Archive for May, 2011

This article was written by Kelly Patrick, a contributor with

$7,000 was raised yesterday evening for Cancer research in Pennington, New Jersey for the first ever “Mary Kline Classic”. The event was organized by Alex Kline who runs and serves as a ZAGSBLOG contributor.  Alex’s mother passed away after a long fight with Cancer and he has since put together this “All-Star” game to honor his late mother. The money that was raised will be donated to the American Cancer Association and National Brain Tumor Society.

They even had many highly rated high school basketballers from across the country, including (among others): Jabril Trawick, a 6-5 Georgetown signee, Isaiah Williams a Marshall commit, Khem Birch and John Johnson are both Pittsburgh commits and Birch is a McDonalds All-American, Tyler Harris (brother of Tobias Harris) is an NC State commit, Devin Coleman a Clemson commit, along with future Cardinal Angel Nunez.

Nunez impressed on the court, finishing with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. He made it to the finals of the dunk contest with a between-the-legs dunk off the bounce from the opposite side of the rim, but he did end up losing to Jabril Trawick in the finals.

Nunez’s athleticism and length really have me feeling more optimistic about this future Cardinal and it is good to hear he held his own in a game with such talented players.


Two years ago Jeremy Tyler become the first to leave high school after his junior year to go overseas and play professional basketball instead of playing in college. Tyler may have been first at doing that but to Louisville basketball fans he is just another “what if” scenario player.

Tyler gave Rick Pitino and Louisville a verbal commitment in October of 2008, picking the Cards over local schools UCLA and USC. Like many verbal junior commits lately though to Louisville, Tyler changed his mind. Just 5 months later Tyler would announce his decision to skip his senior year of high school and go to play professional basketball in Israel. Tyler signed with the Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Super League. After just playing in 10 games, averaging 2.1 points per game in just 7.6 minutes per game, Tyler quit the team due to frustration.

Still not able to enter the NBA draft, Tyler signed with the Tokyo Apache of Japan’s professional basketball league in July of 2010. He would show improvement and maturity in what would have been his freshman year in Japan. Playing in 33 games, he averaged 9.9 points on 51.7% shooting and 6.4 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game.

Even after an improvement in attitude and stats in Japan, Tyler was still thought by many as at best a late second round pick in this years draft. Wasn’t until the NBA combine this past week that Tyler really begun to turn some heads. Tyler showed off his great athletic ability for a 6’11 255 pound center as well as a nice 20 foot jump shot. He has been moving up the mock drafts faster than any prospect on the board.

In a draft that is looked at as possibly the weakest in recent memory. A draft that I have seen at least seven overseas’ players thought to go in the first round. Tyler is becoming the rising star up the board. Still no sign of Terrence Jennings name though and that is enough to make Cardinal fans think “what if”.

Jeremy Tyler interview at NBA Combine this week

This article was written by Matt McCarthy, a contributor with

WOW!  It appears one of my favorite QB’s in UK history has hit up one of his favorite chinese buffets too many times!

I love Jared Lorenzen, and it’s great to see him make a comeback in his professional career.  Jared has always been know for being the BIG guy behind center.  His reign as quarterback in his college days made him a Kentucky legend.  Although, he has always taken the brunt of many many fat jokes.  One thing you can’t joke about however, is his ability to excel at football in every form and fashion of his career.  He even has a Superbowl ring!  How many fat QB’s can say that?

Lorenzen initially was hired to be the River Monsters’ GM but got tired of the 9 to 5 and decided to get back on the field again.  He leads the UIFL in passing yards at 256.6 yards per game, and has a crazy efficiency rating of 107.1 . REDICULOUS.  He ranks second in the league with 69 touchdown passes.

Get this, Jared is listed as 290 pounds on the River Monsters official roster.  Ha ha Ha ha.  Look at the picture above and tell me that is a 290 pound man. I’m guessing he is more along the 320 pound range and that’s giving my the man a LOT of credit.

If there are two things we know about Jared, they are this:

  1. He doesn’t shy away from the dinner table
  2. he goes down in history as the most athletic, fat, 320 pound QB in professional football history.

I wish Jared all the luck in the world.  If he gains any more weight, that may be what he needs.  However, who am I to talk?  I’m the nonathletic 200 pound guy behind a computer with no Superbowl ring to speak of.  He has me beat.

