Kentucky’s humbling start to the season has forced John Calipari to go back to basics. In his press conference this afternoon, Calipari once again accepted the blame for the Cats’ poor performance vs. Duke, telling reporters he thought this group was way ahead of where they actually are.
“We went too far and tried to do too much and didn’t really get established in what we wanted to be. So hopefully when you watch us, you’ll see a little different team and you’ll say, ‘Oh, okay, I get it.’ And that’s not their fault; that was me. Maybe I was trying to get ready for a game that was important and move them too far. So now, all the stuff that makes us who we are, we didn’t do any of it. So we’ve kind of gone back and said let’s just get that stuff down.”
“We went beyond all the little things that will make you good. Anytime I think these kids know something, more than likely I’m making a mistake, and that’s just about every team I’ve coached here.”
That realization has resulted in some “old school” Calipari practices with a focus on fundamentals like staying down in a stance and conditioning.
“[We’re] taking it back a step. Little bit of old school. Some of my practices from the past. Still a lot of teaching and stuff you’d think they know but they don’t. And that’s okay. That’s normal here.”
Now in his tenth season at Kentucky, Calipari is used to the “one step forward, two steps back” pattern with young teams…even those with a few veterans.
“I’ve done this more than once,” Cal added. “I’ve moved it and thought we were fine until we got smacked and you realize, uh oh, we really don’t even know how to get open. ‘Well, they should.’ But they don’t. Stuff that we should know. But it’s not their fault. They’re going to do what I accept they’ll do.”