“There’s a learning curve, there’s a galvanizing process that we have to go through and you know what? We’re going to have to be patient.” -John Calipari
“So the process, this galvanizing process, the patience we’re going to need, we’re starting on Monday.” -John Calipari
“Now the question is will we all have the patience? Will I have the patience? There’s no choice. It may be ugly early – and we’re playing good teams early.” -John Calipari
I just read through Coach Cal’s press conference from a couple weeks ago and noticed certain trends. And one of them is the word patience. He preached patience several times, and I give you just 3 examples above. Now, I feel like Calipari says that before every season, essentially because he has a young team every year. It’s the obvious thing to say. But following the 2012 national championship, that saw his team lose just 2 games all season, I think preaching patience when it comes to ultra-talented, young teams, rings a little hollow for some fans. Despite having young teams every year, Cal’s teams have gone 15-0, 12-2, 14-1, and 9-4 in non-conference play. That’s a combined 50-7 when his teams are their least experienced and playing some pretty stiff competition. In fact, you can argue that Kentucky plays its toughest games in the non-conference schedule, seeing how poor the SEC has been outside of Florida for the past 4 years. (No, I’m not giving Vandy credit for 2012)
And yet, facing the toughest teams on the schedule, Calipari’s teams have gone 50-7 in those games, with 4 of those losses coming last year. So, my question is this: ARE YOU WILLING TO BE PATIENT?
And understand, when I say patience I mean one thing and one thing only: Losses. Are you willing to lose multiple games before January, because that is what Calipari is trying to prep you for. The idea that this team isn’t unbeatable. Games against Michigan State, North Carolina, and Louisville are all completely loseable games. So, as a fan, knowing that this team will likely be in the mix at the end of the season, can you be patient in December? History shows us that Cal’s best teams can still win all or nearly all of their games. What if this teams drops 2 or 3 though? With the greatest collection of high school talent ever assembled, does this team get the same kind of expectations and leeway for early failures that the first 3 teams received?
As a fan, there is no doubt you want to win every game. And when everybody and their mother tells you the talent that UK has assembled should challenge 40-0 or lose maybe 1 or 2 games, there has probably been no season where fans come in more confident than this one. But the coach doesn’t echo those feelings. So, where do you go as a fan? Do you take what the coach says and temper your expectations some, or stick with the ultra-confidence and face disappointment if the coach is right?