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The national media reacts to Calipari’s scolding


We now interrupt Signing Day for a little bit of basketball…

Last night, John Calipari ruffled some feathers in the media when he said he thought his team was “the most overanalyzed team in the history of sports.”  In fact, Cal said it three times: to Dino Gaudio on the telecast, in his postgame presser, and again during his radio show. Cal went on a true Calipari rant about the media when asked about Willie’s comeback:

“Yeah, I told him to go back blonde. I said you play better blonde. But, no, he’s been practicing. Look, if you think he wants to play bad, he doesn’t. I said this after the game to the TV, this is the most overanalyzed team I’ve ever seen in the history of the game, at any level, in any sport.  There is a weekly update on what we are and what we’re not.

Then they go to Synergy, and take out every play to show where we’ve â€‘‑ I’ve never seen it.  Our losses are worse than every other loss in the country.  We lose, you’re not in the top 25.

Now you understand LSU has three NBA players, a junior guard and a senior guard.  They’re no schmo team now.  At the end of the day, they’ll be in the NCAA Tournament.  LSU is good.  This team has to deal with that.  I went and told them.  I told them before the ranking I thought we’d be as low as 19.  I said it will be 17, 18, and 19, so when I was right I asked the staff, when is the last time I was wrong?  They said 1978.  I think it was ’78.  Might have been ’77, but I think it was ’78 though.

So it’s hard to play here.  How about this one?  When I recruit these kids, I can’t hide you.  Is that true?  You’re not hiding here now.  You have a bad game, you can’t play anymore.  Another guy has a bad game, yeah, tough game.  He’s a terrific player.  My guy has a bad game, he can’t play.  He just goes from a great player to he stinks in one game.  You’re playing at Kentucky.  Good luck.”

In true Cal manner, he said that he could “go on” about the matter for a while, and a few questions later, someone asked him to. Here is Cal’s response when asked how much of “the great amplification of this program” was the media’s fault:

“Here’s what I would say. It’s you guys here, but it’s national. It’s everywhere, and that’s why kids want to play here, but that’s what makes it hard here. Everybody has an opinion, and they write them, and then is it their opinion or their hope that they’re writing? I don’t know. You’d have to ask them.”

Now, Calipari is prone to hyperbole, and predictably, his remarks caused quite the stir on Twitter. Here is just a sampling of the national media’s reaction:

Mike DeCourcy, The Sporting News:

Calipari’s good friend Bob Huggins, whom I covered as a beat writer at Cincinnati for four seasons, used to spend the first half of every season tearing into his teams for substandard efforts, quite frequently even after easy victories. Then, once he’d convinced the media his team was underachieving on a regular basis, he would begin using his postgame addresses following victories to criticize those who were criticizing the team – though they’d often done so by using Huggins’ own words.

This usually happened early in February, when he needed his team to gain confidence for the closing stretch of conference games and the challenge of March.

Eamonn Brennan, ESPN:

In any case, the notion that Calipari’s comments are a direct assault on “the media” is pretty silly. The same guy who opened the season standing in front of microphones saying …

“We don’t move the needle. We are the needle!”

… didn’t suddenly decide he’d prefer everyone just give his program some space to breathe. What he would like is for his historically young team to start treating the looking glass not as an accurate self-reflection but as a funhouse mirror, one it needs to smash en route to a collective goal.

Matt Norlander,

Said it before, and it applies tonight yet again: John Calipari is a maestro. About eight to 10 times a year, on a national level, he’ll say something that will get serious run in the headlines. Often times, what he says makes headlines because it has an element of surprise.Where’s this coming from, John?

He and Kentucky make the sport more interesting, and for that most media members are grateful. Calipari is very intent with his words and when he chooses to say what he says. So his gripe against local and national media after Kentucky’s 80-64 home win over Ole Miss Tuesday night comes as something of a surprise — and will definitely cause some waves.

Are DeCourcy and Brennan right? Are Cal’s comments about the media an indirect way to fire up his team?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

50 responses to “The national media reacts to Calipari’s scolding”

  1. twocoach

    My guess is that a HUGE percentage of the people that click on stories on college basketball on the national sites are clicked on by fans of the Blue Blood programs (Kentucky, Kansas, Carolina, Duke). We all like to read about the success of our teams and the failures of the others in our little group. It’s the job of the national media to generate material that will be read by the most people.

    And NEGATIVE stories about those programs will draw interest from fans of the next tier of programs (Syracuse, Indiana, Michigan State, UCLA, Arizona, mid-major flavor of the month). It’s a simple case of catering to your audience.

    Cal doesn’t care about any of this; he is just employing his typical smoke and mirrors to give the media something to talk about besides his players. Standard move.

    1. Bob

      People please LSU playing as they did could have gave any team in the nation an run for there money. I watch many games and many different teams each year and it’s the same as they did WCS from NBA hero to maybe Europe bound .It’s what the guys do ! then there’s this select group whom truely hate Kentucky. Anyway you slice it keep records each season from the begining on whom and what they said and next year you’ll know an pro from an pile of BULLSHIT !!! You whatis cool in Kentucky is you can cut down the sound when and turn on the radio and not have to listen to this nonesense. As to sports networks or stations example ESPN i will not purchase there products or services due to comments from Bobby Knight . We can as an whole BBN by not spending our money with these haters change scene .Fair Fun is great and disagreeing no problem but hitting below the belt .We all know Forde has red undees t-backs with not an hair , honestly who cares what he has to say. I hope he can speak these 4 words Kentucky kicked our ass !!! I am an Cats fan and guess what if i was the president i would be living in the blue house not white house .My grass is bluegrass. Watch this monster come March

    2. sorry Bob...

      Bob you might make some valid points and even somehow manage to form a cohesive argument, but with FOUR grammatical errors in your first sentence I cannot take your opinion seriously.
      1) need a comma after please
      2) have given
      3) a run
      4) their money

  2. Me

    It’s all about ratings. Goodman, Parrish, Forde, and everyone else that’s a talking head have to keep their readers interested or they have no job. Cal uses the media like the media uses UK and every other program to get where they want. The truth is always somewhere in the middle.

  3. R.Smith

    Cal always has a reason for making comments like that.

    He may be using the media as a way to get the fans behind the team more after the disappointing loss to LSU. Us against them is the fastest way to get UK fans to rally behind the team.

  4. Go Deep

    Cal is a genius, he’s doing this just to take some of the spotlight and pressure away from the kids and put it on him while pointing out some crazy expectations people have of the program. BTW, the fans wouldn’t want it any other way. We don’t want to sneak up on anyone, we want the whole world to know that we are coming and then still destroy the competition.

  5. theWilkman

    As always with his comments, there is a grain of truth to this. I do think, however, that it’s all in an effort to get this team to gel. He knows, even more so than Parrish, what this team can be when firing on all cylinders. If he has to use the Us Against Them mentality, so be it. It’s a proven strategy on all levels. If you get players with the talent of UK’s top 7-8 and pair it with that mentality, there’s only a small handful of teams that can stop them.

  6. Biglaw Dawgin'

    That’s about as positive of spin from the media as I’ve ever seen. Cal’s essentially ripping them as a whole and they love him for it. Cal is looking out for his team and players here. Trying to get the convo started that maybe his individual guys are still as good as everyone thought preseason.

  7. FlyNavy

    Forde is an idiot, he is the epitome of hyperbole and there isn’t a thing he could say that I would consider of any consequence or value.

  8. UKBlue

    Who cares what the media thinks, they are a bunch of idiots that were never good enough to play & have certainly never coached. Not one of these guys has ever recruited a kid or had the stress & responsibility like UK on their shoulders. They’re mouth pieces, and a majority can’t even do their jobs that well.

  9. BravoBigBlue

    Cal has been listening to the criticism from BBN fans and he doesn’t like it. But can he really attack his own fan base? I think not. So instead, he attacks the media. Which doesn’t bother me. I just want him to earn his money by doing a better job of COACHING this team. Forget about 40 – 0, everybody’s Super Bowl, writing self-help books, LeBron, Jay-Z, Drake, Bill Clinton (I just threw up). He failed miserably last season and was well on his way to failing again this season. But there’s still time to salvage this year. At least he’s willing to go to zone and use his bench lately. Which is what smart fans have been calling for. We’ll see.

    1. Craig

      Ya I think that ends the debate and all those dumb articles from ESPN, among many places, that compare Saban and Calipari as being equal in every aspect.

    2. Cardz Rule!!!

      Glad to see some fellow Cardz fans join the conversation!

    3. Real Cracka

      Did you throw up 22 million jobs like Clinton did in 8 years? More than 8 years of Reagan, 4 years of Bush Sr., and 8 years of Dumbya COMBINED!

    4. BravoBigBlue

      Ronald Reagan saved our country from the disaster that was Jimmy Carter. And Slick Willie was/is nothing more than a sexual predator. A 22 year old, overweight intern in the White House – give me a break. Hell, his dog-ugly daughter was almost as old as Monica at the time. That’s just sick.

  10. UK22

    “Now you understand LSU has three NBA players, a junior guard and a senior guard.” Cal

    (Enough said)

    1. twocoach

      How is that “enough said?” Kentucky is supposed to have TWICE that many NBA players. Shouldn’t six NBA players be able to beat three NBA players?

  11. ty

    “this is the most overanalyzed team I’ve ever seen in the history of the game, at any level, in any sport.” HAHAHAHA! Every Alabama Football team since 2008 says “hello.” I live in Alabama and Bama fans are insane and this year’s UK basketball team can’t even touch how “overanalyzed” those Bama teams were.

    1. Tubby

      This isn’t a competition.

    2. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      I live in Bama also, but I don’t know that I agree with your last statement. Either way, both teams are heavily scrutinized for sure.

    3. AD

      Tubby it’s not a competition? What about all those stupid KSR articles and fans always saying “Alabama Football=Kentucky basketball”, “Calipari=Saban”, etc? Seems that those fans/writers think it’s a competition. Sorry, I love my cats but we’re haven’t accomplished anything close during Cal’s tenure to what Bama has during Saban’s tenure. Saban is the best coach in college football, and although I think Cal is underrated in his coaching ability, he’s not the best all-around coach in his own sport. It’s pretty pathetic how people in our fanbase are trying to mooch off of Saban and Bama’s success by trying to claim how our program’s success under Cal, AND Cal, himself, are identical. They’re not. It’s pathetic. It’s like what little brother’s fans do when they always try to make it seem like their basketball program is equal to ours. It just isn’t.

    4. UK22

      A.D. stop overanalyzing this all together. Lol

  12. BoNose Freud

    My analysis is this: Calipari made a comment that got Forde to crawl out from under his rock. The only time he acknowledges Kentucky or Calipari is to criticize. Forde go write another book with your pals at UL, your hyperbole is not needed here.

  13. Tim

    Regardless of why he said it, he is right. And I agree the national media are idiots, especially with college athletics and a ton of bias. I never read or listen to them at all.

  14. TheTruth

    How many other teams/players had entire articles written about body language or hair color? Listen to every color analyst tell us what the Kentucky players need to do…as if they actually know what they are talking about. I have to mute the TV to keep from hearing all the psycho babble coming from the announcers about why Kentucky doesn’t win every game by 30 points.

    I find it interesting to see Forde climb out of his stinkhole to comment. Is he even still relevant, I haven’t read anything he’s written in 10 years.

    1. twocoach

      I would expect the color analysts covering KENTUCKY games to talk about what KENTUCKY needs to do better, just as they do with other teams wwhen covering games with other teams. What do you think they are supposed to talk about? If Kentucky doesn’t want to hear about all the stuff they are doing wrong then FIX IT.

