Mitch Barnhart: “Today, the best want to stay here,”; CATSPY Awards winners

UK Athletics Photo

UK Athletics Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. – UK Athletics presented 38 honors at the 14th annual CATSPY Awards, held Monday in Memorial Coliseum to recognize athletic and academic performances during the 2015-16 year. With co-winners in some categories, a total of five teams and 26 individuals were recognized.

“We were dreaming big when we said we wanted to turn Kentucky into a destination program, one where coaches, students and staff sought to end up,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “Before that, UK was a stepping stone. We’ve succeeded in changing that. Today, the best flock here. Today, the best want to stay here. I’m proud of that.”

Guest post: Michael Porter, Trae Young could be dynamic package deal

Mohamed Bamba, left, and Michael Porter. (Olivia Prewitt Photo)

Mohamed Bamba, left, and Michael Porter. (Olivia Prewitt Photo)

Vaught’s note: High school junior Olivia Prewitt spent Saturday in Indianapolis at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. Here is one of her reports.

By OLIVIA PREWITT

INDIANAPOLIS — Meet the Mokan Elite duo, Trae Young, and Michael Porter Jr. Together they make a powerhouse. The two have previously announced they are pretty serious about making sure they end up on the same college team with each other — creating a package deal.

Top recruit Jarred Vanderbilt knows UK fans want him to be a Cat

One Kentucky fan knows where he hopes Jarred Vanderbilt goes to college. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

One Kentucky fan knows where he hopes Jarred Vanderbilt goes to college. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky is one of the schools pursuing 6-9 junior Jarred Vanderbilt of  Houston, who was in Indianapolis over the weekend with many of the nation’s best players for the Nike EYBL.

“He’s going to be really special at the next level,” Victory Prep (Texas) coach Rodney McCray, a former Louisville and NBA star, said of his high school star.

UK QB commit Mac Jones continues to impress

Mac Jones (Rivals.com Twitter Photo)

Mac Jones (Rivals.com Twitter Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Florida quarterback Mac Jones just continues to raise his stock, which is good new for Kentucky since he gave a verbal commitment to the Wildcats. However, it’s also bad news in a peculiar way because of the attention it continue to bring to Jones, who got an Alabama offer about two weeks ago.

He was named MVP of the Rivals Quarterback Challenge Camp in Baltimore over the weekend. He had already won challenge events in Orlando and Atlanta but the Baltimore competition brought together some of the nation’s best quarterbacks.

Nunley reaches 900 innings pitched, but UK loses 3-0 to No. 4 Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Senior pitcher Kelsey Nunley became Kentucky’s most tenured pitcher in program history on Sunday afternoon throwing her 900th career inning, surpassing prior record holder Keary Camunas (1997-2000) for the most innings thrown all-time at UK in a 3-0 loss to No. 4 Alabama on Sunday. Nunley becomes just the ninth player in the Southeastern Conference ever to throw 900 innings in a career.

Nunley pitched 3.1 innings in the loss, allowing just three runs on four hits, walking one and striking out one. The Soddy Daisy, Tenn., native made just two mistakes in the game, allowing two home runs, with one to Leona Lafaele and Chandler Dykes.

Recruit Gary Trent gives UK “NBA” endorsement

By LARRY VAUGHT

How impressive is John Calipari’s recruiting? So impressive that recruits continue to sell the program for him.

Shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. of Minnesota, a top 10 player in the 2017 recruiting class, was in Indianapolis for the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League along with many of the nation’s top prospects. Kentucky coach John Calipari was one of many coaches in Indianapolis.

Trent has a Kentucky offer and is scheduled to attend Big Blue Madness in October after making an unofficial visit to UK last season.

He gave media members a few quotes about UK that Calipari had to love.

Wesley Woodyard joins us on WLAP at 9:30 today to talk “Changing Lives One Putt at a Time”

By LARRY VAUGHT

Wesley Woodyard was not only a terrific player at Kentucky, but he was also a terrific individual.

That’s why it really is no surprise that he is still giving back to others even though he’s now a linebacker for the Tennessee Titans.

The 16 Ways Foundation Charity Golf Tournament (Changing Lives One Putt at a Time) will be May 23 at 11 a.m. at the University Club of Kentucky. Woodyard is the co-founder and chairman of the organization.

No. 4 Alabama powers past UK 7-1

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide scored five times in the bottom of the sixth inning in a one-run game to power past the No. 11 Kentucky softball team 7-1 and even the series at a game a piece on Saturday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium in front of a season-high 3,580 fans.

Kentucky scored its lone run in the top of the sixth inning as freshman slugger Abbey Cheek tallied up her team-leading 47th RBI of the season, scoring Sylver Samuel who led off the inning with the first of her two singles on the day.

Squires’ 7th-inning hit salvages 5-4 walk-off win over Arkansas

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Needing a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to salvage the series, sophomore catcher Troy Squires laced a single in the right-center field gap, scoring Riley Mahan from second base in a dramatic come-from-behind, 5-4 walk-off win for the Kentucky baseball team on Saturday in the third game of its Southeastern Conference series against Arkansas.

Assistant Steve Clinkscale had big impact on four-star player’s commitment to UK

By LARRY VAUGHT

New Kentucky secondary coach Steve Clinkscale had a major impact on Ohio four-star recruit Tyrell Ajian giving his verbal commitment to UK Thursday.

Ajian had offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and others but told Curt Conrad of Richland Source, an online community news organization serving the citizens of north central Ohio.

“He was a huge part of my decision,” Ajian told Conrad. “I liked the way he talked to me even when he was at Cincinnati (as a coach). He told me he could help make me a better player.”

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