Big Weekend for Wildcat Athletics

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

This is shaping up to be one of the biggest weekends in recent Wildcat history. Big Blue Madness rings in another basketball season, while the football Cats can inch closer to becoming bowl eligible.

This is shaping up to be one of the biggest weekends in recent Wildcat history.  Big Blue Madness rings in another basketball season, while the football Cats can inch closer to becoming bowl eligible.

First, it's basketball time in the Bluegrass.  Billy Gillispie showcases his second UK team on Friday, in front of another sold-out Rupp Arena.  As many as a dozen recruits will be on hand, making this Madness one of the most important in some time.  Gillispie has geared the entire night towards landing some of the biggest fish in the high school ranks. 

He's even prepared videos to show the recruits BEFORE they get to Rupp Arena.  That shows you how important this group is to the future of Wildcat basketball.

Before the Cats take the Rupp Arena floor, there will be an "official" unveiling of the NEW UK basketball uniforms at Keeneland.  Representatives from Nike and UK will be on hand.

There are all sorts of internet rumors about what the new unis look like.  I have seen them and will tell you, they're sweet.  There is a piece of the uniform that celebrates UK's national championships, as well as a black bar on the shoulder that pays homage to Mr. Wildcat, Bill Keightley.  UK fans will be pleased, trust me.

All this is an appetizer for the big football game across campus on Saturday.

The football Wildcats have never beaten a Steve Spurrier coached team.  South Carolina represents a "swing game" for the Cats.  It's another opportunity to take a step closer to becoming bowl eligible.  How sweet this would be for Rich Brooks and Co. to accomplish all this with a win against the ol' ball coach.

Stewart out of Wildcat Lodge

Billy Gillispie conducted his second women's basketball clinic on Thursday night.  Nearly 100 ladies attended, paying to get a behind-the-scenes look at the UK program.  The women were given instruction on how the Cats train, as well as how the players handle questions from the media.

To put a wrap on the evening, Gillispie opened the floor up for questions from those in attendance.  One common question asked was about the living conditions at Wildcat Lodge.

Gillispie told the women that players were assigned roommates, but added that sophomore forward A.J. Stewart was no longer living in the Lodge.

A follow-up question to Gillispie suggested he tell the ladies why Stewart wasn't living there.  "Why don't you ask A.J.?" Gillispie quipped.

Stewart told the crowd that he hadn't practiced hard enough during Gillispie's recent "boot camp," a two-week conditioning camp that players say is grueling.  Stewart, who's been in Gillispie's doghouse before, is now living on campus, in a dorm.

The Florida native said he had to work much harder and stay out of trouble, if he was going to be allowed back into Wildcat Lodge.

Gillispie gives away tickets

During the question and answer session of the women's basketball clinic, Billy Gillispie asked the campers about their pet peeve, with regard to college basketball, and specifically, his Wildcat team.

Knowing the women were going to answer "free throw shooting," Gillispie, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face, asked those assembled to come out onto the Memorial Coliseum floor and give free throw shooting a try.  "If you make it, I'll give you two tickets to a game.  If you miss, don't complain about our free throw shooting."

Gillispie gave the ladies on try and several made their only free throw, prompting Gillispie to ask his players to wave their arms and hands in an attempt to distract the shooters.  Gillispie had those who made their free throw leave their names with a member of the UK staff.  The coach says he's going to follow through on his promise.

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.


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