Former star criticizes Kentucky, backpedals

Morehead State coach Sean Woods is a Kentucky basketball legend. Woods was a member of the “Unforgettables,” a Wildcats squad that endured the aftermath of a major scandal that hit the program with a postseason ban until the 1991-92 season. That year, Woods and Co. reached the Elite Eight, where they were defeated by Duke via Christian Laettner’s famous buzzer-beater.

Woods’ jersey hangs from the rafters at Rupp Arena.

So how will Kentucky fans react to his criticism of the current Wildcats squad, a team his Eagles will face Wednesday?

Woods told the Louisville Courier-Journal Monday that the Wildcats had “a sense of entitlement” when he encountered some of the squad’s players during a fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Sandy:

Morehead State University basketball coach Sean Woods said he will always be a University of Kentucky Wildcat at heart. But the former UK star was critical of the current crop of Wildcats.

Two days before Morehead will travel to Rupp Arena, Woods had some somewhat harsh words about UK’s players. He said he encountered some of the Wildcats while participating in the UK telethon at WKYT in Lexington earlier this month to raise funds to benefit the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Woods said he didn’t like “the vibe” and sensed a feeling of entitlement.

“These kids don’t know anything,” the Indianapolis native said. “I’ll bet you any type of money that besides the kids from Kentucky that are on UK’s team, they couldn’t tell you anything about one player in the history of Kentucky basketball. When I walked in the door (as a UK freshman) I knew about every player.”

Less than an hour after the story was published, however, Woods backpedaled via Twitter (@SeanWoodsMSU) with the following tweets:

“In no way were my comments meant to offend or insult the current players at UK. Simply an observation of today’s youth everywhere.”

“I greatly admire Coach Cal and what he has done for the University of Kentucky and college basketball.”

“I will always be proud to have worn a Kentucky Wildcat uniform and to be the head coach at Morehead State University.”

Perhaps Woods will get a pass based on his standing with the program and subsequent comments about his alma mater in the Twittersphere.

But the pregame dialogue intensified the buildup, if any previously existed, to Wednesday’s game.

It doesn’t appear, however, that Woods was speaking as an opposing coach as much as he was offering his perspective as a former Kentucky star. One of those uncle-nephew moments. It seems as if his greatest concern was with the current players’ sense of history.

Based on freshman Willie Cauley-Stein’s thoughts on Laettner and his game-winning shot in 1992, he might have a point.