After three losses in two weeks, John Calipari wants to you to know he’s not panicking about his team. In today’s press conference, Calipari said all of Kentucky’s issues in recent weeks can be fixed.
“My message today to them, if we defend and do some of the stuff we did and play, rebound and do some of that stuff, the other stuff is all fixable.”
Calipari said his team must limit turnovers, create more shots, and take more threes (15-18 attempts in hopes of making 6 or 7); if they do all of that and continue to defend like they did vs. Florida? He thinks they’ll be just fine. Above all, with the fanbase on edge, Calipari wants you to know he’s got this.
“Look, I’m the coach at Kentucky. This is what you deal with. I’m not shying away from it. It’s not overwhelming me. I’m not panicked. I will say every game we play, including Mississippi State, they are capable of beating us. Just how it is. We are also capable of winning, but they are capable of beating us every game here on out. The league is way tougher. I think our strength of schedule is 12th. I may be corrected on that because you could look at something else, but that’s what the NCAA goes by: 12th.”
“We are 14-5. I’m not panicked. I mean, I coach at Kentucky. I always have young guys. I don’t have them this young. They are really young. They are learning to trust each other. I’ve got to get them to trust each other on both sides of the ball and it may take more time. There have been years it has taken us to the end of February, and guess what? I woke up every morning, got ready to go, did my thing, coached my team and eventually they got it. I fully expect that from this team, but there are growing pains. This may be the youngest team in the history of the NCAA trying to do something unique and special. There have been teams this young and they’ve been like 3-25.”
With Seth Greenberg’s comments from last week about one-and-done players being spoiled and the media pouncing on Kentucky’s exit from the polls, Calipari also took the opportunity to stand up for his players.
“These are great kids. But, you know, I’m with them. I haven’t lost any faith in them. Individually or collectively. It’s just hard. And it’s harder than they thought it would be. To be honest, at the end of the year I forget how hard it is as you’re going through it. So, it’s hard on all of us. It’s just a tough deal.”