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John Calipari tells Jim Rome why this season has been so special

It is not about wins, or even the tournament. It’s about Cal’s love for his players.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Boise Practice Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari went on Jim Rome’s radio show on Monday to discuss the NCAA Tournament and Cal’s thoughts on this year’s team.

In what he called one of the most rewarding seasons of his career, Calipari discussed what has made it so special.

“I’ve done this a long time, and you would think that the greatest reward is a win,” Calipari told Jim Rome. “It’s seeing a player that was down in that rabbit hole. He was so mad he couldn’t see straight. He has terror, he had anxiety, he couldn’t sleep. His life flashed before him, and he slowly got out of that hole and started to play and had a breakthrough.”

Of course, Calipari went on to discuss Hamidou Diallo’s breakout performance against the Buffalo Bulls in the round of 32 and the team’s reaction to his success. He also referenced Kevin Knox’s breakout game against West Virginia earlier this season.

Cal discussed the challenges with getting these guys to play the way the team needs them to, and then praised them for putting the work in to make changes. Those changes in a few particular guys are the reason that this season has been so rewarding.

He also discussed why this change is so hard for them, with so many other people in their lives getting in their ears.

“It’s a hundred man marching band,” Calipari said. “And they are marching in unison, it’s unbelievable...arms, feet, every instrument. It’s crazy. And then 99 turn right, and their child turns left. And they look and say, ‘what’s wrong with those 99?’”

Cal went on to say that he’s been blessed with families that trust him with their children. And for several guys on this team, that trust is definitely paying off.

Could it pay off all the way to the Final Four? We will find out this weekend.