John Calipari managed to resurrect some of the winning ways Kentucky has come to be known for when he came to the Wildcats from Memphis. One thing he doesn’t seem to have done is stimulate his players to perform as well in the classroom as they did on the court. According to KentuckySports.com — via Sports By Brooks live — his players posted a GPA of 2.025, the lowest of the 20 University of Kentucky athletic teams. It is also the lowest for the Kentucky men’s team since 2002 and worst of the nine SEC schools that were willing to provide their team GPAs to the public.
When taking into account the Derrick Rose SAT cheating incident at Memphis, Calipari doesn’t exactly have a clean track record regarding academic issues and his players. While it should be noted that freshman-phenom John Wall had all As and Bs during the fall semester — as Calipari pointed out in December — the fact that Kentucky had so many one-and-done freshmen almost certainly contributed to the low team GPA. Four of the five Wildcats who entered the NBA draft were freshmen and two players posted GPAs below the minimum requirement for eligibility, which is 1.8. However, that minimum requirement only comes into play at the start of an athlete’s second year, so it’s safe to assume if those two were eligible to play, they were first year players.
Considering the four freshmen who declared were probably more concerned with their NBA futures than their midterms, they were probably about as bored in the classroom as Calipari is with the press conference in the picture above. Am I saying this is all a huge deal for the Wildcats men’s basketball program? Hardly, as I’m sure classroom performance is an issue with plenty of major athletic programs. However, given some of the issues Calipari has had with these things in the past, it isn’t exactly the best reflection on him as a coach.