This time a year ago, Greg Ferrucci was in a situation familiar to many young adults struggling to find their way. He had tried his hand at one line of work but had decided to make a career change and was trying find a job in that field. In short, he was trying to figure out which direction to take his life.
What happened next was completely unforeseen.
Ferrucci placed a call to Kentucky head diving coach Ted Hautau to ask for a reference for a job application. Hautau was willing to provide the reference, but he offered him something more: a chance to come to the University of Kentucky on a diving scholarship.
As a result of that unexpected phone call, Ferrucci is now a standout diver at UK. He is coming to the end of a historic season that has seen him become the first Southeastern Conference Male Freshman Diver of the Year in school history. He is also on scholarship with a chance to earn a degree from a top university.
"I think it really gave him a great opportunity," Hautau said. "It kind of gave him a direction. It's been a blessing for him because he has a chance to get a college education. I'm excited as much for that as I am for our program."
It may not sound like it, but Hautau's offer was more than just a shot in the dark. Before rising to the college coaching ranks, Hautau was Ferrucci's youth diving coach in Huntersville, N.C., beginning when Ferrucci was 11. Hautau saw immediately that Ferrucci had a chance to be very good.
"I realized he had real potential," Hautau said. "I had taken him very slowly when I coached him in club because of that. We spent a great deal of time on the basics to make sure he had a good foundation."
However, Ferrucci had an accident in competition at the 2006 US Open when he hit the board, a nightmare scenario for any diver. After that, Ferrucci was out of diving for a year to recuperate. Right around the time that Ferrucci was returning, Hautau accepted a position with North Carolina State. Ferrucci made the decision to give up diving shortly thereafter.
His diving career seemingly behind him, Ferrucci graduated from high school in 2008 and attended cosmetology school. He completed the one-year program, but diving was something he just couldn't toss aside.
"Throughout the year I was in cosmetology school, I would go in and dive just to play around and see my old teammates and coaches," Ferrucci said. "They were always a big part of my life and good friends of mine."
Ferrucci worked in a salon for approximately six months after finishing his training, but it just wasn't for him. He heard from friends about an interesting opportunity that would allow him to dive again.
"I knew some people who were in the performing business and worked with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines," Ferrucci said. "They told me about their newest ship, the Oasis, having a diving show on it."
Ferrucci made an audition tape and received notice that Royal Caribbean was interested. Eventually, they called back in March of 2010 and requested a resume and references. When it came time to decide whom to list as a reference, Hautau was the perfect choice. The conversation went in a direction that neither expected.
"Mid-conversation while we were talking about some of my old experiences with diving, he was like, 'Do you want to come to Kentucky on a scholarship?' " Ferrucci recounted. "That completely shifted my life and I decided to go for it."
Hautau's recruiting pitch was a bit different than the one he was accustomed to delivering.
"I jokingly said, 'Why don't you come get some school paid for and get a college degree and you don't have to get sea sick when you're diving?' " Hautau said.
During that same recruiting season, UK had been involved with a number of the top divers in the nation but was unable to sign any of those top prospects.
"We were excited that we got some of the best recruits to come in and look," Hautau said. "The team was still in the rebuilding phase and we just didn't end up landing those top kids. That all worked out perfectly. I'm glad because I think I got the best one of the bunch."
To some, the way things ended up may seem lucky. Others may chalk it up to innovative recruiting and scouting by Hautau. Hautau, though, looks at it a different way.
"To be honest with you, I give credit to God," Hautau said. "It's providential. It's God's hand moving."
As talented as Ferrucci was, there were no guarantees things would end up working out as they did. Even though Ferrucci almost instantly leaped at the chance to go on scholarship, he did have a period during which he got "cold feet" because of how quickly things came together. Eventually, though, a trusting relationship with Hautau reassured him.
"He's always kind of been an inspiration in my life," Ferrucci said of Hautau. "He's a great guy. We didn't stay very close when I quit diving but we would catch up every once in a while. He's definitely like a father figure. I could talk to him about anything, not just diving."
Particularly with the way Ferrucci was coming to UK, Hautau recognized special attention would need to be paid to ensuring a smooth transition to college life. For that reason, Ferrucci came to UK for summer school to ease him into a new routine.
"I told (head swimming coach) Gary (Connelly) this kid is really talented, but what you didn't know was how he was going to adapt to school," Hautau said. "That first year is pretty challenging. We decided to bring him in for summer school and I think that was a really good move as far as him getting used to going to school. It got him familiar with our academic support program and got him in the habits of the team."
Another benefit of his early arrival was that Ferrucci hit the weight room seriously for the first time since giving up diving in high school.
"(The weight room) really significantly changed his body," Hautau said. "If you look at him from when he came in to where he is now, it's unbelievable. He really has bought in and worked hard and that's a credit to him."
Once he set foot on campus, Ferrucci was 100 percent devoted to capitalizing on the opportunity afforded him, which is evidenced by all of his hard work. Ferrucci is more mature than a typical freshman and also has real world experience that most college athletes lack. Hautau says that experience has honed his focus.
"He comes in as a pretty mature freshman," Hautau said. "He was out in the real world and it has really made him appreciate being in a university, so he's going to take advantage of it. He has more of a purpose about him."
Picking back up a complex and dangerous sport like diving as readily as Ferrucci has is really quite amazing, but Ferrucci talks about it as if it is as simple as riding a bicycle.
"Part of me will always be a diver no matter how much I try to push it away," Ferrucci said. "It's always there in the back of my mind. I guess just working on it for a while it all comes back."
At his first meet against Indiana, Ferrucci won the three-meter event. His initial success only served to motivate him further.
