Mike Fields' notebook: Stars from state spice Kentucky-Louisville rivalry

Herald-Leader Staff writerMarch 29, 2012 

  • Baseball poll

    The Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association poll.

    1. Male

    2. Lexington Catholic

    3. Central Hardin

    4. Apollo

    5. Eastern

    6. St. Xavier

    7. Harrison County

    8. Bowling Green

    9. Bryan Station

    10. Pleasure Ridge Park

    11. Lafayette

    12. Danville

    13. Trinity

    14. Lou. Christian

    15. Franklin County

    15. Madison Central

    17. Tates Creek

    18. West Jessamine

    19. Ballard

    20. Paul Laurence Dunbar

    21. Covington Catholic

    22. Glasgow

    23. Henderson County

    24. Lone Oak

    25. Woodford County

    Also receiving votes: Henry Clay, Collins, Muhlenberg County, Bullitt East, North Laurel, Barren County, Lexington Christian, Jeffersontown, Lawrence County, Russell County

It's impossible not to get drawn into the Kentucky vs. Louisville NCAA Final Four Hoopalooza, so here's another take on the basketball rivalry.

I've picked a home-grown starting five and four reserves for UK and U of L from a pool of Kentucky high school stars over the last 50 years:

KENTUCKY

Melvin Turpin 6-11 center (Bryan Station, 1979)

Winston Bennett 6-7 forward (Male, 1983)

Jack Givens 6-5 forward (Bryan Station, 1974)

Dirk Minniefield 6-3 guard (Lafayette, 1979)

Rex Chapman 6-5 guard (Apollo, 1979)

Bench: James Lee (Henry Clay, '74); Mike Casey (Shelby County, '66); Larry Conley (Ashland, '62); Reggie Hanson (Pulaski County, '86)

LOUISVILLE

Wes Unseld 6-7 center (Seneca, 1964)

Wesley Cox 6-6 forward (Male, 1973)

Dwayne Morton 6-7 forward (Central, 1990)

Darrell Griffith 6-4 guard (Male, 1976)

Butch Beard 6-3 guard (Breckinridge County, 1965)

Bench: Herbert Crook (Eastern, '84) DeJuan Wheat (Ballard, '78); Felton Spencer (Eastern, '86); Alvin Sims (Paris, '93).


Several Kentucky high school alums played in the famous 1983 NCAA Mideast Regional finals in which Louisville beat UK 80-68 in overtime. Robbie Valentine (North Hardin) and Jeff Hall (Fairview) did not score for Louisville. Melvin Turpin had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead UK. Dirk Minniefield had 12 points, five assists and three rebounds; Charles Hurt (Shelby County) had seven points and six rebounds, and Dicky Beal didn't score but had four assists.

■ North Oldham boys' basketball coach David Henley, who guided Holmes to the state championship in 2009, thinks the high school game has gotten too physical. "And after watching the hand-to-hand combat we call the Sweet Sixteen, I am more convinced," he said. "The weight room has become more important than the practice floor." That's not the way it was when Henley's dad coached Carlisle County to the 1st Region championship in 1975. Jim Henley's Comets scored 100 or more points six times, 90 or more 12 times, and 80 or more 16 times. The average winning score in the 1975 state tournament was 77 points. The average winning score in this year's Sweet Sixteen was 58. David Henley said a basketball advisory committee will voice its concerns about the state of the game to the KHSAA's Board of Control.

■ Scott County's Billy Hicks had flattering things to say about UK signees Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin, and UK recruiting target Shabazz Muhammad, after Hicks coached the East team in the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago Wednesday night. The West squad, led by Muhammad's 21 points and six rebounds, beat the East 106-102. Poythress had 19 points and Goodwin 14 for the East.

Hicks said Poythress reminds him of former UK star Kenny Walker in the way he finishes around the rim. "Poythress has that explosiveness in his legs," Hicks said. "His upside is really good. He's got a pretty good shooting touch. He was one of the most talented kids up here." Hicks liked Goodwin's quickness, ability to create off the dribble, and "an inner toughness you don't see in a lot of kids." Hicks added that "a good thing for (UK) is that Poythress and Goodwin are nice kids, quiet and humble." Hicks was off-the-charts impressed by Shabazz. "The amazing thing about him is that he plays harder than anybody on the floor. He's so talented and athletic, and he plays so hard. That's a deadly combination."

