Men's Basketball

Kenny Payne Surprised at “Hatred” and Negative Recruiting at UofL

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Louisville Athletics

Over the past decade-plus, the Louisville Basketball program has been the country’s most reliable source of athletic-department salaciousness, ranging from affairs between the head coach and booster’s wife to an escort scandal to paying recruits.

It has been so frequent that the NCAA has not even provided consequences for all of the scandals yet. As of now, the NCAA has only issued consequences for the escort scandal, vacated their 2013 national title, and put them on four years of probation starting in 2017.

Five years later, NCAA has yet to issue any more consequences, but many believe it is just a matter of time before they are at least put back on probation.

Given that, many teams have used this to their advantage, using the provided ammunition against Louisville in recruiting. Most people familiar will college athletics and/or the world of recruiting would not be surprised by this.

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That is unless you are Kenny Payne.

On Sunday, Payne talked to the media about being unprepared to face the negative recruiting. “I wasn’t prepared for universities to say, ‘Louisville’s going on probation, why would you ever go there?’ to deter these kids from listening and especially from people that I’ve helped in the past. It’s a lesson for me.”

While Payne did not list any names, he went on to say, “my relationships with certain people that have been in my life for 30, 40 years have changed.”

Could these comments be directed at another talented recruiter down the road, John Calipari? Calipari and Payne are battling for two top 10 prospects, Aaron Bradshaw and DJ Wagner. The latter of which, Payne hired his grandfather, Milt Wagner.

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Whatever the case may be, Kenny Payne knows to recruit. During his time at Kentucky, he received commitments from a dozen five-star recruits and several four-star recruits.

For someone with that amount of recruiting success, it is difficult to believe that Payne wasn’t aware of the recruiting situation he was coming into.

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