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Calipari on delusional players not changing, lack of trust and some players playing more than they should


John Calipari gave a blunt, honest analysis on the current state of Kentucky’s basketball team Friday that noted how delusional players don’t change the way they play to the lack of trust among teammates to some players getting more minutes than they truly deserve because of the way they have been playing.

Enjoy Calipari’s perspective. Here’s what he said:

“If you’re delusional, you’re not gonna change. Delusional guys don’t change. They just think, ‘I’m good. My stuff is right. It’s somebody else.’ If you’re delusional, you don’t change. We just have to have guys go out accept where they are right now – where we are as a team, where they are as an individual player, what the team needs from them.

“I told them yesterday (about) success: wins and losses will come and go; you’re defined by your effort and all those things. The success you have is peace of mind – the John Wooden-ism – knowing in your heart of hearts you’ve done everything you could, worked as hard as you could for yourself and your team. You have peace of mind. You don’t have to worry about it.

“But if you’re the last one in that gym, if you know you’re not giving everything, you’re never going to have peace of mind even if we win. The whole point of what we try to do as coaches is to get guys to understand: What we teach you transfers to anything you do in life. Just like in life, in basketball you get what you deserve. You get what you deserve. So I’m just slowly but surely trying to get through and get guys to accept and surrender to each other and all those things.

“We still don’t trust each other. Late in the game, when it gets hairy, you don’t trust that the other guy’s near you or he’s not doing what he’s (supposed to) because we’re not talking enough or a guy’s not hustling or a guy will get beat to a ball or we’ll leave or feet or we’ll foul. We just don’t trust each other. Again, we’re still into our own selves. That’s what we’re working on: You’ve gotta get out of your own self’s way.

“It is so much easier in basketball – and in life – when you play for everyone else instead of play for yourself. If you’re working for everyone else and don’t worry about yourself, life becomes easy. And for these guys, it’s a really hard game. The game is really hard because they’re all trying to play for themselves and, ‘How do I look? If I miss a shot, I may give up three goals and a rebound, but that’s just where I am right now.’ That’s what we’re trying to slowly change. We thought (after) Auburn: OK, we got it; we figured it out. But it’s going to be a process.

“I think we’ve got great kids who want to do well. There’s nobody to mimic. There’s no one to – like, we need some guys to sit right now. There are some guys who shouldn’t be playing but about four or five minutes that are playing 30. They really don’t deserve to be on the court, but where we are right now, they’ve gotta be out there. Or we’ve gotta sit ‘em and take the consequences, which is the next step.”

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  1. Larry Pup

    Honest answers. We have a great coach, and we have great players. They will get it done. If they don’t, I like what someone else said on this blog “No. 9 is next Year!”

    1. Larry Pup

      I don’t think it does much good or helps the situation to criticize our coach, and belittle our kids because of our losses this year. Geez, we start 3 or 4 freshmen. It has not worked out so well thus far this year, but they are still our team. We have also had phenominal succcess the past 3 years. Have we forgotten those accomplishments. We are not gonna be national champs every year. We can question some things, but don’t take these losses out on these kids. Some of you have gotten down right personal. You don’t think these kids hear this stuff? How about a little encouragement from us the fan base and let Cal do the butt kicking. That’s his job.

      1. UKFMLY

        AMEN BROTHER! ! !

  2. Judi Cole

    I agree, Larry Pup, we all need to be less critical and more supportive of this young team. Of course they want to win, they just have to come into their own, learn from their experiences and listen to the coach.

  3. Indiana Tom

    I agree with both you guys. Tell you something else. Sitting on the pine next to the coach will do wonders. Still think they make the dance and make a run!

  4. LindaS

    I just can’t imagine how Cal must be feeling now. How can you play for Cal and not give your best? I still say they think they have an automatic ticket to the NBA and they don’t want to work for it now.
    It is a team effort and we have not been getting a look of that very often. I like this team, I like each one of these young men. I am as perplexed as Coach is as to what it is going to make this a memorable team. We have a couple players who give there all and try.
    I have wondered often if Cal thinks he made the wrong decision recruiting some of these young boys or is he just beating himself up because he knows they are talented but can’t get them to see what they need to do to play to their potential.
    We all know there are at least 20 great programs in the NC2A. We all know we can’t win every game. No matter how good you are, there is always someone better. You can’t be the best every year, someone is always better or thinks they are. Any team can be beaten on any given night no matter how good you are. This team will be ok, might not get number 9 this year, but I was not expecting that anyway. I’m only expecting to watch my team play and give their best effort. If this is their best effort, which I don’t think it is, but if it is, I’ll take it. I’m a UK fan through and through, bleed blue, think blue, breath blue and live blue and that will never change. Basketball is still fun again. It’s fun just watching Cal if nothing else. Livin’ Blue & Lovin’ It!


    Roses to you Linda…on target as usual!

    1. LindaS

      Thank you Philip, I really don’t know a thing about basketball, seriously.

