This Kentucky team clearly doesn’t have an identity yet. After a few days of reflection following back-to-back losses in Las Vegas, John Calipari shouldered some of the blame this afternoon.
“As I look on where we are, not real happy with me,” Cal said in his remarks before tomorrow’s game vs. Louisville. “Like, I haven’t figured this out. So if I’m a little bit still, like, ‘Okay, which way is this?’ they’re going to be that way too. But the thing I’ve said from day one, if we don’t fight, if we don’t compete, if we don’t battle, hard to win.”
Cal said he was pleased with his team’s play vs. Ohio State until they stopped passing and started playing hero ball with about five minutes left. That cannot happen vs. Louisville tomorrow.
“I liked that we played for probably 30, 35 minutes, 32 minutes against Ohio State. That ain’t gonna be enough in this game. [Louisville] is a veteran team and they play.”
Calipari said he’s still a firm believer in this team’s potential, especially because only one player believes they’re playing well right now. (He didn’t specify who, but I’d guess Ashton Hagans.)
“I had them raise their hand. I said, ‘How many of you think you’re playing good?’ I didn’t say great, just good. One guy raised his hand. I said, ‘How many of you are playing bad?’ So I said, ‘Think about it. If we can get guys to start playing better, what we’ll be.’ That’s what I keep saying, the upside of this team is tremendous but they’re not there which means I must be doing a crap job not getting them to play better. We’re trying to work some of it through practice, but I’ll be honest, demonstrated performance is the only way to do that. It’s the only way. They’ve got to get on the court and do it.”
If anything, this team’s struggles have made Calipari even more determined to help them succeed.
“I walked out and stopped practice and — why do I love this so much? Because people start doubting your team and doubting individual players and my job is to build them up and get them going and put them in spots where they can have success. Haven’t done that yet. That’s on me. But I cannot battle for them. I can try but if I get too far out on the court, they’ll call a technical on me.”