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Calipari: “What got me the Kentucky job is not playing all freshmen and doing what we’re doing right now.”

By LARRY VAUGHT

How does John Calipari compare the progress of this freshman class to other classes he has had?

“Well, the issue – my first year, we had Patrick Patterson and a couple veterans; the second year we had Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins and some freshmen – Josh Harrelson, who hadn’t played the year before. The next year we had Terrence (Jones), Doron (Lamb) and Darius … we had three really good veterans who were the heart of the team,” Calipari sid.

“This is a freshman team. Willie (Cauley-Stein) played behind Nerlens (Noel) until Nerlens got hurt (last year) and then wasn’t able to – OK? And then you’ve got Alex (Poythress), who’s still coming and going. You know, he’s not like the guy. And so we’re doing it with basically all freshmen.

“I’ve never done this before, and one of the things I’m trying to tell them, but it’s also me: What got you here, won’t get you there. In other words, all the stuff you did to get you where you are, at Kentucky, that stuff’s not going to work now, because they’re just as big as you, just as quick as you, they’re just as long and they’re just as skilled.

“Now, what are you going to do to help you get where you’re going? Well, the same with me. What got me the Kentucky job is not playing all freshmen and doing what we’re doing right now. So I’m having to change and do different things. And that’s what I’m trying to do, and I’m trying to learn, and learn about my team as we go.”

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3 comments

  1. Phillip Barker

    We often now hear what a great job Cal does in marketing the Kentucky program but little about what a top flight executive he has become…the best in his field. The constant reassessing, analyzing, changing and risking failure are evident in his passion to succeed. As the song says, “nobody does it better.”

  2. Little Baron

    Well said, Phillip…
    “The constant reassessing, analyzing, changing and risking failure are evident in his passion to succeed…”

    Calipari is in a league of his own. He’s not perfect… & never claims to be… always experimenting & learning. There’s just no anybody close to the level where Calipari operates. And… it breeds jealousy… Coaches, Media, NCAA committees, SEC committees, opposing fans & even some of our own fans who still refuse to acknowledge that UK + Calipari is the formula that sets is back at the highest level of recognition & (potential) success since Rupp.

  3. King Ghidora

    Exactly right Little Baron. When Cal got the vote as the coach that cheats the most in America a while back it was really a vote for “the guy we would most like to bring down”. He won the championship that year. Ain’t it funny how UNC got nailed fixing grades and even giving out grades for classes that never existed and people never talk about how dirty they are. Where’s the poll now about who cheats the most? Instead the media sweeps it under the rug and the NCAA turns a blind eye after punishing their football team for the exact same scandal. But they claimed it was in internal matter for the basketball team. The hypocrisy is astounding. And the fact they’re all so anxious to bring down Cal just proves how great he really is. Even John Wooden, who’s teams were bankrolled by a wealthy car dealership owner, is “never” listed as someone dirty by the press. When he died there wasn’t a single word published about how much he cheated. Not a word. But every fan of a wannabe program hates Cal with a passion. I couldn’t count the accusations about him paying players that I’ve seen or how he’s ruining the game with the one and done system. Never mind that there has been zero evidence of pay offs and the NCAA invented the one and done system and that every college program tries to get those great one and done players. Cal gets them so the only excuse is he cheats. Yeah, in their dreams.

    Success breeds envy and that’s the bottom line. I wouldn’t trade Cal for any coach in America.

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