LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari on Thursday spoke to local reporters for the first time since Derek Willis’ arrest in mid-June for public intoxication and said the senior forward will not miss any game time. That doesn’t mean he won’t be, or hasn’t been, punished.
“You guys know I don’t throw people under the bus. You guys know how I am. We deal with every situation in its own right. We gather information,” Calipari said, although he’d never had a player arrested since coming to UK before the 2009-10 season. “Derek knows that he’s under a different eye now than he was, but I’m not going to tell you specifically what we did. I’m not going to write your stories and do all that stuff. But obviously he and I have talked a few different times.”
A few days shy of his 21st birthday, Willis was found passed out on in the street next to the open driver’s side door of a vehicle. It wasn’t a great start to what is expected to be a huge season for Willis, a 6-foot-9 sharpshooter who led the Wildcats in 3-point percentage in 2015-16.
Calipari said the incident is a reminder of something he frequently tells the players.
“That’s being here. That’s being at Kentucky. You can’t talk your way out of it,” the coach said. “And that includes our staff. I can’t go anywhere that they’re not taking pictures of me sending them somewhere. Then I gotta explain when my wife calls me and say, ‘You didn’t tell me you were in L.A.’ Like, what do you mean? ‘Somebody took a picture with you and …’ I’m out recruiting, what are you talking about? I’ve been in three states today.
“So you can’t – these kids know: they’re under a microscope. But I tell them, the downside of being here is that side. The good thing about being here is you’re at Kentucky and everybody wants to be here and you’re here … so you’ve got to deal with the other side.”
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