The Big Blue Nation’s reach and impact are far-reaching, but when some of your toughest fans are hit by tragedy and need it most, the Kentucky basketball team stands ready to thank them and to support them when needed.
Torrential rains last week caused flash flooding and left a wake of destruction and so far the death of 37 people and hundreds still missing in eastern Kentucky. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is doing his part, but University of Kentucky basketball players want to do theirs too.
Tonight, the team will hold an open basketball practice starting at 6:30 p.m. where fans can come and see the team. The doors to Rupp Arena open at 5 p.m., and all they ask is that you also keep those in Eastern Kentucky in your thoughts by bringing donations to the Red Cross.
There will also be free parking on the High Street Lot opposite the Rupp Arena.
Meanwhile, Lexington television station WLEX will host the Kentucky Flood Relief Telethon from 5-8 p.m. There is also a website that collects donations for the telethon which is already operational.
If you can’t attend, you can go to this link to help donate to the American Red Cross/UK/WLEX.
Coach John Calipari is no stranger to stepping in when he sees someone in need, but in this case it was his players who stepped up and took the initiative to do some good he spoke of .
“It always seems that the people who can least afford it are affected by this stuff. That’s why we all have to step up and say, what can I do, even if it’s a little? It’s amazing how generous this state is. They always seem to get by.
One of the first to come forward was Kentucky native CJ Fredrick, who approached his teammates and Calipari to find out how they could make a difference one way or another.
“I was in the car and saw these horrific images and the first thing that came to mind was, what can we do to help? Because the Kentucky brand is a huge brand, and we can have an immediate impact. I thought it would be a great way to engage the fans, bring them to Rupp and watch us practice and raise funds. It would be good for everyone to meet at this time.
Normally, Kentucky wouldn’t practice right now, but the team is practicing before heading to the Bahamas next week to play four games. This provided the stage for fans to get a first look at what the Kentucky basketball team looks like in person.
“We’re just, as a team, extremely excited for tomorrow to help out in any way we can for eastern Kentucky.”
— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 1, 2022
Wildcat football players stepped up in December when the tornado hit Bowling Green and Western Kentucky and took part in a similar telethon and also raised over $3 million.
Sahvir Wheeler spoke on the Leach Report on Tuesday morning and said it’s the fans who really support the team and it’s their way of giving back as well.
Calipari always teaches, guides and tries to instill live skills in his players, and moments like this, he says, prove that his efforts and those of his coach pay off.
“When you coach you try to give something to the player and then you see him on the pitch and you see him succeed and that makes you smile. Nothing feels better except, off the pitch, when you try to give them things they can live with the rest of their lives – good heart, servant leadership, be to each other, be to each other, use your blessings to pass it on. servant leadership in action shows me that we are doing well.