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Posts Tagged ‘Eric Bledsoe’

Daily news and notes

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 9, 2010

– It looks like the Cats long-awaited new jerseys have been released, as they have been seen at local Dick’s Sporting Goods stores across Kentucky. Here are a couple pics:

– UK takes on Alabama tonight (9PM ET) in a matchup between two coaches who are in their first year with their respective teams. The biggest storyline though is DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe taking on their homestate school. Cousins personally has some bad blood with his home state so look for him to come out with a bag of chips on his shoulder.

– International big man Enes Kanter has been a hot commodity since coming to the United States, though his buzz went away for the most part after committing to Washington a couple months ago. Kanter has re-opened his recruitment and is considering the Cats. Kanter posted 50 points and 20 rebounds in his last game, so yeah he’s good.

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Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 30, 2010

Coming off their first loss of the season, the Wildcats look to rebound as they return home to face the pesky Vanderbily Commodores. Vandy is known for giving UK tough games and beating them on a semi-consistent basis.

Vanderbilt is off to their best start in school history and is looking to start 17-3 on the season with a win at Rupp.

Sophomore guard Jeffery Taylor leads Vandy in scoring at just over 14 ppg as well as averaging 5 rpg. One bright spot for the Cats concerning Taylor is that he is not a threat from behind the arc, a trait that scoring guards have dominated Kentucky with.

Big man AJ Ogilvy is the workhorse down low in the post for the Commodores, averaging 13 ppg and 6 rpg. Ogilvy has done pretty well in his career against the Cats, averaging 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in three games against the Cats, two of which have been wins.

For the Cats, Patrick Patterson has to be more effective and involved in the offensive sets that UK runs. Both Patterson and coach John Calipari are to blame for Patterson being non-existent for long stretches this season. Calipari has shown tendencies to defer to freshmen over the Wildcats’ proven scorer and leader.

Along with Patterson, DeMarcus Cousins needs to bang down low early and needs to STAY OUT OF FOUL TROUBLE, something that has plagued him more than any player that I can remember. If Patterson and Cousins can get AJ Ogilvy in some foul trouble early then UK should be able to feel comfortable.

Around the perimeter, along with Taylor, Vanderbily has a trio of solid guards that have become a staple for Kevin Stallings and his teams. Jermaine Beal, John Jenkins, and Taylor are all very involved in the scoring offense for Vandy. Brad Tinsley comes in for Vandy and gives them solid minutes, one of six players that plays 20+ minutes per game.

Two inconsistent players for the Cats—Darius Miller and Eric Bledsoe—are going to need to step up if Kentucky wants to play an efficient game. Miller and Bledsoe combined to shoot 2-9 from the floor with only 4 points, 6 assists, and 7 turnovers. When two of your starters do not produce it is hard for your team to be successful.

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Kentucky at South Carolina Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 26, 2010

The Wildcats will travel east to face the always-dangerous South Carolina Gamecocks tonight on the road (9 P.M. ET, ESPN).

The ‘Cocks are led by senior guard Devan Downey, who comes into the game averaging 21.9 points, inculding 31.6 ppg in conference play.

USCjr’s second-leading scorer, Dominique Archey, is out with an injury he suffered in the first month of the season and Carolina only has one other double-digit scorer, Brandis Raley-Ross.

Projected Starters

G — John Wall vs. Devan Downey

This is sure to be Wall’s toughest individual matchup so far this season. He has not played against a guard with the speed, quickness, or scorers mentality that Downey has. Wall does have a large height advantage over the Cincinnati transfer—5-foot9 vs. 6-foot-4—which would allow him to see over the head of Downey and would limit his great ability to steal the ball—nearly 3.0 spg.

Advantage: Wall, UK

G — Eric Bledsoe vs. Brandis Raley-Ross

This is a matchup between Robins to Wall and Downey’s Batman. Both Bledsoe and Raley-Ross get severely overshadowed by their all-league backcourt mates, and for valid reasons.

Neither Bledsoe nor Raley-Ross have the scoring ability that their partner-in-crime has but they are both very important to the success of their team. I give Bledsoe the advantage simply because he is better in just about every single statistical category and seems to be on the same page as Wall at this point in the season.

