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John Calipari on his 2020-21 roster: “They’re really talented. Like REALLY talented.”

Keion brooks
Keion brooks

After just one day on campus with Kentucky basketball’s 2020-21 roster, John Calipari is giddy about his team’s potential for greatness.

In an interview with Andy Katz of, Calipari said he’s desperately hoping the upcoming season is played because the roster is loaded with talent.

“We’ve got to play because I have a really good team,” said Calipari. “Again, we’ve got to [help] make them a good team. We’ve got a great group of players who are great kids, they’re wired and driven. They’re here to sacrifice and share. None of them came here saying they’re going to be ‘the man,’ like, “You’re going to give me all the shots.” There wasn’t, “We’re playing through you” or “We’re gonna run [everything] for you.” That’s not what it is.”

As wired and driven they are with win-first mentalities, Calipari made it clear that in terms of pure talent, this group has the potential to be special.

“This group, aside from being givers, sharers, servant leaders at a young age, they’re really talented,” the Kentucky head coach said. “Like really talented.”

The biggest challenge he’s looking forward to this year? Watching the growth from day one to the end of the year, as the Kentucky program added nine new faces this offseason with BJ Boston, Terrence Clarke, Devin Askew, Isaiah Jackson, Lance Ware, Cam’Ron Fletcher, Olivier Sarr, Davion Mintz, and Jacob Toppin.

“I’m excited about it, nine new guys,” Calipari said. “Keion [Brooks Jr.] is the only returner that played, Dontaie [Allen] didn’t, he was a redshirt. So really, we only have Keion, one guy returning. I’m saying it because I’m excited about what this group can become.”

Just last week, Calipari expressed similar excitement in the upcoming roster during an appearance on KSR.

“We have to play this season,” Calipari told KSR, “because I do have a good team. Whew, we gotta play. … You guys have no idea how excited I am to get in the gym with my guys.”

“Look, to come here you know you have to have a certain level of talent,” Calipari continued. “But the second thing you have to have is, you really have to be into your team and sharing and your whole thing in your mindset is, how good can I be, how good a teammate can I be? And so sometimes we will lose kids that are being told other things: that to be here, that’s what it is.

“This group is all bought into that, both feet. Their parents trust us with their child, and we’re really good. We got some really good players. So I’m sitting here saying, [having a special group] has happened three or four times, but let me tell you what those teams have done. The teams you’re talking about became unbelievable teams. Teams. That’s, like I said, where the work comes in.”

Time for No. 9?

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

11 Comments for John Calipari on his 2020-21 roster: “They’re really talented. Like REALLY talented.”

  1. Big Sexy
    11:54 am July 21, 2020 Permalink

    Definitely going to be a deep team overall. A little thin in the front court though. Wouldn’t mind a tad more size with only 3 guys 6’9″ or taller. I think this team is going to be a lot like the ’14 team. May be some growing pains at first but peak in March. As talented as they are it won’t surprise me if they have 8+ losses.

  2. lizard king
    1:04 pm July 21, 2020 Permalink

    We do have talent but so young

    Can’t wait to hear that 1,000 times
    But it’s true

    I wish we had some 3stars to develop depth and experience

    • ClutchCargo
      1:13 pm July 21, 2020 Permalink

      Instead of less talent, I would wish for some 4 and 5 stars to be honest with themselves about maybe needing to stay around.

    • BlueSteel
      1:23 pm July 21, 2020 Permalink

      In theory 5 guys should be returning for 2021-22: Allen, Askew, Fletcher, Jackson & Ware… Throw in Toppin and you have an excellent start to next year’s roster.

    • SanDiegoDave
      3:27 pm July 21, 2020 Permalink

      There is no room on the roster for players to stay around for more than 2 years. This is a one-and-done program that is exciting as can be. Of course, there are the few die-hard players who rarely see action and graduate while fulfilling their dreams of being on UK’s basketball team. Good on all of them. This year will be like every other year, other than what’s set upon us with the COVID, This team will win big games, lose games they shouldn’t, and hopefully gel during tournament time and catch a few breaks. Looking forward to it!

  3. Han
    1:30 pm July 21, 2020 Permalink

    Any chance Cal goes after Kentucky-native Adam Kunkel from Belmont? Folks over at Rupp’s Rafters have been gossiping about him for two weeks.

    Just entered the transfer portal, 2 years of eligibility remaining. Combo guard, not that we need another guard right now. But 16+ ppg and 40% from 3 is nothing to sneeze at. If he came here, he’d be transferring “closer to home” and there’s of course the chance his league doesn’t even play this year if he stays there, so good chance of waiver.

    • SanDiegoDave
      3:28 pm July 21, 2020 Permalink


    • peaches76
      8:40 am July 22, 2020 Permalink

      If he can’t guard on the perimeter, then I couldn’t see him here….based on Cal’s history.

    • Skooms
      11:00 am July 22, 2020 Permalink

      You’re wrong Dave. UK is in fact interested in him.

  4. BobbyBlue
    3:28 pm July 21, 2020 Permalink

    Well they do have Topin a red shirt 3+and he looks good on film

  5. BobbyBlue
    3:30 pm July 21, 2020 Permalink

    Meant this for Lizard King