How hard has it been for Kentucky coach John Calipari to balance finding the proper playing rotation the first two months of the season with also trying to get players like Marcus Lee and Derek Willis into games?
“Here’s the thing that’s happened: If I had a team of juniors and seniors, there’s no question they would be in because I would know the juniors and seniors. I’m still figuring out this group. We’ve changed how we run transition, so all the stuff we practiced for two months, we’re not running it that way anymore. I didn’t like it. It didn’t fit this team, so we changed. If you have a veteran team, you can play nine and 10 guys, and then when you hit the real games, you’re down to eight. But those other games, you play nine, 10, 11, because you’re not doing it to see what these guys are about. You already know,” Calipari said.
“That’s the difference in coaching young teams, and I’m going to say it again: This is the youngest team I’ve ever coached, and I coached all the young teams. This team is—and good kids. I still, people say, ‘How is it coaching so and so?’ I say, ‘This is the greatest group of kids I’ve ever coached.’ Their basketball habits are bad. Their response to situations: bad. But they’re great kids. I mean, these kids—we have not an issue of anything. I mean anything. But their basketball habits stink. They’re just the worst. I’m telling you. But they’re changing. I’m seeing it right before my eyes. If we can get them where we need to have it, it’s on. Right now, it’s still, ‘Let’s see it in games now.’ ”