A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

UK coaches have served as father figures to many players — on and off the court — for decades

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today College coaches are charged with more than just teaching their respective sports. They also serve as mentors to student-athletes, many of whom are thousands of miles away from home. Throughout history, the University of Kentucky has had some coaches who have served as a father figure to their players and juggled managing the team on and off the court and the field with...

John Calipari listening and learning, speaks out about racial inequality during NABC webinar

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today John Calipari is listening and learning. The Kentucky coach took part in a discussion on race relations during a webinar sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He joined former Oregon coach Ernie Kent, Houston coach Kelvin Sampson and Ron Hunter of Tulane. Frank Martin of South Carolina and Pat Chambers of Penn State also were part of the discussion. Like...

Calipari atop New York Knicks’ coaching wish list? UK mentor unlikely to consider NBA opening

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today John Calipari’s name has surfaced yet again as a potential candidate for the head coaching job with the New York Knicks. If the past is any indication, the Kentucky coach won’t walk away easily or at all. However, Calipari is a longtime friend of Leon Rose, who was recently hired as the Knicks’ team president. Rose’s first priority is hiring a coach and it’s...

Kentucky, Notre Dame to resume basketball rivalry this season; Irish to visit Rupp Arena on Dec. 12

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky has renewed its rivalry with Notre Dame on the basketball court. The two storied programs agreed to a three-year contract beginning on Dec. 12 when the Wildcats host the Irish at Rupp Arena. The two teams will play a neutral-site contest in 2021, with the Wildcats traveling to South Bend to conclude the series in 2022. The two teams played each other in 2015,...

Calipari: UK basketball players to be in ‘pretty good bubble’ upon return to campus in June

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky head coach John Calipari expects things to be different, much different, when players return to campus for voluntary workouts in less than two weeks. The Southeastern Conference paved the way for players to return to campus on June 8. It will mark the first time students have been allowed on campus since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the SEC...

Coach John Calipari, former Kentucky players brace for a very different kind of NBA Draft

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today John Calipari will be keeping a close eye on the NBA Draft. Calipari has five players from last year’s Kentucky squad — Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, and EJ Montgomery — who have declared for next month’s draft. Although Calipari’s players have fared well in the draft, this one will be much different because of the COVD-19 pandemic. Coach...

Calipari says being intimidated by Michael Jordan ‘an understatement’ while coaching in NBA

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today The “Last Dance” has captivated and fulfilled the nation’s thirst for sports, and Michael Jordan’s career has been well-documented during the weekly ESPN special that ends this Sunday night. The 10-part series profiled Jordan’s 15-year career in the NBA, a television biography that chronicled his six NBA championships as a member of the Chicago Bulls and sprinkled...

Former basketball standouts Turner, Mercer among six selected for induction into UK Hall of Fame

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Wayne Turner won two national championships at Kentucky and was one of six former student-athletes named to the school’s 2020 Hall of Fame class on Thursday. Turner played in 151 games in his career with the Wildcats and was a member of the 1996 and 1998 national championship teams. Turner also was a member of the 1997 national runner-up squad and scored 1,170 points...

Wake Forest transfer Sarr looks to reboot career at Kentucky; averaged 13.7 points last season

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky landed a future post player on Wednesday when Wake Forest standout Olivier Sarr announced plans to transfer and continue his career in Lexington. Sarr, a 7-foot center who averaged 13.7 points and nine rebounds per game last season, chose the Wildcats over Duke, Gonzaga, Florida State and Baylor. Sarr will have to sit out next season because of transfer rules. He...

Calipari, Wildcats begin season against Kansas in State Farm Champions Classic on Nov. 10

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky will open the college basketball season against Kansas in the State Farm Champions Classic on Nov. 10 at the United Center in Chicago. The contest will be the fourth meeting between the two collegiate powerhouses in the four-team event. The Wildcats are 5-4 in the yearly classic and defeated Michigan State to open the season last November. Kentucky beat Kansas...

