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WATCH/TRANSCRIPT: John Calipari’s virtual media press conference

John Calipari showed off his quarantine beard during a media press conference via Zoom on Tuesday, and he had plenty more to share. Most importantly, the Kentucky Men’s head basketball coach spoke about a new Minority Leadership Initiative that he is helping spearhead, going into detail about the ins and outs of the program. Calipari also talked about the status of transfer Olivier Sarr, coronavirus testing, and his thoughts on everyone’s haircut.

We’ve got you covered with every word from the presser. Check out the entire transcript below along with KSR’s video from the Zoom call.


Opening statement …

Well, I’m going to open this up, but I’m just going to do kind of from A 10,000-foot view and then you guys can ask me questions you want to ask (about the John McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative). But for us to be able to present something as coaches and have 95% of the coaches know and look at this and say, ‘Let’s do this,’ is amazing. We never agree on anything whether–it doesn’t matter, we don’t agree. And so, this is something that I look at and needed (Harvard basketball coach) Tommy Amaker to be a partner to help organize it. Needed to house it somewhere because we coaches can go back to our campuses and work with what we’re doing our own team and our own athletic department, but we have jobs. So, it had to be housed and we’re housing it in the John McLendon Foundation. And what John McLendon stood for, and for our fans, he was like the first guy to two-platoon two teams. He was like the first. And you’re talking about the first African-(American basketball coach at a primarily European-American university). Well, he studied under James Naismith. (He was) The first African-American coach to be at a predominantly white school, won national titles at Tennessee State, was the administrator, I believe at Kentucky State, but he’s been known–he brought in fast-break basketball. Dean Smith got the four-corner offense from him. He was a pioneer in this and a true gentleman that, to be able to house this there is huge. And then, to have athletic departments, look at this – like all 12 ADs voted it, ‘Let’s do this. We’ll support it. We’ll work with you, coaches, let’s get this done.’ You know, knowing the lack of diversity within athletic departments, not on the fields, but within the athletic department. These are not coaching positions. That’s not what these are. These are the future leaders and decision makers. We’re trying to develop those. We’d like them all to be ADs, but let’s just say in 20 years we have five times as many minority ADs as we have today. But you can also have leaders in the SWA, in whatever area within the athletic department. Decision makers and leaders. That’s what we’re trying to do. And the biggest thing is access and opportunity for minorities who may not apply for the job because they may say I’ll never get it. Well, let me just say this: apply, apply. We are looking for the next wave of leaders and decision makers who are minorities in our profession. This, we’re seeing it now and we believe this will be different. We’ve asked each coach to not only fund positions, be the point of funding, but to be in it for at least four years. Some of maybe a little bit less, but most of the guys have committed to four. Because we need four years to get the data. What exactly will this look like in four years? What will the data tell us? Quantitatively you want to make sure that we’re all investing in something that’s working, and so coaches have agreed. So, the amazing thing has been where whether you’re a Black coach, White coach, of Latin descent. Frank Martin–everyone is saying, ‘Wow, we’ve got to do this.’ And everybody is investing their money and their time as coaches in this. So, let me just kind of you know, you may have specific questions about, let’s just stay on this right now.”

On what specific positions may come of this program at the University of Kentucky …

“Here’s what’s been great about what we’ll do: They call me the idea man and then everybody else has to follow through and do all the stuff. … DeWayne Peevy has taken the lead role. Mitch (Barnhart) is behind it. Mitch loves it. Mitch said to DeWayne, ‘I will do anything I can to help with this.’ But DeWayne went to department heads and said, ‘Who needs people? Who do we need?’ And there were, what Eric (Lindsey), 12 department heads? And we have it down to eight where he feels comfortable that they’re really needed, but we’re going to get that to five. Now, my commitment was eight a year for four years. They want five a year for six. And I said that’s fine. They feel that we can do a better job when we get it to five. We want to do two mentors within the athletic department. We’d love to have these future leaders shadow Mitch, shadow. Dr. (Eli) Capilouto. My role will be once a month, maybe more, having dinner at my house, doing something out having speakers. I’ve been with Spike Lee. I need you in this. Jamie Foxx, I need you in this. We’re having–and that can be because it’ll be Zoom where all 50 to 70 nationwide that are in the program can be involved in that ‘leadership talk.’ And then the other educational parts of this wherever coaches can add in. And it’s not just basketball coaches. Mark Stoops is in this with me. So, I call Mark. He said, ‘Yeah, I’m all in. Tell me what you want me to do.’ So, across the country basketball coaches are approaching other coaches to say, ‘Will you join me on this? Will you help invest in this with me?’ And I think all coaches know that diversity, lack of diversity in college athletics, not on the fields, but within the administrations, it’s an easy call you just look.”

On if having big-name coaches like Nick Saban and Tom Izzo help legitimize the initiative even more …

“Well, I haven’t talked to Nick yet. Maybe he put something out, which I would be happy about. But Herm Edwards, Lovie Smith, Mark Stoops. I mean, baseball coaches. I haven’t talked to Nick Mingione because I haven’t been back on campus in a minute. But I’ll approach him with this and I know he’ll be all over it. But let me just say, it’s not the name. It was the passion. And I told every coach that I talked to, a lot of these are really dear friends of mine. And again, understanding in this profession I’m in, it’s kind of hard to have real good friends. I just happened to do this long enough and been beaten by enough coaches that they’re fine with me. But I wanted them, not because they were my friend, not because they were Black or White or Hispanic; because they were passionate. This has to work. This has to work, and the only way it works is an athletic director shows. Shows, doesn’t talk. Shows the department that this is important to him. Mitch and DeWayne. And then that the coach lets the athletic department know how important this is. Now let’s get this the whole thing. This is about access and opportunity. This is about a springboard to something good. This is not everybody. We all know, has to earn your way and has to prove your worth. But you have to have access and opportunity to be able to do that. Here’s the other thing: Our own athletes, because this isn’t just about athletes, but our own athletes, if they want to be involved in this, they are more than welcome. They just won’t train or work at the University of Kentucky. They’ll work in another school. Now, I’ll call that other school. I’ll call Mark Few. How’s he working out? How’s she working out? Again, I say ‘she’ because we want women involved in this as much as men. But Mark Few says, ‘Unbelievable.’ I tell, Mitch. Mitch has a position. Mitch hires them back. That’s how this should work. Not that it’s, you know, you owe me. No, this is, we need the next leaders, the next decision makers in athletics and eventually it moves up to, all right, now we’ve got the leader of the whole department that’s a minority. How does this work now?”

On if this something you wish you had thought about sooner or something like this in the back of your mind ever before …

“Let me give you a couple things, Larry (Vaught), that I always wondered. If I was a coach in the 60s, would I have the courage to do the stuff I do now or that I did in the 90s when I was at UMass or Memphis or here.? If that was 65, could I do it? Could I do what C.M. Newton did it at Alabama? At Alabama! Would I have the courage to do what’s right even though it’s not popular? I don’t know. I just I just got off the phone with Larry Brown and my comment to him was–because he said, ‘I’m jealous, you’re doing this because we all know it was needed duh, duh, duh, duh.’ And I say, ‘Coach. I gotta ask you, why didn’t we do this 10 years ago? Did it take all this stuff? Did it take George Floyd to come to us and say, all right, how bad is this?’ And then you look and you do some soul searching and say, this is not good. This is bad. We have to — again, someone may say – I think Eric had me on the line with someone who said, ‘Why, like, in every field, you know, we all kind of look the same here, short of one or two?’ OK, so it’s in a lot of fields the same thing. The question is, why would we do it in athletics? Because it’s our sphere of influence. If anybody on this call wanted to do something in their field you probably could have influence because it’s your field. For us as coaches, our own staff, and you all that know me know my staff, and if you’ve known me for 20 years, my staff from – and I’m not just talking my assistant coaches – weight strength, trainers, videos, basketball ops, my personal secretary, you look, we have diversity. We’ve done that. But your next move is, OK, we have influence over the athletic department, especially if we coaches are funding the positions. Then would you truly have some influence. And now it becomes athletic departments looking at this saying, you know what, we need to do this. And it’s funny that, like I said, the Pac-12 ADs, 12-0 we’re in. And so hopefully we’re going to get some other leagues to do the same. But let me say this, our initial thing was let’s get 100 coaches. I said all along, and I was talked into that and we’ve moved it back. We need to start smaller to make sure we work through everything we’re going to have to work through the first year because this thing has moved. Eric, am I right from where this started five weeks ago? It has moved and then it moved over here and now we’re right there. That’s where we are. But by the next year it may be over here somewhere. And that’s why I’m hoping it lands at about 50-60 coaches,50-75 positions, and that we now say, all right, let this go. Now let me let me throw this before you ask me: Some people said, ‘With all this going on, why wouldn’t you wait a year? With all the uncertainty, why wouldn’t you wait a year?’ Well, here’s my answer: Two pieces. One, the momentum right now we have, the wind is that our back. Winds change. At the beginning of next year, we may not have the momentum. I may not be able to gather the coaches, Tommy (Amaker) and I together to say let’s do this. That’s one thing. The second thing is, I mean, we want to show the ADs that this means something to us coaches. We know what’s going on, on campuses, but even that it’s going to create opportunities and jobs and things like that. But here’s the last thing: Someone may say, ‘Well, they may have to work remotely.’ Like, we all were having to learn to work remotely And it may be the best thing we do for six months. They gotta be remote and then around campus six months and maybe at Kentucky we’re going to do a two-year program instead of one. We want to make sure we’re really doing what we can for these young people so when they leave, Kentucky they say, ‘The best experience I’ve ever had in my life. The greatest preparation for what I want to do.’ And that may be in business; may not just be in in athletics.

On what the initiative would look like if he could look ahead four or five years from now …

“We’re going to use the term ‘look.’ Athletic departments would look a little different. That’s what I would say would be success (in) 10 years. Twenty years would be we have five times the number of minority IDs that we have right now (in) 20 years. Five times. That to me would be success. And if what I said just happened, my hope would be–and this is about John McClendon. This is a program through him. This was an idea that would never been able to happen if we didn’t get John McClendon. OK, we’re going to talk about ProLink Staffing. If it wasn’t for those people, if it wasn’t for G3 Marketing, if it wasn’t for Bob Vecchione of the NACTA, the executive director of NACDA, if we all wouldn’t come together and at least 50 coaches – because if we did it a Kentucky by ourselves with five young people, I mean, you know, that would be OK. That would make us feel better, but I’m not sure the impact. This can have an impact. And my hope is the coaches, the ambassadors that are involved in this, Tommy and myself, We look back and say, the best thing in our career that we did – forget about national titles, league titles all the other stuff that comes along with coaching – this is where we had an impact.”

On how movements like these are bigger than national championships and wins and losses…

“That’s my hope. But let me say this: This didn’t take a whole lot of courage. Like, when you saw it, you said, and someone on here asked me, ‘Why didn’t you do this long ago this was long overdue.’ This didn’t take a lot of courage. Let me give you this: One of the guys that I’ve really always looked up to as a coach was Dean Smith. He was inventive, he was curious, all that stuff on the basketball court. But do you remember him off the court? Do any of you know the things that he did off the court? Which was, sat at the stand with African-Americans when he was teetering on whether he was going to be a good coach at North Carolina. That he brought in Charlie Scott into the ACC. Recruited by Larry Brown when he was in ninth grade. He was in middle school in Kansas. Now, you think about his school. His middle school was integrated and his high school wasn’t. He stood before the high school board and said, ‘Listen, this isn’t right.’ And with Charlie Scott, he said he deserves to be a player here. So, that’s courage. C.M. Newton, that’s courage. This, what we’re doing, ‘Why you wouldn’t do this (earlier)?’ Maybe it would be financial, I don’t know, but this is easy when you all look at this. You would say, ‘Yeah, why didn’t you do this before?’ And I appreciate the question. Why didn’t I don’t know. Maybe it wasn’t in the forefront. Maybe it wasn’t something that I thought was important, but you know, what it meant, I wasn’t thinking deep enough. Probably thinking about myself more than what’s going on around me.”

On how the application process works …

Great. Do you guys, do you all want to hear this? I’ll go kind of in-depth. Is that OK? So, my biggest worry, Jerry (Tipton), was what if 1,000 applications come in? Who the hell is going to go through those? Like, I don’t have time to do that. So, all of a sudden we have Prolink Staffing. Tony Munafo, who’s a Kentucky guy whose son was a ball boy, donates $250,000 worth of work because he sees what this program can do and he says, Prolink Staffing will deal with all that. And I said, ‘Wait a minute. Tell me what that means. What if you have 1,000 applications? How quick can you turn it around so we can get these people started?’ He said, ‘Three weeks.’ What? He said, ‘I’m sending 750 nurses to Arizona. So yes, we can do this.’ So I said, ‘Well, give me 1,000 come in, what would you do? First 200 maybe are qualified. You have to be a college graduate, post-graduate, you may have the background that doesn’t fit this whatever may be the case.’ He would call those 200 and say, ‘To be in this program, do these things and then reapply next year.’ So, now we have 800. We’re going to hire 400. He would first interview them by Zoom. They each are going to have to write an essay. They see what their strengths are, their weaknesses, what area that he thinks–they may think something, he may think something else. And I’m saying he, it will be a staff of people. We would then post, before this happens, we would post the positions on the website. He would then give each of us, if we have five candidates, he can give you two to choose from, four to choose from, or he could pick the candidate for you. So, say there’s 400. DeWayne Peevy wants more because he wants them to go through the process even though only one of them will get the position. So, he wanted more. There may be some that only want two to be able to pick one. The school, whichever, like DeWayne Peevy and that group would pick who our five would be. So then I said,We have 400 people that weren’t hired. What happens then?’ He said, ‘They go in my database and if any business calls me from minority hiring, whether it’s accountants, ITs, whatever, we have a database right there, ready to go.’ And I’m like, ‘You’re kidding me?’ That was my fear. Prolink did it for us. Prolink Staffing. I cannot tell you, I’m not sure we could have done this without them. I know we couldn’t have done this if we didn’t house it in the John McLendon Foundation. Where would we have housed it? What would I have done? How would we have done it? Who’s writing the checks? So that is all the McLennan Foundation. The Prolink Staffing is doing their stuff. The fundraising for matching funds, any business out there that is concerned about diversity and wants to be in a solution to that can send matching funds to schools. That and coaches that, you know, everybody thinks every coach is this and that. Well, you’re talking about 150 coaches, you’re talking 200. I was at that level where you’re living like everybody else, that person might say $33,000? I’m not sure I can do that. And that’s why we say, ‘OK, what can you do so we can get matching dollars?’ We get other coaches and we get people in your community and now you got a position. That’s what G3 Marketing is doing for us.”

On what motivates him to continue to go off the court and do things like this and if he’s always been this way …
My mother was a ‘paid it forward’ (thinker). Many things happen for you, make sure you continue to pay forward. But in this case, I had many people, John, tell me, ‘You need to step back. You don’t need to step in this. You need to just basically protect yourself. Don’t.’ And I said some things on ‘Coffee with Cal’ where we all watched. How could one human being do that to another human being up in Minnesota? And again, I can say this, however you want, but he was murdered. George Floyd, he was murdered. That moved me to say, ‘Wow. Am I missing something?’ And I was, and I made the statement: I start to understand that I may never understand, but I stand with you. And then it became my wife, when she was hearing some of the conversation, ‘Cal. Stay out. You don’t need to do panels. You’re a White man. Why would you step in this? You’ve benefited.’ I got off a call, and she said, ‘That’s exactly why you need to be–let your voice be heard. But more than that, you need to do something. You come up with all these great ideas come up with something.’ And so, from that it became, where is my sphere of influence? Walking the boardwalk and thinking to myself and talking to different people and you know, I talked to Greg Moore from the HBCUs, the historical black colleges and universities, and ran this by him three different times. Like, this is what we’re thinking. What do you think? How does this appear? Can this work? I ran it by Bruiser Flint who, you know, we worked together at UMass. He’s my brother and he said, ‘Look, minorities don’t have a voice in the room.’ And I said, ‘Bru, if you’re in there by yourself it’s hard to have a voice. You better have a lot of courage.’ He said, ‘We have to have multiple voices in the room, which eventually leads to leadership and decision-making positions within the room. And that may not mean just the athletic director that could be other positions within athletics.’ And then I knew, this is not, this may be an idea, but that’s the smallest piece. Then it became how do we galvanize everybody behind this? And then when we do this, John, I step back and all I’m worried about is Kentucky and the five future leaders we have there. And then I’ll worry about that. But that’s the genesis of it. This is not about me, it’s about the question someone asked: ‘Cal this is all good. Why didn’t you do this 10 years ago?’ If you have the ability and I’ll be honest with you, John, it would have been, I would have been more courageous if I had did it 10 years ago. This one’s easy. This one I was shoved to it. The coaches are really–put a little pressure on athletic departments to move in this direction by creating the positions doing everything where it’s hard to say no. How do you say no when we’re all going to need positions? And we all, we probably needed the positions before the coronavirus. Now we probably need it more.”

On the pressure athletic departments are under with the tensions in our country …

“When the coaches in mass do this, it moves people. So, I don’t want you to feel–like how about this, the ADs in the PAC-12, it took them 30 seconds to all say, ‘I’m all in,’ because it’s the right thing. That may be the case in some places, but not many places. I just hope they do because it’s the right thing to do, that they see that we lack diversity not on in the fields but in the athletic departments. That you can just see it you know it. And again, this is access and opportunity. You have to earn your way. All of us do. On this call you earn your way, but some of us on this call that have had many more opportunities. There are some out there that would be more talented than any of us on here, but they’ve never had the opportunity, they never had someone pushing them, they’ve never had the connections, they never rub shoulders with anybody. This gives minorities a chance to prove themselves. That’s what this is, but we mentors, we’ve been taught and leadership. And I say this every year that even if you have a great personality, it doesn’t mean you know how to lead. Even if you have the characteristics of a leader, doesn’t mean you know how to lead. Most of the kids that I get here don’t know how to lead, and so we’ll be a part of teaching that. And it’s like making decisions. I mean, that all will come into play too.”

On his concern about the upcoming college basketball season…

“Well, let me just say my opinion on this would be a guess. If any of you here that would have an opinion, that’s a guess. My hope is – and forget about basketball – how about all these sports where these young men and women have dedicated themselves since they were 12 years old, these kinds of opportunities, and it’s taken away? So, my hope is that we tamp down this virus and we’re able to come back and play. But if you’re asking me, and let me say this, my hope is pretty strong for basketball because I have a really good team. So, I want us to play basketball in the worst way and be an NCAA Tournament team and make a run, but we’ve got to go with the science. We’ve got to trust that people within that field, within our league, within our school,s and we gotta roll with what they’re telling us to do.”

On minority students at Kentucky getting into the program and the competitiveness it requires…

“Well, my hope Bryan (Kennedy), is that they’re highly competitive and every application goes to Pro Link Staffing first before they come to us and when they come to us each applicant the finalists, there would be also ‘here’s why’ from ProLink Staffing and ‘why we think this candidate would be great there in that position.’ So, it is going to be competitive. But here’s my point: apply. You know, so again, there are many times a minority may not apply, Bryan, because they say, ‘I got no chance for that; they’re going to hire, you know, an older, you know, whatever this is.’ You truly have a chance. It’s going to be competitive. You may have to apply two years, three years before you can get a position, but ProLink Staffing will tell you each year, this is where you’re short this is what you have to do. I mean, we’re saying like having a Master’s or working on a Master’s that will play into it, but it’s not the defining thing. Somebody may be 28 years old and have some real experience that at somebody looks at and says, wow, that they may be changing fields. We don’t know where this is going to go. But I do hope this: I hope this bleeds into business so that businesses will look at this program and say we got to look at candidates from that program because they’re being trained to lead and be decision makers and that’s what we’re looking for in our business too. I don’t know if that answers it and I don’t know if you heard, Bryan, if you were at Kentucky, you would be applying through ProLink and be at Georgia or at Boston College. You know what I’m saying. You wouldn’t train at North Carolina or at Kentucky. Let me say this DeWayne already had after yesterday’s announcement, I think he said he had 10 application sent to him. And then we had to say they have to go to the ProLink Staffing and then it filters to us.”

