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John Calipari Defends Comments Regarding His Loyalty To The Harrison Twins

Earlier today,a story in USA Today featured some interesting quotes from Kentucky head coach John Calipari. Speaking at a coaching clinic over the weekend, Calipari explained why he stuck with the Harrison twins, more experienced sophomores, rather than turn to freshmen Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker when Kentucky sputtered in the final minutes of the Final Four loss to Wisconsin.

“Now you may say, ‘Why didn’t you have Tyler and Devin in at the end of the Wisconsin game? You probably would have won,’ ’’ Calipari said during his hour-long talk. “Because I was being loyal to those other two who led us to a championship game a year ago and they deserve to be on that court. That’s why I did it. I knew who was playing well and who was struggling. You think I wasn’t sitting there watching?

“But I owed it to those two (the Harrison twins) to do it.’’

Naturally, this could cause some to criticize Cal, because it sounds like his loyalty may have cost the Wildcats a chance at a national title. The veteran coach clarified his remarks, and his reasoning, on Twitter this afternoon. 

">September 28, 2015

">September 28, 2015

">September 28, 2015

Keep in mind, Aaron Harrison had made game-winners against Michigan and Wisconsin in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, and Andrew's clutch free-throw shooting helped seal the Elite Eight victory over Notre Dame. There was empirical evidence to back up Calipari's decision-making. Also, his loyalty to his players is one of the things that makes his program such an attractive one to blue-chip recruits.