UK-Arkansas notes: Ex-Cats get rude welcome vs. UK

At Memphis, Calipari ended series with Hogs

jtipton@herald-leader.comFebruary 23, 2011 

Kentucky enjoys a 50-10 record against teams coached by former Wildcats. That includes John Pelphrey's 0-3 record against UK as Arkansas coach.

"It's not about me," Pelphrey said. "I had my day. Right now, it's about these kids on both teams, playing and competing and doing as well as they can. That's what I want my team to do: compete."

C.M. Newton is the only former UK player to beat Kentucky. He had a 10-32 record against the Cats coaching teams for Alabama and then Vanderbilt.

With his team having lost four of its last six, Pelphrey simply wants to win.

"It has been a number of days since we have beat Kentucky," Pelphrey said in reference to UK's 10-game winning streak in the series. "I think it would be a big deal, regardless. If we can get a win, it really wouldn't matter who we were playing. But certainly (it would be) against them."

Hostile reception?

UK Coach John Calipari might get a hostile reception at Arkansas. When he coached Memphis, he ended a series with Arkansas.

"We had enough SEC teams on (the schedule)," Calipari said of his reason for dropping Arkansas. "I wanted to play a national schedule. I said, if the SEC wants us in their league, they should ask us to join their league. ...

"I would have canceled Tennessee, too."

The $2.5 million UT gave Memphis for a football series prevented Calipari from ending the basketball series.

"If you're playing all regional schools, how are you going to be national?" Calipari said. "Who's going to know about you in California, Florida and Texas?"

Leading rebounder iffy

Pelphrey said that Delvon Johnson, Arkansas' leading rebounder, was "probable" to play against Kentucky despite suffering a hip injury last weekend.

"He's got a hip pointer," Pelphrey said. "I guess ... 'probable' is the term. I don't anticipate him practicing today. I'm not sure how much he'll even get done tomorrow. So we'll just have to wait and see."

Johnson averages of 7.6 rebounds per game. He's also one of the Hogs' three players with a double-digit scoring average. He's averaging 10.0 points.

"I would say that a normal human being having that injury would not play," Pelphrey said. "Delvon Johnson, with who he is, his toughness, with the way that he handles injuries ... I think with his toughness, he'll be out there."

Jenkins reprised?

Calipari evoked the name John Jenkins when talking about the X-factor that is Arkansas shooter Rotnei Clarke. "He could do to us what Jenkins did to us," the UK coach said. "He's a quick trigger."

Jenkins scored 32 points to lead Vanderbilt to victory over UK.

Clarke, who has added more diversity to his catch-and-shoot game, has caught the eye of former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson.

"The one I see that's really come a long way is Clarke," Richardson said. "He's looking for it more now. ... Watching him last summer, he was just shooting a lot of standstill jump shots. That's not going to get it. Now he's moving. ... I think as he goes, the Razorbacks will go."

Cal on Derby game

With a Derby Festival Basketball Classic organizer bemoaning the lack of a UK recruit in this year's game, Calipari figuratively washed his hands concerning the dispute.

"I don't get involved at all," Calipari said.

Apparently, that has not always been the case. Louisville lawyer Dan Owens, who lines up players for the Derby Festival, recalled a time when Calipari's Memphis staff lobbied to have its recruits play in the game.

Since the Derby Festival game began in 1972, it has always had at least one UK recruit participate.

"This is about loyalty," said Owens, who as of Tuesday had not received a reply from an e-mail he sent to UK officials and coaches on Friday.

NCAA rules limit recruits to two all-star game appearances. UK's recruits — Marquis Teague, Michael Gilchrist, Anthony Davis and Kyle Wiltjer — have committed to play in the McDonald's All-American and Jordan Brand Classic games.

A statement from the families said the players were fulfilling a "lifelong dream" to play in those games.

Calipari saw the whole thing as much ado about nothing.

"They write a story about that?" he said, perhaps facetiously. "Is this like a slow time?"


In six SEC road games, Brandon Knight has 18 assists and 23 turnovers. ... Dave Neal and Jimmy Dykes will call the game for the SEC Network (WKYT-27).

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