UK Men's Basketball

Did Brown's cameo with UK violate NCAA rule?

Former NBA coach Larry Brown sat with Ellen Calipari during the game. Brown's attendance at UK practices has raised questions about NCAA violations.
Former NBA coach Larry Brown sat with Ellen Calipari during the game. Brown's attendance at UK practices has raised questions about NCAA violations.

Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown's attendance at Kentucky practices last week and his apparent interaction with players might raise questions about a violation of NCAA rules.

According to NCAA rules, a temporary consultant can be brought in to counsel the coaches. But that consultant is not supposed to interact with athletes. During Friday's interview session, UK center Josh Harrellson said Brown had been participating in practice.

"He'll even stop drills like Coach Cal does and put his input in," Harrellson said. "It's great having a legendary coach here guiding us and helping us out."

UK Coach John Calipari, who considers Brown a friend and mentor, said he invited players to seek advice from Brown about how to improve.

"Not a bad deal," Calipari said. "He's a Hall of Famer."

UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said that Harrellson was mistaken in suggesting Brown played a role in practices other than observer.

"It didn't happen," Peevy said. "I have no idea what Josh is talking about."

NCAA bylaw, which pertains to outside consultants, says that such people can "provide in-service training for the coaching staff, but no interaction with student athletes is permitted unless the individual is counted against the applicable coaching limits. An outside consultant may not be involved in any on- or off-field or on- or off-court coaching activities (e.g., attending practices and meetings involving coaching activities, formulating game plans, analyzing video involving the institution's or opponent's team) without counting the consultant in the coaching limitations in that sport.

Sandy Bell, Kentucky's chief compliance officer, said Saturday she was confident that no violation of NCAA rules occurred during Brown's visit.

"They know what they can and can't do," Bell said of the UK coaches. "We've been talking to people all week."

UK also checked with the Southeastern Conference, Bell said.

Later, Bell acknowledged that she could not rule out with 100 percent certitude that Brown did not unwittingly violate an NCAA rule.

"If he did, we'll deal with it," said Bell, who added that it would be a secondary violation.

Bell likened Brown's presence to a motivational speaker rather than a coach.

"I've never seen anyone coach but Cal," she said. "Ever."

Acting bug bites Jones

When reporters entered the UK locker room, they saw actress Ashley Judd speaking with Terrence Jones.

"I asked her, 'When did you get into acting,' " Jones said, "and what it meant to her. And what does it take for someone like me to do it."

Jones, who said he loves movies, has not acted. But he wants to someday.

"She just asked me, do I like to be emotional?" Jones said of Judd's reply. "Her definition of acting. That for her, it was just getting emotionally attached to your role. ... Just imagine you are that person."

Georgia 'uncomfortable'

Georgia's top two scorers, Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, combined to make only two of 17 shots and score 14 points. For Thompkins, it was his first game all season with less than 13 points. Leslie had scored at least 14 points in nine straight games and had an SEC average of 17.5 points.

UK's defensive plan was to make Thompkins and Leslie "uncomfortable," Darius Miller said.

"You have to credit Kentucky's defense, first," Georgia Coach Mark Fox said, adding that Thompkins and Leslie have "been so good, they deserve to try and play through a tough night. We just couldn't get either one of them going. When Travis misses a lob right at the rim, you know it's not his night."

Family affair

The game was a family affair for DeAndre Liggins. He said his mother, two sisters and four cousins attended.

Asked if his family's presence gave him extra pep, Liggins said, "Yeah, it did. Of course, everybody gets excited when your family comes to see you."

Back to Florida

Brandon Knight, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will return to Florida next weekend when the Cats play in Gainesville.

When asked what that meant to him, Knight said, "Nothing, really. My main thing is just trying to win, making sure I'm running the team and we are in position to win."

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