By LARRY VAUGHT
With many of Kentucky’s top 2018 and 2019 recruits in attendance, Kentucky coach John Calipari didn’t miss a chance to tout UK’s program during Friday’s Big Blue Madness.
He also pulled out an ace by having rapper Drake make a special guest appearance.
“I want my players and anyone out there to know if you want to emulate excellence, yet maintain humility, emulate Drake,” Calipari said. “If you want to emulate a strong drive, embracing the biggest stage and the goodness of a compassionate heart, you emulate Drake.”
Drake then came out wearing a blue sweatshirt that said ‘KENTUCKY DAD” across the front. He hugged Calipari and talked to the crowd that was giddy to see him.
Earlier many of those same fans had lined up outside Rupp Arena to watch Calipari and his players — along with other celebrities — walk the blue carpet. Recruits in attendance, including Zion Williamson and James Wiseman, got to watch the fans’ reaction to the Cats’ arrival at Rupp Arena.
Calipari reminded fans — and recruits — that Kentucky embraces a winning tradition.
“We have won more games and been to more Final Fours than any program over the last eight years. We also have won more games and been to more Final Fours than any program EVER,” Calipari said. “Our goal is to raise a ninth national championship banner and have another group of players chase their dreams. We will and we do embrace everything that this program and this stage have to offer.”
Later he invited his wife and every former Kentucky player to join him on the Rupp Arena court to meet and embrace current players.
“This family is not only guys who play here but everyone who has played here,” Calipari said.