John Calipari has referred to his team as one of the most over-analyzed in the history of sports. That’s going to happen when you consistently bring in the top recruiting classes in college basketball to the winningest program in the sport.
He knows he has a young team and it takes time for them to adjust to playing for the team instead of themselves. It’s February, and Kentucky is still going through that. After a 69-59 win at Mississippi State, Calipari brought out an all-time great line.
“It may not happen this year. It may not happen,” Calipari said, referencing the team growing together. “They’re 18- and 19-year olds playing against 22- and 23-year olds. In their whole lives, they were told they poop ice cream. So everything is based on how they were or how they played. We’re changing it slowly.
“You think these are the only freshmen that are this way? Every freshman is this way. Every freshman I’ve coached here has been this way. My other teams had veteran guys that could kind of push that along, and this team doesn’t. But again, were moseying along, trying to get better. There’s going to be some games we’re going to play coming up where we’re going to have to play better than this, or we’re not winning.”
Calipari opened his post-game press conference crediting second-year MSU basketball coach Rick Ray, saying the Bulldogs show the signs of a great coach.
“They were shorthanded, his point guard’s out with the flu and they have a chance to beat us,” Calipari said. “They’re 3-1 in this building, had Florida down in the second half. They’re undermanned. He’s trying to play seven guys, they have foul trouble in the first half, and they have a chance to beat us.
“I told him, what he did at our place and here, I’m very impressed with his ability to coach, to feel the game, to go to zone when he needs to and trap. I love the fact his teams fight. That’s all I want to see. When I’m watching a coach, I want to see how hard his team plays.”