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Sports in Kentucky

CBA should do well in Pikeville



News, Views and things.

NEWS. Professional basketball in Pikeville. East Kentucky Miners will be the Continental Basketball League’s newest expansion team. Tip-off is planned for late fall, according to a press release. Games will be played at the East Ky. Expo Center in Pikeville.

VIEW. Professional basketball has been tried in metro Kentucky with modest success (ABA Kentucky Colonels). Professional hoops in the mountainsshould be interesting. Entertainment dollars to spend, Pikeville is the right place.

Officials operating the sputtering Kentucky-Indiana all-star series will watch closely. All-star official Dave Satterly wants the series to become a same weekend event. The Kentucky-Indiana series has been tried in Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, Owensboro and Bowling Green. A high school boys and girls allstar hoops weekend in Pikeville in June could be a hot ticket.

NEWS. Wesley Woodyard and Andre Woodson were chosen to accompany Kentucky coach Rich Brooks to the SEC Media meeting in Alabama next month.

VIEW. Woodyard’s journey from LaGrange, Georgia to Lexington is another feel-good story. Arrived as a little heralded defensive back, grew between the ears and to 220-pounds of nosefor ball leading tackler at outside linebacker who is inspirational team leader. The last of these will make him UK’s best NFLlinebacker prospect since (millionaire) Marlon McCree in 2000.

NEWS. Under heading good things happen to good people, University of Louisville’s newest basketball assistant coach is Walter McCarty.

VIEW. If you wonder, “will McCarty be to UofLwhat Reggie Hanson was to Kentucky?” – well-paid and not productive – answer is, no chance. McCarty will deliver recruits or become what Tubby Smith was to Rick Pitino in their time together at Kentucky, gone.

NEWS. Florida had a record three players chosen in the first 10 picks of the NBA draft last week.

VIEW. Florida’s distinction brings attention to Kentucky’s tradition. A dozen times Wildcat basketball has had three-or-more players chosen in an NBA draft. In 1996 Tony Delk, Walter McCarty and Antoine Walker were chosen in round one, with Mark Pope in the second; 1949 four of the Fabulous Five were chosen – Cliff Barker, Ralph Beard, Alex Groza and Wah Jones. Most native sons chosen in an NBA draft? Two. 1956 – Jerry Bird (Corbin), Bill Evans (Berea) and Phil Grawemeyer (Louisville); 1961 – Bill Lickert (Lexington), Roger Newman (Greenville) and Ned Jennings (Carlisle).

NEWS. A.C. Law hit a jackpot last week when Atlanta made him a lottery pick. Selected 11th by the Hawks, the Texas A&M Aggie told ESPN’s Stuart Scott prime reasons for his rise to stardom – his parents, then “the best coach in college basketball, Billy (Clyde) Gillispie.”

VIEW. Praise worth noting because of its sequence, parents first, then a coach. And finally, that Law would praise Gillispie for no personal gain is noble and says much about how his coach advanced the playmaker’s education.

NEWS. Newest Kentucky Wildcat-to-be, 6-6, 170-pound Chicagoan DeAndre Liggins is hailed for unselfishness and passing ability.

VIEW. Liggins was impressed with UK’s posh facilities naturally, but best of all he said nothing (so far) about Kentucky “… getting me to the next level.” Instead, he praised UK’s academic program and rich basketball tradition.

NEWS. Liggins picked Kentucky over Kansas, Memphis and Illinois and will play his senior season at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire this winter.

VIEW. Perceptive Wildcat fans will notice a pattern. Gillispie is recruiting greyhounds. Mid-sized players who fit at multiple positions, but are full court players who run, jump and play defense. See Alex Legion. Footnote on recruiting: Gillispie is also trying to package two more Chicago juniors, 6-9 Michael Dunigan at Farragut Academy and 6-5 Matt Humphrey of Hales Franciscan.

Footnote II. Next move belong to Darius Miller?

NEWS. Gillispie was in Newport for a speaking engagement last week drawing a crowd of better than 500 fans as the honeymoon continues.

VIEW. Admirable, Kentucky’s coach getting out of Fayette County, especially to often neglected northern Kentucky. We would like to see him visit other oft ignored Wildcat hot spots, i.e., Henderson, Madisonville, Paducah, Middlesboro and Whitesburg.

NEWS. Andy Katz adjusted his preseason college poll last week. The ESPN hoops reporter places Louisville sixth and Kentucky 16.

VIEW. Notable because in pre-Billy Clyde rankings UK was unlisted. Reason? Gillispie’s recruiting. What to watch for? Others in the media herd (magazine and wire service pollsters) will rediscover Kentucky.

Readers (Right) Write

(Name withheld), Pikeville, “Why are you so down on college basketball coaches including Billy Donovan?”

COMMENT: Maneuvering and manipulating the truth in dealing with college directors of athletics and boosters (contract breech) has become the accepted norm, but lying to an 18-yearold, i.e., “Don’t worry, son, I give you my word, I’m going to be here to coach you next season,” puts spin (and greed) ahead of education. Coaches are educators, aren’t they?

Billy Ray Lickert

A decade or two overdue … (Lafayette) Bill Ray Lickert’s exclusion from a Kentucky Hall of Fame defies reason. That the KHSAA has passed over Mr. Basketball 1957 while inducting award winners before and after him is typical. But the Kentucky Athletics Hall ignoring Mr. Basketball 50 years ago this month is wrong. Credentials? Lickert scored 50 points in the Ky-Indiana all-star series, was twice leading scorer at the University of Kentucky and All-SEC, then was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers.

And so it goes.

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