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By LARRY VAUGHT
ATLANTA Ã¢â‚¬â€ Mississippi sophomore Reginald Buckner is from Memphis and remembers the excitement current UK coach John Calipari generated when he was coaching at Memphis.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t recruit me hard. I was hearing he was not really recruiting Memphis players that much,Ã¢â‚¬Â Buckner said Wednesday. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But back in the day, Cal was the man in Memphis. Everybody in the whole city was loving him and loving Memphis basketball.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Buckner says it is no surprise that Kentucky fans have embraced Calipari the way they have.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“With the players he has recruited and the great teams heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s had, they should love him. If you have a great team, the whole nation hops on your bandwagon and Kentucky fans love their basketball,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Buckner admits CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s success at Memphis influenced his career even though Calipari did not recruit him.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I seen the publicity his players were getting and I wanted the same thing, so I went hard and tried to play like them. It definitely motivated me to want to do more,Ã¢â‚¬Â Buckner said.
And how happy was he when Ole Miss beat UK 71-69 Feb. 1?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It did boost me to play against my home teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s former coachÃ‚Â in front of my home crowd now. No one likes losing, but I really enjoyed that win a bunch,Ã¢â‚¬Â Buckner said.