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Photos by Victoria Graff, and property of Schurz Communications, Inc., and vaughtsviews.com. All rights reserved; images may not be reprinted in print or online without permission of the owners. Reprinted images must be attributed to vaughtsviews.com and linked to the original site.

Photos by Victoria Graff, and property of Schurz Communications, Inc., and vaughtsviews.com. All rights reserved; images may not be reprinted in print or online without permission of the owners. Reprinted images must be attributed to vaughtsviews.com and linked to the original site.

LEXINGTON, Ky – Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray today revealed a design for a reinvented Rupp Arena, state of the art and better than new.

“This energetic and dynamic design for one of Lexington’s signature facilities is an exciting development for this region,” said Gov. Beshear, who included $65 million for Rupp in the budget plan he sent to the Kentucky General Kentucky Assembly three weeks ago. “Renovating the arena and upgrading the surrounding properties will have a strong effect on the entire city.”

Gray agreed. “At its heart, this is an economic development project. It’s about long-term economic impact, jobs for the long haul. Jobs created through elevating, amplifying, lifting-up and building our brands.”

The city has been working on the plans for Rupp and a new convention center for three years, Gray said. “A reinvented Rupp is still about history and pride and passion and tradition. It’s also about a better tomorrow — a better fan experience inside and outside the arena. Access to arts and entertainment. A Rupp that is part of the city rather than apart from the city.”

Public input has been part of the project since the very beginning. The decision to renovate Rupp rather than build a new arena came from a 50-member Citizens Task Force.

“Our Citizens Task Force in 2011 found Rupp had great bones, allowing us to renovate and in fact, reinvent it, to free it, make it visible,” Gray said. “And by leveraging its history, actually make Rupp better than new for a lot less money,” Gray said.

The total cost of the arena and a new convention center is estimated at $310 million. The city is working on a detailed financial plan that will involve several partners including a long-term lease with UK, the state legislature, the Urban County Council and the Kentucky High School Athletics Association.

There will also be an opportunity for UK fans and citizens to participate financially in Rupp reinvention. “Surveys have shown there is a lot of enthusiasm for such an opportunity, much like has been done in Green Bay, Wisconsin,” said Brent Rice, chair of the Lexington Center Board of Directors.

A key part of the plan is the resurrection of Town Branch, the water source around which the city was founded in 1775. “The Town Branch Park will run through the site and continue on through the city, from the Distillery District through Midland Avenue,” Gray said.

The Board of Lexington Center hired top architects to reinvent Rupp – international architects NBBJ and, locally, EOP. Landscape architecture firm SCAPE is designing Town Branch Park.

NBBJ Partner Robert Mankin said, “From the start of NBBJ’s involvement with Rupp Arena, our focus has been on producing an authentic and lasting design that maintains the spirit ingrained in the arena. We’re excited for fans and players to experience the changes firsthand.  Together, a reimagined Rupp Arena and Lexington Convention Center will form a new cultural core in downtown.”

Features of the reinvented arena include:
•       A transparent skin to bring the energy inside to the city outside
•       A Catwalk leading from the University to the arena district.
•       Outdoor video screens.
•       Chairback seats throughout the arena;
•       Upgraded technology. (wifi)
•       A new center hung scoreboard.

Photos by Gary Moyers, and property of Schurz Communications, Inc., and vaughtsviews.com. All rights reserved; images may not be reprinted in print or online without permission of the owners. Reprinted images must be attributed to vaughtsviews.com and linked to the original site.

By LARRY VAUGHT

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has seen a lot of talented college basketball players and likes what he sees in UK freshman Julius Randle.

“I think Randle is a unique talent because he has the ability to put in on the ground and get fouled, the ability to wheel and get fouled when the double team comes,” Pitino said. “He’s a good offensive rebounder.Their frontcourt is very dangerous because if you make a mistake defensively and don’t contain, they make you pay. They are the best at dribble-penetrating and throwing the ball near the rim for the lob. And they practice it obviously a lot.”

Pitino, who guided UK to a national title in 1996, knows what Rupp Arena can be like.

“I’ve always felt Kentucky and Kansas have the two strongest home courts in college basketball,” Pitino said. “So that is a factor. It’s an overpowering place, but I think our guys have responded well there in the past, and I expect them to do that again.”

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Photos by Victoria Graff, and property of Schurz Communications, Inc., and vaughtsviews.com. All rights reserved; images may not be reprinted in print or online without permission of the owners. Reprinted images must be attributed to vaughtsviews.com and linked to the original site.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – eRUPPtion Zone tickets will be available to the public for Saturday’s men’s basketball game against Belmont, which occurs during the university’s holiday break.

The public will be allowed to start lining up for public eruption zone ticket sales this Saturday, December 21st at 6 a.m. ET. Tickets in the eRUPPtion Zone will be $5 each (cash only) and are limited to one per person (must be present at time of purchase). Tickets will go on sale 90 minutes prior to tip-off at the Rupp Arena Box Office and are available on a first come/first serve basis.

The games against Louisville (Dec. 28), Tennessee (Jan. 18) and Georgia (Jan. 25) are SOLD OUT. Please remember when buying tickets from anywhere other than Ticketmaster or the UK Ticket Office, you could be buying a lost/stolen or counterfeit ticket, resulting in non-admission to the contest. Also, any UK Student Ticket must be presented with a UK Student ID along with the ticket for admission.

For a complete listing of on sale dates, visit www.UKAthletics.com/tickets.

By LARRY VAUGHT

Freshman James Young admitted he had “never felt something like this” after the way the Rupp Arena crowd helped UK rally from an 11-point deficit in the second half Monday night.

“It was amazing. I want this when we’re not down, to be like that all the time. I’ve never felt something like that, ever,” Young said. “It just gave me a lot of energy. It picked me up, I was trying to pick everyone else up, clapping. … We just tried to get as much energy as we could and just play together as a team.”

Young said the UK fans “definitely” earned an assist for Monday’s win.

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Photos by Victoria Graff, and property of Schurz Communications, Inc., and vaughtsviews.com. All rights reserved; images may not be reprinted in print or online without permission of the owners. Reprinted images must be attributed to vaughtsviews.com and linked to the original site.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the fifth time in program history, and the second consecutive year, the ESPN College GameDay tour will visit Kentucky’s historic Rupp Arena for a weekly installment of the popular college basketball preview show. ESPN has selected the Florida-Kentucky matchup on Feb. 15 as one of its eight College GameDay stops during the 2013-14 season.

The conference game between Kentucky and Florida is slated for a 9 p.m. ET tip on ESPN. The show will air live at 11 a.m. ET and again later that day at 8 p.m. ET leading into the opening tip.

Since its inception during the 2004-05 season, College GameDay has featured the Wildcats eight total times, including this year’s upcoming appearance. This will mark Florida’s sixth overall appearance in its school’s history.

GameDay last visited Rupp Arena during the 2012-13 season when the Wildcats hosted the Missouri Tigers. The game didn’t disappoint with UK posting an exciting 90-83 overtime win. The Blue and White own a 4-0 record on days when it is featured by the GameDay crew under John Calipari’s direction and has been selected for the show in each year of Calipari’s tenure at UK.

Last year, a crowd of 15,087 attended the morning GameDay show, the second largest ever. UK also holds the record for the largest crowd in GameDay history of 22,144, set on Feb. 13, 2010.

The Wildcats have faced Florida in three of their seven previous GameDay appearances, with the other meetings coming against Missouri (2013), Vanderbilt (2012), Tennessee (2010) and Mississippi State (2005).

Entering its 10th season, ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm – the eight-week Saturday morning and evening college basketball program originating from the site of ESPN’s Saturday Primetime Presented by DIRECTV telecast – begins  Jan. 18 with a special split-site show. The first hour begins at 10 a.m. ET on ESPNU, continuing at 11 a.m. on ESPN with a one-hour evening edition leading into the SaturdayPrimetime game-of-the-week on ESPN.

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