John Calipari is a Naismith Hall of Fame coach, so he typically deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to coaching.
However, Calipari has taken an odd approach when it comes to Kentucky’s recent loss to Seton Hall. It was absolutely a game Kentucky should have won, but in the end, they lost, and no matter what anyone says, it’s always going to be an ‘L’ on the schedule for the 2018-19 Wildcats.
Well, Calipari thinks different, or at least he wants his team to. During his Friday meeting with the media, Calipari actually said he wants his team to act like they won the game, according to PJ Washington.
“We just left that in the past. Looked at the film, got better from it. We’re just looking at it as if we won the game,” Washington said. “We’re just coming into this next game trying to get a W.”
When asked about that, Calipari offered this up:
“Look, we were up three with the ball with a minute and 25 seconds (remaining). Why did you throw that pass that led to a charge and then they make a 3 and then. Why? How about we pull that out and we’re up five or six with 50-something seconds to go. Wait a minute, why did you do that? Because he’s not ever been in that situation. It was a high school game, and just go down and try to score again.
“So in the end, if we had done what we needed to do to finish the game, we’d have won the game and everything would’ve been different. I wouldn’t be getting the same questions I’m getting now. ‘You need four-year players, you need five-year players. Matter of fact, keep them two, put them on a mission, let’s keep them for six years.’ OK. So you wouldn’t be coming at me that way.
“And I’m saying to you guys, I’m looking like we won the game. So we’re not that far off. We got better. That game, we improved. Didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but we improved. Now let’s get better this game. What does it mean? I don’t know. We don’t know Utah, but we play another game, then we play another game. We play league games. Every game is going to be a war. You’re just not going to have 25-point wins.”
That’s easily one of the most eyebrow-raising statements Calipari has made in his time at Kentucky. Perhaps he thinks his team is very fragile right now from a confidence standpoint. Between the Duke beatdown, struggling against terrible mid-major teams, the crushing loss to Seton Hall and now the Quade Green transfer, perhaps this is Calipari’s way of getting his players to keep their chins up and push forward through what’s been a difficult time.
Whatever the case may be, this statement is not exactly a good sign for the state of Kentucky Basketball.