John Calipari took time out of his busy day to speak to the Lexington media about the current state of his basketball program and its upcoming game at Auburn.
I assume you weren’t there, so here are some notes from what you missed…
Derek Willis is struggling defensively.
Coach Cal said Willis lacks confidence defensively and it shows in his inability to do the fundamental things. Willis isn’t lunging, he’s lost on pick-and-rolls and his hands stay down, among other things.
Cal said, “His habits are so bad — like, what’s another word that’s below ‘so bad’? We’re working everyday for him to create better habits but they are what they are right now.”
“It’s like we’re teaching a different language to him.”
Cal did note that Willis has contributed on the offensive end.
No player hit the Powerball, but Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress “still have a ticket.”
After checking in with his players to see if any of them won last night’s Powerball, Calipari told Lee and Poythress they still have a ticket, meaning they can still become millionaires.
“You still have a ticket, you” he said to them. “You got a ticket. You gotta scratch it. You got the ticket.”
“We got time, we got a month, month and a half maybe. It’s not like we’re in the last week of the season.”
Jamal Murray is still learning.
“He’s learning how to play winning basketball,” said Cal. “He’s learning. You see it every game, he’s getting better. You’ll also see signs of the old Jamal. Still in there, we’re just trying to keep it in there.”
His plan to keep Marcus Lee out of foul trouble is simple.
Can you be more specific?
He supports the new NBA draft entry rules.
It’s no surprise Calipari is fully behind the new rule allowing guys to return to college after testing the NBA draft waters. He believes kids deserve to get the right and the real information from the league before deciding whether or not more time at the college level is necessary.
Now he expects everyone to enter their name into the NBA draft, to see where they stand before finalizing a decision. In years past that decision had to be made before the combine and meeting with NBA teams.
A former player turned down his help going into the NBA draft.
Without mentioning a name, Cal told the story of a former player turning down his help while weighing the decision to go pro or return to school.
He said he asked the player’s parent, “Do you want my help?”
“No, we got this,” the parent told him.
“Okay, tell me how I can help you,” he offered, knowing the kid was likely leaving.
The parent, a mother, told him, “No, we got this.”
I will bet you any amount of money in the entire world that player’s name rhymes with Schmakari Johnson.
And that’s all for now. I’ll take that in cash or check.