Kentucky’s Calipari calls UGA campus ‘incredible’ and UGA job a ‘gem’

In his 18th year as a college head coach, John Calipari finally coached his first game in Athens on Wednesday.

Calipari

Calipari

And he was very impressed by the place, he said before heading back to Lexington.

“I love it here,” the Kentucky coach said at his postgame press conference when DawgPost.com publisher Dean Legge asked about the potential of the UGA program.

First, Calipari said, “you’re in Georgia. Big deal. You got players. So you can recruit your state and do fine. . . .  [The recruits] are an hour or two hours away from campus; it’s like they’re going away to school but  they’re coming to the state institution.”

Second, he said, there’s the  practice facility adjacent to Stegeman Coliseum.  “I snuck into the practice facility. I looked at the locker rooms and all that. Incredible.”

Then there’s old Stegeman.  “I love  this building,” Calipari said.  “[It's like] our UMass building — 10,000 [seats], right on top of you, not one bad seat.”

Anything else? “I drove around the campus today. Incredible. It’s just incredible.”

Add it all up, and Calipari — the former Massachusetts and Memphis coach — reached this conclusion:

“Georgia,” he said, “is one of those gem jobs that no one realizes.”

——————————————–

Stegeman was packed on Wednesday night.

Among the 10,523 in the building were two former UGA football coaches (Vince Dooley and Jim Donnan), two former UGA basketball coaches (John Guthrie and Pete Herrmann), one Basketball Hall of Famer (Charles Barkley) and two former Atlanta Hawks general managers (Pete Babcock and Billy Knight).

———————————————-

The game story on Georgia’s 80-68 loss is here. A few other notes:

Travis Leslie left the court early in the second half because of cramping. He returned to the game, but not effectively.

– Kentucky’s 14 blocked shots were the most by any team in an SEC game this season.

– So now Georgia is 24-112 all-time vs. Kentucky.

Please follow me on Twitter for the latest UGA news and notes.

65 comments Add your comment

Meatlake

March 4th, 2010
4:02 am

Meatlake

March 4th, 2010
4:03 am

Athens is beautiful, as are the women too…

PMC

March 4th, 2010
5:01 am

if harrick got more time it would seem a lot more like a gem job than the train wreck horrible crap they got with Dennis Felton. At least Harricks teams had a chance to win. Felton was a freaking disaster.

TN Dawg

March 4th, 2010
6:07 am

Who cares what that sleazball thinks. Kentucky went to Memphis and bought a team. Calipari will leave KU right ahead of the Sheriff like he did everywhere else.

lanier

March 4th, 2010
6:09 am

Sounds like he already knows the NCAA is breathing down his neck over Ky violations yet to come out so he is lobbying for the Ga job.
Of course he would bring the best Ky recruits with him like the way he screwed Memphis so Ga would be good for a year.
This creep is a cancer in college basketball.
Harrick was a saint compared to him

A

March 4th, 2010
6:22 am

Just like football!

BuLLdawg

March 4th, 2010
6:35 am

14-game seasons nowadays.

We’ve had 1 season with more than 11 wins in the Coach Richt Era now starting year 10 with a group of 3 freshmen quarterbacks and 1 redshirt junior who has completed a grand total of 5 completions for 0 touchdowns but 2 interceptions.

The problem has not been with the games outside the conference, but in The SEC East with UGA losing 3 of the last 4 to the Tennessee vols and losing 3 of the last 4 to the Florida crocodiles.

10-10 that is our record in The SEC East over the last 4 years. Look at Kentucky for example 2-2 over last 4 years and a loss to every SEC East team. In fact, in the last 4 years we lost to every SEC East team in a Row, 5 consecutive losses to SEC East teams in the last 4 years.

Why discuss anything else other than what has led to this horrid showing the last 4 years vs SEC East teams, not allowing us to get on the National Stage and not beating a Top 10 Final AP Poll team in a bowl game the entire Coach Richt Era.

