By LARRY VAUGHT
Give Kentucky coach John Calipari credit for not only accepting fouls being called on his team, but also for encouraging officials to continue doing their jobs.
“People must be fouling. Let me just make my position clear. I think we’ve got to keep calling fouls, but you have to make sure they’re fouls. So there are some replays that you look at and you say, ‘Well, that wasn’t even close to a foul.’ Those shouldn’t be called, but I mean, there’s a forearm on a drive, there’s a body check on a big, those should be automatic calls,” Calipari said Friday.
“Call the fouls on both teams. If one team is fouling and the other team is not, that’s when you have those kind of fouls called. Because you’re feeling like, I can’t call them all against the other team. But why not if they’re fouling every play? If the other team isn’t fouling, don’t call them. That’s when you get asked, ‘How can they call that a foul?’ How can they call this a foul?’ Call the game the way we all want it to be.”
And how would that be?
“We want freedom of motion. We don’t want a guy driving to get banged three times before he shoots a layup and you say, ‘Why did he miss the layup?’ Well, probably because they guy has a finger in his eyeball, and his knee and his thigh it probably affected the layup,” Calipari said. “So I am about calling fouls that are fouls. If the game is physical it should be called.”
Calipari doesn’t think officials are worried about games getting too physical. Instead, they’ve been told to call fouls. Calipari’s issue is fouls called that are not fouls — and certainly most coaches would agree.
“The TV, the people, the fans and everybody says, ‘Well, no one even touched anybody how did they call that? Probably not a foul they should’ve called. But look, I don’t blame officials. I don’t. You know, they’re not perfect,” Calipari said. “I appreciate it when an official comes over to me and says, ‘I missed that.’ And then I don’t say anything.
“These guys, they have got a tough job. And I said it the other day: When you are officiating our game and it is this fast and you have to run five times to try and stay up with these guys and then there’s a play happening in front of you, there are going to be some fandom calls. What foul? ‘Well, I thought I saw it.’ It’s a mirage. You just ran seven times up and back. It’s hard. But, you know, they’re doing what they’ve been told to do, which is if it’s physical play, call a foul. I am all for it.”