TrueBlueFan.com http://www.truebluefan.com/ TrueBlueFan.com Sports - True Blue Site Sports - True Blue Site en-us Copyright 2014, TrueBlueFan.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:10:34 GMT Synapse CMS 10 TrueBlueFan.com http://www.truebluefan.com/ 144 25 Kentucky Set To Start Season With Platoon System http://www.truebluefan.com/news/kentucky-set-to-start-season-with-platoon-system/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/kentucky-set-to-start-season-with-platoon-system/ Sports - True Blue Site Thu, 30 Oct 2014 6:11:06 PM Associated Press Kentucky Set To Start Season With Platoon System

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - This year's Kentucky roster is unusually deep even for a program used to having an abundance of talent.

Besides returning six regulars from a freshman-laden squad that lost 60-54 to Connecticut in the NCAA championship, the Wildcats added four prized recruits to form a deep nucleus and begin another year with high expectations for a ninth national title.

Coach John Calipari has been cautious on projections, noting that his newcomers haven't played a game and he's not used to having so many players back for their second and third seasons. But he relishes the luxury of having so much height, quickness and experience to the point that he's planning to use a combination of players in a platoon system.

"The good news is that other guy we start playing against is going to have to figure out what these 10 guys or 12 are and how one unit plays versus how another unit plays," Calipari said.

"We're ahead by the simple fact I've got guys coming back for the first time. Now all of a sudden there's a little less anxiety that bleeds down to the freshmen and makes me less anxious because I see that guys are comfortable. Then it becomes, OK, you've got to compete at a higher level."

Kentucky's returnees say they are ready to take that next step.

The biggest offseason surprise was 6-foot-6 twin sophomore guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison and junior 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein chose to come back to Lexington instead of entering the NBA draft as expected. Their decisions make the Wildcats legitimate title contenders, especially with forwards Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee and 7-footer Dakari Johnson also back.

"We are far ahead of last year," Andrew Harrison said. "We worked so hard in the offseason that I feel like we have confidence."

Kentucky welcomes forwards Karl-Anthony Towns and Trey Lyles, and guards Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis. As Calipari tweaks his rotations, players seem focused on making the most of their minutes rather than how many they get.

"I don't think it's going to be a problem because the way we can play with more (guys) playing fewer minutes, it's going to make you look better, for one thing," Cauley-Stein said of platooning. "The intensity of the game is going to be crazy."

___

Here are other things to look for as Kentucky begins the season Nov. 14 vs. Grand Canyon:

LONG AND SHORT OF IT: Kentucky's main asset is its length, symbolized in the middle with Cauley-Stein and Johnson. The Wildcats also have Towns (6-11), Lyles (6-10), Lee (6-9) and Poythress (6-8) in the frontcourt, while the backcourt features the Harrisons and Booker, who's also 6-6. At the other end of the spectrum is 5-9 speedster Ulis, who can jump as well.

FULL STRENGTH: Cauley-Stein's healthy again following surgery to repair an ankle injury that sidelined him for the final three tournament games and all of the summer. Lyles is back after missing the summer with a lower leg injury.

THE OTHER WILDCATS: While opponents will get a good glimpse of Kentucky's two-platoon system, reserve guard Dominique Hawkins and forward Derek Willis are why the Wildcats' roster goes 12 deep. Hawkins crafted a role last season as a defensive specialist who also provides energy. After showing flashes of his ability to go to the basket, Willis figures to get more floor time as a sophomore.

NEW ASSISTANTS: Barry Rohrssen has replaced Orlando Antigua, who left to become South Florida's head coach and took former special assistant Rod Strickland with him. Former Auburn head coach Tony Barbee has filled Strickland's role, reuniting him with the coach he played under at UMass and worked with at several stops in his career.

MARQUEE GAMES: As usual, the Wildcats have several high-profile non-conference games before taking on the SEC. Kentucky will face Kansas on Nov. 18 in Indianapolis and UCLA on Dec. 20 in Chicago. The Wildcats also host Providence (Nov. 30) and North Carolina (Dec. 13) and travel to Louisville for their annual in-state showdown on Dec. 27


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UK Hoops Giving Away Chance To Be On The Matthew Mitchell Show http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-hoops-giving-away-chance-to-be-on-the-matthew-mitchell-show/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-hoops-giving-away-chance-to-be-on-the-matthew-mitchell-show/ Sports - True Blue Site Thu, 30 Oct 2014 6:04:11 PM UK Athletics UK Hoops Giving Away Chance To Be On The Matthew Mitchell Show

LEXINGTON, Ky. - In an effort to "Pack the House" vs. the perennial powerhouse Baylor Lady Bears on Monday, Nov. 17 and sell out Rupp Arena for a collegiate women's basketball game the second straight season, one lucky fan in attendance will win the opportunity to appear on the popular "Coach's Kitchen" segment on The Matthew Mitchell Show, taped in the home kitchen of Matthew and Jenna Mitchell.

Game sponsor Kroger has partnered with UK Hoops to provide a limited amount of free tickets for the game. Fans can pick up tickets (limit four per person) at Kroger stores in Lexington and surrounding counties Saturday, Nov. 1, beginning at 11 a.m. ET until supplies last.

UK faculty and staff can also receive up to four free tickets by presenting their UK ID at the Joe Craft Center ticket windows during normal business hours (M-F 9 a.m.-4 p.m.). UK students can also pick up eRUPPtion Zone tickets in advance at the Craft Center or on game day at the Rupp Arena box office, while supplies last.

The battle between Kentucky and Baylor will mark the tip-off to the ESPN 24-hour college basketball marathon to kick-off the 2014-15 season in front of a nationally-television audience on ESPN2. Lower level reserved tickets are $9, upper level general admission adults are $8, upper level GA youth (ages 6-18)/seniors (ages 65+) at $5.

Tickets are available for purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Fans can also visit the UK Ticket Office in person. Groups of 10 or more are just $2 each in reserved or general admission areas and can be purchased by calling the UK ticket office directly at 859-257-1818.

"What a great opportunity for our program to be showcased nationally with a sold-out Rupp Arena," Mitchell said. "It's the launch of 24 hours of college hoops, a very unique basketball event on ESPN, and I know just as a fan, I always tune into it. There's going to be a lot of eyeballs on Rupp Arena that night, and if we can sell out Rupp and create a great atmosphere, that'll help our players, and a big win and a great night would help us a bunch."

UK sold out Rupp Arena a season ago, as a school-record crowd of 23,706 turned up to watch the Wildcats face No. 2 Duke on Dec. 22, 2013. It marked the largest crowd to ever witness a women's basketball game in the Commonwealth. UK Hoops also set a new program record, finishing ninth in the nation, averaging 6,727 fans per home game, and a season total of 121,089 for all 18 home games. UK has finished in the top 25 for national attendance 11 straight seasons, a program-best streak.

The Wildcats are 1-2 all-time vs. the Lady Bears but the teams have never played in Lexington, Ky. They first met in Waco, Texas at the State Farm Tip-Off Classic in 2012. Paced by 27 points from All-American Brittney Griner and a 14-point, 12-rebound performance from Destiny Williams, Baylor won 85-51 on its home court. UK sought revenge last season in the first game of a double-header with the UK men's team at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In what has been deemed "one of the most exciting games in NCAA history," Wildcats' guard Jennifer O'Neill scored a career-high 43 points as the Wildcats defeated Baylor 133-130 in a four-overtime thriller. It marked the highest-scoring Division I women's game in history and O'Neill's 43 points were a school record. As fate would have it, a rematch was set just months later when both teams advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in South Bend, Ind. This time, UK couldn't find its scoring rhythm and the Lady Bears went on to defeat the Wildcats, 90-72.

To see an episode of The Matthew Mitchell Show go here: http://bit.ly/1FZC1pC

Follow UK Hoops on Twitter and Instagram at @UKHoopCats and on Facebook by liking University of Kentucky Women's Basketball.

 

 


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Rondo Returns, Helps Celtics Beat Nets 121-105 http://www.truebluefan.com/news/rondo-returns-helps-celtics-beat-nets-121-105/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/rondo-returns-helps-celtics-beat-nets-121-105/ Sports - True Blue Site Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:05:17 AM Associated Press Rondo Returns, Helps Celtics Beat Nets 121-105

BOSTON (AP) - Brad Stevens knew he had an all-star point guard when he took the Celtics' coaching job, but he didn't really get to see it in his first season on the Boston bench.

Reconstructive knee surgery kept Rajon Rondo him out for the first half of Stevens' inaugural season in Boston. Rondo hadn't yet regained his old form when, as Stevens prepared for Year 2, Rondo broke his hand.

After missing the entire exhibition season, though, Rondo returned for the regular season opener on Wednesday night and scored 13 points, adding 12 assists and seven rebounds in 30 minutes to help the Celtics beat the Brooklyn Nets 121-105.

"He looks like himself," Stevens said. "He kind of looks like what I saw on film before I got here. I don't think he ever looked like that at any time last year. ... But he is back to full speed. And it's really good to see."

Kelly Olynyk had 19 points and Jeff Green added 17 for Boston, which opened a 29-point lead at the end of the third quarter and coasted to the win.

More than an hour after the game ended, Rondo appeared in the locker room and said he was still improving.

"I wasn't as explosive as I was in the past," he said. "At certain points, I felt like I was skipping a beat. Other than that, it was fun being back out there. It was great to be back out there playing basketball again."

Rondo was unavailable for comment, failing to appear in the locker room more than one hour after the end of the game.

Mirza Teletovic had 20 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench for the Nets, who trailed for all but a pair of free throws that opened the game. Joe Johnson scored 19 points for Brooklyn, and Deron Williams had 19 points and eight assists.

"We never really matched their energy," said center Mason Plumlee, who picked up two fouls in the first quarter and two more in the third and played just 11 1-2 minutes.

Rondo said he didn't decide to play until about an hour before the tipoff, after waking up from a pregame nap and feeling ready to play. Wearing a black brace on his left wrist and hand, Rondo showed no ill effects of the injury, dribbling with both hands and shooting 6 for 9 - better than his career 47.5 shooting percentage.

The Celtics led 101-72 at the end of the third quarter, but Brooklyn went on a 12-2 run to start the fourth and cut the deficit to 19. The Nets made it 112-97 on Johnson's 3-pointer with 4 minutes left but couldn't come any closer until the final seconds.

Rondo's return on opening night stole some of the attention from ex-Celtic Kevin Garnett, who received a big cheer when he was introduced with the starting lineups and went on to score 10 points with six rebounds.

The 38-year-old Garnett played six seasons in Boston, leading the Celtics to the NBA finals twice and the team's unprecedented 17th championship in 2008. He picked up a technical foul late in the game, prompting a "KG!" chant from the crowd.

After the game, Garnett walked through the hallway between the locker rooms, greeting the building staff and other people he knew from his time in Boston.

"It's always great to come to back here. I love Beantown," he said. "I'm always bleeding green."

The Celtics opened a 21-12 lead in the first period and led by 10 with four minutes left in the second when they went on a 17-1 run to close the half. Marcus Thornton had eight points in the second quarter, and Rondo had four more assists to give him nine for the half.

TIP-INS: Rondo was 0 for 4 from the free throw line. ... Nets coach Lionel Hollins, in his first game with Brooklyn, picked up a technical foul for arguing with the referees in the second quarter. ... Garnett got a big cheer when he was introduced before the game. ... Boston shot 61 percent in the first half.

FORMER CELTIC: Seeing a familiar face when he walked into the TD Garden, Garnett seemed ready for big things after a year in which his age seemed to be showing. Asked how he felt, Garnett said, "Really good. You'll see. Just watch."

HONORARY CELTIC: The Celtics' owners presented Isaiah Austin with a jersey and named him an honorary Celtic for life during a break in the second period. A week before the NBA draft, in which he had been a potential first-round pick, the sophomore center from Baylor was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic heart disorder. He is now working to call attention to the disease.

UP NEXT:

Celtics: At Houston on Saturday.

Nets: At Detroit on Saturday.


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UK Taking A Fundamental Approach To Improving Run Defense http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-taking-a-fundamental-approach-to-improving-run-defense/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-taking-a-fundamental-approach-to-improving-run-defense/ Sports - True Blue Site Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:12:53 PM UK Athletics UK Taking A Fundamental Approach To Improving Run Defense

In search of a sixth win, Kentucky hit the practice field on Wednesday in preparation for a trip to face Missouri this weekend.

On another productive day, the focus was clear for the Wildcats.

"We're really harping on fundamentals," defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said. "We're pushing the kids to the limit and they're responding well to that, getting ready for Missouri."

Fundamentals, for Eliot's defense, start in the running game. Last weekend, UK allowed 326 rushing yards to top-ranked Mississippi State, many coming after initial contact.

"Give them credit," Eliot said. "They have some very good runners: quarterback, tailbacks, wide receivers. They're all big. But I think that we could have played a lot better fundamentally. Tackling being the biggest thing. The players saw that too so we've really harped on that this week."

That began in the film room, where a long run with numerous broken tackles by running back Josh Robinson was a featured attraction after making the rounds online over the weekend.

"It was embarrassing just to watch how people were missing tackles," senior Bud Dupree said. "People had him wrapped up. There's no excuse for missing that many tackles."

Embarrassing as it may have been, Eliot called the play and others like it "a good learning opportunity" in the coaches' continuing quest to hammer home the importance of fundamentals. It's a message the Cats have heard all season long and even before.

"They say fundamentals every day," Dupree said. "All the meetings, just showing us fundamental things that we could do better. Showing you if your shoestrings aren't tied the right way, you need to tie them the fundamental way."

Tying shoelaces, however, hasn't been the primary emphasis in practice so much as not going for the forced fumble on first contact and flocking to the football.

"You gotta get a good swarm, swarm of guys to the ball," Eliot said. "When the first guy hits him and wraps him up, if he doesn't bring him down there's somebody else to bring him down."

 


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UK Women's Soccer Set For Senior Night vs. Alabama http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-women-s-soccer-set-for-senior-night-vs-alabama/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-women-s-soccer-set-for-senior-night-vs-alabama/ Sports - True Blue Site Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:03:18 PM UK Athletics UK Women's Soccer Set For Senior Night vs. Alabama

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky women's soccer team will look to continue its winning ways on Thursday night in the 2014 SEC regular season finale against the Alabama Crimson Tide at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky will be looking to build on a current season-high five-match winning streak, in which UK has posted shutouts in all five matches. ?e Wildcats have knocked off No. 24 South Carolina, No. 4 Florida and No. 22 Georgia in a matter of three weeks and now sport and RPI of 22 and a national ranking od 24/18.

The Thursday night matchup with the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama will be Senior Night as well, as UK will honor its four seniors, Arin Gilliland, Maddie Lockridge, Emma Brown and Stuart Pope in a pre-match ceremony. The four seniors will go out as one of the most winningest class in program history with over 50 wins in their four years in the Blue and White kits.

Kentucky has won five straight matches, all by shutouts, and all within the Southeastern Conference. UK has collected wins over No. 24 South Carolina, No. 5/4 Florida and No. 22 Georgia within a three-week span, shutting out those teams by a combined score of 5-0.

UK is locked into the SEC Tournament as the No. 2 or No. 3 seed. UK can be the No. 2 seed with a win coupled with a Florida loss. Any Florida point, and UK is then locked into the No. 3 seed.

Alabama enters Thursday night's match with 10 wins and even with a loss on Sunday, one of the SEC's hottest teams. The Crimson Tide were not even picked to make the 10-team field of the SEC Tournament, but currently sit fourth on the SEC table. The Crimson Tide have wins over Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, and LSU in conference action, combined with wins over Kennesaw State, Austin Peay and UAB in the non-conference. Bama currently sports an RPI of 45 and is on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.

This weekend's matchup marks the 17th all-time meeting between the Wildcats and the Crimson Tide. Kentucky has won 11 of the 17 matches, with one tie, recorded in 2005. The Wildcats have won four of the last six meetings, including five of the last six in Lexington. UK leads the overall goal count in the series, 40-21.

In the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll, Kentucky is slotted No. 24 and into the top 25 for the first time all season. Also, the Wildcats have joined the Soccer America top 25 checking in at No. 18 in UK's first appearance in the national poll this season. The Bennett College Soccer ranking system has Kentucky at No. 14, and the Massey computer rankings have the Wildcats sitting at No. 14 in the nation through 10 weeks of action.

In the NCAA RPI released Monday afternoon, UK is No. 22 in the country, and would be in a position to host an NCAA Tournament match for the fourth-straight year. The top-32 teams will host the opening round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, with eight four-team pods hosting the next two rounds leading up to the Elite Eight. In the Elite Eight, there will be four host sites that host four matches, before the 2014 NCAA Women's College Cup featuring the final four teams the following weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

For continuing coverage of UK women's soccer, log on to UKathletics.com.

 

 

 


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OConners 19 Kills Lead UK To Sweep Of Tennessee http://www.truebluefan.com/news/oconners-19-kills-lead-uk-to-sweep-of-tennessee/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/oconners-19-kills-lead-uk-to-sweep-of-tennessee/ Sports - True Blue Site Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:59:24 PM UK Athletics OConners 19 Kills Lead UK To Sweep Of Tennessee

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Senior Lauren O'Conner had 19 kills for the second consecutive match to lead the No. 18 Kentucky volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-18) victory over Tennessee Wednesday night at Memorial Coliseum.

The Wildcats (18-4, 9-2 Southeastern Conference) recorded their 10th sweep of the season and claimed their fifth consecutive victory over the Lady Volunteers (8-16, 1-9 SEC). UK tallied eight service aces, one shy of tying a season high.

"Obviously, Lauren O'Conner had a big night for us," Head coach Craig Skinner said. We tweaked a couple things with our defense, and I thought that worked pretty well. It wasn't always smooth, but overall our defense did a pretty good job. One of the best things we did tonight was serve. We kept Tennessee off balance offensively and it was nice to be able to get some players in there to make a difference throughout the match."

The match was the team's annual DanceBlue Match, in support of the on-campus organization DanceBlue to help raise awareness and money to benefit children with cancer who are treated at UK's Pediatric Oncology Hematology Clinic. The team wore special gold-lettered warm-up tops, which will be auctioned off on UKathletics.com, along with head coach Craig Skinner's gold tie and a gold ball.

Kentucky will enjoy a weekend off before welcoming Morehead State to Memorial Coliseum on Monday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. ET. It will mark the final regular season non-conference action of the year for the Wildcats.

O'Conner's 19 kills on .515 hitting led the way offensively for the Wildcats, who had 48 kills and hit .333 on the night. Freshman Kaz Brown added seven kills on .462 hitting while sophomore Anni Thomasson and junior Sara Schwarzwalder each had five.

Junior Morgan Bergren dished out 36 assists with nine digs, one shy of a second consecutive double-double outing. The setter also led UK by assisting on four of UK's seven blocks.

The defensive charge was led by senior Jackie Napper's 12 digs. Along with Bergren's nine, sophomore Kelsey Wolf had six and freshman Ashley Dusek had five. O'Conner also posted four digs and Thomasson three. Brown, Schwarzwalder and freshman Emily Franklin all accounted for two block assists.

UK opened the match with a 25-19 win in the first set. O'Conner got things off to a great start for the Wildcats with a kill for the match's first point. A 3-0 spurt by the Blue and White capped by an ace from Bergren lifted the home team to a 4-1 edge. Brown got in on a pair of blocks to push UK's lead to a 7-3 advantage. A 5-0 run by the visitors brought the Lady Vols to within one at 11-10, but O'Conner used the block to her advantage to quell the threat. The kill by O'Conner ignited a 4-0 run by the Wildcats to take a 17-12 advantage. The stretch for the Wildcats was all the breathing room they would need as an ace from freshman Darian Mack capped off the set for the final point and a 25-19 win.

UK managed 14 kills on a .179 attacking percentage, but benefited from four aces and four blocks to stymie the Lady Vols. Tennessee logged 10 kills on a .156 clip in the frame. O'Conner led the way offensive for Kentucky with seven kills, while Bergren had five digs.

Tennessee jumped out to a 2-0 advantage to begin the second stanza before a pair of kills from O'Conner guided UK to a 3-3 tie. The third kill of the set by the senior from Taylor Mill, Ky., gave UK a two-point lead at 5-3. Tennessee would claw back and tie the score at six, but Thomasson came up with a powerful slam from the back row to give the home team the lead once again. Junior Kayla Tronick provided a spark with back-to-back kills as the Wildcats took a 15-11 lead into the media timeout. The lead stretched to six at 18-12 following a Schwarzwalder kill. Brown capitalized on an overpass to lift Kentucky to a 25-17 second set win and a 2-0 lead into the locker room.

Kentucky erupted for 21 kills on a blistering .459 hitting percentage in the frame. O'Conner posted eight more hammers in the stanza with Brown going for five and Schwarzwalder four. Kentucky limited Tennessee to a .192 hitting percentage and just eight kills in the set.

