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Sheldon Rankins Drafted in the First Round by New Orleans Saints

Apr 29, 2016 -- 9:48am

Rankins is the 13th first-round selection in school history.

 

Phil__Baker | @ESPN680

ESPN Louisville

PhilB@ESPNLouisville.com

 

 

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville defensive end Sheldon Rankins was selected with the No. 12 overall pick in the first round of the 2016 National Football League Draft Thursday evening at the Auditorium Theater by the New Orleans Saints.

 

Rankins is the Cardinals’ fifth first-round pick over the last three drafts and 13th first-round selection in school history. In 2014, safety Calvin Pryor, outside linebacker Marcus Smith, and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater all went in round one, while wide receiver DeVante Parker went in the opening round last season.

 

Under the watch of head coach Bobby Petrino, the Cardinals have placed three players in the first round: Rankins, Parker, and Amobi Okoye. Former center Eric Wood was a first-round selection in 2008, but played for Petrino from 2004-07.

 

“I’m extremely proud and excited for Sheldon Rankins on his selection this evening,” head coach Bobby Petrino said. “Being a first round pick is a great accomplishment and a much-deserved honor. He has worked so hard to perfect his craft and he is one of the most complete football players I have ever coached. I wish him nothing but success as he makes the jump to the next level, and I thank him for his contributions to our program.”

 

The Covington, Ga., native, Rankins is the 16th defensive linemen to be drafted from Louisville and is the fifth interior player taken in the first round – the highest since Okoye was taken with the 10th pick in 2007 by the Houston Texans.

 

Rankins, who was a two-time all-ACC selection after totaling 14.0 sacks over that span, is one of the most dominating defensive linemen in school history, according to his career statistics. Playing in 46 career games, Rankins totaled 133 tackles and was one of the school’s all-time leading pass rushers. He totaled 31.5 tackles for loss and 18.0 sacks, which rank in the top 10 in school history. 

 

The 6-foot-2 letterwinner was named to the Senior Bowl and earned second team all-league honors last season after recording 59 tackles and 6.0 sacks. He tied a career high with eights stops against Clemson and Samford and made one of the plays of the year against Boston College when he picked up a fumble and raced 46 yards for a score.

 

A third-team all-ACC honoree in 2014, Rankins enjoyed his best season – recording a career-high 8.0 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss and a pair of interceptions. He registered eight stops in win at FIU and registered interceptions in wins over Wake Forest and Boston College.

 

The second and third rounds of the NFL Draft continue on Friday evening from the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, with rounds 4-7 wrapping up the draft on Saturday.

 

Ulis Turns Pro, Will Hire Agent

Apr 06, 2016 -- 3:06pm

Kentucky sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis announced Wednesday that he will turn pro and is expected to hire an agent. Here's the release...
 

Ulis Declares for the 2016 NBA Draft
Sophomore from Chicago leaves UK as one of the most prolific point guards in school history

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After one of the greatest individual seasons for a point guard in Kentucky men’s basketball history, sophomore Tyler Ulis declared for the 2016 NBA Draft at a press conference in Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday. He plans to sign with an agent, which would effectively end his career at UK.

Ulis will forego his future eligibility and enter his name in the upcoming NBA Draft, to be held June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“First and foremost, I want to thank God,” Ulis said. “Without Him blessing me with the talent and the opportunity to play the game every day, none of this would be possible. To my family and friends, thank you for the love, support and sacrifices you’ve all made for me. Also, thank you for pushing and influencing me to become the best player I can be and always having faith in my game. To Coach Cal, Uncle KP (Kenny Payne) and the entire coaching staff, thank you for your tireless dedication and commitment to teach us to succeed on and off the court.

“With that being said, I’m ready to take on the challenge of playing at the next level and have declared for the NBA Draft. I will be hiring an agent.

“To all the fans, thank you for supporting me and embracing me from the moment I stepped on the floor. Your enthusiasm and spirit carried me over the last two seasons and you all make it even harder for me to leave.”

Ulis is the third underclassman from the 2015-16 Wildcats to declare for the 2016 NBA Draft. Freshman forward Skal Labissiere announced his decision Tuesdayand freshman guard Jamal Murray declared for the draft last week. Senior forward Alex Poythress is also eligible for the draft.

