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: Kentucky basketball's Anthony Davis named Player of the Year by Sporting News (Kyle Tucker, Louisville Courier-Journal)
The 6-foot-10 Davis swept the SEC's three major awards -- Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year -- was named District IV Player of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association and earned his first national honor as Sporting News' College Basketball Player of the Year.
Fellow UK freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist earned first-team All-SEC honors and joined Davis on the league's All-Defensive Team. He, too, made the 10-man All-District IV team, which considers all Division I players from the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. Kidd-Gilchrist, averaging 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks, also made Sporting News' All-America second team.
That's hardly the end of the list for the Cats. John Calipari won SEC Coach of the Year for the first time, and senior Darius Miller earned the league's Sixth Man of the Year award. Sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb were second-team All-SEC picks.
Men's Basketball: Kentucky basketball senior Darius Miller is 'glue' for No. 1 UK (Kyle Tucker, Louisville Courier-Journal)
But this year, as a senior on a team that starts three freshmen and two sophomores, Miller has found his "eye of the tiger." While embracing a new role coming off the bench -- tonight will be just his 10th start in 30 games after starting 71 times over the previous two seasons -- he's also welcomed a leadership role at the ends of the Cats' closest games.
Kentucky has had 10 games in which it entered the final 10 minutes, the unofficial "fourth quarter" of college basketball, leading by five points or fewer, or trailing. Miller has been on the floor for 80 of 100 minutes in those "crunch time" situations, and in that time he's hit 15 of 20 field goals (75 percent), 5 of 8 3-pointers (62.5 percent) and 13 of 14 free throws (92.8 percent).
Men's Basketball: Wooden Award finalists named (ESPN News Services)
Freshmen Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky and Austin Rivers of Duke are among 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, announced Tuesday morning.
Frontcourt players represent 10 of the 15 finalists, led by Sullinger, McDermott, Kidd-Gilchrist, Davis, Robinson and Zeller.
Men's Basketball: Kyle Wiltjer serves as Kentucky basketball's ready reserve (Kyle Tucker, Louisville Courier-Journal)
Although he averages just 13 minutes, 5.6 points and 2.1 rebounds, and he's not even the first option off the bench, Wiltjer has become an increasingly valuable weapon for the Wildcats. He's just the kind of guy -- able to add a spark in short bursts -- that a team needs at some point during the long march through March.
Wiltjer hit 16 of 31 threes in SEC play, a percentage (.516) that would lead the league if he had enough attempts to qualify. He seems to get better, and more accurate, each week. He's made 11 of his last 16 attempts from deep.
Men's Basketball: Teague brothers point the way for Kentucky, Hawks (Chip Towers, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
There are some other advantages as well. Namely, his close relationship with Jeff has helped make Marquis (pronounced MAR-cuss) into one of the more talented young point guards in college basketball. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound freshman has started every game and played a team-high 32.1 minutes for No. 1-ranked Kentucky (30-1). The Wildcats carry an undefeated conference record (16-0) and heavy-favorite tag into this week's SEC tournament in New Orleans.
"It's been pretty good," Teague said of his first season in college basketball. "We're winning a lot of games. We're playing pretty good. We're coming together as a team right now and playing well. I'm having a lot of fun and we're having a lot of success, so I can't complain."
Baseball: Unbeaten Kentucky baseball team moves into rankings (Herald-Leader Staff Report)
The University of Kentucky, owner of the best record in NCAA Division I baseball at 11-0 this season, is ranked No. 23 in the Collegiate Baseball poll released Monday. Kentucky is off to the fourth-best start in the more than 100-year history of the program. Kentucky and Gonzaga (10-0) are the only two remaining undefeated teams in Division I.
Football: Singing more praises for Bluebird QB (Adam Turer, Cincinnati Enquirer)
That humility was recently on display, when Towles teamed up with former Highlands and University of Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen in a pizza eating contest to raise money for the Brighton Center. After a long run to another state championship and with his football scholarship to UK already in hand, Towles still honored his commitment to the Bluebirds' basketball team and helped lead Highlands to the Ninth Region tournament.
Towles's leadership on and off the field have left a lasting mark on the Bluebirds program. Despite all the accolades, Towles remains down to earth and does his best to represent Highlands to the rest of the state and the country. He will continue his journey next year at the University of Kentucky.
Former Wildcats making headlines
WR Johnson gets contract extension from Bills (Associated Press)
"It's a good day for us," he said. "Our football team got better. One of our philosophies coming in is that we wanted to keep our good players here. We were able to do that with Steve Johnson. It goes without saying what he's done the past two years, and I think it's just going to get better."
After being selected in the seventh round of the 2008 draft, Johnson emerged in 2010 when he led the Bills with a career-high 82 catches for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns. He followed that up this past season with 76 receptions, and became the first player in team history to record consecutive 1,000-yard receiving campaigns.
Throughout his six year NBA career, Rondo has had a number of outstanding performances including a 24-assist effort against New York early last season and of course nearly averaging a triple-double throughout the entire 2009 first-round playoff series with the Chicago Bulls. But none were quite as impressive as Sunday's incomparable 18-20-17 triple-double against the Knicks.
With the feat, Rondo became just the third player in NBA history with at least 15 points, 20 assists and 15 rebounds in a game. The only others to achieve that eye-popping stat line were a pair of Hall of Famers in Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson -- talk about elite company. Not even the ever-heralded Magic Johnson, widely considered the best rebounding point guard of all time, was able to accomplish that.
DeMarcus' Mentoring: Chris Webber Teaching Cousins (Brett David Roberts, Yahoo.com)
"I have the utmost respect for C-Webb, he's a real person," Cousins said of the relationship. "He went through similar situations... I guess you can say a big brother looking over me."
That may be all Cousins needs. He always has seemed more like someone that needed to mature and receive good mentoring and guidance, not a lost cause head case that can never pan out as a player or as a person.
News from UKathletics.com
Men's Golf: Kentucky Finishes Third at USF Invitational
Men's Soccer: Men's Soccer Announces 2012 Spring Schedule
Men's Tennis: Men's Tennis Jumps to No. 7 in Latest ITA Team Rankings
Softball: Joiner Named SEC Freshman of the Week
Track and Field: Orta, Neal Named to Indoor Track and Field All-SEC Teams