"It kind of sparked something in me," Ferrucci said. "I thought, 'I really am getting back into this pretty well,' so I kept working hard."
Hautau lauds Ferrucci's mental fortitude as the biggest reason why Ferrucci has been so consistent in his freshman season.
"The most impressive thing has been his head," Hautau said. "He has competed very well and I've been really impressed. Being off that long, you're going to have some practices where things are just not clicking. When things aren't clicking in diving, you're not able to make certain skills and you're crashing. He has a real ability to not panic and not worry. He's been faithful and confident that everything would fall into place."
Things have indeed fallen into place for Ferrucci. The freshman finished in third place on the platform at the SEC Diving Championships a couple of weeks ago, the second-best finish in the event in school history. He also finished in fifth in the one-meter dive and seventh in the three-meter.
His ultimate goal of qualifying for the NCAAs March 24-26 in Minneapolis, Minn., is still ahead of him, but already Ferrucci ranks in the top three all-time scores in the platform (second), three-meter (second) and one-meter (third) in school history.
Hautau said that Ferrucci will face some of the best diving competition the NCAA has even seen, but that he has the ability to rewrite the record book at UK.
"He's on pace to set some records here at UK as far as scores," Hautau said. "Making NCAAs is going to be tough, much less scoring there, but if he stays on pace and stays steady, we'll see what happens. I won't make any predictions but he's going to try to be the best diver that has even been here."
He certainly makes the case for the most unique path.
Men's basketball - The Wildcats went 2-0 on the week, earning wins over Mississippi State and South Carolina as Terrence Jones recorded back-to-back double-doubles in the wins. - Brandon Knight recorded his 11th 20-point game of the season against Mississippi State, a UK freshman record. Knight scored in double figures for the 21st straight game against South Carolina, marking the longest streak since Jodie Meeks had 32 straight in the 2008-09 season. - The Wildcats extended their home-winning streak to 32, the second-longest streak in the country. UK is 31-0 at Rupp Arena under John Calipari. It's the second-longest streak for a UK coach in Rupp Arena behind Rick Pitino's 33 straight home wins in 1992-94.
Women's basketball - Kentucky went 1-1 in its two SEC road games last week, rebounding from a tough loss at Georgia on Thursday to chart a monumental win at Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon. UK defeated the Commodores 80-71, marking its first win in Memorial Gym since 1986. - Five Wildcats scored in double figures sparked by 22 points from Keyla Snowden. The sharp-shooting junior nailed four 3-pointers while dishing out a team-high three assists in her first start since Jan. 19. Snowden has hit 52 three-pointers this season which moves her to eighth on UK's single-season list.
Softball - UK captured the Garnet and Gold tournament at Florida State to improve to 8-2 overall on the season, which matches the best start to a season in school allure. - Junior Brittany Cervantes made history for UK with home runs in three consecutive at-bats. Cervantes led the offense with a .625 batting average, which included a 4-for-4 day in the championship win over FSU. - Junior pitcher Chanda Bell matched her own single-game record with 15 strikeouts in a win over Georgia Southern. She now has 25 games in her career with 10 or more fanned batters.
Baseball - The baseball team opened its 2011 season as part of a three-game weekend in Charleston, S.C., falling to No. 20 College of Charleston, Marshall and Miami (Ohio). - Kentucky got a sterling starting pitching performance on Sunday vs. Miami (Ohio) from junior Alex Meyer, who tossed a career-high seven innings, allowing only three hits and one earned run, while striking out a career-best 13. Meyer was the hard-luck loser in the 3- 1 loss to the RedHawks, with the go-ahead run scoring on an error. - The Wildcats were held to a .181 batting average on the weekend, playing a host of newcomers and first-year starters. Sophomore catcher Luke Maile led the Wildcats at the plate, batting .364 (4-for-11) with a double and two RBI. Kapteyn batted .250 (3-for-12) with a double, a homer and three RBI. Senior shortstop Taylor Black belted his first career triple to spark a run-scoring opportunity for the Wildcats in Sunday's game.
Gymnastics - The gymnastics team posted a 49.4 on vault against the No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes for the highest vault score in school history. UK was led on the event by senior Phylicia Reshard, who posted a career-high 9.95, becoming only the sixth gymnast in school annuals to post a 9.95 or higher on the event. Every Wildcat scored above a 9.85 on vault as UK had the top five scores on the event. Senior Andrea Mitchell notched a season-best 9.85, while Colleen Williams earned a career-best 9.85. - UK also earned its highest overall team score of the year when it scored a 195.05 against the Buckeyes. Kentucky defeated Ohio State on vault and uneven bars to post the high score. - Junior Storey Morris posted a 9.825 on bars for her highest mark of the season, earning her event honors. Freshman Audrey Harrison also had a great meet for Kentucky, scoring a career-high 9.775 on floor and a 9.65 on balance beam.
Men's tennis - The men's tennis team wasted no time getting back on the winning track after falling to No. 5 Texas, posting a dominating 4-1 victory over No. 14 Texas Tech. Kentucky was flawless in doubles action to grab the doubles point and then continued its strong play into singles, scoring wins from senior Alberto Gonzalez, junior Eric Quigley and freshman Tom Jomby. Kentucky is now 5-0 this season when it wins the doubles point. - UK followed its win over Texas Tech with a 4-2 victory over No. 29 Washington. The victory over No. 29 Washington was the sixth win this season for the Wildcats over a top-50 ranked team. - No. 79 Anthoyn Rossi was the clinching point for the Wildcats against Washington when he scored a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win over Tobi Obenaus at No. 5 singles. The native of France has been impressive for UK this season with a 6-2 dual-match record.
Swimming and diving - The swimming teams wrapped up the SEC Swimming Championships on Saturday in style with six swimmers turning in times that rank in the top 10 all-time in program history. Senior Chatham Penrod now owns the top three 100 backstroke times and the top time in the 200 backstroke. - Combined with the diving unit, the Kentucky women finished in seventh place with 236 points and the Kentucky men finished in eighth with 199 points.
Women's golf - Senior Ashleigh Albrecht closed out the UCF Challenge with an even-par 72 and earned co-tournament champion honors. As a team, the Cats turned in their lowest 54-hole total of the year last Tuesday with a 17-over par 881. The score put the Cats in fourth place in the 17-team field. - Albrecht's first-round 6-under par 66 is the second-lowest individual score in program history and the Cats' first-round score of, one-under par, 287 is the second-lowest team score in program history since records began being kept in 1987-88.
Women's tennis - The women's tennis team picked up its first two wins of the season with a doubleheader sweep of Miami (Ohio) and Eastern Kentucky on Saturday. - After dropping the doubles point, the Cats took down the RedHawks 4-3 to get the doubleheader off on the right foot. In the second billing UK defeated Eastern Kentucky without dropping a single match or set, winning 7-0.
Monday, Feb. 21 Men's golf at Mobile Bay Intercollegiate (Mobile, Ala.)
Tuesday, Feb. 22 Baseball at Morehead State - 2 p.m. Men's golf at Mobile Bay Intercollegiate (Mobile, Ala.)
Friday, Feb. 25 Softball vs. Memphis • Noon (Stanford, Calif.) Softball vs. Colorado St. - 2:10 p.m. (Stanford, Calif.) Baseball hosts Illinois-Chicago - 4 p.m. Gymnastics hosts LSU - 7 p.m. Track and field at SEC Championships (Fayetteville, Ark.)
Saturday, Feb. 26 Women's tennis hosts Indiana - 10:30 a.m. Baseball hosts Illinois-Chicago - 1 p.m. Men's basketball hosts Florida - 4 p.m. Softball at Stanford - 4:30 p.m. (Stanford, Calif.) Softball vs. UC Davis - 9 p.m. (Stanford, Calif.) Rifle at GARC Championships (Oxford, Miss.) Track and field at SEC Championships (Fayetteville, Ark.) Swimming and diving at Last Chance Meet (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Sunday, Feb. 27 Softball vs. North Dakota State - noon (Stanford, Calif.) Baseball hosts Illinois-Chicago - 1 p.m. Women's basketball at Auburn - 2 p.m. Gymnastics vs. Nebraska/Iowa/Bowling Green - 3 p.m. (Lincoln, Neb.) Women's golf at Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate (New Orleans) Track and field at SEC Championships (Fayetteville, Ark.)
If Kentucky wanted to solve the recurring problem of poor play in the final minutes of close games, this was the way to do it. UK never let it get close, scoring the game's first 15 points, leading by double digits the final 35:34 and by 20 or much more the final 28:21 en route to the 90-59 victory over South Carolina on Saturday.
For the game against South Carolina on Saturday, DeAndre Liggins took his turn coming off the Kentucky bench. It agreed with him. Liggins, who had made five of 17 shots (one of eight from three-point range) the previous two games, contributed 11 points to UK's 90-59 victory.
We're down to the final four now, the final four games of the regular season when a team wants to make its final push, to get things right on the freeway to the post-season. And for the first 20 minutes Saturday, and for much of 40, the Cats played some of their best basketball of the entire campaign.
To hopefully continue on his hot streak, Miller said he and his teammates just have to bear down and focus as best as they can. It's been a long season, he said, but the hard part begins as soon as the regular season ends.
OK, parents. How far would you go to support the endeavors of your kids? For Robin and King Dunlap IV -- whose daughter, Victoria, will soon depart the University of Kentucky as the best women's basketball player not named Valerie Still ever to play at the school -- that answer is literally thousands upon thousands of miles.
Rod Strickland noticed it the moment John Wall stepped on the basketball court for his first practice at the University of Kentucky. Coaches, players and fans were well aware that Wall had arrived in Lexington as the top high school recruit, but Strickland could tell through the first set of drills that although Wall possessed a lot of swagger he wasn't content to rest on his reputation. Even before he was told to take the reins, it was clear Wall was a leader.
On the night he arrived in the city where he trained before the Washington Wizards drafted him No. 1 overall, Wall was presented a challenge by Orlando Magic all-star center Dwight Howard at the celebrity pool tournament hosted by Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. Howard dared anyone to get on the stage and show who could do the best rendition of the popular dance, the Dougie. Boston Celtics reserve Glen "Big Baby" Davis joined Wall and several others in a Dougie dance-off, and Wall was fairly confident about who came away the winner.
Brandon Gainer, TB, Kentucky: The weight room has been good to Gainer, who's bulked up to more than 215 pounds. He was pushing to play last season, but was slowed by injury. With Derrick Locke gone, the Wildcats need Gainer to make a move next season.
Kentucky improves to 7-2 overall on the year, while Georgia Southern drops to 4-6 overall. UK will now move onto the Championship game of the tournament will face Florida State for the second time in as many days.
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Feb. 13:
Women's golf: Ashleigh Albrecht
Led Kentucky at the UCF Challenge to its second-lowest team round in program history since records began being kept in 1987-88.
Shot an opening-round, bogey-free, 6-under-par, 66, the second-lowest individual round in program history.
Eagled the par 5 seventh hole from 59 yards out.
Women's tennis: Megan Broderick
Went 2-1 in singles play over the week and is tied for the team lead with three wins in singles play during the spring season.
Went 2-1 in doubles play over the week, including a win while paired with freshman Khristina Blajkevitch over the No. 13 doubles tandem in the country.