On the uncertainty of the season, if the team is currently on campus and the latest on Olivier Sarr’s transfer eligibility waiver…

“Well, first of all, all of our kids are on campus, I believe. They’re all on campus, they’re all working out, they’re in a tight bubble. When you talk about the lodge the practice facility, what we have there, they are getting antsy. They keep asking, ‘When are we going to see you?’ You guys understand. I can’t work with them until the (July) 20th. They’re doing conditioning, weight training and they are in the gym with shooting machines and shooting on their own, where they each block out time in the gym and they’re on two ends and they, you know, not touching each other and all that. The kids seem to be safe. Olivier’s stuff has been in, where we’re waiting to hear we feel confident, but you never know until you, you know, you hear it’s good to go. He’s got a great case. But, you know, we’ll wait to hear.”

On if former players are contributing to the Minority Leadership Initiative …

“We’re not there yet. Some of my players have retweeted, ‘I’m all in.’ So, there’s some of that’s out there, but we haven’t gotten to the point of all that. I mean, literally, Jerry, we flip this around in how many weeks, Eric? Three to four weeks. So, to that point, all we’re doing right now to get matching funds are businesses. How do we get businesses that want to invest in this program and maybe use it for them to look at candidates, also for jobs that they have. So, we’ve approached five or eight different businesses, big companies that we’re looking at to be involved.”

On if he pays attention to other eligibility cases around the country and how it plays into Olivier Sarr’s case…

“Well, there’s the two pieces of this is that, well, we have an idea, because every kid that leaves us is ruled eligible right away. So, you know what I’m saying. We know what it is and I would say that there are these cases have to fall into, like, three different buckets. This bucket that bucket or this bucket to really be considered. And knowing that, I don’t, you know. You know, I may have said some stuff yesterday on Stephen A. Smith that maybe got people mad and Sarr is not eligible. I don’t think they would do that ever to a kid but, you know, these cases–or well, let me say this: Some are more high profile. This one which they’ll be more in tune to because it’s a high-profile case so, I mean, I don’t know if that answers your question. But, you know, kids have left us, I have an idea of what the procedure was.”

On whether this case being more high profile makes it take longer …

“What they’ll do is they’ll red flag it because it’s Kentucky. It’s Olivier Sarr who’s one of the best transfer players and they’ll want to make sure, let’s really make sure we have this right. And they may take more time, but I don’t think it’s like they’re treated any different. No, I know they don’t treat it any different than any other case, but it is more of a high-profile case, so they’ll look at it.”

On how his life has changed during quarantine and any reports he’s received on his team so far …

“Well, the only way I can ask that question is from Robert Harris, who’s doing the weight training and conditioning. We have Zoom calls twice a week. We’ve done Zoom calls. I’ve done a Zoom call with them and their families once a week. I’m not allowed to be in my car waving to them, which is why I just left campus. I haven’t been in my office. I’ve not been there.  They keep saying, ‘Coach, we want to see you. I came here to work with you. Where are you?’ And so I’m going back this week, but I still can’t be in the gym with them until the 20th. And so what I’ve said to them: ‘Let’s use this time to separate from everybody else. Let’s use this time to be in the greatest condition, get physically right. We should be a great shooting team because it’s all you can do right now is shoot. And then when we go in, it will be individual work with conditioning combined. And my hope is within a week or so we start with 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 to where, you know, we’ve been negative for four weeks, we’re in a bubble, we’re safe as long as no one’s breaking the bubble. We’re just trying to guard against all that stuff. And we’re unique. I mean, we’re in the (Wildcat Coal) Lodge where they’re in a single room with a single bathroom. They walk across the parking lot (and) they’re in a sterile gym that no one else is using. No one else is in the building. Weight training. Conditioning is outside. So now all of a sudden—the meals, they’re box meals. The chef makes it, we leave it out. If we’re ordering meals away from campus, they’re delivered outside and no one breaks into the building. You got a sterile bubble that’s as good as it gets anywhere. Now we got to say, OK, they’ve been negative for this period of time, they’re like a family now. 

