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UK in the NFL: Conner returns to action

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By Connor Link, UK Athletics

With two former Cats sidelined by injury and one former Cat enjoying his team's bye week, Week 12 saw five Kentucky NFL alumni emerge victorious and four go home with the sour taste of defeat.

Cats in the Spotlight

Randall Cobb | #18 WR | Green Bay Packers (8-3)
In a game that concluded on a much tighter note than expected, Cobb hauled in four receptions for 58 yards in a 24-21 win over the Minnesota Vikings. For the second consecutive week, Cobb failed to reach the end zone, leaving his season touchdown total untouched at 10 (tied for fourth most in the NFL).

John Conner | #38 FB | New York Jets (2-9)
Conner, who came to the University of Kentucky as a walk-on in 2005, has been considered one of the best blocking backs in football since his days in college. As many teams stray away from the fullback position in favor of today's modern rushing attack, Conner still continues to find his way onto an NFL roster each season. "The Terminator" recorded his first rushing attempt since 2011 with a 13-yard run in Monday's 38-3 loss to the displaced Buffalo Bills.

Avery Williamson | #54 ILB | Tennessee Titans (2-9)
For the sixth time in his rookie season, Williamson totaled at least six tackles in one contest. The 6-foot-1 Tennessee native made five solo tackles and one assist in the Titans' 43-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Wesley Woodyard | #59 ILB | Tennessee Titans (2-9)
For the fourth time this season, Woodyard totaled at least eight tackles in one contest. The seven-year NFL veteran matched Williamson's tally of five solo tackles, but surpassed his Titans teammate with three assisted tackles in Tennessee's fifth consecutive loss.

By Connor Link, UK Athletics

After a lackluster 0-5 collective performance in Week 9, Kentucky's NFL Cats bounced back in a big way with an 8-3 overall record in Week 10. Even in losses, two defensive alumni were able to match season highs in tackles.

Unfortunately, Larry Warford--a 2013 third round pick with the Detroit Lions--suffered a knee injury that could possibly sideline the right guard for several weeks. Regarded as one of the league's top offensive linemen after a stellar rookie season, Warford had not missed a career snap until the injury.

Cats in the Spotlight

Randall Cobb | #18 WR | Green Bay Packers (6-3)
Randall Cobb continues to demonstrate that the only time he can't find the end zone is when the Packers aren't playing. In a 55-14 thrashing of the Chicago Bears on national TV, Cobb made four catches for 72 yards and a one-handed TD grab you have to see to believe.

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Cobb's 10-touchdown total is tied for third most in the NFL and has found the end zone in six straight games and eight of nine of the season.

Avery Williamson | #54 ILB | Tennessee Titans (2-7)
Though Avery Williamson's Titans are far from fielding a competitive football team, the rookie linebacker shined in a 21-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Williamson tied his career high of 10 total tackles, including six of the solo variety.

Wesley Woodyard | #59 ILB | Tennessee Titans (2-7)
Alongside his teammate Williamson, Woodyard headed a two-way defensive spark for Tennessee. The former first-team All-SEC selection recorded three solo tackles and six assisted ones, tying his season high of nine.

UK in the NBA -- Knight, Davis clutch in week 2

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By Nick Jones, UK Athletics

All stats through games on Nov. 9


Former Wildcat Brandon Knight is now his fourth NBA season and second with the Milwaukee Bucks. To this point in his career he has made a name for himself for his ability to score the ball from the point-guard position.

Oh, and unfortunately being caught on the wrong end of some highlights that have gone viral.

All jokes aside, Knight is off to a great start as the lead guard for a young Bucks team. He has scored in double digits in all seven games this season, but that comes as no surprise.

Knight is also leading all point guards with 45 total rebounds on the season, as well as averaging 7.3 assists per game.

In their last outing on Saturday the Bucks delivered the previously unbeaten Grizzlies their first loss of the season as Knight hit a game-winning and-one layup and converted on the free throw to give his team a 93-92 edge with just 1.1 seconds remaining on the clock.


Tayshaun Prince logged 27 minutes in the game for Memphis. The veteran registered eight points, two rebounds and two steals in the losing effort.