Swimming and diving: Lisa Faulkner
Earned a career-best score on the three-meter board (347.60).
Holds the second-best score on the three-meter board in UK history (347.60).
Finished in fourth place on the three-meter board.
Finished in the top nine on all three boards at the SEC Diving Championships.
Swimming and diving: Greg Ferrucci
Named SEC Male Freshman Diver of the Year.
Earned career-best marks on the one-meter, three-meter and platform.
Holds the second-best score on the three-meter board in UK history (400.55).
Holds the second-best score on the platform in UK history (336.00).
Holds the third best score on the one-meter in UK history (378.50).
Finished in the top-seven on all three boards at the SEC Diving Championships.
Men's basketball: Terrence Jones
Averaged a double-double on the week.
Recorded his league-leading eighth double-double of the season against Tennesssee.
Tied season high with four blocks against the Vols.
Tallied team-high 25 points at Vanderbilt.
Has scored in double-figures in four straight games and 16 of his last 17 games.
Softball: Emily Jolly
Freshman Emily Jolly was the lone true freshman to start all five opening weekend games for the Blue and White when she made five starts at second base.
In her first career game, she had a two-run single to help upset No. 22/24 Ohio State.
Matched a single-game UK record with three doubles in UK's victory over DePaul, a feat only achieved by one other player in school history.
She also plated a pair of scores in that outing, including driving in the game's final two runs in the eighth inning to help UK secure a comeback from three down to defeat the Blue Demons by a 6-3 final margin.
For the week, she batted .308 with four RBI, three extra-base hits and a perfect fielding percentage, which included eight putouts and eight assists.
Men's basketball: DeAndre Liggins
Scored in double-figures in back-to-back games for the second time this season.
Tied career high with 19 points against Tennessee while recording career-high five steals.
Had an efficient shooting night by making 5-of-6 field goals and 7 of 8 at the foul line.
Posted ninth double-digit scoring effort against Vanderbilt.
The Wildcats are 8-1 when Liggins scores in double-figures.
Softball: Sam DeMartine
Sam DeMartine helped UK go 4-1 to start the season, which included a run-rule five-inning upset of No. 22/24 Ohio State in the opener.
UK has now defeated a top-25 ranked team in the season opener in two straight seasons.
DeMartine's RBI single in the top of the third proved to be the only offense UK would need to defeat the Buckeyes.
For the week, DeMartine led the team with a .462 batting average and a team-best two home runs.
One of her bombs led a three-run comeback effort to down DePaul in extra innings when she hit a solo shot in the top of the seventh to begin the rally from three back.
Her two runs scored against the Blue Demons is a career high.
She led the team for the weekend with two multi-hit games.
Teamed with Erika Silence for the first back-to-back home runs of the season in the win over Ohio State.
The three home runs against the Buckeyes matched a school record for home runs in a single game.
Women's basketball: A'dia Mathies
Averaged a team-high 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in UK's two games last week.
Hit 48 percent from the field and 87.5 percent from the free-throw line in two games.
Scored a game-high 16 points in UK's first win over LSU in Lexington since 1994.
Also charted a game-high four steals and two assists in the win. Her second assist fed Brittany Henderson who scored the game-winning field goal with 1.1 seconds remaining.
Scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the decisive second half and at one point strung together seven straight points from the 8:38 mark to 6:01 remaining in the game, putting the Wildcats up 40-37.
Scored a team-high 16 points while recording seven rebounds and a game-high four assists against South Carolina.
Only Wildcat to score at least one point in all 25 games.
Has now scored in double figures 46 times in her career.
Track and field: Sharif Webb
Senior Sharif Webb grabbed a fifth-place finish in the men's 800-meter run with a time of 1:47.91 at the Husky Classic to capture his spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Webb's time locked in the Wildcats first NCAA automatic qualifying time of the season.
The senior narrowly missed out on surpassing his career-best time of 1:47.86, set last season at Notre Dame. His personal-best time currently ranks second on UK's all-time 800m list, only trailing David Freeman who ran 1:47.40 in 2003.
Webb returned to Kentucky this season as the Wildcats' only men's indoor All-America honoree a year ago and with his performance Saturday will have an opportunity to duplicate that run.
Men's basketball - Terrence Jones averaged a double-double on the week with 17.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks en route to being named SEC Freshman of the Week. - Brandon Knight went for 20 points against Vanderbilt, his 10th 20-point game this season. It is the most 20-point games by any UK freshman in school history. - Terrence Jones tallied his eighth 20-point game this season, tied for fourth among UK freshmen in program history.
Women's basketball - Kentucky snapped a two-game losing streak Sunday with a thrilling last-second win over LSU in front of a season-high 7,646 fans in Memorial Coliseum. A'dia Mathies found Brittany Henderson open in the paint with 1.1 seconds remaining, giving UK a 49-47 win over the visiting Lady Tigers. It marked UK's first win in Lexington over LSU since 1994. - Mathies recorded a game-high 16 points and four steals in the win, her third-straight game with 16 or more points. - All-America candidate Victoria Dunlap added 15 points, a team-high four rebounds and a game-high three blocks. She also had three steals, which moved her to eighth on UK's single-season list.
Softball - UK began its 2011 season with a 4-1 mark at the FIU Combat Classic which included an upset of No. 22/24 Ohio State on opening night. It marks the second straight season UK has began the year with an upset of a ranked opponent. - Freshman Emily Jolly set a UK single-game record with three doubles in a win over DePaul.
Men's tennis - The men's tennis team swept all three doubles matches to claim the doubles point and then continued its momentum into singles by claiming all six singles matches to take down No. 38 Miami (Fla.) 7-0. Kentucky also defeated Cleveland State 6-1 to complete the doubleheader sweep. - Kentucky was impressive in both matches, winning 11 of the 12 singles matches and all five doubles matches that were played Sunday. The Miami match marked the sixth time this year that UK has faced a top-50 team, with UK holding a 4-2 mark in those matches. - UK claimed the doubles point against both Miami and Cleveland State. The Wildcats are now 4-0 this season when they win the doubles point. - Junior Eric Quigley paced the Wildcats all week, winning three matches, including one over the 11th-ranked player in the country.
Track and field - Sharif Webb locked in UK's first NCAA automatic qualifying mark of the year, running the 800-meters in 1:47.91, Saturday at the Husky Classic in Seattle. - Webb was one of 10 Wildcats who claimed personal-best marks with at least one occurring at each of the three meets UK attended. In preparation for the conference championships that begin in two weeks, schools send split squads across the nation in search of the best competitions in each event area. Kentucky sent sprinters, jumpers and vaulters to the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., distance runners to the Husky Classic and mostly throwers to the Akron Invitational. - Shelby Kennard won the women's pole vault at the Tyson Invitational as the only athlete to clear 12-09.50/3.90 meters. The win marked Kennard's first during her young career and moved her up to second on UK's all-time indoor pole vault list. - Precious Nwokey came away with personal-best marks in two crucial events, the 60-meter hurdles and long jump, that will help her make a championship run in the pentathlon at the SEC Championships. Nwokey won the women's long jump on her first jump of 20-02.50/6/16 meters and moved up to fifth on UK's all-time indoor long jump list. The junior also set a personal-best time in the women's 200 meter with a time of 24.50.
Rifle - Newcomers Emily Holsopple and Henri Junghänel had standout performances in air rifle, leading the Kentucky rifle team to a 4675 total team score in the NCAA Qualifying Round, held on Saturday at UK's Barker Hall. - Kentucky shot the qualifying round on Saturday, along with in-state foe Morehead State. UK's 4675 total team score clinches a berth in the NCAA Championships. - Junghänel led the way in air rifle with a 595, while Holsopple contributed at 593 in air rifle. Heather Greathouse added a 582 in air rifle, with Ethan Settlemires and Logan Fox each tallying a 582 in air rifle. In smallbore, Junghänel led the team with a 584, with Greathouse totaling the second-best score on the club, a 582. Holsopple added a 579, with Fox contributing a 578 and Settlemires a 574.
Swimming and diving - Kentucky concluded a strong start to the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships with three to-seven finishes by freshman diver Greg Ferrucci and three top-nine finishes by senior diver Lisa Faulkner. Ferrucci was named the SEC Male Freshman Diver of the Year after the SEC Diving Championships finished Sunday evening. - Ferrucci now ranks in the top three all-time in UK history on every board, including the second-best mark on the three-meter board and the second-best score on the platform. - Faulkner's score of 347.60 on the three-meter board is the second-best score in school history.
Women's golf - The Kentucky women's golf team opened its spring season Sunday in Sorrento, Fla., at the UCF Challenge with the second-lowest team score in program history since records began being kept in 1987-88. Sophomore Ashleigh Albrecht led the way for UK with an opening-round, bogey-free 6-under-par 66. Albrecht's 66 is the second-lowest individual round in program history and put her in a tie for first after day one.
Women's tennis - The women's tennis team finished its opening road trip, which included five of its first six matches away from the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex, with a 4-3 loss to No. 31 Ohio State, 7-0 loss at No. 19 Northwestern and 5-2 loss at No. 53 Purdue. - Senior Megan Broderick and sophomore Jessica Stiles went 2-1 in singles play for the week, and Broderick was a part of two wins in doubles play as well.
Monday, Feb. 14 Women's golf at UCF Challenge (Sorrento, Fla.)
Tuesday, Feb. 15 Men's basketball hosts Mississippi St. - 7 p.m. Women's golf at UCF Challenge (Sorrento, Fla.)
Wednesday, Feb. 16 Swimming at SEC Championships (Gainesville, Fla.)
Thursday, Feb. 17 Women's basketball at Georgia - 7 p.m. Swimming at SEC Championships (Gainesville, Fla.) Men's tennis at National Indoors (Seattle)
Friday, Feb. 18 Softball vs. Georgia Southern - 10 a.m. (Tallahassee, Fla.) Softball vs. Middle Tennessee St. - 12:30 p.m. (Tallahassee, Fla.) Baseball at College of Charleston - 5 p.m. Gymnastics at Alabama - 8:30 p.m. Swimming at SEC Championships (Gainesville, Fla.) Men's tennis at National Indoors (Seattle)
Saturday, Feb. 19 Women's tennis hosts Miami (Ohio) - noon Softball at Florida State - 12:30 p.m. Men's basketball hosts South Carolina - 4 p.m. Baseball vs. Marshall - 5 p.m. (Charleston, S.C.) Women's tennis hosts Eastern Kentucky - 6 p.m. Swimming at SEC Championships (Gainesville, Fla.) Men's tennis at National Indoors (Seattle)
Sunday, Feb. 20 Baseball vs. Miami (Ohio) - 11 a.m. (Charleston, S.C.) Women's basketball at Vanderbilt - 2 p.m. Gymnastics at Ohio State - 3:30 p.m. Men's tennis at National Indoors (Seattle)
"It was magical," Jenkins said of a performance in which he equaled a career-high of six three-pointers. For Kentucky, it was magical only in the sense of yet another possible victory that -- poof! -- disappeared in the final minutes of a possession-by-possession game.
With a meager six-man rotation for the most part, Kentucky had been betting against long odds they would be able to avoid injury all season. But in Saturday's 81-77 loss at Vanderbilt, in the 24th game, luck finally ran out.
19. Dicky Lyons Jr. Remember when Lyons Jr. infuriated Rich Brooks by guaranteeing a road victory over Mississippi State in 2006? All Lyons Jr. did was go to Starkville, roll up 117 yards receiving and make a circus TD catch to spark the Kentucky victory that launched the turnaround of the Brooks era. Walking the talk is as righteous as sports gets.
The celebrity treatment is operating in full force for Tim Masthay. Masthay and his wife, Amanda, had just finished lunch at a Green Bay restaurant and were ready to settle up when they received a message from the restaurant's manager. "They told us lunch was on the house," Masthay said. "That was a nice little surprise."
Turnovers mean extra possessions. They mean extra chances to score, especially in transition. UK is averaging 25.5 points (23.3 points in SEC play) off opponent mistakes this season, which is a huge chunk of its offense.
The UK gymnastics team is asking the question; why have one head coach when we can have two? Technically, Heather Hite and Chuck Dickerson, the team's two coaches, are assistants, but they are the two who manage the team.
The Kentucky baseball team is tired of coming close. After back-to-back seasons where they finished a half-game out of the postseason the Cats are determined to make a return. "The past two years our goal was to make it to postseason and we came up a half-game short both times so this year we're hungry to get back," junior outfielder Chad Wright said. "I feel like if we play like we should we could win (the SEC) because we have a lot of experience back in our pitching staff."
There used to be a time when chicks didn't dig the long ball, ground-ball putouts were the norm and a 2-1 score was just another day at the park. Those times are resurfacing at Kentucky's baseball diamonds. For the Kentucky baseball and softball teams to succeed this season, it's going to come down to pitching.
On a day where a number of Kentucky track and field student-athletes excelled under the pressure of championship like fields and conditions, senior Sharif Webb rose to the top as he locked in UK's first NCAA automatic qualifying mark of the year, Saturday at the Husky Classic in Seattle.
Freshman Greg Ferrucci and senior Lisa Faulkner turned in another great performance Saturday on day two of the Southeastern Conference Diving Championships. Ferrucci earned a career-high score of 400.55 in the men's three-meter board prelims, the second best score in school history. Ferrucci's score of 400.55 broke his previous career high by nearly 15 points.
Softball: UK rallies for extra-inning comeback over DePaul (UKathletics.com)
The Kentucky offense found its rhythm for five runs over the final two innings in a dramatic comeback 6-3 victory over DePaul in extra innings to preserve its perfect record at the FIU Combat Classic in Miami late Saturday night. Trailing 3-1 going into the top of the seventh, UK rallied for a pair of scores to force extra innings before plating three runs in the top of the eighth to secure its third consecutive victory to begin the 2011 season.
Rifle - The rifle team rode a school-record team score to a 4696-4680 win over No. 1 West Virginia, clinching the 2010-11 Great American Rifle Conference regular-season championship on Saturday at UK's Barker Hall. - Kentucky completed an undefeated season in conference action with the win, besting the 2008-09 NCAA Champion Mountaineers, who also entered the match undefeated in league play and needing a win over UK to clinch the title. - With the win, UK has clinched its fourth all-time regular-season GARC Championship and its first since the 2008-09 season. - Kentucky's 4696 total team score eclipsed the school record set earlier in the year when the Wildcats totaled a 4691 win over Memphis in Oxford, Miss., on Jan. 21.
Men's basketball - The Wildcats dropped a 70-68 heartbreaker at Florida over the weekend. After falling behind by 13, the Cats battled back to take a one-point lead late in the game, but a last-second 3-pointer by Brandon Knight fell short. - UK hosts Tennessee on Tuesday. The Wildcats have posted a 160-51 (.758) record against SEC East teams since the league split into divisions in 1991-92. Kentucky is 5-1 in games following a loss this season. - John Calipari is 28-0 at Rupp Arena as the UK head coach. The Wildcats have the second longest home winning streak in the country at 29.
Women's basketball - Kentucky put together an impressive win over Auburn on Thursday for its seventh consecutive victory. The Cats defeated the Tigers 69-38 in Memorial Coliseum, marking the largest margin of victory in SEC play in school history. It also marked the first time UK has held an SEC opponent under 40 points in school history. - Sophomore Brittany Henderson led the winning effort with a career-high 13 points while also grabbing seven rebounds. - Senior Victoria Dunlap collected her second consecutive and sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. She has now eclipsed the 1,000-rebound mark (1,007), becoming just the second player in school history to chart more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career.
Gymnastics - Senior Andrea Mitchell took home the all-around title with a career-high score of 39.275 and the University of Kentucky gymnastics team posted season-high marks on balance beam and vault, but fell short in an upset bid at No. 22 Auburn 194.625-194.450. - Mitchell was spectacular for the Wildcats, scoring season highs on vault, uneven bars and beam to post a career-high score in the all-around. The all-around win for Mitchell was the first individual all-around title for UK on the road in the SEC since 2006. - Kentucky defeated Auburn on vault with a season-high post of 49.2 while also scoring a season-high mark on beam with a 48.375. UK took home event honors at three events with Jasmine Minion winning event honors on vault and Mitchell claiming honors on bars and beam.
Men's tennis - The men's tennis team could not repeat its historic upset last season against Virginia, losing to the top-ranked Cavaliers 7-0 in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. - Virginia, which boasts two top-10 ranked doubles teams and six top-105 ranked singles players, took control of the match from the beginning, winning the doubles point and all six singles matches. - Kentucky took two first sets in singles against the Cavaliers.
Track and field - The track and field team wrapped up competition at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet with a win by junior Walter Luttrell in the men's 5,000-meter run and placed six other student-athletes in the top six of their respective events on Saturday in Blacksburg, Va. - Luttrell secured his victory with a personal-best and SEC-leading time of 14:29.50 in the men's 5,000-meter run, claiming the Wildcats lone win of the day. The junior is now the two-time defending champion and record holder in the event at the VT Elite Meet, previously winning with a time of 14:41.65, Feb. 5, 2010. - Senior Mary Angell recorded her third consecutive top-six finish in the women's shot put with a throw of 50-07.25/15.42 meters. The senior's season-best mark of 51-01.75 currently sits second in the conference. - Junior Keith Hayes ran his second-fastest 60-meter hurdle race this season, in 7.82, approaching his season-best time of 7.80, which currently ranks ninth in the NCAA. - Freshman Kyron Joseph recorded two top-five finishes Friday, claiming fifth in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.82 and third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.58. Joseph was followed closely in the 200-meter by fellow freshman Kadeem Kushimo who grabbed fifth in 21.79.
Women's tennis - The Kentucky women's tennis team fell to No. 7 Michigan 7-0 on Saturday at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. - Kentucky will host Ohio State on Wednesday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center for its first home match of the season. Matches will begin at 1 p.m.
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Jan. 30:
Women's basketball: Victoria Dunlap
Averaged a team-high 21.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in UK's two SEC road wins over Ole Miss and Alabama last week.
Hit 52.9 percent from the floor and 63.6 percent from the free-throw line for the week.
Scored 16 of her team-high 18 points in the decisive second-half vs. Ole Miss.
Grabbed her 27th career and fifth double-double of the season vs. Alabama with a team-high 25 points and 15 rebounds.
It marked her sixth career 25-point and 15-rebound game, her first of the season.
With 43 points in the two games and 1,639 in her career, she moved up two spots to No. 3 on the all-time scoring list, passing Pam Browning (1,598 points from 1974-78) and Sam Mahoney (1,601 points from 2005-08).
With six steals and 274 in her career, she moved up to No. 3 on UK's all-time steals list, passing Patty Jo Hedges (271 steals from 1979-83).
Just three rebounds shy (997) of joining Valerie Still as the only two players in school history to pull down 1,000 rebounds in a career.
Swimming and diving: Lisa Faulkner
Won both events she competed in, the one- and three-meter dive.
Received a career-best score of 321.20 on the one-meter board.
Score of 321.20 on the one-meter board is the third best in program history.
Swimming and diving: Greg Ferrucci
Won both the one- and three-meter board competitions.
Has won the last six diving events he's competed in.
Recorded a career-best score of 368.85 on the one-meter board.
His score of 368.85 on the one-meter board is the fourth best all-time at Kentucky, bettering his previous best score of 362.25 which was then the fourth-best score all-time at Kentucky.
Men's basketball: Doron Lamb
Tallied game-high 19 points in helping lead Kentucky to 66-60 win over Georgia on Saturday.
Recorded 14th multiple 3-pointer game this season.
Hit two free throws late to help ice the game against the Bulldogs
Women's basketball: Jennifer O'Neill
Averaged 7.5 points off the bench in just 14.5 minutes per game in UK's two SEC wins over Ole Miss and Alabama last week.
Was critical in UK's win over Ole Miss, scoring eight of her 10 points in the final minutes. With UK trailing by two points with less than seven minutes remaining in the game, O'Neill hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Cats a lead they would not relinquish.
Also dished out a career-high-tying four assists vs. the Rebels.
Scored five points in 11 minutes off the bench in UK's win over Alabama.
Has made at least one 3-pointer in six consecutive games.
Swimming and diving: Chatham Penrod
Part of two Keating Aquatic Center record times.
Swam first leg in victorious 200 medley relay which set a KAC pool record time of 1:45.07.
Won the 200 backstroke by setting a KAC pool record with a finish of 2:02.63.
Beginning this week, we're going to start posting the UK Sports Report on the blog. The UK Sports Report is a weekly recap of UK's athletics events from the week before that we've typically handed out to the media, but from this point forward, we're also going to post it on here. I hope to have a slightly cleaner format next week and we'll likely post it on Mondays, but for now, here's the first online edition of the UK Sports Report:
Men's basketball - UK improved to 16-4 and 4-2 in the SEC with Saturday's 66-60 win over Georgia. Doron Lamb scored a game-high 19 points and was joined by Darius Miller (14), Brandon Knight (11) and DeAndre Liggins (11) in double figures. - Kentucky is 28-0 at Rupp Arena under head coach John Calipari. UK has won 29 in a row at home, beginning with the 2009 NIT game at Memorial Coliseum and continuing with the last 28 at Rupp. It is the second-longest active streak in the nation.
Women's basketball - Senior All-American Victoria Dunlap averaged a team-high 21.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in UK's two SEC road wins vs. Ole Miss and Alabama last week. Dunlap scored 18 points in the come-from-behind win over the Rebels, including 16 in the decisive second half. - Against the Tide, Dunlap paced the winning effort with 25 points and 15 rebounds, marking her 27th career and fifth double-double of the season. She also moved up to No. 3 on both the all-time scoring and steals lists at UK. - Junior sharpshooter Keyla Snowden came off the bench for 13 points after netting 4-of-5 3-point attempts. - Sophomore guard A'dia Mathies added 12 points and four assists in helping the Cats win their sixth consecutive game.
