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Calipari defends playing Hamidou Diallo, and if he keeps working, he will continue to do so

After averaging only 6.6 points and nearly two turnovers per contest over Kentucky’s last ten games, Hamidou Diallo has not been a fan favorite as of late. His arguing with teammates and coaches have only made it worse.

He made comments earlier in the week about how bad it hurt to struggle the way he has and how hard he’s going to work to get out of his rut. He wanted to earn some faith back from the Big Blue Nation.

Last night against Alabama, Diallo again struggled shooting the ball, finishing with eight points on 3-9 from the field. But the effort and intensity were there, and the Rupp Arena crowd appreciated him for that. It looked like a step in the right direction.

After the game, John Calipari was asked about Diallo’s slump, how he was balancing nurturing him and getting the team back on the right track, and if his performance against the Crimson Tide was a step in the right direction.

For Coach Cal, Diallo is someone’s son, and if he’s willing to put in the extra time and effort, there’s zero chance he’ll leave him behind.

“Let’s think about that, it’s your son, and he’s struggling. It’s your son now, not somebody else’s son, your son. Would you want me to just bench him and say, we’ll worry about it next year? That’s what you’d want me to do with your son?”

The Kentucky head coach said his starting shooting guard has bad habits to break, but he’s in the gym late at night to fix them.

“I’m with Hami,” said Calipari. “He’s trying. He’s working. He’s got some habits that are so bad, and they are habits; that they pop out sometimes at the wrong time. My job is to make sure he’s not hurting the team — ready for this — or himself, and to keep working with him. But when I go in my office at 10 o’clock at night or 11, I’d better see him in there every once in a while, and you know what, I am.

Calipari then took ownership of the team’s struggles and told the audience it was okay to be mad at him, but said he’s going to continue to put the players first, even if it costs the team some games.

“Don’t be mad at the kids. Be mad at me. I recruited them. I’m coaching them. I’m the one that’s buying time for guys which may be costing us some games, but I’m going to continue to do it. I told you when I walked in the door, this is going to be about the players first, and I’m trying to stay that course.”

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

18 Comments for Calipari defends playing Hamidou Diallo, and if he keeps working, he will continue to do so

  1. SoCalCat
    1:25 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

    I had wondered if the team had lost yesterday with bleak outlook for post season play whether having 3 players leave after the season whether Cal considers it a success.

    • Lip Man 1
      2:14 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

      Three may wind up leaving but I seriously doubt that three will get drafted.

  2. Skeps
    2:49 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

    What about the parents of the son that don’t get to play as much because he’s not giving up on THAT player? He’ll continue to put the kids first even if it costs the team some games? How in the world can any Kentucky fans not have a problem with this?

    • UKzoeboy1988
      3:27 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

      Diallo only played 15 minutes yesterday. Their was 7 other players who played more minutes than him. He use to play 30 minutes at the beginning of the season and Cal has cut it down tremendously. Just because you want to give up on him and don’t want him to play at all doesn’t mean Cal has to. We need to start supporting are players instead of criticizing them all the time.

    • Skeps
      4:29 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

      You completely missed the point. If a player makes your team worse and you lose games because of it, how is that justifiable? How is benching a player giving up on him? That’s absolutely ridiculous. So he gave up on Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins for years?

    • Skeps
      4:32 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

      I didn’t even read where I was critical of a player in my original comment. Quit reading what you want to read into it. Critical of a statement by Cal and you think I’m giving up on players. Ridiculous.

  3. jrdh13
    2:50 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

    Wish he wouldve said.. benched until he passes on a fast break

  4. binarysolo
    3:20 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

    I thought this post sounded familiar… turns out Nick Roush wrote basically the same thing yesterday. “Why John Calipari is Sticking with Hamidou Diallo”

    • runningunnin.454
      3:57 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

      Absolutely right; this was covered yesterday by Roush. Just giving the la-z-boy coaches more opportunity to cry.
      Fact is Calipari is Coach, and will remain so until he wants to leave…and the whiners are not, and will never be.

    • 4everUKblue
      5:05 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

      Well said RG

  5. ScoggDog
    3:40 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

    So … that first year … at the NBA draft ?

    Looks like Cal wasn’t bluffing.

    But – I get it – Shut Up Hater.

  6. Bull Filmer
    4:23 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

    No kid should yell back at the coach. #1 rule = cut your hair. # 1 other rule = No back talk.

    • makeitstop
      6:06 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

      My dad played for Rupp and he said the same thing. My view: If ur setting the world on fire, and u want crazy hair knock urself out. Until then u might want to cut the hair. Or as Crash Davis said in Bull Durham: “Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.”

  7. BigBlueNationDude
    4:56 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

    Of course he will. He promised him minutes. As much as he says he doesnt lets be honest. Hes always said ill take a guy out this and that but he always has a huge leash for his top priority guys. Its sad how quick he would take a guy out for little things and leave others in no matter what

    • 4everUKblue
      5:06 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

      Slater you just keep on showing just how ignorant you are.

    • All Cats Everything
      5:09 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

      Hami had the second fewest minutes played in the game against alabama. Everyone knows its good to have a 7-8 man rotation come tourney time, and we’re playing nine. stop talking

  8. makeitstop
    6:10 pm February 18, 2018 Permalink

    He likes having 8 guys, so someone is going to have minutes cut. It’s either Diallo or SKJ that’s going to be re literal odd man out.

  9. Alleykat16
    9:02 am February 19, 2018 Permalink

    We knew what kind of coach he was when he came here the same coach that took us to elite 8’s and final 4’s and we celebrated him as great coach, recruiter then won the championship and all was well in the land of blue then go the season undefeated until final 4 lost. We are just having a down year they all have them last year Michigan St. I don’t think even made to tournament i think dont really keep up with them but the point is every team has bad years as fans we got to still show our support for the team and hope it clicks and during the later part of season they go on a run so all the ones that out there hating stop and just turn out your lights in your mom’s house and go to bed you got school tomorrow