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Season Never Ends Wednesday News and Views

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The Kentucky Basketball 2011 Calendar is here (featuring UK hero Scott Padgett on the cover), brought to you by Season Never Ends. Our all-new third edition is filled with your favorite UK basketball memories on the days they actually happened — old memories and brand new ones, like over 35 from the 2009-2010 season. Legendary players, games and moments drawn from over 100 years of the nation’s #1 basketball program.

Available online from seasonneverends.com for just $14.99. Use the coupon code KSR and take $3 off shipping.

You can find it at the following stores: Allsports (Fayette Mall), Alumni Hall (Fayette Mall, St. Matthews Mall, Greenwood Mall), Kennedy’s Book Store, Kentucky Korner (Fayette Mall, Shops at Lexington Center, Jefferson Mall & others), Joseph-Beth (Lexington Green), Gift Shops at Elk Creek Vineyards (8 locations), Beckers (2 Louisville locations), Fan Outfitters (Lexington & Louisville), Transfer Station Sportswear (Newport), The Kentucky Shop (Florence), [email protected] (Paducah) and many more.

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Now onto some UK notes…

 – After a disappointing finish to a four-game road trip against UConn, Kentucky entered the Boston game looking to correct some mistakes and build a little positive momentum against a mid-major before starting a three-game stretch against North Carolina, Notre Dame and Indiana.  Despite a sluggish start, the Cats were able to polish off the Terriers and did so with a strong second half and drastic improvement in a number of key areas, none more important than what had become Calipari’s biggest complaint since the UConn game:  selfishness.  On Tuesday night, the Cats looked as fluid on offense as they have at any point this season and seemed to find the trust in their teammates that Calipari had hoped for.  A team that entered the game averaging 12 assists per game handed out 23 helpers on the offensive end and shot a season-high 59% from the field (62% on threes).  Calipari said early in the season that he didn’t expect the dribble-drive to yield a lot of assists, but no matter what offensive set this team employs, that’s a statistic that’s going to indicate how fluid the offense was.  Against Boston, it was unselfish and efficient.  And that’s a recipe for success.

 – That unselfish play started at the point as Brandon Knight put together his best and most complete game of his young college career.  Knight’s 23 points were one off of his career high and his six rebounds were a new high, as were his six assists.  More importantly, Knight looked comfortable commanding Kentucky’s offense and didn’t seem to be over-thinking things.  Against UConn, the freshman point guard never looked to be settled in and I wonder how much of that had to do with Calipari using him early on the wing, running off of screens and looking to get shots.  Terrence Jones handled the ball at the top as Knight worked to get in scoring positions.  When Jones left with foul trouble, Knight seemed to have trouble adjusting back to playing the point aggressively as he had in the previous four games.  Against Boston, he was again back in the ball-handling role and was able to initiate the offense and create from the top of the key off the dribble.  He responded with his best game of the season.

 – For Kentucky to be as good as they hope to be this year, they have to find a consistent third contributor on offense and one post player who can control the boards opposite of Terrence Jones.  Darius Miller has shown flashes of being that scorer, as has Doron Lamb (including a 13 point night against BU), but neither has been consistent.  On Tuesday, for the third time this year, Josh Harrellson filled both of those roles in posting the second double-double of his career and his first since almost exactly two years ago.  The smart money is on Jorts not being a consistent offensive weapon, but as we’ve said a hundred times, if he can just provide a rebounding presence and clean up putbacks as he did on Tuesday, this becomes a very well-balanced team. 

– The game did have a somber feel, though, as the players wore black socks and the coaches wore black suits to honor Coach Cal’s mother, who passed away Sunday.  After the game, Coach Cal opened up about the loss of his mother and what it was like taking the court for the first time since she passed.

 -In non-Boston news, Matt reported earlier on Tuesday that his sources told him that the Enes Kanter appeal would take place on Thursday, which means that a ruling could come as early as next week.  That’s not confirmed, obviously, so don’t get it inked on your bicep.  On Tuesday, though, the NCAA appeals committee ruled Indiana’s Guy-Marc Michel ineligibile.  Not comparing cases.  Just for your reading amusement.

 – Word also broke on Tuesday, thanks to a report from Sports By Brooks, that Mitch Barnhart will not be heading for the Kansas AD job.  According to the report, Barnhart will not even interview for the position after notifying KU that he could not travel for an interview.  They apparently told him “no thanks”.

 – Also on Tuesday, a pair of former UK coaches were nominated for the Basketball Hall of Fame.  Both Joe B. Hall and Rick Pitino were on the list of 26 potential Hall of Famers, which also included names like Dennis Rodman, Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin, Don Nelson, Jim Valvano, Bernard King, Rudy Tomjanovich, Mark Jackson, Ralph Sampson, Jamaal Wilkes, Tex Winters, Maurice Cheeks, Bill Fitch, Dick Bavetta, Marty Blake, George Raveling, Spencer Haywood, Arvydis Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis.  And three others.  If Pitino is inducted, could make for an interesting case study on UK-fandom.

 – In his first game since being kicked out of practice, DeMarcus Cousins played very well.  As of this writing, he has 12 points and 4 rebounds in only 15 minutes of play against the Pacers.  Cousins had 6 and 4 in 8 minutes of first half work.  UPDATE:  Cousins finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds in 23 minutes.

–  Finally, SAMCRO.  That’s all.

That’s it for now.  Stick around throughout the day as we put the finishing touches on the BU game and get you ready for UK’s big matchup in Chapel Hill on Saturday.  And we might even talk a little about the BBVA Compass Bowl.  DOn’t forget that all the fun gets going on Kentucky Sports Radio at 10am, which is now streaming live online here.  See you in a few…

Article written by Thomas Beisner