Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kansas Wants MORE OND AND DONE Players

With the Kentucky portion of the NBA Draft wrapped up, it's time to get to some interesting news outside of Kentucky.

After having two freshman drafted in the lottery tonight (Wiggins #1 and Embiid #3), Bill Self had some interesting comments.

Since the arrival of John Calipari, all Kentucky fans have heard is how Cal does it the wrong way by recruiting one-and-done type players. We've heard all the trash slung our way from, "Kentucky is just a farm league for the NBA" to "Their players only come go to Kentucky because they know they can leave after one year." Plain and simple.... We have taken some strong tongue lashings from other fan bases who thought that their school would never tarnish the college game by taking one-and-done type players.

One of the fan bases that was the loudest over the years was Kansas. Well, now that the draft is over we can safely say that they had two one-and-dones of their own this year and it doesn't sound like that they will be the last.  

After the draft, Bill Self was quoted as saying...

"Having two freshman drafted in the top three will no question help Kansas recruit one-and-done caliber players."

So much for their "respect" for the college game as it looks like the coaches recruiting tactics are changing. Do the fans change with him and become hypocrites or do they demand he be fired?

I admit it, Isaiah Austin Made Me Cry

I have never cried during the NBA Draft in my life, that is until tonight. Isaiah Austin of Baylor was looking to be drafted fairly high in this years draft, until a physical showed something that would end his career.

Austin was diagnosed with a heart condition that made it impossible to continue competitive basketball. Instead of ignoring the situation, the NBA and Adam Silver showed nothing but pure class as they staged a NBA Draft selection just so Austin could fulfill his dream of walking across the stage and shaking the commissioners hand as if he had been picked just like he should have.

It's good to see people still have a heart and care about others. Well done NBA, well done. Hats off.

The Boston Celtics Take James Young at Number Seventeen Overall

James Young goes a little higher than projected at number seventeen to the Boston Celtics. Again, a great spot for James as it will give him time to learn the system and on a pretty good team to boot. I have a feeling that James will have an excellent NBA career and will actually shock some people with his abilities in the long run.

Congratulations to James Young, it's well deserved.

Also, classy move by the NBA to give Isaiah Austin his chance to walk across the NBA Draft stage in a "mock" pic. As you may know, Austin's career was cut short when it was discovered that he had a heart condition that would lead to the end of his basketball career.

Julius Randle Receives a Phone Call From His New Boss

(Photo credit: @LALakers)

Minutes after hearing his name called at tonight draft, he received a congratulatory phone call from his new boss, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and the basketball operations department.

Kobe Bryant Welcomes Julius Randle to The League/Lakers

Future NBA Hall of Famer and current Laker, Kobe Bryant welcomes Julius Randle to the league via Twitter....

@kobebryant: Welcome home @J30_RANDLE from one legendary institution to one epic franchise #LakerDraft

Now, I'm not a Lakers or Kobe fan by any means, but that is badass I don't care who you are.

Congrats, Julius

The Lakers Pick Julius Randle With the Seventh Overall Pick

The L.A. Lakers selected Julius Randle with the seventh overall pick in tonight's NBA Draft. The Lakers have never been my favorite team, but that's about to change. This is a good spot for Julius as he will be able to ease his way into the game and take time to adjust to the league and learn the system.

We'll have more as the night goes on and as we wait to see where James Young will end up.

The Cavaliers Take Andrew Wiggins With the Number One Pick

Andrew Wiggins goes to the Cleveland Cavaliers as the number one pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. I gotta say, this couldn't happen to a nicer more humble young man. Wiggins is my favorite NON UK player of the last ten years and it isn't even close. 

I got the chance to get to know Andrew during his time at Huntington Prep (WV), and I know he has worked his ass off to get to where he is at now. The college game didn't do Wiggins' abilities justice as he is capable of much more than what we seen this year at Kansas. Out of all the draftees this year, Andrew has the most pure, raw athletic ability and that will show in the NBA. 

Congratulations to Andrew, it's well deserved

The Boys Are Ready For The Draft

It's time to see where these two guys go in the draft. A couple of observations of this picture real quick, though.

First, Cal has one heck of a tan. I guess recovering from hip replacement surgery by relaxing in Florida is a good thing.

Second, the guy in the background is creeping the hell out of me...

Latest Mock Draft Has Randle Going To Lakers and Young To Memphis

(Latest projections from

Well, it's time once again for the NBA Draft, a night that never really mattered much to Kentucky until the arrival of John Calipari. Since then, Draft Night has become something like a holiday for Cat fans. This year, Kentucky has two guys in the draft (Julius Randle and James Young) and as of the latest mock draft, Randle is projected to go 7 to the Lakers and Young is projected at 22 to Memphis.

Both are great spots for each of them to end up, but one thing we have learned over the past couple of years is the fact that the mock drafts sometimes aren't very reliable. Either way, tonight will be fun to see where these guys end up and as always, we'll be here to keep you updated as best as we can during the draft.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TV Info For UK Games in The Bahamas

The Kentucky men’s basketball Big Blue Bahamas exhibition tour has been selected for broadcast on ESPNU and the SEC Network, ESPN announced on Wednesday.


ESPNU will broadcast the first three games of the tour from Aug. 10-12, while the

newly launched SEC Network, which makes its debut on Aug. 14, will pick up the final three games from Aug. 15-17. All six games are scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET tip.


Fans interested in learning whether they get the SEC Network can go


Fan packages are still available for Big Blue Bahamas and can be found or by calling 1-855-UKBBALL. Lines are open 24/7.


Date                 Opponent                                 Time/TV

Aug. 10             Puerto Rico                               1 p.m. (ESPNU)
Aug. 11             Champagne Chalons-Reim          1 p.m.(ESPNU)

Aug. 12             Puerto Rico                               1 p.m. (ESPNU)
Aug. 15             Dominican Republic                   1 p.m. (SEC Network)
Aug. 16             Champagne Chalons-Reim          1 p.m.(SEC Network)
Aug. 17             Dominican Republic                   1 p.m. (SEC Network)


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Andrew Wiggins Questioned In Night Club Stabbing

Again, a little late to the party on this one, but I gotta be honest, reading sites like TMZ isn't really my thing. However, they have a story up from this morning concerning the POTENTIAL #1 pick in this years NBA Draft, Andrew Wiggins.

Apparently Andrew and Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia were partying in a Toronto night club this weekend when two people were stabbed at around 1:30am outside the very same club. Now, when I read the headline, all I seen was "Andrew Wiggins questioned in Stabbing" and I have to admit, I felt a little sad. You see, I've seen this kid play many times in high school and have met and talked to him MANY times as well and I think very highly of him. Andrew is a good kid and I would have hated to see him be involved in something like this just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, as it turns out, neither Andrew or Juicy J are considered suspects in the stabbing and were just questioned along with several other people who happened to be in the area.

This is a good lesson not only for Andrew, but for any of these kids who end up getting drafted this week. ANYTHING YOU DO MAKES HEADLINES. I don't care if it's simply going to Taco Bell for a damn burrito. Whatever you do is news, and it will find it's way on the internet. 

Trey Lyles Undergoes Medical Procedure; Will NOT Play in Bahamas

 It was confirmed today that,  Trey Lyles  has had a medical procedure performed on his left leg. Calipari addressed the situation on Facebook/Twitter...

"Like Willie, we're going to hold Trey out for the games in the Bahamas while he recovers from a medical procedure. Both Willie and Trey could probably play if they really wanted to, but I'm not taking a chance on either kid. I want them 100 percent for the start of our season and there's no reason to push these guys before they are absolutely ready. Plus, this gives us a chance to play some of our other guys and get them some more work."

I talked with a spokesman for the University of Kentucky and both Willie and Trey are still expected to make the Bahama trip even though they will not play.  Here's to a speedy recovery for both Willie and Trey. Get ready boys, this is going to be a special season.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Missouri Names Huntington Prep's Rob Fulford as Assistant

Today, Missouri hired Huntington Prep's head coach and founder, Rob Fulford as an assistant. This is also the same man that introduced the college basketball world to Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng and too many other talents to mention. It was just a matter of time before Rob's abilities was recognized and landed him in an excellent position and that's exactly what happened today.

Living across the bridge from Huntington, West Virginia, I had plenty of chances to see Huntington Prep in person. During that time, I also and a chance to get to know Rob Fulford a little and I'm glad I did. What this guy accomplished in Huntington in such a short amount of time is beyond impressive. He brought in some of the best high school players in the country year after year which would lead to Prep being ranked among the nations best year in and year out. It wasn't just his ability to recruit that made him so successful though, it was his coaching ability and the way he connected with his players on a personnel level. So, to see him land a job like this comes as no surprise at all. Rob had this to say about his new position...

"I want to thank coach Anderson, (Missouri athletics director) Mike Alden and University administration for this incredible opportunity,” Fulford said. “I wasn’t looking to leave Huntington Prep but after speaking with coach Anderson and seeing his vision for the program, this opportunity was too good to pass up and I’m excited to be a Missouri Tiger."

