SOKY Athletes Enjoyed Opportunity to Play at Home of the Wildcats
There are few more storied basketball floors in the history of the sport that the one that sits in Rupp Arena — home of the Kentucky Wildcats. On Wednesday, Feb. 22, 50 Special Olympics Kentucky athletes got the opportunity to take the floor at Rupp alongside some all-time UK greats at the first Rupp Arena Unified Basketball Clinic and Blue-White Unified Game.
A product of a national partnership between Learfield Soorts, which owns the marketing rights for Rupp, and Special Olympics, the night got underway with a Unified skills clinic led by former UK players. Jack “Goose” Givens, Jared Prickett, Jon Hood, Marquis Estill and former UK football Player Anthony White, as well as Midway College head basketball coach Joe Krupinski, helped athletes from the Lexington Defenders, Lexington Blitz, Lexington Wildcats, Lexington Torpedoes and Madison County Mustangs through drills that included shooting, dribbling and defense.
After the clinic ended, the night shifted to the Unified Games with the Defenders and Mustangs facing off while being joined by the UK legends. Jon Hood and Marquis Estill joined the Mustangs, while Jared Prickett and Anthony White took the floor with the Defenders. Jack Givens coached the Mustangs and Prickett was a player-coach for the Defenders. The teams also included State Representative Chris Harris of Pikeville and Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt. State Representative Russ Meyer of Nicholasville was also on hand to help support the game.
The Unified game ended in a hard-fought 37-37 tie as a last-second shot by the Mustangs on a play drawn up by Jon Hood rimmed out at the buzzer.
The night ended with tours of the UK locker rooms for all of the athletes and their families.
It was a night none of our athletes will soon forget.
Watch this story on the Unified Clinic and Game from Dorian Craft of WLEX TV.
Both Rupp Arena and Special Olympics are hoping to make this an annual event.
For more information about the Rupp Arena Unified Clinic and game, contact Trish Mazzoni at 502-695-8222 or [email protected].