As John Calipari sees it, it makes sense for Brad Calipari to enter his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal.
“Do you blame him for wanting to play more?” the elder Calipari said.
His son has improved in three seasons as a walk-on at Kentucky, the UK coach said. But there’s no substitute for actually playing.
“I even told him, look at Division II,” John Calipari said. “What’s wrong with that? Go where you’ll be well-coached, where you get a chance. Division II basketball, they’re just a little smaller. But you’ve got talented guys.”
More than once, John Calipari said that Brad Calipari might be on UK’s team next season. This would please the UK coach.
“The ideal thing would be for him to have more of an opportunity here,” John Calipari said. “I’d love to do it, but that’s my son. It has to be earned, and you have to deserve it. . . .
“I do hope my son comes back, to be honest. Because I would like to coach him another year. On the other side, if he chose to leave, I’d be at as many games as I could be at to watch him.”
His son’s dedication to training ensures that he can be “unique and special” in whatever he chooses to do, Calipari said.
Drinks for everyone?
With the SEC giving member schools the option to expand alcohol sales to all fans beginning next season, a reporter asked Calipari how he felt about the home crowd in Rupp Arena imbibing during games.
“It’s the way of the world right now . . . ,” he said. “I’ll roll with whatever they want to do.”
If UK expands alcohol sales, Calipari said he hoped UK fans would be mindful of under-aged people in the stands and “police each other if we go that route.
“There are teams we will not play because it was so obnoxious, and I say I’m not putting my team or myself or my staff or my family through that. And we’re not going back there and playing. So I hope if we do go this route, it doesn’t lead to that because we have the classiest fans.”
After saying that UK fans gave standing ovations for opposing players who played well, Calipari added, “I’m not sure if you’re totally whacked that you would do that.”
Calipari downplayed the seriousness of him listening this spring to overtures from UCLA about its coaching position. He had been in ongoing talks with UK during last season about a contract extension, he said.
“I get calls every year from different people . . . ,” Calipari said. “I’ll listen to people talk to me. I owe that to the profession.”
Calipari questioned why a UK coach would seriously consider another college job.
“Everybody would say why would he ever leave Kentucky for anywhere. You’re right. Why would I? . . . (Is there) a better situation? More committed to basketball? Money? Staff? Tell me why I would do this.”
Then Calipari suggested a few seemingly plausible reasons.
“‘He’s tired of being here? He’s tired of the fans,’” he said. “Really? Your whole career you’re trying to get to a point where you’re at a program where it really matters, and fans are engaged. You never have to sell a ticket. . . . This is the place. And where else can you prepare young people for the rest of their lives the way we do here.”
The NCAA is expected to announce Wednesday possible changes approved by its Playing Rules Oversight Panel. The panel is considering such changes as moving the three-point line from the current 20 feet, nine inches to the international distance of 22 feet, one and three-quarters inches and re-setting the shot clock at 20 seconds after an offensive rebound as opposed to the current 30 seconds.
Of the re-setting the shot clock to 20 seconds, Calipari said, “That I like.”
The UK coach was ambivalent about moving the three-point line farther from the basket. “It doesn’t matter to me,” he said.
Calipari advocated allowing coaches to challenge calls and non-calls at the end of games.
To the argument that additional reviews at a sideline monitor would lengthen the time of games, he said, “Are we worried about time or getting it right?”
Incidentally, the Playing Rules Oversight Panel will consider allowing referees to review goal-tending and basket interference calls (or non-calls) in the last two minutes of the second half and any overtime period.
UK fans surely don’t need reminding that LSU beat Kentucky last season on a last-second tip-in that replays showed involved basket interference.