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Calipari says UK has enough players and athletes to still finish strong


If you need a reason not to give up on the Kentucky basketball season after UK’s loss at Arkansas Saturday, let John Calipari explain why it’s still not impossible for his team to make the NCAA Tournament despite big road losses at Tennessee and Arkansas after the season-ending injury to Nerlens Noel.

“We’re brand new. So we’re still trying to figure out (without Noel). There are other teams – you’ve got a lot of teams getting beat right now, and they’re mostly road games. Some getting beat at home. Some on three-game slides, four-game slides. You’ve got that across the country, but we’re so new we’re still trying to figure out what’s the best way for us to play,” said Calipari after Saturday’s loss.

“What do we do defensively? We went a little zone today. We broke down at one point. We didn’t really communicate. But we’re still there.”

Now here’s the part to give you hope for Thursday’s game at Georgia and Saturday’s home game with Florida.

“Again, we’ve got a 7-footer (Willie Cauley-Stein) that can play and block shots. We’ve got shooters (Julius Mays and Kyle Wiltjer). We’ve got enough players and enough athletes to do this – and really make a run – if we choose to. But you must fight. You must have a will to win,” Calipari said.

“And winning must be important, not just how you played. And you must want to be coached and challenged and pushed, from not only the staff; from within. You’ve got to accept that. That’s part of this. This team, we could go the next game and play out of our minds – and I’ll be really happy.”

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  1. Judi Cole

    I’d be really happy too if this team plyed out of their minds the next two games. I’ll never give up on them. The talent is there, just got to have the will to fight and win. GO CATS!

  2. Jordan

    At worst they have to beat Georgia and not get blownout by Florida. And then probably win at least 2 games in the SEC tourney.

  3. Anonymous

    It’s been a long, hard road this year, but if they rise to the occasion and win the last two games, then I’m sure we all go nuts again…you know, I like going nuts at this time of year!
    Go Cats!

  4. Kokamo Joe

    Calipari may be a master propagandist, but his “brand new” statement will not fly. This team has festered all year. He is right, the team has talent. It just has not produced. Losing Noel was big, but teams lose players all the time. What hurts UK the most by the Noel loss is not losing the big guy, but the fact that UK has no bench. Having no bench is a decision made by the coach and at this point he can not create players when none exist. It is the same team, with the same problems, minus a player.

  5. dave boles

    very disapointed,don’t think this team has enough players with will to win,i think georgia will get us,sorry i still love uk,but not sure what cal seen in some of these guys,hope we finish this year with some dignity.

    1. nate

      I could not agree more, I love UK but this team plays without any heart and no fight at all. I will be surprised if we make the tourney and win one game.

  6. nate

    Also, the team should be thinking about the playing time they will get next season given the lack of intensity and drive they are showing up to this point I am pretty sure a few are coming back next year and will be riding the pine.

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