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By LARRY VAUGHT
If there is one player John Calipari is going to trust on the court or maybe even continue to play if he is not playing well it is freshman center Nerlens Noel because of his Michael Kidd-Gilchrist like will to win.
“But I was going to ride him out because I know he’s the one guy with the will to win on this team that you have to have him out there or you can’t win,” Calipari said Friday when asked why he put Noel back into Tuesday’s game at Ole Miss so soon after he got his fourth foul.
“Now, when we get to the point where we have – like we did a year ago – three or four guys with a will to win that’s when you win all the games. Believe me when I tell you, we’re not there right now. When a team makes a run we don’t have good thoughts. I do, because I’ve done this for so long and I’m thinking, ‘How are we going to win this game, not uh oh, we may lose.’ I don’t think that way. I’m trying to get those kids in my mindset. You make the play and if you miss a shot do something down the other end to get it back? How ’bout that? If I miss a shot or turn it over do something about it instead of thinking of the missed shot or how many points you have. Just think what you can do to get it back for us.”
Calipari says he is stressing that mentality in every practice, every team meeting to try to “get them to grown and give them the lessons they need so that when they leave us they’re ready for life because you can equate all of what’s going on with this team (to life).”
He said when he asks how many are working “hard” to change, they all say they are.
“How hard has it been? Real hard. Has it been embarrassing? Yeah, real embarrassing that I don’t know this stuff. This stuff has been hard for them,” Calipari said Friday.