Read more here:

On a personal level, I'd like to thank Mr. Fulford for giving a small time blog like Big Blue Corner a chance when no one else would. Every night he had a game and we were able to attend, Rob made sure we had a seat court side and always made time to answer any questions we had no matter how absurd they may have been. So, for me to see Mr. Fulford land in a position like he has today is more than awesome because I couldn't think of anyone who deserves it more. I do, however, dread to see the amount of talent Rob brings to Missouri because that's exactly what he will do and you can almost bet that it will start with 2015 small forward and current Kentucky target, Montaque Gill-Caesar. 

So, congratulations to Rob Fulford and his family, this is something that is well deserved and I would love nothing more than to see him on the sidelines in Rupp in the future.

Kentucky Partners With JMI Sports

A little late with this one, but the day job unfortunately comes first. However, here is the press release from the University of Kentucky concerning the partnership of the University of Kentucky and JMI Sports... There is some impressive numbers in this agreement to say the least....

In one of the most valuable partnerships of its kind in college athletics history, University of Kentucky officials announced Monday that JMI Sports has been awarded UK’s athletics and campus multimedia marketing rights with a 15-year, $210 million agreement.

“This partnership reflects the fact that the University of Kentucky is a national brand with the largest and most loyal fan base in all of intercollegiate athletics,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “The size of this partnership – and our partnership with an emerging force in college sports in JMI Sports – will enable us to maintain and grow as one of the country’s few financially self-sustaining programs, allowing us to continue to provide incredible educational opportunities to more than 450 young men and women as well as continue to partner with the university in unique and distinctive ways.”

“It is critically important that our athletic program remain not only financially self-sustaining, but is also positioned to continue to be an aggressive partner in our academic efforts,” University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said. “Nowhere else in the country is an athletics program more essential to building a thriving public, residential, research university. This partnership with JMI Sports helps ensure those contributions are strengthened.”

Last year, Capilouto and Barnhart announced the UK athletics department was paying for $65 million of a more than $100 million Academic Science Building – an unprecedented partnership between academics and athletics in American higher education.

JMI Sports is an innovator in sales, marketing, and project management services to universities and professional teams. Kentucky will be JMI Sports’ first client for which it will serve as its multimedia rights holder, but its leadership has substantial experience in sports business.

The company was founded in 2006 by developer and philanthropist John Moores and Chief Executive Officer Erik Judson. Moores is the former owner and chairman of the San Diego Padres and Judson has experience managing major sports development projects, including the Padres’ Petco Park and the University of Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena. Tom Stultz, president of JMI Sports and a native of Greenup, Ky., formerly served as senior vice president and managing director of IMG College’s multimedia rights business.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the University of Kentucky,” Moores said. “Erik, Tom and I would like to thank President Capilouto, Mitch Barnhart and the entire UK administration for the confidence they have placed in JMI Sports. We are enthusiastic supporters of higher education, recognizing the many important roles these institutions play in our society. We look forward to working with UK to build the most innovative and successful multi-media venture in the country.”

JMI Sports’ college clients include the Southeastern Conference, Alabama, North Carolina, Oregon, Auburn, Colorado, Duke, Syracuse and many more.

“We are very impressed with JMI Sports and excited to begin working with them,” Barnhart said. “Their work with many of our peers in college athletics and the experience of their team will make them an excellent long-term partner for UK Athletics and a valued part of the Big Blue Nation.”

UK will receive a guaranteed rights fee in each of the 15 years of the contract, starting at $9.1 million in 2015-16 and increasing to $16 million in 2029-30. The agreement also includes a $29.4 million signing bonus to be paid over the first two years of the contract. The signing bonus will help the university fund important capital projects. The deal includes:

·         Radio rights to UK’s football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball games;
·         Stadium and arena corporate signage and game programs for all home UK events, other than those hosted at Rupp Arena;
·         Naming rights to university athletics facilities and premium areas;
·         Sponsorship on;
·         Game sponsorships and game promotions;
·         Coaches’ endorsements;
·         Pre and postgame television shows and specials and postseason highlight DVDs;
·         Video features on video boards, other than at Rupp Arena;
·         Opportunities to develop UK Athletics Corporate Partnership Program; and
·         The potential, at the university’s discretion, to market campus multimedia rights, creating the potential for an integrated approach to multimedia rights and marketing – something few universities are doing.

As part of the agreement, UK Athletics will continue to provide premium advertising inventory in support of the school’s academic mission. This advertising inventory is valued at more than $7.5 million over the 15 years of the contract. In addition to funding nearly two-thirds of the Academic Science Building, the Athletics Department also continues to contribute $1.7 million annually toward academic scholarships for the general student population, all while remaining one of the few self-sufficient departments in the country.

UK’s current deal, which expires in April 2015, was worth $80.5 million over 10 years. Despite television rights no longer being included due to the SEC’s broadcast agreements and the impending launch of the SEC Network, UK’s multimedia rights deal increased significantly.

By comparison, the University of Alabama signed a deal in April reportedly worth between $15-16 million annually over 10 years, giving the school the third-largest multimedia rights deal in the nation behind Texas and Notre Dame, two universities with unique television agreements. Concessions, pouring rights, isotonic beverage, seat rentals and merchandise are included in Alabama’s deal, while UK manages each separately.

The new agreement was awarded following a review process in accordance with the Kentucky Model Procurement Code KRS 45A. A Request for Proposals was issued in February 2014 and responses were received in April. The contract can be found at

Additional quotes from JMI Sports

Erik Judson, Chief Executive Officer, JMI Sports
“JMI Sports pursued this partnership with the University of Kentucky because it perfectly aligns with our strategy of serving an elite group of major universities. Our continual focus will be on providing white glove customer service to UK’s sponsors and partners as part of our effort to enhance the UK brand and provide an outstanding platform for success for UK and its many stakeholders.”

Tom Stultz, President, JMI Sports
“We are thrilled to begin a partnership with the University of Kentucky that will utilize much of our expertise, including producing and distributing quality sports content, selling and fulfilling innovative corporate partnerships, developing unique campus sponsorship programs, and delivering stadium financing and project management services. This contract enables JMI Sports to become established as a full-service provider of the highest quality university and sponsor centered services. And, knowing from personal experience how terrific UK’s administration, coaches, staff and fans are as partners, we could not be more excited for what the future holds.”

Friday, June 20, 2014

Calipari Gets Some Important Visitors

Today Coach Cal had some visitors stop by his office. First up was Terrence Jones and Nerlens Noel. Cal had this to say about their visit...

"Is there anything better than having two players from tow different teams stop in and say hello? I'm proud of them both. And yes, I'm standing on my tippy toes."

Julius Randle also stopped by today. After all the negative media attention Julius drew over the "possibility" of him having to have surgery on his foot that he broke in high school, it seems he has finally laid that to rest. Coming out and saying that HIS doctors said there was no need for surgery now or in the foreseeable future, he went ahead with a workout he had scheduled with the Utah Jazz. After the workout, a spokesman for the Jazz said they had absolutely no worries about the status of Julius' foot/ankle and was very impressed with his work ethic and him as a person in general. Just for the record, the Jazz will currently be picking 5th come June 25th. Calipari had this to say about Julius' visit...

"Look who popped in the office today. boy does he look physically great and exited for the draft. I know where I want @J30_RANDLE to go in the draft; I'm just not saying."

A couple of days ago, one of Cal's first recruits at Kentucky, Eric Bledsoe stopped by for a visit. And they say that these kids didn't care about Kentucky. This guy was probably one of my favorites during the Cal era simply because he had a killer instinct that's hard to come by. He played with a ton of heart and determination, something that is also hard to come by. Here is what Cal had to say about Eric's visit...

"Of all my guys, maybe no one made more strides from the day he walked on campus to the day he left than @EBled2."

Scottie Pippen stopping by is more than awesome. It turns out, the reason for Scottie's visits was due to the fact that his kids were attending one of Cal's overnight camps. Once again, how awesome is that? Cal had this to say about Scottie's visit...

"We had a surprise visitor who brought his children to our Overnight Camp. @ScottiePippen is one of the best who has ever played. Great player, even better teammate."

That's a lot of important/cool visitors to have over the course of three days. Also, considering the fact that these visits took place on different days and Cal is wearing the same shirt makes one wonder if this is simply just his favorite shirt or if it's the only one he has.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Calipari offers 2016 SG, Tyus Battle after On-Campus Visit

According to Kentucky and John Calipari has extended a scholarship offer to 2016 shooting guard, Tyus Battle.

Battle who averaged 22.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 3.6 apg also holds offer from the likes of Uconn, Villanova, Ohio State, Indiana and of course Louisville who Tyus just recently wrapped up a visit with this past Sunday and Monday. So of course when he arrived on campus for his visit in Lexington Monday afternoon, you just knew that he wasn't going to be leaving without an offer from Calipari.

