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Eight notes from Cal’s postseason press conference

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John Calipari met with his favorite media friends this morning to recap his national book tour and the Cats’ season. Cal was about thirty minutes late because he was “under the weather,” (and who can blame him?) but took questions for about thirty minutes. Here’s the stuff we haven’t already heard in the past few days:

Cal had a really good day yesterday

Yesterday, Cal did a few morning shows, had lunch with Bill Clinton, and ended the day watching his former players Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Chris Douglas-Roberts play in Charlotte. He was also able to visit with Derrick Rose, who is recovering from an injury but is still traveling with the team. “It was a good day,” Cal said.

For Cal, a big highlight of the day was the two-hour lunch with President Bill Clinton. Cal said he asked Clinton “What would you do if you were in my shoes coaching Division 1 basketball right now?,” and although he didn’t share it with reporters, Cal said the former President’s response was pretty predictable. “You could almost predict his answer because he’s always been about people.” Players first = people first.

Cal doesn’t know what the players will do

The question of the moment is which players will stay and which players will go to the NBA. Cal said he has “no idea” what the players will do, but he has talked to about 19 GMs to gather information for them. He said he’s talked to all of the players, some while they were still in Dallas, and talked to the NBA folks again yesterday to get updates. Cal said he’s being careful to give that information directly to the parents so it doesn’t get distorted along the way. “I don’t want there to be any filter,” Cal said. “Happy, sad, angry, that’s it.”

Cal was “stunned” Willie decided to come back

Like many of us, Calipari said he was “stunned” by Willie Cauley-Stein’s decision to come back to school, and said he wasn’t even considering that option for him. In fact, when he sat down with Willie to talk about his decision, he reflected on how much the talented 7-footer has grown since he’s known him. “Willie, you know when I went to your high school the first time, you had a tennis racket in your hand. The second time I went to your high school, you were playing whiffle ball. And the third time I went to your high school, you were playing kickball. I never saw you with a basketball. I saw you play two football games, where I had a 7′ cornerback/wide receiver.” Wait, Willie played wide receiver??

Cal said Willie told him this when he informed him of his decision to come back: “You know coach, I’m in no hurry to leave. I love going to school, I’m going to be closer to my degree, I still have to grow a player, and we left something on the table there that I’d like to try again.”

Cal confirmed that Willie had ankle surgery

As first reported by KSR, Cal confirmed that Willie had ankle surgery by “the best doctor in the world,” and said he’s got a month or so of recovery.

Still no final decision on the summer trip

Cal confirmed that the team will take a summer trip, but said he hasn’t decided where. “We’ll probably do something in the summer, but I haven’t made a total decision of what it will be. It’ll probably be something with the World Games.” That means the players will be going up against NBA guys, or as Cal put it, “get beat up by NBA guys.” Returning players, a month of practice in the summer, AND going against NBA competition? That puts the Cats well ahead of the curve once the season starts.

Cal’s hip surgery is scheduled for May 2nd

Cal said he’s scheduled his hip surgery for May 2nd in Lexington, and he’ll take about a month off to recover. Thank God.

“You’re old, you’re grumpy, go away.”

Cal spent the majority of the press conference rehashing his speech about how the NCAA needs to change some things. We’ve heard that A LOT the past few days, so I’ll spare you a full recap, but he did have a good quote in response to those who believe players should go to the league directly out of high school:

“The guys who say let them go out of high school, they don’t want to coach against them. It’s as simple as that,” Cal said.  “You’re old. You’re grumpy. Go away.”

He hasn’t hired an assistant yet

Despite rumblings to the contrary, Cal said he hasn’t hired an assistant coach yet. “I haven’t had time. There’s no one I’ve sat down and said, ‘I want you to do this.’ But I will. I haven’t gone through the process. I’ve called some people up. I have work to do.”

First, rest up a little, Coach.

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.

24 Comments for Eight notes from Cal’s postseason press conference



  1. A21catsFAN
    12:00 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    Cal is the man! Just like he said, people around this program know the contributions he makes even if outsiders won’t acknowledge them. They have “agendas” for whatever reasons, and I believe Coach Cal feeds off of that. He is the perfect man for this position and I think he is also the perfect man to take down the Soviet Union/NCAA.



  2. "Work" is a relative term
    12:05 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    Anyone else remember Willie hating school when he first got to UK? Seems like I remember reading about he and Cal starting a 2 man book club to help keep Willie engaged in class. Wow, what a difference a couple of years makes – from a kid who didn’t even like school and hated reading to a young man who’s probably going to be close to a college degree by the time next season ends… But of course, academics aren’t relevant at UK, right Bob Knight?



