Friday, August 1, 2014

Statement From UK on Hiring Tony Barbee

Former UTEP and Auburn head coach Tony Barbee has joined the Kentucky men’s basketball staff as the special assistant to the head coach, John Calipari announced Friday.

He will take on an administrative role in operations formerly held by Rod Strickland, who left to become an assistant coach at the University of South Florida.

Barbee was previously the head coach at UTEP and at Auburn and has served as an assistant coach under Calipari for a total of nine seasons in his career.

“Tony has been a part of my basketball family for over 20 years,” Calipari said. “I’ve had the pleasure of watching him grow up and mature with this game since I started recruiting him when he was 16 years old. I’m thrilled with the knowledge and experience he brings to this program and our staff and am looking forward to working with him again.”

"I’m so excited to reconnect with my coach, mentor, and friend Coach Cal on his staff at Kentucky,” Barbee said. “I can't wait to join the Big Blue Nation in its quest for No. 9."

Barbee played for Calipari at UMass before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant on the Massachusetts staff in 1995-96. The Minutemen advanced to the NCAA Final Four in Barbee’s first season as a member of the coaching staff.

He served as an assistant coach for two seasons at UMass before taking an assistant coaching position at Wyoming. Barbee rejoined Calipari as an assistant at Memphis for six seasons from 2000-06. The Tigers earned a 20-win season in each of his six years on staff. The Tigers claimed a pair of Conference USA titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times during his tenure including an Elite Eight run in his final season.

Barbee was hired as UTEP’s head coach in 2006. During his four-year tenure at the helm of the Miners program he averaged 20.5 wins per seasons and exceeded his win total from year-to-year. His most prolific season at UTEP was his last in which he led the Miners to a 26-7 overall record, a C-USA regular-season title and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009-10.

He became Auburn’s head coach prior to the start of the 2010-11 season. He spent four seasons as the head coach of the Tigers and has amassed an overall 131-127 record as a head coach.

As a player, Barbee helped lead the Minutemen to a pair of Atlantic 10 championships and two NCAA Tournaments. UMass went 91-39 during his four-year career. Barbee still ranks among the school's all-time leaders in numerous statistical categories, including scoring with 1,643 points. He was a second-team All-Atlantic 10 player in 1991 and 1993 and All-Atlantic 10 Freshman team selection in 1990.

The Indianapolis native played professionally in Spain and France after his playing career at UMass. He earned his B.A. in sports management from UMass in 1993, with a minor in African-American studies. He and his wife, Holly, have a daughter, Hayden Alexandra, and son, Andrew Marsh.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tony Barbee Hired By Calipari?

Everyone who's anyone suspected that when Tony Barbee was fired from Auburn thought that he would eventually end up on Calipair's staff at Kentucky. Fast-forward a few months, and it seems like that will happen.

It is being reported that Calipari has hired Barbee (one of his former players) in an administrative role, a role known as "A special assistant to the head coach", a position that Rod Strickland occupied during his last years at Kentucky.

This is all according to Kyle Tucker at the Courier Journal. So, we will see how this plays out. I for one am excited about the new hire as Barbee will be an excellent addition to the current staff...

Mason Plumlee Better Than Demarcus Cousins?

Reports came out today that Coach K (the coach of team USA and obviously Duke) is close to having his final roster for Team USA to compete in the FIBA World Cup. However, if I told you that Demarcus Cousins would not be on it you would probably think it was in favor for Blake Griffin, Kevin Love or the fact that Cousins' attitude showed it's ugly head at the wrong time. But, what would you say if I told you that none of those (at least as far as I know) is going to be the reason.

It's being reported that Mason Plumlee, yes the same Mason Plumlee that played for Coach K at Duke is likely to make the final roster instead of Demarcus Cousins.


Now, just so I don't come across as a sour UK fan, lets compare some stats from last NBA season shall we...

Mason managed to average 7.4 points per contest, 4.4 rebounds and he done it all in a while playing a little over 18 minutes per.

Now we move on to Demarcus Cousins who averaged 22.7 points per game, 11.7 rebounds and 2.9 assist per game. Those numbers make Demarcus one of the top five big men in the league. 

Now, I'm not knocking Mason's stats from this past season, it was just his rookie year which by the way is another down fall, lack of experience. I am however questioning Coach K's sanity if this is how this plays out. Anyone who thinks Plumlee should be on this roster over Demarcus either knows nothing about the game of basketball or simply can't hide their favoritism for former players. I mean hell, one would think that Mike Krzyzewski used to be his coach or something...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Coach K on Anthony Davis "Our Main Guy Is Anthony Davis"

Team USA had practice today and head coach, Mike Krzyzewski had some high praise for former Cat, Anthony Davis.

After practice, Coach K had this to say about the 2012 National Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist when it came to team USA's big man rotation.

"Our main guy is Anthony Davis. We will see who else fits in."

Kevin Durant also had some thoughts concerning Davis...

"You can tell he's getting bulkier, bigger. He's more confident. You can tell he's working."

That is some high praise from some pretty big names in the basketball world and well deserved to say the least.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones Dead at Age 88

Former Cat and the last surviving member of Rupps "Fab Five", Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones dies at the age of 88.

Everyone knows all about Jones' impressive basketball career that included a National Championship in 1948 and a Olympic gold medal during the same year, but there something that some may not have known about the legend.

Wallace Jones also excelled on the football field as well earning All American status under both coach Rupp and coach Bear Bryant. Jones is the only Kentucky player to have his number retired in both sports.

Here's a look at Wah Wah's career statistics...

Besides the impressive numbers, Jones was also named All-American in 1947, 48, and 49. He is also a member of the State of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and the University of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame. He was drafted 9th overall in the 1949 NBA Draft by Washington. 

For an in depth look at Jones' basketball stats, head over to Big Blue History who's website is the best around for stats and obscure information anything Kentucky Basketball related.

Everything Jones accomplished in sports pales in comparison to the type of person he was. Everyone who knew Jones loved and respected him. Besides his athletic accomplishments, Kentucky fans loved the man for who he was.

Our prayers go out to Mr. Jones' family and friends...

R.I.P Wah Wah Jones

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

UK Basketball Gets It Done In The Classroom

For the second-consecutive season the Kentucky men’s basketball program was honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches for team academic excellence.

The second annual Team Academic Excellence Awards, created by the NABC Committee on Academics to recogne outstanding academic achievement, selected 125 colleges and universities with cumulative team grade-point average of 3.0 or better for the 2013-14 season.

John Calipari’s squad posted a 3.11 cumulative GPA. Calipari’s squad has tallied a 3.0 GPA or better in six of the last seven semesters.

Three Wildcats, Tod Lanter, Sam Malone and Jarrod Polson, were named to the NABC Honors Court on Monday. Malone was the recipient of the Elite 89 award at the 2014 Final Four, which honors the student athlete with the highest cumulative GPA participating in the Final Four.

Nine Wildcats were tabbed to various Southeastern Conference Honor Rolls this season. Dominique Hawkins, Dakari Johnson, Lanter, Marcus Lee, Brian Long, Malone, Polson, Alex Poythress and Derek Willis were all honored by the SEC.

Since Calipari’s arrival, all nine players who have exhausted their athletic eligibility have graduated from UK including: Twany Beckham, Josh Harrellson, Ramon Harris, Jon Hood, Mark Krebs, Darius Miller, Polson, Perry Stevenson and Eloy Vargas. Furthermore, Patrick Patterson and Polson completed their degrees in just three years.

Kentucky was one of three teams from the SEC to earn recognition by the NABC for academic excellence, while a mere eight BCS-level institutions earned the honor.

Alumni Game Ticket Info

Tickets for the 2014 UK Men’s Basketball Alumni Charity Game, which will be heldAugust 24 at 6 p.m. ET in Rupp Arena, will go on sale to the public on Monday, July 28, at 10 a.m. ET. For the first time in three years, a team of UK pros will face a team of non-UK pros.

All seats are reserved and priced at $101 (premium lower level), $31 (lower level), and $16 for premium upper level. Tickets can be purchased at the Rupp Arena box office, online, at any Ticketmaster Outlet or by phone at1-800-745-3000. There is an eight-ticket limit per person. All orders will have additional fees attached. All proceeds from the game will go to charity. 

You must be 16 or older to purchase tickets and children under the age of 2 get in for free with a paying adult.

Doors to Rupp Arena will open at 4 p.m. ET.

Set to tip off Sunday evening at 6 p.m. ET, the game will feature Wildcats currently or formerly playing professionally against non-UK players also either currently or formerly playing professionally. The Big Blue Nation will have an opportunity to enjoy some of the top talent to don the Blue and White against other elite talent. Per NBA rules, the University of Kentucky cannot confirm individual players participating in the exhibition game.