Derby Festival Basketball Classic

Lacey one of many standouts to play at Derby Festival Classic

Playing time important, but not all-important when selecting a university, Alabama native says

jtipton@herald-leader.comApril 21, 2011 

4A Boys Butler Anniston Basketball

Trevor Lacey received his first scholarship offer as a ninth-grader from then-Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl. He has not yet committed to a school.


  • Kentucky Derby FestivalBasketball Classic

    When: 7 p.m. Friday

    Where: KFC Yum Center in Louisville

    Tickets: $16 reserved. Available at TicketMaster locations, and the KFC Yum Center box office, (502) 690-9090.

    Night of the Future Stars: A ticket to Friday's game is good for free admission to Bellarmine's Knights Hall for Thursday's Night of the Future Stars, which includes slam-dunk, three-point shooting and two-on-two competitions and an autograph session.


    White team

    No. Player Ht. Pos. College

    21 Chane Behanan 6-9 F Louisville

    14 Deuce Bello 6-4 G Baylor

    9 Wayne Blackshear 6-5 G/F Louisville

    22 x-DeAndre Daniels 6-8F Undecided

    4 George Fant 6-7 F WKU

    5 Derrick Gordon 6-3 G WKU

    10 D'Angelo Harrison 6-3 G St. John's

    0 Andre Hollins 6-3 G Minnesota

    23 Tony Kimbro 6-5 G Undecided

    11 Le'Bryan Nash 6-7 F Oklahoma St.

    1 Angel Nunez 6-7 F Louisville

    25 Zach Price 6-11 C Louisville

    12 Kevin Ware 6-4 G Central Florida

    Coaches: Tim Riley, Warren Central; Leonard Bishop, Lincoln (Texas).

    Gold team

    No. Player Ht. Pos. College

    6 Braeden Anderson 6-9 F Kansas

    2 Quinn Cook 6-0 G Duke

    15 Branden Dawson 6-6 F Michigan St.

    13 Austin Etherington 6-6 F Indiana

    32 Anthony Hickey 5-10 G Undecided

    5 Trevor Lacey 6-4 G Undecided

    23 Dai-Jon Parker 6-4 G Vanderbilt

    20 Levi Randolph 6-6 G Alabama

    24 LaQuinton Ross 6-9 F Ohio St.

    25 Amir Williams 6-10 C Ohio St.

    40 Cody Zeller 6-11 F Indiana

    Coaches: Steve Smith, Oak Hill Academy (Virginia); Kevin Keats, Hargrave Military Academy (Virginia).

    x-Will not play because of death in family

LOUISVILLE — A science teacher at S.R. Butler High School in Huntsville, Ala., is a University of Kentucky graduate. This is noteworthy because the star basketball player for S.R. Butler High School considers Kentucky among his top three college choices.

"She told me to try Derby pie or something like that," that player, guard Trevor Lacey, said Wednesday before he and other high school stars practiced for Friday's Derby Festival Basketball Classic.

Not so conveniently for UK, Lacey is rooming with Alabama signee Levi Randolph. Alabama, along with Kansas, joins UK in Lacey's list of three finalists.

"I'm hearing it from Levi a little bit," Lacey said with a smile. "He's 'Bama."

Among Randolph's lobbying tactics has been a not-so-subtle comment about the weather here as the players arrived earlier Wednesday. "It's a little cold," Lacey said Randolph noted.

Official recruiting visits will play a key role in Lacey's decision, the player said. He visited Alabama last weekend.

"Great coach, great team, great run in the NIT," Lacey said. "They were missing a shooter. That's what they're selling me on. 'Come right in and shoot those shots.' "

After playing in the Derby Festival game, Lacey plans to visit Kansas the weekend of April 30-May 1. In an interesting variation on typical recruiting form, Kansas impressed Lacey early in the process by telling him he would not get abundant playing time on a team stacked with talent for 2011-12.

Then freshman Josh Selby and twins Marcus and Markieff Morris declared for the 2011 NBA Draft. Kansas renewed its recruitment of Lacey and found a receptive player.

"I respected them for being honest," Lacey said. "... If they were honest with me that way, I felt that was a guy (Coach Bill Self) I could trust."

Two Alabama natives who played for Kentucky last season helped start the recruitment of Lacey. Eric Bledsoe (Birmingham) and DeMarcus Cousins (Mobile, by way of Birmingham) were involved.

"We talk here and there," Lacey said. "They were the ones to tell Coach Cal (John Calipari) about me."

Lacey also relied on Bledsoe and Cousins to tell him about what life is like as a UK basketball player.

"Everything positive," Lacey said. "Great fan base, and everybody is basketball crazy. Kind of like Alabama football."

Lacey, who said he is academically qualified, acknowledged that players entering the NBA Draft create opportunity for playing time. Earlier Wednesday, UK announced that Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and DeAndre Liggins would put their names in this year's draft.

"What I kind of expected," he said before adding, "I didn't think Liggins was going to enter (the draft).

"If they all stayed, I'd still feel the same way about Kentucky. It'd just be a deeper roster and (represent) a better chance at a championship."

Lacey described playing time as important, but not all-important in his decision-making. Yet, underclassmen departing for the draft translate into playing time.

"I'm not going to say come-right-in playing time," Lacey said, "but a great opportunity for me to get playing time."

If playing time were the sole factor, Lacey might have already signed with Auburn. In explaining why Kentucky, Kansas and Alabama were in prime position, he said, "I wouldn't be the only guy out there."

Alabama has been recruiting Lacey since he was a seventh-grader. Then-Alabama coach Mark Gottfried tried in vain this spring to woo Lacey for North Carolina State.

Lacey received his first scholarship offer as a ninth-grader. Then-Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl made the offer.

"I was ready to commit on the spot," Lacey said. "My dad told me to wait it out. I had a great future and would have more offers to consider."

Daniels a no-show

A death in the family caused DeAndre Daniels to drop out of the Derby Festival Basketball Classic.

Daniels had been linked to Kentucky. Now, he's said to be considering Duke, Texas and Kansas. He played for IMG Academy this past season.

The death of a grandfather caused Daniels to drop out of the Derby Festival, game officials said.

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