  3. Mark J. Burke
    12:15 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    “You’re old. You’re grumpy. Go away!” I laughed out when he said that…. Poor guy had to dodge all the questions we really want to know about who is staying and who is going. No matter who leaves, and who stays, we will be fine. Love having Calipari as our coach and I hope he retires here.
    Still don’t know what Willie actually did to his ankle. I am just curious if we will ever know.



    • sammydog
      12:28 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

      Stress fracture.



  4. hal
    12:20 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    cal mentioning he presented to the ncaa the idea of him creating a fund of $5-10 mill for college scholarships to future children of any of his players from umass/memphis/uk was kind of a big deal….



    • Mc
      12:33 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

      I don’t mind the idea, but I can see why they wouldn’t allow this. If he does this when he retires that would be nice.



  5. Elsa
    12:21 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    Most college coaches appear to support a change to a two year rule for the NBA draft, however many also want to allow the best high school players to enter the draft directly without playing any college ball. Especially the Kentucky haters and the national media who support programs like Duke. They hate seeing Calipari and Bill Self get the majority of the best players every year. Although Duke has had some limited success getting one and dones the past few years and has a very good incoming class this year (IMHO Jahill Okafor is very overrated), allowing high school kids to enter the draft would help programs like Duke. That is the current divide between what Calipari wants and what most other coaches and the Kentucky haters want.



    • greg
      1:24 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

      I’m not sure ok a for is over rated but I’m not all that impressed with Tyus Jones. I don’t see how some consider him better than Mudiay. Jones is good but I would put him in the top 25 H’s players, not top 5. I think he may stay longer than a year as well.



  6. David K
    12:28 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    Cal and his lunch with Clinton. Guys can we not try to bleed our politics into this site. Even a little. We are not naive in KY, and Cal was professional enough not to answer the question so let’s not try to suggest something. There is many other things that could be suggested in a conversation with Mr. Clinton.



    • I Sayy
      12:47 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

      No one has said anything about politics, only you



    • Rei
      12:58 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

      Hint: Clinton won KY twice. Now shut up.



  7. Mac
    12:51 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    I find it pretty interesting that Cal said he is careful to give the NBA feedback directly to the players and not the parents because it may get “distorted”. Sounds like some of the parents may be pushing these kids to the NBA in Cal’s mind. Money is a powerful motivator.



    • B-man
      1:20 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

      The post actually says he’s giving the feedback to the parents (not the players). I didn’t watch/listen to the presser…did he actually say he was giving it to the players (and the post is inaccurate)?



    • sup
      11:34 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

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  8. B-man
    12:54 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    Jabari Parker is going pro (which is fine); however, this comes after the following comments at last year’s Jordan Classic. ( I have no problem with the kid changing his mind, but hopefully he’ll learn to not criticize others’ decisions until he’s walked in their shoes):

    Jabari Parker told reporters that he chose to commit to Duke over Kentucky because he didn’t like the “whole attitude and approach of the one-and-dones”:

    “I think in college they give you a chance to really mature, form yourself and build relationships. I think that’s what a team is all about, and when you build relationships, it shows on the court and that brings out success. I love the whole attitude of staying in college to take advantage of a free education. I just felt like Kentucky wasn’t a fit for me. The whole attitude and approach of the one-and-dones, that’s good for them, that’s their decision. But I think [Duke] Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] is a guru of basketball. I want to learn from one of the best.”



    • I Sayy
      1:02 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

      I hear ya. But don’t be so butt-hurt over it. ESPN’s “second coming of Lebron,” was knocked out in the first round by Mercer



    • KevinM
      6:36 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

      The main thing Jabari Parker learned at Duke:

      How to underachieve and not help your team get past juggernaut Mercer.

      Embarrassing comments a year later.



  9. HackRichards
    12:56 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    With all the publicity that Big Blue Nation had gotten this week> ONE WOULD THINK WE ACTUALLY WON THE 2014 CHAMPIONSHIP!!

    KEWL!



  10. uktailg8er
    12:57 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    Check out this article detailing why Senate wouldn’t approve Rupp project. Looks UK was not on board and the Mayor was banking on 140,000 people buying $300 memberships to “Team Rupp”.

    http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/ky-legislature/2014/04/16/senators-uk-seemed-lukewarm-rupp-arena-deal/7792245/



  11. Duuuuuude
    12:59 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    Parker and his family are hypocrites….. plain and simple.



  12. Al/in/Indy
    12:59 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    I wonder if anyone gave coach K his anti-depressant meds this morning with Parker declaring?



  13. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
    1:41 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    Best doctor in the world? I’d say Dr. Kremchek.

    But it was probably somebody at UK, right?



  14. UKfan
    1:54 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    Bill has the distinction of being only one of two presidents ever to be impeached. What a great president he was.



  15. KevinM
    6:39 pm April 17, 2014 Permalink

    Well, no Derby celebration at Churchill this year.

    Rick can show up thinking he’s the man this year.