Weekend all-star game gems bring sparkle to basketball fans along I-64.
Louisville. Elisha Justice gave Cardinal fans an eyeful in the Derby Festival all-star game. Mr. Basketball dazzled with numbers: dozen points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals, and determination. Walk-on? No, a steal.
Kentucky. Two words should move Wildcat fans to ask “De- Marcus who?” by Christmas. Eligibility pending, Enes Kanter is 6-9, 240-pound 17-year-old who, attitude on in, is superior to one-and-done Cousins. Playing in an all-star game in Oregon Saturday, Kanter showed poise, savvy, power, footwork and rebounding skills, all without the whine.
If Patrick Patterson bases a return to UK on the next roster, says here, Kanter will be a better bookend than DeMarcus Who, and a supporting cast that could achieve more.
However unlikely Patterson’s return, it would strike a blow for college hoops sanity and blow a fresh breeze across a basketball landscape desperate for a rule change to waive 18-year-old mercenaries pretending to be college kids for six months.
Duncan’s Poster Guy?
Is John Calipari the poster guy for Arne Duncan?
If the U.S. Secretary of Education has his way Kentucky fans could go to bed on Selection Sunday night in shock, their team out of the 96-team tournament field. Along with Maryland, Louisville and other tourney fixtures, UK, would be on a not eligibles list because of poor graduation rates.
The Secretary wants to purge those who cajole gifted teens with: “… I can get you on national teevee and into an NBA lottery spot before next your birthday, kid. Register for 12 hours, stay eligible, and I’ll have you on stage with David Stern before your Mom can pick out her new car. Trust me.”
Not to worry, a Kentucky-noteligible for Big Dance is as likely as Mitch McConnell choosing the next Supreme Court Justice.
New college coach model: Brad Stevens at Butler players. The man emphasizes camaraderie, embracing the moment, campus life and learning social skills.
Similarly, during his UK coaching tenure Joe B. Hall had players practice table manners and how to conduct themselves during media interviews.
• UK graduate Dave Lander said the other day: “Putting college before career is one of the things my UK letterman dad would say, reveals character.”
Ed Lander played for Adolph Rupp in 1942 and ‘43.
• Someone in the media herd noticed before the Duke-Butler NCAA title game that five players had white skin. Hall of Famer Larry Bird was asked if he believes negative stereotypes still exist about white players.
“Who cares? I mean, really … who cares? If you can play, you can play anywhere. It doesn’t matter what the stinking color of your skin is.”
• Mentioned during the Duke- Butler game — two players on the floor were academic All-Americans and neither was a Dookie. Butler’s Matt Howard and Gordon Hayward.
• Florida coach Billy Donovan received a Legends of Coaching award during ceremonies at the Los Angeles Athletic Club last week. Youngest ever to receive the award, Donovan is 44.
Assistant coach Rod Strickland was arrested in Lexington last week. Driving Under the Influence. If the C.M. Newton no tolerance dictate is applied, goodbye Rod.
All eyes fall on Mitch Barnhart.
Readers (Right) Write
About the exodus of one-anddones
at Kentucky …
C. in Louisville: “It isn’t fair to fans or to the school who has coddled and off ered these young men the opportunity to get an education, a free ride. And I mean a free ride for everything!
About Duke and coach Mike
J. in Eddyville: I respect Duke more and (am) rid of the resentment that a lot of us UK fans have had for too long. Respectable program and who can ridicule the great coach. Just a little jealous.
Evan Turner turned a doubledouble into more than that last week. The Ohio State star added the John Wooden Award to his mantle alongside the Naismith Trophy as college player of the year.
A junior at Ohio State, Turner says he will leave for the NBA. Accepting the Wooden Award in Los Angeles, Turner made it a tripledouble, acknowledging his single parent mother, Iris James.
“You’ve been taking care of me (Mom),” he said. “Now let me take care of you.”
And so it goes.