Folks, it’s over. That God-awful era is behind us. As Kentucky continues to roll out the most exciting on-court product in college basketball, it’s time for the actual court to look the part, too.
Lost in the chaos of the Wildcats’ glorious 95-73 win over No. 8 Miami is the fact that we never, ever have to look at the stickers again. They’re gone forever. The goal was December 2 for the debut of the new-and-improved court, one featuring the UK logo at midcourt and a contrasting wood stain outline of the state. And in case you haven’t checked your calendar lately, that’s this weekend — Saturday vs. UNC Wilmington, to be exact.
When the Wildcats tip off against the *checks notes* Seahawks, they will do so on the new court. The chunky asymmetrical Central Bank Center stickers have been thrown in the dumpster where they belong and replaced by permanent logos while keeping the Cawood’s Court marker memorializing legendary radio play-by-play announcer Cawood Ledford and the UK logo with “Mr. Wildcat” honoring longtime manager Bill Keightley in front of the UK bench.
But nothing tops the state outline — “Reed Sheppard splashes it from Bowling Green” is going to be an out-of-body experience for Big Blue Nation.
It’ll be a fascinating turnaround, to put it lightly. The reason it has taken this long to install the floor is because of the volleyball home schedule, which has now been (happily) extended with the Wildcats hosting NCAA Tournament games this week inside Rupp Arena. Kentucky takes on Wofford in round one Thursday, followed by a follow-up battle vs. James Madison or Baylor on Friday with a win.
According to the Herald-Leader, the plan is to disassemble the current floor and install the new one as soon as volleyball wraps up late Friday. It will be ready to play on by the time the opening tip rolls around vs. UNC Wilmington at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.
That process will look a little something like this:
Some need-to-know information about the new playing surface, courtesy of the Herald-Leader:
- Fans will be able to purchase wooden chunks of the old floor by the end of the calendar year
- The cost of the new floor was a little over $200,000, covered by Lexington Center Corporation
- The look of the new court was designed by UK Athletics and Robbins Sports Surfaces, who built the floor — color schemes and design through the school
- UK requested the new floor last year after 22 years with the old surface
The stickers: gone and quickly forgotten.