We’re still a few months from the start of the season, but there is always something going on with the Kentucky basketball program. Whether it’s meaningless exhibitions, trying to figure out how to replace one group of freshmen with another group of freshmen, or Coach John Calipari walking away from his job in order to be the coach of a national team of a country he’s not even from, something is always going on. To stay apprised and educated, you’d be well-advised to follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Friend or Foe: in discussing the upcoming game pitting former Kentucky players against John Calipari’s Dominican Republic squad, ex-Cat DeMarcus Cousins said that he “can’t wait to talk trash” to Calipari. This proclamation by Cousins flies in the face of public statements made by Calipari concerning their relationship, which he has always suggested was a friendly one. Obviously, one would assume that if the two got along, then Cousins wouldn’t feel the need to “talk trash” to his former coach. Generally speaking, players don’t talk trash to someone they like. Case in point: Cousins also boasted that he was planning on “talking trash” to Dominican team member Francisco Garcia, who just happened to play his college ball at the University of Louisville, which just happens to be the hated rival of Kentucky, which just happens to be the alma mater of (you guessed it) DeMarcus Cousins. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Cousins receive another technical foul for taking an unprovoked cheap shot at a member of the other team, just like he did the last time he played against Louisville.
*Hard Knock Life: Though it’s hard to fathom, it appears that support for John Calipari among the Big Blue Faithful is beginning to waiver. A poll has revealed that 100% of UK fans will be vociferously rooting against Calipari when he takes the floor for his next game in Rupp Arena on August 15. When asked if they hoped Calipari’s Dominican Republic team would lose that game, all 3 UK fans I called said “yes.” This seems hard to believe, given that Cal coached the Cats to the Final Four just 4 short months ago, but apparently the loss to UConn didn’t sit well with Big Blue Nation. And in an apparent attempt to win public favor, Calipari went as far as to hire beloved ex-UK coach Joe B. Hall to be an assistant for the Dominicans. However, a source has informed me that Hall, in an apparent attempt to avoid the derision that UK fans will be directing toward Team Cal, may be planning to defect to the other team once the game starts. This is definitely a situation that bears watching.
*99 Problems: In what can only be seen as a last-ditch effort to get Kentucky fans back on his side, Calipari has asked former Louisville coach Denny Crum to help coach the the team of ex-UK players against Cal’s Dominican squad in the games taking place on August 15 and 16. Calipari’s logic is apparently that since UK fans rooted against Crum longer and more fervently than almost any other coach in college basketball, they would continue to root against him for these games, and thus have no choice but to pull for Cal’s team. Louisville fans are understandably incensed that their former coach would dare associate with the rival of their beloved Cards. If Crum has a change of heart, which is still possible, who would Calipari turn to next? Bobby Knight? Dale Brown? Bruce Pearl? The pick here is Rick Pitino, and the reasoning for this is twofold. #1, UK fans would definitely root against Pitino, and #2, there’s no chance that Pitino will pull out.
* On this date: On this date in 2007, Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie probably pissed off a bunch of UK boosters.