John Calipari sat down with Doris Burke, Fran Fraschilla, and Seth Greenberg for about ten minutes during UK’s open practice on ESPNU and said that although tonight’s practice is televised for all the nation to see, the “real” practice is tomorrow.
“The real stuff is tomorrow,” Cal said. “We’re going to go two and a half hours tomorrow, 95% of these guys [scouts] will stay, and then they’ll see, okay, how do they compete, what’s their will to win? What do they want to see when they’re a little tired?”
Even if tonight’s not as “real” as tomorrow, Calipari said his players were excited about playing in the national spotlight before the season even begins.
“They were excited about this. They were chatty. They’re all 18-19 years old,” Cal said.
UK just started two-a-days last week, and when asked, Calipari admitted he’s not sure what kind of team he’s got yet.
“Not enough. We really don’t have much in. I’ve got to watch them for a while, let them make mistakes, let them play and then I’ve got to define reality to them. We’re not ready to define reality to them.”
“First of all, they are really into this right now. We had a practice a few days ago. I literally whistled and skipped out of the building saying, ‘We’re like, really good.’ Then, the next day, I did not sleep that night because I’m thinking, how are we going to win any games? So, you don’t know with young kids.”
Here comes that old rope analogy in 3…2…1…
“The thing I tell them is, you can’t let go of the rope. All of the other stuff is negotiable. You just can’t let go of the rope. You’ve got to keep trying. They’ve cramped up. Why would guys be cramping? They’ve never gone this hard ever! No one’s ever said no.”
Cal being Cal, he couldn’t help but turn the segment into a recruiting pitch.
“These kids get better here, and let me tell you why: because they’re playing against each other. That’s why they came here,” Cal said. “I was in Indiana, and a mother said, ‘I’ve got to watch you coach in practice.’ I said, ‘Why?’. She said, ‘Because Trey Lyles averaged 7 points and 4 rebounds and is a lottery pick and is going to be an All-Star. And then she said, ‘By the way, Devin Booker didn’t even start! How is this–what?!’ Because they’re great kids, they want to get better. They came here to get better. They came here to compete against other really good players. …This stuff here, it ain’t for everybody.”
There’s a 95% chance Calipari made that story up, but if he didn’t, odds he’s talking about New Albany, Indiana native Romeo Langford?