The Wildcats recorded a 25-18 win in a tightly-contested third and final set. The teams exchanged points to open the frame until the Lady Vols earned a two-point edge at 8-6. Kentucky responded by going on a 4-0 run to take back the lead at 10-8. Wolf had an ace and Bergren and freshman Emily Franklin teamed up for a block. Tennessee fought back and tied the score at 12 apiece before Thomasson came up with a back row kill. O'Conner's 19th kill of the night gave UK a 15-14 lead at the media timeout. Following the break, O'Conner's serving propelled UK to a 3-0 run to extend the lead to 18-14. Following a Tennessee timeout, UK stretched its run to 6-0 pushing the lead to 21-14. Senior Alyssa Gergins' first career kill was the winning tally for the sweep at 25-18 in the third.

O'Conner and Mack each had four of UK's 13 kills in the final set as the Wildcats hit .379. Napper added four digs while Franklin and Bergren each assisted on both of Kentucky's blocks. Franklin also added two kills.

Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky volleyball team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info on the volleyball team like Kentucky Volleyball on Facebook or follow the team on Twitter at @KentuckyVB.

 

 


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Lakers' Randle Has Surgery, Likely Out For Year http://www.truebluefan.com/news/lakers-randle-has-surgery-likely-out-for-year/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/lakers-randle-has-surgery-likely-out-for-year/ Sports - True Blue Site Wed, 29 Oct 2014 9:19:51 PM Associated Press Lakers' Randle Has Surgery, Likely Out For Year

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle is expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his broken right leg.

The seventh overall pick out of Kentucky broke his leg in the fourth quarter of his NBA debut in Los Angeles' season-opening loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. Randle was strapped to a wheeled stretcher and taken off the Staples Center court after colliding with two Rockets and landing awkwardly with 6:46 to play.

Before Wednesday's game at Phoenix, the Lakers announced that Randle's injury was just as serious as it appeared.

Randle's surgery was performed by Dr. Donald Wiss at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He is expected to make a full recovery, but the Lakers anticipate he won't play this season.

"I think we're all a little shocked by it, disappointed, hurt, all those things are probably going through all our minds," Lakers coach Byron Scott said before the tip-off against the Suns. "I know I didn't get a lot of sleep just thinking about the young fella."

The 19-year-old power forward was the SEC's top freshman while helping Kentucky to reach the NCAA championship game last season. He was thrilled to be drafted by his favorite childhood team to play alongside Kobe Bryant, one of his idols.

Scott said that after the game he spent time with Randle, "just basically holding him and listening to him cry and trying to console him as much as possible,"

Bryant consoled Randle on the court and after the game in the Lakers' locker room. Bryant made his own return Tuesday after missing the 2013 playoffs and all but six games last season with two major injuries.

"Even for myself, being a veteran, seeing someone going through something like this is tough," Bryant said. "But that's what we're here for. We're here to be his teammates and help him through it, take it day by day. ... He was progressing just fine. He was improving leaps and bounds."

Scott said there was nothing violent about the play that resulted in Randle's injury.

"He got bumped in mid-air but it wasn't like he collided with anybody," Scott said. "It just kind of looked like his left foot kind of kicked his right leg and he comes down and he just grabbed his leg. I don't know if it was a freak accident or what but it was something that just didn't look that bad to end up being as bad as it is."

After Randle recovered from a broken right foot late in his high-school career in the Dallas area, he appeared to be a budding star while averaging 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game as a freshman at Kentucky. He had 24 games with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds, the most in the nation and the second-most by a freshman in Division I history.

Randle also won fans in Los Angeles for his humble approach to his NBA career and his devotion to his mother, Carolyn Kyles. He chose No. 30 for his uniform because his mother wore it for her college team.

"Everybody on the team loves Julius," Scott said. "He's a great kid, worked his butt off. We expected a lot from him this year so the guys are going to miss him."

Randle and Steve Nash already have been ruled out for the season by the Lakers, who led the NBA with 319 man-games lost to injury last year during their worst season in a half-century.

Three other Lakers - Wayne Ellington, Ryan Kelly and Nick Young - also missed their opener with injuries. That means the Lakers already are guaranteed to miss 166 games due to injury this season before they play their second game Wednesday night at Phoenix.

Young is expected to be out until December after surgery on a torn thumb ligament, but Ellington and Kelly could be healthy soon.

Randle played one more game in what was supposed to be his rookie season than Blake Griffin, another high-profile power forward chosen with a high draft pick by a Los Angeles team. Griffin missed the entire 2009-10 season with the Clippers after breaking his left kneecap in their final preseason game while landing after a dunk.


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LEX 18 True Blue Coverage: Towns And Johnson Are Like Brothers http://www.truebluefan.com/news/lex-18-true-blue-coverage-towns-and-johnson-are-like-brothers/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/lex-18-true-blue-coverage-towns-and-johnson-are-like-brothers/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 28 Oct 2014 7:59:24 PM Alan Cutler LEX 18 True Blue Coverage: Towns And Johnson Are Like Brothers

It isn't everyday that college teammates have been friends for most of their life. That's the kind of bond between Karl-Anthony Towns and Dakari Johnson.

These days Towns and Johnson are two 7-footers with a ton of potential. However, if you go back in time to second grade, when they were first teammates and friends, you'll see not much has changed, despite the obvious growth spurt.

Even though they were shorter, they were still the tallest players on the court.

"Of course we were. We were just tall big guys," says Towns.

The two describe their bond as being brotherly. And the two aren't afraid to rough each other up a bit.

"It's like my brother. You know how they are but we know we have to challenge each other every day to be the best human beings we could be and the best basketball players we can be," says Towns.

Of the two, Dakari is thinner, faster and stronger. His game is better than it had been in the past, but he only hit one of nine free throws at Monday's scrimmage. Calipari was disappointed.

"He'd be shooting in practice great. He'd been shooting free throws. He's been shooting 15 footers. But now, he went in, in front of all these people and the popcorn is cracking and it's on TV and the dregs of last year came back a little bit," says Cal.

Johnson says it's a mental thing that is going to require more focus in the game.

Thankfully he has his "brother" nearby.

 

 


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Matthew Mitchell's Comments Media Day http://www.truebluefan.com/news/matthew-mitchell-s-comments-media-day/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/matthew-mitchell-s-comments-media-day/ Sports - True Blue Site Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:35:20 PM Matthew Mitchell's Comments Media Day

Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Matthew Mitchell: Good morning, everybody. I really appreciate you coming in early. We have four seniors we're real proud of who are on track to graduate, and their academic schedule dictates that we practice in the morning this semester, so I really appreciate you all coming out and covering our team this morning. Really excited for another season at Kentucky. I thank God that I get another chance to coach the Wildcats. It's really, really special, and I'm appreciative of the opportunity. We're certainly a team that's continuing to get into form right now, and through our early practices, we have a lot to be optimistic about, but we have a lot of work ahead. It's going to be extremely important this particular season that we do a good job of coming together and everybody focuses on being their very best, so our team can be our very best, and it's going to be important for this particular edition of the Wildcats. We're looking forward to it. Have a lot of work ahead of us, but it's a group that I'm really, really proud to be coaching right now, and I think we've got a chance to have a great season.

Q. How much additional defensive pressure are you going to use this year versus last year?
Matthew Mitchell: Well, we're working on it really hard right now. We're trying to be an up tempo and pressure defense, and it just takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of work, takes a lot of reps, but I think that one thing that we have going for us is we have some mobility in the frontcourt, which is very important. You need to have bigs that will hustle and will work and can actually move, and we have that. We don't know exactly where to go right now, but we'll get there. But I think that this will be a very good pressure defensive team, and we're working hard at that right now.

Q. Of your newcomers that came in, is there anybody that stands out to you right now? I know it's early, but anybody that stands out?
Matthew Mitchell: Well, we like our newcomers. They all bring something very important to the team, and we're going to be young in the front court, really essentially depending on three freshmen to do well. Kyvin Goodin Rogers has just bounced back from a very difficult freshman year with her health problems, and she looks really good right now and looks like a player we're going to be able to count on, as do Alyssa Rice and Alexis Jennings. Having said that, there's just a lot of work to be done, and they certainly haven't had the experience at this level yet, so as a coach, it's incumbent upon me to have a good plan every day, to be very focused in my teaching, and to have the right mix of it's sort of some tension there between being patient and trying to promote a sense of urgency among those three. So that's a delicate balance as a coach. You've got to push them along so they will do what they need to do and also have the patience to allow them to grow into their roles. They stand out and look good, and we'll be depending on them this year, and I think by the time we really become a team, I think they'll be a big part of what we're doing.

Q. You talked about why you're practicing early. Are there benefits to that? Are there drawbacks to that, having the players up so early, and do you plan on doing this all year, or are you going to change at the semester?
Matthew Mitchell: Well, we're getting ready to develop our class schedule for next semester. We always put academics first. It's vital that our players grow as students here, and so I don't concern myself with whether it's in the morning or in the afternoon. We've really tried to build a culture of honesty, hard work and discipline, and these kids are up four mornings a week in the summertime working hard at the crack of dawn, and that's just what you're going to do if you come to Kentucky. You're going to work really hard, and so I don't see any drawbacks to it. You just have to come out with a great attitude every day and work, and this team has. We've handled the mornings well, and I think it prepares them for life. We want them to be really prepared when they leave here. A lot of times you have to get up early in the morning. In my job you have to get up real early in the morning and get to work, so maybe they'll have a job like I have, and maybe some of you guys have to get up early. I don't really worry about the early morning time, we just go to work every day.

Q. You as well as I'm sure most coaches are looking to always upgrade your bigs in terms of the size and the mobility. How do you feel about what you're doing to upgrade that?
Matthew Mitchell: Well, Alyssa (Rice) has the best size of the three from a height standpoint and length standpoint. She has great size and great mobility. She can really move, really, really move well. Kyvin (Goodin-Rogers) and Alexis (Jennings) are a little bit shorter but are very athletic, and both have great perimeter skills and can step out. And Alyssa does, too, but Kyvin and Alexis both can shoot the 3 really well. Kyvin has long arms and explosive athleticism, and so that helps her play against taller players. She also has a bit of a mean streak that I like when she's out on the court, and so she can compete with a taller player because she has quickness, athleticism, strength and she has some length. If you have long arms, it doesn't really matter as much how tall you are if you have some length to you in our system. I like where we are. We're not going to be the biggest team in the conference. It's going to be some other teams are going to have maybe some more height to them, but what we're trying to be is really, really tough, really disruptive on defense, and very, very fast and up tempo on how we get up and down and the pace that we create in the game. You need mobility and speed and athleticism more than you need height to make those things happen.

