Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Champions Classic Renewed Through 2019




College basketball’s season-opening marquee event, the Champions Classic, which has pitted the best against the best for the last six seasons, was renewed and will continue through the 2019 season. Kentucky will continue to be a part of it. 

The Kentucky men’s basketball program, in conjunction with Duke, Kansas, Michigan State and ESPN, will continue the doubleheader series through the 2019 season. The event began in 2011 in esteemed Madison Square Garden in which Kentucky earned a 75-65 win over Kansas, while Duke prevailed over Michigan State. The teams have rotated opponents along with varying cities allowing fans all across the country to watch one of the nation’s premier basketball events.

“We’re excited and honored to be a part of the Champions Classic for another three years,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “It’s become one of the premier college basketball events on the national schedule every year. You’re talking about four blueblood programs playing on a neutral, NCAA Tournament-like stage. I know our fans love traveling to those cities. It’s always a tough way for a young team like ours to face those types of teams that early, but it’s a great opportunity for us to learn and to prepare for that type of environment down the road.”

The doubleheader event will be played in Chicago (2017), Indianapolis (2018) and New York (2019). It will also continue to be the final event of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon that provides more than 24 hours of consecutive basketball coverage to mark the start of college basketball season.

This year’s sixth edition of the event is slated for Nov. 15 in Madison Square Garden. Kentucky will take on Michigan State at 7 p.m. Duke and Kansas will follow approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of the opening contest. 

Kentucky is 3-2 all-time in the event, which includes the memorable 72-40 win over fifth-ranked Kansas in 2014 to spark the beginning of a 31-0 regular season. The Michigan State vs. Kentucky game in 2013 was the most-watched Champions Classic game ever. It pitted the No. 1-ranked Wildcats vs. the No. 2-ranked Spartans in the first regular-season matchup between the two top-rated teams since 2008. Kentucky’s matchup with Duke in 2015 was the most-watched game in all of college basketball during the 2015-16 season.

The Champions Classic features three of the top four all-time winningest college basketball programs, including UK. The four schools in the event have combined for 18 NCAA championships and 57 Final Four appearances.

For more information about the series please visit the event’s official website


Date
Matchups
City
Arena
Nov. 15, 2016
Michigan State vs. Kentucky
New York
Madison Square Garden
Nov. 14, 2017
Kansas vs. Kentucky
Chicago
United Center
Nov. 13, 2018
Duke vs. Kentucky
Indianapolis
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Nov. 12, 2019
Michigan State vs. Kentucky
New York
Madison Square Garden


Monday, August 22, 2016

A Little Late, But, USA Basketball Wins Gold




Snatching up what seemed like every rebound, former Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins also hauled in the first Olympic gold medal of his career with a strong performance Sunday in the championship game of the 2016 Olympics.

With a gold medal on the line, Cousins saved his best for last for USA Basketball. Coming off the bench for a third straight game, Cousins set the tempo early by dominating the paint, sparking Team USA to a 40-15 first-half run, and ultimately to a 96-66 rout of Serbia.

Cousins played as well as he has all tournament, posting 13 points and a game-high 15 rebounds for his third double-digit scoring game of the Olympics. He had 11 points and 12 rebounds by halftime.

The 6-foot-11 forward, who was drafted fifth overall in 2010 after a sensational freshman season at Kentucky, averaged 9.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in eight games at the Olympics. He shot 61.4 percent from the floor, only shooting less than 50 percent in one game during the run.

Cousins is the 10th Wildcat all-time to compete in the Olympics and win a gold medal (not counting Sam Bowie, who was awarded a medal by President Jimmy Carter after the United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games), tied with North Carolina and UCLA for the most among all colleges. Cousins is also the third former UK player in a row to win a gold medal. Anthony Davis captured the gold at the last Olympics, in 2012, and Tayshaun Prince was a part of the 2008 gold-medal team. 

Cousins is the second John Calipari player to win a gold medal, joining Davis.

“Congratulations to USA Basketball on another gold medal and to our own DeMarcus Cousins,” Calipari said. “DeMarcus continues to get better and better and has become one of the best big men in our game. I know how badly he wanted this opportunity and this gold medal. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Though it’s the first Olympic gold medal of his career, it isn’t Cousins’ first major success story with Team USA. He previously helped USA Basketball to a gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, averaging 9.6 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting a team-high 70.2 percent from the field during that nine-game run.

Cousins is entering the prime of his NBA career. Just a few months ago he was named to the All-NBA Second Team for a second straight year after averaging career highs in both points per game (26.9) and rebounds per game (10.2). The two-time NBA All-Star is just the fourth player in UK’s history to earn multiple All-NBA honors in a career.