“I’ve coached a lot of great leaders and great point guards in all my years of coaching. Tyler Ulis is the best floor general that I’ve ever coached,” head coach John Calipari said. “What I loved is he grew into that position. You couldn’t speed him up and you couldn’t slow him down unless he wanted to do one of those things. He coached the team this season as much as I did, and I’m proud to say that.

“Tyler did it on both ends of the floor. Being named the defensive player of the year in the SEC is quite an honor if you look at the past award winners. On the offensive end, not only was he efficient, he accounted for 17.3 points and 7.0 assists per game.

“I'll still remember the comments when we signed Tyler: ‘Cal finally got himself a four-year point guard!’ After two years, at his size, projected as a middle first-rounder – it’s truly an amazing story in itself. I’m going to miss him dearly because now it appears that all the coaching will fall back on my lap.”

Ulis’ season will go down as one of the all-time best by a point guard in school and Southeastern Conference history. The 5-foot-9 sophomore set the UK-single-season mark for assists in a season with 246, second all-time in the SEC.

Ulis was both an elite distributor and proficient scorer in his sophomore campaign, becoming the only player in league history with at least 606 points and at least 246 assists. He was one of only four players in the country this season to average at least 17.3 points and at least 7.0 assists per game. He ranked sixth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.6) and seventh in assists per game (7.0).

Among his most noteworthy achievements this season, Ulis had a stretch of 28 straight games with four or more assists, easily a school record. He has the single-season school record for most 20-point, five-assist games with 14, and according to the SEC Network, his three 20-point, 10-assist games this season are the most of any SEC player in the last 20 seasons.

In league play, Ulis averaged 8.4 assists with a 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. He played 672 of a possible 725 minutes in SEC games, committing a turnover once every 19.8 minutes per game.

Ulis’ value was probably best represented by his performances in Kentucky’s toughest games. Ulis came up big in UK’s seven games against ranked opponents, averaging an eye-popping 24.4 points and a team-high 7.6 assists. He shot 54.2 percent with a 3.8 assist-to-turnover ratio during those games.

For his efforts, Ulis was tabbed a consensus first-team All-American, the shortest consensus first-team All-American since Pittsburgh’s Don Hennon (5-9) in 1958. The SEC Player of the Year picked up All-America honors from all four of the NCAA-recognized All-American teams: Sporting News (first), Associated Press (first), the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (second) and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (second). This week he will head to Los Angeles as a John R. Wooden Award and Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award finalist.

Among the honors Ulis has received this postseason:

·         NCAA Consensus All-America First Team

·         Associated Press All-America First Team

·         Sporting News All-America First Team

·         USBWA All-America Second Team

·         NABC All-America Second Team

·         Wooden Award All-America Team

·         Sports Illustrated All-America First Team

·         CBS Sports All-America First Team

·         SEC Player of the Year (Coaches/AP)

·         SEC Tournament MVP

·         SEC Defensive Player of the Year (Coaches)

·         All-SEC First Team (Coaches/AP)

·         SEC All-Defensive Team (Coaches)

·         USA Today All-America First Team

·         CBS Sports SEC Player of the Year

·         USBWA District IV Player of the Year

·         USBWA All-District IV Team

·         NABC District 21 First Team

·         Naismith Trophy finalist

·         John R. Wooden Award finalist

·         USBWA Oscar Robertson finalist

·         Bob Cousy finalist  

Ulis will end his Kentucky career with 381 career assists, 10th most in school history.

Players have until May 25 to make a final decision based on the new rule between the NCAA and NBA so long as they don’t hire an agent.

The NBA Draft Combine will take place May 11-15. Players who have not hired agents will have 10 days following that opportunity to make a final decision as to whether to forego their athletic eligibility or return to school.

Since Calipari joined the Wildcat program for the 2009-10 season, UK has produced 25 NBA Draft picks over six seasons, more than double any other school. Included in the 25 are 19 first-round selections, three No. 1 overall picks, 10 top-10 selections and 13 lottery picks.  

NCAA South Regional Brings March Madness to Louisville

Mar 28, 2016 -- 11:35am

Phil Baker

@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker

PhilB@ESPNLouisville.com

 

Tournament Boosts Local Economy and Enlivens Fans Across the Country

 

Louisville, KY (March 28, 2016) – Approximately 39,000 fans packed  the KFC Yum! Center for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship South Regional tournament games, generating an economic impact of $15 million. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball First and Second Round games were hosted at the arena in 2015, but this makes the first time Regional games have ever been hosted at the KFC Yum! Center and the first time in 29 years they were hosted in Louisville.

