UK Men's Basketball

Mark Story: UK's beef with NCAA over Calipari's 500th win not worth it

Mark Story
Mark Story

Fast-break points from the basketball withdrawal clinic:

21. The NCAA vs. UK regarding Calipari's 500th win. The last thing on earth any major-college athletics program (the very definition of living in a glass house) should want is to get on the radar of the NCAA Committee on Infractions over something petty.

20. Calipari's vacated wins. Yet angering this high court of college sports is what Kentucky has managed to do with its unwillingness to say it was wrong to include 42 victories vacated for NCAA violations at Massachusetts (four such wins) and Memphis (38) in John Calipari's career total when recognizing the coach for his "500th career win" after the Wildcats' Feb. 26 victory over Florida.

19. Kentucky's pickle. The amazing thing about UK getting itself into a spot where it has been ordered to publicly recant its recognition of Calipari's "500th win" or face an appearance before the Committee on Infractions is that the underlying issue — wins vacated at UMass and Memphis — is not about Kentucky.

18. Tell the NCAA sorry and move on. It's hardly a secret that Calipari's record includes vacated victories. Which makes it doubly hard to understand how UK got into this position in the first place and why it won't just say "we were wrong, we're sorry" and move on.

17. Brandon Knight. The now ex-UK point guard is considered a lock to be a lottery pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

16. UK's bounty. If so, it will mean Kentucky had players taken in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft, the WNBA Draft (Victoria Dunlap) and the major-league baseball draft (Alex Meyer) as well as a player (Randall Cobb) chosen in the second round of the NFL Draft.

15. What that says about UK athletics. "It says that we have some really good coaches who are signing some really talented athletes and developing them," Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said last week. "It's a pretty cool thing."

14. Washington, D.C., Wildcats. Barnhart notes that "the folks in D.C. ought to feel pretty good about Kentucky." The roll call of ex-Cats with Washington pro teams includes Jeremy Jarmon (Redskins), John Wall (Wizards), Victoria Dunlap (the WNBA's Mystics) and Alex Meyer (drafted by the Nationals).

13. Enes as No. 1. The Web site nbadraft.net now has Enes Kanter projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. It also has Brandon Knight at No. 4, Kenneth Faried, 22, and Shelvin Mack, 30, in round one; DeAndre Liggins, 44, and Scotty Hopson, 48, in round two.

12. 2012 NBA mock draft. The same Web site has five Kentucky players — No. 1. Anthony Davis; 8. Marquis Teague; 13. Michael Gilchrist; 15. Terrence Jones; and 17. Doron Lamb — going in the first round of next year's NBA Draft.

11. Hold the NCAA championship parade. Five North Carolina players — No. 2 Harrison Barnes; 3. James McAdoo; 19. Kendall Marshall; 24. John Henson; 25. Tyler Zeller — are also projected by nbadraft.net to go in the first round of the 2012 Draft.

10. UK vs. WKU men's hoops in Louisville? Western Athletics Director Ross Bjork says his school and Kentucky have discussed playing each other in the Derby City but nothing, as yet, has materialized.

9. WKU football cash. Bjork says Western is getting $900,000 to play LSU in Baton Rouge in 2011 and a cool $1 million to face Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2012.

8. Guarantee games. "We'd like to get our program to the point financially where we don't need to play those kind of games, or at least only one every two years," Bjork says. "We're not there yet."

7. Dwane Casey. The former Kentucky player and assistant coach is Rick Carlisle's top assistant with the Dallas Mavericks. Presumably, the Mavs' NBA title should boost the bid of Casey, the ex-Minnesota Timberwolves head man, to land another NBA head coaching shot.

6. Poor LeBron. Joke making the rounds is that you never want to ask LeBron James for change for a dollar because you won't get the fourth quarter.

5. Poor Heat. The most astounding basketball statistic of 2011, if not all time, was this one from Game Six of the NBA finals: Miami was minus-24 when James was on the floor.

4. LeBron has come through in the clutch. After James' disappearing act in the 2011 NBA finals, which followed his no-show for Cleveland last season in Game 5 of a playoff defeat against Boston, it's easy to lose sight of the fact he has had good moments under playoff pressure.

3. A big game and a big shot. James had a 48-point rampage against Detroit in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference finals and nailed a game-winning, three-point buzzer beater against Orlando in Game 2 of the '09 conference finals.

2. Into the gym. James needs to put aspirations of becoming a billionaire business mogul on hold for the summer and get into the gym and work to add a low-post game and a mid-range jump shot. He's still the most physically gifted basketball player on the planet but his game needs development.

1. Dallas victory parade. I hear the Mavericks are going to joy-ride right down main street ...

... in Cleveland.

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