Well, folks, this is why I love my job. John Calipari spoke to the media for about 18 minutes today and it’s by far the most entertaining press conference he’s given all year. It might go down as one of the top five most entertaining in his career, which is definitely saying something. I’ve already shared the two biggest highlights — his trolling of the UNC columnist and his comments about his relationship with Rick Pitino — but there are plenty of leftovers to go over.
1. Calipari on Rick’s plan to run with Kentucky
Rick Pitino claims he wants his team to run with Kentucky, but what does Calipari think the Cardinals will do? Cal said he can see Louisville start out fast and if that doesn’t work, slow things down in hopes of stemming Kentucky’s scoring.
“I would imagine in this game, they would play fast and if they don’t score fast, they’ll play the clock. That’s my guess. My guess would be they play their 2-2-1 on made goals to slow us down. Possibly play it on missed goals and then get back. How would they play Malik? Would they trap, would they switch? I imagine they’ll try some different things, run at him with different people to make him think.”
2. Even Calipari can’t figure out how Louisville blew a 20-point lead vs. Baylor
Calipari said he was watching tape of Louisville’s game vs. Baylor — you know, the one where they blew the 20-point lead — and made his team come over to see it because he couldn’t figure out how they lost.
“They’re a terrific defensive team and offensive team. I was just working, watching tape, and I had the guys come on over, and look. They were up 30-10 vs. Baylor, who was the 3rd or 4th ranked team in the country. They were up 20 and I said now I have to watch the rest of this game because they lost this game and I don’t know where. But I’m in the second half and they’re still up 17, 18. So, I don’t — it’s the one game.”
3. The obligatory “I might play zone” joke
Baylor’s known for playing zone, although they also played man to man vs. Louisville. As we all know, Calipari hates zone, and he hates it so much he jokes every so often that he might play it. Like today.
“I’m not playing zone. I might in this game, though, Rick. I miiiiiight. May play a triangle and two, gotta figure some stuff out.”
4. Yes, Calipari knew Malik had zero rebounds
47 points is unbelievable, but some are making a big deal about how Monk didn’t have any rebounds vs. North Carolina. Don’t worry, Calipari knows.”
“He’s never had to do this and we’re trying to get him to create new habits,” Cal said, mentioning how he’s having Malik work with the bigs this week to improve his rebounding.
5. Calipari trying to explain how to find his podcast is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard
After his second episode with Coach K dropped this morning, Calipari’s podcast was a big topic, even if he can’t for the life of him figure out how to find it on a computer.
“No one in the state of Kentucky knows how to get on that podcast because I didn’t know how to get on it. And if I don’t know how to get on it, that means out of the 4 million people in this state, 3.9 million have no idea how to get on a podcast. So, you want to tell me how to get on it? I have no idea. Google it.”
“What is it?” he turned to ask Eric Lindsey.
“iTunes! There you go. Anybody go on iTunes? I listen to ‘Soul Sister’ every once in a while, that’s about it.”
I’m pretty sure Calipari’s selling Kentuckians short on their ability to find a podcast, but if you’re still struggling, just click this link right here.
6. For Christmas, he’s having his whole family on a podcast
The whole Calipari family will be home for Christmas and they’re going to gather round the computer to tape a podcast. That will be awesome, but Calipari admitted he may have to censor his daughter, Erin.
“I’m going to have a whistle because my daughter Erin cusses, she says stupid stuff and I’ll blow the whistle so you can’t hear it.”
Other future podcast guests: Phil Knight, Karl Towns, John Wall & DeMarcus Cousins together, and Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist together. Way to steal three of my dream podcast guests, Cal. (Win #9 and I’ll forgive you.)
7. This exchange with Alan Cutler was priceless
– Curtis Burch (@curtisburch) December 20, 2016
Shoutout to Curtis Burch for the video. I laughed very loudly when that happened.
8. Derek Willis admitted he was one of players Calipari made hug Malik Monk
After the game Saturday, Calipari told reporters he made two players hug Malik Monk in the locker room. Today, Derek Willis admitted he was one of them. I’m betting Wenyen Gabriel was the other because their defense must improve for Kentucky to reach its potential. When told Derek admitted to his poor defense, Cal said he’s going to stick with Derek and Wenyen at the four for a little bit and if it doesn’t work, he’ll use Mychal Mulder in a four-guard lineup.
“I’m not there yet because I want Wenyen and Derek to keep doing their thing, but that’s there if you need it.”
9. This might Isaiah Briscoe’s game
We’ve had a lot of Louisville game heroes in the past few years, like Josh Harrellson, Tyler Ulis, and Dominique Hawkins. Who will it be this year? Calipari reminded everyone that Isaiah Briscoe didn’t even play in last year’s game because he injured his ankle in pregame warmups.
“He is a tough — this is his kind of game, but we’ll see.”
I like that prediction.