Here is a good tidbit for the fans out there. If you want to make sure that news happens, wait for the days of the week I am in Middlesboro, as news will always break. Calipari was hired, Wall committed and Bledsoe signed the dotted line, all on Middlesboro days. Yesterday was no different as we had an amazing array of news for one random Tuesday. UK narrowed its roster, Tipton committed a boo-boo, Clyde’s house hit the market and the internet was abuzz with the sounds of UK basketball. However the most interesting story to me was probably the interviews with Landon Slone. Slone has decided to go play elsewhere next year and after the decision was announced, did a number of interviews with local media outlets. While he expressed his gratitude for playing at Kentucky and mentioned his love of the school, the only thing focused upon where his other comments about Calipari.
In all of Slone’s interviews, he mentioned that he had wanted to meet with Calipari and was never able to do so face to face. That obviously bothered Slone who said that he couldnt understand why there hadnt been “five minutes” to have the conversation with him in person. Immediately the internet was set ablaze with people debating the pros and cons of Slone and a lot of folks saying some pretty terrible things on both sides of the aisle. Slone meanwhile generally took the high road, saying that no matter what, he was still a UK fan and that even though Gillispie had offered him a scholarship for next year (awww Clyde, you are so bizarre), he had no hard feelings toward the new coach.
I must say that in some ways, I dont understand why this is a debate. Lets be clear….Calipari should have met with Slone. Landon was a player on the UK roster and no matter what his place for next year, he deserved to have the coach tell him and help him find a landing space. Walk-ons are a big part of UK tradition and history and Cal should have taken the time to make that clear to Landon. Fans who suggest that Calipari was “too busy” to make it happen or that he “didnt have any obligation to do so” miss the point and are simply taking up for their coach on EVERY issue despite any evidence to the contrary.. Calipari has made time for everyone in the Bluegrass since he has been here and Slone should have been no different.
Having said that though, Calipari handled the situation after the fact very well. He did something that VERY FEW coaches would ever do publically….accepted responsibility and apologized. Via his Twitter account, he acknowledged that he should have met with Slone and he said that his disorganization was to blame. I believe him on that account and I am told that the situation is to be remedied this week. We all screw up in life and Calipari has amazingly seemed to make no mistakes in his first few weeks on the job. The fact that he did here shows he is human, but what was much more impressive to me is that he acknowledged the mistake and then moved to rectify it. That is all we can ask.
Coach Calipari is the perfect Coach for UK, but he isnt infallible. He makes mistakes and this one with Slone is an example. As fans of Cal, one shouldnt just act like everything he does is right simply because he does it….it is that type of thinking that led many to ignore all problems with Clyde. But critics of the coach should also give the guy a break….the Tiptons of the world waiting for the man to screw up should also take a step back. When confronted with a mistake, Calipari acknowledged it and rectified the problem. To me that is the perfect resolution to an unfortunate situation.