Big weekend for the "smallest" of Wildcats

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

It was quite a weekend for three of UK's smallest athletes, who came up big for their respective Wildcat teams.

Pound for pound, has there ever been two tougher football Wildcats than Randall Cobb or Derrick Locke?  Without these two playmakers, Rich Brooks and Co. would not be bowl eligible for a school-record fourth straight season.

Officially, UK lists Cobb at 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds.  Locke goes 5-9, 190.  Neither has much business playing in the big boy SEC.  But both are extremely athletic, powerfully built and have guts, taking a pounding week after week in the best conference in America.

Cobb has been struggling with a bad thumb on his left hand, which has limited his ability to throw out of the Wildcat formation.  It's the reason he sat out the EKU game.

Locke barely avoided a career-ending knee injury, when he tore the MCL and ACL in his left knee two years ago, on a kick return against Arkansas.  Locke tore scar tissue in the same knee, keeping him out of the lineup last week's game against EKU.

Yet on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Nashville, Cobb and Lock absorbed more punishment and teamed up for nearly 350 all-purpose yards in UK's 24-13 win over Vanderbilt.  Cobb now has scored in his last six games.  Locke rushed for 144 yards on 25 carries, both career highs.

Locke now is UK's 15th all-time leading rusher with 1,565 yards.

The night prior, the John Calipari era began as his basketball Wildcats knocked off Morehead State, 75-59.  Subbing for John Wall, who had to sit because of an NCAA eligibility ruling, freshman guard Eric Bledsoe was sensational, scoring 24 points in 37 minutes.

Bledsoe's line included seven rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and a steal, all in his college debut.

His seven turnovers were a result of Wall's absence, Calipari said afterward.

The Birmingham native is generously listed at 6-foot-1, but from my vantage point, Bledsoe is more like 5-foot-11.  With arms and a game that remind some of former Wildcat Tony Delk, Bledsoe has an uncanny ability to get to the rim.

Against Morehead State, the defending OVC champs, Bledsoe played like Delk.  Nursing a 33-25 halftime lead, UK turned to Bledsoe.  He responded with a 22-point outburst in the final half, as the Cats gave Calipari his first win as UK's coach.

 Bledsoe's driving underhand flip shot even made ESPN's Top 10 Plays, checking in at number one.


Liggins could be back for Miami (OH)

When the basketball Cats take the floor against Miami on Monday night, DeAndre Liggins could see his first action of the year.  Speculation has swirled as to why the sophomore hasn't played in either of UK's two exhibition games or in the season opener.

A source has told me that Liggins has been sitting for a violation of team rules.  Coach John Calipari has dodged the question about Liggins' absence, saying only that he will never throw his players under the bus and that he prefers to discuss those who've played in games.

Liggins didn't even participate in warm-up drills prior to the Cats' game with Morehead State.

Liggins' short career at UK has been star crossed at best.  Coming out of Findley Prep in Las Vegas, Liggins was rated one of the nation's best guards, given his size (6-feet-6) and ability to play the point.  Ironically, it was in Vegas that Liggins refused to enter the lineup for then-coach Billy Gillispie.

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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