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Tucker Max recaps his second year at the John Calipari Fantasy Camp

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Tucker Max attended The John Calipari Fantasy Camp for the second year in a row, and has been kind enough to document his experience for KSR. If you don’t know who Tucker is, he authored the very popular book “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell,” which became a New York Times #1 bestseller and was made into a feature film. His other books include “Assholes Finish First” (2010) and “Hilarity Ensues” (2012) and “Sloppy Seconds: The Tucker Max Leftovers.” If you couldn’t guess by those titles, he mainly chronicles his party-hardy lifestyle and romantic encounters, which he also posts on his website Give him a hearty KSR welcome.

Last year, I attended the inaugural John Calipari Fantasy Camp. You can read my whole post on KSR from last year here, but it’s pretty long, so I’ll sum it up:

1. I had an amazing time.
2. I’m a real UK fan, so I came just for the experience. But there were a ton of people there–about half–who weren’t UK fans, but instead came because they go to a half-dozen fantasy camps every year and only cared about the basketball.
3. I initially assumed those guys would be super losers, because who goes to multiple fantasy camps a year to play pretend basketball, except men who are lamely trying to relive their glory days, right?
4. I realized that the guys were actually really cool and became great friends with most of them, and in the process of painfully losing in the semi-finals, I found out the reason these guys go to the camps: Because the basketball is really just a device for the guys to compete together and form the kind of bonds that can only come from shared sacrifice.
5. As a result of this, I joined what I call “The League of Professional Fantasy Campers” and ended up going to two other fantasy camps this year (the Bill Self/Kansas camp and the Team USA camp in Vegas).

Of course, after loving last year so much, this year I returned to the 2nd Annual John Calipari Fantasy Camp. And of course, it was awesome again. During the camp, Matt Jones asked me to write another post for KSR about my experience this year, especially now after I had other fantasy camps under my belt. I promise I’ll do my best to make this post shorter than the novella I wrote last year:

1. People took my advice: The first thing that shocked me was the huge increase in real UK fans here. Last year, I’d say about 40% of the people at the camp were real UK fans doing their first ever camp like me, and the rest were the Professional Fantasy Campers. This year, that ratio flipped, and like 60% of the campers were real UK fans doing their first camp. A big number of those guys told me that that they did this camp in part based on what I wrote last year on KSR. This kinda blew me away–who listens to me for advice??? In all seriousness, it was really cool having more of the real UK fans there, because so much of what we do at this camp is predicated on the fact that you love UK basketball.

I’ll say this again: The camp is not by any means something you must do at all costs, but if you can afford it, you really should try to make it at least one time. The things you see, the people you talk to, the experiences you get to have are all without precident. To get these sorts of things, you pretty much have to work in the UK Athletics department, be a player, or be a ridiculous donor like Joe Craft (I think Tyler did a good job covering a lot of that in her posts this year).

For example: before the alumni game, I spent 20 minutes hanging out in the new (and amazing) Rupp Arena locker room with the former UK players. Seriously; just sitting around BSing with Anthony Davis, Brandon Knight, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Boogie, Bledsoe, etc. Where or how else could I ever get that chance? Not to mention Cal and the staff are basically friends of mine now (every one who goes to the camp, not just me). Robic likes me so much, he even makes fun of me every time he sees me (he only mocks the people he loves, just ask Matt Jones). Last year, Cal promised all of us who came to the inaugural camp that if we ever came back to a game, he’d give us tickets. I took him up on that last year, and he gave me 2nd row seats from his personal allotment for the Baylor game. Can you believe that? It blew me away.

Like I said, the camp is not cheap, but it’s a true experience and very much worth it for any UK fan.

2. How the UK camp compares to all the other camps: After last year, I said I might start going to camps at other schools. And I have–this year I went to the Bill Self Fantasy Camp in Kansas, and the Team USA Olympic Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas. I had a really good time at both camps, but UK’s camp is way better. Cal really goes out of his way to make sure we have so many cool experiences and things like the Alumni game and the auction and stuff like that. I won’t go on and on here comparing camps because 99% of people don’t care, but if you are really thinking about going to other camps, just email me, I’ll point you in the right direction ([email protected]).

3. They politely told me I suck: This year I won the “Most Improved Camper” Award. Which I very much appreciated, but I also laughed at, because thats the nicest way possible of telling someone they kinda suck at basketball. Which I do. So it was very fair and appropriate.


4. Playing in Rupp got no easier: This year, my team got to the finals (and lost), and though I had played decent when we were in the Craft Center on Saturday and Sunday, I played like a turd AGAIN in Rupp on Monday. That places makes me so nervous, what little skill I do have goes straight out the window. It just makes me all the more appreciative of the guys who can perform with 24,000 there to watch them.

5. John Calipari has fundamentally changed the culture of UK basketball for the better: I talked about this a little in last years post, but I want to discuss this issue more, because its something that I think is very important, and something I think a lot of UK fans need to hear:

John Calipari is not just winning basketball games. He’s not even just changing the lives of his players. I think Calipari is actually changing the culture of basketball at UK (and indirectly, the entire state of Kentucky).

I grew up in Lexington, my grandfather had five lower arena season tickets, I have plenty of experience as a UK Fan. And I say this not because it’s pleasant, but only because it is the truth: Kentucky basketball used to be a culture of exclusion. Whether it was Rupp refusing to coach black players, or the UK boosters refusing to let new people get season tickets, the UK basketball was an exclusive club that permitted very few outsiders and no real change. The culture of UK basketball more often than not didn’t even extend to the former players.

Calipari has completely reversed this. He’s turned Kentucky basketball into a culture of INclusion. Since Calipari came on board, how many UK players have you heard say that he personally reached out to them, made them feel welcome and asked them to come back and get involved in Kentucky basketball again in any capacity that they wanted? Dozens of them, right?

And you know what every single one of them said–no one had EVER done this before. NO ONE at Kentucky had ever expressed one lick of care about them the minute their college basketball careers were over.

I want you to stop and think about that for a second. No one EVER reached out to them for any reason, good or bad. No thank you, no follow-up, no support, no care, nothing.

How terrible is that—that someone like Kenny Walker for example, who gave UK amazing years of incredible effort, who played his heart out for us–when he left, the school acted like he didn’t matter anymore. Like he wasn’t relevant, because he no longer had a Kentucky uniform on, so he couldn’t do anything for them, they dropped him.

How would you feel if that were you? I bet a lot of you have jobs where your bosses or companies make you feel that way. That you don’t don’t matter as a person, that the only thing about you that matters begins and ends with how you benefit them. How does that make you feel? Terrible right?

Well that’s what UK used to do to it’s players, and I know how the former UK players felt about it, because I’ve heard numerous ones say it to me: They felt used, cast away, sad, and resentful. I don’t blame them, because I would have felt the exact same way had it been me.

When you give your effort and sweat and work and love to an institution like UK, all you really want back is recognition and appreciation. Not just from individual fans, but from the institution as a whole. It’s not even about money; this is college sports, so there is no money involved for the players (if this were the NBA, this might be a different discussion). It’s about letting them know that they mean something to us beyond just what they do on the court when they are eligible, that they’re real human beings who matter. That’s not much to ask. You want the same thing at work, don’t you? Players are no different.

UK never did that, and that’s awful and shameful and disturbing, and to be honest, things like that sometimes made made it hard to be a UK fan. How do you root for an institution that doesn’t care about the people who make it up? What matters more than actual PEOPLE? Nothing. To put an institution or an abstract name above actual human beings is terrible on every level, and that’s what the UK basketball apparatus did, from the top down to the bottom. The culture of UK basketball has in the past been ONLY about the success of UK basketball. There was no family. No connection beyond what the player could do for UK right then.

Calipari has completely flipped that around. It’s not just a players first program if you’re his guy. It’s a players first program if you EVER played here. Calipari wants to mend the wounds of the past, to take the guys who felt discarded (you know the names, they are famous) and bring them back into the fold, to include them where they were excluded. He wants to build a community around a shared experience and love of UK basketball. To me, that’s great.

And that’s the way it should be, in basketball and in life. ALL our institutions should give us at least the same amount of respect and consideration back that we give them, should recognize our contributions and appreciate us as people. The UK basketball program now does that for its players, and it’s awesome and envigorating to be around. You can feel it when you’re around the players and the coaches and the support staff and the administrators even; they care about you. You matter–whether you are a player, or a booster, or fantasy camper, or just a normal fan. You know that you matter, that they appreciate you.

Don’t get me wrong–I think most of the fans have cared about the players as people. I am not putting this on the fans; this starts at the top. I think the culture of the UK basketball program itself didn’t care, and so there was only so much fans could do.

But that’s changed. It makes me proud to root for UK, because now we take care of ours. We’re a real family now, a community that cares about each other (in addition to caring about basketball).

6. This cultural shift makes us better at basketball: I hope you didn’t take that last section to be a bit too touchy-feely. Make no mistake, I want to win a lot of basketball games. And national championships. I’m like you–I expect us to go to the Final Four every year.

But as you know, an institution is nothing without great people. And you want to know how to get great people? Treat them well. Care about them as people, work on helping them in their lives, dot just figure out how they can help you.

Calipari was right–the day we had five 1st round NBA picks WAS the most important day in the history of UK basketball. You know why? Not because it cemented UK as the place to go to become a great pro in the minds of all the teenagers in America and ensured us the best talent for the next decade (but yeah, that helped). It signaled to the world that UK was no longer a place that used players as cattle and then discarded them. It told the world that UK is now an institution that cares about developing the human being whose name is on the back of the jersey, not just winning games for the name on the front. Yes, both should matter equally–and that draft proved you can do both.

7. Conclusion: I’m sorry, I really meant to write about the camp, but I sat down and this rant just came out of me. I grew up in Lexington a UK fan, I remember the way it used to be. I left town at 16 and I haven’t been around much since, I’ve only followed from afar, and I think because I watched this change take place from a distance, so I had a different perspective on it. Plus, the last two years I’ve been lucky enough to have direct access to Cal and the current and former players. I got to talk to them and listen to them and hear the 96 team guys last year talk about how great it was to be invited back and I’ve met the parents of so many of the current players and I hear what they say. I’ve seen and been witness to this change, and it excites me so much, both as a fan and as a person.

This is not a small deal. This is not even a big deal. It’s EVERYTHING. All the success we have had over the past four years, and all the success were going to have moving forward, is primarily due to this shift in attitude.

John Calipari is the one who has created this cultural change in UK basketball, and it’s been incredible for UK and for all of us as part of the UK basketball community, and I love him for it. Thank you so much Coach!

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.

50 Comments for Tucker Max recaps his second year at the John Calipari Fantasy Camp

  1. Chest Rockwell
    10:05 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Tucker Max is less than a god but more than a man. I strive to be everything Tucker Max

  2. Oh God, why
    10:17 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    “Whether it was Rupp refusing to coach black players, or the UK boosters refusing to let new people get season tickets”

    I cringed when I read that.
    A) The idea that Rupp refused to coach Black players is a blatant lie.
    B) Boosters don’t refuse to let new people have season tickets. People who donate to the K fund (pretty much 90% alumni) and are willing to pay UK premium prices for them. If you want to be court side, or in those sweet seats behind the goal, opposite of the eRUPPtion zone every game every year, get a better job.

  3. BlueTexan
    10:18 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    “I want you to stop and think about that for a second. No one EVER reached out to them for any reason, good or bad. No thank you, no follow-up, no support, no care, nothing.”

    What an incredible statement…as an alum, that’s only one reason I admire Coach Cal so much…let’s pray that idiot Barnfart gives him a ‘lifetime’ contract. He’s a class act that we need leading the BBN (I believe Stoops will be the same).

  4. Matt Jones
    10:24 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Good stuff Tucker…thanks for writing this

  5. Clint
    10:28 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Rupp never refused to coach black players. That’s insane to actually believe that lie as a UK fan. That’s something other fans say to help them feel better about their team. Rupp wanted to coach the BEST players regardless of skin color.

