April 27, 2013
The Maui Invitational wanted Kentucky back in the tournament field in 2014. John Calipari declined the offer, according to a Lexington Herald-Leader report.
"The invitation was there," [Tournament director Dave] Odom said last week, according to Jerry Tipton, "and he turned it down. ... I certainly don't want Kentucky fans to feel anything less than they're wanted. ... We'd love to have them on a rotating, four-year basis like we always have."
Calipari has publicly stated that he would hesitate to play in the Maui tournament again because of the distance and playing games on consecutive days.
It's a bummer from a fan's perspective. That tournament is one of the best non-conference events in the nation and always brings in a few top-level programs. (It will feature Missouri, Arizona and Kansas State in 2014, among others.)
But I understand why Calipari doesn't see a pressing need to go to Maui. And I understand why he's not going to mind passing up participating in that tournament, beautiful scenery and free-throw contests in local garb aside.