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15th Region Baseball and Softball Tournament brackets released

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WMDJ) - The draw for next week's 15th Region Baseball and Softball Tournaments was held Thursday at Archer Park.

 

The opening round for each tournament will be held on Memorial Day Monday, May 27th. 

 

All games will be played at Prestonsburg Sports Park at Stonecrest.  

 

 

Lawrence County sweeps 58th District baseball and softball championships

LOUISA, Ky. (WMDJ) – Lawrence County High School swept both the 58th District Baseball and Softball championships Tuesday evening.

 

The Bulldogs defeated Prestonsburg 8-2 winning their fifth baseball district title over the past seven seasons.

 

On the softball side, the Lady Dawgs defeated Floyd Central 15-0 in 4 innings to win their sixth-consecutive district championship.

 

All teams will advance to next week’s 15th Region Tournament to be played in Prestonsburg at Stonecrest.

 

Baseball scores around the area:

57th District Championship – Johnson Central 5, Paintsville 4.

58th District Championship – Lawrence Co. 8, Prestonsburg 2.

60th District Championship – Belfry 14, Pike Co. Central 4.

59th District Semifinal – Shelby Valley 10, East Ridge 0.

 

Softball scores around the area:

57th District Championship – Johnson Central 15, Magoffin Co. 0.

58th District Championship – Lawrence Co. 15, Floyd Central 0.

60th District Championship – Belfry 8, Pike Co. Central 0.

59th District Semifinal – Shelby Valley 14, East Ridge 4.

15th Region Player of the Year commits to University of Pikeville

SALYERSVILLE, Ky. (WMDJ) – Magoffin County High School senior basketball standout Aden Barnett sealed up his intentions on Monday to play basketball at the next level, signing his letter of intent to play for the University of Pikeville for the upcoming 2024-25 season.

 

Barnett (6’2” Senior) averaged 28.7 points per game, leading the Hornets to the school’s first 15th region championship and first-ever appearance in the Sweet 16 Tournament.

Barnett would drop 24 points in the Hornets opening round win over Perry County Central 54-47, advancing to the quarterfinals where their season concluded at the hands of Great Crossing.

 

Barnett finished as the all-time leading scorer at Magoffin County and joined the 3,000 point club this season during his senior season.

Fairleigh Dickinson transfer becomes eleventh new Kentucky Wildcat

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s basketball head coach Mark Pope has inked Ansley Almonor (pronounced: ANS-lee AL-mah-nor) as his 11th addition to his inaugural roster, as announced on Friday.

 

Almonor set a Fairleigh Dickinson single-season record with 93 made 3-pointers as a junior last season, while averaging 16.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game en route to earning first-team All-Northeast Conference honors. He will have one season of eligibility remaining.

 

“Ansley is one of the best shooting mid-major bigs out there and he is a tremendous mover without the basketball,” Pope said. “He’s a fearless competitor with great leadership qualities. Ansley is a finance major who comes from an unbelievable family from Haiti. He’s a great addition to this roster as a veteran presence with a lot of college basketball under his belt.”

 

Almonor is a 1,000-point collegiate scorer after spending his first three seasons with Fairleigh Dickinson. As a junior, he started in 31 of 32 games and connected on 43.6% of his field-goal attempts and 39.4% from 3-point range. His 93 made 3s tied Manny Ubilla (2007-08) in Knights’ history for the most in single-season annals, while the mark led all players in the Northeast Conference. The 6-foot-7 sharpshooter poured in a career-high 30 points at Le Moyne to underscore his junior campaign.

 

The Spring Valley, New York, native made 34 starts in 36 appearances during a sophomore season that was highlighted by FDU’s magical run in the 2023 NCAA Tournament that saw the Knights upset No. 1 seed Purdue in the opening round. He was the NEC’s Most Improved Player and was a third-team All-NEC selection after logging 13.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Almonor paced the squad in total rebounds with 172.

 

As a freshman, Almonor appeared in 24 contests and made four starts. He averaged 3.46 points and 1.71 rebounds per game, while shooting 47.6% from the field and 34.3% from distance.

 

For his career, Almonor has appeared in 92 games and made 69 starts. He’s tallied 1,097 points, 375 rebounds and drained 180 3-pointers at a 38.5% rate. Almonor has topped double-figure scoring in 54 contests and drained multiple 3-pointers on 45 occasions.

Cincinnati Bengals release 2024 schedule

The Cincinnati Bengals have released the schedule for the upcoming 2024 season. 

The preseason will feature three games against Buccaneers at home on August 10th followed by a road trip to Chicago to face the Bears August 17th and a final tuneup hosting the Colts on August 22nd. 

 

The regular season kicks off Sunday, September 8th at 1 p.m. as the Bengals host New England with the Patriots starting the post-Bill Belichick era. 

 

The Bengals will be featured on Monday Night Football twice this season: September 23rd hosting the Commanders to end Week 3 and a Week 14 date against the Cowboys in Dallas on December 9th. 

 

Cincinnati will also play the Giants on the road in Week 6 on Sunday Night Football. There is also a pair of Thursday Night games as the Bengals will travel to Baltimore on November 7th to begin Week 14 and host the Browns on Thursday, December 19th to kickoff Week 16.

 

The Bengals will also host the Ravens, Eagles, Raiders, Steelers and Broncos with road trips to meet the Cheifs, Panthers, Browns, Chargers, Titans and Steelers.