This article was written by Hank Garrett, a contributor with

Bellarmine’s head man Scotty Davenport joined the Louisville Sports Buzz radio show this morning.  Davenport who is also a former and University of Louisville assistant, and State Championship winning high school coach here in Kentucky with Ballard high school.  He has coached the likes of NBA great Alan Houston, and UofL great DeJuan Wheat.  Bellarmine is the reigning NCAA DII National Champion, and will return three starters and their top reserve from this past season championship team, which will more than likely make them a contender once again for a DII championship.

As the Knights prepare for another championship run they have decided they best way to prepare for that run is to play best, and I am not talking DII contenders.  Although nothing has been finalized Davenport announced his tentative exhibition schedule, and it is a murderer’s row. The Knights will go to Louisville, Duke, and Xavier in the pre-season.  Talk about not resting on your laurels,  all three of teams made the tournament this past march, and in numerous 2011-2012 pre-season ranking UofL and Duke have been ranked in the top ten.

Bellarmine has shown they can win these types of games; as they will look to run their winning streak to two against Xavier, beating them 63-61 last season in Cincinnati.  I look for Bellarmine to be very competitive against UofL as the success of Bellarmine and the expectations of UofL next season should make for an extremely exciting game.  Should make for a can’t miss ticket here in the Ville as some March type intensity will be in play in November.  The most intriguing game of the three is the trip to Cameron Indoor to play Duke.  This is a place that teams don’t come in and win especially teams out of the ACC.  Duke has won NCAA best 85 consecutive non-conference home games, with the last loss coming February 26th 2000 against St. John’s.  And pre-season game or no pre-season game Cameron Indoor will be rockin with Cameron Crazies as Bellarmine will face the toughest home court advantage in college basketball.

This article was written by Kelly Patrick, a contributor with

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, a 6-3 210 lb , top 25 prospect in the class of 2012 prospect according to both and will be moving from Indiana to Mouth of Wilson, VA to attend prep school Oak Hill Academy for his senior season.  He has been receiving attention from multiple top programs nationally including Louisville, UCLA, Florida, Georgetown, Ohio State, Wake Forest and Texas.  This weekend Smith-Rivera visited Louisville, who have become a major player in his recruitment since Richard Pitino Jr. came back from Florida (where he was heavily recruiting Smith-Rivera) to join his father’s staff at the University of Louisville.

“I came down on Friday afternoon (To Louisville).  My parents came down with me as well as my little brother.  Coach (Rick) Pitino wanted me to come down this weekend for the visit and it was good.” Said Smith-Rivera.  “It was nice and everything was just as expected.  I am really good friends with Rodney Purvis and he talked about how beautiful the campus was and how all the gymnasiums and other (facilities) were really nice.  So it was a pretty good visit.”

Regarding his discussions with Pitino during his weekend visit “He told me he wanted me to play eighty percent at the point and twenty percent off the ball” Smith-Rivera said “What he said to me made a lot of sense and it was a great visit.  I have a lot of interest in Louisville right now.  They have (made me a priority) right now with (Richard )Pitino Jr. coming over from Florida where he was recruiting me.  And now that he has come to Louisville it was like putting two and two together so I am a pretty high priority I think.”

Smith-Rivera also said regarding the level of interest Louisville is showing him vs. other schools, UCLA in particular, “Louisville is recruiting me really hard right now and this will be my first time out to UCLA and there are a lot of things expected, maybe some things that could put them over the top.  It is all about a gut feeling for me right now.”

Aside from UCLA and Louisville, Texas and head coach Rick Barnes are said to be really putting a lot of energy into Smith-Rivera.  Smith-Rivera’s Spiece Indy Heat AAU coach Jared Quarles said regarding his visit to Texas: “He really liked it.  It made him want to be in Texas.  He toured the campus and saw the facilities.  Coach Barnes walked him around for a couple of hours.  I don’t know if he expected to be with coach (Barnes) that long.  Texas assistant coach (Chris) Ogden basically set everything up.  I know they really enjoyed it.  He really liked Coach Barnes’ attitude.  [It was] straight forward, letting him know where he stood, where he fit in the program.  Barnes told him he could get better in his program, which is something D’Vauntes can benefit from, especially with the guards they’ve (Longhorns) had.”