John Calipari adds Rhode Island transfer Jacob Toppin, plans to ‘chase greatness’ at Kentucky

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today John Calipari officially added another transfer to his roster Monday. Rhode Island forward Jacob Toppin will join Kentucky this fall and will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out next season because of NCAA transfer rules. Toppin, brother of Dayton standout Obi Toppin, averaged 5.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season. He chose to transfer...

Calipari says UK newcomer Mintz fits mold of past graduate transfers; averaged 9.7 points at Creighton

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky lost its starting point guard but added an experienced transfer to its roster next season. Creighton point guard Davion Mintz verbally committed to play for the Wildcats last week and his transfer became official Wednesday and will be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer. “I am thrilled, humble and hungry to be part of the UK family,” Mintz said. “I...

DeGregorio joins UK as walk-on; grandson of Calipari’s college coach averaged 17.9 ppg

The University of Kentucky basketball team has added Isaac DeGregorio out of North Catholic High School in Pittsburgh to its roster. DeGregorio, a point guard, will join the team for the 2020-21 season as a walk-on. DeGregorio averaged 17.9 points per game as a senior for North Catholic this past season and led his high school to a 26-2 record and the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League...

Calipari says at least five players will enter NBA Draft, including SEC Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today John Calipari is used to rotating rosters. The Kentucky coach is expecting more turnover next season. Calipari said he believes at last five players to declare for the NBA Draft, including Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley, along with Nick Richards, Ashton Hagans, EJ Montgomery and Tyrese Maxey. “My guess is four to five guys would probably...

Calipari foundation working to help struggling Kentucky families during time of uncertainty

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today John Calipari is doing his part to help struggling families during the current coronavirus crisis that has crippled the state, nation and the world. The Calipari Foundation, the Kroger Company, and Fayette County Public Schools will be providing food for families based in 37 elementary schools through April 20 and said if they “need more, then we will do more — eight...

Season over early but Calipari to keep in touch with teams via calls, text; Pitino hired at Iona in New York

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Reality is beginning to sink in for Kentucky coach John Calipari. After both the Southeastern Conference and the NCAA Tournaments were canceled last week, because of coronavirus concerns, Calipari came to the realization Saturday the team’s season ended following last week’s 71-70 win over Florida in Gainesville.   “It kind of hit me this morning that my time to...

Quickley makes impression on Southeastern Conference; Calipari named top coach in SEC

Immanuel Quickley was named SEC Player of the Year and John Calipari took Coach of the Year honors as announced by the league Tuesday. (Photos by Tammie Brown/Keith Taylor, Kentucky Today) By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Immanuel Quickley’s transformation made an impression on the Southeastern Conference. Quickley was named the league’s Player of the Year Tuesday ahead of the conference tournament...

Kentucky coach John Calipari wants Ashton Hagans in ‘great frame of mind’ heading into SEC Tournament

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today John Calipari isn’t worried about Ashton Hagans and the Kentucky coach expects to meet with the sophomore point guard soon to sort out their differences as the Wildcats prepare for the Southeastern Conference Tournament. “My hope is we’ll talk (Monday) or (Tuesday) and I think he’ll be fine,” Calipari said Monday during the SEC Teleconference. “Whether I start...

Longtime sports columnist Jamie Vaught set to release book spotlighting UK basketball Feb. 22

A college professor, who also moonlights as a longtime credentialed sports columnist in Kentucky, has written another book about University of Kentucky basketball. The new 256-page paperback by Jamie H. Vaught, a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro, is titled “Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey.” After writing four books about UK hoops during...

Kentucky uses another second-half rally to complete sweep of Vandy

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Comebacks are customary when Kentucky plays Vanderbilt no matter the circumstances. The Wildcats did it again Tuesday night at Memorial Gymnasium. Kentucky rallied and notched its third consecutive victory and 11th in its last 13 contests with a 78-64 win over the Commodores. The 12th-ranked Wildcats (19-5, 9-2 Southeastern Conference) outscored Vanderbilt 51-28 in the...