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
Football: Kentucky: Coach Joker Phillips says he's feeling no heat (Chip Towers, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips is known as a serious-minded fellow. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have a sense of humor.Asked the dreaded hot-seat question during SEC Football Media Days on Wednesday, the third-year coach had a quick comeback."I'm not sitting down right now, so there's nothing hot up here," he said with a laugh.
Football: UK football notebook: Phillips identifies with disgruntled UK fans (Jennifer Smith, Lexington Herald-Leader)
The Kentucky head coach knows that fans are unhappy.He knows they expected more than a lackluster 5-7 last season.Joker Phillips knows they want to see much better performances on the field this season.He knows all of this because he's a Kentucky fan, too.
Football: Kentucky Coach Shares Pre-season Enthusiasm with Fans: A Fan's View (Shannon Frazer, YahooSports.com)
Every University of Kentucky football fan wants the 2012 season to be special, but perhaps none do more than the Wildcats head coach himself, Joker Phillips.At the Southeastern Conference Media Day on July 18, Phillips expressed the enthusiasm that he felt going into the fall, thanks to the momentum that winning the final game of the 2011 season provided.
Football: UK Football: QB Change? (Alex Risen, WTVQ.com)
Two Wildcat quarterbacks have SEC playing experience. Senior Morgan Newton and sophomore Max Smith.While Newton nursed his injured shoulder in the off-season, Smith took 100 percent of the snaps under center during the spring.Coach Joker Phillips says if the season starts today, Smith gets the nod. But, Joker also noted today while at ESPN, there will be a one or two week competition when camp starts back up in August.
Men's basketball: Everett roots strengthen Nerlens Noel (Dan Duggan, Herald.com)
George Wright-Easy, a 28-year-old friend who has known the 6-foot-10 shot-blocking phenom since he was a gangly grade schooler, picks up Noel at his house. Widely considered the top prep prospect in the country, Noel has the world in the palm of his enormous hand.So where does he go on one of the last nights before his world changes, before he leaves for the University of Kentucky next month and presumably the NBA draft 10 months later? To the movie theater to see the latest installment of the "Spiderman" series with kids Wright-Easy mentors through New England Community Services -- a Dorchester-based nonprofit that has a contract with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.
Baseball: Kentucky's Austin Cousino top hitter for Team USA (Lexington Herald-Leader)
University of Kentucky freshman center fielder Austin Cousino concluded play with the USA Collegiate National Baseball Team on Sunday as the squad's leading hitter.Cousino batted .351 over 16 games. The U.S. wrapped up the summer by winning the bronze medal at the Honkbal Week competition in the Netherlands.
Former Wildcats making headlines
New Orleans Hornets sign first-round picks Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers to contracts (Jimmy Smith, The Times-Picayune)
The New Orleans Hornets have come to terms with power forward Anthony Davis and guard Austin Rivers, a formality since the collective bargaining agreement has established the compensation level for first-round picks.Davis, the first overall pick in last month's NBA draft, will earn $5.144 million in the first year of his three-year guaranteed deal while Rivers, as the 10th overall choice, is slotted by the CBA to earn $1.865 million in the first year of his three-year contract.
Stevie Johnson believed Buffalo Bills would let him go (Dan Hanzus, NFL.com)
After a peeved Chan Gailey yanked Stevie Johnson out of the Buffalo Bills' 2011 season finale for another excessive-celebration penalty, the wide receiver believed he'd just punched his ticket out of town."At that point, I was thinking I was done with Buffalo," Johnson told Yahoo! Sports' Michael Silver. "I was like, 'They benched me? Really?' I figured I'd go back to Hunter's Point (to play for the 49ers). But the (Bills) stepped up and paid me. And it felt so good to be wanted."
Quigley returns to UK's tennis courts for Fifth Third tournament (Les Johns, Lexington Herald-Leader)
Quigley, a South Oldham graduate, won four state high school singles titles and blossomed into a elite-level collegiate player on the courts at UK."Pretty much my whole career I have played some of my bigger matches at the Boone Center at UK. It has been really good to me," Quigley said. "I love it and I love all the fans that come out to support me."
News from UKAthletics.com
Cross Country: Cross Country Announces 2012 Schedule
Women's golf: Women's Golf Incoming Freshman Wins Junior Girls Title
Swimming & Diving: UK Qualifies Nine for 2012 AT&T National Diving Championships
Track & Field: DeVries, Dunn, Ninow Tabbed Track & Field Assistant Coaches