Kentucky basketball fans have had almost three weeks to recover since the Wildcats’ season ended so suddenly against North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament.
But because Kentucky basketball never really ends, it’s time to get back in the saddle and start preparing for 2017-18.
Here is a calendar of events to keep your Blue blood flowing from now until November:
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“One and Not Done.” ESPN Films 30 for 30 documentary on UK Coach John Calipari. (9 p.m., ESPN)
Pourtsmouth Invitational Tournament. Ex-Cat Derek Willis and 63 other college seniors do battle in front of NBA scouts. Willis’ team debuts April 13 at 9 p.m. A live stream is available here.
Jordan Brand Classic. Brooklyn, N.Y. showcase features UK recruiting targets Mohamed Bamba and Kevin Knox, and UK commitments Jarred Vanderbilt, Quade Green, Nick Richards and P.J. Washington. (8 p.m., ESPN2)
Travel season begins. The first weekend of play on the Nike, Adidas and Under Armour circuits will attract John Calipari and every other college coach in America looking to get a glimpse of the next wave of five-star recruits. The shoe-company leagues will play through July, with several stops around the country.
NBA deadline day 1. Last day for college players to submit their names for the 2017 NBA Draft.
NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Hopefuls look to improve their draft stock during the league’s annual evaluation of their personality, athletic ability and skills. The combine includes interviews, medical tests, athletic tests, shooting and skills drills and five-on-five competition. The combine is an invitation-only event. Kentucky players who have declared for the draft and could get a look include De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries.
NBA Draft Lottery. We don’t get to see the ping pong balls anymore, but the fates of NBA players and franchises hang in the balance when the cards come out. The Boston Celtics (who own the New Jersey Nets’ first-round pick) have the best odds of securing the No. 1 overall selection.
NCAA Division I signing period ends. The Cats will look to solidify another No. 1 ranked recruiting class.
John Calipari bobbleheads. The Lexington Legends host the first of three bobblehead nights to benefit the John Calipari Foundation. The first 3,500 fans through the gates at Whitaker Bank Ballpark will receive a John Calipari bobblehead doll. Three unique Coach Cal bobbleheads will be distributed at Legends games this summer. The other two dates are June 17 and Aug. 11.
NBA deadline day 2. Last day for college players withdraw names from NBA Draft consideration and retain collegiate eligibility.
Summer classes begin. Expect to start spotting some of UK’s incoming players around campus as summer classes get underway.
Basketball camps. Here’s a chance to get your kids inside UK’s facilities and see how basketball players are built from the ground up. John Calipari hosts his annual Father/Son Camps June 9-10, June 16-17 and June 30-July 1. UK’s Overnight Camps are June 11-14 and June 18-21.
NBA deadline day 3. Last day for international players (non-NCAA) to withdraw names from NBA Draft consideration.
NBA Draft. Ex-Cats De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk look to be locks for lottery picks. Will Bam Adebayo increase his stock enough to make the first round?
Team USA. John Calipari will coach a yet-to-be-named, 12-player squad of Americans who will play in the FIBA U19 world championships in Cairo, Egypt. Calipari's team is likely to include a few future Kentucky Wildcats.
NBA Summer League. Draftees mix in with other hopefuls looking to make an impression in the annual event held at various sites.
Peach Jam. Who’s next? You could find out at this annual high school superstar event by Nike EYBL in North Augusta, S.C.
Pro Camps/Celebrity events. John Calipari annually hosts a series of basketball camps around this time during which former Cats in the pros return to Lexington. Dates TBA. Also, keep an eye out for one of Calipari’s charity events, such as a celebrity softball event or alumni game, which often take place in August or September.
School is in. First day of classes for the fall semester at UK.
UK schedule. The Southeastern Conference typically announces its schedule around the first week of September, which will put the finishing touches on UK’s 2017-18 slate of games.
The madness begins. Preseason activities start picking up with the start of October. The Wildcats hold their annual Media Day. Coach Calipari has been known to host a Combine for NBA scouts. College basketball preseason polls are announced. Tickets are distributed for Big Blue Madness. Then there’s the campout, and Madness itself in mid-October. Capping off the month are the annual Women’s Clinic and the Blue-White Scrimmage. Specific dates will be announced later for all of these events.
The season begins. We don’t know much about the schedule at this point, but the Wildcats should tip off the 2017-18 season around Nov. 10. A few dates have been confirmed: Kentucky will play Kansas on Nov. 14 at the Champions Classic in Chicago. Harvard will visit Rupp Arena for the first time on Dec. 2. The Wildcats will take on UCLA on Dec. 23 at the CBS Sports Classic in New Orleans.