Kenny Payne is a name that is very familiar to all of Big Blue Nation. After spending 10 seasons on staff, before leaving for the NBA, Payne is now back in the college ranks with the Louisville Cardinals.
The first-year head coach takes over a program that seemed to be in disarray last season, and now the expectations are for him to return them to national glory.
The problem is that might prove to be difficult with NCAA sanctions looming over the program's head. The bigger problem with that might be that Payne seems to be shocked by the negative recruiting that comes alongside it.
Payne spoke at the St. Stephen Baptist Men’s Ministry prayer breakfast on Sunday and had this to say on recruiting, which was posted by Tyler Greever of WHAS11.
“One of the things that I’ve been surprised about is how many people across the country have interest in us,” Payne said. “But, with that comes something that I wasn’t prepared for and that was the hatred. I wasn’t prepared for universities to say, ‘Louisville’s going on probation, why would you ever go there?’ to deter these kids from listening and especially from people that I’ve helped in the past. It’s a lesson for me.”
“As I’ve taken this job and I hate to say this, my relationships with certain people that have been in my life for 30, 40 years have changed. That hurts me. It hurts me. But, as I said, me sitting here, is, ‘God, I haven’t dwelled in it, but it’s something that I have to deal with daily.”
Could these remarks be directed towards John Calipari?
With both programs battling it out for DJ Wagner and Aaron Bradshaw, it wouldn’t be shocking, though it is hard to see given how strong of a relationship they have.
Plus, plenty of programs out there are likely bringing up Louisville’s potential sanctions with recruits, so it’s not like Calipari needs to do something that’s already being done for him.