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5 Notes from Calipari’s pre-Vandy presser

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John Calipari talked a lot about the seniors today, and while I already shared some of those comments with you, there are some leftovers worth going over. Let’s get to it.

1. Calipari knew when he watched Dom play in the Sweet 16 in Rupp that he could make it at Kentucky

Dominique’s journey to UK started when former Cat and grad assistant Marquis Estill convinced Calipari to watch Dom play in the Sweet 16 at Rupp the year Kentucky went to the NIT. Calipari said Dom proved to him that day that he could handle the pressure that comes with playing at Kentucky.

“You saw a guy that wasn’t afraid of the moment. You walk in the building and those events, that’s a big deal now. If you grew up in this state and you’re in Rupp Arena and you’re playing at the end of the season and you’re making plays and you’re not afraid, it means you can play here. This isn’t for everybody. You saw that in him.”

2. What was his first impression of Derek?

“With Derek, it was a potential of oh my gosh, this young man here, the length, the ability to shoot the ball, the skill set, we just have to pull this all together,” Cal said before going on a lengthy aside about how some players come into the program with unrealistic expectations. “These three came in knowing what they want to do.”

3. Some players on this team could learn from Derek and Dom’s perseverance

Unlike some of their former teammates, Derek and Dom stuck it out at Kentucky all four years instead of transferring out. Calipari said a few guys on his current team could learn from their perseverance.

“I think again, you have guys that come in and understand what this is. Those two understood it. So did Mychal. This is not easy, it’s not for everybody, is this what you want before you come in and if it is, you’ll stick it out. If you’re delusional, sometimes you’d say, ‘I thought I’d be–‘ What? There’s no magic wand here. Not every kid is within six months be all this and this. Sometimes, it takes guys longer. You try to talk, we’ve got a couple guys on this team, it’s going take you a little longer. Are you willing to work or do you think by, I’ll run and it’ll happen for me somewhere else. Okay, that’s what you believe.”

Listening, Sacha?

4. Cal said he’s taken a recruit sight unseen once at Kentucky and it backfired

When asked if he would have taken Dominique without watching him play in the Sweet 16 in 2013, Cal said probably, but he’s very gun shy about taking recruits he hasn’t watched play in person.

“The only thing is, I hate to take guys sight unseen. Every time I’ve done that in my career, I’ve been wrong. I’m gun shy about that. Even here I did it once, and it was a mistake.”

Gotta be Ryan Harrow, right?

5. He’s not the only staff member losing sleep right now

This morning, Calipari tweeted that the past two nights, he’s woken up at 3 a.m. with his mind racing. He was asked about it today and said he’s not the only staff member not sleeping well right now.

“The last couple of days I’ve just, my mind’s been racing and I kind jumped up, and I told the staff that. Eric (Lindsey) and my wife (Ellen) said, ‘What, do you have anxiety?’ I just laugh. I said, ‘No I don’t have anxiety. I give anxiety.’ And then Kenny Payne was laughing. He said, ‘I woke up in the middle of the night yelling at Bam.’ [Laughter.] And I said, ‘All of us are losing our minds right now.’ As you go through this, this consumes you. I know, you know, people know I do other things. I have to because I’ll wake up at 3 in the morning if I’m not. My mind’s got to be consumed with some other stuff, not just basketball, because even when I’m sleeping that stuff happens. Why didn’t he rebound? What? Where am I? So, we just put it out because we laughed.”

A GIF because Calipari is the best at talking with his hands:


They call it March Madness for a reason, you know.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

13 Comments for 5 Notes from Calipari’s pre-Vandy presser

  1. nicky
    5:24 pm February 27, 2017 Permalink

    Was there a Marcus Lee slight in there somewhere?

  2. FlySoup
    5:47 pm February 27, 2017 Permalink

    I was thinking that the sight unseen player was Wiltjer. Didn’t he reach out to Cal with a highlight tape or something?

    • Not Dan Issel
      5:10 am February 28, 2017 Permalink

      Wiltjer did not visit the UK campus before committing, but pretty sure that Cal or one of his assistants had seen KW play and had offered him a spot on the team.

  3. jrdh13
    5:52 pm February 27, 2017 Permalink

    Daniel Orton forsure. He was hurt his senior year and comitted to Gillespie

  4. UKfanman01
    6:34 pm February 27, 2017 Permalink

    Answers to #4: Statistically, in almost every category (using first years only) Isaiah Briscoe is the worst guard to come through UK under Cal. His 3 point % was an abysmal 13.5% and FT% 46.
    My other two choices would be Darnell Dodson and Ryan Harrow. Out of the 3 I’d have taken Harrow as he had the best all around stats.
    Big guys I’m going Kyle Wiltjer, Skal Labissier, or Daniel Orton. Didn’t look up stats for these guys but they were pretty pitiful IMO.
    My personal biggest disappointment would be Alex Poythress. After he hurt his knee he fizzled bad. Never reached his ceiling

    • Booby Petrino
      8:49 am February 28, 2017 Permalink

      There is no way in hell he is talking about Briscoe. This Briscoe hate is ridiculous.

  5. Cals Hoverboard
    6:34 pm February 27, 2017 Permalink

    Could be one of several players, these guesses above included. Cal would never say who it is so it’s probably not fair to those kids to just throw out names. What I’d like to know is which SEC coach anonymously said “Kentucky couldn’t guard us for shit” ! Again, could be one of several coaches based on our defensive effort that we showed during our slump. Now that would be some good bulletin board material for us! Our “reboot” seems to be working, and our defensive performance has been commendable the last few games. Holding Florida to under 30 in the first half Saturday was overshadowed by our offensive struggles but overall a great performance against a team that posed so many matchup problems.

  6. 3wildcat3
    8:37 pm February 27, 2017 Permalink

    Don’t think it’s Wiltjer. I’d guess Dodson, Orton or Harrow. With odds on Orton.

  7. 3 fan
    10:32 pm February 27, 2017 Permalink

    The unseen player may be Tai. Orton he recruited again. He had seen Wiltjer. I thought he had watched Harrow tales before taking him

    • WatchutalkinboutWillis
      5:59 am February 28, 2017 Permalink

      Tai Wynard was unseen I though…I remember KSR even making a deal about him coming from NZ and Cal and not seen him play in person but offered him anyway. But I’m not sure how he could say it never works out and then talk about perseverance for these guys. Maybe he just said it was one because of his lack of sleep.

  8. Angelo
    1:49 am February 28, 2017 Permalink

    Tyler, why is the Vegas point spread on UK games always late and often last? Or is it my imagination? Please investigate for us.

  9. nmichave
    8:41 am February 28, 2017 Permalink

    I wonder at what point in life, they will be rid of UK clothing with the old logo. My OCD hates having both on the scene at the same time. Pick one!!! Jesus!!!!

    • AGSlater
      3:13 pm February 28, 2017 Permalink

      the old cat behind the uk is the best one