ESPN’s Seth Greenberg ruffled some feathers with his comments about the “unwarranted arrogance” of Kentucky’s freshmen.
“These guys are spoiled by the process by the time they turn 13 years old,” Greenberg said during his rant on Wednesday morning’s edition of SportsCenter. “They’re clueless in understanding how hard you have to play and what type of teammate you need to be. They’re not a good team because they are not connected, and you can say it’s because they are freshmen, and that sounds great, but they aren’t connected because they are all about themselves instead of the good of the group.”
“It’s not about Kentucky,” he added. “It’s about how quick can I get to the league. It’s all about me, me, me. They don’t know how to play hard. They’re not competitive. They can’t maintain an intensity. And quite honestly, John Calipari coaches his teams really hard, but they’re more concerned about themselves than the good of the group.”
See Greenberg’s entire rant here:
My take on @UKCoachCalipari and @KentuckyMBB Itâ€™s the culture of our game. Players be a hard playing Competitive Winning college player and everything else will take care of itself https://t.co/N1uviNoiY9
— Seth Greenberg (@SethOnHoops) January 17, 2018
Greenberg joined Kentucky Sports Radio on Thursday to explain his position.
First, he said his comments were meant to be more about college basketball in general, and not specific to Kentucky. He wishes the media and fans would talk more about the good teams like Virginia, Purdue and Villanova.
“We need to appreciate some of these other teams because they’ve earned it,” he said. “They’re playing at a high level. Now they don’t have the sexiness of a Kentucky or a Duke or maybe a Kansas, but they’re good basketball teams that have won games and are playing good basketball and they’re further along, and they should be further along.”
“I wasn’t singling out Kentucky. I was singling out the culture of our game. I was also singling out that there are other teams out there that deserved to be mentioned because they are playing at a high level. Plain and simple.”
But let’s get to his Kentucky-specific comments, which is why he was on the show, and why you’re still reading this.
Greenberg said, “Look, I love the Kentucky kids. I’ve spent time with them. They’re great kids. But you know what, they have to learn how to play hard all the time. They have to learn how to play harder, longer. They have to learn to trust each other. They have to learn to allow themselves to be coached. That’s a process. They’re being told ‘no’ for the first time.”
When asked about saying Kentucky players only care about getting to the league, Greenberg noted that it isn’t always the case because every team is a different; and this current team, “has not gotten to the point where they’re going to dig down and play for the good of the group.”
“This group has to learn how to play hard all of the time. Those teams were more competitive… Every group is different, but this group has not been as tough, as emotional, and they don’t have that one guy that says ‘lets go.'”
And lastly, Greenberg said some of the current Wildcats are not allowing Calipari to do what he does best because they aren’t accepting his coaching.
“Look, Cal is the best at getting guys to be the best version of themselves and giving up a little bit of themselves for the good of the group. But along that process there is a fight, and how certain kids see themselves and who they need to be to be winning players, sometimes is two different things. When Cal is not in their ear coaching them — when Cal says, ‘you know what, some guys aren’t allowing me to coach them’ or ‘they’re going and doing they’re own thing’ — that means they’re not allowing themselves to be coached. No one is better at doing it than he is, but you can’t coach someone who doesn’t want to be coached.”
“I think they’re good kids but I don’t think they’re as competitive as they need to be and I don’t think they’re as tough as they need to be.”
Hear the entire interview: