UK BASKETBALL | Calipari on Labissiere's eligibility: "Everything is good to go."
10/14/2015 06:20 PM
LEXINGTON — Kentucky head coach John Calipari was fired up on Wednesday afternoon at UK’s annual basketball media day, dispelling rumors that prized recruit Skal Labissiere could be ruled ineligible for the upcoming 2015-16 season:
- “Everything is good to go,” Calipari said of Labissiere. “Like we do here, it’s on the first day. You know, if you don’t know, I’ve got to explain the process.”
- “How did this become such a huge — this became like a firestorm. I’m telling you, I was like, I told — what is this big — this is like — where did this come from? I feel real good about what my team’s going to look like on the first day. Let’s move on to some basketball stuff.”
Reports surfaced earlier this week that the NCAA was investigating possible amateurism violations by Labissiere’s guardian, Gerald Hamilton, and alleged money requests Hamilton made before allowing schools to recruit the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2015 recruiting class.
Calipari adamantly assured during his media session that Labissiere will be cleared by the start of the season, adding NCAA reviews are nothing new for top UK commitments:
- “There’s probably 50 players that have a review,” Calipari said. “Last year we had five players have a review. A couple of them got cleared the week before the game. This year there was more than one. Every year we’ve been here, players go through the review. You won’t believe this: It’s always the best players who go through the review. I think my team will be fine and you guys will figure it out when we go out there the first day and everybody’s got uniforms on. You’ll know, ‘Oh, they must have been cleared.’”
Labissiere, a five-star center originally from Haiti, was the centerpiece of Kentucky’s No. 1 ranked 2015 recruiting class, joining fellow five-star recruits Jamal Murray (No. 12 overall) and Isaiah Briscoe (No. 13 overall), four-star Australian center Isaac Humphries (No. 51 overall), four-star shooting guard Charles Matthews (No. 80 overall), and JUCO All-American small forward transfer Mychal Mulder (Vincennes University).
Kentucky tips off the 2015-16 season on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with the annual Big Blue Madness team scrimmage at Rupp Arena, followed by its first exhibition game vs. Ottawa on November 2.
Click below to watch Calipari’s comments on Labissiere and KSTV’s discussion on why it’s critical to Kentucky that Skal is eligible this season: