Calipari's mother loses fight with cancer

'She lost brave fight' with cancer

jtipton@herald-leader.comNovember 30, 2010 

Kentucky coach John Calipari talked to reporters during UK Mens basketball media day on Thursday October 14, 2010 in Lexington, Ky.

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF

Kentucky Coach John Calipari missed the start of practice on Monday. He was returning from Charlotte, N.C., where his mother passed away Sunday night. His mother, Donna, was 74.

Calipari missed his regular day-before-the-game news conference and the start of practice. UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said assistant coach John Robic would substitute for Calipari on the weekly call-in radio show Monday night.

Calipari is expected to coach the Kentucky team against Boston University on Tuesday night in Rupp Arena.

Earlier in the day, Calipari's staff sent out a Twitter message on his behalf.

"As most of you know, my mom, Donna, has been battling cancer for several months," he said on the tweet. "On Sunday, she lost her brave fight."

In follow-up tweets, Calipari said, "On behalf of my dad, my two sisters, Ellen and all of our family ... we want to thank the Big Blue Nation for all their prayers, cards ... Your warmth uplifted her and all of us.

"We hope you will all respect our privacy during this period and know that we are grateful for being part of the Big Blue family.

"God bless and thank you."

UK announced that the Calipari family will hold a private memorial service on Sunday.

"In lieu of flowers, the Calipari Family kindly asks that donations be sent in memory of Donna Calipari or by using Tribute #26909623 to: St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital; Attn: Tribute Program; P.O. Box 100, Dept. 142; Memphis, TN, 38148, or by calling 1-800-822-6344.

UK issued a statement from Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart.

"Our prayers go out to John and his family after losing his mother during her battle with cancer," Barnhart said. "We ask that the Big Blue Nation keep the Calipari family in their thoughts and prayers and respect their privacy during this time of grief."

Youth vs. Youth

Boston University has seven freshmen and four transfer players. When it was suggested that UK's freshman-oriented team might be even less experienced, Terriers second-year coach Patrick Chambers said, "On the other hand, Kentucky has McDonald's All-Americans and some pros. I can't say the same for us, at least not now. Ours have to develop over four years."

One of the veterans, forward John Holland, needs 17 points to reach 1,700 for his career. Another veteran, Jake O'Brien, needs 74 points for 1,000. Guard Darryl Partin scored 30 of his 32 points in the second half in a 66-61 victory at Cornell.

Overall, Chambers said he's working to develop team chemistry with so many new players.

The Terriers have made only 39 percent of their shots this season, and they haven't shot better than 39.3 percent in the last four games.

Chambers suggested that the team emphasis on defense and rebounding might hamper the shooting accuracy. "We're working on it," he said. "We'll get there."

SEC names Jones its freshman of the week

The Southeastern Conference named Kentucky forward Terrence Jones its freshman of the week, the league announced Monday.

Jones averaged 23 points, 11.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks during the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

His 29 points against Oklahoma tied for the second most in a game by a UK freshman in school history. His 17 rebounds against Washington were the third most rebounds by a freshman in school history.

Etc.

Boston University has not beaten a ranked team since topping No. 18 Navy in the 1959 NCAA Tournament. ... Dave Baker, Kyle Macy and Rob Bromley will call the game for Fox Sports South.

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