Cats Still Finding Their Way as SEC Play Begins

By: Tyrus York – A slow first half against Mississippi State and an overall slow game against Vanderbilt may have some Kentucky basketball fans wondering when or if this team is going to “put it all together” and start beating teams the way they think they should.

UK won their second SEC game in a win over Vandy - Photo by Michael Huang
UK won their second SEC game in a win over Vandy – Photo by Michael Huang

My answer to those fans is very simple. Relax.

We are still witnessing what could be the greatest collection of talent to ever be assembled on one team in college basketball.  The problem still is, as we knew it would be that they are very young and in need of growing up before one could expect consistent results.

One of those young players, and maybe the best Julius Randle, heralded by many as the highest draft prospect on this loaded team, has yet to score in double digits in his two SEC games.  Having to deal with bigger, more physical players game in and game out appears to have slowed Randle down, at least offensively for now.


Despite the fact he’s not scoring like he once was Randle is still a rebounding machine.  Grabbing 11 rebounds against a very undermanned Vandy team was a bright spot, but he’s going to have to find different ways to score.

Coach John Calipari stated several times early in the season that Randle needs to be a 20 points per game guy.  We’ve not seen that in some time, but if you add the extra points needed for Randle to have 20 in the last few games, those games officially become blowouts.

Vanderbilt did something to the Cats Saturday that many teams have done and more will continue to do.  They simply packed the paint making it difficult for Kentucky post players to operate with the ball.  They also did a great job of taking away the Kentucky guards’ ability to drive the basketball.

In a nutshell, the Commodores dared Kentucky to kick it out and hit a jump shot.  The plan nearly worked as Kentucky was only 6-22 from beyond the 3 point line.  Not a terrible stat but certainly one not good enough to beat a higher quality opponent.

Vanderbilt managed only 6-20 from the 3 point line themselves, giving Kentucky the advantage to do what they do best which is rebounding and second chance points.

As Kentucky continues SEC play, rebounding will be the key to their success.  Until their offense is more efficient, they will need to rely on defensive stops and second chance points from offensive rebounds.

As Andrew Harrison improves, so will the offense.  One positive sign we saw from Harrison in the Vandy game were his 4 assists to 0 turnovers.  For a freshman point guard playing in Memorial Gym for the first time, that may be one of the most impressive stats of the season so far.

When Andrew becomes more confident running this team, which is inevitable in my opinion, Kentucky will be primed for a run in March.  In the meantime, take the games for what they are, the youngest team in college basketball competing in a difficult conference, especially on the road.

The young Cats will be put to the test on the road again this week as they travel to the always difficult Bud Walton Arena to face Arkansas Tuesday at 9 pm.

Sharon Fugate Obit

Sharon Fugate, 61, Hardshell passed away Sunday, January 5 at her residence.

Sharon Fugate
Sharon Fugate

She was a member of the Caney Creek Mennonite Church. 

She is survived by one son, Jason Fugate of Campton; her father, James “Buddy” Sullivan of Wolverine;
 two brothers, Rick and wife, Coleen Sullivan of Chicago, Illinois, Don and wife, Freda Sullivan of Paducah;
two sisters, Earline Peavler of Bono, Arkansas, Joan Sullivan of Chicago, Illinois;
special friend who felt like a sister, Lynette Barnett of Clayhole; host of nieces and nephews.
Funeral services Fri., Jan. 10, 11AM at the Breathitt Funeral Home Chapel
with Rev. Tommy Miller officiating.  Burial in the Harvey Bend # 2 Cemetery
at Hardshell.  Breathitt Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Raising Self-Esteem

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire Universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha

Self-esteem is a measure of how much we value and appreciate ourselves. Undoubtedly our childhood experiences have a major impact on this attribute. We may have received negative messages, or given ourselves negative messages as a result of our experience or how we were treated.

So, we can arrive at adulthood not feeling very good about ourselves. This can block us from achieving the success we desire, or alternatively, can prevent us from acknowledging the success we have created.

