Calipari mocks rumors of departure

Kentucky's loss last weekend at South Carolina not only came close to knocking the Wildcats out of the AP Top 25 poll after beginning the season ranked No. 1, it also sparked widespread speculation that John Calipari may be growing weary of coaching in Lexington.

Kentucky's loss last weekend at South Carolina not only came close to knocking the Wildcats out of the AP Top 25 poll after beginning the season ranked No. 1, it also sparked widespread speculation that John Calipari may be growing weary of coaching in Lexington.

Programs like ESPN's popular "PTI" and "Around The Horn," as well as respected national media figures like Andy Katz and Dan Patrick, all weighed in on Calipari's recent state of mind, culminating with getting ejected from the Cats' loss to the Gamecocks and skipping the postgame press conference.

His recent surliness with the media could only mean one thing, they claimed: Cal's on his way out. Tony Kornheiser predicted it would happen within the next two or three years. Michael Wilbon upped the ante on his PTI co-host, suggesting this season would be it for Calipari in the Big Blue Nation.

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Patrick claimed a source that suggested Wilbon may be correct. Katz wrote Wichita State's Gregg Marshall would be a nice replacement candidate.

On Tuesday following UK's 55-48 win over Alabama at Rupp Arena, Calipari decided to have a little fun with the topic.

When asked about his thoughts on the upcoming regular-season finale against No. 1 Florida, the UK boss deadpanned: "Haven't even thought about it. I'm trying to figure out if I'm coming back next year or not."

Calipari noted he was shocked that his actions at South Carolina would lead to such rumors.

"I didn't do a press conference," he said. "I didn't have anything to say. Couldn't talk about the officials, and I couldn't talk about the last 10 minutes. I wasn't there. I didn't do it. All of a sudden it's like people are going nuts, losing their minds.

"When I went in the office, my secretary asked me, ‘Are you not coming back next year?' She said it was on Around the Horn, it was on First Take, and they're doing a 30 for 30 movie on it. Really? Then Dan Patrick talked about it, Andy Katz already has my replacement. Because I didn't do a postgame interview? Wow."

Earlier this season, Calipari was criticized by many of the same talking heads for suggesting his program was the most over-analyzed entity in sports. This week's speculation gave him a chance to revisit those remarks.

"We're not the most overanalyzed program in the country. I was wrong when I said that," Calipari said with a roll of his eyes.

A reporter played along with Calipari's act: "So are you coming back?"

"I hope," he said. "If I get through the hip surgery" planned for the off-season. "Again, guys, understand, tough for these kids what we've been through."

Jeff Drummond has covered University of Kentucky sports and recruiting for newspapers, magazines and online publications since 1988 and for Scout since 2012. A Richmond, Ky., native, he currently resides in Lexington.

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