Anthony Davis, who is being pegged by experts as the future of the league, hit a game winner of his own in week two. Pelicans head coach Monty Williams drew up an isolation play for the All-Star forward in the closing seconds against the 2014 world champion San Antonio Spurs.

Davis caught the ball on the free-throw line, faced up, took two dribbles and used his length and quickness to get all the way to the rim with two dribbles. The basket gave him 27 points for the game and sealed a 100-99 win over the Spurs.


The former No. 1 pick is ranked fifth in the league in scoring (24.4), first in rebounding (12.8) and first in blocks (4.4), sparking early-season MVP conversations.

Another former Kentucky big man who entered in talks for postseason awards is Nerlens Noel, who was atop the Rookie Ladder after week one. Noel missed both games over the weekend as he went down with a sprained ankle Wednesday against Orlando.

The 76ers went 0-2 in his absence and currently hold a league worst 0-7 record on the season. But with Noel set to return to action on Thursday, and with reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams joining the team for the first time this season, it will be interesting to see if Philly can make any noise on their upcoming three-game road trip.

As for other Cats who are dealing with injuries, Jodie Meeks has been sidelined for the first seven games of the season for his struggling Pistons squad.

Detroit fully expects Meeks to be inserted into the starting lineup at the shooting guard position upon his return, but he's still about five weeks away from being cleared to play as he recovers from what the team diagnosed as a stress reaction in his back.

Also, Celtics rookie James Young has only seen action in one game in the opening weeks of the season. Young has been battling a hamstring injury dating back to the preseason, and he will miss the upcoming two-game road trip for Boston due to an undisclosed illness in his family.

Week two TV schedule

Tuesday: Orlando @ Toronto (Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson) 7:30 p.m. on NBA TV
Wednesday: Houston (Terrence Jones) @ Minnesota 10:00 p.m. on ESPN
Thursday: Chicago (Nazr Mohammad) @ Toronto 8:00 p.m. on TNT
Sunday: Houston (Terrence Jones) @ Oklahoma City 7:00 p.m. on NBA TV

Stats

Player (Team)

Games   Played

Games Started

PPG

RPG

APG

BPG

SPG

MPG

Eric Bledsoe (Suns)

7

7

14.1

4.1

5.1

0.7

0.7

31.0

DeMarcus Cousins (Kings)

7

7

23.0

11.1

1.4

1.4

1.4

30.4

Anthony Davis (Pelicans)

5

5

24.4

12.8

1.8

4.4

2.2

37.0

Archie Goodwin (Suns)

3

0

1.7

0.3

0.4

0.2

0.4

7.0

Chuck Hayes (Raptors)

4

0

2.2

1.8

0.8

0.0

0.2

9.3

Terrence Jones (Rockets)

4

4

14.0

7.5

1.5

1.8

1.0

29.3

Enes Kanter (Jazz)

7

7

11.6

6.6

0.3

0.0

0.1

24.1

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Hornets)

5

5

9.4

5.6

1.4

1.0

0.2

24.0

Brandon Knight (Bucks)

7

7

17.6

6.4

7.3

0.1

1.4

31.9

Darius Miller (Pelicans)

1

0

0.0

0.0

2.0

0.0

0.0

4.0

Nerlens Noel (76ers)

5

5

7.2

5.6

2.6

1.8

1.6

28.4

Patrick Patterson (Raptors)

7

3

7.0

4.6

1.9

0.6

1.0

24.9

Tayshaun Prince (Grizzlies)

 

4

2

7.5

3.1

0.8

0.0

0.5

24.0

Rajon Rondo (Celtics)

5

5

9.0

8.0

11.2

0.1

1.9

33.2

John Wall (Wizards)

7

7

17.7

4.3

8.3

0.6

1.6

36.0

James Young (Celtics)

1

0

6

1.0

0.0

1.0

0.0

6.0







UK in the NBA: Davis, Cousins star in week 1

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By Nick Jones, UK Athletics

With the NBA a week into the 2014-15 season, several former Wildcats have dominated national headlines throughout the league.

First, Julius Randle entered his rookie campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers in the most disturbing fashion imaginable. After logging just 14 minutes of play in the season opener against Houston Randle went down with a broken tibia in his right leg.

Randle's injury will leave him out of action for the remainder of his rookie season. But after being selected as the seventh overall pick in last June's draft the power forward is expected to play a significant role in rebuilding the Lakers back up to a championship level franchise.

Randle being carted off the court on opening night stole the attention away from what was a very strong outing from Terrence Jones, who has now solidified himself in a starting role for the Houston Rockets next to All-Star center Dwight Howard. Jones posted 16 points and 13 rebounds against the Lakers and has shown no signs of slowing down through week one.

Jones has been the answer for what was a failed experiment last season in Houston when the Rockets attempted to play Howard and 7-foot center Omer Asik side-by-side in the frontcourt. This offseason Asik decided to go elsewhere and he ended up in New Orleans where he combined with All-Star forward Anthony Davis on opening night for 40 points, 34 rebounds and 14 blocks as the Pelicans defeated the Magic 101-84.

Davis came into the season with sky-high expectations and after a near triple-double in game one, and a 30 and 15 outing in game two, the 6-10 star is more than living up to his No. 3 player ranking by ESPN.

Another ultra-talented big man having his way in the Western Conference is fifth-year pro DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings have been mediocre at best during the first three years of his career, but after winning a gold medal this summer in the FIBA World Championships in Spain with Team USA, Cousins - now 24 years old - seems more than ready to change the culture in Sac-town.

The Kings' week one schedule was arguably the most difficult in the entire league as they faced off against three Western Conference playoff teams from a year ago, recording a 2-1 record in those games. Most recently Sacramento began a two-game road trip on Sunday with a gritty win over heated rival the Clippers at Staples Center. It was a statement game for the 6-11 center as he finished with 34 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. If Boogie can combine consistent contributions like this with his goal of just five technical fouls this whole season, it will be impossible to keep him out of the All-Star game in April.

Two former Cats who are considered to be locks to represent the eastern conference in the All-Star game are point guards Rajon Rondo and John Wall.

Rondo's availability for the season opener was in question all entire offseason after suffering a hand injury, but the Celtics' floor general has not missed a beat in his first two outings. Averaging just shy of a triple-double after the first week, Rondo is among the league leaders for point guards in several statistical categories, a feat that is not likely to change as the season advances.

John Wall has posted a double-double in each of the Wizards' first three games. That sort of production will almost certainly continue as Wall carries the load for his young team during the first several weeks of the season without backcourt running mate Bradley Beal. Washington is looking to build on last season's playoff run and Wall will be the centerpiece for whatever success the Wizkids enjoy in 2014-15.

Wall's former Kentucky teammate Eric Bledsoe was a hot topic this offseason as experts debated whether or not he was worth the max contract he desired. In the end, Bledsoe was able to reach a five-year deal worth $70 million. Now in his fifth year in the league, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound guard has set out to shake off the injury woes that have defined his career to this point and drag his team in Phoenix to a playoff appearance in the West for the first time since 2010.

Entering the 2014-15 NBA season, Kentucky has 19 ex-players on 16 different rosters. Cat Scratches will provide a unique inside look at former UK fan favorites, as well as a detailed TV schedule and updated statistics as the season moves along.

Stats through games on Sunday, Nov. 2)

Rajon Rondo, Boston - 8.5 PPG, 10 APG, 8.5 RPG, 2 SPG
James Young, Boston - Earned a DNP in season opener, scored six points in six minutes in game two
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte - 11.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG in three starts
Nazr Mohammed, Chicago - DNP for the Bulls in week one
Jodie Meeks, Detroit - Out 8 weeks with a back injury
Terrence Jones, Houston - 16.7 PPG, 8.7 RPG
Julius Randle, LA Lakers - scored two points in 14 minutes off the bench before sustaining a season-ending leg injury on opening night
Tayshaun Prince, Memphis - 4 PPG, 2 RPG in 18 minutes per game
Brandon Knight, Milwaukee - 19.7 PPG, 9 APG, 6.7 RPG
Anthony Davis, New Orleans - 28.5 PPG, 16 RPG, 6 BPG, 2.5 SPG
Darius Miller, New Orleans - DNP for the Pelicans in week one
Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia - 7.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.3 BPG in three starts
Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix - 12.7 PPG, 6.7 APG, 6.3 RPG
Archie Goodwin, Phoenix - 2.5 PPG, 1.5 APG in 10 minutes per game
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento - 23.7 PPG, 12.3 RPG
Patrick Patterson, Toronto - 4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG in 21 minutes per game
Chuck Hayes, Toronto - grabbed three rebounds in 12 minutes in his only appearance in week one
Enes Kanter, Utah - 8 PPG, 3.7 RPG in three games as a starter
John Wall, Washington - 21.7 PPG, 11 APG, 4.7 RPG, 3 SPG in more than 37 minutes per game

Week two TV schedule

This week's nationally televised games featuring former UK players:

Tuesday: Houston (Terrence Jones) @ Miami 7:30 p.m. on NBA TV
Wednesday: Indiana @ Washington (John Wall) 8:00 p.m. on ESPN
Thursday: San Antonio @ Houston (Terrence Jones) 8:00 p.m. on TNT
Friday: Memphis (Tayshaun Prince) @ Oklahoma City 8:00 p.m. on ESPN
Saturday: New Orleans (Anthony Davis, Darius Miller) @ San Antonio 8:30 p.m. on NBA TV
Sunday: Philadelphia (Nerlens Noel) @ Toronto (Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson) 7:00 p.m. on NBA TV

Arantxa King trains as coach Edrick Floreal looks on. (Jake Most, UK Athletics) Arantxa King trains as coach Edrick Floreal looks on. (Jake Most, UK Athletics)
Even before the 2013 fall collegiate athletics season gets under way later this month, the wait is over for Kentucky fans ready for live sports action featuring Wildcats. The IAAF World Championships begin in the Russian capital on Saturday and UK will be well represented.

Current volunteer assistant coach and two-time Olympian Arantxa King will jump among the world's best athletes inside Luzhniki Stadium. In addition to King, three former Wildcats are also entered in the biennial track and field meet.

King will jump in Group B of the qualifying round, which gets begins at 11:20 a.m. ET. Select events will likely be broadcast on a delayed basis on NBC from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

King, a Stanford alumna who serves as a volunteer assistant coach at UK working with the jumps and sprints groups, will compete for Bermuda. She is coached by UK head coach Edrick Floreal, himself a former Olympian and World Championships competitor.

King boasts a broad array of major championship experience having competed in the past two Olympic Games despite just having finished her decorated NCAA career in 2012. 

She missed the 2012 Olympic long jump final last year in London by one spot and less than a centimeter on a tiebreaking procedure. King's top mark from three qualifying round attempts of 6.4 meters (just under 21 feet) tied her with Veronika Shutkova for the 12th and final spot in the final, but the Belarusian's second-best mark of 6.21 was 0.01 centimeters better than Kings'. 

King is coming off a silver medal at the 2013 Central America and Caribbean [CAC] Championships in Mexico last month. King owns an all-time personal-best long jump of 6.57m and a wind-legal best of 6.5m. Her 2013 seasonal-best is 6.45m.

The Boston area native comes from a family of top-class athletes. King's father Adrian is one of the best cricket players in Bermuda history. He represented the Bermuda national team as its top fast bowler and Arantxa's mother Branwen Smith-King also represented her country as a Pan-Am games level thrower.

Should King advance, the women's long jump world championship final is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. 

Former Wildcats Descend on Moscow

A number of former Wildcat athletes will also be competing over the course of the World Championships, which run from August 10-18.

Mikel Thomas, who won the Trinidad and Tobago National Championship in June, will represent his nation in the 110m hurdles. Thomas' fellow former Wildcat and countryman Rondel Sorrillo will also represent T&T in the 100m and 4x100m relay.

Jenna Martin will compete for Canada as part of the 4x400m relay pool. Martin was slowed by a hip injury for much of the season and did not qualify for Canada in the 400m.

Collin Cowgill has been waiting a long time for his first full-time opportunity in the big leagues.

The former Kentucky All-American spent his first four professional seasons with Arizona, earning a spot on the Diamondbacks' postseason roster after a dominant season in Triple-A. The next year, he appeared poised to start after being traded to Oakland, but was squeezed out of a starting role by other offseason acquisitions.

Before 2013, he was acquired by the New York Mets, who named him their starter in center field early this spring. Leading off for the Mets on opening day, he did not disappoint.

In an 11-2 win, Cowgill had a pair of hits in five at-bats. The first was a fourth-inning double (he later scored) and the second was a grand slam to left that turned the Mets' game against the San Diego Padres into a laugher. Here's video of his third-career major-league home run.



Former Cat Scott Downs named Angels' closer

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Among former Kentucky student-athletes, there are many Wildcats with better known names than Scott Downs. However, there are far fewer better at what they do than the 11-year MLB veteran.

Downs, 36, has cemented himself among the best left-handed relievers in baseball, posting an ERA of 3.09 or better in each of the past five seasons. In 2011, he had the best year of his career, winning six games with a miniscule 1.34 ERA out of the bullpen for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Downs, an All-SEC performer at UK in 1997, has once again been impressive in 2012, allowing just five hits and zero runs in his first nine appearances. Downs contended with an ankle injury earlier this month, but is now healthy and for the first time in his career, has been named the closer for the Angels in place of Jordan Walden.

In his first opportunity after winning the job, Downs tossed a scoreless ninth inning to salt away a 2-1 victory against Cleveland. Here's video of the final pitch:



An end-of-season look at UK in the NBA

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NBA-Logo.png It has quickly become a rarity to turn on an NBA game and not find a former Kentucky Wildcat on the floor.

Sixteen former Kentucky Wildcats finished the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season on NBA rosters, which ties UK with Duke for the most of any school. Nearly half of the league's teams - 13 to be exact -  feature a player who used to don the Blue and White and exactly half of the 16 teams to make the playoffs will field at least one former Wildcat.

With six more talented Cats looking to be drafted this June, that number will climb yet again, but before then, let's reflect on another season in the books for UK players in the NBA:

Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics)
Season averages - 11.9 points, 11.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 steals

Even with the infusion of talent since the beginning of the John Calipari era, Rondo remains the face of UK in the NBA. Rondo has evolved from a bit player on a championship team to an All Star who perennially leads the Celtics to the playoffs, and that's exactly what he did this season. He led the NBA in assists per game, averaging double-digit dimes for the second straight season.

He has been the subject of trade rumors for much of the past two seasons - like pretty much all of the Celtics' nucleus - but has only solidified his spot as arguably the best combination of passing, rebounding and defense that the NBA has to offer at the point guard position. In spite of sitting out three of Boston's final four games, he ended the season on a ridiculous streak of 24 consecutive games with 10 or more assists, most since John Stockton had 29 in a row for the Utah Jazz in 1992.

Rondo was also the only player in the NBA to post more than one triple-double this season, leading the league with six such performances. Among those triple-doubles was an insane 18-point, 20-assist, 17-rebound game in a win over New York, continuing his habit of posting some of the most unique lines in the NBA.

Rondo and the fourth-seeded Celtics will open the playoffs against the No. 5 Atlanta Hawks on Sunday at 7 p.m. on TNT.

John Wall (Washington Wizards)
Season averages - 16.3 points, 8.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 0.9 blocks


In his second season out of UK, Wall toiled once again on a struggling Washington team. The Wizards finished with the NBA's second-worst record, but they flashed some promise down the stretch, winning six straight and raising their win total from 14 to 20 in the process. Wall was spectacular, dishing double-digit assists in five of the six wins.

Wall's averages were about the same as during his rookie campaign, but he improved both his field-goal and free-throw shooting percentages. Perhaps most encouragingly, Wall started all 66 of his team's games after missing 13 due to injury a season ago.

Wall and the Wizards will look to take another step forward next season, and they will look to begin that improvement in this June's draft. They stand the second-best chance of winning the Anthony Davis sweepstakes in the draft lottery.

DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
Season averages - 18.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.2 blocks


Cousins showed improvement pretty much across the board in his second season. He posted career bests in nearly every statistical category and is even in the conversation for Most Improved Player honors. He ranked among the NBA's top rebounders and finished the season on a tear, scoring 29, 32 and 23 points over his final three games. Like the Wizards, the Kings will look to get an impact player in this year's draft after finishing the year 22-44.

Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons)
Season averages - 12.8 points, 3.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds


Knight showed why the Pistons picked him high in last year's NBA Draft, ranking among rookie leaders in scoring, assists and minutes played. He saw the floor in 65 of 66 games this season, starting 59. He showed himself to be a capable scorer and passer at times this season and is expected to be a cornerstone of Detroit's rebuilding process alongside big man Greg Monroe.

Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons)
Season averages - 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists


Now 32, Prince turned in another solid season after resigning with the Pistons this offseason.

Patrick Patterson (Houston Rockets)
Season averages - 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds


Patterson, coming off an injury in the offseason, took a little while to get going for the Rockets, but settled in and turned in an encouraging season. He took on an enhanced role in his second season, playing nearly seven more minutes per game and attempting nearly three more field goals a game. While rebuilding, Houston has opted to hold on to Patterson even while being active on the trade market. He will push for a starting role this summer.

Jodie Meeks (Philadelphia 76ers)
Season averages - 8.4 points, 2.4 rebounds


For the second season in a row, Meeks was Philadelphia's primary starter at shooting guard, draining 97 3-pointers as the Sixers' shooting specialist. He closed the season out strong, averaging 21 points over his final two games, including a 27-point outing against his former team, the Milwaukee Bucks.

Meeks and the 76ers will top-seeded Chicago in the first game of the playoffs on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Enes Kanter (Utah Jazz)
Season averages - 4.6 points, 4.2 rebounds


Kanter stepped into a deep Jazz frontcourt as a rookie having not played a competitive game in over a year-and-a-half, but still dug out a rotation spot on a playoff-bound team. He played over 15 minutes per game, showing the strength around the basket and rebounding ability that made UK fans so eager to get him on the floor in Rupp Arena. Impressively, he finished his first season shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and had his first career double-double in the final game of the regular season.

The eighth-seeded Jazz will take on No. 1 San Antonio beginning on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Chuck Hayes (Sacramento Kings)
Season averages - 3.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists


Hayes parlayed a career season in 2010-11 into a contract with the Kings, who were looking for him to provide a steady veteran presence on an otherwise young team. After starting most of the last two seasons with the Rockets, he stepped into a reserve role, helping to mentor Cousins in his breakout season. He served as a captain in his first season with the team.

Eric Bledsoe (Los Angeles Clippers)
Season averages - 3.3 points, 1.7 assists, 1.6 rebounds


Injury kept Bledsoe out of the lineup for essentially the first two months of the season, as he played double-digit minutes just once before March. He played more often in that month, but it wasn't until April that he emerged as an effective backup for Chris Paul. He averaged over 16 minutes a game in April along with 5.6 points, 2.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds.

He figures to play a significant role in the Clippers postseason run, which begins against the Memphis Grizzlies at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Josh Harrellson (New York Knicks)
Season averages - 4.0 points, 3.8 rebounds


In January, Harrellson had carved out a role for himself on the Knicks, but then sustained a wrist injury that kept him out for six weeks. He returned to a slightly diminished role, but to a team that was playing much better basketball. He played double-digit minutes just twice in April before the final game of the season, but that's when he scored a career-high 18 points.

His Knicks will open the playoffs as a seven seed in one of the most anticipated series of the first round, taking on the Miami Heat beginning on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Nazr Mohammed (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Season averages - 2.7 points, 2.7 rebounds


Mohammed has a well-defined role as a big man for the Thunder who provides between 10 and 12 minutes per night. He doesn't carry a heavy scoring load and is called on to defend and rebound when he is on the floor.

He'll be asked to do the same as Oklahoma City takes on the Dallas Mavericks - the team that knocked out the Thunder a season ago - in the first round of the playoffs. Game one is at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Daniel Orton (Orlando Magic)

Season averages - 2.8 points, 2.4 rebounds


Orton played the first minutes of his NBA career early this season, but it wasn't until All Star Dwight Howard went out with a back injury that he saw major playing time. He played at least 10 minutes in all but two of the Magic's final 10 games and had a career game against the Cavaliers on April 15 when he had 11 points, five steals, four rebounds and three blocks.