  6. Bryan in Bowling green
    10:33 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Wow great read! Guilty of usually skimming the articles and reading the bold but I read every word this and it was great. Appreciate your time Tucker!

  7. Hi Hoptown!!
    10:45 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    I think Tucker was just mentioning the Rupp situation and the Tickets as examples of the secrecy and myths of Kentucky basketball and how exclusive it truly WAS. Don’t give him a hard road about those comments the fella wrote a great article and is a true blue fan. Well done Tuck, well done.

  8. Ross
    10:48 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    I’m sure Cal and the gang love you even more after this. Awesome article! Spoken better than I ever could’ve!

  9. Timothy John west
    10:54 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Excellent article, A+ …..good juice Tucker

  10. TrueBlue63
    10:56 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Rupp didn’t want to coach black players…cause he knew what they’d face in the SEC. He knew they’d be hated and threatened. He didn’t want to subject any player to that. To put a player in harms way….he didn’t want that on his conscience.

  11. Mike Downing
    10:58 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Tucker Max, in his one moment of sound judgement, decided to attend Duke University, forsaking his Wildcats, to whom he claims he’s a fan. Figure that one out… Devils

  12. Juan4UK
    11:01 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    That’s bs about Rupp. AND you perpetuate the lie. great post.

  13. Juan4UK
    11:06 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Amazing about the former players being left at the door. Absolutely floors me! I always assumed, took it as an automatic that people in the program stayed close. I really believed all these yrs that was the case. Thought it HAD to be the case! It’s automatic right? Unreal.

  14. Cowboy
    11:10 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    I have to masochistic in some way, shape, or form.

    I loathe the articles that make me “continue” on to the “next” page that contains the comments, as I know I will scroll down and look at them, which I usually don’t, out of sheer morbid curiosity.

    Tucker wrote a raving narration of the camp, praising the program and the current state of it, and all some of you people can focus on is one comment, without making room for any other interpretation or meaning.

    …. and people wonder why I drink…..

  15. Five knee surgeries
    11:12 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    You absolutely lost me at “Rupp refused to recruit….
    With one swift stroke of your brush you painted a man that you never knew as something of a hater.
    Not very professional but I should expect no less from someone whose works include “I hope they serve beer in hell”
    You are not worthy to play in the arena that bears his nam.

  16. catdaddyd
    11:21 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    I too, didn’t like the Rupp comment. But I didn’t know the Rupp facts until a couple of years ago when I saw a special on KET. I think Dave Baker or Dick Gabriel produced it. It was very enlightening, interviewed black players that Rupp tried to recruit etc…

  17. Front Loader
    11:23 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Romantic is the last word anyone would describe Tucker Maxs charades.

  18. Ghost of Rupp
    11:24 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Yes, it is true, I did not want to play black player. All those trying to defend me stop. It was what it is.

  19. bigcatstanding
    11:24 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Smucker max / he’s a classless piece of crap, as far as I’m concerned KSR should be ashamed of promoting this classless crap catcher, read the titles of his books that tells you pretty much what he’s all about. People like this are the same people that say coach Cal is a cheater, they hear about Adolph Rupp and his 5 white players, and how they got beat by 5 black players, and somehow that makes Rupp a racist. this is what Kentucky as proven winners have to put up with, people hearing things and it doesn’t even have to be proven it’s just the facts lol!!!! This guy is not a Kentucky fan he is the biggest of all posers, a TRUE TROLL, AND BBN OWNS HIM YA YOU

  20. bigcatstanding
    11:30 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    I forgot to say what I felt about him talking about the rest of the people that attended, and how he was a real Kentucky fan when the rest was just worried about basketball. That’s the part where he makes it okay for him being outplayed and out classed by the other attendees. So back to Syracuse country and sell some more s*** to that fan base.

