BBL: Fact-finders to Indy; Andre Drummond to UConn

Big Blue Links for Saturday:

FACT-FINDING GROUP VISITS INDIANAPOLIS — Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader reports: For Lexington mayor Jim Gray, a highlight of Friday’s fact-finding trip to Indianapolis came during lunch. That’s when two young professionals talked about the Indiana capital’s Wholesale District, which contains Conseco Fieldhouse, an expanded convention center and a three-block row of restaurants, bars and entertainment options. Vince Pegan and Matt Compton noted how their families’ move to the Wholesale District would help it reach the goal of doubling its residential population in the next 10 years. Message received: the Wholesale District was a place to work and play and live.

ANDRE DRUMMOND TO UCONN THIS YEAR– Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant reports: Indeed, adding Drummond to their already-talented cast figures to make UConn a threat to repeat as national champion. The deal is not done. There is still paperwork and the NCAA clearinghouse to be hurdled. Also, UConn has no scholarships available and will need to have a current player relinquish one. The program is down three scholarships from the standard 13 to 10. UConn lost one scholarship because of NCAA recruiting violations and had two more taken away by the NCAA because of a poor Academic Performance Rating. Fall semester classes at UConn begin Tuesday.

SECONDARY COMING TOGETHER — Jen Smith of H-L reports: The way Kentucky’s new defense is designed, every single player has to do his job and do it well for good things to happen. It has to be a well-oiled, run-stopping, pass-batting, quarterback-hunting machine. “The defense works as one,” safety Martavius Neloms explained. “We all have to be on the same page, working hard, working together.”

DARIUS MILLER GETS A HEAD START — Mark Story of Herald-Leader writes: “Darius Miller figures he’s starting the Kentucky Wildcats 2011-12 basketball season well ahead of his teammates. Even though Miller and the United States team failed to medal in the World University Games in Shenzhen, China, the UK senior forward feels like the physical conditioning he gained has him in regular-season form now.

NO GREAT WALL BUT PLENTY OF HOOPS — Aaron Smith of the Kentucky Kernel writes: “Darius Miller didn’t get to see the Great Wall of China (no time, and it was five hours away), couldn’t drink the water in his room (under directions not too, although not sure why), had no comment on the food (later, he just said it was “different”) and couldn’t use his cell phone (“That hurt pretty bad”) from his trip to China with the U.S. team for the World University Games. It was an experience.

DARYL COLLINS GONE FOR YEAR — Jen Smith reports: One of Kentucky’s highly touted freshman wide receivers is out for the season after injuring his knee in practice, Coach Joker Phillips announced Friday. Daryl Collins, a 5-foot-11 speedster from Gadsden, Ala., dislocated his right kneecap a couple of days ago and will have surgery on Thursday, the same day the Cats play their opener versus Western Kentucky. He will use his redshirt year to get the knee healthy.

WKU THINKS IT’S TIME TO CLIMB — Michael Grant of the C-J reports: Willie Taggart knows from personal experience that the good old days weren’t all that long ago. In case his Western Kentucky University football players didn’t know, the coach brought them visual proof. Before the Hilltoppers joined the Football Bowl Subdivision, before they played in a renovated Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, they were successful without some of the niceties the current team enjoys.

VOLLEYBALL SPLITS FIRST DAY — The UK women’s volleyball team beat Albany State, then was blitzed by Florida State in tournament at FSU. From UK’s Debra Moore: “Florida State claimed a 3-0 (25-13, 25-8, 25-14) victory over the visiting Kentucky Wildcats in the nightcap of the opening day of the Florida State Invitational Friday evening. The senior duo of Gretchen Giesler and Ann Armes paced the Wildcat attack, while junior Stephanie Klefot posted the 40th match of her career with 10 or more digs.

“It’s certainly not what I expected tonight,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “Give credit to Florida State because they’re a very good team, but we need to play a lot better than that. The good thing is we get a chance to come back out tomorrow against Tulsa and make it better.”

UK will conclude action at the Florida State Invitational with a showdown against No. 23 Tulsa at 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday. The meeting between Kentucky and the Golden Hurricane will be the first in the history of the programs. Kentucky falls to 1-1 on the season after earning a four-set victory over Albany earlier today.

MEN’S SOCCER OPENS WITH WIN — From UK’s Brent Ingram: “In his first game since 2010, Kentucky senior C.J. Tappel netted a goal and an assist and sophomore Tyler Riggs added a goal, lifting the Kentucky men’s soccer team to a season-opening 2-0 win over Dayton, on a gorgeous Friday night at the UK Soccer Complex. The win marked the 200th career win for UK head coach Ian Collins, who has compiled a 200-154-45 career record over 21 years as a head coach in collegiate soccer and a 189-123-36 record in his 19 years as UK’s head man. The Wildcats dominated pace of play throughout the game, outshooting the Flyers 19-5, including 11-2 in shots on goal. UK totaled a staggering eight corner kicks to just two for Dayton.”

WOMEN’S SOCCER IMPROVES TO 3-0 — From UK’s John Hayden: “The UK women’s soccer team (3-0-0) extended their season-opening winning streak to three games on Friday, defeating the Ohio Bobcats (1-2-0) 2-1 at the UK Soccer Complex. After a slow start in the first half, Kentucky came out roaring, taking a 1-0 lead one minute into the second half. “I thought we played fantastic in the second half,” UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said. “It was our best half of the year by far.”

Senior captain Kelsey Hunyadi took a pass from freshman Molly Huber and found herself one-on-one with the Ohio keeper. Hunyadi buried the shot for her third goal of the season, spotting the Cats a 1-0 lead. Freshman Stuart Pope netted the eventual game-winner on a beautiful play set up by Hunyadi and Taylor Parker. Hunyadi, who controlled the ball at the top of the box, sent it along the top of the box to Parker, who flicked it forward and wide perfectly to Pope, who buried it for her first collegiate goal and a 2-0 lead.

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