14 interceptions the last 4 years average

21 fumbles the last 4 years average

# 96 average NCAA Ranking in Penalties last 4 years

And, now to add insult to injury, we have 3 freshmen quarterbacks and 1 redshirt junior who have combined for 5 completions 2 interceptions and 0 touchdowns.

God Help Us.

10-3 or 9-4 in a 14-game season.

14 losses the last 4 years now and counting. 10 of the 14 losses the last 4 years have been losses to SEC East teams.

Basketball what a damn joke with that horrible gym, Cow Palace. At least we beat Georgia tek in EVERY sport.

Cuz

March 4th, 2010
6:43 am

He must have seen the co-eds.

Football Fan

March 4th, 2010
6:59 am

If Mark Fox had the talent Paul Hewitt does then UGA would at least be in the Elite Eight.

Louie Jr.

March 4th, 2010
7:03 am

Louie…..I responded to your “other” post.

Gone fishin’……bawa ha ha ha. Chump!

Rabun Dawg

March 4th, 2010
7:40 am

BuLLdawg, this was an article about basketball at UGA. And, contrary to what you may think, there are plenty of UGA supporters that do care about Bball. Coach Fox has done good things with this team, and given time and some good recruiting, he will have UGA basketball relevant. If you have to “rant” about Ga. football, save it for another time, or not at all!!

kydawg

March 4th, 2010
8:03 am

BuLLdawg don’t go away mad…just go away!!! Tough game against a tough team. Their bench was the difference. CRAP!!! Now I have to listen to my wife (a UK grad) run her jaw about a sweep (FB & BB) akk year!

Oh well…let’s get that 1st road win at LSU!

kydawg

March 4th, 2010
8:04 am

Oops…ALL year..sorry (I’m still mad)

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

March 4th, 2010
8:31 am

DuLLdawg is just trying to become the new St Simons. It is my belief he is a GT troll. I for one am proud of the basketball team this year. They are undermanned, but give excellent effort every night. The future is brighter than it has been in a long time, everyone recognizes it except DuLLdawg

Relax Dawg fans

March 4th, 2010
8:51 am

Posters like bulldawg are not fans of the program. A fan will get upset and vent and want to discuss why we are where we are. They will not continue to post the same thing over and over and over…

He’s “special”, we should be kind to him…

Relax Dawg fans

March 4th, 2010
8:54 am

I don’t follow basketball and don’t really know anything about Calipari, but I would think a coach who’s team is currently ranked #3 making those kinds of comments can only help the UGA program.

Rabun Dawg

March 4th, 2010
8:54 am

Kydawg,
Maybe we can beat the Cats in Tennis and Golf! Hey, give the Cats their due, they are a solid Bball team, and at least we are competitive with them on the floor, which has not always been the case. Have a good friend who played for UK during the Rupp era,and he truly believes that Fox is the real deal for UGA. And, this guy is no slouch when it comes to the knowledge of the game.

Larry

March 4th, 2010
9:05 am

Calipari is a snake with his history and one year wonder thugs at UK !!!

Hoops Junkie

March 4th, 2010
9:05 am

He said things to be nice. Anyone that has stepped foot in that building knows it’s not a great facility. And to call the Georgia hoops job as a gem? He’s about the only person that things that. He did get one thing right however? UGa is an institution.

Jesse Outlar

March 4th, 2010
9:13 am

Hoops Junkie you have no clue.

DawginLex

March 4th, 2010
9:19 am

not to defend coach Cal too much but riddle me this:

If you were a head basketball coach at a major university and you had recruited Derrick Rose to play for you and the NCAA Clearinghouse said “he is clear to play”, Who on this blog would have not played him?

I would have. The NCAA clearing him to play and later doing what they did is equivalent to Andy Griffith(Sherriff Taylor) writing a speeding ticket and then showing up later as the Justice of the Peace.

