Sunday News and Notes

One of the nation's top-ranked juniors, Lawrence North's Dominique Ferguson, had a busy week after reopening his college basketball recruitment.

News and notes from around the nation:


FIVE HOME RUNS
John Calipari, Kentucky – The Wildcats would've looked stupid for firing 2008 SEC Coach of the Year Billy Gillispie if they didn't find a top-notch replacement. Kentucky did more than that by plucking Calipari from Memphis. Kentucky couldn't have found a better hobnobber and schmoozer to appease its rabid fanbase. Throw in the fact that future NBA draft picks love playing in his dribble-drive offense, and it's no stretch to say that Kentucky could be back in the national title hunt as soon as next season.


UK ATHLETICS
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Blue team offense jumped out to a 21-0 first-half lead and then held off a late second-half rally by the White team for a 28-23 victory at the annual Kentucky Blue/White game on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Commonwealth Stadium.

The game was played in a regular-season format in front of an impressive crowd of 20,200 Big Blue fans – second-largest on record for the spring game . The evenly-matched teams were chosen through a draft earlier in the week . Defensive coordinator Steve Brown was head coach of the Blue team and offensive head coach Joker Phillips was the head coach of the White squad.

The Blue team offense dominated the first quarter with two scoring drives of 93 and 54 yards, respectively, while the defense held the White squad to just two first downs and 40 yards on offense.

The Blue team opened the game on defense, holding the White team to a three-and-out series. On offense, Blue quarterback Will Fidler completed five of seven passes on the opening drive, including three completions to sophomore receiver Randall Cobb. Cobb's first two receptions of eight and 18 yards earned the team two crucial first downs on the drive. Fidler concluded the 12-play, 93-yard scoring drive with a 26-yard touchdown strike to Cobb to give the Blue squad a 7-0 lead.




DODSON TO BE A CAT
Junior-college player Darnell Dodson has signed to play basketball with the University of Kentucky, Coach John Calipari announced on Friday.

Dodson, originally from Greenbelt, Md., attended Miami Dade Community College last season, where he helped guide the Sharks to a Southern Conference Championship and a 26-2 regular-season record.

The 6-foot-7 All-Southern Conference small forward averaged 15.7 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 76.7 percent from free-throw line.

When Dodson was a high school senior, Prep Stars rated him as a top-100 national prospect.

New UK assistant Orlando Antigua originally recruited Dodson for Pittsburgh.




Cal grooming Rose Replacement Derrick Rose had plenty of familiar faces cheering him on during his first home playoff game at the United Center, but one stood out among the rest -- John Calipari.

The former Memphis coach was in town to watch his prized pupil receive the rookie of the year trophy. The pair has remained close, despite all of the hoopla in both men's lives over the past year. Calipari has served as a sounding board for the young guard throughout the season.

"He'll call me and say, 'What do you think?' and I'll have some thoughts for him," Calipari told me Thursday night, during our brief chat near the Bulls' locker room. "He called me after the last game, his big game [on Saturday]. He was so humble. This kid is incredible."

Of course, after hearing Rose discuss his memorable performance, the old coach wanted to make sure the young player's ego was in check: "I said, 'Did you miss any free throws?' He said, "Coach, I didn't miss any free throws.'"

Calipari also noted that Rose was quick to praise Rajon Rondo, which is interesting, especially considering what the diminutive guard has done to the Bulls over the course of this series. "[Rose] said Rondo was good, he said he's really good, but he said [he] was just on fire."




Crean, Painter, Calipari among college basketball coaches visiting Lawrence North's Ferguson
One of the nation's top-ranked juniors, Lawrence North's Dominique Ferguson, had a busy week after reopening his college basketball recruitment.

Once a Kentucky recruit, the 6-9 forward ranked as one of the top 10 players in the 2010 class withdrew his oral commitment after coach Billy Gillispie was fired March 27. Ferguson "is pretty much back to square one," his father, Deon Ferguson, said.

During the brief April contact period that ended Wednesday, Indiana University coach Tom Crean, Purdue coach Matt Painter, new Kentucky coach John Calipari, Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl and new Arizona coach Sean Miller visited Lawrence North, in addition to assistants from UCLA, Texas, Wake Forest and Providence.


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