Should know better than to go to the Derby Festival all-star basketball game. These games are mostly useless exercises, giving UK fans another excuse to go the big city while reminding U of L fans why they avoid them (UK fans). A few impressions:

basketba Terrence Jennings, the 6-10 University of Louisville recruit from Massachusetts, is not going to be pushed around and, with his length and super long arms, he’s going to pose a defensive challenge for opposing centers. Seems a little raw but, under Rick Pitino’s tutelage, will become a great player. Needs to work the rest of the summer, however, on his free throw shooting.

basketba Jennings made a good first impression, following T-Will’s example of kissing the U of L logo at center court at his introduction.

basketba Jarad Swopshire, a 6-7 U of L signee, has a nice shooting touch from beyond the three-point line. Will bring speed, finesse and confidence as a freshman. Swopshire removed his gold shirt in favor of a U of L jersey for the dunking competition. Scored a lot of points with Card fans.

basketba Jennings won the dunking honors, waking the crowd at one point by driving the distance of the court with a Superman-like cape flapping behind him.

basketba Better hope UK doesn’t out-entice UConn for Ater Majok, a 6-10 dynamo from Australia. With his energy and hops, Majok reminds one of Otis George, except that Majok spent his childhood playing basketball rather than soccer. You don’t want this player in Lexington.

basketba Kentucky signees DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller were invisible for most of the game, even if you made a special point to watch for them. Liggins did somehow manage to collect four fouls, unusual for an all-star game.

basketba Jeff Withey, the California big man, who went to Arizona after making a verbal commitment to U of L, will be a solid player in college. Put Withey with Samardo Samuels and U of L’s returning starters and you have something very special.

basketba Yancy Gates, the big Cincinnati signee and tough guy, fits the Bearcat profile and is going to be a pain for U of L fans the next four years.

basketba Travis Releford, a 6-5 Kansas-bound guard, may have been the best player in the classic, effective in every phase of the game.

basketba The Derby Festival Committee obviously didn’t learn much from its mistakes in ticket sales last year. Again this year, there were more than 1,000 people standing in lines trying to get tickets at tip off. Makes the committee made up of local business people look like rank amateurs.

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Need Season Tickets? — A friend has two U of L season basketball tickets for sale in the upper section of Freedom Hall behind the Cards’ bench, priced at approximately $1,000 per set of season tickets (or $2,000 for two) and donations of about $900 per seat. Use the Contact Me form to contact this writer if you’re interested.

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Who’s Counting? — Spring football game attendance at U of L was 17,200. UK attracted 8,500

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

7 thoughts on “Derby Festival All-Star Spectacle”
  1. “Better hope UK doesn’t out-entice UConn for Ater Majak, a 6-10 dynamo from Australia. With his energy and hops, Majak reminds one of Otis George, except that Majak spent his childhood playing basketball rather than soccer. You don’t want this player in Lexington.”

    I don’t see why we’d rather have him at UConn, where we might have to play him 3 times in any given year, rather than the once-a-year bout we have with UK…

  2. The difference is that we don’t have to interact, work with or drive the same roads with UConn fans on a daily basis.

  3. Glad to hear U of L had a nice turnout at their spring game. WVU had over 18,000 yesterday in Morgantown. Glad to see the Big East schools placing a bigger emphasis on these games.

  4. Watching last night’s Derby Classic in the midst of about 10 rabid UK fans is like sitting down to enjoy a chicken dinner with a bunch of PETA rights protesters. One young man was even booing Jared Swopshire when he donned the Cardinal jersey before electrifying the crowd during the dunk contest. At least the Cardinal signees outperformed the Wildcat duo, and Terrence Jennings definitely had the power slam dunk of the game. It looks like Pitino has two “live ones” coming on campus, and they should fit very well with other signees Samardo Samuels and returning front line players Earl Clark, Terrance Williams and redshirt George Goode, who looks like he’s put on about 20 pounds from last year.

    DC was at the contest last night also, and although no one is believing that he’ll be a Cardinal next year, stranger things have happened during the Pitino reign. Adding him to that mix would be…well..awesome, but…as one UK fan commented:
    “The only ‘hall’ Caracter will be in next year is city hall, getting his passport and visa for the European league.”

    Time will tell.

  5. Yeah, those blue fans are obnoxious…there were some at our Spring Game and you could hear them saying….Go CARDS..heheh you guys suck !!! Classy. Charlie, I think we U of L fans should light up the UConn boards to alert them to pour a lot of love on the big guy, Majak. You are right; we don’t want him in Lexington even for one year (he sure won’t stay in school….he’ll turn pro his second year). UK would KILL to get him……Go CARDS !

  6. A very disturbing distraction to last night’s game was the crawl of text messages at the bottom of the scoreboard tv screen. Regardless of what sometimes illiterate sentiments were “voiced,” the idea only diverted attention from what the fans were really there for. Let’s hope this is not going to be a part of regular season play. (And while I am at it, a big thumbs down to Ky Derby Festival planners for the very frustrating and inefficient manner in which tickets were sold. By the time we were seated, the game was already underway. Boo. Hiss.)

  7. It sure is good to hear positives about the U of L recruits. Not being able to attend, I have to depend on comments from UL fans to keep me informed. Thanks!

    Dittos on the UK fans. It sure is pitiful how they express their jealousy. The state is big enough for two Powerhouses. They need to learn to share! LOL!

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