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?