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TRANSCRIPT: John Calipari breaks down Kentucky’s loss to South Carolina

On the contest on the final shot…

“I don’t know. That’s the least of my thoughts right now. The lack of discipline that we have, especially offensively. Guys breaking off stuff, doing their own thing. We’re up 10, call stuff and they just do—you can’t play that way in a big-time game. We had some guys that the game was a little bit above them. They couldn’t come up with rebounds and balls, which I thought they would. But you gotta give South Carolina credit. They never stopped. I thought we had them when it was 14 and let’s get this to 20 and they didn’t stop. We left No. 10 (Justin Minaya)—for you that know me, ball-side corner, we never leave ball-side corner. We don’t leave ball-side corner. We left ball-side corner twice for him to get two 3s. I don’t understand where that breakdown was, but, again, we’re on the road, it’s a hostile environment. We had some young guys, some inexperienced guys. Everybody on the floor is inexperienced, but we’re trying to figure out a way to just stay in the game and win. And I gotta give them credit, they had free-throw shooters who don’t make free throws made every free throw. Made every free throw. And we had guys that make every free throw missing free throws. But they deserved to win the game. It would have been a shame if we’d somehow thrown one in and won the game. I would have been happy, but it would have been a shame. Frank (Martin) did a great job in this game.”

On Immanuel Quickley making plays late…

“He was good. We just had so many—there were so many breakdowns, so many turnovers. We had 15. We’re a team that turns it over 11, 12 times. We had 15 and most of them were like running somebody over or trying to make a play when you should be passing. We just became—the discipline issue I’ve been talking about came through today. And I keep saying, you have to be a disciplined player. This is about a group of guys coming out and playing together. You can’t be the guy that does your own thing. It’s not just one. And then we had a couple guys that—and we need guys to be able to step up and guys will want more minutes and, when you look at it, we had three guys go 2 for 13 and they’re all trying to get more minutes. Well, you’re 2 for 13 and we’re trying to win. Those guys gotta figure out, where can I make baskets and free throws?”

On South Carolina shooting better after halftime …

“They made shots. I saw them against Clemson. What they did to us they did to Clemson down there. They made five 3s in a row and everybody tells me they can’t shoot 3s. Well that day they did. I watched it. And so in the second half, they had guys that you would want to shoot the 3 and the kid made it. That’s what he did down at Clemson, so they’re capable. I mean, Frank—this team beat Virginia, they beat Clemson. I think they beat Clemson at Clemson. I think. Clemson had a good win last night, so this team is capable and I tried to tell our guys. Again, they had 12 offensive rebounds at half. Twelve. Seven on one guy of mine. Seven were on one. And now they end up 20, which is eight in a half, which isn’t bad, but we only get 10. You’re not winning. You’re not winning that way.”

On Cousinard’s performance …

“He played good. What hurt us was the pick-and-roll and we had Tyrese (Maxey) and he was hurt. I’m not sure exactly what was hurt on him, but, his leg, he couldn’t move and he was hitting into that screen and our big wasn’t switching. The kid just shot layup, layup, layup. He shot four layups. And then we tried to switch it and Nick (Richards) let him get beside him and he shot a layup. So he had 9 for 22, but he should have shot them because they were all—like I’m looking at it, he made some 3-pointers too, but most of them were like five layups. He did a good job. It was a heck of a game for him.”

On losing a big lead …

“We called the same play three times. And we had three turnovers. We didn’t even get started in it. The guy did his own thing. Three straight times. Three straight times. And I’m like, ‘Are you not hearing what I’m saying?’ And so, you know, we’ll go back and we’re going to talk about it. Like, hey, tell me what you were thinking, because you have to choice to do what you’re trying to do or do what we’re needing you to do. … It gets no easier in this league. Every road game you play in this league is a hard game. And this was a hard game. Give them credit though. It wasn’t us. They were physical, they made every free throw when they had to. I liked the fact that we got it to a tie ballgame. I like the fact that happened. That meant we were walking in timeouts and trying to do the right thing. But, you know, when you play like we did and you give them so many offensive rebounds, that’s when a team throws in a 30-footer that banks in.”

On this team’s resilience …

“I have no idea. I still gotta watch this tape to see how I really feel about how we played because I did like the first half. There were spurts in the first half where we could have had it to 10 or 12 instead of eight. And this team doesn’t get that yet. When you get a chance to get somebody to 20, you do it. This team does not do it. We haven’t done it all year. Then all of a sudden we kind of break off or we break down defensively and ‘it’s not that big a deal.’ You’re not playing St. Aloysius. This is Division I, major college, power five. Every possession matters. And when you get a chance to get somebody down, you do. But I’ll say this once again: They played, they deserved to win. Frank did a great job, their kids did a great job and they should be congratulated.”

