kentucky notes

Cal wants to expand Cats' presence in Louisville

Suggests UK Play3 games a year there

jtipton@herald-leader.comNovember 30, 2009 

LOUISVILLE — Kentucky Coach John Calipari would like to expand the program's annual game in Louisville to a separate ticket package of games in the state's largest city.

"No question we'd like to play more than one game," Calipari told the crowd of about 4,000 that attended a public workout/show on Sunday in Freedom Hall. "I wouldn't be against us moving a league game here. But they have to be sellouts."

To that, a fan could be heard yelling to Calipari, "Easy. You're talking to UK fans."

Calipari asked to make UK's game with North Carolina-Asheville on Monday a sellout in order to help him sell the administration on the idea of several "home" games in Louisville each season.

"It's easier for me to sell we should move games to Louisville if they see a packed house" the UK coach told the crowd.

As of Sunday, about 13,000 tickets had been sold for the UNC-Asheville game. That's ahead of the 8,000 tickets sold the day before UK's "home" game against Appalachian State in Louisville last season. But it's still well short of Freedom Hall's capacity of 19,200.

In speaking to reporters after the public workout, Calipari spoke of games each season in Louisville against a Southeastern Conference opponent, an opponent in a so-called guarantee game and "another good game" with, say, Indiana as the opponent.

"I'm urging people if you have an interest in us being down here, come to the game," Calipari said. "Come down here and show it's important."

When asked if more games in Louisville might cause resentment among UK students, Calipari said, "I'm talking as a basketball coach, not as the president of the university and not as the athletic director."

Later, Calipari suggested students might welcome the idea of more games in Louisville.

"I bet if we said we were going to take buses, they'd come down here and have a ball," the UK coach said, "and probably tell us you don't even need to bus us. We're going to come down there and have fun in Louisville."

Such an increase in games in Louisville should not be seen as detracting from the schedule of games in Rupp Arena, Calipari said. Kentucky hopes to have a home schedule of 19 to 21 games, counting exhibitions, he said. Home games against marquee opponents would not be moved to Louisville, he said.

The idea is not to protect home games for fans in the Lexington area or the UK students, Calipari said. The idea of more games in Louisville is to strengthen UK's recruiting in the state's largest city.

"You'd never want to do anything to take away from our fans in Lexington," he said, "but to build another base — think about it: two season ticket packages, one in Lexington and one in Louisville. Then it becomes a big deal. ...

"It also affects your recruiting to be able to come here and be able to get the best players from here. Because those kids have grown up thinking of Louisville, not Kentucky, for 50 years."

Players stay home

Sophomore DeAndre Liggins and Daniel Orton did not participate in the public workout/show. Each had classwork to attend to on Monday, Calipari said. Instead of traveling to Louisville on Sunday and then returning to Lexington for Monday classes, the two decided to stay for classes and join the team later Monday, the UK coach said.

Etc.

Mark Krebs, Ramon Harris, Darnell Dodson, DeMarcus Cousins and Perry Stevenson won a three-point shooting contest over Patrick Patterson, Josh Harrellson, John Wall, Darius Miller and Eric Bledsoe. The winners won from each of four spots: right corner, left corner, top of the key and left wing. ... Dave Neal and Rupp's Runt Larry Conley will call the game for Fox Sports South.

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