In this morning’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, Coach Cal got a little testy when questioned by a reporter about why his bench players did not see significant minutes against South Carolina, despite the game turning into a blowout early on. Coach Cal initially noted that the reason the Polson-Hood-Vargas-Poole quartet didn’t get any quality tick (laugh it up, Pete Thamel!) was because South Carolina remained in a press late in the game. Calipari said that his team was struggling to break that defense – a feeling noted by many of you a bit more profanely on the live blog – and that he yanked his big guns as soon as Darrin Horn dropped back into a zone.
After his initial response, Calipari was asked again why he had not given them meaningful minutes and chance for “demonstrated performance”, which is what he cited as the biggest reason that Josh Harrellson has developed into a major contributor. Calipari clearly got agitated and repatedly noted that he’s working on this team’s psyche as much as anything right now and the last thing he wanted to do was have a situation where his team struggles to finish off another game and he has to bring his starters back in to save it. Seems to make sense.
Calipari did say that the bench players might get an opportunity to still crack the rotation, but didn’t seem too committed to the idea and mentioned it only in passing.