Basketball

Calipari Stuck With Struggling Harrison Twins in Final Four Loss Out of Loyalty

Kentucky head coach John Calipari admitted during a coaching clinic Sunday that loyalty to the Harrison twins might have cost Kentucky a national championship and a chance to complete a perfect 40-0 season.

Calipari told an assembled group of coaches that he knew Andrew and Aaron Harrison were struggling but opted to stick with them out of loyalty.

Here’s an excerpt from USA Today:

Speaking at a basketball coaches clinic on Sunday, Calipari noted he stuck with the Harrison twins, then sophomores, rather than play Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis, then freshmen, when Kentucky faltered down the the stretch against Wisconsin in the semifinal game of the 2015 Final Four.

“Now you may say, ‘Why didn’t you have Tyler and Devin in at the end of the Wisconsin game? You probably would have won,’ ’’ Calipari said during his hour-long talk. “Because I was being loyal to those other two who led us to a championship game a year ago and they deserve to be on that court. That’s why I did it. I knew who was playing well and who was struggling. You think I wasn’t sitting there watching?

“But I owed it to those two (the Harrison twins) to do it.’’

Kentucky went ahead 58-56 on Aaron Harrison’s layup with 7:51 to play. But the Harrisons missed seven of their final eight shots from the floor as Wisconsin pulled away for a 71-64 victory that ended Kentucky’s season at 38-1.

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