Posted on: September 28, 2011 5:10 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 5:52 pm

UK fans flee from one spot to another for tickets

By Matt Norlander

IPhone fanboys have nothing on this.

It's Kentucky. And Kentucky Basketball. And Kentucky fans waiting for a chance to get tickets to Kentucky basketball. But not basketball games. No -- merely Big Blue Madness, the school's initiation to the new season, on Oct. 14. Of course they're going to reenact a scene out of a Godzilla movie in order to get the best spot possible for tickets.

That's right. These kids (and, let's be honest, there are probably a few middle-aged men peppered in there, too) waited in line in order for a chance to get a spot to wait in another line for three more days. Kentucky basketball fans: you are adorably bonkers. Resist the urge to fast forward, and just let the anticipation build as you wait to see what happens, who's forced to love the pavement, and if there are any legitimate casualties.

It's all about real estate. The fans are running toward patches of grass they'll make their homes for the next 72 hours, until tickets are officially on sale to the public.

And yes, there is absolutely someone in a motorized wheelchair at the far left of the screen.

The fun's only just begun. Wildcats fans: feel free to send your best videos and photos from the next few days to me: matt.norlander@cbsinteractive.com

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 21, 2011 8:52 am
Edited on: September 21, 2011 8:59 am

Perry Ellis closing in on decision

By Jeff Borzello

The highly-publicized recruitment of Perry Ellis is just hours away from ending.

The 6-foot-8 forward from Wichita Heights (Kan.) will announce his commitment at 2:45 p.m. local time during a press conference at his high school gym. The finalists for his services are Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky and Wichita State.

Throughout his recruitment, Kansas has been considered by some to be the favorite, but the family has not shown their cards heading into the final day.

“All four coaches have recruited him for at least three years,” Fonda Ellis, Perry’s mother, told CBSSports.com. “They have built a relationship with Perry and our whole family. They are all great programs and we think they all are great choices.”

Fonda Ellis took some time to break down each of the four choices.

Kansas and Kentucky are in the mix because of their tradition.

“They both have it,” she said. “From the history to the winning to the fans to the coaches.”

Ellis likes the desire that Kansas State players have.

“Coach [Frank] Martin has his players playing with heart,” she said.

As for the hometown school, Ellis thinks Gregg Marshall has put Wichita State on par with bigger and more traditional basketball schools.

“Under Gregg Marshall, he has done an awesome job rebuilding the program to the next level,” Fonda Ellis said.

Ellis is ranked No. 27 by CBSSports.com. He is a versatile forward who can score in a variety of ways. Ellis is able to post up defenders and score with his back to the basket, but he is also capable of facing up opponents and knocking down mid-range and perimeter shots. He finishes well at the rim, and is solid on the glass.

Whichever school hears its name this afternoon will be getting an impact performer.

“Perry wants to pick a school that makes him feel totally comfortable,” Fonda Ellis said. “From the coaches to the players to the style of play and the campus. We just want Perry to be happy, and if he is happy, he will be comfortable and successful.”

Photo: Adidas Nations

Posted on: September 21, 2011 12:04 am
Edited on: June 10, 2012 1:34 pm

Archie Goodwin commits to Kentucky

By Jeff Borzello

It’s been an exciting, confusing and interesting few weeks for Archie Goodwin.

He trimmed his list to 10, then eight, then five. Goodwin then said he would likely wait until the spring to make a decision, planning to take all five official visits before sitting down and then committing. On Monday, he suddenly dropped Connecticut and Kansas from his final five and said he would decide within a few weeks from between Kentucky, Arkansas and Memphis.

The whirlwind couple of days continued Tuesday night, when he sent out a tweet: “Everyone stay tuned tomorrow morning it’s going down!!!”

Everything culminated right before midnight on Tuesday, when Goodwin announced for Kentucky.

“If you don’t know by now, I’m a Wildcat!!!” Goodwin tweeted.

Goodwin, a 6-foot-5 guard from Sylvan Hills (Ark.), might be the best scoring guard in the country. He attacks the rim with reckless abandon whenever there is an opening, and he knows how to finish with authority. Goodwin is very difficult to stop off the dribble, and his first step is one of the best.

He should fit perfectly into Kentucky’s offensive system, which allows for creativity off the bounce. The Wildcats were often considered a favorite for Goodwin, although the in-state Razorbacks put a lot of their eggs in his basket. In the end, the allure of going to Lexington outweighed the nostalgia of staying at home.

Goodwin, ranked No. 6 by CBSSports.com, is the first Kentucky commit in the class of 2012. Some were worried about the lack of Wildcat pledges; those people shouldn’t worry any longer.

Photo: Paul Fimpel

Posted on: September 15, 2011 10:13 am

McGary's parents favor Duke; AAU coach Michigan

By Jeff Goodman

WOLFEBORO, N.H. - Exactly one year ago, the question from coaches was whether or not Mitch McGary could play in the Big Ten - or another big-time league.

Now he's the No. 2 player in the nation.

The 6-foot-10 McGary, an Indiana native spending his second year at Brewster Academy (N.H.), has taken three visits and could take three more.

McGary went to Michigan for a rainy football game a few weeks ago, where he hung out with fellow Chesterton High (Ind.) product Zack Novak. Then he went to North Carolina and most recently, took an trip to Duke.

McGary didn't deny the fact that his parents favor Duke while his summer coach with the SYF team, Wayne Brumm, likes Michigan.

He also said he's still taking it all in right now.

"I'm keeping quiet," he said. "I'm putting it down on paper and seeing what school fits me. I'm not sure when I'll commit."

Could today be the day?

It's when Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski will travel to Brewster and meet with McGary.

Roy Williams and John Beilein were both at the school on Wednesday. Billy Donovan and Mark Turgeon came earlier in the week while John Calipari is set to make an appearance on Saturday.

