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Laura Williams 

By LAURA WILLIAMS

Yet again, the University of Kentucky sets a NCAA record. This time it’s the ladies of the bluegrass celebrating our love of the Cats. With over 600 women in attendance, we set the NCAA record for largest attendance at a coach’s women’s clinic.

As always, Coach Cal’s clinic was the place to be in Lexington on this Wednesday night. I arrived about 3 PM and the line was already down Memorial Coliseum’s walkway.

Check-in was a breeze this year and we were quickly where we wanted to be —  getting autographs and pictures with our favorite basketball players. All of  the players were fun to hang out with, very friendly if shy at times, and always had a smile on their faces.  I’ve always wanted to get a real answer from a player about what they think of 600+ screaming, cheering, clapping women there to just see them.

With my friends and I reasonably toward the front, we were able to snap our pictures and get our autographs with time left over. We got to sit down and enjoy a quick meal provided by Rafferty’s with time left to head over to the new Wildcat Coal Lodge to check out the first floor. Coach Cal’s rule no women above the first floor.  We got to see our eight national championship trophies, sit in the big recliners, (And I do mean big; I felt like a child with my feet not touching the floor!) and simply walk around and check out all the new space they get to live in.

My “scare” of the night was looking at my basketball to notice I only had 11 players signatures. Who had skipped my ball? After careful looking, I figured out it was Nerlens Noel! As a big Blue Fan, that was a signature I had to have.

With my ball now signed, I had the opportunity to ask Nerlens if the fundraiser that we did for Haiti several years ago had any influence over his decision to ultimately choose the University of Kentucky. I asked this because recently I saw a media clip about Nerlens having a tattoo representing Haiti on his arm. I could tell he was surprised by my question but, after thinking about it for a second, still with a surprised look on his face, he answered that yeah he thought it did. I know that we did not do that fundraiser in anyway thinking about bringing a player to our school. (Shame on anyone in the media who may even begin to say differently.) However you never know how acts of kindness will play forward into our lives.

At this point, the real clinic began. We were divided into groups and taken into different rooms throughout the Joe Craft Center to watch demonstrations by players and coaches about different  basketball topics. First up, was strength and conditioning with Rock Oliver. The guys were put through several exercises where they could show us how to stretch out, loosen up, and increase strength and stability. Alex Poytress worked on what have to be rock hard abs with the way he was able to balance on the exercise ball. Nerlens and Willie Cauley-Stein showed off their skill of being light on their feet and pretty darn fast.

Next up was Coach Robic running players through ballhandling drills. Trust me, some of those were a sight to see. All I can say is watch out for Archie Goodwin. Twany Beckham impressed as well.

Our last session was run by special guest Nancy Lieberman and John Hood. I’m sad to say I had never heard of Ms. Lieberman before tonight. Her career in basketball was fascinating to learn about and she was truly inspiring. She also has a great sense of humor and really had the crowd rolling with her. She and John were taking half-court shots over the shoulder, over their heads with the back turned to the basket, and pretty much any other way they could think to shoot. Lieberman 2, Hood 0.

I would like to tell you about the next part of the clinic, but we were sworn to secrecy by Coach Cal. Let’s just say, I think he definitely has an edge when visiting with moms and their sons when it comes to recruiting. Sorry folks that’s all I can say.

My guess is that with the extended time they needed to get in all of the autographs, we were unable to see the players actually practice. This is my one and only disappointment from the clinic. I love when Coach Cal saves some time for us to be the first people to see the new team play. But I understand. I wanted my autographs and pictures like everyone else. Luckily, I have season tickets and I’ll be in the stands at Rupp ready and waiting for that first game.

This was one of the better organized clinics. I know they put a lot of effort into making this the best experience possible. My thanks goes out to everyone and I will look forward to seeing you next year. Go Cats!

3 Responses to Guest post: Kentucky women set record for clinic attendance and maybe getting UK autographs

  • Juan4UK says:

    Of coarse, I don’t live in Kentucky anymore. But if there was ever a time to be home, it would be now. During the Calipari Administration. One thing about Cal and his staff is that they really seem to listen to the fanbase. If they aren’t predicting or leading the fanbase then they are adjusting to previous missteps or oversights. Simply amazing the level of detail and care they use to provide and include the fans.
    In the future, if there is ever a screw up that strikes a chord, I hope that everybody can take a step back and remember the things over time that they have done correctly. He has certainly bought a lot of credit points in my book.

  • Karen Sprinkle says:

    Great write up, Laura. But you forgot about one of the highlights–the fashion show. The guys really seemed to embrace the whole experience of the Clinic. Nerlens and Archie really put on a show with their dance moves during the fashion show. Much like Jarrod Polson several years ago, I don’t think Julius Mayes ever stopped smiling, and he really helped out one of the ladies on one of the drills in the session I attended. It was easily the best Women’s Clinic I attended. Coach Robic did say that they really take our comments to heart to try to make the clinic the best ever every year. Mom and I arrived about 2:30 and were about 25 people back in the line, so we were able to get all the autographs (and photos) we wanted. They actually delayed the start of the Clinic itself to make sure everyone got an autograph. It was a great idea to have the players all lined up at tables to sign autographs, and then have the players going down the line as time grew short. The players were all very accomodating and ready with a smile to take photos with each woman at the clinic, although, like Laura, I wondered what they were thinking about all of this.

    Kudos to Cal and the staff for a very memorable night. And kudos to all the players for being great sports and rolling with all the “crazy” fans.

    I grew up with Nancy Leiberman being one of my heroes, or as Wynonna Judd would say, my shero, so I was thrilled when I noticed her taking shots on the floor before the clinic started. Let me just say that at age 54, she’s still got the shooting touch (even half court shots over her shoulder). And she was both hysterically funny and inspirational. Her message was to be fearless, and she was very complimentary about Cal, which of course, got us all in her corner immediately.

    I was a little disappointed, too, that we didn’t get to see the guys practice. But Cal sharing his recruiting pitch with us, and getting to see the video that recruits and their parents see, was a true highlight. I was ready to sign up myself!

  • UKFAN197TONE says:

    Records are kept concerning women’s clinics? UK fans do it again!!! :)

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