Apparently aside from many top schools in the country thinking Smith-Rivera’s stock is on the rise, he also seems pretty confident “I have really noticed a pickup in my game lately.  I think it is all the hard work I have been putting in and I think people are starting to realize I am the number one point guard in the class.  I just think with the work I am putting in and I go out there every day and bring it every game.  It is really paying off”, said Smith-Rivera.

In 2004 Louisville assistant coach Mick Cronin left Pitino’s staff to take the head coaching job at Murray State. After just three seasons as the Racers head man Cronin moved on to be the head coach at Cincinnati. His replacement Billy Kennedy this weekend left town to become the head coach at Texas A&M after a succesful five-year stint in Murray, Kentucky.

Could the local position opening be a good opportunity for  Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua or Kenny Payne now?

With Rick Pitino watching assistant coach Steve Masiello move on to Manhattan College and the process of bringing in three new faces, well two new and one repeat, the odds of someone leaving his staff to take over somewhere are very unlikely. Kentucky on the other hand has a pair of assistant coaches in Antigua and Payne that are primed to take that next  step.

First there is Kenny Payne. He just finished his first year under Calipari at Kentucky and may not be ready for a head coaching job. Known more for his recruiting ties then his ability to perform X and O’s though, Payne did spend six seasons as an assistant at Oregon before joining Kentucky’s staff. In Payne’s tenure at Oregon, the Ducks won a Pac-10 title and made the Elite Eight in 2007. Losing to eventual champion Florida.

The Racers other Kentucky assistant option could be Orlando Antigua. Antigua has a better resume then his colleague Kenny Payne and may be better prepared to take over his first head coaching position.  He has worked under Calipari for the last three years (two at UK and one at Memphis) and has been a huge component in bringing in three straight recruiting classes to Calipari of historic proportions. Prior to his brief stay in Memphis, Antigua worked at his alma mater, Pittsburgh. Antigua spent five seasons at Pittsburgh were the Panthers won 20+ games each year as well as one Big East  regular season title and one Big East tournament title.

Would either of Calipari’s assistants want to leave a Kentucky bench and roster that is favored along with North Carolina as a favorite to win the national title this season?

Would Murray State be a big enough name to get a coach like an Antigua away from Calipari?

The answer to both those questions can only be told in time but it is certain they both might be ready to move on. My own opinion says that this would be a good move for Antigua. Payne may not be ready just yet to be a head man but Antigua, who has been Calipari’s right hand man the last three seasons should be ready. Why not make Murray State his first head job?

The Racers are coming off a OVC regular season title and were in the second round of the NCAA tournament the year before. Knocking off SEC Vanderbilt before falling to national runner-up Butler 54-52. Murray will bring back their top scorer in sophomore guard Isaiah Canaan and their top rebounder in junior forward Ivan Aska next season.

This article was written by Hank Garrett, a contributor with

This past week, former Wake Forrest player/ former Louisville Cardinal commit Tony Woods made a visit to Lexington and met with the UK coaching staff but also met with athletic director Mitch Barnhart and President Lee Todd.  Now I am not sure what was discussed in that meeting, but I would say that Wood’s character and past transgressions were brought up; stemming from Wood’s arrest for assault of his girlfriend on Labor Day weekend in 2010.  Although I think there is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary with the A.D. and the President wanting to get a feel for a young man with a somewhat checkered past, it does show that the Kentucky program is going to maneuver this situation very carefully, if in fact that they do want Woods.  With caution is how they should proceed with Woods because of the potential backlash from the community.  Not to mention it may heighten the NCAA allegation lighting rod that is John Calipari.  But in the end if Cal does see something in Tony Woods that can help the program, and Barnhart and Todd don’t see it as a PR nightmare, I trust John Calipari one hundred percent.

When it comes to Public Relations John Calipari does not have an impeccable record.  The Derrick Rose SAT fiasco,  Tyreke Evans being present during a murder committed by his cousin, and the 2007 Memphis Men’s basketball bar fight that lead to the arrests of then players Shawn Taggart, and Jeffery Robinson.  But we all know by now that Calipari isn’t in this business to win a popularity contest, he is in it to win basketball games.  He doesn’t care what people say or write about him to almost a fault, and he won’t care about the criticism he will get if he takes Tony Woods.