"It's brutal trying to figure it all out, but I know I have great options," he said.

Ones that weren't there a year ago.

McGary said he would like to take visits to Florida, Kentucky and Maryland - but he's not sure if and when that will happen.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 10:49 am
Edited on: September 3, 2011 11:19 am

Friends shed light on Calipari's Memphis years

By Gary Parrish

Aaron Smith is the guy from the student newspaper at Kentucky who was "punished" this week by UK's sports information department for doing great reporting that, in UK's mind, doubled as a violation of the school's media policy. But that's neither here nor there. It's really just an introduction to my main point -- that Smith now has a nice article in the Kentucky Kernel detailing two relationships John Calipari developed during his nine years at Memphis.

You can read the article here.

The most interesting quotes came from Don DeWeese -- one of Calipari's close friends and the owner of Gibson's Donuts, a popular spot near where Calipari used to live in Memphis. Among the highlights are DeWeese's thoughts on Memphis being forced to vacate the 2007-08 season after Derrick Rose's SAT score was invalidated:
“I think it’s a travesty and everybody else does, too. Because we know we won all those games. Did Derrick Rose take that test? I don’t know. I doubt it. I don’t think John Calipari had anything to do with the arranging of the test. Did he have knowledge of it? Maybe. But they’ve never proved he had anything to do with it.”
Another nice quote features DeWeese talking about Calipari's reluctance to recruit Memphians to play for Memphis.
“He didn’t take a lot of Memphis players, because they’re harder to coach, because at every game, they got their whole posse there.”
That's a sentiment I know to be true, and it's hard to argue Calipari wasn't correct considering he had off-the-court problems with several Memphians during his tenure at Memphis -- from Antonio Burks to Billy Richmond to Andre Allen. It's something worth remembering considering Josh Pastner now has a Memphis team that'll be ranked in the top 15 of most preseason polls. The number of Memphians on the current Memphis roster? Eight.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:34 pm

Calipari gets corn maze made in his honor

By Matt Norlander

Did aliens do it? No, an even scarier set of species is responsible: Kentucky fans.

When it comes to appreciation and adoration, you can't get cornier than this.

Kelley Farms, located in Lexington, Ky., has gone out and designed a corn maze 10 acres large and is turning it into an event. Of course it has. This is Kentucky! That's pretty impressive, though I think Cal looks a little to chunky in the chin. Corn mazes are great weekend activities in the fall all across America. But how often do we see something like this? Frankly, I'm surprised it took this long.

Per WKYT.com

“We think a lot of Coach Calipari,” said farm owner John Kelley. “He’s almost like part of the family. Kelley. Calipari. I think we might be related, somewhere way back,” he laughs.
“Really, we just want to let Coach Cal know how much he means to Kentucky and how much Kentucky appreciates having him lead our basketball team.”

In addition to the image of Coach Cal, this year’s maze will also feature a basketball-themed word puzzle, spread throughout the winding paths.

This is not new territory for Kelley Farms, as they've carved many an image into the bluegrass carpet in years past. Guys like Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln and Henry Clay have all be designs made visible from the sky. The maze will open later this month, on Sept. 23, and will operate until the end of October.

Photo via WKYT
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:17 am
Edited on: August 15, 2011 10:29 am

MADD must be proud of Josh Harrellson

By Gary Parrish

Josh Harrellson was among the fan favorites on last season's Kentucky team that made the Final Four -- and that was before he started stopping drunk drivers.

"About four or five of us guys jumped on the truck and reached in there and turned the keys off," Harrelson told WKYT while detailing how he and some friends recently stopped a drunk driver -- with children in the backseat -- from hitting a third vehicle. The man had already hit two vehicles in a parking lot moments after starting his car. One of those vehicles was Harrellson's truck.

"We were just worried because he could have put it in drive at any time and maybe ran somebody over, or while our arms were in the car, just kept going and we could have been drug or something," Harrellson said. "I'm the type of guy that, I want to make sure everybody else is alright. ... I'm fine. My truck got hit. That's replaceable. I was just thankful nobody got hurt and the kids were fine."

So add this to the list of impressive things Harrellson has done in the past year.

I'd even rank it ahead of the 23-point, 14-rebound effort he had at Louisville.

I bet MADD would, too.

Photo: AP
Posted on: August 10, 2011 3:19 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 9:18 am

Report: Andre Drummond switching preps; has top 5

By Jeff Goodman

Andre Drummond has kept it close to the vest, made his future plans secretive beyond his inner circle.

Well, top big man in the Class of 2012 has broken his silence – and told ESPN.com’s Adam Finkelstein (the New England recruiting guru, by the way) on Wednesday afternoon that he will not go to college this fall and will instead do another year of prep school.

The talented 6-foot-10 Connecticut native is leaving St. Thomas More and heading to Wilbraham & Monson in Massachusetts to do a post-grad year.

``I just want to focus on school and basketball and get a chance to be a kid,” Drummond told ESPN.com. ``It’s been crazy, the amount of rumors that have been floating around lately, but I just try to ignore it and stay focused on what’s important.”

Drummond also revealed a college list for the first time, telling Finkelstein that he is considering home-state UConn along with Kentucky, Louisville, Georgetown and West Virginia.

However, I’m not buying that Drummond ever winds up on a college campus. If that was the case, he could – and should have just gone somewhere this season.

Instead, unless the rules change dramatically, look for Drummond to go the NBA route after this season. He would meet the current requirement - which is to be 19 years of age and also a year removed from his graduating class. 

The interesting aspect of that is he’ll be somewhat of a mystery to NBA personnel – since they are unable to see him play in pep school and Drummond won’t be eligible for the McDonald’s All-American Game due to the fact he’s a fifth-year kid.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com