In addition to ranking fourth in the NBA in scoring during the 2015-16 season, Cousins was among the league leaders in rebounding (fifth), double-doubles (sixth), blocks (21st) and steals (22nd).

Cousins was a double-double machine during his lone season at Kentucky in 2009-10. His 20 double-doubles are tied for the most in the Calipari era with Davis. He averaged 15.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and led the Wildcats with 67 blocks in helping UK to a 35-3 record, Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament championships, and an appearance in the Elite Eight.

Cousins’ 2016 Olympics Game-by-Game Stats
Game
Points
Rebounds
FGs
vs. China (W, 119-62)
17
5
6-8
vs. Venezuela (W, 113-69)
6
5
2-4
vs. Australia (W, 98-88)
6
8
3-5
vs. Serbia (W, 94-91)
5
3
2-3
vs. France (W, 100-97
9
5
4-5
vs. Argentina (W, 105-78)*
15
2
6-10
vs. Spain (W, 82-76)*
2
3
1-4
vs. Serbia (W, 96-66)*
13
15
3-5
TOTALS (average)
73 (9.1)
46 (5.8)
27-44 (61.4 pct.)
indicates knockout game

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Coach Cal Softball Classic To Take Place of Annual Alumni Basketball Game... For Now



The Lexington Legends have partnered with John Calipari and the John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience for the inaugural Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic, which will take place Aug. 28 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington. 

Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. with the celebrity softball home run derby at 5:30 p.m. First pitch for the celebrity softball game will be at 6 p.m.

The game will feature numerous Kentucky greats, including NBA Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns, two-time Final Four participant Alex Poythress, 2013 NBA Draft No. 6 overall selection Nerlens Noel, 1978 national champion Kyle Macy and many more. 

The UK basketball legends will play alongside and against celebrities which include NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter, ABC’s Quantico star Josh Hopkins, ESPN’s Kaylee Hartung and former No. 1 overall selection and UK Athletics Hall of Famer Tim Couch.

Coach Cal’s Celebrity Softball Classic will feature additional surprise Wildcat greats and celebrities. A full list of confirmed celebrities is below. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Calipari Foundation.

Tickets to the event are available now at CoachCalSoftballClassic.com and will feature three tiers of opportunities for the Big Blue Nation.

General admission tickets are $8, while premium seating is $20. The Coach Cal VIP Experience tickets are priced at $100.

The VIP experience includes seats behind home plate in the Diamond Club/Super Club seats, unlimited food and beverages, an invitation to a pre-game “Cats Conversations,” a chalk-talk forum with a Q&A session hosted by Calipari and Towns. This exclusive opportunity is limited to 200 tickets. 

The celebrity softball game will take the place of the annual UK Alumni Charity Basketball Game this season while Rupp Arena is under construction.


Here's a list of participants at this point:.....




Friday, August 12, 2016

2016 Big Blue Madness Ticket INFO




Tickets for the 2016 Big Blue Madness in Rupp Arena will be available on Friday, Sept. 30 at 10p.m. at the Memorial Coliseum ticket windows on Avenue of Champions and online at Ticketmaster.com. Big Blue Madness, the first open practice opportunity for UK’s 2016-17 men’s and women’s basketball teams, is Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are free again this year for the annual spectacle in Rupp Arena, which will feature i troductions of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, practice drills, videos, and more. Like last year, the ticket distribution will take place on Friday night both at the Memorial Coliseum ticket windows on Avenue of Champions and online at Ticketmaster.com. All patrons require a ticket to Big Blue Madness, regardless of age.

A limited number of control cards will be issued to those camped out earlier on Friday, Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. All fans must be present to obtain their control cards and only one control card per person will be accepted at distribution. All people with control cards must be in line by 10 p.m. 

At the request of campus public safety officials, fans wishing to line up ahead of time at Memorial Coliseum for ticket distribution are asked to do so no earlier than 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28. The athletics department will provide portable restroom facilities, but the use of permanent, wooden-type structures, portable generators, and propane tanks or other open flames used in cooking is prohibited due to safety concerns. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are not permitted. Additionally, selling sports tickets in excess of face value is illegal in Kentucky.

With the surrounding campus undergoing construction, space will be limited for fans wishing to line up ahead of time, and fans are encouraged to use Ticketmaster.com to obtain tickets. Once available space for fans has reached capacity, remaining fans will be asked to acquire tickets online at Ticketmaster.com. As in past years, UK Athletics will inform fans when available space has reached capacity and they are unlikely to receive control cards for the in-person ticket distribution.   

Parking and transportation information, along with further ticketing details, will be released at a later time.

Big Blue Madness will be televised live on the SEC Network.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Alex Poythress To Play For Orlando Magic Blue Squad in Summer League



Former Kentucky men’s basketball player Alex Poythress will play with the Orlando Magic Blue squad in the annual summer league in Orlando, the team announced on Tuesday.

Poythress is one of six collegiate players to join the Magic’s blue squad for the one-week, 25-game schedule in Orlando. The games will begin Saturday.

The Clarksville, Tenn., native is hoping to impress either Orlando or other squads in obtaining a free agent contract like Aaron Harrison achieved with the Charlotte Hornets in 2015.

Poythress enjoyed a successful four-year tenure at Kentucky in which he was a member of two Final Four teams, two Southeastern Conference regular season championships and two SEC Tournament titles.

He averaged 10.2 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds in his final season in 2015-16. He charted four double-doubles and had a career-best 25-point effort at Alabama during his senior campaign. For his career, he averaged 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds. He is one of only 12 players to register 900 career points, 500 career rebounds and 70 career blocks. A high-character player and exceptional student, Poythress graduated in just three years at Kentucky and became UK’s first Academic All-American since 1995 during his senior year.

The Orlando summer league will feature two Magic squads along with the Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Fans can access box scores, game recaps and cumulative statistics at Orlando’s home page<http://www.orlandomagic.com>. NBA TV will air 24 of the 25 summer league games live.

Coach Cal Karl Towns To Host Rookie of The Year Camp on August 3rd



 Head coach John Calipari and Karl-Anthony Towns are excited to announce their Rookie of the Year Camp slated for Aug. 3 in Lexington.

The duo will team up for a camp broken up into two sessions. The first session begins at 8:30 a.m. and will last for 3.5 hours. The second session is slated to start at 1:30 p.m. for the same 3.5 hour duration. Boys and girls ages 7-17 are eligible for the camp. 

Calipari and Towns will touch on all aspects of the game, including passing, shooting, dribbling, defense and additional skill work. Towns will personally work and interact with each and every camper.

Campers are to set to be pre-assigned to appropriate age/grade level divisions. Skill work will be directed by UK coaches and staff, along with current and former Wildcats. Extensive details including gym schedules, registration location and information and itineraries will be directed in the confirmation email.

This is the second camp set to feature a member of the 2016 All-Rookie Team. Devin Booker will join Calipari for the Shooting Camp on July 30. 

Interested campers can register here. If you are having difficulties with the registration link, please send an email to ukmbbcamps@uky.edu. A limited number of spots are available for both sessions and are based on a first-come, first-served basis, with online registration recommended as the fastest and most efficient form of registering campers. 

Cancellation policy: The $80 deposit is non-refundable except in the case of injury, illness or mandatory school event. If a cancellation is made for any other reason, tuition will be refunded less the $80 deposit if the cancellation is made before the first day of camp. Once the camp session has begun there will be no refunds, except in the case of injury or illness. This includes the cancellation of practices due to severe weather. The convenience fee associated with online registration is non-refundable.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Former Cat, Demarcus Cousins Selected For 2016 USA Olympic Team



Former Kentucky great DeMarcus Cousins was selected to the 12-man roster that will represent the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics, as announced by Team USA Basketball on Monday.

This is the first such appointment for Cousins, who participated with Team USA at the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Cousins participated in all nine games en route to a perfect record and the gold medal. He averaged 9.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.3 steals and shot a team-high 70.2 percent from the field in 13.8 minutes a game.

Cousins will be joined by Carmelo Anthony, Harrison Barnes, Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Draymond Green, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Kyle Lowry and Klay Thompson.

Kentucky has a long lineage of success at the Olympics as 10 total players have earned a gold medal. Anthony Davis most recently captured gold at the 2012 Olympics. Davis was among the 30 finalists for a spot on the 2016 squad, but removed his name for consideration as he recovered from offseason surgery. John Wall was also a finalist but withdrew his name for consideration after offseason surgery as well.

The U.S. will start training for the Olympics in Las Vegas and play exhibition games in Las Vegas, Oakland, Calif., Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston before leaving for Rio.  The U.S. will train against the USA Men’s Select Team, which features former Wildcats Devin Booker, Willie Cauley-Stein and Julius Randle.

Team USA’s opening game in Rio will take place Aug. 6 against China. It is slated to tip at 6 p.m. ET.