Without doubt, us Kentucky Basketball fans are known as the most passionate fan base in the world. We are also known for being superbly knowledgeable about the game, but do we know our Kentucky Basketball trivia? Author Joel Katte asks that exact question and puts our Cats IQ to the test in his latest book, University of Kentucky Wildcats Basketball IQ: The Ultimate Test of True Fandom. I had the opportunity to interview Katte and learn more about the book, his inspiration for it, and what he hopes the book accomplishes.
Originally from Wisconsin, when Joel Katte moved to Lexington, it was a strange new world. Although he grew up in a place that adored sports, the love was spread between University of Wisconsin basketball and football, the Packers and the Brewers. However, in Kentucky, he quickly realized that only one team and, effectually, one sport mattered; it was Kentucky Basketball or bust. After writing several sports IQ books for Black Mesa Publishing, they asked him to write a UK Basketball trivia book, and he obliged. With three goals in mind, Katte penned 505 questions to bring back fond memories of enjoying the Cats with family and friends, to revive and/or instill the joy of reading in children and adults alike, and to honor the UK Basketball fan base for their loyalty and passion.
“I love sports. I love playing and watching sports. I grew up wanting to be a major league baseball player. I have so many great memories of going to games with my Dad. He passed away in 2009 and I feel like some of the things that I hold on to most dearly are the moments I shared with him, and a lot of those were at games. To me, its about two things: Its about marking time when you’re watching games and you’re experiencing things with the people you’re with, family and friends. But, maybe most importantly, its about enjoying the moments while they are happening…”
Joel wants the readers of his newest book to remember where you were when some of Kentucky’s grandest moments happened and who you were with. Yes, that game-winning shot was amazing, and yes, that dunk will live in infamy, but who did you experience that with? Who did you hug, high five, or shout with? Joel hopes to remind you of that mark in time; not just the moment on the court, but that moment in your life.
As an educator, Joel wrote this book specifically in mind to reach readers of every age. He is a former high school language arts teacher, was an elementary school principal for nine years, and is currently a district administrator with alternative special programs in Lexington, KY. Joel realizes the importance and the need of reaching reluctant readers, and he wrote this book for them. The readability of this book, coupled with its content, makes this book perfect for Cats fan of all ages, even if they are generally intimidated by reading or uninterested in picking up any ordinary book. One of Joel’s goals is to visit schools and introduce the book to students.
As for a book to challenge your UK Basketball IQ, this book is indeed the ultimate. Loaded with 505 questions, you will be quizzed on topics starting from the birth of basketball at the University of Kentucky and leading you throughout the Calipari Era, with stops everywhere in between.
“I wanted to honor this tradition that goes well over 100 years and I wanted to tell the story of the success way beyond the most recent years.”
That is why this book contains more than 150 questions beyond the other sports trivia books he has past written. Not only did he want to pay homage to the program and its rich history, but he wanted to credit the fans. He may be from Wisconsin, but Katte gets it. He said, “I want to honor the Wildcat fans. There is something ridiculously special about their intensity and loyalty. [Green Bay] Packers fans relate their team to a family member. They say, ‘I’ve got a brother, I’ve got a sister, and I’ve got the Packers.’ In Lexington, you hear the expression ‘bleeding blue’, and I think that is right on. It goes even beyond a sibling, and the Cats are more like a vital organ; ‘I’ve got my liver, I’ve got lungs, I’ve got a heart, and I’ve got Wildcat Basketball that really keep me going.’… In Kentucky, the Wildcats and their success are pretty special. There is a passion and an energy that lifts people. They put the shirt on and they are in a sea of blue in a grocery store. They talk about the games before and they talk about the games after. Kentucky Basketball gives people a common interest, and it unites them in a way that is special throughout the whole state, it doesn’t matter where you are.”
If you are a Kentucky Basketball fan, this is a must-own book for you. No matter if you have been a fan since Rupp or if you joined the Big Blue Nation with Calipari, you will learn from and enjoy this book. Larry Vaught, Tom Leach, Cameron Mills, and more have all given this book a stellar review. Buy it for yourself and another as a gift for a Cat fan in your life.
University of Kentucky Wildcats Basketball IQ: The Ultimate Test of True Fandom is available now! Buy the paperback on Amazon here and the eBook for Kindle here. Books should be hitting bookshelves in mid-March. If you do not see it, be sure to request it.
If you are someone who can help Joel reach his goal of visiting and showcasing this book in local schools, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Being an experienced educator, Joel has ideas tailored made on how to use this book, not only to invoke a passion for reading, but in math classes, history classes, for team building exercises, and more.
Follow Joel Katte on Twitter at @JoelKatte and @UKBBIQ.