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Stoops supports brother’s surprise retirement; three freshman Wildcats invited to tryout for Team USA

By Keith Taylor
KyForward Senior Sports Writer

When Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops stepped down after 18 seasons earlier this week, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, offered support and encouragement to his brother.

“Bob truly represents what is good about college football and the success of his career speaks for itself,” he said. “What he means to me as a brother and a coach is immeasurable. I wish Bob, Carol and the kids the very best as he moves into the next phase of his life.”

Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops offered support and encouragement to his brother Bob Stoops, who stepped down after 18 seasons at Oklahoma earlier this week. (Photo by Keith Taylor)

Bob Stoops led the Sooners to 10 conference championships and one national title during his tenure. Stoops compiled a 190-48 record and leaves as the longest tenured active coach in college football and will serve as a special assistant to the athletics director as Lincoln Riley takes over the program.

Bob Stoops, 56, said health wasn’t a concern, but his father, noted Ohio High School coach Ron Stoops died while coaching a high school game in 1988 at age 54.

“Now is simply the ideal time for me and our program to make this transition,” Bob Stoops said. “The Bible says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” I’m grateful for this season of my life, and feel I’ve fulfilled my purpose here at OU as its head football coach.”

Mike Stoops, brother of Bob and Mark, will remain on Riley’s staff as defensive coordinator at Oklahoma.

Training camp bound

Kentucky men’s basketball players Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox and P.J. Washington will tryout for the USA U19 World Cup Team during training camp set for June 18-25 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

UK redshirt sophomore Tai Wynyard is a member of New Zealand’s U19 squad, the Junior Tall Blacks,

Diallo, Knox and Washington and 25 other players will tryout for the 12-man team led by Kentucky coach John Calipari. The team will compete in the FIBA World Cup July 1-9 in Cairo. The 12-man team will be announced June 22, the same day as the NBA Draft.

Team USA won the gold medal in 2013 and 2015 and will be seeking its third straight title.

Rivalry renewed

Two former Kentucky men’s basketball coaches — Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith — will square off against each other when Louisville and Memphis play in the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden next season.

Smith was an assistant under Pitino at Kentucky from 1989-91 and later replaced Pitino at Kentucky in 1997. Smith and Pitino each won national championships at Kentucky, with Pitino claiming the title in 1996, followed by Smith two years later in 1998.

Smith is entering his second season at Memphis, while Pitino has been with the Cardinals since 2001.

Memphis and Louisville were conference rivals in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Metro Conference and later in the Conference USA. Louisville owns a 53-36 advantage in the series.

Memphis also will take on Northern Kentucky University next season at the FedEdForum in Memphis.

NBA Draft update

The latest NBA mock draft by Draftexpress has two Kentucky players — De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk — as lottery picks in the upcoming draft set for June 22.

The site has Fox going to Sacramento, Monk to the Orlando Magic and Bam Adebayo as the 24th overall pick by the Utah Jazz.

Keith Taylor is a senior sports writer for KyForward, where he primarily covers University of Kentucky sports. Reach him at keith.taylor@kyforward.com or @keithtaylor21 on Twitter

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