By LARRY VAUGHT
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.”