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Calipari says a few of his players should kiss him for playing them


John Calipari is famous for “keeping it real,” and after a tough loss to Louisville, Cal told reporters he’s been keeping it real in practice this week, especially with two players he says don’t deserve the playing time they’ve been getting. In fact, he said they should kiss him in gratitude.

“We’ve got to have a couple guys catch up. We have a couple guys who’ve got to get better. I’ve kept it real the past couple days. ‘A couple of you guys should kiss me for playing you because you should not even get in the game. When you see me, don’t think I’m mad at you, you should say, ‘Oh I love this guy, he puts me in games and I know I shouldn’t be getting in.’”

“I kept it real. I could sit here and lie to them, but the reality of it is everybody has a responsibility to the other guy to do what they can do. And if they can’t do what’s asked of them, they shouldn’t be on the court. It’s so simple. That’s it.”

Any guesses? The first two that come to my mind are Isaac Humphries and Derek Willis.

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.

34 Comments for Calipari says a few of his players should kiss him for playing them

  1. chuckmarzjr
    3:16 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    no way it’s humphries. He gives it all. He may not have the talent on the rest of the roster, but he is giving it all. It’s definately Gabriel. He couldn’t guard me. It’s always defense Cal is worried about, as he should. And Willis sometimes plays defense, and sometimes doesn’t. But Gabriel is who he is talking about. The problem is we don’t have a true 4 and those are the tallest guys on roster so he has had to play them.

  2. secrick
    3:16 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    Willis for sure, should have had that stupid rebound and we win at L-ville. It was a game winner but he let one of the card players out hustle him for it.

    • Mike Mayhem
      4:15 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

      I’m sorry, but you can’t pin the loss to Loserville on one missed rebound by Willis.

  3. Sasquatch
    3:19 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    Isaac? He played 5 minutes against UL. I believe you meant Gabriel, who has been terrible and the the guy that every team has picked on all season. He tries hard, but looks lost and has cement feet.

    • Mrs. Tyler Thompson
      3:31 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

      But Gabriel started. Hard for me to see Cal starting someone who he thinks shouldn’t even been playing.

    • Realme
      4:55 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

      Exactly Tyler. Cal is saying there are guys he’s playing too much (but doesn’t have much choice because someone has to play in that spot). Neither Willis or Gabriel is pulling their weight defensively, but he is still playing them.

    • Mrs. Tyler Thompson
      5:00 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

      Normally, I’d agree with you, but I thought Gabriel played better vs. Louisville. 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal in 12 minutes. 2-2 from FT line.

    • Sasquatch
      9:41 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

      Cal always says it doesn’t matter who starts, it’s who finishes and Isaac was in at the end. Gabriel’s +/- had to be terrible v UL. His guy scored on him all game. People hate on Isaac because he’s been ineffective on offense, but people forget he hold his own on defense surprisingly well.

  4. cathatter
    3:21 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    just sayin – the whole Cal kissing thing is getting a bit weird!

    • RealCatsFan
      5:27 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

      Well, if we were talking about Tom Crean, then yes, it would be weird, but since it’s Cal, I think it’s safe to take it as a figure of speech.

  5. Biglaw Dawgin'
    3:22 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    Reverse racism is real! J/k. I’d guess Humphries and Hawkins, or maybe even Wenyen. Hawkins did zero in 17 minutes. Willis had an off shooting night, but at least he was getting in there and getting boards (tied for team lead with 9). Wenyen and Humphries looked over matched.

    • secrick
      3:30 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

      Yeah he got 9 but didn’t get the one he needed to get number 10. That’s easy for me to say, i couldn’t got 1 but ha if we don’t raise a little hell on this site it gets boring.

  6. Scooby
    3:25 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    Willis and Gabriel. Little doubt. Willis looks like a lost Freshman half the time and Gabriel is one.

  7. Realme
    3:30 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    It’s going to be the same players he made hug Malik for saving them in the NC game. Gabriel and Willis. Anyone else mentioned isn’t getting an excess of minutes.

  8. the ghost of Bill Hicks
    3:35 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    Color me unimpressed with the development of Mr. Briscoe.

    • Aar
      5:08 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

      I suspect Briscoe has a nagging injury. He hasn’t been quite the same since sitting out a game due to injury.

  9. keiths
    3:35 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    Its Willis and Mulder, neither one plays defense

  10. az1006
    3:42 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    I think it’s Willis and Hawkins. I saw Calipari turn to the bench and say, “I can’t play him,” in reference to Dominique. He came out immediately and didn’t go back in. I love Hawkins and think his tenacity can be infectious, but this season he has been so prone to foul trouble that it is difficult to justify playing him. He’s in for defense, and if he’s fouling guys 20 feet from the basket, what does he really bring?

    Willis…He’s got to be better. He just has to. He’s shown what he’s capable of in spurts, but he has got to find a way to be the most consistent player on the floor. We rarely have seniors that contribute, and this year we have 2 of them…We need them both to be the best they’ve been their entire career.

  11. Angelo
    3:44 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    Wow! Cal is ticked off. I was hoping Camp Cal would be going better.

  12. bosshogg24
    3:45 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    You are right it is Humphries and Willis! Humphries is the biggest disappointment of the year followed by Willis, both are giving 50% effort. How many double doubles does Humphries have zero? He should have 10 & 10 every game!

  13. Bluebloodtoo
    4:02 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    Willis, Humphries, Gabriel, and Briscoe (at times).

    I don’t think I’d classify Humphries as a disappointment because I didn’t really expect very much from him this year. Humphries is a project, one of these years it’s all going to click for him like it did with Jorts. Gabriel is closer, but still needs more time to get adjusted to everything going on around him.

