Kentucky Coach John Calipari credited senior Josh Harrellson with opening his eyes to the wisdom of not treating all players alike.
Because Harrellson tweeted a complaint about Calipari being impossible to please, the UK coach singled him out for punishment. The result was a better conditioned Harrellson and, as Calipari told it on Friday, a more flexible coach.
"The best thing he did was Twitter the garbage he twitted," Calipari said. "... If Josh had not twitted, I wouldn't do it this way. It would have been a mistake and he wouldn't be as good as he is right now."
Calipari said his approach involved treating all players alike in hopes of making talented players function as a unit. He did not subscribe to the "tough love" approach of, say, former UK Coach Billy Gillispie.
Never miss a local story.
"I'm not a guy that beats up players," he said. "That mentally and physically beats them up."
But, Calipari added, "Some players need that. Josh needed that. Did Brandon (Knight) need that? No. ... Now I've learned that some guys you separate from the pack, and you deal with them differently."
Kanter decision 'soon'?
When asked about a decision on UK's attempt to gain eligibility for freshman big man Enes Kanter, Calipari said, "It should be soon."
NCAA spokesman Chuck Wynne echoed that sentiment with a statement that read:
"As of today, the case is still under review. Both the University of Kentucky and the NCAA are working towards a resolution and are aware of the need to bring this case to a speedy conclusion for the benefit of the student-athlete and the institution."
Earlier this year, the NCAA declared Kanter permanently ineligible because he played three seasons for a professional team in his native Turkey. UK and the NCAA agreed that Kanter and his family received $33,033 in excess of the permitted "actual and necessary expenses" that a player can get in compensation.
UK appealed that ruling. Before a judgment was announced on the appeal, UK said it had "new information" and asked that the Kanter case be re-examined.
The "new information" came in the aftermath of a surprising NCAA ruling that said Cam Newton could continue playing college basketball even though the father of the Auburn quarterback had acknowledged seeking money for his son's services.
In re-seeking Kanter's eligibility, UK presumably argued that he did not know of the excessive income received from the Turkish team. The team, Fenerbahce Ulker, shared the housing and banking records with the NCAA that substantiated the compensation received.
Harrellson on 'Unforgettables'
With one of UK's "Unforgettables," Sean Woods, coaching Mississippi Valley State, Harrellson was asked what he knew of those players.
"Really not much," he said. "To be honest, I didn't know much about Kentucky basketball before I got here. You know, you try to catch up when you get here and learn it."
From watching the commercial endorsing Kentucky produce and starring Richie Farmer, John Pelphrey, Deron Feldhaus and Woods, Harrellson said he appreciated the Unforgettables.
"It's neat they're still friends and hang out," he said. "I hope I can have the same kind of relationship with my teammates when I'm done."
Woods and Pelphrey reunited Wednesday when Arkansas beat Mississippi Valley State 87-64.
As Woods sat down for his post-game news conference, he said of Pelphrey, "I'll tell y'all this much. He couldn't beat me one on one."
When Pelphrey took his turn at the podium, reporters asked for a response.
"That happened a few times back in the day," he said. "I'm sure he could give you the results. ... He goes on a reminiscing binge here ... that no one cares about any more."
Then Pelphrey playfully added, "When I got to Kentucky, one-on-one was selfish."
Of Woods' competitive nature, Pelphrey said, "Sean helped me get better. He was good because he could stay up underneath you and guard you. It doesn't surprise me he says that."
The only former UK player to beat UK as an opposing coach is C.M. Newton. He had a 10-32 record against UK as coach of Alabama and then Vanderbilt. The other former UK players are 0-17 against the Cats. ... Dave Baker and Kyle Macy will call the game for CSS.