A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Former University of Kentucky basketball stars Hawkins, Willis part of TBT Bluegrass Boys Squad

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky will be well-represented in The Basketball Tournament next month. Former Kentucky players Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins, Josh Harrellson, Marcus Lee, Ramon Harris, Kevin Galloway and AJ Stewart will form the Bluegrass Boys organized by former Kentucky player Mark Krebs and will be coached by Wayne Turner. The Bluegrass Boys will compete with seven more teams...

Keith Taylor: Ex-Cat Darius Miller ends the season winner; Lee to finish college career at Cal

Darius Miller ended the season a winner. The former Mason County and University of Kentucky standout led the Brose Baskets to a three-game sweep of the Ratiopharm Ulm in the German finals. Miller averaged 18 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists and was named Most Valuable Player of the series. Miller also made 16 of 19 shots from long range. Darius Miller was named MVP of the German Finals last weekend...

Keith Taylor: Marcus Lee closer to a landing spot; Kentucky-Louisville game moved to weekday

Marcus Lee has likely found a new home and will be closer to his family. The former University of Kentucky forward reportedly visited California on Tuesday and is expected to commit to the Golden Bears. Lee will have to sit out next year before becoming eligible the following season. Former UK forward is expected to transfer to California (UK Athletics Photo) Lee, a 6-foot-9 power forward, averaged...

Marcus Lee withdraws from draft, plans to transfer from UK; Briscoe will return for second season

Kentucky men’s basketball junior forward Marcus Lee will remove his name from the NBA Draft but plans to transfer to complete his collegiate eligibility at another school. Upon completing his paperwork to withdraw from the draft, Lee will be granted a full release with no restrictions. “Marcus Lee informed us today that he is pulling his name out of the draft but has decided he is going to transfer...

Keith Taylor: Decision day for Lee, Briscoe; Mitchell completes staff with veteran Dunn

Decision day has arrived for Kentucky’s Marcus Lee and Isaiah Briscoe and both players have made a decision regarding their future plans. Lee and Briscoe had until midnight Wednesday to stay or withdraw from the NBA Draft and both decided to return to college, with Lee announcing his plans to transfer. Lee’s showing in the NBA Combine earlier this month in Chicago did him no favors while...

Keith Taylor: Calipari has room for Bolden if Lee, Briscoe return; Skal’s NBA stock on the rise

Marques Bolden’s future will be decided this week. The heralded 6-foot-11 star is expected to make his decision known at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Bolden is the ranked the top center in the Class of 2016 and has narrowed his college choices to Kentucky and Duke. Bolden, who led his high school DeSoto (High School) to the state championship, has participated in the McDonald’s All-American Game,...

Marcus Lee makes cut, joins teammates Murray, Ulis and Labissiere in NBA Combine

Leading up to what looks to be another Wildcat-heavy NBA Draft, four Kentucky men’s basketball players – Skal Labissiere, Marcus Lee, Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis – are set to participate in the annual NBA Draft Combine in Chicago next week. All four players were on the official 63-man attendee list that the NBA released Thursday. The NBA Combine, set for May 11-15, is a multi-day showcase where...

Keith Taylor: UK recruit Bolden getting close to decision; Briscoe, Lee NBA combine alternates

Marques Bolden is still pondering his future but is expected to make a decision on his college choice sooner rather than later. The 6-foot-10 center told USA Today last weekend that he’s getting closer to making a decision where he will play college basketball next season. Bolden’s two choices are Kentucky and Duke, two collegiate powerhouses competing for his letter-of-intent, even though...

Keith Taylor: UK signees Fox, Monk provide glimpse into future; Briscoe, Lee to explore options

Kentucky won’t have Tyler Ulis or Jamal Murray next season, but the backcourt duo to De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk provided impressive performances in the Jordan Brand Classic last weekend in Brooklyn, giving Big Blue Nation a glimpse of what to expect next season. Fox and Monk combined for 45 points and shared the Most Valuable Player award for the East and West squads. Fox finished with 23 points...

Keith Taylor: Kentucky moves past seeding snub, sets sights on making a run in NCAA Tourney

Kentucky hasn’t reached its peak, but appears to be getting closer to the pinnacle. The Wildcats (26-8) defeated Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M in a three-day span last weekend to claim their second straight Southeastern Conference Tournament title and carries a five-game winning streak into the NCAA Tournament. Derek Willis knocks down a 3 during the SEC Tournament finals Sunday in Nashville...

