Calipari on Maria Taylor, late night TV games, going to class and Alan Cutler

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got home from Chicago at 3 a.m. but still went to class Wednesday. (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky coach John Calipari created a stir nationally with his halftime interview with ESPN’s Maria Taylor at the Champions Classic in Chicago on Tuesday.

It wasn’t anything he said. It was the way he grabbed her arm while he was talking to her. The interview became such a national story that Taylor did a video to explain there was no problem on her side with Calipari grabbing her arm during the interview.

“Was it controversial? What I did was, I grabbed her arm – and if you know me, when I’m talking I don’t remember anything around me – and I started squeezing her arm when I was talking about rebounding,” Callipari said Thursday.

“I forgot I was holding her arm. And that’s why I said, ‘Uh-oh.’ But, no, she’s a good girl. Maria and I are fine. If it became an issue, it’s kind of like anything I do that becomes an issue, isn’t it?”

It is.

Of course, Calipari can create controversy. Kentucky’s game with Kansas didn’t end until after midnight and Calipari complained about late his team got back to Lexington.

“We didn’t get home until about 3:20 a.m. That’s when I got home and pulled in. Why are we playing games this late? I have no idea.,” Calipari said. “They (players) all went to class. Every one of these kids went to class.

“I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t have went to class. I’m just telling you, you couldn’t have dragged me out of bed in four hours and then said get up and go to class. I’ve got a great group.”

Would he take less TV money so there would not be late games?

“I would do it, just as long as they don’t cut my pay. I think it’s a great idea,” Calipari said.

That’s when Calipari heard laughter coming from media members.

“(WLEX-TV sports anchor) Alan (Cutler), why are you laughing back there? You have your first communion money. No, it wouldn’t be first communion. What would that be? Bar mitzvah money?” Calipari said.

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