  15. Scott

    I think there are 2 purposes, 1. he wants to instill an us against the world mentality with his team (lets come together as a team to prove them all wrong) and 2. frustration about how his team is judged nationally as reflected in the polls. Split 2 league road games and drop 8 spots in the polls, while another team splits 2 league polls and gains 8 spots in the polls.

    1. Johnny Basketball

      I agree, I have never seen a team(Duke) lose a game and go up 8 spots in the polls. Kansas lost by 16 pts(?) last week also. UK lost by 5 pts. on the road.

  16. AnthonyBBN

    It may have been a little bit of Hyperbole but the AP poll definitely shows bias. I don’t care how good Duke played, they still lost on the road to Syracuse, how does that justify a 7 spot jump in the polls? UK loses on the road to a good LSU team (they are knocking on the door to top 50 rpi) and beat a good Missouri team on the road and some how tumble 7 with all of the other losses in the top 25? No, no bias with the media at all.

  17. Coop

    I would love to see who votes for who each week. Duke lost they should drop, same with Michigan. I think sadly it’s also a conference thing. Since we dropped so much if we beat Florida while they are #3 do they drop out of the top ten since everyone was just saying how awesome they were. Wins are wins and a loss is a loss no matter by who unless its someone like NJIT. If Duke loses like 2-3 more games they will overthrow Syracuse and be #1.

  18. Al/in/Indy

    OK I can under stand Cal’s us against the world rant. Take uvel as an example, they lose twice AT home and and us at Rupp and they’re still is in the top 15. Already uvel has lost as many games at home this year than what UK has in 4 years…..
    I take the “Us against Them” mentality if it gets the team to play as a team. I’ll take it everyday.
    Cal’s a genius at this, the rest can suck it! GO CATS!

  19. Patrick_Wren

    Everything Coach Cal says and does is orchestrated by him to motivate his team! This is nothing more than a way to try and inspire them, give them a chip on their shoulder (everyone is against us….we only have each other) going into the home stretch. I think it’s masterful!

  20. bung

    uhh…I aint sure bout all this…all I want is to keep running and making assists…we won by 25 and 16 in the most recent games where we ran to the rim relentlessly after a rebound…

  21. KSR regular reader

    He was kind of talking about all of us, too. You people are crazy….

  22. HackRichards

    Think about this for a moment. Every area outside the bluegrass generally HATES UK and the Big Blue Nation Status. So what do those people want to read? Hate towards the Big Blue Nation in any form whatsoever. These BumEffed Writers know that and they write it accordingly to get readers which make them seem more important. That and most these writers are just jealous except the ones inside our wondrous state. That leaves Tipton. Anyone got any clue what his problem is? You would think he would write something the Big Blue Nation would want to read.

    1. HackRichards

      Oh yes He is firing up his team!

  23. D-Rock

    Sometimes I read Cal’s quotes and don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. It’s like he’s answering questions with three other questions that are totally off the original subject. I love it though, whatever language it is.

  24. raccoon

    Smart to do it coming off a big road win and then last night’s game. Because of course he knows the media is going to respond. How are they going to respond if he says this last week: “Cal needs to worry more about beating LSU and less about the media analyzing his team.” But now they can’t respond that way. So he gets this free shot to basically say (1) Kentucky is the biggest thing in college basketball and (2) the media is super-critical of anything they can be regarding Kentucky.

    Also I do think the drop in the rankings was part of the motivation. He was going to say something to divert some attention away from the players and on him. But our movement compared to Duke and Michigan was mind boggling. Why not take an opportunity to point that out. What are they going to say, that we didn’t drop six spots for losing on the road to LSU, but beating Missouri? Might as well take advantage of the drop in the rankings.

  25. sammydog

    Does a wild bear sh#t in the woods? Of course Cal was using his rant to motivate his team and the reporters who have followed him for years know it. He wasn’t a marketing major for nothing.

  26. Calipari is smarter than you...

    Every time Cal says something like this he has an agenda, and that agenda is ALWAYS to improve his team somehow. Sometimes it is to motivate his players, sometimes it is to reduce the scrutiny his players are receiving. I bet after his yearly rant he goes home with a smile on his face and says to himself “Dance my puppets, dance.”

  27. Cam Newton

    Does Johnson still have the tall white girlfriend that is a zombie? He needs to trash her as she is an airhead and will keep him down. Wonder if her parents know about her boyfriend?

  28. dan

    Of course it was hyperbole! Two words Bobby Knight(and I just threw up in my mouth from writing that) but the point is that Knight did this all the time when he wanted to shift the media’s focus off his team and onto himself. Albeit by usually showing his ass in someway or another but the effect is the same. Cal just uses more tact. Mission was still accomplished. “Us against the world” , motivated his team as well as put the media’s focus on himself and away from the kids he’s coaching. Masterful.

  29. jwhitt787

    Why is everyone one using the word hyperbole now? I swear I hear van pelt use it at least once a day.

    1. Orney Focker

      Hey, if you read on down you can see that the word of the day that I use rhyme’s with Hyperbole..

  30. bigblue091812

    I’ve been a die CATS fan all my life (I’m 55) and I do bleed blue, but listening to Matt Jones show today I do believe he misses the point a caller tried to make by cutting him off to quick. It’s great getting the #1 or 2 recruiting class each year and no program in America has had the amount of future NBA all stars like UK in Wall, Cousins, Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Knight and Bledsoe and even some two year players like Jones and Lamb but maybe Matt is to young to get it but no way in hell do most die hard UK fans think as much of them as they do players like Patterson, Miller, Hayes, Polson, Hood, Sky Walker, Turpin, Woods, Farmer, Pelphy, Feldhaus, Mashburn, Ford, Macy, Bowie, Turpin, Bennett ETC ETC ETC ETC. Not all UK fans are NBA fans so they’re a part of the COMMONWEALTH’S TEAM for 6 months at the most and then they’re gone and like I said if you don’t watch the NBA (and I have no desire to start, much rather watch college BB and FB) there isn’t a lot of memories like you have watching the others develope into good or great players and young men. I loved the 2012 team (with Miller being my favorite by a long shot) and they will always be part of BBN, but younger fans have no clue of what it was like to watch teams like the 75 (runner ups), 78, 96 and 98 championship teams and watching a lot of those players work all the way up (less on the 96 team) but it’s different when you watched players like Jeff Sheaperd (for example) grow as a college player and win it all. The 2012 team was good but no way would they have beaten the 75, 78 or 96 team and I’d say also the 84 team. I’d love to see this group put it all together and win it all and then repeat next year but it won’t be the same. Players on that 98 team played in 3 straight championship games, we won’t have many more of them. I’d love to see Polson and Hood play in their 3rd final 4, that’s a small club even at UK.

  31. Orney Focker

    Told y’all, it’s us against the world. Assholes at CBS have always hated us, remember the Duke shot? (Can’t forget it, they are still showing it 20 years later, assholes) And how one of the studio commentators said when dumbass laettner hit that shot,”I rolled over the top of the desk when that shot went in” prick! Hated CBS ever since then. ESPN is the same friggin way, always rooting for who ever we play. Assholes!

  32. Orney Focker

    Word of the day. Assholes

  33. Orney Focker

    I love ky basketball. I hate UK being the whipping boy of college basketball. Love Cals recruiting, hate his in-game decision making. Like the superior talent. Hate the inexperience. Love the hype every year. Hate the let down when thy dont perform. I guess you could say I have a love hate relationship with kentucky basketball…

  34. jimj

    Cal couldn’t stand by and let the football team get the attention.

  35. jim

    Patrick_Wren February 5, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Everything Coach Cal says and does is orchestrated by him to motivate his team! This is nothing more than a way to try and inspire them, give them a chip on their shoulder (everyone is against us….we only have each other) going into the home stretch. I think it’s masterful!

    So you are saying Cal has a bunch of kids that he has to use “child psychiatry” on.I can understand that.They are “young”.