April 6, 2015
— As consolation prizes go, Kentucky Coach John Calipari received the best that basketball could possibly offer on Monday.
Two days after Wisconsin beat UK in the Final Four semifinals, Calipari was named one of this year’s inductees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Calipari was among inductees-to-be in the class of 2015 introduced at a Monday morning news conference. He will be one of two people with Kentucky basketball ties enshrined Sept. 10-11 in Springfield, Mass.
One of the Rupp’s Runts, Louie Dampier, was elected by the American Basketball Association Committee in what’s known as one of the “direct-elects.” Before playing in the ABA, he scored 1,575 points (12th on UK’s career scoring list) for the Wildcats.
When Calipari was announced in February as a finalist for induction this year, he said he was “honored and humbled.” He reminded reporters that being a finalist was a preliminary step. “They still have other votes,” he said.
Any finalist needed to receive at least 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election.
Calipari, who guided Kentucky to a 38-1 record this season, was named the Naismith coach of the year Sunday for the third time in his career by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. He also won in 2008 as coach at Memphis and in 1996 at Massachusetts.
Calipari led UK into a second straight Final Four this season, and the fourth in the past five years. That was a record for frequency in the Final Four for Kentucky’s storied program. UK became the first team to enter the Final Four undefeated since UNLV in 1991.
With a roster that included nine McDonald’s All-Americans, plus first-team All-American Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky was ranked No. 1 in every weekly poll conducted by The Associated Press this season.