Kentucky Coach John Calipari said Sunday that he did not make the decision on what games heralded freshman John Wall must sit out as part of the punishment for having some recruiting expenses paid by an agent.
In announcing Wall's punishment Friday night, UK said the freshman would sit out Monday's exhibition game against Campbellsville and the season opener against Morehead State on Nov. 13.
Calipari said that "they" told him what games Wall would miss. The UK coach did not identify who "they" were.
Were "they" the NCAA staff? UK's athletic administration? A fan poll on CoachCal.com?
As part of the punishment, the NCAA ordered Wall to pay back $787.58. That payment would go to a charity, the Lexington Hope Center, which UK said would help pay for Thanksgiving meals for the homeless.
Calipari said he did not know how long Wall would have to make the payment or how many recruiting trips the $787.58 represented.
When asked if Wall's punishment was fair, Calipari seemed to suggest that any judgment being made was more important than the specifics of the judgment. "It's behind us," he said.
UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said that Wall must make the $787.58 payment before he can compete in Friday's exhibition game against Clarion. Peevy said that UK's compliance officer, Sandy Bell, had advised Wall to save his Pell Grant money in anticipation of having to make such a payment. So Wall would have no difficulty making the payment.
Wall was not made available for interviews.
In the 1986-87 season, Campbellsville Coach Keith Adkins was the Paintsville High point guard who fed the ball to Mr. Basketball John Pelphrey.
"I still say he needs to give me at least a third of the Mr. Basketball trophy," Adkins said, jokingly. "Because I could have kept him from shooting quite a few times."
More seriously, Adkins no doubt hopes his Campbellsville team takes a Pelphrey-like competitive spirit into Monday night's exhibition game against Kentucky.
"Maybe the greatest competitor that I ever played with and probably I've ever been associated with," Adkins said. "John always was told he was too slow, not good enough, not strong enough, no way you can adjust to the perimeter. There were a lot of things John was told in his career from high school on up to college he couldn't do. And, boy, he loved to prove people wrong. He was a self-made player.
"He wasn't given athletic ability. He wasn't given this and he wasn't given that. John worked hard. He was one of those guys who wouldn't take no for an answer."
Not about winning
Although falling back in a zone and trying to make it a half-court game might be the best play to compete against Kentucky, Campbellsville will play its signature man-to-man defense and hope the pace is fast enough to score a lot more than 60 points.
"We don't play any zone," Adkins said. "We don't teach zone defense."
The bottom line is this game is not about winning, the Campbellsville coach said.
"We want to go out there and try to prepare ourselves for what we have next. We feel honored to have this game. We feel we owe it to Kentucky. We did this to try to improve themselves for what they have coming up."
Campbellsville's objective is to try to get open shots on offense and make UK work for its shots. If that happens, "We'll have success down the line," Adkins said.
When the media arrived for Sunday's interviews, reporters saw a player or manager wearing a blue T-shirt that had three large words printed on the back:
That alliterative sequence surely would not please critics of UK's approval last week of a project to build a new dorm for the team and call it Wildcat Coal Lodge. About 30 protesters had to shout to make their voices heard at a UK Board of Trustees meeting last week. Most trustees left the room while the protestors tried to convey their objections.
The protesters said that the burning of coal was damaging to the environment in multiple ways and a symbol of the past.
After the protesters were removed from the board room, the trustees approved the name. Booster Joe Craft collected $7 million in pledges for the construction of the new lodge. But the money was contingent on the name Wildcat Coal Lodge being used.
As for the coal t-shirts, UK spokesman John Hayden said they were a gift from IMG, the radio and television rights holder for UK football and basketball. IMG distributed the shirts to students who attended a recent UK practice that was open to students.
Campbellsville had a 10-19 record last season. The Tigers lost exhibition games at Arkansas (103-58) and Western Kentucky (62-48). . . . Before the 2007-08 season, Campbellsville lost at Western Kentucky 94-67. The Tigers had a record of 26-10 and advanced to the NAIA Final Four that season.