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  • John Calipari Summer Teleconference

    Opening statement …
    “Well, we just started but I think we’ve got a good group. I walk in my office one night and it’s about 10:30 and I look out the window and they’re all in there. Not playing; they’re just hanging out in the practice facility. In the morning or evenings you’ve got different guys working out; some on their own. We just started together yesterday. We’re going to do today and tomorrow together, and then a couple of days next week and a couple of days the following week. By that time we get ready for the Bahamas and we have a lot of practice time, so I’m not trying to kill them right now. But I’m trying to give them an idea of what – you know, and how we’re going to try and play with this group.”

    On the addition of Reid Travis and how playing at Kentucky benefits him …
    “Well, there’s a couple of things that happen when you come here. First of all the culture is about really spending time in this and really being trained, and then understanding that there’s competition. So you’re not just doing this yourself. You’re going against other guys that are as good as you, maybe better. So with him, you’ve got him and PJ (Washington) and we’ve got a couple of 7-footers that, you know, learn to play with these big guys; also learn and compete at the level every day and let’s see where this goes. I told him, movement. The league (NBA) is going to movement. The league is going to stretching out the court. Don’t get away from who you are. You’re a physically strong, long, active – that’s who you are, but let’s stretch this out. I think a lot of it is – like, in front of the team I said, ‘Reid, how are you going to be? You averaged 20 points and nine rebounds last year. What if you only average 14 points this year? Are you going to be alright with that?’ So this thing is different. This is about working and having competition every day. It’s about sacrificing. The last thing is you’ve got to trust this process and trust what we’re trying to do. I see him with the ability to lead because he’s a veteran even though he’s not been here.”

    On Travis’ recruitment process and how well he knows him …
    “Well, first of all I saw him in high school. I watched him play. We were recruiting players off that team and even looked at him like, ‘Why are we not recruiting him?’ That went, ‘Well, he’s either going to go here or there.’ So, I’ve known him that way, and again I haven’t watched him as closely being he’s on the West Coast, but I have an idea of what he is. This takes time, but you have to understand this is different thing here. Yesterday I taught a thing for the third time and then I got a little angry and I stopped them and said, ‘Guys, I don’t have time to teach the same thing three times. You’ve gotta be on this. You’ve gotta be alert.’ Every year we go through this – not just with Reid; with everybody. Right now we have five freshmen and Reid. I don’t know if you heard what I just said? Five freshmen and Reid. And we had five freshmen start last year. And did all of them put their names in the draft? I think four of them did. The turnover here is part of what we do. The trust level is what will dictate if this team becomes special and is the one team that you look at and say, ‘Wow.’ Or if we’re another 25, 26- win team that everybody says, ‘Ah, they’ve got a chance.’ But, that’s usually that trust is the key ingredient.”

    On feeling the pressure to win the national championship if his team starts the season No. 1 …
    “You mean me personally? I have that in me every year that I coach. I mean, I don’t know this to be a fact that if we are (ranked) No. 1 this will be my 10th year (at Kentucky) and I imagine six or seven of those years we’ve been ranked No. 1. Four of those years we’ve been to Final Fours. Probably eight of those years we’ve been to Elite Eights. It’s what this is here. We won the national title in 2012. Probably could have won a couple of more but didn’t. It is what it is. And these guys know it. We just took a train ride where – the reason I did it, initially, was because I wanted time with them and we did a lot of team building. Part of that was talking about the expectations that are always on this program and what they want this team to look like defensively. What do you want this team to look like offensively? (We) had them talk and communication so that they can say, ‘Alright, now we know where we are building.’ What we want to do. I said, I’d like to have six or seven guys in double-figures scoring. There’s no one who is going to average 25 a game. You might get 25 in a game, but we don’t play through two guys. Everybody here is treated the same way. The other thing I said is this isn’t communism. If you don’t deserve to play, you won’t play. If you do deserve to play, I’ll figure it out. What you’re talking about is more when we get into the process more than anything else of how we do this. The biggest thing I had to talk to them about is here’s what the culture of Kentucky is. It won’t carry you. You have to carry the culture. You have to take it to that next level. If you don’t move this culture, this culture means nothing. But, this is what we built the program on and around.”

    On Nick Richards and what he needs to do to improve on during his second season …
    “Well, he’s gotten way more comfortable, way more confident, way more physical. But he’s going to have to demonstrate performance in games so that he builds his own confidence. It’s not what I’m going to do or what I say. He’s gotta go do it. We’re working with him every day. I really, as I watch where the game is kind of going position-less, I want him to train as though he’s a guard. I want him to have those kinds of skills at the end of the day. Just like Reid. Just like PJ (Washington) and just like EJ (Montgomery). PJ and EJ. Oh my gosh, I’m going to struggle. I’m going to have to change names here. They all are being trained as though they’re guards, but I want them to finish like they’re bigs. I said to PJ and Reid, ‘You two are bulls. You two are so physical. You don’t want to get away from that, but undersized bullies don’t make it in that next level. You’ve got to have great movement. You’ve gotta be able to fly up and down the court. You better be able to space the court out. You don’t have to make them all out there. You just can’t miss them all out there.’ Those are the things we’re working on with all of these guys.”
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Doc's Avatar
      Doc -
      Quote Originally Posted by kingcat View Post
      OK, so we have Nick, EJ, PJ and Travis at guard so far.

      I get the feeling we know about as much on the make up of this team as Cal does currently.
      That is "positionless"
    1. kingcat's Avatar
      kingcat -
      Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
      That is "positionless"
    1. CitizenBBN's Avatar
      CitizenBBN -
      You two are so physical. You don’t want to get away from that, but undersized bullies don’t make it in that next level. You’ve got to have great movement. You’ve gotta be able to fly up and down the court. You better be able to space the court out.

      Man speaks the truth. Works at this level, but 6'6" guys who can't score outside 2 feet aren't big earners in the pros.
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