By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
LEXINGTON — John Calipari has been away from his team for nearly a week. He still thinks about what could have been.
The Kentucky coach recalled his team’s last practice during his final radio show of the season on Monday night and admitted it wasn’t easy bidding farewell to a season that was cut short by a coronavirus epidemic that brought everything to a screeching halt last Friday.
“This may be the earliest I’ve stopped doing what I do in my whole (college) career,” the Kentucky coach said. “… It was fate, it wasn’t anything else (and) the kids had done their job.”
Calipari said one of his players — whom he didn’t reveal — thanked the staff because “you believed in me when I really didn’t believe in myself and you didn’t let me stop.”
“If that doesn’t give you chills…. We have another young man (Immanuel Quickley) whose goal was to start for Kentucky, that was it, and he ends up being player of the year in our league.”
After the Southeastern Conference Tournament was canceled last week, Calipari held out hope the NCAA Tournament would be held amid a national crisis that silenced collegiate and professional sports.
“They came back and played pick-up,” he said. “I heard later, they all sat down and they cried.”