Kentucky won't play Louisville until Dec. 31, but new UK assistant coach Kenny Payne — a former player at Louisville — is already nervous about the game.
"I love Louisville. It is my school, my alma mater. The experience I had was unbelievable. To win a national championship, people still talk about that. My love for the school will always be there," said Payne. "The fact that I am at Kentucky now ... I have always respected Kentucky. Am I nervous they are going to boo me? But I also hope they embrace me the way my teammates have.
"(Former Louisville center) Pervis Ellison said 'send me Kentucky gear.' Everyone one of my teammates have embraced the move, which is important to me. (Former Louisville coaches) Denny (Crum) and Wade (Houston) have embraced the move. Junior Bridgeman, my mentor; all those guys Louisville boosters; alumni; they have all embraced it. That is important to me."
Payne said he talked to "all of them" before he left Oregon to join Calipari's staff. He also said it was not the first time he had been approached about leaving Oregon, in large part because of his growing reputation as a big-time recruiter.
"Every year I had about 10 or 15 schools trying to get me," he said. "Be careful what you ask for. You'll be surprised. The way I do things is different. I am never going to lie to a kid. My job is to help young people, not just win games or help a coach win games.
"My job is to help changes lives because I was that close from not being in this business. If not for the opportunity of going back to school, I would just be ex-University of Louisville player, ex-NBA player. I understand the importance of giving back. For me, that is vital."
Payne already nervous about playing UL
AllWildcats Top Stories
VIDEO: Stoops on Being Recruited by SabanKentucky head coach Mark Stoops spoke during his weekly Monday press luncheon about being recruited by this week's opposing coach, Nick Saban, when he was a high school player in…
AllWildcatsYesterday at 10:16 AM
VIDEO: Johnson Wins In First Start at QBKentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson II talks about leading the Cats to a 17-10 victory over South Carolina in his first collegiate start.
AllWildcatsSaturday at 11:00 PM
Kentucky On Mind of Florida StandoutCOCONUT CREEK, Fla. --- Schools representing the Big 12 and ACC are sitting in a good place with 2018 three-star cornerback, Miguel Edwards.
Scout FootballYesterday at 11:37 AM
UK's Ware Named SEC D-Lineman of the WeekComing off what Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops described as his best game as a Wildcat, sophomore defensive end Denzil Ware was on Monday recognized as the SEC Defensive Lineman…
AllWildcatsYesterday at 11:06 AM
VIDEO: Cats Preparing for "Amazing" Bama TeamKentucky head coach Mark Stoops said the Wildcats have a "tall task" ahead of them with a trip to Alabama this week.
AllWildcatsYesterday at 9:24 AM