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Cal says the team needs to prove it can play before fans pay for tickets


Late last night, Cal released a statement about his team’s NIT bid, but he’s apparently got even more on his mind. This morning, Cal tweeted some more thoughts about their game against Robert Morris:

“When I heard we couldn’t host the first round of the NIT, I decided to accept the bid knowing we could host in the second round. I’m not disappointed we have to start on the road because this team needs to prove it wants to continue to play before our fans pay for tickets. If we had to play on the road, I’m glad it was Robert Morris because I knew what it would do for the program.”

In typical Cal fashion, he has turned this into a positive for Robert Morris, where his grandmother worked in the cafeteria (seriously). It’s been a disappointing year for everyone, but Cal’s words about his team needing to prove they can play before fans pay for tickets may be the most telling about his feelings towards them this season. I’m not sure disappointed even covers it.

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.

59 Comments for Cal says the team needs to prove it can play before fans pay for tickets

  1. Big O
    10:35 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Oscar Combs tweeted UK HAD to accept the bid… couldnt turn it down

  2. theWilkman
    10:36 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Why are we talking about this? It’s Spring football season, basketball is over.

  3. Cat Fan
    10:40 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Wow, this stinks…..go lose in a 3,000 person gym…..hope I am wrong

  4. doug
    10:43 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Cal is always the saleman. Too bad the team wasn’t buying what he is selling….

  5. symphonist41169
    10:44 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    1 – You’re right. Schools have to declare during the pre-season whether they’d accept and NIT bid if they don’t make the big dance. The decision was made last Fall, probably under the assumption we wouldn’t have to worry about it considering we were RIDICULOUSLY over-rated in the pre-season polls. I really hope this HAS been a learing and humbling experience for Cal. I still think he’s a great coach but hope he starts to re-think his recruiting strategy and get some guys in that will stay around for more than one year before they grab the NBA cash. Not saying I blame them for it; I’d gladly done the same if I were offered a multimillion dollar contract after my freshman year in college. But as long as the NBA players union won’t move on the age rule to get in the draft you’ll have this same situation every year. and that’s not going to be unique to UK. Does anybody seriously think Russ Smith will come back for a senior year at UL if he’s profected to get drafted in the 1st round (which he probably will be). Gotta get some 3- and 4-stars recruited that will stay around to learn the system to teach the 5-stars that Cal hauls in. Gotta find better balance in recruiting.

  6. WWMKGD?
    10:44 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    So now Cal indicates that we could have declined the bid??? Earlier it was we accepted an NIT bid before the season and couldn’t decline. You think UK laughed in their faces when the NIT people asked if we would accept an NIT bid before the season? Ugh!

  7. symphonist41169
    10:45 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Sorry for all the typos…

  8. BBN
    10:47 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    #2: I agree. Basketball season is over as far as I’m concerned. Who gives a rat’s ass about the NIT?? This season was a failure and Cal is 100% responsible for piss poor recruiting last year and misjudging Ryan Harrow & Alex Poythress. No excuse not to recruit 2-3 more high 3-star or low 4-star guys to push the starters for time in the rotation.

  9. banarama
    10:47 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    1. tell sunnycat that, he keeps insisting that’s not the case. I think i’ll take Oscar’s word over his.

    10:51 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    He get’s it. One way or another these kids are going to learn that only playing to win is acceptable if they expect a team to pay them millions to play basketball.

  11. true fan
    10:52 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    damn y’all some b*tches ! did we have a bad year, yes. did i want it to go much better, yes, did i think it would be much better, yes, am i ready to scrap it all and find another team to cheer for. … NO. I’m angry, but some of you really need to get a grip

  12. RICK
    10:53 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    #5, Wrong, How soon we forget, final 8 , final 4, natl chmps, and down a year. I will take it like that. You will change your tune next year when we make the final 4 again. Cal dont change a thing about the way you recurit and let the cry babies cry.

  13. Pacman
    10:57 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Maybe IF we can beat Robert Morris UK should offer free tickets to fans to make up for the debacle that was called an SEC Tournament. The lesson learned from this year is always decline the NIT bid whether you think you will qualify or not. This is more embarrassing than losing to UT by 30

  14. Eric K
    11:00 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    IN CAL WE TRUST!! There is NOT another coach in the land better to run the BBN!! #12 thank you!! GO CATS!!

