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Cal met with the media today before tomorrow night’s matchup against Vanderbilt. In typical Cal fashion, there were several great soundbites. Ready?
“I’m like Bernanke and the President.”
Cal said he was surprised at the splash his comments about certain players being “not real coachable” made, calling them tame compared to some of the things he said as a younger coach. The media’s reaction to his remarks only reminded Cal of the impact his comments can have: “I’m like Bernanke and the President. I make a statement. ‘Oh my gosh, the stock market moves.’ We have to close down the borders if I make a statement.” All in all, Cal suggested that he made those remarks (which he remembers only saying on the bench, not to the media, but we have tape, Cal) in order to motivate his players. Why? Because a coaches’ number one tool, the bench, isn’t available…
“The frustrating thing is the bench isn’t my friend.”
In a normal year, Cal could just sit whichever players needed motivating and make them fight for playing time. Bend to the will of the team or ride the pine, right? Not this year. Cal said that the team’s lack of a bench has been their biggest weakness so far: “Right now, we don’t have that luxury.”
“You get exposed here. Sometimes it happens.”
At one point, Cal almost seemed to admit defeat, saying that he’s doing everything he can to help the team, but ultimately, it comes down to them:
“You lose your whole team and have a great class, but they’re not quite up to…that’s the whole risk you take. You know what I’m saying? That’s the risk you take. That’s part of the deal here. The other risk you have is I don’t like having 12 guys on scholarship who all deserve to play. If you have three or four injuries or this or that happens, a couple guys just don’t have the mental makeup for this — even though you’ve talked about it; ‘This isn’t for everybody,’ ‘Can’t hide you,’ all the things that I’ve said for four years — you get exposed here. Sometimes it happens.
“Now the issue for me as a coach is: Just keep coaching them. I’m not going to change; just keep coaching them. I’m going to do everything I can, push whatever buttons. I’m reading any book, trying to give them anything, but the reality of it is they’ve got to go on the court and start performing better.”
“We can be the story of the year.”
No matter the odds, Cal is a firm believer that this team can still turn it around. After the epic loss of Nerlens Noel, he says that with hard work and commitment, “we can be the story of the year, of recovery and all. We can do that if they choose to do that.” Will they?
“Our guard play is shaky at best”
Cal didn’t tip his hat one way or the other when it came to who would start at point guard tomorrow night, calling the team’s guard play “shaky at best.” Combine poor guard play with a lack of toughness inside and you have a team that’s floundering. What can pull them out of their funk? “The biggest thing is just battle, fight. You’ve got nothing to lose, go after it.”
— On today’s show, Matt and Ryan tried to inject some positivity back into the fan base and break down what the Cats have to do to make it back to the Tournament. Also, how good was DJ’s Dick Vitale impression? Judge for yourself at TalkRadio1080.com.