Basketball Season Coverage
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:
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) October 13, 2018
A better look at the video itself:
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) October 13, 2018
Whatever KyWildcatsTV makes, double it. Triple it. I get chills every time.
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?
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.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) October 13, 2018
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 12th, 2018 @ 7:00pm
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
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:
As you wrap up your work week and get nestled into your spot for Big Blue Madness, take a moment to read and/or watch our player profiles from the one-on-one interviews TJ Walker and I conducted last month, as well as the one-hour conversation from Coach Cal’s media roundtable discussion.
10 Things from John Calipari’s Roundtable – Mrs. Tyler narrowed down Coach Cal’s roundtable to 10 things to know.
John Calipari Roundtable Transcript – If you have some time on your hands, read every word Coach Cal said.
Tyler Herro – Herro explained why he chose Kentucky over Wisconsin and the backlash he’s received from Badgers fan. He also talked about his breakout week in the Bahamas and the pressure of being the fan favorite.
Keldon Johnson – Johnson opened up about his recruitment and how he and his dad disagreed about Kentucky. We also learned how he feels about being ranked behind Duke’s RJ Barrett in the class rankings, and what that first game means on November 6.
Immanuel Quickley – Quickley explained how a trip to Egypt with Coach Cal and Team USA sealed the deal with Kentucky, the favorite in his recruitment from the start.
Ashton Hagans – Hagans’ recruitment was a whirlwind, with a de-commit from Georgia and then a jump up to a new class. He told us all about it.
EJ Montgomery – Did something happen with EJ Montgomery and the Duke commits at the McDonald’s game? He said no, but the video suggests otherwise.
Reid Travis – Reid Travis’ path to UK is unique. He told how it came to be and what it’s like being the “old head” in the Wildcat Lodge.
Sophomore Nick Richards – The GOAT opened up about last year’s struggles and how he is a much more confident player entering his sophomore year.
PJ Washington – Washington had a tough decision to make after last season and it came down to the wire on NBA draft deadline day. He told KSR what went into the decision and what he is doing to win a title and get NBA ready in his second year at Kentucky.
Quade Green – There is a new Quade Green in Lexington. Read to find out what’s different.
Jemarl Baker – Baker hasn’t played a basketball game in 18 months, but he doesn’t feel that he is behind the other guards in the UK backcourt.
Brad Calipari – Expectations are at a new high for Brad Calipari after he played first half minutes as a sophomore and in the Bahamas.
If you’d rather watch all of the videos, I created a YouTube playlist for your viewing pleasure:
By KSR on ©October 12th, 2018 @ 4:30pm
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 www.clarkmanship.com 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:
|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.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 12th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
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.”
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?
To celebrate the return of “The Greatest Spectacle In College Basketball Practice,” join me in reliving some of KSR’s favorite Big Blue Madness moments of the John Calipari era.
2009: The John Wall Dance is born
Legend has it, DeMarcus Cousins planned to do the dance first, but Cousins did not enjoy being elevated on the platform and wouldn’t let go of the handrails, thus paving the way for Wall to steal the show.
2009: John Calipari addresses his nation for the first time
My friends, we have an enormous mountain to climb. Tonight, we are at the base of that mountain. Other programs begin this pre-season returning the same coach, the same players, the same offense. . . they are miles ahead of us and half way up the mountain.
Our team, on the other hand, has a new system, a new style, new players, new coaches. . .almost everything is foreign and unknown.
But what we do have is a wealth of skill, energy and determination. if I have my choice between experience and talent, I’m taking talent every time.
2010: The UnderKanter appears
#FreeEnes, forever and always.
2011: John Calipari’s first Final Four banner is raised
He would go on to win his first national championship later that season.
2012: Rupp Arena floor transforms into projection screen
Kentucky basketball’s first practice began with an innovative new way to show video when the arena’s floor became a 92-foot projection screen, displaying a highlight reel video from the program’s past through present.
2013: Wham City Lights gets the crowd involved
Fans used their phones to illuminate the 2013 Big Blue Madness via an app that synchronized a pre-programmed cell phone light show with the arena’s music.
2014: Drake’s airball
It’s been four years and the internet still laughs at this.
2014: Calipari’s “Let’s ball”
Before his team won 38 consecutive games in 2014-15, Calipari dropped the mic at Big Blue Madness.
2015: The projection screen floor returns
The Rupp Arena floor transformed into a projection screen once again, with a little help from Drake and a glass of wine.
2016: Matthew Mitchell and the UK women’s team stole the show
What’s a Best of Big Blue Madness without Coach Mitchell? His intro in 2016 took some serious choreography.
2017: Kentucky Dad
Drake came back for another Madness and singlehandedly increased sales of the “Kentucky Dad” hoodie by a million percent.
We’ll find out tonight!
By Drew Franklin on ©October 12th, 2018 @ 2:00pm
Brad Calipari wants to be more than the victory cigar. He’ll never be a go-to guy or even a regular contributor at Kentucky, but he wants to play meaningful minutes and be more than the “Shooooooot!” guy at the end of the game.
Last year he saw real time that mattered: first in the first half of Kentucky’s home game against Texas A&M, and then again on the road at South Carolina. Both were very close SEC games, and he got thrown into the action before halftime.
“Being able to get first half minutes last year was nice,” he said in his preseason interview with KSR last month. “I wanted to work up from just getting in at the end of games, the less meaningful minutes. Being able to get in there and hold my own and show people I can get in there and keep the flow looking normal is always nice.”
“Then going into the games this year in the Bahamas and being able to show I can be out there too, it’s reassuring,” he added.
Calipari played in all four games in the Bahamas, highlighted by a three-pointer in the first game against the Bahamas national team.
Now going into his third year, his old man wants more.
“He expects a lot out of me, especially, he told me how much better I got from last year,” he said. “That was important for me to hear and I believe that I got better. Just knowing how hard I work consistently, it gave me confidence going into this year, especially these first practices… He’s been on me more this year in these 10 practices than he has the past two years.”
Considering he’s one of the oldest players on the team and has been around the program as long as anyone, there is no better player to ask about the new team. He sees a competitive bunch, more so than in his first two seasons on the team, and their hard work is producing results.
“It’s a lot more competitive spirit in this group, I think,” he said. “It’s a lot of hard work outside of practice; before, after, whatever it may be. A lot of these guys are spending time in the gym late at night, trying to get themselves better, so I think it’s another thing that’s important for individuals and for us as a collective unit.”