On what this team needs to improve …

“I gotta watch the tape first to be honest. I’ll get that on the plane back

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

15 Comments for TRANSCRIPT: John Calipari breaks down Kentucky’s loss to South Carolina



  1. csnailnrun
    10:13 am January 16, 2020 Permalink

    Wouldn’t it be nice for Kentucky to return to competing for national championships again? Maybe Coach Cal should take a note from Coach Stoops play book and develop these kids for 3-4yrs.



    • StillBP
      11:44 am January 16, 2020 Permalink

      Stoops has the benefit of the players having to stay at least 2 and also redshirting freshmen. No one wants to redshirt in basketball unless they’re injured. And the NFL isn’t knocking on our players doors after 1 year to draft them in the first round; if they were and the players met the requirements to be eligible, they would.



  2. Not Dan Issel
    10:42 am January 16, 2020 Permalink

    The way they looked last night, he may have that opportunity with this bunch.



  3. classof68
    10:45 am January 16, 2020 Permalink

    Those days may be gone. That doesn’t fit in with Calipari’s philosophy. He’s more concerned with getting players to the NBA than championships. That could work, but only with top recruits. He doesn’t get enough top recruits anymore.



  4. CrystalBall
    10:52 am January 16, 2020 Permalink

    I think the players are more concerned with getting to the NBA.



  5. bosch8184
    11:35 am January 16, 2020 Permalink

    “I don’t know.” Yes, we are aware of that.

    Gonna whoop that ass on draft day though, that’s what really matters.



  6. VirginiaCat
    12:02 pm January 16, 2020 Permalink

    When I read Cal’s rambling comments, I wonder if his scattered thought process interferes with his game focus and affects his ability to communicate with players. Leadership is about communicating clearly, directly, and efficiently. His tortured narratives and sidelines antics suggest a lack of intellectual discipline and focus.



    • Bluehender
      12:17 pm January 16, 2020 Permalink

      If only we had you as our coach. What is the lucky team that has you as their coach?



    • StillBP
      12:44 pm January 16, 2020 Permalink

      Blue clearly this is National Champion Tony Bennett commenting here.



    • Bluehender
      1:38 pm January 16, 2020 Permalink

      Oh. I see..should be VirginiaCav…You’re right BP.



    • VirginiaCat
      2:49 pm January 16, 2020 Permalink

      Do good coaches lose to inferior teams? Yes, of course, but it seems to be more of a pattern with Cal since 2015. We have had a string of awful, awful losses. It isn’t a coincidence that our inability to land the “best of the best” in recent years has resulted in a dip in the program. There is no comparison between Cal’s first seven years and the last 5 years and anyone who argues the point is delusional. The difference between now and then is that we haven’t been getting the Creme De La Creme payers in the quantity that Cal must have to win it all. Unless Cal can get the best recruits in the country. I suspect that future seasons will resemble the last five years. Don’t get me wrong. Cal’s first seven years were extraordinarily successful and that needs to be acknowledged and appreciated. His last five years have been average at best. Next year will likely be a tipping point one way or another.



  7. CrystalBall
    12:29 pm January 16, 2020 Permalink

    I am so depressed I’m going to start rooting for the college team that never looses a game. Anyone have a clue what that team is?



    • StillBP
      12:39 pm January 16, 2020 Permalink

      last night someone asked who these people think would be a better coach than Cal and syrin named a few, including Chris Mack. Wth has Mack done that Cal hasn’t? He’s 0-2 against us and made it to the Elite Eight once. But okay, he’s better than Cal.



  8. VirginiaCat
    3:21 pm January 16, 2020 Permalink

    College coaches at top programs are more than coaches, they are also CEOs with multiple hats to wear. When it comes to public relations, i.e., acting as the face of the program, there are few if any better than Cal. He is masterful. He relishes that role, whereas other coaches would melt under the spotlight. Another strength is recruiting. Cal isn’t recruiting as well as he once did, but he is still getting excellent players. Cal’s main weakness is in-game coaching; he tends to get less with more. So, there are probably several coaches who could do a better job with Xs and Os, but it takes more than that. Once Cal leaves, the key will be to find a coach who checks the most boxes. A suitable replacement would be someone with the ability to build a staff that accentuated his strengths and compensated for his weaknesses. It will ultimately fall to the AD to perform due diligence in order to identify up and coming coaches who have the skill, desire, and endurance to lead the program. Our current AD is 1-1 in my opinion. Terrible job when he picked Billy Clyde and hit a home run with Cal.



    • CrystalBall
      4:42 pm January 16, 2020 Permalink

      Agree about Cal. Both Tubby and Billy G saw their job as coach only. Neither wanted to do the extras that the fans expect like
      Cal does.