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I previously posted a number of questions I posed to a writer from UCHuskies.com. Matthew Farrell was such a great sport; I decided to post the questions he asked me, along with my answers.
MF: After the epic feel of last season, what were you expecting this year coming in? How did those expectations change, if at all, after the Maui game against us?
RAP: It is very refreshing to know that the Northeast understands that a 35–3 record is an “epic feel” at Kentucky if a national title is not attached to it. The expectations of this season were high, but not “Final Four high” without the presence of Enes Kanter. The loss to UConn in Maui only affected our season because it was a loss, nothing more than that.
MF: There are a select few sets of well-traveled fan bases in the country, but your fans seem to go the extra mile–sometimes literally, when it comes to supporting your team away from home. How does Kentucky bring that many people to faraway games, compared with other elite schools?
RAP: We normally use automobiles, planes, trains, and whatever other means of transportation is necessary. No one travels like the Big Blue nation. We are passionate about our program and realize that the presence of our fans helps our team. We will travel anywhere and are looking forward to the first tournament on the international Space Station.
MF: The SEC as a league really seemed to be on the rise this year, and your squad lost a lot of nailbiters on the road. What home court atmosphere, outside of Lexington, do you think is the most challenging in the conference?
RAP: Our conference was actually terrible this year. The SEC West was as bad as it has been in the time the SEC was split into two divisions. In recent history, the Cats have had the toughest time at Vanderbilt. The awkward court and bench positioning seems to throw us off. Plus that many nerds gathered in one building distracts our squad.
MF: I still remember the wild Patrick Sparks shot in the Elite 8 six years ago, and I’m not a fan of MSU or UK. Even though you lost, where does that unreal play stack up against recent Kentucky memories on the court?
RAP: Patrick Sparks is one of my favorite all-time Cats Unfortunately, Kentucky was unable to get a defensive rebound late in overtime and lost that game to the Spartans. If Kentucky would have won, Sparks shot would be in the top 5 moments in Kentucky history. Patrick high-fiving Billy Packer is classic.
MF: During last year’s NBA draft in which several of his players declared early, Coach Calipari made comments suggesting that seeing his players drafted was more rewarding to him as a coach than them winning a championship. As a UK fan, what are your thoughts on this?
RAP: Of course, to a fan, his comments suggesting that the draft was the greatest moment in Kentucky history was ridiculous. Saying that, cal is a recruiter, and possibly the greatest recruiter. Nothing that he says in public is said for no reason. If those remarks help us get the greatest talent to UK, say whatever the hell you want.
MF: Louisville fans seem to really hate you guys–as a fellow Big East school we hear about it all the time on our fan boards. Does the hatred go as strong the other way, or do you look at them as more the little brother in the rivalry?
RAP: Little brother (Louisville) has had a tough run lately. We are on a long winning streak against them in football and there is no sign of light for them in the current losing streak to the Cats on the hard-wood. They have a very ‘cute’ commuter school over there and are doing the best they can.
MF: When you think of UConn basketball as a program, what comes to mind–other than Coach Calhoun? What are your views on our program?
RAP: No offense, but UConn is not a program Kentuckians talk about much. There is no question they have had great success in recent history, but when your greatest moments are in the last 20 years, you have a while before you become relevant in the bluegrass. The UConn women get a lot more run down here than the men do.
MF: Can you point to a particular game or even moment this season, when you really thought your team could make a deep tourney run, despite their struggles?
RAP: The SEC championship game against Florida was the first sign that we had a shot. The Cats won, 70 – 54 , and it wasn’t even that close. Then came selection Sunday a few hours later, and it once again looked as if we didn’t have a shot. Shows what we know.
MF: It’s a tie game Saturday and Brandon Knight is killing the clock, preparing to set up the final play. Do you think we’re better off employing the OSU/Princeton strategy and taking our chances, or do we need to show extra attention to him other than simply our best defender?
RAP: The best part of this Kentucky team is that they have multiple scorers. Knight has had 2 game winners in the tournament because he had the best look in those 2 situations. If you double Knight late in the game, you are leaving open either Miller, Liggins, Lamb, or Jones. It is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. My advice is to just not guard anyone and allow us to win. You probably are not going to beat VCU anyway.
