A few people who read my column about John Calipari this morning wondered if I was implying that he was worried about something or worried about the Eric Bledsoe ruling when he met with the media yesterday.
But that’s not what I was getting at. Yes, there’s a lot up in the air with Bledsoe and Enes Kanter’s situation, and those are things that he’s dealing with.
But my point in saying that he was a little different from the Calipari of the past was a broader point. I don’t know Calipari. I have covered him for a long time, however, and my observations of him go farther back than his days at Kentucky. As the U of L beat writer for this paper, I covered him to a limited extent from the day he arrived at Memphis.
And my point today was this. You have to be more careful what you say at UK. It was no big deal for Calipari to say he went to Mass every morning at Memphis. At Kentucky, he has learned, every little thing you say, every little thing you do, can take on a life that you may or may not have expected when you said it. And I sensed he might be weighing things a little more before saying them.
One of the great things about Calipari is that he says what he thinks, and in the past has even been known to say it in a really candid way. He still does that. But I think he has experienced here that he has to be a bit more careful. Any little thing can have ramifications beyond what you expected.
It should not be a big deal if he wants to have a party in his home to raise money for his friend the governor. That’s a private thing. But if you’re the coach at Kentucky, it can snowball on you.
I’ve experienced it as a writer. Unlike any other institution I’ve written about, some of the most innocuous things can become controversial. You can write about how the Eric Bledsoe or Enes Kanter stories can drown out football (and if you watch the news tonight, or read the Internet chatter when the Bledsoe report is released on the eve of UK’s big football game at Florida, I believe you’ll see that I was right on that), but you’re going to have some people see that as an insult.
It’s that way lots of places, I know. But as Calipari himself said yesterday, Kentucky is different. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, it just is.
So that’s what I was getting at this morning. That, and basically just getting on the record Calipari’s thoughts on Kanter, and a description of his first local availability in a while.