I’m just sayin’…………………

jason

March 4th, 2010
9:26 am

harrick won because he cheated hopefuily fox runs a clean program and wins.

go dawgs

Coaches know about UGA .......do recruits?

March 4th, 2010
9:31 am

Good to hear that a highly regarded coach says nice things about UGA. We WGA grads knew that Athens is a great place. I mean, I doubt that a guy like Coach C would waste any time talking about the Steg and Athens, if he did not really believe it.

Question is this:

When will the 3 or 4 ( every year ) big time state of Georgia HS kids realize this? Fox will need a great class this year and next year to have any chance of winning more than 15 games.

Go Dogs.

PS when do Tech and UGA play bb? Hmm???

Go Dogs.

CatsFly

March 4th, 2010
9:36 am

UGa fans never cease to amaze me. They call C a creep when they find out he’s being hired at Kentucky, then they quote him like the Bible when he throws them some bones. UGa fans are a piece of work! Can’t trust them.

Bo williams

March 4th, 2010
9:39 am

I believe what he actually said was, “the UGa gym is a real job”.

AthDog

March 4th, 2010
9:43 am

Great atmosphere last night at the Steg. Trey Thompkins, with more than a dozen NBA scouts in the house, had his worse game of the season. Mentally got down in the first half and never recovered. He is not mentally tough enough for the NBA yet. Leslie didn’t play great, either, although he had two nice dunks. We need those two to stay, for the programs benefit as well as their own. That’s the game that NBA-ready talent steps up in and plays their best…neither did. We also need CMF to have a nice recruiting class, which he should with the way they’ve played, especially in the second half of the season, winning at home and losing to big time programs on the road by the slimmest of margins, while Tech continues to struggle.
Finally, I’m not saying the #2 ranked team getting all of the calls is a surprise, it happens all of the time in sports, but how does John Wall play the entire game, nice game offensively and defensively, and not commit even one, NOT ONE, personal foul. True freshman and he already has his own rules, ala Jordan in the NBA.

AthDog

March 4th, 2010
9:45 am

I’m thinking Calipari was also impressed with the Steg’s practice facilities because they have Varsity hotdogs back there pregame for the tip-off club folks. Looks like he used some of the onion ring grease to slick back his hair. I’ll take Fox, thank you.

DirtyDawg

March 4th, 2010
9:49 am

Clearly Kentucky exposed us as a marginally talented team with plenty of flaws. I mean it’s been obvious for months that our kids don’t ‘take care of the ball’. Guards that can’t dribble out of trouble…big men that panic when the ball’s in their hands – and forget about they’re being able to ‘put in on the floor’…not quick enough to play a team like KY man-to-man. With the right kids, and time to ‘coach-’em-up’, The Fox will get-her-done though.

As for Harrick…folks if Harrick hadn’t been such a sleazeball he never would have been here in the first place. He wouldn’t have been run off from UCLA or Providence (or whatever that school was he was at before he got out of town just in the nick of time from), so don’t even pretend that he should have stayed.

Looks as if, unless we can win at least two games in the SEC tourney, we won’t have a .500 record – which I believe is necessary to be invited to the NIT. Doubt if we’ll be able to do that, but it’s something to pull for – oh yeah, we’ve got to beat LSU first.

As for young Mr. Thompkins, it’s obvious that he and Mr. Leslie need a lot more work on fundamentals and instincts before they should entertain the idea of turning pro. I mean, how about a fake or two down low before you put the ball up against guys as big, or bigger, than you that have plenty of athleticism…you might not get so many blocked.

Regardless, I love these kids and this coach. If we can get some more, and better ones, and keep The Fox happy – and here – then just maybe we’ll be able to be on SEC broadcasts with announcers that aren’t obviously pulling for the other team. If we get one more Kentucky ‘a$$-kisser’ – whether it’s Dean, of Conley, or whoever – as a color guy, we need to spread peanut butter on their mics.

