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Calipari on Duke loss: “Did we get arrogant, all of us?”


A hallmark of John Calipari’s best teams at Kentucky has been relentless effort and competitiveness; Calipari saw that on the floor Tuesday night, only it was coming from the other team.

“Duke played with a chip,” Cal told reporters today. “They were going to show us that they were better and each individual player was going to show our players they were better and maybe their coach was showing me he was better. But they all had a chip on their shoulder. That’s us my whole career; that’s what it’s been again. Did we get arrogant, all of us, me included? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.”

Starting with today’s practice, Calipari said he’s going back to his old ways in hopes it lights a fire under his squad.

“I’ll say it again: I like this team. I like the people, the players, the way they treat each other. Now, we’ve gotta have a little chip. We’ve got to get hungrier.”

That mindset extends to him.

“You know, I was calm that whole game. Matter of fact, was really positive. Didn’t say much. I mean, I really didn’t. Even at halftime or after. I didn’t raise my voice but once or twice to say, why would you do that? Once or twice. But maybe I need to coach at like the beginning of last year if you remember. You remember how I coached at the beginning of last year? I was like the point guard. I became the point guard on the sideline until I could start backing up when Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander] got really good and I could just say go do what you do and we’re good. Maybe I’ve got to do that.

“I’m still learning how to coach these guys individually and collectively. But I’ll say this: they’ve got to go play. Just go play. Go battle. Be who you are. If the other guy outworks you, you should not be in the game. And don’t expect to be in the game. It’s been pretty much my history as a coach. If you didn’t dive on the floor, I’m taking you out.”

Luckily, Kentucky’s got seven straight home games to work on the kinks, starting tomorrow night with Southern Illinois, an experienced squad that returns all five starters and is ranked in the top ten of the preseason mid-major Top 25. Calipari just wants to see something — anything — from his team in the wake of Tuesday night’s embarrassment.

“Like I told them, we’ve gotta get five guys that will fight like heck and leave them in and play them as long as they can play. Find those five that will fight together and play together and leave them in. And the rest of you will sub when they need a break.”

“This is one that you grow from. You learn from and it changes your whole mentality about how you approach, or it kind of caves you in. We’re gonna see.”

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

32 responses to “Calipari on Duke loss: “Did we get arrogant, all of us?””

  1. ballplayerstu

    My thoughts exactly as I was watching the beat down I mean game. Puke wanted it more and wanted to prove it more than any player on our squad. Look, UK will be there in the end because we have the talent and the coach along with culture but my question is this; how can the team not play with intensity knowing they were playing Puke??? Go Cats!

    1. recliner coach

      Because none of the kids grew up in Kentucky hating them

    2. henderblue

      Recliner, I don’t think growing up in Kentucky has anything to do with it. I grew up in Kentucky. I hate Indiana and Louisville more. And maybe Tennessee, which historically may be our biggest rival. We’ve only played Duke 22 times now and of course we hate them. Because of their tradition, which rivals ours. People all over the country hate Duke. You don’t have to be from Kentucky to hate them. People from all over the country hate us too. Because of our success…

  2. terwilliger

    They need a BIG chip Cal. Not a little one.

  3. Realme

    In the words of the great JT:

    Cal’s got this.

    Also, Heeyyyyyyyyy.

  4. Shively1978

    Maybe this brings them back to earth. Secondly it starts with defense. This isn’t high school. Gotta play D every night in college no matter who the opponent. Third maybe they start playing for each other and together. The 2012 team was good but what made them special was they played together well as a team.

    1. ballplayerstu

      Yeah this is all about effort and knowing how hard we have to play. These kids have been asleep so to speak and hyped up. Duke attacked us and we couldn’t begin to match pukes. I say we get it going !!

  5. BBNBRIAN

    Truly, we couldn’t do any worse. Except for Keldon and Reid, we played timid and star struck until ultimately too many guys took too many terrible shots because they were under the bright lights. They wanted to be “the man” and got away from team ball and looked even more lost at the end than they were at the beginning of the game.

  6. eyebleedblue

    Duke is just that good. Maybe we are the second best team right now and they’re just that much better.
    Hopefully 6 months from now we are a elite defensive team and have closed the gap.
    Not sure Duke can play any better than they did even if they improve.

    1. Kernel Sanders

      Lol if I’m a Duke fan, I’m not sure if I care that Duke can’t play any better. Play like that and they’ll still be odds on favorites to win it. Ugh

    2. TheAssman

      That’s a good point and one I’ve thought about as well….we MAY very well be the 2nd best team in the country (right now)….and there is that colossal gap (right now) between Duke and everyone else…..time will tell, as they play more teams and we play more teams.

      Keepin’ the faith….Go Cats!!

  7. Kernel Sanders

    Cal’s gotta do what he’s gotta do I guess, but if he’s going to be micromanage screaming at them 38 minutes a game again like last year, then I think I’ll reach for the mute button.

  8. Blueballz

    “Maybe their coach was showing me that he was better…” ugh, you don’t say? They run sets that get their players in the best position to score. Cal gets out coached all the time, the difference maker is that he usually always has the better players. You get a team with a better bench coach and equal and better players, you get wiped all over the floor like Cal did the other night.

    1. KYCat4EVER

      Blueballz, best post on this article! To read Coach Cals response bin this article brought me absolute disbelief, anger, and confirmation our Coach has no idea how badly he got out coached, how badly our team got our butts kicked, the humiliation our fans endured, and the embarrassment our “gold standard” program suffered! I suppose we can Self Awareness as another shortcoming ( next to Bench coaching) of our head coach!

    2. bigbluebanana

      Your comment just gave me a seizure. What?

  9. sbueck

    “Listen up kids: go play. Battle, be you, play with a chip on your shoulder. Here’s the ball.”

    Can’t imagine why we weren’t ready.

    I love Cal as a person, especially as a fighter for his recruits, but we just saw what a great basketball coach can do with elite talent. I’m not a coach K fan, I’m a Kentucky fan and a fan of good basketball. You see less and less of that these days.

    Queue the insults…

  10. Larkin123

    The teams chemistry is gone… I called for us to lose by 30 points here’s why. We played teams the Bahamas that would beat Transylvania by 30 to 40. We beat those particular teams about like that. The first two exhibitions we’re about 30 points down from the Bahamas. Now Cal may know what he’s doing long-term, But make no mistake about it if he had not been coaching us we would’ve been better short term. The coaching for these trips is pretty much just a little tweaking. This team has been over coached. Too much… for a short period of time. I am not kidding you we beat teams by 30 to 40 points that would kill Transylvania a lot worse than we did! I’ve never seen anything like that… its a drop drop off of monumental proportions. I’m starting to wonder about the basketball IQ of our fans and everyone else. If the first two exhibitions didn’t show you that we were playing about 25 points at least worse than projected, you have to be out of your mind. It’s to the point where the Mega Bemax, even if overhyped, would lose to duke by about the same score! A team we could’ve beat 45 points! To chalk this up as overconfidence is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in college sports. We have seen this team before. The Duke game was no different then the Transylvania game and the other game. We played about 30 points worse than we were. It all makes since! It made since before the game.

    This is just a coaching media talk It’s just one of the many things coaches say. They blame themselves after the game to take heat off players. That’s what coaches do. And talk about things like overconfidence or youth blah blah. By the way those different comments coaches use are just a bunch of talk. They just pull the best line out of a mythical bag, and use the one that works best with media and fans.

    It’ll take a half a season to get it back…. About When Cal Tunes up the point guards.

  11. UKfanman01

    Remember BBN. Regular season doesnt matter

  12. Jiminy Crickets

    Coach K coaches spacing, positioning, and team ball. Did you see the ESPN special? Coach K said “if you can’t hit the stand still 3, or hit a free throw or find the open man, you can’t play here”.
    Cal says you’ve got to out fight individually. You’ve got to be the best that you can be. He’ll coach until you’re good “then you go do you”.
    Total different approach

  13. J. Did

    KENTUCKY was humbled. That’s a good thing. KENTUCKY was embarrassed. That’s a good thing. Winners – and KENTUCKY has winners – will remember and recover. Basketball is life and life is all about recovery. GO CATS!

    1. BigolBlue

      You forgot cal is the coach

    2. bigbluebanana

      The trolls are moving into the basketball talk folks. Everyone continue to avoid direct communication with them, let them have their own miserable circlejerk.

  14. Jiminy Crickets

    The biggest take away from Tuesday’s game was Duke, from stars to scrubs looked like a team. UK looked like a collection of talent, each trying to take game over individually

  15. BigolBlue

    Coming from the most arrogant guy ever. So. Illinois is gonna get us

    1. henderblue

      BigolBluecardinaldumbass stop saying “us” when you talk about Kentucky. You’re not us. You live to see “us” lose. If you’re living to see people lose, watch your team…remember 77-16..

    2. bigbluebanana

      Remember hender, don’t address them directly. They’re not smart enough to form valid points on their own, they rely solely on interaction to grow. Directly commenting to them causes them to go full sail.

  16. Papaw

    MAYBE their coach showed he was better? News flash Cal. That other coach out coached you from tip off to final buzzer. That was a beatdown and as a Ky fan it was embarrassing to watch

    1. bigbluebanana

      “News flash”

      Stage 4 of white guy angriness speak.

    2. BigolBlue

      So true. Banana boy andn4 ever are Cals daughters

  17. recliner coach

    True, but hearing about the shot from ur parents, seeing it every year on March madness, would have to be a lil more incentive for players that grew up in KY when playing duke. My boys didn’t watch that game but they sure know about it. Plus for the 50 years I have watched the cats imo the boys from Ky always seem to be willing to play a little harder for the name on the front of their jersey. They know the tradition.

    1. bigbluebanana

      Right? I surely hope Cal takes this into consideration moving forward. We would have at least 18 NC’s if Cal stopped recruiting these stupid 5 star players and went after all of the 3 star white guys from Kentucky! By god, they’d spank every team we played.

  18. CopenhagenCat

    I seen a UK team that couldn’t hit nothing, that got behind and gave up. There was no effort. They just stood there and let guys dunk on them. Cals fault for letting players take awful shots and keeping them in the game. I can handle a loss. But this team played scared and showed no heart. I love Cal and the Cats. But the effort in the game was pathetic. I was very disappointed . Kids need to be taught what that jersey stands for.