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  • Morehead coach Spradlin: "Gratifying" to be asked to be a part of Team Rubicon event

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    Helping raise almost $450,000 for Team Rubicon, a non-government 501(c)(3) organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders and has been active in hurricane response in Florida and Puerto Rico and in California for wildfires, was something that Morehead coach Preston Spradlin was happy to have his team be part of Monday.

    The offer to play Kentucky in the special exhibition game did not surprise Spradlin because he knew plenty about UK coach John Calipari's charitable side and servant leadership from his time working on the UK staff.

    He says Calipari is the "mastermind" of teaching players how to sacrifice.

    "All of these kids go from being the best player on their high school or junior college team or wherever they were before to now everybody is good. They may have played against three, four, or five Division I players last year. Well, every time we tip it up, the other team has 13 of them, so you have to get ready for that. The only way that you do that you cant just go out and hoop. You cant just say, Im a good player, and Im going to do exactly what I did to be successful. You have to do it together," Spradlin said after his team's loss to UK.

    "That servant leadership part goes into that. Were finding our footing just like (Calipari) is because theres nobody walking in the door and saying, Heres a C. Put it on your chest, youre our leader. We dont have that. You just have to figure it out as you go along. The best way you do that is relieve the pressure off the individuals by making their focus be on other people, and games like this certainly echo that message.

    Spradlin said it was "gratifying" that Calipari asked him and his team to be part of this event sanctioned by the NCAA only a few weeks ago.

    "We really thankful that coach allowed us, our university, our department and team to be a part of something special like this. To partner together and showcase how much people in Kentucky care about basketball. Its a big part of my sales pitch when I recruit players from all over the country that people here are going to love to watch you play basketball," Spradlin said.

    "They are going to really care about you and to use that going forward to give the money to charity, an unbelievable charity such as Team Rubicon is pretty gratifying.
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