Looks like Cal and Pitino will once again go head to head in a heated recruiting battle for one of the nations top players and if it goes like so many have since Cal stepped foot in Lexington, things look good for the Cats in the 2016 recruiting class.....

Monday, June 16, 2014

UK vs UofL BBall Game Date Set

The annual Kentucky-Louisville rivalry has been scheduled for Dec. 27 in Louisville’s Yum! Center and will air on ESPN2.

This year’s event is being hailed as the Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout with aportion of the proceeds benefiting the non-profit Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

UK leads the all-time series against Louisville 32-15, including a pair of wins in the 2013-14 season. The Wildcats defeated the Cardinals 73-66 in Rupp Arena during the regular season and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament following a 74-69 win over UofL in Indianapolis.

Kentucky has won six of its last seven meetings with Louisville.

Game time will be announced at a later date.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

UK Baseball's A.J. Reed Wins Dick Howser Trophy

Kentucky junior pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed, who enjoyed possibly the greatest individual season in UK history this year, is the 28th recipient of the Dick Howser Trophy, presented by Easton Foundations, as college baseball's Player of the Year. The presentation was made Saturday during a national news conference at TD Ameritrade Park, site of the 2014 College World Series.

The Dick Howser Trophy, given in memory of the former Florida State University All-America shortstop and Major League player and manager, who died of brain cancer in 1987, is regarded by many as college baseball's most prestigious award. Criteria for consideration for the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character, and courage, qualities which were exemplified by Dick Howser's life.

“It is of utmost importance for the Dick Howser Trophy Committee to identify the top college baseball player in the country not only based on ability,” David Feaster, the committee’s executive director said. “However – equally important if not more, are the qualities that make up the spirit of the Trophy’s namesake, Dick Howser – leadership, character and courage.

“A.J. Reed embodies all of the qualities that we identify when selecting the award winner. His numbers both as a hitter and pitcher were at the top of one of the nation’s finest leagues, the Southeastern Conference. His numbers speak for the outstanding season he had – and he did it with excellent sportsmanship and class.”

Reed, who leads the nation in home runs with 23, slugging percentage at .735 and OPS (batting average + slugging percentage) at 1.211, also had a 12-2 pitching record for coach Gary Henderson’s Wildcats. He is Kentucky’s first national baseball player of the year and is bidding to become the third consensus national player from the Southeastern Conference, along with 2007 Howser Trophy recipient David Price of Vanderbilt and Alabama’s David Magadan, the 1985 honoree and current hitting coach for the Texas Rangers.

The native of basketball-famous Terre Haute, Ind., batted .336 with 73 RBI and a .476 on-base percentage for the ’14 Wildcats. He also started 16 games for Kentucky, had a 2.09 earned run average, gave up 98 hits in 112 innings of work, struck out 71 hitters, and walked only 29. He accounted for just under one-third (12) of the 37-25 Wildcats’ total team victories.

The 6-4, 240-pound SEC Player of the Year adds the Dick Howser Trophy to an arm’s length list of accomplishments this year. A finalist for the 2014 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, he already has earned first team All-America honors from the NCBWA andCollegiate Baseball, has been tabbed the NCBWA District III Player of the Year, and been multi-honored with NCBWA Division I, and Louisville Slugger Collegiate Baseball National Hitter of the Week honors during the campaign.

Reed’s consistency at the plate and on the mound is reflected by career totals of 35 doubles, 40 home runs, 160 RBIs, a .559 slugging percentage, .415 on-base percentage, and .306 batting average in 172 games since 2012. His breakout season on the hill more than doubled his career wins’ tally, and he has a 2.83 earned run average with just 53 walks and 174 career strikeouts in 248 all-time innings.

Some of his numerous season record highlights for UK in 2014 have been the school home run record, second-highest pitching victory total, second-most walks by a Kentucky hitter, third-most RBI, third-best pitching winning percentage (minimum 10 decisions) at .857, fifth-highest total base numbers, fifth-lowest ERA, and the No. 6 slugging percentage in one year. His career marks at the Lexington university are second-most homers (40) and RBI (160) and Top 12 positions in total bases, at-bats, walks (99), sacrifice flies (nine), hit by pitches (26), ERA, wins and innings pitched.

The 2014 National Player of the Year also was selected in the second round of the recent Major League Baseball first-year player’s draft by the Houston Astros. He is just the eighth Kentucky standout drafted in the first or second rounds of MLB selections and helped UK advance to the 2014 NCAA Louisville Regional, where the team finished second.

Reed was one of five fellow standouts who were 2014 Howser Trophy finalists along with Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto, LSU pitcher Aaron Nola, Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost, and Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler. He is the sixth player from the SEC to achieve this honor since 1987.

A Florida native, Howser was twice an All-America shortstop at Florida State (1957-58), then head coach of the Seminoles in 1979 after a career as a Major League player and coach. After one year in the college ranks, he returned to the majors to manage the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals and won the World Series with the Royals in 1985. The baseball stadium on the Florida State campus is named for Howser.

NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport's only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.

The Howser Trophy was created in 1987, shortly after Howser's death. Previous winners of the Howser Trophy are Mike Fiore, Miami, 1987; Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State, 1988; Scott Bryant, Texas, 1989; Alex Fernandez, Miami-Dade Community College South, 1990; Frank Rodriguez, Howard College (Texas), 1991; Brooks Kieschnick, Texas, 1992 and 1993; Jason Varitek, Georgia Tech, 1994; Todd Helton, Tennessee, 1995; Kris Benson, Clemson, 1996; J. D. Drew, Florida State, 1997; Eddy Furniss, LSU, 1998; Jason Jennings, Baylor, 1999; Mark Teixeira, Georgia Tech, 2000; Mark Prior, P, USC, 2001, Khalil Greene, SS, Clemson, 2002; Rickie Weeks, 2B, Southern U., 2003; Jered Weaver, P, Long Beach State, 2004; Alex Gordon, 3B, Nebraska, 2005; Brad Lincoln, P/DH, Houston, 2006; David Price, P, Vanderbilt, 2007; Buster Posey, C, Florida State, 2008; Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State, 2009; Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice, 2010; Taylor Jungmann, P, Texas, 2011; Mike Zunino, C, Florida, 2012; Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego, 2013; and A.J. Reed, Kentucky, 2014.

Friday, June 13, 2014

UK Men's Basketball Announces Bahamas Games

Wildcats to play three international opponents over six games in Nassau
NASSAU, Bahamas – The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, the2014 NCAA Division I national runner-up, will face international teams from the Dominican Republic, France and Puerto Rico during a foreign tour – named theBig Blue Bahamas tour – from August 10-17 in the Bahamas.
Kentucky will play the Dominican Republic national team, the Puerto Riconational team reserves and French first-division club team Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket, twice each over an eight-day span at Nassau’s 2,500-seat Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium, recently renovated in the spring of 2014. The Dominican Republic team will use the games against Kentucky as a tune-up for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, which begins in late August.The Dominican Republic is No. 26 in the current FIBA World Rankings.
NCAA rules allow for a foreign tour by an intercollegiate team once every fouracademic years. Kentucky’s Big Blue Bahamas tour is a joint venture between Complete Sports Management and the Bahamas Basketball Federation.
We are thrilled to bring together top basketball teams from all over the world and showcase it at such a beautiful setting,” said Complete Sports Management President Lea Miller. “It is always a pleasure working with the Bahamas Basketball Federation, and we are very appreciative of their support. The University of Kentucky is truly one of the most dominant programs in college basketball, and it will be fun to watch them compete on this global stage againstteams from the Dominican Republic, France and Puerto Rico."
The Wildcats, 29-11 a season ago, will open the tour on Sunday, August 10 against the Puerto Rico reserves at 5 pm ET. The next day, UK will face Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket at 1 pm ET. Tuesday, August 12, Kentucky will play the Puerto Rico reserves for the second time at 1 pm ET.
After a day off on Wednesday, August 13, Kentucky will face the Dominican Republic on August 14 at 5 pm ET. The second game against Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket will be played either August 15 or 16 (date to be determined) at 1 pm ET. Kentucky will finish the tour on Sunday, August 17 against the Dominican Republic at Noon ET.
"We are excited to make the trip to the Bahamas for our foreign tour,” said Kentucky head coach John Calipari, who will begin his sixth season as the Wildcats’ head coach. “Working with Lea and Mason Miller has been a pleasure. My goal is for our team to grow together, to learn about one another, to have fun and to compete against teams that will stretch us out. These teams should be a challenge that will let us really see where we are at this point. But again, learning and having fun will be the emphasis of the trip. It's another opportunity for us to fail fast. 
The Bahamas Basketball Federation is delighted to have a team such as Kentucky embrace our shores,” said Bahamas Basketball Federation Vice President Mario Bowleg“We know that Kentucky will bring a high level of basketball performance with lots of excitement for our Bahamian basketball fans to experience. We take this opportunity to thank Ms. Lea Miller and her team, whom have worked closely with the Federation, to bring such an elite group to our shores, not just to play basketball but to bond as a unit and experience paradise all at the same time.”
Fan travel packages for Kentucky’s Big Blue Bahamas tour will be available. For more information, visit To book travel packages, please call 1-855-UKBBALL (1-855-852-2255). Only those who book through the Big Blue Bahamas tour travel company will have access to tickets.
KENTUCKY BIG BLUE TOUR SCHEDULE (all games at Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium)
Sunday, August 10:Puerto Rico Reserve Team5 pm ET
Monday, August 11:Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket1 pm ET
Tuesday, August 12:Puerto Rico Reserve Team1 pm ET
Wednesday, August 13:OFF DAY
Thursday, August 14:Dominican Republic National Team5 pm ET
Friday, August 15 OR:Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket1 pm ET
Saturday, August 16:
Sunday, August 17:Dominican Republic National TeamNoon ET

