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KSR’s Favorite Moments From Big Blue Madness 2019

As the big screen comes down and the popcorn gets swept up here in Rupp Arena, the KSR staff sits alone on press row, ready to reflect on all the fun that just transpired at Big Blue Madness.

For the most part, it was more of the same we see every year at the greatest tradition in the history of college basketball practice; although, this year we were introduced to seven new members of John Calipari’s basketball team. We also saw the return of the 3-point and dunk contests of a year ago, as well as Coach Matthew Mitchell, the mayor of Big Blue Madness, taking everyone to the Old Town Road.

I’m sure you have your favorite moments from the evening; below you will find all of ours (“ours” being me, Jack Pilgrim and Zack Geoghegan):

Coach Mitchell’s best dance routine yet

Finally, someone appreciates real country music. Old Town Road was Matthew Mitchell’s secret weapon for his ninth consecutive BBM intro-dance. Shoutout to Mitchell for pulling out the song of the century and killing every second of it. I will now dress as country Matthew Mitchell for Halloween.

— Zack Geoghegan

Kentucky’s slew of elite recruits had a great time

After staying in the back through the first few segments of Big Blue Madness, Kentucky’s ten high-profile recruiting targets made their way across the Rupp Arena floor seconds before the UK men’s basketball team was introduced. Sitting immediately behind the Kentucky bench, Cade Cunningham, Terrence Clarke, Paolo Banchero, and Lance Ware received quite a bit of screen time, most notably when John Calipari was interviewed (2012 National Championship ring exposed for the world to see).

Clarke jumped behind the television camera yelling, “I’m next! I’m next!”

After the event came to a close, Ware wrapped his arm around Cunningham, with Clarke joking right alongside. Cunningham then stuck around and took pictures with fans for the next 20 minutes until a member of the Kentucky basketball staff ushered him to the back.

Kentucky has landed four prospects in the class of 2020 – top-five prospect Terrence Clarke, top-ten prospect BJ Boston, four-star forward Lance Ware, and four-star wing Cam’Ron Fletcher – and there are rumblings that the UK coaching staff is prepared to add at least two more by the time the fall signing period begins in November.

Will Cunningham be one of those additions?

— Jack Pilgrim

Calipari’s State of the Program address was directed at Cade Cunningham

Speaking of Cunningham, the No. 2 prospect in the class of 2020 got an earful from Calipari during his annual State of the Program Address. Every year, the Kentucky head coach has a “theme” in his speech, and this one was without a doubt intended for the 6-foot-7 point guard out of Arlington, TX.

In an interview with Corey Evans of earlier this month, Cunningham said a major factor in where he ultimately decides to commit is which coach can develop him into a max contract-level player in the NBA.

“I have just been very transparent with all of the coaches recruiting me and I don’t want to just make it to the league but rather, I want to be an all-star and a max contract guy,” he said. “I feel if you just shoot to make it in the league, that is how you sell yourself short, so just telling him that I want to be a max contract guy, that is a good goal to set.

On Friday evening, Calipari came out swinging during his speech, bringing up the seven former Kentucky players who have earned max deals and the $2-billion-plus all 38 of his drafted Wildcats have made as a collective unit.

Calipari wants the nation’s top guard to lead his team next season, and he sure said all the right things to make it happen.

— Jack

Bruce Buffer announced the player intros because why not

Bruce Buffer announcing the players and coaches was so unnecessary that it was actually brilliant. Who better to yell and scream at 20,000 fans than him?


Junior Nick Richards, a long lost Splash Brother?

Drew here, big Nick Richards fan, as you know. I’m expecting big things for Richards in the rare junior season for a McDonald’s All-American, and tonight he showed off a new outside shot that has Naismith Player of the Year voters salivating.

Richards hit not one, but two long balls in the brief scrimmage to conclude Big Blue Madness. Previous Big Blue Madnesses taught us to never overreact to what we see on this night, but I am overreacting and naming Richards a real weapon from the perimeter this upcoming season. Remember Jimmer Fredette at BYU in like 2011? Imagine that shot but from a big man who can protect the rim and finish lobs.

I’m kidding. (Kind of.)

— Drew

Kahlil Whitney’s outfit on the Blue Carpet

Brad Calipari will find comfort in knowing the team’s drip is in good hands without him.

— Drew

The real dunk contest happened during the scrimmage

While the actual dunk contest had its impressive moments – Kahlil Whitney jumping over three humans – and not-so-impressive moments – Ashton Hagans on just about all of his attempts (bless his heart) – the most fun dunks came during the scrimmage.

Whitney and Keion Brooks traded dunks on opposite ends of the floor, ranging from lob throwdowns, self-alley-oops, and windmill jams. Nick Richards and Nate Sestina each threw down several powerful reverses and windmills. Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley shined on breakaway dunk attempts.

There was little-to-no organized basketball during the actual “scrimmage,” but the dunks were entertaining.

— Jack

Rupp Arena debuts its “cafes”

Rupp Arena debuted its new catalogue of food options at Big Blue Madness, with the concession stands around the venue now officially being called “cafes.”

Some of the food – like the “Hunk A Pizza” from Hunt’s Pizza – remained the same, while other options such as the “Full Court Press,” “Kentucky Melt,” and “Hot Brown Nachos” made their debuts.

Drew described his Full Court Press selection – which included braised short rib, cheese, and toasted bread – as “a big piece of s**t between two slices of bread,” while my Hot Brown Nachos were incredibly delicious. Order with caution next weekend during the Blue-White Scrimmage. Eat the Hot Brown Nachos, avoid the Rupp Arena McRib.

— Jack

Lob City in Memorial Coliseum? 

Jaida Roper not only has the highest arching shot of any Wildcat, but she can also toss a pretty nice lob. Her floating pass to Rhyne Howard had Rupp Arena holding its collective breath for a slight second as shades of Candance Parker dunking shined onto the court. The 6-foot-2 Howard didn’t go up for the slam, but slipped in a slick reverse layup off the beauty from Roper.

— Zack

Blair Green went all 606

Gotta love that mountain pride!

— Drew

We got shooters on deck

Everyone knows that it’s more fun to shoot from as deep as possible, especially if it goes in. Nate Sestina drilled two threes from NBA range while Johnny Juzang also pulled one from Steph Curry’s land. If preseason scrimmages with zero signs of defense tell us anything, it’s that those shots will absolutely translate once November hits. We got some shooters.


The Kentucky cheerleaders are not human

The 24-time national champions make my muscles, brain, and organs hurt. How they manage to pull off some of the flips while being tossed directly towards the jumbotron is something I will never understand. I think I did a cartwheel once during my senior year of high school. The cheerleaders probably cartwheel out of bed every morning.

— Zack 

This team is going to be a lot of fun

I feel like we say this every year (because we do) and we are saying it once again: this is a fun group with great personalities. The new class on this team is especially fun, easily the best collection of personalities among true freshmen. They’re so outgoing and loving every single second of everything that is going on around them as they approach their first season at Kentucky. Tyrese Maxey hasn’t stopped smiling since he got to Lexington, Kahlil Whitney is living his best life at all times, and Johnny Juzang and Nate Sestina are right up there with them in personality. We still don’t know how this team will do on the basketball court, but it’s clear the fan base won’t need long to fall in love with this group off of it.

— Drew

Go Cats.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

19 Comments for KSR’s Favorite Moments From Big Blue Madness 2019

  1. KYjellyRoll
    11:00 pm October 11, 2019 Permalink

    Lordy mercy this could be my favorite group

  2. StuckinLville
    11:12 pm October 11, 2019 Permalink

    Zack if u think that’s real country music, you must be smokin crack. Song is terrible.

  3. KATastrophe
    11:38 pm October 11, 2019 Permalink

    The Kentucky Cheerleaders: 24-time NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. Got that? Incredible! It’s not just the players we’ve got going on here….

    • KYCat4EVER
      12:04 am October 12, 2019 Permalink

      Right on KAT… been playing that card on BigTen, PacTen, ACC, and Big 12 fans for years… we are UK…

      GO BIG BLUE!

    • mashburnfan1
      12:45 am October 12, 2019 Permalink

      Is amazing to be so good for so long, this is the true UK dynasty. They get the top participants and turn them into titles. Shame this does not get more National attention. 24 time champs and 4 in a row, I don’t care what competition you are in that is an incredible thing to do.

  4. TheBigjMan55
    11:43 pm October 11, 2019 Permalink

    This team is having fun

  5. lexattorney
    1:15 am October 12, 2019 Permalink

    Without at doubt, this team is going to be fun! I can’t wait for this year’s run to the Elite 8 (Calipari’s ceiling)!

    • runningunnin.454
      7:17 am October 12, 2019 Permalink

      Missed a few years, didn’t you? Must have been out chasing ambulances.

    • catsarerunnin
      7:53 am October 12, 2019 Permalink

      Or strippers in Louisville.

    • 4evrUKBlue
      8:04 am October 12, 2019 Permalink


    • 4evrUKBlue
      8:05 am October 12, 2019 Permalink

      Or he’s still living in the Tubby years.

  6. UKLugo
    7:55 am October 12, 2019 Permalink

    And Cal harped on the family aspect more than normal too. Seeing how our main competition for Cunningham is his brother at OK St I gotta believe that was directly aimed at him as well.
    All in all I think Cunningham left feeling very wanted and important.

  7. RealCatsFan
    9:58 am October 12, 2019 Permalink

    Notice that we put on a great show without resorting to strippers or money guns.

  8. RealCatsFan
    10:25 am October 12, 2019 Permalink

    I hate to be the one who says it, but just going by the dunk contest it doesn’t look like Ashton has NBA level athleticism. At least in regards to elevation. Hope I’m wrong!

    • KentuckyVSEveryone
      5:37 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      I think he will be fine. There are a lot of PG in the past & now that have been great without having crazy athletic ability. He’s listed at 6’3”, but standing next to him it’s more like 6’2”…so that’s pretty good for a guy that height. Now I know that Tyrese is also the same height, but he has just has a CRAZY bounce and that elite athleticism that you speak of

    • michaelb
      2:31 am October 13, 2019 Permalink

      Pgs aren’t really required to play above the rim right now… (no sarcasm, the game evolves so much )

  9. BallDontLie
    11:37 am October 12, 2019 Permalink

    I liked the shot at Duke too something to the effect of “some programs promise to take care of you for life, we make it so that you can take care of yourself”

    • 4evrUKBlue
      12:24 pm October 12, 2019 Permalink

      That was priceless. According to past players K makes a lot of empty promises.

  10. michaelb
    2:33 am October 13, 2019 Permalink

    Ty maxey has more personality and character than any one player I’ve seen at Kentucky … and it’s not that fake bravado some guys turn on when it serves them . This kid is good on and off the court .. proud to have him