After bouncing from table to table to check on his guys and essentially hitting the pause button on the draft with his six-minute segment on ESPN, John Calipari called into KSR this morning to talk to the Big Blue Nation. Calipari discussed the draft, his U19 National Team, and the NCAA sanctions on the UofL scandal. He even took a bit of a shot back at Roy Williams for his comments yesterday regarding Calipari attending the draft. Highlights and audio below:
He jabbed back at Roy Williams
Yesterday, Roy said on a North Carolina radio show that, unlike Calipari, he doesn’t like to attend the draft because it’s a special moment for players and their families, an eye-rolling comment if there ever was one. Today, Cal seemed to jab back when he said that he loves going to the draft because he feels he is family.
“For me, I’m the father in the stands that embarrasses his kids because he goes and takes pictures, he’s yelling, he’s screaming, he’s hugging. That’s a big day for parents. And it is for me. So, you can shake it anyway you want. You’re maybe not real close to the kid or he didn’t or he wasn’t grateful enough — it doesn’t matter to me. I’m going. And none of it — it’s what I do. I didn’t start just doing it when I went to Kentucky. I was always there. If a kid was going to get drafted, I was there. I think it’s important.”
Pat Riley texted him a ðŸ’¥ emoji after drafting Bam
“Bam goes to Miami. Before the pick, I hit Pat Riley, said ‘Pat, I hope you’re taking my kid, you will love him.’ And after they made the pick, he had BAM with an emoji, like an explosion emoji, like BAM! You know, like that, which was kind of neat.”
Like this? “BAM ðŸ’¥”
Watch out guys, Calipari has discovered emojis.
He thought Isaiah Briscoe would be drafted by the Knicks
Cal believed Briscoe would be drafted by New York in the second round, but apparently that plan went out the window when a higher prospect fell down the board. The Knicks drafted Damyean Dotson at 44 and Jaramaz Ognjen at 58.
He’s still trying to figure out PJ Washington
The conversation turned to Calipari’s U19 Team in Colorado Springs, and after praising Kevin Knox, who had to withdraw due to injury, he talked about PJ Washington, a player so positionless that he’s trying to figure out exactly how to use him.
“I’m still trying to figure him out. I want some people to tell me, professional people, what they want him to look like. I’ll need some help because I’m still — like, I’m going to ask him this question today, ‘Alright PJ, the game is on the line and we need a game winner. Where do I give you the ball? You tell me. Where do I give you the ball where you’re getting fouled or scored. How are we doing it?'”
Hamidou Diallo “has a winner’s mentality”
Hami has been an offensive machine in Colorado this week, but Calipari wants him to play on the ball more than off because “he has a winner’s mentality.”
“I want his hands on the ball. Now, that’s going to force him to make better decisions, throw better passes, because going right to the rim, he’s really good. He’s shooting the ball better, but got a ways to go. And he has a winner’s mentality. He’s okay defensively, but I’m different, I want guys that really lock people down and he’s not quite there yet, and neither is PJ and neither is Kevin. But they’re so long and we should be a great defensive team. That doesn’t mean we will be, but we should be.”
He both answered and didn’t answer Matt’s question about UofL’s NCAA sanctions
Matt couldn’t help but ask Calipari about the sanctions the NCAA handed down to UofL. As someone who is pretty familiar with the NCAA’s strict liability policy, Calipari offered this response.
“I’ve always said coaches should stand up when they did these, you know, the strict liability. I said, where is everybody and why is everybody silent? I said, it’s going to hit everybody. But we didn’t have anybody say anything, so it’s like, okay. The second thing is, I’ve never thought vacating games had an effect other than affecting the other players and maybe the fans that had nothing to do with anything. I’ve always believed that. But again, no one said anything so we’re here. This is where we are.”
Cal changed the subject, bringing up how busy he’s been lately (Megan’s getting married! He’s trying to lose weight!), but circled back to the topic again a few minutes later.
“I haven’t — I just know we have issues that we should have dealt with 10 years ago but everyone ran from because it was personal vs. what does this do to our profession? And now we’re paying a price for it. I don’t know exactly what went on. I don’t wish ill on any program. This about our game and coaching.”
Make of that what you will.