UK Men's Basketball

Meeks enjoys day of celebrity

Play-of-the-day status on ESPN's SportsCenter. About 150 text messages. Fifty voice-mail messages. Signing autographs on the bleary-eyed walk to classes. That was the day-after for Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks.

During a news conference Wednesday called in the wake of his record-breaking scoring at Tennessee the night before, Meeks shrugged at his new-found celebrity.

"Just relaxing, really," he said of his goal for Wednesday.

But, Meeks added, excitement hung in the air on UK's campus.

"When I walked into class, the eyes got really big or people looked at me kind of funny," he said.

Meeks spoke in the same quiet tones he always has for the media. He expressed nonchalance about the attention brought by two school scoring records: 54 points and 10 three-point shots in a game.

"I wouldn't say awkward," he said of his reaction to the attention. "It's a good problem to have. If I don't get the spotlight, I'm fine with it. If I do get the spotlight, I'm fine with it."

Among those who called were the former UK players Meeks removed from the record book: Dan Issel, who scored 53 points against Mississippi in 1970 and Tony Delk, who made nine three-pointers against Texas Christian in 1996. Each called to offer congratulations.

Even before Kentucky played Tennessee, Meeks had been on a scoring binge. But he recoiled from the suggestion that his play at Knoxville merely extended a hot streak.

"I don't think anything compares to last night," he said. "That was kind of a unique game for me. To not only break the scoring record but the three-point record as well, that's a great night for me. And I credit my teammates."

Meeks acknowledged one teammate in particular, roommate Patrick Patterson.

Tennessee chose to concentrate its defense on stopping Patterson around the basket, which freed up space for Meeks on the perimeter.

"He's probably the main reason I'm getting such good looks at the basket," Meeks said. "The defense has to shift down."

As his hot shooting suggests, Meeks dismissed the longer three-point distance as any factor.

"I see it as just a foot," he said of the longer distance this season over previous seasons.

Meeks noted the satisfaction that came with his father, Orestes, attending the game. The elder Meeks drove three hours from the family's home in Norcross, Ga.

After the game, Meeks said his big games come in his father's presence.

"I don't know what it is," he said of this coincidence. "I told him to come to as many games as possible."

His father figures to be at Kentucky's next game: at Georgia on Sunday.

University of Kentucky basketball added a new legend to its considerable lore Tuesday night as junior guard Jodie Meeks set two school records in a key victory against rival Tennessee. Fifty-four points bested a 39-year-old mark of 53 held by Dan Issel. Ten three-pointers topped a UK record of nine Meeks once shared with Tony Delk.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments