John Calipari is coaching the Dominican National team and has arranged an exhibition game on Aug. 15 in which they'll go up against a team of former Kentucky players including Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Tayshaun Prince, Rajon Rondo and John Wall.
Calipari wanted the team of pros to be coached by former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall and former Wildcat Sam Bowie, leaving the 82-year-old Hall thrilled to be making a nostalgic return to the Rupp Arena sideline.
But after it became unclear whether NCAA rules would allow Hall to coach the team, Calipari was forced to backtrack and have his predecessor join him on the Dominican sideline instead. The whole thing has left Hall confused, according to John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
"It’s a little bit embarrassing," said Hall. "To have Coach Calipari ask me to coach the All-Star was an honor. I was happy to do it. He's so thoughtful and been so good to me. He’s always been very respectful and supportive, including me in everything he does. I'm happy to help him out with coaching the Dominican Republic team in any way I can."
Hall said that he thinks that he and Bowie were "unfairly singled out. We didn't do anything. I don't understand how the former players can play in the game, but we can't coach. That makes no sense to me. I’m no danger to anybody. I would just be sitting on the bench. We're not doing any real coaching. No one ever told me that I couldn’t be a part of it until I saw it on television and read it in the paper. No one talked to me to tell me why.
Hall's frustrations are understandable considering it appears that the NCAA rulebook is getting in the way of Calipari's gesture.
Kentucky somehow isn't supposed to be officially affiliated with this game even though Calipari is coaching a Dominican team that includes forward Eloy Vargas against a team of ex-Wildcat pros in Rupp Arena, so apparently Hall can't coach the Kentucky pros, according to The Courier-Journal.
DeWayne Peevy, the UK Associate Athletic Director of Media Relations, is acting as a spokesman for ProCamps Worldwide, which is putting on the event.
He said UK can’t have former players or coaches involved in the production of the event, and it’s unclear whether NCAA rules would allow a former coach such as Hall to coach the team.
“(The NCAA) has worked with us from the start of this event,” Peevy said. “This is the first of its kind so there are no actual exceptions or rules for this type of event.”