By LARRY VAUGHT
Every coach that has his team ranked in the top 10 was among the 15 finalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year award.
Well, every coach expect one — Kentucky’s John Calipari.
Maybe voters still blame him for Kentucky’s 34-point loss to Duke. Maybe voters just don’t like him and/or Kentucky. Or maybe some simply have not noted what he has done with this team that is now playing as well as any team in the country.
I’m not saying he should be coach of the year nationally, but it’s ridiculous to think 15 coaches have done a better job than he has this year.
No surprise that not being among the finalists is not a big deal to the UK coach.
“I think I’ve won the thing three times, so it’s not like they’re against me. I don’t know if anybody else has won it three times in the history of the thing. I’m fine,” Calipari said.
“Let me just say this: Those kind of awards go with winning, and if you ask me about us winning a national title or winning 50 of those awards, let’s go win a national title. It doesn’t matter to me.”
A Kentucky sports information spokesman alerted Calipari to the slight before his Friday press conference.
“The season’s not over. If they think that’s all I do is roll out balls, as long as we win, I roll out balls,” Caipari said. “Coach my team, try to get guys better. Maybe you like it, maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s your hope more than your opinion. Have at it. I don’t spend any time worrying about it.”
About three hours after Calipari’s short media opportunity, UK sports information sent this email to media members:
“Please consider Kentucky men’s basketball players PJ Washington, Tyler Herro, Reid Travis, Keldon Johnson and Ashton Hagans when voting for awards in the coming weeks. And don’t forget about Kentucky head coach John Calipari when putting together your coach of the year lists.”