By LARRY VAUGHT
Time after time the parents of players Kentucky coach John Calipari recruits tell me how he stressed education to them and the importance of doing classwork and if they do leave UK early, coming back eventually to finish a degree.
Freshman Tyrese Maxey, who graduate in the top five percent of his high school class, is leaving UK for the NBA but has also promised his parents he will come back to UK eventually and get his degree.
Kentucky Athletics released grades for competing scholarship players for the spring semester on Thursday and had a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average for the 16th straight semester with a grade-point average of 3.534 that was helped by the pass/fail policy UK used because of COVID-19 issues.
“The last two months of the spring semester brought an incredible display of resilience and persistence by our student-athletes,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “Neither the abrupt end of our athletics season nor the shift to online learning was easy to cope with, but our student-athletes once again showed their character and diligence in responding.”
However, don’t let that take away from what teams did. Volleyball had a 3.830 and softball came in at 3.787 to both rank in the top six.
But here’s what caught my eye. Calipari’s basketball team came in with a 3.763. That’s very, very impression under any circumstances. Certainly UK has an amazing academic support staff but for Calipari’s to put together those kind of numbers says a lot about their determination and character.
So when the one and done critics want to bash Kentucky, just remember that Calipari’s players do go to class.
And noting academic achievements, how impressive was it that former UK linebacker Jordan Jones finished his degree and just graduated. Jones had a rocky UK career on and off the field. He was a terrific player but his emotions often got him in trouble. I wasn’t sure he would be a player to return to finish his degree — and that obviously was a bad assumption on my part.
So congrats to Jordan Jones along with the Kentucky men’s basketball team.