'You Gotta See' Kentucky's Locker Room

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Lexington, Ky., is one of four sites where the NCAA men's basketball tournament is being played. The visiting teams have been amazed by the locker suite. The $3.1 million facility was paid for with private donations.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: And I'm Mike Pesca in Lexington, Ky., where Marquette, Louisville, Butler and Colorado State all advanced. That was the big story, for sure, but there was something else that had all the players talking. Other than the memories of a lifetime, and the chance to keep living their dreams and all that, there was - as Jamil Wilson pointed out to his Marquette teammate Vander Blue - this amazing room they just walked by, in the hallway.

JAMIL WILSON: And it was like, nuts. And me and Vander were like, yo, we gotta see the locker room.

PESCA: So here were two players that had just combined for 13 points in their game's final minute 33, and they were peering through a glass door that offers passers-by a glimpse into the $3.1 million Kentucky Wildcat locker room - sorry, suite. Funded with private donations, the facility features the actual floor from last year's championship game. It has its own kitchen and granite-tiled bathrooms, complete with tubs inlayed with the UK logo. It has a separate, mini-locker room for assistant coaches. It has all the players in the Lexington regionals' mouths agape. Some of the coaches', too, like Butler's Brad Stevens.

BRAD STEVENS: I've been in the best NBA arenas in the world, and I've never seen a room like that.

KYLE MARSHALL: I heard it's ridiculous - with 8,000 square feet, and two hot tubs, and a kitchen and stuff. That's unbelievable. That's like an apartment.

PESCA: Butler forward Kyle Marshall is wrong. There is one hot tub, and one cold tub. And as Kentucky's coach, John Calipari, explained in a video tour, no detail was spared.


JOHN CALIPARI: Players have changed. They don't like showering together. Don't know why. So we have individual showers...

PESCA: With showerheads 7 feet high. That is a contrast to Colorado State's home locker room, says Rams guard Wes Eikmeier.

WES EIKMEIER: We've got stains on our carpet. We've got sliding name tags, kinda. And it's not very spacious, but it's helped us get this far.

PESCA: Yes, it helped us, as in made us tough, put a chip on our shoulders. And then Eikmeier hit the lower-to-the-ground group shower, because unlike the Kentucky Wildcats, his team is still working up a sweat these days. Mike Pesca, NPR News, Lexington.

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