 

UK Men's Basketball conference opponents unveiled for 2024-25

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The first pieces to the inaugural schedule under Kentucky men’s basketball head coach Mark Pope were unveiled by the Southeastern Conference on Monday. The Wildcats are slated to play all 15 league foes at least once and will tangle with Alabama, Tennessee and Vanderbilt in home-and-home fashion.

 

The league office debuted the 2024-25 home-and-away designations for the league schedule which once again features an 18-game slate with the additions of Oklahoma and Texas to the fold. Kentucky will play nine games within the friendly confines of Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center and play an equal number of games on the road.

 

This season, the Wildcats will take on Alabama, Tennessee and Vanderbilt in a home-and-home series. It will extend two of the longest-played series in the nation with multiple dates against the Volunteers and Commodores. The two matchups against Alabama will mark the first time the Cats and Tide have met twice in a regular season since 2021-22.

 

Kentucky’s league home schedule will include the three aforementioned teams as well as Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M. UK’s road matchups will include Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

 

Times, dates and television information will be announced at a later date.

 

The SEC will add Texas and Oklahoma to its alignment in 2024-25 enhancing an already formidable league. The SEC has had 43 NCAA Tournament selections over the last six tournaments, and the league has had at least one team advance to the Elite Eight in 10 of the last 14 tournaments. The league’s success has also translated into 60 players being selected in the last six NBA Drafts, leading all conferences in that time span.

 

UK’s home-and-home slate features three intriguing matchups. The Wildcats will take on Alabama, who advanced to its first Final Four in program history in 2024, for two dates next season. Kentucky captured the lone matchup between the two teams a season ago, with the Cats earning a 117-95 victory in Rupp Arena. Kentucky leads the all-time series by a 117-41 mark.

 

Kentucky has played Tennessee more than any other program in its history and owns a 161-78 all-time record after splitting the series a season ago. Both visiting teams secured a win in 2023-24, with UK’s coming in upset fashion to spoil Senior Night in Knoxville, Tennessee, on March 9. 

 

Kentucky leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt 157-49. UK won both meetings in 2023-24 and are 16-2 against the Commodores in the last 18 matchups. The Wildcats are 86-16 against VU in Lexington and own a 63-29 mark in Nashville.

Kentucky Men's Basketball lands in-state freshman Trent Noah

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s basketball has landed Trent Noah, the state of Kentucky’s fifth all-time leading scorer in high school basketball history, head coach Mark Pope announced on Wednesday.

 

Noah averaged 29.9 points per game during his senior season for Harlan County, where he capped his high school career having tallied 3,707 total points. That mark is also a school and county record.

 

“Trent Noah is one of the elite shooters in this class,” Pope said. “He is a tough, hard-nosed player with a special physicality. As an eastern Kentucky native, Trent will bring a grit, toughness and determination to the program that is representative of this state. We’re looking forward to Trent joining this talented group.”

 

During a senior campaign that saw Noah lead Harlan County to a state runner-up finish, he averaged 29.9 points per game on 56% shooting from the field, 43% from distance and 89% from the free-throw line. During the state tournament run, Noah increased his average to 32.3 points during the four games. He was tabbed a first-team all-state selection by both the Louisville Courier Journal and the Lexington Herald Leader, and he was the 13th Region Player of the Year by the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches.

 

Noah, a four-star prospect ranking as high as No. 108 by 247Sports, hit 102 of 237 (43.03%) from 3-point range as a senior. He is the second overall prospect in the state of Kentucky, behind fellow UK signee Travis Perry, who captured the state title with Lyon County, edging out Noah’s squad by a 67-58 score.

 

Harlan County was the first school from eastern Kentucky to reach the state finals since 2011. Noah scored 129 points over the four-game span and set the Sweet 16 record by hitting 19 3-pointers in the tournament, bettering Mason County’s Chris Lofton’s mark of 17 in 2003.

 

The 6-foot-6 wing scored 35 points and added 10 boards in the first round. He followed that performance with 48 points and nine rebounds, including making 7 of 10 from distance. The 48 points were the fourth-most ever scored in a Boys’ Sweet 16 game. In the semifinals, Noah poured in 29 points and contributed 10 rebounds. He had 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists in the championship contest.

 

As a junior, he averaged 26.5 points and 12.8 rebounds per game while connecting on 66 3-pointers. He was tabbed a second-team all-state selection by the Louisville Courier Journal.

 

Noah’s grandfather, Charles “Perky” Bryant, played football for Kentucky from 1961-63.

 

KHSAA Board of Control approves new football realignment for 2025-2026 seasons

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WMDJ) – On Wednesday, the KHSAA Board of Control gave final approval to the next round of football realignment for the 2025-2026 seasons.

 

There will be a shakeup in Class 2A, District 8 as perennial state title contender Belfry High School will move down from Class 3A to join fellow Pike County schools East Ridge, Pike Central and Shelby Valley along with Betsy Layne to form a new 5-team district.

 

Belfry had elected to play in a higher class during the last round of realignment for the 2023-2024 seasons, however the KHSAA would not allow schools to play “up” in class moving forward.

 

Class 2A, District 7 will now include Leslie County, joining existing teams Floyd Central, Knott County Central, Martin County and Prestonsburg to create a new 5-team alignment.

 

Officials at Betsy Layne had petitioned the KHSAA to move into District 7 joining the other Floyd County schools citing less travel expenses and better rivalry matchups, yet the KHSAA denied Betsy Layne’s request.

 

Locally, Class 1A, District 8 will encompass Hazard, Jenkins, Paintsville, Phelps and Pikeville. Phelps and Jenkins have not participated in district competition for several seasons.

 

Class 3A, District 8 will feature Estill County, Lawrence County, Letcher County Central falling from Class 4A, Magoffin County and Powell County.

 

Johnson Central will remain in Class 4A, District 6 along with Ashland-Blazer, Boyd County, Greenup County and Rowan County.

Friedl expected to rejoin the Reds later this week

Reds starting center fielder TJ Friedl could possibly return to Cincinnati starting lineup when the defending National League champion Arizona Diamondbacks visit Great American Ballpark for a 3-game series beginning Tuesday night.

 

Friedl is currently on a rehab assignment at Triple A Louisville, where he has four hits in 16 at-bats while scoring three runs. Three of Friedl’s four hits have gone for extra bases. He’s also driven in a pair of runs with a .250/.333/.438/.771 batting line for the Bats.

 

The Reds are hitting a Major League worst .209 as a team collectively and scored a total of three runs this weekend while being swept by the Baltimore Orioles at home. The Reds have dropped five-straight games and eight of their last 10.

 

Cincinnati will be back in action against Arizona on Tuesday, starting at 6:40 p.m. The Inside Pitch pregame begins at 6:10 on your home for Reds baseball all season long WMDJ.

Harold Tackett returns to the bench to lead Prestonsburg boys' basketball

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WMDJ) – Prestonsburg High School didn’t need to look far when the position of head boys’ basketball coach opened earlier this week.

 

Veteran coach Harold Tackett has been named the new head boys' basketball coach at Prestonsburg, one day after the resignation of Chase Parsley.

 

Tackett is a familiar name to Prestonsburg fans as he’s been serving as an assistant coach on the boys’ program since returning to the school a couple of years ago.

 

Tackett previously served as girls basketball coach for Prestonsburg, enjoying a run of success in the 1990s and later spent one season leading Betsy Layne’s girls program, winning a 58th District title. He left Betsy Layne for his first head boys coaching position at 4th Region Logan County High School in 2008.

 

At Logan County, Tackett turned their program around, winning 21 games in his fourth and final season, returning the Cougars to the region tournament. He was also named 4th region coach of the year in 2012.

 

Tackett’s last head coaching position was at Greenup County, where he led the boys’ program to a pair of district crowns before leaving after the 2018-19 season.  Tackett was (81-81) in six seasons leading the Musketeers.

 

Tackett will take the reins of a Prestonsburg squad that finished with its first winning record in 15 seasons at (17-15). The Blackcats won one of the first four Super Regional contest, defeating Phelps before falling in the second round to eventual regional champion Magoffin County.

European sharp shooter Kerr Kriisa leaves WVU for Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Adding to the backcourt, Kentucky men’s basketball head coach Mark Pope announced on Thursday that Kerr Kriisa (pronounced KREE-suh), a 6-foot-3 veteran guard who has played at both Arizona and West Virginia, will transfer to Kentucky ahead of the 2024-25 season. He will have one season of eligibility remaining. 

 

Kriisa, who hails from Tartu, Estonia, played three seasons with Arizona before transferring to West Virginia for the 2023-24 campaign. This past year, Kriisa averaged 11.0 points, 4.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds for the Mountaineers across 23 games played. For his college career, Kriisa has averaged 9.7 points, 4.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 99 total games, including 93 starts. 

 

"Kerr Kriisa is one of the best shooters in the country,” Pope said.  “I feel like I’ve been recruiting him for the last five or six years since he was a prep player. He is one of the most experienced guards in all of college basketball. Kerr played on some great Arizona teams and then, last year, in the hallowed halls of West Virginia. He has a competitive spirit that overflows in every way conceivable. Kerr will have a massive impact on our team on the court and in the locker room. Kentucky fans are going to love his bold personality.” 

 

Kriisa made a large impact from the start during his year in Morgantown. He poured in 20 points and dished out seven assists during his WVU debut vs. Massachusetts, his first of four 20-point efforts on the season. Against Toledo, Kriisa registered a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists, becoming the first West Virginia player to have 10 or more assists in a game in five years. 

 

The guard continued to prove himself in conference play, going off for 21 points and six made 3s on the road at Oklahoma State, before scoring 23 against Pope’s BYU squad in early February. He erupted for a career-high 25 points on the Mountaineers’ trip to Kansas State later that month. 

 

For the season, Kriisa finished with 13 double-figure scoring efforts, 18 games with at least three assists and 11 outings with three or more 3s. 

 

At Arizona, Kriisa was a game-changing facilitator, leading the Pac-12 in assists during both his sophomore and junior seasons. He was the first player to lead the league in assists in back-to-back years since Brandon Granville of USC in 2000 and 2001. A capable shooter from outside, Kriisa finished his time at UA ranking 10th in program history with 177 made 3-pointers. He also became one of just five players in Pac-12 history to record multiple triple-doubles in a career, joining Jason Kidd, Andre Iguodala, Loren Woods and Luke Jackson. Kriisa recorded his first triple-double during the 2021-22 season, notching 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists at Utah. He followed that up during his junior season with 14 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds against Southern. 

 

During his three years in Tucson, Kriisa and the Wildcats went a combined 78-20, won two Pac-12 tournaments, one Pac-12 regular season title and made three NCAA Tournament appearances, including receiving a No. 1 seed in 2022.

 

Prior to college, Kriisa spent time playing for Prienai CBet and Zalgiris II Kaunsas in Lithuania. He has experience playing with the Estonian national team and was a driving force behind the nation’s first-ever win over the Lithuanian national team in the summer of 2020. 

