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Kentucky Basketball: Kelly Oubre Sr.'s Comments Are A Tempest In A Teapot

Big Blue paranoia strikes again, this time concerning comments made by the father of a former UK recruit.


There's currently a whole lot of Twitter scrabble going on parsing some of the comments that were made by Kelly Oubre's father, Kelly Oubre Sr. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the comments thus:

There’s a chance Oubre will stay at KU more than one season.

"If it calls for that, yes, I could," Oubre Jr. said. "I have no problem with that. If the time’s right and I’m ready to come out, I’d do that."

The elder Oubre, who is a special-education teacher, said: "That’s one of the reasons behind choosing Kansas. Coach Self doesn’t kick you out if you are not ready. I don’t care too much for it (one-and-done) because if you look at it over the last couple drafts, the success of the guys one-and-done is few and far between. Every once in a while you find guys who can make it through. I’m more concerned about his education after maybe a two-year stint or three-year stint. How close is he to that degree and having a greater business mind going into the next level, whatever that is?" added Oubre Sr. "I think the first year in college as well as the pros, maybe two, is a learning curve. That learning curve can be cut considerably if he stayed and developed in college."

Note that I've quoted this extensively, instead of selectively, to make sure we can understand the point he was trying to make and not just take the bolded section out of the context of his comments.

Now, I get that Kentucky fans aren't going to be real keen on the suggestion that John Calipari "kicks [players] out if [they] not ready." That, taken in isolation, is transparently false, and many are taking it as an implication that John Calipari does kick players out if they aren't ready. I don't think that's what he meant at all.

What he was saying was that Bill Self doesn't do that, not that Calipari does, which is pretty much true. Self has never been known as someone who would kick out a player not ready to move on, or even do what Calipari does and strongly recommend, in the manner of "If you want to do what's best for me and my family, stay. If you want to do what's best for you and your family, enter your name in the NBA Draft."

Also, take note that Mr. Oubre Sr. is himself a teacher, and as such, can be expected to place a greater value on education than a dispassionate, or even just a non-educator observer might take. That is both reasonable and fair given his situation, and all the nonsense suggesting this was some kind of shot at Calipari is just that. Mr. Oubre was explaining why he and his son thought that Kansas was a better fit for them, and one of those reasons is that he felt that Kansas was more friendly to a two or three year stay than Kentucky. That perception is of course wrong, but that's not the same thing as construing his comments as an attack on Calipari.

As far as the one-and-done goes, it's hard to find people who like that, although if you notice Oubre Jr.'s comments above, he hardly suggests that he's a mortal lock to stay more than one year. To the contrary, his "if it calls for that, yes, I could" hardly qualifies as a ringing endorsement for extra college years.

Twitter, of course, has other "interpretations:"

A lot of this started with this article form The Sporting News by Roger Kunzia, where he opines:

So reading between the lines, Oubre Sr. thinks Wildcats coach John Calipari forces his players out after one season so he can reload for the following class. Anyone else find those comments off-base?

Note that Kunzia is defending Coach Cal and implicitly criticizing Kelly Sr., but I think that's unnecessary and reading a lot more into the comments than were there.

And more than just Kunzia rose to Calipari's defense:

Some pretty unexpected defenders in there, eh? That's pretty cool, and really, it's a fair indication that Oubre Sr. didn't mean disrespect toward Calipari or UK, and it's just possible that the LCJ author, likely (but this is only an educated guess) a KU partisan, wasn't too concerned about how his article was construed in terms of how UK or Coach Cal might feel about it.

So if this was causing you heartburn, I hope our commentary acts as a kind of Tums to calm the seething acid in your Big Blue guts. Many times I have been accused of reaching for stuff, and sometimes I do. But not this time. This is a non-issue and, at best, a tempest in a teapot. Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, Darius Miller, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, the list goes on. Oubre Sr. was surely aware of this, so there is no reason for UK fans to take offense.