Sports - Kentucky

May 25, 2010 3:40 PM by Mary Jo Perino

Calipari Talks About His Mother's Battle With Cancer, Grades And Recruiting

John Calipari addressed true blue fans Tuesday on his website, asking them to pray for his mother, Donna, who is battling cancer.

He said he will be away from Lexington for a while to help take care of her.

"I have some personal news to share with you and I hope you will understand why I am doing so," Calipari wrote on his website.

"I always try and am as transparent and forthcoming as possible with the Big Blue Nation and this is no exception. My mom, Donna Calipari, is battling cancer and I'm going to spend some time these next few days trying to figure out the best course of action for her medical care. At some point here in the near future, I will tell you all about my mom. For now, please know this is the woman who gave me my drive and my mindset to dream big dreams. She is a fighter and an incredibly strong woman."

Calipari went on to say how proud he was of the five Wildcats entering the NBA this year and that he can't wait until draft day in New York to find out where they are headed.

Calipari also talked about the men's basketball team's grades for the spring semester. The GPA was 2.18, a small improvement over the fall GPA of 2.025.

He said a GPA under 2.2 is not what he had hoped for, but believes his players are taking a step in the right direction.

"With all that was swirling for this team and all the scrutiny and pressure, our guys buckled down and did what they had to move our GPA in the right direction. But our improvement does show we are headed in the right direction and that our guys understand their priorities need to be in the classroom before they can turn their attention to the basketball court."

He did say that he is also ready for criticism because the grades were, once again, low.

"I fully expect the next wave of criticism will be directed at the APR and the haters will say, "If Kentucky doesn't lose scholarships then the APR isn't working." That will be their rallying cry. I'm just not sure they'd feel that way if it were another school. But again, that is the expectations that come with being at the greatest basketball program in the history of college basketball."

In talking about recruiting, Calipari said they are "just about done" with our current class, so you can expect that he is trying to bring in at least one more player.

He said the learning curve for this team would be enormous because it's an entirely new team. He does ask true blue fans to be patient with the new guys, and not compare them to this past season.

"Let's not expect these players to come out and be a Top 5 team from the outset. It took us a while to figure out our 2009-10 team and for the players to figure out each other. This year will be similar. Do you all remember the Miami (OH), Sam Houston State and Stanford games? We all seem to have forgotten how challenging those early games were for our team as they grew and matured together," Calipari said on coachcal.com.

Calipari ended his blog with something for true blue fans to read between the lines. Maybe Big Blue Madness won't be at Rupp Arena this year.

"Let's all have a super - and SAFE - summer. Before you know it, we'll all be gathering (somewhere!!!) for Big Blue Madness and the start of another incredible journey with your Wildcats. GO BIG BLUE!!!"

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