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Bluegrass Boys Knocked Out in First Round of The Basketball Tournament

Bluegrass Boys Knocked Out in First Round of The Basketball Tournament

The comeback tour didn’t last long for a group of former Kentucky players. The two-seeded Bluegrass Boys were knocked out of the first round at The Basketball Tournament by seven-seeded D2, 77-62.

Making up the Kentucky portion of the roster was Ramon Harris, Dominique Hawkins, Marcus Lee, and Kevon Galloway. But it was team D2 (uncoincidentally comprised of mostly former Divison II athletes) that came away with the game-winning shot to advance into the second round.

*Josh Harrellson and Derek Willis did not play despite being listed on the initial team roster*

The atmosphere – even for a 9 p.m. start time – was typical Big Blue Nation fashion, cheering on their former Cats until the bitter end.

Lee finished with 15 points and eight rebounds for the Bluegrass Boys while recent Norther Kentucky University graduate Drew McDonald added another 16 points and six rebounds for the blue and white.

The Kentucky boys might be out, but at least we still have DeMarcus Cousins (and Chris Lofton?).

We’ll have more from this game and more on Saturday during round two of The Basketball Tournament.


KBC defeats Peoria All-Stars in opening round of The Basketball Tournament

KBC defeats Peoria All-Stars in opening round of The Basketball Tournament

While the Bluegrass Boys roster is filled with former Kentucky basketball players, Team KBC is loaded with other high-level talent around the area.

In fact, they put together an anti-UK roster in a sense, highlighted by Chris Lofton (Tennessee), Anthony Hickey (LSU), Nick Mayo (EKU), and AJ Slaughter (WKU).

In their round one game this evening, KBC took down the Peoria All-Stars by a final score of 94-92.

Former Hilltopper guard AJ Slaughter torched the nets, dropping 34 points on 11-18 shooting and 6-10 from three. He also added six rebounds, three assists, and one steal.

Chris Lofton, a Maysville, KY native, finished second on the team with 18 points on 6-14 shooting and 4-11 from three. The former Volunteer also managed four rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

Nick Mayo, who recently signed on to play professionally in Japan after an impressive Summer League with the Miami Heat, scored 17 points on 7-13 shooting. The former EKU Colonel also grabbed three rebounds and two steals in the victory.

Team KBC will take on DeMarcus Cousins’ Loyalty is Love squad tomorrow afternoon in the Lexington regional quarterfinals.


@TeamLoyaltyTBT

DeMarcus Cousins’ squad wins their first game of The Basketball Tournament

Former Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins’ debut as a general manager was a massive success.

To tip off The Basketball Tournament at Frederick Douglass High School, Cousins’ Loyalty is Love squad defeated the Illinois Hoopville Warriors by a final score of 107-98.

Former Baylor standout Pierre Jackson led Loyalty is Love with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists, followed by former Marquette star Darius Johnson-Odom with 24 points, four rebounds, and one assist.

Jackson was joined by fellow Baylor standouts Isaiah Austin and Quincy Miller, who finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively. This was the first time Austin has played an official game on American soil since he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome in 2014, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. At the time of the diagnosis, Austin said he was no longer allowed to play basketball at a competitive level since there was a high risk of his aorta rupturing if he continued to play.

As for Miller, you may recall that he was once a serious Kentucky basketball target in the class of 2011, with many considering him a near-lock to end up in Lexington. Instead, the former five-star forward signed with Baylor.

Former Kentucky center Daniel Orton also put up 11 points on 3-5 shooting to go with two rebounds and one blocked shot in his first game back in Lexington.

Loyalty is Love will take on the winner of KBC and the Peoria Allstars tomorrow afternoon.


Dominique Hawkins and Marcus Lee excited to play together in Lexington again

Dominique Hawkins and Marcus Lee excited to play together in Lexington again

This afternoon, former Kentucky basketball players Dominique Hawkins and Marcus Lee will be playing in Lexington for the first time in two and three years, respectively.

The Basketball Tournament is underway at Frederick Douglass High School, where the Wildcat duo will suit up for the Bluegrass Boys with a $2 million cash prize on the line.

But for each of them, it’s not just about the money. It’s about competing against high-level professional talent in front of the Big Blue Nation again.

“It definitely is fun being back, I definitely miss playing at Kentucky,” Hawkins said in a media opportunity on Thursday. “As you guys know, I’ve been overseas playing. I get to play with one of my teammates, Marcus Lee, who is here right now. A lot of other Kentucky players. Hopefully we make a good run in this tournament together.”

“Oh man, it’s a great feeling,” Lee said about being back in Lexington. “There’s no better feeling than being back in Kentucky, at my alma mater, with fans that you love. There’s no better feeling. I’m so excited to be back here playing with Dom. I’m looking forward to a great time.”

But it won’t just be Hawkins and Lee representing the University of Kentucky. Former Wildcats Josh Harrellson, Kevin Galloway, and A.J. Stewart will also be suiting up for the Bluegrass Boys.

Leading the team? Kentucky legend Wayne Turner, who will serve as the team’s head coach during the tournament.

“I’ve never had a coach like him before, he’s so relaxed. I’m so used to Coach Cal and (Madison Central coach) Allen Feldhaus, always in my face and stuff. If I make a mistake, [Turner] is like “It’s good, it’s good. We’re going to get it together,” and stuff like that. With Coach Cal, I was on the bench. If he didn’t yell at me, he was putting me on the bench if I did something bad.”

For Hawkins, who grew up in Richmond, KY, it’ll also be a chance for him to play in front of his friends and family again.

“I know a lot of people that are going to be coming up to see me,” he said. “They’ve always supported me since I was in middle school. They figured out that I was going to be an excellent basketball player and that I’ve been a good kid at home, humble. I love their support, and if they haven’t heard it yet, I really hope they come out and support me.”

For the last two years, the former Kentucky guard has been playing professionally in Estonia and will decide in August where he will be headed next.

“[My time in Estonia] was good,” he said. “The winters are really tough for me, I didn’t have that much snow in Kentucky before. We get like six inches of snow almost every week or so. It was insane for me. The food, it was okay. I’m very picky when it comes to food. They had a few burger spots for me and stuff like that. But the people I met there were really good to me, I had fun, made a lot of new friends.”

As a player, Hawkins says his game has changed exponentially since he’s been at Kentucky.

“I’m much more aggressive now, have the ball in my hands a lot more than I ever have,” he said. “I’m way more comfortable being a point guard and controlling the team, making calls.”

Part of the reason he’s so excited to be back and playing in this tournament? The fact that he has Lee, among other athletic big men, to play with again.

“On my teams, I’ve never really had any athletic bigs overseas, so it’s exciting to get back to that with Marcus,” he said. “Throwing lobs, going off the pick-and-roll, knowing I’ll be open because of his dominant presence in the post.”

For Lee, he says he’s excited to not only play in front of Kentucky fans again, but win games in front of them again, as well.

“We’re bonding really well, really great guys,” he said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun out here, especially with the fans. There’s no better fanbase in the world, so it’ll be really cool to watch. We’re going to win a whole bunch of games.”

And while it’s convenient that they’ll be in Lexington again, the former Kentucky forward knows the BBN would follow them wherever they went. After three years with the basketball program, he knows they’d travel across the country to see current or former Wildcats play.

“It doesn’t matter where we’re playing, people need to realize that we’re still BBN,” he said. “We could be in California and they’d find a way to pack it out in all blue. We’ve got an unfair advantage no matter where we go. We’re Bluegrass Boys, we’ve been here. We’re always here.”

Lee played during the 2017-18 season at California, but it’s been three seasons since we’ve seen him in Lexington.

For him, he’s excited to show Kentucky fans what he’s been working on.

“Yeah, this is a great time for us to come back, show what we’ve improved on, show the love that we have for Kentucky. Just for us to come back, give back, and show that we still love them. It means a lot to us, and I know it means a lot to you guys.”

Personally, the end goal for him is to get back to playing in the NBA.

“Most guys don’t know I had knee surgery in October, so I’ve been doing rehab since then,” Lee said. “Now I’m doing a whole bunch of workouts back at home, trying to get my body right. From now on, it’ll be all about working more and getting back to the NBA. The knee is doing pretty great, it’s working just fine now. Better than college, actually, which is surprising. I’m excited to use it again, it’s been a while since I’ve jumped like that.”

Hawkins, Lee, and the rest of his two-seed Bluegrass Boys will take on seven-seed D2 tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET at Frederick Douglass High School. If you can’t make it in person, you can also catch them live on ESPN3.


Mark Krebs Says There’s “No Doubt” Kentucky Had the Best Team in 2010

Photo via UK Athletics

If you’ve followed this site or listened to Kentucky Sports Radio this morning, you know that it’s a big basketball weekend in Lexington. That’s because the city has been tabbed as one of the eight host cities for “The TBT” a single elimination, five-on-five basketball tournament where the first prize winners get $2 million.

It really is a cool event, and the Lexington regional is loaded. “The Bluegrass Boys” feature a bunch of locally-known guys, as they’re coached by Wayne Turner, and feature names like Dominique Hawkins, Ramon Harris and others. “Loyalty is Love” is one of their opponents, with DeMarcus Cousins as their GM, and others – including Daniel Orton – on their roster.

The games began at 3pm ET at Frederick Douglass High School and will go all night, and as a lead-up to them former Wildcat Mark Krebs, joined KSR’s Aaron Torres Sports Podcast to preview the event.

Krebs also discussed his time playing for the Wildcats with Aaron, most notably his final year in 2010 when the Wildcats made the Elite Eight. That was of course John Calipari’s first team in Lexington, one which featured a slew of guys who are still currently in the NBA, including Cousins, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Patrick Patterson and Darius Miller.

So yeah, that was a loaded team, and if you think the guys on that team still don’t think about “what could have been,” think again.

That team knows it was the best team in college basketball. And should have won the title.

We were no doubt the best team left in the tournament that year,” Krebs told Torres. “I go back and talk to Darius, John and those guys and that’s the first thing they say ‘Man, I wish we could go back and win it. It would be awesome.’”

Unfortunately, it simply wasn’t in the cards for that Wildcats team, as a cold shooting night against West Virginia cost them a year’s worth of work. That is the nature of a one and done tournament of course, where the best team doesn’t always win. That’s not just the case for the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats, but so many teams throughout college basketball history.

Which leads to the question: How many titles would Kentucky have right now if it wasn’t a one and done event? The answer: Almost certainly a lot more.

“It just goes to show you that when it’s one game, winner go home [it’s different],” Krebs said. “I think if it were a seven-game series we would have won it, and Kentucky wins it a lot. But when it comes down to one game, you just never know.”

Still, when reflecting back on his time at Kentucky, Krebs had nothing but great things to say. He is the rare player (maybe the only one actually) whose time in Lexington actually spanned three different coaching staffs, as his first year in 2006-2007 was Tubby Smith’s final season at the school, before he played two years under Billy Gillispie and then a final season under Calipari.

And as fun as his four years were in Lexington, he can’t believe it’s been 10 more since he last played in 2010.

“I just feel like it goes by so fast,” he said. “When I go back to watch practice or see Coach Cal, when I get back there, it’s almost like no time has passed. But when you actually look at the teams that have come through, the amount of pros that have come through, and all that has happened in 10 years, it’s mind-boggling.”

To listen to Krebs’ full interview on KSR’s Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, click here.

And if you’re interested in attending the TBT, action tips off at 3pm local time at Frederick Douglass High School, with the Bluegrass Boys playing at 9pm ET.


LISTEN: DeMarcus Cousins on Kentucky Sports Radio

LISTEN: DeMarcus Cousins on Kentucky Sports Radio

We’ve already shared some comments from DeMarcus Cousins’ appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio this morning, but if you missed it, do yourself a favor and go back and listen on podcast because it was great.

In addition to talking about his time at Kentucky, Cousins shared his thoughts on the Warriors coming up short in the NBA Finals and his new home in Los Angeles. He reminisced about his favorite places to eat in Lexington, and said he’ll give KSBar a try, but only if we’ll give him free meals because he couldn’t get them during his college days.

Boogie felt so at home with the KSR crew that he even let a bad word slip out when discussing Matt’s original nickname for him, Carl:

Boogie is the best. Listen below starting at the top of hour two: