ON TAP — UK is holding a couple of press conferences this afternoon. One is to introduce Ukari Figgs, the school’s new assistant athletics director for women’s basketball. The other is for Joker Phillips and a couple of his football players to talk about their recent trip to Ethiopia. Check the blog later this afternoon for video, etc.
The Kentucky-Indiana All-Star series starts tonight at Bellarmine in Louisville. The girls tip off at 5:30. The boys follow that game.
– Courier-Journal: Kentucky-Indiana All-Stars all about bragging rights.
TONY WOODS TO TEXAS? — First, “sources” told KSR that Tony Woods was coming to Kentucky. On June 5, it wrote: “I believe that absent some last minute information coming to the table, Tony Woods will end up at Kentucky next season. Many around the program feel comfortable with his presence and I think the winds are blowing in the direction of him being a Wildcat.”
Now, however, “sources” tell KSR that Woods is not coming to Kentucky.
Looks like Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman was right earlier this week when he predicted that Woods would be a Longhorn.
And, back on May 15, Woods’ AAU coach, Mike Maynard, told the H-L’s Jerry Tipton:
“Tony still has aspirations to play pro ball,” Maynard said. “I’m sure the chance to play right away makes it more favorable for Texas.”
Personally, I wasn’t against bringing Woods into the program as some others. Still, it was a risk. In the long run, considering UK’s talent already on board for next season, a risk better taken by the Longhorns.
RYAN HARROW IS ON CAMPUS — The former North Carolina State point guard has officially enrolled at Kentucky. And he has talked to Jason King of Yahoo Sports. An excerpt:
Ryan Harrow’s first taste of life as a Kentucky basketball player occurred shortly after his plane touched down in Lexington on Tuesday. As the North Carolina State transfer walked through the terminal at Blue Grass Airport, he was twice asked to pose for pictures with Wildcats fans.
“I was more than happy to do it,” Harrow said. “It was a good feeling to be recognized like that – especially since it’ll be a year before I can even play.”
JIMMER VS. B.K. — Jimmer Fredette wants to move his workout up so that he can compete against both Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight for the Utah Jazz. Good luck on that one, Jimmer.
HEAT CHECK — Made it to the end of Dallas’ 112-103 win over Miami last night in the NBA Finals, putting the Mavs up 3-2 in the series. Say what you want about LeBron, but he’s just not having a good series. Even when Dwyane Wade was out twice with that hip injury, James failed to take over the game. He could not hit from the perimeter, and the Mavs did a decent job of cutting off his drives. James did have a triple-double, but his team didn’t win. And wasn’t that why he went to Miami, to win a ring?
Game 6 is Sunday Night in Miami. It’s an 8 p.m. start.
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL — Kentucky and Western Kentucky on a 9:15 ET on a Thursday night in Nashville will draw, the ADs for the two schools told the H-L’s Mark Story.
The reason the Cats and ‘Tops will play on Thursday night instead of Saturday is hometown Tennessee State University has first dibs on LP Field for college football.
At the time that UK and WKU signed a four-year contract to play two Kentucky home games in Lexington and two Western “home games” in Nashville, Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart says the hope was that TSU would be on the road and there would be no conflict. Instead, TSU is opening its season at home against Southern University on Sept. 3 in a game being billed as the John Merritt Classic.
Ross Bjork, the WKU athletics director, says there was a feeler sent out to TSU about moving off the Sept. 3 date “but they weren’t willing to move.”
MORE MIKE HAMILTON FALLOUT — Turns out the Tennessee AD gets more by resigning than if he had been fired by the school. The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that Hamilton will receive $67,140 more for quitting than if he had been pink slipped by the Big Orange. Meanwhile, women’s AD Joan Cronin is named as interim athletic director. And UK’s Mitch Barnhart tells the H-L’s Mark Story that he has no interest in the Tennessee job.
– Tennessee football dismisses disappointing defensive player Montori Hughes.
WOULD YOU DO THE RIGHT THING? –– That’s what Birmingham News columnist Kevin Scarbinsky writes after Arizona AD Greg Byrne, formerly an assistant AD at UK, sends out an e-mail to his fans asking them to turn in any school, including his own, if it knows of a violation. Kevin writes:
“So far, neither Byrne nor his compliance department has received any allegations, he said, but his email has generated dialogue everywhere from fan message boards on the Internet to “College Football Live” on ESPN. Someone on that show wondered if the whole thing was a publicity stunt.
If you know Byrne, you know that’s not true. He’s one of the bright, upcoming ADs in the business whose dad, Bill, is the AD at Texas A&M. Greg Byrne used to be the athletics director at Mississippi State and deserves much of the credit for making the very smart hire there of football coach Dan Mullen.”
JOHN COHEN IN SUPER REGIONAL — Mississippi State and coach John Cohen start NCAA Super Regional play today in Gainesville against the Gators. Brandon Marcello of the Clarion-Ledger writes:
“Two wins from a trip to the College World Series, MSU’s third-year coach has enough on his plate against Florida, where he was an assistant coach in 2002 and 2003. The Bulldogs (37-23) are hoping to reach their first College World Series – and ninth overall – since 2007, when an underdog group swept a regional and super regional to reach Omaha.”
– Florida is happy to have the home-field advantage against Mississippi State.
LSU BASKETBALL BACK FROM EUROPE — Trent Johnson and Co. just returned from its 11-day trip to Italy. Perryn Keys of The Advocate writes:
“The Tigers, of course, won all six exhibition games against Italian teams last month. During a news conference Thursday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, players said they learned a lot – about themselves, about the newandimproved team they might have this season, and about European fare. Justin Hamilton, the center who sat out last season after transferring from Iowa State, will probably make a difference. The team will be deeper, presumably stronger, and, with a new motion offense, it will sport a new look. And Storm Warren likes Italian desserts.”