Mark Story

Mark Story: Put on your tuxes and gowns, it’s my midseason Kentucky college basketball awards

Kentucky Wildcats forward Alex Poythress (22) gave a celebratory shove to Dominique Hawkins (25) after he made a defensive play as UK defeated UL 75-73 in Rupp Arena Saturday Dec. 26, 2015 in Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky Wildcats forward Alex Poythress (22) gave a celebratory shove to Dominique Hawkins (25) after he made a defensive play as UK defeated UL 75-73 in Rupp Arena Saturday Dec. 26, 2015 in Lexington, Ky. Herald-Leader

For Sunday night’s Golden Globes, actress Kate Hudson is reported (by the New York Post) to have worn $1.3 million worth of Forevermark Diamonds.

At the Orange Globes — my midseason Kentucky college basketball awards “show” — the only diamonds on display will be in discussions of how to attack a “diamond-and-one” defense.

Let’s get to the show:

Best ‘Actor’

The nominees are:

Damion Lee, Louisville. Even allowing for Sunday’s 2-for-12 clunker at Clemson, the transfer from Drexel has been U of L’s best player (16.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 47.2 field-goal percentage). Don’t forget about the 27 points he put on Kentucky in Rupp, either.

Jamal Murray, Kentucky. UK’s import from Canada (17.3 ppg with at least one made three-pointer in every game) showed Kentuckians the benefits of North American free trade when he dropped 33 points on Ohio State to almost save the Wildcats from an embarrassing upset defeat.

Jarelle Reischel, Eastern Kentucky. After averaging 3 points and 1.9 rebounds last season at Rhode Island, the Frankfurt, Germany, product transferred to EKU and has become a different man. Transformed in new Eastern Coach Dan McHale’s frenetic offensive system, the 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 20.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg and making 52.3 percent of his field goals for the Colonels (11-7).

And the Orange Globe goes to: Damion Lee.

Best ‘Actress’

Makayla Epps, Kentucky. The UK junior guard (16.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.6 assists a game) already has a triple-double (21 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds vs. Morehead State) and a near-perfect game (10-of-11 field-goal shooting vs. Louisville) on her season resume.

Myisha Hines-Allen, Louisville. Though not as ballyhooed as U of L sophomore classmate Mariya Moore nor freshman guard Asia Durr, the 6-2 power forward (15.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 52.3 percent from the field) has been the Cardinals’ top performer (see her 14 points, five rebounds and five assists in Louisville’s upset win over Duke on Sunday).

Kendall Noble, Western Kentucky. As a redshirt junior, the guard from Perry Central is giving real meaning to the concept of a “triple-threat player” — averaging 17.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

And the Orange Globe goes to: Makayla Epps.

Best ‘Director’

John Calipari, Kentucky. The UK men (12-3) bear little resemblance to last season’s juggernaut that went undefeated until the Final Four. Still, wins over Duke and Louisville mean the Kentucky head man has given his school’s fan base two victories that ensure this season will be at least somewhat satisfying regardless of what happens going forward.

Michelle Clark-Heard, Western Kentucky. Even after losing stars Chastity Gooch and Alexis Govan off last season’s women’s NCAA Tournament team, the former Louisville assistant has Western (12-2 with victory over Louisville) looking like a prime contender to wear its (big) dancing shoes again.

Matthew Mitchell, Kentucky. After seeing four players depart his program in a six-week span for various reasons this season, Mitchell has nevertheless led the UK women to a 13-1 start with victories over 2015 NCAA tourney round-of-16 teams Arizona State (at Tempe), Louisville and Duke.

And the Orange Globe goes to: Matthew Mitchell.

Best ‘score(s)’

Dominique Hawkins, Kentucky. Pressed into action for the UK men against archrival Louisville after starting guard Isaiah Briscoe was injured in pregame warm-ups, Hawkins — who had made all of seven three-point field goals in his first two seasons at UK — drained three treys against the Cardinals and scored 13 points, including UK’s final five, in a 75-73 Wildcats escape.

Justin Johnson, Western Kentucky. With historic rival Eastern Kentucky leading the Hilltoppers men 84-83 and the game clock ticking toward zero, sophomore power forward Johnson found himself with the ball at the top of the key and his back to the basket. Johnson — who had never made a three-point basket in college — turned, rose and fired a fallaway three that went in with 1.9 seconds left to give WKU an 86-84 win over EKU.

Kayla Smith, Western Kentucky. With the WKU women trailing Louisville inside the final minute, Smith hit a layup with 43 seconds left that gave the Lady Toppers the lead for good in what became a 71-69 upset of the Cards.

And the Orange Globe goes to: Dominique Hawkins.

On to the after-parties.

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