Hicks, who had Scott County assistants Chris Wilhite and Tim Glenn with him on the bench, said he didn't realize what a big deal the McDonald's Game was until he experienced it. "It's a whole weeklong event, and a big production in the way it's marketed," Hicks said. " You get 'wowed' every time you turn around. It was a heck of an honor to be part of it."

■ To correct an item in last week's notebook, Billy Hicks' three wins in this year's Sweet Sixteen gives him 23 state tournament victories. That's tops on the all-time list, one more than Dale Mabrey of Pleasure Ridge Park.

■ This year's Indiana high school basketball finals drew the fewest fans since the Hoosier State went from one class to four classes 14 years ago. The four title games played in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis last Saturday drew 22,820 fans. Two private schools won championships — Park Tudor in 2A and Guerin Catholic in 3A. The last year Indiana crowned one champ — Bloomington North beat Delta in the 1998 finals — the game drew 26,000 fans to the Hoosier Dome.

■ The Kentucky-Indiana all-star basketball games will be played June 8 in Freedom Hall in Louisville, and June 9 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The all-stars haven't hooped it up in Freedom Hall since 1994. Since then the rivalry has been contested in UK's Memorial Coliseum, the Frankfort Convention Center, the Owensboro Sportscenter, WKU's Diddle Arena, the Louisville Gardens and, for the past three years, Bellarmine's Knights Hall.

■ Jessica Rupright of Norwell is Indiana's Miss Basketball. The 6-2 senior, who will play college basketball at Miami (Ohio), is Norwell's career leader in points (1,591) and rebounds (728).

■ Recruiting analyst Rick Bolus has ranked the top boys' and girls' basketball prospects in Kentucky going into the 2012-13 season.

The top 12 boys: Derek Willis (Bullitt East); Trey Grundy (Henry Clay); Jackson Davis (Lafayette); Quentin Snider (Ballard); Jordan Green (Henry Clay); Darryl Hicks (Trinity); Jack Whitman (Lexington Catholic); Shane Hall (Johnson Central); Justin Johnson (Sheldon Clark); Omar Prewitt (Montgomery County); Kelan Martin (Ballard) and Mike Smith (Paul Laurence Dunbar).

Bolus' top 12 girls: Becca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic); Makayla Epps and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers (Marion County); China Dow (Louisville Christian); Kayla Styles (Manual); Ashanti Thomas (Lafayette); Nora Kiesler (Assumption); Morgan Turner (Meade County); Macy Morris (Bell County); Aaeron Smith (Butler); Ivy Brown (LaRue County), and Tearra Banks (Ballard).

■ South Laurel freshman Daniel Neal is off to a torrid start this baseball season. He's hitting .533 with six homers and 18 RBI for the Cardinals, who are 6-2.

■ Wolfe County senior Tyler Harris struck out the first 14 batters he faced in a 16-0 win over Menifee County last week. One batter away from a five-inning perfect game of K's, Harris surrendered a single to center. But he struck out the next batter. Harris also had a big day at the plate, driving in six runs, including a three-run homer. He had five RBI in Wolfe County's next game against Cordia.

■ Jimmy Carr, a football star at Harrison County in the 1970s, is the Thorobreds' new coach. Carr was on Ray Graham's staff at Harrison County, and has been a middle school coach the last couple of years.

■ North Hardin junior Lydia Gumm has committed to play golf at Florida State. Gumm has played in nine consecutive state tournaments. She was runner-up in 2006, '08 and '11, finished third in 2010 and was fourth in 2009. Gumm has won Miss Golf honors four times.

■ Central Hardin girls' basketball coach Demon Thomas has resigned after one season and a 9-21 record.

■ Three East Jessamine soccer players have signed to play in college: Becca King (Centre), Victoria Slade (Southern Virginia) and Danielle Lee (Lindsey Wilson). Lee will also run track.

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Email: mfields@herald-leader. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com

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