By: Larry Vaught
Kentucky basketball fans did set a Guinness World Record for the loudest noise level during the Kansas game Saturday – and before Kansas got the lead in the second half.
However, that was not the best part of having ESPN GameDay in Lexington again.
The weekend was an infomercial for Kentucky athletics. It started on Friday with the Paul Finebaum Show on the SEC Network Friday. Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart, UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran, quarterback Stephen Johnson, Jack Givens and others on air.
During the ESPN GameDay show, Calipari made a 10-minute appearance in Rupp Arena where about 4,000 UK fans cheered every mention of UK basketball.
“There’s no place quite like Rupp Arena for GameDay,” ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg said. “We get such a great reception here and the fans are so passionate about their Cats.”
Kentucky will be part of ESPN GameDay again this Saturday when UK plays at Florida.
Power forward P.J. Washington and his Findlay Prep (Nev.) teammates will be in Marshall County for games Feb. 17-18 as part of the Kentucky Lake Showcase presented.
Findlay Prep will play Hopkinsville at 7:30 p.m. CST on Feb. 17 and take on Tennessee Prep at 6:30 p.m. CST on Feb. 18 as part of The Grind Session.
The 6-8 Washington is one of the nation’s premier players and a consensus top 15 recruit. He’s ranked as the top power forward in the 2017 recruiting class.
Rivals.com recruiting writer Krysten Peek says Washington is “big and aggressive without even meaning to be” because he’s so strong. She remembered a time with Team USA when she saw him set a pick in practice that knocked the wind out of a teammate.
“When I asked him about that, he didn’t even know he did it,” she said. “He plays tough. A lot comes easy to him but I think he’s really a hard worker and smart player.”
For tickets to the event go to www.thegrindsession.com.
Also playing on Feb. 17 will be The Rock (Fla.) against Sunrise Christian (Kan.) at 6 p.m. On Feb. 18, Sunrise Christian will face Prolific Prep (Ca.) and Duke signee Gary Trent Jr. and The Rock will take on Hillcrest Prep (Az.) and Arizona signee De’Andre Ayton at 8. On Feb. 19, Prolific Prep will play Hillcrest.
Washington and his brother, 6-7 junior Spencer Washington, were in Kentucky over the weekend with their father, Paul, the head coach at Findlay Prep, for the Kansas game UK lost 79-73.
I asked Paul Washington what his thoughts were about the game just to get a different perspective on the game.
“The first 10 minutes was really good (for Kentucky). By halftime, Kansas brought the game back and really made a good adjustment going to the 2-3 zone,” Paul Washington said. “We had turnovers that were pretty costly. Made some freshman mistakes. Defensively, they have got to stay in front of people and got to rebound other than just Bam (Adebayo).
“The team has a lot of potential and has very talented kids. But they have only played about 20 games and it showed the second half with their maturity down the stretch. Calipari always does a good job blending the team and eventually they will get it.”