Former Coach Says Discussions About Pre-game Handshakes Have Occurred

"John Calipari has coached long enough," Steve Lavin said, "and I trust his intuition"

The DA Show
March 23, 2018 - 12:44 pm

USA Today Images


No. 5 Kentucky fell to No. 9 Kansas State, 61-58, in the Sweet 16 on Thursday, failing to reach the Elite Eight in a region that many felt was John Calipari’s to lose. Afterward, Calipari shook hands with Bruce Weber and K-State's coaching staff. He did not, however, shake hands with K-State's players.

Neither did his team.

Instead, Kentucky’s players walked off the court and went to the locker room. Several Kansas State players were miffed by the snub, saying it was poor sportsmanship.

Was it?

Former college basketball coach and current analyst Steve Lavin was not at the game but shared his thoughts on the matter nonetheless.

“I hesitate to comment because it’s not informed,” Lavin said on The DA Show. “I can’t really speak in an intelligent manner that I would be able to if I was actually there to witness it with my own eyes. But I will say that John Calipari has coached long enough, and I trust his intuition. If he felt waiting around longer could have led to a situation where now the frustration or the emotion of his players lead to things getting chippy and then a fight breaks out, then he’d been questioned probably for not getting his team off the court sooner.”

There were 51 personal fouls called in the game, including 30 on K-State.

Calipari said that he meant no disrespect to Kansas State, saying that he wanted to let the players celebrate and that they deserved to win.

“It’s easy to Monday-morning-quarterback someone, and again, if if I was there, I’d be able to give you a more informed or intelligent response,” Lavin said. “Ideally, you always want to be able to shake hands with the coaches and with the players and the managers and the trainers and the team doctors and all that. But again, it can get crazy and chaotic in a celebration with dog-piling and the kids rightfully celebrating, as they should, that moment.” 

Postgame handshakes are not required, of course, and Lavin said the college game may want to take a page from the NBA on that.

“There’s been discussions about having the handshakes before the game and not having handshakes after, similar to what some of the NBA teams do during championship series to avoid those potential flare-ups,” he said. “So again, if I was there, I’d give you a better response. But that’s my kind of general feel on it.”

No. 9 Kansas State (25-11) will play No. 11 Loyola (31-5) in the Elite Eight on Saturday at 6:09 p.m. ET. Those programs have not been to the Final Four since 1964 and 1963, respectively.