By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times
Three lopsided wins over high school team dropouts and a so-so victory over an oldtimers squad that huffed and puffed up and down the floor do not a season make, much less an undefeated trip to another NCAA championship.
Despite outlandish predictions and armchair observations from fans on call-in shows and social media, that is the reality of last week’s trip to the Bahamas for Coach John Calipari and the Kentucky men’s basketball team.
Frankly, I was terribly disappointed that there apparently was no opportunity for the new Cats to challenge the Little Sisters of the Poor or Molly Putts Boarding School.
It was a junket, no more, no less. A week of sun and surf for the coaches, players, sportswriters, and others in the Big Blue entourage. The so-called basketball games in a poorly lighted cracker box of a gym were never worth watching, even on the over-rated SEC Network. For me, the new collection of world-class individual players raises more questions about why Coach Cal continues to recruit more star players than he can keep happy. Playing time and basketball-sized egos don’t seem to be compatible, at least in Lexington.But the worst development in UK basketball was that dumb statement Coach Calipari made about basketball being more important to UK than football or something to that effect. He has since tried to walk back that comment, but it has created a firestorm in the ranks of those UK faithful who love both sports.UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart tried to downplay the significance of the growing dispute but that didn’t keep the media from drawing parallels to the feud between Adolph Rupp and Paul (Bear) Bryant in the 1950’s.Bryant built a football dynasty at Alabama. He loved to tell how he won a national championship at UK and received a gold watch but Rupp won a national title for the Wildcats and was given a Cadillac.
Keith Kappes can be reached at email@example.com