Once we become adults, our self-esteem is our responsibility. We can no longer blame others for how we feel about ourselves. We must decide to “esteem” ourselves: to hold ourselves in high esteem in our own minds.

In order to do this, we must become aware of the criticisms and judgments we make of ourselves. Then, we must commit to stop abusing ourselves in this manner. Sadly, often our own inner critic takes over the role from those who criticized us in the past. This process may even be subconscious.

Next, we must decide to unconditionally love ourselves right now; not when we have lost the weight, gained the promotion, or found the right person. We need to eliminate all conditions we have placed on our worthiness.

Finally, we must be independent of the good opinion of others. We can decide to value ourselves regardless of what others may say or feel about us.

When these things have been accomplished, we can begin to like ourselves more. We can even start to love ourselves. With this, self-esteem takes a big leap forward.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.  For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit

Leo Philip Combs Obit

Leo Philip Combs,

Leo Combs
Leo Combs

59, Jackson passed away Fri., Jan. 3, at the UK Medical Center.  He was a member of the Oakdale Free Methodist Church.  He was the son of the late Frank and Arlene (Hollon) Combs.  He was also preceded in death by sister, Sally Ruth Combs and brothers, Paul, Dwain & Donald Combs.  He is survived by his wife, Bonnie Combs of Jackson; one daughter, April Combs of Jackson; three brothers, Ronald(Pat) Combs of Walled Lake, MI, Joel Combs of Jackson, Danny(Mary Jo) Combs of Jackson; two sisters, Leatrice(Von) Graves of Lexington, Martha(Joe) Profitt of Jackson; special niece, Erica Turner; special great niece, Alexis Turner.  Funeral services Thurs., Jan. 9, 11:00AM at the Breathitt Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Robert Cundiff officiating.  Burial in the Jackson Cemetery.  Breathitt Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Memphis Takes Down Louisville 73 – 67

The news around Louisville was all about the hiring of their new head football coach Bobby Petrino.  However, there was a pretty big basketball matchup at the KFC Yum Center between the #12 Louisville Cardinals and #24 ranked Memphis Tigers.  This would be Louisville’s opportunity to get the signature win they sorely need after losing their first two major tests to North Carolina and Kentucky.

Memphis drops U of L - Photo and article by Jason Sheehan
Memphis drops U of L – Photo and article by Jason Sheehan

Louisville and Memphis have been intense rivals for many years.  This is the first time they have played a conference game since they were both in Conference USA in 2005.  Tonight’s matchup lived up to its billing as one of the more intense rivalries in the country.  It was a physical game throughout with Memphis being the more physical team in pulling out a 73 – 67 win on the road.

Memphis needed this game as much as Louisville.  The Tigers were manhandled by Cincinnati at home this past Saturday losing 69 – 53.

It was evident early on that Memphis came ready to play.  They jumped out to an early 6 – 0 lead and would hold the lead through the entire first half.  Louisville did not lead until Luke Hancock made two free throws to put the Cardinals up 41 – 39 at the 14:54 mark of the second half.

The second half was a back-and-forth affair as there were six lead changes.  Memphis would go on to score the game’s final seven points to close out the Cardinals.

Memphis placed all five starters in double figures.  Joe Jackson and Shaq Goodwin led the Tigers with 15 points apiece.  Memphis shot 50.9 percent from the field.

Louisville was playing its first home game in 23 days.  They struggled offensively shooting only 39.1 percent from the field.  They were 6 – 19 from three point range for only 31.6 percent.  Memphis Native Chris Jones made only one of his nine shots for a season low two points.

Luke Hancock and Montrezl Harrell were the most impressive Cardinals offensively.  Hancock scored a season-high 20 points with 14 of those coming in the first half.  Harrell grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds to go along with his 14 points.

Senior guard Russ Smith scored 19 points for the Cardinals.  However, he committed 5 turnovers with 4 of those coming in the second half.

