Normally, John Calipari has a simple goal for a Midnight Madness. "No injuries," he said.
But the new Kentucky coach plans to go overboard for Big Blue Madness on Friday night in Rupp Arena.
"And I'll tell you why," he said. Because of the fans. "If you're going to camp out for tickets, then we're going to have an event and show them a good time."
So Calipari said he plans to speak to the fans at much greater length than he'd prefer. "We're going to talk about what we expect from the team and our vision," he said.
There will be special guests from the sporting and entertainment worlds acting as coaches in a scrimmage. Calipari refused to divulge names, although talk of the rapper Drake is on the Internet.
Freshman Daniel Orton, a native of Oklahoma City, marveled at the thought of 24,000 people gathering to watch player introductions followed by a pseudo practice.
"Telling people back at home about it, they're like 'What? Are you serious?'" Orton said. "It's the Midwest, they worry about football. It's a big football area. They're blown away by it, which I am, too. That's kind of crazy to me for a practice."
Meanwhile, tickets for Big Blue Madness were selling for an average price of $177.59 on eBay on Thursday.
Besides celebrating the return of basketball season, Big Blue Madness also serves as a recruiting tool. Big man Patrick Patterson saw the show as a recruiting clincher.
"Once you see Madness, you see what Kentucky has to offer," he said. "You commit right off the bat."
The influx of heralded freshmen figures to reduce playing time for veteran players.
Senior Perry Stevenson spoke of accepting that likelihood.
"I'm a team player," he said. "If the team's doing well, I'm fine with it. I don't mind at all."
And if the team is not doing well?
"Then we've got to come to practice and work harder and make everybody better. Coach will play the guys who deserve it. He's a pretty fair guy."
Patterson predicted the need for many players to adjust to a new reality.
"Everybody's playing time is going to be affected, myself as well," he said. "Not everybody is going to have the role they want to have. Not everyone's going to have the type of scoring they want. It's all about how well they respond to it."
A word bandied about at UK Media Day was "swag," presumably slang for swagger.
In speaking of the newcomers, Patterson said, "I think they brought their own — shall I say — type of swag. They brought their own type of attitude. And I think it's starting to rub off on all of us."
Before beginning his Media Day news conference, Calipari staged two presentations of checks to local charities.
A promotion tied to pizza orders resulted in a check for $50,000 to the Kentucky Children's Hospital. And Calipari's wife received a check for the Coach Calipari Foundation for Children.