BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — During the coverage of Big Blue Madness, Kentucky Coach John Calipari suggested to ESPN that the NCAA could use its judgment of Mississippi State guard Dee Bost as a guide in ruling on UK freshman Enes Kanter.
The NCAA ordered Bost to sit out nine games as punishment for failing to meet the deadline for withdrawing from the NBA Draft.
But Mississippi State Coach Rick Stansbury rejected any linkage in the Bost and Kanter situations.
"There's no comparison to Dee Bost," Stansbury said at the SEC Media Day on Thursday. "Let's get that straight."
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The State coach noted that Bost had already played in college, had not worked out for any NBA teams and had fallen victim to a rule change that required players to withdraw more than a month earlier than the previous deadline.
"He's not a pro," Stansbury said. "... For any kind of comparison to be made, I don't think Dee is a good one to make it on."
Stansbury intercepted Calipari at Media Day to personally make that point.
Stansbury, who last season questioned whether Kentucky gets favorable treatment because of its status as a traditional basketball power, repeated that theme when asked about the Kanter case. The NCAA is reviewing the player's eligibility status in light of his having played three years for a professional team in his native Turkey.
"Everybody across the landscape of college basketball understands what that situation was," Stansbury said. "Everybody is probably waiting to see (if) Kentucky gets something, is it because, with Kentucky, something's maybe different than another school."
Stansbury said he heard Calipari compare Kanter to Bost during ESPN's Madness coverage.
According to a transcript posted on Calipari's Web site Wednesday night, the UK coach said of the Kanter case, "I love what the NCAA did with Dee Bost. Dee Bost decided to put his name in the NBA Draft; stayed in the Draft — meaning he was then a professional and could not come back and be an amateur. Yet, they looked at it and said, wait a minute, common sense says, we're going to let him play, sit him out some games and let him play."
UK women targeted
A year ago, the media poll predicted the UK women's team would finish 11th in the league.
"That was a disappointment because we knew what we had as a team," leading scorer Victoria Dunlap said. "We used that as motivation to show we're better than that."
The message got through when the UK women finished second.
This year, the media poll picked UK to finish second.
"A great honor," Dunlap said. "We can't focus on the ranking. We're going to shoot for first. There will be no settlement."
Coach Matthew Mitchell called for his team to welcome the second-place prediction but not let it influence how hard the players work.
When asked about UK not resting on its laurels, Mitchell said, "That's my job to make sure the environment is such that there is no opportunity for that to enter their minds."
Hot seat for Pelphrey
Look at any pre-season stories of coaches on the hot seat and John Pelphrey's name can be found there.
"I don't really think of that," the Arkansas coach said. "That's not something that goes into the equation. I believe we are making progress."
A 9-23 SEC record the last two seasons and dwindling attendance has led to the perception that Arkansas needs to show progress this season.
Pelphrey noted the growing number of media outlets and the avenues for fans to voice opinions leads to less patience in rebuilding situations.
Mississippi Coach Andy Kennedy expressed surprise that ex-Kentucky player Donald Williams had to ice his knees after several practices.
"If the rumors are true about Billy Gillispie's practices, I'd think this has to be like spring break," Kennedy said he told Williams.
Kennedy likened Williams to former Ole Miss shooter David Huertas.
When asked if Williams will play for Ole Miss, Kennedy said, "Oh yeah. He can make shots. How much (he plays) is up to him."