Calipari announces Kentucky basketball plan for flood relief

Buildings and roads are flooded near Wolverine, Ky. Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Buildings and roads are flooded near Wolverine, Ky. Thursday, July 28, 2022.

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The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team will hold an open practice at Rupp Arena on Tuesday as part of the program’s efforts to raise money for flood victims in eastern Kentucky.

“I’m so proud of our team and who they are,” British coach John Calipari tweeted on Sunday afternoon. “They came to me immediately after the flooding in Eastern Kentucky and had an idea to help, so we worked together. We have a player-led initiative announced later today that will support flood victims. Stay tuned #BBN!”

A few hours later, the official British basketball Twitter account posted a video with several players announcing this initiative. It will include open practice Tuesday at Rupp Arena, with doors scheduled to open at 5 p.m.

The open practice will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, and there is a request that attendees make a donation to the American Red Cross which will provide immediate relief to flood victims in eastern Kentucky. Donations will be accepted at the entrance gates to Rupp Arena and free parking will be available on the High Street ground opposite the arena.

The practice will be televised live on WLEX-18 as part of the Kentucky Flood Relief Telethon, which is scheduled for 5-8 p.m. Tuesday and will provide additional ways to donate during the broadcast. Britain’s basketball players will take calls from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. before starting preparations for open training. Fans can also donate to flood relief efforts at RedCross.org.

“We recognize that our condition is suffering, and our team wanted to do everything we could to step in and help,” British rookie Cason Wallace said in the team video.

The eastern Kentucky region has been ravaged by flooding since last week following record rainfall.

Governor Andy Beshear confirmed Sunday morning that 26 Kentuckians had died in the area as a result of flooding, with rescue and recovery efforts still underway across the region. There have been confirmed deaths in Knott, Breathitt, Perry, Letcher and Clay counties. By Sunday evening, the death toll had risen to 33 people.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced in a press release on Saturday that President Joe Biden had approved individual disaster relief for residents of those five counties.

“This is the most devastating and deadly flood of my life. …,” Beshear said. “These are 26 children of God who will be missed by their community and loved. We are going to be there with these families during their bereavement.

The Team Kentucky Relief Fund was launched Thursday afternoon to help flood victims, and several other organizations have put in place ways to help.

A few weeks ago, Calipari and British basketball players made appearances at five Kroger stores across the state as part of the program’s ongoing efforts to raise money for those affected by tornadoes in Western Kentucky l ‘last year.

This story was originally published July 31, 2022 6:23 p.m.

Ben Roberts is the University of Kentucky men’s basketball beats author for the Lexington Herald-Leader. He previously specialized in covering basketball recruitment in the UK and created and maintained the Next Cats blog. He is from Franklin County and first joined the Herald-Leader in 2006.
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