Big Blue Nation, meet Elaijah Mayhorn, a fifth-grader at Julius Marks Elementary School in Lexington. Remember that name, because there’s a solid chance you’ll be hearing from her at Kentucky press conferences and media opportunities in about a decade.
Or a year or two. Maybe a couple weeks, who knows. All I know is she’s coming for my job.
Mayhorn made a grand entrance at UK Media Day on Thursday afternoon, when she skipped her way into John Calipari’s press conference garnering Kentucky-blue ribbons in her hair and the most contagious smile you’ve ever seen. There was a sea of media members packed in the room like a can of sardines with lights and cameras, but the intimidating scene didn’t phase her in the slightest.
She took a seat at the KSR table off to the right side of Calipari’s podium, and we instantly had to know her story. But before we could even get a real question out, she turned around and introduced herself.
“Hi, I’m Elaijah,” she said.
I’m sitting by Elaijah from Julius Marks Elementary. She is very excited for her first media day as a kid reporter. pic.twitter.com/G5rGWhAfd7
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) October 11, 2018
There was my story. Forget any of the other madness we were likely to see throughout the day, I knew this girl was going to steal the show.
And she absolutely did.
Calipari got going, bantering back and forth with several reporters in the audience. He took a jab at Jerry Tipton by asking if it was Media Day or Coach Day, compared Rick Pitino showing up to practice to North Korea, and talked about being loopy due to his sleep deprivation, among other things. You know, the usual.
Like a seasoned veteran, however, Mayhorn waited for the first pause in the action to pounce. She raised her hand for the microphone and belted out a hard-hitting question, zero hesitation.
“What do you do when you’re given sass by the players?” she said.
“Sass? What is sass?” Calipari responded.
“Oh, very good question. What’s your name?”
“Okay, Elaijah, let me say what we do now because I have a team that talks — I want a team to talk. Like the biggest issue we have, they don’t talk enough. The problem is when they talk at the other team, that’s a problem. That’s an attitude.
“So we have a couple guys that start competing, and then they start jawing at each other. They start sassing, as you would say. So now we have attitude points. So if they’re competing and the score is 12-9 and Keldon scores and then starts to chest bump, boop, attitude point, the other team. Now it’s 13-10, and we keep playing.
“My job is every year to try — what is this team, what do they need from me. So to get them — I want them to talk to each other. I just don’t want them to talk to the opponent. Leave them alone. Very good question.”
Attitude points, eh? We haven’t ever heard of anything like that since Calipari arrived back in 2009. But a fifth-grader can walk in and dig up new information from the Kentucky head coach without thinking twice? Interesting.
After the press conference concluded, Calipari shuffled over to Mayhorn, knelt down, took a picture with her, and again told her how great her question was. He then talked to her parents in attendance, telling them she has talent and they should be proud of her.
“Yep, I have to follow this girl around when she talks to the players,” I said to myself.
And you better believe it exceeded expectations.
In the hour we had to talk to players, Mayhorn arm-wrestled Nick Richards, asked Quade Green what his hidden talent is, and talked to Ashton Hagans about his birthday gift for Keldon Johnson, among other gems. She was easily the most valuable reporter of the day:
Luckily, I got all of it on tape for your viewing pleasure.
Take a look at Elaijah Mayhorn’s reporting debut at UK Media Day:
And just like that, I need to pack my things and log-out for good. How can I compete with that?
This kid is a superstar.