Donovan dwells on UK’s ESPN All-Access show

Freshman Archie Goodwin dunks the ball in the Blue-White Scrimmage in Rupp Arena Wednesday night, October 24, 2012. Photo by Scott Hannigan | Staff

By Les Johns | Follow @KernelJohns
ljohns@kykernel.com

Talk of ESPN’s All-Access Kentucky show needlessly spilled over to SEC Media Day Thursday.

UK head coach John Calipari said in Mid-October that the program had originally turned down ESPN’s idea for the show.

“We didn’t want to do it. Do we really need more exposure?” Calipari said. “What about recruiting? I said I don’t think we need help. I think we’re okay.”

Calipari later went on to say tongue-in-cheek that there may be some value in doing the show simply to upset others.
“Everybody’s going to be mad. I know,” Calipari said. “Did I do it just because of that — to aggravate people? Might have.”

Joking or not, that seems to be the case.

Several head coaches were asked for their thoughts on the show at SEC Media Day Thursday in Hoover, Ala. No coach took the bait as much as Florida head coach Billy Donovan, who spent nearly half of his time at the podium answering questions about the show.

“I think every coach is different. I don’t have any feelings one way or the other about it,” Donovan said when asked if he would allow Florida to be a part of a show like All-Access. “I do think if you are using it as a recruiting tool — I don’t think that’s right.”

Notice that Donovan didn’t outright accuse Calipari of using the show for recruiting purposes — presumably because he realizes how ridiculous of an assertion that would be. The Cats have hauled in three-consecutive top-ranked recruiting classes and most of the parts of a fourth well before the first episode of All-Access aired.

As Calipari stated — they are doing okay already.

Donovan went on to lay out what his parameters for that type of show would be if done at Florida.

“Whatever your philosophy is, we are always selling our programs, If I was doing something like that I would want it to be done in a way that would represent the way we do things in Florida,” Donovan said. ” I wouldn’t want our guys to have cameras in their dorms. But that’s just me. I want our guys to focus on being normal college students.”

Despite answering questions about the series for five minutes, Donovan ultimately told reporters he hasn’t even seen the show.

“I have not seen the Kentucky All-Access, so I don’t even know anything about it. I’ve heard about it, but I couldn’t tell you the context of it. I don’t even know,” Donovan said. “I don’t even know how it was set up. Is there interviews? Are the guys off the court? I don’t even know what it is.”

Why did Donovan spend half his time at the podium talking about a show he hasn’t seen and a program he isn’t coaching? Why was he asked so many questions about this when there is so much about his own program to talk about?

Florida is ranked No. 10 in both the AP and USA Today preseason polls.

They return four double-digit scoring starters off last year’s team that made it to the Elite Eight and are one of the favorites to win the conference.

The Gators are for real and their two regular-season matchups with the Cats could ultimately decide who wins the conference.

That’s why it was a shame that so much of Donovan’s time in Alabama was wasted answering question about a tv program he hasn’t watched.

His team is one of the best in the country. Too bad he didn’t spend more time telling us about it.

ESPN was the only major poll to not rank UK as #1. They put UCLA first and UK second. Rivals and Scout had UK as teh #1 class this year.

This is the second piece I’ve read today talking about Calipari’s “three consecutive top classes.” When did we lose one??? I count the John Wall class, Brandon Knight class, Anthony Davis class, and the Nerlens Noel class as four in a row, not three. Get it right!

i honestly believe he is a little jealous or maybe envious. how else do you explain his musings? he may have realized that he could have had an NBA program without going to the NBA (Orlando) if he had taken the UK job instead of Calipari.

who knows? that is how it looks to me. he has a great team this year and is going to go deep in the tourney so i imagine he would want to talk about his boys.

maybe it was a smokescreen to keep attention on UK so his boys can sneak up on folks ;j