Calipari’s recruits get a show in Rupp Arena

 Posted by at 2:03 AM on October 19, 2013
Oct 192013
John Calipari gave another "state of the program" speech at Big Blue Madness on Friday night. Photo: Amy Wallot | Herald-Leader

John Calipari gave another “state of the program” speech at Big Blue Madness on Friday night.
Photo: Amy Wallot | Herald-Leader

For about 10 minutes Friday night, some of the best high school basketball talent in the country was gathered in a tunnel leading to the Rupp Arena floor.

While the Kentucky women’s team finished up its scrimmage, Stanley Johnson chatted with Trey Lyles, parents and coaches mingled and UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua kept a close watch on the court.

After Coach Matthew Mitchell and the women’s team filed off the floor, Antigua gave the signal. With James Blackmon Jr. leading the way, John Calipari’s recruits walked out of the tunnel, onto the court and down one sideline to their seats near the Big Blue Madness stage.

The Rupp crowd went wild.

Johnson, Lyles and Blackmon sat right next to UK commitments Karl Towns Jr. and Tyler Ulis as Calipari gave his latest “state of the program” address. The UK coach name dropped such recent alumni as John Wall and Anthony Davis — both were in the building — spoke of the program’s title run in 2012 and fixated on the long reach of “Big Blue Nation.”

It was officially the tip-off to the 2013-14 season, but it was oh-so obviously a pitch aimed at the recruits sitting just a few feet to his right.

“We don’t just play college basketball,” Calipari said. “We are college basketball.”

Once Calipari left the stage, the players danced and then played while the fans cheered.

When it was over, Johnson, Blackmon, Lyles, Ulis and Towns — in that order — left their courtside seats to head back to the locker room. Antigua was waiting at the end of the row with a handshake for every one of them.


  5 Responses to “Calipari’s recruits get a show in Rupp Arena”

  1. I don’t know how much BBM will help in the recruitment of these players b/c as great as the event is 1 is an Arizona lean(Johnson) and the other 3 are toss ups between UK and 1 other school. UK is very unique as a basketball powerhouse but the influence of events like these are minimal at best. I just hope that at least 3 of them have already pretty much made up their minds towards UK.

  2. Um…. 1, I dont know where you get your info. I follow recruiting every day, all day and I have heard nothing from any source to lead me to believe that Johnson is nothing other than a UK lean.

    And secondly, how in the world do you believe that BBM has little to no effect on players? How many of the high level recruits that Cal has landed have signed within a month of visiting for BBM? Have said that the Alumni Game or BBM were one of the biggest reasons they chose UK because they wanted to play in front of a fan base like ours? … If it weren’t important, do you think Cal would ask the University to allot $400,000 towards it?

  3. Lyles, and Blackmon, are locks for UK. Johnson is not. The consensus before BBM is that it’s down to UK and Arizona. And, Johnson has stated that he will not make a decision until 2014, so don’t expect a decision from him within a month.

  4. You both are technically correct. All West Coast recruiting services believe he is a Arizona lean based 100% on his AAU ties and Zona having such a strong pipeline into Oakland Soldiers but He would not be the first to come to UK. If he wants to stay home he may do the USC thing. Over 3 yes of writing a blog on Kentucky Inc I made numerous contacts in the industry but the majority Nationally feel he is a UK lean. Regionally on the WC I think they believe he will be staying close to home. This will be one that either wY it plays out UK where he lands is irrelevant to next season. Who will stay from this team will make all the difference on whether 2014 is a complete loss or not. We are set up nice to reload with an extremely DEEP Talant pool in 2015/2016. There are studs already lined up out there. As for a personal thought for someone who has been doing this since 2007 I think after choosing to except James Young knowing full well it would be a way outside chance of landing Wiggins after that, Johnson and his camp will watch as he becomes the Star of this team and want to replace him.

  5. At this point in recruiting for 2014, we ain’t lookin so great… Maybe I should say it’s not looking like a top 5 or top 10 ranking for 2014 at this time… You can’t win em all and it looks like we are a little short next year, that doesn’t mean we won’t have a good team but it’s not going to be what we are use to, in terms of recruits…
    We are spoiled, we will cry, moan and sling snot if we aren’t crowned the Kings of Recruiting every year but we’ll be okay..

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