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#pounditSaturday, October 1, 2022

Articles tagged: Kentucky Basketball

Mark Stoops not happy with John Calipari for 1 reason

John Calipari at the podium

Danny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari appears to have rubbed some people at Kentucky the wrong way with a quote he gave in a bid to get his basketball team a new practice facility.

In a recent interview with Kyle Tucker of The Athletic, Calipari publicly pressured the school to spend money on an upgraded practice facility for the basketball team. Calipari cited improved infrastructure for other sports, singling out a $200 million upgrade to the football facilities. The Kentucky basketball coach then said that a new practice facility was a must because of the school’s reputation for basketball.

“And the reason is, this is a basketball school. It’s always been that,” Calipari said. “Alabama is a football school. So is Georgia. I mean, they are. No disrespect to our football team. I hope they win 10 games and go to bowls. At the end of the day, that makes my job easier and it makes the job of all of us easier. But this is a basketball school.”

That remark made its way back to Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops, who publicly blasted Calipari on Twitter over those remarks.

Stoops also retweeted one user who deemed Calipari’s comments “insulting,” then put forward another retweet of someone arguing that the football program has been more successful recently than Calipari’s basketball program has been.

Stoops has a point. He took over a struggling program in 2013, and the Wildcats have now won four straight bowl games and are coming off their second ten-win season in four years. That is nothing to scoff at, even if they play in the SEC East, which many would argue is a bit more forgiving than the West.

Calipari may be correct about people associating Kentucky more with basketball. However, his comments come when the basketball team has not made the Final Four since 2015, and lost to 15-seed St. Peter’s in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. That defeat made Calipari the subject of blistering criticism in some circles of the fanbase.

Calipari could have easily made his case for an upgraded facility without disrespecting the football program. Instead, he’s created needless drama within the athletic program. Even if it blows over quickly, it didn’t need to happen in the first place.

Ex-Kentucky star offers update on his recovery after serious car accident

Tyler Ulis in a basketball uniform

Apr 8, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis (8) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Golden State Warriors at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

A former Kentucky star is speaking out after he was involved in a serious car crash earlier this year.

Tyler Ulis made a public appearance in Lexington this week to host a youth skills camp. Ulis spoke with local news station WKYT and gave an update on his recovery. The ex-Wildcats guard, who was in a wheelchair, said he has not walked in five months. Ulis added though that he will hopefully start walking again in the next month and then start running in the next four months. He also remains hopeful about continuing his basketball career.

“God gave me a gift,” said Ulis. “I know circumstances have changed a lot of things, being hurt. But just gotta work, take it day by day, build your body back up, and just keep pushing … I’m lucky to be here so it’s a blessing.”

Ulis suffered a broken left ankle and two broken wrists during a scary head-on collision last February. You can read more details about the crash here.

The 26-year-old Ulis was a two-year standout for Kentucky, becoming a fan favorite for his heart and his steady hand running the offense. He was then drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the second round in 2016 and played three seasons in the NBA. Ulis has not played competitively since his stint with the Stockton Kings of the NBA G League in 2019-20. But he sounds very determined to get healthy and to get back to playing basketball again.

Jabari Smith uses NBA Draft suit to take shot at SEC rival

Jabari Smith in his Auburn uniform

Nov 25, 2021; Nassau, BHS; Auburn Tigers guard Wendell Green Jr. (1) and forward Jabari Smith (10) celebrate the win against the Loyola Ramblers in the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Jabari Smith is expected to be the No. 1 draft pick Thursday, and he gave a hint about the attitude he’ll be bringing to the NBA with the suit he wore.

Smith arrived for the draft in a custom suit, with a number of meaningful images depicted on the inside of the jacket. Smith went to great pains to point out one of the pictures, which shows him, in his words, “beating up on Kentucky.”

Smith only spent one season at Auburn, but it’s pretty clear that the school made an impression on him. He fully bought into the rivalry with Kentucky as well. By the looks of it, the picture was strategically chosen to make sure the scoreboard was in the background. Smith scored 14 points in that game, an 80-71 Auburn victory.