Dawglasville

March 4th, 2010
10:01 am

Catsfly- maybe if you lived in Kentucky you would be amazed by your own kind too.

Demosthenes

March 4th, 2010
10:20 am

Georgia came out of the second half with no heart, and no shot. They played scared on the perimeter all second half long. They pulled it together a bit after the 10:00 mark, but by then they were down by 18 with no good chance to get back in it. This is a decent set of players, with two potential superstars and a coach who has a good offensive philosophy; I do question the lack of a press, especially when we got down by so much with less than 10 minutes to go. I know we don’t have the same level of athletes as KY, but we can’t make it so easy to inbounds and bring the ball down the court to set up their plays. That was disappointing. Still, overall this season, I’m tickled pink. This team has been in almost every game, and has won a few they had no business winning. UGA hoops looks to be up and coming, and I couldn’t be happier.

#2 BAMA FAN

March 4th, 2010
10:21 am

This time last year both Alabama and Georgia were hiring new basketball coaches. Bama hired Grant
and Georgia hired Fox. Guess who hired the best coach as far Georgia!! I still think that Grant will do a good job but Fox seems to be a better on the court basketball coach than Grant!! RTR

Brandon

March 4th, 2010
10:27 am

TNDawg – Calipari coaches KU? If you truly want to be taken seriously, know the facts! And obviously YOU care enough about what he thinks to comment.

Lanier – You guys would be chomping at the bit to get a coach of Calipari’s magnitude, period. You can say whatever you wish, but it will be falling on deaf ears. People hate what they don’t have. You guys should concentrate on your own faults as a subpar basketball program instead of trying to bring others down, but hey, haters hate! It’s just what they do! And I am sure that you were kidding about Cal leaving UK (it’s UK not KU TNDawg) for Georgia! That’s one of the funniest things I have heard all decade! He was trying to give compliments, but I guess that you (not all Georgia fans) are in the same classless group as Miss. St. fans! I wish the Georgia program the best in the SEC Tourney! I feel for UGA for having at least 1 retarded fan – see yourself. Keep hatin’ – We will be dancing!

bruce mac

March 4th, 2010
10:30 am

Catsfly, how do you know they are UGA fans? UGA fans typically could care less about BBall, much less who the coach at UK is. I see alot of Dawg fans on here defending him. I am glad KY is in our conference because we at least have one good BBall program and until Clapari is found guilty, I will assume he is innocent. Good luck in the final four.

AceDawg

March 4th, 2010
10:48 am

Let’s just hope Fox gets a couple recruits that he really wants for next year. UGA can reach at least bubble status next year if they bring in solid freshmen or a nice JUCO transfer. Price is coming around, and Leslie and Thompkins should be great.

Dawg 3/20

March 4th, 2010
10:52 am

If you don’t want to win titles and are not looking to win them then yes it is a gem.

scott

March 4th, 2010
10:54 am

Calapari know a gem when he sees one I guess, and the comments were nice to hear.

just wish every place he coached didn’t turn up with NCAA violations, he is no different then Harrick. But cheaters do win, we saw it here in the late 90’s early 2000’s. There is no secret to Calapari’s success, that is for sure.

[...] Athens.9.  After Kentucky’s win over the Bulldogs last night, John Calipari called Georgia “one of those gem jobs that no one realizes.”10.  In the end, UK’s talent trumped Georgia’s grit.11.  I think the headline on this [...]

ga gator

March 4th, 2010
11:06 am

If Billy Donovan misses the Tournament again this year another “gem” job will open up in Gainesville, FL.

Ron Mexico

March 4th, 2010
11:13 am

Can’t wait til that kid Gerald Robinson is playing next year, Fox says he is the man.

Dawgs 97

March 4th, 2010
11:27 am

For all the bashing you can give Calipari on the seemy side of college hoops, I am not going to bash him too hard because in two games againdt Georgia (which UK both won), Calipari had nothing but nice things to say about Mark Fox, the direction of this program, Athens and Stegeman.

Urban Meyer or Spurrier or other big time rivals, have geenrally been jerks about our school, and I met Rick Pitino when I was a student and he was coaching UK and he was a miserable human being. One of the most obnoxious people ever.

So if Coach Calipari has nice things to say about my school and my coach and team, then I am not going to bash the guy.

4WhatIt'sWorth

March 4th, 2010
11:33 am

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho:

Your remarks regarding BuLLdawg made at 8:31 am are right on! I’ve suspected the same thing for some time.
GOO DAWGS!

Flo-Ri-Duh!

March 4th, 2010
11:34 am

Georgia has been better coached than last year – obvious. Fox entered a difficult assignment with a short (almost no ) bench and very few experienced players. UGA will pick up two or three good recruits and be better next season and I predict they win 18 games. Probably still short of the NCAA tournament unless they can sneak in and win the SEC champ game. This should get them a good seeding in the NIT. Fox is the best honest (not Harrrick) coach that has been at UGA since Durham left long ago.

Voice of Reason

March 4th, 2010
12:04 pm

Hey, I am one happy DAWG! I have been watching UGA bb for 50 years, and I have never been so optimistic (even when Hugh Durham was in Athens). When Mark Fox can take a team that Dennis Felton had problems coaching, and coach them to play at a totally different level that is so obvious, he is one fine coach. Let’s just be glad we have him, support him and keep supporting the program to much success in years to come!
As for Calapari’s comments – it is unusual when comments of this sort are made, and I think all UGA fans should appreciate the compliments.
GO DAWGS!

Kentucky fan

March 4th, 2010
12:10 pm

If Georgia football coach said good things about Kentucky, it would make me feel good. I would not bash the coach for his comments. Kentucky people knows basketball, Georgia has some good fans but most of them would not know what a basketball was unless it hit them in the face.What if Calipari had said Athens was a small run down town, made up of taverns and bars. That Steigman was like playing in a outdated barn. People are jealous of him !! Georgia should go after Dooley of Tennessee and bring back winning football and Sec championships like the Gators do every year.

BLUE CAT

March 4th, 2010
12:20 pm

Flo-Ri-Duh! what Tubby ?

Preston

March 4th, 2010
12:45 pm

24-112! We could have done without that stat. LOL

Hoops Dawg

March 4th, 2010
1:00 pm

Demosthenes, I am not a b-ball coach but I can tell you that we didn’t throw up a press last night because you simply don’t press a team that is quicker, taller and more athletic overall han you are. Had we done hat, we would have had a dunking exhibition the likes of which has never been seen in the Stegasauras.
Whoever it was who said hat here would be an opening at Florida if the gators miss the NCAAs has to be delusional (unless Donovan were to resign in shame. The man is a great recruiter, fine basketball coach and a class act. That would be the worst firing in NCAA history if it happened, which it won’t.

d1reality

March 4th, 2010
1:00 pm

What else would Calapari say. You have to build up your weaker opponents so as to increase your chances of getting the #1 seed in the dance. Gimmee a break.

Funny to see the uga fans are excited about the sub .500 basketball season – delusional as always, just like the hype of the football team that finished unranked last year with all the prized recuits accumulated ove the last 6 years.

At least they put more than 4,000 in the arena last night, even if they were from lexington.

ButlerDawg

March 4th, 2010
1:10 pm

24-112 all time against Kentucky. Is that right?
Wow, UK is obviously tops as one of the best programs of all-time but winning only 24 out of 136 games? I’m just stunned.

F-105 Thunderchief

March 4th, 2010
1:30 pm

First time I visited the UGA campus in 1980, I was struck by the sheer volume of hot women. So much so, in fact, that I made a concerted effort to find one who was not. It took five minutes.