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Guest post: Author Aaron Torres recaps his first Big Blue Madness experience


KSR’s friend Aaron Torres was back in Lexington this week to take in an exciting few days in Kentucky sports. Aaron joined us at our remote show Friday at the Kentucky Branded store to talk about his new book “ONE AND FUN: A Behind the Scenes Look at John Calipari and the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats.” While in town, Aaron had the chance to take in his first Big Blue Madness and took some time to reflect on the 2015-16 Kentucky basketball team.

Hello and good evening Big Blue Nation, this is Aaron Torres, and if you’re not quite sure who I am, or why the hell I’m posting on KSR, well, it’s ok. I completely understand, and please, don’t feel bad. My own mom calls me by the wrong name once or twice a week.

To start answering your questions, I’m an old friend of KSR, a guy who has done guest posts here before, and also made the occasional radio appearances with Matt and Ryan and as well. As a matter of fact, you may have heard me on there this past Friday, talking about my new book, “One and Fun: A Behind the Scenes Look at John Calipari and the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats.” For those of you who didn’t listen to the show, well first off, shame on you.

As for the book, well the book is exactly what it sounds like; a detailed look at the 2010 team, through interviews with Coach Cal, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Patrick Patterson and others. The book is available on Amazon, and KentuckyBasketballBook.com… a URL that is not only real, but made the KSR guys giggle when I said it. As Matt suggested, my next book might actually just be called “Kentucky Basketball Book.”

Anyway, with the weekend over, the team at KSR asked me if I was interested in doing a guest post similar to what I did last time I was in Lexington, giving an outsider’s look at Big Blue Madness, and a little bit on the NBA game Saturday night as well. Given that it was my first experience at each, the obvious correlation between Mr. Boogie Cousins and the book, and the fact that well, I once again had a blast during my time in Lexington, I figured it was an awesome idea. It was also an awesome way to wrap up a fun weekend.

So without further ado, here is “The Outsider’s Impression of Big Blue Madness.”

First off, Big Blue Madness is awesome. Anyone who says otherwise is an idiot:

So after arriving into town on Thursday I was surprised to learn that a lot people actually felt like the buzz for Big Blue Madness wasn’t quite what it had been in year’s past. Yes, there was still excitement. But the combination of a Thursday football game, the fact that fans could watch at home on SEC Network, and the simple reality that it’s really tough to top what the school has done in years past, left many feeling like the buzz was down compared to year’s past.

Well, all I can say is this: If that was a “quiet, downtrodden Big Blue Madness,” then I don’t want to see what a lively one looked like. Frankly, it was one of the single most fun sporting events I’ve ever attended.

Now, did it have the feeling of a big, regular season game? Of course not, but crap, not everything has to be life or death, you know? For one night a year it seems perfectly fine to do something for the fans, have a little fun, blow up a few fireworks indoors (I’m sure the fire marshal was thrilled with that) and use a basketball court as a big projector screen to show old basketball film.

Speaking of which, that last part — the video which played on the court — was my single favorite part of the entire experience. It also left me wondering “how the hell did they pull that off?” something that will likely leave me puzzled until the day I die. I will personally split an atom before I figure out how the hell UK athletics pulled that off.

Drake’s Introduction Was Really Creepy:

But it’s ok, it was all in good fun. Not to mention that when Drake called Coach Cal “The Silver Fox” it might have been the single funniest thing I’ve ever heard.

It also might have inspired my next book.

When I write the story of the 2015-2016 Kentucky Wildcats, I’m thinking a title to the effect of “Drake, the Silver Fox and a Bunch of Wildcats: A Behind the Scenes Look at the 2016 Kentucky Wildcats” sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

How about that Coach Cal speech, huh?

Personally I loved Coach Cal’s speech, and loved him referencing all the past and present players. It also made me realize “Good lord this dude has coached a lot of great players at Kentucky.”

More than that though, I can honestly say I was surprised by the reaction to the speech from others as well.

What am I talking about?

Well, as you may have read, as soon as Coach Cal ended the speech by asking “Who’s next?” the immediate response by just about everyone was, “Wow, that was the most thinly veiled recruiting pitch I’ve ever heard.” And to a degree, of course it was. When you have Harry Giles, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Gary Trent Jr. and others on campus, you’re going to sell the program. And what is a better sales pitch for a 17-year-old kid than to say “Come play where John Wall, Anthony Davis and Karl Anthony Towns did.”

At the same time, I honestly didn’t get the sense that the “Who’s next” quote was really aimed at the team’s future players, as the current ones.

Call me crazy, but to me that statement wasn’t so much a “Hey, come to Kentucky” pitch to Harry Giles, as much as it was Cal telling Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere (yes, I Googled that before I typed it) and everyone else on this current team, “Hey, this is ain’t going to be easy. And if you think I’m ramping down the expectations because we lost so many good players, think again.”

Again, it’s just my opinion.

But I honestly believe that was the angle Coach Cal was going for.

And I think it’s a message the players are going to learn the hard way in the coming weeks.

On the court, the biggest thing that stood out to me was…

(Image via @KentuckyMBB)

(Image via @KentuckyMBB)

This is going to be a really, really fun team to watch.

No, they won’t be the physically freaky, overwhelming group of MonStars they were last year, but at the same time, what they will be fast, aggressive and very up-tempo. This might not be the most talented group to ever play at Kentucky, but they will be fun to watch.

In a lot of ways, their style of play actually reminds me a little of the 2010 team.

(Hey, not sure if you heard, but there’s a new book out about that team called “One and Fun!”

Woops, sorry for being that guy.

Back to your regularly scheduled recap post).

Speaking of this year’s team, Jamal Murray is a beast:

I know Matt Jones has already laid down the gauntlet on Murray, saying he will be the best perimeter player at Kentucky since John Wall, and frankly from what we saw on Friday night, it’s hard to disagree. Watching him, I was amazed at how effortless everything looked; his ability to get to the rim, his shooting stroke, the way he finishes around the basket. Simply put, the guy doesn’t play basketball, so much as much as he glides around the court.

Oh, and one additional thought on Murray.

While I was on campus I got to briefly watch practice, and I believe that as excited as we are as fans to watch Murray, Coach Cal knows how good he can be as well. In watching practice I was amazed at how little “coaching” Cal did with Murray. It was almost like he treated him as a veteran, a guy that he didn’t need to go super tough on, and didn’t micro-manage.

Point being, I think Murray is going to be really good.

Like, “potential first team All-American” good.

A few quick thoughts on the NBA game: 

(Image via @KentuckyMBB)

(Image via @KentuckyMBB)

I’m just going to throw it out there: I didn’t pay a whole, helluva lot of attention to the NBA game Saturday night. I had a book signing before the event, and when I got into Rupp Arena, I was more concerned with the cold pasta in the media room than anything that was going on, on the court.

(Seeing Drew Franklin’s face as I scarfed down my fourth plate of tasteless, cold pasta may have been the highlight of my entire trip)

Of course with that said, I was impressed with a few different things.

First off, it was incredible the number of fans that were in attendance Saturday. Sure DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis were playing, but still, this was an NBA preseason game, following a long weekend for Kentucky fans after the football game and Big Blue Madness. Only there they were on Saturday night, out in full force. I don’t know if the game technically “sold out” but I can tell you that I didn’t see all too many empty seats either.

Furthermore, I continue to be amazed by how much this fan-base loves DeMarcus Cousins.

Look, I know its common sense to everyone reading this post that Boogie is the most beloved ‘Cat ever, but to me it’s simply amazing. Sure I thought he was “amongst the most beloved ever” but I also figured that a guy like Anthony Davis, who led the 2012 team to a title would be in the conversation as well.

Only, with all due respect to Davis, it’s not even close. When I walked through Rupp Arena Saturday I was surprised how many people were wearing Sacramento Kings gear, and in general just supported Boogie.

As a matter of fact, as I leave Lexington, that also reminds me of one of my single favorite memories of the entire trip.

While I was doing a signing on Saturday night, I was making small talk with one an older woman (she had to be in her 70’s) when I asked her who here favorite Wildcat of all-time was.