Q. What from your perspective what was Kyvin's season like last year? How much was she able to take part in? What did she pick up while she was on the sideline? And then since she's been back, what kind of motivation has she had?
Matthew Mitchell: Well, I think you can see the benefit of her being on campus for a year mentally and how she approaches practice and how she's functioning. She's, I think, built some mental toughness through a really difficult situation. Last year was not ideal. You can imagine, you've been working all throughout your high school career to get to college and to make a difference and to play on a really good team, and then that's derailed by a health condition. It was very difficult emotionally for her last year to deal with that, and I think sometimes, or oftentimes, people if they approach it the right way can find some strength in times of adversity, and so Kyvin is a little bit ahead because she was on campus. It's still, though, her first go around here of being able to play and trying to get prepared to contribute because her blood clot happened pretty quickly after she arrived. She is kind of going through all that for the first time. I think she still has some adjustments to make with it essentially being her freshman year playing, but I do think there was certainly some benefits of her just being able to observe practice and know what the tone of practice is and where Alexis and Alyssa are probably still trying to get to know the situation a little bit, I think Kyvin has a bit of an advantage there. I have to make sure that I have the proper amount of patience with Kyvin because it is her freshman year on the court.

Q. With a whole new staff of assistant coaches, what are you hoping they bring that challenges what you've done in the past or brings something different to the staff?
Matthew Mitchell: Well, they need to bring a servant's heart every day. They need to come ready to serve the players and help them develop as young women of substance and character, so that's the very first thing you need when you coach at Kentucky is to understand that we're always going to care about them more as people than as basketball players. It's going to start there. If you're coming here just to draw plays or to compete in recruiting or the various things that a college basketball coach has to be good at, you have to put those behind your desire to serve others and to really make a positive impact on these players and try to develop them and help them get ready to be great people, and so that's the first thing. They all three are doing that. And then you need to have tremendous energy. When you play the way that we play and you are the fastest team in the country and the most up tempo team in the country and really different than just about anybody in the country, our ability to connect with one another is very, very important. Our ability to play for each other, our ability to sacrifice for each other is important, and so I can't do it alone. I can't get that atmosphere created all by myself, and so I need great support in that, and so the coaches have done a really good job from the standpoint of caring about the players. So that's very important, and then you have to have some competency. You have to be good on the floor. You have to be very aggressive and effective in recruiting, and all of the things that come along with being a college basketball coach. It's a very dynamic job. You have to be good at a lot of different things. I'm happy with the potential this staff has. I think we have three really quality individuals. It's different, though. They're also learning and trying to figure out what Kentucky basketball is all about. It's an exciting year full of some challenges but also the opportunity has never been greater because I think we've got a great group of people, we just have to come together as a team.

Q. Can you talk about Makayla Epps's year last year, and what are you looking for from her this year?
Matthew Mitchell: Well, I think Makayla came in last year with very high hopes but probably not the best understanding of what it was really going to take for her to realize those goals or hopes or dreams, however you would want to characterize that. She had a difficult summer because she had a nagging knee injury that we had to address, and so she really was not able to get herself in the kind of physical condition. The thing you have to realize here is you have to get into a physical you have to get into physical condition and shape so you can be at a spot where your mind will work and do all the things that you need to do. So the summer for a freshman is really important so she can just try because she'll be working harder than she's ever worked, so Makayla really didn't have the benefit of that last summer, and I think that hurt her because I think her conditioning held her back all season. And then sort of right when she was getting ready to come around, she flipped her car seven times, and what I found out is that generally doesn't help you a whole lot. Somehow it has some type of effect on you, and it did Makayla, where really for about a month there in the middle of the season she was sort of in a fog, and understandably so. It was a very, very scary incident in a young person's life. We basically had her a month there in the middle of the season, and that was one of the along with DeNesha's (Stallworth) injuries, that was one of the things that sort of, we hit that lull in the middle of the season, we just couldn't do exactly what we were built to do, and I think Makayla was a part of that. I think once she got her head right and her mentality back and you saw some flashes there at the end of the season, and so I think it was a frustrating freshman year for her, but I think it ended great because it wasn't a total flop, and it wasn't sort of a wash. She was on the rise at the end of the year, and I think that was able to sort of buoy her spirits and get her going because she's had a great offseason, she's been great in the classroom. I think you'll see a noticeable difference in how she looks. She's really changed her body. She is in the best shape she's ever been in and getting in better shape. She still has room to grow. And she is just one of our most talented players. She is someone who, as she matures and gets her mentality really where it needs to be, she's going to be hard to handle. I'm very excited for her future, and there's a lot to work with there, still needs to grow and get better, but I'm very excited for Makayla. So I think to answer your question, freshman year was a good one to set her up for success because she went through some adversity that could help her in the long run, and she had enough success to get her excited for this year.

Q. Two parts: Speaking of cars and health, you've had some adversity in the preseason. How is the health of your players? The second part is would you just make a comment on each of your four seniors who have been such a part of the foundation the last three years?
Matthew Mitchell: Well, we're going to have to address that in recruiting, we're going to have to recruit better drivers, there's no question about that. We're missing on that somewhere. (Laughter). I've got to do a better job because we're not driving real well here at times. The health of the team, it's been a challenge this season. J.J. (Jelleah Sidney) is a little banged up, has a finite number of plays left in those knees, and so we're just trying to bring her along. So she's not full speed from an operational standpoint. She's not firing on all cylinders because she doesn't have the reps yet, but we'll get her there. And then Ivana has a fibular stress fracture, and so that's really hurt her from being able to get out here, and I'm not sure when that's going to clear up, which has her behind, which has her maybe on track for a redshirt. I think that's a real possibility for her right now. She's not able to do anything on the court. So that's been difficult to absorb because it's one less body in practice. And then Jaycee's (Coe) car wreck thank goodness was not too bad from the standpoint of being life threatening, but it was scary and it gave her a bad concussion, and she's missed two weeks. That was certainly not good for her development. We just got her back on the court, so we're trying to bring her along. So we were down there to nine players for a while as you saw in Big Blue Madness. We only had nine available, which thank goodness in women's basketball you're allowed to have a male practice squad, so we've been able to have good practices and up tempo practices, but Kyvin had strep throat for a couple days. So we've just had some of those things, but I'm sure everybody around the country is dealing with things like that. We've had better starts to the preseason from a health standpoint, but it's just what you deal with and you move forward and go with what can go and do the best that you can there. Our seniors, really all four individuals, very unique, very different. (They are) truly four individuals. But love all four of them very much, and they have just in their own ways taught me a lot. I've had to get to know them over the four years, and with Jennifer (O'Neill) five years, and it's fun to see them grow. It's fun to see them develop. It's real important for us to make sure that this was worth something to them, that not only do they have success and they've all had great success competitively here, they've enjoyed great success during their years here on the court. But I think all four of them have developed as people and are going to be grateful for their experience at Kentucky, and so I'm always motivated this time of year to really try to find out how they want it to end and how they want this senior year to go. It's our last go around, day to day interaction, and we try to recognize that early in the year and try to make sure we make this season count for them on and off the court. All four of them have given a lot to the program. You want to see your seniors go out with a very successful senior season, and we're highly motivated to do that. But I think they're four terrific young women, and I think they'll all four contribute in a significant way this year.

Q. Two years ago you talked a lot about how that team really gave itself over to the work ethic and the maturity and that sort of thing that it takes to play the way you want them to play. Are you starting to see that same kind of attitude in this team, because it's not easy what you're asking.
Matthew Mitchell: Yeah, this team is going to come along at a different pace than the last few teams just because we're so young in the frontcourt. I'm happy with the team that we have and excited about the players that we have, but it just takes time and repetition to play the way that we want to play. It's interesting that I do this to myself every year. It would be a little bit easier to kind of sit back maybe and play sort of safe, and it might lead to a more sense of comfort for me as a coach because it's pretty uncomfortable right now because we've got to make some progress over here the next couple weeks because we're about to play a very challenging early schedule, and so you have to have tremendous discipline as a coach. You have to believe in what you're doing. You have to believe in your identity as to what the team can be for long term success, and they have been a hard working group, and right now we're just at a spot where it's tough because you've got to go through this wall right now. You can't go around it, and you can't have somebody lift you and place you on the other side. You've got to go through this one right now. They're working hard at it, and I think that this will be a spectacular team when we focus on our attitude every day and focus on our core values and just be a Kentucky team. I think they have great, great prospects of success.

Q. Last year you weren't shy about Final Four talk, Elite Eight talk. Where do you see this team as far as expectations? What are your goals for it?
Matthew Mitchell: Yeah, you know, this team, we're just trying to build daily and try to get to our very best. I have an idea of where that would land us, but I don't know that learning a lesson of and that's what's so fascinating for me is every year this is my 20th year in coaching, and I just feel like I'm learning more now than I ever have. Last season, sort of painting the picture for them of Final Four and those kind of things because you know people around here want it. I want it, staff wants it, fans want it, Mr. (Mitch) Barnhart wants it, everybody wants the Final Four. You never know how the season is going to play out, and we had some adversity hit there in the middle of the season, and I think that that particular team didn't handle that real well. We lost a couple games during the conference, and it really did something to our psyche, and I think it hurt them, trying to think about being a No. 1 seed and all of that that I had really pushed and put in front of them. I think right now for this particular team, what's very, very important is that they just try to become their best every day. I have an idea of what that could be. I think that could be really, really good and one of the top teams in the country, but I'm not talking to them a lot about results right now. I'm trying to get them to be excellent in their character. That's really, really a fantastic opportunity to be your best. I'm trying to get them to be very effective in their competency, and then I'm trying to get them to understand how important being a great teammate is, just being a great teammate and playing for Kentucky and playing for each other. Those are our definitions of what being our best would be, and we'll have the schedule to handle all that we want to handle. If we have success in our schedule, we'll be a very high seed in the NCAA Tournament. When you're a high seed, you get to host it here at home, and that gives you a chance to march through. I think the veterans have been around long enough to know what the standard is here and what people are expecting. We are a top five, top 10 caliber basketball program now, and I can't convince anyone any different even if I wanted to, so we just have to go about the business of being our very best every day, and I think that'll land us where everybody wants us to be. I'm just not sure how long it's all going to take.

Q. How has Bria Goss changed on and off the court in her three years here with you so far?
Matthew Mitchell: Well, Bria's parents ought to write a book on parenting, I can tell you that, because she came to us as an outstanding young woman. I mean, outstanding. Bria Goss really is a model of what we're looking for now from a character standpoint. And in recruiting right now, we're trying to get super focused on who are the top players in the country who can physically do it, and then out of that group, who has the highest character, and that's who Kentucky is going after right now. Bria Goss is that type of person and that type of player, and so I've just seen her improve, and it's been because she has chosen to live that kind of life and to pay attention to her character and who she is on the inside and care more about that than surface things. I think that she has grown tremendously. She's taken advantage of opportunities to grow. She hasn't shied away from it. She hasn't ever done anything in my mind but try to get better. So she is a fantastic young woman and a real model for who we'd like to have at Kentucky.

