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All-Access Kentucky offers inside look at defending NCAA basketball champs

ESPN’s new series All-Access Kentucky will premiere tonight at 7 ET, offering an inside look at the lives of the University of Kentucky Wildcats as they prepare for the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball season.

The show follows the day-to-day activities of Coach John Calipari and the Cats as they attempt to repeat as Division I national champions — minus last season’s starters.

All-Access Kentucky goes behind the scenes at pre-dawn workouts as new recruits work to learn the Kentucky system and get to know each other, the coaching staff and the returning players. ESPN’s cameras follow Coach Cal from his kitchen to the court, from the airport to the office.

Episode 1 focuses on freshman Nerlens Noel, the top 2012 recruit in the nation according to ESPN. The 6-foot, 10-inch center is trying to get acclimated to the team while fans draw comparisons to last year’s Wildcats center, No. 1 overall 2012 NBA draft pick Anthony Davis.

ESPN’s VP of Original Programming and Production Jamie Horowitz has been on-site at the University of Kentucky and recently spoke to Front Row about the series.

“Everywhere we went in Kentucky, all people wanted to talk about was Wildcat basketball and rarely was the conversation about the 2012 title,” he said.

“Everyone in Kentucky wants to know if Cal can do it again. And it’s not hard to unearth the truth — the fans all expect him to win again.

“The most revealing moment was at Wheeler Pharmacy [the local pharmacy/breakfast spot where every UK coach who has won a national title has dined], when the locals paused in their questions about this year’s team to hammer Coach on the 2013 class.

“Even Cal laughed. The only moment they stop grilling him on how he plans to win this year is to make sure he is focused on recruiting the next year’s stars. Which, by the way, he is. You will see in the show that the 2013 class may end up his best yet.”

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