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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Bob Knight falsely blasts Kentucky’s 2009-10 Elite Eight team

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

There's enough to criticize about Kentucky coach John Calipari that Bob Knight shouldn't have to resort to bending the truth.

Knight took a shot at Kentucky's 2009-10 team without prompting on Saturday when speaking about what he finds most wrong with college basketball today during a speech in Wabash, Indiana.

"There's a situation in college basketball that really bothers me beyond anything that's ever bothered me in my career," Knight began. "Kentucky, year before last, started five players in the NCAA tournament games that had not been to class that semester. And that's that one-and-done philosophy that we have now."

What Knight likely is referring to is that Kentucky team posted a 2.025 fall semester GPA and a 2.18 spring semester GPA, not exactly the type of report cards kids rush home to show their parents. However, to say that the Wildcats started five players in the NCAA tournament who weren't going to class is blatantly false.

Patrick Patterson graduated from Kentucky in three years. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe finished their classes in the spring semester despite preparing for the NBA draft. Darius Miller is still enrolled at Kentucky. And John Wall proudly tweeted last year that he earned a 3.5 spring semester GPA to go with all A's and B's during the fall. {YSP:MORE}

Maybe the only Kentucky player who deserves Knight's criticism was Daniel Orton, a backup on the 2009-10 team. The freshman center apologized to Kentucky fans last July after he dropped out of class immediately after the NCAA tournament because he wanted to prepare for the NBA draft out of state.

Not surprisingly, it didn't take Kentucky players and administrators long to fire back at Knight for his comments. Not only did Cousins tweet Monday night that he went to his spring classes, athletic director Mitch Barnhart also released a statement on Monday night calling what Knight said "blatantly erroneous."

"Academic performance has always been a priority at UK and it's unfortunate that, although every starter from the 2010 season finished the spring semester in good academic standing, these myths exist," Barnhart said. "Our men's basketball team's (Academic Progress Rate) score reflects our attention to academic progress and our student-athletes take great pride in representing the University of Kentucky on and off the floor."

This isn't the first time Knight has publicly criticized Calipari. During a fundraiser for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in December 2009, Knight referenced Calipari's hiring at Kentucky as an example of college basketball's lack of integrity.

"We've got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he's still coaching," Knight said. "I really don't understand that."

The worst part about what Knight said Saturday is that the larger point he was making got completely overshadowed.

Knight's correct that too many one-and-done players make a mockery of the term student-athlete. He owes Kentucky an apology, however, for his false accusations against last year's Wildcats.

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