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Calipari Q&A: Read Everything Coach Cal Said Today

Did you miss John Calipari’s pre-Alabama press conference earlier today? That’s too bad. Good news for you though. You can read the entire transcript below. You’re welcome.


On if he worries about the Facebook all-access series being around with young players …
“No. We’re all just acting like they’re not here.”

On if that’s easy to do …
“It is for me and I think it is for them. We’re just literally ignoring them.”

On what he sees from Alabama …
“They’re good. They’re a good team. They’ve got some young guys playing well. They’ve got their veterans playing well. They’re physical and athletic. They’ve got length. They’re a good team. They’ve beaten good people. They’ve beaten ranked teams. Beat Auburn, so they’re good. They’re a good team.”

On John Petty …
“Yeah, he’s playing good for them. He’s playing good. He’s a good player.”

On what he tries to remind the guys of being there in all four of the recent losses …

“Well, you know, last game, the last five or six minutes we got 1 for 7 with two turnovers when we have a four-point lead. Missed a 3 in the corner that you can’t believe didn’t go in. But with that being said, a bunch of these games, it’s not that they were taken (away), it’s that they were given (away). And we’ve gotta get out of that mode. I’ll say this though: Because of that – even watching the last game, we’ll have a spell of three minutes, four minutes, and instead of being up 10 or 12, all of a sudden it’s anybody’s ballgame. We gotta get through that. This is the hard part of it and this could make us what we’re going to be at the end of the year or this could break people down. What I’m trying to do is say, ‘Let’s use this as fuel. Let’s have this make us stronger.’ Talk about coming together, man. ‘You’ve gotta do this together. You’re not going to be able to bust through this by yourself.’ ”

On if the league being so strong this year can better prepare them for getting through the NCAA Tournament …

“Well, we’ve gotta get through the league. We’ve got stuff we’ve got to get through here and it makes it harder. I mean, there have been times (in the past) where you’re struggling but you’re playing a team coming up – ‘Ok, we can get these guys at home. We know that.’ And none of that (are) in this league right now. I said after the last game: You want to talk about Vanderbilt or whoever else, Mississippi beat Alabama, so we can talk about who we want but we’re all within three to five points of each other. The team that’s been doing the best job is Auburn. They’ve figured out ways of winning any type of close game, and then they create a gap and they’ll get somebody by 25. The rest of us – everybody is hanging around everybody, and so I think the veteran teams have done better than we young teams.”

On if could ever remember any season where four of his five starters had more turnovers than assists …

“No. Again, I’m trying to get them to make easy plays instead of hard plays. You know, passing, being a willing passer, which leads to easy assists at times. It’s all stuff we’re – they’re figuring it out. Just gotta speed up the process, and I wish I could skip steps with these guys but you just don’t.”

On what makes Collin Sexton such a special point guard …

“He gets to the rim. He’s good in pick-and-rolls. He’ll run downhill but he could be a pass-first point guard. He’ll get guys involved. He’s good. Good player.”

On not wanting to look ahead or keep looking back …

“Any time you start thinking ahead you’ll feel anxiety and you gotta step back. Anytime you’re looking at what happened before, you have to grieve and you got to – but then you have to move on. With this group, they’re so young that I have to be aware of the doubt that losing puts in their minds. But like I told them yesterday: ‘This game you had the lead. You had a seven-point lead. This game, come on, you had a four-point lead. The last game you had a four-point lead. This game you had a –.’ Should’ve won all those and we’d be feeling different. Individual players on the other hand, if you’re not playing as well as you need to play – this is where they won’t listen – ‘(If) you’re not on your A-game, you simplify everything and you fall into the team and you make the plays the team needs you to make until you get going. Not the fabulous plays or the hero plays because it just doesn’t work. I’ve done this 30 years.’ So I’m trying to convince the guys that aren’t playing as well as they had been playing, ‘Just tone it down. We’re fine. Play harder. Do all the little things. Get a rebound, play defense, and fly up and down the floor knowing that when I get it, if I can’t shoot it that I’m not making a hard play. I’m not going to be a turnover machine; that’s not who I’m going to be.’ Trying to get a team full of guys where you say, ‘Well, this guy has more assists than turnovers.’ That’s a couple of the guys, but I’ve just gotta be focused on them. I’m trying to give them what they need, you know. I still feel great, but I’m not 18, 19 playing at Kentucky. I’m looking at it like, ‘Let’s go do this. Next game. Let’s go.’ And I really believe if we can win one, this thing starts changing for us, but you have to win one. There’s nobody going to give us anything. (Opposing teams) get a chance to beat us and they’re going nuts. I mean, that’s how it is.”

