Tag: John Calipari

Labissiere makes it official — he will not be back at Kentucky

Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s basketball freshman forward Skal Labissiere has declared for the 2016 NBA Draft, he announced Tuesday. Labissiere plans to sign with an agent, which would effectively end his career at UK.

Labissiere will forego his future eligibility and enter his name in the upcoming NBA Draft, to be held June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“I want to thank my family, my coaches, teammates and most importantly I want to thank God for the opportunity that he gave me to represent and play for the University of Kentucky,” Labissiere said. “I also want to thank the fans for their support through everything this season. I am excited to announce that I am entering the 2016 NBA Draft.”

Calipari: “We became a team that physically didn’t have it, yet still became a pretty good defensive team”

Q. John, can you talk about the progress this team made from day one to right now, because clearly obviously winning the SEC Tournament, you’re playing your best basketball of the year, and as you said, probably didn’t play your best basketball today. But talk about your team and its progress?
JOHN CALIPARI: Here is what I would say, we knew — I didn’t think it would be shooting, but we knew if a couple of players didn’t give us great efforts we would struggle to win. I knew that before the game. If they struggled, we’re not going to — each level you go in this thing you’re going to have a team full of the guys performing.

Calipari admits Thomas Bryant was better than he thought

Q. Cal, Thomas Bryant had 15 of his 19 points in the last 7:32 including 10 in the last 5 minutes. How difficult was he for you guys to stop? Did he do anything differently than you’d seen on tape?
JOHN CALIPARI: Let me say this: I spent a lot of time recruiting him. He was right down the street from us and the biggest thing I want to tell you is his family should be proud of how much better he’s gotten. Tom and the staff have gotten a kid that I really liked, I thought was really good. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t realize he was that good.

Tom Crean on John Calipari: “He has been good to me for a long time.”.

Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

Q. Given the anticipation of this game, the high-level of two programs, do you think that this game tomorrow will have any momentum toward renewing this rivalry and where do you think that stands?
TOM CREAN: I think that games can always come back. Right now where we sit it’s very hard for us, with what we have with the Crossroads Classic and the ACC challenge pulls into that. We’ve got to have a certain amount of home games. We’re going to do a neutral sight with Louisville and I don’t think anybody has ever closed the door on the series and certainly it’s not open right now with anything that makes a lot of sense, but hopefully some day it will.

Calipari on Pitino: “Sometimes you’ve got to rub elbows, sometimes you’ve got to throw elbows, but I respect him”

Kentucky had its media opportunity today in Des Moines, Iowa, before playing Stony Brook Thursday night in the NCAA Tournament

Here’s a couple of things John Calipari said not related directly to the game:

Q. Cal, when Rick Pitino was on ESPN yesterday he made some, what sounded like criticisms of Kentucky in the way that you recruit and I’m wondering if you have a response to that?
JOHN CALIPARI: I would really rather not respond. I don’t know exactly what you’re talking about. They run a terrific program. He’s a terrific coach. He is a Hall of Famer. We’re in the same state. Sometimes you’ve got to rub elbows, sometimes you’ve got to throw elbows, but I respect him.

Calipari wants all players to have same defensive bounce as Tyler Ulis

Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky’s defense had some issues in SEC Tournament wins over Georgia and Texas A&M. However, Kentucky coach John Calipari said part of it was that both teams made some “ridiculously tough” shots.

“You gotta accept it if you did their job and they hit it. We broke down about four times, maybe five, and it was basically the same couple guys that just broke down. Like, ‘It was you again. It was you again. It was you again,'” Calipari said.

Did Calipari hugging Matthews send message to Briscoe?

Isaiah Briscoe (Vicky Graff Photo)

Isaiah Briscoe (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

NASHVILLE — Did John Calipari hug and embrace Charles Matthews during Kentucky’s win over Georgia here Saturday because he was happy with Matthews’ play or was it more about sending a message to Isaiah Briscoe on the bench about what he had not been doing.

“I was happy for Charles. He’s been struggling, and I’m trying to get him to understand the best version of him is unbelievable defender, sprint the court, slash for baskets, offensive rebound, rebound defensively, and fly. That’s the best version of him,” Calipari said.

Calipari comfortable about his team

Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

NASHVILLE — Kentucky coach John Calipari said “nothing keeps me up at night” when it comes to his team going into postseason play that starts tonight against Alabama in the SEC Tournament.

“I’m feeling comfortable about my team. I like that they’re being empowered. My message will be real simple for them and that’s one, be the best version of you. Just know what that looks like. We know it. We’ve defined it. You have too,” Calipari said.

Calipari: SEC tourney comes down to who is playing well

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky lost to five Southeastern Conference teams during the regular season — and all five are on the opposite side of the SEC Tournament bracket from UK.

“You have a lot of teams that are playing well right now, whether they’re on our side or the other side or whatever you want to say. There are a lot of teams that are playing well right now,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

UK will face the winner of Thursday’s Mississippi-Alabama game on Friday night in Nashville.

Cats have to find ways to build own confidence

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky goes into Southeastern Conference play with more confidence than it probably has had since early November.

“They gotta understand, their confidence comes from within, not exterior. It’s not someone else that builds your confidence and it’s not someone else that takes your confidence away,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

“By working hard — what a coach can do is drive them to do more than they think they can do to push them so they look at themselves and say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know I could do this. Man, this is making me better. I love this.’ And you can be hard on them; you can challenge them. You can be tough. That helps them build their own confidence.”