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April 3, 2014

Hayden: Off to Kentucky for big weekend

Going to Kentucky to experience the big weekend

@BoxText_boldintro,:STEVE HAYDEN JR.

SCHOOL: University of Kentucky

@BoxText_boldintro,:AGE: 24

CURRENT RESIDENCE: West Newbury

OCCUPATION: Market research analyst in Concord, Mass.

YEAR GRADUATED: 2013

@BoxText_boldintro,:MAJOR: Economics

WHY DID YOU ATTEND KENTUCKY?: “When I realized I probably wasn’t going to play a sport in college, I decided I wanted to go to big school, somewhere outside of New England. I started looking around and thought about Southeastern Conference schools. I had an aunt that moved down there and when I went to visit I took a tour of the (University of Kentucky). I loved it. I liked campus and the people. It was the only school I applied to out of the northeast.”

WHAT DID YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE THERE?: “It’s a whole different world, different people, different climate, everything ... Up here in New England, it’s all about the professional sports teams, like the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics. Down there it’s UK. Even those that live in the state and didn’t graduate from high school, love all UK sports. It is a big school, but it has a small school feel. You go to BC or BU in the city. But in downtown Lexington there is one big main street. There is nothing like it up here.”

DID YOU ATTEND BASKETBALL GAMES?: “Yes, I went to a bunch of them. We have a lottery system because of the demand. You weren’t always guaranteed tickets. There are 23,000 seats, but it is all bench seating. Rupp (Arena) got really, really loud. It was a great experience.”

@text1_boldintro,:A FAVORITE HOOP-RELATED MEMORY AT KENTUCKY: “It definitely was winning the title in 2012 and the fact I was there in New Orleans with my girlfriend and a few buddies.

@text1_boldintro,:

We decided to go after they won the Elite 8 game. We put our name in the lottery and won. So we drove down. It was incredible to be there in person. My buddies and I were on the front page of ESPN.com celebrating. It was als great seeing all blue on Bourbon Street. It felt like a home game there were so many fans down there ... Another great memory was meeting (coach) John Calipari at the Dunkin Donuts on the day of a game. There are only three of them in Lexington (Ky.). I have to have my Dunkins’ coffee. He probably got the bug too when he was at UMass. He was really nice. I just told him, ‘Good luck tonight, coach.’”

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