Calipari Worries About Players Coping with Losses but UK Fans Are Trying to Cope with Losses Too


Vicky Graff Photo

After Kentucky’s 89-85 loss to Gonzaga on Saturday, coach John Calipari criticized his team for not executing a potential game-tying play in the final seconds, its overall poor defensive play in the post stopping easy baskets and getting beat to so many 50-50 balls again. Now he’s trying to think about the past hoping it could restore faith in a potential March resurgence for this team.

Calipari recalled the 2013-14 season with a team dependent on highly-ranked freshmen that lost four of its final seven regular-season games to fall to a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament before going on a mind-boggling run that got UK to the national title game against UConn.

Calipari pleaded with UK fans to stay behind this team on his postgame radio show Saturday but admitted his team’s recent play — three straight home losses — had given fans “every reason to be discouraged” at this point.

“I can remember the year we lost four of seven to finish the year out and the fans stuck with us and we came and fought and all of a sudden we’re in the championship game,” Calipari said. “We’ve got stuff we’ve gotta get done.”

“But again, this is still a good group. We’re giving you every reason to be discouraged. Just don’t. Just keep being with these kids.”

Calipari said he was disappointed with the recent losses because he hates to lose for a lot of reasons.

“I hate to lose for the fans and the team. Hopefully, I win many more games than I lose but there are going to be times when there are things that I could have done,” Calipari said on his postgame radio show. “But here’s what I would say: stay with these kids. Stay right with them. Let them know.”

Kentucky hosts Ole Miss Tuesday night and that will not be a gimme win for this team. Calipari said he will hold individual meetings with players before that game.

“To go through what these kids are going through at their age is not easy,” Calipari said. “And you’re going to get everybody’s best shot. It’s Kentucky. And if they see that you’re wounded, they’re even more excited because they got a chance to beat you. So we’re gonna have to deal.

“But being able to get through this will prepare them for the rest of their basketball career and their life. The sun comes up tomorrow and now we’ve got to get better and we’ve got to change it.

“And then when you go down that road, you start kicking it in and all of a sudden, you go on a run, you have a different feeling and wow, how did I go through all that and survive?”

At this point, Kentucky fans are starting to ask how they are going to go through all this and survive, too, because the high hopes fans had for this team are fading away.

6 Responses

  1. This trite deflection to insulating "the kids" from the nasty old basketball bennies has been tiresome for years.

    It is about you, the fraud of a coach that has taken this program down from the national stage of competitiveness to mediocrity.

    "The Kids" that have gotten criticism over the last several years have been those "kids" who use this program to their own ends by utilizing the name, prestige, resources, and training facilities but don’t play.

    Everyone here knows who belongs on that exclusive list. And it is the fraud that engenders the culture that breeds that type of attitude and behavior from "the kids" Sharpe is the poster "kid" for that entitled group but there are others.

    It is past time for the fraud to resign.

  2. Our team, players and coaches seem to be a farm team for the NBA! I personally don’t watch or care about NBA I would rather see them stay and win National Championships. Until that changes, we won’t and if it takes a different coach for that mindset to happen, so be it!

  3. Cal is a great recruiter, and it is, kind of, exciting to get some of the top 5 star players
    to play at Ky. But, maybe, it’s time to recruit a few good 3 and 4 star players who will
    be around for 3 or 4 years instead of 1 year.
    Am not the only fan who has suggested this over the years. But this is the first time
    for me. Experience counts.

    1. Calipari has brought players in who could not be one and done, so when their 1 year ended without the done part, they transferred out.

      It is more about his prioritization of the one and done path over winning at the collegiate level that is the problem. There must be a change in the program’s culture that this fraud has created.

  4. John Calipari has been disastrous in clutch situations
    Story by Nathan Beighle • 6h
    This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on Bing this morning.

    The below goes to show just how incapable the Cats have been in the clutch:
    Kentucky has had 27 opportunities to tie or win the game since 2020. They’ve made a shot one time. That is kind of amazing.

    You would hope that a Hall of Fame coach 🤣would be at least 50/50 in such games; Calipari is 1 for 27.😒 This doesn’t include the games where Kentucky got blown out.
    Calipari is being paid $9+ million dollars a year to win games and championships for Kentucky. Doesn’t Kentucky deserve better?

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