Calipari Gets Cranky

DESTIN, Fla. - John Calipari chose to remain quiet on day one of the SEC meetings, but Tuesday he did opt to speak briefly with the media. The ordinarily loquacious Kentucky basketball coach answered questions for less than four minutes total after holding forth for over an hour at the same event last year.

It's clear his new found reticence in front of the microphones stems from the New York Times story over the weekend indicating Eric Bledsoe may not have been academically eligible to play for the Wildcats as part of Calipari's first team.

"We've responded to it. I'm not going to respond to that stuff," was all Calipari had to offer when questioned about Bledsoe.

When asked whether Kentucky would reexamine their policies on assessing transcripts as a result of the Bledsoe situation, Calipari visibly grew angry.

"What kind of question are you asking me? I already told you the school commented on that."

Calipari also chose to vent at the media about the rumors linking him to the NBA as a possible hand picked coach for LeBron James.

"I made my statement. The only people that seemed to not believe me were you guys. I said I'm going to be at Kentucky next year."

At one point Calipari turned philosophical about his situation as the lead figure of Big Blue Nation, comparing himself to a political figure.

"You've got your core group that absolutely loves you, and the rest are trying to unseat you. That's just how it is at Kentucky."

While Calipari wasn't his usual unflappable self, he did find time to sell the positives of his program too.

"The kids see what's happened to the kids before them and they want to be a part of it," said Calipari. "If you're a point guard out there, you kind of say 'I want to follow in those shoes' and that's what's happened for us."

Calipari joined Bruce Pearl and others of his SEC brethren in calling for the end of the rule requiring high school players to wait one year out of high school before joining the NBA. Even after having just had four one and done players, he thinks it would be better for them to have the choice to skip college basketball or commit to college for two or more years. He's not expecting there to be any progress on that front anytime soon, since the rule is negotiated by the NBA and its players union.

"The NBA's not concerned about the NCAA. They're just not."

Whether the NCAA is concerned about UK remains to be seen.

Fightin Gators Top Stories