UK Men's Basketball

ESPN analyst blasts Kentucky players and ‘spoiled’ freshmen in general

Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo (3) argued with head coach John Calipari during their game against South Carolina on Tuesday night. South Carolina beat Kentucky 76-68.
Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo (3) argued with head coach John Calipari during their game against South Carolina on Tuesday night. South Carolina beat Kentucky 76-68. aslitz@herald-leader.com

After a second-half collapse against South Carolina prompted Kentucky Coach John Calipari to say his team played with an “unwarranted arrogance,” ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg blasted “spoiled” freshmen and the Cats’ lack of cohesion Wednesday morning on “SportsCenter.”

“These guys have been recruited since they were 13 years old. They’ve been enabled since they were 13 years old. They don’t think. It’s not about Kentucky, it’s about how quick can I get to the league?” Greenberg said in a panel discussion he later posted a video of on Twitter. “It’s all about me, me, me. They don’t know how to play hard. They’re not competitive. They can’t maintain an intensity.”

Greenberg, a head coach from 1990 to 2012, most recently at Virginia Tech, lamented that the basketball world, including his network, seems obsessed with one-and-done freshmen, when it should be talking about what he views as some of the great teams emerging this season.

“To me, we spend all our time talking about the freshmen — DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, the great Kentucky freshmen — instead of maybe talking about the best teams. Because these guys are not the best teams,” he said. “Why don’t we spend some time talking about the Villanovas, that are connected; the Purdues; what Virginia’s doing? These guys are spoiled by the process by the time they’re 13 years old. And they’re clueless on understanding how hard you have to play, what type of teammate you need to be.”

Kentucky Coach John Calipari talks to media after his team’s 76-68 loss at South Carolina.

Kentucky held a 14-point lead about midway through the second half, but struggled down the stretch as South Carolina seized the momentum and went on to win 76-68 in Columbia, S.C.

“They’re not a good team because they’re not connected,” Greenberg continued. “We can say that’s because they’re freshmen … that sounds great. But they’re not connected because right now they’re all about themselves instead of the good of the group. I think we need to spend more time talking about the teams that are actually really good.”

Greenberg is scheduled to be part of the “ESPN College GameDay” crew coming to Lexington ahead of Saturday night’s game against Florida in Rupp Arena. Details about Saturday’s show and pre-game activities have not been released.

No. 18 Kentucky led by 14 points before South Carolina rallied for a 76-68 victory in Columbia, S.C., on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2018.

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