John Calipari’s new book, “Success is the Only Option: The Art of Coaching Extreme Talent,” just hit the shelves, and Sports Illustrated has an excerpt that I’m happy to share with you. In this passage, Calipari describes how he got Karl to stop being such a nice guy and start fighting in the post. Cal said leaving Karl on the bench that game was an eye-opener for the freshmen, who was facing failure in basketball for the first time:
A game at South Carolina sticks out in my mind as a turning point for Karl. It was mid-January, so not all that early in the season, but he was still catching on to how we wanted him to play. That’s normal; it always takes time. I’d see flashes of what I wanted, then he would revert. He made two of his three shot attempts that night, missed both his foul shots, and grabbed a grand total of one rebound.
After the game, I saw Karl’s parents. He probably had rarely struggled much at anything before, and I knew it wasn’t easy for them to watch. I normally try not to talk to parents about basketball (I’ll engage them on almost anything else about their child) but I made an exception. “I’m not letting up,” I told them. “He’s going to be unbelievable by the end, but I’m not letting up on him.”
His mother said she thought he was fighting better in the post. “No, no, no,” I said. “He’s not battling enough. You want him to shoot threes? Nope, sorry, I’m not letting him go out there.” I then hugged her and kissed her cheek.
Of course, this story has a happy ending. Fascinating stuff, so head on over to SI.com to read the rest.
Or, buy the book for yourself at Amazon.