A Sea of Blue Roundtable: Going back, to change the future

What would you tell John Calipari if you could time travel back exactly one year? - Andy Lyons

It's your chance to change the fortunes of the 2013 Kentucky Wildcat basketball team. But there are stipulations.

Doc Brown has decided to cut you a break. He's going to lend you his DeLorian time machine and allow you to travel back in time one year, to April 19, 2012, and offer advice to Kentucky head coach John Calipari on how to best change the course of the 2013 season. Of course, there are a few caveats: You only get one trip, you can't ask/tell the coach to change his roster -- all the players have signed their LOIs -- and you only get 30 seconds to talk, face-to-face, with Cal.

That's the scenario I confronted A Sea of Blue and Wildcat Blue Nation writers with, albeit with one small alteration -- For the purposes of this exercise, the 30 seconds of talk allowed translates into 50 words (or less) of dialogue with Calipari.

Here are the answers:

  • Greg Edwards -- "Coach, this year it is you that will learn. You are going to learn a valuable lesson. You cannot always know your kids. In spite of everything, this team cannot win it all. Coach for the early season wins. The post season is beyond your grasp. It's only one year."
  • Hank Rippetoe -- "When Wiltjer is missing his shots, I would not keep him in the game for any length of time because he's such a real liability on defense. He's slow, can't jump, has no quickness and has a problem with hand-eye coordination. On a bad shooting night, he cost us big time."
  • Alex Scutchfield -- "Most importantly, pull Nerlens out of the game in Gainesville for the second half. He wrecks his knee and it sticks a fork in your season. Focus more energy on Archie than the others who frustrate you. He wants to do the right thing, they don't know what they want."
  • jc25 -- "Ryan Harrow is not the answer at point guard. That will force you to try Goodwin at the lead guard early on, which throws him out of sync all season. That, in turn, creates rotational issues and, perhaps more importantly, a leadership void left unfulfilled without a precious freshman like ..." -- That finished up jc's 50 words, but he added -- " ... Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or upperclassman anchor like Patrick Patterson on the team. I'm not sure what the answer is -- that's your job, after all. Maybe take the team to Gettysburg or something, Remember the Titans-style. Figure out how to get your strong side."
  • a2d2 -- "Cal, maybe you should have punted. As you often say ... Next! Orange Leaf round's on you."
  • JLev -- "Guard Elston Turner, don't be afraid of your bench, and for the love of God pull Noel out of the 1st Florida game with 10 minutes to play and don't let him back on the floor."
  • Paul Jordan (founder of Wildcat Blue Nation) -- "Go with your gut and play who earns the playing time in practice. Don't worry about what the BBN says, play who earns it. And don't coddle this team or take blame. Make them know it's your way or the highway, and don't spare the rod, and don't be afraid ..." -- That finishes up Paul's 50 words, but he couldn't cease and desist -- "... to make the bench your motivator."
  • James Streble (writer, Wildcat Blue Nation) -- "First off, congrats on the 2012 title, coach. Well done. But let me caution you about something: this group is not that group. Don't do the ESPN All-Access, don't treat them as defending national champs, and don't compare them to any of the teams you have had at Kentucky." -- That finishes up Jame's 50 words, but he added -- "Every team is different, but this group is a breed all its own."
  • Glenn Logan -- "My prescription for coach Cal: All perimeter shooters shoot at least 500 3-point shots per day, and everyone at least 250 free throws. Emphasize landing in the same spot on 3s, and swishing minimum of 50 of the free throws (no rim), or continuing till they do."
  • Ken Howlett -- "Harrow is sensitive to criticism; handle him carefully. You face challenges regarding motivation with the team; get a handle on it. Get Wiltjer in the gym; he's streeeaky from distance. Get Noel and Willie shots; they'll make a high percentage. Don't play Nerlens at Florida; he shreds his ACL!"

I want to thank all who contributed to this post, especially Paul Jordan and James Streble who represented the outstanding site, Wildcat Blue Nation, with great deftness.

I encourage everyone to offer-up the advice you would give Coach Cal under this scenario. It's a tough nut to crack when trying to zero-in on what exactly to say to Calipari, which is further complicated by the 50 word limit. For most UK fans, being succinct is not a forte, and when a Kentucky team posts a 21-12 record, there are ample areas which could use improving. But have fun with it, that's what it's meant to be.

Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats!

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