Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Q&A: Everything John Calipari said ahead of matchup with Texas Tech

John Calipari spent ten minutes speaking to the media Friday morning. He did not touch on Kahlil Whitney’s departure — that came a few hours later in a press release that you can find here — but he did speak at length about the challenge the Red Raiders present in Lubbock.

On what he thinks about Texas Tech giving free beer to students …
“They’re giving free beer to students? At the game? On campus? Wow. I mean, it’s been hat day, cap day, shirt day, blackout, whiteout, red-out. Now it’s beer day. I have not heard of that before. You know, forget about all that. We’re playing a heck of a team and I’ve watched a bunch of the tapes. Defensively they’re different, which makes it hard for teams that are playing them. Just different in what they do. They go press to passive aggressive. They go zone to man. They go trap from the baseline. They collapse like a lot of teams. A lot of hands on drives, so if you’re not used to hands on drives it will affect you. Offensively, they’re in the top five or so in assisted baskets, which means they’re a good team. They find each other. They’ve got good players and they don’t lose in that building, so we know what we’re walking in to. It’s another hard environment for us to walk into. It’s what we’re about though.”

On if he knows Chris Beard …
“Some, but he and I have talked on and off. He and I talked two days ago. He’s good. I told him he’s got my respect. What he does, you know, when guys are sold on how they play and their teams play really hard and physical and they play, I respect that because I know how hard it is to get teams to do that, and he’s got a team that won’t quit. The games that they lost, they fought to try to get back in it. It wasn’t like they just let the game go. It didn’t matter if it was eight or 10, they fought.”

On Abilene Christian’s coach, Joe Golding, being Chris Beard’s best man in his wedding and if that means they will play a similar style to the one UK saw in the NCAA Tournament last season …
“You know, I don’t know but that’s kind of neat to hear that. They must have been coaching together and doing things together and going through the ranks together, which is–you know, when you have friends in this and you get along with other coaches, why go through this and hate on everybody or hate on anybody? You know, I try to have relationships with all the coaches that I can. If someone makes it personal, it’s personal then but it isn’t coming from me. I think he’s one of those guys. He respects the profession, respects coaches and he coaches his brains out. He’s good.”

On saying on his radio show that they need to get Nate Sestina going again …
“Well, the only thing I said is most of the time when you’re like that, you’re thinking different. So, what’s the difference? In my mind it went from I’m going to prove I’m good enough to be here and I’m going to fight like heck to prove it to where now I have to live up to how I played, and I think that’s a mindset I have to get him out of and back to being hungry. Prove who you are because you belong here. The other side of it is, Keion (Brooks Jr.) is playing better. If Keion’s playing better than he’s playing, then Keion will get more minutes. If he’s playing better, Nate’s playing better than EJ (Montgomery,) then he’ll play more that game.”

On Texas Tech’s defense and if it’s similar to any other opponent this season …

“Not really because they’ll do stuff that not many teams do. Whether it be in the post, they’ll switch one through four. they turn down all pick-and-rolls, and if you go that way they’ll collapse. They force you baseline. So, if you catch it on the wing, they’re making you drive baseline and then they collapse and take away – it’s what they do. They play on-ball defense fairly good so you can try to get by them but they’re handsy. They’re going after balls and they’re doing good stuff.”

On the team having success at Arkansas instilling confidence in future hostile environments …

“I think they’ll fight, but the issue in all of this is when you’re player driven now, which they are, they have to handle more of this and not count on me to step in and save the day. I’m here to guide and help. This is their team. They know how we’re going to play. We’re going to prepare them for the game and then it’s their game. It doesn’t mean you get selfish. It doesn’t mean you go do your own thing. It means we’re doing this together and now we have a great game plan let’s go do it. This is a game–we’re still in January, we’re still learning about ourselves. I love this game because it’s, again, a different kind of team. you get to the NCAA Tournament and you’re facing crazy teams and this is another one. You can say, ‘remember that game? Bang. Here we go. Remember Arkansas and how they played? Here you go.’ ”

On if this is a year where seeding will matter in the NCAA Tournament …

“I think seeding does not matter. this is one of those years where I’m not going to say a whole lot about seeding, where in past years I would say seeding matters. When you have 40 teams and they’re all within six points of each other—OK, maybe your first game if you’re one, two, three seed. But after that they’re all, everybody is four, six points from each other. I mean, the 3-point line, it’s taken away some 3-point shooters. So, guys that could shoot it, can’t shoot it anymore. They’re shooting 25%. Not worth it. Not a good exchange. There’s no big, huge, big dominant kind of guys that way. There are terrific players, don’t get me wrong; there’s just more of them that are within the realm of each other throughout the country.”

On whether he’s reached out to Quade Green …

“I have not talked to him. I have not. Normally I would let the player call me and however I can help, which with just about every guy that’s left here that’s the case. I haven’t and I feel bad for him. But they’re (Washington) saying they’re on a trimester, whatever that is, and they can maybe get him for the NCAA Tournament. I hope they do. They’ve got a good team. They were counting on him.”

On practice this week …

“Yesterday was one of our hardest practices. But I made it that way because after that one we’ve got six Thursday practices and everything else is either the day before a game or the day after the game or a day off. So, we’ve got six of those. We went two-and-a-half hours and we went hard from start to finish. Today will be, we travel so it’s not going to be as rough. It’ll be more cerebral. Yesterday was a good day for them.” 

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

1 Comment for Q&A: Everything John Calipari said ahead of matchup with Texas Tech



  1. CatsFanFrankfort
    6:34 pm January 24, 2020 Permalink

    I wonder if the hard practice yesterday was a deciding factor for Whitney. No doubt Cal is hard on him, but he seems to be hardest on the players he believes have the most potential. At this point in the season, I would think the players would be accustomed to Cal’s style, but I wonder if it was all finally too much. But as he says, Kentucky isnt for everyone. You gotta work that much harder to make it in the league. Best of luck to him!