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Night of Stars at the Derby Classic

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Tonight I made my way to Bellarmine College to see the Night of Future Stars at the Derby Classic. It was a good event with a sold out crowd and featured all the participants for tomorrow night’s Derby Classic here in Louisville. A few notes….

— The highlight of the night was watching the 2 on 2 tournament in which Daniel Orton and Jon Hood were teamed up as teammates. Orton and Hood played three games, winning two of them and both had impressive performances. Orton showcased that when guarded one on one in the block, there is almost no one who can stop him. He scored in a variety of ways and even knocked down a couple of three pointers in the game. Jon Hood also played well, showcasing a variety of moves to the basket, but also utilizing his big guy with good entry passes. He guarded a couple of guys much quicker than him, but he used his length to make up for his speed deficiency and had a couple of blocks in the process. It was good to watch the guys together and being roommates through the week, I am sure they are talking a lot about their potential UK futures.

— The dunk contest was actually fairly pedestrian, but Jon Hood became a finalist for the event that will be held at halftime tomorrow night. Hood did however have a tough night shooting in the three point contest, finishing towards the bottom of the shooters.

— UK fans wont want to hear this, but one of the organizers of the event says the two guys that have become the best friends this week….none other than Jon Hood and Mike Marra….go figure.

— Speaking of Marra, the tattoed one from Louisville had a great night, making the finals of the three point shooting contest and probably throwing down the best dunk of the night. However a UK fan bested him early on, when he ran on the court after being introduced and threw his shirt into the crowd….a UK fan caught it, ran onto the court and threw it back…..classic stuff that made Scott Padgett give the UK fan a standing ovation.

— One thing is clear from tonight and that is that Eric Bledsoe is the truth. His team won the 2 on 2 contest (beating Hood and Orton in the semi-finals) and he played well all night. He is down to Kentucky and Florida basically and the Gators are his top choice right now. However I was told by a person who would know this evening that Bledsoe is still a VERY wanted target for UK and that they are watching him very closely. He is super talented and I would hate to see him end up in Gainesville.

— Not a very impressive outing for Nolan Dennis, who clearly loved the loud reception he got from the UK fans. His 2 on 2 team lost in the first round and he finished tied for last in the three point contest (even beaten by Daniel Orton). However you can see the kid’s tremendous athleticism and he has some major potential.

— In other news, I was told that Coach Calipari visited Dominique Ferguson and Solomon Hill over the last two days on his recruiting trip across America. Ferguson is a major priority for this staff for 2010 and they believe he can be perfect for Calipari’s offense. As for Hill, he may be the most coveted player by the staff that no one is talking about at this point. Hill can play a couple of different positions and is VERY interested in the Cats….one to watch this week as the chips start to fall.

Tomorrow, I will have my thoughts on what will happen with Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton. Plus I plan on LIVE BLOGGING from the Derby Classic tomorrow night. Should be a big day and night……….

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Article written by Matt Jones