  15. beanie weanies for breakfast
    11:01 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    If I were only basing the decision to accept or decline the NIT on Poythress, Harrow and Goodwin, I would decline without hesitation. But Mays, WCS, Polson and others shouldn’t be punished for the laziness, cowardice and me-me attitudes of those three. So we had to accept regardless of previous commitments to the NIT.

  16. klassact32
    11:05 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Have never been a fan of Cal and never will be. I don’t care how many National Championships he hangs from the raptors. Only Coach I dislike more than Cal is Slick Rick. They both think they are bigger than the program and NO ONE is bigger than UK basketball.

  17. Truth
    11:05 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    8) I totally agree about Cal’s recruiting blunders this season. I feel he settled for people this yr. We dont settle at UK, we are the standard bearer..I mean there was a reason Cal didn’t try to get Harrow out of HS ( Brandon Knight was better, was physically/mentally tough and fit the system better). I questioned the decision when Harrow transferred, I knew we were screwed. He was too weak and couldnt lead our team. I think Cal bought into the Poythress hype because Coach K wanted him so bad, because word around recruiting circles is that Alex has always been lazy. But you live and you learn, next year will be different. Cal needs to get guys that fit his system (big PGs that can handle the pressure, a mobile big man, shot blocking PF that can stretch the defense by shooting the jumper,, smooth SG, and a bruisingSF. all coachable and a will to win). Cal doesn’t need to target guys because everybody wants them, get the guys that will work their asses off for the team! That’s why we were so successful his first 3 yrs, yes we had #1 recruiting classes but those guys loved this program and represented us well.

  18. [email protected]
    11:08 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    @5 I’ve never heard Cal say, this guy is a one and done. I’ve heard lots of fans and media people say that about many players. I heard Cal say his team was over rated at the beginning of the season. I’m not sure it’s Cal who needs humbling. I think it’s fans who assume that every great high school talent is going to make the transition to college and the NBA in one year. It just isn’t going to always happen. It doesn’t mean they weren’t good high school prospects, it just means they aren’t “one and done” players. I’d like to see several of these guys come back and be challenged more in practice and be a better challenge for the new players. And be willing to put in hard work. Even if it means they may be 3 year players…I think that would be better for them and the program. Sacrificing PT for depth and a chance to show you can be a winner.

  19. straddleavarious
    11:08 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Man, the troll juice is flowing today. I guess it’s gonna be that way for a while.
    Go Cal, Go Cats!

  20. Team Name
    11:09 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    The name for this years team…. “The Stray Cats”. They aren’t any good once they get away from home.

  21. Eric K
    11:11 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Sounds like Lance knows what he is talking about. Loserville will NOT win the ship! GO CATS!!

  22. NEWMAN
    11:14 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    @17 Tell us how Cal “settled” for a #1 recruiting class.

  23. Crean de Coocoo
    11:14 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t care who wins as long as it’s not Indiana. They need to be the first one seed to lose to a sixteen. Make a shirt for that!!!

  24. Duffus
    11:14 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    “STOOPS TROOPS AND AIR RAID” NUFF SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. catcrawler
    11:15 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    I ABSOLUTELY agree with Cal. I spent way too much $ in Nashville, only to see 2 decent games of basketball all wknd.

  26. Still Blue
    11:17 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Cal is a salesman, when he speaks it’s like a preacher telling the story, and people will listen. That being said, this is still KENTUCKY BASKETBALL. I am as ready as anyone to see what football brings, but our season here is not over. We are in the NIT. Some are ashamed of it, some dont care about it, some think it is a huge dissapointment. At the end of the day, these are 18 year old kids that are out there playing for our pleasure. A lot of fans will bad mouth this team, and still end up watching the game, then celebrating if we win. We may not have had the dream season we wanted, but we should still support our team. It does no good to have our rivals amped up against us for “their superbowl” while we roll over upset. We are BIG BLUE NATION! Yes we are spoliled with wins, traditions, once in a lifetime players, championships and pride, but every once in a while someone overcooks a great steak. Take this season for what it is, but please still support your team. We will get back on track at some point and Lexington will shake again due to our cheers. Go big blue!

  27. Duffus
    11:19 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    And yes since the NCAA now controls the NIT the schools were offered a chance to opp out before the season otherwise they have to accept! I’ve seen Southern Miss hope we don’t have to play them. A team that plays as we should “ALL HEART”!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Flippy23
    11:22 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    I am physically ill even reading this crap…….I’m sure Andrew Wiggins is getting jazzed thinking about the prospects of an NIT game with the likes of a Robert Morris next year

  29. Hold on
    11:25 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    #5 you say “we’ll have this same situation every year”? Really? We essentially have been depending on Freshmen since Cal came to UK. We’re you dissing the results last year?

    #8 so Cal misjudged Poythress? Yeah, he was like Aminu timberlake and Carlos Toomer were for Pitino. Unheralded, unrated prospects. Except he wasn’t. He was a McD’s AA, and was offered by other schools including FL. Cal didn’t misjudge AP. At worst, AP underachieved and just doesn’t have the mentality for the UK spotlight. At best, he simply needs more time to mature. I can name 2 dozen UK Freshmen that did not contribute until their 2nd, 3rd year. So you are excited to have Derek Willis? What if we run out of schollies and can’t sign Wiggins because Willis is signed. You will be the first to complain that a schollie was wasted on a 3 star.

  30. Jcinptown
    11:26 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    They should have put Murray State in as the 8 seed and had Kentucky play them at Murray.

  31. Hold on
    11:27 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    #22 thank you. Was thinking the same thing

  32. symphonist41169
    11:32 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    12 & 18 – The difference in the 3 previous years was the presence of experienced upperclassmen who stayed around 2-4 years, e.g. Patterson, Harrelson, Liggins, Miller. DEFINITELY go after the 5-stars but mix in some 3- 4-stars for continuity. Cal reads the recruiting services’ ranking of HS players the same as the rest of us & undoubtedly knows more than the rest of us. No, he’s never SAID “this one is one and done” or “that one is a one and done” but it’s a pretty good assumption if a HS senior is ranked in the top 15-20 in the overall class he’s going to grab the cash after one year in college if it’s offered, JUST LIKE THE REST OF US WOULD. Being a top-ranked recruit out of HS doesn’t guarantee they’ll be ready for the NBA after their freshman year in college, no; but it’s not too much to expect to see some staek with all the sizzle, and WCS was the only one of the hyped recruiting class that showed any steak. Harrow was a bust, no doubt. But Cal jumped on the chance to get him because he had to know in his heart that Brandon Knight was 95% sure to take the NBA cash after one year.

  33. BBN#1
    11:36 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    guys this season had to be expected im sure cal planned on having atleast teague back pair teague with noel and its back to lob city in lexington

  34. westkyukfan
    11:40 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    You people are nuts. During the Tubby and BG era all you complained about was not getting top recruits. Now, all you want to complain about is we get too many of them. I haven’t heard anyone complain the past 3 years. Everyone is entitled to a bad season. GEEEEZZ! You must take the bad with the good. That separates bandwagon fans from true blue fans.

  35. Clarification
    11:42 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Never said he settled for a #1 recruiting class, I do believe that Poythress was a back up plan for Bennett, Goodwin was a back up for Bazz. He settled for Harrow, instead of going out and getting a PG that he could develop. Nerlens and Willie were great, played with heart and effort. I’m just stating facts. A number #1 class is based on potential, what people think we would be but Cal settled for guys that had a couple of issues with effort and attitude. Yes they were top 15 guys but the truth is truth. If there are red flags, someone needs to pay attention thats all im saying, No need for BBN to go at each other. We will get better and I’m sure guys will be evaluated better in the future to ensure they can handle the spotlight. Cal said “UK isn’t for everyone” and this season is proof.

  36. McKayla
    11:44 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Coach Cal is not impressed.

  37. Cat84
    11:47 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    #29 Well said.

  38. LizenUP
    11:51 am March 18, 2013 Permalink

    #17 is somewhat correct.