My buddy DonFentoni and Backroad put together this little UK remix, check it out:
Well we are just a short time away from the Final Four and this year’s tournament has absolutely been one to behold. Some people supported a move to the “field of 68” while others scoffed at the idea. No one can scoff anymore; because of those extra 4 slots that were awarded, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) earned a bid and from there they have parlayed it into the school’s first ever Final Four trip. Then there is last years ‘Cinderella’ (Butler Bulldogs) who were a half-court shot away from cutting down the nets in 2010, returning to the Final Four this season and not wanting to be the runner-up. Those are the two teams most people would not have had in their office pool going to Houston for a chance at a National Championship. Those two teams will meet on Saturday in the first game so one of them is guaranteed to at least play for the National Title on Monday night. On the other side of the bracket are two familiar names to the big stage………the Kentucky Wildcats and the UCONN Huskies.
The Wildcats are back to the Final Four for the 1st time since 1998 and they are being led by three freshmen. The Huskies were just a part of the Final Four a couple of years ago but they were unable to come away with the big prize after being beat in the semi-finals. Sixty-four teams have come and gone and only four remain; by the time the dust clears in Houston on Monday, April 4th only one team will remain to hold the crown of the 2010 – 2011 National Championship. There have been many great moments of this tournament but there truly will only be one “shining moment” in just a few days. With that being stated, let me examine Saturday’s first match-up and pick a winner.
Saturday’s first game will pit the VCU Rams (28-11) against the Butler Bulldogs (27-9) in a game that few are talking about. This game will be very interesting to see because of the contrast in styles between both teams. VCU is as athletic of a team as you will see and arguably they can play with either UK or UCONN in an up and down game. The Rams will fast-break at any given opportunity and even at times when the opportunity doesn’t appear to be there. The Rams also will shoot the three-ball (just ask Kansas) with no conscious and they have 7 players who currently shoot better than 33% from 3 pt. range with 3 of the 7 shooting better than 40%.The Rams have absolutely been in control during their tournament run, one most experts said they did not deserve to be in. VCU was assigned to one of the four “play in games” and they wasted little if any time letting the rest of the field no they meant business. After knocking off USC 59-46 in that 1st game, the Rams were off to face Georgetown. They controlled that game from beginning to end in handing the Hoyas one of their most lopsided defeats of the season (74-56). Next up was a meeting with Big 10 regular season runner-up, the Purdue Boilermakers; much like the previous two games, the Rams wasted little time in displaying an aggressive defensive plan in which they would press and play tenacious half-court defense while executing their offensive plan almost to perfection……..the end result, VCU 94 – Purdue 76.
Then came the defensive minded but often offensively inept Florida St. Seminoles to cross the path of the Rams. This was the one nail-biter every championship team seems to have on their way to a title and the Rams used a well executed inbounds play to garner a 72-71 victory. While the Rams have been great thus far, nothing could have prepared the college basketball world for what VCU would do to #1 seeded (Southwest Region) Kansas Jayhawks. In what had to be one of the best 1st half performances of the tournament, VCU used the 3 pt shot and a rabid defense to jump out to a huge halftime lead and then would hold off a late Jayhawk charge to win 71-61 to advance to its first ever Final Four. Versatile F Jamie Skeen is the Ram’s leading scorer at 15.4 ppg and he shoots 40% from behind the arc. He also grabs about 7.4 rebounds per game. G Bradford Burgess is second on the squad in scoring averaging a shade over 14 ppg while shooting about 43% from behind the arc; he also averages about 6 rebounds a game. VCU also gets double-digit scoring from G Brandon Rozzell (11.8 ppg) and PG Joey Rodriguez (10.5 ppg and 5 assist a game). The Rams will play as many as 10 different players to keep the starters fresh and out of foul trouble.
As for the Rams opponent, the Butler Bulldogs were here last season and they are back this time to finish what they started last season. The Bulldogs are kind of the odd-ball of the Final Four as they get it done on the defensive end first, while scoring is secondary. The Bulldog got to this point by doing what they do best; make the opposition look bad on offense. At one point during the regular season, most thought Butler would miss out on the NCAA Tournament all together as they were lagging in about 4th or 5th within the Horizon Conference. But a late season surge that culminated with Butler winning 9 straight games including a run to their conference championship and the automatic bid that comes with it. Butler was even dismissed by some as being a potential casualty to lose its first tourney game this season but they would have none of that. They went out and scrapped and fought with a game Old Dominion ball club and they needed a Matt Howard lay in at the buzzer to pull out a 60-58 victory.
