Connect with us

Men's Basketball

Recapping John Calipari’s Interview With Paul Finebaum

Published

on

UK Athletics

On Tuesday, John Calipari made gave his latest interview. This with Paul Finebaum during SEC meetings in Destin.

Let’s see what all he had to say.

What is the state of your program?

“We were the fifth-seeded team in that tournament and lost. I’m still sick over it. Jacob is coming back, Oscar is coming. I mean we got a team. (goes on to list the remainder of the roster)…

Advertisement

We got a terrific group. It’s Kentucky, we play for the national championship. My thing always is, you want to be in the hunt. We were in the hunt last year. Two years ago, when we win our league by three games, they shut down the tournament. That team could’ve won the whole thing. You want to be in the hunt, and I am looking at this team, and we have a chance. We really do.”

How do you deal with it (the loss to St. Peters)?

“There’s some grieving. I have never had a team lose to a seed like that, but they weren’t a 15 seed, Saint Peters was really good. We had never done that, so I had to deal with that. Like okay, ‘where do you go?’ You look back, ‘what could we have done?’

We weren’t great the last five games. Guys didn’t come back the way I thought they would. If we lose, who is taking responsibility? I will. If we win, I push those kids to the front and move to the back a little bit. I’m going to figure out a way to put this on me because I don’t want it on the kids. I’d rather it be on me, I am the adult in the room.

These young people gave everything they could to the university. We were like 3rd in the country (in the NET), 2nd on offense, and all that stuff. That team was exciting. I loved coaching last year’s team, had a ball. You know what? That last game, really the last couple of games, we just weren’t what we were two or three weeks earlier. I thought the injuries would help us, get more guys and we’d bounce back. I don’t think TyTy ever got healthy. Played Kellan too many minutes.

Advertisement

You know what? At the end of the day, you can’t steal the joy of that season. The last game, you got to go through it, you got to deal with it. Then I got to lead by showing our guys ‘okay now next, here we go’. They’re coming on campus the next couple of days. We’re getting ready for this coming year to go do what we do.”

What has kept you at Kentucky?

“I think I got the best job in basketball, and I believe that. Yeah, I’ve had some opportunities to look or leave, and you know what? At the end of the day, you look at this situation, we have the chance to win it every year.

Mitch and I are meeting because it’s unacceptable if we’re not the gold standard in facilities and everything else. It’s not acceptable if midnight madness isn’t something talked about for a month. We need the campout going again.

Here’s what I say. See basketball is different than football. In football, you need the calvary. In basketball one guy can make a difference in winning the whole thing or getting to the Final Four, one guy. To have everything the gold standard, we’ve always been that. We slipped a little bit in some of the facilities. Now I’m not saying our facilities are bad, they’re not bad, they’re just not the gold standard.

Advertisement

Mitch and I are going to sit down and talk ‘okay, what’s the path?’. How do we get that going to where anybody that walks on our campus and sees any facilities, knows, ‘Wow, look at this’? We’re going to get there. Like I said, he and I are going to sit down and talk about it, but again what we do, the big picture, is getting kids to that next level by developing young people.”

How have you adapted to change and continue to relate to these players?

“What’s next and how can we be first at it? What’s out there? What are we allowed to do? (referring to NIL) If you truly care about the kids and are authentic about it, you’ll always be able to go on because they’ll know you’re about them. Jacob ran his course, did his thing, and is coming back. He will be unbelievable. He will be a first-round pick.

You have Shaedon Sharpe right now going through this process. A great kid, who I love, who came to us in the middle of last season, and had every intention of ‘I’m sitting out, and I’m playing next year, and I am going to lead us and we’re going to go do something crazy’. Well, circumstances change. Now for me, I want to coach the kid. I want him back at Kentucky, but if he is a top-10 pick, and he’s your son. I mean it’s a hard one… I just don’t want our kids to be mad at him for doing something he probably has to do (if he’s a top-10 pick).”

How do you deal with all the noise?

“Social media has amped the stuff up and sometimes it’s a ‘follow the leader type of deal’. At the end of the day, being at Kentucky, you have the greatest fans. The other side of it is they’re activated and they’re into it. They’re watching everything and losing is life and death. When you’re winning, there is nothing more euphoric.

Advertisement

I can remember us driving from the airport after winning the national title, and people from the nursing home are in wheelchairs and on the street waving. I’m like, ‘are you serious?’. I got emotional because this is what it means to all the people in our state.

I’ve done this for a long time. The bullets are shot through bazooka holes. The greatest job, the greatest opportunity, we got to make everything the gold standard, which is what it’s been. You know what? Let’s go on and do some crazy stuff, which we have a chance to do.”

You can listen to the interview in its entirety here starting at the 12:50 mark.

Advertisement

Men's Basketball

Future Hall of Fame Coach Says Tyrese Maxey “Is the Most Impressive Young Player I’ve Ever Had”

Published

on

NBA/Philadelphia 76ers

The 2019-2020 Kentucky’s men’s basketball team will be a team that fans will ask “what if”.

Featuring four players averaging double-figure points, the team consisted of the SEC Player of the Year (Immanuel Quickley) and three total All-SEC selections (Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, Tyrese Maxey), winning the SEC regular season championship by three games.

While that team did lose to Evansville at Rupp Arena in November, they were clearly playing their best basketball in March and could have contended for a national title before all postseason tournaments were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advertisement

While that team couldn’t show out in the NCAA tournament, Quickley and Maxey have both impressed and proven they belong in the NBA. In fact, NBA championship-winning and future hall of fame coach, Doc Rivers, called Maxey the most impressive young player he has ever coached while on The VC Show with Vince Carter.

“He’s the most impressive young player I’ve ever had in 21 years of coaching. So that’s how impressive he is. His work ethic, Vince, is beyond belief. I mean many times, already this summer at least two or three times, we’ve had to tell him to go sit down somewhere and go relax. He works with Sam Cassell and my son Spencer as they’re skill development coaches and he called Spencer two weeks ago because, like I guess like Ros (Gold-Onwude), he went on the vacation. The difference Ros is this is the first vacation he’s ever been on in his life is what he told us and I was like, ‘Wait, what?‘ he said ‘No, I’ve never been on vacation’ and he asked Spencer, ‘What do you do on vacation?’ True question like ‘What do you do on vacation?’ And Spence was like, ‘You relax.’ And he’s like, ‘For how long? For how many days? I mean, we’re going through a week. I can’t relax for a week.‘”

That is high praise from such a respected coach but it is well deserved.

Last season, Maxey started 74 of the 75 games he was available for the 76ers, averaging 17.5 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.2 rebounds on 42.7 percent from three, the third-best mark in the NBA.

Next season, Maxey will look to make an even larger jump and make it past the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time in his young career. With three other NBA All-Stars on his team (Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tobias Harris) the talent is there to do it.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Men's Basketball

Jacob Toppin and Oscar Tshiebwe Have Two Games Circled This Season

Published

on

UK Athletics

On Tuesday, the Kentucky men’s basketball team hosted an open practice in conjunction with a telethon to help those affected by the floods in eastern Kentucky. While there was some basketball shown and some basketball talk, it was secondary to the larger purpose.

However, despite the limited basketball talk, there were a few takeaways.

During the Q&A segment of the event, one fan asked the players who they were most looking forward to playing this upcoming season are there are plenty of options for them to choose from: Gonzaga, Michigan, Michigan State, Kansas, and UCLA.

Advertisement

Two players responded without hesitation, Jacob Toppin answered Louisville and Oscar Tshiebwe followed with Auburn.

Of course, last season’s matchup with Louisville was cancelled due to COVID protocols for Louisville, and the season before that (Toppin’s first season at UK), the Cardinals beat Kentucky. Therefore, it seems that Toppin wants to avenge that loss this season and with Louisville’s current roster, that will most likely happen.

As for Tshiebwe, it seems to be a case of avenging last season’s loss as well.

During last season’s matchup against Auburn, the Wildcats pulled out to an early double-digit lead, but ended up losing 80-71 after TyTy Washington went down with an ankle injury, and later Sahvir Wheeler with a concussion.

Advertisement

Following the Tigers’ win, their reaction was far from what would be expected of the then No. 2 team in the country, as they celebrated as if they had won the national championship.

While Toppin and Tshiebwe are awaiting the Auburn and Louisville games to avenge their losses, so is the Big Blue Nation.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Men's Basketball

Kentucky Basketball Raises $2.4 Million for Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief

Published

on

UK Athletics

On Tuesday, the Kentucky men’s basketball team hosted an open practice at Rupp Arena alongside a telethon hosted by Joe and Kelly Craft, LEX 18, and the American Red Cross to help raise money for eastern Kentucky flood relief.

The event was spearheaded by the men’s basketball players, notably Covington native CJ Fredrick, and was organized in less than 48 hours. In the end, the event raised $2,410,000, which will be going to the American Red Cross to benefit the immediate needs of Kentuckians impacted by the floods.

In addition to direct monetary donations, youth and adult “One Team Relief” tees (shown below) can be purchased for $25 at Kentucky Branded or directly through this

Continue Reading

Trending