LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky basketball hosted a slew of 5-star recruits on Friday night for Big Blue Madness, and the Wildcats’ rabid fan base did not disappoint. With three top-10 players in the Class of 2018 and the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2019 among those gathered to watch the current team arrive at Rupp Arena, a chant broke out.
“Zion! Williamson! Zion! Williamson!” fans howled. “We. Want. You.”
Williamson, ranked the No. 2 overall 2018 prospect in the country, grinned wide and took some friendly ribbing from the others. Among them: 7-foot-3 Bol Bol and point guard Darius Garland, fellow 2018 5-stars, and James Wiseman, the top high school player for 2019.
Kentucky freshman Kevin Knox, who stepped off the team bus to a temporary grandstand filled with fans screaming his and teammates’ names, can imagine what the recruits were thinking. He was one of them last year at Madness.
“I was in the same position,” Knox said, “so I know they’re having a lot of fun. A lot of fans know who they are. It’s great for them to come out here and see the fans and the experience that we go through. I’m so happy right now, I got butterflies and all.
“You definitely remember something like this, because this is crazy. I know it definitely sticks in the mind for recruits.”
Fellow Wildcats freshmen and former McDonald’s All-Americans Quade Green and P.J. Washington also visited Kentucky for Madness and came away impressed with the passion of the fan base and the glitz and glamour of the program.
“This is great as a recruit,” Washington said, “just watching all these guys have fun and just wanting to be a part of it.”
Green was all smiles on the blue (naturally) carpet, which was walked first by several former Kentucky stars before the current Cats arrived to a loud ovation.
“I was here last year wishing I was in it — and now I’m in it,” Green said. “It was just exciting for me. Fans love you, and we love the fans back.”
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