SBD/October 19, 2012/Facilities

Befitting A Champ: UK Getting Major Upgrades To Rupp Arena Locker Room

The vision for new facilities at the Univ. of Kentucky's Rupp Arena "becomes clearer every day," according to SPORTING NEWS' Mike DeCourcy, who was taken on a tour of the "under-construction locker and ancillary facilities" by UK men's basketball coach John Calipari. Calipari pointed out several amenities Monday, including a "palatial locker room"; a theater "for players and coaches to break down game video"; and a large players lounge. Also included is a "new booster's room where they can gather ... and watch through windows as the players proceed to the court." There also is a "kitchen area that will allow players to have their pregame meal there, individual showers with beautiful, high-end tiling and separate hot and cold tubs for postgame treatments." The design incorporated "the floor on which UK won its eighth NCAA championship last April; the foul line portion of the court will serve as the entrance to the Wildcats’ locker room, and the center jump circle will be in the middle of the players’ locker area." Calipari said that UK raised $2M "to cover the reconstruction, which not only will benefit the Wildcats but also will make Rupp more attractive as a site for NCAA Tournaments." The renovations include the "construction and/or refurbishing of five secondary locker rooms that can be used for NCAA events and the installation of two large new quarters for game officials." The arena will "host a sub-regional site in the 2013 tournament in March" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 10/17).

GOING HOLLYWOOD: In N.Y., Zach Braziller noted ESPN premiered "All-Access Kentucky" on Wednesday night at 7pm ET. The show will air the next two weeks and will "chronicle the lives of the Kentucky’s men’s basketball team and Calipari." After the first three episodes are shown, the network "will decide where to go from there." ESPN VP/Original Programming & Production Jamie Horowitz said, "The fun thing when you do a documentary-style series is you don’t know the answers. We’re gonna cover whatever happens. We’re really just observers; what happens is what ends up in the series." Horowitz "felt Calipari and the Wildcats were the ideal subject, concerning the rabid support the program gets and the animosity it receives from detractors" (NYPOST.com, 10/17). In Kentucky, John Clay wrote for the "most part, the first 'episode' of this behind-the-scenes look inside the Kentucky basketball program was exactly what I thought it might be, a promotional video for the Kentucky basketball program." High school recruit Aaron Harrison following his commitment to attend UK next year said, "Coach Cal can make our dream come true faster than the normal coach." Clay: "Whatever six-figure check the school wrote for that laser light show at Big Blue Madness last week pales in comparison to the priceless promotional punch of that quote" (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 10/17).
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