“Once again, the city of Louisville, our colleagues at the University of Louisville and the people from the KFC Yum! Center have done a terrific job hosting March Madness,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s vice president for men’s basketball championships. “It is rare, and it is challenging, for a city and venue to host preliminary rounds of the tournament in consecutive years, but Louisville is able to pull it off because of the tremendous passion the community has for college basketball and the amazing effort put forth by everyone involved.”

This is the ninth NCAA championship event hosted by the University of Louisville and the KFC Yum! Center, and the impact was felt throughout the entire community. Preparations began nearly a year in advance of the event, shortly after the venue hosted the 2015 NCAA Division I Basketball Men’s First and Second round games.

“Events of this magnitude take a great deal of work from a number of members of our staff and other organizations.” said Dennis Petrullo, KFC Yum! Center General Manager. “KFC Yum! Center, University of Louisville and NCAA staff have spent countless hours planning, setting up and executing the event to ensure its success. We are grateful for the ongoing efforts of the University of Louisville to secure and operate the event. Without their commitment, the KFC Yum! Center would not have been able to host such a successful championship event.”

“The city of Louisville comes together whenever we host large scale events and that makes it more enticing for organizations like the NCAA to return. We could not be more pleased with the community support we received throughout the tournament,” said Petrullo. “The event truly showcased the KFC Yum! Center as one of the nation’s premier entertainment and sports venues to the millions of fans who viewed the games in person or on television. We look forward to continuing to build upon our relationship with the NCAA and hosting more successful events in the future.”

"The NCAA tournament brings plenty of excitement and economic activity to Louisville when it is hosted here.  Last year, we saw 1700 fans at the Visitors Center alone, double the traffic of a typical March weekend.  Our attractions, hotels and downtown restaurants benefit from this event and its primary location at the Yum Center." said Karen Williams, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO.

Hosting NCAA tournament games is about more than filling hotel rooms. It’s about creating a culture and an atmosphere that brings the city to life during the high-profile event that puts Louisville in the national spotlight.

 

"The University of Louisville would once again like to thank the KFC Yum! Center management and staff; they worked tirelessly to make sure every aspect of the South Regional ran smoothly. We also want to thank the Convention and Visitors Bureau, who helped with numerous aspects of the Championship. And finally, a big thank you to the volunteers, who spent countless hours to make sure the smallest details were attended to,” said Josh Heird, University of Louisville Assistant Athletic Director. “The collaboration between all involved makes Louisville, KY a special place for teams and fans to experience the March Madness."

UofL Will Expand Papa John's Cardinal Stadium

Aug 28, 2015 -- 11:36am

Phil Baker

@ESPN680 | @939TheVille | @Phil__Baker

PhilB@ESPNLouisville.com 

 

Enclosing north end zone will increase capacity to 65,000, enhance team training facilities

 

 

        LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The University of Louisville will expand Papa John's Cardinal Stadium for the second time in the last decade, a development which will enclose the north end zone, create multiple new fan amenities and enlarge and enhance the training facilities for the football team.

        "We are extremely excited to launch this project and I know our fans are thrilled as well," said Tom Jurich, UofL Vice President and Director of Athletics.  "We worked extremely hard on this one to assure the timing was right before we moved forward.  We feel that we have a plan in place that will excite our fans and continue to advance our program, which has truly gained a national stage with our university's move to the ACC."

        About 10,000 additional seats will be added with the expansion, creating a unique look in the end zone structure for the stadium and increasing the total seating capacity to approximately 65,000.  The expansion will include 1,000 modern club seats, 65 new premium loge level boxes and 10 exclusive field level suites while adding 25,000 distinct square feet of space.  The club seats will have access to a premier gathering area that will provide viewing access to the field.  The middle of the field level will feature a special entrance for the team surrounded by supporters. 

        The design will provide a connection between the east and west sides of the stadium.  The stadium seating will continue to feature all chairback seating for fans, providing the only university-owned and operated stadium in the nation with that element.

