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Calipari admits that his team has not made necessary commitment to winning yet


Even thought I was at the Marshall County Hoop Fest Friday and Saturday and missed Kentucky’s loss to Baylor that ended the 55-game home win streak, I did watch the Cats on TV and wondered immediately how coach John Calipari would react.

Here are some of his postgame comments that jumped out at me:

“We’ve just got a ways to go with this team and I think everybody now understands, you know, that you don’t just put a collection of players together. But it’s more than just our fans and everybody understanding; it’s our team understanding. Are you willing to do what it takes?

“I don’t have a magic wand, folks. I don’t put people in the NBA. I don’t build teams  …  well, his team will be better by the end of the year. Why? Because I’ve got a magic wand? No. Because the players decide they are going to do this and they are going to get better. Every one of my teams have made that commitment. This team has not right now. I believe they will, but they haven’t.

“Part of it is you start reading how good you are, top 10 in the country. I told all you people, we are not that good. I knew what we were. I was so happy we beat Maryland because I knew we couldn’t be 0 2 to start the season.

“So we have got a ways (to go). But I must say it again, I like to say this our fans are crazy and I like my team.”

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  1. UK 24 7

    Maybe a couple more motivational speeches and they’ll be fine Cal. If that doesn’t work maybe some basic offense might be worth a shot.

  2. Kokamo Joe

    The one and done philosphy is based on the desire of the young stars realizing that if they are to reach their “dream” they have to come together as a team and prove that they are team players as well as super talents. Calipari’s past teams have done that and they have established the round robin of great players and great success that Calipari has had at UK. Next year’s talent expects Noel, Goodwin and Poythress to be gone and the kids recruited in 2014 want them gone. That’s the magic that Calipari has. Some want Noel, Goodwin, and Poythress to stick around. They won’t. Wilcher might come back, but his playing time will be limited. Cauley-Stein is questionable.

    1. Jim Boyers

      All these guys better hope they pick it up and make the draft, because, if they have to come back, they will probably ALL be bench players next season. That may sound like a joke, but it isn’t. THAT is just the reality of how much talent will be coming in for 2013-14.

      1. larryvaught

        Funny Jim but I talked to several name basketball sources at Marshall County this weekend who said the same thing

      2. RJ

        I agree.

  3. uk2012

    I as a hardcore UK fan truly believes this team can be special. To me there is only two so called dominant teams,Duke and Indiana, so our chances can be pretty good. I believe there is also some internal issues with this team, whatever it may be. These kids to me look like they haven’t really bought into Cal’s system or coaching yet either. When they do we will look like a totally different team. I believe in these and support them no matter what! GO BIG BLUE!

  4. Jim Boyers

    I have said it before, but I just can’t stop thinking that there is something really “off” about this group. I don’t expect them to win every game and I don’t expect them to have gelled as a team yet. I know it takes time with these young kids. BUT, by this point of the last three seasons, we have seen numerous signs that the players were all happy with each other, enjoyed being with each other and, most of all, respected and wanted to play hard for each other. This team is showing NONE of that. They are not projecting any type of aura that suggests they are going to gel as a family and a team. They often play with a lackadaisical attitude and seem to be out to “get theirs”, rather than furthering the team concept. I have to believe that some of it is due to the complete lack of ANY player showing even the most remote sign that they will be a leader. There is no Patrick, Jorts, Darius or MKG on this team and it seems that they are going to suffer immensely for it. I don’t know when or even IF there is going to be a resolution to this problem. We will be in for an extremely long, agonizing season, if they don’t figure it out. We all like to think that top talent will find a way to prevail, but it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes things just don’t come together. I’m not saying things won’t work out, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t. I just have a really bad feeling about how these guys are not seeming to have fun playing with, but more importantly FOR each other. It is still early though, so I’m never going to lose hope in what Cal can always seem to accomplish. I believe, if anyone can find a way to make this happen, it is him. I will still be in my top row seat for every game and I will still be screaming for every outstanding play.

    To those who are starting to gripe about Cal… You people aren’t crazy… You are idiots. Cal is the best thing that could have happened to this program and to question him, after what he has accomplished is not borderline ignorant, it is COMPLETELY IGNORANT.

    1. LarryPup

      Amen on Cal Jim. I agree 100%. He will get it done if it can be done. This is a young team, and to be quite honest I think this is the least talented team Cal has put on the floor. But if coach likes em, I like em. We will be ok. A little patience and faith is what’s needed now.

  5. grant

    Indeed Kokamo – If Cal has shown us anything its melding individual high school super stars in to team super stars in college. Its the addition by subtraction, you as an individual will be better as a player if you are not worried about getting yours and in turn , work as a team player. Sacaraficing is a giant thing for a young guy to do , it takes a lot of trust. And most of these guys were trusted to do everything for there teams in high school and aau. No one said it would be easy, this could turn in to one of Cals’ best coaching examples ever if by the end these guys are one heartbeat . Also saddened to hear about Rick Majerus.

    1. Kokamo Joe

      Re: molding individual talent into a team
      We have to remember that Noel, Poythress, and Goodwin are all highly rated and that they expect to go to the NBA. That is why they are in Lexington. The Harrison Twins, Lee, and Young are already breathing down their necks and there will be more. The stars naturally want to show their talent, but they have not realized that if they are going to reach their dream they have to come together as a team and waltz through the remainder of the schedule. If they don’t and have to come back next year they will have to compete with the new stars, and they just might have to have a lot of bench time. They will figure it out. Calipari does not have to be a wizard. The “dream” is the driving force which will mold this team. The Cats will be fine.