One area where it is hard to find critisim about Cal is the product that he puts out on the floor year in and year out.  Not just the fact that his teams at both Memphis and Kentucky have won and won a lot. His teams seem to demonstrate certain chemistry and have not had the locker room problems that plague so many major college teams.   Which shows that in the locker room, in practice, and out on the floor, Cal is in Control.  In a sport where teenage premadonna egos run rampant control is sometimes a very difficult and fragile thing to have and John Calipari knows this.  So why would Cal risk the control that he has for a player like Tony Woods, when he seems to have the team that can give him his first national title?  The answer is he wouldn’t.  If Cal believes in any way that Tony Woods will be a problem on the court or disrupt the chemistry of this team they will not take him.  Cal knows how to manage egos and big personalities, look at the success he had with DeMarcus Cousins.   The questions about his character were almost as prominent as his talent.  Yet Cal was able to work his magic and prevented any major issues with Cousins, while Cousins was just a beast on the court, and helped lead Kentucky to 35-3 record and elite eight birth.  While Woods is in no way the talent Cousins is, but if Cal could keep Cousins in check I don’t see Tony Woods as problem under Cal and the fans and naysayers should see this too.

Big blue nation should have that faith because in Cal’s two seasons at the helm he has done nothing to show that he doesn’t know exactly what he is doing when it comes to winning basketball games.  If Kentucky were to take Tony Woods it would be for that reason, because Cal and the staff think he can help them win games.  Now there have been rumblings that taking woods would seem desperate, this thinking is just absolutely ridiculous.  Although all coaches may not admit on the record, but I would say most of them if the decision was left entirely up to them would take Tony Woods past and all.  That is because the coaches know that 6’11’ 250 pound players with a skill set that Wood’s has don’t just fall out of the sky, and they usually help you win games.   With all the talent that Kentucky will have next year if there is one hole it will be a in the middle, where they lack a true center.  Tony Woods can possibly fill that void plain and simple, and could possibly the difference maker in a tournament game when Kentucky needs a big rebound or to make a big stop.  If that were take place and Tony Woods character stayed at a high level, all the rumblings about Tony Woods would cease.  If Kentucky needs to take that gamble it is John Calipari’s decision, and no matter what it is I have complete faith that it will be the right one.

This article was written by Kelly Patrick, a contributor with  

The firing of Sidney Lowe and the way that NC State seemed to strike out while reaching out to head coaches all across the country, the result which will mean good news for a new program next season is prized transfer Ryan Harrow, who as a freshman last season with North Carolina State averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 assists per game.  Harrow is in the process of making his visits to determine which program he thinks is the best fit.   His trips began on Tuesday, when he went to Lexington to visit coach John Calipari and the Wildcats followed by going to Texas with head coach Rick Barnes on Thursday or Friday.  Harrow is scheduled to visit Louisville and coach Rick Pitino on Sunday and will then make stops at both Georgia (Head Coach is Mark Fox)and St. Johns (Head Coach is Steve Lavin) before making his decision, which he says will come shortly after he is finished with his visits.

Hearing quotes from Harrow (while speaking about the Louisville Cardinals as an option and his feelings toward Coach Pitino) such as “He feels like I could come in and make an immediate impact.  He says that he could develop me into the player that I want to be.  I felt like after speaking with him it would be a great opportunity.”   Tells me that Harrow was impressed by what Pitino told him about his chances of shining in a Cardinal uniform beginning in 2012.

But even more telling (to me) is hearing him say “I’m looking for a place where I can develop into the player I know I can be and work on the things that I’m lacking – a consistent jump shot and getting stronger.” Harrow said.  “I’m also looking for a place where the team is very family oriented and the main focus is doing what it will take to win.”  If there has ever been a coach who would embrace a player who had such a long term and mature perception of the type of hard work it takes to become a great college basketball player, that coach is Rick Pitino.  Pitino does and always has preached hard work and sacrifice, and for those players (and specifically teams of players) who have bought into what Pitino preaches, the results have been very impressive.

