Meeks' 54 made good impression on Bucks

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJuly 2, 2009 

Fast-break points from the summer doldrums:

21. Meeks vs. Bogans. It looks as if former Kentucky shooting guards Jodie Meeks and Keith Bogans will not be dueling for a roster spot with the Milwaukee Bucks. Bogans, who was traded from Orlando to the Bucks last season, is a free agent and does not appear to be in Milwaukee's plans.

20. What sent Meeks to Milwaukee. Wonder why it was the Bucks who pulled the trigger on the Kentucky shooting star in the second round (41st overall pick) of last week's NBA draft? Turns out, Milwaukee director of player personnel Dave Babcock was in Tennessee's Thompson-Boling Arena last winter on the night Meeks dropped 54 points on the Men of Pearl.

19. The Bucks' book on Meeks. "I went to see (Meeks) and Patrick Patterson," Babcock told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about his trip to Knoxville. "(Meeks) moves so well without the ball and obviously he's a very good shooter. Couple with that he's physical, strong and a good defender, for him to be at 41 was sort of shocking."

18. Good omen for Jodie. As a second round pick, Meeks does not get a guaranteed contract, but the Bucks have a history of success with second-round picks. The team's star, Michael Redd, was a second rounder (43rd pick) in 2000; promising guard Ramon Sessions went in round two (56th) in 2007; forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee's second-rounder in 2008 (37th), started 56 games this past season.

17. Impact on UK from losing Meeks: Without No. 23, outside shooting looms as a major concern on the 2009-10 Kentucky roster.

16. The Bledsoe buzz. Take this for what it's worth, but the Kentucky player getting the most raves from the summer pick-up game rumor mill is incoming freshman guard Eric Bledsoe.

15. Landon Slone. Word is that Morehead State is optimistic that Slone, the former Kentucky walk-on, might be granted a transfer waiver by the NCAA and allowed to play immediately this coming season at MSU.

14. Rasheed in green? Kevin Garnett is said by to be lobbying the Celtics front office to bring free agent big man Rasheed Wallace to Boston — and wouldn't that be interesting.

13. Courtney Lee. Can't help but feel sorry for the former Western Kentucky star after he got shipped from a potential NBA champion in Orlando to the massive rebuilding project in New Jersey as a result of the Vince Carter trade.

12. Michael Jackson. For me, the cultural impact of the King of Pop's death was best exemplified by this: On the night he passed, MTV interrupted its normal menu of sleazy reality and dating shows and was running Jackson's music videos.

(This will come as a shock to anyone younger than, say, 25, but there was time when Music Television actually played music videos).

11. Brandon Webb. After talk of major shoulder surgery, the Arizona Diamondbacks ace and former UK star has decided against it in hopes of returning to the mound this season. Nevertheless, the Associated Press reported he won't begin throwing for the next two to four weeks.

10. Rick Auerbach. If anyone can explain why I got an envelope in the mail from New York that contained only the 1978 Cincinnati Reds baseball card of Auerbach, an obscure former shortstop, well, I'm certainly curious.

9. Kentucky Speedway attendance. The crowd for the Nationwide Series race in Sparta last month was estimated at 70,000. Because the Speedway is now owned by a publicly-traded company (Speedway Motorsports Inc.), track officials say they will no longer be making public the exact attendance figures from races.

8. Kyle Busch. The fans may treat him as public enemy No. 1 everywhere, but the car driven by the NASCAR bad boy is the one you can't take your eyes from anytime he's on the track.

7. Rating UK football coaches. After reading my colleague John Clay's column last Sunday ranking the modern Kentucky football coaches, I found myself curious about the records against Southeastern Conference competition of each top Cat.

6. The rankings. Based on their SEC winning percentage, this is how the coaches stack up: 1. Bear Bryant 54.5 percent (22-18-4); 2. Fran Curci 45.5 (25-30); 3. Blanton Collier 38.8 (21-34-3); 4. Hal Mumme 31.3 (10-22); 5. Charlie Bradshaw 29.5 (12-30-2); 6. Rich Brooks 27.1 (13-35); 7. Jerry Claiborne 26.0 (13-37); 8. Bill Curry 25.9 (14-40); 9. Guy Morriss 25.0 (4-12); 10. John Ray 14.3 (4-24).

5. A quiz. Since Bryant left UK for Texas A&M after the 1953 season, Kentucky has had only four — count 'em, four — winning records in SEC play. Can you name the seasons?

4. The quiz answer. Collier went 5-2 in SEC play in his first year succeeding the Bear in 1954; Bradshaw had a 4-2 conference mark in 1964; and Curci had back-to-back winning league marks at 5-1 in 1976 (which included a forfeit from Mississippi State) and 6-0 in 1977.

3. A grim reality. In the same 1954-2008 period in which it has had four winning conference records, UK has had eight years in which it failed to win an SEC football game.

2. Post-Bear SEC overall record. Since the start of the 1954 football season, Kentucky is 116-264-5 against conference foes.

1. The Vanderbilt factor. Of Kentucky's 116 post-Bryant SEC wins, 35 have come against Vanderbilt. Since the Bear bailed, UK is 81-246-3 against the rest of the Southeastern Conference. Which more than explains why the phrase "thank God for Vandy" has become a vocabulary staple of The Long-Suffering UK Football Fan.

Reach Mark Story at (859) 231-3230 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3230, or at Your e-mail could appear on the blog Read Mark Story's E-mail at

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