If there’s one thing we’ve learned about John Calipari in the past eight years, it’s that he loves to scream. Calipari is famous for screeching and stomping at his players from the sidelines, which can take a toll on a freshman’s psyche. What advice are Wenyen Gabriel and Hamidou Diallo — “veterans” on this squad — giving to their younger counterparts on how to deal with screaming Cal?
“When heâ€™s screaming, heâ€™s not mad; heâ€™s just trying to get a point across,” Diallo said. “I donâ€™t think any of these guys have seen Coach mad yet. Thatâ€™s a good thing, definitely. Nobody wants to see that side of him.”
Diallo may only have a semester of experience under his belt, but he’s seen “that side” of Calipari before.
“A couple times last year,” Diallo said. “I was here at the end when it really counted, so any little thing could turn that switch on.”
Gabriel’s message to his younger teammates: don’t take it personally.
“We always gotta keep it as, itâ€™s never personal with Cal. We all know heâ€™s a businessman, but itâ€™s never personal. Thatâ€™s something you have to keep in your mind. Youâ€™ve got to try to take the message about what heâ€™s trying to say there. If he yells at you, that doesnâ€™t mean heâ€™s mad at you. Thatâ€™s one of the things that youâ€™ve got to really let them know.”
With his youngest team ever, Calipari’s screaming a lot in practice these days, but Diallo is doing his best to make sure the younger guys don’t crumble.
“Definitely just staring at the guys when Coach is talking and the little things,” Diallo said of ways he’s trying to help the freshmen out. “Always trying to boost their confidence because Cal stays on top of guys and he wants to see who is going to let go of the rope. At the end of practice when it gets tough, that’s when it really counts.”
Has anyone let go of the rope yet?
“No. Absolutely not.”