CRAWFORD | They can't meet in the Big Dance, but Pitino, Calipar - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | They can't meet in the Big Dance, but Pitino, Calipari still trade some little jabs

Posted: Updated:
Kentucky coach John Calipari talks with Bill Rafftery and Grant Hill of CBS Sports. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford) Kentucky coach John Calipari talks with Bill Rafftery and Grant Hill of CBS Sports. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford)

DES MOINES, Iowa (WDRB) — The University of Louisville isn’t playing in this season’s NCAA Tournament because of a self-imposed post-season ban, but the program wasn’t entirely forgotten at Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday, where the University of Kentucky and Indiana University coaches and players met the media.

UK coach John Calipari was asked about criticism from Rick Pitino on the Mike & Mike Show on Tuesday. I’m not sure exactly to what criticism the question was referring. Pitino was explaining to the hosts how it didn’t make sense to cheat to get recruits because he wasn’t going after the one-and-done-type players (not quite accurate, since the Cardinals did go after Marquis Teague, Trey Lyles and others, incidentally). Regardless, Pitino said this:

“If I could just get (Andre McGee) in a room for 10 minutes, I would say, 'Why would you do this? What purpose did it serve? We didn't need this,’” Pitino said. “We're not Kentucky where we're recruiting the one and dones. We're recruiting the Russ Smiths of the world; he’s a two-star athlete.”

In context, it may not tell the whole story, but it’s certainly not critical.

Perhaps it was Pitino’s next comment. At the SEC Tournament, Calipari had poked the Cardinals by saying the Selection Committee might find a way to throw Louisville back into the tournament, just to make things tougher for the Wildcats. He joked that the committee might try to figure out a way to throw the Golden State Warriors in there, or Louisville. It raised some eyebrows, but wasn’t without a complementary element — that Louisville in UK’s path would make it difficult.

Pitino was asked to respond to that statement and said: “Well, I've known John since he was 15 and ever since he got into coaching, that's his MO. He tries to make it the world being against him. He does the same thing that John Thompson did at Georgetown -- the world's against us. Wherever he's going, he'll probably stay 30 miles outside of town because the hotel's not good enough. Nothing's ever good enough, the world's against us. He gets to his players and says we should be seeded much higher; matter of fact, how dare they put Kansas the No. 1 seed, it should be Kentucky. And he'll have all those guys fired up. He did that great at UMass. It's sort of difficult for him to buy into that at Kentucky, but he's still trying to do it.”

On Wednesday, Calipari had his say. A reporter from New York, noting that Stony Brook was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance, asked Calipari if he remembered his first trip.

Did he? He went on a recitation of just about every play — culminating with a tournament loss to Kentucky. Parenthetically, he threw in, “That was the loss that led to the Christian Laettner game, when Rick should’ve had a guy on the ball.”

Calipari’s comments weren’t so sharp later, however, when asked to respond to Pitino’s comments on Mike & Mike. Calipari said he didn’t want to respond because he hadn’t heard them.

“They run a terrific program, he’s a terrific coach, he’s a Hall of Famer,” Calipari said. “We’re in the same state. Sometime’s you’ve got to rub elbows. Sometimes you’ve got to throw elbows. But I respect him.”

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

  • Sign Up for the WDRB Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Sign Up for WDRB's Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.