Former walk-on Landon Slone is back at the University of Kentucky as a student. His fondest wish would be to someday return as a UK basketball player.
"I can't say I'll ever be able to play for Kentucky again," he said Wednesday. "I'd love to. No matter what it took."
UK's coaching change led Slone to transfer to Morehead State. But he lasted only three days of classes this fall semester at the new school before deciding to return to UK as a student and, he hopes, a member of the basketball team again.
"I don't know if I was comparing it to Kentucky," he said of being at Morehead State. "I couldn't see myself being comfortable there. I couldn't see myself fitting in. ... I just didn't feel right. I felt Kentucky was my home."
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Slone, whose return was reported by the Kentucky student newspaper, the Kernel, on Wednesday, said he talked to UK compliance officer Sandy Bell about how the timing of a transfer could affect his eligibility. He said he was told that his eligibility would be unaffected if he transferred within the first 10 days of classes.
A native of Paintsville, Slone became a fan favorite as a freshman for UK last season. Although he played sparingly once Southeastern Conference play began, he found UK basketball had a strong tug on his spirit as he briefly attempted to restart his basketball career at Morehead State.
"I don't know if I lost a bit of my love to play," he said before adding, "It hurt my want-to.
"I have a certain love for Kentucky (basketball). It's hard when you love it as much as I do."
Slone said he had not yet spoken to new UK coach John Calipari about the possibility of returning to the team. He transferred last spring, in part, because he could not arrange a meeting with Calipari and took that as an indication of UK's lack of interest.
As for meeting with Calipari now, Slone said, "I'm going to try a little bit harder.
"I don't expect to play this year. They're into it, and they're into it pretty far.
"If I could play next year and finish my career up (at UK), it would be a great thing."