[Moderated by Matt Jones]
National championship seasons nonwithstanding, 2002-2003 was my favorite season of Kentucky basketball to live through. I was in eighth grade, and it was probably the first year that I was able to knowledgeably discuss basketball and our team with my dad and his pals. It was also the centennial celebration for Kentucky basketball, which is a pretty frickin big deal. I’m pretty sure I’ve waxed poetic about this season before- my love for Keith Bogans, my excitement at our undefeated SEC season, and obsession with this picture- but today at my internship with Fox Sports Chicago (bear down), I found the 2002-2003 Kentucky Basketball media guide laying nearly forgotten on a shelf, begging for me to dust it off and read it in between Cubs and Sox games. Considering it’s the ten year anniversary of that season, it only seems fitting that I take a trip down memory lane. Let’s begin…
First, I have to say I’m a fan of the cover. Simple contrasting images, visually showing readers how far the program has come in its 100 years. “Unparalleled Tradition” is also a solid tagline- no need to get fancy and verbose when our record speaks for itself.
The media guide starts off rather dramatically: “In 1903, Kentucky’s W.W.H. Mustaine collected $3 for a ball… and so the legacy begins.” Truth be told, I didn’t realize that that was how our saga started, but I salute you, Mr. Mustaine. The guide includes a twelve page timeline of Kentucky basketball history, including lots of short-shorts and a strangely framed picture of Tubby Smith holding up a recently-sheared basketball net…
The Canadian flag? Really?
After a season outlook, we go into my favorite section- player profiles. Each player profile includes a Q&A sidebar, and really, it’s my KSR duty to bring you the fun facts about that year’s team. There are some gems. Shall we enter bullet format?
-Keith Bogans: Biggest superstition? “If a broom touches you, spit on it.” (What?!) If I could switch places with one person for a day: “Bill ‘Smooth’ Keightley” (aww…)
-Josh Carrier: If I could switch places with one person for a day: “Hugh Hefner.” Last concert I saw: “Lexington Jazz Concert.” (What a classy guy!)
-Bernard Cote: Dream job not in basketball: “Police officer.” (Currently, he’s Marketing Manager for Advertising and Classics Business Development at Reebok. Not a police officer, but not too bad either)
-Erik Daniels: The CD currently in my player: “Lil Wayne- 500 Degrees” (I’m torn between laughing at the fact that ten years ago, CD players were a thing, and being impressed that Erik Daniels was ahead of the trend on Lil Wayne). My Derby Horse would be named: “Lil’ Diddy Fresh.” Complete this sentence: I love… “To party.” (…)
-Gerald Fitch: Dream job not in basketball: “Winning the lottery” (Not technically a job, Gerald)
-Cliff Hawkins: Last concert I saw: “Ja Rule” (I judge anyone who considers Ja Rule a legitimate rapper. Seriously, I could probably outrap him AMIRITE).
-Chuck Hayes: Last concert I saw: “Bill Cosby” (I wasn’t aware that was a concert). Dream job not in basketball: “UK’s Director of Basketball Operations” (I don’t hate that at all). I picked my jersey number because: “Fitch had number 4″ (Burned).
-Matt Heissenbuttel: Not many people know this but I: “have a 39″ vertical” (I did not know that). Favorite sport other than basketball: “Putt putt golf” (I am so unsurprised).
-Preston LeMaster: My dream date: “Dolly Parton” (No comment)
-Brandon Stockton: Not many people know this but I: “Like playing basketball.” Dream job not in basketball: “Sitting in an office doing nothing.” I love: “Basketball.” (Wait, do you like basketball, do you LIKE like it, or do you LOVE it?)
Whew. I may have gone overboard with that. Sorry, folks.
The rest of the basketball part of the media guide profiles the staff, season opponents, 2002 season review, and the SEC. All information you can find on the Internet pretty easily. However, we then get into “This Is UK Basketball,” a section highlighting exactly what makes the Kentucky program so unique. From Basketball Pageantry (what a fancy name!) to Cats in the Pros (that should be a pretty thick section in this year’s guide), and yes fellas, Kentucky Cheerleaders, this part of the media guide describes what it means to be a part of Big Blue Nation.
Fittingly, this segues into “Tradition,” the records and history section dealing with the more black and white aspects of UK basketball lore. The media guide closes with “This Is UK,” reminding us that there’s more to the university than just basketball, and media information. Personally, it’s worth looking through basketball staff profiles just to see how far we’ve come in the 200s hair and fashion-wise. I’m really relieved perms aren’t a “thing” any more. Also, that we’ve upgraded a little bit in terms of our “Famous Fans”… ten years ago it was just Ashley Judd and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys. Considering Drake, Lebron, Jay-Z, and Turtleman are now part of BBN, I think we’ve upgraded.
It was a nice trip down memory lane, but I have to say, I’m ready for this year’s media guide to come out already. I could use some bedtime reading. Bring on the DY9ASTY.
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