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Team, fans honor Cal's mother by wearing black

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Cal.jpegJohn Calipari just went through one of most trying times of his life and still didn't miss a game. Dealing with the death of his mother, Donna, who died Sunday after a battle with cancer, Calipari was on the sidelines Tuesday night for the Boston game.

In a touching tribute, the players honored Calipari and his mother by wearing black socks and black arm bands for the game.

"It was all for Coach Cal for the situation he had," freshman guard Doron Lamb said. "We just wanted to show him that we cared and that we're going to fight for him."

The Kentucky assistant coaches donned all black suits as well, and Rupp Arena, especially in the student section, was dotted with black apparel in respect for Calipari's mother.

"I want to thank our team for wearing black socks in her honor and I really want to thank the students and others that wore black jerseys in her honor," Calipari said in Lexy.com post following the game. "I called my dad and told him it was going to be done. I'm not sure she would have wanted it but it was a great honor for our family that our fans, the Big Blue Nation, would think enough of us to mourn with us."

Although Calipari took the sideline for Tuesday's game, he couldn't escape the emotions and grief of his mother's death. Longtime assistant coach John Robic subbed for Calipari in his postgame news conference while assistant coach Orlando Antigua joined Tom Leach for his usual postgame radio show.

"We're all in this together, and he knows that we're there for him," Robic said.

Despite dealing with the sorrow of the last few days, Robic said Calipari has hardly missed a beat. After flying to Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday to be with his family, Calipari returned to Lexington on Monday for practice.

"I've been with him for 14 years and he's never missed a practice," Robic said. "It just shows the commitment that he has to not only his family in Charlotte but to this family in the locker room. It says a lot about him."

Calipari called his mother "the dreamer and the driver" of the Calipari family.

"In the end, the cancer got the best of her, but she fought," Calipari said in the Lexy audio tweet (you can hear the full audio by clicking on the Lexy application). "She was 74 years old. She died with my father and my sister right there. Probably three times in the last month I spent time with her. She knew how we all felt. In the end, that last month, she just wanted to sit and talk and look and tell you she loved you and did the best she could. She was a great mother." 
 

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