John Calipari and his mail bag made a return this week. Calipari took a moment to share his thoughts on a variety of topics ranging from not allowing Archie Goodwin to shoot lay-ups in practice, to his team “buying in” to each other rather than any particular “system.”
We learned a little over a week ago that Calipari and his staff are no longer allowing Goodwin to shoot lay-ups in practice. The goal has been to force Goodwin to develop a jumper/floater in the lane, instead of always driving for lay-ups when teams collapse.
“Archie…his mind set, when things get hairy–is to put his head down and try to shoot a lay-up. The problem is, everyone is playing him to shoot lay-ups. So when his head goes down, their whole team, including 2 officials, get beneath the basket…So he ends up turning it over.”
Calipari and his staff have been encouraging Goodwin to rely more upon jump shots instead. As Calipari put it, a missed jumper is an opportunity for a teammate to get an offensive rebound to keep the possession alive. In his words, “misses become passes. Just get it off the backboard.” The alternative is Archie driving into 5 players and, “maybe you throw in 1 of 7.”
Calipari then briefly addressed a question regarding the health of Twany Beckham. According to Calipari, Beckham has been back in the gym and says he is fine, but still appears to look a little tender. “His plan is, by the time we get into the NCAA tournament, he’ll be back with this team.” Calipari then referred to Beckham as his good luck charm, seeing as the team won the national championship with him on it last year.
And last but not least, as always– Calipari got a little philosophical on us. Calipari talked in some detail about his team needing to “buy in.”
“It’s not buying into my system, it’s buying into each other. You have to surrender to each other. First try to establish yourself. It’s hard to do that (buy into each other) when you haven’t established yourself.”
Calipari even drew a comparison to Michael Jordan. He discussed how it took Jordan at least 3 years to establish himself before he could shift his mindset to winning championships. Calipari said that unlike some of his previous teams at Kentucky, this team is having trouble and has fallen behind when it comes to surrendering to one another. Although it’s frustrating Cal and at times “driving him crazy,” he knows that this team has a slightly different make up. “We are used to having veterans and young players who are a little more established as players.”
Even with the frustration and growing pains this team has caused Cal at times, he went back to his favorite line: “I still like my team.” And in perhaps the most positive comment in the entire mail bag, Calipari said that he still has a vision that this team will have unbelievable joy when they figure out that they must surrender to their team.