Darius supplied defense for U.S. U19 world team

Fast-break points from the mid-summer break:

21. The Miller File: Of the 12 players on the gold medal-winning USA men's basketball team in the FIBA Under-19 World Championships, Kentucky's Darius Miller was the 11th-leading scorer at a meager five points a game.

20. Darius the Defender: However, even though the 6-foot-7 swing man was ninth on the team in minutes played (14.4), the ex-Mason County star led Coach Jamie Dixon's squad in blocked shots (12 in nine games) and tied for the team lead in steals (14).

19. The star in the stars and stripes: The best player for the U.S. was Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor, who had 18 points, six assists and five steals in the Gold Medal Game victory over Greece.

18. Ricky P.'s eight in Red: Rick Pitino has now completed eight seasons as Louisville head coach. His overall record at U of L is 200-73; his NCAA Tournament mark is 12-6 with no national titles, one Final Four and three Elite Eights.

17. Ricky P.'s eight in Blue: Rick Pitino completed eight seasons as Kentucky head coach. His overall record at UK was 219-50; his NCAA Tournament mark was 22-5, with one national title, three Final Fours and five Elite Eights.

16. Verdict on Ricky P.'s twin eights: The coach has done a good job at Louisville, but neither he nor UK have been able to replicate the magic they shared in the 1990s.

15. A Jodie Meeks trivia answer: The head coach for Jodie Meeks' first two games as a pro basketball player with the Milwaukee Bucks entry in the Las Vegas Summer League has been (drum roll) ...

... Kelvin Sampson (the scandal-plagued ex-Indiana coach is a Bucks assistant).

14. Jodie Meeks can score: Going into Monday night's late game (10:30 p.m) with Sacramento, Meeks had made 13 of 23 shots and was averaging 15 points in the Bucks' first two summer games.

13. Chris Lofton can shoot: In five games with the Boston Celtics entry in the Orlando summer league, the former Tennessee and Mason County marksman hit a scalding 17-for-31 from the field, including 15-for-23 from three-point range. Lofton did that in spite of playing only 16 minutes a game.

12. The good of Baseball's All-Star Game: The pre-game player introductions for the Mid-Summer Classic have always been among the best moments of the sports year.

11. The bad of Baseball's All-Star Game: The fact that World Series home-field advantage is determined by the outcome of a mid-season exhibition is the single dumbest rule in major American sports.

10. Mark Martin with four Cup wins I: You have to feel good for the success of NASCAR's "old man" at age 50.

9. Mark Martin with four Cup wins II: The fact that Martin has jumped into Hendrick Motorsports equipment and won four times in his first 19 Cup races doesn't make his teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. (one Cup victory in 55 starts for Hendrick) look real good.

8. Ricky Carmichael: Continuing the motorcycle racing legend's attempt to make a transition into a NASCAR career, Carmichael will be driving for Kevin Harvick Inc. when the truck series returns to Kentucky Speedway this Saturday.

7. Louisville Cardinals football schedule: If I were a U of L season ticket holder, the 2009 home slate — Indiana State; Pittsburgh; Southern Miss; Arkansas St.; Syracuse; Rutgers — would have me wondering if I couldn't find a better use for my entertainment dollars.

6. Rich Brooks: Made a darned good point to The Knoxville News-Sentinel recently in saying that schools committing repeated secondary NCAA violations (read: Lane Kiffin and Tennessee) are going to be at an advantage over the schools that aren't doing so unless there is some penalty for repetitive breaking of even minor rules.

5. Another UK streak to break: With Auburn coming back on the Kentucky football schedule in 2009, we will note that UK hasn't beaten the Tigers in football since 1966 (15 straight losses).

4. Art Still: Was my answer when we started debating in the office "name the best University of Kentucky football player in your lifetime?"

3. Trevard Lindley: With a stellar senior year, the current UK cornerback star can put himself in the above argument (with Still, Warren Bryant, Tim Couch, Sonny Collins etc ...).

2. Kentucky Wildcats football schedule: UK's first six games — a neutral field matchup with Miami (Ohio); home games with Louisville, Florida and Alabama; road games at South Carolina and Auburn — all but scream 2-4 start.

1. A question: Given the buzz most UK backers seem to feel toward the coming basketball season, if Kentucky football starts slow will the fan base hang with the pigskin Cats?

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