Q. You've talked about in your 20th year of coaching, you're learning more now. What are some of those things you've learned, and how have you changed as a coach, at least over the past year?
Matthew Mitchell: Well, the biggest thing that you hear, but I think you have to go through, is we've had some great success here, and things have been really good over the last five years. How does that all work, and how do we continue to grow staying true to what our mission is and our core values are? How do you be a program of principles and principle based living and really promoting and developing high character and a sense of sacrifice for one another and being a program of great preparation. That's really what we're trying to be. There's just no shortcuts to success. Success is uphill all the way, and you just have to have that mentality every day as a coach that there's no sense of arrival. If you win an SEC Championship like we did, I always kind of thought, say 10 years ago, that was something that would have been hard for me to wrap my mind around, that I would be on a team or be a head coach of an SEC champion. That would be hard to think about, but that doesn't really change things. The championships and the wins, it doesn't really change you as a coach as much as maybe you think it would be if you're staying focused on your core values. This team, this year needs to learn these things so they can have success now but they can also have success 10 years from now, 20 years from now, and that's who I'm trying to be as a coach. That is all encompassing and trying to develop a total person has a lot more to do than just Xs and Os or whatever the different compartments are in a college basketball program, so I'm just trying to learn and to grow and to get around great people who I admire and who have had success. I'm probably at a stage of learning 20 years in that starting out I probably would have thought I maybe would have had things all figured out after 20 years. I think I have as much to learn and as much to grow now as I did when I started. So that's where I think my mentality needs to be. It needs to stay always trying to improve, always trying to grow as a coach and serve the players.

Q. Last year when she was healthy, when you guys needed a basket, you could throw it into DeNesha (Stallworth) in the post and she could get one. Do you have anybody who can do that? And are you guys going to sell out Rupp (Arena) again, and what does that mean to the program when you can put 20,000 plus in there to see women's basketball?
Matthew Mitchell: The answer to selling out Rupp (Arena) again is yes. We will sell out Rupp. There's no question about it. The Big Blue Nation will rally and we will sell out Rupp. Did everybody hear me? We will sell out Rupp. Put this on the news tonight: We will sell out Rupp. And in order to sell out Rupp, you have to go out and buy your tickets, so everybody go out and buy your tickets, so I won't look they may put this in the newspaper, that I promised that we would sell out Rupp, and if we don't, I'll look bad, so no one wants me to look bad I don't think if you're a Kentucky fan. So let's sell out Rupp for the Baylor game. What a great opportunity for our program to be showcased nationally with a sold out Rupp Arena. It's the launch of 24 hours of college hoops is a very unique basketball event on ESPN, and I know just as a fan, I always tune into it. There's going to be a lot of eyeballs on Rupp Arena that night, and if we can sell out Rupp and great a great atmosphere, that'll help our players, and a big win and a great night would help us a bunch. It would be important to do and to happen. As far as throwing the ball into the post, right now all three freshmen are really scoring the ball well, and Azia (Bishop) is scoring the ball well. Kyvin and Alexis are very good shooters around the basket. You know, I think that that will develop as we go. I'll tell you what they are, too. They are really good passers. We're throwing the ball inside more now than we probably ever have in my eight years at Kentucky, and it's good to see that we have some good passing big players because that's important in your high low game, and getting the ball to the basket where you can score. Certainly post touches and post scores are important for a successful and highly functioning offense.

Q. One additional question about Kyvin: Can you just reflect on what that couple days was like last year when you found out that she was sick or she had her condition, and what was her mood from your perspective? What was your mood as far as maybe how bad you felt for her or the emotions that you had that day?
Matthew Mitchell: Well, it was a tough day. I learned a lot about blood clots that day, just had not dealt with that, so I learned a lot about that. Our doctors and the family decided to put her on blood thinners, which was the protocol that would try to guarantee her recovery and make sure that she didn't have any more problems or another one didn't occur, and so the moment she went on the blood thinners, her season was done. That was a tough day certainly for her. But you know, these things have a great way of working out. I think she learned a lot through the adversity. I think I certainly learned a lot about her and what's important to her and how to coach her. To see what she's doing now on the court and how she's approached this season, I think we've really benefitted from that adversity. I'm real excited to move into the future with Kyvin. She's a player with great promise.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports

#13 Bria Goss, Sr., G

On the new assistant coaches ...
"I've really gotten to know all three of them pretty well and I'm really excited that they are here for my last year. I've had a new coaching staff every year, so I know I can work around it, but I'm really excited that they are here and I know they will push me to get better."

On if the team's health issues will hold this team back early ...
"No, I think it has actually given us a boost because we are out in practice with eight people sometimes, giving more reps for all of us. It gets us in better shape and in better conditioning, while getting us more mentally tough because it's harder. It will help us get over future adversity."

On if she can tell a difference in Coach Mitchell's focus this year compared to last year ...
"He isn't focused on the Final Four or SEC as much. He changes all the time, for the better. He is always trying to be a better person and he is always doing a great job. His leadership is something that I count on every day and he has a great positive attitude that inspires us to come into practice and do what he says. He wants to be a person of great character and that really shows."

#50 Azia Bishop, Sr., C

On the team's full-court press defense...
"We just like to get up on the ball, pick them up before they get to half court and we like to get in their face. I think our defense is very disruptive. That's what Coach Mitchell wants from this team and I think that fast pace will help us win."

On what to expect from this team's offense ...
"Coach Mitchell compared it to going the speed limit. We have to go 35 miles per hour sometimes and other times go 45 minutes per hour. The big thing is to execute. We have to execute to be successful."

On the importance of the point guard in the half-court ...
"It's all about the point guard. They see the play they and they see what's going on. Whenever the point guard calls the play we have to execute and run the play, and that requires everybody to know the play as well."

#25 Makayla Epps, So., G

On the difference in her body and conditioning ...
"I can completely feel it. It's visible after watching film that I'm moving way faster than I ever have before in my life. It's a great feeling knowing that I came in and said that I wanted to lose some weight and get my body in good Division I shape and that's exactly what I did. I'm very happy about that."

On playing well and how important it was for her confidence at the end of last year ...
"It was extremely important. I got into that little mishap there in December that put me in a fog there for a couple of months, but then to play very well in the SEC Tournament and the postseason, it just gave me a lot of confidence coming back as a sophomore and that's really what I feel like I needed and lacked the most as a freshman, and that's confidence."

On what she has been working on for this season ...
"I'm trying to improve my basketball IQ. I think that I'm going to be on the court a lot more than I was last year, so I'm trying to be more versatile learning the one through the four (positions) because you never know where you could end up (playing) or where Coach Mitchell is going to play you in any given game. I'm not the biggest talker on the court so I'm trying to be a better communicator on the court."

#5, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers, So., F

On her mentality entering the season ...
"I feel more confident and more mentally tough than I ever have. I just know my part and what I need to do. Being out as long as I was I was just getting mentally prepared all of last season."

On her comeback after sitting out last season with a pulmonary embolism ...
"I never once doubted that I would be able to make it back because I knew it was a minor setback for a major comeback. I watched my teammates every day. I took in a lot. I followed their footsteps and knew what I would have to do when I came back. My teammates helped me get through everything. Now that I'm here I know what I have to do to get better. I knew I was coming back and I knew I had to get better, obviously being out a whole year. I knew there were things I needed to work on even before the season was getting ready to start. I just did what I needed to do."

On her expected role on the team ...
"I need to be a good defensive player and that I need to be good shooting and rebounding."

#35 Alexis Jennings, Fr., F/C

On how the team is bonding ...
"Ever since the summer, I feel like we've been gelling automatically because we are very close as a whole so that reflects on the court and how we approach things. If we ever have an issue, we just talk about it on the court and make sure that we correct the mistakes."

On having to focus on defense so much in practice ...
"I'm pretty used to it, but I wouldn't say on this level. I'm still working at it and trying to prepare myself to be great at this level."

"On the opportunity of earning a lot of playing time as a true freshman ...
"I don't view it as scary of anything like that. I just view it as a challenge and an opportunity that you can be a true freshman and make an impact if you work hard and put the work in."

On her most exciting moment of the preseason so far ...
"Big Blue Madness was something else. With all of those people, I thought I was going to be so nervous. As soon as you get out there and you're on the court you tune everything else out."

On getting acclimated to the UK system ...
"The change has been big. It's so demanding, any college basketball program is, but Kentucky especially is defense-wise. Just picking up that pace. (Coach Mitchell) expects so much of me, and we have high expectations here. Just living up to those expectations and learning everything has been a great challenge. But they've been great teaching us and getting us better with the program."

#15, Linnae Harper, So., G

On how much she has changed as a sophomore ...
"It was just about confidence. This year I'm able to help my teammates and also to help myself. I'm more aggressive defensively and offensively. I think that is the big difference from me this year to last year."

On what she tried to improve on in the offseason ...
"Just defense. I've worked on my quickness and fundamentals so that I can be able to play the type of defense the coaches want me to play. On offense I've tried to be more patient to get my timing together. I also worked on being aggressive."

On her relationship with Coach Mitchell ...
"He's a really genuine person so even during the recruiting process he was always there talking to me. Even my freshman year in practices, even when times were tough, he was always there to support me. I think that's made me become a better player on the court as well."

#0 Jennifer O'Neill, Sr., G

On if the team has changed goals for this season after high expectations the past seasons...
"We have, we focus on one day at a time. There's no talk about we want to do this or we want to do that. We say that we have to come in and work and tomorrow we are going to come in and do our best, and we work every day like that."

On what has to happen for the team to accomplish the season they want ...
"Everybody has to play. We have to reach our full potential and that will require nobody worrying about themselves, and having everybody concerned with the team."

On her expectations for the team and herself this year ...
"I just want to lead my team and see how far we can go. As far as expectations, I don't really know but the sky is the limit for this team."

#3 Janee Thompson, Jr., PG
On turning up the tempo again this season ...
"We're looking to get back to where we have been in the past with our defensive pressure. We've been working to be the hardest-working team in the country and play the fastest, so I'm excited for the season."

On if the post players have more mobility this season compared to a season ago ...
"I wouldn't say more mobility, but we did replace it. We have very versatile post players that can move and not the type of post players that are going to sit in the paint. They can get up and guard in the full court just like some of our guards do. Even on offense, they are just as versatile. Most of them can step out and shoot the 3 as well as post up and drive to the basket. I do think we have great post players."

On being a junior and if she feels like a leader ...
"I do feel l am more of a leader, but I don't know if that's just because I'm a junior. We are missing some leadership from people that graduated and that was a role that I wanted to fill. I tried to step up and fill that void with my leadership. I do feel like more of a leader."

