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Cal couldn’t care less if Vandy’s got only seven scholarship players (and other notes from today’s presser)

John Calipari met with the media this afternoon to give his thoughts on the Cats’ win over Mississippi State and Saturday’s game against Vandy.  Cal turned the postgame press conference duties to John Robic last night while he went to the hospital to be with his son Brad, who had ACL surgery earlier this week, so it’s the first time we’ve heard what he thought about the Cats’ tale of two halves.  Here are some quick hitters:

1. Cal may shake up the starting lineup after another slow start

In what is becoming a troubling pattern, the Cats got off to another slow start against Mississippi State, letting the Bulldogs storm out to a 12-2 lead.  Like Robic, Cal thinks they were rusty, and reverted to bad habits: “We were really rusty, and when you watch the tape, it’s amazing how they revert.”  He emphasized the importance of his players dealing with the “everyone’s Super Bowl” mentality from opposing teams and stepping up to match the intensity.

Cal is so worried about the slow starts that he’s thinking of shaking up the starting lineup: “You know, maybe I’ve gotta start different people who understand it. But this is like every game now.”  Minutes later, Cal stepped back a bit from that statement. “Right now, I look at it and say ‘hey, let me ride this a little bit'” because he’s happy with the production he’s getting from his bench.

2. Dakari was great, but those free throws…

Cal raved about Dakari Johnson’s performance last night (8 points in 8 minutes), but said that in order to play him more, Dakari has to hit at least some free throws (he missed both yesterday):  “You gotta be able to get up there–and the same with Willie–you don’t have to make them all, you just can’t miss them all.”

3. Everyone’s happy about Alex’s play

Alex Poythress was a beast last night.  According to Joe Dean Jr., he set a record for dunks (on January 8th, 2014 in Rupp Arena, at least).  Cal joined the chorus of praise for Alex’s play, attributing it to a change in mentality: “Yeah. I love it. Nothing makes me happier. And again, it took him awhile to accept he had to change.”  However, he wants more jumpers and a lethal jump hook from Alex that he apparently hits all the time in practice, but has yet to bring to Rupp Arena.

4. Too many threes

The Cats were 4-20 from behind the arc last night, and Cal said they shot so many threes because they were “settling”: “But we started the game shooting seven threes. Now, what do you think one of our weakest areas is? So why would you start the game shooting ‘em? Because it’s easier than being down and ready and driving the ball.”  In the second half, if a player shot a three without driving the middle or to the post, he took them out.


5. Cal couldn’t care less if Vandy has only seven scholarship players

The best line from the whole press conference came when someone asked Cal’s thoughts on Vandy being down to only seven scholarship players:

“Stop, I don’t want to hear it. I had seven last year. I could(n’t) care less and you know everyone felt sorry for us.”

Baha. I love this man.

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.

19 Comments for Cal couldn’t care less if Vandy’s got only seven scholarship players (and other notes from today’s presser)

  1. Technically...
    2:08 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    it would’ve been funnier if he had said he “couldn’t” care less.

    • asdf
      2:19 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Quite right. The above error is one of my pet peeves. If someone “could” care less, then they have to care at least some. But if they “couldn’t” care less, then the level of caring is established to be rock bottom. Think about it, people.

    • Teachable Mo'
      3:47 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Right. Because there’s no such thing as an idiomatic expression.

  2. Chicago Manny
    2:11 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    I hope he means starting Hawkins @ the point. If something isnt working you need to shake it up. These slow starts are a troubling pattern.

  3. Yes
    2:18 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    So he could care less?

  4. Good save
    2:31 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    Thank you, Mrs T for fixing Cal’s error. That annoys me to no end when people get that wrong.

  5. jaws2
    2:33 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    I couldn’t care less about what Cal says regarding playing Willis more. Oh that’s right he got in about 1:47 worth last night after we were up 20. That should really boost the confidence of Willis.

    • Stupid
      2:49 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      The best players need to play together as often as possible on such a young, inexperienced team. Surely Willis gets that and isn’t such a delicate little flower that his confidence is just wrecked by not playing much on one of the most talented teams in the NCAA as a freshman.

    • BlueRedNeck
      2:54 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      I’m always in agreement that Cal should play guys like Willis and Lee more often, but I was courtside at the game last night when Willis came in, and he was playing matador defense – his guy blew by him for an unchallenged layup at least twice. Now part of that could be the fact that the game was already decided and those guys simply didn’t want to get whistled for a foul and were more focused on scoring, but if he does that during a critical juncture in the game, then how can Cal leave him in? Don’t get me wrong, I like guys like Lee and Willis, but they are going to have to really bring max effort while they are in the games to earn more PT.

    • Rei
      3:07 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Willis actually checked in around the 2:43 mark.

    • AnthonyBBN
      3:38 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Man, why can’t our starting lineup be Polson, Long, Willis, Hood, and Malone? They should be the only people getting any minutes on this team!

  6. Johnny
    2:56 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    Obviously if Cal believed Willis needed more playing time, he would get more playing time…lets face it, Willis isn’t going to contribute at all to this team other than by practicing against the other guys. Derek played only a few possessions last night, and got blown past for a layup from the scrubs of Miss St, and jacked up a three and missed. I believe Derek will be a good player down the road, but its not his time now. This reminds me of all the people complaining about Hood not playing on John Wall’s team….come on!

  7. Biglaw Dawgin'
    2:58 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    Check out the front page of Headline “What were they thinking?” With a picture of Petrino. Haha.

    • Rixter
      3:05 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      I’m loving all the negative national attention this is getting!

  8. rukiddingme
    3:24 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    Come on, let’s face it. Willis cannot contribute at this point and will in all likelihood, be no more than Hood has been in his time here. Too slow and cant guard, plain and simple

  9. raccoon
    3:44 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    I would not mind seeing Poy in the starting lineup. If Cal wants them to shoot less threes then maybe starting a bigger lineup to set the tone wouldn’t hurt. Also I love WCS, but when are we going to see more offensive moves from him? He is too quick and long to just be a lob dunk kind of guy. Still his defense has been great, much better than last year – you can tell he is working hard.

  10. UK >est
    3:55 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    Raccoon, I would like to see Poy get the nod too, but who would he start in place of? JY?JR? I don’t see that happening, maybe they could slide Aaron H over to the point and bring Andrew off the bench. That would be Aaron H, Young, Poy, Randle and WCS as a starting line up. That might be interesting!

  11. Would make my day ...
    4:48 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology has UK (4 seed) & UL (5 seed) meeting in 2nd round (or 3rd if you acknowledge the revision from last season’s tourney).

    How fun to beat them twice in a season again?! Although I expect our seed to rise, & Louisville’s to fall, naturally.

  12. From the rafters
    5:19 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    I told someone setting next to me last night the team looked like they were sleepwalking through warm ups. No energy, mostly walking maybe it is time to change the warm up routine, speed it up, get some running, cutting, sharp passing in before the start of the game… I don’t believe it could hurt to try something different.