Larry Vaught, the outstanding long-time sports writer for the Danville Advocate-Messenger, has spearheaded a Kentucky Wildcat post-season championship celebration book entitled, Elite Eighth. The book, put together by Vaught, Advocate-Messenger staff member Gary Moyers, as well as Winchester Sun sports editor Keith Taylor, chronicles UK's championship season using both articles by Vaught and Taylor, as well as extraordinary photographs by Victoria Graff and Clay Jackson.
I picked up a copy over the weekend, and I honestly feel it's a must-read for Kentucky basketball fans. It's not a book to be read and tossed in a drawer, rather, it is a keepsake, to be treasured and passed down from parents to children. If one is familiar with the work of Vaught and Taylor, as well as photographers Graff and Jackson, one knows how professionally UK's championship memories have been preserved.
I did a quick Q&A with Vaught about Elite Eighth, and here is what he had to say, along with buying/ordering information on the book.
ASOB: What inspired you to put this book together?
LV: We had worked on a similar project the last two years, but then did not get to publish our work when UK did not win the championship. We felt that if UK did win the title, that the UK fan base would be ecstatic and would want ways to relive that special season. We just had a feeling this year it was definitely going to happen and worked even more on the book.
ASOB: Who helped with the book as far as content?
LV: Gary Moyers of our (Advocate-Messenger) staff handled the initial selection of stories and pictures to send to the publisher to choose what to use in the book. We wanted this to be about more than statistics and game recaps. That's why we have 128 full-color pages and a lot of memorable pictures. The stories are features/game columns that offer insight into the big games that boxscores and game recaps could not.
ASOB: Describe how the book is formatted.
LV: It basically takes a look at all the big games from the season, along with some key player features. It has the best of the best photos that our photographers took -- and they are both really good. It is a fun, easy read and look, for fans to just enjoy.
ASOB: Elite Eighth is a book to be treasured by UK fans. Describe how you feel the book should be passed down from generation to generation.
LV: We hope this will be something fathers with show their sons/daughters or that grandfathers can share with grandchildren. We want families to pull this book out in two years and look back at a memorable season. There are no fans anywhere as passionate as UK fans, and we wanted something that they could look at over and over and smile each time they went through the book.
ASOB: What's your favorite part of the book?
LV: I love it all. I especially like the final picture of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with a towel wrapped around his neck, a huge smile on his face and a South Region championship hat on his head. To me that says great kid, hard worker and winner -- and that is what he was all about, as well as this team.
ASOB: And finally, where can fans pick up the book?
LV: In Kentucky, Elite Eighth is at Wal-Mart, Dick's Sporting Goods, Sam's Club and Barnes and Noble. You can also go to Vaught's Views.com and find on-line ordering information (on the top right hand side of the page).
Also, I will be at Wildcat Ford in Nicholasville this Saturday from 11:30 to 1:00 PM ET with the book at the same time Darius Miller is signing one free autograph per person. It is a great chance to see Darius and get a book.
Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats!