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John Calipari: “We’re a team that is behind”


Kentucky coach John Calipari said freshman Aaron and Andrew Harrison “are trying” to do what he wants but still have a “ways to go” with their execution and body language.

“But it’s not just those two. Julius (Randle) has got a ways to go. When you rebound, stick, rebound, bang, and then they say, ‘Man, he played hard,’ but then you’ve got to watch defensively, you’ve got to watch running the floor,” Calipari said. “Alex (Poythress) has gotten better, but got a ways to go. I mean, we’re a team that is behind – Dominique (Hawkins) is probably closest to what we’re looking for of anybody on the team, but it’s not where we need to be right now.”

Calipari said players have to know where other players are on the court to become a special team.

“If you don’t know where everybody is and if people aren’t talking, you’re not comfortable, you kind of get … you go back because you’re afraid to go out, because you don’t know if people have your back,” the UK coach said. “That’s where we are a little bit right now to. So, look, there’s a lot of fronts that we’ve got to work on. We’ve got to work more on the press. But the whole point comes back to your effort, if you want to know, again, what’s success, it’s just ‘I’m giving my best, I’m doing my best.’

“You have to feel good about that. If you’re not doing your best, if you’re standing around, if you stop playing … for most of these kids, they were always bigger and stronger and longer and faster, you didn’t have to outwork the other guy. If a team’s effort level is far beyond yours, it will smash a talented group. Just will. A less talented team that just fights like crazy will beat the tale tend team. So we just – my job right now is to get these guys to understand how hard they gotta play, what it’s gotta look like, and we’re just not there.”

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  1. Kokamo Joe

    When a team is made up primarily of freshmen you can expect to be behind in the early season. As fans we should not sweat that. While the schedule is rather soft, it does have enough completion to sharpen our players. At the same time the softies can give the young Cats ample opportunities to feel the excitement of success.

    Calipari is a master propagandist. He is sending public messages to our players and at the same time he is laying the ground work for understanding if an unexpected loss or two occurs along the road to the NCAA tournament.

    By tournament time the Cats will be at the top of their game.

  2. TheProfessor

    This UK team will not be an underdog for the remainder of the regular season, or in the SEC Tournament.

    Saying the team is behind now is another way of saying that the team has a high ceiling for growth, and it does. No worries from where I watch based on what I have seen through 5 games.

    1. Little Baron

      This is a powerful statement!
      The Professor says: “This UK team will not be an underdog for the remainder of the regular season, or in the SEC Tournament.”

      … and it’s so true! After tying Mich St in the closing moments of just our 3rd game of the season, inspite of a frustrating display of A/TO ratio, FT % & 3 Pt %, I thought we had the potential to go 39-1. This team is light years ahead of nearly every team talent-wise and will be nearly invincible after Calipari develops them individually & revamps them into being a team-1st & team-everything mentality. #9, here we come!

  3. King Ghidora

    I heard Rupp get down on Issel when he played. This is nothing new for coaches. If Cal doesn’t push his players to get better they probably won’t get better or at least they won’t get good enough. They need to be playing harder in March to win it all. Yes there’s time but they have to make progress.

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