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John Calipari: “I can’t believe we’re not better.”

(Photo by Tony Walsh)

(Photo by Tony Walsh)

John Calipari’s messaging has felt all over the place throughout the tumultuous 4-9 start to the 2020-21 season. The message after tonight’s 63-62 loss at Georgia was clear: Coach Cal is frustrated.

“How many turnovers did we throw to them for breakaway layups? You’ve gotta be better than that. Don’t tell me you’re not better than that. You can tell my frustration and even after the game, like come on. This is getting ridiculous,” Calipari told Tom Leach on the UK Sports Network postgame show.

Georgia scored 25 points off 17 Kentucky turnovers, the Wildcats’ third straight game with more than 15 give-aways. The ugliest stretch might have been at the start of the second half when UK had five turnovers in the first five minutes, four of which led directly to Georgia layups in transition.

“Here’s what’s happening right now to this team. They turn it over. They make a hard play instead of an easy play, which leads to turnovers and layups, and then they break down in other areas and that’s what we’ve gotta keep addressing and telling them. You gotta play through mistakes man,” said Calipari.

“We’re just not what we need to be and I’m going to keep working with the guys. It’s… I’m at this point a little frustrated because I can’t believe we’re not better, one as a team, and individual players aren’t better.”

Even though Calipari is frustrated, he’s not giving up on this team. Finding a balance in his lineups has proven to be difficult. He started his seventh different starting lineup Wednesday night and it did not improve how UK started the game offensively at all, scoring just nine points in the first eight minutes of action. Most importantly, Calipari is searching for a way to get his players to respond to his coaching.

“They’re listening because they’re respectful. They’re just not hearing yet. We just gotta stay on ’em and make it — the trick is holding them accountable and still being positive enough that they can play through this stuff. But it’s, you know, it’s just disappointing.”

It was certainly a disappointing loss. At least Calipari’s fiery comments to the fans are somewhat reinvigorating.

 

“Let me just say this to our fans, we gotta break through at some point. We gotta break through. I thought today would have been the day. The way the game started, you know what I said at halftime? I don’t really care,” he told his staff. “I don’t care we just got to win a game. Let’s just go win this thing. Now, we go forward.”

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

45 Comments for John Calipari: “I can’t believe we’re not better.”



  1. bosch8184
    10:09 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    Oh, we believe it Cal. We can totally believe it.



    • csnailnrun
      7:19 am January 21, 2021 Permalink

      Ditto. I only care about the program right now in hopes that recruiter cal can be fired.



  2. DoubleB65
    10:11 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    All the fingers point in one direction Cal. They’re pointing at YOU.

    YOU recruited these kids. YOU evaluated their talent. YOU decide who plays. YOU are supposed to be teaching them, motivating them and leading them.

    But YOU only care about how many of them will go in the first round come draft night.

    Welcome to “Players First” Cal. YOU built it. YOU live in it.



  3. blueblood80
    10:11 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    Don’t look now, but KANSAS will SOON will be the winningest team in College Basketball….



    • EdC
      10:14 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      Yea I’ve been saying it all season. It will happen this season. Kansas is only behind by 10 right now and UK has maybe 2 possible wins given we only play 2 more teams with worse KenPom. We’ve lost to 3 with worse KenPom already so even 2 more wins may be sketchy.



    • EdC
      10:16 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      UK was ahead by 24 at the end of his first season. Had it up to 35 and is just getting owned at an accelerating rate now. Unless the Adidas thing grabs some Kansas wins the UK tradition is bypassed during Cal’s watch yet some still worship him.



    • T-Town Cat
      10:33 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      We can only hope the NCAA vacates a bunch of Kansas’ wins.



    • Bluehender
      7:02 am January 21, 2021 Permalink

      Why does that bother people so much? It’s not like we have been at the top of the list since the beginning of time. We haven’t. We climbed into that position just a few years ago. If we lose it so what? It’ll come back around. They don’t give you a trophy at the end of every year for all time wins..



  4. EdC
    10:12 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    ” … the trick is holding them accountable … ”

    So when is the great Cal going to hold himself accountable?



    • EdC
      10:13 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      Yea I’ve been saying it all season. It will happen this season. Kansas is only behind by 10 right now and UK has maybe 2 possible wins given we only play 2 more teams with worse KenPom. We’ve lost to 3 with worse KenPom already so even 2 more wins may be sketchy.



  5. blueblood80
    10:16 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    Thanks EdC, I can feel the heat! That’s one record I was most proud of!



    • EdC
      10:18 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      Agreed. Pretty much every sports publication called us the greatest tradition in college Basketball and Calipari has willfully thrown it away by prioritizing shepherding 5 stars who were already going to be in the NBA along at the cost of maintaining balanced teams. It really makes me sick.



  6. secrick
    10:16 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    I can believe it. These guys are just not good. Cals transfer guys are not good. Love Allen but can’t guard can’t get open and turn over after turn over. Askew will not get him the ball on time.



  7. CombatMedic_98
    10:17 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    You’d a’ thought when they took a knee together there’d been some change, increase, unity, cohesion, etc. amongsssssst the players and the coaches…Hmmmmm…things that make you go HMMMMMMMMM…!



    • T-Town Cat
      10:34 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      Ironically, that was the best game they have played this year.



  8. Bigblu30
    10:19 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    The offense is horrible, they dont move with purpose until theres 10 seconds on the shot clock. We dont take open shots in transition either we hold and try to set up an offense that isnt going to get us an open shot. Our best shooter is running off screens all game and is t getting open because other teams actually watch film and know what we are doing. When allen does habe an open look they dont throw him the ball. We cant make a post entry pass to save our lives and when we do we they double and we dont pass out or we cant score on the post up.