  21. bigcatstanding
    11:47 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    #14 you drink because you’re an alcoholic, and just like the Dip shi t that wrote this blame your downfalls on others. #11 Get in his as s. #10 whattt ?? #9. POS ON TROLLER #6 #7 #8 how in the heck did you get a good read out of that good God!!! and for the person that wrote I’m sure he was referring to rumors that was started, it looks like if that were true he would have clarified it, he’s just a Madonna / Miley Cyrus / wanna be, in other words bad press is at least press right^ see you in hell, with your cold beer.

  22. Dubrovnik
    11:55 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Once upon a time I believed UK fans were, at heart, decent people. Max’s writing is nothing more than vile, insulting, moronic nonsense. Maybe, the KSR people think he is worth publicizing, but I hope more deserving fans can be found in the future. The fact he is a Cat fan and went to Duke Law does not negate the fact of his boneheaded writing. His publisher must be short on talent, in house, and in the writers they sign.

  23. UKSupporter76
    11:59 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    #11 I’m no fan of Tucker Max but you should at least tell the whole story. Tucker Max went to Duke to get his J.D. just like KSR founder Matt Jones did. Duke has one of the best law programs in the country. No shame in picking Duke over UK law. If you’re suggesting that someone should base their career path on their team loyalties, you must be one of those bandwagon Duke fans, as you obviously aren’t smart enough to have actually attended the school in any capacity.

  24. UK Freshman History Major - just some facts
    12:01 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    In 1969 Adolph Rupp signed Tom Payne, an athletic 7′-2″ center out of Louisville. This ended the aspect of all-white Kentucky teams forever and marked a new era with black Kentucky basketball legends including Jack Givens, Sam Bowie, Kenny Walker, Jamal Mashburn and Tayshaun Prince.
    What Coach Cal has done today is beyond incredible! No explanation is needed here…

    Now do a Wikepedia search on the former Kentucky Governor and Commissioner of Major League Baseball “Happy Chandler”. He helped Baseball break the color line by hiring Jackie Robinson…
    Did you see the movie based on Jackie Robinson’s life this past summer?

    Just a bit of advice. Be careful what you read on a comment section of a message board. Comments you read may not contain all of the facts. Do your own research..GO KSR & GO CATS!

  25. Dee W.
    12:14 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    “Romantic is the last word anyone would describe Tucker Maxs charades.”
    No kidding.

  26. Dee W.
    12:33 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    I understand I’m a guest here…but deleting people’s posts doesn’t change the fact that this post is promoting the x-rated. Period. I am not someone that is a habitual complainer…if I don’t like something here I normally just pass it by…but this is pretty much promoting something that is obscene. KSR is visited by teenagers and kids as well that like Kentucky sports and you seem to have given no consideration to that before posting this. I don’t understand how any adult with a modicum of maturity would promote such a website and works of…’literature’ either, but at least consider who all age groups who visit this site even if, for whatever reason, you like that kind of garbage.

    Rant off…and I will say no more on it.

  27. SeaCat
    12:52 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    This fantasy camp is silly,
    but Matt gets to go free and,
    therefore promotes it.
    Cal is brilliant…
    It helps recruiting…

  28. Lexington Wildcat Fan
    12:55 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    UK Sports rule in this town!

    I was congregating with some older customers recently while waiting for a oil change on my car recently at Don Jacobs, and the talk of the town was Matt Jones on the Radio and at

    So all of you teenagers need to get a grip..All of us older people over 50 love KSR too! We are not behind in technology!

  29. bigcatstanding
    2:27 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    #26 you’re dead on and also understand this is for free and enjoy being able to voice my opinion, and hear others on their opinions. I have already decided I will be at fantasy camp next year, and definitely give out some hard fouls lol. #28 didn’t hear anyone dogging the older crowd or saying they’re not keeping up, heck i’m 48 myself lol. You must be referring to #26 what he was saying about teenagers young people was he didn’t like that they put this crap on there for teenagers and young people to see.

  30. Andrew
    2:38 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    For being a guy who refused to coach black players here’s a picture of the Freeport High School team he coached with one of his black players on it from 1927.

