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Web Wednesday - 4th of July 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

Baseball: UK rewards baseball coach with 5-year deal worth more than $2 million (Mark Maloney, Lexington Herald-Leader)

Henderson was named SEC Coach of the Year, having led the Cats to a third-place finish in the regular season. UK led the league for a school-record eight of 10 weeks, was ranked No. 1 in the country for three weeks and was nationally ranked for 13 consecutive weeks.

"It goes on and on and on, all the things that they did and they accomplished," Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. "The guy leading the charge is obviously Gary Henderson."

"Gary Henderson is a good example of the type of coach we want to lead our athletics programs at Kentucky and he and his staff are very deserving of new contracts," UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. "He has helped build the program from the moment he arrived in Lexington and it was thrilling watching his team complete a historic campaign in 2012. We are convinced that the success our baseball program achieved last spring is just the beginning and it is an exciting time to be a UK baseball fan."
While Barnhart and Henderson both expressed excitement with the direction of the program Tuesday, they also noted the importance of continuing to invest in the program in the form of a facility upgrade in the coming years.

Men's basketball: Kentucky basketball makes history at NBA draft (Kyle Tucker, The Courier-Journal)

That the 6-foot-10 Davis would be taken first was a foregone conclusion. He set an NCAA freshman record with 186 blocks and earned National Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and consensus Player of the Year honors. He led UK to its eighth national title in New Orleans -- his new home city -- in April.

Kidd-Gilchrist immediately following him was something of a surprise. That seemed more possible a month ago, but as the draft drew closer, the buzz was that he might slip to the third, fourth or fifth pick. In his final prediction Thursday, ESPN draft guru Chad Ford had him falling to No. 7.

Men's basketball: Calipari's got it figured out (Perry Hunter,

UK and Coach Cal are a match made in heaven. Whether you like it or not, UK is one of the -- if not the -- elite basketball schools in the country with fans that Cal calls "crazy." And Coach Cal is not afraid to sell UK for what it is known for -- a basketball school.

With UK's Anthony Davis going No. 1 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist going No. 2, Coach Cal is lord over the NBA draft. In his three years at UK, he has sent 11 players out the door in the first round of the NBA draft and had two top picks. The success he has had, from an Elite Eight to a Final Four to the 2012 National Championship, all the while using one-and-done players, is exactly what UK fans want and is exactly what someone who is willing can do to take advantage of the current rules.

Men's basketball: Draft night gives John Calipari an edge over Nick Saban in turning out pros (Kevin Scarbinsky, Birmingham News)

Saban owns the BCS football na­tional championship, his second at Alabama and third overall.

Calipari owns the NCAA basket­ball title, his first. How many will he win? As his friend LeBron James might say, "Not one. Not two. Not three. Etc."

This is beginning to get monoto­nous. Anything Saban can do, Cali­pari can do at least as well and, in some cases, better.

Women's basketball: Kentucky women add top-flight junior-college transfer (Lexington Herald-Leader)

The University of Kentucky women's basketball team added to its extraordinary depth of talent for the 2012-13 season Wednesday, announcing the signing of junior-college transfer Jelleah Sidney.

Sidney, a high school teammate of current UK players Jennifer O'Neill and Bra'Shey Ali, is a 6-foot-2 power forward who spent last season at Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla. Sidney arrives at Kentucky with three seasons of eligibility remaining.

Football: Q&A with Kentucky football coach Joker Phillips (Kyle Tucker, The Courier-Journal)

Joker Phillips is two months away from the most important season of his career. The former University of Kentucky player and assistant coach is 11-13 in two seasons as the Wildcats' head coach and suddenly finds his seat warm entering Year 3.

Athletic director Mitch Barnhart has shown steadfast public support for Phillips, saying over and over that he believes Phillips can get UK, which ended its streak of five consecutive bowl berths last season, back on track. But Barnhart also acknowledged this spring that the Cats need to show signs of that in 2012.

Football: Ranking the importance of Kentucky's football games 1-12 (John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader)

1. Louisville (Sept. 2): I normally argue against the chronic notion that the U of L game is the must-win of every Kentucky football season. Much can happen post-Louisville, good or bad. This year, I join the chorus. A UK loss, especially a lopsided one, and a pessimistic fan base could toss in the towel. A UK win at Papa John's, however, and the outlook on the entire campaign changes -- for the better.

Former Wildcats making headlines

Davis, a 6-foot-11 center from Kentucky, could return to practice for Team USA within a week to 10 days. USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski plan to be patient with Davis, especially with the glut of injuries that have hit the team's frontline. Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard and LaMarcus Aldridge are already out for Team USA.

Randall Cobb doesn't have an easy path to be this team's breakout player because the Packers' wideout depth chart is so stacked. Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson are the starters. James Jones and Donald Driver make terrific reserves. But Cobb is going to force the Packers to find room.

Cobb announced his presence as a rookie with two touchdowns in the season opener, but he barely played on offense that night against the New Orleans Saints. As late as Week 13 against the Giants, Cobb was an afterthought. His playtime and production gradually increased after that.

Cowgill up and running, nearing return (Casey Pratt,

Cowgill, 26, has missed nine games since the injury. He was hitting .300 (9 for 30) with a homer and five RBIs in 10 games before getting hurt.

"Every day it has been better," Cowgill said before Monday's series opener against Boston. "I think when it is time to come off I'll be ready to go."

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