By the looks of it, Smith might have had some of his college coach’s attitude rub off on him. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Duke makes unusual hire from rival school

Jon Scheyer pointing

Jan 22, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Duke Blue Devils associate head coach Jon Scheyer reacts on the bench against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. Duke won 79-64. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Scheyer is already moving differently than his predecessor Coach K did.

247 Sports reported on Friday that Duke has hired Jai Lucas, an assistant coach for rival Kentucky, to fill the last spot on Scheyer’s bench. The report adds that it marks the first time the Blue Devils have hired outside of the “Duke family” since the 1990s.

The 33-year-old Lucas, who is known for his recruiting skills, is part of a prominent basketball family. His father, John Lucas II, is a well-known former player and current assistant coach for the Houston Rockets. His brother John Lucas III also played in the NBA for several seasons. Lucas himself has several seasons of assistant coaching experience as well with both Kentucky and the Texas Longhorns prior to that.

As for Scheyer, who takes over for Duke after Coach K’s 42 seasons at the helm, his unexpected hire of Lucas is a clear power move and one that will weaken one of the Blue Devils’ fiercest NCAA rivals in Kentucky. It is also yet another sign of the changing of the guard in Durham.

Reigning National Player of the Year makes NBA Draft decision

Oscar Tsheibwe at a press conference

Mar 16, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) talks to the media at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats had a disappointing end to their season after losing in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Fans have had little reason to get excited about next season since then, but that all changed on Wednesday.

Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe, the reigning National Player of the Year in college basketball, announced Wednesday on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” that he will be returning to Kentucky for his senior season.

“I’ll be back again. I’ll be here next year for Kentucky,” Tshiebwe said. “I’ll be in the blue in Kentucky next year again.”

Tshiebwe also posted this video on Twitter with a message saying that he’s back.

Tshiebwe had a dominant junior season, leading the nation with 15.1 rebounds per game. He also averaged 17.4 points per game.

The consensus first-team All-American won all six NCAA-recognized National Player of the Year Awards, including the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy.

The 6-foot-9 Tshiebwe likely did not want his last college basketball memory to be a disappointing loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Second-seeded Kentucky was upset by No. 15 Saint Peter’s University in overtime, 85-79. The loss wasn’t due to a lack of production from Tshiebwe, however, who scored 30 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.

Tshiebwe’s decision makes him the first player to return to school after sweeping the National Player of the Year awards since North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough did so in 2008.

Hansbrough and the Tar Heels went on to win a national championship the following season, and there’s little doubt that Tshiebwe would like to do the same.

John Calipari critics in full force after Kentucky loses to Saint Peters

John Calipari at the podium

Kentucky lost to Saint Peters in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which was the biggest upset of the day on Thursday. The Wildcats’ 85-79 overtime defeat to what many thought was an inferior team came as a shock to many people. It also led many John Calapari critics to voice their thoughts.

Take a look at some of the reactions on Twitter following Kentucky’s big loss:

Yes, you have people talking about Calipari’s job security now.

The 63-year-old coach has been at Kentucky since the 2009-2010 season. He followed up a 9-16 season with a first-round exit against Saint Peters despite being a No. 2 seed.

Yes, the seat is getting warm around the Kentucky coach. Big Blue Nation is not happy.

Photo: Danny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky sends players off court early for walk of shame during loss

Kentucky players walk off

Kentucky sent some of its players off the court early before Saturday’s game at Arkansas ended, raising some questions about sportsmanship. However, they had a different reason for doing the publicized walk of shame.

The Wildcats lost 75-73 to the Razorbacks in an electric atmosphere at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. Hog fans were going nuts throughout the game and color-coordinated their clothes for a “stripe out.”

Fans at the game rushed the court after the contest ended, and that was a scene Kentucky didn’t want its fans being a part of. With Arkansas’ Davonte Davis at the free throw line and 4.4 seconds remaining, Kentucky sent its bench players to the locker room.

