Miners make impact in first half of debut season
TIMES STAFF REPORT
PIKEVILLE - Professional basketball has a strong presence throughout Eastern Kentucky and the rest of the Bluegrass State. The East Kentucky Miners finished the first half of the 2007-08 Continental Basketball Association (CBA) season 12-12. East Kentucky is the state's lone professional basketball team. The Miners owned a better record than any other CBA expansion franchise heading into the new year.
Miners Coach Kevin Keathley has brought an exciting brand of basketball to Eastern Kentucky. The youngest professional basketball coach in America, Keathley favors an uptempo style of basketball. His style of play has helped to build a loyal Miner fanbase.
The Miners mentor exited the first half of the regular-season pleased with his team's effort.
“I couldn't ask for anything more out of this basketball team,” said Keathley. “This team plays hard, it plays together, and that's what you want as a basketball coach. There's a lot of things to be proud of as a franchise.”
Keathley, who was named one of the top 10 young coaches in America in 2006 just one year after being honored as the ABA Coach of the Year, entered the second half of the regular-season looking to meet goals.
“There are still goals to be accomplished in 2008,” Keathley commented. “We want to get a little better one quarter at a time and make the playoffs.”
The second half of the Miners' inaugural season has East Kentucky
professional basketball fans eagerly anticipating what the rest of the campaign holds.
- The Miners finished the first half of the 2007-08 season ranked second in the CBA in scoring, averaging more points than any other team in the state of Kentucky, including several high-profile college squads.
- East Kentucky had two CBA Player of the Week honorees during its first 24 games. Josh Pace and Boo Jackson each claimed a weekly honor during the latest CBA season's first half.
NBA scouts are evaluating both Pace and Jackson.
- Pace was third in the league in scoring through the first 24 games. He currently leads the league in triple-doubles. The former Syracuse University standout led the CBA in scoring in portions of November and December.
- Jackson was fifth in the league in scoring and third in rebounding. He currently leads the league in double-doubles.
- Point guards Jason McLeish (Eastern Kentucky University) and Bryant Northern (University of Louisville) are a part of an original 10-man opening day East Kentucky had kept intact entering 2008.
- During the first 24 games, East Kentucky recorded wins over Albany, Minot, Butte and Pittsburgh.
- East Kentucky's attendance is among the best in the CBA.
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