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Bardstown coach James Brewer loves what ex-teammate Kenny Payne brings to UK program

Bardstown coach James Brewer will be at UK’s Big Blue Madness for the first time with his star senior JJ Traynor.

By LARRY VAUGHT

For the first time, Bardstown High School boys basketball coach James “Boo” Brewer will be attending Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness Oct. 11.

His star senior, JJ Traynor, has a scholarship offer from Kentucky and Brewer will accompany him to UK’s preseason showcase event.

Brewer played his college basketball at Louisville. In 88 games in three seasons, he averaged 9.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.9 assist per game from 1990-1993. His career overlapped that of Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne during Brewer’s first year at Louisville.

“It’s a great compliment to JJ to get invited to Madness,” Brewer said. “For me, it’s great because I get to go and see my ex-teammate and roommate Kenny Payne.

“I love what Kenny stands for and what he brings to the program with his skill development. He’s been really successful but he really works at his job, too. He’s not changed a bit, either. We had some fun times at Louisville.”

Traynor averaged 11.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last year when Bardstown went 15-16. Brewer says not only is Traynor much better — he jumped into the top 100 in the 2020 national recruiting rankings — but so is his team.

“I have a lot of young guards and a senior guard that is really good to go along with JJ,” Brewer said. “It’s going to be an exciting season for us.

Brewer believes Traynor, the son of former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Jason Osborne, is a definite Mr. Basketball candidate and hopes to showcase him to as many potential voters as possible.

“We are playing in Lexington. We are going to eastern Kentucky, western Kentucky,” Brewer said. “I wish we could have got in King of the Bluegrass (in Louisville). I thought he (Traynor) deserved to play in it.

“I think he is a huge Mr. Basketball candidate. I have always thought that. He was under the radar before and now that is he showing what he can do it has really opened a lot of eyes in the state and nation.”

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