1. He’s Happy to Have a Done Deal
With UK’s Rupp Arena lease set to expire in a couple of years, negotiating a new deal was a growing anxiety for the program after the most recent renovation talks came to a screeching halt. Now with a new deal, Cal and Co. can put it behind them.
“We had to get that out of the rearview mirror. Get it out. It’s done,” Calipari said. “Now let’s move onto how we continue to make this the world-class, gold standard of how you do what we do.”
2. Inspiration from Calipari
From time-to-time Coach Cal shares motivational messages that I believe he sees in a “motivational quote per day” calendar. Yesterday’s message to his team can apply to everyone.
“Anxiety is not going to change tomorrow, but it can change your fight today.”
The goal of that quote is to try to get his players to play in the moment, rather than worry about what’s next. It’s more eloquent than Hakuna Matata, but it isn’t too different.
3. Motive for Neutral Court Games
Under Calipari, Kentucky plays in almost as many neutral site games as they play true road games. Some fans frequently complain. Even though I feel like I’ve heard his rationale before, today it made more sense than ever before.
He does it to prepare for the postseason. “In postseason you don’t go on an opponent’s court in front of 19, 20 thousand people going nuts, drunk, screaming, yelling,” Cal said. “It’s postseason. That’s what we play for. That’s why, again, we’ve done pretty well postseason the last seven years.
4. Cal Thinks the High School Season Ends in December
When discussing the next step freshmen take during Camp Cal, he consistently says “their season usually ends in December.” I’m not sure where he get that, because the Sweet 16 is every year in Rupp Arena during the NCAA Tournament.
His quote from today: “This is the time right before and after Christmas where your high school season is over. You’re leaving Las Vegas now. You’ve played seven games in two days and now you’re leaving Vegas, going home and going to go watch some videos. Wait a minute. This season just keeps going. January, February and March — it’s not over. It’s just beginning. That’s new to all of these guys.”
5. Camp Cal Sounds Brutal
He sounded so excited when describing the days without limits on practice time.
“I have no restrictions right now. ‘Guys, hey after breakfast we’re going to watch video.’ ‘Ugh.’ ‘Yeah, and if you don’t stay awake or someone falls asleep we’re going out and conditioning for an hour.’ They’ve got toothpicks in their eyes.”
I doubt they actually use toothpicks to keep their eyes open, but I feel their pain. As much as Calipari seemed to enjoy the prospects of putting his players through hell, at the conclusion he said it’s all about the team building they experience when they spend tons of time together.