Advantage: Bledsoe, UK

F — Darius Miller vs. Lakeem Jackson

This matchup is a no-brainer any way you look at it. Miller is superior shooting the ball, defensively, athletically, and is a much better passer than people realize. Not to mention that his confidence should be sky-high after a career day against Arkansas. Easy.

Advantage: Miller, UK

F – Patrick Patterson vs. Evaldas Baniulis

‘Mr. Consistency’, as I call him, should handle Baniulus pretty easily down in the post. In three career games against South Carolina Patterson has posted 22-9, 28-7, and 28-12 but only has a 1-2 record in those games.

Patterson has dominated other big men for the GameCOCKS and is going against a dreadful defender in Baniulis.

Advantage: Patterson, UK

F — DeMarcus Cousins vs. Sam Muldrow

Ok, this is BY FAR the easiest pick of the five matchups. Cousins has a full two inches on Muldrow and outweighs him by FIFTY-FIVE POUNDS! YIKES! Cousins has been dominating players that are AT LEAST his height and now he should have another double-double and could have his first career 20-20 game IF he stays out of foul trouble (a BIG if).

Advantage: Cousins, UK

Prediction

The Cats SHOULD come out with a lot of energy as they play their first game ranked as #1 since the 2002-2003 season. I think DeMarcus Cousins will come out and simply dominate from the get-go. Cousins should be able to stay out of foul trouble because South Carolina is predominately a perimeter scoring team and does not attack 6’11” guys too frequently.

81-69 Cats

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Kentucky flies by Arkansas in 101-70 victory

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 23, 2010

Sophomore forward Darius Miller poured in a career-high 18 points to lead Kentucky (19-0) in a 101-70 victory over Arkansas (8-11) in Rupp Arena.

Miller made a career-high four three-pointers against the Razorbacks and was helped in the game by a trio of freshman as John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, and DeMarcus Cousins combined for 42 points, 24 rebounds, and 14 assists to join Miller in the scoring parade.

Using a 10-0 run to start the game, the Wildcats led by less than double digits for only 1:44 of the game.

Lost amongst the acrobatic moves by John Wall and the long bombs of Darius Miller was the play by the UK bench. Often harrassed by coach John Calipari in press conferences, the Wildcat bench scored 32 points for the Cats and showed the Rupp Arena crowd their great hustle on the defensive end of the court when the starters needed a short rest.

Notes

– The 31-point win for the Cats is the largest SEC victory since January 16, 2007 (38-point win over South Carolina)
– Kentucky moves to 23-7 all-time against Arkansas with the win saturday
– The Wildcats’ 31-point win is the largest victory over Arkansas since 1948
– With 16 points and 14 rebounds against the Razorbacks, DeMarcus Cousins tallied his 10th double-double of the season
– Patrick Patterson had scored in double-figures in 13 consecutive games before finishing with 9 points against Arkansas

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Bledsoe a “one-and-done”?

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 21, 2010

The internet has been abuzz with news that Chad Ford and Bill Simmons of ESPN.com saying that many GMs are coming away from Kentucky games and practices raving about Eric Bledsoe. Both Ford and Simmons have said that multiple front office personel have projected Bledsoe as the second-rated point guard in the 2010 NBA Draft—behind John Wall.

If both Wall and Bledsoe bolt to the draft after this season it would once again prove John Calipari’s ability to develop guards like no other coach in the country. In the past two seasons Calipari has sent Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans to the league after just one season in college. Rose won Rookie of the Year in 2009 and it looks like Tyreke Evans is the front-runner for the same award this season.

The only downside to consistently bringing in All-American guards is the pain in losing them many at a time after just one-to-two seasons. It was expected since his senior year in high school that John Wall would be  a one-and-done but if Bledsoe leaves it would be a shock considering he was recruited to be a two-to-three year player at least.

Next season, if Bledsoe goes pro, the rotation will look much different assuming Wall, Patrick Patterson, and DeMarcus Cousins go pro as well.

Returning Players

Sr. Josh Harrellson
Jr. Darnell Dodson
Jr. DeAndre Liggins
Jr. Darius Miller
So. Daniel Orton
So. Jon Hood
Fr. Stacey Poole

That would leave only six scholarship players returning next season and leave sixopen scholarships for the 2010 class after already signing Stacey Poole, a 6-foot-4 guard out of Florida.z

Recruiting Trail

Currently Kentucky is heavily recruiting many unsigned seniors, particularly diverse inside-outside forwards like Terrence Jones and CJ Leslie. As you can see by looking at the returning players, the Cats have a bunch of guards returning but lack legitimate post threats aside from Daniel Orton. Assuming UK lands CJ Leslie, a player that many believe is Kentucky’s to lose, along with another dual-threat guard like Doron Lamb and a point guard like Josh Selby, that will still leave UK very thin in the front court.

Projected 2010 Roster
Starters

G Josh Selby (FR)
G Doron Lamb (FR)
G Darnell Dodson (JR)
F Darius Miller (JR)
C Daniel Orton (SO)

Bench

F CJ Leslie (FR)
G DeAndre Liggins (JR)
G Stacey Poole (FR)
F Josh Harrellson (SR)
G Jon Hood (SO)

It seems pretty obvious that UK will add more players to their roster because teams never leave three scholarships unfilled but as of now it appears this is what the roster will look like. Hopefully Bledsoe returns so the depth can be that much better but it appears that is going to be a smaller issue than the severe lack of front court depth that the Wildcats will have next season.

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Kentucky vs. Auburn Post Game

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 17, 2010

Kentucky had a less-than-stellar outing tonight vs. Auburn in their second SEC road game of the season, pulling out a 72-67 victory over the 9-9 Tigers at Beard-Eaves-Memoiral Coliseum.

Leading the Cats was DeMarcus Cousins who recorded his ninth double-double of the season—16 points and 11 rebounds.

I was very surprised with the activity inside the paint tonight by the Wildcats. Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins combined to only shoot 12 shots while John Wall and Eric Bledsoe shot 16. UK had a serious advantage in the paint and did NOT take advantage of it as I would have hoped. The rebounding margin was only +5 for the Cats and should’ve been at least +15.

Notes

– Kentucky attempted 35 free throws against Auburn, tying the season-high set earlier this year against Cleveland State in Cancun.
– The Cats shot over 50% from the field for the 11th time this season
–  UK had four players—Wall, Bledsoe, Patterson, and Cousins—play 30+ minutes for the first time since November 25th against Stanford
– In their last 26 games against the Tigers, Kentucky is now 25-1
– The 9 offensive rebounds that Kentucky had tonight were the fewest of the season, marking the first time UK has posted single-diget offensive boards all season

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Kentucky vs. Auburn Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 16, 2010

On Saturday afternoon UK hosts an Auburn Tigers team that is coming off an embarassing 81-55 loss at Tennessee thursday night but looks to rebound with an upset of the undefeated Cats tomorrow.

Led by senior DeWayne Reed (16.1 ppg), the Tigers are already 0-2 in the SEC and have the same record against ranked opponents this season. Auburn not only will come into the game with only one full day’s rest but is extremely undersized, starting only one player taller than 6’6 where as UK starts three.

Kentucky has been playing great as of late, winning at Florida handily earlier this week and recent victories over Louisville and Georgia at home. One key for the Cats has been the increased level of play by UK “role players” like Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton, who each had great games against Florida.

When Kentucky can have players other than Wall, Patterson, and Cousins step up, especially underclassmen, it makes them 10x more dangerous because it makes them impossible to guard defensively because you simply can not stop 4-5 guys all at once for an extended period of time. It has been great to watch Eric Bledsoe take over games when the defenses are geared to stop John Wall because ironically it opens things up on the court for Wall.

Projected Starting Lineups

G — DeWayne Reed vs. John Wall
Advantage: John Wall, UK
Why: Wall will have the advantage in every matchup he plays this season because he has simply been the best player in the nation. His combination of speed, athleticsm, and diversity offensively have NBA scouts salivating and college basketball fans shaking their heads in amazement.

G — Tay Waller vs. Eric Bledsoe
Advantage: Eric Bledsoe, UK
Why: In a matchup of #24’s Bledsoe gets the advantage largely because of his supporting cast. Bledsoe can allow the game to come to him without rushing his game because his team is far superior skill-wise. Bledsoe is coming off a career-high 25 points as opposed to Waller’s 7 point outing against Tennessee

G — Frankie Sullivan vs. F — Darius Miller
Advantage: Darius Miller, UK
Why:
Miller at 6’7 as a gigantic height advantage over the 6’2 Sullivan and I’m sure Coach Cal will have several ways to implement this mismatch into the gameplan. I would be surprised if you don’t see a breakout game by Miller against an opponent that he can shoot without worry against and can drive the lane at will.

F — Lucas Hargrove vs. Patrick Patterson
Advantage: Patrick Patterson, UK
Why: Pattrson has been the premiere big man in the SEC for the past season now and he will have a severe advantage at the upsettingly undersized Hargrove. Patterson has about two inches and thiry pounds on Hargrove and should be fed in the post several times early to expose Auburn’s lack of size.
F — Johnnie Lett vs. C — DeMarcus Cousins
Advantage: DeMarcus Cousins
Why: Big Cuz too will have a size advantage because he stands nearly seven-feet tall and two-hundred sixty pounds. Cousins has dominated every single game this season when he stays out of foul trouble and against a player who is four inches shorter than himself he should be able to avoid foul trouble by simply standing tall.

Notable Facts

– Kentucky is 83-17 all-time against Auburn
– Kentucky has won 10 straight meetings and is 24-1 in the last 25 meetings
– The most single-game points Kentucky has scored against Auburn is 119 (119-76 win) in 1975
– Kentucky is 169-24 all-time when ranked #2 in the country with the last loss coming in the NCAA Tournament to UAB in 2004
– The last game Kentucky played against Auburn while ranked was an 81-73 win in 2005

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Kentucky vs. Florida – Post Game Notes

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 12, 2010

In a night where Lane Kiffin-to-USC was more talked about than the actual game, Kentucky  held off Florida in front of a crazed crowd in the O’Connell Center in Gainesville for a 89-77 win.

Eric Bledsoe led the Cats with a career high 25 points including 10-13 from the field and 3-4 from behind the arc with fellow freshmen John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins adding 19 and 13 points respectively.

Notes:

Eric Bledsoe was clearly the most important and surprising factor in the game tonight and actually outshined the college basketball darling that is John Wall.

DeMarcus Cousins surprised me tonight by making the little plays. He tied his lowest rebound total since his freshman debut but still was great on the offensive glass and came up with perhaps the biggest rebound of the game following Patrick Patterson’s missed free throw with the Cats up two points.

Daniel Orton came off the bench and had perhaps his best game of his young career. His three blocks on one possession set the tone that Florida better not enter the paint unless they come hard. Orton also set a career-high with nine rebounds tonight as well.

Besides Orton and Darnell Dodson the bench did not show up tonight, scoring zero points and not attempting a single shot.

Other than very short stretches the Kentucky defense was stellar. UK held the Gators to 38.2% from the floor and had six blocks along with six steals in the game. You would like to see them force more than 10 turnovers but when Florida is jacking up shots as quickly as they did at times it was harder to force those turnovers.

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Kentucky vs. Florida Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 12, 2010

Tuesday night there is no question that Kentucky will face its toughest road test so far this season. For about three games per year the O’Connell Center in Gainesville can get rowdy and there is no question that the annual game against UK is one of those games.

Florida is coming off a loss in their SEC opener at Vanderbilt and has lost 4 of their last 7 games including losses to Richmond (“neutral site” in Florida) and South Alabama at home in back-to-back contests.

Projected Starters

Erving Walker vs. John Wall
The Verne Troyer of college hoops is averaging just over 11 ppg this season and is coming off his top scoring effort of the season against Vandy (22). Although just a sophomore, Mini-Me is leading the team in minutes per game and has started all 15 games this season. In the two games against the Cats last season, Walker averaged 8.5 points and 1.0 assists per game, not to shabby for someone that will stand a full 8 inches shorter than the opposing starting point guard.

Wall comes in as the front-runner for National POY and has a sickening advantage athletically and size-wise against Walker. Nothing more need be said.
Edge: John Wall, UK

Kenny Boynton vs. Eric Bledsoe
Even through this tough patch in the season Florida does have some players playing at a very high level. One of the best and most underrated freshmen in the nation, Kenny Boynton, has been tearing it up for the Gators averaging over 16 ppg over his last five, including a 28 point output against the Commodores. Odds are Eric Bledsoe will begin the game guarding Boynton to keep John Wall out of potential foul trouble and it is key he keeps his eyes on Boynton all over the floor.

Bledsoe is the laziest Wildcat in the starting lineup and could be pulled quickly if he does not come out with defensive intensity. He frequently goes under screens and almost assumes other players will pick up his man on screens and when his defender moves. Bledsoe has the length and quickness to contain Boynton but it is easier said than done.
Edge: Kenny Boynton, FLA

Dan Werner vs. Darius Miller
Werner has been the most disappointing Gator player so far this season. Granted, he was never very good, perhaps even bad, but he has gone down in almost every single offensive category even though his minutes have increased this season. Darius Miller has the pleasure of matching up against the Gators’ worst starter and will hopefully come out and dominate this matchup.

This matchup is pretty even in terms of size and importance to the outcome of the game. Miller is clearly the better player but has played perhaps his worst two games as a Wildcat in the last week, scoring 0 and 5 in his last two outings.
Edge: Push

Vernon Macklin vs. Patrick Patterson
Vernon Macklin has been one of the best transfers in the nation this season—his first since transferring from Georgetown. He is averaging 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game but also is second on the team in fouls. Macklin has started every game but one only shoots 67% from the free throw line, leading one to believe he won’t be on the court during crunch time.

Patterson is one of the best players in the country and is able to draw fouls at a terrific rate. He completely dominates players that are physically smaller than him and averaged a double-double in his two meetings with Florida last season. Being the emotional leader on the team, it is important that PPat stays out of foul trouble, something that he has greatly improved on this season over his previous two, and stays on the floor in the second half.
Edge: Patrick Patterson, UK

Alex Tyus vs. DeMarcus Cousins/Daniel Orton
Odds are DeMarcus Cousins will pick up two fouls before tip time so when he sits on the bench it will be up to the bigs on the bench—Daniel Orton and Perry Stevenson—to  come ready to play, something that they haven’t been doing lately. Alex Tyus makes his impact based off pure athleticsm and energy but against mountaints like Cousins and Orton it will be very tough to have the sort of results he is accustomed to. Cousins is easily the best rebounder in the nation, averaging over nine rebounds per game in only 2o minutes an outing.
Edge: DeMarcus Cousins


One of the most intruiging matchups this evening will be between the head honchos on the sidelines. Donovan will try to prove that he made the right decision by staying at UF when it was safely assumed he had first dibs at the UK job last year. Calipari has really nothing to prove accept that his young Cats can win on the road in a hostile environment.

In other (and more important) news it is being reported that Erin Andrews will be on hand to work the sidelines at her alma mater. Widely considered the cream-of-the-crop amongst ESPN sideline analysts, Andrews should more than triple the viewership of the game in the state of Florida to at least 24 people because of her “appeal”. If you are not familiar with Erin Andrews and her god-given talent it is time to get familiar.

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Jodie Meeks To The NBA: What It Means For The Kentucky Wildcats

Posted by ibleedblue040 on June 16, 2009

With news coming out today that All-American guard Jodie Meeks is heading for the NBA instead of another year at Kentucky, many Wildcat fans thought the same thing, “Where do we go from here?”

To answer this question you have to look at the players that will be replacing Meeks in the Kentucky lineup next season.

Two new players to the program, Darnell Dodson and Jon Hood, will look to replace Meeks in the Kentucky lineup by using a mix of lineups to confuse opponents.

Dodson, a 6-foot 7 junior, spent last season at Miami Dade College after transferring from Pittsburgh during his freshman campaign.

Hood, a 6-foot 7 freshman, was born and raised in Madisonville, Kentucky and is the reigning “Mr. Basketball” in the state of Kentucky.

Like Meeks, Dodson is a deadly shooter from long range with the ability to completely dominate a game from behind the arc.

Hood can stroke from long range as well but makes his presence known from mid range because of his silky smooth jumper that becomes impossible to block when factoring in his length.

Meeks’ departure leaves the Wildcats much thinner at the shooting guard spot. Eric Bledsoe, one of two incoming five-star point guards, will play along side John Wall—the other five-star point guard joining the Cats—in the Kentucky lineup.

The biggest question surrounding Meeks’ exit is how will Kentucky’s preseason ranking be affected. Many believe they will remain within the top three, along with Kansas and Villanova.

In my mind, Kentucky moves from second to third in the preseason rankings, falling behind Villanova after Scottie Reynolds announced his return to Nova.

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