Keith Taylor: Calipari, Wildcats ‘zero in’ on defense going into showdown with Florida Gators

John Calipari has been known to scale back on intense practices during the final month of the regular season. Such hasn’t been the case closing out the first week of February this season. This week, work behind the scenes has been “very hard” and “more physical” as Calipari tries to whip his team into shape for a deep run in the postseason. Alex Poythress and the Wildcats have focused...

Keith Taylor: Renewed focus on defense has given UK a ‘sense of purpose’

After losing two of its first five Southeastern Conference games, Kentucky started getting defensive and it has shown during the past two weeks. The 20th-ranked Wildcats (15-4, 5-2 SEC) got back to the basics on defense, especially after a disappointing 75-70 loss at Auburn earlier this month. Kentucky coach John Calipari likes the way his team is playing on the defensive end of the floor (Bill Thiry...

Keith Taylor: Calipari shoulders some of the blame for Wildcats’ recent uninspired play

Traditionally, John Calipari’s teams have fared well on the road. However, this year has been a rare exception. Two of Kentucky three losses have been away from Lexington — at UCLA and LSU — while the other setback came on a neutral court against Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic. The losses to the Bruins and Tigers were by double figures while the setback to the Buckeyes was less than...

Keith Taylor: Veteran Marcus Lee not rattled by Calipari’s tone of voice or Sun Devils

John Calipari likes to scream to get his point across. The Kentucky coach blames it on his Italian roots, but Marcus Lee isn’t buying it. “That’s an excuse,” Lee said. “He just screams because he likes to scream.” Jamal Murray, Marcus Lee and Isaiah Briscoe are all smiles after UK’s win over Arizona State Saturday (Regina Rickert Photo) An adjustment early in his collegiate career,...

Keith Taylor: Calipari wants UK to get tougher, establish post presence against EKU

John Calipari knows his team isn’t going to produce blowouts eight games into the season. “We’re not going to be 20 points up on people,” he said. “These are going to be seven, eight-point games and you gotta battle it through. You gotta just have enough grit to go get balls and make a play at the end. We’ve shown we can do it.” Kentucky coach John Calipari wants the Wildcats to...

Keith Taylor: UK makes first trip to UCLA in more than five decades for showdown with Bruins

Kentucky’s Charles Matthews, left, and Alex Poythress battle for a loose ball earlier this week. The Wildcats play at UCLA Thursday (Bill Thiry Photo) It’s been more than 50 years since Kentucky has played UCLA on the Bruins’ home court. The top-ranked Wildcats (7-0) will take on UCLA (4-3) in Los Angeles for the first time since the 1959-60 season when the Wildcats left Westwood...

Keith Taylor: Lee gets message, brings energy to court in UK’s win over Illinois State

Marcus Lee had 13 points and 12 rebounds in UK’s win over Illinois State Monday night (Bill Thiry Photo) Marcus Lee got the message after missing his first start of the season. Benched because of his poor performance in top-ranked Kentucky’s 84-63 win over South Florida last week, Lee gave the Wildcats a spark with 13 points and 12 rebounds in a 75-63 victory over Illinois State Monday...

Keith Taylor: Calipari looking for more toughness and fight following victory over Albany in season opener

Kentucky has never lost a season opener under John Calipari. The trend continued Friday night. Although not a blowout, the second-ranked Wildcats, 7-0 under Calipari in season openers, began the new campaign with a 78-65 victory over Albany at Rupp Arena. After two exhibition blowouts and a double-digit win over the Great Danes, Calipari knows his team isn’t in March mode and is looking for more...

Mad for Big Blue Madness: Practice session tickets snatched up in under half an hour

Kentucky center Marcus Lee signs autographs for fans outside Memorial Coliseum Friday. Tickets for Big Blue Madness sold out in 25 minutes (UK Athletics Photo)   They came. They camped out. They sold out Big Blue Madness tickets in just 25 minutes.   Kentucky fans once again demonstrated their unwavering passion for basketball this week. All tickets to the 2015 Big Blue Madness were snatched...

Calipari says he thought Cats would go 40-0, is excited about prospects for coming season

During a wide-ranging media availability Thursday, UK coach John Calipari said he expected his team to to 40-0 last year (UK Athletics Photo)   Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari met with the media on Thursday for a wide-ranging summer press conference. Calipari discussed his returning team, his newest additions, how the Wildcats may play next season and even declared for...