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“Nobody loves Kentucky more than Kyle (Macy)” no matter what he says

Kyle Macy, left, and Jack Givens, right. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kyle Macy has to be one of the most popular basketball players ever to play at Kentucky. He was the starting point guard on the 1978 national championship team, a three-time All-American and 1980 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year playing for Joe Hall after transferring from Purdue.

He scored 1,411 points and had 470 assists in his career and was a deadly free-throw shooter — he had the UK single-season record until Tyler Herro shot a higher percentage last season.

How beloved was he? Former UK basketball star Maci Morris was named after him. So were a lot of other children.

However, Macy upset a lot of fans recently with comments he made on an Indiana radio station — even though what he said really was nothing he had not said many times before. Basically, here’s the highlights:

— He said he didn’t feel “welcome” at practice like he did with previous UK coaches and had no “desire” to go any more.

— He disagrees with John Calipari about draft day being the greatest day in Kentucky basketball history and he’s not a fan of the one and done.

— He thinks season ticket holders deserve more marquee home games rather than the neutral-site games Calipari prefers and would like to see Kentucky and Indiana, his home state, playing a home-and-home series.

None of that went over well with a lot of Kentucky fans and the second question UK Radio Network’s Tom Leach and Mike Pratt got at the Ohio UK Convention Saturday was from a fan unhappy with what Macy said.

“Nobody loves Kentucky more than Kyle,” Leach said. “I see former players at practice frequently from all different eras. Neutral court games, a number of you feel the same way. The NBA thing you may disagree with Kyle but I know he is not the only one that feels that way.”

Pratt, like Macy a former UK All-American, said he’s talked with Macy numerous times about Kentucky basketball.

“Never once in talking about Calipari or Kentucky have I ever heard Mace say anything negative about Calipari,” Pratt said. “We are all entitled to our opinions and that is his and you have to respect that.

“I think people construed this as Mace not liking Cal. I can’t speak for him. But I think a lot of people are making a lot out of something that should not be that important … “

Macy certainly seemed to agree.

“I know it’s a slow news time but really?…To much a-do about nothing,” Macy posted on Twitter Saturday — and he’s not a big social media user.

Obviously Macy doesn’t need me to defend him or interpret his words. I just know he’s always said he prefers having players staying in college for more than a year — as have many other players. I think Macy is really not comfortable or familiar with the Calipari and his staff and given a do-over, he might have worded that a bit different. But he’s not the only player ever to say that — and it was said by many when Rick Pitino was also coaching. Now I do disagree with him about the Indiana series, but so what. It’s his opinion.

Pratt noted how his former teammate, Dan Issel — UK’s all-time leading scorer — was also upset when Calipari said that having five first-round draft picks in 2010 was the biggest night in UK basketball history.

“Issel called me and I had been with Cal when he made that statement about how big this was in recruiting,” Pratt said. “Dan was quoted about it later and Cal asked me about it. I told Cal, ‘The big fellow is too big for me to mess with but trust me, he’s behind you.’”

My feeling is that you can say exactly the same thing about Macy because I’ll never doubt he’s 100 percent all-in with UK basketball.

17 comments

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  1. This is the first time I have heard about this issue. I do not see how any significant block of the BBN would be upset with Kyle over the comments quoted here. I can see how Calipari might be sensitive to the remarks.

    However, one of the quote does cause me great concern, but not about Kyle, but about Calipair. It is when Kyle says he does not feel “’welcome’ at practice like he did with previous UK coaches and had no “desire” to go any more.” This is an outrage if true, and I have no reason to doubt Kyle’s statement.

  2. By most accounts, Coach Calipari has gone out of his way to make former players and former coaches feel very welcome at Kentucky. Perhaps Kyle does not feel welcome because he disagrees with Cal on several fundamental issues not because of anything that Cal has done or said to him. JMO

  3. I would hope that Kyle would call Cal and get his feelings out on the table so that things are straight up between them. Passive aggressiveness between two people is always a disaster…they can make a lot more room and space for any differences that may exist. JMHO!

    1. I agree with this idea, but I would suggest that perhaps Cal should initiate this contact. In either case, I truly hope they get this resolved

  4. Macy is a UK great, no doubt about that, but IMO Macy should have kept his feelings to himself. He played in a different era. He didn’t do anything but stir up strife and division against this program, and personal feelings against their coach. As for playing Indiana, UK don’t need them. They have enough big rivalry games now. He is entitled to his opinion though, just like every UK fan is. I personally don’t like what he said.

  5. If Macy want his views implemented, then become a coach and be successful enough to earn an offer from UK. Kyle was not able to do this! It accomplishes nothing but hatred to make comments that go against the current coach and then expect love and acceptance. That is just against human nature! I like Kyle, but his coaching ability is no where close to his basketball skills. All he did was alienate himself from a large portion of BBN.

    1. But hard to tell someone they can’t be honest

  6. My message to BBN on this is a quote from an old Dave Mason song, “there ain’t no good guys, there ain’t no bad guys, there’s only you and me, and we just disagree’. No one needs to vilify either side in this. He spoke his opinion, we heard it, now let’s move on.

    1. Well said Keith

  7. Kyle has the right to speak his mind as he wishes. He has earned the right to come back to Kentucky and be welcomed by everyone here at UK, even Calipari, even if they see things differently. Kyle is a true blueblood and it doesn’t surprise me that Rah Rahs like Pup would say he should keep his mouth shut. Kyle speaks for many in BBN who want our program to get back to being about student athletes giving their all to win for UK versus having a pimp like Calipari focus on getting kids in the NBA. Thank God that Calipari will only be here for 3 more years and then he will drop UK like a bad habit to move on to a cushy advisory position with the Knicks. All of you Rah Rahs will scream….You can’t do that! We gave you a lifetime contract! Calipari is a bonafide pimp…he is all about the money. It will take someone like Billy Donovan to bring us back to being the true gold standard of college basketball and all of us non Rah Rahs eagerly await that day. Oh, by the way Kyle, you will have to surrender your membership card to the Rah Rah club.

    1. Catmandoo, be careful what you wish for. When and if Calipari leaves this program it might not go near as well as you predict. As for Donovan, he turned the job down already once, and is on record that he does not want to return to the college game. He was an assistant at UK once and knows the pressure that comes with the job. As for calling Calipari a “bonafide pimp” just shows everyone how silly you really are. I never said Macy didn’t have a right to his opinion. I for one, and apparently there are many others, strongly disagree with him on this, and this forum gives us the opportunity to say so. That is another valid point this article brings out. It says many fans were upset with his comments. I will say one thing, it has definitely hurt Macy’s image to many in BBN.

  8. Catman, I’m more of a Rah Rah fan and welcome your opinions with plenty of room and space for them, however, could you write more on why you see coach Cal as a, “bonafide pimp”? That’s pretty strong language and I’m just not seeing that in his actions.

  9. There might be more to this story than what we are being told

    1. Agree with you

  10. Exactly Mike, but I’m surprise Cal hasn’t response to Kyle words or it could be he hasn’t heard about it.

  11. Calipari better start listening or it may not take 3 years to send him packing.

  12. Catmandoo your trying make Cal sound like he’s a damn fool, but the problem is your the one is the damn fool.

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