Koby Brea, nation's 3-point shooting leader, joins Kentucky Wildcats

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A sharpshooter and two-time Atlantic 10 Sixth Man of the Year, Koby Brea (pronounced BRAY-ah), was added to the Kentucky men’s basketball roster, head coach Mark Pope announced on Wednesday.  

 

Brea paced the nation in 3-point percentage a season ago, making 49.8% of his attempts for Dayton, the nation’s third best in 3-point percentage in 2023-24. Brea averaged 3.0 made 3s per game for the Flyers who went 25-8 on the season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid. He will have one season of eligibility remaining.

 

“By the numbers, Koby Brea is the most efficient mid-to-high major player in college basketball in the last decade,” Pope said. “He’s the best returning shooter in college basketball next year. Koby is a dangerous, dangerous man who is a great human with an incredible family. He will be key in allowing us to play the style of basketball that we love the most. Koby and this group are going to take Big Blue Nation on an incredible ride.”

 

A native of Washington Heights, New York, Brea has made 21 starts in 113 games for the Flyers. Dayton went 85-41 with Brea on the roster and amassed 22 or more wins in each of the last three seasons.

 

Brea appeared in 17 games as a freshman and averaged 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. As a sophomore, Brea earned his first A-10 Sixth Man of the Year honor after notching 8.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He connected on 43.6% from the field and 42.3% from 3-point range, making 1.8 3-pointers per game. An injury-plagued junior year still saw Brea play in 28 games and make 10 starts. He logged 6.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

 

Brea broke out for a memorable season during his fourth year in Dayton. He averaged 11.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, while contributing 1.2 assists per game en route to A-10 Sixth Man of the Year honors for the second time in his career. He joins Xavier’s James Posey (1997 and 1998) as the league’s only two-time winners of the award. Brea connected on 51.2% of his field goals, including the nation-leading 49.8%, with a minimum of 2.5 makes per game, from long range.

 

Brea was able to rise to the occasion in big moments this season. He tallied 13 points, including the game-tying 3 with 48 seconds left in a win over LSU. Brea totaled a career-high 22 points, six rebounds and two steals at SMU, where he scored seven of UD’s last eight points in the two-point victory. The 6-foot-6 wing connected on six of eight 3s against SMU. Other season highlights include making 5 of 8 from deep to score 17 points and finish plus-24 against Oakland, and he scored 18 points, 16 coming in the second half, in the come-from-behind VCU win, which included 4 of 5 makes from long range. 

 

In all, Brea has recorded 38 double-digit scoring efforts and connected on three or more from distance on 33 occasions. He has scored 889 career points, hauled in 351 rebounds, dished out 120 assists and connected on 224 3-pointers at a 43.4% rate.

 

In two NCAA Tournament games this season, Brea was 9 of 16 (56.3%) from 3-point range against Nevada and Arizona. He scored at least 14 points and made at least four 3s in both contests.

 

Prior to signing with Dayton, Brea averaged 20.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game as a senior at Monsignor Scanlon High School. The squad advanced to the final four of the Class AA New York Catholic High School Athletic Association for the first time in school history before COVID-19 canceled the tournament.

 

In the summer of 2019, Brea represented the Dominican National Team in the U-17 FIBA Centrobasket Championships in San Juan. Although he was born in the United States, both of his parents are from the Dominican Republic, making him eligible to play for the national team. He played in five games, averaging 26.8 minutes, 9.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. He connected on 44% of his field-goal attempts and 41% from 3-point range.

Oklahoma State transfer Garrison chooses Kentucky over Arkansas

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s basketball head coach Mark Pope announced the addition of Brandon Garrison, a 6-foot-11 big, on Tuesday, adding the Oklahoma State transfer to the Wildcats’ rapidly growing 2024-25 roster. He will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

 

In his freshman season with the Cowboys, Garrison appeared in 32 games, starting 29, while averaging 7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest. The Oklahoma City native also shot a team-best 57.2% from the floor in his first collegiate season, the fourth-best all-time among OSU rookies with at least 80 makes.

 

“Brandon’s a McDonald’s All-American and a FIBA U18 Americas gold medalist with Team USA who crushed me at BYU last year and crushed Coach [Alvin] Brooks at Baylor last year,” Pope said. “We’re unbelievably glad he’s on our team now. He’s an incredible person with a brilliant, joyful smile that BBN will fall in love with. We’re really excited about our front line and Brandon will be a key piece to it.”

 

Garrison elevated his play during Big 12 action, averaging 9.9 points in conference games, including three 20-point efforts. In the Cowboys’ Big 12 opener, Garrison dropped 20 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting vs. Baylor, while also collecting eight rebounds. The big man again scored 20 points against West Virginia, before tallying a career-high 21 points against Pope’s BYU squad in February. The freshman showed a knack for getting to the line, registering the league’s highest free-throw rate during conference play per KenPom at 71.6 (68 free-throw attempts, 95 field-goal attempts). He scored in double figures on nine occasions and collected his first-career double-double when he posted 11 points and 10 rebounds in a win over South Carolina State.

 

In addition to his offensive abilities, Garrison also brings a strong shot-blocking presence. He totaled 47 blocks on the 2023-24 season, the fifth-most ever by an Oklahoma State freshman. He set a personal-best with six blocks against Houston Christian in November and registered five blocks vs. UCF in the Big 12 Tournament.

 

Garrison attended Del City High School and was a 2023 McDonald’s All-American. He was the 2023 Gatorade and MaxPreps Player of the Year in the state of Oklahoma and led his team to a pair of 5A state titles, the school’s first in more than four decades. Garrison also has international experience, winning a gold medal with Team USA at the 2022 FIBA U18 Americas in Mexico.

UK Men's Basketball roster continues to grow with addition of Andrew Carr

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky men’s basketball roster continues to take shape with the addition of Andrew Carr to head coach Mark Pope’s inaugural roster it was announced on Monday.

 

Carr is a collegiate 1,000-point scorer who has also amassed more than 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in a four-year career at Delaware and Wake Forest. He will have one season of eligibility remaining.

 

“Andrew Carr is the prototypical college and NBA power forward,” Pope said. “He’s incredibly skilled and an elite level decision maker. He shoots the ball with terrific range and is a force inside shooting 66 percent on 2-point field goal attempts.

 

“Andrew understands what it means to wear this jersey and he understands the assignment and why he is coming to Lexington. He’s been a captain of every team he’s ever been associated with. He’s a steadying force and a great leader who Kentucky fans are going to love.”

 

Carr has averaged 11.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 117 career contests. In two seasons at Wake Forest, Carr notched averages of 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 blocks per outing.

 

As a senior with the Deacons, Carr started all 35 games and averaged 13.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He shot 52.6% from the field and 37.1% from distance. Carr registered seven double-doubles on the season, including three against league foes. The 6-foot-11 big boasted a career-high 31 points against Georgia in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.

 

Carr started all 33 games and averaged 10.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game as a junior at Wake Forest. He led the squad with 32 blocks and also paced the team in field-goal percentage at 49.4%. He had a game-high 14 points in his debut with Wake Forest against Fairfiled. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week following consecutive 20-point scoring efforts including a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double against Boston College. Wake Forest totaled 40 wins in two seasons with Carr on the roster.

 

The West Chester, Pennsylvania, native began his collegiate career at Delaware. He was named to the Colonial Athletic Association’s All-Tournament Team as a sophomore after notching a double-double with 17 points and 12 boards in the title contest against UNC Wilmington helping the Blue Hens to the NCAA Tournament.

 

In all, Carr played in 49 games and made 44 starts at Delaware. He averaged 8.2 points and 3.6 boards as a freshman before upping his averages to 10.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game his sophomore season.

 

For his four-year career, Carr has amassed 64 double-figure scoring games and registered 11 double-doubles. He’s connected on 94 3-pointers at a 34.4% clip and swatted 133 shots for an average of 1.1 blocks per game for his career.

 

Carr was a three-year starter at West Chester East and was named to the all-state first team as a senior and the third team as a junior in high school before signing with Delaware.

Oklahoma transfer Otega Oweh joins Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Otega Oweh (pronounced oh-TEG-uh OH-way), who averaged 11.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Oklahoma, has joined the Kentucky men’s basketball program for the 2024-25 season, head coach Mark Pope announced on Saturday.

 

Oweh has seen action in 60 games and made 37 starts over a two-year career with the Sooners. He will have two years of eligibility with the Wildcats.

 

“Otega shot 37 percent from the 3-point line last year,” Pope said. “He’s elite at earning trips to the free-throw line and he brings a special physicality and intensity to the game. Otega spent his entire season last year picking up the point guard full court in the Big 12. His tenacity on the court is contagious and his humility off the court is going to endear himself to Big Blue Nation.”

 

During Oweh’s sophomore season, he averaged 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 assists per outing. He connected on 49.3% of his field-goal attempts and 37.7% from 3-point range. Oweh registered double-digit scoring efforts on 19 occasions, including a career-high 23 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 10 for 11 from the free-throw line against North Carolina. Additionally, he had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds against West Virginia. Oweh added defensive savviness to the Sooners’ lineup with 12 games of multiple steals, including a seven-swipe effort against Green Bay. He notched seven games with five or more rebounds from the guard position.

 

Oweh was the second-leading scorer for a team that went 20-12 overall and 8-10 in Big 12 action.

 

As a freshman, Oweh made nine starts in 28 appearances. He logged averages of 4.8 points, 2.1 boards and 0.2 assists per game and had four double-figure scoring efforts.

 

In all, the 6-foot-4 guard has scored 498 points, hauled in 179 rebounds and tallied 80 steals. He’s connected on 49.8% of his 2-point attempts and 36.8% from 3-point range. He was 20 of 53 (37.7%) from long distance in 2023-24. He ranked among the top 20 in steals in the Big 12 Conference during both seasons with the Sooners.

 

A native of Newark, New Jersey, he was a four-star prospect in the 2022 class and was rated as high as No. 73 by 247Sports. During his prep career, Oweh led Team Final EYBL (PA) to a 17U Peach Jam title and was named the Peach Jam Breakout Player of the Session after averaging 14.9 points, 4.9 boards, 1.8 steals and 1.3 assists per game.

 

Oweh has three siblings, including an older brother, Odafe, who plays linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.

Final Four guard Lamont Butler joins UK Men's Basketball roster

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Lamont Butler, who hit the game-winning buzzer-beater shot for San Diego State in the 2023 Final Four, has joined the Kentucky men’s basketball team for the 2024-25 season, head coach Mark Pope announced Saturday.

 

Butler is the reigning two-time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and has averaged 7.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game in 131 games played for the Aztecs. San Diego State was 104-32 and captured a pair of Mountain West regular-season and two tournament titles with Butler on the roster. Butler will have one season of eligibility remaining.

 

“Lamont Butler is the definition of a winner,” Pope said. “He might be the best perimeter defensive player in all of college basketball. Lamont has helped lead championship teams for the last four years and hit one of the most epic shots in the NCAA Tournament to send his team to the championship game.

 

“He is an elite student who takes his academics seriously. He cares about the community and will embrace the power of wearing ‘Kentucky’ across the front of his chest. I’m extremely excited to coach Lamont and to see the influence he’s going to have on this team.”

 

During his senior season, Butler averaged a career-high 9.3 points per game, while shooting a career-best 48.5% from the field. He also induced 1.5 steals per game. He generated 17 double-figure scoring efforts, including a 23-point performance against Wyoming. Butler had four or more steals in five games, including four against UAB in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round. He started all 37 games and averaged 27.5 minutes per outing. 

 

Butler drained the most memorable shot in San Diego State history when he sank a buzzer beater in the 2023 Final Four against Florida Atlantic to send the Aztecs to the title game as a junior. He was a member of the 2023 NCAA All-Tournament Team and a member of the All-South Regional Team. Butler also garnered Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year accolades. The Moreno Valley, California, native averaged 8.8 points and 2.7 boards per game. He also contributed 126 assists and 57 steals. In addition to the buzzer beater in the Final Four, he also had one in a win over New Mexico in February of the same year.

 

As a sophomore, Butler started 25 of 27 games and averaged 7.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. He was a member of the Paycom Wooden Legacy All-Tournament Team after averaging 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game in the two-game tournament. Butler started a pair of games in 28 appearances as a freshman and was the only first-year player on the squad to make an appearance in every game.

 

For his career, Butler has scored 1,008 career points and snared 305 boards. He has added 338 assists and 183 steals. The 6-foot-2 guard, known for his defensive prowess, has recorded 43 double-figure scoring efforts, dished out five or more assists 17 times and logged 22 games with at least three steals.

 

Butler graduated from Riverside Poly High School where he was a four-year letterwinner and a four-star prospect. He was tabbed as one of the top-50 points guards by ESPN in the class of 2020. During his prep career, he compiled 91 wins culminating in a conference championship as a senior. He was tabbed as the Ivy League Most Valuable Player for his efforts. Furthermore, Butler passed NBA Hall of Famer Reggie Miller as Poly’s all-time leading scorer with more than 1,800 career points.

 

Belfry High School hires new Boys' Basketball Coach

PRESS RELEASE:

Belfry High School is pleased to announce Brent Perry as Head Boys Basketball Coach.

 

Brent Perry, a native of Barbourville, KY has been an assistant coach under some of the best and most respected high school coaches in the state of Kentucky, where he has accomplished several successful seasons under outstanding administrations. Last season, Perry was head assistant at Montgomery County High School under Coach Jason Mays. Previously, Perry had been a part of Tony Patterson’s staff at Knox Central where he helped lead Knox to a 13th region championship and a KHSAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2021. After his time at Knox Central, Perry joined the staff at his alma mater- Barbourville High School and completed two seasons helping lead the Tigers to their first District Championship in nearly 10 years.

 

Aside from being an assistant coach on the high school level, Perry also currently holds a head coaching position for one of the state’s premier AAU programs with Griffin Elite out of Erlanger, KY. Coach Perry has been with Griffin Elite for 3 years coaching several players that have gone on to play at the collegiate level.

 

Prior to coaching, Perry was a standout and a 4-year varsity starter at Barbourville High School, where he completed his high school career with over 1200 points, capturing the 51st District Championship his junior season. Perry led the 13th region in scoring (24.3) and was named the 51st District Player of the Year, along with First Team All-Region honors his senior season. Perry continued his basketball career at the University of Cumberlands and later graduated from Union College.

 

 

Travis Perry stays true to Big Blue

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WMDJ) - Kentucky’s reigning Mr. Basketball from state champion Lyon County High School has officially announced his intentions on staying committed to the Kentucky Wildcats this coming season.

 

Perry a picture with new head coach Mark Pope on X saying, "Can’t wait to wear the blue and white. Go Cats!"

 

Perry joins Amari Williams on the Kentucky men's basketball roster for the 2024-25 season. 

 

Williams, a three-time Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year, has been officially announced by UK. He's the first player Coach Pope has secured through the transfer portal.

 

Williams averaged 12.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.8 blocks per game as a senior, starting all 32 games for Drexel University last season. He'll have one season left of eligibility as a graduate transfer.

Encarnacion-Strand drives in two as Reds complete sweep of Angels 3-0 on Sunday

CINCINNATI (WMDJ) - Christian Encarnacion-Strand smacked a 2-RBI double to break a scoreless tie in the 6th inning and the Reds clipped the Angels 3-0 to sweep the weekend series.

 

The Reds bullpen picked up the slack left behind by starter Frankie Montas, who left the game in the first inning after being hit by a line drive off the bat of Taylor Ward. Montas suffered a bruised right forearm.

 

Reliever Brent Suter allowed four hits in 3 1/3 innings. Emilio Pagan (2-1) picked up the win allowing one hit over two innings. Fernando Cruz and Lucas Sims each tossed a scoreless inning before handing over the game to Alexis Diaz to punch his fourth save of the season in five chances.

 

Cincinnati (12-9) will welcome the Phillies to Great American Ballpark for the start of a 4-game series beginning tonight. Hunter Greene (0-1, 4.35) will take the ball for the Reds starting at 6:40 p.m. / Inside Pitch airs 6:10 on WMDJ.

