"I follow them closely and pull hard for them," he said recently. "When I was at Tennessee, I would pull for them, unless we were playing them."
"I have a lot of respect for them, what they do and the way they run everything."
Peterson's ties to Lexington extend the coaching boundaries. Peterson was recruited by Kentucky out of high school, before eventually choosing North Carolina. Peterson was recruited by Joe B. Hall, Leonard Hamilton and Joe Dean Jr.
"Lexington is a special place," he said. "Just the passion for basketball in the state of Kentucky is unbelievable. You can't say enough about the passion Kentucky people have for basketball." As for recruiting, Peterson keeps a close eye on Kentucky while on the recruiting trail.
"I always look hard at the kids in Kentucky," he said. "They're gym rats and they love to play (basketball)." Peterson, in his first season at Coastal Carolina, also has close ties with Tubby Smith, who he considers one of the top coaches in the collegiate ranks.
"I really admire and respect Tubby Smith," Peterson said following his team's visit to Eastern Kentucky University last week. "We spent some time together (last) August on a Nike trip. We played a lot of golf with one another. He's a class act and one of the better guys in our profession."
As Kentucky prepares for Southeastern Conference play, Peterson said Smith will have his team "ready" to defend its East crown. He added that the addition of Randolph Morris will be a plus. "I think when they get (Randolph) Morris back, you'll see a whole different ball club," he said. "That will make them a better team. He will give the other people a lot of confidence."
Peterson said the Cats' guard play is an instrumental part of the team's offense and will be a key to the team's success. "Tubby has always had some solid point guards," he said. "I think that's important. You've got to have that." Peterson said Kentucky's ability to attract higher profile athletes keeps the program among the nation's elite. "North Carolina is very similar to Kentucky," he said. "If you're not doing your job on the court, the guy on the bench in the same spot is just about as good as you are."
Peterson said his first season at Coastal Carolina is "going great," but added that he's still in a transition mode. "It's always hard to move when you have a young family," he said. "We were comfortable in Knoxville. It was great. But, when you're in this profession, you never know. I hold no grudges with anybody. "I just wish I had another year to coach the guys I recruited. I felt like I deserved that, but that's how it goes." For now, Peterson's focused on his own team. "I felt like this situation at Coastal was a challenge and one that can really be done," he said. "It takes a lot of nice recruiting and getting the best talent we can get."