Having a long history of successful transfer stories, from Mark Pope (Washington) and Derek Anderson (Ohio State) while Pitino was with Kentucky, to more recent players like Reggie Delk (Mississippi State) and Chris Smith (Manhattan College) who will be a senior on next year’s team and played 26 minutes per game while scoring 9.34 points per game.  Smith seemed to truly benefit from a year of practicing with the team and working within Pitino’s system to develop his game without seeing the court.

If Harrow is looking for a family atmosphere where he can work hard for a year while red-shirting and then play his sophomore year under a senior point guard (Peyton Siva) before playing his Junior and Senior seasons as the main man at the point position, than I feel Louisville is the best fit for Ryan Harrow.

I understand that St. Johns is the favorite because both of Harrow’s parents grew up in Queens and the family has a longtime relationship with retired St. John’s assistant coach Ron Rutledge, and that depending on what type of playing time commitment Calipari is willing to make, UK could easily jump out in the front, but landing Harrow (for Louisville) would all of a sudden make the entire recruiting landscape for the Cardinals 2012 class look very good, and potentially great.  And that would make me happy, despite the fact that it is still very early in the recruiting process for that 2012 class, it seems that bringing in at least a couple solid players would make the non-stop soap opera atmosphere of this last month (which included losing Purvis and Webster-Chan) seem very distant.  And I am more than ready to move on from all of that insignificant drama (I am banking on it proving to be insignificant over time).

Terrence Jones made people in Kentucky happy today like they were all holding winning tickets to the Derby later tonight at Churchill Downs. Jones made his decision to return for a sophomore season at Kentucky via twitter today.

Terrence Jones
TerrenceJones1Terrence Jones

 I’ve been enjoying being a college player & plan on striving to reach my goal of winning #8 here at UK. I can’t leave the BBN just yet.
With the return of Jones to the line-up next season it could be a two team race to the national title between Kentucky and North Carolina.
Junior guard DeAndre Liggins still has till tomorrow May 7th to decide whether he will return to Lexington as well for his senior year or not. Either way he decides though Kentucky will clearly be loaded and a favorite to win it all.

Twenty-two years ago the University of Maryland fired head coach Bob Wade after just three seasons removed from replacing the legendary Lefty Driesell. Maryland would replace Wade that season with a former Terps point guard from the 60’s named Gary Williams.

Williams had just finished a successful three-year sting at Ohio State and his alma mater Maryland was facing sanctions and probation. That didn’t stop Williams from accepting the challenge though of returning glory to a program that had once been a power in the ACC in the 1970’s despite fading slightly before his arrival.

Williams wasted zero time turning Maryland around.  In his first year he took Maryland to the NIT with a respectable 19-14 record. The Terps had been 9-20 the year before under Wade. Behind the play of a great scoring sophomore named Walt Williams, Maryland seemed to be heading on the right track back.

Walt "Wizard" Williams

Maryland would return to the NCAA tournament in 1994, making the sweet sixteen. Starting an eleven year straight run of tournament appearances. Shattering the previous record of four straight tournament bids set by Driesell (1983-1986).

Maryland would ride that cinderella run in 1994 and turn it into a six-year stretch (1998-2003) where Williams teams won 21+ games each season including of course back-to-back final four appearances in 2001/2002. Winning the schools only National title in 2002.

That is where though the story book fairytale could take a dark turn. Maryland would return to the sweet sixteen in 2003 following winning the championship but it would be Williams last time going that far.

Recruits started sneaking out of the talent rich Baltimore area away from Maryland. Carmelo Anthony, who played high school basketball in Williams back yard left for the New York area and Syracuse and later on Kevin Durant would prefer to head to Austin, Texas rather than stay at home to play for the Terps.

In the eight seasons since his last sweet sixteen run and just one year removed from winning a national title, Williams and Maryland have been on a downward spiral. A spiral very similar to the one Louisville fans saw in the end of the Denny Crum days.

Between 2004 and 2011 seasons, Maryland would miss the tournament four times in eight seasons. Never getting past the second round in any of the four appearances and only surpassing the 20 win plateau three times.

Should the last 8 seasons of an overall proud twenty seasons over shadow the terrific job Gary Williams put together at his alma mater? Giving them their only two final fours and only national title in school history. Of course not but success can cause the temperature on a seat rise when the previous expectation are not met.

One thing is for certain though, thanks to Gary Williams Maryland is a consistent top 15 program in the nation and is a great job opportunity for whoever the school decides to bring in.