On if his experience with Memphis and the Grizzlies coming there can shed some advice for a push for an NBA team to come to Louisville …

“Not really. I didn’t hear about it so. [Reporter: Dan Issel is charging it.] Dan is? That’d be a pretty good guy to have in charge if you wanted it.”

On convincing the players and fans that sometimes losing is part of growing …

“Well, I’m at Kentucky. It’s hard to convince anybody you’re supposed to lose any games. All I’m focused on are these kids. I’m not worried about convincing the fans of anything. I would hope we have established enough of a relationship — I have, this program has — with the vast majority of the fans that they trust the program is in good hands. That stuff happens and we’ll deal with it. And this is one of those things that obviously I haven’t gone through in a long time and this program hadn’t gone through in a long time. But guess what, you go through it. And other programs are. Looking around the country and everybody is getting beat. I just have got to get this team right. And if I’m worried about fans or all the other clutter, I can’t do my job, which is how do I get these guys to understand, first of all, how bad they need each other. What does the team need me to do? How much do I gotta let them understand that I’ve been through this? I keep telling them, I’ve done this 30 years. I’ve done just about anything you could be through in this game. I’ve been through it. And, having a losing streak, I’ve been through this. Having a tough schedule and part of it is the schedule of games we had were tough games. Yeah, we were hoping we’d win one or two of them, but we just didn’t. Now we’ve gotta go on to the next game and get ourselves prepared to play. By the way, they (the players) were great. All the stuff before Auburn, they were terrific. Kind of similar to the way they were before West Virginia. Yesterday they were fine. They’re looking at my eyes. They want to know, please tell us. Like, there’s no magic wand. I thought they did enough to win that road game. And again, let’s say this: That’s a No. 1 seed. We’re on the road and we’re winning by four points with a shot with six minutes to go. We have our chances. It could have been a two-point game. We missed a one-footer and that would have been with about two-and-a-half left. OK, so we’re not that far. But, you have got to win games. Close losses don’t do it. I mean, you’ve got to win some games.”

On Kevin Knox taking fewer shots in second half at Auburn …

“You ask me this every time. Here is what I will tell you: We are running to him. Sometimes he can’t get them off because – you won’t believe this – the other team goes in at halftime and they go, ‘We cannot let him just …’ And then they come out and do what they’re doing. So we want him to score.”

On if teams are doing similar things to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander …

“He just made a couple bad decisions. You know, the turnover. I’d rather him shoot that. To be honest, he is playing – early in the game he is making some breakdowns more as he is late.”

On if he is a good enough coach to carry this team through the season …

“Nope, nope, nope, nope. That’s not who I’ve ever been. This is about empowering these guys, but they gotta trust each other so they can be empowered. We just haven’t gotten there yet. Willie Cauley-Stein walked in yesterday and he said, ‘Why aren’t they just trying to do this together? Playing with, just be one, and then they all benefit.’ I said, ‘Why did you trust me?’ And then he went like this (points around practice gym at pictures of players in NBA). Like, all those players. ‘I trusted what you told me.’ ‘Bam (Adebayo), why did you trust me? We never threw you the ball until late in the year.’ ‘Because I knew what I wanted to do and you were trying to help me.’ And I sent that out so that they could hear it. You just gotta trust that I’m trying to help everybody, but I can’t do it at the expense of the team. Someone is not playing well, we just can’t play as many minutes. You just gotta play less.”

On if Cauley-Stein or Adebayo talked to the team …

“No, they just talked to me when the team was listening.”

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

2 Comments for Calipari Q&A: Read Everything Coach Cal Said Today



  1. Truman Claytor
    6:58 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

    It’s amazing how that one missed 3 pointer with a 4 pt lead becomes a 10 point loss. It appears to be a lack of sustained defensive intensity. Has this team gone on a 10-0 run since UL game? I know almost every team we’ve played has. It used to be the other way around…



  2. BradCalthegoat
    8:13 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

    I believe this team could win the King of the Bluegrass and the Ky All-A state Tournament!