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, she stopped browsing through the book, looked up, got a big smile on her face and said…

“Well Boogie, of course!”

To read more about DeMarcus Cousins, and the rest of his teammates at UK, pick up your copy of “One and Fun: A Behind the Scenes Look at John Calipari and the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats either on Amazon or at KentuckyBasketballBook.com.

To read an excerpt about DeMarcus and the team during their visit to New York, click here

Also, be sure to follow One and Fun on Facebook, or Aaron on Twitter for more updates. 

Article written by Maria Taustine

#BBN

16 responses to “Guest post: Author Aaron Torres recaps his first Big Blue Madness experience”

  1. L1C whore

    Very nice post. Better than a Johnathon Miller political rant.

    Aaron, thanks for being an asset to the BBN family.

  2. DerbyDemon

    What did you sing?

  3. cats paw

    Did the Card scrimmage air on an actual TV anywhere?

  4. question.mark

    Good read. KSR needs to hire this dude on full-time. Better then anything Bobby Raegan has ever posted…

  5. BigBlueBlowUpDoll

    One reason that King’s and Cousin gear was so abundant last night is because it was considered a home game for the King’s and only they could sell merchandise. My son wanted a Davis jersey and we quickly found out that the Pelicans weren’t able to sell due to it being an “away” game for them.

  6. Shawn Kemp

    Considering Drake is probably one of UK’s best marketing strategies, maybe not call him out in a super negative way on our program’s largest social media platform…

    1. Well...

      You obviously didn’t read the following paragraph…….

    2. Shawn Kemp

      You mean where it also reiterated that it “was creepy but ok”? Also, an ellipsis is just “…” no need to get carried away making up punctuation marks.

  7. Old Ball Coach

    I have nothing to offer other than whenever I see the name Aaron Torres I think of Eddie Torres (E.T. The Extra Testicle), the great character from Up in Smoke. Carry on…..

  8. Dan White

    We went to BBM for the first time, thought it was lackluster and mediocre compared to what we had seen in the past on the televised version. We didn’t hear the same wildness as the writer did. No where in the article does he mention that Drake got a cease and desist letter from UK after last year and the sheet across the floor with the footage has been used at least one year in the past (was the writer at least familiar with past BBM’s???). Also, please read your articles before putting them out there, as there were more than a couple mistakes. Otherwise it was awesome.

  9. Tim Ralston

    Wow. KSR actually found someone who is more arrogant and long-winded
    than Freddie Blowhard. Impressive. I’ll take Jonathan Miller *any day* over
    this big steaming pile of self-promotional pablum.

    1. CATandMONKEY

      Tim may have issues with his own ability to compose prose. Nice job with “pablum”, though. I actually prefer Miller’s articles to most of the usual fodder on here even though they generally exceed the 140 characters that appear to be the maximum for many in KSR’s readership.

      One would expect a bit of self promotion from a guy who just released a book. No reason to be offended nor surprised by such an action.

      Decent take of BBM from an outsider’s perspective. If I recall from 2010, Aaron came from perhaps a UCONN background? Perhaps not.

      Arrogant, is the guy who comes on to criticize with zero credentials or reasoned opinions.

  10. Grayson

    The problem with bbm is that the fanbase is wanting to get their first look at the men’s team following the epic 2014-15 season. But Half of it is a boring hour of the women’s team. God bless MM, but people weren’t camping out to see the your team. Go to memorial and do your thing.

  11. The Loco Pollo

    Torres conveniently failed to mention that he’s a UCONN fan/grad.

  12. well well well well well

    Aaron, you rely heavily on the word “well” in your writing style. I noticed it within the first two paragraphs of your article. Using control+f, I found 12 instances of the word.

    Also, while you use commas correctly, you use an absolute ton of them and that can lead to awkward phrasing. Didn’t finish the article because of these two things. Not trying to be a jerk or anything, just giving you some feedback. Glad you enjoyed madness!

  13. BallEater

    Two season tickets available at face value…Sec 228, Row W, Aisle seats… text 812-390-8016.