SPRINGFIELD, MA. (WDRB) – On the day before he was to be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, John Calipari sat in a chair waiting for his name to be called. His hands were folded tightly together as his eyes wondered around the room. He looked nervous.
"I'm feeling some stuff, I normally don't feel," Calipari admitted later.
When his name was called, Calipari walked down an aisle, up on to a stage, and put on his brand new Hall of Fame sports coat. Calipari did hide the fact that to him, this experience felt surreal.
"To join this fraternity, which I never thought coaching and growing up, it never entered my mind. I went to many inductions but I never thought I'd be standing up here," said Calipari.
But there he was. Standing along side 10 other inductees from this year's class including former UK star Louis Dampier.
"To see everyone together, there's only two times this kind of stuff happens, marriages and funerals. It's a big deal," said Calipari.
"As one of my coaches, Doug Moe said, "I'm just happy to be here,'" said Dampier.
Calipari and Dampier met with the media after stepping off the stage Thursday. Both gave updates on how their Hall of Fame acceptance speeches were going.
"You have your family," said Calipari. "Are you going to say, 'she is a good wife, next?' If I don't mention my in-laws, my wife is going to kill me!"
"For me, the five-minute rule is not difficult. I'm a man of few words. I'm just going to thank the people that have been so important in my life," said Dampier.
The enshrinement ceremony takes place Friday at 7:30. WDRB will have updates throughout the day from Springfield.
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