Here is the video:

And this video from the crowd also shows the boos the players received.

Kentucky knew what kind of celebratory scene it was going to be inside the arena and wanted to have some of their players avoid the situation.

JD Notae scored 30 for the Hogs, who have won 13 of 14. Notae said Kentucky leaving the floor early didn’t bother Arkansas, because they were the victors.

Shaking hands after a game is an important part of proper sportsmanship. But in this case, it was unlikely that the players would have been able to shake hands before the fans crowded the floor, so sending off the players early probably wasn’t a bad decision.

John Calipari shares 1 regret from Kentucky loss

John Calipari at a press conference

Kentucky was beaten rather handily in a tough road game against Tennessee on Tuesday night, and head coach John Calipari admitted afterword that he wished he handled one thing differently.

Following his 4th-ranked team’s 76-63 loss to No. 16 Tennessee, Calipari expressed regret over allowing TyTy Washington Jr. to play. The freshman guard suffered a leg injury during Kentucky’s win over Florida on Saturday, but he insisted on playing Tuesday night.

“If I had to do it over, I would not have played TyTy — I shouldn’t have played him,” Calipari said, via Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader. “I asked him twice, ‘Why don’t you just step back?’ He said, ‘I can do this.’ And then I was going to not play him in the second half. And I did. … I should have just gone with my gut.”

Washington started the game and had four points and three assists in the first half. He turned the ball over on a drive early in the second half and went down to the floor in pain. Washington exited the game at that point and did not return.

Washington has been a key contributor for Kentucky this season, averaging 12.4 points and 4.1 assists in 25 starts. Expect Calipari to play it safe with him going forward.

Photo: Danny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Video: Kentucky gave gamblers one of worst bad beats of all time

A kentucky player dunks the ball

Kentucky pulled away in the second half to cruise to a fairly easy win over South Carolina on Tuesday night. Wildcats fans were pleased with the result, but those who wagered on John Calipari’s team were downright devastated.

Kentucky entered the game as an 11-point favorite. They were leading 86-76 with seconds remaining when forward Oscar Tshiebwe received a pass under the basket while he was all alone. Rather than padding his stats, Tshiebwe intentionally waited until time expired before throwing down a dunk.

It was almost like he was taunting bettors. Had Tshiebwe dunked the ball before the clock hit zero, Kentucky would have covered. On the flip side, those who took the 11 points and backed South Carolina must have been ecstatic.

That wasn’t the only bad beat of the night in college hoops, either. Michigan, a 2-point favorite, gave up a meaningless three-pointer to Penn State at the buzzer to win by 1 instead of 4.

We saw some terrible luck for gamblers in an NBA game earlier this season, but that was nothing compared to the pain Kentucky and Michigan backers felt on Tuesday.

Kentucky basketball legend Joe B. Hall dies at 93

Former Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall

Joe B. Hall, who won a National Championship as both a player and head coach at the University of Kentucky, has died at the age of 93.

The Kentucky’s men’s basketball program made the unfortunate announcement on Saturday.

“It is with great sadness we share the passing of the great Joe B. Hall,” the program tweeted. “Our hearts are with the Hall family. We love you, Joe B.”

Hall was one of just three men in college basketball history to play on and coach for an NCAA championship team (1949, 1978). He’s also the only person to do it for the same school.

After leaning of Hall’s death, current Wildcats coach John Calipari tweeted a rememberance.

Hall spent 13 years as Kentucky head coach, compiling 297 victories after taking over for Adolph Rupp, who led the program for an impressive 41 seasons. He was named National Coach of the Year in 1978 and SEC Coach of the Year four times (1973, 1975, 1978, 1983).

Following his retirement, Hall stayed close to the program. He regularly attended practices and games, and his statue remains in place in front of Wildcat Lodge, where the men’s basketball players reside.

Image: Former UK head coach Joe B. Hall celebrates his 90th birthday and is presented a cake by UK cheerleaders during the University of Kentucky men’s basketball game against UNC Greensboro at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday, December 1, 2018.