Brandon Stockton grew up in Kentucky and thought he knew a lot about the University of Kentucky basketball tradition. He was sure he wouldn't be surprised by anything about the UK program when he arrived on campus four years ago.
Guess what? He was wrong.
"There's no way you can be prepared for the fan following. No way," said
The senior guard has watched the Big Blue mania overwhelm some players and inspire others. He's seen teammates have their names spread across
the media for their basketball accomplishments as well as off-court transgressions.
"It's like a NBA-type following at Kentucky, which can be good or bad," Stockton said. "It can actually be pretty stressful if you are not
careful. The coaches can tell you all they want about the atmosphere here when they are recruiting you, but once you get here it is different."
Stockton tried to help UK's four highly-touted freshmen deal with the exposure last year. He knew with their reputations, they would be the
focus on both fan and media scrutiny on a daily basis.
"You really have to watch every step you take and every word you say," Stockton said. "Doing stuff with the media is great, but you don't want to say or do the wrong thing because it will get out everywhere. It can be a lot to deal with, especially when you first get here."
So is it too much for players?
"No, I wouldn't say that. All the attention is part of what makes Kentucky basketball so special," Stockton said. "Once you get used to
it and know what to expect, it's really not that bad. The hard part is just adjusting to life in the spotlight. No matter how well you think
you can handle the attention, it's a lot different when you get here and if you are not careful, it can overwhelm you."
Stockton discusses life in the UK spotlight
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