UK Men's Basketball

Calipari checks on well-being of UK players, past and present, in path of Hurricane Harvey

Kentucky Coach John Calipari answered a question during the Southeastern Conference’s men’s college basketball media day on Oct. 19, 2016, in Nashville.
Kentucky Coach John Calipari answered a question during the Southeastern Conference’s men’s college basketball media day on Oct. 19, 2016, in Nashville. AP

The flooding associated with Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in the Houston area has affected Kentucky basketball, Coach John Calipari said Monday.

Freshman Jarred Vanderbilt is from Houston. His family drove to Austin, Texas, to escape the storm, Calipari said.

The UK coach said he is awaiting a response after checking on the family of De’Aaron Fox, who played for the Wildcats last season and is from Houston. Calipari said he also checked on the family of twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison, who are from Richmond, Texas, about 28 miles southwest of Houston.

Calipari said he is awaiting word on one of his former All-Americans, Marcus Camby, who lives in the Houston area.

“It looks like it’s just going to get worse, too,” Calipari said of the forecast of continuing rain in an already flooded area in southeast Texas.

UK recruiting in Texas could be affected, Calipari said.

“We have some recruiting trips (on) the 10th (of September),” he said. “I’m not sure we’ll be able to go down there. It may still be raining.”

Calipari spoke of the long-term damage caused by such storms.

“The worst part of this will be when the flooding … recedes,” he said. “If you don’t get back in there and deal with the mold, you might as well tear down the house.

“And let’s be real. Who is going to be affected by this the most?”

When a reporter suggested poor people, Calipari said, “No question. So here they are. They don’t have money to tear down walls and do that stuff. They’re probably in low-lying areas. Just like they were in New Orleans.”

Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. When a reporter suggested that some residents of New Orleans had probably moved to Houston, Calipari said, “I didn’t even think of that. I bet you they get hit twice. Can you imagine that in your lifetime?”

Calipari knows firsthand about the damage hurricanes can do. He saw the impact that Hurricane Sandy made on the Eastern Seaboard in 2012.

“I heard FEMA this morning and it appears as though they learned their lesson from Katrina,” Calipari said. “That’s how it appears to me, because everything they need, ‘We have this. We have that. We have this.’

“But this is going to be different because it’s going to be here for another week.”

Jerry Tipton: 859-231-3227, @JerryTipton

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