John Calipari sat down with CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein for an article that came out yesterday. Calipari entertained an interesting question and answer session with Rothstein. Some of the material was new, and of course some of it was the typical lines we have become accustomed to hearing from Calipari. Either way, let’s take a look at some of the highlights:
CBS Sports: Have you ever anticipated the start of a season like the one you’re about to begin?
Calipari: I’ve been doing this a long time. I’m just focusing on this team and these guys and what we have to do. What is the best way to play with this group? There’s a lot of ways we can play. We’re going to press a little bit more. I like what I see from guys like Marcus Lee. He’s a high energy guy who I’m going to have to find time for. There’s a lot of different things we’re going to have to work out. It’s not normal doing what we’re doing and I tell people “don’t try this.” Every year we have a new team. I can’t say that I know right now how we’re going to play. … We know we’re going to play fast. We know we’re going to be a great defensive team. We know we’re going to share the ball…
CBS Sports: Two years ago you talked about how important your veterans–Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, Darius Miller– were in terms of leadership because they had played in the Final Four the year prior. How different is that dynamic because your returning players played in the NIT and not the NCAA Tournament?
Calipari: That’s hard. Willie and Alex and Jon Hood, the experience they had wasn’t good last year. We’re asking them to do what Terrence, Darius and Doron did two years ago but those guys had been to the Final Four the year before. Those three returning players were very important three years ago. That’s part of coming together. The question is how fast can we come together? Can we let guys play for each other and not themselves? It’s all questions that aren’t answered right now.
CBS Sports: Out of all the players you have brought in so far, who has been the biggest surprise?
Calipari: Probably Aaron Harrison. People say there’s a big difference between him and Andrew– I laugh. They’ve got the same DNA. I will say this. Their personalities are very different, but Aaron has played really well up until this point.