Sidelines with John Clay

Throwing elbows: John Calipari responds to Rick Pitino’s comments

During his press conference at the Wells Fargo Arena to preview Thursday night’s Kentucky-Stony Brook game in the NCAA Tournament, UK coach John Calipari was asked about comments Louisville coach Rick Pitino made on ESPN’s Mike and Mike show Tuesday.

Among other things, Pitino said:

“We’re not Kentucky where we’re recruiting the one-and-dones. We’re recruiting the Russ Smiths of the world; he’s a 2-star athlete who becomes a first team college A-A. Gorgui Deng is starting for the Minnesota Timberwolves but wasn’t ranked in the top 25. Terry Rozier playing for the Boston Celtics wasn’t ranked in the top 60. So we have a different way we recruit and it didn’t make any sense what was going on, how these women infiltrated our program is very disturbing to me and why did AG (Andre McGee) get tied into this.”

Pitino also was asked about Calipari’s comments about UK’s No. 4 seed and claims that the Selection Committee often manufactures matchups such as UK-U of L.

“Well, I’ve known John since he was 15 and ever since he got into coaching. That’s his MO; he tries to make the world being against him. He does the same thing that John Thompson did at Georgetown -- the world’s against us. Wherever he’s going, he’ll probably stay 30 miles outside of town because the hotel’s not good enough. Nothing’s ever good enough, the world’s against us. He gets to his players and says we should be seeded much higher; matter of fact, how dare they put Kansas the No. 1 seed, it should be Kentucky. And he’ll have all those guys fired up. He did that great at UMass. It’s sort of difficult for him to buy into that at Kentucky, but he’s still trying to do it.”

Here was Calipari’s response when asked on Wednesday:

“I would really rather not respond,” the UK coach said. “I don’t know exactly what you’re talking about. They run a terrific program. He’s a terrific coach. He is a Hall of Famer. We’re in the same state. Sometimes you’ve got to rub elbows, sometimes you’ve got to throw elbows, but I respect him.”

KENTUCKY VS. STONY BROOK

When: Thursday, 9:40 p.m. (approximate)

Where: Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa

TV: CBS with Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson

Radio: UK Radio Network with Tom Leach and Mike Pratt

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