Gymnastics - The gymnastics team scored its highest team score of the year behind an incredible individual performance from senior Phylicia Reshard, who took the all-around crown, but the Wildcats fell just short to No. 3 Georgia 195.550-195.000. - Reshard was excellent for Kentucky on all four events, posting two career highs en route to earning Kentucky's first all-around title in an SEC dual-meet since 2007. She scored a career high on uneven bars with a 9.775 and beam with a score of 9.825. The senior also tied a career high on floor with a mark of 9.875. Reshard, who was participating as an all-around for only the second time in her career, scored a career high in the all-around competition with a 39.250 to take home event honors. - Junior Whitney Rose took home medalist honors on vault for the third time this season and the 12th time of her career. On floor, the Wildcats scored the top four scores with Reshard and fellow senior Jasmine Minion taking home event titles. It was the first career event title on floor for Reshard and the fifth of Minion's career.
Men's tennis - Senior Brad Cox outlasted No. 100 Danny Kreyman 15-13 in a second-set tiebreaker to seal No. 12 Kentucky's 4-0 victory over No. 22 Wake Forest, advancing the Wildcats to the National Indoors for the second consecutive season. UK defeated No. 42 Boise State 4-1 on Saturday. - With the win Kentucky earns one of 16 spots in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Men's Team Indoor Championships to be held in Seattle on Feb. 18-21. The appearance in the National Indoors is the second consecutive for Kentucky. Last year, Kentucky defeated Wake Forest 4-3 in Lexington to earn its first appearance in the round of 16 of the indoor or outdoor championships since 2005. - On the week, UK went 3-0 with wins over three teams in the ITA top 50. Individually, Kentucky was led by Cox and junior Eric Quigley. Cox went 3-0 with a win over No. 100 Kreyman to improve his season record to 6-0. Quigley was just as impressive, going 3-0 with wins over No. 45 Jonathan Wolff of Wake Forest and No. 62 Damian Hume of Boise St.
Swimming and diving - The men's and women's swimming and diving teams topped Cincinnati on Saturday but dropped races to Virginia Tech in a double dual meet among Kentucky, Cincinnati and Virginia Tech. - UK set five Keating Aquatics Center records throughout the afternoon. All four of UK's relays etched their names into the KAC record books and senior Chatham Penrod set a new clip in the 200 backstroke.
Track and field - The track and field team tabulated four individual victories and placed six others in the top five of their respective events, at the Rod McCravy Memorial Meet this weekend. - Precious Nwokey put together the best performance of her career, setting the school record in the pentathlon with 4,024 total points. The junior's score is currently No. 4 in the NCAA and No. 1 in the SEC, narrowly missing out an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 4,075. - Senior Sharif Webb won the 800-meter run. It was his first attempt at the event this season, finishing with a time of 1:50.59. - Sophomore Cally Macumber notched her first career victory in the women's one-mile run with a personal-best time of 4:48.70. Macumber earned All-SEC honors in cross country, indoor and outdoor track a season ago. - Freshman Julie Nunn picked up the first win of her young career, in the women's 400-meter dash with a time of 54.78. - In his final season in the blue and white, Keenan Hall won his first long jump title, landing in the pit 23-07.25/7.19m from the launching board. Hall was the only UK athlete entered into the event.
Tuesday, Feb. 1 Men's basketball at Ole Miss - 7 p.m.
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Jan. 16:
Women's basketball: Victoria Dunlap
Averaged a team-high 21.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.0 steals in UK's two SEC wins last week.
Recorded her 26th career and fourth double-double of the season with a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds against Mississippi State. She also added a game-high five steals and three assists.
Scored a team-high 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in helping UK secure its first conference win of the season over South Carolina. She also collected three steals and two blocks in the win.
Her 22 points vs. the Bulldogs moved her up to No. 5 on UK's all-time scoring list with 1,567 career points, passing Sara Potts (1,563 points from 2001-05).
Took sole possession of third place on UK's all-time double-doubles list with 26 career double-doubles, passing Josh Mills (25 from 1990-93).
Two blocks vs. South Carolina moved her up to No. 2 on UK's all-time list with 157, passing Valerie Still (156 blocks from 1979-83).
Has now scored 20 or more points six times this season, including three of her last four games.
Swimming and diving: Greg Ferrucci
Won the one- and three-meter boards against Alabama on Saturday.
Named SEC Male Diver of the Week for his performance against the Crimson Tide.
Set a new career-best score of 362.25 on the one-meter board.
Ferrucci's score on the one-meter board ranks fourth all-time at Kentucky.
Men's basketball: Terrence Jones
Came off the bench and broke the UK freshman single-game scoring record with 35 points against Auburn.
Shot 11 of 17 from the field, including a career -est four 3-pointers.
Also pulled down eight rebounds in the win.
Came off the bench in win over LSU and scored 17 points while pulling down seven rebounds.
Has scored in double figures in 10 straight games.
Men's basketball: Brandon Knight
Scored in double figures for the 11th and 12th straight games in helping lead UK to a 2-0 record on the week.
Along with his 13 points against Auburn, Knight also pulled down five rebounds and dished out six assists.
Hit a career-best five 3-pointers, going 5 of 7 from behind the 3-point line against LSU, scoring a game-high 19 points.
Also pulled down six boards in the win.
Women's basketball: Bernisha Pinkett
Averaged team's second-highest point total with 15.5 ppg in UK's two SEC wins last week.
Came off the bench to notch a career-high 18 points and four assists in a career-high 25 minutes of play in helping UK secure its first conference win of the season over South Carolina. Her previous high was 17 points vs. No. 12 Notre Dame.
Hit a season-high 72.7 percent, connecting on 8-of-11 attempts from the floor against the Gamecocks.
Dished out a career-high four assists vs. USC.
Followed that performance with 13 points in a reserve role vs. Mississippi State. Also added four rebounds and three assists in the win.
Has now scored in double figures six times this season.