LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Kentucky Basketball team is starting a five year series with the Southwestern Athletic Conference, a league made up mostly of historically black colleges and universities. It begins this season with the Wildcats hosting Southern who is coached by former UK guard, Sean Woods.
UK said in a release that the games will seek to raise awareness of the missions of the HBCUs and to raise funds to provide opportunities for students at their institutions.
“I am really proud of our leadership for identifying an opportunity to take what we do on the basketball court and leverage it into an annual weeklong event that will have a major impact on HBCUs and their students,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “My hope is this event not only opens the door for opportunities for students at HBCUs, but that others at our school and across the country will take advantage of the educational opportunities that we will put together to continue the meaningful conversations and changes that have taken place over the last year.”
The Unity Series will also have activities off the court. There will be networking and educational opportunities at UK and each school involved that particular season.
The Wildcats will take on Southern University this season December 7. Woods, the Jaguars coach for the last three seasons, played at Kentucky from 1988-'92 helping lead UK to a most memorable run in the '92 NCAA Tournament. It included the game where the Wildcats lost on the last-second shot by Christian Laettner and Duke.
“It’s always nice to go back home and take your players to a place where you played at,” Woods said. “I’ve always wanted my guys to have the same kind of experience I had as a student-athlete and what better place to take them than to one of the most historic places in college basketball, Rupp Arena. Looking forward to being competitive and having a chance to win too, but not only that to have a chance to play in front of family and friends and take my guys to a place where it all started for me.”
Southern was 8-10 a year ago and return two of their three leading scorers.