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Web Wednesday: End of lockout 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

Men's basketball: Dick Vitale ranks UK No. 2 in the pre-season (ESPN)
John Calipari has Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb back, plus the top incoming class, led by Michael Gilchrist and Anthony Davis.

Vitale also highly rates UK's SEC counterparts Vanderbilt (No. 5), Florida (No. 10) and Alabama (No. 12).

Football: Miles Simpson facing UK challenges the right way (Adam Turer, Cincinnati.com)
"Our incoming class fought through the redshirt year together," Simpson said. "We also got a lot of support from the upperclassmen who had gone through the same thing."

Simpson spent his redshirt season working hard in the weight room, bulking up from 200 pounds to 220. He also focused on adjusting to college life and getting a jump on his academics.

"Last year was a little tough on him because he wanted to get on the field and play," Pioneers head coach Jeff Marksberry said. "He used his redshirt year the right way, getting in the weight room to get bigger and stronger and taking care of business in the classroom."

Men's basketball: JP Blevins remembers Desmond Allison (Steve Moss, WKYT)
It is shocking news that has former teammates like J.P. Blevins reflecting on their time with Allison, "Desmond came in super talented, wasn't viewed as a polished player, shows up and two games in starts as a freshman, showed you how hard he worked especially on the defensive end, he will be missed."

Allison played for the Cats from 1998-2000, where he averaged over 6 points and 2 boards a game, but it's more than his game that stands out to Blevins, " most likeable guy on the team, was a clown, gift to lighten the mood, can't remember him having any bad days, always in a good mood, that's how i think about him."

Football: Kentucky football a family affair for Gabe Correll (Nick Dudukovich, Cincinnati.com)
Now as one of the squad's upperclassmen, Correll has fulfilled his destiny by continuing his family's legacy at Kentucky.

He did it with hard work, determination and a desire to play Division I football in one of the country's top conferences. It's with that drive that Kentucky football fans could be talking about Correll for the next two seasons.

"A lot of guys are big-name recruits and come out of high school with accolades and...no one really knew who I was, but I worked through that and got a chance to play and I'm grateful, but I'm still hungry for more."

Cross country/Track: Robbie Scharold aims for UK record books (Adam Turner, Cincinnati.com)

Fully healthy now, Scharold is looking forward to contributing to the team in a bigger way in his sophomore campaign. The Wildcats coaches give their runner the opportunity to train on their own in the offseason and set their own pace for success and improvement.

"I'm running more than I have in previous summers," Scharold said. "I've learned to gradually build up my mileage in a healthy way."

Former Wildcats making headlines

Scott Downs isn't flashy, but he's effective (Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times)

Downs, who signed a three-year, $15-million deal with the Angels last winter, has stranded 19 of 21 inherited runners. Opponents are batting .167 (20 for 120) against him.

"When he pitched against us [for Toronto], you'd look at the radar-gun readings, you'd see he spins the ball well, and you're thinking, 'My gosh, does he ever make a mistake?' " Manager Mike Scioscia said.

"He has nice late life on his fastball, late tail or sink, depending on what he does with the ball, and he has terrific command. I don't know if there's a reliever we've seen who is pitching with the consistency of Scott."

Rajon Rondo believes Celtics still can compete for titles (Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports)
Rondo said he has been talking to Pierce, Garnett and Allen regularly, and they are all worried about a potential long lockout.

The age of the returning Celtics also could become an issue. Allen just turned 36, Garnett is 35, and Pierce and Jermaine O'Neal will be 34 and 33, respectively, before next season starts. While health will always be a concern with an older team, a lockout-shortened season could actually benefit Boston.

Rondo, 25, isn't worried.

"They said we were done two years ago," Rondo said. "We could care less about that. We could care less about people saying we are done."

John Wall shares his road to discovery (Joseph, Santiliquito, MaxPreps)
Wall started seeing the world much differently. The three jobs his mother juggled to keep a roof over his head and food on the table each night began to resonate with him. The times she'd pick him from school during lunch from one of her jobs is something he'll always remember.

"Seeing where I was just four years ago, and where I was going, and where I am makes me shake my head," Wall said. "Knowing and remembering what I've been through has always kept me hungry and working for all the things I have today. It's the reason why I'm here, talking to these kids. My message to them is never give up on your dreams, because I didn't give up on mine. Focus on what parents tell you and listen to them.

"I want to give these kids the same opportunity that I received. I plan on getting my college degree, too. It's a promise I gave my father that I plan on keeping."

Former UK golfer Russ Cochran wins Senior British Open (New York Times)
Russ Cochran toasted a family victory at the Senior British Open on Sunday, capturing his first major title -- with his son as caddie -- to maintain the United States' recent dominance of the tournament.

Cochran shot a second straight five-under 67 in the final round at Walton Heath in Walton on the Hill, England, to win by two shots over his compatriot Mark Calcavecchia. Cochran's 25-year-old son, Reed, carried his bag.

"He relaxed me out there," Cochran said of Reed, who is on his summer break from law school. "He made me smile and was great to be with."


News from UKathletics.com

Baseball: Collin Cowgill called up by Arizona Diamondbacks

In his major-league debut, Cowgill started in left field and batted eighth for the Diamondbacks. He was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts but made solid contact deep to the outfield in his first two at-bats and his team won 6-1.

Women's soccer: Getting to know the 2011 newcomers

Baseball: Gott, Rogers named Cape Cod All-Stars

Football: Five Wildcats agree to terms with NFL teams



Tweets of the week


With the NFL Lockout coming to an end this week and a flurry of transactional activity following that end, a number of undrafted former Wildcats are in conversations with NFL teams. A couple of them took to Twitter to break the news of where they will sign.

"God has blessed me with and opportunity to play on the next level and I'm taking it #Cleveland here I come" - @Caliboi_8 (wide receiver Chris Matthews)

"To #ArizonaCardinals I go" - @RickyDL53 (defensive lineman Ricky Lumpkin)

"Appreciate all the (shout-outs) ... off to the Bengals tomorrow morning!" - @DQcalikid55 (defensive lineman DeQuin Evans)


Quarterback Mike Hartline (Colts) and running back Derrick Locke (Vikings) also signed free agent deals with NFL teams. We have quotes from Coach Joker Phillips in the above link to the UK release about the signings, but here are stories from Cats Illustrated and the Lexington Herald-Leader that have quotes from the players themselves.



Video of the week

Brian Adams has gotten quite a bit of attention this year for his dual sport career at Kentucky. The wide receiver/outfielder has a bright future in both football and baseball at UK, but was all too close to not being able to see that future through. He recovered with a life-threatening blood clot that was spotted by Jim Madaleno of UK Sports Medicine. Here's the story, told by Adams, Madoleno and WDRB-TV's Pat Doney.

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