Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the men’s basketball women’s clinic. Although I’ve covered the football team’s version of the event a few times, last night was the first time I had the chance to experience the basketball clinic. And it did not disappoint.
First of all, I have to give UK some credit. There were nearly 700 women in attendance and, from what I saw, the afternoon ran fairly smoothly. Keeping that many people organized and on-schedule is a difficult task, but Coach Cal’s team did it well. With that being said, it is difficult to make any event feel “personal” when that many people are in attendance. But, once again, this year’s group of players demonstrated how fun they can be. Even with limited fan-to-player individual interaction, the team showcased their goofy side to the ladies of the BBN. And, of course, the ladies loved every minute of it.
My personal favorite part of the evening came near the very beginning, when each player on the roster was introduced to the crowd. PJ Washington was a clear fan-favorite, as was Reid Travis, but Immanuel Quickley stole the show with his choreographed dance routine. Quickley, Keldon Johnson and Quade Green also served as “hype men” when their teammates were introduced. Check out all of the walk-outs here:
The afternoon started with a short message from Coach Cal, then it was time to get down to business. The team ran through a few of their normal practice drills, where the women got an up-close look at the truly-competitive side of this team. The guys were loud and had no problem communicating; when a guard missed a shot, a big man was quick to get the rebound and put-back bucket, even if that wasn’t technically part of the drill. There are rules prohibiting me from giving many more details, but overall, it was another short-but-sweet glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of this team.
Next, the women split into three groups: one group started with a question-and-answer session with ESPN sideline reporters Maria Taylor and Holly Rowe, another group went to a strength and conditioning workshop with coach Rob Harris and the final group started with assistant coaches Kenny Payne, Joel Justus, Tony Barbee and John Robic.
Rob Harris did not take his portion of the evening lightly. He made the ladies get to work!
Special guests Maria Taylor and Holly Rowe were in Lexington to shoot a feature on the team that will be airing in the coming days, but they stuck around to facilitate a question-and-answer session with the women in attendance. They fielded questions about their careers at ESPN, what they think of this year’s basketball squad and, interestingly enough, the Kentucky football team’s chances against Georgia.
ESPN’s Holly Rowe says Josh Allen is the best college football player she’s seen play all year
— Maggie Davis (@MaggieDavisKSR) October 28, 2018
Which leads me to my next takeaway… Kentucky’s fanbase is still very much in football mode. Sure, the BBN will get up for the Duke matchup next week, but the energy around the Joe Craft Center yesterday was still very much focused on the football team. I was lucky enough to meet a lot of you yesterday, and nearly everyone I talked to seemed more interested in talking about the football team than the basketball team. Even Calipari spent a few minutes relishing Saturday’s win over Missouri and how special this year has been for Kentucky athletics as a whole.
Overall, it was a great evening with the ladies of the BBN. Although I think I’m still #teamfootballclinic, the women did have the opportunity to tour the Joe Craft Center facilities (including the incredible locker rooms) plus get photos with the players and the Caliparis (including their dogs!), which make the trip worth it. The addition of Holly Rowe and Maria Taylor also set this year’s clinic apart, so hopefully Kentucky continues securing a star-studded lineup in the coming years. Either way, it’s an event that deserves to be on every female fan’s bucket list. We’ll see ya next year!
See more of my thoughts and videos from the event on my twitter: @MaggieDavisKSR