UK basketball miner story

Blue-White in Appalachia: How UK Basketball Helped One Miner and All of Eastern KY

On Saturday, Kentucky basketball held its annual Blue-White Game – the scrimmage that kicked off the season. The event usually takes place in Rupp Arena, but this year the players wanted to do something special for the flood victims of Eastern Kentucky, so the Cats traveled to Pikeville to host the event in Appalachian Wireless Arena.

The gym was packed with the “606” faithful, with over 7,000 die-hard UK fans in attendance. The team sported very unique warm-up shirts for the event, with Appalachia on the front and 606 on the back. (I have a really good feeling that if these were to hit stores, they would sell out…  very quickly!👀)

Action-Filled Scrimmage Despite Short-Handed Team

The Wildcats were short-handed for the event. Oscar Tshiebwe was held out after undergoing his very minor, non-serious knee surgery – at media day this past week, he said that he fully expects to play in the season opener. Sahvir Wheeler did not play after banging his knee in practice – he said that he’s fine but decided to play it safe as a precaution. And Lance Ware was unavailable due to a pulled-back muscle. Luckily, they’re all non-serious injuries.

Even short-handed, the scrimmage was full of action and highlights. Blue came away with a 70-67 victory. New transfer Antonio Reeves led the team, finishing as the game’s MVP with 27 points, shooting an impressive 8-19 from the field, and 5-12 from 3.

Tone was the MVP and leading scorer of the Big Blue Bahamas Tour back in August as well. It’s clear he can get a bucket from just about anywhere on the court, doing it in high volume with consistency. If this is any indication of how he will play this upcoming season, then Tshiebwe may not be our team’s leading scorer after all.

Another standout from the Blue squad was true freshman Adou Thiero, who poured in 21 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists, all while shooting 50% from the field. 

Thiero may have come into this season as the lowest-ranked recruit in the class, but he has superseded all expectations from both fans and his own coaches alike. Continuing on this trajectory of development will only improve our depth and internal-competition – which will help us go a long way.

For a full box-score breakdown and highlights, here you go!

Event Gives Back to Suffering State

In all, the event raised $162,450 for Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief. This is a wonderful thing for the people of Appalachia who were devastated this past year. But the giving didn’t stop once the gym lights were shut off.

Fan Covered Head to Toe in Soot and Ash – Who Was He?

After the scrimmage, Cal took to Twitter and posted a photo of one fan with his son – still dressed in his coal mining outfit, covered head to toe in soot and ash. Coach was determined to find out just who this Wildcat fan was so he could treat him and his family to the VIP Experience at Rupp Arena this year.

The tweet went viral and eventually it was discovered that this loyal Kentucky fan was Michael Mcguire – his wife Mollie was the one to discover that her husband had become the talk of the college basketball world on Sunday. She wrote on Calipari’s Facebook that her husband’s day began at 4:45 a.m., and then after work, he drove straight to the arena to enjoy the game with their son.

On media day Tuesday, Cal gave his full side of the story and why it was so important for him to find this particular fan:

Not only will Cal treat the Mcguire Family to the VIP Experience in Rupp Arena for a game this year, but he also received word that a local car dealership wants to loan them a specialty vehicle for their trip to Lexington. And finally, country artist and die-hard Kentucky fan JD Shelburne had this offer to make their trip even more special:

Free dinner pre-game at the luxurious Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse – now that’s one heck of an offer.

Let’s Go Cats!

From the players to the coaching staff to this fanbase – this past week has shown what BBN is all about and how much of a positive impact giving back to our Kentucky community can have, especially to those who have lost and suffered so much devastation this past year. Winning on and off the court – this will be one memorable season for Kentucky basketball!