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Key Quotes From Coach Cal’s Postgame Press Conference

© John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

© John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari had a lot of interesting things to say following his team’s loss at Auburn, its fourth loss in as many games.

If you were too frustrated or too tired to stick around for his postgame comments, here are some of the big quotes you missed.


“My concern is that I have a bunch of young kids that at times don’t listen, they don’t trust.”

As he has said in the past, and as we can all see through our televisions, the Kentucky players have a listening problem. Of all the young teams Calipari has had, this one seems to be having the toughest time accepting his coaching.

“I told them that I failed them.”

“I failed them because I haven’t built enough trust where when I talk to them, they are going to do what this man says,” he explained. “I don’t know if it’s outside stuff, but I told them I failed them. I told them they also failed each other because they don’t play for each other.”

Calipari said he’ll be fine, but he is worried he has failed the players and there are some ways the players have failed each other.

“All that comes back to trust.”

“It’s probably good for the soul.”

Calipari wonders if the losing skid is good for the soul, although, he wishes it was someone else’s soul.

“Good news is I’ve done this for 30 years,” he said. “Haven’t had one of these for a while. It’s probably good for the soul. I wish it was good for someone else’s soul, not mine.”

“Poor Hami.”

While fan frustation is at an all-time high with Hamidou Diallo’s lackluster play, Calipari feels bad for his freshman guard, who was a highly regarded NBA prospect not long ago.

“I feel for them. Poor Hami. He’s making strides and getting better. He needed that three to drop. And that thing went (all around the rim). We would have been up seven and it just didn’t go. I feel bad for him. I told him, ‘Just keep working, man.’ But he looked rattled out there.”

“We made strides today.”

Kentucky had a late lead on the road against the first-place team in the SEC, but couldn’t finish in the final stretch. Despite the loss, Cal still said, “They did good. We made strides today.”

“I kind liked that smaller team.”

We may see more of Kentucky’s smaller lineup with Wenyen Gabriel, PJ Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt playing inside over Nick Richards or Sacha Killeya-Jones.

Cal said, “I kinda liked that smaller team. And they’re not small — 6-9, 6-9, 6-9, 6-9, maybe. I kind of liked that team in there.”

He also knows it won’t work all of the time, but it was good against a smaller team like Auburn.

“I really believe if we win a game we’ll get going.”

Kentucky isn’t worried about NCAA tournament seeding or qualifying; they’re only worried about winning a game again.

“Let’s just try to win the next game,” Cal said, when asked if he’s worried about the postseason. “Just win a game. I really believe if we win a game we’ll get going.”

PJ Washington said, “Right now our main focus is just on our next opponent, just trying to get back on the winning column. I feel like if we work hard at practice every day we’ll be all right.”


See Calipari’s entire press conference:

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

23 Comments for Key Quotes From Coach Cal’s Postgame Press Conference

  1. Kat4Life
    8:13 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    Very tough team to watch. Or figure out. I’m not sure anyone but Alexander is playing better than at the start of the year

    • kyballtoday
      11:24 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

      Your starting Five #9 on the way

      PG Vanderbilt(can dribble)
      SG Knox(can shoot)
      SF Gabriel(can shoot)
      PF Washington(can post up)
      C Richards(tall)

      Try scoring on this lineup. Current stats 185th on shots per game at 58 shots per game. Guard your man basketball and shoot it if you are open or taller than your defender.

    • BradCalthegoat
      3:29 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

      Your telling me you wouldn’t start SGA? Are you serious? He is the ONLY reason we haven’t lost a few more games then we already have. Unbelievable.

  2. empiremaker
    8:18 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    I agree, painful at times. This is the only squad since 2009 where there is no goto guy lighting the fire.

  3. mmcdonald
    8:34 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    I’m starting to think it isn’t just that they don’t trust each other, I beginning to wonder if they even like each other.

    • Peas and Carrots
      10:07 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

      That might be true. It looks like Diallo and Knox have already checked out for the season. Not sure about Richards since he’s only playing about 10 minutes a game now. It’ll be an interesting off season. Knox, Diallo, SGA, and even Vanderbilt may go pro even with poor draft stock and who knows about possible transfers if these kids really don’t trust each other or were uhhappy with the season.

  4. Kevin C
    8:39 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    The off-season will be interesting. Any of these guys that decide to leave, I won’t miss, because they likely were part of the problem. Not one of them is ready for the NBA…not ONE. If a kid fails this miserably in DI, they will fail even harder in the pros, IF they even get a shot. But if they all decide to come back, or even all but Knox, next year we should be like some of these veteran teams beating us this year. Every team we’ve lost to, or even struggled to beat, started Juniors and/or Seniors, with lots of experience. We have 1 Soph, in Gabriel, who played enough minutes to make the books, but no real “experience”.

  5. empiremaker
    8:44 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    That chemistry needs time or talent, we don’t have either.

  6. Ben27
    8:44 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    i am not sure that winning a game will make a difference. Some teams just never gel and Cal needs to rethink his system now that he is no longer getting the top players!

    • empiremaker
      8:55 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

      fair on both accounts, recruiting and system. I don’t know if our fans have the patience for that, trust me one more subpar season and fire Cal drumbeat will get louder.

    • timbo
      10:33 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

      Please. Here’s the “its better to keep your mouth shut and let people think it” trophy… ?

