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WATCH: Coach Cal’s Big Blue Madness speech was legendary

When the lights and cameras are on, John Calipari is on, and no one does it any better. Tonight, Swaggy Cal was officially out in full-force, and it was epic.

After the massive introduction filled with lights and fireworks, he stood in front of the microphone and gave his best “state of the program” address of all time.

He started with his “Kentucky is not for everyone” speech, telling fans this program is just… different.

“This is Kentucky Basketball. You camped out for three days to get these tickets, and you did it because you’re the best fanbase in America. You help make this program what it is.

“I always tell kids when I meet them that this place isn’t for everyone. It just isn’t. It’s different.”

Cal gave a not-so-subtle pitch to recruits in attendance, telling them what they can expect if they come to Kentucky.

“When you come to Kentucky you’re committing to something much bigger than yourself. We will hold you accountable. We will not be afraid to coach you. We will push you to be your best every single day. We will push you to dream beyond your surroundings and become the best version of yourself both as a player and a person.”

After telling the crowd Drake was on his way, he told them to emulate the superstar and his “overall goodness.”

“I want my players — and anyone out there — to know if you want to emulate excellence, yet maintain humility and loyalty, emulate Drake. If you want to emulate a strong drive, embracing the biggest stage and the goodness of a compassionate heart, you emulate Drake. It’s 2017, folks, and he still comes back to Madness! My hope is my players don’t just listen to his songs, but they adopt his drive for excellence, his mentality toward his craft and his overall goodness.”

Watch the entire speech here:

You can read the entire transcript after the jump:

 

Big Blue Nation!

Wow! What a night.

This is Kentucky Basketball.

You camped out for three days to get these tickets, and you did it because you’re the best fanbase in America. You help make this program what it is.

I always tell kids when I meet them that this place isn’t for everyone. It just isn’t. It’s different.

My message has always been and will continue to be, are you willing to embrace the competition that you will go up against every single day at Kentucky? Will you embrace the grind and the daily responsibilities that being in this program demands? Will you embrace being a great teammate, student and a member of this community? Embracing education and having a curious mind are cornerstones of this program. Will you do it?

There are no promises here. There are no guarantees here. You have to earn it individually and collectively. Nothing is given to you here. And every other team is trying to take what you have.

With our current team, I ask the players and I ask you, the fans, are you willing to embrace the process? We have one of the youngest teams in college basketball history. The expectations are through the roof. We will be ugly early but we always build toward March.

That is Kentucky Basketball.

We embrace high expectations. We embrace playing on the biggest stage in the game, having every game and even practices on national TV. We embrace being every single opponent’s Super Bowl and we embrace having the largest, most passionate fanbase in the world having our backs every step of the way.

There’s no other place like this.

Do you want to be part of a lifelong family? I said it last year, it’s not just words here. When you play at Kentucky, you’re committing to a family. From UK Hall of Famer John Wall to our most recent group of three lottery picks. It’s all family.

One of our biggest supporters will be an honorary coach here tonight. Drake, come on up.

In 2009, I invited my friend to be an honorary coach at Madness with Tayshaun Prince. 99 percent of you didn’t know who he was back then. Eight years later, he’s become an icon and one of the biggest superstars in the world. He’s remained my friend and a friend of this program.

I want my players — and anyone out there — to know if you want to emulate excellence, yet maintain humility and loyalty, emulate Drake. If you want to emulate a strong drive, embracing the biggest stage and the goodness of a compassionate heart, you emulate Drake. It’s 2017, folks, and he still comes back to Madness! My hope is my players don’t just listen to his songs, but they adopt his drive for excellence, his mentality toward his craft and his overall goodness.

At Kentucky, we embrace a winning tradition. We’ve won more games together and been to more Final Fours than any program over the last eight years. Oh yeah, we’ve also won more games and been to (the second most) Final Fours than any other program ever. And we’re chasing that other team to have the most national championships ever.

When you come to Kentucky you’re committing to something much bigger than yourself. We will hold you accountable. We will not be afraid to coach you. We will push you to be your best every single day. We will push you to dream beyond your surroundings and become the best version of yourself both as a player and a person.

Our next journey together tips off tonight with Big Blue Madness. Our goal remains to raise a ninth championship banner into those hallowed rafters as another group of players chase their dreams. We will and we do embrace everything that this program and this stage have to offer.

This family isn’t only the guys who played for me. It’s everyone who has played here. Drake, let’s have everyone who’s played for Kentucky to come down on the court and join us for a family photo.

THIS is Kentucky Basketball.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

1 Comment for WATCH: Coach Cal’s Big Blue Madness speech was legendary



  1. Ruppstartedit
    8:28 am October 14, 2017 Permalink

    I notice the players uniforms didn’t have their names on the back. So I had to constantly refer to the roster. There is a story about Bear Bryant of Ala.: some player complained about not having his name on the back of the uni. Sez Bear: ” if you play well, people will find out who you are; if you play poorly, you’ll be happy they don’t know who you are”.