John Calipari Refuses To Lose, Even To The UK Pros
Yes, the UK Pros, also dubbed the "UK Legends" lost not once, but twice to the John Calipari-coached Dominican National team earlier this week. I know this post is a little late, but I think it's still worth examining.
So, why did the Pros lose twice? Well, if you happen to be a UK fan, just a friendly reminder, I'm not, it was a thrill to see all of these now big-time NBA stars grace the Rupp Arena hardwood again. I was streaming the first game for a few minutes the other night and the first thing I saw was Tayshaun Prince drain a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Pretty cool, but I noticed the score was close and it was just the first half. I made the mistake of thinking the Pros were going to take on a fair, possibly decent Dominican Olympic type of team, WRONG! The Dominicans boasted their own set of NBA names, including current UK player, Eloy Vargas. Yeah, when you have a team with Franscisco Garcia (He played at Louisville), Edgar Sosa (Hey, he played at Louisville too!) and Al Horford (a former Florida Gator), the game was not going to be a cake walk for the Big Blue.
The UK Pros, in theory, seemed to have a good thing going. They had John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo (a Louisville native), Eric Bledsoe, Keith Bogans (blast from the past!), Josh Harrelson, Nazr Mohammed, Tayshaun Prince, and Jodie Meeks. I would say well worth the $1,200 for seats closest to the floor. But was it really? The Pros lost the first round 106-88; I was baffled when I saw the score, this was the game that couldn't possibly be lost at RUPP ARENA.
So the exhibition moved to Louisville on night two, to a place the former Cardinals had never played before, the KFC Yum! Center. Oh, I forgot to mention, former UK coach (and my favorite) Joe B. Hall coached the Pros in Lexington, on night two, they would be coached by former U of L coach Denny Crum. The result was closer, but the Dominicans shrugged off the former Cats, 91-86. It's true these were just exhibitions, but for those of us who are die-hard fans of the UK/U of L rivalry (even though it wasn't technically U of L), it was a show to remember. Wait, I didn't really see but 5 minutes of the first game, but oh well.
The overall attendance for the two-day event was 40,000 which is proof that Kentucky basketball fans loyal and the real deal.