LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP and WHAS11) - The NCAA Basketball National Champions arrived back home in Lexington on Monday. The University of Kentucky Wildcats brought home their eighth title. Thousands of fans lined the streets as the team bus drove to an official celebration at Rupp Arena.
The celebration at Rupp was well underway before the team was delivered in to the center of the arena by bus.
“I was in line at 3 a.m. I’ve definitely been up over 24 hours at this point,” one fan said.
Blue-clad fans packed Rupp Arena and watched replays of Kentucky's 67-59 win over Kansas in New Orleans Monday night. Senior Darius Miller carried the NCAA trophy as players stepped off the bus.
“These young men sacrificed for each other. They respected one another. They all gave up some of their game for their teammates. They played for their teammates versus just playing for themselves,” Calipari said.
The sound was deafening as the crowd welcomed the Cats home. Coach John Calipari and his players returned home to throngs of adoring fans after winning the school's eighth NCAA championship.
Calipari first thanked the fans and said there were about 5,000 that welcomed the team at the airport. He told them: "You people never cease to amaze me."
Calipari said Kentucky had "the best players and the best team" this year in the tournament.
Senior Darius Miller spoke during the celebration. Miller will walk away this year with a claim to the national title along with a diploma.
“Me personally, I want to say thank you for the support you’ve shown me in my four years here. It’s been a blessing,” said Miller.