  6. King Ghidora

    I think Cal needs to learn to sign some role players to go along with his All American lottery picks. I thought we had a few this year and we do. But a few isn’t enough. I expect to see guys like Hood and Beckham get a chance to learn to be role players.

    I know he’s talking about benching players but he continues to tell certain players to keep doing what they’re doing to an extent. Yes he wants them to do other things in certain situations but they aren’t doing it. Those are the consequences of not having any bench. Maybe Cal will learn something this year.

    But Cal has been fabulous at developing players. And these guys have looked great against teams like Loserville. But they have to play that way all the time and they aren’t. I think Cal telling Archie to continue driving is his way of trying to get him to learn. He must learn on the job because there is no one else really. Some players just don’t get it quickly. Heck Miller didn’t get it quickly. But look at where he made it to. Liggins, Harrellson, etc. didn’t get it quickly. If you don’t have guys step up there’s only so much a coach can do. Archie needs to drive but Archie needs to learn another way to score too. Because a one trick pony doesn’t get very far on that level.

    1. Kokamo Joe

      Re: sign some role players

      I could not agree more. His roster is filled with kids who will never play and could not play well if he had to use them. But it goes deeper than that. IMO, Calipari cannot develop role players if he never plays them. I don’t mean in tough games. His record is that he seldom plays anyone but his 7 man rotation except in the closing seconds of blowout games.

      The Louisville game this year is similar to last year’s in Rupp. We were soundly beaten but made a run late in the game, in this year’s case because UL’s defense had to pull back because of fouls. Last year we soundly beat UL, but they cut it to 7 when Smith bombed a couple of threes in the last second. In neither game were we last year, of UL this year ever in real danger of losing.

      Calipari deserves the praise for the good that his teams have done and he and he alone is responsible for the bad. He recruted these players, he disciplines these players and he is responsible for teaching these players.

  7. Jerry Adams

    “We’ve gotta sit’em, and take the consequences, which is the next step”. One or two more loses and you will see he means what he says. What ever happens, the BBN has to show support for the kids. I can’t imagine the pressure they’re under.

  8. TheProfessor

    Coach Calipari has been up front and brutally honest with these players during the recruiting process, and after they arrive on campus. He tells them how brutal the pressure will be. He tells them that if they want to be “the star” on a team of stars, then UK is not the place for them. He tells them how hard they will have to work to realize their dreams. He tells them everything.

    Among the 20 to 30 players he has taken through this process in his first 4 years, very few of the players have failed to grasp Calipari’s honest message, and the vast majority are realizing their dreams today. However, this group, with a couple of exceptions, either does not believe Calipari’s version of the truth, or they are not willing to make the sacrifice to make their dreams a reality for themselves. One day, they will wake up and realize that their dream is still just out of their grasp. That is the saddest part of what I see happening here. Poythress has all the tools but can’t keep the motor’s rpm’s up. Goodwin has not realized he has teammates who can get it done and finish the play he creates for his team when he drives and draws 2, 3, or 4 defenders into his path. When he begins to trust his teammates to finish when he has taken the defense out of position, then the defense won’t be able to collapse on him every time, and his drives to the basket will be easier to finish.

    One last point about this team. It has the lowest (best) defensive efficiency of all four of Calipari’s UK teams. But, it also has the highest variance of defensive efficiency I have ever seen. That tells me that this team has such great potential, and ability, but they are turning it on and off on the defensive end like we turn our lights off and on with the wall switch. On defense, it takes sustained effort, which is a decision that each player must make. On offense, making shots/missing shots comes and goes with every player. Great sustained defense carries a team through the periods when the shooting is off the mark.

    When this team decides as a group to play defense for 40 minutes of every game, regardless of what happens at the offensive end, this team will be almost impossible to beat.

    1. Larry T Clemons

      ” Sustained Effort “…say’s it all !


    I agree that posters should be less personal in their attacks on the players. Liggins was and still is one of my favorites. I try to catch the OKC games hoping to see him play. Even though he get very little minutes the commentators always mention how hard he plays defense and what a great team guy he is. That and the fact that he EARNED his way onto a roster. Cal gets alot of the credit for that but Liggins gets the bulk because HE decided to become who he is now. He had the greatest of motivations(to provide for his family).

    These current young guys are alot like Liggins his 1st year. Through his on court performances(or lack there of) lots of people tagged and labled him INCORRECTLY! !
    He made a decision to believe in Cal and work to get better and the results speak for themselves. These young men are fully capable of that sort of change, but as long as they are listed as lottery picks they may lack the needed motivation. In Cal I trust. He will find the right button to push. I like this team, it’s hard to watch them sometimes but I really like them and still believe they are capable of a good run. Cats over LSU by 11.


  10. Doug Ridley

    Go Mildcats!!!

  11. LindaS

    I think Alex proved me wrong tonight, he did work hard….so dare relieved. Now maybe the others will follow suit every game, every minute on the floor.

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