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John Calipari: “I’m Not Cracking”


The loss at Texas A&M was about as bad as it gets.  Kentucky’s start to the second half was disheartening.  A team that showed flashes of greatness could do nothing right.  Despite it all, John Calipari refuses to quit on his team.

“I’m not cracking.  This doesn’t faze me,” he said after the 85-74 loss at Texas A&M.  “I’m not mad at them.  They’re young.  I’m not frustrated.  I get tired.  You know now I’m not 35 anymore; I’m 46.  I get tired, but I just gotta help them figure it out.”

A lot went wrong for Kentucky.  You could pinpoint fundamental mistakes, mental errors and much more.  This is how Calipari summed up their second half collapse:

“We let go of the rope. I just told them after, ‘I’m not cracking.’ I’ve been through this.  I’ve coached 30 years and all I’m thinking about is, ‘How do I get these guys to play two halves the way they played the first half?’ And we’re still not there offensively, but we need a team full of guys performing and we didn’t have it.”

Many people will give up on this team after the embarrassing second half.  John Calipari will not.

“I’m not cracking.  I’m not wavering.  I hate losing.  I can’t stand it.  I liked our first half….and then we let go of the rope.  And then when things got funky, we just let go.”

Why is he so confident his team can still turn it around before March?

“They have to want this to happen, and I believe they do.  I believe they’re embarrassed by their play.  If I didn’t; I told them, ‘If I want this more than you want this, please tell me so I can take my wife to movies and dinners.’  They want this.  They want it for each other, it’s just a tough deal.”

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

40 responses to “John Calipari: “I’m Not Cracking””

  1. big cat

    Did he forget his age..lol? Pretty sure ESPN posted he turned 49…uh…oops.

    1. timbo

      I can’t tell if/how serious you might be… Today was his 59th birthday… he’s been coaching at this level for 30 yrs…

  2. Mc12

    If they can learn heart, awareness, and sharing the ball in a month I think we have a chance… To me, if you lose and play with heart it’s not so bad.

    1. jahanc2uky

      Shooting, boxing out, and taking care of the basketball should probably also be on the list. Is Cal saying he is not cracking out loud, because he is cracking?

  3. big cat

    …or maybe it was 59

  4. truBLU

    We’d be a #1 seed in the pooping ice cream tournament

  5. Steady

    Did you say flashes of greatness? Surely you jest. This team is just a bad team, next.

  6. callitlikeiseeit

    I’m not cracking either, said in NOV this team had ZERO title chance and took a bashing for months. I guess I knew what I was talking about, come on bashers get back on the bus. Have not been to a game this season and will not go, 1st time in many many years. Even my free tix I got for renewing football season tix, SOLD THEM to that one born every minute. I love UK but am just realsitic and could see Cal had put these young men in a no win situation. No experience to lean on and learn from and he can’t coach to get them better.

    1. justaguyinthebackrow

      Ah, so you’re a bandwagon fan, then. Only support them when they’re winning it all. And you’r proud of this?

    2. henderblue

      Good for you. Here’s a feather for your cap

    3. antiquefurnitureandmidgets

      Not just a front runner but an arrogant, condescending one. How refreshing.

  7. makeitstop

    It’s not rope, Cal, come on: they can’t guard an inbound play any better today than 2 months ago, they still don’t have any spacing half the possessions and can’t find a body to block out on rebounds, and honestly Hami’s shot is still a shotput motion… metaphors aren’t getting it. They fought hard at the end. They didn’t let go of the rope they lost their man on pick and rolls and Williams and Davis used 2 hands on rebounds we had one on… these are real things that need real coaching and real accountability. Not second guessing, just saying telling the truth about the actual failures will help the team and the fan base more than metaphors.

    1. callitlikeiseeit

      well put but Cal is not a great coach so the problems will not get fixed. Legit question, What do we work on in practice? Is hard to watch a game and tell from the play. Not offensive sets, Not Defense, Not shooting, what do we do at practice.

    2. justaguyinthebackrow

      Have you never watched a game with Cal before? I would think every Kentucky fan knows he preaches two handed rebounds all day, every day. He still can’t go out on the court and do it for them.

    3. antiquefurnitureandmidgets

      “…Cal is not a great coach…”

      #FakeNews

  8. callitlikeiseeit

    In the meantime I have to put up with OSU in basketball again, now they have a coach. Guy takes over a team that was terrible a year ago, started in mid June so he did not get to hand pick his team or Freshman, he developed a plan and has made this team so much better, that is coaching. If Cal had taken over same team on same date etc, team would prolly be about a .500 team again. OSU seems to have gotten a real coach.

    1. antiquefurnitureandmidgets

      I would recommend you become an OSU fan but with their “real coach” they’d probably want a real fan. You knew we’d suck. You haven’t gone to a game. You told us all we would suck. I have a good idea: go away.

  9. makeitstop

    Btw it’s a miracle SGA split the defenders as many times as he did tonite and that won’t be the case against Auburn, where they’ll turn him and strip him. And, hopefully the banked in 3’s fall for us next game bc we will need it.

  10. ilovekaturday

    We suck. We need a coach we need a new team we need a new arena and this site needs a new app cause it sucks

  11. bigbluenation90

    I think the way we have been playing is ridiculous. I think that Brad needs more PT!!

    1. ilovekaturday

      I second that need a sniper keep him get rid of his dad

  12. blueblood4life

    Cal is an awesome coach ! Sometimes you get kids who don’t listen . You can’t teach heart sure we need some experience but if this team fails we will reload and try it again next year! Go cats

    1. bigbluenation90

      I think cal is garbage. And he needs to play Brad more

  13. dballrb

    I need 3 semesters to finish my degree…I’m available for paid tuition.

  14. bluecrowe

    First of all I love Cal. Secondly, no child on this team has any business considering the NBA and this includes Knox and Alexander. This was the most pathetic display of basketball I have seen since Billy Clyde. If any of them leave then the system is just insane. You cannot build a team by getting all athletes plus one basketball player have them all underperform and be outplayed by subpar teams for an entire year and then lose 3 or 4 of them to leagues in Greece after 5 months. It is simply insanity.

  15. Cat68

    How do our ‘bigs’ only account for 3 baskets? Nick, PJ, and Wenyen each had 1 (Nick made his dunk tonight). And I’m pretty sure Payne works the bigs so it can’t all be put on Cal. We will be riding a 4-game losing streak with the very real possibility of tanking 5 in a row when Bama comes to town. Where have the days gone when I’d get all fired up for a game because I just knew we could pound teams by 20 or 30? I mean you just knew it would happen. Now I wonder if that happens to us.

  16. bigbluenation90

    Is there any chance Brad puts his name in the draft next year?

    1. AllBall

      I will tell you what we do in practice….scrimmage. That’s the reason for our poor play. Scrimmaging against guys going half ass doesn’t help a thing. They need instruction not more AAU.

  17. Racerr11

    We have some fans who are way out there, Cal slipping get real. We played a good first half really good defense offense still stagnant most of the time. Came out the second half and had no effort

    1. Racerr11

      Just going thru the motions not sprinting, no help on d just a very lackluster effort and has been most of the year. Basketball I q not very good but mainly effort the

    2. kjd

      Please explain, “we played a really good first half”. You follow that up with the offense was mostly stagnant. The game consists of both offensive and defensive play. You can’t be really good when you only do one well.

  18. Racerr11

    Cal coaches his heart out pleading but never stops coaching. There is no other coach in the country I would want

    1. bankerbh

      There is a huge difference between coaching and just screaming like a lunatic. Cal isn’t coaching the players when he is on the sidelines during a game. But he has mastered the screaming part. If they were properly coached, the players would know where to be on their own. Since they aren’t coached effectively, you get the carnival barker on the sidelines having to instruct them on where to move on the court. They should already know where to be and what to do.

    2. Rixter

      I remember 3 years ago, when Cal knew how to coach, and his guys knew where to be, and they were a shot clock violation from being undefeated. Cal has forgotten much in 3 years.

  19. Lahinch02

    I agree, the basketball IQ of this group of players – sans SGA is menial … so why would you recommend the not pursue the NBA? At that age, I thought I had all the answers too! If they stay, you will have the same bitching next year and their lack of heart may infect the next class.

  20. alwaysblue

    Love Cal because he works harder than the players. But there always a but, he needs to evaluate his process because you can’t have both ways. Cal statement”they think of them selves not team” . Who promotes players first program, NBA scouts to preview them before season,, talking about how much money players make in NBA. Why wouldn’t they think they should be worried about themselves getting to NBA . Why never any talk about UK players who never made it to the league and their successes. People in Ky care about the program and the school ,not NBA or we would still have A league team inn L. Now the chickens may be coming home to roost if we don’t re evaluate. I don’t have my season tickets anymore because it’s to much money to watch weaker teams and watch better games on TV, just watch em all on tube.

  21. catsby90.1

    The fact that he was pleased with how “well” we played the first half should tell you a lot. Some guys may have played ok, but as a team, they didn’t look too great in my opinion. Standards are getting lower each game for this team.

  22. Rixter

    It sounds to me many of you are saying Cal needs to stop recruiting one-and-done players. In other words, recruit the kids who aren’t as good. Worse than these players. Right?

    1. catdaddyd

      How about some shooters?

  23. jakedrj

    I’m cracking.