You could sense the frustration of Pitino as he gave one of his shorter postgame press conferences this year.  Most of his answers were short.  The most frustrating thing about this team according to Pitino is the “lack of leadership”.  Pitino went on to say, “The coaches are the leaders.”

Louisville returns to the KFC Yum Center for a 1:00 tipoff this Sunday to take on the SMU Mustangs.

Kentucky Defeats Louisville 73 – 66

Coming in to the annual Battle of the Bluegrass rivalry game between the 18th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats and the 4th-ranked Louisville Cardinals most experts saw this as a game that either Louisville’s backcourt advantage or Kentucky’s frontcourt advantage would prove to be the difference.  Louisville’s frontcourt proved to be no match for the much bigger frontcourt of Kentucky.  The Harrison twins provided much needed backcourt help for the Wildcats in their 73 – 66 victory on Saturday in front of 24,396 fans in Rupp Arena.

Louisville started the game on an 8 – 0 run as Chris Jones drained two threes and Russ Smith made a driving layup.  Kentucky was not rattled as they went on a 10 – 2 run themselves led by their star Julius Randle and Andrew Harrison.

Randle showed why he is the star he is in the first half by scoring all 17 of his points on 7 of 8 shooting.  The new defensive rules seemed to benefit him the most as he was able to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket at will and finish.  He played only 21 minutes as leg cramps forced him to the bench for most of the second half.

Andrew Harrison came in to the game catching Calipari’s ire for his lackluster play.  He showed up against the Cardinals especially in the second half scoring 11 of his 18 points.  He was critical to the win with his play down the stretch.

James Young did not have a good shooting game going 5 of 17, but he did finish with 10 rebounds and 4 assists.  He finished tied with Andrew Harrison with 18 points.

Louisville need to get some solid play from both forward positions and the center position to win this game.  They received little help from any of these positions.  Montrezl Harrell, Wayne Blackshear, and Mangok Mathiang combined for only 15 points and 10 rebounds.  Both Harrell and Blackshear were limited with early foul trouble.  Blackshear played only 12 minutes before fouling out.

The bench did not give the lift that the Cardinals needed.  Junior forward Chane Behanan grabbed 7 rebounds, but did not score a point and committed 4 of Louisville’s 13 turnovers.

Luke Hancock continued to struggle with his shot.  Hancock scored 8 points on 3 of 11 shooting.  He made only 2 of his 8 three point attempts.  Many of his shots were open looks.

Russ Smith led the Cardinals with 19 points on 7 of 20 shooting.  At times he was able to get into the lane whenever he wanted and at others he was affected by the size inside of the Wildcats.  He led the Cardinals with 4 assists and had the highlight of the game when he threw down a thunderous dunk on Julius Randle in the first half.  However, Smith did commit 4 turnovers and missed 5 of his 10 free throw attempts.

The loss to Kentucky brings Louisville’s record to 11 – 2.  They travel to Central Florida for their next game on New Year’s Eve.  Game time will be 5:00.

Bobby Petrino Version 2.0

By Jason Sheehan –

The University of Louisville football team has found their next head coach and they did not have to look very far.  Tom Jurich announced the hiring of former Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino at Thursday’s press conference.  Petrino signed a 7 year contract worth 24.5 million dollars.  The most significant aspect of the contract is the 10 million dollar buyout over the first four years.

Social media, news media, radio, etc. was running rampant on Monday and Tuesday of this week of the possibility of Petrino coming back to Louisville for his second stint as head coach.  The rumors became a reality on Thursday.

The hiring of Petrino is seen as an extremely popular or equally unpopular decision.  He served as Louisville’s head coach from 2003 – 2006 and led the program to a 41 – 9 record and a BCS win in the 2006 Orange Bowl over Wake Forest.

Petrino is known as an offensive genius which excited the Louisville fans during his first run with the Cardinals.  His offenses at Louisville were regularly ranked in the top of the country in yardage and scoring.  His 2004 team went 11 – 1 and had seven games in which they scored more than 50 points including five straight towards the end of the season.

