Kentucky welcomes the start of another basketball season at Big Blue Madness Friday night. To be sure all goes smoothly, the Cats — the men's and the women's teams — went to Rupp Arena on Thursday to rehearse.
"They just want to make sure we know where to be for introductions," senior Darius Miller said of Thursday's rehearsal. "What we're going to do and where we're supposed to be."
The Rupp Arena doors open at 6 p.m. with the two-hour program scheduled to begin at 7:30.
Commentator Jimmy Dykes, who will be in Rupp Arena as part of ESPN's widespread coverage of Madness celebrations, said coaches might observe players in such a setting to see if they get distracted by a crowd or a festive atmosphere. But Miller said UK Coach John Calipari places no restrictions on creativity.
"He just lets us do what we want," Miller said. "It depends on our personalities."
Anthony Davis, one of four freshmen making their UK debuts, noted how this year's campout for Madness tickets reaffirmed his belief that Kentucky fans are keenly interested.
"They really love us, so I know they're going to come out there," he said of the expected capacity crowd. "It's a real surprise people would camp out for tickets."
As always, Madness also serves as a recruiting service. As reported in NextCats on Kentucky.com, Kentucky anticipates a group of highly regarded prospects to be in Rupp Arena.
Those prospects are expected to include Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 1 prospect in the high school class of 2012, and four other players generally rated in the top 30 nationally: Dajuan Coleman, Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley and Archie Goodwin. Goodwin has committed to UK.
Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 player in the high school class of 2014, is also expected to attend. So are two top 10 players in the class of 2013: twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison.