Four players from Louisville — three from Ballard High School — are among the finalists for Kentucky’s 2014 Mr. and Miss Basketball awards, which go to the state’s top seniors.
Ballard teammates Quentin Snider and Kelan Martin were among seven finalists named for Mr. Basketball during the Bluegrass Sports Commission’s awards banquet Wednesday in Lexington. Ballard’s Javonna Layfield and Sacred Heart’s DaiJia Ruffin were named finalists for Miss Basketball.
The winners will be announced March 18 — the eve of the Boys’ Sweet 16 — during a ceremony in the Lexington Center’s Bluegrass Ballroom.
Snider, who has signed with the University of Louisville, and Butler signee Martin have led Ballard to the No. 1 spot in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings.
The other Mr. Basketball finalists are Lafayette’s Jackson Davis (committed to Rice), Scott County’s Trent Gilbert (uncommitted), Johnson Central’s Shane Hall (Marshall signee), Dixie Heights’ Brandon Hatton (Vermont signee) and Perry County’s Central’s Justin Johnson (Western Kentucky signee).
Layfield and Ruffin have led their teams into the top 10 of the girls’ Litratings, with Layfield’s Ballard squad No. 8 and Ruffin’s Sacred Heart team No. 9. Layfield has not committed to a college. Ruffin has signed with Tennessee-Martin.
The other Miss Basketball finalists are Anderson County teammates Makenzie Cann (Cincinnati signee) and Eriel McKee (Morehead State signee), LaRue County’s Ivy Brown (Western Kentucky signee), Newport Central’s Nicole Kiernan (uncommitted) and Perry County Central’s Kayla Rankin (uncommitted).
All-Star games moving to Lexington in 2014-16
The Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation — which runs the Mr. and Miss Basketball awards — announced a three-year partnership with the Bluegrass Sports Commission in which the commission will manage the Kentucky part of the annual Kentucky-Indiana All-Star games.
During Wednesday’s awards banquet, the Bluegrass Sports Commission announced that the 2014-16 games in Kentucky will be held in Lexington. The 2014 games are set for June 13 at Transylvania University, with the games in Indianapolis on June 14.
Terry Johnson, executive director of the Bluegrass Sports Commission, noted that NCAA rules prohibit the games from being held in Rupp Arena or Memorial Coliseum. He said they could move to the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena in 2015.
Louisville had hosted the All-Star games the past six years, at The Gardens in 2008, Bellarmine University’s Knights Hall in 2009-11 and Freedom Hall in 2012-13.
Johnson said the commission also will partner with WKYT-TV to show the games in Lexington and perhaps form a regional TV syndicate.
“We’re working to build the brand up and rejuvenate the games a little bit in Kentucky,” Johnson said.