John Calipari worried about next game, not next year


Devin Askew had 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and two turnovers in 33 minutes against Tennessee. (SEC Photo)

Kentucky fans might finally be ready to abandon hope for any type of even respectable season for the Cats but coach John Calipari says he has not. Another second-half collapse Saturday night led to an 82-71 loss to Tennessee. That leaves UK, a preseason top 10 team, with a 5-12 record.

How bad is it? Kentucky is now 4-6 in SEC play and 10th in the conference with either seven or eight league games left depending on if conference officials decide to reschedule the UK-South Carolina game that was postponed in December or just write it off. For the first time, UK could find itself playing in first-round play-in games at the SEC Tournament if there is an SEC tourney.

Maybe it’s time for Calipari to start looking ahead to next year and giving players different roles or play different combinations to see what happens. At least that’s what The Athletic’s Kyle Tucker suggested after the game to Calipari.

“I am worried about the next game. I am not worried about the postseason or conference tournament,” Calipari said. “We are not that far off. We played three ranked teams and had a chance to beat them all and broke down at critical times.

“We are trying everything we can. I am not thinking next year. I owe it to these kids and this program to get this thing flipped around and that’s all I am doing.”

He’s right. He can’t abandon this season and even if he did want to look ahead who knows who may leave for the NBA — as ridiculous as that even seems — or transfer.

Kentucky players are not from high school programs that lose two-thirds of their games. This is not familiar territory.

“It has been 35 years since I have had to deal with this, too,” Calipari said. “This team can paint the picture that it wants but not if we continue having the same things happen.”

Remember last week when Calipari said players wanted to win but on their terms. That was not a flattering statement about any team.

But Calipari basically said the same thing again after the Tennessee loss.

“We have got to get together and be about each other, especially if you personally are not playing well,” Calipari said.

Translation: Don’t be selfish and pout if you are not scoring and try making plays on defense, rebounding to running the court to help. Seems like a simple message but one Calipari continues to make clear this team just does not get.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

All articles loaded
No more articles to load