Envy our past. Fear our future.
That immodest message — delivered on a video accompanied by a thumping, teeth-rattling bass line — began the business portion of Kentucky's Big Blue Madness in Rupp Arena on Friday night.
Then first-year coach John Calipari added a bask-in-our-present addendum in a keynote address/acceptance speech.
Throwing plenty of red meat — or in this case, blue meat — to the capacity crowd, Calipari spoke of returning Kentucky basketball "back to its rightful place atop the mountain."
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Earlier in the 15-minute address from a podium sitting on an H-shaped stage, Calipari set an even higher objective.
"That we are the gold standard not just for college basketball," he said, "but for all of college athletics."
He talked about a program "rooted in integrity" and always "run with class."
One hopes the possible secondary NCAA rules violations committed by the crowd when it chanted prospects' names were a misstep to be written off to runaway zeal. That happened four times, each an apparent violation of NCAA rule 13.11.4 which forbids the chanting of prospects' names at an event open to the public.
Madness as recruiting tool always hangs in the air. In this, Calipari set an equally lofty goal.
"My vision is for every high school player in the country to dream of putting on this uniform," he said. The energy and buzz of Madness "will attract the best student-athletes to our program."
Calipari noted UK basketball's history and tradition. A "mystical" experience, he described it.
"Our history is rooted in our coaches: Rupp, Hall, Smith," he said.
Intentionally or not, Calipari did not mention Rick Pitino, who weaved similar enthusiasm into championships in the 1990s, and Eddie Sutton.
Calipari called his dribble-drive "college basketball's most exciting offense." As he's noted throughout the fall, he stressed again the importance of team play for a roster nearly split between veterans and newcomers.
If the Cats achieve a singular purpose, he said, "We will become unbreakable and unbeatable."
But, Calipari added, "It doesn't happen in a day or weeks."
The ensuing scrimmage showed the need for patience. And it immediately revealed that some UK fans will struggle to exercise that quality.
When the first possession in the 20-minute scrimmage began with a series of passes, a fan could be heard saying, "Looks like Tubby ball."
As expected, the Cats struggled with perimeter shooting. During the first eight minutes, there were only two baskets other than dunks or layups: a pull-up 10-footer by heralded freshman John Wall and a 15-footer by freshman Daniel Orton.
Josh Harrellson stood out. He made four three-point shots.
But there also were three-point airballs by Patrick Patterson, DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Liggins. Plus, Eric Bledsoe and Patterson missed badly on other three-point attempts.
There were crowd-pleasing plays, too. Twice Wall drove to thunderous dunks, on the first freeing himself with a nifty behind-the-back dribble.
But overall, the scrimmage seemed to leak a bit of enthusiasm out of the crowd.
During a break in the action, Calipari took a microphone and said, "Folks, are you enjoying it?"
Then he added, "But do you see how far we have to go? Just so everybody understands it."
The coach's candid comment drew applause.
Madness began on time at 7:30. The celebration got off to a rousing start when a fan made a three-pointer to win a home entertainment complex.
After the obligatory appearance by the cheerleaders, the UK women's team was introduced at 7:55. Ten minutes later, Coach Matthew Mitchell introduced his special "assistant coach" for Madness: country music star Eddie Montgomery.