Kentucky coach John Calipari revealed Monday he had a breakthrough case of COVID-19 this summer. Calipari was fully vaccinated at the time of infection and said he waited to divulge the information because he did not want people to think the vaccines were not effective.
“I had the vaccines, matter fact I busted the line,” Calipari said. “I wanted to get vaccinated because I was around young people. I had a breakthrough [case] this summer. So I got the virus this summer. I did not want to discourage anyone to say, ‘Well now he got it so why would I take it, it doesn’t matter?’ My symptoms were so mild that I was good.”
Calipari said that Kentucky went through all of last year — unlike most programs across the country — without a positive test among players or staff members.
The timing of the infection was unfortunate for Calipari because he had to miss the 2021 NBA Draft where two of his players, Isaiah Jackson and Brandon Boston Jr., were selected. The late Terrence Clarke was also recognized in an emotional tribute.
“I had some aches and pains and stuff, never got a fever, never got a headache, nothing, but I was [COVID] positive,” said Calipari. “I’m not telling anyone what to do with their body. … I don’t want to hear anybody died because they didn’t [get vaccinated]. It doesn’t mean you’ll never get it. [It just means] the chances of something severe happening are really, really low.”
Calipari and Kentucky are ranked 14th in the CBS Sports Top 25 (And One) this preseason. The Wildcats went 9-16 last year but have two five-star recruits enrolling as well as four immediately-eligible transfers who could reload the team after the worst campaign Calipari has ever had at Kentucky.