Next up for Butler was date with the #1 seed in the Southeast Region, the Pitt Panthers. In what very easily could have been the game of the tournament, at least up to this point, the Bulldogs hung right in there with the Big East regular season champs and fought them tooth and nail down the stretch. On a night when Butler seem to be the best team, the game would sway from one side to the other in the last seconds due to a pair of untimely fouls, first by Butler’s Shelvin Mack and then the game ender by Nasir Robinson of Pitt and the next thing you know, Butler is advancing with a 71-70 heart stopping win. After Pitt, it was time to deal with a team that plays the way Butler play, the University of Wisconsin. It didn’t take long to see that the Badgers left their offense in the locker room as Butler was out o the gates early with a double-digit lead. The Badgers were never in the game and only a late flurry of points brought the game back to a more respectable score; nonetheless, Butler moved on with a 61-54 victory.
Then last weekend, the Bulldogs did battle with the Region’s #2 seed, the Florida Gators. It took an extra 5 minutes (Overtime) but Butler made the plays down the stretch (both in regulation and OT) and Florida was left on wine shy of getting Coach Donovan back to the Final Four…Butler 74 – Florida 71. Butler is not a deep team (will probably go 7 or 8 deep) but they have plenty of experience in Lexington, KY’s own Shelvin Mack (15.9 ppg, 3.6 assist and 4.3 reb) and F / C Matt Howard who averages 16.7 ppg and a shade of 7.5 boards per). These two were on last year’s team which came with a whisker of beating Duke for the championship. These two guys are the unquestioned leaders of this squad and they both will leave it all out on the court, win or lose. No other Bulldog averages double figures so Butler does not fair well if they get behind. So the pace of the game will be key for Butler to pull of a victory.
My thought on this game is one of mixed emotions; both coaches Shaka Smart (VCU) and Brad Stevens (Butler) are two of the brightest, young coaches in the college game today. Both are dealing with an enormous amount success in such a short-period and yet they both have their own approach to how coach and yet their approach to the sudden lime-light is the same…..staying humble. Fans can not just concentrate on Kentucky and UCONN because whichever one of these teams makes it to Monday night, they will not be easily defeated. I like what the future holds for both coaches and their programs but the here and now is Saturday in Reliant Stadium. I believe depth and scoring could ultimately be Butler’s downfall in this one but they will not go easily. I think it will be VCU 74 – Butler 63.
For the first time in the 14 month history of Tailgate Review, we are going to interact with folks from the other side of the lot in the month of April! Well, at least the game we are discussing is going to take place in the 4th month. We are heading to the frigid northeast this afternoon to the gloomy city of Storrs, Connecticut to visit with the beautiful fans of the University of Connecticut. As we have done for the first game of all 3 weekends of the tournament, TGR is exchanging Q&A’s and posts with a site affiliated with our opponent. Today, Matthew Farrell of UCHuskies.com has granted us his presence and knowledge on a very important subject, Operation Odyssey Dawn. Actually, he didn’t answer my question about that subject, instead choosing to criticize my intelligence, but he is a hell of a guy. Head over to his site and learn all you can about UConn basketball, baseball, an football. I promise it will benefit you down the road of life!
I present to you, our conversation, enjoy…
RAP: The run the Huskies are on is one of the most impressive streaks in recent memory. Has Connecticut ever experienced a more exciting few weeks in it’s history?
MF: As a college sophomore, I was a year away from being born for the 1990 “Dream Season”, but this is what older generations of UConn fans constantly point back to. This was the very beginning of our prominence on the national level, and in the Sweet 16 featured one of the most difficult and clutch buzzer beaters of all time—Cats fans who haven’t seen it should Youtube “The Shot Tate George” to see this unbelievable ending.
RAP: Will UConn’s hammering of the cats in Maui have any effect on what will happen Saturday night in Texas?
MF: None whatsoever. Jeremy Lamb, who is truly our Robin to Kemba Walker’s Batman in this tournament, was a non-factor in the Maui tournament. Likewise, UK’s Josh Harrelson didn’t weigh in much back in November but is clearly a force to be reckoned with now. If we beat you guys Saturday, it will be because we’re a better team than you now, not because we were better than you in Hawaii.
RAP: John Calipari has never been implicated in any NCAA investigation, yet, he is constantly criticized in the media as a “rogue”. Jim Calhoun has been suspended by the NCAA for violations. Why does Calhoun get a pass in the national media?
MF: Calipari has had two programs’ Final Fours taken away and bolted each time…even if there’s nothing on his record, people are able to put two and two together. As a coach it’s not just about you but how you represent your program, and obviously both of those previous programs have had severe NCAA trouble stemming from his tenure. But Calipari isn’t alone in negative media attention—Calhoun hasn’t been even close to getting a pass. I’ve seen a lot of national outlets take shots at him throughout this season—he’s getting it just as bad as your coach.
