Tournament and made the NCAA Tournament as a #1 seed. Delk was named to the 1st Team All SEC and the All-Southeast Region team in the tournament despite the Cats Elite Eight loss to North Carolina.
Tony Delk's final season at Kentucky was a very special year. That team is considered by many as one of the greatest teams in NCAA history. They lost two games on the year and went undefeated in SEC regular season play. Delk was the #1 scorer on the team, which featured future NBA players Antoine Walker, Walter McCarty, Derek Anderson, Ron Mercer, and Mark Pope. Delk averaged 17.75 points a game on his way to being named SEC Player of the Year. As a #1 seed, the Cats rolled into the Final Four where they met up with Massachusetts, one of the two teams who had defeated the Cats that year. The Cats beat the Minutemen 81-74 behind Delk's 20 points. In the NCAA Championship game, Delk scored 24 points including a game changing 4-point play in the 2nd half. He made a total of 7 3-pointers in the game and was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
He ended his career at Kentucky with 1890 points, putting him 5th all-time on the UK scoring list. He also holds the record for most 3-pointers in a career, making 283 in his career and is 2nd in steals, swiping 201 in his career. He left Kentucky averaging 14.2 points per game, shooting 47% from the field for his career, including 40% from 3-point range. His career high points was 31 against Arkansas in 1995. He holds the UK record for most 3-point field goals in a game, making 9 on 1-20-96 against TCU (I saw him do it, my first UK game at Rupp, I'll never forget it).
TD was drafted 16th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets. He played a total of 13 seasons in the league, playing for eight different teams. He scored a career high 53 points in 2001 for the Suns against the Kings. He finished his career with averages of 9.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, and 1.9 apg. He announced his retirement from professional basketball in November 2007.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I know everyone is pumped about 08 signing day coming in less than two weeks. But for those who are tired of the same non-updates about Aaron Boyd can take solice in this fact:
WE HAVE 09 RECRUITING NEWS!
I talked to two 09 recruits over the weekend, Mister Cobble and Ridge Wilson. Both have interesting news. It'll be on the website for this blog, www.catszone.net VERY SOON!
So what are you waiting for.... CHECK OUT THE STORY!
Friday, January 25, 2008
-USC has 4 of the harder guards anywhere to try and defend
-Downey knows how to play, sets up other players and gets to the foul line, anticipates
-Its not a one man team, it is a difficult team to match up with
-USC plays for their coach
-We're in a situation where we HAVE to win all our games
-Perry Stevenson needs to reach for the sky, he's been getting in the right spot quicker
-Joe C...i think his ankle is fine, he hasn't been able to practice any since UT; ankle isnt the concern, unsure of availabilty tomorrow; conditioning better; joe is working on rehab, a day out of practice hurts his condition and he hasn't been practicing
-DJ's knee brace might give him confidence that he wont re-injure, it allows him to play more freely; hopefully he can take that off and can run more naturally
-Cats understand they were very fotunate to beat UT, but he doesnt think it means UK is a different team now
-Thinks Downey may be as fast or faster than anyone in the country
-All USC players able to get their own shot
- If you try to stop Downey to look to success, your in for a rude awakening
-AJ Stewart is a good athlete, hope he can do whats needed in practice
-Could be that guy who comes through and changes up the rotation in the end of the year, it's a matter of what happens in practice, but he hopes he can earn more PT
-Thinks some distractions from early in the season are gone
-Thinks Jasper has a chance to be a big time rebounder at the next level
-The team has really been working on defensive rebounding position
-Are doing better against denying penetration but it's still something which can be improved
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
I don't expect much for this game. Tennessee is an absolutely horrific matchup for Kentucky , both in depth and in athleticism. Who guards JP Prince? Who guards Tyler Smith? Who guards Chris Lofton? I'm not sure if I can answer any of these questions. Prince is a tall, lanky point guard who is excellent at penetrating and kicking it out to Tennessee's endless supply of shooters. Tyler Smith is one of the best small forwards I've seen this year. He's good at just about everything, and the only person I can see hanging with him on defense is Ramon Harris. While Harris is a pretty good defender, Tyler Smith is on a different level, Meeks and Jasper are both at less than 100%, and Joe Crawford will either be guarding JaJuan Smith or Lofton, both of whom will provide Crawford with an enviable task. Lofton has been in a slump all year, but he always shoots lights out in Lexington , and while this may just be some blatant pessimism coming from me, I think he'll go nuts in Rupp once again to the tune of at least six threes and at least 25 points.
Defensively, I expect the defense shown in the last ten minutes against Florida , when the guards fought through the high screens at the top of the key and the switching was kept to a minimum. If Tennessee sets a screen up top, I want to see the guard stay with his man and the big man stay with the screener. If that happens, Tennessee will have to run some really good plays to set guys up for open looks from three. If not, Tennessee will shoot as many open threes as they want and win by as many points as they want.
On offense I can only hope that Kentucky responds to the press against Tennessee in the same way they did against Florida , which is to say, not too bad. Very few of Kentucky's turnovers against Florida came against the press, and Florida switched up defenses throughout the game. Tennessee presses all game long, and it is a defensive style that lends itself to blown leads if the opposing team can beat the defense up the court for easy baskets. Unfortunately, that would require that the opposing team has players who are good at passing, and Kentucky has two. Fortunately for UK , the two best passers, Patterson and Jasper, are the two best rebounders on the roster, so if they can throw a couple outlet passes over the press, that would make my day a lot more enjoyable tomorrow.
Tennessee will score A LOT of points off of turnovers. Edit that: Tennessee will score however many points they choose to and it may or may not come off of a turnover depending on how they're feeling at the moment. They don't press as much as other teams KY has played, but it has been effective when employed and they may amp it up a bit as Kentucky has struggled against it mightily. I expect a fast-paced game where it gets away from the Cats early in the second.
Lofton will light the Cats up again and become the SEC's all-time leader in three-point shooting. The stage is just set too perfectly. The Vols have a deep roster full of athletes, two adjectives Kentucky just can not claim. Every UT player can shoot and score and run the court. Kentucky can not. Ramel and Joe will have an opportunity to play well on offense as UT's perimeter defenders are less than marquis. However, they have a breeding ground for forwards headlined by former KY recruit Tyler Smith. If anyone in the league plays as physically demanding as Patrick Patterson, it's Smith. Wayne Chism is capable of providing some points, but is more of a finesse player who would choose a jumper over a strong low post move. Either way, he'll likely be open for it.
Yes, Kentucky has an opportunity here, and that's how the game should be viewed. But the horses in the stable are just a little winded to finish the race. Kentucky goes down big even though they give a good effort. Wildcard: Jodie Meeks. He's the one player UK has that UT can not defend if 100% or close to it. He looked okay against Florida , but was a little rusty and under conditioned. Two days removed likely won't change that. Result: big UT win.
-- Jared Powell