Ex-Ballard star transfers to UK

mfields@herald-leader.comJanuary 19, 2011 

Mississippi St Arkansas Basketball

Twany Beckham redshirted his sophomore year after seeing limited playing time as a freshman at Mississippi State.

BETH HALL — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ballard Coach Chris Renner said former Bruins star Twany Beckham, who left Mississippi State during the semester break, has decided to walk on at Kentucky.

Beckham, a 6-foot-5 guard, can practice with UK now but won't be eligible to play until second semester next season.

"UK is recruiting the best players in the country, one-and-done pros, so Twan knows it's an uphill battle," Renner said.

"Like all kids, he believes he can play at that level and aspires to. He's willing to pay his dues and work as hard as he can.

"I think he can help them in a limited role and be a valuable member of the team."

Beckham averaged 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists while leading Ballard to a 35-3 record and state runner-up finish to Scott County in 2007.

He originally committed to IUPUI but wound up going to New Hampton (N.H.) Prep School for a year before signing with Mississippi State.

After seeing limited playing time as a freshman, Beckham redshirted his sophomore year after having surgery for bone spurs on both hips.

He returned this season but decided to leave at the semester break when the Mississippi State program was disrupted by off-the-court problems. The lowlight was a fight in the stands between teammates Renardo Sidney and Elgin Bailey during a tournament in Hawaii.

"With all the turmoil at Mississippi State, Twan felt he needed to leave," Renner said.

During the past few weeks Renner helped Beckham find a new basketball home. He visited Murray State and IUPUI but chose to try to walk on at UK.

"Basically, he thought the best thing for his future would be to go to UK," Renner said. "If he's good enough to earn a chance to play, great. If not, he'll be back in the state making business contacts. He already has almost 100 college (credit) hours, so he'll probably be able to leave UK with almost a master's. It's a good situation for him."

Renner said he talked with UK assistant coach Kenny Payne last week about Beckham, "and it's my understanding there is no guarantee of a scholarship."

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