Calipari put on quite a performance, going an hour during his press conference and then another 15 minutes afterwards with a smaller group. We will have more later, but here were some highlights:
— Was effusive in his praise of Patrick Patterson and his press conference on Monday. He said that a number of NBA scouts had called him to talk about Patrick’s performance and said that press conference raised his stock. Calipari said he was thrilled to get the chance to coach him and Patrick is coming back for the right reasons.
— Calipari said Eric Bledsoe is smaller than some of the guards he normally recruits, but “he plays big” and that he is very excited to have him in Lexington.
— Said that all the players were as coachable as any he has had. Later he said to the smaller group that these players were “hungry to be coached and hungry to be hugged.”
— I asked about specific players besides Patrick and Jodie. He singled out Darius Miller as playing well, mentioned that he was very impressed with Josh Harrellson, said they had to stop practice at times to give Perry Stevenson a round of applause. Specifically said that Liggins and Galloway have had trouble but he hoped that would improve.
— Hopes to add one more player to the class but said he had “no idea” if it would happen.
— The team will not have as many walk-ons next season.
— He spoke at some length about how there should be no summer recruiting. He talked about the absurdity of the process and how high school games were the much better place to do evaluations. I completely agree and thought he was very convincing.
— Should have the new assistant by some time next week.
— He is going to have a retreat in the coming weeks in Lexington that will have 40-50 NBA and college coaches in Lexington.
— Went into great detail on the RPI and scheduling philosophy that he goes through. He basically said that he favors playing teams who win games….not the quality of teams so much, as playing teams that at the end of the season will have won a great number of their games, since that is 50 percent of the RPI. This scheduling philosophy mirrors the Tubby philosophy…so expect to see more games against teams from smaller conferences, but at the top of those leagues.
— There is a chance UK could play Texas this year in Houston. Patrick vs Jai again?
— The Cats will play either Virginia or Stanford in Cancun.
— He went into detail on his hopes to make UK the college brand in China. He is going to China in early June for a week and wants to get UK games on in China. He hopes to recruit a Chinese player to UK and plans on having a Chinese coach with the team during the season. Interesting stuff.
— Talked in detail about his desire to bring back former players. Said three players (Turner, Mercer and one other) are coming back to get their degrees and he wants all former players who want a degree to come back to Lexington and get one with their tuition paid. Also plans on having a fantasy camp starting next summer for older fans to play with former players.
— Great comment when asked about other SEC coaches. He said he was very close with Billy Donovan and Mark Fox. When asked about Bruce Pearl, he said, “Bruce is Bruce.”
— He would like to potentially start a Notre Dame series in Louisville, but isnt sure if it will happen. HE said he would LOVE to play Duke, but it would have to be a home and home or on a “neutral court that isnt New York or Chicago. IF they want to play us in Atlanta or Nashville, lets do it.”
— He said he has talked with ESPN about scheduling games and wants the “Duke and UNC” treatment where all games are on tv. If UNC can play Boston U on tv, then UK can too because “we are on their level now.”
Overall, an interesting and thorough press conference. I will have more later, but it was a good start to the morning.