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June 20, 2011
Calipari opens satellite camp with a dig at 500-win flap
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - John Calipari insists he doesn't care what the NCAA says his record is as Kentucky's basketball coach.
That doesn't mean he can't have some fun with the organization's insistence that UK reflect 42 vacated wins from Massachusetts and Memphis in his career win total.
Speaking with reporters at his satellite camp at Bowling Green High School Monday morning, Calipari discussed leadership on his 2011-12 team and got in a jab at the fuss surrounding his win total.
"I'm hoping that Darius Miller, who's been to an Elite Eight, a Final Four and won two SEC championships and won how many games?" Calipari said. "Sixty-something. I don't know. We'll have to call the NCAA and check that number. Whatever that is, there's not that many players that have won as many, been to championships."
As reporters chuckled, Calipari grinned. "What? Why are you laughing?" he asked.
UK conceded last week that it was in error in commemorating Calipari's 500th career win during the season. He's officially listed as having 467 wins. Forty-two were vacated for the use of ineligible players at UMass and Memphis.
Calipari was not found to have violated NCAA rules in either case.
On Monday, Calipari reiterated his stance on his official record, saying he'd be fine with 0-0.
"I could care less," he said. "This is a players-first program. It's about our players. I could care less. What they've done on the court, what they're doing in the Draft in the green room, what they're doing in the classroom."
Calipari was unaware he'd be honored for the 500th career win, he said. UK officials planned the ceremony as a surprise.
"I can't even remember what I did, but I think I threw the ball to somebody like, 'What is this about?'" Calipari said. "Even at the time it didn't mean anything to me, because it's not about me. Now, it can be taken however it was, but I had no idea. If they would have asked me about it I would have said, 'Don't do it. It doesn't matter.'"
Calipari's stop here was the first on a five-day satellite camp tour of the state, which continues Monday afternoon in Bardstown.
About 180 campers attended the camp at Bowling Green High School. It's expected to be the largest crowd of the week. Many had multiple family members in attendance as camp opened.
Calipari called the satellite camps "probably the most powerful thing we do."
"A lot of these kids couldn't come to Lexington to go to camp," he said. "We only have one overnight camp. I'm not at the university to coach camps. I'm there to coach basketball, so we don't have a lot of camps. This gives us a chance to step out into the state. We're the Commonwealth's team. You find out we have more parents and families and cousins and uncles coming than campers, to sign and take pictures and do all those things. It's kind of neat."