  9. DaaaaCats
    10:20 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    Five stages of grief:
    1.) Denial
    2.) Anger
    3.) Bargaining
    4.) Depression
    5.) Acceptance
    I think I’ve moved from stage 3 to 4 tonight



    • ukbradstith
      10:43 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      I moved to 5 truthfully.



  10. pillsboy
    10:23 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    Cal is to proud to stubborn! Askew needs to sit! Period full stop! That one move wins games! He is horrible not a Ky elite type guard! He has to find 7-8 guys and ride them. One cannot be Askew! Askew is both a defensive and offensive liability. Just bench him and your going to win. Do the numbers! And he must change his recruiting and move away from the one and done the game and kids are changing. And hold on to players don’t run them off! Learn from Bobby night believed his own press! Boom fired. And Cal should have brought in some battle hardened Vets to talk to kids about the pride of our flag and not that other BS his politics suck too. His wife has bigger balls then him?



    • ukbradstith
      10:45 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      Askew was terrible tonight, but he has been one our better players since January. He will be really good by this time next year. All these guys will be much better if they just stick around.



  11. CombatMedic_98
    10:23 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    What about 6…



  12. pillsboy
    10:24 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    Vets and military veterans BTW!



  13. pillsboy
    10:25 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    As in



  14. drbigblue
    10:26 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    It’s called recruiting 1 and Done’s, Terrible Offense, Coaching, kneeling, BLM on and on…..



  15. Looother
    10:27 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    Hell, play Fletcher. Might as well. What does Cal have to lose?



  16. Lip Man 1
    10:30 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    4th game this year this team has lost by three points or less.

    This team is now officially DOA.

    But remember Cal isn’t concerned with wins and losses as long as the players progress. Well right now these guys couldn’t beat a good JUCO team, to me that’s not progress.



  17. Stop Hammer Time
    10:31 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    If the real reason Kenny Payne left ever sees the light of day, Kentucky won’t owe Calipari a penny. And by the way, Cal makes $27,000 per day!



    • The Big Lebowski
      10:41 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      ???



    • ukbradstith
      10:42 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      Hammer Time has no info, that’s why he left that mysterious.



    • sa_hunt
      10:48 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      We’re waiting Hammer Toe.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      12:11 am January 21, 2021 Permalink

      Oh bull hockey dude. Put up or shut up. Give us a source if you have one.



    • EdC
      7:38 am January 21, 2021 Permalink

      I have been off of the Calipari fan club for a long time but I don’t believe he has cheated. Sure he lies all the time but there just isn’t any reason for him to cheat in recruiting.



  18. T-Town Cat
    10:44 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    Time for a “Vote of Confidence” from Mitch Barnhart?



  19. just a guy
    10:53 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    WRITE IT DOWN we hear of Covid outbreak at the practice facility. Been saying for two weeks when Cal knows we’re not gonna make the tourney he’ll shut it down, blame Covid and have a built in excuse for when Kansas becomes the winningest team in college basketball



    • Brady
      11:27 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

      I’d say U r probably spot on man to b honest !! It sucks but I believe it’s true !!



  20. ukwildcat1991
    11:01 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    At least our football team is going to be good next year. Who would have thought we would be more excited for football season during the basketball season



  21. Brady
    11:26 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    I knew tonight when they called their 3rd timeout wit 3.6 to go we would give up a layup !! Basketball 101, DO NOT give up a layup on that possession , if anything foul then & make them make free throws to beat u ..! Another dumb mistake , another loss!! This team just don’t get it & not sure they will & even IF they do , it’s too late .!!! It’s a wrap for us this year !!!



  22. UKgrad80
    11:28 pm January 20, 2021 Permalink

    Cal refuses to value someone that can shoot the three. If he doesn’t change we are not going to be a factor anymore!



  23. TBW3011
    2:41 am January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Yeah. Shocking a roster with a PG who’s 2-3 years from ready and a bunch of guys that can’t shoot doesn’t make a good team. Absolutely shocking.



  24. bluecrowe
    5:28 am January 21, 2021 Permalink

    This is just too painful to watch anymore. Stop using the phrase “players first”. It makes us all violently ill, Cal. You work for arguably the greatest basketball program in the country. Not only do we not care about the NBA, but we loathe it. Just stop it with this sick game, Cal. You are paid to win college basketball games. We are all real impressed you somehow got the likes of Wall, Cousins, Knight, Davis, MKG, Fox and Bam into the NBA. It is a miracle. A lesser man would not even have had the audacity to try such a feat! I know you cannot change because you would have to admit the system does not work and it is wearing thin with the fans, who are what make this program special. I am not sure what your end goal is, but I think you are pushing these kids out the door because you have already recruited over everyone on the current roster. How is this in any way sane? I realize the game has changed, but are all of these guys really better off leaving after one year? A couple of years ago you promised you would recruit shooters. The sentiment lasted until the end of that sentence.



    • EdC
      7:41 am January 21, 2021 Permalink

      Right bluecrow. It is pretty crazy he coached so many top 5 players up so much that they made the NBA. Saw their talent where other programs like Kansas, NC, Duke, etc. didn’t even recruit them.



  25. kjd
    7:50 am January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Cal is the one not handling Wuhan virus restrictions.



  26. Howdy Doody
    8:52 am January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Should have given Kenny Payne a lifetime contract.



  27. Trinity45
    9:18 am January 21, 2021 Permalink

    I can, you have less talent, which is on you Cal, you recruited them, and you still run that same ole crappy offense from 10 years ago that only worked because you had a John Wall, Fox, Monk, Hero to bail you out at the last second. We get out executed every game by teams that are no better talent wise than this one.



  28. dukehater71
    10:34 am January 21, 2021 Permalink

    It’s time to give up on this team. Not UK entirety, just this years team