Former Cat identifies with Vargas

I was sad to hear the news about Kentucky junior Eloy Vargas losing his father last week and not even being able to get home to the Dominican Republic for the funeral because of Visa problems.

I was sad to hear the news about Kentucky junior Eloy Vargas losing his father last week and not even being able to get home to the Dominican Republic for the funeral because of Visa problems.

My father passed away when I was dealing with the NBA All-Star weekend and the Slam Dunk Contest that I eventually won. I have to give my mother a lot of credit. If it had been left up to me, I would not have even competed in the dunk contest. But she told me my father would want to be out there and compete.

When I went to the dunk contest, it was not fun. I was there on a mission. Everybody else was having a good time. I guess the only good point in this is that now maybe Eloy will be on a mission. I am glad he got to play last Friday. It is a very emotional time and people react differently. For me, playing basketball was a way to get away from it and being sad and be able to play for two or three hours and focus on basketball. Hopefully he can use basketball to help him get through days.

It could inspire him. Sometimes when you experience something like this, it makes you more focused and determined. It makes you fight a little harder. Anyone who has lost a loved one, you feel every kind of emotion you can possibly think. You have happy memories, sad memories. The one thing you learn is to get through it. It's the same for a player. Sometimes that can actually make you a strong, better person and a more focused player.

It's tough on him being here alone. I spent some time in a foreign country and when you go into a difficult time in foreign countries, it is hard to find guys to lean on. But the amazing thing about team, and I don't care if it is Japanese team or Italian team, there are always one or two guys that understand what you are going through. If you are a teammate, it is not what you say. It's just being there and having someone to talk to and take your mind off what you are going through.

Teammates are probably more important than the coaches in this situation. They are the guys you spend more time with. Coach has a role and I have no doubt that John Calipari is one of the best in the business. He will do his job I am quite sure and will get the team to help and support him all they can.


AllWildcats Top Stories