Kentucky sophomore center Eloy Vargas knew the heartache coach John Calipari felt Sunday when his mother, 74-year-old Donna Calipari, passed away.
A few weeks ago Vargas' father died in the Dominican Republic.
"I told Coach I was here for him, and I said a prayer for him and his family," Vargas said Monday. "We are both having to deal with losses in our personal life and going through a season, it will be tough, but we have the team and other coaches to help us along the way."
Vargas, a junior college transfer, says he's still trying to adjust to his father's death.
"For me it has been hard and is finally going away. Sometimes you think about it and I try just to play basketball," he said. "I talk to my mom and friends. They tell me this is what he would want and this is my future and he is in better place than we are now. That's why I didn't go home right away (when he died). I knew he would want me to play."
Vargas said his father had health issues that concerned the family.
"We knew this might happen, but that does not make it any easier. I knew this could happen," he said.
Vargas is continuing to concentrate on improving and helping ease the void of the potential loss of Enes Kanter all season. Kanter has been ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA and will have his appeal likely heard later this week.
"He is helping me out a lot in practice. He is a big guy to play defense against, which helps Josh (Harrellson) and I for when we have to guard guys as big and strong as him," Vargas said.
"I am improving on a lot of things. I am improving and getting more confident and better. The first game I was kind of nervous. Now I just go in there and play as hard as I can."
He says he talks to Kanter frequently, but not about the appeal.
"Enes don't talk about appeal and we don't say anything to him. We just play basketball. That's best for both of us," Vargas said.
Vargas can feel Cal's pain
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