Mark Stoops and his team had another winning season on the gridiron, and after the excitement of Kentucky’s victory in the Belk Bowl, the football team is still on everyone’s mind. That includes John Calipari, who wants to see his own team compete like Stoops’ team has been known to do lately.
In case you (somehow) missed it, Coach Calipari has picked his mantra for the season: fight and finish. He emphasizes it during every press conference; the team says he drills it into their heads at practice. If a player on his roster isn’t willing to do those two things, Coach Cal says that player won’t find himself on the court during a game’s biggest moments. Alternatively, players who have displayed that “will to win” may earn extra playing time, even if their shots aren’t necessarily falling. Think: Keion Brooks, who’s averaging just 5.8 points per game but sees an average of 18 minutes of action.
The football team’s comparable mantra would have to “come see about it,” but fight and finish would also certainly work. There’s no one – on either team – that follows that motto more closely than Lynn Bowden. I know it, you know it and John Calipari knows it.
“Lynn has a will to win, and he dragged everybody… Who thought they were going to throw that ball? And if you thought it, you should have been drug tested, okay? And that kid threw that,” Calipari said, referencing Bowden’s game-winning touchdown pass to Josh Ali. “He wanted to throw it. He’s like, I want to be that guy.”
@UKCoachCalipari ? I do missing hooping a little
— Lynn Bowden Jr (@LynnBowden_1) November 14, 2019
“How about this one, guys?,” Calipari continued. “He even played in the game. Why would he have played in the game? Because he cares about the university, he cares about the program, he cares about his teammates and they all followed him.”
Meanwhile on the basketball court, Kentucky’s head coach says they’re still looking for their own “Lynn Bowden.” Those are big shoes to fill. Still, Calipari says he’ll need a team full of Bowdens in order to bring home the National Championship trophy. He’s seen it before.
“When you have a bunch of guys, that’s when you win national titles,” Calipari said, then specifically mentioned Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Darius Miller, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague.
“When you have a bunch of guys [who fight], that’s when you win national titles,” Calipari said. “But when you have one, it’s harder to kind of break through because you’re going to lose some games where he can’t do it himself.”
The football team’s “fight and finish” mentality is obvious. Now, Kentucky’s basketball team has to channel their inner Lynn Bowden and find that same will to win.