Posted on: August 20, 2009 5:14 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2009 5:15 pm
John Calipari has issued a response to the NCAA's decision to make Memphis vacate its 2008 Final Four.
"I’m very disappointed and disheartened by the NCAA’s findings. I fully support the University of Memphis’ appeal and until that process is carried through to its completion, I will have no further comments on the matter. I am anxious to coach the team at the University of Kentucky beginning this Fall."
Posted on: August 20, 2009 12:07 am
The NCAA Committee on Infractions is forcing Memphis to vacate its appearance in the 2008 Final Four, sources familiar with the case told CBSSports.com on Wednesday.
The NCAA's report will be released Thursday.
Memphis appeared before the Committee of Infractions in June and faced allegations of major infractions -- among them that Derrick Rose used a fraudulent SAT score to gain freshman eligibility, and that his brother, Reggie Rose, traveled on team charters and stayed in team hotels at no expense. With the Final Four now officially wiped from the record books, John Calipari becomes the first coach in history to vacate Final Fours at two different schools.
Calipari's 1996 Final Four at UMass has also been vacated.
He's now the head coach at Kentucky.
Attempts to reach new Memphis coach Josh Pastner were not immediately successful.
Posted on: July 9, 2009 7:40 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2009 7:42 pm
CLEVELAND -- One of the things I gathered from my three days at the LeBron James Skills Academy and King City Classic is that Class of 2011 star Michael Gilchrist doesn't appear to be getting the kind of attention from college coaches that's typical of a top-ranked prospect.
The reason is simple: Everybody thinks he's a lock for Kentucky.
"I should be fired if I waste one cent recruiting that kid," said one high-major coach who apparently knows his boundaries. "[Gilchrist] is going to play for [John Calipari]. It's done. Trust me. He's playing for Cal. If you recruit him, you're wasting your time."
This perception is based on Gilchrist's relationship with Calipari confidant and basketball powerbroker William Wesley , plus a newspaper article two summers ago that quoted Gilchrist talking about how he planned to play for Calipari. Far as anybody can tell, nothing has changed even though Gilchrist has never publicly committed in a traditional way to Calipari at Memphis or Calipari at Kentucky, and that's why Gilchrist's phone isn't constantly bombarded by most of the elite programs.
It's not because he isn't talented enough.
Or smart enough.
Or good enough on a personal level.
He is all of those things, and I can't imagine there's a single school that wouldn't love Michael Gilchrist on its roster. It's just that coaches are hesitant to invest time and money into recruiting the gifted wing only to watch him sign with Kentucky in November 2010. That's the dilemma. But it should be noted that Gilchrist, his family and his high school coach are making an effort to convince schools that Gilchrist is open to being recruited by anybody and everybody. Whether it works remains to be seen.
"You talk to his mom, talk to him, they both tell me he's not automatically going to Kentucky," said Kevin Boyle, who coaches Gilchrist at St. Patrick's High in New Jersey. "They say there is no guarantee that he's going to Kentucky, that he's pretty wide-open. So the mom is putting that out there, and I'm putting that out there, and hopefully more people will respond ... because he probably hasn't gotten a number of phone calls that you'd expect for a guy of his level."
Posted on: June 27, 2009 7:24 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2009 7:53 pm
Former Kentucky student Matt Pilgrim is expected to visit Memphis Sunday and could announce a transfer to the C-USA school in the next week, a source close to Pilgrim told CBSSports.com on Saturday.
An initial attempt to reach Pilgrim for comment was unsuccessful.
This development is interesting because Pilgrim transferred from Hampton to Kentucky after the 2007-08 season, sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules and was expected to play for the Wildcats in 2009-10. But that all changed when John Calipari left Memphis for Kentucky, oversigned and thus needed to move players out of the program to allow his six incoming freshmen to enroll.
One of the players moved out was Pilgrim.
He did not want to leave.
And that's one of the reasons why a source close to Pilgrim told CBSSports.com that Calipari is working with new Memphis coach Josh Pastner to make this likely transition go as smoothly as possible. According to a source close to Pilgrim, Calipari and Pastner have been in contact, and Calipari has told Pastner he will not only release Pilgrim to Memphis, but that he will back Pilgrim's expected request of a waiver that, if granted, would allow Pilgrim to play for the Tigers this season.
Under normal circumstances, Pilgrim would have to sit out another year before becoming eligible in 2010-11. But the hope is that the NCAA recognizes that Pilgrim is only transferring for a second time because he was nudged out of Kentucky. In other words, Pilgrim had no say in the matter. And a source close to Pilgrim said there is precedent for the NCAA to grant a waiver under these circumstances.
Pilgrim's connection to Memphis is through Tiger assistant Glynn Cyprien.
Cyprien spent the past two years on Billy Gillispie's staff at UK.
He worked in practices with Pilgrim all last season.
Posted on: May 28, 2009 8:05 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2009 11:25 pm
Jon Roser -- a radio producer in Memphis who cannot sing -- got a karaoke machine and a back-up singer (Mark McCleskey) and recorded a song inspired by the allegations of NCAA rules violations at Memphis. Naturally, it's called "Johnny Calipari." Everybody except Kentucky fans will probably get a chuckle out of it. But remember, this dude is a terrible singer (even if he is quite funny).
Click this link to check it out.
It's best described as an alternative version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California."
Posted on: May 28, 2009 6:40 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2009 7:26 pm
Memphis basketball coach Josh Pastner confirmed to CBSSports.com on Thursday that he was never told the school had been charged with major NCAA rules violations when he accepted the job last month.
"I was unaware," Pastner said by phone from his office. "That's the truth."
Memphis received a letter alleging violations in January.
Pastner was hired nearly three months later.
So no, it does not appear athletic director R.C. Johnson was forthcoming with some crucial information when he offered Pastner the opportunity to replace John Calipari. But the good news for the first-year coach is that it seems highly unlikely that he'll be affected in any tangible way by the possible violations that happened while he was still an assistant at Arizona.
In other words, this is about the Tigers' past, not the Tigers' future.
So while it's possible Memphis might have its 2008 Final Four appearance banished from the NCAA record books, there is no indication whatsoever that a postseason ban, TV ban or any scholarship losses are on the way. That's a key point Pastner must stress going forward, if only because opposing schools will undoubtedly use the threat of harsh penalties in an attempt to scare prospects away from Memphis.
"I've been told by our athletic director and other people in the administration that none of this will affect the current team or any future team," Pastner said. "This is all about [the 2007-08 season]."
Posted on: May 28, 2009 12:11 am
Edited on: May 28, 2009 7:00 pm
Kentucky officials released a statement late Wednesday in response to allegations of NCAA rules violations at Memphis under John Calipari.
According to the school, Calipari "was forthcoming with the University of Kentucky during the hiring process about any issues under investigation at the University of Memphis." The statement also explained that Calipari has received a letter from the NCAA stating that he is not at risk of being charged with any violations in this case, and it closed by pointing out that this is a "University of Memphis issue and the University of Kentucky will not comment further."
"Even though I'm not at risk, I will fully cooperate with the NCAA hearing," Calipari said via the statement. "Beyond that, I concur with the statement from the University of Kentucky and will have no further comment."
Posted on: May 27, 2009 8:50 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2009 7:00 pm
The NCAA has accused the Memphis basketball program of major violations during the 2007-08 Final Four season under John Calipari.
In a letter first obtained by The Commercial Appeal and dated Jan. 16, 2009, the NCAA alleges "knowing fraudulence or misconduct" on an SAT exam by a player on the 2008 Final Four team. The player is not named in the report. But the letter states that the student-athlete "competed for the men's basketball team through the 2007-08 season, which included his participation in the 2008 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship."
The lone Memphis player who only competed in the 2008 NCAA tournament -- as opposed to multiple NCAA tournaments -- is Derrick Rose, a one-and-done prospect who was the top pick in the 2008 NBA Draft and subsequent NBA Rookie of the Year for the Chicago Bulls. If the allegation is proven true, Memphis could be forced to forfeit its Final Four appearance, meaning both of Calipari's Final Fours -- 1996 at UMass and 2008 at Memphis -- would then be removed from the offical NCAA record book.
Memphis is also accused of providing $2,260 in free travel for an associate of a player.
Calipari is not named or directly implicated in the report.
He now coaches at Kentucky.
CBSSports.com's initial attempt to reach Calipari by cell phone Wednesday was unsuccessful.