John Calipari has had plenty to say about toughness. It has been the word of the season so far in 2017-18 as he tries to drive the toughness message into his players’ minds.
But today he stressed the importance of adversity, and how Sacha Killeya-Jones is the perfect example of it.
“I told all of the kids yesterday, you have to hit adversity,” Calipari said today. “You have to have great doubts in your mind. You have to be wired in a way that, that is fuel. That moves you to another point.
“Last year, what Sacha went through has prepared him to have success this year. The adversity, fighting it. If you’re trying to do something and it’s not working and you continue to try to do something, it’s not going to work. I don’t know if they still call that insanity. So, you have to have some adversity hit you. You have to deal with it, and then you see growth.”
P.J. Washington is another example of adversity, he said, when you consider what Washington endured early in the season when he wasn’t playing up to expectations. Washington is now one of the stars of the team since turning the corner in SEC play.
“PJ early in the year, people are starting to say this and that about PJ, and he had to go through that. He had to lose weight, he had to work on his free throws, he had to do certain things, and he had to have adversity for that to happen or he may have stayed the same.”
There are some other guys who are staring adversity in the face right now, and they too will need to fight through it in order to take that next step, just as Washington and Killeya-Jones have done.