Kentucky Wildcats basketball has arrived, and they arrived in style on Friday night when both the men’s and women’s basketball teams took the hardwood in Rupp Arena in front of a sold out crowd.
The women kicked off the night with arguably the best moment of the entire evening. Blair Green has been a fan favorite for her entire career as a Wildcat and suffered an awful Achilles tear last October. She’s been battling back for one more year with the team and made her return in style with a victory score of 16 in the three-point contest.
The men had already deemed their night a success before the event even began. News broke less than an hour before Big Blue Madness that No. 4 recruit in the 2023 class, Aaron Bradshaw, had committed to the Wildcats.
A major win for Kentucky and a statement-maker on the night that Kentucky had several other top recruits in attendance.
A tradition of success unlike any other ...— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) October 15, 2022
and we will never stop chasing greatness. pic.twitter.com/e2ZYw0vDjV
Oscar Tshiebwe entered BBM on crutches, but to reiterate the comments from head coach John Calipari earlier in the week — Tshiebwe is expected to be fine and the procedure he had was just to clean some things up. Before the Madness began for the men’s team, Calipari had a short and sweet speech that was followed by a mic drop.
“I’m really liking this team. So why don’t we stop talking and let’s go have some fun,” Calipari said.
And everyone did just that. Antoni Reeves, Chris Livingston, CJ Fredrick and Jacob Toppin suited up for the three-point contest, and it was over just after it started. Reeves came out of the gate on fire, scoring 19 points that would be enough to claim the victory. Fredrick and Toppin each scored 15 points while Livingston scored 13.
Following the three point contest, everyone watching was treated to celebrity appearances by Brandon Knight, Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, Nick Richards and Tyler Ulis. The five former Wildcats were judges for the dunk contest, which formally included Adou Thiero, Chris Livingston, Daimion Collins and Kareem Watkins. However, Jacob Toppin found himself in the mix as well.
After two rounds of dunks, it was Toppin who came out victorious. Although, he had the third-best score (including not converting a dunk in the first round). But how could that be? Toppin did have the best individual dunk score (49) in the second round, but had the third-highest total with Collins and Livingston tying for first.
The Rupp Arena crowd was asked to vote with the loudest cheer for whichever player declaring the winner and of course Toppin was the recipient.
Kentucky ran a scrimmage that was cut short via the telecast due to SEC Network switching over to volleyball. However, before Big Blue Madness ended, Calipari closed the night telling the Rupp Arena crowd that they’re going to have some fun watching these guys and will be proud of them.
Here are some highlights of the Big Blue Madness 2022 via Matthew Loves Ball.