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VIDEO: John Calipari tees off on his team after 30-point loss at Tennessee

Feb 17, 2013, 9:48 AM EDT

john-calipari AP

The game started with John Calipari trying to make a statement, as Jarrod Polson started at the point over Ryan Harrow.

But that didn’t make much of a difference for the Wildcats, as Kentucky found themselves down 33-12 just 11 minutes into the first half en route to an embarrassing, 88-58 loss at Tennessee on national television on Saturday afternoon. Things were so bad that CBS actually cut away from the game early in the second half in order to air a Pitt-Marquette game where the Golden Eagles had a 15 point lead at the time.

And, as you might imagine, Coach Cal was not to pleased with the performance, as he ripped his team in the press conference after the game:

“They deserved to beat us by 50 today,” Calipari said. “They played harder, they played rougher, they competed better, they were stronger with the ball. We just had passive guys that did not want to make plays, tentative, and that means you’re going to have a 50-point bulge.”


“They were awful in practice. I [saw this coming]. Yesterday was the worst practice in four years and I think it was because guys were a little bit (makes shell-shocked expression). That’s what I believe. It makes you anxious, tires you out, doesn’t give you energy, you’re worried that, ‘Uh oh, I’ve got to step up and I’m not sure I have it in me.’ We all believe. We look at it and say we do have it but you’re going to have to practice that way, prepare that way and cover for each other.”


“We talked about it, but we’ve got a couple of guys that are basically not real coachable. You tell them over and over and over what you want them to do, what we have to do, and they do their own thing. That’s where we are. When they realize if we don’t do this all together we’re going to have many more of these, then (it will) change. I’ve got to do my thing – what’s our schemes offensively and defensively? – but we can’t go out there and fight for them. We can’t battle. We can’t beat them to 50-50 balls as a staff.”


“We’re leaving every timeout, ‘This is what you must do, boom, boom, boom,’ and the guy comes out and does the opposite three things. We had a guy exhausted in practice yesterday 30 minutes in. It’s the middle of February. You cannot be tired. Well you’re tired when you’re a little bit shook. You’re scared. You’re anxious. It wears you out. We’ve got some growing up to do.”


“If they weren’t embarrassed by this, to come to me and say, ‘Tell us whatever you want, we’re going to listen to you,’ then they shouldn’t be at Kentucky.”

  1. tincansailor981 - Feb 17, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Doesn’t matter, he’ll just go out and buy some more players next season. They’ll be back.

  2. cranespy - Feb 17, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    When will BBN realize that Cal is unparalleled as a recruiter but only AVERAGE as a coach. When will they understand that he is ALL IN on recruiting one and doners because if they can play together they can win it all. That’s his definition of a PROGRAM. The problem is….what if it doesn’t work….”they don’t expect me to actually coach do they??”. Just look at the let of NBAers he h assembled at UK…..and only one title….number 2 isn’t coming anytime soon…..e en if NN had not gone down they were on track for a second round ticket home. The saving grace for Cal now is that they are bound for the NIT with NO expectations around their neck. Can you imagine an early exit from the NIT WITH NN?

    • knicksukcats - Feb 18, 2013 at 7:57 AM

      Dude when are you gonna come up with some new material? Bad thing is that I did not even read your whole post. I just knew what your first line would be. Your lame as hell with the “Cal can’t coach” nonsense. You say it in every post yet I never seen your ignorant a$$ last year when he won the championship. You are just another internet troll who has baseless comments that you can only voice in a forum. I unlike you never expected UK to be great this year due to lack of talent coming back, poor PG play and the ridiculous expectations that last years team left. That is a comment of substance.

      I will help you out for next year when UK is on a tear again. All your comments will be that Cal can’t coach, its only because he has all the talent, he just recruited the right players, etc… I am sure in your simple mind you will find more reasons as you maintain your status as a keyboard warrior with a shallow thought process.

      • mshelby1 - Feb 18, 2013 at 5:02 PM

        Saw Coach Cal step out on the court & take a minute during a TV Time-out to show BRANDON KNIGHT how to properly ‘box out’ another player. Coach Cal is a great coach. He’s a motivator. He’s pushing buttons trying to find something that works on these guys.

        trust me, every D1 coach worth anything totally gets what Cal is trying to do & having to do.

  3. florida727 - Feb 17, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    I’m a Florida fan, so I should be delighting in seeing them struggle… but I don’t. Kentucky being good is good for college basketball and good for the SEC. Personally, I’m not reading that much into this loss. Yeah, it’s bad, Tennessee isn’t exactly a basketball powerhouse these days, but I think Kentucky’s play yesterday is more a result of the hangover of losing their best player than it is anything else. I still think they’re dangerous. And, unfortunately for the rest of us, I think they’ll show that before the season is over. Hope we beat them in Lexington of course, but I have too much respect for them not to realize they’re far from being done. BTW, for those who want to “hate” on UK, better do it now. Next year’s recruiting class (from what I’ve heard) will make this one look bad by comparison.

  4. kevpft - Feb 17, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    So the hotheaded jerk is saying one (or more) of three things: 1) I picked the wrong guys to be on this team; 2) I have no ability to coach people who don’t do exactly as I say right away; 3) I am not adaptable to the circumstances I am presented with, and unable to make competitive adjustments either before or during a game.

    And *this* guy is blaming it on the kids? You’re supposedly a top-flight coach, pal, and being paid accordingly. The accountability rests with you.

  5. brotherlove2012 - Feb 17, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Last year team was special, in more way than one.This team looked good on paper, but it has no chemistry whatsoever, and most of all it lacks “character” players. Cal sounded like a desperate coach trying to salvage a very average season. He should be careful though, you can lose a team very quickly with those kind of comments.

  6. bartlettruss - Feb 17, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Welcome to the John Calipari we Memphis fans lived with. Eventually he’ll blame the UK fans when they get tired of his nonsense. When fans here complained he nicknamed them “the Miserables”. He kept calling Memphis fans that after he left town with our entire recruiting class…

  7. bobskallen - Feb 17, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Kentucky lost their top six scorers to the NBA and their best player to injury. Show me any team in college basketball this year that would have been good if that had happened to them.

    • jthammerstix - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      It happens by design. You can’t use that as an excuse when this is exactly what cal wants.

  8. kansacity88 - Feb 17, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    I’m not a Kentucky fan but I will say this: Not ALL highly ranked freshmen will be able to come in and do what AT did. Dude….they’re FRESHMAN!! You’re gonna have growing pains! They’re gonna lose games like that from time to time. I don’t know what kinda coach Cal is because I watch HORRIBLE college basketball at my alma mater (Northern Illinois University) so I am used to seeing 30 point blowouts at the hands of the opponents. Again, they’re freshmen…and to be honest, they’re probably gonna wanna go 1-on-1 whenever they get the ball because they are on national tv. I understand that they need to follow the scheme and all but SOME (if not most) highly ranked freshmen are still gonna get jitters when you play for such a program steeped in tradition like Kentucky! HELL, I know I would! Again, not a Kentucky fan and I have nothing against them personally but every top ranked kid you get WILL NOT come in and dominate like the guys did last year. Sorry, but that’s just how it is, plain and simple! Now NEXT YEAR……you may see a huge difference!

  9. cranespy - Feb 17, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    Even with NN Kentucky was a good team…..not great….just good. Last years team..totally different. They had the swagger but they backed it up by playing as a team…..they are the only crop that Cal has assembled in Lexington that lived UP to expectations.

    1 Cal is the VERY BEST recruiter out there….2 He is only average as a coach ( check out his all time record vs Bob Huggins)…..3 BBN will soon tire of the revolving door of Blue Chippers who are only there because they are barred from the NBA for one year. When it works as it did last year it is a thing of beauty……when it doesn’t its ugly…..Cal’s not the coach who can help them improve as a team for a dominating run a year or two down the road…’s NOW or else….I am NOT a UK hater I am merely saying this approach is high risk/high reward and I believe BBN will soon tire of it unless he can win another title sooner rather than later. Now as for that ESPN behind the scenes look at UK hoops….bet Cal doesn’t allow that again……talk about raising expectations for a bunch of freshmen.

  10. cranespy - Feb 18, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Resorting to juvenile characterizations tends to discredit your astute observation regarding point guard play and ridiculous expectations. I cited the access that Cal allowed at the beginning of the season as evidence of that very point. Having this years crop of freshmen make their first appearance at Rupp part of a tv special obviously contributed to creating unrealistic expectations. Last years team was one of the best college bb has seen in some time. Far superior to the John Wall led group as well as Lambs group that followed. While your lack of tolerance for any opinion that is not in line with yours is obvious…..I am using the forum as intended to comment on the topic at hand. While you may not agree…I stick with my other two points, 1 that I believe many UK fans will tire of the approach that Cal is using….basically bringing in a new core every year UNLESS it results in additional Championships in the near future. My second point is like the first an OPINION…..I personally do not believe that Cal is that great a coach. I base it on multiple factors over his career not just his time spent in Lexington. Facts are he didn’t win it all at UMass nor at Memphis…..he has ushered a long list of players to the NBA but until that juggernaut last year he had never cut down the nets on Monday night in April. I believe his strengths are obvious, recruiting and running an offense that affords players ample opportunity to show their potential at the next level. He has a long history of getting extremely frustrated with players that do not buy in to his approach. While some coaches MAY be able to take the current crop and bring them together as a team a year or two down the road….Cal does not embrace that type of program. He is all in on one and done and even though I personally do not like that type of high risk/high reward approach…..folks in BBN obviously do. Time will tell how long it lasts.

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