LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Renovation to the UK locker rooms at Rupp Arena got a boost on Wednesday with the arrival of the Final Four court used by the Wildcats to win the school’s eighth national championship.
Northwestern Mutual, a corporate sponsor of the Final Four, purchased the floor and donated it to UK. Part of the floor will be used in the new look locker room, other parts of the court will be used to raise money for charity.
“This is the third locker room we've done,” coach John Calipari said at a news conference at Rupp Arena. We did one at UMass, we did one at Memphis and now, this one.”
Calipari said the center jump circle will be the centerpiece of his team’s new digs, while the free throw lanes will be used in the entry ways.
“It’s more of a suite that a locker room,” he said. “The center circle, if you remember how big it was, that is laid right in the center of the locker room.”
The coach has been on the road recruiting, saying he was in six state in one day, and hopes the addition to the locker room will help entice players to come to UK.
“It does motivate, when we’re bringing families in there, and recruits in there, and all of sudden they’re like, ‘Wait a minute!’” he said. “It’s going to be a motivating factor for us continuing to bring in the best and brightest players here.”
Calipari reiterated his stance that UK is a players first program.
“They drag us to where we want to go and they dragged us to a couple of Final Fours, an Elite Eight and a national title, and that’s what we want.”
The parts of the floor that aren’t used inside the locker room will be cut into 1,000 pieces, signed by Calipari, then auctioned off. Calipari said proceeds will benefit the state.
“I’m not sure I've ever heard of any other locker room doing anything like this, but then again, it seems like here at Kentucky, we’re doing a lot of things that haven’t been done,” he said. “It’s good stuff.”