    Briscoe is probably the biggest disappointment to me. His shot isn’t much better yet, but it is improving a little. He still makes stupid drives into traffic without a backup plan, and his leadership skills aren’t all that great yet….

    • Bluebloodtoo
      4:04 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

      Willis needs to find that confidence he showed last year. He can play with all these guys, but he has too much clutter going on in his head while he’s playing. It’s like he’s not really bought into the idea that he could actually play in the NBA.

    • Mike Mayhem
      4:21 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

      Willis was fine last year because there was no threat of anyone else taking his playing time, so he played loose. This year he’s already losing major time to Gabriel who has just as many stupid mistakes. Briscoe is a superstar against teams like Clarion and Asbury, but he’s a total no show against legitimate competition.

  14. chuckmarzjr
    4:07 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    bosshogg, I think you are a little crazy. He averages only about 4 or 5 minutes a game. I don’t think anybody can average a double double when you only play 4 or 5 minutes. He’s talking about guys that get consistent playing time. You guys who say Hawkins are also crazy. He is the best defensive guy on the team. Cal loves him. If he was taller and had more confidence on offense he’d be even playing more. There is only 1 spot on the season where we have no match. If the other team has a big4, then we have nobody to match them. Willis is a better 3 than 4, albeit a little slow. Gabriel is a 4, but has cement feet and cannot guard. That’s why Cal is saying that. And Mrs. Tyler, I understand your point about then why is he starting, it’s because who else in his mind is going to play the 4. He feels that Willis plays better off of the bench, and we already start 3 guards. Humphries is too slow to play the 4, so he has no choice but to play Gabriel. It’s the same two guys who had to hug Monk after UNC game, Cal is starting his frustrations with them because it’s game after game of the same.

  15. jaws2
    4:25 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    I really like Derek, but he’s been an enigma since arriving at UK. he’ll play one game with confidence, hustle and aggressiveness, and then take two games off. You’re just at his mercy as to what you’ll see. Gabriel is a freshman and usually plays like a typical freshman, but he will give everything anytime he’s on the court.

  16. AndTheDevil
    4:46 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    At times, it could be anyone on this team. Monk is borderline useless if he’s not making shots. Thank goodness, they’re working on shot selection. He took bad shots in UoL game (previous game, too. Just he made them and we all said SUPERSTAR) and did nothing else when they weren’t falling. 3 rebounds 1 assist. He’s not getting fouled, not even trying too. I believe he’s averaging less than 3 FTs a game. He doesn’t play defense beyond waving his arms in some attempt to look like he is. He’s averaging almost as many TOs as assists.

    Or as one NBA expert put it–“He’s a great scorer who doesn’t do much else. He rarely gets to the rim in the half-court, which is why he doesn’t take many free throws (2.6 attempts per game) and he isn’t much of a distributor (2.3 assists against 1.9 turnovers a game). When you are creating a bunch of off-the-dribble jumpers from 20-plus feet out, you aren’t putting a ton of pressure on the other four players on defense, even when they go in.”

    Fox is great in transition. Maybe a hair above average in half-court. Defense is questionable when going against someone close to his skill level. Maybe tries to make the great pass vs the best pass a little too often. Also he can’t shoot worth a damn.Guys can play off him because he’s no threat to make anything beyond 3 foot floater.

    Bam is finally getting it aka dunking. He’s still struggling defensively on when to help, when to stay put, when to try to block a shot. No reason he should be averaging double digit rebounds.

    Willis is Willis, but I wish he was the Willis of last year. He needs to rebound more, but given that he’s mainly setting screens at the top of the key or is fading to the corner waiting for a pass to shoot a 3, who knows if that’s possible. He’s averaging, I believe, 3 shot attempts a game. Given that Briscoe and Fox are the only two drivers, and Briscoe’s passing out of a drive is questionable, at best, I’m surprised it’s that high. Willis is athletic but slow. Also, his skill set I’m not sure fits this team. We do run some pick and pops but only pass to the shooter 1 out of 5 times, maybe less.

    Gabriel means well and someday he’ll learn how to play organized ball. He has the energy just not the bball IQ to best use that energy. He gets beat on defense as much as Willis, except his is a case of not knowing how to use the athleticism he has vs Willis’s lack of above average athleticism. He gets lost on both offense and defense. Does rebound but some of those come from being out of position.

    Humphries skillset would be great if this was 1980. He’ll get better, but his defense cancels out anything he gives in other areas which at this point is only rebounding.

    Briscoe somehow did the rare feat of improving from last season then devolving four games later.

    Mulder seems like a deer in headlights if he’s not shooting a three.

  17. C8TS
    5:08 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    Hawkins and Willis.

    Hawkins has done nothing this year. Usually his defense is solid but that has been bad as well. He needs Moulder in the rotation instead of Hawkins. I like the kid, but it’s been rough.

    Willis for the same reason people have been saying.

    • Wildcat Sheli
      8:00 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

      The official men’s bb twitter feed gave this stat when Cal put Hawkins back in, ”
      Hawkins back in. Cats are plus-10 when he’s been on the floor tonight.”

      I think he did a fine job on defense. What changed our momentum was that odd lineup when we were up and UL went on a 7-0 run.

  18. KevinM
    5:13 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    Its Willis, who has the opportunity to keep Gabriel on the bench. But his effort is not enough in big games.
    Gabriel just needs to get better positioning if he’s not going to have enough strength to keep guys off the boards. He has huge boosts of effort though.

  19. Luether
    5:45 pm December 28, 2016 Permalink

    I don’t think anyone is getting undeserved PT…

    This is just more BS and mind games from Cal…

  20. roundball fool
    9:26 am December 29, 2016 Permalink

    Willis and Gabriel. Pretty obvious from Cal’s previous comments.