Cannot tolerate such a violation of law’ – Huge embarrassment from Mark Pope Wildcats as they’re shockingly forced to fire him!

Two days before he traveled to the Vatican, a Catholic priest asked University of Kentucky president Eli Capilouto for a favor.

Jim Sichko of the Diocese of Lexington requested a jersey bearing the last name of newly hired Kentucky men’s basketball coach Mark Pope.

“Here I was going to meet the Pope,” Sichko told Yahoo Sports. “I thought it would be neat if I could get a jersey with ‘Pope’ on it.”

That No. 23 jersey was tucked under Sichko’s arm on Wednesday when he attended Pope Francis’ General Audience. Sichko described Pope Francis as “delighted” when he presented the other Pope’s jersey as a gift.

“He was really enthralled by it,” Sichko said. “Usually he hands off the gifts he receives to his assistants to put in plastic containers, but this one he folded and he kept on his lap. He was very intrigued by it.”

Sichko has presented a gift to Pope Francis roughly every six months for the past eight years. In the past, Sichko has brought Pope Francis anything from rare bottles of bourbon to custom tennis shoes made by a Lexington retailer.

The basketball jersey generated even more buzz than most of Sichko’s previous gifts. When he posted the pictures he received from the Vatican to social media on Friday morning, Sichko said, “I never thought in a million years that it would go crazy like this.”

“Literally no other fanbase would be crazy enough to even attempt this,” wrote one commenter on X.

Added another: “We got the Pope on our side?!? Ohhhh this season finna be IT!!”

Mark Pope wore No. 41 in the mid-1990s when he played for Kentucky. The No. 23 on the jersey that Sichko presented Pope Francis represents Pope becoming the 23rd head coach in Kentucky men’s basketball history after he succeeded John Calipari last month.

Sichko does not know Mark Pope personally, but he hopes that the basketball coach will get the same kick out of the story that many fans have.

“This is a feel-good, loveable story,” Sichko said. “At a times when there are so many difficult things going on in the world, I think this brings a smile to people’s faces.”

Jan 13, 2022; Spokane, Washington, USA; Brigham Young Cougars head coach Mark Pope reacts after a play against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats are entering a new era under head coach Mark Pope following former coach John Calipari’s departure to Arkansas. Pope previously coached at BYU and Utah Valley after winning a national title as a player with Kentucky in 1996. He is building the Kentucky basketball roster from scratch after every player from last year’s team left the program, and the Kentucky basketball recruiting class looks completely different as well. The Wildcats had the No. 2 class in the country, but five of the original six Kentucky basketball recruits decommitted following Calipari’s departure.

Pope has used the spring transfer portal to build his first roster in Lexington, with seven transfers already committed to the school. He also has a pair of incoming freshmen, but there are still some moves to be made before the season begins. If you love the Wildcats, or just want the latest roster updates and college basketball transfer portal news, be sure to see what the proven team of insiders are saying at CatsPause, the 247Sports affiliate that covers Kentucky.

The team of insiders at are providing up-to-the-minute scoop on the latest intel surrounding the Kentucky basketball coaching transition and roster changes. CatsPause has built a solid reputation over its 20+ years covering the Wildcats, and has deep-rooted sources inside and around the Kentucky athletic department. And right now, CatsPause is offering 50% off the first year of an annual subscriptions*, so now is the time to sign up.

The team at CatsPause has full coverage of who is coming and who is going on the Kentucky basketball roster. Head to CatsPause now to see all the insider info.

Kentucky basketball roster departures

The 2024-25 Kentucky basketball roster is quickly starting to take shape, as Pope landed another key player earlier this week. San Diego State transfer Lamont Butler, the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year last season, committed to Kentucky as one of the top players from the college basketball transfer portal. He averaged 9.3 points, 3.0 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 27.6 minutes per game and has played in 11 career NCAA Tournament games.

Kentucky’s defense is already looking like a strength, as three-time CAA Defensive Player of the Year Amari Williams also committed earlier this month. He averaged 12.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.8 blocks per game for Drexel last season. Pope also has a pair of recruits committed in Travis Perry and Collin Chandler and is hosting multiple visitors in the coming days. Join CatsPause to see the latest on all of Kentucky’s roster changes.

Kentucky basketball news, roster

The college basketball transfer portal is more important now than ever before, and Pope has used it to his advantage over the past few weeks. He has added seven players to the Kentucky basketball from the portal, including five players who averaged double-digit scoring last season. Wake Forest forward Andrew Carr is the top scorer of the group after averaging 13.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game during his fourth collegiate campaign.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *