While the Wildcats wait to see if they will be invited to this year's version of March Madness, the legacy of University of Kentucky men’s basketball program is the subject of a Turner Sports documentary.
Produced by Mandalay Sports Media and presented on TruTV by Infiniti, Bluegrass Kingdom: The Gospel of Kentucky Basketball will tip off on March 17 at 8 p.m. The doc’s debut follows the unveiling of this year’s brackets on CBS on "Selection Sunday" and ahead of coverage of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship from TBS, CBS, TNT and TruTV, which begins matters with “First Four” action on March 19.
Narrated by Grammy Award-winning artist Drake, Bluegrass Kingdom: The Gospel of Kentucky Basketball is the second feature in a series of documentaries focused on collegiate basketball programs from Turner Sports. Duke 91 & 92: Back to Back screened ahead of last year's tourney.
The film examines the origins of the program; the historical relevance and implications of the 1966 NCAA championship game against Texas Western College’s all African-American starting five; and the emergence of Joe B. Hall and his 1975 Wildcats team that upset the Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA tournament. It also explores other highlights, including the Anthony David-led 2012 national title, and lows of the program.
The hour-long presentation on TruTV also intersperses first-hand accounts from many notables associated with the program, including former UK players Pat Riley, Kenny "Sky" Walker, Derek, Anderson, Jamal Mashburn, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and two-time All-American Cliff Hagan; coach Hall and current leader John Calipari; UK alumna and zealous fan Ashley Judd; and ex-Texas Western College player and member of the 1966 NCAA championship team Willie Worsley.
“We are excited to add premier original content to our Turner Sports networks and are proudly looking forward to March and our newest documentary: Bluegrass Kingdom: The Gospel of Kentucky Basketball on TruTV,” said Christina Miller, senior vice president of strategy/marketing/programming, Turner Sports, in a statement. “The story of Kentucky basketball fits in line with our ambition to continue developing stories that will captivate our viewers."
Bluegrass Kingdom is produced and directed by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning film and television writer/director Michael Tolajian, whose most recent credits include Once Brothers, the critically acclaimed documentary from ESPN’s “30 for 30” film series. Executive producers include Mike Tollin (The Bronx is Burning, Smallville, Arli$$) and Jon Weinbach (The Other Dream Team, Straight Outta LA) of Mandalay Sports Media.