With all the big news of the week -- first Notre Dame's move to the ACC, then Jim Calhoun's retirement at Connecticut, and even the dismissal of Butler guard Crishawn Hopkins -- a fun story out of Lexington, Ky., managed to slip under the blog's radar.
Let's remedy that now. Because this is pretty cool: A portion of the floor used for the 2012 Final Four, on which Kentucky won its first national title under John Calipari, will reside in the Wildcats' newly renovated locker room. Northwestern Mutual, an NCAA corporate sponsor, purchased the court from the NCAA this summer, and this week Northwestern Mutual donated the floor to the Kentucky Wildcats, where Calipari was all too happy to incorporate the prize into UK's facilities.
So Calipari decided to use the floor in the locker rooms, and now 3,000 square feet of the floor will underpin the ongoing renovations. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the 2012 New Orleans Final Four logo will be the centerpiece of the floor where players change for home games, and other areas of the floor will incorporate "wall murals that match moments from the [championship] game to sections of the actual floor on which they occurred."
“When you walk on the floor, this is it. This is the floor we won the national title on in 2012 and that was the free throw that Doron Lamb made to ice the game, and this is the free-throw line he shot it on,” Calipari said. “So it will be neat. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of any other locker room doing anything like this. But then again, it seems like here at Kentucky we do a lot of things that have never been done.”
Classic stuff from Calipari there, but I suppose he's not wrong. Keeping tchotchkes from national title games is nothing new; plenty of programs have lobbies and offices full of random memorabilia. They're all recruiting tools, in their own minor ways. But few would take the step of actually making their locker room a near-term walkthrough museum, the perfect touch to impress incoming recruits. And Calipari -- no surprise -- appears to have gotten there first.
My only question: Will Kentucky's new locker rooms have marble staircases, height sensitive hair dryers, and approximately eight thousand flat screen TVs? Because Oklahoma State is still waiting for someone to get on its level.