Hamidou Diallo continues to lie in the center of the angry Kentucky fans’ crosshairs.
Today the shooting guard scored eight points (3/9 FG) and had four rebounds in just 15 minutes of action. Still, fans wonder why John Calipari is playing Diallo at all. Coach Cal answered that question by asking fans to put themselves in the shoes of a parent.
“Let’s think about, it’s your son, and he’s struggling. It’s your son though, not somebody else’s son; it’s your son. Would you just want me to bench him? Would you just want me to put him on the bench and worry about it next year? That’s what you want me to do with your son?
“You would say, ‘Coach, he’s responsible for himself, but please keep coaching him, and let him know you love him, and keep being there for him, but hold him accountable. If he’s not going to listen to you, then you shouldn’t be playing him.’ That’s what I think a parent who’s not trying to enable their son would say.”
If you can’t get into the hypothetical situation, just know that Diallo is doing everything Calipari is asking, he just can’t seem to kick bad habits.
“In his case, I’m with Hami,” Calipari said. “He’s trying, he’s working. He’s got some habits that are so bad, they pop out sometimes at the wrong time. My job is to make sure he’s not hurting the team or himself, and to keep working with him. When I go into my office at 10:00 or 11:00 at night, I better see him in there every once in awhile, and you know what, I am.
“Now if he’s willing to do that, put in extra time and extra work, I’m for it. Now if you’re playing awful, I may not play you as much, but I’m gonna play you. And if you’re doing what I’m asking you to do, I’m going to encourage you.”
Calipari refuses to quit on his players.
“It’d probably be easier to say ‘you’re out,’ and I’m going with these seven. I’m just not gonna do that. I’m just not.”
If you disagree with what Coach Cal has to say, he has a message for the haters, especially the “agenda-driven media.”
“I’m old now. I used to be the young coach. I am now the old coach. I’ve been through just about anything you could be through, including absolute bazooka shots from the media my whole career. Bazooka shots, agenda-driven stuff, my whole career, and I’m old now. If you shoot me now, it goes through a bazooka hole that’s in my body. It doesn’t hit bone. It doesn’t hit anything. So at the end of the day, this is about these kids.”
At John Calipari’s Kentucky, the players come first. End of story.