Before I dive into a small story on Josh Harrellson's success in China, let's run through a few notes on the day:
- In a rare occurrence for the NBA Draft, NBA teams might be favoring experience over potential when it comes to a pair of Kentucky men's basketball players. Forward Patrick Patterson has been rising on most draft boards lately while center Daniel Orton appears to be falling. NBADraft.net has Patterson going as high as No. 6 to the Golden State Warriors, and both NBADraft.net and DraftExpress.com have Orton out of the lottery. It's surprising, in a way, when you consider how often teams overanalyze potential vs. actual numbers. I think some of them are realizing it is hard to look past Patterson's sustained success against Orton's limited numbers. We'll find out the final results on June 24 in Madison Square Garden in New York City.
- Men's basketball head coach John Calipari raved on his website Wednesday at coachcal.com that Darius Miller was in the best shape of his life while also addressing Darnell Dodson's status for next year. "What I love is that everyone is taking their studies seriously and they are also working on the things we discussed they need to do to get better," Calipari said on his website. "DeAndre (Liggins) is really putting in the hours in the gym, from what I'm told. Darnell (Dodson) finished the year up strong academically but still has a ways to go and will be on campus this summer to take some classes. He still has some work to do before he will be able to be on the court with us."
- For the second straight season, the UK men's basketball team has found itself in the DirecTV SEC/Big East Invitational. Kentucky will take on Notre Dame on Dec. 8 in Freedom Hall in Louisville on ESPN, preceded by Arkansas-Seton Hall at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. On Dec. 11, Rutgers will take on Auburn on ESPN2, followed by Pittsburgh-Tennessee. Both game times are to be announced. UK defeated Connecticut last year in Madison Square Garden in the SEC/Big East Invitational.
- The NCAA released its Academic Progress Rate report Wednesday, and, for the sixth straight year, all 22 of UK's sports teams surpassed the NCAA target score. Thirteen of the 22 squads exceeded or tied the national average for public universities in their sports. The men's cross country led the way with a perfect 1,000 points, followed by gymnastics (995), women's soccer (983), softball (979), baseball (979) and women's outdoor track (977). The NCAA target score for each sport is 925. Despite the full attention UK has received recently for its academics, UK has never had a single team penalized for its APR score. For comparison, 137 teams at 80 different colleges and universities were penalized this year and have received an immediate or historical sanction, which is actually the lowest number in the APR's six years.
- Another current baseball player was taken off the draft board Wednesday in the third and final day of the 50-round MLB draft. Junior reliever Matt Little was taken in the 31st round (943rd overall) of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers. With Little's selection, six UK baseball players and three UK signees have been drafted.
- The Birmingham News has a full 2010 football preview for the Southeastern Conference now up on its website. Check it out when you get a chance.