Local News

University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari addressed Thursday’s meeting of the Downtown Louisville Rotary Club.

Click below to hear the entire speech.

He spoke as hundreds of Wildcat fans have begun camping out on the UK campus for Saturday’s distribution of tickets for the team’s first public practice on October 15.

As he begins his second year as UK coach, Calipari says he’s still getting used to that level of fan devotion.

“You fans out there, you’re nuts. You’re crazy. I was just at a nursing home, retirement home, Brooks Place in Winchester, and a 96 year old lady grabs me. (She says) ‘you’ve got to work on their free throw shooting, coach.’ Ninety-six…you’re worried about free throws, he said.

Calipari is rebuilding his team after five players were chosen in the first round of the NBA draft. He says this year’s team is talented, but will need to execute well to be as successful as last year’s squad, which reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.

Calipari said he remains opposed to the NBA rule that prohibits players from jumping to the league straight from high school.

“I hate it. I’ve always hated it. Players should be able to go directly to the league. Why shouldn’t they? Let them go right to the league. And the ones who come to college should stay two or three years,” he said.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."