UofL signees, prospect shine in Derby Classic

UofL signees Michael Bush, Brandon Jenkins and prospect Mohamed Abukar led the White team to a 159-130 win over the White team Saturday night in Freedom Hall. Plus ITV's exclusive player rankings from the Derby Classic. <p>Updated quotes from Michael Bush and Mohamed Abukar.</p>

UofL signees, prospect play well in Classic

UofL signee and Kentucky Mr. Football Michael Bush ended his competitive basketball playing career in style last night in Freedom Hall.  Bush, the White team MVP, scored 22 points and pulled down 7 rebounds to lead the White past the Purple 159-130 in the 31st annual Derby Festival Basketball Classic.

Bush hit 8-12 shots from the field, including 3-4 from three point range and scored eight straight points to help the White team pull away from the Purple in the second half.  Bush also had an assist, two steals and two turnovers.

"I had fun and I felt at home tonight on the Freedom Hall floor and the fans kept me in it," said Bush. "I think this sent a message to the people in Kentucky, that because I didn't win Mr. Basketball I can play and I should have won that award."

But the story of the night was Mohamed Abukar.  Abukar once again displayed his incredible perimeter skills, draining 4-7 three pointers, including two from the deep left wing.  Abukar made 8-13 overall shooting from the field and scored 20 points on the night.

Abukar also made a clean sweep of the halftime festivities, winning both the three point shooting contest and the slam dunk finals.


After his impressive debut in Freedom Hall, Abukar was taken out at the end of the game by St. Patrick's Head Coach Kevin Boyle and received a standing ovation and a loud and repeated C*A*R*D*S chant from the UofL fans in attendance.  Several UofL fans held up Abukar signs throughout the game, including one right in back of the White bench that read...UofL loves Abukards!

"It was a great time," said Abukar, who is scheduled to tour the UofL campus today. "It was really nice to see the fans come out and see them support basketball like this. It surprised me a lot how much the fans love basketball in Kentucky."

Several UofL players were in attendance to cheer on their future and possible teammates last night, including Francisco Garcia, Larry O'Bannon, and Kendall Dartez.

UofL signee Brandon Jenkins recorded the games only double-double, finishing with 10 points and 11 assists.  Jenkins played 23 minutes and also had 4 steals, 1 block and only 2 turnovers.  Jenkins hit 4-7 shots from the floor and 2-2 from the line.

Jenkins was unselfish and looked to involve his teammates the entire night.  He pushed the ball up court and forced a fast tempo that caused the Purple team trouble in transition and found people on the break.  Jenkins showed the ability to get in the lane in the halfcourt and find people on the wing for open looks, including a brilliant hesitation move he used to blow by nationally ranked point guard Tack Minor for an easy layup.

Jenkins also impressed with his defense ability.  He used his athletic ability and quick hands to challenge shots all night and his  four steals were a game high.  He also pulled down 4 rebounds, including three on the defensive end.

White MVP - Michael Bush

Purple MVP - Shagari Alleyne

ITV Player Rankings

1.  Martin Iti (Charlotte)  - Iti is a multiskilled big man and the top overall player in the game.  He had 18 points and 9 rebounds and displayed a wide array of skills.  He dunked, hit some jumpers, led the break and finished at the basket, blocked shots and rebounded.  This guy's a likely one and done for the Niners.

2.  Mohamed Abukar (Undecided) - Silky smooth power forward.  Shoots from deep, handles and passes like a guard and dunks around the basket.  Needs to get stronger and rebound better but his skills and athleticism make him a tremendous prospect.

3.  Gary Forbes (Virginia) - Impressive two guard with good size and athleticism.  Hit a few threes, scored on the inside and pulled down 9 rebounds.  Very impressive outing.

4.  Brandon Jenkins (Louisville) - It's a close call with Michael Nardi but we'll give Jenkins the nod as the top point guard because of his defensive ability and unselfishness.  Forced tempo, found the open man and handled the rock with care.  His 10 points, 11 assists, 4 steals and 4 rebounds show he's not a one dimensional player.

5. Loderick Stewart (USC) - Deluxe 6'3 athlete scored showed some perimeter skills by draining a couple threes.  Finished with 18 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

6. Michael Nardi (Villanova) - Steve Blake clone.  Surprised with his quickness all week.  Heady point guard who finds people in spots where they can score.  Had a game high 12 assists and showed three point range on his jump shot.  Solid defender who stayed in front Marcus Williams and Tack Minor all night and made two steals.

7.  Dameon Mason (Marquette) - Super athletic wing with skills.  Handled the ball on break, pulled down 6 boards and finished near the basket.  Scored 16 points and made 8-12 shots.

8.  Patrick Ewing (Indiana) - Good athlete who impressed all week with his ability to get to the rim and finish.  Also surprised us  with his shooting ability and perimeter skills, draining two threes and showing a solid handle and the ability to pass the ball.

9.  Bobby Perry (Kentucky)  - Has solid, well rounded game.  Handled the ball in the open court, rebounded the ball off the defensive board, handed out a couple assists and scored 17 points.

10. Major Wingate (Tennessee) - Didn't have a big stat line but impressed with his size and athleticism.  He's a nice player for the Vols and will ease the loss of Ron Slay next season in Knoxville.





Tim Tipton contributed to the story.

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