After Kentucky’s loss to Missouri, John Calipari spent the rest of the weekend watching tape and trying to figure out ways to help this squad. Judging by his comments today, he had a bit of a revelation. Maybe even an epiphany.
“Yesterday was kind of refreshing and exciting for me because I said, ‘Alright, stop. This is what I’m seeing.’ What we emphasize and the way they were trying to do kind of makes you look different.”
Is this, dare we say, another tweak?
“An adjustment,” Calipari clarified. “I’m not ready to say tweak yet, but it’s an adjustment.”
An adjustment of attitudes, it seems.
“The biggest thing is, you cannot, as a coach, enable them to create excuses for their performance,” Calipari said, adding later, “You know most of it, truthfully, with these guys? To get them to think the right way is a struggle because the first thing, if you’re not playing well, ‘I am not taking responsibility. That is not because of me, it’s because of you, it’s because of him, it’s because of them. It’s because of something, it’s the weather, it was the food. It was not me. It wasn’t, I don’t care what you saw, it wasn’t me.’ That’s hard for young guys to come in and say, ‘I’ve gotta own this.'”
Calipari reminded reporters that last year’s team struggled as well during this part of the season, losing three out of four in late January and early February before making the turn towards March.
“We went through this last year. Last year at this time, we lost to Tennessee by 20 down there, lose to Kansas at home. Georgia should have beaten us, we win by one. Should have lost that game, no question. Go to Florida and we get beat by 25, 20, whatever it was. And we then, it gives you a chance to evaluate, what are we doing and what can we do a little different and what do they have to do and what are they learning?”
Is this group capable of a similar turnaround?
“It wasn’t in one day last year. We did some things and made us play a little different, made them think about things and it took the next two weeks for us to take off. I’m not saying this happens overnight, but I like where we are.”