Now, the offseason. And while there may not be any more games to played, there is always excitement surrounding the Kentucky basketball program, whether it’s which freshmen (or juniors) will declare for the NBA before they’re ready, which player will be implicated in a New York Times story, or which NBA job John Calipari will actively seek this summer. To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Sneaky Snake: UK forward Terrence Jones will not try out for the USA Basketball team that plays in the Under 19 World Championship this summer. Rather, he has decided to attend summer school at UK. Given the timing of the announcement, which was made immediately before Memorial Day and the 67th anniversary of D-Day, this decision by Jones is an insult to those brave men and women who fought and died for this country. That being said, the real question here is whether Jones made this decision willingly, or whether coach John Calipari coerced him into going to school this summer. Lest anyone forgets, Coach Cal gets a $50,000 bonus related to the team’s academic progress. In other words, by forcing Jones to turn his back on his country, Calipari stands to become a very rich man. By comparison, UConn coach Jim Calhoun has no such academic incentives in his contract. Why? Because he loves America.
*One of The Mysteries of Life: It was recently announced that former UK player Derrick Jasper has joined Billy Gillispie’s staff at Texas Tech. The most common reaction to hearing this news was shock. Put simply, UK fans can’t understand why John Calipari is the only UK coach who hasn’t hired one of his former Kentucky players as an assistant. Gillispie hired Jasper. Tubby Smith hired Saul Smith at Minnesota. Eddie Sutton hired Sean Sutton at Oklahoma State. Pitino has hired roughly 62 former UK players on his staff at Louisville. Yet, despite having been in Lexington for over two years now, and seeing 13 players leave his program, not a one of them has returned to become an assistant coach. Sure, he has hired a few former UK players, but he has to settle for guys who played for other coaches at UK. Why is this? Do Cal and his players not get along? Is this why so many of them leave school to play professionally at the earliest opportunity? Frankly, it seems almost impossible to draw any other conclusion. You don’t see this many players flocking to the NBA at any other school.
*Homecoming: Last weekend, incoming point guard Marquis Teague got got booed during introductions of the Indiana Seniors vs. Juniors All-Star game. The game was contested in front of a crowd that consisted almost solely of Indiana University fans, who were none too pleased to have to watch Teague play. Indiana is well known to be the capital of American basketball, and it was obvious that the Hoosier partisans simply refuse to tolerate sub-par basketball, even if it’s being played by a local kid who they would otherwise cheer for. IU backers, still basking in the afterglow of their 1987 national championship, are somewhat elitists when it comes to the sport, and they cannot stand to watch the game being played at anything other than the highest level. In fairness, after watching last year’s Tom Crean-led juggernaut rack up 3 conference wins, you can’t really blame them. There’s also the Kentucky angle, of course. Teague is bound for Lexington, and it just may be that IU fans are feeling a little cocky after beating the Big Blue that one time in like 2005.
* On This Date: On this date in 2006, ex-Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson probably made a bunch of illegal phone calls.