Only in Kentucky can it be “morally wrong” for coach to get ejected or will Calipari philosophy work for church offering

John Calipari ejected. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

You would think I would know to never be surprised by the passion/logic of Kentucky basketball fans … but got to admit two things in the last 18 or so hours did surprise me.

First, after Kentucky rallied to win at Arkansas, friends told me the first call that Ryan Lemond got on the Kentucky Sports Radio postgame show was from a fan questioning John Calipari’s moral stance for getting thrown out of the game and trying to manipulate officials into making more favorable calls. The caller apparently felt that was setting the wrong example for athletes.

2021 combo guard Jaden Hardy keeping options open but admits he likes UK a lot

Jaden Hardy (USA Basketball Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Jaden Hardy is the No. 1 combo guard in the 2021 recruiting rankings and perhaps the best shooter in that recruiting group. However, there’s another given about Hardy — he never quits playing hard no matter the score.

“That’s the thing about him. He never gets upset with his teammates. He is a good leader. That’s what he does. He just plays,” said Coronado High School (Nev.) coach Jeff Kaufman. “He always looks to make the pass even though we sometimes don’t catch a bunch of them but he never lets that take away from the effort he plays with.”

Kenny Payne: “Our veterans have to be good.”

Immanuel Quickley (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

Nick Richards scored 17, reaching double figures for the sixth straight contest and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds, in Saturday’s win at Arkansas. The 7-foot junior is averaging 16 points per game over the past six games.

Making his first start in seven games, Immanuel Quickley had a double-double with 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Ashton Hagans followed with 13 points and six assists, the 14th consecutive game the sophomore guard has dished out five assists or more. Tyrese Maxey added 11 points and Keion Brooks scored 10, including four free throws down the stretch and grabbed seven rebounds.

Kentucky had to embrace crunch time execution to win at Arkansas

Kenny Payne talked with Ashton Hagans Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

The message was simple and Kentucky responded to adversity with ease in a 73-66 win at Arkansas on Saturday.

That message came after Kentucky coach John Calipari was ejected following a double technical foul with 8:19 remaining and the Wildcats in a 44-44 deadlock. The Razorbacks took a 47-44 lead after making three of four free throws, but Kentucky went on a 15-2 run that gave the Wildcats enough of a surge to escape with their eighth consecutive win over the Razorbacks, including the last three in Fayetteville.

John Calipari ejection photo gallery by Vicky Graff

Photographer Vicky Graff was in Arkansas Saturday when Kentucky coach John Calipari got ejected in the second half when Arkansas had shot 15 free throws and UK none and her pictures show the frustration/emotion Calipari had when he was tossed midway of the second half.

John who? Calipari gets ejected, Cats really to win 73-66 at Arkansas

Ashton Hagans helps restrain John Calipari while Immanuel Quickley covers his ears after Calipari was ejected Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky answered coach John Calipari getting ejected in the second half with a 15-0 run at Arkansas Saturday to beat the Razorbacks 73-66 after almost blowing a double-digit lead on the road like they had done at South Carolina on Wednesday.

“Everybody knows about Kentucky basketball”

Alex Tchikou (Larry Vaught Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Dream City Christian (Ariz.) guard MarJon Beauchamp has already declared that in June he will start training for the 2021 NBA Draft in San Francisco with trainer Frank Matrisciano and also get training from former NBA coaches.

He had plenty of college scholarship offers, but the 6-6 guard just decided this was the best path for him to make the NBA.

“I have talked to a couple of top players about it and they are thinking about it (this year). I think I am starting a trend and more people will be coming into it,” Beauchamp said.

Numbers favor Arkansas by 5 points over Cats

By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer

The season has passed the ½ way mark with a loss at South Carolina on Wednesday night. Now, the Cats continue their mid-season two game trip with a game in Fayetteville, Arkansas against a group of hogs that have been playing very good basketball this season.

We recall that the two game Las Vegas junket last month ended with a pair of losses, and a repeat of the 0-2 trip now would carry very serious impact upon the Cats’ standing in the SEC race.

John Calipari to players: “Am I asking you to do something you can’t do?”

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Why isn’t the work Kentucky is doing in practice, especially on blocking out to improve rebounding, carrying over to games because UK is giving up way too many offensive boards in games lately?

“I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. But I know they saw it (from the South Carolina game) and I know they want to do right,” Calipari said Friday.

The UK coach had individual meetings with his players Thursday to talk about Wednesday’s 81-78 loss to South Carolina when the Cats blew a 14-point lead and gave up 56 points in the second half.

John Calipari not “playing favorites” but he did like Johnny Juzang’s rebounding

Johnny Juzang (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Not only did freshman Johnny Juzang finally get back into a game and play eight minutes Wednesday in Kentucky’s 71-68 loss at South Carolina but he was also in the game at crunch time.

He was just 1-for-4 from the field — he followed his own miss. But he did not have a turnover and did grab five rebounds.

Kentucky coach John Calipari apparently liked what he saw.