John Calipari got a little bit philosophical in his mailbag video today when he started discussing how he has transformed from a coach “trying to survive” in the business, to a coach who is in large part “in it” for other people. After discussing his player’s first program mentality, he talked about two things pertaining to this year’s team in particular: how hard he is pushing this team right now, and who will become this year’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or DeAndre Liggins.
“My whole focus is on getting them better.” Calipari stated that his job as a coach is to make his players uncomfortable. He says that his players “need to have a little fear in me.” He also noted how critical he is about fundamentals on a daily basis.
“I have to be hard, and right now I’m being really tough on guys,” Calipari shared. “I’m even trying to embarrass guys during games to get them to change. But it’s still about them.” (Remember all the yelling on Saturday?) Calipari went on to add, “My job is to care about them. Their job is to care about each other.”
Then Calipari was asked about who might step up on this year’s team to become a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or DeAndre Liggins type of player. “We don’t know yet. We’re trying to figure it out. I was with Coach Hall the other day and I said ‘I might not figure this team out until February.'” Calipari admitted that this team is not forcing nearly enough turnovers to create more possessions on offense. He also talked about the offensive rebounds being given up, and how that equates to easy baskets around the rim for the other team. Heading into next week when the players will be on break from classes and have more time to practice, Calipari sees potential for improvement. “We’ve got a lot of things in the works that we’re tweaking and working out.”
Who do you think will be this year’s MKG or Liggins? Is there a guy on this team who will fit that mold?