It is time once again for one of the best illustrations of the madness of Kentucky basketball, the annual Media Day in Lexington. All afternoon, reporters from all over the land will descend on Lexington to find out all there is to know about the UK basketball program and to get the insights they need to write stories to get us through the start of the season. In many ways, Media Day is a completely different affair than anything else in UK media land. Whereas the major reporters have all talked to Calipari multiple times by this point, there are some who have spent little time with the man. This will be their chance to ask the Coach about everything ranging from his time in Lexington, to how good John Wall really is to how his wife is enjoying the neighborhood. The entire day is a strange conglomeration of basketball insight and random occurrences, which makes it a perfect day for me.
I have been to the last two Media Days at UK and with that experience, I will predict for you how the day will progress:
12:30 pm: The official Media Day Lunch begins. This means one thing….an attack of the buffet line by the starving, free-lunch seeking media throng that is unlike anything you have ever seen. Two years ago, I decided that I would arrive to the event a bit late due to my work and get lunch towards the end of the hour set aside for the meal. Bad decision. When I got there, I saw the food trays basically eating and nothing left for those who had not shown up early. Fair enough. The next year I arrived on time, only to be greeted by a line of 50-70 sportswriters, collectively drooling on the food like lions waiting for Daniel in the pit. When the line began, I stepped back and watched the attacking throng and considered videotaping the proceedings for use on some wildlife show about the predatory nature of humans, but instead just set down and made jokes with Lachlan Mclain. It is quite a sight and if the regular menu is once again repeated (lasagna, salad with dressing and if you are lucky, green beans), then all bets are off.
1:30 pm: It is time to talk to the players. Truth be told, this is the one part of this day that I really enjoy. Chairs are set up all over the practice floor and each player sits in them awaiting media questions. When the door is opened, the same scene repeats itself. The media runs (literally) to the big names…like Patterson, Wall, etc. I on the other hand go and talk to those not being spoken to, who are eager to give good quotes and insight. “Why hello, Josh Harrellson…tell me about your Jorts.” These interviews always give me insight into these players and allows the masses to ask Patrick Patterson for the one thousandth time what John Calipari is really like.
Because you have an hour with the team, even these long-winded sportswriters run out of questions and drift off. Then you can wait until the end, and go talk to the stars again, this time without Jerry Tipton interrupting you to ask a re-worded negative question for the tenth time. It truly is great for everyone.
2:30 pm: Cal meets the media. Now obviously we havent had Calipari here before, but if Gillispie’s time was any indication, this part of the event will involve the media cramming into a room too small to handle the crowd and everyone taking turns asking questions that Calipari has answered in some form multiple times over the last six months. Alan Cutler will race to try and ask the first question before Tipton, Pat Forde will ask something about his past at Memphis, Chris Cross will wear an ugly sweater and ask something about his interaction with his players and a “lifestyle” reporter from a local tv station will ask about his petunias in his garden. I will also ask one question, just to feel special and will then be scolded about how I dont know anything and…no wait, that was only with Billy Clyde.
So there you go. That is a short run down of how the day will go. This year however, we will cover the day unlike any other. At 12:30, I will do a live chat from the Media room and get you ready for the festivities, including taking any questions about what may be going on (which will be very little). Then Beisner will man the ship while we talk to the players at 1:30….I will send him any breaking updates and he will keep it going on the site. You can also sign up for twitter site here and turn your text updates on, to get any interesting player news and quotes on your phone. Then at 2:30, I will do a LIVE BLOG of Cal’s comments, including all the questions and answers from the media. You will want to check it out.
After the day is over, we will have the final thoughts from the event and then go our merry way. All jokes aside, I do really enjoy the day and it gives great insight into the players, especially the new guys who will be meeting the media for the first time as UK players. Stay tuned, and join me in hoping our server can take the afternoon rush….if it goes down, we will communicate via Twitter throughout. It should be a fun day.