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March 2015
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The Next USA Basketball Coach

It will be very popular for all the obvious reasons for everyone in Kentucky to say make Cal the next USA Basketball Coach.

If you look at all the possible choices, there are many who would be very good choices, and that includes Cal.

If you don’t just say Cal because you are a True Blue fan, and understand the world of basketball, perhaps Doug Collins should get it next.  What Collins went through 40 years ago with the Olympic team that was robbed, is something we shouldn’t forget.  Plus, his ability to coach and relate to athletes makes him a great candidate without that experience.

I even believe that Cal would be happy if Doug Collins was the choice.  Down the road, Cal could be a great the right coach.

USA Today is looking for you to vote on your selection.  Here is the link.

2 Former Cats Fighting For Roster Spots

When you look at Andre Woodson, he looks like he could play today.  He’s still upset with not playing in the NFL.  I am still surprised this talented quarterback didn’t get another chance.

There are players who are good enough to play in the NFL that for some reason, don’t make it.

There are two former Cats who are fighting for the NFL careers with the Cincinnati Bengals.  Both are good enough to play on Sundays.

Both Micah Johnson and DeQuin Evans are facing an uphill battle.

But they both got off to a very good start in their first preseason game this year.

Here is the link to my story.

Inaugural UK Hoops Coaches Clinic Set For Oct. 20

The inaugural UK Hoops Coaching Clinic, featuring 2012 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year Matthew Mitchell and the Wildcats basketball team, has been set for Saturday, Oct. 20 in the women’s basketball gym of the Joe Craft Center.

The camp is designed for coaches on all levels, including high school, middle school, AAU and junior college. Participants must be 18 years of age or older and no child of any age or person entering 9th -12th grade, junior college, or prep school will be allowed to register or attend.

Participants will have the unique opportunity to interact with Coach Mitchell and his staff, gain perspective on the UK Hoops system and philosophies and learn drills to utilize for individual development. In addition, participants will be invited to watch a team practice session as part of the clinic.

In five seasons at the helm, Mitchell has led UK to five-straight postseason tournaments, including three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in UK history. He already ranks No. 3 in all-time wins at Kentucky with 114.

Under Mitchell’s guidance, the Wildcats ended the 2011-12 season ranked No. 12 in the final Associated Press poll and No. 8 in the final USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll. It marked the highest final AP ranking since finishing 11th in 1983 and the highest final ranking in the coaches’ poll in school history. Mitchell led his team to one of the most successful seasons in school history last year with a 28-7 overall record, including an 18-0 mark at home, and an appearance in the Elite Eight for the second time in three years. The Wildcats won their first SEC regular season championship since 1982 with a school-record 13-3 mark in league play. Its 28 wins tied the school record set in 2009-10 and UK has now won 25-plus games for three consecutive seasons for the first time ever.

Mitchell did not go unrecognized for his success, as he was named SEC Coach of the Year by the AP. It was his second SEC Coach of the Year award. He also earned the honor in 2010 by the AP and league coaches.

A complete schedule along with a registration form and cost of the clinic will be released on in the coming weeks.

Kory Brown Almost Gave Up

For those of you who have followed me for years, you probably have figured out that I enjoy doing feature stories on people and what makes them tick.

This is one of my favorite stories of this training camp.

It looks like a football story, but it isn’t.

It’s all about a young man who almost quit.

It’s about a linebacker who talks about the value of education and what he did on his recruiting visit to UK, which really surprised me.

Here is the story.

Tennessee QB Has His Day In Court

I remember watching Tyler Bray as a freshman.  He was really special.  With all the problems Tennessee had, a great quarterback can cover up all kinds of recruiting mistakes and problems.  It looked like Bray was going to do that.  He’s had problems on and off the field.

He says he’s changed.  Maybe he has.  For his sake I hope so.  What I will never understand is how anyone who plays QB at a powerful school like Tennessee doesn’t get it that when you mess up, it’s big news.

Here is the story.

The Power Of World Wide Wes

World Wide Wes is a power broker.  To what extent he helps out Cal or other friends?  I’m not sure anyone knows.  And there are plenty of ways to help a player out that aren’t illegal.  So until someone proves WWW has done something wrong, to me it’s much to do about nothing.

I do know this.  There are coaches who are jealous that World Wide Wes doesn’t help them.

There are plenty of quotes from coaches in this piece that obviously can’t have their name placed with their comments.

Here’s the story.

Fields Going The Extra Mile For A Special Senior Season

It can be really tough for a local star if they stay home.

When I watched E.J. Fields in high school, I never thought the track star for Frankfort High was going to the NFL, but it looked like Fields who did everything on Friday nights could have a few seasons where 40 catches wasn’t a stretch.

Last year was Fields best.  He caught ten passes.  That included a TD catch against Louisville.

Fields is taking extra steps to have a special senior season.

Here is my update.

Will Wiltjer Be A Difference Maker?

Sports Illustrated made a list of ten players next year that could be difference makers for their team. That list includes Kyle Wiltjer.

“Wiltjer was the forgotten man in Kentucky’s 2011 recruiting class, likely because he, as “only” a consensus top 25 recruit, was the black sheep of John Calipari’s freshmen,” says Sports Illustrated.

“Wiltjer also doesn’t exactly fit the mold of the typical Coach Cal recruit. He’s a baby-faced power forward whose athleticism is rivaled by some of the writers covering the Wildcats and whose forte is his ability to shoot the ball. He’s the epitome of a face-up four playing for a team that produces physical freaks like John Wall, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. His value lies in the fact that he may end up being far and away the best shooter on that UK roster next season. Think about how much room there will be to penetrate if an opponent’s four cannot leave Wiltjer and the center has to try to find a way to keep Nerlens Noel from receiving a lob.”

With this being almost another new team for Cal, something True Blue Fans are getting used to, who knows what role Wiltjer will take. At this point, you can’t even be sure he will end up being a starter.

Former UK Coach Not Sure Kentucky Can Win Big In The SEC

If you go to the cover of UK’s media guide, it’s all about social media.

#WEAREUK. It’s at the top of almost every page in the guide.

Turn the page and it’s @Joker Phillips.

But when you talk to coaches, unless they can control the situation, and coaches are known for being control freaks, they often don’t like it.

“Social media, and I said it all the time, it’s going to be the downfall of society,” says Louisville Coach Charlie Strong.

Let’s go old school. Former UK football coach Fran Curci, who can’t believe he’s 74 years old, doesn’t like some of the trash talking todays players like tweet.

“Well you like to think you have enough discipline to just say that if you do that then you are going to be running for a long time,” says Curci.

“So the best way to prevent something like that, is you have to find a way that if you do that they are going to pay the price, and you gotta make them pay the price.”

For Curci that price would be paid with plenty of extra running.

How many times have you asked this question, will UK ever win the SEC? Curci isn’t convinced UK will ever be able to do that.

“You know I look back honest to God it was a miracle that we went 6-0 in our conference (1977) and we beat LSU and we shut out Georgia 33 to nothing. I don’t know how that happened, but to get back into this league now I don’t know, I really don’t know, and then you add in Missouri and Texas A&M and that is really a lot and it has gotten to be such a money deal that I just don’t know whether they can compete in this thing or not. I mean they can compete, but whether they can win or not that is a big job.”

SEC football is as big as it gets. Money has changed everything.

“I always look back and tell people that I was here my last year the most I ever made financially was $46,000 and I look back and say my God if I had won a conference championship I could be making about 4 or 5 million dollars. I mean the whole of sports has gone crazy. A-Rod is making $30 million and all these coaches, even offensive coordinators are making half a million to a million dollars, so anyway that is how things have changed and I think it carries over to the players and it is kind of really tough.”

For years, Curci has been saying that when he coached UK from 1973 though 1981, he wanted to play Louisville.

“Always wanted to play Louisville, and I tried to play Louisville, Cliff Hagen (Athletics Director) didn’t want to do that, he said, “oh if we play them in football then we have to play them in basketball.” So what? And at that time of course the legislatures made them do that and my proposal was and it would have happened, I wanted to play them every year in Lexington and I think we’d get all the money, give them a little bit and we’d get the win and that is the way I felt about it and they didn’t want no part of that because they didn’t want to get involved. But things have changed but back then that is the way everyone felt.”

71 UK Athletes Made SEC Academic Honor Roll

Seventy-one University of Kentucky student-athletes were named to the 2012 Spring Sports Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll.

UK had 12 representatives from the baseball team, five from men’s golf, four from women’s golf, 15 from softball, six from men’s tennis, five from women’s tennis, 10 from men’s track and 14 from women’s track.

