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.