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Entries in John Wall (3)


In Pictures: The Barnstable Brown Gala

Marissa Miller

One Great Season

Once again, celebrities rocked the red carpet in the charming Highlands neighborhood of Louisville on a lovely spring evening.

Every year, the Barnstable Brown Gala is one of the biggest draws on the Derby party circuit, and Friday night was no exception.

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Marissa Miller was her usual stunning self, Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell were once again all smiles and even local hoops hero John Wall made quite a splash.

The party went well into the night and after shooting some pictures for a couple hours, I had to get a taste for myself. Double-fisted with vodka-tonics and standing on a packed dance floor about five feet away from CBS News legend Bob Schieffer, country star John Michael Montgomery blasted through a cover of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Caught In The Crossfire" on the stage about 25 feet in front of me. It was outstanding.

Here are some pictures of celebrities arriving.


Resurrected Program Is Big Blue's Silver Lining

John Wall

Special To One Great Season

I expected nothing less. The final whistle blew and the cat calls and claps reached a crescendo. I’d taken numerous jabs from complete strangers for most of the night in multiple Indianapolis drinking establishments as my beloved Wildcats' remarkable season came to an inauspicious end. I heard a female voice I couldn't visually link with a face exclaim, "I don't care who wins, as long as it's not Kentucky." The statement was followed by a high-five that reverberated throughout the hollows of my soul.

More than 600 miles away in a Syracuse locker room, Ramon Harris refused to remove his Kentucky jersey. The senior forward's eyes were red. It was the last time the Alaska native would wear the blue and white tank top that so many little boys from Pikeville to Paducah dream of donning.

EXTRA: Complete NCAA Tournament Coverage

I expected nothing less from the rarely used player who, by many Big Blue faithful estimations, was not the caliber of athlete we'd expect to see in Kentucky blue. What I didn't expect was that every eye (from all accounts) was red at some point Saturday night. That includes the eyes of the young men who will voluntarily never wear a UK uniform again.

Say what you want about DeMarcus Cousins' maturity. He still gets it. Say what you want about one-and-done players like John Wall. He gets it. No one would question that Patrick Patterson gets it. They all get what Billy Clyde Gillispie did not, that there's a responsibility that comes with bearing those eight letters across your chest on a basketball court. Players told reporters they let their "brothers" down. Several also apologized for letting the fans down. 

They did not.

When many eyes finally dried in homes and bars across the Commonwealth, perspective slowly crept into the collective conscience. The fact that Wall, Eric Bledose, Darnell Dodson and others could not hit the broadside of a rural Perry County barn doesn't matter. We will neatly put aside the fact that Bobby Huggins and West Virginia took apart UK's much-vaunted defense. Few will remember that, for the first time, John Calipari's kids showed their youth. There, I said it. Because what one awful night cannot take away is what this team has done for Kentucky basketball:

+ 35-3
+ SEC champs again
+ Relevant again
+ Feared again

In 1992, after the entire state went into mourning following Christian Laettner's figurative stomp on our chests, perspective was gained. John Pelphrey, Deron Feldhaus, Richie Farmer and Sean Woods became "The Unforgettables." Four young men put aside personal goals and stayed at a program that was at its lowest point. This year, Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe and Patterson put aside ego for something greater than themselves. They resurrected a program out of the ashes. I'm sure someone will come up with a name for this fab four. They were truly unforgettable.

Shortly before 9 p.m. on Saturday, I received a text from a friend of mine. He's a Kansas fan. "Go Big Blue Nation," it read, dripping with sarcasm. The haters are back. I expected nothing less.

Jackey is a die-hard Kentucky fan who lives in Louisville and is now eagerly awaiting the World Cup.


Naismith Award: Is Evan Turner The Obvious Choice?

One Great Season

It's March and everyone's talking about college basketball. Is your team on the bubble?

While all the talk is about teams and brackets and seeds, let's not forget about some of the top individual players who hope to lead those squads deep into the NCAA Tournament.

So let's get started with my five leading candidates to win the coveted Naismith Award, which honors the best player in men's college basketball (stats through Feb. 28):

Evan Turner

+ Evan Turner, Jr, G, Ohio State
No one has as well-rounded a game as Turner, and his effort has been so consistent this year that even a six-game absence in midseason shouldn't keep him from winning this honor. Once he returned from breaking his back, he picked up where he left off, chasing down double-doubles each night out and even recording many near triple-doubles.

Turner leads the Big Ten in scoring (19.7 points per game) and rebounding (9.3), and is second in assists (5.9) and steals (1.9), but did you know he's also fifth in field-goal percentage (.543) and even ninth in blocks (1.0)? Before only playing 39 minutes on Saturday, Turner had played all 40 minutes in each of Ohio State's previous three games and has turned the trick nine times overall this year. He is carrying the Buckeyes toward a possible Big Ten championship and maybe even a No. 2 NCAA Tournament seed. No player in the country means more to his team than Turner.

The funny thing about Turner is that he seems more of a lock for national player of the year than Big Ten player of the year, as Michigan State's Kalin Lucas continues to get support for the league honor.

+ Sherron Collins, Sr, G, Kansas
Collins is KU's undisputed leader and obviously means a great deal to his team, but if you take him away, the Jayhawks are still dangerous, whereas the Buckeyes wouldn't even be an NIT squad without Turner.

But that shouldn't diminish Collins' candidacy for national honors. He leads the Jayhawks with 15.3 points per game and 4.3 assists, and also, despite playing for a deep team that plays eight guys at least 15 minutes, and another three players about seven minutes each, averages a team-best 32.7 minutes per game.

Late in a tight game, you want Collins on the line. He makes 84 percent of his free throws and is a proven winner. Kansas is 118-18 in Collins' four years at point guard.

John Wall

+ John Wall, Fr, G, Kentucky
No one in the country is more electrifying than Wall, and many expect him to be the first player taken in the NBA draft in June. But he still has some work to do before leaving Lexington, like lead the Wildcats to their first national championship since 1998.

Wall leads the team in scoring (16.7), assists (6.2) and minutes (34.4), and is third in rebounding (4.1). With the exception of Derrick Rose, no college basketball player in recent memory has shown his kind of explosiveness. He's also a defensive witch, averaging nearly two steals per game. He saved the day with a late gem at Vanderbilt on Feb. 20, preserving a narrow win over the ranked Commodores.

But even John Wall might have hit the wall. A slightly less-then-stellar February, perhaps due to his youth, might have taken him out of the top spot as Evan Turner continues his relentless push.

+ John Scheyer, Sr, G, Duke
Before he even stepped foot on the Durham campus, Scheyer was a Youtube legend after having scored 21 points in 75 seconds in an Illinois high school playoff game.

And he's been Mr. Steady in his four outstanding years at Duke. No doubt he's the ACC Player of the Year and he'll get some consideration for national POY honors, but he doesn't have the all-around game that Turner has.

Scottie Reynolds

+ Scottie Reynolds, Sr, G, Villanova
Much like Scheyer, Reynolds has been a key contributor since the first days he stepped on campus, seemingly seven or eight years ago.

It didn't take long for Reynolds to assert himself as a team leader, and now that his career is winding down, he's got his Wildcats poised to make a deep tournament run.

Reynolds is among Big East leaders in scoring, steals, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and three-point percentage. He might be the league's top player and could take a few votes away from Turner on any national ballot.

Also receiving consideration:

+ DeMarcus Cousins, Fr, C, Kentucky
+ James Anderson, Jr, G, Oklahoma State
+ Wesley Johnson, Jr, F, Syracuse