 

 

 

 


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Georgia's Todd Gurley Suspended 4 games by NCAA http://www.truebluefan.com/news/georgia-s-todd-gurley-suspended-4-games-by-ncaa/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/georgia-s-todd-gurley-suspended-4-games-by-ncaa/ Sports - True Blue Site Wed, 29 Oct 2014 9:42:05 AM Georgia's Todd Gurley Suspended 4 games by NCAA

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - The NCAA has ruled that Georgia star running back Todd Gurley must sit out until Nov. 15 for accepting more than $3,000 for autographed memorabilia and other items over a two-year period.

The school had applied for Gurley's reinstatement after he missed the last two games while the school investigated allegations of improper benefits.

But the NCAA said Wednesday that Gurley must serve a four-game suspension, or 30 percent of the season, for accepting cash from multiple individuals. He also must repay a portion of the money to a charity of his choice and complete 40 hours of community service in order to be reinstated for the Nov. 15 home game against No. 4 Auburn.

Georgia says it will appeal the ruling.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Julius Randle Injured In NBA Debut http://www.truebluefan.com/news/julius-randle-injured-in-nba-debut/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/julius-randle-injured-in-nba-debut/ Sports - True Blue Site Wed, 29 Oct 2014 5:21:35 AM Julius Randle Injured In NBA Debut

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle has left his NBA debut on a stretcher after injuring his right leg in the fourth quarter Tuesday night.

TNT reported Randle has a broken leg.

The seventh overall pick out of Kentucky had his right leg immobilized as he left the court, casting a pall over the Lakers' season opener against the Houston Rockets.

The 19-year-old Randle was injured when he collided with two Houston players under the Lakers' basket midway through the final period. He was in obvious pain as the Lakers' medical staff tended to him, eventually immobilizing his leg while Kobe Bryant gripped his hand in support.

Randle was the SEC's freshman of the year while helping the Wildcats to the NCAA championship game last season.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Davis Powers Pelicans Past Magic, 101-84 http://www.truebluefan.com/news/davis-powers-pelicans-past-magic-101-84/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/davis-powers-pelicans-past-magic-101-84/ Sports - True Blue Site Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:05:41 AM Associated Press Davis Powers Pelicans Past Magic, 101-84

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Anthony Davis had 26 points, 17 rebounds and nine blocks, and the New Orleans Pelicans opened the regular season with a 101-84 victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.

Ryan Anderson, coming back from surgery on a herniated disk that cost him more than half of last season, scored 22 points. The Pelicans' new 7-foot center, Omer Asik, had a double-double with 14 points and 17 rebounds.

The tandem of Davis and Asik dominated the interior. They combined for 16 offensive rebounds, and the Pelicans finished with 32 second-chance points. Davis tied a career high for blocked shots, and Asik's five blocks equaled his career best.

Tobias Harris scored 25 points for Orlando, while Nikola Vucevic added 15 points and 23 rebounds.

The Pelicans surged to a 14-point lead late in the third quarter thanks to Anderson. He missed nine of his first 13 shots, but made up for it by scoring 12 points in a span of 1:39.

He started the scoring spree with a three-point play. After Davis hit a 20-footer, Anderson buried three straight 3-pointers, yelling, "That's what I'm talking about," after the second. He didn't hesitate to take the third, which gave New Orleans an 11-0 run to close the quarter and sent the crowd into a frenzy.

The Pelicans' lead got as large as 23 when Asik's putback made it 97-74 with 2:36 left.

Davis could have had his first triple-double and set a franchise single-game high for blocks if he had gotten one more, but coach Monty Williams subbed Davis out - to a standing ovation - with 2:29 left.

Orlando led by as many as six points in the first quarter on Vucevic's layup, but the Pelicans controlled the second quarter and took a 48-41 lead on Davis' putback dunk just seconds before halftime.

TIP-INS

Magic: First-round pick Elfrid Payton started in his first NBA game in his hometown. Payton is from suburban New Orleans and played his college ball at Louisiana-Lafayette. Several news outlets from Lafayette sent reporters about two hours east on Interstate 10 to cover Payton's first game. He had four points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Pelicans: Foul shooting plagued the Pelicans in the first half. They missed 11 of their first 14 free throws. Asik missed his first three, but made up for it with 12 points and 11 rebounds before halftime. New Orleans finished 15 of 31 on free throws. ... Holiday played the fourth quarter with stitches and a bandage above his right eye after taking an elbow from Payton. ... While home teams normally wear white in the NBA, the Pelicans wore their new alternate red uniforms, and fans received free red T-shirts. New Orleans will wear red four times this season, all at home.

UP NEXT

Orlando hosts the Washington Wizards in its regular-season home opener Thursday night.

New Orleans hosts Dallas on Saturday night.


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#16 UK Soccer Extends Unbeaten Run To 8-Straight At Ohio State http://www.truebluefan.com/news/16-uk-soccer-extends-unbeaten-run-to-8-straight-at-ohio-state/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/16-uk-soccer-extends-unbeaten-run-to-8-straight-at-ohio-state/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:02:22 PM UK Athletics #16 UK Soccer Extends Unbeaten Run To 8-Straight At Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio. - Stefan Stojkovic scored his second goal of the season on 20 minutes, but Ohio State's Ryan Ivancic equalized six minutes later and the 16th-ranked Kentucky men's soccer team drew Ohio State 1-1 in double overtime on a cool Tuesday evening at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

The draw extended UK's unbeaten run to eight games in a row, and snapped the team's run of five-straight wins.

"We did a good job handling Ohio State, which is one of the best teams we have played all year," head coach Johan Cedergren said. "They have a few players that are really good and dynamic, and they had maybe two or three chances all game. It was a good, solid defensive performance.

"I thought Hampus (Agerstrom) did a really good job stepping in and playing next to the rest of regular back-4 with Jordan Wilson suspended (yellow card accumulation). Callum Irving did well, and made a good save late in the game. For us, the first 20 minutes we were all over them. Maybe put one more (chance) away, and you put the game away."

UK in now 5-0-3 in its last eight games, and went to 9-3-4 (4-0-2 Conference USA) on the season.

UK's eight-game unbeaten streak stands alone as the second longest stretch in school history.


SUMMARY

Stefan Stojkovic scored on 20 minutes, the freshman's first goal since netting the winner at then-top-ranked Notre Dame in early-September, to give UK an early advantage after dominating the early going.

UK couldn't hold the lead for long however, as Ohio State converted its first chance of the game just six minutes after falling behind.

UK reasserted its dominance from there, but couldn't finish its chances and went into halftime deadlocked at one.

The hosts began to push UK back in the second half, but UK still created plenty of chances in what became a physical and at times disjointed second half.

Both teams had bad misses in the overtime period as the game between two RPR top 25 teams ended 1-1.

Ohio State had three serious chances all game, and converted one of them, while UK flat-out missed two excellent scoring opportunities.

UK had the best chance of the overtimes with two minutes remaining in the second extra period.

Ryan Creel beat two Ohio State defenders and slotted Justin Laird through, but he skied the shot from eight yards out and the game finished in a deadlock.

Callum Irving made an excellent game-saving block on 88 minutes, as Ohio State's Marcus McCrary, hit a rocket to Irving's right from 25 yards out. He then punched away a dangerous cross on the ensuing corner.

Irving finished with three saves, and did a good job shepherding a makeshift back-four for much of the evening.

FIRST HALF

Kentucky dominated the opening stages with all the chances from the first 20 minutes.

The Wildcats broke the deadlock on 20 minutes as Stefan Stojkovic ran onto a diagonal through ball from Bryan Celis. Helped by a defensive miscue on the attempted clearance Stojkovic dinked it over Ohio State goalkeeper Alex Ivanov and tapped it into the back of the net.

But the goal seemed to wake Ohio State up, and six minutes later the Buckeyes equalized. Combination play by Ohio State led to a 3-on-1 inside the 18-yard box, and Yianni Sarris played Ryan Ivancic on goal undefended where he didn't miss.

UK seized control of the game again after conceding, with Justin Laird looking particularly dangerous running in behind the Ohio State defense. Still, half chances that went begging were all UK could muster, and the teams went into the locker rooms knotted at one apiece.

SETTING THE STAGE

The 16th-ranked Kentucky men's soccer team was facing a stiff test to conclude the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 7 p.m. ET visit to Ohio State on Tuesday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

UK head coach Johan Cedergren was forced to make one change from the team, which had won five straight games.

Starting center back Jordan Wilson was suspended due to yellow card accumulation, so Hampus Agerstrom replaced him in the back line. Agerstrom started at center back in the season-opener when Kaelon Fox was out injured, but had spent most of the season as a holding midfielder.

Tuesday's game matched two top-25 teams in the NCAA Rating Percentage Index as Ohio State (7-5-3; 4-2 B1G) was No. 22, and UK was No. 25 in the RPI.

The showdown also pitted two of the hottest teams in the country against one another. Kentucky had won five games in a row and was unbeaten in its last seven. Ohio State had won three straight.

 

 


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Wildcats Focus On Improving Ground Game For Mizzou Trip http://www.truebluefan.com/news/wildcats-focus-on-improving-ground-game-for-mizzou-trip/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/wildcats-focus-on-improving-ground-game-for-mizzou-trip/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:05:37 PM UK Athletics Wildcats Focus On Improving Ground Game For Mizzou Trip

One of the major focuses for Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown heading into the week was improving the running game.

After the Wildcats opened the year with at least 230 rushing yards in three of their first five games, Kentucky has faced stout defensive efforts from its last two foes, at LSU and vs. No. 1 Mississippi State last week.

In those games, the Tigers limited UK to 71 rushing yards and the Bulldogs held UK to 103 yards on the ground.

"Well, I think it's two-fold," Brown said, pinpointing the obstacles in running the football the last two weeks. "I think, No. 1, let's not -- I think I said this after the game too -- let's not take away from those guys. I mean, they're good. You know what I mean? 91, Preston Smith is a really good player, a guy that will make a solid living in the NFL. The two d-tackles are really big. They really rotate four in there. So they gave us some issues, but we had some technique. We leaned, and when you lean good players are going to put their hands inside and go around you. We didn't do a good job getting depth, and our communication was off a little bit. So, we can play better. Our guys are disappointed in how they played up front, and we had a good practice, maybe our best practice in probably a couple weeks up front, today. So, (offensive line) Coach (John) Schlarman will get those guys straight."

When Brown met with the media following Tuesday's practice, he emphasized improving the rushing attack before the Wildcats travel to Missouri for a 4 p.m. ET kickoff on the SEC Network on Saturday.

"Well, first of all, I've got to give them more opportunities," Brown said about getting the running back's involved. "When we get those opportunities, we've got to run through some tackles. And we've got to hold onto the ball. Running back is a lot like a guy that shoots a lot in basketball: you can't just go out there and give a shooter a couple shots. You've got to get him open, and we've got to do the same thing. We've got to feed the running backs and get them in a rhythm."

Kentucky (6-2, 2-3 SEC) boasts a strong stable of running options, including junior Braylon Heard - who has started seven of eight games in 2014 - sophomore Jojo Kemp, and freshmen Mikel Horton and Stanley "Boom" Williams. Kemp leads UK with 314 yards and four TDs, with Heard charting 299 yards, Williams - who missed last week due to injury - contributing 222 yards and the bruising Horton totaling 201 yards.

"Well, it helps us," Brown said about potentially getting Williams back on the field Saturday. "I mean, he's one of our better players. And he will play as long as he doesn't have anything that sets him back this week. He'll play. Excited to get him back. He's a guy that we can get in space. I think he's eager to get back on the field. I don't think he played his best game against LSU. He realizes that, and he'll add a spark to us for sure."

UK sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles has also been a dual-threat option for Brown, leading the team with 90 carries, running for 174 yards, and equaling Kemp for the team lead with four TDs.

"Early in the game it does." Brown said about getting Towles settled into the game with an early rush and contact. "Yeah, it does, really. When he has success early in games and when he does get in the flow, whether running or pass, high-percentage pass, I he does get going."

Brown's unit faces another stiff road test on Saturday with Mizzou, the defending Southeastern Conference Eastern Division Champions.

"Missouri is playing with a lot of confidence," Brown said. "Two really good years in a row. They're playing their best football right now, starting to gain some momentum on offense. They've played good defense all the time. Got a lot of respect for their DC, Coach (Dave) Steckel. Does a good job consistently -- they do a good job evaluating talent, very similar to Mississippi State."

Missouri (6-2, 3-1 SEC) ranks second in the SEC in total defense (310 ypg) and third in scoring defense (20.2) in conference games. Last week, Missouri held Vanderbilt to just 240 yards of offense in a 24-14 win, after limiting Florida to 283 yards in a 42-13 win in Gainesville.

"We've got another stiff test this week with their front," Brown said. "They're going to move a lot. They twist, they don't sit still. They do a good job of speed rushing, and they're defense is built on making negative plays. They've got some linebackers that have got a lot of tackles, solid tacklers, and they've got safeties that have experience. Little bit of youth at corner, similar to what we are at wideout. But again, a tremendous challenge. Tough place to go up and play, but our guys will be ready and like I said, we need to put it all together this week."

 


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UK's McDaniel Wins Quail Valley Collegiate Invite http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-s-mcdaniel-wins-quail-valley-collegiate-invite/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-s-mcdaniel-wins-quail-valley-collegiate-invite/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:03:13 PM UK Athletics UK's McDaniel Wins Quail Valley Collegiate Invite

VERO BEACH, Fla. - The final round of fall competition ended with a major win for the Kentucky men's golf team. Freshman Tyler ‘Chip' McDaniel carded a final round 4-under par, 68, to win the Quail Valley Collegiate Invitational on Tuesday. McDaniel's three-round total of 11-under par, 205, is the best 52-hole performance by a UK golfer since David Snyder had a 205 a season ago. It's the first win of the season for a Wildcat and first since Ben Stow won the Hootie at Bulls Bay in the spring.

"I could not be more proud of Chip McDaniel who got his first collegiate win in just his fourth career start," UK coach Brian Craig said. "What a performance for a super talented young man who also works hard to be excellent at his craft.

"As a team, we just did not have our best stuff this week. We were close, but need to use the off season to get better. We have always played better in the spring semester during my time here, and I am confidence this year will be the same. In fact, I can't wait to watch this young team continue to grow and improve. We just need some more experience and patience."

In addition to taking home the crown, McDaniel rebounded from a slow start. The Manchester, Ky., native logged a pair of bogeys in two of the first four holes to begin the day. But, the first-year player rebounded and earned his first birdie at hole No. 7. At the turn, he logged his second birdie of the afternoon before putting together a below par score on three-straight holes from 13-through-15. McDaniel concluded the round by paring the remaining three holes to finish with a 4-under par, 68, on the final day of competition for his first collegiate victory.

For the week, McDaniel posted an 11-under score and was under par by at least two strokes in all three rounds. It is the third top-20 finish of the season for McDaniel who leads all Wildcat golfers with a stroke average of 72.83 for the fall season.

Kentucky concluded action with a 288 final round score to finish in sixth place overall at 6-under par. North Florida claimed the team title with Tennessee, Michigan State, Stephen F. Austin and host McNeese State rounding out the top five.

Snyder fired an even-par, 72, on the final day of competition to move into a tie for 23rd overall. Snyder concluded the tournament with an even-par score of 216 - matching his best total for a three-round tournament during the 2014-15 season.

Junior Harrison Greenberry tied for 36th overall, and ended the tournament at 3-over par. Stephen Stallings finished in 60th overall, while freshman Cooper Musselman shot a final round 1-under par, 71, to finish the tournament strong.

The Quail Valley Collegiate Invitational concludes fall action for the Wildcats. UK returns to the links Feb. 23-24, 2015 at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate on the Magnolia Grove Golf Course.

For more information on the University of Kentucky men's golf team please visit UKathletics.com and follow us on Twitter @UKmensgolf.

 

Quail Valley Golf Club

Vero Beach, Fla.

Par: 72

 

AGATE:

6-Kentucky: 282-288-288-858 (-6)

T1 - Tyler ‘Chip' McDaniel: 67-70-68-205 (-11)

T23 - David Snyder: 70-74-72-216 (E)

T36 - Harrison Greenberry: 71-71-77-219 (+3)

T60 - Stephen Stallings: 74-73-77-224 (+8)

66 - Cooper Musselman: 79-76-71-226 (+10)

 

 

 


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UK Football Players Enter Not Guilty Pleas In Airsoft Pistol Incident http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-football-players-enter-not-guilty-pleas-in-airsoft-pistol-incident/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-football-players-enter-not-guilty-pleas-in-airsoft-pistol-incident/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 28 Oct 2014 5:44:34 PM UK Football Players Enter Not Guilty Pleas In Airsoft Pistol Incident

Four University of Kentucky football players accused of causing a campus lockdown after a report of shots fired incident entered not guilty pleas in court Tuesday.

Drew Barker, Tymere Dubose, Stanley Williams and Dorian Baker all charged with disorderly conduct after being part of a larger group playing "manhunt" outside their dorms last month, where airsoft pistols were fired.

 Dubose says they were chasing each other and shooting at one another with BB guns.

Their case will be back in court in February.


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No. 18 Volleyball Hosts DanceBlue Match Against Rival Tennessee http://www.truebluefan.com/news/no-18-volleyball-hosts-danceblue-match-against-rival-tennessee/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/no-18-volleyball-hosts-danceblue-match-against-rival-tennessee/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 28 Oct 2014 4:16:14 PM No. 18 Volleyball Hosts DanceBlue Match Against Rival Tennessee

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The No. 18 Kentucky volleyball team returns home to host rival Tennessee on Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. ET in a nationally-televised contest on ESPNU. The match is the annual DanceBlue Match, where support of the on-campus organization DanceBlue, the team will raise awareness and money to benefit children with cancer who are treated at UK's Pediatric Oncology Hematology Clinic.

The match will air live on ESPNU with Sam Gore and Dain Blanton on the call from Memorial Coliseum. Additionally, Dick Gabriel and Mandy Robbe will have the call on 1580 AM while live stats can be found on UKathletics.com.

Kentucky (18-4, 8-2 SEC) is coming off a sweep at Arkansas on Oct. 24 and a 3-1 loss at No. 24 Texas A&M on Oct. 24. Sophomore Anni Thomasson had a double-double in both contests and has recorded double-doubles in three consecutive matches, the longest streak by a Wildcat since Whitney Billings opened the 2013 season with four double-doubles in a row.

Tennessee (8-15, 1-8 SEC) posted its first league win of the year on Oct. 26 with a 3-0 victory over Ole Miss. On Oct. 10 in Knoxville, Tenn., UK recorded a 3-0 win, its fourth consecutive win over the Lady Vols. Tennessee is 1-7 away from home, with a win at Evansville on Sept. 9.

DANCEBLUE MATCH: HOW TO GET INVOLVED
To support DanceBlue, fans can pledge money for each of UK's kills, digs or assists. Fans can pledge money both in attendance at Wednesday's match or while watching the contest live on ESPNU.

The team will also wear blue warm-up tops with gold lettering and head coach Craig Skinner will wear a gold tie, which will be auctioned off on UKathletics.com following the match. A special gold ball will be auctioned off as well. Additionally, flowers and ribbons will be sold at the Marketing Gazebo to support DanceBlue. Fans are also encouraged to participate in a special post-match ceremony.

DanceBlue is a fundraising organization at UK dedicated to fighting pediatric cancer by raising money to support the DanceBlue Kentucky Children's Hospital Pediatric Oncology/Hematology Clinic and the Markey Cancer Center. The year-long fundraising effort culminates with a 24-hour dance marathon.

DanceBlue's 24-hour dance marathon 10 Year Anniversary will be February 14-15. Over the past nine years, DanceBlue has raised more than 6.5 million dollars after a record-breaking $1,436,606.24 total last year.

More information about the DanceBlue Match and DanceBlue can be found here.

SCOUTING TENNESSEE
Tennessee is 8-15 in 2014 and 1-8 in conference play. The Lady Vols, who are 1-7 away from home, earned their first SEC win Sunday with a sweep of Ole Miss. Along with a loss to then-No. 13 Kentucky, UT also lost to No. 21 Texas A&M, Tennessee's only other top-25 opponent so far in 2014.

The Lady Vols are led by Jamie Lea, who has 177 kills for a 2.72 kills per set rate. Lexi Dempsey has dished out 625 assists to go along with 25 kills and 139 digs. Bridgette Villano leads the team with 257 digs, while Iesha Bryant has a team-high 65 blocks.

UT is coached by Rob Patrick, in his 18th season, has amassed a 359-200 record in Knoxville. Patrick has led the Volunteers to two SEC titles and nine NCAA Tournament appearances, included eight of nine seasons from 2004-12.

SERIES HISTORY VS. THE VOLUNTEERS
Kentucky leads the all-time series vs. Tennessee, 45-29 after a 3-0 sweep in Knoxville on Oct. 10. UK, who has won four in a row and five of the last six in the series, is 21-9 at home and 13-15 all-time in Knoxville. Under 10th-year head coach Craig Skinner, Kentucky is 10-8 vs. the Lady Vols.

