In 2011, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist started the “Breakfast Club,” or, a group of players going into the gym or weight room early in the morning to get in some extra work. Since then, it seems like every year (usually midseason when a team is struggling), we hear about a new “Breakfast Club” forming behind-the-scenes, but this year, it’s starting in the summer. On today’s SEC Summer Basketball Teleconference, John Calipari told reporters that freshman Tyrese Maxey is bringing his teammates into the gym early to shoot and lift weights (which anyone following the players on social media can confirm).
“I was told that – I’m not in the middle of it, but I was told one of the guys is grabbing a couple other guys and they’re going in in the mornings,” Calipari said.
You know Calipari is pleased as punch about this development, in part because it hammers home his favorite new motto for the program, “Big Team, Better Me.” He debuted the phrase yesterday on social media and mentioned it early and often during today’s call.
“What I’ve been hitting on with this group is just remind them that my best teams, the teams that won 38 games or won 35 games, those players benefitted the most from those teams. Which is why I keep saying, it’s about team during the season, it’s about individuals after. This is about, big team makes a better me. The better our team is, the better opportunities everybody within the team’s going to have. So, that’s what I’m trying to really get this team to think about because we’ve got a long way to go.”
The Breakfast Club will certainly help.
“We’re trying to let them be responsible for each other and push each other and we’re trying to bring them together and explain to them, my best teams, the players on those teams benefitted the most, so we gotta make this one of those. Big team. Thinking about this team – and I tell them all the time, we got you. You guys worry about each other. We got you but you’ve got to worry about each other. And this Breakfast Club, where they’re kind of dragging each other in there. They’re not dragging, they’re saying, ‘Come with me,’ and they’re talking to each other, it’s good stuff.”
What’s the big picture of “Big Team, Better Me”?
“At the end of the day, we’ve got to have a hell of a team that everyone looks at and says the same thing: ‘How in the world did they get a new team every year to play this way? And they got really good players to share and be about each year?’ And that’s the challenge every year.”
No one tackles that challenge better than Calipari, but even I’ll admit that “Big Team, Better Me” is a terrible slogan.