They should be able to be together and if they want to do certain things, but we’ve got to go again with the science and what the campuses and the SEC. The SEC has been probably the most limiting of all the leagues out there, for basketball anyway.

On Sarr’s case for being eligible immediately …

“Well, I can’t (elaborate). I can’t. The bucket thing is the what they talk about publicly, the NCAA. It fits in these buckets. I believe so. But where his fits in, you know, I’m not at liberty to say.

On being excited to get on the court with his team …

“No, I’m excited. But, but, again, let me say what happens: I got one player at one basket. Either I’m going 12 hours where I got each kid for an hour, four days a week and then this beard would be about down to here. OK. And the ponytail would probably be down there, too, in the back. But if we go two in a gym or three in the gym with three coaches – I’m being one – now you’re talking four hours and I would love it just, you know, to me to be able to be back. I may shave the beard. I don’t know. My wife wants me to shave the beard, which means there’s probably little chance I will. The haircut, everybody’s on me, ‘You got to cut your hair. Your hair looks like [expletive].’ That’s what you’re saying to me, and I’m like, ‘I may not cut my hair for a while.’ I don’t know.”

On whether anyone has told his hair looks like an ‘80s NFL quarterback in the back …

“Hey, my wife said it’s business in the front, party in the back. I don’t know. I mean, I’m like, I just don’t want to get it cut until everything is underway. The beard, the beard was looking—I trimmed it down. But you know, I just said, I may keep the hair going for a while. I don’t know. I’m in shorts and a T-shirt, flip flops and my hair’s everywhere. I got holes in my jeans. I don’t know what it means. I really don’t know what it means.

On whether he’s going to start dressing like Bob Huggins …

“No, never. Never.”

On whether no one on his team has tested positive …

“Everybody’s practicing. We’re practicing, the conditioning, the weight training, the basketball. Everybody’s in so, again, that’s HIPAA rules. You can’t say a whole lot of what’s what. But the great thing, and I come back to, and I hope you guys all print this: Our state has done a great job. And now we got to turn it up. And it may not matter because there’s so many other states that are losing their minds and things are going haywire. But our state, and it’s four million of us, let’s just protect each other, wear the mask. Everybody says it. It’s not a statement. Just wear the mask. It protects you and protects somebody else. I mean, if we do that. Just wear the mask. If you’re out, if you’re in a building. If you’re outside walking around, I get it. But if you’re in a building, you’re in any kind of position where you’re around people, put the mask on. When I walked the boardwalk, I’ll have the mask with me. I had it in my pocket. And now if I go by a group of people, I put the mask on. If I’m walking, I’m by myself and there’s no one but the seagulls, I’m not going to put the mask on. If I’m at the beach and we’re separated and it’s just us, I’ll take the mask off. I would tell everybody we got to get through this and unless things start to change – what everybody’s hope is – it’s going to be hard to happen. How about this one? we’re talking about, why do you want students on the campus? Can you imagine a student working in their whole life to have an opportunity to be accepted at school like Kentucky? Their whole life, that’s all they thought about. They’ve trained. They’ve been studying. They’ve done it. They finished in the top 15 in their class. They’ve done everything and then they can’t go to college. They’ve got to do it remotely. Think of that. How many young people are going to be, ‘My whole life, I’ve prepared for this and I’m not getting an opportunity.’ Or how about this? Worse, you’ve been on campus. You’ve had a ball. You’ve learned. You’ve interacted socially. You’ve opened up. And now you can’t come back to campus. That’s worse than never coming because the other guy doesn’t know what he’s missing. That one is like, oh my gosh. So we just gotta—everybody’s got to do what they can, but we also got to follow the science. Gotta follow the science.”

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Recruiting reporter for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR