Basketball is big in the state of Kentucky. I know this is the understatement of the decade, but go with me here.
What I’m trying to say is that the people of the state (and our displaced but loyal fans everywhere) follow UK basketball with such a white-hot intensity that it has no equal. The team is a religion, coach John Calipari is pope, the current players are cardinals and archbishops, former greats are the angels who watch over the program, and future recruits simply hope to get thrown somewhere into the mix.
UK fans don’t just follow the team when it’s tournament time, or when they hit conference play. Hell, the fanbase doesn’t even limit its obsession with the program to the on-season. The entire off-season is spent reminiscing about the past season (and this year, that means a lot of good memories), and looking onward to the next one.
And of course, part of the next season depends on the new class of freshman that come to Lexington. Because of that, the UK base pays a lot of attention to every announcement made by possible recruits. I present to you, a case study in the power of the Big Blue Nation:
In the past few hours, two important things have happened to the 2012-2013 University of Kentucky Wildcats – one good, one bad. First, top nationwide prospect Shabazz Muhammad decided on Wednesday to head to UCLA, picking the Bruins over UK and Duke. Then, later in the day, #1 prospect Nerlens Noel chose the Wildcats in dramatic fashion. Oh what a fashion it was:
Well, then this happened:
In the hours following their college respective decisions, Nerlens Noel added 14,000 Twitter followers, while Shabazz Muhammad lost 3,500.
That’s right, it appears as though the Big Blue Nation has influenced each player’s Twitter clout. And Noel already seems to be playing to his newly-found Twitter base:
As for Muhammad, apparently the Big Blue Nation can leave you as soon as they love you.