The 2012 Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll is based on grades from the 2011 Summer, 2011 Fall and 2012 Spring terms.  Among other qualifications, student-athletes must have a grade point average of 3.00 or above for either the preceding academic year (two semesters or three quarters) or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or above at the nominating institution.  Prior to being nominated, a student-athlete must have successfully completed 24 semester or 36 quarter hours of non-remedial academic credit toward a baccalaureate degree at the nominating institution.

University of Kentucky – Sport – Major

Tyler Dunaway – Baseball – Economics

Cameron Flynn – Baseball – Communication

Chris Garrison – Baseball – Agricultural Economics

Trevor Gott – Baseball – Communication

Jerad Grundy – Baseball – Community Communication and Leadership Development

Steven Hoagland – Baseball – Mining Engineering

Luke Maile – Baseball – Communication

Thomas McCarthy – Baseball – Psychology

Tyler Raymond  – Baseball – Psychology

Matt Reida – Baseball – Communication

Walter Wijas – Baseball – Agricultural Economics

Lucas Witt – Baseball – Communication

Matthew Anderson – Men’s Golf – Economics

Joseph Barr – Men’s Golf – Communication

Seth Blann – Men’s Golf – Communication

Mads Kristensen – Men’s Golf – Economics/Management

Stephen Powers – Men’s Golf – Communication

Betsie Johnson – Women’s Golf – Psychology

Heather Lott – Women’s Golf – Nursing/Psychology

Megan Moir – Women’s Golf – Accounting/Marketing

Ashlee Rose – Women’s Golf – Special Education – Severe and Moderate Disabilities

Macy Allen – Softball – Exercise Science

Chanda Bell – Softball – Human Nutrition

Ginny Carroll – Softball – Exercise Science/Human Nutrition

Brittany Cervantes – Softball – Journalism

Lauren Cumbess – Softball – Integrated Strategic Communication

Kara Dill – Softball – Exercise Science

Emily Gaines – Softball – Communication Science and Disorders

Ashleigh Gustafson – Softball – Special Education – Severe/Moderate Disabilities

Emily Jolly – Softball – Hospitality Management and Tourism

Aubrey Lamar – Softball – Exercise Science

Alice O’Brien – Softball – Marketing

Rachel Riley – Softball – Biology

Erika Silence – Softball – Special Education – Severe/Moderate Disabilities

Krystal Smith – Softball – Finance/Marketing

Ellen Weaver – Softball – Marketing

Matt Davis – Men’s Tennis – Electrical Engineering

Maks Gold – Men’s Tennis – Chemistry

Ryuji Hirooka  – Men’s Tennis – Finance

Panav Jha – Men’s Tennis – Biology

Eric Quigley – Men’s Tennis – Community Communication and Leadership Development

Anthony Rossi – Men’s Tennis – Economics

Khristina Blajkevitch – Women’s Tennis – Communication

Jessica Stiles – Women’s Tennis – Marketing

Misha Testerman  – Women’s Tennis – Integrated Strategic Communication

Marni Venter – Women’s Tennis – Biology

CeCe Witten – Women’s Tennis – Exercise Science

Darryl Bradshaw – Men’s Track – Social Studies Education

Steve Crouse – Men’s Track – Elementary Education

Trent Halasek – Men’s Track – Accounting

Colin Heenan – Men’s Track – History

Matt Hillenbrand – Men’s Track – Biology

Adam Kahleifeh – Men’s Track – Human Nutrition

Walter Luttrell – Men’s Track – Nutrition and Food Science

Josh Nadzam – Men’s Track – Social Work

Luis Orta – Men’s Track – International Studies/Spanish

Robert Scharold – Men’s Track – Undergraduate Studies

Katy Achtien – Women’s Track – Nursing

Anna Bostrom – Women’s Track – Psychology

Michelle Canterna – Women’s Track – Exercise Science

Shelby Kennard – Women’s Track – Psychology

Cally Macumber – Women’s Track – Integrated Strategic Communication

Julie Nunn – Women’s Track – Exercise Science

Chelsea Oswald – Women’s Track – Biology

Kayla Parker – Women’s Track – Exercise Science

Allison Peare – Women’s Track – Middle School Education

Shiara Robinson – Women’s Track – Management/Marketing

Jennifer Svoboda – Women’s Track – Exercise

Taylor Wendler – Women’s Track – Accounting

Hiruni Wijayaratne – Women’s Track – Integrated Strategic Communication

Megan Wright – Women’s Track – Integrated Strategic Communication