Pearl knows Kentucky got 'upgrade'

Calipari will bring 'another level of energy to this league'

There weren't many things that could get Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl more motivated in this offseason after the Vols' first-round NCAA tournament loss.

But Kentucky just did when it pushed the button Tuesday to hire John Calipari away from Memphis.

"It doesn't take much to get my batteries recharged,'' Pearl said. "Not playing last weekend was enough.

"But this ... John Calipari will bring another level of energy to this league.''

Pearl became the first coach in SEC history to finish ahead of Kentucky four consecutive years this past season.

But Pearl acknowledges staying ahead of the Wildcats for a fifth straight year likely will be more difficult with Calipari at the helm.

"John Calipari will absolutely elevate the quality of our league,'' Pearl said.

"He will force us all to continue to recruit at the highest level, because he will upgrade their talent.

"I promise you, the talent level at Kentucky will increase dramatically.''

Pearl said Calipari's addition elevates the SEC Eastern Division coaching ranks to epic proportions.

"To be in a division with Florida and Kentucky, and now also with Billy Donovan and John Calipari, you are talking about two of the brightest stars in college basketball,'' Pearl said.

"It will make championships worth even more, and of course, harder to get.

"I think it's a great thing for our league.''

Pearl is 2-2 in his annual battles against Calipari at Memphis.

The Vols fell to Calipari and the Tigers in Knoxville, 54-52, this season, a loss that knocked them out of the national rankings for the remainder of the year.

Last season, Tennessee's 66-62 victory at previously unbeaten Memphis gave the Vols their first No. 1 ranking in school history.

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Comments » 34

jimvols13 writes:

I'm going to love playing Coach Cal twice a year. Now he can't hide across the state every other year.

Go get him Coach Pearl!

VOLKING writes:

Hey, maybe we can actually beat UK now. As much as I hate Memphis' obnoxious fans...they got screwed and now their team is about to be gutted like a fish. Good for the SEC though.

VAvolfanRON writes:

yea, but i do feel for memphis...BB was about all they had...there are good folks down/over there.....i hope they can get a good coach and bring UM back up

ZR writes:

SEC basketball? The best?

Oh, I get it. April Fools!

That's like saying the Mountain West (minus Wyoming) is the best in football.

allvol9 writes:

Go get um Pearl. Coach Pearl loves the competition and this hire will just motivate him more. Go Vols!

volwalk writes:

I hope your new players took notes during the Mizzou/Memphis game in the tourney; cause that is exactly how we need to play to beat calamari teams.

kbart4033#247331 writes:

Bruce is probably glad to see Billy G leave (Vols were 1-3
vs. Billy)...Billy's Cats had the 2 ingredients Bruce can't
stomach: intense half-court defense and a disciplined half-
court offense that knew how to get the ball to its best
shooters. Calipari will put more talent on the floor than
Cats have had recently, but less focus.

bluetiger writes:

in response to VAvolfanRON:

yea, but i do feel for memphis...BB was about all they had...there are good folks down/over there.....i hope they can get a good coach and bring UM back up

Yeah, Calipari leaving and decimating our program is a hard collective hit for a city that loves its basketball team. And, I'm not going to lie, it hurts big time.

But I'm sorry basketball is not all we have. In case you didn't know, Memphis has a lot of other things going on that have nothing to do with basketball. This is a city full of music and other arts and events throughout the year that attract people from all over the world.

Just because you choose to believe and say that's all we have, doesn't make it so.

To the contrary, what does Knoxville have besides UT sports? I lived there for five years and was bored out of my mind. I'm glad to be back home.

oldvolsfan writes:

in response to bluetiger:

Yeah, Calipari leaving and decimating our program is a hard collective hit for a city that loves its basketball team. And, I'm not going to lie, it hurts big time.

But I'm sorry basketball is not all we have. In case you didn't know, Memphis has a lot of other things going on that have nothing to do with basketball. This is a city full of music and other arts and events throughout the year that attract people from all over the world.

Just because you choose to believe and say that's all we have, doesn't make it so.

To the contrary, what does Knoxville have besides UT sports? I lived there for five years and was bored out of my mind. I'm glad to be back home.

we are glad you are back home and out of our place

UTvols12342000 writes:

Knoxville has the most beautiful scenery and outdoor activities. Where you can hike the foothills of the smokeys in the morning, whitewater raft the afternoon, ride horses till sundown and camping, hunting, boating, and fishing activities galore. But you are right, Knoxville has UT sports. A one of a kind stadium built on the Tennessee River. There is nothing you can find in Memphis that knoxville doesnt have, save Graceland. pfffft on Beale street, how over rated.

Knoxville, the real capital of Tennessee!

powert#205805 writes:

UTvols12342000,

There is one Memphis has that we don't--a grant to help curb gang violence in the federal government omnibus bill.

HtownVol writes:

in response to bluetiger:

Yeah, Calipari leaving and decimating our program is a hard collective hit for a city that loves its basketball team. And, I'm not going to lie, it hurts big time.

But I'm sorry basketball is not all we have. In case you didn't know, Memphis has a lot of other things going on that have nothing to do with basketball. This is a city full of music and other arts and events throughout the year that attract people from all over the world.