RAP: If Kemba walker does not advance any further in this tournament, how will he be remembered by UConn fans over time?
MF: He’ll be remembered for having the greatest individual season ever by a Husky, and by leading one of the team’s most fun-to-watch seasons ever. It’s not just the numbers for Kemba—but the amount of clutch shots he has hit and the fiery passion he has. And something about his dominance leading the way for five freshmen and two sophomores has given this UConn team an identity we may never see again. There is no doubt he is our greatest of all time for a single season. Long term, we’ll have to step back and see.
RAP: It has not helped the men in Tennessee having a stud women’s program in basketball. How does Geno Auriemma’s success affect UConn’s men’s program? If at all?
MF: I think the effect is pretty minimal. When the UConn men are winning, campus is fired up. When they’re not, we’re all disappointed, and the women’s success doesn’t act as much of a consolation. I have a lot of appreciation for what the women are doing but they don’t interfere one bit with my passion for the men’s team. I’m sure their success inevitably brings the school benefits with revenue and exposure, but Calhoun’s squad fuels the fire for most of campus.
RAP: With Kentucky not making the Final Four since 1998, how is UK and it’s program viewed by young east coast fans like yourself?
MF: While growing up, Kentucky always seemed to be among the crowd of the elite, but never really stood out above say Duke, UNC, or Michigan State. But with John Wall and company coming in last year, the program really started to rise up in terms of national attention. I attended the UConn/UK game at the Garden that December and was shocked at how well Kentucky fans traveled—even in midweek in the winter. We essentially played a road game in a city close by.
RAP: Would you consider Rick Pitino to be the slimiest coach in the Big East? If he isn’t, who is?
MF: I know the answer you want and as much as I wish I could avoid it; he has to be the guy. Something about his craftiness on the bench makes me respect him as a tactician, but be terrified of him as an opponent. If hair gel is a factor in sliminess, though, Steve Lavin of St. Johns is right up with Pitino.
RAP: Matt from Winchester asks…Does your coach suffer from chronic constipation, or is that his natural facial expression?
MF: Matt—Unfortunately, he does. We try not to make it a laughing matter up here—it’s a harmful side effect of winning two national championships and we can’t seem to find a solution.
RAP: Patrick from Tampa asks…Do you think Geno (the women’s coach) is as big of a douchebag as the rest of the country thinks he is?
MF: Patrick—probably not, because there is no way he can fully live down to the miserable thoughts outsiders have of him. But his personality does get to be a pain—I have to respect him for his success as a coach, but I’ll never get why he seems to think women’s basketball will ever have anything close to the attention of guy’s hoops. Men’s basketball is what America cares about, Geno, with the women always an afterthought. Deal with it.
RAP: The Big East received 11 bids to this years tournament. At the end of the first weekend, only two moved on. Is Charles Barkley right, was the Big East “turribly” over-rated this year?
MF: The Big East chose one weekend to act overrated all season. Unfortunately, it was the first weekend of March Madness, but that doesn’t diminish the amazing success the conference had all year. Remember—none of our bids were even bordering the bubble, so all eleven teams were comfortably in, and rightfully so with their marquee wins and solid resumes. Plus, our two Sweet 16 teams both finished in the bottom half of the league. Regardless of how many teams your league has, that is an astonishing stat.
RAP: Jay-Z joined the Kentucky team in the locker-room after they defeated North Carolina on Sunday afternoon. If UConn wins this year’s title, who would be the most likely artist to appear in the Huskies locker-room afterwards?
MF: Jay-Z, of course. No offense, but I’m sure the rapper’s loyalty to New York trumps his respect for Kentucky. And there’s no bigger rep of NYC basketball at this moment than Kemba Walker, especially with his iconic performance in the Garden three weeks ago. If HOV is in Houston, I’m sure he’ll congratulate Kemba if we get the W.
RAP: Red Sox or Patriots?
MF: How about Yankees and Giants? Connecticut is totally divided on sports, especially central CT where our campus is. That makes it a really fun place to live as a sports fan. When it comes to my friends, they’re all pretty much 50/50 on New York or Boston teams. It makes it really fun to trash talk, that’s for sure.
RAP: If you were Jim Calhoun, how would you game plan against Stacey Poole, Jr.?
MF: Looking at his stats, he appears to be a matchup nightmare. Hopefully we can get him in foul trouble, because that seems like it’s the only way to get him on the bench. We can assure you coach Calhoun is centering most of his gameplan around stopping this diaper dandy.
RAP: You have watched Kemba Walker play all season, dominating for the most part. If you were coaching against him, how do you slow him down?
MF: There’s only one real way to try to slow him down—clamp down on everyone else and take your chances with one guy on him. If you double Kemba, he’ll burn you—there’s not many better at splitting the double and of late, he is also fine with utilizing teammates. K-Walk can get his shot off no matter what; you just need to hope they’re not falling. That worked for teams a lot during our 4-7 stretch to close the season, but he’s shooting percentages have gone way back up on this winning streak. Also on this streak, Kemba has been lights out at the free-throw line, both getting there and making them. That’s something the Kentucky D will need to be aware of.
RAP: Tell us about yourself, your site, and your roll in Operation Odyssey Dawn…
MF: I’m a sophomore at UConn and CT native, and it’s been a pretty crazy ride sports-wise so far in my limited college career. Both the basketball and football team had some heartbreaking losses last year, but we balanced it out with a win at Notre Dame in football and a court-storming beatdown of #1 Texas in basketball last year. You can bet campus was absolutely wild for that. This year, it’s been unreal. The football team is headed to the BCS, the women and men to Final Fours, and even our baseball and soccer teams have enjoyed stretches in the top 10 nationally. It’s a real exciting time to be a Husky.
UChuskies.com is our site, and Michael Grant and Patrick Hopkins have been running it and it’s been a privilege to be on board this year and give their site a student perspective. Check out the page and maybe you’ll find some strategies for Big Blue, based on what we’ve done in some of our recent games. As for my “roll” in the operation, I think you mean “role.”
Don’t do too much more to make us in the Northeast wonder too much about SEC literacy.
This is entirely too creative to be anything TGR wrote. If you know the poet who constructed this masterpiece, let us know in the ‘comment’ section…
*UPDATE* We have found the writer of the poem below, thanks to the writer’s wife, Beth. She commented on this post and let us know that James Pennington was the very talented writer and she is very lucky to have him in her life. You can see the poem at its original home, right here.
Twas the night before Madness and all through the land, Not a team left unshaken by Jorts and his band. The posters were plastered on locker room walls, In hopes… that a meeting would not soon be called. When down there in Tampa arose such a fuss The whole team from Princeton was sent to the bus! Then several days later as if right on cue, The Cats sent ’em packin, those Mountaineers too! Then Cal skipped his way to the New Jersey shore, For a meeting they said was the Cats final door. But Jorts had a plan as he threw the ball in, And it bounced off a chest and the Bucs couldn’t win. Living large were the Cats’ Mr. Knight and his crew, Then came the Tar Heels with Houston in view. “Take Three” from the corner said ‘Dre as he shot, And then Carolina knew Houston was not. Now Final Four Dancing, it has been a while, But Cats and their fans, it don’t matter the miles. Be lookin’ for Kemba, his Conn artists’ too, The Cats will be bringin’ its defense for you. On Brandon , on Lamb, and on Jonesy too, Got Miller and Jorts, and they’re bringing the crew. Now Liggins and Vargas then go to “The Hood” The seeding they gave us was much less than good! So See you in Houston now Mr. Calhoun, And practice real hard cause it’s comin’ too soon. The team you will dance with, they just woke up late, But they’ll have ’em laced up, they want Number 8!
I had not planned on writing anything about the 3rd anniversary of Bill Keightley’s passing today, but I guess I can’t help it. I can’t help but think about how much fun Mr. Wildcat would be having this week if he was still with us. I would love to have seen that smile spread across his face when Jorts punched the rebound out of the lane against OSU. I would have loved to have seen his reaction when UK toppled UNC for their long awaited return to the Final Four. Mr. Bill was with us in our last trip to the national semifinals, and as exciting as our return to that stage is, it won’t be the same without him.
My most memorable and unforgettable trip to Rupp Arena was Mr. Keightley’s memorial service that took place there. The scene on the Rupp floor that day was one of the most unbelievable scenes I had ever seen in my life. My wife and I wept with the huge crowd with every touching speaker’s reflection of the man we all knew as Mr. Wildcat. As we enjoy this fantastic run to the Final Four our Cats are providing us with, let’s not forget Bill Keightley. We miss you sir.
– The West (Kyle Wiltjer, Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague) lost to the East (Michael Gilchrist) last night in the 2011 McD’s All-American game. Mike G was named co-MVP tallying 16 and 12 alongside some kid from UNC. Anthony Davis was a monster and is suprisingly good at handling the rock, Davis contributed 14 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks. Teague put on a show for a stretch of the game, including a breakaway reverse slam, he finished with 9 points and 3 assists. Kyle Wiltjer also impressed shooting it well including a sky hook shot that was all net, he ended the game with 11. No disappointment for me, even with staying up till 12:30, it was good to see a Kentucky kid on the court the entire evening.
– You’ve probably heard but the NBA is probing Jay-Z for his locker room visit to the Cats. No that is not a rap song, they really are looking to see if he broke rules. The Cats are fine, they didn’t do anything. Moving on, there’s nothing to see here.
– 3 years ago on this day we lost an integral member of the Big Blue Nation, Mr. Wildcat Bill Keightley. Both Rob and Myself have dogs named Keightley so that pretty much sums it up how big of fans we were and are of the legend. He will be missed.
– The governors of Kentucky and Connecticut made a bet on the game. Connecticut will wager ice cream and Kentucky will wager a ham (not alive I hope, that would be weird).
– Most importantly the Cats landed in Houston yesterday evening and are hitting the ground running to media events, practices and the rest of the Final Four activities.
– Joker Phillips was impressed with the QB’s effort in practice on Wed., said they were shinning stars compared to previous days.
– Rick Pitino is making 7.5 million dollars a year and it ain’t from pimpin’.
– John Wall was ejected last night in the Wizards – Heat contest for throwing a punch at Miami’s big Z. After watching the tape I don’t blame him.
If your caught in the middle of a slow work week leading up to a spring break vacation in the pan handle and the final four this weekend fear not because tonight we will get a glimpse of next year’s team.
The McDonald’s All-American game will tip on ESPN at 10PM EST tonight. We will finally get our look at Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Anthony Davis and Kyle Wiltjer on a national stage.
A week ago I did a post on how these guys wrapped up their senior seasons in high school. Here goes it:
It’s that time of year again. The Kentucky recruiting corp are wrapping up their senior seasons with their respective schools and getting ready for the Jordan Brand Classic, McDonald’s All-American game and the Derby City Classic (Lacey) before landing on campus late summer. Here’s a look at how the final year of high school has gone for the #1 recruiting class:
– Anthony Davis ended his Perspectives career in Chicago in the Class 3A regional semifinals. He averaged 32 points, 22 rebounds and 8 blocks per game his senior season.
– Kyle Wiltjer’s Jesuit Oregon school became the first Oregon team to win three straight 6-A state titles behind his 13 points and five rebounds.
– Marquis Teague finished his career in high school with his Pike team falling to defeat by defending 4A state champion North Central, 79-73. Teague finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists in his final game. He most likely lost ground in the Indiana Mr. Basketball race to IU commit Cody Zeller. Teague finished his the sectionals averaging he averaged 22.2 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds.
– Michael Gilchrist finished his senior season playing for the national championship with St. Patrick taking on St. Anthony’s in the New Jersey North Non-Public B final. Gilchrist, unfortunately, had an off night, scoring only 7 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks in a losing effort. His St. Patrick squad (26-1) had entered Wednesday’s final ranked No. 1 in USA Today’s Super 25 national poll. St. Anthony (29-0) was ranked No. 2. Gillie finished as the #3 player in the ESPU Top100, and the #1 overall prospect in many other recruiting services. He averaged 20 ppg his final season and was 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year in New Jersey.
– Trevor Lacey finished his Butler career with 3 state championship rings and the title in his final season. He is the reigning state’s Mr. Basketball and could very well land that honor again this season by carrying his team on his back to the title. Lacey averaged 32.3 ppg and cracked the 40 mark 10 times this season.
Though we won’t get a look at Lacey tonight, he has widdled down his list of schools to Alabama and Kentucky. We should know somewhere in mid-April where it will be. Stay tuned and enjoy!
B-Knight, Josh Harrellson, Coach Cal among others have been making their rounds through various media outlets over the last few days. Just moments ago Knight was featured on Sports Center for none other than doing his best Charlie Sheen impersonation………. Winning!
(video courtesy KSR's Thomas Beisner)
Just moments after this feature the ESPN Gameday crew made their picks to win the Championship and out of Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Dick Vitale and Hubert Davis, the wise guys were the only ones to pick the Cats to cut down the nets on Monday night….
Digger and Dickie V……….It’s awesome baby!