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November 20, 2012So, Sean Woods is sorry.
Like, really sorry.
The Morehead State coach made that clear on Tuesday - the eve of his Eagles' game against Kentucky in Rupp Arena - when he apologized, then apologized some more, for comments he made during a Monday teleconference about the current Wildcats.
"I still love this place. I'm still the same Sean Woods," Woods, a former UK point guard, said prior to Morehead's practice at Rupp. "I didn't mean anything to piss off anybody when I said what I said the other day. If I could take it back, I would. It's just what I was feeling at the time. (UK) is my favorite place and I'm fortunate to be a head coach at Morehead State."
Woods created a stir on Monday when - prompted by a reporter's question about Kentucky freshman Willie Cauley-Stein admitting he'd never seen video of Christian Laettner's famous shot against Woods' Wildcats in 1992 - he lamented the lack of knowledge today's player has for basketball history.
Woods noted that he wasn't just talking about Kentucky players, but went a step further when he said he didn't like the vibe he got when he encountered UK's players at a recent telethon to benefit victims of Superstorm Sandy.
"They didn't seem like Kentucky basketball players to me," Woods said Monday." And I'll leave it at that. I'm a Kentucky basketball player through and through, and there's just a certain aura about you."
Woods went on to say, "There's just a certain way and a certain look Kentucky basketball players should have, and not have such a sense of entitlement. I think today, it's still an honor to wear that uniform."
On Tuesday, Woods said several times and in a variety of ways that he regretted those comments, noting that what he mentioned about the telethon "was just something I shouldn't even have said."
Woods said the he " didn't want - and would never try - to degrade Kentucky basketball players or this program."
"To set the record straight, I love my university," said Woods, whose jersey is retired at Rupp Arena. "Everybody knows that. John Calipari has been great to me, and I would never do anything to hurt him and his situation here. He's doing a heck of a job and I love him dearly, and whoever wears this uniform become my instant brothers."
If you believe Calipari and the current Cats, Woods' comments didn't cause much of a stir. Calipari said he was unaware of them until someone pointed them out - "Knowing Sean, I figured he misspoke," Calipari said - and of the three players who met with reporters on Tuesday, only Julius Mays admitted knowing what Woods had said.
Woods is entitled to his opinion, Mays said, but the UK senior disagreed with it, saying the coach hadn't spent enough time around his teammates to form an opinion, and adding that he didn't get any of the same feelings Woods did from the young and highly-regarded Cats.
"They've been really humble," Mays said Tuesday. "They've worked for everything they've got. They worked to get here. I feel like they still have chips on their shoulder, to show people, to show the world that they can play. I don't think there's any cockiness or any sense of entitlement. I don't get that vibe from being around them."
Calipari, though he insisted he wasn't offended, also offered a dissenting view from Woods'.
"At the telethon and whatever these guys have done, they were hugging volunteers, so I don't know where he got that," Calipari said. "Maybe someone didn't know him or something. I don't know. But I love what our kids are about, what they've done academically, what they do in the community. Being here is a big deal. It's hard to deal with all the stuff that goes around, but these guys seem to do it pretty well."