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#2021684 - 10/13/17 03:55 PM UK DOESN'T PAY PLAYERS?
jahawker2004 Offline
Freethinker

Registered: 12/30/03
Loc: Wherever Freethinkers Gather
Why would 5-star recruits pick Kentucky for free when other programs are paying?

“The honesty in this program and knowing that we will never get caught up in stuff like that,”--UK player Hamidou Diallo


Kyle Tucker
seccountry.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Hamidou Diallo addressed the elephant in the room on Thursday at the University of Kentucky’s basketball media day: If other programs are paying top players to pick their schools, as an explosive FBI investigation recently alleged, why would 5-star recruits come to Lexington for free?

Diallo laughed, leaned back in his chair and pointed to the ring of posters on the walls of the Wildcats’ practice gym. Most of the 31 players picked in the NBA draft during coach John Calipari’s first eight seasons are on those posters — which are oversized trading cards — in their pro uniforms.

“That’s why we’re coming to Kentucky,” said the former top-10 recruit. “We’re coming to be great players, and hopefully one day we can hang our poster up in this gym.”

Teammate Sacha Killeya-Jones, another of the nine former 5-star recruits on Kentucky’s 2017-18 roster, nodded in agreement, pointing also to the eight national championship banners hanging on another wall of the practice gym. He added that more than 20,000 people, many of whom camped out for days to get tickets, will be in Rupp Arena on Friday night for Big Blue Madness.

All of that “is why we came here,” Killeya-Jones said. “It’s nothing like it in the country.”

Point guard Quade Green, one of the five McDonald’s All-Americans who signed with the Wildcats in their latest No. 1-ranked recruiting class, thinks it is funny that critics can’t understand why players would turn down cash payments elsewhere to play for the top NBA preparatory school in the country.

“If a 5-star don’t want to come here and get better against another 5-star, then I don’t know what to tell you when you get to the next level, because everybody at the next level is a 5-star,” Green said before making a bold proclamation about the FBI’s ongoing investigation, which has already entangled Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State, Southern California and rival Louisville.

“We don’t have nothing to worry about,” Green said. “None of us was in it. We did everything the right way, and that was that. We came here because of the right things.”

Freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, whose AAU career included stops on both the adidas and Nike circuits and who claims no sneaker allegiance, echoed that sentiment. Why should we believe he chose merely a college scholarship to Kentucky when others might’ve gladly given him a sack of cash?

“The honesty in this program and knowing that we will never get caught up in stuff like that,” he said. “And also knowing what Coach Cal and the coaching staff has done with guys and putting them where they want to go. That’s probably the biggest reasons.”
_________________________
"Those Places (UNC, UCLA) Are Great, But There's No Place Like Kansas"
---Larry Brown to Bill Self.

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#2021686 - 10/13/17 04:02 PM Re: UK DOESN'T PAY PLAYERS? [Re: jahawker2004]
jahawker2004 Offline
Freethinker

Registered: 12/30/03
Loc: Wherever Freethinkers Gather
Well, the writers ain't buying it--

Kentucky basketball: John Calipari makes first comments on FBI investigation, grows agitated with questions

“We haven’t been contacted. The NCAA hasn’t contacted us.


Kyle Tucker
seccountry.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. — John Calipari had fielded six questions to start Kentucky’s media day on Thursday, five of which were related to the FBI’s pay-for-play investigation that is rocking college basketball, and the Wildcats’ coach was getting agitated.


He’d first said that “what’s out there now is a black eye,” referring to a scandal that has already implicated Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State, Southern California and rival Louisville — and which is almost certain to ensnare others. “But here is the thing for everybody here: I don’t want to come across as uneducated or dumb. None of us know where this thing is going [and] at this point I don’t think me commenting without knowing all the facts is the right thing to do.”

The assembled media did not stop asking, however. Calipari got a more general question about corruption in college basketball.

“For me to spend my time today on all this stuff, I just don’t want to do that,” he said. “Let’s talk about this team.”

Another related inquiry came, this time offering a possible solution: So should college athletes be paid?

Calipari gave a meandering non-answer that covered race and graduation rates and the idea that all players should be treated fairly — but not equally, depending on talent level and individual situations. Then came a question about Louisville coach Rick Pitino, the biggest name to fall so far as a result of the FBI investigation, and whether Calipari will miss that rivalry.

“Jesus,” he said, huffing. “Look, it’s unfortunate, all the stuff that’s come down. But let’s talk about my team, please. Does anyone here have a question about my team? Please?”

That’s when longtime Kentucky beat writer Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald-Leader took the microphone and pushed Calipari’s buttons — a sentence that could have been written a hundred times over the last eight years.

“One more question about the FBI,” Tipton said. Calipari tried to ignore him, asking if anyone else had a question.

“Wait a minute,” Tipton fired back. “This is a Media Day, not Coach Day. I am entitled to ask a question.”

Calipari seemed somewhat stunned by the audacity of that admonishment, but he relented, allowing the question.

“The FBI reportedly has expanded into looking at Nike [Adidas is the only shoe company so far named in the investigation]. Kentucky is a Nike school. What reassurance would you give your fan base, the Big Blue Nation, if they’re anxious about what this could mean?” Tipton asked.

“You’re asking like you know something that I don’t know,” said a defensive Calipari. “We don’t know what you’re saying, if it’s true. Do we know if it’s true?”

Tipton said it has been reported.

“Oh, that makes it true. I have no comment to it,” Calipari said, but then he did give a fairly significant comment: “We haven’t been contacted. The NCAA hasn’t contacted us. We’re going about our business of coaching this team.”
_________________________
"Those Places (UNC, UCLA) Are Great, But There's No Place Like Kansas"
---Larry Brown to Bill Self.

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