Kentucky Basketball is the gold standard in college basketball, and that includes the facilities.
The Joe Craft Center is already among the best practice facilities you’ll find with any college program, but UK is always striving to be the absolute best.
That’s why it’s no surprise to see UK head coach John Calipari stating that it’s time for the Craft Center to get some upgrades similar to the ones the football team recently got.
“You guys know I’m always looking at the bigger picture,” Cal said Thursday. “This building is 10 years old, and it’s time. Let’s go through and make it more modern. There are some other ideas that I have.
“Again, you want to stay the gold standard. You want to tie all of what we’re doing together on the campus and other things. I’ve talked to DeWayne (Peevy) about some of that stuff. “
Among the upgrades Calipari wants to see are the retina scanners that the new football facility has to make life easier for his players.
“We’re getting them,” Cal said. “We’re getting them, and it’s not because I’m trying to stay up (with everyone else); it’s because our guys lose those fobs. So we gotta prop doors open. Anyone that wants to come in, there’s no locked doors here.
“Well, you’ve got the fob. Yeah, well half the team lost them. So yeah, we want to do the scanner for that reason alone.”
But don’t mistake Calipari’s desire for upgrades as jealousy over the new facility the football team just got, or the new baseball stadium coming soon. Calipari wants to see those happen, and he’s just making sure basketball gets some love eventually.
“Obviously I’m so happy for baseball. I’m so happy for football,” Cal said. “Anybody that’s worked with me (knows that) when they make a commitment to soccer, women’s soccer, what they’ve done for track, when you do those kinds of investments, in my mind, which works differently, you’re doing it for the kids, and I’m good.
“You’re doing it for the kids. You’re doing it for those players. You’re doing it for both men and women. I am ecstatic. Alright, now it’s our turn.”
Even Calipari admits the Craft Center would be a great facility for just about any college program, but it could use some work to modernize and enhance the overall building.
“Ten years ago, when this was built, it was unbelievable,” Cal said. “It’s still really good. When we all grew up, we were in houses that were all cut up. You had the dining room, living room, and this room. Now, no one wants walls. Well, you have a weight-bearing wall.
“Then, they ask why. ‘I just don’t want anything. I just want to walk in the house and from front to back you see nothing but everything.’ You can’t do that. We need to go back and say, ‘How do we update this?’ This is a well-built building.”
“I think the best thing that Mitch (Barnhart) has done here is investing in the kids. It’s the best thing he’s done. He’s done it not only on how we support them, but the facilities that they need to compete at the highest level.
“You give them what they need to compete, and you bring in good kids and get them coached up. We needed baseball. Come on.”