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Calipari: “We walk” if a recruitment seems shady

John Calipari was in rare form today at SEC Basketball Media Day. In the wake of the corruption scandal embroiling the sport, Calipari was asked how he responds when he feels a recruit wants more than to just play for the University of Kentucky.

We walk. We walk. We just walk. We’re out. I’m not going to deal with it. I think we when we walk in, we make it clear how we do this and what we do and don’t do so it never comes up. Here’s what I would say: if my staff is uncomfortable with what it is, there are other kids. We’re gonna walk.

“I’ll say this to you guys. It’s not always guys asking for something or insinuating something. It could be this: a kid disrespects his mother or grandmother. I walk out immediately because if he’s disrespectful in that way, how is he ever going to respect me or our institution or the people that we all work for? He’s not going to have that kind of respect. If I see a kid that doesn’t even think about making anybody better and my staff will come back and give me all his stats, we walk.

“So, the thing that Kentucky is not for everyone, we do not get everyone that we start recruiting. Some of them, we walk away from. Some of them, they walk away from us and it’s — you’re not promised anything.”

From there, he launched into his solutions for the sport should the one-and-done rule go away, namely, the league paying for eight semesters of college education for players who go straight to the league and don’t make it in the G-League. You can read more about that here:

Calipari shares his solution for the future of college basketball

TJ Walker will be by in a bit with more.

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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.

16 Comments for Calipari: “We walk” if a recruitment seems shady



  1. KYFAN4LYFE
    1:38 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

    I’ve said it for years….Cal doesn’t really “miss” on most of the recruits that go elsewhere. His statement here proves that point.



  2. Kernel Sanders
    1:53 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

    Granted, I don’t have the full context of all Cal was saying about players going straight to the NBA if the one and done rule is abolished. And I’m all for what is in the best interest of the kid. But I’m not sure that 8 semesters of college should be paid for if the kid declares and doesn’t make it. Why wouldn’t every 4 and 5 star recruit skip college, go to the draft and give it a shot of there is no downside (I.e. Knowing you will have 8 semesters paid for if you fail). I don’t think there’s any way the NBA would ever agree to this.



    • ukcamel
      2:06 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

      I’m not sure, but I think the NBA would only be making the “straight to the NBA” route for certain players.

      Also the downside is that you would spend 2-3 years flaming out of the NBA, and then spend 4 years in college getting a degree, instead of 3-4 years in college preparing to play in the NBA and getting your degree at the same time. Not to mention college is less fun when you are older and not a stud athlete at the school. College would also be harder because you wouldn’t have been used to taking classes.

      In any event, no one should be held hostage in school. It isn’t for everyone, basketball or no basketball.



    • KatsKlaws
      2:33 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

      Exactly, it sounds as if Calipari is trying to turn it into a no lose situation, and that just isn’t how life works. There are consequences for the decisions that you make. I applaud that he is suggesting some sort of safety net, but you can’t catch everyone when they fall.



  3. davis2319
    2:26 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

    It’s an interesting topic. Cal is right, if you look back on recruiting over the years every prospect that turned out to be sketchy or even had the smallest rumor attached to them we have not landed and that is not a coincidence. The guys we have gotten do not have any kind of sketchy past. Shabazz Muhammad, Mo Bamba, and even now Zion Williamson. Sure, there have been some people not pick Kentucky and their record is clean, but some who haven’t we probably hit the breaks on the recruitment and got out of there. Just hope we never do get in any trouble would be heart breaking. Can’t imagine what the fans of these other schools are going through.



    • Kernel Sanders
      2:39 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

      You can’t imagine what the fans of these schools are going through? Unfortunately I can. Maybe you weren’t around for the Eddie Sutton Kentucky shame debacle. Heart breaking is a good description.



    • davis2319
      2:48 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

      I wasn’t born yet haha. But exactly. Some people in our fan base can sympathize with the other fans and what they are going through



  4. UKinIN
    3:34 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

    The only problem with Cal’s statements is that Matt has made it clear that UK wanted Williamson until he committed to Duke and yesterday KSR had a post that said there were rumors that Williamson had his hand out during recruiting. Which story am I supposed to believe?



    • DelrayCat
      4:09 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

      Sometimes it is all about optics. Cal wants to be seen in the mix for every superstar talent. If they turn shady, maybe he still recruits them, just not as “heavily” (with packages of cash).



  5. CatstopWontstop
    3:55 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

    When you finished 1 or 2 in recruiting classes every year, I think it’s a bad idea to continue to cheer other “blue blood” programs that also land large amounts of top recruits when they are found to have been dirty.

    It seems to me if Duke, Kansas, Carolina, Louisville, Arizona, etc are dirty, it becomes more impossible to believe Kentucky isn’t in that boat as well.



    • DelrayCat
      4:06 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

      Not every parent or guardian of a top recruit has their hand out looking for something. Cal focuses on quality kids from quality families. Sure, some stuff isn’t caught. Maybe Bam’s family did take a little payout well before he committed to UK. Hopefully not, nor will it ever be proven. But with some coaches/programs… they are using flagrant cheating as a tool and tactic to recruit…big difference than what Cal does imo.



    • timbo
      4:33 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

      This. Most of them are smart enough to know that the legal/smart/real payday is often less than 365 days away. Only the ones who: a) aren’t wise enough to see that whole picture, or b) are just plain shady (of terrible character)are the ones we hear about. You know, Malik Newman, Ben Simmons, Andrew Wiggins…not that they absolutely do or do not fall into this category; but those are three examples that come to my mind where it felt like Cal started “to walk”…



    • Papaw
      4:28 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

      Just have to look at the quality of kids Cal gets to know he’s being honest about his recruiting practices. VERY rarely does he have a kid come in that has a head problem or gets into trouble off court.



    • 4everUKblue
      5:14 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

      Cal has been under the microscope for decades now, not to mention they’ve always been after UK. If he even thought about cheating we would be front page news before anyone else and Cal is a very smart man. Does anyone not think he knows this? And like Pawpaw said just look at the quality of his recruits, that says it all for me.



    • 4everUKblue
      5:35 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

      It’s obvious they are after Cal, hell they punished him even thought there was nothing connecting him directly. What’s gone unpunished since then is far worse and plenty of evidence all around.



  6. timbo
    4:34 pm October 17, 2018 Permalink

    Or never really went after hard in the first place