Ten days in October. That’s all it took for me to learn 10 pretty important things. From October 14 through October 23, here’s what was revealed:
October 14 was Big Blue Madness and we learned several things. First, nobody welcomes the beginning of college basketball season like Kentucky does. Forget Rock Chalk and Cameron Crazies; the Big Blue Nation will always have the gold standard for a Madness event. From the Blue Carpet event to the light show to the carefully crafted recruiting speech by Coach Cal, Big Blue Madness is so much more than a practice. It’s an event of epic proportions and the fans love it.
The new scoreboard that replaced Big Bertha in Rupp Arena is incredible. That one change gives the Cats’ home a completely different feel.
No matter how many years have passed, when fans see a former Wildcat, they still show them incredible love. This was clearly on display during the Blue Carpet event at Big Blue Madness. When Lukasz Obrzut entered, cheers of “Wooo!” echoed in the tunnel. When the legendary Kyle Macy arrived, you could hear middle-aged women swooning, proclaiming him to be “just as handsome as he ever was.” Other schools may claim to “take care of you for life” if you play for them, but at UK, you become an immediate and permanent member of the Big Blue Family, and the fans will love you always.
Rumors of the demise of the UK Women’s Basketball team may be greatly exaggerated. Sure, they had a bumpy spring with some transfers, coaching changes and recruit decommitments. But that was 6 months ago and Coach Matthew Mitchell has steadied the ship with new assistant coaches, and some new players that might be surprisingly good. As Mitchell said during Media Day on October 21, … it’s not challenging at all, because I think we have great people involved right now. I think it’s definitely time for us to move forward with this team, and so many positive things have happened for us in the last six months, and it’s been well documented and much discussed, everything that led to the last six months.
I just think it’s time now for us to really get excited and get focused on the players who have shown a tremendous commitment to our program and are working so hard and are so excited to go to practice with every day.
Makayla Epps is primed for an incredibly successful senior season. If she does not get named to the All-American 1st team at the end of the year, I will be shocked. Trust me on this.
October 21 was also the date of the Blue/White game. We learned our 2016-17 Cats are fast. Very fast. I was unable to attend the game, but watched it on TV and recorded it on DVR. It’s a good thing I did record it as I had to watch it 2 more times to catch everything. Yes, we have a fast, crazy-athletic team and the BBN is in for a very entertaining season.
Photo: Andrew Bishop, CameronMillsRadio.com
We learned the rest of college basketball should be very nervous. Why? Because Coach Cal is more relaxed than we’ve ever seen him in October. Think about it: have you ever heard Cal brag about his team’s defensive prowess this early in the year? Swaggy Cal is in full display for all to see, and this should warm the hearts of all of the Big Blue Nation.
October 22 was the day we learned our football team has truly turned a corner. No longer coming out to a blazing start in the first quarter, only to wither and die by the 4th, these Cats have seemingly made huge adjustments resulting in a “never say die” attitude. Ending Mississippi State’s 7-game winning streak was one very important step in building the confidence of this team, and it also made bowl-eligibility seem much more likely now.
Photo: Andrew Bishop, CameronMillsRadio.com
Finally, day 10 was the date of Coach Cal’s Women’s Basketball Clinic. With 1,050 screaming ladies in attendance, we learned (again) that these people are crazy, and they are rightfully proud of it. Maybe it’s this atmosphere that encourages Tina Cox and me to do silly things when we tour Rupp Arena.
And I leave you with a tour of the men’s locker room in Rupp, where we learned that there is probably one TV for each player.
Yes, we learned a lot during those 10 days. Just imagine what we can learn during the next 10 days!
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