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Tony Barbee responds to claims UK’s recruiting practices are unprofessional


Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

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.”

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

23 responses to “Tony Barbee responds to claims UK’s recruiting practices are unprofessional”

  1. KTR2786

    Bluff called. Sour Grapes.

    1. J. Did

      Agreed.

      4 star kid; zero star dad, all mouth.

      Pushy, pushing buttons all mouth dad who saves face – following 4 star son’s out-recruitment – by playing the blame game card.

      You gotta let that go; needs no response; we all see it, zero star dad and his mouthy commentary, for what it is.

      Embarrassment; saving face.

      Blame game.

  2. RICKSVD

    Examples? Just keep saying unprofessional? Give one example? You can’t just claim a vague statement like that without at least some explanation. I say they acted unprofessional, they didn’t honor their word.

  3. rickwhitetx

    I do believe that Kenny Payne’s comments tell the story.

  4. foamfinger

    I wonder if they didn’t like that Cal was non-committal about their kid being the star piece on the team and was continuing to recruit higher ranked talent at the position and others. I mean, they should know that he does that every single year and that he can’t guarantee a path to the NBA because of a whole lot of different variables.

    1. pancakesfordinner

      That’s probably a big part of it, but they clearly didn’t watch 4 star recruit Shai Alexander get drafted in the lottery when 5 star Quade was recruited as a starting point guard.

  5. Bluebloodtoo

    I guess we just need to understand what the Jeffries family expected from that conversation. Maybe they wanted to see UK grovel and validate their interest. They certainly didn’t get that based on available information. I can understand how they might get salty from that scenario. Overall, i think maybe this is the best for everyone. If that was their expectation, then it’s better to find out now, rather than halfway through the first season at UK.

  6. Wade

    What a bunch of baby’s move on quit fighting for others to leave to follow you to Memphis uk does nothing wrong recruiting your the first unhappy one.. good luck and go on

  7. BigBlue1976

    I thought Jefferies Dad specifically said Calipari was NOT the one acting unprofessional.

    1. bigbluebanana

      He did!!

    2. BigBlue1976

      But yet, Mrs. TT saya above that his dad ripped Cal and Barbee. C’mon Mrs. TT!

    3. BigBlue1976

      *says

    4. J. Did

      There’s an adage: Rip one, you rip all. Did he not state, “UK”, while ripping UK’s “recruiting practices”?
      If yes, he ripped the program. If he ripped the program, then he ripped CAL and Eli Capilouto. Which means he ripped the UK fans. And dissed the entire state. Enjoy Memphis and beyond….perhaps spending it “Penniless”.

  8. bigbluebanana

    I think Kenny’s comments are enough to quiet the Jeffries. #murderedbywords

    1. J. Did

      Love Kenny Payne. We need to keep enjoying the fact that he is still coaching at KENTUCKY. I freak out every time a job opening arises. Going to enjoy this season.

  9. 4everUKblue

    Excuse me Corey but you missed the turn that leads to the high road. Try again.. From where I’m sitting you’re the only one mud slinging, we could care less what you and your family do. Best of luck, now move along.

    1. notFromhere

      Well said

  10. jimmer

    I’m guessing without the connections to Wiseman – Jeffries would have never been recruited in first place the way they talk about him/his family.

  11. crazycatfan65

    Daddy Jefferies was expecting the UK coaching staff to beg DJ to stay and when they didn’t beg their feelings got hurt. Oh well, good luck at Memphis for 4 years.

  12. Kat4Life

    We should quit dignifying the Jefferies situation by commenting on it……the kid decided he’d rather play for his AAU coach and take the easy path. It’s just as well, for he’ll be selling used cars in Germantown this time 3 years from now. If Jefferies were not a teammate of James Wiseman he’d never hit our radar…..

    1. notFromhere

      ^^^
      While I think Jeffries might briefly have been on the radar without his friendship with Wiseman, this IS kicking and then milking a dead horse

  13. BBNBRIAN

    It isn’t a mudslinging contest when only one side is slinging the mud. Good riddance – it is very apparent we will be fine without you. I still believe Cal pulled the trigger on Jefferies simply to get the upper hand in recruiting Wiseman. As soon as Penny became coach at Memphis, Cal let go of the rope and knew what was going to happen sooner rather than later. I feel we are in a much better position with our recent additions to the class…

    1. J. Did

      Agreed.

      It was all about Wiseman.

      Perhaps that’s what Corey “LaVar Ball” Jeffries was referring to when calling KENTUCKY’s actions ‘unprofessional’.