        The Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex, which currently sits in the north end zone, will undergo a major expansion and facelift.  The team's weight room and conditioning center will double in size, creating a total of 20,000 square feet of work space for training, conditioning and therapeutic support.  A spacious player's lounge, improvements for coaches' offices and the team locker room, and expansive theatre-style meeting areas will also be among the enhancements for student-athlete development.

        The project will cost approximately $55 million, which will be raised through sponsorships, private donations, ticket sales and other possible sources.

        Originally completed in 1998,  Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium opened with a capacity of 42,000 and was expanded in 2010 to the present capacity of 55,000.   In the last expansion, approximately 12,000 additional chairback seats were added to a second deck on the east side of the stadium in the UPS Flight Deck.  The expansion also included 33 new luxury suites on the Stites & Harbison Suite Level and 2,000 premium loge seats were added to the east side.

        A 60-foot wide Norton's Terrace was added at the top of the south end zone, connecting the east and west sides of the stadium.  Also included in the previous expansion was PNC Club, a 20,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed area that stretches from end zone to end zone at the loge level on the east side of the stadium.   Among the original construction, the stadium west side holds the impressive Brown and Williamson Club that extends the length of the football field and 28 original suites

        The Schnellenberger Football Complex currently houses offices and meeting spaces the team’s coaches and staff as well as a training room, strength and conditioning area and academic services.

        The Thorntons Academic Center of Excellence, an $18 million, state-of-the-art facility, is currently under construction beneath the Norton Terrace at the south end of the stadium. The center, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016, will house the academic operations for the entire athletic department and will feature tutorial areas, laboratories, office areas and classroom space.

 

 

Mark Cuban donates $5 million to Indiana University

Jun 08, 2015 -- 10:12am

Mark Cuban donates $5 million to Indiana University

Phil Baker

@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker

PhilB@ESPNLouisville.com

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As Mark Cuban looked for ways to help the Dallas Mavericks gain a competitive advantage in the NBA, the Indiana University graduate thought his alma mater should get in on the ground floor.

 

On Friday, the school announced that Cuban had made a $5 million donation for a state-of-the-art technology center that will benefit students, fans and, of course, his beloved Hoosiers.

Athletic director Fred Glass said the Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology will be built inside the renovated Assembly Hall, home of Indiana's basketball program, and will give the Hoosiers the distinction of being the first school in the country to use 3-D multi-camera technology and virtual reality, with Cuban saying some of the technology is not yet available commercially.

"As we were going through the process with 3-D and virtual reality, Fred was smart and said why not do this just with the Mavericks? Why not do this with Indiana University and give them a competitive advantage?" Cuban said.

Cuban, who had been looking for a way to help his alma mater, thought it made sense.

Some technology should be available as soon as this basketball season, Glass said, noting that the Hoosiers could give recruits their first real look at the campus with a virtual reality tour. An athletic department spokesman said approximately 150 students from various departments, including communications and infomatics, also will work in the center -- a number that is expected to increase over time.

The athletic department also plans to use FreeD camera angles on its video boards at football and basketball games, and coaches will now have new options in game preparation.

"We'll be the first university in the country to use these technologies," Glass said.

It is expected to be fully operational when the Assembly Hall renovations are completed in 2017.

The only downside was that Cuban didn't want it named after him.

"People always say to me, 'Why don't you do this, or why don't you put your name on a building,'" Cuban said while wearing a crimson Indiana baseball hat. "I always felt like putting your name on a building was something you did for dead people, so you'd be remembered. But they insisted."

Sophomore center Anas Mahmoud to have surgery for torn medial meniscus

Jun 04, 2015 -- 10:42am

Sophomore center Anas Mahmoud to have surgery for torn medial meniscus

Phil Baker

@ESPN680 | @Phil__Baker

PhilB@ESPNLouisville.com

AP

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville sophomore 7-footer Anas Mahmoud is expected to miss four to six weeks after tearing the medial meniscus in his left knee.

The forward/center from Egypt will have surgery Thursday morning at Jewish Hospital East to repair the injury sustained when he twisted the knee while playing basketball. A school release on Wednesday said Mahmoud should be able to play with the Cardinals during their tour in Puerto Rico Aug. 10-17.

Mahmoud had 35 points, 41 rebounds and 20 blocks in 29 games with Louisville last season.

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