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Calipari backtracks, says his players weren’t relieved after the Wisconsin loss, they were in shock


During a Fox Sports interview with Fran Healey earlier this week, John Calipari said he thought some of his players were “relieved” after the Wisconsin loss, a comment that’s drawn a lot of criticism in the past few days. Like clockwork, Cal put out an article on his website this afternoon backtracking on the comment, telling readers that after talking to Karl Towns about it, he realizes he players weren’t relieved, they were in shock.

In the interview, I used the term relieved to describe what I saw in the locker room. It wasn’t relief about wanting the season to end. That team wanted to win all 40 games — and thought they were going to. So did their coach.

When I walked in that locker room, I didn’t know what to expect. When I looked around, a few of them looked like they were in a daze.

I was talking to Karl Towns about it and his comment was, “We were in shock. The response wasn’t tears and anger. It was more of, ‘What just happened, we’re done playing.’ ”

I agree with Karl. They were in shock. A few were devastated, but what I saw more than anything when they settled in their seats was they were being reflective of the season and what had just happened.

Glad we got that straight. Now, let’s not talk about it again for a long time, okay?


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.

16 Comments for Calipari backtracks, says his players weren’t relieved after the Wisconsin loss, they were in shock

  1. Aaron
    1:01 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    Cal made those exact comments on June 12th at the Father Son Camp. He said something like: I wish we would have lost one along the way because when I got in that locker room we were devastated but some of those kids looked relieved. He put the loss and relief together. I wouldn’t consider those two comments separate from each other. I think he meant some of those kids may have dealt with it better if they’d lost before. No way that guy wanted to lose. No way being undefeated cost them the Wisconsin game. They will to win. Just needed to win two more for perfection.

  2. GroundControlToNumber9
    1:17 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    If the best players on the team had been given starting roles in their positions throughout the season then we would have won the title.

    PG: Tyler Ulis
    SG: Devin Booker
    SF: Trey Lyles

    Cal rode the Harrison pony all the way to the level that the Harrison pony could go. No knock on them… they just took front and center stage on a team that they were given the keys to (by Cal – who had confidence they could do it).

    Only if Ulis had match issues should he have ever taken a backseat on the court at PG.

    I hope Andrew decides to become a student of the game and watch the greats. Unfortunately he takes the easy road and forces way too much.

    • Dude
      1:30 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

      And the media, fans, rival trolls, coaches, etc, would have CRUSHED Cal for turning his back on his two returning guards if he had started Ulis over them.

      And it would be hard to convince future recruits that he’d have their back – a constant policy he reminds them – and us – of.

      Let me put this perspective out there: if we lost to Wisconsin with Ulis at the point, Cal would have been criticized by everyone for starting an undersized Freshmen PG over an oversized PG with tournament experience.

      Just trust in Cal. We’ve been to 4 Final Fours and won a title in the six years since he’s been here. He’s brought some of the most talented, exciting and well-rounded individuals through our university. We are the talk of college basketball. He does great things in the community, instills good virtues in his players, and really tries to connect with our fans. This has been a truly historic run we’ve had, not to mention a TON of fun. Can we give the dude some credit for what he HAS done?

    • J-Dub421
      2:21 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

      I love Booker and Lyles, but they were both a defensive liability in the Wisconsin game. They were both scored on at will by Wisconsin. Go rewatch the end of the first half of that game and you’ll see Wisconsin actively looking to score on Booker, which they did.

    • GroundControlToNumber9
      2:37 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

      “J-Dub421” – Had they been starting the majority of the season they would have likely been different players at the end.

      More reps in more pressure situations (when it matters). That generally makes a kid better. Doesn’t always, but generally does.

    • J-Dub421
      2:54 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

      Lyles was injured or sick quite a bit. That put him behind. It’s not his fault, but I don’t see how he could have played a lot more because of it.

      At the end of a close game I wanted the Harrisons on the court. They bailed us out more often than not. Aaron hit about 4 game winners in his two year career. I’m not going to blame him for the time that he couldn’t.

  3. Adam
    2:10 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    It’s called…we were outplayed by a better team. And by better team…I don’t mean better players or coach, but Wisconsin had the better team. Cohesiveness, ability to play as a unit, not 5-10 amazing players. that’s what you get in Cal, a recruiter, a figure, an icon, and never and X and O coach. Bo Ryan knew, and almost everyone else knew (including Vegas, line went from 5.5 to 2.5 in 3 days) that UW was going to win, and they did. This is alllll coming from someone born and bred and fed a Kentuckian.

    • J-Dub421
      2:24 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

      Yes, because our team last season was known for individual selfish play. They never played well together as a team….

  4. Adam
    2:17 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    hey DUDE….if you think Cal is a “good” coach…why did he have to “PLAY” the Harrison twins over Ulis, Booker, and Lyles. Do the draft scouts not know what they are talking about? Where were the Harrison twins drafted again? The writing was on the wall, the twins were an absolute cancer to last two seasons teams and watch what this years team does with Murray, Ulis, Briscoe, and Labisserie. They will lose more games than last years team, probably 4-6 total, and will be a #2 seed nobody wants to mess with. HIDE AND WATCH.

    • J-Dub421
      2:28 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

      Draft position is nice, but isn’t always indicative of talent or NBA readiness. Otherwise there wouldn’t have been so many draft busts. The Cavs drafted Anthony Bennett #1 over Nerlens who fell to 6th. Nerlens is clearly a better player.

    • GroundControlToNumber9
      2:44 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

      “J-Dub421” – That’s a really flawed response, no offense.

      In regards to the Harrisons, NBA scouts didn’t think they can “get significantly better” or they would have been selected higher.

      They had 2 years of starting roles in college and didn’t change much. They are who they are and have been playing basketball long enough (since they were little kids) to have developed to their 90% stage by the time they reached UK.

      I love them because they were Cats, but it’s also ok to review the capability saw on the court.

    • J-Dub421
      2:58 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

      NBA scouts are often wrong. That was my point. The NBA drafts on potential and what they think a player will do in the future. The NBA also loves youth and if two players are similar will often take the younger of the two.

      I disagree that the twins didn’t change much during their two years. I thought they evolved quite a bit, especially defensively, but also in the way they they played, changing speed, etc.

  5. GroundControlToNumber9
    2:35 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    “Dude”… so do things because your afraid of what happens if it doesn’t work?

    No thanks.

    The box score is clear in the Wisconsin game… Cal went away from the system he used all season.

    We didn’t platoon! Got killed on the glass because of it. That’s the ballgame.

    Also, you have 2 6′ 6″ guards (Harrisons) who shared 5 rebounds but played 58 Mins (~30 each). We never got the benefit of them being 6′ 6” yet that is why they were recruited over others in their Freshman year. That height allowed them to dominate the high school level but their play was stunted by taking the easy road.

  6. Wildcat Sheli
    5:29 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    I know with all my heart Coach Cal believed they would win that game. So much so that he didn’t show the team but a few minutes’ worth of Wisconsin film. That had me concerned. I think his “relieved” comment was just trying to take pressure off the guys, even though it was a poor description. After I went back and watched that game, I had a whole range of emotions: shock, anger. I will never understand how, WHEN WE WERE UP, every referee MISSED a shot clock violation that resulted in a basket for Wisconsin! For anyone who says they couldn’t review because it wasn’t under 2 minutes . . . go back and watch how many times during the game Bo Ryan got a review (waaaaay after the fact, too, during the time outs)! The refs were terrible to Cal and treated him with great disrespect. By their constant warnings, he was in a pinch: if he made too big of a scene they would give him a T. But he couldn’t just do nothing. He tried so hard to get them to call things correctly. It was obvious the refs did not like him. Our guys were absolutely shocked about that shot clock violation, didn’t play through it by trusting the system to do the right thing and it cost us more points. That wasn’t fair to 18 and 19 year olds. They trusted that there wouldn’t be illegal points added to the board and when they were, they got rattled and frustrated. To me, that’s just not fair. Those few minutes changed the course of what could’ve been Basketball History. Not. Over. It.

  7. Scott Below
    5:41 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    1. Don’t hold the ball and play against the clock.
    2. Get the ball to the #1 NBA draft pick.
    Do these two things and results would have been different.

  8. Wildcat Sheli
    6:22 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    I do agree that when we were Platooning we were Dominating! Hindsight is better, but I, too, did not understand the move away from the Platoon System. It gave us HUGE HISTORIC WINS! What a fun ride! Still so proud of the 2014-2015 ‘Cats! What a team!