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  • VAUGHT: Fletcher departs Lexington as Calipari asks him to "step away" from team

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    After Cam’Ron Fletcher’s emotional outburst on the bench late in Kentucky’s loss to North Carolina Saturday, UK coach John Calipari said he apologized to the team for what he did over his lack of playing time.

    At 11:53 a.m. Sunday, the UK freshman posted an apology for his behavior on Twitter.

    “I was frustrated and let my emotions get the best of me. I always feel I can help the team,” Fletcher posted. “I am a team player and it hurts to see my team struggling. That’s why I was frustrated and emotions peaked. There is no excuse for my behavior at all. I just want to make sure everyone knows I am fully committed to this program and willing to do whatever I’m asked by my coaches … I made a mistake and I take full ownership.”

    Fully committed? Well about two hours later he was on a plane leaving Lexington for Atlanta and on his way home.

    A UK fan on the flight said Fletcher had his No. 21 Kentucky backpack and was wearing a blue sweatshirt and gray sweatpants. She said he had a UK staff member with him at the airport and “didn’t seem upset”.

    “Gave the guy a fist bump before going through the TSA checkpoint right in front of me,” she said.

    They were actually seated in the same row before she told him he might want to ask for an empty row so he would have more room considering his size.

    “He smiled and said, ‘You’re right,’” she said before he was moved to an exit row.

    The fan said she made “small talk” with Fletcher before he got a phone call and she left him alone.

    “Cute kid. I wanted to take him home and feed him dinner,” she said.

    I contacted UK this morning to see if Fletcher had left the team. A little bit later Calipari was on Twitter confirming Fletcher had left Lexington.

    “We have asked Cam Fletcher to take some time and step away from the team. He needs to reflect and do some soul searching to get his priorities in order. Any attitude or actions that are detrimental to this team will not be tolerated – and that goes for everyone on the team,” Calipari tweeted.

    “We have a culture here that’s been built over the last 11 years AND IT WILL NOT CHANGE. Through good times and bad, this culture is meant to change individuals and change maturity levels. This hurts our team, but this is about Cam and his future.

    “I talked to Cam and his mother and they know I care about him and I love him, but they also understand that there are changes that need to be made. It’s his job to decide whether he can perform within this culture both on and off the court.”

    Bam! That’s way out of character for Calipari to say anything like that when a player leaves the team. And really out of the norm for him to ask a player to “step away” like that.

    Not sure what happened from the time Fletcher made his apology on Twitter — or that was something he really did not want to do but was asked to do — in the next two hours before he was on a plane out of Lexington.

    He had played sparingly in UK’s 1-5 start and probably was frustrated he did not get more chances. But Calipari saying his actions currently were detrimental to the team makes me wonder if he will be back.

    The team has a NCAA mandate three off days this week. Other players will not be leaving Lexington because of the pandemic.

    I would not expect Fletcher in uniform Saturday against Louisville even if he decides to come back. Just reading between the lines, though, it sure seems like his relationship has gone sour and it will surprise me if he’s back in this year of turmoil for Kentucky basketball.
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. KSRBEvans's Avatar
      KSRBEvans -
      I'm 55-45 return. I also wouldn't be surprised if he "opted out" of the rest of the season and transferred.
    1. ukpumacat's Avatar
      ukpumacat -
      He may come back. But the Kid will be playing valuable minutes for the Spartans in a year from now. Add him to the long list of guys Cal ran off.
    1. Carolinawildcats's Avatar
      Carolinawildcats -
      Can we ask Cal to "Step Away from the Team"? Cal is not changing and will NOT go out under pressure. He will leave on his terms when he leaves. We all know Mitch will not force him out. Very disappointing how this all went down......par for 2020 and this team so far.

      Peace

      Richard (CW)
    1. LakeCat's Avatar
      LakeCat -
      IMO Cal has now entered the bunker. His staff is total yes men, knowing this is as high a level of basketball they are going to reach so will never question their benefactor. Us "BASKETBALL BENNIES" have in essence been told to go f off by the king's proclamation that nothing is going to change to the culture he has built for eleven years. Cal holds all the leverage with his lifetime contract so I see only two hopes for the program. One, Cal makes the changes he seems not to want to do; OR a few more years of rapidly declining adulation from BBN and national media (if the program continues down the current path)overwhelms his ego to the point he departs.
    1. ukpumacat's Avatar
      ukpumacat -
      Cal can go to his bunker all he wants. If he completely loses the UK fanbase he will be gone. He can fight it. Mitch can fight it. But no one on earth can make a coach/AD more miserable than UK fans.

      I'm still just baffled he did this.
    1. ShoesSwayedBlue's Avatar
      ShoesSwayedBlue -
      I was hyping the heck out of Fletcher. Really thought he was going to be the kind of 'dog' UK hasn't had for too long. A mid sized defensive intimidator who crashed the glass, hit kick out threes occasionally and filled the lane on breaks and was happy in his role. That's called projection obviously. I do so miss kids who were willing to do that and not believe they had to star and depart or they were failures. And I miss a coach who can and will take advantage of players like that. Hope he comes back and it's just growing pains.
    1. ukpumacat's Avatar
      ukpumacat -
      Quote Originally Posted by ShoesSwayedBlue View Post
      I was hyping the heck out of Fletcher. Really thought he was going to be the kind of 'dog' UK hasn't had for too long. A mid sized defensive intimidator who crashed the glass, hit kick out threes occasionally and filled the lane on breaks and was happy in his role. That's called projection obviously. I do so miss kids who were willing to do that and not believe they had to star and depart or they were failures. And I miss a coach who can and will take advantage of players like that. Hope he comes back and it's just growing pains.
      Fletcher lived up to that end of the deal. That's exactly who he was.
    1. ShoesSwayedBlue's Avatar
      ShoesSwayedBlue -
      Quote Originally Posted by ukpumacat View Post
      Fletcher lived up to that end of the deal. That's exactly who he was.
      I tend to agree. And that makes him leaving so much worse in every way. Even if he comes back it's still a cluster.
    1. CitizenBBN's Avatar
      CitizenBBN -
      Quote Originally Posted by Darrell KSR View Post
      You guys think we have seen the last of Cam'Ron Fletcher, or will he return?
      Is it the case he could transfer right now and suit up with zero penalties?

      if so I say he's gone.
    1. ETWNAPPEL's Avatar
      ETWNAPPEL -
      Do any of you really think we will have any experienced players back next season?

      Instead we are turning into a feeder system to not only the NBA, but other major college programs.

      This is far worse than the last Tubby seasons. Headed towards BCG territory.
    1. Carolinawildcats's Avatar
      Carolinawildcats -
      Quote Originally Posted by ETWNAPPEL View Post
      Do any of you really think we will have any experienced players back next season?

      Instead we are turning into a feeder system to not only the NBA, but other major college programs.

      This is far worse than the last Tubby seasons. Headed towards BCG territory.
      Agree!!!
    1. Catfan73's Avatar
      Catfan73 -
      This leaves a bad taste for sure and surely even Cal can see the optics of that. He can rule his team but he’s going to find out he can’t rule the fan base.
    1. ebarbaau's Avatar
      ebarbaau -
      Quote Originally Posted by ETWNAPPEL View Post
      Do any of you really think we will have any experienced players back next season?

      Instead we are turning into a feeder system to not only the NBA, but other major college programs.

      This is far worse than the last Tubby seasons. Headed towards BCG territory.
      Obviously this has been the status quo
    1. ukpumacat's Avatar
      ukpumacat -
      Quote Originally Posted by CitizenBBN View Post
      Is it the case he could transfer right now and suit up with zero penalties?

      if so I say he's gone.
      We don't know....yet. I am guessing they are looking into this right now.
    1. ukpumacat's Avatar
      ukpumacat -
      Quote Originally Posted by ETWNAPPEL View Post
      Do any of you really think we will have any experienced players back next season?

      Instead we are turning into a feeder system to not only the NBA, but other major college programs.

      This is far worse than the last Tubby seasons. Headed towards BCG territory.
      Just as a complete guess:

      Boston, Clarke and Jackson go pro.
      Sarr and Mintz back because of the extra year.
      Ware back.
      Askew and Fletcher transfer.
    1. Basket Case's Avatar
      Basket Case -
      Quote Originally Posted by ukpumacat View Post
      Just as a complete guess:

      Boston, Clarke and Jackson go pro.
      Sarr and Mintz back because of the extra year.
      Ware back.
      Askew and Fletcher transfer.
      I think thats a pretty good guess.

      You forgot Allen transfer and Toppin??

      I do think Sarr will be gone as well.

      At least Keion will stick around again.
    1. Catfan73's Avatar
      Catfan73 -
      The apology seemed heartfelt and sincere. We don’t know what might have transpired afterward but if it was nothing this isn’t a good look.
    1. UKFlounder's Avatar
      UKFlounder -
      Could this situation be why Keion Brooks was the player who met the media after the game ?
    1. Powermaker's Avatar
      Powermaker -
      Quote Originally Posted by Basket Case View Post
      I think thats a pretty good guess.

      You forgot Allen transfer and Toppin??

      I do think Sarr will be gone as well.

      At least Keion will stick around again.
      Keion stick around? lol . He’s not even really here . Running drills and dunking on pro day but too injured to play basketball. I knew Cal thought UK fans were stupid but he must think we’re blind too .
    1. uklandrn's Avatar
      uklandrn -
      Holy moly !! I’m freaking famous even if no one knows who I am!


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