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Calipari calls this season “humbling”


Yesterday, USA Today’s Eric Prisbell released part of his interview with John Calipari in which Cal discussed his approach to the one-and-done rule and how that differs from others in the game (cough, Rick Pitino, cough). Today, Prisbell has more from Cal, who calls this season a “great learning and humbling” experience:

“When you win 30 games every year for like eight years, you start thinking you are supposed to win 30,” Calipari said. “You have coaches go their whole careers and not win 30. Every waking moment has been trying to figure out ways to get through to these guys mentally and emotionally how they had to play.

Cal said that this is the first season in which he’s ever had a player not totally buy in to the team-first philosophy, which showed in the Cats’ loss to Georgia. Cal’s father told him afterwards that it was the first time that his son’s players ever “looked like they did not even play to win.

Yet, this is a season in which irregularity has been the norm in college basketball. Cal said he thinks there may be “40 teams” that could get to the Final Four. And before you write off the Cats, Cal reminds Prisbell that just because Nerlens is out for the rest of the season doesn’t mean they’re dead: “They talk about injuries, I get disappointed, because do we have no other players on the team except Nerlens? We just beat Missouri and Florida without Nerlens.”

Is it Friday yet?

[USA Today: Calipari discusses Kentucky’s ‘humbling’ season, NCAA tournament hopes]

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.

26 Comments for Calipari calls this season “humbling”

  1. Laker Cat 18
    1:09 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    If we win out, 3 in the SEC tourney and 6 in the NCAA tourney, we’ll hit 30 wins. Just an FYI.

  2. Downcline
    1:24 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    Looking at you Alex

  3. Johnny boy
    1:27 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    If he wins a title next year, two within three years, then the dynasty talk will start. All of this humbling stuff will quickly go away.

  4. Steve Fitts
    1:42 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    For some perspective, lets keep in mind that both Joker Phillips and Coach Cal had 10-loss seasons this past year. The difference is that Coach Cal had 21 wins to go with those 10 losses while Joker Phillips had 2. Yes, it’s a down year for UK basketball, but a down year for UK basketball is still light-years better than a down year for UK football!

  5. ThankfulCat
    1:50 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink


    That made absolutely no sense and we are all dumber for having to read it

    You are awarded zero points

    May God have mercy on your soul

  6. Blue4ever
    1:52 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    #2 – I think it’s a toss up between Alex and Archie. Heck, maybe even Harrow?

  7. Laker Cat 18
    1:55 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    6. Archie is way more consistent than Poythress or Harrow. This season hinges more on Poythress than anyone else, by far.

  8. Han
    2:03 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    I’m a homer anyway, but how awesome would it be for us to get hot and crush 3 straight teams in the SEC tourney? People would be picking us as a dark horse left and right.

    For it to happen, Mays has to get his 8-13, Poythress has to be awake the whole game, Wiltjer has to actually make some shots, and Harrow has to keep his head and stay aggressive, while Goodwin does the same. Add quality moments from Polson and Harrow, and keep Willie out of foul trouble. If all that happens, we can play with any team, I think.

  9. SexnNursinHomes
    2:03 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    4- I totally agree, if you demasctize the interbulence of the losses you then can rostify their amquibulent wins by dranding out the wallacy of the whole situation. Good post Steve..

  10. fish on
    2:04 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    IF Harrow and Goodwin play well with some consistency and IF alex can keep playing big like he did vs fla (had 3 or 4 tip back rebound baskets) and IF kyle can find his 3 pt shooting stroke then we can still make some noise… also play hood 3 or 4 minutes each half

  11. RealCatsFan
    2:06 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    It sure would be nice to see Kyle snap out of his funk. I think he needs to take it to the rack a few times to just get the feel of scoring back again and relieve the tension. He seems to have lost confidence in his shot. The team needs to find a way to get him going again, much like they did for Darius Miller last year. Sadly, aside from Nerlens I don’t know if we have a player quite as selfless as MKG, who insisted that Darius start in his place to get him going again. Man, I miss that team!

