John Calipari Impressions, PART THREE

Derrick Hord said. "He is a great fit at Kentucky, must more so than the previous coach. That's not knocking Billy Gillispie, but he just never seemed to get the position he held.

Derrick Hord said. "He is a great fit at Kentucky, must more so than the previous coach. That's not knocking Billy Gillispie, but he just never seemed to get the position he held. Calipari appears to understand just by virtue of his comments during his first press conference and since then with the contacts he has reached out to and purposeful meetings he has had ."

Hord says it's easy for him to like Calipari, and he suspects current and future players will feel the same way.

"He has an appealing style of play. He is able to recruit and incorporate top players into his system. I am optimistic with his comments of inclusion of the past, something I think this program has been unexplainably missing," Hord said. "I have seen no utilization of what would have to be considered one of the programs' greatest assets and that is the former players and coaches that live in the area and are eager to lend support to the program. He has mentioned the history of the program and seems to want to embrace it."

Calipari made that clear when he added from UK stars Scott Padgett and Tony Delk to his staff in non-coaching roles. He said that was a clear signal he wanted to send about reaching out to former players.

"I think as a former player, you like to see that," former UK All-American Sam Bowie said. "Guys want to feel that they still are part of the program that they were part of during their playing days. John is a player's coach, and that includes former players of the program."

Another former UK All-American, Kenny Walker, was impressed when Calipari reached out to him to invite him to a practice.

"I would be glad to help the program in any way that I could. There's never been any reason to hesitate to call me for help, but the last few years I just don't think many guys felt they were a part of the program," Walker said. "Coach (Joe) Hall used to make sure he got us out in the community. Coach Hall did a lot of things behind the scenes for the community that the public did not see. So did Tubby (Smith). I think John will, too.



Check back tomorrow for more on this series of articles, which appeared in last month's issue of KSR, teh magazine. Sign up for Kentucky Sports Report, the magazine, today. It is filled with great articles and glossy photographs of all things Wildcats.

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