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  • UCLA Bruins - December 20, 2014 - 3:30 PM EST - United Center, Chicago - CBS

Vitale defends Coach Cal

From a Final Four teleconference with ESPN analyst Dick Vitale on Thursday: 

“. . I think John Calipari got two raw deals. I really do.  Nobody is going to believe me in this, but I do because I happen to like him and I happen to respect his coaching ability and his generosity what he’s done for us at the V Foundation, as well.

But saying all this, let me tell you this. This thing should have never been vacated –you talk about vacate?schmacate. They can call it anything they want. They should be ashamed of themselves. They walked in on Memphis and sat there on three occasions and told the administrators flat up and down you can play Derrick Rose.  Derrick Rose is eligible. We studied his numbers.

Then they come back when he wins them 30 plus games, goes to the final game, and now they say you’ve got to vacate it? Why don’t they take the burden and the blame for maybe not doing their effectively at the right time.

I thought maybe if you want to fine them and take dollars, but to take away those wins I thought was unfair. The first one, Marcus Camby, what coach in America –you can’t control your players 24/7 who they’re dealing with. Kid’s got no money and here comes a guy, don’t tell your coach, I’ll take care of you, I’ll represent you down the stretch, here’s a few extra bucks. Come on now. The bottom line is they went out and won those games, and to me I don’t buy that vacate nonsense. I don’t buy it.

John Calipari, he can win at Massachusetts, I knew it was just unbelievable what he’d achieve at Kentucky with the resources that they have. I can go on and on because you can’t believe because I think the guy gets unfairly ripped by a lot of people. There’s a pro and there’s a con. If you want to be anti John he will be some ammunition to be anti, and if you want to be pro John, he’ll give you a lot of ammunition to praise him.

But I sometimes don’t think he gets his due as a guy that can do more than recruit. That man can coach. You can’t take three different teams like he has and do what he has done in three years, and you can’t win five consecutive years 30 games and not – like 30 games in terms of a season when he was at Memphis and all and not know how to coach. He can coach, but the guy across the way can coach, too. “