On tonight’s John Calipari Call-In Show, the leader of the Cats was ready to get his team back out on the court. After going through some physical scrimmages this week, it’s time to see his team tested against a formidable Eastern Kentucky team.
“I’m watching enough tape, they’re more than good enough to beat us. Shooting 45% from the 3-point line. A couple of guys, literally every shot they take is a three, and they make half of them,” Calipari said.
The question Coach Cal has for his team: “If EKU comes out and has a great start, what does that do to you?” He wants to learn how his team responds after a loss, “They’re really really a good team. They press, they scramble, they shoot threes. This is a good test.”
When they were put up against the ropes in L.A., they miserably failed that test. Every opponent is going to put forth their best effort against UK, so the Cats must return the favor. He didn’t see that from his young team last week.
“We had a lot of guys that looked defeated. They looked defeated on the bench, they looked defeated in timeouts. We had like two that are looking at the other guys like ‘come on.’ What that tells me is that we got guys more worried about how they’re playing than how our team is doing. And not being selfish, there’s an anxiety in young guys and we had a lot of guys play poorly.”
Skal is a player near the top of his list that needs to fight. Once he gets the ball, he has all of the skills to put the ball in the bucket, but he has to fight to get open in the post.
Calipari once again compared Skal to Karl-Anthony Towns. If Skal puts in the effort and the fight, he’ll see similar results. “Skal has no issues with his skills. Skills are fine,” Calipari said. “You gotta fight, you gotta battle, you gotta understand that’s the difference between where you are now and where you want to go.”
A Few Random Notes
— Injury Update: Tyler is finally 100% after playing at about 80-85% vs. UCLA, which caused him to turn down some open shots he would otherwise take. Dominique Hawkins didn’t practice yesterday but returned today. Marcus Lee went through conditioning, but did not go through practice. He will be evaluated tomorrow to see if he is able to play.
— Cal is getting old. He got chummy with a caller who praised him for his hard work, with his aging looks as evidence. Cal responded, “They wanna think Obama has aged, I’ve aged more than Obama.”
Monday Tuesday. Calipari had to leave early because the program was originally scheduled for last night. Nonetheless he bestowed some wisdom upon the listeners.
“If you accept mediocrity, you’re getting that every single time. If you accept only excellence, you may fall short, because it’s hard to be excellent every time out but that’s what you strive for.”