Calipari: 'We're all tired' after Bahamas trip

jtipton@herald-leader.comAugust 24, 2014 

As his annual Fantasy Camp wound down Sunday, Kentucky Coach John Calipari lamented the empty nest he will have at home and noted how he'll compensate for his players' empty fuel tanks.

Calipari said he would take his youngest child, son Brad, to a prep school in New England later Sunday.

"Looking at my house being kind of empty," he said. "Wait a minute. My last one's leaving. It kind of hit me in the face and (I) got a little emotional. It's just going to be (wife) Ellen and I. I mean, there's no running down the steps. 'I got to go.'"

As for the UK team, Calipari reminded reporters — though it wasn't necessary for anyone who made the trip — how taxing the recent nine-day, six-game stay to the Bahamas was.

"They're tired," he said of the UK players who sat near the Rupp Arena court watching the fantasy campers play. "We're all tired."

Calipari said he will limit the players' basketball activities to individual drills, conditioning and pickup games.

"That's enough," he said.

Meanwhile, Calipari gave the assistant coaches and staffers a task before closing the book on the Bahamas trip. He said he wanted them to prepare "a full evaluation" of Kentucky's play in the Bahamas. UK won five of six games against older players and/or pro teams based in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and France. The report should detail "what they saw, what they think," he said.

Cal: All in jest

Calipari recently appeared on Mike Francesa's radio show on New York City's WFAN. In an off-handed comment, Francesa lauded Calipari as a recruiter, but questioned Calipari's skill as an in-game strategist.

Calipari then called back to the show, disguising his voice to ask about the mixed assessment.

When asked Sunday about the exchange, Calipari described it as all playful. Not to be taken seriously, he said.

"When I called him back, it was in jest," Calipari said. "Do you really think I care what someone thinks of me as a coach?"

Calipari called Francesa a friend dating back 30 years.

Of Francesa's comments about Cal as a recruiter and strategist, the UK coach said, "He was being complimentary. But Mike doesn't know how to be complimentary."

Calipari then immediately discounted Francesa as informed about college basketball. Francesa doesn't even watch college basketball until the Final Four, the UK coach said.

As for disguising his voice (Francesa detected the ruse), Calipari said, "That was a Kentucky voice. Did that sound like it was from Kentucky?"

Charities

This year's Fantasy Camp will generate about $1 million for charities, Calipari said. The UK coach posed for pictures with representatives of more than 20 charities that will benefit.

The charities are based in such places as Lexington, Louisville, northern Kentucky, Memphis, Wilmington, N.C., and Connecticut.

The largest checks announced by Calipari were for $100,000 to Samaritan's Feet and Everfi, the latter involved in financial literacy.

Other checks on display included those for Team Focus ($75,000), the Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County ($50,000), Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund ($50,000), Miracle League of Wilmington ($50,000), Streets Ministries ($50,000), Starkey Hearing Foundation ($50,000), St. Jude Children's Research Hospital ($25,000), Connecticut BurnCare Foundation ($20,000), the Louisville Zoo ($10,000) and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes ($5,000).

Comedy Mania

Calipari will be a co-host for what was called a Comedy Mania fund-raiser on Nov. 20 in Rupp Arena. Comedians Bill Engvall, Sinbad, Mark Christopher Lawrence and Henry Cho will headline the show.

The event will support a clean water project led by Global Sports Aid Network, a multipurpose facility in Haiti and the Samaritan's Feet charity that supplies shoes to children around the world.

Calipari and WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBase will be the hosts.

Tickets (prices begin at $35) will be available beginning Friday at Rupp Arena or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com.

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