Leaving Lexington not easy


Imagine if Jodie Meeks had returned to Kentucky for his senior year. The Wildcats might have been ranked as high as No. 2 -- behind Kansas -- going into the next college basketball season.

Meeks spent months thinking it over, knowing that new coach John Calipari was piecing together a powerful roster, and Kentucky fans put the full-court press on Meeks, who said he was getting "Facebook messages and Twitter messages" begging him to stay in Lexington.

"It was a very hard decision to leave," Meeks said. "We would have had a great team."

Meeks was too tempted by the NBA and entered the draft. "I felt like I was good enough to go in the first round," he said.

Meeks went early in the second round, to the Milwaukee Bucks, and he's proving his point in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. The 6-foot-4-inch shooting guard scored 29 points Thursday in the Bucks' 84-83 loss to the Toronto Raptors at Cox Pavilion.

Calipari, widely considered a snake oil salesman, was not slick enough to keep Meeks, but Kentucky will be OK anyway.

"He's a very good recruiter and very good coach. I look for them to do really well this year and in the future," Meeks said.

But do Kentucky fans still consider him a Facebook friend?

FOR RICHER OR POORER -- Several studies show the leading cause of divorce is marriage, and Richard Jefferson is well aware.

Jefferson, recently traded from the Bucks to the San Antonio Spurs, decided to trade in his bride-to-be, Kesha Ni'Cole Nichols, and remain a singles player.

He called off the wedding after the Fourth of July weekend, and he did it by sending her an e-mail. Jefferson told the New York Post he is giving Nichols, a former New Jersey Nets dancer, a "six-figure" settlement as a parting gift.

"It's been an emotional time for both of us," he said to the Post. "I know she's hurt. I'm hurt, too. I'm not trying to buy her off. She has a lump sum to help her move on.

"I'm not gay," Jefferson added. "That couldn't be any further from the truth. I have nothing to hide."

In a quote that won't make an eHarmony commercial, Jefferson said, "It's so crazy, the divorce rate out there. If you aren't 100 percent certain about something, you shouldn't do it."

FAMILY MATTERS -- Travis Henry, a former Denver Broncos running back, faced a sentence of 10 years in prison with a $4 million fine in a Montana court. He was arrested in October for financing a drug ring that moved cocaine to Montana from Colorado.

It was ruled he could be released in 16 months and would not be fined. The judge waived the fine, saying Henry, who according to court documents has fathered 11 children by 10 women, could not afford it.

Do the math, and Henry had two children with one of the women. He must have really loved her.

AWARD FOR BEST JOKE -- ESPY Awards host Samuel L. Jackson, to Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was drafted by the New York Jets: "Mark, I admire you for leaving USC early. Most players wouldn't want to take the pay cut."

COMPILED BY MATT YOUMANS LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

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