    All rankings- That’s what recruiting turned into for Cal and his assistants. In order to continue landing the illustrious top recruiting class we recruited numbers/rankings and not players/people.

    Look, I love this staff and appreciate the devotion and hard work they exhibit but I also believe last off season was ill motivated. We took and did whatever to maintain the top recruiting class according to rankings. More often than not this strategy will work but there are exceptions….and this year was one.
    Just make sure the pieces fit and player’s goals aren’t just “this player first.”

  39. Dinosaurs
    12:00 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    #16 – We’re getting raptors in Rupp? That is AWESOME!! Please tell me a T-Rex is coming next.

  40. Peoplewhowork
    12:16 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Kinda humerous to see all the bandwagon jumpers , jumping ship. Cal didn’t get all the players he wanted. McGary, Benney, Muhammad, anyone remember them? We essentially came into this season with a gaping hole at PF. Cal is the best recruiter in the nation, this year the mix didn’t work out for him last year it was a national championship. To those who say recruit some lesser talent to stick around a few years, Look closely at our roster those players are there. Paulson was a walkon but, he dug us out of a few holes. Hood has been struggling to get back after injury. Wiltjer is not a freshman, neither was Harrow. We lacked a strong leader, no MKG, no Miller, Patterson, Jones, Lamb.

  41. WTF Happened
    12:16 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    The NIT means nothing and the players will play like it means nothing and we will lose within a week.
    What happens next? Does Harrow transfer? Cause he ain’t playing here again! Goodwin and Poythres do they declare? Who the hell would draft them! I don’t want either one back. We got a #1 class coming in maybe the best in history we don’t want any cancer coming back! BTW these players party too much and drink too much. Stein drunk running around a party with his shirt off like a idiot! Cal needs to get a better grip on these boys…previous years we can get away with it…these clowns were too immature!
    Noel and Stein can make it but Noel has the knee issue and Stein is raw….I hope both of them come back but doubt it.
    Cat fans, I’m confident Cal will get it right! He always has! Support these boys until the final horn and Cal please get Wiggins!

  42. RealCatsFan
    12:18 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    #16, Raptors? Like these?


  43. Peoplewhowork
    12:20 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Regarding the 1 and done rule. Sure the rules state they can go to the NBA. They will make millions of dollars to start. Let’s say they do go to the NBA, what they showed this year will have them sent directly to the D-League. In the D-League they will get owned some more and in three years their rookie contract expires and so would their basketball career. Another option is to stay in college, continue to play against players your age range. At UK you practice against the best in that range every year. WCS would benefit greatly from that move as his draft stock is going to sky rocket after one good season.

  44. Guy Jones
    12:22 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    I have watched these so called BBN fans bash this group of young men as long as I can with out speaking up! These are boys playing against the most part men! They are freshmen for Gods sake! Last year was a fluke or miracle! We got exactly what we earned! This has nothing to do with the coaches, AD, selection committee, Robert Morris or the NIT. This is a basketball team maybe a great Freshman team! GROW UP all you crybabies and get a life! We get to watch these kids a few more times! Some maybe next year! S++t happens! Cheer for Tn, Duke, Indiana, NC etc! These kids do not need this!
    Guy Jones

  45. haters
    12:23 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    8/17) Do you both not realize where this program was when Coach Cal took it over? You both need to understand that this was a down recruiting class, which is also why college basketball as a whole is down. Cal got the best recruits in the class and he will continue to. In case you forgot Cal help turn our program back into the gold standard that you speak of. An NIT season after Elite 8, final 4, and a national championship, i will live with. Maybe you are new fans, but do you not remember the state our program was in? Go cry somewhere else and show some respect to a coach that brought #8.

  46. This season is on Cal!
    12:29 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Cal should shut his pie hole and clean up the mess he made! Start the healing process by winning some games in the NIT and DO NOT renew Harrow’s scholarship.

  47. rgc
    12:30 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    I agree with 5 Cal needs to recruit some lower recruits who will stay atleast 3 years you see teams like Butler and other schools get them all the time. Maybe that is why he is going after Hawkins know.

