Calipari disagrees with Knight’s accusation
AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky coach John Calipari doesn’t agree with Bobby Knight that college basketball lacks integrity or that he is proof there is a problem.
Calipari refused to get into a war of words Friday when asked about the pointed criticism from Knight that Calipari’s continued employment proves the game has a problem. Instead, Calipari said he remains a “big fan” of the former Texas Tech and Indiana head coach.
“I don’t agree with what he says but it doesn’t change how I feel about him,” Calipari said.
Calipari said Knight’s comments surprised him.
“I get up to go to mass this morning and there’s like 100 text messages and I’m like what in the world happened?” Calipari said. “And I get word and what I can tell you is I’m a big fan, respect him as a basketball coach, always have.”
Knight called out Calipari during a fundraiser for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday.
“We’ve gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that’s why I’m glad I’m not coaching,” Knight said. “You see we’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he’s still coaching. I really don’t understand that.”
Both Memphis and Massachusetts were forced to vacate Final Four appearances by the NCAA for infractions made during Calipari’s tenure, though Memphis is appealing the penalty. Calipari was not implicated in either case by the NCAA.
Calipari declined to take questions on the matter on Friday, but created some of the success he has had with his offensive strategy to Knight, who retired with 902 career victories. Calipari said he took his staff at Memphis down to Texas Tech while Knight was coaching to watch the Red Raiders practice.
Calipari said Knight gave him some help on perfecting the “Dribble Drive” offense.
“Made it even better,” Calipari said.
Kentucky forward Josh Harrellson said he was surprised by Knight’s comments but that Knight’s words seem to be part of the national perception of his coach.
“People hear stuff about him and they kind of guess what he’s like, but playing for him and actually being around him, he’s a great guy,” Harrellson said. “He’s fair to everybody.”
The third-ranked Wildcats (10-0) host Austin Peay on Saturday. Calipari can break Adolph Rupp’s record for best start by a first-year coach in program history with a victory.