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 underclassmen, having learned to be champions, primed for NBA challenge (The Sporting News, Mike DeCourcy)
These Wildcats played the game the way basketball purists dream for it to be played: Intelligently, fairly, aggressively and, now more than ever, selflessly.Six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen once said, "Sometimes, a player's greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team." Among the 2012 Kentucky Wildcats, senior Darius Miller gave up a starting job because it made sense to bring his scoring ability off the bench; Davis refurnished his house with trophies despite taking the fourth-most shots among the Wildcats, and Jones took fewer 3-point shots because these loaded Wildcats didn't need him to force offense.
Men's basketball - One-and-doners bury myths, leave big legacy for Kentucky (CBSSports.com, Gary Parrish)
These Wildcats buried those myths just like they buried Western Kentucky. And then Iowa State. And then Indiana. And then Baylor. And then Louisville. And then Kansas in the national title game to prevent Bill Self from winning his second championship in five years at Calipari's expense. They finished 38-2 while going undefeated in the SEC and inside Rupp Arena. Along the way they shattered everything some people -- simple-minded people, but people nonetheless -- thought they knew about this sport, and they gave Calipari eternal credibility with young players because love him or hate him there's no debating this anymore: His way works.You can win it all in college as a player his way.You can reach your NBA dreams and secure riches as a player his way.
Men's basketball - Kentucky's starters leave for the NBA, but a new crop of stars is ready to take their place (Yahoo! Sports, Pat Forde)
This is the new reality that John Calipari has wrought - piecing together nearly new teams on an annual basis and making runs at the championship. He has rewritten the title timeline, and never more successfully than this season. This was his greatest team, a 38-2 juggernaut that rarely was challenged during its stampede through the season.These five, plus senior sixth man Darius Miller, will be drafted in June. That is what Calipari is selling to players, and selling it better than anyone - the express lane to NBA riches.
Men's basketball - Just nickname these Cats the Farewell Five (The Courier-Journal, Kyle Tucker)
All five seemed sad at times -- Kidd-Gilchrist and Jones each choking up at least once -- but all beamed when the subject turned to their lifelong dreams of becoming pros. And the wealth that comes with it, which one reporter reminded Davis."That's right," said a grinning Davis, "I am going to be rich."
Men's basketball - High school senior shares story of 'incredible' hospital meeting with Darius Miller (Lexington Herald-Leader, Thomas Mims via John Clay)
Today, I met Darius Miller the human being. I'm still not sure which amazes me more. After observing Darius for four years in the blue and white, there was nobody I was happier for when the confetti began falling from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome rafters than the SEC Sixth-man of the year. He has won more games in Rupp Arena than any player before, has given his heart and soul to the state of Kentucky and its most acclaimed institution, and finally had the pleasure of delivering the University of Kentucky banner number eight. But none of this came to mind when his 6'7 frame came through my door. Suddenly, Room 492 was the place to be in all of the hospital.
Baseball - UK baseball beats UC for the second time this season (Kentucky Kernel, David Schuh)
Freshman Austin Cousino, celebrating his 19th birthday, launched a home run into the parking lot over the right field fence to lead off the first inning.Three batters later, junior Luke Maile went the other way, sending a line drive over the left field fence, his team high 10th of the year. The Cats led 2-0 after one inning.
Baseball - Early College Baseball Predictions -- Who's Primed for the CWS? (NextGenJournal.com, Scott Eckl)
Kentucky (30-4, 9-3 SEC) is one team that may find itself among the final eight at the CWS in June. The Wildcats boast the second-highest team batting average (.328) in the country and are 9-3 in the stacked Southeastern Conference. However one deceiving thing about their record is that the Wildcats have yet to play some of the tougher teams in the SEC such as LSU, Florida and Arkansas. The opportunity is there for the Wildcats to prove themselves against these powerhouse teams and ride the momentum of the school's recent victory in basketball all the way to the CWS.
Football - Kentucky football scrimmage pleases coach Joker Phillips (The Courier-Journal, Kyle Tucker)
Offensive coordinator Randy Sanders complained after last weekend's scrimmage that his group started out sluggish and lacked the mental focus that he expects.It was a different story Saturday as Smith directed a 13-play, 70-yard drive against the starting defense to open the scrimmage. He capped it with the 21-yard touchdown to King, who finished with seven catches for 76 yards.
Men's Tennis - Kentucky Tennis Wins SEC Championship (Lex18.com)
Undefeated. That is what the seventh-ranked University of Kentucky men's tennis team is in Southeastern Conference play this season, clinching its first SEC Championship since 1992. Kentucky completed its historic run to the SEC title with a dominating 6-1 win over No. 43 Vanderbilt on Saturday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Ky.The Wildcats earned the championship after posting an unblemished 11-0 record in SEC matches, becoming the seventh team since 2000 to go undefeated throughout the SEC regular season. This is the first time in school history that UK has gone undefeated in league play. UK's previous best start was 8-0 in 1988.
Former Wildcats Making Headlines
Daniel Orton will start on Monday for just the third time since high school - (Yahoo! Sports, Kelly Dwyer)
Common wisdom tells you that all NBA participants, whether they're on the end of a bench or starting for the All-Star team, were go-to players at some point in their career. That they dominated in grade and high school before moving on to mostly starring roles in college or overseas. It's the NBA, and that spot on the end of the bench, that humbles. Orlando Magic center Daniel Orton is turning that old adage upside down.
When Brandon Knight declared for the 2011 NBA Draft, there was little doubt that he'd succeed in the National Basketball Association, despite spending just one season with the Kentucky Wildcats.And by all accounts, that one year at Kentucky may have been a waste of the 6-foot-3, 189-pound point guard's time, because this kid can flat-out play with the big boys. He was a man-child terrorizing defenses in college, and he's on track to become one of the top scoring guards in the NBA.
News from UKAthletics.com
Football - Blue/White Game Format Announced
Softball - Kentucky Embarks on Five-Game Road Swing
Men's Tennis - Six Ranked Players Lead Men's Tennis to No. 6 Team Ranking
Women's Tennis - Trimble Named to SEC Community Service Team
Volleyball - Volleyball Concludes Spring With Home Tournament
Video of the week: Men's tennis takes SEC title
Video of the week: Men's tennis takes SEC title