John Calipari’s wisdom knows no bounds. In an hour of talk radio, Calipari praised the football team, shared book suggestions, gave a lesson in Chinese and dissected what went wrong in Kentucky’s loss to Alabama.
Some of Calipari’s basketball breakdown was simple. The Cats missed too many layups. He showed the team every missed one-footer. There were at least 15. “It may have been 17. I stopped counting.” Calipari also used the film to pick apart the Cats’ abysmal transition defense.
“You saw us play North Carolina, who’s the fastest team in the country getting the ball from one end of the court to the other, and they didn’t get any. But Alabama goes and is dunking on us behind us? We really kind of reverted defensively. Against Louisville we threw 325 passes. Against Alabama we threw 272 passes. Why?”
It was not the first time Calipari used the word “reverted” when describing the loss that opened SEC play. He has a theory why the team took a step back after two excellent performances.
“They all bought in and we started winning and I think we kinda slipped. But that’s what young teams do,” Calipari said. “What I’m asking them to do is really sacrifice and play really hard on every possession. That’s really hard. It’s easier to just get mine and let me worry about my own, so you’re going to slip back to that. Part of that’s on me because it happened right under my nose and I didn’t notice it.”
To get his team more focused on the “we” than the “me,” Coach Cal has assigned reading, a punishment worse than running stairs. You heard all about “the word” Cal wants each player to focus on in the New Year. If you prefer to skip the reading, like me, enjoy the book’s message.
“If you create opportunities for others, you create even more opportunities for yourself. That’s in basketball and in life. That means teaching them to be great teammates, to be more concerned with someone else other than yourself. As you do that, you get more in return.” He added, “If they do that, we’ll win. We will win.”
They will win, but they will not learn how to correctly speak Chinese. To do that, enjoy Calipari’s 30-second tutorial and ignore the blogger pounding away on his keyboard.