UK Men's Basketball

UK-Auburn notes: Bledsoe motivated for homecoming

Alabamians Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins will have a quasi homecoming Saturday when Kentucky plays at Auburn. One of them sounded like he'll take a metaphorical chip on his shoulder into the game.

When asked Friday if the game held special meaning for him, Bledsoe said, "Yes, sir. It will. Because Auburn didn't recruit me."

Auburn made an "off-and-on" effort to recruit him and did not offer a scholarship, Bledsoe said.

While noting that other schools offered scholarships, Bledsoe recoiled from expressing his feelings about Auburn's recruiting interest.

Auburn Coach Jeff Lebo said he and his staff were well aware of Bledsoe and Cousins.

"I went to see them a bunch," he said. "I watched them play in high school and tried to recruit them."

When asked if he got the signal through the recruiting grapevine that Bledsoe and Cousins were not interested in Auburn, Lebo said, "Pretty much."

UK Coach John Calipari noted that hurt feelings and misunderstandings are part of recruiting.

"Every player I did not recruit in Memphis, Tenn., came back and got 30 on us," he said, "and talked about it after the game. We knew the kid would get 30. Let's just make sure the others don't beat us.

"So that's part of it."

No jealousy

When asked if the attention lavished on fellow freshman John Wall bred jealousy, Bledsoe said, "Not really. John, he deserves it. He don't do anything but try to help the team win."

Calipari noted how close Bledsoe and Wall are. Any attempt to wedge them apart would be futile, he said.

Lebo suggested Wall and Bledsoe are practically inseparable as talents.

Of Wall, Lebo said, "He may be the second-best point guard in the country next to the guy beside him. That's what I think of Bledsoe.

"Those two guys are special players. After this year, they'll have some options."

Miller time

Wing Darius Miller expressed the hope that he won't have to be prodded again to play aggressively.

"Nobody's been negative," he said. "(Calipari) just told me what he wants from me."

Apparently, Calipari was blunt.

"He just told me what he wanted," Miller said. "And if I didn't do it, he wasn't going to play me."

Calipari told Miller to play aggressively, concentrate on defense and rebounding, plus make tough plays, the UK player said.

When asked why he did not assert himself earlier, Miller acknowledged that he deferred to his teammates.

"That has to do with the amount of talent," he said. "I didn't really feel I had to."

When that reasoning was relayed to Calipari, the UK coach said, "On the excuse board, that's No. 6."

'Hoops for Haiti'

Officials at the flagship station on the UK television network, Lexington's WKYT-TV, learned late Friday morning that they needed to organize a charity telethon for Sunday.

Calipari wanted to have a telethon to serve two purposes: benefit survivors of this week's earthquake in Haiti and raise awareness of the need for aid.

The telethon, which will also air on WKYT's sister stations in Hazard (WYMT) and Bowling Green (WBKO), will begin at noon Sunday and run for 90 minutes. There will also be shorter spots later that afternoon: during halftime of the Connecticut-Michigan game and between that game and the football playoff between the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets.

Calipari noted that former UK coach Joe B. Hall, former UK players and some current players will participate.

Recruit on TV

Oak Hill Academy guard and UK recruiting target Doron Lamb will play on national television Saturday. Oak Hill's game against Northland (Ohio) will be on ESPN at 4 p.m., the same start time as the UK-Auburn game. ranks Lamb as the No. 21 player and third-best shooting guard in the 2010 class. The Brooklyn native is averaging 24 points through the first 18 games of his senior season.

Men at work

■ Referees assigned to the game are Joe Lindsay, J.B. Caldwell and Lee Cassell.

■ Calling the game for the SEC Network are Carter Blackburn and Bob Wenzel.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader