For the second time in three years, Coach John Calipari wants Kentucky basketball to help relief efforts in the wake of a natural disaster.
Calipari announced Sunday that his program will stage a telethon Wednesday to raise funds to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast of the United States. The telethon will air on the UK/IMG Sports Network (WKYT, Channel 27 in Lexington) from 7 to 8 p.m.
In 2010, UK staged a telethon to raise money for the relief effort in the aftermath of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake centered in Haiti.
"You sit there and think, What can you do?" Calipari said. "How can you help?"
The UK coach credited former WKYT president and general manager Wayne Martin with first suggesting a telethon to help in the hurricane relief effort. He said the hope was to increase the number of phone banks for this telethon.
Calipari also suggested that pledges "well into six figures" had been made to match the donations received on the telethon.
Information on how donations can be made on the telethon will be released later, UK said in a release. Meanwhile, donations can be made in non-telethon hours by calling the Red Cross at 859-253-1331 or via the internet at www.redcross.org.
Hurricane Sandy hit UK basketball on a personal level. Sophomore guard Brian Long is from Dumont, N.J., which is about 19 miles from New York City.
"I was kind of nervous," Long said of his initial reaction to the storm hitting the east coast in the New Jersey-New York area. " ... Atlantic City being completely under water shook me up."
The storm knocked out the power in his parents' home, Long said. His parents were living with a daughter, and hoped to have power restored on Monday.
Calipari told the players Saturday night about staging a telethon.
"I was just real appreciative," Long said. "It shows he cares."
UK opens the regular season on Friday in Brooklyn. Calipari said the team would be staying in that borough, so there should not be any serious transportation issues.
With the opening game less than a week away, freshman Nerlens Noel voiced confidence.
"I feel we're ready," he said. " ... I really think it's our time to do our thing."
After UK beat Northwood, Calipari (playfully?) chastised reporters for not having charted the offensive efficiency of each of the various lineups used in the exhibition. No doubt, UK's rabid fans were ahead of media slackers in doing the calculations.
Apparently such fans were ahead of Calipari, too. The UK coach said he had not calculated the efficiency either.
"Sometimes numbers numb you," he said.
Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com