John Calipari met with a hundred of his media friends today to preview the 2019-20 season. We’ve covered the breaking news — his comments on the California Pay to Play Act, the latest on Dontaie Allen’s injury, etc. — but there were plenty of lighthearted moments as well. I came up with five.
“It’s the stupidest thing ever in the history of this game”
You can tell Calipari’s been on the recruiting trail because he used part of his pitch on reporters to talk about the program’s success of putting players in the pros.
“We’re so spoiled here. 70 percent of the players that come here get drafted. Do you hear what I just said? It’s the stupidest thing ever in the history of this game. Are you ready for this stupid statement? Of the 70 percent — you ready? 75 percent of those get to second contracts. We have two billion dollars in current contracts without shoe, without — do you understand that is not normal, like, this is kind of stupid.”
He got on a roll again later when talking about how many Kentucky players are getting max contracts.
“There’s been 22 max contracts in the NBA the last 10 years. 22. Our guys have had seven of them. And that’s before some of the guys coming up with the De’Aaron Fox and, like what are you talking about? Please just understand, this is like fantasy land, this stuff that’s happening right now.”
For the record, I’m not sure Cal’s stats are correct there, but facts are optional.
“They’re saying it isn’t enough?”
One of the best moments of the day came when a reporter asked Cal if he’s ever felt the need to defend his success at Kentucky to unsatisfied fans. Per usual, Cal feigned ignorance and said he never reads negative press or social media…before defending his success with the help of UK Director of Athletics Communications Eric Lindsey.
Lindsey: I thought [the fans] were all happy.
Calipari: I did too. I think, wait a minute, in 10 years did we win the most games? The most Final Fours? Elite 8s too? Oh wow. How about SEC titles?
Lindsey: Got five of them.
Calipari: What about the tournament?
Calipari: Hmm. So, and I’m saying the next 10 got to be better. And they’re saying it wasn’t enough? Whew.
“That’s my son. That’s why he’s at Detroit.”
Calipari is on social media to the extent he tells his staff what to put on social media, but he did use his son Brad as an example of what he DOESN’T want his players to do on Twitter.
“I’m not on social media on that side, so these guys are, they have social media training. They’re followed by this staff, and if anybody is moving toward an area that they’re out of line, they will be told about it. And then we, again, counsel them, educate them, look, this is what you’re doing. My own son re-tweeted stuff. Why did you re-tweet that? I didn’t tweet it. You re-tweeted it. It means you agree. Why would you re-tweet it? Oh, is that what it means. Yeah, that’s what it means. That’s my son. That’s why he’s at Detroit.”
After the room got in a hearty laugh, Cal went on to talk about how much he misses Brad and that he’s planning to go to as many of his games at Detroit Mercy as possible.
“I just need to have the hats and shit, I need to — what?”
Cover your ears, children, because Calipari dropped a few cuss words today. The first came in his back-and-forth with Eric Lindsey about his success at Kentucky, and the other came when he was talking about not wasting time recruiting players who aren’t cut out for life in Lexington.
“Look, there’s a path that these kids walk before they leave here and the path is this program and this stage. Don’t muddy up the stage for the next family. That means in the recruiting process how I do this, if a kid’s not made for this or he’s not going to do — you can’t be here. It affects too much other things. And I’m not changing that.
“And if we lose some kids because of that, okay. But I feel good, I feel good about the staff and how we’re approaching this and when it’s time to offer scholarships we do. There are many kids that, coach, are you going to offer me a scholarship? I said, are you ready to commit? Oh, no, I just need to have the hats and shit, I need to — what? What are you talking about? I mean what happened? What did I say?”
“You have to think of your wife”
Ellen Calipari’s rise to social media stardom continues, to the point that UK had her interview players for a video that I’m sure we’ll see soon. Cal brought up “The Princess” more than a few times during his press conference, even asking reporters to raise their hands if they follow her on Instagram. (I raised mine.)
“I cancelled that. I cancelled it. So her whole thing is to — how can I say– like attack me? Is that a good way?”
Joking aside, Calipari said he’s happy his wife has found her own voice, and when asked, said he can’t wait to get her the electronic trashcan he shared on Twitter yesterday to solve their ongoing feud about who takes the trash back and forth to the curb.
“The automatic trash can, it was unbelievable, you just see this thing go right down and then it goes and parks and it opens. It’s unbelievable. And I also, when we were at UMass, just so, you know, she was — it snowed. So she was shoveling and we had gravel. So I blacktopped it so that she could shovel easier.”
“You have to think of your wife,” Cal quipped. “I mean you have to.”
Ellen Instagram post in 3…2…1…