At Kentucky, Madness has meaning

Much ado about First practice 'good for program'

jtipton@herald-leader.comOctober 15, 2010 

  • 2010-11 UK men's basketball roster

    No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Pos. Hometown (previous school)

    0 Enes Kanter 6-11 272 Fr. F Istanbul, Turkey (Stoneridge Prep)

    1Darius Miller6-7 230 Jr. GMaysville, Ky. (Mason Co.)

    2 Stacey Poole Jr. 6-4 203 Fr. G Jacksonville, Fla. (Providence)

    3Terrence Jones6-8 250 Fr. FPortland, Ore. (Jefferson)

    4 Jon Hood6-7 205 So. G Madisonville, Ky. (North Hopkins)

    5 Jarrod Polson 6-2 180 Fr. GNicholasville, Ky. (West Jessamine)

    12Brandon Knight6-3 195 Fr. G Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Pine Crest)

    20 Doron Lamb 6-4 210 Fr. G Queens, N.Y. (Oak Hill Academy)

    30 Eloy Vargas 6-11 225 Jr. F Plantation, Fla. (Miami-Dade C.C.)

    34 DeAndre Liggins 6-6 215 Jr. GChicago, Ill. (Findlay Prep)

    55 Josh Harrellson 6-9 275 Sr. FSt. Charles, Mo. (SW Illinois College)

To borrow from Macbeth's famous soliloquy, Kentucky's Big Blue Madness is full of sound and fury, signifying ... nothing?

Cawood Ledford, the iconic radio play-by-play voice of UK basketball for 39 seasons, once noted proudly that he'd never attended a Madness. Yet 24,000 UK fans will fill Rupp Arena on Friday night for this year's Big Blue Madness.

If form holds, a good time will be had by all.

When asked what basketball value Madness held, UK Coach John Calipari said, "In this state, it's pretty big stuff. It's good for our fans. It's good for the program."

For other programs, not so much.

Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim acknowledged not being a big fan of Madness, which his program will stage next Friday because of scheduling issues at the Carrier Dome.

"I think it's a wasted day," he said. "I really do."

The basketball value of Madness? "Nothing," Boeheim said. "I don't like it. I never have."

Then Boeheim added, "I'd do it at Kentucky because the fans want it there."

Show-stopping shot

Earlier in the pre-season, Calipari suggested that UK could be a better shooting team in 2010-11. At Media Day on Thursday, he noted why he ended the previous day's practice prematurely.

"He made a jump shot," the UK coach said of freshman Terrence Jones. "So I stopped practice right there. Done! That's it. He finally made a jump shot. I know he can shoot. Let me have that mental picture."

Jones smiled while confirming Calipari's story. "He was just shocked I made one," the player said.

But Jones was not shocked. He cited the time off due to a rib injury.

"He told me not to touch a ball for a month," Jones said of Calipari. "It's difficult coming back off that and having the same game you had before getting hurt."

No Cousins now

While UK basketball stares at the possibility of not having Enes Kanter this season, Calipari added a disquieting note.

"There's no one that remotely looks like DeMarcus Cousins (did) in March," the UK coach said.

A few minutes later, Calipari downplayed the significance of not having a Cousins-like lane filler.

"I've never had a guy who remotely looked like DeMarcus," he said. "I had to coach a little different."

Of course, Calipari's teams at Memphis and UMass won with players of all sizes and shapes.

"I've never had a guy who remotely acted like DeMarcus," Calipari added. "I had to figure out (how to coach Cousins). ... He was 14 when he got here and about 16 when he left. My wife and I, he was like our son."

Dodson gone

Darnell Dodson, a junior-college transfer brought to UK last season, in part, to bolster the perimeter shooting, is no longer at the school, Calipari said.

After last season, Calipari offered Dodson a deal: return to UK but not to play basketball, presumably to improve his academic standing. Dodson initially seemed willing to accept that deal on the hope of playing again in the 2011-12 season.

Calipari said he was unaware of Dodson's plans.

Beard for Harrellson?

Josh Harrellson appeared at Media Day sporting a good start on a beard.

"I was going to shave," he said. "I just ran out of time."

Harrellson playfully suggested that he might keep the beard. "It makes me look rugged and tough," he said.

Etc.

■ Tickets for the Blue-White Scrimmage on Oct. 26 are available at TicketMaster, the UK Ticket Office and Rupp Arena. Tickets are $10 each.

■ Madness can be seen on Fox Sports South (state of Kentucky only); WYMT in Hazard; WKAG in Hopkinsville; WKYT in Lexington and WMYO in Louisville. Fans can also view Big Blue Madness live for free on the University of Kentucky Web site at www.ukathletics.com or www.espn3.com.

■ Kentucky's celebration will be included in ESPNU's Midnight Madness special from 9 p.m. till 1 a.m.

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