Sports Business Journal names Mitch Barnhart Athletic Director of the Year

Mitch Barnhart with Tim Duckworth after he won the national championship in Oregon in 2018. (UK Athletics Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Mitch Barnhart prefers to operate behind the scenes, leaving the headlines and attention for the student-athletes and coaches who have helped bring to life his vision of establishing Kentucky among the best athletics departments in the country.

He can’t help but step into the spotlight for a moment now, as Barnhart has been named Athletic Director of the Year by the Sports Business Journal.

Wildcats Set to Embark on Two-Week Foreign Tour to Brazil

Madison Lilley, left. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By TIM LETCHER, UK Athletics

LEXINGTON — For the first time since 2014, the Kentucky volleyball team is preparing to take an international trip during the summer. The Wildcats will depart Lexington on May 24, embarking on a two-week trip to Brazil, where the team will be able to not only play against international competition, but will also be able to experience many of the sights and much of the culture that Brazil has to offer.

Hopefully we can all learn something from what happened to Lee Cruse

Lee Cruse, left, had Alan Cutler near tears with his tribute to him during the station’s Kentucky Derby coverage in 2018 on Cutler’s last day before retirement.

By LARRY VAUGHT

WLEX-TV’s decision to dismiss Lee Cruse for insensitive remarks in reaction to what a BBC radio broadcaster said using a chimpanzee to represent Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s newborn baby drew immediate reaction from Cruse’s supporters — and there are many — as well as those who had called for WLEX-TV to do more than just suspend him for a week like it did initially.

LPGA star Brittany Lincicome reflects on “awesome” PGA Barbasol experience last year

Brittany Lincicome (Gary Moyers Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Last July LPGA star Brittany Lincicome came to Kentucky to play in the PGA Barbasol Championship.

This week she’s in Williamsburg, Va., for the Pure Silk Championship, her final tournament this season because she is pregnant.

Not surprisingly, Lincicome was asked again about her experience playing against the men last year in Kentucky when she failed to make the 36-hole cut.

Penny Hardaway still wants a Kentucky-Memphis series

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Memphis has the nation’s No. 1 college basketball recruiting class that includes James Wiseman, a player Kentucky coach John Calipari pursued for two years, and D.J. Jeffries, a former UK commit.

Memphis coach Penny Hardaway mentioned when he got the job just over a year ago that he would like to play Kentucky. That has not changed.

“I haven’t spoken to him (in about a month), but I’m definitely going to be talking to him about a home-and-home,” Hardaway told dailymemphian.com writer Jonah Jordan. “Or even a neutral site. We talked about a neutral site in Nashville before.”

Vince Marrow hopes NCAA does right thing and grants waiver so Xavier Peters can play this year

Xavier Peters posted this on Twitter to announce his transfer to Kentucky.

By LARRY VAUGHT

He’s not counting on Florida State transfer Xavier Peters obtaining a waiver from the NCAA that will allow him to play at Kentucky this season, but UK recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow believes he has a compelling case for immediate eligibility.

Peters verbally committed to Kentucky as other former Lakota West (Ohio) High School players had previously done. However, after playing in the Under Armour High School All-America Game he flipped to Florida State after being committed to UK for just over a year.

Gilgeous-Alexander Named to NBA All-Rookie Second Team

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Once an overlooked recruit coming out of high school, former Kentucky men’s basketball player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is now an All-Rookie player in the NBA.

Gilgeous-Alexander made the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Second Team, as announced by the league Tuesday. He was the sixth-leading vote getter after leading the Los Angeles Clippers to the postseason with a brilliant first-year campaign.

The 11th overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft is the 11th Wildcat in the John Calipari era to earn NBA All-Rookie honors. Gilgeous-Alexanders was joined on the All-Rookie Second team by Collin Sexton (Cleveland Cavaliers), Landry Shamet (Los Angeles Clippers), Mitchell Robinson (New York Knicks) and Kevin Huerter (Atlanta Hawks).

What’s so special about Kentucky basketball?

Jack Givens, left, and James Lee with Matthew Bradford at the Ohio UK Convention are two UK fan favorites. (Larry Vaught Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

For anyone that has watched Kentucky basketball for any period of time — either as a true fan or as an outside observer — it is quickly evident that there is a special connection between the UK players and the fans.

What does ESPN analyst Mike Schmitz think about UK players in June draft?

Keldon Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

The NBA Draft is now just over a month away and mock drafts should start becoming more accurate as more and more teams finish their analysis on every player.

ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz was part of the coverage crew at last week’s NBA Combine and closely evaluates prospects and their draft chances. He was even at the McDonald’s All-American Game this year to begin evaluating future draft prospects.

He’s seen plenty of UK’s PJ Washington, Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson even though the three did just limited measurements/interviews during the combine because all three seem to be locked into the first round.

Justin Rogers’ commitment gives UK great player, national credibility

By LARRY VAUGHT

Just when you think it can’t get any better for Kentucky football, it does.

This time it was a commitment from top 10 national lineman Justin Rogers of Michigan to the Wildcats Monday. He could have picked Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, LSU or Michigan. Instead, he went with the first school to offer him a scholarship when he was only an eighth-grader.

He made his announcement at Oak Park High School and one of the first to congratulate him was former Oak Park teammate Marquan McCall, a freshman defensive lineman at Kentucky.