It's that time of year when basketball programs take overseas trips. Kentucky is in the Bahamas, but John Calipari brought his soapbox with him from Lexington.
"This is a basketball school. It’s always been that,” he said. “Alabama is a football school. So is Georgia. I mean, they are. No disrespect to our football team. I hope they win 10 games and go to bowls," Calipari told The Athletic's Kyle Tucker. "At the end of the day, that makes my job easier and it makes the job of all of us easier. But this is a basketball school. And so we need to keep moving in that direction and keep doing what we’re doing.”
Tucker tweeted the piece, and a certain colleague of Calipari's happened to respond.
Don't miss the subtlety of that hashtag. Kentucky has indeed ended its last four seasons with Citrus, Belk, Gator and Citrus bowl victories. The 2021 campaign was Mark Stoops's best yet: a standalone second place finish in the SEC East, 10 wins, a New Year's Day bowl victory, and a No. 18 AP final ranking.
How did Kentucky's basketball season end?
John Calipari's program has actually failed to advance in two straight NCAA tournaments. In 2021, Kentucky missed the postseason altogether after a 9-16 campaign, the program's worst season since 1926-27.
By the way, the reason for the piece of pure Calipari. He's arguing for a new basketball practice facility that, in Tucker's words, "in the center of campus and make it a grand, multi-use structure that also houses a sports science department, nutrition center and an interactive museum of the program’s rich history."
According to Calipari, funding should come from sources ranging from UK's NBA alumni to Kentucky taxpayers.
“Why wouldn’t the state come in and say, ‘We’re in. We’ll earmark.’ Because this is the basketball program for the University for Kentucky and everybody can enjoy this and come see it and be on campus and look at what it is. I think you would have people give to it," Calipari said. "That’s one thing people in this state will give to: men’s basketball. Oh, they’ll give.”