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Basketball is back in the bluegrass state. Big Blue Madness tipped off the season as Kentucky fans met the 2023-24 version of the Wildcats for the first time. The tradition is the first official opportunity for the team to represent Kentucky and is usually highlighted by player introductions.

The night began with Big Blue Nations introduction to the Kentucky Women’s Basketball team. The 2023-24 season marks the 50th anniversary of the Women’s Basketball program at Kentucky. This year’s version of the ‘Cats includes 5 players from Kentucky on the roster.

Returning Players: Saniah Tyler (So.), Eniya Russell (Sr.), Cassidy Rowe (So.), Ajae Petty (Sr.), Amiya Jenkins (So.), Nyah Leveretter (Sr.), Maddie Scherr (Sr.), Zennia Thomas (So.), Emma King (Gr.)

Newcomers: Brooklynn Miles (Jr.) (Transfer from Tennessee), Jordy Griggs (Fr.), Janae Walker (Fr.)

Coaching Staff: Kyra Elzy (HC), Niya Butts, Jen Hoover, Crystal Kelly

The biggest crowd reactions to the team during introductions included Maddie Scherr, Emma King, Amiya Jenkins, and Cassidy Rowe (all from Kentucky).

Following introductions, the team competed in a blue-white shootout in which the white team defeated the blue team. The 3-point contest followed the shootout.

Maddie Scherr won the 3-point contest, tallying a first round high of 18 points, followed by 15 points in the second round to defeat Emma King to bring home the trophy.

Women’s 3-Point Contest Results:

Maddie Scherr: R1: 18 pts R2: 15 pts

Cassidy Rowe: R1: 15 pts

Emma King: R1: 17 pts R2: 13 pts

Saniah Tyler: R1: 5 pts

A 6-minute scrimmage finished the night for the Women’s team. The Blue team defeated the White team by a score of 20-6. Jenkins led all scorers with 9 points (3 three-pointers).

Scrimmage Box Score:

Blue: 20 — Scherr (2 pts), Walker (2 pts), Jenkins (9 pts), Tyler (3 pts), Thomas (4 pts)

White: 6 — Russell (2 pts), King (2), Rowe (0 pts), Miles (0 pts), Griggs (2 pts)


Between the Women’s and Men’s teams introductions and events, the 24-time national champion UK cheerleading team performed their routine for the Rupp Arena crowd. The UK Dance team followed the cheerleading team with a performance of their own.


The Kentucky Men’s Basketball team introductions followed those performances. The Men’s team welcomed the return of several former players including:

Demarcus Cousins, Tyler Ulis, Marquis Teague, Dominique Hawkins, Marquis Estill, Heshimu Evans, Ramel Bradely, Joe Crawford, Dale Brown, Wayne Turner, Jonathan Davis, Al Robinson, Jeff Sheppard, Sean Woods, Daniel Orton, Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist, Cameron Mills, and Jack Givens

The Kentucky Men’s roster includes:

Returning players: Brennan Canada (Gr.), Grant Darbyshire (So.), Walker Horn (So.), Ugonna Onyenso (So.), Antonio Reeves (Sr.), Adou Thiero (So.), Kareem Watkins (Sr.)

Newcomers: Aaron Bradshaw (Fr.), Jordan Burks (Fr.), Rob Dillingham (Fr.), Justin Edwards (Fr.), Joey Hart (Fr.), Zvonimir Ivisic (Fr.), Tre Mitchell (Gr.) (Transfer from West Virginia), Reed Sheppard (Fr.), DJ Wagner (Fr.)

Coaching Staff: John Calipari, Bruiser Flint, Orlando Antigua, Chin Coleman, and John Welch (1st season as UK assistant)

The largest ovations from the crowd were for Reed Sheppard, DJ Wagner, Antonio Reeves, and Zvonimir Ivisic.

Special guest and returning player Demarcus Cousins introduced Coach John Calipari prior to the 3-point contest.

Antonio Reeves won his second 3-point contest in as many years, totaling 26 first round points and 20 second round points to defeat Freshman Reed Sheppard.

Men’s 3-Point Contest Results:

Reed Sheppard: R1:21 pts R2: 18 pts

DJ Wagner: R1: 17 pts

Tre Mitchell: R1: 20 pts

Antonio Reeves: R1: 26 pts R2: 20 pts

Justin Edwards: R1: 15 pts

The Dunk Contest included 3 participants, with each player performing 3 dunks. Scores were determined by crowd participation. Contestants included Jordan Burks, Joey Hart, and Justin Edwards. Joey Hart took home the trophy with a couple very impressive dunks to energize the Rupp Arena crowd.

Dunk Contest Results:

Jordan Burks

Dunk 1: Tomahawk

Dunk 2: Reverse, first attempt

Dunk 3: Last second two-handed dunk

Joey Hart

Dunk 1: Mini two hand windmill

Dunk 2: One hand 360 mini pump, 3rd attempt

Dunk 3: Off the backboard one-handed slam on the baseline

Justin Edwards

Dunk 1: Dunk over Thiero, first attempt

Dunk 2: Between the legs slam, first attempt

Dunk 3: Dunk off the baseline

A 10-minute unorganized scrimmage finished out the night for the Men’s team. The score was tracked for the final 5-minutes of the scrimmage. The final was 29-24 White team over the Blue team. Ivisic, Bradshaw, Thiero, and Onyenso did not participate due to injuries and coach’s decisions. Ivivis did take part in warmups.

The next chance to catch the Kentucky Men’s Basketball team is next Saturday, October 21 when they take part in the annual Blue – White scrimmage. The game will be held at Truist Arena at Northern Kentucky University. The game will tip off at 6:00 p.m. The game will be televised on SEC +.

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