Sheppard declares for NBA Draft foregoes college eligibility

Kentucky basketball star Reed Sheppard will forego his remaining college eligibility and enter his name in this summer’s NBA Draft.

 

Sheppard made the announcement via a social media post Thursday.

 

Sheppard was named National Freshman of the Year. He averages 12.5 points, 4.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game this season for the Wildcats in 33 games. He also shot 51% from 3-point range – best in Kentucky history for a single basketball season. He was the only player in the nation to enjoy 145 assists, 80 steals and 75 made 3-pointers. He’s also the second player in UK history to have 80 or more steals in a single season.

 

“I will be entering my name into the NBA Draft today,” Sheppard posted. BBN, you have been with me from day one, faithful and passionate. I’m asking you to go with me on this journey, I’m looking forward to taking you with me. I’ll represent you with all the characteristics that make us Kentuckians: passion, humility, perseverance, sacrifice and joy. And one day, I’ll return to family, to friends to Kentucky, my home. I love you, BBN. Thank you.”

 

The freshman standout had to declare his intentions before April 27th to be considered for this year’s draft. He reserved the right to withdraw his name and return to college by May 29th, yet Sheppard has announced that he has no intentions on returning to Kentucky.

Orem stepping down as Girls Head Coach and Athletic Director at Pikeville High School

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WMDJ) – Five-time 15th Region championship coach Kristy Orem has announced she is letting go the reigns of the Pikeville Lady Panthers’ basketball program.

 

She’ll also be stepping away from the athletic director’s position at PHS.

 

Orem made the announcement via social media Wednesday afternoon.

 

In a statement, Orem said, “Over the past 27 years, coaching young women has been a significant part of my life. Together, we have created unforgettable memories and built lifelong relationships that I will always cherish.”

 

“Although I am stepping away from coaching for now, I will always remain a passionate advocate for women’s sports and the positive impact it has on young athletes’ lives,” Orem stated.

 

Pikeville captured their fifth regional championship in the last six seasons this year. The Lady Panthers’ season ended in the opening round of the Sweet 16 Tournament.

 

Orem won over 500 games in a 27-year coaching career that also including a stop in Fleming County, where she won the 16th region championship prior to arriving in Pikeville.

 

No announcement has been made as Orem’s replacement on the sidelines or as athletic director.

Mark Pope Named Head Coach of Kentucky Men's Basketball

LEXINGTON, Ky. – When his alma mater came calling, Mark Pope knew there was no place like home.

 

Pope, a captain of the University of Kentucky’s 1996 National Championship team, has returned to Lexington as the 23rd head coach of Kentucky’s storied men’s basketball program, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced Friday.

 

Pope is a nine-year head coaching veteran with stops at BYU and Utah Valley, amassing a 187-108 career record. His squads won 20 or more games in six of the last seven seasons and he has made six postseason appearances.

 

“Mark Pope not only brings an impressive record in nine years as a head coach, but also a love of the University of Kentucky and a complete understanding of what our program means to the people of our state,” Barnhart said. “As a captain on the ‘96 championship team, Mark was a beloved and respected teammate. As a head coach, he is highly regarded nationally as an innovator. His teams run a unique and dynamic up-tempo offense and they get after it on defense. He is a strong recruiter with international ties and a person of integrity. 

 

“He fully embraces our high expectations and standards and I know that as our fans get reacquainted with Mark, they will be eager to join him on what promises to be an exciting ride.” 

 

Pope returns to UK from Provo, Utah, where he compiled a 110-52 record (.679) during five campaigns at the helm of BYU. He took the Cougars to three postseason appearances, including two trips to the NCAA Tournament, and missed another bid when the 2020 event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three of his five BYU teams finished the season ranked in the top 20 of the Ken Pomeroy efficiency ratings. 

 

“The University of Kentucky is the pinnacle of coaching in college basketball. It’s the definition of blueblood program where hanging a banner is the expectation ever year,” Pope said. “Equally as important, UK changed my life forever as a human being. The love and passion I have for this program, this University and the people of the Commonwealth goes to the depth of my soul.

 

“I’m thankful to Dr. (Eli) Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart for this opportunity. I’m proud to be your next head coach and I can’t wait to do this together!”

 

Pope is coming off a 23-11 season in 2023-24. It was BYU’s first season in the Big 12 Conference and the Cougars’ 10-8 league record featured victories over No. 7 Kansas, No. 11 Baylor and No. 24 Iowa State. BYU’s first win in the Big 12, on January 13 at Central Florida, also marked Pope’s 100th victory as head coach of the Cougars.

 

The Cougars ranked third in the country with 11.1 made 3-pointers per game in 2023-24, and also ranked in the top 10 in assists per game (3rd) and assist-to-turnover ratio (6th). BYU led the Big 12 in scoring at 81.4 points per game. They were ranked as high as No. 12 in the AP Poll after going 12-1 in nonconference action, winning the Vegas Showdown, BYU’s first multi-team event title since 2011. Pope was named to the 2024 Naismith College Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List for his efforts.

 

Pope’s teams also hit the postseason in 2020-21, finishing with a 20-7 mark and making BYU’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2015. The Cougars were 24-11 in 2021-22 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament. The Cougars captured win No. 60 under Pope in January of ‘22, making him the fastest BYU coach to achieve the mark.

 

Pope began his head coaching stint at BYU in the 2019-20 season, tallying a 24-8 record, the most wins for a first-year coach in program history. He finished the season ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press poll and No. 16 in the USA Today/Coaches poll, becoming the first head coach at BYU to conclude the season with a national ranking in his first season. The Cougars finished second in the West Coast Conference with a 13-3 record. The Cougars also toppled No. 2-ranked Gonzaga, earning their best win over a ranked opponent inside their home venue in program history. The Covid pandemic prevented an almost-certain bid to the NCAA Tournament.

 

Pope’s Cougars were statistically among the top offenses in the nation in ’19-20. The Cougars finished the season ranked first in 3-point field goal percentage, second in assist-to-turnover ratio, third in field-goal percentage, fourth in 3-point field goals per game and fifth in assists per game.

 

Following his first season with the Cougars, Matt Norlander of CBS tabbed Pope as the best hire of the year. He was also awarded with the United States Basketball Writers Association District VIII Coach of the Year honor. He was a semifinalist for the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year.

 

Pope’s first head coaching stint was a four-year term at Utah Valley. Beginning in 2015-16, the Wolverines increased their win total during every season of Pope’s tenure, culminating in a 25-10 overall mark and a runner-up finish in the Western Athletic Conference in 2018-19. Utah Valley was 30-2 at home from 2017-19, and the 25 wins in 2019 were a single-season school record.

 

He began his collegiate playing career at the University of Washington, where he was tabbed the 1992 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. After his sophomore season, he transferred to Kentucky, where he appeared in every game of his two-year career with the Wildcats. UK won the 1995 and ‘96 regular-season Southeastern Conference championships, the ’95 SEC Tournament title and the 1996 NCAA Tournament. He averaged 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in 69 career games. Pope was named to the All-SEC Tournament Team in 1995, behind a pair of double-doubles in three games, including one in the title game that went to overtime.

 

Pope was selected in the second round of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers. He played professional basketball from 1997-2005, including stints with Indiana, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets. In 2000-01, he started 45 games and helped the Bucks reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

Following his playing days, Pope enrolled in medical school at Columbia University and completed two years before returning to basketball. He joined Mark Fox’s staff at Georgia in 2009. He then spent one season as an assistant coach for Jeff Bzdelik at Wake Forest and four seasons at BYU under Dave Rose. The Cougars posted four straight 20-win seasons and advanced to postseason play in each of those four years, including three bids to the NCAA Tournament. His success as an assistant at BYU was the springboard to become head coach at Utah Valley. 

 

Pope and his wife, Lee Anne, have four daughters, Ella, Avery Layla and Shay. He is a 1996 graduate of Kentucky with a degree in English.

Two Pike County Schools Name New Boys' Basketball Coaches

A pair of Pike County schools announced the hiring a new boys’ basketball coaches on Thursday.

 

East Ridge High School has named Adam Farmer as their new choice to lead the Warriors. Farmer served three seasons as East Ridge girls’ basketball coach. He also served as an assistant to Randy McCoy on the boys’ side. Farmer’s first coaching experience came as an assistant under Justin Holbrook at South Floyd High School.

 

Shelby Valley named Matthew Taylor as their new boys’ basketball coach. Taylor has spent three seasons leading Letcher County Central with an overall record of (51-40) and one 53rd District championship.

Reds Spencer Steer Named NL Player of the Week

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Spencer Steer has been named the National League Player of the Week presented by Chevrolet.

 

Spencer Steer, Cincinnati Reds (@spenc_er22)

  • The 26-year-old hit .409 (9-for-22) with three home runs, nine RBI, a double, a triple, three walks, five runs scored, and a stolen base in six games last week.
  • The California native led the Majors in slugging percentage (.955) and total bases (21); tied for the Major League lead with three home runs; ranked second in the Majors in OPS (1.455); ranked second in the NL in RBI; ranked third in OBP (.500); and tied for third in extra-base hits (5).
  • The University of Oregon product slugged his first career grand slam in the 10th inning on Monday at Philadelphia. It was the Reds’ first extra-inning grand slam since Todd Frazier’s on June 17, 2015 and was the first of three go-ahead homers last week for Steer.
  • The outfielder continued his tear with homers in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday against the Mets, marking the fourth time in his career that he homered in two straight games. His Friday night home run came in the first inning to give the Reds a 1-0 lead and his three-run blast on Saturday highlighted the Reds’ five-run eighth inning in a comeback victory.
  • After finishing sixth in Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year voting in 2023, Steer is off to a blistering start in 2024, reaching safely in eight of his nine games so far and slashing .400/.500/.813 with a team-high 12 RBI. Overall, Steer recorded hits in five of his six games last week with multiple hits in three of the contests.

 

 

Report: John Calipari Signing 5-Year Deal to Become Head Coach at Arkansas

Multiple sources are reporting that John Calipari has reached an agreement to become the new men’s basketball coach at Arkansas.

 

ESPN's Pete Thamel reported late Sunday night that, “Calipari's contract is expected to have an overall base salary of slightly less than the $8.5 million he's making at Kentucky. However, the deal is expected to be incentive laden with the ability to pass that number.”

 

Nothing has been announced by either Arkansas or Kentucky at this time and Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart has told CBS Sports that he has not yet heard from Calipari about any talks with Arkansas.

 

The move comes less than two weeks after Barnhart appeared with Calipari on LEX-18 TV to discuss their relationship, the future of Kentucky basketball and their desire to exit well.

 

Coach Cal leaves with a record of (410-123) at Kentucky, six SEC championships, six SEC Tournament championships, four Final Four appearances and 1 national championship.

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