KSR is live at Kentucky Basketball Media Day. Refresh this thread for the latest updates from John Calipari’s press conference.
— When asked the impact the Bahamas trip had on his team, Calipari once again called for college basketball to allow practice and/or exhibitions in August ala spring practice for football teams.
“I think we should be able to something like football does with spring football. I’ve been saying it for a number of years. Why don’t we own the first two weeks of August, college basketball? Bring foreign teams to you. It can be televised or not televised. You could practice or not play anybody. It could cost you nothing…It’s good for the kids. If we make rules based on this premise, that it’s good for the kids, we won’t make many mistakes.”
Cal said the exhibitions in the Bahamas helped his team adjust to the bright lights and expectations at Kentucky.
“A lot of anxiety was wiped out. Then they could be comfortable going in to what they were going to face.”
— Calipari on the college hoops trial: “I haven’t followed all this stuff. It’s a black eye. It’s not good for basketball. I hope they decisions we’re making out of this is what’s best for the kids, not changing things for change’s sake.”
— Calipari on opening with Duke:
“We agreed to do it. It’s a hard game. And it’s a hard game for Duke. They’ve got young guys. It’s a hard game coming out of the gate playing a program that has really good players and is really well coached and is not intimidated by the scenery. And that’s who we play right out of the gate.
“It wakes you up early in the morning. You just know let’s not get too far ahead. At this point, I can’t tell you exactly what we’ll have in. We won’t have everything in, but we’ll have enough in to say this is how we’ll play this game.”
— Calipari on reports he’s being enamored with this group:
“When you don’t have to coach effort, when you don’t have to coach the enthusiasm, the passion you have to play with, when you don’t have to coach the competitive spirit — I don’t have to coach that with this team. What are you left with? I have to coach basketball.”
— Calipari says Reid Travis has gone from 262 lbs. in the Bahamas to 245 lbs. and 5.4% body fat now.
“He was a little bit heavy– I don’t want to say heavy, he’s big boned. He weighs 262 lbs. I said, you’ve got to lose 20 pounds. [At the combine] he did jumping drills and he was jumping above the square. He was above the square standing flat-footed. He’s down to 245 lbs. now. I said maybe lose five pounds more.”
— As predicted, the kid reporter killed it, asking Calipari how he gives “sass,” aka attitude, to his team. As we saw in the Bahamas, this team thrives on talking trash, but Calipari is discouraging them from doing that by docking them “attitude points.”
Something tells me Keldon Johnson has a lot of those.
— “If this team becomes empowered and it becomes their team, then this becomes scary. But they’ve got to be empowered and to be empowered there has to be more than one leader. Last year’s team, I’m not sure we ever became empowered. We became a better team by the end of the year, but I’m not sure we ever became empowered.”
— Calipari on EJ Montgomery: “Just so you know, EJ has been just okay…until the NBA scouts came and then he played out of his mind. ‘So when the scouts are here, you decided to play a little bit.'”
— More on playing Duke to start the season:
“I would say that game will be just another game at that point unless we win, and then it’s huge. It’s huge. But the reality is that it’s so early that we’ll learn where we are at that point. Same for them. You’d have to ask the guys. I’m not sure what Reid would think of playing Duke, what these young kids would think of playing Duke? The rivalry is because these are such great programs, but to them, I don’t know.”
— Tim Sullivan asked Calipari if he sees a problem with a shoe company paying a kid $100,000.
“If a shoe company wants to pay a player 100,000 while he is in school? Let me go farther, Tim. What if he was in high school, would you have a problem with that. [“No”] The problem with this is I don’t want this to lead to — I think every kid owns their name and likeness. I’ve said it for years. They own their name and likeness. That’s the issue right now. The Olympic model would solve some of that.”
Calipari then went on to run through all the issues he has with the proposed “fixes” for the sport, namely allowing players to go straight to the NBA, or, in most cases, the G-League.
“Ninety-two percent will be roadkill. I may be wrong. It may be 93. What do we do with all those kids?”
— Last question! John Calipari was asked about depth, but the reporter had to repeat it a few times because Cal couldn’t understand his accent.
“You’re from Eastern Kentucky, aren’t you?” Cal asked.
“Yes,” the reporter confirmed.
Then Calipari talked about all of players who have been drafted high despite averaging 20 or so minutes per game. You’ve heard all that before.