  12. Han
    2:07 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    3) Right now it’s an Elite 8, Final Four, Title, and this year since he came to UK. If we somehow make the Elite 8 or better, that already rivals a lot of dominating runs by a team and he’s done it with more roster turnover than is imaginable.

    6) Cal would say Harrow’s the most important player on his team, I think. Harrow can make or break the team depending if he leads it right. He can find Poythress near the rim or on breaks and get him going. He can find Mays for wide open 3s, or he can run off a screen and get to the rim, drawing a foul or finding the open man. He can keep in the ear of Archie and keep him in control, or fire up Wiltjer. He can help funnel the ball handler to Willie, etc. He doesn’t necessarily do some of that in a lot of games, but at the point guard spot, it’s in his power. An elite PG has to do those things. They direct the team.

  13. Han
    2:08 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    11) Harrelson and Miller need to call him up and explain where they found their Super SEC Tourney Flubber.

  14. RealCatsFan
    2:08 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    I also think that Alex might get back on track if Cal just left him in the game if he picks up that second foul early in the second half. Many times it is in a ticky-tack BS call, and you can just see the frustration on Alex when he knows he will have to sit on the bench for the rest of the half. That usually transfers over to his play in the second half, unfortunately. Leave him in and let him get his confidence going again.

  15. Kevin C.
    2:09 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    Humbling, yes…also stumbling and bumbling would be good words to describe this season.

  16. fish on
    2:12 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    the fla game was like 2 completely different games depending on if WCS was playing or not… when he was in ky totally whipped up on ’em, but when he was out we could not stop them

  17. UKBlue
    2:13 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    Everyone needs to be knocked down a couple of rings every now & then to remind them of reality, this has been Cal, UK & BBN knock in the head. If we have to take 2 steps back to make 10 steps forward then so be it. This season will make Cal a smarter coach.

  18. joe joe
    2:21 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t forget that Cal missed on:
    Anthony Bennett
    Shabazz Mohammaed
    Alex Oarihki
    Dex Wells

    And didn’t know that Teaque/D. Lamb would go pro.

    Give him two of the above 7 along with a healthy Noel and we are right in there. We have four good players. You need six to win a Championship.

  19. Prisbell's Interview?
    2:32 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    Pretty sure that quote is EXACTLY what Cal said for Dan Patrick. I’m thinking Prisbell is just recounting THAT interview with his own spin.

  20. PlanoCat
    2:37 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    It would help if they would learn to hit free throws, lost several due to that.

  21. Han
    2:46 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    15) I think Cal got spoiled by MKG and Davis, their work ethic, and forgot how much trouble he’s had with some other frosh and getting them to fit in. Without a Miller, Jones and Lamb, and despite the efforts of Mays, there just wasn’t enough stability to balance out the stretches where Archie and Alex just played like freshmen and not super freshmen.

    Archie’s been showing more determination and will to win lately, like in the Florida game, but he also picked up 3 fouls, including 2 offensive, in those final 8 minutes. Fortunately, his steals and rim runs and such balanced out.

    17) Yup. The super frosh class coming in next year aren’t going to have as much fun early unless they have strong work ethics like MKG. It should also serve as evidence to them that you can’t just show up and dominate. We need the return of the breakfast club and brothers’ keepers, etc.

  22. Arlie
    3:06 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    I feel bad for Hood, who kind of got left out while Coach was working so hard on Alex and Archie and Ryan.

  23. Blessed man
    3:56 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    Did anyone listen to the show today?!! Alan Cutler is soooooo AWFUL!! STOP GETTING HIM MATT

  24. Han
    3:56 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    22) Hood’s in his 4th year here (including missing last season with injury). He knows what he’s supposed to do on the floor and Cal knows what he can and can’t do. The freshmen have higher ceilings, anyway.

    I’m glad Hood is able to play on this team, but I’ve not forgotten that he grew up a Dukie, either. 😉

  25. Get real
    4:22 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    I thought Cal said his was a “players first” philosophy. No wonder he can’t get them to buy into the “team first” philosophy, they came here expecting different.

  26. theSkinny81
    5:18 pm March 12, 2013 Permalink

    Get outta here