  7. CatstopWontstop
    8:55 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    Kentucky played well for the most part last night. Hami has been a liability for most of this 4 game streak and was a key liability in the collapse tonight, but he has shown he can help the team when he plays smart.

    It may not have lost Kentucky the game, but the Auburn made layup no charge call to Auburn flop foul on PJ was a big game changer too. As young players, you have to regroup and say “OK, just keep playing” but that’s easier for vets to do than youth.

    I still think this team can do good things, and will continue to until they play their last game. No juggernauts in CBB this year.

    • Smidgerine
      10:43 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

      I said this too. That was a charge that Shows was about 2 feet from. Quade was clearly outside the circle and was still IMO. And then Shows compounded that no-call with the BS on Washington.

      Washington also had the BS charging call against him at Texas A&M.

      Both times, it felt like they let the rope go at those moments. That’s the problem with the young team. We aren’t efficient enough offensively to overcome those type of calls. Our foul shooting really killed us this game, but I did love how we outscored them in the paint, yet they shot way more free throws LOL.

  8. KYJelly
    9:27 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    I’ve not seen this said as THE reason we are losing so I will, I blame a lot of our issues and losses on Kevin Knox. He disappears, looks disinterested, is terrible on defense (and when your 6’9″ and as athletic as he is, that’s a lack of effort), and he just doesn’t seem to care enough. He is our best offensive player and should be the guy the offense runs through, not Shai, but he just doesn’t seem to care.

  9. Jiminy Crickets
    9:28 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    It boils down to crunch time. Sure, winning the first 30 minutes is great, but winning the last 10 is what great teams do. I see strides, but they’re backward. Hami is worse now than he was 2 months ago, pj is worse ( remember Cal saying he would be best player in country by year end?), SGA is worse, he was getting rim and scoring now he looks lost. SKJ looked good in first month now, he’s no where to be found.
    When Calipari starts saying his team is uncoachable, or they don’t listen, he is waving the white flag. Sometimes that type of motivation works (2014), sometimes it don’t (2013).
    The real issue to me is how Calipari says he wants to empower his teams and let them figure it out, like not calling timeouts late in games to set up, or letting them play through other teams runs. But, he also likes to remind us how young they are. You CANNOT have it both ways

  10. Al B. Frank
    9:36 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    People always keep saying they want Cal to recruit more 3-4 year players, rather than “one-and-dones.” If you do that, what you have is less talented players… players that aren’t good enough to leave after only one season. But, if you do that… well, you’re going to struggle for a year or two and compete when those players you recruited as 3-4 year players finally develop. If they developed earlier, they would have been gone already.

    What I’m saying, is its starting to look like that’s what Cal has done this year, albeit probably unintentionally. Either way, this is what you people asked for. Soak it in. If these players hang around, we’ll be competing in a couple of years with Juniors and Seniors… just like you wanted.

  11. timewilltell
    10:01 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    Recruit kids that have talent but have a will to play as a team and win. If KY players played 1/2 as hard as Auburn’s players we would win. How many kids on Auburn’s team were 5 stars! Heron is the only I can think of. Auburn kids are focused in winning and getting better. KY kids focused on NBA.

    • Al B. Frank
      2:15 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

      Hold on. Before we go singing Auburn and Pearl’s praises, let’s keep in mind that Auburn is having a great season and UK, obviously is having a down season.

      BUT… The last three years prior to this one for Auburn (under Pearl) looked like this:

      2014-2015: 15 Wins, 20 Losses
      2015-2016: 11 Wins, 20 Losses
      2016-2017: 18 Wins, 14 Losses

      And before you give me the whole “it takes time to build” speech, just remember Cal’s FIRST season at UK, following Gillispie’s NIT Team, we went 35-3 and all the way to the Elite 8.

      His second season we went to the Final Four. His third season, National Champs.

      Let’s slow down the move to the Bruce Pearl bandwagon, huh? We’re not even sure who comes out clean once the whole FBI investigation is completed.

    • Al B. Frank
      2:16 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

      What I’m saying is that I’m not satisfied with three 14-20 loss seasons just to finally have one good season with upperclassmen. We are competitive most every year because we recruit the best and reload year after year. I’m sure those Auburn kids were playing hard in those 14-20 loss seasons, too.

  12. KYjellyRoll
    10:12 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

    Where was SKJ last night? Didn’t log minutes did he?

    • Peas and Carrots
      10:51 am February 15, 2018 Permalink

      He’s been out with injury or sick. This was the second or third game he’s missed.

  13. Irish son
    1:23 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

    One of his quotes should have been “ I’ve gotten fat and lazy “.

  14. KYPIP
    2:24 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

    I think the biggest problem is that Cal isn’t really a good coach. And, when he doesn’t have superior players it shows up. He’s won when he had big time gamers like: Wall, Cousins, ADavis, Jamal Murray, D Booker, M Monk and T Ulys. Cal is clueless when it comes to offensive schemes. He’s also not very good at coaching defense, and the press. He doesn’t call timeout at critical moments to give important strategy.
    He has to recruit the best players because if he doesn’t have that, it exposes his coaching deficiencies. He can’t take average players and over-perform like Barnes is doing at UT and Pearl is doing at Aub, or…like Pitino did.