On Oct. 10 at Tennessee, Kentucky notched a 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-13) victory, led by sophomore Anni Thomasson's 15 kills on .452 hitting. UK hit .317 with 44 kills in the sweep with five aces. The defensive effort included 35 digs and nine blocks, six in the final set. UK held UT to .184 hitting and 30 kills, led by freshman Kaz Brown's career-high eight blocks and senior Jackie Napper's eight digs.

UP NEXT: VS. MOREHEAD STATE
UK plays its final nonconference match of the regular season on Nov. 3 vs. Morehead State at 7 p.m. ET. The Wildcats close out their four-match homestand vs. Georgia on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. and vs. Missouri on Nov. 9 at Noon on the SEC Network.

LAST TIME OUT: UK SWEEPS ARKANSAS, FALLS AT NO. 24 TEXAS A&M
Kentucky recorded a 3-0 win at Arkansas before falling at No. 24 Texas A&M, 3-1 last weekend. Sophomore Anni Thomasson posted a double-double in both contests, with 11 kills and 12 digs at Arkansas and 12 kills and 10 digs at Texas A&M. Thomasson has recorded double-doubles in three consecutive matches, the longest streak by a Wildcat since Whitney Billings opened the 2013 season with four double-doubles in a row.

At Arkansas on Oct. 24, UK's fifth sweep in its last six matches, the Wildcats had five service aces and held the Razorbacks to .162 hitting with 21 attack errors. Junior Shelby Workman led the Wildcats with 12 kills on .250 hitting and had nine digs. Thomasson and senior Jackie Napper each had 12 digs. Junior setter Morgan Bergren had 33 assists and two kills and directed the UK offense to .248 hitting with 40 kills. Lauren O'Conner added seven kills while freshman Kaz Brown recorded six. Brown, junior Sara Schwarzwalder and O'Conner each had two block assists.

Oct. 26 in a top-25 battle at Texas A&M, O'Conner led UK with 19 kills on .421 hitting while Napper led the defensive effort with 20 digs. Brown had eight kills and two block assists, while junior Shelby Workman recorded seven kills along with 11 digs. Bergren dished out 42 assists and added five kills and tied for the team lead with four blocks in addition to having 10 digs.

WILDCATS IN THE POLLS
Kentucky is ranked 18th in the latest AVCA Coaches' Poll. The Wildcats have been ranked in each of the last 27 polls, the third-longest streak in school history and the second-longest in head coach Craig Skinner's 10 years at the helm. From 2008-2010, UK was ranked for a program-record 31 consecutive weeks. The current streak goes back to the final poll of the 2012 season, including every week in 2013, the sixth time in team history the Wildcats have been ranked in every poll in a season. Kentucky is one of three Southeastern Conference teams in the top 25.

UK is No. 10 in the fourth NCAA RPI ranking of the season, announced Oct. 27. Used to rank teams based on record and strength of schedule, UK is one of two conference teams in the top 10.


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UK Women's Soccer Notebook: Wildcats Ranked, Braun Honored http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-women-s-soccer-notebook-wildcats-ranked-braun-honored/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-women-s-soccer-notebook-wildcats-ranked-braun-honored/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 28 Oct 2014 3:36:10 PM UK Women's Soccer Notebook: Wildcats Ranked, Braun Honored

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky women's soccer team has climbed back into the national rankings this week, as the Wildcats are now ranked in the top 25 in all five major women's soccer polls, as well as the NCAA ratings percentage index (RPI) for the first time in the 2014 season.

Kentucky has won five straight matches, all by shutouts, and all within the Southeastern Conference. UK has collected wins over No. 24 South Carolina, No. 5/4 Florida and No. 22 Georgia within a three-week span, shutting out those teams by a combined score of 5-0. The Wildcats have secured a top-three finish in the SEC for just the second time in program history (2006), and will be a top three seed at the 2014 SEC Tournament to be held next week in Orange Beach, Ala.

In the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll, Kentucky is slotted No. 24 and into the top 25 for the first time all season. Also, the Wildcats have joined the Soccer America top 25 checking in at No. 18 in UK's first appearance in the national poll this season. The Bennett College Soccer ranking system has Kentucky at No. 14, and the Massey computer rankings have the Wildcats sitting at No. 14 in the nation through 10 weeks of action.

In the NCAA RPI released Monday afternoon, UK is No. 22 in the country, and would be in a position to host an NCAA Tournament match for the fourth-straight year. The top-32 teams will host the opening round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, with eight four-team pods hosting the next two rounds leading up to the Elite Eight. In the Elite Eight, there will be four host sites that host four matches, before the 2014 NCAA Women's College Cup featuring the final four teams the following weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

In the NSCAA South Regional poll, Kentucky moved up to No. 4, only trailing Texas A&M, Florida and South Carolina, in which UK has wins over two of those three teams.

Taylor Braun Honored
After posting five-straight shutouts, including two this past weekend on the road at LSU (2-0) and No. 22 Georgia (2-0), UK goalkeeper Taylor Braun was honored for the second time this season as the SEC Freshman of the Week, it was announced by the league office. Braun made six saves over the weekend, and ran her UK-record streak to 450 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal. Braun now boasts an SEC-leading 0.45 goals against average and has only allowed three goals in her seven SEC matches. Braun also leads the league in save percentage, with a 0.880 save percentage on 22 saves this season. Braun also has been named the league's defensive player of the week one time in addition to her two freshman of the week awards this season.

Braun was also honored as the SEC overall player of the week according to CollegeSportsMadness.com for her two shutouts last weekend. It is the second time that the freshman from Colleyville, Texas, has won the SEC Player of the Week award.

2014 SEC Soccer Tournament
The 2014 SEC Soccer Tournament will be held next week (Nov. 3-9) in Orange Beach, Ala., with the top 10 regular season finishers securing a spot in the field for the annual championship. Kentucky has already clinched its spot in the field, and is playing for seeding on Thursday night with provisional No. 4 seed Alabama (7:30 p.m. ET - Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex).

The Wildcats have secured a top-three finish in the SEC for just the second time in program history (2006), and will be a top three seed at the 2014 SEC Tournament to be held next week in Orange Beach, Ala.

All nine matches of the SEC Tournament will air live on ESPN networks, with the SEC Network airing the opening round (Monday), quarterfinals (Wednesday) and semifinals (Friday) before ESPNU takes over to air the championship match at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.

For continuing coverage of UK women's soccer, log on to UKathletics.com.

 


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Nineteen Former Wildcats On NBA Opening Day Rosters http://www.truebluefan.com/news/nineteen-former-wildcats-on-nba-opening-day-rosters/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/nineteen-former-wildcats-on-nba-opening-day-rosters/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 28 Oct 2014 3:17:19 PM Nineteen Former Wildcats On NBA Opening Day Rosters

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Nineteen former Kentucky Wildcats were on opening day NBA rosters, which were released league-wide Tuesday. Kentucky's total former players in the league trump any other school in the country.

UK's longest tenured member in the NBA is Nazr Mohammed who enters his 17th season in 2014-15, and the third with the Chicago Bulls. Kentucky's newest members to the league are Julius Randle and James Young who enter their rookie seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, respectively.
Four different franchises have two former Cats: Boston (Rajon Rondo, James Young), New Orleans (Anthony Davis, Darius Miller), Phoenix (Eric Bledsoe, Archie Goodwin) and Toronto (Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson).

Coach John Calipari has coached 19 players who have been drafted over the last five seasons. Fifteen players were selected in the first round with eight going in the opening 10 selections. All three of those totals are the best marks of any school in the country in the five-year span.

Furthermore, Coach Calipari has had at least one player selected in the top 10 of the draft in each of the last seven seasons dating back to his time at Memphis. No other school in the country has had a first-round selection in each of the last seven seasons. Calipari is the only coach in the history of the sport to have three of his players drafted No. 1 overall (Derrick Rose - 2008, John Wall - 2010, Anthony Davis - 2012).

Entering the 2014-15 NBA season, Kentucky players comprise 4.2 percent of all players in the league.

The NBA season officially tips off on Tuesday. Four former Wildcats will take the court tonight on the league's opening night. Davis and Miller with the Pelicans host the Orlando Magic at 8 p.m. ET, while Terrence Jones' Rockets visit Randle and the Lakers at 10:30 p.m..

Former Wildcats on NBA Rosters:
Rajon Rondo, Boston
James Young, Boston
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte
Nazr Mohammed, Chicago
Jodie Meeks, Detroit
Terrence Jones, Houston
Julius Randle, LA Lakers
Tayshaun Prince, Memphis
Brandon Knight, Milwaukee
Anthony Davis, New Orleans
Darius Miller, New Orleans
Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia
Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix
Archie Goodwin, Phoenix
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento
Patrick Patterson, Toronto
Chuck Hayes, Toronto
Enes Kanter, Utah
John Wall, Washington


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University Of Kentucky Student-Athletes Break Graduation Record http://www.truebluefan.com/news/university-of-kentucky-student-athletes-break-graduation-record/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/university-of-kentucky-student-athletes-break-graduation-record/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 28 Oct 2014 3:11:15 PM University Of Kentucky Student-Athletes Break Graduation Record

LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky student-athletes set a school record for graduation rate in the annual report issued Tuesday by the National College Athletic Association.

The NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR), a four-year composite statistic for the freshman classes of 2004-05 through 2007-08, was 81 percent. That was up two points from last year and continued UK's trend of having broken or tied the mark for earning diplomas every year since the NCAA began charting graduation.

The GSR includes all scholarship athletes. Athletes who transfer in good standing do not count against the school's GSR. Schools also are allowed to count incoming transfers who subsequently graduate.

Here are the annual scores for UK student-athletes breaking or tying the school record each year of the 10-year history of the GSR.

Year Announced NCAA GSR
2014 | 81 percent
2013 | 79
2012 | 79
2011 | 77
2010 | 74
2009 | 73
2008 | 73
2007 | 71
2006 | 71
2005 | 68

The Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) for student-athletes, also a four-year composite statistic for the freshman classes of 2004-05 through 2007-08, is 58 percent, just one point shy of the school record posted a year ago. Data for this statistic is available since 1991. In the FGR, student-athletes who transfer count as non-graduates, regardless of their academic standing or subsequent graduation from another institution. Incoming transfer students, from junior college or four-year schools, who graduate at UK are not counted as graduates. These factors account for the difference between the FGR and the NCAA GSR.

These improvements reflect the emphasis on academic success by Mitch Barnhart, who became director of athletics in 2002.

"I'm pleased that a new graduation record was set," Barnhart said. "Completing degrees is a foundational piece of future success and we're proud of the achievements of our student-athletes."

The long-term outlook remains bright for UK's student-graduation numbers. One of Barnhart's goals for UK Athletics is a composite 3.0 grade-point average for all student-athletes. The Wildcats have hit that goal the last four semesters.


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