  48. barn
    12:34 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    16–you need to take off your blinders. coach cal has grown uk basketball & bbn bigger than ever. i’ve never seen a coach at any sport promote their program the way he does. i hope he stays here for many years

  49. barn
    12:39 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    17**why didn’t you advise us of these players shortcomings while they were still in the recruiting process? whenever you have such insider intel why keep it to yourself. why don’t you give us a critique on our recent commits and the ones still being recruited?

  50. mike
    1:03 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Its so funny to listen to some, like # 17, what I just cant figure why your not making millions coaching, anyone could see you be alot better at it then Cal.

  51. Haha
    1:26 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    17 is Bruce Pearl…

  52. MikeD40
    1:31 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    This team was a group of ‘entitled’ mama’s boys, yes. But, lets remember that Cal has done absolutely remarkable things here at UK and will continue to do them. Next year we’ll have enough players that the soft guys can sit the bench. In 2 years, how many lbs. has Ryan Harrow put on in the weight room in preparation? Nerlens was the only deserving kid, worked his tail off.

  53. 24 fan
    4:33 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    I vote for hiring Chloe from the TV series 24 to operate the scoreboard during the NIT tournament.

  54. 24 fan
    4:34 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    Jack Bauer for point guard.

    4:54 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    My take from all of this is that Cal is a liar. He didn’t have a choice with this NIT Bid. He must think BBN are unsophisticated as a fan base. I don’t like how he basks in the glory of last year when EVERYTHING went right. This year? Calling out players after losses. Here’s an idea.. hire a shooting coach. These kids didn’t get better as the season went on. They are the SAME players as when they stepped on the court for Midnight Madness. Gillespie pulled the same crap with Harrellson. We CAN get a better leader of our men if you’re not up to the job, Cal. We should expect more from our coaches. Do you think Roy Williams, Coach K, Slick Ricky Pitino, Boeheim or Billy Donovan would do the same? We are a GREAT basketball school. Should we expect to hear this from our Coach after a loss in the SEC Tournament:

    “I don’t want to take anything away from Vandy. They played great. We laid an egg. We had one guy go 2-for-15 and miss 12 layups.”

    You know what, Cal? He was 2-13 in the first half and you ran him back out there for the 2nd half. Kid bleeds blue — do you think he was trying to miss those 12 layups? How about saying something like, ” you know Ryan had a tough game and we kinda feed off of him. He’s a great kid and the ball didn’t bounce his way. He’ll grow from an experience like this”

    or how about: “I shouldn’t have switched out of the zone after Vandy took a timeout after our 10-0 run in the 2nd half. We were on a roll defensively- maybe we come all the way back if we stay in that zone. Thats MY fault.”

    5:04 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    let me add — I’m TOTALLY against bashing and throwing these kids under the bus. 100% that is wrong. Last year was unique because we had experienced kids and glue guys to help the team develop. This year, not so much — and the team didn’t get better. I just feel the staff could’ve done better and Cal is piling on by selling the fact that he couldn’t do anything with this team but wait til next year when we bring in the #1 class. That was said about this year’s class and see where it got us — we are a #1 seed, just that its in the NIT.

  57. Robro
    5:04 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    There was no one there to challenge Poythris and Goodwin this year..Imagine what practice could be next year if they are back..
    Harrison Harrow
    Harrison Young
    Goodwin Wiltjer
    Randle Poythris
    Johnson Lee
    Polson, Hood,Willis

    5:11 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    right, Robro… thats great competition. The team will be better next year because of more choices in the rotation but who will these kids lean on when the bounces don’t go their way? Do you think Darius Miller would’ve let this year happen?? who is the 2013-2014 version of Miller on the roster? Wiltjer? Goodwin? Please.. and our coach just publicly kneecapped our PG after the Vandy loss.

  59. Robro
    5:34 pm March 18, 2013 Permalink

    I think it will come down to the twins, although they are freshman, they have been rolling a ball to each other since the days in the crib..they trust each other and have the skills to make it happen. Randle gives us that aggressive power inside and will make everyone(AP,KW,Lee) step their game up or sit and watch.