Randle finds footing with L.A.
Julius Randle had reasons to fall further into an exhibition-season abyss.
His shot was way off, his turnovers were high and his coach kept saying he "looked lost" on the court while wondering aloud about his physical conditioning. Not to mention the blisters that had cropped up on his feet and the second-half seat on the bench he was given for apparent lack of hustle during an exhibition last week.
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But the ex-Cat finally offered a glimpse of what the Los Angeles Lakers saw before drafting him seventh overall in June.
He had eight points, five rebounds and two blocked shots in 20 minutes of a 98-91 victory Sunday over the Utah Jazz.
In no way did Randle vault into an early rookie-of-the-year conversation with Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins. Especially after the guy ahead of him on the Lakers' depth chart, Carlos Boozer, had 19 points, nine rebounds and six steals against the Jazz.
But for the first time in three weeks of the exhibition season, reporters crowded around Randle's locker to talk about his strengths, not his shortcomings.
At which point, Randle revealed that coach Byron Scott's teasing, prodding or poking had not affected him. Nor had his own play dragged him down.
"I'm not frustrated at all," Randle said. "I work too hard. I know eventually I'll have success and I'll figure things out.
"Instead of being frustrated and down, when my name is called, (I'm) excited, ready to go, ready to bring that energy, bring good vibes."
Kobe Bryant isn't known as a softie with younger players, in case anybody forgot his infamous Andrew Bynum parking-lot rant in 2007. He seems to like Randle but offers a curt perspective on the rookie's opportunity with the Lakers.
"He can't (mess) it up. Seriously. You (mess) this up, you have to be an idiot," Bryant said.
Though Bryant actually used language more colorful than "mess," his sentiment wasn't far from Randle's own words.
"Having a coach like Byron, learning from greats like Kobe, (Boozer), (Steve) Nash, all those guys and on top of that playing for the Lakers organization," Randle said. "I'm in the perfect situation. I can't mess it up."
High school sports
KHSAA, Special Olympics partner forunified sports development project
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics Kentucky have announced a new partnership to develop unified sports opportunities for intellectually disabled student-athletes.
For the last four years, the KHSAA's state track and field championships have included events for physically disabled student-athletes. The new venture with Special Olympics Kentucky will allow for the development of events in all sports, with intellectually disabled students and students without intellectual disabilities competing together in a mutually beneficial, inclusive experience.
"Nothing should be more inclusive than American sport, teammates working together for a common goal, and I believe both groups will learn more from each other than can be taught in any other setting," KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett said.
The increased participation opportunities available through the new partnership will benefit from a commitment by Special Olympics Kentucky to help fund the salaries of coaches participating in the program.
■ Mary Ford Rodes and Gibbs McKinley each scored goals and Ally Barfield kept a shutout Monday as Henry Clay advanced past Madison Southern 2-0 to the semifinals of the 11th Region girls' soccer tournament.
It will meet tournament host Lexington Catholic, which also kept a shutout Monday in its 6-0 win over Western Hills. Kennedy Tranter scored two goals for the Knights. The schools will face off Thursday at 6 p.m.
Ravita and Sutjiadi advance to OVRC Finals
With four wins in the last three days, the Kentucky women's tennis doubles team of Nadia Ravita and Aldila Sutjiadi has advanced to the Doubles Championship match at the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. The duo play Vanderbilt's Courtney Colton and Sydney Campbell Tuesday in the Regional Championship Finals.
In Monday's semifinals, top-seeded Ravita and Sutjiadi beat Daniela Vidal and fourth-seeded Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum from Purdue, 4-6, 6-1 (10-6) to set up Tuesday's championship match vs. Vanderbilt. The Commodores are seeded third and advanced to the finals with a victory over second-seeded Tennessee Monday, 6-3, 6-0.
■ University of Kentucky women's soccer forward Zoe Swift was named the Southeastern Conference's Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, after scoring two game-winning goals. Those goals propelled Kentucky to two weekend wins, including 2-0 over No. 5 Florida, the first top-five win in program history. Kentucky also collected six crucial points in the SEC standings.
Basketball on TV
Ex-Cat Tony Delk joins SEC Network
Tony Delk, who was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player after Kentucky won the national championship in 1996, will join SEC Network as a studio analyst for the channel's men's basketball coverage this season.
Darrin Horn, who played at Tates Creek and Western Kentucky and formerly was the head coach at WKU and South Carolina, has also been named an analyst for the network.
"Thank everyone I'm looking forward to my new opportunity. Go Big Blue!!!" Delk tweeted after SEC Network made the announcement.
SEC Network also announced that WKYT sports anchor Dave Baker, Dave Neal and Tom Hart will be play-by-play commentators for the network's first season of basketball coverage.
In addition to Delk and Horn, the following individuals were named analysts for the network: Daymeon Fishback, who was Mr. Kentucky Basketball at Greenwood in 1996 and played at Auburn; former Mississippi State player and UK assistant coach Joe Dean Jr.; former Vanderbilt player Barry Booker; former Tennessee player Dane Bradshaw; former Missouri player Jon Sundvold; former Vanderbilt player and four-time NBA champion Will Perdue.
Jockeys to honor teen apprentice who died
Jockeys nationwide will honor the 17-year-old apprentice who was killed in a riding accident recently.
The Jockeys' Guild said jockeys will wear a patch during Breeders' Cup weekend with the initials of Juan Saez on their pants or boots as well as a black band to recognize him and other riders who have been killed during a race or as a result of race-related injuries.
All jockeys will be asked to donate at least one losing mount fee on Oct. 31 or Nov. 1 to a fund established to help Saez's family. Saez was killed last week when he fell from his mount during a race at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Ind..
The last word
A highly anticipated report into the longstanding academic fraud at North Carolina is scheduled to be released Wednesday at a special meeting of UNC officials, the university announced Monday. Said Chancellor Carol Folt in a statement:
"The last few years have been difficult for our community. I believe this report will allow us to have a complete picture of what happened at Carolina and build on the numerous reforms we have already put in place."