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John Calipari on how coronavirus can bring his team closer together

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Next week, the Kentucky Basketball team is expected to arrive on campus for voluntary workouts, and although the training sessions will be very different due to the coronavirus pandemic, John Calipari believes they could help this very green group gel even faster than usual.

On this morning’s “Coffee With Cal,” Cal said he hopes the extra precautions the staff and players will take to prevent the spread of the virus will lead to a heightened sense of responsibility and cohesion in the group, or, in Cal-speak, more brother-keeping.

“I’m looking at this, the one thing I know, these players, and I’m including football, need to be responsible to each other that, you’re going to have to absolutely think more of your teammate than yourself in this, be self-disciplined and understand one guy doing something dumb, quote leaving ‘the bubble,’ why’d you do it? You understand what you just did to all of us and then, holding each other accountable, all those things.”

What about the timeline? UK has yet to release its full plans for the fall, but a popular approach other universities are taking is sending students home at Thanksgiving to finish the rest of the semester online. If that happens, the basketball team would stay on campus by themselves to play games, which Calipari said could help them form “unbelievable” chemistry like his UMass teams, who stayed on campus in December and January while the rest of the student body was at home.

“Many schools might do this and I want to kind of equate it to what happened when I was at UMass. They’ll have us go to Thanksgiving and then not come back until the following [semester] hoping it gives more time because they think — my thing would be, if they do it, when I was at UMass, we had like 50 days in between the first and second term and the reason was, the winter, they did not want to use the dorms so they tried to get all the way into February before the students would come back. So all of December and January, there was no one. I used to be so mad and you find out, wait a minute, I’ve got 45, 50 days — back then, you didn’t have days off, you didn’t have time, all the stuff we have now — but you had time to bring your team together because it was only us and they became unbelievable teams.”

Leave it to Cal to find a silver lining.

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