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Web Wednesday: Post-championship 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

Hailed as perhaps the best recruiter of the modern era, Calipari's greatest challenge during his first national championship season was how to get some of the most talented players he has ever coach, almost all underclassmen, to sacrifice individual scoring totals for team accomplishment.

All season, Calipari challenged players by asking, "How do you help us when you are not scoring?" And in the most significant game of Calipari's career, no one better illustrated his point than Davis, who dominated the national title game in every way except scoring.

Men's basketball - UK's Championship Season | Best Kentucky basketball team ever? (The Courier-Journal, Jody Demling)

A brief survey of some former UK players and coaches produced a variety of opinions.

Former coach Joe B. Hall, who won the 1978 championship, puts this team way up the charts.

"They pass the ball like the Rupp's Runts, they run the break like the Fabulous Five, they shoot it maybe like my '78 team and they're talented and can play any style like Rick's (Pitino) '96 team," Hall said. "They're extremely talented, and they're so much a team. It's been fun to watch them put this together."

Men's basketball - All's quiet for UK on NCAA's draft deadline day (Lexington Herald-Leader, Jerry Tipton)

Hereafter, a player who declares for this year's NBA Draft forfeits any remaining college eligibility. So if Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and/or Marquis Teague enter the draft later this month, there's no playing again for Kentucky even if one or all should change his mind and exit the draft.

Of course, any or all can return and play for UK next season provided they don't enter this year's NBA Draft.

Football - Kentucky football's Joker Phillips: Scrimmage yields mixed bag (The Courier-Journal, Kyle Tucker)

As is the nature of an intrasquad game, every positive comes with a catch. Coach Joker Phillips said the defense did a good job pressuring the quarterbacks, but that means the Wildcats' retooled offensive line needs work.

The first-team defense recorded six sacks against the first-team offense. UK is replacing three starting linemen, including both tackles, and Phillips singled out the baby-faced left side of the line as an area most in need of improvement. True sophomore tackle Darrian Miller and redshirt freshman guard Zach West are the new starters on that side. Phillips said those two are "having a huge learning curve in understanding the speed at which the game is played."

Football - Kentucky football looking to La'Rod King for leadership (The Courier-Journal, Jennifer Smith)

That point, when the roar of the train stops startling players, is when having true leaders on Kentucky's football team will be most important.

And other times like in the summer, when coaches aren't allowed to keep players on track, having a leader will be important.

That's when having a senior like La'Rod King will be key, Washington said when asked about UK's returning wide receiver, who caught 40 passes for 598 yards and seven scores last season.

Baseball - Surprising Kentucky baseball knows teams gunning for it (The Courier-Journal, Kyle Tucker)

When University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari said it, the hyperbole made sense. "We're everybody's Super Bowl" became one of his most familiar refrains as the Wildcats, ranked No. 1 most of the season, marched toward a national championship this season.

UK baseball coach Gary Henderson hardly started out this season with the same rallying cry. In his first three seasons in charge, the Cats went 84-81 overall, just 33-57 in Southeastern Conference play. They missed the NCAA Tournament all three years and, understandably, began this year unranked.

Softball - UK softball to play Arkansas Wednesday (The Kentucky Kernel, Cody Porter)

Fresh off a conference series win over South Carolina that was full offensive firepower, UK (21-18, 5-7 SEC) led by the senior bat of Brittany Cervantes will return to the field midweek in a double-header against Arkansas (19-18. 3-14 SEC) Wednesday.

The Razorbacks, much like UK recently, have used the long ball to find success on the diamond.

"Arkansas is a good team, they do a nice job of swinging the bats and they've played an awesome schedule," UK head coach Rachel Lawson said.

Former Wildcats making headlines

Rajon Rondo posted double-digit assists for the 18th straight game, extending the NBA's longest such streak in 20 years with an 18-point, 15-assist effort. Brandon Bass added 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Avery Bradley scored 11 for the Celtics, who shot a season-high 61 percent and survived two possessions where Miami could have tied the score in the final quarter.

Here is today's minor-league report. The biggest news is the strong 2012 debut of heralded lefty James Paxton, who picked up the victory with 5 2/3 scoreless innings for the Double-A Jackson Generals. Paxton struck out 10, gave up just two hits and didn't walk any in Jackson's 2-1 win over Birmingham.

In much happier news for the Nationals, Alex Meyer, the 23rd pick of last year's draft, made an excellent professional debut with Class A Hagerstown. Meyer a 6-foot-9 flamethrower, allowed two hits and no walks in five shutout innings while striking out four.

News from

Men's Tennis - No. 6 Men's Tennis Defeats Ole Miss, Clinches Share of SEC Title

Video of the week - Highlights from UK's run to number eight

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