In case you hadn’t heard, you can’t hear the 99th Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16 in Lexington.
WVLK-AM 590 broadcast the boys’ Sweet 16 for more than 60 years until this season. The absence of high school sports on WVLK throughout the 2015-16 season — as well as other sports programming, such as Cincinnati Reds games — is due to a change of philosophy.
“We’re just overall kind of moving in a different direction programming wise,” program director Scott Johnson said. “We’ve moved away from all play-by-play sports.”
The KHSAA, which produces the boys’ Sweet 16 broadcasts itself, reached out but couldn’t get a radio affiliate in Lexington to commit to the tournament. Forty stations across the state and two in West Virginia are carrying this week’s games, but none in the city where they’re being played. Having to schedule around the University of Kentucky men’s basketball schedule in the NCAA Tournament played a role some stations not taking the broadcast.
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KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett said he expects there will be “some unsolicited offers” in the future. The organization very much thinks radio isn’t dead. Its online streaming numbers have been “pretty good,” too.
“We don’t have coverage (in Lexington), but thank goodness we’ve got worldwide coverage with the Internet,” Tackett said.
Fans may access free online radio streams of each Sweet 16 game at Mixlr.com/khsaa/events.
Goodin named Gatorade POY
Taylor County senior Quentin Goodin on Thursday morning was named the Gatorade boys’ basketball player of the year for Kentucky.
Goodin led the Cardinals to the Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive season — the team’s most recent state tournament appearance had been in 1983 — and has signed to play college ball for Xavier University. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 23.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.9 steals going into the Sweet Sixteen.
He had scholarship offers from several major college programs and committed to the Musketeers last summer. Goodin also maintained a 3.62 GPA in the classroom.
It’s in the DNA
Charlie Thurman’s high school basketball career didn’t yield much on-court success, but his genes begot two grandsons who are making a name in their athletic endeavors.
Jonah Thurman was a catcher and first baseman on the Bowling Green team that finished fourth in the Little League World Series last summer. Eli Thurman, a Bowling Green sophomore, is a reserve on the Purples basketball team and has been to the state golf tournament. Bowling Green has “a heck of a baseball team,” said Charlie, for which Eli also plays. He loves getting to watch his grandkids “play and have fun doing it.”
Charlie played at Sonora, which in 1962 consolidated with Glendale to form East Hardin (East and West Hardin joined into Central Hardin in 1990).
“My senior year we won five big ball games, so we played our way into the district tournament and got put out in the first round. That’s what we always say,” Thurman said jokingly.
He played at Cumberland in Tennessee before finishing his undergraduate schooling at Western Kentucky. He got a master’s in geology at UK and worked in Louisiana for 35 years before returning to Kentucky 13 years ago. He restored a few family homes in Sonora and several years began hosting “legends parties” — fundraising events involving former basketball greats in the state — using those facilities. Proceeds aid efforts to restore and preserve the history of Kentucky basketball.
“We just have a huge amount of fun down there,” Charlie said. “We’ll get 50 or 60 people in, and I do a big Cajun shrimp boil. We eat and play for two to three days. It is awesome.”
2015 MVP chooses school
Last year’s Sweet 16 MVP announced his college destination Thursday.
Former Owensboro star Justin Miller committed to Louisiana Lafayette for the recruiting class of 2016. The 6-foot-7 forward originally committed to Kentucky Wesleyan out of high school, then decided to pursue a post-graduate year at 22ft Academy in South Carolina.
Miller averaged 16.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game for the Red Devils last season. He had three double-doubles in four Sweet Sixteen games, leading Owensboro to its first state tournament title in 35 years.
Ex-Cats pack Rupp Arena
A host of former UK basketball greats were out and about during the first round of the tournament:
▪ Scott Padget was in the house Wednesday to see James Boone, who has signed to play for Padgett at Samford. The 6-foot-5 senior averaged 12.9 points and 4.9 rebounds for the Tigers.
▪ Brandon Stockton, who played under Bart Flener at Glasgow and was the 2002 Mr. Basketball, was invited to sit on Murray’s bench during the Tigers’ first-round win over Buckhorn. Flener is in his second season at Murray.
▪ Former Doss standout Derek Anderson took the floor for a free-throw contest during halftime of the Doss-Lawrence County game. He was sporting a Dragons T-shirt. Doss won the game, but Anderson — an 80 percent charity shooter at UK — missed the free throw.
▪ Cameron Mills, who won NCAA titles with the Cats in 1996 and 1998, is doing radio for the Kentucky Utilities Sweet 16 Radio Network. He too bricked a free throw, that one coming during halftime of the Dunbar-Mercer County game Wednesday.