I’ve already shared some of John Calipari’s comments from his pre-Kansas presser today, but Cal being Cal, there were some leftovers. Let’s roll through them.
1. De’Aaron Fox’s decision making at Tennessee was “just horrendous”
Calipari didn’t mince words when it came to his star point guard, who returned from ankle injury on Tuesday at Tennessee, but displayed horrible judgment.
“His decision making was just horrendous. He made some shots which he hasn’t made, but there were five drives where – why did you do that? Again, if I catch it and they’re all in there, probably don’t want to go that way, probably want to throw it to someone else and let them go. It wasn’t just him. We had everybody catching the ball and holding it.”
2. Are they holding on to the ball because they’re scared they’ll turn it over?
“I don’t think so. I just think they like having that ball in their hands, ‘Let me show you what I got.’ I think they got a little bit of that, but that’s what happens when you play with a bunch of young kids. It’s stuff that we deal with every year.”
3. “Bam first”
In the second half of the Tennessee game, Calipari threatened to sit anyone who didn’t throw Bam the ball. Will he do that tomorrow?
“No, I’m just trying to tell them, ‘Look, do I have to call plays for you to throw him the ball? Do you really want to play that way?’ If he’s open then throw it to him. Just have in your mind, ‘I’m looking at him first. I’ll throw it ahead. If I don’t have something I’ll get him the ball.’”
Calipari added that Bam’s asking to go against Tai Wynyard in practice because Tai is the next most physical defender in the post Kentucky has.
“He wants to go against Tai. Why do you think he wants to go against Tai everyday? He wants it. Like, ‘I want someone who’s not going to make this easy for me. Get Tai, I want Tai to guard me.’ It’s great to see and it’s great to see improvement.”
4. He’s a fan of the NCAA unveiling the top 16 teams a month before Selection Sunday
Earlier this week, it was announced that the Selection Committee will unveil the top 16 teams in the tournament on February 11, one month before Selection Sunday. When asked, Calipari said he’s a huge fan of that idea, and anything else that promotes transparency in the process.
“I like transparency. So we don’t — on Selection Day, ‘Bang, you’re an eight seed. What? So now as you go you have an idea of where it is–just be transparent. I think all the things they’re trying to do where the No. 1 seeds get to pick where they’re going to play (is great). So if you’re the No. 1 (overall) seed, which region do you want to be in? Why do they have to pick it? Why can’t you pick it? What’s the difference? Well, it’s power. What? What’s right for the kids? Let them pick. You’re the No. 2 seed, where do you want to play? What region? You’re the No. 3 seed — what region? You’re the fourth seed? Here’s where you’re going. They’re all gone. I mean, it’s better that way. It’s more transparent, and I think they’re moving in that direction, which I think is good and I think opening up. They do it in women’s basketball, right? They do it in baseball. They do it in football. Why shouldn’t we do it in basketball? ‘Because we don’t.’ What? ‘We don’t because we don’t.’ I mean, everybody else is doing it do it. I like it.”
5. He called out that poor manager again
At the end of the Tennessee game, Malik Monk was open in the corner to take the three to tie the game, but slipped in a puddle of sweat. In the postgame presser, Calipari called out his staff for not wiping up the sweat and brought it up again today during a rant about how difficult it is to play on the road in the SEC.
“And then you’ve got the coach sweating and yelling and screaming, guy doesn’t wipe up the water, I almost punched a guy,” Cal exclaimed, smile on his face.
Are he and the manager okay now? “Yeah, we’re fine.”
Watch the entire presser below: