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Posts from Friday, Oct. 16

Head coach John Calipari wowed the crowd at Big Blue Madness.

Head coach John Calipari wowed the crowd at Big Blue Madness.

Transcript of Cal's speech

Posted at 10:00 p.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

The following is a transcript of head coach John Calipari's speech from Friday night's Big Blue Madness:

On behalf of Ellen, Erin, Megan, and Bradley, I want to thank the entire family of the Big Blue Nation for your warmth and hospitality. you have made us feel like we have been in the commonwealth forever.

 We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of the next chapter in the Extraordinary story of University of Kentucky basketball.

 We all see the history and the tradition and the nearly mystical quality of kentucky basketball at every game and in every season.

And we also know what it's like to come here as an opponent, where everything - and I mean everything - turns Blue All around you. 

This team is not just about the 13 young men sitting behind me who proudly wear "KENTUCKY" across their chests.

It is much more than that.

It is the Eruption Zone . . . .

. . . It is the band. . .

. . . and the dance team. . .

... And It's our national championship cheerleading squad. . .

. . .It is ashley judd. . .

. . . and the Wildcat Mascot. . .   

Most of all, though, it is you. . . the fans - the twenty-four thousand alumni, students and friends who flock to this arena for each and every game.

It's a group representative of our millions of fans from pikeville to paducah; And from our country to foreign countries and to lands where our men and women of the armed forces serve and protect our freedoms.

Kentucky Basketball is about Issel. . .

. . . Walker. . .

. . . Nash. . .

. . .And Groza. . .

. . . Robey. . . .

. . . Wawa Jones. . .

. . . Macy. . .

And it's also about

. . . Mashburn. . .

. . . Farmer. . .

. . . Riley. . .

 . . . Delk. . .

. . . Padgett. . .

It's about Rupp's runts, the Fabulous Five. . . The Fiddlin' Five. . .The Unforgettables. . . And all of those who have left their indelible mark on Kentucky basketball.

Our history is rooted in our coaches: Rupp and Hall and Smith.

And It's intertwined with Cawood, claude, and a truly special man named Keightley.

But what ties all those things together is you - the fans, who are here tonight in this hallowed building.

And i know how you got here - I saw you camped out by my office two weeks ago. five hundred tents, more than a thousand people, All waiting in line for several days.  You slept through the cold and the wet - Well, you didn't actually sleep.

But you lived outside while attending classes and going to work.

There were people in wheelchairs and kids on skateboards.  we saw generations of wildcat fans sharing space, blankets and hot cocoa. there were grandparents Playing cards with their grand children, mothers keeping young ones warm and students creating memories for a lifetime. We played cornhole, ate pizza, delivered breakfast, told tales of UK's past and we dreamed of  our future.

All of us united with the common goal of getting into this building on this night to honor this program. It Doesn't matter if you Are from a holler near harlan, a farm in frankfort or a humble home in hodgenville - everyone Is  connected by the love of Blue.

I'll say it again - I'm excited, I'm humbled and I'm honored to be your coach, at your university.


Tonight though, we turn the page from anticipation to preparation as we move forward into the 2009-10 season with these special young men and all of you special fans.


The destination is clear and our challenges are many. we must Meld six new players together with seven returning wildcats and Get them on one page with one heartbeat.  we must create a trust and a bond; respect and adoration; acceptance and affection. then, over time, those qualities will turn into love for one  another.

When that happens - when they become a family in every sense, when they care more about their teammates than themselves - It's at that point when we will become unbreakable and unbeatable.

But that doesn't happen in days or even weeks. It takes hours upon hours of sweat and pain; it takes battles fought together; obstacles overcome; close games and heartstopping plays.

That's the challenge we have in front of us.

It is about becoming one unit with a single heartbeat; a single cause and a unified love shared among teammates, coaches, staff and the greatest fans anywhere.

My friends, we have an enormous mountain to climb.  Tonight, We are at the base of that mountain. other programs begin this pre-season returning the same coach, the same players, the same offense. . . they are miles ahead of us and half way up the mountain.

Our team, on the other hand, has a new system, a new style, new players, new coaches. . .almost everything is foreign and unknown. 

But what we do have is a wealth of skill, energy and determination. if I have my choice between experience and talent, I'm taking talent every time.


I look at this team behind me and the passion in front of me and I see the foundation for MY VISION FOR OUR PROGRAM.

It's a vision where we are THE GOLD STANDARD NOT JUST for College Basketball BUT FOR ALL College athletics. 

THAT MEANS superiority in EVERYTHING FROM OUR ACADEMIC STANDARDS to our FACILITIES TO OUR LIVING SPACES. WE WILL be A PROGRAM rooted in INTEGRITY and run with class and we will always remember that we represent this great commonwealth.

With those principles guiding us, we will earn the PRVILEGE OF BEING HELD TO a higher standard both as players and coaches.  AND THAT'S exactly WHAT IT IS - A PRIVILEGE to represent all of big blue nation in everything that we do.

We are the all-time winningest program in our sport - on the verge of 2,000 wins - but there is still another level to reach. And how do we do that? By ensuring that Kentucky is a players-first program. 

It's about service-leadership - we Serve them, they do not serve us. Our focus is on making players better IN EVERY WAY - BOTH ON AND OFF THE COURT .

I want to see EVERY ONE OF these young people graduate.  Some - like Perry, Ramon and Mark - will do it in four years. Others - like Patrick will do it in three years.

Still others are going to leave early to pursue their dreams. I am OK with that and i ask that you also be okay with that.

You have my assurance that I will strongly encourage all of our student-athletes to obtain their diploma from this great univeristy - the way Ron Mercer and Wayne Turner are doing right now. Wayne? Stand up please -

Future players need to KNOW THEY CAN REACH THEIR DREAMS AT UK. My vision is for every high school player in the country to dream of putting on this uniform and when they do so, helping to lift the spirit of everyone in the Commonwealth and beyond.

My role - and that of my staff - is to serve these young people. We're not here to manage them, we're here to inspire them to climb mountains and achieve their goals and dreams of being professional players, successful businessmen, respected citizens and honored sons.

they will come here to play in college basketball's most exciting offense, the dribble drive motion. . .

. . . and to be a staple on national TV. .  . and to be unleashed and challenged to break barriers, but also to be hugged and loved.

Above all else we want them to have fun.

Are we having fun yet?

Yeah, I thought so. . .


They will reach their dreams while we live out our own through their efforts and accomplishments.

In closing, i have this question for you - if these players are having a ball, breaking barriers, doing more than they have ever done in their collective lives - don't you think they'll try to extend our season?

So let's have fun. All of us. And let these guys take us where they want to go. If they are really having fun they will not want this season to end.

My vision is one of celebrations and banquets; diplomas and banners; rings and parades. . .

. . . A return of this legendary program back to its rightful place atop the mountain of college basketball. . .

A vision that sees the you, greatest fans in all of sports once again puffing your chests and chanting in whatever language you choose, and however loudly you want to shout it, Go Big blue! Go big blue! Go Big Blue!


Must-read on Patterson

Posted at 2:04 p.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

I probably don't link stories on here as much as I should, but this one I had to make sure gets on here. Set some time aside to read Jason King's in-depth feature on Patrick Patterson.

When I say it's a great story, I'm selling it short. It makes you realize how lucky we are to have a player like Patterson at this university. The kid is amazing on the court, but he's even better off of it.

I think you'll agree after you read the story. And well done on King's part.


Media Day links

Posted at 12:26 p.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

Plenty of stories out of men's basketball media day. Here's a sample from some of the local papers:


What you need to know for Saturday's game

Fullback John Conner, above, and Randall Cobb are the game captains for Saturday.

Posted at 11:49 a.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

Time: Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT (6:30 p.m. CDT)

Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.

TV coverage: ESPNU with Eric Collins and Brock Huard

Radio coverage: Big Blue Sports Network with Tom Leach, Jeff Piecoro and Dick Gabriel (630 WLAP-AM in Lexington); Find an affiliate in your area  

Satellite radio: XM 200; Sirius 216 (note: you must have the "Best of XM" package to hear the game on Sirius)

Digital coverage: Gametracker; Twitter updates

Game-time weather: Mostly sunny, 50 degrees, 0 percent chance of precipitation

Arrive early: Fans are highly encouraged to arrive at the stadium early to avoid parking delays and also to enter the stadium early to avoid long entry lines at the stadium gates.

