Rupp Arena to undergo $310 million renovation

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Lexington mayor Jim Gray announced on Monday afternoon that the University of Kentucky and “partners” will be spending $310 million to give Rupp Arena a modernizing facelift.

Rupp is one of college basketball’s most storied venues, but as we are in the midst of the college athletics “Arms Race”, it’s no surprise that the school decided that they would need an upgrade on their arena.

“In essence, the goal is to make Rupp a prototype for modern sports venues,” according to the NBBJ release. “The lower levels will be re-clad in a highly-transparent glass skin reaching as high as 40 feet above the ground. A newly expanded main concourse will wrap around the bowl and have views to the city, while the fan experience in the bowl will be revealed with direct views from the concourse.”

Rupp is actually located next the Lexington Convention Center, which will also be undergoing renovations. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, it could begin as soon as 2015 and end as early as 2017.

The man in charge of doing the renovations is the same architect that updated UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, but unlike that remodel, Kentucky will reportedly not miss any home games as a result of construction.

There will be a number of cool features added to the exterior, including transparent outer walls, a catwalk from campus to the arena and HD screens outside the arena itself. The interior will feature a couple of changes as well, including a change in how steep the upperdeck is and the inclusion of some luxury seating.

Here are some images sent out by NBBJ of the proposed changes:

Source: NBBJ
Source: NBBJ
Source: NBBJ

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.

Albany’s Peter Hooley accepts Inspiration Award

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Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.

Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.

The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.

Hooley, who graduated in May, was selected to give the commencement speech.