By LARRY VAUGHT
Not only will this season benefit any Kentucky players that return next season, but coach John Calipari says his team’s struggles at time will help him in the future as well.
““It’s a learning experience for me. It’s going to make me a better coach for next year’s team, some of the stuff went on that won’t go on next year, holding the bar to a higher standard, not accepting we’ll have enough guys,” Calipari said. “The bench is going to be my best friend. All of those kind of things that will come back into play.
“You start to figure out why have my teams been so good for so long. Can we now get this stuff going? Can we turn this? This is about when we did it two years ago. Those guys made an effort to listen, to say we’re going to do what we’re asked to do, we’re going to play at another level, we’re going to take it up a notch. We’re going to really fight like heck and play to win. This group can do that same thing, but we’ll see.”
Calipari even hinted that several players could be back even though freshmen Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein are being projected as NBA first-round draft picks.
“You could have this team and next year’s group on the same team. Now all the sudden your bench your best friend, practices are at a level that are ridiculous,” Calipari said Tuesday. “My hope is as we wind this down, we go to this tournament, next tournament, that these guys just say ‘enough’s enough,’ and they hold each other accountable and they get each other to do what they need to do cause this team’s good enough. I still believe in this team.
“This team could do whatever they want, but you can’t say ‘Well, I want to do that but I don’t want to do this to get to that.’ You can’t. It doesn’t work that way.”