By LARRY VAUGHT
During his teleconference Tuesday, Kentucky coach John Calipari talked about the mental aspect of Jamal Murray’s game. Some was the same as what he revealed during the season, but there was also some new information.
“Well, Roger, his father, did an unbelieveable job of raising his son, opening his mind, getting him to think about the game in a different way. You got to give Roger credit for that. And yes he would (meditate),” Calipari said.
Here’s one part I did not know.
“I walked into the locker room – we have a video room that we meet prior to the game, and the light’s out. I turn the light on and there he is. This is early in the year. He’s meditating. I say, ‘What’re you doing?’ He says, ‘I’m meditating.’ I said, ‘Well go use my office so I can get the board up.’ So that became his routine. He would go into my office, turn the light out. I’d give him his time, I’d put up the board as I prepared for the game, and then I would either knock on the door or he would come out and say, ‘I’m done,'” Calipari said.
“He’s got a great mentality. Let me say this: The meditation, yes, it calmed him down, but this kid had a smile on his face every day. He would walk into practice and if I wasn’t smiling, he would point to his smile. Like, ‘C’mon, coach.’ And I got on him. He had to really, as we defined his game and let him go some and let him do some, but also make him be more efficient. He did it. He trusted us.
“The one thing I’ll say, and I said this: If you’re watching the championship, shooting, there’s a premium in the league right now. The game is becoming positionless. Whoever has it appears to be the point guard. That’s what he is. He’s 6-5, he’s physical, he can slash, shoot the ball with anybody.
“He’s ambidextrous, which maybe they don’t know, but he is. He can shoot both hands. I’d come into practice and he’d be shooting threes with his left hand. And I’m like, ‘What’re you doing?’ And he’s saying, ‘Watch.’ And he’d make like three. He said, ‘I’m gonna shoot this in a game.’ I said, ‘You’re not shooting a lefty.’ Again, a great kid from a great family who’s got a vision and a drive. He’s self-critical, but he’s also comfortable in his own skin.”