John Calipari, Kentucky basketball players raise almost $1M for Sandy victims

John Calipari, the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, gives instructions to his team during the exhibition game against the Transylvania Pioneers at Rupp Arena on November 5, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

NEW YORK Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari is bringing a lot more than the third-ranked Wildcats and their impressive freshman class to the New York area.

The man who led the Wildcats to the national championship last season and his four heralded rookies will play Maryland on Friday night in the first college doubleheader played in the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Before the game, Calipari will present a check for almost $1 million to help in relief efforts for those affected by Superstorm Sandy. The money was raised in two telethons involving the Wildcats, who answered phones and took pledges to help people in the New York-New Jersey area. (Scroll down to watch a segment of the telethon from CBS affiliate WKYT-TV in Lexington).

To help victims of Sandy, donations to the American Red Cross can be made by visiting Red Cross disaster relief, or you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Calipari said he has stayed in touch with friends from the area since the storm hit and the money raised will be used to help people affected the most by its damaging impact.

In 2010, Calipari used telethons to raise more than $1 million for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

"My job is to care about my kids and their job is to care about each other," Calipari said Thursday. "I want them to wake up every day and say `What am I going to do today to help somebody else?' We have all been blessed and we should take advantage of that. Fate intervenes and when it does, if you are in a position to have an impact on others, step up and do it."

Calipari said it helps that he has 400,000 "very close friends" on Facebook.

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