John Calipari responds to Rick Pitino’s social media comments

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Frenemies John Calipari and Rick Pitino are at it again.

Earlier this week, some comments that Pitino made about the use of social media went viral. The irony of it? Twitter is the reason that his comments made it to every blog and every website, with social media being the catalyst for words being taken out of context.

Essentially, what Pitino said was that, for an athlete, it’s a waste of time to sit there and read through the responses that come through on twitter. It’s either over-the-top praise or vulgar, and at times racist, hate-speak.

He had a point, and a valid one.

Calipari was on Mike and Mike this morning, and he was asked about social media use among college athletes. Here is his response, in full. (If you’d rather listen to it, it starts at the 4:45 mark here):

“This is no disrespect, the coaches you mentioned, I respect them all. They know nothing about social media. Nothing. They don’t do it. They feel it’s another job. What I’m trying to tell our players, we train them, we bring in professional people, we talk about it, we oversee what they put out. If they put out something dumb, we talk to them and tell them why [it’s dumb]. ‘Why would you do that?’ We tell them, if you’re into reading the responses, don’t go on twitter!”

“Twitter is an opportunity. Facebook is an opportunity. To say what you feel. To try to pick people up. To try to be positive. To try to add something to society. To let people see you transparently. You cannot be defined if you’re on social media by someone else. You will define who you are, and if you’re negative, that’s your fault. But here is who you are. If you are negative, it will come through. Five years of being on twitter and facebook, are you gonna lie for five years? You are who you are. But we’re trying to tell those kids, you build your brand or you break your brand down. You are who you are through social media.”

“I’m not going to hold my team back from twitter or facebook, I’m going to teach them. How do you use it for a positive. I don’t read one response on twitter or facebook. There are a lot of bullies and haters on twitter. I don’t read them, I don’t see them. I give out information, I’m transparent to our fans. I tell them how I’m feeling. I talk about the last couple of practices. There are things I want my players to read that I’ll put out. I also have things that we do that only go to our players, that I put out that I want them to see and hear. Videos and different things. Social media, for anyone to say don’t do it, it’s crazy. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I go home, I got a 17 year old son, he doesn’t watch TV, he’s on the computer all day.”

Here’s the irony: Cal and Pitino basically put out the same message.

Both of them essentially said that it’s pointless to read through any response that comes through from anonymous fans on the internet. They are called trolls — or, as Cal put it, bullies and haters — for a reason.

The difference?

Cal is selling his program. He’s always selling his program. Saying ‘we teach our players how to build their brand through social media’ is a soundbite that will play better when recruits see it in headlines than ‘the great class of underachievers live on the Internet and social media’.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.