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Coach Cal’s Pre-Northwood Press Conference

John Calipari held his first pre-game press conference of the year on Wednesday afternoon when he hosted 25-30 of his favorite reporter friends in the Joe Craft Center to ask questions about his team and upcoming opponent. KSR caught wind of the presser while I was sitting next door at Qdoba, so I walked over to see what all the ruckus was about. Here are the notes:

— With the game against Northwood just 27 hours away, you’d think John Calipari would have his starting five ready to take the court. He doesn’t. He doesn’t even know which five players will be introduced under the fireworks and rap music before the tip. “I don’t know who is going to start yet,” he said to open Wednesday afternoon’s press conference. “I’m still trying to figure some stuff out.”

— One of the things Cal is currently trying to figure out about his team is how to get them to play defense. Yeah, the 2012-13 Cats are going to block a lot of shots, but he isn’t impressed with what he’s seeing in practice on the defensive end. He said, “Defensively, we’re just awful right now. We don’t stay in front of anybody.” Cal said the defensive flaws and other weaknesses will stand out tomorrow night when they play Northwood, the No. 1 team in NAIA and a team that trailed Michigan State by six at the half last night. “The things we’re not doing well will be glaring,” he said. “As much as I don’t like playing teams this good, this early, it’s going to be great for my team.”

— Part of what Cal is preaching defensively is help-defense to block shots. He told a story of a drill he ran in practice to prove his point. He said he stopped practice and asked Nerlens Noel to touch the top of the square; Nerlens did. He then asked Willie Cauley-Stein to touch the top of the square; Willie did. He asked Alex Poythress to touch the top of the square; Alex did. He asked Archie Goodwin to touch the top of the square; Archie did. He asked Kyle Wiltjer to touch the top of the square; “he got a running start from Pittsburgh,” Cal joked, but Kyle also touched the top of the square. His point: Make opponents drive to the basket where all of these top-of-the-square-touchers will be swarming to swat the ball back out. “You don’t want to block your own man’s shot, you’re trying to block your teammate’s man’s shot,” he added.

Alex Poythress isn’t doing so well defensively, according to his head coach. Cal took a question about Poythress being a mismatch for opponents at the 3/4 position and he used it to joke about Poythress’ defense. “The way he’s playing defensively, it’s a real mismatch for us.” (Reporter laughter.) “It’s a real problem.”

— Calipari was impressed by what he saw from Northwood on film. After watching tape from the Michigan State game, he said, “You have a team that plays every bounce of the ball, that are moving and helping, helping the helper.” He went on to point out that Northwood is playing all seniors, Kentucky is playing all freshmen. Same goes for Maryland, Duke, and even Transylvania — all seniors, according to Cal. (Someone check that.) He said, “They’re going to exploit every weakness we have. Then you come back (after those games) and show the tape and say, ‘If we’re going to win, this is what we’re going to have to do. Now let’s go.'”

— Good news for fans of the Twin Tower lineup… Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein will be on the floor at the same time against Northwood. “Oh, you’ll see it tomorrow,” Cal said.

— Wednesday’s official “I Like My Team” count: 3

Go Cats.


Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

20 Comments for Coach Cal’s Pre-Northwood Press Conference

  1. theSkinny81
    4:09 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    ill be out of town for the game, staying in hotels. is there a way to stream this game other than on ESPN3?

  2. Yab
    4:12 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Cal looks like he is farting in the photo.

  3. emlang08
    4:16 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Find somewhere with Direct TV, I think I found it on Channel 649

  4. Archie
    4:18 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    This site usually has a decent live stream

  5. theSkinny81
    4:29 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink


  6. Biglaw Dawgin'
    4:48 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    He sure does like to play the “we’re not good yet” card.

  7. LeX
    4:50 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Cal looks like hes trying to fart.

  8. niko
    4:54 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Without knowing who starters are…Maryland has 2 seniors (and 3 juniors), Duke has 5 seniors and Transy has 8. Definitely an exaggeration with the possible exception of Transy, but his point still stands.

  9. Blue Healer
    5:00 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    I’m so ready for basketball season to get rolling. I am 100% sick of our pathetic football team it’s good to read about something positive. I just hope Cal continues to keep Barnfart from meddling with basketball and all will be well. We love you Cal!

  10. John Wall
    5:01 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Barnfart…thats classic haha

  11. Blue Balls
    5:06 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t worry #10 the boosters know better than to let Barn mess with basketball. They let him stay busy with the sports he cares about like girls archery and his beloved Olympic sports. It’s sad he makes 600k from our university and the boosters won’t let him near the most important sport we have. It’s both funny and sad.

  12. Beavis
    5:26 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Before you Barnhart supports get all upset remember,,,,this is the idiot that thought he was going to hire Bill Parcells out from under Jerry Jones ,,,the gift that we all loved,,,,Billy Gillispie,,,,and I almost forgot,,,,,Joker.

  13. smoke and mirrors
    5:33 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    I agree #7,he said the same thing last year,year before…guess that’s the stand you have to take this early with this young of a team, but not many people are buying into it anymore. Granted,we are young and it’s early……..but I can’t see anyone looking forward to playing a team with this size and ability.

  14. Donald
    6:00 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Guys a lot of you are playing off Cals comments because the past few years he said the same thing and it was obviously a joke. This year, I think you guys have to realize we are no where near as talented or experienced. We don’t have that awe factor of previous years. This team will struggle we may even lose tomorrow night. No game this season will be a walk in the park. I’m worried that a lot of you are still chasing the High of last seasons success. You need to realize this team is not last years team. This team is different and please don’t be supprised if we flop to start the season.

  15. Linda Taylor
    6:08 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    What really matters is how they are playing in March. I don’t mind a few early losses that help the team to focus and learn from their mistakes.

  16. Beavis
    6:33 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Coach Cal,,,,we can’t guard anyone,,,,,we can’t shoot,,,,” I like my team ” LOL

  17. Duke Sucks
    7:46 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Isn’t funny how football team sucks, and the coaches try to talk them up. Looking for ant positive they can find. Like playing a team close for a half, or a close loss. The basketball team is good, and the coaches are talking the team down. Looking for any negative and bringing out every mistake.
    So at the beginning of the year if the coach says they are good at could be a long season, if they say they suck you could win a championship.

  18. Drake
    7:53 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    #18 you are correct. The only thing I differ on is the football team can say whatever they want and they are still gonna suck. This years squad will be more like the 2010 team where they got things going in March.

  19. Will S
    10:57 am November 1, 2012 Permalink

    Duke by 7.