Parking: Auburn parking information

Cat Walk: The "Cat Walk" will resume Saturday at 4:15 p.m. CDT. Fans wishing to participate in cheering on the Wildcats as they enter the stadium Saturday should be on the northeast corner of Jordan-Hare Stadium near Lot P along Duncan. The team bus will arrive at approximately 4:15 p.m. CDT, when the team will unload the bus and walk to the stadium. Guests are asked to line up on each side of the "Cat Walk" to allow for ample space for the team to walk from the buses to Commonwealth Stadium. Map of the "Cat Walk."

GuestAssist service now available: Fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium can send questions, concerns or requests via text message to the command and control center at the stadium. For stadium assistance or to report an issue, text the word "Auburn," followed by your message and location to 78247. Standard text messaging rates apply.

*All information on Saturday's much-anticipated game with archrival Louisville can be found Auburns official game day site.     


Madness message from the compliance department

Posted at 10:25 a.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations


The following message was passed down to me from the compliance department regarding tonight's Big Blue Madness. Please give it a read so you're not in violation of any NCAA rules.


Just a reminder ...The NCAA prohibits an institution from publicizing any prospect's visit to campus. This includes publicizing the names of specific prospects and chanting the prospect's name.  One institution recently had to report a secondary violation because their fans held up signs with a prospect's name. Another institution has been contacted by the NCAA to investigate whether or not the school was involved with the chanting of another prospect's name.


We all know that the Big Blue Fans are the best in the world.  This is a very exciting time to be a Wildcat.  However, we need to engage in some restraint when dealing with prospects on campus.  Please help us protect their eligibility so that they can compete at the University of Kentucky.  Please do not bring signs with prospects' names to our sporting events.


We appreciate your help in keeping the eligibility of our current and future student-athletes safe!  Go CATS!


Revolutionizing the game with the dribble drive; yearbooks on sale

Head coach John Calipari is revolutionizing the game of college basketball with his Dribble Drive Motion Offense.

Posted at 12:32 a.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations

The following is an excerpt from a feature on the Dribble-Drive Motion Offense I wrote for The Official 2009-10 Kentucky Basketball Yearbook:

An apple dropped from a tree and clunked Sir Issac Newton on the head when he formulated his theory of gravitation. Albert Einstein figured out the theory of relativity after countless miscalculated equations and thousands of hours spent in front of a chalkboard.

All John Calipari needed was a table, a couple of forks, some salt n' pepper shakers and one man crazy enough to flip the game of basketball upside down to formulate his vaunted Dribble-Drive Motion Offense.

It was 2003 and Calipari had already figured things out in the basketball world. He was wildly successful in his eight-year stint at Massachusetts and was in the middle of making Memphis a national power. His teams were competing for Conference USA titles and beginning to make annual trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Life was good on the basketball court and there was no reason to change. And then Vance Walberg came along.

Walberg, then a coach at Fresno City College, had flown in to watch Memphis practice and get a few tips from Calipari and his Memphis squad. After practice one night, Calipari and Walberg decided to go to dinner. Out of sheer curiosity, Calipari asked Walberg how his team played.

"You don't want to know," Walberg responded.
But Calipari did. So sitting there at a small table while they ate, Walberg, with sugar packets and utensils, went on to give Calipari a near three-hour crash course on his AASAA (Attack, Attack, Skip, Attack, Attack) offense.

"It was the craziest thing I'd ever seen," Calipari said.

Walberg told him that they run a system where they shoot a lot of layups, press, run and launch 40 three-pointers a game.

Sounds crazy, right? Calipari thought it was genius.

You can read the rest of this story and much more in The Official 2009-10 Kentucky Basketball Yearbook, which will debut tonight at Big Blue Madness. Beginning October 19 the publication will also be available at Kroger stores across the state, online at and at other local retailers throughout the Lexington area.

Included in the yearbook: Tom Leach on Coach Calipari's immediate impact on the program, Dick Gabriel on whether this year's cast of newcomers is UK's best class ever, Dave Baker on how SEC coaches think Coach Cal has raised the bar, features on each of this season's Cats, profiles of all of this year's opponents, a Q&A with Mike Pratt, in-depth coverage of UK Hoops and much more.