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Web Wednesday: Calipari extension edition

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Each Wednesday here at Cat Scratches, we're going to take a look back at the latest week's news in UK Athletics from around the web.

Best on the 'net

General: Fans of UK warmly recall online friend Jonathan McIntyre (John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader)

Mack Perkins never met Jonathan McIntyre, not in person, anyway, not to shake his hand or see his face or hear his voice or see his children. But @MackSmacks knew @mac4uk.

"I knew him from my days on the UK message boards," Perkins said. "Whenever I would post something outlandish, Jonathan would keep me in check."

Brian Eldridge never met Jonathan McIntyre either, but @BriEldridge knew @mac4uk through the message boards and Twitter.

"Mac was a huge UK football fan and also a huge baseball fan," said Eldridge, who is a contributor to Kentucky Sports Report. "He loved basketball, too, but he seemed more passionate than most about his Wildcat football."

I encourage you to read all of Clay's fantastic article. Our thoughts and condolences here at UK are with McIntyre's family.

Men's basketball: Investment in Calipari all about big April payoff (Rick Bozich, Louisville Courier-Journal)

Barnhart and outgoing UK President Dr. Lee Todd have determined that Calipari and Kentucky are an idyllic marriage. They share the same ambition: To win a national championship -- Kentucky's eighth and Calipari's first.

Men's basketball: Cal's extension another indicator he'll stay at UK (Andy Katz, ESPN)

This latest contract improvement is another indicator that Calipari will stay at Kentucky instead of going to the NBA, as has been speculated since he arrived in Lexington. NBA teams aren't paying salaries in this range anymore, meaning Calipari has somewhat priced himself out of the professional market.

"Coach Calipari has led a remarkable turnaround of our basketball program, bringing it back to unquestioned national prominence and in a position to compete for championships on a regular basis," Todd said. "Aligning his contract with that of Mitch Barnhart creates the potential for long-term continuity in an athletics program that is performing and winning both on the court and in the classroom."

Men's basketball: No SEC coach favors 22-game schedule (Jerry Tipton, Herald-Leader)

No coach on the teleconference voiced support for a 22-game schedule.

Calipari noted that the emphasis of scheduling should be on building as good a résumé as possible for the NCAA Tournament. That would mean the strong-est Strength of Schedule and Ratings Percentage Index. Non-conference games provide the greatest flexibility in building a schedule.

"Sixteen or 18 (SEC games) is important," Calipari said. "But not as important as non-conference Strength of Schedule and RPI."

With a 22-game SEC schedule all but ruled out, the league will consider expanding from 16 to 18 games per season. Mississippi Coach Andy Kennedy noted that the SEC will join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2011-12 as the only BCS leagues playing less than 18 games. So, 18 games is "where the trend is heading," he said.

Men's basketball: Jones, Davis, Gilchrist featured on SI's 2012 draft primer (Luke Winn, SI.com)

Top one-and-done candidates

1. Anthony Davis, Fr., PF, Kentucky:
He may be too raw to dominate in college hoops from Day 1, and isn't likely to put up numbers on par with Barnes and Sullinger, but that won't stop scouts from viewing Davis as the best prospect in the 2012 draft pool. He's far from filling out his 6-10 frame -- his late growth spurt was what pushed him from anonymity to five-star recruit -- but he'll make athletic plays around the rim, and will have no trouble keeping up with speedy freshman point guard Marquis Teague (also a one-and-done candidate) in transition.

2. Michael Gilchrist, Fr., SF, Kentucky: Gilchrist is the rare blue-chip recruit who's famous for his defense, and he's expected to be one of college basketball's most feared, tenacious defenders in '11-12. At 6-7, with a 6-11 wingspan, he could feasibly guard four positions for the Wildcats, and make a huge impact on a team that should contend for the national title. Scouts love his aggressiveness, and while he's unlikely to be selected ahead of Davis in next year's draft, Gilchrist won't have to wait long to hear his name called by an NBA team.

 

Former Wildcats making headlines

Ex-UK lineman Jacobs returning to Bluegrass as NASCAR pit crew member (Mark Story, Lexington-Herald-Leader)

(Mark) Jacobs ended his three years (1996-98) as a Wildcats starter in UK's Outback Bowl loss to Penn State on Jan. 1, 1999. Now he is in his 12th year working as a jackman at NASCAR's highest level.

When the Sprint Cup Series at long last comes to Kentucky Speedway for the July 9 Quaker State 400, Jacobs will be jacking the No. 42 car of Juan Pablo Montoya.

Kanter's pro career will alter perception of year at UK (Aaron Smith, Kentucky Kernel)

Would a Kanter-led UK have actually reached the potential we place on that hypothetical squad?

The next stage of his career -- his time in the NBA -- will affect how we answer that question. Right now, we can assume Kanter does what he declared he would have done: "dominate" the college game, and subsequently, take UK to the next level. There's no reason to project Kanter achieving anything less than his fullest potential while at UK, because he didn't play any games to suggest otherwise.

Now he will, as he starts his NBA career off with Utah. Now we see what type of player he really is and what he really can be. And when this new vision of Enes Kanter emerges, it will be retroactively projected onto the "what-if" scenarios at UK.

Brandon Knight happy to be a Piston (Vincent Goodwill, Detroit News)

Of Knight falling, Pistons president Joe Dumars said it was "better to be lucky than good." With Thursday's activity, during which many teams made trades to move up, the Pistons sat back, changed their plan to get a big man and Knight fell into their hands.

Knight, who wore a gray suit and purple tie, spoke calmly, saying he was over what happened on Thursday and is happy to be in Detroit.

"It was a little nerve-wracking (waiting)," said Knight, who will wear No. 7 (for the number of teams that passed on him) with Ben Gordon switching to No. 8. "But I think it's a great fit, the best place I could've ended up. I think everything happens for a reason."

Magic want DeAndre Liggins to provide defense (Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel)

Liggins compared his toughness to that of highly regarded defenders Shane Battier and Tony Allen.

"My toughness will carry on towards the Orlando Magic," Liggins said. "As you've seen at Kentucky, I bring toughness to the team. I competed. I was the reason why we won some games."

Harrellson looks forward to garbage man role with Knicks (Lenn Robbins, New York Post

Harrellson, the No. 45 overall pick whom the Knicks acquired from the Hornets in a draft-night deal for about $750,000, said he thinks he can have a long NBA career as -- his words -- a garbage man.

It's a role he said he always felt comfortable with but certainly perfected at Kentucky, where he had one of the most volatile careers in Wildcats history.

James Paxton named to Futures Game (Seattle Mariners)

Paxton, 22, is 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA (15 ER, 50.0 IP) in 9 starts with Single-A Clinton. He has limited opponents to a .226 (40x177) average, while walking 30 and striking out 73. He has struck out 10 or more batters three times this season, including striking out a season-high 13 batters on June 16 vs. Quad Cities. A native of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, Paxton was selected by the Mariners in the 4th round of the 2010 June Draft.

UK baseball SID Brent Ingram notes on Twitter that Paxton is the first former Wildcat to earn a spot in the game along with Jason Kipnis, who will also being playing in the game.



News from UKathletics.com

Track and field: Jenna Martin wins at Canadian national championships

Men's tennis: Wildcats compete in futures events

Softball: Kristine Himes elevated to associate head coach

Football: Talamini to be inducted to Kentucky NFL Hall of Fame



Tweet of the week


If DeAndre Liggins is able to earn a roster spot with the Magic, he will join his former Wildcat teammate, Daniel Orton, in Orlando. Orton was happy to see that Liggins was Florida-bound and said so on Twitter on draft night.

"Happy for my boy Dre!!! YESSIR!!!" - @danielorton21

"@DLiggs34 happy to have you with us my dude" - @danielorton21



Video of the week

UK had the chance to see and benefit from Brandon Knight's tremendous game and even more amazing work ethic for a season, now the Detroit Pistons will get to do the same as Knight begins his professional career. Here is some video of Knight talking about his move to the pros, what he'll bring to Detroit and how he managed not to pull a John Wall when he had the chance to throw out the first pitch at a Tigers game.

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