    Rupp who would have enlisted the black, white, asian, latin, angels, devils, living, dead, whatever, to win with the best players end of story. Guy liked winning more than breathing. He recruited plenty of black players while at UK who told him no because they didn’t want to be the ones to break the color barrier in the SEC. Can he be faulted for that, no absolutely not, was Martin Luther King Jr.? No, should he have said we the university of Kentucky refuse to play any school that doesn’t have black players and we are leaving the SEC? Maybe he should of, but that’s a judgement call, should you not buy stuff Walmart because they discriminate against minorities, women, and unions yea we/you should but we don’t. Maybe coach wasn’t the most progressive man of all time, but to make him out as rebel flag wielding, kkk grand dragon robe wearing, racist piece of shit isn’t the truth either and that fact that a so called UK fan doesn’t know that and perpetuates falsehoods is really sad thing. You are a funny witty dude Tucker, but your better than that.

  31. idontflinch
    2:47 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    First, I believe Max’s writing was well done. I, myself, always wondered why UK didn’t seem to bring older players back. That is only part of the “culture of exclusion” I’m buying. Yeah, there would be a player here and there, but nothing like what has happened the past four years. I’m glad Coach Cal has opened the program back up to former players like he has.

    The part where Max says Coach Rupp did not want to coach black players seemed to me like he was simply referring to the myth perpetuated by those jealous of Rupp’s success and UK’s success as well. Max was giving the view of an outsider looking in. He was talking about what others accepted to be truthful which was UK having a “culture of exclusion.” Everyone with an ounce of interest in the history of college basketball knows the SEC was not kind to black players back in the day. Even IF Rupp refused to accept black players at first, he did realize the error of his ways and eventually recruited Tom Payne. And that is a big IF. Maybe he never was racist at all. I do know UK, along with other SEC and even ACC schools, wouldn’t allow their coaches to recruit black players for a long time. I watched the documentary Dick Gabriel did on Rupp a few years ago and it was clear as day to me that Rupp was not a racist. Tom Leach even tells a story of a black kid that was a good ball player from an all black school in Paris, KY that Coach Rupp helped get a scholarship to Duquesne University, which was a good basketball school back then. Why didn’t Rupp recruit him to UK? Because this was in the 50’s when UK was still segregated.

  32. bigcatstanding
    4:18 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    #31 if you were right he would have said so, he was so clear on everything else. I’m not buying it

  33. musrat59
    4:44 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Tucker Max should stick to his fantasy Basketball because he hasn’t a clue when it comes to coach Rupp.

  34. idontflinch
    5:48 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Bigcatstanding, I get your facetiousness. I’m just glad you were being facetious vice serious. Go Cats!

  35. specialetta
    6:06 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Max needs to get his facts right. Several are wrong in his article. First Rupp didn’t avoid blacks. I know this to be true as I know a player that played for Rupp and played with Tom Payne. Also the statement of players not being welcomed back is not totally true. The only time this happened was during the Pitino era. He welcomed back players that played for him, but not the players that played before he became the coach at UK. Coach Hall was great at welcoming back all players and involving them in the program and so was Tubby Smith.

  36. Matt Holt
    6:54 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Tucker Max is Not Jerry Tipton.

  37. lou eaton
    8:22 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Several have already made the point but I lived during the 40s and 50s and several SEC schools made it very clear that they would NOT play UK if Rupp recruited black players and this is fact. Rupp was not racist but simply a victim of the times. Stories which perpetuate this false image must be refuted in defense of Rupp who always treated everyone with the highest dignity and respect.

  38. Plain Truth
    8:29 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    The prevailing thoughts on Rupp and Kentucky Basketball have come from the,” everybody knows that” thought process, that in recent times comes from the undeniable source of history the Hollywood movie. Concerning Glory Road, I did hear a pretty good source say this was one of the worst jokes that they had ever witnessed concerning the actual events around the game. And you must agree you have to take the words of Don Haskins coach of Texas Western over any commentator or creative writer. Concerning Rupp, two very good reasons were given for Rupp not pursuing African American players, one you were playing then teams way down south in the land of cotton. It would take a certain personality to put with what was coming at them in those small gyms, Wes Unseld told UK himself he did not think he had that passive nature. The second reason this was Kentucky the same team that had been beating up on them for years, which would just add to the hate. The second reason may have a lot to do with the articles and film if tiday. What’s the old saying ” if you can’t beat them, make a movie about them” or something like that.