      1. larryvaught

        Agree Joe. Too early to panic. Worry, yes. Panic, no. But next three weeks will be critical for Calipari to mold this team the way he wants

  6. lunchbox

    cant blame this on cal, from what ive seen hes worked harder than b4..i think cal an rupp will b the only coaches to win 2 at uk

  7. Larry T Clemons

    still lacked defensive intensity ….flat footed, fell for ball fakes, standing instead of squatting, they need to stay in front of the ball, watch the core(stomach area) 0F THE MAN WITH THE BALL, don’t watch the ball.

    1. LarryPup

      Larry..I still think they played a heck of alot better against Baylor than they did against ND, from a defensive standpoint. Improvement was made on the glass too. I thought Baylor was as good or better than ND. UK just couldn’t shoot Sat. Cal said on his post game comments that some of these guys are not putting extra time in in the gym as individuals to get themselves better. It shows.

  8. RJ

    I think you will see some players leave the team for easier pastures. It’s not easy being number 1 and even harder staying number 1. A few of these players have never really had to work at being number 1 and they don’t know how. Cal will tell them but until until they realize that there are no shortcuts, it is what it is..

  9. Dover Cat

    LarryPup is right on. They improved leaps and bounds over ND. Please stay positive and supportive of our YOUNG TEAM! Cal knows what he is doing and don’t forget what we had before he got here. It’s just going to take a little time.

    Go Big Blue!

  10. Karen Sprinkle

    I suspect some of the perceived problems with cohesion lie with the fact that Nerlens wasn’t able to join the team until August, instead of being able to be with the other players during the summer. And it hasn’t helped that Ryan missed time with the team with his illness and family issue. I still have faith that it will come. I don’t see the guys barking and sniping at each other on the court as you often will see with teams with “gel” problems. Like some others, I did see improvement from the Notre Dame game to the Baylor game, except with shooting obviously. My take is that we have been spoiled with the last three teams at UK and how much they truly enjoyed playing with each other, as well as the vast majority of the freshmen from the past three years being more than a little more mature than you’d usually expect. Our freshman this year are playing and acting like freshmen, and it hasn’t helped that none of the older players on the team played significant minutes. Patience is the word for this season.

    1. Dale Castle

      I agree with you, Karen, they are learning and very young, and patience isn’t a word we Cat fans like very much :) I hope they become gym rats dedicated to improving their game as a team. It must be so hard to follow last year’s team, and once they have a vocal leader, they will get it. Love these Cats!

  11. UKFMLY

    Relax BBN the sky is not falling. Some of the stuff written makes me just laugh. It just amazes me at how quickly people forget how truely young this team is and how GREAT a coach we have. It’s way to early to be this negative and it reflects badly on the BBN when people go over board with their comments.


  12. donv

    I believe in Cal. If he likes the team than I like the team. We need a point guard to emerge. Listened to Oscar before the game who stated that Cal did not recruit a point guard because Teague was always coming back. Only after Teague blew up in the NCAA tournament and was projected in the first round did he decide to turn pro and by then there was no good point guards left.

    1. King Ghidora

      It seemed to me that Harrow was always the plan for the pg position. I’m not saying I have any inside info but Harrow had a pretty good reputation coming into UK. The fact Cal accepted him as a transfer should prove that.

      For whatever reason this team has not come together yet. I said early on that some of the new kids seemed to be worried about their position and/or their role. I don’t know that for sure but I thought I saw it in their body language. They just didn’t seem to be having fun playing as a team as Jim said.

      But I have faith in Cal. These guys may have had to learn a hard lesson or two. I know some other UK players that have had to do that since Cal came to town and both of them went on to the NBA even though no one dreamed they would. I think we all know Jorts and Liggins both had to learn some hard lessons but look how that turned out. Sometimes kids think things will work out without them having to listen to the coach but that is only true for a super talented player and still they never reach their potential like that. And it’s true that some kids have been fed a steady diet of “ain’t you great” until they assume it must be true. Too many hangers on want to have influence over the players down the road from where they start and they also want a shot at some of that big NBA money. The blood suckers will drain a good kid dry if that kid lets them. If the kids listen to that “you’re so great” stuff for too long it hurts them big time. That’s one of the reasons I like the high school basketball factory schools. Sure the players there think they’re great just to be there but they get to see real competition at their level and they often learn they aren’t as great as they have been told.

      I still think this team will turn around. They have the talent and Cal is the coach. Anyone who doesn’t understand that doesn’t understand much. But not every team is a 2012 edition. Heck UK was not totally dominant last year. Syracuse could have given them a big time run for their money if not for the injury issues. And Kansas gave them all they wanted too. It takes a lot to win it all including a lot of luck. So I’m not holding my breath until March and I won’t be throwing any temper tantrums. Cal is making history at UK and anyone who complains or even thinks for a second that there’s reason to complain is an idiot just to be blunt about it. And they must have missed the decade before Cal. Sure there was a good team or two in there but NOTHING like now. I’m just glad that stuff is over. There’s a heck of a lot of basketball talent around and UK is lucky as heck to be on top of the heap and they certainly are exactly at the top even if they lose 10 games this year and bomb out in the first round of the tournament.

      1. Larry Pup

        Amen King! I like it! Preach on! This team will be a winner or there is not a cow in Texas.

      2. UKFMLY

        Preach brother preach! ! ! Win Lose or Draw we have the best Coach around and I am completely comfortable with this young team!


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