UK Men's Basketball

Cats receive shirts recognizing Meeks' UT performance

Three months after his record-breaking performance at Tennessee, Jodie Meeks and his teammates received commemorative T-shirts.

The Kentucky players wore the shirts before a workout on Wednesday. Since UK received the shirts from Nike within days of Meeks scoring a school-record 54 points at Tennessee on Jan. 13, the odd timing proved hard to explain.

When asked why the shirts sat boxed and undisturbed in UK's Joe Craft Center for three months, Nike representative Martin Newton said, "You'd have to ask Billy Gillispie about that."

Gillispie could not be reached for comment.

That Meeks and the players did not receive the T-shirts until after John Calipari became coach fed the perception of a strained relationship between Meeks and Gillispie.

More than once after Meeks scored 54 points at Tennessee, Gillispie made a point of noting that UK was not a one-man team. If invited to laud Meeks, he might turn the focus to teammate Patrick Patterson. But never vice versa.

The shirts, which Nike produced for the UK team and athletic department personnel "within two-three-four days" of the game, will not be sold commercially, Newton said.

The shirt has the word "Witness" on the front, borrowing the term of a LeBron James campaign. Nike also used the term for a campaign with Connecticut's women's team and Davidson's Stephen Curry-led NCAA Tournament run last year.

On the back, the shirt shows the progression of Meeks' scoring with a "1" for a free throw, a "2" for a basket and a "3" for a three-pointer.

"I like them," said Meeks, who noted his surprise upon discovering the shirts in the players' locker room on Wednesday. "... I really don't like wearing stuff like that, especially about me. But if the team really likes it, I'd do it. I don't want to be the only one not wearing it because we won and it was a meaningful night."

Calipari said Meeks' performance, which broke Dan Issel's 39-year-old school record, captured the imagination of his Memphis team.

"I loved that game for a lot of different reasons," Calipari said in a sly reference to the Memphis-Tennessee rivalry. "But I loved what I saw in how he played and the heart that he showed."

Calipari approved of the T-shirts being distributed.

"How many players can say they had that kind of night?" he said. "They were in a zone like that? So it was kind of neat, and I was glad the athletic department wanted to do it."Henrys to visit

Heralded wing prospect Xavier Henry and his brother C.J. plan to visit UK the weekend of April 25-26, the players' father said.

Xavier (pronounced Za-vee-ay) signed with Memphis. C.J. was a walk-on with the Tigers last season.

UK is the only school the brothers will visit, Carl Henry said. They have already seen the other two schools on their list, Kansas (their parents' alma mater) and Memphis.

"If it was me, I don't need to look (at UK), if I want to play for Coach Calipari," the players' father said. "They want to see the campus. They've heard a lot about it."

Carl Henry sounded eager to finish the recruiting process. When asked if the visit meant that UK was the leader, he said, "If it was me, definitely. My sons change their minds all the time."

Cousins signs

DeMarcus Cousins made it official by signing with Kentucky on Wednesday, the first day prospects can sign national letters of intent during a month-long period.

His high school coach from Mobile, Ala., Otis Hughley, confirmed that Cousins signed in New York City, where he went Wednesday to begin preparations for an all-star game in Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Using his cell phone, Hughley took a picture of Cousins signing. The coach said he planned to send the picture to Cousins' mother.

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