Unfortunately, Petrino brings a great deal of baggage with him.  Louisville fans are all too familiar with this baggage.  Less than a week after the Cardinals defeated Wake Forest in the 2006 Orange Bowl Petrino accepted the head coaching position with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.  He was given a five year contract worth 24 million dollars.  Making matters worse for Louisville fans was that in July of 2006 he had signed a 10 year contract worth 25.6 million dollars to remain the head coach at Louisville.

Louisville fans had to deal with his constant flirtations with the next big job.  He secretly interviewed for the Auburn job after only one season at Louisville.  There were also secret meetings with LSU as well.  He said all the right things to the media, but seemed to have door open any time a job came up.

He left the Atlanta Falcons after coaching only 13 games during his only season and accepted the coaching position at Arkansas.  He was heavily criticized by a number of Atlanta’s players for leaving in the middle of the season.

Petrino was 34 – 17 with the Razorbacks.  However, his record at Arkansas is certainly not what he is remembered for.  He is best known for the infamous motorcycle accident.  He initially said he was alone, but later the police report showed he was riding with Jessica Dorrell, student-athlete development coordinator for the football program.  It was later revealed he was carrying on an adulterous relationship with Dorrell which led to his firing.

It is now on to Bobby Petrino 2.0.  What will it bring to the football Program?  Can they keep the momentum going from the Charlie Strong era?  Will he make this a destination job?  Is he really a changed man?  These questions and more are left to ponder as Petrino begins his second run.

Petrino stood at the podium with his wife and children sitting to the side of him in front of a packed house of media members.  Most of the questions were about trust, loyalty, and attitude.  He told the audience “I want everybody to know this is my destination job…this is our home.”  He admitted that leaving Louisville the first time was his “first mistake”.

There will be plenty of skepticism not only among outsiders, but the Louisville fans themselves due to Petrino’s checkered past.  Petrino was asked how we will know he is a changed man.  He simply responded by saying, “Our motto will be show me.”

Tom Jurich has taken a lot of heat for his hiring of Petrino.  Many people are thinking with this hire he only cares about winning.  Jurich spoke about the nine hour interview with Petrino.  Jurich spoke with Petrino’s wife about who the new Bobby Petrino is.  He even spoke with the Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford about hiring Petrino.

Tom Jurich is widely regarded as the best Athletic Director in the country by many people.  He is certainly gambling with the hiring of Petrino.  He put it best when he said, “I would never put this school in harm’s way.”

Jurich wanted a coach that would continue the “upward trajectory” of the Louisville football program.  Not one person will doubt the coaching ability of Petrino.  There is no question he was the most qualified candidate out of those interviewed and the one to keep this program on the rise.

I have heard others say the following about Petrino: ‘once a liar always a liar’ and ‘once a cheater always a cheater’.  Petrino certainly has done nothing in his past to disprove these statements.  However, in hearing these statements implies that Petrino cannot change from his previous ways.  Maybe he will or maybe he won’t.  Who are we to judge Bobby Petrino?

Petrino’s past will never be forgotten.  It is already written.  Bobby Petrino 2.0 can distance himself from his past mistakes by now doing all the right things as he spoke today.  Yes, winning is a cure for many things, but doing it the right with honor and integrity is the real key.  Only time will tell if we will indeed see the new Bobby Petrino.

People You Just Can't Stand

“Never waste a minute of your precious life by squandering it thinking about people you don’t like” ~ Alex Tan


Did you ever notice how much time people can spend talking about people they do not like? They will recount every detail of what the person has said or done.  They will repeat things that others have said about that person. They will go over the same stories, comments or opinions time and time again.


What purpose does this serve? Theoretically it allows the person to vent and perhaps feel better.  They may well vent, but probably do not feel any better after venting. It is likely they feel worse.


Why is this? If you think about it, humans turn away from most things they find distasteful. We will cover our ears if there is an irritating sound, turn away from something visually disturbing, or hold our noses when there is a bad smell. We simply do not want to dwell in unpleasantness.


