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Starting 5: Louisville and Kentucky basketball targets to face each other for title, more

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Starting 5: Louisville and Kentucky basketball targets to face each other for title, more


Louisville and Kentucky basketball recruiting targets Tyran Stokes, a five-star sophomore from Louisville who plays for Prolific Prep, and Jasper Johnson, a five-star junior from Woodford County who plays for Link Academy, are scheduled to play for a national high school basketball title at the Chipotle Nationals tournament in Brownsburg, Indiana.

Third-seeded Prolific Prep is set to play sixth-seeded Link at 6 p.m. April 4 in a first-round game. The last time the teams played, Prolific Prep escaped with a 77-76 win in December at the Derek Smith Invitational hosted by St. Xavier.

Around the city: Louisville women’s basketball assistant to be inducted into inaugural Hall of Fame class

Louisville women’s basketball assistant coach Stephanie Norman will be part of the inaugural A STEP UP Assistant Coaches Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

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Norman, who has spent 17 seasons with the Cardinals on Jeff Walz’s staff, will enter the Hall of Fame on May 21 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This year’s A STEP UP Assistant Coaches Hall of Fame class includes coaches from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12..

Around the state: Former KHSAA star, Kentucky basketball standout back on coaching carousel

Travis Ford, a former KHSAA star and Kentucky standout, is back on the coaching carousel after Saint Louis fired Ford on Wednesday. Ford went 146-109 during his eight seasons with the Billikens. The Madisonville North Hopkins alum has coached in seven NCAA Tournaments. He led Eastern Kentucky to the Round of 64 in 2005 as its coach.

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High school recruiting: North Oldham track star commits to Penn State

North Oldham senior Brendan Ruggles committed to run for Penn State track. Ruggles is the defending Class 2A state champion in the 800 meters. He ran the fastest 3,200 in school history in February. He also ranks 11th in the state in the 1,600. Ruggles is a top-25 400 runner nationally, and he is the sixth-ranked 200 runner in Kentucky.

More: Sacred Heart’s ZaKiyah Johnson named Gatorade Kentucky Girls Basketball Player of Year

Mark your calendars

  • Bellarmine baseball is scheduled to visit Louisville at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Knights are set to host Jacksonville in an ASUN series beginning at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
  • Louisville softball is set to visit Miami (Ohio) at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Cardinals are scheduled to host Duke in an ACC series beginning at 6 p.m. Friday.
  • Bellarmine softball is set to visit Stetson for a three-game ASUN series beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.
  • Louisville men’s golf is scheduled to compete at The General Hackler Invitational beginning Monday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
  • Louisville women’s golf is set to compete at the Clemson Invitational beginning Friday.
  • Bellarmine women’s golf is scheduled to play at the Nevel Meade Collegiate beginning Monday in Louisville.
  • Bellarmine men’s lacrosse is set to visit Mercer at noon Wednesday and Queens University of Charlotte at noon Saturday.
  • Louisville women’s lacrosse is scheduled to visit Liberty at noon Thursday and North Carolina at 11 a.m. Saturday.
  • Louisville men’s tennis is set to host N.C. State at noon March 24 and Tennessee State at 5 p.m. March 24.
  • Bellarmine men’s tennis is scheduled to visit Eastern Kentucky at 2:30 p.m. Monday and host Florida Gulf Coast at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
  • Louisville women’s soccer is set to visit Kentucky at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Reach sports reporter Brooks Warren at bwarren@gannett.com and follow him on X at @Broookksss.





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Kentucky

Kentucky pursuing Michigan transfer DJ Waller Jr.

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Kentucky pursuing Michigan transfer DJ Waller Jr.


The transfer portal is off and running for both college football and basketball as teams look to fill out their rosters heading into the summer.

For the Kentucky Wildcats, they had an eventful spring season. Now, Mark Stoops and his staff are looking to fill some holes on the roster as they look to compete in the new-look SEC this coming season.

One of those spots of need has become the defensive back room. With some injuries and an overall young room, Chris Collins and Brad White are looking for some more bodies and overall talent to help fill some roles.

We now have a new name to keep an eye on.

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On Wednesday evening, Pete Nakos of On3 reported that Michigan Wolverines defensive back DJ Waller Jr. will enter the transfer portal. Shortly after, Matt Jones of KSR reported that the Cats would be heavily involved with the young DB.

Waller, a 6-foot-3 and 205-pound safety out of Youngstown (OH), is a former 3-star recruit in the class of 2023 who chose the Wolverines over offers from Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Ball State, Marshall, and Toledo.

In his lone season in Ann Harbor, Waller totaled 11 tackles and a pass deflection.

Early in this portal window, a lot of attention has been paid to the offensive side of the ball, but this could be a solid pickup for the defense with a player from Vince Marrow’s backyard.

Let’s get those dice rolling.

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Follow our Twitter and Facebook pages for more UK news and views. Go CATS!





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Twitter loves Kentucky’s home-run hires of Alvin Brooks III and Jason Hart

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Twitter loves Kentucky’s home-run hires of Alvin Brooks III and Jason Hart


Remember when people questioned if Mark Pope would be able to recruit at a place like Kentucky?

While he still needs to fill out the roster, Pope has been killing it when it comes to recruiting assistant coaches.

It began when Pope was able to reel in former G-League Ignite coach Jason Hart, who was a major player on the recruiting trail during his time with the USC Trojans. Hart also built significant connections with elite high school recruits like Jaden Hardy, Scoot Henderson, Matas Buzelis, and Ron Holland

But Pope wasn’t done there.

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After the Kentucky Wildcats were turned down by Scott Drew to be the school’s next head coach, Pope was later hired, and he just plucked Drew’s top assistant coach away from the Bears in Alvin Brooks III.

During his time at Baylor, Brooks helped reel in four of the top 10 highest-rated commits in program history, including top-five recruit VJ Edgecombe in the class of 2024, who picked the Bears over Duke and Kentucky.

I’d say Pope just assembled one of the best staffs in America, and Twitter agrees.

Here are the best Twitter reactions to the big news!

‘Like’ our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for more Kentucky Wildcats news and views! And as always, Go Cats!!!!





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Saint Mary's transfer Aidan Mahaney reportedly visiting Kentucky this weekend

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Saint Mary's transfer Aidan Mahaney reportedly visiting Kentucky this weekend


On Tuesday morning, we learned that Saint Mary’s transfer guard Aidan Mahaney was considering a visit to Kentucky. By the evening, a trip to Lexington was locked in.

According to TheFieldOf68’s Jeff Goodman, Mahaney is scheduled to visit the Wildcats and head coach Mark Pope this weekend. Goodman also reports that Mahaney will take a trip to two-time defending champion UConn this weekend.

The 6-foot-3 guard has taken a recent visit to Creighton and was at Virginia on Tuesday, Goodman adds. Mahaney was reportedly considering visits to Florida and Southern California, but for now, he’s headed to the Bluegrass.

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A two-time First Team All-WCC performer, Mahaney averaged 13.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 33.3 minutes per game for Saint Mary’s this past season. He started all 34 games while shooting 38.6 percent overall, 35.5 percent from deep, and 81.3 percent from the line.

Mahaney is considered the No. 32 overall prospect to enter the transfer portal this offseason and the eighth-best point guard, per the On3 Industry Ranking. He will have two years of eligibility remaining at his next stop.

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Out of Campolindo (CA) High School, Mahaney was a three-star recruit in the 2022 class before committing to Saint Mary’s over the likes of Xavier, Washington St., California, Northwestern, Princeton, and Yale. He is currently represented by Kluch Sports Group for NIL.





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