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By SAM KEGLEY

Coaching basketball is not rocket science; however, it is obviously a highly valued endeavor.  One needs only to check the salaries of the college coaches.  I credit Rick Pitino when he came to Kentucky for raising the bar on all coaches salaries, including the best in the business, Coach Cal- John Calipari, now at Kentucky.
Kentucky’s 2012-2013 season  was a disaster and an internet poster says that Cal may have inadvertently recruited four-year players this past season rather than anybody close to the “one and dones” he is jealously coveted for by other college coaches. This past season’s team was not very good with respect to past teams of the Kentucky basketball tradition.

The loss to Robert Morris in their tiny gym was as attributable to a bad Atheltic Administration decision as much as anything in my opinion. Traditionally more highly respected teams get home court advantage in the NIT tournament.  UK’s administration claimed “not enough man-power to host the NIT due to their hosting the NCAA”. I have great respect for UK’s Athletics Director, Mitch Barnhart, who kindly considered to a wonderful interview story in my “Acquaintances With Integrity II” book (2011).

I wouldn’t trade him for Jurich in a NY minute. Mitch has great integrity!  A traditionally outstanding UK team would win anywhere, but this team was not of that ilk.  Could not one gym in the area, Rupp, Memorial, The Chicken Coop, Eastern’s, Transylvania’s, whatever,  have been arranged?
Take nothing away from Robert Morriss’ team or coach.  They performed exceedingly well like any Division I team in a small home town gym might have.  We should not have been there.

I am only a spoiled old UK basketball fan, but that is my humble opinion of this opening game NIT tourney loss.  This UK team was young and relatively inexperienced, but the adminstration, including the coaches, could have thought a little harder about the venue.

I’m 80 now and a UK alumnus in retirement.  Like all UK fans I have strong feelings about the Wildcats and have had a lifetime of great entertainment, but watching that team go down Tuesday night, and not believing they had “IT” to come back, was saddening for my old heart.

21 Responses to Guest post: Fan says UK, Calipari should have thought more about NIT venue

  • dennis says:

    Ever stop to think, best for them to go on the road and end this season than to string it out playing at home

  • eddie says:

    i wish we could play robert morris first game of the season at rupp. i think a lot of kentucky fans wants that.

  • paul reynolds says:

    Why in the world didn’t we play in Memorial ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • Karen Sprinkle says:

      UK’s official reasons were that they didn’t have enough personnel to staff both Rupp (where teams were not playing) and Memorial, as well as the construction around Memorial. The construction, I think, is a valid reason, since parking is at a premium in that area anyway and the construction would have made it a nightmare. The staffing excuse was sketchy, at best, but the construction excuse actually made sense.

  • HONDO2 says:

    I AM IN THE SAME AGE RANGE AS THE WRITER–RIGHT AFTER UK WAS OVERLOOKED FOR THE NCAA[RIGHTLY SO] AND WELL BEFORE UK GOT AN NIT INVITE–I POSTED TO 3 FRIENDS WHO ARE ALL VERY WELL INFORMED BASKETBALL FANS–”THAT UK//CAL WOULD BE BEST SERVED IF THEY TURNED DOWN ANY NIT INVITE”–SAYING THAT UK//CAL HAD 1 CHANCE IN 100 OF COMING OUT OF THE NIT WITH A POSTIVE TRIP–AND THAT WAS BY WINNING THE NIT –ANYTHING LESS THAN WINNING THE NIT WAS A FAILURE

    I KNOW–I KNOW–PLAYERS WANT TO PLAY–AND COACHES WANT TO COACH–BUT CAL KNEW, OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT THE “SO CALLED TEAM”HE HAD THIS YEAR WAS VERY WEAK–IN FACT EARLIER IN THE WEEK CAL SAID THAT HE AND HIS COACHING STAFF HAD TO ADJUST THEIR RECRUITING FROM NOW ON FROM RECRUITING GREAT ATHLETE TO RECRUITING GREAT ATHLETES WITH FIRE–FIGHT–WILL TO WIN[THAT WAS PRETTY MUCH ABSENT THIS PAST SEASON[ESPECIALLY AFTER NOELS WENT DOWN]

    POLSON–MAYS–CAULEY–STEIN SHOWED SOME FIGHT VS ROBERT MORRIS–GOODWIN SHOWED SOME ALSO–BUT THAT WAS PRETTY MUCH IT WHICH WAS CAL’S WORST NITEMARE–

    IN THE END UK//CAL WAS PROBABLY BEST SERVED WITH//BY WHAT HAPPENED IN PENNSYLVANIA—RECRUIT–MAN UP–AND GET READY FOR NEXT YEAR–

    HONDO2

  • Steve C. says:

    I also believe it was a big financial win for the Calipari area he is from.

  • Mike says:

    Sam K….what a great post. I don’t think there could be many people that would have any disagreements with what you said….very intuitive from a long time fan. The lack of fight and toughness in this team is still incomprehensible. I can’t understand how any *5 star can want to come to UK and not lay it all on the line game in and game out. I do not give Cal and his staff a complete pass either. IIt might have been out of character for a couple of these losers, but I think if Cal had become a little more passionate on the floor, he could have altered some behavior. Too much complacency and resignation from both staff and team.

    • UKFMLY says:

      Hey Mike,

      I was just wondering if you think referring to these young men as losers is a little harsh? I know they did not live up to expectations but isn’t losers a bit much?

      KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

      GO BLUE OR STAY HOME

      • UKFAN197TONE says:

        Apparently he knows from experience.

      • Kokamo Joe says:

        Re: losers

        If you lose, you have lost. People who have lost are losers. It is time to move on and quit harping about the season. What is done is done. You can shine up a rotten egg all you want, but if you break it open and splash it in the skillet, it still has a foul order.

        So..what to do? You pitch it out, clean the skillet and gather some fresh eggs from the hen house. Not only has Calipari done that, but he is checking some of yesterday’s eggs and if they are good, he will keep them too.

  • Little Baron says:

    I AM 100% IN AGREEMENT THAT UKAA BLEW IT by not WORKING to make a venue in Lexington, or very near Lexington, an option instead of traveling to a team’s cracker box, where our players were roughed up with only a fraction of the calls being made, and where a team was playing their Super Bowl of Super Bowls, the game of a life-time for the High School sized program.

    UKAA should have someone(s) called on the carpet, reprimanded, probably fired, and replaced by an avid UK fan who KNOWS the value of EVERY WIN, and does not send our team packing on short notice to a little known program, setting up an atmosphere where any team could have fallen.

    Calipari AND Peevey BLEW IT…. whoever is responsible is NOT a BIG BLUE FAN to the extent that the Big Blue Nation understands the depth of EVERY GAME.

    We lost ground to Kansas all year, as they closed the gap on all-time wins, and then when we had a chance to rack up AT LEAST 3 WINS by playing in the friendly confines of Rupp OR Memorial OR Clark County High School OR Mason County High School OR…. and the list goes on. SOMEONE WAS TOO LAZY AND DID NOT CARE ABOUT UK BASKETBALL HISTORY AND THE VALUE OF THIS GREAT LEGENDARY PROGRAM. Someone(s) thought they were above the program… but NO ONE, NOT ANY UKAA EMPLOYEE, NOT ANY COACH, NOT ANY PLAYER, is above the UK Basketball program.

    It is a total disgrace to EVERY FAN that the UKAA was too busy (give me a break!) to even sub-contract an entity to handle the arrangements to have the 1st 3 games of the “nit” in Lexington or nearby!!!

    Rupp Arena WAS NOT BOOKED Tuesday night, but someone(s) wanted to throw this team under the bus, completely, as if having their feet run over several times was not enough!!!

    Well over half century of closely following the CATS and still can’t believe that UK hires anyone in the UKAA who is NOT 100% die-hard big blue through and through.

    How many fans in the state of KY and surrounding states would have jumped at the chance to pay onlye $15 to watch the team they may never get to see live in their lifetime!!! But, someone behind a desk was too “busy” to look into finding a way to keep the CATS in the friendly confines of THE GREAT STATE OF KENTUCKY!!!

    I “complained” Immediately to some close friends about the absurd knee-jerk decision by the UKAA to ship our CATS out without any time to prepare, practice or get mentally prepared for the lowly nit. And I am THRILLED someone wrote about their discontentment.

    GET SERIOUS UKAA…. Hire some die-hard Big Blue fans who will turn over every rock and make every call necessary to take care of the TEAM AND THE FANS!!!

    Just when did the UKAA decide they were bigger than all of us UK grads and all of the fans all over the great state of Kentucky and all over the planet!!!

    Stand up for the Big Blue. I am as disgusted as the next guy about our 12 losses and poor season… but we did take some hits along the way… with a PG that was, then wasn’t, then was here, and then played only part of the time like he was here, and an injury to Willie just as he was starting to become dominant with Noel inside, and then the loss of the awesome Nerlens Noel… we played all year in some games missing players, some missing honest refs, some missing a few players who only showed up in their body, but not fully dedicated that particular evening… But these are our beloved CATS and not one adminsitrator should be powerful enough to shirk his responsibility to get UK the very best of everything, including a “home” venue when it is our right.

    Yeh, I’m unhappy about some folks!!!

  • P90XDude says:

    After Noel got hurt; Ky did not win on the road again. Put this season to rest and look forward to football.

  • Pacman says:

    The basketball team (having to play NIT game in a crappy 3000 seat gym in Moon because no staff available?) is getting treated like the football team used to get treated and the football team (selling tickets to blue/white game @33000 and satellite ticket office at Commonwealth) is getting treated like the basketball team used to. We are living in Bizarro World (for you older Superman fans).

  • kywildcat_96 says:

    I’m all for us continuing and extending our all time wins lead, but let’s be honest here. Kentucky should easily beat Robert Morris ANWHERE. This team had no heart. If we had played them in Kentucky and won, at the end of the day we still would not have been a good team. I love the Cats and watched them until the very end, but I’m tired of hearing excuses and “what could have been.” The season is over for the men but the women are great this year and we should all get behind them and treat that tourney team with the fan support they deserve

  • Judi Cole says:

    Sam, as your friend, I know exactly how you feel. Thanks so much, Larry, for having Sam share his “seasoned” opinion. Yes, it was very disappointing, but we’ll move on from a disappointing season and regroup. Hope to see these freshmen stick around to hone their skills.

  • Andy says:

    What difference does it make? We couldn’t beat Robert Morris- regardless of home or away that was a team we should have beat.

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