Perry spreads message about UK

November 01, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

The date may not be circled on his calendar, but you can be sure Dec. 4 will be a big day for Bobby Perry.

He will wake up that morning in a hotel in Chapel Hill, N.C., and that afternoon he will take the floor for Kentucky against North Carolina in the Dean Smith Center, just a few minutes from his home in Durham.

It's a chance to play in a building that's considered one of college basketball's most hallowed halls, and it's right in his own backyard.

"It's going to be an exciting time down there," he said. "I can't wait."

Perry may be a North Carolinian by blood, but he is fully immersed in Kentucky basketball after one year in the program. And he is spreading the gospel to the folks back home, telling them he has found the center of the basketball universe.


"Nothing compares to Kentucky," he said. "Growing up there on Tobacco Road, I've seen great basketball. But I know now that Kentucky basketball is second to none."

And Perry said he's spreading the word wherever possible. He said his grandmother visited him for the first time at Big Blue Madness, and she was just as impressed with her first up-close exposure to Wildcat mania.

"She said it was absolutely amazing," he said. "She didn't know about it - I didn't know about it - and she said she was going to go back home and tell people they haven't seen anything until they come to Lexington, Kentucky, to see Kentucky play."

Loyalties are more divided in North Carolina

The difference might lie in the fact that loyalties are more divided in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill triangle, where North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina State each have their share of loyalists.

Perry said he'll try to fill his teammates in on what it will be like to play in the "Dean Dome." He said even though the building is similar in size to Rupp Arena, the similarities end when the fans fill the seats.

"It's a similar atmosphere, but I'm not sure they'll be as pumped up," he said. "It's nothing compared to Rupp Arena.

"It's a big stadium, but the fans aren't nearly as emotional. They'll be there in numbers, but they won't be there in spirit."

Not that Perry won't relish every minute he gets on the court there.

"It's going to be something special, playing in the Dean Smith Center," he said. "It's going to be amazing. I can't wait for that game, and I can't wait for the whole season to start."

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