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dominique Hawkins Talks About China Trip (FULL TRANSCRIPT)

                                                                   Dominique Hawkins

On the food in China ...
“Oh my gosh, I don’t even want to talk about it. I found something that I ate almost every day. It was like rice and eggs. There was some kind of steak they made, too. They didn’t cook it all the way, but I was surviving on that type of meat. All of us were like trying to find something that we all knew we could eat and we could have confidence it won’t make us sick or anything. I thought it was going to be like Panda Express and it just disappointed me, but I had a great time when I was there.”

On if he lost weight ...
“I think I lost 10 pounds to be honest. I came back and I met with my high school coach and he let me go back in the gym and use the weight room, so I feel like I gained most of it back.”

On the experience overall he had ...
“The experience was great. I was so glad that I was able to go. At the beginning I was thinking I wasn’t going to want to go because I wanted to spend time with my family. I ended up spending time with them. It was really different, but it was really cool, too. When we were playing basketball, it was the weirdest thing ever; fans were smoking cigarettes while I was playing. It wasn’t at every game; it was just a few games where they were smoking. We played against some pro teams, and we played against Lithuania, the Chinese pro team, and the Chinese had this player – we called him Yao Ming – he was 7’2”, but he didn’t have the skill level. It was just neat to play against different people and learn a bit about their language.”

On the culture shock he experienced ...
“Everywhere we went with the traffic was crazy, and there was smoke everywhere. I don’t think they have a smoking age. We were walking around the mall and stuff and we would see 14-year- olds outside smoking a cigarette. It was pretty weird, but it was cool to experience that.”

On the places they went ...
“We did a lot of traveling. I know the cities, but I can’t say their names. We went to five different cities to play games.”

On his popularity in China ...
“I felt like I was in Kentucky because the people just rush up to you and they will say hello. They knew how to say hello and then they’ll go on and take pictures and stuff like that. It was pretty neat. Most of the people there are pretty aggressive. They come up and grab you and they don’t ask – they just want the picture and grab you and say ‘picture.’ Other than that, they were really nice and friendly. They will bow to you after you take the picture with them and stuff like that. It was pretty cool.”

On how he got on the Sports Reach program ...
“There is a little bible study that we do after the game, and Matt is his name, and he called them for me and basically said I would probably be one of the guys that would want to go. Robby Spear, who runs Sports Reach, he was able to let me come with them and I am thankful for him. I had a great time.”

On the dunk contest he won ...
“The first dunk – I don’t know what it is – It was like a backwards dunk where you go between your legs. The last dunk, I lobbed it to myself and then wind milled it. They didn’t really have any other athletic guys on the other team. On our team, I went against a guy from Southern Illinois, and he was pretty athletic. I thought I wasn’t going to win. I never get in dunk contests because I never think I’m going to win. It felt good to win a dunk contest for the first time.”

On his offensive play ...
“I feel like I did great. Anytime I was open I ended up shooting the ball and that was definitely what the fans wanted me to do and that’s what Coach Cal wants me to do, too. I was way more aggressive on the offensive side when I was there. I was able to make good plays on defense as well and I just feel like I made good plays on defense as well. All-around, it was a good basketball experience.”

On being more aggressive on offense ...
“I know what I’m capable of doing on offense and everybody that watched me in high school knows I’m capable of scoring the ball really well. It’s just something that I need to work on and get in the gym more and get more shots. When I get in the flow I have a lot of confidence in myself to take that wide-open shot during the game.”

On his reaction to the Harrison twins coming back ...
“My reaction – I was like ‘Yes!’ With them coming back, I feel like it takes the pressure off of me because if they didn’t come back, I would have to play a lot of minutes. I want to play a lot of minutes, but it takes a lot of pressure off me. I can just come in and play relaxed because they’re good leaders and great teammates and the brotherhood is just so close. I’m glad that they came back and that everybody came back, not just the twins. I feel like we have a special team and we are trying to do something that we weren’t able to finish up last year.”

On the importance of his offensive aggressiveness ...
“It’s very important for me to be aggressive because I can be another factor for our offense and the team will be able to look at me and say that I will be able to score the ball – not just go in and play defense. When we get that going, we will be a better team when I can be more aggressive on offense.”

On if he’s had a chance to work with the new freshmen ...
“I just got back yesterday with everybody, so I haven’t been around them much. We are going to get around them and I’ll figure out how everybody has been working on their game.”

On the amount of players coming in for summer work ...
“It’s going to make us much better because our team chemistry definitely needed that going in. We all need to know how each other plays and the new freshmen coming in, too. It’s going to help them out to help us know them and help them know us. On the basketball court, you can’t just run out there and play. Each player and skill level has to go well and go smoothly.”

On being a world traveler ...
“I didn’t think I was going to be traveling around the world. I just thought I was going to be traveling around state-to-state. God has blessed me, and I feel like I am the luckiest kid in Kentucky to be doing all of this traveling and playing on the best college team in the United States.”

On his favorite non-basketball experience ...
“Going to the Great Wall. I enjoyed that the most. It took us about 20 minutes to get to the top. It was so funny because some of the teammates didn’t want to go up there, but they ended up sprinting up all the steps and I don’t even like heights, so I’m just looking at the stairs. I’m not looking over. I was able to make the top and it just felt like – I don’t really have words to be able to tell you how I felt to be able to go to China and experience the Great Wall. We saw the Emperor and it was just great to do all of that.”

On what he learned on the trip ...
“We did bible study when we were there and it definitely got me closer to God. It lets me know that other people in the world are living a different life and I need to be fortunate for what I have because they don’t get everything that we have in the United States and also I forgot to say they don’t have Twitter or Facebook and Snapchat in China. Everything there was so fun and I feel like we have a lot more than what they do. It definitely makes me more appreciative of what we have and what they don’t have.”

On if it is hard to adjust to the China lifestyle ...
“It is. I wanted to just get on Twitter and look at stuff and just see what’s going on. Almost everyday I did it, but I forgot – I just wake up and try and go on Twitter. I got used to it probably like a week or so into it.”

On if he feels overlooked by all the talent on this team ...
“Not at all. I am blessed to be on this team. Coach Cal is the head coach and he knows what he is doing. If I don’t get that much time, I’m not going to pout about it because I know I need to work hard and try and prove to him that I need to be important.”

On the National Championship game ...
“I kind of really put it out of my mind. I’m really excited for next year. I can’t wait to get going. We just want to continue to get better each and every day.”

On his advice to freshman for playing for Coach Cal ...
“I would say get ready for anything that Coach Cal is going to say against you. Just be patient, you never know what is going to happen.”

On what he can help the younger players with ...
“I feel like I can tell them a lot. I can’t tell them a lot because I’m only a sophomore. They’re only one year younger than me so I can only tell them as much as I learned last year.”

On if this experience helped his offense and defense ...
“I believe so. I really didn’t know that I could play defense as well as I did last year. I feel like the defense that the coaches taught me last year made me a lot better defender and I know my offense will click in there for me, so I’m pretty confident about that.”

On the Chinese competition ...
“It was definitely enough to help me. I would say the teams could play in the top 25 in college basketball. Well – not all of them – there were two teams. Two teams that could play in the top 25.”

On what he wants to improve on this season ...
“I want to get better in my decision-making. I want to play point guard. Decision-making is one, dribbling I need to get better. I want to be able to shoot free throws way better. Last year, I think I didn’t take many, but I think I shot like 45 percent. I definitely need to be a more vocal leader. I need to talk more to guys and not be shy to say something to a guy if he screws up.”

On guarding Andrew (Harrison) and Tyler (Ulis) in practice ...
“I never really thought about that. With Andrew, I feel like I have to be a little bit more physical with him because of my size. I usually don’t have to guard smaller players. I’m going to have to get a feel for it. I really don’t know how to guard Tyler.”

On who surprised him the most on staying ...
“Willie (Cauley-Stein) surprised me the most. Everybody was telling me he was a lottery pick and people say that lottery picks should definitely leave and he surprised me the most out of everybody.”