John Calipari made a special guest appearance on Wednesday’s Kentucky Sports Radio radio show to talk about the new McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative he helped launch, a really great program that will provide more opportunities for minorities within college athletics.
But you can’t book John Calipari on a sports radio show and not talk about his current Kentucky basketball team, and it sounds like he is very excited about this new group’s potential.
“We have to play this season,” Calipari told KSR, “because I do have a good team. Whew, we gotta play.”
Cal admitted he is eager to get to the practice facility, but right now he is at his family’s vacation home far away from Lexington because the rules won’t even allow him to drive by and wave at his players on campus. Monday, July 20 is the date the coaching staff will join the players, although it will be in a limited capacity.
Calipari said, “You guys have no idea how excited I am to get in the gym with my guys. Even though you’re going to be working with one or two and it’s not all five, it doesn’t matter. I just want to get in the gym. We got nine new players, the kids are excited, they want to be coached, they want to be around us. My concern is them being safe.”
Assuming a safe path is cleared and we have college basketball, can this 2020-21 team be one of his elite Kentucky teams? Matt Jones asked him just that.
“Look, to come here you know you have to have a certain level of talent,” Calipari said. “But the second thing you have to have is, you really have to be into your team and sharing and your whole thing in your mindset is, how good can I be, how good a teammate can I be? And so sometimes we will lose kids that are being told other things: that to be here, that’s what it is.
“This group is all bought into that, both feet. Their parents trust us with their child, and we’re really good. We got some really good players. So I’m sitting here saying, [having a special group] has happened three or four times, but let me tell you what those teams have done. The teams you’re talking about became unbelievable teams. Teams. That’s, like I said, where the work comes in. But I’m just not ready to start that kind of work and the reason is, let’s get all this other stuff under control.”
Listen to Cal talk about his Kentucky team below, including comments about Olivier Sarr:
Listen to the entire interview with Cal below: