Mack the latest Defenders star to find college success away from Lexington
Bryan Station's Shelvin Mack found the perfect hoops home at Butler, where he's a sophomore starter on a team getting ready to play in a Final Four a few miles from its campus in Indianapolis.
Bryan Station basketball players seem to have a knack for finding the right fit at the right college. To name a few Defenders from the not-too-distant past:
Jaron Brown (1998) was originally offered a scholarship by UK Coach Rick Pitino, but when Pitino left for the NBA, Tubby Smith didn't follow up on Brown. Everything turned out great for Brown, though. After a year at Maine Central Institute, he went to Pittsburgh where he was a 1,000-point scorer and helped the Panthers to two NCAA Sweet 16 appearances.
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LaRon Moore (1993) went to Northern Kentucky University and helped the Norse to back-to-back Division II national runner-up finishes.
Robert "Nimbo" Hammons (1991) thrived at George Washington University. In his sophomore year, the Colonials almost upset Michigan's Fab Five in the regional semifinals.
Michael Allen (1989) helped Connors State (Okla.) to a national junior college title before landing at Southwestern Louisiana, where he played in two NCAA Tournaments and is still No. 8 on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,673 points.
■ Lexington high school star signs to play college hoops in Indiana, and as a sophomore helps his team get to the NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis. Bryan Station's Shelvin Mack fits that description. So did Michael Scearce 30 years ago. Scearce was a standout at Henry Clay before heading to Purdue, where as a sophomore he was on the Boilermakers' team that made it to the Final Four in Indy. Purdue was coached by Henry Clay and Transylvania grad Lee Rose. Purdue won the Mideast Regional in Rupp Arena by beating Bobby Knight and Indiana in the semifinals (Scearce had 11 points off the bench). Duke outlasted UK in the other semifinal. Purdue beat Duke in the region finals. The Boilermakers lost to UCLA in the national semifinals. Louisville, led by Darrell Griffith, beat UCLA in the finals
■ J.R. VanHoose, Mr. Basketball in 1998 after a stellar career at Paintsville, was proud to see another 15th Region player — Elisha Justice of Shelby Valley — win Mr. Basketball this year. Only the 7th and 11th regions have produced more Mr. Basketball winners. The 7th has had 11, and the 11th has had seven. Justice is the sixth Mr. Basketball from the 15th. Since 1980, the 15th has had five Mr. Basketball winners, more than anybody else. "Not bad for a little ol' region from the mountains," VanHoose said in an e-mail.
Two regions — the 14th and 16th — have never had a Mr. Basketball.
As for Miss Basketball, seven regions have had three winners apiece. Only the 5th Region has not produced a Miss Basketball.
■ Guy Strong, who played for Irvine in the 1948 state tournament and later coached Clark County to the Sweet Sixteen, had déjà vu as he watched Shelby Valley's run to the state title. The Wildcats reminded him of Brewers' 1948 undefeated champs, and that Shelby Valley's 5-10 star Elisha Justice reminded him of Brewers' 5-foot-7 standout Coy Creason.
■ Mason County 6-8 junior Treg Setty, who averaged 13 points and seven rebounds for the 10th Region champs, has committed to Southern Illinois University. He also had offers from Ohio University and Miami (Ohio).
■ When Kevin Willard was named Seton Hall's coach this week, some people were confused in thinking Willard played on Tates Creek's 1991 state runner-up team. It was Kevin's older brother, Keith, who was the senior point guard for those Commodores. Kevin was a sophomore point guard on Bowling Green's 1991 state tournament team. Their dad Ralph had been an assistant at UK under Rick Pitino before leaving to become head coach at Western Kentucky for the 1990-91 season. Keith stayed in Lexington (where he lived with UK assistant Billy Donovan) for his senior year of high school, while Kevin moved to Bowling Green with his parents. The brothers wound up making it to the Sweet Sixteen with different teams.
■ Indiana's Miss Basketball is Courtney Moses of Oak Hill, a 5-7 guard who is headed to Purdue. Moses scored almost 2,000 points in her career. She will lead the Indiana All-Stars against Kentucky in June.
