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Basketball Season Coverage

WATCH: 2018 Big Blue Madness Player Intros

WATCH: 2018 Big Blue Madness Player Intros

We had a feeling this year’s group would dance, and we were right. Enjoy tonight’s player introductions courtesy of our eye in the sky, Jack Pilgrim.

Here’s the intro video, which was played on the court:

A better look at the video itself:

Whatever KyWildcatsTV makes, double it. Triple it. I get chills every time.

PHOTOS: The Cats arrive on the Blue Carpet

PHOTOS: The Cats arrive on the Blue Carpet

The Kentucky basketball team showed up in style (and least I think that’s in style) for Big Blue Madness 2018.

And though it looks like some of them got dressed in the dark, their entrance drew a lot of attention outside.

Who was the best dressed of the bunch?

John Calipari’s 2018 Big Blue Madness Speech

John Calipari’s 2018 Big Blue Madness Speech

Big Blue Nation! Wow, can you believe this is my 10th madness? It seems like just yesterday I was walking out in front of the greatest fan base in the country. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous because I knew the responsibility I was undertaking to sit in this seat and lead the greatest tradition in the history college basketball. This stage, this court, this is the greatest of them all.

To think about the coaches who have been in this seat – Adolph Rupp, Coach Hall, Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith – and to think about the players who have put on that uniform – Dan Issel and Kenny Walker, Jack Givens and Jamal Mashburn, Cotton Nash, Kyle Macy, Pat Riley and so on – it’s heavy stuff. I knew that in 2009 just as I know now: This is the greatest job in the country.

But let me say this: It may feel like yesterday, but one look at me and you can tell what it’s done to me. (LOOK UP AT SCREEN AT PICTURE OF CAL AND ELLEN). You people have beat me up. For some reason, it hasn’t affected Ellen. But I’ve aged in dog years!

In recent days, there have been a lot of stories about us entering the 10th year of this. How much longer will he go? How much does he have left in the tank? When will he retire?

I’ll be honest with you, at one point I thought 10 years was enough for me. Coach Hall told me that it’s a 10-year job, and I believed him.

But when I look at this team and I look at this group, it makes me want to keep going. I wake up every day excited to coach my team. I may look one age, but I can tell you that these guys make me feel like I’m 30 again. Having the opportunity to coach Brad and seeing him grow as a player and a man is something I’ll never forget.

I’m excited about this team because every one of the guys have goals and aspirations beyond Kentucky. They’re driven and wired to earn their opportunity and they all have a burning desire to win and be the best team in the country.

They’ve accepted the challenge of playing here and they’ve accepted the challenge of playing against each other. At Kentucky, you take what you want. I’ve had special teams here at Kentucky – some of the best that have ever played this great game. One has won the national title and four have been to the Final Four, but they’ve all grown and developed over a small period of time. They’ve all been special to me.

Each team and each player sacrificed and worried less about numbers and more about efficiency. They all sacrificed, yet they all gained. It took other teams a while to establish that culture. I’m proud to say this team has it today.

The question becomes how good do these guys want to be? And why settle for any ceiling as a team? Why settle for any ceiling as an individual player? Every player here is coached the same whether you’re a 7-footer like Anthony Davis or Karl Towns or you’re 5-9 like Tyler Ulis.

We’ve had players average less than 10 points and go in the lottery. We’ve had the number one player in the draft average 21 minutes per game. We’ve had a player – and I’ll tell you his name – Devin Booker, come off the bench and be a lottery pick. And not just be a lottery pick, but score 70 points in an NBA game. He tweeted, “Coach would you have started me on Senior Night?” Think about what those guys sacrificed for the team, yet gained for themselves. You learn how to be a great teammate and you learn what it means to be a servant leader here.

As we get into this, we’ll have to teach these young men not only how to deal with success but to deal with personal and collective failure. We’ll have to teach them how to deal with pressure and everything that comes with representing Kentucky basketball. These guys want to be coached. That’s why they came here. My job will be to keep them focused on progress and how to stay in the moment, so we can all have fun as we go through the grind of the season.

I respect these players and I tell them that. I respect each individual on this team. One, they chose Kentucky, which is the hardest place to play basketball. No program has more scrutiny and no program has a bigger following. There’s no hiding here. Two, they’re held accountable. They are responsible for their own performance. They’re going to be challenged by the coaching staff and by each other DAILY. Three, for this to work, you have to be about your teammates more than yourself. It takes a special player to take on this challenge and each one of these players has.

When this is over and they look back, I want them to see this as the greatest time of their lives, where they become a family in every true sense of the word because of what they’ve been through together.

We have some very special members of our family here tonight. The great Adolph Rupp began this tradition and tonight we’re going to celebrate 1948, 1949 and 1951. The first three banners that started it all. Come on out here guys.

