As ugly as the weather was outside Freedom Hall, Kentucky fans had on their pretty face in an attempt to impress DeAndre Jordan. There was a mutual admiration society in effect at the Adidas Derby Festival Basketball Classic at Freedom Hall in Louisville. Despite having a touch of the stomach flu, Jordan wowed the fans while Cat fans wooed Jordan.
Twenty-four players were trying to kick up some enthusiasm amongst the eight thousand or so basketball fans. Aside if the bad weather, many expected the crowd to be lighter than usual because of the playing of the McDonalds All-Star Classic held there just three weeks ago.
Because of a bevy of early turnovers, the gold team fell behind as much as twenty points and from the end of the first half on the game was played even. Each team amassed 27 turnovers. Again aside from some of the excellent talent on the floor, the shoddy play and gold team going native after falling so far behind, it was difficult to get into the customary spirit of the game.
Michael Beasley, rated by many as the best player in America, again had his game on display. You got the feeling that he could get to the hole anytime he desired. Just like his last trip to Freedom Hall, the McDonalds All-Star Classic, Beasley was named Most Valuable Player of his Black team. Jordan was named MVP of the Gold team.
Much to the display of his dominating basketball (no pun intended), the Kentucky fans were chagrined at his, at times, unwillingness to give the ball to the open man, namely A.J. Stewart, who could have been on the receiving end of that sharing.
Stewart put his athleticism on display at halftime by winning the slam-dunk competition over Beasley.
One of the highlights of the Derby Classic is always in evidence at the introduction of the players. The University of Louisville Cardinal signees, Preston Knowles and George Goode, came out with towels with "Go Big Blue" written on them wiped the Cardinal painted on center court, clean. The University of Kentucky's A.J. Stewart came out with a Wildcat logo and placed it over the Cardinal's face and Morakinyo aka Mike Williams came out with a stuffed Cardinal doll and kicked it into press row. Each of these maneuvers drew a stirring crowd reaction.
Jordan was asked if he heard the Kentucky fans cheering for him when he was introduced. "Yeah, I did," Jordan said. "They are real cool."
He was asked if that could have an effect on his decision to come to Kentucky instead of honoring his commitment to attend Texas A&M. "No, I'm committed to A&M right now. I'm going to meet with the coach (Texas A&M's) tomorrow and see what he's like and see what he's about."
Another participant in the game was Steffphan Pettigrew, who is Kentucky's Mister Basketball and a possible recruiting target for UK coach Billy Gillispie. There's been some question about how his tweener (in between size) status will play on the major Dl level. However, one of his accomplishments at the classic went a long way in dispelling his ability to shoot outside. Pettigrew won the three point shooting contest over Kansas' Tyrell Reed. Kentucky's other signee in the game Morakinyo Williams, who bulled his way to nine points and seven rebounds, said his kicking of the doll was a symbolic attempting to stir the UK versus U of L rivalry.