Orton figures to see plenty of action as Orlando takes on Indiana in the first round of the playoffs beginning on Saturday at 7 p.m.

DeAndre Liggins (Orlando Magic)

Season averages - 1.9 points, 0.9 rebounds


Liggins played in 17 games this season, all after February 20. He had career highs of 26 minutes, seven points and four rebounds in the final game of the regular season.

Jamaal Magloire (Toronto Raptors)
Season averages - 1.2 points, 3.3 rebounds


Magloire appeared in 33 games this season, making one start.

Kelenna Azubuike (Dallas Mavericks)

Season averages - 2.3 points


Azubuike fought his way back into the NBA after injury, signing with the playoff-bound Mavericks in March. He didn't appear in a game until the final week of the season, but scored seven points in the final one against the Hawks.

The Mavericks begin the postseason against the Thunder on Saturday at 9:30 p.m.

It didn't really sink in for me until this morning, but the end of the 2011-12 athletics year is not far off. I guess I probably should have realized it at the CATSPYs on Monday or with finals just around the corner, but for me it took seeing that this weekend is our first without a home event since Christmas.

Anyway, that's all to explain why it's been somewhat of a quiet week around here. Of course, baseball, men's tennis, softball and track and field all have their postseasons ahead, but things are starting to slow down a bit.

This morning is not without news though, so here are a few notes for your Thursday:

  • After the best regular season in school history and an undefeated run through Southeastern Conference play, it's perfectly appropriate that the men's tennis team should dominate the conference awards announced on Thursday. Eric Quigley, the senior who is the top player in school history, was named Player of the Year, while Dennis Emery won Coach of the Year. Quigley was also named First Team All-SEC and was joined by teammates Anthony Rossi, Alex Musialek and Panav Jha. Tom Jomby was a second-team selection. Congratulations to all the Wildcats on these honors. Now, we look ahead to May 1, when UK will learn its path in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Another Wildcat got some excellent news yesterday, as baseball's freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino was named to the USA National Team. He is the first UK player to earn a spot on the team since 1999 when Chad Green did it.
  • Learfield Sports released updated standings in the annual Directors' Cup, which recognizes the top-performing athletic departments in the nation. On the strength of great performances by men's basketball, rifle, women's basketball and swimming and diving, UK ranks 23rd in the final winter standings, just eight shy of the top-15 goal set forth by Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart.
  • John Wall (21 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, seven steals) and Jodie Meeks (27 points) each helped lead their teams to victory last night as the NBA regular season approaches. All 16 playoff spots have been locked up, so we now know the following former UK players will be playing in the postseason: Kelenna Azubuike (Dallas Mavericks), Eric Bledsoe (Los Angeles Clippers), Josh Harrellson (New York Knicks), Enes Kanter (Utah Jazz), DeAndre Liggins (Orlando Magic), Meeks (Philadelphia 76ers), Nazr Mohammed (Oklahoma City Thunder), Daniel Orton (Magic), Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics). Good luck to all nine Wildcats!


Recent Comments

  • Berdj Rassam: Booker will be a key part of whether or not this team will be successful this season. read more
  • Tom Moore: Since Tubby 98 and 2003-2004 team which should've won it all, Kentucky fans ( I am true blue ) have read more
  • John Mylant: Kentucky verses Kansas I am a UK fan but bringing this into perspective, this was just one of those games. read more
  • Catherine: We have the Blue Platoon and the White Platoon, I say we should name the rest team "The Closers"! read more
  • Sandy: Great game. I couldn't take my eyes off in the second half. Proud of all of you. I thought Epps read more
  • Jeff Schrembs: I just wanted to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to the parents, guardians, relatives, etc. of each of the players. read more
  • D.K. West: I am sooooooo ready for the Big Blue. I loved the effort of last years squad, especially in the tournament read more
  • Nah: Please can we run more than 2-4 offensive plays? As a spectator, I'm seeing the team gain more ground in read more
  • Paige Keller: Congratulations for all of your hard work. You deserve this award. You guys work hard to provide use with a read more
  • larry: our first test will be kansas read more