Yet, when it comes to having a “hate on” for someone, humans will absolutely immerse themselves in all of the disturbing and anger- provoking details. When we are angry or upset, the body produces stress hormones and toxic chemicals. The immune system is suppressed for six to eight hours afterwards.


This is bad enough to put our bodies through this while we are in the actual situation. However, people often replay the episode over and over to whomever will listen, for days, months, even years after the event. Every time they replay it, even if only in their minds, the effect on the body is the same as when the event actually happened.


Our survival instincts cause us to back away from toxic substances. We do not stand behind a vehicle breathing the exhaust. We do not rush to view the scene of an accident where there has been a toxic spill. We try to avoid getting the flu, and may have carbon monoxide detectors in our homes.


We must now realize that a toxic state can be created in our own bodies by the way we think, and what we choose to focus on. We need to be more aware of our personal “ecology,” and to understand as well that when we are venting our “toxic spill” it not only negatively affects us, but also those in whose presence we are venting.



Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.  For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit

Cats Rally, Win SEC Opener

By: Tyrus York –

It wasn’t as easy as many would thought but in the end the #14/16 Kentucky Wildcats were able to handle the Mississippi State Bulldogs, winning their Southeastern Conference opener 85-63 in front of a nearly sold out crowd at Rupp Arena on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs stole the show in the first half, building a 10 point lead a little more than 4 minutes in the game.  In fact it took Kentucky that long to get their first field goal when finally Dominique Hawkins broke the drought with a jumper to get things going after the first media timeout.

Hawkins proved once again that he is instant energy.  Energy that is contagious around his teammates whenever he’s on the floor.

After 13 days without a game, the Cats came in looking rusty.  It took Hawkins to get things going, but when the energy level picked up, James Young took over.

Young was unstoppable in several facets of this game, filling up the stat sheet with game high 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists.  His 26 points were despite the fact that he was only 3-10 from the 3 point line.

James Young leads UK - Photo by East KY Media
James Young leads UK – Photo by East KY Media

Down 40-37 at the half, Kentucky clamped down the Bulldogs on the defensive end, asserting their power in the paint and limiting them to only 23 points in the second half.  Meanwhile the Kentucky bigs were just too much to handle.

Willie Cauley-Stein would contribute 12 points having another very good game with several key baskets that would swing the momentum, but it was his teammate Alex Poythress that dazzled with incredible dunks to get 12 points of his own, somewhat sealing the deal for the Cats down the stretch.

Dakari Johnson was also an impact in this game scoring 8 points on 4-4 shooting in only 8 minutes of action.

At the end of the game the interior was simply too much for Mississippi State to handle.  Kentucky out-rebounded the Bulldogs 44-28, led by the effort of Julius Randle who grabbed 14 rebounds on his own.

Randle managed only 8 points in this game, and seemed very ineffective at times on the offensive and occasionally the defensive end.  I believe the size and speed of SEC big men will be an adjustment for Randle, but one cannot question his intensity because anytime you get 14 rebounds you must be working your tail off.

Kentucky will be baptized by fire in their next two games, as they go to two of the toughest venues for a young team in the conference at Vanderbilt and Arkansas.  The Vandy game will tip at 3:30 pm on Saturday.


UK vs Mississippi State Half time report

The Mississippi State Bulldogs came into Rupp Arena this evening and have given all the Cats they can handle and some, leading 34-31 at the half.

The officiating seems to have taken a turn for the worse over the last few minutes of the half with questionable calls to say the least, but Kentucky simply hasn’t matched the intensity of the Bulldogs so far.

Camp Cal clearly took its toll on the Cats early in this game as it would take over 4 minutes for the Kentucky to get a field goal against the Bulldogs.

Dominique Hawkins broke the ice with a jumper with 15:08 showing on the clock in the first half.  Trailing by as many as 10 points, Kentucky rallied with some strong play by James Young, who has game highs of 15 points and 9 rebounds.

Coach Cal warned they may be a little rusty coming into this game and boy was he right.  Let’s see if they can turn up the heat in the second half.  Go Cats!

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