■ A week after Kentucky crowned Shelby Valley as its boys' state basketball champ, Indiana determined four titlists — Indianapolis North Central (4A), Washington (3A), Valparaiso Wheeler (2A) and Bowman Academy (1A). Washington, led by Cody Zeller's 20 points and 26 rebounds, beat Gary Wallace in overtime. Zeller, a 6-9 junior, is the brother of former Notre Dame player Luke Zeller and current North Carolina player Tyler Zeller. Bowman Academy is a charter school in Gary that has been in the IHSAA two years.
■ Rick Parsons, saying he was "in the right place at the right time," is the new boys' basketball coach at Shelby County. Mike Clark, who led the Rockets to the Sweet Sixteen three times in eight years, is leaving to become assistant principal at the new Martha Layne Collins High School in Shelby County. Parsons' head coaching experience includes stints at Cumberland, Evarts, Menifee County and Frankfort (girls). He got out of basketball after the 2007 season to tend to family business following the death of his brother. He's in his first year teaching at Shelby County, where he "kind of got the itch to coach again. I realize how fortunate I am. This is the most tradition-rich place I've been." Former Harlan star Charles Thomas, Mr. Basketball in 1995, will be Parsons' top assistant. Thomas was an assistant at Sayre this past season.
■ Curtis Turley is returning to the sidelines as the boys' coach at Martha Layne Collins High School, which will open late this summer in Shelby County. "We feel like we absolutely selected the best man for the job," Collins Principal Anthony Hatchell said. Turley, 56, has a 606-309 record in 31 years at 11 different schools. He has taken three schools — Warren Central, Henderson County and Daviess County — to the Sweet Sixteen.
■ Damon Tabor has resigned as Warren Central girls' basketball coach, and will be succeeded by assistant Chris Stunson.
■ Andrea Howard, who led Franklin County's girls to the 11th Region runner-up finish last month, will play college basketball at Georgetown. She had 902 points and 487 rebounds in her career.
■ Kyle Brown was an impact player as a freshman at West Carter this season. The son of the late John "Hop" Brown, who coached the Lady Comets to the 2000 state title, Kyle led West Carter with a 12-point average. He also plays golf for the Comets.
■ Nobody has chronicled Ashland-area sports more diligently over the past 35 years than newspaperman Mark Maynard. The proof is in his new book, Mark My Words: Tales of Brandon Webb, O.J. Mayo and other Northeastern Kentucky Legends." It's a collection of sports stories and columns Maynard wrote while working in The Independent sports department from 1975 to 2003. The 400-page book ($20) is available at CoffeeTree Books in Morehead, and online at markmaynardbooks.com.
■ Pairings for the 16-team Forcht Bank/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament have been drawn. Here's how the regions will match up for the first round at Applebee's Park: 14th vs. 15th; 5th vs. 16th; 6th vs. 9th; 8th vs. 12th; 1st vs. 11th; 7th vs. 4th; 2nd vs. 3rd; 10th vs. 13th. First-round games will be played June 14-15; the quarterfinals June 16-17; the semifinals June 18, and the finals June 19.
■ Bryan Station senior pitcher Yuron Washington has signed to play college baseball at Campbellsville.
■ Paris has honored long-time baseball coach Cary Barr by naming its field after him. Barr has led the Greyhounds' baseball program since 1989. He coached Paris' boys' basketball for 14 years before stepping down in 2009.
■ Beechwood running back Joe Colosimo has been accepted as a preferred walk-on at Duke. Colosimo ran for 1,100 yards and 18 TDs for Beechwood last fall.
Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association's poll. (First-place votes in parentheses)
1. Lexington Catholic (24)
2. Pleasure Ridge Park (2)
3. Eastern (3)
4. Lexington Christian (3)
6. Tates Creek (1)
7. St. Xavier (3)
8. Harrison County
9. Trinity (1)
10. West Jessamine (2)
12. Henderson County
15. Bullitt East
16. Danville (1)
17. Paul Laurence Dunbar
18. Franklin County
19. Christian County
20. Bryan Station
24. Lawrence County
25. Central Hardin