  39. Don't read the comments
    8:43 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve come to realize that if you read an article and it makes you feel really good and pumped up about the season and our program then STOP THERE. Don’t read the comments, they are depressing. People look for things to complain about. They are unhappy with themselves and there lives and and won’t stop until you are to. Don’t read the comments and stay feeling good.

  40. Clam
    8:51 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Good article. I’m not going to get bogged down in the Rupp and race argument, but it is undeniable that UK basketball had a Good Ole Boy culture of “exclusion” that was bad for the long-term success of the program. For generations, the powerful people shaping UK basketball were about as imaginative and bold as the people eating Sunday Brunch at Lexington Country Club (actually, they were one in the same). That’s why UK sensed such a threat from Denny Crum in the 70s and 80s–he was in many ways the Cal of his coaching generation, and he added a hip, UCLA-esque urban flavor to UofL that highlighted how stogy UK was. Pitino was the start of a radical change at UK (remember how shocked people were that a “yankee” actually lived in Lex and coached UK), and Cal has extended that tenfold and in a better way.

  41. Derek Kirby
    9:42 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Great recap of the state of the current program. Thanks for writing it and exposing yourself to everyone’s opinion of the article. Takes courage to write something, publicize it and attach your name to it. Thats something most of the above commentors don’t have.

  42. Tucker's thoughts
    10:19 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Should have left out that half sentence about Coach Rupp.

  43. Deepblue
    12:07 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    For those of you wondering aloud why KSR puts Tucker Max’s drivel on here from time to time, its because, despite many of his better qualities, Matt is somewhat of a Starfu*ker. But then again like 90% of us are so it is what it is. Matt probably has slightly more of it than most. But he’s also an fantastic radio host and gives us this blog which is the best supplement to Kentucky Basketball that fan’s have ever had. So, if you don’t like the pandering to the rich and famous, suck it up. Because as KSR gains more and more notoriety, its only going to get worse. Most of the time its a good thing but if you’re going to have your Josh Hopkins’, your going to have to deal with some Tucker Max.

  44. Matt
    12:52 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    How much does the fantasy camp cost?

  45. Majortom 714
    1:01 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    I enjoyed the article very much. Don’t understand the hater posts and the comments about it being x rated and unfit for young people. I can barely remember Coach Rupp’s later years when Joe Hall was doing most of the coaching. From my vague memories the Hall era always welcomed former players. As a previous poster said Pitino may have started the “exclusionist” attitudes.

  46. PW
    2:42 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Great write-up and rant from an excellent author.

    I will add my voice to the others stating that we shouldn’t perpetuate the lie that Rupp wouldn’t coach black players. It is a historical fact that he DID coach black players before he came to UK, and there were many reasons why they couldn’t play in the SEC of that day.

  47. Blah Blah
    3:11 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Tucker Max will always be a UK wannabe. He is nothing more than a spoiled rich kid that also when to DUKE. This just shows how great UK really is.

  48. hhornblower
    3:25 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Great article and I commend you for your bluntness. Obviously you touched a raw nerve with your comments about the former racial bias within the UK basketball program. I was fortunate to be inside the loop and will just say that you are correct. It was the ultimate unspoken elephant in the room. It’s not that blacks weren’t recruited they just weren’t included. It seemed to me that it was more of a Southern cultural issue going back to us being the last great white program as the game and our country woke up and addressed racial issue in general. The key to your post is that those days are behind us, we can’t change them but we can affect the future. While Coach Pitino saved us the first time, Coach Cal returned us to our rightful place as the epicenter of college basketball.

  49. clam
    4:48 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Rupp, of course, was not a monster or a virulent racist, but those of you who thinking of him as some kind of misunderstood freedom fighter are delusional.

  50. Megan
    3:29 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    People believe what they want to believe. I doubt we’ll ever be able to rehabilitate Rupp’s image. Or Cal’s.