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Mays said Kentucky had “too much of fighting coaching” to succeed


What went wrong for Kentucky this season? How did a program that lost only 14 games the previous three years lose 12 this season? How did a program that won 102 games the three previous years and made consecutive Final Four appearances lose in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris? How did John Calipari, who had seven straight seasons of 29 or more wins, lose control of this team?

“I think it was a little too much of fighting coaching,” senior guard Julius Mays, who transferred to UK this season in hopes of playing for a national title, said after Tuesday’s season-ending loss. “Sometimes I think guys think they know more than what the coach knows but that’s part of being young. You come from being that guy and you basically did what you wanted on that team and you’re asking to come into a system and be coached by a great coach, but it still takes guys longer to overcome thinking they know more than the coach knows.

“When you’ve got guys fighting coaching it’s hard for it to come together. I was young once and a coach told me something and I heard it but it in one ear and out the other. It takes time.”

Mays said the loss to Robert Morris was like what happened way too often all season.

“It was the same things that happened all year. No fight, no toughness. Soft, just playing scared, not thinking about the team, just thinking about ourselves,” Mays said. “It is the same thing that happened all year. You would like to change it, but it’s just maturity. I think these guys have more years of college so they can learn now to fight and how to be coached and learn how to be more tougher.”

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  1. TrueBlueJohn

    Bingo!!!!! Mays hit it square on the head. I think Cal said several time in the season that he was having to coach “effort”. I hope the new guys coming in have better motors than this group (Noel and Cauley-Stein excluded).

    1. Juan4UK

      I agree to an extent. People give Archie grief. But Archie cared, and Archie busted his butt even though he was out of control and lost at times. These are typical freshmen traits. But I think Cal really did a good job of laying it out to the fanbase about Archie. I have no doubts that Archie wanted to be a good teammate. Bad habits are really hard to break and I will defend Archie til the last. Frustrating to the extreme a lot of times, but the kid cares. He is just young. I guarantee that Archie will be fine next yr. He will learn to control himself by the start of next season because I believe that he wants to learn, and he wants to do good for the team.

      1. Karen Sprinkle

        I agree about Archie. Most of his errors were errors of commission, rather than errors of omission. In other words, because some of his teammates were not doing their jobs, he tried to do too much, and sometimes not in the smartest way. I do not believe Archie is selfish at all, but did not trust his teammates to do what they were supposed to do and tried to do it all.
        I look forward to seeing his progress next year.

  2. Ira

    Fans were saying it all year long, he just verified it.

  3. Juan4UK

    I think, and I’m fine now after the Randle commit, that I feel the worse for Julius Mays. The guy came here, thinking he would come in as a support player to add depth and maturity. Then end his college career with at least a decent run in the NCAA Tournament. With no doubt have some good success along the way. His last chance to get to the NCAA Tournament. and this is what happened. I for one really appreciate everything Mays brought to the team. If not for him, we could have easily added 3,4, or 5 more losses this year.

  4. Mike

    Hard to find any disagreement here. Mays was inside and up close and personal on this. We all suspected this but was kept rather quiet during the season for understandable reasons. Why would Cal want to bring any of these offenders back to disrupt the warriors coming in??

  5. King Ghidora

    Mike I think he can bench those bad attitudes until they learn something next year or get rid of them mid-season just to make a point. I look back at what he did for Liggins and Harrellson and think he could do that again. Both of those guys had trouble listening at first. Liggins wasn’t indispensable as a player. When you only have 7 guys that can play at all then it’s hard to bench someone for multiple games until they understand who the boss is. Harrellson was almost kicked off the team IMO even though Kanter wasn’t on the team yet. During that time he learned he better play hard or he’d get a bus ticket home. This season no one had to worry about that because the team couldn’t afford to lose anyone. The loss of Noel proved that was true. And after he was gone they may not have been able to put a team on the floor that could compete at all. It was bad enough as it was. Playing with the end of the bench guys would have been ugly, ugly and the whole team knew it. So certain players figured I’ll work on my highlight reel because that’s really all that matters. But the pros aren’t colleges looking to take anyone halfway good. They take only the best. Those guys would have done themselves a huge favor listening and playing like Cal said to play. Instead they were their own coach. I saw attitudes like that in jr. high. You expect it in jr. high. You don’t at UK. Well not since Cal came to town anyway.

  6. ukcrazycat

    It seems that Cal held Harrow back too much this year. He is a scorer and every game he tried to, UK won.

  7. Indiana Tom

    ukcrazycat you are more than crazy. I will stop at that.

  8. LindaS

    Isn’t that interesting, seems we all had an idea something smelled in Denmark. So what I want to know, did they get along?

  9. SoCalUKfan

    Well . . . . at least it’s good to hear from the horse’s mouth what everyone suspected all year. Looking forward to seeing what next year brings.

  10. gene T

    Cal didn’ t hold Harrow back, he held himself back. I really don’t think he will be back next year. He is too soft and just isn’t a fit for UK

  11. Larry Willis

    Ryan seems to be a great kid with the burden of the world on his shoulders. He wears his heart on his sleeve and catches some criticism for it. I don’t know where he will fit into next year’s group, if at all. If he should decide to transfer, it should be to a smaller school so he won’t have to lose another year. Come to think of it, defending national champ Georgetown College would be an excellent fit. He would be a star there, something he deserves.

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