Just because you choose to believe and say that's all we have, doesn't make it so.

To the contrary, what does Knoxville have besides UT sports? I lived there for five years and was bored out of my mind. I'm glad to be back home.

I think he meant the school. Basketball is all the school has. This is not a city comparison.

bmaples writes:

Possible analogy (no time to expand -- got to get to work):

Calipari == Tiger

Question -- has Kentucky put a tiger in the tank (a la Pitino), or got a tiger by the tail (a la Kelvin Sampson)?

Time will tell.

Bruce in Louisville
brucemaples.com

bhjohnso#207063 writes:

I lived the first 18 years of my life in West Tennessee. Love the Gibson County area. but lemme tell you, a 400-mile buffer zone between myself and Memphis? good.

as far as cal at UK, we've handled ourselves pretty well against him in the last few years with him down at Memphis, and I think we'll do so still. the worst thing for us would've been Tom Izzo going to Kentucky, because he plays the style of ball we struggle against.

volaholic45 writes:

The SEC has already become the heavyweight division for football coaches. It may be happening in basketball too. "I'll see your Pearl and raise you a Calipari - to you, Georgia."

golfballs03 writes:

There are Police manning the New Bridge in Memphis on the watch for jumpers

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

CATSCRATCH, What is your feeling on this hire?

Go4Two writes:

Jay Cutler is a true Vandy grad. What a baby....

jeremy78tn writes:

in response to UTvols12342000:

Knoxville has the most beautiful scenery and outdoor activities. Where you can hike the foothills of the smokeys in the morning, whitewater raft the afternoon, ride horses till sundown and camping, hunting, boating, and fishing activities galore. But you are right, Knoxville has UT sports. A one of a kind stadium built on the Tennessee River. There is nothing you can find in Memphis that knoxville doesnt have, save Graceland. pfffft on Beale street, how over rated.

Knoxville, the real capital of Tennessee!

Real capital of Tennessee?! LMAO!! Thats great. Why in the world would Knoxville be better suited than Nashville? Knoxville is a cesspool that is only in existance because of UT. A city that can't function without its local university is hardly equipped to be a state capital. On top of that, there are at least 2 times as many people that choose to live in Nashville over Knoxville. That many people can't be wrong.

jimvols13 writes:

in response to bluetiger:

Yeah, Calipari leaving and decimating our program is a hard collective hit for a city that loves its basketball team. And, I'm not going to lie, it hurts big time.

But I'm sorry basketball is not all we have. In case you didn't know, Memphis has a lot of other things going on that have nothing to do with basketball. This is a city full of music and other arts and events throughout the year that attract people from all over the world.

Just because you choose to believe and say that's all we have, doesn't make it so.

To the contrary, what does Knoxville have besides UT sports? I lived there for five years and was bored out of my mind. I'm glad to be back home.

I'm pretty sure he was talking about the University of Memphis athletic program. This is not a comparison of two cities. Geez, a little touchy this morning?

dbc5361 writes:

in response to Go4Two:

Jay Cutler is a true Vandy grad. What a baby....

Yeah, as compared to Leonard Little, Travis Henry, Donte Stallworth, Peerless Price, Vodka Colquitt. Oh yeah, most of those lawbreakers didn't graduate.

The 32 year old head coach lied to him and would rather have someone else. Cutler has 10 or more teams wanting to trade for him. You'd do the same.

You sound a little sore still from that loss he put on your Unlimited Budget Having Vols in Knoxville. Let go, it was 4 years ago.

crappieking writes:

COACH PEARL - GO GET SOME OF CALS RECRUITS. COUSINS, HENRY, WALLS ARE ALL TOP NOTCH PLAYERS. WE DO NOT WANT THEM TO GO TO UK. WITH MEEKS AND PATTERSON, YOU ARE LOOKING AT A TOP 5 TEAM. GO GET THEM AWAY FROM CAL.

bmaples writes:

Voice-of-Reason -- thanks for the voice of reason. :--)

There's recruiting, and there's player improvement, and there's preparation, and there's game management. So far, the Big East this year seems to have the best coaches at these, based on game results. (Louisville's collapse against MSU not included. <grimace>)

Cal will recruit the best, and his offense will give the unprepared fits. Whether he can put it all together AND keep it clean remains to be seen.

When the SEC gets five teams in the Elite Eight, then it's time to use the word "heavyweight." Till then, let's just wish CBP the best, and hope he's right about raising the bar in the SEC.

Bruce in Louisville
brucemaples.com

eloist writes:

in response to jeremy78tn:

Real capital of Tennessee?! LMAO!! Thats great. Why in the world would Knoxville be better suited than Nashville? Knoxville is a cesspool that is only in existance because of UT. A city that can't function without its local university is hardly equipped to be a state capital. On top of that, there are at least 2 times as many people that choose to live in Nashville over Knoxville. That many people can't be wrong.

Check your history guy...Knoxville WAS the capital of TN from 1796-1819.

I'm from nashville too but bro, you gotta check your facts before you post junk like this.

watchdog writes:

in response to jeremy78tn:

Real capital of Tennessee?! LMAO!! Thats great. Why in the world would Knoxville be better suited than Nashville? Knoxville is a cesspool that is only in existance because of UT. A city that can't function without its local university is hardly equipped to be a state capital. On top of that, there are at least 2 times as many people that choose to live in Nashville over Knoxville. That many people can't be wrong.

Knoxville grew because of the river, not UT - it's where it is because that's about as far upriver toward the mountains as you can get before it stopped being navigable (this was all before the dams, mind you). Geographic history fact courtesy of a course taken at the University of Tennessee. Oh, and as far as Nashville having twice as many people and that somehow having any bearing on anything? Calcutta has like 8 million people in it - those guys must be on to something.

jeremy78tn writes:

in response to eloist:

Check your history guy...Knoxville WAS the capital of TN from 1796-1819.

I'm from nashville too but bro, you gotta check your facts before you post junk like this.

You better read my post again..bro. I didn't say Knoxville was never the capital. I said it wasn't equipped to be. I know my history, thank you

jeremy78tn writes:

in response to watchdog:

Knoxville grew because of the river, not UT - it's where it is because that's about as far upriver toward the mountains as you can get before it stopped being navigable (this was all before the dams, mind you). Geographic history fact courtesy of a course taken at the University of Tennessee. Oh, and as far as Nashville having twice as many people and that somehow having any bearing on anything? Calcutta has like 8 million people in it - those guys must be on to something.

Is the river going to sustain the town if UT closed up shop? No. I understand my history of Tennessee and thats not what I questioned. At this moment in time if UT closed it doors and the residents associated with it went elsewhere and lost the tourism dollars gained from sports the river has nothing to support this town. The Smokey Mountains are close but not close enough to hold up Knoxville. G'burg and Dollywood might stay afloat but not Knoxville. If I am wrong please correct me but without UT, what industry would drive this town? The disagreement came from the comment that Knoxville is the real capital of Tennessee. Obviously, that is not true. Previous, yes. Real, no. Geographically it wouldn't make sense to have the capital in the East, instead of being centrally located. I'm glad to know you guys know your history but I am referring to current events and currently Nashville is the real capital of Tennessee

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Glad to hear you are o.k. with the hire. He will do good there as he can recruit.

JacksonvilleVol writes:

Wow... what a war of fail on the board.

Anyways, Calipari being in the SEC East will raise the level of excitement for all SEC games and will no doubt raise exposure to the UT-UK Rivalry on national TV. That helps out OUR recruiting as much as anything. And don't forget -- Pearl is an excellent recruiter and can, and has beat Calipari.

I look forward to this and maybe we should start looking at those SEC West teams (minus Miss ST and LSU). Remember when Arkansas was good at BBall?

jeremy78tn writes:

in response to JacksonvilleVol:

Wow... what a war of fail on the board.

Anyways, Calipari being in the SEC East will raise the level of excitement for all SEC games and will no doubt raise exposure to the UT-UK Rivalry on national TV. That helps out OUR recruiting as much as anything. And don't forget -- Pearl is an excellent recruiter and can, and has beat Calipari.

I look forward to this and maybe we should start looking at those SEC West teams (minus Miss ST and LSU). Remember when Arkansas was good at BBall?

I think you're right on about the increased national exposure of this rivalry. Especially, with the underlying story of the two coaches dislike for the other. I can't wait to see some of these battles on the court and off.

Volunatic writes:

"But Pearl acknowledges staying ahead of the Wildcats for a fifth straight year likely will be more difficult with Calipari at the helm."

UT might have finished ahead of UK in conf standings the past 4 years, but Pearl is 3-5 against the Wildcats.

VOLFORLIFE writes:

in response to 99aintagator:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Little Billy didn't meet expectations,and no one is going after him, so does that mean by your "logic" that Little Billy might be NEXT?

GO VOLS!!!
JUGHEAD

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to bluetiger:

Yeah, Calipari leaving and decimating our program is a hard collective hit for a city that loves its basketball team. And, I'm not going to lie, it hurts big time.

But I'm sorry basketball is not all we have. In case you didn't know, Memphis has a lot of other things going on that have nothing to do with basketball. This is a city full of music and other arts and events throughout the year that attract people from all over the world.

Just because you choose to believe and say that's all we have, doesn't make it so.

To the contrary, what does Knoxville have besides UT sports? I lived there for five years and was bored out of my mind. I'm glad to be back home.

Tiger, not going to fight with you, unlike many on this site. Stay civil tongued and you are welcome.

UM will be devastated Basketball wise for 2-3 years, just like before. If they take their time, however, and choose the right man, they can be back at the top. It will take a little time, just like when Cal was first hired.

I'm just saying some of us don't underestimate UM.They always seem to come up.

The talk shows around here are now talking a few names. Izzo (not likely), Kennedy, the Villanova coach. They were prepared to pay Cal 5 mil + per yr. so money will not be a problem for the right man.

BGHISLE writes:

in response to A_VOICE_OF_REASON:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No UK didnt play anyone this year exept NC LOU WV and MIA.which was ranked 22 in the nation at the time, who did the vols play. UK played 2 teams that went to the sweet 16

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