John Calipari has a tendency to go off the rails during his press conferences. Here are the three most ridiculous things he said/did in today’s preview of the showdown with Kansas in the Champions Classic.
1. Calipari channeled Gollum to demonstrate defensive habits
So far, Kentucky’s guards have struggled to stay in front of the guys they’re defending, which burned them several times last night. When asked, Calipari demonstrated how his guards are essentially “opening the gate” for the other team to make easy baskets.
“Some of it becomes positioning. Some of it is opening the gate. The guy goes to drive, watch. Instead of going here and here…”
“His first step is, I’m going to run you down…”
“Well, then you can’t catch him. If you’re going to get beat, get beat letting them shoot a tough two. You can’t give them layups or wide open threes. Those two things kill your team.”
How worried is Calipari about his guards on defense? Later on, he said if they can’t stay in front of Kansas’ guards on Tuesday, Kentucky will lose by 30. If that’s the case…
2. Calipari as a freshman in a boxing ring
Playing with confidence is not easy for most freshmen, especially this early on. Calipari said his freshmen are playing “cool,” not confident, which leads to them getting pummeled in the ring.
“Playing with confidence is real simple: I’m playing harder than the guy I’m playing against. I’m going to be confident. If he’s smashing me, I’m in the ring, PANG PANG POW.”
“I’m confident. I’m confident. EEEEEEGHHHH.”
“You can’t be confident. You’ve got to smash him! And then you’re dancing. These guys, there is no coolness because coolness leads to having no confidence. Because you’re cool, layup, layup, boom, foul, grab. And then your eyes are like that. And that’s what we’re trying to teach them. You build your confidence by playing harder than the other guy.”
3. “I’m kicking alligators and I’m coaching freshmen”
This team’s youth and inexperience is taking on a toll on Calipari, who is coping by “kicking dogs and throwing cats.” When asked if he’s okay, he broke out even more metaphors.
“No, I’m dying here. I’ve got a noose around my neck. I’m holding on to a rope, my hands are bleeding, I’m kicking alligators and I’m coaching freshmen. This thing, I’m fighting to get my mindset in that, I need to stay in the moment of all this. I’ve got to be as positive for these guys as I can.”
Kicking alligators seems like a self-defense issue, but can we leave the dogs and cats out of it?