Big Blue Madness LIVE BLOG, sponsored by State Farm Agent Tiffany Thacker

Tiffany Thacker State Farm is much like this year’s Kentucky Wildcats and we are giving the entire state of Kentucky a reason to stand up, be proud, and cheer!  We are beating competitor’s rates every day, again like this year’s Cats are beating their opponents!! You’ve picked a winning team in the Wildcats, now pick a winning team in Tiffany Thacker State Farm! We’ve teamed up with KSR because we only want the absolute best on our team! Let us save you money on auto, home, and life insurance!! We’ve helped Kentuckians from “Pikeville to Paducah” and our reputation, much like the Cats, speaks for itself!!

Located at: 3120 Pimlico Parkway Suite 138, Lexington, Kentucky 40517

Phone: 859-971-0266

Live Blog Big Blue Madness LIVE BLOG, sponsored by State Farm Agent Tiffany Thacker

Take an early peek at Big Blue Madness

Take an early peek at Big Blue Madness

You’ll soon see Big Blue Madness and all of its exciting moments on the SEC Network, but you can get a sneak peek right now here on Kentucky-Sports-Radio-dot-com.

Here’s a look at the stage where the Cats will dance during their introductions:

These ball racks tell me there will be a three-point contest:

Here’s a view from above:

The students arrived early to get the party going:

BBM Things To Know (Brought to you by Clarkmanship)

BBM Things To Know (Brought to you by Clarkmanship)

My name is Casey Clark, I’m the owner/operator of Clarkmanship. I built the stage and rustic KSBar table that you’ll see as soon as you walk in the door at KSBar. The KSR team has been very gracious in giving me the opportunity to build unique things for their various businesses and I would love to have to opportunity to build something for you. 

I specialize in dining tables, kitchen islands, coffee tables, and barn doors. But it doesn’t have to stop there. If you’d like to have something custom built, and tailored to your request, I want to be the guy that builds it for you. Visit IG: @clarkmanship Facebook: Clarkmanship Twitter: @Clarkmanship.

Thanks, Casey. You’re a talented builder. Our new KSBar stage is awesome.

OK, now let’s talk about Big Blue Madness a little bit more. (I’m talking to you, the person reading this. Not Casey.) Are you excited for a big night of basketball? You should be. It’s going to be loads of fun and this team is going to be loads of good.

Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming festivities:

Where can I watch?

You can watch on the SEC Network at 7 pm. ESPN’s Rich Hollenberg will be on the call alongside analysts Sean Farnham and Debbie Antonelli. You can get the broadcast on WatchESPN too.

Can I still go?

If you’re near the Lexington area, I don’t see why not. Tickets are still available on the secondary market for as low as two bucks a seat.

Are they doing that blue carpet again?

As a matter of fact, they are. The blue carpet entrance for celebrity guests and the teams will take place from 5:30-7 pm at the High Street entrance. There will be bleacher seating for fans.

But that’s in like an hour. Can I still see it if I can’t make it in time?

You’re in luck. The blue carpet special will air on select UK Sports Network affiliates:

Market Station (Time)
Bowling Green, Ky. WKBO (Live at 5:30 p.m.)
Hazard, Ky. WYMT/EYMT (Live at 5:30 p.m.)
Lexington, Ky. WKYT/CW (Live at 5:30 p.m.)
Louisville, Ky. WBKI (Live at 5:30 p.m.)
Paducah, Ky. WPDS (Live at 5:30 p.m.)
Regional Fox Sports South (Friday at 10:30 p.m.)

Will Drake be there again?

Drake will not be in attendance tonight, unfortunately, as he will be performing at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Don’t we have a little Drake exhaustion at Madness anyway?

Which recruits will be in attendance?

The three current signees — Kahlil Whitney, Tyrese Maxey and Dontaie Allen — will be on hand, as well as the No. 2 player in the class, Vernon Carey Jr.

Several elite high school sophomores and juniors will also make the trip to see what the UK hype is all about.

KSR Live Blog?

Of course. Talk to you then.

Can we talk about this quote about Tyler Herro’s defense?

Lost in the UK Basketball Media Day content avalanche is a quote from Coach Cal that, honestly, I had completely forgotten about until just now.

In speaking about his team’s defense, Calipari said Tyler Herro has been better expected, maybe even better than Keldon Johnson:

“Tyler is better than I thought defensively. I thought Keldon would be better than Tyler defensively. I’m not sure of that.”

Wait, what?

The assumption early on (and up until this big development) was that Herro’s defense is his weakness, while Johnson is the team’s lockdown defender on the wing. Johnson earned that reputation throughout his high school career and then on the big stage stage for his defense on Duke’s RJ Barrett in the final minutes of the McDonald’s All-American Game. Herro’s defense had always been considered a liability, even as recent as in the Bahamas, when he was doing everything else.

But now Cal is saying Herro might be better defensively? If that’s the case, my goodness. We already know how good he is offensively, but worried his defense may keep him on the bench in certain matchups. If he’s doing both, he’ll play as much as he wants.

It was a pretty shocking update out of the team’s recent practices. Now, do we believe it? Or was it Cal lighting a fire under Johnson to be even better?