LEXINGTON – October 14, 2022 – Michael Willis
It is that time once again that the Big Blue Nation fills Rupp Arena to get a glimpse of what their Kentucky Basketball teams look like this season. The anticipation is higher this year after watching the Men’s Basketball team dominate their competitors in the Bahamas in August. The fans for the Men’s and Women’s teams are also ready for redemption after both teams had disappointing ends to their seasons last year.
The Big Blue Madness festivities started off with the introductions for the Women’s basketball team. This year they brought in ten new players. Representing Eastern Kentucky is Harlan native Blair Green and Virgie native Cassidy Rowe who will both become fan favorites in the 606. The Women’s team participated in a shooting competition won by the blue team and then a three-points competition won by Blair Green. The women then participated in the scrimmage game that was won by the White Team.
Between the Men’s and Women’s basketball games the UK Cheer Team took the court and showed off their talent. The skill and coordination can only be appreciated in this longer version that can’t be displayed during the games. The UK Dance Team took the court after the cheerleaders and had the crowd excited for the main event.
To start the Men’s Basketball portion of the night UK brought back former players including; Brandon Knight, Tyler Ulis, Kevin Knox, Nick Richards, Hamidou Diallo, Bam Adebayo, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. There were greeted by cheers of thanks by the crowd for their participation in program.
After the player introductions and the shockingly short speech by John Calipari, the Men’s Basketball team took the floor and after warm-ups started with the three-point competition. Antion Reeves beat out CJ Fredrick, Antonio Reeves, and Jacob Toppin to win the three-point shootout. The crowd favorite Slam Dunk Competition was next and Jacob Toppin won by fan vote even though he didn’t have the highest score.
The men’s scrimmage was the last event of the night and was entertaining, but is not a good way to measure how this team will play. The game ended in a tie and with Calipari telling the Rupp Arena crowd thanks for coming and that you will like this team.
It was a great night for the Big Blue Nation not only did they get to see the Wildcats in action, but they also got a commitment from one of the top recruits Aaron Bradshaw for next year’s class. The next time the Wildcats will take the court will be October 22 when they travel to Pikeville for the Blue/White game.
Photos by BSN photographer Les Nicholson
Photos by BSN photographer Danny Pendleton