After DJ Jeffries’ decommitment last week, his father Corey ripped the Kentucky coaching staff, specifically Tony Barbee, for their “unprofessional” recruiting practices. Although I couldn’t get into specifics, I asked Barbee what he made of such claims this afternoon.
“I would disagree to any comment that would call anything we do in recruiting unprofessional,” Barbee said. “We’ve always made it about families and not about us. If you talk to anybody on this team or anybody we’ve recruited, the thousands of players we’ve recruited, you’d be hard pressed to find somebody who would call us unprofessional in what we do.”
If you missed them, here are Jeffries’ comments from last week:
“They kind of shocked me,” Corey Jeffries told the Jason & John Show on 92.9 FM in Memphis. “They were kind of unprofessional. So, if they come (back), they come. If they don’t, we’re fine with that too.
“They didn’t handle it the way I expected them to handle it, being professionals. I thought it would be handled better, but we’re not going to get into a mud-slinging contest with them. We’ll take the high road. That’s the way we were raised.”
John Calipari indirectly responded to Jeffries’ comments, telling reporters he only recruits players who want to be at Kentucky.
“We’ve been so fortunate and blessed that families have trusted us with their children, but this isn’t for everybody. This is really hard, and you have to want this as bad as we want you. I am always looking for guys who have always dreamed of playing at Kentucky.”
Today, Kenny Payne echoed Cal’s comments, explaining how important it is for players to know what they’re getting into when they commit.
“Well, they first have to be educated on what does that mean,” Payne said of the dream of playing for Kentucky. “This isn’t easy. This is a fishbowl. Everybody’s watching. This is hard because, again, we’re talking about kids that are willing to be coached, willing to get better, willing to put emphasis on reaching dreams and not being solely on, ‘I’m good enough today and that’s good enough for what I want to do.’ That’s not what we’re about. Character matters here. Work ethic matters here. Academics matter here. That’s important that kids understand exactly what that means. It’s one thing to see Kentucky on TV and see us winning games and a bunch of guys get drafted, but how did they get drafted? That’s important for these kids to know.”