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By Bobby Ellis
bobby.ellis@education.ky.gov

For kids all over Kentucky, the dream is to someday stand on the floor at Rupp Arena and shoot that game winning shot, hearing the crowd go wild and having a championship-winning player pat you on the back. 

That dream came true for Special Olympics athletes as they took to the court at Rupp Arena in late February to take part in a skills clinic and a Blue and White scrimmage with former Wildcats Jack “Goose” Givens, Jared Prickett, Jon Hood, Marquis Estill and Anthony White. 

“It was an awesome experience to see these kids get out and have a good time and show what they can do,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt, who also took part in the Blue and White game as a special guest athlete. “I was honored to be a part of it.” 

Before the game, Special Olympics athletes got to practice defensive drills, ball handling and shooting drills with the former Wildcats, getting to learn how to shoot like some of Kentucky’s greatest. 

“This was John Wall’s favorite shot at UK, so you guys have to unleash your inner John Wall here,” said Givens during his shooting drill. 

After the drills, the former Wildcats, Special Olympics athletes and special guests took part in a Blue-White game that ended in a 37-37 tie after two 20-minute halves. The guest athletes were split among the teams and helped organize the game.

“It was so much fun. I definitely felt like a Wildcat,” said Special Olympics athlete Ryan Barts. 

For more information on Special Olympics Kentucky, you can check out their website

 

Marquis Estill, center, jokes with Special Olympics athletes during the skills clinic portion of the night. Former University of Kentucky players ran through shooting drills, ball handling and defense with Special Olympics athletes during the night. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Marquis Estill, center, jokes with Special Olympics athletes during the skills clinic portion of the night. Former University of Kentucky players ran through shooting drills, ball handling and defense with Special Olympics athletes during the night.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Jonathon Lang, left, attempts to steal the ball from former University of Kentucky player Anthony White during a defensive drill during a skills clinic. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Jonathon Lang, left, attempts to steal the ball from former University of Kentucky player Anthony White during a defensive drill during a skills clinic.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Anthoney White works with Ashley Cox on defensive skills during a skills clinic before the start of the Blue and White game at Rupp Arena. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Anthoney White works with Ashley Cox on defensive skills before the start of the Blue and White game at Rupp Arena.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Jared Prickett, center, works on defensive skills with Special Olympics athletes during a skills clinic before the Special Olympics Blue and White game. Special Olympic athletes teamed up with former University of Kentucky players, legislators and Commissioner Stephen Pruitt in a full 40 minute game at Rupp Arena. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Jared Prickett, center, works on defensive skills with athletes during a skills clinic before the Blue and White game. Special Olympic athletes teamed up with former University of Kentucky players, legislators and Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt in a 40-minute game at Rupp Arena.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Jack "Goose" Givens gives tips to Special Olympics athletes during a skills clinic at Rupp Arena. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Jack “Goose” Givens gives tips to Special Olympics athletes during a skills clinic at Rupp Arena.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Special Olympics athletes cheer from the bench after their team scored a basket during the Special Olympics and Unified Athletes game at Rupp Arena. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Athletes cheer from the bench after their team scored a basket during the Special Olympics and Unified Sports game at Rupp Arena.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Special Olympic athlete Cody LaShelle, of Berea, shoots a layup during the Special Olympics Blue and White game at Rupp Arena. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Cody LaShelle of Berea shoots a layup during the Special Olympics Blue and White game at Rupp Arena.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Special Olympic athlete Brock Harper, of Lexington, drives to the paint during the Blue and White game at Rupp Arena. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Lexington’s Brock Harper drives to the paint during the Blue and White game at Rupp Arena.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Commissioner Stephen Pruitt plays in the Special Olympics and Unified athletes blue and white game at Rupp Arena. Pruitt was a special guest along with former University of Kentucky players and local legislators.; Photo by Bobby Ellis; Feb. 21; 2017
Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt plays in the Special Olympics Blue and White scrimmage at Rupp Arena. Pruitt was a special guest, along with former University of Kentucky players and legislators. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Special Olympics athlete Ryan Barts, of Georgetown, dribbles down the court during the combined Special Olympics and Unified sports blue and white game at Rupp Arena. Special Olympics athletes got to play against former University of Kentucky players and take part in a skills clinic. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Ryan Barts of Georgetown dribbles down the court during the Special Olympics and Unified Sports Blue and White game at Rupp Arena. Special Olympics athletes got to play against former University of Kentucky players and take part in a skills clinic.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Special Olympic athlete Jonathon Lang, of Lexington, celebrates after scoring a basket during the Special Olympics and Unified sports Blue and White Game at Rupp Arena. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Jonathon Lang of Lexington celebrates after scoring a basket during the Special Olympics and Unified Sports Blue and White Scrimmage at Rupp Arena.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Former University of Kentucky player Jared Prickett signs autographs after the Special Olympics Blue and White game. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017
Former University of Kentucky player Jared Prickett signs autographs after the Special Olympics Blue and White Scrimmage.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Feb. 21, 2017

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