Final Four press conferences are usually boring, filled with routine questions from reporters trying to file yet another game preview. Each team brings its coach and a few players, they answer some questions, and it’s over.
That wasn’t exactly how John Calipari’s session went.
Two of the 10 questions posed to the Kentucky coach dealt with his NCAA issues and vacated Final Fours (Massachusetts in 1996 and Memphis in ’08), and Calipari wasn’t overly pleased with either.
Q: I’m going to ask you a different type of question. Do you feel that you’re the 2000 Jerry Tarkanian?
COACH CALIPARI: I respect everything that Jerry did, his kids, how they played, all those things. But, no, I think I’m the 2011 John Calipari. I don’t know what that means and I hate to talk in the third party. But I am who I am.
Tarkanian famously feuded with the NCAA at Long Beach State, UNLV and Fresno State, dealing with multiple vacated tournament games (at LBS and Fresno) but did reach four Final Fours and won a title at UNLV.
The second (reportedly from CBSports.com’s Dennis Dodd) was a bit more aggressive.
Q. I’m being facetious, but how does it feel to coach in your first Final Four?
COACH CALIPARI: I don’t deal with that. We’ve been here three times. Those players played those games and did what they were supposed to. I’m so proud of what they’ve all accomplished. It’s been fun. It’s been a good experience. This is going to be a good experience.
According to the NCAA record book, it’s Calipari’s first Final Four. He doesn’t view it that way.
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