Big Blue Madness used as UK basketball recruiting tool


The Wildcat swings over the crowd during Big Blue Madness on Friday, October 14, 2016 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky..

Tres Terrell

Year after year, Big Blue Madness gets bigger and better. The bright lights, the walk-out dances and the preview of what UK basketball holds for this season is what continues to grow this event.

The success that it has taken on has been very beneficial to UK’s recruitment within recent years. Some of the nation’s top prospects attend this event in hopes of finding their new home.

Names such as Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Malik Monk and many more have attended this event with dreams of playing in Rupp Arena once they graduated. To be specific, 56 of the nation’s top players have. With that being said, Big Blue Madness looks to add 11 more of the nation’s most highly regarded recruits to their guest list.

Those names include:

Immanuel Quickley

Bol Bol

Zion Williamson

Darius Garland

James Wiseman

Tyrese Maxey

D.J. Jeffries

Keion Brooks

Jalen Johnson

Zion Harmon

Jaemyn Brakefield

All eleven prospects are ranked in at least the top 25 of their class, with nine being in the top 10 and four being in the top three of their class.

While it’s great to have these recruits in attendance, the ones that matter the most are the ones out of the class of 2018. These recruits are the ones who could very well be suiting up in front of Big Blue Nation next fall.

Those four recruits who are seniors this season are:

Immanuel Quickley (committed to Kentucky)

Bol Bol (ranked No. 2 overall by 247Sports)

Zion Williamson   (ranked No. 3 overall by 247Sports)

Darius Garland   (ranked No. 10 overall by 247Sports)

Quickley, Kentucky’s lone commit so far this season, looks to fill in the shoes of all great UK point guards, and in which many has compared to John Wall, De’Aaron Fox and Tyler Ulis. He’s the nations No. 1 overall point guard, and is ranked eighth overall in his class. His speed and athleticism will help push the Cats’ offense and help secure the perimeter on defense.

Bol, who has cut his list to Oregon and UK, is the son of the tallest player in NBA history: Manute Bol. Bol, who is already 7’1, will surely be UK’s tallest recruit. His shot blocking ability and ease for getting rebounds could help the Cats’ defense tremendously. Bol also has a secret weapon beyond his height, and it’s that he can shoot. This summer, during Team USA’s tryouts, Calipari used Bol as an example in a drill and Bol hit a three on command. It wasn’t luck either. Bol has had an excellent summer during AAU with his shooting.

Garland, who has cut his list to Vanderbilt, Indiana, UCLA and Kentucky, looks to possibly team up with Quickley in Kentucky’s backcourt. As a left-handed player, he’d be tough for defenders to guard because of the dominant hand being the right for most basketball players. His quickness, along with his control, could very well be compared to that of Fox. Garland will be interesting to watch as his senior season comes to a close and would be a big steal for the Cats.

Williamson, the name the nation has heard countless times, usually involving a video highlight that’s gone viral all over social media of his in-game dunks. Williamson, ranked third overall in his class, has been said to be the next LeBron James. He’s a once in a generation player, expected for greatness as he approaches college before the NBA.

His size and speed will help him against any defender in the NCAA, and his vertical will destroy anyone who stays in the paint. Big Blue Nation could very likely see a Quickley/Williamson duo in Rupp Arena next season, as the two played AAU ball together and Quickley has repeatedly said he’d “love to play college ball together.”

Big Blue Madness brings out the die-hard UK fans, as many have the willingness to camp out to watch their team in a pickup scrimmage. Lexington is going to be in for one crazy night of basketball.