John Calipari still can't resist taking a jab at the NCAA when the opportunity arises.
Asked on his 53rd birthday Friday whether the pressure of coaching at Kentucky actually makes him feel older than his age, Calipari paused for a split second and offered a brilliant deadpan response.
"Well, two years got vacated," he quipped, "so I'm 51."
For those still unfamiliar with the highs and lows of Calipari's coaching career, he of course is referring to his past run-ins with the NCAA. The UMass and Memphis teams Calipari led to the Final Four both had their records expunged, the former because Marcus Camby accepted thousands of dollars from a sports agent and the latter because Derrick Rose's SAT scores were ruled invalid.
This past summer, the chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions sent Kentucky a letter demanding the school publicly acknowledge it erred by celebrating Calipari's 500th victory after a win over Florida last season. Kentucky eventually gave in, but Dick Vitale said on Tuesday's Kentucky-Florida broadcast that Calipari still has the 500th victory ball in his office, joking that he'll soon become the only man with two of them.
Once the laughter among the Kentucky media corps died down on Friday, Calipari did get around to answering the initial question.
"I'm enjoying myself," he said. "I'm enjoying our players. I enjoy our fans. I think we as a program have connected as well as you can."
- John Calipari